Fred sighed heavily and sank further into the couch. It was the big three seater couch that sat in the middle of the living room. It was a good couch. It had sat in the same state of frayed overuse for as long as Fred could remember. In fact, he'd once asked Bill and he'd said that the couch had been there for as long as he could remember, too.
It was a unique couch. Some claimed in was soft and squishy, other said that it was firm and supportive. To Fred, it was neither soft nor firm; it was just right.
Just right for lounging on and fill boring afternoons like this one.
So bored was Fred, he even contemplated seeking out his mother to get the full history of the couch.
He sighed again.
It had been a boring morning followed by an equally boring lunch.
He didn't know where the rest of his family had disappeared to and couldn't muster up the energy to care. He did wish George as here, though. George could always think of something to do on days like today.
As if on cue, George dragged himself into the room and dropped into an armchair.
"Hey," George said monosyllabically.
"Hey," Fred answered.
George sighed and said no more.
"It's a bit like that, isn't it?" Fred commented.
George simply grunted and stuck his feet up on the coffee table.
And so they sat. Silent, staring off into nothing, not even one single interesting thought between them.
Fred's mind wandered back to the couch, now including the two arm chairs and the love seat in his ponderings.
Had they always been here? Who had first bought them? His eyebrows furrowed together in concentration. Who had made them? Were they magical? I could have sworn me and Hermione were sliding closer together yesterday. Maybe they're cupid couches! Fred shook his head. Wishful thinking.
Fred and George sighed together. It was that kind of day.
Maybe there's something wrong with us, Fred thought. Maybe we have some sort of terrible boredom disease. Hermione would know, she knows everything. She's so perf-
"What wrong with you two?"
The object of his desire was suddenly there, standing before him.
"We have a boredom disease!" Fred practically shouted at her.
Hermione cocked an eyebrow at him.
"Ennui?" she suggested.
"On what?" George asked, moving his legs to allow Hermione to pass.
She pushed at Fred's legs and he happily shifted them so Hermione could sit on the couch with him. When she was comfortable, he put his legs back, in Hermione's lap. She jokingly pulled on his golden leg hairs, but didn't demand he move them.
"On what!?" George demanded again. He hated being ignored.
Hermione sighed wearily. "Not 'on we', ennui. It's a French word. It means 'listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from boredom.' Ennui."
"Ennui," the twins echoed.
And all three of them sighed together.
All thoughts off the couch disappeared as Hermione absentmindedly tapped her fingers on Fred's shin. She didn't seem to be doing it deliberately; it was just something to do to pass the uneventful time.
"What have you been up to?" Fred asked.
'Nothing. I thought you two might be up to something. Are you?" she asked hopefully.
Fred shook his head. "Sorry."
Hermione's fingers stilled and Fred's heart sped up as she rested her hand on his leg.
"I wonder what Ron is doing," Hermione said.
She likes Ron. She likes Ron! Of course she likes Ron. He's brave and her age and her best friend.
"Speak of the devil," Hermione said.
Ron came in from the kitchen, tossed Hermione a cookie, and lay down by the fire, propping himself up on a couple of cushions.
His eyes narrowed and zeroed in on Hermione's hand on Fred's leg but he didn't say anything.
No one said anything.
Hermione's chewing seemed overly loud in the quiet, still room.
"What's wrong with you?" George demanded.
Ron shrugged. "Just bored, I guess."
"Ennui," Hermione, Fred and George said together.
"It's 'listlessness of dissatisfaction arising from boredom,'" Fred explained knowingly.
"Oh, okay." Ron nodded and pulled some more cookies from inside his robes.
Hermione looked at her half eaten cookie in her hand and then back at Ron's robes then reached forward, over Fred and placed it delicately on the coffee table.
Fred hid his snicker behind a cough. But Ron didn't seem to notice, he was lost in thought, staring up at the ceiling.
Fred turned his attention back to Hermione. His recently developed crush on the feminine third of the Golden Trio was a closely guarded secret. George knew, of course. There was little about Fred that George didn't know and vice versa. George was confident that if Hermione knew of Fred's crush, she'd be quite happy about it, but Fred wasn't convinced.
So, instead of confessing his feeling, or simply just asking her for some butterbeer, he contented himself with being her friend and worshipping her from afar.
"What was that?" he asked. Hermione had said something and he'd been too busy daydreaming about her to hear her question.
"I said, 'Did you want to come out tonight?'"
She was asking him out!
"Yeah, yeah, of course! I'd love to."
"Beats sitting around here all night. What are we going to see?"
Her question confused him and he belatedly realised she wasn't asking him on a date, she was inviting him out at part of a group. He looked over to see Harry and Ginny now sitting on the love seat.
It was a funny chair, the love seat. He'd sat there once with Luna Lovegood and vowed afterwards to never sit there again with anyone who wasn't his wife or girlfriend. As soon as he had sat next to the strange blond girl, he had been overcome with warm, romantic feelings for her. She must have felt them too because she had moved a good foot closer so their thighs were then touching.
