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Hi [livejournal.com profile] daf9!

Fic: To Do A Weasley (Part 2/3)
Pairing: George Weasley/Lee Jordan
Rating: PG
Setting: Hogwarts, Order of the Phoenix
For: [livejournal.com profile] daf9
Note: Here's part 2/3. It... grew on me. ::blinks in confusion:: Not sure how that happened.

Part 1

Part 3


1.

November 2

Well they were definitely part of history now, thought George bitterly a few weeks later as he tossed over in bed, his thoughts swirling. But not for anything good.

His knuckles still stung. They’d won, they’d bloody won against Slytherin and they should’ve been celebrating the win. They should’ve been celebrating things going their way for once.

Everything had been going better since the DA had started. For weeks, Umbridge’s stupid rules didn’t seem so awful; they were ridiculous, but the members of Dumbledore’s Army were thumbing their noses at her and she didn’t know it. It was exhilarating.

Quidditch had been going well. Except for Ron’s abysmal performance as Keeper, the team was golden.

He was spending more and more time with Lee, and he was at peace with how he felt.

All right, yeah, so he was half gone over his best mate and kept getting distracted by Lee's sense of humour, his presence, and had to work to pretend he didn’t get butterflies every time Lee grinned at him. It was fine.

He’d get over it - though it really didn’t help that Lee had become somewhat more handsy lately. They’d always been physically close - he and Lee hit, shoved and pushed each other a dozen times a day in mock-battles, and leaned on one another or slung an arm over each others' shoulders while studying, walking down the hall, or at the Great Hall. They’d always done that, but it honestly felt like Lee was doing that more this year.

He was probably imagining it.

Everything had been going well. And then today...

He rolled over in bed, gut still churning and bile burning his throat as he thought of that little Malfoy snot with his oh-so-superior voice, the satisfying crunch of hitting the sneer off his pointy little face - and then the horror of Umbridge’s gloating smile as she took away one of the only things that had made life bearable at this blasted school-

“George?”

He started at the soft voice in the dark. “Yeah?” Lee quietly approached his bed and George propped himself up on one elbow. “What?”

“You all right?” asked Lee, his voice low.

“Fine.”

They were silent for a moment.

“This is horrible,” said Lee after a minute. “I’m so sorry, mate.”

“Yeah, me too.” He glanced over at Fred’s cot, where Fred was sleeping open-mouthed and exhausted. “And I’m waiting for him to tell me he’s pissed at me for getting him banned when he didn’t even do anything, but...”

Lee chuckled. “You’ll be waiting a while for that, George. Umbridge was right. He would’ve killed that little snot if the girls hadn’t held him back. Fred knows that better than anybody.”

George smiled.

“I was right proud of you,” said Lee softly. “Both of you. Glad you’re my mates.”

George nodded wearily. Lee reached out. “Your knuckles all right?”

“Yeah. They’re tough.”

“So are you.” Lee was still holding his hand between both of his, and George shifted slightly.

“What is it?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” Lee said. They fell silent.

“And?” George finally said.

“And I figured you couldn’t either.”

“No.”

Silence again. Actually, the silence was getting uncomfortable.

“Lee?”

Lee cleared his throat. “You know I like Angelina, right?”

George blinked at the non-sequitur. “Yeah. You’ve been going on about her since our voices broke.”

“Yeah.” Lee paused again, then took a deep breath. “Here’s the thing. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she’d ever said yes to me.”

George snorted. “Not much chance of that, mate. She’s had your number since she got tits.”

Lee gave him a small smile, his expression hard to read in the dark. And he was still holding George’s hand.

“All right, I’m going to hold on to my Gryffindor and just come out with it. George.” His hold on George’s hand tightened slightly, and George winced slightly. “I’m trusting you with this, all right? Because you’re a good friend and I think you won’t go all weird on me if I...” he cleared his throat. “I like boys.”

George blinked at Lee in the dark.

“As in, the way I like girls. Actually.” Lee cleared his throat again. “A lot more than I like girls.”

