Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the other characters in JKR's books. I wish I did, then I wouldn't have to worry about bills.
Warnings: None really except for implied slash and Mpreg.
Author's Note: I know I have other stories that need to be updated, but this little plot bunny wouldn't go away. I had the darn thing almost completely written in my head before I even sat at my computer. Sorry...will work on The Soul Mate, Hiding in Plain Sight and Vindiciae Nuptia.
"NO! You are NOT with Charlie!" Ron's breathing was heavy and fast. His anger was almost tangible, like it would reach out and hit Harry. "You may be gay, fine! But you are NOT dating my brother! Merlin he's like a brother to you, too! How could you do this?"
Harry tried for a calm tone of voice. "Ron, Charlie and I have never looked at each other as brothers. We've always been attracted to each other." Harry felt the waves of anger again and tried once more to get through to Ron. "We've been together for over a year now. We never told anyone because of this. We didn't know how anyone would react, especially you. But, this choice was ours to make, not yours."
The two men were standing outside of Ron's old bedroom, on the 4th floor of the house. The landing was barely large enough for both of them to stand, so Harry was standing one step below the landing, looking up at a vengeful Ron Weasley. Everyone in the house was standing either at the bottom of the stairs or in the sitting room, looking anxiously at each other. Charlie was about to start up the stairs when Ron's angry voice drifted down to them.
"Why can't you ever be normal? Why my brother? My BROTHER, for crying out loud!" Ron glared down at Harry, trying to control his breathing. "This is not going to continue! Date anyone you want, but NOT Charlie!"
"Ron, you have no say in this. Charlie and I have been together for over a year. This is the way things are."
"GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Ron shoved his way past Harry.
The loud crack of Ron's apparation was the last thing Harry heard.
Ron Weasley looked around the small park, taking in the families playing with children, the laughing and talking. For a year and a half he had stayed away from his family. He had finished his Auror training and worked out of an office in the Ministry building. He knew that Hermione had married his brother, Fred, about six months ago. He had received the invitation, but had not gone, sending his regrets.
Regrets. He had loads of them. The howlers he had received from his mother were just the beginning of the regrets. He regretted arguing with Harry. He regretted cutting himself off from his family. He regretted letting Hermione get away from him. Most of all, he regretted leaving the way he had that day. He had just shoved past Harry and apparated away on the step below him. He hadn't been back to the Burrow since. He hadn't spoken to Harry, Charlie or Bill since that day. Occasionally, he would see Hermione or Ginny and the twins in passing, but they rarely spoke. He still received owls from his parents, but the letters were stilted. The strangest thing was that, after finally burying their animosity and being friends for over a year, Draco Malfoy wouldn't speak with him, either.
So, now, after almost three months of not speaking to Hermione, she had asked him to meet her here, at a small park in Hogsmeade. Why she had chosen here, he couldn't guess. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Hermione.
She looked good. Marriage obviously agreed with her. She gave him a small smile and a quick hug. "How have you been, Ron?"
"Alright, I guess." He looked around. "Why here?"
"There's something I wanted you to see. But, not yet." She looked at him carefully. "Are you going to be at the Burrow for Christmas? Your parents would love to see you again."
Ron gave a short, humourless laugh. "I'm not too sure about that, Hermione. After what I said and the way I left, the howlers Mum sent let me know I wasn't welcome there. I can't say I blame her. What I said was wrong. I shouldn't have yelled at Harry that way."
"No, you shouldn't have. He didn't deserve that. Neither did Charlie. That was why they waited so long to tell everyone. They were afraid of your reaction. And you surpassed even what I thought you were capable of. You don't know how much what you said hurt both Harry and Charlie."
"You're right. Because I was too much of a coward to apologize. I hurt my best mate and my brother." He gave a deep sigh. "If I could go back and change things, I would."
Hermione seemed to be staring past him at something, but she heard him. "Would you? Would you change things? You've always been a little less lenient with Harry than you have with anyone else. Things you would have let others get away with, you always took him to task over."
