i will hang on the hook of your splendour
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling.
It hits her suddenly, while she sits at the table in the Burrow, a hand on her just slightly bulging belly, that she wouldn't trade her life for anything. It's a rare night in the Weasley household; a night when the whole family, still growing, is present – even Charlie, visiting from Romania. Ostensibly they've got together tonight 'just because'. Just because it's May, because winter's over, because it's another year that You-Know-Who's gone. Angelina suspects they may also be celebrating what she and George told Molly and Arthur a week ago – that she's pregnant; that in six months the elder Weasleys will be grandparents again. Molly's eyes had filled with tears and George had said, "I know, Mum, I reckon the thought of me procreating terrifies loads of people," and then she had thrown her arms around first him, and then Angelina, and then George again. Arthur'd had a happy grin on his face and as he'd hugged her, she marveled at the fact that she could make them so happy, when she doesn't feel like she's done anything special – anyway, she should be thanking them. They gave her George. She wonders if this reaction is what greeted all of her brothers and sisters-in-law or if there is a particular rejoicing now because of their loss, if the family that George builds will be doubly precious because he's the twin that lived.
"That's wonderful. Wonderful news," Arthur had said, and Molly had bustled round the kitchen till she'd gathered a whole meal in her arms and asked, "You're staying for dinner, aren't you?" And as her eyes were still bright with tears – Angelina thought they were of the happy variety – they couldn't well say no.
After the four of them had eaten and sat around the table laughing and talking till it was long past dark and time to go home, George and Angelina had said their good-byes and gone outside to Apparate back to their little cottage in Nettlebed. For a minute, they'd stood there in silence, looking out over the quiet night with its jewel-bright stars and lit windows in the distance. Then George had turned his head and leaned over a little, pressing his face into the spot that her neck curved into her shoulder, and murmured, "I love you." Her hand had unerringly found his.
Now Angelina sits with George on one side and Hermione on her other. She's become close with Hermione, and that's just one of many things that could have been different. When dessert is passed around, Hermione leans over and whispers, with a pointed look at Angelina's stomach, "Have you told Molly and Arthur?"
"Last week," Angelina whispers back.
Hermione looks pleased. She and Ron had been amongst the first to hear the news, though Hermione had already guessed at why Angelina's appetite seemed to have changed so drastically, particularly as she's pregnant at the moment as well – hugely so. Due any day.
It's at that moment that George stands up and clinks a spoon on his glass to get everyone's attention, a feat that's even more difficult now with all the children in the room – Victoire, Dominique, and Louis; James, Albus and Lily, nestled on Ginny's lap; Rosie; and Molly. "Ladies and gents," he says, "and Harry," this gets a laugh, "you're going to find out sooner or later, so it may as well be from me – Ange and I are imminently adding to the Weasley brood, so look forward to even further chaos at these family events." There's an immediate and loud chorus of congratulations and Ginny crows, "I knew it!" which startles baby Lily. They have to get to their feet because everyone wants to hug them or shake George's hand, which Percy does enthusiastically while Audrey earnestly says, "Oh, I'm so happy for you two." She's the lone soul among them who never met Fred but Angelina thinks it's better that way, since she doesn't think Percy's ever got over that he didn't do anything to save Fred (not that he could have).
Charlie remarks, "You'll have to quit Quidditch, Johnson," and she shoots back, "Only for a few months." George looks a little faint at that. Fleur swoops in and kisses her on both cheeks and says, "At last; you will both be très magnifique as parents!" Angelina laughs and replies, "I'll try my best, at least."
"All you can do, really," Bill adds before scooping her up in a hug.
Then Harry and Ginny are there, and they both hug Angelina and George fiercely. She knows second-hand that at Harry and Ginny's wedding, George had toasted the marriage with, "Harry, you know we've always considered you a member of the family, but it never hurts to make it official." He laughs about it now, says it was trite, but it's also true, and she knows the feeling exactly, since she, like Harry – and Hermione for that matter – is an only child, and the way the Weasleys adopt you is alien and gratifying and wonderful. After Ron, George is Harry's closest brother-in-law. There were apparently nights, at first, that no one could stop George drinking – no one except Harry, who'd understood loss better than any of them. Harry has never mentioned it, not once, but George has.
Ron and Hermione watch – the four of them have already had their gleeful celebration a couple weeks ago – and Ron catches both of their eyes to give them a wink and a thumbs-up. Hermione looks as though she's got tears in her eyes, but Angelina chalks it up to a trick of the light. George's arm is around her waist, his hand on her hip, and she feels such a bright flare of happiness that for a second her legs actually feel weak. She's proud and happy and grateful to call these people her family. She's even prouder and happier and more grateful that George Weasley is her husband.
When they get home, Angelina slides into a kitchen chair while George puts away the food Molly's sent with them. Then he sits across from her and grins. "Ange," he says, "we're actually going to have a baby," like it still hasn't sunk in.
It hasn't, really. Her smile mirrors his and she says, "You've noticed, have you?" and when he laughs, she reaches across the table and puts her hands in his. "George," she says, and he looks at her enquiringly. She wants to say I'm so happy it's you; not that Fred's gone but that something so good and unexpected came from it. But George is looking at her with such a knowing flicker in his eyes that she swallows the words, because he knows, doesn't he? He knows and neither of them needs to say it because the words don't say it right, they strip something essential from the truth of the feeling and they're better unspoken.
"I think it's a boy," she says instead. "I hope he's got your hair."
George gives her a crooked smile. "I hope he's got your complexion."
She pictures that and smiles softly. "He'll be amazing no matter what."
"Well," he says, "he'll have the best mother in the world, won't he?"
Quirking an eyebrow, she replies, "I think it'll turn out that he's got the best father, you know."
"Pfft." George gives a dismissive shake of his head, but then he says innocently, "That goes without saying." She laughs and he catches her eye, and his hands tighten around hers for a second.
So Angelina wouldn't trade this for anything. If Fred Weasley miraculously walked through the door right then, alive and well, she'd have to say I'm so sorry, but I've this life with your brother and it's as near to perfect as I can imagine. George is no longer the man she ended up with because she couldn't be with Fred, if indeed he ever was. She can't imagine her life without him; not waking up in the morning and seeing that holey side of his head, or the lines that only grief and time could give a man. She can't imagine not being with him, not loving him with the fierce ache that she does. If she could do it all over again she'd choose George because she loves him in a million ways that she hadn't, and couldn't, Fred. And maybe the thing that she loves best about him is that he already knows all of this about her. He's probably known it for ages. It's only her that's taken so long to finally, at last, realise this truth about herself.
She's happier than she's ever been.