Saturday, 28 July, 2007
I’m not entirely certain when it all began…wait, that’s not right.
But I DO know when it all came to a head: On that cursed Holiday to Italy.
Theoretcially, it sounded like a grand plan: Sunshine, endless lambrusco, garlic-crusted shrimp pasta, and more gorgeous, olive-skinned Italian boys than one could shake a wand at.
Merlin, now that I think of it, the whole thing was a tailor-made recipe for disaster. I mean really, four Weasleys and their sundry partners, all squashed together in a picture-perfect villa on the Mediterranean.
We were stark raving delusional, we were.
Honestly, though, we couldn't rightfully be blamed for our collective lapse in judgnemt, as it had barely been a year since Harry'd ended the War by offing you-know-who.
Oh, bugger it all…Voldemort!
There, I’ve said it, and I’ll say it some more: Voldemort!
That’s better. So I digress.
Right. After six horrible years battling Death Eaters, Harry finally destroys Voldie, blows him to fuckin’ bits, truth be told. I didn’t see it, as I was a bit busy taking care of Bellatrix at that precise moment, but Fred and Ron were witness to what happened.
Ronniekins still whinges that he’s picking little bits of Snakeface out of his hair to this very day.
Even though I didn’t get to see the final explosion, I’ve heard about it. So much so I can probably quote the whole story verbatim.
The condensed version: Granger and Ronnie and Harry, the bloody Golden Trio, had managed to hunt down Snakeface’s Horcrux thingos, destroying all of them, save one. That was the one hidden inside Nagini. How in Godric’s name they rigged that disgusting reptile to blow up I’ll never know.
It was incredibly messy, but effective.
Seemed as though everything was blowing up those days.
Anyway, things eventually returned to some semblance of order.
Proclamations were issued, monuments erected, and everyone was suitably dour and introspective. Slowly but surely, the streets of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley became lively, bustling places once more. Scrimgeour finally pulled his head from his arse to become a respectable Minister for Magic, surprising himself most of all. Kingsley and his Aurors rounded up the remaining Death Eaters in short order, and as an extra special bonus, Rita The Skank Skeeter was sacked from The Prophet and sent packing, her bloody auto-quill hopefully lodged where the sun never shines.
Freddo and I re-opened the Wheezes, Ron made an honest girl of Hermione, and Harry apologised to Ginny. Well, more than apologised, probably, but I’m not privy to the sordid little details.
Suffice to say that after the War, we all got back to business.
Which brings us to Italy. Good intentions. Well-deserved Holiday.
A bit pretentious, and somewhat out of repair, but okay nonetheless, boasting a thriving wizard's quarter. It was Harry’s idea to go there. Featured in a Muggle film or some such.
Our Harry. So affected.
I should’ve known we were in for it when we all so readily agreed on the destination.
I mean think about it: Freddo and me, Ron and Granger, and Harry and Ginevra.
I can still recall it all as if it were yesterday…
~~~ * ~~~
“Nice mouth, bro,” I say as Fred stumbles on the raised threshold of the doorway between the kitchen and sitting room. Again.
“Sodding thing!” Fred rails, staring at the offensive piece of woodwork. “This place is a deathtrap. We should file a report with the Italian Bureau of Magical Affairs.”
I shake my head, leaning on the wrought iron railing of our villa’s second floor terrace. It’s really a nice place, all terrazzo floors and stucco with ornate terra cotta accents. Plenty of room, tastefully decorated, breathtaking views and big, bright and airy. Not at all like good old Britain. A bit too cheerful for my tastes, but certainly not the ramshackle dump Fred makes it out to be. As he shambles over to me, I look out over the pool and patio below. “Have a nice swim?”
“Ruddy pool heater’s broken,” Fred grumbles. “A simple warming charm would solve the problem, if not for ridiculous Italian statutes preventing the use of magic in non-designated areas. Balls!” He leans on the railing as well, his shoulder-length hair tied into a tight ponytail.
I like it that way on him.
My hair’s a lot shorter.
He likes it that way on me.
Smashing when a plan works out.
“Is there anything else that you care to find fault with? Because you‘ve been acting as if you‘ve a pregnant skrewt crammed up your bum ever since we arrived.” I finish my statement without looking at him, and by the sound of his grunt, I can just imagine the expression on his face. I’m actually watching as Harry splashes about in the pool, swimming laps or some such.
“As a matter of fact— ” he starts to say.
I turn and stifle his grousing with my mouth; he pauses only a second before he pushes his tongue past my lips and thrusts his hips into mine. One good thing about fucking your twin brother: everything’s at exactly the right height. I reach around and shove my hands down and inside Fred’s bright orange Speedos, massaging his supple, furry arse like there’s no tomorrow. He loves it when I do that.
“Mmmmphfffmmth,” he says.
I respond by grinding my nicely hardening erection into his.
Fred’s hands slide under my tank top, quickly pushing it up.
I’m about to raise my arms to facilitate the process when a voice calls out from below.
Fred pulls away and we both turn in unison to stare down at the pool. Harry’s standing there, his long mane of black hair slicked back, his baggy Puddlemere practice trunks barely clinging to his hips. They’re hanging on him so low that I can make out the faintest wisps of his pubic hair sticking up above the waistband. What’s holding the shorts up is a mystery… well, maybe not.
The Boy Who Lived is sporting enough wood to put a beater bat factory out of business.
Fred’s chuckling. “Hey, what!” he calls down.
Harry plants his hands on his bare hips.
His completely bare, wonderfully narrow hips.
“Don’t mind me,” Harry says, more than a bit petulantly.
Fred gestures vaguely. “Well, don’t just stand there. C’mon up!”
Here’s where things get a bit wonky.
Fred and me…well, it doesn’t take a class one Divinator to figure that we’re together. Have been ever since we left Hogwarts to start Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Don’t ask me exactly how or why; some things just are, and that’s me and Fred. I’m queer and happily so; Freddo says he’s not and that he’s just into me. I’m not going to argue the point, as it’s rather moot. All I know is that I’ve seen Freddo ogling the boys on more than one occasion, and he sure as shite can suck a gnome through a garden hose.
Just think about it.
So we’re together. Two short, stocky, freckled and furry ginger-haired twins. Funny how things go, innit?
We fit together sorta like Ron and Miss Know-It-All.
Wait, make that Mrs. Know-It-All. Granger, to be precise. Yup, kept her maiden name. Wouldn't even do the hyphenated thing. Married a Weasley, wouldn't take the name. Mum's still put out by it... me too, I reckon.
Right, where was I?
Ahh, Harry and Ginevra. Let’s just say analogies to oil and water don’t even begin to cover it. Lighted match and Muggle petrol, more like.
So that’s what makes this next part so odd.
“What’re you doing?” I ask, unable to keep the incredulity from threading through my voice. I look back to the patio, and Harry’s already long gone, nothing left to mark his presence but some wet footprints.
Fred pulls a face as he adjusts himself. “What do you mean? You want him to come up, don’t you?”
Cue that weird Muggle Twilight Zone music.
“Are you bats? Harry? With us?”
Fred stares at me as if I’d sprouted antennae. And I know for a fact that I haven’t, at least not since that last disastrous test of our Mosquito Marvels. One of those bright ideas of ours that never really worked out.
“Blimey, Gorge,” he says as he carefully navigates into the kitchen. “Not with us. With you. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about the bistro the other night?” He returns to the living room with three hard butterbeers.
And yeah, I had forgotten. Too much wine, I suppose. That, or I’d intentionally blocked the memory. “So?” I say as Fred tosses me a cold, brown bottle.
“Like I've been saying, Ickle Harry’s been staring at you ever since we arrived here, mate.” Fred winks for emphasis. “Big time.”
“Nonsense,” I mutter, tugging at the waistband of my suddenly too small yellow Speedos.
“He’s been checking out your arse, sure as I’m a Weasley,” Fred shoots back, hefting his butterbeer and taking a huge swallow.
“You‘re barmy,” I insist, waving my free hand wildly as if the doing of it will clear things up. “Harry's most definitely not staring at my arse.”
Fred nods vigorously. “He is.”
Further scintillating discourse is interrupted by the sound of the doorknob of the villa’s front door turning back and forth. Fred and I exchange looks, and the next second, someone raps firmly on the heavy mahogany door.
“Hey, mates, door's locked! Do a bloke a favour and let me in, yeah?” Harry’s muffled, clearly anxious voice vibrates through the heavy mahogany planks.
“Oh, Hell’s Harpies,” I say, popping the cap of my butterbeer and guzzling most of it down.
I’d like to make things perfectly clear and say that I’m not, nor have I ever been, carrying a torch for Ickle Harry. Sure, he’s one hot little number, all short, nicely muscled deliciousness, but I’m with Freddo. I know it sounds totally off, completely sick, twisted, and what have you, but Fred’s my Yin, the bread to my butter, the reflection in the mirror, the best part of me, made manifest and sent by Merlin himself. Okay, so perhaps that’s a bit overdoing things, but that’s how I feel. I’ve never wanted anyone else like I want him, and as far as I know, neither has Fred.
Until now. I mean then.
