“Hermione! I was just about to owl you.” Ginny opened the door wider to let her friend enter.
“Is Harry here?” Hermione asked as she stepped into the entryway.
“So you didn’t come to see me then?” There was a slight edge to her voice which Hermione chose to ignore.
“Actually, I came to see you both.”
Ginny’s face brightened and she called up the stairs for Harry. Harry came barreling down the stairs, skipping the last couple of steps with an agile leap.
“So…” He said.
“So,” It took a lot of effort on Hermione’s part to keep the grin from breaking across her face. “I think I know how to get Ron’s memories back.”
Ginny gasped and Harry’s face split into a bright smile that scrunched his glasses further up his nose.
Ginny led them all into the front sitting room where Hermione went on to tell the story of Merit and Rasui.
“That story does not seem to bode well for my brother. I don’t fancy him getting killed by your evil, git of a husband.”
“Ginny.” Harry scolded.
Hermione, again, chose to ignore Ginny’s reaction.
“As I was saying… I went to see Professor Wentworth,” she was interrupted by Ginny’s comment of ‘ooh, he is so scrumptious.’ At which point Harry lightly smacked the back of her head.
“What? He is.” She then leaned into Harry, “but not nearly as yummy as you.”
Trying to choke back a snort of laughter Hermione continued once more. “Yes, er, well. Professor Wentworth and I still haven’t worked out all of the details yet, but I think we will be able to iron everything out by week’s end.”
“So soon?” Harry asked.
“I can’t be sure, these things can be tricky, but Linus, er, I mean Professor Wentworth assures me that it shouldn’t take much longer than that.”
“So it’s Linus then, is it?” Ginny mocked.
She just shot Ginny a frustrated look and thankfully the girl took the hint and shut her mouth.
“Anyway, I just stopped by to let you know. You can relay the news to Ron.”
“Why don’t you do that yourself?” Was Ginny always this infuriating, or is it just now that Ron has come home?
“I think it’d be best if I kept my distance for now.”
Ginny looked like she was about to make another retort when Harry clapped his hand over her mouth and said, “We’ll let him know. Thanks Hermione.”
“I’ll let you know when we have it all worked out.” With that she walked herself to the front door and left.
“What?!” The curt reply resounded before the door leading to Reynolds’ office opened. “Oh, Mr. Weasley. What can I do for you?” He appeared less haggard than he had been recently, which was perhaps why the greeting almost seemed pleasant.
“Well, sir. I was wondering if you happened to have any openings in your department.”
Reynolds scratched his chin in thought. “And I suppose that this would be a position for yourself?”
More chin scratching. “Perhaps, but mind you it’s a beginning position. You’d be bottom of the totem pole, not to mention the pay is rubbish.”
Ron fiddled with his jumper. “How rubbish…sir?”
“I can’t pay more’n sixty Galleons a week.”
Ron considered this, for about two seconds, before saying. “I’ll take it, uh, that is if you’re offering, sir.”
Reynolds considered for one more moment before giving Ron a curt nod. “See you here tomorrow at nine. And don’t be late.”
“So I got the job?”
“We’ll give it a trial run, see how you work out.” With that, Reynolds closed his office door, almost breaking Ron’s nose.
Ron wouldn’t have noticed though, he was so elated to be moving on to something other than a store clerk. He wasn’t even taking that much of a pay cut, a mere ten Galleons a week, and living at home with his mum and dad would help to save plenty of money.
With a light heart, Ron practically skipped into the floo. He burst into Harry and Ginny’s fireplace and stepped into their front sitting room.
“What are you so happy about, mate?” Harry asked, not seeming too shocked by Ron’s unannounced entrance.
“Nothing much, just starting my new job tomorrow.”
Ron’s face broke into – if it was possible – a larger grin. “The Auror department.”
“Huh? Didn’t know we were hiring. That’s great though.” Harry said as Ginny walked into the room carrying a bowl of curry and a bag of crisps.
“You couldn’t wait for me?”
“ Wait for you, what?” Harry asked.
“Wait for me to tell him that we can get his memories back.” She rolled her eyes at Harry.
“Wai- What?” Ron looked between the two, bewildered.
“I didn’t tell him, Ginny.” Harry said through clenched teeth.
“You can get my memories back?” Ron asked to the room aloud.
Harry settled himself more comfortably on the couch and Ginny sidled in next to him. “We were going to tell you in a more… appropriate manner,” he turned and glared at Ginny, “but seeing as that’s ruined…”
“Oh stop beating around the bush.” Ginny rolled her eyes. “Hermione found out why you lost your memories, and now she is working on a way to reverse it.”
He took a minute to think this over. Did he really want his memories back? He had been so adamant against it just a few weeks ago.
“How did I lose them?” His suspicion of Malfoy loomed in his mind.
Harry and Ginny shared a covert – or not so covert, seeing as Ron caught them – glance.
“It was Malfoy wasn’t it?”
“Actually, no.” Harry answered.
No? How could it not be Malfoy? Who else would have something to gain from wiping his memories of Hermione?
