Disclaimer: Although Fred Weasley may own my heart, I do not own him or anything else Harry Potterish. It's all the lovely J.K. Rowling's.
Note: Well, here's for my first Harry Potter fic. It's Fred Weasley/Hermione Granger, and for those of you who haven't read my Star Wars fic: basically, this revolves around the general plot of the newest movie more than it does the book, though there are elements from both, but with enough AU to make it workable with the couple. I use scenes directly from the movie and incorporate different emotions behind them…this is going to start off sluggishly, I imagine, but bear with me if you will!
NOTE 4/21/11: I've begun the long process of "updating" these old chapters. I just can't take it anymore. Call me OCD, but I've got to do it. That's all. Expect to see some inconsistancy in the writing style of the varying chapters until all the updating's done.
"The whole thing is a load of rubbish, if you ask me," Ron said as he viciously plunged his spoon into his pudding. Hermione glanced up with a stifled sigh, closing her copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 3, which had been resting in her lap under the Gryffindor table.
"I think the age limit is very logical…we wouldn't know nearly enough material to compete in the tasks, even if they've been made safer. I read in Hogwarts, A History that in the 1893 tournament-"
"Somebody did something and died. I know," Ron muttered and rolled his eyes, proceeding to glare at Hermione's book as though it were responsible for his not being eligible to compete.
"But Dumbledore's here now, isn't he?" Harry, who was sitting on the other side of the table from his two friends, piped up through a mouthful of what looked to be meatloaf. "He wouldn't let anything get out of hand."
Hermione fixed her eyes on her two friends in a disbelieving stare. Honestly, sometimes they had the thickest heads…
"Yes, but Harry, Dumbledore is probably one of the people who elected the age limit. I'm sure he's fully aware of his capabilities, and yet he's still taking precautions. That ought to say something," she concluded, glancing disdainfully at a handful of Beauxbaton girls as they swept by, giggling. Ron swiveled in his seat and watched the girls' backsides until they had seated said backsaides at the Ravenclaw table, out of his view. Maybe this was why Hermione had hardly ever been given more than a glance from boys around Hogwarts: she could care less how much her backside swaggered, so long as she made it to class in time.
If anything was worse than the Beauxbatons and their giggles and their backsides, it was the multitude of noisy whispers that Viktor Krum invoked any time he was near. He was only so well liked because he was famous, and that frustrated Hermione, not that it was any of her business. The whispers were just distracting, that was all.
"We've got it all worked out," a deep voice said, and she looked up with a frown at Fred and George Weasley as they sat next to the trio. Lee Jordan was in tow, his eyes bright with excitement.
"How to enter the tournament," George finished proudly, helping himself to some pumpkin juice and downing it in one gulp.
Hermione snorted, opening her mouth to explain that they might as well stop while they were ahead, but Ron cut her off. "Tell me and Harry! We want in!" Harry said nothing, but his eyes were twinkling, maybe reflecting daydreams of glory and winnings. Fred helped himself to the fruit pie Ronhad been saving and swatted down his little brother's hands with a wicked grin.
"Sorry, Ron. I'm sure the Goblet of Fire won't tell the difference when a genius fools it, but if a complete git enters his name, I bet it'll spit it right back out." Adding injury to insult, Fred raised the fork loaded with Ron's pieand with one bite devoured the entire thing. Harry laughed with the others, but stopped when he noticed the clock against the wall.
"Ron," his mouth twisted unhappily, "Double Divination today."
"Oh, right." This seemed to top off Ron's foul mood. He stood up, gathering his things, and muttered glumly to Hermione, "Doesn't that mean you've got Arithmancy?"
Hermione sighed. "Cancelled." She waved goodbye, shaking her head at their jealous expressions, and bowed her head back over her book, rereading a familiar paragraph ("The Orchideous spell is often imitated by muggles who attempt their hand at magic…flowers are expelled from the wand tip upon the simple movement of…") until she realized Fred, George, and Lee were still there, and whispering darkly, their heads in a huddle.
George was saying, "No, no, she's dating that Ernie prat, isn't she?" as Fred shrugged and scratched something out in a leather book he was holding open. Hermione marked her page and cleared her throat loudly. The twins and Lee slowly raised their heads as if noticing her for the first time, badly feigned innocence all over their faces. Fred grabbed the pitcher of pumpkin juice at his elbow and held it up.
"More pumpkin juice, Hermione?"
"What are you three doing? Don't you have History with Professor Binns?" Hermione asked, ignoring Fred as he topped off her goblet.
"Oh," George grinned at his twin knowingly, "we thought we could better our education in other ways this afternoon."
"You're skipping class?" she whispered the word like it was vulgar.
