you know what would have been great? if ron got sorted into slytherin.
imagine– we have this kid on the train, the first friend harry meets, with his corned beef sandwiches and smudged nose. ron is eleven years old and he wants gryffindor, because he’s a weasley and that’s what always happens. but it doesn’t happen.
what a way to redeem slytherin house– or, god, at least complicate it. because ron is petty. he is mean and sharp and ambitious and jealous– and he is loyal to the ends of the earth. he is all those things, and he is and always has been good.
potter becomes before weasley in the alphabet, so harry says not slytherin please and gets told might as well be gryffindor. percy and fred and george are all sitting there in red and gold, ruffling the already-ruffled hair of the boy who lived, smug, and then ron sits down and the hat spits out slytherin!
c'mon it’d be fun. just imagine–
the weasleys freaking out– but even that first christmas molly sends him a sweater in beautiful green and silver.
snape taking points from gryffindor when ron breaks rules or mouths off. “i’m in your house.” “hm, couldn’t tell which weasley it was…” /drifts away
sitting with harry in potions and in flying– whatever classes they happen to share. meeting up to study. scarfing down their breakfasts at separate tables so they can go hang out in the empty classrooms before the day starts. hermione reads while they play exploding snap.
the trio signing up for all the same electives third year. this friendship being something they earn and work for; not just the one that looked easiest. (not to bash canon ron&harry, the bros to end all bros, but by putting this very obvious obstacle between them– it makes it that much clearer to the reader that this is a love worth fighting for, because they’re fighting for it).
ron being jealous that harry and hermione get to share this house, this home, these hours, while he’s stuck with malfoy and parkinson and goyle– because that would eat him up some days, some months, this insecure kid who’s been the last at everything all his life. this kid who always leaves and always comes back.
ron, who constantly compares himself to his brothers– not as smart, not as popular, not as good. one more nail in that coffin, here, yeah? he’s not a prefect, not a quidditch star, not a troublemaker– and even when he becomes those things, someone else has always gotten there first.
well, i guess he got to this house first at least
ron still snaps at snape in potions, after hermione’s been ignored three times, “you know, sir, i think hermione might know the answer.” he still pulls the bars off harry’s window with a stolen, flying car. he still shows harry around the burrow shyly, not knowing what a wonder a warm home is. he still stands up in the shrieking shack as best as he can with a broken leg and tells a mass murderer that if he wants harry he’ll have to go through him first.
ron weasley is a lot of things, but one of them is absolutely a true friend.
in their second year:
when everyone calls harry the heir, they eye ron at his side and sniff.
when hermione lays petrified in the medical ward, ron sits at her side and reads her homework assignments aloud and thinks my house this was my house.
when ron hugs ginny’s damp, shaking frame after the chamber, ron says sorry and sorry and are you okay and i’m so sorry and ginny calls him an idiot.
the trio spends more time in the library with hermione, since ron can’t come to gryffindor tower to study, and homework remains a thing that has to happen. fred and george constantly try to sneak him into the tower anyway.
“c'mon, ronnykins, you belong here, you deserve it, no one’s gonna fuss, it’s your BIRTHRIGHT,” and ron fusses and rolls his eyes at them
and then in fourth year in one of those periods where he’s not talking to harry and harry’s not talking to him– he just snaps at the twins
because it’s not, alright?
not his birthright, not his house, and maybe no one would fuss if he snuck in, maybe no one would care, and that makes it worse not better, because then he’s just that weasley who should’ve been gryffindor
(and harry overhears this caterwauling, feels his heart fall to his toes, and goes and awkwardly asks ron if he wants to go a few laps on his firebolt).
