|SIYE Time:18:39 on 23rd May 2017|
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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom
Story is Complete
Summary: Ginny is persuaded to be on a Bachelor-type reality show against her better judgement. Who is the hunk all the women are fighting over? We know him. We love him. But in my story, Ginny's never met him. NOTE: If you think you'll hate this story, read it anyway! I hate reality shows too, you know! lol Trust me, you'll love it...I proclaim in as non-arrogant a way as possible... *sweat drop*
Hitcount: Story Total: 86914; Chapter Total: 4213
It appeared to Ginny, when she woke up several hours before it was necessary for her to be up, that perhaps she had been premature in thinking that it had been time to go to bed the night before. Clearly the hour that she had assumed would be a “decent hour” was in reality several hours too early, just like her hour of awakening. In Laymen’s terms, she was wide awake and severely bored.
Not only was she bored, but she was nervous. She was not any closer to making her decision now than she had been the night before. True, at dinner Harry had practically ignored her, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized he had been acting rather like a wounded animal. Perhaps he had not betrayed her; he merely believed she had betrayed him. This thought made Ginny regret very much her attitude from the night before, but thinking about it was only making her more nervous and more wide awake.
She decided to indulge herself in an incredibly long shower, as she had not permitted herself to do so practically since she’d arrived at this infernal show. It took her a full hour to bathe and dress herself. She spent another half hour carefully applying her makeup and styling her hair. She had to admit, she was looking good.
At least an hour before she assumed she would be summoned, a knock sounded at the door. Ginny headed toward it to invite the knocker in but it opened before she got there. In strolled Connie looking much the worse for wear. Ginny wasn’t sure what had happened, but anything that bent Connie so out of shape was alright with Ginny.
“You’re already up.” There was a question lingering in her gaze, but the comment itself did not seem to be a query. “I would have thought you’d be lounging in bed at this hour.” Ginny ground her teeth but remained silent. As though muttering to herself and not expecting Ginny to hear, though obviously speaking loud enough that Ginny would have had to be deaf to miss it, Connie said “how you manage to be late when you wake up so early, I’ll never know.”
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early in the morning?” Ginny bit off the words in the manner she wished she could bite off each of Connie’s finger.
“Oh, yes, I nearly forgot.” Connie twittered a laugh and Ginny had to struggle not to roll her eyes. The laugh did not reach farther than Connie’s mouth, however; she still appeared to be in a very bad way. “Your decision has been postponed until tomorrow. It appears,” she added, seeing the incredulous look on Ginny’s face, “that the boys have made themselves rather…indisposed.” She said no more. She left with the air of one who walks into a room and completely forgot the purpose for her entrance. Ginny smiled grimly at her discomfiture.
Indisposed? Ginny thought. What is this about?
She stepped out of her room and was about to start getting herself lost in the process of finding someone who knew what was going on, but she was not given this chance. One of the many pretty-boy escorts was stationed outside her room.
“May I help you Miss Weasley?”
“Erm…I wanted to talk to —” Harry! “Neville. Could you show me where he’s staying?” Why? Why did I say Neville? I don’t want to see Neville right now! Gah!
He turned and hurried off down the hallway and Ginny had could do nothing but follow. She figured that if she changed her mind half-way through, it would get back to Connie and there was no telling what she would make of it. ‘A bit fickle, aren’t you Ginevra?’ ‘I would have thought you’d be the type of person who stubbornly sticks to her first instinct.’ Oh, how I hate that woman.
In a much shorter time than Ginny expected, they reached what were apparently Neville’s chambers. Thanking the man rankled since she had not really wanted to see Neville, but she couldn’t very well blame him. She had asked, after all.
As the man walked off down the hallway Ginny raised her hand to knock, but paused. She wished now that she had asked Connie more information, as much as it would have delighted Connie to dangle something that Ginny wanted above her head. She did delight in vexing and belittling Ginny at any opportunity, after all. But facing Neville’s door, behind which was assuredly Neville himself, Ginny wished she could be prepared for what she was about to hear, whatever the excuse was.
