A/N: I know, I know. This isn't Renaissance, to those of you who are following that, nor will that be updated right now. And this one-shot (one of many) isn't Fred/Hermione or Draco/Hermione, which is unusual. But I thought it was about time for the rather neglected Weasley twin to have his time in the spotlight. So, welcome to a rather fluffy George/Hermione one-shot. Please excuse any mistakes, since I'm half-asleep right now. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Not mine.
The sunset was a smear of red and orange fading to purple and to dusky blue, stretching across the sky as the bright orange globe sank beneath the horizon of trees. The leaves on the trees were the same color as the sunset, a mix of dusky oranges and vivid scarlet, most of them still clinging to their branches, but some pulled off by the wind and sent sprawling to the ground, where they dried to a dull, dead brown.
"Merlin, George, how the hell did you get up here?"
The voice quite nearly sent George Weasley—whose hair was the same color as the sky—tumbling from his precarious perch on the rooftop. He bolted upright, his hands grabbing for the roof tiles to keep his balance, and he stared, wide-eyed, at Hermione Granger as she clambered her way onto the roof. His expression was one of complete perplexity; she was red-faced, strands of hair escaping her bun and falling into her eyes as she pulled herself up. After a moment George shook his head and offered her a hand, helping to pull her the rest of the way up. She heaved a sigh of relief and settled herself onto the roof.
"Seriously, how the hell did you get up here?"
He shook his head, grinning wryly at her, and then nodded his head to the broom which lay a few inches from him. "I flew, Hermione." She blushed and he grinned. "That generally is the preferred way to reach high places. Of course, a nice levitation charm works wonders as well," he teased. "I can't believe you honestly climbed up here. Are you a witch or not?"
She blushed more hotly but made no witty reply, merely glaring instead. There was a moment of silence as they both looked towards the sunset.
"It's gorgeous." She said. He sighed, glancing over at her.
"Hermione, what are you doing up here? You hate heights, and you could have watched the sunset just as easily from the ground."
She tilted her head. "I wanted to know where you disappear to all the time."
He raised an eyebrow. "So you followed me?" He asked, choosing to overlook the other burning question—why?—for the moment.
"Mhm." She turned her gaze to the horizon again.
He kept his gaze on her, taking in every little detail. Finally his lips moved again.
She tilted her head towards him, a tiny little smile on her lips. "Why what?"
He scowled. "Why did you follow me? Why did you want to know where I disappear to?"
The smile grew, and the look in her eyes was challenging. "Why do you disappear?" She responded.
He jerked his gaze away from her, feeling his cheeks burn suddenly.
"I'll trade you," she said, her gaze fixed on the setting sun again. She leaned back, her palms against the tiles of the roof, looking completely at ease even though he knew she hated heights. "An answer for an answer."
He chewed on the inside of his cheek, watching as the orange faded away completely and the red shaded to deep purple, as the dusky blue turned to a deeper shade. In his mind he weighed the pros and cons. On the one hand, he really didn't want to answer her question. On the other hand, he really wanted to know why she was sitting on a roof next to him.
"I…." He sighed, taking a breath. "I—sometimes it's just…loud. I love my family to death, but sometimes when everyone is talking it's just so loud and everyone is talking and sometimes I just feel like everyone looks at me and sees right through me…." He broke off, laughing bitterly. "Merlin, it's so stupid. You don't want to hear this."
He turned his head away from her, unwilling to see the disgusted look she would have as she realized how self-centered he was. But then he felt a hand gently cover his and his head jerked around. He stared at her and she smiled softly.
"I do want to hear it." She said. "Continue, please."
He hesitated, but ultimately he couldn't refuse the look in her eyes.
"Everyone's always around. And sometimes…I feel like I've always been "oh, a Weasley" or "oh, one of the Weasley Twins" but I've never just been George. Sometimes I feel like people only see the hair and the freckles and that I'm just…invisible. Sometimes I just need to get away from it." He laughed again, the sound weak. "See? I told you it was stupid."
But Hermione's hand hadn't left his. Now, as he pointedly avoided her gaze, her hand moved, carefully maneuvering his so that his palm faced upwards. Then she fit her hand into his, interlacing her fingers with his and squeezing his hand tightly. His heart was pounding suddenly, thudding in his ears, but he still didn't look at her.
"I followed you up here," she began, her voice wavering just a little, "because…George, will you look at me?" Her other hand touched his cheek gently, turning his head towards her, and he suddenly realized how close she was, much closer than she had been before. He met her gaze. "I see you," she said, her hand still touching his cheek. Her skin was warm against him and he shivered, burning with heat. "You're not invisible to me. Never. I see you, even when you try to fade into the background, even when you stand there, not saying anything, even when you think that no one sees you or notices or even cares that you exist."
His breath caught in his lungs, refusing to expel. "I see you, and that's why I followed you. Because you're worth climbing up the side of a building for."
Her cheeks flushed bright pink and she suddenly broke her gaze away, looking out to where the sky was faintly blue and velvety black, the stars coming into clearer focus as the black darkened and the last traces of sun faded.
Then he cracked a grin, still facing the sky. "I can't believe you climbed up here."
She laughed, digging her elbow into his side while still holding his hand. "Shut up, you jerk."
In unison they turned towards each other and he was struck again by her proximity to him. He met her gaze and smiled.
"'Mione? Thank you."
She tilted her head, smiling. "For what?"
Gathering his courage, and smiling genuinely at her, his former gloom dissipated, he leaned forwards, pausing inches away from her. He could feel her breath, hot on his skin. "For seeing me," he whispered, and then there was no space between them and his lips were pressed against hers.
As the night deepened to true black, dotted with shining pinpricks of light, the pair reclined on the roof, hidden from the rest of the world, invisible to everyone but themselves.
But they could see each other.
And that was all that mattered.