the spell that cannot be broken
Summary: Five times Ron Weasley cried. rhr centric, oneshot, 31Days prompt
Disclaimer: My name isn't J.K Rowling, therefore, I don't own Harry Potter.
A/N: This is what comes of me reading the 31Days LJ community February list (the title is the prompt is for Feb. 6). I got the idea for this and had to write it and post it before I went insane. This is a bit sporadic; some of the parts in here are longer than others, but ah well. That's just the way it turned out--my muses have minds of their own. xD Read, review, and, hopefully, enjoy.
It was eleven o'clock, and Ron Weasley couldn't sleep.
He was eleven years old and it was his first night at Hogwarts; the Sorting Hat had put him in Gryffindor (thank Merlin), he had made a friend (Harry Potter), and it was the first time he'd ever been away from home without his mum or dad.
Not that, you know, he missed them or anything.
Nevertheless, he was restless and despite the fact the first years had all been warned they had a strict nine o'clock curfew, he slipped out of his dormitory, past his new roommates, and tiptoed downstairs to the dimly-lit, comfortable common room. Thankfully, nobody was there to yell at him to go back to the big, strange bed in the big, strange room he wasn't sure he'd ever grow accustomed to.
He sat down tentatively in a squashy armchair and stared pensively at the burning embers of the fire, willing the wave of homesickness to pass—he was a first year, for Godric's sake, he was grown-up enough to go away to school! He shouldn't feel this awful ache in the pit of his stomach, shouldn't be thinking, "I want my mummy!" (even though he kind of did). He settled back further in the armchair and allowed himself to sigh long-sufferingly.
Was it wrong to be so scared about all of this? For the first time in his life, he'd be able to learn to use his magic properly, and maybe he'd be good at it.
Or maybe not.
It was all about failure for Ron—the fear of it, that is. He'd long since grown accustomed to the shadow of his older brothers, the weight of living up to their greatness, to set himself apart and yet make his family proud all at once. He had secondhand robes and a used pet rat and a hand-me-down wand and part of him was terrified life here would miserable. He let his head fall to his hands; might as well get this out of his system sooner rather than later.
Harry seemed like a nice bloke, but who was to say he wouldn't change his mind about being friends with Ron? What if he decided to be mates with one of the others—Seamus, or Dean, maybe?—and left Ron all by himself?
Alone. No friends. No money. No Mum to give him a hug if he had a bad day. No Ginny to tease and play chess with. No Dad to tell jokes to.
Oh Merlin, he thought as a single tear trickled down his freckled cheek. I didn't realize I'd miss everything so fast.
"Um—I'm sorry, I was just—are you all right?"
Ron started at the voice, jumping from the chair and almost running smack into the bossy girl from the train. She was wearing a blue dressing gown and was clutching a heavy book, her face pale beneath all that bushy hair of hers.
"I'm fine," he snapped. "What are you doing here?"
"I couldn't sleep," she said quietly. "Could you?"
"Yeah, of course. I just wanted to…erm…"
"Do you miss home? I do." She peered at him shrewdly. "Are you sure you're all right? Your eyes are all red."
"Of course I'm all right," Ron told her, defensiveness creeping into his voice before he could stop it. "I've got a cold, and I was just down here trying to clear my head. I—I'm going back up to bed now!" He turned and marched towards the staircase, but the girl called after him,
"It's okay. I won't tell anybody you were crying."
Ron clenched his fists and scowled furiously, turning to glare at her before he stalked up the stairs to his dormitory.
A part of him knew she was just being kind, but Ron didn't like people knowing his weakness. I wasn't crying, he thought angrily as he settled into bed. I just miss home, that's all.
His vision blurred with more tears despite his best attempts to make them disappear, and he buried his face in his pillow. This would be a long, long night.
It had been hours since Harry had appeared on the Quidditch pitch clutching the Tri-Wizard Cup and Cedric Diggory's corpse, but Ron still hadn't stopped shaking.
It had been Mr. Diggory's anguished howl that had really got him scared, never mind the fact that the entire school was panicking and screaming despite the teacher's best efforts to calm things down. The heads of house, prefects, and head boy and girl had managed to get everyone back into the school and safely shut away in their common rooms.
Harry told them You-Know-Who was back. He told him about the graveyard, told them about the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord's revival. He told them Moody had actually been Crouch's son using Polyjuice Potion.
Then, drawn, pale, and looking quite ill, he had gone to try to sleep.
Ron and Hermione sat next to each other stiffly, both too shell-shocked to even think of moving.
"He's back," Hermione said very quietly, her voice hitching a bit.
