Summary: (AU) Hermione Granger's life takes an entirely different path when she enters Hogwarts a year early and is befriended by a couple of pranksters who know something she doesn't that will very much effect their future together.
"Granger!" a voice called out loudly, drawing Hermione's eyes up to an open window. Lee Jordan grinned back at her. "I've got two fantastically enormous gits here waiting for your all too exciting blather. Come join us before they go looking for you and get lost..."
Smiling, she nodded to him before hauling her suitcase up into her arms and walking toward the train. Her parents had already said goodbye, kissing and hugging her tightly. She'd be lying if she said she didn't miss them already but Christmas was over and it was back to Hogwarts. She'd also be lying if she said she wasn't excited to be returning. While Fred and George might not be jumping for joy over exams and long rolls of parchment filled with essays, she surely was.
Upon opening the door to their compartment, she was met with the loud exclamation of some sort of noisemaker that both Fred and George were sporting in their mouths. "Happy New Year!" they shouted, jumping up and down on their seats.
"Oh really!" she said, eyes wide. "You're bound to get us kicked off the train before it even starts moving," she told them, despite her tugging smile.
Grinning, they ignored her and took up her suitcase to put above.
She sat down next to Lee who was currently face-planted in a Quidditch magazine. She was well aware of his fancy for announcing each game and while she wasn't an avid watcher or player, she did think he had quite the passion for it. Given that he was another good friend of her twins, she did see him quite often, but the bond she'd grown with Fred and George never really grew between her and Lee.
"Is that the latest edition?" she wondered.
He nodded, glancing up. "I'd ask if you want to look but you're only trying to be nice."
She grinned. If there was anything about Lee that she truly admired, it was his bold honesty.
"All right then, quit ignoring us. Tell us all about your Muggle hols," George told her.
"Yeah, anything ridiculously wonderful happen?"
"You mean like how at your house there always seems to be something exploding or backfiring or turning backwards..." She quirked a brow. "Given that I don't have two mischief-making twins living in my home, it was all very nice and quiet. No unnecessary noise at all."
They dramatically faked aghast expressions. "However did she survive?"
"Never, never will we allow her to go through it again!"
She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "It was a nice break from the chaos," she affirmed, lifting her chin haughtily.
"But...?" they drawled expectant and knowing.
She sighed, smiling. "But I did miss your unruliness just slightly."
They nodded. "Of course you did."
"Our unruliness is very worthy of missing."
"Wouldn't you say, Lee?"
"Yes, yes, now who wants a chocolate frog to shut them up?" she asked wonderingly.
"Me! Me! Him! And him! And me!" the twins chorused, pointing back and forth from each other to Lee.
Laughing, Hermione knew she was in for a great beginning to the new year.
She was right.
Fred and George were never far from sight; she was unmistakably the third part of them. While she couldn't quite finish their sentences, she could always be seen standing center between them. She knew what they were thinking just by the glimmer in their eyes, she was never left out of a prank whether she disapproved or not, and she was quite possibly their most treasured friend just as they were to her.
"We could always-"
Hermione huffed, eyes wide with warning. "No."
"And then just-"
"She's right... It would never work... We'll need-"
She snapped her book shut. "If I'm expelled for this... I'll kill you both, resurrect you and kill you again." She lifted her chin. "Now, if we're going to do anything of the caliber you're thinking, we'll need a lot more planning..." She reached into her book bag then and drew out a thick tome. "And this is just the information we'll need."
Fred and George exchanged looks before dramatically wiping a fake tear from their eyes. "I told you!"
"No, I told you!"
They grinned at her. "She's absolutely perfect for this!" they chimed together.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Back to business, boys!"
They eagerly leaned over her shoulders to see what she might have found.
While she may not agree with all of their mischief, she felt it was her honest duty to make sure that if they did do something so 'wrong' it was best they did it properly and without harm to others. So, while the professors might not see it her way, she had convinced herself that she was really only looking out for everybody's wellbeing. Which helped, considering some of their pranks and potions brewing for fun had caused just enough havoc to have everybody on their toes.
"Dear Merlin, George, you're bald!"
"I am not! You are!"
George's hands immediately reached for his head only to find that every previously bright and red hair that had sprouted there was now gone. Slowly, his shock turned to mirth and both he and Fred burst into raucous laughter. The tapping of a foot, however, made them stop, and they both turned slowly to find a bald and incensed Hermione Granger staring back at them. They bit their lips tightly to stop their chortles.
"I told you not to add that," she said through clenched teeth.
"Well I think... It's really quite fetching," George managed through a grin.
"Yes... Truly... It's..."
"You have until the count of five," she warned, reaching for her wand.
They were gone in a flash of bald heads and Hermione was kind enough to give them until seven before she chased after them, wand at the ready, and all her knowledge from both books and them just waiting at the end of her wand.
While they laughed in amusement and ran for their lives, they also knew that she may take her revenge, but it would all be in good fun. And later, after a hair-growth potion from Madame Pomfrey, they'd laugh about it in the common room over smuggled butterbeer and their stash of chocolate frogs.
This day arrived far too often for her liking. Not only was it Fred and George's birthday but it was also her most hated holiday... April Fool's. It was, perhaps, the only day she didn't call them out on their behavior. She wanted to, mind you, but she was able to hold her tongue. She made a vow that first year that she would let them do whatever they like, so long as nobody was truly harmed and they didn't pull it on her. And with fingers crossed behind their backs, they agreed to her rules. Which, of course, had to be broken.
