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Exposed by ifonlymylove

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 9,186
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Luna, George, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 03/16/2010
Last Chapter: 05/28/2012
Last Updated: 05/28/2012

Summary:

Wonderful Banner by xfaydchik6 @ TDA

This is what I do. I write articles about famous people in the Wizarding World. I just never imagined falling in love with one of them.


Chapter 3: The First Encounter

                                                                     Exposed

                                                          "The First Encounter"



                                     “Stop making resolutions and just start something."

 

Oh, Rowena.

I feel the need to reassure you that I do not frighten easily.  In fact, I’m usually the one invoking the fear.  But when I realized that it was George Weasley standing in front of me, I’m completely sure that my heart stopped.

He took a step forward, and I quickly tried to stuff all of his information back into the folders that they had come from, but it was too difficult to control what was going on behind me, when I couldn’t stop what was standing in front of me.

“Are you researching for a story, Jane?”  George asked, and while I was flattered that he still remembered my name and that it went with my face, I couldn’t decipher anything from his tone.  It seemed to be as blank as his face.

The snort that slipped out of my mouth was unexpected to the both of us.  From the look on his face, it was easy to tell that he thought I was making fun of him, when I just couldn’t believe that I had described someone’s tone of voice as blank. There was always some kind of inflection when someone spoke.  Always. What kind of writer was I?

The kind that is up a creek without a paddle.

“Sorry,” I muttered before shaking my head and turning around to clean up my work mess.  I hadn’t managed to write a single word, but with my subject standing behind me, I knew I wouldn’t get any work done.

“I guess having the real thing is better than those stupid files, eh?” George’s voice was closer now, but I couldn’t lose my nerve.  Godric’s Hollow, I didn’t even know why I was thinking like that.  It was utterly ridiculous.  I laid my shaking hands flat against the table.  I had to get a hold of myself.  There had to be a good reason for my completely out of character behavior.

I don’t shake when I start a new story, I write.  I don’t hide from my subject, I seek them out.  I don’t get emotionally involved, I distance myself.
 
I should have known that I would react like that.  I remembered my resignation about doing this story after I recalled what happened at Fred’s funeral.

“I’m sorry!” I blurted out, squeezing my eyes shut, unable to gain my emotional and physical stability back.

“You’ve said that to me already,” he reminded me as if I was a six year old child.  I bloody well knew I was repeating myself!
 
“You scared me.  I get so caught up in my writing, sometimes.  I didn’t realize that anyone else was in here with me.”  I turned around again to face him, feeling calmer.

“Luna told me what she told you,” he revealed shortly, and I let a sardonic smile slide onto my lips.

“No fooling around with you?  Just cut right to the point?”  I hadn’t meant to sound so rude.  All right, I’m lying, I had, but the way his face flinched when I said fooling, made me regret my choice of words.

“I can still fool around with the best of them,” he boasted proudly, but it easy to see that he was trying to rid himself of vulnerability.  I had spent too many years of people watching to not be able to read him.

“Well, I have no doubt of that.  Your business is booming if the last time I tried to walk by your store is any indication.”  I emphasized tried because I honestly hadn’t been able to shove my way through the crowd of excited teens and adults.  Yes, adults.  George’s store caters to all.

There was no sign of pride on his face, and I knew this encounter was going bad.  I decided to skip all the pleasantries. Merlin, when was the last time I did that?  When was the last time I spoke my mind to a story?

Focus, Jane, focus!

Right.  "I'm not actually writing a story about you, George," I smiled, and suddenly I realized that I had the perfect cover story.

"But Luna said-" I cut him off with a wave of my hand.

"I considered you, it's hard not to.  You are George Weasley after all." I didn't lie, and that made me feel better about the situation.  Every reporter would love to get their hands on him, the elusive Weasley.  "But I decided against it.  Bad reputation with the Weasleys and all.  I'm actually doing a piece on the Minister; it's set to run a week after his birthday."

George looked away, thinking about something, before he whipped his head back and his glare pinned me.  "You're lying! Luna said she ran into after you stormed out of the minister's office, angry and definitely with no story."

Poor thing, he actually thought he had me.

"Like I would honestly throw away a piece about the minister," I scoffed.  "Patrick, my boss, figured that it would be a nice surprise if we pretend we're not doing it for him, but reveal it at his party."

"Didn't know you went for such easy pieces," he meekly fought and I had to attack.  It was my nature. If I found a weakness I leapt on it.  George was putty in my hands, and he didn’t even know it.

"Oh, I usually don't, but I've been feeling, I guess you could say empty, lately, and I don't really know how else to give back."

Let’s ease the condescension back a few notches.

"What are you doing in the 'W' section? Last time I checked the ministers last name started with a K," he suddenly whipped at me, but I could tell he was feeling uncomfortable with what I had just revealed, and that was a very good thing.  I really should have been an actress.

Only because it’s an actress’s job to lie.  What’s your job Jane?

I couldn't help the brilliant smile that flashed across my face. If George had known me better he would have known that my plan was falling into place perfectly and he was about to become the easiest project I had ever faced.

