I Knew You - Ron Weasley

Chapter 1 – The First Day Without You

But I knew you’d linger like a tattoo kiss
I knew you’d haunt all of my what-ifs
The smell of smoke would hang around this long
’Cause I knew everything when I was young

cardigan, Taylor Swift
________________________

Ron Weasley was a mess. He had been since he’d broken up with Cassiah that fateful summer afternoon, just days before he and his classmates were returning for their senior year. Now he was starting his final year at Hogwarts single and without his girlfriend, but more importantly, his best friend.

Sure, he had Harry to mess and joke around with, but Harry wasn’t much use for anything more serious. It wasn’t like he could talk to Harry about stuff the way he did with Cassie. He’d never felt that comfortable with anyone before – even before they were dating, he had always been naturally drawn to her, naturally inclined to trust her with his most troubling of thoughts. Before he and Cassiah were close, he used to sometimes talk to Hermione about that sort of thing, but now that he’d broken up with Hermione’s best friend, she wasn’t really an option anymore either.

He slumped down onto his bed, across from Harry’s as usual, and sighed wistfully. Here he was, about to start his final year, and he had no future plans. All his friends chatted excitedly about what lay ahead for them, but for Ron, his only plan had been building a life with Cassiah. Now, he was completely lost and floundering trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. The worst part was the only person who he felt comfortable opening up to about this desperate, insecure feeling of the unknown was Cassiah. Not even his brothers were here now.

They had however, given him a bit of home to take with him, or a coping mechanism of sorts. Ron glanced quickly around the room to ensure that no one else had arrived yet – not that any of the boys would care, they’d come to expect this after knowing him for so many years – and pulled a mason jar full of weed out of his backpack. It absolutely reeked as he ground it, and he sighed in relief as he packed a bowl and took the first hit. Thank fucking Merlin for Fred and George.

Just then, Seamus entered the room and gave him a huge, sly, smile before hurrying across the room to slap Ron across the back, “Weasley, my man, never wasting time, huh?” Ron passed Seamus the bowl and the lighter and smiled lazily,

“’Ve had a rough go of it today, mate.”

Seamus looked at him, puzzled by this confession, but shrugged it off quickly as just another one of Ron’s grumpy mood swings. The thing was, as crushed as Ron was about his breakup with Cassiah, hardly any of the guys knew about it yet – it’s not like he was going to owl them about it, Jesus – and those who did know about it had no idea that Ron was going through it. It was his decision, so he figured he had no right to bitch and moan about it.

The boys cashed the bowl between the two of them before the other guys came in, all chattering loudly about their summer, and the excitement of the new school year. Ron had honestly been dreading being around all of his friends and having to think about life at Hogwarts without Cassiah, but now that he was significantly higher than he was then, he was happy to see them.

“Ron!” Harry shouted before pulling his friend into a huge bear hug, or as much of a bear hug as someone almost half a foot shorter than he was could give, “Sorry I lost you after the train, I was with-”

“I figured,” Ron stammered, not wanting to hear about Harry’s reuniting with his little sister because for one, she was his little sister, and more importantly, it was a reminder of how crushingly single he was. “S’alright, then. I’m completely starved though. We should probably head down to the Great Hall for dinner.”

“Brilliant,” Harry said in reply, and Ron’s lips tugged into a sort of half-smile at his friend’s typical response. He and Harry and the other guys all headed out of the dormitories, through the common rooms, and all the way to the hall. Ron was feeling completely himself, almost forgetting for a moment about his breakup among the excitement of being home again. That is, until they reached the steps leading to the entrance of the hall.

He froze. The Gryffindor dorms and common rooms were safe. He didn’t have to worry about running into Cassiah there – she wouldn’t be there unless she was personally invited by him. But the Great Hall? This was the first time since he broke up with her that he’d have to face the very high possibility of seeing her.

Harry eyed him cautiously, and wrapped his arm casually around Ron’s shoulder, “It’s alright mate. Just walk in and sit down at the Gryffindor tables with your friends, yeah? No big deal.”

Ron nodded quickly, embarrassed that Harry had seen through his cool facade.

Of course, she was the first thing he saw when he walked into the room, her brunette hair pulled into a simple low bun. He knew if he looked too long, he’d look right into those beautiful eyes that shine hazel against her green Slytherin robes. Merlin, green really was her color. She was talking animatedly with her friends from Slytherin. They weren’t her best friends, that would be Hermione, but that was one of the things Ron loved the most about her. Cassiah could get along with anyone from any house, and she’d be an equally amazing and loyal friend to all.

He felt a wave of nausea rising in him just from thinking too long about the idea of Cassiah noticing him, so he ducked his head and rushed to catch up with the guys and take his seat. His stomach growled loudly, and one of the guys made a stupid joke about his appetite, earning his laughter. He couldn’t help but notice how Hermione was sitting not with him and Harry, as usual, but down the table with Ginny and some other girls. Point taken – she was pissed at him. He’d been friends with Hermione longer than Cassie had – he’d actually introduced them – but the two had been fast friends so her loyalty wasn’t that surprising.

