A/N: Welcome, lovies. This is a short, somewhat angsty but ultimately fluffy, oneshot I wrote a while back and recently rediscovered. It's Ron-centric and AU in regards to both the books and the characters (that is, Ron OOC-ness). I hope you enjoy. Please review!
From his place in the shadows, tucked away in a corner, Ronald Weasley watched his friends, his classmates, his enemies. He watched as they laughed and danced and moved about around him, never quite seeing him. No one ever quite saw him, not really. He was a nobody people took to feeling sorry for. Just another nameless face in the crowd of Weasleys. There was nothing special about him, not like his siblings. Bill was handsome, Charlie athletic, Percy intelligent, Fred and George clever. Even Ginny was special, being the first female Weasley born in several generations. Ron was clumsy and shy, not especially bright nor good looking.
He was no one special and that was why no one ever quite saw him. All anyone saw was red hair and freckles, tattered robes and half-decent magic.
When they passed him in the corridors they looked straight through him, as though he wasn't even there. Every time he spoke up, they looked at him in surprise, as though they hadn't realized he was there. Professors shook their head at him, for he never knew the answers. Classmates laughed at him, for he always made a fool of himself. Friends pitied him, for he never seemed to quite understand. His parents frowned at him, for they had hoped he'd show so much more potential.
He was a nobody and no one ever sees a nobody.
Around him students twirled and smiled and celebrated. Christmas holidays were drawing close and they were counting the hours. Everyone so joyous, so carefree, so oblivious to the boy who watched them with angry jealously. Ron wanted so badly to smile with them, to celebrate with them, to dance with them—but he couldn't.
They would stare at him, and whisper, point out so bluntly how he had no one, how he was alone. His friends would defend him, as they always did, tell him there was nothing wrong with being single, promising him that they'd always be there. Did they ever realize how helpless they made him feel when they shooed away the pitying spectators? Did they understand that he wasn't alone by choice, but by fate?
Curiously, he cast an azure gaze over the milling of students, wondering absently if his friends were part of the celebrating crowd, if they even noticed his absence. Probably not. Ron wasn't the type to make an impression, nor the type to be missed if he suddenly wasn't there. The empty space he'd leave would be filled in quickly, as though he had never been there to begin with. A nobody can't be missed because no one ever seems to realize that they're there.
Ronald Weasley always stood in the background, away from the limelight and the gossip. What he had to say never mattered, and what he did never counted. He had always been 'just another Weasley'—another freckle-faced redhead with nothing to show for six years of schooling save a catalogue of detentions.
Letting his gaze fall to the floor, his fingers twisting a string from his robes, Ron swallowed the feeling of displacement hitching in his throat, giving way to a surge of discomfort. He didn't belong there, standing in his corner, watching his classmates as they ignored him.
It wasn't that they purposefully ignored his existence, they weren't that cruel. It was just they didn't see him, not really. Always just a face in the crowd. Another nobody there to decorate the scenery.
Turning away from the dancing and the laughter, Ron drew a breath as he inched closer to the doors, ready to flee the gaiety and celebrating. He didn't belong there; he doubted if he ever would. They were all so confident in their talents, some more than others, always willing to show themselves off in the littlest ways.
What did he have to boast? He wasn't smart or heroic or especially athletic. He didn't have a pretty face or suave charm or decent sense of humor. He wasn't the type to save the day or win the girl. He was simply there to fill in the spaces.
Reaching to pull open the massive door, knowing his absence would go unnoticed, Ron was stopped by a delicate hand wrapping around his wrist and a soft voice asking, "You're not leaving are you?"
Tightening his grip on the handle, staring pointedly at a scar in the wood, Ron answered, "I'm not in a celebrating sort of mood. I thought I'd get a bit of fresh air."
Her fingers burned against his flesh and inwardly he prayed she would release her grip because the closeness of her, the sweet scent of her, was slowly driving him mad. "I'll come with you," she offered in that cordially decisive tone, letting him know, without saying, that her mind was made up no matter his response.
But, as was expected of him, Ron refuted her offer. "I'd actually rather be alone, if you don't mind."
"Of course I mind," she stated demurely, her words so full of concern. "You're upset, Ron. You shouldn't have to be alone."
Darting his eyes from one scar to the next, pushing away the warm sensation spreading through his body as her fingers caressed his skin, Ron asked, "What if I want to be alone?"
He knew she smiled, regardless of the fact he couldn't bring himself to look at her, because he heard the smile in her reply. "Doesn't matter because I won't let you be alone."
Ron sighed, accepting his defeat. "Fine," he breathed, wrenching open the door and thanking the gods when she dropped her hand from his wrist.
Passing through the Entrance Hall, Ron was painfully aware of how close to her he was, how desperately he wanted to be even closer. It was pitiful, really. Falling hopelessly in love with his friend, with the one person so gifted at grating every nerve in his body and erupting such vile anger from him.
They were so different, yet so frighteningly alike. She was everything he wanted to be: intelligent, witty, confident, beautiful. There was nothing she couldn't do if she put her mind to it, and she was always noticed—even when she didn't want to be. It was in her nature to capture attention. She would never be a nobody.
