Chapter 9 : Touching
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Disclaimer: I do not own HP. JKR does.
"Hermione?" he looked absolutely shocked to see me and I couldn't blame him one bit.
"I...I needed someone to talk to," I stated lamely. I looked around his apartment, it was nothing special but it looked comfortable. It was a petite apartment and made up of a kitchen and living room to which lead off to what appeared to be two other small rooms.
"Ok," he said slowly "Are you all right?"
"No," I felt my eyes begin to water again, "Zach is a bastard." I followed Ron into his living room where he had numerous posters of the Chudley Cannons on the walls (though they had yet to have a winning season), a lone couch, an old table, and his broom stood against one of the gray walls. I noticed a few Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products lying on the battered table including a few canary creams. The twins had kept the shop up and running during the war to keep everyone’s morale up and for one other purpose. They also kept the shop open to keep making shield cloaks and gloves and other sort of protection devices for during the war (they had started developing these products during our sixth year according to Harry).
"Is Zach that bloke you were with five weeks back when I saw you at the restaurant?" it took me by surprise that Ron knew exactly how long ago he'd last seen me.
"He said that to you? I am going to kick his arse." I could see a look of protectiveness flash over his face, he was still the same Ron I'd always known and cared for.
"Yes, he made me feel like I meant so much to him. I know it was only a little more than a month that we dated, but it was the first time in years I had really let myself get attached to someone. I guess I deserve this; I can’t believe I actually put my trust in him. I'm so ridiculous," I was really crying now, sobbing for that matter. At any other moment of my life I’m sure I would have been mortified to be putting on such a display, but at that point I didn’t care if I had bags as big as hockey pucks under my eyes from crying. I really hated how I was acting though. I was appalled by the fact that I was so upset about a boy, it was not one bit like me.
"Hermione, please just calm down," he didn’t understand emotions well; he had no idea what to do to comfort me. I walked towards him and wrapped my arms around his neck and placed my head on his wrinkled shirt.
"I am so alone Ron...and each person I care about seems to leave me," I sobbed into his chest "Oh my god...I’m so alone." It wasn't about Zach. I had been alone since the day Ron had left five years ago. It had all started with Ginny and Harry dying, and then Ron left. I had been alone for five years; Zach was just the last straw. Ron patted my back clumsily and surprised me by then holding me to his chest even tighter and placing a light kiss on my temple.
"Shh, I know Mione, oh boy do I ever." I lifted my head from his shirt and studied his face. Tears clung to my eyelashes so his image was blurred, but I could see the fury and sadness etched in his face. I looked into his blue eyes; they were by far the prettiest eyes I had ever seen. Although I would never tell Ron that because his ears would probably turn pink and he'd tell me I’m mental. Through my tears I heard myself laugh gently. Ron looked down into my eyes, and I felt my own eyes being drawn toward his like magnets. It took a great deal of effort to tear my gaze away from his.
Finally coming to my senses a bit I realized I must look ridiculous and closed my eyes for a moment willing the tears to cease. I looked at his shirt and noticed how wet it was from me crying on him.
"Sorry," I muttered quietly nodding at the wet spot on his shirt but he kept looking into my eyes intensely. "You know about your shirt," I said. When he didn't respond I felt myself shrinking with stupidity, I shouldn't have just shown up at his house and cried all over him for Merlin's sake. "Well I should just go I'll -" I stopped speaking abruptly upon realizing that I still had my arms around his neck. I released my hold from him quickly but just as swiftly Ron took hold of my wrists and readjusted my arms back around his neck. Before I could react or think of something to say I felt Ron's lips crash onto mine.
My whole body tingled as I responded to his kiss; I had forgotten how much I loved to kiss him. I'd kissed him a few times before this but I still felt like I had been missing something. My face flushed and feelings of calm spread through me like wildfire. His lips moved urgently over my mouth and for unknown reasons it calmed me to be kissing him, to be touching him. The kiss was almost rough with need but all the same it was tender and full of emotion. It was just the type of kiss that I had denied Zach earlier that day and it was the type of kiss that would be wrong to experience with anyone other than Ron. He pulled back for a moment but before I had a chance to protest he began kissing my neck and I let a sigh escape my lips. I felt his warm breath tickle my neck as he muttered "Hermione," into my skin.
He placed his hand on the small of my back as he moved back up to my mouth and deepened the kiss, trying to bring me closer to him although our bodies were already as close as possible. I felt a shiver run down my spine as his other hand began to unbutton my jeans. His boldness awakened me somehow and I pulled my mouth away from his hastily and stepped back, my eyes still partially closed and my breathing uneven. It was so hard to step away from him in that moment, especially with that pull toward him I always felt now stronger than ever. My head was spinning. I wasn't supposed to care about Ron anymore. I couldn't let myself become close to him again, I'd promised myself countless times that I wouldn't. Yet things felt so impeccable with his arms around me and his lips on mine. Not only were the thoughts inside of my head jumbled but my vision was blurry too and I found that when I tried to stand up straight I almost lost my balance. Ron's ears turned pink with embarrassment of having kissed me so suddenly.
