Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
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A/N So this has been bugging me for a while now...please indulge my need to redo and repost. I've also redone the second chapter so they go together... please review. :)
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A Bit Of Dandelion-The Rewrite
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A light breeze shifted the grass around the Burrow causing the sweet scent of wildflowers to waft through the air. It was a rather hot August day and the breeze was welcome to those who sat on the swept lawn, waiting for the wedding to start.
Unknown to them, a young woman had made her way through the wood and thicket and now stood alone, hidden along the tree line. She wrapped her arms around a thick oak tree and rested her face on the rough bark; tears ran slowly down her face while she waited for the wedding to begin. This was the last place she wanted to be; yet it was where she needed to be. She had no other choice. Watching, seeing visible proof that her dream was truly dead was the only way she would ever be able to let him go…the only way she could ever move on.
Once it was over, she would leave this place. She would walk back through the thicket and the brush, over the dusty road back to the ruins of only home she had ever known. And then…then she would pack her bags and leave this place forever. To stay here would mean watching him going on with his life, a life that she wasn't a part of…the life that he didn't want her to be a part of.
She lowered her face and a tear ran from her cheek and fell down upon the fluff of a dandelion.
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My mind keeps screaming at me to turn away, to run as fast as I can…to not watch. But I have to stay…I have no choice. As much as it hurts, I have to stay. I have to do it for myself.
I am a glutton for punishment I suppose. I could verify the marriage easily enough by reading the late edition of the Daily Prophet tonight…it's sure to be in the society section. But the only way I will ever be able to move on is if I know it is for real...and somehow, just reading about it doesn't seem like it will be real enough.
I won't linger long,… just long enough to be sure that there is no hope left. To know that he isn't going to have a final moment of clarity and realize that she is all wrong for him. That she is horrible and cruel and that she is going to destroy him.
But he doesn't know what she is really like. He doesn't know that she came to me and warned me to stay away from him…that she said she would win, no matter what it took. He will never know that she mocked me and called me horrible names or that she sent me a wedding invitation with the words "I win" written across the bottom.
I wondered at first if it would have changed anything if I had told him, but I know in my heart it wouldn't. So why embarrass myself by sinking to her level?
She is the one he wants... he told me so himself. He said he didn't love me…that he had always loved her…it doesn't get any clearer than that and it only makes sense…he has known her since they were kids. He said that she was the only one who really understood how he felt about losing Fred and I can't dispute it, even though I know how it felt to lose my mum and dad…I had never really known Fred Weasley so how can I understand? She had known Fred… she lost him too... and they share memories, so many, many recollections of happy times and it gives them a bond like iron. She's been a part of his life since they were children. She was there on his very first ride on the Hogwarts Express; they were sorted together and played on the same Quidditch team. How many lazy afternoons did they share, how many snowy Saturdays in the Three Broomsticks drinking hot Butterbeer?
How could I, someone who he had only spent a month with, possibly compete with that? I can't...and that's why it made perfect sense for him to choose her, even if it is going to hurt him in the end.
I pray I am wrong. That this nasty side of her was only brought out by me; it wouldn't be the first time I inspired meanness in the people around me. I want ….I need to be wrong about her...because the idea of him being hurt breaks my heart even more. More than anything else…I want him to be happy.
That's why I never responded to his letter; the one where he told me he didn't love me. I know it's arrogant of me, but I like to think that his letter was difficult for him to write…even if it was just a tiny bit. So it's better that way, to let him think that it was no big deal, that it didn't tear me up inside. Besides, I'd rather remember the last day we were together, the way he kissed me goodbye and brushed his hands through my hair before he smiled and turned away. If only I had known then what I know now…. I would have hung on to him a moment longer, held my lips to his just a second more. I would have spoken those three little words… and even though they would have meant nothing to him…they would have meant everything to me.
The music is starting…it won't be long now. Why is it the flutes sound as if they are playing a funeral dirge? Perhaps it is me. Perhaps it is my soul…forever mourning its loss. I feel so weak. So very, very weak. Sweet Merlin… please let me be brave. Stop me from running from behind this tree and begging him to love me. Give me the strength to watch what I need to see and please…please let it be enough to give my heart the will to let him go.
