Warnings: Fic might result in silly grins and the occasional chortle. Or, perhaps, make you want to slap me. It's all good.
Length: 6,268 words
Summary: Ron tries to find a way to escape the excessive heat and Pansy Parkinson. Not necessarily in that order.
Author notes: Many thanks to attilatehbunand tehgiantsquid for all their help. Any remaining errors belong to me.
Five Days in August
The heat wave hit the city with a viciousness few ever remembered seeing before. June had been surprisingly mild, everyone said. They all joked about how they'd soon pay for the blue skies and cool breezes because no turn of good fortune could go unpunished for very long. It was only a matter of time before the sweltering heat and sticky humidity that normally marked the dog days of summer returned.
July began well enough, and many thought that perhaps they escaped it, like some curse they were able to counter and repel. They filled the parks and picnicked on the shore and played sports for hours on end. The air was full of the sweet scent of wild flowers and the sound of children's laughter. It was difficult to keep a sour mood for long in the face of such glorious weather.
Then, somewhere in the middle of July, it began. Slowly at first; so slowly that most people didn't realize anything more than they were thirstier than usual and that that they seemed to tire more quickly. But it wasn't long before the bright blue skies were sending the scorching rays of the sun down to the grounds below. It was time to pay for the picnics and the wildflowers and the laughter. Summer had announced herself, and did so with a vengeance.
The Wizarding world found itself in the same dire circumstances as the Muggle world. Centuries old laws guarded against anyone tampering with the weather. Past indiscretions had bought about an Ice Age and no one was quick to repeat that little mishap. The energy needed to conjure a cooling charm strong enough to overcome the excessive heat for a sustained period of time made any respite short lived, so few wizards even bothered. Besides, it was just a bit of heat.
How bad could it be?
It had been two straight weeks of high temperatures and not a single drop of rain. The night of Harry Potter's 25th birthday bash saw little in the form of relief. Much to his dismay, Ron Weasley, who seemed to be having a much more difficult time dealing with the heat than any of his peers, found out that the celebration was to take place outdoors. Despite the fact that there was a beautiful, and more importantly, a temperature controlled ballroom available to them, everyone else (everyone else being Hermione and Ginny) had thought it would be a great idea to move all the tables, chairs, and drink stations to the outside terrace so that they could enjoy the summer night.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves; everyone except Ron, who could do little more than sit and sweat and curse the idiots who moved the party location, though he knew better than to say that aloud where said party planners could potentially hear him and hex his bollocks off (a favorite threat of Ginny's that Hermione had recently taking a liking to as well). He was very attached to his bollocks and would rather they stay firmly in place, and to that end he kept his mouth shut.
So he sat in a quiet corner of the garden terrace with a lukewarm stout in his hands staring wistfully at the cool frozen concoctions that the girls were all drinking. They seem so...so comfortable in the stifling heat, so cool. He longed to taste the source of that cool comfort, to feel a bit of its blissful effects for himself. But ingesting anything called a 'banana daiquiri' was a hit his manhood could not take. Instead he remained in his seat and allowed the trails of perspiration to run races down his back.
Then it so happened that Harry and Ginny passed his table. He was grabbing at her waist and nibbling on her neck while she giggled and led him to the very same corner where Ron was seated. They didn't seem to notice him sitting there and continued to canoodle in a way that was making Ron extremely uncomfortable. He just was about to protest when Ginny put her drink down and dove under the table, dragging Harry with her. Under normal circumstances Ron would have pitched a fit of epic proportions - engaged or not there were just some things a man wasn't supposed do to his best mate's sister - but he could not tear his gaze away from Ginny's abandoned drink.
The pale and frosty cocktail sat before him, cool condensation sliding down the glass's side. Judging by the sounds coming from beneath the table before him neither Ginny nor Harry were coming up for air any time soon and it seemed a shame to let such a lovely and oh-so icy treat go to waste. Rather than let it melt to an undrinkable mess, Ron did the charitable thing and gulped it down. It was sweet and rich and possibly the most delicious thing he had ever tasted in his life. Best of all, it was ice cold.
