A/N: Just thought I would try my hand at a George Hermione fic, it ended up being a little long, but oh well. If you are looking for music to play during this fic look up Lily's theme from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 soundtrack. I was listening to it the entire time I was writing this. And as always, Review! I love the favorites and alerts, but reviews make my day!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, I am most definitely not that rich. Anything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling, anything you don't is mine.
It was staring at her. She knew it was; she could feel it. Hermione closed her eyes trying to relax as she leaned back on the black leather couch in the living room of her two bedroom apartment. She opened her eyes and looked down at the small brown box with the envelope resting inside it.
It was an ordinary envelope, long, tan, if not a bit worn. There was a red wax seal with twin 'W's stamped onto the back, holding the contents on the inside. What bothered her were the contents of the envelope. It was a letter to be sure, but a letter from a dear friend. A dead dear friend.
Hermione frowned; the letter wasn't even for her. The words "To George" was clearly written on the front of the envelope in a familiar spiky scrawl. What had possessed him to give her the responsibility of giving this letter to his twin in the case of his death? Oh yes, her responsibility. Hermione snorted.
When Fred had approached her one night during the summer after her sixth year, Hermione had thought he had been up to something mischievous. Those thoughts were quickly shot down seconds later when Fred had plopped himself onto the swinging bench next to her. Never in all of her years of knowing the Weasley twin had she ever seen him so serious, and she had soon understood why.
He had held out the envelope and asked her to take it with her wherever it was she was going, making her promise to give it to George if anything should happen to him during the rest of the war. Hermione had asked why he wanted her to be the one to give it to his brother, to which he replied with a quick and easy smile and a response similar to "You are the most responsible person I know, you wouldn't dream of reading the letter without one or both of our permission," and "My brothers and other friends are all the forgetful sort and wouldn't remember to actually give it to him."
So she had taken it. Without thinking about the consequences of her actions. It had been stupid, she now knew, but at the time she had childishly hoped that everyone she loved and cared for would come out of the war unscathed, or at the very least alive. But reality had quickly come crashing down around her the moment she had seen the dead twin lying on the floor of the Great Hall.
She had mourned for him, along with the rest of his family, and then slowly moved on with her life. He had been a close friend, a confidant even, someone she could rely on to get her through the rough parts of her day, but it had been his twin she had held a deep attraction to for years. Sure everyone had thought she and Ron were destined to be together, but despite her best efforts to see what they did, she just couldn't, her eyes were too easily drawn to the mischievous twin brothers of the boy everyone thought she would someday marry, one twin in particular.
Hermione couldn't even remember the first time she realized that she may have some sort of feelings for George. He and his twin had always been kind to her, even in her first year before Ron and Harry had been her friends. She had been hounded and picked on by a group of Slytherins on night and the pair of them had come to her rescue, turning the Slytherins red and gold, and hitting them with a stinking charm or two.
Maybe it had been in her third year when they had caught her with the time turner, but had kept it a secret, even going as far as to make excuses for her in some situations. Or in her fourth year when they had complimented her profusely when they had seen her at the Yule Ball, but George especially had paid special attention to her, smiling and asking her to dance more than once, making sure she wasn't just a bit of eye candy for Krum all night.
The twins had showered her in praise in her fifth year for coming up with the DA in the first place, and when they found out about the spell that had been placed on the parchment the DA members had all signed they had been even more ecstatic, claiming to have known all along that there was some prankster in her. Later that year she had been both horrified and pleased to find out that they had been serving extra detentions for the younger years that had unthinkingly pulled some prank or other, and it had been perhaps then that she had noticed for the first time that her heart beat a little faster around the more thoughtful Weasley twin.
There were several other cases such as these, each of them just as emotionally and mentally confusing. But then Fred had given her that letter, and part of her had felt guilty, almost as if he had told her some secret that she weren't allowed to tell anyone, not even his own twin. It was then that she finally acknowledged that she felt something more than sisterly affection towards George. It had been pure horror that filled her at the news that George had been hit during the Battle over Little Whinging, a horror she only permitted herself to show a little of.
That night, once everyone had gone to bed, she snuck down to the room where George was staying by himself for the night and had sat beside his bed and allowed the tears to silently flow. She had been crying for a good ten minutes when she felt his hand reach out to take hers. She looked up in surprise, her tears still dripping off her face, as he brought her hand to his mouth and pressed a soft kiss to it. There was just enough enough light in the room to see the small smile on George's face as he looked up at her.
"Why the long face Butterfly?" he asked softly, using the nickname he and Fred had bestowed upon her following her caterpillar like transformation for the Yule Ball.
Hermione felt a sob rip through her at the nickname, what if she had never gotten to hear that name again? "I…You," she stuttered, "I have never been so worried about anyone in my life!" she exclaimed finally, her tears momentarily forgotten, "And with friends like Harry and Ron that's saying something," she reminded him weakly, "What if you hadn't made it?" she murmured more to herself than anything, dropping her eyes to her lap.
George sighed and gently pulled on her hand, "Come here," he whispered gently, pulling her to lie alongside him. He tried to remain calm as she rested her head on his chest, right over his heart, listening to the soft but miraculously steady thud of his heart. They laid in silence for a quiet relaxed moment before George spoke again, "I'm alive," he told her softly, his deep voice reverberating in his chest, "I made it out this time, but there may come a time that I won't."
Hermione went to push herself away to look at him, but George held her close, tightening his grip, "It's true Hermione and you know it," he pressed anxiously, "There is nothing either of us can do to prevent whatever casualties are headed our way during the war and the battles that will take place within it. I think we both know that we will inevitably be involved in many of those battles."
Hermione nodded grimly, her cheek brushing over the soft fabric of his shirt, "I need to know that no matter what you will take care of yourself Hermione," he murmured, his voice catching, "I want to be able to help in whatever way I can, and I know you do too, but I can't do that when I am so worried about you doing something so self-sacrificing it kills you."
This time Hermione was allowed to look at him, "How can I do that when I have to worry about the same things with you?" she asked, wondering if he was concerned for her like he would be for Ginny, or if it was from something more.
George locked his blue eyes on her chocolate brown ones, "I will always do anything I can to come back you Hermione, never doubt that," he said vehemently, "You are far more important to me than I should allow you to be," he murmured, "But Merlin help me, I can't stop it, and I don't really want to," he whispered the last part. He squeezed her hand that was resting in his on his chest and closed his eyes for a moment, "I need you to promise me that no matter what you will do your best to survive," he finally said, "I have no right to ask anything else of you, but please just stay alive."
Hermione swallowed, trying to pick out the meaning behind each of his words, hoping that he was really saying what she hoped he was, but terrified of asking him what he really meant, just in case it wasn't. She placed her head back down over his now quickly beating heart, and made her decision, taking a deep breath she squeezed her eyes shut, "I will if you will," she replied softly.
George seemed to relax when she spoke, and he gently squeezed her hand again, while snaking his other arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him, "Of course," he murmured.
Those had been the last words spoken that night before both had fallen into a peaceful sleep. Thankfully it was only Fred who found them early the next morning before anyone else was up. He had gently shaken Hermione awake with a soft teasing smile, placing his finger to his lips he gestured for her to head upstairs before anyone else caught them asleep together.
Hermione had smiled gratefully and then attempted to worm her way out of George's arms, only to find them tightening in response. He had slowly opened his eyes to give her a lazy and mischievous smile, lifting her hand to kiss it once more before gently letting her go, his eyes not leaving hers until she turned away, but even then she could feel his eyes following her out of the room with a smile.
Fred's laughter had followed her all the way up the stairs, warming her smiling face.
She and George hadn't spoken about that night for the rest of the summer, both understood what had been said, and that was enough for now. George had stumbled upon Hermione a couple of days later as she was pacing back and forth on a strip of grass a small distance away from the Burrow. She was frantically trying to figure out how she was going to be able to take everything that was necessary for them to have on their journey without it being suspicious.
George had asked what the problem was, but as he had suspected she hadn't given him much to go on, "You know we all know you three are planning something right?" he had asked her while leaning against a tree, "You lot are going somewhere, but no one knows where or why, and I'm not asking to know, but just so you know, Fred and I are willing to help you with anything you need, alright?" he had said in a serious way but with a twinkle in his eye, before turning and making as if to leave.
Hermione had watched him leave before blurting out her problem, few people gave them credit for it, but the twins were actually quite brilliant, if there was anyone in that house who could help her it would be them. George had turned around and smiled at her, glad she had trusted him. He seemed to contemplate her problem for a minute before asking what all she thought she would need to carry. Cautiously Hermione had given him a copy of the list of the things she had come up with, and was surprised when he hadn't asked any questions in return, just simply nodded thoughtfully while reading it.
"I'll let you know," was all he had said before turning and walking away, leaving Hermione gaping after him feeling as if he had really been no help at all.
The night of Bill and Fleur's wedding had come and Hermione was still panicking about how she was going to take everything with her without bogging them all down. She had gotten ready; a small sense of dread in her stomach telling her that tonight wasn't going to be a pleasant one and had headed down the stairs, preparing herself mentally for the night ahead.
She had been enjoying the night, much to her surprise, though she had spent most of it in this chair, staring around the large tent at the smiling and joyful guests. She wasn't intentionally being a wall flower, but was one nonetheless. That is until George spotted her. A bright smile lit his face and he had headed in her direction immediately.
"Well don't you look lovely my little butterfly?" he asked as he approached.
Hermione smiled shyly in response, her stomach suddenly feeling as if a million actual butterflies had suddenly decided to take up acrobatics, "Thank you," she murmured lowering her eyes, "You look nice too," she told him staring at his shoes.