She knocked. She heard shuffling about inside the room but it took quite a bit longer than she expected for the door to open. Neville squinted out at her, the door barely open. All the lights were off beyond and Ginny wondered if Neville had been sleeping when she had knocked.
“May I come in?” she asked timidly, as Neville certainly didn’t look capable of entertaining at the moment.
“Sure,” he muttered. He opened the door wider and blanched at the amount of light, immediately turning himself and going deeper into the room. He turned on a single lamp after she closed the door and as they sat across from each other in two of the comfortable chairs, Ginny distinctly saw Neville’s eyes cross and it appeared as though her were about to fall into the chair instead of merely sit in it.
“What on earth is wrong with you?” Ginny asked bewilderedly.
“That friend of yours can really hold his liquor,” was his only reply. He started to laugh sheepishly, but apparently his head hurt badly, as the laugh was cut off rather abruptly.
Ginny understood. Neville was hung over. She couldn’t believe it. Neville had never really been the type to drink more than a single alcoholic beverage in a night. What could have possessed him to drink enough for him to be this uncomfortable this morning? She hardly needed to ask however, as the answer immediately came to her. He had not, as she knew, been a heavy drinker, but he had been the type who would do silly things in order to keep from looking a sissy in front of people he wanted to impress. She and Neville had gotten into many a fight about this over the years. She would come over to see him some days to find him wearing clothing with dried blood on it. He had had his wounds healed, of course, but medics rarely took the time to clean blood stains off after healing a patient. When she would ask him what happened, he’d laugh it off and say he and the boys had just been having some fun. It infuriated her, because she knew that doing such things was, instead of making him seem “cool” to his friends, merely let them know that if they had a stupid idea, they could count on Neville to entertain them by doing it. He, of course, disagreed most strongly.
“You and Harry were drinking last night? Where did you even find the liquor?”
“Oh Harry knew that if we looked long enough in one of the kitchens, we were sure to find some. Boy was he right!” He tried to laugh again, but his headache caused the laugh to turn quickly to a moan as he grabbed his head and placed it between his knees in a very uncomfortable looking position.
Apparently it was not as uncomfortable as it looked, however, because Ginny heard his breathing deepen and knew he had fallen asleep.
“Brilliant,” Ginny muttered as she picked herself up off the chair and stormed out the door. As she closed the door slightly louder than she intended to on her way out, she jumped at the presence beside her. The same man who had escorted her there was waiting to escort her back. Ginny started to follow without a word but realized that her aggravation would not allow it.
“Wait,” she said quietly, the escort stopped and turned to her. “Would you show me where to find Connie?”
“Of course,” the escort said as his traditional response.
By this time, Ginny was fuming. She was going to make sure she got some answers this time. Connie didn’t have Neville’s excuse — only unconsciousness invoked by Ginny herself would allow Connie out of answering Ginny’s questions.
In very little time, the escort stopped outside another room. Ginny was practically quaking with anger as she knocked on the door. It didn’t take Connie very long to answer. When she did, it was obvious that Ginny was the last person she suspected to be there by the expression on her face. The expression that Connie tried very hard to hide behind an affected smile. “Miss Weasley, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Shut up and let me it,” Ginny growled. She hadn’t meant to start in on Connie so soon, but she had been holding her anger at bay for over a week now and she was not going to hold it any longer. If ever a dam of emotion had erupted, it was now.
Taken aback, Connie stepped back and allowed Ginny access to the room without seeming to think about it. Ginny heard Connie take a breath as though about to say something, but the look Ginny gave her caused Connie’s mouth to shut with a snap.
“Neville lost consciousness before he was able to fill me in on all the details of last night and I want to know what happened. You’re nosey enough that I’m sure you know all about it. Speak.”
