Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
A/N The re-wite continues
A Bit of Dandelion
George pulled Luna more tightly against him, kissing her deeper than before, prolonging it. In a moment he would have to move away from her, but for now he just wanted to savor the moment. Somehow…by some miracle…she had been returned to him.
He had been apart from her for two months, two hellish months of wondering what he could have possibly done wrong…of wondering what Dean Thomas had done right…only to find that Dean hadn't done anything at all. It had all been a lie. Every word…
George remembered the day…that horrible, awful day that the letter had come. They had planned a picnic and he had been upstairs in his flat, just preparing to leave, when the owl came.
Her words had been like red hot burning knife blades being thrust into his chest. She said she didn't love him, that she loved someone else and was going to Greece to marry him.
He could still hear the sound of the tearing parchment as his hands destroyed it, at the same time, he went for the door. It couldn't be true, Luna loved him…he knew she did…she would never leave him.
But she had. Her room at the Leaky Cauldron was vacant, he remembered standing in the empty room; his heart dying…every last trace of her presence gone. Tom had said only that she had left immediately after receiving an owl post. At the time, George had thought the owl had come from Dean…now he knew differently. The owl had come from someone else, someone who made Luna think it had come from him.
But it hadn't come from him…it had come from her. The liar, the deceiver … the one he had nearly made the biggest mistake of his life with.
Luna sighed softly when George deepened the kiss, tears ran freely down her face…yet the tears of mourning had gone, these were tears of joy. George had come back to her; really, he had never left her. Not in the place that mattered, not in his heart. All the time that they had been apart, he had loved her… just as she had loved him.
As happy as she was, a shard of pain lingered. Like her pain over her fathers loss, perhaps it would never totally go away. She would never forget that horrible morning; the day she was woken to his letter. The way her heart imploded on itself as she read it…the letter she thought had been from him. She had read it so many times it was forever scarred into her memory… he loved another, he didn't love her and never would…but they could still be friends.
Friends. Luna had nearly vomited at the idea. That was why she packed her things and left straightaway. Despite the letter, she had known he would come to check on her…George was just that kind of person. Luna didn't want his mercy friendship, she didn't want him pitying her … and even more, she didn't want to hear him say that he was sorry for not loving her.
It had been a simple thing…getting a tent, putting it up on her fathers property and moving the few things she had been able to salvage inside. She thought she would stay the summer, then do her last year at Hogwarts. By the time that was finished…surely, she would be over him by then.
Looking back, Luna realized that she should have been suspicious all along. Angelina had blown into Diagon Alley in late June and she hadn't been at all happy to find that George was dating Loony Lovegood. Of course she was sweet when George was around, dripping sugar to his face…then the moment his back was turned the sugar turned to venom,…venom she spit at Luna. She belittled, she threatened, once…she even begged. Luna had stood firm…she loved George, and she was sure George loved her. Until the letter came.
Then, three weeks ago, she had gotten the invitation with it's nasty little victory dance at the bottom, and it had changed everything. She had known then that she would never be over George Weasley…her only choice then was to go away…far, far away. She would go to Ireland, she would leave this life behind and start anew.
But first, she had to know…to see with her own eyes that her dream was truly dead. She would never be able to let him go unless she saw it with her own eyes.
It struck her now that perhaps it had been the sliver speaking to her…that tiny bit of hope that was unable to believe that she wasn't the one he truly loved. The sliver had known all along who really owned his heart.
It had been her…it had been her all along.
George broke the kiss and pulled her tightly against him, burying his face in her plentiful hair.
"I missed you." He whispered against her ear, his arms tightening even more. "I missed you so damned much."
The words were sad, agonized…but to Luna, they were beautiful. She had dreamed of hearing them so many times over the past weeks.
"I missed …." Her voice cut off and her body began to shake with the force of her sobs …her legs grew weak and she tightened her arms around his neck. "Oh George…I missed you so much!"
"I know." He kissed her hair, her ear, then over her cheek and back to her lips, but only briefly. He cupped her cheeks in his hands, their eyes locked, tear filled silver into liquid brown. "It's over now…we know the truth, and I swear nothing is going to come between us again. I promise."