Ron desperately scanned the crowded party looking for other abandoned glasses of delight and found none. The comfort offered by his charitable efforts was quickly waning, so Ron resolved to take matters into his own hands, take charge of his manhood, and go and order a girly frozen drink. He walked over to the bar and boldly ordered another stout and one of those "banana thingies" for his "sister". Ron leaned an elbow on the counter and complained loudly about being made to fetch drinks. The barman only smiled as he placed the glasses in front of Ron, who grabbed them without a word and quickly ran over to the far corner of the terrace - one that didn't have a couple rutting under a table. Ron spent the night buying stouts and daiquiris and hiding in corners to drink them down.
The thing about girly drinks that Ron didn't realize, not being the girly type (except for that whole spider thing that was never to be mentioned in mixed company), was that they contained a fair amount of alcohol. Being disguised in frosty banana goodness, however, made it nearly unnoticeable. Ron had managed to smuggle about a dozen or so before the realized that he was feeling rather tipsy. Not that it stopped him from drinking.
Ron Weasley was not about to be done in by anything with a paper umbrella in it.
Several things struck Ron at once. First of all, he was not at home, not unless he was unconscious for so long that someone replaced his bedding with a pink lacey abomination so offensive it was practically shrinking his testicles. Perhaps word got out that he liked girly drinks. Second, someone had placed a vice on his head and was attempting to squeeze his brains out through his ears. Apparently that was the appropriate punishment for dumping a couple gallons of stout in the bushes in favor of said girly drinks. The third, and most disturbing thing Ron realized, was that he wasn't alone, not unless the arm currently slung over his chest was a hallucination brought about by an over-indulgence of bananas and rum.
Ron racked his brain, trying to reconstruct the events that led to his current predicament but found it hurt too much to think. He found it infinitely easier to slide out from underneath his bedmate's arm using a technique that won him first place at a limbo dance contest the summer before. Once he was free and clear, Ron found he was able to breathe again. Standing, however, was another matter entirely. The room was spinning and the damn vice was tightening on his temple. He chose to crawl towards a door he sincerely hoped was the bathroom, careful not to make any noise along the way.
The exultation in finding a working toilet was short-lived. Paranoia took over and he quickly became convinced that the sound of him relieving himself would surely wake up the person sleeping in the next room. Faced with the humiliating prospect of peeing while sitting down to avoid discovery, Ron decided it was better to splash a bit of cold water on his face and pee outside in the bushes like a man rather than tuck his manhood between his legs to muffle the sound of his stream. It was time to reclaim his manhood from the grip of the banana daiquiris that currently held in his balls in sling.
He tiptoed out of the bathroom and began scanning the room for his clothes, but he was halted by the sight on the bed he just vacated. His bedmate had turned over and lay with her back towards him. The comforter had slid down her body revealing a long expanse of pale skin that Ron's fingers seemed to remember as being very soft. Her back had a sweeping curve that guided his eyes towards full hips and quite possibly the most perfect arse he'd ever seen.
At the base of her spine was a tattoo that, upon closer inspection, revealed itself to be a snake coiled around a silver wand. It was the tattoo that brought back the events of the night before in vivid detail. He was bombarded with images of dark eyes, dazzling white teeth beneath plush pink lips, and a slightly upturned nose. There was dancing, laughter, a kiss and then... For the love of all things holy, what had he done?
He was half dressed when he ran out of the house.
The heat wave refused to give up its strangle hold. Severe water restrictions were in put in place and soon lawns everywhere were brown and shriveled. Tempers flared with the temperature and everyone around Ron seemed to be in as foul of a mood as he was. At least he had that. It was much more gratifying being annoyed at the world when the world was annoyed right beside him. Saved the hassle of having to deal with happy people.
Ron had not been able to shake the image of her naked body in the bed, of the smooth back and long legs, of her hair spread across the pillow and that damn tattoo etched on her lower back. Nor could he shake the memory of the events that led him there.