As they passed through the front doors, Ron holding them open to allow her to cross before him, silence enveloped them, drowning out the noise of their celebrating classmates.
The night was cold, carrying the faintest hint of a breeze, and above them the moon hung in crescent form, silver stars alighting the black palate encasing it. From beside her, Ron watched as she trembled, rubbing her arms mindlessly in the hopes of creating some kind of heat. Without uttering a word, he stripped off his dress robes, revealing the slacks and button-down shirt beneath, and draped them over her shoulders, ignoring the chill creeping up his spine.
"Thank you," she whispered, a shy smile touching her lips.
Ron shrugged, shoving his hands into his pockets as they came to stand beneath one of the aging beech trees dotting the lakeshore. "Hermione?"
Locks of mousy-brown wisped across her cheek as she turned sparkling eyes to him, her chin lifted just faintly to meet his gaze. "Yes, Ron?"
A sudden urge to brush the hair from her eyes rose within Ron and he tore his eyes from her, afraid that if he didn't, he'd loose himself forever in their depths. "Why are you here?"
"Because I want to be," she answered simply.
Looking out over the lake, Ron fought the confusion dusting his cheeks and pressed, "But why? Why would you want to be here instead of inside enjoying the Ball?"
In his mind, Ron's thoughts were pounding against his temples. He was a nobody. He was the one no one cared enough about to notice; the one who disappointed everyone because he just wasn't good enough. He would never be a great success in any of the endeavors he might one day strike out upon—he'd be fair, at best, always below average and never anything special. Perhaps he'd keep a friend or two over the years, or perhaps they'd all desert him, realizing just how pathetic he truly was. They would pity him, feel sorry for him, offer him false comfort and accept his lies when he told he was fine, all because they would never, truly see him.
He wasn't worth understanding because he so simple, so plain. He wasn't worth anything and yet she was always at his side.
A somebody caring for a nobody.
She looked at him as though the answer were as clear as day and her words, when she answered, were bluntly sweet. "You're here."
He looked at her, now. Really looked at her, and saw the truth in her eyes. There was nowhere else she would have chosen to be and Ron couldn't understand why. He wasn't worth her affection. "You should go back," he said with a trembling voice. "It's cold out here."
Smiling at him, that coy, mischievous smile he'd grown to love, she replied, "I don't feel anything."
"You're being stubborn," he argued. "It's freezing out here and you should be inside with Harry, having fun, not standing outside in the dead of winter."
"I could say the same for you," she countered easily. "Besides, how could I possibly have any fun knowing that you're out here feeling miserable?"
Shifting his feet, feeling quite uncomfortable all of a sudden, Ron replied, "I'm not feeling miserable."
With a soft roll of her eyes, she sighed. "You're a terrible liar Ron, you know that? I know you're upset about something because I watched you sulking in the corner all night. Now are you going to tell me what it is, or not?"
Fiddling with one of the buttons of his shirt, Ron shied away from her brown eyes, choosing instead to stare at a spot just beside her foot. "It's nothing," he offered meekly. "Stupid, really."
"It's not 'nothing'," she urged softly. "I can see it in your face, Ron. You're unhappy about something and it's killing me to see you like this. Tell me what's wrong. Please."
Wetting his parched lips, Ron turned his back to her, forcing himself to take one step, then another, until his shoes just barely brushed the waters edge. "I'm nobody," he admitted in a misery laced whisper.
"That's ridiculous," she argued. "How could you possibly think something so ludicrous."
"It's true," he insisted pathetically, watching as the water rippled and churned beneath the breeze. "I'm not anything. Not smart or clever or handsome. I'm good at nothing I do and I only manage to make things worse. No one ever seems to even realize I'm around unless I say something foolish or make a fool out of myself. I'm a nobody, Hermione."
He felt her touch upon his arm, and trembled beneath it, its sheer tenderness erupting flames beneath his skin. "Maybe," she whispered, brushing her fingertips over his cheek, drawing his eyes to hers, "to some people you are a nobody, and maybe I am too. You can't be a part of everyone's life Ron, and just because they don't show it doesn't mean they don't notice you. I notice you, whether you realize it or not. You're a somebody to me, Ronald Weasley."
"You don't have to say that," he said, "just to make me feel better."
"Perhaps I'll show you then," she offered, drawing his lips to hers.
It was chaste and soft, the kiss they shared—a sort of tease of things to come—and Ron searched her eyes desperately. Did she mean it? "Hermione," he spoke in delicate whisper.
She laced her fingers through his, smiling sweetly, and said, "You're my somebody, Ron."
A/N: Can you feel the warm, comfy fluffiness? I hope you enjoyed it. Now, if you don't mind please click the little "submit review" button in your lower left-hand corner and send me your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.
For those of you waiting for SSoG and SoaA updates, please be patient. I got sucked into a really good book so I haven't done any writing in days. But I promise you updates by the end of next week…hopefully.