If any of the inhabitants of Grimmauld Place, London, were looking out their window, they would have seen a cloaked figure. He appeared out of thin air, face hidden in his hood. He rushed through the dreary rain and mud, and stood in front of a seemingly empty lot between numbers eleven and thirteen.
Moments later he had vanished as swiftly as he had appeared.
Inside Number Twelve Grimmauld Place a raven-haired man, looking no more than eighteen, sat down on a caramel colored, leather sofa. He poured Earl Grey tea in his and his visitor's cup. The visitor was only slightly older than the other, no more than two years; he removed his hood and brushed wild strands of bright red hair away, before taking a calming sip.
The dark-haired man narrowed emerald eyes, taking in his friend's appearance as he took off his cloak. His previously short hair had grown a bit below the shoulder to hide the ear he had lost, dark circles surrounded tired eyes, looking like he had not slept in days. His prided green, dragon hide pants were wrinkled and stained with what he suspected to be coffee. His white silk shirt likewise ruined. He frowned when he noticed dark green eyes accessing his appearance.
"George, you look like Hell." The black-haired man stated, frowning at the red-head.
George ran his hands though his hair. Yeah, he knew he looked like a mess, but someone else pointing it out made it unnecessarily real, and worse. His reason for looking as if he had been trampled by a herd of rampaging Hippogriffs? Well, worrying about the biggest secret in his life being revealed tended to do that to him.
For almost a week he'd been terrified what Harry'd thought about him. He hadn't wanted anyone in his family to see him like that. Thankfully Harry hadn't spoken about what he may or may not have seen or he'd have the whole Weasley family to confront…thank god Harry wasn't big on gossip.
"Yeah, Harry, I know." George said, groaning, falling back into the soft cushions of his chair.
Harry was concerned at George's distress, but knowing that didn't keep a bemused smirk off his face. He knew what George had come to speak with him about, and it was funny how anxious he had become about it.
"How much did you see?" George asked, his brown eyes peeping though the fingers covering his face. He knew Harry couldn't have seen much. There truly hadn't been much to see…was what he kept on telling himself. Still it would probably be enough to make him want to point his wand to his head, killing curse on the tip of his tongue.
Harry sighed, his amused look falling. He hadn't seen anything really; okay he did, but not much. But what he had seen was more than enough to imply something. Something George was obviously afraid of anyone knowing.
To be honest, he had been surprised when the pieces fell together. It did explain why he and Alicia had never been more than friends, though almost everyone believed them to be dating.
"Enough," Harry stated simply.
George could feel the heat of his blush, as he took another sip of tea. Picking up a cauldron cake, he nibbled on it. "So what do you think?"
Harry raised his eyebrows. Was that what George was most concerned about? What other people thought about him? That seemed strangely out of character.
"About you being gay?" George nodded, and Harry furrowed his eyebrows. "Does what I think really matter?"
"Of course it does, you prat." George said, rolling his eyes. Of course Harry's opinion mattered, the only person who thought it didn't was Harry himself. The only thing Harry lacked was blood, from being one of the Weasleys, that was. Not to mention the Tri-wizard Tournament money he had given to Fred and him. Harry was stupid to think his thoughts didn't have value.
Oh and that little thing about him defeating the darkest wizard in history. That mattered just a bit too.
Harry smiled at that last comment. George was finally relaxing a bit since he stepped though the door. He was pretty sure he hadn't cracked a joke since walking though the door. And that was just all kinds of wrong.
"I could care less, about you liking blokes." Harry tilted his head. "Did you think it would change anything?" George opened his mouth to deny that, but Harry continued. "You shouldn't worry about what other people think of you. It doesn't matter one fig of a difference in the long term. The public is fickle –trust me- you know that."
"Harry," George said, suddenly exasperated. Did Harry think he cared about that? That he gave a damn what people thought of him. Didn't the blatantly mocking of everyone – in authority and otherwise – say nothing about him? Didn't he remember the 'You-Know-Pooh' sign?
Well, he had always been more quiet than Fred. Maybe Harry thought it had been Fred's idea every time, and he just went along with all the plans?
He wasn't sure which idea insulted him more.
"I don't care about the bloody 'public's' opinion." He continued, "To me you're family. The first of my family to know about this. So, sorry if I'm my normally wonderful personality is fraught with nerves. I was worried." He grudgingly admitted.
The emotion in Harry's expression was obvious: shock, happiness, embarrassment, mixed in with a slight tinge of concern. Most likely directed at him. The Wizarding World usually connected homosexuality with suicide.
"T-thank you." Harry finally stuttered, "For counting me as family." He clarified.
"Of course, how could you not be? To me you are family," he reemphasized, after a pause he spoke with a wicked smile spreading over his lips. "Even if you did heartlessly dump my sister."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "It was you sister who got with Dean again. While I was off getting killed trying to get rid of Voldemort." Harry's tone was frigid with ice, and George wasn't sure which he had cringed at, it or Voldie's name. Old habits died hard, even two years after his death.
"WHAT?" George yelped. "That's not what she told us! What happened?"
