Chapter 41 : Chapter 41
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"George 'ermione should be resting," said Fleur upon entering the kitchen.
"Thanks Fleur but I'm fine really," Hermione insisted.
"Of course you are not fine. Come now it's late and you should be sleeping. Especially since you are supposed to be leaving tomorrow," Fleur told her.
"You're leaving tomorrow?" George demanded his hand grabbing her wrist harder than necessary and she flinched. "I'm sorry," he gasped dropping her wrist as if it had burnt him. "I-I didn't mean to- I'm- I..." he stuttered something about the fact he'd hurt her killed him deep down. It may have been because of the fact she was already so weak but the idea that he'd caused her pain made him feel sick. He backed away from her slowly barely noticing as Fleur left after Hermione said something to her he couldn't quite process.
"George...?" she asked slowly taking a few steps towards him and resting a hand on the side of his face. "What's wrong?"
"I-I'm so sorry...Never meant to-to..."
"George I'm not hurt I'm okay. I'm fine," she told him gently as she looked into his eyes.
He nodded slowly, "sorry I just couldn't bear the thought of you being hurt and worse still the thought that I hurt you."
"I'm okay George," she promised. "You didn't hurt me."
He hugged her tightly. "You're leaving tomorrow?" he asked though softer this time.
"We have to finish what we've started George," she said.
"I know," he sighed looking at her with sad eyes. "You really should be resting."
"Okay," she mumbled and allowed him to lead her back up the stairs to the room she'd woken in. She lay down in the bed and suddenly felt the pain and exhaustion.
"Do you want me to give you some peace...?" George asked taking a step towards the door.
"No," she said quickly. "I mean- could you just stay...?"
"Of course," he smiled lying on his side beside her.
"Earlier when Ron came in you and Fred were speaking to him but I didn't understand..."
George's face looked grief-stricken. "When we saw him earlier we were so happy to see him. I mean he's our brother and we love him but I was so angry and disappointed at him for leaving you guys..." George paused. "We told him that he should be ashamed of himself rather than telling him how glad we were to see him. And then he said we had no idea what he'd been through. Told us how much pressure it had been and that it got to him and that we wouldn't understand... he was right. Then he stormed off and we just felt really guilty."
"Oh," Hermione said quietly.
"I know," George sighed. "Never felt so ashamed of myself."
"But he forgives you and he understands," Hermione reassured him.
"What if next time he sees me I'm in a coffin though? What kind of brother is he going to remember me as?" George said resentfully.
"Look in the mirror, think about everything you've been through recently and try and tell me what you were just about to say."
A single tear leaked from the corner of Hermione's eye. "I know," she muttered.
"I can't believe you're leaving again..."
"George I- we need to finish this. If we don't he'll never die," she told him. "If he never dies then..." her breath caught in the back of her throat as she imagined it.
George nodded slowly and wrapped his arms around her weak form. "That's not going to happen."
She turned slowly on her side to face him. There were only inches between their faces and their eyes locked on each other. "You know I hadn't smiled in months and then I saw you."
"What can I do to keep a smile on that beautiful face permanently?" he asked softly.
"Nothing," she whispered. "I'll just remember you in this moment and every other that we've shared."
"We'll be together again soon, I'm sure of it," he told her.
"And what makes you so sure?"
"Because the thought that I won't brings more pain than I can bare," he told her truthfully.
"George mate you ready to go?" asked Fred upon stepping into the room.
"I-..." George choked. He wasn't ready to leave yet.
"George," Hermione muttered softly. "I don't want to ask this of you but please don't leave. Please stay with me," she begged him and found herself once more on the verge of tears.
George wrapped his arms around her tighter making her feel secure. "I will never leave you Hermione. As long as you want me to stay I will never leave you," he promised her burying his head in her neck.
"Thank you," she murmured against his chest.
"I'll go tell mum we're staying then," said Fred pulling on a cloak.
"We?" George asked turning to his twin with a mixture of hope and admiration.
"My twin needs me, I've got some brothers here who needs me and I've got a sister here who needs me," Fred said strongly whilst grinning.
Hermione looked up at Fred, her eyes watering slightly. She knew Fred wasn't referring to Fleur and she was truly touched. "Thank you," she whispered pulling away from George getting up and hugging Fred. She had already considered him as a brother but for him to actually say she was his sister, not even that she was like a sister.
"Oh Granger I'm just about to go out, you're really going to cry all over my shirt?" Fred joked.
"Say hi to your mum from me?"
"Oh yeah," he said, voice rising to an unusual pitch.
"Fred?" she asked warily.
He took a deep breath and the words poured out of his mouth at an unbelievable speed. "WellMumdoesn'treallyknowyou'reallherebecausewedidn'twanttoputherthroughthegoodbyesandthoughtitwouldbeeasierifshejustneverknew."
