When Hermione Fights
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 Ups and Downs, Business as Usual, chapter 138

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Anzahl der Beiträge : 112
Anmeldedatum : 25.10.14
Ort : Bodensee

Ups and Downs, Business as Usual, chapter 138 Empty
BeitragThema: Ups and Downs, Business as Usual, chapter 138   Ups and Downs, Business as Usual, chapter 138 EmptySo Aug 30, 2020 7:16 am

Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy

The morning ended more relaxed than expected, although I saw that Severus and Draco would probably not let me off as easily as Lucius. Especially Severus made my stomach ache slightly; to escape him would be the maxim.

When we headed for the bedroom I knew reassuring Draco was on the agenda. We didn't speak a word on the way to our suite, but he grabbed my elbow and led me unerringly, which probably meant 'I want to talk now and you will answer!' Of course, all the time, I rolled my eyes cynically.

When we entered the rooms he amazed me by pulling me to his chest and holding me close to him, offering me comfort but also needing encouragement himself.

"I don't know if you realize how happy I am that you survived yesterday! I was disappointed to wake up alone today and only see you in the breakfast room. Will you tell me why you didn't want to see me first?" The words came so quietly from Draco that when he spoke so thoughtfully, I closed my eyes and snuggled up against his chest even more.

"I was afraid of my own courage, Draco. I didn't want to see the disgust in your eyes when you saw me first; that's why I got up and left," I confessed with a deep sigh and I felt his chest tremble under the suppressed laughter that ran through his body.

"The smartest little witch of our time and yet so... Hermione, why should I be disgusted? Because of the episode, which was truly borderline and vile? Yes, it wasn't pretty, but what could we have done about it? I think, know, and accept that he was after your blood and he likes to shock. I think I rather have to say that you did admirably when he did that, because I do not think he would have liked you to throw up at his feet!

"This shouldn't come between us. Let's bury it and forget. The reason for all this, on the other hand, will occupy me for a long time to come and while I will not push now, I will never forget and always investigate, " he threatened. "Let me tell you that I want to know one day and I'm sure that even then it won't come between us or separate us." He made the last sentence sound almost like a promise, whispering it into my hair.

"You're incredible," I just breathed and lifted my face towards him. I wanted to dare myself to look into his grey eyes and read what he felt or thought. I only recognized what he always showed me; his feelings for me were unchanged, despite this episode and then his lips were already on mine and I was so grateful to feel Draco's soft, living lips.

It felt so good and I wrapped my arms around his neck, outright clinging to him as he pushed me further and further back, which I was only too happy to allow until I felt the bedroom door in my back. His hands slid desperately over my upper body and I groaned blissfully into our kiss.

Eagerly, passionately, but also gently he reached into my low neckline with one hand, let it slide into my bra and began to knead my breasts under the fabric and stimulate my nubs. I relished the feel of his skin on mine. His impetuous lust and that he still desired me as much as before made me forget everything.

His lips slid greedily over my neck and décolleté, which I enjoyed very much. I laid my head back to make it easier for him to access my neck. He too growled and moaned, taking a deep breath at the bend of my neck, soaking up my scent, which turned me on even more.

When I felt him lift my dress, for which he had to take his hand out of my neckline, unfortunately, and purposefully pull down my knickers, I wanted him as much as he wanted me.

It was exactly what I needed now. I just had to feel him! Now! Right this minute! When he had finally freed himself, now standing between my legs which were open for him, pressing himself greedily against me, I felt his excitement big and hard on my thigh and I was impatient to feel him inside me. He had lifted his head again, gazing at me eagerly and full of lust. His bright eyes gleamed intensely, so that I could see his urge to feel me was in no way inferior to mine.

"Put your legs around me," he whispered, aroused, and at that moment he lifted me up by my buttocks and I wrapped my legs around his middle as ordered. Already I felt him at my entrance. Then I threw my head back again as he plunged into me, pressing me firmly against the door as I wrapped my arms even tighter around his neck, clinging to him. He moaned with relish and excitement when he sunk so deeply into me and I could not suppress a pleasurable groan either. This was pure, beautiful, sweet life, exactly what we both needed now. We had each other. No matter what had happened, it would not stand between us and we both had to feel that right now.

He took me, filled me completely and I enjoyed feeling him deep inside of me while we kissed each other passionately. He moved in a steady rhythm, constantly thrusting into me, in and out, and I was whimpering softly. It felt so good to feel him.

