Title: Close to Perfect
By: mandy-jg
Rating PG13
Pairing: Fred/Hermione
Summary: Hermione Granger didn't normally make mistakes; she could be rational, she would use her smarts to make the right decision.
A/N: For weasley-fest

Close to Perfect

Hermione Granger didn't normally make mistakes; she could be rational, she would use her smarts to make the right decision. It normally served her well, but right now all Hermione could think was what a terrible mistake this had been. There had been moments where it had been somewhat close to perfect, but then there were moments like this, when she felt like the biggest fool in London.

It had been such a simple arrangement, to come and work with the two of them, and at the beginning it had been wonderful. For the first time in a long time she felt like she was able to use her creative side alongside her intelligence, and with them both firing as they did, it was more than she could hope for. To create new things, to work alongside two of the brightest and most creative minds, but it hadn't been all great.

For the second time in her life she had let her feelings get in the way, her feelings for a Weasley, and it had turned everything on its head. She couldn't look at him anymore without feeling her heart race, his praise for what she was doing made her feel ten feet tall, and once again, it was a hopeless situation. With Ron it had been difficult because of their friendship, and when they had finally given it its shot, it had quickly fallen on its side. With Fred though, it was difficult because of Ron. While Ron was happily married to Luna now, she knew that most of the Weasley' still considered her his girl. Maybe that wasn't even half of it, maybe he just wasn't interested, and she could handle that. Hermione just didn't want to see him like that with another witch. Her hand hidden under his robes, and his tongue firmly lodged in her throat.

She didn't want to see that.

This was hardly the bravest option - to run without giving this a chance, but tonight had proved that there was no chance. She was not going to sit around waiting for nothing, all the while torturing herself by seeing him and other witches. She had received a job offer from another business, and it was very tempting. Tonight had been the final straw, she had passed her compliance threshold. If Fred wanted to cavort with other witches that was fine, but Hermione didn't have to stand by and watch.

Her things were quickly packed, she found she could easily take her coffee cup off the shelf; there was no bother with removing all traces of herself from the workshop. The only time it became difficult was when she had to place the lid on the box, and put the note on their conjoined desks. It became final then, she really was leaving. Hermione knew she was doing the right thing for her, but the twins, both of them, had become very important to her. Leaving felt like she was going to be cutting them both out of her life completely. They would no longer see each other every day, and the bond that had developed from working together was going to shatter into pieces.

So it was with a heavy heart that Hermione shut out the light, and headed to the exit. She had closed the door when she came in from the party, but it was now open, and a twin stood in the doorway, the party continuing on behind him.

"What are you doing?"

Hermione looked down at the box in her hands, swallowing thickly before she spoke, "I thought it was obvious."

"It is," he said quietly. "I'd still like to hear it."

"I have a new job."

"Right," he said in that same low voice, shutting the door behind him. "When were you going to tell us? When were you going to tell me?"

"I left both of you a note..."

"Bloody hell, Granger! After six months all we get is a bloody note to say you were leaving?!"

"Believe me, I have tried several times to tell you, but as friendly as you two are, you are hardly approachable."

"So it's our fault?"

"No! No," Hermione set the box down at her feet before looking up at George. "I've been going back and forth for weeks, changing my mind, before deciding. It wasn't an easy choice to make, something I just knew. I love working with you guys, but it's not what is best for me. I need to go, and once I was definite on what I was doing, I had no clue how to tell you two."

"We would've been fine if you'd just told us straight up," he said stepping closer to her. "But sneaking out in the middle of our party, a party which is mainly because of all you've helped us achieve, it's a little rude."

"I know, and I'm really sorry. As soon as I came to the decision to leave, I had to do it as soon as possible, and tonight, I have to go."

"You came to the decision tonight?"

Hermione nodded, remembering his face as he kissed that tart. Maybe she wasn't a tart, but at the moment, all she could think was how much she hated that girl.

"Well, where are you going?" George asked.

"I've been asked if I want to run Flourish and Blotts, Phyllis is leaving, and they asked if I would like to manage the whole store."

"The whole store?"

"Everything," Hermione smiled. "I guess they heard what I was doing here with you guys, and wanted me to help with the business."

"Sods," he spat, nudging her playfully. "Poaching our staff."