"Back," Ron repeated blankly, clenching his fists so hard his knuckles were white. He managed to turn to her. "Are you okay?"
"No," she said promptly, her voice wavering dangerously again. Throughout the entire night, she'd remained composed and relatively calm, but Ron could see the beginnings of terror in her dark eyes and when a tear trickled down her cheek, he swallowed to fight back the lump in his own throat.
"Yeah, me either," he managed hoarsely.
"Oh, Ron," she whispered, and let her head fall to his shoulder. He tentatively put an arm around her shoulders in what he hoped was a comforting fashion and stared straight ahead, trying to stop his face from crumpling.
"I'm scared, Hermione," he told her quietly, trying to stop his own voice from breaking. "He killed so many people, and this just means…it means nothing, nobody, is going to be safe, not for a long time. Maybe not ever again." Her head jerked up, and she met his eyes.
"Ron," she said softly, "it's okay to be scared. I am too; we all are."
"I just don't know what I'll do," he continued on, "if I lose you or Harry. I don't know what I'll do if my family…if my family…if Ginny…" It was too much. All the fear. All the horror stories his parents had told him. Harry's near brushes with death. Hermione's heritage. What might happen to them all…
He didn't realize he was crying until Hermione put her arms around him and he had let his head fall to her shoulder, couldn't even feel the tears on his cheeks until she had her head rested on top of his, and he could feel her shaking with strangled sobs.
They sat there like that for a while, crying together, and this time, Ron didn't mind feeling weak.
His dad almost died.
His dad got attacked by You-Know-Who's snake and almost died.
His dad was in the hospital because he almost died.
Ron still couldn't process it, and it had been days.
He'd been so glad that Dad hadn't died, that he'd managed to survive, that Harry had had that vision and warned the right people in time, that he really had had much time to waste crying. He'd only been numb when they'd first heard the news, and then there had been no time for tears.
It bothered him that he still felt like this. After all, it was almost Christmas, Harry had been convinced that he wasn't being possessed, and Hermione was visiting, but Ron was more scared of You-Know-Who's destruction now than he ever had been.
He was sitting in the room he and Harry shared at Grimmauld Place when Hermione knocked and slipped inside. Harry was downstairs playing Gobstones with Ginny and the twins, and Merlin only knew what everyone else was up to.
"How are you?" she asked, sitting down next to him on the bed. "You've been awfully quiet these past few days."
"Still a bit out of it," Ron admitted quietly. "I just—he almost…died, you know?"
"I know." She nudged his shoulder. "But he's alive isn't he?"
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean something like this won't ever happen again," Ron told her, staring down at his feet. "It got to me, that's all."
"Of course it got to you, Ron." Hermione sighed and put a comforting hand on his arm. "Look, please don't be upset like this. C'mon, we can play a game of chess! Beating me always makes you feel better."
Ron cracked a wan grin, but still didn't meet her eyes.
"Hey, not a bad idea. Wanna play up here?"
"Sure!" She stood, smoothing out her skirt. "I'll go get it—be right back—"
As soon as he was sure she was gone, he hastily drew the back of his hand across his eyes and sniffed audibly.
Ron had never been to a funeral before, but there's a first time for everything.
There was white marble and important people speaking about Dumbledore's career and Hermione had tears running down her cheeks and everything seemed to blur past.
It occurred to Ron vaguely that the greatest wizard in the world was dead, gone. Forever.
Essentially, Ron concluded, they were all bloody screwed.
The funeral finished, Harry stalked off after Ginny, people were crying and he saw Seamus with his arm around a teary Lavender out of the corner of his eye.
"Ron?" a wobbly voice asked from his right. He turned, and there was Hermione, her dark hair curling around her tear-stained face.
"Come here," he said, and opened his arms to draw her to him. She sobbed into his shoulder and he stroked her hair, because what else could he do?
It would be stupid to whisper to her that it was all going to be all right, that he would protect her. They both knew it was a promise he couldn't keep.
He loved her, he realized fiercely as she clung to him. He loved her, and he was scared she'd never know it. Dumbledore was gone, gone forever, and now it felt like the war was that much graver. That the one man who might've saved them all had been snatched from the world in their hour of need…
It felt like a death sentence.
And so as Hermione sobbed, Ron cried too, tears running down his nose, spilling into her dark hair. They cried for Dumbledore, they cried for Harry, for each other, for the world.
He cried for this moment, for this summer day, and for each hitched breath he drew.
He cried for life.
