Chapter Twenty Nine

The bright sunshine streaming through her window slowly pulled Hermione back to the land of the conscious. She was disinclined to fully wake up from her dream though, as it had starred a rather dashing redhead and her office chair. Hermione felt the mattress jostle next to her as said redhead rolled over onto his back in his sleep. The sleepy witch slowly opened her eyes and rolled over as well. Hermione smiled tenderly as she watched George slumber peacefully next to her. The real deal was so much better than the dream anyway. Much like her dream George wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing, a fact which saw her needing to quickly smother a school girl like giggle. Hermione watched as his smooth and surprisingly well toned chest rose and fell rhythmically, smiling dreamily to herself. He was beautiful in sleep, she thought. One arm was thrown up over his head while the other draped across his gloriously bear chest. His head slumped to the side on its pillow causing a few wayward locks of bright red hair to fall down over his closed eyes. Hermione had the most desperate urge to brush them aside just so she could run her fingers through the soft crimson tresses. A subtle five o'clock shadow peppered his chin and she sat up just enough to press a lingering kiss to the stubble covered cheek.

Snuggling back down into George's side, Hermione began softly running the pads of her fingers over his chest and abdomen. She didn't want to wake him up but she couldn't stop herself from needing to touch him right then. Gently tracing over a small set of scars she knew to be from the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione smiled and pressed a tender kiss to them as well. After her little episode and confession last night George made her stay awake just long enough to 'show off', as he put it, all of his own scars. You showed me yours, only fair to show you mine he had said. He'd taken her hand and moved it over every bump and scar and she had listened earnestly as he talked about each and every one of them. Especially his ear, despite her being present during the fight he lost it in. George described how he refused to get a proper hair cut for almost three years after the war, preferring to keep it long in order to hide the fact he only had one ear. He admitted that, although he'd mostly come to terms with the injury, he was still just insecure enough about it to maintain a slightly shaggy hair style. Nothing nearly as long as he used to wear it, but still long enough to keep attention off the small mound of flesh. Hermione hadn't missed his momentary hesitation before pressing her hand to the lump where his ear had once been. Hermione smiled again, remembering the feeling. The small bump had been soft and smooth, not nearly as gnarled as George described it being. Nothing could have meant more to her then that seemingly small act.

A low sleepy moan disrupted her early morning mind ramblings and Hermione immediately stilled her hand. She blushed at having been caught basically petting him like a cat, and hoped George wouldn't be annoyed with her for accidently waking him up. The redhead craned one eye open to look down at her and chuckled.

"Don't stop of my account," he grinned sleepily as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

Hermione giggled and kissed his chest where her hand had just been, "Sorry, didn't mean to wake you."

"Nothing to be sorry about, Love. I could gladly get use to this," George yawned and stretched before returning his arms to back around Hermione's body. He kissed her gently on the forehead. "Merry Christmas by the way."

"Merry Christmas," she smiled, laying her head back on his chest. Hermione listened to his heart beat steadily beneath her ear as she began unconsciously tracing lazy circles on his torso. "When are we supposed to go round your Mum and Dad's?"

"About eleven I think."

Hermione leaned up just enough to check her table side alarm clock before plopping her head back down. "Its fifteen past nine now. You could probably catch another hour of sleep if you're still tired."

The unsuspecting witch squeaked loudly when George suddenly rolled them so that he was pinning her to the mattress. He towered over her wearing a mischievous grin and not much else.

"I can think of several other preferable ways to spend an hour with you rather than just going back to sleep," the wizard said as he captured her lips with his.

Hermione melted into the kiss and moaned softly. "Well if you insist…"

Two hours and one slightly unproductive shower later, the pair stood in Hermione sitting room giving each other the once over inspection… which was suppose to help ensure that there were no uncovered love bites or bruises but frankly just ended in them being tardy even further. They were over half an hour late and for once in her life Hermione didn't mind not being on time getting somewhere.

"Witch, you're going to be the death of me," George growled against her lips. Hermione giggled.

"Sorry. How about I cut out right after dinner and you follow behind after about an hour. By then I'll have had enough time to wash up and put your present back on."

George loved the idea frankly but something about it made him frown for a moment. Hermione pulled away looking worried. She nibbled nervously on her lip. Had she said something wrong?

"George? Is something the matter?"

George weighed his next words very carefully. He wanted to say it but didn't want to ruin the day. The wizard shook his head and shrugged. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing earned.

"I just… especially after last night… I just sort of wish you were comfortable enough to be alright with letting the family know about us," George said kissing the palm of her hand. "I wish I knew what to do or say that would help you not feel so ashamed of it."

Hermione felt her heart clench. "George, I'm not ashamed of you, or us together I just…" she lowered her head and stared at ground. "It's complicated. Harry and Ron are really over protective, and your mum is really over excitable about the idea of marrying off all her children. I'm just not sure I'm ready to deal with fending off big brother egos or talks of china patterns and grandchildren."

George shrugged, "Not saying I don't understand it, just saying not a fan of not being able to stake my claim. Blimey I'd be circling Gringotts on a dragon shouting about it if you'd let me. And speaking of dragons though, fair warning if Charlie hits on you again I don't care what sort of secret we're trying to keep here, I will throttle him. A man can only watch his own brother hit on his girl for so long before he snaps like a ferret bone in a hippogriff beak."

"I hope you're not intending to do this in your parents' living room?" she snorted a laugh.

"Of course not, what are you mad? There will be children in attendance, and there is certainly no need to ruin Mum's Christmas by getting blood all over her rug," George feigned offense. "I'll lure him outside then beat him to death with his own damn dragon boots."

