Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Flames of Betrayal

Three

by marietsy 1 Reviews

WIP AU Harry was sent to Azkaban and was later found to be innocent. With the help of Ron, he will find out who his true friends are. Will he forgive those who betrayed him? Will he be able to le...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Fantasy, Humor - Characters: Harry - Warnings: [?] [V] - Published: 2005/05/10 - Updated: 2005/05/10 - 7606 words

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Disclaimer: I do not nor will I ever own the Harry Potter story, characters, villains, heroes and creatures. I also sadly do not make any money off this story. Trust me; my bank account cannot lie about that.

Thanks to Nancy for her help as always!

O-------o--------o-------O

FLAMES OF BETRAYAL
By Marietsy

O-------o--------o-------O



CHAPTER THREE

"Then who is it?" Dumbledore asked angrily.

Ron smirked at the Headmaster. "Me," he replied cheerfully.

The room erupted into chaos and Ron sat back in his chair, grinning with satisfaction./ I'll have to remember to show this to Harry when he gets here. He'll love it. I wonder if he still has the pensieve he bought before he was imprisoned/, he thought idly.

"What do you mean you're the caretaker? You're just a child yourself," Molly screeched.

Ron glared at her and sneered. "You keep telling yourself that woman."

The redhead looked over at Dumbledore and noticed the displeased look on his face. He mentally snickered, knowing that the Headmaster was not a happy person right now.

"Mr. Weasley..." Dumbledore started.

Ron gave him an icy glare and spat out venomously, "If you want me to continue with this conversation, you will not address me by that name. If you continue to do so I will ignore you and anything you have to say."

Dumbledore nodded slightly, not looking particular happy by the request. "Ron, if I understand you correctly, Harry made you his caretaker when he was sixteen?" he inquired.

"Actually, I believe he was fifteen at the time," Ron answered with a small grin.

"Fifteen?" Molly cried out, her expression showing her disbelief.

Dumbledore gave Molly a look and she quieted down with a grumble. He looked back at Ron and continued with the questions. "Fifteen then. Don't you think that things may have changed since then? He is older now and..."

Ron interrupted Dumbledore before he could continue. "Actually, yes, things have changed, haven't they? At fifteen, Harry wasn't betrayed, belittled, or thrown into Azkaban by the people in this very room. When he was fifteen he actually cared about what you would've had to say about this. Now, I'm sure he isn't going to give a damn."

Dumbledore sighed deeply and looked at Ron kindly. "Surely you understand that I have his best interest at heart. I only want to protect him from Voldemort," he informed Ron gently.

Ron shook his head. "No, you don't. You want to have control over him. You only consider him your weapon. You think that this is going to be the perfect opportunity to mould him into someone you can control. I'm sure that his state of mind isn't going to be very good after eighteen months in Azkaban. You want to take that time to make Harry believe that you regret not helping him when he begged and pleaded for your help. You want to try to brainwash him while you have the chance. I'm not going to let you, Dumbledore. Nothing you do is in Harry's best interest, only yours," he said adamantly.

"It's funny; I used to think that Harry was kidding when he said that you were a kinder, gentler version of You Know Who," Ron paused as he saw Dumbledore's shocked and slightly angry expression. "I just thought it was because Harry was angry with you for Sirius's death, but now I'm beginning to understand what he meant. You hide behind your so-called kindness and wisdom while you sacrifice your pawns to the war with You Know Who. I will not allow you to use Harry as a pawn, nor will I allow you to use me as one either."

Ron stood up and looked at the angry Headmaster. "I'm going back to the Burrow to get what things my family hasn't destroyed and to run a couple of errands. I would like to have the paperwork started on the Emancipation Rite. The sooner I'm rid of the Weasley, name the better." He ignored the cries from his former family. "I would also like Harry to have a comfortable room, but if you decide that you can't have Harry here because you can't control him then I'll take him elsewhere," he informed him coldly.

The redhead headed for the fireplace, paused, and turned to look at the Headmaster. "Remember Dumbledore, you need Harry, but Harry doesn't need you. I know all about the prophecy and personally, I think it's a bunch of bullshit. I find it interesting that the prophecy came to light just about the time you began to lose control over Harry. How convenient," he mused thoughtfully. Ron shot a look at the Headmaster and noticed the man seemed to squirm in his seat. He snorted, turned back to fireplace and flooed to the Burrow.

The room was quiet after Ron left. Soon a chuckle was heard throughout the room and people glanced around before noticing that Severus Snape was the one laughing. He continued to chuckle for a few more seconds before he noticed that he was being stared at. He sneered at everyone and some turned away while others just glared at him.

