Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling is awesome - I don't own anything.
"Look Hermione, I know you don't want to hear it, but this has the Weasley twins written all over it! Seriously, a toffee that shrinks whomever eats it down to the size of a snitch? If the Weasley twins didn't invent it, then who in Merlin's name did!?" Healer Anaxos was red from shouting. "Well, this time, they've gone too far. That boy could have died – would have died if his parents hadn't gotten him here fast enough. We're lucky he's from a wizarding family – if his parents were muggles, they might not even have known to bring him to St. Mungo's!"
Hermione inhaled sharply in frustration, "I know, I know – I agree with you, but there's a possibility that we don't know the full story. I know Fred and George, they test everything extensively before they sell it in their shop. They would never-"
"It's not the first time!" roared Anaxos. "Other kids have been in here before suffering from jokes or trick sweets gone wrong, some of which we know were definitely the Weasleys-"
"That was when they were still in school," argued Hermione, "there hasn't been a single accident since their shop opened that we know for sure was caused by one of their products, there may well be a good explanation. It probably has nothing to do with them!"
"Probably isn't good enough!" Anaxos was livid now. Hermione didn't think she had ever seen him this angry before. "They need to be reported, and maybe even shut down. They're not safe." Bending his head down to her height, Anaxos stepped in close, blue eyes flashing a few inches away from her own, his voice now quiet and intense. "I swore an oath when I became a healer and you swore the same one. I know they're your friends, but we cannot stand idly by if their wares are putting people at risk. We need to report this to the Ministry."
For a long moment they were silent, both breathing heavily from shouting. Finally, Hermione exhaled in defeat. "Fine," she conceded, holding up both her hands, "but please, let me just speak to them first? For my own sanity if nothing else."
Anaxos gave her a hard stare from under dark blond brows for a long moment before giving a tight nod. "Speak to them tonight and we'll file that report tomorrow."
Hermione gave him a weak smile. "Thank you, I'll let you know what I find out."
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was closed, but there was a light on in the flat above the shop as Hermione strode briskly towards it, apprehension twisting in her stomach. Yes, Fred and George had been careless and somewhat cavalier creating and testing joke sweets in their days at Hogwarts – the tonne tongue toffee being a memorable example – but Hermione was sure they weren't behind this shrinking sweet. The shop meant too much for them to risk their reputation and license by selling something unsafe. At least, she was almost sure she was sure. She couldn't seem to dispel the creeping doubt running through her mind. Anaxos was right, aside from the Weasleys, who else would create such a thing? And mixing the spell with a sweet – that was trademark Weasley style and ingenuity. There were very few other Wizards who could even figure out how they made their jokes and gags work – Hermione was one of them.
She shook herself as she approached the door. She would have an open mind and give them a chance to offer up an explanation, or a denial, or...something. In the centre of the bright orange door was what looked very much like a shrunken head, blackened with age, with a few scraggly tufts of dirty grey hair emerging from the shriveled ears. Underneath the head hung a small wooden sign with the words 'Pinch My Nose' written in scrawling script. Really, she thought, the wizarding world needed to adopt a few more muggle technologies. There was nothing wrong with a simple doorbell. Quickly, Hermione reached forward and pinched the nose, jumping when the head gave a loud yell of surprise and began shouting insults at her in a curiously tinny voice.
"... no call for that young lady! I cannot fathom what passes for manners these days, but surely tweaking someone's nose when they are peacefully sleeping is still considered rude and uncouth! You should be ashamed, and if you were my child I'd have no qualms bending over you over my knee and giving you a good hiding that you wouldn't –"
The door opened and Hermione looked up into a smiling, freckled face topped with fiery red hair. Fred broke into a broad grin "Heya, Hermione, come on in – step into our lair," he finished, waggling his eyebrows. Despite herself, Hermione smiled in return and stepped into the cheerily bright hallway. Fred looked down at the shrunken head, which was still tinnily shrieking vile imprecations at Hermione. "Oi, you, shut it," pinching its nose. The shrunken head stopped, returning to how Hermione had first seen it. Fred shrugged ruefully at her. "Present from Percy during his I'm-sorry-I-was-such-a-git stage. He thought it was funny and would, of course, be perfect for me and George, since 'you two can never be serious'. I wanted to chuck it, but George won't let me, something about keeping the peace."
