Chapter 3 : That Feeling
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He could hear their voices bubbling up, the gentle one of his father, the chirpy one of his mother and the rumbling of Bill.
They always waited till he was in bed, always talked in the kitchen, always when George wasn’t around. Then they’d talk about Fred, about George, about how he was coping and That Feeling now Fred was gone.
It made George feel like a little kid again, and made him want to curl up like one and snuggle under his duvet, letting the snug darkness wrap itself around him in a tight embrace and never let go.
Of course George was familiar with That Feeling.
He felt it when he got out of bed in the morning, he felt it when he went to sleep at night, he felt it when he wrote letters to Lee. George tried not to let himself feel That Feeling; it made him want to cry and scream at the same time, it made him feel full of emptiness, and it crowded his body with lonliness.
What he really needed was a solution, like something to fix a puking pastille, to fix That Feeling. But that wasn’t possible, That Feeling would always be there, forever. Always nagging at the back of his mind, always in the very bottom of his heart.
Maybe there wasn’t a solution to it, but there had to be something had to surpress it. Mind you, it must have to be a pretty darn big thing to blot out That Feeling.
George had never been as good at explaining things as Percy - who always seemed to
have a reason or definition for everything, sometimes too may things - but he had an accurate definition for That Feeling.
That Feeling: A heavy rock in your stomach that weighs you down and makes you feel so full of emotion you want to burst, and makes you feel empty and hollow at the same time.
George had already told Lee that he was re-claiming the shop after a month, on Monday. He didn’t think he would be able to survive another day here, another day of everyone traipsing around the house, wearing That Feeling all over their faces, and wearing it like a toddler draped in a coat that was too big for him.
George turned over, a bead of sweat running down the back of his neck and dribbling down his back.
Outside the wind was howling, the humid breeze blowing over to give way to the throttling cold hearted storm that rattled the window panes. It was eight o’clock in the morning, and the weather was almost describing George’s mood perfectly, the wind banging doors shut and making him jump from time to time.
He packed up his case in silence, the usual business of scrunching things up and throwing them in it, and then leaning very hard on the top so that it shut. George didn’t feel hungry in the slightest, but didn’t have the heart to give his mother a flat-out rejection of the eggs and bacon she’d made especially for him.
“Thanks,” he smiled weakly up at her friendly face, and she beamed back at him, making the creases around her eyes fold.
She had creases around her eyes from when she used to do that laugh, the one that you couldn’t help hut laugh along with when you heard it.
Molly never really laughed like that anymore.
This reminded George of That Feeling again, and he had to force the eggs and bacon down his throat to be polite, though it all tasted like cardboard in his mouth, even if they were organic eggs that their own chickens had taken the trouble to lay themselves.
George wiped his clammy palm on his jeans, the sound of the chicken coop being knocked over somewhere at the back of his mind, and the banging of the wind on the glass of the Burrow. The wind was fierce, unreliable, unstoppable, and worse than all of those things, unpredictable.
And before George knew it, it was time for him to leave the Burrow again, the place he’d called home for the last months. He wrapped his arms around his mother, before turning to do the same with Ginny. It was a hearty handshake for everyone else, which eventually evloved in to a lump in his throat and tears in Molly’s eyes.
The rattling wind shook the window panes outside, slapping George in the face as he swung open the door.
“Are you sure you should be apperating in this weather, George?” Arthur asked doubtfully, a frown on his face.
He turned to look just in time to see the rain start falling outside, as if the storm had finally decided to weep with shame for what it had done to them
George didn’t say anything. He nodded what he hoped was a confident nod, picked up his case, and uttered goodbye. Then the door shut and he was being hustled out by the blustering wind and the hammering rain far quicker than he would’ve liked.
It was a bit of a trek out to the fields - that was where George wanted to apperate from - and he managed to awkwardly shuffle past the chickens and walk briskly across the threads of corn, their heads waving around wildly in the wind.
His eyes closed, an image of his beloved shop popping up in the front of his mind, and already George felt happier. With a last glance at the towering, bending Burrow, George shot up in to the heavy grey clouds, and was whisked away in a spine-tingling, stomach-lurching ride.
His heart stopped for a few nano seconds.
And then his two feet were planted firmly on the ground, and he could hear the sound of rain pounding on cobbles, and smell the smell of water on stone. When he opened his eyes, he could feel a smile planted on his lips, and a tiny sigh escape them as he gazed up and down at his shop.
One foot stepped in front of another, and then another, and before he knew it George was walking through the front door and wiping his shoes on the mat, just like he had hundreds of times before.
Then he hung his coat up on the hat stand, just like he had done hundreds of times before, and he took a deep breath in of the dry papery air inside the shop. It all seemed so familiar to him, and yet at the same time, so wrong. Part of him wanted to walk straight out that door again, to run down the street in the rain, and watch the spiralling water drops soak him to the bone in grief and sadness for what God had done to him.