"But…" Luna's head shifted, back towards the swept lawn where the assembled still awaited the wedding. "You're supposed to be getting married…she's waiting…"
A look of harsh anger came into George's eyes; his face a horrible, deep red…nearly the color of blood.
"Fuck her!" His jaws clamped together and he spoke through tightly gritted teeth. "She can wait until hell opens up and sucks me in before I will marry her."
Luna's eyes were huge…she had never seen him so angry. But then…when she stopped and thought about it, he had every right to be angry…in fact, she had every right to be angry too.
And then she was.
The shard of pain began to boil and festering into something new…something hotter, something wilder…
Luna pulled away from him, then turned towards the house and began her way towards it. Past the tree line, up the neatly swept lawn, past the crowd of curious wedding guests.
"Luna…" George called out, following a few steps behind "What are you doing?" He was torn between the desire to let her have free reign and to hold her back, but he had never seen her like this before…she was a war hero, capable to doing a considerable amount of damage…but also capable of feeling a considerable amount of guilt.
She didn't stop, not even to knock on the door. She slowed over the threshold for a moment. Taking in the pair of arguing parents, the curious eyes on her, the smirking grins of the friends she and George shared…and his brothers and sister…before going for the stairs.
"Oh shit!" George grabbed for her arm, but he was too late. "Luna...no!"
He trailed her up the stairs, past the open doors, until she came to the one of the third floor … the one that was closed. Luna twisted savagely on the door knob and pushed it open.
Angelina stood at the window, her arms crossed over her chest angrily. She ignored Luna completely, leveling her glare on George.
"Where the hell have you been? Were twenty minutes behind schedule?" She spat "And what is she doing here?"
Luna didn't say a word, she crossed the room silently, her hands clenched into fists…then a fist raised and she punched Angelina as hard as she could, sending her to her knees.
"Luna!" George rushed into the room, his arms pulling her back before she had time to hit Angelina again. "No…"
"Just one more George…please!" Luna struggled in his grasp and George had to fight a nasty urge to let her go.
"No…Luna, calm down. You'll regret this later…you know you will."
"Hell I will!" Luna screeched and struggled to be free. "Now let me go!"
"Woah." Ginny stood in the door, a huge grin on her face as she took in Angelina, sitting on her knees…her hand over her nose trying to staunch the flow of blood. It was too late, a bright red patch had already marred the pure white of the wedding dress. "Nice one Luna."
"What in the …" Mrs. Weasley burst in through the crowd at the door. "Angelina!"
Mrs. Weasley looked around at the assembled behind her, it wasn't hard to figure out who it was…Luna still struggled in George's arms to be set free. It was shocking…yet she didn't feel all that fussed about it. A part of her suspected Angelina had had it coming.
"It was me." Luna gave Angelina a nasty glare. "And I want to do it again, so please tell George to let me go."
"I'll do nothing of the sort." Molly cast an angry glare at the gigglers behind her, the snickers quieted just in time for Angelina's parent's to push their way into the room.
"Angelina!" Mrs. Johnson rushed to her daughters side, a white handkerchief hastily pushed under her daughters bloody nose.
"Who did this?" Mr. Johnson bellowed
"She did." Ron pointed at Luna, a huge grin on his face. "And she wants to do it again, only George won't let her and Mum won't make him let her go."
"Luna Lovegood." Mr. Johnson nodded, his eyes appraising Luna in an overtly unkind way. "I should have known…nutters the lot of you."
"Now just one fucking minute." George dropped his arms from around Luna and she ran forward towards Angelina again. Mrs. Johnson blocked her with her body and George caught Luna back up by her waist and handed her off to Ron and Harry to guard. "You watch how you talk about Luna or you'll be on the floor next to her."
Mr. Johnson glared "What kind of lunatic attacks an innocent person without reason."
"What makes you think she didn't have reason?"
"I've got plenty of reason." Luna wiggled to get between Harry and Ron, but they stepped closer together. "She's a liar!"
Ginny and Hermione giggled loudly.
"My daughter doesn't lie!" Mrs. Johnson put her arms protectively around Angelina.
"She gives a good imitation of it then." George glared at Angelina
"George." Molly looked around nervously "What is this all about?"
"Angelina is a liar, that's what it's about." Luna, finally starting to calm, stood on her tiptoes to speak over Ron's shoulder. "She sent me a letter and made me think it was from George."
