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FICLET: In the Gloaming (George/Luna)

Title:  In the Gloaming
Character Pairing:  George/Luna for rarepair_shorts  
Prompt:  You and your neighbor
Rating:  G
Word Count:  1,448
Summary:  After a fight with his brothers, George seeks solace and ends up finding comfort in an unlikely place...and from someone he didn't expect.
Author's Notes:  This was a bit of a struggle for me to get out...I had the kernel of the idea, but the scenario kept fighting me.  I am pretty pleased with where it finally ended up, though, and I hope you all enjoy.  Sorry about the length!!  I know I'm skirting the limit, but I promise my future pieces will be shorter :)  One last thing...the p.o.v.'s in this piece shift back and forth between George and Luna...but they always change at the beginning of a section (all sections are marked by a ~*~), never in the middle.  I hope it's not confusing!! ~Lauryne78
Link to Prompt Table:  Click Here! 

 Crack!

As his feet hit the packed dirt of the old country lane George Weasley turned and started running, the argument he’d just had with his brothers replaying in his memory.

“—I said no, George. I’m not going to change my mind. Leave. It.”

“Percy, you have to help me. I just…Ron, make him understand why I need…Please—” George begged, not caring how desperate he sounded.

“George, I can’t,” Ron said apologetically, but firmly. “I won’t. I don’t think it’s right. I’m sorry…I agree with Percy.”

“Fine! Stick together then. Why shouldn’t I be odd man out in this? S’what I am all the time now anyway. Right, Perce?”

“George—” Percy began, but George didn’t wait for him to finish.

He stormed out the front door of the Wheezes and walked halfway down Diagon Alley at a furious pace before Disapparating with a resounding crack.

He hadn’t focused clearly on his destination until the split-second before he Disapparated. It was sheer luck that he hadn’t splinched. But he had needed to get away from Percy. The unhelpful prat, George thought.

He had needed to think.

He had definitely needed to get out of the shop.

He had needed to cry.

~*~

George skidded to a halt outside the wrought-iron fence of Ottery St. Catchpole’s Wizarding cemetery. He grabbed the gatepost and doubled over, panting and nearly retching from having run so far so fast in the intense humidity of a mid-August day. The afternoon was just starting to slide into evening, but a heavy pall still hung over the countryside.

The cemetery was located roughly halfway between the Burrow and the homestead of the Fawcetts, another magical family who’d lived in the area for several generations. It sat on top of a low hill a moderate distance from the town, guarded by Muggle-repelling charms and bordered on the far side by an immense bramble thicket. Rows of crooked headstones were surrounded by rampant clumps of wildflowers. Near the gate there was a large oak with spreading branches that cast a wide pool of shade. It was a picturesque spot, and under other conditions George might’ve stopped to admire the view of the valley below. But at the moment, he was too preoccupied.

Having gotten his breath back he straightened slowly, running both hands over his face to wipe away the sweat that had accumulated during his sprint down the lane. He unlatched the gate and entered, walking resolutely towards his family’s plot in the far right corner.

He passed headstones with familiar names – Diggory, Prewett, Fawcett, and finally Weasley. He was so focused on his goal that he failed to notice the slim girl with pale blonde hair as she pulled weeds from around a headstone a short distance to his left.

~*~

Luna had heard the footsteps pelting along the road and wasn’t surprised to see that it was George. She had seen him on his way here many times since Fred had been killed. She liked to go for walks in the fields near town looking for interesting creatures, and she frequently saw a figure that was unmistakably George heading towards the cemetery. But today was the first time she could remember him running towards it.

Pulling out one final fistful of weeds and laying a small bunch of cornflowers against the headstone in front of her, Luna reached down and picked up another bunch of blooms – bright red snapdragons – and turned to look at George out of the corner of her eye. He had sunk to his knees in front of where she knew Fred was buried and had slumped over with his head in his hands. Taking a deep breath, Luna got to her feet; gripping the snapdragons more tightly, she slowly walked to him.

For a few moments she stood next to him saying nothing. When it became apparent that he was still not aware of her presence, she sat next to him carefully and laid the snapdragons against Fred’s marker.

