Title: Once Upon A Time Come True
Music: Calling You – Blue October
Relationship: Hermione/George
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: T
Word Count: 8,282
Summary: The Life and Love of George Weasley

Once Upon a Time Come True

The day George Weasley fell in love there was nobody to congratulate him. He wasn't cheered on with a shot of Firewhiskey, he didn't hear words of encouragement, and there was no excitement heard from the family Weasley. In their minds, he'd done wrong. He'd fallen for and taken a witch already promised to another of his brothers. George didn't see it that way, and neither did his girlfriend.

It was a windy winter morning when she stepped inside his shop, her heavy coat buttoned to her chin, bright earmuffs atop her head and thick hair sticking in all directions as if it'd just been in a fight (and lost) against the riotous wind outside. She blew out a breath of exasperation, her pink cheeks hollowing for a moment, before she rather stomped toward him. "Do you know what I had to deal with this morning?"

Quirking an amused orange brow, he nodded for her to continue.

"A co-worker of mine just so happens to fancy himself a prankster-in-the-making and for some ridiculous reason thought I would be the right candidate for his first go-around!" Pursing her lips, eyes thinning, she glared darkly. "It would be in everyone's best interest if there was a no-pranking-Hermione rule!"

George grinned. "Where would be the fun in that?" He shook his head. "If anyone needs more laughter in their life, dear swot, it's you."

Outraged, her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open, only to be further irritated as he reached across to lift her chin and close her mouth teasingly.

"I'll tell you what…" He leaned forward conspiratorially. "I have a shop full of nasties and a mind for mischief… why don't I show you how to exact just the right kind of revenge?" He smirked. "I promise he'll never prank you again!"

Swayed, her expression turned from aggravation to rather interested. "All right, but I don't want some silly little fake wand…" A glint appeared in her eye that he couldn't help but love.

"Granger… For you, I'll only offer my very best…" He was over the counter and taking her hand in moments, dragging her toward his laboratory with purpose. "In fact… Why don't we go see what I have on my testing shelf?"

Four days were spent in and out of the lab, brilliance matching brilliance, rearranging, resorting, recalibrating, until finally, they emerged victorious. He almost felt bad for the bloke about to understand the true nature of pranking. But when she kissed him on the cheek and promised to return with full glorious details, he decided the other man's misfortune was his gain.

Their first date involved two bottles of butterbeer, a blanket, and a seat on a tree branch.

"Why are we here again?" Her brow knotted in confusion.

He shushed her, much to her consternation.

"When you told me you had something to show me, I didn't think it involved climbing trees and spying…" she muttered, rolling her eyes.

He grinned. "Don't you know me at all?"

Much as she tried to hide her smile, he saw it.

Huffing, she crossed her arms over her chest. "So what is it we're—"

She trailed off as an array of colorful lights exploded across the sky, reflecting in her wide brown eyes. It was as if the aurora borealis had merged with a meteor shower, soaring across the night sky in an incredibly beautiful display.

"What… is it?"

Smiling, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Don't think… Just watch…" he murmured gently.

And as the kaleidoscope of colors lit the sky, he watched them skitter over her face, painting her skin with every shade of the rainbow. Her face relaxed, her mouth turning up in a true smile, no holding back. She was stunning. She'd always been pretty, but right then, free of suspicion or purposeful expression she was simply incredible.

He didn't know when she took his hand, but he felt it as she squeezed tightly and turned toward him. "Did you see that?" she asked excitedly.

Seeing as he hadn't even been looking, he couldn't form a response.

Her bright face slowly melted away as she was caught in his gaze.


He leaned forward, hand sliding up her neck, cupping lightly, fingers stroking up into her hair relaxingly.

She swallowed, licked her lips nervously, but didn't draw away.

"I'm going to kiss you," he told her, wanting to calm her but at the same time seeking to make his intentions very clear. "And then I'm going to keep you."

Her eyes widened as if she were about to rant at him for his possessiveness, but before she could his mouth slid across hers. A muffled moan escaped her, whether from the words about to put him in the place or simple desire, he couldn't be sure. What he did know though was that she tasted like the sweetest and most passionate of fruits. Her lips were soft, warm, and utterly perfect. He started slow, teasing her with small strokes of his tongue and light nibbles of his teeth. But when she was leaning into him, her hands tight in his hair, he gave up on holding back and simply let himself devour her. She was entirely on board, he found, as she met him kiss for kiss, her hands everywhere all at once. It was only as they nearly fell right out of the tree they were currently sitting in that they were forced to slow down.

Panting, they stared at each other, tender lips swollen and red. With a light, feminine laugh, she reached up and cupped his face, her thumb stroking back and forth along his lower lip. "And how long have you been planning this?"

He smiled. "Since you stumbled into my shop, mad as ever, and revealed your own love for mischief."