"I did not." Angelina … her nose under control at last … struggled to get off the floor in her massive, now blood stained, dress.
"I did not…" Angelina began but was cut across by Mr. Weasley
"What kind of letter?"
"She told Luna that I didn't love her, that I was in love with her. But I'm not,…not remotely." George glared at Angelina, his eyes narrow and furious.
"If you didn't love her then why did you propose to her?" Mrs. Johnson asked angrily. "That's a horrible thing to do."
"Because I was stupid, she knew I was hurting and she took advantage of it." George looked at Luna. "If you can't be with the person you love, sometimes you'll go with just any old thing to stop from being lonely."
"Any old thing is it?" Angelina glared back "You never loved her…you told me so."
"Because I was hurt. Because I believe that letter. It was a lie…an out and out lie. I never loved you, it was always Luna."
"Yes, and the little bitch left you, remember?"
"Little bitch?" Luna shoved hard against Harry and Ron
"You…dirty rotten…Wh…" Ron turned slightly and clamped his hand over her mouth. True as it might be, there was no sense in escalating things to the point of wands being drawn.
"Call her that again…I dare you." Ginny glared at Angelina, her fists clenched while Hermione reached for her wand, unsure who she might need to use it on, but quite sure who she wished to.
"Whatever." Angelina gave Ginny a bored look then turned back to George who was struggling to control his temper. "She still left."
"Because YOU made her believe your lies…THAT is the only reason she left." George took an angry step forward, Arthur put a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
"And you're going to believe this…from Loony Lovegood?" Angelina laughed "You'll be believing in Crumbled Corn Snorlacks next."
"Ow!" Ron howled when Luna bit down on his hand.
"If you don't mind." Luna pushed her arms between Harry and Ron and forced her way through. "It's Crumple Horned Snorkack, and I have proof." She stalked over to where George stood and reached inside his robe for the scroll. She untied it, then handed it to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
"Well...this isn't George's handwriting." Molly said as she skimmed over the letter, Mr. Weasley reading over her shoulder.
"Obviously, you're mistaken." Mr. Johnson said stuffily, his arm around his daughter.
"As many lines as we set these boys?" Arthur glared at the man. "I think we'd know our own son's handwriting."
"I know this writing." Molly looked angrily at Angelina. "I sat across from you for hours addressing all those wedding invitations. It's not just my own children's handwriting I know…this is yours Angelina Johnson!"
George reached down and pulled the invitation out of Luna's hand. "It's hers here too."
He showed it to his parents, and then handed it to Mr. Johnson. The wind seemed to leave his sails a bit as he stared at the cruel words scrawled across the bottom, the handwriting unmistakably his own daughters.
"She sent George a letter too. She told him I was marrying someone else, that I had never loved him…as if anything that ridiculous could ever be true." Now that the anger had faded, the sad tone was back in Luna's voice. She had started thinking about all the wasted time,…time that they could never have back. All those walks at dusk that they could have taken, all those sunsets they could have watched together…all those times he could have held her…all those kisses.
"How could you?" Luna's lip trembled, the anger had completely left her now…the shard of pain had come back to life. "How could you do such an evil wretched thing?"
"Why not?" Angelina pulled away from her parents, there was no point in attempting to maintain her innocence now…she was guilty, it was all about pride now. "Who are you to be with him. He's George Weasley and you…you're just Loony Lovegood. You're nobody."
"Angelina!" Mrs. Johnson gasped, shocked by her own daughters cruelty.
"It's true." Angelina turned to her. " Fred and George were the most popular boys at Hogwarts. What was she but the school joke?"
George looked at her, his face filled with disgust. "This isn't Hogwarts. Who gives a shit about who was or wasn't popular out here?"
"I do." Angelina glared at him. "You're famous, your shop is huge. Your connections can help me professionally."
"Quidditch." Mr. Johnson looked near to exploding. "This … you broke these two up so you could be drafted to play professional Quidditch?"
"It wasn't just about that." Angelina shrugged.
"Of course not." George shook his head. "This is about Fred right? Isn't that what all this bullshit was really about? Fred?"
George glared at her in disgust. "I'm not Fred, I'm George…and you,…you can go fuck yourself."
He turned away from her then, taking Luna by the hand and going towards the door.
