SOOO, as many of you may or may not know, I'm completely obsessed with hockey. Also, Fremione. And I was just incapable of resisting this little plot bunny! Enjoy. :D
Modern American, non-magical AU. I imagine Minnesota, here. lol
For politelycynical, provocative-envy, and justcourbeau. *hearts*
When Harry suggested, out of the blue, that Hermione would make a great hockey team manager and it just so happens that his league team, the Hogsmeade Wizards, needed a new manager - something about the old one needing a break and disappearing off into the Canadian wild to go snow camping or something else equally horrifying - she momentarily wondered if he needed another concussion check.
"Hockey, Harry? I hate hockey. And organized sports as a general rule. You know that."
"I know, Mione, but you would be really good at it! It takes a lot of preparation, and organization, and bossing around a bunch of guys who are twice your size. You have plenty of experience with that. Plus, you'd get paid!"
She had rolled her eyes and huffed at him, but because her bank account was beginning to really strain under the utter delusion of how successful of a baker she was hoping to already be two years after graduating from a hectic three years of business school with an overlap year of culinary school at night and finishing within another year and a half because she's nothing if not exceedingly thorough, and she really didn't want to ask her parents for another generous donation, she finally gave in and submitted her application and paperwork to the team's coaching staff.
So, that is how Hermione Granger finds herself a few days later at a rather dingy looking practice rink, post-successful interview, and the cute cruelty-free leather messenger bag that she couldn't resist as a "for me" graduation present (complete with swirly initial monogram stamped onto the front flap) is full of employee handbooks and paperwork for her to fill out before her first official day, two days from then.
Knowing that Harry was about to leave from practice within the next fifteen minutes, she decides to wait for him, pulling her phone out to text her mom about the new job. Humming slightly under her breath, she opens her email, ignoring the sounds of doors opening and closing nearby. If it's not Harry, she'll just wait for them to acknowledge her first and look busy. Afterall, -
The sudden explosion and rattle of the entire building has the coach, Oliver Wood, tumbling out of the office she left only a few minutes ago, followed closely by his right hand, Lee Jordan, who looks like he's about to burst into laughter.
"What the fuck was that?!"
Hermione blinks in surprise. Oliver had only just minutes ago seemed like such a mild mannered Canadian; he didn't seem the type to curse like that.
Lee, now openly giggling, points at the large double doors. "Ahhh, hehehe… Seems like it, hnnnn, came from the locker rooms."
Oliver turns and glares at Lee, who is now hunched over and gasping for air between bouts of laughter. "I swear to god, Lee, it better not have been…" He trails off as, over the other man's hunched form, he spots a shell-shocked Hermione, her mouth hanging open as she stares past him.
As her eyes grow wider, he glances over his shoulder before letting out a resounding "motherfucker" at the bit of thin smoke that's beginning to creep out from beneath the doors. He glances back at Hermione, grimacing, and he half-yells at her, "Please don't leave before I can explain!" just before he pushes through the doors and into the locker room.
Lee glances over at Hermione, still giggling quite loudly, and wheezes. "Welcome to the team!" With a sound suspiciously like a cackle, he totters off after Oliver into the locker room.
Hermione blinks a few times, glancing down at herself and then around the now-empty hall with confusion before whispering, "What the fuck?"
Later, Hermione finds out about… everything.
A very contrite and guilty-looking Harry Potter - this is going to be so good; I'm definitely going to kill him slowly. - slinks from the locker room a bit too long after Oliver and Lee disappeared into it.
His attempt at a bright grin falls flat when met with her dark scowl.
The explosion apparently came from the team's first line defenceman team, Fred and George Weasley. Twins out of Alberta, they'd been recruited by Wood, who had joined the team as assistant coach the previous year to train as replacement to the old coach, a man named Kingsley who was also reported to be "the size of a medium-sized refridgerator" (whatever that meant).
Apparently Oliver and his partner are former pro hockey players and when his husband was deemed too injured to play without a long period of recuperation and PT and still the possibility of never playing again, they decided to retire early together and start fresh. Oliver is now the head coach of the Wizards, while Marcus stayed home and was currently teaching himself to cook, with their retriever keeping him company when Oliver is away.
