“Here’s to your newest venture! May it prosper!”
The assembled crowd roared in agreement as they lifted their glasses toward a cluster of young people in the center of the spacious living room.
“Come on, tell us how you did it!”
A moment passed as glances were exchanged. Then the tiny brunette woman yelped as a tall redhead hoisted her to his shoulders.
“Oh, great! So I have to talk?!” Hermione blushed and covered her face with her hands. “Oh alright, alright!”
A hush fell over the large room as they waited on bated breath.
“It’s taken far too long for us to catch up with Muggles. Just face it-they do some things better!” A round of laughter and scattered applause sounded and Hermione grinned wider. “Believe it or not, the offhanded comment that sparked this whole endeavor was made by none other than Draco Malfoy.”
The tall blonde raised his glass. “I never thought you’d take me seriously! And I never thought you’d actually be able to do it!”
“What have I told you ,Malfoy? Never tell Hermione that she can’t do something!” Harry bit his tongue as Ron slapped him lightly on the back in commiseration.
“Anyway he became enamored with ‘those talking picture book things’. Took him weeks to remember their proper name.”
Ron flushed as George piped up to correct him. “Movies!”
“Yes, movies. So we set out to bring movies to the masses, I guess you could say.” Hermione paused awkwardly, glancing over the people spread throughout the room. “That’s really about it. Now put me down!” She slapped Fred lightly as she tried to wiggle from his shoulder.
“Uh uh. Nope. You’ll get lost in the crowd if I put you down.” He gave her side a light pinch and she squealed in indignation. “Munchkin.”
As the party broke into movement and noise once more, the small cluster of young adults moved to the kitchen of the large flat.
“Why are there so many people here again? I thought you said a small get together!”
“Father had other ideas.” Draco shrugged as he leaned against the counter. “This is a big deal.”
And so it was. Weasley’s Wizarding Cinema and Golden Trio Books and Baubles were the newest highlight of Diagon Alley. The large bookstore brought magic and Muggle literature and culture together beautifully, while the theater upstairs was set to rotate five new movies each week.
The Golden Trio and the Weasley twins were an unexpected, yet almost unstoppable force. With Malfoy money backing their endeavor there wasn’t a way to feasibly fail, even if they’d wanted to.
“So, have you lot finally decided who’s staying here? This is a nice flat.” Ginny waved her hand around spastically.
“Yeah, that’s right. I mean, I know it’s not Harry, but I hadn’t heard anything past him reassuring me I wouldn’t have to pack up my closet again.” The group laughed as Pany leaned further into Harry and wrapped her arms around his waist while she waited for an answer.
The five partners all smirked at each other. The argument had lasted months. Although now that they’d settled the issue, it seemed almost as if the conclusion should’ve smacked them in the face immediately.
“George is staying in the flat across the street above the shop. Harry and Ron are settled in Grimmauld place, so there’s really no reason to disrupt that. So Fred and I are gonna move over here. That way he can pop between the theater and the shop and I’ll be on hand for anything that comes up.” Hermione had given up trying to wiggle her way down from Fred’s shoulder and she pouted adorably down at him. “I’m not a bloody parrot! Your shoulder is digging into my arse bone!”
“Ah, but what a lovely arse bone it is!” The friends chuckled as Fred finally relented and tossed her casually down. He leaned back between her legs as she settled on the granite countertop and rested her chin on his shoulder as their friends looked on in amusement.
“Are you finally going to admit it, Granger?”
Wild mahogany curls flew as her head whipped around to face her friend. Fred choked dramatically and feigned death as he pawed at the hair assaulting his face. “Admit what, Malfoy? I just said we’d be living here.”
“He means are you finally going to admit that you and Fred are together.” Ginny rolled her eyes.
Twin expressions of exasperation glared out at them.
