Title: Clever Mischief 24: Past HistoryDate: Friday, October 21, 2005Location: The Three Broomsticks, Another evening outCharacters: George, HermioneRating: Any AgeJust as George had made himself scarce last week, Fred had now disappeared while George got ready for his date. George thought he was probably at the shop, or off to see Oliver. It was just easiest for everyone involved if the twins didn't interfere with each other's time with Hermione. They'd even shaken hands and sworn on their bond as twins, brothers, Weasleys, Gryffindors, and wizards (in that order) not to play any pranks or otherwise mess about with the other's chances. They both knew instinctively that it was the only way they could still remain friends once Hermione had made her choice. But George didn't want to have to think about her choosing between them just yet. Not when he was about to take her out for his first real date with her. He only hoped that she enjoyed it. Fred had come home absolutely floating last week, and they hadn't talked about what happened. George didn't want to know. Secretly, though, he hoped that what he had planned topped it. Fred was more about action and if George knew him at all, he knew that Fred had taken her somewhere fun. So George would appeal to her intellectual side. His fingers were crossed that he'd remembered her preferences well. Besides, George was at his best at night. He hadn't had to spend much time on his appearance, throwing on a pair of black trousers that were comfortable but dressy, and a dark blue button up shirt, open at the collar. He pulled his hair back into a ponytail with a dark blue tie to match. He was ready a few minutes early, but he remembered her approval of punctuality. He wandered out into the pub, where they'd agreed to meet, and stopped at the bar. "Evening, Rosie," he said with a wink as Madam Rosmerta bustled out from the backroom. "Hello there, Fred-or-George," she said merrily, balancing a tray laden with drinks on one hand. "My, don't you look handsome tonight." "Don't I look handsome every night?" George said, feigning hurt. For once, he didn't give her some clue as to which of the twins he was. She pinched his cheek. "Of course you do. Well, if you're George, you don't look so good in the mornings, mind." George grinned. "If I'm George, I might not argue with that." "Have you a date tonight, honey?" she asked. "I do indeed." Someone across the pub hollered at her for the drinks on her tray. "Keep your shirt on!" she shouted back, then shot the man an appraising look. "Or take it off, if you prefer." "You're terrible, Rosie," George said with a grin, and not disagreeing, she headed off to deliver the drinks, leaving George leaning casually against the bar. ~*~ It was hard to believe that it was already Friday again. The week since her date with Fred had gone quickly. Work had been busy, with the upper years engrossed in several projects that required her help to find the right books. She had also managed to elude Kingsley's questions about her whereabouts last Friday and the fact she had been caught humming during breakfast several times this week, which made her rather proud. He was a former Auror, a really good one, and he'd been sulking for days over her masterful avoidance of his attempts at questioning. She knew she'd eventually have to tell him what was happening in her private life, if only because she wasn't ashamed of dating either Fred or George and wasn't keeping it a secret. The reason she'd not wanted to talk about it at this time was because she honestly didn't know exactly what was happening and Kingsley asked too many questions, many of which she couldn't answer yet. Regardless, his attempts had made the week somewhat amusing because she enjoyed evading his 'I'm A Big Bad Auror So Answer Me' routine. Tonight was her date with George, and, again, she had no idea what they were doing. To be safe, she had decided to wear a dress that was simple yet suitable for going out somewhere. It was a pretty shade of blue with a skirt that fell to her knees and sleeves that ended below her elbows. It was comfortable and made her feel rather feminine in an 'I feel pretty' sort of way, so it seemed a good choice. She left her hair down and lip gloss was her only make-up. Once she was dressed, she left the school and headed towards town. When she reached the Three Broomsticks, she was on time. She'd enjoyed her walk and taken her time so she'd not arrive too early. It was a lovely autumn evening and the sun was starting to set when she entered the pub. She saw George when she walked in and smiled as she unconsciously reached up to make sure her hair wasn't a mess. "Good evening, George," she said as she leaned down to kiss his cheek. "I hope you haven't been waiting long." The moment she touched him, he felt arousal flood through him. Oh god, that wasn't good. Well, it was good, but he had to keep