Well, this is my first try with the Harry Potter Universe, I really admire JK Rowling for what she created, her universe is utterly amazing!
This is a Hermione/Fred one-shot even though it's not my favourite pairing. So this one-shot doesn't follow the real plot - Voldemort is dead, this is post Hogwarts, but Fred is still alive - obviously.
Be indulgent my reading of the Harry Potter serie drifted between the french translations and the english books, so I'm a little lost sometimes with the different elements. And I'm French, so I hope my English won't disturb you too much.
Hope you'll enjoy your reading! - reviews are always appreciated =)
Edit: Huge thanks to Alice Dodgson (.net/u/406855/Alice_Dodgson) her criticisms really helped me!
I've already said it, but, again, thank you very much!
What you think and what is true
They were alone. The two of them, alone, together, in the Burrow. That was so rare, it might be a joke but, although Fred visited every room – save from hers – he didn't fall upon anybody. The usual occupants of the house weren't gathered in the kitchen, nor in the living room, and the garden was definitively empty.
Courtesy of his twin, who had stuck a note on his forehead – a note he spent forty minutes getting rid of – magic could really be a pain in the ass sometimes, Fred knew she was also there.
"She said she has work to do. You know what YOUR work is."
He grimaced while clenching the sheet of paper in his hand. What if someone had entered the room and seen him with that on his head? Well, to tell the truth it was unlikely to happen, and George was perfectly aware of that.
The twins' bedroom was avoided by everybody as much as possible. Their mother being an exception, she had long ago stopped worrying over her sons' latest brightest idea, knowing very well they would hide it from any eyes, especially hers, as long as its functioning didn't allow them to sell it – and even after, they wouldn't brag about it in front of her, too risky.
The other occupants of the Burrow weren't so confidant as not to knock, wait and then enter the privacy of the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes geniuses.
Nobody ever entered Giny's room without knocking either. A girl's room, or rather two young women's room, when the majority of the Burrow inhabitants were male, Molly Weasley was – once again- the sole person taking the risk to fall upon traumatising scenes – who knew what a girl could look like when waking up?
Fred was no exception. He had learnt the hard way – with George of course – not to storm in his little sister's room without permission, even less now that it had also become Hermione Granger's. Last time he had been in the room, he had literally been buried under tons of books, hers without a doubt.
On his way to the kitchen, he nonetheless stopped in front of her door. Should he wake her up and invite her to join him for breakfast?
His hand was almost on the doorknob when he suddenly jerked it away. Shaking his head, he scowled at his own stupidity.
'What were you going to say? Hi Hermione! We haven't talked for months but would you please join me to eat?'
He sighed loudly. 'As if she would ever agree to eat with you,' he thought, his heart aching a little.
He had been one of her nightmares back at Hogwarts, an unstoppable prankster whose only occupation was to disturb the order she loved so much. It had been the same at the Burrow, Hermione being on of George's favourite targets – her reactions never ceased to make him laugh.
However, Fred had to admit the war had somehow changed that schema. All busy as they were with building up the world anew, with taking care of the different businesses they owned, with fulfilling missions for the Ministry, the time they had spent together had considerably decreased, making it almost impossible for the twin to keep playing pranks on their family and friends.
Although the inhabitants of the Burrow were seldom together at home, the Burrow was never empty. There would always be someone grabbing a bit in the kitchen, working in one of the rooms, sleeping on the couch. Diner times were likely to reunite lots of people around the table – everybody treasuring those moments – but there was always someone missing.
Hermione and he being on holidays, he knew he would see her, he hadn't thought he'd be left alone with her. His heart rate had increased when the full meaning of his brother's words had made sense.
Fred thought time would have altered his feelings, made a simple memory of the crush he had had on the cute bookworm since she had first started to pester him about his reprehensible behaviour.
As time went by, he had convinced himself his crush had to remain secret, unlikely to be ever reciprocated when the object of his thoughts was obviously going to end up in his little brother's arms.
However, Fred had been wrong twice. First because the secrecy hadn't lasted – how could he have even thought keeping it from someone who knew him as perfectly as George? - second because, in spite of the years, of his continual certainty it was stupid of him, his feelings hadn't disappeared, or weakened. Unfortunately, he doubted the years had changed her opinion about him. To her, he would always be a prankster, one of the Weasley twins, Ron's brother, and so on, but nothing more, let's say more intimate.
