Third Time's a Soul Bond?

BY : Wilde_Guess
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Ron
Dragon prints: 3645
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter franchise, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 4, "Parabellum, De Sanguine Emit" where Ron pays in blood…

Saturday morning found me working on Muggle History, which I had been getting behind on lately. The eggs and papers went without a hitch, and I had been studying for about an hour, taking notes in a Muggle notebook to make sure I memorized the material. I was sitting nearest the kitchen window to catch what breeze there was.

I was wearing an older t-shirt and swim trunks. It was hot, and I was going to knock-off at around eleven-thirty, when Mum would put sandwiches out for lunch. Luna was coming over after lunch to go swimming with at least Ginny and me.

Dad was out in the garage working on the Anglia. His first pair of trousers and belt of the morning were hanging just outside the back door. They were waiting for Mum to get at a stopping point on supper to figure out if they were still worth trying to clean, since the car battery had spilled past his rubber apron and gotten on his trousers and belt on one side, along with oil, petrol, grease, and who-knew what else. Mum was working on something for supper. Bill and Ginny were doing something in the living room; Percy sat across from me studying Arithmancy. The Twins and Charlie were presumably up in their rooms doing whatever.

Charlie came pounding and thundering down the stairs like a heard of Hippogriffs, like he always did, but with a little more attitude. Had I been paying any attention, that would have been my first warning that trouble had arrived. The first I realized there was a problem was when Charlie, who was normally almost as laid-back as Bill, had picked me up by my t-shirt and was choking me as he held me up off of the ground, after pulling me off of the bench!

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY WAND, YOU LITTLE WANKER! You knew that I needed to start studying for sixth year, and you broke it!"

I hit him with a wandless 'hold-break' spell to free myself before he finished his mini-rant and gave him back his attitude, with interest!

"FUCK OFF, ARSEHOLE! I SPENT ALL WEEK FIXING THAT DAMNED WAND AFTER YOU TRASHED IT OUT! IF ANYTHING IS WRONG WITH IT, IT'S BECAUSE YOU BROKE IT!"

Mum was speechless, judging by the silence. Not that I was paying any attention. Ginny and Bill came in from the living room, and the Twins came down from their room. Percy was trying to make room for Bill. The one time Percy and Charlie actually fought, Mum grounded Charlie for a week longer than it took for Percy to get better. Mum grounded Charlie for a month, and the fight had barely gone on a quarter-minute before Bill and Dad had pulled them apart.

The wand in question was deep in Charlie's right front trouser pocket of his rather snug jeans, which was already pissing me off even more. I snatched it from his pocket with my left hand, and examined it without taking my eyes off of Charlie or lowering my right hand, which was poised to cast something that would be a little bit more persuasive than a banisher.

Weasley temper on fire, I described what I was looking at without looking away from my furious brother. "It's a wand, Chuckles, not a chew toy! Did Mum forget to feed you your kibble this morning? Are you a secret dog Animagus?" Actually, if it carried over, I was a secret dog Animagus from my second lifetime, but I had no urge to chew my wand then or now.

The wand didn't feel broken, though; it felt relieved. Go figure.

I cast the 'spark-shower," and got a full thick bunch of sparks, which had Bill wondering why the hell Charlie was blowing up. The Lumos, despite my not losing control and using regular power was instant and dazzling, even in daylight. Nox was instant return to normal daylight. I silently cast the Avis spell with basically no power at all. But I still got eighteen birds. They were all Angry Birds, and they all went after Charlie!

I was able to banish them before any of them really got to him, but he still had more than a few scratches on his arms before I banished them away. I still remembered Hermione setting the damned birds on me in sixth year of my first lifetime. I was not even remotely angry enough to set birds on my own family, remembering my own experience.

"SEE!" I shouted. "Nothing's wrong with the wand. Perhaps it's the wizard who is causing the problem?"

Charlie snatched the wand out of my left hand and attempted to cast a spell at me. I shielded with my right hand, but there was no spell from the front.

The wand itself, though, had other thoughts, and blew a hole through his right hand from the handle end! Wisely, Charlie dropped the wand on the kitchen table, which by now had come between us with my back to the rest of the Kitchen, Mum, and the back door. As things turned out, that was a big mistake!

Seeing Charlie not just punched, but having a hole punched through his hand, was apparently a little bit more than Mum was willing to take. I suddenly found myself under a Full Body-Bind, naked, leaned against the kitchen table at a forty-five degree angle, with Mum beating my arse like a cheap drum with whatever she had found! Unless, of course, she actually had conjured a cat-o'-nine-tails. Whatever it was, it was ripping skin and burned like the Cruciatus! I was of course crying and screaming as all six of my siblings watched on in horrified confusion. The last thing I remember before passing out was the combination of Dad screaming, "MOLLY," and the roar of what sounded like a lion.

§§§

I came-to in what felt like a hospital. At first, I thought I had been hit on a raid back in my second lifetime. Then, as I recognized it as me being wrong-way on the bed as well as face-down, I recognized it as the Hogwarts Hospital Wing, and was trying to think if this was another one of Granger's attacks.

I finished catching back up to 1989, round three, and saw Dad, Master Garrick, the owner of Magical Menagerie, Alastor Moody and Headmaster Dumbledore sitting at what would normally be the foot of the bed, but where my head was pointing. My arms were crossed at the wrist but not restrained, and I was wearing an Auror Holster with wand on my right forearm. Lucky Boy was stretched full-length against the left side of my body, and was breathing, if troubled. He was unconscious.

I raised my Occlumency Shields, which had fallen, while I quickly regained full use of my senses. I could feel that someone placed a strong numbing charm on my backside. I wiggled my toes on both feet, I could feel them wiggle and rub against the sheets. Before I could move anything else, Headmaster Dumbledore spoke.

"Mr. Weasley, please don't move anything else. Madam Pomfrey assured me that there was no motor nerve damage and that other than some scaring, that you will make a full recovery.

"Your Wand-Crafting Master has asked me not to use any Legilimency on you at all. Up to now, I've honoured his request, since we were in the same year here at Hogwarts as students. Unless you give me far greater cause than you already have, I see no reason to not continue to honour that.

