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Title: An Elegy For Myself
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Hermione & George
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: This is plenty. This is more than enough.
Notes: Post-series



Ginny's crying in her sleep again.

Hermione opens her eyes to the ceiling, turns her head and watches Ginny a moment. She's done this every night since the last funeral. Hermione tamps down her annoyance and sits up, reaches across the gap between their beds to wake Ginny. Before she does, though, Ginny turns on her side, and her breathing evens out. Hermione listens for a minute, but it seems the nightmare is over for now.

She lies down, tries to go back to sleep, but she's wide awake now. With a sigh, she grabs the latest edition of Hogwarts, A History, shoves her feet into her slippers, and tiptoes out of the room and down the stairs.

The Burrow is quiet tonight, housing fewer occupants than usual. Everything feels a little dim, too solemn.

Hermione tries not to think about the missing persons, concentrates instead on the cocoa she'll be making for herself. She's concentrating so intently, in fact, that she's surprised when the kitchen is occupied.

George looks up from the mass of papers scattered across the table. The corner of his mouth tugs up, his lips part, but whatever joke he's about to make dies on his lips.

They stare at each other until Hermione remembers to speak. "I couldn't sleep," she explains, raising her book. "I can go--"

"No," George interrupts. He sweeps an arm across the table, clearing a space for her. "Please."

She hesitates, but nods. She drops her book on the table, it thuds quietly. She turns to the stove, finds a kettle of water, already hot. "Oh."

"Did you want tea?" George asks, unfolding from his chair.

"Sure," she lies, because it doesn't matter, really. "I'd love some."

He fumbles in a cabinet, withdraws with a cup to match the one already set out, and a tin. He hands both to her, silently, and she pours water into his cup, as thanks.

They settle into their chairs, and something on one of George's papers catches her eye. She taps the sheet with her finger. "Can I?" George nods, and she pulls the paper from the sheaf, peers at it.

"Something Fred and I were working on, before--" He breaks off. She, deliberately, keeps her eyes on the equations.

After a minute, she doesn't have to feign her absorption. The outlined charm seems simple, but when applied to an object as sketched out. . .She reaches across the table, half-remembering a quill.

When George slips it into her fingers, she looks up, startled by the feel of warm skin, and the tickle of the feather. "Thank you."

He shakes his head slightly, leans forward to watch as she scratches onto the paper, an arithmantic shortcut she learned during her sixth year. "No." George chuckles, sets another sheet of paper in front of her. "I tried that."

She bites her lip, nudges Hogwarts, A History with her elbow, out of the way. "Show me the rest," she asks, quietly.

He smiles.

*


Hermione wakes late the next morning, and Ginny's already left for St. Mungo's.

When she finally trudges down the stairs again, tugging at the collar of her robes for reasons she doesn't examine, George is sprawled across the foot of the stairwell.

"Good morning," she ventures, eyeing with suspicion the smile that spreads across his face.

"Shop's closed today," he says in reply. "Thought you might help with figuring out the new product."

"I--"

He strides to the fireplace. "I thought we could Floo to Diagon Alley, pick up a few rats to use for test--"

"Actually," she cuts in, "I'd like to stop by the Ministry library."

George turns his head, stares at her. "The library? What for?"

She raises her eyebrows, because it's a ridiculous question. Instead of answering, she dips her hand into the flower pot holding the Floo powder, sifts a handful through her fingers, then tosses it into the fireplace. She grabs George by the elbow and pulls him into the flames with her.

"Ministry of Magic," she enunciates carefully, and with a flash, they're away.

*


They don't linger as they make their way to the library, and nobody pauses to question their presence. Hermione's glad of it, for George's sake.

Over the hours and hours, they claim a table in the depths of the library. They build a fortress of books, as if the dusty towers could keep everything else away.

"It shouldn't be so difficult," she mutters to herself. "A proper index would work wonders."

She looks over at George, and he's whispering at a feather. He releases it, and it dances, dances until it bursts into flame.

"George?"

He smiles, not looking at her. "We always thought it could work like that. Never got around to it."

Hermione looks at the ashes, wisping away in the air. "For feathers?"

"For anything," he replies. Then in a sudden, sharp movement, he shoves a book to the floor. The tumble is slow to her eyes, and the final thud a reproof. His face still turned away, George shrugs. "Sorry," he says, but he steps over it, fallen, when he goes searching for another text.

She waits until he's gone off again before picking it up. It's a book about the Wizarding wars, centuries ago. She swallows slowly, and wishes hate could bleed away as quickly as anything else.

*


She goes with the Weasleys to the cemetery every week, but after the library, instead of taking the Floo network back to the Burrow, they walk out of the Ministry and turn together, almost by instinct, in that direction.

The day is overcast, almost murky. They don't speak except to murmur, to fend off the curious attention of passersby.

The cemetery itself is labyrinthine, as all things Wizard are, and Hermione finds it comforting. This will stand, when the rest of them are gone. Even when everyone has forgotten, this will still be protected.

When they finally reach Fred's grave, the grass is still too-green at their feet. George's shoulders are hunched, and his breath too fast.

"It should have been me," he says, after a while.

She doesn't contradict him, but reaches out, gathers his hand in hers. "I know the feeling." His fingers tighten their grip, and she squeezes back.

George releases her hand, and when she looks up, he smiles.

"I have an idea for a new product," he says.

She tamps down her knee-jerk concern and grins. "Tell me about it."

And standing there, robed in their fading grief, he does.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Geoffrey Hill's September Song. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kyrafic
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
Oh man, I love Geoffrey Hill and September Song SO MUCH, kudos to you for using it! And ohhhh, I love this little bit of healing going on. I really hope George has Hermione there for him like this, another brain to click with.
wondygal
Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
Fantastic. I love getting to see the relationships that couldn't be very developed in the books, and this is such a great look at the characters. Your writing is lovely, with its quiet tone and subtle emotions. I have lots of love for this Hermione, whose first solution will always be a visit to the library, and doesn't voice her immediate concern because she knows that won't help.

He releases it, and it dances, dances until it bursts into flame.

*tries to resist* *gives in* The twins must have watched the Buffy musical!
spicedrum
Dec. 4th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
You are awesome, and I Need to get back to work!
swatkat24
Dec. 17th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
Gngh. I love this.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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