Summary:If Hermione Granger is going to be anyone's heartbreak, she's going to be Fred's. One shot. Fred Weasley/Hermione Granger.
Fred Weasley watched the curly-haired girl where she sat across the common room, nestled in her red-chintz armchair. She had paused momentarily in her studies and was nibbling absent-mindedly on the end of her phoenix feather quill. Her face wore a tiny smile; it played at the corners of her mouth as though there was some thought in her mind that amused her, and Fred felt a niggling urge to know what it might be. What did Hermione Granger think about when she wasn't studying? What was it that was tickling her fancy amid that tottering pile of books she had stacked around her and the length of parchment that trailed off the edge of the table towards the ground - the result of her latest homework assignment. Which he knew to be a Potions essay from Professor Snape on the properties, uses and harvesting methods for Aconite.
He knew because his sod of a younger brother had been moaning about it at dinner. No doubt in an attempt to persuade Hermione to help him with it since the git clearly knew nothing about the subject. It was no surprise to Fred. More than once in the past the pretty Prefect had given in to the less than subtle hints Harry and Ron dropped to get her to help them with their homework. As he sat there watching her however, Fred knew it couldn't possibly be the laments of his idiot brother or the homework assignment that had that little smile flirting at the corners of her entirely kissable lips.
He wondered if she even knew that she'd caught his attention. In the past Hermione had simply been a friend of his younger siblings who spent most of her summer at his house. He and George were usually too wrapped up in their own mischief to have really paid her much attention outside of the occasional ribbing and to notice someone else at the breakfast table. More recently, she'd become an enigma to him. He wouldn't deny that he had been one among the many at the Yule ball the previous year to have openly ogled the girl as she transformed from geeky, dorky, bookish duckling into beautiful, sensual, mesmerizing swan before his very eyes. Since then Fred had been keeping an eye on her.
Her becoming a prefect had seemed to him like it might be for the best. He'd been sure that her position of authority would provide a barrier of unattraction between them due to his rule-breaking ways, but it seemed to have had the opposite effect. Fred was a little unnerved by how much he liked to tick her off simply to rile her into lecturing him about something or other. He'd been even more concerned to learn that he rather enjoyed it when she stomped her foot and used that superior intellect to outwit him and George enough to threaten to write to their mother if they didn't desist testing their joke shop products on first years. He also knew that it flustered her somewhat when she realised that he didn't exactly pay full attention to her lecture during these moments because he often found himself unable to stop looking at her lips as they formed the words.
More than once he'd found himself staring at her lips and wondering if they would taste as sweet as they looked, only to have her demand to know if he was even listening to her rant. Frankly he was unsure as to what to do about it. On the one hand he'd very much like to talk her into dating him, and more than once he'd opened his mouth over the past months to do so, but every time he did something stopped him. He just wasn't sure one way or the other how she really felt about him. Sometimes she would smile and laugh at his jokes, but others she flew off the handle over silly things like the health of first years they'd paid to test their products.
What was the big deal?
The trouble was he had no idea if she fancied him, or if she even bloody liked him as a person, let alone as a potential boyfriend.
When Fred sauntered into breakfast the following morning, he realised Lady Luck was smiling upon him. Ordinarily he wasn't an early riser, but this morning he'd awoken with a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach and couldn't shake it. Leaving George and Lee abed, Fred had dressed himself and made his way on down to breakfast in the Great Hall, thinking he might as well get it out of the way before all the good bacon was gone for a change. It seemed however, that the funny feeling in his stomach was some sign from, well, within, that going to breakfast early on this particular morning would be most fortuitous indeed.
For sitting there in all her frizzy-haired morning-glow glory was none other than the girl he'd spent the night dreaming about. Hermione was seated with a book on the table beside her plate, nibbling at her toast and Fred felt a grin slip across his face at the familiar sight. She was alone at the table, and the only others in the hall at this hour were some Ravenclaws over at their table. Leaving the entire table for Fred to sit down at and enjoy his breakfast.
And what better way to enjoy it than to spend it luring the girl he fancied into conversation with him?
"Good Morning Hermione," he greeted her, unable to keep his exuberance down at the idea of having her all to himself for a little while. It was difficult, he had noticed, to snavel her away from Harry, Ron and Ginny, who took up most of her time. The idea of getting her all to himself, without even his very own twin to distract him was surprisingly appealing.
"Fred?" she said, making him grin to know she could tell the difference between him and George even though their own mother couldn't, "What are you doing up this early? Where's George?"
"Oh I knew you'd be here and couldn't deny the allure of your company," he told her, winking. He chuckled delightedly when she blushed pink, adding a rosy glow to her cheeks even though she smiled happily just the same.
"The allure of my company, eh?" she said, chuckling herself, "And here I thought you believed me a dreadful bore with far too much interest in rules and books and studying to find me even the least bit interesting."
"Nonsense!" Fred declared, "Every minute spent with you is far better than two without you, dear Hermione."
