Ron closed his eyes, sleepiness overtaking him for a brief moment, but he was not so weak. He slapped himself, and then winced. Maybe he should start slapping the other side of his face. His right cheek was beginning to turn a bright red, and was most likely-no- definitely bruised by now.
Ron and the others, Harry, Lupin, Hermione, as well as the rest had all been doing what was bound to happen. Fighting Voldermort in a war, fighting him when it was supposed to be the trio's very last year at school.
Everything had been going smoothly, had been going great! They were finally getting somewhere, Snape had been captured and was being held for what he'd done to Dumbledore. Now they all were finally facing each other, it all came down to Voldermort and Harry. But then, Voldermort raised his wand at Harry...and Harry had frozen. Eyes wide and mouth agape. Ron tackled him, fear for his friend's life, pushing him into courage, giving him the strength to save his dearest friend.
They rolled, and rolled, crashing into trees and rocks. At one point, Harry went limp, and Ron knew he must've passed out. Ron turned, and cursed his luck to see they were going down hill. He let go of Harry to see if he would stop, and he did. Very slowly Harry stopped rolling, and lay flat on his back. The only problem was, Ron had no time to stop himself.
If he had been given just a few more seconds then he could have stopped, but instead he found him self rolling off a cliff. Ron did not drop a hundred feet to the ground, and become mush, as he feared he would.
But he did fall about ten feet and, "Broke"
Ron knew what broken bones felt like, and he loudly gasped out, knowing that he had quite a few broken this time. He was sure his wrist was broken, and knew the leg Sirius had "helped," him break his third year had been broken again. His body ached too much to try and figure out what other injuries he had, though he was almost positive his side was split, and as evidence for this hunch of his, he could see the blood that stained the rocks all around him.
Ron had fallen at the edge of a small piece of land. Hell, it wasn't even that! It was just a sand bar, cut off by water, only having enough room for him to lay down in. Ron had been laying stiffly on the ground for several, painfully long hours. He could see the sun begin to get closer to the green land...Nightfall steadily approached and the tide would begin to come in. Ron's card of death. That was why Ron was trying to stay awake. Cold water washed over him every few minutes, and he was numb. The water stung his wounds, and made tears come to his eyes.
But, the red head refused to sleep...he was scared to. Ron had heard his father say that if you fell asleep while you were out in cold water, you'd die. It was just like falling asleep...the cold water would make you tired, especially at night, and you'd drift off, but you wouldn't wake this time around. Ron was soaking in it, the water kept washing over him, and he did have several wounds, so he feared death. Normally, he'd be a little too proud to admit that, but given the circum stances, he figured being this afraid was okay.
Ron had always thought he'd die for Harry, or Hermione. But thinking was different. When he thought of it, he always had some sort of clean kill in his head. The killing curse maybe, or maybe being stabbed and suffering only a short moment of pain. Maybe being knocked out, and killed as he slept through a concussion. Not pleasant thoughts Ron admitted, but better then the thought of many bloody wounds, broken bones, or cold water. He had not thought of that being his caretaker in death. He honestly hadn't. Ron mused on this for a while, and a thought struck him. If he could rewind this, would he have changed anything? Would he save Harry just to go through all this again?
The red head closed his eyes, and remembered the trees, that snapped the bones in his body, and the rocks that cut open his skin, and something sharp that pierced his flesh. He wasn't sure what, probably a pointed stick, that stuck in his right calf, and was ripped out a moment later. Then there was of course the actual fall onto the sand bar, that 20 second drop. He'd landed on his back, so he didn't know where he was going to land, that was probably the worst part. Would he dare go through this again to save just a single person? To save Harry Potter?
Yes, I would do it all over again.
The Weasley gasped at how quickly the answer came. Then he smiled, relieved. He was afraid, that in his heart, he wouldn't really want to save him again. That saving Harry had been forced. But when he heard the scolding remark, telling him he would save Harry again, he knew that he had saved him of his own free will.
He then began to understand why people froze when someone was being threatened. They weren't afraid of death, they feared the pain. Ron coughed, spitting out water that rushed over him. He almost laughed, 'I can understand fearing the pain...' The youngest Weasley coughed again. The water was now all around him, only his face, mouth, and a bit of his chest above the tide. He looked up at the darkening sky.
"...Are...are they still fighting...?" He whispered, his voice hoarse. "Is Harry...alive?...Can no one...answer me?" Tears fell down his face.
'Great you prat, your adding water too water!'
Ron laughed loudly, tears pouring out his eyes faster. He yearned to know...To know what was happening with his friends. To know if they were okay.
He really wanted to get out of the water, the reddish brown water. His blood mixed with it, giving it odor, so now he was soaked in bloody, filthy water. His mind drifted over many things. Mostly at how Harry was doing.
