Chapter 7 : Ben Hope
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She was still upset though, it was as though she was completely reliving the day she’d found out. Hermione could feel the emptiness in her heart and stomach, and she felt as though she didn’t want to move or do anything ever again, and she felt angry too, as well as feeling an overwhelming sadness. It was a hard feeling to describe unless you’d been through something similar.
Now though Hermione wasn’t thinking anything, she was just laid out on the hilltop. She was shivering, which meant she was cold, but she didn’t notice it much. She was wet too, but that was obvious, it was raining hard, but she didn’t care about that either, the rain was almost soothing on her skin. Hermione thought that perhaps lying there would solve everything; it was a silly thing to think. It wouldn’t be long until the Ministry found out where she was and they would come and get her, and she would return back to her normal life. Hermione didn’t want to do that just yet though, she preferred the rain, it represented normality. Rain was constant, it was always going to rain, it would never not rain, well, it would, but it would always rain again. Rain would never properly stop, not like life, life could stop at any moment, and it would never come back, a life, when it was gone, it was gone forever. Rain was comforting.
Hermione heard footsteps behind her head. They’d found her, the Ministry, it was always going to happen. She didn’t move though, what would be the point. The footsteps stopped, as far as Hermione could tell it was only one set of footsteps and they’d stopped directly behind her head.
“So, why here?”
Hermione was surprised, although she didn’t show it, but she hadn’t expected George.
“I like it here,” Hermione spoke. Her words were strained, like she had a sore throat. Other people would ask her why she was upset, or when she’d been planning to return, but not George, he was more interested in why she was in the specific place she was in. She watched him as he walked round and sat down near her left arm.
“What do you like about it? Personally I like the rain, it’s incredibly refreshing,” George smiled. Hermione didn’t know if he was joking or being serious.
“It’s quiet; every time I’ve been here nobody else has disrupted me, and there’s a nice view,” Hermione replied.
“I see, I have to agree, the rain is an added bonus though, don’t you think?”
“I suppose it is yes.”
“Have you noticed you’re shivering?”
“Yes, I don’t care though.”
“Right, and you’re wet too, I’d say soaked to the bone.”
“Thank you for noticing.”
“So are you going to tell me why you’re out here? You look to me as though you’ve been crying, although I wouldn’t know because of this delightful rain.”
“I’d rather not.”
“Fair enough,” George nodded, “you’ll tell me eventually I’m sure. Do you want to go home? Or to any place else?”
“Okay, I guess I better make myself at home then,” George grinned and spun round before lying down next to Hermione, his red hair contrasting greatly with the muddy ground. Hermione looked across at him.
“But you’ll get cold, and wet?” she frowned.
“But you’ll get colder, and wetter,” George smiled, “so I’d say you get the fungus covered end of the stick?”
“Right you have the fungus covered end of the stick or right you’ll get colder and wetter?”
“Okay, so what’s the problem?”
“There isn’t one.”
The two of them lay in silence for a couple minutes until Hermione realised something.
“How did you get up here without magic?” she questioned.
“Ginny dropped me off at the bottom and I walked up,” George replied.
“But this is Ben Hope; it’s like 3050 feet high?” Hermione frowned.
“Yes, why do you think I didn’t get here sooner?” George laughed.
“Oh,” Hermione smiled. They fell into silence again. George let the rain wash over his face, he knew what Hermione meant by this place being peaceful, it was a place to think. He felt Hermione’s hand reach out and entwine with his. He squeezed it reassuringly and tilted his head so he could see her. She was looking straight up, squinting to stop the rain falling in her eyes. She must have noticed him staring though because she tilted her head too so her eyes met his. George studied them. They never held anything back, Hermione’s eyes, the rest of her face could be a complete mask but her eyes always gave her away, revealing every emotion and stripping her bare, her eyes were the reason behind George being able to play her so well. At the moment though her eyes showed something that George didn’t want to see, they showed grief, sadness, anger and hopelessness. It was ironic really seeing as they were laid out on a mountain in the middle of Scotland called Ben Hope.
“What’s happened?” George whispered, barely audible over the rain. Hermione turned away and looked back up at the sky, George didn’t think he was going to get an answer but he was wrong.
“It wasn’t an accident,” Hermione said, her hand pulling away from George’s and clenching into a fist, “it wasn’t an accident and I should have known all along that it wasn’t!”
Hermione suddenly sprung to her feet and grabbed the wand lying on the ground beside her. She started screaming curses, sending shards of light into the rock. The rock exploded into giant boulders but she didn’t care. George had unleashed a monster.
“I-should-have-realised! It-was-so-obvious!” she screamed, sending curses spiralling into the rock after each word. George pulled himself to his feet, watching bewilderedly as Hermione continued to pummel the rocks with her spells.
“I’m-such-an-idiot!” Hermione cried. George pulled himself together and stepped forward, almost tackling Hermione he grabbed her wrists and pulled her to him.
“Drop it,” George pleaded. Hermione’s face looked reluctant but the wand fell from her grasp.
