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Resisting Ardour by 800 words of heaven

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 3,087
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a sexual nature, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: George, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 10/03/2014
Last Chapter: 10/07/2014
Last Updated: 10/07/2014

Summary:


“What?” he spluttered through a throat full of butterbeer, spit, and complete and utter mortification. He didn’t have a cool and casual bone in his body.

George/Angelina

For Reebee

Written for Reebee and randomhpffwriter's Gift-It Challenge | Banner by lumiere @tda


Chapter 1: Most Days, He Was Okay.
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George stared at his reflection in the mirror of his bathroom, ignoring the distortions caused by toothpaste stains and watermarks. If he stood just off-centre, the side of his face with the missing ear wasn’t in view, and for a few moments, he could delude himself into believing that Fred was still here…

“I fucked up, Fred,” he said, leaning his hands against the basin, and bowing his head, no longer able to meet even his own eyes. Or Fred’s. Whatever.

Most days, he was okay. He looked at his face in the mirror and realised that he was pretty lucky, all things considered. How many other people in the world could claim that they could see the face of their dead twin whenever they liked just by peeking at a reflective surface? Most days, it gave him strength; kept him going.

Today was not most days.

What in the name of Merlin’s saggy balls had he been thinking? What had possessed him to think that any of this would’ve been a good idea?

“Do you often look lovingly at yourself in the mirror, Weasley, or is today special?” a feminine voice, deep and mellow, asked from behind him.

George started guiltily and turned to face Angelina Johnson, standing in the doorway of his bathroom, in what appeared to be nothing but his Weasley sweater.

George gulped, his eyes darting to the sight of tumbled sheets on his bed and clothes strewn across the floor, just behind her left shoulder. “I, um,” he paused, clearing his throat. “I thought you were still asleep.”

She crossed her arms across her chest – do not think about her chest – the loose sweater folding to outline – what did I say about the chest and not thinking about it?

“I was,” she replied. “But then I woke up. Alone.”

Their eyes locked and George’s stomach sank. Even he could tell that she was talking about something else, something that was probably best not talked about. Ever.

“I needed to pee,” he replied, shrugging, and moved towards the door, but paused in the middle of his tiny bathroom. He’d wanted to act all cool and aloof, and brush the entire thing off, but how could he do that when she was standing in the doorway? Moving past her would require touching her – do not think about touching her.

He sighed inside, his shoulders slumping slightly. Fred had always been better with the ladies. George wouldn’t have ever admitted it out loud, but it hardly needed admitting when it was so blindingly obvious.

Why else would he sleep with his dead twin’s first – and to George’s knowledge, only – love?

Because he was a horrible human being, that’s why.

“George –” Angelina began, but George ignored her, finally working up the nerve to shove past her.

“I have to go downstairs,” he muttered, moving into his bedroom and gathering all the clothes on the floor, dumping them on the bed, and began sorting through – Merlin’s grey boxers was that just a bra? “It’s Boxing Day, and I need to open the shop.”

“Do you need help today?” Angelina asked, coming up beside him, and helping him sort through the pile. Between them, how many items of clothing had they been wearing?

“What?” he asked, a little distracted still by the bra from before. For Merlin’s sake, he was twenty-four years old! He’d seen bras before!

Never Angelina’s bra.

Well, he could add that to the list now.

“Why would I need help?” he asked, shaking his head to get rid of thoughts of bras, or a particular bra…

He felt her arm shift next to his, they were standing so close. Why was she standing so close? “It’s going to be busy today,” she said, her voice still even. Was she mad at him? Upset? Ecstatic – no not that. Why would she be ecstatic? “And you’re understaffed.”

“How do you know I’m understaffed?” George asked, surprised, and turned to look at her face.

“I was right there when you gave everyone today off, remember?” she looked at him sideways and smirked.

“Ah, yes. I remember,” he mumbled. How had he forgotten? It had been just two days ago. She’d dropped into the shop, just to say hello, she’d said. They usually talked to each other at least once every couple of weeks, but December was always such a busy time, and they’d lost touch. In the unexpected happiness his seeing her had caused, George had magnanimously given all the staff Boxing Day off.

“You asked me to come with you for Christmas lunch as you were closing for the night,” she reminded him.

He remembered that too. Oh, how young and naïve he’d been just two days ago. But he’d needed to bring someone home for Christmas lunch, otherwise his mum would’ve had his head. She’d given him a lecture about how he was going to end up cold and alone in his old age, and did he really want that? He hadn’t had the heart to tell her that he hadn’t needed to wait for old age to end up alone.

So he’d asked Angelina, because he knew she got it. They were friends. Old friends. Good friends. She wouldn’t read anything into it. In fact, she’d laughed when George had told her what his mother had said, and agreed to “saving his sorry arse” with a wicked grin.

He forgot every year how much he loved eggnog. Every. Damn. Time.

The eggnog explained his appalling behaviour, but it didn’t explain Angelina’s.

