A/N: I am working on updates to my other fics, but life is still rearing its ugly head in that regard. I hope to have something up (and then some) this month. In the meantime, enjoy this little plot bunny of mine inspired by one of madscientist's stories. If you don't like Ron Weasley, then this is the snippet for you. Ignore HBP and DH.
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He ran into the black night, never once looking back or trying to gain his bearings. After he had seen his master fall, he knew that the end would come soon. He kept running through the thickets of the forest, making certain to cover his tracks as best as he could. A noise above the clearing in front of him caused him to stop and hang back near a large oak tree. He glanced up in the sky, and spotted three or four broomsticks zooming by overhead. No doubt, they were looking for straggling Death Eaters like him. Something had happened after the final battle that had caused anti-apparition wards to come up over the entirety of the Forbidden Forest, some long held defense mechanism that seemed to have been forgotten. He knew that just beyond this clearing he would be outside those wards, or at least he hoped, and then he would be home free to get to one of the remaining safe houses.
He waited back for the broomsticks to fly off to the north, tracing the edge of the wards in a typical search pattern. When they were a safe distance away, he dashed out of the thicket and towards the clearing, heading for a large ridge about five hundred meters in the distance. He ran as fast as his tired legs could carry him, and made a mad dive under the ridge when he heard the broomsticks coming back for a second fly by. He hid under the rocky outcropping and held his breath. After five minutes, when no one was present, he risked a quick glance skyward, and saw no one. Letting out his breath, he stepped out into the open. He pulled out a small medallion out of his pocket, and smiled when he saw no glow coming from it, indicating that he had indeed left the anti-apparition wards behind. With a quick turn and a loud pop, the man was gone.
He reappeared in the glowing firelight of a small cave off the shores of the sea. The man pulled out his wand to take stock of the situation, and noticed that only two or three people were present. "Put that away," another man said, as he slowly stroked the firelight. The other man pocketed his wand and lifted up his hood, revealing darkened blue eyes and a scarred face. His ginger red hair was covered in dirt and sweat, causing it to be matted down to his head. Spitting out a small drop of blood coming from a cut in his mouth, Ron Weasley slowly walked towards the fireplace.
"Is this all that's shown up?" Ron asked, taking a seat near a small pot of stew that was boiling on a separate fire. The other man, whom Ron did not know the name of, nodded his head. Ron looked around and saw the scene. The man at the fire was the only other conscious person there, as the other three individuals were either asleep or unconscious. Of those he only recognized Theodore Nott Jr, his left arm missing and heavily bandaged, with his breathing extremely labored. If Ron had to guess, he wouldn't last the night.
"There'll be more," Ron said with vigor, more trying to convince himself than the man stoking the fire. "My whole group got away after the final battle…they'll show up."
"I see," the man said, not really looking up at Ron. He continued to poke at the fire, his face concealed by his hood. What Ron could see of his face was just an outline of his chin and nose protruding into the illuminated firelight. Ron thought nothing more of it, and simply started eating the stew. It wasn't much, but it was the best he could hope for at the moment.
They sat in silence like that for a good long while, neither one speaking. Occasionally Nott would cough violently, or seemingly moan in pain. The other two men made no movements at all, and it took Ron a moment to realize that they were, in fact, dead. After finishing his third bowl of stew, Ron stood up and walked over to Nott, while he noticed out of the corner of his eye the man stand up and grab a canteen from his pack behind him. Ron looked over Nott, and tried to see if there was anything he could do. He was bollocks with healing spells and obviously with no potions here…
"I can't move him," the man said, breaking Ron's concentration, "I am hoping he'll last the night until I can go out and look for some hyperion root…that will help fight the infection." Ron nodded, still looking at Nott for a moment, before moving back to the fire. He sat down across from the man, and, having nothing else better to do, began stoking the fire in time with the old Death Eater.
They sat in silence again for twenty minutes, no sounds from either one or from Nott disturbing the crackling peace of the campfire. Ron was nearly half-asleep, when the other man spoke. "Do you ever wonder how you wound up in this position," he asked, startling Ron awake.
"Huh…what…" Ron blearily asked, rubbing his eyes.
"Why did you join the Death Eaters," the man asked again, this time beginning to smoke on a small pipe.
Ron thought about it for a moment, unsure of how to answer the question. Finally, he spoke with clarity and more than a hint of bitterness in his voice. "It was Potter," he said venomously, "I got tired of living in his shadow. I got tired of always being known as 'Ron Weasley, Harry Potter's dimwitted friend.'"
"Is that the only reason," the man asked again, a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
"No," Ron said, clarifying himself. "It was to restore order to things. Potter never should have gotten the recognition that he did. He never did anything special by himself! He only managed to survive this long because he had me backing him up the whole time. I'm the pureblood wizard! It should be me with all the accolades, fame and money!"