“There’s no need to get so angry,” George said, not letting go of Hermione’s wrists. Hermione’s head snapped upwards and a piercing glare hit George. His grasp on her wrists weakened slightly and it was enough for her to wriggle free and start hitting George in the chest with the sides of her fists. George stumbled backwards but Hermione pressed forwards.
“There is every need to get angry!” she screamed in fury. George was overpowered; all he could do was raise his arms to protect himself. Still she continued, releasing her anger upon him.
“Hermione, stop! Stop!” George cried out. He registered a brief opening where Hermione’s punches ceased and he took his chance stepping forwards, he engulfed Hermione in a bear hug so she could no longer move her arms. As he did this all strength seemed to escape and her legs went to jelly, forcing George to hold her up.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she sobbed, her head resting on George’s chest.
“It’s okay, look,” George took his arm away and raised Hermione’s chin with his thumb, “I understand.”
Hermione’s eyes met George’s and she realised he was telling the truth, he really did understand. She also realised what she was about to do next was incredibly cheesy, what with the pouring rain, but she did it anyway. She leaned up and she kissed him, hard, on the lips. George seemed shocked at first but responded quickly, so the shock was almost unnoticeable. He wrapped his arms around her waist and Hermione wrapped hers around his neck as he pulled her up off her feet. Hermione could feel an eruption of butterflies in her stomach and suddenly everything around her seemed so much clearer and defined. She could feel almost every battering rain drop hitting her face, the wind thrashing at her hair, the muddy ground beneath her feet as she landed again, and most of all George, his strong arms, his comforting presence, his soft lips against hers. It was all she could think about. One second she’d been miserable and empty and now she felt almost euphoric. Hermione had forgotten what a single kiss could do to somebody like her, somebody that had been so lonely for so long. She pulled away and George grinned, if Hermione put a wagging tail on him he’d be an exact replica of an excitable puppy.
“Well well well Miss Granger, who would have thought it, the class clown and the clever snobby prefect, sharing a bit of a kiss,” George chuckled.
“Snobby?” Hermione gaped incredulously, slapping George on the chest playfully.
“Did you miss the clever bit?” George grinned.
“Yes, now am I really snobby?”
“I know how to push every one of your buttons, don’t I?” George brushed her off and leant down again, kissing Hermione once again on the lips. It was short and sweet this time though, much to Hermione’s disappointment.
“Shut up,” Hermione laughed, “else I won’t tell you about your surprise.”
George looked at her expectantly.
“Well, are you not going to ask me what it is?”
“You told me to shut up.”
“Oh shut up, ask me.”
“What’s my surprise?” George smiled cheekily. Hermione couldn’t contain herself any longer, she whipped out the paperwork from her back pocket like it was a letter containing her O.W.L results and thrust it at George.
“A wet bit of paper, this is the surprise?” George frowned.
“Open it,” Hermione nodded, bringing her hands up to her face in her excitement. George, almost as though he’d picked up on Hermione’s excitable attitude, opened the piece of paper slowly and carefully.
“Come on!” Hermione encouraged, almost bouncing up and down. George opened the paper fully and studied it.
“It says here you’ve bought a property on Diagon Alley,” George frowned, and then looked up at Hermione, confused, “what am I going to do with a property on Diagon Alley?”
“Well I thought, you know, you could set up Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes again? It’s exactly the same building, I thought, well, I thought you’d like that,” Hermione replied, nervousness creeping into her tone.
“I see,” George nodded.
“Do I what?”
“Do you like it?”
“I don’t know Hermione, I told you before, last time it didn’t work out, I’m not sure if-”
“But you’re back on your feet now, you’re back to your normal self, please, give it a go, for me?” Hermione begged.
“I’ll give it a go, but you might have wasted your money,” George nodded. Hermione felt a sort of anti-climax. She’d thought George would be happy about what she’d done for him, but instead he looked as though running the shop would simply be a burden. She felt the emptiness of before wash over her again.
“Everything I do for you you throw it back in my face,” Hermione said, her features turning cold.
“No, wait, Hermione, it’s not like that, I just, I just-”
“You just what? You just can’t do it without Fred? That is no excuse. Fred would have wanted you to keep that shop going, keep your legacy or whatever you want to call it going, if you don’t work your damned hardest to get it back to its former glory I’d say you’ve failed him. Do you think I wanted to keep going when Ron died? Do you think I didn’t want to give up and quit? Get a grip of yourself, people die and whoever’s left has to deal with it, letting your life fall down the drain is not an appropriate way of dealing with it, I’ll see you at home,” Hermione said fiercely, grabbing her wand from the floor and disapparating into thin air.
George stood there, bewildered, and then he got angry with himself. He ran up to the nearest rock and kicked out, his foot striking it with force. He heard a crack and felt a burst of pain shoot up his leg; he cried out in agony and grabbed at his injured foot, jumping up and down on the spot. Great, he’d fallen out with Hermione, most likely had a broken foot and had no way of getting home. He sunk to the floor.
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