Title: Ickle Ronniekins (Part One)
Author: Solstice Muse
Beta: lj user mjki5cr4 (Tincat here on ff dot net)
Pairing: Ron and Charlie sibling love fic
Warnings: Ten year old Ron and adult Charlie - if you don't like pre-Philospoher's Stone stories then this won't be for you.
Disclaimers: Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling and her publishers. The author of this work receives no profit from it, nor do the creators/maintainers of lj comm hpqfac or lj comm quillsforacause. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Notes/Dedications: For my sponsor lj user maplemahogany who writes the very best Ickle Ronniekins in fandom and whose LJ anniversary is today and for another sponsor lj user jocap who is feeling poorly and needs cheering up with some cute little Ronnie antics! Also for Junior Quizzical, his mum lj user mrsquizzical will see why. Hugs to all!
The twins were at it again. They were always at it. Was there nothing else they could do all summer apart from tormenting Ron?
If the constant teasing about his fear of spiders wasn't enough, Fred delighted in reading letters from his school friend Lee Jordan out loud ever since they'd started, describing his new pet tarantula in great detail; the twins were telling him horror stories about what it would be like for him when he started Hogwarts the following year.
That afternoon the twin terrors had broken into the rickety broom shed and tampered with one of Charlie's old practice bludgers so it honed in on Ron wherever he went in the yard. It had already hit him several times and Ron felt sure that his arm was broken but he didn't cry; things would only be worse for him if he cried, and he didn't tell his mum.
The twins bored of the game long before the bludger did and Ron had managed to scramble up a tree to hide from the flying ball. The hiding place was effective, he hadn't been found by the bludger since he climbed up there, but it also proved troublesome. Ron realised that there was no way he'd be able to climb back down with a broken arm and jumping would only lead to broken legs as he was quite high up.
It was like that time he got his head stuck in the banisters. It had been so easy to get his head in but when it came to pulling it out again he couldn't and started to panic. The twins had been in hysterics and Ron had almost burned to a cinder with embarrassment.
Somebody was bound to come looking for him soon. He was supposed to wash his hands and face for tea. It was a special tea. Charlie was leaving to start his apprentiship in Romania, working with dragons and all sorts of cool, brave people who didn't cry when they saw spiders or get chased by bludgers and stuck up trees.
Ron was going to miss Charlie.
Bill had grown up and left home ages ago; and he'd never really played with Ron so his leaving hadn't been upsetting at all, but Charlie was his mate. Charlie was his protector. Charlie was the one he could go to when there was a spider in his room and he wouldn't make him feel stupid or call him a cowardy custard.
Ron winced and held his aching arm to his chest as he heard the twins calling for him from the kitchen door.
"Mumsie wants you all clean for din dins you special widdle baby boy you!" Fred spoke in his baby voice and George laughed and shoved him in the shoulder.
"When I said go and get your brother I didn't mean stand at the door bellowing!" Ron heard his mother snapping while a tea towel flicked at the back of Fred's head.
The twins jumped out of reach and set off through the yard and out further into the countryside surrounding the Burrow where Ron would go to play by himself when nobody wanted to play with him.
"Bet he comes back and tells on us," George said, loudly so Ron could hear him wherever he was.
"Sitting in the broom shed crying I bet," Fred yelled at an equally loud volume.
"Ginny's braver than him and she's just a girl!" George added.
"Cowardy cowardy custard," Fred began to sing now they were well out of earshot of their mother in her kitchen, "couldn't cut the mustard!"
"If I were him I wouldn't come back Fred."
"Disgrace to the name Weasley!" Fred declared.
The sniggered to themselves before looking around them for their red faced baby brother to come charging at them, fists flying, and yelling at them to stop being so mean. Their faces fell when he didn't show up. George frowned.
"Maybe he went to the pond to see how big the tadpoles have got?"
"Yeah," Fred nodded, "we'll have a look there and if we don't find him go and look under Ginny's bed, that's where he was when his Puffskein copped it, wasn't it?"
Ron closed his eyes and shuddered at the memory of his cute yellow friend with thick red blood oozing out of his head and its little foot twitching as it made sad crying noises. Charlie had taken the sobbing Ron inside and asked Ginny to give him a big cuddle to make him feel better before going back into the yard and shouting at Fred and George.
When the twins had found Ron snivelling under Ginny's bed they had told him Charlie had finished the creature off with a beater's bat to put it out of its misery. They'd tried to make a couple of jokes before George said he was sorry and crawled under the bed with Ron and gave him a cuddle.
Fred did nothing apart from never mention how he'd made Ron cry on that occasion.
Ron wiped his eyes and sniffed. The twins ran off towards the pond and he was left up the tree with his arm hurting more and more the longer he waited.