“Hey Gred, I think we’re rubbing off on her. She even gets the same little crinkle between her eyes as we do.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and smoothed her features out as Fred twisted around to glance her way. He shrugged and settled back to his previous position.“Why do you lot constantly ask us that? The answer is the same as it’s been since sixth year.”
“Kids?” Hermione breathed a sigh of relief at the unexpected interruption. “Padma is here about that article in the Prophet.” Arthur Weasley smiled as he popped his head into the kitchen.
“Duty calls. Save me, pleeeeeease!” Pansy giggled as she shoved her boyfriend away. She pulled him back a moment later and tried to pat down the messy black hair on his head, though she gave up quickly and planted a soft kiss on his lips.
“I’ll grab her and we’ll meet you downstairs.” George strode away quickly, cutting an imposing figure as he wound his way through the party guests.
Hermione checked her watch and shoved Fred forward so she could hop down from the counter. “Gin? Do you think you, Pansy and Draco could start herding people out? It’s late and I would like to have our own little celebration when we get done with this load of fucking bollocks.”
“Language, Granger! Who knew you had such a dirty mouth? Well, Weasley of course but…” Draco turned tail and scampered away, his laughter echoing behind him as she reared her hand back to throw something his way. His head popped around the doorjamb momentarily as he grinned playfully. “And so violent!”
“Come on. Let’s go.”
Ron and Harry led the way as Fred grabbed onto Hermione’s hand, their fingers interlacing automatically. “I don’t get it, Munchkin. Why are they so fixated on our so-called relationship?”
x . x . x . x . x
“It wasn’t that bad. You didn’t have to make him cry.”
Hermione glared incredulously at Ron. “Ronald Weasley! I don’t care how adorable I used to find Colin Creevey. What he suggested was vile!”
“It wasn’t that bad, ‘Mione.” George smirked.
“What are we missing? What the hell happened?” Draco glanced around as he lounged in one of the overstuffed chairs.
Hermione scoffed from the chair beside him as she shifted on Fred’s lap, her legs swinging up and over the armrest. “His creative vision, that’s what happened!”
“Oh for the love of Merlin! It wasn’t as if he suggested we all strip down and shag!” Pansy and Ginny’s mouths popped open at Harry’s words and Draco tried to stifle his laughter.
“Of course he didn’t want you to strip down!”
“What?! Can you lot please finish the story?” Ginny scowled playfully and turned to Pansy. “They’re quite maddening, aren’t they?”
“Try living with two of them!”
Everyone’s eyes turned to the dark haired woman as the room momentarily went silent. She groaned. “Oh fuck me! I forgot how many brothers you have.”
Ginny snorted indelicately as she summoned another bottle of butterbeer from the kitchen. “Thanks, but I’ll leave that particular task to Harry. You’ve got equipment in all the wrong places for me. Malfoy on the other hand…”
Draco flushed a bright crimson and nearly dropped his tumbler of Firewhiskey. “Uh, nice to know I’ve got options if Theo turns tail, I guess.”
He chuckled as the Weasley brothers grabbed any available throw pillows and tossed them toward their sister. She squealed as her butterbeer toppled off the coffee table to spill all down her front.
“Honestly. You lot are impossible!” Hermione beamed brightly as she shook her head at their friends antics.
“So, what exactly did Creevey do?” Hermione glared at Pansy who shrugged unapologetically. “What? I really want to know.”
“He asked if I would mind posing in the center of all the boys.” Ginny raised a ginger eyebrow, failing to see the problem. Hermione pursed her lips as Fred’s arms wound around her stomach.
“I still don’t understand.”
“Well, considering the question directly before had been evaluating the extent of lace on her knickers…” George dodged the pillow Hermione threw his way and laughed as the rest of the group joined in.
“Yes, yes. Very funny. Let’s all poke fun at boring, bookworm Granger.” She pouted huffily as she leaned further back against Fred.
His nose ran lightly over the skin of her neck as he chuckled. “Those lacey black things you’re wearing tonight could hardly be called boring, love.”
