Pairing(s): Primarily George/Angelina, with mentions of several others
Word Count: 9479
Summary: George and Fred experience living on their own for the first time after leaving school in a spectacular manner, first days of being shop owners, first foray into Muggle culture (courtesy of their friends), first loves, first loss, and the first product to really give them a hard time.
Warnings: Slight language and suggestiveness
A/N: I do not own glockgal's drawing of a phoenix which I reference in this story. Nor do I own anything from the HP Universe, Walt Disney, or George Lucas. The recipe is from www.chinese-fortune-cookie.com. All of the fortunes are from actual cookies. Really. I've been collecting fortunes for months. Most of the dates are from "The Harry Potter Lexicon."
April 28, 1996
George woke up, happy after the first night in their own flat, but stiff from sleeping on the floor. He and Fred would need to make buying furniture, or at least beds, their first priority. Thankfully, they had purchased a few basic kitchen items and tinned foods on their last Hogsmeade trip, so George started the coffee brewing. It wasn’t long before Fred emerged from their bedroom.
"Wow, is that coffee I smell?" George nodded. "Brilliant! Nothing like some good, strong coffee to start the morning after 'The Day which Will Live in Infamy.'"
George laughed. "I don’t promise the coffee’s good."
"At least we have coffee." Fred yawned, stretched in a cat-like manner, and ran his hand over his face for good measure.
George watched in amusement. He had always had an easier time waking up than Fred. "So you think we’ll live in infamy, huh?"
"Of course! After our brilliance in standing up to Umbitch, our courage in assisting Harry in his time of need, and the most dramatic exit of all time, how could our fellow Hogwartians not remember us forever?"
George laughed as he poured them both some coffee. "True that." His smile quickly left his face as he glanced out the window.
Fred picked up his coffee, and seeing the look on George’s face asked, "What?!"
George simply pointed towards Errol approaching with a red envelope.
"I wondered how long it would take Mum to find out." Fred crossed the room to open the window for Errol. "Might as well get it over with."
May 12, 1996
"So, it’s your turn to cook tonight. What are we having for dinner?"
"We can have beans on toast, bacon and eggs, or I think we might have some tinned soup left."
"You don’t know how to cook anything other than breakfast, do you?"
"No. And neither do you, so don’t take the mickey, Fred."
"I’m sorry. I’m just hungry, and I’m tired of eating breakfast foods or tinned stuff for every meal. Maybe we could . . ."
"We don’t have money to eat out until we start raking in the Galleons when the shop opens. Maybe we could ask Mum . . ."
"I forgot to tell you. I owled her last week, and she sent another Howler. She’s definitely still mad at us for . . ." Fred did an adequate imitation of Mrs. Weasley’s voice . . . "abandoning our education and jeopardizing your future with such silliness. Now that you’ve found out how hard adulthood can be when you don’t finish school, don’t come crying to me."
"She really said that?"
"Those exact words. Errol came while you were at the apothecary."
"Hearing the Howler by yourself." Fred waved it off. "Do we have enough money to buy supplies and eat until the shop opens in a couple of weeks?"
"Umm . . .no."
"Maybe we should have waited before we bought beds." Fred shrugged. "You said it’s been a week since you wrote Mum?" Fred nodded. "Maybe we should try Dad. He tends to calm down faster than Mum does."
"Forget owling. Why don’t we just Apparate home? Dad should be there now, and Mum always makes too much food . . ."
"True! She might yell at us in person this time, but she’s never refused to feed anyone no matter how angry she was."
"All right, then. Dinner at The Burrow it is!"
May 30, 1996
"So ready for our first day, then?"
"I think we are, George. I’m just not satisfied with the front windows."
"Not bright enough?" George winked.
Fred laughed, "They’re bright enough. There’s just something . . .missing."
"Maybe Mum will have a suggestion. She should be here any minute."
"Good on you, asking Mum to be the first person to see the shop . . ."
Fred and George heard a slight 'pop', and Molly Weasley appeared in the store. They greeted her with warm hugs which she returned, and then she wandered around looking at everything.
"Your shop is lovely, boys." Fred and George beamed at her.
"We were wondering, Mum, if you had any suggestions for the front window. Something’s missing."
"Well, let’s go have a look."
They all went outside. Fred and George watched as Molly peered into both windows, then crossed the street and stared, then walked down the street in both directions to stare back at the shop, and finally peered into the windows again. "I have an idea, boys . . ."
"Yes?" Fred and George asked in unison, listening attentively.
Molly faced the shop front, gesturing to the windows, "I think all of your . . ." Molly waved her arms around . . . "joke things should be grouped together in one window. That will make a very exciting display, and then you can have a large banner, maybe 'Grand Opening' in the other window."
"Mum, you’re brilliant!" Fred and George simultaneously each kissed one of her cheeks.
"Now, then, you two come for supper, and you can fix your windows tomorrow and do any other last minute things you need to do to get ready for Saturday. And I want you to come for supper tomorrow, too, and spend the night at The Burrow, so I can make you a hearty breakfast. You’ll need all of your strength for your big day."
The shop door burped as Fred entered.
"Where have you been? I thought you were just going to run to that Muggle place for sandwiches!"
"Were you really busy?"
"Not more than I could handle, but I’m hungry!"
"All right, all right. Here’s your sandwich. Eat it while I show you what I found."
"Whhut?" George asked around a mouthful of food.
"Down the street from the sandwich shop, there’s a Magic Store. They sell all kinds of Muggle magic tricks and things. I thought we could copy them and sell some here."
July 1, 1996
The shop door sneezed as Angelina, Alicia, and Lee walked in. They waited until the customers had finished their purchases and left, then Angelina and Alicia went to hug Fred and George.
"Blimey, Mates! This place is brilliant!"
"You say that every time you come in, Lee." George affectionately punched Lee in the arm.
"Well, there’s always something different."
"Well, we wouldn’t be very good at business if we just did the same old thing all the time, now would we?" Fred winked.
"But you are doing the same thing all the time," Alicia protested. "You're both always working!"
"Have the two of you taken a day off since this place opened?" Angelina chimed in.