Harry shrugged. "Like I said, Ginny and Dean got back together. It was before the Great Battle, while Hermione, Ron, and me were searching for a way to kill Voldemort." He paused; George spun his hands trying to make Harry speak.
"A few weeks after the Battle Ginny and Dean came here – told me they were dating. Ginny hoped I wouldn't be mad, that technically we had already broken up. I told her that if she couldn't even wait a year on me then wouldn't have worked out any-way in hell. I said I would pray for their happiness, and basically kicked them out."
Harry paused taking in the shocked expression on his face. "The next thing I know Ron and most of the rest of your family are furious at me, except you and Fred," Harry added. "Come to find out she said that I had broken up with her, and that she and Dean had split."
"And you didn't say any different?! Why didn't you tell them what really happened?" George yelled, furious at his little sister. How dare she lie to them! And about Harry too! His life had been rough enough without her bitching, making it worse. Hell! Over half the family, including her, owed him something: their lives, money, or position.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "I'm not going to make your family split up over me. Not again." He said, George noted his subtle mention of pre-war Percy.
"You've got to tell them. Ginny's always been a bit spoiled, you can't just let her get away with dragging your name though the mud." George said trying to talk some sense into the stubborn mule he called a friend.
"Fine," Harry conceded, with surprising ease.
George smiled softly, getting up, and then sitting back down beside Harry. He wrapped his arms around him giving him a big hug.
"Awh…did you fall for me? Sorry George, I'm straight." Harry said playing with him, grinning.
George grinned back, tightening his grip. "Sorry, you're not my type. When are you going to straighten out the Weasley situation?"
Harry gave what George considered to be a piss poor attempt at a joke. "Can you be straightened out?"
George dropped his hug, and cuffed him on the ear. "Not funny, Boy-Who-Lived-To-Tell-Pitiful-Jokes. Honestly you can't tell a joke to save yourself."
Harry shrugged. "Whenever you come out of the broom closet, mate."
George's face froze, paling. "Please tell me this is one of your bad jokes." He begged.
Harry merely 'hmmmmmed', finishing off his tea. "I can't tell jokes remember." He grabbed a treacle tart, "Not a moment before, George."
A loud thud alerted the two inhabitants of No. Twelve Grimmauld Place that their guest had awoken. That and the loud curse from George as he hit his head on the coffee table when he fell off the couch. Harry had only managed to renovate Sirius' and Regulus' rooms so far, for him and Teddy; all guests had to sleep in the living room, on the couch. Along with those bedrooms, all the bathrooms had been fixed up, the kitchen, living room, and parlor. The old house no longer looked like a haven for small annoying pests, and dark magic, like it had in the past. It looked partially decent.
Still muttering and holding his head, George walked into the kitchen at a little past ten in the morning. "Why in Merlin's saggy pants…firewiskey…bloody headache."
Harry looked up smirking from where he was feeding Teddy. The almost two year old had come to live with him a few months back. Pain and grief had driven Andromeda Tonks nee Black to an early grave. She had lost her husband, only child, and son-in-law in less than six months. Her death left Teddy Lupin with no living relatives and Harry Potter in full custody.
"George! Watch your language in front of Teddy!" Harry said, in a fairly good impression of Molly Weasley.
George groaned, taking a seat, putting his hands over his ears. Attempting and failing to block out all noises. "For the love of Light! Harry. Don't sound like my mum so early in the morning." Harry laughed along with a gurgling Teddy. "It's bad for my health!"
The three had a cheerful breakfast ending when George bothered to look at his solid silver, embedded with diamonds, watch that told him he was supposed to have been to the London branch of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Over an hour ago. Really, he was the responsible twin, well…more responsible than Fred at the least.
Most of the time.
Harry walked him to the door with Teddy balanced on his hip. The floo network didn't connect to Number Twelve. Why? Because so many people and reporters had been harassing Harry after the war. He couldn't go into public without a load of glamours on, that was if he didn't want to be surrounded by a mob. He was just too recognizable. And since Harry had always hated traveling anywhere by floo, he had been more than willing to just cut it off, forcing anyone coming to see him to come to the door first, that way he could slam the door in their face if he didn't want them to come in.
It would have been more of a problem if Mrs. Black was still on the wall but Harry had somehow managed to remove the permanent sticking charm. She now terrorized the children of Hogwarts, but she was in a corridor that was rarely used, so not many had to suffer her presence. This had been a pity to Fred and George, who had wanted to put her in the Slytherin dorm, so they had to deal with her crazy arse.
Just off the front steps of the house, George stood waving good-bye to a giggling toddler. "Thanks, Harry," he said a faint pink color tinting his face. He was one of the few Weasleys that didn't just turn red immediately when embarrassed.
Harry smiled in understanding, "It's nothing, don't worry so much. My door is always open if you need someone to talk to."
The red-head smiled widely, before turning on his heel, and disappearing with a pop.
Harry stared a moment at the spot he had disappeared at. A foreboding wind swept through the air, frowning Harry headed inside. Wondering what was going to happen, because he knew something was.
"Where the hell've you been!" was the greeting George got as he apparated straight into his and Fred's flat above their first store. His lips curved down as he turned to face his twin, wondering what on earth had set him off.
