A/N: This is an entry for the March Twin Exchange Monthly Challenge. I own absolutely nothing. ;) Also, thank you so much to wvvampire, my awesome beta!! Thank you so very much, Crystal! Enjoy!!
Prompt: A Seven-Leaf Clover
Quote: "You don't know where it's been!"
"What do you think they're doing?" Hermione murmured, pressing the tip of her quill to her lips. The report she was writing for the Ministry was, for the moment, lying in front of her, completely forgotten.
"Who cares?" asked Ron, barely looking up from the game of wizard's chess he was currently enjoying with Harry while their wives were away.
"It was rhetorical," Hermione snapped. Ron shrugged flippantly and returned to the game, grinning triumphantly as one of his pieces destroyed Harry's pawn.
Hermione, however, ignored him and turned her attention back to the two objects of her interest. Fred and George Weasley. The twins had always intrigued her, from a purely professional view, of course, but now that her professionalism had given way to a deep affection for Fred, she watched them every chance she could get. Normally, their antics didn't surprise her, or even horrify her anymore. However, today, she was utterly and completely mystified.
The boys in question were in the kitchen and appeared to be quietly arguing with each other, something they never did. George murmured something too low for Hermione to hear and she saw Fred shaking his head. George waved his hands for a moment, whispering something else, and then finally Fred gave up and flicked his wand at something on the stove. "Fine," he said, loud enough for her to hear him. "Just remember that I offered to share."
"What are they doing?" Hermione wondered. Suspicious, she carefully closed her book and laid down her quill and parchment just as George apparated out of the kitchen, leaving Fred by himself to tend to whatever was brewing on the stove. She stood from the couch and strode into the kitchen as quietly as she could. "What are you doing?" she asked, causing Fred to jump.
He spun around and faced her, his surprise giving way to a wide, mischievous smile. "Making tea," he responded easily. "Want some?"
"What kind of tea is it?" Hermione asked, glancing around Fred to see the small kettle whistling its completion of the heating process.
Hermione blinked. "Clover tea?" she asked. "Don't you mean clove tea?"
Fred shook his head. "Nope. I mean clover tea." He opened the fist of the hand that was not holding his wand and held it out to her.
Hermione looked down and saw a mass of green plant situated in his palm, which was currently marred by the loose dirt that had been dislodged from the roots. She squinted, but could not figure out what in the world it was. "What is it?" she asked, nose wrinkling.
The question amused Fred and he grinned. "It's a seven-leaf clover."
Hermione frowned. "I've never heard of that," she told him, leaning forward unconsciously to examine the plant. Everyone knew about four-leaf clovers, especially around this time of the year when St. Patrick's Day was celebrated, but she'd never heard of seven-leaf clovers being mentioned before.
"There aren't a lot of them around," Fred responded, "but there's always one that grows every year in the garden. Mum used to tell us that we were especially lucky since there was one petal for each of us kids, but I think George and I both have two petals and Ron and Percy were skipped."
Hermione couldn't contain a smile, but then she glanced at Fred suspiciously. "And what are you going to do with it? Are you not going to share it with everyone else?"
"Brew it, of course," Fred told her, rolling his eyes teasingly as though it was the simplest answer in the world. "No one but George and I believe in it anyways, so no one else will drink it, and George passed this year." He flicked his wand at the kettle and it levitated over to pour its contents into a mug. "Brewing it is the only way it'll work on-" He then seemed to realize that he had let something slip because he snapped his mouth shut and turned away from her to lower the plant into the cup. "I just hope it does its job."
"You're going to put the whole thing in there?" Hermione asked, astonished as she watched the clover, dirty roots and all, disappear as the water turned brown with dirt.
Fred nodded. "That's the only way it'll work," he repeated, grimacing only slightly as he said a charm that transformed the contents into a blended, liquid form.
"But you don't know where it's been!" Hermione cried, imagining all the toxins and bacteria he might be ingesting at the moment. It was absolutely absurd to pluck a weed out of the yard just to drink it! What an absolutely inane idea!
Fred grinned over the top of the mug at her. "Of course I do," he teased. "It's been in the garden."
