"On the Outside" by Straw

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“Dad, come on. We’re going to be late!”

The man bent down to examine a plant in the large, sweeping garden, however, didn’t move. From a distant tree came the sound of birdsong; bees drifted dully through the flowers. The sky above remained a perfect, cloudless blue–it was the perfect day for a wedding.

Assuming, of course, you could manage to distract your father long enough to actually get to the Burrow for the wedding. As usual, he was having a difficult time putting work behind him, especially since the Weasleys lived in a very different area of the country than you did. After waiting impatiently for nearly five minutes, you at last gave your father a gentle shove on the shoulder.


“I’m coming, I’m coming.” He straightened with a martyr-ish sigh and his eyes fell onto the white marquee set up behind the teetering home. You hovered nervously on the path leading there, which caused your father to shake his head. “As though you’re even concerned about us missing the ceremony.”

You expected that comment, so you brushed it away with a sniff. “If we get there just as it’s starting, I won’t be able to find out what’s wrong with George.” At these words, you felt another nervous tingle in the palm of your hands. Your father only rolled his eyes as he brushed past you.

“I’m sure if that boyfriend of yours had died, someone would have said.”

“Not if it had something to do with the Order,” you retorted. “Seeing as how we’re not in it.”

He stopped so quickly that you nearly walked straight into his back. Apparently, the testy note in your voice had not gone entirely unnoticed. “I already told you, [Name]. Your mother cannot do magic. Joining the Order would be tantamount to calling the Death Eaters down on her head. Is that what you want?”

“No,” you muttered. “But I could join myself and–”

“You’re not yet out of Hogwarts,” said your father flatly. “And they’re hardly likely to ask. Drop it, [Name]. I don’t want to hear it today.”

You did, but only sullenly. Your parents thought you wanted to join the Order of the Phoenix just to keep track of your boyfriend’s whereabouts. It was true that you’d been a wreck the past week, seeing as how one of the apothecary’s customers had come with news that one of the Weasley boys–more specifically your Weasley boy–had been injured. But was it wrong to be worried? Witches and wizards were dying in droves, and all you could do was sit there and cool your heels, waiting for a chance to see George yourself.

By the time you made it inside the tent, you were practically bouncing up and down with every step, which caused your father to grumble something under his breath. Luckily, you didn’t catch the words, and seemingly neither did the slightly pudgy red-headed boy (presumably a Weasley cousin) that led you to your seat. You didn’t sit down, though. You remained instead standing in the aisle, full of trepidation as you kept an eye out for anyone familiar.

“Would you calm down?” asked your father. “You look like one of those creatures Xenophilius Lovegood is always going on about in his magazine.”

But you hardly heard. Coming straight down the aisle was a familiar boy in dress robes. You let out a cry of delight that drowned out the rest of your father’s tirade, and then you launched yourself back toward the entrance. You could tell even before reaching George that he was fine, or at least entirely in one piece. Your heart lightened considerably.

“You’re okay!” you said as you reached him.

“Er–” George began, but you didn’t allow him to continue. You grabbed his collar, pulled down his head, and smashed your lips into his. For a boy that hadn’t seen his girlfriend in several months, he certainly didn’t react very passionately. Perhaps he was still feeling under the weather from whatever had happened to him. When you broke away though, George looked distinctly torn between amusement and disconcertment.

“Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that,” he said in the silence that followed as you attempted to catch your breath. “You’re a fairly good kisser, did you know that?”

“You ass,” you said. “I’ve been worried sick. Why couldn’t you have at least sent an owl telling me you were okay?”

His expression turned flummoxed. “Was there something supposed to be the matter with me?”

“Yes!” You stmped your foot. “Dad heard it at work. You got hurt last weekend and I didn’t know if you were dead or imperiused or–or somehow worse!”

“No, just a couple of cuts and bruises,” George said. “Hardly worth a get-well kiss like that.”

“Whereas I, on the other hand,” said another easily recognizable voice, “am still wondering why I haven’t received my get-well kiss.”

