Chapter 17 : Chapter 17: The Return
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A week had passed since Ron had overheard Fred and Hermione talking which meant it had been around two weeks since George had left. It had taken all that time to debate mentally whether or not he should act upon the information he had heard. And then finally he had made his decision. He took a deep breath to steady himself before knocking on the door.
He waited a moment before it swung in to reveal Lee Jordan. “Ron?” he gasped and gaped at him.
“You alright, Lee?” Ron asked awkwardly and glanced around. Lee nodded silently and pulled Ron into the apartment, hugging him first.
“Who was at the door?” George asked walking into the living room and freezing in place, his mouth dropping open. “Ron...”
“George,” Ron said and looked at him unsurely before stepping towards him. “You’re an absolute idiot,” he told him but he was grinning and relief had settled over his features.
George smiled, he had never been so happy to be insulted. “You’re not mad?”
“I’m just happy to see you,” Ron admitted and hugged his elder brother who returned the hug looking like he might cry. From the other side of the room Lee watched and wiped imaginary tears from his eyes and George grinned at him over Ron’s shoulder.
“I guess we need to talk,” George said after a while and bit his lip.
“Yeah,” Ron nodded and they both sat. They watched each other unsure of what to say and allowing an awkward silence to settle over them.
“I think I just have to be honest with you, Ron,” George said slowly. “I’m in love with Hermione.”
“Join the club,” Ron said and looked to his brother to continue.
“But the truth is I don’t want to hurt you,” George told him. “So I didn’t know what to do because I want more than anything to be with Hermione but I could never live with the fact that it would upset you.”
“No Ron, just let me finish. I love you so much, you are my brother and you mean so much to me. And as much as I love Hermione I will never be willing to make you sad,” George told him. They sat in silence for a minute just looking at each other as George waited for Ron to speak. “I’m finished now,” George said after a while and Lee chuckled having not left the room.
“George if you’re asking me whether it’s okay for you to be with Hermione then it’s your turn to listen to me. I love Hermione and have loved her for a long time now and when it comes to her I’ve made many mistakes which I regret a lot and I’ve made her sad and myself too. I love you too George but you have to understand that no matter what I will always love Hermione. Maybe it will fade and maybe it won’t but part of me will always want her and will be hurt that I can’t have her. But I want her to be happy and I want you to be happy and if you’re going to make each other happy it may not be the best I could ask for but it’s pretty close. Two of the most important people in my life being happy together would be good for me,” Ron said and George found he was holding his breath.
“What I’m saying is yeah, I’m going to be sad sometimes and I’m going to wish things with me and her had worked out but I would be happy for you both and I would learn to get over any problems I have because at the end of the day your happiness will be worth it,” Ron said and watched George intently for his reaction.
George didn’t move. He didn’t breathe. He didn’t blink. Lee had broken into a grin across the room and though George had registered it all everything seemed still for a moment, a haze and confusion of racing, incessant thoughts.
“George?” Ron said and snapped him out of his daze.
“I-I,” George mumbled and exhaled deeply. “I don’t...Ron, do you mean it? Are you sure?”
“I can’t believe it but I think so,” Ron said slowly. “It’s time I grow up and be the bigger man. Just because I’m going through a hard time doesn’t mean you should have to. It won’t be quick but I’ll get over it and I think in time I’ll be able to move on.”
“Ron,” George breathed and he was overcome by a strong feeling of care and love for his younger brother. “Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you,” George yelled happily and he threw himself at his brother hugging him tightly.
“You have no idea what this means to me, Ron,” George grinned. “Thank you. I really do love you mate.”
“Just treat her right George,” Ron told him seriously. “The way she deserves, not the way I did. And if you hurt her I swear I will...”
“I would never,” George said quickly. “I love her.”
“I know you do,” Ron smiled at him.
“Well, don’t just sit there!” Lee said. “Go! There’s a very intelligent girl with curly brown hair waiting for you up at Hogwarts!”
“Cheers mate,” George nodded and hugged Lee. “Thanks for everything, for letting me stay here, for listening and for everything else.”
“Go get her, George,” Lee said smiling at his best friend.
“Let’s go Ron,” George said and the two said the two said their goodbyes to Lee before leaving in a hurry.
George apparated them straight into Hogsmeade, dragging Ron into a shop he didn’t really recognise and leading him through a secret tunnel. “How did you know where to find me?”
“I heard Fred say that he knew where you were,” Ron told him. “It took me a while but after a lot of thinking I decided it was time I set things right.”
“Of course Fred knew,” George said and smiled to himself. “What’s going to happen when I walk back in?”
“I wish I could tell you,” Ron admitted. “I’m sure everyone will just be happy to see you.”
“They probably hate me...” George trailed off. “She must at least. I hated myself for leaving her.”
Ron didn’t answer. The main reason was he didn’t have an answer but the other was that despite his want for his brother to be happy he couldn’t help but feel some jealousy and awkwardness in the situation. As much as he would support his brother it did not change the fact he loved Hermione and this wasn’t easy for him to hear and talk about.
When they came to the end of the passage they found themselves in a quiet corridor in the castle. They raced down the marble staircases which George realised he had missed. In fact he had missed every single part of the school.
He hesitated outside of the Gryffindor Common Room, completely unsure of himself. What if he walked in and she was just sat there? What would he do? What he would say? Knowing he was too anxious to just walk in Ron muttered the password to the Fat Lady and pushed George into the busy room.
George stepped in and glanced around feeling the nerves in his stomach before his eyes landed upon his twin. It took a few moments for his twin to even look up but when he did he gaped at him.
“George!” he yelled practically jumping over the sofa and a group of second years as he launched himself at his twin. He hugged him tightly before pulling back and shaking his shoulders roughly. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Good to see you too mate,” George chuckled pulling him in for another hug. “I’m sorry. I’m back now though and I’m going to make things right.”
Fred looked at Ron only just noticing he was there. “Is this where you went today?”
“It was time he came back,” Ron said quietly and barely got the words out when he was suffocated by a hug from Fred.
“Good job, mate,” he told him.
“George, I can’t believe you left,” Fred said and shook his head at him as he ran a hand through his hair in disbelief and uncertainty as he stared at his twin.
“I know I was wrong,” George said quickly. “I just...I couldn’t deal with it all...”
“You have no idea how much you hurt her. And me for that fact. I missed you,” he told him.
“I missed you too,” George smiled at him, hugging him once more.
“Promise you will never do anything like that again?”
“I solemnly swear it,” George grinned making his twin laugh.
“It’s so good to have you back,” Fred beamed unable to stop smiling. “It’s not been the same.”
“Say it Freddie...go on you know you want to. You haven’t said it in a while,” George smirked at him.
“You’re the one that should say it,” Fred told him. “You’re the one that ran away.”
“Okay fine,” George sighed. “I love you Freddie,” he said smiling childishly at his twin like kids having just made up after a fight.
“I love you too Georgie,” Fred laughed.
“Don’t get me wrong it’s been amazing seeing you but...” George began.
“She’s in her room,” Fred told him and George bit his lip.
George nodded and took a deep breath. He looked up towards the girls’ staircase and he frowned. What would she say? Did she even want him anymore? When she had wanted him he hadn’t been ready because of Ron. Now he was ready but was she ready to welcome him back and forgive him.
He had to try.
Fred smiled at his twin knowing the fear and apprehension building inside of him. “Go get yourself a bookworm, George.”
Hey guys! What did you think? Love it? Hate it? Let me know please, Steve could use a snack and we always appreciate your reviews. I know this chapter was quite short but I hope you enjoyed it regardless.
Thanks for reading! Jenna :)
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