|elfflame (elfflame) wrote in true_revenge,|
@ 2007-09-20 19:07:00
|Entry tags:||lost love 3|
Secrets Worth Keeping
Title: Secrets Worth Keeping
Ship: George/Harry, but smatterings of other Weasley Pairings
Summary: Harry and Hermione attend Ginny's wedding
A/N: The first of the prequels I wrote for the LL universe, written after it, and I'm glad I did, because these two deserved a better explanation than they got in the actual story.
Harry sighed as he leaned back in his chair, looking out at the dancing couples twirling about on the floor. It had been a fabulous ceremony. Ginny had been lovely. He’d always known she would make a beautiful bride. But he was profoundly glad that she hadn’t waited for him to come swooping out of nowhere to whisk her off her feet. She and Neville made a much better couple, after all. Neville looked happier than Harry had ever seen him. And much more content. Even his grandmother had nothing but praise for him today.
It had been so long since Harry had seen the Weasleys; as a family, in any case. He saw Fred and George infrequently, more often through the fire than not, as they insisted on keeping him apprised of their business dealings at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Lately, it had been more George than Fred, as Fred was becoming more and more engrossed in the creation aspect of their jokes, and had passed most of the monetary concerns on to his twin. Ginny and Neville had come to visit once or twice, and Neville had tried to convince Harry to be his best man, but Harry had declined, blushing. It was hard enough, dealing with Ginny’s crush on him. It would have been far too confusing to both of them if he were to accept the offer.
But it was wonderful seeing Molly and Arthur again. Molly was positively beaming as she worked her way around the room. And Arthur looked as though nothing could top this day. Not even the day, several months before, when he had been made Minister of Magic. The older Weasley children were there as well. Bill and his wife, Fleur, and their young son, Pierre, who had been ring-bearer along with his cousin Peter, Percy’s son. Percy and Penelope had a small but growing brood, and she was obviously only days away from giving birth to their latest, twins this time, or so George had told him. Fred and George were there, too, of course. Showing off their latest pranks and gags, and making their way slowly around the room. The only two Weasleys who were conspicuously absent were Charlie, and the ever-missing Ron.
Ron…Harry had not seen him since their final week at Hogwarts. He had been there one day, and gone the next, leaving Harry bereft of a friend, and Hermione…Hermione had never been quite the same. She was still her usual bossy, pushy, over-intelligent self, but some of the fire had simply gone out of her when Ron had left. They knew that he was in Romania with Charlie, but as he had not seen fit to write to them, they felt it would be best to let him be until he decided to come back, or at the very least, write.
And so it had been he, and not Ron, who had been there for Hermione when she had given birth to her son nine months later. He had been the one who had helped her through midnight feedings and diaper changes. He had bought himself a little place near hers, and he was her fall-back person. The one she called on when she needed to go somewhere suddenly where she could not take little Stephen. His job had allowed him great leeway, so he had become her regular baby sitter, and often, after she came back from her job at the library, they would have dinner together and talk over the day’s events.
And it was this closeness that had allowed him to finally share his deepest secret with Hermione. And had nearly cost him her friendship. Everyone assumed that Hermione and Harry were a couple. Nothing could be further from the truth. Harry did love Hermione. But only as a sister. A confidante. Not as a lover. She didn’t have the proper…equipment. When she’d first discovered his attraction to men, he had hoped that she would be able to be the Hermione he had remembered from school. The one who had defended any minority group that came to her attention: house-elves, werewolves, even giants. But it took her only a moment to turn on him, to accuse him of having chased Ron from their lives. The fight had been bitter and ruthless, and when the door had slammed behind Hermione and her son, he had been sure he would never see her again.
