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A Ron Ficathon where Everyone's a Winner!
Team Gen: Chance Encounter 
4th-Mar-2007 03:24 pm
triatharon
Title: Chance Encounter
Author: tajareyul
Team: Gen
Prompt: Friendship
Rating: R
Characters: Ron Weasley, Peter Pettigrew, Bellatrix Lestrange
Warnings: languange
Length: 1300+ words
Summary: Ron has a chance encounter with an old...friend.


"Boy!"

The raspy whisper grated on Ron's consciousness, but living at the Burrow with a ghoul, six siblings and a mother who could shout them all down had taught him how to tune out noise when sleep was needed.

"Weasley!"

Still, Ron's barely-awake brain ignored the voice. There was a long pause while he became gradually more aware of the mass of pain that had once been his body.

"Ron?"

He didn't answer, being more concerned with cataloguing his various injuries.

Right hand throbbing, probably sprained or strained. Hermione had tried to explain the difference once and he'd told her it didn't matter, it bloody well hurt either way.

Right leg pinned, likely broken, possibly crushed. He tried wiggling his toes--Oh, FUCK! All right, not doing that again. He amended his list to include a decidedly broken right leg with attendant sprains, strains and possible dislocations in knee and ankle.

"I can hear you breathing, Ron. I know you're awake."

Ten points for you, then, Ron though sourly. Low back pain, hopefully just pulled muscles. He took a deep breath--or tried to, at any road. A broken rib or two got added to his laundry list of bodily damage and a pounding headache rounded out the lot, indicating a head injury.

Carefully cracking one eye open, Ron surveyed the situation. Weak sunlight filtered through the rubble, allowing him to confirm that he was, indeed, trapped. Brilliant observation, Weasley. His internal critic mocked him, sounding like Snape. Perhaps bringing the wall down on Pettigrew hadn't been the brightest idea. At least, not while he was close enough to be hit when the roof of the barn followed the wall.

"Ron, do you have your wand?"

Oh right, my wand. He turned his head to the side. There it was, just out of reach. He groaned in frustration before he remembered he was giving Pettigrew the silent treatment.

"Well, we'll just have to hope that your family finds us first. I suspect we'll both be safer in their hands than in Bellatrix's clutches."

"I wouldn't count on that." Ron chuckled mirthlessly. "Mum never cared much for you when she thought you were a rat, Scabbers." He wasn't about to give away that the Burrow was all but abandoned. Mum had taken her clock and retreated to Hogwarts where she could be with the only one of her children over whom she had the tiniest shred of control. Dad spent most of his time at the Ministry or on damage control missions. The wards around the property were keyed to certain Order members who used the barn as a drop point for supplies and carefully coded information. Order members and--Bloody hell. Family. The wards weren't new, just strengthened and modified to allow Fleur, Lupin and Tonks access. Even Harry and Hermione hadn't been included, which was why Ron had come alone today, but no one had thought to exclude anyone that the wards were already keyed to admit. As Percy's, then Ron's pet, Scabbers had been considered part of the family at least as far as the wards were concerned.

"Can you reach your wand at all?"

"Oh yes, I have it here in my hand. I enjoy listening to you whinge like a little girl," he drawled sarcastically. The rat makes a good point, though. The barn had stood at the edge of the property. When it collapsed, it might have pushed them outside the wards. They'd be easier to pick off than Stunned Puffskeins. Ron stretched out his left hand as far as he could, but his wand was still several inches out of reach. "Trust me, you'll know when I have it. You'll suddenly come down with the worst case of boils you've ever had in your life."

"You wouldn't do that to an old friend, would you?"

"We are not friends," Ron grated.

"We were once. You talked to me and shared your Bertie Bott's Beans with me. You protected me from that mangy kneazle."

"I thought you were a rat."

"I was a good rat."

"Is that what you tell yourself? I killed fifteen innocent people, but I was a good rat. I let another man go to Azkaban for my crimes, but I was a good rat. I gave my friends up to Voldemort but I was a good rat!". Ron paused to ease the burning in his lungs. "You don't know the first thing about friendship," he said disgustedly.

"You don't know what it was like," Pettigrew protested. "The Dark Lord, he finds every little thing that tempts you, every weakness. He takes all your fears and dreams and uses them against you."

"I'd die before I'd betray Harry!"

"We all tell ourselves that. What he does to you...Death would be a mercy."

"I wouldn't sell out my friends for anything," Ron insisted.

