A/N 1.0 - My thanks to Michele for the wonderful vision she possesses that helped give life to this little plot bunny. Any resemblance to any bar fight I may or may not have participated in is purely coincidental (my lawyer told me to say that since the statute of limitations hasn't quite expired on some of those more entertaining adventures of my youth. *grins*). Thanks also get sent out to Aibhinn for doing a bang-up beta job on this monster. It was a blast to write.
Oh – and in case you can't tell, the following contains some seriously violent imagery.
Harry had only just finished sealing his trunk when he heard a commotion in the hallway. Frowning, he reached out his hand towards his wand, which was on the desk by the window. "Accio wand" His wand soared into his hand, and had just turned to face the door when it burst open to reveal the towering shape of his once-best friend, Ron Weasley. Ron's hands were clenching at his sides as he walked stiffly towards Harry, jaw set and eyes flashing.
Bugger. He is not pleased to see me, is he?
Straightening up, Harry looked Ron in the eye – no mean feat given that Ron was now a good 6 inches taller than Harry was.
"Ron." Harry hoped that he was able to keep his voice neutral and his tone even as the tall red head stomped towards him. As he suddenly was flying backwards, Harry's next thought was that he hoped he'd be able to keep his head attached to his shoulders. Ron's strength had grown considerably since their days at Hogwarts and the fury he was feeding off of only served to increase that further.
So much for this being a civil meeting.
The Voice of Reason that provided a detached, unemotional look at his life stopped abruptly as Harry slammed into the wall behind him with a force that rattled his teeth and knocked half the wall hangings from their hooks. Shaking his head to clear the stars that were suddenly swimming in front of his eyes, he caught a glimpse of the a large blur approaching his head. Ducking out of sheer instinct, he was rewarded by Ron's explosive profanity after his fist went into the wall. Moving away quickly, Harry turned to see Ron wrench his now-bloodied hand from the wall and turn towards Harry with a murderous gleam in his eye.
"I guess this means you were serious when you said you'd kill me the next time you saw me, eh old friend?"
He's trying to separate your head from your shoulders and you're making jokes??? I hope they give whatever is left of you a nice burial.
"You miserable bastard. You pathetic, miserable excuse for a human being. HOW DARE YOU COME INTO OUR LIVES AGAIN!" Ron's roaring voice shook the wall hangings that hadn't been knocked down. Ron threw a quick right that Harry dodged easily and then quickly took several steps back.
"As always, Weasley, you think the universe revolves around you. Coming back into your lives again? Piss off you self-centered pig – I came back..."
Whatever Harry was about to say was cut short as Ron sent a quick thrust kick at Harry's rib. Spinning to his right to avoid the kick, Harry landed a quick jab to Ron's solar plexus that knocked the wind from the larger man.
"Ron, I could've lived the rest of my life quite happily without seeing your face ever again."
That's a lie. How many times did you lie in bed at night wishing that you had Ron around so you could talk to him?
Ron's head snapped up as his eyes burned holes in Harry's face. Expecting to see hatred in them, Harry was stopped short when he saw hurt, pain, and regret in them instead.
"You bastard – you made them cry again. Mum, Ginny, Hermione ... I'll kill you for making them cry again. I'll kill you for hurting them again." Ron's breathing was ragged, torn with emotion as much as from the punch Harry had landed moments ago.
"Oh for the love of God, Ron. What's it going to take to get you to pull your head out of your miserable arse? Do you honestly thi-"
Ron's roar interrupted whatever else Harry had planned on saying. Relying on reflexes honed as a Seeker those years ago at Hogwarts, Harry side stepped the tall red head's charge and brought his knee up into Ron's stomach. A smash of both fists to Ron's back sent him tumbling out of the room where he came to a crashing halt in the hallway an instant later.
As he stepped out of the room and stood over Ron, Harry bent over slightly while he struggled to catch his breath. "Are you tired of this yet or shall we pound on each other a while longer? This is pointless, as well as childish, and quite frankly I'd much rather get a good night's sleep than kick your sorry brains all over the carpet, you imbecile."