The train was still far from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, and Ron and Hermione were on prefect duty. It seemed stupid to have to patrol around and "keep things in order," but at least it kept them busy, away from Harry and Ginny who had suddenly started having a huge, full-blown row in an abandoned compartment. Something about Ginny 'not giving up that easy,' whatever that meant.
He and Hermione paused in one of the deserted corridors, and for a moment they stood there in silence, leaning against a wall. The tension was palpable; after their tears at the funeral and their pact to follow Harry wherever he went, they were both solemn and reserved, lost in thought.
Ron had been reflecting for about two hours now on the stupidity of the past year, the things he did wrong, what he should've done. What he might not have if he didn't do something. Abruptly, something in him snapped. Here he was, standing next to the girl he wanted to marry—he was right next to her—and he hadn't even kissed her or said he was sorry for hurting her or told her how he felt.
Well, death was on the wind, and if this was one of the last chances he was being given, he sure as hell was gonna take it.
"Hey, Hermione?" he said casually.
"Yes?" she asked, meeting his gaze.
"I'm sorry about Lavender," he blurted out. She blinked at him.
"Look, we both know why I went out with her," he said, "and I was stupid and I'm sorry, I never should have done it or treated you the way I did. I was just…I was just scared out of my mind about you, and I know it's no excuse but, well…yeah." There was a long silence, and then Hermione finally managed,
"Well, that was a bit out of the blue."
"I've made mistakes," Ron explained. "I mean, of course I've made mistakes, but I've made too many huge ones over you. I know I was a prat—worse than a prat—and Hermione, I've wasted too much time."
"What do you mean, Ron?"
"You know what I mean."
"No," she said in a steely sort of tone, "I want it spelled out. I'm sick of trying to guess what you mean, how you actually feel. So humor me here, all right?"
"Fair enough," Ron agreed, and then he leaned down and drew her to him.
"What are you doing?" she cried as he brushed a stray curl from her face. "Ron…?"
"I want to be perfectly clear," he murmured, leaning down so they were mere centimeters apart. "I don't want to screw things over this time."
"I—"She stared up at him, eyes wide, her cheeks bright red, and nervously stumbled backwards. He steadied her, wrapped an arm around her waist. "I'm not sure if—if—"
"Don't be scared," he murmured, resting his forehead against hers. "It's just love."
And then he closed the gap between them and kissed her. She responded tentatively, leaning into him, her hands sliding up his shoulders, all the way to the nape of his neck, fingers curled into his hair.
It was brief, it was beautiful, it was wonderful, and most especially, it was terrifying.
Because they'd had this inside them all along, this pure, strange, impossibly fierce thing, and when they drew apart, heads ducked, gasping from the power of it all, Hermione whispered, her voice choked,
"I love you."
They were the three most beautiful words Ron had ever heard, and it filled him with a strength, a will, something he'd never felt before. The fear wasn't gone; he was still terrified of the thought of marching off to what was shaping up to be an un-winnable war. The difference now was that he understood why he was doing it better than he ever had.
He was going to fight because he loved Hermione and peace and goodness. He was doing it because Harry Potter was as good as his brother, because he wanted his parents to live to see their grandchildren, because in the end, Ron Weasley always did the right thing.
This is bravery, he thought. This is growing-up.
"I love you, too," he told Hermione, and it was the most honest, right thing he'd ever said. They beamed at each other, and she tightened her arms around his shoulders and their foreheads rested against each other again. Ron couldn't ever remember being this happy, feeling this powerful, and for once, he understood what everyone was banging on about.
If this innocent love could instill such courage and strength in him, Ron thought, then perhaps they had a bit of hope left. After all, it wasn't his soul that was split into seven pieces.
Ron had cried for lots of reasons—pain, anger, hurt, frustration, sadness—but he'd never cried for joy. Frankly it had always sounded stupid to him; if you're happy, why waste time on tears?
To his surprise, the fresh tears on his face came easily, freely, and he didn't mind them at all—they brought no pain.
"Ron? What's wrong?" Hermione asked in a soft, surprised voice. Her fingers traced his cheek, and she peered up at him in concern.
"It's just that I'm happy is all," he managed, smiling widely at her. Her eyes lit up understandingly, and she pressed her lips to his cheek, murmuring against his ear,
"It's too big for words, isn't it?"
"Far too big," he agreed quietly. "But maybe that's the point."
As he took her hands in his and leaned down to kiss her again, the tears drying on his face and the hope in him stronger than perhaps it ever had been, Ron knew it beyond a doubt.
He may have immortality, a group of loyal followers, horrible dark magic, and evil on his side, but You-Know-Who—no…no, Voldemort—didn't stand a chance against this.