He bit his lip and glanced at his plate when he realised what he had blurted out, before looking back at her face to see that same kind of tiny smile playing at the corners of her mouth and more colour staining her cheeks at the compliment.
"Well, thank you," she replied softly and Fred wondered if maybe, just maybe, there was a chance she might fancy him back. He frowned to himself for a moment to realise that he must be bloody smitten with her to be so tied up in knots about her thoughts and her feelings and whether or not she fancied him the way he fancied her. George would skin him alive to find out he might very well be in love with the bossy little swot.
He'd already been lectured on the matter by George, who had informed him he must be barmy if he was interested in Hermione when she was clearly far too bossy to ever put up with their rule-breaking and their lack of dedication to studying. Ginny had laughed at him too and said something disturbing about men being known to marry their mother's. Not that he was going to be putting much stock in her opinion if she was going to go around spouting crazy talk like that.
When Lee had found out he'd taken a second, closer look at Hermione and said he could see what it was about. Of course, he'd followed the statement with a comment about how she would never go for someone like him if he didn't pull his head in and quit goofing around. He'd also gone on to say that his best bet would be a quick shag in a broom cupboard if he could actually slip her a love potion or something similar to get her to even consider the idea of something so temporary. Fred had been forced to slip him a Puking Pastille before refusing to give him the antidote end of the sweet and watching him suffer whilst grinning gleefully the entire time.
"So, what have you been working on this time that I'm going to have to threaten you about for trying it out on the first years?" Hermione asked him, closing her book and focusing her attention on his face in such a way that Fred felt mildly daunted to suddenly have her full and undivided attention.
"More stuff for the Skiving Snackboxes. Been working on one that causes these nasty boils to erupt all over the face and neck, but we've been having some trouble with containing them to that area. We can get those ones cleared up okay, but the others are a little more stubborn," Fred told her, grinning when she blushed as she clearly got his meaning that they caused boils in places far less often displayed to the public without wanting to be charged for public nudity.
"You like saying things to put me off my breakfast, don't you?" she asked.
"'Course not. I'm just honest," Fred said, his grin widening when she rolled her eyes doubtfully.
"What else have you been working on? Anything to really inconvenience that old hop-toad?" Hermione asked him, leaning in a bit and allowing Fred to get a whiff of her perfume. It was floral and sweet, with a hint of vanilla and it made him think very inappropriate things about the pretty little witch that he ought not be thinking.
"Do I detect a hint of enthusiasm buried beneath all that hostility you've been giving me?" Fred grinned at her knowingly.
"I never said I wasn't enthusiastic over the stuff you and George think up, Fred. I was only nagging you not to test them on the first years. They'll do whatever they can to be popular and to make the money you were paying them. Besides, testing them on yourselves first doesn't guarantee they're safe for the kids. What if one of them had had an allergic reaction to something in the candies and died right there in the common room?"
"Didn't think about that…." Fred admitted, "But we stopped, so no harm, no foul."
"You're avoiding my question, you know?" she said a few minutes later.
"About what else we've been working on?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her.
"Don't want you yelling and me and telling me they're dangerous or unethical, is all," he replied.
"Are they dangerous and unethical?" she asked him seriously.
"Not all of them."
"Oh Fred," she sighed, shaking her head even though she was smiling a little, "You two are going to get into so much more trouble than you've ever been in. I don't know how the two of you haven't been expelled yet."
"We know where to draw the line," Fred grinned, "We might put a toe over occasionally, but we'd have to really push it to blow the line to smithereens."
"Not with Umbridge in charge. She's been looking for the chance to expel you both since the Snackboxes began to circulate. Especially after all that Quidditch business with Malfoy," Hermione warned him, as though he didn't already know.
"We were never going to get our NEWTs anyway," Fred shrugged, and holding his hands up to fend off the lecture she would no doubt give him over the idea of not completing his education.
When she stayed silent and tilted her head to one side slightly, Fred began to wonder if just maybe he had a chance with her.
"No, I suppose there are more important things to focus on than exams when it really boils down to it, and it's clear just from the success of the Extendable Ears and the Snackboxes that the two of you don't really need a piece of paper saying you earned some marks on some tests to know you're doing a good thing and that you're very good at what you do," she said quietly, surprising the hell out of him. He certainly never thought he'd hear her say something like that.
"I thought you said we were wasting our time and our talents with the joke shop idea," Fred asked her, resisting the urge to reach out and take her hand where she'd rested it on the table.
"That was your mother," she reminded him, "I actually think it's rather brilliant what you're doing. You've always been good at making people laugh, and to be able to do something you love and make money doing it is the ultimate dream. It's wonderful that you're pursuing the idea and having a real go at it."
"You know what Hermione?" Fred said, grinning at her praise and feeling like just maybe he might have a shot at getting her to go out with him after all, "You're not nearly as big a goody-two-shoes as I thought you were."
"I'm just better at getting away with breaking the rules than you are," she replied cheekily, causing Fred to inhale his pumpkin juice in surprise as he snorted with laughter.
