Authors Note: We hope you enjoy our entry for the Twin Exchange February 2010 Challenge. You can vote for us in the forum or through the TE profile (both links on Amy's profile), or alternatively you can follow the links we post on Twitter. Enjoy!
The Upside of Being Stood Up
Hermione Granger sat alone at a small corner table by the window of the busy Diagon Alley café, gazing out at the streams of couples that seemed to have multiplied as the hour grew later. She ignored the anxious glances she was getting from the maitre'd, choosing instead to take a long sip of her red wine to avoid looking at her watch for the fifteenth time in the past ten minutes.
"Miss Granger," the maitre'd said, taking a tentative step toward the increasingly-agitated witch. "I do hate to be a bother, but…do you think your companion will be arriving soon? It's just…well…we're quite booked up this evening as it is…"
"Just five more minutes. I'm sure he was just held up at work," she said politely, though her eyes warned the spirited fire she was known for.
The maitre'd recognized it, and slinked back to his podium.
Hermione heaved a sigh, finishing the contents of her glass and casting another, hopeful, glance out of the window. The Daily Prophet had predicted rain that evening, but like most things with the infuriating wizard newspaper, they were woefully misinformed. In spite of the typical mid-February chill, the sky was clear and evening's revellers were dressed in lighter cloaks than those normally required for that time of year. Hermione tried to ignore the bubble of frustration that threatened to surface as she watched the parade of pairs holding hands and huddling affectionately as they meandered down the cobblestone street.
It had been a long time since Hermione had actually been out on Valentine's Day. Normally, she decided to catch up on work while the office was quiet, knowing most of her peers were out enjoying the lover's holiday with their significant others. If she wasn't working, she was sitting in her apartment, enjoying a good book and a pint of ice-cream in silence.
The latter had been the original plan for the evening, until she had gotten an owl from her friend and Weasley relative, Eamon Prewitt, a gorgeous, successful Irish healer from Molly Weasley's side of the family. Though depressingly gay, Eamon had always been kind to Hermione, especially since Molly seemed bent on thrusting them together at every opportunity once she realized that Hermione and Ron were never going to be the happily-ever-after couple she had envisioned.
The two had taken it in stride, humouring the meddling mother hen by going out for dinner when Eamon was in town and corresponding when he was back in Dublin. It wasn't unusual, therefore, for the good-looking Irishman to turn up in London and extend an invitation to the brilliant bookworm. Considering they were both unattached and available during the most romantic day of the year, it seemed only natural that they would spend it together.
Or it would have, had Eamon had the good manners to show up.
Hermione was about ready to give up waiting when a beautiful tawny owl swept regally into the café, landing primly on the arm of her chair. Attached to its leg was a scroll, and as Hermione went to reach it, she caught sight of the long-suffering maitre'd hurrying over to her again.
"I'm sorry, Miss Granger, but we cannot allow owls inside the restaurant," he said, slightly frantic as they started to get some questioning looks from other patrons in the establishment.
"It's business. I'm sorry," Hermione lied, shooting a weak smile at the man. The owl seemed to sense the hesitation, because once Hermione untied the scroll, the owl ruffled its feathers, tossed its head with a haughty look at the maitre'd, and sailed away.
But not before leaving a deposit on Hermione's new cream dress.
"Bugger!" she cursed, glancing down at the ruined skirt with disgust. The dress had been an impulsive purchase specifically for that evening that she was only just coming to terms with, but now she was wondering why she hadn't just turned down Eamon's invitation and stayed home.
"I'll get you a damp cloth," the maitre'd said, quickly hurrying away as Hermione heaved another sigh, deciding to ignore the mess for a moment and open the parchment.
'Dear Hermione,' the neat, familiar scrawl stated.
'I'm so very sorry to be doing this at the absolute last minute, but I ran into an ex of mine as I was coming out of the Ministry today. You remember Dorian, don't you? Anyway, he's only in town for a few days and he invited me out for dinner tonight. I really just couldn't refuse.
'I do hope you'll forgive me for leaving things until the last minute. As much as I love our dinners together…well…I hope you won't begrudge me this one slip up.
'I'll owl you later to reschedule. Happy Valentine's Day!
