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Chapter 6: Something Wicked
Summer seemed to have been whisked away overnight. The cool breezes that made one reach for an extra sweater, ponder whether or not they would need their umbrellas or don a scarf. Leaves slowly started to fade into colors of the once summer sun sets, and getting up in the morning was a little harder and far darker than one was accustomed to.
George was a rarity around the burrow as of late. Often times he would be the last one in at night and the first one in at the morning. The only other soul that could claim that he did, in fact, still exist was Hermione. She had been up many a night researching ancient pureblood laws that were still in existence. It was her new role in the department to determine whether the laws could be rewritten to match current expectations or to abolish them completely. It was a touchy subject, many families still believed in the power of arranged marriages to keep family heirlooms and blood lines pure. Arthur and Molly had been very informative about the insights and understanding what it’s like from a pureblood standpoint, even though Molly had balked at half the laws Hermione had asked her about.
“That’s still enforced?! I honestly can’t say that any family still does that!” she said as she pulled a tray of cookies from the oven. After she placed the tray on the stovetop she shook out the small towel she used to guard her hand from the heat and turned back to the young girl at the table. “You haven’t happened to see my oven mitts, have you Hermione dear?” she asked with her hands on her hips.
“Can’t say that I have.” She replied with a small shrug of her shoulders.
It was on one of those nights that Hermione’s research was running later than she would have liked but she was so close to picking this particular apart, when George dragged himself in. He was in the process of slipping his tie off his neck when the voice of the living room floor made him jump.
“You need to return your mother’s oven mitts.”
George turned with wand in hand; ready to curse the dickens out of the intruder. He relaxed when he noticed Hermione with her nose in a rather thick volume of yellowed pages. Taking a deep breath and tucking his wand back into his pocket, he made his way around to the other side of the couch. With a thump, he rubbed his eyes and yawned.
“Never knew you to wear glasses, Granger.” He mumbled through his yawn.
“I’ve been getting headaches lately, and was told that my eyes are getting tired and that I’m straining. So I have to wear these now when I read.” Hermione sighed as she glared at the optical in her hand before replacing them.
She went back to reading the large tome as George watched her write a few notes every now and then. The fact that it was two thirty in the morning and she was too stubborn to give up for the night got him thinking. There should be a quill to help with notes, scratch that, a reliable quill that actually wrote what you thought or asked of it, not that quick quotes crap that’s been around for decades. It would be a fairly decent market. Draw in the upscale business folks who might be likely to impulse buy while there in the store. Always nice to sell a boring yet useful item every now and then.
George flopped onto the floor and sat to the right side of the table. He reached over and grabbed a piece of scratch parchment and extra quill that was by Hermione. He began to sketch a similar looking quill to the one in his hands, and draw up the sets of charms that would need to be in place. Hermione silently watched him as he furious scratched across the paper. After he was done, he leaned back into the couch to reanalyze his late night brainstorm. There was something about it…it wasn’t perfect…it wasn’t Weasley enough. He frowned at the paper, and then looked over at Hermione, who had resumed scribbling across her paper. He was about to call it a night when she threw the paper at him.
He glanced down at the sheet. It wasn’t a quill. In fact it looked like a small spear. It was thick for the most part until you got to the bottom where a sharp triangular point protruded. She used the same spells he wrote on the paper, but adjusted them for the new weight.
“It’s a fountain pen. We use them in the muggle world. Actually only a few people due, they’re consider a fancy piece of writing equipment. Most muggles just use a cheap plastic version. The ink is stored in here,” she pointed to the drawing as she explained, “now; when the writer applys pressure to the tip, it causes the ink to flow. You could always make it a self replenishing ink well or sell ink cartridges separately for more profit. Either way I’m sure it would fit nicely in with your muggle novelties.”
To this day, he didn’t know why he did it. Maybe he was sleep deprived, maybe he was overworked, maybe it was the fact that a young pretty girl sitting by the fire just understood what he was trying to accomplish without having to ask. It was like having Fred again, even if just for a moment. But he had looked over the drawing again, realizing its brilliance and kissed her. Square on the mouth, just for a second or two. She seemed completely taken off guard.
“You’re brilliant. You hear it all the time, I know, but you really are.” He said as he looked at the paper again.
The two stayed up for another hour or so going over the mechanics of the pen, and the possibility of making a cheaper line as well. The age of quills could very quickly come to an end in George’s opinion. Hermione loved the fact that George was the type to shy away from muggle technologies; in fact, he had a bit of his father in them when it came to the topic.
Hermione had asked about his recent discovery of the heated ice, but George would give nothing up on the matter, stating it was still in the stages of testing. If fact, George had made a large order of the DD’s lanterns and ice, under a pseudonym of course, to further study the effects of the amount of ice to flame ratio. So far, he had yet to blow up his shop, which made it a good day.
Instead, George had mentioned that he was coming out with some new stuff just in time for the Halloween season. It was something Fred had been working on, and since it was the twins favorite holiday, after April fools that is, he felt it worthy to produce.
“Quite ridiculous, really,” George said as he flipped through one of the notepads he summoned from his room. “Fred was always of the opinion that he was the better looking twin, but we all know who that title really belonged to.”
Hermione chuckled as he wagged his eyebrows at her. It was hard at first, for him to open the notepad when he retrieved it. As if it was bringing up painful, happy memories. He had to take a few deep breaths before he managed. She glanced at the sketches in the pad and saw just how involved these two were with all their ideas. There was barely any room left on the page to write another note. Runes, charms, potion ingredients, all listed in various spaces of the page. This page in particular was a drawing of a bottle, much like the shampoo bottle in the bathroom. One would simply switch out the bottles, and when the user began to shampoo they would become pleasantly surprised by the fact that they had bright red hair. There was also a sister product that could be used as face wash to produce freckles to go along with the new hairstyle. Fred had drawn the distinctive Weasley Wizards logo to show how the consumer would look.
“I’ll have to be sure to inspect my shampoo bottles from now on.” Hermione shook her head as she started to pile up her notes.
“Don’t forget your wash.” George added as he flipped through more pages.
Hermione waved him off.
“I already have freckles and I quite like them, so a few more wouldn’t bother me.”
“Let me see.” George said as he grabbed her chin to face them. “Well I’ll be damned, can’t say I ever noticed them.”
“You haven’t noticed a lot of things about me.” Hermione whispered as she looked him in the eye.
So for the second time that night, George kissed her. This time he captured her top lip between his for a longer gestation. Her lips were chapped. He had seen her bite them often when she was deeply concentrating or nervous about something. They tasted slightly sweet, as if she had had a glass of pumpkin juice with dinner. The hand that was holding her chin had found its way to her cheek to bring her closer. They separated to adjust for the deepness of the kiss, tongues quickly brushing up against each other. When they released, George’s head was in a fog. Her voice brought him out.
“I was talking about my glasses, but this is ok.” She smiled at him and leaned over to give him a quick peck. “You should get bed; you have to open the store in a few hours, don’t you?”
George nodded still surprised by the turn of events. He had so many questions, but as sleep was quickly overtaking his brain functions, he figured they could wait. He watched Hermione place all her notes and books into her bag. He grabbed her hand as she steeped over him to walk towards the stairs. He held it until she stopped walking and the knuckles in the middle of her fingers a kiss.
“Good night Hermione.” He whispered.
“Good night George.” She replied as she ran her fingers through his hair.
George wasn’t sure how he ever made it to bed, as he did not recall the trip there, but he knew he didn’t need the gentle gruff of Harry’s snores to lull him into slumber.
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