A week later, Fred was making his way down the corridor on the way to D.A. George was being held back after being caught by Filch red-handed when one of the fireworks they'd been working on had inadvertently gone off in Filch's office. He knew he was going to be early, but he sort of wanted to be, knowing that Hermione was likely to arrive early for the meeting just like she always did in order to be prepared.
He grinned when he was proved right as he slipped through the doors and into the Room of Requirement where he found her pinning up a new article from the Daily Prophet about another mass break out from Azkaban. Just that very morning, he'd been speaking to George, and they're decided it was time to blow the education establishment for good. They were going to hang around for a few more weeks, but Umbridge was just too much. And besides, he'd already gotten the Hermione Granger tick of approval to leave without taking his NEWTs. There were more important things at stake.
He had however, realised that leaving would hinder the amount of time he could spend admiring the curly-haired witch. At least until school finished for the year and she returned to Headquarters or the Burrow. And Fred figured that if he was going to be on his way, he'd better tell her how he felt. He'd already been beaten by George and Lee for mooning about over her when he was supposed to be focusing on the Headless Hats they'd been inventing and the impressive collection of fireworks they'd been putting together. It wouldn't do to continue to moon after her when he couldn't even see her and didn't even know if she fancied him.
He suspected that maybe she might after that breakfast they'd had together the other morning. She'd said a few things that made him think maybe the attraction wasn't one-sided. In combination with the decision to leave, Fred had decided it was high time he told her he fancied her.
"Fancy finding you here," he said by way of greeting, making Hermione jump to realise he was suddenly there in the room with her.
"Now you're sneaking up on me?" she asked, laughing at her own startled reaction.
"You say that as though I make you nervous," Fred grinned, encouraged when she blushed prettily.
"You do make me nervous," she admitted, "Especially when there's no one else around. It makes me more of a potential prank target."
"Is that really the only reason I make you nervous, love?" he asked, wandering closer to her until he was inside her personal space and liking the way she held her ground, even if she did fidget a little.
"Where's George?" she asked, trying to change the subject so she wouldn't have to answer him. Fred noticed idly that she seemed to have no trouble telling him and his identical twin apart. He rather liked that and hoped it meant she'd learned to do so because she fancied him.
"Got held in for setting off a cracker in Filch's office. Don't change the subject."
She blushed even more at being called out and Fred decided to throw caution to the wind.
"Hermione?" he asked, "Is that the only reason I make you nervous?"
"I… erm… what are you asking me here, Fred?" she stammered, encouraging him even more.
"Well, the way I see it, we got on pretty well at our date the other morning…."
"Our date?" she asked quizzically.
"Breakfast last week, love," he pointed out, "It was only the two of us. That kind of intimate meeting is classed as a date. Particularly given that we partook in food whilst sharing delightful conversation."
"Anyway, I thought it went pretty well, and now you're telling me I make you nervous."
He grinned wickedly at her and lifted his hand to cup her left cheek very softly. He could feel her tremble at his touch. She stayed silent, biting her lip and blushing crimson now as her eyes darted around, flicking to his and then away again hurriedly.
"You're beautiful, you know? Beautiful enough that I can see you being somebody's heartbreak one of these days," he whispered, letting the jest and jokes drain out of his voice to let her know he was serious.
"Somebody's heartbreak?" she asked, her brow furrowing at the idea.
"Mhmm," Fred hummed, "And if you're going to be anybody's, I think you should be mine."
"Fred… I…" she stammered, seeming surprised by his words and making Fred think that she suspected he was playing some kind of joke on her.
"I'm not playing around, Hermione," he told her quietly, "It might be a mistake; it might not work out and we might just go back to being friends and forget the whole thing ever happened. You might break my heart, but I fancy you, love. A lot."
"Is this the Fred Weasley version of asking a girl out?" Hermione asked, her voice a little husky as she suddenly let her eyes meet his. As she peered into his eyes, she seemed to search his very soul to ascertain he wasn't kidding around.
"Is this the Hermione Granger version of saying yes?" Fred replied just as huskily, his fingers tingling where he touched her and his body trembling with urge to kiss her pretty pink lips.
He leaned in slowly, seeing the answer in her eyes without her having to tell him. He did it slow, giving her plenty of time to pull away or to change her mind, but she didn't. Instead she held her breath in anticipation, and that same little smile he so adored played at the corners of her mouth once more before he brushed his lips against hers. She tasted liked cherry lip-gloss and something sugary, and she kissed him back timidly. He could feel the smile of triumph pulling against his lips when he felt her hands come up to clutch gently at his sides, holding onto him to make sure he wasn't going away before she was done kissing him.
When he pulled back just as slowly and opened his eyes to look at her, he saw that she was smiling too.
"Be mine?" he asked her, raising an eyebrow as he slipped his arm around her waist, tugging her closer until she was pressed against his chest.
When she nodded her consent, Fred leaned in and snogged her in triumph.