It just all spilled out onto the page! I think the twins made me write it - I've been dying to slash them forever, but GoF definately helped, with their awkward yumminess. I'm hugely hugely proud of this, purely because it just spilled out of my head onto the page, as if I was a fluent writer who could conjure ideas in a second and spill them. Apologies for the character death, I hate myself for it.
Disclaimer: I don't own or claim to own the characters, setting, or any other Harry Potter material. All the property of scary multinational types.
Warnings: Character death, incest, sex, angst, both het and slash.
Spoilers: None at all that I can think of. Please don't shout at me if you find any...
Concrit hugely appreciated.
Hermione has always had a soft spot for the twins. She has no lust for power, but she loves skill, and she relishes in them their ability to take life so simply. Everyone is surprised when they find out, each in their different ways, that Hermione has seen the twins at least once a month since they left Hogwarts. She goes for tea, tells them about her dates and hears in turn about their conquests. She is the first person they tell about their penchants for sleeping with men - they never need to tell each other. Only with Hermione do they calm a little, relax their incessant rhyming and scheming. Hermione is receptive to their laughter, but she does not encourage their habit of masking everything with silliness.
She likes to stay for dinner, to marvel at her own pleasure in seeing a man cook, to laugh at them fighting over what to make and how, which they will always do, even when they have already agreed a menu. She compliments their prettiness in a way they shyly return, helps them with spells when they need a new perspective, does the books for them when they get distracted by the excitement of the workshop. It is Hermione who helps them decorate their flat, who alone knows that when the family leave, the flat screen televisions and smooth leather couches are replaced by a crackly Wizard Wireless and huge saggy old sofas rescued from a local pub, faded colour splashed with beer and mismatching cushions.
It is a month after Ron dies when Hermione kisses George. For the first time in their lives, the twins have a burden so heavy they cannot share it with each other, and when Hermione arrives, hair wild and mascara down her cheeks, they are in separate rooms. George stands in the kitchen, his hands flat on the bottom of a sink full of water that became cold a long time ago, staring as though out of the window, though condensation runs in thick rivulets and distorts the light from outside. For a full minute after Hermione has walked through the door, he does not turn to face her. When he does, his eyes are wide with horror, and salt from dried tears is all over his cheeks and chin, right down his neck. He does not move towards her, so still that if he blinks she misses it, and it is as though her arrival, her presence, has renewed the pain, brought it back blow after blow.
Hermione switches off the glaring kitchen light, and pulls him into her arms. He stands, arms by his sides, sobbing into her shoulder. Eventually his arms pull her close, and he gulps words. They are no comfort to either of them.
"He was too young." Hermione, despite every promise to herself, is crying again, and even the act of crying itself hurts now.
"I know, George. I know." And she is incoherent too, crying and leaning into him until they are both sat on the floor, crumpled forward awkwardly into each other's arms.
George tilts his head and presses his lips against her neck, wet with his tears and hers. He kisses slowly up to her chin, along her jawline. She shudders, a heady, thick, moan escaping her bitten lips, and meets his mouth. She knows how it will be, but still the tenderness, the achingly soft touch, makes her whimper, lean closer. George runs his hands up to her shoulders, and gently pushes her away.
"Fred." It is all he needs to say. Fred needs them. Fred is George. They cannot do this, cannot know this new thing, when Fred is not there.
Fred is curled in the corner of the living room, a cushion clutched to his chest. He is asleep, though tears run freely down his cheeks. Hermione feels the familiar rush of warmth as George stoops and gently pulls Fred into his arms, carries him wordlessly to bed. He lays him down on his own bed, covers him with a blanket Hermione can tell Molly made - it is deep russet, with a thick 'G' on it, as if to remind whoever ends up sleeping with George of his identity. She thinks she remembers the twins harassing Molly over this subject with mock indignance, but it is late and she is not prepared to think about Molly, not yet.
George gently guides her onto the bed, and lies down next to her, unusually careful not to touch her. She realises that for once in his life, George is unsure of the boundaries, and wary of establishing them.