"Of course you'd bloody find someone today, you gorgeous git," Hermione breathed under her breath. While she surely did not begrudge him his chance at a little romantic rendezvous, she was mildly annoyed at the fact he had left things so late.
"Here you go, Miss Granger," a waiter said, coming to the table with a wet towel. Hermione smiled slightly at him as she took it, immediately regretting it as the youth – who was easily just out of Hogwarts – blushed like a tomato and hurried off.
Hermione tried in vain to wipe the owl's residue from her dress, but quickly found that everything she seemed to do only made the stain worse. Throwing the towel on the table in frustration, she grabbed her cloak and purse, placed a few galleons next to her empty wine glass, and hurried out of the café amidst a whirlwind of whispers.
Growing more and more irritated with every step she took, she weaved through the mass of bodies that seemed set on congregating every three feet until she had to all but fight her way through them. Occasionally, someone she knew would call out her name, and she put on her best friendly smile as she threw a wave in response, but she was settled on getting home and nothing short of a hurricane would deter her from her course.
Unless, of course, it was a rogue cobblestone bent on destroying what was left of her evening.
"Bloody fucking hell!" Hermione growled as she felt the heel of her shoe break, causing her to trip and fall into the only puddle of mud on the entire street.
Tired, dirty, and bordering on livid, Hermione wrenched her heel up from the stones before pulling herself up to her feet. She blatantly ignored the curious eyes that were upon her as her nostrils flared, tears of embarrassment pricking her eyes as she mentally tabulated the momentous amount of pain she would cause Eamon the next time she saw him.
"Having troubles, Granger?"
Sniffing loudly, she looked up from glaring at her feet to stare at a pair of familiar redheads.
"I'm just great, fabulous, fantastic!" she chirped, her voice cracking, "Just bloody dandy."
"Ah," Fred said, grinning at her continual use of language.
"Well," George followed, biting his bottom lip and staring up at the stars and obviously trying not to laugh at her, "In that case we'll leave you to it."
Hermione watched as the two men turned around and re-entered their shop across the road, leaving her standing there, dirty and alone.
"Wait!" she called just as George's hand began to pull the purple door closed.
"Yes?" he asked with mock politeness, poking just the upper half of his face back through the crack in the door.
Resisting the urge the growl with frustration, she limped over to their shop and said through gritted teeth.
"Can I use your floo?"
"I don't know," George said contemplatively. "Can you?"
Grinding her teeth, Hermione took a deep, shuddering, calming breath.
"George, may I use your floo?"
"What's the magic word?" a voice called from within the shop, followed by deep, masculine laughter.
"Please!" she all but screamed, folding her arms over her chest and trying to ignore the laughing couples who passed her by, whispering amongst themselves. This was one of those times she hated being easily recognizable.
George stood silent for a moment, before the door to Weasley Wizard Wheezes swung open and she was let in off the street.
"Thank you," she said gratefully, closing the door behind her, finding Fred and George leaning against the front counter, staring at her with amusement.
"I see current fashions are going for the dishevelled look," Fred grinned.
"That's it, soon you'll be seeing girls everywhere with soiled dresses and broken heels," she said sarcastically, leaning against a shelf to rip her own broken heels from her aching feet.
"I can't wait," George winked, pulling himself up to sit on the counter, watching her skirt ride up as she tugged at the broken shoe, accidentally showing a good portion of her thigh.
"Actually, this is all Eamon's fault," she said, tugging at the shoe again which seemed to have suctioned to her foot. The heel came off with a sudden pop and her body was thrown backwards with the force.
Fred burst out laughing, but both twins rushed to her aid, helping her back off the floor.
"Eamon, as in cousin Eamon?"
"One and the same. He stood me up," she said, holding onto both their hands as they got her upright again. Her hair, which had been carefully piled on top of her head suddenly gave way to gravity and tumbled down her back in a mess of curls and bobby pins.
"Uh, Hermione," Fred said carefully, bending down to pick up a few pins and handing them back to her, "You do realize that Eamon is…" he finished his sentence with a rather foppish flip of his wrist.
"Gayer than Peter Pan on ice-skates," George supplied.
Hermione rolled her eyes and hastily stuffed the hair products into her soiled clutch, trying not to think about how much that little matching accessory had cost her on top of the dress.
"Of course I know he's not interested in women, any fool with half a brain and at least one functioning eye can pick up on that," she scoffed.
