Title: Lots Can Happen in Five Minutes
Fandom: Harry Potter (post-book series)
Spoilers: Spoilers for book 7! I can't stress that enough! Beware!
Disclaimer: JKR has her own plans for George, but this is what I prefer. I make NO money and have NO rights to the characters. I'm just playing around.
Summary: A slightly hectic but notably important morning for George Weasley and family.
Author's Notes: I don't like what JKR did for post-DH!George. So this is my way of giving him a happy family. This was written for a challenge: Use 6 of these 10 words or phrases in a story: someday you will be loved, why weren't you wearing boots?, it's just another cold, snuffle, sore, don't forget, public knowledge, snowball fight, this could have gone better, shivering.
When Lee Jordan got sick, he got clingy. He had never been one to handle misery and disappointment well; he handled it even worse alone. In fact, George suspected his partner had never really gotten over the fact that the twins had left him alone at Hogwarts their final year. George had hinted, had wanted to tell everything, but with Umbridge everywhere even a hint of rebellion could have gotten them all into even more trouble. The last thing George had wanted was to leave Lee behind and in danger. Now the matching gold rings on their left hands ensured that George would never leave him behind again. At least, not until breakfast time.
Shivering, Lee snuggled closer to George in their enormous canopy bed. He nuzzled his face into George's neck, just below the spot where George's adorable ear had once been.
"Lee," George groaned with reluctance. He could see only a few things through the break in the bed's hangings- one was a spot of cream-colored wall, another was part of a painting Lee had done, and the third were the bright, red lights of the alarm clock. "I have go get up now..."
Lee shook his head. "Five more minutes of 'us time.'"
George laughed, tightening up the arm he had around Lee's shoulders. 'Us time' that morning had pretty much consisted of George listening to Lee repeatedly blow his nose. But one of the man's arms was around his middle and one of Lee's legs was bent and lay upon George's legs, essentially pinning him down on the bed. Giving in was far easier than resisting at this point. But breakfast wasn't going to make itself.
Lee gave a most pathetic snuffle right in George's not-quite-an-ear and George laughed again, instinctively. "All right. Five more minutes." The decision was partially selfish, as staying in bed and holding Lee felt so warm, comfortable, and right.
"Thank you, Sweetheart." Lee made a pleasant, playful sound and nuzzled impossibly closer. Then he tensed up, held his breath, and shuddered.
"S'all right," George muttered, rubbing his hand up and down Lee's arm.
"But you... your sh-shoulder." Lee pressed his sore nose against George's bare shoulder in an attempt at stopping the oncoming sneeze. His whole body was stiff against George's.
George's free hand grabbed a tissue from the box at their bedside. He caressed Lee's cheek and petted his head. The thick, short black hair bristled George's palm; once in a while he missed Lee's dreadlocks. The feel was different- just as good, but different. "Just sneeze, you big baby."
"ih-ih-ih-hihh-" Lee's breath hitched. Then the sneeze finally burst out of him. "Ihptchuhhhhh! Eh-Heptchehhhh!"
George blessed him. He kissed his partner's forehead while mopping the man's nose. They held each other for a few more minutes of sniffling, then Lee really had to blow his nose and George really had to get up.
"Brig be ad egg?" Lee requested, with deliberate patheticness.
George pulled on a pajama top to match his bottoms. "If you don't cut that out, I'll bring you the whole chicken and make you wait for the egg."
Lee grinned that grin that had made George go weak for the last eight years. George resisted the urge to run to the kitchen and grab the whole dozen eggs for him. He did, however, give the man a kiss. A quick kiss. A loving kiss. A sympathetic kiss. "Rest up, Love."
"Don't forget be." He blew his nose loudly, as though for emphasis.
"Course not. I'll be right back once I've got the kids up and ready for school."
"I want to go with you to platform nine and three quarters," Lee said. He sniffled and rubbed a finger under his nose.
"We'll see how you feel after breakfast." He administered another kiss. "But I hope you feel up to going, too. I'll be back soon."
The twins were old enough to see themselves off, truth be told. But the boys were not morning people and if they didn't make it to Kings Cross in time, he didn't like to think what child services would say. Not after last time. And the time before. And... did the time they were caught sneaking out of Hogwarts and heading halfway across Scotland on their own count?
