Hi, welcome to my new fic, George Weasley and the Black Magic Library! This will be my first major chapter fic under the Harry Potter category. All feedback is greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy my work!

Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series or any of the characters from the books.

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George Weasley and the Black Magic Library

By Ponytail Goddess

Chapter 1: A Proposition

"Verity…Verity!!!" George called out as he ran into the back of his shop while attempting to fan the smoke that loomed around them in huge billows. Quickly, he tore the window open in the back room so he could breathe a bit better and freshen up the shop. After taking a few deep breaths, George turned back into the office to look for his upset assistant.

He didn't have to look very hard. She was sitting in his desk chair, her head bent down in her hands. George frowned when he saw this. "Verity…I'm sorry." He said softly as he approached her and put one of his hands on her shoulder.

"I bet you are." She said bitterly, not looking up at him.

"It was accidental magic, Verity. I didn't mean to do it… After you made the comment about how you wished you had flaming red hair, I just sort of thought about how it would look if your hair was on fire, you know, flaming hair…I didn't think it would actually happen. I wasn't trying to make it happen or anything…I-"

"I can't believe you did that George!" She said angrily. "I could have been hurt! You really scared me…" She said, finally looking up to reveal tears in her eyes.

"It was accidental magic Verity." He said, now looking a bit hurt that she wasn't accepting his apology, "You can't tell me that you have never pulled some sort of stunt like that—every witch and wizard has at some point in time-"

"Do you have any scissors?" She asked, interrupting him, "I need to cut off the burnt part before I leave tonight."

"Top drawer on the right." George said, sounding defeated. He watched as she silently charmed the scissors to cut her hair chin length. They quickly went to work, shearing off the crispy black pieces so that only platinum blonde strands were left on her head. However, as he mentally started to berate himself, he turned away and stared out the window into the dark alleyway that was behind his shop, leading into Knockturn Alley.

What if he had killed her? What if she had died because of him, just like Fred?

One and a half years after the battle, George still felt terribly responsible for his brother's death. After all, it had been his idea to split up so that their cunningness would be useful in more than one place. The idea was brave and clearly had the well-being of others in mind, but still, George couldn't help but think that when he made the suggestion, he had sentenced his brother to an early grave.

He could have accidentally killed her today too… Was every person he was close to doomed?

"George?" He heard Verity's soft voice question as her hands gently gripped his upper arm. Surprised by her suddenly being so close to him, George gasped as he turned to look her.

Her clear eyes were no longer harboring anger, but instead looked a bit guilty and sad. "I'm sorry George. You didn't mean to do it…I was just upset." She said, then stared down at the ground, as if the carpet had caught her interest.

George started to say, "Verity, I-," but was interrupted by one of her small hands coming to rest on his mouth.

"I wasn't very understanding about the whole 'accidental magic' thing because I've never done any accidental magic in my entire life." She said softly, then removed her hand and placed it back on his arm with her other hand.

"Really?" George questioned, raising his eyebrow in surprise. "You know, I've heard a bit about that topic recently—I think it was in the Quibbler a few months back. Anyway, the article talked about how a few wizards were never able to create accidental magic because their power was too great to be handled without the control that a wand or something has. So, yeah…maybe it means you're a really great witch Verz."

However, Verity didn't answer as her face was contorted into one full of shock. "George," She finally said slowly, "I think you might have taken in a bit too much smoke during my hair fiasco. You just sounded like that Hermione Granger who's in here all the time…"

George's jaw nearly dropped to the ground as Verity chuckled a bit at his reaction. "Very funny, Verz. I do read on occasion…the paper isn't anything fancy!" He said, sensing her sarcasm.

"I know, I was just kidding." Verity said with a smile, then stood on her toes to give him a small peck on the cheek, which cleared up any miniscule bit of ill will that might have come between them. "I saw that article too, actually. You know, it also said that it might happen because the witch or wizard is too weak to push the magic out of their body and cannot pull it out without a vessel like a wand for assistance. I think that is the true answer—I'm not any sort of special witch; I've just got a bit of a handicap, that's all."