Fred and George looked at each other helplessly. They knew the answer and didn’t want to say it.
"We never see you unless we come here," Lee added. "I miss my best mates."
"Now don’t go laying guilt on us . . ." Fred started.
"We just want the shop to succeed," concluded George.
"Well, it looks to me like the shop is succeeding beyond all expectations." Angelina kissed George on the cheek. "You should be very proud of yourselves." She kissed Fred on the cheek, too.
"What about me? Don’t I get a kiss on the cheek, too?" Lee stuck his cheek in Angelina’s direction.
Angelina pushed him away, laughing. "Maybe when you get a job." Lee pouted.
"We want you both to come to my parent's house to have dinner and watch a movie—take a break for a bit."
"What's a movie?" Fred and George asked in unison.
"You two really should have taken Muggle Studies," scolded Alicia.
"We really don't have time for whatever a movie is right now . . ."
"The Hogwarts students are all out of school—we can't just close up shop."
"You have time to go buy new clothes, but you don't have time to watch a movie at Alicia's?"
"Owl order, our dear Lee . . ."
" . . .is a wonderful thing."
"How about when the shop closes tonight, we'll bring a take-away pizza here, and just all talk for awhile, and catch up."
George looked at Fred and smiled. "Brilliant as always, Angelina."
August 3, 1996
"So George, did Mum tell you when everyone would be here?"
"No, just that they'd be coming to Diagon Alley today to get their school things."
"I can't wait to show the shop to Harry." George gave Fred a confused look. "He's our main investor!"
George laughed. "He's our only investor. But yeah, it'll be good to show him the shop."
"And it will be Ron, Ginny and Hermione's first time here, too."
The shop door hiccuped, and Fred and George glanced to see Ron and Harry entering the shop followed by Hermione, Ginny, their Mum, and Hagrid. While everyone else began looking around, their Mum's eyes scanned the shop until she spotted them, and headed straight to them.
"I see you changed your window banner," Molly Weasley looked archly at her twin sons.
"Well, Mum, we couldn't keep the 'Grand Opening' sign forever . . ."
"Although it was a brilliant sign . . ."
"Of course, you couldn't keep 'Grand Opening' in your window forever. But mocking the Ministry!" Molly lowered her voice to a whisper, "And U-No-Poo?! What if Death Eaters come after you?"
"Because of our sign?" Fred asked.
"If Death Eaters have that much time on their hands, they really need to have a hobby." George added.
"I thought torturing people was their hobby?"
"Frederick Gideon Weasley! That is NOT funny at all!"
"Our new sign's funny, though." Molly Weasley glared at her son. "I'm sorry, Mum. Don’t worry about Death Eaters coming after us." Fred hugged his Mum. "There's Harry! I'm going to go give him a tour."
"Just look around the shop and enjoy yourself, Mum. We'll be fine."
September 8, 1996
"Close the shop!" Angelina ordered. "We've come to kidnap you and Fred."
"We're too busy to be kidnapped."
"You still haven't had a day off!" Alicia complained. "The only time any of us have seen you is when we come here, and then it's too incredibly busy to actually talk. We've had one meal together since leaving school. So, here's the plan. You are going to let Angelina and I Apparate you over to my parent's house, and we are going to have Muggle take-away, and watch a movie. We've decided it's time for the two of you to experience Muggle culture. No arguments. Finish with the customers you have and then close up shop, please."
"What about Lee?"
"Lee's working, but he'll be finished soon, and will meet us there." George nodded to Angelina's answer, and waited to ring up the few customers in the shop. He knew better than arguing with Angelina.
When the customers had left, George flipped the sign on the door to 'Closed', and yelled to the back of the shop, "Oi, Fred! Finish whatever you're doing back there or you'll be late for our kidnapping!"
After arriving at the home of Alicia's parents, she began an explanation, "We are going to watch a movie called 'Peter Pan', which is a cartoon. A cartoon differs from live action movies in that these are just moving pictures and not real people.
"You mean, like Wizarding photographs?"
"Sort of. But these move and talk and tell a story."
"Wow! How did the Muggles do that?!"
"They have a whole bunch of people who draw lots of poses for every movement a character makes . . ."
Angelina interrupted. "We'll never actually watch it if you go into the intricacies of how animation works, Alicia! Fred and George, remember when you two broke the protection charms on Oliver's Quidditch diagrams and changed all of his moving X's and O's into drawings of naked players?"
"How could we forget that! That was a brilliant prank!"
"I thought Oliver would kick us off the team, he was so mad!"
"How come you never told me about that!" Lee whined.
"Yes, great prank." Angelina rolled her eyes at Lee and chuckled. "Muggle cartoons are sort of like your drawings, but instead of having charms to make them move, there's Muggle technology which is too complicated to explain right now. Just watch the movie. You’ll like it."
"That was brilliant!"
"Peter Pan's my favorite cartoon, so I'm glad you both liked it," Alicia smiled.
"We thought we would start by introducing you to our favorite childhood movies," Angelina added.
"Anyone hungry?" There was a round of nods. "I ordered take-away from Mrs. Chen's earlier and put warming charms on it, so we’re ready to eat."
"It's the best Chinese restaurant ever." Alicia set out numerous cartons of food while she talked, and everyone began to serve themselves. "It's really small, and not well marked. You'd never find it if you didn’t know it was there. I went to Primary school with the Chen's son, Li, so we've known their family forever."
"Wow, this is delicious!" Fred nodded his agreement to George, as his mouth was too full to talk.
"They make the best Chinese food I've ever had, and they're reasonably priced, too."
"And Mrs. Chen always remembers everyone's name and what you usually order. She's great," Lee added.
"You've been there?" Fred asked.
"Yes, and so have I. Alicia has taken Lee and I a few times."
"And I took my family a couple of times after going there with Alicia."
"You'll have to tell us how to get there. We could use a good take-away place."
"We can't eat with Mum every night."
"What's this?” George asked, popping a small, u-shaped thing into his mouth.
Alicia, Lee, and Angelina chuckled, but Fred just looked confused, until George spit out a piece of paper.
