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Chapter 2 : Will you marry me?
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The stain lifted off the sheet quickly as she worked methodically; knowing she only had a matter of minutes to sneak away before Molly came to check on how she was doing. Passing the sitting room quietly where Molly was slowly humming to herself dusting the mantelpiece, Hermione snuck up the stairs with incredible stealth, managing to avoid every creaking floorboard and telltale footsteps. She managed to dodge everyone in the house, acting more like a spy than a young girl, then again no-one knew about her secret lover and for now she would like it to stay that way.
She worried about the sound of the door opening, worried Molly would come up after someone who wasn’t suitably work to death. If Molly knew their secret she could only imagine what that would bring and she wasn’t ready for that quite yet. The scent filled her with joy as soon as she entered the familiar musk of her lover. She slipped over quietly near the bed, painfully aware that one wrong step and this could all end badly. She climbed on the bed and learnt with her head against the headboard pondering on how much her life had changed over the last 2 years.
That meeting almost two years ago was the day her life changed. When she closed her eyes she was still in that moment, his loving protective arms around her, sleeping and just being together. That was the night she’d unquestionably fell in love with the man she believed was previously her opposite yet the more time they spent together the more she realised how alike they actually were. He was intelligent, a business man, he was driven, loyal and most importantly he was hers. The secrecy of their relationship gave both pressure and excitement. They couldn’t afford to be caught in the passionate clinches yet the fact that they could be caught gave them both a thrill.
She didn’t want to be caught in the trap forever, not telling anyone for fear of what they would think but then when they no longer cared what they thought, too scared to tell anyone because of how long it’d been happening. They hadn’t gone any further than kissing in those two years, they’d talked about it of course and she knew he’d been with other people whilst they were at Hogwarts but he didn’t want to pressure her into anything. He knew the physical side of the relationship would come but to him it wasn’t important, he’d never felt this way before and to be honest he didn’t even miss it. He wanted to wait until she was ready, until she instigated it but she’d never felt able to… until now.
It had taken her a while but now she’d realised that there was nothing left in the world to be afraid of apart from missing out on. She was in love and nothing else mattered to her. The worst was upon them anyway and the nightmares were now a reality, so why not take every chance, why not let herself be in love and give herself completely to the man she loved so much. She could die in this war yet she found herself being more worried about George. Every time she heard about one of his schemes she couldn’t help but agree with Molly’s chastising. They needed to be more careful because she didn’t know how she would cope without him. Hermione needed to show him how much she loved him, how much she cared and to let him know that she would be there for him no matter what happened, now or in the future.
She waited for a little while in silence before climbing off the bed and examining the contents strewn over the top of their chest of drawers. A smile formed on her face as her eyes focused on the picture frame. It contained the picture of Fred and George the day they had opened the shop. The beaming grin on their face there was now seldom seen. Pressing the hidden clasp at the back the picture quickly changed. Now staring back at her was the picture of her and George, taken last summer after he had tried (and failed) to teach her quidditch again. Her hair was windswept all over her face but George had still gazed lovingly into her eyes, making her love it even more.
She looked on into the picture she wondered what their future would be like should they get through the war. They might not be accepted straight away but they would get there. As she pondered, the door slid open with barely a sound and a ginger haired boy slipped inside whilst another waited quietly by the door. He tiptoed behind her and reached for her waist.
In a split second, he found himself on the floor with the menacing but beautiful face of his girlfriend glaring at him, wand twisting in her fingers.
‘Did you really think you were going to sneak up on me?’ She said, a smile appearing through her glare. She turned her gaze to the boy standing in the door way, now doubled over in laughter and items falling from his arms.
Hermione held her hand out to George who still looked on in disbelief. He would get her back for this one! As he grasped her hand he used all of his strength to try and pull her down on top of him but instead of pulling her down, she loosed his hand letting him fall down once again.
‘Abuse,’ he grumbled, ‘Abuse is all I get when all I do is love this woman. Don’t you agree Fred?’ George looked to his brother with a hopeful grin but his hopes were dashed when he saw his brother still doubled over in laughter.
‘All’s fair in love and war bro.’ he managed to say between laughs.
George shook his head as he stood up, not quite knowing how to react. He walked over to Hermione and kissed her on top if the head as she wrapped her arms around him. Even after 2 years and all the lies, each little stolen moment they had made it all worth it. Each touch and each kiss sent goose-bumps down his spine. He leant down for a kiss once more, losing himself in that moment with her.
