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Golden Bullets

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"... Ron," Harry starts.

"I'll just - do what she says," Ron interrupts. "Hermione's right, anyway - don't want to leave Lavender waiting."

And then he's gone, before Harry can finish what he was going to say. And, frankly... he's almost glad, because Harry's not sure what words would have come out of his mouth - or how much worse they would have made the situation. 

Not how much better. Harry's not sure he could have made this situation any better with just a few words - he's still in shock, really. Hermione just - she just.

On the flip of a coin - Harry had thought her tears were for sadness, and he thinks that they were, yes but - also, it can't be ignored -

They were for anger. Vicious fury, really - she hadn't held back, hadn't pulled her punches.

Ron's arms were - are bleeding, Harry thinks, faintly. It's like -

He doesn't like to think this, but in the quiet privacy of his own head, this is like those times when he'd be doing his chores, and his Aunt would be in the room, and he'd do one thing, just one small mistake he didn't even notice - and she'd snap. Swing a frying pan at his head, yell at him, throw something... it's like that. Calm to furious; sad to violent.

Harry, in this private moment, allows a shudder at the thought - but then, furiously, violently, shoves it into the back of his head.

This isn't his argument. For once - it's not his fight. He should - he would, but Harry... Harry knows Hermione's upset with Ron for kissing Lavender, and maybe, perhaps, just slightly, he things there's an irony to that - to her being upset with that, when she's jealously upset with Ron for being jealously upset about her kising Viktor - but also -

Ron doesn't... Ron doesn't know that, Harry thinks, just as Hermione doesn't know that's why Ron's upset with her. And it's not - Ron didn't resort to... that.

And Harry - Harry doesn't want to get between Hermione's wand and her - target.

And he hates this - but.

That goes for when the target is Ron, too.

(The thing is. He flinches enough when people he doesn't know very well move suddenly towards him, he moves quickly away enough when people he doesn't like get near his personal space - he doesn't.... he doesn't want to associate his near-sister with - with...

With that.)


Lavender watches with a frown as Hermione stalks past, and not a few moments later the door opens and -

"Ron!" She exclaims, and hurries to his side. They aren't dating yet - god, they've only shared the one kiss! They'll be dating soon, she's got plans, but not quiet yet - but, ohmygod -

"Ron!" She repeats, horrified, as she gingerly picks up his hands by the unblemished skin - what's left of it, anyway - and holds his arms up for inspection. He's bleeding - holes and cuts and slices... and are those feathers?

"What happened?" Lavender asks, gently pulls him away from the door and towards an alcove, as she takes out her wand. "Episkey," She says, and the wounds don't close. "Episkey," She repeats more forcefully, and Ron hisses, but the wounds do stop bleeding a little. It slows down, anyway. "Sorry!" Lavender cries out quietly, for any pain she caused, and hastily puts away her wand. "We should take you to the hospital wing - what happened?" Lavender repeats, looks up into his (dreamy, ohmygod, I kissed Ron Weasley!! Focus, Lavender, are you really thinking about that now? He's hurt, God-) eyes and pleades with her expression for him to tell her.

Lavender's not stupid - she can totally figure it out on her own; Harry would never attack Ron, and besides, his conjouring could do with some work, plus, he'd want any wounds he inflicted on his best mate to be fixed stat and whoever's magic caused this doesn't want that - so...

That leaves Granger.

(There's a spell with your name on it, I swear, Hermione- If you did this to not just my boyfriend but your best friend -)

Lavender had never particularly liked Hermione Granger, she'll be the first to admit that. In their first years she'd been bossy and wouldn't talk with them about much, and then she closed off after becoming friends with Harry and Ron, and then she was petrified for most of second year so Lavender never got a chance at a better second introduction, and then third year rolled around and she was so tired Lavender didn't want to bother her, and then she had the gall to say what she did about Lavender's rabbit and then Lavender really didn't like her, for reasons that should be obvious, and in fourth year she was distracted and Lavender didn't want to be friends with her anymore, and then in fifth year everything went so terribly that Lavender was just focusing on keeing her head above water -

And now. And now.

"I don't -" Ron starts, falters, as he looks down and seems to realise what happened to his arms - "I don't need the hospital wing," He says. "And it's -"

"If you say fine I swear -" Lavender lets go of his hands and places hers on his shoulders, shaking him lightly, "Ron, please. Think! You're hurt, please, just - just tell me."

"It's not that -" Ron shrugs, uncomfortable, and Lavender lets go of his shoulders. A little hurt, but.. well, she hasn't gotten to the 'get to know each other well and learn that it's great to divulge secrets to one-another, go communication and sharing!' stage of her 'woo Ron Weasley' plan yet, so. She gets it, though... in his place - well. Lavender supposes she can't claim to know what she'd do, if she were attacked by say - Parvati.

God, she'd be in shock forever.

For. Ever.

Maybe she should skip the 'reaffirm and solidify physical attraction' portion of the plan?

"Okay," Lavender says. "Okay. Just... let me bandage some of the worst ones, please?"

"... yeah, alright," Ron says. Lavender smiles at him, and - he smiles back, a little small and a little forced, maybe because he's still shocked that one of his two friends just attacked him.

Probably. That sounds most likely.

... Lavender doesn't think this lightly, but. Bitch.

Lavender carefully links fingers with him, because they managed to mostly escape being diced up, and slowly walks back to the common room with him. Hopefully, by the time they arrive, Hermione will be back in bed or long gone, the latter much prefered, because Lavender isn't sure what she'd do if she came across Hermione Granger any time soon.


