Chapter 9- As More Than a Friend?

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CHAPTER NINE: AS MORE THAN A FRIEND

     I woke up back in the girls dorm. I had no idea how anyone managed to bring me up there but they did. I looked around the dorm and saw that everyone was still snuggled down under their blankets. Glancing at the large clock mounted on the wall, I saw that it was four forty-seven AM. Never had I been up that early for any reason. I sighed, knowing I wouldn't be falling back to sleep, and walked silently into the bathroom. I washed my face, sealing the moisture in with a coat of lotion before pulling out my makeup bag and going about my usual routine.  Then, I pulled a simple red dress from my drawer and pulled on a some brown combat boots.

I tucked my 9" wand made of oak and unicorn hair into my boot. I opened the door to the girl's dorm and slipped down the staircase. The windows gave a view of the inky splattered sky still blanketing  the castle.  Flopping down on the couch as George had, I looked into the embers of the crackling fire. Remembering last night, I could only feel like the couch was too empty.  My wand gladly greeted my hand as I pulled it out of my boot.

I thought of the happiest memory I could- last night, laying there with George. I smiled and whispered, "Expecto patronum."

  In seconds, a silver wolf lept into the air and dashed up the stairs to the boy's dorm, leaving a glowing, wispy trail of silver fog. I turned as I heard the door creak open slowly, followed by footsteps. I saw George stumble out of the stairwell with his fiery red hair messed about in all directions. 

"Iris?" 

"George!" I greeted warmly, patting the couch. He grinned back and sat down, still dressed in his flannel pajamas. 

"Why'd you wake me up this early?" He asked curiously. 

"I was lonely." I answered simply. He grinned his toothy grin again.  He put his arm around me and I snuggled against him, shivering. 

"Cold?" He asked.

"Yeah." I said. He hugged me closer. 

"Thanks, Georgie," My voice assumed Fred's teasing lilt as I smiled up at him. 

"Anything for you!" He laughed quietly. The fire crackled, filling the background with soothing white noise.  There was a comfortable pause where we just sat there together, saying nothing, but knowing everything.

"George?"

"Yes?"

"Is it Saturday?" 

"Yes." He answered. I frowned.

"If I miss another week they'll hold me back for missing so many classes." I said. George leaned his head on top of mine. He laughed.

"Nah, I wouldn't let them." He yawned sleepily through his feeble attempt at a joke. 

"Sorry I got you up so early." 

"Don't be. It's worth it to have some alone time together." He said. I smiled but on the inside I was exploding with joy. The way he talked to me made me feel like his girlfriend.  Was I?  His girlfriend? I knew that I wanted to be, and that surprised me.  I'd never wanted anyone before, but somehow with George, I knew I wouldn't settle for anyone else.

"Definitely." I agreed. He glanced down and rested his forehead against mine. And we stayed like that for a while, just looking at each other. Slowly we got closer and our lips were just about to touch when... we were interrupted by a nervous cough. We both turned our heads to see Fred, face burning bright red.

"Hm. Sorry- I just- I didn't know-" He stuttered. George shook his head.

"Way to go Freddie." He joked with a slightly annoyed edge to his tone. Fred grinned sheepishly. Fred dashed back up the stairs and George jumped up after him. I sunk down into the soft leather of the couch, suddenly feeling much colder. I stared into the fire trying not to think about what would have happened if Fred hadn't interrupted us. Then a few minutes later I heard footsteps and George re-emerged from the boys dorm but this time he was dressed and his hair was combed out.

"You didn't think I would leave did you?" He asked with a grin. I jumped up from the couch and wrapped an arm around his waist. 

"Of course not!" I said.

"Now, how about some breakfast?" I glanced over at the huge common room clock; 6:53. 

"Yeah, I'm starved." I said. My hands were still wrapped in a layer of gauze but I managed to intertwine my fingers with his. He led me out the door. The portrait swung shut behind us and the fat lady made some comment on 'young love'.  Both George and I blushed but neither said anything.  Sometime while we were walking down the hall he had let go of my hand and wrapped his arm around my waist. We walked into the great hall. The enchanted ceiling pictured a peach and rose streaked sky, as if the sun was rising.  All the house tables were covered in a blanket of breakfast foods and few students were scattered throughout the tables but nobody really came down to breakfast until about seven thirty or eight. George and I sat at a vacant part of the Gryffindor table.

"Any chance we could visit Hogsmeade?" I asked, scooping myself a helping of scrambled eggs.

"Of course! I think Lee, Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny are already going today." He said, wielding a fork like a trident, and spearing a sausage.

"What about Fred?" I asked. George blushed a little, remembering earlier that morning, I cringed.

"Well isn't that a given?" He responded with a laugh.

"Of course." I grinned, looking up to see all of our friends walking over in a group, except for Fred who was walking behind everyone, talking to Angelina. I waved and Hermione and Ginny gave a playful smirk at the sight of George and I.  Rolling my eyes, I jokingly waggled my eyebrows.

"Hullo." Ron greeted us as he sat down across from us with Harry at his side.

"G'morning Ron!" I greeted him back. Ginny walked over sheepishly and sat sheepishly next to Harry, Hermione nudging Ron aside, sliding in on Harry's other side.  Lee plopped down next to George while Fred and Angelina had disappeared to another part of the table. I shoveled a spoonful of scramble eggs into my mouth and finished off a whole plateful before moving on to the pudding. George was watching me.

"You sure do have an appetite." He commented with a laugh.  I sneered playfully, reaching for the bacon.

"Are you going to Hogsmeade?" Ron asked through a mouthful of pancake.

"Of course!" George and I chorused.

"We should all meet at the Three Broomsticks later then." Hermione suggested. 

"Sounds fun." I scraped my plate clean and nudged it forward.  After a while Ron was still eating, but the rest of us headed back to the dorms to get ready.

Hermione, Ginny, Angelina, and I climbed the stairs to the girls tower.  I pulled on a pair of skin colored tights that Hermione had charmed to be as warm as sweatpants. I went into the bathroom and combed through my hair before curling it. Ginny came in and sat on the closed toilet while Hermione and Angelina bustled about the dorm. 

"Iris?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Anything, Ginny."

"Okay-um-well. I wanted to know... Do you like George- as more than a friend?" She stuttered. I thought for a second. 

"Yeah.  Actually..." Blushing to the roots of my hair, the corners of my mouth turned up in a soft smile.

"It's okay, it's kind of obvious anyway." she said.

"That obvious?" I asked nervously.

"Oh!  Don't worry, he feels the same!" She said. My face lit up.

"Really?" I asked with wonder evident in my violet eyes. She nodded.

"He's too scared to ask you out." She said quietly, her cheeks turned a light rose. I blushed too, there was too much blushing tonight.

"Thanks, Gin." I said, hugging her. She left to go get dressed in the dorm. I finished curling my hair and gathered up my purse and then left the bathroom.

"Ready!"

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