Chapter 3 : The Next Obstacle
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Ron was lying down in his bed in Harry and Ginny's room, facing the wall. It was a bright blue, cheerful color, the color of his and Hermione's living room. He'd turned it to stone when he'd realized this, but he couldn't get the actual color out of his mind. It was almost as present as his girlfriend. Or was it ex girlfriend?
He didn't know what to do anymore. He'd tried to think about ways to get back together with her, but the feeling that he'd lost the only woman that was worth fighting for wasn't shakable. Every speech he made up in his mind was more and more pathetic and idiotic. He was done being strong and stable. He wanted to cry. He wanted to drown in his tears, to create a storm with them like that Zeus guy that Hermione was constantly talking/reading about. He wanted something terrible to happen to himself so Hermione would feel just as hurt as he felt now. Maybe even guilty. Maybe she would even get back together with him. She would have plenty of time to think while she cried over his unconscious body, right?
Or maybe he could do something to make her jealous? Get a date with a Quidditch star, or the secretary to the head auror that all of the single wizards were eying up? She was flirting with him quite a lot...
But as Ron thought it over, he realized he didn't want to play games like these. He'd already acted immature and obnoxious, and now was his time to prove to Hermione that he was a grown adult and could handle just as much as she did, if not more. He wanted to show her that she could lean on him and depend on him, and playing mud-slinging games was not going to do that for him. However, it was so hard to let her walk away. To let 3 amazing years walk out of his life, to let a crush since 4th year (well, he'd probably had it before, but he just hadn't realized it until Viktor-bloody-Krum came into his life and asked Hermione to the Yule Ball) leave after a huge fight. But Ron didn't know how to fight anymore. All of the fight had left him. Because he knew, he would admit, that every part of this argument was his fault. He would have to live with that every single day of his life that he wasn't with Hermione. In his head, he pictured a long, winding tunnel that was his life without Hermione. Could there be, could there possibly be a light at the end of the tunnel? Was there a chance that she could change her mind and come back to him? Ron didn't know if there was a reason to fight for her. Was he being selfish by wanting Hermione back? Or just sensible? Did she want him too?
Ron, using every bit of energy he had left, got up. He felt shaky, he hadn't left his bed since he had gotten to Harry and Ginny's house a week ago. He didn't trust himself on his feet. Scratch that, he didn't trust himself at all. Why should he trust himself? He'd ruined every good think he'd ever had in his life. Well, pretty much. He was such a bloody git. He felt very good reason to hate himself. Ron wasn't really one to hate himself. Usually he just drank until he passed out, which helped him not feel. However, Ginny had locked up all the alcohol in the house, and he now had nothing to go to. He could always feel his pain... but what was the point of that?
Remorse. It was such a powerful thing. It was what could destroy horcruxes. It had to be powerful, right? Well, it was powerful for Ron. It had taken over every fiber of his being, the pit of his stomach felt it, the tightening of his throat announced it, the wetness of his blue eyes told everyone. He hated it. Ron could have gone his whole life without feeling remorseful. It was such a evil thing. It was tearing him apart, little by little, that and his longing for Hermione. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. You don't know you've got a good thing until it's gone. These sayings, especially the latter, were true. Unfortunately. He hadn't realized how wonderful Hermione had been until she wasn't his to hold and kiss. He couldn't sniff her hair, or hold her hand, or hear her laugh, or watch her lips as they launched upwards into a smile.
He took a tentative step. Hermione laughing. Another step. Hermione smiling. Another, stronger step, Hermione kissing him during the final battle. A bound to the door. Hermione agreeing to live with him. A turn of the doorknob. The image of the engagement ring he'd yet done anything with on Hermione's finger. This was not a real image, but it made him stronger none the less. He walked all the way down to the living room on that image, where Harry and Ginny were reading a book together, Ginny leaning on Harry's chest, holding the book with both of her hands, Harry's eyes on the book, his nose pressed against her hair. Ron cleared his throat, and they both looked up.
“Hi, Ron.” Ginny said tentatively.
“How're you feeling, mate?” Harry asked just as carefully.
“I need to get out.” Ron said weakly.
“Ron, don't you dare go drinking!” Ginny said angrily, leaping up.
“It's what got you in trouble with Hermione in the first place, remember?” Harry added.
Ron felt like someone had hit him in the stomach when he heard Hermione's name.
“Yeah.” he said quietly. “How could I forget.” It wasn't a question. It was a statement. Ginny looked at her brother with a concerned, almost motherly look on her face.
“Hey, you guys have been great. Do you have anything you want me to do for you?”
“No, Ron,” Ginny said in a serious voice, the concerned and pitying look never leaving her face. “You're fine. We don't need anything.”
“Please, Ginny!” Ron pleaded. “I really want to get out of the house.”
“Well, I do need some more shampoo...” Ginny said, doubting that Ron would want to do that chore.
“Brilliant.” Ron said appreciatively. It was a simple, easy chore to get him out of the house and walking around. He tried to ignore the look of confusion on Harry's face as Ginny summoned her shampoo bottle.
“Here,” she said, “just try to match the bottle, yeah?”
“Fine.” Ron said. He took the bottle, grabbed a few galleons from Ginny and left the house.
“There's a wizarding drugstore just down the street!” Ginny called after him. Ron didn't answer her as he pulled the door shut and started walking. He concentrated on his feet as he walked. Left, right, left right. After a few blocks, he found the shop. He walked into the store and headed towards the sign that said 'Shampoo'. Normally, he would just ask someone where it was instead of wasting his time reading the signs (something Hermione both loathed and found hilarious about him) , but today he didn't want to talk to anyone. He walked over to the aisle and started looking for Ginny's shampoo. He found it and grabbed it, but paused when he saw the brand next to it. He recognized it, knew it well. It was the shampoo bottle that lived in his own shower, the scent he loved. His hand shot out on practically it's own accord and he grabbed the bottle, opened the cap and sniffed.