"This isn't over." Angelina fixed Luna with a glare. "You should have stayed away…you'll pay for this."
George stopped and turned back.
"Stay away from my family, stay away from me…and you damned well better stay away from Luna."
Angelina's lip curled into a sarcastic smirk "Or what?"
George shrugged and put his arms around Luna protectively. "Or…I'll let Luna hit you again."
He left then, leaving Angelina to stare at their retreating backs. His brothers and sister followed them down the stairs, Harry and Hermione on their heels, leaving the parents and the bride in her bloody dress behind.
"Well…" Mr. Johnson began. He looked nervous, like he wanted to run and hide somewhere. "Now what?"
"I suppose you go down and tell the people outside that there isn't going to be a wedding today." Arthur looked exhausted, sad and exhausted. He sure as hell wasn't going to do it, and since this was all Angelina Johnsons doing… "We know who is the cause of all of this, why should my son bear the burden?"
Mr. Johnson nodded miserably and crushed the wedding invitation in his hand. "Come on Angelina, you have an announcement to make."
"What?" Her head shot up, her eyes wide and fearful. "Me…how is that fair? George is the one who called it off, why doesn't he do it?"
"Just get your tail down there are do it." Mrs. Johnson said huffily as she began packing things into boxes.
Angelina said angrily. "What about me?"
"Well..." Molly gave her a final look is disdain. She wanted her out of her house…out of her life. "You heard George… you …well, you can go fuck yourself."
George sat alone in the deepening darkness, staring at the diamond ring in his hand. The facets sparkled dimly in the light from the moon, casting a slight glow around his fingers. This diamond had brought him nothing but misery and he longed for nothing more than to be rid of it. He rose up onto his knees, then raised his arm and tossed the diamond ring away...a deep satisfaction come to him as he heard the small splash as it hit the pond to sink down into the muddy depths to spend eternity at the bottom.
If only he could have sent the memories from the last two months with it.
The way he felt was a strange way to feel, elated yet sad, relieved and worried…all at the same time. It had been a long day and it wasn't close to being over… there was still much he had to accomplish.
As odd as it seemed, the house was alive in celebration…so much so it was almost as if the wedding had taken place, though on a much smaller scale. His parent's had never been much for waste; the food was being eaten, the cake had been cut…though they had all had a bit of a laugh when Luna had removed the bride from the top of the cake and tossed it in the trash bin. All persons present had made a mental note to never piss Luna off, for someone so happy and calm…she had an awfully nasty temper when provoked.
"So this is where you escaped to." His sister grinned as she stepped out from the house "Luna was looking for you a moment ago."
George moved to rise from the ground but Ginny pushed him back down. "No hurry now, Ron challenged her to another arm wrestling match. He's a bit put out that she's beaten him four in a row."
She sat down next to him and smiled, her face happier than he had seen it in a long time. Since the afternoon, pretty much everyone in his family has expressed happiness over how things had turned out. All had known how deep his feelings for Luna had gone and had been shocked when he had abruptly announced his engagement to Angelina…they had been less than thrilled about the idea of a rebound marriage. But Ginny was the one who had been vehemently verbal about it from the outset.
"My only regret is that I didn't actually get to see her hit that nasty cow." Ginny giggled. "Who would have thought Luna would turn out to be so tough."
"Me." George smiled a little. " She's had to be…look at all she's been through."
"And you too." Ginny pulled her knees up under her chin, trying to fight off the anger. "Angelina is lucky her mother and father were blocking her…I'd have loved a shot at the little …" She clenched her teeth and shook her head. "I'd have loved a shot at her myself."
"Take a number." George had never hit a woman in his life…but he had never been more tempted than he had been that afternoon.
"Well, I don't suppose that matters now. She's gone and she isn't coming back…not if she knows what is good for her."
"I doubt it." George laughed a little as he remembered the look on Angelina's face when Luna hit her. "I don't think even she is that stupid."
"But you're worried anyway."
"Not worried…" He sighed loudly and leaned back on his elbows. "Wary. So much has gone wrong the past year…I'm tired of having things stolen from me. Voldemort took Fred, Angelina took Luna…I don't think I can take much more."