I can't do this…I can't stand to watch, I'm not brave enough. Maybe, maybe if I turn my head away.
Maybe if I don't watch, just listening will be enough.
Please let it be over quickly.
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The woman turned her face away, her strength was gone and her legs gave out. She slid to her knees, her arms holding the tree.
She wept, careful to be silent so her sobs didn't carry on the breeze.
Her falling had shaken the dandelion and the bit of fluff was caught up and brushed across the tears on her face. It blew higher, …higher, twisting about in the afternoon sky until it reached the assembled group on the grass and brushed against the back of a young man.
The young man waited at the front of the assembled group, his face set in grim lines; this was supposed to be the happiest day of his life. So why was it he felt like he was waiting for the coroner to take him to his own funeral? His eyes kept wandering to the dusty road, the road he so longed to be on.
His eyes moved from the road to scan the tree line. His heart caught…for a moment, he had thought he had seen a flash of blonde hair, but then it was gone…he was obviously mistaken. Even if he wasn't…there was no way it was who he wanted it to be. She was gone…she had left him.
-)0(- George's POV -)0(-
I am trapped, standing here looking around at all these people, wondering the bloody hell am I doing here. I don't want to be, I don't want this…
I don't want her.
I don't know how to get out of it, and even if I did…what's the point when…
Shit. I promised myself that I wouldn't think about her today. Stupid promise to make really; how can I not think about her? She's on my mind every waking moment, even though she's gone, even though she never returned my feelings…even though I know she is never coming back. I can't stop loving her…not for a single moment.
My memories, both painful and beautiful, live in my heart. The weeks after my brother died, she was my savior. I can still remember the feel of her warm fingers on my ice-cold hand when she sat down next to me in the great hall. She didn't say a word…she didn't have to, her eyes said everything. After a while, she laced her fingers with mine and rose from the table, smiling in encouragement. I rose without a thought and followed her; she led me to the small room where my brother's body lay. Then, she held me while I sobbed out my goodbyes…and she still hadn't spoken a word. Not one… single… word.
When my sobbing stopped, she took my hand again and we left the room. She stopped outside, put her arms around me again and lay her cheek on my shoulder.
"It's going to be okay George." Her voice was soft, so amazingly soothing; I wanted her to go on holding me forever. "Maybe not tomorrow or even next week, but one day…it will be better."
She pulled back and smiled…and then, she was gone.
She was on my mind from that moment on and I sought her out every chance I got. Things were easy with her; she made me smile and gave me reasons to laugh again. I thought that we had that something special, something that might have been meant for a lifetime. She always seemed so happy when we were together and she said that I made her smile like no one else could. I thought she loved me too, how could she kiss me the way she did and not? How could she look at me as if I was the most important person in her world and not be in love with me? I don't understand how I could have been so wrong about what I saw when I looked in her eyes. It was right there…so much love it made my heart soar.
That's why I don't understand why she could have chosen him. Why would she run off to marry Dean Thomas when I was dead sure she was in love with me?
But I was wrong…she didn't love me. She said she loved him…that she had all along. She said they had broken up over a silly misunderstanding and had worked it out. They were going to be married as soon as she joined him in Greece. I didn't want it to be true; I refused to believe it was true. I went to see her…but she had moved out of her room at the Leaky Cauldron. What was left but to believe it?
Now this. I am on the verge of marrying someone that I don't love, because I made the classic mistake of asking on the rebound. I don't want this…I don't want her. I want…
I want the woman with the brilliant smile, the one with the warm fingers and loving heart. I want the woman who makes me laugh.
I want what I can never have.
The music is starting…it sounds like a dirge. It's fitting really… my heart and soul died the moment she left me.
God…what I wouldn't give to have her back. I miss her…I miss her so damned much I hurt. Everything…from my toes to the tips of my fingers. Hell, I think even my hair and fingernails ache. All of me…heart, mind, soul, body…every last bit of George Weasley…every last bit…is screaming out for her.
I don't love the one I am supposed to marry today...I never will. I love the one I wish I could marry … and even though she married someone else, no matter how many years pass...I will always love her.
That's why I can't do this. Why I have to go into the house and tell them…her, our parents, my brothers and sister…I have to tell them all that the wedding is off.