He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed again. "I know. Call it jealousy, call it whatever. It doesn't matter, because it was wrong. I know that now." She was looking behind him again and seemed to make a decision. "What do you keep looking at?"
"What I wanted to show you." She put her hands on his shoulders and turned him around. He saw a family, at one of the benches. It was a little redheaded girl, possibly about 10 months to a year old, and two men. He saw that one of the men had the same hair colour as the little girl. Weasley red. Charlie! He quickly looked at the other man and immediately recognized the hair, dark as a raven's wing. Harry! He noticed the rings on both men's hands and realized that they must have gotten married at some point.
"They look happy." Ron almost whispered. He couldn't seem to make his voice any louder than that. "When did they get married?"
"They were bonded almost a year ago. And, yes. They are happy. Very happy. This is what you were so dead set against."
Ron watched the little family in silence. The little girl seemed to be trying to take her first steps and Harry and Charlie were encouraging her. He saw the big smile on the child's face and could see the white of two small teeth in her mouth. He didn't know how long they stood there, just watching. This is what he was missing. Watching his family grow. He felt the wind pick up and Charlie stood and began gathering things up.
"How are they doing?"
"Good. They both teach at Hogwarts now. Charlie is the Care of Magical Creatures instructor and Harry teaches Charms. They have a house here in Hogsmeade, so that they don't have to live in the castle over the holidays."
"Who cares for their daughter when they're teaching?"
Hermione chuckled. "There are so many young instructors now that they actually started a day nursery. Harry and Charlie were the ones to get it set up, so that the teachers with young children didn't have to worry about hiring nannies. There's also going to be a school, to teach the younger ones, before they become old enough for Hogwarts proper."
"That's good. I'm glad there's something like that." He watched as Charlie lifted his daughter high in the air and then strapped her into her pram. He wondered why Harry hadn't moved yet.
Hermione watched Ron as he watched the family. What she had brought him here to see was about to happen. Charlie rolled a muggle wheelchair over to where Harry sat and lifted his husband into his arms. After a small kiss, Charlie lowered Harry into the wheelchair and Harry strapped his legs to the feet of the chair and then buckled the waist strap. She looked at Ron who was staring at Harry in disbelief.
"What happened?" Ron's voice was a low, hoarse whisper.
"You happened, Ron."
He looked at her, not understanding what she meant. "What do you mean, 'I happened'?"
"When you left that day, you pushed past Harry on the stairs, right?"
"Then you apparated from there, right?"
"You weren't there for what happened next." She saw the horror dawning in his eyes.
"What happened?" Ron sounded sick.
"When you shoved Harry out of your way, he lost his balance. He fell down the stairs. All of the stairs. His back was broken, just above his hips. The healers say that he will probably never walk again." Ron's breath caught and held. "Harry was a month pregnant. He was very lucky he didn't lose the baby."
"No! No...they...they can't be right!" The words were broken. Ron dropped to his knees and began to retch violently. He had done this to Harry! He had caused his best mate to fall! He was the reason that Harry would never walk again! The retching continued.
Hermione gestured and caught Charlie's attention. He saw his brother kneeling on the ground, his body heaving as he brought up everything he had eaten that day. He spoke to Harry and they both came over to Hermione, Charlie pushing the pram and Harry wheeling himself.
Ron felt a hand on his back. It was too large to be Hermione's, but he didn't think that Charlie or Harry had seen them. His body shuddered and he finally finished retching. A damp cloth dangled in his line of vision and he took it. After wiping his face and mouth, he looked up to thank someone. His eyes met the bright green eyes of his former best mate.
"Alright there, Ron?" Harry's voice hadn't changed, but his face had. Instead of just one lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead, there was now a long scar that started at his right temple and curved its way past his right eye to his jaw. Ron felt tears burn in his eyes. Another thing he had done to Harry.
"Oh Gods! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Ron Weasley, Auror, broke down. He cried until he felt completely wrung out. At some point, he didn't know when, he had been pulled over, so that his head rested on Harry's knees, and the hand was on his back again, this time moving in circles, comforting.