What if Harry was in the same predicament as him? Laying on the forest floor, gasping for breath, because his rib cage was broken. His skin getting paler, and sleepiness trying to take him over...Then, finally, his eyes would dull, and he would get sleepier, and sleepier. His mouth would open slightly, a thin trickle of blood begin to drip down the corner of his mouth, standing out on his powder white face. Those green eyes would widen as he took in a shuddering breath and-
"NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Ron screamed, though in all honest, his scream was so hoarse that it wasn't very loud at all. The tears came back. And after several minutes, he calmed down, and cursed his vivid imagination, still crying.
When he finally stopped, he kept his eyes closed. The water now went up to his eyes. He found this odd. He'd done this in a bath tub, or in a pool, laid down on his back, only allowing his nose and mouth to be outside the water. It had been relaxing and fun then...but now.
'Why is it Love, can make you do such things? I'm not IN love with Harry, but he is like a brother too me...why is it that I did this for him? Going through all THIS, just for him...?' Ron choked as water entered his mouth.
'Why are you so important to me Harry?'
He tried to raise his head a little, pain making him drop it.
He was completely submerged.
'Oh yes...I forgot...we're best friends.'
That was the only answer to it. The were best friends, and he didn't want to lose his best friend.
Ron thought of his death. He'd have an Orange casket. Everyone would think it funny, awkward...'Why orange?' They would ask. Harry would answer that one. 'Because it was his Quidditch team's color...he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.' And that was the truth, Ron had decided early on, that if he died, he wanted to have the most God awful coffin in the entire world. But, he also wanted it orange for another reason that Harry would be able to answer.
Ron knew just what Harry would say. Ron knew him so well, and Harry knew Ron so well. They were just like that. Knowing Harry, Harry would cry, and mourn for Ron the longest, and blame himself. But when he stood up at the podium to talk about him, he'd strongly say, 'If Ron was here, he'd tell me I was being a prat, and smack me on my head. Right on my scar! Ron would tell me he wanted me to be strong, or he would never rest!'
And Ron smiled at this scene in his head, he would say that to Harry. And eventually Harry would take that to heart, and move on. It wouldn't be so bad if he died...right now...Harry would be okay soon.
But then Ron also saw the dark side.
He saw Harry alone, forever alone. Others rushing in to take his place, and Harry would get angry. 'You can't take his place! YOU'RE NOT RON!' He'd get furious, and he'd mourn more...because he'd know they only wanted to be the "new Ron" so they could be famous as well.
Harry would become bitter, and wouldn't be the same Harry. He'd live by Ron's wishes, moving on, but he wouldn't be happy. He'd be hateful.
Ron forced his head up over the water again. He wasn't going to let Harry have that type of future!
He managed to take in a very large breath, before he had to lie back down. Could this work? Could he keep his head above the water long enough to get some breathes in, all night?
Ron didn't know, but he would try. He had a chance...he had water. You could live off water for several days. Ron groaned inwardly, but he wouldn't have any food...and he loved food! He opened his mouth, letting the water was in his mouth. Ron's face twisted. The water tasted metallic, he'd forgotten his blood was seeping steadily into it. Once again he raised his head above the water, this time opening his eyes.
There was only a bit of daylight left.
By the time the sun fully set Ron would not be able to continue pushing his head above the water. He coughed and choked, and gasped for air, laying back down.
Something felt different. He felt warm...and relaxed. He opened his eyes, and was amazed at what he saw. His eyes stung from the water, but he ignored it. He was seeing through beautifully clear water, watching orange strands of hair move with the rhythm of this water.
And with the water, he saw the cliff. The one he'd fallen off of. Under the water, everything seemed calmer. Serene, and beautiful. He thrust his head up again, taking in much needed air, and fell back down in the water.
He kept his eyes closed this time, he didn't want to see beauty before he died. He wanted to see Harry's face, Hermione's. His family...his school, everyone he knew.
Ron searched his memories, jumping through the files in his head. The happy moments and the bad, and finally came to stop at one. Harry was at his side, and the two were out sitting in a field, the moon over head, and Burrow behind them. Harry was in a white sleeveless shirt, and green boxers, him smiling and laughing at softly spoken words, and bawdy jokes. Ron was in Orange boxers, 'Cannons' written on them in black letters. Ron could hear Harry's words clearly in his head, 'You know...you're my first best friend...and hopefully...you'll always be the only best friend I have." Harry placed his cheek on his arm, "I don't want to lose you. Ever"
Ron had smiled at that remark, and smiled at the innocent boy leaning on his arm. In his hands he was believed to hold the future for all of mankind, but all he wanted to hold was a broom, or a snitch, or just the hand of his best friend, or a girl he fancied. Ron rest his own head against Harry's and promised, "I'll always be here for you Harry. Even when we fight, or if I go away for a while. Death or by some other means. You won't lose me...we'll just be separated a while." And then Harry had laughed.
