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The Start of a New Life by alayneni

The Start of a New Life


Summary: Sequel to Letters. RLL. What does Ron do after he leaves Hermione's apartment?

An: Thanks to everyone who read "Letters". It is recommended to read that one before this one so that you understand what happened between Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

The Start of a New Life

Ron wandered the streets of Diagon Alley. It had been one week since the embarrassing proposal. He was supposed to be happy now. He was supposed to be making wedding plans with the love of his life. Instead, he was miserably wandering the streets of Diagon Alley. How ironic life was? After leaving Harry's apartment, or was it their apartment now, whatever, he didn't care, he headed to the Leaky Cauldron. He drowned his sorrows in firewhiskey and took a room for the night. The next morning he woke up with a huge hangover and immediately took his hangover potion. His exploits over the last few years had taught him to always keep the potion near.

He checked out and looked for another place to stay. People would have heard that he was back in town. He didn't feel like visitors. He eventually found a place in Knockturn Alley. He liked the place. It suited his mood. Only shady individuals came into Knockturn alley and right now Ron wasn't good company for anyone. He had spent the first day exploring. He hadn't been there since the war ended. During the war they had searched up and down Knockturn Alley for books on Horcruxes and they had gotten to know the alley fairly well. A couple of the shops had changed since then. It looked like the Ministry was trying to clean up the reputation of Knockturn Alley but if it was one thing Ron learnt from his travels, it was that places like this always existed. Every Wizarding town he visited had their own version of Knockturn Alley. Even the occasional muggle city, which he stopped in, had sections of slums. He imagined Hermione would argue that it was a sign of balance. For their to be good their had to be evil or else, how would you be able to characterize good if there was no evil to compare it to? He had missed her logical ideals on his travels.

His feet took him down a path he had been walking for the last week, to a pub just a few stores down from his room. He was guaranteed to be left alone in this pub. No one asked questions and he hid his trademark red hair under the hood of his robes. The bartender had gotten to know him pretty well or at least well enough to know what type of drink he was in the mood for. One of Ron's many jobs had been as a bartender and he genuinely enjoyed it. It was a great way to pick up girls.

He was on his third glass of fire whiskey when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to glare at the person who was interrupting him. He was met with a pair of large blue eyes.

"Hello Ronald" said a voice Ron was vaguely familiar with.

Ron looked the girl up and down. She had a great figure; reminiscent of some of the women he had experimented with. He briefly thought about what he could do to her. He could use her to forget his current pain but that thought stopped abruptly as he re-examined her face.

"Luna?" Ron questioned

"Yes. Like what you see?" She asked serenely. She had noticed him checking her out.

"Uh yes." Ron said slightly embarrassed at what he had done. She was his baby sister's best friend.

"Mind if I join you?" Luna asked as she sat down besides him and ordered what he was having.

"Looks like you already made the decision for me." Ron said

She turned towards him, raised her glass and swallowed the liquid in one gulp. Ron was impressed. Firewhiskey wasn't easy to drink like that. She slammed her glass down and ordered another one.

"Take it easy there." Ron said

"I need to catch up. What number are you on?" Luna asked.

"This is my third." Ron replied as he watched Luna knock back another.

"Oh good, now I'm caught up." Luna said as she ordered her third.

"So what brings you here?" Ron inquired

"Isn't it obvious?" Luna replied

"You sound like Hermione" Ron spat at her.

"A lot of people are telling me that lately. I guess I got to stop spending so much time with her." Luna replied.

"You work at St. Mungos with her?" Ron questioned

"St. Mungos?" Luna said as she wrinkled her eyebrows in confusion.

"Yes you said you spent too much time with Hermione. It would make sense that you work with her, if you spend so much time with her." Ron replied

"No. I work for the Quibbler" Luna whispered in his ear. He could feel her hot breath against his ear as he took another sip of his firewhiskey. "Hermione and I are best friends. I'm her maid of honour." Luna stated proudly.

Ron's firewhiskey reversed course and landed on the bartender in front of him. Ron immediately apologized and cleaned up his mess. Luna giggled softly at Ron's reaction to the news.

"What happened to Gin? I thought she and Hermione were good friends." Ron said.

"Were is the key word in that sentence Ron." Luna answered.

"But Ginny's letters never indicated anything was wrong. In fact none of the letters I received from her, Mom or the twins ever said anything about Hermione and Harry." Ron said angrily.

"Harry and Hermione kept their relationship a secret. You know what the press was like with Harry. When he proposed to her, he only told a few people. He asked your parents, Ginny and the twins not to tell you. They wanted to tell you themselves. Harry was hoping that you would be his best man." Luna said.

Ron snorted at her. "That definitely ain't happening now."

"Why?" Luna questioned innocently.

Ron looked at Luna like she was crazy. "Don't tell me Hermione didn't tell you what happened?"

"She told me." Luna said as she took a sip of her firewhiskey.

"Then you should know why."

"No, I can't understand how you could throw your years of friendship through the door." Luna said sadly.

"Friendship! I don't consider what happened being a good example of friendship." Ron snapped.

"I certainly do. Hermione could have given up on you but she didn't. You know some of the advice Harry sent you was from Hermione." Luna said

"She never read my letters to her." Ron said bitterly. He was terribly hurt by that. He thought they still had their relationship going through the letters. But as he thought about it, a little voice in his head pointed out that she never said she loved him. She always signed the letters your truest friend, Hermione, or at least Harry signed the letters for her.

"She never read your letters because she didn't want to read your lies, Ron. You know you lied to her in those letters. What type of friend was that? You only showed her the person she wanted you to be. Hermione is your true friend. She didn't want to be friends with the person you depicted. She wanted to be friends with you, the real you. Hermione accepted you, with all your faults, a long time ago. The person that wrote to Harry was the real Ron. She corresponded with the real Ron. Not the fake one." Luna said.

