LbN: So, as I was perusing the profiles on , I came across a lot of Ron bashing. Now, I'm not a crazy Ron fangirl (though Rupert Grint does happen to equal YUM), but it troubles me that so many people just think he's some buffoon. So here's my defense of the youngest Weasley male...

In Defense of Ron

Ron threw his rucksack on the bed and sat down. He was tired, hungry, and dirty; but right now "tired" was winning out. He didn't get undressed, he didn't even take his shoes off; he simply fell back where he sat, and slept.

When he woke up, quite a bit later according to the sky, Bill was sitting at the end of the bed. Ron was struck by how bad an idea this had been; going to any of his family after leaving Harry. He had thought, though, that Bill wouldn't go on too much about it; now he wasn't so sure.

"So that's it?" Bill asked, "Whatever was so important that you three had to scram and couldn't tell us; all over, just like that?"

"It's complicated," Ron muttered. He hated himself too much to verbalize right now.

"Then explain it," Bill said sternly, "Look, I get that your…mission, or whatever, is hard. And that you're all just kids. But I just can believe that you would walk out on Harry and Hermione like this."

The disappointment in Bill's voice did it, and Ron's temper broke. He wasn't at all mad at his brother; he was just pissed at himself and didn't know what to do about it.

"They don't need me!" he yelled, then lowering his voice, but still quite angry, he said, "The Boy Who Lived and Hogwarts's smartest witch ever? You think I need to be there? Really Bill, what would they need me for? To get in the way, or for them to rescue me? I've never done anything compared to them! I'll never understand why Dumbledore picked me over Harry for Prefect two years ago. Sure, Harry's broken some rules, but it was always to save lives. They're better off without me…"

He trailed off, looking at his shoes. Bill stood up and came closer to him; and for one wild moment, Ron thought his eldest brother was going to hit him. But he didn't. Instead, he pulled Ron into a strong hug, looked straight at him, and said,

"Tell me, how many wizards your age do you know who are like Harry."

"What?"

"How many first years could have planned out saving the Sorcerer's Stone? Not many. How many second years could have fought a bloody Basilisk in some random Hogwarts dungeon? How many third years could have taken on hundreds of Dementors? Harry is unique; and you have to understand that. Being his best friend, you've sort of been eclipsed in his prodigious skill this whole time; and, from what I've seen, you've never really had a chance to excel at anything. That's why Dumbledore gave you the badge two years ago; so you'd know that you were a good wizard and student, even though Harry was the one getting all the attention. And you, Ronald Weasley, are quite brave. Do you know how hard it is to always take the backseat to someone else? You've always been overshadowed; even at home. But when you got to Hogwarts, you let Harry shine, and only complained about it once, if I remember correctly."

"It wasn't like it was a choice," Ron argued, "How brave is it to just keep doing what you've been doing?"

"Very, in this case," Bill smiled, "You could have left him a long time ago."

"But that still doesn't make up for the fact that I'm an idiot," Ron told him, "Seven O.W.Ls, none Outstanding. How much more mediocre can you get?"

"Fred and George got three O.W.Ls apiece!" Bill laughed, "And you've seen where they are now! Just because you haven't found what you want to do with your life, doesn't mean you're an idiot. Again, lots of students are just like you. You just happened to pick two friends that are out of the ordinary in that regard. Think about this, imagine, for a moment, that the tables were turned and Hermione had come from a wizarding family, and you were from a Muggle family. I'm willing to bet that she wouldn't have the know-it-all reputation that she has now."

Bill laughed again as Ron looked at him with the full force of regal skepticism.

"Really!" Bill grinned, "She got her letter and didn't know anything about Hogwarts. There was no one she could talk to, so she went into books. And she kept that up because she wanted to prove herself, just like you and Harry did. After she had done that, she knew that her book knowledge helped the pair of you in the craziness you got into."

Bill stood up and walked to the door. He paused before he left the room.

"Look," he said, "Harry and Hermione both thrive under pressure. You're no less of a wizard just because you don't. And while they are the two doing the visible work, you're the one who keeps them together. They need you to be there so that they don't go crazy."

"I want to go back," Ron whispered.

"I knew you would. Come and grab something to eat, then you can go."

LbN: Hope you liked it! Reviews Rock!!