A/N: Missing moment from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, set during/between chapters 23 (Malfoy Manor) and 24 (The Wandmaker)
He didn't know how he had gotten here. He didn't know where everyone else was. He didn't know if she was going to be okay.
All he knew is that he was crouching outside the door of Bill and Fleur's guest bedroom, back against the wall and head in his hands, sobbing like a child.
And he didn't know how to stop.
"Ron! Where are you?" He heard Bill's voice climbing the stairs. He just couldn't muster up the energy to pull himself together long enough to answer him.
"Ron? There you are – what the hell is going on here?" Bill sounded angry, but Ron couldn't bring himself to care. The only thing he cared about right now was lying in a bed in the room behind him, still unconscious. He shuddered even harder at the thought.
He hadn't been able to hear Bill approach with all the noise was making himself, so he was surprised to feel his brother's hands on his wrists, pulling him to his feet.
He was even more surprised when, instead of addressing him again, Bill pulled him into a hug.
And so they stood, Ron crying on his older brother's shoulder as if they were children and the twins had turned Ron's favorite toy into an Acromantula.
Only they were adults, and the girl Ron loved- no use denying it now- had nearly been tortured to death.
"Hermione," Ron managed to say, pulling away and wiping his eyes with one overlarge (and quite bloody, he noticed) palm.
"What's happened to her?" Bill asked, much gentler than the last time he had spoken.
"Cruciatus." He croaked. He turned away and tried to restrain himself from putting his foot through the nearest wall.
"For how long?"
"Don't know. Seemed like forever. I... I don't know." He repeated, looking up at his brother for the first time. "Fleur's with her. She'll be all right. Won't she?" There he was again, a little boy turning to his oldest brother, hoping he could fix everything.
"Fleur will do everything she can. In the mean time, Ron, you really need to tell me something. I let it go at Christmas, but you can't show up at my house with a caravan of missing wizards and other creatures and expect me not to ask questions. Now, who hurt Hermione?"
"Bellatrix." Ron answered, before he could stop himself. He didn't want to tell Bill anything he wasn't supposed to know.
"What? Where the hell were you three that you ran into her?"
"Malfoy Manor." Ron answered again, wondering just how much he could tell Bill without betraying Harry.
"Malfoy Manor? Damn it Ron, what the hell were you thinking? I don't know what you three are chasing – "
"Do you think we're bloody stupid? We didn't pop on over to see if Draco could come out and play, you know – "
"No Ron, I don't know. I don't know anything because you refuse to tell me what's going on!"
"I've told you, I can't! Dumbledore – "
"Dumbledore is dead, Ron – and you will be soon too if you keep running around the countryside breaking into Death Eaters' houses, thinking you're going to take down the Dark Lord!"
"I told you, we didn't go there on our own! We were caught by snatchers. They recognized Harry and – "
"Enough!" The door behind the brothers flew open and Fleur burst into the hallway, wand in hand. "'Ermione is trying to sleep." She rounded on Ron "And you. You look 'urt. Come 'ere."
"Is she all right? Can I see her?" Ron asked, his argument with Bill forgotten.
"She will be. And you can visit 'er as soon as she wakes. You did zee right zing, bringing 'er 'ere. Where are zee uzzers?"
With a horrible lurch in his stomach, Ron realized he had no idea.
"Outside." Bill answered for him. "Harry's burying the elf."
"What? Dobby! He – "
"He didn't make it." Bill said, putting a hand on Ron's shoulder.
"I should help." Ron said, more to himself than anyone else. Then he turned to Fleur. "Can I just see her first? Please, I won't wake her. I just – " Ron dropped his eyes, willing the tears he could feel welling up again to stop. "I just need to see that she's okay."
"Of course." Fleur answered, smiling at him in a very peculiar way. "She may still be awake. Just come 'ere for a moment."
Fleur took hold of his hands and waved her wand a few times, murmuring incantations that must have been French healing and cleaning spells. When she released his hands they stung, but they were clear of blood and dirt. She looked up at him and performed similar spells on the cuts on his face before smiling satisfactorily.
"Now go—but be careful—and quiet."
"I will, I swear." He said, never having been so grateful that his brother married an amazing witch. "Thank you so much Fleur. I was so afraid she was… I don't know what I'd do without her."
"I know zee feeling." Fleur replied, but she wasn't looking at him. Her gaze was fixed over his shoulder.
He turned around, knowing exactly where his brother must have been standing.
"Go ahead. We'll talk later. I'm sure she wants to see you too."
Ron nodded, and entered Bill and Fleur's extra bedroom as quietly as his shaking limbs would allow him. He was sure he didn't make a sound, but Hermione's eyes snapped open as soon as he closed the door behind him.
"Hey." He said, nervously hovering in the doorway.
"Hey." Hermione rasped.
"May I…?" He asked, gesturing to the chair at her bedside. He hated himself for how uncertain he sounded.
"Please." She answered, wincing as she attempted a nod. He was at her side in a flash.
"Careful there." He whispered, cradling her head in his oversized hand and guiding it back toward the pillow. "Are you all right?" He asked, instantly regretting asking such a stupid question.
"I will be," she whispered, and when she smiled at him, he believed her.