Ron stood up triumphantly, looking down at the Death Eater unconscious at his feet. He wiped his brow and looked around the scene, his wand at the ready.
To his left he saw Ginny having a little trouble with Crabbe senior. Growling, he moved forward and pointed his wand. After muttering a few choice words he watched Crabbe fall to the ground with a thud and Ginny sigh with relief. He moved forward and wrapped her in a brief hug.
“Thanks, Ron,” she whispered.
“No problem, Gin. Now be careful!” he reprimanded her.
They both turned, back to back. Brother with sister. Both of them looked outward, searching for a purpose in the battle, or a friend to help. Ron found his thoughts wandering to Harry as he watched the battle before him. He hoped he was all right.
Looking at Ginny and her at him, they both nodded before stepping forward to resume the fight.
As he watched Ginny rush forward to help Luna, he scanned his eyes around until he saw her. Hermione. She was fine, and he was happy to see a pile of Death Eaters at her feet. She could definitely look after herself, that one. Nevertheless being near her comforted him. He would always be there. And he would always make sure nothing happened to her.
Suddenly, three Death Eaters surrounded him, each with their wand raised. He cocked his head and a smirk spread across his face. He raised his wand.
* * * * *
Ginny moved forward to help Luna with her battle against a particularly strong Death Eater. She gasped as he lifted his head and she glimpsed his face. Lucius Malfoy stood before her, his face contorted into an evil grin.
“Look who it is,” he spat gleefully.
Ginny raised her wand, a powerful spell halfway out of her mouth before Malfoy quickly disarmed her.
She watched in horror as Luna dropped to the floor beside her. Her throat hitched. She ached to bend forward to see whether Luna was alive but she would never expose her bare neck to Malfoy. Her breath was heavy, her hair lay limp at her shoulders and her heart thudded in her chest. She stood up straight; ready to face whatever Malfoy would send her.
“Little Ginny Weasley.” Malfoy spoke vindictively, in a bare whisper that made her shudder. He stepped forward bringing his wand to rest in the crook of her neck. Slowly he moved it along her throat. She was beginning to shake from the fear, but not before she saw him step out of the shadows defiantly to stand behind Malfoy. She could practically see the power radiating from him and she almost smiled. Almost.
“Goodbye,” she whispered to Malfoy. She saw the shocked look on his face before he then flew through the air and landed in a heap about two hundred metres away, blood oozing from his head. Harry dropped his wand.
Ginny collapsed to the ground, strong arms wrapped around her.
“I have to go,” he whispered
She nodded but immediately crawled forward, out of his grasp, to inspect Luna.
‘Please,’ she thought. ‘Please no’**
She felt for Luna’s wrist. It was still. Gasping, she recoiled, looking at Luna’s lifeless body in horror. She brought a hand to her mouth.
“No!” A voice echoed through the air. It was extremely familiar.
She whipped her head around. The air was full of screams but this particular scream lashed out to her, piercing her heart.
Her eyes locked on the scene and her breath stopped at what she saw, and the world went black.
* * * * *
He knocked out the last Death Eater with his fist. The satisfying crack, when fist connected with jaw, satisfied his anger.
Macnair fell to the ground in a heap. Ron lifted his hand to wipe away the blood that oozed from a gash on his cheek. It stung, but he ignored the pain.
He looked to the distance. A familiar flash of red hair made his eyes linger. He saw Lucius Malfoy with his wand against Ginny’s neck and he clenched his fists. He stopped, however, when he saw a familiar figure with jet-black hair raise his wand. An expression of pure hate etched across his features. He needn’t worry about Gin; she was under the best protection possible. The protection that was Harry Potter, and despite himself, he smiled. Sick pleasure pumping his veins as Malfoy hurtled painfully away from his precious younger sister. Malfoy was a git. He certainly had that coming.
Ron looked away, his eyes once again on Hermione. His heart swelled with pride as he watched her. Another Death Eater at her feet. Atta girl Hermione. He was so deep in his thoughts about how brave and beautiful and wonderful Hermione was he almost didn’t see it.
He saw, with a dampened spirit, Neville face flat along the floor, and Bellatrix Lestrange look around and jubilantly catch sight of an unaware Hermione with her back turned. He saw her raise her wand.