It had been difficult after that. He had been so easily separated from his old friends by Hermione’s worries that the Weasleys would take her child. She was his friend. He wanted to help her. But now, there was no one to talk to every day. And he had no idea who to turn to. George had been a help. He had even come over a few times for dinner when he had heard that Harry and Hermione were no longer speaking, just to keep him company. But he had made a few too many off-colour jokes for Harry’s taste, and had gotten just a bit too personal. It was hard enough keeping Hermione’s secret, let alone his own. In truth, he might have given George a thought, but George was so normal, Harry didn’t want to risk losing another friend by presuming too much. So that was it. He stayed away from Hermione and her son, despite the fact that they were now the only family he had, and he stayed away from the temptation of George, to keep from losing another friend.
So when Hermione had returned one morning, a month later, almost as though nothing had happened, he had been so thrilled to see her that the apologies had never been needed. By mutual unspoken agreement, neither mentioned the fight, and very little mention was made, either, of Harry’s sexual preferences. They were closer than they had been before the fight.
Despite Hermione’s reluctance to share her son with the Weasleys, she was the one who had insisted that they attend Ginny’s wedding together. Harry had been glad of it. Regardless of the fact that he knew it would fuel the rumors that Stephen was his son, and that the two were a couple, even though they each had their own homes. But the idea of seeing the Weasleys again made the event something that neither of them were willing to miss. Stephen had stayed with Hermione’s parents tonight, and the two of them had relished the time they would be able to spend with old friends. For all of their old friends from Gryffindor, and even a few from the other houses at Hogwarts had been invited. Seamus and Dean had stood up for Neville, and Ginny had Luna and another friend from her year as bridesmaids. Peter and Pierre had been adorable in their matching tuxes with gold vests, and the flower girls had been resplendent in Gryffindor scarlet. Everyone raved over how beautiful the bride had looked, and how Neville had looked exceedingly handsome and happy as he had watched Ginny walk down the aisle on her father’s arm.
Now, as Harry watched Ginny and Neville waltz across the floor, he felt a great rush of emotion. Pleasure at seeing two of his friends so happy. Sadness that Ron had missed such a lovely event, followed quickly by anger for precisely the same reason. And, too, there was a deeper sadness; that he would not be allowed the same happiness as Ginny and Neville, even should he find someone he felt like spending the rest of his life with.
He sighed, and was about to pick up his goblet and take a drink, when two ginger-haired men plopped into the seats on either side of him.
“Hey, Harry! How’re you doin’, mate?”
“Hey, Fred. I’m good.” Though the twins looked exactly alike, Harry had spent enough time with the two in the past nine years that he could usually tell them apart now. “I see the new stock is already selling well.”
George grinned. “Remember those extendable ears back in our last year at school?” Harry nodded. “Fred figured out how to get them to work without having to extend them! We’ve decided to call them ‘Faraway Ears.’ Cool, eh?”
“Very. Any other new products?”
Fred began to tick things off on his fingers. “Well, there’s the exploding marshmallows, which double in size in your mouth. Then there’s the shrinking mints, make your tongue shrink for about five minutes. Bug bombs, little cylinders that turn into actual, moving bugs when doused with water. And invisi-chairs, trick your friends into thinking you’re going to fall.”
“Well, you have been busy.”
“Yep, and a whole lot more ideas that we’re still working on,” Fred grinned.
George echoed the grin. “Yeah, and it’s not hurting the bottom line much, either. So, when are you going to let me invite you over for dinner, Harry? There’s a bit of paperwork I’d like you to look at.”
“Um, well, let me get back to you on that, okay? Hermione’s been working late a lot lately. You could always come over and drop them off…”
Fred snorted. “You know, Harry, I’ve heard that excuse before, but I’ve never heard it used in quite that way. If you and Hermione need alone time, just say so.”
George scowled at his brother. “Ignore him, Harry. He’s a berk.”
“It’s okay, George. I’m used to it.”
“What? I thought I was being nice! I mean, if you two want to pretend you’re not together, that’s fine, but really, Harry, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that you’re together. I don’t know why you’re not living together.”
“Look, Fred, I don’t care what everyone thinks they know, but Hermione and I are not together. We’re not even interested. We’ve both got…other interests.”