"So you joined the Death Eaters to destroy Potter, is that it?"
Ron was silent for a moment more, before shaking his head. "No," he said quietly. "I joined the Death Eaters because I had no choice."
"Your family," the man asked again, staring off to the entrance of the cave, making sure no one else had entered.
"Not that," Ron replied, shaking his head and taking a drink of water from a glass nearby. "I was going to solve my problems by myself, but Potter and his Mudblood Whore had to go and ruin all of that!"
"And what was your master plan," the man asked, seemingly more to carry on the conversation rather than out of actual interest to the reason.
"Well see, there was this girl at Hogwarts, by the name of Hermione Granger. Uppity Mudblood Bitch, but she should have been mine! I would have taken her and made her into a decent housewife at least…Merlin knows nobody else wanted her. She would learn her place and be by my side as a sort of trophy wife. No, mind you, she wasn't much to look at, but she would be mine, and finally I'd have something that Potter wouldn't."
"But the bitch wouldn't cooperate! I asked her out on a date and she said no! She said she was dating Harry when I asked! The nerve of that half-blood mongrel taking something from a pureblood like me, especially when I had already marked my territory!"
There was a brief moment of silence, while the man took a couple of deep breaths, clenching and unclenching his fist. Ron didn't notice however, he was too enveloped in getting another bowl of stew. When he sat down again, the man asked, "So what did you do about it?"
"Well, I knew about this love potion, stuff called Amortentia right? My mum told me all about it. Problem was I couldn't make it myself…bloody hard to make it was and Snape was out of the question. So I went to my brothers, Fred and George, and asked them. They flat out refused. Luckily I didn't tell them what it was for. Then I went and asked mum. Again, she refused. I knew I needed it, so I did the only thing I could do. I…persuaded…mum to make it for me."
"And how did you do that?" the man asked.
"I used the Imperious Curse on her," Ron said, with a smile on his face as if he were proud of himself.
The man sat unflinching. "And I suppose it worked?"
"At first it did," Ron continued, "But then she started fighting against it. Probably because she was still in love with Potter, stupid bastard. So I needed some to give to Potter to try and get him away from Hermione. Unfortunately I needed a target."
"Who did you use?" the man asked, hiding his face further as his voice cracked slightly.
"I used my sister Ginny," Ron said again, still digging into the stew. "I had to use the Imperious on her to break up with Dean Thomas, but once I did it didn't take much for me to get Potter and her together. We were going to be one Big Happy Weasley Family, and I'd have access to Potter's money and an easy lay who would do all my work for me! There was no way I could lose…"
"Until…" the man said again, his voice slightly lower in octave.
"Until Dumbledore died. Then something happened at his funeral that broke the spell of the Amortentia. When I tried to reapply it, I was careless I admit, they caught me and forced me to tell the story. Fortunately I got away. It was then that I joined up with the Death Eaters, waiting for them to appear so I could kill Potter."
"But Potter lives," the man replied, still trying to hide the inflection in his voice, "And from what I hear is engaged to be married."
"Just you wait," Ron replied, confident in himself. "Soon as all this blows over I'll kidnap Hermione and use a love potion on her again. Then we'll move to America or something and Potter will spend the rest of his days alone…" Ron smiled as he made his plans in his head, before setting aside the now empty bowl. "So," he asked now, "How about you?"
"Why did you join the Death Eaters?"
The man stood up a little taller than normal, and Ron unfortunately kept staring into the fire, or else he would have noticed the blazing green eyes behind the hood. "I didn't," the man clearly intoned. Ron started to disagree, before he recognized the voice. Fumbling for his wand, he instantly found himself falling over, clutching his stomach in pain.
"Your stomach was always your weakness Ron," the man said, throwing back the hood of his robe to reveal the scarred and angry face of Harry Potter. "Should have known it would get you in trouble in the end."
"POTTER!" Ron screamed, ignoring the pain and lunging at Harry. Harry dodged out of the way and Ron smacked head first into the cave wall. He looked to Nott, but found that he had already perished. Ron tried to attack Potter again, but the pain in his gut became too much and he doubled over in pain, sweat beading on his forehead. "What are you doing to me?!"
"What you deserve," Harry said nonchalantly as he took the rest of the stew and tossed it out into the rain. "Personally I think we should have fed you to Fluffy…but Hermione thought this was more appropriate."
"The bitch!" Ron screamed again, only to moan in agony when Harry kicked him in the gut. Ron glanced up, tears in his eyes, and saw Harry pointing a wand in his face.
"I wanted to know why you did it," Harry said plainly. "I wanted to believe that there was another reason besides jealousy and bitterness, that there was some better reason for why you did what you did. But I was wrong in that."