She had discovered his banana flavored shame and begun to tease him. But where there should have been mocking tones and scathing comments, there had been a playfulness that seemed out of place. He had teased her back in a way that might have been described as flirting by someone who didn't know that he hated her.
There was music coming from somewhere, which seemed to tell him that he should be dancing. She was the closest person, which, of course, was the only reason he grabbed her and started to dance. It was silly, all of it, so they laughed. They danced and laughed. They teased and joked and danced and laughed. He began to think that her smile was really pretty. It must have been the lighting...or something.
Then the fast music changed tempo and the hard tone gave way to a softer one. They moved a little slower. They stood a little closer....
Ron sighed. This would never do.
He had to stop thinking about her. Had to stop dwelling on one night. It had gotten to the point where he saw her everywhere. In his office, on the street. She was in his dreams, her image etched on to the back of his eyelids.
No, it would never do.
Even now, sitting in a pub, drinking a decidedly manly glass of firewhisky, he thought he saw her. Making her way through the crowded room. Walking towards him. Getting closer. And closer.
"Ronald! Darling!" She slid onto the bench and threw her arms around his neck.
"P-P-Pansy," he wheezed through what little air could find its way to his lungs.
"It's fortunate I found you," she said as she finally released him from her death grip. "I was just about to head to the florist down the street to pick out my bouquet."
"Your bouquet?" he asked, his confusion clear on his face and in his squeaky voice.
"For the wedding," she chirped happily. "I was going to pick out your boutonniere as well, but now you can do that yourself."
She was speaking English, of that he was relatively sure. What she was saying, however, made no sense in the least. "My boot-in-what?"
"The flowers for our wedding, you silly thing," she squealed in excitement. "I was thinking of November the fifteenth."
November? Flowers? Wedding? What was he drinking this time? "Pansy, what the hell are you talking about?"
"Of course, I should demand a better proposal," she continued, without acknowledging that he had spoken at all. "The last one was rather pathetic."
"The last one?" Ron's stomach began to squirm and churn. "The last what?"
"I had always pictured something more romantic. A walk along a lake in the moonlight. Fairy lights in the sky spelling out my name. Something like that."
"I... I proposed..."
"Right after I finished sucking you off. Don't you remember?"
Frighteningly enough he did, although he hadn't thought he'd said it out loud. Many things go through a man's head in the throes of an orgasm. He'd managed to go through many years without uttering so much as a name for fear of screwing it up. He'd always been as silent as a monk. But that last time with Pansy, he couldn't seem to shut up. Damned bananas. "I think I do ...well that is to say. What I mean is..."
Pansy bit hard on her lower lip, but apparently Ron's babbling was too much for her to take. She quickly dissolved into a laughing heap beside him. "Oh Weasley. You are so much fun to torment."
As his stomach began to calm his face began to redden. "I knew you were having me on, Parkinson. I just decided to play along."
She stopped laughing long enough to smirk at him. "Rather convincingly at that." She motioned to the barmaid and within seconds a drink was sitting in front her. Ron realized with a start that she wasn't through with him.
"I had this whole bit worked out about us going to your mum's and telling her of our pending nuptials," she said before taking a sip. "Shame I couldn't hold it together. I figured it would only take six minutes to make you cry."
"That's rather much, don't you think." He tried to sound unruffled, but in truth he thought he'd had a minor coronary. The thought of what his mother would say...
"Rather much," she snorted. "Serves you right for leaving without so much as a note. You didn't have the decency to come up with a decent lie. No 'I've got an early meeting' or 'I've got to walk my dragon', or nothing. That was incredibly rude, Weasley."
Ron squirmed uneasily in his seat. Mostly because she was sitting too close talking about his mother and blowjobs in the same conversation, which should never - never - happen. But there was something else. Something about the way she said his name. Something that made him want to throw her against the wall and ....he cleared his throat. "About that - "
"Don't," she stopped him with a hand in his face and a threatening tone. "Make up an excuse now and I'll hex your balls off."
