The Fight

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

A/N: It always bothered me how Ron got away with everything. I am not discounting or belittling Harry's forgiveness ability. However, I felt the seeds needed expounding due to Ron's betrayal later. This is right before Sirius since it is the summer before third year. This is an AU plotline because Hedwig lives (thank you sandstorm25555 for reminding me to label it as such).

Reviews are welcome and if there are any grammar/spelling/punctuation errors, please let me know. I strive to improve my writing clarity. Thank you!

Part I: Family Issues

"What do you know?!" Ron snapped. "You don't have a family!"

Hermione gasped, horrified and speechless as her heart spasmed in grief and shock. What if this can never be repaired?

"You're right." Harry said softly. "Thanks for the reminder." He turned on his heel and walked away.

Hermione immediately made to follow her best friend. Her mind racing on how she could bridge the-.

"Go ahead." Ron sneered. "You always take his side."

"Maybe because you're always so mean!" Hermione said shrilly.

Harry tilted his head toward Hermione's voice. Good. Harry thought bitterly. Thank Merlin the Weasleys are busy running errands and suchlike. He thought he closed the door upon entering Ron's room.

Harry always made his bed "military neat," as Ron would say. He was used to living out of his trunk at both the Dursleys and Hogwarts and had not kicked the habit yet despite staying with the Weasleys again before entering his third year.

Before Harry left Hogwarts, he had asked Professor Flitwick about a useful Shrinking Charm that he could prearrange on Hedwig's cage.

All Harry had to do was tap the knob and it would shrink, as would his trunk's fifth stripe. He placed the shrunken cage inside the trunk before shrinking it and putting on a leather enforced chain necklace. The necklace had a specially made hooked ring, which attached to his shrunken trunk. Harry slipped the necklace under his overlarge shirt.

Best idea ever from Quidditch Weekly catalog. He thought ruefully.

Harry casually opened the window and stepped on the roof. Closing the window from outside nearly ripped his fingernails off, but he managed it despite how tricky it was.

Thanks Dudley. Harry thought nearly laughing aloud as remembered all the windows to the school kitchens or the Dursley house he had had to escape through when Dudley's gang went 'Harry Hunting.'

Harry nimbly climbed down the roof and landed carefully. He walked toward the pumpkin patch. Guilt gnawing at him as he sat down and absently traced the leather cord around his neck.

The Weasleys have been good to me…Harry thought guiltily. This isn't the same as leaving the Dursleys.

But, I'm sure they think the same way. Harry rationalized. Ignoring that voice which sounded suspiciously like Hermione, Don't be a prat! You can't make a generalization based on Ron's stupid words!

But families stick together. Harry thought bitterly of the Dursleys. And I am my own family. Harry stood resolutely and walked into the forest without a backwards glance.

Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione's shouting drew attention as the Weasley family entered their kitchen via Floo.

"You're always taking his side, Hermione!" Ron yelled.

"Maybe if you weren't so mean, Ron," Hermione snapped, her voice two octaves higher. "I'd take your side! I'm not the one being jealous-"

"I'm not jealous of that prat!" Ron retorted.

"Don't you call him a prat, Ronald!" Hermione snarled.

"Whoa!" Fred said.

"Easy!" George added.

"Enough!" Arthur yelled.

"Silence!" Molly shouted.

The room quieted.

"What is the matter with you two?" Molly Weasley demanded.

"And where's Harry?" George asked, looking around for the only raven-haired person in their group.

"Oh, probably sulking and brooding?" Ron suggested rudely.

"You're-!" Hermione began and silenced at Molly's warning glare.

"Explain yourselves." Molly said evenly.

"Ron was reminiscing about Ginny last year," Hermione answered quickly. "And Harry was trying to comfort his friend when Ron said to Harry," Hermione choked back tears and used her hands to make the quotations signs. "What do you know? You don't have a family!"

The Weasley family gave a collective gasp. Expressions ranging from disgust, pity, sorrow, disappointment, and anger on the redheads present.

"RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY!" Molly shrieked.

"Bloody hell," the Twins chorused.

Arthur shook his head ashamed, shocked and deeply disappointed in his youngest son. He could not look at his child and chose to remain silent.

"Then Harry replied," Hermione sniffed meekly as tears trekked down her face.

The room waited with bated breath.

"You're right. Thanks for the reminder." She said sadly.

The room was shell-shocked. Ginny stared at them having heard the explanation and commotion from the kitchen door.

"Where's Harry?" Ginny asked quietly.

"He went upstairs." Hermione answered promptly seeing her way out of a family lecture. She skipped a step at a time and started when she saw the open door.

"Harry?" Hermione called tentatively. She entered.

"Merlin's beard!" Hermione cried. "He's gone!"