"Who puts paper in their food?!" Everyone laughed.
"It's a fortune cookie. You're supposed to break it open, read your fortune, and then eat the cookie."
"I didn't know Muggles could do divination!" Fred exclaimed.
"The cookies aren't divination, the fortunes are all written out in advance and are just for fun."
"What's yours say?"
George read, "Today is a lucky day for those who remain cheerful and optimistic."
"We're always cheerful and optimistic. Here's mine." Fred broke open his cookie and read, "'Your past success will be overshadowed by your future success.' Brilliant! Weasley Wizard Wheezes can always be more successful."
"True. Can’t ever have too much success."
Lee read, "You will have a close encounter of a surprising kind." Lee waggled his eyebrows and laughed. "Now there's a good fortune."
George gave Lee a strange look. "I don't get it."
"Just ignore him, George," answered Angelina. "He already knows the Muggle joke of adding 'in bed' after each fortune."
Fred choked on his butterbeer. "'Your past success will be overshadowed by your future success' in bed. I would certainly hope so . . ."
George interrupted, "We don’t need to hear about it!"
"Lee started it!"
Alicia cleared her throat, "'Your lucky number for this week is the number three.' Humph. That's a boring one."
Angelina read, "You will have a close encounter of a surprising kind."
Lee exclaimed, "Now you have to kiss me! We got the same fortune!"
Angelina rolled her eyes and gave Lee a peck on the cheek. He pretended to swoon. "I'm still not going out with you."
Lee clutched his heart. "You wound me, Angelina!"
"Wait a minute . . . how do you make these things?"
"The fortune cookies? They bake them from a recipe, and type the fortunes on a computer. I’ve never tried making them before." Alicia shrugged.
"What are you thinking George?"
"What if we made a magical version of fortune cookies, that had some kind of divination spell on them that would tell the person’s actual fortune?"
"That's an interesting idea. We’ll have to do some research . . ."
"And get a recipe for fortune cookies . . ."
"I can owl you one," Alicia interrupted. "I'm sure I can find one on the internet."
"Don't ask unless you want to be here all night for the explanation. She'll send you the recipe."
After dinner, Fred and George Apparated back to their shop, stomachs full of good food and heads full of ideas.
"We can't do anything with the fortune cookie idea until we get the recipe from Alicia."
Fred nodded and thought for a moment. "I liked that Peter Pan and his friends didn't want to grow up. They have the right idea about that. Maybe we could turn that into a product . . .”
"Yes! Tired of being an adult? Peter Pan Pastries will make you young again . . ."
"Peter Pan Pastries! Brilliant George!" Fred removed a notebook from his pocket and began writing quickly.
"We could make the Peter Pan pastries in different strengths to allow customers to choose how much younger they want to be."
"Good idea. We'll just have to test them on each other one at a time. We don't want to both turn back into babies."
George laughed. "So we've got the Peter Pan Pastries to work on. What else?"
"I still think we should do something with that pixie dust stuff. Flying without a broom would be fun, especially for kids."
"True, but no bloke is going to buy something called 'pixie dust', especially not if we put that Titterbell character on it."
"Tinkerbell. We can call it something else, I just like the concept." Fred shuffled through their owl post, deep in thought. "Did you see Ginny’s letter?"
"Not yet. It's in the flat, isn't it?"
"Yes. She sent a drawing with it. That Thomas bloke she's been going out with has been teaching her to draw."
"She any good?"
"Yes. I'll go get the drawing." Fred vanished with a pop, and returned a moment later. "Look at this."
"Wow. That's a beautiful phoenix—very elegant with all those swirls and curlicues, completely brilliant. And it has this really sexy look on it's face, too."
"Should I be worried you think a bird looks sexy?" Fred winked.
"Ha. Ha. We could call our product Phoenix Pheathers and use Ginny's drawing on the packaging."
"That could work . . ."
September 16, 1996
"Wow, George. That much food will last us for days."
"That's the idea. Lee was right. Mrs. Chen is really nice—sort of like Mum, she wants to feed everybody. She wouldn't give me the recipe for fortune cookies, though. She said it was a 'secret family recipe.'"
"No worries. The owl from Alicia came while you were getting the food. Let's see the fortune cookies first."
"Now is the best time for you to be spontaneous. Serendipity!" George read. "We're always spontaneous. In bed and out." George winked.
Fred snorted. "'Your personality is fueled by the fascination you feel for life.' Well, that's pretty obvious. If we can't find a divination spell that will work, we need to at least invent some better fortunes."
After eating, Fred and George looked at the recipe from Alicia.
fortune sayings, cut up and ready to insert.
3 egg whites
½ cup icing sugar - sifted
45g sweet unsalted butter - melted
½ cup plain flour
Pre-heat Oven to moderate 180oC.
Draw three 8 cm circles on a sheet of baking paper.
Line oven tray with the baking paper.
Place egg whites in a medium bowl and beat until just frothy.
Add the icing sugar and butter. Stir until smooth.
Next add the flour and continue to stir until smooth.
Allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Then using a flat-bladed knife, spread 1½ level teaspoons of mixture in each circle.
Bake for 5 minutes or until slightly colored around edges.
Take from oven and work quickly.
Remove one cookie at a time from the tray by sliding the flat-bladed knife under gently.
Place the written fortune on top and fold in half. And then in half again over a blunt-edged object - like a mixing bowl.
Allow to cool and then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.
"This looks pretty difficult, Fred."
"It does at that. Not like making a potion, but we can do it. It just might take a few attempts."
"This is an absolute mess."
"Yes, it is."
"How many times did we try?"
"I lost count, but we're out of flour."
"Maybe Mum would help us?"
"Or at least teach us how to bake."
"Why don't we concentrate on our other new ideas, get those working, and then plan some time for Mum to teach us?"
October 16, 1996
A Hogwarts' owl flew in the window of the twins' flat, landed next to George, and held out its leg. George removed the letter and sacrificed a piece of bacon in thanks. The grateful owl ate the bacon and flew out.
"Letter from Ginny, Fred!" George started reading.