"What is it that you find so amusing, Severus?" Dumbledore inquired stonily. Things had not gone as planned for Dumbledore, and now he wasn't for sure what to do. If he did anything major he would lose his magic. He would have to think on this. He wasn't done with Harry yet.

"I never thought I would say this, but I think I'm beginning to like this new Mr. Weasley, oh excuse me, Ron," Snape replied with relish,
enjoying the looks of pain and shame on the other Weasleys' faces. "And with Potter deceiving you like he did, why that was positively Slytherin. I think I shall enjoy getting to know Mr. Potter again," the Potions Master said while smirking at the outraged Gryffindors in the room.

"You hate Harry. What makes you think that he'll respond to you any better than any one of us. We were his friends and Harry is very big on friendship," Hermione said pompously.

"If you call what you did to him friendship, then I have no need of it. While I may dislike Mr. Potter, I don't hate him. I have tried my best to help him in any way I can, though he may not have liked the measures I used to do so. If you will remember, I told you once before that Mr. Potter was not the type of person to kill someone. You chose to disregard it and I never brought it up again. I told Mr. Potter myself that I didn't believe him capable of murder. It's true that he broke the rules and got away with many things that he should've been punished for, but he was never a murderer. I shall be interested in what Mr. Potter has to say about his supposed friends and family. It should be entertaining at the least." Snape stood up and sneered at the people in the room. His eyes stopped on the teary-eyed Lupin and Snape sneered at him hatefully.

"I will be in my quarters. I have some potions to brew to help with Mr. Potter's condition. I'm sure he'll be very malnourished and weak. He's probably even insane, so he'll need all the help he can get. Good day, Headmaster," Snape said with a nod. He turned and walked out the room leaving behind a room filled with quiet weeping.

O-------o--------o-------O

Ron flooed into the Burrow and walked up the stairs to his room. He grabbed the trunk that he had yet to unpack from his return from Hogwarts. He grabbed various articles of clothing and threw them into the trunk. He walked over to the closet and took out his wand, muttering a spell. A small box appeared and Ron grabbed it before backing out of the closet.

He walked over to the bed, sat down, and opened the box. He reached in and pulled out some pictures. They showed Harry and Ron in various poses during their time together at Hogwarts. Ron had made sure to hide the box when it became apparent that his family had no problems destroying his property. He didn't want to lose the pictures. At the time, they were all he had left of Harry, and no matter what he had felt after the trial, Harry had still been a big part of his life. He was glad that he'd kept the pictures.

Moving the pictures aside, he picked up a small key and a rolled up parchment. He looked at them thoughtfully, and with a smile, he placed them on the bed next to the trunk. He put the pictures back into the box and closed it. He placed the box gently into the trunk. He placed the key and parchment into the pocket of his robe.

He walked around the room, gathering what was left of his things; a book, a poster of a Quidditch player, and various knick-knacks that he had collected over the years. He placed them in the trunk and slammed it closed. The sounded echoed throughout the room. He took out his wand and cast a shrinking spell on the trunk, putting it in his pocket and with a final glance around the room; he walked out of the place that had been his for the last eighteen years. He walked down the stairs and out the door.

He walked a little ways, stopped and looked back at the house that had been his home all of his life. He remembered the good times with his family, the jokes that the twins would play on them, the games of Quidditch that the boys would play in the yard. He remembered when Ginny had finally gotten old enough to play with them; her laughter had been bright and cheerful. Sadly, none of those good memories could replace the bad memories he had. The bitterness he felt welled up inside him and tears came to his eyes. The pain he had held onto for the last nineteen months was trying to find a release.

He turned away from the house and took a deep breath. "Ron! Wait!" a voice called out to him. Ron froze, his eye narrowed in anger. He had a feeling he should've left before his family got back, but he had been too busy reminiscing to leave.

He turned and found Charlie rushing up to him. "What?" Ron demanded impatiently. "I have things to do, and I don't want to hear anything you have to say."

Charlie finally reached him and stopped in front of him. He placed a hand on Ron's shoulder only to have it shrugged off. He blew out a breath of exasperation. "Look, I know you're angry with the family, but is that really a reason to go through with the Rite? Hell, I get mad at mum all the time, but I'm not ready to leave the family because of it. Why don't you sit down and talk with the family and we can get it worked out," Charlie suggested.

