Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling


Dibs!

Chapter Three

And the Battle Continues


Fred whistled happily as he stopped and checked his hair in the reflection of a passing window. He looked around at the nearly empty streets of Diagon Alley…it was just a minute or two past eight am, still a bit too early for the streets to come to life, but late enough for the doors to be unlocked. He glanced across the street just in time to see a set of shades flip up, then a pretty blonde appeared and flipped the 'closed' sign to 'open.'

He turned, giving his appearance a final glance, then stepped across the street whistling as he looked around to be sure he hadn't been followed. But of course he wasn't…Fred was the elder of the twins, the better looking and of course…the smartest. Before he reached the door, he flipped his arm behind his back, hiding the bouquet of pink roses. He wanted them to be a surprise…it was a crucial part of wooing a young lady after all.

The door of the office in sight, he reached for the handle and pulled it open, surprised to hear…not the delicate tinkling of bells that most shopkeepers used…but a loud crashing gong. He jumped a little, looking up as he did so to locate the offending noise, sure enough a shiny brass gong sat suspended above the door. It was an unusual way to greet customers…but then, the Lovegoods had never been particularly average.

In fact, this was the strangest office he had ever seen.

One wall was covered in bright pink file cabinets, atop them was a collection of picture frames bearing past Quibbler covers. Front and center were pictures of Harry Potter that had held issues of famous articles given both before and after the war. A long teal counter ran the length of the room in front of the cabinets, the top of which was covered with current issues, order forms and an array of vividly painted cans and jars filled with brightly colored quills. Further down there was a display of various charms that did everything from warding off Nargles and Wrackspurts to attracting Blibering Humdingers and the extremely rare English Koffingpluff. All of these, Fred noticed, had been created by Luna herself.

It was at the counter that any remote resemblance of an office ended. By the windows there groupings of large squishy pillows in bright jewel colors that surrounded several tables. At each table, a small square candle sat waiting to be lit…something Fred assumed they only did in the late afternoon or evening.

"Oh, Hello!" Fred looked away from the pillows to find Luna standing in the doorway. Her hair was down today, curling around her back and shoulders in fluffy ringlets. She wore no shoes, deep emerald green Capri's and a white sleeveless shirt.

"Hello." Fred flashed Luna what he knew to be his most devastating smile and moved closer to the counter, the bouquet still hidden behind his back. "How are you today?"

"I'm wonderful," Luna seemed please by his appearance…that was a good sign. " it's a lovely day, isn't it?"

"Very much so." Fred stopped at the counter and took Luna's hand in his, bending low to kiss her fingers.

Luna giggled a little as he rose, "So, what brings you here today Fred?"

Fred looked up, a new appreciation growing for Luna Lovegood. Not many people could actually tell he and George apart, at least not many people who hadn't known them most of their lives. But then, Luna had known them most of their lives. They had been neighbors at one time, grown up outside the same tiny village of Ottery St. Catchpole.

"Actually," Fred grinned hugely, his arm twitching in anticipation. "I came to bring you these." He pulled his arm from behind his back and waved the bouquet with a little flourish. Luna jumped back with a tiny muffled screech…somehow, that wasn't the reaction he was looking for.

"Err…thank you Fred, but…I'll have to pass." She inched away down the counter, trying to put as much distance between them as possible. "I'm afraid that's a bit too dangerous…even for me."

"Too dangerous…" Fred looked down at his hand. The previously pink bouquet of roses was now a deep green twisting vine of Devils Snare, it's vines reaching upwards towards him. "Ugh!" He dropped it on the ground, then began stomping the vines that reached for his feet.

"Ugh..ugh!" When each vine was a layer of pulp on the floor, he turned to Luna with an apologetic look. "I'm sorry…I must have grabbed the wrong…" and then, out of the corner of his eye he caught a flash of red outside the shop window. Across the street, George was doubled over in laughter. He looked up at Fred with tear filled eyes and then bowed…raising his hand to flip the bird.

Fred glared for a moment longer, then turned back to Luna. "Luna, I'm very sorry. It was an accident." But Luna looked at him strangely, obviously wondering how someone could accidentally buy a class a forbidden plant. Fred flicked his wand over the mess he had made on the floor, taking a deep breath as the mutilated green goo vanished. A second later…Luna gasped as his pants vanished as well.

"Fred!" Luna jumped back in shock and covered her eyes "I …I think your vanishing spell went awry!"

"Merlin's sweating ball sack!" Fred pulled his shirt down to cover himself…he would have to have chosen this day to wear the boxers with the hot pink kisses all over them! "I…I think I best go now."

Fred pushed the door open and vanished into the morning sunlight. George was long gone…perhaps he had used a spell that was too strong after all. Well, that didn't change the fact that George had nearly killed them both with the Devils Snare. Fred waved his wand over his boxers, then sighed as his pants reappeared and turned towards home.

He was going to kill George when he got his hands on him.

George grinned while he watched Fred walk the four blocks then vanish into Weasley Wizard's Wheezes, then with a smirk, he walked around the side of the building and pushed open the door to the Quibbler office.

Luna looked up warily, afraid for a moment that Fred had returned…then she saw to her relief that it was George.

"Good morning George." She said brightly as she straightened a stack of order forms. "You just missed your brother."

"I did?" George picked her hand up from the counter and kissed the slim fingers. "Such a shame."

"He was acting a bit odd." She looked at him curiously, as if worried George might be about to break into a bit of oddness himself. "Maybe you should go and check in on him."

"Fred's a big boy." George grinned and leaned a hip on the counter, "He can take care of himself. Look, I brought you something."

Luna bit her lip while George pulled his arm from behind his back, but in his hand he held a bouquet of sunflowers.

"Oh George, they're lovely!" She smiled and took them from him. "How did you know sunflowers were my favorite flowers?"

"You wore one in your hair, at Bill and Fleur's wedding."

Luna smiled up at him, that had been such a long time ago…it was really sweet of him to remember.

"So Luna, I was wondering…would you fancy dinner with me tonight?"

"I think…" She brushed her finger over a sunflower, then put her hand over his on the counter. "I think I would really like that."

George smiled down and brushed a piece of hair behind her ear while out on the side walk, Fred looked through the window and lowered his wand.

George may have won this battle…but the war was far from over. He was still the oldest, the best looking and by far the most clever.