Hermione nodded, looking up and studying Fred closely before catching herself and blushing, realizing she was looking for signs of guilt. She cleared her throat, trying to hide her sudden embarrassment. "Thanks for agreeing to see me at such short notice. I know you two are always busy, but it's important." They were walking through the hallway and up the slightly crooked flight of stairs as she spoke. The walls were lined with photos of the Burrow and Weasley family members, as well as a few from when Fred and George were in Hogwarts. The railing appeared to be decorated in what looked like knitted streamers. Likely Mrs Weasley's handiwork. Hermione smiled at the thought. She really ought to visit the Burrow again soon; it had been far too long.
"It's no trouble," said Fred.
"Always willing to help the Golden Girl and one-time lover of our ickle Ronniekins," added George, stepping out onto the landing at the top of her stairs.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "He's not even here, why do you persist in calling him that?"
"Because I wouldn't want to get out of the habit and accidentally call him Ron to his face," laughed Fred.
"It wouldn't do for him to get ideas above his station," George added seriously.
Hermione chuckled as they led her through to the lounge. Wizards or no, flats inhabited by bachelors all looked eerily similar. The lack of anything remotely homey and abundance of clutter reminded her forcefully of her muggle friend Ed's flat. The room also smelled faintly, slightly stale with faint undercurrents of burnt food and potions. Hermione wrinkled her nose before looking around to find a place that looked safe enough to sit. She chose a relatively clear bit of couch next to a pile of parchments and cast a few wandless and silent curse detections before seating herself. Fred and George were standing in identical poses, arms crossed and smirking opposite her when she looked up again. Hermione tried hard to fight down another blush. "You should try and take it as a compliment that one cannot be too careful in your presences," she said archly. They both laughed at that and cleared seats for themselves. Hermione refused the offer of a drink, instead pulling a mug from her purse and using her wand to fill it with hot tea.
She studied them as she blew across the top of her drink. It was nearly impossible to tell them apart when they were in the shop as George would usually wear a charmed ear and they would dress in matching outfits. But in the comfort of their flat they looked very different. George's hair was much longer than Fred's to cover the hole where his ear had been, nearly reaching his shoulders. The dressed differently too. Fred's clothes were more flamboyant than his twin's. He was more likely to wear deep purples or bright greens with the slightly oddball embellishments typical of wizarding clothes: feathers, bells, lace, or magically shifting colours. George had become firmly attached to muggle clothing after being given a pair of jeans and a hoodie by Harry a few years ago and usually wore greys or faded colours.
Other muggle items were littered about the flat. An entire wall was devoted to muggle books, many of them sci-fi and fantasy titles Hermione had purchased for them as a Christmas present the year before. They had rapidly become hooked and bought out nearly the entire sci-fi section of Waterstone's on a slightly awkward visit they had begged Hermione to help them with. Fred had explained that some of the gadgets in the stories were great inspirations for new inventions, and George's eyes had glazed over with excitement when Harry had then introduced them to Star Wars and lightsabres. Hermione wondered if she would live to regret her present.
"So," began Fred as he seated himself and handed George a butterbeer, "what has brought the illustrious Hermione Granger to our door?"
"Healer of the sick and injured-"
"-Champion of house elves and merfolk-"
"-Rule follower and breaker-"
"Guys, I need you to be serious," said Hermione, holding up a hand to halt their banter. She knew from experience they could keep up the twin-speak for hours. They nodded simultaneously and shifted to face her, wearing identical expressions of concern. "A young boy was brought in to St Mungo's today who had eaten a sweet, most likely a toffee, that shrunk him." She passed them both copies of a photo of the boy next to a Galleon to give a sense of scale. "Problem was, it didn't shrink all of his internal organs uniformly and he was effectively having a heart attack, seizure, and a few other serious things all at the same time." She paused, looking George and then Fred in the eye. "He nearly died, and as it is he'll be in St. Mungo's for a week or so regrowing most of his insides." She went on quickly before they could say anything. "I want to know if you two know of anything that could have done this."