The smell wafted up his nostrils, and a thrilled, happy feeling filled up his body. He was home. He was happy. He had never broken up with Hermione. He was smelling
her hair as he kissed her long and hard, his hand on her soft cheek, her eyelashes tickling his rough one. The feeling drained with the snap that announced the bottle's closing. Ron opened his eyes and looked up to see the manager glaring at him over her eyeglasses.
“Are you going to buy that?” she asked disdainfully, pointing at the bottle.
“Yes.” Ron said, bending down to grab Ginny's shampoo as well. He paid, then hurried out of the store and opened the bottle again, sniffing for all he was worth. All of a sudden, he really had to get to a bar.
He ran down the street and flung the door open, dropping onto his stool and lowering his bags on the floor.
“Firewhiskey, please.” he said, slamming his money on the counter. He had a little extra in his coat pocket, just enough for one drink. He downed it, then asked for another one. After downing that, another one. After about 4 drinks, the woman sitting next to him turned around on her barstool. She was grinning devilishly as she slid her tongue across her glossy red lips. Her shiny brown hair was tossed over her shoulder, her hazel eyes sparkling. They were pretty, but nothing like Hermione's chestnut colored ones.
“Hello.” the woman said, extending her hand. “I'm Alyssa”
“Ron Weasley.” Ron hiccuped.
“Bartender? Get him another drink, please.” Alyssa smiled, revealing perfect white teeth.
“Ron Weasley, eh?” she said, once Ron had downed his next firewhiskey. “The Ron Weasley?”
“One and only.” Ron laughed.
“What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be home with that girl you're dating? Juliet? Or some other Shakespearian name.”
“Yes, Hermione, that's it.” Alyssa said disinterestedly. “What number is that?” she asked, pointing to his drink.
“4, I think.” Ron said giddily. "more or less."
“Check please.” Alyssa said. “Oh, never mind. Just put it on my tab, will you, Matt?”
The bartender nodded.
“Great.” Alyssa said, flashing him a winning smile. She grabbed Ron and led him out of the bar.
“Where do you live, Ron Weasley?” Alyssa asked.
“Brilliant.” Alyssa sounded sarcastic, but Ron didn't notice it as he went on.
“But we broke up.” Ron said, downcast, as if he had just remembered. Alyssa's eyes brightened.
“Oh no, you poor thing!” she stuck out her bottom lip and put her hand on Ron's shoulder. “Are you staying with Harry Potter, then?”
“Yeah.” Ron hiccuped again. With a sudden crack, he'd apparated them to Harry and Ginny's small house.
Alyssa looked shocked at first, then seemed to collect herself. She straitened up and led Ron into the house.
Ginny rushed out of the living room.
“Ron! What took you so lo-”
“Hello.” Alyssa smiled pleasantly and handed a bag to Ginny. “I believe this must be for you.”
Ginny took the bag without bothering to check to see what was inside of it.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Alyssa Jefferson.” Alyssa said, extending her hand to Ginny. Ginny didn't take it. She eyed Alyssa's V-Neck sweater, dark wash jeans and high heeled leather boots wearily and said,
“Where did you find him?”
“At the local bar. I was there with a friend and he sat next to me. Poor thing, downed merlin knows how many firewhiskeys.”
“Ron.” Ginny whispered, not trusting herself to speak. She was practically shaking with anger and frustration.
“Ginny, what happened?” Harry walked out of the living room, saw Alyssa and stopped talking.
“I'll let you two chat.” Alyssa said, giving Ginny a understanding and pitying smile. “Let me just bring him upstairs.”
“3rd door to the left.” Harry said blankly.
Alyssa led Ron upstairs and set him on the bed in a sitting position.
“Sobero!” she said, and Ron immediately became sober. “Clearify!” Alyssa said again, and the headache went away at once.
“Thanks.” Ron mumbled. He looked up. “Who're you?”
“Alyssa Jefferson.” Alyssa said. “Could I use your bathroom?”
Ron pointed to the room connected to his bedroom and watched as Alyssa hurried over to it and closed the door. Then he fell back against his bed and put his hand on his head. What had he done? He remembered Hermione shampoo... then going to the bar... Hermione's shampoo. Ginny had it in her bag. Ron got up and made to open the door but all of a sudden found he couldn't move. Alyssa's voice from the door frame of the bathroom said
“Oh, no. You're not going anywhere.”
And then his body had been forced against the wall opposite to the door. He couldn't move, couldn't speak. He could see Alyssa moving towards him in a silk black robe that was open to reveal a tan and black practically see through bra and underwear set. She walked slowly towards him and took off the robe, then started to kiss him. All of a sudden, the door flew open. Ron felt a familiar jerk in his stomach as he saw who was there. Hermione was standing in the door frame, a look of horrified, mortified shock on her face.
A/N: I got this idea in the middle of the Ocean and had to go all the way home to write it. So far I have around 16 chapters written, so stay tuned. If you have any questions check out my author's page. I'm sorry for the cliffhanger, but the chapter got too long and I decided to cut it here. I also want to thank 'A Fine Frenzy' for writing the song 'Ashes and Wine'. I listened to it 2 million times while writing this chapter, and I think it was also slightly inspired by it. Please, please, please review! They make me so happy :) ~writergirl8
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