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Chapter 27 : Chapter 27: Nicknames and Jobs
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“I just don’t know what to do,” Hermione admitted with a sigh.
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” George said supportively which didn’t seem to impress Hermione.
“Well, that narrows it down,” she said sarcastically and George couldn’t help but chuckle at her stressed manner. Hermione had become obsessed with finding work and starting to earn money to either start contributing to costs at the Burrow or finding her own place where she didn’t feel she was taking advantage of the Weasleys.
“You could always work at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes,” George said with a grin.
Hermione sighed and smiled at him. “You know that I respect and admire what you do, George. It requires creativity and intelligence and patience and drive. But it was your dream. It is your dream. And I love it. I love seeing and knowing how successful you are but it’s not my dream. And, yes, you are a big part of my dreams but career wise I need to do what I feel is right for me.”
George arched an eyebrow at her, “You know just saying ‘no’ wouldn’t have been a problem, right? I wouldn’t have been offended.”
“I just didn’t want you to think I thought I was saying that I’m ‘above’ working in a joke shop or anything,” she said somewhat sheepishly.
“Granger, I’ve known you long enough to know that’s not the type of person you are,” he assured her.
“Good,” she smiled. “Now back to ideas!” she urged him.
“Alright you could... work at the Ministry? Heck, you could be Minister!” After receiving a glare from his girlfriend, he sighed. “A professor at Hogwarts? A Healer? I don’t know!” George cried in exasperation.
“Well, how am I supposed to decide?” Hermione huffed. “This is half of the reason you’re here: to make difficult decisions so that I don’t have to.”
“Oh how charming. And what’s the other half of the reason?” George asked curiously.
Hermione smiled innocently and leant in to whisper in his ear, “Well, I quite enjoy your company, your charm and irresistible good-looks.” George chuckled in response moving in to kiss her.
“Fitting for the bridesmaid dresses,” Angelina said, announcing her presence by grabbing Hermione’s elbow and beginning to tug her away before George’s lips could quite touch her own.
“Hey! That’s my girlfriend!” George exclaimed as if a possession was being stolen.
“Yeah, you’ll see her later,” Angelina informed him. “Don’t mess with a stressed out bride, George. It will end in your own peril.”
“I’ll see you later, Georgie!” Hermione called.
“Oh no...” George said, affronted. “That nickname is not happening.”
“You let Fred call you it,” she pointed out, faking hurt. “Why should your lovely girlfriend be any different?”
George searched desperately for a response but found none. “This isn’t over! We’ll be discussing this nickname business when you get back, love.”
“Whatever you say Georgie Porgie,” she grinned loving the scowl on his face as she left.
“Your fiancé just abducted my girlfriend,” George informed his twin who gave him a quizzical look in return. “Fitting for her bridesmaid dress or something.”
“And when is she getting fitted for her wedding dress?” Fred inquired casually, pretending to be occupied organising a stack of papers, but watching his twin intently from the corner of his eye.
George froze. Opened his mouth. And then promptly froze again.
“Hey Georgie boy, I’m talking to you!” Fred called and threw a pillow at his twin.
“Sorry,” George muttered feeling flustered as he rubbed the back of his neck. He looked to his twin, saw the question burning in his eyes and looked away again unable to think properly. He fumbled with picking up the pillow which Fred had chucked at him and tossed it back with poor aim, landing at the foot of Fred’s bed nowhere near him.
“Well?” Fred asked more softly this time.
“Not yet...” George murmured. “I love her. And I know that there is no one else that I could possibly spend my life with except for her but it’s so soon. It’s only been five months and she’s two years younger, I don’t want to rush her into anything. I’m as sure about her as I will ever be but I want to do this right.”
“I didn’t mean to freak you out,” Fred apologised. “I just know how serious you are about her and I was just wondering.”
“I don’t know...maybe when she’s decided what she’s doing career wise and we’ve been together a little longer so that she’s ready,” George explained further. “I just- ugh- I guess I just never want her to have any regrets.”
“She never would, George,” Fred assured him. “You know she loves you just as much as you love her.”
“Thanks,” George smiled at his twin. “Enough about my marriage in the distant future. What about yours? You’ve got a month. You nervous?”
