A/N: I’d like to dedicate this chapter to my dear puppy, Angel whose support and love has helped me through horrible times and made my days happier. Without her, my writing would have been impossible seeing as she had stayed up late many nights with me, consoling, supporting and encouraging me in a way no one else could. Not to mention, her protection from the mailman. For that I’m eternally grateful to her and she’ll live forever in my heart.
Thanks to all my readers. You keep me going. <3 -Bee
Luna thundered down the staircase when she heard the alarming banging on her front door. Her puppy, Angel, was barking madly at the noise, teeth bared and hair on end. Luna grabbed her wand and moved slowly towards the door.
“Quiet, Angel!” she hissed. She had no idea who would be banging on her door like a mad man. It wasn’t late—it was just about dinner time—and Luna had been finishing up some personal business upstairs when the noise had disrupted the quiet household. Raising her wand, Luna put her eye to the peep hole. Her warped vision was filled with a very angry-looking red-haired man. A spray of freckles and a trimmed, barely-there, beard lay on his face, his cheeks almost as red as his hair. His blue eyes were hidden under the shade of his furrowed brow.
Luna sighed, relieved that some maniac wasn’t at her door. It was only Ron, Luna breathed to herself, he was angry, but it was only Ron. She opened the door and Ron stopped his banging in surprise. For a split second he had thought she was purposefully ignoring him, but he smiled now at how foolish he was being. Luna wasn’t like Hermione; she would never ignore him when he was angry. Even if he was angry at her, Luna wouldn’t blow him off. Luna stepped aside with wide eyes to let Ron in. He let Luna slide off his light jacket as he entered the small house. Luna hung up the jacket on the coat rack near the door and led Ron to the parlor, his hand clasped tightly in hers. They sat on the plush sofa without saying a word, Ron trying to calm down and Luna lost in the thoughts of her new discovery. By the time Angel barked and startled the couple out of their silence, Ron’s face had returned to its normal pale and freckled shade. Angel continued to bark huffily, demanding one of them to pet her. Absentmindedly, Ron began to stroke the dogs back. With her demands met, Angel happily shut up and wagged her long tail.
“I’ll go make us some coffee and then we can stay up all night and talk about it if you want.” Luna stood and walked into the kitchen. Her modest little coffee maker was always prepared for occasions such as these and she leaned against the counter after starting the appliance. She listened to the tiny hiss as she closed her eyes and picked up her thoughts where she left off. How could this have happened? She had asked herself the question countless times that afternoon and still hadn’t come up with an answer. Of course she knew HOW, but still, the smartass thought gave her no comfort. The coffee maker gave one last long hiss before stopping altogether. She conjured two mugs; sugar and cream in hers, his having extra sugar but no cream just the way he loved it. Luna smiled and was glad that the little things were what really mattered to Ron most. The little things were what she tended to focus on the most.
“Here,” she said as she handed the black coffee to Ron. He took it carefully and let it sit a moment before taking a sip. Luna smiled at him and took a seat beside him. Angel growled her unhappiness as Ron’s hands left her back, but quieted after that, leaving the two humans to do whatever it was humans did.
“Want to talk about it or not?” Ron just shook his head and took another sip of his coffee. Luna nodded and kept quiet after that. He would come around in his own time, she knew, and she had no problem keeping to her own thoughts for a bit. They stayed that way for what seemed like forever, sipping hot coffee and occasionally giving Angel a pat on the back.
“Harry knows,” Ron said, finally breaking the silence. Luna looked at him, startled out of her thoughts.
“Harry knows what, love?” she asked. Her full attention was now on Ron, who she hoped would elaborate instead of clamming up again.
“Harry knows about us, about everything, Luna,” Ron said quietly. Luna stared at him for a moment and then smiled. Someone knew about her and Ron. Most woman would be mortified, scared that their secret would get out, but Luna’s true secret was that she wanted everyone to know. She wanted the world to know that she loved Ronald Weasley, that he loved her, and that despite having an affair, he was an amazing, good-hearted man. She also knew that keeping their relationship secret was really taking its toll on Ron. He acted normal, like everything was fine, but Luna knew that it ate away at him on the inside.
“Well that’s a start, I guess,” she replied after a moment, “it was bound to happen sooner or later. Did he figure it out on his own or did you tell him?”
“I told him. It’s about time I told him. He’s my best mate,” Ron said. Luna nodded.
“What did he say?”
“He said that he wanted me to be happy, but that I was hurting Hermione. He wants me to tell her before the World Cup or he will.”
“Oh, Ron” Luna sighed, “I’m so sorry.” Ron looked at her then. Her big blue eyes were sincere in their sympathy and her loose hair draped around her shoulder framing her face. He had never seen a more beautiful face and he smiled at her.
“Sorry?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye, “Why are you sorry? This has got to be the best thing that could have happened, love. I was already planning on leaving Hermione, I just didn’t know how. And now I can finally tell the world how much I love you, how wonderful a woman you are. No more hiding and sneaking around. No more secrets. It’ll just be us.”