It still stung, though. Not that he’d let anyone know that.

Dumbledore went through the pomp and circumstance of announcements about the new school year, introduced the seemingly annual new professor, and issued some vague warnings that he knew he could pretty much ignore as a final year. He pretended to pay attention as the first years were sorted, but he was distracted by his thoughts. Cassiah was a prefect this year, and he couldn’t help but think about how she was going to do such a good job, and make sure that all the new Slytherins were comfortable.

Finally, it was time to eat and the feast was revealed. Grateful for the distraction, Ron piled his plate as high as he could balance with meat and potatoes and gravy and rolls. Smoking before the feast, he considered absently, was definitely a brilliant idea.

________

Across the dining hall, Cassiah was chatting quietly with Pansy and Daphne about their plans for the night. The other two girls were going to sneak into the Slytherin boy’s dormitory and get drunk on Firewhiskey, and they wanted Cassiah to come with them. She’d assumed that she would be spending the night in the library with Hermione, and then maybe sneaking her friend back into her new prefect room for a sleepover, but realistically, Hermione wasn’t gonna go for that type of rule-breaking anyway. She snorted – how was she the one out of the two of them to become a prefect? The irony wasn’t lost on her.

Firewhiskey sounded pretty damn good right now, though. Cassiah hadn’t been drunk since her breakup, but hell if she didn’t want to be right now.

For the first time since her initial survey when she entered the room, she allowed herself to look around – to look for him. And there he was, red hair making him stand out like a sore thumb. A really handsome sore thumb with a laugh that felt like coming home. His hand-me down robes had gotten a bit too small across his now-broad shoulders over the summer. Obviously, she’d seen him many times since last school year, but the difference was so stark in his old robes. His blue-green eyes were red-rimmed with the tell-tale sign of his favorite habit (besides Cassiah, of course) and his cute, freckled lips were busy absolutely destroying what she could only assume was at least his third helping of food. Everyone gave him shit for his massive appetite and apparent hollow leg, but Cassiah thought it was cute. She thought everything about him was cute. And fuck, now she was fighting off tears in the dining hall.

“Don’t look,” Pansy said into her ear, giving her a squeeze, “You’re better than he is, anyways. You’re fucking Cassiah Black.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Cassiah mumbled in return. She cleared her throat, hating how weak and wavering her voice sounded, “We’re getting drunk tonight ladies.”

Daphne snorted, “First night as a prefect and already a savage. I love it.”

________

“Personally, I’ve always loved single Cass,” Draco raised his voice to be heard over the music and slung his arm lovingly over Cassiah’s shoulder, the widest of smiles playing across his normally sullen face. “Shots?” he asked her, and she raised her eyebrows at him in response.

“Obviously,” she said, holding out her cup and letting Draco slosh a generous amount of Firewhiskey into it. She cheersed him quickly and threw it back, definitely more than one shot’s worth of liquid burning down her throat. She wiped her mouth with the back of her sleeve.

“Atta girl,” Draco grinned and swigged again from the bottle before passing it to Cassiah, who always prided herself on being able to keep up with the Slytherin guys. It’d been a while since she’d thrown down with them, however, because she always felt guilty partying when Ron wasn’t invited, and she’d honestly missed it. She and the guys, especially Draco, had been a lot closer before she started dating and spending all her time with Ron and she felt like she had to choose, and Slytherin parties were always the wildest. Probably fueled by the money and the privilege.

“I love this song!” she announced to no one in particular and broke away from Draco to enter the circle of students who were dancing drunkenly in the center of the dark room. She grabbed Draco and Blaise’s hands, twirling them both around and forcing them to dance with her. Pansy appeared out of nowhere, and Cassiah wrapped her arms around her friends neck sensually and got her to dance with her, too. She really was the life of the party.

“He’s missing out on the baddest witch and bitch in our year,” Pansy said light-heartedly, laughing over the music, and Cassiah joined her, actually feeling okay for the first time. Maybe tonight would be the first time she didn’t cry over him.

Fuck, she wished he was here. She wanted to dance on him with all her friends and show off the dorky couple moves they’d practiced when she visited the Burrow over the summer. They were always the fun couple at parties. What happened?

Suddenly her eyes were prickling with tears again, and Pansy’s face crumbled with concern, “Oh, Cass, I didn’t mean to make you cry, babe.”

“No, I know, I know,” Cassiah nodded assuredly, “Draco! Firewhiskey, now.”

________

Ron and Harry were up to their usual misadventures, the rules never really having been made for them to follow. They were tucked under Harry’s invisibility cloak, creeping down to where the Slytherin common rooms were. They had a plan to screw with Draco, something about swapping his fancy new robes for ones that were a couple sizes too short, and there was no better night to do it than this one. Thankfully, Ron still remembered the password from the nights when Cassiah would sneak him into the Slytherin dorms, and he and Harry were going to put that knowledge to good use.

