April's Fools by WeasleyForMe and Clover Bay
This is a re-posting of a story I wrote with Clover Bay in 2010.
Fred thinks back to his favorite birthday ever. Fred/Hermione
Pairing: Fred and Hermione
Prompts: a prank, fizzing whizbees, books
Quote: "Move, or I will move you myself, and it won't be pretty!"
Theme: April Fools Day
One evening after closing Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Fred and George sat behind their matching desks with equally messy stacks of invoices, parchments, and order requests. It had been another successful day, raking in the galleons from the influx of Hogwarts students enjoying their winter break. While the twins could hardly be considered 'neat', their office was usually more organized than at present. They simply couldn't keep up without postponing their paperwork until after closing time.
George sighed as he looked for a place to rest his elbows on his overflowing desk. It seemed even the stacks of papers had spawned smaller piles of their own. Somewhere underneath it all was a desk calendar- at least there was the last time he could see the wood grain of the desk. "How could this happen?" he muttered.
"Hmm?" Fred asked without actually being able to see his twin. He continued to search the top drawer of his desk for the magenta bottle of ink he needed to sign the payroll checks as George continued.
"Ol' McGonagall would have herself a right tantrum if she saw how disorganized this place was," came the muffled voice of George as he spoke through the clutter.
Identical looks of nostalgia crossed their faces as they remembered their favorite, and long-since retired, professor from Hogwarts. Most people knew of her prowess in the area of Transfiguration or her staunch support of anything Gryffindor. But the twins, having served more detentions in her office than any other students since the Marauders, saw firsthand how meticulous she had been with the paperwork she was assigned. They had often wondered if Percy hadn't learned the finer points of paper-pushing long before he joined the Ministry as a Hogwarts Prefect working with McGonagall.
Grinning, Fred nodded in agreement. "Never could get anything past her. I think she even had our detention slips filled out before the train left from platform nine and three quarters."
"Boys, why wasn't this assignment turned in yesterday?" George mimicked their former professor's voice as he tried to clear a space to work.
"Gentlemen, you have to request the Quidditch pitch using the forms Madam Hooch gave you," Fred added in an uncanny likeness of her.
For a while, both worked quietly, hoping to finish in time to have dinner at a decent hour. Fred dipped his quill into the full ink well, signing his own paycheck with a bright pink flourish before continuing on to George's, Verity's and the others. As he set the checks aside to dry, his attention was drawn to the picture sitting safely on the bookshelf to the right of his desk. Younger versions of himself, George, Ron, Harry, Hermione, and their friends waved back at him as they posed for the camera. Professor McGonagall stood straight-backed at the end of the row of students and adjusted her glasses as she waited for the photograph to be taken.
Turning the picture toward his now visible twin, Fred spoke again, "It served her well - McGonagall that it is - that she was so meticulous. Us, too, for that matter. Remember that time she pulled one over on Umbridge?"
"Yeah, classic, that was . . . .
Traditionally, the OWL and NEWT students in each house spent the Saturday before Easter break touring the British Magical Museum. If any of the professors had been asked, they would have said that the goal was to teach students about the significance of the magical world in the political, social, and cultural context. Students, though, saw the trip as an opportunity to get away from the infernal lectures and studying for their exams.
This year, Umbridge managed to keep three of the four houses from participating by passing Educational Decree number one-hundred twelve. When the Professors Snape, Sprout, and Flitwick petitioned for their students to be allowed to go, they were turned down almost before the requests could leave their lips. Professor McGonagall, as was her routine, filed permission requests with both Dumbledore and the Ministry when last years' students returned. With so many demands on her time, she simply found it easier to fill out the paperwork as soon as they returned to the castle. The other professors often joked with her about this meticulous behavior. This year they were all wishing they had followed her lead. With the Ministry's approval for the students to venture into magical Britain, Umbridge had no authority in the matter.
The fifth and seventh year Gryffindors had never been happier to have the strict, rule-abiding, over-achieving head-of-house than they were at that moment. Professor McGonagall had just posted the latest announcement in the common room when cheers erupted from the upper years' students. The annual British Magical Museum field trip had somehow survived Umbridge's purge of all things fun at Hogwarts. Rumors had been flying that the trip had supposedly been canceled, which didn't surprise them considering the number of educational decrees that had been passed in the last few months; it was, though, disheartening that one of the few opportunities to get away from classes and the castle was in jeopardy.
They crowded onto the Day Bus, a magical transport much like its predecessor the Knight Bus but traveled at a more sedate pace. The professors preferred it for many reasons, namely because the ride was much smoother and more predictable.
Fred, George, and Lee Jordan tried to squeeze into one of the two-person seats, mostly to aggravate Professor McGonagall but also to discuss their ever-evolving plans to start their own joke shop, before she separated them. Fortunately she left the twins sitting together. They had given her their most innocent expression, which was quite convincing for them, and reasoned that since it was their birthday they couldn't be separated.
A few seats behind and to the right of the twins, Harry, Ron, and Hermione faced a similar dilemma; Hermione, of course, ended up as the odd person out and found herself sitting with the oh-so-pleasant Eloise Midgen. She had the personality of Hagrid's blast-ended skrewts, and the hygiene of one, too. The only good thing about Hermione's seat assignment was that she had the chair next to the aisle.
Fred started to get bored as the bus lumbered toward the museum. Why, he wondered, would they take so many hours on a bus when they could portkey? Oh, yeah, to stay away from Umbridge longer. But, he needed to stretch his legs.
