Lost In Parasomnia
(a.k.a. Ronnie Darko)
She was so relieved to have them back, even if it was only briefly, at least when they with her at the Burrow she knew they would be safe.
This mission Dumbledore had set Harry before he had died wasn't the sort of thing a young wizard who had only just come of age should be doing. He should be studying for his N.E.W.Ts and playing quiddich and under the watchful eye of Minerva McGonagall. There was no watchful eye for Harry, other than Ron and Hermione's own but who was watching over them? Oh Hermione, of the three of them she would've been sure that she would have scuppered their plans to leave school and throw themselves into a private war with you-know-who himself, but she was as willing and enthusiastic for their quest as Harry and Ron seemed to be.
Then there was Ron...
"Ron?" Molly was jolted out of her maternal fret-session by the sight of her youngest son standing in the kitchen doorway in silence.
He wasn't looking at her, he didn't seem to be focused upon anything really, his eyes seemed glazed and she rose from her chair at the table and walked over to him cautiously.
He hasn't done this in a very long time...why now?
"Ronnie?" she waved her hand in front of his face but his eyes didn't register anything.
She examined him with a worried frown. He was wearing one of those grubby t-shirts he was so fond of sleeping in and a pair of Bill's old tracksuit bottoms, his legs were still growing at a freakish rate and had outgrown everything he had left at the house, and he was barefoot. She gasped as she saw the cuts and bruises all over his feet and almost reached out to grab him by the arm before remembering that she couldn't wake him that way and shouldn't be trying to anyway. It was then that she noticed the writing all the way up the underside of his arm, eleven numbers in black ink, she couldn't make any sense of it and fought another internal struggle with herself not to take out her wand and charm him awake. Instead she hissed, a most theatrical whisper that wasn't really all that quiet at all, to her husband in the living room.
"Arthur...psst, Arthur quickly before he tries to leave!"
He popped his sleepy head around the door with a befuddled look on his face.
"What on earth are you talking about? Oh Ron, what are you doing out of bed?"
She slapped Arthur's hand away from the spot just above Ron's shoulder where he had been about to rest it and hissed for him to be quiet again.
"He's sleepwalking again, we've got to get him back to his room."
Arthur looked more than a little shocked and squeezed between Ron's body and the doorframe to stand in front of him and get a good look at his son's eyes.
"Oh no," his face fell at Ron's blank stare, "I thought he'd grown out of this. It must be what; ten years since he last did it?"
Molly tried to think back, it couldn't be ten years, Ron was nearly eight when he finally stopped going for moonlight strolls in his sleep. But wait a minute, yes, that was right. Ron was nearly eighteen now. It was ten years. The time had passed by too fast; she thought as she tugged at her husband's arm and pointed down to the floor.
"He can't have only just started doing it Arthur. Look at his feet."
"Oh no," he sighed once again, "well he couldn't have fallen back into his old ways for very long, he's obviously not resorted to wearing shoes to bed has he and what's he got written all over his arm? "
She had been about to say something when Ron nodded and began to walk forward. She and Arthur jumped aside to let him pass and she squealed in panic as she realised he was heading for the back door.
"Arthur we can't let him go outside!"
"Of course not, does he have his wand on him anywhere?"
She cast her eyes over every inch of him frantically before turning back to her husband with some relief.
"No he doesn't."
"Good," Arthur said, now feeling more confident in his ability to handle the situation, "lock the doors and we'll just let him wander until he goes back up to bed."
Molly magically locked the door just as Ron reached for the door handle and then aimed her wand over her husband's shoulder to charm the front door as well. As Ron turned away from the door he had now found he couldn't open Arthur's eyes suddenly bulged and he pointed his wand over the fireplace in the living room.
"Accio floo powder!"
The bowl whizzed across the living room and into his waiting hands where he stood in the hall. He smiled and shrugged at Molly.
"Just in case."
They stepped out of Ron's way as he trudged past them and started down the hall to try the front door and began to relax enough that he was going nowhere to ask each other some questions.
"Molly, do you remember what we did last time to snap him out of this?"
"We never snapped him out of it, remember what the Lockheart book said about the dangers of waking a sleep walker?"
"Lockheart? Oh really Molly you don't still follow the twaddle spouted by that fool do you?" Arthur sniped quite uncharacteristically, "That whole thing about waking sleepwalkers is a myth you know?"
"Well I don't need to remind you what happened on the one occasion we did wake him so I thank you not to take that tone with me!"
Ron was rattling the locked front door now, interrupting their bickering and returning their thoughts to the problem in hand.
"Molly you need to understand this is a lot more serious than it was when he was seven years old," Arthur said as he gripped her arms firmly and looked her unblinkingly in the eye, "he can apparate now."
She shook her head; it wasn't that she couldn't believe the possibility of what Arthur was saying but that she didn't want to have to think about it.
"He couldn't disapparate in his sleep, that can't be possible."