Ron glared at Charlie. "I have every reason to go through with the Rite. I no longer want to be part of this family. I've been thinking about this for months, and now that Harry is going to be released from Azkaban, I realized that it was time. I've had enough. I've had to deal with months of remarks, threats, beatings, and my property being destroyed. I was either being belittled or ignored. I am tired of it. This is not how family is supposed to work. Just because I held on to my belief in my friend does not give the Weasleys the right to treat me as if I'm the criminal. A Death Eater would've been treated better. Hell, Snape is treated better by the Weasleys than I am. I will no longer tolerate it. I'm sick and tired of feeling useless, betrayed, and unloved. Your family is supposed to love you unconditionally, but apparently the Weasleys don't see it that way," Ron spat out angrily.

"Ron, I still think we can work it out. There are many things to apologize for and we will, to both you and Harry," Charlie said kindly.

"That's just it, Charlie. Harry will not want your apology either. Why is it my family suddenly loves me now that they know Harry is innocent? They've suddenly decided that I was right in my defense of him. Why? Are they afraid that they will lose the standing they once had of being the Boy Who Lived adopted family? They can be damn sure they will. Harry and I want nothing to do with the Weasleys."

Charlie shook his head angrily. "You're talking about Harry as if you know what he wants. How do you know that he'll ignore us? How do you know that he wants nothing to do with us?" Charlie questioned.

"Simple, I didn't betray him. I didn't turn my back on him. The one thing that Harry relies on the most is trust. He had trust in the Weasleys to be by his side, to follow him, to believe in him and to love him like the son and brother that they always claimed he was. When they had the chance to show Harry that his trust in the Weasleys hadn't been misplaced, they failed. Harry has been my best friend for seven years, Charlie. I know how he thinks and how he reacts to things, so trust me when I say that the Weasleys will no longer be a part of Harry's life. They have no one to blame but themselves," Ron said wearily. He turned away from Charlie and began to walk away.

Charlie grabbed his arm to stop him. "Ron, I'm your brother and I..."

Ron turned and grabbed the hand and flung it off his arm. He looked at Charlie and sneered. "Not for long," he stated coldly. Ron stepped back and disapparated, leaving behind a shocked and saddened man.

O-------o--------o-------O

Ron reappeared in Diagon Alley, next to the twins shop. He snorted, annoyed, and began the walk to Gringotts. He reached the bank, walking up the stairs and stepped through the first set of doors. Once he entered the building, he nodded to the goblin guards and walked through the second set of doors.

He walked over to goblin at the counter. "I would like to speak to Ghistpok, please," Ron requested politely.

The goblin looked at him a few seconds then snorted. "Just a moment," he said rudely before walking away. A few minutes later, he reappeared with another goblin following behind him. The second goblin approached Ron and looked him over intently.
"I am Ghistpok. How can I help you?" the goblin asked.

"I have a parchment that I need to show you. I also would like to visit my vault," Ron explained.

The goblin nodded his head. "Very well, follow me please." Ghistpok turned and walked back the way he came with Ron following him. They entered a small office off the right of the large room. Ron sat down while Ghistpok closed the door and cast a silencing spell to keep out eavesdroppers.

Ghistpok took a seat behind the desk. "Now, what is it that you need to show me?" he inquired.

Ron took the parchment out of his pocket and handed it over to Ghistpok. The goblin took the parchment, untied the ribbon, and unrolled it. He began to read, humming a few times as he read. He finally finished and put the parchment down on the desk, looking at Ron with a curious expression. "Interesting," he said mildly.

"I'm not sure if you have heard or not, but Harry Potter was found innocent and is being released from Azkaban as we speak. It's doubtful that he'll be in the state of mind to take care of things. That parchment gives me the right as caretaker of Harry Potter to make changes within his accounts. I wish to look them over and see if anything is amiss. I know that the accounts were frozen after he was thrown into Azkaban, but I need to make sure everything is as it should be. I don't want certain people to get control of anything that belongs to Harry," Ron said firmly.

Ghistpok gave Ron an unreadable look. "Harry Potter's accounts were not frozen," he informed the redhead abruptly.

Ron's eyes widened with surprise and he asked, "Why not? I thought all criminals had their accounts frozen."

"Usually that is true, but Harry Potter's accounts were not frozen by a decree from the Ministry," Ghistpok explained.

"Who signed the decree?" Ron asked, confused.

"Minister Fudge," the goblin replied with a grimace.

Ron wondered what was going on. He didn't like the thoughts going through his head. Why would the Ministry leave Harry's account open? He looked at the goblin before him and with a firm look said, "I would still like to see Harry's accounts."

"I will need a drop of blood to confirm that you are who you say you are," Ghistpok informed him.

