Chapter 3 : Chapter Two: Volunteer
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Walking into her tiny bathroom, she decided to get ready for the day ahead of her. She didn’t have much to do today, but she knew that she’d have to stop and get some groceries if she went out. Well, might as well make a day of it.
She finished getting dressed, making a mental list of places she wanted to go to as she grabbed her wallet and placed it in her purse. Pacing her small flat, Hermione racked her brains trying to remember if she had everything she needed for the day. Satisfied that she did, she stepped outside, and Apparated to Diagon Alley. Hermione’s first stop was the fancy quill shop, as she was desperately in need a few new quills, and some ink, now that she thought about it. Wrinkling her nose at the realization, she pushed the door in, and soon her ears were filled with the ringing of the bells placed above the doorframe. Hermione was quickly swept up in the smell of fresh parchment, and ink, and immediately relaxed. She got to business, selecting two nice eagle quills, and three jars of ink. Hoping that would hold her over for a while, she proceeded to check out.
Stepping outside the shop, Hermione realized she was just down the street from Fred and George’s shop. Glancing around, she promptly headed over. Not noticing the time, Hermione was surprised to see that the shop wasn’t open. Momentarily confused, she glanced at her ancient, dainty gold watch, and saw the time was only 8 o’clock, and the shop didn’t open nearly for another two hours. Not wanting to waste the chance to see the twins, Hermione went around to the back of the shop to climb the steps up to the boy’s flat.
Hermione knocked at the door, but wasn’t really expecting an answer; after all, the boys stayed at the Burrow even longer than Hermione had. Reaching for the doorknob to see if it was open, she cautiously turned the handle, and was delighted that the door was unlocked. Stepping into their oversized flat, Hermione called out a simple, “Hello?”
“Hermione? Is that you?” George called out from the back of the flat, most likely his room.
“Yes, it's me,” Hermione said, walking more into the living room, “Are you two decent?”
“I don’t know about decent, but I am dressed - although Fred is still in the shower, the bloody git. Now what do we owe the pleasure of seeing you this morning Hermione?” George asked, finally coming into Hermione’s view.
“Well, I was down at that new quill shop, and I just thought since I was in the neighbor-“
“George! Where did you put my left sock? You did laundry last, I know you have it!” Fred shouted, walking out of the bathroom, in nothing but a towel around his waist. “Oh, Hermione, good to see you.”
“Fred! I’m pretty sure just because you’re missing a sock doesn’t mean you can’t get dressed!” Hermione practically shouted, quickly turning her head away from Fred.
“Oh c’mon Hermione, you can’t tell me you don’t like what you saw,” Fred said, spreading his arms lavishly, and throwing a wink in Hermione’s direction.
“No really, I’m good Fred, just go get changed!” Hermione squeaked, blushing fervently.
“It’s okay love, there will be other times to see me this way, I do take showers everyday you know,” Fred responded laughing at knowing the discomfort he was causing Hermione. Fred then turned and headed to the back of the apartment, retreating to his bedroom.
“The- the nerve of him!” Hermione fumed. Hermione wasn’t too sure why on earth she was reacting this way. She had seen plenty of half naked males, after being on the run with Ron and Harry for a year, it was almost inevitable. Yet, could it be the fact that Ginny’s last conversation was still on her mind? If that was the case, she was going to seriously have to reconsider her proposition. Besides, why was she getting so worked up? Its not like she had agreed to anything yet, and even if she did, who said either of the twins would even go for what she was suggesting.
“Hermione? I asked if you would like to stay for breakfast?” George asked from the kitchen.
“I don’t know George, I do have other plans today,” Hermione replied.
“Oh please Hermione, when was the last time you even came over? I know you can spare another hour with us, we aren’t that bad, and you know it.”
“Well, I suppose breakfast couldn’t hurt anyone. Are you sure you can even cook though?” Hermione asked, wrinkling her nose as she walked into the kitchen to face George.