“Meaning what?” Fred looked about ready to laugh, obviously sure he was right. But George looked curious, like he was seeing Harry for the first time.
“Lay off, Fred. If he says they’re not together, they’re not together. I think he’d know better than anyone if he was seeing her, don’t you?”
Fred snorted with laughter. “Wishful thinking, George, old boy? You just don’t want them to be together, so you can…”
“Fred, if you don’t shut up right now…”
Fred threw up his hands, laughing. “All right. I’ll go get drinks.” George glared at him more. “Or…something.”
Harry watched as Fred walked away. He’d obviously missed something there, but when he turned back to see George staring at him, he became especially nervous. “Can I ask…what was that about?”
George flushed. “Fred. You know him, he always thinks he’s funny.”
“Yeah, but that was…What did he mean, you’d prefer it if I wasn’t with Hermione? Are you interested in her? I don’t know if she’s really ready yet. I mean, Ron kind of left her reeling. I haven’t seen her have a date since school.”
George smiled wryly. “She’s not exactly…my type.” He looked at Harry for a moment, then out onto the dance floor. Hermione was now dancing with Neville. It was good to see her smiling. Even if it was just for a night.
“Then why…” and then a thought hit him. George…liked him? God, that sounded like he was still back at school, and he’d heard a rumor. But George was interested? “George?”
George refused to meet his eyes. “Not very subtle, am I? I thought that you were straight. So I overdid it. I…didn’t think you’d be interested, but I couldn’t help…” he swallowed, then turned to Harry. “I thought you were insulted. So I backed off.”
“I wasn’t insulted. I thought you were straight, and the joking…I just didn’t want to lose another friend.”
“Lose a friend? Ron?”
Harry smiled a pained smile. “Hardly. No, Hermione. That’s what she thought caused Ron to leave, though. Flew off the handle. Big time.”
“Ah. Makes much more sense now.”
“Look, could we…discuss this elsewhere? I’d really like to talk to you, but I don’t exactly want it shouted about, if you know what I mean. I’m still the Boy Who Lived, and anything I do is news. I’d just rather this wasn’t.”
Harry smiled. “Yeah, I think so.”
“What about Hermione?”
“Let me go see what she’s up to. Maybe she can catch a ride with someone.” Harry jumped out of his seat as though he was on fire. He pulled Hermione from Neville’s grasp, and many of the people around the room chuckled at the sight.
Hermione was flushed but grinning. “Hey, Harry, what’s up?”
Harry found himself momentarily lost for words, till he looked over Hermione’s shoulder to where George still sat at the table. “Um, Hermione…would you mind if I left a bit early? Maybe someone else could escort you home?”
“No problem. I’m having a great time, and mum and dad have Stephen until tomorrow. I may just dance all night. I should go see if Fred’s free. He’s been avoiding me all night…” She grinned and stood on her tiptoes to kiss Harry on the cheek. There were hoots around the hall as the two went off in opposite directions.
George stood and met Harry halfway. “I take it that was a ‘fine with me?’”
Harry grinned. “Hermione’s a very understanding person. In most cases, anyway.”
“Yeah, Ron’s going to have a lot to answer for when he gets back…” George said as he stared off towards where Hermione was now dragging Fred onto the dance floor.
“Yeah, your friend? My berk of a brother? The one who got her pregnant and disappeared?”
Harry just stared at George for a moment, his mouth open. “What…”
“Oh, come on, Harry. Do you really think that we didn’t know?”
Harry just shook his head. “I guess…I guess I never really thought about it. Hermione was so intent on keeping it a secret, I mean…”
“Don’t worry. None of the family will push it. As far as we’re concerned, Ron hasn’t exactly earned the right yet, and we’ll stay out of it until he has. Everything’s all up to her, really.”
Harry smiled as they walked to the doors together. “You Weasleys are good at keeping secrets, aren’t you?”
“Only when they’re secrets worth keeping.”