George took a deep breath, his thoughts reeling.

“I’m getting self-conscious, here,” said Lee. “Not to mention I’m still holding your hand and I’m not sure if I should let go of it in case you get the wrong idea or keep holding on to it in case you want to hit me with it.”

“Why would I want to hit you?” George said dumbly.

“Ah, it speaks.”

George floundered. There was nothing he could say. There was nothing - what was he supposed to say?

“Would you mind saying something?” asked Lee.

“Like what?”

“I just kind of put it all out there and told you something bloody sensitive, mate,” said Lee, annoyed. “I know you and your brother don’t do sensitive, but you also don’t do silent so this is really weirding me out.”

George nodded. “Right. Erm.” Get it in gear, Weasley, he thought to himself. He sounded about as eloquent as Ronnie right now. “Erm. Thanks for, er, telling me. Er, and trusting me.”

“Merlin, I’m sorry I asked you to talk,” said Lee. “Go back to silent support. Or maybe even silent disapproval.”

“Mnot disapproving!” George blurted. “Bloody hell. I just can’t - Merlin, I’m, I can’t just switch on you, you know?”

“I’m not asking you to.”

“You kind of are, mate,” said George. “I’ve thought you were gone on Angelina for so long I kind of don’t know what to think now. Especially--”

All right. He couldn’t do this here. He stood up, still holding Lee’s hand.

“What are you doing?” asked Lee, rising with him.

“It’s been a bloody long day and I’ve been thrown off my broom emotionally speaking about four times so far,” he said brusquely. That amazing Quidditch win. That horrible little Malfoy twat saying nasty things about Mum. The dark joy of beating the snot out of him. The dread of going to Umbridge’s office, the disbelief and horror of their Quidditch ban, and now this. Lee. Confessing--

“It’s been a long, trying day,” he said, mimicking Percy’s prissy tone. “I’d much rather do this in decent privacy. Come along, Jordan.”

Lee's relieved grin easy to see even in the dim darkness. They made their way to the boys’ bathroom and George cast a privacy spell.

“So, what is it?” said Lee with a smirk. “You want to ask me if I have my eye on any fit lads? Want to ask my intentions towards the males in our house? Want to know if I’ve considered dating outside the house and bringing disgrace on us all?”

George huffed a laugh.

“That’s a no?” asked Lee.

“It’s been a really, really long day,” said George. “Really bloody long year.”

“Yeah.”

He took a deep breath. “You interested in any one particular bloke?”

Lee blinked at him. “Why?”

“Any reason why you told me? Now?”

Lee’s lips pressed together, and George got the distinct feeling that they were dancing around the same thing. And, well, Lee had been the brave one before...

“Oh bollocks, I’ll just say it. I like boys too.” Lee’s eyebrows shot up. “And I have liked one particular bloke for a while now. But if you’re going to get weird about it I’ll just - I didn’t get weird about you telling me, right?” Lee frowned, and opened his mouth. “And I wouldn’t have even if I wasn’t queer myself,” George rushed on. “So don’t you dare, even if you don’t - because I’ve been fancying you all bloody year and I don’t know if you do but if you don’t then just tell me and we’ll pretend this part of the conversation never happened.”

Lee was staring at him, his mouth open.

“You look like you’ve been Stunned.”

Lee closed his mouth. “Right. Erm.” He sat down on the counter, realizing that he was still holding George’s hand.

“Not what you were expecting?” asked George.

“Erm. No. No, not really. Not at all, to be honest.” George’s stomach turned over at the shaky tone of Lee’s voice. Yeah, that had been a little much to expect. For one moment he’d thought maybe Lee had told him because he knew, because maybe Lee felt the same way, and it would’ve been so simple...

“We’ll forget about that part, then?” he said hollowly, and loosened his grip on Lee.

“No!” Lee clutched his fingers. “No. No, let’s not do that.”

“Why not?”

“I... erm, I fancied Jack Cornfoot.”

