Status: Active.

Thicker Than Blood

Chapter Eight.

Some people grew unihibited, sloppy, and rather unattractive under the influence of alcohol. It seemed to have the opposite effect on Lavinia. Though she did become more outgoing, it was in a charming way; she told jokes, stories, and entertained George with her normally hidden wit. Her cheeks, which were always so pale from her disease, were a pleasant, flushed pink and her hair had mostly fallen from the messy bun to wave gently at her shoulders. They had moved to the same side of the booth some time ago so they could hear each other over the boisterous crowd.

"So, I'm completely drenched, covered in mud, standing by the lake, while Dinah just stares down at me from the BIGGEST pine tree possible, with the smuggest look on her face, and then Fang runs over, barking like mad, and knocks me into the lake!" she had to pause for laughter, and George was doubled over, holding his side, his laughter loud even in the club.

"You're joking!" he gasped, an infectious grin spread across his face. She grinned back and shook her head back and forth rapidly.

"Not at all. That was the worst day I ever had and it was the day of O.W.L's, too!" she exclaimed, a bit of old indignancy resurfacing. She huffed out and crossed her arms, looking for all the world like a small child being refused a toy. George found this incredibly adorable and couldn't help but chuckle.

"O.W.L's were a bit of a waste of time for Fred and I," he said lazily, leaning back in the booth with a lanky sort of grace. He took a drink and shrugged, adding, "We got three a piece."

Lavinia's eyebrows shot straight up, and she blinked, before saying, "But I know you two aren't stupid." George let out a snort of laughter at the blatancy with which she stated it; as if it were just a fact.

"Well, no," he said, smirking, "But we didn't study."

"Oh," she said, nodding. "What were the O.W.L's?"

George's eyebrows screwed up in thought, and he ticked off the subjects on his fingers as he listed them, "Charms, Transfiguration... and... bloody hell... what was the last one..." he trailed off, before snapping his fingers. "DADA! Honestly though, if Lupin hadn't been teaching, I doubt we would have pulled it off."

"Lupin was SUCH a good teacher," Lavinia enthused, smiling. "I learned more from him in one year than I did with the other six."

George grimaced, saying, "Especially with the Umbridge hag."

They both made expressions of severe disgust, and Lavinia huffed, "I still have those effing scars on my hand from when she made me write lines. I've tried everything, but they won't go away."

George raised an eyebrow curiously; tilting his head, he asked, "What did she give you detention for?"

Lavinia's lips pressed together and gave her hand a cursory glance, thinking of the Howler her mother had sent Umbridge because of Lavinia's disease. It hadn't healed for weeks. Shaking her head, she took a deep drink and held out her hand to him. He took it gently and looked. In very neat cursive, though with a bit of sharpeness to it that suggested irritation, was written: "I must not believe liars."

When he looked up at her in bewilderment, she explained, "After you two left, everyone was talking about where you two had gone, and someone said you two had run off to join the Order of the Phoenix, which was just silly because you said you were starting your joke shop."

"Umbridge had a little fit, saying you two were just spreading lies and would be handled accordingly by the Ministry, and, well, I didn't take that sitting down," Lavinia paused briefly, remembering how appalled Umbridge had been; the quiet, model Hufflepuff student making a scene in her class. She shook her head and continued, "I wrote lines for two weeks."

George sat shocked into silence for a moment, and traced his thumb over the words, slightly humbled. His words were whisper quiet in the club, but she still managed to hear him as he said, "I'm... honored that you stood up for us. I'm so sorry that wretch of a woman made you do this."

He paused and kissed her hand impulsively, his lips brushing the scarred flesh with surprising tenderness.; Lavinia felt her breath catch and her entire body was covered in goose bumps. Suddenly the music changed to something slow and George looked up with a mysterious smile on his face.

With quick movement, he stood and pulled Lavinia up with him. She stumbled slightly, but he kept her steady as he led them towards the dance floor. He gently pressed Lavinia to his chest, his hands neatly wrapping around her waist. Shakily, she wrapped her arms around his neck and felt her heart beat in her ears as she stared into his eyes. He smiled at her crookely, and she couldn't help but smile back.

George leaned forward and whispered in her ear, "I have a confession to make."

Confused, Lavinia whispered back, "A confession?"

He nodded and looked her straight on, their faces close together as he said, "I've honestly been waiting for the chance to take you out for years," George paused, trying to come up with the right words. "I've always fancied you a bit. You've always been so pretty, and smart, but there has always been something about you... like there's some light shining deep down, but covered up. I've always wanted to see it. I'm a curious bloke, y'know," he chuckled briefly, brushing her fringe out of her eyes softly. "But, I'm just apologizing for not doing this a long time ago."

Lavinia's eyes sparkled with unshed tears, and her lips curled into a small and pretty smile. George ran his fingertips gently down her face and realized they were trembling. Her eyes were wide in her face, and he murmured, "Can I...?"

"Please," she whispered, and he gently pressed his lips to hers in a kiss that was achingly tender. She pulled him closer and they stood still in the middle of the dancing crowd, even as the slow song changed to a something quite fast paced.

They finally pulled apart when someone bumped into them; they burst into laughter, and he pecked her lips once, grinning widely before grabbing her hands and twirling her around. Giggling, she began to spin in and out of his embrace as they danced to something that was completely wrong for the song. Lavinia couldn't keep the smile off her face; she closed her eyes and completely gave over herself over to George and the rhythm.
♠ ♠ ♠
I smiiiilllledddd the entire time I wrote this. :))) Comments, Subscriptions, and Recommendations are SO appreciated!
Thanks to imjustinlove, Weasley, and Ameranda for commenting. It means a lot.