“Sue!” Hermione called out breathlessly as she charged up the stairs of the pizza parlour. “Susan!”
“What?” Susan asked, coming out from the kitchen. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, fine…I just have a big favour to ask of you.” Hermione replied. She stuck her bag behind the counter. She grinned widely at Susan, who smiled wanly in return.
“I’m almost afraid to ask.” Susan said warily. “This doesn’t involve Ron does it, because I really don’t think I can handle…”
“No, it doesn’t.” Hermione said. “It’s a pretty big favour though…”
“Well what is it?” Susan asked, almost impatiently.
“Well see, Harry’s friend Dean Thomas is coming in from Scotland this weekend, and it’s sort of last minute, and all his friends are busy, and we just need someone to be a double….”
“No, Hermione, no way.” Susan crossed her arms. “I’m not ready for dating, not at all.”
“I know, that’s why I wasn’t sure about asking, but you were the only person I could think of.” Hermione wheedled. “Please, please do this for me Susan I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
“Hermione, I just don’t think I would be very fun for Harry’s friend.” Susan argued, but Hermione could tell she was weakening.
“Nonsense, you’ll be fine….” Hermione retaliated.
Susan sighed heavily. “Fine, on one condition, you tell Harry to tell his friend that I’m definitely not interested in being….romantically connected…this is a favour for YOU.”
“Thanks Sue!!!!” Hermione practically shrieked, hugging her.
Susan sighed again, wondering just what she’d gotten herself into.
*** *** *** *** ***
“So Dean, Harry told me you play for the Cannons.” Hermione settled back into Harry’s arm and smiled at his friend. They were at a restaurant in London, waiting for their meal.
“Yes, I’m a Chaser.” Dean replied. Harry sniggered.
“This comes from a guy who swore that football was the best sport, even over Quidditch, and that he’d never play anything else!” he laughed. Dean snorted.
Susan smiled briefly as well, but it faded fast. She had never been a huge fan of Quidditch, and this discussion was boring her. Dean seemed like an awfully nice guy as well, but her mind was solely trained on Ron. She wondered what he was doing that evening, probably somewhere with his younger sister Ginny, or at home.
“Do you like Quidditch, Susan?” Dean was asking her, and Susan mentally shook herself awake.
“Well, kind of. I’m not really into sports.” Susan said. “I’m more of a spectator if I do watch it.”
“Have you ever been to a game?” Harry asked.
“Back when we were at Hogwarts, we all went to the World Cup one year.” Susan answered. “I think that was the last game I went to, though.”
A silence fell through the four of them. “So when is your next match?” Harry asked Dean.
“A week from tomorrow.” Dean replied. “Against Puddlemere.”
“You’d better not tell me more.” Harry joked. “You’re forgetting Oliver Wood’s my best friend.”
Hermione smiled, she liked hearing about Quidditch, but she felt bad that Susan was being left out of the conversation. At that moment, however, their food arrived and she was saved from attempting to draw her friend in further.
*** *** *** *** ***
Susan made a mental note to kill Hermione when she got the chance. After leaving the restaurant in London, they’d decided to go to Imran’s for a drink, and one drink turned into two, and so on. Hermione and Harry were now practically draped over the pool table in the corner, leaving her alone with Dean.
“Susan, do you come here often?” Dean asked her.
“Sometimes, with friends.” She answered politely. She didn’t like being here actually, it reminded her of Ron. Everything reminded her of him these days. All of a sudden, Susan felt like if she didn’t get out of there, she’d burst. “Excuse me; I think I need to…” Toppling her stool, she dashed for the door, knocking over the fat man Carl and some of his friends.
Dean looked over towards Harry and Hermione, who were still too engrossed in their game (which was now practically on top of the table) to notice that Susan had just run from the bar. “Great.” He muttered, taking off after her. He hardly knew this girl, yet he was going to comfort her while he didn’t even know the reason she was upset.
Susan went around to the side of the pub and wrapped her arms around herself to keep the cold away. She sniffled and forced back the tears that came to her eyes.
“Susan?” a low voice made her jump. Dean stood at the corner of the building looking apologetic. He saw she was cold and pulled his cloak off his shoulders. “Here, you’re freezing.”
“No, I’m okay.” Susan denied. “Thanks.”
