Thanks to Daily Prophet Reporting, for all his help and corrections.
Hope you all enjoy this humorous side trip!
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Ron heard George’s voice in the fireplace and he came out from the kitchen to answer him. Mum was out – she was helping over at Penelope’s place. Getting Penny adjusted to the new baby, Arthur Percival, was proving difficult. Ron and Hermione had gone over to visit a few days ago, and when they arrived, they found Penny rocking Arthur in her chair, both of them bawling. Ron gave a little shiver. He couldn’t imagine losing Hermione. It would kill him. Penny was so strong, but seeing little Arthur, with his father’s eyes and hair, was hard on her.
“What is it, George?” Ron asked. “She’s over at Penny’s.”
“Oh,” George said. “Well…have you seen Fred?”
“What?” Ron furrowed his brows in confusion.
“Have you seen Fred? I thought it was a simple question.”
“No, I haven’t. Why?”
“Well, he and Angelina were going out yesterday, and I haven’t seen him since. I mean, that’s not all that uncommon, but I did need him to cover the store for me. I’ve got to do the banking today.”
Ron shrugged. “Well, they haven’t shown up here, but if I see him, I’ll tell him you’re looking for him.”
“Sounds good, thanks Ron.”
“Oh wait,” Ron called as George prepared to break the connection. “Mum’s planning a family dinner tomorrow night – she was going to call you later anyway. It’s just a little get together, mainly to get Penny out of her flat for a while. Harry’s going to be here, and Hermione’s coming down from Hogwarts for the evening. Bill’s in town on business and will be here as well. When you see Fred, tell him to bring Angelina.”
“Will do. Thanks!”
George disappeared and Ron went back to busying himself with addressing envelopes. He and Hermione had finally decided on a new date for their wedding. Halloween was a perfect day. It was a Saturday, which meant Hermione wouldn’t be working. The new invitations had to go out quickly, however, and he busied himself with his assigned stack.
I wonder where Fred and Angelina have wandered off to, Ron asked himself as he took up his quill.
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There was still no word from Fred and Angelina by the next night at dinner. Even George was beginning to be a little concerned. Mrs. Weasley would have been beside herself if the point of the evening hadn’t been to cheer up Penny.
“So, how is the wedding planning coming, Ron?” Mr. Weasley asked, passing the potatoes and desperately trying to make conversation that would distract Molly from fretting about Fred.
“Well,” Ron began, “we’re working on the invitations….”
Suddenly, with a loud double pop, Fred and Angelina stood in the kitchen at the Burrow. Everyone turned to stare.
Fred was wearing a disheveled Muggle suit jacket with his tie hanging undone. Angelina had on a skirt and blouse, and in her hair was a hoop with white lace draped down from it. It looked very much like a cheap wedding veil. They were grinning from ear to ear.
“Fred! Where the bloody hell have you been?” George roared, jumping up.
“America,” Fred replied, laughing and giving his brother a hug.
“America?” several voices chorused.
“What were you doing there?”
“We went to Las Vegas,” Angelina said. Beside Ron, Hermione gave a little squeak.
“What?” Ron asked, turning to Hermione.
“Well,” Hermione said, blushing, “when young couples disappear suddenly and say they’re going to Las Vegas, they usually mean…well… You didn’t, did you?” Hermione addressed her question to Fred and Angelina, who nodded enthusiastically.
“Mean what?” Mrs. Weasley asked. “What do they do in Las Vegas?”
“Elope,” Hermione said weakly.
“Elope?” George, Harry, and Mr. Weasley hollered.
“You got married?” Penny asked.
“Fred?” Molly was stunned.
“Yep!” Fred’s grin threatened to split his face if it got any wider. “We got married by a Muggle dressed up as Elvis.”
“What?” Harry crowed. “You got married by an Elvis impersonator?”
“Who’s Elvis?” George asked his brother.
“I don’t know,” Fred admitted, shrugging. “But we sure thought it was funny.”
“Is it…legal?” Mr. Weasley asked tentatively.
“Oh, sure thing, Dad,” Fred said. “I’ve got the certificate to prove it.”
“I don’t believe this,” Mrs. Weasley said. “You got married? Without telling any of us?”
Fred cringed. This was a live-and-in-person Howler waiting to happen.
“Well, we were out couple of nights ago, and we just decided, ‘Let’s do it.’ It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.”
Bill, who had thus far remained silent, suddenly broke out laughing. Everyone turned to him.
“It make sense,” he laughed. “When have the two of them ever done anything conventionally? Of course he had to elope. This one,” he said, punching George lightly in the arm as he stood up, “will probably do it too.” He grabbed Fred and gave him a hug. “Congratulations, little bro.” He kissed Angelina on the cheek. “Don’t know what you see in him, but welcome to the family anyway.”