“It was the work of some ancient artifact. Hermione is still looking into it.” Ginny glanced at Harry in what looked to be relief.
What were those two hiding?
“An artifact?” Ron pushed.
“Yes, an artifact,” Ginny picked up the story that Harry was weaving. “She found it in the Nott house. A trifle really, but it seemed to hold some pretty old magic, so she is just working out how to undo that. She said it wouldn’t take too much longer, perhaps even a week.” Ginny seemed to get a little too cheery towards the end, as if that would make up for or mask whatever it was that they were trying to hide from him.
“What if I don’t want my memories back?”
“Oh, don’t be stupid Ron, of course you do.” She jibed.
“I’m not so sure. Why would I want to know how much I loved her and then watch her live married to someone else?”
“That’s understandable, mate, but don’t you think…” Harry began.
“Crap!” Ginny butted in. “That’s not understandable. That’s chicken shite. Man up, Ron.” She dipped a crisp into the curry and took a crunchy bite.
“Why do people keep telling me things like that?” Ron mumbled under his breath.
“Probably because you need to stop sulking and start living, and the first way to do that is face the past and then either move on or do something about it.” Another crunchy bite crackled through the room.
“That’s disgusting, you know.” Ron interjected.
“Well actually it kind of makes sense…” Harry began again.
“Not what she said.” Ron gestured to Ginny, “Look at what the mad woman is eating.”
“Don’t knock it till you try it.” She smirked and took another curry dipped crisp into her mouth. “Now as I was saying…”
“I get it, I get it. I am a little boy running from my problems… Merlin. And I was so happy just ten minutes ago.” He ran a frustrated hand through his hair.
“Yeah, I forgot. Why is that?” Ginny asked.
“He got a job in the Auror Department.” Harry answered for Ron, seemingly thankful to be able to get a complete sentence out.
“Well that is good news. Have you told mum yet? She’ll want to throw a family dinner in your honor. Maybe we can invite Hermi…”
“Well congratulations again, mate. See you at work tomorrow.” Harry clapped a hand on Ron’s back and walked him towards the fireplace.
Ron glanced back at Ginny’s glowing face, and chewing mouth, and grimaced once more. “Yeah, tomorrow.” He shouted ‘The Burrow’ clearly into the green flames that erupted at the pinch of floo powder and whooshed home.
As soon as he stepped foot in The Burrow he turned heel and went straight for the front door, hoping that his mum hadn’t heard the floo and wouldn’t come asking questions about where he might be going. He popped immediately from the front yard and into one in which he had never been before. Ginny had let slip where Hermione lived once, but Ron had never needed nor wanted to go before.
Now he had to find out what Ginny and Harry were hiding from him. If it had just been Ginny acting oddly he might not have noticed, but Harry’s avoidance of… something, had clued him in that Hermione had information. Information that Ron needed to know.
He rubbed his sweaty palms along his sides and trudged determinedly up the front path towards a large manor home. His hand paused for only a second before rapping on the mahogany front door. He waited, but heard no movement inside. He knocked again a bit harder.
There was a pop behind the door and then a low mumble that he couldn’t decipher, then the door opened and he was greeted not by Hermione or her elf but the sneer of Draco Malfoy.
“And to what do I owe this pleasure, Weasel?” Draco spat.
He hesitated, but then gathered his nerve. “I need to speak with your wife.”
“Ah, so you noticed.”
Ron wrinkled his forehead in confusion.
“That she is my wife, you imbecile.” Malfoy let out an exasperated sigh, then under his breath he mumbled, “Honestly.”
“I noticed that you somehow managed to convince Hermione to marry you, yes.” Ron nodded. “Now may I speak with her for a moment?”
“No.” Malfoy began to shut the door, but Ron pushed his large frame forward blocking it from closing.
“I need to speak with Hermione.” Ron gritted out slowly.
“And I said no. Now if you would excuse me.” He made an effort to close the door once more, still unable to do so due to Ron’s bulk.
“Malfoy, could you stop being a prat for one second and let me talk to Hermione?”
Malfoy looked at Ron in disbelief and then lowered his voice to a mere hiss. “I don’t think that you, of all people should be calling me names, Weasel. If I were you, I would remove myself from this doorway before I hex your bits off.”
“Draco, who’s at the door?” A familiar voice called from behind Malfoy.
“No one, just an unwanted solicitor.” Malfoy called back.
“Hermione!” Ron cried out in desperation.
Malfoy glared. Ron was glad that looks could not actually kill him. A small set of fingers pulled his arm back, and Ron met Hermione’s bewildered gaze.
“Yes, Ron?” She asked in an even tone.
“I need to talk to you.” He glanced over to Malfoy then whispered, “Privately.”
“Anything you need to say to my wife you can say in front of me.”
“It’s about the artifact that you found,” Ron said, trying to make it sound like he might actually know more than he did.
