Rose groggily lifted her head from the pillow. 'Your flat. You go answer the door,' she grunted and pulled the duvet over her head. Matthew groaned and slid one foot, then the other to the chilly floor, then heaved himself from the bed. Rose pulled the edge of the duvet down just enough to reveal a single heavy-lidded eye. 'Tell whoever it is to bugger off,' she suggested.
'Sounds like a good idea,' Matthew agreed, trudging toward the door. 'Okay, okay,' he called, scratching his bottom with one hand, while he searched for his wand. 'Fucking marathon Quidditch games,' he grumbled, reaching into the inside pocket of the bomber jacket that he'd thrown over the back of an armchair. He pulled out the erstwhile wand and tapped the doorknob.
The door swung open to reveal a petite woman, hair bundled into an elegantly messy bun. 'What the hell took so long, loser?' she demanded, shoving past Matthew and flouncing into the flat. 'Always answer the door in your underwear?'
'Do you always show up on people's doorsteps at… What time is it, anyway?'
The woman checked her watch. 'Ten.'
Matthew blinked bemusedly. 'Ten… In London or Vancouver?''
The woman removed her watch and began to adjust the time. 'Sorry. Still on Vancouver time.' She strapped the watch back on her wrist. 'Got any decent coffee?' she chirped.
Matthew closed his eyes. 'What are you doing here?'
'Mummy was worried about you.' Matthew squinted at the woman, who shrugged. 'You're the one dating a goreh.'
At that moment, Rose shuffled into the sitting room. 'Who the bloody hell are you?' she asked grumpily.
Two pairs of eyes swiveled to Matthew. 'Rose this is Maggie; Maggie, Rose…' he muttered.
'You always pound on people's doors while they're trying to bleedin' sleep?' Rose growled at Maggie.
'Only when they belong to my stupid little brother,' Maggie said sweetly.
'It's three minutes, Maggie!' Matthew nearly yelled. 'Not three years!'
Rose blinked, gamely attempting to clear the cobwebs of sleep and weariness. 'Oh, you're Maggie…' She frowned. 'You don't look like your pictures.'
Maggie eyed Rose, clad in a pair of Matthew's boxer shorts and one of his t-shirts, hair wound into a haphazard plait, a halo of frizzy curls framing her face. 'You certainly look just like yours.'
One of Rose's brows rose, and sparks shot from the tip of her wand that she had clenched in a fist. 'You wanted coffee?' she said coldly, pointing her wand at the kitchen door.
Matthew slid an arm around Rose's waist and he pulled her into the kitchen with him. 'I'll get it,' he mumbled, kissing her temple. Rose dropped into one of the chairs ringing the table, pulling up her feet to rest on the seat, and wrapped her arms around her knees. Maggie trailed after them, taking a chair across from Rose. 'Wow, someone's cranky first thing,' Maggie said pointedly.
Rose scowled. 'You'd be too if you only got into bed two hours ago.'
Matthew slammed a mug in front of Maggie. 'Did you even bother to check the schedule before you came over?'
'Yeah. But how was I supposed to know you went out afterward?'
Rose accepted the mug Matthew handed her with a faint smile of thanks. 'The match ended after two-thirty,' she murmured, managing to throttle the resentment to a dull roar. 'Then there's a team meeting, medical treatment, shower, turning in team equipment, checking brooms… Got here just before four.'
'Did you even bother to figure out the time difference?' Matthew asked his sister, pulling a chair closer to Rose. He slowly lowered himself into it, only wincing slightly.
Rose touched his shoulder. 'Still sore? It shouldn't be…'
'Just need some sleep,' Matthew assured her. 'Did you even manage to reserve a room or something?' he inquired, turning his attention to Maggie. ''Cause you're not staying here.'
'Mattie…' Maggie began, but Matthew cut her off.
'Absolutely fucking not,' he spat. 'There's only the one bedroom, and there's no fucking way you're going to sleep on my couch.'
'Maggie, I do not have the time or energy to entertain you. You've been here less than fifteen minutes and you're already screwing up my life. Finish your coffee, and I'll give you directions to the Leaky Cauldron. They ought to have a room or something for you.' He felt Rose's hand slide over to his knee and give it a squeeze. 'Go back to bed, okay? I'll be there soon,' he murmured. Rose nodded and left her untouched coffee on the table.