George didn’t do that of course - he knew it was That Feeling that was making him think like this - and it made him want more than ever a solution to That Feeling. Something highly irrational, something unpredictible.
But not alcohol - well yes, alcohol, but not too much of it. He’d often seen Charlie try to drown his sorrows in firewhiskey, jumping from one break up to the next.
His steady hands picked up an old cardboard box, and he peered inside it curiously, wondering which items of stock had been thrown in this box.
It was the fireworks. Some of them, at least, as not all of their magnificent fizz-popping fireworks could fit in one single insignificant cardboard box.
The bell jignled behind him, the bell that only jingled if someone entered the shop. But someone couldn’t have entered the shop, because it was closed...
George twisted around, his eyes widening at the sopping wet figure, that had just entered. The person had a hood covering their face, so George couldn’t properly see their head, a heavy wet khaki hood protecting it. George was pretty sure the person was a girl anyway, because of the bright pink wellies. Either that, or Neville Longbottom, George was sure he’d seen Neville once or twice sporting a pair.
The person lifted down the hood, staring at George right in the face, and for a second time seemed to stop. It wasn’t because it was pouring with rain outside, it wasn’t because he was starting a fresh without Fred, it wasn’t even because That Feeling had caught up with him again.
It was because of the girl standing in front of him, with beautiful brown eyes, framed by anxiously flickering eyelashes.
“Angelina,” George breathed, taken a back by her sudden appearence. He hadn’t seen her since her first quidditch match of the season for the Wimbourne Wasps, when she’d got scouted for their top Chaser. She’d made George promise to see her in the game.
It struck George that it was Angelina who had gone to the Yule Ball with Fred, and Angelina there fore must miss him too, and must’ve felt That Feeling at some point.
Angelina didn’t say anything, just gazed around the carboard boxes that piled high to the ceiling. In fact, she didn’t say anything for a very long time, longer than was polite, just gawped at the boxes of stock before meeting George’s gaze.
George hoped she’d have the decency to say something along the lines of: “Hey, long time, no see,” any most certainly not what everyone else said which was: “I’m so sorry,” in sympathetic tones, and pretended they understood for rushing on with their lives.
Because they didn’t - they didn’t understand. Nobody did that George met.
Seeing as Angelina hadn’t said anything yet, and was still holding George’s gaze, George cleared his throat.
“The Wasps got beaten by the Harpies, last week.”
His voice sounded nervous, but at leats it was something to fill the eerie uncomfortable silence.
“Yeah, put up a tough fight,” Angelina nodded, her voice sounding strangely hoarse.
And then they both spoke at once.
George said. “Do you want to come in?”
Angelina didn't answer the question directly, but instead replied with, "Could you do with an extra pair of hands?"
Then they both laughed awkwardly, and Angelina hung her wet coat up on the hat stand just like George had done, before waving her wand over it and making it become dry.
“Why is your coat wet George? You’re a wizard, you know, most people just use the Umbrella spell,” Angelina grinned, tucking a strand of thick black hair behind her pierced ear.
“I like the rain,” George contemplated, a thoughtful glint in his blue eyes. “Why was your coat wet?”
“Same - I like the rain too,” Angelina smiled weakly, pacing towards the firework box that George had put down only three minutes before.
George raised an impressed eyebrow, eyeing Angelina as she started to pile fireworks on top of a huge cardboard box, that could only be the one that contained the shelf.
She worked her way through the box, before disappearing in to the back room of the shop to chuck the box away. Her delicate fingers worked their way around the tape that bound the shelf, releasing the old oak of its paper prison.
George flicked his wand, eyes still on Angelina, and the fireworks whizzed over her head and around her slim frame, placing themselves neatly on the shelves.
“You seem to know your way around the shop pretty well,” George remarked.
“I came here often when Lee was away - just to keep it clean really, and make sure nothing was stolen from your flat.”
“Is that what you intended to do today?”
“No.Today I ‘intended’ to see you - you don’t seriously think you could unpack this whole shop by yourself do you?”
“I could do it with my good friend magic,” George said, folding his arms indignantly. “And I’m wondering right now if you’re a stalker or not - going in to my shop and my flat like that!”
“I’m sorry for being considerate!” Angelina huffed mockingly, copying George and folding her arms. “If you want me to go, I’ll leave...”
“No!” George said slightly too quickly.
“Fine, I’ll stay then,” Angelina said, as if she was going to stay all along, and hadn’t even wasted a second about thinking of leaving. “Only if we can use your good friend magic?”
“Yes - but I might have to wake him up from his deep sleep - I haven’t used him in a long time.”