(because, god, harry-the-chosen-one, harry-in-the-cupboard-under-the-stairs, harry-who’ll-save-us-all– he knows what it’s like to have should have beens on your shoulders, and he knows what it’s like to not be wanted).
ron cheers for gryffindor during quidditch matches in those first few years, and sits with hagrid and hermione and neville. harry’s seeker, and fred and george are beaters, and ginny becomes chaser eventually, and honestly screw the slytherin team. they have each and every one of them said disparaging things about ron’s mother.
harry and hermione badger ron into trying out for keeper fourth year; he and harry have been practicing on the quidditch pitch because its a non-library-shaped place to hang out where both of them are allowed. ron makes the slytherin roster, and malfoy grudgingly provides ron a team broom after the captain chews him out for a bit.
“he may be a weasley, but he’s our keeper, don’t you want to win, draco”
but the sort of things they spit in the locker room, the words the players hiss or snigger, the slurs that come easy to their tongues– ron would like to say that he considered just walking out of the cesspit, but instead he snipes and sasses and shouts and sometimes tries to spell slugs at the worst of them.
it doesn’t do much, that one irritated voice of protest– except that it does. and he’s got a new (hand-me-down) wand, after the gilderoy fiasco, so the slugs even come out the right end.
fred gives him a black eye with a bludger one time (though ron does manage to block the quaffle) and molly sends a howler to gryffindor table with the morning post. (“RON DID YOU TATTLE”) (“IT WAS CLEARLY PERCY, FRED, SIT DOWN”)
(the weasleys often have family conversations across the great hall, with hufflepuffs and ravenclaws covering their ears long-sufferingly between them)
in the lake, it’s still ron hanging there in the water, still and bloated. it’s still harry’s heart that stutters in his chest, for all it’s just a game, just a game, just a game, right?
ron listens hard and tries to talk himself out of fist fights, all that next year in the slytherin common room as they read aloud rita skeeter articles.
when hermione calls dumbledore’s army to its first session in that pub, there are green scarves in that crowd– ron and one of the beaters who ron’s gotten to help glare to rest of the slytherin quidditch team into submission.
ron beats draco to being prefect (i think i remember it was dumbledore and not mcgonagall who seemed to award prefect status– snape doesn ’t get a say).
percy is SO PROUD, as usual, but so are fred and george. “did you see the little malfoy git? green with shame, my god.”
when harry has the dream about sirius, ron isn’t there to wake. but when draco’s pulled out of bed to be a professional bully– er, i mean inquisitorial squad member– ron follows at a careful distance and curses draco from behind.
they ride thestrals over london. harry finds the prophecy and ron thinks about the sorts of things that get decided at your birth.
sirius black was a son of slytherin who had a lion living in his chest that he couldn’t hide away.
ron was meant to be gryffindor, and through a haze of injury and fear he watches sirius die just out of harry’s reach.
just imagine: ron with his temper and his sharp words and his fierce loyalty. ron who looks into the mirror of erised and sees house cups and prefect badges and ambitions earned– he could belong in slytherin. there is nothing wrong with wanting things, and he wants them so bad.
there are so many reasons to fight a war, and so many ways. harry and his sacrifices, his loving resignation. hermione’s good right hook and bottomless bag of supplies. luna, brilliant and a bit batty. lee jordan’s radio and mcgonagall’s burning patience and brittle, certain bones.
just imagine: when the last battle comes, there is a slytherin on the field who is not snape.
when draco and his parents walk away, in that last battle, ron–
who slept in the same dormitory as the boy for six years
who heard draco’s nightmares and saw him paling and desperate all sixth year
who is as pureblooded as lucius’s spoiled whelp
who remembers grimacing at the thought of squibs
who has known magic all his life
who spotted draco penning letters home to his mother every sunday and hiding them when the other boys could see–
ron sees them going.
he sounds no alarms. he says no farewells.
he turns back to his friends, and his fight, and lets them be.
just imagine: when harry kneels on the train platform and his second son asks him “but what if i get sorted slytherin, dad?” harry can say, “the bravest man i ever knew was in slytherin house. whatever you are, wherever you go, we’re going to be so proud of you.“
and they can both gaze over to where ron is squawking beside his daughter’s trolley of luggage because crookshanks (who will live to be forty eight million years old) has latched onto his shins with a violent fondness.
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