George snorted at this. "Handicap? Yeah right. There's nothing wrong with your magic Verz. You can do everything that I do and you've proven it by helping me create things for the shop. I suppose we'll eventually see who's right though. Just…don't go putting yourself down or anything if you think you're impaired. I think you're great and clearly, my opinion is the only one that matters around here." He said, joking at the very end, which earned him a small fake glare.

"Psh…I see how it is." She said, jokingly, then squealed a bit as he ruffled up her hair playfully. After making a crafty escape from the assault on her hair, Verity peeked out into the shop. "It looks like the smoke has cleared out fairly well. Are we reopening for the last hour of shop time?" She asked him.

George shrugged, "Yeah, why not? Go ahead and turn the displays back on and open up. I'll be out in a few minutes."

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The moment Verity activated all of the colorful displays with her wand, a crowd of children started to cluster around the door, with eyes that were just begging for her to unlock the door and let them into their personal paradise. Smiling, she gave the door a quick alohamora and the giggling bunch immediately burst through the entrance with smiles that lit up the room much better than all of the lights.

Small moments like these were what Verity lived for. They justified her work at George's shop and made her feel like she was accomplishing something here—brightening tomorrow's world by making children smile. Even though she wasn't the mastermind behind the fabulous products of the store, it still felt good just to help the kids out and watch them smile as they planned simple pranks for their peers and families.

However, her happy face suddenly became sour as she saw a familiar figure walk into the shop. Her blood suddenly ran cold. Verity had never expected to see him in here—he certainly wasn't the type who would enjoy the products of the shop or support the owner. Either way, she knew that she couldn't be seen in here, not by him.

There were some secrets that simply had to be kept.

As his head started to swivel towards her, Verity quickly ducked behind a shelf of skiving snackboxes, earning a few odd looks from the kids that were around her. Crawling on her knees, Verity speedily made her way through the crowd of children who were looking at her like she was some sort of freak, hiding behind stand after stand until she quickly darted behind the checkout counter. Here, she curled up with her back up against the counter, pulling her legs as close as she could to her body and wrapping her arms around them for security. She tucked her excessive magenta robes in as close to the counter as she could as she tried to catch her breath.

Ding.

Verity stopped breathing. He was right behind her, on the other side of the counter—she just knew it. No longer could she hear the giddy children or the loud sounds of products being tested; all of it seemed to be drowned out by her thundering heartbeat.

"Verity, would you get that?" She vaguely heard George call from the office. She shivered at the thought. There was no way that she was going to do it. No way.

Ding. Ding. Ding.

Clearly, he was getting impatient. Oh Merlin, surely he couldn't see her back here, could he? She certainly hoped not. Squeezing her eyes shut, Verity sat there silently, hoping that all of this was a bad dream.

However, her eyes shot back open as she heard footsteps coming from the office. George was coming! Oh no! How was she going to explain this?

George's sudden appearance at the door in front of the counter stopped all of her thoughts as her eyes widened. He looked at her curiously for a second. Verity's finger immediately went up to her lips as she motioned insanely to him to keep her presence a secret.

Immediately, he looked up and approached the desk, with a questioning look on his face directed towards the visitor. "Draco Malfoy?" He asked in a dark voice as he stopped directly in front of Verity.

Oh dear, this was getting awkward…

Doing her best to ignore George's close proximity, Verity silently listened in to their conversation. "Well, if it isn't George Weasley…the twin who lived."

Verity nearly gasped at his rudeness towards her kindly employer. Clearly, George was not left untouched by this comment either, as Verity felt him tense up against her. When she looked up, she could see that his face had contorted into a visage full of anger. "What are you doing here, Malfoy?" He whispered dangerously.

"Ah…I see you want to cut right to the chase, Weasley. I have a proposition for you…" He said, leaning over the counter dangerously, "One that can only be spoken about in private."

