Category: Harry Potter
Length: 1-5k words
Notes: Post war, post Hogwarts fic. I started writing this after Goblet of Fire, made one amend after Order of the Phoenix and the beginning of Half Blood Prince, but this is now clearly AU after the end of HBP and Deathly Hallows.
Hermione glanced into the living room and barely withheld a sigh. Living room was no longer entirely correct, post-war zone was more apt. Fred and George had “invited some friends over” the previous night. Evidence of the war that masqueraded as a party was everywhere, pictures were skewed, the sofa was now bright purple instead of the calm beige she had insisted on, two rugs were stuck to the ceiling, empty Firewhisky bottles littered the floor, as did the comatose bodies of seven relative strangers and two friends.
Although she was feeling less than friendly at the moment. The house was a bombsite. All because Fred and George’s latest project had not gone to plan. Tornado Toffees. The name alone had almost sent Hermione running back to the Muggle world to the safety of her parent’s home. Of course, that was where the trouble had started.
Hermione had gone home for the weekend to see her parents, having decided that letting them into the house while Fred and George were experimenting was a Very Bad Idea. Fred and George had taken it upon themselves to entertain the rest of the household (consisting of Harry and Lavender) by pretending to great offence at this.
“Are you ashamed of us, Hermione?” they asked on regular occasions, until she had replied with a very snappish “Yes!”
After that they had left her alone, although Fred was apt to burst into melodramatic sobs every time she walked past.
Finally the weekend came, she Apparated to her parents’ home and was in the process of greeting her mother when, with a soft pop, the twins Apparated into the living room too. Her parents had been gracious enough to invite them to stay; the twins praised her endlessly during dinner while she shot them suspicious looks. Then the real trouble started. They watched TV together. Most notably, a Warner Brothers cartoon featuring Taz. As the animated character whirled across the screen, and their eyes lit up she could almost hear the cogs turning.
That was the conception of Tornado Toffees.
And her wrecked living room was the messy afterbirth.
Her home was a deceptively spacious five bedroom house, within walking distance of Zonkos—which now was co-owned by the twins and sold a vast range of their products—the cellar served as their experimentation area, the rest of the house was free-for-all. The twins also had a flat above their premises in Diagon Alley, but spent most of their time in Hogsmead. Hermione supposed that business was better next door to a school, rather than in central London.
Dumbledore had, strangely, agreed to letting twelve Hogwarts pupils take work experience at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes after their exams were finished for their final year. A practice, she suspected, he had only agreed to because he had become fond of the Canary Creams, and more so of a similar product, the Buffalo Bourbons. The parents agreed because Hermione was a faculty member and also a qualified Medi-Wizard.
Seven of these students were passed out on the floor from the experiment the previous night with the beta version of the Tornado Toffees. She had already found one more in the hallway, and another in the kitchen. Her eye caught the rug that was stuck to the ceiling once more, then to the floor below, occupied by George. She whispered the releasing charm, and was gratified by an unmistakable moan of pain as it landed on him.
“Morning, Hermione,” he groaned from beneath the rug. “And how are you on this fine day?”
At the sound of George’s voice, the other bodies in the room began stirring. One look at Hermione’s furious face had them all scrambling towards the fireplace to Floo back to Hogwarts as soon as possible. They knew that Look very well indeed, as she was Professor McGonagall’s assistant, and would eventually take over the position of Transfiguration Professor. Hermione was not only learning McGonagall’s teaching style, but also her facial expressions.
“She’s not happy,” Fred reported to his twin. “She’s doing The Look.”
“Think I’ll stay here then.”
“Oh no you will not!” she replied. “The house looks like a tornado went through it.”
Fred’s face lit up with joy and George quickly scurried out from beneath the rug. “She’s right!” Fred decided, turning to his brother. “They work!”
“That’s not a good thing! Look at this room, the hall and kitchen don’t look any better either! And—” She paused to catch her breath. “—One of those children has vomited on the kitchen floor!”
“That’s a downside, we should make a note of that as a legal disclaimer on the packaging,” George noted, feeling in his pockets for pen and paper.
“You two are impossible!” She groaned in frustration. And had to withhold a scream when they looked pleased by her insult. On realising she was getting nowhere with the twins, she turned to the shell-shocked students, huddling by the fireplace. “Do your parents know what your work experience entails?”
This got an immediate response from the twins. George went to the students and began arranging for them to “Floo away home”, while Fred moved over to Hermione and put a placating hand on her arm. “Let me make you a nice soothing cup of tea and some toast, and then we’ll clean up the house, while you glare sternly at us and tell us that we’re doing it all wrong,” he said shepherding her away from the impressionable students, and into the kitchen.
“It smells in here,” she complained. “And there are other students collapsed around the house.”
“George will see them off safely,” Fred replied.
Hermione gave an unimpressed ‘hmmph’ in response.
“Now, to clean up.” Fred said cheerfully. “Accio mop.”
Hermione was aware of a sharp pain on the back of her head, then blackness.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been knocked out, when she awoke, she was still on the kitchen floor. The kitchen had been cleaned of the vomit, but there was a smell of burnt toast in the air now. She supposed this was an improvement.