When Hermione clears her throat, interrupting Harry's rambling story, he grins and raises his hands in the air. "Sorry, sorry! Anyway… Fred and George, they're great guys, they're great hockey players, just… great! Buuuut they like to play practical jokes on people. And I was hoping to get you through to the full employment part before you had to meet them."
Hermione huffs, rolling her eyes as she flops back against the wall. "Seriously, Harry? You're such an ass! I thought we were about to collapse into the earth or something."
Harry laughs and reaches out, gathering Hermione into his arm and pulling her towards the locker room. "Well, they've gotten their mischief out of their system for today, so why don't I introduce you to the team?" With that, and ignoring her protest, he drags her into the locker room.
The smell of sweat and ice salt and antiperspirant spray and bleach, smacks her right in the face. Wrinkling her nose, Hermione tries to pull her arm from Harry's as he pulls her through a hallway and into the huge oval room where about twenty guys are standing around in various manners of dress.
She stands frozen in the middle of the room, her eyes wide in shock as she glances around. Finally, she spots Oliver who stands in front of two guys around the same height as the coach, but even broader, even more freckled, and the most identical.
Holy moly, he's only wearing trunks! Hermione lets out a squeaking sound all while attempting to turn her eyes away - just as the twins turn as one to peer over at Hermione. The grins that break across their faces, revealing the large hole from a missing tooth in the mostly naked brother, make her squeak again and spin around to escape.
Unfortunately, Harry is standing in her way. And as an (in his words) almost six foot tall hockey player, he's still quite a bit larger than she is and equally as capable of blocking her imminent escape, not to mention spinning her right back around to face the two men, taller than Harry by a bit and much, much broader. Missing Tooth's freckled chest look smooth, with just a bit of ginger hair in the middle, trailing down to the thick ban of his entirely too snug black briefs.
"Is our new team manager!"
"Hello, I'm -"
"George. And I'm -"
Hermione jerks her wandering eyes back up and gapes at them, eyes flicking back and forth. Besides the missing tooth, they were exceedingly difficult to tell apart, and with her wandering eyes, she missed who began speaking first and, thus, which was which. "Fred and George?"
Harry chuckles, apparently finally taking some pity on Hermione. "George is missing the tooth. Fred wears the bad hockey shirts."
"OI! Don't go ruining all our fun, Potsy." Fred scowls over her shoulder at his teammate before turning his bright brown eyes on Hermione. His grin widens at her, flashing perfect white teeth. Hermione's eyes flicker down to the tshirt emblazoned with 'World's Okayest Hockey Player' across the chest, just as he begins speaking again. "I'm Fred, and this here is my brother George. He's the dim-witted one, thus the missing tooth."
"Hey, hey, now! Keep your unfounded and frankly ridiculous opinions to yourself, dear brother." George slings one arm around Hermione's shoulder, pulling her around the large logo on the middle of the floor. "Mind your toes, you're not actually allowed to touch the hat there. Unless you're a goalie. Goalies get special rules, don't they, Freddy?"
"That they do, brother-dear!" Hermione jumps when Fred pops up next to her, trotting along beside them while dexterously avoiding the large rather shabby looking brown hat, the team's logo, printed on the floor. (She decides then and there that for all eternity she will prefer the secondary logo of a wand with a sparkle of light emerging from the tip, despite the vast amount of sex jokes that come along with the image.)
Unfortunately, the twins continue to ramble on while either unaware or ignoring her wandering thoughts, interrupting and completing each other's sentences and once in those few minutes of shock, she swears they had an entire exchange purely by thought.
As the shock wears off, Hermione begins to take note of the others still in the locker room, most of them watching the show with amusement, including Harry and Lee, who are now standing together. Oliver has moved over to the door and is talking on his cell with a rather mushy expression on his face. Just as George opens his mouth to continue waxing on about, apparently, wax which just confuses Hermione again before she shakes her head and breaks away from George's arm and settles back on her heels with a scowl.
"Excuse me, but first of all, at no point did I request you to touch me in any way. You are technically a coworker, as well as inappropriately dressed for any non-work related interactions. Secondly, if you ever do that again, I'll snap your balls off and present them to your mother with a full and detailed report of your behavior."