“Jack the Ravenclaw?” George said, still lost.

“The Ravenclaw. Who helped pull you and Harry off Malfoy. And... he’s a bit of a twat, to be honest.”

“Who, Malfoy?”

“No, Jack. I mean, Malfoy too, but we already knew that.”

“What?”

“It’s why I told you today. Because I just wanted to let you know that I, erm, that I got into trouble too, today. You know, to commiserate.”

“What?” George blinked, deciding “lost” really didn’t describe how he felt.

“I got really angry at him,” Lee admitted. “At Jack, that is. And I... may have hexed him.”

“Why?”

“He said something snotty to another Ravenclaw. About you. I hexed his mouth.”

George laughed. “What did he say?”

“Called you and Harry deluded little boys with the self-control of a hippogriff,” Lee said, an ugly look on his face.

“And you hexed his mouth?”

“Turned it into a prick.”

George laughed again. Lee smiled back.

And he was still holding George’s hand.

“So I think I’ll probably be in trouble once he’s able to talk again,” Lee explained. “Pomfrey’ll undo the hex and then he might tell her who did it.”

“He saw you do it?”

“Er, he sort of... taught it to me. Not that transformation specifically, but the idea of changing body parts. We were studying for Transfiguration.”

“There’ll be an Educational Decree about it,” said George.

“If he tells.”

“Why wouldn’t he?”

Lee bit his lip. “He might, er, be too shy. Or protective of his own reputation.”

“Why?”

Lee looked down. “The study session? It was... interesting. We... did more than just study.”

A small surge of jealousy surged through George, and a surge of... anger? Hurt? That Lee hadn’t even told him?

Best mate, supposedly, and he hadn’t told George that he was queer - or that he was doing anything about it?

Not that George had any right to be angry at Lee for withholding anything, considering what he’d been doing since his own attraction to Lee had hit him like a Bludger to the head, but still.

“How much - I mean...” George trailed off. “How long were you and him--”

“Not long. I’d only just told him a few days ago. We only snogged a couple of times.”

“Ah.”

There was a small silence.

“And I doubt we’ll be doing that again.”

“No.”

There was another small silence.

“So I’m all out of crushes.”

“Right.”

This was getting awkward. It was weird, he and Fred were usually so glib and ready with a quip but George was completely out of clever.

Lee blew out his breath. “You’re not really jumping with brilliance here, mate.”

“No.”

“Do I have to spell things out?” said Lee, and George glared at him.

“Yeah, you wanker. Connect the dots for me.”

Lee looked pointedly down at their clasped hands.

Oh.


Oh.

George swallowed. “You were with Jack Cornfoot until earlier today,” he pointed out.

“I was interested in him, yeah. He’s incredibly fit. I...” Lee cleared his throat. “But I didn’t know him very well. Obviously. He was just the only other boy I knew was the same way I was.”

“And now? I’m the only other one?”

“Yeah, but you’re not... you’re not just some bloke. You’re... you’re you.” Lee gave him a crooked grin.

“So... you’re saying you’re... interested back?”

Lee nodded. “It’s a little weird, I’ll give you that,” he admitted, and George laughed, startled. “I mean I didn’t know you were. So I’m having a bit of an adjustment here.”

“How much adjustment do you need?”

“Dunno.” Lee’s eyes raked over him and George felt himself flushing. “Merlin, every time I’ve seen you or Fred blush it’s hysterical.”

George thumped him.

“It is, mate. You’re completely unflappable and then suddenly you turn bright cherry red. With ginger frosting.”

“Of course you would be a wanker about this. I confess that I fancy you and you insult me and make fun of me.”

“It’s me, George. Did you honestly think you’d get anything different?”

“Oi, I didn’t think anything!” George protested. “I was doing fine until you started with the surprise confessions!”

Lee laughed. “Fair enough.”

They stared at each other. Lee cleared his throat. “So. Erm. Do you want to do anything?”

“You mean... with you?”