"I'm going to go through with the Ritus Emancipo in a few days. I don't know what my new last name is as of yet. Will that cause a problem?" the redhead asked anxiously.

"No, it shouldn't. It is not the name in itself that matters, but the blood. It sees through any glamours or rituals and shows me the person within. You will no longer be a Weasley by name or magic, but you are by blood and that is all that matters," Ghistpok explained.

Ron nodded in understanding and held his hand out to the goblin. Ghistpok took a small knife and cut the tip of Ron's finger. He held the finger over the parchment, allowing a small drop of blood to fall. When the blood hit the parchment, Ghistpok muttered a spell and the name Ronald Bilius Weasley appeared in red. Ghistpok grunted with satisfaction, and with a small flick of his finger, he healed the cut on Ron's finger.

Ghistpok opened the drawer of the desk and rummaged around. He pulled out several pieces of parchment that had been banded together. He handed the parchments over to Ron. "This is the summary of Harry Potter's accounts. It will let you know how much he has, what property he owns, where the money is going and what charities he donates to. Some of them were set up by Mr. Potter, and some were set up by his parents."

Ron nodded in understanding. "Who had control of Harry's accounts before me?"

"Albus Dumbledore," the goblin grunted.

Ron's expression darkened with anger. "Interesting," he muttered. He opened the parchments and began to read. His eyes widened in shock when he saw how much money was in the vaults./ Merlin, Harry said he was well off, but I never thought he was filthy rich. He glanced over the properties and shook his head in disbelief. What could one possibly need with all these properties? Harry has a penthouse in New York, a horse ranch in Wyoming, a villa in France, a home in Germany and a freaking castle in Ireland/, he thought in shock.

Ron shook his head with disbelief. He read further down the parchment and stopped at an entry. He read it twice, his eyes narrowed in anger. He looked at Ghistpok and asked, "Why is Dumbledore getting money from Harry's account?"

Ghistpok shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Dumbledore himself set it up that way. What he uses the money for I am not sure, but he has been drawing money from Potter's account since a year after Voldemort was destroyed the first time around."

Ron hissed with anger. He now knew why Harry's accounts remained opened. Dumbledore probably influenced Fudge to keep them open. He wondered if one of the accounts went to Fudge. He would have to find out later. "I want that account closed. In fact, I want all accounts that have anything to do with Dumbledore, the Order of Phoenix, or Hogwarts closed. All other accounts that were not set up by Harry or any other members of his family are to be put on hold. I'll look these parchments over later to figure out which ones are to stay open."

Ghistpok nodded his head in understanding. He grabbed a couple of pieces of parchment and began to write while Ron continued to read. After a few minutes, he looked up and addressed the goblin. "Leave the account to Remus Lupin open. Harry may not like him right now, but the man has no other means of income, and even I wouldn't begrudge him what he has now. In fact, I want you to increase the account another 300 galleons a week. This way he'll be able to afford the Wolfsbane potion," Ron said thoughtfully. If Harry decided he didn't like it, he could always change it, but Ron doubted that he would. He couldn't help but feel sorry for the man. He lost all his friends, had no job, and had the curse of being a werewolf.

He put the parchment down on the desk, picked up the other parchment and began to read. It was a summary of the inheritance that Harry had gotten from Sirius. He read it over and again found some unexplained accounts. "I want anything that has anything to do with Dumbledore, the Order of Phoenix, and Hogwarts closed. Anything else that has nothing to do with Harry Potter I want a hold on it. When did the accounts for Dumbledore open?" Ron asked curiously.

Ghistpok glanced at a piece of paper that was on his desk. "About a month after Sirius Black was found innocent and the accounts were released."

Ron growled in anger. That had been six months after Sirius Black died. Peter Pettigrew had been caught and questioned before escaping from the Ministry. When it had become known that Sirius Black hadn't been the Potter's secret keeper, and that he hadn't killed Pettigrew or the Muggles, he had been found innocent posthumously. That had been a couple months before the murders. Harry had been relieved, but saddened by the fact that Sirius wasn't alive to enjoy his freedom.

Ron was angered by the audacity of the Headmaster./ How dare that man take money that doesn't belong to him! he fumed. /If he thinks he's going to get another galleon from Harry, he has another thing coming. No wonder the man wanted control of Harry. He didn't want his money taken away from him. Well, that was too damn bad.

After he read the parchment, Ron sat it down on the desk and glanced at Ghistpok. "When will the accounts be closed or placed on hold?" he inquired.

"They are being closed as we speak. Whomever the accounts were set up for shall be informed of the situation. A letter will be sent by owl. If they have questions, shall I have them directed to you?" Ghistpok asked.