Fred quietly picked the items off the floor before slipping out of the room, giving the couple some well needed privacy. As their lips came apart, Hermione led George onto the bed, pulling herself into a cross legged position before turning to face him. George was surprised by the seriousness on her face, he didn’t know what to expect as tears started rolling down Hermione’s face.
‘Shhh shhh darling. What’s the matter?’ His tender touch wiped the tears from her eyes making her sob even harder.
‘G-g-George, I’m leaving.’
His heart dropped as he realised what she’d just said. He had known it was coming for weeks, ever since Dumbledore’s death. He had known Harry was leaving; he had even helped with the transfiguration of the ghoul, so why did this hurt so much? He couldn’t lose her.
‘I’m sorry,’ Hermione started.
‘Just don’t Hermione; we knew it was going to happen. We all have to do what we have to do. Survive. I just wish you could stay with me.’
Silence elapsed between them as they realised how much they needed each other. She didn’t want to leave as much as he didn’t want her to, but she had to. They all had to risk themselves for the sake of the wizarding world yet she couldn’t help but want to be selfish. She knew they could both just run away, hide from the war waging on but she couldn’t choose George over her best friend as hard as that may be.
‘So,’ Hermione started again, ‘looking forward to the wedding?’
‘Oh yeah. I can’t wait for a bunch of old people to descend on the house for some poxy wedding mum has us cleaning under the floor boards for? Not bloody likely. When we get married, we need to elope; I can’t be dealing with all this hassle.’
Hermione was a little taken aback at the idea of marriage; they hadn’t really talked about their future before, although this was mainly to do with the fact that they weren’t entirely sure that they had a future. She had always wanted to get married, have a career and maybe children but she had never even imagined that for George, he just seemed to carefree to settle down. Thoughts flew through her mind as she realised that their relationship had been hidden for almost 2 years so if they did get married, it wouldn’t be taken too kindly least of all from Molly or Ron.
‘Marriage!’ she spluttered, unsure of what else to say.
‘Isn’t that what you want?’ George asked curiously, scared that she thought he was rushing her. Growing up with only one sister had exposed him to the other side of the women world where all they dream of is getting married (or in Ginny’s case getting married specifically to Harry Potter) so he wasn’t really sure how she felt about these things. He’d always expected that one day he’d get married and have a family but with the state of their future he wasn’t sure. Katie Bell and Oliver Wood had just got married last week; eager to get their future sorted because well what was the point in waiting?
‘I don’t know, I think so.’ She replied truthfully.
‘I know I do.’ simply came his reply. So much was said with his eyes. In that sentence she knew he was telling the truth. That no matter how many obstacles came their way, no matter what the outcome of this war was and no matter how many problems they faced with the family, he would be there with her every step of the way.
‘I love you.’ She whispered in his ear. He pulled her into his arms, placing his head on top of hers.
‘I love you too.’ he said, absentmindedly running his fingers through her hair. The prankster had fallen for the prefect so many moons ago. The night he’d fallen for her seemed so long ago as the world had become such a different place, there was danger that lurked around every corner so George was glad that both he and Fred had found love before it was too late, even if it was in the most unlikely places. Until that night he used to think that Hermione was a stuck-up little know it all who lacked the personality to maintain a relationship yet after that night, everything had changed.
‘I’m going to miss you most of all when I leave.’ Whispered Hermione, trying to imagine what life would be like without seeing him everyday. She wished that she could just tell everybody tonight so they didn’t have to sneak around anymore and so there was a weight off her shoulders when she finally went away.
‘Then don’t.’ The words slipped so easily from George’s lips he could have almost imagined it.
‘You know I have to.’
‘That doesn’t make it any easier.’
‘Look,’ he pulled Hermione’s face to meet his, ‘I will always love you no matter where you go. This is going to be hard but when you get back I’m going to be right here waiting for you. No matter whether you’re here with me or half way across the world, just think of me and I’ll be there.’
They lay there for a while in the blissful silence. Neither of them knew quite how they were feeling. They both knew there was a real possibility of them being hurt or killed and even though they’d been in that position several times before, this time it just seemed more real. The idea of them losing each other never got any easier whether it was for a month or forever.
The door swung open disturbing their comfortable silence which caused them both to jump out of their skins, they’d come too far to let it all be unravelled before the wedding. They both raced to the chest of drawers in an attempt to look as if they were at least doing something but it was all a little too late as it would have been obvious to the person coming in through the door that they’d been sitting in a far too familiar position on the bed.
