Chapter 2 : Letters from Lav
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"Ron, can you explain this to me?" Hermione asks calmly, feeling her blood pressure rising and her face turn red. She opens the light pink parchment with a picture of Lavender blowing a kiss and it nauseatingly reminds Hermione of when they were sixteen again and the old jealousy toward Lavender starts to creep back into her chest. This time though, Ron is her boyfriend, they aren't just friends anymore like they were in school.
"'Mione, come on! It isn't anything that you’re thinking. She's just a friend, like I told you!" Ron begs in a high pitched voice, standing up and looking over Hermione's shoulder at the letter as though he is worried there is something on it he really doesn't want her to see, despite his claim that there isn't.
Hermione finishes reading it and throws it on the kitchen counter in front of her. She doesn't say another word to anyone else as the words won't come to her and simply walks through the door and along the hall, into her bedroom. "Colloportus," she whispers with her wand to do an anti-charm spell on the bedroom door, knowing Ron will soon attempt to barge in and talk to her.
"I can't believe I put up with this in the first place. I can't do it anymore!" She screams through the door at him, fighting through the ball of emotion in her throat.
When Ron can't open the bedroom door as Hermione hears him banging as loud as he can, he joins Ginny and Harry back in the kitchen, only to find Ginny reading the letter to Harry out loud. Harry shakes his head in disapproval at everything Ginny is reciting and Ron starts to feel ashamed of what he has done. At the same time, he feels that Ginny has no right to snoop; it isn't her business even if he is her brother.
"That's private!" Ron yells angrily and attempts to snatch the letter from his little sister’s hands. Ginny only resists and walks far away from him with it in her hands, determined to finish the reading. He chases after her of course but that isn't such a good idea.
"RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY! I AM GOING TO KILL YOU! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING EXACTLY? LOOK HOW SHE TALKS TO YOU! THAT'S NOT BEING 'JUST A FRIEND', JUST A FRIEND MY ARSE!" Ginny bellows, grabbing a leftover cooked fish from the kitchen counter and throwing it at her brother's face. Ginny must’ve thrown it hard because it causes her brother to cry out in pain. She then walks to the fireplace and throws the letter into the flames to make sure Ron will never be able to finish reading it.
"We’re just friends, Ginny. Not that it’s anything to do with you! That's just how she talks to me and I swear I don't talk to her that way! She's just immature like that," Ron defends himself as Harry grabs a violet faced Ginny from behind and closes her arms behind her back so she won't hex Ron. She was currently trying to grab her wand when Harry got to her.
"SHE WAS WONDERING IF SHE WAS POSSIBLY PREGNANT WITH YOUR CHILD AND YOU DO THIS TO HER?! YOU BLOODY GIT!" Ginny yells while breaking, with force, away from Harry and walking to the master bedroom, yelling at Hermione to let her in, and she does so.
Ron then focuses on Harry while he wipes his face off with a towel he found near the sink. "Bloody women, they never understand."
Harry shakes his head at Ron in disappointment. "I just hope you are telling the truth, Ron."
"I'm not trying to hurt anyone Harry, and especially not Hermione! It's Lav that talks to me like that and it's not like I asked her to. I have no bloody control over what she writes me!" Ron tries defending himself again.
"Then stop writing her mate. It only causes hell," Harry directs at Ron.
Hermione walks outside the bedroom a few minutes later, with Ginny at her heels, and faces Ron with a pained face. She wants to know the answer and is tired of just wondering. "You can't tell me that you calling her by the nickname you used when you were dating her in school, doesn't mean something Ronald! I want you to tell me if there is something happening between the two of you! Tell me right now, Ron!"
Ron tries to reply but falls silent midsentence. He looks from Harry, who has narrowed eyes at his best friend, to Hermione, who has a look that can kill, and to Ginny who has her wand ready at her side, no Harry stopping her this time.
"Are you pregnant Hermione?" Ron asks her with raised eyebrows smartly.
"No, why would you ask that?" Hermione asks furiously. Ginny lets out a frustrated sigh behind her.
"Because you’re acting bloody hormonal! You’re overreacting about all of this! I am telling the truth, I promise."
"Don't try and change the subject!" sneers Harry angrily, as Hermione scowls at Ron for his comment. Ginny raises her wand and starts muttering a spell but Hermione pushes her friend's hand down, knowing how violently Ginny can use her wand when angry.
