Length: 745 words
Summary: Hermione is good at telling Fred to shut up, amongst other things.
Author Note: Written for Round Two, Challenge 6 at fwhg_ldws
"Well, um. Look, I've been thinking about this a long time and I want to do it right, so. Okay."
It was Friday night after closing time and a pair of Extendable Ears pressed against the storeroom door, drinking in the conversation from the shop on the other side.
"Here I go."
Fred slid the hand that wasn't holding the Ears under Hermione's robes and into the back pocket of her jeans. She retaliated by slipping her own free hand inside the waistband of his trousers and resting it on the bare skin of his arse.
"Tell me I didn't sound that hopeless," said Fred in a stage-whisper.
"Sorry to disappoint."
"Why then, oh beautiful wife of mine, didn't you just tell me to shut up?" He grinned. "You're so good at that, after all."
"Because, you flatterer, I was having far too much fun being amused by your ineptitude."
Fred buried his chuckle in the curve of her neck and pressed damp, open-mouthed kisses against the soft skin underneath her ear.
"Oh, please." Verity, who had been tidying up at the back of the stockroom and had three feather boas draped over her shoulder that were singing a rather dirty ditty about wizards and their wands, tossed a punching telescope at Fred's head. "Do I need to ask for a rule against employees making out in here?"
"I don't work here," Hermione pointed out, but she pulled her hand out of Fred's clothes all the same.
"And I," said Fred, "am your boss. One of your bosses. Therefore not an employee."
Verity eyed the Extendable Ears suspiciously. "What are you two doing? Besides ruining my appetite."
"Listening to George propose to the love of his life," Fred said dramatically, fluttering his eyelashes. "He's making a right hash of it."
Verity pinched her lips together in disapproval and Hermione shifted uncomfortably.
The thing about Fred was that he made everything seem fun and doable, which had saved her sanity after the war, but then at other times, like when she was eavesdropping on a conversation that was none of her business, he seemed to have destroyed her sanity altogether.
Hermione started to wind up the Extendable Ears and pulled away from Fred, who mumbled a complaint as he was forced to take his hand out of her back pocket and stumbled against the door.
It swung wide open.
"I'm sorry, George, " said a tearful Angelina, "I really am. And I'm sorry if you can't understand why, but it's still no."
The bell over the front door quacked at she walked out.
George twisted the corners of his lips up into a grin as he saw the three of them watching and shoved his hands into his pockets, aiming for nonchalance.
"Guess me and Charlie are doomed to be the bachelors of the family," he joked.
Hermione reached for Fred's hand and squeezed.
She felt sorry for George, but couldn't help thinking of how much this was going to hurt Fred. He'd been so excited that George was planning on getting married too after the months he'd spent being guilty about having Hermione and leaving George to be alone. The twins had even begun plotting to move out of the flat, to raise families in proper houses, and then convert the space above the shop into a cross between a café and a funhouse.
"Actually," said Verity, "according to The Quibbler Charlie's dating Viktor Krum, so there's hope for you yet."
George stared at her for a moment before giving her a genuine smile. "Think I've had enough of Quidditch players, thanks all the same."
Hermione squeezed Fred's hand again as he sagged against her in relief at the sight of that smile.
"How about we go out tonight, the four of us?" she said.
"Yeah," said Verity, wrapping a boa around George's neck and dragging him towards the stairs. "Let's get you dolled up and go out for a night on the town."
"How is this going to make things better?" Fred asked Hermione, apparently oblivious to the way Verity's fingers had lingered as she'd arranged the boa's feathers by George's face.
"Trust me." She kissed him on the cheek. "This is your beautiful wife telling you to shut up now."
Fred laughed and wrapped an arm around her waist. "Why? What's in it for me?"
"Well," said Hermione, grinning and moving closer, "how about because it's not the only thing I'm good at?"