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The Right Weasley by BBHP
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Two Years Later
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*Author's note: I don't own anything HP. I just own this plot. Also, this is my first attempt at a fanfic. After reading and rereading the HP books, and reading many stories on this site, I decided to try one of my own.*
Hermione Granger sat on a cold stone bench, staring blankly at the scene before her. She hadn’t been here in a long time. Too long, if she was being honest with herself. Today, of all days, she needed to come. She closed her eyes tightly as she tried to block out the chaos that had been the last few years.
A week after the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione had traveled to Australia to track down her parents. Ron had wanted to come, but Hermione insisted that this was something she wanted -- needed -- to do on her own. It wasn’t that hard to find them, really. Hermione half-hoped she would have more time to figure out what to say to them after she restored their memories. They were hurt and more than a little angry, but in the end accepted that Hermione had acted rightly. She probably saved their lives by modifying their memories and sending them out of the country.
After the family had returned to their home in England, Hermione decided that she would return to finish her 7th and final year at Hogwarts. The summer went too quickly, and before she or her parents were ready to say goodbye again, Hermione was off on the Hogwarts Express, promising to come home for the holidays. She'd miss her parents terribly, but was excited to get back to Hogwarts -- back to learning. Professor McGonagall had offered her the position of Head Girl, but Hermione had declined, feeling that she'd prefer to have a quiet year without too many responsibilities.
Letters were exchanged often between them by owl, and Hermione felt herself settling into a comfortable rhythm. She loved Hogwarts. She would never understand how Harry and Ron had chosen to go straight into Auror training instead of returning to school. Ron and Hermione wrote each other weekly, although Hermione felt like the letters sounded more like they were between friends instead of lovers.
It was on one cool, Autumn morning Hermione was sitting in the Gryffindor common room, putting the finishing touches on a letter to Ron when the portrait hole opened and a fifth-year prefect climbed in.
“Hermione? The headmistriss needs you up in her office.” The girl smiled awkwardly at Hermione and headed upstairs to the dormitories without another word.
Hermione didn't move for a moment. What would McGonagall be needing to talk to Hermione about so early, and on a Saturday? She shrugged and gathered her things, folding Ron’s letter carefully and sliding it into the pocket of her bag. She walked quickly to the headmistress’s office, pausing only to give the stone gargoyle the password (“Dumbledore!” McGonagall hadn’t had the heart to change it yet.) before hurrying up the stone staircase.
The door to Professor McGonagall’s office was open, and she could hear the scratching of a quill on parchment. Knocking gently, Hermione peeked her head into the office.
“P-professor? You sent for me?” Hermione asked.
Minerva McGonagall stood quickly from her desk. Her expression was guarded, with a hint of pity. Hermione felt nervous. Whatever McGonagall was about to say, it couldn’t be good.
“What’s happened? Has something--” Hermione began, but Professor McGonagall held up a hand. Hermione was quiet.
The headmistress took a deep breath before beginning. “Perhaps you ought to sit, Miss Granger…” She gestured to a plush chair in front of her desk. Hermione stayed on her feet. She shook her head, shivering with anxiety.
Professor McGonagall sighed again before lowering herself into her own seat.
“I received...disturbing information...this morning,” she said in a wavering voice, not meeting Hermione’s eyes.
Hermione’s heart clenched. “Just tell me, Professor,” she whispered.
“It’s your parents…” She finally looked at Hermione.
A rushing sound filled Hermione’s brain. She barely processed what Professor McGonagall was saying. She slumped into the chair next to her and put her hands over her eyes as Professor McGonagall continued to deliver the awful news. The words “car accident” and “tragic” and “nothing could have been done” flitted through Hermione’s ears while Professor McGonagall spoke.
Even now, two years later, Hermione had a hard time thinking about that day. That awful, dark day. She had lived through too much pain and the deaths of too many friends already. Losing her parents, especially so soon after the war, had broken her.
Hermione had refused to return to Hogwarts after her parents’ funeral. She told people it was because she didn’t feel the need to continue her education, but in truth, she actually resented the school now. She was convinced that if she hadn’t gone back to Hogwarts in the first place, her parents might still be alive. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been driving that day, at that time, or perhaps Hermione would have been there to protect them.
When Ron asked Hermione to move in with him, she hesitated only a moment before accepting. She knew the relationship wasn’t going to last, but she couldn’t bring herself to hurt the one person who was holding her together. He was still healing, too, after Fred’s death. Sometimes Hermione would feel guilty, like she was using him, but every time she even thought about breaking it off, Ron would come home from Auror training with a big hug and kiss for Hermione and tell her how much he loved her. She thought that she could eventually come to love him in the way he loved her. Maybe she just wasn’t trying hard enough.
As the months passed, Hermione’s depression worsened. Night terrors plagued her sleep and the constant feeling that danger was right around the corner never went away. Ron seemed just fine, though. He snored through Hermione’s gasps and screams after she woke from yet another nightmare, and he left their flat every morning with a smile on his face.
It took over a year for Hermione to gather the strength to leave. She wasn’t recovering, no matter how much she wanted to. A week ago, Ron had come home to find Hermione in the kitchen with her suitcase.
“Are you going somewhere?” he asked curiously. Hermione took a breath, looked straight into his eyes, and explained the situation to him. He yelled and interrupted a lot, before flatly refusing to accept it. She’d come back to him, he insisted. They were meant for each other. Hermione just shook her head and left, closing the door behind her.
She had been staying at a small muggle inn for the past week, where she knew Ron wouldn’t find her. Hermione had felt very alone for a very long time, and felt like it was time to try to heal herself. And that is how she found herself shivering in a graveyard on the anniversary of her parents’ deaths.
“Hi, Mum. Hi, Dad.” She sniffed. A tear leaked out of her eye and she rubbed it away with her sleeve. She had been to her parents’ graves only once, at the funeral, after which she'd refused to come back.
Hermione sat quietly for what seemed hours, reminiscing about her childhood and thinking sadly of what should have been. She hardly noticed when night fell and stars filled the sky.
A man’s voice cut into her thoughts.
Hermione’s head turned so quickly her neck spasmed. Heart racing, she squinted into the night to see who had spoken, holding her wand up to defend herself if needed. A familiar mop of red hair stood out in the darkness. Hermione’s heart sank. Please, not Ron, she thought.
The man came closer. “Hermione, is that you?” He stopped in front of her.
Hermione stared at him. The red haired man was definitely a Weasley, but shorter and stockier than Ron. She recognized his face, one that she hadn’t seen in years. He looked different, his hair longer (Hermione assumed it was to cover his lack of an ear), but he still looked very much the same.
“G-George?” she asked. She hadn’t seen George Weasley since Fred’s funeral. He had shut himself in his flat above the joke shop for weeks before taking off on an extended trip to Europe, with no clear plans of coming back. Seeing him here, now, made Hermione feel very anxious. “Has something happened? Is everyone okay?”
He looked at her before saying bluntly, “You’re not.”
Hermione sighed and turned back to the headstones she had been staring at. “Did Ron send to you?”
He shook his head.
“Then how’d you find me?” she asked, confused.
George took a seat next to her on the stone bench. “I knew what day it was,” he replied. “I just didn’t want you to be alone.”
Hermione turned to look up at him, eyes filling with tears. George put his arm around her and held her shaking body against him, and Hermione let herself cry. She sobbed like she hadn’t done in years while George gently rubbed her back with comforting shushing sounds. After a while, Hermione’s tears slowed.
“Let’s get you out of here,” George said into her hair. Hermione nodded and George picked her up in his arms. He held her tightly and turned on the spot. With a small crack, they disappeared, and the cemetery was empty.
Chapter 2: Fireplace Conversations
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Author's note: I don't own anything HP.
They appeared in an instant outside of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley. George carried Hermione up the stairs to the flat above the joke shop and set her on her feet once they got inside.
