Warnings: pairing is disturbing as hell, slash, Mostly canon compliant through DH, but it's a bit spotty. Definitely no epilogue (even when barely mentioned I can't write Harry/Ginny)

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. That dubious honor is Joanne Rowling's. Written for Keel-Haul-Rose, as one of the answers on her Meme Challenge: #12 - Would any of your friends read a number seven/nine slash? To which she answered "If someone is daring enough to write one!" And I'm daring enough.

Featuring: Dudley (Seven) and George (Nine)

Can You Tie Them In a Knot?

The first time Dudley met him, he hated him. Well, to be fair, Dudley was scared shitless because he didn't want to grow another tail since it hurt so badly to have the other one removed, and he had had to go a whole month without seeing his friends because it took so long to set up the surgery. So he was afraid of the redheaded family who came in through the fireplace, and rightfully so.

The looks of amused disgust he got from the stocky twins wasn't any sort of new thing. A lot of boys at school looked at him like that. Smeltings was a very posh public school after all, and Dudley knew that lying to his parents was the only way to have them not transfer him out. He liked Smeltings, even if he was made fun of there.

Then there was the look of abject horror and hatred on the stringy red-headed boy, the one Harry called "Ron". He hadn't seen that look before. The older man with them, a tall, thin man with thinning red hair, had the sort of fake "there's nothing wrong with you and I'm not disgusted" look that his teachers gave him. It was a placating sort of thing, but Dudley wasn't placated at all.

And because of those parallels between the family and his schoolmates, Dudley hated them. Mostly, he hated the twin who dropped the candies on the ground. He'd thought it safe, that they were treats the wizards were meaning to give Harry so they wouldn't be damaging.

He almost died.

So Dudley Dursley hated George Fabian Weasley with a passion from that day on. It waned of course, after years of not seeing the red headed family, but when they came again in July, 1997, Dudley hated him all over.

Except that, as Dudley was being hustled into the car that would take him to safety, one of the twins gave him a look. Like... Dudley didn't know what it was like, but it wasn't a bad look. He wasn't glaring, he wasn't disgusted. His eyes traveled up and down Dudley's body in a matter of two seconds, then looked Dudley dead in the eye, smiled, and turned away.

Dudley was in the car that was to take his family to safety before he could even contemplate the look.

Maybe Harry had mentioned the peace offering and the twin had approved. Giving Dudley a once over... well, he'd worked himself into a shape. His parents had paid for a surgery to get rid of the excess skin over Christmas, and he was... well, Dudley knew he wasn't fit, but he wasn't really fat anymore either. He was squishy, but not very.

He had months to contemplate what that look meant. Months in a safe house that was under some sort of charm so that only three people could get in, though only two did with any regularity; one was a dark haired, rosy cheeked witch named Hestia Jones, the other was a squeaky, diminutive man named Dedalus Diggle. Once a French blonde by the name of Fleur Weasley, who was very beautiful, was filling in for Hestia and had hexed Vernon to have spots when he looked at her. Petunia hadn't minded that one use of magic, and Vernon had made sure to never be present on the rare occasion that the blonde came to drop off groceries.

Dudley didn't find himself very attracted to her, which was strange, especially when Hestia mentioned that the blonde woman was a magical creature that had a natural allure to any human male. That lack of attraction, despite the "veela allure", was what made him realize what the "look" might have been.

The revelation to his parents, in mid March, that Dudley was gay didn't go over well. He'd spent all of September and October discerning if he really was gay, December through February coming to terms with it, and late February to early March summoning the courage to tell his parents. His mother nearly fainted and his father went pale before turning bright red and storming out of the room.

Vernon blamed the books that Dudley had been reading to keep himself occupied. Without electricity (the Fidelius charm prevented it from working), there was no television or internet, so Dudley had picked up the hobby of reading to keep his sanity; the only other thing he could do was exercise, and with no more weights than the one set of dumbbells he had managed to add to his bag, nor any space to do any running, Dudley was left with books. Vernon decided to burn all of the books that had been given to Dudley by "The Order" only to find they were fireproof.

And, to top it all off, the Order refused to buy him cigarettes because one of them realized they were bad for him.

The Dursley family wasn't very happy for the next two months, until May tenth when Fleur came to tell them that Harry had won the war.

"What do you mean by that?" Vernon scowled at the French witch. As irate as he had been, she had stopped effecting him. "That... Potter is too young to be fighting some bloody war anyway. You lot said he made us targets, and now you say he won this war of yours?!"