She smiles wearily to herself, and pulls his arm round her. He curls his knees so that his body fits against hers, and soon enough he is snoring lightly in her ear. She sleeps fitfully, dreading the morning, with its unflinching light.
Fred is the first to wake. He wakes with an arm resting on Hermione's side, his fingers and George's casually tangled together. He relaxes, lets the morning tears run their course, and waits for the others to wake. George is the next, but his sudden, abrupt waking startles Hermione into wakefulness too. All the twins' smoothness and charm cannot cope with the awkwardness of the situation, but Hermione's heart solves the problem. She throws her arms around Fred, in a flurry of "so, so sorry" and "shouldn't have left you both alone" and "so wrong". They slowly melt into one confused phrase, apology and explanation and grief, until Fred squeezes her close then gently pulls away.
Hermione makes them both shower and, after much cajoling, they shave and find the few clean clothes left. She charms the rest to wash, and sets about clearing the neglected flat while the twins make short work of breakfast. They are both quiet, and their faces still bear the bruised look of weeks of crying, but today, it seems to hurt less to breathe. They make eye contact with each other for the first time in too long, and though conversation is brief, it is a relief to hear each other's voices.
The whole morning has gone by before Hermione steels herself to go into the shop. It has been closed since they got the news, a small sign saying 'closed indefinitely due to family bereavement' a testament to the impossibility of using language to express grief. It should, Hermione thinks, read 'closed forever, because life simply cannot go on without his smile', but still, no one would understand. She charms away the dust and cobwebs, carefully locks those potions and powders that have gone dangerously out of date into lead boxes, and phones Seamus.
Seamus agrees to come in and cover the shop for limited opening times. He arrives by floo in the middle of the afternoon, grave and pale. He has worked with the twins before, during summer holidays and after leaving Hogwarts, and he sets about replacing spoiled stock and renewing displays quietly. The shock of seeing the shop closed seems to have brought the reality of Ron's death to Seamus with a blow, and twice Hermione hears him cursing as another well-known potion goes wrong and explodes. He finishes the job all the same, and tells her he will be back tomorrow to open up. Hermione writes up new opening times, and sends an Owl to Dumbledore. She is sure he will find a way of telling the students of the opening hours of the strictly out-of-bounds joke shop he so loves.
By the time it gets dark outside, the flat is clean, though Hermione cannot bring herself to switch the lights on. She digs out candles from various cupboards and boxes, placing them on saucers and plates everywhere. In the warm light, the twins cook her dinner, though there is little discussion about what to cook and how. Hermione sets about raiding their drinks cupboard, coming up with a few expensive bottles of wine they'd have been saving to impress Molly with (Molly, oh poor, poor Molly), and a cheap one to add to the bubbling bolognaise. She remembers teaching them to cook this, George's face when he stole a bay leaf and ate it, Fred burning two batches of onions before he got it right. She forgets how many memories they share, how much life they have had together. How easy it is to lose all that.
The tears are bubbling up again before she can stop them, and with their weird sense, the twins are by her side before she even starts to cry. They are holding her and drawing her in, enclosing her in warmth and strength. She is lets herself feel the guilty thrill of enjoying their masculinity, even through the tears. They subside as tears always do, but she is left drained and bewildered. They are standing in the space between the low table in the living room (Hermione tried to explain the concept of a coffee table, but the twins got deliberately confused and insisted on calling it the beer table.) and the archway into the small kitchen. It is a strange, exposed place, and they are standing too close, too still. She is aware that they have not moved away. George’s hand hovers by her arm, so close she thinks she should be able to feel it, and she can feel Fred's breath on her neck. She leans back into Fred slowly, tentatively, and raises her eyes to meet George's. She notes the way that George's hand slides over her arm, his brushing fingers lingering when they slide over Fred's, the way her own breathing deepens when Fred moves aside her hair and kisses the tense muscle between shoulder and neck.
