Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. I do own the situations and characters not associated with the canon.

Part IV: Forgiveness and Mercy

Mr. Weasley settled his nerves and walked to the kitchen door. He peaked outside relieved to see his wife walking toward the children and handling things from there with Harry. He decided to brew a fresh pot of tea and thought about what he was going to say to Harry.

Mrs. Weasley walked briskly toward the pumpkin patch as her sons and Hermione were teasing Harry. Everyone silenced as she arrived and Harry disengaged from Hermione's embrace. Harry stiffened and waited warily.

Mrs. Weasley forced a smile. "May I speak to Harry for a moment, please?" The children exchanged glances and trekked to the kitchen entrance. Hermione looked mulish to leave her best friend. Her anxious dark eyes settled on Harry one last time and she reluctantly followed the Twins.

"Harry, will you join me over there?" Mrs. Weasley nodded to a stone bench near the pumpkin patch and Harry obediently sat down. Mrs. Weasley smiled sadly at him.

"I'm not sure what happened between you and Ronald, Harry." She began. "But, I would like to know your side of the story."

Harry tried not to look surprised and failed. Why would she want to know my side? Don't mothers always take their sons' sides? He thought nervously.

"Ron was wondering what would your lives be like if we…if we hadn't found Ginny in time." Harry answered warily. "And, I asked him why thought such a thing." Mrs. Weasley frowned and nodded for him to continue. "We got into an-an argument because he thought I was critiquing him because I thought he was a bad brother or something." Partially true. But not really the point. "And then things escalated from there so I-I figured I just needed some air?" Harry was indecisive and had no idea what Mrs. Weasley wanted to hear. He was also worried he would be kicked out of the Burrow or never allowed back or something along those lines and he had to ask Mrs. Weasley to repeat her question.

"Why did Ron think you were critiquing him on being a bad brother?" Mrs. Weasley asked.

"He complained that Ginny should just magically know when to ask for advice and stuff." Harry hedged although his irritation was apparent. "I didn't like that. Ron conveniently forgot that his brothers were ribbing him, yes, but they were showing that they cared about Ron. They invited him to do things like coming to our Quidditch practice or telling off a fifth-year Slytherin. Ron just blatantly ignored Ginny and shouldn't've been surprised that Ginny wasn't talking to him. I know she got possessed and all. But, if I hadn't met Ron on the train I'd be pretty scared to talk to anyone." Harry took a deep breath. "I also told him that maybe he could try talking to her one-on-one so that way she wouldn't feel so isolated. I noticed people were avoiding Ginny like everything was her fault." Harry ground his teeth. "It wasn't her fault though! And I shouldn't've been labeled a hero for something that almost got her killed!"

"Then what happened?" Mrs. Weasley prompted, wanting to get the whole story, as she knew Mr. Weasley was getting the whole story from Ron's perspective.

Harry's shoulders sagged and he did not look her in the eye. "It escalated from there." Harry answered quietly. "Ron said I didn't know what families actually are and all I offered were platitudes and observations." Harry's eyes were bright while his voice belied his hurt feelings. "And…he's right about that…but I always thought siblings watched out for each other and knew how to read each other because they grew up together." Harry sighed. "And…" he trained off.

"And?" Mrs. Weasley prompted, her face flushing in disgust from Harry's point-of-view.

"And I got mad when he reminded me that I was an orphan." Harry said in a rush. "I'm used to it in the Muggle world-but when I'm here, it's not usually mentioned so I kinda forget about it." Because I have Ron and Hermione. "So I left." Harry finished lamely not looking at Mrs. Weasley. His face as red as her hair.

After a moment, Mrs. Weasley gathered her courage. "Harry dear," she said gently as she placed a hand on the side of Harry's face, forcing him to look at her. Harry gulped.

"Ron was very wrong to say those things to you," Harry was surprised to see her dark hazel eyes brim with tears. "and yes, you may not understand what families are like." Her voice choked slightly. "But, that's no excuse for him to point it out. That was very sweet of you coming to Ginny's defense like that." She smiled at Harry as Harry continued to stare at her bewilderedly. Shocked at her praise even though Harry had critiqued her son. It was entirely new territory for Harry. He knew if he remotely said anything like this to Dudley, his aunt would lock him in the cupboard and box his ears.