George chuckled and crouched down so that she was looking at him again, "What's up with the modesty?" he teased, his eyes tracing over her face, "As becoming as it is, with a part veela like Fleur dancing just feet away a woman should be pleased when she is complimented. Trust me," he stage whispered, "Arrogance is the way to go tonight," he confided with a wink.
Hermione lifted her head a little to smile at him and roll her eyes, "Maybe it is, but you can't honestly say you don't think Fleur is the most beautiful woman here," she stated as if it were fact.
George narrowed his eyes, and lifted her chin so that she met his eyes, "Most everybody may say that Fleur is the most dazzling woman here, and she may be beautiful, but she has nothing on you Butterfly," he told her firmly, his eyes showing her just how much he meant it. Hermione didn't say anything, but she felt her skin heat up in pleasure at his words. George smiled, "Now, would the most beautiful woman here care to dance with me?" he asked standing up and holding his hand out to her courteously.
Hermione stared at it for a minute before remembering the dances they had shared at the Yule ball. Smiling she nodded and took his hand, leading him to the dance floor. She turned to face him awkwardly, smiling nervously up at him uncertain of what to do next. George gave her a gentle smile back and tugged her closer, taking the hand that wasn't already in his and placing it on the juncture between his shoulder and neck before placing his own hand on her waist.
He pulled her close as he slowly began leading her in time to the music, and she was once again reminded of her dances with him at the Yule Ball. They danced in a comfortable silence through the song, and reluctantly Hermione made to pull away as the music began to fade into another song.
George made an odd noise of discouragement as she tried to pull away and shook his head, simply pulling her closer. Hermione sighed in contentment as she moved closer to place her head on his chest under his chin, soaking in what she hoped wasn't the last bit of happiness before the war truly began.
"Where did you learn how to dance?" she asked after the second song was finished, looking up at him but not pulling away.
George smiled down at her, "Some people are just born with the talent," he told her, "like Fred and myself. Ickle Ronniekinns however was not." Hermione laughed and nodded, having tried only once to dance with their uncoordinated brother.
They had finished the song in silence once more before George pulled back and, gently pulling on her hand, had lead her outside the tent into the fresh cool summer air. Hermione followed him in confusion, but compliantly allowed him to take her wherever he wished. They came to a stop just meters away from the large tent under a tree, far enough away that others couldn't hear them, but close enough that the music could still be softly heard drifting over to them.
George turned to her and released her hand, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small beaded purple bag and extending it to her. Confused Hermione took it, "What is it?" she asked.
George smiled a large smile at her, "It's a bag," he told her.
"Well obviously George, I'm not daft, but what's it for?" Hermione questioned, turning the bag over in her hands.
"Carrying things," he stated, again pointing out the obvious. When Hermione looked up at him in irritation he clarified, "Lots of things," he said as if that explained everything. Hermione shook her head, still not understanding, and he sighed, "Remember a couple of days ago when you were telling me about all the things you had to take with you but you didn't know how you would do it?"
Hermione nodded, realization dawning on her as she looked down at the bag again, "This is what you came up with?" she asked, curious as to why he thought everything could fit in the small bag.
George nodded, "Fred and I found some extension charms and other various spells to place on it," he told her, "In fact it currently has everything on your list in it except for the few personal things you Harry and Ron were going to bring."
Hermione looked up at him in surprise, "The tent?" she asked, "The potions and books?"
George nodded again, "The tent is the one we used at the Quidditch World Cup, so it's a bit worn. And all of the potions and books you had on your list are in there, as well as a few you didn't."
"But where did you get them?" she asked, surprised.
George shrugged, "We made the one's we could and bought the ones we couldn't. A couple of them are actually some things we made up ourselves. They are labeled with their names and what they do, even the ones you asked for, just in case you have to have Ron or Harry find a potion for you. There are a couple more books in there we thought you might want to look at as well," at Hermione's questioning look he explained, "You forgot a silencing charm a couple of times," he told her.
Hermione frowned but nodded anyway, "What else?" she asked trying to resist opening the bag herself to see their workmanship just yet.
George grinned, "Just a few other products of ours we thought may come in handy in certain situations, as well as a couple of games and mindless fluffy books," At Hermione's narrowed gaze he went on, "I think you'll find that there are going to be times when you just need to relieve the tension for a while Hermione," he told her seriously, "Horcruxes are dark things, they won't make you happy, nor, would I guess, will the hunt for them. Frivolity and laughter is sometimes the one thing that will get you through the tough times."
Hermione looked down at the bag sadly, then looked back up at him and without thinking, flung her arms around his neck. George inhaled quickly, clutching her to him tightly. He was worried about her, there was no doubt about that, but he couldn't order her to stay behind, nor did he truly want to, but he could make sure she had everything she needed to potentially make it out of this mess alive.
Hermione pulled back after several long minutes. "How can I ever thank you?" she whispered, absently brushing a stray strand of hair out of his face.
"Just take care of yourself Hermione, alright? I will do anything I can to help you keep that promise you made to me that night," he said hoarsely, "Anything."
Hermione nodded, one stray tear sliding down her cheek, "I will if you will," she reminded him.
George gave a weak smile and reached out to brush the tear away with the pad of his thumb. Taking a deep breath he looked over her shoulder at the crowded tent, "Fred and I were thinking you should leave tonight," he said finally, his tone of voice telling her that the words where choking him.
Hermione caught her breath, "Why?" she asked slowly, trusting his judgment, but wanting to understand it better so she could explain it to Ron and Harry later when she tried to convince them.
George looked back down at her sadly, his thumb still tracing absent circles on her cheek and jaw, "There will be lots of people leaving tonight, enough that Mum and whoever else is watching won't even notice the three of you leaving until you're already gone. It's also the only time there will be so many different apperations happening that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to trace your own apperation residue," he explained his eyes tracing her face as if trying to memorize every detail.
Hermione nodded, "It makes sense," she said softly, leaning her head into the palm of his hand, reaching up to cover it with her own hand.
George's eyes softened even more if it was possible, "I don't want you to go," he murmured, leaning forward to press his forehead to hers.
"I have to," she replied gently.
George nodded, "I know, Ron and Harry would both be dead within days if you weren't there, but it doesn't mean I have to like it."
Hermione gave him a watery smile, closing her eyes and moving to wrap her arms around his waist and press her head to his chest. They held onto each other tightly for a long time, before Hermione pulled back and wiped at her eyes, "I should go and get the boy's things," she said softly.
George bobbed his head, "Come find me when you're done, I want one more dance," he whispered, resting his lips against her ear.
"For now," Hermione replied.
"For now," he agreed pulling just far enough away to look her in the eye, before bending forward and pressing a small kiss to the corner of her mouth, "For now," he repeated, before backing away slowly and turning to walk back into the tent.
Hermione had retrieved the boy's things and arrived back at the tent and found George just in time for the arrival of Kingsley's patronus and the following world-shattering statement, "The ministry has fallen…they are coming." She'd had just enough time to squeeze George's hand before chaos erupted and they were separated.
The only thing that kept her going throughout their search for Horcruxes and the ensuing Final Battle was the promise she and George had made to one another that night, and the hope that maybe life could be good again.
Then everything had changed, Fred had died; resulting in a far more catastrophic emotional outcome than either Hermione or George could ever have predicted. The Weasley family had mourned, as had many other members of the wizarding world, the loss of one of the joyous pranksters had been a hard blow to all of them. But slowly they had all moved on, all except George, who had become sullen and quiet, still mourning over the death of his most beloved twin.
It had been a year, one full year since the end of Voldemort and his tyrannical rein, and things had started to go back to normal. Hogwarts had been repaired and reopened, with McGonagall as Headmistress. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley were also repaired and stores had reopened as well.
Harry had completed Auror training in a record breaking three months when it normally took nearly two years, and had swiftly climbed to the top of the department, having caught so many Death Eaters there was a trial nearly every other day. Despite all of this success, Harry had secretly informed her that he hoped that once most, if not all, of the Death Eaters had been caught; he might be able to convince McGonagall to let him have a go at the DADA position at the school.
Ron had contemplated auror training as well, but in the end had decided he had had enough danger to last him a lifetime. Instead he had tried out for the Chudley Cannons professional Quidditch team, leading to a completely undefeated season for once in the Cannons rather long life.
Ron and Hermione had gone out on one date, despite Hermione feeling incredibly guilty about it because of what had happened between her and George. However by the end of that date Hermione and Ron were both slightly relieved to find out that the kiss and 'romantic' feelings they had been feeling while on the hunt weren't in fact romantic feelings, at least not anymore. They both agreed that dating one another felt an awful lot like incest and had decided to leave their relationship at friends.
Oddly enough it had been Ron who Hermione first told about her feelings, which had grown into something more akin to love than simple care, towards George. Ron had stared at her with an oddly contemplative look on his face before stating that he could "see it" and wishing her luck.
Hermione had spent the rest of the year tracking down her parents in Australia, which had turned out to be a bit harder than she had expected it to be, requiring her to spend several months living in the country searching for them, only to find out a couple of weeks previous to this day that they had actually died in a car accident months after their arrival.
It had been a hard concept to grasp, she had spent so much time organizing and protecting them from anything magical, that it had never occurred to her that they could die by muggle means. She had returned to England empty handed but without any explanation for why her parents weren't with her. Harry had invited her to come and live with him at Grimmauld place, and she had done so for about a week, before it all became too much and she just felt she had to get out of there.
And get out she had; into this nice, comfortable, furnished muggle apartment. Hermione had made Harry, Neville and Draco, who was Harry's current auror partner help her carry whatever boxes of stuff she could find, wanting to appear completely normal to her muggle neighbors. However it had only taken her minutes to unpack, as once inside her apartment she was allowed to use magic till her heart's content.
