Second one-shot for the six remaining rounds of the 34 stories, 106 reviews challenge on the HPFC forum: RonLavender.
All along, all he wanted was – to be wanted.
...and it was not coming that easy, or rather not enough.
Oh, he had two amazing best friends, he had a happy, united family... but it wasn't enough. It was always a group. It was always the easy-as-breathing feeling of belonging, being accepted where and how he was.
(sometimes it was like they were looking just right past him.)
As she walked past him she stared right into his eyes and said "Good luck, Ron!" before she strode away giggling. Her irises were still burning in his eyesight as she hurried away, arms entwined with Parvati's, curls bouncing as she whispered. They'd never really paid attention to each other before. Her eyes were warm and brown, confident – eyes that knew what they wanted. Brown as her name, generous as her outgoing nature. She wasn't just a giggly, silly girl. She'd looked at him as though to offer him everything he wanted.
(Reach out. Seize it.)
Ron swallowed, suddenly feeling very hot, quite scared, and intensely alive.
Somewhere in the middle of the yelling, the laughter, the tightly-pressed bodies and the surges of triumphant adrenaline, he saw her running his way from the corner of his eyesight as if in slow motion.
It did feel like the moment belonged to him, the Quidditch hero whose luck hadn't been fake after all. He reached out one arm, a bit awkwardly still. One second before it could have been to seize a glass, one second later it would easily pass off as a proudly raised fist – but this was it, the perfect collision, and all of a sudden he was assaulted by warmth and perfume and greedy lips against his own.
He dropped the guard, and kissed her back.
A few weeks, and he knew her inside and out.
It was mostly a physical thing. They just fit together, warm and eager and mindless – and needy in ways that were somehow similar. He knew her eyes, her frowns, her scent, the sugary sweet lipstick she wore, the nuance of her high chirping voice that announced a mood swing, her infuriating nickname and her whispering with her girlfriends. Lavender was easy to read – an open book of brightly-coloured images, cheerful and candid with a fairly possessive edge to them. She was quite vain and quick to speak her mind, emotional, easily confused. She laughed serious matters off, loved to gossip – and loved to kiss. He went along with that, blissfully unquestioning, oblivious to the world as they embraced. Touch, warmth, feeling – it was something real, that bound him to the world (to her), that belonged to him and him only, Ronald Weasley. No catch and no second thoughts and no sharing the spotlight – and no conflict, and no hesitations. They just breathed together, laughed together, detached from any such thing as responsibilities, intensely free.
He could claim her, the first thing actually his – and he let her claim him.
...her claim started weighing.
Maybe it could not have lasted. From unbelievable necklaces to possessive whispers to territorial glances and glares he slowly understood that the war had started and he was the land she would be fighting for. The odd thing was, there were no enemies – and perhaps it made it all the harder for her. There was her, teeth bared, against lurking shadows and his own weariness, and she never really stood a chance. Everything had somehow slowly become tiring, and with each passing second he was floating away from her, thought after thought mercilessly leading him on to another face with deeper mysteries within.
He had her, long-claimed and secure, just Lavender with no edge to it, nothing intriguing. She'd given him what he wanted – herself – and he'd enjoyed it fiercely, until he got tired of his toy. And what had been her gift to him was suddenly nothing, crushed to ashes the second it became common. Any girl could give warmth, and laughter, and kisses – every girl could have done what she'd done. Mindless fun. Very purposefully, he called it mindless fun in his head, and scorned it as a long-gone part of his life, while they were in it together still. He dismissed it, and despised her. She was expected to figure that out.
Quietly, without a word of warning, he went through the whole process of moving on.
She clung to it – to everything. She clung to the feeling of being special, and to the tangible fact that he was (still) hers. She wasn't too dim-witted to notice the change, but too deluded and not that perceptive as to somehow convince herself that it meant game over.
… (it wasn't possible until it became real.)
She was left on the roadside, silly, jealous little girl who hadn't even seen, all along, that it was meant to mean nothing and so it couldn't last forever. She made a fool of herself, all of that for Harry's half-pitying, half-exasperated glances and Parvati's incredulity, for Hermione's dismissive laughter in the corridors and Ron never once really meeting her gaze.
(she was getting on the way of what was meant to be. Who was she to be standing there, whispered the eyes and screamed the silences.)
She'd never asked for it to last forever.
Just hadn't been planning to lose him quite that way.
(silly girl, silly girl.)