A/N: This is post-epilogue, and then Time Travel. The Cursed Child thingy doesn't exist. There is definitely no Weasley bashing. As usual Malfoy is a villain. And we see the side of Ron that the books suppressed – the Ron that would stand against carnivorous spiders, supposedly crazed ex-prisoners, Death Eaters, and the like. Rowling said that Ron and Hermione would need counselling. That is a premise used. The younger pairings may be different, but that is because they mean nothing till the epilogue. My personal OTP is RW/LL. However, this will remain an adult R/Hr, with nothing M-rated. Word count will remain less than 7k, often less than 2k. I will write this once I am done with Put into Lifetime Detention by Death.

The red-haired man was sitting once again in the Hog's Head, going through what was now his fourth glass of whiskey of the evening. The barman sat patiently as his customer, went through his daily ritual of just drinking, drinking and drinking till he forgot his own name. The barman would then take pity on his former dorm-mate, apparate him home and leave a dose of the sobering potion by his table, while the man's wife watched in disapproval from her room. Yes. That was the absolutely ballsed-up situation that the barman, Seamus Finnegan, found his friend Ronald Weasley in.

"Why did you really marry her, Ron?" Seamus asked at long-last, giving air to the question he had had since he no longer remembered how long ago.

"I don't know anymore, Seamus," slurred Ron. "I thought we were in love. We were so much in love, and then we weren't. There was that war, and then, and then...I don't know anymore." He pensively stared into the glass from a side. "Nothing I do is ever good enough, mate. Everything is inferior. It was exciting when we were younger. Now it's hell. We only agree to disagree all the time." Alcohol did make Ronald Weasley, generally a man of few acerbic, true and often hurtful words, strangely eloquent.

"Doesn't Harry help?"

"We should have both married him, you know?" Ron replied drunkenly. "Tell me mate, is it normal to miss your best mate more than your wife?" he asked and then giggled. He took a swig of his drink. "He could sort us both out within minutes. The fun in fighting lasted till we realised that it was all him doing the peacekeeping duties. But he's got his own kids, and now that Ginny..." he ended in a hiccupping sob.

Ginny, his younger sister and Harry's wife, had died the year before, just after her youngest had left for Hogwarts. Her year under possession had finally caught up with her. Harry was devastated. Even now, decades after his death, Voldemort still managed to hurt his family. It was about the only thing Ron and Hermione found common ground on of late.

As Ron's grief passed, he drank all the whiskey in one long gulp.

"I once heard Harry telling Ginny that he was afraid of you and Hermione."

Ron sprayed the whiskey onto the wall behind Seamus in shock. "What?"

Seamus simply nodded. "It was something to do with his Aunt and Uncle."

A shudder of revulsion ran through Ron at the very mention of those animals. Once when they had sat drinking on the anniversary of the battle of Hogwarts, remembering all those whom they had lost while the rest of the world celebrated a vicarious victory, Harry had broken down and told him about his life before Hogwarts. It was a very good thing that Ron was too drunk to know his wand from his chair.

Then another shudder made him realise what Seamus was referring to. Harry's Aunt and Uncle fought far too often. Petunia was not qualified enough for many jobs, having married due to pregnancy at the age of nineteen. Her affair with Vernon was in rebellion against her parents accepting Lily's world and her relationship. Vernon, to whom Petunia was just a casual fling, had many indiscretions to his name outside the house. They used to fight and fight, and overcompensate for their son by pampering him too much, and then again by abusing and neglecting Ron's best friend.

And Harry had spent his time with them being afraid of him and Hermione because they fought. It was why he always took things lying down around them, and tried his best to calm them down. Deep down, the scared little child had never left his friend. It made Ron feel even more disgusted with himself.

And that was before the faces of his children swam before him. Did Hugo and Rose feel the same way? Was that why they always liked their Aunt and Uncle better, but were always subdued at home? Had he ever raised a hand on them in anger? Had he hurt them or his wife? He sobbed more. He was a failure as a father too. He couldn't loathe himself more in that moment.

"I think I will go home now, Seamus."

In spite of it being against his business to not ply Ron with more alcohol, Seamus nodded approvingly as Ron staggered away to the door.

