The Sugar Quill
Author: Marix (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Only Tears Can Heal  Chapter: Default
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Ron hasn’t spoken to me for two months. Actually, he hasn’t spoken to anyone. He just sits in his bedroom and stares out the window. The seasons have changed, and a blanket of snow covers the Burrow’s back yard, but I doubt he even sees it. From the despairing look on his face, my guess is that all he can see is than night replayed over and over.

Everyone says he’ll snap out of it, that he’ll find his way past the shock, but I’m not so sure. I know how much Harry meant to him, to the both of us. He was more than the Boy Who Lived, more than the hero of an age, he was our friend. I know Ron, better than I know anyone, and I know that he wishes he had died for Harry that day. I worry that he still might.

That farce they’re now calling a battle robbed me of my two best friends. Harry may have died, but Ron spends every day trapped in his own private hell. I know he feels guilty. I want to tell him he shouldn’t. I want to make him understand how much I need him here, but I can’t get through and this helplessness is slowly killing me.

I used to yell at him, scream that he was a coward just to lie there and avoid the rest of the world. It didn’t have any effect on him, and it only made me feel worse. Now I just hold his hand, trying to offer whatever comfort I can.

 


 

Ron responds now, when you talk to him. He takes walks in the garden and picks the early flowers. He always smiles for his mother, but I can still see the vacant look in his eyes.

Everyone says he’s making progress, but it feels like he’s slipping further away. He treats me like a casual acquaintance. He likes to talk about the weather, and answers my questions with polite detachment. I used to struggle to hide my tears, until I realized he doesn’t even notice.

"Ron," I say, attempting a conversational tone, "Do you remember Harry Potter?"

His eyes are vacant as he looks through me. "Of course I do," he replies in that maddeningly detached tone of his, "I killed him, you know."

A thousand tiny daggers pierce my heart. "No, Ron," I whisper, "Voldemort killed him."

Ron just shrugs, as if the matter wasn’t terribly important. "Well, I didn’t do much to stop him, did I?" He frowns slightly, the first show of emotion I’ve seen from him in almost half a year, "Why didn’t I try to stop him?"

Molly comes in then, bringing his lunch on a tray. Ron retreats back behind his wall, smiling blankly at his mother, and I want to scream in frustration that all my progress has been lost. Why didn’t I try to stop him? The cruelest part of his affliction is how he can’t even remember the answer.

 


 

Summer is coming. The days are beautiful and sunny, but I can’t bear to go outside. Ron is much the same; never sad, never angry…never really there. I realize now that I love him. I always have…just as he always loved me. It breaks my heart to think that I may never really be able to tell him.

Everyone says that time heals all wounds, but mine are just growing deeper and more painful. Sometimes I creep into his room when he’s asleep. Without the constant reminder of his dead eyes, I can pretend that he’s still the Ron I love. I lay down next to him, rest my head on his shoulder and tell him all my worries and regrets.

"Ron," I whisper, "I miss you. I keep thinking of that time in Seventh Year, when you asked me to marry you...do you remember? …Right in the middle of Charms? I just laughed; we were so young. Then, well, there never seemed to be any time, but I want you to know …I do love you."

He stirs suddenly and my heart catches in my throat. "You can’t," he rasps.

I sit up and stare at him in amazement. His eyes are closed, but I can see tears brimming in the corners. "What did you say?"

His eyes open, and the clarity of his gaze amazes me. "You can’t love me," he insists, "I am a worthless human being who let his best friend die."

"It isn’t your fault."

He continues as if he hadn’t heard me. "I was standing right between the two of you. I saw Voldemort point his wand at Harry, but I didn’t stop him. I didn’t even try, because…" he chokes back a sob, "…because I could see Malfoy pointing his wand at you."

"Ron, sometimes life forces us to make appalling choices. You could only have saved one of us. If you had to do it again, would you have chosen Harry?"

I waited an eternity for him to respond. "No, Hermione, I would still save you. God help me, I’ll always choose you."

 

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
And only tears can heal.

From "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde

 

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