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

so tiny

so helpless

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

so tiny

so helpless.

He's eleven.

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.

"What if…"

"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

sixteen years

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



"don't leave"

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

(you can't)

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

(smaller target).

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.