A/N- I do not own Harry Potter or anything related to Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling does. I am just a man who likes borrowing her characters. I make no money from this fic.
George arrived at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes to see the store still closed. Hermione was supposed to open it. Where was she? He decided to go check on her. Hermione was always on time. He Apparated to her apartment, "Hermione?"
"G-George?" He heard the choked sob and went to the bedroom to see a teary Hermione lying on her bed, her cat in her arms, "H-He's dead George. Crookshanks is dead!" He moved and hugged her, kissing the top of her head, "He's been with me for so long!"
"I'm sorry," George whispered, holding her while she held the cat. "Forget about work today. I'll take care of it."
"N-no I have t-t-to g-g-go in," she choked out.
"I have an idea," George said. "We'll bury Crookshanks together, then once that's taken care of we'll run a special on his favorite things in the shop."
She looked up at him, "You'd do that?"
"Anything for my favorite Granger," he smiled. "I'll sit here with him while you go take a shower okay?"
She nodded and stroked the cat's head affectionately before she left the bed. George smiled as she gathered up her clothes and went into the bathroom. George stroked the cat, "Hermione does love her gingers," he said to himself. He felt horrible for her. Losing a cat wasn't like losing a brother, but she was an only child and to her Crookshanks had always been there for her through anything, just like Fred had for him. Of course, Fred hadn't been there when Ron had not only cheated on Hermione but then dumped her at a family gathering. To boot the insufferable prat had then got her fired from the Ministry and now the prat was engaged to the tramp he'd cheated on Hermione with.
George Weasley was not a cheater. He had informed his family he would have nothing to do with them until they berated Ron and forced him out of the family. He'd comforted Hermione, a woman he'd always respected since they'd met, and offered her a job managing the store. She'd accepted gratefully and their friendship had become stronger. That was just over a year ago now. He still wasn't speaking to his family. No Sunday dinners at the Burrow for him. Instead he spent the day with Hermione, who was quite the cook.
George transfigured a box out of an empty cereal box and gingerly picked up Crookshanks, placing him in it. "I'll take care of her, buddy. I promise." George liked the cat, who'd hated Ron but liked George. He knew that Crookshanks would want him to make sure Hermione was happy. No one was more skilled at making Hermione Granger laugh than George Weasley. If it weren't for her he would have still been in a deep depression. He looked around her apartment and found the little toy mouse that Crookshanks loved, placing it in the box with him just as Hermione exited. "I decided he should be buried properly," he told her.
Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek, "Thank you. I'm sorry about this."
"He's family Hermione. The little fluffball deserves a burial of respect," George picked up the box and held Hermione to him before Apparating to the store. Out back was a small yard. Hermione got two shovels and they dug a grave, Hermione telling George loads of stories about Crookshanks over the years. When they finished digging the hole he gently placed the box inside the hole. "Do you want to say a few words?"
Hermione just wiped her eyes and shook her head as the sobs began again. George cleared his throat, "Crookshanks was a wonderful cat. He was smart enough to know the difference between an animagus and an animal, and he was protective of his master. He made sure she smiled and was safe and loved. And might I add, he had splendid taste in men," Hermione had to chuckle at that. "I promise you, Crookshanks, that I will do my best to make sure that Hermione is safe, loved, and still has a ginger by her side." He looked at Hermione, "and I will forever seek to make her smile and laugh no matter how bad things are or become."
They carefully covered Crookshanks up and George promised her they'd get a marker labeling where he was buried. She sighed into his shoulder, "Thank you George."
"If you need some time off I understand," he said, pulling away.
"No I want to be here," she sighed, "I just need that potion that makes the evidence of your crying go away and a few moments to gather myself."
"Sure," he said, "Go grab it off the shelf. I'll move some things around so that Crooks gets his own shelf, just like Fred has."
In Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (George had shifted the apostrophe after Fred had died for the sake of truthfulness) there was a wide variety of things. Toys for babies and toys for pets had been just a few of Hermione's ideas. Some of the pet items were fun things that Crookshanks had loved, and he arranged them on a shelf with a sign that read, "Crooks' Favorite Wheezes: No crooks allowed!" Hermione would like the pun, he thought. George took a look at Fred's shelf. It had all of Fred's favorite items. Each item also informed customers where they could find more of them. The obvious point was that if you wanted one you had to go get it from its place. He put up a sign, offering 25% off Crooks' Favorite Wheezes and placing a picture of Crookshanks playing with one of the items in the window, and went to check on Hermione.
She loved the display, hugging George happily, "Thank you," she whispered.
"You need to quit saying that. I do have a motive in being so wonderful."
"And what is that?"
"To convince you that I should be your new favorite ginger. I'll even purr when you scratch my ears and rub my neck."
"Such a thoughtful offer," she pecked him on the corner of his mouth, "Maybe later I'll take you up on it." George just smiled and opened up the store's doors. Tonight seemed like it'd be pleasant.