Disclaimer: The following characters, places, and situations you recognize belong to J.K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, etc. I am just a fan-girl with an overactive imagination.
May was a beautiful month for Hermione. Most of the trees' leaves had grown into brilliant shades of green, and the fresh scent of grass could finally be enjoyed now that the rains of April hadn't turned the ground into eternal swamps of mud.
"'Mione, I have a question!" Bessie Abbot waved her little hand in the air, ending Hermione's daydream.
The witch rubbed her temple and walked over to the young girl's desk. "What's the matter, dear?"
"I don't understand the question. First they were asking me about subtracting, and now they're talking about giving away apples!" A frustrated Bessie pointed at the mathematics question in her workbook.
Hermione looked over the page and smiled. "You did the first part of the section perfectly. The question with the apples is what is known as a word problem. I guess I could explain the concept with you now –" The ringing of a bell cut off her train of thought.
"Bessie, playtime with Ginny just started–" she said as the other children in the classroom ran out, papers and quills flying. "Walk, don't run," she shouted at the rushing mass of children. "But remind me to go over this tomorrow with you, okay?"
"Sure, 'Mione. See you tomorrow!" Bessie grinned up at her tutor and left the classroom.
Hermione didn't fight the impulse to hold back a yawn as she headed back to her desk. It was exhausting working in two jobs – including one she wasn't paid for – but she felt satisfied, nevertheless.
After the end of the War, Hermione figured that love was most important in the scheme of things, especially since love had been the final weapon Harry had used to destroy Voldemort. With this new insight in mind, Hermione had offered to volunteer daily at the Orphanage/Day and Afternoon Child Care Center run by Molly and Fleur Weasley for children of deceased war heroes when she wasn't working at the Ministry of Magic.
Fleur and Molly weren't the only Weasleys involved in the enterprise: Arthur, Bill, and Charlie Weasley would lend a hand when their careers allowed them the time to do so. Ginny volunteered with Hermione; while Hermione worked as a tutor for the younger children who were too young to attend Hogwarts, Ginny volunteered as the Games and Activities Coordinator, organizing games of Wizard Chess, Quidditch, and other diversions for the children to enjoy. Ron donated money from his large salary as Keeper for the Chudley Cannons, and even Percy helped by signing the Ministry license needed to establish the orphanage. The twins would help Ginny in their spare time as well; though Hermione liked to think their aims were more along the lines of training some of the children to become the next generation of pranksters and troublemakers.
Speak of one of the devils, Hermione thought as George Weasley popped his red head through the door of the classroom.
"Hullo, Hermione," he said, standing in the doorway of the room.
"Hi." Hermione held her breath as he flashed a smile at her.
"Mind if I have a word?"
"Sure, come in." She stood to survey the room and tidy it up with a few cleaning spells.
The redhead sat on one of the students' desks, his easy manner becoming tenser as he crossed his legs and began to fidget. "I need your help, Hermione. You see, I've been with Angelina for some time –"
"Angelina?" Hermione asked in confusion.
"Of course, Angelina… you know, Johnson? Was in my year at Hogwarts?"
"Yes, but – Angelina's with Fred."
"And who you do think you're talking to?"
"George Isaac Weasley, of course – and don't you try to fool me otherwise." Unlike most of the Wizarding population, Hermione was one of the few who could tell the Weasley twins apart. It was quite simple, really – Fred had a slightly drier sense of humor, while George was a bit lighter and had this sparkle of blue in his eyes when he laughed…
Back to earth, Hermione. She crossed her arms and waited for George to respond.
The twin flushed and hung his head in mock shame. "You caught me, Miss Granger. Will I be punished for my tomfoolery?"
"Only if you don't tell me why you pulled that farce a second ago."
George rose from the desk and began to pace. "I figured that if I pretended to be Fred, you would help me – as Fred – with his problem. I wasn't sure if you would help me – as George – if you knew we were meddling."
Hermione looked at his gesturing arms and his frantic pacing and stifled a laugh. "George, you know I'd want to help you – as long as you're not going to do something that'll get me into a scrape."
"I would never do such a thing," he replied sincerely, tipping an imaginary hat to her and giving her an exaggerated bow.
"Get up, you prat. What do you need help with?"
"The problem does concern Fred and Angelina. They've been together for five years!" George held up five fingers for emphasis. "He says that it's serious, and I know that it's serious, but nothing is happening."
"Perhaps Fred isn't the marrying type," Hermione said.
"I thought that, too, until I found a copy of Wizard Weddings in the office of our shop. He was picking out engagement rings… but I found that mag some months ago, and he still hasn't done anything."
"Cold feet, perhaps?"