"But Harry dear," Mrs. Weasley chastised softly making Harry stiffen and vulnerably aware he was held captive by her hand on his chin. "I was very upset when we couldn't find you and your things were all gone." Harry tried to duck his head but her hand prevented him. "Will you tell me why you…ran away?"

Harry most certainly did not want to tell her why that was. He felt really stupid after speaking with Sparkles about running away. He took a deep breath, and called on his Gryffindor courage. He did not look her in the eye but at a space to her right.

"I ran away because I figured if Ron didn't want me around then no one else would." Harry answered finally. "And, what would be the point in staying if I knew you and Mr. Weasley were going to kick me out? At least this way, I got to be in control of the situation." Harry answered honestly surprised at the true reason for wanting to leave.

"Oh Harry," Mrs. Weasley said chagrined. "Please look at me." Harry wrenched his eyes from the interesting spot behind Mrs. Weasley and grimaced facing her.

"Harry James Potter," she said her voice thick with emotion. Harry gulped slightly. No one ever used his full name unless it was for school purposes. "Arthur and I like having you here." Her eyes flashed a warning for Harry not to interrupt her. "You can't just runaway from your problems. You should have come directly to Arthur or I. Ron was wrong to say those things to you." Mrs. Weasley repeated. "We like having you around." She gave a wan smile. "It's not just because you saved Ginny and that you're good for Ron." Harry's eyebrows rose at that. "But we like you because you're just Harry to us. Everyone in this family always looks forward to you coming over and spending time with us." She took a calming breath. "Do I make myself clear, Harry James?"

Harry nodded. His emerald eyes bright with unshed tears and he sniffed. Why am I so bloody emotional? Harry gulped down his tears. "Yes ma'am." Harry whispered. Mrs. Weasley wrapped her arms around Harry. Her own eyes shed tears while Harry's shoulders shook and he did cry on her neck as Mrs. Weasley rubbed his back in comforting circles. Harry stepped back and wiped his tears away. Mrs. Weasley smiled at Harry gently and conjured a potion. A Cheering Charm* was mixed in it along with a tear reducer. Harry took it gratefully as Mrs. Weasley drank another vial for herself.

"Why don't we go inside, hmm? I believe we could all do with a spot of tea and scones?" She asked kindly. Harry smiled and nodded. They stood and walked toward the kitchen and Mr. Weasley.

Mrs. Weasley entered and exchanged a nod with her husband. She squeezed Harry's shoulder and indicated he sit down across from Mr. Weasley. She was pleased to see her husband had made tea for both Harry and himself. Mrs. Weasley left the room knowing that Harry needed to speak to an adult male.

"Well Harry," Mr. Weasley began as soon as Mrs. Weasley left and served Harry a cup of tea. "I gather you've had an eventful day. I've spoken to Ronald." He stated while Harry stared at his tea. "I know Molly's already spoken to you. But I wanted to speak to you as well." Harry eyed Mr. Weasley cautiously curious.

"You are a part of this family, Harry." Mr. Weasley said firmly. "We hope you feel the same way." Mr. Weasley paused as Harry stared at him and quickly took a sip of his tea. "You've been a good friend to all of my children, especially Ron and Ginny." He smiled sadly. "Thank you for keeping Ron in line most days," he shared a chuckle with Harry. "and for being an honorary Weasley brother to Ginny." Harry nearly choked. "We hope that Ron never pulls a stunt like this again-and if he does." Mr. Weasley eyed Harry sternly as Harry stilled. "I want you and you alone, Harry, to tell Molly or I. Because Ron was unacceptable and we did not rear him to be that way-am I understood, young man?"

"Yes sir." Harry said. Harry was stunned at yet another new experience. He was accustomed to being referred to as 'boy.' Now he was a young man? The thought made him straighten slightly.

Mr. Weasley gave a brisk nod and silently used a Periculum Charm* shooting red sparks onto her wand to signal his wife that it was OK to return and prepare dinner.

