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Horrid Realisations

It had been more than a week since Harry had left for Norway and Ron hadn't heard any word from him. 'The assignment should be fairly low-key,' Harry had said. 'Should be back in a week.' It had now been ten days. Ron was worried. What if something happened in the icy forests of Norway and no-one realised. Images of his best mate; pale, starving and injured; hobbling through the dark - filled Ron's mind and fuelled his anxiety. He needed to know that Harry was alright. Even a quick patronus, just to say he was alive and well, would have been enough for Ron. But there had been nothing.

Instead, Ron kept having to soothe Mrs Weasley's worries; a feat that was nearly impossible. She had become a nervous wreck, hardly ever speaking and often trembling at any mention of Harry's absence. Ron couldn't stand to see her so worried. What had she been like when they were hunting Horcruxes? Ron shuddered to think. He gained a newfound respect for his father at the thought. Mr Weasley must have worked miracles to keep his mother relatively calm during that time.

Mrs Weasley soon rapped on his door. "Ron?" she said. "Can I come in?"

Ron sighed but opened the door. Mrs Weasley stood in a peach frock and white apron, her red hair wild and her pale eyes frightened.

"Any word from Harry?" she whispered meekly.

Ron glanced at his poor mother, so shaken with worry, and realised that he couldn't keep doing this to her. Swallowing the large lump that formed in his throat, he patted his mother gently on her shoulder and forced his mouth into a smile.

"Yep," he lied. "Got a letter just this morning. He said that everything's going fine, but the mission's been extended due to... er... bad weather."

Mrs Weasley's eyes widened in relief and released a deep breath. "Oh thank Merlin," she cried happily. "I was beginning to think something had happened." She gave Ron a quick hug and then left the room. "Don't you have to work today, Ronnie?" she chided as she hurried down the stairs.

"I'm getting there. George doesn't want me until ten," Ron called down the stairs. He put on his shoes and checked the time. It was only eight-thirty. He had plenty of time before he had to work at the shop. Besides, Angie was working today as well. George didn't really need him too. Ron had more important things to worry about. He needed to find his best mate.

He hurried downstairs, downed a glass of pumpkin juice, kissed his mother on the cheek and dashed out of the Burrow. At the shop, George got Ron to stack the shelves, as Angelina was ordering new products. As Ron began to stack the Skiving Snackboxes onto their shelves, he couldn't help but feel worried for Harry. His insides felt tied together in a large knot of guilt. He should have been with Harry. Ron had always been there for Harry. And now that he wasn't, he felt guilty. If something happened to Harry and he wasn't there to protect him, Ron would be beside himself.

"Hey, Ron!" called George from out the front. "Dad wants to talk to you!"

Dad's here? "Alright, coming."

Ron quickly stacked the last box of Fever Fudge next to the Nosebleed Nougat and hurried out the front. Mr Weasley looked grave as he acknowledged his son. He took off his hat and turned to George.

"Is there somewhere I can talk to Ron in private?"

"Er… sure. Use the back room," said George uncomfortably, shooting concerned looks at Ron and Mr Weasley.

"Thanks." He headed off into the back room. Ron followed uncertainly. George raised his eyebrows as Ron passed and his younger brother shrugged in return.

"Hi dad," said Ron, shifting uncomfortably. Mr Weasley sighed and began playing with the brim of his hat.

"Ron… I have something to tell you. But you mustn't tell your mother, is that understood?"

"Dad, what's wrong? Has something happened?"

Mr Weasley paused for a moment, refusing to look at his son.

"Dad?" Ron persisted, feeling a knot of anxiety twisting in his stomach. Was this about Harry? Or had something happened to Ginny? Or worse... Hermione?

"It's... Harry," Mr Weasley began in a small voice. Ron's breath caught in his throat. "There was a bit of a... er... problem during the expedition and well... er..."

"What is it?" demanded Ron. "Is he alright?"

"Well, yes, they think so."

"Think so?"

"Er... you see... I overheard O'Keefe talking to one of his Aurors earlier today and...er... Harry's gone missing."

Ron felt his jaw drop and his stomach plummet.

Harry.

Missing.

He couldn't comprehend the idea. How could Harry Potter, the boy who defeated Voldemort go missing in Norway on some training assignment?

"Ron... are you okay? You look a little pale," said Mr Weasley carefully.

"Is O'Keefe doing anything about it?"

"Erm..." Mr Weasley furrowed his brow in thought. "I think he sent a few members of Harry's team out to look for him. But he hasn't had any word from them so far."

"He sent trainees! That little –"

"O'Keefe said that he couldn't send his top Aurors to search for Harry because they are needed to round up the remaining Death Eaters," interrupted Mr Weasley, his fingers still fiddling with the brim of his hat.

"Well..." stammered Ron in fury. "How come no one knows about this?"

"I suppose because O'Keefe doesn't want to draw attention to the fact that Harry Potter disappeared during Auror training. Kingsley is trying to recruit more Aurors and I'm sure that piece of information could be hazardous to his regime."

"Who cares about Kingsley's recruitment regime?" roared Ron, throwing his hands in the air. "Harry's missing!"

Mr Weasley put his hand reassuringly on his youngest son's shoulder. "I know you're angry, son," he said gravely. "But we just have to leave it to Harry and his team to return safely. There is nothing we can do. I just thought you had a right to know – you're his best friend. Perhaps, you should tell Hermione too."

Mr Weasley squeezed his son's shoulder and then left the room.

Ron was feeling more furious than ever. Harry would not have gotten lost; he was far too experienced and intelligent for that to happen. No, thought Ron. The only reason Harry would be left behind, would have been due to some stupid act of bravery and heroics... Ron froze. He had known Harry since they were eleven. He was Ron's best friend. And Ron knew that - as great a wizard Harry was - he had a fatal flaw:;his willingness to sacrifice himself to save others. He had proved this many times: the Chamber of Secrets to rescue Ginny, in the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament when he saved young Gabrielle Delacour, in fifth year when he went to rescue Sirius in the Department of Mysteries. Even in the war, when he rescued Malfoy from the fiend fire that destroyed the Room of Requirement. Dumbledore had called it moral fibre. Ron had called it idiocy. But it made perfect sense. Ron could envision it clearly... a group of trainees, being pursued by some dark force... Harry sacrificing himself to let the others go free. Ron froze... was Harry dead? Had that been the price of letting the other trainees live? Surely, Harry wasn't that stupid. At that moment, Ron knew what he was going to have to do. No one knew Harry like Ron Weasley.

He was going to have to find Harry.


I know... a little short. But please read and review :) :) and hang on tight for the next one :) xx