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 5 4190 words
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: Yes
“Yes, you are with me now and you are about to leave. I will have to go and eat at the Leaky Cauldron for dinner because I don’t want to be alone here in the quiet. My flat is alive again when you are here. I can’t explain it. Even if it is Ron or Harry, it isn’t the same. The world is just brighter when you are around.” His face showed raw emotion before he turned and sat down on the couch. He put his head into his hands.
She moved over to him and put her hands on his. “George, why don’t you come with me? Bring your stuff for tomorrow. Stay with me and we can wake up and leave in the morning.”
He moved his hands and looked into her face as she knelt in front of him. “Do you mean it?”
She smiled. “Yes, Cho, I mean it,” she teased him and wiped the tear that ran down his face away.
“Why you little tease!” He struck, tickling her, making her fall backwards onto the floor.
“Stop! Stop, George. I’m sorry.” She laughed as she squirmed under him. “I’m sorry.”
He looked down at her face as he stopped tickling her. He saw a moment of pure joy on her face. She looked up into his blue eyes, her lips slightly open. He lowered his head and kissed her. His body slid between her legs as he deepened the kiss, keeping her pinned to the floor. Her hands were clenched on his shirt, released and moved around his neck. He pulled back slowly.
“I’m not sorry, Susan. I just want you to know that I am going to fight for you. I’m not going to let you run away from life anymore.”
“What about you?” she asked quietly.
“As long as you are there with me, I won’t run. You are the only one that I have been able to talk about Fred with.”
“Come with me, then. I do need to go home.”
He rose up and helped her up. “Give me a minute and I will be ready.” He went into his room and started moving around in there.
Susan got a bag and put the presents they had gotten the previous day into it. She shrunk them as she slid them in, one at a time. She began to hum the tune of Winter Wonderland. She didn’t notice when George walked out of his room.
He leaned against the door frame and watched her. A smile graced his lips. He watched her braid swing as she moved around the tree. She walked around as if she truly belonged in the flat. The only other person that had been able to do that was Fred. He felt a warmth settle over him. He knew that he was going to do whatever he could to make sure that Susan was here next Christmas. He was going to break through all of her barriers. He could feel Fred pushing him forward as he moved to her and captured her with a kiss.
“I don’t know if I will ever get used to that,” she said softly.
He laughed. “You better get used to it. I plan on doing it quite a bit more.”
“Do you now?”
He kissed her again. “Yes, I do. Do you have all the presents?”
She nodded. He grabbed her hand and led her to the door. “Let’s see if we can make it out of here with the last minute shoppers.”
They made their way downstairs as Ron was turning the sign over. “Oh, hey George, Susan.”
“Hi, Ron,” she responded softly.
“How bad was it?” George asked.
“It wasn’t bad at all. Just the normal. What about you? Did you enjoy your picnic? Bloody cold out there for one.”
“Are you a wizard, Ron? Have you not learned the basic warming charms yet?” George teased his brother.
“I guess you are right. What time are you going to be coming home tomorrow?” Ron asked quickly. “Mom will not understand if you don’t.”
“Don’t worry about it, Ron. Can you let her know that I’m going to bring Susan? She has promised to keep me sane tomorrow.”
Ron turned his head to look at Susan. “Are you sure you are ready for this? Can you handle it?” He took a step to Susan and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Hermione will be there. I know that she has my back even if your sister doesn’t.” She squeezed George’s hand. “George said he needed me, so I’m coming. I can put up with people hating me or calling me names.”
“Oh, Susan, I’m sorry. I had no idea my sister was one of the ones that turned their back on you.”
“It’s okay, really. She was a year younger than me. We were never close to begin with.”
“Ron, make sure you let everyone know that Susan will be there. If they have anything to say to her, they can say it to me first.” George held her hand tighter.
“George,” she looked at him.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I will have Hermione on it. Mum will accept her and that is the biggest obstacle, right?” Ron teased his brother. “I didn’t realize that you were getting so serious with Susan. You are ready to fight your family before anyone can even say hello to her.”
“Well, I guess they are just going to have to be ready. Susan is special and if my family can’t see that, then we can spend Christmas in her flat away from all the noise.”
“You are going to your parents, George!”
Ron held up his hands. “I’m sorry. I got it. I may come and join you if you have to resort to that. I’ll bring mum’s food.” He glanced at Susan. “I honestly was only checking on Susan. You may not have known what she has gone through with a few people. I just want to make sure she is going to be okay.”
“And I will be,” she stated firmly.
George slid his arm around her waist. “And I will be there at your side. Thank you again for saying you will come. It means even more to me now knowing what you were going to put yourself into.” He leaned down and kissed her softly.
