Ron Weasley sighed as he lay on his lumpy bed at number twelve, Grimmauld Place. This summer should have been brilliant. Harry and Hermione should have been there, and Harry should have finally been able to spend some real time with Sirius.
Instead, Ron was alone. Harry had gone back to those stupid Muggles, and Hermione wasn't allowed to come to Grimmauld Place. And Sirius… none of them would ever see Sirius again.
Ron swallowed against the burning in his throat and his gaze avoided the scars on his arms. To get his mind off the end of his fifth year at Hogwarts, he wondered how Hermione was and if she'd gotten his cheer-up package yet. He had no idea what had possessed him to send it, maybe Ginny's nagging had been a major contributor, but he was anxious to see what she thought.
Belatedly, he had sent Harry one too, though that had been much trickier, as he hadn't wanted to put anything from Grimmauld Place in there. He wasn't expecting an answer from his best mate, knowing only from Remus that Harry was still at the Dursley's, and claiming that he was "fine."
Ron was just starting to wish he had a Quaffle to mess around with when his sister sped into his room, a look of sheer panic on her face. Ron was on his feet in a shot. If he hadn't have known better, he would have sworn that he'd Apparated to stand in front his sister.
"Ginny?" He tried to keep the panic from his voice, knowing that he'd failed miserably.
"H-have you gotten a letter from Hermione lately?"
Before Ron could answer her question, Pig flew through the open window and for the first time since the owl had become Ron's, he didn't fly around the room like a crazed maniac. Instead, he flew straight to Ron, holding out his leg in mid air so that Ron could remove the letter that was attached to it.
"Ginny, what is this?" Ron felt like his heart was in his throat as he started to unroll the parchment, looking at his sister and hoping that nothing had happened to the Grangers. Had he been thinking clearly, he knew that had something happened, Hermione would be there at Order headquarters with them.
"Just read the letter Ron," Ginny said sympathetically. "I'll come back in twenty minutes or so."
Without another word, the youngest Weasley left her brother to read the letter that would change his life.
Oh Merlin. There's no easy way to say this, and I hate saying it in a letter but you need to know and there's no one I can talk to like I know I can talk to you.
Ron took a big gulping breath. With an opening like that, it was no wonder he didn't want to read on. Concern for his friend--and something else he didn't want to name--urged him to.
My parents, who I'm currently not talking to, want to remove me from Hogwarts and place me in Muggle schooling. They seem to be under the impression that I could have actually died in the Department of Mysteries. Honestly, they are
Ron sank down onto his bed, hardly believing what he'd just read. Hermione Granger, not attend Hogwarts? It was the most outrageous thing he'd ever heard, and had he not sensed the gravity of the situation, he would have laughed.
Me. Not at Hogwarts. That would be like telling Dobby he had to go back to the Malfoys. Or you that you couldn't go for the Chudley Cannons anymore. Or Harry that he had to stay at the Dursley's for the rest of his life. Maybe it's like all of those things bundled together, but they only told me two days ago and I haven't let myself think about it yet. Not really.
So I'm turning to you. You have to help me Ron, please? I know we haven't always been on the best of terms but you're the only hope I've got. Despite all the fights and… well, the tension there sometimes is between us, no one knows me like you do and I know that you'll do everything you can to stop my parents making this final decision.
Please write back and tell me everything's going to be ok. You're the only person I'll believe.
Ron re-read the letter at least three times before dropping it and racing downstairs to Ginny's room. He burst in without knocking, and was shocked to find his sister crying on her bed. He'd never seen her cry like this before, not even after the Chamber of Secrets. She wasn't making a sound, but her whole body was rocking slightly
He'd never felt more scared.
"Ginny?" He had to swallow the lump in his throat as he made his way to her bed. "Ginny, you know about Hermione?"
Instead of answering him, Ginny threw her arms around his neck and sniffled in his shoulder.
"I'm so sorry Ron. I know this must be hard for you." She lifted her head off Ron's shoulder and smiled at him grimly through her tears.
Ron took a deep breath and nodded, not knowing what he was supposed to do next. He had hoped he would find comfort in Ginny and it was a surprise to find himself in the position of comforter.
"I think we should tell Mum," Ginny said after a while.
"She's so busy Ginny, and stressed enough as it is."
"Yes, but she loves Hermione, Ron. She might be able to tell the Grangers, help them understand. She could talk about how she nearly lost two of her children that night. If anyone could convince them that Hogwarts is the safest place in the world, it's Mum."
Ron nodded again and felt a smile tug at the corners of his mouth. Ginny was right. They had to tell Mrs. Weasley.
A/N Special thanks as always to Sarah and Tari… you girls rock