A/N: Fred took Angelina to the Yule Ball in GoF, but Jo hasn't officially made them a couple like Remus and Tonks. In this story, Angelina is about to celebrate her twenty-first birthday in a way that begins as a trick. Her occupation and the twins' dislike of dark places were created for a story that I hope readers will find a treat!
Striding into the Holyhead Harpies' locker room, Angelina Johnson headed straight for the team's new seeker and praised, "Brilliant move, Evans. Victor Krum couldn't have done a Wronski Feint better than you did in practice today!"
Grinning, the blonde player said, "Thanks, Coach. Think we'll be ready when the season starts?"
The former Gryffindor Chaser and current assistant coach nodded confidently. "Abso-bloody-lutely."
Across the room, the team's Keeper tossed aside green robes and called, "Hey Coach, you coming to the Halloween party tomorrow night? Like our Head Coach, my parents are out of town on business. Don't know if they're trusting or barmy, but the folks have invited us to make ourselves at home. It's going to be mad. Say you'll be there."
The plea was echoed by all the other players. Angelina said with a smile, "Alright, I'll come. It beats reading Dracula and drinking alone."
She shook her head at the team's shouts of 'Hurrah', 'We're inviting loads of hot guys', and 'You can still get pissed'. Moving to her locker, Angelina took off practice robes and quickly threw on the jacket to her tracksuit.
Katie was making dinner at their flat and she didn't want to be late. It was to celebrate Angelina's twenty-first birthday a day early, since her roommate was leaving in the morning for a family reunion. Making a face, Angelina thought if the team didn't have an exhibition match against the Tornadoes next weekend, she'd be suspicious about the timing of the Halloween party. Thankfully, she'd told none of the Harpies her birth date. Merlin only knew what daft stunt they'd pull.
Glancing reflexively at the photograph she always kept in the back of her locker, her eyes widened in shock. Turning on her heel, Angelina demanded loudly, "Who the ruddy hell's been mucking about in my locker?"
Quidditch players crowded around, their faces bemused. Jo Evans asked, "What do you mean? Are you missing something?"
"My photo, the one I always keep for good luck in the back, it's gone. Who has it?"
The Seeker peered into the locker and reached in. Holding up a picture that had fallen onto the bottom, she said, "Is this it? You look so pretty. Was this a photograph from the Yule Ball? I couldn't go, too young." Looking at the boy in the photo, she exclaimed, "Oh my gods, he's one of those Weasleys! Did you two go together then?"
Snatching her photograph back, Angelina tried to play off her emotional outburst. "No, we didn't. Fred and I, we were mates. We played on the Gryffindor team together. Sorry for overreacting."
Instead of placing the picture back in the locker, Angelina slid it into her pocket and said, "Well, I'm off. I'll see you tomorrow night. Do I have to wear a costume?"
Shouts of 'Yes' assaulted her ears. Pretending not to notice the speculative glances the players were giving her, she waved farewell and hurried out of the locker room.
While Angelina was leaving the Harpies behind, redheaded twin brothers were closing up shop at Number 93 Diagon Alley. George Weasley followed Fred into the back office, exulting, "Another profitable day for Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes."
"We need to restock. Canary Creams and Wildfire Whiz-bangs are sold out, and the supply of Extendable Ears is getting low. Tongue-twisting toffees too," Fred said absently, making a list on a piece of parchment. A half hour later, the soft hoot of an owl flapping its wings against the window made identical faces look up and smile in anticipation.
Opening the window and taking the missive from the tawny owl, George read the note and hollered, "Yes! The Dateless Duo is dateless no more! We've been invited to a…"
"Party? Where? By Who?"
Waving the invitation, George answered, "Some bird on the Holyhead Harpies." His face creased in a teasing grin. "The whole team and their assistant coach will be there."
Fred looked like Christmas had come early. "Angelina? She'll…"
"Be there, yes, Romeo, your Juliet will grace the party with her fair presence." George pressed his hand to his heart, reciting, "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Angelina is the...OW! That bloody well hurt!"
Watching his twin rub the shoulder that had received a punch, Fred shook his long fringe out of his eyes and said, "Shut it or I'll send a note to a certain young lady whose bell-like voice you haven't stopped mooning over since we left school."
Raising both hands in mock surrender, George wrote their acceptance on the note, sent the owl off, and suggested, "Let's go up to the flat and find something dashing to wear."
Smiling widely, Fred tossed his quill down and headed for the stairs.
The next evening when the twins Flooed to the party, they were immediately surrounded by lovely, fit young women who wanted to hear all about their days at Hogwarts. The pair, dressed as highwaymen in black knee high boots, laced-up shirts and black masks, laughed mischievously when the ladies couldn't tell them apart.
A petite blonde in a fairy costume said to another teammate,
"Why don't we get both of them to help and let someone else sort them out?"
George sent a flickering glance Fred's way. His brother shrugged, obviously not caring about anything but watching the fireplace to see if Angelina had arrived. The blonde, 'Jo', asked if they'd go down into the cellar and retrieve a couple of bottles of wine. Two sets of brown eyes met and asked each other a silent question. Smiling with the faintest reluctance, they turned as one to say in unison, "It would be our pleasure."
At the cellar door, the girl bit her lip and looked up appealingly. "Would you two mind going down without me? I'm claustrophobic, and if I could just wait right here…"
Gallantly, the young men assured her it would be no trouble. Descending, they found that the cellar was a large space, dimly lit by the stub of a magicked candle. When they reached the bottom, Fred muttered, "Our pleasure my arse. Nightmare is more like it. If that bloody candle blows out, I'm liable to scream like a girl."
