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Chapter Five: Weasley Surprises
After walking Hermione to her room, George felt slightly parched, so he went to the kitchen for a glass of water. To his surprise, he ran into Ron who was sitting at the kitchen table.
“Hey,” said George. “What are you doing up so late?” he asked, going to get his water.
“Nothing, just thinking I guess,” replied Ron sounding a bit distant.
“Ron? You’re thinking? We should alert the daily prophet!”
“Ha ha, very funny,” Ron replied sarcastically.
“So seriously, what’s up?” asked George as he took a seat across from Ron.
“She’s changing me,” said Ron quietly.
“Luna? Yeah I noticed. She’s a blunt one, that girl. You seem to be taking on some of her qualities. Which, is good as long as you don't start wearing Spectraspecs around the house,” George said playfully. Ron laughed a bit.
“I think I like the qualities, well, besides the imaginary creatures thing. That is a bit weird. I usually dodge questions like bullets, but tonight was different. I willingly admitted something that I normally wouldn’t have. Do you think it’s right for me to change like that?”
“It was a bit surprising at first, I suppose,” began George. “I mean Ginny completely spat her pumpkin juice all over Harry. Now that was funny. Poor kid. First, Voldemort after him, now Ginny! What's the world coming to?”
“Seriously? I must have missed that.”
“Yeah. Well, I think it’s a good change. We’re all changing, really. I blame the war.”
“You’re going through a lot of changes too mate,” said Ron. “Leaving the joke shop?” asked Ron, but not accusingly.
“Yeah, I think Hermione has a bit to do with that one.”
“She told you to go back to school?”
“No, but I guess seeing her, she’s going to be so successful. And yes, the shop’s successful, but I don’t want people to look at me and say: there’s that school dropout. I want them to say: there’s that successful business owner that got a lot of N.E.W.T.’s and did well in school.”
“You like her don’t you?” accused Ron.
“No!” said George quickly, his one ear reddening. Then he recomposed himself. “We’re just friends and I plan on keeping it that way,” he said.
“Sure,” said Ron sarcastically. ‘I’ll believe that when Bill willingly cuts his hair, which is never going to happen.”
George scoffed, finished his water, and went back upstairs to bed. Meanwhile, the girls were up talking.
“He never let’s anyone on that roof with him. He didn’t even let Fred join him,” said Ginny in surprise. Hermione had just informed Ginny that she had been on the roof with George at least twice before.
“Really?” asked Hermione. “The first time, I went there by myself and he followed me. Then this time, I followed him up there.”
“And he didn’t kick you out? Interesting,” said Ginny giggling and looking away.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” asked Hermione, to the redhead who was still giggling.
“Well it’s obvious isn’t it?” asked Ginny. “He likes you. Any I’m pretty sure you like him.”
“He doesn’t! And I don’t! We are friends and that’s it,” said Hermione. Then she added, a bit more to herself, “Good friends.”
“Hermione, if you like him, you can tell me. I literally fantasized about Harry in front of your face for six years. Do you like him?” she asked.
“Well, I don’t know and I like being just friends though. I’m not really interested in a relationship right now.”
“We’ll see,” said Ginny knowingly and the two of them went to sleep.
On Monday, it was time for George, Hermione, and Ginny to go to Hogwarts. Since there were less people than usual, it wasn’t overly hectic. The three of them got on the train without any problems and they found themselves sitting in a compartment with Luna, Seamus, Dean, and Neville. The train ride was pretty uneventful and as usual, it rained a lot. After the sorting of the first years, Professor McGonagall introduced them to their new teachers.
“This year, Professor Bill Weasley will teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, while his wife, Professor Fleur Weasley teaches Transfiguration. And finally, our new Muggle Studies teacher is Professor Priscilla Glencoe," said McGonagall.
"I've heard of her. She was head girl when Bill was head boy," muttered George to Hermione quietly. He then added, "A Ravenclaw." Hermione nodded mutely.
"How much older than you is Bill?" she asked.
"'Bout eight years," replied George. Hermione had never realized the huge difference between all of the Weasley kids.
"As usual, the Forbidden Forest is off limits to all Hogwarts students and this year, all Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products except a few are prohibited. If you would like to see a list of allowed objects, then there is one posted outside of Filch's office."
"Hey!" exclaimed George as well as most of the Hogwarts students, even some Slytherins. Weasleys Wizard Wheezes were very popular amongst everyone, even some adults.
"That ruling is final," replied McGonagall to the uproar. "Well, classes start bright and early tomorrow morning so I suggest you all get some rest."
All of the students filed up the stairs towards their respective houses. Ginny Weasley, the new head girl of Gryffindor led the first years to the dormitory. Hermione didn't object to not being head girl because she knew she had given up her chance when she abandoned school last year. So, she was proud of her friend for getting the position. When they got to the portrait of the Fat Lady, Ginny said the password, Gibbledegook, and they all went in. Hermione and George had fallen towards the back of the line going into the common room and they were surprised to hear shouts coming from inside. They rushed in and found out what all the commotion was about. There was a new addition to the room, which was a portrait of Fred Weasley.