“Um, I’ll be okay by myself,” he mumbled again, finally finished with sorting all the clothes into two piles. His and hers. George and Angelina’s. Had a nice ring to it – no it did not.

Angelina sighed, but said in the same even tone. “Alright, George. But I’m here if you’re not.”

Their eyes caught again, and once again George got the distinct feeling that she meant more by it than just help with the shop today. But he didn’t want to think about that right now.

*****
 
“Hey,” Angelina said, dropping into the empty seat beside him.

George started in surprise. “Hey!” Too excited, George. Too excited. “I didn’t know you were here.”

“I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it,” Angelina said, not looking at him, but taking a sip of her champagne. Was it past midnight already? Had the next year started without him? Was he still in the past? Had he missed the fireworks? No, he couldn’t have missed the fireworks – he was in charge of them. He was king of fireworks –

“George?” Angelina asked, waving a hand in front of his face.

“What? Sorry, you were saying? You couldn’t make it because…?” George asked, snapping out his little obsessive moment about the fireworks.

She laughed, and he couldn’t help but noticing how nice it sounded. And how pretty she looked. And – no. He was not going down this road again. It had been her bloody laugh last time that had got him into his current mess. He didn’t even have the excuse of eggnog tonight. Was it even possible to get drunk off butterbeers?

“I said that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it because we have to leave for Egypt, and the coach was a little confused if it was before or after New Year’s –”

“You’re leaving?” George squeaked.

Angelina looked at him strangely. “Yes, but just for a month. The tournament is just between England, Australia, and Egypt, after all.”

“Right. Of course.” Why was he freaking out? It wasn’t as if Angelina hadn’t gone on tour before. She was on the national team for the love of Merlin. That’s what people on national Quidditch teams did. And it wasn’t as if he couldn’t bear it when she wasn’t around. They were friends. Just friends. Good friends – but just friends.

“Yeah.” She was still looking at him like he was a little deranged, but he took a sip of his butterbeer and tried to seem as cool and casual as possible. Again, this was always Fred’s department. “Anyway, turns out that I’m leaving day after tomorrow, so I could make it tonight.”

“Alicia must be happy, then. She was complaining about how she never sees you now that you’re a famous international Quidditch star,” George grinned, trying to ease the tension in his chest. The thought of not being able to see Angelina for an entire month…

She shrugged, and grinned. “I have no idea if Alicia is happy to see me or not. I think she’s too busy snogging her new fiancé in dark corners to have noticed that I’m here.”

George grinned back, feeling a little helpless at his reaction. Why was he smiling? He wasn’t happy. He was never happy.

Angelina made him happy – no, she did not. Okay, she did, but not like that.

“Hey, did I leave my scarf at your place the other day?” Angelina asked suddenly.

He’d been taking a gulp of his butterbeer, and at the mention of the other day, he choked. “What?” he spluttered through a throat full of butterbeer, spit, and complete and utter mortification. He didn’t have a cool and casual bone in his body.

“My scarf,” Angelina said, banging him on his back to help him clear his airways of butterbeer and embarrassment.

“Um, I’m not sure. I haven’t noticed it, but I’ll take a look.”

She nodded in thanks, and took another sip of her champagne. Merlin, she was so beautiful. Her black hair was pulled back into a ponytail, the rings on her fingers catching the little light there was in Lee’s living room. Let it never be said that Lee’s New Year’s Eve parties were classy.

“Oh, I also still have your sweater,” she said casually.

George choked all over again.

What in Merlin’s scrotum was wrong with him? All she’d said was that she had his sweater.

Angelina hit him on his back again as he coughed his lungs clear. “Are you alright, George?” she asked.

George nodded, coughing out the last dregs of his dignity. “I’m fine.”

She looked at him for a moment, and then looked away.

“I’m not sure about that,” she murmured, looking at all the people milling about the room, laughing and drinking and having a good time. Usually George would be out there with them but for the past week… he hadn’t really felt up to interacting with people. It happened, sometimes. The weight of living got to be too much and he’d just have to take a step back from it all for a bit.

But he’d promised Lee that he’d do the fireworks for his party, and so he’d dragged himself here, tonight. Besides, if word got to his mother that he’d been moping again, she’d kill him. Or worse, force him to talk with Percy again. Not that talking with Percy hadn’t helped – they were much closer after Fred’s death – but he was still Percy.

“What does that mean?” George asked hotly, although his sinking stomach let him know that he knew exactly what she meant. “I’m fine!”

“Then why are you resisting this?” she asked, turning to face him. Her voice was the same even tone she’d used with him the other day, but there was a fire in her eyes. Merlin, her eyes…

“George! Focus!” she snapped.

George blinked. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“Oh, you bloody well know what I mean!” Her voice was no longer even. She was angry. Worse, she was angry with him.

“Is this about the other night? Because if it is, I’m sorry. I – I don’t usually do things like that.”