"Yes, I would like to know who is getting money they shouldn't have been getting," Ron replied.

"Understood. Is there anything else I can do for you?" Ghistpok inquired.

"Yes, I need to visit my vault."

"Of course, sir. Biletooth!" the goblin called out after taking off the silencing spell.

A goblin came through the door. "Yes, sir?"

"Show this man to his vault please," Ghistpok requested politely.

Biletooth nodded his head and directed Ron towards the door. Ron got up from the chair, thanked Ghistpok, and walked out the door with Biletooth. Together they walked in silence as they went down the stairs to the cavern and into a cart.

"Vault number, please," Biletooth requested.

"Vault 890," Ron told him.

The cart took off and Ron closed his eyes, trying to calm his queasy stomach. He hated riding in the carts. He wished the goblins would find another way to get to the vaults. After a few minutes, the cart stopped and Ron stepped out, swaying slightly. "Bloody hell, "he whispered.

Biletooth walked to the vault and held out his hand. "Key, please." Ron took the key out of his pocket and handed it to the goblin. He watched as the goblin inserted the key into the lock and the door opened. He nodded to the goblin and entered the vault. He walked over to the pedestal that sat in the middle of the vault, where he picked up the book and a long, thin box that was laying on it. He pocketed the box and shrunk the book, which he then placed in his pocket. With a sigh of satisfaction, he turned and walked out of the vault. He waited impatiently while Biletooth closed the door and locked it. He grabbed the key that Biletooth held out to him and walked over to the cart, waiting for the goblin.

The ride back was just as harrowing as the previous one. Ron got out of the cart and swayed again. "Oh, I'm going to be sick. Why can't you find another mode of transportation?" he moaned loudly.

Biletooth snorted, muttering "Weak humans" under his breath and proceeded to walk up the stairs. Ron followed slowly trying to reorient himself. He shook off the dizziness and walked up the stairs. With a muttered 'thank you' to Biletooth, Ron walked out of Gringotts. He walked to the bottom of the steps and disapparated.

He appeared in Hogsmeade and headed towards Honeydukes. With Harry being in Azkaban for eighteen months, he would be having a serious craving for Chocolate Frogs. Right now, Harry could use what little happiness he could get. He walked into the shop and grabbed some Chocolate Frogs, a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and some Licorice Wands. He walked up to the counter and paid for the candy. He walked out of the shop, munching on the beans.

He decided to take some time to enjoy the day. He began the walk to Hogwarts. He figured by the time he got there Harry should've been brought to the school and examined. "I hope he's all right," he muttered. He glanced around and admired the flowers that grew wildly around the countryside. He hummed to himself as he walked, taking it slow and easy. He wondered what Harry was going to say when he told him about Dumbledore and the money. He stopped in the middle of the road, his mind racing furiously. Dumbledore had said that Grimmauld place was closed along with Harry's accounts. That's why the meetings for the Order were taking place at Hogwarts./ That bastard lied,/ Ron thought with anger. Dumbledore needed everyone to believe that Harry's accounts were frozen. Ron growled in anger and began to walk once more. That bastard will pay, he thought angrily, but not until I know Harry's all right.

An hour later, he finally reached Hogwarts and passed through the gates. He walked up the pathway to the school, opened the large doors, and walked into the school. He noticed that there were students milling around the hallways, whispering furiously. Some of them looked at Ron curiously, and some with shame. Ron snorted as he realized that they must've heard about Harry's innocence. Yeah, it looks like I was right, he sneered. He glared at a couple of seventh year Gryffindors and began to walk towards the infirmary.

"Ron, wait!" a voice called out. Ron sighed deeply and muttered to himself, "Now what?" He turned around to yell at whoever was calling for him. He wasn't in the mood for apologies. He snorted. As if anyone would actually apologize for how they treated him or Harry.

Dennis Creevey rushed up to him, panting slightly. "Is it true?" he asked in a rush. "Is Harry Potter really innocent of my brother's death?" he questioned desperately. Ron gave the boy a curt nod and watched as the boy's eyes closed in denial. "Oh, Merlin," he whispered. "Oh, Harry." A tear rolled out from underneath his closed eyes and the boy took a couple of quivering breaths. He opened them and glared at Ron fiercely. "Who? Who killed my brother then?" he growled.

Ron looked at Dennis with a slightly sympathetic look. "Draco Malfoy," he informed him.

"That bastard," Dennis snarled before beginning to cry softly. "Harry's never going to forgive me," he whispered.