Hermione looked around. She had never been in George’s flat before, and was surprised. She had expected it to be flashy and exciting, much like the twins themselves. Instead the walls in the living room were painted in muted neutrals. A large bookshelf stood in a corner next to a squashy armchair. In another corner was a small desk, which Hermione assumed George used when working on stuff for the joke shop. On one wall was a small fireplace with a small jar of Floo Powder on the mantle. A comfortable sofa was in front of the fireplace. The kitchen area was bright and clean. The whole place had a very open, fresh look and feel that Hermione liked.
She turned to George. “So, this is your place, then?” she asked, trying to break the silence.
George smiled. “This is it,” he said with a shrug. “Living room and kitchen here, bathroom and bedrooms down the hall. Can I make you some tea?”
“Er, thank you,” Hermione replied, feeling slightly awkward. “You could have just taken me to my hotel, though. I don’t want to be any trouble.”
“You’re not staying with Ron, then?” George asked. He avoided looking at her as he spoke.
“Oh, er, no. I...I moved out about a week ago. Didn’t he tell you?” Hermione stared at the floor.
“Oh. No. I don’t see my family often,” George said. Hermione looked up. George’s back was to her while he busied himself filling the kettle. He tapped it once with his wand and steam began whistling out of the top. He filled two mugs, setting one on the table and gesturing for Hermione to sit.
She did, feeling very uncomfortable. They sipped their tea in silence. After a while, Hermione found herself stifling a yawn. It was getting late. “Well, I should probably be going. Thank you for the--”
“But you can’t go!” George interrupted. Hermione jumped, slopping the remainder of her tea down her front. George’s ears went red. “Sorry. I mean,” George began again, “You should stay here. At least just for the night. After the day you’ve had...I just think you shouldn’t have to be alone.” He looked at her with sad eyes.
“Oh, no,” said Hermione awkwardly. “I couldn’t put you out like that. I mean, I’ll be just fine, I’m sure--”
“I insist!” George interjected again, giving Hermione a ghost of his old grin. She couldn’t help but smile at his persistence.
“All right,” she said, shaking her head in defeat. They were old friends, after all. “I’ll sleep on the sofa then--”
George interrupted yet again. “No way! What would my mother say if I made you sleep in the living room? I’ll take the couch.” He ran into the living room and threw himself on the sofa.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Really, George, you can't sleep on the sofa. At least let me use the extra bedroom. I couldn’t possibly make you give up your own bed.” She headed into the hallway and George barrelled past her, blocking her way.
“No!” He looked angry. He took a breath and closed his eyes tightly. “That’s Fred’s room,” he whispered, keeping his eyes shut. He didn’t want to see the look of pity in Hermione’s face. The same look that everyone gave him when Fred was mentioned. He rubbed the back of his neck while he waited for Hermione’s reaction.
“Oh, George,” Hermione said softly. He opened his eyes and looked at her. She just looked sad. “Of course. I wasn’t thinking.” She went back to the living room. He followed her, feeling somewhat pathetic for still refusing to let anyone into Fred’s old bedroom. Fred had been dead for years already. It didn’t make sense for George to still be holding on so tightly. All he knew is he wasn’t quite ready to let go of his twin.
Hermione sat on the sofa, staring at her hands.
“Now, if you don’t willingly let me take the couch, I’ll Stupefy you and throw you in my room,” George said in an attempt to lighten the mood.
It worked. Hermione snorted and smiled at him. “You win,” she said with another yawn. She let George lead her to his bedroom. He pulled out a large shirt for her to sleep in, and then left her.
“Sweet dreams, Hermione,” he said as he closed the door.
“Thank you, George,” she whispered back.
Hermione slipped out of her clothes and into George’s T-shirt. It was old and worn, which made it all the more comfortable. It smelled the way her clothes smelled when Mrs. Weasley did laundry at the Burrow. Hermione breathed in the scent and snuggled under the blankets. She felt more at peace than she had in a long time. It didn’t take long for Hermione to relax into a deep sleep.
Not much later, Hermione woke suddenly. She had been dreaming peacefully, but was roused by the sounds of men’s voices. Angry men’s voices. She sneaked out of George’s room and crept quietly down the hall, toward the living room. The voices grew louder as Hermione got closer. She peeked around the corner and saw George pacing in front of the fireplace as someone shouted at him.
“--should have told me, I would have come! I’ve been looking for her for a week! Didn’t you think--”
Ron, Hermione thought. She realized he was in the fire, talking to George.
“Of course I thought,” said George. “I thought, hmm, maybe she needed some time away from you since she broke up with you--”
“It's just a break! And you still should have told me! I know how to help her, I can take care of her--”
“Take care of her?!” George stopped pacing and stood in front of the fire. He glanced behind him. Hermione shrunk back, not wanting to be seen. George breathed for a moment to calm himself and lowered his voice as he turned back to the fire. “Ron, if you were taking care of her then she would still be with you. Did you even know it was the anniversary of her parents’ death? I’m guessing not, since you didn’t even know where to look for her!”
“Oh, and because you know her so well, you knew--”
“Of course I know her!” George exploded, clenching his shaking fists. “I’ve known her for half of my life! Almost every summer and holiday she was at our house, how could I not know her?”
“Send her here. Send her home,” Ron growled. “Or...or I’ll come and get her.”
George shook his head. “If she wanted to see you, she would have gone to you. She’s sleeping now. Just...just let her be for a while, Ron. She needs to heal. Can’t you see that?”
A few moments passed. Both men were quiet. When Ron spoke again, his voice shook with barely-contained fury.
“I don’t believe this. Still, George? After everything, you--” He huffed in frustration. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
George didn’t say anything, but just stared at the floor.
A stream of hissed profanities came from Ron's direction. He sounded furious. Angier than Hermione had ever heard him, she realised, which really was saying something, considering all of the arguments during their Hogwarts days.
Hermione decided didn’t want to hear anymore. Soundlessly she hurried back to George’s bedroom and covered herself under the covers. After a few minutes the door opened. Hermione breathed steadily, pretending to be asleep.
“Hermione?” George whispered. “You awake?”
Hermione didn’t move, but continued taking deep, exaggerated breaths. She knew George knew she was faking. No one could have slept through that argument. But she didn’t want to talk about what she had just witnessed. The door closed and Hermione lay there silently until, at last, she fell back to sleep.
Chapter 3: Staying
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*Author's note: I do not own anything HP, just this story.*
Morning came too early, and Hermione groggily sat up in bed. It took a minute for her to remember where she was. As her surroundings came into focus, memories from the previous evening flooded in. Hermione felt very awkward after the conversation she had overheard between Ron and George. She felt sure George was angry with her, just like Ron was. After all, they were brothers. Family. Although, one phrase stuck out in Hermione’s mind.
Hermione shook the thoughts away. With a glance at the clock beside the bed, she saw it was still quite early. Maybe she could sneak past George and get back to her hotel before he woke up. Very, very carefully, Hermione cracked the bedroom door open. George was standing on the other side. Hermione yelped in surprise.
“Morning,” said George with a sly smile. “You wouldn’t be trying to sneak out, would you?” He raised an eyebrow.
“Er, I thought you’d sleep in...?” Hermione tried, biting back her own smile, relieved that George didn't seem angry with her as she had thought.
“You’re not getting away that easily. I’m determined to be the perfect host. You can shower and do whatever it is girls do, and I’ll make us some breakfast.”
Hermione headed back to the bathroom. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that she would be sleeping in George Weasley’s bed and showering in his bathroom. She rolled her eyes at her situation and switched on the tap.
The hot shower did Hermione’s body good. She let the water wash away the stress of the past week and all the crying from the day before. A few minutes later she was feeling very refreshed. She shut off the water and climbed out of the shower, wrapping herself in a towel.