Connie’s mouth opened again at Ginny’s command but Connie seemed to realize that she was being order around here and didn’t seem to like it. An unpleasant noise issued from Connie’s mouth before she shut it again with a scowl. “Now see here,” she began again.
“Oh, shut up!” Ginny cried. “I am so sick of you and your meddling, just answer the bloody question!”
“Apparently Harry found some alcohol and started a drinking party with Neville. It’s assumed that Harry thought his chances with you were slim and he wanted to exact revenge on Neville for taking you from him.”
“So, you’re saying that Harry started it?”
“I don’t believe you. You’ve had it in for me since I came here. I know that, for some reason, you’ve hated me this whole time. I don’t believe what you’re telling me. Convince me.”
Connie started laughing. For the first time, Ginny did not sense malice in her humor. She seemed genuinely pleased about something. The sound made Ginny uncomfortable. “If you had shown this type of spirit from the beginning, trust me, there would have been no enmity between us. You always seemed the good upstanding boring contestant that I’ve always hated. We don’t get good ratings with people like you. I started to think there might be something to you when you got upset at me after the group date, but you remained timid after that.” She smiled at Ginny. “This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
“That’s all very fascinating,” Ginny said acidly, “but it doesn’t bring me any closer to knowing what’s going on here.”
“Of course. Forgive me.” Ginny blinked at Connie’ readiness to speak now that Ginny had yelled at her. Go figure. “This mansion is owned by a wealthy backer of the show who agreed to let us use it. He’s a rather heavy drinker and often gets lost after he’s giving in to his oft debauchery. Because of this, he keeps stashes of booze in many of the rooms in case he needs some and can’t remember where exactly he is. I’m surprised Harry was able to find a stash, though, because we made sure not to give any of you rooms near where the master keeps his liquor. He’s quite a resourceful man, isn’t he?” Ginny didn’t answer her, but merely glared, so Connie cleared her throat self-consciously and continued.
“I don’t know much more of the story except that they eventually lost consciousness and were found this morning with unbelievable headaches. I believe by the man escorting you at the moment.” Ginny raised her eyebrows at this. How very convenient.
“I swear, that’s all I know,” Connie said in a voice that sounded very much like a whine. She had misread Ginny’s expression. Ginny didn’t bother to correct her.
“So,” began Ginny, “my decision will be made tomorrow, then.”
“That’s the plan,” Connie answered quickly.
“Thank you.” Ginny affected her own smile with biting sarcasm thinly veiled behind it and let herself out.
“Back to my room, please,” she spat at the escort. He seemed to understand that she was not speaking harshly to him, only venting her anger at Connie, because he smiled slightly and led her away.
“So, you found them last night, did you?” Ginny asked without looking at the man escorting her.
“Yes, Miss Weasley.”
“What’s your name?” she asked out of sudden curiosity.
He seemed surprised by her question. “Roger, miss.”
“Well, Roger, what’s your side of the story.”
He looked back at her as though weighing her before speaking, but what he said was not at all what he expected. “You don’t care for Connie much.” It was not a question, but Ginny decided to answer anyway.
“No, not at all.” She was a bit impatient about her question however, so she added. “About last night…?”
“I would suggest you ask Mr. Potter, miss.”
“You would?” Ginny asked in disbelief. “Why?”
“I think you may find his side of the story a bit more…” he searched for the right word. “Enlightening.”
Intrigued, Ginny nodded when he looked back at her again. Ginny saw a shadow of a smile on Roger’s face as he turned back to watch where he was going.
As they stopped outside a third room, Ginny nodded to Roger in respect before knocking on the door and saw something rather interesting as she did so. She knocked, and as she heard movement from inside, she made a quiet comment that made Roger jump as though he had been nettled. “Nice watch,” Ginny said shrewdly.
The door opened and Harry peered out at her.
Hear Harry's side of the story next chapter!
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