Because even though she is gone…if I can't be with her…I would rather be alone. Alone, I can love her without feeling guilty. Alone, I can have my memories of that one perfect month.
I will cherish that month in my heart forever, because for that one month, she was wasn't his.
She was mine.
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The bit of dandelion fluff was stirred from the ground as the young man turned away and turned down the aisle. He began to move ...then stopped again. The music stuck up the familiar tune, the music the bride she had chosen for the processional. The young man froze in place...
He was too late.
His father came down the aisle, their mother smiling while she held onto his arm. She was seated in the front row and she looked up at the young man and smiled warmly. Her smile froze when she recognized the pain on her sons face. His mother knew that something had gone wrong…horrifically wrong .
Next came the brides mother and father, their smiles beatific and oblivious, and the young man felt a surge of guilt even as he longed to run away. But he couldn't run…not now…he had waited too long.
His sister stepped out of the house, she wore a painful grimace. The young man knew that she was vehemently against this marriage, her attitude hadn't changed. As she drew closer her brown eyes screamed at him to stop this…to get away while he still could. The longing built inside him again as the woman's face flashed in his mind again…the one he truly loved…the one he would always love.
The one who had left him.
The music changed, the flutes replaced by the sounds of an organ…the music even more dirge-like than before. The bride stepped out, her dress huge and voluminous, so fussy it made the woman unrecognizable. The other would have worn something much simpler…in fact, she probably had.
Each step she made closed the distance between them, each step making him feel more trapped. His mind screamed at him to run…to get away from this…to get away from her. He didn't want this! He didn't want her! He wanted someone else…someone he couldn't have….but she was gone.
The young man stood frozen, the will to run seeping out of him as the woman reached his side. On the rebound or not, this was the life he had chosen. Now there was nothing left but to suck it up and make the best of it. He didn't love her…but as long as he couldn't have the one he loved, there was no sense in bringing this kind of pain on another.
The young man turned to her and took her hands, his heart sinking. This was his lot in life…it was time he accept it.
As he turned the bit of dandelion was stirred from the ground again. It brushed up the folds of the brides white dress and came to rest on her shoulder. The bride reached up to brush it away and it caught the young mans eye. He followed it with the corner of his eye while it drifted …bringing the tree line back into view. He turned his head and followed the bit of dandelion while it drifted back to the tree where the young woman hid.
And then he saw it again… the blond hair…now visible at the side of the tree; her thin arms wrapped around the trunk.
She shifted slightly and her face came into view for just a second…long enough to assure the young man that it was her; his heart leapt in his chest and his mind reeled…what could this possibly mean? What was she doing there…hiding in the trees… when she was supposed to be in Greece with her husband? But she was there,…and there had to be a reason. He had to know why…he had to go to her, and he had to go now.
"Stop." He put his hand up to halt the minister. "I can't do this."
"What?" The bride looked up, her eyes narrowing angrily. "George, what is this?"
"I don't..." He turned to her with pleading eyes, begging her to understand. She had been his friend for so long, surely,…surely she wanted him to happy. "I can't marry you."
"You bastard." the brides voice was quiet and scary…she glared at him for a moment, then her hand reached out and slapped him hard across the cheek. "You're going to do this whether you want to or not."
The young man put his hand to his face, shocked that she had hit him, shocked at the hate that had come into her eyes. He had expected her to be hurt, he had expected her to be angry…he hadn't expected her to act like a violent, spoiled child.
"I won't. " He shook his head and backed away from her
"What is this?" The brides father stood angrily "What is this nonsense?"
But the young man's attention had already shifted….he turned to the trees and began forward, the brides father began to follow but he was blocked by the young mans family. They too were shocked by the brides behavior, they too had seen the woman behind the trees.
He saw her more clearly as he approached. She sat on her knees, her arms wrapped so tightly around the tree he couldn't help but realize… she was using the tree to keep herself from falling to the ground. As he drew closer a soft sound reached his ears, a sound so miserable and familiar it couldn't be mistaken.
The woman was weeping.
The woman's sobs had finally tapered back to quiet tears and sniffles when she became aware of a commotion behind her. The wedding must have ended…and she hadn't heard or seen a bit of it. In hindsight, it was probably better that she hadn't. Her heart never would have been able to take it.