"S'okay, tyke," a warm familiar voice called through the branches from beneath him, "just drop down from your branch, I'll catch you."
Ron wiped his eyes again and peered down to see Charlie's twinkling eyes staring back at him.
"How d'you know I was up here?" Ron sniffed.
"I'm a tracker aren't I? I can track anything, trolls, dragons, banshees, brothers!"
"Why are you hiding then?"
"There's a bludger after me," Ron sighed wearily.
"Oh," Charlie snorted, "and here I was thinking you were protesting about me going tonight."
Ron giggled again.
"I don't mind you going as long as you take me with you," he grinned.
Charlie looked sad and shook his head.
"Oh little mate, I'd love to have you be my lucky mascot but it's way too dangerous over there for a shortarse like you."
"I'm gonna be big soon!" Ron protested. "Mum said, she said I'm going to grow into my feet any day now."
Charlie rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, well, she still won't take up my trousers because she's sure I'm due one last growth spurt. We don't all get to be lanky like Bill, little nipper."
Ron looked disappointed at this news.
"But I'm going to be bigger than Fred and George, mum said."
Charlie shook his head and held out his arms again.
"Never mind that you, drop down and I'll catch you okay?"
Ron shook his head sadly.
Charlie looked offended.
"You think I'm going to drop you? When have I ever dropped by favourite little brother in all the world, tell me when?"
Ron smiled and looked away with a shrug.
"Never," he muttered.
"What was that?" Charlie cupped his hand to his ear.
"Never!" Ron shouted.
"That's right now one...two...three...drop!"
Ron scrunched up his face and tipped forward from the branch he was perched upon. He felt himself falling and then his fall broken by strong arms. He also felt the broken bone in his arm grind and he cried out in pain. Charlie swore and lowered him to the ground quickly.
"Shit, did I do that? Oh Godric Ronnie, I'm sorry!"
Ron's eyes were still tightly shut to hold in the tears and his bottom lip trembled.
"Bludger hit me."
"Oh, right," Charlie said before pulling his wand out of the special holder he had attached to his belt, "well, you're being a real man about this little'un, I'm well proud of you. Hold still and I'll stop it hurting."
Charlie tenderly extended Ron's arm, the little boy giving a stifled whimper as he did, and tapped it with his wand.
Ron bit his lip and heard the crack of his bone snapping back into place and mending magically. Charlie rubbed up and down the freckled arm and smiled.
"All better, little mate?"
"C'mon then," he got to his feet and pulled Ron up with him, holding the tiny hand and leading him back to the Burrow, "let's get you cleaned up for dinner."
"Ah!" Fred called out as he ran towards them, George puffing behind. "You found him. Where've ya been ya stupid little git?"
Fred cuffed Ron around the back of the head and Charlie gave the older twin a much heavier swipe back.
"Ow! What was that for?" Fred rubbed his head grumpily.
"You don't break your little brother's arm and then hit him and call him names, you spiteful little prat! I'll be watching you tonight and if I catch either of you acting up I'll let slip to mum how I found him!" Charlie warned.
Ron grinned and poked his little pink tongue out at the twins who flushed scarlet in the faces.
"Sorry Charlie," Fred muttered.
"Yeah, sorry Charlie, we didn't know it had really hurt him," George said with a bowed head.
"I should bloody hope so," Charlie gave them both a piercing look. "Well come on then, let's eat before mum starts crying."
Ron sat on the edge of Charlie's bed and watched him pack the last of his things. He was going to floo to the international Portkey terminal and then take a private Portkey to the camp in Romania.
He was looking forward to it; it was all he'd ever wanted since Hagrid had first shown him the photographs of his favourite dragons during a break between lessons at Hogwarts.
He knew Ronnie was going to have a rough time of it at home without him there to protect him from the twins and save him from the spiders. The closer his departure time got the quieter Ron became. He smiled at the little kid as he swung his legs back and forth over the side of his bed and sat down beside him.
"Can't I come with you just until Fred and George go back to school?" Ron looked up at him with those huge blue eyes of his.
"I wish you could, little mate, but it's far too dangerous and you're still too young," Charlie ruffled Ron's hair and the little face pouted and sighed as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
"It's 'cause I'm frightened of spiders isn't it?" he said sadly. "You're 'shamed of me."
"No way!" Charlie said as he pulled Ronnie onto his lap and gave him a big cuddle, "You climbed a tree with a broken arm and you didn't cry, you're a big boy now and I'm so proud of you."
"So lemme come for the weekend," Ron pleaded, grabbing handfuls of Charlie's jumper desperately.