Fred rolls his eyes and moves toward the door. “Don’t know why you insist on playing dumb, bro. Harry clearly fancies you, Godric only knows why.”
I leap across the room and clamp my hand on Fred’s shoulder. “Hold on there, mate,” I say, yanking him backward and half-way about. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Fred sighs heavily and gestures widely. Some butterbeer sloshes out onto the tile. “Are you forgetting our little chat in the loo at the bistro the other night?” He blows out a breath and nods as Harry continues to pound on the door.
Right. The Chat.
I’d forgotten. Again.
…so we’d all gone out to this bistro on our first night in Sanremo. DeGennaro’s. Nice joint, for a Muggle restaurant. And our server was definitely a family member, and I don’t mean of the Weasley persuasion, either. At any rate, the food was good, the wine cheap and plentiful, and before long we all were flouncing about to the contemporary Italian music blaring from the jukebox.
Ron and Hermione were plastered together and looked as if they were trying to suck out each other’s livers through their mouths. Freddo and I were doing our best to impress our server, while Harry kept moving further and further away from Ginny as the night progressed. Things get a bit hazy at that point, though I vaguely recall Fred, Harry and I making total arses of ourselves on the tiny dance floor while Ginny, Hermione and Ronnniekins glared at us from their seats.
A bit later, Fred and I ended up in the loo, debating which one of us had the nicer arse. Frankly, I’m of the opinion that both of our, um, assets are quite spectacular, and I’d be hard pressed to choose one over the other. Fred, however, convinced that his bum is better, proceeded to yank down his denims and insisted that I do the same.
For some reason I acquiesced, and there we were, drunk as squibs, staring at our naked bums in the mirror, side by side in an Italian bistro’s loo.
As if on cue, Harry had burst through the door, his green eyes heavy-lidded and most definitely glassy.
They flew wide, though, at the sight of our exposed twin arses. Honestly, I don’t know who wouldn’t be impressed with that particular vista. Not to sound incredibly pompous, but Fred and I are both rather fit. Folks have told us so.
At any rate, I’d yanked my denims up in no time flat, but Freddo just stood there, his hands on the wash basin, a crooked grin plastered on his face. I watched in horror as my brother wiggled his bum suggestively, and our Harry actually shook his head and glanced over to me.
“Nice bum, George,” he’d said before lunging into the nearest stall and horking up his fettuccine alfredo.
“See? Told ya,” Fred commented triumphantly before yakking up his shrimp primavera into the sink.
Okay, the bistro.
So that’s sorted.
“Hey, Earth to George!” Fred stares at me while Harry bangs on the door to our villa.
“Hey, let me in, yeah?” Harry yells, now more than a bit flustered. “I don’t have my pass key!”
Fred looks to me, almost as if he’s waiting for permission, and I wave my free hand vaguely. “Whatever. Open the bloody door before he disintegrates it,” I say in defeat.
“Watch now,” Fred says with a rather smug grin. “Harry’ll make straight for you and ignore me completely.” He twiddles with the doorknob and flings open the door.
Harry literally falls into the room, landing on the floor in a heap. He’s up in an instant, and he pushes the fringe away from his glasses as he picks himself up and moves toward me, blustering past Fred.
Fred mouths ‘Told you’ and shoves one of the bottles of beer right at Harry, who takes it without even looking at Fred.
“You’re welcome,” Fred says, winking at me.
“Yeah, sure,” Harry says absently, his emerald eyes locked on me, his swim trunks riding obscenely low on his hips, his state of arousal plain as the nose on a house elf's face.
I shift about, slightly uncomfortable under his intense scrutiny, and I drain the remainder of my butterbeer, trying for all the world to keep calm.
“Cheers,” Fred says, upending his own bottle as Harry pops the cap on his.
“Here’s to it,” Harry says, taking a deep swallow. He’s standing barely six inches away from me, and I can actually see the droplets of water dotting his smooth, slightly tanned skin. He’s nothing like the too thin, too pale little boy that he was those first years at Hogwarts. He’s filled out nicely, and my eyes follow the lush trail of dark hair that runs down the centre of his stomach, disappearing behind the waistband of his trunks.
“Well, I’ll be off,” I hear Fred say, as if from a great distance. I blink and look up, and Fred’s nearly out the door already. The git.
Harry takes another pull on his butterbeer. “Nice day for it,” he says, and my stomach flutters a bit at how low and throaty his voice is. So bloody ’come hither’ that I can barely stand it.
“Yeah, sure,” I stammer. I actually lift the butterbeer bottle to my lips before I realise that it’s empty.
Harry notices my nervousness and chuckles. He reaches for the empty bottle, his fingers languidly caressing and lingering over mine.
He grins that incredibly sexy, lopsided grin of his, and I can feel my cock hardening in my Speedos despite my best efforts to prevent it.
I mean, I really shouldn’t be letting this happen.
Harry sets both butterbeers down on a side table and sizes me up again, devouring me with his eyes, drinking me in from head to toe and back again. He licks his lips and steps toward me.
I unconsciously take a step backward, and he laughs.
“Don’t worry, George. I won’t bite. At least until you want me to,” he says, his voice going even deeper. He reaches out, running his fingers down the centre of my chest and stomach, stopping at the thin swatch of exposed skin where my tank top’s ridden upward. “Oh, so nice,” he breathes, sliding his fingers under the shirt and lifting it up. “Here, let me help you out of this.”
Part of me knows I should stop him, that allowing him to continue will totally cock things up and wreak havoc amongst our nicely paired off group.
What about Fred?
“Uh, what about— ” I mumble, but Harry stills my lips with a finger.
I keep telling myself to stop him from lifting the tank top over my head, that I should push him away instead of allowing him to wrap his arms around me, that I should protest loudly when his warm, full lips connect with mine. I should shove him away as he grinds his erection into me, and I shouldn’t let the wonderful sensation of our furred, sweaty and damp chests sliding together keep me from doing the right thing.
Nothing good will come of this, I chant silently, over and over as Harry’s tongue pushes into and claims my mouth.
Nothing good at all.
There’s no way Ginny’s wrath could be any worse than Voldemort’s.
At least I hope it isn’t.
~~~ * ~~~
Harry’s doing his best not to stare at his fiancée, intently studying the remains of his field greens. That, and covertly stroking his toes along my leg underneath the table.
“Ronald’s perfectly content to be head coach for the Cannons,” Hermione says as she cuts up Ron’s steak. “They’re doing quite well this year, aren’t they?”
“I can do that myself, Mione,” Ron says quietly, reaching for the knife and fork.
Hermione glares menacingly at Ron and continues dicing up his food.
I clear my throat and down the remains of my second Winchester’s Burly Brown Ale. I look over to Fred, who’s not being very successful at concealing his delight at my discomfort. I sit up and adjust my sunglasses, reaching for another Winchester’s from the cooler next to my chair. It’s another gloriously sunny day, albeit a bit windy for brunch down by the pool.
Ginny harrumphs. “It’s all well and good to have a hobby, and the boys do love their Quidditch, I understand that.”
“Here it comes,” Ron mumbles.
Harry sniggers and Hermione drops the cutlery with a clatter.
Ginny draws herself up, pushing her sunglasses down to the tip of her nose. “But it’s time to grow up and think about real careers, and not just playing about on broomsticks. I’m right, aren‘t I,” she finishes.
It’s a statement and not a question.
Ron folds his arms across his broad chest, looking for all the world like he’s nine years old again instead of twenty seven.
Fred decides to fake a coughing fit to cover his chuckles.
Hermione rolls her eyes and grabs her Pineappletini. “If they’re happy playing Quidditch, then that’s what they should do,” she says rather tersely. “Merlin knows they’ve earned the right to do what they like with themselves. We all have.” She glares at Ginny, who ignores the weight of the statement completely.
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Hermione,” Ginny proclaims, sitting up and yanking off her sunglasses, gesturing with them and looking for all the world like old Professor Binns in one of his rare, animated states. “After all they’ve been through with the War, all the hard work and danger and risk, it’s bloody daft to spend the rest of their lives chasing around snitches on ruddy broomsticks! Tremendous waste of potential, if you ask me.”
“Gin,” Ron says. “No one asked.”
Harry’s staring at the tabletop, a faint grin ghosting across his lips. He slouches down in his chair a bit more, and I can feel his toes tracing their way up my inner thigh.
“They could have any job they’d like is all I’m saying,” Ginny's droning on. “You could’ve been an Auror, Ron, if only you’d wanted it badly enough. Or at least worked for it.”
Ron opens his mouth to speak but Hermione beats him to it, leaning forward in her chair, her bushy eyebrows knitting together in an altogether menacing fashion.
“First off,” she says, the level of annoyance in her voice quite evident, “Ron was more than half-way through the Auror Training Program when he was contacted by the Cannons. His marks were quite good, if I may say. And secondly, it’s not at all your place to pontificate as to what is or isn’t an appropriate life choice for Ron or anyone else.”