Only then did she realize her predicament. She didn’t have any other clothes. Somehow water had sprayed through the space between the shower curtain the wall, and had soaked the shirt George had lent her. Yesterday’s jeans and tea-stained blouse were still neatly folded on a chair in George’s bedroom, with her wand on top. Hermione leaned against the door and listened for a moment. The sounds of cooking were coming from the direction of the kitchen. If she hurried, she figured she could sneak to George’s room, grab her clothes and wand, and get back to the bathroom without being seen. She tightened the towel around her body, making sure all necessary areas were covered, and opened the door. George wasn’t in the hallway, so Hermione flew across the hallway and into his room. She quickly scooped up her clothes and wand and started back to the bathroom, when--
She was so startled she nearly dropped her towel. George was standing in the hallway. His eyes were wide with shock as he stared at Hermione. He dropped the book he was holding and clapped his hands over his eyes.
“What in the name of Merlin--what do you think you’re doing!?”
“I--I forgot my wand!” Hermione said breathlessly. Her face went bright red. Never had she been so embarrassed. She clutched the towel tighter around her and tore back to the bathroom, shutting the door tight behind her.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, she thought, feeling absolutely mortified. She pressed a towel hard against her face as she tried to calm herself.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, George thought, pressing his hands hard against his eyes. The memory of Hermione, dripping and covered only in a towel that clung to her small frame, was seared into George’s brain. This was not what he had planned on. But...the more George thought about it, the more he smiled. The situation was so awfully uncomfortable that he started to laugh.
“Is something funny?”
George looked up. Hermione was standing in front of him, fully clothed and looking annoyed. Her bushy hair was still damp. George smirked.
“I liked your first outfit better,” he said with an impish wink.
Hermione gasped. “George Weasley! What would your mother say--”
He interrupted. “What would my mother say if she found out you were strutting about my house naked?” He looked at her seriously.
Her mouth dropped open and her face colored in a blush. “I wasn’t strutting! And I wasn’t naked!”
George just grinned at her wickedly, eyes sparkling. Hermione’s mouth twitched up into a smile, and they were soon laughing together.
“That was probably the most humiliating experience of my life,” Hermione said, rubbing her hand over her face.
“Yes, well, I plan to remember it for the rest of my life,” George laughed. Hermione just groaned and covered her face again.
“I didn’t think your place would be so...tidy,” Hermione said, changing the subject. George looked around at his home.
“It used to be pretty messy,” he admitted. “But we found that having an organized home helps us with our work.” He stopped at the indirect mention of Fred.
“I’m sure it’s true,” said Hermione. “You two have had some pretty brilliant inventions. I’ve always been impressed.” She squeezed his hand.
George led her into the kitchen and pulled out a chair for her.
“Right, so I tried to make porridge, but that, er, that didn’t quite work out.”
Hermione glanced at the stove where a pot of thick glop was smoking slightly.
“Toast, then?” Hermione asked helpfully. George smiled and pulled out the bread.
They ate quietly. Hermione finished her toast quickly, then went to clean up the porridge mess. George smiled as he watched her. For some reason he found he rather liked seeing Hermione here, in his home. He had laughed more today than he had in months. Since Fred died, really. Somehow the pain of losing Fred had lightened a bit since Hermione had been there.
She caught him staring at her. “What? Have I got crumbs on me?” She brushed off her blouse quickly.
“It’s nothing,” said George. “I was just thinking, what if you stayed here instead of at that hotel? For a while, at least. It’d be good for you to be around friends while you got back on your feet.”
Hermione didn’t speak. She didn’t know what to say. “I don’t want to be a burden,” she said at last.
“Not at all. No reason to waste money at a hotel. We can go get your stuff this afternoon. I warn you, though, you might have to cook to earn your keep,” he finished with a wink.
Hermione laughed. “All right,” she said. “Only if you promise to let me take the sofa.”
“Oh, we’ll figure all that out later.” George waved his hand dismissively. He had no intention of letting Hermione sleep in the living room, and they both knew it.
That afternoon Hermione clasped George’s hand tightly outside the joke shop, feeling an odd lightness in her chest as she did so, and turned on the spot. They apparated to a secluded patch of trees near the cemetery where they had been the previous night. She let go of George’s hand quickly and led the way down the street to her hotel.
Chapter 4: It's Only Temporary
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*Author's note: I don't own anything HP, just this story.*
*Warning: Mild violence*
Hermione and George returned to the flat later that evening with Hermione’s things. She had checked herself out of the hotel, feeling a little crazy for letting herself be talked into moving in with George. It’s only temporary, she told herself as she watched George drag the luggage to his bedroom. They both felt slightly awkward, but tried to hide it for the other’s sake. Hermione looked through George’s kitchen cupboards and found next to nothing.
“I think we should pick up some groceries,” Hermione called out.
“You’re probably right,” said George from behind her. Hermione jumped and turned around.
“You can’t keep sneaking up on me like that!” she said, swatting him on the shoulder.
George just grinned. “Mum typically brings dinner on Thursdays,” he said casually. “It’s her excuse to check in on me, force me to spend time with people, or something.” He rolled his eyes dramatically.
The color drained from Hermione’s face. “What!?” she screeched. “George, I can’t be here when your mother comes! What’s she going to think when she sees me here?”
“Ah.” George saw the problem. “Okay, how about I go there to pick up dinner, and you can get yourself settled in,” he suggested. “Mum’ll be thrilled. I haven’t been to the Burrow in -- er -- a while.”
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. She couldn’t face any other Weasleys right now. She wondered if Ron had told any of his family about their breakup.
George took a pinch of Floo Powder from the jar on the mantle and tossed it into the fireplace. Green flames erupted from it. “I’ll be back soon!” he promised happily, and stepped into the fire. “The Burrow!” he shouted. The flames engulfed him for a second, and then he was gone.
Hermione didn’t know what to do with herself now that she was alone in George’s home. She turned to the large bookshelf and ran a hand over the books. She pulled out the first one that caught her attention and curled up on the armchair.
Not long later, green flames began to spit from the fireplace. Hermione checked the clock on the wall. George had been gone less than 30 minutes. She didn’t expect him back so soon. She stood up, prepared to tell George he should have spent more time with his family. A person appeared in the fire, but it wasn’t George.
It was Ron.
He stepped into the living room, covered in soot and glowering at her, his expression a mix between raw anger and hurt.
“R-Ron!” Hermione exclaimed, feeling nervous.
“I figured the only way I’d be able to see you was if George left. How long has this been going on, huh?” He huffed angrily.
“Er, how long has what been going on, exactly?”
“This!” Ron thrust his hands out and gestured around the room. “How long have you been hooking up with my brother behind my back!?”
Hermione almost laughed. “Are you insane? Never in my life have I -- I’m not sleeping with George! I hadn’t seen him in years when--”
“Don’t lie to me!” Ron roared. “Don’t tell me I’m crazy! Don’t pretend it’s nothing! I know what’s going on! It explains why you left like that--”
More green flames began to burst from the fireplace. George clambered into the room, dropping a container onto the floor when he saw the scene in front of him, but both Hermione and Ron ignored him.
“I left because I was unhappy!” Hermione shouted.
Ron’s face was red with anger. “You’re such a liar!" he shouted, pushing her roughly away from him. "You put up such an act all the time! Who would have guessed that quiet, bookish Hermione would be such a little--” But Hermione had had enough. She drew back her hand and slapped Ron hard across the face.
“How dare you,” she seethed. Her voice dripped with venom, quiet and deadly. “You stay away from me, Ronald Weasley, or I swear on everything that I will end you, do you understand me?” She held up her hand again, prepared to deliver another blow, and Ron flinched.
George cleared his throat, making Ron and Hermione jump. They had forgotten he was there. “I think that means you should go,” he said with a smirk. He looked as if Christmas had come early. George marched up, grabbed the back of Ron’s shirt, and dragged him back to the fireplace. With a pinch of Floo Powder, George shouted “Anywhere!” and tossed Ron in. The flames swallowed him and he was gone.
George turned back to Hermione. “Wow,” he said appreciatively.
Hermione was shaking with anger. “How could he -- why would he -- I can’t believe--” Tears began to pool in her eyes as anger turned into sadness. George went to her and pulled her onto the armchair with him. He held her tightly for a few minutes, letting her cry.
