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Chapter Two: Underestimated

“Well, he got over me rather quickly,” said Hermione to the young red head sitting beside her in their shared room. They had been starring out the window watching Ron and Luna walk hand in hand. Then, as they watched, Ron turned on the spot and the two were gone. Hermione had never realized how close the Weasleys lived to the Lovegoods until last year’s desperate search for the Horcruxes. Nor had she known how close Ron and Luna had gotten since then.

“I can’t believe they’re hanging out again,” said the familiar redheaded girl.

“Again?” questioned Hermione dubiously. Ginny took a good look at her bookwormish friend before deciding on how to answer.

“Yeah, this is like the third time this week,” said Ginny shaking her head. “He’s got some nerve to do that to you. It makes me question whether he loved you or not.” Hermione sighed and rubbed her temples gently, wishing that she were anywhere else but there.

“No matter,” she said to the younger girl. “I’m glad he got over me quickly. I thought he was obsessed for a while there,” she said with a small laugh, hiding the pain that she felt. She could admit to herself that she was stung by Ron’s choice but he was happy and she wouldn’t be the one to rob him of that.

“I think everyone did,” said George from the doorway, the now rare smirk gracing his freckled features pleasantly. Then, he added quickly, “Sorry if I’m interrupting your heart to heart girl time or whatever it is you girls do…” They all laughed and Ginny ran forward and hugged her brother. George was finally starting to come out of his shell again and it seemed that no one could be happier than his little sister. Ginny missed Fred just as much as George did and she had been closest to the twins more so than anyone else in the family. It was a relief and comfort to know that George hadn’t lost his spunk as well as Fred.

“Are you okay Ginny? Usually you would have slapped me for spying, not hug me. Honestly, Hermione do you think we should take her to St. Mungo’s?” asked George pretending to sound concerned. He put the back of his hand to Ginny’s forehead and his eyes opened in shock. “Oh Dear Merlin! I think you’re coming down with a fever! Quick Hermione! This girl needs a Healer!”

“We thought we were going to have to take you to St. Mungo’s if you didn’t start talking soon,” said Ginny with a slight hint of evil in her voice. She had pulled out of the hug and was glaring at George with her hands on her hips.

“He’s been talking since the day Kingsley visited,” supplied Hermione. “You were gone that day buying Harry’s birthday present.”

“Oh,” said Ginny. “Well I know I’m going to regret saying this, but you better keep talking George. I don’t want it to feel as if I’ve lost two brothers!” she said fiercely, before storming up to her room and slamming the door.

“Well wasn’t that pleasant?” asked George, sarcastically, as they both laughed. “I actually thought she was going to take it worse than that,” George said. “She’s pretty good at that Bat Bogey hex, you know.”

“Yes. Thank goodness, I’ve never been on the receiving end of that hex,” said Hermione in a relieved tone.

“Is Hermione admitting she’s afraid of another person’s skills?” asked George, faking shock.

“I’m only afraid of Weasley witches,” she said, truthfully. Hermione smiled as George bit his lip nervously.

“Oh, don’t worry. I am too,” he said with a smile. “Want to take a walk?” he asked her, hopefully. Hermione saw the hope and couldn’t bear to be the one to let his hope down. Besides, she figured, she had nothing better to do but to sit around and mope.

“Um, sure,” she said, obviously surprised, but pleasantly so. They went out the back door and began walking through the fields surrounding the house. Both Hermione and George were silent for a while happily enjoying the peace.

“I’m glad you started talking again,” said Hermione, quietly.

“Yeah, I realized that I was scaring everybody. I guess they didn’t expect George, the other Weasley twin, the one with all the jokes who talks nonstop, to be even the slightest bit upset at his own brother’s death,” he grumbled angrily. Hermione didn’t speak, but she honestly had no clue what to say him. She, like everyone else had thought George Weasley to be some sort of joke box, continuously happy, and incapable of feeling anything else. She was about to say that she was sorry for underestimating him when he spoke again.

“How come it was him instead of me, Hermione?” he asked, his voice cracking a bit. Hermione stopped and looked into George’s eyes. She saw sorrow and true regret there. She wished that she could take it all away from him but she settled for intertwining her arm in his before continuing to walk.

“No one could’ve ever predicted that would occur, George. And we just have to accept the fact that things just happen. I asked that same question myself times. Why my parents instead of me? As much as I hate admitting it, Ron was kind of right when he said that my parents weren’t that important. The Death Eaters should have tried harder to get me instead of my parents.”

“Please don’t even consider what Ron said as being fact, Hermione.”

“Yeah, I know it wasn’t true. But it just hurts sometimes, and I know you know how I feel because you lost Fred just like I lost my parents. I just wish they took me instead. Why did I have to even discover magic? I’m nothing but a stupid Mudblood anyways. If I hadn’t started using magic then none of this would have happened!”

“You’re not a stupid Mudblood! And you’re right none of this would have happened! We would have lost the war against Voldemort without you. You’re worth more than you realize.”

“How?” Hermione yelled. She stopped walking and yanked her arm from his. Her face was defiant but her eyes were in tears.