"That," she murmured, tilting her face to nuzzle his nose with hers, "is just between you and me."

Smirking, he nodded. "Deal." And he sealed it with a kiss.

They didn't tell anyone of their new relationship until both of them could be certain it was… right. Hermione had been adamant that they not rush things and while he knew he had feelings for her he wasn't yet sure how deep they went. So they let things progress slowly, naturally, until one day he realized that they were avoiding the inevitable and it was finally time. Nervously, she agreed, and it was with firm hearts that they arrived at The Burrow to share their news.

His mum came rushing into the living room as if the Minister himself had just arrived, shouting all the way from the kitchen. "George Weasley!" she exclaimed, wiping her hands on her apron. "What in Merlin's beard does it take to get you to come see your dear mother anymore? I swear—"

She stopped short at the sight of Hermione standing close to him, their hands entwined and white knuckled.

Her brow furrowed suddenly as if her thinking had just been turned upside down and kicked down a hill.

"Mum, if we could just—"

She lifted a hand, her expression drawn tight. "And what of Ronald?" she asked stiffly, her mouth tightening with a frown.

Hermione and he exchanged a sigh. "Ron and I will always be good friends," she began, already sounding tired.

"Friends?" his mother near-laughed at the expression. "Dear, I know you and he have had a few rough patches over the years, it's natural in a relationship, but what matters is persevering through those hard times and—"

"Mrs. Weasley," she interrupted, shaking her head. "Ron and I haven't been together in over a year… What you call a rough patch, I call a non-existent relationship." Licking her lips, she straightened her shoulders. "George and I have been seeing each other now for—"

"Seeing each other?" she repeated as if the terms confused her entirely.

"Dating? Seeing one another socially? Consorting with? Courting? Going steady? Wooing?" Finally, with a frown he added, "Shagging like bunnies!?"


Hermione's flush was one of both embarrassment and anger. "I understand that you thought things between me and Ron would eventually continue but…" She shook her head. "I'm very happy with George and… We hope you'll understand that—"

"That you've gone behind my son's back?" Molly lashed out, her brows knit with anger, expression darkly turning toward her son. "You've known since you were in second year… Ron's practically been in love with her since he met her!"

"Right," he muttered disagreeably. "What says love like constantly berating and misunderstanding each other?" Shaking his head, he turned his eyes away, his jaw tightening. "I know you've had your heart set on them for years, mum, but could you please see what's right in front of you?"

Face fused red, Molly Weasley fumed. "I see a son who willingly backstabbed his little brother and a- a scarlet woman attaching herself to yet another of my misled sons!" Throwing her arms in the air, she turned around and walked away.

"Well… that went well."

He felt her hand shake long before her tears ever escaped. Knowing she'd absolutely hate to have his mum see her in that state, he quickly flooed them out of The Burrow and into his flat. With a sniffle, she sat heavily on the couch, tipping her head forward so her hair fell across her face. Over the past months they'd been together, he knew exactly what that meant. She was going to sob her heart out and he'd be at a loss as to what to do. He'd tried making her laugh, ranting and raving for her, brewing a cup of tea to just her liking, but nothing had worked.

Shaking her head, she muttered scathing words under her breath, the likes of which she had wanted to but hadn't said to his mother. Chewing his lip, he wanted to soothe her, couldn't help but feel his own anger toward his mum for reacting so badly. Sometimes, that woman could be entirely too stubborn. Much like his girlfriend who was trying her damndest not to show him that she was upset.

Reaching over, her lifted her curtain of hair and let it fall behind her shoulder. Her tearstained red face turned slightly away from him and he felt the anger toward his mum multiply tenfold. Without pause, he drew Hermione into his arms and hugged her close, his hand running up and down her back soothingly. Uncertain, he simply murmured comforting words at her ear. "She doesn't know what she's on about, love… Just you see… in a few weeks she'll be over here begging us to forgive her and telling us just how hardheaded she can be… Where d'you think ickle Ronniekins gets it from?"

Sniffling, she chuckled, burying her face in his neck and holding tight to his shirt.

Closing his eyes, he sighed, breathing in the soft scent of her. Her warm tears dampened his shirt collar and wet his neck, reminding him continuously that he'd gone home for support and ended up leaving entirely without. He knew his mum, knew she'd soon regret her harsh words, but he also knew that she was as stubborn as they come and that in the end, she might just pick Ron's broken heart over George's newly mended.

Not for the first time, he wished Fred were there to back him up and raise his spirits. In the past, he'd needed no help from anyone but his twin. He'd relied solely on the comfort of knowing that wherever he was, whatever he did, Fred was there doing it too. Things obviously would've been different given the circumstances, but he knew without a doubt that his brother would've been there to stand up for him and Hermione, never backing down as their mum went on tirade after tirade. Without him, however, he was left with the knowledge that though he wasn't alone, he was going to have to take his own stand. And while his family might not yet agree with it, he knew his place was right where he was, holding her.