Before Hermione could protest, he tipped his head back and drank the whole, strange concoction. Almost immediately, he was racing to the sink to fill the empty mug with water, and within a moment, he had downed that too. He shuddered and then turned to find Hermione still watching him. "That's…that's unhealthy," she muttered, her face twisted into a grimace. The twins had come up with some strange ideas over the years, but this was by far the strangest idea of all.
Fred grinned and wiped his mouth with his hand. "Maybe," he agreed, "but we'll see what happens, won't we?"
And with that, he apparated right out of the kitchen, leaving Hermione standing there, utterly confused.
She had been searching for hours, looking through all the books that she owned on magical lore, and yet she couldn't find a section on clovers. Hermione yawned, rolling her neck to release the pressure that had built up over the hours spent in the same position. Idly, she flipped through the last pages, recognizing that it was almost time for dinner and that she wouldn't have much time left. Just as she was about to give up, a crude drawing caught her eye. The rough sketch of what seemed to be a clover sprouted seven leaves, not just four. She leaned forward eagerly, her eyes quickly scanning the lines of the page.
"The seven-leaf clover is said to be incredibly lucky, even more so than a four-leaf clover, but it is a rare find, and an even rarer story shared with others. Those who grind the clover up and drink it have often reported short instances of heightened luck lasting for only about twenty-four hours."
"Hermione! Dinnertime!" Molly Weasley called up.
Hermione closed the book, eager to watch the effects that this interesting plant might have on Fred. Plus, this new development would give her a reason to be constantly watching him, so it was serving a double purpose. "Coming!" she called, standing and stretching out her tired muscles. She hurried downstairs to join that gathering, pleased to find that the only available seat was next to Fred.
Luck now seemed to be in her favor.
"Find what you were looking for?" Fred asked knowingly.
"As a matter of fact," Hermione said, lifting her chin slightly, "I did." Fred simply smiled and returned to his meal.
Everyone was lost in their own conversations when Ginny spoke up from across the table. "I'm planning on going to Diagon Alley tomorrow to pick up a new wand." She glared at Ron for a moment. "Ron sat on mine."
"Hey!" Ron protested, his mouth full of green beans, "it's not my fault that you left it lying around the way you did."
"Don't talk with your mouth full," Molly chastised, glaring at her full-grown son with distaste.
"Lying around!" Ginny scoffed. "I set it down next to me on the couch!" She scowled at him and then finished her thought. "Would you like to come with me, Hermione?"
"Sure," Hermione said, thinking of the new books she had ordered from Flourish and Blotts.
George finished shoveling food into his mouth and asked, while shooting a sideways glance at Fred, "Anyone up for a friendly game of quidditch?"
Harry and Ginny were, and both Lavender and Fleur waved off their husbands' weak offers to stay with them, so they pushed back their chairs and joined them too. "Want to come?" Fred asked Hermione as he stood and pushed his chair in.
She nodded and levitated her plate to the sink before he led her outside with the rest of his siblings, who were busy getting their brooms out of the shed. Hermione settled herself down on the grass a short distance away and waited, almost never taking her eyes off Fred. What might happen to him?
"Who's picking teams?" Harry asked. "And who's going to be the other seeker?"
"You can pick for your team, and George'll pick for his," Fred announced. Harry nodded and chose Ginny, not surprisingly.
"Fred," George picked, also not surprising anyone with his choice. "You're my favorite," he said with a wink.
Fred placed a hand over his heart in a mock-touched gesture. "Aw, George, that's such a sweet thing to say! You know, I didn't want to say anything, but you're my favorite too."
Harry laughed and rolled his eyes. "Ron," he picked, leaving Bill for the twins.
"And you're our second favorite!" the twins said simultaneously, causing everyone, including Bill, to laugh.
"Sure I am," he muttered good-naturedly as he mounted his broom. He glanced over at Hermione and asked, "Hermione, will you do the honors?"
"Sure." Hermione picked herself up from the ground and approached the case on the ground, freeing the snitch and the bludgers before tossing the quaffle high into the air.
The game began and Hermione quickly got out of the way as Ginny and George dove at each other, both scrambling for the quaffle just as Fred batted away a bludger with an easy swing of his bat. Hermione watched as Bill tried to knock Ron off his broom while Harry sat there, waiting, watching. George outmaneuvered Ginny, easily sweeping past a still-unsteady Ron to score, tossing the quaffle into his mother's rose bush before quickly retrieving it with a furtive glance towards the house.