Lee rolled his eyes. “No, with Jack Cornfoot. Merlin.”

“He insulted me and my friend,” George pointed out. “So, no.”

“This is never going to go anywhere,” Lee declared. “For a bloke who’s supposedly been perving on me for so long, you are pathetic now that you actually have a chance.”

“Maybe I’m playing hard to get.”

Lee rolled his eyes again, and pulled George closer. “I’m going to have to take the initiative, aren’t I?” He leaned closer to George and suddenly George’s heart was pounding and felt lightheaded. “Can I? Or will you get the vapours?”

“No, that’s fine,” said George faintly. “No vapours here.” His eyes dropped down to Lee’s lips. “No vapours at all.”

Lee tilted his head to the side and peered at him quizzically. “D’you want to?”

“What?”

“Snog?”

“What, here?”

Lee blew out his breath in exasperation.

George shook his head. “Erm. All right. Listen, I erm...” He gave Lee’s lips a hesitant look and then realized what he was feeling. Exhileration, yes, but also... “No,” he said faintly. He cleared his throat. “Erm, no, we shouldn’t?”

“Come again?” said Lee.

“This is going too fast.”

“For Merlin’s sake, you and Fred wrote the book on ‘too fast,’ mate. Grab it and fly with it, isn’t that your motto?”

“Can’t.” He squeezed Lee’s hand. “You were snogging some Ravenclaw twat as of this morning, mate. I have standards.”

Lee laughed. “Right. Pull the other one.”

“I’m nervous, all right?” George said, exasperated. “Give me a bit of a break.”

Lee nodded. “All right, look. You’re probably right. But how about we test the waters, just see if it’s doable or too weird?”

George smiled at him, his stomach doing a swoop of joy and excitement even through his nervousness. He pulled Lee closer - Merlin, just like he’d wanted to, for months - had a brief thought about what he’d seen Fred do with Angelina a few times and sent a prayer to the patron saint of snogging, if there was one, before leaning closer and brushing his lips against Lee’s.

“Oh.” Lee’s voice was small and shocked. “Erm.” He pulled George closer and kissed him again, chaste and closed-mouth, and George’s lips tingled.

That’s all right, then, George thought headily as they brought their mouths together again, over and over, their kisses growing firmer. Lee’s lips were soft, slightly chapped, his breath smelled like peppermint, it was all a lot more intense than George had expected and--

Lee made a noise low in his throat and George felt a wave of desire, weakening his knees and making his stomach swoop again. He kissed Lee again, putting a hand to his cheek, then stepped back reluctantly.

Lee blinked at him, slightly dazed.

“That’s all right?” he asked.

“Yeh.”

George grinned. “Not too weird?”

Lee shook his head numbly.

“Right then,” George said, going for cheery and nonchalant. “Let’s go to sleeep, then.”

Lee gaped at him, then burst out laughing. “You. Wanker.”

“I’m serious, mate,” said George. “We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

“Better do more than talk,” said Lee ominously, then followed him out of the bathroom and back to their dorm.



2.

December 18

“Y’know, this is getting a little awkward,” said Lee a few weeks later as they came up for air.

“Awkward how?” murmured George, nibbling a row of kisses down Lee’s neck, pressing against him.

“Stop that, you wanker, I can’t think and talk when you do that,” Lee protested, his head going back against the wall and gently pushing him back with one hand to the chest. They’d been snogging for about ten minutes and it was getting close to the time when they had to back off or risk going too far.

Not that going too far was necessarily a bad thing, but they’d decided some weeks ago that they were going to keep this relatively contained until things were a little more settled. That one time when Lee had come in his pants had been rather embarrassing all around.

“We really have to tell Fred, for one thing,” said Lee, sneaking another kiss.

“I know...” said George. It was weird as hell, hiding this from his twin, but it had just been so new to them both, and the one thing they’d both agreed was that they didn’t want to face Fred until they had themselves slightly more sorted out.

“Soon? Tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Tomorrow. Today’s just... not a good time.”

