“Eugh!” Ron screeched as he ran into someone who’d just appeared in front of him. He gripped her shoulders to steady her. “Bloody hell, Alana! What’re you doing here?”
Her pupils collided with his and he was taken aback by the raging fear in them. He pulled her to him and rubbed her back, something his mother had done when he was younger. He soon felt his cotton shirt clinging to his chest and was startled to realise that tears were pouring from her eyes.
“Shhh...” he whispered in her ear, trying the only thing he could think of to calm her. His library of consoling tactics was slim at most so he waited for her to let it all out; sometimes that worked best, or so he’d heard.
Just as she pulled away, Hermione walked around the wooden staircase and into the sitting room where they’d been standing.
“Alana! What a surprise! How wond-” she stopped abruptly as she moved next to Ron and saw the pink blotchiness that resembled Alana’s face.
“What happened?” she asked quietly, pulling her onto the sofa with one hand, Ron following close behind.
Alana opened her mouth once, twice, three times, but no sound came out.
“Alright, if you don’t want to say, why’d you come here?”
Ron thanked Merlin for Hermione’s tact and gentleness. He’d never been good with the whole emotions thing, which had gotten him into many a pickle, especially with the fairer sex.
Alana hiccupped before replying, “George popped into my flat and I... I just couldn’t see him.”
He thought she looked like she’d be sick, but he was confused.
“Aren’t you two together again, though?”
Hermione shot him a ‘see what you’ve done now?’
look, but Alana’s lips curved upward meekly.
“I figured Harry would tell you. And yes. Though I don’t know how long it’ll last.”
Her eyes clouded with sadness as she looked into her lap, folding and unfolding her hands, knowing they wanted more.
“I did something stupid. Something that really shouldn’t have happened but I let it anyway.”
Still confused, Ron met Hermione’s eyes behind Alana’s head. With their eyes locked she pushed into his mind and urged him to tell her what he knew, or assumed, about his brother. If it worked, fantastic. If not, well, they’d deal with that later.
He took her hand in his, being surprisingly kind and tender, and she looked at him.
“I’ve known George all my life. I know him better than any of the others, probably.”
She eyed him curiously, confused. Hermione too was giving him a pointed stare that he tried to ignore.
“I know, I know! I’m crap at this, but I really want you to get the point.” He sighed. “George has always been a one-woman kind of guy.”
Alana merely raised her eyebrows.
“Well, yeah! He’s had some... questionable moments, but only when he wasn’t focused!”
Again, the girls were oblivious to his intention.
“Like when he had that crush on Alicia! He never touched a thing
another girl owned, never mind the girl herself. And he’s been the same way with you.”
“Yeah, except for the fact that he was with that Vanessa girl who worked for him,” she replied bitterly.
“Verity? You think he willingly slept with that
? She slipped him one of his own potions somehow. I’m not sure how exactly, he was too embarrassed to explain the details of it.”
Alana growled murderously and Hermione stepped in, a hand on her shoulder for comfort.
“It makes sense!” she offered. “If he didn’t tell you, maybe he wanted to make you jealous? Wasn’t it after he got wind of that rumour about you and Ernie?”
Grimacing and whacking her head against the back of the sofa, she couldn’t believe her ears.
“If I know my brother,” Ron continued, “and being the same kind of idiot myself, I’m pretty sure I do, then he’s not going to give up on you. Look how long I waited for Hermione! Sure, there was a lot of... stuff in the middle, but we turned out alright! You’re supposed to be together. I know it, he knows it, bloody hell it seems everyone but you
knows it. And he’s willing to fight for it. But are you?”
Alana stared at him, debating whether or not to believe what he was saying.
“Don’t look at me like that. I’m not completely stupid, you know. Besides, I’ve had some practice.” He winked at Hermione. “If you don’t go back to him, Alana, I’ll take you back there myself.”
* * *
Four days. Four agonisingly long days had passed and Ernie still hadn’t made a decision. He’d heard nothing from or about Alana and worried after the state she’d rushed away in.
Once again his mind took over and before he knew it he was in Alana’s sitting room. But the person poised before him wasn’t the face he’d expected.
Seeing George Weasley standing there with his high and mighty possessive pride made his blood boil.
How dare he be here? Does she know? Would she let him?
Then reality dawned on him.
“What?” George’s voice bit out roughly.