“See! That, right there!”
Hermione and Fred raised their eyebrows, again identically, as everyone else nodded in agreement.
“That right there what?”
“You can’t honestly expect us to believe that you aren’t dating.” Draco scoffed and threw the last inch of alcohol down his throat.
Fred rolled his eyes. “Of course we can. Because we aren’t dating.” Two bottles of butterbeer flew towards him with a wave of his hand and Hermione caught them deftly.
“Hermione. Look, we’re your best friends. We never would’ve worked out.” Hermione choked as Ron spoke and Fred thumped her heartily on the back. “It’s okay if you’re with my brother. I understand.”
Ginny snorted into her hand as Ron drew the word out like he was speaking to a slow toddler.
“Not that I need your permission Ronald, but we’re not.” She drew the word out mockingly and Ron pouted.
“Look at me, Hermione. It’s been…” He paused to mentally calculate. “-almosts nine bloody years. This has gone on long enough and it’s stupid. Look me in the eyes and tell me the truth.” Harry crossed the room and tugged Hermione to her feet, staring down at her diminutive form with narrowed eyes.
Her spine straightened and Fred moved the chair back a few inches as he watched the confrontation. He may be one of her best friends, but Harry was a brother in all but blood. There wasn’t a chance he wanted to be between the two.
Emerald eyes met chocolate as Harry stared down at her. Her hair crackled with uncontrolled magic and her nostrils flared angrily. “I am not now, nor have I ever dated Fred Weasley.”
Silence reigned for a moment, then two as the other six occupants of the room stared at the pair before them. Then Harry stumbled backward a step.
“Oh my god!” He burst into laughter as Hermione planted her hands on her hips in exasperation. “They really don’t know!”
Fred and Hermione stared around them as their friends took the mickey out of them. She scowled as she flopped backward onto his lap again. “They’re mean. Why do we hang out with them again?”
“No idea, love.” He shrugged and his arms found their way back around her middle. “Is there any more of that Muggle liquor you keep in the fridge?”
“Tequila? Yes, but I don’t want you getting into it, you git! Last time you ended up in the bathtub hugging the toaster wearing my bra and knickers.”
“He fit into your knickers? Poor Fred!” Pansy smirked as the twin’s indignant yelps.
Hermione chucked as she patted Fred’s head consolingly. “Yeah no. Not so much with the fitting. It was just…all out there and ready to greet the world.”
George burst into laughter as his twin pouted.”That was supposed to be our secret, Munchkin. I could always tell them about that one time in the Room of Requirement-”
Hermione slapped a hand over his mouth quickly, her face flushing scarlet. Harry and Ron raised their eyebrows as Pansy and Ginny giggled.
“I’m not sure I want to hear the end of that story.” Draco snickered as he refilled his tumbler from the bottle on the coffee table. “And you’re still telling us you’re not involved.”
“They really don’t know.” Harry glanced toward the duo and shrugged unapologetically. “What? You’ve been dating since our fourth year. You just don’t know it.”
“I think we’d know if we were dating, Harry. It’s not exactly something one can overlook.” Hermione sat primly against Fred as she glared around the group.
“Obviously it is.” Harry mocked as he leaned back against the cushions and took a swig of his Firewhiskey.
“Uh, do you remember that date we set you up on? Remember how that went?”
Hermione groaned at Pansy and twisted around to bury her face in Fred’s neck. Her muffled “You’re never going to let us live that down, are you?!” was met with laughter.
“Why did we agree to this again?”
Fred glanced over his shoulder as he tugged Hermione along the sidewalk. Her heels scraped against the walkway as she shuffled forward, clearly unhappy.
“Because of the massive amounts of blackmail Pansy and Ginny have on us, of course.”
Hermione nodded absently as they approached the restaurant. “We’re late. They’re probably already in there.”