"It's time for me to go, I was never going to work here forever, and it's been fun, interesting."

"We liked having you here Granger, Verity is lovely and all, but she isn't half as smart as you. We won't have anyone to tell us that our newest idea is the best ever, or pull us into line when we get too big for our boots."

"I'm sure your mother would be more than willing to take care of the last one, and I'm positive I'll always be available for a consultation."

George smiled down at her, pulling her into his arms, wrapping them around her waist, "Still - won't be the same without you here Granger."

"You'll survive," she said, her voice muffled against his chest. "I have to go, really. I'd love to stay here for as long as I could, it's been brilliant, it really has. I just can't anymore, I'm sorry."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

"Saying what?"

"That you don't want to go, but it's best if you do? If you don't want to go Granger, it's incredibly simple, don't go."

Hermione sighed, her eyes closing momentarily as she caught a bit of his scent, "I have to go, I can't explain it."

"What? Is there more?" George asked, leaning away from her to look into her eyes. "What's going on Granger?"

"It's nothing really, I just realised that I shouldn't stay here, no matter how much I may like it. It really isn't healthy for me to remain here, please George just stop asking me why."

He shook his head slightly, before his arms fell from her waist. "Okay then, but first, you have to tell me something."

"What?"

"You said you decided tonight, after weeks of going back and forth over the decision. What made you decide tonight that you have to leave?"

"Oh," she ran her hand through her hair, pushing it away from her face. "It was a build-up, you know how it is, I spent weeks thinking I couldn't possibly leave you guys, and then suddenly there was this moment, and I knew; I had to go, tonight."

"And there was nothing, that either of us did to push you like this? God Granger, we'd never be able to forgive ourselves if that was the case!"

His tongue down her throat. It was so easy to picture it when his mirror image was standing before her, "No George, you two were wonderful, I'm leaving because I want to."

He smiled at her beguilingly, "You know I thought you were smarter than that."

Hermione shook her head, she could feel her brow furrowing as he grinned down at her, "You've lost me."

He leaned over, and whispered in her ear, "I always thought you, Granger, could tell us apart."

The blood seemed to drain from her face immediately, straight towards her heart which sped so fast, "What?"

"My name is Fred, always has been, always will be."

"But Fred... He was occupied! You are not Fred!" Hermione cried, stepping away from him quickly, she took a deep breath. "Believe me I can tell you apart, so you can stop this little joke right now. George."

"Hermione. George is occupied..."

"How?!" She demanded, moving around the small work area.

"With that delightful little witch from Fortescue's," he grinned at her, following her at a slow pace. "I think someone is planning on placing a sock on the door to the flat tonight."

"No! That was Fred," Hermione said quickly, looking up at him sharply. "Not that it matters! I'm just right, and I don't like you teasing me! Fred was out there kissing her."

"You saw me, kissing that bird?"

"Yes! I mean I saw Fred."

"Hermione," he said slowly, stopping in place, reaching down to undo his cuffs. "Do you remember what happened about three weeks ago now? In this very room?"

"Of course," she snapped, watching him closely as he rolled up his right sleeve. "Fred, and yourself were brewing that ghastly potion, and you knocked it all over Fred's arm."

"What did it do?"

"Well, it disintegrated the fabric of his robes, and burnt his skin. Of course, both of you thought it was some kind of bizarre honour, I suppose, to have the scar, so he didn't let me heal it."

He looked her in the eyes as he walked towards, "And what was left on the flesh?"

"It was an odd shape of flesh, almost looked like The Burrow if you squint at it the right way. Gosh it took up half of his forearm, it's horrible," Hermione whispered, refusing to look down at the bare arm in front of her.

"Look at it love," he urged her quietly, his foot nudging hers softly.

She exhaled, and glanced down at his arm, her breath catching as she spied the raised flesh. Her hand covered it instantly, "Oh bloody hell." Hermione moved quickly, putting the large bench in the middle of the room between them. "It wasn't Fred?"

"No, it's George, still is by my reckoning. He was still going hell for leather when I came in here," he smiled at her, stepping towards her.

"Well, good for him," Hermione said quickly, her voice adopting a higher than normal pitch. "He deserves some happiness, and if he gets it with her, then that's alright by me!"

"Really?"