“I’m not upset that we slept together, George! That was the nice part!” Her lips were pursed into a line that reminded him of that one time Lee and he’d magicked the mistletoe to get Fred and Angelina together.

“Oh. Well. What are you upset about then?”

She crossed her arms across her chest. She was wearing a sweater that fit a lot better than his, and it was stretching right across her – for the love of Merlin, get your brain out of your pants, George!

“I’m upset because the bloke I’m in love with is under the impression that he doesn’t deserve happiness!”

This time, he just choked on air, no butterbeer required.

“What?” he managed to heave out between trying to get breath back into his lungs.

Angelina was looking at him with a mix of concern and anger. She reached out a hand, but then stopped, thought better of it, and brought it back to her lap, where she clenched her fists tight. “Are you really that oblivious?” she asked quietly, ducking her head and looking up at him from beneath her lashes.

“I, um, uh –”

“Of course you are, George,” she said with a small smile.

“I was three sheets to the wind that night, Angelina,” George mumbled. He felt his one ear flush pink with embarrassment.

“I know,” she replied cheerily. “I’m sort of glad you were though, otherwise you’d never have had the courage to make a move on me, although I was surprised that Percy of all people was your wingman. I never pegged him as the type, but I guess anyone will surprise you.”

“Angelina –” He didn’t know what to say. Actually, he did, but he didn’t know how to say it.

“You didn’t enjoy it?” she asked, her voice even again, although George sensed just the slightest edge of hesitation.

“No, of course I did! You – you know I did. It was wonderful.” It had been one of George’s best days in a very long time.

“Then? What’s holding you back?” she asked. She shifted a little closer to him; their knees bumped and he could almost feel the fabric of her sweater against the arm of his shirt. A little closer, and they’d be close enough to kiss…

“I can’t Angelina. I just can’t. Not with you.”

She leaned back at that. George couldn’t work up the nerve to meet her gaze, so he kept his head down, but he heard her take a breath, then let it out slowly. “Is it because of Fred? Because we were – together?”

George didn’t even bother answering. “He loved you, you know.”

“I do know. And for what it’s worth, I loved him – I still do. But George – we broke up. You know we broke up. Right at the beginning of seventh year.”

“Didn’t mean he stopped loving you,” George mumbled.

“No, we didn’t stop, but it was a different kind of love, George. We realised that we were better as friends. Fred and I – that’s why we didn’t last. We loved each other, but as friends.”

George didn’t know what to say.

“But what I feel for you, George… well, I think we should give it a go.” Angelina put her hand on his arm. Her touch was soft and warm and…

“Angelina…” he began, not knowing how to end the sentence, but knowing he had to say something.

“You’re going to say no, aren’t you?”

“I – I don’t want to,” he mumbled.

“Don’t want to say no, or don’t want to say yes?” she asked. He looked at her face, and she was smiling, her dark eyes full of mirth. How someone so happy could put up with someone like him around – and apparently, love him, he had no idea.

“A bit of both.”

“Thought as much,” she said laughing, her hand slipping down his arm and into his own hand. “Tell you what, why don’t you think about it, and then we can talk about it once I come back, yeah?”

George didn’t think that a mere month was going to be enough time to make such a monumental decision as this, but he nodded. “Alright. That – that sounds good.”

“Good,” she squeezed his hand, and gave him another smile. “Now Weasley, are you going to ask me to dance or not? These shoes make my legs look good, but no one is going to see them if I sit here in a dark corner with you talking all night.”

Maybe it was her smile. Maybe it was the fact that she was so understanding. Maybe it was the mood lighting. Maybe it was the butterbeers. But something in the vicinity of George’s heart twisted and shifted into place. He’d been wrong; he didn’t need an entire month after all to make a decision. He smiled at Angelina, closed the little distance between them, and kissed her.

After one agonising moment, she kissed him back.

They pulled apart, grinning at each other like complete idiots. George’s cheeks hurt, his mouth was so wide, but he couldn’t work up the energy to really care. Angelina actually giggled.

“What about if we sit here in this dark corner and snog all night instead?” he asked.

Angelina laughed, “Still don’t think anyone’s going to see them.”

George mock-frowned. “Hmm. You’re right. Dancing it is. We can just snog in front of everyone instead.”

As Angelina pulled him toward the centre of the crowded living room, where there was a little space, George caught his distorted face in a passing butterbeer bottle.

He could’ve sworn that his reflection had winked at him.

And that he’d had two ears.

AN: Another story! Woohoo! This is once again written for Reebee and randomhpffwriter’s Gift-It Challenge, and is dedicated to the lovely Reebee. I read her wonderful story Plagued by Ardor at the end of last year, and I loved it so much that I wanted to write a sort of sequel to it. Reebee was kind enough to let me, and this has been a very long time coming, but here it finally is! It’s more of an homage and a token of just how thrilled I was to get the chance to write this story. I hope you like it!

Adios, amigos! :D


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