Chapter 3 : Confidences and revelations
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Ron was most definitely not there as he was drinking himself out in a Muggle pub in London.
"Another shot," he grumbled, smashing his glass down on the table. The bartender hesitated, not wanting any troubles in his pub, and this second's hesitation was enough to make Ron furious. His hand went to his back pocket, searching for his wand and planning to hex the bartender into oblivion.
"Ronald Weasley!" The loud cry echoed throughout the bar. Ginny knew her brother well, and after Harry had told her that Ron had disappeared it did not take her long to piece everything together.
"Shuddup Gin," Ron was still trying to find his wand, "I'm jus' goin' to give him a lesson. Now where – aha!" He triumphantly pulled out something from his pocket, and Ginny tried to control her laughter as he pointed the Deluminator at the barman in what he must have thought was a threatening way. The Deluminator clicked and a ball of blue light burst out of it. Quickly, Ginny pulled out her wand and shot a memory spell at the few Muggles in the bar, before grabbing Ron by the arm and pushing him forwards until the blue light entered his chest.
"You idiot," she hissed as soon as they stopped moving, "what on earth were you thinking?" Ron was totally incoherent, so Ginny let him fall to the floor with a loud thump. They were standing on the plaza of a small town, not one that Ginny recognised. Thankfully enough, there was a fountain close by. Cursing to herself, she dragged Ron over to the fountain and with a huge effort pushed him in entirely, hoping this would knock some sense into him. Hearing him sputter and come back up for air, she started screaming at him.
"You absolute arse! I just performed underage magic because of you, next time you can drink yourself stupid! And just you wait until mum hears about this, I want first row tickets for that" She cackled wildly and pushed Ron's head back underwater. "And I'm going to make sure George knows about this, so that he can bug the life out of you about how you're just a stupid, drunken, reckless asshole!"
Hearing people approaching, Ginny grabbed Ron's arm and pulled him out of the fountain, throwing Harry's invisibility cloak (which he had lent her without hesitation) around them both. Great, now what? She hissed interiorly. Ron was sopping wet and shivering next to her, still very drunk, and she could definitely not count on him for any advice. Just my luck... Oh well, too bad, I'll just have to manage. Now, where is that bloody Deluminator? The Deluminator was lying just a few feet away, and Ginny did her best to get Ron to move along with her so she could pick it up – I wish I was of age already, so I could Summon this thing instead of having to drag this drunkard with me to get it... Keeping a tight grip on her brother, she clicked the Deluminator and let the pulsing blue light enter her chest, hoping very strongly it would take her somewhere she would be able of getting Ron back in shape again.
As soon as the vortex sensation stopped, Ginny let go of Ron's arm and opened her eyes, inhaling the cool, sea breeze. Shell Cottage. Of course, she thought. Bill would know what to do, and be discrete enough about the situation. The only problem, she realised with a sigh as she saw her brother had fallen to the floor and was snoring loudly, was to actually get Ron into the house. Well, it's not like there were one hundred options anyway, she realised as she walked towards the cottage and knocked on the door. To her desperation, it was not Bill but Phleg – Fleur, she corrected herself mentally – who opened.
"Ginny? Eez something wrong?"
"I... Erm... Is Bill here?"
"No, 'e 'ad to go to Gringotts zees morning. But per'aps I can 'elp you?"
Ginny hesitated, but she knew she wouldn't be able to manage on her own.
"Ron is drunk, completely. I was hoping Bill would be here so he could do something about it."
"Vell," Fleur's face was understanding, "I believe zat zere eez something in 'ere zat could 'elp 'im." With a flick of her wand, she had levitated Ron from where he was lying several meters away, had carried him on to a sofa in the sitting room and had summoned a small bottle that contained a murky, greenish potion.
"Zees eez something zat we call Sobriété Liquide in France, or, as Maman would put it, boisson pour ivrogne. You might not want to see zee effects of eet though, eet eez rather gruesome."
As Fleur levitated Ron to the toilet and gave him the potion, Ginny looked surprised. It was only when she heard the horrid retching noises that she understood what Fleur had meant, and felt extremely sorry for her sister-in-law. However, Fleur soon came out, seeming to be in full control of the situation and not in the least bit disgusted.
"I 'ad not 'ad to zat in a long time, but eet seems I have not lost my reflexes," she quietly said. "Your brother should continue to reject whatever 'e 'as in 'is system for about twenty minutes now. Zat eez a long time, 'e must 'ave drunk a lot, yes?"
Seeing Ginny's embarrassed face, Fleur was tactful enough to drop the subject.
"You know," she mused, "my brother used to do ze same thing before, and I was always ze one to 'ave to clean 'im up." Ginny seemed surprised.
"You had a brother? But why wasn't he there at your wedding?"