Why was everyone always threatening his balls? What the hell did they do to deserve such threats? He settled back into his seat. Though he was silent, he found that he did want to say something. He had felt like a coward for running out. But it came down to a question of why he ran and of that he wasn't sure. He wanted to apologize...but he didn't quite know what he was apologizing for.
"How've you been?" he finally said. Glad to hear that it sounded as sincere as he intended.
"I've been all right. You might have known that if you tried to contact me." She tilted her head and she smiled from the side of her mouth
Ron could feel his ears burn. He didn't know what to make of her. She didn't seem upset, but he couldn't help but feel that he'd hurt her. He and Pansy weren't exactly friends, but towards the end of the war they had fought side-by-side, and that goes a long way in advancing a relationship. Draco and Harry were friends now; why couldn't he and Pansy be? "About that - "
Her hand went up again. "No," she said simply.
"Are you going to let me say anything?"
"Not until you say something I find interesting." Her face changed suddenly, her once playful smile taking a rather sinister turn. She was playing with him. Teasing him just like...just like that other night he was supposed to be hard at work forgetting.
"Like what?" His voice failed him.
She leaned in and lowered her voice. "Like the things you said that night."
Ron swallowed hard. He found his eyes transfixed by her lips. So pink.
Pansy slowly ran the tip of her tongue over those pink lips. "I didn't know you were such a talker, Weasley. Tell me, does your mother know you say such filthy things?" Oh, how she teased him.
The air seemed to leave his lungs. "I don't - "
Her hand went up again to stop whatever it was he was going to say. He reached up and grabbed it, bringing it down the table where he placed his over it. Her eyes dropped to their joined hands and she slowly pulled away. "Careful, Weasley. Someone might think you're sweet on me."
Her dark eyes sparkled and before he knew what was happening he was kissing her. His fingers gripped the back of her head, pushing her lips against his. A slim body was pressed to his and fingernails were leaving trails on his thigh. Her tongue was hot and sweet in his mouth; her taste was sinful and familiar.
They managed to make it inside his flat and onto the sitting room floor, but going any further was out of the question. His need was overpowering and immediate and the floor was so much closer than the bedroom.
It took about a second...maybe three...before his pants were around his ankles and she was on top of him, straddling his hips. Her skirt was hiked up over her thighs and her blouse was unbuttoned revealing beautifully full breasts. She moved up and down in a maddeningly slow pace, her eyes taunting him with every motion.
Oh, how she teased him.
Oblivion came quickly, but the night was young and neither had any place else to be.
The next morning Ron found that they did finally make it to his bedroom, but this time he was the one who woke up alone.
This time he did try to contact her. Every day for a week. She seemed to have vanished from the face of the Earth. No one knew where she was, or if they did they weren't telling Ron.
It wasn't right, to end it the way they ended it. There should be something more, shouldn't there? He wasn't looking for - what was it that Hermione called it? Closure? He hadn't consumed enough of the girly banana drink to change him entirely, but there should be something else.
A week of questioning her friends got him nowhere. He went to her job, but they wouldn't let him in the building. He even waited outside Pansy's flat, but an 83 year-old neighbor contacted local law enforcement complaining he was looking in her window, watching her undress, and possibly stealing her unmentionables.
Ron had just gotten an owl from a friend of his in the Ministry who was able to find Pansy's parents' address, and was about to leave and pay them a visit, when he heard a familiar popping sound coming from his kitchen.
"Weasley!" an irate voice shrieked. "Get your sorry carcass out here."
Ron came out clad only in a pair of boxers. He had been fully dressed when he heard her Apparate in, but she sounded annoyed and he thought this might distract her if only for a bit.
She seemed to falter a little when she saw him but pushed forward with what was sure to be one spectacular tirade. "You can't take a hint can you?"
"What?" A certain amount of cluelessness always helped in these situations. Ron found it quite useful in his dealings with Hermione.
"Don't 'what' me, you git." She was royally peeved. He liked the way it made her eyes shine. "How long do you plan on harassing my friends?" she continued. "And what in blazes did you do with Ms. Hargroves's knickers? She's, like, a hundred years old. That's a bit sick, don't you think?"