She had lived in her apartment for a full week before Molly Weasley had flooed to her place in tears. It turns out George wasn't doing as well as Hermione had hoped he was doing. She had tried talking to him once after Fred's death, only to have him give her the cold shoulder, so she had assumed that he would come to her when he wanted her help. It seems she was wrong.
George had not been in to work since the day of his brother's death, leaving Verity to run the store, though at times she would run into some problem or other that required her to seek help, though from whom she'd had no idea. It had been a coincidence that once such incident had occurred within the first two weeks of the rebuilding of Diagon Alley, a day Hermione just happened to stop by the store to see how things were going.
Verity had immediately recognized her as one of Fred and George's friends, as well as one of the members of the Golden Trio, and she had pounced. There had been a Ministry employee who wished to see some sort of paperwork, but Verity didn't know what he was talking about or where to find such things, so Hermione had taken over, accioing the necessary papers and scolding the man before shooing him out the door.
Ever since that moment, Verity had consistently come to Hermione whenever she had any problems with the store or its patrons. In essence Hermione and Verity had been running the shop for George during his absence. His absence, however, seemed to be taking longer than it should have been, though Hermione couldn't say as though she faulted the twin for not wanting to go back to a place with so many memories.
However, when Molly had burst into her apartment in tears, proclaiming that she had no idea what to do to help her son any more, Hermione felt enough was enough. She had sat Molly down and demanded to know exactly what George was doing, as well as what she had been doing to help him.
Turns out, George had hidden himself away in his room, only coming out occasionally to grab a roll or a drink of water, but never saying anything. He had warded the door so heavily that not even Bill could get in with all of his charm breaking skills; it seemed some of the wards were ones George had apparently made up himself as Bill had never encountered them before, one nasty charm in particular made the ward breaker turn orange and caused green slime to ooze from his pours.
George's mother had informed her that she had tried having just about everyone she could think of try and speak to him, to no avail. Harry, Percy, Kingsley, Arthur and herself more than once, Ginny, even little Teddy, just to see if he would be allowed in, none of whom worked. Twice they had to stun him when he had appeared just so they could force a potion down his throat to make sure he was getting the nutrients his body needed to survive. But Molly was getting worried that one of these day's she would find that George had simply died, whether by his own hand or from lack of nourishment was still up for debate.
Molly had left assured that Hermione would come over to the Burrow within the next couple of days to see George, as soon as she had found a certain item she would need before approaching him. The second Molly was gone Hermione had gone into her room and found the box in the back of her closet.
Fred had said that she would know when to give it to him, but told her not to give it to him right after Fred's death, George was supposed to try and move on on his own first before Hermione could step in. Now seemed like an appropriately long enough amount of time to try and move on by himself, so Hermione had taken the box out and set it on the coffee table.
It really did feel like the thing was staring at her. Sighing Hermione bent to pick the envelope up out of the box, only to be surprised when the letter seemed to split into two, leaving two envelopes resting in her hand, one was still addressed to George, but the other was now addressed to her.
Slowly Hermione set the letter to George back in the box, and lifted the letter to her into her lap. She eyed it cautiously for a second before deciding that since no one had known about this letters existence but her and Fred, and that Fred wouldn't joke about something like this, she tore open the seal on the back and carefully unfolded the letter on the inside.
Well this is one of those things I wish I never would have had to do, though it must be even more weird for you than it is for me because if you are reading this, I must be dead. Looking back on that sentence it sounds incredibly cliché…but there isn't much I can do about that as it is true. I charmed this letter to only show up when you had decided that it was time for George to read that letter I gave you to give to him.
First off Hermione, I just want you to know that you are a brilliant witch and I am very proud to have known and pranked you, when I get to the other side I have every intention of bragging about it, just to let you know, so if you ever have any random moments where it feels like someone is laughing at you…or with you as I prefer to think of it, just know that is me and whoever I meet on the other side that is willing to listen…perhaps Dumbledore.
Second, I don't think you understand just how much you mean to all of us Weasleys, I know there isn't a single one of us that wouldn't die for you in a heartbeat, including me, but hopefully that wasn't the case as I don't want you to feel as if it was your fault. But if that really was how I died, just know that I did it with honor and a true brotherly love for you. Yes, I said it, I love you Hermione Granger, but like a sister. I'm not in love with you. That's all George.
You see, ever since our fifth year, or your third, George has had this little crush on you. It came about when we found out that you had hit that ferret Malfoy. Even if he turned out to be an alright bloke in the end, he still deserved it at the time and you should be very proud of your accomplishment, George and I were.
Now I am going to let you in on a little secret, George was going to ask you to the Yule Ball that one year. That's right, you read correctly, George was going to ask you to the dance, so why didn't he you ask? Well it had a little something to do with a professional Quidditch player and his apparent affection for you. George felt threatened, but rather than beat the bloody git to the punch he began to think that you liked the prat back. (As you may be able to tell we didn't like the bloke much)
I had finally managed to talk him into ignoring Krum and just ask you out already when that incident with Ron and Harry happened. You know the one, the occasion where my idiotic brother just seemed to realize you were a girl? (A fact I assure you, George and I have been aware of since the first day we met you) You angrily exclaimed that you had already told someone else that you were going to the ball with them, thus shooting down any hope I had managed to build up in our poor little Georgie boy.
You should have seen him when you walked into the Great Hall that night, if that wasn't love and adoration I don't know what was. It was then that I knew, I had competition for my brother's love. I jest, I really never felt threatened by you, in fact if anything I was glad to see that he and I could have our own separate lives sometimes, something that was first brought to my mind when you figured out how to tell us apart, something our own mother could never do, until now that is, what with a chunk of George's ear missing…but I digress.
George had made some kind of comparison between you and a caterpillar becoming a butterfly under his breath, between you and me I don't think he ever intended for anyone else to hear it, but when I agreed the name stuck. But then we had to sit back and watch as time and time again you took second place to Krum's fame and fans. Eventually George couldn't take it anymore and went to ask you for a dance…I didn't see him again for a long time after that. But when he finally came back he had this exhilarated look and smile on his face that I have only come close to seeing when we are pranking someone.
As if that weren't enough, when you decided to start that rebellious little group of yours, Dumbledore's Army, well let's just say that if George wasn't in love with you before he would have been then, and if he hadn't then I certainly would have. That year was one of the worst in our lives, though I am sure it is about to be surpassed by whatever is to come, I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't been for Angie, and I know it was the same for George and you. You were his light at the end of the tunnel, the only reason why he got up in the mornings…well maybe the occasional bucket of water and shaving cream also had something to do with it, but I'm supposed to be serious here, so I never wrote those last words alright?
When we finally left that place to start our own business, well, I can't really tell you exactly what it felt like, but I imagine it was something akin to heaven. Freedom, and support, it was a heady feeling, one that I have yet to recreate. George told me what you told him Hermione, about how proud you were of the things we had been doing that year, and how you knew that if anyone could make a prosperous joke shop it would be us. Well I'd like to thank you, up until you said those words, granted they were spoken to my less handsome twin, both George and I had been uncertain how most people would react to our dream of owning our own joke shop.
Then there was that little way you had of somehow always knowing which one of us you were talking to, someday you are going to have to explain that, particularly since our own mother couldn't even do it. I think that was another big thing for George, you were the only person in the castle who didn't ever mistake him for me, or vice versa, and he appreciated that more than I think you will ever know. It was probably one of the only times he or I ever felt as if we could actually be just ourselves instead of a part of that funny duo everyone loves.
He worried about you. All year long your sixth year, it was constantly: I wonder what Hermione is doing now, and Hermione would like that, Hermione this, Hermione that, I won't lie and say I enjoyed it, because I most certainly didn't, but it was tolerable as I understood where he was coming from. I felt the same way about Angie. If it isn't too much to ask could you at least let her know that I did really love her, and because of that I do want her to be happy, with anyone she chooses…within reason of course.
But all of this is besides the point, the point, Hermione, is that George loves you, and that if he gets anywhere near as bad as I have imagined he will if I die…you will be the only person who can get through to him. That, is why I gave you the task of giving that letter to him. Not because you're miss-responsible-Hermione Granger, or because I know that you won't try and read whatever I finally manage to write to George, but because he loves you, and, if I'm not mistaken, you love him too; especially if that little scene I walked in on this morning was any indication.
He needed you last night, just so you know, last night meaning the night he lost part of his ear and tried to convince people he was holy. The horror. That's right, you were supposed to laugh at that joke, go ahead do it. Anyway, there were some things only you could get him to hear, and I wouldn't have been able to say or do anything right…I was terrified that night Hermione, more scared and worried than I have ever been in my life, and I think nothing will ever compare to it. I almost lost my twin, my other half, the one person who makes me, me. I don't know if I can explain it properly, my words will never do justice to the way I would feel without my twin, but I need you to understand that the pain and emotions I would be feeling, that George is feeling if you are reading this letter, are incomprehensible unless you have gone through it yourself.
I don't mean to make it sound impossible to sympathize with the pain he is going through, but I do need you to realize that saying that you "understand" or that you "know just how he feels" (like everyone else has probably already tried to do) isn't going to work, those will be key words that will get you shut out quicker than lightning. Just ask any person our poor mother has convinced to try and talk to him. He will most likely be hiding out in our old bedroom at the Burrow.