That was the best thing...
Ron smiled, and thrust his head through the water, taking in a breath.
He was so tired.
The light was almost completely out of the sky.
This would be the last time he'd be able to push his head to the surface for water.
He took in one very large gulp, and lay back down.
He opened his eyes again, and continued thinking of that happy memory, as well as others, all the while still looking at the beauty of being underwater, and looking thought it. With his eyes open like this...and his head and heart with Harry and his family, he knew he'd be fine.
He would die happy.
It'd all be okay, and even if the others missed him, they'd all be okay.
Everything would be right in the end.
Maybe he was just thinking too hard, and Harry wouldn't turn bitter.
He could move on, he'd still be the same Harry...
He had to be.
Then something new entered the underwater picture.
On the cliff, that damXed cliff Ron had fallen off of, sat two people. Two faces he didn't recognize. One looked like Harry...but...the eyes...those weren't Harry's eyes. And the glasses weren't he right shape. The woman next to him had red hair, and green eyes. Her face long and beautiful. She had Harry's eyes.
Realization dawned on Ron like the morning sun.
They were Harry's parents...they had to be.
They jumped off the cliff, and landed in the water, sitting down. The woman picked him up, and Ron couldn't believe it as she placed his head on her lap, and he was even more amazed that didn't slip through.
Harry's father knelt by him, brushing the wet hair from his face. "Mr...Mr. Potter...Mrs...Mrs. Potter?" Ron croaked, swallowing hard. The red head smiled, and nodded, ghostly tears dripping down her face and landing on his own.
They felt like cold mist, and it chased away the sleepiness.
Harry's father was still stroking his hair, and smiling at him. He looked just like Harry...he really did. But Harry also had his mothers smile. "How can this...?" Ron whispered with disbelief.
What was happening?
"Are you taking me..." Ron couldn't find the words, and pointed upwards. The two blinked, and laughed, no sounds escaping their gray lips, but Ron knew they were laughing. He watched with wonder. With loving, cold hands, they continued to pet him, and comfort him. They truly were parents. Ron smiled as he felt the cold, the pair were trying to keep him awake. They were chasing away the sleep, and the pain.
'You must live...live for my little boy...you keep him going...' A sweet sing-song voice filled his head as he closed his eyes.
'Thank you Ron...You are Harry's brother...Your just like Sirius...'
Ron's eyes snapped open, and a third specter had joined the party.
Long black hair floated upwards, and gleaming brown eyes locked with his.
'Look at you...what mess have you gotten into this time, Ron?' Sirius, wiped the tears that now poured down Ron's cheeks. "How can this be possible? This can't be real..."
Ron shook his head, and whispered, "If I die, can one of you come back...Harry needs you...Harry needs you!"
Innocent blue eyes looked over at James. 'He needs you...If one of us came back...sure he'd be happy...but nothing would change really...He'd act the same as he does now...mourning for a lost loved one.'
"Then...all of you come back"
The three shook their heads, 'Dear, even if that was possible...I think this would hurt Harry worse...Knowing that you wanted him to be happy so much, so much in fact, that you'd die for his happiness... that would kill him even with us at his side...'
'Ron he needs you.' Sirius smiled, and tousled Ron's orange locks. 'Look at you...you're a man now...and you've been one since 11...taking care of Harry...you're a great kid.'
The three seemed to be fading.
'Its time to wake up now Ron.'
Ron's eyes snapped open, and his head burst through the water, and he managed to grab a mouthful of air, before collapsing again.
It was night time.
He had fallen asleep in the water.
or had he?
'That's not possible,' he thought pale, 'I would have drowned, there was still light out last time my eyes were open...' Ron squeezed his eyes shut harder as he thought, 'Was that real...?' He could still feel Lily's cold hand on his face, patting it lovingly. 'But why...its...its impossible...Why even bother giving me life for another few moments? I'm about to die any-'
His eyes opened, and he looked through the blue water again, starring once more at the beauty of how things looked from the eyes of a fish. He released the last bit of air he was clinging to in surprise at what he saw.
On the cliff's edge was Harry. He had many cuts on his face, and there were cracks in the glass of his old and battered glasses. He was pale, dirty, and sweaty. It was apparent he had been running around for a long time.
He held a glowing wand in his hand, two others next to him. Lupin, and Neville, both starring in disbelief.
Ron realized, he needed air desperately and unwillingly, he began to breathe in the water. Ron closed his eyes, coughing in the water, and trying to stop from taking it in. But the harder he struggled, the more gulps of water he got. Something dropped beside him, he was hauled up, and greedily Ron gasped for breath.Choking, and not even bothering to open his eyes, he wrapped his arms, his bloody, scratched, battered, and broken around his rescuers neck, and whispered, "Hey mate...h-how y-you doi-doing?" He was absolutely chilled to the bone.
