A/N I wrote this while sitting on Pattaya beach after I finished reading the book to brought with me on holiday, this is how much I love writing people, I can't ever stop!
A Pair of Blue Eyes on the Sukhumvit
I had been searching for him for almost six months now. I even got one of those magical photographs of him printed in the muggle way thanks to Colin Creevy, so I could show it around the muggle world and extend our search.
You don't need to describe what he looks like to the wizarding community. He's all over the papers, his face, his suspected movements, his crimes.
I don't believe it though, none of us who know him do, we don't know why he would have disappeared and let himself become the ministry's latest scapegoat I don't know but I intend to find him and let him know. I need to let him know he's not alone. I need to let the family know he's ok. I already owe them all a lot myself and this, at the very least, is my first step to forgiveness with them.
The ministry will not make Ronald Weasley the next Sirius Black.
There have been so many red herrings, so much miss-information about sightings of the flame haired murderer of Azkaban prison. I smile when I think of his crime. Justice is a funny thing. They say he released dangerous Death Eaters back into the world. They may have been arrested as Death Eaters but most of the wizarding world knows that they were simply the innocents that had been dragged into custody by the ministry to make it appear that they were progressing. Honestly, I thing that some of the prisoners that had been incarcerated as followers of Lord Voldemort couldn't even spell his name. It is justice that they have been freed, justice being served, but now they are all living in hiding and so is their liberator. So is my baby brother.
The word justice is lost on me these days.
Hermione Granger had received sightings in New Orleans, Lithuania and the furthest place anybody had claimed to have seen him so far and the city I now find myself in.
I've been here for five days now and every time I internationally floo the Burrow it is with the same report. There's no sign of him. None of us thought there would be. How difficult must it be for a six foot three Red head to stay unnoticed in the Thai capital?
Harry and Hermione had thought so too and decided to follow up the lead in New Orleans while Neville Longbottom and Remus Lupin had gone to Lithuania to meet up with Charlie who had just left a dead end tip-off in Hungry. I came here alone, nobody being able to stand my company I presume, and am wondering how long it will be before I can give up on this lead and go and look somewhere more likely.
Or maybe that's it. Maybe that's why they sent me out here alone. They still think it's none of my business and they just wanted to get me out of the way while they followed the genuine leads. Ginny had even gone so far as calling me a ministry spy who wanted to entrap Ron and not many people jumped to my defence. Hermione did, I'll thank her for that when I see her next, but Harry's still very suspicious of me.
I can't really blame him can I?
I ended up in South Bangkok, by the river, this afternoon where I showed his photograph around and asked, "Have you seen?" while pointing at his still image. All I got was shrugs and several street traders attempting to sell me things I didn't want to but. One tuk tuk driver told me he would drive me around the city for two hundred baht to look for him but I had fallen for that scam yesterday. I had been taken to the far North of the city where I was told to visit the shop of a friend of the drivers so he could get a gasoline coupon for his vehicle. I argued and got nowhere. After complying and going inside so the businessman supplied the driver with his 'fee' for delivering another customer to his store I left the shop to find my driver had abandoned me. The rest of the day was spent attempting to get back to the Sukhumvit where I am staying in a wizard-friendly hostel.
I am riding on the Sukhumvit line of the Sky train right now, heading back from the West of the city where I have experienced yet another fruitless day. I will petition Mad-Eye to let me come home again tonight. We pull into Siam station and lots of people board the train. I scan the crowd for red hair, it has become second nature to me now, and I don't even realise I'm doing it.
There's no red hair, just black as ever, and I spot several tourists in small groups but none of them even vaguely resemble who I'm looking for. I see an elderly Thai gentleman struggling along the carriage and stand to offer him my seat witch he takes with a grateful bow. I smile at him and stifle the sigh I let out at being back on my feet again.
That's when I saw them. In between the bobbing heads of dark hair and the arms clinging onto the overhead handrails I saw a pair of bright blue eyes. My breath caught in the back of my throat and I angled my head to try to see more of his face but the visibility was limited.
There, I saw them again, the electric blue eyes. They weren't looking at me, they were gazing dreamily out of the window, and my heart beat was hammering against my chest as I tried to get closer without success. I could see a little more now, blue eyes peering out through a curtain of mousey brown hair and above the freckled bridge of a long nose.
