Disclaimer: I do not own any of the canonical aspects or characters in the Harry Potter franchise.
Warnings: Female/male and male/male relationships (het and slash). Strong language. Sexual situations and content, both het and slash. Violence. Sexual assault.
A/N: As stated in the summary, this is a repost. I originally had 32 chapters written and posted, but I took it down because I reread it after a long hiatus and was appalled by the spelling and grammar mistakes, cheesy lines, and the blatant plot holes. Hopefully I'll be fixing most of that, but as I do not have an all-seeing eye, you will probably come across something I've missed more than once during the course of the repost. And lastly, although it won't be anything more than simple editing and reworked subplots (I think), I'll give an overview of what's been changed at the beginning of every prewritten chapter to try and avoid confusion. In this first chapter's case, it's just sentence structure and the occasional word and sentence replacement.
Right, that's enough from me. Please do enjoy the newer and hopefully better version of this story, and don't forget to let me know what you think! Oh, and come find me on Twitter (SableUnstable) to keep up to date on my nonexistent posting schedule! ;)
The air was filled with dust and debris. Spells shot left, right and centre, screams of pain and desperation accompanying every wave of a wand. He ran as fast as he could, his lungs constricting and his heart thumping as he ducked and dodged, firing off random spells when he had to. His eyes shot from place to place, probing every inch of the battlefield; searching.
Always searching. Desperately searching.
Where was he? Where was he? They'd been together from the moment the battle had begun, until they'd separated. Now something was wrong. He could feel it.
Something was going to happen.
He blasted a Death Eater out of his way, ignoring the sting on his shoulder where a spell found its mark. He had to find him. He had to!
A sob choked in his throat as he spun around in a circle, searching, searching, searching. And then there he was. Standing tall and proud, a silly grin on his face, aimed at their older brother. He sighed in relief, heart settling a little. There he was. Just there.
His settling heart exploded in his chest as the one he'd been searching for was suddenly no longer standing just there. Instead, he was on the ground. Lying on the ground, covered in concrete, blood trickling from his mouth.
Staring, but not seeing anything.
George Weasley's scream echoed off the walls as he shot up in bed, fear and grief pulsing through his veins as his breath rattled in his lungs. His eyes bulleted around the room, searching, as he had in his dream. His nightmare.
But there was nothing to find. His twin was dead. He'd died in the final battle. Not killed by a Death Eater, but by a falling wall. Crushed to death under a pile of rock and stone. His breath lodged itself in his throat, escaping in short pants as his panic escalated to unbearable levels. His hands came up to clutch at his head, his knees drew up, and George began to rock, eyes screwed shut tight.
Fred. Fred. Fred. Oh Merlin, Fred!
Dry sobs shook his body, one that most people would've described as scarily thin. His traitorous heart screamed in his chest, expanding and beating so rapidly, he thought he was going to die from the sound of it. He wanted to die from the sound of it. A gurgling, keening groan escaped his lips, filling the silent room, and he flinched away from the sound.
Why couldn't it have been him? Why couldn't it have been him?
His head shot around as his door crashed open and his mother ran into room, Ginny and Hermione right behind her. Molly was at his side in an instant, her arms immediately circling him in an attempt to comfort. It didn't work.
"George. Georgie, Georgie. It's all right. It's okay. It was only a dream. Only a dream, baby boy. I'm here. I'm here."
"No it wasn't," George croaked, cringing away from her. "It wasn't just a dream. He's dead. Fred's dead."
A sob escaped Molly before she could prevent it.
"I know, love. I know he is. And I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry. I'm here. I'm here."
George's hands dropped to fall onto the bed, and he stared down at them as his mother rocked him from side to side, crooning little words and nonsense sounds that were meant to make him feel better. They didn't. Nothing could. The only thing that could make him feel better was having his twin back. And that wasn't going to happen.
The thought crept like a thick fog through his brain, blanketing and asphyxiating until it'd even managed to dim the crippling grief. Resolve abruptly solidified into a rock hard decision, the half-formed idea trailing the thought now fully formed and pulsing brightly. Because that'd been the last straw. He couldn't handle it anymore. He just couldn't.