I could feel my climax coming within reach, so I released the kiss, looked Draco in the eyes, which were now dark with lust, while he moved steadily within me and breathed heavily. Leaning my head back against the door, I enjoyed our coupling until I reared up and let the orgasm roll over me, my muscles cramping uncontrollably.

Draco's panting had also become progressively louder until he followed me with a scream, coming deep inside me and shooting his hot seed into my canal. He then let his head sink onto my shoulder, breathing heavily and exhausted. I loosened my hands around his neck and stroked his neck and the mark he had gotten from me in this sensitive spot, also playing with his silky hair.

I enjoyed his closeness and our intimacy for a short while, rejoicing in the fact that everything felt so right between us and nothing had changed.

When I opened my eyes, I was rudely torn from my thoughts and the good feeling in which I was floating, as I looked into Lucius' eyes, which resembled a dark thundercloud. The lord of the manor was standing in the open door and watching us disapprovingly, with a slightly pinched expression. He seemed indignant and displeased.

"I knocked," he said at once. Yeah, right... I wonder how long he had been standing there. By the look on his face, quite a long time. Draco froze when he heard his father. "...It is an impertinent presumption of you, Draco, to make me wait," Lucius flared up and I saw his fingers clinging tightly to the snake head of his cane and turning white.

Draco had now caught himself so far that he lifted his head from my shoulder and turned it around.

"I'm sorry, Father, for keeping you waiting. Why don't you wait for me downstairs... I'm still stuck," Draco proclaimed dryly and I opened my eyes wide, immediately staring worriedly at Lucius, how he would react to his son's insolence and well, he did not disappoint me.

I mean, Draco was indeed still inside me. Oh, it was mortifying! I am never spared the humiliation. I closed my eyes. The other day Lucius had heard us and now he had seen us. At least, I tried to console myself, we still had our clothes on and he had not seen anything of me.

"What?!" he hissed with narrowed eyes, never letting us out of his sight.

"You, Draco Lucius Malfoy, will now get going at once! May I remind you we have an appointment? Since when do you forget your duties, son? I will not tolerate such carelessness! I will take rigorous measures to remedy this. You can screw around if you have no duties," he said softly but threateningly.

Draco detached himself from me and set me carefully back on my feet, whereupon my dress slipped back down and covered me. Then, he magically cleaned himself and straightened his clothes very calmly on the outside, while an angry Lucius stared at us.

"Hermione, I am disappointed that you have kept Draco from his duties. What is the matter with you? Were you not supposed to be on your way by now?" Lucius asked coldly. I brushed my tousled hair out of my face and didn't even get a chance to answer him before he continued: "I do not want to experience anything like that again." He then turned away abruptly and contemptuously, his cloak billowing dramatically during his exit.

Draco quickly bent down to me and whispered:

"Thank you. And never mind, Father is just angry that it wasn't him who had the honour." He grinned mischievously at me now and breathed a quick kiss on my forehead and hurried after his father.

End of Hermione’s POV

Lucius’ POV

I was painstakingly trying to maintain my posture, which had been trained and tried and tested for decades. I was displeased! What were they thinking?! I had knocked and then entered and what did I have to see?

How Draco fucked Hermione against the door and how she liked being fucked by him. I had seen her ecstatic face as he pounded hard over and over again. Oh, how I would have loved to swap or join in, as attested by my own excitement that pressed firmly against my slacks.

I had just taken my pent-up anger out on them, a bit unfair, but it was I that would walk around unsatisfied, not them!

I had never wanted to see it. Hearing him giving her a good time had been bad enough... Well, I wanted to be honest, as long as I was denied to do the same with her. Therefore, I was angry that Draco had made me wait. I never wait!

And I wanted to possess her, damn it, even after yesterday. After she had made such a good impression on the Dark Lord, I was even more interested in dominating her physically and fucking her. Just as I had planned from the beginning, when I had seen her in the ministry in this seductive dress and she had curtsied so low before me; from that moment on, I wanted her.

My hands clenched angrily. If I was not allowed to have my way with her, I could make things more difficult for them. There were two empty wings here. It would only be appropriate if she got the left wing on the second floor next to Draco's suite. That way, only Narcissa's wing would be unused and they would no longer be able to share a bedroom, my vicious thoughts ran away with me.

It did not upset me so much that they had had a quickie - I too was aware of what they were doing - but to see it, to have to wait for Draco and then not be allowed to join in or have her myself, really overtaxed my patience.