"I've viewed Pensieve memories…"

I cut the Headmaster off, asking, "What day and time is it? How long have I been out? How is Charlie? What the hell was Mum getting up to attacking me like that? Why is Lucky Boy in almost as rough a shape as I am?"

"Fair enough" Dumbledore answered. "It is now the evening of Tuesday, the eleventh of July, half-seven to be precise. You've been here just over three days. Your brother Charlie was healed well before one o'clock Saturday afternoon. Percival and the Twins have kept up your 'outside pursuits' in town, to keep people from worrying needlessly."

"As I was saying, what happened in your kitchen eating area last Saturday was more the fault of your older brother Charles, and your mother's over-reaction than anything else.

"Fortunately, Madam Pomfrey is a fully qualified and very competent Healer. Were this not so, Charles and you both would have needed to go to St. Mungo's for treatment. This would have seen your father lose his job, your mother jailed, and would have likely seen you in serious trouble as well.

"First, I need to ask. Did you cast, or even think to cast a piercing charm at your brother's hand?"

Easy enough. "No. The wand cast that entirely on its own. Weasleys and Prewetts don't remote-cast. The one family where that trait has shown up hasn't intermarried with either the Weasleys or Prewetts as far as I know. But how does a wand handle-cast? I didn't know it was possible?"

Moody chimed in, "I pinned your holster, boy! Do you know what that means?"

"That you are my trainer and supervisor, and that I passed Basic and Probation?"

Moody answered, "Aye, it could mean that. But I know your Master couldn't teach you that! Your father learned it just now, and I trust Albus with bigger fish than that. But, how do you know? How did you manage to not only blood-bind a wand, but also convince it that you were a REAL Field Auror, and how did you know the spell to cast on it? Your Master doesn't know it, and doesn't want to! Why do YOU know?"

Without thinking, I answered, "It's seven spells! I must have cast them without thinking some time. But, it wasn't my wand! It never chose me! You can't cast those spells on a wand unless it's already chosen you and let you cast a fair few spells on top of that! You know…"

At this point, I realized that I had slipped into talking to the 'second Moody,' who had personally taught me the spells that most 'modern' Aurors didn't even know existed; rather than the 'third Moody,' whom I have only just met.

Master Garrick said forcefully, "I have already told you. Apprentice Weasley has his secrets, and has the right to them. He has told them to me in confidence. I will not break that confidence, and I advise him to not share his secrets with you, at least not any time soon."

"But you don't accidentally blood-bind a wand! I know this!" Moody insisted.

Master Garrick answered, "A Field Auror can not, but a wand-crafter can! My apprentice will tell me now how he did it, and how both he and I missed it."

Gee, thanks, Master Garrick! The only time that my blood… and… oh, shite!

"Master Garrick, I contaminated the first draft of 'tired wand potion' when I cut my hand working the Hawthorne blank. It really doesn't take that much blood, but without reading my memory in a pensive, we won't know just how much blood I fed it. That blood went straight to the core, and the wand was bound to me, alone, from then on! Neither of us would have caught it because the wand drained the pitcher dry, and every last drop was already in the core of the wand, where it will never be seen again."

"And, Apprentice Weasley, did you in fact frequently borrow this wand for your Auror self-training, including casting offensive spells before you reconditioned it?"

"Yes, that's how I knew that the wand worked best for me. Charlie was always careless with the wand, once he started using it."

Dad added, "That was originally my Dad's wand. Dad was a Hit Wizard during the war. He enlisted right after leaving Hogwarts, and mustered out in '46."

"But, what happened to Lucky Boy?" I asked. "And what happened to Mum? Does she no longer want me..."

"Son, she's had a nervous breakdown. Not a horrible one, mind, but not that any are good, either. We almost lost you!

"Do you remember how your Uncles Fabian and Gideon died?" he asked.

Due to my studies, I was sadly all too aware. "They were crucified outside of the flat you and Mum had when you were repairing the Burrow from spell damage, right before Mum had me. They had been Silencio'ed, crucified, and held under the Cruciatus Curse until they died. It was Mum who took them down, with the blood weeping from the holes in the palms of… their… hands…" Sadly, I was even more aware now.

"Yes, son; she had what is called a 'flashback.' Do you know what those are?"

I answered, "Yes, Dad. I'm sorry…" I started to cry. I knew that she loved all of us kids. If I had died at her hand…

"It's Charlie that will be sorry more than you, I'm thinking" Dad replied.

He turned to Dumbledore and asked, "Albus, I'm not Molly. Is Ron being honest here?"

The Headmaster answered, "Yes, Arthur. You would see this yourself if it wasn't your son who almost died, and your wife who is just out of peril."

The Headmaster asked me, "You are aware that pure-blooded Kneazles are class three-x dangerous magical creatures, and Korat Kneazles are class four-x, are you not, Ronald?"

"Yes, but I've never been attacked, and he's never raised a paw to anyone I've ever seen. He's even friendly to Muggles. Other than doing things I've never heard of a Kneazle or familiar do, he's harmless!"

The Headmaster answered me, "It took William and Arthur both to restrain him enough so that Percy could Floo me! I had to personally stun your familiar to get him knocked out, while your father, William, Percy, and both of your twin brothers cast in concert."

Lucky Boy started to come around. I reached down, and touched him. I spoke, so that everyone else heard me, "It was all a misunderstanding. They didn't mean to hurt me. Please don't attack or bear grudges."

"Mew." I hadn't heard that since he almost filled the palms of my four-year-old hands. He was nineteen pounds, now.

The Magical Menagerie shop owner spoke up next. "I'm also an animal healer. I can heal whatever injuries he is suffering, if you ask him to let me."

"Mew?"

"Yes, Lucky Boy. I let your Ronald take you home and be your human when you were really little.

"Mew." I felt uncertain consent through our bond.

"Will it hurt him before it heals him?" I ask.

"I'll warn him and you if I think it might. I might hurt him without meaning to, though." he replied.