Pettigrew lapsed into silence. Maybe he realised the argument was pointless. Maybe he was contemplating his choices with regret. Ron didn't care. He stretched, reaching for his wand again and again until the pain of his broken ribs made him lightheaded. Almost.

"How did you do it?"

"How did I do what?"

"How did you block my Animagus transformation?"

"Oh that. It seems I have a friend who is so brilliant it's scary. A friend who spent half her summer holiday creating a new spell and testing it so that you wouldn't be able to worm your way out of trouble by changing into a rat and scurrying away. A friend who knew without me ever having to say just how it ate me up inside that I ever protected the murdering traitor that got my best mate's parents killed. It's taken me months to learn how to cast in non-verbally, just in time to hit you with it before I blasted the wall of the barn."

Silence reigned once more while Ron shifted his torso by infinitesimal degrees to bring his hand closer to his wand. The slant of the light shifted as the minutes ticked by. How long before Hermione and Harry got worried enough to come after him? How long until Death Eaters came to collect Pettigrew?

He could almost touch the scarred wood of his wand when a new voice cut into the quiet afternoon.

"Well, well, Wormtail. Trapped like a rat are we?"

"Bellatrix, get me out of here before the Weasley woman comes home from the shops."

Merlin's balls, he whinges like that to everybody, Ron thought disgustedly.

"Idiot. The hovel has been deserted since September. We just wanted to see if you could get past the wards."

"Well, I couldn't. When I tried, the backlash brought down the barn on me. I can't transform, either, so they must have anticipated that I'd come here eventually."

"Oh, what a pity that you won't be able to scamper along the skirting board, trying to get a glimpse up Cissy's robes."

"Bella, please. I don't know how long the spell will last. It's something I've never heard of before. If the Dark Lord can unravel it, he could use it against McGonagall."

You bastard! Hermione didn't make up that spell so your slimy, no-nose master could turn it on us.

"Oh all right you fat, snivelling lump."

There was the sound of rock and timber shifting and Pettigrew's yelps of pain as Bellatrix freed him from the ruin of the barn. Ron waited for the green flash of light that would end his life.

It never fell. Pettigrew whinged as Bellatrix taunted and bullied him, but he never once hinted that he hadn't been trapped alone. Soon, they Disapparated, leaving Ron to wonder why.

Maybe Pettigrew resented being used as little more than an offering of woodlice to a bowtruckle. Maybe he was just being a good rat. Or maybe some small part of him remembered what it was like to have real friends.

Ron stretched one more time, ignoring the pain that made spots dance before his eyes and snagged his wand. Whatever the case, he'd have time to decide once he got loose and summoned help.

Voting for this fic is now closed!
Comments 
4th-Mar-2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Very interesting fic. I kind of wanted more of it as the exchange between Ron and Wormtail was very well-written and rather witty.
5th-Mar-2007 02:49 am (UTC)
To be honest, I wanted it to be more as well--longer, more description--just more. I will probably rework it some time in the future, but for now, I wanted to get it done by the original due date. I know I could have asked for an extension, but I know me well enough to know that I would have just used an extension as an excuse to procrastinate.

Thanks for reviewing.
4th-Mar-2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Very intriguing premise...chance encounter, indeed! Superbly written, nicely witty, and I was somewhat surprised at the ending...excellent work!
5th-Mar-2007 02:55 am (UTC)
I wanted to go somewhere different with the idea of friendship. It would have been too easy to focus on Ron's friendships with Harry and Hermioine.

And I couldn't help punning a bit with my title, from the chancy nature of Pettigrew to the chances of resuce vs. capture/death.

Thanks!
5th-Mar-2007 01:39 am (UTC)
It has been a while since I have read one of your stories. This is fabulous! Not only is Ron in character, you have said so much in so few words.

Best Line (to me anyway): Maybe Pettigrew resented being used as little more than an offering of woodlice to a bowtruckle.

Cheers!


5th-Mar-2007 03:02 am (UTC)
I think it really wanted to be a drabble. Either that or Ron sort of took over and wouldn't let me write in all that detailed description of how everything sounds and smells and feels.

(Too right. Who wants all those three-sickle words mucking up a good story?)

And I love coming up with those Potterverse sayings. I'm glad you liked that line.

Ta!
5th-Mar-2007 01:43 am (UTC)
This was a very interesting look at the sort of dual-nature of Peter versus the clear loyalty of Ron. It definitely made me wonder if we're only going to see 'evil' deeds from Peter in book 7. :)
5th-Mar-2007 03:04 am (UTC)
I wonder that myself. Why is Pettigrew staying with Snape? The possibilities are intriguing.