“Hermione, you are quite a woman,” he said after a while. She half-laughed, half-hiccuped into his shoulder.
“Did you bring leftovers?” she asked in a wobbly voice. George burst out laughing. He helped Hermione to her feet and picked up the container he had dropped.
“Mum made soup,” he said, showing her the container. “I’m lucky it didn’t spill, really.” He held it up higher, inspecting the dish. “She probably put a charm on it to keep it from breaking.” He shrugged and took it to the kitchen. Hermione followed.
George ladled some soup into a bowl and set it in front of Hermione with a spoon. Hermione ate gratefully. It had been too long since she had tasted Mrs. Weasley’s excellent cooking. George watched her eat, still smiling. Her face was pink and tear-stained, and her eyes were puffy. He thought she looked lovely.
“I meant what I said, Hermione,” he said suddenly.
“Hmm?” She looked up from her soup.
“You are quite a woman.”
Hermione blushed and shook her head, trying to hide her smile.
That evening George and Hermione spent hours on the sofa reminiscing about Hogwarts. George told Hermione how he and Fred came up with the idea to start a joke shop. He tried and failed to pretend the memories of Fred weren’t painful. Hermione described the times she, Harry, or Ron almost died “every--blasted--year”. George found it particularly funny to hear Hermione’s point of view on each situation, as he had ever only heard Ron’s side of the story. Each experience was funnier than the last. Soon the two of them were in fits of laughter with tears streaming down their cheeks.
“--and they thought I was absolutely crazy, you know, for noticing what the dog was standing on -- thought I was completely insane--” Hermione was recounting the time when they had happened upon Fluffy in their first year, and George found the story completely hilarious, laughing at all the right parts. “And when we got back--” --Hermione stifled a fresh wave of giggles-- “When we got back to the common room, I actually said that getting expelled would be worse than getting killed!” George threw back his head and roared with laughter.
“That does sound like you!” he said, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes.
Hermione’s laughter died down and she suddenly became very quiet. “I was always too serious,” she said. “I was too concerned about books and homework to really enjoy any of it.”
“You’re kidding, right? Hermione, I hate to break it to you, but you are not serious. I mean, you actually set fire to a teacher! And then attacked him two years later!” He roared with laughter again. “You probably broke at least as many school rules as me and Fred--” he stopped short and his face fell. Hermione instinctively reached for his hand.
“George?” she said, squeezing his hand gently.
“That’s the first time I’ve said his name with a smile on my face,” he explained. His cheeks slowly perked up into a smile again. He felt an odd sensation of relief. As if the weight that had been sitting on his chest since Fred’s death had been briefly lifted. He looked up at Hermione, his smile growing. She was smiling too.
“I don’t think I ever saw Fred without a smile,” she said gently, then giggled. “Remember when you two set off all of your fireworks in the castle, and Umbridge was running around like a madwoman trying to clean up your mess? At the party in the common room that night, Fred looked so happy--”
“He wasn’t the only one in a good mood,” George interrupted, raising an eyebrow at Hermione. Her eyes widened as a long-forgotten memory raced back to her.
“I--I think I’ll go to bed now,” she said quickly. Her voice was high and flustered.
George grinned at her, his eyes sparkling. "Well, then, goodnight," he said softly. The softness in his tone unsettled Hermione, and she stiffly got up from the couch and headed to the bedroom.
"Goodnight, George," she whispered before closing the door.
Chapter 5: Forgotten Memories
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*Author's note: I do not own anything HP, just these story.*
*Some excerpts and situations taken from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, pages 634-635*
“I don’t think I ever saw Fred without a smile,” she said gently, then giggled. “Remember when you two set off all of your fireworks in the castle, and Umbridge was running around like a madwoman trying to clean up your mess? At the party in the common room that night, Fred looked so happy--”
“He wasn’t the only one in a good mood,” George interrupted, looking slyly up at Hermione. Her eyes widened as a long-forgotten memory raced back to her.
Only after Hermione was safely alone and tucked into bed did she allow herself to think back on that memory. It seemed like
“They were wonderful fireworks,” said Hermione admiringly. George looked surprised.
“Thanks,” he said, looking confused, but pleased. Hermione returned, smiling to herself, to the table where Harry and Ron were. The action from the day had made her feel oddly exhilarated, in a good way.
“Why don’t we have a night off?” Hermione said brightly when she got back to her friends. “I’m feeling a bit...rebellious.” For some reason her eyes traveled over to where the twins were, taking orders for their fireworks. George glanced up and their eyes met briefly. Hermione hurried and ducked her head, her cheeks turning slightly pink. About an hour later, Harry and Ron went up to bed, but Hermione stayed behind. She sat on the floor in a secluded corner as students slowly made their way to their dorms. The common room was almost empty and Hermione thought she was quite alone when she suddenly felt a presence beside her, and looked up to see George sitting very close to her.
“You really liked them, then?” he asked.
Hermione bit her lip and nodded. “They really are beautiful,” she sighed happily. She uncharacteristically let her head rest on his shoulder.
George beamed at her. “Thank you,” he said. He sounded genuinely pleased, almost as if he needed her approval. She looked at him again, curious about his answer, and saw that his ears were pink.
“George Weasley, are you blushing?” she asked coyly.
He just shrugged. “I don’t often earn your praise, Hermione.” He moved closer, close enough that their sides touched, and she automatically leaned away. He stopped. “Sorry,” he said, and made to move away.
“No!” she said, too quickly. “You didn’t do anything, I just...you’re making me...nervous.” She cast a glance around to make sure there was no one listening to them.
“Really?” he asked in a roguish voice. He moved even closer, and very soon Hermione was trapped between him and the stone wall.
She giggled. “George! What are you doing?” she squeaked, trying and failing to push him back because she kept giggling at their position.
“I thought you were feeling rebellious.” He grinned at her.
Had he heard that? Hermione bit her lip again and considered how to respond. He watched her, thinking he would go absolutely crazy if she kept biting her lip like that. Finally she whispered, “I am,” and before she could change her mind, she closed the space between them and kissed George full on the lips. Then she pulled back hesitantly, waiting for him to react. He looked at her with a mixture of surprise and excitement. It made the heat rise on Hermione's cheeks.
“Hermione Granger, are you blushing?”
“Shut up,” she said, and kissed him again.
This time he responded instantly. He reached an arm out to pull her closer, but she suddenly slid through his arms and out of reach. George’s arms grabbed air and he landed flat on the floor. He rolled over to see her standing over him.
“Goodnight, George,” she said with a cheeky wink, and with that she went to her dorm, leaving George on the floor, smiling to himself and staring after her in amazement.
George was sprawled on the couch, thinking back to that night so many years ago. He’d harbored a secret crush on Hermione for months before it happened, and it was one of the best moments of his life. It was only a simple kiss, but when he watched her walk away from him, he felt like he was on fire.
Of course, the next day they both had pretended it had never happened, but from that point on George was completely smitten. Fred was the only one who ever knew George liked Hermione, and he literally took the secret to the grave. He had never even teased George for it, but instead urged George to take a chance and tell Hermione how he felt. There were so many times when George wanted to. Every time he thought he had the courage, he would get too nervous, or Ron would appear seemingly out of nowhere and claim Hermione’s attention. Eventually Ron and Hermione got together and then it seemed a hopeless case to George. He was too late. He had to watch with a sad envy in his stomach every time he saw Hermione and Ron together. Part of him hated Ron, and hated himself for feeling that way. Fred kept trying to convince George to tell Hermione how he felt, but also understood that George considered loyalty to his family more important than his own feelings.
After Fred died, George left the country. He needed to get away, to try to recover. He thought that if he stayed away long enough he could heal himself from both the loss of Fred and his mad infatuation with Hermione, but the longer he stayed away, the worse it got.
Now, here she was. In his home. Broken up with Ron.