That April Fool's was the first of many she would spend rubbing her temples while simultaneously still suffering from the ache in her sides over all the laughter. At breakfast, she eyed her food warily. Throughout classes, she checked under desks, the bottom of her stool, even cast Finite Incantatem on her quills, parchment and ink well. But, there was no explosion, no hidden trick or treat, nothing. She knew they were up to something; they were whispering behind their hands and casting mischievous looks around the room.
And by lunch, she was more than a little suspicious. There had been no boom, no bang, no cries of laughter or humiliation and she was looking around every corner, examining every nook and cranny for what might come out, only to find nothing but what the other students had going on, much less exciting than whatever the twins might cook up. But then it happened, with a brilliant array of lights, fireworks blasting in the air of all colors, and the twin's familiar writing scrawled above the four house tables that dinner.
Happy Pranking, fellow students, it read only to explode into red and reappear as And Happy Birthday to us...She glanced at the twins with narrowed eyes but they only winked and redirected their gaze to the display above.
For your gifts and your treasures and your pranking pleasures, we offer you this in response...
She wondered suddenly if she had time to cast some sort of safety charm...
There was a brilliant bang before suddenly the colors in the sky turned orange and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. All was quiet, waiting, wondering, and then...
Looking left and right, forward and backward, Hermione could see students all around her hopping in their seats as if they were being pinched or zapped from their places. Hopping and shouting, they leapt from their benches but it didn't cure what ailed them. She was just about to turn her disapproving gaze on the twins when suddenly the entire Slytherin table rose from the bench and began hooting and hollering, pointing at one another as they were all dressed in pink tutus and each word out of their mouths was the lyrics to I'm a Little Teapot... She covered her mouth with her hands, hoping she looked surprised and not amused. And then the Hufflepuffs were square-dancing and the Ravenclaws were trying to balance stacks of books on their heads while standing on one foot. Lastly, the Gryffindors were challenging each other to every single thing under the moon.
"I'll outdraw anybody!"
"Outdraw? Well I'll outeat them over a table of chocolate frogs..."
"Yeah? Well I'll eat every page of this book right here and-"
"You put that book down right this minute," Hermione shouted, angrily.
"But I haven't won yet!" the boy told her, stomping his foot.
"It'll wear off, 'Mione..."
"Before the paper makes him sick at least."
"If he eats even one page..."
"Oh, come on... Just a little fun?"
"I think you've had quite enough..." She gestured to the Great Hall, filled with dancing and singing and balancing books, with Gryffindors stuffing their faces with chocolate frogs and trying to out hand-walk each other across the tables. McGonagall was already shouting for relief and Dumbledore was enjoying the display, clapping his hands before he stepped down to see if he too could balance six books atop his head.
"This is chaos," she muttered.
"Ah yes, beautiful, wonderful-"
"Utter and complete-"
"Chaos," the twins murmured delightfully.
"One day out of the year," she muttered, shaking her head. "Just one day."
Grinning, they wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Enjoy it while you can, we'll be spending the rest of the year in detention."
She sighed, knowing they were right. Especially when McGonagall turned her aggravated eyes on the trio, two of which were grinning while the other was sighing with resignation.
By the end of her first year, she had been opened to a new world far more brilliant that the Wizarding one itself, but instead explored the new friendships she had and enjoyed every moment of it, including, even, detention. Returning home was something she wasn't sure she was ready to do, almost scared that when she returned the twins would no longer have the same interest in her. But throughout the summer, they exchanged many an owl sent letter. Fred and George were sure to keep her updated on their latest pranks and the many lectures and punishments to be handed out by their parents when they were figured out. She wasn't able to see them until she went to Diagon Alley to get her books for second year and sought them out as quickly as she could.
"Mione!" they cried, drawing her into a bear hug.
"Wasn't sure you were gonna show!" she said rather quietly before pulling back and squaring her shoulders to hide the lingering insecurity inside her. "I've been looking all over for you. I thought we had plans to meet at Fortescue's but when I arrived neither of you were in sight and so I began searching after a half hour and-"
They laughed, shaking their heads as she ranted on and on.
"Our lovely swot is back with us, brother."
"Yes, it was incredibly lonesome without her lectures, wouldn't you say?"
"-But were you there? No, of course not! So then I decided to check the Quidditch store and-"
Hooking an arm with each of hers, they directed her toward Fortescue's, nodding along to her rant. There was really nothing more they could do but enjoy the familiarity and though she continued to complain, inside she was just giddy to have them back where they belonged; on either side of her. Second year was already beginning to look brilliant.
A/N Well, today is a good day. Not only am I able to post Part Three, but my dog, which went missing yesterday, has been FOUND! Cheyenne (four month old rotti) managed to pull her yard leash right out of the ground and tried to follow me to the movies. (sigh) She must've got scared at the traffic though and stopped somewhere familiar to wait for me, judging by a helpful phonecall by someone who spotted her. When I got home, she was gone, and I had no idea what happened so I spent hours searching for her, calling radio stations and animal shelters and finally, this morning, we talked to CRD who has her there and we'll be picking her back up today. (phew!) So, a good day!
Hope you enjoyed this. Please review; it's greatly appreciated!