“Never,” Fred grinned. “You’ll know when it’s your turn because there’s just nothing I could ever be surer of.”
“Aw Freddie,” George mocked but there was a genuine element disguised in it. “Aren’t you so sweet?”
“Shut up,” Fred said rolling his eyes but grinning. “I just- I can’t wait. I’d get married today if I could.”
“Ha well I have news for you: Half of the Wizarding world- not to mention a slight fraction of the Muggle world- is coming to your wedding so changing it now won’t work.”
Fred groaned, “Is my own wedding an inappropriate place for a prank?”
“Of course it is but luckily for me my twin’s wedding is the perfect place,” George chuckled. “Don’t worry I won’t do anything to your bride or any of the bridal party.”
“Isn’t that comforting?” Fred chuckled sarcastically.
“Oh and about this ‘Georgie’ business. It has to stop. Granger’s started to call me it and that is not going to happen,” George informed him. “I don’t need it interfering with my reputation,” he added, grinning and putting on a tougher air.
“Reputation? You mean the reputation of being a completely sappy, emotional, goofy guy?” Fred laughed.
“Well...” George trailed off, smiling.
“Come on you clown let’s get out of here. We need to get used to early mornings at the shop,” Fred said. “We’re lucky Lee offered to do morning shift today.”
“Back to our day job, hey?” George chuckled. “I’ve got some new ideas.”
“God I’ve missed this,” Fred grinned as they apparated into Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. “It hasn’t changed.”
“That’s because you told me if I did anything to the decor, you’d kill me,” Lee called from behind the counter and the twins laughed.
“We wouldn’t have actually killed you,” George smiled.
“Yeah, yeah,” Lee shrugged and hugged them both. “How are you? I’m glad you sorted things out with Hermione. You moping around here for two weeks was as annoying as hell.”
“Sorry mate,” George said sheepishly.
“She stopped in here earlier actually. Her, your sister, Katie and your bride,” Lee directed at Fred. “To collect Alicia for their dress fitting.”
“Your little bookworm thanked me for making sure you didn’t do anything stupid when you ran away,” Lee chuckled. “I told her that you already did something stupid by running away.”
“Wow thanks,” George said sarcastically, but he nodded nonetheless. “It all worked out in the end.”
“You’re lucky,” Lee informed him. “I would’ve killed you, if I was her.”
“If you were her I doubt George would’ve fallen for you,” Fred remarked.
George laughed, “Trust me she wanted to kill me. She attacked me but somewhere between punches she started crying and telling me how much she missed me and then... well, now I’m happy. Now we’re happy.” George looked past Lee, not really seeing anything in the joke shop but seeing her. Her with him and everything they had done together and picturing every moment they were yet to spend with each other.
There was flash of him down on one knee, a box in his hand and raw emotion burning in his eyes. And she was stood over him, tears of passion and tenderness escaping her chocolate brown eyes as the ring was slipped onto her delicate finger. He shook himself mentally, carried away in his own fantasies. The dismissal of these images meant they were replaced with ones of himself stood under a rose adorned arch, looking down the aisle to his glowing bride in her beautiful gown. He smiled to himself but then scolded himself as he pushed the images aside. Yet once they were gone he was still smiling imagining what every event like that would feel like. The pure excitement and emotion would surely be overwhelming; just the thoughts of it were. God there was something wrong with him. A few months ago he would have checked himself into St. Mungos for having thoughts like that.
“Hey!” Fred snapped flicking his twin in the head and earning himself a glare. “Enough with the daydreams I’m talking to you! You need to stop doing this to me. You froze up earlier too.”
“My daydreams are better looking than you,” he muttered to himself and his twin rolled his eyes.
“He looks exactly like you,” Lee pointed out.
“Minus an ear,” George grinned.
“I make the extra ear work,” Fred chuckled and winked at his twin.
The three of them stood their joking, chatting, teasing each other and discussing new product ideas for a while and George sneakily brought up the topic of Fred’s wedding and twisted it to grill Lee about whether there was a proposal for Alicia in the foreseeable future.