"I suppose…" Ginny nodded then turned to face him. "But Luna's been returned to you now." She looked up when a slice of light lit the ground behind them and Luna stepped out. Ginny bent closer to George's ear and smiled. "I don't think she has any plans of going anywhere again soon." She quickly kissed his cheek, then rose and went into the house.
George sat up and smiled, offering Luna his hand. She took it, then sat close to him in the cool grass.
"I did of course." Luna grinned at him in the darkness. "You would think he would learn after five times."
"Ron's always been the dim one."
"He'll learn eventually." Luna sighed and looked up at the perfect blue-black, starlit sky. They were silent for several long moments, her hand in his on the dewy grass, while both of them thought over the long day.
Neither had expected that it would end this way. By now, Luna had expected to be in Ireland, likely in her Aunts spare bedroom with her face buried in a pillow while she wept. George was supposed to be on his honeymoon in Majorca, he would have been miserable…knowing that the moment was close at hand when he would have had to pretend even more to get him through something that he didn't want to do…not with her.
"Tell me something." George asked softly, his hand pulled hers to his lips to kiss her soft fingers. "What made you come today?"
Luna shrugged "I thought it was so that when I saw that you were really married I would be able to let you go."
"But…when you came to me, and we discovered what Angelina had done…I realized that there had been a part of me that had never given up hope…not totally." She shifted so that she could see his face more properly, then brushed her fingers over his cheek. "I never stopped loving you George, and I think…I think a part of me, even though it was deeply hidden, never stopped believing that you loved me too."
"I never stopped loving you." He sat up and shifted so they sat face to face, her hands clenched tightly in his. "Not for one minute. Even when I thought that you loved someone else…I never stopped. Nothing could make me stop loving you."
"We were so stupid." Luna bit her lip. "Why didn't we talk to one another…we would have known right away. Instead we wasted all that time, time that we can never have back…and you almost married that evil, horrible…" His arms were around her and he pulled her into his lap as she collapsed into sobs. Very gently, he lay her head on his shoulder, his hands caressing her face, her hair, her back…all while he fought his own tears.
They were both wounded, wounded from the war, wounded from the selfish actions of Angelina Johnson…wounded by their own foolishness in believing the lies so easily.
"I'm never letting you go again." He whispered, his lips against hers. "I'm not wasting another moment with you."
And while he kissed her, he pulled a ring box from his pocket, then pulled her hand away from where it rested on his cheek and put it in her hand.
"The day I got that letter…I meant to give you this." He brushed another kiss across her lips. "I hope you'll accept it now."
"George," Luna gasped…he had meant to…he was going to… "That day?"
"Yes." His eyes closed and he rested his forehead against hers, forcing off the anger. Angelina had known about the ring, it was likely the catalyst for what she had done. In the weeks after, she had tried to force him to get rid of it, instead he had given it to his mother to hold on to. Maybe, like Luna, he too had held a sliver of hope, some belief …though it be deep down …that he was the one she truly loved. "You couldn't accept it then…but, please accept it now."
He reached down and pulled the lid on the box open. Inside was a simple princess cut diamond with two small sapphire baguettes on each side, set on a thin gold band.
"Please Luna… say you'll marry me."
"George!" Luna fell against him, deep sobs making her body quake, her arms tight around his neck. For a moment it all came back, the lonely nights when she thought he didn't love her, the days that she thought would never end. That afternoon…her cheek rubbing against the rough bark of the oak tree as her legs collapsed and she fell sobbing to her knees.
But George had come to her and the lies had been exposed. In the end…all of it …the pain and anguish … all of it had lead them here…and not just that…it had made this moment even richer…so very much more precious.
"Is that a yes?" He questioned softly in her ear.
They were together again … they had this whole beautiful future just waiting for them and nothing was ever going to tear them apart again.
Luna wiped her face, praying that she would still be able to speak. She looked up into his eyes…the beautiful light brown eyes that she had missed so much…the eyes filled with so much love it made her heart weep. She didn't even have to ask herself the question…she knew her answer, without giving it a single bit of thought.
"Oh George…how could I possibly say no?"
George pulled the ring from the box then slid it on her finger with shaking hands. Then, in this single, perfect moment, he pulled her close against him, their lips joined together…
They fell to their backs, setting loose a sea of dandelion fluff to drift around them in the moonlight.
In the heavens…Fred looked down upon them and smiled.