Fred yelled from the loo, "What's it say?"
"Bloody hell! Fred, Katie Bell's been cursed, and she's in St. Mungo's!"
"No!" Fred ran out to take the letter from George and scanned it quickly. "We'll close up shop early and go see her."
"I'll owl Mum. We won't be making it to our cooking lesson tonight."
November 3, 1996
Fred and George Apparated to Alicia's home.
"Fred! George!" Alicia hugged them.
"We really need to make a movie and dinner night at least once a month." Angelina hugged them, too.
"We couldn't take time off in October! It's the Halloween rush."
"We won't be able to take time off in December either with the Christmas rush and students home for the holidays."
"Well, maybe you can pencil in your mates for January, then?" Lee asked.
"Don't give them a hard time, Lee. Let's go watch the movie."
"So what did you think?" Angelina asked. "'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' is my childhood favorite."
"My grandmother loves it, so I watched it growing up, too."
George answered, "Is that what Muggles really think of witches? That you take some barmy correspondence course and can be one? And what's with not being able to transfigure that bloke into a toad? She can only manage rabbits. Blimey! Toads are a lot easier than rabbits. And she's not using a wand! And they call that a broomstick? There's no way that thing would get off the ground. The twigs weren't shaped properly . . .”
"I liked it," Fred interrupted. "The music is really catchy . . ."
"Now wait a minute! I didn't say I didn't like it! I'm just confused at what Muggles think about witches, and they didn't even mention wizards . . .”
Fred broke out into song, "Bobbing along, bobbing along, along the bottom of the beautiful briny sea. What a chance to get a better peep, at the plants and creatures of the deep. . . .
"That bit was good where they mixed the cartoons with the real people! Do a lot of Muggle movies do that?"
"Some, do . . ."
Fred interrupted with singing again, "Each glance, bubbles over with romance! It's lovely!"
"Would you stop singing!" Lee shrieked. "Blimey! You really ought not sing, mate. I couldn't believe that time Dumbledore was conducting while the two of you sang the Hogwarts song to a funeral dirge. I thought my ears would fall off!"
January 5, 1997
"Ron, Harry, Ginny, and Hermione get off for Hogwarts all right?" asked Lee.
"The first three, yes . . ." Fred answered.
"We don't know about Hermione, though," George commented.
"I thought she usually spent the holidays with your family?" Angelina looked surprised.
"She usually does, but Ron has really stuffed things up . . ."
"I don’t know if he can even fix it this time."
Alicia chuckled. "I remember that row Ron and Hermione had after the Yule Ball."
"So, what did Ron do this time?"
"Why are you assuming it's all Ron's fault?" Angelina and Alicia looked incredulously at Lee.
Fred replied, "Oh, it's definitely all Ron's fault this time . . ."
"According to Ginny, Hermione asked him to a party, and then suddenly he was snogging Lavender Brown."
"Our ickle brother is even thicker than we previously thought."
"Sounds like you had an interesting holiday."
"Not to mention Percy the Prat bringing Scrimgeour by on Christmas Day to try to get Harry to be the Ministry's poster boy."
"It's OK, though. George, Ginny, and I threw mashed parsnips at him."
Angelina punched Fred in the arm, and he gasped. "How could you throw mashed parsnips at the Minister of Magic! Your dad will lose his job!"
"We threw mashed parsnips at Percy! Percy. Not the Minister."
"Oh, well, that's all right, then."
"Bloody hell, Angelina, you could have broken my arm."
Lee spoke up before a row could start. "So, how are the Peter Pan Pastries selling?"
Fred and George looked at each other. "Well . . ."
"They are reaching a different demographic than we had anticipated."
"What do you mean?"
"Elderly witches are the ones buying them . . ."
"A few elderly wizards, but Fred's right, mostly elderly witches."
"Why . . ." Lee began. "Oh! I don't want to know."
"Neither do we, but they tell us anyway," Fred stated.
"Well, we have another movie we think you’ll really like." Alicia changed the subject. "This one is Katie's favorite. It's also more recent than the others."
"How is Katie? We've been visiting every week, but there's never any change.
"We don't know any more than you do."
"Well, at least next time we visit, we can tell her we watched her favorite movie."
"Do Muggles have some type of fascination with singing sea creatures?" George asked.
"Hey! I liked that little crab! And Ron could have used his help before he started going out with Lavender." Fred began to sing again, "'Sha na na na na na my oh my . . .'"
"Not again!" Lee moaned.
"Looks like the boy too shy . . ."
"Silencio!" Lee silenced Fred. Everyone laughed as Fred's mouth moved and no sound came out. Fred huffed angrily at Lee.
"I'll lift the spell if you promise to quit singing. You can't carry a tune in a basket, mate." Lee waited until Fred nodded, then waved his wand.
"I’ll just go sing for Katie, since she likes that movie."
"Good idea! Maybe she'll come out of her coma to tell you to shut it!" Lee said.
George asked, "Next time, can we watch a movie that's not for children and doesn't have songs?"
February 5, 1997
The bell on the door chimed merrily as Fred and George entered the shop.
"Hi Fred and George!" How are you doing?"
"We're doing well, Mrs. Chen. How are you today?"
"Very well, thank you! You want the usual?"
"That would be lovely. Thank you." Mrs. Chen handed them their fortune cookies, and Fred and George went to their regular table.
"OK. What'd we get?" Fred broke open his cookie. 'A great honor will be bestowed upon you with the coming year.' All right. What's yours?"
"'Good things are in store for you.' At least they're positive."
Fred laughed suddenly.
"Try the thing of adding 'in bed' to the end."
George laughed, too. "I'm glad we decided to eat here rather than getting take-away. Maybe we'll absorb some ambiance to help us actually make fortune cookies."
"At least we're learning to bake. That should help, right?"
"We've only managed scones without Mum standing over us."
"Well, we at least know how to separate eggs and have learned the spell for sifting flour. Those are steps in the right direction. And besides, being able to cook will make us even more irresistible to women." Fred waggled his eyebrows.
George rolled his eyes and snorted. "Like we have time for women."
