A/N: A first try at
fanfiction in general. Forgive the all-around 'green-horn-ness'... I'd
be grateful for any type of feedback. No-one seems to love Ron enough,
so I had a go at writing him his own story. (Yes, Ron, we all love you...
you and your spiders and your touchy moments...) If you like it, review;
if you don't like it, review anyway. If it's acceptable I'll write the
next parts (in which I shall gather sufficient material to make a complete
fool of myself).
Disclaimer: All characters
except 'spooky (I wish) hooded figures' belong to Joanne Kathleen Rowling.
in the bleak midwinter
/ frosty wind made moan / earth stood hard as iron / water like a stone
Winter at Hogwarts was usually
bearable, as long as one had the warm fires of the common rooms, friends
to talk to, and the promise of Christmas, not to mention Madam Pomfrey’s
Pepper-Up Potion. This winter, however, was proving itself to be quite
So far, winters at Hogwarts had never been unbearably cold. Snow
had not yet fallen, but the grounds were bleak and wet and the wind blew
fit to knock over any students who wandered out. Practical study of Care
of Magical Creatures was abandoned, taught instead in the relative warmth
of a spare classroom, Hagrid explaining the theory in a booming voice
that echoed ‘round the four walls. Draco Malfoy’s face seemed more pinched
and white than ever, his slender frame now painfully thin.
In the deserted, cold library, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger
were working on an Astronomy chart and trying to forget about the ravaging
cold that was making its presence known outside, howling and battering
the walls of the castle. Ron was yawning and watching Hermione bend over
the Astronomy chart, the dim light doing strange things to her hair, making
it soft and foamy and tumbled. It suited her.
‘I give up,’ he said at length, tossing her the book that he had
been pretending to pore over for the past hour. ‘Let’s just go back up
to the common room, shall we? Harry will be wondering where we are.’
‘Ron, your homework isn’t finished…’ The cold had crept into her
voice, making it low and soft and almost windy. It was nice, Ron thought
sleepily. ‘Are you sure?’
‘It’s the weekend.
I can always finish it another time.’ He put his quill back into his pocket.
‘My brain won’t work. It’s all fogged up.’ He stretched his too-long arms,
a subtle invitation to sleep; ‘I’m tired.’
‘So am I.’ He looked at her then, and realised with a pang that
he had been keeping her there too long; her eyes were shadowed and her
He half-stood guiltily. ‘I’d better take you up – shouldn’t have
taken all your time –’
‘Nonsense, Ron, you know you need it.’ She laughed softly. ‘Besides,
I don’t think I want to go up – face Parvati and Lav, and everybody talking…’
Looking around, she ran her hand through her hair, the curls tumbling
over her shoulders. Ron wondered why he was suddenly noticing everything.
‘It’s nice here.’
Ron threw a disbelieving look at the library, at its cold stone
floor, tired lamps giving off a dim light, the rows of books that only
Hermione was totally familiar with. ‘Here? But Hermione, it’s –’
‘I know,’ she said, thumping the book closed, ‘but… it’s different,
here. We’re alone. It’s… nice.’
If I didn’t know her so well, Ron thought, I’d be worried
about the connotations of that speech.
‘All right,’ he said, throwing up his hands. ‘We’ll stay here. For a
while. After that it’s back to your dorm for you.’ ‘Yes, Father,’
she said, giggling quietly. ‘Actually, I could just sleep here.’ And she
leant her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes.
‘Hermione, are you crazy?’ he laughed, his shoulders shaking
her head slightly.
‘We really need to get you back upstairs. I think you’ve been working
too much…. Hermione?’ He looked down at her, or at least what he could
see of her, her curly brown hair and the tip of her nose and shoulder.
She was asleep.
He groaned, but decided not to wake her up. She had looked so tired,
so stressed. It was the ever-present cold, he realised, that was drugging
their senses, sending the harsh whisper of the wind into their ears. Shifting
slightly, he looked at her sideways. Maybe he’d just let her sleep for
a little while, and wake her when it was time…
Bang. Something hit him like a Bludger on the Quidditch
pitch, and for a moment he was stunned.