Ron looked at him and sighed. He grabbed the young man by the shoulder and shook it. "I'm sure Harry understands that you were grieving. You said some terrible things true, but that is all you did. Harry will understand that and forgive you, Dennis. Colin was your brother and you two were very close."

Dennis shook his head. "Ginny was your sister, but you never gave up on Harry," he cried out.

"Yes, but I was also Harry's best friend and I knew him as a person. You didn't. You only regarded him as a hero, and you didn't know him well enough to know any different. It might have been different if you had turned on him like everyone else did, but you didn't. You ignored him and wouldn't even speak his name. That is called grief Dennis, and it's allowed," Ron said, shaking the man slightly.

Dennis sniffed and nodded his head. "Tell Harry that I'm sorry when you see him."

Ron arched an eyebrow. "What makes you think I'm going to see him?" he questioned.

"Why else would you be here? You graduated last year, remember? You're his best friend, his only friend now. Of course you're going to see him," he said wryly. Dennis patted Ron on the arm gently, turned, and walked away.

Ron shook his head, bemused, and continued his way up to the infirmary. When he reached the room, he walked in and looked around. Finding no one around, he went looking for Harry's bed. Except for a first year, they were all empty. I hope that means that Harry was already released.

"Mr. Weasley, what can I do for you?" a voice asked behind him.

Startled he jumped and turned around quickly, his wand out. Madame Pomfrey looked at him, the wand and gave him an arched look. Ron blushed sheepishly and put his wand away. "I was looking for Harry. Has he gotten here yet?" he asked eagerly.

Madame Pomfrey frowned at him slightly. "I don't believe I'm supposed to tell anyone about Harry, Dumbledore's orders."

Ron stood to his full height of 6'3" and looked down at Madame Pomfrey with an icy glare. "If this is about Harry then I have every right to know. I'm Harry's designated caretaker, and all things regarding Harry come to me. If Dumbledore tries to interfere, that manipulative bastard will be in breech of his contract and he will lose every ounce of his magic, or did he forget to tell you that little piece of tidbit. Now, I want to know where Harry is and I want to know what is wrong with him. If you refuse, I'll take it to the Ministry, and I'll have a couple of Aurors here so fast your head will spin. In regards to Harry's health and treatment, I don't want you giving out any information unless I approve it first. Not to anyone, not even Dumbledore. If you don't think you can comply then I'll take Harry else where to get the kind of care he needs," Ron said coldly.

The woman stared at Ron is shock then began to bluster. "Well, I never..." she trailed off in disbelief.

"And you never will again if I don't get a Wizard's oath. Now!" the redhead growled.

"I swear by a Wizard's oath that I will not give out any information regarding Harry Potter to anyone, including the Headmaster, unless given permission by you," she declared and they both felt the magic as the oath took hold.

"How is Harry?" Ron asked gently, his former anger gone.

Poppy glared at him. "He is weak and malnourished. I gave him several potions to help with his condition. After some rest and some food, he will be better physically. Mentally however, Harry Potter appears to be catatonic. He's not aware of anything going on around him. He can follow basic commands like sit, stand, and eat, but his mind has retreated too far into himself," she explained.

Ron was disturbed and saddened by the news, but not surprised. Azkaban is not a place of joy and when your deepest, darkest memories are played over in your mind repeatedly, it's bound to make one insane.

"Will he get better?" he asked the nurse.

Madame Pomfrey frowned slightly, her expression concerned. "I'm not sure. He could get better as soon as his mind comprehends that he is safe now, or he could never get better. I'm not for sure which way it'll go. If you notice a difference, then you must let me know. He needs to be watched carefully," she warned.

Ron nodded his head in understanding. "Of course. Do you know where he's at?"

"Lupin and the Headmaster took him to his room, but I'm not for sure where it is. You shall have to ask him," Poppy informed him.

Ron gave her a nod of thanks and made his way out of the infirmary. He walked down a couple flights of stairs and headed towards the Headmaster's office. He had only walked a little ways when he saw Lupin.

"Lupin!" he called out and the man stopped and faced him. Ron walked up to the man. "Where's Harry? Madame Pomfrey said that you and the Headmaster took him to his room. Could you take me there?" he asked.

Lupin gazed at him with sad eyes and nodded his head. He turned and began to walk away. Ron followed him and they walked together in silence. "I went to Gringotts today to take care of Harry's finances. I closed all the accounts that didn't have anything to do with Harry," Ron said idly and watched Lupin's reaction from the corner of his eyes.