Ginny stares off into space, nodding her head in a clearly condescending manner. “Yes, yes, free to choose, be yourself, do your own thing, be happy,” she replies, finally looking back at Hermione, whose cheeks are now flushed an unflattering pink. Ron’s mouth is still frozen open and Hermione reaches over, pushing up on his chin to close it. Ginny rambles on. “Archaic, self-serving drivel. Life choice? Oh, I'm so sick of all this Muggle touchy-feely nonsense.” She twirls a finger about, pointing it at Hermione. “You’re a librarian, right?”
One thing about our Gin: she’s nothing if not relentless. And it’s not the first time I wonder just how much of old Tom Riddle might have been left behind from that natty old diary of his.
Harry’s questing toes are gently stroking the inside of my upper thighs.
Hermione’s swiveled around in her chair to face Ginny. Uh-oh. This could get ugly.
“Archivist,” Hermione hisses out through clenched teeth. “There’s a vast difference.”
Ginny rolls her eyes. “If you say so, dear, but your situation also underscores my point quite nicely.”
Hermione's eyebrows dissappear into her hairline as Ron winces and shakes his head.
Freddo yelps out a little laugh and gestures for another Winchester’s. I pass him one as Hermione takes a deep breath.
Okay, time out.
The thing about our Ginevra: she really wasn't the same after her encounter with the diary. No, she hadn't become a miniature Tom Riddle or anything, but she'd definitely lost her innocence, in a most savage and traumatic manner. Also, the War had been especially hard on her. She'd barely survived a Death Eater raid that had wiped out her entire splinter cell. She'd spent nearly a year recuperating in St. Mungo's, and as trite as it sounds, she wasn't the same person after all that. She's our sister and we love her, but she can be a right nasty piece of work at times.
Right, now where were we?
“And what is it you do, dear?” Hermione trills, her tone dripping with sarcasm. “Masseuse or some such, isn’t it? Not exactly stretching oneself, are we?”
Ron groans aloud and closes his eyes.
“I’m the chief Massage Therapist and Primary Trainer for a well-regarded and rather selective spa and resort,” Ginny replies calmly.
“More like a brothel,” Fred whispers, and I chuckle a bit. Fortunately, we’re well below the girls’ radar.
“Well, my point,” Hermione continues, “is that your carreer path was your choice, no one else’s. You enjoy what you do, and it’s not for me to say whether you’re under-utilizing your skills or not.” She pauses a bit for emphasis. “As long as you’re happy with what you do, it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks.”
Ginny shakes her head slightly. “But I’ve the job I want. At the risk of being repetitive, I’ll say again that Ron and Harry have the clout to be extremely selective about their careers. They could be doing anything they like right now."
“They’re doing exactly that, if only you’d realise it!” Hermione huffs.
Harry presses his foot into the crotch of my shorts, and I subconsciously scoot down in my own chair to help things along.
Ron growls and stands up, his chair skittering across the patio and nearly falling into the pool.
“I’m heading into town. There’s a broom shop in the wizarding quarter that I’d like to check out, so if anyone’s interested, well.” He mouths something to Hermione, who nods and plops her napkin on the table.
“Sounds great, Ron. A nice walk will do wonders to work off this lunch.” She stands quickly, throwing me a glare that’s oddly threatening. I swear Granger’s been a crack Legilimens all along and just hasn’t mentioned it.
Ginny harrumphs and follows suit. “I believe I‘ll join you.”
Ron mutters something while Hermione rolls her eyes.
Ginny glares at Harry. “Well? What are you waiting for? Someone mentioned broomsticks, so I’d expect you’d be coming along.”
Harry looks up from his chair and smiles lazily. “No thanks, love. I think I’ll just hang about the villa and soak up some more sun.” He wiggles his toes and it’s all I can do to keep from gasping out loud. Good Godric, the things Harry can do with his toes. And tongue… and teeth.
Ginny frowns slightly, and for the briefest of moments, I almost think she’s going to yank Harry right out of his chair and drag him away. Fortunately, or not, she relents.
“Fine, fine. Just don’t forget the sun blocking charms. You burn very easily, you know, and I don't wish to spend the remainder of our Holiday listening to you whinge about sunburn.”
Yup, more than a bit of residual Riddle, apparently.
Harry nods his head vigorously as Ginny whirls about and storms across the patio to catch up with Ron and Hermione. Fred stands to leave as well.
“Reckon I’ll tag along. There’s a nifty looking apothecary near the broom shop that I’d like to explore.”
I’m about to voice my opinion when Harry interrupts.
“You can hang around with us if you’d like,” he says, his voice all low and throaty. He wiggles his toes some more, and my erection’s about ready to explode.
Fred shakes his head and grins. “Nah. You two need some time alone, to um, sort things through.” He slaps me on my back as he walks away. “I won’t be long, though,” he says with obvious innuendo.
“Hurry back,” Harry calls out, watching as Fred saunters off. He then sits up and leans on the table. “So, alone again. What to do.”
~~~ * ~~~
Of course the devil’s in the details, as they say, so one has to factor in a heretofore straight Harry Potter, a slightly amused but still confused brother, who also happens to be your lover, and a highly emotional sister who’s not gonna feature her fiancée switching teams mid-stream.
Especially after she’s picked out china patterns and registered at Harrod‘s.
Bullocks. Great, big, stinking, post-Quidditch bollocks.
I could’ve ended the whole thing, of course. Easy peasy. I could’ve just said no, folded my arms across my chest and resolutely sent Harry packing.
It would’ve been for the best for all concerned if I’d done that.
If I’d ignored that fire behind those emerald eyes of his, if I’d ignored that wry grin, those ruddy cheeks, those wonderfully broad shoulders, the lean, nicely hairy chest. Oh, yeah, if only I'd just ignored how totally fit and hot and drop dead gorgeous Hero Harry is, and sent him on his way, watching as his tight, round arse jounced away from me.
Circe’s tits, but who am I kidding?
I’ve missed the boat on that opportunity, I think. Shoulda played the hard arse right after Freddo opened that door to let a panting, horny, and incredibly aroused Harry into the room.
Yep, that was my best chance to put out the fire. Sure, I’ll admit that it was incredibly stimulating to have Harry make straight for me like that, his cock pointing right at me beneath his trunks, like some bizarre compass and I was North. I didn’t even bother to utter some false protest before I’d allowed him to have his way with me.
That’s when the rational portion of my brain simply shut down and went to lunch, and my instincts took over.
Those instincts apparently had decided that a wild fuck smack in the middle of the sitting room had been in order, with Harry thrusting away on top of me, my name on his lips as he came. Before I’d even had a chance to catch my breath, Harry’d pulled out and descended on my aching cock, taking my entire length and working his lips and teeth about it with a wicked efficiency. I came a few moments later, emptying myself into Harry’s mouth.
Sweet Merlin but he didn’t spill a drop, and that sated, devious smile he’d shown me afterwards… Gods. Either Harry’s been practising behind our backs, or the boy’s a natural.
Any road, that had been our first time.
Now, the second time…that’s right. Yeah, I’m hopeless.
Our next encounter occurred after a most spectacular row in one of Sanremo’s most popular women's wear shops. Yes, all six of us were in there, Ron and Harry in tow as Hermione and Ginny shopped for those little unmentionable things that the womenfolk seem to need in unimaginable quantities.
I was merely going with the flow, but I‘m more than a bit certain that Freddo was eyeing up the lacey corsets.
I’d thought that something was up with Harry all through breakfast, but I wasn’t sure what it was. He’d been shooting wistful, loopy grins at me all through the meal, and I know Granger caught a few of them. She’s too bloody perceptive. A brilliant witch, to be sure, and I like her, make no mistake, but she’s far too insightful for her own good.
I didn’t have long to wait to find out what was going through our Harry’s head. I still can’t believe he dropped a dungbomb like that, right in the middle of the summer swimwear section.
Poor Gin. She looked as if she’d been stunned with a rogue Bludger.
~~~ * ~~~
Hermione whirls about to look at Harry, and Ron stares at his feet, shifting his armload of Hermione's possible undergarment purchases from one arm to the other.
Fred's eyes go wide and he ducks behind a grouping of three headless mannequins in bikinis.
I feel suddenly faint as Harry speaks again.
"I said," he states firmly, shooting me a meaningful glance as he does so, "that I've decided to quit the Ministry."
Ginny takes several steps toward Harry, her cheeks flushing pink. "I really don't think that's funny, Harry."
"I'm not trying to be."
"Well! Who's ready for lunch?" Hermione asks cheerfully.
Nice try, Granger.
Ginny ignores her. "So you're going to quit the Ministry," she repeats, standing mere inches from Harry, hands on hips. "And do what, I suppose? Make broomsticks? Play Quidditch?"
"What's wrong with making broomsticks?" Ron chimes in. "Right honourable craft, that is."
"Shut it, Ron," Hermione and Ginny say in unison.
Harry folds his arms and smiles.
And I'll be damned if he isn't right handsome when he does that.
"Ron's right," Harry says, winking at Ron. "The crafting of precision flying broomsticks is quite a painstaking process and requires incredible patience and skill."
Hermione closes her eyes and shakes her head; Ron grins broadly; Fred sniggers from behind his mannequin blockade, and my stomach lurches around as if unattached. Several of the other customers in the shop are staring at our little group.