She opened her bag and began to dig for her handkerchief, but alas, she found none. It didn't matter…there was no one to see her here, hidden away in the trees. She looked up, preparing to heft herself to her feet. There was a sudden wave of white in front of her face…someone was holding out a handkerchief.
"Thank you." She didn't look up right away; she knew her face had to be a mess. It was probably better that no one see her like this. Then…she remembered that no one was supposed to be seeing her at all.
"I was supposed to be inconspicuous…" She spoke softly, trying to add a bit of humor to her voice but failing badly. She kept her eyes to the ground…the feet in front of her belonged to a man, one of his brother's maybe. "I guess I didn't do a very good job of it."
"I saw you just in time."
His voice sent a wave of shock through her, she jumped and her shoulder bumped against the rough bark of the tree. It was a good thing that she had fallen to her knees…if she hadn't been already sitting; his voice would have leveled her.
"What are you doing here?" She swallowed and closed her eyes, trying to calm the rapid pounding of her heart.
"I live here." He knelt down so he was at her eye level, glancing as he did at her left hand and searching for a wedding ring. A surge of elation slammed into his heart when he saw that her finger was bare. "Well, sometimes."
"I meant, aren't you supposed to be getting married?"
He shrugged. "Aren't you supposed to be in Greece?"
The woman's head shot up, her eyebrows knit together in confusion. "Why would I go to Greece?"
"To marry Dean Thomas."
She shook her head, the look of confusion increased. "Why would I go to Greece to marry Dean Thomas when he is in Scotland for the summer visiting Seamus Finnegan? I think Parvati Patil might take offense to my marrying her boyfriend too."
The young man shifted forward and his knees hit the ground. None of this made sense; that she was here, her finger devoid of a wedding ring though it had been over a month since she had left…and Dean wasn't in Greece and apparently had a girlfriend who wasn't her.
"I got a letter … from you. Saying that you were getting back together with Dean and going to Greece to marry him."
"Getting back with? I would have had to have broken up with him in order for us to get back together again. That would be a bit difficult, since Dean and I have never been together." The woman might have laughed if not for the pain that permeated every inch of her body. This was all so ludicrous. Why was he here, acting as if he cared about who she might or might not be married to when he had just married someone else? This conversation was pointless; when it was over, he was going to turn around and go back to his wife. Lingering here was only making it worse, she needed to leave, to get out before the pain became unbearable once again…before she fell sobbing into his arms begging him to leave 'her' and love her instead. It was unbearable, being so close to him knowing how much she loved him, knowing how much he didn't love her.
"None of this matters." She forced herself to her feet using the tree for support. "I shouldn't have come…I'm sorry."
The woman pushed away from the tree and turned to walk away, but his hand reached out to stop her.
"What do you mean it doesn't matter?"
"I mean, it doesn't matter." She pulled her arm free and turned her back to him, then began to walk away. "This doesn't change anything."
"Are you kidding?" He was in front of her, his hands reached out for her arms to stop her from leaving, but it was his eyes that held her. They bored into hers, so intense she felt they could have burned her to a cinder.
"This changes everything!"
"It doesn't." She spoke softly, each word filled with the burning pain of two months worth of tears. "It doesn't change the fact that she can understand your pain and I can't, it doesn't change the fact that you can't see her for what she really is, it doesn't change the fact that she is heartless and cruel but you still love her anyway." A small whimper escaped her and she blinked, freeing the pool of tears. "It doesn't change the fact that even though I love you with every single piece of my heart….you don't love me."
Her face crumbled and hot wetness spilled over her cheeks. It was too late to run now. Any minute, the pain was going to consume her; she was going to fall to the ground…a weeping, sobbing mess. Then what, what would be left for him to do but to kneel down next to her and apologize for the fact that he didn't love her? What would be left but for him to pity her?
His eyes stayed locked onto hers, he was unable to speak for a moment…unable to believe the complete and utter rubbish he was hearing. After all they had been through together, all they had shared during the first weeks after Fred's death… the way he had held her, the way he had kissed her…the way he looked at her...
How could she believe for one single second that he didn't love her?