It broke the ice, and soon everyone was exchanging hugs and congratulations. Even Molly just ended up shaking her head at the two newlyweds.
“I’m very pleased and proud for both of you,” she said. “Welcome to the family, Angelina dear,” she said.
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.”
“Oh, posh, call me Molly.”
Angelina only smiled. Hermione could sympathize. She wasn’t quite ready to do that either, despite Molly’s invitation.
“Oh, and here’s the best part!” Fred announced, pulling out a bag. “We brought you all presents from America!” He rummaged in the bag. “Let me see here. Now, the Muggles in Las Vegas like to build their casinos with some kind of theme, so the wizards have done the same thing. You’ll appreciate this Bill. We stayed in a place called the Sphinx. It was even built to look like a Sphinx.” Fred drew out a small statue of a Sphinx. It had a fountain in front with real running water and trees around it. The lights inside the windows blinked on and off. “For Mum,” he said, handing the little model of their hotel over.
“Why, um, thank you,” Molly said, eyeing the model warily. “I’ll put it on the mantle.”
Fred grinned. “It’s okay, Mum, we also brought you back this.” He pulled out a book entitled: Cocina Mágica: Southwestern Specialties, Like Magic! “Thought you might enjoy flipping through the recipes.”
“Thank you!” Molly said, relieved and truly thankful. “I do love a good cookbook.”
“For Dad.” Fred drew a small object out of his bag. “Angelina, will you do the honors?”
Angelina drew her wand and pointed it at the object. “Finite Incantatem,” she said.
The small object soon was a large object – a riot of color and lights with a big bell on top.
“What is it?” Mr. Weasley asked, fascinated.
“It’s a slot machine!” Hermione exclaimed. Fred nodded.
“We figured, what better thing to bring for Dad than something from a Muggle casino? See, you put the coin in, then pull the arm down, and if the three pictures in the window match a certain combination, you win money. Muggles lose fortunes to these things.”
“Where did you get it?” Harry asked.
“Oh, we nicked it.”
“You what?” Penny’s eyes widened in shock.
“You stole a slot machine?” Hermione was likewise scandalized.
“Way to go!” George said, giving his brother a high five.
“The casino we were in had hundreds of them. We explored the Strip when we went into downtown Las Vegas to get married. When no one was looking, Angelina put a Shrinking Charm on one that was close to the end of a row, and I pocketed it. They’ll never notice.”
Hermione was examining the slot machine. “Property of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.”
Fred shrugged. “They had tons of ’em. Something new for you to play with Dad.”
Mr. Weasley’s eyes had lit up like a child’s at Christmas, and everyone was sure he’d missed the entire conversation concerning the less-than-legal origins of his gift.
Molly looked as if she were on the verge of exploding. She opened her mouth but made no sound as she looked back and forth between Fred, Angelina and her husband, who was entranced by his new toy. They were all so happy. Finally, she closed her mouth and threw up her hands in exasperation. “You’ll be hearing about this later, Fredrick Weasley.”
“Sure thing, Mum,” Fred said with a grin as he resumed rummaging through his bag, obviously keen to change the subject.
“Let’s see, for Ron,” Fred mumbled, and after a few seconds he pulled out a stack of photos. “Some souvenir photographs,” he chuckled. Angelina was glaring at him. “Took ’em myself Ron, though my lovely bride here got a little bent out of shape.”
Ron took the photographs. They were wizard photos of barely dressed women dancing.
“Showgirls!” Hermione glared at Fred. “You brought back pictures of Las Vegas showgirls for Ron?”
“And here, Hermione,” Fred said quickly, “a book: Las Vegas: A History.”
Hermione was still glaring at him as Harry and Ron laughed heartily.
“Don’t worry Hermione, I’ll make him pay for it,” Angelina said. “Besides,” she said, grinning conspiratorially, “while he was busy at his show, I found a good place to take some pictures of my own, which I’ll give to Ginny.” Angelina winked.
“Hey! Don’t you go poisoning my baby sister!” Fred said. “Besides, that’d only work if it was pictures of Harry you were taking.”
Harry blushed to his toes.
“Come off it, Fred,” Bill said. “Don’t embarrass either of them. You know what will happen to you if she hears about it.”
Fred paled a little bit at Bill’s comment.
“She’s not seeing anyone right now, right?” Angelina asked Hermione. Hermione shook her head.
“Doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be,” Ron muttered, a little louder than he should have because Harry shot him a sharp glance.
“Let’s see…oh, speaking of Harry, here you go mate. Found it in the hotel gift shop.”