“George.” Lee put an arm around him and rested his head against George’s, and George was really beginning to get used to this, the easy physical affection between them. Funny how they still kept it all completely casual as before when they were in public. “George, there’s never a good time.”

“I know, mate, that’s why we’re doing it tomorrow. I swear.”

“But we were going to today.”

“I know. But it’s the last DA meeting, we’re all going home tomorrow...”

“It’s just going to keep getting weirder the longer we keep it secret from him,” said Lee. “Doesn’t feel right.”

“There hasn’t been that much to tell him, though,” said George, and chuckled at Lee’s amused eye roll. “I mean, he didn’t tell me everything that was going on with Angelina, did he?”

“This is a little different and you know it,” said Lee. “He’s going to be pissed.”

George nodded. “All right. We’d better go to bed,” he said, and they reluctantly parted, giving each other a once-over. Lee’s lips were slightly reddened, his eyes a little dazed. His clothes were in good order, though. Not that they generally weren’t, but the two of them were careful when it came to not mussing each other too much.

“All right.” They headed in to the dorm room and lay down, and George rolled over, fingers to his lips.

It had been like a heady dream, these last few weeks. After their big mutual confessions, he’d faced Lee with a bit of apprehension in the morning - only to meet his eyes across the room, see them sparkling with excitement and a shadow of nerves, and realize that Lee hadn’t changed his mind. They’d gone into the nearest empty classroom as soon as they could and had a hurried, whispered conversation that had amounted to, “You still want to?” and “Oh Merlin yes” and that had been that. Lee’d had his tongue down George’s throat before George could fully process what was going on.

Quick trips into empty classrooms. Snogging in the bathroom once the other boys were gone to bed, with a quick spell cast on the door to make it stick just long enough for them to straighten themselves out if anybody came looking for them.

Mostly just kissing, holding hands. Quick caresses when nobody could see.

And otherwise, no change in their friendship.

He closed his eyes. Much as he’d fretted over what the hell they were going to say to Fred, now that it was looming tomorrow, he had little to no idea. Not great planners, the two of them. They’d gotten as far as, “Let’s do it in the Forbidden Forest so if he tries to kill us whoever survives will have some place to hide the body.”

What could they say, really?


So Fred have you noticed that we’ve been late to meet you a few times?

No...


Fred, you know how we used to keep no secrets from each other when we were kids and I’m still mightily pissed at you not telling me everything about you and Angelina? Hold onto that guilt for a mo’.

No, no good.


Oi, Fred, what d’you think of two blokes together?


Fred, remember that time we were banned from Quidditch for life?


Fred, what’s your take on dating someone who’s dated a Ravenclaw before?

He settled into his pillow more firmly, no closer to a plan than before. It would work out. It would, somehow. In the morning, when they went to the--

And he blinked his eyes open to somebody shaking his shoulder.

“Mr. Weasley.”

“Wha?”

Fred was sitting up in his bed, Lee and Kenneth and Garett also stirring, as McGonagall shook his shoulder again.

“Mr. Weasley. You and your brother need to get up. I will wake your sister. Please wait for me in the common room.”

George shook his head groggily. What the hell? Wake up Ginny?

He and Fred got up, both letting out grunts of surprise as McGonagall waved her wand and whisked their dressing gowns onto them, then strode out the door without a backward glance. He glanced at Lee as they hurried past on the way to the common room. Lee’s mouth had dropped open and he was gaping at them blurrily.

“What is it?” Fred demanded as McGonagall joined them, a pale-faced Ginny trailing behind her.

“It’s your father, Mr. Weasley,” said McGonagall. “He’s been hurt.”

“What?”

The world slowed down weirdly, George noted. Ginny was staring at McGonagall, her eyes wide and scared, her dressing gown ratty - used to be George’s, Mum had added a bit of ribbon to it to make it girly but it still had the singe marks from where George had been experimenting with Bomb Begonias one late night. What an odd thing to think about as McGonagall unceremoniously pushed them out the door and toward Dumbledore’s office, giving them the basics of the situation.