“Neither have I,” Agreed Angelina, unfolding her arms, and heaving the other coardboard box of fireworks. “I’ve been using my other good friend broomstick.”
“Perhaps we could use your good friend broomstick to fly to the Hogs Head later on?” George said hopefully, trying to keep his tone light.
“Alright,” Angelina said with a lazy smile.
George beamed back, producing his wand and unpacking a box by wand, sending the love potion bottles flying all over the place, before all of them landing neatly on a table over in the corner of the shop.
Angelina summoned all the puking pastielles from their boxes, making them flip around in the air and summersaault just above George’s head, before spinning towards where they belonged. She turned to face George, with a smirk, as if to say: “beat that!”
George gritted his teeth, trying to surpress another beam as he waved his wand, sending the fanged frisbees waltzing in to the air. He flicked his wand at a box on the ground, and the sound of ‘Ode to Joy’ on a grammar phone rang around the room, the frisbees gnashing at thin air and waltzing circles around Angelina to the (addmittedly rather muffled) time of ‘Ode to Joy’.
It was Angelina’s turn to surpress a laugh, and she raised her wand once more, aiming it at the box containing the headless hats.
Seven and a half hours later, they were both breathing heavily, laughing as their legs swung childishly from the top of the bannisters of the shop. The stock was all piled up on the shelves and tables, the grammarphone in the corner peacefully playing some 1960s muggle record that Fred had liked, and some empty chocolate frog boxes they’d eaten for lunch.
“Fred liked this song,” George noted sadly after a suitable pause. “He said it was by some geezer called Prelvis Esley.”
George hadn’t felt That Feeling for the whole of the day, and now it came flooding back, in a heart swelling, eye-watering, way that made George want to just curl up in to a ball and cry.
Angelina looked at George then, right in to his melancholy blue eyes.
“You’re brave George,” she said softly. “You can’t get over it, ever, but I know you’ll get as far away as possible.”
George felt it throb in his chest, in his head, everywhere. He’d never had That Feeling this bad before, never. Memories of the Yule Ball and Angelina dancing and giggling with Fred flashed through his mind, and he knew in that instant, that she missed him too. He wanted to be sick, he wanted to get away, far away.
He leapt off the bannister, sprinting down the stairs with a pounding heart, beads of sweat tumbling down his forehead and mixing with salty tears that he fiercley brushed away. He promised he’d never cry, and he wouldn’t, he wouldn’t.
The bell jingled behind him, and he didn’t care that his shop was back, he didnt care that it was still thrashing with rain. All he cared about was sorting out That Feeling.
He glanced back through the rippled glass to where Angelina was sitting still on the bannister. That Feeling simply disappeared. Just gone - just like that. It was almost as if it had never exsisted.
Angelina caught his eye, and came racing down the stairs then, and out in to the rain to face George.
“I miss Fred too, you know,” she said, her hair sticking to her face as she spoke. “You’re not alone.”
It was hard for Angelina’s gentle voice to be heard over the pouring rain, but George was listening intently to her, and he couldn’t help but think that he’d like to listen to her voice a lot more.
He thought of Fred’s floppy ginger hair, his goofy smile and his laugh one last time, before That Feeling disappeared in to a tiny miliscule at the back of his mind.
That was when he kissed her - or she kissed him, he couldn;t remember, and to be honest it didn’t really matter. What mattered was that it felt like all the fireworks in the shop had exploded, like he’d just had his first ever sip of firewhiksey that burned and roared in his throat, like every cell in his body was tingling with energy.
As George thought this, he couldn’t help thinking how he was still kissing her, and he was still kissing him, and how his hand was running through her long wet hair and it felt silky still against the rough coarse skin of his palms.
The rain was still pounding on top of them, leaving them both dripping, but neother of them cared. They drew away, both laughing like a hilarious joke had just been told, and they were four again and giggling giddily.
George guessed you could call it an epiphany - he realized then, that was not going to be a solution to That Feeling - not now, not ever. But Angelina Johnson had helped blot out That Feeling, she was the thing that was big enough to finally smudge and numb away That Feeling.
George couldn’t shake off the feeling something big had just happened, as well. Something huge, that would change his life as he knew it. That came out cheesier than he meant it, but it was true.
The rain stopped suddenly, leaving two people stood in the middle of a street, laughing non-stop. A triumphant grin appeared on George’s face, not only at kissing Angelina Johnson, but also another thing that he’d been trying to do for a very long time.
George had finally got rid of That Feeling.
A/N: I love George and Angelina, but I always figured that it would've taken George quite a long time to get round to picking his life up again, and how he managed that must've been really hard for him!
I hope you enjoyed this chapter, this one's longer than the last one, and thank you for sticking with me this far! :)