Suddenly, Fred shot straight up into the air with Harry a few seconds behind him. After that, the rest of the game didn't matter to Hermione. She watched Fred and Harry until they got lost in the clouds. The moments ticked by and then two outlines appeared once again, one holding his arm up in victory. But it wasn't Harry.
It was Fred.
"Game over!" Harry cried, and the progress of the other players halted, looking at him first with expectancy, and then with shock, when Fred produced the snitch.
"Lucky catch," Fred murmured, shrugging his shoulders. However, his face showed intense satisfaction as he looked over at Hermione and winked. "Up for another game?" he asked everyone else.
"Yeah," Ron said. "You couldn't do that again if you tried."
But he did. For the next three games.
Ginny was still talking about his success when she and Hermione made their trip to Diagon Alley the next day. "I can't believe they won all four games! Fred should've been a seeker instead of a beater during Hogwarts!"
"Mm," Hermione responded, noncommittal. They came upon Flourish and Blotts and Hermione stopped Ginny. "I'm going to pop in while we're here," she told her friend. "I have some books to pick up."
Ginny smiled. "Then I'll take my time," she teased, heading off to Ollivander's.
Hermione ignored her good-natured teasing and slipped into Flourish and Blotts, sighing as she took in the wonderful, familiar smells of books and parchment. She greeted the cashier, a man that had been working here since her Hogwarts days, and asked for her order.
"I'm sorry, Miss Granger," he apologized, "but your order hasn't come in yet. Perhaps tomorrow?"
"Oh." Slightly disappointed, Hermione thanked him and promised to return the next day, declining his offer of owl mailing it to her. Normally, she would have stayed for hours, easily getting lost among tomes of every kind, but today, after such disappointment, she didn't feel like browsing. She had wanted those books. She made her way back out into Diagon Alley, strolling slowly down the lane until something caught her eye. She stopped so suddenly that the wizard behind her stumbled into her.
"I'm so sorry," she apologized, quickly moving towards the window of interest to avoid having others run into her.
Before her, perched in the front window of Madam Malkin's shop, was the most beautiful pair of semi-casual dress robes that Hermione had seen in quite a long time. They were of a deep, forest green, far enough off from Slytherin green that no one would give her any trouble about it. The deep brown vinery that curled around the front of the robes matched the color of her hair, and she smiled when she saw that the buttons down the front of the robes were leaves that branched off of the vines.
"It's pretty," said a voice behind her.
"You'd look good in it," said an identical voice.
Hermione turned, surprised, and found the twins smiling down at her. "What are you two doing here?" she asked.
The twins grinned. "Saw you from the shop window," they said at the same time.
Hermione raised her eyebrows. "Don't you have customers?"
"Lunch break," George said cheerily, and then nodded his head towards the robes. "Are you thinking of getting them?"
Hermione shook her head. "I was just looking."
Fred grinned at her. "That's pretty intense looking you've been doing. You've been standing outside the window for almost five minutes."
Hermione blushed a deep red, amazed that time had gone by so quickly. Surely she had just walked up! However, George didn't give her a chance to get flustered. He gently took her by the arm and steered her towards the door. "Let's go have a look," he said, as though it was the most normal thing in the world for him to be helping her try on dress robes.
"George, no," she protested. "I don't have the money."
George laughed and stuck his hand in his pocket pulling out a handful of galleons. "Is this enough?" he asked, trying not to laugh.
Hermione shook her head and hissed, "I'm not letting you two spend hard-earned money on dress robes!"
Fred stepped up and answered her. "Don't worry, Hermione," he told her, grinning. "This didn't come from the store. They were littered all over Diagon Alley today in the funniest places. We simply collected them and waited for something of interest to come along." He smirked at her disbelieving look. "My luck seems to be very good, don't you think?"
That's when she remembered the seven-leaf clover tea. Did it really work like that?
"That's impossible," she insisted, though rather weakly. It couldn't have been the tea. That was just a silly superstition, right? "I really can't."
"No it's not, and you really can," Fred said, taking up George's job of pushing her through the door.