Hermione let out an echoing laugh, and leaned up for one more kiss before letting George apparate out of her flat first. She stood there and took a moment to glance around her home as uneasiness settled in her stomach. Her eyes fell on the obvious evidence of George that was littered all over her flat. A box of his favorite tea was in her kitchen next to a pair of matching mugs. An obviously male bathrobe was currently hung up in her bathroom, and an entire drawer in her dresser housed several pairs of his clothing. Hermione drifted over to her bookshelf and lovingly caressed the tiny framed photograph sitting there. In it they were leaning against each other with George's face half buried in her hair like he was trying to give her a kiss, and both laughing hysterically. It was taken in a photo booth they found while wandering around muggle London so the photo didn't move, but Hermione had loved it anyway. George took off with the rest of the pictures but Hermione couldn't stand to be parted with this one.

All of a sudden Hermione felt very, very ashamed of herself. She had been fairly selfish about this whole thing. They'd been dating for well over a month and still she hadn't had the courage to tell anyone. And up till five minutes ago George had never complained. He accepted it and let her take the lead. Always gentle, always patient with her. Kind and understanding to a fault. Even in his complaint he wasn't mean or sounded irritated about it. He simply said he wished he could get her to feel comfortable letting other know about them because he wanted everyone to know she was his girl. He was proud of her as his girlfriend, a sadly foreign concept to Hermione all together. And if last night didn't prove George wasn't running off anytime soon if ever, nothing would. Hermione took a deep breath to calm the unexpected butterflies in her stomach. She suddenly had an idea for another Christmas present for George. He had already made his position on the matter clear so there wasn't much point discussing it with him before hand. And really she so rarely got to surprise him first. With a mischievous grin on her face Hermione summoned the beloved crimson scarf he'd forgotten on the coat rack in his haste, and disappeared with a pop.

George was greeted with the usual fanfare that came with walking into the Burrow. His mother gave him a bone crushing hug and scolded him for being late, various nieces and nephews ambushed him for hugs or to see if he hand any thing from the shop on him, and his brothers each took a turn razing him for making mum worry. Fred was waiting with a butterbeer in one hand for him and Roxi on his other arm. George gratefully accepted the beverage and gave his newest niece a soft kiss on the head.

"So young man, just what pray tell kept you from arriving home on time for the single most important family holiday of the year, hmmmmmm?" Fred raised a teasing eyebrow. "If you don't mind my asking of course."

"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies, Brother O'Mine," George snorted as he took a deep gulp of his drink.

"You're no fun, you know that?"

"I was taking tap dance lessons."

"If you're must resort to petty sarcasm to evade the question, at least try to keep your responses funny."

"Oh shut up, you bloody well know what kept me."

"Of course I do, I just want to hear you admit it out loud."

"Why?"

"Because it makes you fidget and I find that amusing."

"Git."

"Yup," Fred grinned, rocking back and forth to keep Roxi from fussing. "Seriously though, are you two out of the broom closet yet? I'm sick of watching you moon at each other over the dinner table every time we have these little get togethers."

"Whenever she's ready to let people in on it I'll let you know and you can light up a banner for all I care," George chuckled at his twin. "Until then you can deal with it. I had to sit through four years of you and Angie making doe eyes at each other over the Gryffindor common room. You have no moral high ground here."

"Touché. By the way your dance instructor is here." A thunderous roar erupted behind the twins, announcing the arrival of Hermione. George ignored his twin and smiled at her as she walked into the house. The brunette was almost instantly attacked with hugs and holiday well wishes by everyone which caused George to snicker. Hermione's eyes immediately found his and she winked at him over his mother's shoulder, whom she happened to be hugging right then. George smiled and returned the wink. Fred rolled his eyes and made a rather audible gagging noise, earning a sharp glare from his twin and a concerned look from their mother.

"Fred dear, are you alright?" she asked.

"Of course, Mother," he smiled awkwardly, sneaking a glare at his snickering twin.

"I'm sure he's just fine, Mrs. Weasley," Hermione said rolling her eyes and disengaging from their hug. "He's just suffering from an over abundance of information."

George's eyes went wide for a moment. Did she just…?

Molly looked confused, "Over abundance of what?"

Hermione giggled and shook her head, "Never mind. Sorry we were so late; I've always been a slow mover on Christmas morning. Oh George, you left this at home this morning," she said as she pulled his scarf into view. George's heart started pounding. She'd better not be teasing him with this; he may actually combust with disappointment if she was. His fears were put to rest when the gorgeous witch slide over to his side and wrapped the scarf around his neck while planting an obviously NOT platonic kiss to his cheek. His mother's eyebrows were knitted together in slight puzzlement. George did not miss the fact that the entire room had suddenly gone completely silent and was watching them with obvious confusion and disbelief. George looked back down at the witch in front of him and raised an eyebrow as if to ask, are you sure you're ready for them to know?

Hermione must of read his expression right because she smiled back and nodded. George's face split in a giant grin and he pressed a short but sweet kiss to her lips before pulling Hermione to his side and draping his arm over her shoulders.

"So Mum, I'd like to introduce you to my girlfriend."

Everyone's chins crashed to the ground about the same time as Ron and Harry's mugs. Someone shrieked "CALLED IT!" It may have been Ginny, considering Lavender was now handing her two galleons. George laughed and ran his hand nervously through his hair as he turned back to his mother.

"Err… Merry Christmas?"

Molly didn't say anything, she just started shrieking excitedly and threw her arms around them both.

TBC

A/N: Love it? Hate it? R&R, Dearies!

~Chupip