So yeah. It's been a while.

Life has been hectic. That is all :-)

Chapter Twelve

I lifted my head to the west just in time to see the late October sun start its descent in the sky. A soft wind rustled the leaves above my head, causing a light shower of brown and red foliage to flutter down to earth. Autumn was my favourite season, no other time of the year could compete with it in my opinion. There was something mystifying about seeing the leaves on the trees change colour; so quickly as if it were happening overnight, going from green to orange to brown, with every shade in between making an appearance. I stretched and lifted the closest leaf to me, inspecting it closely as if it were holding the secret to life in its thin tissue. It was a deep shade of orange, bordering on russet, its delicate structure crunching slightly under my grasp. I timed it so that when I threw it up in the air, another gust of wind caught it and carried it to the lake, landing without a sound on the shimmering surface of the watery expanse. It was safe to say, the Black Lake was my favourite place at Hogwarts.

Many people would be shocked if they knew that. Most thought my favourite place was the library. Indeed I do love the library, it's familiar smell of century old books and slowly burning candles, the peaceful silence only broken by the scratching of a quill on parchment or the flick of a page. But the lake was the most magical thing about Hogwarts. The calming lap of the water as it hit the stony shore soothed me, even when in the most angry of moods. Its salty scent tangled with the freshness of the air was as inviting as the smell of book pages.

Of course, one couldn't forget the actual magic that existed in the depths of the lake; the squid made an appearance every so often, although the lower the temperature fell the lower the squid delved to in the lake. From what Harry told us after the Triwizard Tournament, there's quite a collection in the lake, from Merpeople to Grindylows and Merlin knows what else. I ducked out of the way as a few dragonflies shot past me, anxious that none got caught in my hair. I learned that lesson the hard way in my first year after I managed to get three of the buggers tangled in my hair in one go. Once they had passed, I gathered the stack of parchment that was strewn across my lap and tidied it before leaning back and resting against the tree trunk behind me, closing my eyes as I did so.

"Professor Granger! To what do I owe this pleasure?" I heard a familiar voice ask as the person approached not long after I had closed my eyes. I did not have to re-open them to know it was one of my best friends, the very one who had gone to Romania in July for 'research purposes', according to Fred and him.

"I could ask you the same thing Mr Weasley! On Hogwarts grounds, without permission from the Headmistress I presume! No letter to even announce your homecoming! Some might call that trespassing you know!" I replied, my voice mockingly stern.

"Some might, but I think we both know both McGonagall and her deputy headmistress would forgive me this once, don't we?" George replied, his voice sounding light and cheery. But I could detect something beneath it, a sadness of sorts, guilt maybe. He was trying hard to hide it though, that much I could say for certain.

I opened my eyes and saw the red-haired man standing before me, smiling softly as I nodded my head and rolled my eyes teasingly. He loved calling me by my newly attained title. I patted the ground beside me before casting a second cushioning charm over the area. He sat and put his arm around me, a gesture I had become increasingly used to over the years. It was comforting, and elicited a soft sigh from my lips. I forgot just how at ease George Weasley made me feel until moments like this. "Hello Georgie," I murmured as I rested my head into the crook of his neck.

"Hello Mione," He whispered as he squeezed me gently, the action sending waves of comfort throughout my body. We sat in silence for a time, for just how long I don't know. The sun had more or less set by the time he spoke again. "What happened?" He asked softly, the question I had known he was going to ask sooner or later. Of course Ginny wouldn't have told him anything other than what I had asked her to say. That things were over between Oliver and I. Had been since the end of August.

I sighed deeply, trying to process the thoughts in my head. Where did I even begin? How could I tell him about how incredibly wrong I was, and so very right he was?

"He cheated on me. For just how long I do not know. With whom, I don't know either. But it doesn't matter, the evidence stands and I told him to leave. Chucked his bloody ring at his head too. Transfigured all his stuff into field mice and let it all loose in a field in Devon. Not that he would care, the bloody git can afford to replace it all anyway. Just like he replaced me, right when I thought everything was pulling together nicely! A month George! A bloody month to our wedding!" I huffed, tears threatening to fall as my anger rose the longer I spoke of my ex-fiancé. But I wouldn't cry any more, I promised myself that much.

I sat silently fuming, hearing George inhale deeply, a sign that I knew meant he was preparing to say something. My instincts told me I wasn't going to like it, that what he was about to say was something along the lines of "I told you so" . His hand gripping onto my shoulder also alerted me to the fact he was angry too, the steadily increasing pressure indicating his own anger was growing and matching mine. I held my breath in anticipation for the lecture I was expecting.

"I know who it was with Mione." He muttered, the sadness I had detected earlier evolving into bitterness. Before I could ask, he continued. "I had the misfortune to walk into my own bloody bedroom and saw the git with Katie, in my bed." He spat out the last few words, his anger even more evident in the tight set of his jaw, and the glare he was giving the small black box he had produced from his pocket some time in the last few minutes. "I was going to propose on her birthday, back in July. That's really why I left for a bit, to get away." He tailed off, throwing the box into the lake as his voice shook with pain and sadness, no longer dominated by anger.

Time passed again, and before I realised it the moon was halfway up the sky, and our cheeks were stained with the tears of heartbreak and betrayal as our hands intertwined. "Mione?" George asked, a strange tone to his otherwise raspy voice.

"Yes, my lovely?" I answered, turning my head to face him and lifting my other hand to his cheek, catching the stray tear that had escaped moments previously.

"I have a proposition, if you would care to listen?" He asked, a coy smile gracing his face. The sight of it instantly alleviated the pain in my heart, the heaviness lifted as I felt the same swooping feeling I always did when I saw him smile at me like that.

"I have to you and Fred a million times before, I'm not interested in helping you with your products if I have no guarantee that my students won't use them against me," I teased, knowing the proposition wasn't anything to do with the shop. I nodded for him to go on, feeling the corners of my lips turn up even more as I saw him roll his eyes dramatically.

"We'll get you on board some day Granger, mark my words! No, what I was going to propose was this. I'm thirty-one, I'm in my prime and at present, a newly found bachelor. You're dare I say it, just turned thirty and flirty now that that git's out of the picture. I say, in five years time, if neither of us are married, we get married. That way, we both benefit, were I can have Hermione Granger, Golden Trio member, Transfiguration professor and Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts as my wife, and you get the better looking Weasley twin as your husband!" His smile was brilliant, shining in the bright moonlight.

My heart melted at the sweet gesture, and in that moment I pictured the last twelve years. George and I had grown exceptionally close, especially after Ron and I had broken up after a few short months. He had always been a shoulder to cry on, a hand t hold, had made me laugh during the darkest days, when the pain from the war would re-emerge and present its ugly head. It the grand scheme of things, I couldn't picture a happier outcome, as ridiculous as the plan was.

But you can't plan how to fall in love with someone, it just happens as you get to know the person. When you got to know their favourite colour, what makes them tick, how loud they snore during the night, see fireworks and feel butterflies when they kiss you. George's favourite colour was red, and he hated when people used poor grammar. It really wound him up when people slurped their tea. And he snored exceptionally loudly, day and night. But what did I know about his kissing?

Did I love George?

"So Mione, is that a no?" He asked, his smile faltering a bit, obviously my pause was throwing him off.

I didn't answer. Instead, I reached up and pressed my lips softly to his, feeling him jump slightly in shock. Before I could pull away, he placed a hand behind my head, securing me in place as his lips moulded to mine.

The fireworks were amazing.

And so was our wedding, 18 months later.

Not sure about this, let me know what you think!