What in the world had he been thinking? Ron still sat on the bench in the bathhouse. Over an hour passed since he had so boldly kissed Hermione, and still the same thought kept running through his head. He must have been mad; his brain obviously had malfunctioned, because otherwise there was no excuse for what had happened.
He had kissed Hermione! He sat with his elbows resting on his knees while he wrenched his fingers through his hair. The worst part was that he could still taste her on his lips.
Grrr! Abruptly he stood and began to walk circles around the large tub in the center of the room. Get a grip, you don’t even know her! But his entire being longed to kiss her again and again.
He stopped pacing and stood erect. No, he said to himself again. She was not going to do this to him. He was not going to let her. She was married, and even though he had told her about her husband, even though he had asked her to leave, she had refused. He hated her! His blood boiled and he clenched his fists tightly at his sides.
Determination coursed through him. He would not keep doing this to himself. He would forget Hermione Granger, again.
Exiting the bathhouse, he saw Ginny and Harry kissing sweetly under a tree in the garden. They pulled back from the kiss upon hearing his heavy steps go down the wooden stairs.
“What on earth…?” Ginny gasped between stifled giggles.
Harry turned his head to hide his snicker. At first, Ron had no idea what had amused them both so much, but then he looked down and remembered that he had pulled on that horrible pink bathrobe. He felt his face get hot and quickly removed the offending item of clothing and discarded it on the railing of the bathhouse balcony.
Now shirtless, Ron strode through the garden and entered his own little room, sliding the door closed with as loud a bang as he could manage. He scrambled through his luggage, found a clean set of clothes, and quickly changed. Just as he managed to pull the shirt down he heard a knock at the door.
“What?” He snapped.
Harry’s head popped in, slowly followed by the rest of his body.
“You okay mate?”
Ron just grunted and shifted through his luggage some more. After a moment of searching he found a small leather pouch and put it safely into his pocket.
“C’mon.” Ron said to a bewildered Harry.
“Wha? Where are we going?”
“Stag night.” Ron grabbed Harry’s arm and pulled him out of the room and through the house. They ran into Ginny and Charlie on the way out of the front door.
“Hey!” She shouted as Ron stormed passed with Harry in tow. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Out,” was all that Ron replied.
He heard her faint humph and the sound of heavy footsteps behind him, but when they caught up with them it wasn’t Ginny but Charlie that pulled Ron to an abrupt stop in front of the house.
“So, where to little brother?”
“Lee told me of a place where you can…”
“George! Where in the bloody hell did you come from?” Ron turned quickly to see George standing right behind him.
“From in there.” He pointed at the house directly behind him and rolled his eyes, “Anyway, as I was saying, this place has these girls that you can…”
“Not likely mate.” Harry patted George on the back. “I’m pretty sure Angelina would kill you.”
“Yeah, but it’d be worth it.” George looked up wistfully.
Charlie took hold of both of George’s shoulders and pulled him out of his day dream – or in this case, night dream. “C’mon, let’s just go.”
Ron started walking ahead; letting the other three drag behind. After fifteen minutes of walking Harry shouted out to him, he had pulled meters ahead of the rest of them.
“You know where you’re going?”
Ron stopped and let the rest of them catch up. “Nope.”
Once George reached him he began walking again.
They turned the corner and found a street lined with neon signs. Only a block down the road, a sign that read ‘Karaoke’ in flashing red caught his eye. He didn’t know what Karaoke was, but it looked crowded and loud which was exactly what Ron needed right then.
“Hey, does anyone have any muggle money?” Charlie asked right before they crossed the road.
“Yeah, I exchanged some at Gringott’s a couple of days before we came over.” Harry answered.
“Great!” George clapped him on the back. “Pay you back when we get home.” He then sped to catch up to Ron, who had continued toward the bar completely ignoring the exchange.
Upon entering the packed bar someone assaulted Ron’s ears horribly, warbling out the words “I. Cant. Get. No-o. Sat-is-fac-tion…”
“Wow!” Ron heard George say from behind him. “This is spectacular!” Ron turned to see his brother fixated on the rather unfortunate sounding Japanese man that currently stood on a small stage in the corner. “We have got to go up there.”
Ron turned back around hearing Harry’s adamant ‘No’ resounding behind him. He remained focused on his goal, which was to get as blotto-ed as possible.
“Haw ken I hilp you?” The little man behind the counter asked in his accented English.
“I’ll take six shots of the strongest stuff you got.”
“Six? There are only four of us.” Harry made it to the bar to stand right behind Ron.
Ron didn’t answer and just waited as the bartender poured out six clear shots and set them in a row in front of Ron. Immediately Ron took two in succession, not even breaking to breathe in between. The liquid burned slightly as it made its way down his throat, but nothing compared to Ogden’s.
“Oi, you couldn’t wait?” George bellowed from behind.
