Outside the castle a tentative April sun peeked out from behind gray clouds, warming the land and all of its occupants if only for a moment. Inside Hermione Granger happily walked down the hell after her ancient runes class, humming an upbeat melody. She just couldn't seem to contain her jubilation.
Out of nowhere a hand reached out and Hermione was pulled into a dark room. She barely had enough time to gasp before the door was pushed closed and a pair of soft lips descended on her own.
"Where's Hermione been?" Ron asked as he tried to remember his potions assignment. How was he supposed to complete his work without her help?
Harry looked up from his transfiguration essay for the eighth time in as many minutes. It was in irritation at this that made him bark, "How should I know? Go bloody look for her!"
Ronald Weasley was not the least bit put off by his friend's rather harsh reply and whined, "But I did that already. She's not in the library or the Great Hall. I've been down to Hagrid's and searched all around the black lake. I even asked all the professors if she was doing any extra assignments, even Snape."
"And..." Harry had to ask after a few seconds of silence.
"They all said no! Have you ever known Hermione to NOT be working any extra assignments? She's always trying to find more work. I'm telling you mate, she's hiding something from us."
"You're just being paranoid." Harry said as he rolled his eyes, but he knew Hermione was hiding something too. Even worse was he knew what she was hiding.
It was dark and the air smelled musty, stale, but that didn't matter to him. All he could seem to care about was the petite brunette straddling his legs, leaving soft kisses on his lips. Fred still couldn't believe this was happening. Hermione Granger was his girlfriend. And she wasn't as prudent as she let everyone believe. Even as he thought about it her kisses became deeper and her hips began to grind against his. Slowly at first and then faster in turns. She was driving him mad. Quickly and with more force than was intended Fred stood up, dropping Hermione onto the hard stone floor.
"Ow!" He heard her yelp. "Why did you do that?"
He thanked Merlin she couldn't see him in the pitch black closet, because he was sure she would have noticed the bulge that had developed in his pants. But then again maybe she wouldn't have. After all, that wasn't the first or even the tenth time she had caused him to grow an erection. When it happened he would have to distance himself from her. And she never seemed to know why. Maybe Hermione was that naive. Then again, maybe she was playing dumb so as not to embarrass him further. Or maybe he was just so small she couldn't even feel it...Naw. He'd place his bet on naive.
"Fred, why did you dump me on the ground?"
Guilt assailed him as her voice seemed to still be somewhere near his feet. "Are you still down there, luv? Here, let me help you up."
Hermione felt around for his hand. When she found it she let him pull her to her feet. "Am I doing it wrong?"
"Doing what wrong?"
The doubt and insecurity was so strong that it had become a palpable taste in her mouth, so she softly whispered, "Kissing."
"What?!" Fred was so shocked he could feel his eyes try to pop out of there sockets. Had that question really come from a girl who could so easily arouse him?
"You don't have to act so surprised. It's a perfectly legitimate question. I know I'm not very experienced when it comes to this sort of thing. I'm probably the least experienced girl at Hogwarts. And I know I'm not exactly what you would call a beauty. So, I guess I understand if you aren't attracted to -" Before she could take her rambling any further she was wrapped in a pair of strong arms and being kissed quite passionately.
Fred finally pulled back enough to let her breathe. He brushed the tears from her cheeks as he whispered, "I am VERY attracted to you."
Have you seen, Hermione?
At the sound of Ron's voice Hermione burrowed closer to Fred. She didn't want to hide from her friend, but what choice was he giving them? He seemed to get so upset if she was in a ten foot radius of his brother and she didn't know why.
"He needs to know." Fred finally said and he heard Hermione sigh against his chest, but he still persisted. "It's been two months. When are you going to tell him?"
Soon. That was always her answer. But it never changed. She never told his brother the truth about them and they were still sneaking around. He wanted to tell everyone and anyone that he came across that she was HIS girlfriend. That he loved her more than anything in the world. And Hermione was still content to snog in broom cupboards and hide there relationship in the shadows. In his frustration Fred asked, "Are you ashamed of me? Of being with me?"
Her head shot up in anger at such a question. Hermione suddenly had to see his face. She couldn't fight with someone if she couldn't look into their eyes while she did it. "Lumos!"
Instant regret. The moment she saw the hurt and pain in his hazel orbs all the heat rushed out of her and all she could feel was guilt. Not because it was true, because it wasn't. Her guilt stemmed from the fact that she had given him a reason to think such a thing in the first place. She wrapped her arms even tighter around him. "Of course I'm not ashamed."
"Then why won't you?"
Hermione didn't want him to hurt. Especially not when she could do something about it. "I'll tell him tonight."
Angelina Johnson watched the young man quietly from her place leaning against the wall at the end of the corridor. She felt a little bad for Ron Weasley. He seemed to honestly care for the girl. The way he determinedly searched, asking everyone he passed if they'd seen her. It was a tad pathetic, but in a cute way. The poor boy would be crushed to learn that his precious lady love was, at that very moment, frantically snogging his older brother.
"Hey Angelina." Ron greeted dejectedly.
He felt like all hope was gone but he still had to ask. "Have you seen Hermione?"
A sweet smile graced her lips as Angelina put an arm around his shoulder and began to lead Ron down the hall. "It just so happens I have."
That night the sound of boisterous Gryffindor personality flooded the common room. Fred watched Hermione from the corner of his eye as he and George peddled their betting scheme to all the younger, more gullible students. She hadn't done it yet. Hermione was sitting between Harry and The Great Git, as he had come to refer to his little brother. Her hands started to fidget with the hem of her skirt, then the sleeves of her sweater, hair, neck, fingers, hem, sleeves. Over and over.
Fred could understand why she was so nervous. He was asking her to potentially end a friendship, a very long-standing and close friendship. He would like to believe that Ron wouldn't go off the deep end and give her some kind of idiotic ultimatum but he knew his younger brother and there was a very big chance he would do just that. Maybe he was being selfish.
When that thought crossed his mind Fred shoved it away. Was it selfish to not want to hide how he felt about his girlfriend? He didn't think so. Ron was being unreasonable and probably would continue to be. But if he made Hermione cry one more time Fred was going to break his scrawny little neck.
"Oy!" Fred snapped his attention away from Hermione to look at his twin, who looked extremely irritated. "Are you going to stare at her all night or help me with all this business we are getting?"
For the first time in an hour Fred turned his attention toward the mass of people lined up before them. His emotions were torn. Excitement over the giant crowd just begging to give them their money pulled him in one direction. The feeling of nervousness and dread caused by Hermione's pending talk with Ron pulled him in the other. Finally he focused on the crowd.
"Okay, who wants to place a bet?" Fred asked the mob of students.
"That's better." George said and Fred just rolled his eyes.
Hermione sat between her two best friends and felt like she was going to be sick. Ron was never going to just let her be happy with Fred. He was far too possessive to let her go, and even if he did he was too stubborn to ever admit that he was wrong. Wrong in the way he treated her and the way he treated Fred. She didn't want to lose his friendship though. Yes, he was being absolutely selfish and mean where Fred was concerned but he was rarely like that and when he was he always apologized later. But Hermione was too smart not to realize that it would probably come to that. That was something she wasn't sure if she could take. Again she felt her stomach try to lurch.
That was it; she couldn't take the self torment any more. A determined look settled on Hermione's face as she turned to her red headed friend. "Would you like to go for a walk Ron?"
He gave her a hard look. "Okay."
"Good. Let's go then." Hermione didn't even turn around to see if he was following her. She just stood up and marched out of the common room.