Sometimes she wondered why on earth she continued to live with two people who seemed to relish in making her life a living hell. Dumbledore had offered her a place at Hogwarts time and time again. She’d always refused, claiming that someone had to keep the twins from blowing up Hogsmead while trying out a new product. And since Harry was often out, either due to Auror business or his busy social life, and Lavender, whose tenancy at the house was a mere technicality, had a fiancé in the Ministry of Magic and stayed with him most nights, so it had to be Hermione who kept an eye on them.
It wasn’t the truth though, the truth was a little more painful. Simply put, Fred and George were part of the Weasley family, or more accurately, part of Ron. One of the many casualties of the war. She tried to count herself lucky that she had only lost one close friend, but that didn’t change the fact that it still hurt. But it hurt less around the Weasleys. And Fred and George’s antics managed to keep her mind from dwelling too long on painful subjects.
She got to her feet and tottered unsteadily back into the living room, where she found the twins still cleaning.
“You’re up then?” George said.
Hermione took a deep breath and counted to ten. Then twenty. Then thirty. “Harry,” she said in a tightly controlled tone, “would have picked me up and put me somewhere comfortable. Then again, Harry would never have knocked me out.”
“The sofa was also covered in vomit,” Fred pointed out. “Would you have liked to have woken up on that? Plus, you told us to clean, we can’t clean with you in the way.”
“You cleaned around me in the kitchen,” she replied. “In fact—” She was cut off by a knock at the door. “I’ll get it,” she said hastily, lest they stop cleaning and got distracted by the visitor.
She went to the front door and opened it. On the other side stood Draco Malfoy. She sighed deeply. It was barely ten a.m. and already she was exhausted.
“I,” he announced grandly, “am moving in.”
She sighed again. “Sod off, Malfoy,” she slammed the door.
She returned to the living room—which was finally beginning to look habitable again.
“Who was at the door?” George asked.
Again their conversation was interrupted by a knocking at the door.
“Just ignore it,” Fred suggested. “He might go away.”
There was an almighty crash from upstairs, the sound of someone tumbling downstairs, punctuated by the thrum of something caught on the banisters, and another crash followed by a howl of agony.
“Harry’s awake then,” Fred observed, as they went back out to the hall to investigate. They found Harry swearing explosively, curled up against the door.
“What happened?” Hermione asked.
“I don’t know,” he snapped back. “I was curled up in bed, having a pleasant dream when all of a sudden I’m crashing through my door, then falling down the stairs, then crashing into this door. Whichever one of you did this, I am not amused.”
“Let me in!” came petulantly through the door.
“Ah. Malfoy. Naturally,” Harry muttered, getting to his feet and opening the door.
Malfoy strode through, five house elves in tow, all toting enormous suitcases. “As I said, I am moving in…” He began, but broke off on spotting Harry. “Good heavens, Potter, you look awful.”
“So would you if you had just been woken up by falling downstairs,” Harry responded levelly.
“I meant those pyjamas, who on earth wears pyjamas at our age? And besides, if your…” he paused thoughtfully, “friends had just let me in I would not have had to resort to Accio Potter to get your attention.”
“Malfoy,” Harry said warningly.
“So, which one is my room? I must get settled in,” he glanced around. “And contact an interior designer immediately.”
“You don’t have a room,” Fred pointed out. “What with you not living here.”
Malfoy rolled his eyes. “We’ve covered this, I told you, I am moving in.”
“You are not,” Hermione responded hotly. Things were bad enough with the twins, let alone Malfoy on the premises.
“Potter invited me,” he replied.
“I did no such thing!” Harry yelled in outrage.
“Honestly, Potter!” Malfoy gave an aristocratic sniff filled with contempt. “I was giving you the opportunity to not be the tactless clod you usually are. I was covering up the fact that you thoughtlessly forgot to invite me to stay.”
“I didn’t thoughtlessly forget,” Harry replied, honestly bewildered. “I hate you, I would never deliberately ask you to stay in my home.”
Hermione thought that was a little uncalled for. While it was true that Malfoy had never set foot inside the house, she had heard from almost everyone that Harry often stayed with Malfoy when he was in London. In fact, Lavender had often seen them at clubs together, she had said, “Well, if that’s hating each other, my fiancé and I hate each other ragged on a regular basis.” All the same, she did not want Malfoy in her home.
“Nonsense,” Malfoy told Harry firmly. “Potter wants me here,” he announced to Hermione, Fred and George. Anyone else would have used a pleading tone, but not Malfoy. He was simply informing them that a decision had been made.
“Malfoy, he just said he hates you,” Fred pointed out.
“He doesn’t mean it.”
“Well, we hate you,” George added.
“I’ll let you use my house elves,” Malfoy said finally, pausing to eye the elves. “Or at least that one,” he pointed to the oldest one, visibly staggering under the weight of Malfoy’s suitcase.
Hermione was suddenly won over. If for no other reason, she would love to set Malfoy’s elves free, leaving him to pick up after himself. “What are their names?” she asked.
He gave her a look of pure distain. “How should I know?”
“House elves would be useful,” George commented. “If we had house elves we wouldn’t have spent the morning cleaning.”
