Chapter 1 : Living in a Lie
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Chapter 1: Living in a Lie
The owl flapped her wings energetically, floating to the window where she always delivered the Daily Prophet in the morning. Finally reaching her destination, she landed on the window from outside, knocking into it with her beak. She soon saw a woman with longish red hair wearing a robe walk into the kitchen, wiping her eyes and stretching. Lazily nearing the window, she opened it and let the owl in. Ginny Weasley quickly took a Daily Prophet from her, shoving two Knuts into a bag she carried. Before departing, the owl had a refreshing drink of the water that always waited for her every morning.
Once the owl was gone, Ginny left the window open to let fresh air in, inhaling the unsullied scent of spring coming. Pulling a chair from the table, she placed it by the window and sat down, opening the Daily Prophet to see whether anything new had occurred, whether there was anything new of Ron and Hermione.
Three years had passed by too quickly; Harry and Ginny hadn’t even noticed. They spent the majority of their time looking for their lost friends, without success. Browsing through the pages, Ginny closely examined every piece of information that might finally be the main clue, the key to their mysterious disappearance. A lot of time went by, a lot of days were lost, a lot of moments unnoticed, but Ginny still had hope and even though that hope had not left her, it was slowly but surely weakening. Harry, on the other hand, seemed to have lost his faith long ago.
“Good morning, love,” he said from the doorway, walking over to her and pressing a soft kiss onto her forehead. Ginny smiled at the touch of his lips and tenderly ran her hand up his arm. Yawning, Harry went to the kitchen counter and poured himself a glass of cold water. Drinking it in one gulp, he looked inquiringly at Ginny, knowing that searching look of hers by heart. Every morning, every day, her routine was the same. No matter the weather, no matter what else was happening, she needed to look through the Daily Prophet in case she missed something.
Harry jumped at her sudden loud voice. Running a hand through his bed-tousled hair, which was messier than usual, he walked over to her, wondering what on earth she could have seen.
“What is it?”
“Look here, Ron and Hermione are mentioned here. We are, too, but look… there’s even a photograph! It’s an article about Hogwarts and Quidditch. Oh my, Lee Jordan wrote this and he added photos of celebrations we had in our common room.”
Harry couldn’t help but smile as the beautiful memories flooded back to his mind. After all, memories of Ron and Hermione were the only things he had left. The photo had been taken in their fifth year; Ron was holding the Quidditch cup, his robes wet from all the butterbeer that had been poured on him and Hermione was clutching his arm, smiling proudly up at him. Harry never knew of this moment, but even though back then he hadn’t even considered the possibility of the two of them getting together, he could see that the devotion and admiration had been in their eyes even then.
“Aren’t they beautiful together?” Ginny said softly.
Harry nodded absent-mindedly, but returned to reality as Ginny stood up and tore the article carefully out of the paper. Striding over to the cupboard, she opened it and pulled out a black folder, holding it with special care. She highlighted sentences about Ron and Hermione and placed it between a stock of articles, photographs and other papers that had something to do with either Ron or Hermione. There was also a small silky fabric, in which was wrapped Hermione’s engagement ring. Ginny ran her fingers across it, but she resisted the urge to take it into her hands and think about everything too intently, as she had done a hundred times before.
“You know, it’s such a shame they had so little time for each other.” Furrowing her brows, Ginny tilted her head to one side and thought for a second. “Harry? Do you think there is any possibility they may be together?”
“We’ve been through this, Gin,” Harry said gloomily, his pessimistic mood taking over him once more.
Looking up from the folder and to Harry, Ginny couldn’t hide her sudden frustration. “Why are you so jumpy every time I talk about them? They may be lost, but certainly not from my heart, so don't ask me to forget them.”
Smacking his forehead, Harry shut his eyes and scratched his head. “I never asked you to do that, nor do I plan to… ever. I'm not trying to forget them, but it’s just…difficult to go through this every goddamned morning! I know it’s hard, believe me that this whole thing is not any easier for me, even though it's been three years. I’m just saying we should move on. We’ve been looking for them for so long and found nothing.”