Fred looked at George shrewdly. "Is there a particular woman you want time for?"
George mumbled, "What?! No . . .umm . . .you know . . .just, in general," but he knew he was blushing, which was a dead giveaway.
"I need a drink," Fred sighed.
"Me, too. Don't we still have a bottle of Ogden's somewhere?" George began to rummage through their kitchen cupboards. "Here we go." George poured a generous glass for each of them.
"Merlin! We forgot to owl Alicia and tell her we couldn't make movie night!"
"I sent Angelina a patronus."
"Angelina, huh?" Fred clinked his glass against George's.
"Shut it, Fred. She sent one back saying she hoped Ron would be OK."
"Me, too. We love to take the mickey out of him, but he's our baby brother, yeah?"
"Yeah. I've never seen Mum and Dad look that awful, either. It would kill them to lose one of us." George refilled their glasses.
"We'll just have to do whatever we can to help Harry bring down old U-No-Poo. We'll all get through it."
"I certainly hope so."
April 20, 1997
"We have a couple of surprises for you," Alicia beamed at Fred and George.
"We're having a movie marathon—watching several movies in a row. Sometimes movies have sequels, additional movies, which continue the story. There are three in this series. 'Star Wars', 'The Empire Strikes Back', and 'Return of the Jedi.'"
"They're brilliant," Lee added.
"Classics," said Angelina. She and Lee were grinning from ear to ear, standing shoulder to shoulder in the doorway. George wondered what was going on between the two of them. "And for your second surprise . . ."
"Bah dah dah!" Lee trumpeted. He and Angelina stepped apart to reveal what they were hiding behind them.
"Katie!" Fred and George yelled in unison as they rushed to hug her.
Katie laughed. "I'm so glad Mum and Dad let me come over before I have to go back to Hogwarts on Tuesday."
"Why not tomorrow?"
"Professor McGonagall told me to take an extra day to rest. I won't have classes until next week anyway. The professors are all meeting with me privately to help me finish catching up. Plus it will give me a day to rest up after all of our fun tonight." Everyone laughed.
"Those movies were brilliant!" enthused Fred. "If he were a wizard, that Lando Calrissian bloke would definitely be a Slytherin."
"True! I think Darth Vader is the Muggle version of You-Know-Who, and all those guys in white are like the Death Eaters," George pointed out.
"They're called 'storm troopers,'" Lee supplied. "And you do know that the characters in the movies aren't real, right? They are real people but they are pretending to be someone for the movie."
Fred and George both looked confused, so Alicia said, "It's like a book of fiction that you watch instead of read."
Fred and George nodded.
Angelina said, "I've seen all of these movies before, but something struck me this time. Who do Han, Luke, and Leia remind you of?"
George answered, "Two blokes and their female best mate who need to save the world? Hmmm . . . no idea who that could be." Angelina bumped his shoulder with hers while everyone laughed good-naturedly.
Fred exclaimed, "I just got another idea for the shop! Chewbacca Chews for our Skiving Snack Boxes—when you eat one it makes you hairy!"
June 25, 1997
"We should have been checking our D.A. coins! Maybe we could have helped!"
"Dumbledore is dead and buried, Bill is disfigured and lucky to be alive, Harry broke our baby sister's heart, probably to go off on some half-cocked mission to bring down You-Know-Who where he will most likely drag our baby brother with him, and all you can say is 'we should have been checking our D.A. coins!?"
"What do you want me to say?! We're in the Order, and we weren't there to help!"
"What could we have done, Fred? Dumbledore was betrayed . . ." George broke off in a choked sob.
"I know," Fred whispered. "Are we opening the shop tomorrow?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Because if we're not, then we're polishing off the new bottle of Ogden's."
Fred hiccupped. "Way to put the moves on a crying girl."
"That was Ron. Learn to tell your siblings apart. I didn't think you were already drunk at the funeral."
"That was you AND Ron. Ron was cuddling with Hermione, but don't think I didn't see you with Angelina." Fred winked at George.
George blushed. "I was just comforting a close friend." George finished his glass of Firewhisky and refilled it. "A funeral would not be the place to put moves on a girl."
"Tell that to Ron."
"Oh! I've got one!"
"What? I'll write it down." George slurred his words and wobbled a bit as he picked up a nearby quill and parchment.
"About time I got out of that cookie."
"Brilliant, Fred! How about 'Don't kiss a hippogriff on the lips today.'"
"Hippogriffs don't have lips—they have beaks."
"That doesn't make any sense, though."
"Well, the original fortune I got out of the cookie was, 'Don't kiss an elephant on the lips today.' I thought 'hippogriff' worked better."
"I don't think either of them work at all."
"Well, you come up with another one, then."
"Life is not a struggle. It’s a wiggle."
"What in the name of Merlin does that mean?"
Fred started to giggle uncontrollably.
Fred groaned as the light hit his eyes. "Where's the . . .?"
"Hangover potion. Here you go." Fred waved to George in thanks.
George rescued a piece of parchment from the floor. "Do you remember what we were planning last night? I can't read my handwriting."
"I have no idea."
July 27, 1997
George couldn't sleep. It was either very late at night or very early in the morning, he wasn't sure. He listened to Fred's breathing and wondered if they were really twins anymore. Since the bloody Death Eater had cut off his ear, everyone could tell them apart now. George knew he should feel fortunate to be alive, but all he could think about was how it would change everything since he was no longer identical to Fred. They had used their identical appearance for so many pranks over the years and now . . .
"George? Are you awake?"
"I'm glad you're OK. You could have died."
"I know. We need to make wills, you know, to be prepared, just in case." George was thankful for the darkness. They couldn't have this conversation in daylight.
"Lee's dad has a friend who's a barrister. I'll owl him tomorrow."
George nodded, even though he knew Fred couldn't see him. "Fred, if I had died tonight, you would have kept the shop going, wouldn't you?"
"I'd never thought about it, but yeah. If something happened to one of us, what better way to honor the memory of the other than to keep the shop going?"
"That's true. Promise me that if I die, you'll keep the shop open, keep on living your life, and keep making people laugh."