"So then why were you going out with him on Valentine's Day?" Fred asked, reaching forward to pinch even more pins from her hair, slowly freeing the tangles for her.
"Because, we were both single and lonely and decided it would be a nice chance to catch up," she replied, blushing a little when Fred speared his fingers through her curls, running them from root to tip until they sat in a neat resemblance of their usual order.
"On Valentine's Day," George clarified, leaning against the shelves that housed cages of multi-coloured pygmy puffs.
"Is there a problem with that?" she asked, shifting uncomfortably under their close scrutiny. Both men were now standing extremely close to her, almost caging her in against the shelves.
"Just trying to work out how a stunningly intelligent woman as beautiful as yourself doesn't have a date on Valentine's Day, and then manages to get stood up by a gay man," George said, looking clearly baffled.
Hermione's blush intensified.
"Just lucky, I guess. Can I use your floo now? I really just want to go home."
Fred and George exchanged a look and Hermione recognized that an entire conversation had just taken place. The older the twins got, the creepier their ability to read one another became.
"Look, why don't you get cleaned up upstairs and have something to eat with us?" Fred finally offered.
"Oh no, I really couldn't," she said, shaking her head and thinking about how much she just wanted to go home, put on her warmest pyjamas and curl up with a good book and a pint of ice-cream. Drowning her sorrows with Jane Austin and Double Chocolate-Chip seemed like the perfect way to end her disastrous evening.
"No, we insist. You can't have eaten if the git stood you up," George said, grasping her wrist and dragging her toward the staircase that led to their apartment.
As they were nearing the end of the stairwell, Hermione caught a peek inside the small, cluttered kitchen and her eyes narrowed as she saw suspiciously inappropriate objects sitting on their kitchen table.
"Wait," she said, stopping in the middle of the hallway as they tried to drag her to the bathroom. "You didn't invite me up here because you needed someone to test your WonderWitch products on, did you?" she asked, giving them both long, penetrating looks.
"Granger," Fred said, putting his hand to his heart. "How could you think such a thing?"
George shook his head.
"After we took you in off the street…offered you food and a warm bath…"
"Oh don't you two start with that," Hermione said, though a small smile was creeping onto her face as she thought how Molly Weasley would be proud of how well her sons could play the martyr.
"Start with what?" Fred asked, feigning innocence.
Hermione chuckled, feeling slightly better in spite of the less-than-savoury start to the evening.
"You should know, I'm not so easily bought," she said, nodding toward the kitchen. "So whatever toys you have strewn across the table better be put away by the time we sit down to eat, because I refuse to be a guinea pig for your debauchery."
She spun on her heel and marched straight into the bathroom, though she thought she heard one of the twins mutter "bloody shame" under their breath. This, coupled with the definite "bossy little swot" made her smirk as she closed the bathroom door.
Normally, Hermione would be hesitant about taking a shower in a bathroom that was occupied predominantly by men – especially men who were in their mid-twenties and had been taken care of by an overindulgent mother for most of their childhood. But she was pleasantly surprised to find the twins kept it fairly neat. Aside from the toilet seat being – predictably – up, the bathroom was surprisingly clean.
"Hermione?" one of the twins said from the other side of the door. "We have a fresh towel for you."
Arching an eyebrow, Hermione went to the door.
"Really?" she asked, looking sceptically at the fluffy towel Fred was proffering towards her.
"Yes, really. Honestly, Granger, what type of hosts do you think we are?"
"The type that offer their guests towels that explode when they get wet."
"Yes, well, we're quite fond of our manly bits, and we know that were we to offer you one of those towels, you would make sure we were parted from the family jewels quickly and painfully. So, for you, we have a normal, boring, plain fluffy towel."
Taking it tentatively, Hermione looked up into the twin's pale blue eyes and saw sincerity – not something she often found with them – and immediately trusted that the towel wouldn't do anything questionable.
"Thank you," she said.
"You're welcome. Now go shower, Granger, because you smell like mud."
Rolling her eyes, Hermione closed the door in his face.
Several long, luxurious moments later, Hermione emerged – squeaky clean – from the shower. Wringing her hair out, she watched as the steam hung around her curls and gave them much more body than she ever really wanted from them. Nonetheless, she was clean, which was more than she could say for the soiled dress that was sitting untouched in the corner.