George stuck his tongue out at Hermione, “Well excuse me. I may not be my mother, thank Merlin for that, but I am her son, so I’m pretty sure genetics can gap the bridge here.”
“Carry on then chef, don’t let me get in your way.”
“Oi! George! Are you making pancakes?” Fred shouted.
“What? I can’t ear you,” George responded, winking at Hermione.
Hermione busted out giggling. She still couldn’t believe George threw those jokes around.
“What’s so funny Granger?” Fred asked, strolling into the kitchen, fully clothed Hermione noted.
“Did you happen to find your left sock there old sport?” George turned to Fred.
“As a matter of fact I did not, therefore, I am wearing two right socks as we speak.”
Hermione spit out the sip of juice she had been drinking. “You what? Do you label your socks or something?” Hermione asked, chocking back giggles again.
Fred walked over with paper towels in tow, “As a matter of fact, I do. Again, what’s so funny Granger?”
“Fred, by far, you have the most uncomplicated troubles in the world,” Hermione said before she burst out laughing.
“Mind you, I’d much rather have the troubles I have, than have official troubles any day,” Fred retorted, helping clean up Hermione’s spill, and taking a seat at the table, next to Hermione.
George then brought all the food he had managed to cook in such a short period of time over to the table. “Just for the record, if any of you die, it most definitely is not my fault. Now, bon appetite.”
Hermione hadn’t realized just how hungry she was until she smelled the food in front of her. It all just smelt so wonderful, and Hermione couldn’t help but dig in. With all this extra eating she had been doing lately, she made a mental note to stop by the gym later this week.
“Hermione, what do you say we call in Miranda to the shop, and just hang out here? And before you say no, please think about it. Its been ages since we’ve just hung out, and you’re already here, so why not?” George started.
“Yeah! It’ll be great Hermione! Besides, its Saturday, and I’m sure you don’t have too much going on that you can’t spare us a day,” Fred finished, using all the dramatics he could sum up.
“Well, I suppose if Miranda doesn’t mind,” Hermione mulled over, “Then I could spare a day.”
“Good, because I already asked, and she definitely didn’t mind,” George said, smirking at Hermione.
Hermione reached over the table and playfully smacked George on the arm, “No need to be smart, I do actually have to get food sometime today.”
“Groceries, smoceries, let loose a little Hermione!” Fred responded, rolling his eyes.
“I did agree to spend the day with you two, isn’t that letting loose enough?”
Once everyone was finished eating, Fred took the liberty of clearing the table, and cleaning the rest of the kitchen. Hermione and George walked into the living room, and plopped down on the leather, squishy couch. George turned on the television mindlessly, and directed his attention to Hermione. With his brow furrowed, and a hurt and confused look in his eye, Hermione immediately knew something was not right with George.
“George?” Hermione asked respectively, “Is everything okay?”
“Hermione, can I ask you for some girl advice?” George asked sheepishly, looking down and rubbing the back of his neck.
“Well of course, although, if its anything in the romance department, I’m not sure how much I can help you there,” Hermione said with a laugh.
“Anything is better than what I can think of,” George started, “Anyways, the other day, Angelina stopped by the shop, and it was just so nice to catch up. She asked to meet up again, for drinks tonight actually. Its just, I can’t stop thinking about her Hermione. What do I do?”
“Well, honestly George, I think you’re overthinking this. Just go tonight and see how things turn out, I mean its been a while, she could have totally changed from that girl you and Fred were always competing for, but on the other hand, she could be just as charming. I think you should just keep an open mind for tonight, and go from there,” Hermione smiled encouragingly.
“One more thing Hermione?”
“Anything,” Hermione replied.
“Well since you brought up the whole thing about me and Fred competing again, I really just want this chance see Angelina alone, and well, I was wondering if you could distract Fred tonight for me? Oh please please Hermione! Name your price and I’ll double it!” George pleaded. He even went as far to get on his knees in front of Hermione.