"Arnaud died eight years ago," Fleur's face clouded up, "coma éthylique. 'E drank too much one evening, far too much, and eet was too late for 'im when we managed to find 'im. Eet was very difficult for Maman and Papa, apart from 'is drinking problem 'e was perfect: smart, good-looking, with a promising job... People used to say zat 'e would be ze next minister." She wiped away a tear, and Ginny realised at that moment how tired Fleur looked. Tired was not even appropriate, worn out was. Her blonde hair was loosely gathered in messy ponytail, her eyes were surrounded by dark blue circles and her cheeks were extremely pale.
"But," Fleur composed herself, "zat eez ze past and we cannot change eet. I still miss 'im of course, but I 'ave managed to accept zat 'e will never come back." And then she burst into tears.
Ginny vaguely processed Fleur's sentence, realising it could also apply to what she felt about Fred's death, but was too taken aback by the Veela's emotional outburst. Hesitantly, she moved closer and placed her hand on her in-law's back.
"I'm not crying because of Arnaud," Fleur managed to say tearfully.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Ginny quietly asked. Fleur shook her head, then reconsidered before spilling out everything she had to say.
"I was going to... To 'ave a baby," she sobbed, "But something must 'ave 'it me during ze Battle, I was in zat 'ospital of yours zis morning and... Zey told me zat I... I..."She stopped, took a few deep breaths, then restarted. "In French we call zis a fausse couche. I 'aven't told Bill yet, 'e eez going to 'ate me, 'e was so 'appy when I told 'im I was pregnant!"
Ginny was shocked – Fleur had been pregnant and had miscarried? And she was telling her this before telling Bill? – , but still had senses enough to reassure Fleur.
"Fleur," she handed her a tissue, "Bill won't hate you for this." She didn't know what else to say, then it hit her. "I mean, he loves you, remember? You're the one he chose to marry. And honestly, I don't think he could have chosen any better," she realised these how true these words were as she said them. Fleur's face lit up, though tears were still streaming out of her eyes, and she embraced Ginny in a tight hug.
This emotional moment was broken by a green-faced Ron coming out of the bathroom.
"Ugh. Never again," came his comment. Ginny stared at him, waiting, but reassured to see that his eyes and voice were clear. "Fine," he huffed at her, "I'm sorry for behaving like a fool and for getting myself drunk, especially this early in the day." Ginny smirked at him, then tossed him the Deluminator. He caught it without hesitation, fully in possession of his capacities: obviously whatever Fleur had given him had been efficient.
"Should we get going? There's that dinner this evening, remember?" Ginny asked. Fleur shook her head.
"I'm waiting for Bill, you should go though." Once more, the Deluminator clicked and Ron and Ginny were gone.
Of course, most people were already there as they appeared in the Burrow's garden. Both siblings quickly ran up to their rooms, to clear up and change – this was especially necessary for Ron, who was, as charming as it sounds, spattered in vomit. As Ginny came down the stairs, Harry was waiting for her at the bottom, and he could not help but gape. She was wearing a short, lacy white dress with a black bow around the waist, and it fit her very, very closely. Seeing his face, she burst out laughing.
"You should close your mouth, you're drooling!" Embarrassed, he decided to concentrate, or at least try to concentrate, on her face.
"You look amazing," he whispered in her ear as she arrived at his level.
"Why, thank you Mr Potter," she teased, "I must admit you don't look too bad either." Harry turned an even deeper shade of red, and decided to take control of the game.
"Oh really? In that case you won't mind if I accompany you to the table, will you?" He growled seductively as he pulled her up in his arms in a bridal style.
"Put me down this instant, Harry James Potter!" She shrieked.
"Oh no, I don't think so. Now that I've got you, I'm never letting you go." His eyes were ablaze, and Ginny wondered to what extent she could interpret that sentence. She started snapping a playful retort at him, but Harry silenced her by pressing his lips down to hers. Ginny's eyes widened in shock – Didn't he say he wasn't ready for us? Hell, didn't I say I wasn't ready for us? – but soon enough she was greedily answering his kiss, parting his lips open with her tongue. A loud clapping sound interrupted them, and, reluctantly letting go of Harry's lips, Ginny realised they were standing just outside the door, surrounded by a bunch of smiling Weasleys. Grinning sheepishly, Harry gently released Ginny's arms from around his neck and put her down.
"Does that mean we're back together?" he smiled at her.
"Hmmm, let me think. I'm going to guess no," she laughed at him, grabbing his hand. He brought her own hand to his mouth and kissed it lightly.
"I love you."
"Me too." She gave him a quick peck. "Since ever and forever."
It would probably have turned into a full public make-out session if Hermione had not chosen that particular moment to arrive. Of course, it was not her arrival that caused disturbance: it was Ron's reaction that did. An enormous crashing racket followed him as he ran down the stairs, and it was hilarious to see him try to elegantly stroll out after making so much noise. He stopped dead when he saw her, eyes ogling.
