She was lugging the last of her crates up to her dorm room from her reliable Volvo. The dorm didn't have an elevator, which would have been fine except she had been up and down the stairs about ten times, and she was on the fourth floor in Room 417.
As she kicked her foot out to catch the stairwell door that was slamming shut, she considered that she probably should have let her father drive her to school like he had wanted.
She just didn't think she could handle him getting weepy on her again. So, she had told him that it was fine, and she could handle it. She had assured him that she would call when she got there, right before pulling out of the driveway and seeing him in her rearview with tears in his eyes.
She was exhausted. Her father had splurged to get her a single occupancy dorm. He knew her too well. Hermione liked her privacy, and she liked the quiet. They both felt that it was worth the extra money to keep her from getting expelled for having a temper tantrum on some talkative co-ed that didn't know how to hush during study time.
Of course, the downside was that even though her room was fairly tiny, she was still able to bring far more than she really needed. She had brought as much of her clothing as she could so that she would have more time between laundry days. Then, she had stuffed her relatively large trunk with any of the books that she thought she absolutely needed (which was pretty much all of them).
Needless to say, her arms felt like weak noodles after carrying box after box up flights and flights of stairs.
She stopped at the third landing, held her heavy crate up against the wall, and shook her arms out quickly before sighing and trudging up the final staircase of the night.
The fourth floor hallway was largely deserted. Some students wouldn't be arriving for a few days, and many others had already turned in for the night. The fluorescent lights made everything look harsher and made her deeply miss her bedroom at home.
As she passed the ajar door beside her own, she heard a girl's sultry purr. "Gonna show me what you're made of, Weasley?"
Hermione stiffened up in the hallway, her tired arms protesting loudly.
Was this a coed dorm? She hadn't meant to sign up for a coed dorm.
She heard a man chuckle huskily. "Oh, I'm going to make you beg first."
Hermione couldn't stop herself from peeking in through the open doorway.
He was tall with obscenely large arms. His shirt was in the middle of the floor. He yanked his leather belt recklessly out of his jeans. It cracked like a whip as it was flung to his absent dorm mate's bed. He grabbed the leggy blonde by her shins and dragged her to him across the bed, pressing his jeans against her panties and grinding against her roughly. She moaned loudly under him.
Hermione gulped but couldn't tear her eyes away.
That is -until the girl's eyes met hers. "Excuse me!" she shrieked.
He turned to her slowly, a predatory glint in his eyes as he sauntered to the door. His jeans were riding low on his hips.
He shut the door until the rest of the room was blocked. Her eyes trailed down his chest, devouring the manly happy trail that disappeared above his unbuttoned jeans. His arms looked even bigger up close. "Jessica doesn't like to share." His voice was low and gravelly with lust. "But if you want to wait in the hallway until we're done, I'm sure I can pencil you in." He smirked. His thumbs were in his pockets, effectively framing his piece for her benefit.
She snorted loudly, suddenly shaken out of her stupor– what a berk. "No thanks, Casanova."
"Are you sure? It won't take long." He bit his lip, his eyes scanning down her body.
She raised her eyebrows and smirked at him. "You're advertising yourself really well."
"What?" He tilted his head. "Fuck—I mean—that came out wrong."
"Keep your door closed," Hermione scolded him before turning on her heel without another glance and walking to her dorm.
"I'm not quick or anything, okay?!" he called after her loudly. "I can go all night!"
"Goodnight, Jessica!" she sang over her shoulder, cackling when she closed her door.
She dumped the box in the corner with the others, and quickly made her bed.
Tomorrow she would get up, unpack a little, and then take a much needed shower. Until then, she needed to sleep so that she would be fresh for class tomorrow.
As she settled into her surprisingly comfortable bed, her eyes closed almost immediately, exhaustion taking over her.
Two minutes later the headboard from the adjoining room started slamming into the shared wall in a steady rhythm.
Huh, she thought hours later. Apparently, he really could go all night.
She was completely fucked.
Just so, so fucked.
That dickhead—that Weasley had kept her up half the night, making Jessica practically weep over him again and again and again.
And—AND—at 3:00 AM, the racket had finally—FINALLY—stopped. But, by four, she had heard giggles, a low rumbling, and then the squeaking of a mattress.
"Some of us have class in four hours, you asshole!" she yelled loudly, banging her fist on the asylum-white wall.
She could hear them laughing—LAUGHING—after that.
The absolute nerve of some people.