himself under control. Molesting her on the first date, especially when she was also dating his brother, was not wise. Instead, he returned the kiss on her cheek, his fingers skimming along her sleeve. "You look breathtaking, love," George said by way of greeting. Hermione had such an incredible naturalness about her that was more beautiful than any made-up tart could ever aspire to. Hermione smiled as she moved to lean against the bar near him. "Thank you, George. You look very handsome," she told him honestly. Her gaze swept over his top half, lingering on his lips, and she flushed as she realized she was thinking about kissing him. She couldn't explain, even to herself, what it was about George that caused such a reaction. Though she tried not to compare Fred and George, as they were two distinctively different individuals regardless of the traits they had in common, she was aware enough to know that things with Fred were like a slow burn with gentle kisses and hesitant touching. With George, though, it was incendiary with just one look. He made her body overheat and her pulse race just from a chaste kiss against her cheek. "I hope you haven't been waiting long," she murmured as she forced thoughts of desire and warming bits out of her mind for now. This was their first date, after all, and it was only fair to focus on what was happening instead of getting lost in thought. "Are we eating here this evening, then?" George wanted to kiss her. He wasn't about to deny that the kisses they'd shared under the trees at Hogwarts hadn't been a dominant theme throughout his dreams. But he had to be a gentleman about this. So he nodded toward a table and said, "I thought we could grab a bite here and then pop off to phase two of the evening. If that's all right with you?" "That sounds delightful," she said with a smile as she made her way to a table near the back. "The food here is good, after all, and the company will make any location suitable. However, I am now curious what exactly phase two will be." "If I told you that, it'd ruin the surprise!" George held a chair out for her at an out-of-the-way table near the back of the pub. "I don't like surprises," she grumbled good-naturedly as they reached the table. She smiled and murmured a thank you as she sat down. "Rosie's been making rabbit dishes lately that are to die for. She's really been branching out," George said, taking a seat across from her. "Rabbit, huh?" she repeated, rather pleased that she didn't grimace at the thought of eating Thumper. Too many childhood memories of watching the movie Bambi on the telly, she decided as she smiled pleasantly. "That sounds interesting. I think I might have roast and potatoes. I'm pretty hungry now that it's dinnertime." George sensed that she was less than impressed. "No hasenpfeffer for Hermione?" he teased. He was fond of rabbit dishes himself, if they were spiced properly. "No, I'm afraid not," she said with a sheepish smile. "I'm just not a fan of rabbit or lamb when it comes to culinary delights." "Perhaps I should give you a hint about the evening that lies ahead of us." At his teasing, she arched a brow. "You're just trying to tempt me with hints when you probably don't intend to tell me anything ahead of time," she told him matter-of-factly. "Or you'll give me some very vague hint that will result in my spending the whole of dinner trying to figure out the puzzle, as you well know, George Weasley." "Don't pretend you don't enjoy a good puzzle," George said slyly, handing her a well-worn menu. "I never said that I didn't enjoy one. I simply said you had the choice between my sparkling conversation or my focusing on a puzzle during dinner," she pointed out with a teasing smile. "Come to think of it, you'd better be off giving me that hint probably." He touched his chin, regarding her evenly. "Perhaps I enjoy the thought of teasing you." Her smile faded as she met his gaze. She gripped the menu tightly as her mind drifted toward improper thougths. She flushed and licked her lips before she opened her menu and busied herself reading the choices that she had basically memorized ages ago. She murmured quietly, "Perhaps you do." "A hint, then," he said, pondering what he could say. "I don't want to give too much away or you'll guess too easily. I will say this: it's something I remember you liking from past history." "Oh, I see how it is," she drawled, smiling to let him know she was teasing. "You give me the hint so that I spend all of our dinner being silent and contemplative instead of boring you with conversation." She decided to order the roast and potatoes with carrots and fresh bread for dinner. As she closed her menu, she considered his hint. "That was a very pathetic attempt at a hint," she declared finally. "We've been friends for years and have known each since I was eleven. I've mentioned a great many things in the past that I like. Since I