Hermione blushed to a shade of red not even she thought possible and George stifled a laugh as they turned around to find their intruder.
‘You’re lucky that its only me,’ Ginny grinned, looking both smug and embarrassed she’d caught them, ‘Mums on the warpath again, she sent me to come and find you Hermione, Ron’s turned the marquee green.’
‘You are joking?’ Hermione tutted, ‘Tell her I’ll be down in a moment, I’m supervising the tidying of the boys room.’
‘Yeah, ‘supervising’, if you say so.’ Ginny laughed.
Ginny left before George could throw the pillow at her. Her laughing could be heard outside the door. She had always had a knack of catching them together, getting them out of some close scrapes when Ron was looking for one of them. Ginny knew they were the perfect match but also knew how much Ron loved her too. Sometimes she wondered whether they had done the right thing to keep it a secret for so long, at least if they’d have done it sooner then Ron would have been able to deal with it quicker. She always wondered whether she had made the right decision, keeping their secret and whether she had chosen her best friend over her brother.
Hermione and George looked at each other as soon as they heard the soft click of the door, giggling about it together. At least it was Ginny, it could’ve been anybody.
‘Right I’d better go before Ron ends up being banished to the arctic.’ Hermione said. George had to agree with her there, the way Molly was at the moment, especially with the arrival of the Delacours, he wouldn’t put anything past her.
‘Oh and can I see you later? Come to the quidditch field after dinner?’
‘That sounds ominous.’ George replied suspiciously. Usually when they saw each other twice in one day he was in trouble for something or other. Hermione was very hard to read so he didn’t know what to think, he didn’t think he’d done anything yet he’d lost count of the times he’d been yelled at for something he’d done or something he’d sold in the shop.
‘Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble.’ Sometimes he swore she could hear his thoughts. She briefly kissed him on the lips before opening the door and running outside. George threw himself onto the bed, sighing and hoping the bed would swallow him up. He hated all of this wedding planning. The door opened again and Hermione poked her head back around the door.
‘Oh and George, tidy your room!’ She winked laughing as she saw him sigh and place his head into his hands. He hated tidying up as much as he hated weddings. He picked up his wand and muttered a few household spells which made a few things start to move but as his mind wandered the things slowly dropped back to their place.
He would do anything for Hermione and he couldn’t wait to be with her forever. There was nothing he wanted more than for her to be safe so he would be watching over her, waiting for that moment that she could come back to him.
George got up to survey the destruction that they called their room, even he had to admit that it was a complete mess. He started to pick up some of the things up off the chest of drawers and quickly realised it made no difference to the mess. He picked his wand back up and quickly formulated a plan. Vanishing things seemed to be the only way forward.
The scene downstairs was much calmer than he expected when he finally decided to brave it. It was all pristine and formal with not a thing out of place. There was an almost serene atmosphere as he saw the Delacours overseeing the last minute preparations. He watched on in delight as he saw that Hermione had not only turned the marquee back to the original cream but had also been able to add a gold rim which complemented the bridesmaid dresses perfectly.
Hermione had a huge degree of self-satisfaction at being able to right all the wrongs and took a lot of pride in her magical ability so when she saw George watching her she felt herself getting very embarrassed. Her mind was full of fears about George’s reaction when she told him what she wanted and his presence wasn’t helping the feelings.
She knew it wasn’t going to be an easy conversation because of George’s fears and reservations about it. She knew she wasn’t going to be the first girl George had slept with but he was going to be hers and that’s what most of his fears were centred around. He was scared she wasn’t ready, he was scared of hurting her and he was scared of making her run for the hills. She knew she wanted this more than she wanted anything else, at the moment she had her life and she had her youth and she wanted to live her life with the most amazing man she could imagine.
Hermione tried to put the ideas out of her mind and attempt to converse with Gabrielle in some complicated French she didn’t completely understand but despite her best effort Gabrielle was disinterested and it was obvious to everybody around that she’d rather be a million miles away than be speaking to her right now.
Until dinner that night Hermione kept herself busy by doing some last minute tidy rounds and ensuring that all the security barriers were up to standard. She had also realised that she needed to finalise her contingency plans and make sure everything was packed in case of a security breech tomorrow. She already knew about the complete security, the aurors and the well skilled wizards that were going to be there but was also aware that for certain points of the day the security was going to be very pressured. Having planned several different situations in her head she adopted a plan for each and came to the resolution that all of the bags would have to be packed tonight.