And then they weren’t even allowed to go see Dad. No, they were all off to Grimmauld Place, waiting with Sirius, and George through Fred was going to go mental at the thought of staying here but Sirius had a point, didn’t he? This was war. They couldn’t just go off and demand to see Dad at the hospital, possibly putting everyone in the Order - including Dad - in more danger. They had to stay here, in this nightmare of a place, just bloody waiting.

Not just a nightmare of a place; a nightmare of a situation. Sitting around helplessly, waiting for somebody to tell them what was going on with Dad.

It didn’t get any better after they got a message from Mum. Dad was “still alive” it said. Still alive. It sounded like he was at Death’s door, and they were just sitting here like lumps in Sirius’s basement kitchen.

Merlin, what he wouldn’t give for Lee to be here right now, he thought as they all just sat and waited, watching the candle on the table sputter, and his throat abruptly ached and tears sprang to his eyes. To hell with them not having told anyone, Dad could be dying - could be dead right now for all they knew - and Dad had never known, would never know about him and Lee. Would die never knowing that his son was queer, which would be shocking to him, George was sure, but he had a feeling that Dad would be all right after a little while. Might even be comforting to talk to. Even just knowing that he could talk to Dad, even if he never actually did.

But he’d never told Dad. Hadn’t even thought of telling him, until today, in his worry about telling Fred.

And why the hell hadn’t he told Fred, anyway? Eight weeks of holding a secret from his own twin - why? Because he was ashamed? Because he was confused? Because he didn’t want to feel like there was a huge difference between them?

Was that fair to Lee?

He got up to get some tea for everyone, giving himself head a small shake of disgust. What a bloody fucking stupid thing to be thinking about while Dad was lying in the hospital and for all they knew, might already be dead.

But then... this is what life might be like in the future, right? If things kept heating up politically, this might be what life turned into. Life or death situations, long nightime vigils, fear for the safety of their families. Mum might not be the only one with a Boggart that turned into dead family members.

But the rest of life didn’t stop happening just because they were in war.

Harry’s parents had gotten married and had a kid, when they were barely a few years older than George, which must have caused a lot of fireworks in both their families, and it had happened right in the middle of wartime, too. Mum had lost her brothers Fabian and Gideon - and had had to keep going, keep worrying about nappies and proper nutrition for her sons and feeding the chickens and life had gone on, whether she wanted it to or not.

He glanced around at all of them sitting around the dark table, Sirius, Harry, Fred, Ginny - all of them silent and sunk in their own thoughts as they waited for news of Dad.

This might be a way of life in the future. Both of their parents were in the Order, as were Bill and Charlie, Percy was a fucking traitor so he was safe but Ron was friends with Harry Bloody Potter and Ginny was only a kid but had already almost died once and if he and Fred and Lee went into the Order...

What would it be like, all of them fighting? All of their extensive family being in jeopardy, all the time? Not just dealing with Umbridge, the horrible old toad, and fearing expulsion, but actually fearing more, on a daily basis?

Fred’s head had lolled to the side and he was slipping into a doze. Sirius had suggested going to bed a while ago but that really wasn’t going to happen and he only suggested it once.

Lee, I wish you were here, George thought, putting his head down on the table. I wish you could hold me right now. Help me stop worrying for poor Dad. So mild-mannered and silly, but so brave.

Their dad, their barmy Dad, could be dying right now. Could be dead, for all they knew, and Mum might be trying to figure out right now how to tell them.

He closed his eyes, exhausted, wishing for sleep. Wishing for Lee. Wishing for Dad to be OK.

Everything else could wait. They just had to get through this night.



3.


January 13

George followed Lee and Fred through the small door behind the portrait of the Dancing Peach Princess and down the long, shadowy corridor, silently thanking Padfoot, Moony and Prongs for the Map whose knowledge they were still using. Thankful also that apparently Umbridge and her minions didn’t have anybody of that caliber to suss out hidden exits.

