Summary: A conversation between Fred and Hermione begins with how sore one can be after a Quidditch match and end with a list of everything Fred has noticed about the brown-eyed girl. Companion story "An Author's Vision" is HP/Twilight. Edward enters an authors mind as this HP story is being written.
Post-Deathly Hallows. Forgive me a simple and quick story. That being said, I thought that the ending was very cute.
Thanks to my beta Johnathan, my friend John's knowledge of cricket and editing, and softball for causing the sore muscles that inspired this story. Also to Lisa, for letting me write on her kitchen table when I come to visit.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Things would have been different if I had.
The Things I've Noticed
"Ooooohhhhh," groaned the outline of a red-haired man.
Hermione raised her eyes from the score sheet—turned study material to check on the figure that had collapsed a few feet from her.
"Are you ready to try standing again, Fred?"
"I'm fine," replied the human-groan.
"Just let me get you the potion, Fred. Afterwards you'll be able to do things like walk, wave your arm, and pick up a cup of pumpkin juice."
"I just need a few more minutes." Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Fred, the Quidditch match ended almost an hour ago. And besides, laying stationary in the grass is only going to stiffen your muscles and make the soreness worse. Let's go back to the house."
"Hermione, it hurts to breathe deeply." His chest rose and fell with a groan to emphasize his point.
Hermione gracefully covered her laugh with a cough.
She folded her score sheet/advanced charms review notes and walked over to him.
"Fred, the others went to the Burrow ages ago. I bet they've even left for Diagon Alley by now. Come back to the Burrow and I'll get you fixed up."
A rare breeze for the June afternoon stirred the grasses around them.
"Ah…ah…ahchoo," replied Fred.
Hermione reached a hand out to Fred. After taking a moment to wince, Fred slowly accepted her hand. Once he was standing, it seemed to Hermione that Fred held onto her hand a few seconds longer than necessary, but perhaps this was merely for balance.
"When I sneezed just then, even that hurt."
She no longer tried to hide her laughter. "Yes Fred, I'm sure it did."
"I really am pathetic right now, aren't I?"
Hermione chanced a sideways glance to his face and found a grin both on his lips and in his eyes. "You are in a sad and sorry state for a Quidditch player."
She wrapped a cautious arm around his waist and started moving him towards the house. After a few steps she felt an arm lightly fall on her shoulders. And after another step the fingers attached to that arm curled around her shoulder.
Before she could stop herself, Hermione unconsciously leaned into Fred's open arm. But, of course, the instant her body touched his, she nearly jumped trying to recover an inch or two between them. Fred's hand never moved.
A short sigh escaped Fred.
"Hmm," was all the normally wordy girl could answer.
"Why do you suppose I'm so sore when my own twin walked away without a single moan. In fact, everyone but me was able to walk away."
Hermione opened the back door to the Burrow and sat Fred down on a cushy recliner.
"Well, Fred, when was the last time you played Quidditch?" She popped up the feet of the recliner so Fred could stretch his legs.
"Before Bill and Fleur's wedding, so nearly a year." He cocked his head. "Are you implying that I am out of shape?"
Hermione commanded her eyes not to sweep over Fred's physique at that moment. Though her eyes briefly shifted, she seemed to have won that battle.
"Not out of shape, just out of practice. To play Quidditch you have to use your whole body, especially as a beater. And George isn't sore because he was playing chaser for your team."
"Then why isn't Charlie sore? He was the beater for the other team."
Hermione's hands landed on her hips. "Charlie works with dragons, Fred. He had to stay in top shape all last year because of that."
A characteristic grin filled Fred's face. "I suppose dragon training is a good excuse for being pain-free."
"Good. Now, if you won't accept a potion to help you will you at least let me try some muggle options?
"I don't want any of that 'asprain' stuff Harry offered me once. I still don't see how you ever took pills." His face looked as though he'd just been asked to eat Ron's dirty socks.
"Okay, no pills for you." Hermione now gladly allowed herself to look Fred over with the excuse of a necessary examination. "That means the only question is: hot or cold?"
She smirked at his confused response. "What do you mean?"
"Simple," she replied. "Dad always said: ice for swelling and heat for muscle aches."
"Your Dad said that?" His eyebrows fully raised.
"Yes. So, are any of your joints starting to swell? Your knees look okay, so I think you're fine. That means we go straight to heat."
Fred leaned towards her. "Your Dad was sore often?"
"Yes, he used to play cricket all the time with his friends, and tennis sometimes too." Ah yes, babbling, always a good fall back for a new and possibly exciting situation. "And really, when you think about it, playing beater is a lot like a cross between cricket and tennis. Both sports are hard on the entire body, but especially the arms, shoulders and torso. Mum used to get the heating pad for Dad and he would lay in his recliner rotating it between his back and shoulders. Of course, he also took painkillers, but I think that even just the heat would help you some. Do you know a spell for heating an object, like a towel maybe? But it can't get too hot either. Maybe a mild Calidum would do the trick. What do you think?"
Hermione stopped to take a breath and Fred placed two fingers on her mouth to prevent the flood of words from starting again. Hermione's eyes grew large, staring at him with more than a little wonder.
After Fred's brain caught up with his ears, he replied, "I'm not sure what kind of sport you would play as a cricket and I don't know what the number ten has to do with anything, but I think that spell would work fine."
Hermione quickly heated a kitchen towel and placed it around Fred's shoulders. "How does that feel?"
"Wonderful. Thank you 'Mione."
As she sat on the couch, Hermione felt his eyes on her. She met them and found a new look of confidence accompanying his characteristic grin, as if Fred had made a decision.
"It seems like you enjoy taking care of people, or me at least," Fred announced.
"Well, I…" Hermione looked away and played with her shirt hem. "I'm surprised that you even noticed, Mr. Weasley."
"Well, my dear 'Mione, let me see if I can further astound you with my great powers of observation."
He moved to sit next to her on the couch, only wincing once.
"I have noticed that your eyes are the color of a melted chocolate chip inside a warm cookie."
Hermione's cheeks warmed, and she wondered just how visible this blush was.
The game continued.
"I would hope that the color of my eyes would be obvious to anyone."
Fred inched closer. "I have also noticed that in addition to being brilliant, you are also thoughtful, caring, brave, and overall fun—despite what others may think."
Hermione was now certain that her cheeks were actually radiating heat.
"Ron used to say something similar to that." Fred looked on dubiously. "Well, maybe not quite like that."
"I noticed that your eyes have been on me quite a lot lately and that you enjoyed having my arm around you."
Hermione's mouth opened and closed again.
"And I believe that if you give me a few more moments, I will have noticed that you enjoy kissing me."
And, of course, she did.
If you liked this story, I would really appreciate it if you checked out its companion piece "An Author's Vision". Thanks!