Summary: Susan is suffering from the holiday blues. All of her friends are couples, getting married, or soon to have babies. She feels completely alone – and then along comes a redhead. Written for my kaitydid33087
Characters/Pairings: Susan Bones/ George Weasley, Susan Bones/Theodore Nott, Hannah/Neville, Ron/Hermione
Genre: Romance, hoping for fluff
Beta: M & Z
Word Count: part 4 3738 words
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: Yes
Susan smiled. “I guess you won’t need me then.”
“I don’t know why you think that. I think I just might need you.” George pulled her to him. He wrapped his arms around her. “You are definitely a special person, Susan. I would want you there with me.”
She smiled as she hugged him. “You made tonight so much easier. Sometimes it is hard seeing them, but I know I would hate it if I couldn’t make it.”
The sound of the floo was heard from the other room. “So, tomorrow, what are you doing?”
“I’m going to open the shop until about noon and then close it until after Boxing Day.” She responded. She had double checked everything. They should have everything delivered by then.
“How about lunch at 1? I can close early as well, or just have Ron stay.”
Susan nodded and looked up into his face. “Yes, that sounds wonderful. I will see you then.”
George bent down and kissed her softly. His lips lingered on hers, pressing in more. He pulled back reluctantly. “Tomorrow and make sure you are dressed warmly.”
Susan licked her lips softly. “Will do.” Her heart was pounding in her chest. That kiss was different. She knew it was. She was going to have to have a talk with him.
Justin did not check on her after he came in. She assumed he went straight downstairs. She went on and climbed into the bed. She pulled the covers up over her head.
The next morning she was up early. She set the tea out for Justin. She made it downstairs and into the shop before he even started to move around. “Good morning, love,” she said happily from where she was making an arrangement.
“Good morning. It looks like someone is in a good mood.” Justin yawned as he walked out of his room.
“Tea is ready upstairs waiting for you. We should be done by noon if you want to hurry down.” She told him as she cut some roses and slid them into a vase.
“Oh, that sounds lovely. I can go back to bed!”
Susan turned to face him. “Justin, have you finished shopping for your parents yet? I know you always put it off. You will be seeing your parents in the morning. You can sleep tomorrow afternoon!”
“Fine, be a grown up and ruin the beauty sleep of others.” He trudged up the stairs. He was back in ten minutes with two cups of tea. He set one down beside her. “I thought I would sweeten you up some. You are such a slave driver.”
“I did tell you that we will be closed until the 27th, right? Tomorrow is Christmas. The next day is Boxing Day and Hannah’s party at the Leaky Cauldron."
“So why are you so chipper this morning?” Justin studied his best friend.
Susan smiled. “I’m seeing George this afternoon.”
“Ah, it’s George, again. That is nothing new.” He didn’t show that he was happy with this development.
Susan turned and flung her arms around her best friend spinning around him. “I think he likes me.”
His eyes opened at this. She noticed. “Really? What makes you think that?”
“He kissed me last night.” She waltzed to another table and picked up a few flowers and brought them back to the arrangement she was working on.
He shook his head. “George has kissed you before.”
Her face lit up like the Cheshire cat. “This time it felt different. Oh, how am I going to act?”
Justin shook his head. “Just be yourself, sweetheart. He will love you.”
She tilted her head. “I didn’t say he was going to love me.”
“Give him time and he will.”
Susan shook her head and finished the floral creation. She moved from one to the next, having Justin deliver them as quickly as she finished them. Soon they were done and she knew she needed to get ready. She giggled as Justin teased her about needing to get ready.
She was ready and waiting for George when he came in just after one. George kissed her softly when he walked in. “Are you ready?”
“Yes, I am definitely ready.”
George glanced at her with a perplexed look on his face. “She is not as oblivious as she used to be, George.”
“Really?” George caught Justin’s eye at this statement. “In that case, my lady, it is time for our dinner. Your chariot awaits.”
Susan took his arm and walked outside. Her mouth fell open as she gazed at the horse and carriage waiting outside. “George, wow!”
“I thought you might like to ride in style for a change.” He whispered near her ear. He walked to the carriage and held out his hand for her. He helped her into the carriage and followed her up. “Don’t wait up, Justin.”
“Damn boy, you had better get the girl,” Justin said so only George could hear him.
George flashed the famous Weasley twin smile. “I plan on it.” He signaled the driver to go on.