I idly try to recall where the nearest Wizarding hospital is located...
"Oh for the love of Merlin," Ginny grumps. "You're going to whittle brooms?"
"No, but I'd certainly enjoy that, truth be told." He looks right at me and smiles. Again. "Actually, Sean Hannady, the Manager for the Ballycastle Bats, owled me just before we left on Holiday, inviting me to fill their vacant Seeker position." He turns back to Ginny. “And I’ve decided to take him up on the offer.”
Ron pushes past Hermione, nearly dropping his stack of naughty lingerie. "Ballycastle? Really? That’s brilliant! Next to Chudley, they’re my second favourite team!” He claps Harry on the shoulder with his free hand. "I've always said you were good enough to play professionally! That's great news, mate, really great!"
Ginny’s cheeks are flushing from bright pink to a deep, beet red. Hermione steps next to Ron, attempting to pull him from harm’s way.
Harry shoots me another knowing glance, waggling his eyebrows. “Something George said at breakfast the other day stuck with me, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”
Great. Thanks that, Harry.
Ginny turns her formidable glare to me then, and I actually flinch. If I didn’t know that it wasn’t possible, I’d have sworn that her eyes had gone red, too. Thank Merlin a wand is required for a Crucio, otherwise Harry and I would've been writhing about on the floor in intense agony about then.
“That doesn’t surprise me in the least,” Ginny growls at me. "Always sticking your nose in, causing trouble!"
"But I didn't—" I begin to say, only to be cut off by Harry.
"Oh, but you did," he says, nodding. "You were talking about how you and Fred left Hogwarts. How it was the best decision you'd ever made, to jump for your dream and make it real, despite what others may think or say."
"Oh, did I say that?" I murmur.
“Not is so many words, but that’s the meat of it, yeah,” Harry replies.
"That was so bloody awesome," Ron says with a crooked smile. "A bit of the portable swamp's still there, ya know. Old Flitwick made it a shrine of sorts."
"Still one of our best sellers," Fred adds, peeking out from behind his mannequins.
"It was quite the show," Hermione admits.
Harry chuckles. "It certainly was. Spelled the beginning of the end for Umbridge, too."
"Bitch," Ron mutters with a crooked grin.
"Ronald!" Hermione says, punching Ron's shoulder.
"What?" Ron splutters. "Not sayin' anything that's not true."
"Hear, hear," Fred blurts out.
I'm about to suggest that we all Apparate back to the villa when I notice one corner of Ginny's mouth twitching slightly. She's got the Weasley temper in spades, and that little tic is a sure sign of impending doom. We've also caught the attention of the store manager, a rather humourless, stout little Squib with a penchant for oversize brooches and perpetual frowns. "Ah, perhaps we all should— " I begin, but Gin's just about beyond the point of reason.
"Save it," she snaps, savagely waving a hand at me. She turns back to Harry. “This isn’t the time nor place to discuss a topic of this magnitude.”
“There’s nothing to discuss, really,” Harry says blithely. “I’ve already owled in my resignation letter to Scrimgeour, and I’ve told Hannady that he can expect me on the Ballycastle pitch the day after we return to Britain.” He winks at me again.
"You did WHAT?!" Ginny roars. "Without even telling me first?"
Harry shrugs. "I've tried to bring this up before, but you always change the subject."
"Oh, shite," Hermione says.
"Language, Mione!" Ron chides, grinning widely.
Fred howls with laughter, and I open my mouth in a final attempt to defuse the situation. My little sister doesn't let me.
“How dare you meddle in affairs that are none of your business!” Ginny huffs.
I clamp my mouth shut as she jabs a finger into my chest. “And you’re one to dispense career advice! A drop-out and joke shop owner!” She blows out a breath, ruffling her fringe. “A very poor joke, indeed!” Her volume has steadily increased with each word, and more than a few of the other patrons in the shop are openly gawking at us.
"Hey, that's not fair," Fred says from behind his mannequins, with more than a bit of rightful indignation threading through his voice.
Out of the corner of my eye I make out the manager of the shop stalking over to us, like a lioness circling prey.
“I really think we should find a nice, secluded spot for lunch,” Hermione interjects, tugging at Ron’s arm.
“Wow, Seeker for Ballycastle!” Ron says. “That's too bloody cool, mate!”
“Yeah, isn’t’ it?” Harry agrees.
“Perfect!” Fred calls out.
“This is ridiculous!” Ginny rages, her composure finally in tatters. “Harry is not, I repeat, NOT quitting his job as First Undersecretary to the Minister to ride a scrap of wood and chase about a ruddy little golden ball with wings!”
“Ginevra,” I say as calmly as possible, “he’s already done it.”
“Back off, George,” she snarls. “You’ve done enough damage as it is! Just shut it for once!”
“Yeah!” Fred chimes in, finally peering around a mannequin. “You tell him, Gin!”
“Fred, that’s not helping,” Hermione says.
“Hey, Harry, do ya reckon you’ll be able to get us season tickets?” Ron asks excitedly.
“Sure, Ron. Don’t know why not,” Harry replies calmly, as if all Hades isn't about to break loose.
I just stand there, mouth agape, watching as disaster unfolds in slow motion. I feel completely helpless to stop it, merely a spectator and unable to tear my eyes away. It's disturbingly similar to viewing a pensieve memory, where you already know the outcome but you're powerless to stop it from happening.
Fred takes note of my obvious discomfort, and as is his custom, does his best to exploit it.
“George and I would like some passes as well,” he says, stepping up beside me. “Least you can do, considering that it was George what convinced you to quit the Ministry.” He grins wickedly at me and winks.
“Fred,” Hermione warns, moving to stand directly in front of Ron.
“Hey, Gin, that means you get to be a Bat Girl! Isn’t that what they call the player’s wives, Harry?” Ron says, grinning wickedly.
Harry nods. “Yeah, you’re right, Ron. They’re part of the Bat Brigade.”
Ginny growls. Really, she does, and honest to Merlin growl certain to shame most any respectable lycanthrope.
“Ronald!” Hermione cries out, stomping on his foot.
“Yowch!” Ron yelps. “Now what?”
“Please keep quiet. This isn't the time,” Hermione says through clenched teeth. “I think we should go. Now.”
“I don’t know why everyone’s getting so wrought up,” Ron whinges as Hermione snatches away the pile of underpants. “Harry’s the best Seeker that Gryffindor had in a decade. He’ll be fantastic for Ballycastle!”
“Yeah, Mione,” Fred adds. “Terrible waste of potential if Harry didn’t play, if’n you ask me, that is.” He nudges me in the ribs. “I’m sure George here agrees with me, right, George?”
“Circe’s tits,” Hermione mutters, struggling to lead Ron away.
“I’ll bet we’d be able to get Barmy the Bat’s autograph, eh Harry?”
“Don’t see why not,” Harry replies with a shrug.
“Ronald!” Hermione yells, defeat finally creeping into her voice.
“Ronald!” Fred says, mimicking Hermione.
Harry chuckles as Ron slaps the back of Fred’s head. Fred retaliates by casting a wandless Bat Bogey Hex, which Ron deflects easily. The hex strikes a display of brassieres, sending bogey-encrusted, lacy lingerie flying in all directions. I note that the shop manager has retreated to her sales counter, telephone in hand, fingers nervously jabbing at the buttons.
I say something on the order of "Oh, shite" as Ron pulls out his wand and casts a Tarantallegra, which hits Fred head on.
Hermione squeals in horror, extracting her own wand.
Ginny just stands there, red faced, fists clenched, chest heaving.
Somehow, Fred manages to pull out his wand, and he casts a Rictusempra. The spell finds its mark, and the next instant Ron's laughing uncontrollably.
Amidst a constant wave of yells and screams, I idly note that most of the other patrons of the shop are fleeing for their lives. A few brave but misguided souls brandish their own wands and move quickly toward us. The manager hurls out curses in Italian from the safety of her sales counter, her wide eyes barely visible above the counter top.
Fred and Ron are throwing spells wildly now, and women's undergarments are exploding into the air in impressive bursts of pastel pinks, blues, yellows and the occasional black. They've also managed to hit a few unlucky bystanders, and I can't stifle a laugh as I note a pair of elderly blokes horking up slugs.
Hermione's beside herself, casting Reparos like a mad woman.
The helpful souls are now throwing spells at will, and Harry calmly stands there, taking in the melee with a bemused grin. He winks at me, ducking and dodging charms just as two large fellows in cloaks push their way into the shop. They wave their wands, and I feel a security ward drop into place.
"Took long enough," I mutter as the Italian police wizards slowly begin to stun the Muggles.
For some odd reason, Ron begins casting Orchideous, and bouquets of flowers begin shooting from the tip of his wand.
I whirl about to see Ginny pointing her finger at me.
I hate it when she does that.
"This is all your fault!" she yells above the din, and I watch with a detached amusement as she's hit with an errant hex, from Ron or Fred, I don't know which. Hair instantly sprouts from every bit of her exposed skin, and in a short minute she looks like one of those cheesy werewolves that feature so prominently in the Muggle horror films that Ron and Harry adore so much. Ginny stares at the back of her hands, bringing them to her face.