"Ron!" I call out but the train has pulled into another station now and I am pushed back by the crowd piling on and off.
I can't lose him, not now, and I stand on my tip toes to keep his mop of brown hair in sight. He must have changed it when he went into hiding and I might say that it makes him look quite ordinary except for the fact it seems to make his sapphire blues even more brilliant. They were striking, as if his soul were using his eyes to send out a distress signal to those searching for him.
' I'm over here, come and find me. '
And I had, I had found him, via a pair of blue eyes on the Sukhumvit line.
I follow him down Sukhumvit 64, not knowing why I hadn't made myself known to him as soon as I caught up to him when he left On Nut station, and begin to feel a little nervous. He was hiding for a reason after all and I'd hate to think that my having found him would put him in any kind of danger.
He looks well, different but well, and I think that maybe he has felt my eyes covering every inch of him as he stops suddenly and turns around. I freeze and hold my breath as I watch Ron put his hands together and bow to an elderly Thai woman preparing food at the roadside.
"Sawaddi ka Pol," he grins that disarming grin of his, the one that would always shake Ginny out of one of her moods or melt mum's maternal rage.
The woman seemed to be yet another female fan of the widest smile ever to grace a Weasley and they began a conversation in English, heavily accented on her part and slowly spoke on his.
"Ron, you late, I no beef left now."
"That's fine, chicken's fine," he shrugs.
"You want chicken? I give you chicken and rice, two rice..."
Ron plunges his hand into his pocket and pulls out some money.
"Two rice? No Pol, only one rice, I've not got enough money for two."
Pol didn't seem willing to take this for an answer and began to load up a plastic bag with a portion of chicken and two portions of rice.
"You share with dog?" she says with something of my mother in her tone.
Ron averted his eyes.
"Say again please, you share food with dog?"
"Yes," Ron huffs as another vendor alongside Pol's portable kitchen laughs a hoarse but highly amused cackle.
"I give to you," the toothless man said as he held up his own, already prepared chicken and rice, "I give same for less."
Pol seems outraged at her customer being poached right out from under her and grips Ron's elbow as he laughs at the war to feed him and the dog he apparently has.
"He my customer, my food no poison him like yours, I give good price!"
The toothless man seemed offended.
"I no poison anyone!" the man scowled.
"You poison him with shrimp," Pol screeched as she pulled Ron away from the other mobile food stand while I struggled not to laugh at the exasperated expression on his face, "you tell Ron, tell that shrimp made you sick."
Ron didn't seem too happy to have been put in the middle of this trade war and swallowed.
"Well I don't know that it was the shrimp..." he began before the toothless man approached him with the food from his heated tray.
"He say it no my food! I give to you, forty baht."
"Forty?" Ron said, raising an eyebrow.
"He already buys from me, chicken and two rice, twenty baht."
"Twenty?" Ron said, counting out the money while the offer still stood and placing it into Pol's hand.
"Ah, he buy from me, he my customer. You go now," Pol shooed her rival away.
Ron laughed at this as he took the bag from Pol. She grabbed his arm again and stares at him with fierce intensity.
"You give dog rice; you no feed dog my chicken."
Ron rolls his eyes.
"I promise Pol, I'll starve the bloody dog if you want."
"Chicken for you, no waste good food on dog."
"I swear," Ron held up his hands and attempts to look honest, always an impossible task ever since we were kids, "can I go home now?"
Pol releases him and Ron gave another of his beams that you couldn't stay mad at before waving and continuing on his way.
I kept up my clumsy form of stealth several feet behind him as the street got darker and the road became nothing more than a dirt track. A mangy and very thin dog with sandy-coloured fur ran out from a darkened doorway and circled Ron excitedly.
"Sawaddi ka flea bag," Ron said, his voice sounding tired, "d'you manage to beg for enough scraps while I was gone today?"
The dog spun around on the spot and made a whiny sound before looking at the bag in Ron's left hand.
"I'm under orders not to give you meat; you're getting the rice and nothing else."
Ron yawned as he looked up and down the dark street; I had ducked into the shadows before he spotted me, before pulling out his wand and pointing it at the doorway the dog had been skulking in.