Ron was now walking back towards them, making a beeline for the living room fireplace, and her husband looked at her apologetically.
"Well it seems I was right to hide the floo powder doesn't it?"
Molly clamped her hand to her mouth, she didn't need this, not on top of all her other worries for her family. Now, as well as throwing himself into the frey with Death Eaters and toying with whatever it was of You-Know-who's on their mission from Dumbledore, he was going to be wandering around who knows where in a trance like state.
Just as she was going to ask Arthur what they should do a noise from upstairs distracted her. A thudding and the sound of a door swinging open, then footsteps and another door opening with a loud bang. She looked to Arthur who was looking back at her in a state of similar confusion to her own before their attention was drawn upstairs again by the sound of Harry's panicked voice.
"Is he here?"
"Wha...what?" the feint sound of Hermione being woken drifted down the stairs to them.
"He's gone, did he come in here?" Harry's voice sounded firm, almost as if this was something of a routine question to ask a friend in the middle of the night.
"No," Hermione's voice sounded alert now and there were more thumping footsteps as the two of them seemed to be rushing to the stairs, "he didn't take his wand did he?"
"No, I've got it," Harry panted as their feet became visible at the top step, "Hermione if he disapparates again we're screwed!"
Molly folded her arms and stood at the foot of the staircase, stunning them into what looked like a petrified state halfway down the stairs.
"Oh I'd say you were in enough trouble as it is wouldn't you?" she said, her stern facade covering up the knot that had just tightened in her stomach on hearing that Ron had not only been sleepwalking but disapparating in his sleep and she hadn't been informed immediately.
"Mrs Weasley, we...we're sorry but Ron's gone and..."
"He's in the living room trying to find this" Arthur said as he held up the bowl of floo powder.
Harry and Hermione visibly relaxed at this and peered through the banisters to see Ron walking away from the fireplace and deeper into the living room and out of sight.
"Maybe you could explain to us exactly what's going on" Arthur said as he put a calming hand on Molly's shoulder.
Hermione seemed to be the braver of the two as she took a step closer to them.
"Ron's been sleepwalking."
"Well we know that," Molly found herself snapping, "Since when did this start up again?"
"Again?" Hermione frowned, seeming to feign ignorance.
"Yes, he used to do it when he was a boy," Arthur said, "used to wander for miles before curling up somewhere and falling asleep until morning. Didn't he mention it?"
"No," Harry said as he began to walk down the remaining stairs, "well yes, he told us it had happened before but he didn't make it sound as if it was that much of a problem."
Molly snorted, that sounded typical of Ron.
"Well it isn't to him, not until he wakes up in the snow without a clue where he is of course, but he's not really present for the actual sleep-walking is he?"
Harry shook his head, Molly felt her tyrannical indignation dissolve and gave him a sad smile.
"It's hard to deal with him when he's like that isn't it?" Harry and Hermione both nodded, "You really shouldn't have kept it to yourselves you know?"
"We know Mrs Weasley but we didn't want to worry you" Hermione said with a grimace of apology.
Before Molly could point out that she was always pretty worried in general Arthur voiced an important question.
"When exactly did this start up again?"
"Well..." Harry began before Hermione gripped his arm and shushed him.
"I can't hear him moving around anymore" she said, panic draining the colour from her face as the four of them listened carefully and looked at the open door to the living room.
"Did you seal the windows?" Harry asked Arthur.
As one the four of them ran into the living room and saw the window flapping in the wind.
"We've got to stop him!" Harry yelled as he ran to the window and wriggled out.
"Where is he trying to go?" Arthur asked Hermione as she started to crawl out after Harry.
"It's a long story" she said as she jumped out and ran into the darkness after Harry.
A long story? They seemed to be dealing with this pursuit of Ron with some degree of resignation Molly thought. Why couldn't they have told her about this so she could have put a magical barrier around his room like she used to in the old days? Why hadn't Ron mentioned anything about it over dinner earlier on? He must remember how rationally she had dealt with it the first time, the whole family had, Ron-watch had been a routine of their lives for almost a year and they could almost deal with him in their own sleep. She wondered if any of the others knew about this, the twins and Ginny maybe, and vowed to owl every member of the Weasley clan warning them there would be hell to pay if she found out they had known about this and kept it from her and Arthur.
She gripped Arthur's hand tightly and stared out into the blackness of the Burrow's back yard before she heard a crack. Over her shoulder she heard the family clock whirring as Ron's hand moved from home to travelling. She and Arthur lifted their lit wands and made out the shapes of Harry and Hermione plodding back to the house, shoulders slumped, and she knew none of them would be getting any sleep tonight.
As Arthur helped Hermione back through the window the young witch turned to Harry and let out a weary sigh.
"I'll go and get the phone."
Harry nodded and clambered through the window back into the living room to face the wrath of the Weasleys.
"Mr Weasley, Mrs Weasley...I think we've got some explaining to do."