She howls, and I mean a really, honest to Merlin, full moon howl.
Bits of the ceiling, display fixtures and sundry unmentionables are falling helter-skelter, and I barely have time to duck and cast a Protego as Fred's trio of mannequins sail past just inches from my head.
Everything else is basically a blur after this point, but I can clearly remember a decidedly agitated, furry and snarling Ginevra hovering over me as the newly arrived squad of Italian Obliviators stunned everyone into temporary oblivion... oh, yeah, the shag... I’d nearly forgotten.
That comes a bit later...
~~~~ * ~~~~ ~~~~ * ~~~~
The universe truly has a perverse sense of humour, but on this occasion, I wasn't arguing.
Of course, it also didn't hurt that the hero of the wizarding world was one of our party; it never ceases to amaze me how easily people are willing to overlook little things when Harry's involved.
And we'd certainly outdone ourselves, clearly guilty of violating a rather lengthy litany of statutes, including but not limited to: Wanton spell casting in restricted areas, revealing magic to Muggles, general mayhem, disturbing the peace, as well as the willful destruction of a rather considerable inventory of lacy and somewhat naughty Italian and French lingerie.
As the Obliviators took care of the witnesses and a team of Restoration wizards put the store back in order, I marvelled at how calmly and casually Harry handled Fabrizio. The hunky Italian was like putty in Harry's hands, and the two were laughing away like old friends in no time. A herd of Fabrizio's staff interrogated Ron, Hermione, Fred, and Ginny extensively before finally Apparating them away to the police station to complete the formal reports.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that Fabrizio had somehow decided that it wasn't necessary for Harry and I to accompany the rest to the station. According to him, he'd gathered enough information from us and further statements weren't necessary. That, and Harry'd conjured up a handful of autographed photos for Fabrizio as well as the promise of a set of owner's box tickets to every Ballycastle match from now until the end of time…
"Well, that's that," Harry says, waving to a smiling Fabrizio as the Italian wizard and his staff finally Apparate away.
"An understatement," I reply, nodding as I take in the recently restored shop. The Italians did an impressive job. The manager smiles and waves at us from behind her counter. "She look a bit blank to you?" I ask.
"She'll be fine," Harry says. "What say we take a walk, yeah?"
I agree, and a few minutes later we're strolling along Sanremo's narrow, winding cobblestone streets. It's another glorious day, and we don't say anything at first. We reach one of the oldest neighbourhoods, just near the water, and I finally find my voice.
"Harry, I don't know where to begin."
"Yeah, I know."
"So you've really quit the Ministry?"
“Not exactly the best time or place to make such a statement, was it?” I say.
Harry snorts. “George, there’d never be a good time. Like I said, I’ve tried for quite awhile to get through to Ginny. She’s a master at changing the subject of any conversation she doesn’t care for. She’d have been a natural for the Obfuscation Division at the Ministry.”
I chuckle. “Can’t quite see Ginevra working closely with Luna Lovegood.”
“No, neither can I,” Harry agrees. “So, to my mind, it didn’t really matter when or where I told Gin about chucking my job. I hadn’t in my wildest dreams envisioned what really transpired, though.”
“Hope not,” I reply, and we exchange broad smiles.
“I did want to do it with other people about. Harder for Gin to ignore the truth that way.”
"Yeah, makes sense, mate. I know Dad’ll be disappointed, though. I believe you're his best in-house source for information on Muggle artefacts."
Harry chuckles. "I'll miss seeing your Dad everyday. And a few others, of course. But..."
We reach the end of the narrow street and find ourselves at a low stucco sea wall overlooking the harbour. Harry places both hands on the wall and gazes out over the water. Myriad fishing boats, dinghies and sailboats dot the blue expanse, and even I'd be hard pressed to admit that it wasn't bloody idyllic. Off to the right is a short dock; below the wall is a narrow beach, and off to our left is the bulk of Sanremo.
"But what, Harry?"
"I need a change, George. I feel like I’m suffocating in that bloody office. And I’m not really needed anymore. Most of the Death Eaters are dead and what few remain are in hiding, so I don’t have much to do. Bloody trophy job anyway, so you understand my reasoning, don't you?" he says without looking at me. "Why I can't work at the Ministry any longer. Why I accepted Hannady's offer."
"Yeah, I think I do," I reply.
"And the other," he says softly, looking up at me, his green eyes blazingly bright.
I nod and smile, hoping that I look understanding and compassionate rather than idiotic. "Not easy, is it. Accepting oneself."
He snorts. "You can say that again." He looks back out over the harbour.
I move to stand next to him, gently laying a hand on his shoulder.
“I suppose I’ve known that I was different since I was very young," Harry says in an oddly bland voice. "I didn’t want to even think about it, though, what with being told how freakish and unnatural I was for as long as I can remember.” He smiles mirthlessly and shakes his head. “Didn’t want to be different in yet another way. Or some such.”
“What the Dursley’s did to you is unforgivable. Evil, in my book,” I say, surprised as how much anger is threaded through my words. “And your Mum’s own sister, too. Azkaban’d be too good for ‘em.”
“Well, for awhile I was really angry with them, blaming them for all of my problems. I carried that with me for a long time.”
I squeeze his shoulder. “Understandable. They put you through hell.”
“Yeah, they did,” he agrees, “but what’s done is done, and nothing can change it. I’m not really angry with them any longer. I just feel sorry for them. Merlin knows what happened to them to make them the way they are.”
“Still not an excuse.”
“No. But what goes ‘round comes ‘round. No point in carrying around all that anger. Counter productive, ya know?”
“Yeah,” I say as sagely as I can, and Harry smiles again as he stares out over the water.
“It’s going to be quite the media circus, isn’t it?” he muses wryly.
“No doubt. But you’ve handled the media before.”
“True enough. And perhaps some good will come of my coming out.”
“Another good point,” I say, rubbing Harry’s shoulder.
"It’s not going to be easy on Ginny, though,” Harry says. “Once burned, and now twice. I'm really so sorry about all this. I honestly tried to make a go of it, but as time wore on, I realised that it wasn't going to be enough. You've got to know that the last thing I ever wanted to do is hurt her or see her unhappy."
"I understand." I'm amazed at how thick and full Harry's hair is, all smooth waves and curls. The sun catches the dark colour beautifully, and I'm surprised to note how much grey is already showing through. Our Harry's been through a lot, that's a sure and certain fact.
"I'm not using her, either," he says, looking up at me again and flashing me a sheepish grin. "I love her, I do, in my own way. I mean, I thought it was love. At least when we were back at Hogwarts. More likely I hoped that's what it was. Had to fit in, ya know?"
"Yeah, I think I do." I nod, and suddenly feel like a moron, repeating myself over and over. "Try not to worry too much about Gin, mate. She's a nasty temper, as you've seen, but she's incredibly sharp, and once she's calmed down, I'm sure she'll listen to what you have to say without hexing your ears off."
Harry chuckles. "Let's hope you're right." He straightens up and turns to face me. I'm still a bit surprised that he's the slightest bit taller than I am. I'm so used to seeing him next to Ron the Giant.
"I'll tell Ginny everything, I will. When the time is right."
"I know you will," I reply. "The sooner the better, though."
He nods. "Too right."
"If there's anyway I can help— "
"Well, that's one thing I've got to do on my own. I just need to know that you'll be there when I need you. Afterward." He presses into me, and I instinctively glance about to see if anyone else is around.
He snuffles. "I'm out of line, aren't I? I mean, you're already taken."
I'm strangely too warm, and I feel a flush rising up and out of the collar of my t-shirt. There's just something about him being so close, touching me, those eyes, that smile, that scent of his, so undeniably Harry, clean and fresh and smelling of grass and broomwax and sandalwood. I sense the stirring in my groin, and I press my hips into his, one hand on his waist. I plant my forehead on Harry's and my mind wanders as I stare at the design on his black Muggle t-shirt, musing for a few moments as to exactly who and what Machines of Loving Grace might be.
"George?" Harry says, jolting me from my reverie.
"I don't mean to put you in a compromising position," he says with such conviction that it nearly rips my heart out.
"You haven't done any such thing," I reply, my voice oddly low and rough.
"But you and Fred." He grins crookedly, and a gust of wind ruffles his fringe. A gull screeches in the distance, and he glances out over the water, finally finding it and tracing the bird's path through the sky.
I watch him watch the gull, and surprise even myself when I reach out and push his unruly fringe away from his glasses. I place a finger on his chin, gently turning his head back to face me. "No worries, mate," I say. "What Freddo and I have...it's different. Good."
"Yeah. Thought so."
"He's the one that actually pointed out that you were, um— "
"Staring at your bum?"
I chuckle. "Yeah. And he sort of gave me his blessing. I think."
"You mean Fred's okay with this?" Harry says, sliding closer to me.
"That's what he says."
"Are you okay with this?" Harry looks at me, and the vaguely sad expression in those beautiful eyes of his makes my breath hitch in my chest.
