Disclaimer: All characters in this story belong to JKR. Only the plot belongs to me.

Authors notes: I am normally a Severus/Hermione girl, but thought I'd have a go at a different partnership. I have very recently fallen for one of the Weasley brothers, so I thought I'd see how you all react to it. Any similarities to other stories are purely unintentional, and I apologise now if I offend anyone.

Secret Love

Hermione's POV

I have a secret. No-one knows, certainly not my two best friends, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. I've had it for four years now, since I was eighteen. Shall I tell you about it? I think I will. It will be good to share such a secret; to finally be able to reveal it to someone anonymous, someone who won't laugh at me. Or maybe you will, when I reveal how I, Hermione Granger, third member of the Dream Team, defeaters of Voldemort and ex-Head Girl, fell in love with her best friends' brother.

You may ask why not the heroes of the hour, Harry Potter or Ron Weasley? But they're not the stuff of my fantasies. I've known them since I was eleven, and you just can't fantasise about boys you've known since you were eleven. But you can fantasise about one of their older brothers. I will begin from the time it all started, shall I?

Every year I spent two weeks at The Burrow, home of the Weasley family. I shared a room with the only girl, Ginny, and we became best girl friends, which is different from being best friends with two boys.

I knew that Ginny was attracted to Harry, and tried to see it from her point of view. That was when I became a people-watcher. I suppose it was also a way of protecting myself. I was always more comfortable around books. Books couldn't tease or make you cry (except the sad ones), unlike some people could. So I observed. It was fun to watch under the cover of hair and books.

I watched people interacting with each other. I could tell when a girl liked a boy and vice versa, just from the body language. I was the first one to realise that Ron had a thing for Draco Malfoy, and I could tell that for all Draco's posturing, he was vulnerable and insecure. And he had a thing for Ron too.

Ginny had invited me to the Burrow the summer after I graduated. I'd been offered a job in the Records department of the Ministry of Magic; surrounded by books and parchment, it was a dream job for me.

We had fun, the five of us, because Draco had been invited too, as Ron's partner. I would referee the four man (or three man, one girl) Quidditch matches. Harry and Ginny against Ron and Draco, no holds barred. Ginny could give as good as she got for there was a lot of sibling rivalry. Harry had accepted Draco easily into our circle, if only to ensure Ron was happy, but in Quiddditch the rivalry was still there.

Charlie and Bill were infrequent visitors, being busy with their work with dragons and Gringotts bank. Percy still lived at home, and was having to share a room with Draco.  It was during my second week there that I fell in love. At 6.15am to be exact, and I do like to be exact.

I had got up early, hoping to beat Ginny to the shower, as I knew she would be in there forever otherwise. I didn't think there would anyone else up at that time of the morning, but I was wrong. One person was always up, I discovered, at that time.

As I put my hand on the bathroom door handle to open it, it was wrenched out of my hand. I fell forward onto a bare, damp chest. Looking up, I met the most beautiful pair of eyes I had ever seen. Lapis blue, framed by dark lashes. Wet, auburn hair hung over his forehead and I followed the line of his straight nose down to his mouth with its full bottom lip, which was curled up slightly in a smile.

"Hermione! I didn't realise you were an early riser." Percy put me gently back on my feet.  He was wearing faded flannel pyjama bottoms and had a wet towel around his neck. A lone drop of water slid down his neck and settled into the dip by his collarbone. I watched, fascinated, and mentally shook myself.

"Oh, I just want to get in there before Ginny." I felt a real mess. Hair everywhere and sleep dust still in my eyes. I'm sure I had a nasty trail of dried drool at the corner of my mouth.

"That's why I get up early too. It seems that's the only time to get a bit of peace around here. Congratulations on the job, by the way."

"Thank you, Percy. I'm looking forward to it."

"We'll probably see quite a lot of each other. I've just transferred to Research and Development."


"There's more to the Ministry that cauldron standards, you know." He smiled again, a flash of white teeth. Being a dentist's daughter, I noticed these things. And in that moment, I fell in love.  Oh, not with the teeth, you understand, but with his sense of humour. That remark meant he knew how to take a joke, especially after the teasing he got from Fred and George.

He stepped aside and let me into the bathroom that was still steamy from his shower and I shut the door thankfully. I needed to be alone to sort out the feelings he aroused in me.

From that day, I became not only a people watcher, but also a Percy Watcher. I would curl up in a chair with a book, and from the cover of my hair I would watch. He seemed more relaxed, and would tolerate the antics of Fred and George. He was a neat freak (I discovered this from Draco), who liked everything in its place. Very much like me. I already knew we had books in common, and he would always let me borrow them from him.

He left the Burrow at precisely 8.15am, and arrived home again at 6.15pm. He would spend an hour on paperwork in his room and then join everyone for dinner.  After helping to clear the table, he would either read for a while or discuss with his father what was happening in R&D.  There was no mention of a girlfriend, although knowing Molly, I'm sure she would be the first to know.

That last week flew by, and then I started work.  The Records department was in the lower regions of the Ministry buildings. I was shown around and introduced to my co-workers, three other women and two men. My head of department was a much older man, who welcomed me. He was very forward thinking, and was willing to listen to any improvements I might have for the department.

It was a week before I saw Percy again. He came to find some obscure reference book and I was the only one free to help. After that, whenever he came down, I was sent to assist him. I think it was because I was a family friend and the fact that I was new to the department.

Sometimes he would come down at lunchtime and we would spend it talking amongst the dusty volumes. I lived and breathed for those times. I could look at him to my hearts content, all under the guise of listening to him.  Don't get me wrong. I loved to listen to him. We would have quite spirited discussions, and I remembered the advice from an old teacher (pre-Hogwarts). It's rude not look a person in the eye when they are talking to you. And I didn't want to be rude.

And so it went on. Four years have passed since that fateful morning. I am still in love with Percy Weasley, and I don't know how to tell him. We are good friends and colleagues, workmates, lunch mates. I would like to be his soul mate, but I don't want to risk our friendship.  He gives me no encouragement, no hint he would like to be anything more.  Do you pity me? Where has my Gryffindor courage gone, you may ask? Still buried somewhere, and one day I may dig it out again and risk it all.

A/N: Shall I continue? Please let me know.