George’s heart pounded in his chest. Did he dare try? What about family loyalty? What would his family think if they found out George was trying to steal his brother’s girl? What if he ruined everything or scared her off? He took a deep breath. No, he decided. He would wait it out. If he told Hermione how he felt and somehow she and Ron got back together, or if she didn’t feel the same way, he would feel like the biggest idiot. If she stayed though, and they continued to become better friends, then maybe, just maybe he would have a chance.
He closed his eyes tight and rolled over, trying to relax enough to fall asleep. He continued to replay the memory of Hermione’s kiss in his mind, and eventually the memories turned into dreams. Very, very happy dreams, in which Hermione did not leave after kissing him, and Ron never got in the way.
Chapter 6: Not Alone
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*Author's note: I do not own anything HP*
Hermione stayed at George’s flat for the next week. Sometimes she would walk around Diagon Alley or muggle London during the day, and sometimes he would go work in the joke shop (which would always surprise his friend Lee, who had thought George would never come back to work), but every night they would have dinner together and spend the evening talking and laughing. On the following Thursday George went to the Burrow for dinner, sparing Hermione the stress of coming face-to-face with Mrs. Weasley, and brought back delicious leftovers for them to enjoy together.
George loved getting to know Hermione better. He began to pick up on her little quirks and habits, finding them infuriating and adorable at the same time. Like how she would begin a book, just to glance at his bookshelf and find another she wanted to read. George's bookshelf was soon empty and his coffee table was stacked with books.
Hermione was surprised how much she enjoyed George’s company. He was much more serious than he had been in school but, day by day, he began showing signs of his goofy, lighthearted self. Hermione was laughing more than she had in ages, and it felt good. It felt good to finally relax and be able to smile for real, instead of the stiff smile she had worn for so many months before.
Too often Hermione found herself staring at George, blushing when she got caught, although George would just grin wickedly and continue with whatever he was doing. He was very attractive, Hermione thought. He always had been. But he had grown even more so since Hogwarts days. His muscles were less defined than they had been, but it suited him. His dark red hair was messy and long, and Hermione often found herself wishing she could run her fingers through it to see if it really was as soft as it looked. When she got lost in these thoughts she would have to mentally slap herself. She couldn’t be having these thoughts about George, Ron’s brother. It seemed...absolutely wrong. But still. She couldn’t stop herself. She was grateful for those late night conversations because it gave her an innocent reason to look at him.
Things seemed good, for once. It could have been almost perfect, if it weren’t for the nightmares that still disturbed Hermione’s sleep.
The first night Hermione stayed with George, Hermione had, by some miracle, slept peacefully. The second night, though, the nightmares came back full force. It took all of Hermione’s strength to suppress the screams that threatened to escape. She didn’t want to wake George. She thought he would think she was weak or damaged, and wouldn’t want her to stay there anymore. She needed to handle this on her own, she thought. Another night terror came the next night, and then again a few nights after that. Each time the nightmares came, Hermione would control her hysteria, not making a sound. It took hours to fall back to sleep, but at least George didn’t know.
Or so she thought.
About a week after Hermione had been staying at George’s flat, she woke from yet another night terror in a cold sweat. Her heart was racing. This was the worst it had been in months. She clenched her teeth to bite back her screams, and curled up in a tight ball, wrapping her arms around herself to try and hold herself together. Harsh tears streamed down her cheeks. She tried to muffle her gasps in a pillow. Her breathing wouldn’t slow, and her heart was beating so hard it felt like it would break out of her chest.
I want to die.
The horrible thought came to her before she could stop it. Panicking, she threw herself off the bed and stumbled to the bedroom door. She didn’t care what George might think, she couldn’t be alone right now. She threw the door open -- and gasped.
George was standing on the other side of the door. They stared at one another for a long minute. Hermione was pale and tear stained. Stray curls had escaped her long braid and clung to her skin with sweat. George’s eyes were wide with worry. A small sob escaped from Hermione and suddenly George had his arms around her in a protective embrace. They sunk to the floor and he held her shaking body against his. After a few minutes Hermione began to relax. Her breathing became more even and her shivering slowed, but George didn’t let go.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I tried to be so quiet,” mumbled Hermione. “I didn’t want you to know.”
“I always know,” George whispered back. Hermione looked up at him, shocked. George went on. “Every time. Every time you’ve woken from a nightmare, I’ve sat right here. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to respect your privacy and independence, I guess, but it was awful to sit out here and make you go through that alone. I was about to barge in there when you opened the door.”
Hermione felt a tightness in her chest that was different from the anxiety she had been feeling just a few minutes earlier. It was a very strange feeling, knowing that George was with her, that he wanted to be with her, every time she had a nightmare. That he didn’t want her to be alone. She didn’t know what to think.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione said as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
George shook his head. “Don’t. Don’t ever be sorry.” He held her tighter and Hermione relaxed against his chest. His bare chest. She froze and her eyes widened.
“George-would-you-please-put-on-a-shirt!?” she hissed through her teeth. She made to climb off him but he held onto her.
“You put on a shirt!” George hissed back with a teasing gleam in his eyes.
“I have a shirt on! This is called a shirt!”
George scoffed. “I would hardly call that a shirt, Hermione,” he whispered, noting her thin camisole. “You’re showing about as much skin as I am right now.” One of the straps of Hermione’s camisole had slid off her shoulder. George pulled it back into place. Hermione swatted his hand away, feeling her skin burn where his fingers had grazed her skin.
“Oh, come on, George! These are my pajamas!” She blushed.
“And these are my pajamas.” George gestured to his bare chest. Hermione rolled her eyes. “Are you feeling better?” George asked, his voice serious.
Hermione smiled at him. “Yes, actually. Thank you.” They looked at each other for a moment, then Hermione sighed. “I guess...we should try to get some sleep.” She frowned. The thought of being alone again was unpleasant. She really didn't want to be alone, but she felt awkward asking him to stay with her.
“Oh. Right,” said George. He stood up, pulling Hermione with him, and watched as she climbed back onto the bed. “Goodnight, Hermione.” He hesitated before saying, “I’m here, you know, if you need me…”
“Thank you, George,” she said, and he closed the door.
George went back to the couch feeling on edge. It took everything to walk away from her, to let her be alone. He lay there thinking for several minutes when he heard soft footsteps coming from the hallway. He sat up and saw Hermione standing there, looking unsure, with the blanket wrapped around her shoulders.
“I don’t want to be alone,” she shrugged. His face broke into a smile and he made room for her on the couch. She gave him a small smile and sat next to him. He put his arm around her and she snuggled into the space beside him.
“I’m glad,” he replied. She rested his head on his shoulder, just as she had so many years ago, and let herself relax as sleep finally overcame her.
*Thanks for sticking with me on this! Only a few chapters left. Let me know what you think of it!*
Chapter 7: Fred's Room
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*Author's note: I don't own anything HP.
Warning: Scenes of a mild sexual nature. (Very mild, more awkward than anything, but I thought I'd throw it out there.)*
Hermione woke with a shock the next morning. She remembered falling asleep next to George with her head on his shoulder, but did not remember how she came to be in her current position: lying next to George with her back pressed against his bare chest. One of his arms was draped over her side, holding her to him. Her camisole had come up a little during the night, and George’s fingers lightly brushed over the soft skin on Hermione’s waist. The blanket she had brought with her last night was tangled around them. She sighed contentededly, savoring the feeling of being so close to George. His arms tightened around her and she let herself be pulled closer to him, turning a little to get more comfortable. She froze when she felt something firm press against her hip.
“What the--George!” she yelped and leaped off the couch, forgetting that the blanket was still wrapped around them. George squawked as he was yanked off the couch and landed face-down in a heap on the floor. Hermione stared at him awkwardly for a few seconds, torn between her mortification over feeling him, and humor over his current position.
“Hermione. It was my wand,” he groaned into the floor. He held up the thin piece of wood and turned over slightly so he could see her. She was bright red. Her hands covered her face and she peeked at him through her fingers.