"Just improving the time that could have been spent sleeping in an uncomfortable desk." Fred shrugged, fingering something that looked like a sweet, but didn't fool Hermione for one second
"This has to do with Wheezing Wizard Weasleys, doesn't it?" she asked, glaring a glare to rival the best of McGonnagal's.
Fred overemphasized each syllable as he corrected, "Weasley Wizard Wheezes. And yes, actually, it does. Why? Fancy a purchase?" he asked, brandishing a fake wand out of thin air and holding it under her nose. Hermione surveyed the three, flatly disbelieving. After spending the last few weeks of summer at The Burrow, she knew for fact that Mrs. Weasley would be outraged to hear about even that one little sweet. And yet...she couldn't bring herself to scold them as she might've. The sweets were quite clever, and mostly harmless.
"No, thank you," she sighed, surrendering. "What are you working on now?"
Lee was caught so off guard by her curiosity, he answered honestly, "Love potions."
"What?" Hermione yelped and jumped, knocking her plate onto Fred's lap. Fred gave a yelp as hot food steamed on his legs, but swallowed down his curse words as Hermione whipped her wand and made the mess disappear with a little snap of her wrist. Was it her imagination, or was Fred actually showing a bit of the Weasley blush around his ears? Funny. But that wasn't the point. Love potions, besides being prohibited from Hogwarts, were sometimes even illegal outside the school as well.
"What?" George asked innocently, big-eyed. "It's just a bit of research, that's all. Honest to Merlin. We thought you'd appreciate our motivation, Hermione."
Hermione shook her head furiously. Honestly, it was no wonder Molly Weasley had grown so used to assuming the twins were up to no good.
"Those are extremely difficult to brew! If you mess with those ingredients…"
"Oh, they're already brewed," Lee said proudly, nodding at his two best friends proudly. Hermione paused, shocked, and then looked long and hard at the book in Fred's hand.
"What, this?" He flashed a mischevious smile to put any mother on the edge of her seat. "We're just sorting out who we can test them on guiltlessly."
Hermione jumped to her feet, and her chair toppled backwards, saved from crashing to the floor only by Fred's beater reflexes.
"You…cannot…test…those…here," she seethed. Lee was staring at Hermione like she was some foul monster only now unleashed from behind the mask of a kitten, but the twins just shrugged. "Fine," she said shortly, fuming. She bent to pick up her backpack and shuffle her book inside. As she was turned, Fred pulled a vial from his robe pocket, pulled out its teeny cork, then poured the teeniest drop of liquid in her pumpkin juice. When she turned back around, he was straightening his cloak back over his chest and winking at his brother in victory.
"Don't be mad at us, Hermione," he said. "We've got to make a living somehow."
Scowling, Hermione snatched up her goblet of pumpkin juice and her remaining half of toast. She took a large bite from the toast, cast them a parting glare as she chewed, and then marched from the great hall, sipping her juice as she went. When at last her bushy brown head had disappeared through the doors, the boys burst out laughing, Lee nearly collapsing from his chair.
Fred took a bow as though accepting an award, snickering. It wasn't anything against Hermione...even though she could be a right pain in the you-know-what (not to be confused with You Know Who), Fred had a soft spot for her. Mostly because she was completely hopeless.
George's laughter died out as he consulted Fred's notes in their leather book.
"We'd better be careful," he said, suddenly grim. "Remember that Parkinson girl we slipped the potion to yesterday? She fell for the first boy she saw - poor Neville, scared him right out of his wits. If Hermione sees someone like that slimy Malfoy first, she'll never forgive us. Neither will mum." He gave a shudder, hearing the howler screaming already. Lee froze, and Fred grumbled a curseword that made Lavender and Parvati pause over their dinner and stare at him.
"Fine, fine." He stood and gathered his things, waving half-heartedly at the other two, who were doubled over laughing again, this time at his expense, the gits. He jogged from the great hall, not stopping until he caught sight of the back of the familiar bushy head.
"Hermione! Wait!" he called, panting.
"No, George! I'm writing your mum and that's it!" she spat over her shoulder, chin held high.
"Fine, Fred! But she's still your mum!"
"Now, wait just a second," Fred pleaded as he fell into step beside her. "It's not all that-"
"Really, Fred, I've had enough. You can't just…go and…" Hermione's voice began trailing off as she her walk fell slower and slower. She couldn't really place what she was feeling. A strange lack of care for the books on her back, a strange longing to do something rebellious…she couldn't even remember what she'd been saying. Or who she had been speaking to. Oh, wait. Fred.