Susan snuggled into George’s arm as they crossed into a park, not far from the alley. Susan talked and laughed about the snow and frozen body parts. George kept her entertained with tales of what he did as a child growing up.
They stopped near a pond and got off of the carriage. A blanket was placed on the snow covered ground. Susan crossed over to the blanket and felt the warmth of a charm. “A picnic? This is wonderful, George.”
He pulled a picnic basket out of the carriage and nodded to the driver. “Thank you. I will get us home.” George walked over to the blanket and sat down beside her.
She opened the basket and began to pull out the meal that he had planned. “Is this from Hannah?” she asked suspiciously.
“I would most definitely say yes to that. I told her what I wanted and she put this together.”
Susan laughed. “I swear you crack me up. You are pretty wonderful.”
George leaned over and kissed her nose. “I think you are wonderful.”
She wrinkled her nose. “If you think so.”
They had sandwiches and soup that they ate in no time. George leaned back against a tree and pulled her into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her and just held her.
Susan stared out over the water as she lay back in the arms of her friend. Her head lay right beside his face. “Thank you, George. This was really nice.”
He smiled into her hair, loving the sweet smell of apples coming from it. “You are very welcome. I thought you might need a break from the normal.”
She readjusted her body. She turned her head and faced him. She smiled softly and kissed him on his cheek. “You are fabulous.”
“I do my best. Just don’t tell anyone. I don’t want my secret to get out.” He kissed her nose.
She crinkled her nose and laid her head on his chest. “Your secret is safe with me. I don’t think that anyone would believe me. You are all laughs, you know that, right?”
She heard the chuckle from his chest. “I know. One half of Forge and Gred at your service.” The pain was apparent in his voice.
“I’m so sorry about Fred, I really am. I know how important he was to you.”
He wrapped his arms tighter around her. “You aren’t going to run away this time, if I get upset, are you?”
“I won’t run, if you don’t,” she said softly. “I didn’t mean anything that night either.”
She heard the sigh through his shirt. “I know. It just gets hard, especially at this time of the year. We would always spend our holidays creating new ideas. We would always plan our next prank together in the middle of the night. I felt as if my world shattered when I saw his lifeless body.”
She felt him wrap his arms around her tighter. She moved her hands up to hold onto his, squeezing. “I understand. It is so hard. I still get nightmares from when Theo died.”
George laced their fingers together and squeezed them. “We had a plan. It was our emergency plan in case something happened while we were at Hogwarts. We were going to hide the younger years and keep them safe. We had to do it secretly. Some people knew what we were doing and ignored us. They were in the same position. They couldn’t help or it would be their death. So, we never talked about it.”
“Draco gave me a key for Christmas that year. I found out when I went to Gringotts it was to a vault that had a small fortune in it. It was to keep the little ones safe and alive. Pansy gave me the loan of her house for a year, or so the card said. It was in an unplottable location. It had been given to her by her great uncle. The one thing that she did was get its location under fidelius. I went out there after the battle. Pansy found me there. She told me how she had been trying to find a way to get the kids out for a year by that point. It was a blessing that Theo had found me.”
“I think that is the year I got more presents from the Slytherin house. Up until that year I was merely tolerated. Theo saw it all and the light went off in his head. They were giving him permission to leave and they would not kill him as they were supposed to do. It was so difficult for them, being forced to bow down to that man. He could read their minds. He could tell if someone was not loyal. It made Theo’s life even harder.”
“We started to plan that Christmas. We kept me hidden most of the times. My friends did not understand why I was with the Slytherins most of the time. Hannah didn’t talk to me through the last half of the year. I was the one that escaped the worst punishment from the Carrows. I got so many lessons on fitting in and being unseen.”
Tears were falling from her eyes by this point. “It was difficult, but I knew what my part in the war was. I had to help the ones that needed it the most. No one in the school would have fought for the little snakes.”
“Pansy tried to turn Harry over, though,” he said softly. “I remember that one. I was in the Great Hall when it happened.”
“It was a part of the plan. Pansy and I talked once. None of us could talk to a group of the others, but we could do it one on one. Pansy was to create a diversion so that we could get the little snakes into hiding. We had no idea of how it was going to happen. It was just a sign. All of us knew it.” Susan took a deep breath. “She caught my eye right as it happened. She gave me a slight nod. I knew what to do. In the chaos that happened. I followed the Slytherins down as part of their guard. I went into the dungeons with them.”