Sleep? More like pass out. Ron's very strong and those shots he's landed on you are going to leave some brilliant bruises come the morning.
"KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY WIFE AND SISTER!" Slowly, like Leviathan rising from the depths, Ron stood. He turned to face his former mate with a look of utter contempt on his face.
"What's the matter, Potter? Is the Muggle world not worshipping at your feet enough for your tastes? Is that why you came back? You just couldn't stay away from the endless adoration, could you? You know something, old friend, you're no better than Malfoy. At least he was up front about his shameless self-promotion and public whoring!"
Harry froze as Ron's words struck his heart. Of all the things that Ron could've said to him, that hurt the most. Being compared to Draco Malfoy of all people was somehow stepping the invisible line that they had never crossed before. They had argued (What friends haven't?), but to sink to this level? Unthinkable, especially from Ron.
Ron took advantage of Harry's shock. Striding forward quickly Ron unloaded a hay maker right that, had it connected, would've easily rendered Harry into a state not unlike Gilderoy Lockhart's after the botched Memory Charm in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry moved to block the incoming strike when suddenly Ron dropped his shoulder and rolled his arm forward. Instead of a right cross, Ron swung his arm down and around to bring the side of his fist crashing against Harry's temple. Spinning quickly on his heel, Ron brought his elbow around in a quick strike that caught the staggered Harry and sent him to his knees. Seizing a handful of Harry's ever-unruly hair, Ron lifted him up before punching him in rapid succession in the face.
Blood flowed freely from Harry's nose and a cut opened up under his right eye from Ron's relentless assault. Realizing he had to act before he was no longer capable of acting, Harry did the only thing he could – he went low. No man ever takes pride in hitting another man there, but he knew that Ron wasn't going to let up just because there happened to be a little blood on his face.
OK, he wants to play rough. We can play rough too.
Ron released Harry immediately and let loose a quick gasp of pain. Ron's hands began to reach towards his groin as he slowly sank to his knees. Taking a quick breath to help clear his head, Harry grabbed Ron's bright red hair, lifted his former friend's head back, then slammed it forward where it stopped abruptly upon connecting with the knee he was lifting to greet it. Harry repeated this twice more, unleashing a torrent of blood from Ron's nose that seemed to mirror his own. Seizing Ron by his hair and the back of his trousers, Harry tossed him down the hallway away from him.
Wearily, both men got to their feet. Blood flowed freely down both of their faces. Their clothing was ripped and torn; bruises forming on their arms and chest from the flurry of blows that had been thrown as well as blocked. Ron's right eye was starting to swell shut and Harry didn't even want to begin to guess where his glasses were or what condition they might have been in.
Ron cut loose a standing side kick that Harry turned slightly into and absorbed. Harry reached in, grabbed a double handful of Ron's shirt, stepped in close, pivoted, and had planned on flipping Ron onto his back, when suddenly gravity played a cruel joke on both of them. Ron's weight sent both him and Harry tumbling down the stairs – arms and legs akimbo. A chorus of grunts and exclamations of pain echoed up the stairwell as the two tumbled their way down. A very distinct pair of "oomphs" signaled that their journey had come to an abrupt and painful stop.
Ow. That's going to hurt in the morning. Assuming we live to see the morning, that is.
With a growl, Ron levered his feet underneath Harry's body and sent him across the room. Harry found the sensation of flying without benefit of a broom to be quite unique, but he decided his landing needed a bit of work as he careened into several patrons who were nursing butterbeers. The commotion within the tavern came to a sudden and complete halt as all eyes turned towards the two men who seemed hell-bent on rending each other limb from limb. Madame Rosmerta, herself no stranger to the occasional barroom brawl, stood open-mouthed in shock as she saw the two men tearing into each other.
Harry stood up quickly as Ron stalked towards him. With a quick flip of his wrist, Harry used wandless magic to send an empty table into Ron from behind. The impact caused Ron to stumble, but he still manage to land a wild right that caught Harry high in the chest. Harry grunted in pain and staggered back. Ron took advantage of the opportunity to get to his feet and assume a more traditional battle stance. Hand-to-hand combat had fallen out of favor for the Wizarding community as a whole, but the Aurors continued to recognize its importance. Many years ago a self-defense instructor had told Harry, "An enemy can't use his wand against you when his arm is broken in 3 places." From the look in Ron's eyes, it would seem as if Ron was going to break his arm in 3 places, then break it three times again just for good measure.