The immediate silence that fell increased the sick feeling in Hermione's stomach tenfold, and she broke out into a cold sweat when George sighed and rubbed a hand across his face. She felt like she'd just been punched, all breath knocked from her. She'd been so sure, so convinced they'd had nothing to do with the incident. "No way," she choked out, looking between the two identically guilty expressions, "no, you can't have..." she trailed off, completely at a loss for words.
Fred spoke first, "Before you get mad, you need to know that we never sold it, the sweet was – is – still in development."
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh thank God," she murmured, sagging in her chair. "I knew you wouldn't sell something that hadn't been thoroughly tested."
"But you worried." George said, eyeing her with a faint smile.
"Yes," Hermione admitted. "Worried for you, worried about you." She shrugged, "I'm good at worrying – just asked Harry and Ron." Fred snorted derisively. "Right," Hermione continued briskly as she dug out a notebook and pen from her purse, "can you start at the beginning and tell me everything about it? What spells you were using, when you were developing it, who knew about it, and so on. Healer Anaxos wanted to file a report requesting an investigation of your shop, but if you didn't ever sell the sweet then we're looking at something else entirely." She flicked her wand and her hair lifted itself from her face, twisting into a french plait. She took another sip of her tea, savouring the cinnamon and nutmeg flavours... wait a minute, she'd made herself plain black tea... she jerked her head up sharply, glaring at the twins who were grinning unrepentantly. "What did you do?" she snapped. 'What did you put in my drink? How did you-"
"Sorry Hermione," began George, sounding distinctly not sorry.
"We've finished this one but just needed to test it on someone else-"
"-Before we release it to the public. And we need an unsuspecting person-"
"-to test this one out properly."
They were standing now, circling and examining her like she was a bug under a microscope, and Fred had a very worrying gleam in his eye.
Letting out a groan of frustration, Hermione collapsed back into the couch. Not again. It had been years since these two had tricked her. To have slipped up now was just humiliating. "Couldn't you have got someone else? Ron, maybe?"
An amused expression flicked over their faces as they shared a look. "Not for this particular product" said George firmly.
"It might have, er, distorted our test results," snickered Fred.
Hermione sighed. "Fine, whatever. Can we just get this over with?"
Now George was looking mischievous as well. He leaned forward until his face was level with hers. "Sure thing, Miss Granger." He winked. "Tell me, how do you think about me and Fred... sexually?"
"Or romantically" offered Fred.
"Or romantically," repeated George.
"Oh well that's easy," said Hermione, sitting straight again and settling her hands in her lap. "You're the sweetly handsome one that screams passionate romance," she said as she pointed at George, "and you're more of the devilish rogue type, a bit like Han Solo," she continued as she pointed at Fred. "However, I find you both equally attractive, if in somewhat different ways." She frowned now, tapping her chin as she thought. "I probably only think of kissing either of you once or twice each month, and I've often written diary entries imagining what it might be like. It might have something to do with my hormonal cycle each month, but I've never properly researched it, though I could... Wait, why I am I telling you this?"
Both of the twins had slightly shocked expressions, and George's eyebrows had disappeared into his hairline. "Carry on," urged Fred, a trifle hoarsely, "this is most...illuminating."
"Oh, ok" said Hermione, somewhat confused. There seemed to be a faint niggling voice shouting at the back of her mind, but she ignored it. Fred had asked her a question. "Well, I've always imagined that George's kisses would be slow and deep, the kind where you forget to breathe and nearly pass out from their intensity, whilst Fred's would be wild and abandoned – I'd be pressed up against a door or a wall and would end up with lots of red marks on my neck." She paused, unaware of the dreamy smile on her face or Fred and George's equally pink ears. "I suppose my favourite daydream is of the two of you sharing me." She finished as she turned and looked at both of them. The voice at the back of her mind seemed louder now but she still ignored it.
"Sh-sharing us?" asked George, sounding oddly strained.
"Mmm," sighed Hermione, "sharing me during sex. All three of us naked and climaxing together. I often imagine it when I make myself come."
A crash sounded as George's butterbeer slipped from his fingers. "Shit," he whispered, deliberately not looking at Fred. "She's going to kill us when this wears off."
"Yes, but she said I'm the one who's like Han Solo."
Author's Note: Hello all, this is my first foray into the world of fanfiction! I have no idea where this story will go, but I'm having fun writing it. Let me know what you think :)