Fred stood with his arms crossed, and uncharacteristic scowl on his face. His hair was still short, and his identical brown eyes slanted as he took in George's slovenly appearance. He moved in closer, and George felt like he was towering over him. It wasn't really noticed by most but Fred was a good three inches taller than him, most of it gained in the past two years.
Fred noted the smell of alcohol on him with the scrunching of his nose. "So," he began his tone harsh, "you can go partying the bloody night away, never coming home, but you can't show up for the CEO meeting?"Fred accused, mad that George had stood him up; the CEOs were the both of them. The meeting was nothing serious, just some time they set aside every Saturday so they could come up with new ideas without being bothered. Neither had missed one since they started the business. Until now.
George bristled at the jib. He did feel guilty for missing the meeting, but it was no cause for Fred to accuse of him of anything. The notion that it was a sound accusation, considering his appearance and lingering sent of Firewiskey did nothing to stop him from being offended.
"I wasn't off 'parting the bloody night away'." He said disgruntled. He headed for the bedroom to grab a change of clothes, before going to take a shower.
"Really?" Fred said sardonically following him as he walked, "Where were you then?"
Throwing his pajamas over his towel rod, and slipping off his clothes he replied, "Harry's."
If they weren't twins and close as siblings could be it would have been awkward as hell for him to have stripped and got in the shower with Fred glaring at him, he mused as the hot water hit him. He could sense his brother's presence outside the curtain, and shifted uneasily. Okay with him being attracted to males it was still un-nerving for Fred to watch him naked. Not that he knew that, Fred was perfectly fine with tossing his clothes off in front of him, he even slept naked. He loved Fred, really, he was just exasperating sometimes.
"Harry's?" Then continued with a brighter tone, "How's he? Goodness, I really need to pay our dear investor a visit. He needs a stern talking to about not coming to visit us since breaking it off with our darling sister. He can ignore her all he wants, not us."He added, his tone half serious half joking. He had been upset that Ginny had been jilted, but he liked Harry too much to be really mad at him. Besides not all relationships worked out, everybody knew that. Well…except the rest of the family apparently. Not that she had actually been jilted, he didn't know that though.
George shut off the water and cast a silent, wandless drying spell, then summand his clothes, before exiting the shower fully dress in gray sweatpants and a blue tank –top. "Yeah, you should. I don't think he's been getting much human company lately. Teddy's adorable and all but most toddlers aren't great conversationalists."
Fred's expression turned a fraction towards serious as they walked into the living room/kitchen area. "Quite true, my dearest brother. Breakfast?" He asked, arms sweeping at the food that their house elf, Jinx, had made appear at the table.
"Already ate at Harry's."
Fred glanced at him as he buttered a piece of toast. "You're turning down a second breakfast?" It was a well known fact that both of the Weasley twins could pack in their own weight in food and still want more.
George shrugged, his stomach felt a little bloated, for once eating didn't seem to be the best course of action for him. "Harry cooked a lot for two and a half people." He thought for a moment before adding something he didn't really believe himself, "Plus the firewiskey's made me a little queasy. Think I drank too much."
Fred nodded, accepting his words without question. Suddenly feeling exhausted George sighed and headed downstairs to their workshop at the back of the store. George had discovered a muggle sweet called 'gummy worms' during a trip to muggle London. Finding them funny, he showed Fred some, and they being themselves thought it would be hilarious to make their own and…modify them, so they could be put in the store.
Currently they were debating between two possibilities. The first being that once the worms' box or bag was opened they would race towards everyone in the vicinity and force themselves into their mouth and down their throat, until there were none left. The radius for attack would be about ten feet so that the person setting the worms on their victims would be able to get away. The worms would track down only the people within their range while they had been opened, all others would be safe. The other option was that if picked up the worms would grow until it was ten feet long. It would either be a pranking candy or a treat that would last awhile; good for families who didn't have much. Which one had yet to be determined.
He gathered the charms and potions books they had been looking into so far and dropped them on the large, horribly cluttered desk in the middle of the "Explosive Room", as their employees called it. Most anyone would be surprised that the room was outlined with packed bookshelves.
Well, George though wryly, it's not like either of us has ever been seen with a book. No, correction they had studied that one time during fifth year.
Flipping though a book without really looking at it he thought about his conversation with Harry, or the subject, truthfully. His being gay wasn't his biggest secret. That would actually be acceptable to most people compared to the other he had hidden for years. Only one person in the world knew what it was and he didn't care enough to tell anybody. He did tease George mercilessly about it though, but if anybody else, especially Fred, was to find out...George shuddered to think about it.
It would be his guilty secret till his grave.
Pity, no plan ever worked out like anyone wanted it to.
I don't own Harry Potter and never will. However I do own any O.C's that may or may not show up thoughout the story.
Thank ya'll for taking the time to read my story. Please tell me any errors you find, complements you may have, or constructive criticism you think I may need to know. There will be more chapters uploaded, I just don't know when. Thanks again.
Rating: I'd say a T for the entire story since there's nothing really grafic.