Things, however, were brewing, once more.

Ron never even managed to raise his wand in defence when a hooded figure stunned him and portkeyed away. Miles away, his wife, Hermione, returning from work, suffered the same fate.

Molly Weasley was worrying a bone. Harry had still not returned from wherever he had gone to, to find what happened to his two best friends. She was here alone with the grandchildren, whom Neville had sent home having heard about the news directly from his friend.

"Granny, is Dad back home?" It was James, Harry's eldest son. He was so like his namesakes in nature, and had inherited a very strong protective instinct and brooding nature from his father and grandfather. He frowned at the clock. It still showed his father, his uncle and aunt, and all of them in fact, to be facing mortal peril.

"No," she replied tersely. She was worried. She had lost her daughter the year before, and she knew the tensions between her youngest son and his wife. It was all a mess. They all had seemed so happy once. She often wondered whether they had all paired off a bit too easily, and too conveniently and most importantly, too fast. War had made them all desperate, and their perceptions about people and the world had been altered and not necessarily for the best. The worst thing about those fights was the fact that it scared the children. How many times had she seen Rose smiling and being a joyful girl around her as compared to her parents?

"Haven't they even sent a letter?"

"No, James," Molly replied. "It's just like the first war against You Know Who," she remarked absently. "People disappearing all of a sudden..."

Suddenly the clock pinged as Harry's hand moved briefly to travelling, before resting at the Dray, Ron and Hermione's home. Then it instantly swung back to mortal peril. Another ten minutes into that interminable wait, the hand swung to the Burrow, and Harry appeared, looking as tired and troubled and weary as he usually did, these days. "Nothing new," he said simply in answer to the unasked question. Molly nodded unhappily. Ron and Hermione had vanished without a trace, and even Harry, one of the best investigative Aurors in the Ministry, had found only spell traces to prove that they had been attacked.

"I'll set the table Harry. You need to eat," she ordered sternly. Harry had always been less a son-in-law and more a son to her.

They had no warning as a massive explosion ripped through the house. "Everyone out!" ordered Harry. "James, stay here and get your grandmother and all the cousins you can find here." He shot multiple person detection charms to find out anyone who was in the building. With a clenched heart he realised that Albus was dead, as was Rose. They never made it out of the room they were working on their homework in.

He had to leave them be for now.

"Dad?" asked James uncertainly.

"Albus and Rose can't come," Harry answered shortly.

"No!" gasped Molly as she realised what Harry was saying, her eyes tearing up.

James on the other hand, squared his shoulders set his jaw, and with his wand in his hand, marched towards his father. "We are going to find them and kill them," he stated simply.

"We won't need to find them son," Harry replied, grimly, pointing towards the garden and the pond where several people dressed in a garb he hadn't seen for over fifteen years had gathered. "They are already here."

"Hello Potter," a snide voice called out.

"Malfoy," said Harry in reply. "Still murdering children I see."

"Did I get the mudblood's children or just yours?"

Harry replied with a flurry of Piercing curses which caught eight of Malfoy's fourteen-member group in the throat.

"Yours, then," Malfoy accepted unaffectedly.

"Both mine, and Ron and Hermione's for the record," Harry bit out tersely, as he dived out of the path of a killing curse. When he took out the man who had cast that curse, and Malfoy still wasn't bothered, Harry realised they were in a horrible situation. "How many people have you got?"

Malfoy did not answer. He didn't need to. Another explosion started at the top of the Burrow and rapidly descended, sending the children and Molly scurrying out.

"You know, in many parts of the world, they smoke the rodents out of the Burrow," the fiend replied, chortling at his own joke.

It was enough to ignite Harry's temper, who in turn sent a flame of cursed fire, a step less than Fiendfyre in that it was controllable, but still a dark Curse, at Malfoy. It was of such ferocity, that it took several casts of a smoke spell and sand conjuring to get it off him. Also, Harry had his throat slit, and he saw his family murdered in the same instant as he fired that curse, but he died knowing that he did Malfoy lasting damage. He still had one last message for his friends, if they were alive. He knew they would get it, if they were alive. There was only one person who could have harmed or at least captured them and that was Malfoy.