Wrapping the towel around her body, Hermione suddenly wondered how she was going to join them for dinner – much less get home – in nothing but a towel. Clearly, none of them had thought much farther ahead than just her getting clean, because she was fairly certain the twins didn't keep a spare change of women's clothing around for just such an occasion.
At least, she hoped not.
Opening the bathroom door, she was about to holler for one or both of them to find her something decent to wear, but their hushed, rapid voices made her stop. Her brow furrowing, she caught the words "powerful stuff" and "think she'd mind," and she immediately snuck toward the kitchen in order to catch the scheming pair and get a glimpse of what they were up to so that she could thwart them in the process.
Creeping up to the kitchen door frame, Hermione chanced a glance, only to see their backs to her as they huddled over a cauldron. Curious, Hermione tiptoed closer, standing up straighter in hopes to catch a glimpse of whatever they were doing. No longer concerned with the appearance of inappropriate toys, she crept closer still, listening intently as the twins murmured.
"…supposed to be this colour?"
"Dunno. Not a bad colour, though."
"It's supposed to be pink."
"Yeah, but this is…it's a bright pink, in'it?
"Pink is pink."
"Yeah, but this shade…how am I supposed to explain this when some bird comes over and asks why it looks funny. Did you add the firefly wings to dull down the colour?"
"I ran out of time. I don't know what you're on about, though, mate, it looks fine to me."
"I dunno, I think maybe it'll freak 'em out a bit, y'know?"
"How can a colour freak them out?"
"Well, they're supposed to be putting it on their bodies, aren't they? Who wants to buy a lotion that's that colour? It's weird, is all I'm saying."
"Oh, so that's what it is," Hermione exclaimed. "A lotion."
Fred and George both jumped a mile at the sound of her voice, spinning around to face her with eyes as wide as fizzing whizbees. Unfortunately, the sudden movement seemed to have an adverse effect on the simmering potion, because suddenly, bright purple sparks started shooting out from the surface of the liquid and before anyone could do anything to stop it, there was a loud explosion and the contents painted the kitchen walls and the three occupants.
"What the hell?!" Hermione shouted, looking forlornly down at herself. "I just showered!"
Fred and George blinked up at her from beneath their bright pink masks, "Ah, sorry?" one of them offered.
"Well, you should be," she huffed, folding her arms over her chest and wondering just what else could go wrong that night.
"Maybe you should go and shower now, again I mean. But now," Fred said, interrupting her morose thoughts.
"Yes, now would be a good idea," George added, nodding his head quickly.
Hermione narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "Why? Is there something wrong with whatever it is that just exploded all over me?"
Fred and George exchanged another look, this one spoke volumes.
"The thing is…"
"What?" she asked through gritted teeth, her foot beginning to tap impatiently on the floor. She would rather know sooner than later if she were to spend the rest of her disastrous Valentine's Day in St Mungo's Magical Mishaps Ward.
Another loaded look before Fred cleared his throat nervously, "Well, we aren't exactly sure what it does."
"What do you know?" she asked, squirming a little as the lotion began to absorb into her skin. A sense of foreboding began to creep in as they carefully thought about their next words.
"We got the idea from a man at the pub," George said quickly, "He said it was how his mother met his father…"
"He wrote out the potion on a dirty old handkerchief and well, George had had a bit much to drink by this stage…"
"Me? You were the one who started drinking before we even left the house!" George cried indignantly.
"Under your insistence!" Fred replied hotly.
"Boys, do you think you could finish explaining what the hell is on me so I know if I should start owling people with my funeral details?" Hermione interrupted.
"George went to pick up his drink but knocked it over by accident and the everything got all wet, and the ink ran. We tried to find the man, but he was gone," Fred shrugged, swiping a dollop of lotion off his arm and sniffing it experimentally.
Hermione closed her eyes and counted to ten slowly, focussing on her breathing and not on murdering the two fully-grown wizards in front of her.
"Show me the handkerchief," she said, opening her eyes and holding out her hand.
George cast around wildly for the discarded recipe, finding it under the upturned cauldron covered in pink gunk. He shook the flimsy material a little before handing it to her pinched between his thumb and forefinger.
