Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Harry Potter.

This is marked angst because I imagine quite a bit of it will be angsty. There will be less angst later on, but for now, angst. This will also be kind of slow-paced. Something you should know.

Edit: 11/3/13: Oi, you. This is important. I really don't like the direction of where the fic's been going, so I'm rewriting it. Mainly because I never meant it to be so angsty. So. You won't be getting updates for a while now. Sorry about that.


When he died –

When.

He never thought that he'd really die. Sure, he considered it a few times, but never as a real possibility. Only as an if. Never when, because when was too painful to bear. But he's laughing so hard he's crying because he is dead. He is completely and utterly dead. He has no idea how it happened – just a vague recollection of standing in front of Hermione, and then…. nothing. Light would be preferable, but darkness, he could handle. But nothing was a gray blur in his mind that no matter what he did, he couldn't remember. Nothing. Just nothing.

Nothing is terrifying. Nothing means you're unsure of yourself and you have no idea what's wrong or right. And even being thrown in the pit of hell is better than the desperate anxiety of uncertainty. Knowing that something happened but you have absolutely no idea what. Ron thinks that's kind of scary.

(Of course, he's not afraid, of course not – he's a Gryffindor, after all, and that only thing that deserved fear was spiders.)

It's painful, so painful – You-Know-Who was dead, the battle was supposed to be over, and then he dies. Why does he die then? Why not earlier? Then he wouldn't have that hope rise up in home only to be crushed into little tiny bits. At least he leaves the world knowing You-Know… aw, hell with it, V-Voldemort – it's a mystery to him how he still can't say the name correctly, since he all but pranced in front of the bastard calling him a git (though it's rather hard to take anyone seriously when you keep hearing Peeves sing Moldyshorts, Moldyshorts, Moldy-Moldy-Voldy!) – is dead. And Hermione…. well, he'd hoped that Harry would get together with Ginny so they'd be good as brothers, but he'd always had this nagging feeling that Mione always liked Harry better. Maybe he's wrong and Hermione really did care about him, maybe he's right and she'd always wanted to snog Harry, but there's no way to prove either one (at least, if he was right, Hermione wouldn't be hurt he's hurt her too many times he will not hurt her again) since he's dead.

…Dead.

He really is, isn't he…?

.

He catches one flash of blond.

Then back to nothing.

He screams.

No one listens.

.

He's figured it out. He's figured it out and he knows the answer but no one cares because god they're all gone. All gone and he has no idea where and there are tears streaming down his face again. He cries too much, but that's okay for right now. No body looks wrong at a baby who cries. Because that's what he is now, isn't he?

Isn't he?

Isn't this impossible?

Anything can be done with magic.

.

The other children are told not to play with him. Maybe he's a little grateful to be left alone for a little maybe maybe maybe Harry Ginny Mum Hermione Fred George Charlie Bill Percy they're all gone even lavender and dean and seamus they're all gone and there's no one left except children that he can't even talk to its sad its sad theyre all gone hes all alone all alone –

He's never been so alone in his life.

.

He looks at himself in the mirror and swallows nervously at the unfamiliar image. "My name," he says, his tongue still clumsy in his mouth so the words come out every so slightly warped, "is Ron Weasley." He's figured it out. He's figured it out so much so that he starts crying. Fortunately, nobody looks wrong at a baby who cries.

Everything is wrong. Wrong, it's completely wrong. The weather isn't right, the buildings are shaped weirdly, and there are four faces that tower above him. The language is even mixed up – he's not the best, but he can't even come close to recognizing the name. His head is fuzzy and he's short and everything is wrong.

So wrong, that each morning, he has to look at himself in the mirror and tell himself that he is himself, that strange boy in the mirror is Ron Weasley.

He brings a hand (it isn't shaking) up to his too-round face (it's not his), traces the features there. The freckles are nonexistent, replaced with tanned skin. The nose isn't long enough. The mouth is too wide. The hair is still bright, but almost yellow (not red, not red why not red).Whisker marks (he almost laughs again – he's a weasel now, isn't he?) adorn his cheeks. He clings to the one thing that remains similar about his appearance. At least his eyes are the same. Maybe not the shape (too squinty), but they're blue, and aren't eyes supposed to be windows to the soul?