It felt like he’d aged about a year since the last day of term. So had Fred. They’d had a close look at what they were facing, and it wasn’t a good feeling. Being back at school, worrying about sneaking out of grounds... it sounded so much more innocent, childish, than anything they’d dealt with over the hols.

They silently exited into one of the more pleasant groves of the Forbidden Forest, where there was a willow that actually wept in summertime. The tears were a little disconcerting, but made quite a lovely, slightly sweet drink. Right now they were just icicles, though.

Fred cast a warming charm and sat down on a largish stump, and George glanced at Lee. Ostensibly they were here to talk about what had gone on over the hols, which for Fred and George had to do with Dad, and finding out Harry might be sort-of-possessed by You-Know-Who, and Percy being a giant arse and making Mum cry. Lee’s Christmas had been somewhat less exciting.

It also wasn’t a good feeling, though, knowing that they’d got Fred here under false pretenses.

Because they hadn’t managed to tell Fred over the hols, of course. They’d had one owl between them since they’d left, with the news that Dad was fine. George had added something innocuous like, “Looking forward to seeing you in the New Year. The three of us have a lot to catch up on.”

Fred glanced at them both. “All right, so why are we here?” George blinked. “I know, you said we should catch up on everything. What’s got you two looking like you’ve got something to tell me, instead of me and George having stuff to tell Lee?”

Lee cleared his throat. “Erm.” He carefully sat down on a rock and glanced at George helplessly. George waved a wand at a toadstool and made it swell to chair-size, then perched on it, wishing he could remember the many opening lines he’d thought out before coming here.

Fred nodded, his eyes grim. “So I was right.” He pressed his lips together. “I don't mind telling you I'm not chuffed at this keeping things from me.”

“Like you haven't kept things from me before,” Lee protested.

Fred narrowed his eyes at them both. “This is different and you know it,” he said. “So you two have been up to something, then.”

“Erm. Yeah,” said George.

“Well, out with it.”

George opened his mouth, then closed it.

“If you two were up to something, what was it you were doing that you couldn't do with me too?”

George stifled a hysterical giggle.

“What?!” said Fred angrily.

“Erm.”

Lee cleared his throat. “It's like this, mate. I'm gay.”

Fred raised his eyebrows. “That's it?” He glared at Lee. “And you trusted George with that, but not me? Why the hell not?” He stood up and slapped Lee upside the head. “You ought to know better!”

“Fred...” George trailed off.

“Right, so you've been angsting at my idiot brother-” Fred broke off and glared at him. “Oh please don't tell me any of that angst involved wondering what you were going to say to me, because I swear--”

“He’s not the only one,” George broke in. “And we weren’t angsting. We were-” He broke off. “Erm.”

Fred waited half a second. “You were what?!

“Snogging. We were snogging.”

Fred blinked. “With who?”

“Each other.”

Fred frowned. “What?”

“We’ve been snogging,” said George firmly. “We’re both gay, and we’ve been, erm...”

“Since when?”

“Right after the DA formed,” said George reluctantly.

Fred gaped at him. “You’re... you’re queer?!”

George swallowed.

“And you didn’t fucking well tell me?! Your own fucking twin?!”

George took a deep breath.

“You fucking wanker!” Fred shouted at him, taking a step toward his toadstool. “You complete shite!! I’m pissed off enough at Lee but you - you ARSE!!” He swung at George, giving him a solid punch to the shoulder. “You stupid arsewipe! Why the fuck didn’t you say anything??!!”

“I--”

“I mean I thought you were looking at Lee a little funny but you never said anything!”

“You thought--”

“You’re fucking pathetic!” Fred raged, and he was livid, he really was. “I told myself, Fred, I think your twin’s a poofter who’s maybe googly-eyed over your best friend, and your best friend might be making eyes right back but No, Fred, said I, of course not, that can’t be, no matter what it looks like, because Lee might be a secretive bastard but George wouldn’t keep quiet about something like that, now would he?” He punched George again.