"Yes, and 'e eez too young per'aps, but 'Arry eez very eemportant," Fleur huffed. "I know 'e deed not weesh to eenform you, but now eet eez said and done, ze 'ole war was centered around 'eem. 'E was desteened to keel ze Dark Lord, and now 'e 'as, you are free to go 'ome."(1)

Dudley already knew some of this after managing to weasel some information out of Diggle; there had to be something important about Harry for the Dursleys to be such likely targets. Only Diggle had included the history between Harry and this Voldemort guy. It made Dudley feel very small.

Fleur apparated them to their house in Little Whinging one at a time, leaving Dudley for last.

"Thanks," Dudley murmured. "And tell Harry I said good on him if you can." Fleur smiled at him – it was likely that she knew the history between the two cousins, since she was married into the family that Harry seemed so close to – and nodded before whisking him away into the rubber tube known as apparation.

At the end of June, 1998, Dudley sat his A-levels and for once felt rather confident about his test scores. He hadn't done phenomenally, but after a year of having little to do but read, the test made more sense than any before.

Harry hadn't come to say hello, and without any knowledge of how to contact his cousin, Dudley was unable to make the proper congratulations and apology that he had wanted to give ever since he got his first inkling of what was going on with Harry in the wizarding world. Each day he kept his eyes open for any potential wizards who could send him the right direction, but he either never passed them, or only passed those who were as good at "going muggle" as Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Prime Minister's bodyguard.

Until one day in late July when Dudley decided he would do a first and buy Harry a birthday present. Eighteen was an important year after all, even if wizards preferred seventeen.

Someone bumped into Dudley.

"Whoops, sorry mate," the voice was sort of melancholy, but didn't sound like it ought to be.

"It's okay," Dudley turned slightly, in case he had to help the person who had bumped into him. The man was about average height – a good three inches shorter than Dudley – and had shocking red hair. When the brown eyes met his, Dudley recognized the man immediately.

Funnily enough, the only thing he could say was something only noticed as his mouth opened. "What happened to your ear?!"

"I find it makes retaining information a bit easier (2)," the redhead said this flippantly.

"Er... right," Dudley blinked. "You're... George, aren't you?" He didn't think he would mix up which twin was which when his mind had painstakingly ingrained the main catalogable difference between them; George leaned slightly to the left. Dudley wasn't very smart, but he could get a single detail firmly caught in his brain if he wanted it bad enough.

"A miracle, that," George nodded, but he looked very sad. "Well, I'd best be off." He moved to walk away from Dudley.

"Hold up," Dudley said quickly. "Do you... er, do wizards have post offices?"

"'Course we do," George was three steps further away than he had been, but at least he'd stopped. "Why?"

"Harry's birthday is in a week, and I wanted to send him a gift," Dudley shifted his feet slightly. It was a strange conversation to be having at Woolworth's (3). "I figure if his owl was able to find people, I should try that to get it delivered."

George blinked at him for a moment before his face split into a grin. "Not so dim as your reputation would say... alright, I'll let you in to Diagon Alley and show you where the post office is. Only, it'd get to him today, by nightfall at the latest, and I know he likes to get his gifts day of, you know? So I'll let you in on the thirtieth, too."

"That'd be great!" Dudley brightened considerably. He did not think of the crush-of-questionable-origins which he had been harboring for the man beside him and instead picked up the item he had been contemplating buying for Harry. It was a three-pack of board games that Dudley used to play as a kid with Piers and Malcolm and wouldn't let Harry so much as touch: Life, Monopoly, and Candyland.

He hoped Harry would appreciate the symbolism behind it.

Of course, he also hoped Harry wouldn't burn them on sight, but wouldn't blame his cousin were that the case.

George made whatever purchases he meant to (the addition of itching powder, Hi-Ho Cherry-O! and a pack of gummy worms made Dudley wonder a bit) before they each paid (Dudley helped George count out the currency) and left. In retrospect, Dudley realized he should have waited until he was actually going to send the games before buying them, but his hindsight was only about 20/40 while his foresight was... well, it was legally blind to say the least.

The silence shrouding the pair was palpable as they walked the London streets, even as the hustle and bustle of the city in summer, tourists and all, raised a great did about them. The Leaky Cauldron was a miserable little pub and Dudley had no idea what it had to do with the magical world or this "Diagon Alley" place (aside from the blatant use of magic within the pub) until George tapped a brick.

Suddenly, Dudley felt like he'd discovered colors. Everything was bright and eye catching, even though some shop fronts were still broken or in the process of being fixed. His head couldn't turn fast enough to take everything in.

What was meant to be a quick outing turned into a full tour. George started with his own shop – Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, a prank store – so that Dudley could store the board games in the back room. The two girls behind the counter, Indian twins by the name of Parvati and Padma, greeted George, gave Dudley calculative glances, and went back to flirting with the customers.