In the dirt outside the house he had loved as long as he had known it, Harry wrote just two words: SORRY HR. He was sorry that he hadn't done enough to protect his two godchildren, just as he had failed to protect his own children.

Ron had only little cognisance of the past six days beyond the understanding that he had been stunned, kidnapped and kept in a drugged state. When he was roughly dragged to his feet, and then some potion was shoved down his throat, Ron came to with a sudden jerk and very highly activated senses.

He also realised that his wife was keeping him company.

"Ron!" she desperately called.

"Hermione!" he called back. "Where are we? What is going on?"

"I suppose I can answer that."

"Malfoy," snarled the two in unison.

"Yes. Potter too recognised me immediately."

"What are you doing you imbecile? What did you do to Harry? Why are we here?"

"Patience, mudblood," Malfoy replied. "I wanted Potter here just as I wanted you here. Unfortunately, I underestimated a man with almost nothing to lose." He dropped his cloak, revealing his horribly disfigured and burnt face. "I have since learnt that going to personally receive him, at the Burrow, was not very wise."

The words struck terror into Ron and Hermione's hearts.

"I suppose I will allow you to remember him as a good friend." He signalled to the man behind him. "He died trying to protect your mother, Weasley. Your mother, your children and your niece and nephews," he added with a sneer.

The man Malfoy had signalled to, projected a memory of what happened at the Burrow, showing them the disaster, and the final apology their friend made. Hermione choked a sob as she saw her children's dead bodies.

Malfoy allowed them to ruminate over the picture. "It gives me great pleasure to destroy your lives this way. Then again, I sowed the seeds way back in 1996."

"What do you mean?" spat Ron. He felt hatred and sincerely wished that Harry's curse had done the job.

"My big plan to kill Dumbledore," recounted Malfoy. "I knew you three would immediately be on my tail. Potter had sussed it out, and you two, the good little sidekicks, were sure to follow." He grinned at them. With a face that now reminded one of Harvey Two-Face, it seemed doubly grotesque.

Hermione gasped.

"Ah, the mudblood realises," Malfoy sneered. "Did you never think why, after years of believing Potter, you suddenly disbelieved his insistence that I was a Death Eater? All I had to do was keep confounding you both from hidden alcoves."

The eyes of the two prisoners dimmed as they remembered the year before the year in hell.

"Finally, I got so irritated; I just ended up putting compulsion spells on each other. Your entire married life was a lie."

"You are an idiot, Malfoy. No spell or potion can engender enough love to get people to marry. Certainly not for people to remain married for as long as we have been, no matter any disagreements," Hermione replied.

"I know that mudblood. At the very least, you cared for each other. You were the three best friends, willing to trust each other with everything you had, in spite of Weasel's indiscretions, insecurities and jealousies. It stood to reason that you would fall for one or the other. My doing what I did worked to tear the three of you apart. I really hoped Potter would die too."

"Your plans still failed."

"They can be successful now."

"What do you mean?"

"Come on Weasley. You don't think I brought you here to gloat did you?" He pointed his wand at them. "You and Potter were to be the sacrifices that would send me back in time, as I am, body and all. I shall be the Dark Lord's greatest commander, greater than even my father was. My people have readied the ritual. I only need to ensure the sacrifice."

He silenced the two and dragged them through the halls to the chamber which his people had been readying.

They might have had several fights. They might have been on outs. But the two were still the best friends who were part of a trio, and worked together instinctually. They also had too much practice with working without plans, and sometimes even without objectives.

Even though they were tied, they were still stronger than a still recuperating Malfoy. Ron broke the spell Malfoy had on them and jumped onto Malfoy. That was enough time for Hermione to snatch Malfoy's wand. They now had Malfoy captive.

"Are you going to kill me mudblood? You must know that my death has a trigger in my house? Everyone will die."

"We shall have our revenge at least."

The thing that they were required for was a ritual requiring human sacrifice. Hermione was sure that Malfoy was insane for there surely couldn't be such a ritual. She no longer had anything to live for, so she decided to go ahead. And Malfoy, weak as he was, in spite of his delusions of superiority, had quite forgotten that it went both ways. As he died, the chamber lit up and then all that the couple knew was light.