"The ministers mothers maiden name was Webster," I crowed feeling far too pleased with myself.

"So, you're not writing a story about me," he prodded one last time, and I shook my head.

"Trust me, George, I'm not."

Not yet, anyway.

"Why should I trust you?  You're a reporter for the daily prophet. As if you even know what trust actually means." I hated that he made such a good argument, I mean, it wasn’t really that good, but I was in a good mood, so I gave extra points for being adorable when he was mad.

"Lots of reporters live happy lives with their families.  That requires trust.  To me, the truth is just more important than trust."

"So you don't want a family because truth isn't quite as important as trust in that respect?" George ran his fingers through his hair, clearly frustrated with our conversation.

I don't know what came over me in the next moment.  I had my story standing right in front of me, looking like he was about to burst and the next words out of my mouth were: "Are we done with this conversation?  I've got lots of research to do still."

The shocked look on George's face made me regret my hard tone, but I kept my face straight.  "So you really don’t want to talk to me?" He sounded almost defeated.

Bile rose in my throat as my plan took a sick, almost brilliant turn. I shoved it back down; now was not the time to be reminded of my heart.  Instead of sending him away hating me, maybe I could send him away curious.

"I would love to talk with you George, just not like this. Not when I'm in my reporter mode; I get kind of crazy when I'm writing."

George's mouth twitched, and it almost seemed like he was going to smile, but he didn't.  "I know what that's like.  So, you just want to, what?  Have a butterbeer or something?  Reminisce?"

I smiled another brilliant smile and nodded.  "Exactly, I haven't chatted with anyone about Hogwarts in a while." I didn't mention that it was only because people don't really trust me anymore, but I didn't need to remind George of that while I was reeling him in.

"This is awkward," he deadpanned, and I couldn't help but laugh.  He looked shocked at my laughter too, as if he thought I was such a soulless person that I didn't know how to laugh.

"Am I not worthy enough to grab a butterbeer with the elusive George Weasley?"  If I didn't know any better, I would say that I'm actually having fun bantering with George.

This time George did smile, and despite the whole never become attracted to your stories rule I had so faithfully followed for years, I couldn't help the way my heart speeded up a tiny bit when he flashed it my way.  I had no idea why I was reacting so strangely to George; I had never really had a problem with finding one of my stories attractive. They were all usually taken, imprisoned, too old for me, too young for me, or women.  George was different, and that was going to pose a problem.

"So, I just came in here, right pissed at you, and now I'm leaving with date?  I haven't this ironic of an experience since school." I couldn't help but laugh at the goofy happy expression on his face.

"Really?  I seem to be in one all the time." We both laughed at that even though we both knew that it wasn't really funny.  I was pretty sure we both just needed to laugh.

There was an awkward pause as both of us stood there, waiting for the other to make the first move to leave.  I couldn't leave though, as I still needed to research basically everything.

"I still have to research the Websters," I reminded him, motioning to the messy folders behind me.
 
"Yeah, I have to get back to the shop, anyway.  Angelina is probably waiting for me." I nodded, remembering her from Hogwarts.  I mentally scribbled her name down, thinking that it wouldn't hurt to look her up either.  Hadn't her and George dated? Or was it Fred?

No, it definitely wasn’t George, but there could be something between them now.  Sharing grief and all that.  I mentally cringed.  It sounded like I was working the bloody gossip column.

If they were together, though, that would definitely throw a wrench in my scheme.  Hadn’t George said he was leaving with a date though?  That was a good sign.  A very good sign actually.

“When should we meet up?” I asked as casually as I could with all of my thoughts whirling around in my head.  I began to feel a little testy.  My stories usually didn’t sneak up on me.  That was my job.  George had surprised me by showing up at the Ministry, and, in all honesty, I was just making this up as I went along.

And it just may be my best plan ever and my craziest.

Looking back, I realize how crazy I appeared.  Still, George wanted to see me again, and I wanted to see him too, but no matter how much I wanted it to be just a reunion with an old school acquaintance, I knew that I had to do my job.  I think this was the first time I had ever not wanted to do my job.  This should have been a sign.  I should have turned away from him, right there in the Hall of Records and ran for the hills.  I should have, but I didn’t.  Of course I didn’t.

“Come by the store sometime.  Tuesdays are usually pretty slow, so I should be able to, uh, hang out then.”

Grinning probably a little too wide, I nodded my head.  “Sounds perfect.”

George left, and I fell into my conjured chair with a heavy groan.  What had I just done?  I mean, I knew what I had done, but had I really done it?  Had I really just set up a date with George Weasley just so I could do a story on him?  There’s a line in journalism when dealing with people and their stories; it’s pretty big.

I had just crossed it.  Rowena forgive me.

There was no turning back now.

 

 







A/N:  Finally!  I'm terribly sorry for the long wait.  I know that this chapter isn't quite as long as I would have liked, but I'm having some major difficulties sorting out what's happening between Jane and George.  This chapter is a little rushed, but I needed to get it out.  For my sanity!  Please leave review with any comments!  I love knowing what you think!!

xoxo.


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