Just as she gave up, Hermione felt a playful pinch on her bottom. With a yelp, she jumped around and raised her hand with the intention of smacking the smile right off Fred's face, but she found herself pausing long enough to squeak out, "Why did you do that?"
Fred smirked down at her before leaning very close to her face. "It's St. Patrick's Day," he said, his voice low, and almost husky in tone, even as his eyes twinkled with mirth, "and you're not wearing any green."
The way he looked at her...No, he couldn't possibly have feelings for her, he was just being a flirtatious Weasley Twin. Yes, that was it. Hermione didn't know what to say, and she simply stood there, staring at him for a moment before she felt George brush past her and pinch her as well, startling her out of her shock. She whirled on him and smacked him across the cheek, not hard enough to leave a mark.
"Hey!" he protested. "That's not fair! You didn't slap Fred!"
Hermione looked from George to Fred, blushing deeply when she noticed Fred carefully watching her face. "That's…that's beside the point," she stuttered, and whirled around to head into the shop.
She never saw George give Fred a playful pat on the back.
Fifteen minutes later, Hermione was exiting the store with the twins, a carefully wrapped package in her arms. "Thank you," she said, still rather surprised by the twin's suspicious generosity.
"You're welcome," they said together, and then George pointed. "Looks like Ginny's looking for you."
Sure enough, Ginny was wandering about, her new wand in her hand. Hermione waved wildly to catch her friend's attention, and then turned to say something to the twins, but they were nowhere to be found. Guessing that they had apparated back to their shop, Hermione hurried towards Ginny. "I've been looking everywhere for you!" Ginny cried. "Where have you been?"
"I'm so sorry," Hermione apologized. "Flourish and Blotts didn't have my books, so I started wandering around and lost track of time."
Ginny eyed the package in Hermione's hands. "What's that?" she asked curiously.
Hermione blushed. "New robes. You'll see them when we get home."
"Well then, let's go!" Ginny cried, grabbing Hermione's hand and apparating out of Diagon Alley.
Once at home, Ginny wouldn't let Hermione out of the room until she had told her all that she was willing to say. Hermione didn't mention the twins, she simply said that she had noticed the robes and really liked them. With Ginny waiting impatiently, Hermione slid the robes on and twirled around for inspection, already loving the feel of the material against her skin. She would have to write the twins a very long thank you note.
"They're beautiful!" Ginny exclaimed. "You have to wear them tonight."
"Why?" Hermione asked. Sure, they were pretty, but they were nothing special, and she doubted that anyone else would really care about them.
"Because they're new, and mum will want to see them." Ginny smirked. "Plus, I'm sure Fred'll like them."
Hermione started. Had she let something slip about the twins buying her robes for her? "What?" she asked. "Why?"
"Fred's very interested in everything you do, Hermione."
Hermione continued to stare. "Why?" she asked.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Because Fred likes you," she said simply, as though she was talking to a small child. "He has for years, ever since your last year at Hogwarts. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he's finally advanced to loving you, but then, you know how slow boys are and all." She winked teasingly, but Hermione wasn't even paying attention to her friend anymore.
Hermione sat down on the bed abruptly. Fred liked her? The way she liked him? "But-but I," she stuttered, attempting to connect the pieces in her muddled brain. She had never thought that Fred would like her in return, the little know-it-all that
he had known for ten years.
There was a knock on the door, which startled Hermione out of her confused state long enough to unlock the door. George stepped into the room. He took in Hermione's appearance in the new robes and smiled widely. "Dinnertime, girls. Everyone's waiting for you." He turned to go, but then stopped and grinned at Hermione. "By the way, Hermione, you look great."
"Thanks," Hermione said, suddenly feeling shy, uncertain, and overwhelmed. Would she have to say something to Fred? Would Fred perhaps say something to her? Would Fred be the one to make a move?
"Probably," George answered, yanking Hermione out of her thoughts with the startling realization that she had spoken aloud. He was obviously trying not to laugh as he patted her shoulder teasingly. "But let him have his dinner first."
Mortified, Hermione pushed past George and left him and Ginny chuckling as she bounded down the stairs as quickly as she could. She obliged Molly and twirled in a circle to show off her new robes, barely taking her eyes off Fred. "Thank you," she murmured over and over as approving comments followed her to her seat.
