A young boy with red hair and freckles was sitting at a desk littered with crumpled up parchment, page after page held sentences that were scratched out, or words that had been blotted with so many tears, they weren't legible anymore.
There was an old clock next to the little desk the boy was sitting at. It's face was illuminated by the lamplight and showed that it was well past midnight. The boy finally sat up and read the latest draft of what he had written. He nodded with satisfaction and threw away the old pieces.
He glanced around the room, pleased with himself that he had managed to make it look so tidy and grabbed an envelope and wrote one word on it in large messy letters:
He set down the envelope next to the letter to make sure that the ink would dry and reached under his bed, pulling out a beat up old rucksack. It was big and heavy (for him at least), and appeared to be packed full of objects.
He set it down next to his desk and walked over to the cage of his pet rat. The boy went to open the cage to pull the rat out, but he paused.
Turning back towards the letter, the child scribbled a postscript under his signature. Nodding to himself, the boy folded up the letter, stuffed it into its envelope, and went back to retrieve his rat.
"Well, Scabbers," he muttered to his pet, as he put him in the pocket of his robes. "I think we're all ready now."
The child blew out the flame in his lamp and slipped quietly out of his room and onto the staircase that went down a few floors.
Why do I have to live at the top? Ron groaned to himself, as his foot hit a creaky stair. So terrified he was of his plan being ruined, the boy spent ten minutes trying to get down the stairs in a way that wouldn't wake anyone up.
He was very relieved to reach to bottom of the stairs and he walked quietly into the kitchen. He knew exactly where he needed to put his letter. He had given it a great deal of thought and he figured he'd leave it in the one place that he knew for sure that his Mum would check.
The red head grabbed some spell-o tape off of the counter, put some on the envelope and, standing oh his tiptoes, he stuck it to the face of his mother's "Weasley Family" clock. The boy stepped back to make sure it was stuck on properly, then went quietly to the kitchen door and unlocked it.
He knew the moment he opened the door that he'd messed up. It shrieked at him loudly and he knew it would wake up his parents. How could he have forgotten about the protective charms his mother always used? Knowing he had very little time, the boy sprinted out the door as fast as he could.
His rucksack bounced up and down against him, straining his shoulders and making an awful racket. He heard Scabbers squeak in protest from his pocket, but he didn't pay any attention. He was going as fast as he could down the road, but he knew he was moving much too slowly.
Maybe I can try and apperate, like Dad. Thought the boy wildly. But where would I go? Think! I have to be well hidden, where no one can find me. Like Harry Potter! No one knows where he is, so I should go there!
So he paused in his running and turned on the spot like he had seen his parents and older brothers do so many times. He was thinking, about where he was going the way Bill said you had to in order to apperate.
I want to hide where Harry Potter is; I want to hide where Harry Potter is! Ron thought he heard someone shouting behind him, but just then the world warped and darkened.
There was a sudden pressure all around him; it was like a dragon was squishing him. He felt something pressing in on him and he felt a pain in his hands. Something's wrong! He thought frantically. Then, the sensation of being squished by a dragon ceased, but the pain remained. He found himself lying on the ground; he sat up and felt the pain in his hand more fully than ever.
The boy looked down at his hands and released a sob.
There was nothing but blood and pain in the place where his fingernails used to be. He had splinched himself. The red head had tears of pain running down his face as he tried to pull his rucksack off his back to get some bandages out, but when he pulled on the straps he found that there was nothing attached to them. He looked around for his rucksack but it was gone.
I must have splinched that too, he thought miserably.
He felt movement in his pocket, and smiled when he opened it and saw Scabbers curled up inside of it.
"Least I got you, you lazy old rat" he said.
He stood up and looked around, wincing as the cold air hit his injured fingers and read a street sign.
I wonder where this is. Thought the boy as got up and walked down the street.
Meanwhile, back at the Weasley house, things were in complete chaos.
It had started when a loud shriek emitted from downstairs. Still harboring a few reflexes from the war against Voldemort that had ceased nine years ago, Molly and Arthur Weasley were instantly out of bed, their wands drawn. There was a second's pause in which they listened to the sound, trying to place it.
"That's the kitchen door!" gasped Molly Weasley in alarm.
"Check on the kids!" commanded Arthur and, with that, he bolted out of his bedroom and down the stairs into the kitchen, but it was empty.
"Hominem Revelio!" shouted Arthur. He looked around the house and saw two people aside from himself so there was no intru—Wait two? thought Arthur. His eyes widened and he sprinted out the door thinking of all the dark wizards he'd crossed. Images of one of his children being kidnapped flashed through his mind.