“Oi,” said Lee mildly.

Don’t you say a bloody thing, Jordan!” Fred snapped at him. “You’ve been shagging my brother without even having the decency to let me know!”

“Oi, not shagging, mate,” Lee protested.

“Without even - what?”

“We’re not shagging,” said Lee. “And I think maybe you ought to ask yourself why George didn’t tell you. You might realise that maybe it’s not all about you, you arse. Maybe George was nervous.”

“Well then George is a fucking idiot,” Fred snapped. “And what do you mean, you haven’t shagged? You’ve been together for months and you’ve, what, played Exploding Snap?”

“We were just - you know, sorting things out!” George said helplessly. “It was... we were just--”

“Oh for God’s sake me and Angelina were just ‘sorting things out’ too last year but we didn’t let that stop us! We were shagging within a week! What’s the matter with you two?”

“Maybe we’re more romantic than you, ever think of that?”

“Romantic? Or dead below the waist? That’s pathetic! How much have you done?”

“Oi,” said George, abruptly realizing that his relief was mingled with impatience at himself for having worried at all. Of course Fred wouldn’t judge them or be disgusted. He wasn’t Umbridge. “I’m not going to go into detail! You didn’t go into detail over Angelina!”

“No, but maybe I should’ve, to give you some bloody pointers.”

George blinked.

“So who’s topping?”

Lee groaned. “Augh! Nobody! Fred!”

“I know nobody is now, I'm asking who’s going to be taking it up the arse when you innocent not-yet-buggers finally get around to doing anything.”

This is probably why we didn’t tell you anything,” muttered Lee.

“If you think I’m going to forgive either of you any time soon for not saying anything, you’d best think again,” said Fred. “Also, you’re going to have to tell the girls.” George and Lee looked at him blankly. “Angelina and Katie and Alicia.”

“What? Why?” asked Lee.

“They can help you keep this discreet,” said Fred. “You don’t want Umbridge to catch you snogging. Then again, it’s hilarious that she has all these rules about girls and boys not being within two feet of each other but has completely ignored the queer contingent.”

“We’re a contingent now?” said George.

“The queer one. Right. So we’ll tell Angelina and--”

“No wait--”

“Look, somebody obviously has to take the initiative here. You two are absolutely pathetic.” Fred frowned. “Though - are you particularly loud?”

“What? No!”

“Because when we live together - wait, hang on.” He glanced between them. “Are we going to live together?”

“What?”

Fred rolled his eyes. “That’s you’re favourite word isn’t it? Try ‘pardon’ just for variety. Are we all going to be living together? George and I have been looking for a place to start our business.” He glanced between them. “I'll say right now if it’s going to be the two of you living together, I get to keep the flat we scouted out in Diagon, George.”

George’s heart gave a thud. He and Fred had found that place together. They weren’t nearly ready to live apart yet - and somehow until this moment George had never really imagined they would. “No! No, we’re living there.”

“What about Lee?”

“What about him?”

Fred glanced at Lee. “You moving in with us, Jordan?”

Lee swallowed. “This is part of why we didn’t say anything, mate. We’re just figuring it out.”

Fred rolled his eyes. “Well it’s a good thing you’re telling me now. Left to your own devices, you’ll never get a bloody thing done. Going to be in the old wizard’s home before you get your wands up.”

“Oi, wands are up, mate,” said Lee.

“Well that's something, at least. All right, we'll see how it goes and maybe think about installing soundproofing on your bedroom. Right, now let’s go to dinner and then get the girls. Wait - weren't we supposed to catch you up on what happened over the holidays? Never mind, George can tell you later, it wasn't that exciting, 'cept our Dad's all right.” Fred turned and started back to the castle.

George exchanged a sheepish smile with Lee as they followed Fred. Why had he been worried? All three of them against the world, with Fred leading the way. That was how they were. The way they were supposed to be. Why had he ever thought that would change?

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