A/N written for B00's birthday today and can be read as a prequel to my fic Parenthood.
Hermione reckoned that helping other people recover their confidence might help Ron with his own. He couldn't do a hell of a lot but there was one thing he could think of for one person at least.
"Is fine day today," Krum said as he looked out the window at the cloudless sky.
"Yeah, it is," Ron nodded, "so I thought we'd go outside today. What d'ya think?"
"I think is good idea."
"See," Ron smiled, "I do have them from time to time.
Krum laughed in that way that made him sound like a bear choking on a gorilla and they strode along the peaceful corridors of St Mungo's towards the open courtyard in the centre of the building.
Ron and Krum were arm in arm and swaying from time to time. The nerves would take over if they lost contact with each other so they always went everywhere like that and shrugged off what they must look like to visitors to the hospital. It must have been a sight, Ron pondered; the great burly Quidditch celebrity and the thin, lanky hanger on to the stars ambling around together like an old married couple. It didn't help that Krum leaned heavily on a walking stick so as not to pull Ron's skinny self down with the weight of his bulk.
He had wanted to help, to be of use, and with Krum Ron had found somebody to be of use to.
The spring breeze blew through the open door to the hospital gardens and courtyard and Ron braced himself while Krum arranged his legs so he could turn the corner and start off outside.
"Sunny eh?" Ron smiled as he closed his eyes and lifted his face towards the sun, letting its warmth bathe his skin like a solar shower.
"Not like this country to be so fair," Krum said, sounding about as impressed as he could manage.
Ron laughed and elbowed him in the ribs.
"Find an empty bench and let's sit you down smartarse."
Krum's chest rumbled with low laughter and soon they were sitting upon the memorial bench for Cornelius Fudge. Ron preferred Madam Pomfrey's memorial bench, he always swore that Fudge's gave him splinters, but it was more convenient for what he had in mind today so he stayed put without complaint.
"There are few people in gardens today." Krum observed, "I like it when things are quiet here."
"Just us y'mean?" Ron turned his head towards Krum and frowned.
"I like just two of us but I like when nobody watches and whispers too."
Ron smiled and nodded.
"Yeah, the whisperers always bug me too."
They sat for a while in silence before light footsteps caught their attention and a little girl was panting and meekly asking Krum for his autograph. The Bulgarian signed politely and the young fan trotted back to her mother quite happily.
"Sorry about that," Krum muttered.
"Don't be daft," Ron chuckled, "I still have your autograph too y'know?"
"You do?" Krum said, sounding greatly amused, "I have nothing of you. Maybe you sign my false leg?"
Krum knocked on the smooth wooden shin and Ron shoved him and gave a tut.
"I don't think they'll like that mate, didn't you say it was only on loan until you get the big fancy expensive one shipped in from Germany?"
"Is being made to fit perfectly. They say I will walk without stick when I have it. I look forward."
"Yeah," Ron said, voice trailing off slightly before he cleared his throat, "you'll be walking without me soon as well eh?"
Krum turned on the bench to face Ron and his voice was steady and sincere.
"I not walk with you because you hold me up. You are more than crutch to me."
Ron snorted and tried to fight back the laugh before it just burst out of him in a flood of out of control giggling.
"I say crutch...is right isn't it? Crutch to lean on?" Krum said, getting as flustered as a man like him ever did.
"Yeah, you're using it right," Ron struggled through the guffaws, "I'm just being childish, pay no attention to me, I'll be okay in a minute!"
"Tell me why you laugh," Krum began to sound amused, "Ron please, tell me why crutch funny?"
"Stop saying crutch!" Ron yelped out squeakily as he clutched his sides and fall back against the bench, weak with giggles.
"But it amuses you," Krum was chuckling, "and it amuses me to see you laugh so hard."
"Is everything alright gentlemen?" a young Healer approached and checked that they were both well.
"F-Fine," Ron nodded and wiped his leaking eyes, regaining some control over himself again, "sorry if we're being too loud."
"Laughter can never be too loud Mr Weasley." The Healer said before leaning over and picking something up from behind the bench, "Oh, is this yours?"
Krum's body stiffened beside Ron and the last of their mirth subsided. Ron knew what the problem was and he silently thanked Harry for leaving the Cleansweep exactly where he said he would.
"Yeah, it's mine. I was going to give it a service while I was out here." Ron took the broom from the Healer and tried not to blush at the glare he knew Krum must have been giving him. "Brooms aren't made to lay idle for months on end are they? You may as well just use it for firewood if you don't want to keep it looked after."
"Well the courtyard's empty," the Healer said kindly, "if it's just a matter of taking it up for a hover then feel free but there's obviously going to have to be some supervision if Mr Kru-"
"We supervise each other!" Krum interrupted abruptly, "There no need to stay."
The Healer patted Ron on the arm and left without another word. Ron arched an eyebrow and turned his face towards Krum with a smirk.
"So you're getting on then are you?" he teased.
"I not say that."
"I think you did." Ron nodded and broke into a grin.
"You said we didn't need supervision because we have each other. I want my broom taken for a hover and you just offered didn't you?"
"Why your broom happen to be out here anyway?" Krum demanded angrily.
"Because I haven't ridden it since I came here and it's getting depressed stuck in the broom cupboard day in day out." Ron ran his hand down the broom handle lovingly.
"Brooms don't get depressed." Krum grunted.
"Mine does," Ron mumbled.
"Ron, this is unfair," Krum was practically pouting now, "you know I don't fly on broom since I fall and lose leg during war."
"But you have a replacement leg now and you can fly, as a favour to me, you can fly."
"Is not same, false leg is not same as leg!" Krum barked as he grunted and got to his feet.
Ron remained on the bench and set his Cleansweep on his lap with a sigh.
"Moody has a false leg, and eye, and he rides a broom."
"Get Moody to fly for you then," Krum huffed before banging his way out of the courtyard with his walking stick.
Ron slumped back in his seat despondently and stroked his hand up and down the contours of the brook once again. Not a twig was out of place since the last time. He lifted it up to his face and sniffed. It still smelled of the linseed oil he'd treated it with when Harry brought it by the last time.
"I'll get him to do it girl," he whispered to his broom, "I'll get Viktor bloody Krum riding my cheap little broom if it kills me."
"What if me riding broom does kill you?" Krum spoke up, making Ron jump and turn toward the deep voice.
"I ride broom with you, supervised ride for few seconds, and because I can't fly properly you fall? We both fall and die?"
"We might fall yeah," Ron conceded, "but we'd only be hovering. We'd be all of what, three feet off the ground? Whoever heard of dying falling three feet onto grass?"
"Same person who heard of falling twenty feet into mouth of dragon and having leg bitten off," Krum said, emotionlessly.
"Probably the same person who got blinded by his own shield charm," Ron shrugged, sightless eyes blinking back at Krum, "managed to repel the bloody curse though didn't I?"
"You did," Krum responded.
"And I get you around the place without knocking you over."
"You do. I get around without walking you into wall."
"And don't think that's not appreciated." Ron smiled, "But right now Viktor I want to hover three feet off the ground on my broom and I'm not allowed to do it on my own because blind people can't fly unsupervised. Now are you gonna sit on this thing with me for thirty seconds or do I have to wait for Harry to come and do it?"
"What wrong with Harry doing it?" Krum asked, moving closer.
"He's too little. How's somebody built like him supposed to supervise somebody like me? Fred and George could do it but...y'know? That involves me trusting Fred and George!"
Krum sighed deeply while Ron laughed to himself.
"Alright," the anxious Bulgarian said eventually, "I hold you, we fly broom...thirty seconds."
"Thirty seconds." Ron smiled.