It all started, you see, with ginger roots.
The entire ordeal was quick and subtle and it went unnoticed by everyone but him, and perhaps it was too miniscule to bear any real meaning, but George saw the exchange and immediately recognized it as an untapped fountain of potential.
A homemade beautification potion is in fact to blame, but the ginger roots – which had been chopped, rather than crushed to a fine powder as the potion calls for – is what caused the drastic change in the potion, which Lavender Brown didn't notice until after the potion had already been applied and she'd developed the odd and unprecedented side effect of pus-filled warts on her face.
As she rushed out of the common room, high-pitched sobs escaping her, Fred let out a low whistle. Snickering, Lee said, "D'you think 'ugliness' is a good enough excuse to get her out of class?"
Hermione turned the page of her book idly, not missing a beat when she said, "I don't see why. It doesn't get her out of class any other day of the week."
Fred laughed heartily. "Good one, Granger," He commented. He and Hermione exchanged smirks, their eyes locking for a brief moment.
George eyed his twin with a hidden smile. Witnessing that small interaction is what sparked the concept, and as George turned the idea over in his mind, his small smile grew to a smirk.
Prefect Granger and Prankster Weasley. Interesting.
The catalyst was a slice of pie.
Fred reached for the last slice of pie, having already eaten two, and Hermione piped up from across the room - "Is there any pie left?"
George expected his twin to shovel the pie into his mouth twice as quickly now, savoring the taste, made sweeter by its enviability, but Fred did something instead that shocked his twin thoroughly.
"Here you go, Hermione," Fred passed her the plate – he even grabbed her a clean fork – and there they were again. The smiles.
George leaned back in his chair, allowing his idea to inflate ever so slightly. Running his fingers across the stubble on his chin, he nodded slowly to himself.
"I don't know if I should trust you."
Fred was joking, of course, but George gaped at him as if taken aback. "I'm wounded." He told his twin. "Please go. You'll be doing me a favor!"
Chuckling, Fred turned back to the potion they were brewing. "I dunno," He said over his shoulder. "I've never been on a blind date before. It just sounds like it'd be so awkward."
George pursed his lips in exasperation. He'd been spending the majority of the afternoon trying to convince his twin to go along with his plan – and while this was the first (and hopefully last) plan he'd ever enacted without Fred's assistance, George was certain that, if everything happened accordingly, Fred would thank him someday.
At his wedding, for example.
It wasn't until after dinner that the two escaped to their room to brainstorm new products that George really got his chance to fully utilize his never-failing, always-persuasive charisma skills.
"I'm telling you," he said, "you'll love her." Hesitantly, he added, "She's – ah, a friend of Ginny's."
Fred gave him an amused look. "All right..." he said finally. "But I'm only doing this as a favor to you!"
George turned away to hide his successful grin. Under his breath, he muttered, "So am I."
"I don't know if I should trust you."
George dropped his face into his hands, groaning loudly.
Hermione laughed. "Well – is this dreamy guy going to turn into hundreds of Blast-Ended Skrewts halfway through dinner?"
"You'll be doing me a big favor." He insisted pleadingly.
She lowered her book and looked at the redhead doubtfully. "It just sounds so awkward..." She said. "I've never been on a blind date before..."
"You went out with Krum. You can't tell me you went on that date without any visual impairments..." He was cut off when she smacked him over the head with her book.
George held up his hands in surrender. "I'm sorry! Listen, Granger – you'll love him. I promise."
Hermione sighed. "Fine. Friday night, you said?"
George grinned, giving himself a fist bump behind his back since Fred wasn't there to oblige. "Fortescue's. Six-thirty. Wear something hot!"
He managed to duck her swing the second time, but only barely.
Hermione stepped into Fortescue's, smiling warmly at a family that was seated by the door. Her stomach shivered slightly as she scanned the shop; she hadn't expected to be so excited, so nervous, but it had been a long time since she went on a real date, so she'd worn her favorite sweater, and she'd even had Ginny help her with her makeup.
Aside from the family by the door and a couple in the farthest corner who were sharing a sundae, the only other person in the shop was someone she knew all too well.
"Fred, what are you doing here?"
Fred, who'd been staring at his hands, jumped when she spoke. "Oh, hiya, Hermione," He said easily. "I'm just waiting for someone."
She nodded, letting out a nervous laugh. "I'm meeting someone here. As a favor to George, actually," She added as an afterthought.
Amusement and disbelief dawned slowly onto Fred's features. Chuckling suddenly, he said, "Did George ask you to go on a blind date as a favor to him?"
Hermione's mouth fell open. "I – oh," she squeaked. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize..."
"Neither did I." Fred stood. She prayed that her face didn't look as red as it felt as she turned to leave, but to her surprise, Fred pulled out a chair for her.
"So, love," he said, giving her that smile, "Chocolate or strawberry?"
After only half a moment's hesitation, she took the seat with a grin.
It was a hesitant kiss, preceded by laughter. The kind that flips stomachs and flushes you all the way to the tips of your toes, that leaves you wanting more. The kind that is only parted with a smile.
George regarded it from across the street with a satisfied smile, already beginning to plan the second date. As Fred and Hermione continued walking, now hand in hand, George figured it was safe to Apparate home.
The infamous joker and the bossy bookworm. Very interesting indeed.