"Only if you promise me the same thing."
"Deal." They were both quiet for a bit until George wondered if Fred had fallen asleep.
"George, I was thinking. Would you like for me to disillusion my ear so we'll still be identical?"
August 1, 1997
"George, where is Fred? No one has seen him since the Death Eaters broke up the wedding."
George looked into the pale, drawn face of his dad, and knew he wasn't going to risk making him worry more by covering for his twin. "Er . . . he took Fleur's cousin Jaqueline back to our flat."
Arthur Weasley looked rather surprised, but relieved. "Well . . . thank Merlin he's safe. And I'll let the Delacours know their niece is safe, too."
August 4, 1997
"This better be good." George broke open his fortune cookie. "You should be able to make money and hold on to it." George snorted. "What's yours say?"
"'The skills you have gathered will one day come in handy.' After the events of this week, I hope that's referring to what Harry taught us in the D.A."
"I was thinking it could refer to something else." George winked at Fred.
"You and Jaqueline . . ."
Fred looked confused. "What are you . . .Oh! You think we . . ." Fred blushed, while George looked on in amusement. "We talked all night. Jaqueline is brilliant, sort of the Hermione of Beauxbatons. And she's really sweet . . ."
"Not to mention part-Veela and really beautiful," George teased. "You just talked?"
"Well, no. But we didn't do what you're thinking!" Fred rolled his eyes. "Jaqueline loves the shop. She's even willing to help with production. I told her about the fortune cookies we want to make, and she's going to see if she can work it out. Maybe after the war, I could open a Weasley Wizard Wheezes branch somewhere in France."
"Well, unless Jaqueline wants to move here."
"You just met this girl, Fred."
"And we're going to owl and get to know each other better, and maybe when the war is over, one of us can move so we can actually go out, or at least visit."
"Poor Bill and Fleur. What a way to end a wedding."
"At least no one was hurt. What happened with you and Ameline?"
"Jaqueline's sister is Aimee. Blimey, you can't even remember the name of your potential girlfriend's sister."
"I've had a few other things on my mind. So?"
"As Aimee is only sixteen, we really just talked, and I showed her around. Until Death Eaters invaded, and I delivered her back to her panicked parents who were yelling at me in French before they grabbed her and Disapparated."
"Sixteen or not, you fancy someone else anyway." It was George's turn to blush. "You really should tell her."
"There's just the slight problem that you used to fancy each other, or has Jaqueline just pushed that fact completely out of your mind?"
"What are you talking about? Angelina and I never really fancied each other. Maybe when we were thirteen, but that doesn't even count."
"She was your first kiss, and you took her to the Yule Ball . . ."
"Kissing Angelina during that barmy Muggle game Alicia made us play doesn't count. And we went to the Yule Ball as friends. Who did you take to the Yule Ball?"
"You know I went with Katie."
"And do you fancy Katie?"
"No, we're just friends."
"Well, there you go. Take an example from Bill and Fleur, and, war or not, ask Angelina out."
August 8, 1997
George was alone in the shop when he heard the door snort, and saw Angelina enter. He promptly dropped the ledger in which he was writing, and dove behind the counter to pick it up. He stayed behind the counter to collect his thoughts.
"George? Are you all right?" Angelina peered over the counter.
"Er. Yeah. Fine." George stood up without the ledger, willing himself not to blush.
Angelina looked at him strangely. "Your ledger is still on the floor."
"Right." George didn't move. Damn the Weasley blush!
"Are you sure you're okay?" George nodded. He thought he might vomit if he opened his mouth.
"Well, apparently something's wrong and you don't want to tell me, so I'll just go then." Angelina turned to leave.
"No! Wait!" George lunged across the counter and managed to grab Angelina's wrist before she was too far away. She gave him a very irritated look.
"Hang on." George let go of Angelina and walked around the counter to stand between her and the door. He ran his hand through his hair.
"Well, Fred and I were talking the other day, and well." George gave a breathy laugh. "That's not important." Angelina crossed her arms over her chest and glared at George. "The thing is . . .Well, I mean . . . Merlin! This shouldn't be this hard!" George ran his hand through his hair again, took a deep breath, and looked Angelina in the eye. "Angelina, I fancy you like mad. I have for a long time. Will you go out with me?"
Angelina stared at George with her mouth gaping, uncrossed her arms, and said, "It's about bloody time!" She threw her arms around George's neck and kissed him.
September 2, 1997
George was helping the last customer of the day, when the shop door coughed, and Lee and Angelina came in with take-away boxes from Mrs. Chen's. He escorted the last customer out and locked the door.
"Alicia will be meeting us here shortly." Angelina announced, quickly kissing George.
"It's awful she's leaving," Lee said.
"At least she'll be safe in Switzerland. It terrified me to see her name on the list of Muggleborns wanted for questioning." George replied.
"Hermione's on the list, too."
"I know, but she's off somewhere with Harry and Ron, saving the world. Those three always manage to get out of scrapes."
"Don't let him fool you," Fred interrupted as he emerged from the back. "He's actually very worried about ickle Ronnikins and his friends."
"'Course I am. I'm worried about Ginny, too, at Hogwarts with Dumbledore's murderer as Headmaster."
Alicia Apparated in with a pop. Everyone exclaimed and hugged her.
Alicia wiped her hands on her napkin, "I am really going to miss eating Mrs. Chen's with all of you."
"Don't worry—Harry will kick old U-No-Poo's arse, and you can come back soon," Fred stated with conviction.
Alicia smiled. "Here's my sister and brother-in-law's address in Switzerland, so you can write, if you want. And I'll be keeping my D.A. coin available if you want to do short messages."
"In other words," Angelina observed, "she's begging for everyone to write to her so she won't be horribly lonely in a different country."
"Of course we'll write," Lee said as he hugged Alicia.
"Group hug!" Fred yelled, and they all tried to squash Alicia until all of them were laughing.
"I really have to go. I'm not saying good-bye, because I will see all of you later!" And she Disapparated.
"Fred and I need to get going, too," Lee said.