"Oh my god!" exclaimed George as he ran towards the portrait, Hermione at his heels. "Freaking wake up!" he yelled at Fred who was pretending to be fast asleep.
"That's no way to treat your dead twin," replied Fred groggily, rubbing at his eyes. He smiled when he saw the two of them. "No one told me you guys were coming back. I thought I was going to be stuck with Ginny all year. I can help you pull pranks in the school, you know, run through the portraits ahead, let you know if there's a teacher coming. It'll be just like old times!" Hermione narrowed her eyes at the idea of pranks.
"You won't have much of a chance at that," started Hermione. "Remember, most of your products have been banned."
"What?" exclaimed Fred in disbelief. "Man, I wish I were a ghost. I'd haunt Filch for life, and then join up with ol' Peeves."
"Well that won't stop us," said George. "So what they're banned. Too bad!"
"Oh I don't like the sound of this," started Hermione.
"C'mon, just 'cause I died, it doesn't mean that you have to get a stick-buddy like Hermione!"
"Hermione is a good person, once you get past the braininess," said George. "And if you can find her face under that mane of hair, then you're good." Hermione whacked George with her book bag while Fred laughed at them.
"Well I'm going to bed," said Hermione. She swiftly hugged George and went up to her dormitory.
"What was that all about?" asked Fred when Hermione was gone.
"That hug. You and Hermione aren't dating are you?" asked Fred incredulously.
"Of course not," exclaimed George, not able to control his ear reddening. Fred just winked. He knew his twin better than anyone else and he didn't have to make any assumptions or accusations to know George's feelings. He just kept his thoughts to himself though, so he wouldn't embarrass his twin.
George found that his new roommates were Dean, Seamus, and Neville. He didn't really know them all that well, but he decided that since Harry and Ron had always got on pretty well with them, they couldn't be too bad. He walked into the room feeling tired, for it had been an extremely long day. It was amazing to see his twin again, even though it wasn't Fred in the flesh. He had always thought that portraits were a lot like the original people of which they portrayed. He decided that when he moved back into his flat after this school year, he would have the same portrait put there, so Fred could come and go between the two when he wanted, much like the portrait of Sirius's relative.
The next morning, George found Hermione at the breakfast table near Dean, Seamus, and Neville. He quickly sat next her.
"I wonder who the new Deputy Headmaster is? They usually hand out the schedules, right?" asked George.
"No, usually the head of house does, but since McGonagall is headmistress now, Bill's our head of house," said Neville.
"Well, it doesn't have to be a deputy headmaster! How come it couldn't be a deputy headmistress?" asked Hermione. She was always quick to spot sexist comments, even if the speaker didn't intend the comment to be sexist at all.
"But since he was so busy preparing today's lesson," said Seamus, ignoring Hermione's comment. He's asked the deputy headmaster or headmistress to hand out the schedules to his house also."
"We just don't know who that is yet," added Dean. Their questions were soon answered when Professor Flitwick came trotting down the isles, handing out schedules.
"Ha! So he is the deputy headmaster then," said George, just to annoy Hermione. She sent a scathing look his way and then turned back to her breakfast of eggs, toast, and bacon.
"Granger, Hermione. So nice to have you return dear," Flitwick squeaked as he handed Hermione her schedule.
"Weasley...George?" asked Flitwick, obviously surprised to see George's schedule in the pile. He looked up, and sure enough, there was George, one of his star pupils sitting there expectantly at the Gryffindor table.
"Yeah, I decided I'd come back and finish up my 7th year here," said George, receiving his schedule.
"What a pleasant surprise!" exclaimed Flitwick. "You know, George was probably one of the best Charms students I've ever had," he said to the nearby Gryffindors as he continued to hand out the schedules. Then he proceeded to the Ravenclaw table.
"I never knew that you were good at charms," Hermione said forgetting that she was supposed to be mad at him about the headmaster comment.
"Yeah, one of the only subjects I got an O.W.L. in," he replied with a sly grin.
"What subjects did you get O.W.L.s in?" asked Hermione curiously.
"Charms, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. That was the year Lupin taught, thank goodness. He really got the 5th years prepared!" said George. "Fred failed potions of course, but he got one in Transfiguration. I missed that one by like a point, but McGonagall said that she would to tell the new teacher to let me take it at the N.E.W.T. level if tried harder this year. Plus, since Phlegm is teaching, hopefully, she won't be too hard on us."
"Don't call her that," said Hermione. "Her name is Professor Weasley. Now isn't that confusing?" she added.
"I'm never going to remember anything this year!" exclaimed Neville. "I'll fail 7th year and Grams will kill me!"
"Oh, Neville stop worrying! You'll do fine," said Hermione bracingly as they all finished breakfast. Hermione was very glad to be back for her final year of Hogwarts with her friends. Even though her really close friends wouldn't be there, she decided she would have to find friends in some new people.
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