They crept into the common room, seeing that there was a party going on, mostly with students from their year. Ron glanced around the room, not seeing Cassie thankfully, but spotting an array of substances scattered around the room. And he thought that he and Harry got away with a lot of shit... Ron couldn’t even name some of them – he was strictly an herbal man, after all.

“This is bloody brilliant! They’ll be so distracted they’ll never even know we were here,” exclaimed Harry under his breath, and Ron laughed quietly, but it was swallowed up by the music.

________

“I’m just gonna get some air,” Cassiah informed Daphne and Pansy before turning away from the small crowd and heading down the hall to the prefect’s rooms and bathroom. The Firewhiskey had certainly hit her, and so had a wave of sadness she wasn’t really expecting. She contained herself just until she shoved the bathroom door open and then she burst.

It was quiet for a moment, just the sound of her own ragged breathing as silent tears streamed down her face, until a familiar voice sounded, and a hand rested comfortingly on her shoulder, “Cass? What’s wrong?”

Draco. Of course, this was their bathroom to share.

“I-I don’t know. I mean, I do know,” she stammered, the room spinning just the slightest bit around her in a way that would not normally be unpleasant. “Everything was so perfect between us and then he rips it all away like it was nothing. I feel so stupid, walking around all year telling everyone that he was my future... it’s humiliating. I don’t understand what I did wrong to make him do this,” explained Cassiah, finally breaking and folding into Draco’s arms. She hiccuped as she cried, her tears muddied with black eyeliner as they soaked into his robes.

Draco pet her brown hair softly with one hand while the other rested over her back, rubbing comforting circles, “Oh, Cass. You did absolutely nothing wrong, it’s just he’s completely mental. I’m so sorry.” She looked up at him for a moment, black tear stains on her face and nose red from crying. He pursed his lips together, silently cursing Ronald Weasley’s name, and gently grabbed her hand, “Come on, now. Why don’t we go clean you up before you head back out there? Don’t let them see you sweat.”

Cassiah nodded in agreement, following him meekly into his room. It was nearly identical to hers, covered in brilliant green and elegant silver, except his walls were adorned by shelves with Quidditch trophies, and a total lack of family photos.

She sat down quietly on the bed, and Draco busied himself by digging through his bags. He produced a piece of fabric before crossing the room and sitting next to her on the bed, crossing his legs and facing her. Not many people saw this gentle side of Draco outside of his immediate friend group, but he’d always had a soft spot for Cassiah. She found herself wishing for a moment that everyone else could know him like this so that they could understand, but he would never allow it.

The piece of fabric was a hanker-chief, deep green silk embroidered with a monogram on the corner, DM. He reached out slowly and wiped first under her eyes, collecting the salty tears and running makeup that had gathered there, and then wiped gently under her nose. Cassiah allowed her eyes to flutter closed, feeling so loved and comforted by her friend despite her shattered heart.

________

“First room on the left,” Ron whispered to Harry, giving the other boy directions as he had been to the Slytherin dormitories before. The door was already ajar, so they didn’t need to worry about an unlocking charm or a password, and Ron gave it a gentle push open.

What he saw in front of him made his stomach drop to the floor, and he could practically feel Harry’s face burn red with anger on his behalf. Draco’s back was turned to them, sat on the bed, but next to him, close enough that Malfoy was reaching out and touching her face, was Cassiah, with tear stains on her pretty pink cheeks.

All plans of robe-related pranks flew out the window, as did the need for secrecy and invisibility, and Ron threw the cloak off of him, completely exposing himself to the pair on the bed.

Cassiah’s eyes widened as she gasped, too shocked to see him to say anything at all, and Draco turned to follow her glance. He noticed how her eyes immediately had refilled with tears that had already begun to spill again.

“Weasley! What the fuck are you doing in here? Get out!" he shouted, rising to his feet and marching towards the ginger boy.

“What am I doing? Never mind that, what in Merlin’s name are you doing? Taking advantage of a drunk and crying girl?” Ron exclaimed, completely exasperated at the scene in front of him. He was angry at Draco for taking advantage of her, in denial that she might be moving on, and not thinking clearly at all. He reached out and grabbed Draco by the fabric of his fine wool sweater and was about to shove him as hard as possible.

“Stop it! He wasn’t taking advantage of me! And you gave up the right to be concerned anyways, so leave us the fuck alone!” Cassiah shrieked, jumping to her feet and storming out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Ron and Harry both stared, completely bewildered, and Draco ground his teeth, “I would recommend that you and your friend leave immediately, Potter, or I’ll have no choice but to report you.”

Ron retreated back to the Gryffindor dormitories with his tail between his legs, and absolutely fuming. Cassiah had moved on in a matter of days. He was sitting around moping over a girl he saw future with, and she didn’t even give a damn.

Well, he’ll show her just now fine he is. If she doesn’t give a damn anymore, then why should he?

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