Hermione laughed. “Hmm,” she thought as she rubbed her chin. “Well, how do you feel about eternal gratefulness, and servitude?”
“That’s fine! At least I don’t have to double that, as its eternal!”
With a loud clatter coming from the kitchen, both Hermione and George jumped up, running to the kitchen, only to find Fred on the floor surrounded by pots and pans, with a wooden spoon in hand. Laughing at Hermione and George’s reactions, Fred started banging and clanging on the pots again.
“And what in the name of Merlin do you think you’re doing Fred? You do realize you only just about gave me and George a heart attack just then, why are you still laughing?” Hermione shrieked.
“Oh come it off Hermione! The house was too quiet, wouldn’t you agree? I’m pretty sure we just set a record time for the house going without a bang or clang until I changed that,” Fred said, grinning up lopsidedly at Hermione.
“I was thinking the same thing brother,” George laughed, grabbing another wooden spoon and sitting next to Fred. The two brothers then proceeded to put on a huge show for their only audience, a happy, giggling Hermione.
“You two are completely insane, I give up,” Hermione stated, tossing her hands in the air. The rest of the afternoon was full of not only Fred’s, but also George’s shenanigans. Hermione could only laugh, and shrug them off. She also remembered how much she actually liked spending time with the boys. They were different from the boys of the trio. The twins let loose, and did it all to make Hermione ache with laughter, or uncontrollable giggles. They didn’t stop to think what others thought, but they did know when enough was enough, and were careful not to upset Hermione too much. The long day Hermione expected went by much to fast, and the offer she made George was soon approaching for her to play the part. With a sidelong glance from George, motioning her to make a move, she quickly played the part, as George slipped out of sight.
“Yes my dearest Hermione?” Fred responded, fluttering his eyelashes, trying hard to lay the flirting on thick.
Hermione completely unfazed by Fred continued, “Would you mind going food shopping with me? Its just the closest supermarket to me is dodgy, and I’d prefer if I didn’t go by myself.”
“Well, why don’t you go to a store where you aren’t likely to get mugged?”
“That’s the thing, normally I would, but I would like to get home soon, so I can start on dinner, and I would rather be close to home so I can start it sooner. Look Fred, if you come with me, I’ll make you dinner,” Hermione offered.
“Why, Hermione Granger, are you asking me on a date?” Fred inquired, wiggling his eyebrows.
Hermione blushing deeply answered, “Its just a trip to the supermarket, and dinner.”
“I’ll take it!” Fred exclaimed.
Waving off Fred, Hermione went to the back of their flat, and knocked on George’s door.
“Come in,” George responded cheerfully. As Hermione opened the door, he finished buttoning up his shirt.
“We’re leaving, I can probably only give you a couple of hours though,” Hermione shrugged.
“That’s more than enough,” George said, walking over to place a kiss on Hermione’s cheek. “Thank you again Hermione. My eternal servitude is always a whistle away.”
Hermione winked at George before walking out of his room, and back into the living room, “You ready Fred?”
“About time! I’m sort of high maintenance, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“Oh believe me Fred, I’ve noticed, so let's get going then.”
The pair Apparated to the sketchy market down the street from Hermione’s flat. Only picking up the bare necessities to get her through the week, Fred and Hermione were in and out in under thirty minutes flat. Having Fred there was very helpful, as there were a couple more bags than usual that Hermione would have had to carry, not to mention, all the shady people in that grocery store. Hermione shuddered to think what could have happened, as it wasn’t unusual for a shoot out or even mugging like Hermione was initially frightened of. Once they had the bag securely tucked under their arms, the two both Apparated to Hermione’s tiny flat.
Fred surprisingly, was a huge help with putting away groceries, without too much complains. Glancing at the clock on the stove, Hermione inwardly groaned, knowing she’d still have to entertain Fred for at least three more hours. Deciding to get to work on their dinner, Hermione accurately fished things out of her cupboard, and started the preparation of their supper. As Hermione was browning the meat in a pan Fred appeared right behind her.