Suddenly he had the strangest urge to take her face in both hands
and kiss her.
She looked so peaceful in her sleep; he could just see the tip
of her nose from the corner of his eye. Ordinary girl, but very very strange
feelings. He felt sure she was going to be woken up by the sound of his
heart trying to get out of his chest. Maybe he was going mad, just like
everyone else this winter.
Ron Weasley, you do
not kiss your best friend.
You just don’t.
I want to.
He shook his head angrily, her head rocking slightly on his shoulder.
It was too strange, this feeling. Almost as though she wasn’t only his
best friend, but something more. And his motto was, strange out!
Looking down at her, he suddenly really, really wanted to kiss
the tip of her nose and her eyes and her mouth and…
Stop thinking about that.
I don’t want to. His second voice was mutinous. I
He couldn’t answer that. Didn’t want to. If he even tried to put
this feeling into words he would explode. Expressing himself had never
been his forte anyway. It was like watching the stars at night, like getting
a brainwave in the middle of Potions class, it was like summer and flowers
and everything the opposite of this goddamn winter…
In other words, he really, really wanted to kiss her.
He had to be content with slipping an arm around her to caress
the slope of her shoulder and arm, with letting his fingers play in her
hair, tugging gently at the overabundant curls that had plagued her for
almost her entire life. He had always thought critically that she had
too much hair.
How could I? I love it.
That more-than-best-friends feeling was becoming dangerously prevalent.
And finally he couldn’t stand it any more, and, taking her by the
shoulders, gently turned her around and almost kissed her on the
There was a cold hand on his shoulder, and Ron looked up into the
face of Madam Pince; finally removed from the desk behind which she had
sheltered for the duration of the miserably inclement weather, she wore
no friendly expression. He gulped.
‘Mr. Weasley,’ she said softly, ‘we will have none of that in my
library. Please remove yourself.’ She glanced down at the slumbering Hermione.
‘And her. Besides, it is after hours.’ She turned and left for her desk,
robes swishing behind her like a vanishing threat once the victim has
He had no choice but to shake her awake. ‘Hermione? Hermione?’
‘Yes?’ She looked up with sleepy eyes.
‘We have to go.’ He cast an anxious look at Madam Pince, who was
eyeing them. ‘It’s – it’s after hours.’ Not to mention that if you
don’t get the hell out of here I am going to give up resisting and kiss
‘All right.’ She climbed up him like an arthritic bean, standing
up and rubbing her eyes, stretching her arms to the side instead of into
the air like most people. He tried not to look at her. ‘What time is it?’
Her voice was still windy and soft and low. He tried not to listen.
‘I don’t know,’ he half-whispered.
‘Let’s go up, then,’ she said, gathering up his
Astronomy chart and their textbooks and the ink-bottle. ‘Thank you.’
She smiled, eyes crinkling, and pushed him to the door. Why
hadn’t he ever noticed how sweet it was to watch her eyes crinkling? ‘For
letting me stay down here. Come on, let’s go up to the common room, Father.’
As they walked along the corridor he felt a pang of something that was
painful in its sweetness: he was no more than a friend to her. No more
than a friend. Surrogate father, best friend. The more-than-best-friends
feeling wouldn’t allow him to think about that.
Hey, wait a moment. Why are you dwelling on that? You don’t
want to be more than best friends, do you?
She whispered the password, and they entered the common room, the
fire stoked down, Harry sitting alone staring into it. Ron felt a pang
of guilt for leaving him alone, but suppressed it. He was Harry Potter.
He didn’t need anyone.
‘Hey,’ he said, as the other two sat down next to him. ‘Where’ve
‘Library,’ said Ron, his voice slightly clearer than it had been.
‘I’m tired,’ said Harry moodily. ‘Let’s go to bed, shall we?’
‘Good night, then,’ said Hermione, putting an arm around Harry.