"I dunno… he's been getting quieter and quieter lately. What's worse, I cracked a joke the other day and…" George lowered his voice. "He didn't laugh."
When Hermione didn't respond, George said, "It was a funny joke, too, about two Aurors and a squib in a pub –"
"Hush, George, I'm thinking." Hermione tapped her fingers against the desk. "It seems to me that Fred's nervous, that's all."
"Then what's going to become of him?"
"I'm not finished yet," Hermione said impatiently. "Maybe all Fred needs is a little push."
"Now we understand each other completely. I was thinking we put a Sticking Charm on the engagement ring so that it stays on his forehead. Then he'll have to get thing off and on Angelina's finger right and proper."
"I think our plan requires a bit more finesse," Hermione said in doubt.
"Ah, so you want to be sneaky," George said, rubbing his hands together in glee. "Let's start planning."
"… send a messenger cupid to Angelina with a poem of proposal…"
"… kidnap Fred so that Angelina will have to save him…"
"… put the ring in the pudding the next time they come to the Burrow for dinner…"
"And see Angelina choke on it?" George asked in disbelief.
"Well, it works in some Muggle films," Hermione admitted.
George laughed and took a swig of butterbeer. The pair had left the orphanage together and had dinner at a nearby restaurant. Now they sat in a booth at the Three Broomsticks, plotting Fred's future proposal over bottles of butterbeer.
"I got one!" George said minutes later after a few more spoken plans had fallen flat. "We lock them in a room –"
"What room?" Hermione interjected.
"We'll figure it out later – the point is that they'll be locked inside a room. When he proposes and they kiss, they are free to leave the room. We also have to set up the standard Impermeable Charms on the room."
"Impermeable Charms?" Hermione asked.
"It's a little something Fred and I created. It's a Security Spell specifically made for our facilities to prevent theft or spying. However, ours is stronger than the average spell, and casts certain jinxes to those trying to break in – or in this case, escape the premises."
"They can't be jinxed during the proposal." Despite Hermione's point, she thought the spell – and its co-creator – was brilliant.
"I'll have to modify the spell, then… even though Fred deserves a Bat Bogey Hex for waiting so damn long to propose."
"That's why we're here – to push him along. Besides, you've got to sympathize with your brother. Haven't you ever fancied someone but didn't have the nerve to tell her?"
George decided to take a slow sip of his butterbeer. She'd never want to how deep he had buried himself into that particular situation with her.
"And what about the ring? He might've bought it already, and he'll need to propose properly with it." Hermione said in order to break the tense silence they had shared.
The woman was so clever… and insightful, and beautiful…
George choked on his butterbeer. But before he could understand his thoughts better, Hermione was in the middle of planning and making notes with a conjured quill and parchment.
As he paid the tab some time later, he said, "Fred is going to be out for the rest of the night. We'll have the place to ourselves." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Hermione laughed, although she couldn't help but feel her neck and ears heat up. By the time George and Hermione had left the Three Broomsticks arm-in-arm, they were ready with a clear plan and purpose.
They were on a quest to find a ring.
Instead of catching up on some much needed sleep, Hermione found herself crawling under Fred's desk in the office of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, checking for a loose floorboard under which an engagement ring could possibly be hidden.
"Found it!" George bellowed. Hermione raised her head and bumped it against the desk.
"Then what was the purpose of me being confined under that desk?" Hermione asked as she stood.
I'm not quite sure, but your bum was something to look at when you were on all fours…George shook his head, sure that Hermione would never want him to think of her that way.
"Can I see it?" Hermione held out her hand, waiting for George to throw the ring at her or perform such other nonsense with it. Instead, she was pleasantly surprised to have George walk her way and place the ring gently in her hand. She gave an involuntary shiver as his fingers seemed to spark against her palm.
She stared at it, the soft shine of the gold band gently complimenting the brilliance of the round-shaped diamond set in the center of the ring. The circle of gold in her hand was a thing of perfection to Hermione – a thing Hermione wished she could share with a good man someday. Her gaze moved from the ring to George, who waited for her response.
"Now that we've got the ring, we have to make a note," Hermione said in a shaky voice.
"What for?" George asked.
"If they think something sinister is going on, they might become paranoid."
"I hardly think Fred will freak out – okay, Hermione, I'll get some parchment." George gave her the necessities, and Hermione handed him back the ring. He held back a sigh as he felt the soft skin of her fingers brush against his.
As Hermione wrote the note at Fred's desk, George turned the velvet jewelry box over in his hands. He opened it, placed the ring back inside the box, and slipped the box into his pocket.
