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A Ron Ficathon where Everyone's a Winner!
Team Slash: Parallel Lives 
12th-Mar-2007 11:37 am
triatharon
Title: PARALLEL LIVES
Author: Kaellite
Team: Slash
Prompt: Lies
Rating: PG
Pairings: Ron/Neville
Genre: Slash/Angst
Warnings: Mentions of character deaths and disabilities
Word Count: 802
Summary: Ron lives two lives: one with Neville, and one without.

Disclaimer: The characters herein are not my creation, nor are they my property. They are the sole creation of JK Rowling, and are the property of Ms. Rowling, Scholastic/Bloomsbury books, and Warner Brothers. No copyright infringement is intended by this endeavor, nor is any profit being made or sought.


Ron had never really thought about the differences between Muggles and Wizards while growing up. Now he knows there aren't many, especially in pubs. Magical or not, the same stories come up: the big deal waiting just round the corner, how it was all the other person's fault, and how this is the last one for the night. He just smiles, pours, listens to their lies, and learns. He's become a pretty good liar himself.

Ron springs from his seat and performs the countercurse.

"What happened?"

"Malfoy! I met him outside the library and he'd been looking for someone to practice on."

"Don't worry about it, Nev, you're worth 20 of him."

"Really? Thanks, Ron."


He rarely sees Hermione anymore, just the random occasion when she drops by in an attempt to bolster the non-existent Magical economy. Muggle-borns have it easier in this post-war world; they have means of making their way not reliant on magic. She doesn't have to tend bar in two different places, nor does she still live at home while making do on rations. Harry has also returned to the Muggle world, or perhaps not. Ron isn't sure as he hasn't seen his best friend since everything ended, though his name comes up often at "The Leaky Cauldron." That is one subject he doesn't like to talk about.

"What are you moping about for?"

"Nothing really."

"Good, 'cause we don't want to be late for the party in the Common Room."

Neville smiles shakily, realizing that the time they've spent in each other's company won't come to an end just because Ron and Harry are speaking again.


At the "Leaky" patrons still ask for Tom out of habit. Ron doesn't mind, he just pours their drinks and smiles, sneaking extra crisps to those who need it most, like Lockhart. Other former patients wander in from time to time finding a brief respite from the street, the safe harbor of St. Mungo's long gone, and Ron does his best to point them to various Muggle shelters.

"I never knew,"

"I did. Professor Dumbledore told me, but I promised not to say anything."

"I knew too."

"How?"

"Neville told me when I asked about his family, but he asked me not to tell anyone."


Closing up for the night, Ron casts the wards and other defensive spells, thinking that when he was in the D.A. he never imagined using them like this.

"I reckon we should all divide up in pairs and practice."

"Oi! Neville. You can practice with Hermione and me. We'll take turns."


He zigs and zags on his way to the Apparation point, taking numerous shortcuts. These days he is willing to share that knowledge if anyone needs it.

"Don't listen to Peeves. Come with me and Harry."

The acrid smell of burnt fabric fills their dorm room as Seamus rummages for another pair of trousers. Neville picks up the burnt ones and vanishes them.


Climbing the stairs to his room, the sounds of years of family life reverberate in his head, and for a moment the lies he tells himself fade. Seamus is never coming back, nor is Dean. Colin didn't show up tonight, and the worry overtakes Ron for the Muggle-born man. If he doesn't appear tomorrow, Ron will go looking for him; bringing as much food as they can spare. Reaching the confines of his room, he remembers all the times Harry was here, and others who never were. Enough. He will close his eyes and dream.