She smiled at him. “You are going to have to stop doing that or people are going to get the wrong idea.”
“You are going to need to open your eyes, sweetie. They aren’t getting the wrong idea. It’s fun being your friend, but I’m not going to be happy just being your friend. When you are ready, I am right here.”
Her eyes flickered for a minute. “What if I am never ready?”
He laughed and captured her lips in a kiss that took her breath away. “You will be ready before you know it. You are going to realize that you can love more than one person. I am going to make sure that I am there when it happens.”
Ron coughed from beside them. “I just want to let it be known that I know nothing, I see nothing and I don’t want to be there when it happens. This is close enough to it.”
George laughed. “Oh is Wittle Wonnie jealous? I can give him a kiss, too.” George tried to grab for brother.
“No, no thank you. Susan, please keep him and his lips occupied. I’m perfectly fine.”
Susan and George laughed at Ron. “So, are you coming with me? Justin is waiting.”
George nodded and grabbed her hand again. “Let’ go. See you in the morning.”
“Bye, you two.” Ron said as he locked the door behind him. He couldn’t wait to get home to tell Hermione the latest development in the relationship.
Susan took George to the shop and up the stairs. You can put your things in my room if you want. That way they are out of the way.”
George took them into her room and looked around. It was a nice room. He couldn’t see any sign of another man in her room. There was the one picture that she had on her dresser with Theo’s picture in it. He made a split decision. He grabbed the picture from the frame and set the frame back down. He hoped she wouldn’t come back before he could run out.
He stepped out of her room. “Hey, Susan. I have to run to the shop for a minute. I will be right back.” He kissed her head softly. Do you need anything?”
“No, I’m good. I will be cooking. Justin should be here in another hour or so.” She began pulling out a pot and filling it with water.
George stopped at the door and turned to watch her. She was in her own world now. He knew he wanted to be a part of that world. He knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, but he was going to do his best to make sure that next Christmas she laughed more. As he stood watching her get the meal together he realized what he was feeling. His heart was pounding and he wanted to laugh and run and hug her. He knew he couldn’t do that. So he whispered the words he was feeling. He turned and ran out knowing that she would not have heard them.
He ran out of the store and turned to the side of the building. He laid his head against the brick and hit is with his fists. “Damn. I’m in love with a girl who is in love with a ghost.” He thought about the picture he had in his pocket. Instead of ripping the picture apart like he really wanted to, he turned and ran to the one place he had not been for a present.
He got back to the Susan’s and Justin was waiting at the bottom of the steps. His arms were crossed and his wand was held loosely in his hand. “Please tell me you have a good reason. I may not look it, but I did survive the war on the run. I can tear you apart so quickly that they will never know who you were.”
George stopped in his tracks, his greeting frozen on his lips. “What are you talking about, Justin?”
“You took her picture. Why? It had better be a damn good reason. I have a very upset best friend upstairs who feels completely betrayed by you. I managed to calm her down only by promising that I would let her kill you slowly.” Justin’s face held no warmth.
“Oh Merlin, I hoped she wouldn’t go in there yet.” He closed his eyes. “How bad is it?”
“I’m still waiting on an explanation for destroying what could have gotten her past him. You already know how close to the edge she has been, not living. She was smiling again. She was happy again. You just killed that in one little action. Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you now.”
George held up a package in his hand. “I promise I only borrowed it for a minute. I should have known better. I should have put a copy in there. Dammit.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Move Justin, I have to talk to her.”
Justin put a hand on George’s chest. “Why?”
George stared hard at Justin. “I love her.”
Justin’s hand dropped. He wasn’t the first to have said those words to Justin before, but he was the first to say them and show passion behind them. “Fine, I’m coming with you.”
“Good, we are supposed to celebrate Christmas with you tonight. Your present is upstairs.” George ran up the stairs and into the flat. “Fuck!”
Susan was curled up in a ball next to the wall crying. She didn’t move when he said something. He ran over to her and pulled her into his arms. “I’m so sorry sweetheart. I promise I didn’t do anything to the picture. I promise. I just wanted to surprise you. Please baby, don’t leave me.”
Sobs shook her body. “Why?”
“Shh, don’t cry anymore. I’m here. I’m not going to let anything happen. You haven’t lost him. I wouldn’t do that to you.”
Justin stood in the doorway and watched as the other man began to cry as well. “Susan, please baby, don’t cry anymore. I promise I won’t do anything to hurt you.”
He pulled the package out and placed it in her hands. “Please sweetie, open it. I wanted to give it to you when we gave Justin his presents tonight.”