He blinked as a small pair of hands entered his narrow line of vision and took his own hands, tugging on them until his head came up. He stared at his little sister, who had crawled up onto the bed beside him and was now cradling his hands against her cheek. Tears silently poured down over them, and something other than resolve shifted and woke a little in his chest. He didn't want his sister crying. He hated seeing her upset.
With this in mind, he tried his best to give the impression that he was okay. He tried to pretend that he wasn't dead inside, right along with his twin. His hand turned in her grasp until he was cupping her cheek, and he sent her the best imitation of a smile he could.
"Don't cry, midget. It'll be okay," he whispered hoarsely. A wide smile broke across Ginny's face at his words, and she leaned into his hand. His grief dimmed just a tiny bit more at the movement. He'd made her smile. That was good.
Fred would've been proud.
Pain tore through him again and his face twisted. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm himself down. If he didn't at least give the impression that he'd be able to handle the rest of the night on his own, his mother would never leave the room. And while he loved his mother with everything he had left in him, her constant presence was smothering, and only served to extend his grief.
Not that he'd ever tell her that. She was reacting the only way she knew how.
"I'm fine now, Mum. You can go back to bed. All of you can," he said in a dull voice. Molly frowned at him, her hand gently brushing back his unruly mess of red hair. He needed a haircut.
"Are you sure, Georgie? I can stay," she asked softly. George nodded, his gaze fixed on the wall in front of him.
"No, go. You need to sleep. I'll be fine," he whispered.
"I can stay, George," Ginny murmured. He met her eyes and slowly shook his head.
"No, love. You need to sleep as well. Harry won't be happy with me if you collapse from exhaustion," he said with another weak semblance of a smile. Ginny rolled her eyes and Hermione's quiet chuckle filled the grief-heavy room.
"He's right, Gin. Let's leave him be, yeah? He'll be fine," she said with a smile and pointed look at Molly, who looked pained, but nodded and finally released her death-grip on her son. George moved his shoulders in relief and nodded gratefully at the younger witch, who smiled back.
"Okay then. Let's all get some sleep. I'll make you a full English for breakfast tomorrow. How's that sound, Georgie?" Molly suggested gently, still caressing his hair.
"Great Mum," George answered, both of them pretending that if she made it, he might actually eat it. Molly sighed and stepped back, holding her hand out to her youngest.
"Try and get some sleep, George, please," Ginny pleaded quietly, laying her head against his shoulder. George sighed and rested his cheek on top of it.
"I'll try," he whispered, and Ginny's arms came round him, squeezing him tightly, before she pulled back, climbed off the bed and took her mother's hand. With one last look, mother and daughter left the room, both pairs of shoulders slumped.
Hermione was about to follow them when George's voice stopped her. She turned back around and looked at him questionably, her bushy brown hair mussed further from sleep.
"Can you stay for a bit? I want to… talk."
Hermione blinked, her surprise at his request clear in her expressive brown eyes. George was sure she was wondering what he wanted to talk about, and with him of all people. The twins and their brother's friend and paramour had never really been very close. They were just too different. The extent of their relationship consisted of her yelling at them for testing products on first-years, or when said products gave her a black eye.
"Sure, George," she said as she sat down on the edge of the bed, curiosity peeking out from behind a bland expression. "What do you want to talk about?"
"Your time-turner," he said bluntly, and Hermione's eyes widened in astonishment before her face utterly shut down.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she stated flatly. George rolled his eyes and scoffed.
"Sure you don't, 'Mione," he said, calling her by the name he and Fred had quite often heard Ron use. Hermione blinked, emotion trickling back into her eyes at the familiar name coming from an unfamiliar source. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. It's the thing you're wearing around your neck at this very moment, and have been wearing since Dumbledore left it to you. I bet Harry and Ron don't know about that little gift, do they?" he accused softly.