“Well if you hadn’t taken a bloody hour to get dressed then we wouldn’t be late, would we? You don’t even want to do this, why’d you bother dressing up for the prat?” Fred’s petulant expression pulled a smile from Hermione and she reached up to pat his cheek lightly.
“It’s not for him. And how do you even know he’s a prat? I don’t even remember his name, honestly. I know it’s some Slytherin from my year.” She shrugged, unconcerned. “Who’d Ginny get for you?”
Fred cringed as he pulled the door open and ushered her inside. “Not sure. She just said to behave, which doesn’t bode well. Reservation for Weasley?”
The hostess glanced up, a crinkle between her brow as she took in the couple standing before her. The man’s large hand rested in the small of the woman’s back and her fingers gripped the pocket of his trousers loosely. “The rest of your party has already arrived. I’ll show you to your seats.”
The wound their way through the dining room and approached a table near the back. A blonde woman and a dark haired man sat facing away from them and Hermione gulped in nervous anticipation.
“Here you are Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley. Your server will be out momentarily.”
They ignored the hostess’ words as Fred pulled the chair out for Hermione and she lowered herself daintily. She wiggled around to get comfortable as Fred seated himself beside her and they both unfurled their napkins to place on their laps.
“Luna?” Fred’s startled exclamation grabbed Hermione’s attention and she glanced up to see their ‘dates’.
“Nice to see you again, Luna. And nice to meet you. I’m Hermione Granger.” She extended her hand across the table to the man sitting across from her.
Fred nudged her slightly and leaned closer. “Everyone knows who you are, Granger. And that’s Blaise Zabini. You met a few weeks ago at Malfoy’s.”
Blaise chuckled as she took Hermione’s proffered hand and stood slightly to press a kiss against her skin. “Good evening, bambolina. Would you like to start with a glass of wine this evening? I hear their house white is spectacular.”
Fred snorted a laugh, his attention never wavering from his menu. “Good luck getting her to drink white, mate. She’s addicted to reds.”
“Oh, that must be why the wrackspurts are drifting toward you. They love red grapes.”
Blaise grinned at Luna as Hermione nodded uncomfortably. “No, it’s fine. I’ll…try it. Thank you, Blaise.”
A moment later, their server left with drink orders as they continued to peruse the menu.
“‘Mione, I don’t know what half of these things are. The whole bloody menu’s in French!”
“Their lamb is excellent. And their salmon as well.” Luna smiled dreamily and Fred attempted to smile back.
“You can’t have the lamb. It always upsets your stomach and I’m not babying you tonight.” Hermione’s attention never wavered from her menu and Blaise fought a chuckle.
Fred nodded absently, his brows knitting together as he grew frustrated. Hermione’s mouth opened as she leaned over to point. Fred snarled playfully. “If you’re going to point at a pasta dish, then you can order it yourself. You always steal half my dinner when I do that.”
She sat back huffily and turned her eyes back to her menu. Blaise cleared his throat and her eyes darted up to meet his gaze. “If I may, their duck is superb.”
She smiled brightly at him as Fred pouted beside her. “I can’t even tell which one says ‘duck’.”
Their waitress approached their table a moment later, wine glasses in hand. She stared bemusedly as Hermione bickered with Fred, then turned her attention toward Luna and Blaise.
She left a few moments later, stifling a smile when Hermione snapped an order for Fred as he pouted, his arms across his chest.
“So, Hermione. What is it that you do?”
“She reads. All day. That’s all she does.”
Hermione smacked her friend harshly as she muttered an expletive under her breath. “It’s called research, you prat! I’m very sorry about him. He’s out of sorts. I’ve been working with Mr. Malfoy on a new project, though I’m really not at liberty to discuss the details at present.”
Blaise raised a hand to wave it off. “Understood. Don’t trouble yourself.” He smiled again, gleaming white teeth flashing in the low light of the restaurant. “So I take it this is the new project that has Lucius and Draco up until all hours raving about their project manager?”