“Ronald! How can you say that?” Luna stood and put her hands angrily on her hips, confusing Ron immensely. “What with a baby possibly on the way, I hardly think that leaving Hermione is ‘the best thing that could have happened.’ What an awful thing to say!”
Ron stood, making Luna look up at him instead of down. Luna still glared and Ron furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.
“Luna, what on earth are you talking about? You know, Hermione and I haven’t been with each other like that in more than a year. I wouldn’t lie to you like that. What would make you think that Hermione and I might be having a baby?” Luna’s gaze softened and she believed him. Ron was easier to read than a children’s book and his eyes told her everything she needed to know. He had been honest when he said that it was only her in his life, that Hermione was no longer a part of his more intimate moments. Luna’s brows came together again but this time in confusion.
“But I thought—I saw…” Luna caught herself before she spoke the thought aloud.
“You saw what, love?” Ron asked as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled Luna close.
“I thought I saw Hermione at the apothecary, in the pregnancy potion section… I was far away though, so I must have been mistaken.” Luna told him, though it was a bold faced lie. She had seen Hermione, and she was most definitely in the Pregnancy potions section. But, why was she there? Luna’s mind was working furiously as she replayed the events from earlier. Hermione had said that she and Ron had been trying for a kid, but Luna believed Ron when he denied having sex with his wife. So then Hermione was lying… she wasn’t trying to conceive a child with Ron. But then that would mean…
Luna shifted her attention to Ron, who had been saying something.
“I’m sorry, love, what was that? I lost track of my thoughts for a moment.” She asked in her charming voice. Ron smiled and kissed her forehead before repeating himself.
“What did you pick up at the apothecary today?” he asked gently, which brought Luna back to her more immediate problem. She reached down to pet Angel and drew comfort from her puppy’s soft coat. Gathering her courage together, Luna looked at Ron and blanched.
“Well Ron, I think you might have to sit for this. You see…”
“Hermione. Hermione, wake up. Hermione!”
Hermione grunted and rolled over on her side, trying to ignore the voice calling out to her. She wanted nothing more than to sleep into the next century and she’d be damned if she let someone ruin her plan to do just that. Harry Potter, however, was just as stubborn as his lover and was having none of it. He shook her gently and when that didn’t work, he pulled the blankets to Hermione’s feet in an attempt to wake her up. It worked. Hermione shouted indignantly before sitting up to pull the blankets safely over her exposed form. Harry knew that she couldn’t sleep without something to cover her and felt only slightly bad for using that knowledge against her. He was too excited to truly feel guilty and he needed her to be awake. Hermione tugged on the blankets, but Harry held on tight, making sure she couldn’t get comfortable again. With one last pull, Hermione huffed and plopped back down on the bed.
“Fine, I’m up,” she growled, crossing her arms over her chest. She had only fallen asleep about a half hour ago and she wasn’t in the best of moods because of her row with Ron. “What time is it anyway?”
“It is about 8:30 and it’s time for you to get up,” Harry insisted as he crawled up the bed to be even with her. Hermione glared at him for a moment but found that it was nearly impossible to stay mad at someone with such gorgeous, heart-warming eyes as Harry had. Harry smirked knowingly and Hermione smiled at him. She sat up looking down at her lover as he laid flat on his back and put his arms behind his head. His emerald eyes were dangerously mischievous, more so than usual, Hermione noted silently.
“So, to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?”
“Guess who you’re looking at.” Harry ordered playfully. Hermione frowned for a bit, she wasn’t in the mood for games. Still, she played along.
“Larry Otter?” Harry laughed good-naturedly and shook his head. Hermione smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
“Alright, you got me. Who am I looking at?”
“You, my darling, are looking at the new Head of the Auror Department.” Harry grinned as he let his words sink into Hermione’s head. He was so excited he wanted to burst. He had worked hard for the promotion and he felt like he had been working towards it since his first year at Hogwarts, since he had first learned of Voldemort. Not one of the aurors in his department had as much field experience as he did. The only two people in the world that had as much experience as he did were Ron and Hermione. He deserved it, and for once he actually felt like he deserved it.
“Sweet Merlin! That’s wonderful, Harry!” Hermione shouted as she threw her arms around his neck in a surprisingly tight hug. She knew more than anyone how much Harry wanted to lead the Auror department. He wanted to make a lot of changes, changes that would improve the auror department. He was adamant about making things runs more smoothly and efficiently so that a wizard like Voldemort could never rise to power again. She was extremely proud of him and told him so. Harry blushed for the first time in years because of Hermione’s compliment. Still blushing, he stood.
“Alright, let’s go. Get dressed,” he ordered Hermione.
“We’re going out to celebrate, of course!” Hermione frowned at him but got up. If she knew anything about Harry, it was that he wouldn’t give up and would keep urging her to go out with him.
“Alright, just give me about ten minutes to get showered and ready, love. I’ll be out in a bit.” Hermione reached for the door but Harry stopped her with a simple question.