Verity's eyes bulged as Draco slowly started to look down towards her, but immediately had her vision blocked by George's magenta robes as stepped all the way up to the counter in order to block Malfoy's view of her. "What even makes you think that I'm going to listen to a proposition from you, Malfoy? I know a trap when I see one." He said maliciously.

"There's a good reward, Weasley. Trust me, you won't turn this down." Draco said quite confidently.

Now George laughed. "What on Earth could you possibly have that I couldn't get somewhere else?"

"Fred."

Verity gasped and then quickly put her hand over her mouth. Her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. What on Earth was that Malfoy playing at?!? Didn't he know that George wouldn't stand for such a thing?!?

Though George's soft voice was muffled through their magenta robes, Verity could still just barely hear him eerily whisper, "You sick bastard. If we weren't surrounded by kids right now, I would kill you."

"Good thing we're out here with the kiddies then, Weasley. I wouldn't want that." Draco said in an amused voice. He knew he had suddenly gained the upper hand here.

Suddenly, Verity was jostled as George leaned across the counter. Now she found herself painfully pinned between the counter and George's legs, feeling halfway smothered from the heavy magenta robes. "Get out of my store." She heard George whisper slowly, his patience utterly spent.

"Are you so sure that's what you want, Weasley? I think you're really intrigued, though you have a shoddy way of showing it."

"My brother is dead Malfoy-"

"Right now, yes, he is…" Malfoy hissed, "But there are ways around that. I come from a pure wizarding family, George. A wizarding family that has collected thousands of secrets over the years…"

Now, even softer than before, he whispered, "I can get your brother back."

There was a long silence that made Verity start to fidget nervously under the massive amount of robes. "Here's my card Weasley." Malfoy finally said, quite lightly. "On the back you will find a password that will get you into Malfoy Mannor tomorrow and tomorrow only. Stop by if you change your mind."

Then he was gone. Verity exhaled a sigh of relief as she heard his footsteps treading away from the counter. Finally, she heard the gargling sound of the bell on the door and relaxed as he had finally left. Quickly, Verity pulled away from George, who seemed to be rooted to the spot, staring at the door long after Malfoy was gone.

"George…George!" Verity finally said, giving him a bit of a shake, "Are you oka-"

"Hey, do you have any more belch powder?" A small girl in front of the counter suddenly asked.

At that moment, the shop came back to life again. All of the sounds and running children seemed to reappear right before Verity's eyes, though she knew they had been there the entire time.

"Oh," George said, jumping and looking helplessly at Verity before looking back down at the girl, "Yes, here, I'll go get some."

Before he went to the back though, he grabbed Verity's arm and pulled her close so that his lips were almost touching her ear. "We'll talk about this later."

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The moment the last customer walked out the door, George quickly turned off the open sign, locked the door and willfully jogged over to Verity. He looked rather troubled as he put his hands on her arms. "Verity," he demanded, having let his imagination run wild for the past hour, "Why were you hiding from Malfoy? He hasn't done anything…you know, bad to you, has he?"

"George," She started.

"Because if he has," George interrupted, "I'll get Ron and Harry to come with me and we'll-"

"George," She said, a bit louder this time.

"He has no right to just-"

"George!" She suddenly exclaimed, exasperatedly clapping a hand over his mouth, "That's not the reason!" She said rather loudly, then softened up a bit, "Look, I know and expect you to be a bit chivalrous from time to time… You're a Gryffindor; it will happen. I do appreciate your help in hiding me today too, but I don't need you to make a worst-case scenario up."

As she eased her hand off of his face, George felt himself sink a bit. "I was only trying to help, my little Hufflepuff. I know you don't want me to, but I worry about you sometimes. You don't have that many people to go to for help-"

"I do just fine George." She said softly.

"You don't have any family left to turn to, Verz…" He said gently, trying to say his opinion without making their little talk escalate into an argument.