Feeling the gentle weight there, George wondered what it would be like: finding a girl you fancied, falling in love with her, marrying her and having the sex, family, and chaos that went along with it.
He always looked back to his childhood at the Burrow with nostalgia and happiness. Being part of a large family had its annoyances, but if his twin wasn't around, George could always find someone else to bother. Even though money was extremely hard to come by, the Weasley family always found a way through, even if it meant second hand robes (George grinned, remembering Ron's maroon and lace tragedy) and older brooms.
Not that money could ever be a problem with his theoretical family. Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes was nearing the million Galleon mark in sales, and with the financial advice of one of Bill's associates at Gringotts, the twins could double and triple their profits sooner than they had thought previously.
"It's amazing, isn't it?" Hermione had finished writing the note and was looking at George with an odd look on her face.
"Yeah, the business is really taking off," George said, still thinking of the success of the joke shop.
"That, too, but I was thinking about – oh, forget it." A blush rose in Hermione's cheeks.
"Thinking about what, Hermione?" George was looking strange, his eyes speculative and his brow furrowed.
"Love," she said softly. The word seemed to end the weird mood that had come over them, with George's face at ease again and Hermione's mind back on the plan.
"I'll go set the Impermeable Charms on the broom closet." George said, leaving the office.
He came back a few minutes later. "Hermione, aren't you going to come and test it?"
"Test what?" She asked, confused.
"The room, of course – can't have Fred trying to escape, now can we?" He then grinned at her apparent hesitation.
"Oh, but I have complete confidence in your spell work."
"I appreciate your assurance, but I'm afraid I don't have it at the moment. I just modified the spell, and I need to make sure that it will still be effective under the new circumstances."
"Er – right." Hermione moved to get out of the chair, but a lightly freckled hand stopped her.
"May I guide you to our proposal room, Miss Granger?" he asked, his body bent into another silly bow, and his head raised expectantly… hopefully. On his way back from setting up the spell, he'd made his decision. He was going to give it a shot with Hermione, and this crazy scheme he'd just come up with was going to help him.
"Certainly, Mr. Weasley," she said, taking his hand and following him to the broom closet.
George shut the door behind them and turned to face Hermione. "Cozy, isn't it?"
Hermione giggled. "It's the model of romantic settings," she said, observing the mops, brooms, and boxes lining the walls of the closet.
"I'm glad you think so. I was thinking of enlarging it, but I think that the closeness of it all might move things along." George neglected to mention that he was not thinking of Fred and Angelina when he said it.
"I suppose it might," said Hermione, also not thinking of the couple.
"Okay, time for the initial tests." George coughed and proceeded to work. Alohomora, some stronger unlocking spells – even some basic Muggle lock picking did nothing to open the door.
"Brilliant. Only one more test, and we can get out of here. Puertabra!" George grinned in satisfaction when the door still refused to open.
"That was the original counter spell," George informed Hermione. "Now that that's been taken cared of, we can go… Puertabrala!" George turned the knob, but the door remained closed.
"It's not working! My new counter spell is not working!"
"Perhaps you said it with the wrong accent… try putting it on the second 'a.'" Hermione offered.
George did as she suggested, but the door did not open.
Hermione sighed. "Maybe you could try it on the last 'a?'"
"Hermione, I believe that the only way we're getting out of here is through the same way Fred and Angelina will be."
"A proposal, my dear." George smiled, but then grew serious as he knelt on one knee and took the ring from his pocket. "Hermione Jane Granger, will you marry me?"
Seriously? Hermione shushed her thoughts with a 'get a grip!' It was only a farce to override the spells on the closet. Though if Hermione were to be proposed to, this would be the way to do it – George's bright red hair falling below his ears and ending somewhere along his neck, his bright blue eyes sparkling – admittedly, it wouldn't be in a broom closet…
"Yes." Lost in the incredulity and odd romanticism of the moment, Hermione kneeled down to George and leaned into him for a kiss.
Hermione blinked up at the sudden light invading her eyes and ended the quick meeting of lips.
"Now, what do we have here?" said a voice so similar and yet so different from George's.
George and Hermione turned their heads to the open door and the bright light coming from the space outside the broom closet. They both stood to face an amused Fred and Angelina.
"We did it!" Angelina said brightly as she lifted a hand to cup Fred's cheek. A ring-adorned hand, that is.
"Did what?" Hermione and George asked simultaneously.
"Got you too together, that's what?"
"Explanation. Now." Hermione's voice trembled with outrage.
"Hermione, don't be upset," Angelina said happily. "Let's go the sitting room and explain everything."
As Angelina started tea for everyone, Fred began his tale.