"Of course! Why wouldn't I be okay with it?" She moved further away from him, turning her back to Fred. Closing her eyes and breathing deeply. There should have been relief in her, relief that it hadn't been Fred swapping spit with her, but she was filled with this immense dread that he was going to figure it out. Hermione realised quickly that she hadn't kept it hidden at all, she was quite sure that if you looked down at her sleeve, you would see her heart pumping a thousand miles an hour.

"It's just you seemed quite adamant that it was me pashing her, and seemed a little frazzled when you realised that it wasn't," she could hear him move behind her. "You still don't seem yourself. Is there something wrong?"

"No, no!" She shook her head. "I'm fine, really. I guess, I just didn't like being proven wrong. You are of course Fred, and I assumed that George was you, I'm the smart one. I'm supposed to be right, and I thought I could tell you guys apart."

"That's what it is?" Fred asked, his blue eyes glinting in the light from the street. "You were almost hysterical?"

Hermione smiled at him, "That's all it was." She looked down at her watch, "I should really be going."

He moved to the side as she moved past him slowly, her arm brushing his as she passed by him. "Aren't you going to say goodbye to George?"

"He'll be fine, and it's not like I'll never see him again, besides, he's busy."

"Right," Fred said quietly as she picked up the box.

"I'll see you later Fred," she smiled at him slightly as she started towards the door.

Hermione had almost made it to the door when he spoke again, and her stomach flipped several times. "Just a second, just to clarify it all here." She set the box on the floor, but didn't turn back to him. "You say you have been confused about this decision for weeks, and tonight you suddenly have this moment of clarity, meaning you have to leave here as soon as humanly possible?"

"Pretty much."

"So there was something that made you change your mind," she could hear him coming closer, but she kept her eyes on the doorknob. "It's a night of firsts as well, you mistake George and me, for the very first time. You have always been able to tell us apart, I think it wasn't as simple as just mistaking us. George was kissing that girl, and you leave. If one were to look at it with all the facts in hand, you came to the decision to leave after you saw George kissing that girl."

"So what, I fancy George?" Hermione laughed, turning to him. "That's ridiculous."

"Oh it would be, but," he smiled at her, closing the final steps between them. "You didn't think it was George, you thought it was me."

The smile faded, "Still ridiculous, what exactly are you trying to say?"

"You fancy someone Granger, so much that it hurt to see them kissing someone else. Only problem is, it wasn't who you thought it was."

"Fred, that's silly," Hermione whispered, shaking her head, and moving back so that her back hit the door behind her.

"No, not silly. You saw someone you thought was me, kissing someone, and you quit. You pack your things into a box, leave a note on the bench, and plan to escape without us noticing. It's so bleeding obvious Hermione. Why can't you just admit to it?"

"I won't admit to anything," she said quietly. "And Fred Weasley, I will not be made a fool out of."

"I'm not having a lark, Hermione please," Fred whispered, his hand coming and brushing down the side of her face. Her eyes fell shut as he leaned into her, his breath warm on her forehead. "I have never been more serious in my life, and this is too bloody important to fool around with. So just tell me, you know I know what's going on, and I haven't run screaming for the hills. Did you stop and wonder why that hasn't happened?"

"Because you're an idiot?" Hermione offered, opening her eyes to look at him. Fred smiled down at her, his hand moving down her arm now, stopping to rest on her hip. "What do you want me to say?"

"That I haven't just thought up the biggest pile of dragon turd in history, and made an absolute fool out of myself," he chuckled, leaning his forehead against hers.

"Why would you be a fool?"

"For wanting it so very fucking much to be true," he exhaled. "For hoping that the witch that I thought would never look twice at me, maybe, just maybe likes me half as much as I've come to feel about her."

Hermione shook her head as much as she could in the close space they had found themselves in, "You don't."

"Stop it," Fred said firmly, bringing a finger to her lips. "You keep saying you don't fancy me, and now that I don't like you. When the truth is, I'm so bloody crazy about you that I find it hard to be in the same room as you sometimes, but I can't bear to be away from you. So much so that the idea of not seeing you here everyday is making me fucking miserable, but I've found some consolation."

"Oh bugger," she sighed, her eyes closing as she leaned into him. "You can't, and I don't mean that I don't want you to, I made myself think that you would never see me as anything other than Ron's bookish best friend. Do you really, and I mean really mean it?"