We had talked about respect, obedience and family earlier at the breakfast table and then I had to see such things, such unrestrained lust! I was annoyed and to be kept waiting did not exactly speak of respect. While I had talked mainly to Hermione at breakfast, because I thought my son did not need to hear such lectures anymore, I had obviously been mistaken.

End of Lucius' POV

Hermione's POV

I was still leaning against the door and could not suppress a slightly hysterical laugh. It was so tragicomically mad, unpleasant and embarrassing! Maybe next time we should really invite Severus and Lucius to join us, then we would have all kinds of impossibilities covered!

Can you believe Lucius' relatively unfounded anger that Draco - what? - kept him waiting two minutes, or five at worst? He was angry, but I didn't believe his transparent telling-off.

He was angry because I wouldn't let him have a go at me. In that respect, he was like Draco, if he didn't get something, then he got a very special expression on his face, which I think made him look stubborn and I had seen Lucius' feelings reflected in his eyes for a second and there was his lust, his unfulfilled lust, clearly written on his face.

Now I also straightened up again, because I felt fantastically alive after my little adventure. Lastly, I tied my hair into a loose braid, after all, I would dip my nose into books and I wouldn't want to brush my hair back all the time.

I departed swiftly, ran along the yew hedge and then apparated and arrived in an empty park. The weather made it unnecessary to wear anything other than my light, summery black dress. I walked purposefully towards the large London City Archives.

How good that I knew my way around it, otherwise I might have been lost for days in this massive, large building. I purposefully went down to the cellar, to the archives and I felt sorry for myself already. Here the technology of the computers had not yet arrived, unfortunately and so manual work was needed.

After nearly succumbing to desperation a few times, I reaped the first results. What had I found out so far?

The East/West London Child and Youth Care Centre has been in operation since 1924 and was one of London's first institutions for children in need. Good, so this already existed in the year 1926 and thus, I went through their directories and found HIM. A Tom Marvolo Riddle had had a registration from 1927 to 1945; he was listed as an orphan. I would have loved to cheer with joy! Now I knew at least where he had been. One could feel sorry for the little baby, who had to live in an orphanage from the beginning, growing up without ever knowing an attachment figure. A miserable fate, but nothing I could change now.

Next, I went on the hunt for the name Riddle; that yielded results much faster. Mary and Thomas Riddle, as well as their son Tom Riddle were quickly found and also their home, Riddle House, because in 1944 it was mentioned in the newspapers.

On the 30th of August 1944 a terrible tragedy happened in the mansion in the small suburb Little Hangleton, East Sussex. As written in the articles, the three people, the Dark Lord's grandparents and his father, had been executed without any visible injuries and had been found dead in the large drawing room by their gardener Frank Bryce.

Well, that was something. My suspicions were confirmed. If only it were too much of a coincidence that his first date of death appeared twice on the family tree and his family was wiped out on the same day. The only question was, why wasn't the date mentioned three times?

Had the grandmother, the woman, not been important enough?

Shouldn't there be... But no, then we all would have died during our first murder or something of us! Then how do I explain that the date appeared twice, but he had killed three times?

That was the question, but at least now I knew what it meant, because the coincidence would have been too big if the two things had nothing to do with each other.

Should I be shocked that HE had erased his Muggle relatives, his family? That these were the first crimes he had ever done himself, carried out in cold blood?

Well, let's say that I was indirectly surprised that he was already so purposeful at that time, but surprised, probably not so much. To find confirmation that he was a dangerous young man even then was unexpected, but well, I was even younger than he was when I committed my first murder by hand!

So what did that make me? Could I truly rise above the Dark Lord morally? Probably not!

I realised that I was no longer the Hermione Granger that had once existed. A year of living out my well hidden, but apparently slumbering and existing evil Hermione had shown what I was capable of and I was apparently becoming more and more Hermione Malfoy!

The name itself probably had an effect, I thought cynically. But apart from that, if I hadn't been prepared to become like that, to go through with it all the way I did, a lot of things would have gone differently and for Harry in particular things would have gone much worse. We had learned so much thanks to me. No, I didn't regret what had to be!

With the realisation that I was finished here, I packed up and left. I wanted to go to my parents' house for a quick visit and see if I could find other clues in the Black Library.

It was a strange feeling to enter the now uninhabited house. Did I miss my parents?