"Fuck off Potter!" Ron screamed, the pain in his gut beginning to lesson. Ron still played it up though, eager to lull Harry into a false sense of security. "You had everything! Riches! Fame! Girls!"
"You think that's everything?" Harry coldly asked. "You had a wealth beyond measure Ron. You had a family that loved and cared for you. So what if you got hand-me down clothes because that was all your family could afford. I got hand-me down clothes because my family couldn't let me run around in a potato sack! When you were scared, you had someone to turn to for comfort, someone who would tell you it would be alright. What did I have? I got a slap across the face and shoved into a broom closet for three days with no food or water. Everything you had made me jealous Ron. You were the wealthy one, not me. I would trade every single knut I have to my name for just one day with my parents. And you squandered everything you had and for what? Bitterness and jealousy."
"You stole Hermione from me," Ron screamed back, still playing up his injuries.
"You still don't get it do you?" Harry asked, somewhat mused, "Hermione isn't some hunk of meat that you can claim. She is a beautiful, smart, wonderful human being, and she wouldn't lower herself to the likes of you. Frankly I'm surprised she lowers herself to be with me, but I'll take a bit of good luck."
"Oh shove it Potter!" Ron screamed, waiting for Harry to move a bit closer. "Cry me a fucking river and drown in it!"
Harry just chuckled and moved a couple steps forward. It was then that Ron swept his legs, causing Harry to stumble and drop his wand. The pain in his gut subsided, Ron grabbed the wand in midair and pointed it Harry, who sat on one knee on the cave floor. "I've waited a long time for this Potter." He smiled as he shouted "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
Harry merely sat there, as Ron watched while nothing happened. "Avada Kedavra," Ron shouted again…while Harry stood up. Ron waved the wand around frantically, while Harry pulled out another one and flicked it, causing it to fly back to his hands. Ron stared at his own hands, flabbergasted and afraid. "Wha…wh…why didn't it work?"
"Like I said," Harry replied, "You got what you deserved." Ron looked at him, anger and fear mixing on his face. "That stew you ate was laced with a potion that Hermione researched. That pain in your gut? That was your magical core burning itself out."
"My…my what?" Ron stuttered, recognition dawning on him.
"It means you're a muggle now," Harry replied, keeping both of his wands, his original and the Elder Wand, pointed straight at Ron. "Hermione and I decided that we didn't want to put the Weasley's through the humiliation of a trial after what you had done, so we decided to punish you ourselves."
Ron shook his head, and reached into his robes. He pulled out his wand and started waving it around, yelling out every spell he could think of. Harry just shook his head and summoned that wand as well, and nonchalantly kicked it into the simmering embers of the fireplace.
"You…you won't get away with this!" Ron yelled out. Harry just chuckled. "My family won't let you!"
"Your family has disowned you," Harry replied, and Ron paled.
"I told you that you had thrown it all away," Harry repeated, his tone growing colder. "Frankly, keeping you alive is more than you deserve. But I couldn't do that to Molly and Arthur…or Ginny, now that she's got her head on straight. They've seen enough death in this war, and losing you was hard enough. Having to bury you would have been worse to them."
"I'll find them!" Ron yelled back. "I'll make them believe me and then you'll pay!"
"How will you find them?" Harry replied. "You're a muggle now, which means you can't go near the Burrow…or Diagon Alley…or Hogwarts…or any of the other places ever again. As far as the magical world is concerned, Ron Weasley died at the Battle of Hogwarts, and no one is going to seek you out long enough to discover otherwise."
"I'm tired of this," Harry replied, and he silently petrified Ron and silenced him. He leaned over to his former best friend, a sad glimmer in his green eyes as he looked at his fate. "Tomorrow you will awake in a nearby village with keys to a small flat and a small bank account. There'll be books on how to live like a muggle."
Ron tried to scream, but couldn't.
"I know, depressing isn't it? Like I said…it's more than you deserve, but consider this second chance a benevolent act on my part, a hint of mercy you could never show. But know this Ron. If you ever try to contact the Wizarding World again…somehow…if you ever come near me or Hermione ever again, I will have Kingsley arrest you and throw you in Azkaban. That'll be real fun for you; the dementors will have plenty of time to enjoy your company. The funny thing is? You'd never see the dementors when you're around. In your current condition I'd give you fifteen…maybe twenty minutes."
"So make the best of your chance, Ron," Harry replied before pointing the Elder Wand at him one more time. "It's the only mercy you'll get from me." Harry closed his eyes with one last thought of happier days. "Goodbye old friend." He fired a small sleeping charm to Ron, who, in his mind, was still trying to think of a way to get back at Harry…never once realizing the chance he had been given.
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Yes, too much, I'm probably willing to guess. But down the rabbit holes the plot bunnies lead us.