Matthew waited until the bedroom door closed, then slowly counted to twenty in Hindi, then French, and finally English. Plenty of time for Rose to cast enough charms to deaden any sound from the rest of the flat, he reckoned. He took a leisurely sip of his coffee. 'So you both play for Chudley?' Maggie asked brightly. 'Do they know you're fucking her?'
'It's not fucking,' Matthew retorted. 'The tabloids love it,' he added sourly. 'And Rose really likes to keep her private life private.'
'So the team doesn't know.'
'They know,' Matthew said shortly. His lips twitched. 'She's a better player than me. And she works harder than nearly everyone on the team. If it came down it, Chudley would trade me to another team in a heartbeat, if Rose even looked unhappy.'
'You're so whipped,' Maggie chortled.
Maggie glanced in the direction of the bedroom thoughtfully. 'Isn't her last name Weasley?'
'Where have I heard that before…?'
'Her mother's the Minister of Magic here.'
'Niiiice,' Maggie drawled.
'Her mother thinks Quidditch is a waste of time. She pretends it doesn't exist most of the time,' Matthew informed his twin. 'So there is nothing Hermione could say to change anyone's minds out what happens on the pitch.' Matthew leaned forward. 'So, Maggie. Why are you here?'
'I told you. Mummy's worried.'
'Cut the crap, Mags. Mom and Dad have met Rose. And if Mom wanted to knock some sense into me, you're the last person she'd send.' Matthew leaned back in his chair, stretching his tired muscles. 'What's the real story?' He sipped his coffee, staring at his twin over the rim of the cup. Had his mother known Maggie intended to visit London, she would have alerted him somehow. They might be twins, but he and Maggie got on as well as oil and water.
'I Obliviated the wrong person…' she mumbled into her mug. Matthew stuck a finger into an ear and wiggled it around. He hadn't been hit in the head by a Bludger recently, so he asked Maggie to repeat herself. 'I Obliviated the wrong person,' Maggie said a little louder.
'How do you Obliviate the wrong person?'
'It was Craig's wife…'
'As in Craig Wu, your boss?' Maggie nodded. Matthew wished he wasn't so tired so he could enjoy this more. 'Still… How do you Obliviate the wrong person…?'
'She came to his office to surprise him.'
'And…?' Matthew prompted.
'She got one.' Maggie twisted the ring she wore on the middle finger of her right hand. 'We were on his desk.' She picked up her mug, more for something to do, than because she wanted to drink the coffee. 'She started screaming, throwing things. I Obliviated her… Then Craig suspended me for two weeks.'
'Because his wife caught him screwing an underling?' Matthew frowned. 'That isn't fair.'
'I was supposed to lock the door, but I got distracted… So, Craig's taking it out on me.'
'And Mom and Dad will wonder why you aren't going in to work.' Matthew raked both hands through his thick hair. 'Christ, Maggie. Like I said, I don't have the time or energy to entertain you. Stay in England, if you want, just don't expect me to be at your beck and call.' Matthew Summoned a notepad and an ordinary Muggle ballpoint pen. He scribbled the address of the Leaky Cauldron, then the directions to open the brick wall to Diagon Alley. Matthew ripped off the piece of paper, then shoved it across the table. 'Come back at six. Six, all right? Not five forty-five. Six. We'll go for dinner. I can introduce you to Rose properly.' He ushered Maggie out of the flat and leaned against the door for a moment, then stumbled into the bedroom, where Rose lay curled under the duvet. 'How much did you hear?' he asked, tugging on the end of the Extendable Ear she hadn't managed to shove under her pillow.
'All of it,' Rose admitted, without an ounce of guilt.
Rose pounded on the door of Hugo and Logan's flat, juggling an armful of clothing. Hugo appeared on the other side, clad in a faded, fraying t-shirt and an equally aged pair of pajama bottoms. 'What?' he barked.
Rose darted into the flat. 'I need your help!'
Hugo closed the door. 'Hi Rose. Nice to see you, too,' he huffed.
Rose nattered on as if Hugo hadn't spoken. 'Matthew's twin sister showed up on his doorstep at six this morning…'
'Blimey,' Hugo murmured sympathetically. He managed to stay awake until one that morning before he switched off the wireless and gone to bed.