"Will you let him help you?" I asked my familiar.

"Mew." He consented reluctantly. I could also feel him drawing my pain into him. I reversed the 'flow.' My eyes watered and sweat beaded on my forehead as I did so.

"He has sprained ribs. I don't feel any other pain. Lucky Boy, you're still hurt. It's just 'my turn' to help you like you were helping me."

"Mew."

The Menagerie owner did a quick veterinary scan, and cast a healing charm on Lucky Boy's chest. I could instantly feel the relief, though I did not let him start drawing my pain into him again.

The Menagerie owner said, "It was as you said. The healing charm I cast should do the trick. I'll send a feline pain relief draught through the Floo when I get back to my shop."

He then asked, "Headmaster, is this all I'm needed here for? And how much of this will I need you to Obliviate?"

The Headmaster waived his wand quickly over the Menagerie owner's head. He said, "All done, Tyus. We'll call if Lucky Boy has any further problems, bit I don't foresee that being the case. Remember to pass the feline pain relief potion through to Madam Pomfrey before you go home."

With that, 'Tyus" left my sight, and soon left the Hospital Wing altogether. This left Dad, the Headmaster, Master Garrick, and Alastor Moody.

The Headmaster said, "Alastor, Ronald will need to continue to carry that wand from here on, with the holster that Garrick supplied, and you helped put on him. Provided that Ronald is responsible, do you foresee any difficulties that we cannot quietly solve?"

"No, Albus" he answered.

He turned to me and said, "Kid, the Headmaster and I are going out on a limb for you letting you carry a wand in a holster that civilians are not supposed to own. First off, no short sleeves on the Alley or in Hogsmeade when you are wearing that rig, which basically means always. If you know what an Auror's Rig is, and how to use it, you should realize why."

I replied, "Will this be legal? I get the idea of not rubbing people's faces in it, believe me, I do. But what about elsewhere, where I'm not particularly likely to run into an Auror who would recognize the particular glamour the holster has. Kids my age don't do long sleeves in the summer."

"It'll be legal alright, right until the first time you waive that rig under Lucius Malfoy's nose or do something truly stupid with that wand. Blood-bound wands can't take a Trace, either. If you're caught doing something really stupid with it, the trace-free part will be legal, but whatever else you do will come down on your head like a ton of bricks!

"So, no stupid stuff anywhere, no short sleeves on the Alley, no short sleeves in Hogsmeade, and no 'showing off' at Hogwarts. Some civilian holsters do some of the same tricks. However, if you put on a show, you will have at least one student catch on, and bring the political fires of Hell down on all of our heads! Got it?" Moody asked in conclusion.

"Got it, Auror Moody."

I then asked, "When will I be recovered from this? When will I be able to go back to work?"

Professor Dumbledore answered, "It will be at least another two weeks after this, Ronald."

Dad said, "The eggs, papers, and lawns will be taken care of."

Master Garrick said, "We have all seen the Pensieve memory from Mr. Percival Weasley. Does anyone blame Ronald?"

Everyone murmured 'no,' including Dad. Dad did have a question or two, though.

"Ron, what was the bit about Charlie biting his wand?"

"Minus me getting mad at being choked and held in the air by my shirt, it was just what I'd said. The wand looked like the day Grandfather Septimus bought it when I handed it over to Charlie Friday afternoon. He had already had it beat up and nicked up again, including having chewed on it again, and hadn't even had it a full day. I'll have to refinish it and remove the dent and bite marks again."

Master Garrick asked, "Why do you think the wand quit working for your brother, Apprentice?"

I answered, "Honestly? My first guess would be that the wand rejected him. I could have told him much nicer on Saturday, mind, but he had already beat the wand up again after being both told, begged, and asked to promise not to. He broke his word, and the wand had had enough.

"Thinking on it now, I think that the wand was fighting back when he snatched it roughly from my hand. If I had handed it to him, I don't think that it wouldn't have hexed him at all. I don't think it would have worked, either.

"When I returned it to him Friday, he had to wave it three times before it yielded sparks, and he's been using it for almost six years. That suggests to me that Charlie was already on thin ice with the wand. But, if he hadn't trashed the wand like he did, the wand's reluctance would have passed."

Everyone was silent for a moment. Then, Dad said, "Headmaster. It seems that Charlie will be coming to school without a wand. He will fail all in-class practical exams, with no make-up, until I can afford the replacement."

I added, "Dad, you need to make sure that Charlie does not do or use any magic for at least a solid month, or he might not get any wand to choose him! I'm not trying to 'pile on,' and I'm not lying. He can't ride a broom. He won't be able to help with the eggs, newspaper route, or the lawns unless he can do it without the charmed stuff I've been using. He can't de-Gnome the garden, and he can't even work the lights anywhere in the house. He needs to steer clear of as much magic as he can until at least mid-September to have a reasonable chance to have another wand choose him!

"And he can forget about any of the wands at home. I'd bet that he's already tried and been rejected by every wand in the house that he could lay his hands on."

Master Garrick added, "It is just so, Mr. Weasley. To get a wand to actually reject a wizard when it had previously accepted them takes much more than a single act, and can leave a mark on the magical core of a witch or wizard as well. He actually has to have genuine remorse for damaging the previous wand, and a genuine desire to not damage another, should it choose him. It is the wand that chooses the wizard, after all.

"I am aware of at least one wizard, who had his wand snapped. Yet since it was not of his will or negligence, the pieces still work for him, and were his circumstances to change, he could easily obtain the loyalty of another.

"Even the Dark Arts, no matter how evil, will not turn a wand against you, sad as the world is for that fact. But, if you insist on harming your own wand, no wand will follow you."

Madam Pomfrey walked into her ward then, and said, "You need to let young Mr. Weasley rest again."

I asked, "Ma'am, who are you?" to avoid 'recognizing' her without being introduced.

She answered, "I am Healer Poppy Pomfrey, young man. This is my Hospital Ward."

"And I thank you for taking care of me. Before I can rest, I need to use the loo and have something to eat. But before that, I need to have some more questions answered. How is my Mum? When will she be able to visit me, or me her? When will I be able to get out of here? Will I still need to convalesce after that?

