"You ready?" asked Mallory.
"One, two, three, shoot!" As she shouted the last word, they both drew their hands from behind their backs, revealing what they had chosen.
"No!" George cried in shock. "I don't believe it." She smirked.
"Paper over rock," she teased, covering his fist with her open palm. Glancing quickly behind him, Mallory winked at one of her closest friends. Spinning around, George was met with a familiar face, grinning broadly.
"Fred!" he exclaimed in surprise. "Did you help her cheat?"
"Aw come on now Georgie, why would I do a thing like that?" Fred responded innocently. George turned back around to the girl.
"I call a rematch."
"Absolutely not," she refused. "We decided together that we would only do one round." George scowled. Reaching out, George pulled Mallory to him, squishing her in a playful hug as she laughed merrily.
"Fine," he consented, rolling his eyes. "Violet it is. You'll regret it though. I promise you, purple and orange do not go well together."
"Hush, child," she said, teasingly putting a finger to his lips. "See ya later my love!"
Straightening his vest, George stood by the fireplace, leaning coolly up against it.
"Ahem!" chimed a soft voice. George turned to see Mallory walking down the stairs into the common room. The strapless violet dress fit her figure perfectly, without the fabric being too clingy or unflattering in any way. The strong color accented Mallory's dark brown eyes, pale skin, and short, edgy black hair that framed her face beautifully. The striking girl in front of him brought a soft smile to George's face.
"Come here beautiful," he requested flirtatiously, extending his hand to her. Taking the offered hand, Mallory allowed George to bring her hand to his lips, kissing it gently. Mallory smiled and smoothed down his vest.
"Purple vest: check!" she teased as George made a face at her. Evaluating the rest of his appearance, Mallory flicked his (also purple) tie.
"Bow tie, huh?"
"Of course!" he replied happily. "Bow ties are cool." Mallory laughed and shoved her date playfully, to which he gave her a delicate noogie, not wanting to muss her hair.
"You were wrong," she said sassily. "The purple color looks just fine with your flaming orange hair." George rolled his eyes at her remark.
"Well thank you, kind lady. I cannot believe you made us color coordinate."
"It's sophisticated!" she insisted, not for the first time. George just smirked and gave her a peck on the nose.
"Shall we be off?" he asked energetically. Mallory enthusiastically linked arms with her date and they made their way to the ballroom together, laughing and talking jovially the whole way.
After the champions and their partners shared the first dance, George spun sharply on his feet to face his lady. Bowing with a grand sweep of his arm, George asked Mallory for a dance, which she accepted.
Leading her smoothly onto the floor, George snaked his arm around her waist, pulling her close to him. Mallory grinned devilishly as he smirked at her. Dancing with George was one of the most magical feelings in the world. Looking up into his loving face as he spun her around the room made Mallory's heart beat rapidly, and she could not keep herself from smiling. His hands were gentle but possessive, in a way that Mallory loved.
At one point during the evening, George left Mallory briefly to grab them some punch. A rather bored-looking Harry and Ron approached her.
"Hey Mal," they greeted.
"How's it going boys?"
"It's... fine," Harry struggled to say, while Ron merely stared at her, the boredom and annoyance evident on his face. Mallory clicked her tongue scoldingly.
"You two just don't know how to have a good time. You should have found dates that you actually wanted to be here with."
"Yeah, thanks for the tip," grumbled Ron.
"You look really nice by the way Mallory," remarked Harry. Mallory smiled and was about to return the compliment when Harry nudged her and nodded his head towards the punch table. Turning around, Mallory spotted Angelina Johnson cozying up to George.
Well that bloody figures, she thought in cold anger. Ever since George and Mallory had made their relationship clear, Angelina had been trying to get in the middle. She didn't approve of Mallory because she was two years younger, and her modern, edgy look was "surely a portrayal of her inner turmoil".
Walking silently over to the table, Mallory stood a few feet behind Angelina without being noticed. Whether or not George had noticed Mallory he gave no indication.
"Oh come on George dear, one dance won't hurt! I am a wonderful dancer as you'll find. Your date's off doing something else anyways right? Besides, I don't know what you're doing here with someone so much younger than you, I mean really dear-"
The tone of Mallory's voice was perfectly pleasant, matching her sweet smile. Her eyes alone were what spoke of her anger. There was a slight trace of Metamorphmagi blood in her family, and so Mallory had been blessed with what she found to be the most useful gift of all. At will, Mallory was able to change the color of her eyes. Such a power proved particularly useful at times such as this.
Angelina's eyes widened in fear as Mallory lifted her stark white eyes to meet Angelina's. After years of practice, Mallory had found that her white eyes frightened others more than anything else. Some said that it made her appear as if she had no soul and as if she was possessed by some evil spirit.
As Mallory had wanted, Angelina quickly rushed away, joining her friends and whispering furiously about Mallory's "demon eyes".
George smiled and lifted the punch glasses he had acquired, handing one to Mallory.
"You know, I think I may be in love with you Miss Mallory Chance." Mallory's eyes returned to their normal brown color as her mood calmed.
"I don't... scare you too much?" she asked hesitantly, a fear she'd always secretly held.
"Please darlin'," he teased gently. "You think a little trick like that is going to scare me? Don't forget what a prankster it is that you're dating. I'm ready for anything."
Mallory smiled in relief and happily stepped into George's embrace.