She suddenly felt...warm. And confused, like there were multiple voices arguing in her head. Fred was looking down at her, teasing, but worried. It was absolutely adorable. Suddenly, she realized she was speaking - saying words she had no control over. She dropped her bag at her feet, kicked it aside, and went up to her tiptoes, wanting nothing more than to kiss him. That's what she had been saying. Everything was becoming oddly meaningless outside the bubble the two of them were in together...her and Fred Weasley...she closed her eyes and leaned in...
Her eyes snapped open. She blinked. Fred was shaking her shoulders, and he looked terrified at their proximity; another few inches, and the kiss would've been closed. Yelping, Hermione took a hasty step backwards, tripped over her bag, and toppled onto her bottom with a grunt.
"You…did you just…" Hermione stammered, remembering the pumpkin juice, the leather notebook, Fred's mischevious grin. "Oh…oh my…"
"Easy, now," Fred said, hands raised as Hermione came shakily to her feet, turning as red as a ripe turnip and looking meaner than a Norwegan Ridgeback.
"You awful little...you...you foul..." she hissed in a tone usually reserved for Draco Malfoy. What did he think she was, some sort of guinea pig, available because she was friends with his brother? She gave a great lurch towards him, growling as she brandished her wand, meaning to hex that little smile right off his face. She didn't know if she'd ever been so humiliated - and that was saying something!
"Settle, Hermione," Fred said gently, pushing down her wand and winking at her. Hermione wasn't fooled. His eyes kept twitching back to the wand; he knew she was fully capable of making him wail like an infant mandrake. "I won't tell anyone."
Eying him doubtfully, Hermione doubled over to gather up her things from the floor, Fred stooping to help her gather her spilled quills . As she straightened, she noticed George and Lee hurrying their way, wearing grins that made her face go red all over again.
"Oi." Fred caught her arm as she turned to go, and she looked at him, surprise overcoming anger when she realized he was actually being serious. "We won't record that. I swear. Alright?"
Hermione felt a surge of gratitude and relief, and curtly nodded, shrugging off his hold on her arm.
"Just one last thing," Fred said, dropping his voice so that Hermione had to lean forward to hear him. Being this near to his face reminded her of a moment ago, when she'd been about to...No! No no! Don't think about it! You might have a relapse! She casually leaned away, her heart drumming uncomfortably in her ears.
Suddenly grinning, Fred said, "Do you really think I have beautiful eyes?" He batted his lashes, and with a growl of exasperation, Hermione turned and marched away.
"Why are you being so quiet? Working on spew, I suppose?" Ron asked that night in the common room, looking over his upside-down book at Hermione. Harry glanced up from his astronomy charts, his eyebrows raised over his glasses. Hermione continued importantly shining the badge on her chest.
"S.P.E.W, Ronald," she corrected and leaned over to turn his book right-side up for him. "And no. I'm just thinking."
"Oh, good." Harry grinned and marked down what looked to be another near-death prediction for Divination. "We were worried it was something out of the ordinary."
Hermione smiled and flicked an empty inkbottle at him, which he caught as easily as a snitch. Thankfully, he didn't ask what she was thinking about. She didn't think neither him nor Ron would ever let her hear the end of it if she told them she'd been wondering what all she had said to Fred while she was in her lovesick trance. She had to stop thinking about him. It. The incident. She suspected there were still trace amount of the potion in her system, because she kept embarrassedly wondering to herself what it would have been like if she had kissed Fred.
"The Weasley twins are making love potions now," a voice giggled across the room. Hermione's heart tried to stop as she lifted herself out of her chair to see Lavender and Parvati walking in the portrait hole together, gossiping as usual. "I heard them telling Hermione so at lunch."
When they didn't mention Hermione again - specifically, her almost kiss - Hermione sat back down, still uneasy. She knew Fred had sworn not to tell anyone, and for whatever reason, she believed him, but still, she felt...anxious. Teasing, she could take (going to school with people like Malfoy and Pansy made it practically routine), but this was different. This was her reputation.
"That's right we are," George's voice drifted down the stairwell as he and Fred descended from their dormitories. "And soon, they'll be on the market!"
"No, they most certainly will not," Hermione said hotly, shushing Lavender and Parvati's giggles. "They're abuse to whoever drinks them!"
Fred's smile hardly faltered as he replied, "Oh, they aren't that bad. Besides, we still have to develop them in cherry and strawberry flavors."
"That's not what I meant, Fred Weasley, and you know it. I meant that they are a foul way to take advantage of someone."
"And you'd know, Hermione?" Harry asked curiously, exchanging a look with Ron. Hermione had always been disapproving of the twins, but she'd never been quite so forward about it.
Swallowing, drawing herself up to her full height, Hermione said, "Well…yes! Yes, I would!"