Hermione nodded in understanding and Ron began to feel like he just might win, when she said, “As you can see though Ron, I can’t tonight. Why don’t you owl me and I will keep you posted when I know more.” With those final words, she shut Ron out of the manor. He did not resist her attempts, and found himself staring blankly at the mahogany door once more.
She had completely blown him off. Sure, her husband was there, and yes, it was rather awkward seeing as they had kissed, but she couldn’t take five minutes to explain to him what in the world was going on? He was frustrated, he was annoyed, but most of all he was angry. And it was with that emotion that he stormed home to seethe in his old bedroom.
“Sorry I had to run off your boyfriend,” Draco spat.
Hermione groaned, “He’s not my boyfriend, Draco!”
“Maybe not, but you’d like him to be, wouldn’t you? You wish that you had married him instead.” He stared at her with his piercing, silver eyes. They were hard as stone, but she could have sworn that she saw a flicker of doubt.
“Draco.” She ran her hand along his arm, trying to calm him, but it proved only to enrage him further.
Draco jerked back. “Don’t touch me.”
“Draco, please. We need to talk about this.” Her eyes watered; she hated seeing him like this.
“There’s nothing to talk about Hermione. You spent the whole day ignoring me. I can take a hint. I just wish you wouldn’t go and invite your boyfriend over before I have actually left.”
“Oh, come on!” Frustration niggled at her flesh and she clenched her fists in anger. “I go off for one day and you get all huffy. You left me without word for over two weeks! And as for Ron,” She put as much emphasis on his name as she could, “I have no idea why he was here, or how he even knows where here is.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Draco scoffed, but his voice wasn’t as coarse as it had been.
“Look Draco, we could go around in these circles all night. It won’t solve anything, I am mad at you, you are mad at me. What we need to discuss is what we are going to do.”
“Do?” He said it softly, and the small voice took Hermione back at bit. It was one thing to yell and be abrupt with a hateful Draco, it was quite another to do so with a sad, broken one.
“Yes, do.” She reached again for his arm and this time he didn’t pull away. “About us. We need to work this out. I can’t go on like this, us fighting and ignoring one another.”
“Do you want us to work out?” He asked. His eyes became liquid, and the silver swirled like mercury.
Hermione thought. She thought about everything that had happened in the last few months. She thought about the last few years. She thought about her marriage, her relationship with Ron. Then she nodded.
Draco wrapped her in his arms so tightly that she could barely draw a breath. He gently pulled her head back and she felt his warm, supple lips on her own.
Hermione meant it when she nodded. She wanted to make Draco happy, the way he had always tried to do before for her. She wanted him to know that their marriage meant something to her, that she did not take her vows in vain.
Their kiss intensified and quickly turned into more. His hands were needy, and grasped at her like a beggar for food. Hermione allowed her body to comply, trying hard to let go of everything but Draco. She needed to focus on him.
His touch was rough, frantic, but she preferred it that way. That way was easier, that way she would be more likely to be able to differentiate between her past and the present. This time, when he felt that she was about to reach her climax, Draco did not force her eyes on his. He held her to him, all but looking away from her. Hermione let him.
“Do you think he suspected anything?” Ginny was biting her lip with worry as Harry pulled on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms.
“Of course he did. He may be thick, but he isn’t a complete idiot.”
“What do you think he’ll do?”
Harry jumped into bed beside her. “Probably something dumb.”
“I dunno Gin, like go talk to Hermione. Like get pissed and sleep with an Asian whore. There are loads of stupid things that Ron could be doing now.”
“You don’t really think he’s off sleeping with another hooker do you?” She looked more than worried now.
“No, I don’t. Now stop stressing. Ron’s a big boy and can take care of himself.”
“Okay, well mostly. Besides, he has a big day tomorrow. He's not likely to screw that up by doing anything too stupid.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“I know I am.” Harry turned to face her. He brushed his finger across her lip, preventing it from further hardship from her teeth.
“You know, you’re pretty sexy when you’re being all confident.”
“Am I?” He arched a brow and then bent his head down and kissed her with all the passion he had.
“Mmm hmmm,” was all she could manage as he wrapped his fingers in her hair and pulled her even more closely towards him. How was a girl supposed to fret over her brother and his ex-girlfriend when there were distractions like this around? Oh well, she thought, and proceeded to entwine her legs around his waist. Those flannels weren’t going to last very long.
A/N: Yay for Sunday updates. I would have gotten this up sooner but my sister had a baby this week and I had to go up to see her and my new Nephew (who is adorable... he totally gets that from me).
Let me know what you think.... How much do you Ron fans hate me right now? Please don't. I still have a lot more to write, but I couldn't in good conscience have Hermione choose Ron over her husband. Yes, she still has feelings for Ron, but she is Hermione and she made a choice by marrying Draco, and as Hermione I feel that she would stick by that decision. She does love him too...
Anyway... massive thanks to my wonderific Beta Georgia Weasley... Although I accidently didn't give her the first part of this chapter with Hermione and Ginny so if there are errors there that is all me.
Also thanks of course goes to you splendiferous readers and reviewers. Now I will end this novel length note.