Ron was running. His wand lay on the floor, forgotten. He had to get there. He dived just as the spell escaped Bellatrix’s mouth.
It hit him squarely in the back. He hardly felt a thing, only a single sharp twinge in his back. That was all. All he really knew was Hermione; her face, her smell, her touch. Soon it had gone. But so had everything else.
* * * * *
Harry watched in horror as Ron dived forward. The jet of green light flashed before once again stealing away the life of another. “He watched Ginny collapse. Still, he stood transfixed. Parvati rushed forward.”
“Go Harry, she whispered, bending over Ginny. Protectively raising her wand. Daring anyone to come near”
Harry needed no more chiding. He ran forward, over bodies, through people. Now and again he would send away a deadly hex, to any Death Eater that tried to get in his way. His breath was jagged and his blood felt icy cold running through his veins. He let the anger wash over him; rather feel the hate towards Bellatrix than the tidal wave of sadness that threatened to envelope him, and weaken his soul. He knew once it was there, it would never go away. He didn’t want it yet. No, he’d rather shoot curses and spells than let a single tear fall. Not here, anyway.
He reached Bellatrix and shot a spell that sent her onto a heap on the ground. Around his shoulder he saw Hermione break down beside Ron’s body. A small explosion blew from his wand and several Death Eaters nearby Disapparated.
“YEAH! YOU RUN!” he screamed into a bitter silence.
Anger reverberated in his voice before he moved forward and kicked Bellatrix squarely in the ribs. She groaned. Harry bent over and snapped her wand in two.
Everything was quiet. All eyes on Harry, as he taunted Bellatrix.
“You killed Sirius…” He whispered. “And now Ron.” A tear ran freely down his cheek. He could not hold it in longer. He did not wipe it away. It would be like wiping away the memory of Ron.
Harry lashed out again, kicking Bellatrix again, and again.
Thoughts of Sirius lingered in his mind, moving to Ron. Ron on the train in first year, with dirt on his nose. Harry kicked again. Ron under the Sorting Hat, his eyes screwed up. Praying, praying for Gryffindor.
‘Well you did it Ron’ Harry thought, kicking Bellatrix once more. So brave…’I’m proud of you, Ron’
Harry raised his wand. Hate like no other enveloped him, poisoning him, spreading through his veins like an unstoppable cancer.
He was going to kill her. He could… couldn’t he? He summoned all the hate he felt for her. He knew the words. He had heard them plenty of times, but he had never used it before.
“That’s enough, Harry” the voice was soothing, but it was unwanted.
An old but firm hand rested on his shoulder. He shrugged it off, but his shoulders drooped and he dropped his wand. He felt like a coward.
Jaw clenched, he watched Albus Dumbledore magically lift the bruised body of Bellatrix Lestrange into the air, and float her away.
Harry looked sideways at Hermione. His heart wrenched. Her body was shaking with uncontrollable grief, bent over his lifeless body. Her small hands clutching desperately at his robes. She was begging him to awaken, screaming desperately and Harry felt another tear fall down his cheek. He moved to her, and gently pried her away from him.
He looked around to Ginny. She was still unconscious. Hermione clung to him, but she kept looking back at him. Harry embraced her. His face was blank, as he looked over Hermione’s head to his best mate. He turned away.
* * * * *
It was hours later when Ron was able to manoeuvre himself into the physical world. He sat for hours in the company of his solemn brothers and father.
He watched in anguish as Ginny had cried and screamed. He watched as his mother desperately tried to calm her. He looked to Harry to feel only more pain. Harry did not need this as much as his family did not. ‘Be strong, Harry, be strong’
It was with much hesitancy had he entered his old room. It was dark and all that could be seen was a lone figure, crouching in the corner. A small patch of moonlight resting across her, and she held her face in her hands.
He waited with her, through her pain, through her anger. His heart welled and he moved his arms agitatedly. How he wished he could embrace her and remove the pain that resided. She was alive though. That was all that mattered really. And he would be there. Always.
When she lay subdued on his old bed, Ron moved forward. He kissed her cheeks.
"I love you too, Hermione," he whispered. "It was always you. You were worth dying for."
A whisper of a tear dropped and trickled across his smooth, pale cheek. "I'll watch over you, always," he said. "My Hermione."