He heard someone running down the road that lead away from his house and he increased his speed. That's when he saw—not a dark wizard, but a small figure with a rucksack, running ahead of him.
A child? Arthur wondered. The child slowed and turned on the spot. Arthur saw a glimmer of red hair in the moonlight, and the outline of a familiar face.
"Ron!" Arthur shouted in surprise. But just then, there was a crack and a heavy thud. Ron had vanished before Arthur's very eyes, leaving nothing but a rucksack lying in the path.
Arthur ran forward and saw a glint in the moonlight. He crouched down.
His heart seemed to freeze. Fingernails. His son had disapperated, worse than that; he'd been splinched.
His ministry training kicked in.
Okay, leave everything where it's at and get to the ministry to get help. He spared one last glance for the place where his son had vanished, hoping desperately that fingernails were the only things his son had lost, and ran back towards the house. He hurried into the kitchen and almost collided with his wife, who was in tears.
"Arthur! Ron wasn't in his room!" she said frantically.
"He disapperated Molly" he said urgently.
"He—what? How?" she asked, bewildered.
"I don't know, but he splinched, his fingernails were left behind, I don't know if that's all he splinched but—" He was cut got off as his wife turned around and dashed over to the family clock.
She paused and pulled an envelope off the front of it and looked down at in in confusion, then up at the clock. Arthur came up beside her and he sighed with relief when he saw Ron's hand on the clock pointing to 'traveling' and not 'mortal peril'.
"Mum, Dad what's going on?" Molly didn't hear the question, she had torn open the letter that was on the clock's face and was reading it, looking anxious.
He looked down at his daughter, who had been standing in the corner watching them, then at the letter she was reading.
She'll tell me what that's about in a minute, he thought. So, Arthur knelt down to Ginny's level and asked kindly.
"Ginny, has Ron said anything to you about leaving the house and going on a trip?" he asked, scanning her face for any reactions.
"No" she said looking confused.
"Has he been acting strangely lately? Has he done anything unusual?" he questioned.
"Well…" Ginny thought hard and then she looked up at her dad. "He came into my room just before bed and gave me that toy hippogriff that we're always fighting over" she said.
"He told me that I could have it to myself, that I don't have to share it with him anymore. He looked sad. I asked him if he had been crying and he told me not to be a git, he said only sissies cry."
Arthur frowned and was about to question her further when he heard his wife call him.
"Arthur" she said quietly. Her voice was broken and when he looked into her face, he saw tears sliding down her cheeks. He stood and she handed him a few pieces of parchment.
"H-He left it o-on the c-c-clock" she chocked out through a sob.
Arthur took the letter from her and read the words his son had left for Molly.
Um, hey. I'm not so good at writing stuff but I reckon I'll give it a go because there's a lot I need to tell you. I don't know how to say this. You always tell me not to be so blunt, but I can't make myself sound all nice and considerate like everyone else can, so I'll get to the point.
When Fred and George went away to Hogwarts, I was really excited. I was finally going to be able to get lots of attention for once, because none of the older boys would be showing me up all the time.
But it didn't work out like that. For the last couple months, all you wanted to do was spend time with Ginny or Dad. So I've been trying to hang out with Dad in his shed when he's not at work, but he always tells me it's too dangerous and to go play with Ginny. Sometimes Dad would play with me, but most of the time he was either busy talking to you and Ginny or going to work. I thought that since you and Dad didn't play with me like you did with Ginny, that I might be doing something wrong, so I tried to be better.
I tried to dress cool like Bill, but you and Dad and Ginny all took the mickey out of me for what I was wearing. So then I tried to do ancient runes like Bill, but the book was really hard and I couldn't read the runes no matter how hard I tried. I reckoned it would be better to try to be cool like Charlie instead, on account of the fact that I know how to fly way, way, way super better than I can read ancient runes. I was so excited to try doing those cool moves that Charlie can do. But I fell off the broom and you yelled at me for flying upside down and banned me from brooms for a week. A whole week! Charlie got injured loads of times back when he was at Hogwarts. He still talks about it sometimes, but you don't yell at him. I didn't understand why; then I realized that it was probably because I'm bad.
You always yell at Fred and George for things that you wouldn't yell at Percy for, because they break more rules than Percy. I thought that maybe if I was good like Percy, that you wouldn't get mad when I did Charlie's moves. So the next day, I did everything I was told and tried to use fancy words, and I didn't let anyone break the rules. But you got mad again. I told on Ginny for breaking the rules and you yelled at me for being a tattle-tale. I thought you wanted us all to be good like Percy. Was I doing it wrong? I don't understand why you got so annoyed when I was trying to be like Percy.