No, it became frighteningly clear to me, I did not. I didn't even get to think about them, too much happened too fast, unfortunately, but this house would always remind me of them. And the library also stirred up a kind of wistfulness in me.

I hoped that Sirius's mother, when she was alive, had a similar newspaper system to the Malfoys and I was not disappointed, she had.

The years I was looking for were long in the past and it was a thankless task, but thanks to the exact dates it was relatively easy. I found out that however the Dark Lord had managed it, the murder of the three Riddles was blamed on the ragged, cross-eyed, dirty and stooped Morfin Gaunt. Gaunt was arrested for the murder of the Muggles, in whose immediate vicinity he lived. Or rather dwelt in a miserable hut on the outskirts of town, as I thought when I saw the picture.

The article said that the suspect had been a convicted criminal already as a minor and had spent three years in Azkaban, so it was only natural to arrest him, Morfin Gaunt, the Dark Lord's uncle. Since he also confessed to have murdered the three Muggles himself, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban.

Why would the uncle murder the Riddles and why should the date of the family's death appear for the Dark Lord? No, no, there was more. I had a trail that didn't explain itself and so I looked at the newspaper articles that dealt with the tragedy that had taken place in Little Hangleton in detail. In a subsequent article it was said that Morfin was probably crazy, because all he kept talking about was an heirloom that was gone, had been stolen from him.

A family heirloom that had been passed down through the Slytherin line for centuries was missing and he described it as a chunky, heavy gold ring with a crest on a black stone. He only asked for the ring at his trial, the rest he did not even bother to address. He then described in detail, and here my breath stopped, the coat of arms I knew, which was engraved in the stone: an equilateral triangle enclosing a circle, with a central vertical line.

Wow, somehow everything fit together. The crest I knew thanks to Dumbledore had, to my knowledge, nothing to do with the Slytherins. Absolutely nothing. Then why was he so intent on saying that this was a family treasure? And why had the name Peverell been scribbled into the children's book, as well as the sign. Was it a family crest? By whom? Not by the Slytherins or the Gaunts, surely. The Peverells?

Now all we had to do was find out what was going on with the Peverells, but one step at a time.

Right now I was dealing with Morfin and I was sure that the Dark Lord had murdered the Riddles and blamed it on his uncle. Very malicious, but it suited HIM.

The next year I covered in my research was 1946, but I found nothing, just some unspectacular deaths. Even on the third of August of that year I found nothing spectacular, which annoyed me incredibly.

So I turned to the next date, the 12th of April 1950 and there I found out where the Dark Lord seemed to have been working at that time: Borgin & Burkes, the shop in Knockturn Alley known for its (black)magic utensils and antiques and to which I owed my horus daggers. And here April 12th was the date of death of Hepzibah Smith. The picture showed a corpulent, older witch, who had dressed up with a blond wig, pink robe and a lot of make-up and powder. She was described as a rich collector who was found poisoned in her house.

At first, the house elf Hokey was suspected to have accidentally mixed poison into her evening cocoa instead of sugar. Only later did Hepzibah's heirs discover that the most valuable pieces of her antique collection were missing.

These were a drinking goblet belonging to Helga Hufflepuff and a medallion necklace of Slytherin.

I was speechless. That had been Riddle, for sure, and the medallion was clearly our locket according to the description, which was slumbering in my safe.

Afterwards the Aurors went to Borgin & Burkes and the latter willingly informed them that two days before the death of Hepzibah, he had sent Tom Riddle to her with targeted sales offers, because she had adored the handsome young man, but he had not shown up for work since. It was the last time I found anything about Tom Riddle, after that the self-chosen name of the Dark Lord appeared more and more often, which nobody dared to say aloud anymore, except Harry and Dumbledore.

On the second date in the same year, the 27th of May 1950, I found a murdered Auror, who was torn from life with an Avada. Considering that Riddle had more or less disappeared and he became more and more the Dark Lord, I assumed that he had made short work with the Auror, as with the others.

But he was clever. They were only looking for him to question him if he knew anything; he was neither suspected nor could anything be proven!

Well, like I said, the other two dates I could match easily, Harry's day and Cedric's dying day.

I was certain that I would now have to look into the subject of immortality and so I collected all the relevant books from the Blacks' library and shrunk them.

Together with the resources I had available at the Malfoys' I hoped to find something that explained that there could be so many death dates that were clearly directly connected to the Dark Lord.