“Because Harry is a good wizard, a good man, but he’s told us countless times about how your clever ideas and amazing magical skills have saved his butt on several occasions. If you hadn’t become a witch, and if Fred and your parents and everyone else hadn’t died, then things wouldn’t have happened the way they did. They would have become much worse,” George finished his explanation calmly. Still, the question rolled around his head: How come other people had to die instead of them? Because it ultimately led to the defeating of Voldemort, and if those things hadn’t happened just when they did, they would still be in a world filled with terror. It was the right answer, the logical answer, but it wasn’t what he wanted to realize and just because it was fact didn’t make it hurt any less.

“Amazing how yelling at each other solves issues in this household,” said Hermione, sitting down on the grass.

“I’ve been thinking that for nineteen years,” he said with a smile. And sat down, rather ungracefully next to her in the grass.

“I’m sorry…” Hermione whispered. She didn’t know why she said it but it was there hanging between the pair swinging like a pendulum.

“Whatever For?”

“For misunderstanding you. I was pretty much like everyone else. I thought that you did nothing but joke around and that that was all you were good at, but I know it’s not true. Still, I thought it was true and for that I’m sorry.”

“It used to be true, but I guess everyone’s having trouble accepting the fact that I’m not as immature as I used to be.” Hermione nodded silently. “What do you think about me going back to Hogwarts?” he asked, nervously.

“I think that it’s a brilliant idea! But, what about the shop?” asked Hermione.

“Well mum’s been badgering about finishing 7th year and I guess I should listen to her someday. I’ve got enough employees that are willing to run the shop for me, so I’m not worried about that. Are you going back?” he asked anxiously.

“Yeah, Kingsley has offered the three of us positions in Auror Training without our seven years of Hogwarts, but I don’t really want to be an Auror.” She was expecting him to stare at her in shock like Ron and Harry did when she told them, but he only nodded. “Wait. You’re not surprised?” she asked.

“Actually I’m not. Hermione you’re the brightest witch of your age and all, but you’re not cut out for defending the world against dark wizards. If I had your knowledge, I’d put it into being something useful, like being a healer, or maybe Mistress of Magic, or finding the cure for Wizard’s Mumps, or something,” he laughed.

“Finally someone who understands,” she sighed gratefully.

“You, my friend, like me, have been underestimated and misjudged. I mean, you started the S.P.E.W. thing and knit for house elves. You’re kind, caring, and bright. You could put that into actually helping the world, not saving it.”

“You’re the first person who didn’t call it spew. So you don’t think it’s stupid like everyone else?” she inquired with a bright and hopeful smile.

“I like house elves as much as you do m’ dear, but Hermione it’s not just house elves. You could start other organizations and change the way every witch and wizard in this country thinks. You have to power to change the world.”

“You’re the only person who has ever believed in me that much. If I went up to Ron and said, I think I could change the world he would say something about me having gone mental for not wanting to be an Auror.”

“Well I’m not like Ron. He doesn’t see things clearly sometimes and I’m not saying that I’m the amazing voice of reason or anything, but I have a feeling I’m right about you. They already have enough amazing Aurors and if you became one, it would be such a waste of amazing talent,” said George kindly.

“Thanks so much George. I can’t tell you how much your support means to me,” gushed Hermione with a bright smile on her face. She kissed him on the cheek, but it wasn’t a peck at all. It was gentle, soft, and, it lasted nearly five seconds before Hermione pulled away. George’s ears were bright red as they stared at each other for a while.

They heard a small crack and they realized that Ron and Luna had arrived back to the Burrow. Hermione and George quickly scampered off behind a tree so they wouldn’t be seen.

“Today was amazing Luna,” said Ron. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.

“Ron, you have a humdinger, let me get it for you,” said Luna in her usual dreamy voice, brushing off his shoulder. Ron just chuckled and kissed her passionately. Finally, after a few long minutes, Luna broke the kiss.

“I have to get going now. My dad wants me to help him with dinner tonight. You could come over and help if you want,” said Luna. She and Ron walked over to the back door of the house and Ron called inside to ask if he could go back to Luna’s for dinner. The answer must’ve been a yes because Ron shut the door, took her hand, and turned on the spot, apparating back to Luna’s home.

Hermione let out a small sob and hugged George for comfort.

“Is, it bad that I’m the one who broke up with him and yet, I still feel broken hearted when he’s with another girl?” she cried against his chest.

“No because contrary to popular belief, usually the person who breaks up with someone goes through more grief. It’s tougher to break up with someone than it is to get dumped. And Hermione, just for the record, it’s his loss not yours. You’re like this amazing, perfect angel and he just treated you like dirt. I can’t believe he doesn’t see how amazing you are. Don’t ever blame yourself, it’s not you fault,” he whispered gently in her ear. She pulled away slightly and she gave George a watery smile. He looked at their current position and it surprised him how much it reminded him of the other night.

“We can’t keep meeting like this. Every time I’m with you you’re crying in my arms,” he said. But she could tell that he didn’t mean it by his cheeky grin.

“Well it could be the other way around. Cry in my arms for a change,” Hermione suggested jokingly. George looked down at Hermione’s chest and his grin widened.

“Okay!” he said a bit too enthusiastically. She gave him a playful shove.

“Come on, I bet your mum’s wondering where we got off to,” she said, dragging him by hand into the Burrow.

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