I watch Ron and the dog go inside what looks like a boarded up shed rather than an actual house and I decided to go for it. I take a deep breath and crossed the street. I hesitate for a second before knocking on the door.
I listen for a long time before knocking again. The door opens a crack and I try to stand back to let some light fall on my face so Ron can see that it's me but there isn't any light anymore. The dog's snout pokes through the tiny opening and snarls.
"There's a good dog, nice dog, I just want to talk to R..."
"Percy?" Ron's amazed voice gasps as the door flies open wide and my little brother aims his illuminated wand at my face.
"Yes it's me. I've been looking, we all have, we never believed it..." I wasn't intending to sound like an incoherent buffoon but seem to be doing a fine job of it all the same.
"Stay back," Ron warns me, his voice cold and the dog growling from behind his legs in a cowardly act of defiance, "just because you're my brother doesn't mean I'll come quietly. You should remember there's no family favours from the last time you played puppet for the ministry to get to Harry at Christmas."
I knew he'd think that if ever I was lucky enough to be the one to find him first.
"I'm not with the ministry I swear to you on my life Ron. I resigned."
He narrows those piercing blue eyes at me and hissed with derision.
"They set you up!" I blurt at the top of my voice, I don't know if it is with the disbelief that he doubts my loyalty to him or that the institution I had always held so dear and put so much faith in had betrayed my family in such a way, "They drove you into hiding and called you a murderer Ron, do you think I'd stay associated with them after that?"
Ron seemed to search the road quickly, his eyes darting around rapidly as he leans out of the doorway briefly, and I hope that he's satisfied enough that I haven't bought any ministry stooges with me.
"You stayed loyal to them after all Umbridge and Fudge did to Harry," he said with undisguised disgust.
I try to keep my emotions in check. When my brothers and i talk heatedly it always ends with harsh words from me and fists flying from them.
"Yes well...you're not Harry."
Ron doesn't seem to know how to take this and his wand lowers by no more than an inch before he nods me inside and closes the door behind us.
"How is he?" Ron asks as I follow the dog into a candlelit room which looked to be furnished with scrap from a Thai junkyard.
There was a mouldy looking mattress on a rusty bed and some plastic lawn chairs around a table that appeared to have been home made and reinforced with magic. I physically shudder to think that this was how my baby brother had been living.
"Percy?" Ron pressed me for an answer to his question about Harry.
"Oh he's fine. Well no he isn't, not at all really."
I can see that Ron is alarmed to hear this and explain myself.
"You see his best friend has disappeared after being framed for the execution of a prisoner at Azkaban and the release of collaborators with the Death Eaters."
Ron lowers his head, the light behind the brilliant blue eyes disappearing for a time, and I had to let him know.
"He knows it's a lie, we all do, and he and Hermione are looking for you in New Orleans right now."
I see him raise his head and frown.
"New Orleans, why?"
"Hermione's looking for me too?"
"Neville and Lupin are in Lithuania on a tip-off as well, Charlie's with them, I got the dead-end red herring 'get the untrustworthy git out of our hair' job and here you are."
Ron sits down and picks a piece of chicken out of the bag I had seen him buy earlier.
"I'm so glad I found you. I'm so glad you're alright. you are aren't you Ron?"
He nods and absent-mindedly tosses a chunk of chicken to the scrawny dog at his feet.
"Hey I thought you promised not to feed the dog?"
"She thinks he's a stray but...hey," Ron suddenly seemed to register how I could have overheard that conversation, "you followed me all that way?"
"I saw you on the Sukhumvit train, nearly didn't recognise you actually," I point to his brown hair.
He tugs at a mousey lock before running his hand through his hair with a deep sigh.
"It's a spell. So is this," he gestures to the dog, which sits up and cocks its head.
"The dog's not a real dog?" I am utterly confused and tried to examine the mutt for any remarkable qualities.
Ron points his wand at the dog, hesitates to look at me in a way that tells me this doesn't mean he trusts me yet, and flicks his wrist. a flash blinds me in the darkened room for a moment before I see that the dog is now replaced by a pale thin man in his early twenties. He was on his knees at first but was now on his feet, grabbing the chicken from Ron and stomping over to the bed and sitting down, eating greedily.
"Wot choo do that for?" the familiar voice grumbled at Ron who was sitting back with resignation and eating some of the plain rice.