"Lavender has been trying to get with me and I keep telling her no because I’m with you! I have not been cheating on you, Hermione! She's only a friend to me, like I've told you a million bloody times," Ron affirms, raising his voice in irritation at having to repeat himself once again, as though he is the one that is guilty in this situation.
"Honestly though Ron, do you fancy her still?" Hermione asks, knowing this question will make or break their relationship. She is tired of the worrying and wondering the last few months and just wants to get to the bottom of it.
"Harry, Ginny, can Hermione and I talk alone?" Ron asks nervously, looking at his best friend and little sister. They don't have to be involved in everything when it comes to Hermione and himself anyway.
"Sure, whatever mate," Harry responds heading toward the front door even though Ron and Hermione can tell he doesn’t want to leave them alone. "Hermione, I'll be outside if you need me. Come on Gin."
Harry and a reluctant Ginny exits the house onto the front porch and Ron asks Hermione to sit down in the living room, with him on the leather loveseat. He is looking uncomfortable, like he wants to say something but can't bring himself to do it. Hermione's heart is sinking because she knows what he is going to say will hurt her, she can sense it.
"Just tell me the truth Ron, I can take it. I don't want to be with you if you fancy someone else. What's the point if I’m not the only one you want?" Hermione tells him honestly, bracing herself for the worst.
"I love you Hermione. But, I may like her. Does that make sense?" Ron admits to Hermione, taking her hand into his, to which she immediately jerks away like he has burnt her. "You are the one I want but she's kind of... distracting."
"That makes perfect sense and because it makes perfect sense, I want you to get out of the house for a few nights because I need to be alone right now. I had a feeling this was coming on for a while when I tried to let you be friends with her. Choose me or her Ron, now," Hermione demands, her face filling with hurt.
"You never let me be friends with her because you were always jealous and I told you I choose you! I always have!" he spits.
"Ron, just get out of my house... now! It's under my name and I need some time. Please?" Hermione asks of him, standing up from the loveseat to walk through the beige entryway to the front door and opens it. Ginny and Harry who were sitting on the porch swing, stand up in a defensive way when they gather what is happening.
"No I'm not leaving you Hermione! You're being unreasonable. Sit down and listen to me, please?" Ron begs of her, his ears turning a scarlet red and his eyes watering, but not knowing what else to say to make the situation better.
"I need you to decide, because I am not going to compete with someone just for my boyfriend to love me. That's barbaric and it won't stand with me. I have been through too much for that," Hermione explains, walking over to Ron and grabbing his shirt by his collar and then dragging his much bigger frame through the entryway again which is filled with pictures of Ron and Hermione, and a bunch of their family members. She brings him to the front door and pushes him through it as hard as she can, slamming it in his face when he is on the other side of the door.
Ron can't believe this is really happening and he tries knocking on the door hard, as if she will just let him back in. "Hermione but I love you, I want you to be my wife, not Lav! It's just a silly crush and nothing more. I love you! Please! I promise I won't ever speak with her again."
"Ron there you go calling her "Lav" again, it makes me sick," she sneers at him. "If you love me then you wouldn't fancy another woman and I know this has been happening for a while!" Hermione yells, through the three inches of oak wood.
"Whatever Hermione I'm gone then. I love you, with every piece of my heart, and I don't love Lavender! Please believe that and get it through your skull? I'll try and talk some sense into you in a few days, when you've calmed down!" Ron yells through the door.
Ron scowls at Harry and Ginny. "Thanks for helping me get her to believe me! Now I've probably lost her." He then apparates into the night, not knowing quite where he is planning to go. Ginny apparates too, feeling too angry to deal with anything else at the moment, after what she just witnessed.
Harry, being the brotherly figure, stands up from the wooden bench, where he was sitting on Hermione's porch, and knocks at the door. "Hermione, it’s Harry, please let me come in? I know you need someone to talk to and there's still a mess to clean up."
"N-no Harry, I'd just like to be alone right now! I'll clean up the mess from dinner. Please just leave me be," Hermione objects as calmly as she can muster, opening the front door again so they are face to face as tears started pouring down her cheeks for the first time since her and Ron started fighting.
Harry frowns at the site of his best friend so upset and then hugs her to his chest. "I am so sorry; I didn’t think he would do something like this."
"Don't b-be sorry. It isn't your fault. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be, between him and me. I didn't exactly break it off with him but maybe I need to!" Hermione admits, while returning her best friend in the whole world's hug. "I just need to be alone right now. Need to collect my thoughts on everything that’s just happened, and realize it's really over. Thank you for coming to d-dinner," Hermione thanks Harry, who silently frowns in return.