“Alright, where’s Ron? I have to tell him the good news,” Harry asked smiling. He stopped smiling when he saw Hermione’s face, however. Her placid expression turned sour and her glare was enough to make any brave man cower.
“I have no idea where Ronald is and I really couldn’t care less about where he is.” Hermione breathed through clenched teeth before turning and closing the door behind her. Harry’s mind began to put two and two together. Her sleeping so early, the heavy bags under her eyes, her grumpy mood, Ron’s disappearance, it all added up in Harry’s eyes. They had had another row, and a bad one at that, it looked like. Ron might not even be at home for another week as he often stayed away after big fights between the two. Harry briefly worried where Ron was and was slightly disappointed he couldn’t tell Ron his news, but his mind shifted quickly to the more pressing problem at hand.
Harry followed Hermione down the hall and heard her start the shower. Harry knocked on the door and received a weak reply. He opened the door slowly. The shower was running but Hermione was sitting, fully dressed, on the closed toilet seat, staring at the tiles in front of her. Harry walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him out of habit. Hermione didn’t look up at the intrusion.
“We don’t have to go, if you don’t feel up to it,” Harry said quietly as he knelt in front of Hermione. She looked up then and glared.
“Of course, I feel up to it! You’ve gotten promoted and I’m going to celebrate with you. I am happy for you, love, truly. I refuse to let Ron keep me down.” She smiled then and Harry knew it was genuine. He grinned in response and stood up.
“Good. Now get your pretty little arse cleaned up. We’re going to Diagon Alley,” Harry said cheekily before closing the door on Hermione’s protests.
Ginny wrapped her light jacket tighter around her small frame as she stepped out of the dark damp alley. The June air was warm and humid, but Ginny hugged the jacket tighter still, as if it gave her some extra protection from a chilly wind that only she could feel. She shivered once and began walking briskly down the quiet London street. As she walked, Ginny flipped her glasses to the top of her head and wiped her eyes. Her glasses were making her eyes sting as a few tears threatened to spill over the rims of her eyes. Sniffling, she scowled and continued to walk. She and Draco had gotten into their first fight since Ginny had returned to England and she refused to cry over it.
It was so silly, Ginny thought as she passed under a street light. It was nothing really to be so upset about. Draco was just being his usual taunting self, pretending that he knew something she didn’t. What had gotten her so worked up that whatever it was that he knew, it was about Ron and Hermione and their relationship. She bickered and bargained with him to tell her and he had infuriatingly refused to share the information. Whatever it was, she felt she had the right and need to know. It was her brother, for Merlin’s sake. Her protective instincts had made her even angrier at Draco than she would have been for something so simple. Her brother’s business was just that: her brother’s business and no one else’s. He had no right to go poking around and spying on her brother and Hermione. And how dare he keep something like that from her? She needed to know so that need be she could protect them against Draco and anyone else who might be up to no good.
Ginny stopped and looked at her surroundings then directly across the street, trying to read the numbers on the houses. She had passed Luna’s house while paying attention to her silent tirade. She crossed the street and backtracked a few houses to the little row home that Luna owned. The light was on in the large ground floor window, which Ginny took as a good sign. Luna was up and Ginny wouldn’t be disturbing her. Ginny walked up the few steps to the front door, looking for a sign of Luna through the window. Ginny gasped and then froze on the second to last step. Ron was there. Ron was there in Luna’s house, sitting on her sofa as Luna sat in an armchair and talked to him. Ginny didn’t understand. She hadn’t known they were such good friends… The thought died in her mind as Ron stood suddenly, gripped Luna in a tight hug, lifted her off her feet, and kissed her squarely on the lips. Ron. Ron and Luna. Ron kissing Luna. Ginny couldn’t wrap her mind around it.
Her brother was married! Her brother was married to Hermione! Poor Hermione! Did she know? Was Hermione ok with this? Or did she have no idea that her marriage was no longer sacred? That Ron wasn’t loyal? Did she choose to ignore it like some women or was she genuinely clueless? Ginny’s heart ached for her long time friend. How could Ron do this to Hermione? And now Ginny knew. She knew her best friend was having an affair with her married brother. It was so wrong. How had things become so messed up? And what should Ginny do? Should she keep quiet? Should she tell someone? Should she tell Hermione? No. Yes. No? Ginny couldn’t think. If Ginny told Hermione and Hermione knew she would look stupid. But on the other hand if Hermione didn’t know and Ginny told her, how much pain would Hermione be in? Would Ginny be the catalyst of an ugly divorce? Would she be betraying Ron?
And Luna. Boy, when Ginny got her hands on Luna, she was going to strangle her. How dare she rope her brother into this mess? Ginny desperately wished she hadn’t seen a thing. Her mind reeling, Ginny backed down the steps and kept to the shadows as she retreated from the house. She had made up her mind. She was going to see Hermione to find out what she knew. If she didn’t know, Ginny would certainly not be the one to tell her. Once she was far enough away from the house Ginny cursed the entire situation and with a pop, apparated in the shadows of twilight.
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