‘Don’t look so glum. It’s the weekend.’ Harry grinned half-heartedly at
the idea of Hermione saying something like that, and allowed Ron to pull
him up to the dormitory. The red-haired boy was slightly glad to leave
Hermione at the bottom of the stairs, to get rid of this strange feeling
that he was vigorously trying to squash.
‘Are you all right, Harry?’ he asked in concern, turning to his
other best friend, one for whom, thankfully, he felt no untoward sentiments.
Harry looked tired, almost haggard, his head drooping, eyes shadowed like
‘Yes, I’m fine – just tired.’ He gave his friend a tired smile
and flopped onto his bed, a bundle of robes, not bothering to undress.
Ron shook his head, dropping onto his bed in turn. Long limbs huddled
under the sheets, he stared at the darkness formed by the box of the curtains,
thinking (or trying not to). He was determined to forget about that evening
in the library. He hadn’t been himself. She must never know what he had
been thinking… even he didn’t want to remember what he had been
How could he have wanted to do that? To kiss her, to press his
lips to her eyelid and the tip of her nose and of course her own lips…
Typical me, he thought. Attack of the hormones, aimed
directly at my best friend. I am going to forget all about this
and treat her like the best friend she is.
It would have been nice to just press his lips to hers, even for
a moment, just to know what it would feel like…
He was asleep.
How are you this morning,
Harry?’ Hermione asked, pouring maple syrup over Ron’s pancakes, something
oddly motherly she did every day. He took the plate from her gently, looking
in turn at Harry, who looked much more cheerful as he sliced his pancake
‘Fine,’ he said half-apologetically. ‘I’m sorry; it’s just that
I can’t stand the winter. It’s so bleak and cold and horrible –’ Breaking
off with a shudder, he bit off a mouthful of pancake.
‘I know,’ Hermione said comfortingly, ‘but it’ll be over soon,
and anyway the Christmas holidays begin in a week. Are you going home,
‘No,’ said Ron, slicing his pancake in turn. ‘I don’t feel like
enduring Percy’s job description, thank you very much. I’d have more fun
here anyway, common room fire and all.’ He was pleased to realise that
the strange feelings of last night had disappeared, and grinned at Harry,
who grinned back.
Then he turned his head and looked at Hermione, who was pouring
maple syrup over her own pancakes, her curly brown hair tumbling over
her shoulders almost as though uncombed. Her face was groggy but peaceful,
a wholly unfamiliar look for Hermione, who was usually terribly stressed
if tired. And that strange feeling flooded right through him again, leaving
him breathless and terrified. What if he were to just lean over and kiss
her, right there, over her pancakes? Would anyone notice?
Of course they’ll notice. Are you off your nut?
He squashed it firmly and took a mouthful of breakfast. Harry was
saying something about Quidditch.
‘…of course there won’t be any more Quidditch practice,’ he said
dolefully, ‘not with Professor McGonagall banning all matches until the
cold spell is over… Ron, are you listening?’
‘Yes,’ said Ron promptly, ‘and I think it’s unfair.’
‘You’re right,’ said Harry. ‘It is unfair. We were scheduled to
smash Slytherin…’ He sighed. ‘Oh well, we can always do that after the
winter. But a team doesn’t perform half as well without practice…’
‘You’re becoming another Wood, Harry,’ Hermione said gently. ‘Don’t
worry so much. You have an excellent team.’ She smiled at Ron, who had
been taken onto the team as a Chaser. He was intensely proud of it, and
was just as intense in practice.
‘I suppose you’re right,’ said Harry, getting up. ‘Do either of
you want to go for a walk?’
Ron was startled. ‘Outside, and in the cold?’
‘I find it invigorating – god knows I need a little waking up.’
Harry yawned. ‘It’s all right if you don’t want to –’ His face was full
of the innocent yearning that Ron could never resist.
‘All right, all right,’ said Hermione, grinning. ‘Harry, you must
have been very cute as a baby. Very, very cute.’