He went down to the kitchen, and smiled at the sight of a breakfast for two set on the table. His mother, as busy as she could be, would never forget to feed her children – and adoptive ones for Hermione was like her own. That hadn't really helped him getting over her. Seeing her each time he visited his parents, holidays and weekends, important occasions, his mother always managed to gather everybody, even if it was only for one or two hours.
"Mrs Weasley is wonderful!" a feminine voice exclaimed from behind.
Fred jumped, immersed in his thoughts he hadn't noticed another presence in the room.
"Morning Fred," Hermione greeted while taking a seat.
A sweet warmth swelled his heart. Right, she was always right about who was who. He didn't know how she could tell them apart - some of their best friends still made mistakes, some of their family members too.
"Where are the others?" she asked.
"Out," he answered, oddly shy in her presence.
"Well, I guess we will have some peace today then."
Her gentle laugh made him smile. In spite of her comment, he knew she loved being at the Burrow, he knew the chaos didn't bother her and that might be why he wasn't able to get rid of his feelings. Deep inside him remained the hope she would come to like his chaotic character. If she loved his family, why wouldn't she love him?
'Your brother, your little brother, that's why she won't ever love you,' he sadly thought.
"I hope Ron's date will go well."
Fred jerked his head up, his hand frozen half-way between the bowl and his mouth. Hermione raised an eyebrow at him.
"What? Did I say something wrong?" she asked with a worried tone.
"Date... Ron... He is... Ron... He is dating?" Fred almost choked on his words.
Hermione gave him a sheepish smile.
"Shoot! I forgot you didn't know." She stretched her arms. "I must really be tired."
"He is... He is... he's got a date?" He couldn't help the dismay in his voice.
"Yeah, but he doesn't want everybody to fuss about it. It took him so long to muster the courage to ask her out." She shook her head. "Really it was about time it happened."
"Please don't tell anyone," she pleaded. "Though I think it won't bother him if you know, it's better if we keep it secret. You know Ron, I mean, he wants things to go slowly."
Fred wasn't certain he had understood her words. Ron, his little brother, was dating, but not Hermione Granger? He was dating someone else? And Hermione Granger seemed pleased for him, almost relieved that he had finally made a move? He put back his spoon on the table. When had he drifted to another dimension?
"Fred? You all right? Fred!" Hermione waved her hand in front of his face. "Fred?"
"It doesn't bother you?" he bluntly asked.
"My brother, his date, with someone else, it doesn't bother you?"
Hermione titled her head on the side. "Why should it bo- Oh!" she exclaimed before bursting into laughter. "So- Sorry but," she tried to speak but couldn't stop laughing.
Fred watched as Hermione slowly regained her composure. Her reaction had totally startled him, and mesmerised him at the same time, how beautiful she looked when laughing!
"Sorry 'bout that but I didn't think you were also convinced I was dating Ron," she explained. "I mean, I know lots of people think it's the case, or will be one day, but it's totally," her smile grew bigger, "totally impossible really. We're like brother and sister, nothing more!"
Laugh took control of her again. "So... sorry," she apologised, "it's just... just... she told him the same thing when he asked her out. Gosh! We never did anything to encourage that!"
Fred was flabbergasted. His little brother's arms were meant to hold somebody else?
"But... don't... brother and sister?"
Hermione nodded. "Absolutely. Ron and Harry, they're both brothers to me. It's funny how people think you'll definitely end up with the ones you stick around the most." Her smile dropped a little. "Yeah, as if feelings could only develop for people very, very, close to you. How foolish," she added in a lower tone.
Her words went straight to his heart. Had he heard well? Did she mean what she had just said? There was only one way to be sure.
"What do you mean by that?"
Hermione stopped playing with her spoon and raised her head to meet his gaze. She wasn't laughing any more, in fact she looked rather shy, uneasy almost.
She opened her mouth to answer but the words wouldn't get out of it.
