Pairings: Ron/Luna--no, you're not seeing things--and Ron/Hermione
Summary: Ron goes out on his first date. And it's not with Hermione...much to her displeasure. R/H. MAJOR spoliers for OotP. Don't read this if you haven't read the 5th book yet.
Disclaimer: Oh, I wish...All the characters belong to J.K Rowling and I'm not making any money off this, so don't sue.
A/N: Okay, yes, this is a Ron's-being-paired-up-with-someone-who-isn't-Hermione fic. Don't hit the Back button. This is not a cheap plot device designed to put Harry and Hermione together by getting Ron out of the way. I would gouge my eyes out with a blunt spoon before writing one of those fics. Seriously, I would. No, this is more of a Ron's-seeing-someone-else-and-getting-Hermione-really-jealous kind of fic. Hee.
"Life is like a game in which God shuffles the cards, the devil deals them, and we have to play the trumps." ~Yugoslavian proverb
That was what Ron was. It was a word his mother used occasionally that Ron had never completely understood until this precise moment.
"Well?" Luna was leaning into his face and Ron was leaning back as far as he could without seeming rude. Any minute now he was going to fall backward.
"Er..." Ron gulped, panicking.
"Do you want to go?" Luna peered at him, cocking her head to the side.
He could have kicked himself. Okay? Okay? He had said okay to going out on a date with Luna "Loony" Lovegood?
"Really?" Luna asked, now tilting her head to the other side.
Say no! No, no, no, not in a million bloody years!
But of course, his mouth, being apparently not connected to his brain, said--
Luna beamed. "See you at Hogsmeade then." She walked off dreamily.
Ron blinked. What had he just done?
Made a date with Loony Lovegood, that's what you've done.
Harry was trimming the twigs on his Firebolt when Ron walked into the dormitory, looking shell-shocked.
"Ron?" Harry asked as Ron sank onto his bed without a word. "Ron, you all right?"
"No," Ron moaned, burying his face in the pillows.
"What happened?" Harry asked curiously. "Is it your family?"
"No." Ron sat up, his face one of abject misery. "Harry, I'm going out on a date."
"Oh," Harry said, taken aback. "Well, that--that's horrible." After a pause, he ventured to ask, "Why is it so horrible?"
Ron had flopped back onto his bed and was staring up at the ceiling. "Because I'm going out with Luna Lovegood."
Harry stared at his friend. "Excuse me?" he managed after a stunned pause.
"You heard me."
Harry scratched his head. "Ron, I like Luna and all, don't get me wrong, but...why would you go out with her?"
"I don't know," Ron said, sitting up to face Harry. "She just asked me out of the blue, and next thing I know, I'm saying yes!"
"Wait a minute. Luna Lovegood asked you out on a date...and you actually said yes," Harry stated incredulously. Ron nodded, clearly miserable. "D'you fancy her?" Harry asked curiously.
Ron had turned so red he now resembled a human tomato. "No!"
"It's a reasonable question," Harry said, grinning. "When you agree to go out with a girl, it usually means--"
"Well, it doesn't now," Ron said firmly.
"She fancies you though," Harry pointed out.
Ron blanched. "No, she doesn't."
Harry's grin grew wider. "Ron, when a girl asks you out, it usually means she fancies you."
"It does?" Ron asked pitifully.
Harry was trying his best not to laugh. "Afraid so," he said as seriously as possible.
"Bugger." Ron ran his fingers through his hair. "So what do I do?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe...go?"
"Go?" Ron stared at Harry in disbelief. "On the date?"
"No, to the moon," Harry said, deadpan. "Of course on the date!" he exclaimed.
Ron looked at him hopefully. "Maybe we can say I--" he paused, thinking up an excuse, "died."
Harry burst out laughing at this. "Ron," he said between chuckles, "-you're in the same school.
She'll see you in the corridors, in the Great Hall--"
"We could say I was my ghost! Her dad's the editor of the Quibbler! She'll believe anything!"
Harry was now holding his side, he was laughing so hard. Ron glared at him. "It's not funny," Ron muttered sullenly.
"Oh, yes it is," Harry chortled. He removed his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes. "Ron, mate, you're stuck."
"Thanks for your help," Ron said, glaring at his friend. "You've been so supportive in my time of need."
Harry just laughed harder.
"Remind me again, Harry," Ron said, looking at his friend, "--why didn't we drop Potions this year?"
Harry didn't look up from his Potions essay. "Because we want to become Aurors." He finally looked up blearily. "And because we're masochistic prats who enjoy being tortured and punished."
"Oh," Ron said. "Two and a half rolls of parchment," he moaned. "Two and a half rolls of parchment."
"I heard you the first time," Harry shot back. "Now shut it. I want to get this done before Quidditch practice tomorrow."
"Sure thing, O Mighty Quidditch Captain."
"Oh, sod off."