Unfortunately, Molly didn't come bearing apologies within the following few weeks, nor the next couple months. In fact, she absolutely refused to say anything regarding the relationship that continued to grow and bloom between them. And during this time, she had twisted the story whether purposely or not so that it seemed Ron had lost the love of his life to his selfish older brother. Once the black sheep, Percy now stood tall and regarded George with the contempt that he had once been on the receiving end of and both Ron and Ginny had equally pulled away from him. Despite the fact that Ron was now dating Parvati Patil, he still seemed to agree with his mother and had taken George's relationship with his ex as a personal blow. While Charlie still wrote him on occasion, he kept mostly to himself out on the dragon reserve and was remaining impartial. Bill agreed that their mum was treating them wrongly but he had his own life to live and a second child on the way, so he didn't get much say in what was going on. It seemed the only Weasley who spoke up was his father and, as usual, he was often drowned out by his mum's loud opinion.

"Do you miss them?" she often wondered, looking up at him curiously. She put on a brave face but she worried her lip with her teeth, giving her away entirely.

Cupping her face, pushing her thick hair back, he half-grinned. "Not as much as I'd miss you."

She pursed her lips to stop her smile. "I'm serious," she murmured.

Kissing her forehead, he shrugged. "That's why we fit. While you ponder the seriousness of this I think I'll go mix corrosive potions together." With a grin, he leapt up from the couch to saunter toward the door.

"George Weasley!" she shouted, laughter filling her voice.

He winked back at her.

In the following two years, George found his family growing farther away from him. He no longer found the familiar Weasley owl on the window sill with a command to be there for Sunday dinner nor did he receive post concerning anything else. If his mum had a hand in it, he wasn't invited. And so, when it came time for him and Hermione to move in together, it was just him, her, and Harry that charmed boxes weightless and flooed to and fro, moving things into their flat above the shop. Married to Ginny or not, Harry absolutely refused to turn his back on his best friend or his brother-in-law.

Their new living standards were celebrated at the bar between the two of them and a few friends. Lee toasted them, his arm swung drunkenly around Katie Bell's waist and his firewhiskey sloshing over the rim of his cup. "To my best mate and his lovely swot," he cheered, "May they enjoy every surface of the flat with relish and remember the silencing wards for the rest of Diagon Alley's sake!"

"Here, here!" Angelina shouted laughingly.

Glasses raised, they all nodded their heads before tossing back the searing alcohol in one fail drink. Slamming them down on the table, they shook it off and called out for another. Arm wrapped tight around his lovely new flatmate, George found that whether his family was there or not, he was happy and bollocks to anybody who thought different.

Grinning up at him, a buzz already well on its way, Hermione played with his fingers in her lap. "If we're to live up to Lee's cheer, we'll have to see just how sturdy the balcony outside our bedroom is," she murmured seductively.

Smirking, he kissed her temple. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

"Mm, I never doubt it," she said straightly before reaching out for her next shot and saluting Harry.

George gathered his own up, ready to enjoy his night to the fullest.

The day three years dawned, George arranged for the perfect meal to be prepared and delivered in a basket of his choosing. Arriving home from work, she had absolutely no idea what awaited her. He'd already run her a bath, smelling sweetly of vanilla and jasmine. White flower petals swam attractively in the water, leaving a trail of honey-colored swirls as they moved to and fro. He undressed her slowly as she stared on, mesmerized. Tossing professional robes aside and unbuttoning her white blouse, he kissed her shoulders tenderly. She leaned bonelessly into him as he shed her skirt and removed her stockings. With a giggle, she was swept up into his arms, gloriously naked, only for him to lay her down in the water and let her relish in the relaxing heat. While she let the day melt away from her, he was getting things ready.

By the time she rose from the tub, her fingers were wrinkled and her body felt anew. She dressed in the outfit he'd laid out for her, sans knickers, and stepped out of their bedroom to see what else he might've done. Like a shadow of the past, all the incredible colors that paraded before her on their first date were now glowing through the flat. As she stepped forward, she swore she could feel their brilliance inside her skin. "How…?"

He grinned at her mysteriously, stepping out in his finest robes, arms behind his back. "I'm not only charming, but adept at charms as well." He winked at her before holding out a hand.

Still astonished, she walked to him, her eyes nearly unable to look away.

Her favorite meal sat on the table, dressed with a red table cloth. With the colorful lights all around her, there was no need for candles. He held her chair out for her, bowing rather teasingly as he placed a folded cloth napkin in her lap and then sat elegantly, if not slightly mocking, in the chair across from her. He poured them each a glass of her favorite elderflower wine and then grinned at her rather proudly.

"This is too much," she murmured, smiling at him adoringly.