As she sat down next to Fred, he leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Told you it'd look good on you."
Her heart fluttered as his breath teased her ear, and she was only able to reply, "So you did," without wavering.
When dinner was over, Fred quietly excused himself from the table and left through the kitchen door. Confused, Hermione watched him go. He hadn't even had dessert! She looked from the door to George, who was watching her. He nodded to the door, silently telling her that she should perhaps go after him, so she thanked Molly for the meal and slipped out the door as well.
It took her a moment to find Fred in the darkening night, but she finally found him sitting out by the pond, his lanky legs curled under him. As she drew closer, she saw that he was twisting a strand of the long pond grass in his hands. She sat down next to him, feeling his body heat radiating off of him in the rather cool night. She turned to him and started to speak, but upon seeing his slightly downcast face, she wisely kept silent and waited for him to speak first. To her amazement, she found that she quite enjoyed just sitting next to him, enjoying the calm night before them.
"The luck wore off," he murmured after a long while.
Hermione turned and looked at him. "Did you think that it wouldn't?" she asked, trying to sound neutral and interested in such a trivial matter as a bit of greenery's luck wearing off when all she really wanted to talk about was the love he apparently had for her.
Fred shook his head. "No, I knew. It only lasts for a day. Twenty-four hours to be exact. It just wasn't enough time." He ducked his head and muttered something else, something that Hermione didn't catch.
"What was that?" she asked, leaning towards him.
He sat up and turned to her, and she found their faces inches apart. "I said, 'It doesn't seem to work on humans,'" Fred said lowly.
Hermione refused to pull away as she looked up at him. "And why would you say that?"
Fred shrugged, making no move to pull away either. "It didn't help me with you," he told her plainly, his eyes searching hers for any sign of edginess now that there was no mistaking his intentions.
Still, she didn't move. Instead, she moved slightly closer, her lips millimeters from his. "You're right," she whispered, and then added, "you didn't need help, though. You've had me for years." With that, she gently pressed her lips to his, feeling his arms come up to wrap around her torso and hold her even closer than she already was. He took control of the kiss and deepened it, letting his tongue stroke over hers so gently, and so passionately, that Hermione was glad that she was already sitting down.
When they finally pulled away, Fred's grin grew even wider and he gathered Hermione into his arms and held her there. She didn't complain at all. However, there were some questions that she still had, and now seemed to be the perfect time to voice them. "Fred?" she said quietly.
"Hm?" The content rumble of his chest made Hermione smile into his shirt. His whole tone had gone from disappointed to perfectly content in the span of only a few moments, and she was intensely pleased that she had had something to do with that.
"How did you really win the quidditch games? And what about my robes?"
"They look lovely on you, by the way," he murmured against her hair before he answered her questions. "You see, if someone uses the clover properly, it works a lot like the Felix Felicis potion, except that it actually lets you pick and chose which areas you're lucky in. I wanted to win those games, so the clover helped me beat Harry, even though I have absolutely no seeker abilities. When I saw you earlier today looking at those robes, I wanted you to have them. So when George and I went to meet you, we kept finding galleons in random places. George even had one behind his unholey ear."
Hermione chuckled at Fred's joke. "Really?" she asked.
Fred smiled. "Really. And then when we saw the price on the robes, we realized that we had just enough. The clover's never worked for me like this, but I guess it's because this time I really wanted you."
Hermione smiled up at him. "Well, you have me, and it wasn't just because of that tea. I've wanted you for quite a while too."
Fred held her closer. "Guess we both got what we wanted," he said.
Hermione nodded. "Yup." There was silence, and then she added, "I still say that that tea's unhealthy."
Fred laughed. "If it makes you happy, I won't drink it anymore." He pressed a kiss to her forehead and whispered, "I have my own lucky charm right here."
And so, for those that would later comment that St. Patrick's Day was all about the luck of the Irish, Hermione would cheerfully inform them that, for her, it was the luck of the clover that made the seventeenth of March so special.
A/N: Okay guys, I so hope that you enjoyed this! Please, please, PLEASE review, if only for the fact that St. Patrick's Day (today) is actually my birthday! Think of it as your gift to me, and don't forget to vote after March 20th on the Twin Exchange profile!! :D Winning the March challenge is especially important to me!! ;)