He saw Lupin pale in shock then resignation. He bowed his head and continued to walk. He had an air of defeat that Ron had never seen on the man before and he felt slightly guilty for the callous way he had made the remark. He sighed softly and muttered softly, "All of them except yours. I added another 300 galleons a week to your account."

Lupin whipped his head up, his expression shocked. "Why?" he croaked.

"Harry would've wanted me to. You may have turned your back on him, but he would still want you taken care of. His parents gave you that money, and I'm not about to take it away. The extra money is so that you can afford the Wolfsbane potion. You need it and I'm not about to take that away from you, no matter how I feel about you right now."

Lupin looked at Ron with a grateful expression. "Thank you," he said softly.

They stopped in front of a painting of a milkmaid. "Whatever," Ron replied with a shrug.

"Forgiveness," Lupin told the painting and it opened. Ron snorted; the password will have to be changed as soon as Lupin leaves.

"Thanks," Ron said.

Lupin nodded, turned, and walked away. Ron stared after the defeated man in pity and anger. It was hard to hate a man that looked that defeated, but he still turned on Harry just like everyone else. He glanced at the picture. "I'm the caretaker of the man in this room and I would like to have the password changed."

The milkmaid giggled cutely and replied, "Of course, Master Wizard. What would you like to change it to?"

Ron smirked at the portrait. "Betrayal," he said and the milkmaid frowned slightly, but nodded her head. Ron gave a grunt of satisfaction and entered the room. He looked around the luxurious room and shook his head.

"Wheezy!" a voice cried out.

He turned and looked as Dobby came running into the room excitedly. Ron smiled at the house-elf. "Hello, Dobby. What are you doing here?"

Dobby bounced on his feet, excitement and happiness shining on his face. The house-elf had been a staunch supporter of Harry, believing in his innocence. He had been devastated when Harry was sent to Azkaban and vowed to take care of Harry's Wheezy. While Ron was still at Hogwarts, Dobby took care of him when the redhead decided that he didn't want to eat with the rest of the students. Ron considered the little house-elf a friend.

"Taking care of Harry Potter, sir. Wheezy's mum wanted to take care of him, but Dobby said no. Dobby will take care of Harry Potter and no one else. Wheezy's mum was not happy and began to yell at Dobby. Dobby is a free elf now thanks to Harry Potter and Dobby did not like Wheezy's mum yelling at him. Therefore, Dobby silenced Wheezy's mum with elf magic. Now Wheezy's mum cannot yell at Dobby anymore," the house-elf said slyly.

Ron began laugh and he patted Dobby on the shoulder. "Good job, Dobby." Dobby beamed up at Ron. "How is Harry?"

"Sleeping. Dobby fed Harry Potter then Harry Potter went to sleep. Dobby was about to leave to go back to kitchen. Does Wheezy need anything?" the house-elf asked joyfully.

"Actually, I would like some food if you don't mind. I'm quite hungry."

"Of course, Wheezy." The house-elf disappeared and Ron walked towards the bedroom. He glanced at the bed and he stopped breathing for a second. Harry was lying sprawled out on the bed. He looked thin and pale. His hair was coarse and brittle from the lack of good food, and it was long and unkempt. He was frowning in his sleep and he whimpered once before quieting. His face was pale and gaunt and there were dark circles underneath his eyes.

Ron walked over to the bed and sat down. He stared at his best friend with tears in his eyes. The guilt was eating him alive and he couldn't seem to swallow the lump that had formed in his throat. He took a shuddering breath and patted Harry on the arm gently.

Dobby appeared in the other room and with another look at Harry, Ron walked out of the bedroom. He sat down at the small table where Dobby had placed the food. Thanking the house-elf, he began to eat. For the first time in many months, he was hungry and he devoured his food. After taking a sip of juice, he sighed with satisfaction. He leaned back in the chair and stared around the room. He grinned; it figured Harry would get a very nice room. Dumbledore is probably trying to bribe Harry. Of course, it would only make a difference if he were actually aware of his surroundings.

There was a knock on the door and Ron stood up to answer it. He opened the door and found a disgruntled Headmaster standing there. He didn't look happy to see Ron, but quickly covered his expression of displeasure.

"The portrait told me that password had been change. Was that your doing?" Dumbledore asked kindly.

"Yep, the other one was a stupid ploy on your part. I changed it as soon as I could," Ron replied mockingly.

"What is the new one?" the Headmaster inquired.

Ron sneered at the old wizard. "I'm not telling you. I'm sure you'll figure it out later, but until then you'll just have to knock like everyone else." He turned away from the doorway and let the Headmaster in.

