Disclaimer: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling.
It was a lovely sunset, full of reds and purples and golds, roses and oranges, fading into inky blue in a cloudless sky. Unusual for December and the kind of day that people dreamed of for the occasion of their weddings. Angelina hoped the guests at hers were enjoying the weather, since nothing much had happened otherwise. The bride rather needed to be there for that.
There'd probably be more of a dramatic effect, she mused, if she were wearing her wedding dress when the charms keeping her doors shut eventually wore off. Or at least met a wizard able to break them. Blue jeans and a Weird Sisters t-shirt just didn't scream "I stood you up" quite as much as a white gown, mussed up-do, and tragically smeared make-up. And maybe it would have been better to look theatrically melodramatic and faintly daft.
She heard a pop in the corridor outside her flat as someone Apparated in, and then, moments later, quiet clicking as the locks on her door were undone. When the door swung open, she just continued to stare out the window, admiring the view and clenching the sill to keep her hands from shaking.
"I wasn't sure you'd be here."
With a somewhat quaky laugh, she asked, "Did you think I'd run off?"
"Well, I thought it seemed uncharacteristic, but then again, Ange, you did just stand me up at our wedding."
Angelina bit her lip and waited for...something. Yelling, maybe? George wasn't much for shouting, not at her, but she wouldn't blame him in this case. Likely he'd ask her why she'd done it, and she'd have to come up with something suitable...something rubbish...because honestly, she hadn't really thought. She'd just...acted. Or not acted. At least, she hadn't bothered working out why she felt she couldn't marry George Weasley. There been a lot of thinking, just maybe not coherent thinking.
"So?" George asked, cutting through the babble in her head.
There was a ringing silence in the room stretching out from that one word. It speared Angelina on the spot, preventing her from moving, even to look at him.
"So...what?" she asked.
His exasperated sigh was justly deserved. "Are you going to tell me why? Or is this the sort of situation where I just walk away and don't bother looking back?"
For a second, she didn't say anything, but then she burst out, whirling to face him at the same time, "I can't marry you!"
Oh, she shouldn't have looked at him. One of his eyebrows was quirked and his arms were crossed over his chest, and he didn't look angry in the slightest. Confused, yes. Hurt, definitely, though he was trying to hide it. His hair was falling into his eyes a little, and she had to resist the temptation to brush it aside.
"So I gathered," he said, his casual tone not quite masking the wounded undercurrent in his voice.
"It's not just you."
"No, I...I can't marry anyone. I'll...regret it, probably, and...and...how do I know if I'm doing it for the right reasons? I don't! What if I'm marrying you because of some...misguided attempt to..." She felt a bit strangled at the suggestion of it, "bring Fred back?"
George flinched a bit. "Are you?"
"That's the point, I don't know!"
She wasn't sure what she wanted from him at that moment. Did she want him to scoop her romantically up in his arms, the whole thing forgotten? Walk out the door, agreeing with her that no, she wasn't fit to marry, wasn't even fit for love, especially not his? Nor did she really know what she expected from him, but it certainly wasn't the reaction that he had. After a long silence, he laughed.
Angelina raised her eyebrows at him, feeling her stomach and heart unclench just a little. He gave her a smile, equal parts rue and amusement, and asked, "Don't you get tired of this?"
"You'll have to be more specific." She was tired of so many things.
"Second guessing yourself all the time. Wondering if us being together is wrong for a million little reasons."
"And one big reason," she couldn't help adding miserably. This was where tragic costuming would have worked wonderfully.
"Angelina." George stepped towards her and took her hand. He didn't seem to mind that her fingers sat limply in his, nor that she couldn't meet his gaze for much more than a split second before her eyes slid away. "I'm in love with you. Alright? That's a fact. I want to marry you. I want to have a family. And it sounds amazingly stupid to say this, but until you reappeared in my life I didn't even think any of that was possible for me. I know that you're not only with me because of Fred, but if you really can't accept that, then tell me now and I won't bother you again."
For a minute, Angelina didn't say a word, preferring to stare at her hand in his. Their fingers were now intertwined tightly, which she didn't remembering allowing to happen, and she doubted that it had escaped his notice. "That bit that sounded amazingly stupid," she began, glancing up at him, "that's rather the sort of high-minded, romantic twaddle that women like to hear."
"Yourself included?" he asked, smiling very slightly.
"You wouldn't know it to look at me, would you?"
"Oh, I don't know, if I hadn't thought you'd like it I'd not have bothered with it."
A swell of a thousand different, wrenching emotions surged through her, and she covered her eyes with her other hand, fearing for one wild moment that she'd burst into tears. Instead, she let out an undignified guffaw, and, putting all second guessing aside, threw her arms around George. "I'm sorry," she said. "I got...nervous."
He tangled his fingers in her hair. "I'd hate to see you before a Quidditch match."
"Please. Quidditch doesn't make me nervous. That's not important."
George pulled back enough to look at her, and the expression on his face was atypically gentle. "Just to be clear -- am I walking out the door?"
Angelina finally let herself brush his hair out of his eyes. "Only if I'm with you."
"Shall we walk out the door and go to our wedding, then?"
She shook her head at him wonderingly. "You never thought I'd really break things off."
Rather than answer, he kissed her soundly. Eventually, he replied, "What can I say -- I'm an optimistic bloke."
And she loved him for it. She gave up on herself so easily; it was good that someone else wouldn't. "Let me get my dress."
He grinned at her. "I think you should wear this. Nothing wrong with a casual wedding, yeah?"
"Put your keen mind back to working out how women feel about romance."
The sun had set by the time the two of them arrived at the Burrow, and rain began dripping out of the sky halfway through the ceremony, but Angelina, wet, cold, and with a gold band on her finger, knew that she wouldn't second guess herself -- not about this -- ever again.