Dinner was an unusual affair with the tables having to be moved outside to accommodate the large number of people and the confusion when the minister of magic turned up only added to the aura.
George could hardly contain his worry as he watched Hermione walk off with the minister and nearly jumped out of his seat as he heard raised voices. Ginny came to soothe his worry, reminding him of who she was with and that she would be well protected by them. When she returned his eyes gravitated quickly towards her and across the table they couldn’t help but share a moment. His eyes questioned where as hers shook telling him in a moment of her fear.
After that the chatter resumed to talk about the items on the will, which gave him a well needed distraction to think about what Hermione actually wanted to talk to him about considering that they had already talked about her leaving. Anything she had to tell him he was ready for. She was the woman he loved and there was no reason for him to be so worried.
As soon as the cake had been served, George quickly made his excuses; he was going to the quidditch field to search for some stray golf balls which might be blown into the wedding area if it was windy tomorrow. Hermione, Ginny and Fred also volunteered to go, giving them both the cover both for the absence but also the much needed talk.
Once they had hit the darkness, Ginny and Fred lit their wands in search of actual golf balls whilst Hermione and George continued up to their favourite spot. They reached the middle of the orchard quickly and embraced each other passionately before conjuring up a blanket and sitting on the ground. George looked at Hermione intensely as she opened her mouth and shut it again, unsure of the words to use.
‘G-George I-‘George cut her off before she could say anymore.
‘Look Hermione, whatever this is about its okay. We have nothing to worry about. You’re safe here with me and that’s all that matters. I’m not going anywhere. I have something to ask you and please don’t think this is just because you’re leaving because its not. I love you more than life itself and I would do anything, absolutely anything to keep you safe. I don’t want you to think because of this you have to stay here but I just want you to know that all I want is for you to come back to me here. Hermion-‘
‘George don’t.’ she whispered.
‘Hermione Jean Granger,’ he continued, ‘will you marry me?’
The look of fear blazed in his eyes as she looked at him and shook her head.
‘N-no, no, no, this isn’t right. George we can’t.’ She looked at him, eyes wide for reassurance.
‘Why not? I love you and you love me. That’s all that matters.’
‘I can’t, not yet.’ She replied to him. Rejection flooded through his face.
‘No George, it’s not because I don’t want to because I really do. I want us to be together first, properly be together.’ Her mouth felt dry as soon as the words left her lips. She saw his expression turn from rejection to shock. The irony. Him being more shocked about her asking him to sleep with him than asking her to marry him.
He’d wanted to touch her, for them to share the connection for so long but now he wasn’t so sure. Surely she was only saying this because she was leaving. He didn’t want it to be like that, out of necessarily rather than love. He loved her more than he could have ever imagined the first time he saw her. For the first time he wasn’t sure what to say, the prankster… lost for words.
‘I-I’d like that too.’ He replied. Hermione’s face lit up at his words. She’d done something that required confidence and courage she never thought she had, she felt like she could conquer the world. She had never actually imagined she could go through with it even though she wanted it more than anything. The proposal had surprised her, he wanted to marry her. It truly hadn’t sunk in yet.
George sat worried for a little while. Her naivety to the whole notion of sex was admirable. George knew how much it could change a relationship and would really make them fall for each other. He worried about the proposal and how she now wanted to take it further. It would give them a connection which they would never lose especially as it would be Hermione’s first experience and he wondered whether it would rush her into marriage.
‘Are you sure?’ he asked ‘As in are you completely positive that this is what you want? I don’t mind waiting until we get married.’ He hinted softly brushing her hair out of her face. She turned to look at him trembling beneath his touch.
‘More than anything.’
‘Then that is what you shall have.’
They heard footsteps coming back into the orchard and stole a quick kiss before vanishing the blanket. The illuminated faces of Ginny and George came into the clearing.
‘You two have been up here too long,’ Ginny chastised, ‘People will start asking questions.’
‘Let them ask,’ replied George smugly, ‘We have something to tell them anyway.’
‘We’re getting married!’ he grinned gleefully. Hermione looked at the shocked face of her best friend whilst George shook the hand of his twin. Her face flushed red as it sunk in what was going to be happening.
‘Are you two out of your minds?’ came Ginny, ‘What about mum, more to the point, what about Ron?’
‘So what about mum? and so what about Ron? It’s our lives and we’ve been together almost 2 years.’