When his hand had snaked out to rest on her leg, he'd jumped off, ran from the room, apologising profusely over his shoulder.
"Let's see Never Been Kissed!" Ginny cried, clapping her hands together.
Ron made a buzzer sound.
"Boring. There are only two of you. Why should the rest of us be forced to watch a chick flick?"
Hermione snorted. "Ron, who has been teaching you words like 'chick flick'?"
Ron went bright red and muttered something unintelligible.
"What was that?" Hermione teased.
"Cynthia! I said, Cynthia!" he cried loudly. George and Harry both snickered.
"Who's Cynthia?" Fred asked. He sat up slightly to get a better look at Ron, briefly meeting Hermione's amused eyes.
"Cynthia is Ron's little muggle bird down at the movie theatre in the village," George informed him.
Everyone, 'oohed', very mature.
"Alright, well how about The Matrix?" Harry suggested and everyone agreed.
The plans decided everyone fell silent, waiting for the next topic of conversation to begin. It didn't. Ginny sighed and leaned against Harry, their hands entwined.
Fred watched them from his spot on the couch with Hermione.
He knew, of course, the story of how they got together the first time. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley's kiss after the final game of Quidditch was a legendary tale at Hogwarts but their reunion after Voldemort's defeat was shrouded in mystery. No one knew what had passed between the two and they certainly weren't telling.
Fred turned his attention back to Hermione. He wanted so badly to ask her out, but he didn't know how. He'd asked girls out before, but there was something special about Hermione and he wanted his invitation to date to be a reflection of that.
Hermione sighed and indolently walked her fingers up and down Fred's leg. Her fingers stopped at his toes and she wiggled each one in turn before making the journey back up his leg to the cuff of his shorts. He wore his robes over the muggle clothes Hermione and Harry had bought everyone for Christmas.
Fred watched in fascination as she folded the cuff up a couple of times and then unfolded it again. After a moment of fiddling she repeated the action.
"Hermione," Harry said quietly. Ginny was now softly snoring against him.
"Hmm?" Hermione looked up at him and, so too, did Fred.
"What the hell are you doing?" he asked, amused. He gestured to where her hand rested on Fred's knee.
"Nothing," Hermione said casually though he cheeks did pinken slightly. "I'm just bored; we have ennui."
"It's listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from boredom," George quoted.
"Ennui," Hermione, the twins and Ron all repeated the word.
Hermione chuckled and let her head fall back against the couch.
"Dad!" Fred called suddenly as his father strode purposely through the room. He faltered in his steps and paused by the stairs that led upstairs.
"Yes, Fred?" he asked distractedly. "What do you... want?" His voice trailed off as he took in Hermione seated at the end of the couch, her hands on Fred's legs.
"What's the deal with the furniture?" Fred demanded.
"The furniture?" Mr Weasley repeated, confused.
"Yeah, this couch, the loveseat, where did they come from?"
Mr Weasley couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from Hermione's hands. The others watched on, amused.
"I don't know, son," Mr Weasley said eventually. "You'll have to ask your mother."
Fred sighed and relaxed back into the couch. He closed his eyes and heard his father retreat up the stairs. The room and its occupants were quiet awhile and Fred contemplated a nap. With Hermione. A soft smile touched his face as he imagined lying in a beg bed, Hermione wrapped warm and secure in his arms. Daydream Fred buried his face in daydream Hermione's hair and sighed contentedly.
It took him a moment to realise real Hermione was tapping on his legs. He opened his tired eyes to find Hermione smiling at him.
"Hi," she mouthed silently.
"Hey," Fred mouthed back, confused but hopeful.
He watched her mouth intently, determined to understand what she was asking.
"Do you want to go to dinner with me tonight? Just us two?" She gestured between the two of them and Fred nodded eagerly.
She smile brilliantly at him and then returned to the cuff of his shorts.
Fred closed his eyes and attempted to keep the grin off his face.
The others remained silent, none the wiser. In fact, George and Ron even sighed again.
"Have you seen your father?" Mrs Weasley demanded, bustling into the room.
"Tall man, glasses, bit thin on top?" Fred asked. His listlessness completely vanished at Hermione's proposition. "Nope, haven't seen him."
Hermione giggled but the others didn't respond.
"What's wrong with you lot?" Mrs Weasley asked as she straightened up the living room.
"Life holds no meaning!" George cried dramatically.
"I may never get off this floor again," Ron chimed in.
"We have ennui," Harry explained.
"Oh, ennui," Mrs Weasley said knowingly. Her voice rose as she addressed them. "Nothing to do? Because I have a whole house that needs –"
They were up and on their feet quicker than you could say Quidditch. Hermione winked at Fred before Ginny sleepily dragged her up the stairs. Mrs Weasley was still yelling about spring cleaning.
Fred threw his arm around his mother's shoulder and led her towards the kitchen.
"Mum, tell me about this couch..."