"I'm staying here Hermione, at least for a little while." Harry directs, taking her into his arms and hugging her again while she cries into his shoulder.
She quickly releases Harry and sinks onto the marble floor against the side wall of the entryway. She places her hands on her face and wipes all the tears. "I just want to be alone. Please?"
"Fine, but you better send me an owl later then," Harry demands of Hermione, bending down to make her look at him, by putting his index finger under her chin.
"Okay," Hermione agrees weakly. And Harry kisses her on the forehead and finally leaves her by herself. "But I will be okay Harry."
An hour or so of crying later Hermione eventually gets off of the floor and starts a hot bath. A bath is one thing that she always can relax in. She watches silently with sad eyes as the huge marble white tub starts to fill, not surprised but still not believing Ron and her are most likely done. Relieved that she isn't bringing an unborn child into this disaster of a mess, she puts on a record to listen to and tries to stop hurting from the situation, because he is losing her.
It has been a long time coming. Hermione and Ron stopped sleeping with each other a month ago and has been fighting almost constantly for at least four months. Usually the quarrels are about Hermione's long work days after she was offered a job as one of the only trainees as a Detective for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Since she is not an Auror trainee like Ron, they work in separate office areas and can't spend time with each other besides lunch breaks. Needless to say, Ron is lucky if he gets to see Hermione on Saturdays, which is her only day off out of her long work week.
Ron claims he needed a friend to talk to; feeling like Hermione had started choosing work over him. Since Harry works all the time too, also in Auror training, he felt he only had Lavender to turn to since she tried contacting him nonstop anyway. Hermione didn't agree with it from the beginning because she was worried it would turn into exactly what it might be becoming, an affair.
Absentmindedly, Hermione turns another tap and fills the bathtub with too many bubbles. She waits for it to fill almost to the top before sticking a skinny ankle in it to test the temperature. It is sizzling hot, but she doesn't care because it is just what she needs.
Before undressing, Hermione decides this is about the right time for a nice big glass of red wine. She walks into the kitchen and grabs the biggest glass she can find, filling it up to the top to where it is almost too hard to walk with, without spilling it.
Returning to the bathroom, Hermione sheds her clothes and put aside her wine glass before putting both feet in the hot water. Her skin immediately turns a bright red, as the heat strikes her skin and her nerves go numb for a few moments. She sighs as she sits in the water and it slowly covers the rest of her body. The heat from the water makes her blood-pressure rise, but she lays her head back in it and tries to block out the horrible memories from this evening.
Sighing again, Hermione grabs her wine glass and takes a huge sip, while giving up at blocking the night out. Maybe the pub isn't a bad idea. Maybe Tom, the bartender at the Leaky Cauldron, will be a help to her tonight, more than anything.
About an hour of relaxing to her best, Hermione steps out of the bath and gets dressed into different clothes. A lilac colored dining dress sounds fine to her for clothes and she slips into a pair of pretty white heeled sandals on before stepping into the warm night onto her porch, after turning her wand to her head to charm her hair into curls. She never goes out without looking nice these days, since she is one of the top people in the Ministry, not to mention the paparazzi following Ron, Harry, and herself everywhere.
Before apparating, she barely notices that the small house, to the right of hers which went for sale a week ago, has its sign pulled out of the ground now. Someone has already bought it, in such a short time, and Hermione wonders who it might be as she observes light coming from behind the white front curtains.
Shortly after, and feeling a little disappointed in herself, Hermione arrives at the Leaky Cauldron and enters. She is always one to try and do anything to keep alcohol from being the thing to solve her problems. She is also the one who in fact helped Ron quit his drinking addiction that he had started right after Fred's death. She thinks about how angry Ron would be at her if he knew she went out drinking.
The door clangs loudly, announcing her presence. It feels like everyone in the room is watching her, as she makes her way through the pub to the bar to sit.
Tom frowns when he notices her approaching. "Ah, Miss Granger, what a surprise to see you here! Did something happen mah dear?"
"Oh just boy problems, Tom. Nothing anyone can help me with," Hermione simply admits to the man, picking up a menu of Tom's award winning drinks from the bar table, with a quick grin.
"That doesn't sound good at all. I guess tonight is not a good night for some relationships, that bloke sitting in the dark corner over there is having problems with his little lady as well. She just up and left him moments ago," Tom tells Hermione, nodding his graying head toward the right of the pub.
Hermione squints because she doesn't recognize the man at first, but then she moves her eyes to his face and that gives it away immediately.