Quick as lightning, Ron jabbed at Harry's face and was rewarded with seeing Harry's right eye take on a decided puffiness. Ron tried to capitalize, but his follow-up left was caught in Harry's defense, allowing his former friend to grab hold of him and flip him onto a table. In the table's defense, it didn't want to break, but the sudden introduction of one Ronald Weasley left it with little choice.
Harry tried to kick at Ron as he lay sprawled on the ground, but found himself suddenly hurtling towards the ground as Ron took both his legs out from under him. The next sensation he felt was Ron grabbing him by the hair as he was yanked upwards. With a grunt, he launched a quick upper cut that snapped Ron's head back. Ron returned the favor by bringing his hands down in knife-edge fashion onto Harry's shoulders. Grimacing in pain, Harry caught Ron with a left hook that landed with a satisfying crack that he hoped was Ron's jaw breaking and not his hand. Ron spit out a mouthful of blood that answered Harry's question when suddenly he heard Madame Rosmerta begin to shriek at them at the top of her voice.
"What in the name of all that's holy do you two infantile idiots think you are doing?"
Madame Rosmerta is still as gorgeous as always. Hopefully I'll live long enough to pay her the compliment.
Harry feinted a quick jab to Ron's left side before he exploded with a kick that caught Ron on his exposed side. The taller man stumbled and managed to stay upright only when he grabbed onto a chair that was in his path. With a feral snarl, he grabbed the chair and slammed it into Harry's exposed ribs. Harry was knocked over several feet before he collapsed to the ground, pain etched on his features.
"Hurts, doesn't it, you pathetic bastard. You've earned all this and more for abandoning us all these years, you miserable swine!"
Ron's words echoed in a nearly empty room, as all the customers that had been there had since run screaming in their rush to avoid the two combatants.
Casting his own wandless Summoning Charm, Ron brought another chair to him that he raised and slammed into Harry's chest. Harry coughed and a rain of blood landed on the floor around him. With an almost-satisfied smirk on his face, Ron reached down to pick Harry up off the floor and dragged him to his feet. Suddenly he doubled over in pain as Harry drove a murderous right hand into his midsection. With a burst of energy that he shouldn't have had, Harry wrenched himself free of Ron's grasp, picked up the larger man, and dropped him onto the nearest undamaged table. However, Ron grabbed hold of him as he fell and took Harry down with him. Harry was vaguely aware of Madame Rosmerta finally over-coming her shock as she began yelling at the beginning of her lungs.
"YOU IDIOTS!" she bellowed. "I'm going to nail both of your misbegotten arses to the wall for this!!!"
Ron tried to roll on top of Harry, but Harry was trying to do the same to Ron. In between, they threw quick punches at each other as they tried to gain some sort of advantage. People who had been standing at the doorway to the tavern tried to pull the two apart, but found themselves flung backwards by wayward fists and feet. Almost immediately the most adventurous onlooker at the doorway saw the wisdom in letting the two ‘hammer' out their differences.
Once he realized the futility in trying to pin the larger man to the floor, Harry rolled away from Ron and rose shakily to his feet. Several feet away from him, Ron painfully struggled to rise as well.
OK, time to end this while we're both in one piece – more or less.
Quick as lightning, Harry raised both his head and his arm in Ron's direction. Summoning the last of his strength, he bellowed "Petrificus Totalus!" He watched as Ron's body flew across the room, suddenly stiff as a board, and crashed into the bar. Harry turned slightly to see Madame Rosmerta come out from behind the bar with her wand and what looked to be a Muggle baseball bat, wailing at the top of her lungs and using language that would've made a hardened sailor blush to the roots of his hair.
Well Potter, this is certainly a fine mess you've gotten us into.
And with that, Harry collapsed to the floor, one hand clutched painfully to his ribs, as he heard someone shriek for Heath to call the MLES.