“It was the first time I had ever seen emotion on their faces. The younger years were scared. Draco called us to order. He told them to calm down. Pansy hugged her sister and whispered in her ear. Then one at a time the older students hugged me and Theo. Each one gave me instructions and whispered wishes of luck. I had everything I needed on me. We kept it ready at all times. Theo hugged me last. He held onto me so tightly. He told me it was going to be okay.”
George moved her up onto his lap to where he could hold her closer. He kissed the top of her head and held onto her. Tears were rolling down his face as he listened to what she had gone through.
“The hardest part was that I had just found out I was pregnant. We were always careful. We were. I was about two and half months. No one in my house knew. Theo knew and so did Pansy. That was it. We weren’t ready for it, especially since we were going into hiding, but we knew that I couldn’t kill an innocent baby.”
“Oh Susan. I’m so sorry.” He squeezed her tighter. “I don’t even know what I could say to make it better.”
She nodded. She kept talking. She knew if she stopped, she might not start again. She had not had this talk with anyone except Hermione. She had broken down in front of the girl at the memorial service at Hogwarts. At that point her friends still weren’t talking to her except Justin. Justin had managed to make the final battle and had not left her side. He had gone to get them something to eat when Hermione had come in that day. She asked some question and Susan had broken down. Justin came back to find Hermione’s arms around their friend.
“I’m not sure where everyone went. The younger years followed me to a room off of the kitchens. We had secured it earlier in the year and stocked it with enough food to get us through a week. I told the little ones to wait there. We weren’t supposed to leave until the worst of the damage was done. That was when Theo noticed that his sister was not there. He ran out of there after her. I left the two oldest in charge. They knew the plan as well as I did. They were not to let anyone except me or Theodore in. They were to send curses to anyone that came close. I ran after Theo. He would only be looking for Sylvia.”
“I followed him into the battle. He was being a stupid brave Gryffindor. He wasn’t concerned about his own life, but his sister’s. I don’t blame him for it. I would have done the same thing. We watched her body fall. She was hit by the spell of a death eater. They didn’t even care whose side she was on. Theo killed the person. The person next to him was his father. His father never liked me. I created a weakness in Theo. He saw what happened and…”
Small sobs shook her body. George rubbed circles on her back as she told the story. He knew this was the hardest thing she had done since then, something she had to do if she was ever going to move on.
“That is when he looked me in the eyes and used the AK on me. I don’t know how Theo was so fast. He jumped and threw me on the ground. The spell hit him and he landed on me. It was the way he hit my stomach that started the miscarriage. I wrapped my fingers around the knife that Blaise had given me. His dad pulled Theo off of me and smiled so evilly at me. He started to say something to me, but I jabbed my knife into his neck. He fell on top of me crushing my stomach and the baby even more. The baby may have survived if it had just been Theo, but when his father fell on me, I felt a sharp pain and cried out.”
“I pushed him off of me and crawled to Theo. It was so hard seeing him. His soft brown eyes had no life in them. It was Colin that pulled me away from Theodore. He put a spell on his body and brought him back to the castle. Millicent broke away from where her parents were and ran after us. She had been dating Colin. No one knew. Her father killed both of them. I turned around and started cursing all the death eaters I saw. That is when the professors and the members of the DA got between them and me. Pansy slipped up to where I was. I am not sure where she had been hiding. She was the lookout. She helped me to move their bodies. We laid Colin and Millie together. She wouldn’t let me stay with Theo. She made me go back inside. She was yelling at me to get back to the others. They still needed me. I couldn’t lose it yet. They still needed me.”
“It was the hardest thing I could do. I ran back down the stairs. Blaise somehow ended up with me. He went into the room with me. He gave the other students an update. He locked the door behind us. I just sat crumpled in the floor crying. They all knew. I know I managed to pull myself together. I started to get the kids organized. I told them they were to trust no one, but me. I would die before I let any of them get taken. Blaise just sat and watched me. I paired them up, siblings together obviously, but other than that I put the younger students with an older one.”
“We stayed down in the room until Justin came looking for me. Pansy had gotten him a message and told him where to find us with the password. None of us thought that he would be there. I was so thankful he was alive, but it took him ten minutes to get me to put down my wand. I wasn’t going to let anyone in that may possibly hurt the kids.” She stopped. “He didn’t leave my side after that. He still won’t leave me. I don’t know what I would do without him.”