Dudley got the full tour that afternoon. Around dusk he was going to catch a train home and take the games with him, but George called the Knight Bus for him – Dudley had converted the rest of the pounds on him into galleons, sickles, and knuts and could pay his own fair – and said he would keep the games safe until Dudley came back to get them sent off.

When he got home, Dudley felt decidedly giddy at the prospect.

Dudley returned to Diagon Alley on July thirtieth to send the package, only to be confronted by George once more, only this time he held an envelope out to Dudley.

"What's that?" Dudley gave the parchment a speculative glance.

"Won't know 'til you open it," George grinned widely and waggled the envelope about until Dudley grabbed it and ripped it open.

It was an invite to Harry's birthday party the next evening.

He was invited to Harry's birthday?

He was invited to Harry's birthday?

He was invited to Harry's birthday?

"I'll pop by your place tomorrow – literally – to get you there," George grinned at the stunned muggle. "But since you came all the way here anyway, how about I teach you how to play chess?"

Dudley was crap at chess, but he had a good afternoon all the same and tried some of the Wheezes out – he stayed away from the ton-tongue toffees though.

Vernon and Petunia were both conveniently out of the house at the time that George apparated into the living room of Number 4 Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey. George called it good luck; Dudley called it a coupon for barbecue ribs.

George genuinely laughed, and Dudley was proud of himself. The one-eared man had intimated that his twin, Fred, had died in the last battle of the war back in early May, and a lot of his laughs were less than authentic.

The board games were handed over to Dudley, who then did the best wrapping job of his life. It wasn't very good, but it was something.

After that, the evening passed by in a whirl. Dudley knew he'd managed to stammer out the proper apology that he had been planning out for months; he knew that none of Harry's friends had looked down on him and that the Minister of Magic – the same man who Dudley's father had wanted to be their guard a year ago – was there. There were important people there, all magical, and insignificant muggle Dudley right in the middle.

It wasn't half bad, though the "firewhiskey" Harry's girlfriend Luna got him to try floored him. Literally.

Ogden's Finest was potent, and on his second shot, Dudley was humming.

George wheedled him with a second shot, and that had the sole non-magical being in the room outright singing a song that had his unknowing crush rolling on the floor, laughing.

"Do you ears hang low? Do they wobble to-and-fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier? Do your ears hang low?"

From there, it degenerated to passing ear jokes.

"My ear wasn't on properly; Mum always said if my body-parts weren't attached I'd lose them..."

"You'll have to listen twice as hard at concerts..."

"My listening charms aren't half as difficult now..."

"You must save a lot on Q-tips..."

"I was thinking about getting an earring before losing it, you know."

That... didn't sound like much of a joke, even to Dudley's inebriated mind. "Why don'chu then?" He slurred.

"It's my right ear that's gone (4)."


"Well, you know what they say. 'Right is wrong, left is right.'"

Dudley just blinked confusedly at George. He still wasn't getting the joke.

"It's a muggle saying so I figured you'd know it... whatever. Means that guys aren't supposed to get their right ear pierced 'cause it makes 'em look gay. Only I don't give a flying flobberworm and I wouldn't want to pierce my left anyway."

Dudley was just sober enough to understand what George was trying to say without saying it.

He was just drunk enough to act on it.

His foresight might be shite, but Dudley knew when to take an opportunity that stared him dead in the eye.

Author's Note: Yeah... I'm weird -_-" I in no way endorse this pairing, really. But I've written some damn weird pairings before now (Voldy/James, Orochimaru/Bubbles, Gai/Fem!Kakashi, and Sirius/Peter come to mind), so it shouldn't be that surprising. If I can get up the guts to write Orochi/Bubbles, this is a cake walk.

I realize that the Order only had Hestia and Dedalus present when the Dursleys left (trust me, I actually bothered to reread two chapters of Deathly Hallows, that shitty excuse for literature, so I could do this properly) but I wanted to do it this way anyway. So nyah. I actually looked up a bunch of stuff while writing this so I could get my facts straight on everything -_-"

In DH George was making ear puns... a few. From the one Dudley makes, hopefully you get the title. They're all original ear jokes by me... I'm terrible...

Flames will be used to breed ashwinders to burn the flamers' houses down.

(1) I had to look up how Fleur speaks and take examples so I knew what to type... accents are difficult. I dunno how Mark Twain managed in Huck Finn XP

(2) If you don't get it, he's referring to the phrase "in one ear and out the other" 'cause he doesn't have an ear for it to go out of... yeah, I feel witty.

(3) Woolworth's Group plc was a store chain that went out of business last year (I don't actually know what they sold; I imagine it's like a Walmart or clothing store or something since their parent company turned into FootLocker a while back, and the Canada branch was bought by Walmart)

(4) I looked through the book and couldn't find reference to which ear he lost; the right works for my purposes.