“I’m sorry! I thought--I mean, I--”
“Granted, it is morning.” He smirked. Hermione sunk to the floor with her hands still over her face, wanting to crawl under a rock.
George laughed heartily. He crouched next to her. “Believe it or not, that’s not the worst way I’ve been woken up,” he chuckled. Hermione wouldn’t look at him. Her face burned. George stood up and dropped the blanket over her head, and went to make breakfast.
Hermione stayed on the floor, with the blanket over her head, until the smells of toast and eggs drew her out. It was another hour before she could make eye contact with George though, and even then she blushed and looked at the floor again.
Over the next few days, George spent more time in the joke shop, catching up on things that he had let slide over his long absence. One afternoon as Hermione was wandering Diagon Alley, she sat on a bench, thinking about the last week. She had been happier than she had been in months, years even. Spending time with George was like...coming up for air after being held underwater for too long. She was even sleeping better. Somehow, just knowing George was in the other room, ready to “rescue” her, in a way, had calmed her nightmares. For the past few days, at least.
Hermione smiled with contentment. She loved how George was there for her, how eager he was to make sure she was okay. Her mind began to wander. She loved George’s company, his laughs, his conversation. She loved his smile. She loved his red hair and freckles and how he was always teasing her. She loved...George? She loved George.
Hermione’s jaw dropped at this realisation. Somehow, between silly giggles and deep conversations, Hermione’s innocent crush had grown into something much deeper. She loved George. She smiled to herself, giggling softly, and then frowned.
He’s Ron’s brother, she told herself bitterly. Regardless of what her feelings were, she knew George would never reciprocate them. Even if he wanted to. Family loyalty was too important to him. He doesn't feel the same way. Hermione shook her head. She’d keep her feelings to herself. She wouldn’t ruin her friendship with George, and she wouldn’t ruin his relationship with his brother. It would be difficult for her, though. The more time she spent with George, the more likely she was to accidentally reveal her feelings. She couldn’t stay with him anymore, she realized with a pang of sadness. There really was no other option. Now that she knew she had feelings for him all she wanted to do was run up to him and kiss him. She stood up from the bench and made her way further down the street, contemplating about what she had to do now.
A sign in the window of Flourish and Blotts caught Hermione’s attention. Help wanted. This seemed as good an answer as any. She went into the shop and talked with the owner. He was so ecstatic at the possibility of the Hermione Granger working in his shop that he offered her the job on the spot.
“Part time, mind you,” the elerly man squeaked as he waggled a finger at her. She smiled back.
“That sounds perfect,” she responded warmly, although inside she felt cold. This was the first step to being on her own again. The thought made her want to cry.
Hermione and the shop owner discussed hours and pay for a few minutes, and Hermione left the shop feeling very gloomy. She’d book a room in the Leaky Cauldron tonight, she decided, as she headed back to George’s flat. He was in the kitchen when she arrived.
“Hey,” he called to her as she walked in. “So I was thinking, since I don’t have anything to do in the shop tomorrow, we could--what’s wrong?” His eyebrows knit when he saw her tense expression.
“I got a job,” she shrugged with a smile that didn't reach her eyes. “Flourish and Blotts needed some part-time help, and since I’ve read most of the books in there…” she trailed off, biting her lip.
George smiled at her. “That’s great, Hermione! But--and don’t take this the wrong way--you don’t look particularly...happy about it?” He ended his sentence with a question.
Hermione sighed. The time had come sooner than she wanted. “I’m...I’m going to stay at the Leaky Cauldron until I find a place.” She didn’t look at George.
His mouth dropped open. “Did I do something? Is this because of the other morning? Because I told you, it was my wand,” he said, holding his hands up. “I wasn’t trying anything funny--”
“George,” Hermione interrupted. She rubbed her forehead. “I just--I can’t stay here. It was only temporary, remember? Just for a while, we said. I’ve stayed here too long already. Ron’s mad at you, your family’s probably mad at you too, and you’re sleeping on the couch, and--”
“But I don’t care about all that,” George insisted.
Hermione scoffed. “I care!” George flinched as she raised her voice. “You’ve been sleeping on that stupid couch for almost two weeks! It’s ridiculous! I’m not going to stay here and make you do that--”
“Fine! I’ll stop sleeping on the couch then!” He threw up his hands. “I’ll sleep in Fred’s room!” He stared at her, breathing heavily.
Hermione was taken aback. This wasn’t going the way she had hoped. All she’d wanted to do is come, get her stuff, and go. She pinched her eyes closed, hating herself. “George, Fred’s been dead for years, and you haven’t even been able to open the door,” she said through gritted teeth. “You really expect me to believe you’re going to--” Her words were cut short as George pushed past her and into the hallway. She realized what he was doing and darted after him. “George, wait!”
George got to Fred’s room too quickly and thrust the door open. Hermione, not realizing George had stopped, collided into him and they both toppled into the room. They were quiet for a moment, still splayed on the floor. George pushed himself up as he gaped at Fred’s room, turning slowly to take it all in. It was extremely tidy, except for the thick layer of dust on every surface. A few photos were hung on the wall and their occupants stirred in their frames. George’s knees buckled and he sat down hard on the bed.
“He made his bed before he left,” he breathed. Hermione touched his shoulder and sat next to him. “He made his bed every morning.” His sadness made her heart ache. She wanted to badly to hold him, to comfort him, but knew she couldn’t.
“George, I’m so sorry,” she blurted out. “I shouldn’t have--”
“No,” he interrupted. He gave her a sad smile. “It was time.”
Hermione stood and walked around the room, looking at the pictures on the walls and running her hand along the top of the dresser. Her hand touched paper, and she looked down to see a thin envelope with George’s name on it. She picked it up and turned to George, who was still sitting on the bed.
“What’s this?” She held it out to him and he took it, turning it over in his hands. “Do...d’you want me to open it?” she asked, biting her lip.
George shook his head. “No. No, I-I can do it.” The envelope wasn’t sealed. He slid his finger under the flap and carefully pulled out a piece of paper. “It’s a letter,” he said in a dazed voice. He unfolded it with shaking hands. Hermione stood back to give him privacy. She watched George’s eyes scan the contents of the letter. His eyebrows knit together and he closed his eyes for a moment, and the continued reading. Suddenly he smiled. Hermione let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding in. George looked at her, still smiling.
“What’s it say?” Hermione asked curiously.
George paused. “I’ll tell you someday,” he answered with a cheeky wink. Then his face fell. “I assume you’re still leaving, though,” he said softly.
“I’m sorry,” she said truthfully. “I just...think it’s best.”
He sighed but nodded. “Okay.” He put the letter into his pocket and they left the room together. They gathered her things quietly and she packed her suitcase.
“You don’t have to go,” George said suddenly, breaking the silence. He looked at her intently. Hermione’s chest tightened at his look.
“I can’t stay.” Her voice wavered slightly, but she quickly snapped her suitcase shut and headed out the door, leaving the only place that had brought her any sort happiness in two years.
George watched out the window as Hermione made her way through Diagon Alley toward the Leaky Cauldron. He felt like he had lost his chance. If I ever had a chance, he thought to himself. He had to remind himself that this was his brother’s ex-girlfriend. The girl his brother was still in love with. George realized with a sharp ache in his chest that the odds of Hermione feeling the same way about him as he did about her were very slim. He turned away from the window and flopped onto the sofa. Pulling the letter out of his pocket, he read through it again, this time more carefully, soaking up every word written by his twin.
If you’re reading this letter, I either didn’t make it back to the flat, or I forgot to dispose of it properly. Hopefully it’s the latter, but if not, I have a few things to say to you. I’ll keep it short.
First, don’t give up on our shop. Your shop. You’ve worked too hard for this, and I’m not going to let some silly little thing like, say, me dying or something, keep you from your dream. Don’t give up, brother. Do what you do best, and keep doing it.
Second, be strong. Give yourself time to grieve for whatever you need to grieve, and then pick yourself up and keep going. Other people are relying on you to be strong, and I know you can be.