Ron didn’t even try to look sheepish, and instead just handed out the remaining shots to everyone. “To Harry and Ginny!” Ron said before throwing back his shot with more ease then the first two.
“To Harry and Ginny!” George and Charlie said together as Harry looked at Ron with a questioning glance. Harry took his shot last, and even as he took it he looked at his friend warily out of the corner of his eye.
Ron ignored his stares and turned around to watch the group of girls on stage singing and giggling to some song about ‘having fun’. Ron slowly started to feel the alcohol beginning to work; his lips tingled slightly and he kept licking them to make sure that they were still there.
He ordered another round of shots, and when Harry refused to take his Ron just shrugged and swallowed that one down as well.
“Bin rong night?” A voice asked from his right. He turned to see a rather pretty looking girl sitting beside him. She had straight, jet black hair pulled up into a high pony tail, and when she turned to face him Ron noticed a small dimple in her left cheek as she smiled up at him.
“Been a long life.” He said dejectedly, but a faint smile began to play on his lips.
“You should sing.” She gestured up towards the stage and Ron felt his ears burn slightly pink.
“No, I don’t think that’d be a good idea.”
“Singing makes you happy,” she said matter-of-factly. Her thin fingers went up to his mouth and tried to force his lips into a smile.
The alcohol was definitely kicking in, because he couldn’t even feel her fingers as they brushed against him.
“Akiko.” The girl said.
“A key what?”
“No.” Her ponytail swung from side to side as she shook her head and laughed. “My name is Akiko.”
“Oh. Ron. I’m Ron.”
“Hi Ron.” She gave him a flirtatious smile and held out her hand for him to shake.
“Hi Akiko.” He grinned stupidly at her. This was just what he needed, the perfect distraction from the events of the day. She bore no resemblance to Hermione. There was no way he was going to be thinking of her tonight. No, tonight he was going to focus on Akiko and how she wasn’t married to a slimy git named Malfoy.
The night wore on and there were three more rounds of shots, all of which Harry graciously declined. George and Charlie got into a heated discussion about Quidditch while Harry tried to remind them to keep their voices down as they were amongst a bunch of muggles. Ron noticed that Akiko’s ear perked up at the mention of the word ‘quaffle’, and he tried to distract her from the debate going on behind him.
Akiko looked at him appraisingly. “You ah a wizard?”
To say that Ron was taken aback would have been the understatement of the decade. He stammered a bit and tried to find his bearings, all the while working out the fact that this girl at least knew about his kind. What were the odds?
Apparently pretty good, according to Akiko. She said that Okinawa’s population was over half wizard. Once Ron wrapped his head around it all, he broke into a wide grin. Their conversation grew more animated after that. Ron had to lean his head down slightly so he could hear her over the ‘music’, but she didn’t seem to mind.
Akiko had just been describing the school that she had gone to when Ron heard a familiar voice permeate the room. He looked up to see George on the stage with a stick in his hand. Akiko told him it was a ‘mike’, which Ron thought was a very stupid name.
“I like big butts and I cannot lie…” Ron’s mouth hung open as his brother started to sing/talk into ‘mike’. Because George didn’t know the tune to the song, he would occasionally slow down and then speed up really fast.
Akiko giggled beside him and Ron chuckled at his brother’s tone deaf performance; not to mention the words to the song.
Charlie and Harry were laughing so hard that Ron saw them both brush away tears from their eyes, while George was up on stage dancing around and waving his arms. A small crowd of people hovered near the stage and a couple of younger girls in the front were giggling and singing with him.
It was right at the end of George’s song “Little in the middle but she got much back…” that Akiko took Ron by the hand and pulled him towards her. She planted a sweet kiss on his lips. Due to Ron’s drunken state he couldn’t really feel it, so he pulled her in closer and deepened the kiss. Before he knew it they were groping at each other madly, neither one bothering to come up for air.
He vaguely heard cheering in the background as George came down from the stage, and smarmy comments from Harry, Charlie and George upon seeing Ron ‘snogging the little Japanese girl senseless’, but Ron didn’t pay them any mind.
This kiss would serve to erase the one before it. This kiss would be his salvation from what had happened earlier in the day. He needed this kiss, this girl, this moment because without it he would have to think about what in the world he was doing pining after a married woman that he hardly knew.
“Where are they?” Molly paced the room, pausing to look out of the window every few minutes.
“They’ve probably just gone for a drink. It’s been a long couple of days, they’ll be fine. Besides this way when they come home we can give them what for, for not bringing us along.” Angelina smiled cheekily and Ginny laughed a little.
Molly was obviously still nervous, but since no one else seemed to be too worried she just settled herself near the window and looked out over the street every few minutes. At 10:30 they all decided to head into bed after Arthur finally dragged Molly away from the window, convincing her that they were adults and would be just fine.