“You cleaned this place?” Malfoy asked, in tones of amazement.
Harry grabbed Malfoy’s arm, his short stubby nails digging into pale white flesh. “Malfoy,” he said warningly. “You are not making a great case for yourself. You’ve been here all of five minutes and you’ve injured me, insulted everyone here and implied that our home disgusts you.”
Malfoy batted Harry’s arm away. “Don’t grab, Potter, it’s terribly déclassé. Also, you’re denting my skin, I bruise very easily, you know.” He sighed deeply. “As you well know, my Father is now a gibbering maniac in Azkaban and he legally disowned me when he was still sane. As it turns out, the flat in London that Father bought for my eighteenth birthday was has the teensiest spelling mistake on the deeds—”
“So it says Lucius instead of Draco then?” Hermione guessed.
“And as a disowned heir, I have no legal right to be there while they rectify this tiny error,” Malfoy continued.
“You’ve been evicted?” George asked in tones of great amusement.
“Nothing so frightfully uncouth,” Malfoy replied haughtily. “I was asked to leave.”
“Oh yes, because that’s so very different,” Fred laughed.
“You should be delighted that I have chosen you to house me until this situation has been remedied. I am perfection personified. My sparkling wit and dashing charm are the envy of the wizarding world,” Malfoy announced.
“Which begs the question,” Hermione began. “Why did you chose us?”
Malfoy floundered momentarily. “Potter adores me. It would drive him mad with jealousy if I stayed with Zabini, and heaven forbid I drive our saviour, The Boy Who Lived, to dementia.”
“Nobody wanted you, did they, Malfoy?” Harry asked with a smirk.
“I have never been so insulted in all of my life! Everyone wants me! I am a Malfoy—”
“Not any more,” Fred interrupted.
“I shall ignore that as you have been so gracious to house me temporarily.”
“Excuse us, Malfoy,” George said suddenly, taking Hermione’s arm and indicating that she, Fred and Harry follow him to the living room. “Quick household pow-wow.”
“I think Malfoy should move in,” George said, shutting the door, smiling at their surprised faces.
“I think,” Hermione said faintly, “that you have finally gone around the twist.”
George smiled widely. “Malfoy’s presence would have bonuses.”
“House elves?” Fred suggested, clapping one hand over Hermione’s mouth effectively cutting off any form of protest.
“Not just that,” George turned to Hermione. “You think it’s unethical that we test our products on students, even if they are of age, don’t you? Well, now we have a test subject that you will have no qualms on letting us bounce around the ceiling for a couple of days.”
Hermione wrenched Fred’s hand away and opened her mouth to protest, then closed it once more. Draco would be a better tester for the Weasley’s products than Hogwarts students, and if he stayed she would have the opportunity to set his house elves free. “He’s never going to agree to try your products,” she said finally.
“Well, you simply tell him that to pay for his room and board he has to help the twins,” Harry suggested.
Hermione paused. “You have no objections to this? He is your boyfriend.”
“He is not,” Harry replied with feeling. “He’s a Malfoy. He’s a menace. So what if he’s a brilliant dancer and has the best bum in England?”
Fred looked injured. “And here was me thinking I had the best bum in England. Hermione, tell me I have a nice bum.”
“It’s lovely,” she said, knowing it was easier to reply and move on than to ignore him.
“Oh, you’re just saying that. You don’t really mean it.”
This time she ignored him. “So, we’re letting Malfoy stay? We can’t give him Lavender’s room, even if she’s only here a couple of times a year, that means he’s with you, Harry.”
Harry unsuccessfully tried to stifle a grin. “I can live with that.”
“There should be house rules,” Hermione decided.
“I am not working in a shop. Malfoys don’t do menial labour.”
“This one does,” Harry told him. “And you don’t necessarily have to work in the shop, just assist the twins when they ask. Without complaint.”
“Besides,” George pointed out with obvious glee. “You’re not a Malfoy, you’ve been disowned.”
“You know, I told you that in confidence, it’s not particularly proper to keep bringing it up in conversation.”
Harry snorted. “Malfoy, the whole wizarding world knows you’ve been disowned.”
“Even so, it’s not like I bring up your dead parents on a regular basis, is it?”
Harry shut up in a hurry after that. Despite the fact that Malfoy was a thoroughly loathsome creature, he had made a valid point, or at least, it had been valid recently, since they left school anyway.
Hermione decided it was time to interrupt. “We’ve gone off track here. The point is, Malfoy, if you’re going to be staying here—”
“For free, because we wouldn’t dream of asking you for money,” George added. “It might be déclassé.”
“It might be nice of you to offer to help us in return,” Hermione concluded. “It’s just good manners, you know,” she added, remembering how Malfoy prided himself on his behaviour, even when most people shook their heads in weary disbelief.
“My manners are impeccable! Ask anyone!” Malfoy rose to the challenge brilliantly.
“Well, then, you agree. Wonderful,” Harry said. “Let’s get you settled in my bed… room.”
The pause before ‘room’ had everyone scarpering to the four corners of the house (eleven on a Thursday). But that was all it took for Malfoy to move in.