Lastly, and I’ve said this before, tell her how you feel, will you? All of your pining and yearning will not accomplish anything. We both know Ron isn’t the right Weasley for her.
Be brave, brother. I love you.
Now GO GET YOUR GIRL.
George read and reread the letter for hours. Tears leaked from his eyes as he cried and laughed at his twin’s words. The night grew darker, and he folded up the letter and put it on his mantle where he’d be able to see it. As the night wore on, his eyelids became heavy, and with a yawn and a stretch he climbed into his bed. He felt that same sharp ache in his chest when he realized Hermione was the last person to sleep there. The bed wasn’t made and he could see the indentation in the sheets where she had slept. He lay down next to where she had laid, wishing she was still there, and fell asleep thinking of her.
*Thanks for reading! Only a couple of chapters left.*
Chapter 8: Go Get Your Girl
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*Author's note: I do not own anything HP*
For the next few weeks, George dedicated all of his energy into the joke shop. He would spend all day in the shop, laughing with his customers and pulling pranks on his employees, and stay up most of the night coming up with new products. He tried very hard to put Hermione out of his mind, but it was difficult, considering she worked just a few shops down from him. He would often catch glimpses of her in the street, running errands or picking up lunch. Every time he felt a familiar ache in his chest, but ignored it, throwing himself even more into his work at the joke shop.
George didn’t know it, but Hermione was working just as hard as he was. She honestly loved her new job at the bookshop, and quickly became the manager’s favorite (if she wasn't already). Customers would ask for Hermione specifically, not just because of her celebrity status, and would come back later if she wasn’t available. If Hermione wasn’t working with books, she was reading them. She found joy in learning again, and dove into any book she could get her hands on. During her breaks she sat outside, with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee or hot butterbeer in the other. It was cold and windy that time of year, but she didn’t care. She needed to be out, breathing fresh air. She would steal a peek at the joke shop every now and then, and every so often would catch a glimpse of George. Her chest would tighten at the sight of his shaggy hair and wide smile, and she would quickly return to her book.
It hurt that she had to avoid George, that she had to deprive herself of the one person who made her happiest. She was bitter about the fact that, as Ron’s brother, he was off-limits. However, she wasn’t going to make a fool of herself by admitting her feelings when she knew they couldn’t be returned. Wouldn’t be returned, she reminded herself with a deep breath. So whenever Hermione’s thoughts strayed to George (and his perfect eyes and warm smile and soft hair and the safety of his strong arms...), she pushed him firmly from her mind. She would forget him, she decided.
It was easier said than done, of course. Especially at night, when there was no one to protect her from the haunting nightmares and memories. Every time it happened Hermione would hold herself together and stifle her scream in a pillow, praying for strength to move past this. But it took hours to calm herself back down and when she did, all she could think about was George’s arms around her, and how she had finally felt safe.
One night George sat in his living room, alone. It had been weeks since he’d had any interaction with Hermione, and he was going crazy. He kept remembering her smile, how she had laughed with him, how her slim body felt next to his. He leaned back on the sofa and closed his eyes. I can’t do this. He glanced over at Fred’s letter on the mantle.
Go get your girl.
The thought came to George so suddenly, so clearly, it felt like Fred was speaking right into the hole that was once his ear. His body tensed as his mind raced. Was he going to do it? Was he going to risk it?
Go get your girl.
George stood up quickly. Without thinking, he grabbed his jacket and ran out the door.
What am I doing what am I doing what am I doing--
He didn’t stop until he’d reached the Leaky Cauldron.
“Tom!” he called frantically when he got inside. The elderly bartender looked up from the counter.
“Mr. Weasley, the usual?” Tom asked with a toothy smile. He reached under the counter and pulled out a dingy mug.
“Not tonight, Tom,” George answered. “Which room is Hermione’s? Miss Granger’s?”
The bartender shook his head. “Oh, I can’t give out that information,” he said stubbornly.
George groaned in frustration. “Come on, Tom! Just tell me--”
He looked toward the stairs, and there Hermione stood. Her thick hair was swept into a long braid over her shoulder. A few curls had escaped and framed her face. Despite the lateness, she was still dressed in jeans and a loose sweater.
“George, are you okay?” she asked, her eyes full of concern.
He rushed to her. “I need to talk to you,” he said urgently.
“Oh. Okay,” she answered. “Let’s...er...come on up.” They left Tom staring after them and Hermione lead the way to her room. She closed the door behind them and turned to look at George.. “Are you okay?” she asked again.
George took a deep breath. Now that he was here, he didn’t know where to begin. “Er, how are you?” he blurt out with false cheeriness. He closed his eyes, feeling stupid. He could have slapped himself.
“...Just...lovely?” Hermione bit her lip, wondering what was going on.
George rubbed his face with his hands. This wasn’t going how he’d planned, if he’d planned at all. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I just...I need to talk to you about something.” He spoke to the floor, not meeting her eyes.
“Okay, that’s fine,” Hermione said slowly, as if she was talking to a child. George began to pace. Hermione grew impatient. “George, what’s wrong?!” she snapped sharply.
He stopped pacing and looked up, making eye contact for the first time since he came to her room. He sighed. His heart was pounding in his chest.
“I’m in love with you,” he breathed. He watched her eyebrows raise and her mouth drop open.
“You...you what?” She was confused. Her pulse quickened as she tried to comprehend what he was saying.
“I’m in love with you,” he repeated, his voice stronger this time, but still soft. “Hermione, I am completely, madly, thoroughly in love with you,” he said. He ran his hand through his hair and drew closer, stopping close in front of her. “I had to tell you.” He leaned down and gently pressed his lips against hers, pulling her tenderly to him. Hermione’s eyes fluttered closed as she savored the kiss. Her arms wound around him as his hands went to her hair, her back, her waist. The kiss grew more passionate, almost desperate. His touch was like fire, but before she could let herself melt into him, an unwelcome thought was pushed to the front of her mind.
She broke the kiss suddenly, pushing him back with her hand on his chest.
“Wait,” she panted. “Wait.”
George pulled back from her, his expression full of worry and stress.
“Did I--do you not--I’m sorry--” he mumbled quickly, putting more distance between them.
“No!” Hermione exclaimed. “It’s not that. It’s--er...what about Ron?” She whispered the last part. She closed her eyes, hating that she had to bring him up right now. She wanted nothing more than to not think, to melt into George’s kisses and forget everything else.
George’s eyes darkened. “I don’t care about what Ron thinks,” he breathed. He ran a hand through his shaggy hair, agitated, and took her by the shoulders. How could he make her understand, explain to her what she meant to him, how he felt about her? “I mean, I waited years,” he said desperately, “thinking that I was doing the right thing, but--”
“Years?” Hermione’s cheeks lifted in a small smile.
His face reddened. “Yeah. Years.” He let go of her and looked at his hands, embarrassed at what he’d admitted. Hermione put a hand on his cheek and he glanced up. Her eyes were shining as she looked into his.
“I wish I’d known,” she whispered, and he kissed her again. And this time she didn’t pull away.
The next day George helped Hermione move her stuff back to his flat. He was absolutely delighted that Hermione was coming back--he’d been wanting this for so long--but he was also more than a little nervous. What would his family say? Would they consider it some sort of a betrayal, to be in love with his brother’s old girlfriend?
Hermione shared George’s anxiety over the situation. At dinner that night, she asked him what the plan was.
“I honestly don’t know,” he answered truthfully. He rubbed the back of his neck. “I mean, they’re going to find out--”
Hermione groaned and put her face in her hands.
George smiled at her. His heart felt like it was going to burst with happiness. “Should we just get it over with?” He suggested.
Hermione looked up from her hands, shocked. “What, now?” she squeaked. “You’re not serious.”
He nodded, still grinning. “Come on,” he pressed. “What’s the worst that can happen? They get mad and we go on with our lives?” He went over and knelt next to her. “Nothing’s going to change my mind,” he said softly, and kissed her hand. His cheerfulness melted Hermione.