If I were him, which out of everyone, I am probably the closest to actually being him, I would ward the door with so many layers of wards, both normal and not, that not even Bill would be able to get through them. Some of these wards he has probably made himself, yes Hermione, made. You once told us that it took true genius to be able to fail at all of our classes like we do, but succeed in anything we put our minds to. And we have recently been putting our minds to various wards that have different reactions to various spells.
As I don't know for sure which ones he will put up, or if he'll just make up a whole new set of wards, I can't tell you exactly what to expect. However, he and I always put a failsafe in each of our products, something that I wouldn't be telling you unless I were truly dead, just say the words GredandFeorge and it will instantly remove danger from any products either of us have ever built. This will also be necessary for married life, I expect, as you will find he has a tendency to leave things…. 'lying around'….yes that was sarcasm.
When you find him, make sure he showers, then bring him a tray of his favorite foods, (you have truly failed in your love for him if you don't know what those are)then make sure he eats it, because if I am correct he will probably only have been eating as little as he can get by on and still stay alive. Then start prying. Again, don't say any of those keywords mentioned above, but pry your heart out. Make no mistake Hermione, he will snap, he will yell, and shout and hex and curse, but then he will cry, I would cry. My twin is gone, and I would feel completely alone, completely and utterly alone and there is not one person out there who understands what it feels like.
This is when you should give him the letter Hermione. Don't give it to him until he has vented, he needs to get out whatever it is that is hurting him inside before he can begin to heal. And I think between the two of us and our words we should be able to mend him.
Make sure whoever the best man is at your wedding gives the enclosed speech I have written…no the paper behind this one isn't just a blank sheet, so don't throw it away. It is the best man speech I have written for him and you, because there is just no way you two aren't going to end up married forever together. Don't give up on him. Do whatever you have to do, to ensure that happily ever after the muggles are so fond of.
I love you little sister, our little Butterfly. Tell my family I love them and that I fully expect to see some pranks at every anniversary of my death…as they will insist on celebrating it I am sure.
Love him Hermione, he needs you. Just love him and everything will turn out fine.
A dead man….haha…okay, so that wasn't funny, I apologize…kind of.
Hermione wiped some tears from her eyes and face and summoned a tissue to wipe her nose on. Leave it to Fred to be both funny and sad at the same time. Her resolve solidified, Hermione stood and picked up the letter for George along with another small box and placed them in a small purple beaded bag. She made her way to her fireplace, threw in some floo powder and in seconds was flying into the Weasley's kitchen.
She stumbled a bit before managing to balance herself, looking up to see everyone staring at her from the kitchen table. Hermione looked around; there was no food to be seen, so they must be having a family meeting of some sort. Everyone was there, from Bill to Ginny and Harry, and they all looked surprised to see Hermione standing in their kitchen.
Lifting her chin a bit she smiled and began to head towards the stairs in determination, "Good afternoon," she said brightly, before disappearing up the staircase as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
The Weasley's and Harry all shared a quick look before shooting to their feet to follow her up the stairs to George and Fred's room. Just as the first members of the group managed to reach the landing that lead to the room they heard Hermione yell, "George! Open the door, it's Hermione!"
"That won't work Hermione," Harry said sadly, "He hasn't opened the door for anyone since the battle."
Hermione glared at him, "Then I'll just have to open it myself," she snapped at him, "George, open this bloody door, or I'll blast it off its hinges!" she yelled.
"I don't think he can hear you," Ginny supplied, "I think he places silencing charms on the door as well."
Hermione whipped around to stare at the worried family members surrounding her, "For the love of Merlin!" she exclaimed, "If you lot aren't going to help then just go away!" Hermione then turned back to the door, pulling out her wand, "I'll give you until the count of three George!" she warned, "One! Two…Three!" and with that she shot a quick Reducto at the door, unsurprised when it didn't work.
Bill shook his head, "He has wards on his door Hermione," he told her, "I couldn't even get in."
Hermione shook her own head, silently feeling for the different wards, "Well you're not me now are you Bill?" she replied sweetly, as she silently began to take down ward after ward until she finally managed to clear them all away. She reached out her hand, murmuring a quick "GredandFeorge," so that no one else could hear, before turning the knob and pushing the door inwards a crack.
Turning she gave a triumphant look to George's family, "Listen," she said, "I need you all to promise to stay away from this floor until I say otherwise alright? Stay in the kitchen, go home, I don't care, just stay away from here. Molly, would you be a dear and make some blue berry pancakes, chocolate milk with extra chocolate, some bacon, two eggs sunny side up, and a bowl of vanilla yogurt with black and red raspberries please?"
Molly, surprised at the amount of food, but happy to have a job to do, nodded her head and disappeared down the stairs, followed closely by the rest of the family. Silently Hermione watched them go before turning back around and slowly walking into the dark room, closing the door softly behind her.
The room smelled, that much was certain; Hermione lifted her hand to her nose to block the rank air, suddenly realizing why Fred had told her to make him go and get a shower. "George?" she spoke, the room was so dark she was only able to see a slight outline of his form sitting on the bed, his back to her.
"I thought you said you were going to blast the bloody door off its hinges," he finally replied in a voice that sounded as if it hadn't been used for a long time.
Hermione sighed and stepped closer to him, "You mind if I open the curtains?" she asked, her eyes had adjusted to the dark enough to see him shrug, so she did. Suddenly the room was lit with much more light than George was apparently used to as he had to shield his eyes for a long minute, leaving Hermione with enough time to study him.
He had lost a lot of weight, not enough that he looked anorexic, but enough that it was noticeable. His hair was tangled and greasy, and his clothes were rumpled, just like his bed. The rest of his room was a mess, clothes and bits of parchment lying around all over, all except Fred's bed. Fred's bed was pristine; there wasn't a thread out of place.
"George?" Hermione said, catching his attention, "Don't take this the wrong way but you need a shower," she paused waiting for him to do or say something, when he didn't she continued firmly, "Now." George looked at her in a dumb shock, "That's right, I said you need a shower, now don't make me call your mother up here to help you take one. Your family has strict instructions to stay away from this floor until I say so, so you are in the clear to use the bathroom. Now go." She pointed to the door with one hand, and planted her other fist on her hip in her best Hermione Granger lecturing image.
Slowly George seemed to realize she was serious and stood up, Hermione's lips twitched a bit in victory before she straightened them and headed towards his closet. She reached in and pulled out a dark blue t-shirt and a pair of light blue muggle jeans she had gotten him for his birthday once, then she reached into his underwear drawer and pulled out a pair of boxers, adding them to the pile of clothes in her arms. Gently she pushed them into his arms and nudged him out the door and down the hall, into the bathroom.
She closed the door and stood outside waiting silently until she heard the water come on before she walked back to his bedroom. Entering the room she pulled out her wand and began to wave it in various directions, ordering the clothes to the dirty hamper in the corner, and straitening the sheets and quilt on George's own bed. She dusted and cast a deodorizing charm on the room, making it smell more like it used to rather than like a filthy George.
Hermione turned around to survey her work and found George staring at her from the doorway, his hair still dripping from the shower. She smiled softly and met his questioning blue ones with her own open brown eyes in a silent communication, though of what she didn't know, he was the one asking, searching and apparently finding what he was looking for, as he soon looked away.
"Come and sit down," she invited him sitting on his bed and patting the spot next to her. George stared at her for a long minute, contemplating, before doing as told and sitting down cautiously next to her. They sat in silence for a minute, "When was the last time you ate anything?" Hermione murmured, looking at his profile in concern.
George shrugged, "Two days ago?" he said as if it were a question, his voice sounding only slightly better than before.
"It's official," Hermione said with a firm nod, "You are going to eat something right now. Wait here," she stated getting up and walking towards the door, "Oh, and don't try to re-ward the door, I will just break through them all again, as many times as I have to until you look at least half as good as you usually do," she told him with a stern look in her eye as she walked out the door and closed it behind her.
George sat, unmoving, and stared at the door, wondering what in the world had just happened, and trying to decide if it had just been a dream. Minutes later the door opened and Hermione walked in carrying a tray loaded with food, and George's eyes widened, "I don't think I can eat all of-,"
Hermione cut him off with a wave of her hand as she set the tray down on a quickly transfigured table, "You can and you will, George, I will personally make sure of it," she told him, "Now eat up, I made sure it was your favorite."
George looked at the tray in surprise; sure enough it contained all of his favorite breakfast foods. Picking up the fork and knife he slowly began to eat the pancakes, looking at Hermione inquiringly.
Hermione snorted softly, "Don't give me that look," she stated, "I practically stalked you when we were at Hogwarts, from the day you and Fred saved me from those Slytherin twits," Hermione ignored the flinch at the mention of Fred's name, "Until the day you and Fred," she said his name pointedly, "left school with a bang. Nifty bit of magic that was," she complimented him, glad to see the small pleased spark in his eyes, even if it only lasted a short minute, "So I think I know what your favorite breakfast is."
Hermione watched him eat in silence, wondering absently if he was eating so slowly to irritate her, but deciding that if he was, she was okay with it as it would have meant that he was joking at least a little. Once George had finally managed to force down the last bite, a feat that Hermione was frankly surprised by as she wouldn't have even been able to eat all of that, she lifted her wand and banished the tray downstairs to the kitchen.
"Now," she said, "I want you to talk to me," she informed him, rearranging herself to sit with her legs crossed in front of her while she faced him.
George raised an eyebrow, "About what?" he asked sarcastically.
Hermione simple looked at him, "Anything," she told him, "the weather, the latest broom, which witch you would rather see disrobed," Hermione shook her head, surprised when George looked at her with his piercing eyes, "There's only one witch," he told her seriously, his voice low.