Closing the folder with a thud, Ginny violently pushed it back into the cupboard and slammed it shut. Without looking at Harry, she stomped out of the room with her arms crossed, leaving Harry by himself. She loathed him when he said things like that. When he was discouraging her and second-guessing her actions. When he looked at her as if she was crazy, chasing ghosts. But what she hated even more was the fact that he was right, and she knew it.
She understood that he had had enough, that he wanted to live a normal life, even if it had to be without his loved ones. Ginny also knew that she wasn’t helping much since she was ‘chasing her ghosts’ as Harry once called it when having an argument with her and that happened quite a lot lately. Harry desperately tried to cope with what was left to come, cope with reality, cope with everything. That’s what he’d been doing all his life – coping. He had been through a lot and tried to close his eyes before possibilities and false hope, and Ginny knew it was because he didn't think he could take another heartbreak. And that was why he tried to believe Hermione and Ron were dead. Everything led to that conclusion.
Ginny tried as well, she went to bed every night, telling herself she would move on and live with Harry, the love of her life, always remembering her brother and best friend as wonderful people that had great impact on her life. However, every morning, she let that owl in and read the bloody Daily Prophet.
Sometimes inner feelings don’t allow you to forget and go on, they make you search and continue searching for the truth until you’re out of your mind. Ginny knew she was close to it anyway, but she also knew that Ron and Hermione were somewhere, alive and waiting for her to find them and bring them back. One thing was for certain – Ginny Weasley would not rest until she’d caught all her ghosts.
A young girl hummed to herself her favourite song from Bryan Adams, placing various groceries on shelves in a grocery store. A tag on her shirt read ‘Chelsea’ and she was about twenty years old, with short brown hair tied into a tiny ponytail. She had big brown eyes and was quite skinny. Out of the blue, a pair of strong arms grabbed her from behind and spun around the whole alley. She giggled, knowing by heart that action her friend would do when she wasn’t paying attention.
As she finally landed on the ground, she turned around to look at her co-worker, a man with red hair, blue eyes and the cutest expression on his face.
“Ron! I told you to stop that. You always freak me out!” she laughed, smacking him playfully on his arm.
“Don’t lie…you love when I do that,” he replied with a chuckle, ruffling her hair, purposely acting as though she were a kid. In reality, she was more than a kid to him, and she knew that. As they smiled at each other, Chelsea walked back over to the shelves, continuing her work.
“What are you doing here? If I had a day off, I would spend the whole morning in bed,” she said, smiling at him. Returning the smile, Ron walked over to her and began helping her.
“I woke up early and realized my fridge is empty, so I had to go and do some shopping. I don’t like to lay in bed hungry.”
As much as Chelsea tried, she couldn’t prevent her cheeks from turning red. This happened every time she and Ron joked around, were close or just smiled at each other. She couldn’t help herself, couldn't help feeling a deep affection toward this funny, good and high-spirited man. He could always make her laugh and his sense of humour was like no one else’s. Ever since they began working together, Chelsea’s feelings for Ron had grown stronger and stronger.
She didn’t have any idea what he felt for her, because even though he didn’t seem like it, Ron was one big mystery, not only to her, but to everybody around. He didn’t like to talk about himself or his past and family; sometimes it seemed he didn’t know what to talk about and rather remained silent. Chelsea liked him very much despite this and although they were great friends, she wanted more. But she was afraid. Sometimes when he looked at her, she felt as though he shared her feelings, but other times…she was convinced he saw her as no more than a friend. She wouldn’t risk their friendship. And what was even weirder…sometimes she felt as though Ron didn’t belong to her, but someone else. She could never quite understand why she had that feeling, but in the end she reckoned it was her doubts and worries creating it.
Another thing that Chelsea - and not just her, but other people as well - admired or envied about Ron was his carefree mood. He appeared as though nothing could get to him, as though he never went through anything horrible; he appeared purely innocent, despite his roguish, wild nature.