“Nonsense.” Dean draped it over her shoulders. “Look, I’m sorry; did I say something wrong back there?”
“No, no it’s not you…” Susan replied. “It’s me…I’ve just had a rough time of things lately.”
“Need someone to talk to?” Dean offered.
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to bore you.” Susan said, a bit shyly. “It’s a really long story.”
Dean stood up and for a moment, Susan thought he was going to leave. But he peered in the window and grinned. “Well, I think we’ve got lots of time, it doesn’t look like those two will be leaving the pool table for awhile.”
In spite of herself, Susan smiled. “Okay…” Dean sat down next to her, and for the next half hour she found herself spilling the details of her entire relationship with Ron.
“I didn’t mean for you to think I had anything against you.” Susan finished. “I just don’t feel like things are over between Ron and me, not yet…I just need to find a way to approach him about it. He’s stayed pretty adamant about hiding from me.”
“He must be mad, to let you go.” Dean said. “I won’t lie and say I don’t find you attractive, and from what I’ve seen you are a really nice person.”
“Thanks.” Susan said. She was rather flattered at his compliments.
“Perhaps we can be friends.” Dean was now saying. “I’d really like to owl you once in awhile.”
“Sure.” She was feeling better after talking about her troubles. “I’d really like that too.”
“Come on, how about we go back inside now, maybe we can challenge Harry and Hermione to a game of pool?” He offered.
“All right.” Susan smiled and accepted his hand to help her up. She tucked her arm in his and they went back to the front of the building.
“It didn’t take you long to find someone else!” Ron’s angry voice made Susan look up in shock. He was standing near the entrance to the pub with his friend Neville.
“Ron!” she paled. “This isn’t what it looks like!”
“Sure it’s not!” Ron glared at her and Susan removed her arm from Dean’s. He shook his head in disgust as Dean’s cloak slid off her shoulders.
“No don’t leave, please Ron!” She dashed forward and tried to grab hold of him, but he pulled away and leaped onto his broom. With one last glare, aimed specifically at the flustered Dean, Ron took off.
Susan sat down hard on the gravel and buried her face in her hands. The whole situation had just gotten a million times worse in her mind, and she couldn’t stop the tears from gushing over. Vaguely, she heard Dean rush into the pub and come out moments later with Hermione.
“Great Wizards Sue, what happened?” Hermione kneeled down next to her friend.
Susan tried to explain, but couldn’t through her tears. Hermione looked up at Harry and Dean.
“I think I need to get her home.” She said, and helped Susan get up. Harry brought his broom around, and the four of them got on. The only sound heard besides the wind while flying was Susan’s muffled sobs every now and again.
“Shall I wait for you?” Harry asked Hermione, his green eyes dark with worry. “Will she be all right?”
“No, go ahead, I’ll see you later.” Hermione patted his arm. “Bye Dean, it was nice meeting you.” She said as Susan hiccupped loudly and began walking herself towards her house. Hermione blew Harry a silent kiss as he flew away.
“You can go home, I’ll be fine.” Hermione was startled by Susan’s voice cutting through the darkness.
“No way, not till I get you inside.” Hermione replied as they went into Susan’s house quietly. Sneaking upstairs, she saw Susan’s mother peeking out from behind their bedroom door, Hermione reasoned that it must be quite late.
“Really, I’m fine.” Susan said stuffily.
“This is all my fault.” Hermione fretted, ignoring what her friend said. “I made you go out tonight.”
“Hermione, it’s not your fault, I don’t blame you, okay?” Susan replied, peeling her cloak off and hanging it on her bedpost. Hermione bit her lip and watched her carefully.
“Do you want me to go talk to Ron?” Hermione offered, only half serious.
“Great Wizards, no.” Susan replied. “I just…need some time to myself now.”
Hermione nodded. “As long as you’re sure.” She replied.
Susan smiled wearily. “Go find Harry, I feel bad I had to cut your time together short. I know you two weren’t ready for good night yet.” She attempted a joke and Hermione grinned slightly.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow then, okay?” she came forward and gave Susan a tight hug.
“Okay…” Susan echoed as Hermione disappeared. She flopped back down on her bed and sighed heavily, but felt determined all of a sudden. She had to get Ron back.