"Never too much," he disagreed with a shake of his head. "If I'd magicked the moon into a glittering necklace and rearranged the stars to spell out your name it still wouldn't be too much."

She laughed. "You're utterly ridiculous."

"Ah, but I'm yours!"

Eyes falling with genuine love, she took his hand in hers. "And that you'll stay."

"Will I?" He squeezed her hand warmly and with just a flicker of light, she gasped.

Drawing her hands away, she stared down at the gleaming ring that sat perfectly on her finger. "George?"

"Say yes," he told her, quirking a brow. "Say yes and I won't have to embarrass you in public with grand displays of marriage proposals that would have you flushing red and eager to knock me on my arse." He stared into her stunned brown eyes. "Say yes and I'll sweep you off your feet in the comfort of our home… One day filled with children of our own and a marriage to rival all others." Taking her hand once more, he lifted it to his mouth. "Say yes and I'll promise to make you laugh and smile every day of your life."

With quivering lips and tears in her eyes, she nodded. "Yes!"

He grinned widely, nodding as if he couldn't quite believe her.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" she repeated, leaping up from her chair and hurrying around the table to jump into his arms. Kissing him, deep and desperate, she murmured breathlessly against his lips, "You could've asked me while standing in the most crowded square in all of England, holding a bouquet of weeds, shouting it from the rooftops like a madman and I still would've said yes. D'you know why, George Weasley?" She stared searchingly into his eyes. "Because I love you!"

Tears in his eyes, though he tried valiantly not to show them, he hugged her tight; his fiancé, his Hermione, his soon-to-be-wife.

When George Weasley married the love of his life, only his father and brother-in-law sat in the chairs placed for family. His friends were there, were happy for him, but his family couldn't support him as they were meant to. He stood before a minister, held her hands in his tight, almost as if he was scared she too would leave him behind. Her thumbs stroked his palms back and forth, calming and soothing him. She wore her voluminous hair down, just as he'd told her in the past he liked. With curls that refused to be tamed flying in all directions, framing her sweet face, she stood before him in long pearl dress robes, ethereal.

He hardly heard a word the man said, going on about sacred vows and the history of marriages, something he was sure Hermione was delighted to hear all about, paying keen attention to every knowledgeable word he said. George, however, was happy just to watch the interest flit across her face, her teeth nibble thoughtfully at her lip and her brow quirk and knit intelligently. It was only as she turned toward him, waiting, that he knew it was time for him to share his vows.

He took a deep breath, not entirely uncomfortable with the attention being paid to him but rather out of sorts with sharing his feelings aloud, where in the past so many had only seen his humorous side.

He squeezed her hands, partly for reassurance, and then spoke from the heart. "I can't promise I won't blow the lab up one day or that we may never get sued for some of the mischief I cook up for the masses. I can't assure you that I'll keep my dashing good looks or that I won't embarrass you from time to time." He grinned lightly. "But I can promise that I'll always keep you on your toes, that you'll never forget to laugh or relax, and that I'll love you as much tomorrow and all the tomorrows that we have, just the same as I do today." He lifted her hands to his chest as if she alone held his heart in her palms. "You are the light to my dark, the law to my mischief, the frown to my smile. Were Fred here he would be proud of me, of us, and he would steal you for the first dance, make jokes that you only loved me because I looked like him, and unabashedly hope to steal you away. But in the end, I've found you and I vow to keep you, for as long as we both shall live."

Sniffling, she nodded at him appreciatively and with a warm grin, he kissed her knuckles before lowering their hands between them once more.

Shaking her head, she pursed her lips at him. "I was prepared to laugh, not cry!" she exclaimed. "But then, that's just you, isn't it?" Her mouth quirked to a smile. "You're always surprising me, in only the best of ways. When I think one thing, you do another. When I'm certain I have you figured, you change and grow and do something so masterfully brilliant that I'm in complete awe." Grinning freely now, she stared up at him sweetly. "When once I hated the undefined, the uncertainty, I find I love it with you. With you I know I'm always safe, always loved, and that come what may you will continue to be there, to brighten my day, my life… my heart." She bit her lower lip, inhaling shakily. "You are the laughter in my life and without you I fear I would never know what incredible a life it was. So I promise, with all of myself, that I will love, chastise and create with you until death do us part."

He wanted to hug her; screw the rules, he wanted to kiss her. He didn't need to wait long, as the minister was pronouncing them husband and wife and before he'd even had the words "You may now—" out of his mouth, George had gathered her into his arms and slanted his mouth across hers for a breathtaking, marriage-sealing, life-altering, earth-shattering, heart-skipping kiss of massive proportions.

Only the whistles, claps and catcalls broke them apart as he stared dazed and beyond happy at his beloved wife.