"How do you know all this?" Ron questioned. He took everything Luna said with a grain of salt.

"I helped respond to you a couple times." Luna said lightly as she took another sip of her drink.

"What! Was it some type of game? Who could give Ron the best advice?" Ron asked horrified that Luna had also read his personal letters to Harry.

"No Ron. We wanted you to be safe and most of all, happy." Luna replied. "If it helps any I accidentally found out about the letters. They didn't deliberately show it to me."

Ron snorted at her. He turned his attention back to his drink. How could Harry think that after he told him that he was going to marry Hermione that he would still want to be his best man? That was ridiculous. Harry knew how he felt about Hermione. He loved her. Several times this week Ron had thought about marching over to the apartment and demand that Harry give Hermione back to him, but then a voice, that sounded very much like Hermione, would admonish him for thinking that Hermione was some sort of object to be given back.

He would immediately flash back to the look on her face when she came out of the kitchen looking for Harry. She had a smile on her face that he had never seen. The happiness in her eyes was obvious. He had never seen her that happy. Harry was the cause of her happiness. When she saw him her smile faded and the happiness in her eyes was replaced with hurt, guilt and sadness. He could tell that she did genuinely care for him.

"I would like to walk down the aisle with you." Luna said

"What?" Ron questioned. He wasn't sure if he heard her right.

"If you're the best man and I am the maid on honour, when the ceremony is finished we walk up the aisle together." Luna stated. Luna had always had a huge crush on Ron. She was hoping she could be there to support him, in his time of need.

"You have got to be joking." Ron said darkly.

"Do I look like I am laughing." Luna replied.

"I am sure Harry has found a new best man by now." Ron said

"Actually, he said if you couldn't do it no one would. You were the only person that fit what he always thought a best man should be. You are his first friend, Ron" Luna said as she put the emphasis on the present tense.

"I am sure he could get Neville to do it. They're good friends." Ron said.

A look of sadness passed over Luna's face. Ron didn't miss it. When you tend bar, you hear a lot of people's problems and they tend to have that look on their face when they talk it out.

"What's wrong with Neville? Did Harry piss him off too?" Ron asked. He was curious to know what had happened between Harry and Neville.

"What exactly did Ginny's letters tell you, Ron?"

"She's working at Witch Weekly." Ron said

"That's it?" Luna queried

"Yeah she always talked about her job." Ron said.

Luna exhaled.

"Luna, why do I get the feeling that I am missing something, again." Ron said angrily.

"Ron, no one told you because, well you were dealing with your own problems. We didn't want to add to it. We didn't want to force you to come back before you were ready. We also hoped that Ginny might tell you herself." Luna said.

"What's wrong with Ginny?" Ron demanded.

"Nothing is wrong with her. That I know of. Our friendship is on a bit of rocky ground right now." Luna said

"Why?" Ron asked

"We had a difference of opinion and she told me to get out!" Luna said

"So she ended your friendship?" Ron questioned.

"I don't view it like that. I still consider myself her friend, Ron. She was my first friend. Her friendship with me is something I will always cherish. This is why I understand Harry's need to maintain his friendship with you." Luna said as she drank the remainder of her drink.

Ron was going to order them another drink when Luna grabbed his hand.

"Let's go for a walk." She said as she tugged him off his bar stool and to the doorway.

Ron tossed some galleon's on the table to pay for their drinks before Luna had successfully pulled him out of the bar and on to the streets of Knockturn Alley. Luna made a few turns here and there and before Ron knew it he was out in Muggle London.

"I didn't know Knockturn Alley connected directly to muggle London. How do you know that place so well?" Ron questioned her.

"Part of the job. You won't believe what ends I need to go to, to get a story." Luna said as she continued to lead the way.

Before long they were at an entrance to a park. Luna slowed her speed and linked her arms into Ron's. They slowly strolled through the park before Luna asked the question that had been bugging her. "Do you really love her?"

Ron stopped abruptly. Luna was looking up at him. He couldn't read the look on her face. Ron was about to answer the question but then stopped as he really thought about it. Did he really love Hermione? Yes he did but somehow yes didn't seem like the right answer for Luna. There was something about the way Luna had said it.

"Ron are you in love with her because I don't understand how you could be in love with her but continue relationships with other people." Luna said as she pulled him gently over to a bench under a tree.

Ron again opened his mouth to defend himself when he realised he really didn't have a strong defence. She was right.

"What do I do now?" Ron asked

"Anything you want." Luna replied

"I can't stay in Knockturn Alley for the rest of my life." Ron said

"Why don't you go home? Your family would like to see you." Luna suggested

"No I can't see them yet. Not like this." Ron said as he stared at a kid flying a kite in the park.

"Luna, When is the wedding?" Ron asked

"Saturday. It's being held at a Muggle auditorium close to where Hermione's parents live. It's supposed to be a small ceremony." Luna said hopefully. She was praying that Ron would change his mind and attend.

"I think I `ll find a job. Does the Quibbler have anything open?" Ron asked Luna.

"I think there is an opening for my personal assistant." Luna stated.

Ron appeared to be thinking it over.

"If you don't mind late night stakeouts, interviews with Aurors, confronting the Minister on occasion and Quidditch matches then the position is yours." Luna said

"I think I'll take it." Ron said with a charming smile.

"Good, here's a few pounds. Go get us two mochas and come back. Our informant will be here in half an hour." Luna said happily as she relaxed into the bench.

Ron smiled at her and headed off to the nearest coffee shop. It was the beginning of his new life back home.

An: I plan on writing more short stories in this universe. The next one will be from Ginny's perspective.