Chapter 1 : Chapter 1: Just Friends
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Here's chapter 1! I hope you enjoy it...
The war had ended seven months ago. Harry, Hermione and Ron had returned to Hogwarts for their Seventh year as had most of their year. Unexpectedly Fred and George had also made the decision to continue their education and finish their NEWTs which many thought was a result of their mother's constant nagging but in truth had been because they had faced an issue in their business since they weren’t qualified to use some of the magic that they were using in some of their Weasleys Wizard Wheezes products. So whilst they were away at school their best friend Lee Jordan, his girlfriend Alicia Spinnet and Katie Bell ran the shop whilst working at their own jobs.
It was early in December and Hermione sat beside the fire finishing a Potions essay before going to dinner. She gave a heavy sigh and she re-read what she had written so far, an unimpressed look on her face as she did. "It would be a miracle if that got anywhere near exceeds expectations," she said scolding herself before crumpling the parchment and tossing it into the fire.
"You are joking aren't you?" Ginny asked with wide eyes.
"What?" Hermione asked uncertainly.
"You just wrote at least three feet of an essay and spent about two hours doing it and you just threw it away like it was nothing! You're mental," Harry told her whilst shaking his head.
"But it was rubbish," Hermione protested.
"Whatever, are you coming to dinner?" Ginny asked.
"Give me a second, I'll be down in a minute," Hermione said gathering her quills and ink.
"No seriously you guys go, I'll meet you down there," she told them.
"Ok," Harry said as he and Ginny left hand in hand.
Hermione waited for them to disappear before leaning back further into her chair. She ran a hand through her hair impatiently. 'Why can't they just understand?' she thought to herself. 'I love them both but they're a couple- I can't be hanging around them all the time. It wouldn't be fair on them. I'm a constant third wheel when I am! They don't need that. I'm better off alone. Nobody wants me anyway.'
She knew she was being bitter and that none of that was true. Countless numbers of boys had asked her out but Hermione knew they didn't want her. They wanted her fame. This didn't bother her though. She didn't want any of them either. She was still yet to meet her ideal man and so she had to continue to wait in hope she would find him soon. She had been with Ron briefly but things had ended quickly and even before that she hadn't been truly happy. It had turned out that a crush had faded into nothing and they had realised they were destined to be friends and only friends. Though it had been a mutual agreement their relationship was now awkward at best. They rarely spoke in one to one situations though they shared the same group of friends or instead she was friends with his siblings so they were around each other and involved in the same conversations. Ron was doing okay though. He was dating Lavender Brown. Again.
Hermione was broken out of her thoughts by voices.
"Just go down to dinner Lav, I'll be there soon. There's something I have to do, okay?" Ron told her.
'Lav' Hermione thought irritably. 'Somebody stop him before I throw up- and I haven't even had dinner yet!'
"Hey Hermione," said Ron nervously pulling a chair up beside her and taking a seat.
"I..." Hermione said opening her mouth to respond but no words forming. Ron and her never talked anymore so she found she was more than taken aback. Her hand flew to her hair immediately and she raked her fingers through it pulling at tangles as she thought. "Um...hi Ron..." she murmured awkwardly.
"I was, you know, um hoping to have a word," he told her rushing to get each word out of his mouth.
Hermione stared at him blankly as he fidgeted in his chair glancing at her then the floor then back to her. After several minutes of watching him expectantly she sighed. "What was it you wanted to talk about then?" she asked impatiently.
"Oh right. Yeah. Sorry..." he said taking a deep breath. "Well, see- I mean- obviously Christmas is coming up and stuff..." he trailed off.
"Well thanks for that positively enlightening news flash Ron," she said sarcastically whilst rolling her eyes, hoping the humour would break the tension but actually managed to deepen the awkwardness.
"Wait. Sorry. I mean like I know that you would usually spend Christmas with us after what happened with your- you know your parents," he began again with more confidence and Hermione flinched at the mention of parents. "But see my point is that things are quite different this year and um well I'm inviting Lavender and to avoid things being awkward and because of the fact there just won't be any space since Lavender would be staying in Ginny's room...so what I'm trying to say is you're not invited and so...well um you can't come..."