Mrs. Weasley entered and told Harry to drink his tea while Mr. Weasley refilled his. She added scones after levitating them from a jar while Mr. Weasley asked Harry some Muggle questions, which Harry answered to the best of his ability trying to compare them to a wizarding equivalent.

Harry nicked some treacle tart from the table. Ron was punished from eating dinner but Harry wanted to at least give some to Ron as an olive branch. The Weasleys and Hermione saw this but ignored it, secretly pleased at what Harry was doing. Mrs. Weasley made Ron a plate, placed it at his usual space after Harry left, and dismissed the children while she cleaned the kitchen.

Harry squared his shoulders and knocked on Ron's door. He heard a scuffling noise and Ron opened it. His blue eyes widened seeing Harry. "May I come in?" Harry asked quietly, offering Ron the treacle tart.

Ron slowly opened the door and stepped aside eying the treacle tart like a starving man. He took a deep breath as he shut the door and placed it on his overcrowded nightstand while Harry sat on the guest bed.

The boys stared at one another. After a beat, they both started to talk. Then stopped as Ron cleared his throat indicating he wanted to be the one to lead the conversation.

"I just wanted to say…well, Harry, I just wanted to say I'm sorry." Ron said bluntly. "I'm sorry for being a prat and yelling at you and telling you off about families. I-I went too far and I just wanted to-to say-no to ask you if we could be friends again?" Ron asked hopefully and then rushed. "I-I think I will talk to Ginny again after thinking about it...she is isolated." Ron said guiltily and raised a hand to his face.

"What happened to your hand?" Harry blurted. Ron's hand was badly scraped. He had twin slashes across his hand and several nicks on it. Ron looked at Harry sheepishly. "Hedwig…is one very protective bird." Ron blushed. "I'm definitely going to have to apologize to her, mate."

"Blimey," Harry muttered then shook himself, realizing Ron was anxiously awaiting Harry's answer to his proposal. "I-I still want to be friends and…apology accepted…because you're still," Harry smiled sheepishly. "my best mate, too." Harry frowned. "I'll speak with Hedwig though, Ron. She had no right to attack you-when did she do that?"

Ron chuckled nervously. "When I got sent up here and Hermione left…she was giving me words," Harry looked at him confused. "Oh not human words, mate. More like hooting, squawking and just general disapproval. Frankly, if I could understand her I'm sure she'd have been caustic! Anyway, I guess I didn't react fast enough to say I'm sorry because she dove and scratched and bit me. Then she just stayed away. I thought she went in search of you, actually." It had given Ron hope though. He knew Hedwig would have left immediately if she thought Harry had actually left. It had made him feel like a heel with Hedwig getting snappy at him. He knew how much the ruddy-the normally ladylike owl adored Harry and it really hit home for Ron in a visceral way a part from his parents' raking-him-over-hot-coals speeches or his siblings' and Hermione's cold shoulder for how he treated Harry.

Harry shook his head. "I'll still speak with her. Although, I'd better wait until she's hunted and had some sleep." Harry glanced out Ron's window, noting the twilight. Hedwig pulled an all-nighter, which meant she would be very cranky even if she liked Harry. The boys grinned at each other while Ron dove into his treacle tart and Harry showed Ron his Quidditch Weekly purchase around his neck getting a "Wicked! I'm so going to get one!" by Ron.

A/N: The Periculum and Cheering Charms are from The Unofficial Harry Potter Spellbook: The Wand Chooses the Wizard by Duncan Levy. I made up using it wandlessly from Arthur to Molly's wand because I felt like the Weasley parents had to come up with "parental signals" to convey emergencies silently with their seven children present. I also made up a potion mixing with the Cheering Charm because I always wished we could have something to erase tears from one's face after an 'ugly cry,' and thought, in the world of FanFiction, I could for Harry's sake. I also claim shrinking his trunk in that necklace I made up. Seriously, why Quidditch Weekly would have made bags of galleons if they thought of something like that. And, it makes sense since Harry is a star Seeker! (stay tuned with some of these inventions bleeding into my other FanFictions! And thanks for reading and reviews!)