Lee began stumbling over his words in a manner much like George’s had been when his twin had asked him the same earlier that day. Eventually he admitted that he planned to propose on her birthday which was just over two months away.
“Who feels like serving a customer?” an impatient voice asked disrupting the three.
“Sorry sir, how may I-” Fred froze, realising the source of the impatient voice.
“Zabini?” George snarled. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard Weasel twin number two is with Potter’s pet nerd,” he began and George’s fists clenched as his jaw tightened.
“And that would be Weasel twin number two,” he noted aloud seeing George’s reaction.
“Well done, you some sort of detective?” George spat sarcastically.
“Hardly,” Blaise continued dryly. “I have a business opportunity for the prudish bookworm, thought you could pass on the message since I don’t know where I’d find her. See I don’t have the time to check every library in the country and I realise her social activities don’t extend much past that.”
“Say another word against her I dare you,” George growled leaning forward and gripping the collar of Blaise’s expensive-looking shirt tightly.
“Pull tighter on my shirt and I’ll send you flying through that window before you can even think about getting out your wand,” he warned. George did not flinch.
“You may not have noticed but you are slightly outnumbered,” Fred pointed out.
“Yeah but you Weasels all have one thing in common- aside from the unfortunate height, hair colour and freckles-,” he said distastefully. “It’s the fact that you all react too instinctively. It doesn’t take much to get you all angry and as soon as you are you become irrational. You go for fists rather than a hex. It’s stupid, really.”
“Do you really think I give a damn what you think is wrong with me or my family?” George spat. “Now why would Hermione even consider this ‘business opportunity’ after the way you’ve talked about her and treated her over the years.”
“Because I have a job,” he replied confidently. “And your frizzy haired freak is tragically unemployed.”
“There’s a million places that would by dying to have the Hermione Granger working for them and you might want to remember that you are absolutely nothing compared to her and in fact your family name is currently one of the most hated in the world whilst she is the brains of the Golden Trio,” George informed him with confidence.
“Very defensive of your little girlfriend aren’t you, Weasel?” Blaise said, smirking.
“Well, it’s rude to talk ill of someone who isn’t present to defend themselves,” a strong voice announced from the door way.
“You’re in for it now,” Lee said as he and Fred took a step back exchanging fearful glances. A person would have to be stupid to mess with Hermione. Regardless of her slightness physically her mental and magical strength formed a force greater than most others.
George did not release his grip on Zabini but grinned at the sound of the voice. Hermione Granger was nothing if not talented for dramatic entrances. The tension in the room was almost laughable and the sight of Blaise’s eyes widening and him visibly gulping was very rewarding. Angelina’s bridesmaids stood just inside the store having returned from their dress fitting.
“Granger just the freak I was looking to talk to,” Blaise said smugly, turning as much as he could within George’s hold.
“And to what do I owe the displeasure?” she hissed in response.
“You’re just as heated as your boyfriend here,” he informed her.
“The word is spirited,” she corrected. “And his short temper is just one of many things I adore about him. Now George, release Malfoy’s lap dog and let’s hear what he’s got to say.”
“Of course dear,” George said overdramatically giving Blaise’s collar a tug before releasing him. The desired effect worked very well as Zabini staggered back and ended up on the floor.
“That’s my Georgie,” Fred grinned as Blaise stood up, brushing down his clothes with an intense hatred burning in his eyes.
“Granger,” Blaise said as politely as he could through gritted teeth and he offered her a hand to shake. Hermione eyed it disgustedly and declined. “I’ll get straight to the point then,” he said straightening his blazer. “I would like you, as the supposed ‘war hero’ that you are, to write a book detailing your account of the war and your experiences. Not for historical purposes as such but similar to the style of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore just about the war instead. My company would publish it and have you tour the country recounting your stories to wizards and witches of all ages who would be only extremely willing to pay. Estimates so far suggest your book would create extensive financial profit on both your part and our own.”
There was silence as she contemplated what he had said. Each person in the room watched expectantly. The initial curiosity on her face has melted away leaving a blank expression. She was completely unreadable. Blaise cleared his throat pointedly and in doing so the fiery hatred returned to her eyes.