After fierce insistence from their determined son, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley opened up the floo passage into their home, but only so that travel could occur from one specific place. The losses that the entire band had sustained had left the house a rather harsh, dismal atmosphere, and had it not been for Lupin's reassurance that everything would be alright, they might not have opened up the floo network at all.
As it was, a young woman suddenly appeared in the fireplace, and immediately rushed over to the living room couch. The sight of a bloodied bandage wrapped around his head twisted Mallory's stomach into knots, and she quietly sat down on the floor beside the couch.
"George," she said quietly. "George, I'm here."
Weakly opening his eyes, George smiled at the familiar face.
"Mallory. I knew you'd come."
"How could I not?" she asked. "I had to be with you."
"I'm glad you are." A pause of silence ensued.
"Damn it George, I asked you not to come on this mission!" she cried out in aggravation. George smiled understandingly and he reached out to gently stroke her cheek.
"Don't worry 'bout me darlin'," he said. "I'm just a little weak still, but I've only had a day to recover. Lupin says I should be up and about in a week, at the most."
"You're so brave about everything," she whispered in adoring wonder. "The day I met you must have been the luckiest day of my life. I can't imagine where I would be right now if I didn't know you."
"Ah now, I think it was fate," he said. "It was not merely Chance that I met you Mallory."
"Oh haha yes, my last name is Chance, aren't you clever," she said exasperated, yet amused despite herself. Mallory lovingly ran her fingers through George's soft, orange hair. "Do you ever run into a situation that you don't have a joke for?"
"Course not!" he said with a wink. "I'm ready for anything, remember?"
The couple remained quiet for a moment as Mallory continued to stroke his hair softly while she pondered various things.
"I'll stay with you," she announced decisively. "I can drop out of Hogwarts and help you and Fred run the shop once you get back on your feet."
"Absolutely not," he said, shaking his head for emphasis. "School wasn't right for me my last year, but that's where you belong. You have to finish. You'll be safer there than with me."
"You don't know that!" protested Mallory, but George refused to budge.
"I won't allow it."
"You can't dictate what I do!"
"Leave." His abrupt order shocked Mallory and she stood up in hurt and confusion.
"Are you telling me to go?"
"Yes." George turned onto his other side so that he was no longer looking at his girlfriend. "Go to school. Don't try to leave and come find me; I won't take you in."
Tears leapt to Mallory's eyes.
"Can't I even stay with you just a little longer to-"
"No," he interrupted harshly. "Leave now."
Mallory didn't move for a moment, but finally she turned and quietly walked away, entering the fireplace. George heard the familiar sound of the fire, signifying that she had gone. Turning back over, there were tears in his eyes, a phenomenon rather unusual to George.
Mallory leaving had been the last thing that George wanted, but it was for her own good. With these dark times, he didn't trust himself to be able to protect her. Mallory would be safer at Hogwarts, so that's where she would be. If it meant distancing himself from her, so be it. George had known that if he'd allowed Mallory to stay even a few more days he would have been unable to overcome his desire for her to stay indefinitely. To prevent that, he had forced himself to send her away. It was the hardest thing he'd ever had to do.
A hellish year at Hogwarts passed by slowly for Mallory, made even slower by the absence of her best friend and lover, the one person who could always make her crack a smile. During her 7th year, Mallory's fiery spirit dwindled in terms of her social outgoing nature, but she was still one of the students who bravely stood up to the Carrows all year long. As a result, Mallory was rather battered and bruised by the end of the year.
Finally, the torment was coming to an end. Harry had returned to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione, and it was time to take a stand. A small group of students hid from the Carrows in the Room of Requirements, and that's where they were when the trio returned. When Harry left to scour the school, Mallory and the other students remained in the Room of Requirements to welcome all else who came.
The painting door swung open, as it had several times in the past few hours. Mallory, like everyone else, turned to see the new arrivals. Mallory's heartbeat quickened as she recognized that familiar head of orange hair.
Behind George came the rest of the Weasley family but Mallory quickly turned away, looking at the ground, hoping to remain unnoticed by them.
In her peripheral vision, Mallory could see as George spotted her and hurried over. His footsteps slowed as he got closer and he stopped, looking at her for a few moments.
"Don't look at me like that," she demanded, turning her head away from him. George crouched down beside her where she was sitting on the ground. As gently as possible, George reached out and turned her face back towards him. The sight of her blackened eyes and scarred cheek rendered him speechless.
"What?" she asked sharply. "I thought you were the boy who was ready for anything."
"I wasn't ready for this," he whispered painfully, stroking her cheek. "I wasn't ready to be separated from you either."
"Yes well that's what you wanted, so that's what you got. And this is what I got."
"I thought you'd be safer here," he pleaded. "I didn't want you to get hurt. I could never forgive myself if something happened to you on my watch."
"Well it didn't, so I guess you're off the hook," she said, still unwilling to forgive him.
"Mallory, I love you more than anything else in this world," he said sincerely. "I will never make the mistake of leaving you again. Please, stay with me. These days might very well be our last, but whether we die tomorrow or in a hundred years, I want you to be beside me all the time. Please tell me you still love me."
Tears came to Mallory's eyes as she stared deeply into the eyes of the man she loved: the kindest, bravest, funniest man she had ever known.
"I still love you," she whispered. George smiled in grateful relief. Holding the back of her head, George brought Mallory's lips to his in a passionate kiss.
"Now let me tell you... I've been ready for that all year," he said jokingly, and the couple laughed together just like they always had.