Charlie was sitting on the ground, next to Harry, just rubbing Ron's back. Harry's hand was on Ron's hair, fingers sifting through the bright red strands. Ron raised his head and looked at Harry, then at Charlie.
"Why are you being nice? I don't deserve it. I did this to you. You're never going to walk again, and I did this to you!"
"Ron," Harry's voice was soft, "you didn't know this happened. Yes, you could have come at any point to talk to us, and you would have found out then. But you didn't know."
"Ron, we, Harry and I, made a decision a while ago, that we weren't going to hold this against you. You didn't know that this had happened. It was an accident. Draco doesn't agree with us, but, once again, this was our decision to make." Charlie continued to rub Ron's back. "We don't blame you for this happening."
"But, I caused it. If I hadn't pushed you, you wouldn't have fallen."
"Ron, we don't know that. I had been getting dizzy from the beginnings of morning sickness, so that could have caused me to fall. We won't ever know." Harry's voice was firm. "What's done is done. Nothing is going to change it. Blaming yourself for something you may or may not have caused will not miraculously allow me to walk again. Now...are you coming to the Burrow for Christmas?"
Ron's eyes widened. They don't blame me? How can they not blame me? Do they really want me at the Burrow? What about Draco? He's like family now. He won't be happy. "What about Draco and Bill? Neither one of them has spoken to me since this happened."
Harry looked at Charlie. "I don't know about Draco, but we've spoken to Bill. He doesn't blame you either. He also said it was an accident. You didn't deliberately push me to hurt me."
"We can't answer for Draco. I'll talk to him. He's the new Potions instructor at Hogwarts. They had a replacement after Snape was made Headmaster, but Draco started teaching last term. He knows how we feel, so it may take a little convincing to get him to speak with you. After everything he'd been through, he wasn't willing to see Harry get hurt, so he took this a little personally. You may have to give him a little time."
Christmas at the Burrow was always a noisy affair. Draco had gotten used to it over the last two years, but it was still noisy. This is what family is, thought Draco as he settled into Bill's arms. This is what family is supposed to be.
They were waiting for Charlie, Harry and Ron to get here. He wasn't sure if he wanted to see Ron again. He still blamed Ron for Harry being in a wheelchair. If the git hadn't pushed past him, Harry would still be walking. He was just hoping that he could be civil. He had promised Bill he would try. He looked up at his fiance and smiled. Bill had asked him to marry him last night and, of course, he had said yes. He'd have to be a fool not to, and Draco Malfoy was no fool.
They heard the sounds of several people apparating in the garden, and then Harry's voice carrying through the kitchen. "Did we miss supper? Damn! I told you that you didn't need to shave!"
Molly laughed. "We're in here Harry. We held supper for you." Harry rolled his wheelchair through the doorway and into the sitting room. He was followed by Charlie, holding their daughter Lily, and more slowly, by Ron.
You could tell by the look in his eyes that Ron was terrified to be there. Draco felt his anger at the man drain away. He suddenly saw Bill's point. Ron hadn't deliberately done this to Harry, and he was now scared of his own family. Draco stood up, ignoring the noise Bill made in his throat. He walked up to Ron and looked at him.
"Welcome back, Ron." Draco pulled the unresisting man into a hug and then released him. The tears in Ron's eyes shocked him. This he had not been expecting. Suddenly, all of the Weasleys gathered around Ron and hugged him, letting him know that his self-imposed exile was over.
Harry looked up at Charlie and smiled, lacing his fingers with the ones on the hand on his shoulder. "Now that we're all here, Charlie and I have some news." Everyone grew quiet and looked at them expectantly. "We are going to have another baby."
Molly let go of her youngest son and hugged her second oldest son and her adopted son. "When?"
"In about seven months. The midwife says that I am fine and everything looks good."
Ron knelt by the side of Harry's wheelchair. "May I?" Harry nodded and he placed one large hand over Harry's belly. "You can't hear me, but I'm your Uncle Ron. I swear that I will do everything I can to protect you, your Daddy and Papa and your big sister."
Molly moved into Arthur's arms and felt his love surround her. Her family was all here. Her heart was whole again.