Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, that is the wonderous duty of one J...and she should be worshipped.
This came out of nowhere and DEMANDED to be written. I surrendered swiftly...and this happened. I make no promises...
Sad, yet Beautiful Ron-fic. Harry & Hermione are in it too...
Hope To Save a Life
As their hushed conversations reached his ears, he heard his name mentioned once, twice, hesitantly… and clutched the small device closer to his chest. It might leave an imprint, he was squeezing it so close, but who cared anymore? It was just another scar, another injury sustained in this never-ending war on Voldemort.
They would never understand what this meant to him.
Hermione's family did not even remember she existed, happily off skiing in some distant country, safe from the danger; and Harry… well, after Sirius died, he took to believing he had no one left in the world. He was wrong, of course, but it didn't stop him from being a right bloody prat about it…
And then the proceedings came full circle, and the cosmic finger of misfortune pointed right back at him… he hadn't seen his family in such a long time. In fact, not once since that hasty flight from Bill and Fleur's wedding, all those months ago… not a word, not a single hope in this dark, frightening life they lived; nothing to suggest either life or death of his parents or siblings. It was simply maddening.
Was he to be blamed if his new morbid hobby brought the faintest spark of hope to his life? What if, by listening carefully to the lists of the dead, he could convince the near-crushing weight of despair and fear that resided in his chest, to leave for another night? To let sleep overtake his weary body and give peace from this hellish fugitive lifestyle they had taken on. To be free from grief and fear, terror and shame… he'd left them all, alone against the uncertainty of a world gone mad.
They understood, he knew that…never once questioning his resolve to help Harry (and of course, Hermione) until the end; but he could never shake the feeling he should be by their sides, helping, fighting… they'd already lost so many, lost so much, who or what else could be taken from them before it was finally over? Would it ever be over?
Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Ginny, his mother and father…and yes, even that uptight prat, Percy; every night he listened for their names. An unsettling dread crushing the air out of his lungs, sharpening every sense to the point of pain, and letting a cold sweat break out on his forehead, palms going clammy… as the names of the dead were read out on the secret Potterwatch channel he had discovered only a few weeks ago.
Every night, without fail…he could not sleep otherwise.
And now, he lay there on the stark cot bunk in the magically-enhanced tent, desperately clutching the radio to his chest and staring lifelessly at the opposite canvas wall; listening with every pore of his being as this day's names were read out… On occasion, he would shudder in horror as a classmate's name was read out; too young… there was no good time to die, but it was simply unfair. The name of a girl in Ginny's grade was said with a strange reluctance on the announcer's part, and his own heart constricted; the name brought the odd flash of brunette hair, sparkling blue eyes and a beaming grin from one ear to the other. She had been her friend; he had known her, and it hurt to know she was gone…
Suddenly he wondered if Ginny was safe, if any of them were safe. What if they were dead and no one knew? Surely then no one would read their names out on Potterwatch. His hands felt numb… the radio slipped from his grasp and hit the ground, shattering in an impressive array of parts. Even as the world filled with darkness and a suffocating hopeless feeling, he cried out and tore at the locket burning his chest, snapping the chain with a strength born of desperation and flinging it across the small room. It hit the canvas wall, bounced once and slid down to the floor…
Hot tears were on his face as he registered that the radio receiver was still hissing out garbled words; names… more names, more dead… Too many, too much… So unfair. Why? What was this all for?
He heard Harry and Hermione drop their plates with harsh clinks onto the table; their thudding footsteps coming closer and closer, even as he turned away to shove his face into the faded blue pillowcase. Fingers grasping harshly into the nearly threadbare sheets and sobbing brokenly; too much… it was too much…
"Ron? Ron!" their cries were in tandem and full of concern, he could feel their gazes look to the broken radio, could sense the way they glanced over the locket…but they moved towards him instead; like nothing else mattered. Two bodies sat down on his bed, he felt their weights depress the left side of the mattress as they alighted his bunk gingerly…
Someone touched his arm gently, a large, firm hand that could only be Harry's; but he did not speak. A second hand trembled over the broad expanse of his back, he could feel it there, and then it descended to rub soft circles; a comforting, repetitive pattern that helped him focus… drew his sobs out and dispersed the dark emotions that plagued him. She hushed and comforted, meaningless words strung together in a whispered tone mothers reserve for small children…
Strangely, it helped. He was half aware now, and half-awake… just lying there, face turned away from them; Hermione's hand still circling slowly a Harry's grip now on his shoulder. They murmured over him. "It's my fault, Hermione. I shouldn't have let him wear the damn necklace for so long…what is it now, a week?" Harry's voice filtered through his dreamy haze. She offered a counter argument, logical and any sane person would simply nod and acquiesce her point…but not Harry; never Harry, that idiot blamed himself for everything.
"Stop…bein' a bloody idiot…Harry." He mumbled and rolled over to face them. They both looked startled, obviously believing he had fallen to sleep a long while ago. "Ron… I, uh, we thought you were-…" Harry started, and he laughed tiredly, "Asleep? Yeah, nearly was…but, I can't until…" Ron flushed and turned away again, his excuse sounding silly to his own mind.
In the silence that followed, he felt someone stand and pick up the locket; the other bending down to scrape at the scraps of radio littering the floor. The second body sat down again, links of the chain clinking as someone placed it about their neck; his tension lifted as the burden fell heavily about another throat.
And then, their hands were back. Soothing circles and companionable grasp; simple touch communicating understanding, friendship and a silent promise to never leave him alone… His body trembled a moment, letting the meaning seep in; a shuddering breath he was unaware he'd been holding, was released. Still, he could not sleep without-
"I- I didn't hear their names, Ron." Hermione whispered in the silence.
That was all he'd needed to hear, he thought, as sleep stealthily crept up to the bedside and prepared to whisk him away. That, and the close presence of his friends… a small smile crept upon his face; Potterwatch could wait for another night, the names he had anticipated with dread had not been called, and so he could sleep for this night.
Harry and Hermione. His Friends. They were here, they were safe… He was safe.
And so, Ron fell to sleep.
Neither Harry nor Hermione moved that night, staying there by Ron's side, simply guarding his slumber and looking to one another with guilty eyes. Silently asking who of them would be the one to break it to Ron, come the morning…?
Who would tell him…that his family was dead?
Neither spoke, neither allowed themselves to think on the morning; for now, they would watch his sleep… and pray that this night lasted forever.
The End...of Hope.
I know, heart-wrenching, right?
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~*SailorSilvanesti/Phoenix Fire *~