"My name is Ron Weasley," he repeats, the little boy in the mirror echoing his words. He knows it isn't right. No matter how hard he tries, that little boy will never be Ron Weasley. That face does not belong to Ron Weasley.

He is that little boy.

He will never be Ron Weasley.

He will not cry.

.

They're Muggles. Wizards. Ron can't tell at all. Because sometimes they act so Muggle (They use eckeltricity, Ron! And plugs! Look here, son, I've got this collection-), they cook without wands (Ronald Weasley! Honestly, you cannot peel those potatoes with my wand!) and do most everything manually like washing up and traveling, but sometimes they do things that even he knowsare impossible without any magic. Like jumping to buildings that are ten feet away (Voldemort could fly). Without a wand (Voldemort did it without a wand). What the bloody he -

.

One day he looks back at the mirror and thinks, it doesn't matter, blue eyes staring determinately into blue. Maybe he's different on the outside, but he's still him ("Ronald Bilius Weasley-!"). He's still a Chudley Cannons fan ("-flying with the Cannons!"). He's still a Gryffindor (bravery, recklessness, all for glory and honor).

(And maybe other changes will happen, but -)

He'll make hell itself freeze over before anything like that changes.

.

Ron's hungry. He's always had an appetite, but now there's always a gnawing hunger in the pit of his stomach (he dreams sometimes of roast chicken and blocks of ice cream and pumpkin juice). He knows why. The matron of the orphanage (that's right he's an orphan no family no one) doesn't like him much. She 'forgets' to pack him a lunch sometimes. Not too often. That would be suspicious, and Ron knows that the old man (Hokage?) comes every so often just to make sure things are going along all right. But when she doesn't, the portions are small (not like the portions from Mum and from Hogwarts. no steak and kidney pie. brussel sprouts. ham. treacle tart -). Not enough to starve him. Not enough to make his ribs poke through his tiny body.

That would, again, be suspicious. No, she's subtle about it, and if it weren't so damn Slytherin, he would almost applaud her for it. She's smart. Sometimes, there's no rice (rice isn't his favorite, but still) with his lunch. Sometimes, no fish. Other times, they're both overcooked. Even worse are the times where his lunch is actually burned but he eats it anyway. He's too hungry not to.

But now, he's wandering around town. The orphanage takes the younger kids on a trip weekly (not the older ones, since they're old enough to take themselves) to see the village. See the faces mounted on the stone mountain (he wonders what they are). He clutches the small amount of pocket money each orphan gets, and looks for food. He's sorely tempted by a spinning orange top – he hasn't seen bright colors in ages (and the color reminds him of the Chudley Cannons) and the top is a kind of toy that he always sees the other children play with -

.

in a language that's he's not quite sure how to use. Sharp, short sounds. Clear and complete gibberish. But it's not like he could even try to come to them anyway. They all –

.

Nobody likes him anymore. Maybe nobody liked him before, but if they did, at least they were discreet about it. At least they didn't go up to his face and scream at him for existing. Sure, he might not be the most likeable person ever – Ron's not stupid, he knows that much – but Ron didn't think he was that bad. He wasn't that bad.

But the people here think so, and (even the nice old man – who vaguely reminds him of Dumbledore – thinks so. he doesn't say it, he speaks nicely and gives Ron treats but there's a hard glint in his eye when he smiles) they yell at him in a language he barely understands and he apologizes in rough broken words as he runs away. They come after him sometimes (to his relief, it's only the drunk ones. To his horror, it's only the drunk ones – the ones who have no restraint whatsoever). Ron doesn't know why – he's only three in this world. Only three, and what could a three year old do, anyway? He tries to fight back once (and that was completely mental but it's not like he ever claimed to be smart), swinging his fists wildly, and ends up dragging himself back with a black eye, a bruised back (a bruised everywhere, actually, but he's not going to say he can't handle it – he's a Gryffindor, there's no way he'll complain about that), and a dislocated shoulder (was it broken? he can never tell the difference anyway). His legs are too short (he's too short) and he can't run as fast as he used to, so Ron learns there's no use in complaining or crying or pouting or else they get angry.