He gave her a perplexed look. "You have friends?"
She clenched her jaw and inched toward him. "You are coming increasingly close to that bollocks hexing I threatened earlier."
"You seem a bit fixated on my bollocks. You should see someone about that."
That did it. She looked like she was about to explode. "You bloody bastard. You listen to me - "
"No," he interrupted, "you listen to me." This was fun but he had had enough of this game. "All I wanted was to talk to you. You were the one who was hiding - "
"Hiding! From you?" She laughed. "Did it ever occur to that that I had no interest in hearing from you again?"
Ron threw his hands up in the air. "First you were mad that I didn't call then - "
She recoiled at that. "I wasn't mad."
"Yes, you were," he retorted.
"Don't tell me what I am or what I'm not," she growled. "Being mad would imply that I gave a damn about you, which I most certainly do not."
"I think you care a little," he said with a sly smile. "You slept with me twice. Well, actually seven times, if we were keeping track."
"That was just sex. " She waved a hand dismissingly toward him. "Sex is nothing but...sex."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Sex is just ...fucking. It's one person using another for a bit. That's all. It doesn't mean anything."
"So you make it a habit of sleeping around then?" He crossed his arms over his chest.
She placed her hands on her hips and huffed, "What the hell are you implying?"
"I'm not implying anything," he said smugly. "You're the one who's saying it was just sex. That you have sex and it's nothing but fucking. That there's nothing else to it."
She squared her shoulders. "So you're saying that you have feelings for me."
Where the hell did that come from? "I didn't say that."
"You just implied that there is more to sex than just sex. So if you had sex with me - eight times, you wanker - then that would mean it was more than just sex for you."
"You're twisting my words."
"No, you're just incapable of making a point."
Even though she was nearly a foot shorter than he, they stood toe to toe, face to face, nose to nose. Neither said a word.
To say any more he would have to admit that it did mean something to him. That he only ever slept with women he really cared about, and that to be that intimate with anyone was not something he did easily. He didn't love Pansy, but that didn't mean he couldn't. That didn't mean he didn't want to try. That didn't mean that he didn't truly want it to mean something, to be something more than just sex.
To say any more would mean that she had to admit that she was hiding from Ron. That she did use people for sex because the fear that they were using her made caring for anyone more dangerous than facing down any dark lord. That being open and vulnerable meant being exposed and weak and that she thought nothing, not even love, was worth that. That she couldn't face him because maybe, and that was a very big maybe, it had meant more.
He was the first to stand down. To pull away. When he did, she pulled back, her shoulders dropping ever so slightly. There was a lot to say. Too much maybe, but neither was ready for it. Not yet. He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
Pansy Disapparated away so she wouldn't have to hear what he wasn't going to say.
It seemed to Ron that the less he wanted to think about something, the more he thought about it. Like the heat, for example. Everyone said that it was simply mind over matter. That he just had to ignore it and it wouldn't bother him so much. He wondered how someone was supposed to do that. How was he supposed to ignore the blazing sun that burned every square inch of exposed skin? How he was supposed to stop himself from sweating though his clothes. How he was supposed to change the air around him so that it didn't suffocate him?
That very afternoon Hermione reminded him that if he really wanted to, he could change things. Make things better. She said that if he really wanted things to fix things, he could. And she said it in that pointed way that meant she-wasn't-really-talking-about-the heat-but-something-else-entirely-but-she-d
It took fourteen years but he had finally figured her out. Now if he could only figure out the other one.
He spent the whole afternoon thinking over Hermione's words and found himself wishing that she had just come out and told him what to do. What exactly was he supposed to 'make better'? To face facts, if he really wanted to improve his current situation then he'd just get on with this bloody life and get over it - the heat and the girl. Neither was good for him and he knew it. Especially the girl.
What was it about her that made him incapable of making a rational decision? He'd known prettier girls. Smarter girls. Nicer girls. Girls that didn't hate him and threaten his privates. She drank too much and laughed too loudly and said things that would make an Auror blush.