Hermione laughed. In his face. A real, genuine laugh that rang throughout the brightly coloured building. But within seconds it stopped and her face took on a look of being deadly serious making her seem much older very suddenly. Something dark had settled in her expression and the rage blazing in her usually calm and calculating brown eyes was disconcerting even for her friends. “How dare you?” she screeched the pitch of her voice dangerous and warning.
“Uh-oh,” Lee whispered glancing sideways at Fred who was staring wide eyed and the now enraged bookworm. Lee was thankful Hermione hadn’t heard him for fear that her anger would be redirected at him.
“What I went through- no- what we all went through in that war is not something I want to make money out of! I don’t want to relive those moments ever and having them haunt me in my nightmares is bad enough but to write a book about it? All for money? You absolute pig! You disgusting, pathetic, stupid excuse for a human being! Do you have any idea how insulting that is? My friends died in that war. We lost more people than I can count! And here you are seeing it all as a business opportunity?” she yelled.
“Now, Granger- erm- Hermione...” Blaise began uneasily.
“Don’t you dare call me that!” she shrieked.
“Okay...um...Granger,” he tried again apprehensively. “This is by no means an insult...You’re a talented witch, you have a way with words and the money is just an added bonus...”
“No money is quite clearly the only thing you care about. The fact that you pointed out it wasn’t for historical purposes quite simply states that what you want is not a realistic insight into the horrors of the war,” she hissed. “What you want is some gossip-filled, manipulated tale of scandal so that you can get paid.”
“What do you want me to say? The truth is that money makes the world go round. And whether you like it or not it’s the truth,” Blaise yelled back now matching her tone. “So why don’t you get off your frigging high horse and step into the real world because you aren’t going to float by on your little ‘hero’ status forever.”
“You think I won’t find another job? You are sorely mistaken,” Hermione informed him.
“What if I change it a bit? So it suits you? We’ll make it into a real account of the war. Just you and your experiences for historical reference?” he suggested.
“I’ve submitted all the information I felt necessary to the Ministry archives already so there’s your historical reference. Find someone else to write your book, Blaise,” she told him. “This conversation is over.”
“Let me know if you change your mind,” he said curtly. Hermione neglected to respond and as the group watched him leave they all heard him muttering to himself about ‘bloody aggressive Weasels’ and ‘mudbloods’ who ‘still didn’t know their place.’
“Alright, Hermione?” Lee asked tentatively reaching a hesitant hand out and placing it on her arm.
“I’m fine,” she smiled. “Sorry for scaring you.”
“I think it was pretty- erm-,” George paused glancing around at the many witnesses in the room and decided not to use the word he initially planned to. “Let’s go with ‘attractive’,” he offered her a mischievous grin.
“Shut up,” she said as she rolled her eyes unable to fight a blush.
“Seriously Granger,” George grinned. “It’s not as ‘attractive’ when you’re directing your anger at me but feisty Hermione is pretty –erm- attractive.”
“Oh come on,” Ginny groaned and pretended to gag. “You’re my brother do you really have to say stuff like that in front of me.”
George grinned wickedly and laughed, “Sorry Gin, I’m sure Potter’s probably told you something similar before.” Ginny flushed scarlet and Hermione nudged George playfully.
“You sure handled him, ‘Mione,” Fred grinned. “Of course Georgie boy was doing a pretty good job of it himself.”
“He wasn’t going to get away with saying anything about you, love,” George informed her nuzzling her neck before resting his forehead against her own.
“Always there to defend me, aren’t you Georgie?” Hermione laughed loving the flash in his eyes at the nickname but planted a soft kiss on his lips before he could complain.
“Of course, Hermie,” George chuckled, mischief twinkling in his brown eyes as Hermione scowled. She shook her head at him and removed herself from his embrace.
“Now that is definitely not happening,” she smiled and he laughed alongside her lacing his fingers through her own.
As usual I really hope you enjoyed it and I would really love to know what you thought about the chapter! Yes- I'm still asking you to review! Please? It's not like I get paid for all the work I put into writing this so your reviews are all I have! And they honestly make me so much happier.
Thank you so much for reading. I really hope you are enjoying the story so far and that you continue to follow and enjoy it as it progresses. Thanks again! Jenna :)
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