A/N: It should be noted, that my feelings towards Valentines day are nearly identical to Hermione's as written here, and I do appologize for how early this is, but after purchasing a card for my own personal Fred, just like the one mentioned in the story (minus the magic), I was suddenly inspired. A bit more fluff for everyone!
"What is this?" her confused words echoed off of the walls of the empty kitchen of Grimmauld place, and the red-head couldn't help but smirk slightly. She had just come home for a quick lunch when she found the offensive package on the table, clearly labeled for her.
"Hermione Granger, 'brightest witch of her age', and you don't know what that is?" He teased, causing her to jump slightly.
"What are you doing here?" she asked suspiciously.
"I'm grabbing lunch with Ron—or was supposed to be. Looks like he forgot again, surprise surprise," he explained. "So back to the question at hand, do you honestly not know what that is?"
She swatted him lightly on the arm and then directed her attention back to the box in question. Holding the small box at arm's length, she eyed it carefully. "Of course I know what it is, Fred. But why is it here, with me?"
He just shook his head, she really had no idea. "Hermione, it's quite obviously a Valentine. Perhaps if you open it you will know who it's from, and why it's here."
She stared at the box as if it was offensive, and then set it on the table in front of her. Waving her wand over it gently, she frowned, "Well it doesn't appear to be jinxed…" she muttered suspiciously.
Fred took a heavy seat and rolled his eyes, "Just open it, Hermione."
"Now Fred, you know one can't be too careful these days. Sure, the war is over, but that doesn't mean that there isn't anyone left who would just love to send me a cursed box of chocolates," she lectured, "You really should be more careful yourself, you're fairly well known and desired. Who knows how many crazed witches could be sending you enchanted cards and poisoned chocolates."
"I know Hermione, I know," he sighed, completely exasperated. "But you've checked it now, haven't you? It's safe. So why don't you open it."
She blushed darkly, "I don't know Fred, it could still be pranked—you of all people should know that. Weren't you the one who turned my hair green in my fourth year? Just from one ruddy chocolate."
He laughed lightly, "Well if you had eaten more than one you could have had your choice of colors. Green, blue, purple, even Weasely red—couldn't skip that one."
"Brilliance of the invention aside, that was really quite terrible of you, Fred. There I was, fourteen years old, thinking that in a bout of insanity some poor male was showing interest in me, and instead I ended up with Green hair for a week."
Fred's face softened a bit, "I am sorry about that, Granger. We really didn't mean anything by it. We sent some to Ginny too, she just knew us too well at that point. Though I do like to think we've grown out of our whole 'hair prank' phase."
She nodded slightly, still considering the box before her, "Why would someone send me a Valentine?" she asked quietly.
Fred stared at his feet awkwardly, "Don't be so hard on yourself, Mione. You aren't a painful bird to look at you know, in fact, some people would say you're rather attractive… and your smart, and funny. I'm sure there are any number of guys who would want to beguile your heart."
She smiled at him and nudged his shoulder slightly, "Thank you Fred, but that isn't quite what I meant. I just—I thought it was pretty common knowledge how I feel about Valentine's day."
Fred looked at her questioningly, "Which is…?"
"Well it's rubbish, isn't it? One day a year where some poor bloke is expected to spend double the usual amount on some frivolous and thoughtless gift, simply to please an undoubtedly high maintenance woman? I can't understand why any woman would like that. I would much rather receive flowers on say, June 3rd, than on Valentine's. On June 3rd, at least I know he's doing it because he wants to, not because of some societal necessity. It's all just silly, don't you think?"
Fred rubbed his neck awkwardly, "I suppose you're right," he coughed. "Though I imagine if someone sent you that box, they couldn't have known how you felt."
She just laughed, "Well then they don't know me all that well at all, do they?"
"No—No I suppose not. Perhaps you should just get rid of it then."
She thought over it for a moment, and he seriously considered disapparating right then, but then she sighed. "No, I'll open it. I'm sure they probably meant well, even if they are doomed, and I'm quite curious."
"No, Hermione, really," he muttered quickly, "You should just toss them. Isn't your lunch break nearly up anyways?"
She just looked at him oddly as she slowly tore the paper from the box, and lifted the lid. Inside she found a dozen chocolates, filled with a variety of confectionery deliciousness—but that wasn't what made them special. Each chocolate was the shape of a book, with a different title inscribed on it. Hermione let out a soft gasp, as her eyes quickly scanned the names of many of her favorite books.