“Chelsea? Hello! Where are you?”
Breaking back to reality, Chelsea noticed Ron’s hand waving in front of her face, his expression amused. Grinning slightly, Chelsea ran a hand through her hair.
“Sorry, I got lost in thought. Anyway, I have a free evening…how about going out to see a movie?” she offered happily, hoping Ron would agree.
Furrowing his eyebrows, Ron tapped his chin. “Hmm, I don’t know…you know…my calendar is full…Being me has its disadvantages, what with all the attention and work I have.”
Laughing, Chelsea threw a pack of rice she was holding at him, which he dropped. She laughed some more and so did Ron. “Come to my house at seven. We’ll go see a film and have lots of fun. Just like last time.”
Beaming at her, Ron nodded. “Okay then…I’ll be there.”
Feeling as though she just hovered a few inches above the ground, Chelsea tried not to look too happy, but inside she was screaming with happiness. They kept doing their work in silence, Chelsea turning pink every time their arms brushed against each other.
“Ron? Tell me some childhood stories. I mean, you must’ve been a very goofy kid,” grinned Chelsea, thinking that childhood stories couldn’t ruin anything. She expected Ron to start speaking excitedly, but to her surprise he leaned an arm against the shelf and furrowed his eye brows. Looking confused, Ron held his chin in his fingers, this time really looking thoughtful. “Ron?”
“You won’t believe this, but…I don’t remember any.”
Wincing, Chelsea fixed her eyes upon him, thinking it was another of his jokes, but he looked quite serious.
“Really,” continued Ron, shrugging his shoulders. “I mean, as I try to remember, there are some clouded moments, but I cannot quite…remember. I see images and some faces I don’t recognize, but…that’s all.”
“What? How about your parents? Siblings? Friends? Are you suffering from amnesia?” she asked jokingly, but soon realized it might’ve been the cause.
“Um, well…I remember them…I guess I’m an only child and my parents died.”
“Sorry,” Chelsea said quietly, avoiding his gaze.
Casting a sideways glance at Chelsea, Ron averted his gaze, looking at his watch. “Yes. So anyway, I’ll be going. Meet you at seven, bye!” Without any further ado, Ron left, but before that, he pressed a small butterfly kiss on Chelsea’s cheek, who suddenly forgot all about the fact Ron just ran away from answering her questions.
Ron exited the store, hands in his pockets. It was a beautiful day, the last snow was finally gone, because it was already spring. But Ron’s mood suddenly reminded a cloudy autumn day. Walking down the streets of Edinburgh, Ron couldn’t stop thinking about what has just occurred. It wasn't the first time it had happened, but somehow he always pushed those thoughts away and convinced himself it was just due to his exhaustion or hazy mind. Now, for the first time, he truly realized that he had almost no memories. He actually didn’t even remember how he began working at his job, living at his flat. All he remembered was just that he…did. He never belonged to that group of people who constantly ponder their existence and purpose; Ron went with the flow.
Most of the times, Ron ignored this. He was living his comfortable life, enjoying his friends and every single day. He had what he needed and he didn’t bother thinking about his life in a deeper way. However, there were moments where he felt as though something was missing. He felt that his life was somehow incomplete, as if it was a puzzle, missing a piece.
Who cared about the fogged past when he had such wonderful present? He had friends, steady job and Chelsea. He liked her very much, not as much as she liked him, but still…he liked her more than a friend. Yet that didn’t always feel right. Chelsea was lovely, but Ron still couldn’t quite open up to her, because he wasn’t sure he loved her.
Shaking his head at the confused thoughts running through his mind, Ron decided he would not think more of it. He didn’t care. It didn’t mean anything. He would just concentrate on here and now, not try to dig in his past. For what? If he was missing and lost his memory, someone would find him…it wasn’t that hard these days.
