Title: The Return Home: There and Back Again
Pairing(s): George Weasley/Angelina Johnson, Percy Weasley/Oliver Wood
Word Count: 7731
Rating: hard R
Beta: Thank you so much to prongsxwormtail and luvscharlie !
Warnings: Canon compliant with a twist. More than EWE, I would say JKR's Interview? What Interview? ;)
Summary: Angelina returns. But what if her return only made things worse? What if they all could go on with their lives without her? Forgetting she even existed... What if George didn't want to see her?
A/N: Originally written as a gift for eruditefics on 2010's hp_porninthesun . This fic was quite a journey! If it weren't for my kind brainstormers (thank you guys!), I wouldn't have written this fic I fell in love with. I'm one of those who thought JKR was nuts to pair Angelina with George. In my head, Angelina was meant for Fred and Katie for George. But after a few suggestions from Shannon I decided to give these two a try. Now I'm an Angelina fan. I fell in love witht he characters and the story. My recipient wasn't too demanded. She just asked for Hurt/Comfort, first times and DH compliant. Oh! Thanks KT for the title!
The Return Home: There and Back Again
Her heart pounded in her chest with anticipation as she stood in front of the building. The cold wind made her shiver. If there was one thing Angelina didn't miss about England, it was was the grey days and freezing winters. Wrapping her coat more tightly around her body, she took a deep breath, trying to gather the courage she once had. What happened to the stubborn and brave Gryffindor she was? Did the War destroy that too?
Heaving a sigh, Angelina entered Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. The bright and full of joy shop she had known seemed like a long-forgotten dream now. The colourful shelves were now lacking that brightness that was so characteristic of the products' packaging. The occasional music, laughter, and even burps were replaced by silence that was only interrupted by the heels of her boots echoing into the one and only shop that should never look as serious as it did. Angelina felt the urge to take another breath in order to make her tears disappear before it was too late.
"I can't do this," she whispered to herself, turning around and starting to head back to the door.
"Hello? May I help you?" A familiar voice reached her ears.
"Oliver?" Angelina thought out loud before turning again and confirming her guess with her own eyes. There, beside the counter, was her old Quidditch captain and friend. "Oliver!" she cheered as she ran into the smiling man.
"My, you're strong!" Oliver choked when she threw herself into his arms.
A happy laugh and a light smack were her only answers as she just hugged him tight. About a minute passed before she broke the silence. "Damn, it's funny how you don't realize you miss someone until you see them, huh?" Her voice cracked at the end.
"Angelina Johnson is crying?" Oliver gasped in mock surprise.
She hit him playfully again before breaking the hug. "Oliver Wood joking?" she retorted with a wide smile.
"Oh, well. What can I say? Things change," he said with a shrug.
"Definitely." Her happy smile turned into a sad one faster than she would have liked.
"Does—Does... anyone know you're back?" Oliver asked hesitatingly. She caught his tone quickly, knowing who that 'anyone' specifically referred to.
She looked him in the eyes briefly. "No. How...how is-"
"Oliver, how long does it take to look for a pair of—Oh, Merlin."
Percy's gobsmacked expression was enough to bring back all the insecurities she had before deciding to come back to England. It was not an easy choice to make. After practically disappearing without anything but a quick note two weeks after Voldemort's defeat, Angelina had a hard time deciding whether to let everyone keep on with their lives without her or confronting the situation, no matter what. Last week had been a year and a half since she had left. All that... darkness the War brought was too much for her to handle. Even if Voldemort was defeated, the sorrow and destruction the War left behind were enough to make her want to run away without looking back. Venezuela taught her how to live again. There, she learnt how to put those horrible days in the back of her mind. The people and landscapes showed her there was more to lose if she gave up. Now, she had to live, not only for herself, but for those who lost their lives in order to make this world a peaceful one.
But what if her return only made things worse? What if they all could go on with their lives without her? Forgetting she even existed... What if George didn't want to see her? She had abandoned her best friend during the most horrible time of his life. Angelina would never forgive herself for that, she was sure of it; but would George be able to forgive her?
"Hello, Percy," she said, forcing a smile.
"Angelina. Does... does he-"
"No, he doesn't know I'm here." She answered the question she knew everyone would ask her as soon as she stepped through the door. "How—how is he?" A lump in her throat made it hard to continue. She had so many questions. And the worst part was... she didn't even know if she deserved having them answered.
Percy took a deep breath as he approached Oliver's side. Angelina didn't miss how Oliver brushed the back of his hand against Percy's. "He is... I don't know. What do you want me to tell you?" A humourless laugh escaped Percy's lips in disbelief. "You left. You—You left him when he needed you the most. Do you know how hard it was to tell him the two people he loved most had gone from his life in a span of two weeks?" Percy ended up screaming as tears burned his eyes.
Oliver took Percy's arm while his other hand caressed Percy's back trying to calm him down. "Shh. Calm down, Percy. It was hard for all of us." He looked pointedly at Angelina, who felt more embarrassed than ever before.
Sighing deeply, Percy grabbed Oliver's hand. "Yes. You are right. I'm sorry, Angelina."
She gave him a half smile, still feeling embarrassed for having left when things were clearly worse than she could have imagined. "It's okay. Actually, I owe you an apology. I shouldn't have... I should have stayed."
"Yes, you should have," Percy answered harshly, his brown eyes burning into her, waiting for her answer.
The continuous swallowing and deep breaths were not as effective as before. Her eyesight got blurry with tears she refused to shed. This was not the time. She had had her moment to be weak, to do her fair share of crying.
"May I... see him?" she asked hesitantly.
A/N: Stay tuned for the next chapters! I'll update them every three days more or less :)
And don't forget to review!