doubt it's a trip to a chocolate factory, however, I think I'll focus on conversation and not try to guess." George smirked. "That's why it's a good hint. Besides, now I get to tease you and talk to you. Best of both worlds, don't you think?" "You're incorrigible," she muttered fondly before she brushed her hair from her face and smiled. He decided not to order the rabbit, in case Hermione was really against it, choosing instead Rosie's wonderful shepherd's pie. "Now then," he said, settling back comfortably and gazing intently at her, "I've been dying to ask. How displeased is the staff at Hogwarts that we've returned?" He couldn't hide the evil pleasure he got from the prospect of a school full of children using Double Trouble products. "Actually, I've not heard any complaints at all," she said with a perfect note of sincerity. "Minerva doesn't even seem aware that you're both back, I must admit, and Kingsley hasn't grumbled since the hair incident. The students seem to be keeping anything they buy to themselves as there aren't any disruptions at all." "How tragic," George said with mock despair. "We'd hoped our names were being cursed by the professors. And by Filch." He grinned wickedly. Before she could answer, one of the staff stopped by the table to take their drinks order. Hermione added a glass of pumpkin juice to her request and then waited until George ordered mineral water before leaning back in her chair and smiling innocently. "I'd say that you've been quite successful in avoiding any notice at all." He nodded his thanks at the waiter. "Ah, but we don't want to go unnoticed. I suppose we shall have to try harder then, won't we? Perhaps a sale for the more aggravating products- would your Mister Shacklebolt like sprouting a tail, do you think?" "Would you like being hexed with some charms that you've never heard of?" she mused in reply. "I may have been able to save you and Fred from facing his wrath after The Hair Incident but a tail would mean all bets were off. Do remember that you're dealing with a former Auror who knows more ways to get revenge than nearly anyone I know. "As for the others, I may have heard a muttering or two from Filch," she acquiesced with exaggerated reluctance. "But he doesn't tend to mutter very much at me for some reason which may or may not include a particular hexing that occurred shortly after I became the librarian when I may or may not have caught him trying to look up my robes." George collapsed into a fit of giggles. "That's my Hermione! What'd you do to the old perv? I mean, not that he doesn't have excellent taste in who to be voyeuristic toward." He sat forward eagerly, awaiting all the gory details. "I'm actually not very proud of myself for that lapse in judgment," she admitted with a wry smile. "I don't usually react to such things with a hexing, but it was shortly after I was out of the hospital and I wasn't quite myself yet. My nerves were unsettled so I caught him trying to catch a look and hexed him without thinking. It wasn't any major, thankfully, but I felt ashamed of myself after." Their drinks arrived and she took a sip before she continued. "I'm sorry to disappoint but it was just a simple hex," she told him. "He spent the remainder of the day having to use the loo a lot, which, considering his job, wasn't very nice of me." George nodded. It would have been around that time that he and Fred had left the continent, too tired of the deaths they'd caused to stay. He couldn't help his approving nod, though. "No, that's excellent. Good hexes and pranks should always contain an element of irony, and that works beautifully." Hermione shook her head but had to smile. "All right. Maybe it was well-deserved," she murmured. "I feel honored to have the Weasley twin seal of approval at any rate." "You definitely have the Weasley twin seal of approval," he murmured, and then looked away before she could see the sudden heat in his glance. He turned his attention to his meal, eating with a bit more gusto than was entirely appropriate. "Still ignoring my clue?" She was well aware of the blush that crossed her cheeks at his murmured words. They certainly hadn't been said casually, but she didn't dare look up to meet his gaze. Unlike the playful comfort of her date with Fred, this date was already proving to be more intense than she'd honestly expected. She started to eat her roast and was definitely hungrier than she realized. She swallowed a piece of bread and pursed her lips as she thought about his hint. "Yes, I'm still ignoring it," she told him finally. "I assume it may have something to do with history, since your phrasing was precise and slightly odd. However, that could be any number of places and I assume I'd enjoy it regardless." He hid a smile behind his fork at her reasoning about the clue. "You'll see when we get there," he said. "I hope you don't mind traveling out of Hogsmeade by