"Look here titch, I'm gonna miss you too, I'll be in a place full of strangers who think I'm too young to go near the dragons and I'll have to prove myself and I won't be able to do that if you're there."
Ron wriggled off Charlie's lap and stomped across the room to the door with a huff.
"You just don't want me. You're just like the rest of them. I hate you all!"
The little tyrant slammed the bedroom door and ran for the crooked stairs up to his own room. Charlie ran his hand over his short hair and wished he could rely on Percy to look after the fragile little ego of their baby brother. Percy was a bigger target than Ron though; he'd be no help at all.
Charlie looked around his room, his childhood bedroom, and smiled sadly. When he came back it would only be as a visitor. This would stop being 'home' and become 'mum and dad's'. He looked around at all the stuff he hadn't packed, kiddie stuff, and smiled to himself.
He gathered some things from the windowsill and Apparated up to the attic room, making little Ronnie jump with fright.
"Leame 'lone!" Ron sniffed as he turned his face away, obviously ashamed of himself for crying.
"Gedout!" Ron snapped, wiping his nose on his sleeve.
Ron gave a full body huff before pouting up at Charlie and trying to scowl at him before his face melted into a softer expression of hurt.
"I don't hate you."
Charlie crouched down before Ron and handed him his battered old wand from school.
"I want to give you this. I know you can't use it, but you can feel safe because you have it, and I trust you with something as important as my very first wand, Ron."
Ron held the wand with both hands as if it were made of glass and gaped at it in awe. Charlie put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a little clay disc with a tiny handprint embedded into it.
"This is to remind you that even I was smaller than you once and I don't want you to be in any hurry to grow up because you are such a cool little kid and I want to come back to a cool little kid at Christmas okay?"
Ronnie took the disc and bit his lip as he stared at the tiny handprint.
"And this!" Charlie beamed as he pulled a huge stuffed toy dragon from behind his back. "Well, I can't take this to the Dragon reserve with me can I? They'll tease me something rotten!"
Ron chuckled as Charlie smooshed the cuddly toy into his face.
"But I don't want to leave him all alone gathering dust in my bedroom while I'm gone. I thought you could keep each other company?"
Ron launched himself at Charlie and gave him a tight cuddle.
"I don't want you to go."
Charlie held Ron's face against his chest with a gentle hand at the back of the little red head.
"I'm really gonna miss you, Ronnie. You've got to write to me every day all right? You've got to stand up to Fred and George and take care of Ginny and make sure you don't get under mum's feet. Every time you write to me I promise I'll write back straight away little fella. I swear."
"I could be quiet and I'd stay out of the way..." Ron looked up, giving his plea for freedom one last try.
"There's lots of big scaries out there Ron, you know I hate seeing you frightened. You stay here and remember what a brave lad you are, eh? You didn't cry when you hurt your arm did you? You're a big strong lad and you can look after yourself without me now."
Ron's little arms curled around Charlie's body and squeezed tightly.
Charlie kissed the top of his baby brother's head and lifted him up into the little bed in the corner, setting him and his huge toy dragon down and pulling over the covers.
"You won't even notice I'm gone Ronnie," Charlie smiled before clicking his fingers, "time'll go by like that!"
Molly had waved her son off and burst into tears on Arthur's shoulder before heading home.
"They're all starting to leave Arthur, one by one they fly the nest and Charlie's flying straight into the dragon's mouth!"
"Come now Molly," Arthur chuckled, "you've two little ones who aren't even of school age yet and you're packing and shoving them out the door already."
"Oh but Arthur dear, it will only be two more years before the house is empty for most of the year, Ronnie and Ginny off to school and me in this big house all alone all day long. What am I going to do with myself?"
"We'll think of something Molly my love," Arthur sighed, "but until then you could smother and spoil the little ones rotten until they go away."
Molly seemed happy about this and kissed her husband on the cheek before heading up to check on her sleeping children.
Well they were supposed to have been sleeping.
Percy was sitting up in bed reading quietly, begging for another five minutes to finish his chapter, and the twins were sitting bolt upright and concealing something under their pillows. Molly eyed them suspiciously before wishing them a goodnight and closing the door. She passed by Ginny's room and heard her sitting up and talking to herself, making up stories for her headless dollies. All Ginny's dollies were headless thanks to the twins.
Then she was off to check on Ronnie in the room just beneath the attic. Opening the door she saw him lying still under the covers and sighed sadly. Ronnie was going to pine for Charlie even more than she was. She crept over to her littlest boy's bed to give him a kiss goodnight and, leaning over the lump under the covers, screamed at the top of her lungs.
The whole house came to life and Molly was shaking as she pulled back the blankets to see Ronnie's bed empty but for a huge toy dragon.