As Ron thought about everything, he didn’t notice that he walked carelessly into the road and his mind, and personal world, was suddenly interrupted and shattered when a car hit him. He didn’t even feel the pain, everything just went black.
“Hermione, Jonathan is here. Should I let him in?” A young woman with glasses, dressed in a white doctor’s suit, sitting behind a desk, looked up from her papers to the redhead in the doorway.
“Really?” she asked with a sigh, taking off her glasses and leaning back into her chair. “Well, I guess you can let him in. Thanks Sheila.”
“Okay then,” replied Sheila and disappeared behind the door. Hermione stood up and strode over to a small mirror resting on a shelf loaded with heavy encyclopaedias. Upon seeing her reflection, she just rolled her eyes and pulled her thick hair into a neat bun. Right that moment a tall, handsome, dark haired man walked in, wearing a suit and holding a black case. His efficient image was softened by his loosened tie.
“Hello darling,” he said, setting his case on a nearby chair and striding over to Hermione, pulling her into a hug. “I came to kidnap you.”
Breathing in his scent, Hermione replied against the fabric of his suit, “Um, that’s so very sweet of you, but I’ll have to object to that. I’m too busy right now.”
“What are you doing? I don’t see any bleeding patients.”
“Paperwork,” she said simply, looking up at him.
“But it’s your lunch break.”
Letting go and walking back over to her desk, Hermione put down her glasses and brushed her eyes. “Exactly…the perfect time to finish up work I won’t have time for later on.”
“You will never learn how to relax, will you?” Jonathan exclaimed for probably the fiftieth time since they first met.
“Nope,” she replied, fingering the golden engagement ring on her finger.
Sighing, Jonathan walked to her desk and pulled her back to him. Bending his head to kiss her deeply, Hermione replied with enthusiasm, but pulled away few seconds later.
“I guess I should retreat, shouldn’t I?”
Hermione smiled and fixed his tie. “Yes. Don’t be angry, though, I promise I will leave this place as soon as I finish and head straight home to prepare for the party.”
“Now that sounds better! I’ll take your word for it. Here’s an idea, we won’t stay too long at the party, go home earlier and spend a nice cosy evening by the fireplace.”
“I agree.” Standing up on tiptoe, Hermione kissed him affectionately. Jonathan then knew it was time to go. Kissing the back of her hand, he gave her his charming smile and headed for the door.
“See you tonight, I can’t wait.” He then exited the room, passing Sheila on the way.
“Someone’s looking happy.” Sheila laughed. “And you used to say it would never work, now look at that blinding ring!”
Her cheeks sporting a pink tinge, Hermione gave it another glance. “Yes, I am very happy,” she said automatically, the smile on her face not reaching her eyes.
“No more words about the mysterious departed pieces of your soul?” Sheila remarked with raised eyebrows, referring to Hermione’s occasional self-analysis and feelings of inner deficiency and being torn.
Shrugging, Hermione opened her mouth to say something that would dismiss the subject, but she was interrupted as the shrieking of the ambulance sounded from the distance, getting closer and closer. Suddenly a pair of wheels screeched in front of the ambulance and from the door burst out the paramedics, pushing injured people in front of them.
“A car accident in the centre…this one’s really injured!” He referred to a man that laid on the bed, his blazing red hair sprawled around the blue pillow with his head bleeding. For a fraction of a second, the world around her didn’t reach Hermione. She just stared at the man blankly, feeling a bit strange and dizzy. Suddenly her head began to hurt and her eyes water. Wiping her eyes, Hermione finally came to her senses and realized Sheila was already feeling his pulse, asking for his blood pressure and yelling orders at everyone around.
“Hermione, move it! We’ve got to take him to the surgery room. Right now!”
And so Hermione followed Sheila and their patient down the long hall, disappearing behind swinging doors. There was a life to be saved.
Author's Note: Hello everyone! Let me thank you how sweet you are for getting all the way down here. I would love you to review, hint hint. This chapter is edited now by the amazing momotwins, so I would like to thank her. :)