"I do just fine." She repeated, looking him solemnly in the eye. "If you absolutely must know the truth about this matter, I'll tell you. My dad was on bad terms with the Malfoy family and thought that they might try to harm me if they got the chance. A few weeks before he died, he told me to avoid them at all costs."

"But the war is over." George said, giving her a questioning look. "They can't harm you now. There's no one to back them up."

"Yes they can George. I know how those purebloods are—they will never change their opinions about wizards and witches like us. We both know that well enough. As long as they think the way they do, none of us are safe."

George frowned at this and tenderly placed his hand on her cheek, directing her line of vision to his eyes. "Verz…you can't live your life in fear." He murmured, "What kind of life is that?"

Yanking her head away from his hand, Verity's face immediately scrunched into a look of total frustration. "George, that is totally off subject! Besides, you are the one we ought to be worrying about! Bloody hell, Malfoy is trying con you into doing something terrible!" She said quite loudly, shaking her hands for emphasis.

Suddenly, she reached out and grabbed his shoulder tightly. "George," She said, looking him straight in the eye with an intense look that he had never seen from her before, "Promise me you won't go."

When he didn't answer, her eyes got larger and her grip grew tighter. "Promise me George!" She said sternly.

How could he do that? This was an offer to get his brother back, for Merlin's sake! Even if it was Malfoy, even if it was dangerous…how could he not think about it? Wouldn't having Fred back be worth it? Of course it bloody would! George could go back to normal if Fred was there. He'd have someone to finish his sentences, to know what he was talking about without him having to explain an idea in-depth, even just someone to hear snoring across the room from him. It was simple things that George missed the most…not the really special moments.

Looking back, the simple moments seemed to be the most special of all now.

"I can't make that promise, Verz." He finally said, looking away from her while he said it. It was as though there was something especially exciting on the floor because he could not seem to take his eyes off it.

Verity was silent for a while. A great field of tension separated them, despite how close they were physically. "You don't actually believe that load of poo he told you…do you?" She asked softly.

George closed his eyes and searched for the right thing to say so that she wouldn't be angry with him. "I don't know what to believe… Chances are high that he's trying to con me into something, but Verity, what if he isn't? What if it's real?" He asked, whispering the last part that was dripping with false hope.

"Okay…" She said placidly, obviously trying to be patient with him, "So let's say Malfoy's telling the truth. Let's say he can really…bring Fred back like he says." She said, pausing as she started to pace around the room. "The Malfoy's won't do something like that for free George. If he grants you a miracle, he's going to need you to move mountains for him first! Nothing comes for free George. You could loose more than you gain!"

This made George snap. "Are you saying that Fred isn't worth a little bit of sacrifice?! I need him Verz! We both know it—I'm doing a terrible job managing the shop without him! I need him!" He yelled, then immediately regretted it when he saw Verity's tearstained face.

He shook his head, annoyed with himself for hurting her. He really did like having her around—it was a comfort to know that she was the one thing that hadn't changed after the war. She was still there and now closer to him because of it.

"I'm sorry Verz." He said softly as he hesitantly reached out and offered her a hug. She quietly accepted, nuzzling her head into his shoulder while she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I-I just want him back." He stammered as he put his arms around her.

"I know George," She whispered into his chest. "This whole thing just doesn't make sense. I mean, your families are enemies; it doesn't make sense that he would come to you for help. It doesn't make sense that he'd want to help you out."

"You're right." He mumbled, closing his eyes as he stroked her short, platinum blonde tresses to comfort her. "I shouldn't go tomorrow. It isn't safe."

He felt her sigh with relief against him. "I'm sorry if I hurt you George. I care about you though and I don't want you to be doing something that's unsafe."

"I know." He said as he pulled away from her, a small smile adorning his freckled face. "Thanks Verity. I promise I won't go."

However, when George went to bed that night, he couldn't sleep a wink because the possibility of getting Fred back was plaguing his thoughts.

He had to do it.

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Woohoo, there's my first chapter! Please let me know what you think! Have a great Thanksgiving!

-P.G.