"I'm not sure," I murmur, which is completely true.
Harry nods and kisses the palm of my hand. "I see."
Once again all logic escapes me and I take a deep breath. "No, you don't," I whisper as I lean up and press my lips to his.
The world melts away, and all I can feel is Harry's hands grasping my hips, his tongue demanding entrance to my mouth, his arousal grinding into mine. I don't know how long we kissed like that, standing there by the seawall, but it was glorious. I can barely recall Harry leading us back up the cobble-stoned street and down the first alleyway we came to...
~~~ * ~~~
It was deliciously warm and the soft breezes off the water felt soothing on our suddenly heated skin.
We slipped into the shadows of that alley, our eyes seeing nothing but each other.
~~~ * ~~~
I concentrate on sucking him off, pausing on each upstroke to swirl my tongue around the tip of his cock. I sense that he might be getting close to coming, but I redouble my efforts.
With a sharp gasp he shoves me down and away, withdrawing his erection from my mouth. With a fluid motion, he's lifting me to my feet and yanking down my denims with obvious determination. He whispers a Lubricus and whips me around to face the warm stucco. I steel myself as best I can before Harry takes me with a single, smooth thrust. I hear myself gibbering like a foolish first-year, one of his Quidditch calloused hands wrapped about my waist, the other pushed up and under my t-shirt and caressing my chest. Harry pistons into me harder and harder, the pleasurepain almost too much to bear. I arch back and into him, and he he nibbles at the skin just at the base of my neck. Slowly yet steadily he increases the intensity of his bites until his thrusts finally falter to a shuddering halt.
Harry whips his head back, gasping my name through clenched teeth, his release filling me. I push into him and clamp about him with all my might, hoping to prolong our union as long as possible. A moment later, he withdraws, and I turn around, throwing my arms around him.
"Love you, George," he pants in my ear.
I don't respond; I don't have the words. All I know for certain is that I don't want to be anything other than honest with him. He deserves that much, at least. "Sweet Harry," I say, carding my fingers through his hair. "Dear, sweet Harry."
We hold each other for a bit longer before the blare of a boat's horn jolts us from our abstraction. After a set of hastily uttered cleansing charms, we sufficiently compose ourselves and head back to the villa.
We walk in a comfortable silence most of the way, and as the villa comes into view, Harry speaks first.
“So what now?”
“Dunno,” I say. Not exactly the most eloquent response ever, but honest nonetheless. “Need time to think. Need to talk to Fred.”
“Yeah,” he answers softly. He stops walking, stepping in front of me to gently take my left hand in his right. “I don’t want to be a problem for you, or Fred. Or anyone, for that matter. Your family's done more for me…been more to me…I can‘t even put it into words. I don‘t want to mess that up.”
His expression is so underlaid with obvious sadness that I nearly gasp aloud. “No worries, mate,” I say, hoping to sound upbeat when feeling precisely opposite. “You could never be a burden. Ever. You’ve always been a joy to have around, for as long as I can recall.”
He favors me with a wan smile. “You’ve no idea how much it means to hear that.”
I reach up to muss his mass of tangled, dark hair, and he laughs, an honest, genuine laugh.
"Why me, then?" I ask, surprised that I actually say the words.
Harry pauses a long moment, pursing his lips and gazing up at the gorgeous cerulean sky. "Not so sure I can put it into words. It just sort of seeped into my consciousness, slowly. Kinda like how even though I'd known I was queer forever, there was just one morning when I sat up in bed and went, 'Oh, well, there it is.' I suppose I've always been smitten by ginger-haired blokes. And there isn't a male Weasley that isn't drop dead gorgeous."
"Except Percy," I quip, and we both laugh.
"Well, Percy's got a great arse," Harry replies as we start walking again.
"Not as nice as yours, though," Harry adds quicky, brushing his fingers across my bum.
"It's more than that, though," he continues. "Most folks couldn't tell you and Fred apart if their life depended on it. But I always could. Fred's a bit stockier, and his bum's more squarish than yours. Your smile is a bit more crooked than his, and you've got the coolest little crinkles about your eyes when you laugh. You twirl your quill between your fingers when you're nervous, and you're a better flyer than Fred. There's so much more I could mention, but suffice to say that even though you're identical twins to everyone else, you're completely unique individuals to me."
I say something profound like "Oh" as we step from the road and onto the gravel to allow a few cars to pass. We look both ways and cross the road, picking up the narrow path that leads up the hillside to the villa.
"It's just so many stupid little things that've somehow come together and drawn me to you," Harry says, almost to himself, his eyes downcast. "I can't help it, and I know it's not the best or brightest course of action, but if there's one thing I've learned after all that I've been through, it's that I've got to be honest with myself." He stops and puts out an arm, halting me as well. "And with you." He ghosts the backs of his fingertips across my chest.
I nod and after a pause, I lean up to brush my lips to his.
He returns the kiss, clamping a hand to the back of my neck, then touching his forehead to mine. We stand there for what seems like a long time before he releases me. We don’t speak the rest of the way to the villa, though the silence on my part is mostly because I was totally unsure of what we'd find when we got there.
Thankfully, the others hadn’t returned from the police station, so Harry and I literally drop into the paired chaises on the wide, shaded veranda. I just sit there, an entirely gorgeous Italian afternoon in progress, unable to see anything other than Harry.
I think I fall asleep first.
~~~ * ~~~
Ginny does her best to present a calm facade, favoring me with a forced smile that does nothing ease my unease. She moves resolutely to Harry's and her room, closing the locking the door behind her. Hermione and Ron chat amongst themselves, finally retreating to the kitchen to prepare some sort of meal.
Harry dozes fitfully in his chaise as Fred plops down on the edge of my lounger, proceeding to prattle on and on as to his experiences with Fabrizio and the Sanremo wizarding department.
I settle in, and the remainder of the day passes without further incident.
~~~ * ~~~
I’m usually the sort able to come to a decision rather quickly. You know, examine the facts, weigh the pros and cons, and then there it is. The decision maker.
Obviously this situation is a bit different, but I should still be able to sort things out.
Should be, that is.
An air of comfortable but strained civility has descended over the villa after our adventure in the lingerie shop.
Ginny actually speaks to me; sure, she merely asks me to pass the cream at breakfast, but I still take that as a good sign.
Ron and Hermione resume their usual, slightly adversarial routine, and I swear those two aren’t happy unless one of them is carping about something.
And then there’s Fred.
Most times it’s as if I can read his thoughts. Most times we operate like two halves of the same person, smooth, completely synchronous. Sure, we have our rows, and I’d be lying if I said that we hadn’t nearly hexed ourselves silly at times, but we’re brothers after all. It all goes with the territory.
So it’s really uncommon when I can’t figure out where Fred’s coming from.
He’s been unusually tight-lipped as to the Harry problem, and when he does say something, he’s practically giving me his seal of approval. He’s all smiles and jokes, patting me on the back and encouraging me to just let it happen.
But when he’s silent, throwing me those mournful, open stares, glaring at me with those gorgeous eyes of his, I know better.
~~~ * ~~~
I reach over, feeling for Fred, but he’s not there. I open my eyes and look around our room, shivering a bit as the night air washes over my sweat-slicked skin.
“Fred?” I say, grasping at the sheet and pulling it up to my waist. I sit up, finally finding him. He’s standing just inside the open sliding glass doors to our veranda, nothing but a silhouette in the moonlight. “Hey, Freddo. You right?”
He doesn’t answer, but he turns his head to me, his shoulder length hair ruffling in the warm breeze.
I get out of the bed and shamble my way to the veranda. I press against him, wrapping my arms about his waist and nuzzling my chin behind his ear. He feels wonderful, as always, muscleysoft and furrysmooth, and I imagine that I can actually sense the constellations of freckles spread out beneath my fingers.
I hug him as tight as I can.
Fred puts his hands over mine and we stand there in silence.
It’s an exquisite evening, cottony whisps of cloud skating across the night sky, the nearly full moon casting a bluish glow over the vista before us. The lights of Sanremo sparkle below and off to our right, and just over the soft whoosh of the waves on the nearby beach, I hear the sounds of the town, laughter and voices underlaid with the slightest hint of Muggle jazz from one of Sanremo’s numerous night clubs.
A bloke could get used to this sort of place. I’m idly wondering how a small shop like the Wheezes would do here when Fred sighs.
“Bro, talk to me,” I say. “I know something's up with you.”
“I’m fine,” he insists.
“Balls,” I reply, reaching down to fondle the base of Fred’s cock. He chuckles at my bad pun.
“Really, I’m right, bro,” he responds. “It’s just—”
“I knew it. It’s the Harry thing, yeah?”
He shakes his head. “No, that’s not… I just… I’m not upset about it, if that’s what you mean.”
“You’re not bothered by Harry drooling all over me?”
“Nope. It was my idea to get you two together, if you recall.”
"Yeah, I'm not sure I get that, mate."
Fred snorts and stares out across the harbour. "Not sure I do, either. I suppose I thought of it as some sort of joke, another way to fool about with you. I knew you'd be a bit uncomfortable, but— "
"But you didn't expect things to go the way they have," I finish.
