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It was hard, being around a person who you knew had been mourning when you see their turmoil for the first time. Approaching them after everything is over seems harder, conversation not all that easy, some topics not really up to conversation. Iris hadn't thought she would have had that issue with George, but then again, she had never thought he would disappear for a couple of days without any sort of explanation beforehand either. So for the first few days, she was tentative in her approach, not quite taking it for granted that he would be willing to leave his apartment, spend time by her side. Things were easier when he got back to work and their lives got back some of their normalcy. 

She started to visit him in his work again. After her shift ended, she made her way to Diagon Alley, greeted the man behind the bar of the Leaky Cauldron who had become more than used to her visits by now and made her way out in the street, straight to where George's joke shop was. He always greeted her with a smile even though he didn't walk over to greet her, much too busy with his customers to come over. Iris knew it, though, and she didn't mind. She waited by the side until the working hours were over and the customers left, chatted for a while with whoever stopped by to talk to her, sometimes even helped clean up the shop. George would finally find his way back to her at some point and they would decide whether they would stay in his apartment for a while, take a walk around Diagon Alley or make the way to her apartment to stay there. George's sudden trip had let Iris know that perhaps she didn't know him as well as she thought she did and now she was trying to get to know him better. In a sense, she was taking a step back to reassess the situation, hoping she would end up knowing him better after this whole ordeal was over. 

George had realised what she was doing pretty early on, her distancing having worried him at first but when he had noticed she didn't seem to care any less for him after everything, he was more relieved. He decided to follow her lead, went back to the way things had been when they had first decided to start dating, even if that wasn't all that long ago. He let her set the pace, attempted to show her he cared as much as he could. It wasn't rare for Iris to return home after meeting with him in the joke shop to find a blue iris left on her bed. Hermione had found it once and had teased her about it even though her cousin was unresponsive to the teasing. No one seemed to know how affected Iris still was by George's sudden leave but her and George.

Even though both of them knew that she was bothered by it still, though, neither knew what the true purpose was for this 'distancing' Iris had inflicted upon them. George thought she did it because she wanted some space to think. Iris did it because she thought George needed some space to mourn. Neither liked it. And one evening, a week after George returned to work and decided to resume his regular life, he thought to do something about it.

They were in Iris's apartment, alone, Hermione working overtime as she claimed there wasn't enough time for her to do everything in the schedule the Ministry was demanding. They were in her bed, watching a movie about some aliens Iris was into a bit too much, in George's opinion, when he decided it was time he spoke up. Not while the movie was still playing, of course. Iris would never forgive him if she had to lose part of the movie and he didn't want to get in her bad side. Instead, George waited until the movie was over. He even let her turn towards him in his arms, start talking about the movie and how great it had been, humming at her theories but not adding his own. And it was only when that was over and he was certain she had nothing else to add that he spoke up.

"Can I ask you something? It has nothing to do with the movie, though."

Iris nodded without wasting a moment, wide, russet eyes placed right on his as she waited for his question. For a moment, George didn't know how to voice it. He took a moment to gather his thoughts before he spoke up, fearful of worrying her or making her feel guilty.

ELYSIUM • G. WEASLEYWhere stories live. Discover now