“You’re not my mother, Granger. Even if you act like her.” George glares at her and steps closer, attempting to intimidate her, no doubt. It’s a definite sign that he’s had too much to drink if he thinks she’ll be scared of him after everything she’s faced over the years.
“You’re wrong,” she points out quietly. “If I was your mother, I wouldn’t be trying to stop you.”
He frowns and looks vulnerable suddenly before he reaches for the bottle of Firewhisky that he’d just put down. “It’s none of your business,” he mutters before he takes another swig from the bottle.
“Wrong again.” She lowers her wand slightly but keeps it aimed in his direction. He might appear to be pissed to hell, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still alert enough to try to snatch her wand. She’s learned to never underestimate George, especially these last few months.
“No wonder ickle Ronniekins didn’t want to date you. Nagging bossy pain in the arse.” He leans against the wall and looks guilty when she tenses. That was low, even for him, and she considers just letting him go and continue to ruin his life. He takes another drink and runs his fingers through his shaggy hair before he says, “Sorry.”
It’s more than she expects, so she nods once in acceptance. However, she’s now even more determined to stop him from making a mistake. Of course, it’s not like she hasn’t been trying for months, since Fred was buried and George started to find solace in whatever alcohol was available, and still hasn’t got through to him. She can’t help but think she’ll eventually be successful, though, which is why she refuses to give up even after many others have.
“’m goin’ to go do it, Hermione. Just—go away and let me,” he tells her.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she says simply. “You’ve had too much drink, George. In the morning, you’d regret it. I know you would.”
“You don’t know anything,” he sneers before he throws the bottle against the floor. “Let me go.”
She cringes when she hears it shatter, but she doesn’t step back. She brought him to her flat because she thought it would be easier to control the situation. Now, she wonders if she shouldn’t have taken him to the Burrow instead. When she found him drunk and ranting in the Leaky Cauldron, though, she hadn’t had a lot of time to prepare a plan. Mostly, get him somewhere else and keep him occupied so he didn’t go off and do something stupid. He’s glaring at her again, and she straightens her shoulders. “I’m not letting you go. Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll make coffee.”
“Don’t want coffee. This is kidnapping, you know? I can file a complaint and have you arrested.”
“Don’t threaten me, George. My patience is very limited at the moment, and you don’t want to see it snap. Right now, I’m trying my best to be civil. Don’t push me,” she warns him, hoping that he’s not so pissed that he doesn’t listen. She cares about him, which is why she keeps finding herself in this position, but she’s reaching her breaking point.
“Oh, I’m so scared,” he mocks, making a face before he reaches out to push on her shoulder.
“That’s it!” She raises her wand and aims. “Petrificus Totalus.” When he starts to protest, she adds, “Silencio.”
Finally, it’s quiet and he’s bound before her. He’s cursing her, she knows, even if she can’t hear it. He’s angry and anxious, the latter of which nags on her conscience. Still, she’s been patient for months without any results. Maybe he’ll finally listen if he’s forced into it.
“You’re not going to find him in a bottle of whisky or in some morbid tattoo or by hiding away in your room.” She feels guilty being so blunt, but they’ve already lost Fred, and she’s not sure that they’d be able to handle losing George, too. He flinches and looks so lost that she can’t stop herself from reaching out to touch his face. “I’m sorry, George, but he’s gone. I’m not going to just stand by and watch you go, too.”
After a moment, she drops her hand and removes the charms. He stumbles towards her before he catches his balance. “I—“ He stops and clears his throat. When he looks at her, she steps forward and hugs him. He tenses before he leans against her and holds her tightly. He smells like whisky and needs a shower, but she doesn’t let go as he leans against her for support.
“It’ll get better,” she says gently. “He wouldn’t want you to be like this. You have to stop before it’s too late.” She feels his hand in her hair and closes her eyes as she enjoys the feel of fingers massaging her scalp. When she realizes what she’s doing, she opens her eyes and reminds herself who she’s with. He’s drunk and lost and has no idea that she enjoys having her hair touched.
“Promise?” he whispers hoarsely, his words warm bursts of breath against her neck. “Doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to be good again. Not without him. Missing part of myself.”
She strokes his back and considers his question. She doesn’t like to lie, especially not to people she cares about, so she has to make sure that she can be honest with him. “I promise.”
He pulls back and looks down at her. His eyes are swollen and red, and he looks like he needs to sleep for a day or two. “You promise,” he repeats slowly. He blinks and touches her face. “You’re pretty.” He sways slightly and suddenly lets her go. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
When he runs to her toilet, she takes a deep breath and stares at the broken glass on her floor. She hears him heaving in the other room and cringes, knowing that she’s going to have to clean up in there when he finishes. Her cheek is still tingling from where he touched her, but she refuses to think about what he said, which is easier said than done. It’s just her luck to be told she’s pretty by a drunk man currently vomiting in her toilet.
With a shake of her head, she uses her wand to clean up the broken bottle before she walks into the kitchen. She puts on a fresh pot of coffee and wets a dish towel before she goes to check on George. After she takes care of him, she’ll try to sober him up a little. Then, she'll put him to bed and hope that he feels better in the morning. Regardless of what happens, she’ll be there for him. He needs her, and, in a way, she needs him, too.