"Where would you ever get such a ridiculous idea?" he whispered
Her voice was gone, lost to her tears and the misery that had lodged itself in her chest…all that escaped was a choked whisper. "From you."
Her arms trembled beneath his fingers and he realized that her entire body was shaking. He pulled her tight against him and cradled her head against his chest. One hand rubbed soothing circles over her back while the other stroked her hair. The young man bent his head and spoke softly into her ear, his breath warm and soothing against her neck.
"It's not true." He brushed his lips over her hair "I would never tell such a horrible lie."
She clung to him; the emotion of the day had nearly drained her of her last ounce of strength. She knew she should leave; these moments spent with him were only going to make it worse when he went back to her, yet she couldn't force herself to let him go. She allowed herself several long moments of indulgence, breathing in his scent for the last time to commit it to her memory, and then she let him go.
"But you did say it." She summoned the last of her strength, and then brought her arms up between them and pushed, forcing him to let her go. "Every last word."
"Luna…what are you talking about? I never said I didn't love you." His eyes were pleading, begging her to not leave him again. They were together and yet, there was some obstacle standing in their way, some thing that he couldn't begin to understand.
"But you did!" She reached in her bag, pulled out a tattered parchment, and then thrust it into his hand. "Every word!"
The young man pulled off the tie and unrolled it. Unwittingly, she had given him the wedding invitation as well. His eyes hardened when he saw the cruel words written across the bottom, then… he went on to the letter.
When he finished he held the letter and the invitation side by side, his eyes were narrowed into angry slits…the writing wasn't exactly the same…but it was damned close.
"I didn't send you this letter." The parchment crinkled in his fists. "It came from the same person who sent me the letter telling me you were going to Greece to marry Dean Thomas."
He looked towards the Burrow and his glance told the woman everything. She followed his eyes, the wedding party had left the lawn and the wedding guests now milled around in confusion. It seemed none had been told the wedding was off…they would be told soon enough.
"She…she did this?" But the woman realized that she shouldn't have been surprised, in fact, she should have been suspicious all along.
"I don't know, but I'm going to find out." He stuffed the letter and invitation into an inside pocket, and then turned back to her. "Thank Merlin I cancelled the wedding."
"You did?" She looked up at him, for the very first time the pain parted enough to let in a sliver of hope.
"If I can't have you, I'd rather be alone." The young man pulled her closer, his fingers touched her face gently…the beloved face he had missed so much. She sighed and leaned against him, laying her hands flat against his chest and closing her eyes. After all the time apart, his touch was indescribable. Gentle as a feather brushing over her cheek, yet sending a tremor through her that made her feel as if she stood in a hurricane.
His lips replaced his fingers, twice as soft, a hundred times as sweet as he kissed away her tears. "But I am hoping that there is still a chance…"
The woman felt like she was going to explode. The sliver began to spread, parting the despair and misery until it was faint shard within the joy. Nearly a sad memory, but not quite… there were still too many unanswered questions to make the pain go away totally.
"Of course there's a chance." She whispered, "I wouldn't be here if there wasn't."
And she knew then why she had really come. Deep inside, buried far, far down, her heart had never given up that tiny sliver. During the darkest days, when her mind had been sure it was hopeless, the sliver fought on. The sliver had always had always known who the man truly loved.
His lips brushed over hers softly, so gentle, so lovely….so very, very missed. Then, in the moment before he deepened their kiss, the young man whispered the words that he had longed to say for so long.
"I love you Luna."
The young woman smiled…
"I love you too."
… and then leaned into his embrace.
Around their feet, the breeze picked up the bit of dandelion fluff; it danced around their ankles for a moment before brushing up the back of the man's legs. It crossed over his waist to the waist of he woman, then caressed its way up her back and blew around to her other side, softly skimming over her shoulder.
It brushed their cheeks for the briefest of moments…then, it was caught by the breeze to be lifted up, high, higher, then higher still until it soared into the heavens where it danced around for a moment before taking on its heavenly form once again.
He was greeted by another, the soul of the man who had been one of his favorite teachers.
"Well done Fred." Lupin smiled and patted him on the back.
"Piece of cake." Fred grinned cheekily and winked.