And she teased him. With every move she made, everything she said, she teased him until he ached.
And how he ached.
After wasting away the afternoon and getting nothing accomplished, he decided it was time to get some air...or a couple of pints, whichever got him drunk faster. He walked down a quiet street, looking down and watching the pavement pass and trying to think about nothing because that was all he could handle at the moment.
Soon he was settling in a seat at his favorite pub. He was just about to motion to the barmaid when he noticed a girl across the room standing by a group of tables with her back towards him. It was a very familiar looking back.
When she bent over the table to grab her drink, Ron saw it, the tattooed lower back that haunted his dreams. She was here and she was talking to...flirting with...practically sitting on the lap of some guy. Ron's stomach tightened and his hands balled into tight fists.
"I don't bloody care," he muttered to himself. If she wanted to throw herself at every guy in Great Britain, let her. After she'd gone through that lot, she could move on to another country and he'd be rid of her once and for all. He was about to order a drink to toast to her sleeping her way out of his life when he noticed that her new friend had just grabbed a great handful of her arse.
Something snapped then and before he could stop himself, he flew across the room and had that arse-grabbing bloke pinned to the wall with a strategically placed forearm to his throat. "Get your filthy hands off my girlfriend," he snarled through gritted teeth.
"What the hell are you doing?" cried a female voice that wasn't familiar at all.
Ron turned and to his horror found himself face to face with someone who was most definitely not Pansy.
Oh. Bloody. Hell.
He quickly released his gasping captive and issued a litany of apologies to the girl, the arse grabber, and his many large and rather annoyed friends. All was forgiven after they realized he was the Ron Weasley, friend to Harry Potter, savior of Wizarding kind and all that.
The tattoo was actually green ivy wrapped around a branch. "It was an honest mistake," Not-Pansy said. "Not a problem, mate," insisted Arse-Grabber, who was apparently his new best friend once Ron bought the whole group six or seven rounds of drinks. When Not-Pansy put her hand one thigh while Arse-Grabber put his hand on the other, Ron knew it was time to make his escape.
Ron made his excuses and left the pub. The instant he could, he Apparated home and collapsed on his couch. There he sat and contemplated what nearly caused him to pummel a stranger and why in blazes he called Pansy his girlfriend.
Ron remembered quite clearly when he stopped thinking of girls as nothing more than just squishy boys that didn't like to get dirty. Fourth year. Fleur. A tingling in parts of his body that never tingled quite that way before.
There was the Lavender fiasco he tried really hard not to think about. Then Hermione. Then not Hermione. Then Hermione again. Then not...again. That last time was not one of his better ideas, almost ruined their friendship irrevocably. There had been a couple of girls since; Sarah and Ellie and one ill-conceived weekend with Luna that he still hadn't told Harry about. But no one, not any of them, had ever gotten under his skin the way this one had.
It was madness, pure and simple. To start off, she was a Slytherin, he was a Gryffindor; that was a bit like fire deciding to suddenly play with petrol...while surrounded by a pile of dynamite. Add the fact that she dated Malfoy for years. No amount of cleansing would ever wash that contamination from her skin. There was also the problem of them hating each other for most of their lives. Hate was perhaps not the right word, but Ron didn't really know how else to describe the long-festering loathing and revulsion that was their only form of relationship...come to think of it, he did know exactly how to describe it. No matter how he looked at it, it was madness.
Pure and simple.
Yet there he was. Where he had been every night the past week. Sitting on a bench across the street from her flat, a cold drink quickly warming in his grip, waiting for her to come out. He had rehearsed several different speeches, none of which he could remember at the moment. In truth, he didn't know why he was there, why he felt compelled to wait for her, why he needed to see her, or what he could possibly say that wouldn't result in a slap. And don't think the thought of her laughing in his face hadn't crossed his mind. But there he remained, hoping to see her, and hoping when he finally did that he would know what to say.
The stifling heat didn't help. His clothes stuck to his skin and he wanted nothing more than to peel them off. The air was thick with humidity and was making it hard for him to think. He just wished it would stop. All of it. Just stop. This heat. These feelings. This need. All of it.