I thought maybe the reason I couldn't be good like Percy is that I'd already broken too many rules and had a "bad reputation" like Dad says Knockturn Alley has. I thought maybe I could be funny, like Fred and George instead of good like Percy. No one minds that they break a bunch of rules because they're so funny, but my plan didn't work! No one laughed at my jokes and you made me de-gnome the garden all by myself because I pulled a prank on Ginny. It wasn't fair! Ginny never gets in trouble when she pulls pranks on me with Fred and George. I think it's because she's a girl, that's why she's your favorite.
I know it must be nice to have a girl for you. If I were a dad I'd want a son, so I think I kind of get it. Is that why you had so many kids? Were you waiting to have a girl? I like having Ginny, and I'm glad you got your girl, but I don't think she likes me very much. She tells me that I'm bossy and annoying and we fight all the time. I think maybe that's why no matter what I do you yell at me. Ginny doesn't like me and since you love Ginny best, you agree with her.
But you know Mum, even if I was really smart, and strong, and kind, and cool, it wouldn't be a big deal. You'd just tell me that I'm following in Bills footsteps, or that I'm just like Charlie. You always tell me that I'm like the other boys, so any cool thing that I do isn't special because my brothers have already done them, and when I try and be like them, you get mad because I'm not as good as any of them.
I'm sorry that I'm a disappointment, Mum, but I can't change the fact that I'm just Ron. That's why I'm leaving. I want to go somewhere where nobody knows me, or my brothers, a place where I can be Ron instead of "Just like Bill and Charlie" or "Just like Percy". And if I do something, everyone will be impressed because they won't have seen my older brothers do it first.
It will be better for all of us, I think. I'm going to be ten in the spring, that's only a year under Hogwarts age, so I'm plenty old enough to be on my own. It'll be fun for you, you'll get to play with Ginny all the time and not have to worry about me, and you won't have to pay for me to live at the house anymore. You can even sell my stuff if you want, I won't be coming back so I won't need it. And my brothers and Ginny won't have to share the toys with me anymore. Dad will get to be in his shed without me bothering him and he'll be able to do more fun stuff with you now that there's only going to be three of you living at home.
I bet you'll all have a lot of fun, so don't freak out in the morning because I left; I'll be fine. To be honest, I think we'll all be a lot more fine from now on since, I'm not living with you anymore. Anyway, I love you Mum. Tell Dad, Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, and Ginny that I love them too. Bye Mum.
P.S. I'm taking Scabbers with me. Percy told me to take good care of him, and I wouldn't be doing that if I left him behind.
Arthur slowly folded the letter and set it on the counter, feeling stunned.
How could this have happened? How could I not have noticed how he felt? How down he was? I knew he'd been acting strange. Molly said he'd been doing weird things all week.
It was true, Ron had been acting really out of character all week. He had been dressing strangely, looking through Bill's old spellbooks, doing dangerous things on his broom, telling on Ginny for every little thing she did wrong, and after all that he topped the week off by dipping Ginny's hair in an inkbottle as they did their homework. He remembered coming home to find his son degnoming the garden as punishment for the last one.
I had no idea he was doing all that stuff to try and fit in. How come I didn't see how lonely he was feeling? Arthur heard his wife sobbing next to him, but he didn't look at her, he turned his attention to his daughter.
"Ginny, go and fetch me some parchment" he said seriously. Ginny obeyed, frightened by her father's tone.
"Molly, I'm going to the ministry. I need to contact the missing persons department of the Auror office, maybe they can find out where Ron disapperated to. I need you to call in as many people as you can who might be able to assist in tracking him; Bill, Charlie, Dumbledore, that friend of yours who lives in hogsmeade. Tell them everything you can and see if they have any contacts who might be able to help."
Ginny came back with the parchment, and Arthur took it from her. He waved his wand and the words from the letter copied themselves onto the new sheets of parchment.
"We'll need to keep these as a record, I need to take the originals to the Auror office for evidence." Molly already had her address book out and was frantically flipping through its pages looking for people that she could call for help. Arthur passed her and went over to the door
"Tell Dumbledore to break the news to Fred, George, and Percy we'll need to know if Ron tries to contact any of them."
He opened the door
"Molly" he called. His wife looked up.
"We'll find him" he said.
She nodded at him, a look of fierce determination crossing her features. Arthur gave her a grim smile and walked out into the yard. Once he passed the boundaries of their protective charms, he turned and vanished.