Also, I was beginning to find it a bit creepy that now the mysterious sign had also appeared in relation to the Dark Lord. Did that mean that the Deathly Hallows were real?

I mean, Harry's cloak had seemed strange to us and now the story about the gold ring with a stone with the symbol on it. Could that be the resurrection stone from the children's book? But we didn't know enough... We would have to change that.

Had the Twins already figured out what the Lovegoods might know about this? When were they due back again? Somehow more and more questions came up, whose answers were missing, as I noticed with annoyance.

By the time I finished, it was almost six o'clock in the evening. But I didn't want to go to the Manor yet, I felt like having some fun and maybe I wanted to visit one or two of the places I had found thanks to my search.

If I wanted to laugh after so many death notices, I knew where to go. I stood there without a cloak but it was still very warm and watched the early evening hustle and bustle in the still bright evening sun of the beautiful August day.

I had renounced the cloak, because firstly I would be good today and avoid the black magic alley and secondly I was now officially one of the bad guys. The Death Eaters couldn't do anything to me anymore and if they tried, they would get the wrath of their superiors. Well, that would be fun, I could only chuckle maliciously.

Thus I walked through the crowds of people and saw quite a few frightened faces looking around in apprehension. Nobody said that the Dark Lord was not active in spreading fear and terror. There were many not yet so openly led operations.

Here a small attack, there a small explosion!

As I said, the world was getting darker for all of us from day to day. This was also proven by the fact that many shops in Diagon Alley hid their wares behind security posters issued by the Ministry of Magic.

The joke shop was doing its best to fight against the daily darkness, I thought as I stood in front of the brightly coloured shop, which hurt my eyes with its gaudy luminous colours.

Contrary to their neighbours, they had done without the warning posters and decorated their shop window with a poster for a new joke article. To push the provocative similarity of their poster to the extreme, their advertised new article, which they had already tested on Draco, was called U-No-Poo instead of the official posters' You-Know-Who. This they had put so exuberantly colourful and fascinatingly to the dreariness of the other window display that some passers-by hurrying by were involuntarily amazed and paused for a moment to take a closer look at this so extraordinary and unusual sight. Because the slogan was:


Which still normally functioning person put such an advertising poster in their shop window? I shook my head in amusement at so much daring!

Suddenly I felt it very clearly that I was being watched! Who? I looked around carefully. The Death Eaters? I saw none. Or the Order? Could be. I could vividly imagine that they didn't approve of me any more.

I shrugged my shoulders and went through the loudly ringing shop door into house no. 93 and stepped into another, fantastic world.

Nothing was dark here. It was madness and I even saw some schoolmates. In one corner, I could make out Lavender and Susan from Hufflepuff and a lot of excited children, but also some adults who were seriously considering the products on offer.

The children were more interested in the special delivery forms for love potions and similarly sought-after products, which tricked the new safety regulations at Hogwarts.

The adults, on the other hand, seemed more interested in the second - and, as it seemed, booming - product line of the Twins, which could serve well against the current acute danger posed by Death Eaters. These included the magical protective clothing tested during our exercise, or useful tools for escaping unnoticed. The corner was well attended.

I was looking at the Edible Dark Marks with macabre fascination and my hand automatically twitched to the Dark Mark in my neck and I swallowed hard for a moment. How should I tell this terrible news to the others?

The fact that they knew almost everything was bad enough, but somehow it still got a bit worse, one way or another! I ordered my hand away from the fateful spot and turned away from the transparent glass bowl filled with the marks.

I saw some headless people running around in the shop, especially many younger children trying to scare their parents who were looking at the hats and capes that protected them from malicious spells.

The Headless Hat seemed to be a hit. Just now a frightened mother screamed out loud, which caused many laughs and left the poor woman ashamed and bright red.

I wondered how the two of them came up with all this extravagant stuff. It was unbelievable: the exuberant laughter resounded in the shop, here you could really forget the war, completely! The fact that I had received the Dark Mark in a dark revel last night made the whole thing here seem very unreal.

Some future seventh-graders stood by a shelf with many different feathers on it. I took a look at it and then rolled my eyes when I read this: Spell-Checking Quill! Self-Inking Quill! Smart-Answer Quill!

I found the explanation, which was attached to a shelf as a piece of paper but which nobody seemed to pay attention to, very funny. It said, for example, that when the magic effect of the Spell-Checking Quill fades, it would instead 'correct' the correctly spelled words and add a lot of spelling mistakes. All of them eagerly stocked up on quills, but were not interested in explanations and I laughed at their gullibility.