When George poked his head in, he found that the kitchen was completely deserted. This wasn't much of a surprise. The other bedroom was dark, curtains drawn and covers up over the sleeping bodies in the bunk beds. Bits of brown hair could be spotted sticking out. The covers rose and fell slightly, slowly. They looked so peaceful- which was a welcome change from the trouble-makers they could be- that George almost didn't have the heart to wake them. Almost.
Mercilessly, George waved his wand at the overhead light. It went right on, spreading light throughout the room. The boys in the beds winged and struggled to bury themselves deeper under their pillows and blankets. "Oh no you don't!" George laughed. "Accio pillows! Accio blankets!"
"Daaaaaaaad," bleated Erik. "We can't go to our fifth year all tired. Let us sleep."
"Just another five minutes," came Justin's muffled voice.
"Now you sound like your pop. C'mon, you lot. Up and at 'em." The two grudgingly pulled themselves out of bed. Erik, on the top bunk, needed an extra nudge to get out. He moved around the room slowly, packing the last few things into his trunk while Justin took a shower. George supervised and checked Justin's trunk. Couldn't have the twins off to Hogwarts without pants.
As soon as the shower started running in the other room, Erik stopped rifling through his trunk. "Dad, can I ask you something?"
"Whatever you want in your omelet, you've got it." George paused. "He's forgotten socks. How could he forget socks?" George dumped half of Justin's sock drawer into the large trunk... and removed a Skiving Snackbox that Justin should have known was out of bounds. If he wanted out of class, he'd have to come up with his own clever way of doing it or he'd never learn anything.
"No... not about breakfast. About... sex."
George froze. One balled-up pair of bright yellow socks dropped into the trunk. "Sure you don't want to talk to Pop about this?"This wasn't really the best time for this discussion. They weren't in a rush just yet but they couldn't take their time this morning either.
"He's sick," Erik said, meekly.
"It's just another cold. Despite his complaining, he'll be fine. Don't worry. If you need to talk to him, I'm sure he'd be happy to listen."
Erik hovered by his bed, looking nervous and uncertain. His blond hair stuck up in untidy spikes. He looked down at the floor and chewed on his bottom lip. George waved his wand and locked the doors. Then he sat down on the bottom bunk and patted the spot beside him. "C'mon. What did you want to ask me?" George and Lee had, of course, had 'the talk' with the boys. The twins had known about sex before they'd come to live there, but George and Lee had felt it important to be sure the twins knew the right things. The thing was, Lee had been much better at explaining the facts than George had. This was partially because Lee had had the first-hand experience with women once upon a time that George had never even considered having.
Erik sat down on the bed, looking down at his hands, his lap, the bedspread- anything but his dad's eyes. "Is it... is it natural for twins to be a little different from each other?"
George didn't quite follow. As far as he knew, Erik were identical twins just like he and Fred had been. And that meant they looked just the same, right down to the last freckle. "You shouldn't be any different. Why? Why do you ask?" And suddenly it was George who was worried and imagining all sort of awful diseases Erik could have contracted that would make him look differently.
With a shrug, Erik rubbed his hand against the back of his neck. "Only we're not the same," he said. "Not deep down. Not exactly. 'Cause I..." He took a deep breath and looked up at his father. "Dad, I... I fancy..."
George could finish the sentence just fine on his own, but he wanted to let Erik say it. However, the words stuck and stayed stuck and in a second Erik would be crying and they couldn't have that just before the trip to Hogwarts. "You fancy blokes?"
Erik nodded, his cheeks a brilliant shade of self-conscious red.
"That's great, that is." Erik still looked like it was the end of his world. "Why were you worried about telling me?" George rubbed his hand up and down his son's back. "If you haven't noticed- and if you haven't you must be the thickest person in the world as it's public knowledge now- your pop and I both happen to be pofters, too."
Erik cracked a smile. "Yeah, I kind of noticed. And I also noticed that Justin fancies girls. I mean, he really loves 'em. He even has..." He stopped before crossing that invisible, unspoken line of trust. "And if he's straight, shouldn't I be, too? I mean, if we're identical?"
And now George understood entirely. "My twin-"
"Fred?" said Erik.