Hermione blushed, but when he didn't continue she pressed forward, "Or you could talk about your joke shop and how you haven't been out of this house in over a year. We could talk about how concerned your family is about you, or how about the war?" Hermione could see the muscle in George's jaw began to twitch as he began to grow uncomfortable and frustrated.
"How did you feel during the war George?" she asked, prying like Fred had told her to do, "Tell me what you feel now, talk to me about you, about the battle…" here Hermione hesitated, knowing full well her next words were going to push him off a proverbial cliff, "How about Fred?" she whispered.
George shot to his feet, his face turning red, "What do you know Hermione?" he shouted, leading Hermione to wordlessly and wandlessly ward the door with repelling and silencing charms, "You don't know how I feel! You don't know what it's like to lose someone so close to you! All you know are things you find in books! Trust me you will never find anything about how I feel in there!" George paused.
"I never said I know how you feel George," Hermione spoke softly, not moving from the bed, simply turning to face him, "I already know I don't know how you feel, and I won't unless you tell me."
George turned to look at her his eyes flashing, "You want to know how I feel? How about you try having your heart torn out, cut in half and then shoved back in the cavern it came from only half there, but still expected to work as if nothing happened. The pain of a thousand knives and needles being shoved into your body couldn't compare to how I am feeling. I'm hurt and angry and frustrated, and sad, and confused and I don't know what to do with my life anymore!
"My family all looks at me as if I'm some sort of leper, my friends can't even look at me period. I haven't been out of this house because I am terrified of what the rest of the world is going to do if my own family and friends can't look at me. Hell, I can't even look at me Hermione, I look just like him!" George hissed, his eyes beginning to water, but he was refusing to let them run over.
"Say his name," Hermione commanded. George stared at her, "I said say his name George," she repeated slowly getting to her feet. He shook his head, "Fred," Hermione said for him, "His name is Fred. He was your twin. His name was Fred."
George felt his anger wavering, as she looked him in the eye with defiance, but then she shook her head, "You can't even say his name, can you?" she stated harshly, pretending not to care, but feeling the hurt she must be causing him to feel inside her, "I want to hear you say his name George! Tell me his name!" And suddenly all he saw was red.
He picked up the nearest object and threw it, his wand was suddenly in his hand as he attempted to destroy anything and everything in his room, only to find it all repaired by the witch standing behind him. He kept at it though, absently realizing that he was yelling and screaming and cursing with every spell he knew, after every object he destroyed until he suddenly found himself sobbing, falling to his knees and holding his head in his hands, moaning and crying in a way he hadn't done since the day his brother, his twin, his other half, had died.
He cried and whimpered, hesitating when he felt Hermione cautiously place her hand on his shoulder, before throwing his arms around her and pulling her to him in a crushing hug, and crying into her shoulder. "It hurts," he whimpered after a long time, tears were still flowing down his face, but the body shaking sobs had stopped, "It hurts so much and it won't go away."
Hermione nodded, "I'm so sorry," she murmured holding him to her and running her fingers soothingly through his hair, "I'm so sorry."
They stayed like that for a long time, the slightly fading light being the only sign that time had passed. Slowly the tears came to a stop and George simply held the woman in his arms. Eventually he pulled away, "I'm sorry," he murmured, brushing a curl out of her face, "You shouldn't have to have seen me like that."
Hermione shook her head slowly standing and reaching a hand down to help him up, "Don't be," she said, leading him to the bed and sitting down on it. She hesitated, "I'm not sure how you're going to take this, but I had specific orders," she reached into the purple beaded bag she had rested on the night stand next to the bed, "I just want you to feel better," she murmured pulling out the letter and slowly handing it to George.
George looked down at the tan envelope in trepidation, "What is it?" he asked cautiously, not taking it.
"A letter," she told him standing up. She gently placed the letter on the bed beside him, the words "To George" facing up at him, before heading over to look out the window while she waited for him to read it.
George felt a sudden flash of terror and hope squeeze his heart simultaneously as he recognized the hand writing. He looked at Hermione's back, wondering how she had come across this, before turning back to the letter, slowly picking it up with shaking hands.
I am finding this letter incredibly hard to write, but it is even harder to imagine what you would be like in a world where I actually died and I didn't write this. So if you're reading this one of two options scenarios has occurred, one, and the one I hope actually happens, is that we both somehow survived this war, and I have managed to retrieve this letter from Hermione and somehow you convinced me to let you read it. Or option two, and this is the option I feel is most likely, unfortunately, I really did die and Hermione has finally fulfilled her promise to me in bringing this letter to you.
Now you're probably wondering why I chose Hermione to be the one to deliver this letter to you in the event I should end up dead; and the answer is easily summed up in one word: love. You love her, and she loves you. It's that simple. You may have thought your love wasn't obvious, but let's face it, you and I are twins, we can read each other like an open book…not that we ever read a book mind you…ha ha. But seriously, who else would be both brave enough and determined enough to break down the wards we both know you put up to come and give you this letter. Who else would you allow to enter the sanctuary that is our room but her?
I am writing this letter only hours after finding you two asleep on the couch together. You looked so cute together Georgie! I have been feeling the need to write to you just in case for several months now, but it wasn't until last night when I was suddenly faced with only a little of what you must be feeling now that I finally decided to write this. Finding you this morning with our lovely butterfly was a peaceful thing for me, knowing that she will be there to comfort you when it all goes to hell.
Let her in George, she can help heal your heart. I know it hurts now, trust me, I know. But she can help you pick up the pieces and seal them all together again. She loves you mate, as crazy as it is, she somehow managed to fall in love with the less handsome and charming of the two of us. I think if you let her see you and your pain she could help you in ways you can't even imagine.
Now, onto Mum and the rest of the crazy and nosy people we call family. How many of them have tried to comfort you with, " I know how you feels" and "I understands"? All of them I expect, but you and I know that they don't understand, they don't know how it feels. However, locking yourself away in our room and ignoring them won't help them understand that they don't understand. That made sense in my head, which tells me you understood as well, but what I mean is that they won't know until you tell them.
Mum may have been unable to tell us apart for most of our lives, (a talent our lovely butterfly seems to have acquired somehow) but I don't think either of us ever doubted that she loved us with everything in her. She is hurting too George, she may not have lost her twin, but she did lose her son.
Dad has always been the one to encourage us whenever Mum wasn't looking, remember that time we were sneaking all of the biscuits out of the kitchen to hoard in our room? Dad just smiled and winked, before providing a distraction for us to finish our task. He lost a son too, George, remember that.
Then Bill and Charlie, who knows what they were thinking half the time, but if it weren't for them I don't think we would have turned out half as mischievous and amazing as we did. They were our inspiration and our accomplices on the rare occasion we couldn't accomplish our prank without their help. We were their protégés, they taught and molded us into who we are today, and we…I…you should always be thankful for that.
Percy, who knows what to do with him; I can only hope that he comes to his senses before the end of this bloody war. Where would we be without our favorite test dummy? I get the feeling that part of the reason he left our family was because he felt he had to do something to get noticed. You know how Mum and Dad are always praising Bill and Charlie and the work they do, and scolding you and I for getting into trouble, and rushing after Ronniekinns to fix his messes, and absolutely coddling little Ginny, it made for little room for that perfect prefect son who never did anything wrong. If and when he comes back make sure that changes. Get him into some trouble if you have to, but let him in.
Then there's ikkle Ronniekinns, where would our world be without Harry Potter's best friend. He is far more intelligent and brave than we give him credit for, I mean honestly, where were we when Ginny was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, though in our defense we didn't know that was where she was otherwise we would have been right there with him and Harry. When he, Harry and Hermione leave on their search for whatever it is they are looking for, he is inevitably going to see things he will wish he hadn't, probably more than the rest of us. He needs someone to be there for him just as much as you need someone there for you.
Ginny needs her brother. There is no in or out or up or down about it, she needs you, George. She was our protégé, and she relies on us way more than she would like to admit. I am absolutely terrified when I think about what she will have to face when she goes back to Hogwarts at the end of summer. She will also see things George, I think we all will, but she will need someone to go to that won't be anything but supportive. You and I were always the first people she came to with her problems, and sure she has Harry now, even if she says she doesn't, but she will always need you for that bit of advice Ron's to dimwitted to give her.
Then there is Harry, that brother we adopted without him knowing…the son of a Marauder. He has potential, but he needs to hone it, sure he is the savior of the wizarding world, but his mischief leaves something to be desired. The trouble he ends up getting into always ends up being life threatening, philosophers stone, Chamber of Secrets, helping a mass murder escape the kiss while playing with a werewolf, the tri-wizard competition, breaking into the ministry, honestly, it's a wonder the boy is still alive. But I think we owe it to him to make sure he has some fun once this war is over. And make sure his kids are just as terrible as we were, make them Marauder potential, pay particular attention to Lupin's kid, it will be interesting to see how he grows up.
Now for Hermione. She needs you, full stop. You may have been obvious, but what I have picked up from her was like reading a book in even plainer English than the one you were writing with your longing glances. I sent her to you because I think it is about time you get off your sorry rear and do something about that love you both share. I even came up with a game plan, yes, how Wood like- get over it.
First, once you are done with this letter you are going to kiss her. She will kiss you back of course then you will kindly inform her that she is now your girlfriend. You date for a month or two, suddenly decide you can't live without one another and decide to get married, here you are going to ask whomever you will to be your best man, but you will make sure that he will read the speech I have written that is currently in Hermione's possession.
Laugh, live, play, laugh some more, have millions of babies, teach them the art of pranking. Take them to the stores you are going to open in various locations, you know the ones we talked about, Hogsmeade (where you will quickly buy out Zonkos) Godric's Hollow, those places in Scotland and Australia, Salem, New York and San Francisco in America, among whatever other locations you deem necessary.
