Title: Silently Screaming.
Summary: Ron is suffering after the attack at the Department of Mysteries, but is trying to protect everyone by hiding how he is feeling.
Character: Ron
Rating: T (I think...let me know if you disagree)
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe and everything and everyone in it, I am just a fan who is letting my imagination run a bit wild. All that I own is the chair that I'm sitting on and the keyboard I'm typing on.

- If you like this story and want to review that would be great…if you didn't like it, review and let me know why as I am doing all this to try and improve my writing.

He jolted awake with a sharp intake of breath as he sat up in his bed. His heart was pounding and the echoes of his dream still rang in his ears. The voices began to fade as he took in his surroundings and brought himself back to reality, but the feelings of helplessness, fear and anger remained. The volatile emotions that had become so much a part of his waking moments were considerably heightened during his dreams. The young teen tried to calm himself, to take deep breaths and to focus his attention on the things that were actually in the room rather than the dream images that never really left him. And as he focused his gaze on the chair on the other side of the room, he felt his heart stop racing and his breathing becoming more regular.

"Merlin, I'm tired of these dreams", he thought to himself as he swung his legs over the bed and stood a bit shakily to his feet.

He wobbled slightly as he stood but quickly regained his balance as he recognized the early morning sunlight peaking through the gap in his curtains. A quick glance at the clock that sat by his bed confirmed his suspicions. It was still very early and he had more than enough time to complete his morning routine before anyone else was awake to be concerned about him.

He stood quickly to make his way to the door but had to stop as his foot hit one of the many empty coffee cups that were sitting on the floor beside his bed. He was startled to see one of the cups roll its way across the floor before hitting the leg of a nearby table with a loud CLUNK. He held his breath for a moment to see if anyone in the house had heard the racket, if it had woken anyone at this early hour. But thankfully the residents of the house that served as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix were well used to strange noises, and no one stirred. He carefully lifted the cup out of the way and sat it quietly on the nearby table.

He swiftly gathered some things together, opened his door and stealthily made his way towards the bathroom. He knew from experience what floorboards would creak as he walked along and would therefore betray his presence, so he was able to bypass them and proceed quietly along the hallway.

On reaching his destination he quickly locked the door behind him, dropped his belongings on the floor and dared to look at himself in the mirror. He winced slightly as he caught sight of himself,

"Well, Ron you have definitely looked better", he thought to himself as he took in his bloodshot shadowed eyes and his dishevelled red hair. The livid reddish-purple scars that ran across his arms seemed to be especially harsh in the unforgiving early morning light, and the pain had lessened to a dull ache as the images of his dreams began to fade.

He had not had a good nights sleep in a while now and it was starting to show.

He quickly averted his eyes from the mirror and turned the cold-water tap on. As the cold water began to pour from the tap, Ron roughly ran his hands through his hair and over his face; he had to pull himself together. It had been four weeks since the attack at the Department of Mysteries, and one and half weeks that he had been without any 'dreamless sleep' potion. He didn't want anyone to worry about him especially with what had happened to Harry and what had happened since then.

He had felt bad enough that he had not been able to stand beside both Harry and Hermione as the battle had progressed. When he had heard about what had happened after he had been unable to go on, he had been terrified for his friends and his family. He had been unable to help them when they had needed him and that thought had haunted every waking and sleeping moment since. The rational and logical part of him knew that he had tried, that he had wanted to help and had gone with and supported his friend. But the vivid dreams combined with the sleep deprivation had led to the rational being overruled by the emotional. And the guilt and helplessness that he had been feeling fuelled the nightmares left by the attack and the injuries he had suffered.

His family knew about the scars, but they knew nothing about the dreams that haunted him. They knew nothing about the fact that he was troubled by images and memories that were not his own, and they knew nothing of the fact that he had discovered muggle coffee in an attempt to postpone sleep for as long as possible. He was silently screaming and hiding it very well.

He had intercepted and hidden the messages that he had received from Madam Pomfrey. At least there were some benefits to living in the headquarters of the resistance movement. He knew that if he had been at the Burrow then either his mother would have noticed or Pomfrey would have visited. Apparently he had reached the maximum recommended dosage for the dreamless sleep potion and Pomfrey would not give him any more. She had advised him just after the attack to talk to his family and friends about what had happened and how it had affected him. She had said that it would help the healing process and lead to a decrease in the dreams. He had told her what he knew she had wanted to hear; that he would talk to his family. At least this way he could keep it all a secret and deal with it himself. He couldn't let anyone worry about him when there were so many other important things going on.

Ron quickly got cleaned up and dressed and after returning to his room to collect the empty coffee cups, he made his way quietly down the stairs towards the kitchen. Although they had successfully 'cleaned' the majority of the house, Ron carefully negotiated his way through the darkened hallways. He did not need to make any unnecessary noises and risk waking any of the occupants of the house. He winced a little as the kitchen door creaked slightly as he pushed it open, and made his way into the kitchen to complete his morning routine. He quickly washed and dried the cups that he had retrieved from his room and returned them to the cupboard. He then made himself a mug of strong coffee and dropped into the nearest chair. As he waited for his coffee to cool a bit before he drank it, he roughly rubbed his face in an attempt to remove any last sign of his restless night. He had sat for perhaps a minute with his head resting in his hands before he decided to risk the coffee. He didn't really like the taste of the drink but had quickly found that he could learn to ignore a lot of things if it had the possibility of delaying the nightmares. He would quickly drink this cup of coffee, and maybe another if there was enough time, before returning to his room. This was his morning routine and he thought that it had been working well so far. By the time someone had come to wake him up, he not only would have been awake for hours previously he also would have worked hard to remove any last sign of his nightmares.

The morning routine was about to be disrupted.

Ron had been so preoccupied, not only with the remnants of his nightmares but also with the completion of his morning routine, that he had not noticed the young man who was sitting exhausted on the sofa that was on the other side of the kitchen.

At first Charlie Weasley had been too exhausted to react to the sight of his youngest brother entering the kitchen. He had been travelling for close to two days now in order to reach Headquarters, and rather than wake anyone up at this early hour he had decided to rest for a while before making his presence known. But his exhaustion quickly gave way to worry and concern as he observed his brother. He had been told about the attack of course and about Ron's injuries, but the sight of the purple scars on Ron's arms stunned him. From what he knew of his little brother, he knew that Ron would never have let anyone see the scars. He knew that Ron would probably wear long sleeved jumpers all the time now, but at this early hour Ron was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and his scars were clearly visible. But it was the look on Ron's face that staggered him. He had never seen his little brother look so lost. He had obviously not really been sleeping, and the scent of the strong coffee that drifted across the kitchen told Charlie that Ron was forcing himself to stay awake. But when Ron had sat at the table and rested his head in his hands Charlie's heart nearly broke. His little brother looked so hurt, he had to say something,

"Hi Ron"

Coming Next…

Chapter Two – A chat with an older brother and a Weasley family meeting.