She gave him an apologetic look. "I mean that feelings can develop even if you're not actually very close to the person. It's all about who your heart chooses, not about who you're friends with. I mean, does everyone end up with their best friend? Can't it be possible for two people to just... to just feel they... to just want to be together even if even if they don't spend all their time being in each other's company?"
Hermione shook her head, a small smirk on her lips. "Really, Fred, everything isn't always what it seems to be, isn't what magic teaches us?"
He acquiesced. Of course magic was the evidence of what she had just said. Between the aspect of an object and its use there could be a huge difference.
"Are you in that situation?" the words left his mouth before he had the chance to hold them back.
Her cheeks reddened.
"Are you... do you have feelings for someone?" Fred couldn't restrain himself from asking.
Her words had roused hope inside him. She wasn't infatuated with his brother, had never been. Then, he thought again about all those years they had known each other, seldom talking, but always smiling to one another, to be honest, even when she pestered him at Hogwarts, she had never done it scornfully. His jokes had made her laugh sometimes – in spite of the detentions she hadn't neglected to give him. And at the Burrow, he suddenly realised, she could have easily avoided his presence, then why had she always been within eyesight?
His mind came back over several situations, several moments when, if he hadn't been thinking she would become Ron's girlfriend, she could have seemed infatuated with him. He had always convinced himself he'd dreamt those moments, read too much into them, but what if, once again, he'd been wrong?
His heart was swelling with hope and fear, too much things seemed to suddenly weigh in his favour. Was he imagining them?
Hermione ducked her head under her mane of brown curls, obviously embarrassed by his question, but Fred wouldn't be satisfied until he obtained a clear answer, whatever it'd be.
"Hermione?" he called her name gently. He saw her take a deep breath before looking at him again.
"I- Gosh Fred don't stare at me like that!" she cried, her blush spreading further across her face.
Fred flashed her a sheepish smile, but didn't turn away, his newly found confidence allowing him to raise from his seat in order to occupy the one by her side.
Her body turned to face his. Their knees were touching lightly, his hand was right above her thigh, however Fred was not so confident as to actually put his hand on it.
He was more and more certain he hadn't imagined those moments, those smiles, those looks which he'd always thought carried nothing more than friendship.
"Hermione," he repeated, "do you have feelings for someone right now?"
She shyly nodded, her eyes staring directly into his. His body slightly leant towards hers.
"Someone I know?"
She nodded again, though her blush was showing her embarrassment, her eyes never left his.
"Someone I'm close to?" He leant further forwards.
A small smile stretched her lips as she nodded once more. At that time, fear had totally left him. His heart was heavily pounding in his chest, his hand finally came to rest on her thigh. She didn't pull him away.
"Someone I know very well?"
She leant towards him, getting their faces closer.
"Have you told him?"
He could feel her breath on his lips when the answered passed her lips. "No."
"I'm scared," she honestly answered.
"Scared of what?"
His gently caressed her cheek. "Why would he reject you?"
"Because he may think we're not close enough. Because he may think I'm only an annoying bookworm, a pestering miss I-know-it-all."
His hand tangled into her silky mane. "Isn't he himself an infernal prankster, always getting on your nerves?"
Her eyes shined with amusement and something else which made his heart rate increase madly.
"A prankster, I can't deny it, but getting on my nerves, no, it's not true." Her hand came to rest on his cheek. "He might upset me a little sometimes, but I don't mind. In fact, that makes him even more... attractive?"
It was his time to blush, although when he spoke his voice held no trace of embarrassment.
"A bookworm and a prankster, sounds good to me, doesn't it?"
She gave him the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. "Sounds very good indeed."
He suddenly pulled her to him, making her straddle his thighs, firmly encircling her waist while her arms wound around his neck, her hands tangling in his unruly red hair.
They remained thus several seconds, savouring the feeling of their bodies touching, before they leant together, allowing their lips to meet into a passionate kiss. Years of doubt immediately wiped away by the warmth spreading inside them.
"I'm not meant to be in any other arms than yours," she whispered when the need of air forced them to break apart.
"Good," he said, "because I won't ever let you get out of them. Not when it's taken me so long to catch you."
George would be proud tonight, Fred thought as his lips met Hermione's, he'd done very, very, well.