I Must Not Tell Lies
All things relating to Harry Potter remain the intellectual and legal property of JK Rowling.
Summary: The tale of George Weasley's love for Harry Potter over many years. GeW/HP, GiW/HP, FW/AJ, RW/HG, GeW/AJ. Canon compliant including the epilogue – it's just that some things were kept secret even from JKR!
Chapter One: AFTER DETENTION WITH DOLORES
2.45am, Thursday 5th September, 1995.
George Weasley crept through the dark corridors of the school. He was practiced at moving with silent invisibility without magic. It was a skill that he and Fred had perfected over the course of the last six years. This was their last year. George knew he was overly sentimental sometimes, but this week everything had taken on a hue of significance. It was their last first week of the school year. Monday morning had been the last time they would be handed a new timetable.
Fred had got sick of his mawkish sighing and had finally twisted his twin's mood to suit his purposes.
"But George!" he had said, with big eyes and a pout, "This is the last time we'll administer Mrs Norris' annual anti-detection pellet! You don't want to miss that!" Then his voice had hardened: "There's no point in both of us going, we smell pretty much the same and I want to get some sleep."
The twins had developed the pellet in the first year. It inoculated the caretaker's cat against their scent. It was far from fool-proof, but it did mean they got caught a lot less often than they would have done without its contribution.
George had grumbled that he was tired, too, but actually he loved roaming the silent, sleeping corridors at night. He ran a hand against the cold stone of the wall. The cat had been drugged and it was time to return to Gryffindor Tower, but he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep: all his senses were heightened and his nerves were on edge. He considered a trip to the kitchens. The House-Elves were too noisy and too active, though. They wouldn't have suited his mood.
"Mimbus mimbletonia," he sang at the dozing Fat Lady. When she saw who it was she rolled her eyes, but she let him through.
Climbing through the portrait hole, George expected to find a Common Room as dark and deserted as the rest of the school. The fire was lit, however, and one desk lamp blazed light onto one desk. Almost hidden behind a pile of books and parchments sat Harry bloody Potter of all people. The Chosen One looked round with a startled expression.
"You're up late," George whispered.
"You made me jump!" Harry relaxed. He sat back in his chair and ran both hands through his scruffy hair. "Where have you been?"
"Ah, now, Harry, m'boy," George answered in his most patronising voice, taking the seat beside him, "if I told you that then you'd be bound to mention it to your friends the Prefects." He pinched his face and used a silly, high-pitched voice on the last word.
Harry laughed. That was a definite improvement on the strained look he'd been wearing when George had come in.
"I'd never squeal on you mate," Harry promised. "But I won't pry, either."
George picked up some of the books on the desk and squinted at the spines. "Very conscientious," he murmured. "You do know, though, that the O.W.L.s aren't until the end of the year, don't you?"
"Homework," Harry groaned tiredly, picking up his quill. "I had a detention and got behind."
"Oh, with the charming Ms Umbridge? Yeah, Angelina was jumping up and down about you missing Try-Outs on Friday."
Harry pulled a face. He back to was concentrating on his studies. George had a yen to hear him laugh again, so he added, "But if Dolly Toad-face is so desperate for your company then shouldn't she be finishing off your homework for you?"
Harry didn't laugh, he didn't even look up, he just grunted, "She's not so much a toad as a fucking bitch!"
George clapped his hands over his ears and assumed a prissy expression. "Goodness me! The Boy Who Swore!"
Harry smiled slightly and said, "Fuck off."
He looked exhausted and depressed. His eyes were red at the edges with dark bags under them. He raised a hand to rub at his temple. George only caught a glimpse, but he was certain there was something on it. He grabbed Harry's wrist and Harry tried to pull it away from him.
There was a struggle as both boys tugged at Harry's cuff and Harry growled, "I told you to fuck off!"
George was older and bigger and stronger. Harry gave in before he would have had to have admitted defeat. George pushed up the sleeve and brought the back of Harry's hand up to his eye-line. He stared at the redness there, gripping the thumb with one hand and the little finger with the other, he twisted his friend's hand slightly to get more light onto it. The marks looked like letters.
"What does it say?"
Harry muttered, "I must not tell lies."
"Umbridge has this quill ..."
George was transfixed by the damaged skin. "Doesn't it hurt, mate?"
"Of course it fucking hurts!" Harry snapped.
"She can't do that!" George protested, but he knew how pathetic he sounded even as he said it. The bitch from the Ministry could do just about whatever she wanted.
They sat in silence, George holding onto Harry's hand. Gradually he became aware of the warmth between his fingers. He could feel the softness of Harry's palm. The realisation crept up on him that he was holding another boy's hand and that they were alone together in the middle of the night. Something was stopping him from letting go, though.
He looked up from Harry's hand to his face. Harry was staring right at him and from the shocked, flushed look on his face it was obvious that he was feeling something similar. They didn't move for a long time. Harry's arm was raised in an awkward position and eventually it began to tremor slightly. Then Harry licked his lower lip and George didn't know why he was doing it, but he dipped his head down to the hurt hand and kissed it.
He dropped it quickly onto the desk top and muttered, "Kiss it all better." He couldn't meet Harry's eye.
"George?" Harry asked croakily.
George ignored him and hurried away out of the Common Room towards the stairs that lead up to the bedrooms. A few steps up he heard the scritching of a quill which meant that Harry had resumed writing his essay. He kept walking, as quietly as possible, all the time aware of a pull behind him. He could feel the younger boy's presence like a glow. He fought against his legs which wanted to turn round and go back.
He stumbled onto his bed and lay on top of the blankets, fully dressed, staring at the canopy until dawn. He didn't know what had got him so rattled but he certainly didn't want to think about it hard enough to find out.