-Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
-So, here's my new fic. Yeah, I was going to finish off BCII but I just can't seem to get inspired about that story right now. I had this chapter ready to go and the next, so thoght I would put these up instead. No promises on updates...to be honest though, I get more inspired the more reviews I get. As most FFic writers will tell you, It's hard to be excited about a story that it seems like no one is reading.
-Anyway.,,,hope you enjoy this. It is a teensy bit darker in the first couple of chapters and George does seem pretty harsh, but before you flame me for making him out of character, please remember that he just lost his twin brother and he is going to be extremely raw because of it.
And Away we go!
The terrible May had come to a close and June had at last made its spectacular debut in the village of Hogsmeade. Slowly the sound of crying had dimmed and the sound of hard work had taken its place. Gradually, the sound of laughter mixed in until the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was no longer a place of mourning, but a place where healing was taking place.
The day after the battle they had left the castle and the families had seen their beloved laid to rest. Then, lead by Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledores Army, and the Malfoy's, they had returned en-mass, parents and students, teachers and ministry workers, including the newly appointed Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt. They had come to put right what Voldemort and his death eaters had been unable to destroy.
For weeks they worked side by side until at last every brick was back in place, every suit of armor, every gargoyle, every chandelier,
glowed with Hogwarts pride.
On the night before they all would leave for home they held a picnic in the grounds. Even Peeves was feeling a bit misty, sharing a patch of grass under a tree with Moaning Myrtle, singing over and over again the Hogwarts school song...horribly.
The others however shared informal seating on the grounds. Blankets were spread everywhere as far as the eye could see and kegs of butterbeer and pumpkin juice sat scattered every few yards or so. The scent of roasting meat filled the air as it cooked over an open pit and wonderful smells and the sounds of merriment filled the air from every corner.
Underneath the merriment however was an undertone of sadness. Not only for those who had been lost weeks prior, but also because this was a farewell party. Many would be parting in the morning unsure of when they would be seeing each other again.
True, many of the students would be returning as usual on September the first for the new term. Thanks to a decree set forth by the Ministry, that would, if they so wished, include those who had been, or should have been seventh years during the previous year. Already nearly the entire class of seventh years had signed on to return, including Ron and Hermione. Harry Potter, however, hadn't signed on, and it had become a matter of contention between the friends over the past couple of weeks.
But then, Harry seemed to be dragging his heels over a lot of things. After seven years of making life and death decisions, he woke up the morning after the battle and couldn't even decide what to have for breakfast. He did things that were expected of him, and little else. At times he seemed like a zombie. Ron, Hermione, Ginny...all were frustrated in their efforts to talk to him. Even Percy tried but Harry just ignored him.
And Harry wasn't the only one acting alarmingly.
George Weasley seemed to be lost somewhere in a world that nobody could reach. He had collapsed at the funeral for Fred Weasley, begging to be left alone to die. Charlie had had to pick him up and apparate him home. After that, George didn't leave his room, he lay on his bed day after day, staring at the wall or out the window. He never spoke, rarely ate. While Harry had at least returned to Hogwarts with the family to help, George had refused. Percy had stayed behind at the Burrow as well to mind the shop and the reports from home weren't good.
Percy, blamed himself. He thought that if he hadn't distracted Fred, he might have gotten out of the way. He seemed to be getting more and more depressed as time went on, and the worse George got, the more he blamed himself.
Molly and Arthur didn't know what to do, they only prayed that their return home would shift things, bring a sense of normalcy for Harry, Percy and George. They worried too about the effect this was all having on Ron and Ginny, that they would blame themselves for their inability to help.
Molly looked around at her broken family. Charlie had long since returned to Romania, and Bill and Fleur had returned to Shell cottage the day before, she hadn't been feeling well. Arthur looked like he had aged twenty years in the past months, but then, she too knew that her white hair count had increased considerably.
Harry, sat alone under a tree across the way, watching Ginny talking to Luna Lovegood. Though they were back together, he didn't seem to be putting any energy into the relationship, he was just there. Sometimes Molly noticed, when he watched Ginny his eyes would grow moist like he wanted to cry with the depth of his feelings, but he never showed Ginny that side. He was teasing, he was flip, sometimes he was even angry. But loving seemed to be left somewhere else.
Ron and Hermione, sat close together, her head resting on his shoulder, and her hand in his. Even though they weren't speaking or even looking at each other, they were carrying on a wonderful conversation. Molly marveled at how it was that the two who had always had the rockiest relationship of all that seemed to have come through unscathed. Closer even.
But theirs was one of the coming goodbyes. Hermione was leaving in the morning to collect her parents from Australia. Then she had the difficult and delicate task of reversing the memory charms she had put on them the summer before.