"You're welcome by the way, I haven't eaten all day either y'know Stan?"
"Stan?" I look at the man who was stuffing meat into his mouth like there was no tomorrow.
It was, it was Stan Shunpike, one of the prisoners Ron was supposed to have aided in their escape from Azkaban.
"Don't start on me Ron, I got fleas y'know? You wanna try being the dog for a change and see how cushy you think my life is then."
I get up and tear the chicken from the suspected Death Eater.
"Prefered the Dementors did you?" I seethed, forcing the meat back into Ron's hand, "Don't starve yourself for him Ron. Why on earth have you been travelling with him anyway?"
Ron sighs and tosses the other portion of rice to the former mongrel before forcing himself to meet my eyes.
"He was falsely imprisoned y'know, you do know that don't you?"
I refuse to nod. I knew, even when I worked at the ministry I knew.
"Well it's one thing to let the other's go, everyone else the ministry put away just to make it look like they were doing something to stop You-Know-Who, they were quite savvy and could go into hiding until the order cleared their names but him..."
Ron gestures to Shunpike who is stuffing his face with the boiled rice and not caring that he was being talked about at all.
"...he wouldn't have lasted a day as a fugitive, he's not devious enough."
I try to smile but I just can't do it, it is all too upsetting.
"And you are?"
Ron does manage to smile.
"Grew up with Fred and George didn't I? I'm a master at evasive action me."
Our eyes meet and we stare at each other in a paralysed moment of silence. I didn't want the moment to end but it had to. Ron was always the braver of the two of us. I look away.
"I can't come back with you, you know that, not until the order clears my name as well as all the others. I can't even stay here now that I know I've been found, they think I killed Dolohov and I didn't y'know?"
I nod, of course I knew.
"I wanted to though."
Ron's eyes darken along with his tone. It makes me feel cold inside.
"We're working on it Ron, we'll prove it soon I promise you, when she's not following false leads Hermione is nose-deep in books to fight your case."
The vivid blue shade returns to his eyes as he fights against a smile and tried to change the subject.
"So tell everyone I'm doing well and that I'm not alone, you'll tell them not to worry won't you Perce?"
He looks at me so hopefully. I nod and swallow the lump in my throat.
"And don't make it sound quite as bad as...well as bad as it really is."
He casts an ashamed glance around himself at his living conditions. I move closer to him a pat him on the shoulder.
"I'll talk it up don't worry, three square meals a day and a swimming pool, they'll think you're better off than they are."
I laugh and it breaks my heart to see Ron try but fail to do the same. I drop to his side and give him the first and only hug I had given him since I got a tad panicky during the second task of the Tri-wizard tournament. I was thankful that he didn't fight against it.
"Tell them to hurry up. I wanna come home again Perce."
Shunpike sniffs and Ron and I turn to see him wiping his eyes on one of the bed sheets.
"Wot choo gawpin' at?" he snaps at us.
"Do you want to be turned back into a dog again?" Ron says with a chuckle.
As Shunpike mutters something under his breath I take all the baht from my back pocket and force them into Ron's hand. His eyes widen and he shakes his head and opens his mouth to begin the traditional Weasley special of declining financial help from others. i clamp my hand over his mouth and fix his ice blue gaze with my own.
"Eat properly, no arguments, and find a better place to live until I come and bring you home."
He takes the money very reluctantly and shakes his head sadly.
"I can't stay in Thailand now, you know I can't Percy, we've got to go and find another hiding place so you don't have to lie to protect me."
I feel my heart sink. I understand, if I managed to find him then the ministry could too, but that doesn't mean I like it.
"How will we find you to let you know we've cleared your name?"
His wicked little twinkle that he used to get just before he would checkmate me in our chess games sparkled like never before.
"Don't worry Perce, I'll know."
So now I head back home without my little brother but with news of him and his faith in us to make it safe for him to come back as soon as possible.
It won't be too long now. I'll be seeing him again before I get the chance to miss him, I intend to make sure of that, and until then I'll just keep the memory of my baby brother the last time I saw him fresh in my head. A tall figure in a darkened street in Bangkok, shaggy and unnaturally brown, hair obscuring most of his face and those ever-hopeful brilliant blue eyes watching me as I walked back to the Sukhumvit.