Fred had his face partially covered by his hands at this point, carefully watching the witch in question as she smiled lightly at the box. He couldn't tell if she liked them, or was simply amused by the stupidity of Valentine's day.
"This is amazing," she whispered slowly, "They may not have known about Valentine's day, but they certainly know the books I like… oh, you don't think they could be a stalker, do you Fred?"
He laughed slightly, "I'm sure they're not, Hermione. And if they are…well I'm sure they're the friendly harmless kind." Her eyebrows furrowed, as she dismissed his comment entirely. She found the envelope which was in the box, and carefully opened it, still mindful of possible curses or pranks, but what she found was neither.
A beautiful card was inside, with a magically drawn picture of an otter—her otter patronus, to be exact. It flipped and rolled around the cover of the card, occasionally diving inside of it, only to peak its head back around, as if to check if she would follow. She smiled delightedly at it as she opened the card, "Hope your Valentine's Day is Otterly Perfect," she read aloud with a chuckle, "Love…." Her eyes widened, and Fred felt his face heating up.
"Really Hermione, you should have been a bit more obvious about your disdain for the whole holiday—twelve years of friendship, and I never caught on to that," he said, attempting to keep the nervousness out of his voice, "Also, you should tell people when you plan on stopping home for lunch—it helps them avoid situations such as this. I could have been long gone before you ever saw this package—avoiding this entire bit of embarrassment."
"I probably wouldn't have opened it without your convincing…" she said quietly, still staring at the card with careful eyes.
"True, very true," Fred said with a bit too much cheer in his voice as he hopped to his feet, "Well I ought to be going, lots to do today, as you know. Busy day for the shop—lots of Hair chocolates to sell and whatnot."
"Fred will you just wait a moment," Hermione said, glancing up at him with a slight smirk. "I swear, this is the first time you've ever been afraid of me. And that includes after the hair incident…"
He laughed nervously, "Sorry."
"Fred—what is this? I mean, it's lovely, really it is, but I don't understand."
"Hermione, it's a Valentine," he said smiling nervously again, "As much as you apparently hate them, something I really wish I had picked up on earlier, I'm sure you know the point of them, overall."
She just shook her head lightly, "Fred, this isn't a Valentine. Valentines are tacky, and cliché. They're thoughtless… this—this is something else entirely. Did you invent these chocolates?" she asked with a smile.
He nodded, his face embarrassingly red.
"That is brilliant, Fred. I mean really brilliant and beautiful magic. Not that I should be surprised, your magic is always brilliant, it's just usually not created with such lovely intentions," she beamed as she looked at the chocolates, and towards the card, "And this is simply beautiful, and funny—in that stupid word play sort of way that I love. And it's so…so personal! Valentines are never this personal."
Fred laughed, "Hermione, I'm glad you like it, really I am—but is there any chance you could end the complete emotional torment which you're currently putting me through and tell me what you really think?"
Hermione blushed deeply, "Well I thought that much was obvious, Fred. I think you're a complete stalker, and probably insane," she said with a laugh, "But I'm also ridiculously flattered, and would love it if you would have dinner with me this evening, if you're available."
Fred looked up from his hands, his usual grin back in place, "Really Hermione? Dinner on Valentine's Day, isn't that a bit overdone?"
She laughed charmingly, "Completely, but I'm certainly not going to let some silly holiday get in the way of a good date, now am I?"
"Certainly not," he smiled.
It was nearly four months later when Hermione found herself tripping out of the flu at exactly 12:02 in the afternoon. While she still generally preferred to eat lunch at work, unless she had some other engagement, today she just wanted some quiet so she had flooed home.
Dusting off her robes, she found her eyes drawn to the kitchen table, and her eyebrows rose comically. In the middle of the table sat a vase full of several dozen roses, in a whole variety of shades. They were unquestioningly beautiful, but she had no idea how they had gotten there.
Noticing a small envelope sitting next to the vase, she stepped forward carefully, still wary of unexpected gifts.
Opening the envelope she found a simple note card, and she couldn't contain the burst of laughter which she let loose upon reading the card.
"Happy June 3rd," it read, "Love, Fred."
I hope you enjoyed! Please review, if you have the time. I would love to know what you think!