There was a pause as Parvati and Lavender crowded nearer, looking eager. Fred cleared his throat and tugged his collar, while George was suddenly very interested in the hem of his robe.
"Wait…what?" Ron asked, his eyes twitching between the twins and Hermione. He looked like he didn't know whether or not he was supposed to be angry or not.
Hermione bravely planted her hands on her hips, glowering at Fred till he gave a great sigh of resignation and said, "Alright, alright, we tried one on her at dinner. The symptoms only lasted a few short minutes, and look at the lovely recovery our Hermione has made!" He gestured grandly at Hermione, who was still shaking her head at him.
He didn't know what bothered him more, the fact she was so ashamed to have come close to sharing a romantic moment with him, or that he didn't like that she was so ashamed to have, etc. etc. Hermione Granger had always been on the unavailable roster, off limits because of Ron's secret feelings for her and because...well...she was Hermione Granger. He supposed it was just the idea that she was unavailable that livened his interest. That, and it wasn't often someone looked at him with big brown eyes and asked him to kiss her like she really cared. Not that she did. That was just the love potion talking, of course.
Ron was clearly gathering up steam for an explosion - how Hermione couldn't see how jealous he was, Fred didn't know - so Harry said, "Let's go down to The Great Hall. We've got an hour before the Goblet delivers the names, and I want to see who's entering."
Fred and George watched them go, and Fred's mind snapped out of its Hermione-musings as he turned to face George with a grin matching his twin's.
"Know what this means?"
"Time to enter?"
"Exactly. Got the potions?"
"Absolutely. Let's go."
As Fred and George
"It's not going to work!" Hermione sang in greeting as they stopped before her. Fred and George exchanged a look and sat down on either side of her, Fred straddling the bench and leaning towards her in mock interest. This marked three times in the last day they'd been this close. He kept noticing new little things about her face he hadn't before...her eyelashes...the few freckles on her nose...
"Why's that?" Fred asked, shaking his head at himself.
Hermione closed her book with a snap and pointed and the blue circle surrounding the pedestal holding The Goblet of Fire. "See that? That's an Age line." She went on about Dumbledore laying it himself, and how they would never fool it, but Fred and George just laughed. She'd see. Likely be impressed, too, Fred found himself thinking. He shook his head, more forcefully this time, to clear it. He'd been sniffing too many potions.
Together, they downed their potions and simultaneously leapt from Hermione's bench over the age line. The Great Hall held its collective breath. For a glorious moment, Fred thought they had done it, and he found himself turning to grin smugly at Hermione. But before he took so much as two steps, the blue fire of the goblet exploded out of itscup and hammered his and George's chests so that they flew back out of the age line. Fred landed with a thud, his face tingling all over. Startled, he touched his chin. He had grown a full white beard and a long head of hair to match. George!
"You said-" he started angrily at the same time George growled, "You said-"
"Fight, fight, fight, fight!"
It seemed everyone was cheering, but Fred hardly heard, because his ears were buzzing as he roped an arm around George's head and wrestled him to the ground. All those galleons...the glory, the fame...gone. George elbowed him in the stomach with a, "Take this one!" and Fred coughingly doubled up, surrendering.
He belatedly realized the cheering had stopped, and a weighty silence had fallen over the hall. Viktor Krum strode confidantly by them, and even though Fred thought he was a brilliant seeker, he scowled as Krum passed over the age line without pause and dropped his name into the flaming Goblet. Not because of Krum being elligible to enter...but because he was staring at Hermione.
Fred grumpily ran a hand over his thick white beard , approaching the hospital wing at a slouching walk. George marched nearly a full corridor ahead, as the two were not quite back on civilized terms. Fred fully intended to slip a few filibuster fireworks in George's bedsheets tonight.
"Fred!" Fred glanced up, bushy white eyebrows raised, and looked over his shoulder at Hermione as she came to a breathless stop beside him.
"Come to say 'I told you so', have you?"
Hermione covered her mouth with a hand, but even then, her eyes were smiling. "Do I even have to?"
The two paused, lingering awkwardly.
"I'd have thought a partier like yourself would be down in the common room," Fred said, looking over his shoulder for George. His twin had gone.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "I would say the same for you, but I imagine you're simply anxious to look your age again," she said, poking at his beard. Fred fought hard not to flush under her touch, and that's when he knew something was off. A few weeks ago he'd snogged one of the Beauxbatons who looked so much like a veela, and even that hadn't made him go red like he was going now. "No, I just came to say…it's all right. I'm not writing your mum, since you didn't tell everyone about…what I nearly did…"
"What, you mean when you told me you loved my smile, and that you wanted to-"
"Yes, that!" she said hotly, not looking at him.
"Right. Well…bye then?"
"Yes. Good luck with the beard."