"Wand," Hermione said next, holding out her other hand.
Fred handed her his wand, both men cleverly keeping quiet as she siphoned as much lotion as possible off the handkerchief until the blurry words were almost visible.
"Well?" George asked, looking over her shoulder, trying to see what she was looking at with such a worried expression.
"Next time, don't accept things from strangers," she said, tilting her head as she read through the unmistakable list again.
"But what is it?" Fred asked, leaning over her other shoulder.
"Amortentia," she replied shortly, taking a deep breath, "This is a modified list, obviously intended to be worn as a lotion. What kind of wizard would give this kind of thing away?"
"Well he was kind of tall, kept his hood up the whole time…" George started to explain before he sniffed the air deeply, his eyes falling shut.
"And that wasn't enough of an indication not to try anything he gave to you?" she asked, trying to ignore the glazed look in George's eyes as she too began to smell the most wonderful thing on earth.
"We'd never be anywhere in life if we passed up every opportunity that came our way," Fred replied, leaning in closer to her, his hand coming up slowly to push a wet curl away from her face, his hand lingering there.
"I should… go wash this off," she said breathily, watching as Fred's hand trailed down her arm, his fingers brushing over hers lightly. She shivered and turned her palm into his, feeling that electric current pulse between them once more.
"It doesn't seem to react as quickly as the full potion," George said, watching them closely, his hand hovering on her other side.
"I'd say because it's diluted," Hermione responded automatically, her brain slowly turning to mush as she turned her body so she was pressed against George, her head barely reaching his chin as his arms slung around her waist to bring her even closer.
Fred came up behind her, his hands pushing her hair to one side, exposing her neck. When his lips touched her skin she let out a shuddering breath, her fingers clutching at George's shirt, her face burying into his chest.
The touch of a hand under her chin bought her head up and before she knew quite what was happening, a pair of lips were touching hers and she was kissing him back with such earnest passion she wondered if her past experiences could even be considered kisses.
George's tongue claimed her mouth as Fred's hands moved along her near naked body, tugging at the towel trapped between her and his brother until he had full access to her skin. His fingers dipped and explored, his palms smoothing down the dip of her back before reaching the swell of her backside.
Hermione didn't know which way to move, what to concentrate on or just how she felt about the way things were progressing, she was just so overwhelmed by the potion(')s effects and the feel of two sets of very experienced hands exploring her body.
She moaned and arched, shifting between them restlessly as the fires built between them, crying out in surprise when Fred gripped her thighs and lifted her, relying on George to guide her until her legs wrapped around his waist.
The towel dropped with a wet thud to the floor, the three of them ignoring it as the twins slowly moved toward the large bay window that looked down onto Diagon Alley. Her knees hit the soft cushioned seat, her body straddling George's as they moved as one to sit down. Fred stood close behind her, letting her body rest back into his comfortably.
She became lost as to whose hands were where as they aroused and teased, tweaked and pinched and set her body into a fiery frenzy. Moaning, she writhed between them, kissing George with everything she had and feeling dizzy from what was happening to her.
It took her by surprise when George pulled away from her mouth, breaking the consuming kiss to lick his way down to her nipples, brushing Fred's hands aside to pull on the small pink buds with his lips, making her back arch.
"Stand up," he breathed, looking up at her from her chest, repeating the request twice until she finally heard him.
Frowning, Hermione let Fred help her up, ignoring the ache in her thighs from sitting in the awkward position for so long in favour of kissing him instead. George removed the last of his clothing behind them as Hermione learnt that there was indeed a difference between the twins.
While George kissed as if it were his last day on earth and he wanted to crawl inside her, Fred kissed with such a slow leisurely pace that she was clawing at his naked chest and whimpering for more. She didn't know which style she preferred, all she knew was that she wanted them both and if she didn't get them she would surely implode.
Hands on her hips had her backing up toward the window seat again and her mouth never left Fred's as she was gently eased down onto George's now naked lap. Hermione felt his hand between her legs, his fingers seeking her heat, gently probing until he was satisfied she was ready for him. She cried out when he brushed against her sensitive nub, but the sensation was lost when he pulled her down those final inches, sheathing her over his length.
She sat there breathless for a moment, pressed between the two of them as she scrambled to regain her wits. George gave her no opportunity to speak let alone think and breath (breathe) as he rocked up against her, pressing impossibly deep within her.