"Don't you have a home?"
That voice. He looked up to see her standing before him, her hands on her hips. Her expression, unreadable.
"I have," he replied. "It's a rather nice home."
"If you like it so much, why are you always here?" she asked, a haughty smile planted firmly on her lips.
"The view is better," he said plainly. Something flickered in her eyes, and he could swear her smile wavered the slightest bit.
"Go home, Weasley." She turned on her heel and began walking away.
He sprang up from his seat and followed. "I can't."
"I can write you directions if you've forgotten," she said over her shoulder. "Or I could stick on a note on your jumper and maybe someone will take pity on you."
"Pansy, stop. Please. Just stop."
For reasons that Ron couldn't quite fathom she did. She stopped and turned to face him. "What do you want, Weasley? Why are you here?"
The words. Where were the words? "I don't know."
"Not good enough." She made to turn again, but he stopped her with a hand to her shoulder.
"How about this then? You are the most difficult person I've ever met. You say whatever the hell you want with no care as to who you're saying it to or how it will make them feel. You do whatever the hell you want without the slightest inkling of how it affects others. You're rude and vulgar and selfish and I can't stop thinking about you. I don't know anything about you other than I'd like to...to know more. I'd like to know more about you. I'd like to try because, whether you want to admit it or not, and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have all your hair fall out than admit it, there is something here. And it could be good."
The silence stretched for miles as they stood there. She couldn't quite meet his eyes. "What if it isn't?" she said softly.
She looked up at him, her dark eyes wide and questioning. "What if it isn't good? What if you get to know me and you find that all I am is rude and vulgar and selfish?"
The importance of Ron's answer was not lost on him. He was fully aware that what he said here would either make or break his chances and he didn't want to screw it up. But before he could answer, before he could say a single word, the day grew dark around them and a clap of thunder roared over their heads. They both looked up in time to see the first drops of rain fall. Within seconds, the skies opened and a deluge of water poured down over them.
The cool rain quickly soaked his clothes and instantly soothed his heat stricken mind. The relief it bought was immediate and made him feel like...
The sound of laughter caught his attention and he back looked down to Pansy who was standing with her arms stretched out and her face aimed up towards the sky. "This is amazing," she cried out as she began spinning in the street. All he heard were great peals of laughter drowning out the storm. She splashed around in the puddles that were forming around them, giggling and whooping and jumping around like a child. He stood transfixed watching her in an unguarded moment, possibly in the only unguarded moment she ever allowed herself.
She spotted him watching her and she suddenly stopped, frozen in her spot. Her chin lifted in defiance, almost challenging him to say something, and her eyes, her eyes were wide and questioning just as they had been moments before. It was quite a picture: raindrops splattering around her, her wet hair plastered to her face, her clothes fully saturated and dripping onto the ground in great big drops, and those anxious eyes. She seemed uncomfortable, and considering how wet she was, he wasn't surprised, but it suddenly struck him that she was also silent and seemed oddly...could it be...nervous?
Then he realized that she was waiting. Waiting for him to say something. Waiting for an answer. The answer to the question that would determine what the hell happened next. But as the rained healed his body it also cleared his mind and he just knew - there was really only one answer. His face broke into a wide grin and he threw his arms up in the air and let out a loud whoop. With an appalling lack of grace he jumped in the nearest puddle and began to splash around in the pouring rain. Soon he was leaping about, the air full of his joyous laughter, water spraying everywhere with each jump.
He paused long enough to see that she held her hands up to face but try as she might she couldn't hide the fact that she was smiling. With little else for encouragement he ran towards her and, grabbing her by the waist, picked her up and twirled her in the air.
"You're mad," she squealed when he finally put her down. "Absolutely barking mad."
"I am," he proclaimed happily. "It's a lovely place to be. Care to join me for a bit?"
It wasn't the most romantic thing he could have said, but he figured she wasn't the type of girl who wanted flowery words and impassioned speeches. And when she kissed him thoroughly on the lips, he realized he was right.
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