As blonde as ever, but more shaggy looking than she has ever seen him, Draco Malfoy sits in the dark corner, with a huge glass of firewhiskey in front of him. He has a knife in his right hand and scrapes away at the wooden table in front of him and the expression on his face looks as though something he is thinking about is disturbing him.
"Perhaps he needs a friend?" Tom suggests with a grin and a playful raise of his eyebrows.
"No, he has plenty of friends of his own," Hermione replies snootily, with a roll of her eyes, looking at her menu once again. She wishes she was as clueless as Tom is about everything that took place those years ago. "I'll take some vanilla scotch, please?"
"Indeed," Tom answers, turning away from her and to the drink stand behind him, as Hermione notices how much his age really is showing. His hands shake when he pours her glass.
Hermione sighs as she has so many times that night as Tom finishes making her drink and hands it to her. She tries to sit in a position where Malfoy will not notice her with her hair obscuring her face, hoping that it will work. Malfoy is probably the last person, besides Ron, that she wants to see right now.
After one full glass of scotch, Hermione asks for another one when she hears footsteps behind her.
"Tom can I have another glassful? I know three is my limit so this will be my last," says a cool voice directly behind Hermione. Her hairs stand straight up on the back of her neck.
"Yes Mr. Malfoy, I will get you one more glass and then you will be getting water next. I'd rather not have you slopping drunk when you leave my pub," Tom tells the man behind Hermione with a serious expression, glancing briefly at Hermione as he does so. The old man turns away to make Malfoy's drink and that’s when Malfoy decides to sit a seat away from her.
Hermione's heart starts to palpitate hard as she prays he won't recognize her. She turns her body towards the other side of the restaurant, but obviously she isn't hidden enough. It is times like this that Hermione wishes Harry's invisibility cloak was with her.
"Mudblo– I mean Granger, is that you over there?"
Damned my luck, Hermione thinks silently. Even though she doesn’t want to, Hermione turns toward the voice, her brown eyes meeting with sharp, stormy gray ones. He has an even scruffier appearance up close with a small beard growing on his face and long hair to the middle of his back. He can almost pass as a twin to his father, Lucius. A person can tell he just got out of prison if they knew him, but at least he took a shower before coming to the pub because he looks rather clean and smells mighty good.
Maybe I've had too much to drink, she thinks when she realizes she likes the smell of him.
"Yes, that's me. The very same mudblood you've always known," Hermione retorts finally, almost rudely, flashing him a mocking grin and then returning her gaze to her drink.
"What? Did Weasleby break up with you or something?" Draco asks snottily, with raised eyebrows. "There must be some reason why you would be at a bar. Usually a girl like you, with your perfect life, would be with mummy and daddy still, or getting engaged to your boyfriend."
"I would say that my personal life with Ron, and at home, is none of your business. I am at the bar just for a few drinks and to meet a friend, so butt out, Malfoy. I am perfectly capable of having a drink every now and again," Hermione replies with the white lie, irritated by him just barging at her with questions.
"Can I not just ask a simple question? Well my day hasn't been bloody brilliant either, if that makes you feel any better. Neither have my past few years because, as you probably know, I just got out of Azkaban today and that's not the best place to be if you know what I mean, especially when you’re in there with your whole family."
"Congratulations on that," Hermione says unemotionally, avoiding his gaze but feeling a little sympathy for him that she doesn't want to feel.
Tom gives Malfoy his drink and he then leaves Hermione alone at the bar again. "It's not something I’m proud of. Nice seeing you Granger," he farewells her, returning to his seat in the dark corner, before she can spout off anything else.
Nice seeing me? Hermione thinks, wondering what the hell has gotten into him. Maybe he really is at his limit of firewhiskey.
Being spooked from seeing her past enemy, Hermione decides a few more glasses of scotch won't hurt, and she ends up saying her goodbyes to Tom much later than she planned to. When she leaves her seat she notices Malfoy is already gone and she leaves the pub in shock that she just had a civil conversation with an enemy.
A/N: Well Ron kind of screwed up... but hey I still love Ron, and everyone makes mistakes in life especially at a young age. I don't blame Hermione for leaving Ron for now because of what he has been doing. And if my husband asked if I understood that he liked a girl but loved me.. yeah, I'd be pretty mad.
I hope you like it so far and that you read on. You won't be dissapointed. ;) Please give me any CC or advise you can think of! Thanks!!! :D
thanks to all the previous reviewers and to my amazing beta, Kirsty!
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