"It all started a few months ago when I was teaching Timmy Jones how to properly hide a Dungbomb at the Orphanage and realized George wasn't with me. I knew my dear brother would never pass up on the opportunity to impart our knowledge on the next generation, so I prematurely ended my lesson to go and find him.
"Imagine my surprise when he's in the classroom explaining a Cheering Charm to an eager ten year old. 'What is he doing teaching in a classroom?' I ask myself. Well, it all makes sense when he just gushes all over Hermione tutoring a nearby student.
"I wasn't going to be rash, as George here usually has the sense to go up to a girl and get things started. But as the weeks passed by, he got more lovesick. It was right dreadful, it was… but it reminded me of what I had to do." Angelina entered the room with a tray of tea and biscuits, and Fred rose to help her.
"I ordered a ring for Angelina, and did a bit of research to get Hermione a ring as well. I have to thank my fiancée for that bit – getting a ring for one woman is difficult enough." Angelina promptly elbowed him.
"And the rest of it?" Hermione asked.
"George thought of that all on his own, and no, he had no idea about what we were up to… I suppose he was just concerned about my own romantic woes. But I must admit, the next phase of my plan was going to involve a broom closet and a modified version of the Impermeable Charm."
"Great minds think alike," George said sheepishly.
"What's wrong?" Fred asked.
"Could I speak to Hermione? Alone?"
"Sure, brother. We did interrupt at a most inopportune time, didn't we?" Grabbing a biscuit, Fred left the room with Angelina.
"When did they get engaged?" Hermione wondered.
"I guess they did so not long before we did." George sighed and leaned back into the sofa.
"You say it as if ours was as real as theirs."
"Couldn't it be though?" Hermione's eyes widened, but George plowed on. "We wouldn't have to get married right away… we could wait some years if you'd like – to date, get to know each other, that sort of thing. But Fred had a point: I never screwed up the courage to…"
"Kiss you." George bent closer to Hermione, but she already met him halfway.
"You know," Hermione said as she kissed her way down his neck, "that if I accept, we'll have to get back at them for this."
"Undoubtedly," George gasped and stopped Hermione's ministrations. "Your ring, Mrs. Weasley."
"That won't be my name for awhile yet." Hermione smiled and allowed George to slip the ring unto her finger. "But soon enough, I assure you, Mr. Weasley."
"Glad to hear it," George said, bringing Hermione's hands to his lips.
George loved the beginnings of summer in June. He could feel his skin absorbing the sun's heat and smell the musky scent of the flowers in the Burrow's garden.
He could also hear the annoying buzz of a bee in his ear. He shut his eyes and vanished the bee with a wandless Evanesco. The summer still had its problems that some magic could fix. The newly expanded garden of the Burrow had several cooling charms placed on it so that the guests wouldn't suffer the worst of the heat, and the levitating drapes above the altar and guests' seats provided some shade from the sun for the sensitive.
George heard the levels of noise in the garden drop and stepped out of the sun's warmth to get to the cool shade of the altar. It was going to start.
His palms got sweaty, his knees began to tremble, and he could almost feel his freckles standing out from the paleness of his face.
"It was as if you were getting married, bro," his twin remarked.
"Sorry if I can't be a little nervous for you; you are just lounging on this momentous occasion," George whispered as the children from the orphanage began to sing.
Fred turned to his brother. "Trust me, I'm nervous for the both of us…" His eyes were wide with anxiety. "Am I doing the right thing?" he asked.
"Just look at her," George replied with a light smile. Angelina walked down the grassy path to the altar, her dark skin glowing in contrast to her white wedding robes.
"Right." The brothers winked at each other, and the ceremony began.
When the nuptials were over, George met his fiancée by the table of refreshments.
"Were you going to spike the punch, love?" he asked.
"Mr. Weasley, I would never do such a thing!"
"Good point, that's my job…but since there are little ones here…" George slipped the bottle of Firewhisky back into his dress robes.
"You didn't answer my question, dear."
"You didn't ask me one." George grinned and backed away from her.
"Oh no you don't, Mr. Weasley!" Hermione chased George into a grove of trees. "I asked you a question before the wedding, and you never answered."
"You got me, and I'll confess." George tucked a stray curl behind Hermione's ear. "I decided not to have their revenge come up during the wedding – too vindictive, in my opinion."
"So when is it going to happen? During the honeymoon?" Hermione took a small step toward George.
"No, no… in a couple of minutes actually. Fred and Angelina will have a reception to remember.
"Really, George?" Hermione asked with a mischievous grin.
"Wait until they open their present," George said, lifting her up to kiss her.
Author's Note: Thanks again LPG for reading this in its earliest, dirtiest stages.