He caught sight of an equally bored Hermione as he was walking between the rows of chairs so he decided to drop a decoy detonator out of his pocket onto the floor beneath her feet. Just as the device began to squeal and run around her feet, she shot up and into his arms as he laughed mightily.
"Fred, why can't you act your age?!" Hermione hissed as the twin held her against his laughing form. "Let go of me. I wish to move to a seat much further away from yours." She tried to pull herself out of his grasp as she stomped on the screeching detonator.
"For my own entertainment, I think you should stay close by," he told her with a wink, releasing her small form and blocking her way from relocating. "Besides, I like the way your nose scrunches up when you get angry. It's cute." Fred threw that last but out, knowing how very much it would irritate the girl. He also happened to mean every word of it.
"Move, or I will move you myself, and it won't be pretty!" Hermione threatened as her cheeks flushed a bright red. Really, the audacity of Fred! If he kept up his nonsense, she would never make it back to school without a round of detentions for exhibiting rude manners.
"But Hermione, it's my birthday," Fred whimpered with a frown. Hermione just rolled her eyes and plopped back into her seat next to Eloise. The warning glare from McGonagall was enough to cut her argument with Fred short.
"Happy birthday," Hermione muttered as Fred took his seat once more.
He was giving her that look again. All day long at the museum Fred had been spying on Hermione out of the corner of his eye, and she was expecting a prank at every turn. After he had managed to cover her in green fuzz while she tried to look at an exhibit of original issue wands of former Ministers of Magic, she started to wonder why he was so focused on her. Fred could have pranked any of the other girls just as easily. And why was he looking at her again as he whispered to George?!
Hermione braced herself as George pushed his twin in her direction with a smirk. "What is it now, Fred?" she asked through gritted teeth, hoping she wouldn't have to remove any fuzz, slime or other assorted, unwanted items from her person.
"I wanted to apologize for irritating you all day."
Hermione looked at him as if he were speaking Mermish. "Come again?
"It's just that I realized that I wanted something special from you for my birthday and I don't really know how to get it."
"You want something from me?"
"Yes," Fred replied with a brilliant smile.
"What might that be?" she asked very cautiously.
Puzzled, Hermione considered his words. Fred wanted her to kiss him? While it sounded like a pretty nice idea to Hermione, this had to be another prank. "Grow up, Fred!" she groaned as she pushed past him and tried to find her friends. She never saw the discouraged look on his face.
"It will never work!" Fred told his twin and Lee for the fifth time as they all loaded back onto the Day Bus. "Hermione will never fall for it, and she definitely doesn't want to kiss me."
"Sure it will," George promised his twin before raising his voice above the noise of the students. "Professor McGonagall?" he called ever so innocently to their chaperone. "Professor, I don't think it's safe for Fred to be sitting in this two-person seat with Lee and I."
Professor McGonagall eyed the three boys carefully. "Fine. Mr. Weasley, please take this empty seat next to Miss Granger so we can depart."
Fred hastily dropped into the aisle seat next to Hermione as he sent a look of gratitude to George.
Hermione tried to ignore him to her best ability as the bus jerked forward, but she could feel his eyes on her once more. "You've been looking at me all day, Fred. Why?"
He shrugged. "Blokes like looking at pretty girls," he told her casually.
Hermione examined his face and found no hint of sarcasm. She carefully pulled something out of her coat pocket. "I got you a birthday present."
Fred held out his hands as she shook a small snow globe and set it in his palm. In the background behind all of the snow, Fred could see a Gryffindor class photo that had been taken earlier that day. All of the students were facing forward smiling. All of the students except for him; he was busy stealing glances at Hermione.
"Thanks, Hermione," he whispered as he shook the globe. Of course this wasn't what he had wanted from her, and it would only serve to remind him of this fact, but it was sweet nonetheless.
Just as the bus rounded a bend, Fred turned to face Hermione, and she startled him as she lifted a hand to his cheek and guided her lips toward his.
"Happy birthday," she whispered, blushing as her lips met his in the softest of kisses before separating once more. Fred managed to lean in and steal a few more kisses from her before she started smiling and pushing him away. "Fred…"
"No pranks, I swear!" he promised, telling her jokes and stealing the occasional kiss as they rode back to Hogwarts.
"You know, that was one of our best birthdays," Fred said as he returned the snow globe to the bookshelf next to the remains of the decoy detonator that Hermione has stomped on and a family photo that had been taken after the final battle.
George scoffed in reply, "Maybe for you, but I got stuck sitting with Eloise Midgen for half of the trip back to Hogwarts. McGonagall made me move seats as a punishment for throwing a fizzing whizbee at Ron." He shook his head in disbelief at his fortune. "Do you remember Eloise Midgen?" He cringed as Fred laughed at his discomfort.
Seeing his mementos lined up along the bookshelf had him combing through his desk to find his favorite picture, the one of him twirling his bride around as they danced at their wedding. Hermione smiled at him from the photo as she danced. With a startling thought, he asked, "Hey Forge, what time is it?"
A similar rustling sound came from George's desk as he searched for the clock that usually stood in the front of his work space. "About a quarter after seven."
"What?!" Fred yelped. "Mione'll kill me if I'm late for dinner again. See ya in the morning."
George just shook his head, ginger falling into his eyes as he watched Fred leave with the pop of apparition. Honestly, he thought, how could someone be so hen-pecked as to abandon his own twin?
He chuckled to himself as he turned out the lights and prepared to leave; after all, he wasn't foolish enough to leave Katie waiting either.
Thanks for reading!