Angry people aren't peaceful people.

Ron learns to smile or else.

.

The demon boy. The damned brat. Hellspawn. Freak (Harry smiles halfheartedly. "Yes, that's their name for me," and Ron thinks he knows what it's like). He's been called all that and more, and for the life of him, he can't figure out why. He's been cheerful (and being cheerful hurts so much but he's not allowed to do anything else) and agreeable and polite but they still don't like him. He doesn't understand and he'll probably never understand, but they give him another name too and he's fairly certain it's the one that belongs to this body.

"My name," he says slowly, rolling the strange syllables in his mouth, careful to say them all out correctly, "is Uzumaki Naruto."

He doesn't believe it.

.

There's a strange feeling somewhere in his torso. It's a type of energy, and when it's a really bad day, Ron reaches for it and he's instantly more warm and comfortable (memories of Harry, of Hermione, of the idea of family) than he's been for this entire life. But he can never grasp it for long and the feelings quickly drain away. Sometimes, it makes his day even worse as it returns back to cold and cruel, knowing that it could have been – it would have been – him feeling like that all the time instead of for only a precious few seconds.

It's been a bad day. He gets no food today, not even burnt. It's been raining, and he has no other clothing. A few drunk (Firewhisky, Firewhisky, he wishes that he could have even a little sip right now to burn down his throat) men chase him. He returns (the matron pretends not to see him dripping and shivering) to find that he's been kicked out of his bunk to accommodate a new orphan and put on a small cot (futon?) on the ground. There are no blankets. He's cold, he's hungry, and he's wet and he curls up in a ball (he misses butterbeer), grasping that feeling like he always does.

It goes away quickly.

But he is Ron Weasley.

He will go on without it.

.

- he turns away. He's already been turned down by maybe half the food stands around. He doesn't know why. But there's no point in wondering, since he'll probably never find out.

He smells something good and his head snaps up hopefully. He half-trudges, half-runs, following the scent (like a weasel, he'd laugh if he could if it didn't hurt), traveling around the stands he's already visited before he almost crashes into another one. He hasn't been to that one yet, but this time (sod being polite) – he scrambles onto the too tall stool – he's not leaving until they bodily drag him out.

The owner of the stand is an old man (not as old as The old man, who he thinks is someone), whose smile falters at the sight at him. It recovers, and there's a quick, somewhat cheerful sentence spat out at him. He thinks – he hopes – it's a greeting, and he tries to smile in return and orders something (at this point he doesn't care what since they haven't kicked him out yet the relief is getting to him), saying random words that he hopes have at least something to do with food.

The old man smiles and pushes a large, steaming bowl toward him. He stares at it in disbelief. Noodles. Soup. Eggs. Green onions. Meat. A bowl bigger than his head ("Hello-!" "-Darling mum-" "Of ours! So," "-let's - " "have another -" "-we're famished, really"). He awkwardly picks up the chopsticks.

This is more food than he's ever had in this entire life.

And it smells delicious.

He splatters broth and drops a few of the noodles ("Ron! Honestly. Don't you have any manners?"), but it's all swiftly devoured. He pushes the entirety of the money he brings into the old man's hand because even though he's still hungry, thankyou for giving him food and actually letting him sit and eat for once.

The old man frowns, says something that's still too complicated for him to understand. And pushes another bowl toward him. His eyes grow wide and he stutters something that sounds kind of like a thank you.

He finishes off five bowls before he leaves and he's completely full for the first time in his life.

.