"I have a lot of work and study to accomplish, which I will not be able to do while trapped face-down in a hospital bed. I also have further questions for the men visiting me, and will not be able to rest properly until they are answered."

She replied, "Young Mr. Weasley, you will be on banishing pads for the rest of the month. I have to grow back the skin on your backside from the muscle up. While we do a much better job than the Muggles do at that, you will be here for the rest of this month.

"Because of your circumstances, I will not be releasing you until you are fully healed..."

Dad interrupted, "If I may interrupt, Madam Pomfrey. Headmaster, Charlie will not be arriving at Hogwarts at all until Ron is completely recovered and able to work. I would ask that he be allowed to make up his homework, but it's on his head if his professors refuse to allow him to do so."

The Headmaster replied, "I believe that if approached respectfully once Charlie returns, that they will allow him to make up his written assignments, seeing that he will be obliged to perform a fair amount of Muggle work using Muggle methods and Muggle tools without any magic on them."

Dad nodded in thanks and said, "Madam Pomfrey, if you would please carry on from where I interrupted you?"

She nodded, and continued. "As I was saying, you will not be released until you are fully and completely healed. I'm more aware of the Muggle world than some, so I have some idea of the effort involved in riding a bicycle at speed, and constantly getting on and off of it.

"You should be able to resume your delivery service when I release you. I would caution you to not engage in vigorous exercise beyond that other than swimming for at least another month. When the weather turns colder this year, you will also need to do your exercises that involve your being on your bum indoors and on your bed until December. You will also need to come back if you have any pain, numbness, or loss of sensation."

"Yes, Madam Pomfrey. When will I be able to have solid food?"

"Not until the end of the week at the earliest, and if I let you have some, you would be cursing me to eternity about eighteen hours later. You may have pumpkin juice, and a fruit or chocolate milkshake three times per day. After your visitors leave, I'll need you to drink some potions. I've been spelling them into you to now, which is not easy on your system. After the potions, I'll have a strawberry milkshake for you to drink."

"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey. Where is Mum?"

"They told you about her, did they?" Madam Pomfrey asked, growing much colder as she did so.

"Madam Pomfrey, she had a flashback. It wasn't her fault, it wasn't my fault, and Charlie was just being a moron, not trying to actually hospitalize anyone. Where is Mum? When can I see her without doing her harm? Does she still love me…"

Madam Pomfrey's eyes were flashing in anger. Headmaster Dumbledore cut her off.

"Poppy, you have reported this incident directly to the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. If there are any difficulties in how I filed that report, they are mine alone. I was not looking for a job when they stuck me with that one in '47. I am tenured as a Professor of Transfiguration. If Minerva and I are obliged to switch jobs and quarters, well, I have too much stuff anyway, and need to put my possessions on a 'diet.'"

He told me, "Ronald, your Mum is heavily sedated. While I have my guesses as to why you are so calm for your age, they are only guesses, and don't cast you in an ill light. Do you know what kind of boggart she sees?"

I answered, "Yes, Headmaster, which is why I want to see her! She needs to know that I am alive and that I still love her, even if…"

"Ronnie? Ronnie!" Ok, I didn't want to see her this very instant, where she would see the physical damage she had done…

As she approached, I said, "Mum, please stop. Be honest with yourself as well as me. If you already see me, come and stand beside Dad. If not, face away from my voice, and for the love of Merlin, don't look!

"I know that you had a flashback of Uncle Fabian and Uncle Gideon. If you see me like this, you might have different flashback. I forgive you, and I love you, Mum! I will always love you! Please forgive me…"

I lost my voice as she stood before me. She was recognizable, but heavily swathed in bandages. I guess that Lucky Boy was doing just a bit more than lion imitations.

Speak of the Kneazle, and he will come. Or, he will stand up and head-but your Mum, who is utterly terrified of him, but refuses to even raise a hand in her own defence.

In less time than it took you to read this, the bandages were vanished. At least, she was wearing her panties. If I were not a Weasley, or if I were a Carrow, I would have appreciated the sight. Once I noticed that whatever wounds the bandages were covering before being vanished were no longer there, I tightly closed my eyes and turned away.

I asked, "Can someone give Mum a gown, or sheet, or something?" I felt the faintest brush against my forehead, like the wings of a hummingbird.

A few moments later, and Dad said, "It's ok, you can open your eyes."

I did, and Mum was at least in a bathrobe. I told her, "Don't worry, Mummy. Daddy's here and he will fix it! He always does..."

The emotions started to run high again, but Madam Pomfrey had already cast a sleeping spell on me after deciding one more 'spelling-in' potions round more or less wouldn't cause me any extra problems, and help her to clear out her ward.

§§§

Dad stopped by most afternoons after work. Mum went home on the afternoon of the twelfth, after visiting with me for a while. She was far more shaken than she was the previous night, and wasn't sure she had the right to be called my mother. I assured her otherwise. Things weren't better, but they would get there eventually.

She came by on the afternoon of the fourteenth, along with Pandora Lovegood and Dad. Pandora also brought something I hadn't had in a lifetime – tuna sashimi!

In my first lifetime, Harry and I were working a stakeout in the Muggle "little Tokyo" neighbourhood of London. There was a Sushi Shop located so conveniently that we were actually obliged to try the place. It was the most convenient place from which to watch our target, and we had to buy something to not upset the owner of the shop... We quickly learned the joys of chopsticks, sake, wasabi, pickled ginger, that famous Japanese dish from the quaint Japanese Village of Los Angeles called the "California Roll," sushi dishes that actually came from Japan, and tuna sashimi. We dared each other to try the stuff, and discovered that it was actually good, once you got over the whole idea of eating raw fish. And, it was even better when you were sober!

So, Pandora brought in a nice plate of tuna sashimi. I greeted her, "Good afternoon, Mrs. Lovegood, Mum, Dad! Did you bring any chopsticks?"

Pandora was actually shocked. She hesitated a moment before saying, "I brought the raw tuna for Lucky Boy, not you."