'So we're having dinner with her tonight, and I need help!' Rose threw the bundle of clothes on the sofa.
'Hi, Rose,' Logan called from the kitchen. 'Cup of tea?'
'Why do you always offer people tea when they come here?' Hugo asked.
''I'd love one,' Rose replied. 'Thank you.' She accepted the mug Logan handed her and dropped into her favourite squashy armchair.
Logan shoved the pile of clothing to one side of the sofa and plopped down. 'So you're going to meet the infamous Maggie,' he mused.
'I'm desperate,' Rose moaned. 'You know those people who can travel from Brazil to England and not have a hair out of place?' she asked. Hugo and Logan nodded. 'Maggie is one of those. Next to her, I look like Grandmum on laundry day.'
Hugo poked a shirt back into the pile. 'And you want us to help you put an outfit together?'
Hugo scowled. 'So… what? We're queer so we must know how to pick out clothes? You've been watching too much telly.'
'You always look nice!' Rose protested.
'You think Hugo does that on his own?' Logan scoffed. 'He'd wear the same ratty t-shirt and hoodie every bloody day if left to his own devices.' He began to sort through the jumble of trousers, skirts, shirts, and cardigans Rose had brought. 'All those times your gran coos over how smart he looks? That's all me,' he said smugly, as he unearthed a pair of slim black trousers and a navy blue jumper. 'Go try that one.' He eyed her. 'Don't you own a bra?'
Rose winced. 'Sports bras,' she muttered. 'Doesn't make sense to wear one of those bloody things when my bubbies are practically nonexistant.'
'D'you suppose now might be a good time to tell Logan you don't wear proper knickers?' Hugo chortled.
'I should hope not with those trousers,' Logan retorted. He gave Rose a gentle shove between her shoulder blades. 'Go try that on, and we'll figure out your hair.'
Rose threw Logan a grateful look, and dashed into the bedroom. 'There should be shoes in that jumble,' she called over her shoulder.
Logan sifted through the clothing until he found several pairs of shoes. 'How can someone who gallops around in jeans and sweatshirts have such good taste in shoes?' he idly inquired, holding up a pair of red, kitten-heeled red court shoes. 'Saucy minx. But not with those trousers.' He dropped the court shoes and rummaged through the pile of clothing, emerging with a pair of black loafers. 'Perfect.'
Rose emerged, tugging the hem of the jumper into place. 'Well?'
Hugo studied her. 'You look nice…' he said uncertainly. Logan smacked him on the arm. 'I don't know! You just said I can barely dress myself!' Hugo protested.
'You look very nice, Rose,' Logan told her, holding out the shoes he'd chosen. Rose took the loafers and shoved her feet into them. 'Come on.' He led her to the bathroom. 'I think we've got a few bits to tame that hair of yours.' Logan rummaged through a drawer and unearthed a dusty hair elastic and a handful of hair grips. 'One of our friends has an awful habit of leaving her elastics and such scattered everywhere,' he said, gathering Rose's curly mane into a ponytail, then loosely pinned the curls to the back of her head. 'There,' he said, stepping back to admire the effect. 'You didn't happen to bring makeup did you?'
'I play Quidditch for a living,' Rose sighed. 'I barely remember to use lip balm.' Her shoulders slumped. 'There's a bag somewhere in that pile,' she admitted waving her hand in the direction of the sitting room. 'I ran into a shop on my way home from Matthew's.'
Logan pulled his wand from a pocket and flicked it at the sofa. A small black bag landed in his outstretched palm. He unzipped it. 'Won't need that. Or that.,' he told her, dropping various tubes and bottles on the counter.
'I didn't know what to buy!' Rose protested. 'The lady behind the counter said I needed all that rubbish.'
'Close your eyes,' Logan ordered. He carefully traced over Rose's eyelids with the eyeliner pencil he found, and gently smudged it. 'Why didn't you go into the joke shop?' he asked. 'Wonder Witch has just the thing for this.' He dropped the eyeliner and searched for mascara. 'Open your eyes wide,' he instructed. 'Like this.' He widened his eyes comically, eliciting a chuckle from Rose, who complied. 'So?' Logan prompted. 'Why not use Wonder Witch?'