Hermione blushed brilliantly as she reached for her wine glass. “I don’t know about that. But what about you Blaise, what do you do?”
“Well, it all worked out! I mean, Luna and Blaise are really happy!”
“Oh! I didn’t tell you lot!” Draco straightened suddenly and they all looked his way. “Blaise flooed me yesterday from Venice. Apparently he and Luna eloped.”
A round of exclamations met his announcement as he grinned. “Yes, apparently Blaise proposed last week and Luna wasn’t concerned about a big wedding. Or I think he said he exact words were ‘an old traditional wedding or none at all’. He went for none at all.”
“Why? What’s wrong with a traditional wedding? Isn’t that what all pureblood birds are brought up to want?” Ron shared a confused look with Harry as Pansy collapsed across the latter’s lap.
“Do you know what she’s laughing about Gred?”
“Not in the least, Forge. What’s the deal, Munchkin?”
Hermione squirmed in his grip as he poked her ribs and she fought back a giggle. “Uh, the old traditions are all about nature. You frolic in the moonlight with nothing between you and your beloved and the beautiful nature around you.” She snorted and collapsed back into a fit of giggles as Ginny joined her laughter.
The men all glared at Draco, waiting for interpretation. “It’s a ceremony that takes place in the woods at midnight. And they’re naked.” Twin looks of horrified amusement graced Ron and Harry’s faces as George and Fred joined the women in laughter. “Their guests have to be starkers too. Hence why Blaise decided to forgo the trauma.”
The group continued chuckling as they settled slightly and Hermione flicked her wand toward the small stereo in the corner. Soft music filled the room as Ginny stood to use the loo and grab another butterbeer.
She plopped back on the floor a few minutes later and leaned her back against the couch beside Ron’s legs. “We’re not done with you two, you know. I just don’t understand how the smartest witch of the age could be so monumentally stupid.”
“Hey!” Hermione rolled her eyes at Fred’s outburst on her behalf.
“Honestly, Gred. When was the last time you slept alone?” George’s eyebrow raised and the duo flushed slightly.
“What? I have nightmares!”
“Hermione, you haven’t had nightmares in at least four years.” Harry dismissed her argument with a wave of his hand.
Hermione’s nose wrinkled slightly as she scowled at her pseudo-brother. “Well…I mean, really…”
“Don’t even bother denying it! Your bed hasn’t been slept in for months. The last time I stayed over I caught you sneaking into Fred’s room at one in the morning and found you both wrapped around each other like a pair of Snarfalumps.”
Ron grunted a protest. “I didn’t need to know that. Tell me they had clothes on.”
“Was that the morning I saw those gorgeous legs of yours ‘Mione? And those really delightful purple knickers with ‘Smack Me’ written across the bum?” George smirked as Hermione covered her face with her hands.
“That’s the last time I go shopping with you Pansy!”
“What? I happen to like the selection of undergarments constantly strewn about my room. Although I was worried that Fred was having an identity crisis until I caught you in his bed.”
Fred rolled his eyes at his twin.
“You’re telling me that in the almost nine years you’ve been sleeping together-”
“-you’ve never had any inclination of doing…more?” Harry raised an eyebrow as he stared at his friends.Hermione cleared her throat and turned a baleful glare toward her best friend.
“Eh. Not especially.” Fred shrugged and shifted in the chair.
“Really? A hot little number like Granger in your bed and you’ve never so much as had impure thoughts?” Draco asked skeptically. “I mean, I prefer Theo’s equipment and all, but I wouldn’t kick her out of bed.”
“Thanks, Draco. Much appreciated.”
“I’m not saying we’ve never been…affected by the other. But that’s just a natural bodily function.”
“Bloody hell, you’ve spent too much time with her!” Ron let his head roll back against the couch and Fred rolled his eyes.
