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A/N – I’m floored really from all the wonderful reviews I’ve gotten. Thank you so very much! I hope this chapter is to your liking as well! Please continue to read and review! Thank you so very much!

 

Chapter 3:

Welcome Home

 

Hermione stepped into the small shop that belonged to Fred and George. It seemed rather crowded at one corner where several teenagers were trying to view a new invention. Fred and George led the way up to the counter where their friend Lee Gordon was stationed.

 

“Hey there,” Lee greeted.

 

“How’s business?” Fred asked.

 

“Wonderful as always,” Lee replied, “the new trickster chair leg is quite popular already.”

 

“Splendid,” the twins replied together.

 

“Hello, Hermione,” Lee looked at her curiously.

 

“Lee, Hermione will be staying with us from now on,” one of them explained.

 

“You’re joking,” Lee obviously didn’t believe them.

 

“Why is it no one thinks we’re capable of being responsible?” George asked.

 

Fred laughed, “No matter. We’ll prove them all wrong, won’t we? Hermione will turn out right.”

 

Hermione smiled and was about to say something when there was an explosion that sounded from what seemed like the floor above them.

 

“Brilliant!” Fred announced, “The timed crackershots are working!”

 

“The what?” Hermione asked as she followed Fred and George up some stairs at the back of the shop.

 

The place above Fred and George’s shop was fantastic. The stairs had led into a nice cozy living room. The boys were heading towards another set of stairs.

 

“Just how many floors are there?” Hermione asked as she followed them.

 

“Just a few,” George answered, who was trailing behind Fred, “For guests and such.”

 

The Weasley twins were living in style apparently. Hermione glanced at the room the second stairway had led them to. It looked as if it was a second living room, however not used as often.

 

The twins were going into a room where the explosions seemed to be coming from. Hermione stayed in the living area, not really sure she wanted to know what contraption they had created now.

 

She took a seat on an old, but surprisingly comfortable, loveseat. It reminded her of the one at her parent’s house. Her heart hurt. She wanted to cry again. She kicked off her shoes and curled up on the loveseat. The fireplace infront of her suddenly lit up with a flame. She felt herself doze off as she fought to keep her tears from coming again.

 

A while later, Hermione woke up with a start. A handmade quilt was covering her and the fire was still going. Other than the flames of the fire, everything was dark. Hermione wrapped the blanket around her as she sat up with legs tucked up to her chest.

 

Someone entered the room. Hermione turned her head to see who she expected as Fred. He seemed a bit more absentminded than his brother most of the time. Hermione was starting to pick up these little tidbits about them to tell them apart.

 

“Alright, Hermione?” he asked.

 

“I’ve been better,” Hermione tried to smile.

 

“Oh, well,” Fred didn’t seem to know what to say.

 

“I’ll just go tell George you’re awake then,” he said as he turned around and went back down the stairs.

 

It wasn’t long for George to come up. He was alone though.

 

“Good to see you back in the world of the dreamless,” George grinned as he took a seat next to Hermione.

 

She didn’t answer, but just nodded. They both looked at the fire for a moment in silence.

 

“Can I get you anything?” he asked.

 

Hermione wanted to shout out “my parents! A family! A home!” but resisted the urge. The twins had so far been so kind to her. She should be thankful.

 

“I’m fine, thanks,” she replied which sent them into another moment of silence.

 

“Your room is ready for you, whenever you feel up to it,” George commented.

 

“Thank you,” she whispered, “you’ve been so generous.”

 

“Don’t worry about,” George smiled, “You deserve to be happy. I just hope we’re able to give you that.”

 

“George,” Hermione felt brave enough to ask, “what duties exactly do you have as my provider and caretaker? I’m of age, after all.”

 

“True. But you’re not married. You don’t have your own place. And you don’t have a job. Until you have all of these, I’m afraid the Ministry sees you as a dependent, needing someone to take care of you. So basically, Fred and I get to oversee your life,” George laughed.

 

“Oh great, I feel loads better about my future now,” Hermione laughed along.

 

“You should,” George continued to smile, “or I’ll ground you.”

 

This set them off into a fit of giggles.

 

Catching her breath, Hermione murmured, “You’re great, George. Thank you.”

 

“Anytime,” George answered. And for a brief moment there was silence again, but this time the air seemed tense with unsaid words and emotions as they looked at each other.

 

“Let me show you to your room,” George said at last. He grabbed her hand and helped her off the loveseat. She let her hand stay in his as he lead her up the stairs and past the 3rd living room she had seen now.

 

“I hope it’ll do,” he said as she entered.

 

It was perfect and she was speechless. A whole wall was covered with bookshelves and books. A desk was laden with paper, quills, and ink. And a bay window showed a wonderful view of the bustling street below.

 

Suddenly, there was a crash from downstairs.

 

“That’ll be dinner! Fred decided to cook tonight,” George converted to a whisper, “Try not to be too hard on him, eh?”

 

Hermione could not help but smile as George began to leave, “I’ll be right there. I’m just going to change into something more comfortable.”

 

“Yes! The benefits are now to commence!” George winked and left quickly.

 

Hermione laughed and turned to a dresser full of clothes. She pulled out a pair of grey cloth shorts and a maroon t-shirt. She was a bit afraid to find some weird contraption in one of the drawers. One of the twins must have left it there on accident. It was blue and round with a small purple button. She was examining as she entered the dining room.

 

“Nice of you to finally join us,” Fred said jokingly.

 

“Hermione, what are you looking at?” George asked.

 

“I found this in one of my drawers. I thought you said my room would be clear of your new inventions?”

 

“Oh well,” Fred blushed, “that would be mine.” He grabbed the contraption and didn’t bother explaining as he left the room to fetch dinner.

 

Dinner went by calmly, other than the few explosions, a howler or two from some angry parents, and Lee Jordan bursting in with news that the twins had made page 9 of the Daily Prophet for some new invention or another.

 

Hermione was quiet most of the time. Right after dinner, she excused herself and went straight up to bed. George couldn’t help but notice the tears in her eyes as she fled the room.

 

“You think she’ll be ok?” Fred asked while helping himself to a 3rd helping of spaghetti.

 

“I’m sure she will,” George said thoughtfully, “Tomorrow’s another day after all.”

 

“True. We’ll introduce her to working in the shop. She’ll love that.”

 

George laughed, “I’m sure she will.”

 

There was a moment’s silence.

 

“What’s on your mind then?” Fred asked.

 

“She’s still unhappy.”

 

“It’s only been one day.”

 

“What if she doesn’t get better?”

 

“I have an idea,” Fred grinned.

 

George’s eyebrows perked up, “eh?”

 

“Well tomorrow during Hermione’s lunch break, I say we surprise her.”

 

“With what?”

 

“Potter!”

 

“That just might be a good idea!” George exclaimed.

 

“Of course it is,” Fred gloated.

 

And they were able to continue their dinner in good spirits.

 

Meanwhile, Hermione, up in her room, was crying once again. She had tried writing in her journal, but only got a few words out before grief caught up to her once again. She wanted to let it all out, but felt no one was there to catch her as she fell. She cuddled up in her bed, trying her best to fall into a soundless sleep.

 

Another person was trying to sleep soundlessly without much success. Harry Potter was worried. Whether it was guilt or just friendly concern, nothing could make him forget that Hermione’s happiness was in jeopardy. He wanted to help, he really did. But how?

 

Little did he know that the Weasley Twins, as usual, were one step ahead of the game. They were ready to take the issue of Hermione’s happiness to a new level.

 

A/N – expect things to start getting interesting! Tried laying down so soft romance foundation for later chapters. Hope it works! Please review and thank you ever so much!  

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