“How long ago did she leave you here?”
“About three hours.” He sat back down with a poof
of the cushions.
“And you don’t know where she went?” Ernie pressed.
“Obviously. You think I’d be sitting here otherwise?”
Both men glared at each other, seeking to prove dominance. Ernie rolled his eyes.
“This is stupid.”
George acknowledged him with a miniscule tilt of his head.
“We should be out there looking for her!”
“If that’s what you want to do, go right ahead.”
“You’re not worried about her? Think she doesn’t need looking after? You know how she gets,” he goaded George, hoping more for a reaction than help.
“Don’t be an idiot.”
“I’m not. I just assumed that, you know,” he pushed on, “your girlfriend’s out there in Merlin-only-knows what kind of state and you’re sitting here as if she’s gone out shopping.”
“SHUT UP!” George flared without warning. “Don’t you think I know
that she’s upset? Don’t you think it’s killing me
to sit here without a clue as to what happened to make her freak out like this?”
His face portrayed his shock.
“And yet I can’t help but feel like you
know what happened.” His voice lowered viciously as he stood and walked towards Ernie. “Not only know, but I’d be willing to bet my entire joke shop that you’re the cause of this mess!”
By now George had continually prodded him in the chest with his forefinger, something he wouldn’t let go without repercussion.
“Why do you always pin me as the bad guy, Weasley?” He took his turn to poke. “Ever think that you
may have done something wrong?”
“I thought about it for,” George held his hand to his chin in mock concentration, “the first hour or so. But I know this has nothing to do with anything I’ve done.”
“You cocky bastard.”
“That’s all you’ve got to say, Macmillan? Is it because you know I’m right? I think it is.”
He narrowed his eyes as George resumed his place on Alana’s blue velvet settee, the material reminding him of many lonely nights they’d spent together.
How much does he know? Did he guess? Alana wouldn’t have said anything to him. Am I that obvious?
His nerves were getting the best of him. Needing something to do to cover it up, he moved to the kitchen and helped himself to some pumpkin juice.
* * *
The smell of meat wafted into the sitting room, prickling at Alana’s senses as she heard it sizzle in the frying pan. Ron noticed her twitching nose and grinned.
“It’s about the only thing she can really cook,” he said quietly.
“You never cease to amaze me, Ron,” she looked at him, her eyes still splotchy. “You can see when a girl likes food, and yet you can’t tell when she’s upset unless there are tears streaming down her face.”
He shrugged. “What can I say?”
She shook her head, returning her gaze to the hands knotted in her lap.
“I know you don’t want to talk about it, Alana. And I probably shouldn’t say anything, but why didn’t you go see George? He’d most likely be more help than me or Hermione.”
She sighed, biting her cheek.
“I told you, I did something really stupid and I just can’t bear it.” Her tone was rigid and clipped. “He’s going to hate me when he finds out,” she finished in a whisper.
“I’m sure there’s nothing you could do that would make him hate
He recoiled quickly as she shot him a glare that could make Voldemort quiver with fear.
Holding his hands up in obeisance he pressed on. “He’s not as frail-hearted as you seem to think. Especially after the Battle. He’s lost one of the most important people in his life, he’s not about to let the other one go.”
She watched him uncertainly and he could see the gears of her brain working furiously to come to the right conclusion.
“I guess,” she muttered finally. “Might as well get it over with.”
He nodded as a smile fanned over his face. “Good! But first, we eat!”
She chuckled as he led her into the dining room where they found Hermione setting a plate of pork chops and a pan of mashed potatoes upon the gleaming wooden table.
* * *
As she appeared in her own fireplace and brushed away soot and ashes, George jumped up, watching her, waiting for some kind of reaction, loathingly noting Macmillan’s presence at his side.
“What are you doing here?” she blurted out, her eyes flickering up for a glance at the two of them before focusing on the floor.
“I haven’t left...” George replied, concerned.
“Well, I wanted to see how you were doing, and yeah....” Ernie scratched the back of his neck.
“Ernie, I need you to leave,” she replied quietly, still contemplating the short-haired rug.
“What? Why should I? It’s not like –”
He stared at her, annoyed and shocked.
“Now. I’ll talk to you soon, I swear.”
He grumbled something George couldn’t hear and huffed before throwing up his hands and walking to the front door, closing it with more force than necessary. Alana winced as the door settled into its casing, still avoiding his eyes.