"You sure you don't want me to go with you?" Ron whispered for about the fiftieth time
Hermione smiled and squeezed his hand
"It's not that I don't want you to come." she sighed "I just think you're needed more here."
"I know. I just don't know what I can do" he said louder "I feel so useless."
"Your not useless Ron." Arthur said reassuringly "One of these day's, one of them is going to want to talk"
Hermione nodded "And you know Harry will go right to you. Probably George too."
"That's right."Molly nodded "You and George have always been close."
"I just hope it's soon. How was he when you left Percy?" Arthur asked
Percy shrugged despondently and looked away "Same."
"No!" Ginny approached them dragging Harry by the arm "Least you can do is sit with me."
"Fine." Ginny sat down and he sat in front of her, leaning back against her legs.
"Well!" Said Hermione "Look who decided to grace us with his presence." she said waspishly "It's the boy who lived and then forgot about his friends."
"Give it a rest Hermione." Harry rolled his eyes.
"I'm leaving tomorrow, do you even care?" she asked
"Were all leaving tomorrow." he said absently, pulling at Ginny's shoe laces and untying them.
"Stop that!" she swatted him on the back of the head
"I'm going to Australia." Hermione singsonged "To fetch my parents."
Harry, who had been semi hand wrestling with Ginny stopped and looked at her.
"How long are you going to be gone?" he said looking shocked
"I don't know." Hermione shrugged "Month maybe."
"Huh." he said, his face blank. "Well, have a safe trip. I'll be right back." he stood, ruffling Ginny's hair as he went.
Hermione watched after him "I didn't upset him did I?"
"Of course not." Ron squeezed her hand then kissed her forehead and then got up and followed Harry into the castle.
"Mum, Dad" Ginny turned to her parents "There's something I wanted to ask you, a favor...a big one."
"What it is dear?" Molly, who had been watching after Ron, turned back to Ginny and smiled
"Well, you know Luna Lovegood."
"Of course we do." Arthur nodded "Xenophilius's girl, very nice young lady."
"Nobody has found her father yet." Ginny said sadly "She's all alone mum."
"That poor dear." Molly shook her head
"She doesn't have any place to go."
"You want her to come stay with us?" Arthur asked
"Well I thought..."
"Are you out of your mind?" Percy exploded "After what her father did?" He looked at Ginny, his temples throbbing.
"Percy..." Molly began
"He turned Ron, Harry and Hermione into the death eaters mother!Death Eaters!"
"Yes, HE did" Hermione said softly "Not Luna, her father."
"Hermione, I don't see how you can be so forgiving. If it were me..." Percy shook his head
"But it wasn't you."
They grew silent and after another few minutes Ron and Harry returned. Sensing the suddenly chilly atmosphere, Ron looked at Hermione "What did I miss?"
"Ginny would like Luna Lovegood to stay with us at the Burrow." Percy said with a tone of disbelief.
"Luna?" Ron grinned "Cool, is she bringing me any gurdyroot?"
Hermione giggled and gave him a soft elbow
"No Nargle's though." Harry snickered "They hide everything and you can't ever find it."
"You obviously have no problem with this." Percy rolled his eyes "Are you all insane? Her father almost got you killed."
"Percy" Arthur leveled a looked at him "They had his daughter. Imagine if it were your child, a room away from...you know who... What would you have done?"
Percy had gone very white
"Do you understand now?" Ron said softly "That's why we can't bear a grudge against Mr. Lovegood, not when any one of us would have done the same."
Harry looked across the grounds to where Luna sat alone watching the steadily darkening sky.
"Luna is our friend. For her to have died to save us...we lost too many others, when I look at her I see the one person we were able to save."
Percy followed Harry's eye line and saw Luna for himself. She had closed her eyes very tight, her fingers laced together as if in prayer, her smiling face lifted to the sky while she muttered quietly to herself.
He looked to the sky and realized that she must be wishing on the first star. It was such a sweet and innocent thing to do that he felt shame and guilt pour over and through him for having raised such a ruckus over Ginny's request.
He could still be such a pompous ass at times.
"I understand." he gave Hermione a half smile then turned it on Ginny "It's up to Mum and Dad."
"Mum" Ginny looked at them in turn "Dad?"
"Of course dear, we have plenty of room, she can have Bill and Charlie's room." Molly smiled and Ginny jumped forward to hug them so fast she barely missed kneeing Harry in the face.
"Ginny!" He protested
"Oh come on" She grabbed his hand and dragged him with her "You can come with me to invite Luna."
"You think having Luna around will help Harry?" Ron asked, directing his question to Hermione "I mean, she helped him before, when Sirius died."
"I thought he seemed a little better tonight, since I've been here." Percy blinked in the fresh darkness and Arthur conjured up a ring of fire above them for light.