Soon, they were being drawn into hugs and congratulations before George was shouting, "And now to celebrate with massive amounts of alcohol and horrible dancing!" With laughter, they followed him to the festivities where he forgot all about fighting with family and feuds over misunderstood so-called betrayals. He danced with Hermione until their feet were sore and they could hardly breathe through their laughter. And after waving goodbye to all of his friends and the family that stuck by them, he apparated home with his wife, content to enjoy a lifetime with her alone.

One and a half years later, alone meant them plus one.

His first son was born late in the night, waking them up with a sudden painful spasm that had Hermione jolting up out of bed and shaking him so hard his teeth rattled. Nineteen hours in the delivery room, the both of them exhausted, Frederick Allen Weasley was born into the world with a mop of dark hair and a wail loud enough to wake the long-dead family member he was named after. Arthur, Harry and Lee waited impatiently in St. Mungo's to see his and her precious son, all looking tired and uncomfortable. When they set eyes on the wiggling mass of arms and legs they collectively sighed.

"Tiny, in't he?" George asked, his voice unnaturally soft.

Harry swallowed tightly, looking back and forth from the tiny baby to his half-dozing best mate lying in her hospital bed. "He's perfect."

She nodded, smiling gently.

"Dark hair," Arthur murmured, nodding. "Maybe he'll avoid the freckles too."

"Oi! My wife loves my freckles!" George said proudly.

Lee rolled his eyes. "She's just being nice," he teased.

"You have freckles?" Hermione asked, feigning bewilderment.

Light laughter filled the room and little Fred squealed with delight at the sound. Seemed he was already on the way to enjoying a happy, joy-filled life.

Watching as his father cradled his grandson, George crossed the room to sit next to his wife, stroking her hair from her face as she looked on affectionately. "I hope you know you're having the next one," she told him, turning her eyes to him humorously.

He grinned. "If anybody could accomplish it, it'd be me," he boasted.

Shaking her head, she took his hand in hers. "You're the limit, George Weasley."

"All for you, little swot."

In the following five years, he'd go on to have two more delightful children. Gillian Harriet Weasley was born early one afternoon, arriving much quicker than her brother had and was as quiet as a mouse, simply staring on inquisitively as she passed from healer to medi-witch to father and mother. George swore from the moment he saw her she'd have her mum's eyes and his nose. She was beautiful.

His last son was unexpected and came into the world like a man on a mission. The contractions started at dinner and he was born about time for dessert, kicking up a storm and only content when he was being held by his parents. Callum Arthur Weasley was impatient, prone to random fits of laughter and utterly fascinated with flying.

George was more than content with his life, often talking aloud to the memory of his twin about how what he'd never expected was beyond anything he'd ever imagined. With all of the store's success, the many brilliant tricks and pranks he'd created, he'd been what he considered fulfilled for some time. But with Hermione and his children he found a new level of success, a new range of contentment. With her by his side, he was sure he could accomplish anything, and with his children there to help, no doubt they really could.

Like their parents, Fred, Gillian and Callum were brilliant, adventurous, mischievous and insatiable in their quest for knowledge. They were protective of their family, their friends and their siblings, always ready with a vengeful prank on hand for any who crossed their path. They loved the shop like a second home, knowing each and every gadget by heart and enjoying the pitch and sale their father gave to customer after customer who walked through the door. They grew used to their dad coming in with bizarre side effects due to some mistake or another and they didn't bat an eye the first time the shop blew skyward. Instead, they drew up blueprints, each one of them, on how they thought the next store should look.

"Gillian, love, your father's not a big fan of pink or purple… especially in a polka dot pattern," George told her gently.

"Oh but daddy, they match the floors, don't you see?" she pouted hopefully.

"Yes, dear." He grimaced. "And my head hurts just looking at it."

She grinned. "That's the idea, see. It's a prank all its own. They'll be so dizzy they'd buy anything thrust in front of them as long as it meant getting their wits back!"

Laughing, George shook his head. "You, my dear, are never to be messed with."

Grinning, she lifted her chin swottily. "Best tell Callum that, he's been trying for ages." With that, she walked off back to her crayons and continued with her drawing.

Callum worked on his for weeks.

"Cal, son…" He quirked a brow. "Is that a prank shop or a quidditch store?"

Chewing his lip thoughtfully, he replied, "It's a prank quidditch store…"

Thinning his eyes, George said, "Explain."

"Well… It'll have trick brooms, vanishing snitches, bludgers that turn into pygmy puffs and won't let go… goal posts that move and brooms that have a mind of their own." He smirked up at his father. "Can you imagine?"

With a chuckle, he patted his youngest son's shoulder. "Your mother would have herself a fit."

Callum shrugged lightly. "I figure if she won't let me play Quidditch, why shouldn't I have a little fun with the players?"

"She'll let you… You just have to prove your case."

With a frown, he tipped his head. "How?"