"Hermione," he whispered, with one hand under her chin he pulled her eyes to him, and he ran the other fingertip over her bottom lip. He brought his lips down to hers, brushing them against hers as he spoke to her, "I really, really, mean it."

"Bloody hell," Hermione muttered as he ghosted his lips across hers, barely brushing them.

"What is with this tongue Miss Granger?" Fred laughed lightly, the arm around her waist pulling her against him firmly. "I don't think I've ever heard you talk like this."

"I'm bamboozled, completely," she smiled, her arms wrapping around his shoulders, pulling herself up even with him. "And it's bloody brilliant, now kiss me, properly."

Hermione leaned in, and pressed her lips to his, her hands coming up to thread through his hair, holding him to her. Fred kissed her firmly, the arms around her tightening as he pulled her away from the door, and back into the room. Their eyes were locked on each others, he grinned at her before he returned to kissing her. She could hear the party continuing in the other room, but when he slid his hand down her back, it became very unimportant.

It was hard to believe that it was really happening, part of her wanted to yell finally, but then the other side wanted to put the brakes on fast, and find out what the hell was happening.

Fred was perfect, and this was perfect, but she had to know.

"Fred," she whispered, pulling herself away from him, the glazed look in his eyes distracting her from her purpose, they could talk tomorrow, surely there were more important things to do right now.

He smiled at her, "Yes?"

Hermione's resolve faded a little as he grinned at her, shaking her head to focus herself. She focused her attention on his collar, avoiding the eyes, and the smile. "We need to talk about this."

"Really?" He whined, pressing himself closer to her, pressing her against the counter. "I kind of hoped we'd snog a little, maybe, and we'd leave all that talking stuff till another day."

Stopping herself from nodding, she closed her eyes, "We should do it now, before this develops into something. Make it all clear, please?"

"Hermione, it's already clear," he chuckled, leaning into her again. "I am rather enamored with you, and I believe that you are exactly the same way inclined for me? If you are, then we don't have to talk about it, but knowing you the way I do now, let's talk about it."

She smiled at the softness in his tone, pulling herself up onto the counter, leveling herself with him. "Enamored? Really?"

"It's a little stronger than that," he said quietly, stepping to her, resting his hands on her hips.

"How much?"

"A lot, a real lot," Fred sighed, moving his hands around behind her. He brought his lips to hers, "And I really don't want you to quit, I know I'll see you again, I'm bloody certain I will. It won't be the same though, so please stay."

Hermione let herself fall into his arms, bringing a leg around his, "I can't."

"Why not?" He muttered, angling his head into the space between her shoulder, and neck. "It was perfect with you here, you know that, and now, even better."

"But it's different," she whispered, running a hand through the short hair he now sported.

"How?"

"Well, there's the kissing, while lovely it's hardly appropriate for the workplace, you're my boss."

"George will just have to get used to it," he said firmly, tightening his grip on her.

Hermione slipped off the counter, and moved around to the other side, leaving room between them. "I'm sure he'd be fine, but it's not just that."

"Then what is it?" He asked, coming after her, only to stop when she held up her hand.

Closing her eyes, "Sex."

"Sex?"

"Yes," she sighed, turning from him completely.

"What about it?"

"It's an issue, a thing, and it would make working here harder."

"Pun intended?" Fred laughed, slipping his arms around her, resting his head on her shoulder.

"Oh I didn't mean like that," she muttered, her face heating up in the darkened room. "I just meant, this thing, whatever it is. It's going to be something, at least I hope so, otherwise I'll feel like a right fool."

"It's something, absolutely going to be something."

"Good," Hermione smiled, leaning back into him. "Then, sex will be part of it. It will happen between us, right?"

"Most definitely!" He said firmly, spinning her around to face him.

"Then our working relationship will be different! When we are together completely, we'll treat each other differently, and it will make all of this awkward."

"I won't be bloody awkward!"

"But George," she said quietly, resting her hands on his cheeks. "He's going to feel uncomfortable if we are all flirty and what have you, and in this environment you can't let that happen."

"Well we won't be like that here, we'll leave all that stuff at the door," Fred insisted, nodding firmly. "We can be completely professional in this building, you wouldn't even realise that we shag like bunnies the minute we leave."

"Professional? Somehow I don't think that fits into the shagging like bunnies side of things," Hermione laughed.