Fred gasps at that, one hand clutching his chest and the other George's arm. "I think I'm in love, twin o'mine."
Hermione glares at Fred before spinning on her heel and transferring that glare to Harry, who is leaning against a cubby and laughing into his hands. She huffs and stomps over to Oliver, who is standing there, cellphone in hand (and from the active screen light, still on with his husband), while ignoring the twins who trail behind her. "I'm leaving now, but I will be back for my first day, and you'll -" She waves her hand a bit. "- explain all of this."
"Of course, yes!" Oliver nods, his eyes wide as he watches his new team manager drag his first line forward from the locker room by the ear.
Lee steps up behind the coach and slaps his back. "Best hire you could've made, Woody." He turns his attention to the grinning Weasleys. "And Christ, George, get some clothes on already."
Hermione stops just outside the locker room and turns, smacking Harry about the arm and shoulders. "You jerk! Idiot! You could have warned me about all of that!"
Harry yelps, raising his arms to fend off her assault. "Hey, hey! Sorry! Damnit, ow! That one hurt!" He rubs his ear before turning his best puppy dog expression on her. "I really didn't think you'd run into them yet, I was totally planning on telling you, you know."
She sighs heavily, shoulders sinking before she pushes herself straight again. "Fine; it's fine, really. I'm exhausted, and I have a ton of reading and paperwork to fill out, now. You'll be coming over tomorrow with dinner, just so you know." She pokes him hard in the bicep, smirking when he whines and swats at the offending finger. "Your treat, too."
"Alright, deal." Harry reaches out and pats Hermione on her bushy head, grinning as the springy curls rise back into place. "I'll be to your place by seven and food offering in hand, I promise."
Hermione nods, shifting the messenger bag which has been growing exponentially heavier with every moment she's held it. "Good. You're obligated now, or I'll tell your mum."
Harry grimaces, waving his hands at her. "I promise, I promise! Don't bring her into this!"
She nods, once, before turning and leaving the rink. Harry lets out a sigh of relief when she leaves without further argument, before he heads back into the locker room. "Alright, you assholes! You almost got me into trouble with my mother!"
The loud burst of laughter is cut off when the door swings shut.
Harry arrives the next day with an overabundance of sushi and a double helping of mochi ice cream, which she devours with a cup of hot tea after only the most token show of resistance.
Finally, she is stretched out on the couch, eyes closed as she groans softly. "I'm so full."
"Eh, I could eat a few more pieces of shrimp!" Harry shrugs at her baleful glare as he dips the sashimi into his horrendous soy-ginger-wasabi mix before slurping it into his mouth as loudly as possible.
"I'm going to kill you."
He finally pushes his plate away, laughing. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself." There's a quiet lull, the whisper of the tv in the background set on the lowest volume before mute the only sound in her apartment before he finally blurts out. "The twins want to apologize. And they're going to, tomorrow. I didn't want you to feel cornered; I know you."
Hermione blinks a few times before looking at Harry with a frown. "They made me really uncomfortable."
"I know. And they know. They really don't mean any harm! This time was just an accident, honestly. Usually the worst they do is practical jokes, like broth in the shower heads, saran wrapped toilet seats; stuff like that." Harry trails off at Hermione's even more pronounced frown. "I mean, uh…"
"If you're trying to sell them to me, you're wasting your breath, Harry. You're the worst salesman ever. Stick to hockey." Hermione laughs as she rolls onto her stomach, settling in with a happy sigh. "And thank you for the sushi. It's my favorite."
Her eyes drift closed as he watches, a soft grin tugging at his lips. "I know, sis. That's why I brought it." He settles back against the chair that he started out sitting in before sliding to the floor at some point, while waiting for Hermione to fall asleep.
Once he knows she's down, Harry pushes himself up to his feet, covering Hermione's slumbering form with a blanket, and quietly cleans up their mess from dinner before slipping out the door.