I said, "I hope he doesn't mind sharing?"

She replied, "This tuna was supposedly swimming off of Tokyo Bay last night, so, it's 'fresh.' I didn't know you ate raw fish?"

"The treat is even more rare for me than the fish, which is raw. But, it's good. Japanese Muggles live almost as long as we magicals do, and they eat that fish!"

Bemused, she said, "I didn't bring the wasabi and ginger, since I didn't expect Lucky Boy to like it, or for you to eat the fish at all." She conjured a fork, handed me the plate, and I enjoyed a few morsels. But, I gave Lucky Boy the 'bigger half,' which was more like three quarters. He enjoyed it at least as much as I did.

We all visited for several hours, and Lucky Boy was in a particularly pleasant mood. Considering that I was still stuck face-down in a hospital bed, we all had a great time. Mum was still nervous and stressed-out, but was far better than she was Tuesday evening.

Mum left with Pandora, leaving Dad and me alone. He cut to the chase. "Ron, once you get out of the hospital, your Mum and you are going to see a mind healer."

I asked, "Is the Ministry paying for this?"

He relaxed slightly when I asked that. I think that he might have expected an argument from me about seeing the mind healer. Were I actually a nine-year-old, I might have objected. But with my actual perspective, I realized that I would need help, above and beyond being there to help Mum get over the incident. I would also need help in forgiving Charlie. While he was being a gold-plated arsehole, I knew he did not intend for things to happen the way they did.

Dad answered my question. "Yes, they are. We are playing this off as your Mum having had an accident, aggravated by 'female problems.'" That was actually a fairly good cover story. Not even Minister Millicent Bagnold wished to know about another woman's 'female problems.'

"How are things going to work with Charlie getting a new wand?" I asked.

He answered, "We've been doing better these last few years. I've received better than expected pay rises, and our overtime requests have also been routinely approved. While Charlie will wait, the new wand purchase won't be the disaster it could have been."

"How are my businesses going?"

"Percy and the twins are supervising, while Charlie does the work without any magic or your bike. I haven't seen those three get along so well before."

"So long as the four of them don't mess things up. Will Charlie need to see the mind healer as well?"

"He and your Mum already are."

"Is it starting to work for them, Dad?"

"Maybe. The whole lot of us are hotheads. We know it, and we adjust. But your Mum hasn't found all the pieces yet, much less started putting them back together. And Charlie is still trying to blame you, even though the only thing you did is lose your temper after being dragged over the kitchen table."

"Don't worry, Dad. We'll fix this. I've forgiven Mum almost as soon as I finally woke up. I'll forgive the a… Charlie sooner rather than later. But the jerk still owes me 18 galleons for the wand refurbishing, plus ten galleons per day for each day I miss at the shop until I can go back to work."

"You make ten galleons per day as an apprentice?"

"Yes, Dad, if I work a normal five hour day. Minimum wage is one galleon per hour. If I were of age, I'd be making three galleons per hour, and a journeyman no matter the age makes six galleons per hour. Haven't you seen my vault statements?"

"I never paid attention. Your Mum and I got you started at eight sickles per hour, and thought that we were still taking advantage."

"Dad, once Master Garrick figured out that there was more to me than 'sweep-up and story-time,' he bumped me up to minimum wage on the spot, which was the start of my second week there. Once I was actually good enough, he raised me to two galleons, because I'm actually working.

"Making most new wands is relatively straightforward. The way Master Garrick runs the shop, he keeps a fairly large inventory, but it's not like the wands go bad in their boxes. Since wand-crafters and wand-crafting wages are exempt from all taxes, we get by.

"The reconditioning jobs are better money-makers, once you actually learn how to figure out what the wand actually needs, since the work that is required by one wand may well destroy another. The biggest time-consuming part of the job of either new wands or refurbishing is waiting for the sealing glues and linseed oil to cure, since we can't speed it up with magic without ruining the core. Master Garrick has a 'trick' for 'rush-jobs,' but the customer normally pays a huge premium for that. By the way, Master Garrick used the 'trick' for both Percy's and what I guess is my wand now, and there hasn't been an issue."

"Has that wand acted up, Ron?" Dad asked,

"No, Dad. Let me check it." I snapped my wrist, placing the wand in my right hand. It gave me a beautiful fountain of sparks. I levitated the chair Mum had been sitting on six inches off of the floor, and moved it to my right as far as I could see, which was about twenty feet. I brought the chair back and set it down exactly where it belonged. I holstered my wand and looked at Dad, who was now as white as a sheet.

"Dad, what's wrong?" I asked.

He replied, "After Lucky Boy, that wand was the most dangerous thing in the house. It tried cursing everyone who got near it, or you. Dumbledore was able to cast a shield to surround it, but he said that if he had tried to banish it, it would have blown up, taking the house, the chicken coop, and the shed out with it, along with everything and everyone in them.

"Dumbledore was able to get both Mr. Ollivander and Auror Moody out to The Burrow in less than two minutes, while keeping the wand from hurting anyone, though it was a near-run thing, and later Saturday night, it took him and me a half-hour to set the house back to rights.

"Mr. Ollivander came by with the holster, and got it onto your arm. Moody did something to the holster to make it flash, and was able to get the wand holstered with a lot of help from Dumbledore and Ollivander. We couldn't really move you until we got that done, and we couldn't remove the holster without the wand going nuts!

"You stopped breathing the first time about a minute after we got the holster on you. Moody and Dumbledore got you breathing after about a minute and a half. You went into complete cardiac arrest while in the Floo between The Burrow and the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey had to work on you for almost three minutes to get you going again. You stopped breathing three more times and had two more bouts of cardiac arrest between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. If you had gone again, we would have had to take you to St. Mungo's, and they might not have been able to do anything.

"Madam Pomfrey said that she checked, and there was no lasting damage to your heart, but that that was in itself a minor miracle.