"What does mum like more than a test?" Fred piped up knowingly.

"Reading?" Callum replied, stumped.

Rolling his eyes, Fred shook his head. "Prepare a flying test, show her just how good you are, she can't fight you on it if you prove her wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt."

Excited, Callum nodded. "It'll have to be intricate, a little dangerous, but not so much that I scare her worse…" Head ducked in concentration, he shuffled off to plan.

"You got a picture for me too?" George asked his eldest.

With a smirk reminiscent of his uncle, Fred shook his head. "I have a vision, and I guarantee you'll like it."

Leaning forward, George nodded. "Go on…"

All three of their children went to Hogwarts, made prefect, and graduated with at least nine OWL's a piece. Callum was captain of Gryffindor's quidditch team after playing from his second year on. Fred was headboy in his seventh year, doing Ravenclaw and his parents proud. Gillian was just as efficient as her mum had been in school, having her homework done before it was even assigned and working as a teacher's aid to the Potions professor during her seventh year. He hadn't been surprised in the least when she went into Slytherin house and was nothing but proud of her all through her Hogwarts years.

George watched his children grow, stood side-by-side with his wife as they were shaped into the cunning and brilliant people he knew they'd be. And each day, he thanked whatever brought his wife to him and gave him this life he so treasured. While his own family might not have been as present as he would've liked, he never let that get in the way of his life and the lives of those he held close. He was supportive when Callum became a chaser for Puddlemere United, marrying his fellow teammate, Jaydeen, when he was just twenty years old. He stood tall and proud when Fred went to Muggle college and received a bachelor degree in business courses, taking both his wizarding and muggle knowledge to become one of the most highly acclaimed business owners in all of Britain. And he was damn happy when Gillian worked hard in Auror training, making headlines and earning her way up, ever closer to her goal of Head Auror.

And all the while, his love for Hermione never waned. She continued to argue with him over pranks she found unfitting just as often as she helped him twist and tweak a new product for the shelves. She worked her way through the Ministry with no help from anyone else, making a name for herself as a strong supporter of creature rights. As the years passed, she became more and more passionate. When the children were out of school and starting their lives, he often whisked her away to exotic cities, simply handing her a tourist book and following along happily as she went sightseeing, telling him all the history of each place.

Standing in the middle of the Roman coliseum, she danced in circles, wiggling her toes into the dirt delightedly. "D'you know… I've seen things and been places that some could only dream of…" she said, opening her eyes to look up at him. "I'm standing in a piece of history, breathing the air that gladiators once did." She shook her head, astonished. "Some mornings, I wake up and I wonder… Was it all a dream?" She wrinkled her nose. "Everything, from age eleven until now, it's been… magical." She laughed lightheartedly. "And you are the most incredible part."

He shook his head, making to disagree. He had a list of accomplishments a mile long that were all her own.

"After all these years, you still haven't learned not to disagree with me?" She tutted, raising a brow.

With a greedy grin and suggestively thinned eyes, he strode toward her. "Maybe I like the consequences of arguing with you…" Stroking her face, he buried a hand deep into her hair. "You have to admit, little swot… you're terribly sexy when you're mad…" He pulled her against him, his fingers sliding down her back with practiced ease. He knew every erogenous spot on her body, could have her panting and begging within seconds. "Flushed, hair alight with anger, body vibrating…"

She muffled a moan, her arms sliding around his waist.

Tugging on her hair, he drew her head back until they were face to face once more, her body arced against him tightly. "Close your eyes."

Lids fell without restraint and just as quickly, he apparated them to their hotel room and walked her backwards until she was sprawled across their bed, her breathing already quick with anticipation. He pulled his shirt off slowly, smirking down at her. "All these years and you haven't learned that I know each and every button to push, love?"

With a growl, she reached out, caught his belt and yanked him on top of her before rolling him onto his back and straddling his waist. She had her sundress up and off in a flash before pinning his shoulders down with her hands. "Remember, tit for tat."

Sitting up abruptly, he caught her with his arms before tearing the strap of her bra apart with his teeth. "I've never played fair."

She grinned. "S'all right, I like you dirty."

Growing up, he couldn't help but wonder how a man stayed with one woman alone his entire life. He'd seen the love between his parents and had to wonder how it remained so strong, what kept their love going all those years. But when he and Hermione first kissed, first made love, first laughed together, truly, he couldn't imagine sharing those moments with another. Some days, he couldn't fathom what his life might've been like. He woke with his arm wrapped tight around her, just as it had been every morning for more years than he could count. He'd breathe in her scent mixed with the dewy air and relax, lying in a peaceful half-sleep. She would begin wiggling a few moments after, a sign he knew meant she'd wake up soon. She'd roll over, snuggle her face against his chest and sigh. As dawn rose outside their window, her eyes fluttered, gaze finding his naturally, and with that came the knowledge that today was another day spent in the life of George and Hermione Weasley. He couldn't ask for better.