I guess the point I am trying to make is Live. Don't just survive, thrive. There is so much more out there for you brother, so much happiness to be had, so many pranks and various product ideas to be made. It pains me to think of you sitting in our room hurting like I know you are, without even a shred of anyone to talk to.
So talk to Hermione, George, tell her everything. Then move back into our apartment and help poor Verity out, I am sure she is having a rough time of it. Follow the previously laid out plan, live to make my memory a happy one, not one everyone only thinks sad things about. This includes pulling millions of pranks at whatever celebration our family will insist on holding on the anniversary of my death. I loved life, and I want you to remember how to love it too.
Be happy Georgie, and remember that I love you. You were and are everything to me, and every time something happens to you, both good and bad, just know that I am right there, in your heart, as cliché as it may sound; or if you need a visual, you can look in a mirror and cover up the lovely hole you have in the side of your head. Granted I was always the better looking twin, but I think the effect will still be the same.
I love you George, don't forget me, but don't mourn me forever, tell our stories to the younger kids…oh! And name your first born after me! That would be wicked!
Well I better let you get back to that lovely witch of yours,
Live and Laugh brother,
Your favorite twin,
P.s. I definitely approve of your future wife.
George reread the letter three more times before finally looking up. He slowly stood, the letter clutched in his hand, and turned to see Hermione still standing by the window. Hearing him move she turned around, studying his face.
Neither of them spoke for a while until George broke the silence wiping at his watery eyes in frustration, "I don't know how…" he trailed off, not sure what he was trying to say.
Silently Hermione held out her hand, palm down. George stared at it in confusion, "Dance with me," she said softly, her own eyes a little watery.
Slowly George stepped forward and took her hand, drawing her close to him and slowly shuffling in an attempt to dance. They danced closely together in silence for a few minutes, trying to gather their thoughts when George gently pulled them to a stop, but didn't pull away to look at her, "I don't know what to do now. I don't how to be George without being Fred and George," he murmured brokenly, "I don't know how."
Hermione pulled back and looked up at his distraught face, "Do you trust me?" she asked softly, brushing some hair from his eyes. George studied her silently before nodding, "Then let me help you."
George swallowed and moved away from her, turning away and looking at Fred's bed. He said nothing just stood in silence. Finally Hermione continued, "I want you to come downstairs and eat with me and your family. Spend the night with us, listen to conversation, maybe join in if you feel like it, do you trust me enough to do that?"
George turned around to face her and opened his mouth to reply when there was a tentative knock. Both of them turned their heads to look at the door before looking back at one another, "Yes?" Hermione called back, making no move to answer the door, not breaking eye contact with George.
"Supper's ready dear," Molly's voice told her, "Would you like me to save you some, or bring some to you?"
Hermione searched George's face, "No," she called back, "I'll be right there, thank you Molly."
Shuffling sounds were heard as Molly made her way back down the stairs, but not once did Hermione or George look away from each other, "Please," Hermione whispered, referring to her earlier suggestion.
George clenched his jaw and looked at the door before turning back to her with a sigh, "You'll stay next to me?" he asked softly, his eyes betraying his anxiousness. Hermione nodded, and he responded in kind, taking another deep breath, "Okay," he said.
Hermione gave him a big smile and flung her arms around him in a tight hug, "Thank you," she breathed into his shirt, "It will be okay George, I promise."
George blinked before nodding, "It better be," he commanded, a tinge of joking in his voice surprising her.
She lead the way to the door and opened it slowly, turning back to see if he was coming. He stepped up beside her and followed her down the first couple flights of stairs, but when they reached the last one he hesitated, his shoulders tense.
Hermione turned to face him and offered him a gentle smile, silently extending her hand for him to take. Gratefully he slipped his hand into hers, easily twining their fingers together as if they had been doing it for years.
Slowly Hermione lead the way into the boisterous kitchen and around the table to the typically empty spot and her seat next to it. All conversation stopped as Hermione pulled George to sit down in his seat at the table, sitting quickly beside him. Hermione nonchalantly reached out and began heaping food onto George's plate, and every now and then slipping something on to her own.
George cleared his throat awkwardly, his grip on her hand tightening, causing her to look at him finally, then at the rest of his gaping family, "Oh honestly," she snapped, "Your lack of faith in my persuasive abilities is astounding! Shut your traps before you catch flies in them!" she hissed, glaring at Ron in particular, "Harry, be a dear and pass the rolls will you?"
Harry tried to hide his smile as he did as she asked, but failed miserably, "Of course Hermione," he responded with a grin, giving up on hiding it.
Just then George seemed to realize just how much food she had managed to pile onto his plate and gasped, "Ah, Hermione?" he started, making everyone around the table even more shocked as they hadn't heard George speak since the day they came home from the Final Battle, "I don't think I can eat all of this," he told her weakly, poking the food with his fork.
Hermione gave him a look, "Of course you can George, every last bite. I've seen you scarf down twice that much in half the time it took me to load your plate with all of it. Now eat," she said firmly, picking up her own fork and beginning to eat her food. "This is delicious Molly, thank you!" she praised after a couple of bites.
Harry looked around the table at the Weasley's, all in various stages of shock. Molly looked as if she would burst into tears at any moment, while Arthur just looked beyond happy. The rest of the Weasley's simply stared, obviously making George uncomfortable, if the tense set of his shoulders was any indication.
Subtly Harry threw a piece of his roll at Ron who was sitting across from him, while nudging Ginny. Both looked at him in surprise as he jerked them back to the present. Harry looked pointedly at his plate and then theirs, indicating that they should begin to eat again.
Slowly the rest of the Weasley's followed Harry's lead and the conversation became lively once more, Bill and Charlie joking and nudging one another with Fleur laughing at their antics. Percy was going on about some regulation or other while Ginny and Ron were discussing Quidditch with Harry.
Harry smiled at Hermione conspiratorially when she looked up to thank him, knowing that there wasn't anyone else at the table that could get things back to normal with such subtly. Eventually, as dinner was dying down, Harry took a deep breath and decided to see how far he could push this normalcy thing. "So George," he started, surprising everyone, including George, with this address, "How do you feel about a round of quidditch after we're done here?" Harry asked.
George looked at Harry in surprise, then at Hermione and the rest of his family who were all watching him closely again, "I don't know," he responded weakly.
"We could really use your skills as a beater," Harry went on, watching Hermione and George closely to make sure he didn't push too hard, "Recently Ron has taken to playing beater, and to be frank, he has half as much skill as Goyle in that position."
Ron let out an indignant squeak, clearing his throat he tried to sound more imposing, "I do not!" he exclaimed.
Harry raised an eyebrow looking at his best friend, "So you're saying you have no skill at all?" Harry repeated with a mischievous smile on his face.
Everyone was surprised to hear George snort in amusement, including George himself. George's face changed from surprised to inquiring as he looked at the curly haired woman by his side. Hermione understood the silent question he was asking her and smiled, a mischievous light in her eyes, "You should do it," she told him with a quick squeeze of his hand, "I seem to recall you waxing all poetic about brooms, flying and something akin to rainbows and soft clouds in your seventh year."
George felt an honest smile spread across his face for the first time since Fred's death, "I believe it was freedom and soft clouds Butterfly, not rainbows, honestly woman, as if I would compare something as amazing as flying to rainbows," he teased, feeling his heart become lighter the longer he allowed the smile to remain on his face. It was an old and familiar feeling to have a smile, and he hadn't realized how much he had missed it until just now. Suddenly he knew what Fred had meant about laughing and living.
"What do you have against rainbows?" Hermione demanded, catching on to his lightening mood.
George lifted his glass to his lips, "Nothing love, except that they are all girly and stuff," he pretended to shudder and Hermione couldn't help it, she laughed. George stared at her in surprise for a minute before lifting her hand to his lips and kissing it, the smile still not leaving his face, "Thank you," he murmured so only she could hear.
Just then the fireplace turned green and Andromeda Tonks stepped through as regally as she could, a small, blue haired one year old clutching to her shoulder. "Hello everyone," she said with a smile. Harry stood up to greet her and take his godson from her arms, "Thank you for taking him Harry," she spoke over the "arry! Arry! Up up up!" that was coming from the boy.
"Hey there little Teddy!" Harry exclaimed with a happy grin, then, turning to Andromeda, he nodded his head, "It's no problem, anything for my godson, right Teddy?" Harry asked, throwing Teddy up in the air and catching him again, making the little boy squeal.
Andromeda gave Molly a quick hug but then told everyone she had to get going, and within minutes of her arrival she was gone. Harry set Teddy down on the floor and he began to run around, hugging and smiling at everyone around the table. When he reached Hermione and George he stared up at George in contemplation, a look of confusion on his face, "Orge?" he asked, the 'g' sound too hard for him to make, "uca orge?" he repeated.
George looked at Hermione quickly before sending the boy a small smile and a nod. Teddy nodded as if he had known he was right all along, wobbling a bit at the movement. Teddy smiled and lifted his hands to George, "Up!" he commanded, "Up, uca Orge!"
George smirked and picked the demanding child up, "You must be Moony's kid," he stated, resting Teddy on the recently cleared spot on the table in front of him. Teddy jerked his head down in a solid nod, his wide eyes staring at George's new face. Slowly his eyes turned the same color blue as Georges, and his hair grew and changed to match George's hair.
Teddy cooed some unrecognizable words, waving his hands around before jumping into George's arms and hugging him around the neck as tight as he could. He pulled back a little and placed his hand on George's heart, smiling, before touching his own heart and George's once more, snuggling back down into another hug.