‘Give it up Gin,’ came Fred, ‘Congratulations bro, and sis,’ He winked at Hermione, ‘How are you going to tell everyone?’
‘Well,’ Hermione started, ‘we haven’t quite discussed it yet but not until this weddings over that’s for sure!’ She gave George a glare which echoed ‘Just stop talking.’
They carried on walking in a comfortable silence until the edge of the clearing became near. As soon as they emerged Ron rushed over and threw his arms around Hermione’s neck.
‘Thank god, we were about to send out a search party for you all!’ Hermione tried to fake a grin as George slipped quietly around her back to the party. His face was delighted with this grin which he didn’t think could be moved. She was going to be his wife. He was so scared she was going to say no but now they were going to be together forever. She rolled her eyes at the grin, convinced someone was going to notice.
She gave him a small awkward smile as she walked away. It would have been so much easier if she could’ve told everybody about their relationship. Ginny glared at her as she walked away from Ron, her eyes pierced hers with a look of pure venom. She could understand where Ginny was coming from however she wasn’t hurting anybody and it was going to become clear soon enough. The deception affected her too; Ron was one of his best friends but only friends in her eyes.
There were nights Hermione spent crying in her room, when she realised how much she was risking through their relationship but every time she realised all the guilt and deception was worth it because they were happy. She knew she would do anything for one more day with George and she also knew that if her friends really loved her then they would accept their relationship.
The rest of the night went back to fairly usual although Hermione could feel the glare of Ginny as soon as she moved between tables and George would not let the grin leave his face. The only minor hiccup was Hagrid getting drunk and blubbering about how Harry’s mum and dad would have loved to see him. There was a certain air of awkwardness as everyone once again became aware of the real danger outside the walls of the house.
As soon as Hermione slipped into the kitchen of the Burrow George started to get nervous. He had so many worries about their first time and he was almost annoyed that they’d resisted the urge for this long. If they’d have done it sooner maybe she would have felt less obligated to do it now. Maybe they should just wait until they’re married. Thoughts of ‘What if she didn’t like it?’ filled his head. Surely then she wouldn’t want to marry him. He wanted her more than anything.
He hurried off upstairs after her, trying not to think of all the bad things that could happen. They loved each other and surely that was enough to make sure that they were going to be happy.
Hermione was always waiting on his bed when he got there. He didn’t know how to react or what to do apart from sit down beside her.
‘Hey.’ She said with a small smile.
‘Hey,’ he replied back. Hermione carried on undeterred by the awkward silence.
‘So how’s this going to go then?’ She moved into the space next to him, brushing her fingers along one of his biceps causing Goosebumps to appear all over his body. It had been so long since he’d been in this position; to him he was more anxious now than his first time. Hermione however appeared to have an abundance of confidence and had surpassed the stages of nervousness. She had never imagined her first time would be George Weasley, then again she’d never imagined even being with George, however she couldn’t have imagined it with anybody else.
He placed his fingers on her cheek, sending electric shivers down her spine. Her lust for him took over as his did or her; they fell back onto the bed, losing themselves in each other.
‘I love you,’ he whispered.
‘I love you too.’
Their kissing intensified and
Evolved to the passionate kissing, him running his hands through her hair as though his life depended on it. She responded, pulling him closer and reaching for his belt buckle. George pushed her hands away and looked at her, all jokiness had gone, the seriousness shone through.
‘Are you sure?’ He asked her again, wanting her to be completely confident this was what she wanted.
‘I have never been surer of anything in my life.’ They sealed it with a kiss and this time when she went to reach for his belt buckle he didn’t stop her. His hands grappled for her shirt, undoing the buttons slowly, before discarding the rest of his clothing as she did hers.
And then as they consummated their relationship, all the fear and the guilt lay forgotten, them only being interested in each other.
As it came to an end all they could think was wow.
‘Tomorrow,’ came Hermione’s voice.
‘Tomorrow what?’ George asked perplexed.
‘We will tell them tomorrow.’
Then there was silence. There was nothing left to say even though everything had happened. They would tell their families tomorrow about their relationship and about their marriage because nothing else mattered so long as they both survived and loved each other.
As always everything belongs to JK Rowling. More specifically here from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 7 The Will of Albus Dumbledore and chapter 8 The Wedding. Also thanks to John Lyre’s ‘Euphues’(1578) for the use of ‘All’s fair in love and war’ (original quote- The rules of fair play do not count in love and war).
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