Rose exhaled through her nose. 'Because I'd have to actually go into the shop. And see Dad. And Uncle George. And Fred. And Jacob. All of whom will waste no time in taking the mickey out of me.'
'Understood.' Logan stepped back, then began to rummage through the back once more. 'One last bit,' he assured her. If the lady at the cosmetics counter was worth her pay packet, she'd have given Rose something to darken her eyebrows. The sun bleached her already-pale brows, so that she often looked a little surprised. Grunting in triumph, he unearthed a tube, grateful that the lady at the cosmetics counter had the foresight and knowledge to suggest something simple. A few delicate swipes, over the arches of her brows and he stepped back and turned her face toward the mirror. 'There.'
'How do you know how to do this?' Rose breathed in amazement. 'I can barely put on moisturizer without poking myself in the eye.'
'RuPaul's Drag Race,' Logan said, without missing a beat. 'I also had a few female flatmates when I lived abroad. One does pick up a thing or two.'
'Thank you,' Rose said fervently.
'Any time,' Logan told her with a smile.
'You do look nice, Rosie,' Hugo said, peering into the bathroom over Logan's shoulder. 'Just do one thing for me.'
Hugo snaked an arm into the bathroom, and tilted Rose's face upward by the chin a bit. 'Don't diminish yourself. You've always tried to make yourself small. Not around us,' he added hastily. 'Or the rest of the family. But when you meet strangers you try to shrink or blend into the background. Matthew's a lucky sod to have you. He's the lucky one, not the other way around. And don't let his sister tell you otherwise.'
Rose blinked back sudden tears. 'How did you know I needed to hear that?'
Hugo snorted. 'The pile of clothes on my sofa, and the assumption that two queer men would automatically know how to make all this happen,' he said, waving a hand at her hair. 'Now. Off you go. And I want to hear everything at the Burrow tomorrow.'
'Especially if you're wearing the same clothes,' Logan interjected, with a wry grin on his face.
Rose inhaled deeply and got to her feet. 'I do love you, you jammy git,' she said, giving Logan a hug. 'Oh, and you're tolerable, I suppose,' she said to Hugo, who merely stuck his tongue out at her. 'Cheers…' Rose left the flat with the air of someone approaching an explosive device.
'Think she'll be all right?' Logan asked, tucking the cosmetics back into the bag.
'Yeah. This Maggie will say the wrong thing - about Mum or Dad, or you and me, or Rose - and Rosie'll take her down a peg or two. Rather like Mum that way.'
'You look great,' Matthew said, stepping aside so Rose could come into the flat.
Her fingers twiddled the hem of the jumper. 'Thank Merlin Hugo had the good sense to end up with someone who knows how to pick clothes.'
Matthew tucked an errant curl back into place. 'And the hair and make-up?' Rose's default style off the pitch was a loose plait and a swipe of clear lip balm.
'Logan. You think I did this?'
Matthew grinned. 'Can I kiss you? I don't want to mess up anything.' Rose closed the gap and pressed her mouth to his. 'You can mess me up later,' she promised.
'Oh, good. I was counting on that.'
Rose inhaled deeply. 'Matthew?'
'I don't like your sister,' she said reluctantly.
Matthew's arms tightened around Rose. 'I can't say I like her all the time, either,' he admitted. 'But…'
'She's your sister, and you love her.'
Rose tilted her head to the side. 'I'll try to keep my temper under control and not tell her off.'
'Oh. No. Tell her off. Don't hold back, don't sugar coat it. She'll keep on at you until you do.' Impatient knocks sounded on the door. Matthew glanced at the clock on the mantle. 'She's early,' he murmured. 'I should have known.' He opened the door with a long-suffering sigh. 'Maggie.'
'Hey, loser.' Maggie said brightly.
Rose retrieved her handbag and fiddled with the clasp, idly remarking, 'Interesting… You're the one suspended from work, and Matthew's the loser. Huh.' She beamed brightly at Matthew. 'Shall we? I'm starving.'
Matthew tucked Rose's hand into the crook of his elbow. 'Nice,' he murmured into her ear. 'Mags? Close the door,' he threw over his shoulder to his dumbfounded twin.
Rose exhaled. She might make it through dinner with her dignity intact, after all.