Hermione felt as if someone had just punched her in her stomach and winded her. She nodded slowly blinking away tears and attempting to swallow the lump in her throat. "Well I guess that puts everything in perspective," she said her voice trembling. "So much for best friends sticking together. Thanks Ron. I understand now...merry Christmas," she hissed at him as tears spilled from her eyes and ran down her cheeks. She picked up her bag and turned from him quickly.
She wiped her eyes furiously before walking swiftly towards the portrait hole. She pushed past the people on the other side in an attempt to get away but before she could a hand snatched her wrist.
"Where you off to in such a hurry Granger?" Fred asked her pulling her back round. It was then they saw her tearstained face.
"What's happened Hermione?" George asked concern audible in his voice.
Hermione pulled her arm from Fred's grip roughly and ran as fast as she could. Down a staircase, around two corners, down another staircase and turning three more corners before she stopped. She leant against a wall a sob racking her body as she slid down the wall until she was sitting with her back against it.
Fred and George stood staring after Hermione until she disappeared before stepping into the common room and looking around for someone who could tell them what was going on.
Ron stood in centre of the room looking dumbstruck before his gaze fell upon his brothers and his eyes widened knowing that if they found out what he'd done he'd be swimming with the giant squid. Turning quickly Ron made to go towards the boys' dormitory.
"Hey Ron!" George called out stopping him. "What's wrong with Granger?"
"Um I don't know to be honest," he lied and shrugged. "She ran out of the girls' dormitory crying then left the common room."
"Strange," Fred said looking confused.
"Yeah," George agreed. "So should we go to dinner?" he asked his twin who nodded and they left.
"Alright Potter, Gin," Fred said acknowledging them with a nod before sitting down. "Any ideas what's wrong with Granger?"
"What do you mean?" Ginny asked.
"She ran out of the Common room crying," George told her as he began piling food onto his plate.
"Really? She was fine earlier," Harry said and the twins shrugged.
"Hey, look it's Madam Johnson," Fred said grinning as he looked over at the staff table. Angelina Johnson, Fred's girlfriend, was currently working at Hogwarts as the flying teacher after Madam Hooch had retired.
"Still find it weird that you're dating a teacher," George said with a chuckle.
"We were dating before she was a teacher Gred," Fred reminded him.
"Very true Forge," George nodded.
"I honestly don't know why mum bothered naming you two idiots," Ginny said with a smirk.
"It's a pity she named you too, isn't it?" Fred said with an evil smile.
"Yeah Ginerva...what a name," George said wiping the smirk off her face.
After they'd eaten dinner they left the Great Hall together.
"Granger never came to dinner," George said in realisation.
"You know we better go look for her," Ginny said to Harry.
"Yeah we should," Harry agreed and they left.
"So my twin where to?" George asked.
"Sorry mate I'm going to a certain teacher’s office," Fred told George with a wink.
George shook his head at him with a laugh. "Have fun then. I'll be wandering the corridors aimlessly and praying for a girlfriend if you need me."
"You'll find her soon," Fred told him. "You're just not looking hard enough!"
"If I look any harder I'll need a new set of eyes," George told him. "There's just not a girl out there that's worthy of the amazing George Weasley," he chuckled.
"Yeah sure that's where your problem is," Fred teased. "See you later," he called before leaving.
George headed to the common room but when he arrived it was empty except for a couple of second years who really didn't seem like his kind of crowd. He decided maybe he should do exactly what he told his twin he'd be doing. 'I could always go to the Library,' he thought sarcastically. As he began walking the corridors.
"Alright Fred?" asked Dean as he past.
"I'm George, Dean. Only one ear, remember?"
"Right sorry," he called before continuing walking.
George greeted a variety of people as he strolled through the halls and had exchanges similar to his one with Dean with practically all of them. Rounding one corner he caught a glimpse of a figure slumped against a wall.