On their fiftieth anniversary, he felt as spry as he had when he first met her and he didn't mind telling his friends and family that either. They celebrated with a party in the field their tree overlooked. Floating candles all around, drinks and food covered a number of tables and a large group of people came together to congratulate their accomplishment. Just as they had fifty years prior, they danced and laughed until the both of them were bone tired. It was only as her eyes began to drift shut that he whisked her back home, sharing a bath with her in their large tub.

With her head against his shoulder, long hair hanging down his back, she stared up at him exhaustedly. "Did you think we'd make it this far?" she wondered on a yawn.

"This and farther," he replied stroking her flesh with a damp cloth. Her arm lifted, dripping wet, and curled around the back of his neck, fingers playing with the ends of his hair. "I'm so happy," she told him, her brow knit. "There was a time when I couldn't imagine happiness this great."

Kissing her neck he let the cloth fall from his grasp and simply cradled her close. "Did you see Fred? Flirting with the Barr girl?"

Hermione grinned slowly. "Did you see how she looked at him?"

"Like he hung the stars," George agreed.

"Mm." Rolling over so she was flush with him, chest to chest, she kissed the tip of his nose. "Like I've looked at you for a half a century now."

He smirked. "Good reason to. I actually did manage to keep my dashing good looks." With a laugh, he turned his head side-to-side to show her his handsome profile.

Laughing, she buried her face in his neck. "I love you."

With a light sigh, he nodded. "I love you too, little swot."

When Hermione Weasley, at the bright age of 129, fell asleep in the arms of her husband and never woke, George had to prepare her funeral by himself. Partly, because he was possessive wanting to keep her to himself and prove he could be just as strong as she'd want him to. And also because his father had passed a decade before and so wouldn't be there to knock sense into him. His children had families of their own and George didn't want to burden them anymore than what he must. And so it was a warm July morning when family and friends gathered to bury his beloved wife.

He looked on through old brown eyes, his grey-orange brows furrowed in a heavy frown. "She expects me to laugh," he told them all quietly. "In fact, she made me promise that I wouldn't shed a tear, wouldn't let anybody else either…" He licked chapped lips, fiddled with his robes as he felt uncomfortable in the dark, dreary clothes. His shoulders were stooped not from age but a once bright life now sorrowful. "There've been few days in my life where a laugh wasn't second-nature. My brother, my father, and now…" He stared sadly at the mahogany casket before him. "My wife."

Distantly, he recognized the signature red heads, now faded so much with age, that were dusting the crowd. His daughter Gillian with her fiery hair covering her face as she rested her head on her husband's shoulder; his son Callum whose once signature orange locks were now a faded blonde. He saw Charlie, tanned skin like leather, beaten and weathered with the Romanian sun. Bill hadn't been able to make it, but he sent his heartfelt condolences and was arriving the following week to see to it that George coped. Ron, Parvati, Ginny and Harry stood together, their collective children on either side of them, red and dark hair mix-matched throughout. It was the uncertain mass of his mother on the outskirts of the funeral, her hands twisting and fiddling with a handkerchief, that constantly drew his eyes, however.

"We were twenty-six years old when we got together…" His lips turned up faintly. "She was a bossy know-it-all who'd been pranked by a co-worker and she wanted both him and the world to realize that she wasn't the witch to mess with…" He shook his head. "I took one look at her beautiful, vengeful face and decided I had to know her better."

He pinched the length of his nose, his face bowed for a moment, as if he was collecting his thoughts. With a thick clearing of his throat, he faced them once more. "She liked to remind me that our story wasn't quite the Once upon a time… that most would hope for… We had our problems; my family wasn't the most supportive, we lost…" His jaw clenched a moment before finally admitting aloud, "We lost our first babe due to stress, and…" He swallowed tightly, trying to force a smile. "I blew myself up so many times, it's a shock she outlived me…"

He knocked an anxious fist against the platform he stood before, uncomfortable with the emotion welling inside him. "But y'know… I loved her beyond everything else… Beyond pranks and nasties and the… the warmth I always felt when something truly hilarious had happened at the expense of someone else…" He grinned vaguely. "She had this way of… of telling it like it was and being so completely certain about everything… She'd always tell me… She'd say," He cleared his throat before imitating her voice exactly, "George Weasley, you utter buffoon, if I have to dig you out of the rubble one more time, I swear I'll divorce you and marry some stuffy suit just for the lack of stress!" He laughed, a choked, raspy noise. "She never did though…" He shook his head. "And Gods, I would've done anything to stop her if she'd ever meant it." He stuffed his hands in his pockets, rocked back and forth on his heels and stared out at the mass of people watching on with pitying expressions.