‘Why?’ asked Harry, his eyes flying wide. ‘There aren’t any pictures
of me as a baby. Well – except that one in the –’ He coughed loudly. ‘Well.
Ron grinned. ‘I was an extraordinarily ugly infant. My mother thought
I was going to grow up a giraffe.’ He looked down at his lengthy frame,
almost a foot taller than Hermione. ‘She was right.’
They got up, walking down the corridors that seemed to ooze with
a tangible, uncomfortable cold which invaded bones and minds and voices.
The air that hit them in the face as soon as they exited the castle and
entered the grounds was sharp but somehow not fresh, as though it had
originated very far away. Ron walked slowly, his hands in the pockets
of his robes, letting the wind hit him in the face. He worked on pretending
Hermione wasn’t there, but it didn’t work very well, especially when she
was walking right next to him. The strange feeling seemed to come in short,
devastating bursts, leaving him tottering.
‘It’s nice out here,’ said Harry finally as they reached the secluded
portion of trees near the lake that they usually leaned against when they
wanted to think. ‘Even if it is cold. Actually – I think it’s colder
inside the castle.’
‘You’re right,’ Hermione agreed thoughtfully. ‘The air is stale
out here. It’s strange.’
It was still cold, Ron thought resentfully, and he was about to
‘There’s something wrong about this winter,’ said Harry,
his voice rising in plaintive vehemence. ‘It’s unnatural. Paranormal.
I don’t know – it’s just not supposed to be like this.’
‘Never mind, Harry,’ said Hermione, patting him on the shoulder.
‘It’ll clear up. Spring will come soon enough.’
‘Can’t come too soon,’ muttered Ron, one long leg up against the
rough bark. ‘I really think Harry’s right. There’s something unnatural
about all this cold.’
‘Nonsense,’ said Hermione, somehow not sounding quite so sure of
herself. ‘You’ve not been sleeping enough during Divination lessons. It’s
just like something she would say. “Foreboding! Doom! Death!”’
Ron laughed, but only half-heartedly. They continued to stare out
over the lake, looking over the frozen water to an inner fantasy that
none could understand but each knew in their own clumsy way.
The winter moon that rose
to shine over the castle found Ron Weasley staring out of the window,
forehead pressed against the glass, trying in vain to comprehend the latest
Strange Feelings. It wasn’t working. The sheets were wrapped around
him in an effort to keep out the cold.
He felt strangely light-headed, as though he was floating above
himself, each breath taking him higher and higher and higher… Perhaps
this was what they called ‘ascension’. It felt like flying, felt like
he was under the Imperius curse and feeling that slow relaxed state of
Movement caught his eye in the grounds just outside the Forbidden
Forest. He blinked and shook his head to clear it, regretfully bringing
himself back down to earth, and looked out, squinting. It was a group
of seven people, all tall, all hooded. They had come out of the Forest
into the clearing, forming a circle of hooded figures in the clearing.
No, I’m not, said the voice which had earlier been mutinous.
This is real.
The circle looked more like a pentagon. Professor Binns, in a dry
voice like chalk snapping: ‘Pentagons were a source of power for strong
Dark Magic and other wild sources…’ There were two people in the centre,
one robed in black, one robed in white. They both held daggers. Even from
the window Ron saw the moonlight glinting off the blade.
They were moving, joining, separating. A complicated dance of the
two elements in the centre, who were hopelessly intertwined, stabbing
with their daggers into the cold night air, seeming to pierce the veil
of the world and to let something in…
They had let in the cold. Ron didn’t so much see it as sense it.
He could feel it, could hear the hiss of escaping death, see the faint
luminous glow of the white-robed one’s cowl, feel the freezing cold that
seemed to be driving at him from all directions… He covered his eyes and
toppled to the floor.
And so they found him in the morning, the four other sixth-year
boys staring worriedly down at a mass of long limbs and tousled red hair
and a face paler than the winter snow hopelessly tangled in the crimson
Gryffindor sheets. The face was cold to the touch.