a/n: its very short, and it doesn't advance the plot line much, but it helped me flex my writing muscles and combat the crippling writer's block that has taken hold of me lately. so I hope you enjoy
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would really rather skip the D. A. meeting tonight," Hermione said as she walked with Fred to the room of requirement.
"Blaspheme!" he chuckled and she saw his hand twitch like he was going to grab hers but he fought the urge and stuck to their new rule of no PDA in the corridors. "The founder of the group doesn't want to attend a meeting? You can't let people hear you talking like that."
"I'd just much rather curl up on a comfy couch with a certain someone," she said with a shrug. "Preferably where Ron can't find us because his pleading for me to find something in the library is getting very irritating at this point. He's never going to figure out how to stop the shrinking, and he already looks like he's a first year all over again."
"I may have to pull him aside and let him know how to end the spell," Fred said earnestly as he opened the door to the room for her. "We didn't complete enough testing on shrinking of the level that he's about to reach and I'm actually starting to get a bit concerned about organ damage. He's a prat but I don't want to kill him."
"You should talk to him after the meeting," Hermione said. "Or better yet tell him right now and he'll make a scene. Then the meeting will get cancelled."
"You don't sound like the Hermione I'm used too," Fred said with a low chuckle.
"Yes well, I suspect witchcraft from your hand again," she laughed as she set her book bag in the corner and produced her wand so she'd be ready for the lesson of the evening. "I haven't figured out your charm work yet, but you've obviously done something to make it so my body can only seem to listen to my hormones rather than my brain."
"Did you just admit to lusting after me?" he whispered in her ear before offering a wave to George who was eyeing them from across the room with a smirk.
"Not exactly," she said, feeling her cheeks heat up as she nodded her head at George who was smirking at her.
"Hermione, I promise I haven't pulled any sort of prank on you," Fred said earnestly, meeting her gaze fully this time.
"I know that Fred, I'm just giving you a hard time," she said quietly. "This is all just very new to me, and as a logical person suddenly having my hormone suddenly surge to the forefront of my mind is somewhat difficult to tolerate."
"Is it really so intolerable?" he asked as he tucked a curl that had sprung free of her braid behind her ear before trailing his finger down the column of her throat and causing goose bumps to erupt all over her body.
"No," she said shakily before her attention was diverted to Harry stepping into the center of the room.
"Alright everyone," Harry said calmly, completely unaware of how in his element he was teaching. "We are going to be working on the patronus charm again tonight."
There were a few groans, and Hermione fought not to be one of them. She was not used to struggling with magic, and it was very frustrating that this wasn't coming to her very easily. Instead she forced a smile onto her face and tried not to react to the little smirk that she saw on Fred's face.
"Remember," Harry explained. "While wand work and pronunciation is important, this spell is really about focusing on a moment when you were extremely happy. The patronus is made of that same energy that you feel when you are happiest. Go ahead, give it a try and I'll come around to work with you one on one."
"A moment when we were most happy you say?" Fred asked her with a wink. "I think I'll picture your face from last night when I kissed the inside of your wrist."
Hermione gasped and opened her mouth unsure if she was going to yell at him or not, but she didn't get a chance before he cast the charm. Her mind quickly shifted to being impressed when not only did he successfully cast the charm but he created a fully corporeal one at that. She quickly morphed from awe to humour though when she realized what it was. She devolved into peels of laughter and Fred turned to stare at her with a wicked grin on his face.
"Are you laughing at my magic witch," he said with fake sternness. "I'd like to see you produce one if you think it's so funny."
"I'm not laughing at you magic," she gasped. "I'm laughing at the idea of a flock of dementors running scared from a little bumblebee. I mean it's a bee. It's not exactly a lion."
"Hey now," Fred said with a laugh of his own. "I'll have you know that my bumblebee is very fierce. It could take on a thousand dementors at once."
"Yes," Hermione said, sobering her voice as she wiped tears of mirth from her face. "It is a very powerful bee."
"Well now I really want to see yours," Fred said, but then he became distracted by George successfully casting his own and devolved into laughter again.
"Hey now, don't laugh over the Mr. Bumblebee," George called as he watched his little patronus crawl around on the floor. "Salamanders are very cool, and if I remember my reading right they represent balance and resourcefulness. Much better than an insect."
"Actually," Hermione interjected as an old book about spirit animals popped up in her mind. "Bumblebees represent celebration and community which is very well placed with Fred. I must admit though that I wish yours had been a butterfly George."
"Oh? He asked as he crossed the room to join them so their conversation could be a bit quieter. "And what does a butterfly represent?"
"Oh I have no idea," Hermione admitted. "However my father likes to watch boxing, and there is this famous boxer who has a catch phrase about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. It would have been cute if you guys were paired like that."
"We are not cute," Fred laughed. "Strikingly handsome of course—"
"But definitely not cute," George agreed.
"Why don't you give it a try Hermione," Harry said as he joined their group. "I feel like today is the day."
"I hope you're right," Hermione said with a sigh. "It's never taken me this long to master a spell."
"Don't think about that," Fred pointed out. "Think about happy memories only. Ooh think about last Friday— ough."
Hermione smacked Fred in the stomach before he could said anything else, but she was sure everyone knew where he was going based on her red face. He wasn't wrong about it being a happy memory though. Other than few minutes ago it was probably the hardest she'd laughed in ages. She loved that Fred could make her laugh at the same time that he turned her brain to a hormonal mush. She reigned in her wandering mind however and decided just to think about Fred as she cast the spell.
"Expecto Patronum," she said quietly as she executed the proper wand movement.
For the first time she did get a proper silver mist, but it still wasn't a corporeal form. She offered a weak smile before shrugging at Harry. She hoped her embarrassment didn't show.
"That was a great improvement," he told her. "But you are casting hesitantly. Don't cast like you expect to fail, cast as if you are certain you never could. It's like Hagrid always says there isn't a spell you haven't mastered, remind yourself of that and try again."
She felt a real smile tugging at the corners of her mouth at that thought. She thought specifically of how full of joy she had been the first time she had ever consciously used her magic and then she squared her shoulders and cast again, this time with confidence in here voice. She watched in amazement as a shape began to form in the mist that she produced. At first it just seemed like a rolling ball, but it began to take on more detail and then she saw a chimpanzee roll across the floor before launching itself up into the air and swinging across vines that did not actually exist. She released a shaky breath she didn't know she'd been holding before she began to laugh again.
"I did it," she laughed. "I finally did it! I never expected a monkey, but I did it!"
"I think a chimpanzee is perfect," Fred said as he kissed her forehead. "They are very smart but still full of playfulness and curiosity."
"Plus they give people joy!" George cheered. "Even I wanted to have a chimp as a pet when I was younger. Mum wouldn't let me though."
"I'm sure she had enough mischief on her hands with the pair of you," Harry said with a laugh. "Great work Hermione. I knew you could do it. I wonder though, what did you think yours would be?"
"I don't really know, I guess I pictured something aquatic because of how much I like swimming," she said with a shrug. "I guess that sounds a bit silly when I say it out loud though."
"I'd like to go swimming with you," Fred said at the same time that George said "I bet chimps like to swim."
The whole group devolved into laughter once more.