George came up beside her, taking her chin and lightly tugging it up to face him. She tensed, trying to resist, but failed miserably and found herself looking guiltily into his eyes. As he made to speak he could’ve sworn he heard her gulp in anticipation.
“You scared the crap out of me, Alana! Where did you go?” His voice held no resentment; no sound of anger or strain emanated from his vocal chords.
“Ron and Hermione’s,” she choked out, pulling out of his grasp.
He gave her a sideways grin as his brows bent in amused confusion. “Because they were better help?”
“It was the first place I thought of.” Though her voice held volume and tone, no emotion jumped from her words, the notes didn’t ring in his ears the way they normally did.
“What happened?” His tone deepened with concern as he monitored her trembling figure with worry. “You’re so jittery and upset, did I do something wrong?”
With that her head turned up towards his immediately, her words filling with regret as she spoke them. “No, George. You’ve been absolutely amazing and I... I’m just such an idiot!” The last word tore from her throat like a scream and he jumped back, surprised by the sudden change.
She crossed her arms across her chest and began pacing back and forth, muttering to herself. His ears tuned out all other sounds as he focused on figuring out the slur of words flowing from her lips.
“Shouldn’t have gone to Ernie’s... should’ve expected him to say something like that.... Can’t believe I let him touch me, kiss me
, URGH! What was I thinking?!” she prattled on.
“Wait, wait,” George stepped in front of her. “He kissed
She came to a quick halt, a blush painting itself upon her cheeks as her mouth opened and closed multiple times before any words leaked out of her mouth.
“Yes,” she whispered.
His eyes flickering between her two dulled orbs of blue, realisation dawned.
“This isn’t a game, Alana. It’s not cute anymore!”
She bit her lips, her eyes closing as a tear slipped out of the corner of one.
George growled ferociously as he turned away from her and began to traipse the length of the room and back. With each step his anger seemed to grow inside him, so he stopped and leaned his arm against the wall, his head resting on his forearm.
She slept with Macmillian,
again. Was this all a game? Was I just some part of the puzzle that helped them hide this
affair from his girlfriend? People told me not to bother about her... that she didn’t care at all. I should’ve listened.
A thump from behind him drew his attention and he swivelled to find that Alana had fallen onto the sofa, her hands attached to her face, the red forehead and tiny dark spots on her shirt showing the tears she wished to conceal. He cocked his head to the side as he scrutinized the image.
Why should I help her when she doesn’t care about me?
Her shoulders curled inward and quaked with an intensity he couldn’t place. Suddenly he became conscious of how small she looked, how lost and alone, how the room bore down upon her body, and his expression softened.
It doesn’t matter what she’s done, I still love her.
Instantly, he stood beside her, taking her by the elbows and lifting her up. Clearly shocked by such actions, she lifted her head from her hands to examine him. He smiled tenderly as he bent down to whisper in her ear.
“I love you.”
Her breathing staggered as more tears forced their way out of her eyes.
“You shouldn’t.” She shook her head as if trying to shove the words away.
“Why? Because you’ve made a mistake?”
“Because all I do is hurt you,” she breathed.
“Who’s hurt?” He held out his arms before patting various body parts to show that he was completely well.
“But,” she sniffed, “just now you looked so angry...”
“Not with you, love.” He wrapped his arms around her shoulders. “I think Macmillan’s the one to blame here.”
“I mean, if you’re trying to get rid of me –”
“No! Of course not! I just...” Her voice faded as she sought the proper words.
“Then why are you fighting me so much?” His voice bounced slightly with amusement.
“I just want you to be happy.”
He pondered this before continuing. “You want to make me happy?”
Her head bobbed up and down vigorously.
“The only thing that can make me happier is knowing that you’re not going to see him anymore.”
Alana’s mouth fell open, the sadness of severing ties with Ernie falling upon her features like precipitation.
“I – I don’t know if....” She took a deep breath.
“I’m not saying you have to. I just know that I’d feel better about it, I’d know that I have nothing to worry about.” He kissed her forehead before moving back and pulling out his wand. “It’s just something to think about.”
With that he flicked, spun, and disappeared.
A.N. Thanks for reading! Do you like the outcome? There's still some more to write, but I think the story's starting to wind down....
Thanks again to the amazing redherring for catching all my little mistakes; especially those darn commas ;]