“Can I help you?” Hermione raised an eyebrow.
“Actually, yes. Can you tell me where you learned to cook, because I’ve heard stories from Ron when you guys were on the run, and things apparently weren’t that great, so I want to check the source before I proceed with any dietary concerns,” Fred finished, and stared blankly at Hermione.
“Oh! The nerve of Ronald! He obviously didn’t understand that we weren’t within walking distances of any super markets, or that we could just waltz in to stores, as we were the most wanted people at the time! I’ll have you know, I did my best, and those boys were lucky to have what we had, because it could have been a whole lot worse!” Hermione cried, pointing her finger at Fred.
Fred busted out laughing. Holding his stomach and trying to catch his breath, Fred glanced up at Hermione. “I don’t know why you think this is so funny,” Hermione started, “I think I’m absolutely furious, and you’re the only person here, so if I were you, I’d knock it off before I direct my anger to you.”
“Hermione,” Fred gasped between laughs, “I’m only giving you a hard time. I’d be happy with whatever you cooked me, and I’d eat whatever it is without protesting.”
Fuming, Hermione directed her attention to her cooking again. Measuring out the rest of the ingredients, she continued on with the recipe she had laid out. Without another peep from Fred, Hermione finished the spaghetti in no time. She prepared two plates, and made her way to the table, laying a plate in front of an already sitting Fred.
“Hermione, this looks and smells delicious, I’m sorry again for doubting your cooking,” Fred earnestly stated.
“Its quite alright, and there is still plenty more in the pot, if you want more later,” Hermione replied before digging in.
“One more thing? Why didn’t you ask George to go shopping with you? Or at least over for dinner?”
Nearly choking on a noodle, Hermione took a sip of water and replied, “Err, well George had other plans for tonight, didn’t he mention it?”
“No, but that sounds like something he’d do. Set you up to babysit me, while he’s out having all the fun. That nice person.”
“Babysit huh, what happened to spending the whole day together?” Hermione scoffed.
“It’s not that I don’t enjoy spending time with you Hermione, I just want to know what’s so important, or fun the George didn’t want me around, that’s all.”
“Well, best not to worry about it. If he wants you to know, he’ll tell you. Simple as that. Are you finished with that?” Hermione asked, pushing her chair back from the table, and reaching for Fred’s plate.
Hermione gathered the plates, and walked into the kitchen to load them into the dishwasher. She then collected the leftovers, and stored them properly in the fridge. Hermione then headed into the living room after she heard her television turned on. Taking a seat next to Fred on her loveseat, she propped her feet on the ottoman. Inwardly signing, Hermione realized how much she had actually done today, and relished in the fact that she finally got to relax and kick up her feet.
“Long day?” Fred turned to ask Hermione.
“Mmhm,” Hermione mustered.
Completely relaxed and at ease, Hermione folded her hand in her lap, and closed her eyes, resting her head against the top of the couch.
“So Hermione,” Fred began, “Ginny mentioned something to me the other day about you.”
“Is that so,” Hermione replied, stifling a yawn.
Fred shifted in his seat, completely facing Hermione now, “Well, is it true then?”
“Is what true?” Hermione asked, opening one eye.
“Hermione, do you really want a baby? I mean isn’t that kind of a big responsibility, not that you aren’t responsible, it's just, it's going to be hard all by yourself, don’t you think?” Fred drifted.
Blushing like crazy, Hermione sat up and stared at Fred. “I-I well, Fred, I just want someone there for me all the time, a child that’s mine, you know? I just don’t want to get hurt again,” Hermione finished, looking away from Fred and down at her hands.
“Hermione, look at me please,” Fred said, cupping Hermione’s chin up so she could look at Fred, “If you’re completely sure, like one hundred percent sure, I can help.”
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