Suddenly I lost the ground under my feet. Slightly startled, I squeaked and was quickly spun around in the air. I only saw red in my blurred vision and then laughed exuberantly, only noticing in passing that we had the attention of the shop.

When Fred put me down boisterously and I blinked my eyes to dispel the dizziness, I saw Lavender watching us interact and Fred giving me a kiss on the cheek with a big grin.

"George, get your bum over here, there's somebody you need to see," he shouted loudly, drowning everything out. I didn't quite understand his exuberant manner, but I didn't get a chance to say anything before I lost my footing again and was pressed against a chest that had become much wider thanks to the training.

"What's up with you?" I whispered while George squeezed me so hard.

"Don't you know that? You told us yourself when this 'thing' was going to happen. You think we're not worried? We're glad you're alive," both hissed at me quietly and I slapped a hand over my open mouth. They were right! I had repressed everything so successfully that I had forgotten that the others knew that it was Draco's ceremony and I had the honour to play a bigger part as well.

Harry and the others were probably terrified out of their minds because I hadn't contacted them yet!

"Sorry," I began to apologize. They gave hand signals to Lee and pulled me into the seclusion of their house and looked at me, sat me down on their experiment table without asking and I let it happen with a big, guilty conscience.

"Now tell us, what happened that you forgot all of us, most beautiful?" the two asked anxiously and Fred put his hand on my naked arm and stroked it as they both froze. "Draco, is everything okay with him?" They looked at me in horror with their big, identical eyes and I looked up in alarm. At that second, I was glad that they cared about him and quickly shook my head.

"No, he's fine! He has made it through all right," I reassured them and both breathed a sigh of relief.

"Then what's wrong?"

I knew I couldn't escape them, but I made a decision that I would tell Draco later about. I didn't want them to know the Dark Lord had pressed his mouth against mine, that he had tasted my blood. That was something I didn't want my friends to know. I... just didn't want it.

Slowly, I looked up, closed my eyes in resignation and bent forward while sitting, stretched my head and felt my braid now pointing down towards the floor and moved my hand into my neck and brushed my smaller curly hairs away, exposing the now no longer flawless skin. I could hear them hissing and drawing in the air.

"Shit... is-" stuttered Fred.

"Yeah, is that what I think it is?" I heard George clap his hands together.

"Damn, he... so you...?" Fred seemed to be out of his senses.

"How crazy is that?" echoed George in horror. "Are we supposed to believe that?"

"I'm going nuts! No, wait, let me see," came the excited demand from Fred as I was about to straighten up. I felt fingers nudging fearfully at my miniature Dark Mark. I sighed when the fingers withdrew and I sat up again.

"Are you all right, Hermione? How could this happen?" George asked anxiously and I smiled at him reassuringly.

"Thanks for your concern, I'm fine! It was an option that I, all of us, thought unlikely, but as you can see, he was more or less delighted," I said very cynically.

"But why there, that's tiny," Fred asked curiously.

"If I'm honest, I really like the place and size! But the Dark Lord justified it by saying, first, that no one must find it - Harry and Dumbledore - but also that he would disparage his Death Eaters if a Mudblood like me were to wear it in the place everyone does," I explained calmly and serenely.

"Well, be happy, you've been lucky for once," I got a wry grin and had to laugh out loud at this statement.

"What does it mean now?" George dared to ask seriously.

"Not much. I don't know. I think we should just take it as it comes."

"This is going to be very dangerous for you," George farsightedly pointed out and I laughed again.

"George, I'm sorry to disillusion you, but it's never been otherwise," I remarked dryly.

"Where she's right, she's right, brother," Fred agreed with me on the spot and turned his face to me, tapping his forehead. "You must excuse him, most beautiful, sometimes Forge is not the brightest," he used the stupid nickname I'd heard them use for the first time in my first year.

"I thought you were past the stage of mutilating your names," I immediately investigated and watched George grimace in suffering.

"Angelina was here in the store two days ago. You understand?" George whispered to me relatively quietly and Fred pulled his red eyebrows together angrily.

"Oh, and is the good Angelina still trying to land you?" I pressed on.

"Oh, the money-grubbing bitch, sees how well the shop is doing and thinks George is a good catch," Fred nagged, not the least bit jealous.