Hermione was wearing a blue tank top, a denim jacket and a pair of jeans. Nothing shocking, nothing un-Hermione. And yet, Ron was staring at her as if she had just sprouted antlers and was singing Odo the Hero.
Ummm... Okay? Have I forgotten to put trousers on? Hermione was racking her brains to try and understand Ron's look.
MERLIN! When did she get those? I mean, Ron tried to look at something other than Hermione's breasts, in seven years I should have noticed them right? Look somewhere else Ron, what is she gonna think of you otherwise? Lacking options, he went back into the house to help his mother bring the food out.
Dinner was surprisingly uneventful. No one dared mention Fred, not wanting to break the relatively calm and happy atmosphere. Bill and Fleur had arrived around nine, Bill tenderly draping an arm around his wife's shoulders – she had obviously talked to him, Ginny realised; Percy had managed to bring a glum-looking George with him, who soon brightened up a bit, and by the time Mrs Weasley brought out dessert everybody was chatting away happily, Ron stealing glances at Hermione who was sitting at the other end of the table. Harry and Ginny were in their little bubble, eyes in eyes with each other, quietly talking. George smiled, then he and Charlie started faking to vomit at the sight of the couple. Mrs Weasley scolded them, of course, but could not help laughing when the boys pretended to drop down dead after seeing Harry and Ginny exchange a light kiss.
The sky was a deep shade of purple when dinner came to an end. Always willing to help, Hermione piled up the dishes and with a flick of her wand she carried them to the kitchen. Harry nudged Ron, indicating for him to follow Hermione out, and he almost flew out of his chair as realisation dawned on him.
"Here, let me help you," he exclaimed as he caught up with her.
"I'm fine. Really. I can manage this on my own Ron, just move out of the way – SHIT!"
In his eagerness, Ron had knocked Hermione's hand to the side, hand that was holding the wand that controlled the stack of plates. The plates had symmetrically followed the wand's movement, crashing into the door frame, and now lay in a thousand pieces on the floor. Hermione glared at Ron, who had already muttered Reparo and whizzed the fixed plates towards the sink.
Smooth move, you idiot, she definitely has more consideration for you now... See, she's leaving, fleeing from you! Well you know what? Not this time.
Ron stormed out of the kitchen, helplessly watching Hermione's retreating form go up the stairs. She wouldn't be getting back down immediately out of free will, and it was now or never. Pointing his wand at the steps, Ron whispered a single word: Glisseo. Immediately, all the steps melted into one another, turning the previously safe staircase into a very steep slide. With a scream, Hermione came gliding down the stairs flat on her stomach. Ron caught her just before she hit the floor, but from the furious look she threw him he realised he would need more than just this ever so heroic movement to get back in her good graces.
"Might I ask why in the name of Merlin's left nostril you just turned those stairs into a chute?" Hermione, though sounding calm, was so angry steam was nearly pouring out of her ears.
"Just so I could get a chance to hold you close," Ron answered honestly. Hermione seemed to soften a bit at this, but then again, her temper was not one to meddle with, and she could still explode at any moment. "Look, Mione, we haven't talked since the Battle. So I just wanted to know if that kiss meant anything to you, cause it did to me, but if you want us to just be friends that's fine with me..." He trailed off, destabilised by Hermione's smirk.
"Liar," a single word escaped her mouth.
"Liar, because you're not fine with us being just friends. And as a matter of fact, neither am I." She smiled at Ron's hopeful expression. "But if you hurt me again like you did when you left, I'm not sure I'll be able to forgive you again. So?"
As an answer, Ron wrapped his arms around her, crushing her body against his. Hermione then tried to wriggle out of his grasp, only to be held even tighter. After a few minutes of this game, she could barely contain herself anymore and had no solution but to scream: "Ron, let go of me, I bloody need to pee!"
He immediately let her go and she burst out laughing at hi precipitation and surprised face.
"Yes, I do use the toilet, just like any normal human being would. Why do you think I was going up the stairs in the first place?"
A/N: I hope all Harry/Ginny fans are satisfied, I wasn't quite expecting for them to get together this fast but my fingers started typing of their own accord, and then their scene just seemed so correct here that I was incapable of taking it away.
Also, for those who don't understand French, Sobriété Liquide means "Liquid Sobriety" (fairly obvious but you never know); boisson pour ivrogne means "drink for drunkards"; fausse couche means "miscarriage". I also hope all of you managed to read Fleur's speech, I thought my spell check was going to go crazy when I wrote that part. About Fleur, what did you think?
Oh and I also wanted to mention I'm not a native english-speaker, so yes, my phrasing can be odd. Let me know if there's anything you don't get!
And just so you know, I have exams coming up, that are followed by the Staff holiday: therefore I'm not too sure if I'll be able to get the next chapter up before mid-july, though I promise I will try!
General conclusion: STICK WITH ME AND LEAVE A REVIEW! Please, pretty please? :)
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