“Justin is a great friend. I will never come between your friendship with him, you know that, right?”
Susan smiled through her tears. “Yes, I know. You accept him for who he is.”
“Susan, I accept you for who you are, too.” He turned her to straddle his lap and face him. “I would never try to replace Theo. You know that, don’t you?”
She nodded her head and hugged him. They sat like that and just held onto each other for comfort. They had been two souls that had lost those closest to them, no one else truly understanding them.
It was Susan that stirred first and moved off of George’s lap. They quietly gathered the picnic supplies. “I will take us to my shop.” Susan nodded to him as she took his arm. In a blink they were gone.
“Here, let me take the basket.” George took the basket from her and put it in his kitchen. Susan watched him as she moved over to the table and put the blanket down over a chair. She smiled when she saw the chocolates again.
“Are you still working on these?”
George smiled at her. “I am. Did you want to try one again?”
She picked one up and popped it into her mouth, letting the sweet flavoring of chocolate and cherry overtake her senses. “Oh, these are so good.”
“You have a bit of chocolate on your lip,” he said as he lowered his head to kiss her tempting lips. His tongue ran over her lip licking the chocolate. In the space of the gasp that escaped her lips, he deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue into her mouth tasting the crème. She wrapped her arms around his neck. He pulled her body closer to his.
George ended the kiss softly. He looked down into her flushed face. “Susan.”
She blinked her eyes open. He could see the fear in her eyes. He leaned in and kissed her softly again.
“Susan, will you spend the day with me tomorrow?” he asked quietly.
She examined his face to see if there was a hint of teasing. “It’s Christmas. You need to be with your family.”
“I want you to come with me. Mum won’t mind. It might make her happy to see me come with a girl,” he said quickly. “Of course, if you have something planned with your parents…”
Susan shook her head. “No, they moved to the States during the war. They figure that it is safer there, even with the war over.”
“So that means you can come with me. Justin, too,” he said softly.
“Justin will be with his parents all day. He does actually spend time away from me, you know.”
“Then you have no reason to spend the entire day alone.” He grinned at her frustration.
“I just like to be alone on Christmas,” she said quietly biting her lip and looking down.
He put a hand under her chin and lifted her head again. “Not again.” He kissed her quickly. “Have you thought that maybe I need you?”
She tilted her head and gazed at him. “Why do you need me?”
“You are the only person who has been able to take my mind off of Fred. Tomorrow is going to be hell. I could really use you to help distract me.”
Susan smiled. “Why didn’t you say something sooner? Okay, I will go.”
He hugged her close. “Thank you. I will let my mum know. It is going to be chaotic, but that is when I am reminded more of Fred.”
“I will be there for you. Here is the password to the store. You can come on up.” She wrote it down on a piece of paper for him.
"I should be going now.”
“But it’s cold outside,” he said quickly.
“We were just out there.”
He thought quickly. “We were just there under a very heavy warming charm. I would hate for you to get sick now that we are going to have our first Christmas together.”
“First Christmas.” She repeated the words softly, feeling a bit of panic at what that meant. “I really need to go.”
“I’ll have a fire going in a minute. You know it will be nice and cozy and warm.”
Susan laughed at him. “If you get the fire started, then I can just floo home.”
“Damn.” He ran a hand through his short hair. “Susan, I would just like to spend some time with you. Is that too much to ask?”
Susan smiled at him. “Okay, I can stay just a bit longer, but then I really do need to go. I need to put the finishing touches on Justin’s present before he leaves me.”
George’s face fell. “In that case, let me walk you home. I don’t want to get in the way.”
“Really, it’s fine. You aren’t in the way. I just have a few more touches to add to it and I will be done.”
“Do you know how hard it is sometimes to not be jealous of your best friend? I would never come between you and Justin, but…”
“Please don’t finish that. Justin is always going to be here. I don’t even know what is going on with you, but he will always be there.” She started to back to the door.
“Susan, don’t run. I’m not going to push Justin aside. Hell, I even have a present for him. I like the bloke. He was there for you when you needed someone. I would never come in between that. I just wish you had more room for me.”
“I’m with you now.”
cyn/slytherin 125 points