Giftee: the pinch hitters
Word Count: ~1500
Characters/Pairing: Fred/George, Remus, Lee
Warnings: a bit angsty
Author's Notes: Thanks to E and F for beta help. ♥
Summary: George was always the one with the death wish.
George was always the one with the death wish.
"Don't worry, Mum. We'll all die sometime," he said cheerfully, flopping down on the sofa next to Fred and swinging his legs across his lap, boots (new, shiny purple dragonhide) dangling, as his mother frowned dangerously. "Fred and I just want to go out with a bigger bang."
Fred glanced over her hunched shoulders at the clock, all hands still pointing to "Mortal Peril."
"Doesn't mean we'll be taking any stupid chances though," he said with a strained grin, slinging an arm across George's knees. "You can count on us for a bit of sensible self-preservation."
He felt George's intake of breath, and gave a warning squeeze. His twin rolled his eyes, but left it at that.
"That'll be a new one," she muttered, but let them off with a final glare before bustling off. Fred let his breath out, slowly.
"I'm packing up leftovers," she called from the kitchen. "You'll take some biscuits home with you?"
He grinned down at George, who gave him a high-five.
George took up smoking during the war.
It was a nasty habit, to be sure, but something Fred found strangely alluring. He could sit and watch George for hours, occasionally using his wand to create designs and creatures in the smoke and glowing ash. Something about the way the smoke curled up around George's face, his hair - it made the familiar features softer, hazier, more mysterious. Downright sexy.
Of course, then George would ruin the effect by giggling and puffing smoke out his ear.
Fred would tackle him, and things would end as they always did: wrestling led to snogging led to frotting and handjobs, then they'd collapse in a tangled pile of sweaty, intertwined limbs. It made things seem normal, like nothing would ever change. Even the smell of stale smoke in George's hair was comforting, since it was all part and parcel of the familiar body sprawled against him.
They moved out of their flat the day Fred went on Potterwatch.
"Any Death Eaters listen to the show?" he asked, twirling his wand. "I'd rather not wake up to an AK, if you know what I mean."
"Don't count on anything," Remus said, sounding even more serious than he normally did. "You may be known now - it's time to start moving. As Alastair would say, constant vigilence."
"You two can move in with me," Lee said, perking up. "I've been popping around empty houses up north."
"Bang-up job there, Rodent," George said, leaning on the back of Fred's chair and whacking him in the back of the head. "You didn't say this gig would get us booted from the flat."
"Like you would have done anything else," Fred drawled, leaning back and grinning up at him. "And that's Rapier to you, twatwaffle."
"Well then get your arse up, Rapier - we've got packing to do."
George's right ear (or rather, the lack thereof) was fascinating.
When he closed his eyes, George's ear was still intact - but Fred preferred to keep his eyes open. His perfect human mirror, something Fred had been accustomed to all his life, was broken, but somehow this tied them even closer together. He'd lie there, wrapped tightly around George's body, tracing the circumference of that new orifice with his finger, his lips, his tongue.
"I don't mind," George said. "It feels weird, but nice. Just don't get any bloody stupid ideas about where you can put your dick."
Fred had far better suggestions for that.
"There's not much room here," Lee said with a shrug. "But I only planned to stay here a couple more nights."
"What's on offer?" Fred stuck his hands in the pockets of his denims as he looked around the tiny flat, taking in its galley kitchen and lack of windows with a frown.
"There's the couch," Lee said, gesturing at a short but overstuffed floral monstrosity, "and a full bed in the other room. Want to flip for it?"
"Eh, Fred and I can share," George said with a wink. "After all these years I've almost gotten used to the smell."
"Might be room for you too, Lee," Fred continued, waggling his eyebrows. "You're short - should tuck in easily between the both of us."
"Merlin no," Lee said hastily, flopping down on the couch. "I lived with the two of you long enough to know better."
"What?" George managed to look wounded. "I can't imagine what you think..."
"I woke up with mysterious substances in my hair and mysterious things in my bed when we lived in the same dorm," Lee answered, hugging a one of the flounced cushions tight. "No way I'm actually sharing a bed with either of you."
Fred shrugged. "Dunno, sounds good to me."
The Firewhiskey was almost gone and Lee had long ago staggered off to sleep in the third bedroom upstairs, but Fred was still lying in front of the fire, one arm tucked around George who spooned tightly against his stomach. George took a long drag off his cigarette and blew a steady plume of smoke towards the fireplace. Both of them watched silently as the embers shimmered and slowly crumbled down.
"You thought about dating anyone?" George made it sound almost casual, despite the slight tremor in his voice even the lateness and alcohol couldn't hide.
"Not likely," Fred answered with a snort. "There's a war on, remember?"
"Yeah." George was silent for a while. "But after the war. What about Angelina?"
"Angelina?" he shrugged. "She's just one of the blokes."
"Except that she's a bird," George continued, waving his hand. The glowing tip of his cigarette traced a frustrated arc across the wall. "And you were seeing her before."
"Yeah, but she's still one of the blokes," Fred rubbed his hand gently across George's chest. "That's what made it OK."
George took a final puff, and ground the butt out in the upturned Firewhiskey lid.
"But Lee's one of the blokes, too," he said, leaning back against Fred's chest. His voice dropped even farther. "And so am I."
Fred tightened his grip, pulling George even closer.
"No," he breathed, nuzzling George's neck. "You're different."
George's moods had never been easy - like Fred, he was prone to dramatic swings. His manic periods were still the source of excellent creative fun, but his lows were getting longer along with the cold winter nights. He spent long periods chain-smoking, and staring off out the windows into the dark.
They changed locations every few days, but the change of scenery did nothing for George's state of mind. Lee did his best, throwing in with all Fred's attempts at pranks, jokes, and other distractions, but it was clear George was starting to drag even Lee's cheerful outlook down.
"You've got to do something," he told Fred earnestly. "He's not even going for ear jokes anymore."
"Tough audience," Fred answered. "But he'll snap out of it."
"I'm not sure," Lee said. "Maybe you should take him to visit your Mum and Dad?"
Fred snorted. That clearly wasn't going to help - a lecture from Mum was the last thing George needed right now.
He walked into the kitchen and swatted George's shoulder.
"Pack up," he said. "We're going home."
The front door had been blown off the hinges, and spell-blast blackened the walls and floor for several feet in any direction.
Fred transferred his wand to his left hand, and reached for George with his right. George's eyes were as big as his felt, and the firm grip of his twin's hand was reassuring. Even so, his answering smile was strained as they turned towards the flat, and stepped through the door together. Fred looked around slowly, expecting the worst, but aside from evidence of a thorough search, the rest of their flat was miraculously intact. He collapsed onto the ground with George, holding him tight, both of them giggling and rolling about in the strewn parchment like the teenagers they still were, but weren't allowed to be.
"Let's just charm the windows and stay here," he said finally. "Nobody would think to look - who in their right mind would come back here?"
"Rules us out," George answered with a grin. "And if the Death Eaters come back, we're sitting on top of a bloody arsenal."
"You and your blaze of glory," Fred said, combing George's hair back out of his eyes. "I'd prefer to stick around, thanks."
"You'd better." George propped his head up on an elbow and looked at Fred seriously. "That's the deal, right? Whatever happens, we stick together."
"Does that mean I have to cut off my right ear to match, or the left?"
"Prat." George wrapped his free arm around the back of Fred's head, and leaned down until their noses touched. "It means we both stay or go together."
So that's what it was all about.
"Easy, then." Fred managed a smile. "Screw your death wish. We both stay."
George kissed him lightly on the lips before snuggling down into his shoulder.