Which was, of course, why ten minutes earlier she had awoken in a frightened panic to discover that it was 7:55. She had rushed around her room, throwing her hair up in a skewed messy bun. She'd quickly jumped into jeans and tossed a hoodie over the white shirt she had slept in. She'd stepped into her shoes, pulling them over her heels as she'd dashed out of the door.
After that she'd been just a blur of messy hair as she'd run full-speed across campus.
She yanked the classroom door open. She was breathless and her bun had worked its way halfway out of the elastic.
Professor Higgins sighed loudly. "Every year." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "There's always one of them."
The class was seated, staring at her. She glanced at her watch—8:10.
She was late—horribly, horribly late. This was a tragedy.
Just a fucking tragedy.
"Professor, if I could just explain, there was this guy—" she sputtered, pushing her hair out of her eyes.
"Yes, I've heard it a million times, Miss. I'm sure he's just wonderful," he started.
"No, you don't understand—" Hermione interrupted.
"Take your seat, Miss..." He looked at her expectantly.
"Granger. Hermione Granger," she said quietly.
"Miss Granger. Please sit down and stop wasting our time," he scolded her coldly before turning back to the whiteboard.
She wasn't going to cry. She could handle a teacher not liking her. Even one as illustrious as Stewart Higgins.
She could handle that.
Her classmates hid smiles behind her hands as Hermione zeroed in on the only empty seat.
It was really just her fucking luck.
Weasley was looking up her, appearing well rested and put together in a teal hoodie and snug jeans. He look up at her with a smile on his face. He adjusted his hair nervously with his left hand before moving his book bag and pulling the chair out for her.
She glared at him harshly, and he looked back at her in bewildered confusion.
She scooted the seat away from him pointedly, and reluctantly sat down in what was really her only option in terms of seating. Her back was ramrod straight as she tried to listen to Professor Higgins explain the syllabus. Of course, it was a little hard to pay attention when the fury was pouring out of her in waves.
How dare he?
How dare he keep her up all night and then show up to class before her, looking like he had just slept ten hours? She knew for a fact that he didn't go to sleep until 4:30 because she had stared at her bedside clock until her eyes were red the night before.
And—AND—how dare he look at her like he didn't deserve her wrath? He deserved a hell of a lot more than an angry look. He deserved much, much worse.
He was paying rapt attention and taking notes in the margins of his syllabus as the professor made addendums to the schedule and noted outside reading materials.
She didn't even have a syllabus, she thought grumpily. The professor must have given them out when class started.
"Take note of where you're sitting, because your table-mate will be your lab partner for the rest of the semester." Her eyes snapped up in horror. "No exceptions."
Weasley glanced at her warily as she seethed at him again.
"You're all dismissed. I'll see you on Wednesday," Higgins said as he started to pack up his briefcase.
The class filed out quickly, bottlenecking at the door.
She approached the podium. "Excuse me, Professor Higgins."
He sighed loudly again. She felt her stomach drop. She was apparently a bother. "Miss Granger."
"I'm very sorry that I was late. I had a really bad morning, and I promise that it won't ever happen again," she told him nervously.
"I hope not. Listen, Miss Granger. I know that the first semester of college can be overwhelming, but you won't make it if you don't take your classes seriously," he scolded her sternly.
She rushed to correct him. "I promise, Sir. I take school very, very seriously. I overslept this morning because—"
"Please, I have heard every excuse you could possibly think up. I don't need to hear it." He sat his briefcase back on his desk and opened it. He handed her a crisp copy of the syllabus. "Try to be responsible, Miss Granger, or you won't be in my class for very long. Chapter One assignments are due next class. I trust you'll have them completed—or don't, it doesn't matter to me," he said icily before leaving.
She couldn't believe it. She had planned this out for years.
And now he hated her.
THE Stewart Higgins hated her.
She was supposed to be his best student and get the enviable T. A. position that he offered for only his best and brightest.
And now—now he completely loathed her.
She had fucked up her whole life—she would never get his recommendation, and in four years, she wouldn't get into Rutgers for med-school.
Would any med-school take her with mediocre recommendations?
Everything was just completely fucked.
"Hey there, partner." His voice was deeper than she remembered it from the night before. When she spun around she noticed flecks of barely visible scars branching out on his left cheekbone that she hadn't noticed previously. He shuffled nervously from foot to foot. "I'm George Wea—"
"Weasley. Yeah, I know," she said shortly.
He smiled at her nervously, running a hand through his shaggy red hair.
She huffed loudly and snatched her bag off of the table. She took a moment to cautiously deposit the syllabus that Higgins had graciously given her. And then she stormed off.
