Hermione,

Come down when you get home - I've got fish and chips, and I need your help picking a film.

-G


After showering and pulling on some pajamas, Hermione made her way out to her front landing and down the flight of old wooden stairs. Not bothering to stop and knock, she let herself into the apartment just below her own.

"I'm here!"

"Oh good - will you pick from the two on the table?"

"Sure!" she called in response, rounding the coffee table and just about falling onto the couch. In front of her were two movies. As she read the backs of them and compared each of their merits, a group of takeaway containers came floating idly out of the doorway leading to the kitchen.

"How was work?" she asked George when he came around the corner a moment later.

"Remind me to give Verity another raise," he stated by way of an answer.

"That fabulous, huh?"

"Yeah," he sighed. "Angie still needs Fred at home; it's only been a week since she had the boys. Did you decide on a film?"

"This one," she handed him one of the cases and he turned to put it in the player.

Hermione had managed to rig up an old television to work, despite the proximity to magic and Diagon Alley. He crouched down a few feet away, the muscled line of his neck tight with stress. Once he was done, George sank onto the couch beside Hermione, the cushions shifting and compressing.

The fish was fresh, the coating crispy and hot. Hermione relished in the warmth the food spread back into her limbs as she chewed. The television flickered as the lights dimmed, George flaunting one of the only feats of wandless magic he could do consistently, to his chagrin.

Moving to pull a foot up under herself, Hermione's hand sunk between the cushions and her index finger got pinched by something unexpectedly hard. Pulling the object out in the dark, she wondered why George had a paint stir stick on his couch. She moved it to the table and resumed her food, George at her side.

"Could you pass me a bit of lemon?" he whispered a few minutes in.

"You had some," she whispered back.

"Well, I want more," he whispered again, the pair leaning in to hear one another, though there was no one else in the room to disturb from the movie.

"That's a bit greedy," she continued, still hushed.

"Don't make me make you give me a lemon wedge, Hermione," he laughed quietly. "You only ever use one, and you know it. That other one's going to go to waste."

Conceding and dropping her remaining lemon wedge onto the edge of his plate, Hermione shushed him and grinned when she saw his lips quirk in her peripheral vision.


"Are you painting?" Hermione asked when the movie ended and George upped the lights again somewhat.

"Am I what?" George paused to stretch after standing.

"Painting," she nodded to the paint stick.

Which, actually, with the light on, wasn't a paint stick.

"I don't think paddles are traditionally used with paint. I could be wrong though, I suppose," he shrugged, watching Hermione closely.

A paddle? For what?

He must have seen the puzzled look on her face because he snorted quietly.

"Don't ask, Hermione. You won't want to know."

Frowning, Hermione followed after him into the kitchen, setting their dishes down on the counter by the sink.

"Thanks for assisting me in that most-important mission of food decimation," he offered by way of subject change, setting the dishes to wash themselves in a slowly filling sink.

"It was my honour, truly," she responded. George was intentionally herding her around and back out to the front door. She beat a hasty path from the stunned awkwardness between them at their odd exchange, slipping quickly out the door with a shared 'goodnight'.

George? A paddle?

Like one that was used for… punishment?

Well, it certainly wasn't the right shape for table tennis, she scoffed to herself.

Oh. Oh.

"Don't make me make you…"

Suddenly, his words from earlier took on a whole new meaning and Hermione felt the realization prickle over her nerves.

Is that what he did with those witches he sometimes brought home? Every single one she had ever run into on the steps had appeared happy, so it was clearly consenting.

She shivered and her skin prickled painfully.

Was he one of those men who liked to bend their girls over sofa armrests? One who liked seeing the pink bloom of a spank?

She knew those men existed.

Ron had been gentle with her. Too gentle, as if he thought if he jostled her too hard she would snap at him like she'd used to over unfinished homework and eating habits.

Neville had, unfortunately, been a mutual rebound, and they had parted ways and returned to the land of friends over a year ago. Her time with Neville had been exciting in that they had told no one, which ended up being a good thing when they realized it wasn't a long term situation for either of them.

She dated, but no one had managed to cause that spark to be set alight in her, the one she read about in books, and novels, and stories. Ones of side-glances, and secret meetings, and debaucherous rendezvous.

She'd longed for the day that she would experience a thrill of excitement of that calibre, but she certainly hadn't anticipated it being at the hands of George Weasley.


A/N: HI so it's my birthday and we're doing a birthday bash and I'm publishing five chapters of this over the day and that's the plan I HOPE YOU ARE HERE FOR THIS

xoxo

M