Fred tossed Harry a t-shirt, which read: Co-ed Naked Quidditch: Ever scored on a broom?
“Fredrick Jonathon Weasley!” Molly roared, scandalized. “What kind of gift is that?”
“A funny one, Mum,” George chuckled, coming to his twin’s defense. “Hell of a shirt, Harry.”
“Something I can wear playing Quidditch,” Harry said, grinning. “I’d wear it on my morning run, but I think it would attract too much attention in my neighborhood.” Harry had rented a flat in a Muggle neighborhood outside London.
“They’re all the rage in the States, apparently. Muggles have them too, for their own sports and things.” Fred reached back in the bag. “T-shirt for you too, George.”
George held up his shirt. My Brother got married in Las Vegas and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Everyone had a good laugh as George gave his twin a smack across the back of the head.
“Got some stuff to try in the store, too,” Fred continued, “but we can experiment with that later.” Fred paused, and reached into the bag again. “Now, let’s see. Wasn’t expecting to see you Bill, but we do have something for you. Ah, yes.”
Fred drew out a box and held it out. Bill opened it up and pulled out an earring made out of a poker chip. Everyone except Molly had a good laugh. “I like it,” Bill said. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” Angelina said, smiling. “And for Penny and Arthur.” She pulled out a little baby jumper that had “I love Las Vegas” written on the front of it.
“Oh!” Penny smiled. “It’s so cute! He’ll look great in it. Thank you.”
“Oh, no problem,” Fred said, waving it off. “So, we just wanted to let you know,” he said.
“Well, you really gave us a shock,” Molly said. “I still can’t believe you didn’t tell us! Fred, how could you…?”
“Molly,” Arthur said firmly, “not now.” Arthur favored Fred and Angelina with a smile. “We’re very pleased for you,” he said.
“Yeah,” Harry said. “You managed to steal your brother’s thunder. Something to distract us temporarily from the Weasley-Granger follies.”
Fred, George, and Bill all laughed, while Hermione glared at Harry.
“Oh, come off it, luv,” Ron said, patting Hermione on her shoulder. “It’s all in good fun. And Harry’s right, this is something to celebrate.”
“Indeed!” Mr. Weasley said. “I think this calls for a drink!” He waved his wand and a bottle of firewiskey came soaring in from the living room. He began pouring drinks.
“So, what was America like?” Ron asked.
“Well, Las Vegas is in the middle of the desert,” Angelina said.
“So there’s not much else to see, besides the casinos and the showgirls,” Fred admitted.
“There was an advertisement for the hotel in the window of the travel agency in Diagon Alley, and the whole thing just came together. We used the international Floo connection at the Leaky Cauldron. The wizarding community is up in the hills, a little ways away from Muggle Las Vegas, but they’ve created an Apparition point in an abandoned casino. We went downtown, found a 24-hour wedding chapel, and got married by an Elvis impersonator. We spent the next day or so just trolling around the Strip and picking up souvenirs. It was a blast. We saw a bunch of famous Muggles singing, but I can’t remember any of their names.”
“Yeah,” Fred said, “it wasn’t really all that memorable in terms of the entertainment, but we had a blast. We had some Galleons changed over to Muggle money. We played the slot machines and gambled a little at the tables. We had a great time.”
“Well, congratulations,” Penny said. “You guys are very lucky.”
“We know,” Angelina said, smiling.
“Yeah, and we’re sorry for running out on all of you,” Fred admitted. “I feel kind of bad about that.”
“Yeah, we’re sorry if we worried anybody. That’s why we came back so soon. We would have stayed longer, but we were concerned.”
“I was starting to get worried,” George admitted. “But mainly because I didn’t have anyone to help with the store.” Everyone laughed. “Don’t worry, though, I’ll get it out of you somehow.”
“So, where are you going to live?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Well,” Fred admitted, “we haven’t figured that part out yet. For now, we were wondering if we could stay here in my old room until we can make some renovations to the rooms above the store.”
George nodded. “That makes sense.”
“You can stay here, of course, Fred,” Molly said, shaking her head. “I still can’t believe you did this.”
“Neither can we,” Fred offered. “Well,” he said, looking at Angelina, “we have to go visit Angelina’s parents before we come back here for the evening.”
“You haven’t been there yet?”
“No, we thought we’d start here,” Angelina said. “Fred’s a little nervous.”
“You told us first?” Molly sniffed. “How sweet.” She gave Fred a final hug. “Go on now, get going. I’ll have some dinner waiting for you when you get back.”
“Thanks, Mum,” Fred said, smiling. With a pop, they Disaparated.
“Well,” Mr. Weasley said, after a pause. “Would someone please pass the roast beef?”