Thanks for reviewing. :)
5th-Mar-2007 08:24 am (UTC)
I liked how you hinted at a pretty multi-layered Pettigrew, with him not giving Ron away. This definitely could be a lead in to a longer story. Bella's cameo was fun.
5th-Mar-2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
I like the way that Jo is finally giving her villains some depth in the original works. I mean, Draco, crying? Snape, an abused child? Tom Riddle, an orphan? Between that and Dumbledore's comment about Voldemort coming to regret having a servant who owed Harry a wizard's debt, I figure there's more to Pettigrew than what we have seen.

Thanks!
5th-Mar-2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
I loved how stubborn and proud Ron was in his loyalty to his friends. His anger and disgust towards Peter was just perfect and so so true to Ron's character. And Peter's actions at the end--how he didn't turn Ron in, but also didn't help him, was wonderfully done. That's just so...Peter. I really enjoyed this! Great job!
5th-Mar-2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that means a lot to me considering your fic was bloody brilliant. I've bemoaned the fact that my fic is up against two of the best offerings I've seen yet.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Mar-2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I said to someone else that it was like Ron took over and wouldn't let me write anything that wasn't in-character.
6th-Mar-2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Great fic - I love the dialogue between Ron and Wormtail, you had their characters down perfectly, and the ending was intriguing and realistic. Nice work!
8th-Mar-2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
After writing for the drabble section, Ron's voice was a little easier for me to hear. Pettigrew, not so much. Glad to hear I succeeded in letting them have their say. Thanks!
6th-Mar-2007 06:55 am (UTC)
Interesting fic, with a lot packed in for a quick punch to the gut. Thanks for sharing!
8th-Mar-2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
Normally I have a hard time just letting the story flow. This one just refused to be cluttered up with a lot of apparently unneeded description. Thanks for your comments.
6th-Mar-2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
I've always wondered how an encounter between Ron and Peter would go after PoA, so this was a special treat. Beautifully executed, and a wonderful Ron-voice. I loved the first paragraph both as an attention-grabber and because it's so characteristic of Ron here – and the laundry list of bodily damage, immensely so.

And I was glad that Peter kept quite at the end (even though I never doubted it – Pettigrew strikes me as weak and easily led, but not as malevolent. I'd find it hard to imagine him doing something truly malevolent without being forced to it).

Very nice fic!
8th-Mar-2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
I couldn't decide for myself what Pettigrew's reasons should be, so I tried to leave that as open as possible. He's a difficult character to get a handle on. It's hard to fathom why he was Sorted into Gryffidor.

Thanks for your comments!
6th-Mar-2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
This feels very much like a set up for some future meeting between Peter and Ron. Does Ron now owe Peter a life debt -- whatever that actually is?

For a short piece this really did a great job of raising some interesting questions for me. What actually is Peter's view or understanding of friendship? I could see him feeling a greater attachment to Ron than he ever did to James, Sirius and Remus. What a strange and interesting relationship Ron and Peter have when one really thinks about it.

I think Peter is an interesting character that is often underestimated -- both by other characters in canon and by much of fandom. Thanks for making me think about him today!
8th-Mar-2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, but the possibility that Ron might die from his injuries before help arrived or he was able to free himself would, I think, mitigate the circumstances. It occured to me (though it wouldn't necessarily occur to Ron) That Pettigrew might see his actions as a roundabout way of repaying the debt he owes Harry.

Because I found Pettigrew such a difficult character to pin down, I tried to leave everyone else with questions, too. It would be too easy to say I think he compartmentalizes his feelings and attatchments, or that he has more devotion to whomever is in the best postion to help him survive at any given moment or even that he thought Ron would be easier to manipulate.

Thanks so much for your comments!
7th-Mar-2007 12:05 am (UTC)
I liked this. If you do rework this I would love to read it! I want more. I loved the Ron Peter interaction and I (sadly) have always had a soft spot for him (Peter), yay for him being good here.
8th-Mar-2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'll be sure to let you know if I turn this into something longer. Thanks!
12th-Mar-2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Nice use of Peter's ambiguity. We really don't know how he will end up, will we? In the end I have hope for him.

Nicely done.
12th-Mar-2007 02:38 am (UTC)
I have hope for him too. I don't think he should just be allowed to switch sides, but I'm looking for him to see the error of his ways right before he gets what's coming to him.

Thanks! :D
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