“I don’t mind if he has a wank if he needs it. Why would I mind?” Hermione’s puzzled expression met Pansy’s amused one. “If I’m already in bed, I’ll just turn over. Though I do tend to tease him if he takes too long.”
“Oh bugger off! It’s not as if you don’t have your own fun. Remember when we expanded the Wonder Witch line a few years ago, Georgie?” Fred waited as his brother nodded. “The Smart Wand?”
“That was Hermione’s idea?!”
Hermione blushed as Ginny and Pansy cracked up. “No, it was inspired by a Muggle toy she has.”
George’s ginger eyebrows hit his hairline as Harry, Ron and Draco glared in confusion.
“You’re all moved in, right?” Ginny’s question caught Hermione off guard and she nodded offhandedly, still slightly mortified at Fred’s elucidation of her masterbatory habits. “Well I can always show you guys. I’ll go get it.”
“NO!” Fred doubled over in laughter as Hermione shot off his lap and brought Ginny down in a truly stupendous tackle. The girls scrapped for a few moments before Ginny relented and they both returned to their original places.
Harry huffed in indignation. “Are we ever going to find out about this Smart Wand?!”
Pansy whispered in his ear a moment and Harry’s face flushed brightly before it sunk into a slightly green pallor. “I did not need to know that. Hermione!”
Ron and Draco glanced between the two as Fred and George cracked up. “Oh, for goodness sake! It’s the magical equivalent of a Muggle vibrator.” At their blank expressions Hermione groaned. “A phallic shaped toy that vibrates. It’s meant for…you know…”
Draco choked on the mouthful of whiskey and let out a strangled ‘Gak!’ as he finally caught on.
“Can we please drop it?!?” Hermione’s plaintive cry only spurred them into more laughter and Fred squeezed her momentarily tighter.
“Meant for wha-no, nevermind. I’m not sure I really want to know anymore.” Harry shook his head violently at Ron’s words. “But what about fourth year? That’s when this all started.” Ron scowled, remembering how angry he’d been when his brother seemingly stole the girl he liked right out from under him.
“Oh that? I’ve told you guys! It was just to get Viktor away. He was…creepy.”
“Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use Ron or Harry as a buffer? Seems like a mighty convenient excuse if you ask me.” Pansy sing songed as Hermione grabbed a pillow off the floor behind her to throw.
“Potter, control your woman!” Fred commanded teasingly as he tugged Hermione further against his chest and rested his chin on her shoulder.
Pansy shot a decidedly unladylike gesture his way and he stuck his tongue out in retaliation.
“And what about this?” Hermione watched Ginny wave her hand spastically at her and Fred. “All the touching and kisses and hand holding and snuggling. That’s couple stuff.”
“Why is that reserved for couples? Maybe I’m just a tactile person.” Hermione spat angrily, annoyed at her friends for continuing their questioning.
“I could believe that of Fred. But not you, ‘Mione. I can count on one hand the number of times you’ve willingly hugged me. You don’t randomly kiss Harry and you definitely don’t hold my hand. And we’re your best friends.”
“To be fair, I lose her in crowds if I’m not holding onto her.” Fred explained patiently, as if that should be blatantly obvious.
“Maybe I don’t hold your hand because it’s always clammy and sweaty! Ever think of that, Ronald?” He just smiled at her and raised an eyebrow as he lifted his nearly forgotten bottle of butterbeer to his lips. “And I can’t help it if I’m short, you giant!” Fred laughed.
“Not to mention that you’re both useless if you’re fighting.” George glanced at his brother. “Honestly the number of times I’ve had to shove you both in a closet…”
“Oh, you too?” Harry grinned conspiratorially.
Ginny and Pansy giggled.
“My father too.” All eyes turned toward Draco as he spoke. “Last week in fact. That day we were going over the financial reports?”
Hermione and Fred rolled their eyes and pouted.