A soft sob answered him.
"Ron! You bloody git...you asXhole...you..you-Oh Ron!" Harry sobbed back, holding the freezing teen close to his warm body. Lupin and Dumbledore appeared next to him, and Lupin took off his cloak.
"Ron had did you survive?" Lupin gasped wrapping the boy up, Neville adding his cloak in as well.
Ron looked at him drowsily.
"I'm stubborn." Ron replied, thinking of the other things that really helped him stay alive.
"I just didn't like the thought of leaving Harry, Hermione...Mum...Dad...or anyone...just stubborn." Ron whispered, eyes closing.
"Ron? Ron! RON!"
He felt completely relaxed, his body limp and warm. Everything relaxed. The voices, his or the others seemed to sound like one being. He no longer knew who talked any more...just wanted rest now...just rest.
"Quickly! We need to get him someplace warm! Alas, how foolish I am, just sitting in awe! He's been out here bleeding for hours, hurry!"
"I'm so tired."
((((three weeks later))))
Ron's eyes fluttered open.
He'd never seen so many things in his life.
Ron had to have at least seven tables filled with candy, cards, letters, and other presents. Things such as chocolate frogs, little knick knacks, stuff that said Cannons on them...He was greatly amused to see two toilet lids on a chair.
But what made him smile the most was the figures asleep in several chairs. In a neat little row of chairs was his family. Mr. Weasley first, then Mrs. Weasley, followed by Ginny, then Bill, then Fred, then George and finally Charlie.
Percy of course wasn't there.
Neville, was on a stool about ready to tumble off it.. Though his eyes were closed, Harry wasn't sure if Neville was really asleep, maybe just floating in and out of awareness... Next to him was Lupin, who looked like he would probably fall out of his seat if pushed.He knew Hermione wasn't there. She was off with Tonks, and the other Order of Phoenix, fighting death eaters and such, he hadn't seen her in a few weeks. But he already recognized her handwriting on a few cards, and wrapped up packages.
Ron broke out in the biggest grin when he saw Harry slouched over in his chair laying at his bedside. It must have been real late judging by the sky outside the hospital windows. Yes, he knew where he was...In fact it looked just like the room his father had stayed in.
He looked at himself, lifting the covers, Barely any of him wasn't covered up in bandages, or had some paste that was healing him. He could tell they had given him an elixir to heal his broken bones, for he hurt, and heard pops of bones mending.
There must have been many if he was still hearing the pops of bones.
Lifting his arm, which was in a heavy cast, Ron pet Harry's hair.
"Hey? Oi! Wake up...c'mon Harry...get up!" Ron peppily encouraged.
Harry's green eyes opened, and he bolted up.
They locked eyes, and Harry clutched his hand. Neither of them spoke.
Harry took in a breath and whispered, "You nearly died saving me Ron." Tears had filled his eyes.
Ron had beaten him though, tears were already raining down his cheeks. "I thought about that while I was laying in that water Harry, and I'd do it again...Only..." Ron laughed, "I was hoping if I died for you, it'd be less painful!"
Harry embraced him, and the two clung too each other.
"I woke up an hour after you saved me, Lupin had revived me. We looked so long and hard, they were telling me that you'd probably been taken hostage...and...that you could be..." Harry sobbed, gripping Ron's shirt.
"I refused to believe that! I swear to God, I refused to believe it! But Ron...after more hours went by, and you never answered our calls, I almost gave up when...I heard your voice...in a faint little whisper...and you were talking." Harry looked at him. "You said my Sirius's name, and my parents..."
Ron's eyes squeezed shut, "They saved me Harry, I swear on my life they did! They were there! Harry I saw them!" Ron felt fear fill him up, he was afraid Harry would get angry and push him away.
But Harry only held him closer. "I believe you mate...I do...Ron...If you were gone, I'd have nothing left to live for...nothing...not even for Hermione, Dumbledore, your family, nothing. You were the first real friend I ever made, and I don't want to lose that...I don't want to lose you." Harry was sobbing and the others were begging to stir.
Ron smiled, "That's why I tried to hold on for so long...I couldn't abandon you..." Ron pulled reluctantly away, "Look at us...acting like little girls." Ron laughed, ears turned red. "How embarrassing."
"Oh sod off, Ron."
"Heh...just this once...we can afford to be sentimental, eh?"
Ron felt the sleepiness come again, and he fought it. This time he wasn't fighting it to stay alive. He was fighting it to stay awake, so he would be coherent enough to listen to his family's words, for they all stirred in their slumber.
They'd wake soon, and Ron waited.
"Can you believe this? George and Fred actually giving me two toilet seats?"
"Uh...actually Ron...that was me."