"We could hardly admit to being afraid of the dark, brother." George replied humorously, "Like wands that would've looked awkward with skin tight leather, it doesn't go with the dashing costumes. Besides, we're just here to get a couple bottles, like so." Hearing the door slam shut, he yelped, "Crikey, we've been locked in!"
Through the door, they heard Jo say, "Sorry, but we're surprising Coach Johnson. When she gets here, I'll send her down and then we'll let you out...eventually. There are some snacks on the table and a couple of wineglasses if you'd like a drink. Make yourselves comfortable, it won't be long."
As her voice faded away, the two increasingly nervous men sat down in chairs by the small round table, grimly uncorked a bottle and poured themselves a drink. Three glasses later, George observed, "It's not so bad, this cellar. Not like that other one…"
Fred nodded solemnly. "No windows for innocent eight year olds to see scary things through either. I approve." Pouring himself another glass of Cabernet something or other, he mused, "D'you still believe our old neighbour was a vampire draining some girl dry in his cellar that Halloween?"
Grabbing the bottle and sloshing dark liquid into his glass, George grimaced. "Well, if he was having us on like Mum and Dad said, why'd the bloke move to Eastern Europe the week after?"
An uncomfortable silence filled the shadowy space. George started drumming the fingers of his right hand on the tabletop- Fred, the left. They both jumped when the door at the top of the stairs opened and a woman called over her shoulder, "What year did you say you wanted?"
Angelina couldn't believe it when the team shouted, "Happy Birthday!" and locked her in the cellar. Pounding against the wood with her fist, she yelled, "Open the damned door right now!"
On the other side, Jo said, "Sorry Coach, but you've got a ghost from the past you need to deal with, and our present to you is the opportunity to do just that. So enjoy, and we'll let you out in half an hour!"
Restraining herself from beating on the door again, Angelina looked down at her 'saucy wench' costume and wished she'd stayed home. She turned at the sound of a familiar voice.
Holding on to the rail tightly, she managed to make it down the steps until she stood looking at the Weasley twins. Meeting one masked brown gaze and then the other, Angelina reached a hand out toward the eyes that stared so intensely. "Fred?"
On the table, the magicked candle used up the last bit of its enchantment and flickered out. The cellar plunged into utter darkness. Both young men grabbed a feminine arm and held tight.
"Don't…don't be afraid, Angelina."
"We…we won't let anything harm you."
Feeling the tension in the fingers fastened onto her skin, she said, "My heroes... Why don't we shuffle over to that table and have a seat. You two can protect me and fill me in on how you've been getting on."
Sitting with the legendary mischief makers of Gryffindor House pressed against each side; Angelina coaxed the duo into talking. She learned how they'd started their business, what amazing items they'd invented, and how well the business was doing. In the dark, time passed and the death grips on her arms relaxed into comfortable holds. She shared her experiences at school after they'd left, and what it was like being a coach instead of a player.
To her right, one of the unseen redheads asked, "Are you going with anyone?"
Holding his breath waiting to hear the answer, Fred realized he didn't mind the dark cellar so much when Angelina was beside him. He'd missed talking to her and hearing her soft laughter.
She whispered, "No. Are you?"
He and George answered at the same time, "No."
"Okay, who asked me if I've got a partner?" She tapped his arm. "Are you Fred or George?"
The wine he'd drunk made Fred bold. "Can't you tell us apart like you used to?"
Angelina pressed a hand to her fluttery stomach. Only Fred would ask her that question. He'd asked if she could tell them apart during a dance at the Yule Ball. She'd declared that she could recognize each by their kiss. George, taking advantage of a floating ball of mistletoe, had stolen a kiss earlier in the month. Weeks later, she'd manoeuvred Fred underneath one. Taking a chance, Angelina said, "Let's find out."
She slid over to the twin she was almost sure was George and kissed him. The brash Weasley returned the kiss, sliding his hands up her arms to gently hold her shoulders. The embrace was very nice, but she wasn't tempted to prolong it. Patting his cheek and ruffling the bright hair that remained hidden in the dark, she scooted the other way, pulse racing.
One of the hardest things Fred had ever done was listening to his brother kiss Angelina. When he felt her hand touch his face, the normally easy-going Weasley snapped. He sank his fingers into Angelina's braids and pulled her mouth to his. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed closer. The kiss lengthened and deepened.
George groaned, "Please! It's bad enough to be trapped in the bloody dark. Do I have to hear sounds, too? If I'm not going to get a kiss like that, then I demand my brother not get one either. It makes me feel jealous, and pervy, hearing my brother have it off."
Angelina laughed, pressing a kiss to Fred's jaw. "We're not having it off, George, and no, you can't feel for yourself. We're making up for lost time." She felt the body so close to hers still.
Softly, she answered, "I've always been able to tell you apart. There's just…something about you Fred." She smiled ruefully, knowing he'd hear it in her voice. "I've kept my copy of our Yule Ball photograph with me always, for luck."
Fred admitted, "I've kept mine with me too."
They embraced again. George grumbled, "What I'd give to be anywhere else right now."
The door to the cellar opened. Several gasps were heard, and then Jo's voice called, "The candle went out? I'm so sorry! We'll be right down!"
Three players carrying an enchanted lantern and magicked candles trooped downstairs. George looked over at the pair still snogging and grinned. Hastily snatching up a couple of bottles, he met the ladies at the bottom step and winked. "Why don't you take this wine, and leave that lantern. The lovebirds have some catching up left to do."
Giggling, the Harpies hurried upstairs, promising the flirtatious redhead they'd all give him a dance. Alone at last, Fred and Angelina smiled into each other's eyes and came together for another kiss.