Hermione's eyes widened further and her hand automatically came up to clutch at her chest, before she seemed to realize what she was doing and dropped it again. Her eyes narrowed at him.
"You're right, they don't. So how do you?" she asked, no longer bothering to keep up the pretence. A ghost of a smile touched George's lips and his ocean-blue eyes blurred with memories.
"Extendable Ears are brilliant things," he said simply. Hermione scowled when he didn't say anything more, huffing at the explanation that didn't really explain a thing.
"Fine. What about it then?" she asked. George's eyes cleared and he met her gaze determinedly.
"Dumbledore must have given it to you for a reason," he stated, staring hard. Hermione frowned for a long moment, confusion running rampant across her features, before realization dawned and her eyes widened in horror.
"Oh Merlin, George, no! Get that thought out of your head right now! You can't!"
"Why not?" George demanded. "Just far enough to pull him out of the way!"
"No. No, no, no, no! You can't George! You really can't! Playing with time is very, very dangerous! You could destroy everything!"
"Everything's destroyed anyway!" he shouted, before swallowing hard and taking a deep breath. He did not want his mother running back into the room. "So many people died, Hermione!" he continued in a quieter but no less hard voice. "Professor Lupin, Tonks, Sirius, and many, many more! I'm not asking to go back and change all that! Just him! Just F-Fred!"
His voice broke and he pressed his lips together and looked away, blinking rapidly. He would not break down. Not when he needed everything he had to get his point across to the annoyingly stubborn goody-two-shoes sitting in front of him.
"So much light left the world a month ago. Why not bring one little patch back? Cheer up this whole family, so that we're not all walking around like we're dead as well?"
Pain and panic skittered across Hermione's face, and her mouth twisted into a conflicted grimace. Her hands shook as they reached up to tug at her hair.
"George, oh Godric, I can't! I'm so sorry, but I can't! You have no idea what it could do! Who might end up dying instead!" she moaned, eyes closed.
Which, of course, meant that she didn't see the dark, single-minded expression that twisted George's face into something unrecognizable.
"I don't really think I was asking for your permission."
Hermione's head shot up, her eyes opening in shock at his deceptively calm statement. She shrieked as the only surviving Weasley twin lunged at her, her hand scrambling for her wand.
"No! George, don't!" she screeched as the redhead landed on top of her, both of them tumbling back off the bed and hitting the floor with a solid thump.
George bared his teeth and clawed at her throat, rage filling him. It was a simple month! Why wouldn't she cooperate?
Hermione sobbed with fear and desperation as she tried to push him away, tried to stop him from reaching the thing that could make everything even worse. Her efforts were futile however. George was bigger and stronger than she was, even in his debilitated state. He was able to bat her hands away with ease and he soon had the time-turner out from under her nightshirt. He sat up the instant he had, staring at it eagerly.
"No, no, George, please, don't," Hermione begged. George ignored her, turning the tiny instrument over in his hands.
That is until he got a face full of wand.
His head came up slowly and he stared at the terrified witch whose wand was shaking in her hand. She was balancing on her knees and one hand, her head pulled towards him by the chain around her neck. George swallowed.
"Would you really use that one me, 'Mione?" he whispered. A sob hitched and shuddered out of her at his words, but her wand didn't move, and neither did the resolve in her eyes. George's own eyes widened as he realized that yes, she would use it one him.
Hermione Granger had helped save the world once; she wasn't going to hesitate to do it again. Not if her friends and loved ones were threatened.
Desperation filled him and he jerked the Turner towards him, scrambling to twist it in time, before a hex prevented him. Hermione shrieked again as the door burst open and shouts filled the room. She frantically tried to stop herself from falling forward onto him, having no luck, her pitch forward pushing him backwards and knocking his hand, tangling them together as people dived in their direction.
Her fall made the time-turner spin.
And spin. And spin.
The world began to spin as well, and George gulped, his arms tightening around Hermione. It was working! He had to go! He had to go now!
Within the rapidly spinning world, George twisted on the spot, apparating with a sharp crack. And then both him, and the brightest witch of her age, were gone.