"Yes! The first airing of Potterwatch is tonight, and you said you'd be there for moral support. I'd really like for all of you to come, but I'm not sure it'd be safe to have too many people, so you can take turns. Only Kingsley and I will be speaking this time, but I expect the rest of you to be listening."
"Will do!" George said, and Lee and Fred vanished, leaving George and Angelina alone.
Angelina fell into George's arms. "I'm going to miss Alicia so much!"
"Of course you will. She's your best friend, but she's going to be all right. Everything will be all right." Angelina nodded against George's chest, then looked up at him. George kissed her, determined to make both of them forget all about the war and absent friends.
December 26, 1997
"I miss Angelina."
"You'll see her in a couple of weeks! She just went to visit her mum. I miss Jaqueline." George nodded. "I even miss Ron."
George laughed. "Me, too. I don't think we miss him as much as Ginny does, though."
"Probably not." Fred thought for a minute. "I can't believe Bill and Fleur bailed on Christmas with Mum and Dad."
George shrugged. "They're newlyweds."
"They can't take one day away from shagging like rabbits to spend Christmas with Mum and Dad? Especially with Ron missing and Charlie in Romania. It would have made Mum happy to have Bill and Fleur there."
George shrugged again. "Yeah, it was definitely the saddest Christmas ever. Even Ginny couldn't fake being happy."
"What'd you get Angelina for Christmas?"
"I bought her a Holyhead Harpies T-shirt and applied our shield charms to it. She really liked it. What'd you get Jaqueline?"
"I made her a shield scarf that’s lilac with little hummingbirds on it—her favorite color and favorite animal, and it will protect her. She likes scarves."
"You know, our shield products are selling so well, we should come up with a program that people can pay us to enchant their favorite pieces of clothing. Not everyone likes scarves or hats, or wants to buy a new cloak which is a bit pricey."
"That's brilliant! We'll have to think on how to do that . . ."
"Didn't Lee say he was doing Potterwatch tonight?"
"No, I think that's next week. Isn't it your turn to help?"
April 20, 1998
"That's brilliant about Lupin and Tonks' baby! I've never seen him look so happy."
"Yeah. I wish we could do something for them, but Teddy's probably a little young for our products."
"I'd say we could bake them something if Auntie Muriel hadn't banned us from her kitchen . . ."
"We only caused one tiny explosion with the fortune cookies . . ."
"At least we have the owl order business so we won't go crazy . . ."
"Couldn't we slip out for one minute? What if we Apparated to the alley next to Mrs. Chen's? It's a Muggle area, Death Eaters wouldn't be watching, would they?"
"We could get Chinese take-away for Lupin and Tonks!"
"It'd be great to get out of here either way."
"Too bad Ginny can't come with us. She's even more stir crazy than we are with Mum hovering and making her do lessons all the time."
"She has the Trace on her still. We can't bring her along, but maybe I could pop in to say hello to Angelina?"
"George!" Fred whined. "We have to stay safe."
George laughed. "That's something I never thought I'd hear you say. What about . . ."
"When we did the portkeys for the New Year, the Death Eaters weren't explicitly on the lookout for us. Now that they are . . ."
"Fine. Chinese it is, then. If we go now, we can be back before Lupin stops by again. Let's get enough for everyone, then maybe they won't be too mad that we snuck out."
May 1, 1998
"Secret passageways!" Fred enthused.
George whispered, "I don't think we should split up."
"We have to. We’re the only ones who know where the secret passageways are located. We can't cover all of them if we stay together. It’s going to be OK. Harry’s going to kick U-No-Poo’s arse, and this whole mess will be over really soon."
"I just have a bad feeling about this."
"Don't worry. It's going to be OK." Fred clapped George on the shoulder, but George grabbed him and pulled him into a firm embrace.
"Be careful." George hugged Fred more tightly. "I love you, mate."
"George, did you turn into a girl and forget to tell me?" A laughing George released Fred and punched him in the arm. Fred pulled him back into a hug. "Love you, too. I'll see you soon, yeah?"
June 6, 1998
George could not believe he had been without his twin for over a month. He hadn't had time to think. Voldemort's defeat, the celebrations, the funerals, all ran together in his head. And his family never left him alone. Ron moved into the flat, and Harry and Ginny were at The Burrow, so wherever he went, someone was watching him. He felt only slightly guilty about Apparating out of the loo at the shop, leaving his entire family there working to get ready for the reopening. And now he was wandering in Muggle London trying to gather his thoughts.
George hadn't been to Mrs. Chen's since he and Fred escaped from Auntie Muriel's, but that's where his feet were going. Maybe if he returned with lunch he would be forgiven for sneaking out. It'd worked the last time . . .
George Apparated into his flat, and then walked downstairs to the shop. As soon as he opened the door he heard yelling
"George Fabian Weasley! You had us all worried sick!"
"I went to get lunch," George replied meekly.
"Young man, it does not take two hours to buy lunch. Don't look so surprised. I thought you might be sick and sent Bill to check on you, and you were gone."
"I'm sorry, Mum. I just needed a few minutes alone." George put the food down and hugged his mother. "I didn't mean to worry you." Molly hugged her son tightly.
"Good. He's back, he's safe, I'm starving, let's eat!"
"Ronald!" Mrs. Weasley rolled her eyes while everyone laughed.
George hadn't been in a very talkative mood since Fred died, but he did at least introduce his family to fortune cookies. Since his Mum and Dad were there, he omitted the bit about adding 'in bed'. As he listened to his friends and family reading their fortunes, every single one of them reminded him of Fred, and the promise he had made.
"The first step to better times is to imagine them."
"You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course."
"The one you love is closer than you think."
"Count your blessings by thinking of those whom you love."
"Face facts with dignity."
"You must always have old memories and young hopes."
"The hard times will begin to fade, joy will take their place."
"Little and often makes much."
"If you continually give, you will continually have."
"You were born with the skill to communicate with people easily."
"When you speak honestly and openly, others truly listen to you."
"It is much wiser to take advice than to give it."
