Absolute mortification.

Complete, utter, frozen. But thankfully George was quick; before the count of five, he had her standing with her clothes slithering back onto her body. She lifted her feet one at a time for her leggings and, with a look of bewilderment, they tugged up. Her sweater was lopsided and Hermione adjusted it, realizing that it was inside out.

Whoever was knocking on the door, hopefully they wouldn't notice.

George unlocked it a moment later, and Lee fell in.

"Finally, you bloody - hi Hermione," the dark-skinned boy remarked in her direction. His face remained relatively neutral but a twitch of his eyebrows betrayed his surprise. There was no question he would have noticed her red face, and how the blush seemed to be covering every inch of exposed neck and chest. Thankfully, he said nothing about it and went back to what Hermione supposed was the reason he had been trying to beat the door down. "We've got that meeting with the Zonko's people in barely half an hour so you better…"

"Oh right, fuck," George started, looking hastily around for his cloak. "I'll be ready in a minute, hold on."

"You should do something about your hair," Lee commented in a tone that was supposed to convey an level of offhandedness. However, the fellow Gryffindor shot Hermione a dastardly wink before adding, "Hermione's gone and messed it up, hasn't she?"

"She didn't touch my hair, what are you talking ab -" George had been smoothing his ginger hair down deftly before his gaze snapped up and he gasped dramatically, finger pointing at his best friend.

"Are you saying she touched something else, Georgey?" Lee quirked.

"Get out, you lazy bugger, and you can take your nosing with you," he responded with a grin. Lee acquiesced, giving Hermione a little bow before dashing back out to the shop.

"Oh no," she breathed watching Lee trot off with somewhat-forbidden knowledge of what might have been going on in the office a moment before he'd interrupted.

"Don't worry, he's just being a shite," George supplied. "But, uhm…"

"You have to go, yes," Hermione felt herself rambling. "Me too! Must dash. Lots to do, you know!"

Her voice took on a higher-than-usual pitch as she skirted quickly around the desk, pausing to snatch her shoes off the floor. With hardly a backward glance, she sped out of the room and dodged customers. The three flights of steps didn't slow her down, and she slammed her front door shut the moment she was through to her apartment.

It had been a very long time since Hermione and George hadn't been in the habit of seeing each other at least a few days a week. However, the one following their interruption, neither made the trek to the other's front door, or sent an owl, or even banged a wall to disturb the other. It had been silent on every floor above the shop, and Hermione was fretting about eventually running into George and, when that happened, what she would say.

At the time, back on that day, she hadn't even had time to think. It was a flurry of motions and - well, she wasn't sure of the next step, at any rate. If George hadn't been to see her - which he hadn't - maybe that meant he wasn't interested in finishing the job. Hermione dropped her head into her hands and her body sagged.

She'd taken every offer of overtime, every double shift, every cover for someone else's break in order to keep her mind from stewing. Being a healer was hard work, and Hermione had abused it to keep her busy far more than it usually did. Her muscles ached, and her brain was fuzzy, and she needed sleep more than most other things.

All other things, in fact. All other things except…

She wouldn't be able to sleep well until she found some relief from the problem George had created the week before. She hadn't taken care of it herself because, well, somehow this one seemed like it wouldn't be complete without George's help. She also had a sneaking suspicion he would be mad if he wasn't there to witness it himself.

Well, there was only one thing to do, then. Hermione rose and steeled her nerves, finding with her curls for a second before huffing and making for the front door. She could hardly believe she was doing this. For a second time.

Hermione knocked on George's door and waited, not certain if she hoped he were home or away more. Quite soon after, she heard the distant sound of steps coming closer.

George pulled the door open, his face again unreadable.

"Hi," she started.

"Hey," George said. He looked like he was still debating what to say so she took a leap.

"I was wondering if maybe we could finish what we started." Hermione watched his face closely.

"Yes. Absolutely yes." He nodded, a wide grin breaking over his features. "But, ah, I did things a bit backwards with you and that was really stupid of me. So maybe we can save that for another day, and go on a proper date instead?"


Big thanks to everyone, both irl and on the interwebs, who made my day today. I appreciate every single one of you more than you will ever know. Please leave a review/comment/note/unintelligible gibberish for me on this most momentous of days.

I'm marking this as complete, but I know what happens next so if a short sequel is in demand, ye shall have it.

Mega huge thanks to MammaWeasley27 who helped me round this out into something I was happy to share, and to Shayalonnie for helping me make sure I wasn't publishing Bad BDSM Content™ and creating memories people might need therapy for.

All my love,