"Madam Pomfrey is a healer at Hogwarts because she wants to be. The Board of Governors could not hire a replacement of her calibre even at double her wages. She's better than many and the equal to most of the rest, and we still almost lost you… you aren't even ten, yet…"

"Please don't cry, Daddy! I can't get up to hug you…"

Dad stopped crying long enough to kiss my forehead and tousle my hair before he left for the evening. The milkshake Madam Pomfrey gave me later to remove the taste of the potions from my mouth was Strawberry-Banana. Having been unable to comfort Dad, it only tasted of sorrow.

§§§

July 28th of 1989 was a Friday. Barring any complications, I would be done with my potions course on the 29th, and actually be able to use the commode. If things continued progressing well enough, I'd be getting out on Harry's birthday, which was the following Monday.

Master Garrick had visited two days prior with some interesting bits of wand-lore that many people failed to remember; and that most people wouldn't associate with me, since little Ignatius was all but unknown. It seems that if a witch used the blood of her seventh son, with all sons being wizards as a wand core with a body of anything, she would have a wand almost the equal of the Elder Wand. It's a good thing that the Prewetts tended to 'play with their prey,' otherwise I wouldn't be here.

Second, the seventh wand made by a wand-crafter who was a seventh son would also be a much more 'powerful' magical focus than most others.  Third, a wand that was blood-bound to a seventh son would be equally 'powerful.'

While I appreciated my having two magical foci that would greatly improve my chances of coming home at the end of my shift as a Field Auror or Battle Mage, that appreciation was tempered by my not wanting to be 'famous.'  The Muggle Commic Book Artist Stan Lee rightly wrote, 'With great power comes great responsibility.'  He should have also added, 'great publicity.'  After living two lifetimes in the close presence of the 'Chosen One,' I'd long since left the phase of my life where I wanted people 'asking what shirts I wear.'

Mum brought all of my brothers, and Ginny, to visit along with her that Friday.  I didn't think it was that good of an idea. I didn't trust the Twins to not pull a prank, Ginny not to laugh at my laying starkers, uncovered, and face-down pointed the wrong way on the bed, and I didn't trust Charlie full stop. Charlie also shouldn't have travelled to Hogwarts at all, since he was supposed to be avoiding as much magic as possible, so that he might actually get a wand sometime this year.

Fred, George, and Ginny pleasantly surprised me. All three were trying to cheer me up without 'forcing' it and not a prank or laugh at my expense was to be had.

Bill was also great to have over for a visit. He hadn't been by because as it turns out, he got almost as good as he gave dealing with Lucky Boy, and was also a "guest" of Madam Pomfrey Saturday afternoon. He was lucky in that Gringotts gave him the week off to convalesce without firing him, but he had to spend most of that time resting, and reading written materials for his curse-breaker training.

Percy was somewhere between snow-white and ash grey. I was wondering if he was going to keel over and give me a 'roomie' for my last weekend of pre-first-year. If I got that reaction from him after I had mostly healed, I can only imagine what his reaction would have been when I first woke up.

Mum still hadn't found all the pieces. But she was looking. What pieces she didn't find in the next three days I would help her find. In the end, it truly was an accident, and she was blaming herself far more harshly than I could even dream of doing. I didn't blame her at all. Even Charlie, who I did blame, was not being nefarious, only careless and rather stupid. For that matter, if I hadn't lost my temper, Mum probably wouldn't have reacted quite the way she did.

Charlie was an arsehole! He lurked and sulked in the corner. Occasionally, just to make sure that I knew that he thought I had it coming, he would glare or sneer in my general direction. He seriously needs to get his priorities straight.

Thinking back to 'first-Harry's' sixth year potions text, I began to wonder if the 'Sectumsempra" curse would only remove half of Charlie's blood, since it was created by the "Half-Blood Prince." My wand thrummed eagerly in anticipation of helping me find the answer.

Lucky Boy, who was reconciled with Bill and enjoying having his ears rubbed started to tense. I stopped him through the bond, and told him to relax. Charlie was really pissing Lucky Boy off, but he did love it so when Bill sat with him and petted him.

I also figured that unlike the Arsehole, I would at least try to be friendly, or at least civil. I would at least try to let Mum start to heal before breaking her heart again.

"How have you been doing, Charlie?" I asked civilly.

"Kiss my arse, wanker!" was his brilliant reply.

It was also his very ill advised reply, since Mum was quite obviously in the room, and Bill seemed to be rather unhappy, too.

Mum banished his clothing and shoes, and slapped him across the face so hard that he fell to the floor! She grabbed him by the hair and dragged him to my bed. Everyone got the hell out of her way. I hoped that if her anger started swinging around, that someone would stop her before she turned her anger to me!

"Him kiss your arse? Wrong answer! YOU will kiss HIS ARSE!

"I got the most beautiful Valentine's day present in 1980. Do you know what that was? WELL?

"Antonin Dolohov and his friends had crucified your Uncle Gideon and your Uncle Fabian to the second-story wall facing the flat your father and I were living in at the time. They had had their voice boxes vanished, were nailed to the wall with Muggle railway spikes, and had each had both their upper and lower legs broken after being nailed up there like that. Then, Dolohov held them under the Cruciatus curse until THEY FUCKING DIED, YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHITE!

"Your father was injured in the battle where they were captured the evening before, and was lucky to escape with his life. Even if he wasn't in St. Mungo's, he wasn't very good at the kind of flying you had to do to remove a human body from a wall thirty feet in the air. I was eight months pregnant with Ronnie, and the rest of you kids were with your Aunt Muriel. I damn near miscarried, but no one else was going to remove them to be buried. At that point in the war, the ministry just banished the bodies that were like that where you couldn't get to them. I wasn't having that.

"Do you know what I did? Eight months pregnant and all, I retrieved their bodies by broomstick and brought them into the flat, so that the Ministry would actually allow them a burial. Their wands were still on their bodies. Do you know what their hands looked like when I vanished the spikes? DO YOU? They looked exactly like the hole in your hand after you were fucking with something you had no business fucking with!

