AN: I know I haven't written anything in forever, so for Christmas I give you this little bit at least. I never planned to write a sequel to this story, but since so many requested it, here it is.
"Fred, can I ask you something?"
"Sure. Doesn't mean I'll answer but…" He shrugged casually.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Do you remember when, umm…" She hesitated, pulling up a blade of grass. "Why did you say you're a bad boyfriend?"
"Why did I- oh…" A look of realization came across his face.
Hermione blushed. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to. It's just something I'm… curious about."
Fred laid back, hands beneath his head as he stared up at the rolling clouds. "I don't know. It's just what I thought at the time."
"Oh. So you don't… think that any more?"
He chewed the corner of his lip, frowning.
He smiled at her, but she could tell the casualness was forced.
"Never mind," she told him. "I shouldn't have asked."
Fred continued to stare at the clouds while Hermione plucked grass from the ground. It was nearly two years since she'd asked him out. Now he was the owner of his very own shop and she was still just an insecure student. She laid on her side, facing away from him, plucked another blade of grass and watched it fall to the ground.
If I ever find I'm not a total git of a boyfriend, you'll be the first to know.
That was what he'd told her back then. Now it seemed like that time had passed and he hadn't bothered to tell her. She sighed. She had always wondered if he'd meant what he'd told her, or if he'd just said it to protect her feelings. Now she knew.
"You shouldn't sigh like that," he said suddenly. "It's not becoming."
She didn't bother turning to face him "And why should I worry about that?"
"Because I'm still a bad boyfriend, but I've been laying here wondering if it's just because I've had bad girlfriends."
Hermione turned around, frowning. "What do you mean?"
He was sitting up now, looking off into the distance. She'd been so lost in her own thoughts that she hadn't heard him move. "When I told you I was a bad boyfriend back then, it was because all of my relationships ended badly. The truth is, I was never really invested in them. I forgot about dates, showed up late, brought bad gifts and forgot I was supposed to pay for meals and stuff. Then they'd start talking about feelings and everything and I just couldn't do it. I'd just shrug my way through the conversations and tune them out."
"And that was the girl's fault somehow?" She narrowed her eyes.
"Relax Miss Feminist. That's not what I mean. I mean, in a way I do. Most of the girls I dated were really flighty and shallow. They only knew me by my reputation, and I went out with them because I didn't have a good enough reason not too. I think because George and I were so popular, they expected me to be this perfect boyfriend. They never tried to see my way of things. I can't tell you how many times I've eaten at Puddifoot's when I would have rather eaten at the Three Broomsticks. Not a single girl ever bothered to ask me. You'd think, being known for jokes and all, that at least one would be clever enough to suggest stopping at Zonko's but no. Not a single one ever did."
"I would have." Hermione turned away again, blushing as she felt her old crush resurface. It had never fully gone away in the first place.
"That's exactly what I mean."
"In hindsight, it was stupid. I turned you down because I'd seen too many girls cry – they always do no matter who does the breaking up. I didn't want to make you cry so I said no. It never occurred to me that a relationship with you would be different from the others. I guess, in my mind every girl I went out with wanted the frills and presents, so I thought all girls did."
Hermione shook her head. "That was pretty stupid."
"Yeah, well, I was fifteen. What did you expect?"
"I didn't think you were a typical, pig-headed boy."
"And I thought you were a typical girl."
"Guess we were both wrong."
Something in his voice, the tone more like that of a sigh than spoken word, made Hermione turn around. Fred was staring at her intently.
"What?" she asked, feeling self-conscious.
"Ask me again."
"What you… When you asked me out before… Do it again."
"Are you serious?"
Fred groaned, shifting closer to her. "Yes, you git. I wouldn't have said it otherwise."
"Well if you're gonna insult me, then forget it." She turned away, fighting the urge to look back.
"Oh come on. I didn't think you were a sensitive little girl."
"I'm not." She turned and glared at him, but she knew he could see right through it when she felt the corner of her mouth twitch. "Maybe I don't want to ask you out."
Fred smiled. "But I want you to."
"Too bad." Her lips curved of their own accord and she could see the look of triumph in his eyes as a smiled formed.
"You're smiling," he told her.
"That doesn't mean anything." She struggled in vain to regain her composure. The smile stayed put.
"Fine, how about this then." He shifted closer still, his hips nearly pressing into hers. "I'll ask you out."
"And what if I say no?"
Hermione's smile faltered slightly, though she was no less happy. "But… if I do."
"Then I hope you'll have the heart to turn me down as gently as I did for you."
His leg brushed against her as he tilted closer.
Her breath caught. "I could be harboring a great deal of resentment."
Fred face dipped closer.
"But you're not."
Hermione could feel his breath on her cheek. "How do you know?"
"Because you haven't moved."
He shifted forward one last time, his lips hesitantly making contact with her own. Heat flooded through her and she leaned into the kiss, moving her hands up to cup his cheeks. He smiled against her, shifting slightly to bring one arm around her and pull her close. A sigh escaped her.
Fred chuckled. "Is that a yes then?"
Her eyelashes fluttered as she struggled to focus a thought. "You haven't asked me a question."
"Are you sure? I could have sworn I did."
"Mm-Mmm." She shook her head, smiling.
"And what exactly am I supposed to ask?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Will you go out with me?"
"Yes." He grinned broadly. "I knew I'd get you to ask again."
With a look of mock outraged, she smacked his shoulder. "That doesn't count, you cheat!"
"Would you like to rescind the question?" He looked at her daringly.
"You know darn well that I don't. It still wasn't fair."
"You're right." He pecked her lips lightly. "How about this to make up for it: You can pick where we go tonight."
"You sure you want to trust the girl to choose?"
"I like my chances."
"Right." She nodded. "Madam Puddifoot's it is!"
Hermione took off running before he could argue, laughing as she made her way back to the Burrow. Behind her should could hear Fred catching up, shouting about revenge.