Ron and Lavender re-enter the common room not long after Hermione walked in, walked upstairs, and slammed her dorm's door.

"Fucking hell," Someone mutters. "What'd you two get up to?"

Lavender glares at the seventh year, and clutches Ron's fingers - not his hand, Ginny notes, absently, as she stares in confusion at the mess of Ron's arms - protectively.

"We didn't do anything, not that it's any of your business," Lavender says, and Ginny feels a suprirsing uptick in respect for the girl.

"Alright, whatever," The guy says, and then he leaves the common room. The parties died down; the disappearance of Ron and Harry and Hermione and then the rest of everyone who was pairing off or getting tired had left the place quiet a bit quieter than when Ron and Lavender had last been in there - and made their entrance that much more of a scene, Ginny thinks.

"Scram," Ginny says, loudly, as she stands. Some people look at her. "I said scram," She repeats, threateningly, and the rest of the people in the room do, as she places her hand on her wand and glares at them.

She might find it funny when mild misfortunes occur to her brothers, she might find it amusing to tease them - but if her brothers are hurt?

No.

"What happened?" Ginny demands, and walks over.

Lavender pouts slightly; obviously, Ron hadn't degined to tell her. Yet.

"Just..." Ron shrugs. Ginny narrows her eyes at him. "Am I going to have to ask Hermione? Harry?" Ginny asks, and Ron -

winces.

Ginny frowns, and notes Lavender's glare in the direction of the girls' dorms.

Ginny looks back at her brother. "What happened?" She repeats, more warily. At that moment, the portrait swings open, and Harry steps into the common room. Ginny rounds on him, because if nothing else, she can ususally expect Harry to defend his friends from harm. "What. Happened." She demands, slowly, and gestures with her wand at Ron's arms.

"... Hermione." Harry says, and it's - strange. Like, even to his own ears, he can't believe what he's saying.

The thing is. Ginny... Ginny kind of can. Just a little. Marrietta's got permanent scars - physical retribution, because that spell wasn't preventative, just punishment, that's... not beyond Hermione's... ideals, morals, or whatever that falls under, Ginny thinks.

If she thought Ron had betrayed her in some way? Even though they're best friends, even though Hermione likes him and you'd be dumb not to notice Ron likes her back (which proves they're both very dumb, at least when it comes to romance, Ginny thinks)... you know, Ginny... Ginny can't not see it.

That's a daunting thought. That - realisation. Ginny signed that contract, too. How had the curse - because it's a curse, only curses can leave permanent, unable to be healed magically, scars - worked? Did it count anyone that hadn't signed the sheet being told about the DA as betrayal? What if Ginny had wanted to invite someone new to the DA that she trusted? Would the curse have affected her if she'd told them about it in order to invite them, or did the curse somehow differentiate? What if Colin had told his dad, who surely wouldn't have been untrustworthy; would he have been branded a 'Sneak'? Or little Dennis?

Ginny couldn't be sure, she supposes, so she pushses that line of thought aside for now.

"Hermione?" Ginny repeats. It - it sounds ridiculous to her own ears. Hermione, who had been friends with her brother for six years; who had been by his side through most every dangerous adventure during that time; who had a crush on him; who was one of his two best friends - she did this?

Hermione - who can be casually, accidentally cruel; who does, Ginny admits, hurt people with magic; who has, Ginny knows, done so before...

"Oh."

"Yeah, well." Ron says, gruffly - embarrased, Ginny thinks. Humilliated. Upset. Maybe a little - or, well, no, a lot betrayed.

But mostly... this - as much as Ginny teased him, teases him... this was his night. His victory. This shouldn't have happened at all, but, today of all days?

"I'm tired," Ron says. "G'night,"

"Good night," Ginny echoes. Ron stomps off, and Harry, who shares a dorm with him, trails after. He's hesitant, Ginny thinks, which is - very unlike him.

But then - Harry just witnessed...

Oh dear Merlin.

"Fuck," Ginny says. She looks at Lavender, who's frowning worriedly, chewing at her bottom lip. Anxious and concerned.

"D'you wanna stay in our dorm tonight?" Ginny asks. "The others won't mind."

"... Thank you," Lavender says. "I just - I don't know what I'd do. She did that to won-won..."

Ginny refrains from commenting on that atrocious nick-name, and grimaces. Because... yeah, she'd probably curse Hermione if she saw her right now.

"Yeah, okay, come on," Ginny says, and leads the way.


Harry stares up at the canopy of his bed when he wakes, and doesn't move until he hears the room empty of other people. He takes his time getting ready for the day, because if he doesn't then he's going to have to choose who to sit next to at lunch - most assuredly, Ron and Hermione won't be speaking for a while, and Harry's going to have to choose a side.

Again.

Harry's tired of this. He's so tired; tired of their arguing, tired of their fights, their mutual jealousy, tired - tired of something so quietly terrible that he didn't quite realise until Hermione literally caused conjoured canaries to attack his best mate.

Harry rather likes Hermione - but he likes Ron more, if he's honest, and yet...

He can't pick Ron's side, because, right now, Hermione's, well -

Volatile, a quiet voice whispers in the back of his head. Keep your head down and your mouth shut, her mood will pass. So will his.

Because Ron's bound to be angry now, too. He got the shock and the sadness part out of his system last night - now, his upsetness is going to manifest in broody, moody anger, and just when Harry had gotten him back to high spirits again.

Harry closes his eyes. He squeezes them shut and counts, quietly, for a bit, before he gathers his wits, squares his shoulders, and heads down into the common room.