"RONNIE TOLD YOU NOT TO DAMAGE THAT WAND! I WAS THERE! I HEARD HIM TELL YOU, AND YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN'T! THEN, WHEN YOU BROKE YOUR PROMISE, YOU ACTED AS IF IT WAS HIS FAULT THAT THE WAND TURNED ON YOU! YOU PUT ME BACK INTO THAT FUCKING SUBLET COUNCIL FLAT!

She paused from shaking him and screaming in his ear. I prayed that beyond Mum not turning her anger on me, that she didn't actually scare the piss out of him while she had him facing my bed, with me under a partial paralysis charm with my still-healing arse pointed to the ceiling. No one thought she was done for more that a moment to catch her breath, but what she said next was beyond a shock.

"Do you want to know what was extra special about how Dolohov crucified your uncles? He vanished the seats of their trousers, used a pint of Muggle Super Glue for each one, and glued their arses to the wall! I didn't know for Gideon, and didn't have the time to undo it for Fabian.

"Guess what, you ungrateful shite! RONNIE WAS THERE WITH ME FOR THAT! YOU PUT ME INTO A FLASHBACK TO THAT DAY, AND I THOUGHT I WAS AFTER DOLOHOV! YOUR UNCLE'S ARSES LOOKED JUST LIKE RONNIE'S DID, YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT! HE ALMOST DIED THREE TIMES BECAUSE OF YOUR JEALOUS STUPID CARELESS SHITE!

"When you were nine, I couldn't even get you to make your stupid bed! Ronnie makes his bed. Do you know what else he makes? He makes almost half the wages your FATHER makes, PLUS whatever the Muggle money is worth in real money, AT THE AGE OF NINE! HE'S ALSO STUDYING TO TAKE HIS MUGGLE NEWTS BEFORE HE GETS TO HOGWARTS! DO YOU KNOW WHY? DO YOU? IT'S BECAUSE HE KNOWS THE WAR ISN'T OVER! HE HAS SET IT TO HIMSELF TO HELP HARRY POTTER WIN THE DAMNED WAR FOR GOOD EVEN IF IT KILLS HIM! AND YOU CAN'T EVEN APOLOGIZE FOR WHAT YOU DID, OR EVEN SAY SOMETHING NICE THAT YOU DON'T MEAN, AFTER I TOLD YOU TO DO PRECISELY THAT! FUCK OFF AND KISS HIS ARSE! EACH CHEEK AND ARSEHOLE! THEN GET THE FUCK OUT. WE'LL SEND YOU YOUR STUFF WHEN WE GET AROUND TO IT!"

With the last six or seven syllables, she 'piston-punched' Charlie square in the face, or at least the crunching noises strongly suggested that. To Charlie's credit, he didn't utter a sound. To his debit, had the stupid fucker just said, "Life sucks, but you have it worse; sorry, mate," even not meaning it, he would have saved the rest of us a HUGE spot of bother.

None of us Weasleys enjoyed Howlers at school, except for one thing. If we messed up THAT badly, at least we had the whole of the British Isles to keep us safe until Mum's temper calmed down!

My arse being gently, if reluctantly kissed, each cheek then the arsehole interrupted that thought. Why can't I remember the 'multiple floor vanish so I can drop to the dungeons' spell when I desperately need it?

Charlie ran starkers out of the room into the rest of the castle, and from thence to who only knows where.

Then, perhaps even more surprisingly, my arse was kissed a second time, but this time with genuine love, sorrow, and regret. Charlie, you arsehole, I just might finish what Mum started for this!

Before she could say a word, I said, "Mum, if you felt you had to do that to prove that you still love me, I haven't been a very good son. I forgave you the very second I found out what actually happened. I have never sought your humiliation, only ever your love, affection, and guidance.

"Neither one of us is better yet. I won't pretend that we are. I still tense up in fright, knowing that I could never raise a wand to you, though even Voldemort himself and back in the flesh do not frighten me; I will fight him and live, or die. Hopefully well in either case, but that is the way of the world. Yet, I would never raise a hand to you. The person Dad has you talking to will talk to both of us together in the next few days, and however often after that until we do get better. I love you, Mummy, and I know you love me, too."

Mum left in tears via the Floo to the Burrow.

Then, Bill kissed my arse; though thank Merlin on only one cheek. His explanation? "I didn't stop Charlie or Mum. Sorry, Ronnie." I could tell that he meant it, too. You could always rely on Bill!

I answered him, "It wasn't my idea. Go after Charlie. Find some clothes for him, and some place for him to stay for a couple of days. Keep him from doing anything stupid; sit on him if you have to! And please keep him away from the Burrow until Dad sends an Adfero letting you know what to do next, and when you can bring him back home."

In the wizarding world, once your child has taken their OWLs, they can leave home even not being full adults. The parents can also "kick them out." We needed Bill to take care of Charlie while Dad took care of Mum to keep things from getting really pear-shaped.

"What's an Adfero?" Bill asked.

I replied, "It's a talking corporeal Patronus. It uses the voice of the caster, and is very difficult to fake. Dad knows it from the first part of the war. His Patronus is a weasel. Pleas go catch Charlie!"

He left after Charlie, and Percy started to walk to my bed. Enough.

"Arthur Bilius Weasley! Stop right there! You only did what was right when you needed to. You owe me no apology; we have no quarrel, unless I have wronged you.

"If you feel obliged to kiss me, kiss me on the forehead like a big brother would. Ignatius is watching both of us, Percy."

Percy kissed me on the forehead, as asked. Praise Merlin.

I asked him, "Percy? Please chase after Mum? Dad should be home soon."

He nodded to me, and went to the Floo.

The Twins decided to get in on the act. Each one kissed a cheek. On my face. Thank Merlin.

"Fred? George? Please help Percy calm Mum down, without taking the Mick on Percy? Please?"

They both nodded, and walked to the Floo.

As I was left with only Ginny, I told her, "If you're going to kiss me, kiss me on the cheek."

To prove she was Ginny, she kissed me on the mouth! It was an innocent kiss, at least in 'that' form of innocent.

I then said, "This is a secret between the two of us and Dad. Please don't say anything?"

Rather than take the Mick, she nodded in agreement.

Just to make sure, I released my wand from its holster and used it.