George felt his heart warming, even before Hermione told him that that was the way Teddy had been taught to say I love you. This was why they had done it, he realized, for happiness and a freedom for kids to be like this was why Fred had died; and suddenly it didn't all seem so daunting, the thought of living, moving on, being happy. It was, after all, what Fred had died fighting for.
As George and Teddy sat and held each other Molly and her well trained son's began to clean off the table, clearing away any sign of their delicious dinner. While they were doing that George picked Teddy up and took him into the front room and sat down with him, bouncing the little boy on his knee.
Hermione followed them, after a quick shooing from the rest of the Weasleys, and sat next to them, gently resting her head on George's shoulder. After a while Hermione lifted her head and studied his profile, "What just changed back there?" she asked softly.
George gave her a small smile and shrugged, "I honestly don't know Hermione, one second I was regretting letting you talk me into coming down stairs and the next I was smiling. It felt so good," he told her, his small smile evidence of this, "I had forgotten how great it felt to smile, and then this little guy showed up. Fred talked about him in his letter, he told me that whatever kids Moony had, whatever kids Harry had, or any soon to be Weasley grandchildren really, I had a responsibility to make sure that they know how to have a good time and get into trouble.
"Seeing this little guy just kind of reminded me why we did it all, why we fought in the war and what some of us died for," George paused, "That was really deep I know, but I promise it will go away with time, I have had a little too much time to brood over this last year," he told her softly, his regret over his actions evident in his eyes.
"Well you can always make up for it," Hermione reminded him, resting her head back on his shoulder.
"Hermione dear would you- Oh!" Molly had just come bustling through the door and was surprised to see what a content picture the three made, George sitting relaxed on the couch with Hermione resting her head on his shoulder while he bounce a giggling redheaded boy up and down, a small contented smile on all of their faces.
Hermione lifted her head to look at her, a faint blush the only sign of embarrassment, "Yes Molly?" she pressed.
"Oh, um, I was wondering if you would make those brownies everyone loves so much, the rest of the Order is coming over tonight for our monthly get together," Molly informed her with a pleased smile on her face.
Hermione looked just as surprised as George felt, "Really? Why wasn't I informed of this?" she asked pointedly, sitting up straight.
Molly looked a bit embarrassed, "Well dear you have been quite successful at avoiding the little parties that we weren't going to tell you about it until about an hour before it happened when Harry and Ron came to drag you here."
Hermione frowned as George snickered, "This was one of Ron's brilliant ideas wasn't it?" she asked rhetorically in a resigned tone, "Sure Molly, I would love to make brownies. Would you like to help me?" she asked the two men next to her.
George shrugged and nodded, while Teddy just cooed and slobbered. Smiling Hermione lead them into the kitchen and went about making the brownies. Soon enough people began showing up, first Kingsley, then Hagrid on his bike, and so on, even Luna and Neville had managed to make it.
After a while a party was in full swing, everyone was outside enjoying the warm summer air, gearing up for their Quidditch game, everyone except Hermione and George. Harry had come and easily taken Teddy outside to take him on a small ride on his broom, leaving the two alone to finish the brownies.
George was staring out the window with some of the trepidation he had had earlier. Hermione, waiting for her brownies to finish cooking, was watching him from her seat on the counter, "Everything alright George?" she asked softly.
George turned to her and gave a weak smile, "I don't know, I guess I am just finding it hard to believe that everyone is only seeing me when they look at me, and not just…"George swallowed and Hermione waited, "not just Fred's twin."
Hermione sighed and beckoned him over; he came willingly, standing between her legs, bracing his hands on either side of her, "I'm not going to lie George, you do look an awful like Fred," she said in mock grimness as if she were pointing out something no one realized, and George gave her a small smile in return, "And their first thought is going to be 'poor George, it must be terrible losing a twin,' but then they will realize that that would be insensitive of them to say or even think, so they will watch you smile, and just be you, and they will realize that it is possible for there to be just a Fred and just a George, rather than a Fred and George."
George shook his head, "Not everyone can…could tell us apart like you can Hermione," he stated his mood lightening again.
Hermione smiled softly, running her eyes over his face, "Do you want to know how I could do it?" she asked, remembering what Fred had told her in his letter. George looked intrigued and nodded. "Your eyes," she said softly, looking as deeply as she could into them, "Yours are more blue, while his were more of a greenish color. You have a scar right here," she said reaching out to brush just under the whole ear, tracing the smallish scar gently, surprised when he leaned his head into her touch, "And he didn't."
"You were about a centimeter shorter than Fred was, and when you smirk your mouth tilts up on the left," Hermione's fingers bravely traced the left corner of his mouth, "While Fred's tilt to the right," she smiled, "Your tie was always just a little tighter than Fred's, and you double knotted your shoelaces. The hem's of your right sleeves were always a little more worn and frayed than your left, if they were frayed at all," Hermione's fingers trailed down his neck and lingered on the hem of the short sleeve shirt he was wearing.
"There is a freckle right here," she trailed her fingers down his arm to rest on his wrist and the small freckle that rested just on top of it, "And your eyes always sparkled a little bit more than Fred's whenever you were talking to me," she finished softly, locking her eyes on his. Slowly their heads began to move closer together, and Hermione knew for certain he was going to kiss her, and with even more certainty she knew she was going to let him.
But just then the floo opened and Minerva McGonagall stepped through the fire, coughing and brushing off her clothes, unaware of the two war heroes who had quickly jumped away from each other. Well, George had jumped, Hermione had just frozen. Looking up McGonagall smiled, "Good evening," she said brightly, "How are you both doing tonight?" she asked, her eyes only briefly lingering on George before looking back at Hermione.
Hermione cleared her throat and jumped down from the counter, "We are fine, and yourself? How are things at Hogwarts?"
Minerva grinned, "Oh they are splendid, and how are your lives coming along, Hermione? Have you decided what you wanted to do professionally yet?"
Hermione frowned, "No," she said, "not yet."
"Pity," McGonagall said in a chiding tone, "If only you hadn't taken the year off to travel, you could have easily had your potion's mastery by now, and I would hire you instantly to teach for us at Hogwarts. We are having such a difficult time finding a replacement for Horace," she said sadly.
Hermione stiffened, "Well I apologize if my 'year off' has messed up your plans Minerva," she hissed, her eyes narrowing, "But some of us do have lives outside of Hogwarts." With that Hermione muttered a quick, "Excuse me," before rushing out of the kitchen and into the backyard, leaving McGonagall and George staring after her in worry.
"I apologize," Minerva spoke, "I had no idea what I was saying was so upsetting."
George waved a hand distractedly moving to follow the woman out the door, "I don't think it was what you said exactly," he said, "I'm going to go make sure she is alright," he murmured without looking at McGonagall as he took off after Hermione.
He paused as he reached the group of Order members, several of whom had gone silent at the sight of him, "Have any of you seen Hermione?" he asked, ignoring his own discomfort for the moment. Harry pointed in a vague direction and George knew immediately where she had gone.
As he reached the tree he and Hermione had stood under that last night they were together he saw Hermione braced weakly against its trunk, her face looking down so she didn't see him. "Talk to me Hermione," he finally murmured as he reached her.
Hermione's head snapped up, and George was unsurprised to see tears coursing down her cheeks. Her eyes flashed and suddenly she was standing rigidly, "Oh what, so poor George Weasley gets to throw his own little pity party for a whole year and brave strong little Hermione Granger can't even have on minute to herself?" she exploded, "You don't get to tell me to talk to you! You disappeared for a year, George, a lot can happen in a year you know!"
George buried his hands in his pockets as he looked at her impassively while she ranted, her hands flying every which way, her face growing red, her eyes flashing and her hair seeming to spark with all of her magical energy. All in all, George had never seen a more beautiful sight. "Who died?" he asked softly interrupting her suddenly.
Hermione froze and her eyes widened, "What?" she responded weakly.
George stepped closer to her, "Who died?" he repeated, searching her face for any indication of an answer, "Who died that was close enough to hurt you this much?" he questioned softly, one hand tentatively reaching up to smooth some hair behind her ear.
Hermione looked up into his face in shock and sadness, no one else had noticed, had realized… "My parents," she whimpered, her legs buckling from underneath her as her face crumpled into tears. George reached out and caught her easily, pulling her to him and pressing her head under his chin, "It was my parents."
George simply held her while she cried and sobbed, murmuring soothing words, trying to ignore the discomfort in his chest from the hurt he was feeling for her. Silently Hermione seemed to quickly pull herself together a few minutes later as she attempted to pull away from his chest, but like he had done that one night, he refused to let her go. "How?" he asked simply, gently prodding her, "Was it Death Eaters?"
Hermione sniffed, "No," she moaned, "That's what's ironic. I protected them from anything and everything magical I could, but in the end, I couldn't protect them from muggle means of death. It was a car accident," she told him, attempting to burrow her face into his chest, "A drunk driver ran a red light. The man killed my parents and another family. They were buried there in Australia, I found out from a neighbor. So that year McGonagall was talking about? I spent it searching for my parents, only to find their gravestones."
George ran his hand through her hair soothingly, remembering absently how he had always wanted to do that action when they were in Hogwarts, "Does anyone else know?" he asked, voicing a suspicion that was lurking in the back of his mind.
Hermione shook her head, "People already lost so much," she sighed, "I didn't feel like it was a good idea to try and top their pain with my own."
George pulled back at this and held her head firmly in his hands, "Hermione," he started firmly, and Hermione noted a spark in his eye she hadn't seen in a long time, "Don't you ever try and minimize your pain. Losing your parents…" George took a breath, "That's hard too, I don't know what I would do if I had lost mine."