Floo?" He was looking at her from beneath lowered lashes and his lips were curved into a half-smile. Her reaction was instantaneous and confusing, which made her frown slightly as she tried logically to deal with it. That meant, of course, that she tucked it away into the back of her mind to analyze later when she could give more thought to how aroused a half-smile could make her in comparison to years without feeling any sort of desire that both Fred and George seemed to bring about so easily. "No, I don't mind at all," she replied as that latest thought was ignored for the time being. "How was work this week?" "Business is booming," George said with a grin. "We're working on setting up the mail order aspect of it, and keeping stock on the shelves. It's insanely busy, and we love it! I can't believe how much I've missed owning a joke shop." "That's wonderful about the business," she told him. "It's nice to have around. There hasn't been a lot to laugh about in the past few years, but it's time for that again. I'm sure you're both having lots of fun being so productive and being able to think up new ways to torture the professors." "How about you? How's Hogwarts, besides not being terrorized enough by our products?" She laughed softly before she ate more of her roast. "Hogwarts is fine," she replied. "The new students are now getting settled in and the projects are starting, so that means things are busier. I've also received two new texts to read and review for consideration to add to the curriculum next year, so I've been taking notes on those during the evenings. It's busy and enjoyable." Finishing his meal, George sat back and just looked at her for a moment, enjoying the colour of her hair and the softness of her expression. She was so... Hermione. How had he never realized before how much he wanted her? "You must be happy to be able to read so much and get paid for it. Are they worthwhile, the new books? Some of the ones we used to study from were positively dreadful." "Well, I've only been able to start one," she said with a smile. "It's excellent so far. Of course, I didn't expect anything less, really. It's a History of Magic text by Ariadne Oliver, and she's one of my favorite magical historians. This one is actually about the nineteenth century in Wizarding England with a focus on the spells and charms that were created or became popular during that time. I really find it fascinating to see how some more common charms were created, though I do prefer her text on the Goblin Wars because of the fair view she gave to each side." George smiled mysteriously. "I'm delighted to hear it. Binns was always so utterly awful- he isn't still there, is he? Tell me they replaced him with someone competent!" "Yes, he's still there," she told him with a slight groan. "I have to admit that you're right, in this instance, as he made the subject so extremely tedious that it was difficult to find anything enjoyable about it. Fortunately, I have a fondness for history, in general, and magical history, in particular, so he couldn't ruin the class for me." Rosie passed by and called out, "On your tab, Fred-or-George?" "You know us so well," George grinned back, still not letting on which twin he was. After she finished the last of her roast, she put her fork down and smiled sheepishly. "I was hungrier than I realized," she admitted. She finished her drink and listened as he discussed the tab with Rosmerta. "Thank you for a lovely dinner. It was delicious and, as expected, the conversation was enjoyable." "Absolutely any time, love," George said, standing and offering her his hand. "The feeling is more than mutual. Shall we?" Hermione stood up and straightened her skirt before she took his hand. She bit her lip when the casual contact sent warmth through her but quickly collected herself. "Yes, we shall," she replied with a slight smile as her fingers entwined with his. George squeezed her hand lightly, once more doing his best to ignore the arousal sparking through him from wherever she touched. He nodded toward the pub's public fireplaces, and led her over. He took a handful of Floo powder off the mantle and tossed enough in for two. "McCulloch's and Crake's," he said, hoping she wouldn't recognize the name, as it was quite far from here. The name wasn't familiar to her at all, which allowed her to stop ignoring the attraction she felt and focus on her curiosity. "Where did you say we were going, again?" she asked casually. He didn't answer, saying instead, "Hold very tight, love, there isn't a lot of room in the hearth." He pulled her close as they got ready to go through the floo. She glanced up at him when their bodies pressed together, and her gaze lingered on his lips for a beat too long before she murmured, "I'll hold on tight." Oh god, all right, not the wisest plan for the cooling of his libido. He wrapped his arms around her as they sidestepped into