He nods. "Too right. And once I'd set things in motion, I couldn't help but think how maybe, just maybe, you two might be good for each other."
"Fred, you know how much you mean to me," I say, somewhat distressed at how feeble my statement sounds.
"I know that," he answers, his voice low. "But I just didn't consider the consequences of my little joke. I went for laughs, and now, I'm not sure what to think."
“We’ve shagged, you know.”
Fred snorts. “I should hope so. I’d start to worry if you hadn’t.”
I can’t restrain a small cough of laughter at this. “Okay, wasn’t expecting that.”
He turns around and I catch a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He pulls me in close, leaving a chaste kiss on my lips. “Why does that surprise you?” he asks. “It’s not like we’ve agreed to an exclusive relationship, and I like seeing you happy.”
I slowly grind my hips into his, and he moans slightly as his cock stiffens. “So Harry’s infatuation with me— ”
“Bit more than a crush, mate,” Fred says.
“Fair enough,” I reply, unable to hide my confusion. “So you’re okay with it then?”
“Well, I'm sure I can get used to it, Georgie. You and Harry are a good match.”
“So are we.”
Fred snorts. “We’re brothers.”
“Thanks for the news flash.”
“You’d be far better off— ”
I push away from him. “Now hold on there, mate.”
Fred turns to move to the wrought iron railing. He puts both hands on it, and I nearly gasp at how bloody gorgeous he is, pale blue moonlight washing over his naked body. Okay, I realise that that sounds odd, as we’re twins and all, but despite that, and as Harry so skillfully pointed out, we’re really quite different. Freddo has, in my opinion, the more attractive body, and he’s a bit more muscled than I am. Most casual observers don’t notice the differences between us, but I do, of course.
He clears his throat. “It’d be much easier, ya know.”
“Being queer’s one thing, but fucking your twin brother… Mum just might accept the first, but not the second.”
“This isn’t about Mum,” I insist, moving to stand beside him. “I’m pretty sure she’s clued in to us, anyway." I move a bit closer to him. "And what's this about you 'being queer?' I wasn't aware you'd changed your mind about that."
Fred shrugs. "You know how it is. No one wants to admit the truth to themselves right off the bat. Even though I was pretty sure I fancied blokes, I also liked the birds as well."
"But now, I'm certain which team I'm playing for."
"Wow. I'm surprised. Happy for you, but surprised. When were you gonna tell me?"
"Dunno. Soon, I reckon. I'd planned to do it here, in Italy, but the right time never presented itself."
"Mate, you can come to me anytime, anyplace, whenever you need to," I say, unable to hide the thread of hurt in my voice.
"So you haven't told Mum yet?"
He shakes his head. "Wanted to tell you first."
"Well, I'll go with you when you do. When you tell her about yourself. And us."
Fred snorts. "I wouldn't dream of it without you right there. Not sure I'm ready to tell her everything, though."
"Why not? I thought we'd sorted it out a long time ago,” I say. "And this was before you relaised that you were queer."
He nods. “Yeah, we did. But now, seeing you and Harry together—”
I lay a hand on his shoulder. “What?”
Fred grins crookedly. “You‘d have to be blind not to see it.”
“Oh.” I can feel myself blushing.
“It’d be so much easier,” he says.
“You keep saying that, and it’s crap,” I shoot back. “I don’t want easy. I want you.”
He looks at me and nods slightly. “But— ”
“But nothing,” I say, wrapping my arms around him. “I’m not in love with Harry, regardless how he might feel about me. I like him a great deal, and I could see myself falling for him if I let it happen, but I’m yours, Freddo. Always have been, always will be. Nothing or no one will ever change that. Unless you want it to change, that is.”
“No, George,” he sighs. “I don’t. It’s just difficult to not imagine how simpler life would be if we could just be honest and open with everyone. Shite, it's not just the being bent thing, it's being us. I hate that we have to keep a low profile, to pretend that we’re not lovers, to keep up some ridiculous pretense that we’re just very, very close and happen to enjoy living together in a one bedroom flat.”
“I hate having to keep quiet about it. Sure, most everyone close to us knows and doesn't care, but I find that as time goes on, I want everyone to know. I want everyone to know how much I love you, what a fabulous, wickedly intelligent, amazing bloke you are. I want to be able to hold your hand or hug you tight when we’re at the Burrow for Sunday tea. I want to be able to put my arm about you when we walk down the street or when we’re picking our way through Flourish & Blotts or the Apothecary. I'd like everyone to know how proud I am of you and how damned lucky I feel to have you. I want the whole ruddy package, bro. I want a handfasting and a ceremony and all of our friends and family there to see it.”
I’m a bit surprised at Freddo’s statement. He’s only dropped tiny hints about all of this previously, and certainly not in such detail. This business with Harry’s gotten my bro all stirred up and he’s been doing some serious thinking, obviously. I step in and hug him tight, and he buries his head in the crook of my neck.
“You think I’m off my nut, yeah?” he says so softly that I can barely hear him.
“Nope,” I reply, nuzzling his cheek. “Not at all.”
Fred sighs, embracing me so hard I wince. “I just want everyone to know that I’d be in love with you no matter what. It doesn’t matter that we’re brothers. Does that make any sense?”
“Perfect sense. I want the same thing, mate.”
Fred pulls away and blinks at me, rubbing at his eyes. “You do? You’ve never mentioned anything of the sort.”
I shrug and card my fingers through his hair. “Remember, I'm devastatingly handsome, and you’re the eloquent one.” I grin, hoping to elicit the same response from him. It works.
“Yeah, you’re right there,” he concedes sheepishly. “But there’s something about Harry, isn’t there?”
I stand there, unsure of what to say.
“Bro, talk to me,” Fred says. “You fancy Harry, don’t you?”
“Fred, I’ve already said—”
“I know that you’ve said. Now tell me what you feel.” He looks at me, and I do my best to school my features. It doesn’t work, and he reaches up to caress my cheek.
“Thought so,” he whispers.
My throat’s suddenly too small and tight. “Blimey. Why must things always be so sodding difficult?”
“’Cause there’d be no challenge if everything went smoothly.” He leaves a soft kiss on my forehead. “It’s okay to want Harry, really, Georgie. He’s bloody drop dead gorgeous. I understand.”
I shake my head. “How many more times must I say it, you berk? Yeah, Harry’s hot and desirable and sexy and wonderful, and I’d be lying if I’d said that he’s not a great shag and that I’d like to have him again. But I’ve got you, and that’s that. So quit trying to dump me, or I’ll go barking mad right here, I swear.”
“I’m not trying to dump you,” Fred says around a chuckle.
“All right,” I say. “So I’ll tell Harry— ”
Fred chuckles. “Tell him what, exactly?”
I leave a trail of kisses along Fred’s right shoulder. “I’ll tell him to bugger off and go after Ron.”
“Ron’s reformed,” Fred replies around his laughter. “He’s cuntstruck now, remember?”
“Yeah, good point,” I say, barely stifling chuckles. “No need to incur Granger’s wrath as well as Gin‘s. I’ll speak with Harry first thing in the morning. Let him down easy.”
Fred wraps his arms around me and smiles. “Before you do, just hear me out. There may be a third option.”
I blink a bit, looking intently into eyes that are at once familiar and yet not. “What’re you scheming now?”
Fred waggles his eyebrows before claiming my mouth in a smouldering kiss.
~~~ * ~~~
Late breakfast on the veranda, followed by a brisk walk along quaint, cobbled streets. Then down to our narrow strand of beach for sunbathing and dozing. Back to the villa for lunch by the pool, and once again, everyone inexplicably manages to jaunt away on earnest errands leaving Harry and I staring at our emply salad plates.
“So, alone again,” Harry rumbles, the warm breeze ruffling his wavy fringe. “What to do.”
I stand and lean on the table next to where Harry’s sitting. I fold my arms, doing my best to appear as dispassionate as possible. “What to do, indeed.”
“Sounds like you’re still thinking things through.”
I nod. “Have you spoken with Ginny?”
He snorts. “Well, I’m pretty certain Gin knows what’s up. She’s been unusually quiet since the Lingerie Incident. We managed to work through my quitting the Ministry to play for Ballycastle, and she actually conceded that I’d be good at it, and that I should do what makes me happy.”
“That’s a great start, mate,” I say, sliding a bit closer to him. “So, how did it go after that?”
Harry shrugged. “We didn’t get very far into the other stuff. I started talking about how people change, how I’ve changed, and that perhaps I wasn’t quite ready for marriage.”
“Yowch. How’d she take that?”
“Understandably, not very well. I pressed on, barely managing to get out that I was pretty sure that I was queer and how sorry I was...am...and that I didn't set out to hurt her. By then, I could tell she'd reached her limit.” He rubs his forehead so hard I fear he’ll remove some skin. “I dunno, George. I feel fucking horrible. I can't believe what I've done. There was so much more I wanted to say, but the look in her eyes! I still care for her, George, really I do. It just rips my heart out.”
“I’m sorry, Harry, that it's difficult, but it’s truly for the best. It may not seem like it at the moment— "
“I know, I know. But… she knows, George. I’m sure of it.”