George smiled. "That's right: Fred. Fred was straight."He knew Fred wouldn't mind being talked about the way they weren't talking about Justin. He was probably up in Heaven right now having a laugh over the way history was repeating. "You know Auntie Angelina, right? He dated her, among others. He took Angelina to a school dance when we were sixth years, in fact."
"And you went with Pop?"
Sadly, George shook his head. "I went alone. I wanted very badly to ask Lee, and I found out later that he had wanted to ask me. But things were different back then and neither of us was quite ready for that. We both went to that dance alone." He patted Erik's back again. "Now that doesn't mean you can't be ready, if you like a lad. However, I'd advise you to tell Justin about yourself first. Don't want him finding out by accident."
George had meant it to give him a bit of a laugh, but Erik seemed strangely nervous all over again. It took a few seconds for George to realize that the quiet meant the shower in the bathroom had stopped. Justin would be back soon.
In fact, he was back now. "Dad? Erik?" He knocked on the door.
"Give us five minutes, would you Justin?" George yelled through the door.
"Kay!" He wasn't the type to ask questions, especially early in the morning. George was grateful for that.
George rubbed Erik's back again. Erik bit his lip. "Will Justin hate me for being different?"
"Oh no. No, Love. Never. Might not understand at first, might need a little time, or he might be just fine. Fred was."
"Yep. I finally plucked up the courage to tell him, but he already knew. He probably knew as soon as I did. We were close like that, you know? In each other's heads most of the time."
Erik nodded. "I know what that's like."
"Fred used to tell me it was great I was gay. Said that way we wouldn't have to compete for the best catches. And we could give both men and women a shot at his lovely countenance." He drew a circle around his face with his finger and winked at his son.
Erik shook his head and took a deep breath. "Thanks, Dad."
"Love you, Kiddo. Any time you want to talk, just send an owl or use the floo from Gryffindor tower. Now, give me a hug and go take a shower while I lecture your brother about the importance of warm feet."
It took an hour for the twins to get properly packed up, watered, and fed. It would have been only half that, had Justin not swapped out the salt for crushed lacewings and had Erik not turned the silverware drawer invisible. George was highly amused in an annoyed sort of way. After several wasted omelets, he finished cooking. Then he wolfed down his breakfast and prepared a tray for Lee. He took it over to Lee while the twins went to get their trunks and owl cages.
"Bless you! Bless you!" George said, gliding into the room. It was sunnier now and felt more open with the hangings around the bed pulled and tied back to the posts. "I see you've dressed."
Lee was sitting on the edge of the bed, nose buried in a fistful of tissues, but wearing robes. He blew his nose and took the tray from George. "How are the kids?"
George made sure the door was closed and locked; the silencing spell they had on their room only worked when the door was locked. "Packed and ready for another year at Hogwarts. I told them if they don't get a handful of O.W.L.s each, we'll ship 'em right back to the orphanage."
"Ha ha," said Lee, who knew better than to believe that George had even bothered mentioning exams. Lee hungrily helped himself to a mouthful of scrambled eggs.
It was finally time for George to change of out of his pajamas. He called out from the closet, chuckling to himself at the irony, "Seriously, though, I had an important little talk with Erik this morning..."
Lee put down his fork, swallowed, and smiled. "He came out to you?"
George stuck his head out and nodded.
Groaning, "Why do I miss all the good... s-stuff... heh-Chishh! Sniff! So what'd you say?"
"I tried to act like we haven't known for ages."
Lee nodded back. He chugged the glass of orange juice. "Want to come with you to the station." He rubbed at his nose. "Who knows? Maybe you'll suddenly decide to finally finish up at Hogwarts."
George emerged and knelt before Lee, in front of the bed. He moved the tray aside and rested his hands on Lee's knees. "I'm not going anywhere without you."
Lee's expression faltered briefly, and he pressed tissues to his nose. "huh-hutchhh!" The sneeze doubled him right over, and George straightened up a only little in order to wrap his arms around Lee. "hKetchh! hehTchuh! eh-tshhh!" Lee snuffled into the tissues. "Baybe I should't go. I really wadt to see theb off, but baybe they wod't wadt be to cobe..."
"Maybe you should just blow your nose and bundle up before we head out."
George started to pull back to give him some room, but Lee hugged George tightly, holding him close. "Just five bore bidutes?"