"I thought so too." Molly nodded "But he's still so quiet."
Ron had been whispering in Hermione's ear and now she prodded him
"Tell them Ron."
"What is it ?" Arthur asked impatiently, wary of hearing more bad news.
"When I went to check on Harry before..." he hesitated "I found him in the lavatory..."
Molly looked afraid
"Go on" Hermione urged
"He was crying."
"Crying?" Molly looked alarmed
"Yeah, but not like just a little bit, it was more like...I don't know, harder..."
Molly's hand went to her mouth "What did he say, did he see you?"
He shook his head "I went out into the hall and waited, then acted like I had just come in."
"Maybe I shouldn't go." Hermione chewed her lip nervously
"Hermione" Arthur shook his head "You've already waited a month, you shouldn't put it off again."
"Dad's right." Ron smiled though Hermione noticed it didn't reach his eyes "You can't put it off anymore, it's time you bring your family back. You need them."
"But Harry needs me too."
"Well, then the only thing for it is to hurry back." Molly nodded
"Right." Hermione smiled
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate you allowing me to stay Mrs. Weasley." Luna said the next afternoon as she followed Molly up the crooked stairs to the former bedroom of Bill and Charlie Weasley.
"Were happy to have you dear." Molly said as she turned into a room. she dropped a pile of clean linens on the bed near the window.
"This room has been empty since Bill got married last summer." Molly said as she began to make up the bed.
"I remember their wedding, it was very nice." Luna smiled and grabbed a corner of sheet to tuck it under the mattress.
Molly looked at Luna and smiled "Thank you dear."
Molly fluffed a pillow into a pillowcase and smoothed it down
"Luna, before I go..." She closed the door "You should know...George hasn't been doing well since Fred died."
Luna looked at her sympathetically "I'm very sorry."
Molly smiled again but her smile was sad "He's in the room next to you, so I wanted to warn you, in case you cross paths. He usually doesn't talk to anyone, but he has gotten a bit, well, grumpy with his brothers and sister."
Luna bit her lip and Molly patted her knee and stood.
"Nothing to worry about dear, like I said, he hardly comes out."
She smiled and opened the door to find Ginny about to knock.
"Hi Mum." she giggled
"Where have you left Harry?" Molly asked, her hands on her hips.
"Him and Ron went to see Percy. Or I should say, Ron went to see Percy, Harry got drug along."
Molly rolled her eyes "Well, if you need anything."
"Thank you Mrs. Weasley."
Ginny closed the door behind her and sat on the empty bed. She looked at Luna, something was bothering her.
"I don't think I should be here." Luna chewed her lip nervously
"What? Why not?"
"It just seems as if your family has enough to deal with without having me underfoot."
"Mum told you about Percy and George." Ginny hugged a pillow to her chest, her expression almost unbearably sad.
"Nothing about Percy...just that George isn't...well, himself. Is Percy okay?"
"He blames himself, for Fred."
"Oh Ginny...now I know I shouldn't be here. I can leave, I have money, I can get by for a few weeks at the Leaky..."
"No...No, Luna, really...I wanted you to come." a tear fell from her lashes and landed on her cheek.
"You can't leave..." Ginny looked at her desperately "I need your help Luna."
"My help? But, what can I do?"
"You were the only one who was able to help Harry after Sirius died...I was hoping..." She stopped and took a deep breath "Harry isn't...right."
"What do mean not right?" Luna slid off the bed and sat down next to Ginny.
"I don't know how to explain it...he's just...not himself." she sighed "It's like his spirit died or something, he just seems so...empty."
"I'm sorry." Luna put her hand over Ginny's "I'd be happy to help...but I...I don't know what I can do."
Ginny shrugged "I don't know...I just know that you have a gift, a gift for reaching people."
Ginny looked up at her "Will you stay?"
"C'mon..."Ginny smiled "Mum's got some fresh baked mint chocolate chunk cookies downstairs...if we don't get some now Ron and Harry will eat them all."
Ginny slid off the bed grabbing Luna's hand as she went and pulled the door open. On the landing stood George, he glared past Ginny to Luna
"What's she doing here?" he said, his voice filled with disgust.
"She came to stay until her father returns." Ginny stuck her chin in the air "and if you don't like it, its just too damn bad."
"I don't give a shit what you do." George turned back to return to his room "Just keep her the hell away from me."
He went into his room and slammed the door behind him.
Ginny looked at Luna, her eyes apologetic.
"Never mind him." She smiled softly "C'mon."
A/N Not quite sure where this is going to go yet... so, now chapter preview.
This is (Well...DUH!) a George and Luna fic. I just wanted to try something a little different this time around...a little more edge and tension instead of my usual love and first sight bit.
Anyway...I hope you'll hang out for it.