He Must've Known You'd Always Come Back
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of his mates. If so, the series would never have ended.
"Go home then."
It was at that moment that I realized it…I no longer knew my best friend. His emerald eyes were glittering dangerously, and his mouth was set in an angry line. If this had happened at any other time, the sight of him would have dragged me back into my senses. As it was, it now only fueled the furious fire inside my chest.
"Yeah, maybe I will!" I shouted, taking a few steps toward him. I had about a head on him and probably a few pounds, but he didn't back away; he merely stood there, arms crossed, and took the assault. "Didn't you hear what they said about my sister? What about the rest of my family, 'the Weasleys don't need another kid injured,' did you hear that?"
"Not bothered what it meant, though?"
It's quite likely that I didn't have the slightest bloody idea what I was saying. After all, if anyone cared about Ginny more than her family, it was Harry. No doubt about that one. But my brain had shut down, disconnected from my mouth, which took on a mind of its own. I didn't even feel ashamed when I saw the shock flit across Harry's face.
"Ron!" Hermione was there, forcing her way between us, speaking for the first time in what seemed like forever. My heart softened for the slightest of moments as I took in her stricken face, then hardened into ice as she continued. "I don't think it means anything new has happened, anything we don't know about; think, Ron. Bill's already scarred, plenty of people know must have seen that George has lost an ear by now, and you're supposed to be on your deathbed with spattergroit, I'm sure that's all he meant…"
"Oh, you're sure, are you? Right then, well, I won't bother myself about them," if I had paid the smallest bit of attention to what she was saying, maybe I would have heard the fear…and also, the hope…in her voice. Maybe I could have accepted her reassurance. But unfortunately, all I could hear were blind attempts at excuses. "It's all right for you two, isn't it, with your parents safely out of the way..."
Hermione gave an almost inaudible gasp and her eyes misted over. I felt my teeth close onto my tongue. Here she was, struggling with the knowledge that her parents didn't have the tiniest idea who she was, that she even existed…and in wiping their memories, she had brought my family closer, as the only ones she had left. Didn't I realize that the thought of them in danger hurt her almost as badly as it did me?
"My parents are dead!" Harry shouted, looking angrier and more horrible than I'd ever seen him. He had every right to be, of course…but once again, I took all leave of my natural senses as I bellowed back, "And mine could be going the same way!"
"Then GO! Go back to them so Mummy'll be able to feed you up and…" furious, I made a sudden movement, not sure what I was going to do once I'd reached him…
I heard Hermione's voice, but the blood boiling in my ears prevented me from hearing what she said; however, the next moment a huge invisible shield erected itself between me and Harry. I took a step back, glaring at him, and he did the same. Tension crackled in the air like electricity, and all I could feel was hate. No shame, no guilt, no remorse. Hate. At Harry, my best friend since our first year.
"Leave the Horcrux," he spat. His tone of voice plainly suggested that he wanted nothing more than for me to leave, that he was giving me heartfelt permission to abandon them, after all the preparation we'd had for this so-called adventure…all he wanted or needed was the damn locket. He cared for nothing else.
As for me? Ha! I couldn't wait to be rid of the bloody thing, and almost removed my neck along with the chain as I wrenched it off and slung it into the nearest chair. All I wanted was to leave, to get back home and check on my family, and to forget I ever knew anything of the Boy Who Lived…
"What are you doing?" I shot at Hermione, not even fully aware why I sounded so bitter. She, after all, had done nothing…nothing, except cause me to worry at least twenty three and a half hours out of every day.
"What do you mean?" her eyes were as wide as Galleons, pleading with me not to throw onto her what she knew was coming…
"Are you staying, or what?"
"I…" she paused, looking thoroughly torn. At any other point in the past four years, I'd have been quite delighted at the fact that she cared enough to get upset at my departure. Now, however, I would only be happy with one answer…
"Yes…yes, I'm staying." And that wasn't it. "Ron, we said we'd go with Harry, we said we'd help…" and at that point, I didn't hear the anguish or heartbreak in her voice, or see the begging in her gorgeous chocolate eyes. All I heard was her choice. And…surprise…it wasn't me.
"I get it. You choose him."
With the truthfulness of my words ringing in my ears, I spun around and stormed off into the rainy night, not even deterred by her desperate cry of, "Ron, no! Please! Come back!" but even with all that, she didn't come after me…why didn't she run after me? Did the last few months mean nothing to her, as they'd meant so very much to me? Her heartbroken face swam before my eyes, and I picked up the pace, running as hard as I could through the still forest.
Once I'd slowed down, nursing the stitch in my side, I once again felt anger surge through my body. Whether it was at them, or myself, I wasn't quite sure. "But it's true," I muttered aloud, clenching my fists so hard my knuckles turned white. My family could be in serious danger…hell, they were certainly in serious danger, we all were. Didn't either of them realize this? Didn't they give a damn? And almost instantly, the memory of Hermione's hand gripping my arm as we'd both collapsed onto the shabby old couch at Grimmauld Place flooded into my brain, and her voice echoed in my ears, "They're all right!" she'd been just as scared as I had been…
I shook the ghost of her voice out of my head, and paced. There was nothing left for it; after that pathetic bit of pigheadedness, there was no way I could just march back into the tent and announce I'd changed my mind. Especially when neither of them had come after me…
As if someone else were controlling my actions, I stopped dead in my tracks and focused all my energy on a spot of forest a few miles from my house. If it was over, if I'd blown my chance at helping my best friend, then perhaps home was the only answer.
My heart was currently lodged in my throat, and for a moment I was incapable of breathing…but then as I stepped into the horrible feeling of compression and blackness, I heard it.
"Ron! Ron, please come back! I'm sorry…I'm so sorry! Please!" her calls were racked with sobs, and her gasping breaths sounded as though she'd been running for hours, although it couldn't have been more than a few minutes.
"Hermione?" but my voice was lost as the darkness swooped over me, slamming my lungs against my ribcage...
When I once again burst forth into fresh, cold air, she was gone…miles away, impossible for me to protect.