“Yes, G ranger couldn’t concentrate on the simplest tasks and kept grumbling under her breath about ‘that ruddy bastard’. When Weasley showed up with some reports Father claimed Hermione had forgotten, Mother lured him inside with biscuits. Then Father tossed them both in the foyer broom cupboard until they made up. Took two bloody hours!”
“If I’m to suffer this abuse, I really would like some of that delicious libation, darling. Please?” Hermione rolled her eyes at Fred’s pout.
“No. Not tequila! I’ll take pictures this time.”
“Off topic again! Back to you stubborn prats.” Ginny glared at Hermione’s grumbled ‘you’re one to talk’ and continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted. “Why can’t you just admit it? You’ve been dating for years. But without sex.”
Pansy wrinkled her nose. “Oh sweetie! That’s tragic. I can’t imagine going that long without some lovin’.”
“That’s not even a little bit true! We-” Fred squawked indignantly as Hermione twisted around to grab his nipple viciously through his shirt.
“Oh, ho! What’s this now?!” Harry latched onto the idea and leaned forward, nearly vibrating in teasing anticipation.
“Fred Weasley! I swear if you…oh bugger.” Hermione sighed and squeezed her eyes shut as her friends laughed and George catcalled.
“Why are you even acting surprised? Especially after what you tried to do!”
George grinned wolfishly. “Oh you know you loved it, darling. And oh how wonderful those few minutes were!” His handsome face morphed quickly into a scowl. “Until then end, that is. Bloody woman!”
“Do tell, Weasley. I must admit I’m curious now.” Draco refilled his tumbler again and leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees.
“It was about three years ago, I’d say. Right around the time Hermione started working in the shop. I was trying to get them to admit their feelings.”
“Brilliant idea, Georgie. I do believe I’m still picking glitter out of my hair.”
Hermione harrumphed and turned to their friends as the twins bickered quietly. “He locked Fred in the supply cabinet at the shop-”
“What is it with shoving everyone in cupboards and cabinets?!”
Ginny snorted. “Oh, you’re just jealous cause no one wants to get in one with you, Ron.”
“Anyway, he stupefied Fred and tossed him in there…spilling a cauldronful of glitter, by the way. And then tried to come onto me in some weird attempt to get me to admit I had feelings for Fred.”
Fred chuckled and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “There’s no fooling you, Munchkin.” He turned his attention toward the group. “She’s always known the difference between us. Though I’ve got no bloody idea how.”
Hermione twisted an invisible key on her mouth and giggled when long, elegant fingers dug into her ribs.
“How exactly did he come onto you?” Pansy raised an eyebrow and smacked at Harry as he tried to shush her.
“Really, Pans? I’ve already had to hear about her knickers asking people to smack her and her ridiculously ludicrous…wand.” Harry gulped audibly and fought to shake off the apparent nausea.
“You sure you wanna share this story, Forge? As I remember, it didn’t exactly end well for you.” George snarled at his twin as Hermione giggled.
“What are we missing?” Draco’s perplexed question only spurred Hermione’s giggles on.
“We’ve never shagged. But sometimes-”
“Once in a fucking blue moon!”
“-Yes, thank you, Munchkin. Once every so often we tend to get a little drunk and…almost…shag.” Fred shrugged unconcernedly.
“And how exactly does George fit into this? Or will this scar me for life?” Ginny gagged mockingly as she thought about the possible answers to her hastily posed question.
“George got it in his head that we needed a ‘shove in the right direction’. So he decided to try to masquerade as Fred and tried to seduce me.”
“So what happened when he finally came clean? I mean, did you-I mean…was he…” Ron stammered and let his question putter out.
“What do you mean when he came clean?! I may have been utterly pissed, but I knew it was him the second he pretend stumbled into the flat!”
“How? Even Mrs. Weasley can’t tell them apart most of the time.” Pansy’s eyes bounced between the twins, trying to pick out any minute differences. “Yeah, I don’t know how you do it.”
Hermione shrugged, a light flush suffusing her cheeks. “I just do.”
