Disclaimer: The Harry Potter books and universe are the creation of J. K. Rowling. No undue claim nor offense nor profit is intended.

Author's note: My writing Evil Ron was suggested by Minerva McTabby as part of her Blame Someone Else Day challenge. I have declined to deflect the blame, as I rather like the piece after all, but figured due credit was in order. Call it Evil Ron for people who actually like him.

Red and Gold
by Persephone

Red for the blood spilled
As clean as your own
Golden for flames that
Will reap what you've sown.

The Grangers were charcoal, flaking to ash.

Ron had stood in a graveyard among Muggles who couldn't see the foul green smoke that still hung in the summer haze over the bodies, even buried, in a serpentine ribbon that coiled into a skull.

He'd wanted to scream, to warn them; it hurt too much to cry.

But if the wizards who could see the Dark Mark clearly didn't believe the warnings, how could they?

Red for your blood and
Bright gold for your greed
Yellow for bellies
Sent children to bleed.

Harry lost this time. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had quit playing at honor and gone for a quick and very painful kill.

The wizarding world's hope fell while half of it still thought his victory held from sixteen years before.

Ron was dragged forward on his knees in front of the Dark wizard who was more than half a snake and he glared up with eyes full of hate and knew he was about to be put under Imperius... and he wouldn't be able to fight it, even though Harry had.

He looked sideways at the rust-red puddle that had been his best friend and took a breath to spit defiance and said...

"I'm tired of being overshadowed."

Hissing laughter. "He casts no shadow now."

Sacrifice. Honor for revenge and the win. And Ron held up his arm while the Dark Mark bloomed under his skin.

The Dark Lord was too proud to hear or heed the warning.

Friends' shadows were shade; friends' light lit each other up. A master's shadow was to be escaped.

Ron forgot to be afraid of the name.

Voldemort thought the king was dead, but Harry had been a warrior. Queen or pawn, it didn't matter.

Ron was a dark knight and he'd just leapt behind the lines. Red for blood that Voldemort thought mattered; red for bodies broken and shattered; all the same color in the end.

He didn't care whom he killed to win Voldemort's trust. Everyone who mattered was long lost; everyone left bore the same guilt. If they hadn't done the killing themselves, they hadn't cared enough to stop it; if they'd believed the Dark Lord was returning, they'd sent a teenager against him with more of the same at his back.

A child for your champion
And a child for your foe.
Red and gold firelight
To bring you all low.

There was something to inherited power after all, and Ron was from the same family whose twelve-year-old daughter could animate a memory to solidity without quite dying. Voldemort's fall was only the start.

And a molten-gold chessman with red flames for eyes and mane stomped systematically across wizarding Britain, powered by rage, until there were no hidden places left and those who survived scattered to take shelter among the Muggles.

And far off and away a young man whose hair was now truly fire covered his face and let vengeance and guilt burn him from his head and his heart into ashes.

They never grew cold.