"I know what you're all thinking… Poor George, whatever will he do without his bright wife to carry him on…?" He smiled. "No worries, mates… I've got this one handled." He shrugged. "See I always knew that eventually she wouldn't be there… So I learned all her tricks early." He thinned his eyes with humorous mischief. "I learned each and every cleaning charm, where she hid my socks and I found the box of recipes she'd filched off her mom…" His smile faded slowly as they chuckled for him. "So don't you worry about me… She might've been my everything but… she was also too bright for her own good… Made me promise, vow, that I wouldn't go on 'til it was my time too… That I'd stick around long as I could to keep you lot heavy in hilarity…" He nodded. "So appreciate the gift she gave you… If it were up to me, I'd say piss on ya'll and I'd fly my broom all the way up to heaven just to see her squirm and shout about flying safety." With that, he nodded his head and stepped away from the podium, taking his place next to his eldest son, Fred, who placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.

George didn't listen to the rest of the guests or whatever the minister might've had to say. Instead, he waited for the talking to stop and stood stiffly as his wife was magically lowered into the ground. People slowly began to walk away, apparating back to his place, no doubt, where they were meant to have a party in her celebration. He could hardly fathom spending much more time around people. He'd been pushed into retirement within the last few years and while his grandson Elbert, eldest son of Gillian, had taken over his business, George was no slouch in the experiment department. He spent most of his time in the basement, cooking up something or other before hurrying up to show Hermione whatever he'd come up with then. The last decade had mostly been he and Hermione; traveling, relaxing, whatever have them.

It was as he was contemplating whether he could get away with simply apparating straight for his basement and avoiding his guests that his mum finally made her way over. She'd aged so much. He hadn't seen her since they'd stood in this same place, burying his father. He didn't speak, simply stared listlessly at the coffin. She struggled to say something, wringing her hands uncomfortably.

"If you're here to ask for forgiveness, stop."

She paused, her expression stricken, face turning red as her eyes watered.

"I forgave you a long time back." He shrugged. "She asked me to."

His mother stepped closer, not sure what to say, how to react.

"I was angry with you for a long time. You…" He sighed. "You missed out on so much because of your damn pride…" Running a hand through his hair, he shook his head. "Over a century went by without you and now… I think I need you most." His eyes fell closed, a tear escaping off his lashes. "I want to hate you. Want to blame you somehow… But, she wouldn't want that. She…" His throat tightened too much for words any longer.

"Oh George," his mother sobbed. "I… I don't know what to… I'm so sorry… My little boy, my…" She hurried to him, gathered him in her arms and rocked him back and forth. "I can't tell you how… I never meant to… I just… I was so…" She sniffled, starting sentences only to leave them dangling unfinished.

He cried; unable to stop himself, he choked on air and shook violently as he let her hold him up. One hundred and thirty years old and he sobbed his heart out like a child. Everything he wanted to say, how much he needed her, how lost he was, how he didn't know what to do, he couldn't even get the words out.

"I know, I know…" she murmured, stroking his grey hair and rubbing his back as they fell unceremoniously upon the grass next to Hermione's open grave.

Minutes, possibly hours, they sat there with nothing but loss and pain between them. And finally, when it seemed he could express no more, he leaned back, stared sightlessly ahead and smiled rather oddly, all because he knew she'd want him to. With his mum's hand in his, they left for his house, to celebrate the life of a witch he'd loved endlessly. Cheers and drinks were raised all through the night, until the early rays of morning, in recognition of a friend, a mother, a grandmum, and wife.

The day Bill Weasley arrived to see his brother he stepped into the house with an ominous feeling creeping up his spine. The lower half was empty, the two-storey silent, and he took the stairs two at a time with knowing dawning in his mind. As he stepped through George's bedroom door, he wasn't surprised. George Weasley lay on the right side of his bed, an arm spread along the left as if reaching. His face was pale, near blue, and a peaceful smile graced his face. The Healer's would say it was natural causes, simple age, and nobody would contend them. However, Bill had decided as he stared down at his younger brother that it was not his many 130 years catching up to him but in fact a broken heart. While Hermione might've told her husband not to follow hastily but to go on until his time, she hadn't taken into consideration that his time might in fact be quite connected to her own. With the knowledge that his children were safe and content, his business continuing to flourish, his past with his mum now settled and his wife waiting for him, George Weasley had done the most logical thing. He died.

If ever there was man, a wizard, a husband capable of deciding when he would go, it was him, and so he had.

The day of George Weasley's funeral, everybody he loved, cherished, and knew would be there to say goodbye. His mother, no longer heavy with a heart of discontent, could stand before her son and know that they had made their amends. Family and friends could not shed tears as they knew that he was happy where he was. And so laughter and pride swelled the group; friends and family would dance and cheer. As the life of George Weasley was never wasted, never lost… He had lived it as he wanted to, with his Little Swot and their once upon a time come true.