Her hands trembled as she held the package. Her body still shook, although she was not crying like she had been when he came in. He put one hand on hers and then he lifted her head with his other hand. Her eyes were bloodshot and she had tear streaks running down her face. Her skin was blotched from all the crying. “You are the most beautiful person I have ever met, Susan. I know I’m not the first person that you opened your heart to. Theo has that position of honor. Just as I accept your bond with Justin and how close the two of you are, I accept your love of Theo. If I could fight him for you, I would do it in a minute, but I know I can never compete with him. I just hope that one day you will have room in your heart for me. Until that day, I am going to be right here. I will accept him and your love for him. I would not do anything to destroy it. Destroying it would hurt you. Hurting you is the last thing I want to do.”
He ran his thumb down her face and wiped away a lone tear. Her green eyes were confused as she stared back at him. He smiled at her and kissed her nose. “Now be a good girl and open your present before I call you Cho.”
He caught her hand just before she could slap his face. “That’s my Susan, right there. Full of fight and spirit.” He kissed her quickly before she could respond. He held her hand until it relaxed into his as she gave into his demanding kiss.
He pulled back slowly gazing into her eyes. “Will you open it now?”
She nodded her head slowly. She untied the ribbon and pulled apart the paper. Inside was a velvet box that she opened slowly. A simple golden locket lay on the velvet interior. She picked it up and examined it. George’s fingers slid over hers and opened it. On the side that swung open was a picture of George. On the side that lay against the skin was the picture of Theo.
He felt a drop hit his hand. He looked at her again. “I just wanted you to know that you could have us both and we would always be close to your heart.”
He wasn’t prepared for her launching herself into his arms. “Thank you, George,” she said weakly. “Thank you.”
He kissed the top of her head before looking at Justin. The friend had a smile on his face. “So, does this mean I get a present, too?”
“Shut up, Justin.” Susan began to move out of George’s arms.
“Wait, I also picked up a new frame for Theo’s picture. I didn’t want anything to happen to it while I was out and it seemed to be a good idea.” He handed her the other package in his hand. She opened it up and smiled at the picture. It was a simple silver frame. Engraved on the frame was ‘First Love.’
“Thank you, George.” She hugged him again.
“Now is it time to eat? I was starving when I left!” He was hit in the head with the wrapping paper.
It would have been nice to say that the rest of the evening wasn’t completely strained, but Susan still had moments. She would get quiet and feel like she was about to cry. Justin had gotten her a new set of scissors for the shop. This set had a charm on it to never be dull.
Justin received the newest Chippendale – Wizard version – calendar. They would strip down in the moving pictures. George gave him a little black book. “This is to keep the numbers in of all the guys you are going to be meeting in your free time.” George winked at him.
“What free time? I work with a slave driver!” Justin laughed.
“Just wait, I will get you some. In fact, I already gave you a few numbers in there. I have been talking to a few of my customers and you would be surprised how many times your name came up.”
Justin’s eyes got bigger. “Blind dates? Interesting. Susan, darling, I have told you that we need to keep this one around, haven’t I?”
Justin had gotten George a magical version of the iPod. He showed George how to load music onto it. He even had some of it pre-loaded. “I just want to make sure that you already have a good selection for when Susan steals it from you.”
“Aha! I knew that was really for me!” Susan laughed. She tried to grab it from George, but he was too quick.
“Oh no, pretty lady, he said it was mine!” George held it over her head and kissed her before letting her see it.
“You two are going to be disgusting, aren’t you?” Justin shook his head.
“Oh are you jealous, Justin?” Susan teased him.
“We will have to fix this for him, Susan.” George looked at her seriously. That is when he stood up and walked around the table and kissed Justin. He stepped back and laughed at Justin’s gob smacked expression.
Justin shook his head. “Susan, if you do not open your eyes soon to the man in front of you; I personally will be taking him from you.” He slid his arms around his best friend.
“I don’t know. You may not be his type. I mean, you do lack the red hair.” She smiled at George.
“Now, I don’t know. There is just something about dark haired men. I might be willing.”
She stood up and walked over to him. “Oh no, see there is the girlfriend rule. You cannot date someone that your best friend has dated.”
George grinned. “So you admit that you are dating me now?”
Her mouth dropped open.
“Darling, you look like a fish out of water. It was a simple question. I don’t have to follow the girlfriend code if you haven’t dated him.”
“I have kissed him; that should be enough.” She glared at Justin.
Justin glared back. “I have too.”
“Fine, take this then.” She walked over to George and straddled his lap. She kissed him deeply. She opened her mouth to invade his, but was met by him dominating the kiss. She moaned into his mouth. He pulled back from her, nibbling on her lip as he raised his head. She turned to Justin and grinned triumphantly.