“Fine,” she conceded. “But I’m hiding behind you.” George laughed and pulled her outside.
They decided apparating would be better than the two of them bursting from the fireplace. George held Hermione’s hand tight and turned on the spot, pulling them into nothingness. Less than a second later, they appeared with a loud crack outside the Burrow. George started toward the door, but Hermione held him back. She looked terrified.
“Wait, wait! Maybe we should wait. I mean, don’t you want to see how this--” she held up their entwined hands “--goes first? What if in a few weeks you decide--”
“Nope.” George grinned and shook his head. “I hate to break it to you, Hermione, but I’m not going anywhere.” He kissed her forehead as she sighed with relief.
“Have I mentioned I love you?”
He scrunched up his eyebrows in mock concentration. “You know, I don’t think you have mentioned that yet--”
Hermione rolled her eyes and pulled him toward the door, steeling herself for what was sure to be one of the most uncomfortable experiences of her life.
*Okay! Only one chapter left! And they finally told eachother how they feel. Finally!*
Chapter 9: Holding Hands
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*Author's note I don't own anything HP*
“George, dear, we weren’t expecting you!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed when she saw her son come through the doorway. She hurried over to embrace him.
“Yeah, George, Thursday is still two days away!” Harry and Ginny waved to him from the living room. Ginny was practically in Harry’s lap, but everyone seemed to be ignoring that fact. Ron scowled at George from his place on the sofa. They hadn’t spoken since George threw Ron out of his flat. Percy and Charlie came in from the kitchen, followed closely by their father. Mr. Weasley’s tired face broke into a grin when he saw George. The family kept exclaiming and joking about George’s sudden arrival, and it seemed no one noticed the bushy haired girl hiding behind him.
“Looks like most of the family is here,” George said, chuckling softly. “I, er, brought someone with me--” he dragged Hermione from behind him, wincing slightly at the pain of Hermione’s nails digging into his hand.
Everyone began their exclamations again at their excitement of seeing Hermione.
“Hermione, dear, it’s been ages!” Mrs. Weasley cried, while Harry and Ginny hurried to them.
“Hermione!” Harry shouted. He ran over to her, dragging Ginny behind him. He hugged his friend tightly. “We haven’t seen you in ages! How are you? What’s been--”
“Why are you and George holding hands?” Ginny interrupted, staring wide-eyed at Hermione, and then to George. Throughout all of this, Hermione had clung to George’s hand like a lifeline. The entire family collectively went into a hush as they registered what Ginny said. Mrs. Weasley’s jaw dropped open. Harry’s expression was very similar to Ginny’s. Charlie stifled a laugh. Percy blinked wildly at George and Hermione’s faces. Mr. Weasley just gaped. George smiled proudly and Hermione looked terrified.
“I can’t believe this,” growled a voice from behind everyone. Ron pushed through the crowd to see for himself. His eyes narrowed at his brother. “I knew it.” He spat, and turned around and stomped away.
“Ron!” Harry called after him in exasperation, following him up the stairs.
No one spoke for a few moments.
“Well, then,” George began patiently, still smiling. “Anyone else?”
In less than a second, Mrs. Weasley had thrown herself at the couple and was hugging them fiercely. “Oh, George!” she sobbed. “I always knew…”
“Mum,” George complained as Hermione squirmed awkwardly. Mrs. Weasley pulled away, wiping her eyes. She beamed at them, then rounded on the rest of her family. They jumped back at her fiery glare.
“If you say one word against them, I will give you the worst stinging hex in the worst area imaginable,” she hissed, shaking a finger at them. She turned sweetly back to George and Hermione. “I’ll make some tea,” she said, and with a last beaming smile, she bustled into the kitchen.
The sounds of pots and pans came from the kitchen as the rest of the family still stood in silence. Ginny moved to stand directly in front of George, looking him boldly in the eye. They communicated silently for a moment. Suddenly Ginny’s expression softened and she nodded. “Okay,” she said simply, and George pulled her into a hug.
The others seemed to decide that if Ginny was okay with it, they could be, too. Everyone began talking at once.
“When did you--”
“How did you--”
“Are you serious”
Hermione was getting dizzy. Sensing this, George held up a hand. “All in good time,” he said loudly. He led Hermione to the sofa and pulled her onto his lap. The rest of the family stared in astonishment.
“George!” Hermione whispered warningly, and slid off his lap and onto the space next to him. Mrs. Weasley came back into the living room at that moment, carrying a tray of tea and sandwiches. She poured a cup for Hermione and George, and then served herself, sitting in a chair near them.
“So,” she began, ignoring the rest of her family. “How long?” she asked, her eyes bright.
Hermione spoke before George could. “Er, Mrs. Weasley, are you--”
“Oh, dear, it’s Molly, I’ve told you a hundred times,” Mrs. Weasley interrupted, still smiling.
Hermione shook her head incredulously. “Molly, then.” She laughed weakly. “So...you’re okay, then? With this? What about Ron?”
The older woman looked at Hermione warmly. “I never expected you and Ron to last, dear. He just...didn’t seem like the right Weasley for you.” George’s hand tightened around Hermione’s. Mrs. Weasley noticed this. “He’ll come around, George. Just give him time. And frankly, Hermione,” she continued, “I’d be okay with anything that made George smile like he has been these last couple of months. He’s actually seemed happy.” She smiled sadly.
Hermione beamed. “He makes me happy, too,” she said shyly, looking up at George. He grinned back at her and planted a kiss on her lips right there, in front of everyone.
Many months later, Hermione was hurrying toward a cemetery. She was late to meet George. It was her parents’ wedding anniversary, and George wanted to visit their graves. She was hesitant, at first, but George convinced her that this would be a good thing, and he would be there. Hermione ran quickly, tripping slightly over a stray rock on the path. Her steps slowed and she drew closer and saw a familiar mop of red hair near her parents graves.
“George,” she said, panting slightly from running. “Am I that late?”
He looked up at her and grinned at her appearance. “No, love. I got here early.” His hand rested on her father’s headstone. He leaned closer to it and whispered something before running to Hermione and pulling her into a tight embrace. She relaxed into him, loving the feel of his arms around her. George leaned down and kissed her deeply.
“Hey…” she whined when he broke the kiss all too soon. George laughed.
“Come on.” His hand closed around hers and he led her to the bench in front of her parents’ graves. Hermione sat slowly. Her eyes became misty at the sight of her parents’ headstones. Loving Mother, Loving Father. She rested her head on George’s shoulder. He shifted and put his arm around her. “I’ve been having a nice chat with your parents,” he said quietly.
“Oh?” Hermione raised her eyebrows skeptically, still looking at the headstones.
George nodded. “I’ve been talking to them about you.” He smiled. “I told them how strong you are, how brave and kind and caring you are, to everyone around you.” Hermione blushed slightly. “I told them about us. I told them how we fight and bicker and laugh and joke. I told them that you are my very best friend in the world. I told them how much I love you, and how I would do anything for you. I told them about how you changed my life, changed me, for the better, and how every time I see you my heart could just burst with happiness...” He paused for a moment. “...and that I want to marry you.”
“You what?” Hermione turned so she could see his face. “You...you...you’re joking…” She laughed nervously. George just shook his head, smiling at her. He slid off the bench and knelt in front of her, taking his hands in his.
“I had to ask your parents before I could ask you,” he said seriously. He produced a small box from his pocket and opened it. Inside was a simple yet beautiful diamond ring. Hermione gasped softly. “Will you, Hermione? Marry me?”
“Are you sure?” Hermione asked, her eyes brimming with tears. “You don’t want to wait a little longer, to see how this works out?”
George smiled. “I hate to break it to you, love, but I’m not going anywhere.” He winked. “So?” He pulled the ring out of the box and held it up to her left hand. Hermione’s tears spilled over as she shouted the one word George wanted to hear:
*The end! How'd you like it? I had a lot of fun writing this and I want to thank everyone who took the time to read it!*