“These suit him, I think,” she said as George’s head jerked up and he turned to face her. “They’re very red. Feisty.”

“Luna…what?”

“The snapdragons. I think they suit Fred, don’t you?”

“Umm…sure,” he said with some uncertainty in his voice. But Luna noticed he was gazing at the flowers with an appreciative look in his eyes. “Do you do that often…bring him flowers, I mean?”

“Every week or so. Whenever I come to visit my Mum,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Oh. I…um…sorry. Of course…I should’ve thought—” George sputtered to a stop, then tried again. “Um…thank you, Luna.”

“Of course, George.”

They sat for a moment in a silence that was not-quite-comfortable and yet not-quite-awkward. When George said nothing else, Luna decided perhaps she had been wrong to intrude. She had just started to stand when he spoke again.

~*~

“Don’t go,” George blurted out before he could stop himself. He didn’t know Luna very well, but he knew he couldn’t bear to sit there alone.

“Alright,” she said quietly, sitting back down on his left. She was so close that their knees brushed together lightly, and she gave him a small smile before looking at him with concentration. George had the distinct impression that she could see every thought in his head. After a short pause, she murmured “it was a very bad fight, wasn’t it?”

Blimey! She can! George thought with a start. George had not found conversations easy since May, even with his family, yet something about Luna’s insight and directness created an irresistible urge to unburden himself to her.

“Yes,” he said simply, “it was.”

He proceeded to tell her about going into the shop for the first time since the final battle after listening to Percy and Ron for a month as they persuaded him to at least think about re-opening. He talked about feeling suffocated as he looked at everything he and Fred had been so proud of creating. He revealed how he had started the fight by asking to see Percy’s memory of Fred’s death in a Pensieve and how Percy had refused. By the time he finished speaking, George found that he was shaking noticeably and had started crying.

“I just…I needed to see. I can’t stand not knowing exactly how-- ...I'm just stuck...maybe if I saw...I'd start not to be...” he trailed off, wiping furiously at his cheeks. Luna had listened to him ramble without saying a word; now she sat looking at him with an unreadable expression on her face.

~*~

Luna reached out and took George’s hand, squeezing it gently. Her heart went out to him. As he looked down at their hands, her eyes drifted back to her mother’s headstone. I don’t know how to tell him that knowing how doesn’t really make it hurt any less…and I don’t think he’d listen to that right now anyway. Maybe with more time, I can help. An idea occurred to her and she turned back to face him, suddenly inspired.

She leaned towards him slowly and caught him unawares, giving him a soft, brief peck on the cheek.

She sat back and smiled at him; he simply gaped at her. “Because it’s what you needed,” she said, answering his unspoken question. And because I’ve wanted to do that for ages, she thought to herself.

~*~

George shook himself out of his daze and heard Luna ask if he would walk her home.

“Err…of course,” he answered, pushing himself to his feet. He was slightly unsure as to what had just happened between them. But he knew he felt lighter – less burdened – than he had in a very long time.

She took his hand once again as she asked, “George…would you like to stay for dinner?”

He was surprised to find he wanted to say yes. “I’d like that…very much.”

“Excellent. I know a wonderful recipe for broiled Horklumps.” George stopped in his tracks, causing Luna to stop abruptly as well.

“Luna…” he began, looking at his feet as he considered what to say. He didn’t want to offend her but he knew he couldn’t bring himself to eat a Horklump, broiled or not. He looked up to find her gazing at him with mirth in her eyes and a smile tugging at the corner of her lips.

“Oh George!! The look on your face!!” She quirked a brow at him and chuckled.

A gentle breeze blew through the now dusky air as they started down the lane. It whispered through the leaves of the oak tree and stirred the petals of Fred’s snapdragons in a merry dance.

And for the first time in three months, George Weasley laughed a genuine laugh. 

~*~ Fin ~*~
 

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
love_tart
May. 1st, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Oh that was wonderful! I absolutely adore George/Luna fics and this one was lovely. Well done!

ETA: The title sounds familiar to me...Is it from a Stephen King book?