"Hermione?" he called.
She glanced up. Her eyes were red and puffy and her lips were red and raw from where she had been biting them. "Hi George," she mumbled looking back at her feet.
"You okay?" he asked as he moved to stand beside her.
"Oh yeah I'm great that's why I'm sitting here all alone on the floor and crying my eyes out," she said irritably.
"I'm sorry, what have I done to you exactly?" he asked feeling slightly angered by the tone she'd used on him. "I wanted to check on you but maybe I shouldn't have bothered."
"No George wait. I'm sorry. It's just- ugh...sorry I shouldn't have talked to you like that," she sighed.
"It's alright," he said sitting next to her. "So what happened?"
"Your brother happened," she told him honestly.
"What's he done now?"
"He told me I can't come to the Burrow for Christmas because he's inviting Lavender so there won't be space for me and he doesn't want things to be awkward," Hermione explained. "So I'll be here, in this bloody castle all alone for Christmas."
"And you're going to listen to him? Hermione he's being a git and we're not leaving you here. You're coming with us!"
"Thanks but no thanks George. I'm just going to stay here away from him and 'Lav Lav'. I don't want to make things awkward it's his house who am I to invite myself?"
"You're Hermione bloody Granger and you're family! And it's my house just as much as it's his and I'm telling you to come," he told her.
"George I'm not coming. End of. I don't want to be stepping on anyone’s toes I'm better off here," she told him seriously and her tone was enough to tell him to drop it.
"Just wait ‘til I get my hands on him," George said darkly. "Who does he think he is. He knows you've got nowhere else to go." Hermione gave a sharp intake of breath at his words.
"Sorry Hermione," he said quickly feeling ashamed. "I didn't mean it like that."
"It's fine. I don't have parents anymore, George. It's a fact that I have to live with," she told him.
George took her hand slowly in his own smiling at its warmth. It suddenly struck him how well her hand fit in his own and how right it felt. He'd held Hermione's hand before, countless times in fact. It wasn't a big deal, it was an act of comfort something you'd do with a sibling but George couldn't help feeling something different. Then he realised something that scared him ever so slightly. He wanted to lace his finger through hers but that was a more romantic gesture, wasn't it? He just about managed to fight the urge.
"So you're not going to come with us?" George asked breaking the silence.
"No," she told him simply. "I'll miss you guys and I do want to spend the time with you which is why I'm so upset but I just don't want to be in the way."
"Let me know if you change your mind," he said and she nodded her response. "So you and Ron...?"
"No- never- I mean we were a mistake. I didn't really like him. I mean I thought I did at first but he's like a brother and our relationship doesn't go further than that. What gets me is that we've been best friends so long, been through so much and he's still so willing to forget me and act like I don't even exist," she said opening up to George and tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.
"Don't cry 'Mione. I'm sure everything will work out soon enough. You'll see," he said with a reassuring smile as he pulled her into a hug. "Harry and Ginny are supposed to be looking for you...guess I beat them to it."
"You came looking for me?" Hermione asked looking up at him with eyes full of appreciation and hope.
George didn't have the heart to tell her the truth after the hopeful way she'd looked at him. "Yeah I did. 'Wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Thank you," she said smiling. "That was really sweet of you."
"Don't mention it," he grinned. "Who else was going to keep me company whilst my twin's off with his girlfriend?"
She laughed. "Very true. We're the only ones left. You know to become a couple."
George's eyes widened in shock red creeping up his neck all the way to his one ear. "I...um-"
"Not like that!" she said quickly whilst blushing. "I mean to become couples like find a boyfriend in my case and a girlfriend in yours."
"Oh right," he said chuckling uncomfortably. "Yeah we are."
"At least Fred still has time for you," Hermione told him.
"Fred and I will always have time for each other. We're not just twins or brothers, we're best friends," he said grinning.
"Well best friends doesn't mean much as far as I'm concerned," she admitted hurt in her voice.
"What do you mean?"