"I can't do this." I muttered to him, avoiding his gaze as I buttoned my jeans hastily. His pink blush turned red with anger. I bit my already swollen bottom lip as if to ready myself for how he would respond.
"What do you mean 'you can’t do this'?" he yelled angrily. "Damn it Hermione. You are the one who showed up here tonight crying all over me about some bloody bloke Zach and I tried to comfort you."
"You think that kissing me while I'm telling you about splitting with someone I’ve spent my last five weeks with is comforting me?"
"You knew what was going to happen if you came here," he glared at me. I glared back at him just as fiercely, no longer bothering to avoid looking into his face.
"Er...yes because that truly sounds like me. I think I will go over to Ron's house even though I haven’t been friends with him in years. Then I’ll cry all over him. Then who knows...I might even snog him!" I crossed my arms over my chest as Ron stood there with his mouth agape trying to come up with some smart remark but obviously lost for words. "I can't do this Ronald, I can’t keep thinking about you. I can't keep banking on you being there for me. Because if you haven’t noticed you aren’t the most reliable person."
"You're just bloody scared," he replied venomously.
"Scared of what, you leaving me like you did five years ago? Of course I am, who wouldn’t be?" I walked out of his living room toward the front door and grabbed the brass handle, ready to make my escape again. I used to be one for confrontations and lately all I had done is run away. I was almost out of his apartment when he threw his body in between the door and me, wrenching my hand off the handle in the process. I lost track of all my thoughts and worries for a moment being that close to him again and wishing that I were even closer. His face softened and he took one step toward me and opened his mouth slightly but I felt myself pull away from him automatically and shook my head.
"Merlin Ron that hurt." My hand was still tingling from the way it had been yanked off the door handle.
"You’re more screwed up than me!” He looked relieved as if he were finally beginning to understand something. “I don’t even think you know how much Harry and Ginny’s deaths affected you...you are just as closed off as me! You can't and wont get close to someone any longer for fear that they will die too...I’m not stupid Hermione. You probably pushed Zach away from you reflexively. You’re just as messed up as me."
"NO- I’M- NOT. Don’t ever say that. I’m not the one who left!" My eyes started watering and I wanted nothing more than to erase what he had just said from my memory because it hit too closely to the truth.
"Maybe not, but you are the one leaving now. Aren't you?"
"Oh what do you care? You hadn’t seen me in years and it didn’t phase you in the slightest. Now get out of my way before I hex you." I dug my hand in my pocket and grasped my wand tightly.
"That’s where you’re mistaken. Merlin I was going mental in that house! I had to leave, shit… I’m still going mad. I want to believe that my sister and best mate are still alive so badly that sometimes I think they really are. Only to find out that I’m wrong and to feel alone as ever."
Harry died yesterday, and Mrs. Weasley had just informed Ron and I that his funeral would take place on Tuesday, eight days from now. Ron and I are sitting on his bed facing each other with the curtains drawn, the only source of light or happiness coming from his orange walls. His hair is mused and he's still wearing the same clothes as yesterday, he hasn't eaten or slept and has barely spoken since Mrs. Weasley brought us the most grievous news a person can get the previous afternoon. The Daily Prophet had a huge article on Harry’s death in this morning’s edition, and I had the misfortune of seeing it since I took it upon myself to hide it from Ron. I have my arms around him in a tight embrace and his head is on my shoulder. We've been sitting here like this for hours.
"Hermione, I think I'm going mad," he croaks softly.
"Shh, don't say things like that!" I hush him.
"Why can't I have gone all the way crazy? I wouldn't mind being in Mungo's, just as long as I didn't have to think about everything that's happened," he continues.
"You are not crazy Ron," I say firmly, trying to convince myself more than him. “You don’t need to go to St. Mungo’s,” my grip on him tightens as if I am trying to hold Ron together, to keep him from breaking beyond repair.
"I might as well be mad...the things I think about," he has a scared look in his eyes and although a tear courses down my cheek I wipe it away hastily, not wanting him to see. I lay him back on the bed and lower myself down to lay next to him, wrapping my arm around his chest and putting one of my legs over his. He closes his eyes while I run my fingers through his thick red hair gently and whisper a lullaby my mum had once sung to me (when I was still innocent and didn’t know of death) in his ear. I don't stop until I hear his breathing slow and he drifts off to sleep. I lay my head on his chest knowing there is no way I'll be able to sleep, not even for a minute.
"You didn't have to face it all alone you know,” I wiped the tears from my eyes and set a determined look on my face, “I was always there." and instead of trying to fight my way past him and out of his apartment, I apparated home, knowing that I was never going to see him again.
A/N: 2 chapters left! Thanks for all of the reviews!
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