“So, what happened with George then?”
“That’s the brilliant part! Would you like to tell them?” Fred motioned to his brother who glared at him. “Well, you were the one so intent on sharing, brother of mine.”
“Alright, fine. Everything was going swimmingly and she was eating it up. I was charming and she was coy and then she took off her pants-”
“Oh, shut it Harry.”
“-and then, the tricky little minx, decided she needed a striptease from her ‘Big Bad Freddie’.” George scowled at the young witch who blew him a raspberry in return. “I got down to my pants when she comes strutting up, swaying those hips at me. I almost lost it when she draped herself over me and started snogging me.”
“This story just keeps getting better. Cheers, Granger!” She blew Draco an air kiss and they laughed as George scowled at the both of them.
“That doesn’t exactly sound like a bad memory. Except for the fact that you were pretending to be Fred.” Pansy cast an appraising eye over her friend. “Yeah, no. I wouldn’t kick her outta bed.”
Harry gasped dramatically and playfully shoved Pansy away. He leaned sideways, draping himself over his best friend’s lap. “Ron! She’s broken my heart! I think I may need comfort!”
“Well, aren’t you amusing when you drink, Potter.”
“Well, the really amusing part is what I did to him then. Care you share?” George shook his head stubbornly at Hermione as she smirked.
“This darling gem of a girl then proceeded to apparate directly into the middle of Diagon Alley, shove my bastard twin away and apparated herself right back home. In the middle of the evening rush. In a snow drift.”
Laughter erupted and George stood quickly, retreating to the kitchen for a moment. Hermione stood automatically as Fred followed his brother. She rolled her eyes. “And I always thought Fred was the drama queen.”
Draco chuckled again as he set his tumbler on the coffee table with a note of finality. He stood and swayed for a moment before he caught himself on the arm of Hermione’s chair. “Well, lads and ladies. I must take my leave.” The bow he tried to pull off was slightly diminished as he tipped sideways into Hermione, knocking them both into a heap of laughter on the floor.
“Your mum’s gonna kill me.”
“Oh no, fine lady.” Draco laughed as he staggered toward the fireplace and grabbed a pinch of floo powder. “It’s Theo you should watch out for! He warned you last time you sent me home drunk!”
He was gone in a flash of green, his drunken laughter echoing behind him.
“And on that note, I think we best be off as well. We’ve got some…cleaning thing or something to do in the morning and mum wanted us home early.” Ron stood and pulled Ginny to her feet.
“He never listens.” Ginny shook her head and shoved her brother toward the fireplace. “We’re helping Luna’s dad with some kind of snarfblatt infestation-or something.”
She grabbed Hermione in a tight hug and left, Ron following behind with an awkward wave.
“Is George gonna be alright? Should we stay?” Harry’s voice, laced with worry, brought Hermione’s attention to the remaining couple. She smiled softly at her best friend and the girl who’d somehow captured his heart.
“No, thank you though. He’ll be fine. You’ll see.” She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. “I may have to watch what I eat and double check all my toiletries for the next few weeks, but it’ll be fine. Don’t be surprised if I suddenly have blue hair or something though.”
“Toiletries?” Pansy’s look of confusion just sparked a round of giggling from Hermione as Harry herded her toward the fireplace.
“I’ll explain later.” He reached an arm out and pulled Hermione toward him, pressing a soft kiss to the top of her head. “Wow. Fred’s right.” He smirked as she glanced up at him. “You really are tiny.”
She shooed him out and Pansy pressed a quick kiss to her cheek as she followed her boyfriend home, laughing at the best friend’s antics.
Hermione sighed in relief. She glanced around their flat and paused for a moment to survey the aftermath of the party.
She rolled her eyes a moment later as she heard what sounded like a scuffle in the kitchen. Her giggles trailed in her wake as she marched into the kitchen to break up whatever mischief the twins had managed to find.