He had promised Fred that if anything happened he would keep the shop going, keep living, and keep making people laugh. He wasn't in a laughing mood and he would always miss Fred, but with his family and friends surrounding him and supporting him, he knew he would keep his promise.
July 2, 1998
"So George, what does your fortune say?" Angelina asked.
"You will continue to bring in bags of Galleons," George read.
"It does not say that!"
"No. It says gold. I substituted Galleons."
"Let me see it!" Angelina grabbed the fortune from George's hand, and huffed.
"See, I was telling the truth." George smirked, as Angelina rolled her eyes.
"Have you managed to make fortune cookies yet?"
"I haven't tried since The Battle. I talked to Jaqueline at the funeral, though, and she did find a spell that might work for the magical fortune cookies, so I've been practicing with the spell. So I've made some progress, assuming I ever manage to bake decent cookies."
"You will. I have faith in you."
"Why don't you open your cookie?" George smiled.
Angelina removed the plastic wrapper and broke open her fortune cookie, shrieking when a diamond ring fell out. She then just stared at the piece of paper in her hand.
"Well, what's it say?" George smirked.
Slowly, Angelina read, "I love you, Angelina. Will you marry me? –George"
Angelina looked up at George and screamed, "Yes!" George began to laugh as Angelina knocked her chair over and launched herself at him to kiss him.
Mrs. Chen had witnessed the entire scene and yelled, "Congratulations! I'm so excited! No one's ever gotten engaged in my restaurant before!" She hugged both of them while the other customers applauded. "But George, how did you get the ring inside one of my fortune cookies?"
George winked and answered, "It's a family secret."
August 2, 1998
The Weasley family had a lot to celebrate, George thought. Bill and Fleur had been married for a year, he had reopened the shop with help from his family, and he and Angelina were engaged. He decided to bring everyone to Mrs. Chen's to celebrate and to thank his siblings for all their help. His parents had decided not to come, and George did not want to think too much about how they were celebrating on their own.
"So Harry, how about if The-Man-Who-Defeated-Voldemort starts off the fortune reading."
Harry read, "You have unusual equipment for success—use it properly."
George and Angelina snorted, and Harry blushed.
Percy asked, "What’s going on?" When Angelina explained about adding 'in bed' after a fortune, everyone roared with laughter.
George said, "Just don't use your equipment with our sister." Ginny made a rude hand gesture at George. The laughter increased until Hermione decided to save Harry.
Hermione read loudly, "A thrilling time is in your immediate future."
Before anyone could make lewd comments Ron quickly read, "Do not hesitate to ask for help—an extra hand should always be welcomed."
"True, especially when you're single," Charlie said.
"Charlie!" Hermione scolded.
"Fine, MUM. Here's mine. 'The days you work are the best days.' As long as the dragons aren't nesting, at least."
Bill read, "'You are admired for your impeccable tastes.' Especially in wives."
Fleur kissed Bill, while several of his younger siblings ahhed. "'Be direct, usually one can accomplish more that way.' I 'ave always zought zat is best."
Angelina read, "Many a false step is made by standing still."
George followed with, "Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own."
Bill eyed George warily and said, "You better not be having children right now or Mum will have kittens."
Percy read over the laughter, "Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded."
"We'll see", Audrey said, winking at Percy to his embarrassment and everyone else's delight. She read, "You have a variety of talents."
George piped up, "And we don't want to hear about them over lunch!" They had become so loud, Mrs. Chen overheard and laughed with them.
Ginny opened her cookie and stared at her fortune for so long that George said, "Ginny, it can’t be that embarrassing after some of the other ones we’ve just heard. What's it say?"
Ginny read, "I love you, Ginny. Will you marry me? Harry." Ginny turned to Harry and said "Yes!" and kissed him. Everyone there cheered except for Ron, who looked grumpy.
George announced, "I taught him the spell!"
Ron, who was glaring at Harry, yelled, "You promised me I could ask first!"
The table fell into absolute silence, and Ron's ears turned red. He muttered, "Oh bugger." He turned to Hermione, grasped her hand, and said, "Leave with me?" She nodded, and he Apparated them away.
Everyone congratulated Harry and Ginny on their engagement.
Bill commented, "I think there will be a third engaged Weasley very soon." Then he looked pointedly at Percy and said, "Maybe even a fourth." Percy and Audrey both blushed, as Bill winked at them.
Angelina whispered to George, "Why did Harry propose the same way you did?"
"He saw me practicing the spell and asked me to teach it to him. I knew he was going to propose soon, but I didn't know he would propose like that. What can I say? Great minds think alike."
August 31, 2017
"I get to go first," Roxanne stated.
"Why?" Fred whined.
"Because I'm the oldest."
"Actually, I'm the oldest," said Angelina.
"You only get better with age, love." George kissed his wife.
Roxanne sighed happily, and Fred loudly yelled, "Yuck!"
"Read your fortune, Roxie." George told her.
Roxanne broke open her fortune cookie, which made a trumpeting noise. Red writing appeared in the air, and her father's voice, seemingly coming from the writing itself, proclaimed, "Roxanne Weasley. You will grow up to be a nun, live in a convent, and never look at boys."
"Daddy!" Roxanne put her hands on her hips and glared at her father, while Fred laughed.
Angelina rolled her eyes and chuckled. "Really, George."
"My turn!" Fred insisted, as his sister sat back down with a huff. He broke open his cookie. A badger and a snake emerged. While the snake coiled itself and hissed at Fred, the badger sang, "Let me see. What will it be? Hufflepuff yellow or Slytherin green?"
"Uh uh!" Fred shouted. "I'm going to be in Gryffindor!"
"Can't I even tease my own children?"
"Apparently not." Angelina giggled.
Roxanne stood up and declared regally, "I'm going to go get my clothes ready for tomorrow. I must look my best for all the boys, you know." She hugged both of her parents, and headed to her room.
"I'm going to go repack my trunk again!" Fred bounded after his sister.
George sighed. "Bill and Percy are right. Having a teenage daughter is going to kill me."
Angelina laughed. "Just think, love. After tomorrow we will be alone together for the first time in fourteen years."