the emerald flames together, feeling every inch of her that was touching him. He looked down at her, at her lips, wanting to kiss, to claim. He leaned forward, his lips brushing against hers just as the whirl of the Floo Network grabbed them, spinning them away from Hogsmeade, flashing past a multitude of grates. When he pressed his mouth against hers, Hermione whimpered softly and parted her lips. She reached up and gripped the back of his neck, feeling his long hair against her skin as she leaned up to kiss him back. Before they could deepen the kiss, the world began to spin. Or maybe that was because of the kiss. She no longer really knew, nor did she care as she shyly brushed her tongue against his lips. A soft growl of hunger escaped him as he felt the touch of her fingers on his neck and her tongue against his mouth. His lips parted, inviting her eagerly inside as the entire world revolved around them. All he cared about was the way she tasted and how warm she was. Hermione moaned when he growled and moved her fingers into his hair, gripping it tightly as the kiss deepened. He stumbled as they slammed into the correct grate, falling out of the hearth but refusing to relinquish her from his arms. He slid his tongue into her mouth as he fell against a wall, using it for support and balance. She rubbed against him as they fell through the floo. She smelled coffee and cinnamon as they nearly lost their balance but didn't let go of him as he slouched against a nearby wall. She pressed closer and curled her tongue around his as she moved her hand beneath the hem of his shirt. When she felt warm skin against her fingertips, her eyes opened and she pulled back at the realization that the kiss had gone much too far. He sucked in a needy breath, the touch of her fingers slamming home the reality of where they were and what they were doing. He stood up a bit straighter, one arm around the small of her back, fingers splayed on her hip, the other reaching up to touch her mussed hair. "God, you're beautiful," he murmured, taking in her kiss-moistened lips and wide eyes. He never wanted to let her go. His words made her blush. They were said with a solemn sincerity that made her unable to ignore them or dismiss them. She licked her lips and shyly reached out to caress his jaw. "Thank you," she murmured softly. She reluctantly withdrew her hand because she knew this needed to stop. It was much too soon for this intensity. Besides, it was just too confusing right now to complicate things even further. Her date with Fred had been amazing and the kisses they'd shared were still fresh in her mind. "Right," he said, to no one in particular, disengaging himself but leaving an arm around her waist. "We're here. Shall we, then?" They were in a dusty little bookstore, crooked shelves stacked with heavy tomes towering all around them. Rickety, rusty chandeliers lit with real candles hung from the ceilings. George had hoped it would look a little more impressive. "Of course," she said after a small shake of her head to end the spell that she'd just been under. George's hand was on her hip and she was highly aware of the warmth of his fingers through the cotton of her shirt. Once she had collected herself, still rather embarrassed that she'd behaved in such a way and gotten so carried away just from a kiss, she looked around. She smiled when she realized that he'd brought her to a bookstore. "Oh, it's charming." George felt a surge of relief. He hadn't realized he'd been so nervous about her reaction to the place. "We're in Glasgow's Wizarding corridor," he told her. "And we're just in time." "In time for what?" Hermione asked curiously as she looked at the shelves nearest them. She hadn't even been to Glasgow's Wizarding section and now found herself intrigued. He pointed to a table at the far end of the shop, where a small, elfin woman sat, stacks of books around her. A sign read, "Ariadne Oliver: Book Signing, 8:45 p.m. today!" "George, that's Ariadne Oliver! She's the historian that I was telling you about earlier. Do you remember?" She looked at him excitedly and then felt foolish as she realized that was the reason he'd brought her here. "And you knew she was going to be," she continued before she smiled sheepishly. She leaned up and brushed a kiss against his cheek. "Thank you, George. This is a lovely surprise." She smiled at him before she pulled him with her to get into line to meet the author. George chuckled. " Past history," he said again, reminding her of his clue as he joined her in line. "She writes history, and I remember a time in our own history when you told me how much you liked her." It looked like a bit of a wait until they would reach the front of the line, but George didn't care. This was the perfect evening, with the perfect lady. He'd never been happier.
A lovely chapter. What a great date! Good thinking on George's part.
Thanks so much!