“Okay, you win. Weasley is all yours.” Justin rolled his eyes at her. “Now I must be off. I have a bottle full of rum I need to digest before I leave in the morning. Have I mentioned that I do not like Christmas with my parents?”
“Many times. Go have fun. Happy Christmas, Justin.” She kissed her best friend and hugged him as he walked out the door.
She turned around and saw George watching her. “I have something for you, too. I guess it is only fair to give it to you tonight. You may appreciate it more.”
“You didn’t have to get me anything.”
“I know I didn’t. I wanted you to have something special. There isn’t much that I could just give to you that would mean as much.” She walked to the bookshelf and pulled a package off. She handed it to him.
He grinned at her and tore the paper quickly. It was a journal. He opened the first page and saw writing. He began to read. “Oh my goodness, did you really?” His eyes were huge as he looked up at her.
“Yes, I believe so. I thought you might like to have the notes that we took. I copied them into the journal so that you could have them whenever you wanted."
He set the journal down on the table and pulled her into his lap. “Thank you, Susan. This means more to me than anything.” He kissed her softly.
She kissed him back, enjoying the feel of his arms around her. She broke free. “Now, I’m going to go to bed. I pulled out blankets and a pillow for you.” She kissed him again. She pushed back on him and stood up. She licked her lips. “Your kisses are addictive. This is bad.”
He stood up and took a step towards her. He grinned as she took a step backwards. He continued to move forward until he had her pinned up against the wall. “I could say the same thing about you.” He leaned back down and kissed her again. “Happy Christmas, Susan.” He turned and walked over to the couch and spread out the blanket.
She watched him for a minute before slipping into her room. She stepped into her bathroom and turned on the shower. She stripped off her clothes and stepped under the streaming water. She could hardly believe it had not even been a week since she had met George again. He was already staying at her house and spending a big holiday with her. Already it had seemed as if she had known him forever. Tomorrow he was introducing her to his mother. For someone not dating him, it felt like a huge step.
She turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. She dried off and slid into a robe. She went into her room and brushed out her hair. She stood up and walked to the door. She stepped up to it and walked out into the other room. It seemed like a much more inviting room. The fairy lights gave off a cheery glow. She turned to go to the kitchen for a glass of water except that was where he was standing.
She gazed up at him as she passed him and went into the kitchen. She poured herself a small glass of water and drank it quickly. He leaned quietly on the counter as she drank it. She set the cup in the sink. “Is everything, okay, George?” she asked quietly.
“Yes, it is perfect, thank you.” He smiled at her. “Are you about to sleep now?”
She nodded her head. She attempted to walk past him, but he stopped her. He leaned down and kissed her. “Sleep well.” He let her go very reluctantly.
She squeezed his hand and went back into her room. She got under the covers and pulled them up. She rolled over to her side and looked out the window. It had been a long and stressful day. She was ready to drift off, except she couldn’t stop thinking about the man on the other side of her door.
She fell into an uneasy sleep only to wake up screaming with George running into the room slamming the door open. “Are you alright, sweetheart?”
Susan’s breath was coming out quickly. She nodded her head.
“Does this happen a lot?” He walked over to her bed and sat down on the side of it.
She nodded again.
“If you are okay, I’m going to go back to sleep,” he said softly. He ran his hands through her hair.
He watched her reaction to that. “Do you want me to stay in here?”
Susan nodded her head. Her breathing was still uneven.
George lifted the blanket and slid into the bed. He pulled her closer to him. “I’ll keep the nightmares away.” He kissed the top of her head as he wrapped his arms around her. “Shh, it will be okay, Susan. I’m here.”
He lay there listening to her erratic breathing. He talked to her softly as she slowly calmed down. The day had taken a huge toll on her. She was soon sleeping again.
George heard a sound and turned his head. He saw a slightly panicked Justin in the doorway. He walked in quietly to the other side of the bed.
“They happen frequently?” he asked quietly.
“I should have expected this one. I wasn’t thinking earlier or I would have warned you,” Justin said softly, adding his own touch to her head. “They aren’t as bad as they used to be. Now it only happens when she gets really upset.”
“Thank you for being such a good friend for her,” George said quietly.
Justin just nodded. “She is everyone’s friend. She just needed someone to be hers. I wouldn’t trade any of our time to be anywhere else.”
George smiled in the darkness. “I have to agree with that one now. I may never leave.”
There was a slight edge in Justin’s voice when he spoke again. “You better not leave. You are the first person to bring that spark of life out in her again.” He walked around the bed again. “I’m going to go back downstairs.”
George laid there holding her through the rest of the night. He watched the first rays of dawn streaming through her window. He knew they would have to get up soon, but he didn’t want to move. As the light began to reach the bed, she began to stir. He smiled as he watched her waking up.