"Oh we can do it," he grinned, leaning down he pressed his lips to the soft skin of her bare shoulder.

"So when we would walk into here, barely awake because we spent all night in bed together, sore in places you didn't think could possibly be sore; Are you going to tell me that you won't think about what we did at all?"

"Well, it'll cross my mind a little, but no, I'll be completely professional."

Hermione smiled at the twinkle in his eyes, wrapping her arms around his neck, she lowered her voice, "What if one day, George was out for some reason, and we let our professional side slide just a little. This desk, the counter, the store room, even the storefront. We could completely lose our control, then what would we do?"

He cleared his throat, sliding his hands down over her hips, "Maybe, tidy up afterwards?"

Laughing, Hermione brought his lips down to hers, "You can't be professional!"

"I can!" He said indignantly. "You still have that dress on don't you? You aren't laid across that desk behind you, just waiting for me to make love to you? See professional? We can do this, and I really want you to stay. Even if it is just to prove to you that I can do it."

"Okay," she said quietly, attempting to stop herself from grinning. Hermione placed her fingertip on his lips when he opened them, "But if it gets weird, or difficult because of our something, then I will go."

"Okay," Fred laughed, he pulled her up to him, sealing the deal with a kiss. "I'll be so bloody professional, you wouldn't believe it." He moved her backwards, seating her on the edge of the desk. "Starting tomorrow."

Hermione couldn't find it within herself to argue, not as he ran his hand down her leg, lifted her foot out of her shoe, and moving over to the other. He looked up at her and smiled, the twinkle in his eye having faded, and replaced with something darker, this setting her heart racing unlike the other. His hands slid up her leg, he rested them on the tops of her thighs as he stepped into the space between her legs.

Placing her hands on his shoulder, Hermione pulled him to her, leaving them chest to chest on the desk. They fell into an easy rhythm, it didn't feel like something that half an hour ago they hadn't done with each other. Fred couldn't keep his hands still, leaving Hermione a quivering mess in his arms as he touched her wherever he could. Anxious to touch him in turn, she made light work of the buttons on his robes, pushing them from his shoulders quickly.

She could see him smile as she explored the toned flesh presented to her, running her hands over the smooth muscle, kissing a thin scar on his chest. It was all new, she wouldn't get this chance again, hopefully it would all become familiar before too long. This was something to savour.

Fred pulled her to the edge of the desk, sliding his hand up her back, he fingered the tie holding her dress in place. "It doesn't have to be tonight..."

"I know," she smiled, nodding at him.

"Not to say that I wouldn't want to," Fred whispered, running to fabric through his fingertips. "But, if you don't want to, not now at least, then I'm perfectly happy to wait."

Hermione felt her heart skip a beat or two as he looked at her so fondly, there was no denying what he wanted. She could feel it, against her, and in the way he touched her. Part of her had always known that he wasn't all about pranks, and creating mischief, he was gentler than that. He wouldn't push her, or force anything on her, and it made her want all of him, all the more.

"I don't want to wait."

"You don't? Because we can, this isn't just going to be one time, so it does not have to be tonight, or here at least."

"Fred," she said softly, running her hands around him. "Who took your robes off?"

"You did," he grinned.

"Because I want you, I want you wherever I can have you. I don't care where, but it has to be now, and I think it's kind of perfect if our first time is here. I fell for you here, it feels right that we do this here."

"Yeah, I think it is," Fred agreed, leaning into her, pressing his lips to her shoulder. He pulled gently on the fabric tied behind her neck, the small knot undoing easily, but he didn't pull it away from her, instead running a line of kisses around her throat.

A sigh passed her lips at the gentle touch. Hermione could feel the silky fabric of her dress sliding down over her shoulders, Fred stilled as he too noticed it. Reaching up she pulled the dress down, leaving her upper half bare against his chest.

Hermione nodded as he looked at her closely, sliding back onto the desk she pulled him with her, scooting back over the smooth surface they moved, pushing things to the floor. She felt Fred chuckle as jars smashed as landed.

"What is it?"

"Let's just say that George is going to be really pissed at me, he'll forgive you though."

"Why?" Hermione asked quickly, peering over his shoulder to the still closed door, looking up at him wondering just what he meant.

"This is his desk."