Hermione frowned and closed her eyes, "But you lost your twin, and that is so much worse," she whispered.
"For me," he told her, "But not for you, not for my parents or my siblings or Harry and your other friends. Hermione, your pain matters, whether you like it or not you were adopted into our family the day you helped Ron and Harry retrieve the Philosopher's stone. As part of our family it is your duty to tell us when you are in pain, so that we can help you," he explained firmly.
Hermione gave a weak smile, "Pot, Kettle," she said softly, pointing a small finger between them, not wanting to hurt him, but needing him to see the similarities.
George smiled, "I'm beginning to figure that out," he whispered, trailing his hands from her face, down her neck, over her shoulders and down her arms, pausing as he reached her left forearm. Frowning his eyes narrowed, dropping unseeingly to the bumps he had felt on her arm before shooting back to her eyes, "What's that?" he demanded to know.
Hermione swallowed and tried to step back, but George kept a firm grip on her arm, slowly pulling it up and turning it so he could see for himself. Looking down he gasped as he read the word Mudblood carved into her skin. His eyes shot to her face in horror, and she answered his unspoken question, "Bellatrix did it," she said, "Harry, Ron, and I were captured by snatchers who thought they recognized Harry even though I had placed a stinging hex on his face to make it swell up."
Hermione dropped her gaze from his concerned face, "She asked Draco to identify Harry, but Draco said that he couldn't be sure. But at that moment Bellatrix caught sight of Gryffindor's sword, it had appeared to Harry and Ron and they had used it to destroy one of the Horcruxes," she quickly explained, "But she had thought it had been placed in her vault, so in order to find out just how we managed to come across the sword she decided to torture me," Hermione swallowed harshly, remembering the pain and tears from that night all to clearly.
George reached out and pulled her firmly into his arms, inhaling her soft smell and reassuring himself of her actually still being alive, "She used the cruciatus so many times I thought for sure I was going to end up in the Mental Ward at St. Mungo's at worst and dead at best. And she cut me, all over," Hermione stepped back and pulled up her shirt revealing her stomach and turning around to show him her back, which were both covered in scars, "and that's not all of them," she told him once she had tugged her shirt back down and he had brought her back into his embrace.
Hermione hesitated, but decided she needed to get it all out, at least once, no one fully knew what happened that night, and she had intended for it to stay that way. But feeling the warmth and comfort and undeniable love coming from the man holding her, she told him the part of the story only Draco had ever guessed at, "When none of that worked she let Fenir Greyback at me," Hermione felt a sob tear through her at the memory, "He raped me and cut me and he tried to bite me, but at least Bellatrix spared me that," she whispered, "When he had…finished…twice, Bellatrix placed a few more crucios on me, but before it got too bad Dobby showed up with Harry and Ron to help us escape."
George held onto her as tight as he could without hurting her, "Thank Merlin and whatever gods there are that you were okay," he breathed into her hair, "I don't know what I would do without you Mione," he told her, his voice breaking, "I didn't want you to go on that mission for this exact reason," he murmured, "How did you do it? Living like that for nearly a year?" he asked, not really expecting an answer.
Hermione sighed and hugged him back just as tightly, "I thought of you," she responded quietly.
George felt his heart pound, "What?" he questioned, wanting to hear her say it again.
"I thought of you," Hermione repeated, her fingers tracing odd patterns on his back, "You and your pranks, and what life would be like with you when the war was over. I read those trashy books you and Fred packed for me, and played those games with Harry and Ron. To be honest I think we all would have quit early into the mission if it hadn't been for you and Fred. Then when Ron came back and showed us the radio show you two were doing…" Hermione trailed off.
George had stiffened, "What do you mean when Ron 'came back'?" he demanded.
Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and resisted the urge to pound her head against his chest, "Well, he kind of….left…but he came back!" she exclaimed, grabbing George's arm as he released her to go do something unspeakable to his younger brother, "The Horcrux was a dark object, and it made us all cranky, Ron more than Harry or me. He said some things he didn't mean and he stormed off, but when he left he wasn't able to come back because of the wards and repelling charms I had placed on the tent. He eventually managed to find his way back to us, and he was sorry. I have already forgiven him George, you don't need to reopen a wound that has already been sealed shut by the three of us."
George looked at her in silence for a minute, trying to decide whether to listen to her or not before apparently deciding on the former and walking back to her. He shook his head, his fingers tracing the scar on her arm, "Do I even want to know what else happened while you lot were gone?" he asked.
Hermione smiled weakly, "Not tonight, some other day maybe," she told him.
"Do you have nightmares?" he asked curiously, his fingers still on her arm, but his eyes moving to meet hers.
Hermione nodded, "Yes," she whispered, "They are so bad I have to place up silencing charms every night before I go to sleep," Hermione hesitated.
"What?" George asked, "Tell me Hermione, I want to know everything, please, I need to know."
"The nightmares aren't as bad as the attacks," she finally said, at his look that clearly said, 'what attacks' she explained, "Being under the Crucio for such a long time left me with some…undesirable side effects. I get odd hot and cold flashes, my head starts spinning, and I have little seizures, sometimes I can't move my left arm, things like that," she told him as if it wasn't that big of a deal.
"Do Harry and Ron get them?" was George's only question.
Hermione shook her head, "Neither of them have ever been under the spell long enough for it to have this affect on them," she explained, and quickly found herself swept up in another hug.
"Merlin, I'm so glad you're okay," he whispered harshly to her, "I don't know what I would do if you weren't."
Hermione pulled away and placed a hand on his strong jaw, "I would want you to be happy and live; make the most of your life. Just like I know Fred wants for you as well."
George hung his head, "I know," he said softly, "I just don't know if I can, I'm too damaged inside, too jaded," he murmured, his eyes looking back up at hers as if they were pleading for a solution.
Hermione shook her head, "You may be damaged, but so am I," she said holding up her arm for emphasis, "I think together we can help heal each other."
George took a deep breath, "And how will we do that?" he asked, watching her closely.
Hermione smiled, "Well I thought," she reached into her pocked and pulled out a miniaturized version of the bag he had given her and enlarged it, "we could start with this," she said, pulling out a small box and handing it to him, "I hope this wasn't to forward," she added, watching as he opened it to reveal a large golden key with the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes symbol on it.
George looked up at her in confusion, "What is this?" he asked, picking it up and fingering the key gently.
Hermione looked down nervously, "Well since you have been a little…MIA this last year, Verity and I have kind of taken over running your shop. I remembered a couple of weeks ago while in Hogsmeade that you and Fred had been admiring that one building, and you had even told me that one day you had hoped to turn it into one of your shops. Well I met with a few people and flooed a few others, and wellah!" she exclaimed pointing at the key, "It's the key to your newly acquired Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes shop in Hogsmeade."
George stared at the key in astonishment, his eyes darting between it and its giver, "Are you serious?" he choked, Hermione nodded, and suddenly his lips were on hers. Hermione gasped as he kissed her with an expertise she had only previously heard about, but dreamt of several times, pushing and turning and tongue and oh! Hermione had to reach her arms round his neck to make sure she didn't fall when her knees decided to give way beneath her, making George smirk into the kiss.
When he finally pulled away, leaving both of them breathless, Hermione couldn't even open her eyes, "Finally," she sighed eventually.
George snorted, "What?" he asked, pulling her into his chest once more.
"Do you have any idea how long I have waited for you to do that?" she demanded, her eyes flying open as she pushed away from him and jabbed him in the chest.
"Do what? Snog you senseless?" he joked, his eyes twinkling.
Hermione paused, her lips pursing, "…Yes!" she finally gave in, "Especially since that night you almost kissed me right under this tree!"
George laughed at her indignation, a full heartfelt laugh, "All you had to do was say so," he told her gently once he had quieted, "I would have been happy to oblige, in fact I think I might have to do so right now," he murmured his eyes dropping to her lips before kissing her again.
"I kept my promise," Hermione gasped when he pulled away for air, burying his face in her neck.
"What promise?" he murmured pressing kisses to the flushed skin of her neck.
Hermione sighed in contentment, "The promise we made each other to survive," she reminded him in a breathy voice, her head tilting back and to the side at his administrations.
George kissed his way up her throat, along her jaw and pressed as soft lingering, but chaste kiss to her slightly swollen lips, "Fred said something in his letter that I found interesting," he murmured pressing a kiss to her forehead before resting his against hers.
"And what was that?" Hermione asked, her brown eyes locking with his, she couldn't have looked away if she'd wanted to.
"That we should thrive, not just survive," he told her, "I'm through just surviving Hermione, I want to thrive, and I want to do that with the woman I love more than life itself," he whispered.
Hermione inhaled roughly, "Really?" she whispered back, "and who might that be?"
George leaned forward and kissed her nose, "You," he told her, before kissing her solidly on the lips again.
"Good," Hermione stated firmly, leaning up on her tip-toes to kiss him this time, "Because I love you too," she responded.
George smiled and kissed her deeply, picking her up and spinning her around. Placing her gently back on her feet he sighed, barely pulling away from her lips, "Help me thrive?" George murmured teasingly, his lips brushing tantalizingly against hers.
Hermione moaned as he kissed her deeply again before she could respond, "Of course," she finally told him minutes later with a smile when they pulled a part.
"George!" Hermione heard Harry shout from the other side of the house, "We're about to start the game! You still playing?"
Hermione and George both groaned at the interruption then laughed at their simultaneous reactions. Hermione nodded for him to agree to play and George shouted a quick, "Hold your bloody horses Potter! I'm busy here!" before slamming his lips against hers one last time, "For now," he whispered, making her giggle.