"But Fred, I told you, I-"

"You were laughing with her," Fred snarled venomously, and I rolled my eyes. Angelina was a red rag to Fred!

"Help me, Hermione, the old pighead is working himself up needlessly!" A frustrated George tore at his hair and I saw his desperation.

"Fred, you know George only loves you! He said so himself, he doesn't like women. George, have you made it clear to Angelina that nothing is going to happen?" I turned to him.

"Um... well, she wanted to take me out for a drink, and I said-" an outcry interrupted him.

"Right, he said, 'Sure, some other time.' Can you imagine that, beautiful, not a 'No, thank you!’ Nothing like that," Fred said, getting agitated and his head turning a bright red.

"I only said that so that she would finally GO. I don't want to take her out for a drink," George moaned unusually desperately.

"OK! Stop it now, shut up immediately or I'll hex you mute," I now raged. Bitchy Twins were unbearable. At my harsh command, both mouths closed but they glared at each other venomously.

"George, you can't do this. Next time you see Angelina, you tell her you don't want anything with her! Stop, full stop, finish! Tell her! She'll never stop otherwise. You're in demand now. If you don't take a clear stand, the witches will never leave you alone.

"And you'll have to think about letting Ron in on your secret, because I think I can see that after you've been able to live your relationship so openly, the current need for secrecy doesn't agree with you! I know that Ron in particular will freak about your sexuality, but you have every magic tool available to you to force him to understand," I growled aggressively.

"You can't be serious! We should tell Ron?!" Fred gasped in horror.

"Yup and he has approved of Harry and Daphne, put up with me and Severus and somehow managed to come to terms with it. He also accepted and acknowledged Draco by my side, then he should survive you too." I looked at them earnestly and saw their reluctance to tell Ron, and I threatened them determinedly: "If you won't do it, I will."

"This is nonsense! What makes you think this has anything to do with Angelina? I don't get it."

"Because you seem out of balance! This is understandable and if you stuck together in front of Ron, you could laugh about Angelina and her advances, but as you deny yourself back home, the fear returns that you had overcome. I won't let you do that after you were so happy just because I brought Ron! If he doesn't accept you, I'll come over him and show him what acceptance means," I threatened grimly.

"I am never unbalanced," a miffed Fred announced and crossed his arms in front of his chest.

George and I just exchanged a look of agreement that there was nothing worse than a sulky, pouting Fred, something that he was doing right now. So George took heart and, more sneaking than walking, moved over to his piqued twin and gazed at him apologetically. Fred snorted dismissively and wanted to turn away, but George wouldn't let him and grabbed his brother who immediately resisted. George refused to be dissuaded and grabbed him harder and pulled him into a hug.

He now grabbed his head, looked deeply into his eyes and then slowly pressed their mouths together. Fred stopped resisting the touch and became pliable. Gosh, those two were cute!

Suddenly Fred clawed his hands into George's hair and he kissed him passionately. I could see how they got lost in the kiss and smiled enthusiastically. That was too beautiful!

"Fred, I love only you, I don't want anything from anyone else, NEVER," George breathed fervently and Fred growled with satisfaction and broke away. Then he pulled George's hair a little, which the latter answered with an "OWIE".

"Good that you're finally showing that the silly cow can meet you in the moonlight," was all the hair-puller said, only to pounce right back on his brother's swollen, red lips.

After five minutes, during which they really heated up and I got warmer and warmer, I finally drew attention to myself by clearing my throat.

"Um, sorry, guys. Not that I mind, but my time is limited as always," I said. Both turned to me, breathing heavily and with an absent, lustful glint in their eyes, but then they shook their heads and beamed at me.

"You're right, there are more important things," they agreed somewhat bashfully. "Thank you, most beautiful." They stepped up to me and each one gave me a kiss on the cheek.

"Will you come with us? We’re going to call it a day. I'm sure the others would like to see you. Or are you unable to go with us?" I saw that it would mean a lot to them if I came along and I thought about it for a moment and nodded carefully.

"Okay, but then you'll talk to Ron. I don't have too much time though, I don't want to upset my men and make them think I won't come home! After yesterday, that wouldn't be good."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, they're not only my family now, but also my immediate superiors, the Dark Lord's Right and Left Hand," I voiced something I didn't like the least, "and Draco is their second in command, and what am I?"

"Send Orange to them when we get home," Fred added for consideration and I nodded.

"Well, when do we leave...?"
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Ups and Downs, Business as Usual, chapter 138
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