“Wouldn’t surprise me. As bright as she is, our Ginevra sometimes fails to accept that harsh reality of things. No worries, mate, she'll brood and sulk for an appropriate time, but she'll bounce back, you'll see. It's amazing how clinical she can be about such things.”
“I feel like a total twat.”
“Well, that makes two of us, then. In time, she may find a way to forgive us.”
Harry finally looks up at me. “Yeah, too right there. So?”
He spreads his hands wide. “So, have you talked with Fred?”
“Thought so,” Harry murmurs. He hoists himself out of his chair and stands next to me, his hip against mine. “Judging by your hesitance, I think I already know what you’re going to say.”
I snort, nudging him firmly. “Using your formidable Legilimency skills on me are you? Most unfair, and not entirely accurate, if I may say.”
He chuckles. “I’d never do that, George.”
“Yeah, I know. Just having a go at you,” I say, leaning over to nuzzle the side of his head. “And you shouldn’t be so certain of what I might say. I could end up surprising you.”
He pulls a face and stands, turning to stare at me. I lean back, spreading my legs apart and Harry moves right in, pressing against me as he snakes his arms around my waist.
“I like surprises,” he growls, “especially when a Weasley is involved.”
“You really are a right nasty perv where ginger hair is concerned,” I shoot back, returning his embrace.
“And freckles,” he replies, grinning crookedly and pressing his hips against me.
“Good,” I say, running my hands up and under his tank top. “Having said that, how would you feel about having more than one Weasley, then?”
Harry’s bushy eyebrows rise up into his hairline. I’m loathe to admit how sexy I find his almost-mono-brow to be. He’s also smiling so broadly that I can’t suppress a small yelp of laughter.
“You’re having me on,” he says.
“Not at all,” I reply, nuzzling the side of his neck.
“You mean Fred—”
I nod again.
“The three of us?”
I arch an eyebrow and flash my most suggestive grin. “I fully understand how unorthodox this must sound to you. Fred and I realise this, so we’ll give you all the time you need—”
The remainder of my little speech is cut off as Harry crashes his lips to mine.
I take that as a ‘Yes.’
~~~ * ~~~
Sort of like what a holiday should be.
Harry and Ginny reached an amicable dissolution of sorts, and though she was clearly devastated, Ginny refrained from becoming angry or hexing anyone’s bits off.
Hermione and Ron were surprisingly supportive and helpful to all concerned, even Ginny, and all three of them took Harry’s official coming out reasonably well.
We didn’t bring up the fact that Harry’s new love interest was indeed a plurality; all three of us had agreed that such an announcement could wait a few weeks, at least.
Harry moved into our rather spacious flat atop the Wheezes shortly after our return to Britain, and a blaring, full-colour front page item ran in The Daily Prophet almost immediately thereafter.
Mum'd nearly had a litter of nifflers when she first heard the news of what she now refers to as our “Unholy Alliance,” but Dad, ever the one with the open mind, managed to calm her down in short order.
Bill and Charlie’s reactions were limited to arched eyebrows, crooked grins and knowing nods.
Sort of anti-climactic, if I must say.
Ginny wasted no time whatsoever in finding a new beau, settling into a steady relationship with Dean Thomas almost instantly. I swear, little sis never ceases to amaze.
Harry eased into his new position with Ballycastle, and Freddo and I threw ourselves into the shop and our ever-continuing development of new and fascinating products.
So there it is, part and parcel, all in the proverbial Muggle nutshell.
Okay, a rather large nutshell…
Still hard to believe the road we’ve all traveled, the twisted, dark, and bizarre paths we’ve all walked in order to get to where we are. Bloody wild, it is.
And it all came together during that Holiday in Sanremo…
~~~ * ~~~
“Few minnits more,” I mumble as I turn over and attempt to burrow deeper under the covers.
Fred growls, and the next moment, I hear the curtains drawn back. Annoyingly bright sunlight fills our bedroom, and I squeeze my eyes closed.
“Move it, Georgie,” Fred yells, and the next instant he’s on top of me, peeling away the sheets and doing his best to pinch my nipples. Rather forcefully, I might add. “We’ve overslept as it is, and if we’re late, Mum’ll hex our bits off!”
I counter his attack the best I can, and this time, I banish the sheets. I take advantage of Fred’s surprise, flipping him onto his back and pushing him down into the mattress.
“Foul! Foul!” Fred cries out, red-faced and laughing.
“I’ll show you foul!” I shoot back, leaning down and nibbling and licking my way along his collarbone and up his neck. He writhes about, putting on a good show but not at all trying to free himself.
“Stop it,” he says, sliding his hands down the back of my boxer briefs and massaging my arse.
I chuckle, feeling his hardening cock grinding against mine.
“Stop it some more,” he murmurs as I kiss and lick my way across his cheek and along his jaw line.
“As you wish,” I growl, finally claiming his lips.
The next instant our underclothes disappear, and I’m at once thankful that Freddo’s so very adept at non-verbal spell casting. A warm slickness spreads all about our groins as he casts a Lubricus, and our hard shafts thrust against each other in a delightful friction.
I’m embracing Fred as tightly as I can, and he’s squeezing and massaging my arse with reckless abandon. I groan into Fred’s mouth as he pushes a finger into my entrance, and as he hefts his hips up and into me in a wicked rhythm, I respond in kind.
I break our kiss, our sweat-slicked bodies moving in a perfect synchronicity.
“Love you, mate,” I gasp, my release pouring from me and slicking our bellies.
“Me to, Georgie,” Fred replies, equally breathless as his orgasm consumes him. He leans up for another kiss before falling back into the mattress, smiling crookedly.
I lay on top of him for a moment longer before rolling off and casting a Tempus.
“Hopping Harpies!” I yelp. “Why didn’t you tell me it’s quarter past eleven? We’re going to be late!”
Fred hoists himself up on his elbows. “I tried. Sometimes you worry me, bro, truly.”
“Well, don’t just lay there,” I say, “let’s get moving! Don’t want to be late for your own handfasting, do you?”
Fred shrugs as he swings his legs over the edge of the bed. “No, not really, but I’d wager most folk would expect us to be late.”
“Too right, but let's go, yeah?” I summon my wand, and it flies across the room and into my hand. “Go on, hit the shower and I’ll get the clothes ready. Now, where’s—”
Before I can finish, green flame erupts in the hearth. The next instant, Harry spits out of the fireplace, curled into a ball and spinning about like a top. He slides across the floor in a cloud of soot, Floo powder and green sparks. He spins to a stop against the wardrobe.
“Harry’s home,” Fred observes, launching off the bed and re-materialsing the sheets.
“Harry, we’re late,” I say, summoning our dress robes. “We were expecting you back over an hour ago.”
Harry cracks open an eye and slowly uncurls from his foetal position. “Bloody press conference ran late. Hannady did the best he could to speed things along.” He sits up and leans against the wardrobe. “Gods, I loathe flooing.”
Fred finishes with the bed and moves to help Harry to his feet. “You’ve really got to work on your Floo technique, love. You’re going to kill yourself, one day. Sort of a waste, after all that business with Snakeface, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yeah, I’ll get right on it. Tell Mum that I can’t make the ceremony today because I have to take a remedial Floo course.”
Fred reaches around and swats Harry on the arse. “Tit. C’mon, let’s get you out of these clothes.” He banishes Harry’s Ballycastle uniform, then promptly frames Harry’s face with both hands and kisses him thoroughly.
“Guys,” I say, “we don’t have time for this! That’s what huggymoons are for, yeah?”
Fred releases Harry, who’s chuckling.
“That’s honeymoon, not huggymoon, George."
"Yeah, whatever," I reply, waving a hand. "We've really got to get our arses in gear."
"Or we'll miss our own handfasting," Fred and Harry chorus in unison.
They just stand there, smiling at me, and I gesture toward the bathroom. "Well? Must I draw a picture or something?"
Fred smirks and heads for the bathroom. "No, but you can Engorge the tub, that way, we can all shower at once and save valuable time." He pats my cheek and I swat his arse as he walks by. I point my wand into the loo and murmur the appropriate incantation.
"Brilliant work, per usual," Fred quips, disappearing into the bathroom.
Harry steps over to me and wraps his arms about my waist. "You're a bit wrought up this afternoon."
"And you're not?" I say, cupping his arse.
He nods. "Yeah, a bit. But I'm rather excited, as well. Not everyday you're handfasted, let alone to two other blokes."
"True enough," I reply. "Took Remus forever to find the appropriate combination of vows."
"Good old Remus," Harry murmurs before pressing his lips to mine.
"Enough snogging!" Fred calls from the loo. "We're wasting hot water in here!"
I break the kiss and touch my forehead to Harry's. "Are you sure you still want to go through with this?"
Harry grins and hugs me tight. "Never more sure of anything." He leaves a chaste kiss on my forehead and heads for the bathroom. "C'mon, Georgie. We're late."
I watch Harry's perfect arse as he disappears into the steamy loo.
Now I remember EXACTLY how it all began...
~~~ fin ~~~