A/N: Hey! We're back! Sorry about the long wait-you know, review encourages the creative juices *hint*
There was a resounding silence filling the room. Hermione sat, biting her lip in horror at what she'd done. George stared at her for a beat, then two, finally, just when Hermione thought she'd be able to work up the nerve to run from the room in mortification he cleared his throat.
She stared at him, "I-it is?"
"Of course, Fred and I had it narrowed down to Ron or Harry, my money was on Harry to be honest but hey, we Weasley men are an irresistible bunch. Mum'll be thrilled, she's been hoping you and Ron'd get together for ages, reckons you're a good influence on him."
Realisation dawned on Hermione and she finally got the mistake he had made, and felt something way, way beyond mortification, complete and utter humiliation was a bit more like it.
"Oh God!" she clapped her hands over her face and murmured uncontrollably into them "Oh god, oh god, oh god!" From the sound of George's voice, he was starting to become quite anxious about Hermione's state of mind.
"Erm, are you okay? Look, it's fine, honest, if you haven't told Ron yet it'll be our little secret," she peeked between her fingers as he grinned roguishly, reminding her of a certain someone-and making the situation entirely worse, forcing an explicative from her mouth.
"No, Merlin! I don't mean RON!" she moaned.
There was a stunned silence, this time it was George's turn to be mortified. "Y-you don't?"
"Oh no, no, no!" Hermione mumbled to herself rather than in answer to George's question, trying to avoid his eyes. She thought if she just told someone she would feel so much better, relieved, instead it was a nightmare. How did she get herself into this?
George chuckled slightly, "You're going to have to help me out here Hermione, I do have five brothers after all."
Hermione concentrated on not hyperventilating. "Well, if it's not Ron…" George seemed to roll the idea around in his head, his expression grew pained,
"Oh Merlin-it's not Bill is it?"
Hermione sniffed and shook her head.
"Good, it's just, everyone tends to fall for Bill."
Hermione blushed furiously into her lap, still unable to speak. Was her unrequited love really THAT unrequited that no-one could even guess it's source?
"Wait a minute, if it isn't Ron or Harry, why are you telling me who-" he broke off,
"Oh." He said it quietly, then- "OH!"
She looked up to see if he had reached the right conclusion and found her fears confirmed. He looked at her in what appeared to be astonishment.
"Yes," she said quietly and through watery eyes.
"And…he's my twin,"
"I mean…you're Hermione!"
"Yes?" she said somewhat testily this time,
"And he's, well, he's Fred Weasley…"
Hermione snapped. "Yes, I am in love with Fred Weasley, your twin, Gryffindor red-head, is it really that hard to believe?"
George looked both taken aback and amused, he settled on grinning sheepishly, "Well it's just so unlikely, I mean, c'mon Bill, yeah, I can see that-what with him being so dashing and everything, Charlie was quite brainy in his time, even Percy has got that whole book-worm thing going for him but-Fred? No offence to him, or myself for that matter seeing as we are practically identical," he grinned broader now "but what do you see in him?"
Hermione, admittedly, could see his point. At first she couldn't explain what it was, she had always thought that she was above the twin's obvious attraction, their sense of humour. But the more and more she believed that Fred's prankster charm passed her by unaffected, the more she found herself falling irrevocably in love with him.
He was daring and outrageous, mischievous-everything she wasn't-and kind on top of all that (not to mention he was irresistibly cute.)
She summed this all up in a shrug, "Opposites attract?" she said weakly.
George looked at her in disbelief for a second then burst out laughing.
Hermione frowned at him "What's so funny?"
George wiped a tear from his eyes, "Oh Merlin," he gasped, still giggling, "I was just imagining the look on mum's face when she finds out, it's going to be priceless!"
Hermione quavered at the thought of what Mrs Weasley would make of the situation. "I know everyone thought I was going to end up with either Harry or Ron, like you said, but Harry is head-over-heels for Ginny, I'd have thought that was obvious, and Ron is like a brother to me, and I'm pretty sure he sees me as a sister…" she sighed, wondering what on earth she was going to do now.
"So, when are you going to tell him?"
Whatever Hermione had been thinking of doing it was not that.
"Tell him?! Are you insane?"
George stared at her, "You're not considering carrying on as if nothing has happened?" He waggled his eyebrows dangerously "Now I know."
Hermione shook her head crossing her arms resolutely, "Nope, it's not going to happen!"
George grinned for what seemed about the hundredth time, "Well, if you won't tell him, I will," he said, heading for the boy's dormitory stairs.
Hermione whipped out her wand before you could point out the opportunity for a euphemism. "George Weasley, you take another step and I swear I'll obliviate you!"
George spluttered and Hermione narrowed her eyes "I'm deadly serious."
"Fine, fine," George held his hands up as if to calm a wild animal (not too far off then) and his normal grin became what is widely known as a Grade 2 Weasley twin Smirk categorised as a warning sign of a statement cute, devious and inappropriate in delicate situations. "But, Hermione," he began,
"Ye-es?" she said warily.
"Promise I can be there when you DO tell him?" he batted his eyelids in a way which he must have believed was endearing.
Hermione's words were punctuated by thrusts of her wand as she swiftly bewitched a near-b y cushion and began battering George over the head with it.
"I am-not-going-to-tell-him!" George ducked out of reach of the cushion, stared at it, blinked, stared at Hermione, blinked and grinned, "I didn't know you had it in you, Hermione" something about his smile made Hermione grin back. George grabbed his own cushion and proceeded to fight back. One hell of a pillow-fight commenced.
As unlikely as it seemed that pillow fight had forged something between George and her. When they had collapsed, red-faced and laughing, onto armchairs in the common room, Hermione had felt some kind of relief, someone knew about her secret, true, but that someone was reliable, once she had gotten a promise of silence out of George that is.
However, she and George had never really talked before, but it seemed that as soon as the gate was opened there was no going back. Before she knew it familiarity had turned into a bizarre kind of friendship, more risqué than that with Ron and Harry which was soft and comfortable, the sense of companionship she seemed to be developing with George was something new and different.
He wasn't surprised when she displayed any kind of resemblance to being female, (unlike Ron-and at times even Harry-who seemed to think she was dead from the neck down) and despite her previous comment, her being his little brother's best friend didn't seemed to matter when she had a thing for his twin.
He saw her as something other than the third member of the golden trio, or the unapproachable Gryffindor book-worm and it was uncomplicated by any chance of romantic attachment, enamoured as she was with his brother. Somehow she'd found a pocket of understanding in a place quite unexpected, that didn't mean, of course, that he couldn't be highly annoying at times.
Before she knew it the lesson had ended and she was jerked out of her reverie to file out of the classroom with the rest. Malfoy whispered a foul comment in her ear as they departed but she merely smirked back. She turned back to Ron and Harry, and sighed exasperatedly at the sight of them, it was like a dark cloud hung over the two of them, Harry was brooding (again) and Ron was watching the retreating back of Malfoy, having taken up Harry's role of imagining ways to hurt him.
Sometime she found it hard to believe she was supposed to be the temperamental one.