Edited at 2008-05-01 12:13 pm (UTC)
lauryne78
May. 1st, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! I'm so very glad you liked it!!

The title is actually from an Anne Elliot Dark short story, but several folks have used it...it's the name of a song, and a painting...and now, my ficlet!! :)

Best,
-Lauryne78
peskywhistpaw
May. 1st, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Aww, that was so sweet! (Though sad, too, of course.) Your writing is lovely, and I really like the idea of George wanting to see Fred's death. It's rather morbid, but it makes sense. Great work!
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!! I was aiming for a balance of angst and fluff, so I'm happy that came across. I thought that though it is morbid, as you say, it would be something George needs (or thinks that he needs). Glad you liked it!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
merlins_babe
May. 2nd, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
This story has been rec'ed at
The Golden Seeker
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Oh wow!! I'm utterly honored by this...nothing I've ever written has been rec'ed before...
Thank you!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
darth_kittius
May. 2nd, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
I had never really considered George/Luna until someone prompted me to write one and I have to say I think the pairing is fabulous. It just makes sense that she'd be the only one to pull him out of his pain. Fabulous job!
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)
I know what you mean!! It's a pairing that made me go "huh?" and then "oh, wait...yes!!" and then I fell in love with the work of a couple of wonderful authors who have written some amazing G/L pieces, found the lj georgeluna comm, and have never looked back!! They make so much sense to me...and I'm resolutely ignoring the "Scamander Revelation" JKR made...
I followed your link and read your piece as well, and I think it's lovely work!! I especially liked that she and George stayed friends even after she married Dean...wonderful work!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
BTW: Love your icon!!
c_starkiller
May. 2nd, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
Definitely one of the best George/Luna fics I have read. And you've inspired me to write more! Bonus points for that =D Oh, and I have to say your icon is hilarious XD x
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!! I'm glad you liked it and happy I could inspire you!! I'm glad you like the icon...it's from a lovely graphic artist here on lj, Purely_Distel. If you go to their site and click on "Creative Cherry Graphic Designs" they've got *tons* of great stuff - Potter-related and not!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
chimbomba
May. 6th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
This was so unbelievably cute, despite the sadness and angst of the situation. You brought George and Luna together in a way that made sense, and I really loved their interaction. Nice work! :)
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!! I was nervous about it, because it's going to set the background/exposition for most of the other prompts in my claim and I wanted to get it started on the "right foot." I'm glad you enjoyed it!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
dransinha77
May. 6th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet and believable!
Very well done... is a sequel coming our way? Please! ;)
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
Thank you!! The fact that it was believable means a lot to me!! I always want to do this pairing justice because I love them together...and yes, there are 12 more short pieces on the way. They aren't all *exactly* sequels...but some of them are, and all the pieces are related to one another.
Look for the second one soon...I've got it about half-finished right now!!
Best,
-Lauryne78
closetrockstarr
May. 7th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
They sat for a moment in a silence that was not-quite-comfortable and yet not-quite-awkward.

I LOVE that line, because I can picture them exactly. You wrote them beautifully! George's reaaction is perfectly natural for him to have, and Luna's treatment of him makes perfect sense. I wish I could write a really scholarly, professional review to prove how awesome it was, but considering my vocabulary is kinda lacking, I'll have to make do with "i loved it"
lauryne78
May. 8th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
I'll take an "i loved it" any day!! Thank you so very much!! I'm glad that it resonated with you...and haven't we all had those moments where we're unsure if we should stay or go...but we *really* want to stay? I know I have...and I kind of think that they're like that...they want to be around one another but aren't quite sure how to handle it (yet).
Best,
-Lauryne78
(Deleted comment)
lauryne78
Jul. 8th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
Hello friend!! I'm glad you found me here, and I'm *so* glad you liked the story!! I agree with you, George/Angelina causes me no end of grief, and as for Mr. Scamander, I say Rolf-schmolf!!

Please do friend me!! I'm sorry it's taken awhile for me to reply...I've been away and only just got back.

Best,
-Lauryne78
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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