"Hey!" George called out as he followed her. "Granger, wait up!"
She shuffled down the stairs to the first floor hastily.
His long legs won out over her shorter ones. He reached out and touched her shoulder. "Hold on—"
"You can take your hand off of me right now, Weasley," she spat out as she spun around to face him, her hair wildly frazzled around her. He had ruined everything.
His eyebrows shot up. "Um, I'm sorry. Have I done something to offend you?"
She glowered at him, whispering harshly, "You know damn well what you did." She stomped out of the building.
He jogged beside her across the campus lawn as she marched in the direction of her dorm. She really needed to get back and have a shower—and get started on those assignments before her next class at noon. "No, I really don't," he said, placing his obstructive body in her way.
"Right, like it wasn't on purpose." She shook her head furiously.
"Mind letting me in on this little temper tantrum?" George said harshly. "Because as far as I'm concerned, you're acting batshit crazy right now."
"You ruined everything!" she yelled at him. "He thinks I'm an idiot now! All I wanted was—" Her voice shook.
No, no, no. Not now. Not in front of him.
Large, heartbroken tears spilled out of her eyes before she could stop them as a sob made her body shake pathetically.
"Oh god. What do I do?" He asked no one in particular as she wept in front of him. He patted her on the shoulder awkwardly. "There, there. It's going to be okay."
She threw herself into his chest against her own will. "You've ruined everything," she said incoherently into his surprisingly soft hoodie, clutching him around the middle tightly.
"You're legitimately crazy, aren't you?" he mumbled as he rubbed her back stiffly. "My lab partner is crazy."
"I'm not!" she said snottily into the fabric. "You're an asshole," she explained to him.
He pulled back from her and held her at arm's length. "Hey, look." She glared at him quietly. "I take offense to that, okay? I haven't done anything to you," he told her.
"I've done nothing," George told her calmly. "But you seem upset, so let me buy you a coffee." He rubbed her arms. "Would that make you feel better?"
"No," she said simply.
"You want to at least try to see if it makes you feel better?" He smiled gently at her, nodding at her in encouragement.
She sighed dramatically. "Fine."
He placed a warm hand on her back and ushered her towards the campus coffee shop. "Yeah, you just need some coffee and you'll be right as rain, and then we'll go over the syllabus," George said more to himself than to her. She trudged along beside him, dejected.
The line was long, which bugged the hell out of her. Crowds grated her nerves.
She was confident that she hated him. His sweetness from the campus lawn aside, he had been a real asshole ever since she met him. He had single-handedly destroyed years of planning in less than twenty-four hours.
George stood in front of her with his back to the barista, rambling on and on about the workload in Higgins' Chemistry class.
She silently raised her eyebrow in response. Two chapters a week was nothing.
She grabbed the useless elastic out of her monstrous bun, hooked it over her wrist and reached up, her white shirt pulling taut across her chest as she eased her fingertips through her tangled hair.
"I mean, reading a few chapters of a narrative—that's one thing, but Chemistry? I just don't know—are you wearing a bra?" he gulped loudly.
"What?" she sputtered, "Of course I am, what a stupid—" She glanced down. "Oh my god." She fumbled and ripped the zipper on her hoodie up as fast as she could.
He averted his eyes innocently a second afterwards, having already seen everything he needed to. "Right."
"It was a rough morning," she explained, her face bright red. "Just—please don't—just forget it?" she asked him, covering her face in shame as they queued forward.
He grinned widely. "No worries, Granger. I didn't see anything." He turned towards the front of the store, moving out of her way. "Sure is a nice set though," he added, smirking devilishly.
She spun around to tell him off when the barista interrupted.
"Welcome to The Beanery. I'm—" She looked up at him and instantly whipped back around towards George. "Hello, hello, Room 417," he purred at her. He leaned forward on the counter, his black button-up rolled up to his elbows and a green apron secured around his narrow waist. "Fancy seeing you here."
"You!" She pointed at him, before glancing back at George in bewilderment. "But—but…"
"Ohhhhhhhhh." George slapped his hand to his head. "This explains so much."
"Georgie!" Fred exclaimed happily.
"Morning, Fred," he said, leaning against the counter lazily. He turned to her as her sleepy mind tried to figure out what the hell was happening—of course it was obvious, but how—"Hermione, this is my twin brother Fred." Fred tipped his imaginary hat at her. "And Fred, this is Hermione Granger, my lab partner and apparently some girl you've wronged."