"When Ron and I broke up I thought it was for the best that we were better off going back to what we were before that, best friends. But we didn't go back to best friends...we're nothing now...I'm nothing to him," she whispered.
"Don't say that," George said softly. "You're best friends you're just in an odd spot at the moment."
"I hope," she muttered.
"Either way you can't say that about all best friends. What about Harry?" George reminded her.
"Harry and I are as close as ever if not closer but he's got Ginny...I don't want to be a third wheel. Ultimately I've got tons of amazing friends surrounding me but I'm still alone."
"You're not alone right now," George spoke quietly unsure of his words.
"No I'm not," she smiled. "And I'm so thankful to have your company. You're a great friend and it means a lot that you could be anywhere right now but you chose to come looking for me."
George grinned at her, "this is by far the best way to spend my time." Hermione smiled and they remained that way for a few minutes.
"Remind me why we're sitting on the floor in some random corridor?" George asked after a while.
Hermione laughed. "I have no idea."
George released Hermione's hand and pulled himself up. He brushed down his trousers before extending a hand for Hermione to take. She stared at it hesitantly clearly reluctant to leave but eventually relented and allowed him to pull her to her feet.
"Guess I have to face Ron eventually," she sighed.
George nodded tugging her slightly and squeezing her hand. "I understand how you feel, you know?"
"About which bit?"
"About being alone," he told her. "Since forever Fred and I have been just us against the world. Then he fell for Angelina and I did everything I could to try and help them get together and they've been together for a while now and he's serious about her. I don't want to be hanging around making it awkward for them to be a couple so I space myself from them every now and then. It's nothing against Fred- it's the opposite I only do it so that he can be happy with the girl he loves. But then in those short times where we're not together I have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do."
Hermione frowned and nodded understandingly. "I know what you mean George. We're both in the same place in that sense."
"Well then I guess, you know, if you're ever, you know, lonely or anything- I mean, you know, I'm always um around for, you know, company," he said flushing deep red. 'Why am I so nervous? Damn how many 'you knows' can you fit into one sentence! Shut up! It's only Granger! I might as well be talking to Ginny. She's like a sister... is that a fact? Or are you trying to convince yourself? I said to shut up! She's one of my closest friends...what's wrong with me?'
"I'd like that," she said blushing but smiling all the same suddenly more aware of his hand holding hers.
George nodded not quite sure how else to respond as they continued walking.
"Hi George," came the overly sweet voice of Jane a girl from Ginny's year which was technically his year now.
"Hi," he said not looking at all interested in her.
Jane batted her eyelashes and flicked her hair in what was presumably a flirtatious manner. "I was about to go for a walk by the Black Lake, do you want to come?"
"Thanks Jane," George said. "But no thanks," he added awkwardly. "I'm kind of busy at the moment," he told her lifting his hand which was holding Hermione's for her to see.
"Oh," she said clearly affronted. "Well fine then, whatever. Maybe some other time when you're not busy," she said her final word with a look of distaste as her eyes flicked up and down Hermione.
"Yeah...maybe," he said uncomfortably before she walked away. "More like never," he chuckled once she'd gone.
"She didn't seem very happy to be rejected," Hermione remarked.
"Well I'm afraid she'll have to live with it," he shrugged. "She's just not my type."
"Oh right. So what exactly is the criteria to be the infamous George Weasley’s 'type'?" she asked.
"Well she has to have a good sense of humour- none of those stupid girls that can't take a joke. Um... she has to be smart and witty. I love a bit of banter. But she has to be modest too," he told her.
"Well that's pretty specific. Good luck finding one of those," Hermione said.
"I know. I'm looking," he sighed.
Alright chapter 1 is done! I really hope you enjoyed it! I haven't started a new fanfiction for 44 chapters so I'm feeling a little out of my comfort zone right now! Please let me know what you thought I love to hear from you and Steve the review box (yes I named the review box, deal with it) is hungry for your reviews!
Thank you so much for reading! Please review! I really hope you enjoyed it and continue to read the story!
Thanks again! Jenna :)