the pearl


It was the summer and they came to the Burrow crying.

Hermione was crying and Harry was crying and when Mum saw them she began crying because they wouldn't come to the house without Ron unless something was wrong and Ron wasn't there and they were both crying and I started crying too, because I knew what had happened.

And when Mum brought Dad home and Bill home and Charlie home and Percy home and Fred and George home and Harry and Hermione told what had happened, everyone was crying. Mum was wailing and Dad was sobbing as he held her, and all the boys were doing the manly crying thing where they weren't wailing at all but putting their arms around each other's shoulders. And Harry held Hermione and Hermione held Harry and they kept crying together, not caring who was in the room. And I sat there, still crying, and no one held me.

And then it was the funeral and there was his body on the pyre and Mum was still crying and Harry and Hermione held hands and wept and I was furthest away from everything, watching with red-rimmed eyes and trying to be strong, because Mum couldn't even make herself a cup of tea, much less feed everyone who had stayed. Harry and Hermione slept in Ron's bed and cried themselves to sleep at night.

And afterwards, when Seamus declared that there must be a wake, and brought bottles of spirits (alcohol, not ghosts — I had to explain it to Grandma Georgina) into the house and everyone began drinking and everyone was slightly better, but it was just the alcohol, and someone gave me a full bottle of gin and it was half-full by the time everyone began to leave.

And Harry and Hermione were sitting there trying to be strong and suddenly it became clear to everyone that Harry, Hermione, and Ron weren't just "Harry, Hermione, and Ron," they were "HarryHermioneRon" or "HermioneRonHarry" or "HermioneHarryRon," and Bill and Charlie and Percy and Fred and George left the room and Mum began crying again and Dad just sort of looked away and Harry and Hermione sat there, crying, trying to not start shouting and screaming and ripping their clothes and tearing their hair because the one they loved was gone.

And I was by the table, stacking plates and drinking gin and no one saw me cry.

And I went back to Hogwart's when the summer was over, and people treated me gently and Dumbledore talked to me, and I nodded and was solemn and finished my year with good grades and excellent reports and never did anything to make me stand out, because that's what Bill and Charlie and Percy and Fred and George and Ron did, and I wasn't any of them. I wasn't a prefect, I wasn't Head Girl, I wasn't ever in detention, and I never saved the world.

It was summer again and Mum was still crying from time to time and Dad refused to talk about Ron and Bill and Charlie and Percy and Fred and George all lived in places of their own and didn't come home and it was big and empty and no one talked about anything and Ron's room was never cleared out and never cleaned up and still had the bedding from when Harry and Hermione cried over losing him.

And Harry and Hermione came to dinner and talked to me and said that their house was empty without a third person, that there were four bedrooms in case they all wanted to be alone, but it was so wrong without a third person and they knew I wanted to move out of the Burrow and they offered me a room in their house — not Ron's old room, not their room, but Hermione would move into Ron's old room and I would get hers and it would be a nice place to live in the middle of London where I could study or get a job or something. And I accepted their room because if I stayed here, Mum would still cry and Dad would still not talk and I would end up roaming the halls at night, thin and pale and trying to be everything Mum needed.

And I moved in and I cooked and cleaned while they worked and saved the world over and over again and it wasn't long before Harry was smiling and Hermione was giggling and the two of them brightened in front of me. And I had a crush on Harry since I was ten and a crush on Hermione since I was thirteen and I had dreamed for several years of going on adventures with them and being with one of them while Ron and Harry or Ron and Hermione lived and loved and we would all share a house and raise children and be happy but now Ron was dead and they were RonHarryHermione and there was no RonHermione and HarryGinny or RonHarry and HermioneGinny .

And we ended up drinking one night and suddenly it was darker and more real and things became tense and Hermione started to cry again and both of us went to her and held her and kissed her and it became HarryHermioneGinny even though I didn't know what to do, I didn't know where to put things, and they taught me and held me and Hermione sobbed through the entire thing, but it became happy sobs not sad sobs.

And the next morning, it was different and I was with them and I got my hair cut, and wore trousers and still did the cooking and the cleaning and spent my nights in bed with them because they needed me to be strong, they needed me to be Ron.

And I didn't care.

This Harry Potter story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at