He turned to face the Headmaster, but he was distracted by a moan coming from the bedroom. He ran into the bedroom and sat on the bed, gently patting his friend on the back. He ran his hand down Harry's back soothingly and muttered nonsensical words. Harry calmed down and the moaning stopped. He lay there, sleeping quietly.

Ron turned towards the door and noticed that the Headmaster had followed him into the bedroom. "What do you want?"

"I was wondering if maybe I could take Harry somewhere safe," Dumbledore requested.

"Are you trying to say that Hogwarts isn't safe?" Ron asked with a frown.

"No, I was just wondering if maybe I can take him to my home. It is unplotable and it's safe behind many wards. Harry would be safe," the Headmaster explained. "With you soon to be distracted by the Rite, you wouldn't have to worry about his care."

Ron sneered at the Headmaster. "No, I don't think so. Where Harry goes I go. I'm not leaving him to your tender mercies," he snapped.

"But I assure you, he would be safe," Dumbledore said gently.

"I said no," Ron said coldly.

"I seriously think..."

"I don't care what you think. I'm his caretaker and if you have something to say, then say it. I don't give you permission to move him, Dumbledore. You know as well as I do what will happen if you try to gainsay me. Go ahead. Hell, try it. I want you to. I would love to see your magic dissolve and the whole Wizarding World panic because you were stupid enough to try and do something you were not supposed to," Ron said snidely.

Dumbledore sighed heavily and looked at Ron with a benevolent expression. "Mr. Weasley..." he began.

"Don't call me that," Ron hissed venomously.

"Ron, he will be safe where I take him," Dumbledore said gently.

"I said no, Headmaster. You were all for letting him stay here when you thought you had control of him, but now that you don't, you're trying to remove him from Hogwarts and away from me. I'm letting you know now that you can't move him without my expressed permission, nor may you have anyone else move him. If that happens, then it'll be a breach of contract and you'll lose your magic. I don't give a damn if you like it or not. You'll just have to deal with it. Now, leave this room before you wake him," Ron demanded coldly.

There was a moment of silence before Dumbledore sighed, exasperated. "Very well, Ron. You do know that he's catatonic, don't you? He's not aware of you, or anything else for that matter," Dumbledore explained.

"I don't care. I need to make my apologies to him in private. Please leave," Ron said firmly.

There was a moment of silence then Dumbledore hissed with exasperation. "Very well, Ron. You know as well as I do that he's catatonic. He's not aware of you, or anything else for that matter," Dumbledore said.

"I don't care. I need to make my apologies to him in private. Please leave," Ron said firmly.

Ron watched at the Headmaster left the bedroom then the suite. He ran his hands over his face wearily when he heard the door close. He was so very tired of everything. He sat down on the bed, sighed, and then leaned back. He glanced at Harry and began to talk.

"Hey, mate. I heard you were catatonic. Madame Pomfrey doesn't know if you'll ever come out of it or not. I know you probably can't hear me, but that's all right. I need to say this to you regardless. I'm sorry I failed you in the end. I stood with you, as I should have, until the trial. When you confessed that you killed Ginny and the others under Veritaserum, my heart broke. I couldn't believe it. I still had doubts about it for so long, but I let myself be swayed by my former family. Yeah, that's right, my former family. I have decided to go through the /Ritus Emancipo/. Since you didn't grow up in the Wizarding World, you may not know what that means, but it's the Rite of Emancipation. I've decided to leave my family and the family name behind. I'll no longer be a Weasley. In fact, I'll have no last name unless someone gives me one. I waited for you because I wanted you to be there. Even if you are catatonic," Ron explained.

"Harry, I'm so sorry. Please wake up so I can let you know. You're my brother and my best friend. I've missed you so much. The guilt I feel is killing me," Ron said brokenly.

The redhead covered his face with his hand and began to sob softly, the guilt and pain eating him up. Harry was here, but he couldn't hear him because he was catatonic. He had sobbed for several minutes when he felt hands pulling his hand away from his face. Startled, he looked straight into blazing green eyes.

He caught his breath, hope filling him, not daring to believe when he was seeing. "Harry?" he whispered softly.

"Hey, Ron," Harry replied with a gentle smile directed towards Ron.

Ron stared at Harry for a few seconds in disbelief then exclaimed, "Bloody Hell" while grinning widely. He reached forward and grabbed Harry in a hug. His friend was awake and aware. He heard Harry sigh in contentment and he smiled softly. They were together again, and no matter what Ron would be there for Harry. He would not lose faith in him again. He laid his head on top of Harry's and smiled.


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