Hermione spent the entire evening avoiding being alone with Draco. Shame, confusion and apprehension all nestled themselves inside her and she didn’t know exactly what she was going to do or say when their alone time came. She was still running it over in her mind when she walked to their rooms, Draco trailing behind Ginny and Hermione as they had their little ‘girl talk’.
“Hermione, you don’t think he’s gone and done a runner do you?”
Hermione laughed at the idea and then alleviated her friend’s fears with placating words.
“Well then he better be in good shape tomorrow, or I will kill him for ruining our wedding day.”
It was that statement that made up Hermione’s mind for her. She wouldn’t say anything today. She would wait until after the Weasleys left. Hermione would not be responsible for ruining her best friends’ wedding day. Besides, she needed more time to think.
So she pretended that everything was fine. She acted out her role and even went so far as to give Draco a good night kiss. When his lips touched hers she inwardly cringed. How could she dare to kiss him after what had happened that day, after what she suspected him of doing? Her mind was torn in two and she had no idea which way was the right way to go.
Sleep eluded her as she lay in bed trying to turn off the running commentary in her head. 10:47. Should I tell Draco about the kiss? What would he do? Would he leave me? Do I want him to? 11:18. What about what Ron said about the witness? What exactly did he see? Could there have been a mistake? 12:34. How can I suspect my own husband of kidnapping? What kind of person am I? Draco has been so good to me and here I am off kissing other blokes and considering the idea that he committed a terrible crime. What in the world is wrong with me? 1:55.
She heard the muffled sound of footsteps and the attempted whispers of George and Charlie. She heard a loud thud, and then some drunken giggles. George’s voice gets so high when he is drinking. After a few more minutes all was quiet again, and Hermione felt relieved that Harry had at least come home.
2:16. The wedding is tomorrow, you can pretend everything is okay for one more day. Then they will all leave and you can find out the truth. She tossed over onto her other side; the clock constantly taunted her and she couldn’t bear to look at it one more moment. Sleep Hermione! Sleep!
She counted backwards from 1000; she tried to list all of the headmasters of Hogwarts in alphabetical order. After getting to Zilby, Mathias (headmaster from 1602-1612, the second shortest reign after Snape) she gave up and turned to look at the clock once more. 5:27.
With care, she crept slowly out of bed and slid into her fuzzy yellow slippers. Grabbing her silk crimson robe from the end of the bed, she snuck onto the balcony. The sun was already rising and the warm shades of yellows and oranges crept into the sky.
A light whirring sound broke through the quiet morning and she turned to see the door of Ron’s balcony slide open. Her heart began to thump wildly in her chest, she didn’t know what she would do if she saw him right now. Hermione could feel her cheeks warm and the blush spread down from her cheeks to her neck.
Then a small figure crept out of the room holding a pair of shoes in one hand while the other went to close the door behind her. Her black hair hung down loosely, and Hermione couldn’t see her face until a hand jutted out of the door and grabbed the girl back into the room. She heard a faint giggle, and the girl reappeared on the balcony.
Hermione stepped back further on her little porch and tried to blend with the shadows, though wearing a crimson colored robe against a dark grey building did nothing to hide her from sight. However, the girl didn’t even look in Hermione’s direction and flitted quietly across the lawn.
She breathed out, not even realizing that she had been holding her breath. Just as she began to relax slightly and think about what she had just seen, another figure emerged from the room. This was definitely long and lean and male. The sun was shining just behind him and he looked like a black form against the yellow of the sun, but she would know that silhouette anywhere.
Her heart stopped beating and the figure walked out further onto the balcony and out of the bright rays into the shade. He turned slowly, and their eyes met. She wasn’t close enough to see what his eyes held, but his body went rigid at the moment their gazes connected.
Tears started to form and she willed her legs to move, to go back inside and forget everything that had happened since yesterday. They both just stood there, neither one breaking the connection. Hermione wasn’t even able to gather enough strength to wipe the rogue tear that was making its way down her cheek.
Then she heard a muffled noise come from inside of her room and the spell was broken. Ron disappeared inside and Hermione was left standing there, still unable to look away.
A/N: So of course I do not own “I Can’t get no Satisfaction” that would be the Rolling Stones. I also am unfortunately did not help in any way to create those wonderful lyrics of “Baby Got Back” we all I believe owe Sir Mix-A-Lot a debt of gratitude for that little dittie. And for those of you who caught the slight reference to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” I don’t claim any ownership of that either.
I tried very hard to get the Japanese accents in there, I am not really liking what I came out with so any suggestions on writing that in a more phonetic like manner would be greatly appreciated.
So what did you think? Do you hate me? Love me? I appreciate all feedback.
As always thanks to Georgia Weasley my beautiful, wonderful, magnificent beta. You readers and reviewers are completely awesome too! Okay, novel length A/N done.
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