Sometimes you're too close to a thing to see it clearly, and then sometimes you've got the distance – the perspective – for clarity, but you just don't have the experience to know what it is you're looking at.
And sometimes you're wilfully blind, ignoring what's right before your eyes in favour of a pipe dream.
Now that he's living as one of them, George realises Muggles are the key to it all. Arthur Weasley had been right all along, though for all the wrong reasons. Yes, Muggle technology is fascinating – its plugs and computers and internal combustion engines – but it's their history that's really worthwhile.
Muggle history has a sense of human nature about it that seems to have been sanitised out of Wizarding history. Had George been a serious student of Muggle history, he would have known, would have just taken Harry away sooner and sod Voldemort and the Death Eaters. The Wizarding world could've found another solution, another bloody 'saviour'.
At Hogwarts, they had never properly covered the pertinent bit of Muggle Studies: Muggle religion. What happens to a saviour once his people no longer have need of him.
George is a little surprised that the Muggle-born students – Hermione, at the very least – hadn't seen the pattern, hadn't seen the betrayal coming. But perhaps even the Muggles themselves don't pay attention to their own history, as they seem to repeat portions of it endlessly.
Another thing George hadn't seen at the time – though in retrospect it's painfully obvious – was Harry's most serious flaw. Harry had believed in black and white – evil and good – and he had believed most people were essentially good. He'd failed to take into account the effect fear had on those 'good' people, failed to realise that the lines between good and evil can become very blurred when someone else has seems to have power and you don't.
The point is moot now, in any case. He can't go back, can't save Harry from the furtive looks, the frightened accusations. All he can do is look to the future and take care of Harry as best he can.
Still, he can't help thinking about it all, trying unsuccessfully to pinpoint a single moment in time where his actions could've changed the course of events.
'Morning, George.' Harry's sleepy voice provides a welcome derailment for his train of thought.
George presses a gentle kiss to Harry's lips and leans into the hand that comes up to cup his jaw. He takes Harry's hand in his, smiling down at him whilst automatically taking stock, ticking off a mental checklist as he has every day for the past two years.
'Morning,' he says, but he's thinking: eyes – sleepy but bright, with no dark rings under; hair – tousled but clean; smile – genuine; body – relaxed. It's been a long and sometimes difficult road, but Harry seems to finally be recovered, both physically and mentally.
George can't help but trace a finger across the palm of Harry's hand, somehow surprised to find it unmarked. He knows every inch of Harry's skin, knows every mark and scar left by Harry's final battle against Voldemort, and so he also knows, rationally, that Harry's hands were never injured. Still, he can't help but expect there to be jagged red wounds in Harry's palms – relics of nails driven through tender flesh by anger and fear – just as there are in his nightmares.
He doesn't want to worry Harry, who has tilted his head and is looking quizzical, so he says, 'Fred's gone – early meeting at the office – but I'll start making breakfast if you want to shower first.'
Instead, Harry rolls on top of him, looking down with passion-dark eyes. 'I think I'd rather stay in bed for a bit, if it's all the same to you,' he says, licking his lips.
And for a little while there's no past and no future, only the present.