They were interrupted by the sound of giggles. Ron looked up to find Parvati and Lavender looking in his direction and giggling madly. He groaned. "What is with those two?" he asked.
Harry shrugged. "Dunno. Maybe they fancy you too," he suggested slyly.
Ron glowered. "Shut up."
"My God, Ron," Harry said, smirking, " the girls are all over you lately, huh?"
"I thought I told you to shut up," Ron hissed. Harry just smiled.
"So, have you told Hermione?" Harry asked casually.
Ron's quill froze. Tell Hermione? Tell Hermione? Hermione, the girl he...fancied...that he was going out on a date with a girl who wasn't her? Was Harry starting to suspect--Ron looked at his friend suspiciously.
Had Harry really figured out--but no. Harry was just as clueless as he had always been, something for which Ron was very grateful.
The giggles, which had been in the background, suddenly got a lot closer. Ron looked up to find Lavender standing near him. "Hi, Ron," she said, smiling in a strange way.
"Uh, hello, Lavender," Ron replied.
"So, um, is it true?" Lavender asked. To Ron's relief, she wasn't giggling, but the pressure of holding it all in was turning her face pink.
"Is what true?" Ron asked, confused. Harry's eyes flickered back and forth between Ron and Lavender.
"That you're--" here Lavender burst into giggles, "--that you're going out with--Loony Lovegood?"
"Her name's Luna," Ron snapped without thinking. "And, yeah, we're going to Hogsmeade. You got a problem with that?"
Lavender shook her head, obviously alarmed at Ron's darkening expression. "No, no, of course not."
"Good," Ron said and turned back to his essay. When Lavender didn't move, Ron looked up and said shortly, "We're done here."
"Oh--right!" Lavender exclaimed, flushing. "Bye."
"Good-bye," Ron snapped.
"Gee, Ron, I don't think you were rude enough," Ginny remarked, walking up towards them.
"Shut it," Ron muttered. "Nosy, interfering, snobbish--"
"And you just realized Lavender's qualities now?" Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, Ron, but weren't you just complaining about going out with Luna a few minutes ago?" Harry asked.
"Yeah, but that's different," Ron said. "Just who does she think she is, calling Luna 'Loony'?"
Ginny stared at her brother. "Ron, practically everyone in the school calls Luna 'Loony'. What are you going to do, hex everyone who calls her that?"
Ron folded his arms. "If I feel like it. It's just not fair. Luna's a nice girl, even if she's--"
"Completely off her rocker?" Harry suggested.
Ron shot a look at Harry. "I was going to say a bit unusual," he finished.
"What's a bit unusual?" Hermione ask as she came over to them, carrying a large and heavy book. As usual. Ron gulped. Now he just wanted to hide.
"Luna," Ginny replied.
"Oh," Hermione said as she shifted her book.
"Hermione, agree with me here," Harry said. "Isn't Luna completely off her rocker?"
Hermione glared at Harry. "Harry, why would you say that?"
Ron winced and closed his eyes, waiting for the ax to fall.
"Because," Harry said, grinning, "she's asked Ron out on a date."
If Ron had been expecting Hermione to throw a fit or burst out crying, he would have been sorely disappointed. Hermione just blinked, looked at Ron, and then blinked once more.
"Ron?" she said in a rather high voice, pointing at Ron's head. "This Ron?"
"How many Rons do you know?" Ginny asked. "Yes, it's that Ron, and yes, he's going out with Luna Lovegood." It was strange, but he could have sworn that Ginny had given him a dirty look.
"Oh," Hermione said, blinking. "Well, that's...great."
"Really?" Ron asked, surprised.
"Yes," Hermione said, still looking stunned. "I--I think it's fantastic, actually."
"You--you do?" Ron asked, feeling a bit let down. He wasn't expecting her to explode, but--a little disappointment would have been nice. "You think it's a good idea, then."
"I think it's a great idea," Hermione told him, smiling brightly. And if the smile seemed a bit fixed, well, no one noticed...well, except for Ginny, who noticed everything.
"Oh," Ron said. "Okay, then. Good. Good, I'm--I'm glad you approve." Wait...what? He wasn't glad she approved. Ron didn't want her approval, he wanted her to scream in horror, drop her book on the floor in shock--something. Anything.
But he wasn't going to get--something.
'If you can't have what you want, want what you can have.'
If he couldn't have--something--he could have Luna.
"I'm--going to go to bed," Ron said after a pause. "Bit tired." He stood up, gathering his quill, ink, and parchment rolls. "Night."
"Night, Ron," Harry said. "See you in a bit."
"Night," Ginny echoed.
Hermione didn't look at him as she muttered, "Goodnight, Ron." It could have been Ron's imagination--or wishful thinking--but he couldn't help remarking that Hermione's voice sounded, well, a bit odd.
But then again, Ron thought bitterly as he headed up his stairs, it was probably just his imagination.
Or wishful thinking.