Hermione struggled to distinguish each separate word but in general what she'd understood was that Mrs. Weasley didn't know. "I suppose it's for the best."
Both twins nodded. "I'll be back in a little while," Fred called before vanishing with a crack.
"Thanks for staying," she whispered.
"Like I could leave," he said smiling at her. "Knowing it could be months until I see you again."
"I don't think I could have let you leave," she admitted as she lay back down allowing his arms to envelope her again.
"How are you feeling?"
"Ready for revenge," Hermione told him truthfully.
"Don't do anything stupid Hermione. That evil, old witch isn't worth the risk," George said seriously.
"I know," she muttered. "But there was a pain and fear then which I'd never experienced before."
"And that you didn't deserve," George told her.
"You didn't deserve that either though, did you?" she asked him brushing her hand over the slowly healing wound where his ear had been. "Face it we're just unlucky." Something in her voice suggested that she wasn't speaking only in regards to her own or George's injuries but instead at something bigger and it wasn't hard to tell that it was about their relationship.
"Very unlucky," George murmured in agreement.
Hermione's eyelids drooped slowly and before she could help it she'd fallen into a deep sleep.
"You know sometimes I wonder if we're doing the right thing, you know? Do you remember I told you at the wedding before you left that when you got back there was something I had to tell you? I really don't know whether I should tell you now since you're back or if I shouldn't since you're leaving again tomorrow...maybe you should decide. You probably know it already but it's up to you really, do you want me to tell you now for once and for all? ... Or should I wait until I know that if I tell you you're still going to be with me the next day?" he asked her, his voice taking on an unusually serious tone.
He listened to the silence which was only interrupted by the sound of her breathing and possibly the pounding of his heart. "Or maybe you just don't want to know at all...? I'm sorry I shouldn't have said anything," he rambled nervously. "I mean obviously you've got so much going on and you- I mean I- so I shouldn't have-" he sighed deeply trying to compose himself before he spoke again.
"You know it would be really helpful if you could speak right about now," he said anxiously. "Come on Hermione you're killing me..."
"George?" asked Fred upon re-entering. "Who are you talking to?"
"Who do you think? Do you mean we're kind of having a private conversation," George told him.
"George, she's asleep you do realise that?" Fred asked him feeling strong concern for his twin.
"Yeah sorry mate."
"Well that makes what I just said less awkward at least," George sighed deciding next time he tried to voice his true feelings he'd do it when he could see her face rather than the back of her head. 'Then again,' he thought. 'The back of her head is quite attractive. Man I love her hair...'
"George," Fred hissed.
"I said I'm going to bed. Night mate," he said.
George nodded, "night."
George moved closer to Hermione his chest pressed against her back so he could feel the faint thump of her heart. Part of him was glad that she'd been asleep through his rambling though the other part of him was curious as to how she would've reacted had she not been asleep.
He didn't sleep as the hours past all he could think about was Hermione.
Suddenly Hermione cried out. "No," she screamed. "Please! We didn't take anything..."
Hermione tossed and turned in agony, she cried and screamed for help that wasn't coming. She was clearly reliving the memories from Malfoy Manor.
"Hermione," George whispered soothingly rubbing her back. "Hermione you're safe, I'm here. You're okay. She can't hurt you Hermione. I'm here, George is here."
"George," she gasped her body jolting forward as she woke with a start feeling tears leaking from her eyes.
"I'm here," George said quickly grasping her hands tightly in his own.
"Oh George," she mumbled as she began to cry and she flung herself at him, burying her head in his chest.
George held her close to him. "I've got you Hermione," he promised her. "You're safe, I won't let anything happen to you I swear."
"I-it f-felt so real," she said whilst trembling and running her fingers over her scars. "Like it was all happening again...how can I forget and move on if it keeps coming back...?"
"You can't forget Hermione, what happened to you Hermione will stay with you forever. But you can be stronger from it and it won't keep coming back, it's just because it's such a fresh memory but after that you'll be able to move on I swear to you."
Hermione wrapped her arms around him, "I just want it to go all away. The only thing I want to be real right now is you," she said wiping her eyes. "No war, no death eaters, no you-know-who, no nightmares..."
"I wish," George agreed.
"George?" she asked softly.
"Yes Hermione?" he answered her curiously.
"Never forget me?" her voice was quiet but hopeful.
"Never," he promised pressing his lips to the top of her head. He wasn't entirely sure what she meant though he imagined it was in case she didn't make it back after they'd finished their mystery mission. "As long as I live."
Hermione nodded in content before slipping her arms around George and lying back down facing him. He hugged her back cradling her into himself and within moments they'd both fallen asleep.
So what did you think? You know the drill guys! I love to hear from you and so does Steve! Thanks a million for reading it really does mean a lot and I appreciate it! Hope you continue to read and enjoy the story! Thanks for reading! Jenna :)
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