True to Harry's word, the twins corner her as soon as she walks into the building the next day. At first, they appear completely serious and heartfelt. Fred, particularly, keeps giving her a truly believable puppy dog look. Those big brown eyes framed by thick amber lashes and freckles makes her stomach erupt into butterflies. Though his shirt of the day, proclaiming "Shut your five hole!", is a little distracting from the fluttering.
They are quickly squashed, however, when some of the other players 'round the corner and George throws himself to his knees, bowing at her feet with Fred following after a nanosecond of a pause. When they begin chanting and attempting to kiss her feet, she finally breaks away from them and stalks off to her new office.
Over the next few weeks, she begins to get used to the twins' antics (and their teammates encouraging their behavior) and they spend quite a bit more time in the same proximity as she begins to work more with the team.
Luckily for her and not so luckily for Fred, the next time she sees him alone is weeks later and is after he has been crushed against the glass and then later is removed from the game with a match penalty for attempting to injure the same player - which, even in hockey, is just a level above. Even if it was against the Wiltshire Medusas, the team's main rival.
When she storms into the locker room to berate him, she freezes in shock. Fred's equipment is thrown around the room and the man himself is sitting on his bench, left wearing only his drenched and skin tight Under Armor layer; even his feet are bare, and she can't stop staring at them, his long, slightly bony toes. Even they are lightly freckled.
I wonder what else is freckled…
Physically tripping as the thought merrily skips through her mind, Hermione shakes her head hard before stomping over to Fred. "What the hell, Fred? You could get suspended for playing like that! What was going through your head?!"
Chewing violently on his mouthguard, Fred turns his head and scowls across the room at Finnegan's cubicle, silent.
Tapping her foot and huffing, her nostrils flare in irritation as her voice gets even shriller. "Well, Fred?"
"Christ, woman! Want me to say sorry? I'm sorry! I wasn't going to let that slimy douchebag say what he said-!" Fred has leapt to his feet, stalking back and forth in front of the lockers. In his agitation, his family's natural Alberta accent is thickening and elongating all the wrong vowels. He's also been running his hands through his sweaty hair because it's standing on end and the ends are beginning to curl just the teensiest bit.
Hermione barely manages to wrest her wandering attention from how he looks to what he's saying. "Wait, what? What happened out there, Fred?"
He stops and huffs, scowling down at his bare feet and the floor. His face is turning red but he finally turns to look at him. "That fucker Goyle, he musta saw you earlier or in the boxes or something, because he said something really, just really foul and I wasn't going to let him do something like that because I mean, I'm a hockey player but I'm not a douchebag. Fuck!"
Hermione's mouth pops open in shock. "Wha-aat?"
He spins around and crosses his arms over his chest, scowling. "I didn't think you were hard of hearing."
"You defended me? Against some hulking idiot who has more teeth than sense?" Hermione steps closer to him, her brows furrowing in confusion.
"Of course I did!" Fred is almost pouting now, turning to look down at her. "We're friends and all and I couldn't let him say anything rude."
"'Friends and all'?" Her brows quirk up as she looks up at him.
He nods, his arms finally dropping from across his chest and one large hand settling on her shoulder, heavy and warm even through her thick sweater. "Of course. Friends and maybe all? Sometime, I mean; I know you are still wary of Georgie and I together, but I thought you and me were making progress."
Hermione stares at him for another moment before hopping up to hook an arm around his neck and pull him down enough for her to smash her lips against his, damp and slightly off the mark, but warm and soft.
Fred's eyes widen in surprise - he has been fairly sure he is going to have to make the first move, but as usual, she surprises him. His hand slides down to press against her back while his other hand curls around her hip and he pulls her close as he returns the kiss with interest.
Her little moan of surprise makes him haul her up even closer until she's on her tiptoes, and it's going perfectly well until Potter and Finnegan and Lee burst into the locker room for the second intermission break, followed closely by the rest of the team. Their chatter drops faster than a beat as they stare at the two, before everything erupts into utter chaos.
Time passes and they become closer. At the end of the season, they have their first official date. And come the beginning of the next season, they've moved in together. It takes a few more seasons until he finally pops the question, and it's at his 100th game - at the huge celebration afterwards and in front of the whole team and all of their friends and family - when she finally says yes.
And the bad hockey shirts stay.