She wants to tense when Fred slides his fingers under the soft wool of her jumper, wants to tell them that it's too much, too soon, but it isn't, it's right. He pulls her jumper over her head, and she turns to face him. She is not sure whether he is surprised that she lets him, but his kiss is deep and thorough. George is next, pulling her t-shirt off smoothly, and she chuckles a little at how easily Fred undoes her bra. They both step away a little, and she feels the warm comfort of being sexy, being admired. They both take off their own tops, and, all three in just jeans, Hermione leads them to the sofa. She is thankful for the fact they've been walking around barefoot, having never quite mastered the art of looking sexy whilst taking off socks, and she mentally praises whichever witch was brilliant enough to have come up with the spell for keeping legs smooth. She has lost a little weight, and enjoys the way her jeans slip off her hips when Fred pulls, while George, kneeling behind her, wraps his arms around her stomach and then slowly slides his hands to her breasts.
Fred leans towards her, and she thinks she is going to kiss her, but, as she tilts her head back, he leans over her and kisses George. One of them makes a surprised noise, but neither moves away, and she finds herself deeply thrilled. It is a voyeuristic, private pleasure, but she is grateful when Fred runs one hand down to her right nipple, alternately smoothing it and pinching it until she is squirming in George's lap. She doesn't want to be forgotten in this revelation.
Georges shuffles her out of the way while he pulls off his own jeans, and Fred does the same. She is suddenly worried by the logistics of it, until George pulls her towards him and murmurs.
"Me first." It is simple, a statement rather than a demand, and Fred settles back, on hand on his cock. She wants to feel a little shocked, a little used, but instead Hermione feels sexy, in control. The idea of Fred watching, wanting her, is hot in her mind as George slides his hand between her legs. He flicks his thumb over her clit until she is squirming, then pushes it inside her. She's moaning before she knows that she has reacted, and then George is lifting her, lowering her onto the sofa, with pillows under her head. She watches Fred move to the sofa opposite before George starts to push into her. It is hot and their breathing is fast and shallow. She relishes the strength of his thighs against hers, the deep thrust of him, the way her own hips react. He meets her gaze and his pupils are huge, his irises hazel rims around a heady darkness, half-lidded and fringed with thick lashes. She bites at his jaw as he speeds up, pushing into her harder and faster, reaching between them to stroke her lazily until she comes, tight spasms around him, and he cries out into her shoulder, hoarse and deep, shaking when he steps away.
Fred is slow, gentle. He kisses her everywhere, and she is glad she is too turned on to resist, because George is watching and Fred is licking her and she's not sure anything this good will ever happen again. Fred pulls her onto his lap, pushes into her slowly, almost teasingly, but when she flicks his hips, he cannot help but respond. She rides him hard, finding her own pleasure, her own pace, and all too soon he is holding her hips down while he pushes up into her. He is too achingly deep, a twisting, awkward pleasure, and she comes as he does, her own fingers on her nipples, biting her lip hard.
She lies for a long time with Fred, dozing, until George, ready again and insistent, takes them both up to bed. Moments flash at her in the thick haze of arousal and sex and sleep and being woken again and again in a thousand intimate ways. George pins Fred down next to her, kisses him until Fred arches up and their cocks meet. They moan into each others mouths, and Hermione finds herself sliding her fingers between her legs. Later, while George pushes his fingers inside her, Hermione watches Fred tentatively stroke George's cock. When she wakes in the morning, their fingers are once again tangled together, resting on her shoulder, and Fred has a dark love bite on his shoulder that she's almost sure she didn't put there.
She packs her cases before they wake, then goes to shower, newly unsure of this body that has done so much. She aches a little, and performs the anti-pregnancy charm twice, for good measure. When McGonagall told them, thin-lipped and stern, that they need only perform the spell once ("Once, ladies, no matter what shenanigans you've been up to"), Hermione's pretty sure she hadn't banked on those particular shenanigans.
When she steps out of the shower, her cases have been comprehensively unpacked and stowed away, and the twins have a shadow of their old grins. She manages almost a whole sentence about her work, before Fred kisses her and George hands her a cup of tea.
Tomorrow, they will go and see Molly. Today is theirs. After that, a funeral, a shop to run, a research project to finish. Maybe she will move in. Maybe they will share a bed and lives and futures, or maybe she will come and see them once a month, and hear of their latest crushes and tell them of dates with appropriate, well-qualified men. Maybe.