Tangled sheets, mussed hair, and cold feet; all normal for this time of year. Neville is a bit of a cover hog, but Ron doesn't mind. His heart broke two years ago when they had to send Neville away; now that he is back, Ron can't find anything to complain about. A bed-sitter isn't much, but it's all they need. They very rarely spend anytime at home out of bed anyway, something Harry uses quite often to take the Mickey out of them. Ron lets Harry have his laugh; Harry will never know what it is like to go from being Neville's hero, to his friend, to his confidant and then to his lover. He won't know what it is like to feel and see Neville writhe underneath him in the light of the Rememberall that first brought them together. Harry can only guess how many times during the summers Ron and Neville snuck up to the attic together. His best mate will certainly never know the joys of waking up in the harsh light of winter to see...

An owl. Stumbling out of bed, Ron opens the window, and removes the parchment. Bleary eyed, and suddenly slightly queasy, he reads the familiar handwriting:

"Hey Mate:

Neville and I are making a quick jump back across the pond. I'm really hoping we can all get together for dinner. Tell Molly she doesn't have to cook. I mean I know she'll want to, but we want to take you all out one night as well.

See you soon, Mate.

Harry

P.S. Neville wants me to remind you the offer still stands to come over here. We have a room just waiting for you."


Ron crumples the paper, and then tosses it, watching it bounce off the slanted walls. In a few days, he will have to see them together. Until then, he can keep lying to himself that he did things differently.


FIN

Voting for this fic is now closed!
Comments 
12th-Mar-2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, you said a lot in just a few words. I really like how you showed canon from the "if only" viewpoint, too. Excellent use of the prompt, too.
12th-Mar-2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
Very melancholy and beautiful. I love the understated quality and the last part made the whole thing so heartbreaking. Poor Ron!
12th-Mar-2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
Excellent work to so effectively portray a broken, lonely Ron in such a short time! Very nicely done!
13th-Mar-2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Oh, I really liked this, the whole feeling of could-have-been. Lovely use of prompt, and you were right: poor Ron!
13th-Mar-2007 04:18 am (UTC) - Poor Ron
I really intended to write a happy/sappy fic, but this is what came out

I think because Ron and Harry don't help him avoid Peeves in HBP has always kind of bugged me (especially since Neville in OOTP really proved himself).

That (and apparently on a break from my Billville fixation) I really think Harry and Neville belong together.
13th-Mar-2007 09:49 am (UTC) - Parallel Lives
Gah, so much with the sad! Poor Ron, indeed. I liked the alternating between past and present, with the italics setting them off--made things clear. But then the clarity at the end was so sad! ;(
14th-Mar-2007 10:52 pm (UTC) - Re: Parallel Lives
I swear I set out to write a lighthearted fic, but the muse has her own ways...

And now I am thinking of a prequel regarding Neville and his and Harry's reunion.
14th-Mar-2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
I think the saddest part was how broken the Trio's friendship is in this story. I hope JKR lets them stay friends forever. Interesting use of the prompt.
14th-Mar-2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Trio?

I hope so too, but Neville lover that I am, I also hope she finally has Ron acknowledge Neville's worth (and include him).

Alas, I am betting that one of the three is a goner in TDH.
14th-Mar-2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
That was an interesting fic that said so very much in quite few words. I liked Ron's recollections of Neville, and found the post-school world Ron finds himself in very intriguing – wanted to know more about what had happened, too, because it reads gritty and dangerous and in quite a bit of contrast to Harry's rather cheerful owl.

And the bitterness at the end, showing what Ron wanted to have and cannot, was very vivid.

Good read, and thanks for writing.
14th-Mar-2007 10:17 pm (UTC) - Post-school world
Thank you. I kind of modeled my thoughts on what (I understood) the differences between post-WWII Britian and USA.

I am inclined to write a longer fic sometime explaining where Neville went 2 years ago, and the aftermath (why Harry left England).
18th-Mar-2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
You really got at a lot here in a short story -- I always like when writers are able to do that. I felt so sad for Ron, here. Good use of the prompt! :)
19th-Mar-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
So very sad. Poor Ron.

Great use of the prompt.
20th-Mar-2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
Aww, its just so sad! Poor babies . . .
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