Fred gripped her fingers, which were tugging on his hair in time to the slowly building thrusts of his brother, prying them from his scalp and pulling away from her lips. Hermione understood what he wanted when he stood up straight, guiding her hands to his hips where his faded jeans sat low.
She fumbled and struggled with the button and fly combination but he offered her no help. Finally with a triumphant cry, which turned into a warbled moan when George shifted his angle, she had his cock free and in her hands. The man in front of her dropped his head back as she rolled his throbbing length between her palms, leaning forward in George's lap to flick her tongue at its tip.
The new angle had her head swimming for a different reason as George was pressed into her front wall setting off sparks of pleasure. She leant farther forward, trying to find that one spot again and George caught on almost immediately. She focussed her attention on Fred once again, taking more of him into her mouth and moving forward until she had to stop, her hands covering what her lips couldn't.
Fred moaned and speared his fingers through her damp curls, guiding her head over his cock over and over, setting a rhythm that had the three of them writhing against each other. Hermione gave in to the push and pull, the rocking back and forth as one entered her and the other left.
It wasn't long before that slow burning heat that had started in her stomach the moment they had touched her began to spread. She gasped as her inner walls clamped down on George and it took all of her attention to keep her hand and mouth moving over Fred.
The twin below her gripped her hips, her impossibly tight walls dragging his release from him with a strangled cry. Watching his brother and their shared lover in the throes of their pleasure, the twin in front of her gripped her curls, tugging hard as he released inside her mouth. Hermione swallowed hard, her hands gripping him tightly before pulling away with an arch of her back, her head falling onto George's shoulder behind her as her body hummed with the aftermath of her orgasm.
Hermione let her body go slack against George, watching hazily as Fred gripped the edge of the window seat to keep himself upright as he caught his breath. She could feel George panting behind her, his now-flaccid member slipping from her folds as he wrapped his long arms around her waist, drawing her closer to him.
"Did we just…" Fred asked, the first to break the silence as he looked down at his brother and the woman they just made love to.
"Yes," Hermione said, slowly realizing that this had been the farthest thing from her mind when she had walked into the twins' shop earlier that evening, yet surprisingly, she was not in the least bit disappointed.
"Hermione," George started, pulling her off his lap and depositing her on the bench beside him so he could look at her. Fred knelt down, both of them looking very guilty.
"We're sorry," Fred finished, wincing slightly as she reached toward him and his brother.
"I suppose you think I'm going to get angry with you because you forced me to have sex with both of you via exploding amortentia lotion. Is that it?"
They both blinked, caught off-guard by her easy demeanour.
"Er…well…yes," George said.
She smiled, running her hand down the side of their faces.
"Would you be surprised to know that one of the scents I smell is that mild smoky smell that used to come from your room at the Burrow? Or the subtle scent of your cologne that you seem to only wear when I'm around?"
Both men blushed bright red.
"I suppose my question, boys, is why are you not angry with me for forcing you to have sex with me via exploding amortentia lotion?"
They were both silent for a second before bursting out into raucous laughter.
"Us?" Fred said, his chest heaving as he laughed.
"Be angry with you?" George added.
"For shagging us?"
"Granger, I can't tell you how many times we've conspired to get you into our bed."
"We've plotted and plotted—"
"—and always the same result."
"We'd lose our nerve," Fred said, sobering slightly.
"But then, today, you stumble down the street in need of a white knight and…boom. Completely unplanned and unexpected," George said with a smile.
"Fulfilled our fantasies, you did," Fred finished with an identical grin.
Hermione looked at them, then shot them a coy smile of her own.
"Surely I didn't fulfill all your fantasies, boys," she said, standing and sashaying towards the door. "After all, I'm still naked, and I can't very well go anywhere without proper clothes, so I'm sure you can think of something to pass the time before I figure out something to wear."
She threw them both a wink over her shoulder and walked out of the kitchen.
It didn't take long for the twin redheads to follow.
And while Hermione did inevitably send a strongly-worded letter to Eamon voicing her discontent with his methods, he was surprised to discover, upon opening the contents, a vile filled with bright pink lotion, with a label that said "the upside of being stood up."
Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoyed it! Don't forget to vote!