You looked up with a gasp to see George’s identical twin standing next to him. Except Fred wasn’t quite identical anymore: his head was lopsided. No, that wasn’t it either. Fred was missing an ear. Before you could demand an explanation for that, however, the conversation continued.

“Oh, there you are,” said George mildly. “I was starting to wonder if you’d show up. I kept your girlfriend warm for you.”

“Kept his–” you began, and broke away as blush rushed into your cheeks. Quickly, you looked between Fred and George. True to the first twin’s words, all he seemed to have were a couple of cuts on his cheeks. The second, on the other hand, was missing an ear, which would certainly garner commentary from friends of the family. The two boys blinked down at you as slow smirks spread across their faces. “Oh,” you said quietly with a shake in your voice. “You’re Fred. That’s embarrassing.”

“And here I thought you actually were interested,” said Fred in mock-wounded tones; he pressed his hands to his heart. “When are you going to leave George for me, [Name]?”

You scowled and didn’t bother to answer. With a shake of your head to clear some of your embarrassment, you turned to George, though you didn’t attempt to snog him. “What happened to your ear?”

A stunned silence followed these words, though Fred and George’s grins became, if anything, larger. After a moment, Fred caught George’s eye. “Not the most sensitive type, is she?”

“Never has been,” answered George. While they spoke, your bit your lip and considered rushing back to the relative safety of your seat. Oh, why hadn’t you listened to your father and calmed down? Then the wedding would have started with your making a fool of yourself. By that point in time, you couldn’t shove your blush down.

Suddenly George remembered you were there. He gestured to the side of his head that was missing an ear. “If it’s too ugly, [Name], we could just break up.”

“No!” you almost wailed. All you had wanted to do was make sure he was all right. You were never going to hear the end of this, you just knew it. “Stop being horrible.”

George took a step toward you and settled in at your side to hook an arm around your waist and plant a kiss to your cheek. “To be fair, you were horrible first. Snogging my brother.” His head shook with disgust. “How could you?”

“I–I didn’t mean–I was just so relieved–”

But George was smirking again, and you knew he didn’t mean it. You fell into abashed silence and simply looked at him, unsure of what to say. He let you stew like that for a moment, then tugged you a little closer, shifted you so that you were facing him, and then kissed you on the lips.

“At least it was Fred,” he said once he was finished. “I would never have been able to forgive you if it were Ron.”

“Excuse me,” Fred piped up. “What are you doing, snogging the girl that I just finished snogging? Did you ever consider how it must feel to be the third wheel?”

“Well, I suppose we could share her for the rest of the evening, but seeing as how I’m the one without an ear, I think–”

Hem, hem.”

With a start, the three of you looked wildly around, clearly wondering whose bright idea it was to invite Umbridge to Bill and Fleur’s wedding. But it was just Ginny, peeking in from outside the marquee and looking straight at you with her eyebrows raised.

“If you lot don’t mind having an orgy elsewhere, people are staring.” You didn’t have to look to feel the eyes on you, and your blush climbed even higher. Your fingers contracted around George’s shoulder. “Besides, we can’t start the ceremony with you standing in the aisle.”

“Right you are, Ginny,” said Fred, and moved past you and George and down another row of chairs. After a broad grin and a wink at his sister, George wrapped his hand around one of yours and led you after him. Sure enough, no sooner had the three of you cleared away than did the music start. A few of the adults grimaced at you as you walked by them, causing you to cringe into George’s back.

“This is the worst wedding I’ve ever been to,” you whispered. He grinned as you sat down in the seat next to your father, who was shaking his head with his eyes glued to the ceiling, and then sat down on your other side. As Mrs. Weasley and Madam Delacour walked through the crowd to general applause, he took your hand and gave it a squeeze.

“Not to worry, [Name],” he said in an undertone. “There’s still plenty of wedding left in which to embarrass yourself.”

“Thanks,” you said. “I think.”

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