Ron combines it with his daily ritual. Looks himself in the mirror. Notes the blond hair and tanned skin, before he repeats the name. "Uzumaki Naruto." Uzu. Maki. Naruto. Hmm. "I am Uzumaki Naruto." To be very honest, it sounds kind of funny to him. Though he really shouldn't be talking about that, considering that he considered pretty much everyone's name to be odd. There was no good, solid 'John' or 'Ann'. There wasn't even the pureblood's 'Perseus' or 'Sagitta' or 'Animus.' Just strange combinations of sharp, short syllables mashed together.

Like 'Hiroshi'. Or 'Kotatsu.' Or 'Daisuke'. Or 'Naruto.' What kind of name was 'Naruto'? He says it again, and he gets a vague impression of fishcakes and spirals.

…His name means fishcake?

That… that…no, that can't be…

What kind of parents did he have?

.

When Ron thinks he's alone, he walks into the closet, staring. "Up," he says." The orphanage brooms stay woodenly on the floor. Ron knows it's silly (he knows it won't work the brooms aren't charmed to respond), but one little bit of magic – just a little – would make him feel safer, make him feel a little less homesick (depressed). "Up!" he says stubbornly (stubborn, not determined there's a difference). A little bit of wandless magic – a little bit of accidental. Just a little, to know that he can still do it and it wasn't all a dream (as if it was a dream – anyone who says otherwise can sod off). And maybe he wasn't the best Quidditch player ("Weasley is our King! And that's why all the Gryffindors sing-"). But just a little - just a little!

He's been trying this for over two years, and nothing has ever happened.

One of the brooms rises a few inches.

Ron grins.

("Aw, ickle Ronniekins! So proud of yourself!")

It's a start.

.

Hokage, hokage. The old man was a Hokage, and he got the feeling it was something important, but he had no idea what. (He misses Hermione. Hermione would have known what that was. Or at least, would have figured out – she's smart.) What was so great about a Hokage?

He says as much out loud. Not to anyone in particular. That would be stupid (and he's not allowed to be that stupid anymore). But of course, this still earns him a cuff on the ear (it stings, but it will barely leave a mark – a very acceptable punishment for a child his age, he thinks wryly). He turns and sees the matron (he could've sworn she wasn't there earlier) with an angry frown on her face. "Show some respect!" she snaps. And just when it seems she's going to go into a tirade, he asks what a Hokage is.

This stops her in her tracks. She stares blankly at him and he stares down at his feet. They're wearing odd, strappy shoes. He wonders what they are. But it doesn't matter. He'll figure out anyway. Anyway? There's a dreadful feeling that's making his head hurt. He shouldn't have asked. He should not have asked. ("I shouldn't've told ya that. I should not have told ya that!") The villagers don't like questions. And if the matron didn't count as a villager, he'd eat his hat ("I'll eat myself if you find/A smarter hat than me!").

"The Hokage is the strongest person in the village." Ron looks up. The matron has a strange look on her face (it almost reminds him of Trelawney) and her voice is almost hesitant. "He is our leader and protector. That's why the faces of all of our Hokages are carved into the mountain. To look over the village. To guard us. To watch over us." She doesn't seem to be looking at him at all anymore. Her eyes are glazed over when she says, "They are our heroes."

"Oh." He thanks her. And he walks away.

Strongest person in the village.

("He's the strongest wizard ever!")

Protector of all.

("That's what he does, right?")

Heroes.

(And maybe it's because it reminds him so much of HarryHermioneDumbledoreeveryoneexcepthim, but -)

He thinks he likes the sound of that.

(Why not be the hero for once?)


A/N:

AAaaargh why am I writing this i have like four other stories i need to update. I know why. It's because of the plot bunnies. Darn you, plot bunnies. And Effloresco Secundus. Which is like this fic, but better and with Hermione. Go ahead, check it out. Plus, I never find any good Ron stories. No love for Ron. So this.

Plus, I get to write as a male character. Which is different. YAY DIFFERENT.

I wonder if I'll ever update this?

7/13/13 - I suppose it's obvious that I did.

Edit: 11/3/13: Just in case you didn't read the note up there. I really don't like the direction of where the fic's been going, so I'm rewriting it. Mainly because I never meant it to be so angsty. So. You won't be getting updates for a while now. Sorry about that.