For Gamma Orionis, because she writes fantastic Rab/Rod and deserves some (though not so fantastic) in return, every once in a while :)
He is so small, you think
and you vow then and there that you will always protect him
(he needs it)
this tiny creature they call your little brother.
He is still so small
You wonder if eleven year olds are supposed to be that small.
He fits in your arms.
He's curled up there, vibrating with anxiety.
"You'll be a Slytherin, Rab."
Your voice is firm
but you aren't sure he will.
You're sure he has to be.
You can't protect a badger like you can a snake.
He curls tighter into your chest
his fear palpable
and you promise him you will always keep him safe.
He is the smallest sixteen-year-old you have ever met.
He sits on the edge of your bed and he's so curled into himself he almost looks like he's going to
"she kissed me"
and he sounds so broken.
You wonder how you went
without realising that your little brother wasn't interested in girls
You wonder if Rab himself even knew
And you wonder, most of all
how you're supposed to keep him safe from this
(if they find out
he is ruined).
You take a deep breath
sit down beside him
wrap your arm around his shoulders
and you promise him it's going to be okay
(even though you aren't sure it will)
promise him you'll talk to her
(because he doesn't know what to say)
promise him you'll keep his secret safe
(because you don't know what else to do).
He is still so small
(even up on tiptoes)
but he is in no way helpless
not right now.
His lips are on yours
and you understand what this is about
but you have to marry her
for so many reasons.
No matter how much you sometimes wish you could stay here forever
How do you protect him
when you're miles away?
when you can't see him?
when you can't control what happens?
"don't leave me"
and that's the crux of it.
It's not the leaving
it's the leaving him.
and you can't say you'll stay
and you won't say you have to go
(he knows that already)
so instead you press your lips against his
just as hard as his against yours
and you show him
you show him that he matters
show him that you care
show him that you will protect him, you will keep him safe
(as best you can)
even from far away.
He is so small
and you are grateful
You keep him in your sights
You throw up shield charms when you can
You kill a man who gets too close
(without a second thought, and this should scare you, but it doesn't, because it's him)
And then it happens
The one spell you cannot shield against
And he's too far away for you to move him out of the line
And it doesn't bother you as much as it should
Because if you were going to die today
You are glad it is protecting him.