"Aww," Fred pouted. "I hardly think I wronged her." He eyed her shamelessly.
"I thought you were with a blonde last night." George tilted his head.
"He was! I didn't—we didn't—" Hermione stammered.
"And you thought you were embarrassed before about the—uh," George joked before gesturing towards her hoodie in explanation.
Hermione gaped at him, her eyes narrowing significantly.
"Nevermind," George said quickly.
Hermione ran a tired hand down her face before looking Fred dead in the eye. "You ruined my entire life, you asshole," she whispered harshly to him, "and I won't be forgetting it anytime soon." She leaned forward to stare him down, threat shining brightly in her eye.
He laughed loudly at her. "A little dramatic, don't you think? After all, I offered to let you join in." Fred reached out and ran a fingertip across the top of her hand. She slapped his hand away from her.
"Polite really," George said dryly, shaking his head.
"I know! I was going to let her have a go right after Jessica was done!" Fred snickered loudly.
Hermione felt the rage bring tears to her eyes once again. She was a mess, and she was tired—she was so, so tired…
"No, no, no, no. None of that again." George wrapped a comforting arm over her shoulder. "He's just joking, it's okay," he said soothingly.
"But he—" She looked up at him with glossy, hurt eyes. "Higgins," she explained.
"I know, I know." George patted her on the head.
Fred watched her with devious eyes. "You could always come by later tonight—I'll make you feel better, Granger." His expression was drenched in unconcealed suggestion.
"Fred," George warned him. "Enough," he snapped before turning his attention to her. "He's going to stop teasing you now, okay?"
She nodded up at him, leaning into his side.
"Fine," Fred huffed. "What do you guys want? You're holding up the line." He gestured to the angry customers behind them that hadn't yet stormed away.
"I want a Caramel Macchiato with whip," George replied as he rubbed her arm absently. "Actually, make that two whips—like twice as much whip, please."
Fred started to punch it into his cash register.
"You know what, just give me another cup with the whip," George said suddenly. "And a spoon."
"Do you still even want the coffee?" Fred asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, I'm tired," George said, glaring at him. "I had to sleep in the TV room because of someone I know."
Fred looked guilty. "I had a horny girl in my bed," he said simply, as if it was a plausible reason to kick someone out of their own dorm room.
"Just shut up," George growled at him. He changed his tone when he turned to her. "What would you like, Hermione?"
"A vanilla latte, please," she said quietly.
"Want an extra shot of espresso?" George said, smiling down at her.
"That sounds lovely." She looked up at him awestruck.
Fred pushed a few more buttons, and then George removed his arm from her around her to pull his wallet out of the back pocket of his jeans.
"No, no—you really don't have to." She reached for her purse before he stilled her.
"I offered," George reminded her.
"But you didn't even—you weren't the one that kept me up. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been so mean to you earlier," she said guiltily.
"It's fine. How could you have known?" George shrugged.
"Please, I insist." Hermione placed her hand on his. "Let me pay for both of them."
George laughed. "It's fine, Hermione, really. But if it makes you feel better—" He dipped his hand into the tip jar on the counter. "Fred can pay for them."
"Oi!" Fred said loudly, glaring at his brother.
"Fair is fair, Fred!" George lectured him while he laughed wholeheartedly.
"Fine! God!" Fred grabbed some cups off the counter and looked at them deviously. "Let's see… a Caramel Macchiato—" He smirked while he marked the cup with a felt pen.
"Yeah… No. I'd rather not drink your spit." George pushed his arms down on the counter, leaned forward so that his legs came up off the ground and called out, "Hey, Ron! Come make my drink, will you? Fred can't be trusted at the moment." Hermione watched his back flex underneath his hoodie.
Hm. She quickly tore her eyes away.
Fred threw his hands up and walked away dramatically as Ron came out from the back of the store.
"I work here, by the way. We all do, actually," George said as he led her over to the pick up counter. "This is my other brother, Ron."
Hermione glanced at the other barista's flaming red hair. "I never would have guessed." The corners of her mouth lifted slightly. Ron sat drinks down in front of them.
Ron nodded politely at her before disappearing into the back of the store.
George picked up both of their coffees. "Let's go find a table, study buddy, and go over this damn syllabus."
"Yeah, alright," she said as she followed him to a booth.
Notes: This is going to be a multi-chapter fic. I'm thinking 10 chapters probably. So stay tuned. For the record, it hurt my soul deeply to make Fred a dick, but it had to be done. Drop me a review.