"Adfero Arthur Weasley Never mind how, Dad, it's Ron. Mum and Charlie had a huge blowout in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing, and Mum threw Charlie out! I've got Bill sitting on Charlie. I don't think Bill knows the Adfero, so he would have to answer you another way. I've got Percy and the Twins trying to calm Mum down. I'm pretty sure they're at the Burrow. Thanks, Dad! Adfero."

My red terrier barked once in acknowledgement and flew off into the ether.

Pandora and or Luna must have seen something, because they showed up not ten minutes later, brining sushi, tuna sashimi, wasabi, ginger, soy sauce, sake, and Butterbeers. While I wasn't particularly fond of the idea of two eight-year-old girls checking out my still-healing bum, they and Pandora were great company.

Luna flashed me her knickers 'just to make it fair and I pretended to look and be shocked. In reality, Luna trying to flash me under the circumstances, even with Pandora there, didn't shock me, and I actually did manage to look away.

Since neither Pandora nor the girls enjoyed straight sashimi, I shared that with Lucky Boy. We split the sushi between us four humans. I was only able to eat the smallest quantities of the sushi and sashimi to avoid overwhelming the banishing pad on my bum. However, I enjoyed several saucers of hot sake with Pandora, and while all was not right with the world, it was as close as I could get it at that moment.

§§§

While I got out of the Hospital Wing on Harry's birthday, I didn't get back to work until the 18th of September. While I had healed to the point that I could wear clothing, bathe, and use the commode again, the last part was difficult. Any prolonged pressure on my backside was painful, to the point that I couldn't even sit at the kitchen table to eat. I had either to stand at the counter, or lie on my stomach in the front room.

While I could ride my bicycle, I could not sit while riding it. I was able to deliver the eggs and return without a problem. The first day I attempted to deliver the newspapers, I barely made ten houses before I had to carefully send an Adfero to Bill to come fetch my bicycle and me. That ended my attempting to do any of the work until the 18th of September.

It took me until October before I really started to get my energy back. I couldn't honestly say I had completely recovered until almost December.

I also discovered that between Charlie's forced labour, and Percy and the Twins stepping up, all the Muggle stuff carried on while I was in hospital. After my one attempt, they carried on again until they were all back at Hogwarts. Percy and the Twins refused payment, which was their right, but I still thanked them.

Charlie never was quite kicked out. Bill managed to smuggle him to a friend's house until Sunday morning, when Dad went and fetched them after getting Mum calmed down.

The mind-healer that the Ministry paid for was named Aubrey Dean. She helped us, or at least as much as three hotheads would allow. Charlie and I were at least civil to each other, though he still didn't 'get' what he did wrong, at least then.

It took Charlie watching Percy and Dad's Pensieve memories of the incident and the aftermath shortly after Valentines Day 1990 to finally realize what had happened and that he was almost entirely at fault for the incident, and just how much damage he actually caused. Amazingly enough, out of all the family, only Percy saw the entire incident from beginning to end.

Percy also saw Aubrey Dean several times to help deal with the incident. However, he could never bring himself to see her with the rest of us.

As father had said, Charlie did not ride the Hogwarts Express. Dad told him in no uncertain terms that he would toe the line, and that he would avoid all magic until after he managed to persuade a wand to choose him again. I was able to start my Muggle jobs again on the 18th of September. Charlie was able to get a wand to choose him on the 19th, after about eighty tries, including several that would have otherwise chosen him except that they could feel the 'mark of wand betrayal.' On Wednesday the 20th, Charlie caught the Knight Bus directly to the school while I was delivering the eggs and newspapers.

After Charlie left for school, Ginny mowed the lawns for the rest of the year. I was out of shape, my skin was still healing somewhat, and there was no one else available. That year, we had an early and snowy, but not horribly cold winter.

Charlie did not come home for Christmas Break that year. However, he did manage to get his Christmas shopping done, in spite of having no 'pocket money' from home.

In addition to the Chocolate Frogs that we normally exchanged, Charlie also sent a second package, which arrived on the twenty-first. Hoping to 'avoid the Christmas rush,' and that's one pun that you just can't avoid when writing about rushing something two days before Christmas, I opened the package.

Inside was my eighteen galleons for the wand refurbishment, plus every day of wages I missed from not being able to apprentice with Master Garrick, down to the last Knut. On the twenty-second, I persuaded Master Garrick to allow me to shop the Alley for one more Christmas gift.

Madam Malkins, if you ask the right questions with the right attitude, will sell you actual Muggle clothing. Her prices are also quite reasonable, and she's right there on the Alley.

I asked her how recent her last measurements were for Charlie. They had actually fitted him on 19 September, from the shoes up. So, I had her select a nice ensemble of Levi's clothing, with a pair of their "Dockers' loafers and a pair of trainers, along with a package of socks, underpants, and undershirts. While I had them wrap the gift, I added a short card.

"Mum ditched your old outfit, so here is something new. I hope it fits. Love and Happy Christmas, Ron."

He sent me a thank you card, which I received on Boxing Day.

As for the money, I never have figured out how he got it, only that he didn't steal it or do anything else outright illegal. I think he could have 'faked people out' on how well the Gryffindor Quidditch Team was going to do. Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup that year with no losses, so he wasn't throwing games. He might have played with the spread, which is much easier and harder to prove if you are a seeker, and you are any good. And unless you compared him with Victor Krum or Harry Potter, Charlie Weasley was that good.

Beyond betting on Quidditch, he could have also earned some of the money from the school through Hagrid. Charlie was always good with the outdoors, and working with magical creatures. Hagrid didn't always have the time to go into the Forbidden Forest to get unicorn tail hairs, and the students didn't always earn a detention on the days when the Thestral Stables needed to be mucked out. Or, he could have borrowed at least some of the money from Bill. He and Charlie were always closest to each other relationship wise, as well as in age.

So, 1989 was an annus horribilis, at least for the late summer and autumn. I still worried impotently about Harry, since I was unable to help him. I hoped that whatever kept 'first-Harry' going would sustain this one as well.



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