"So no Unbreakable Vows then," George said casually. Fred glared at him and moved the ice pack slightly.
"Right, but what if we did a different sort of vow?" George suggested with a certain gleam in his eye that normally Fred would approve of whole-heartedly, but at the moment his left buttock was making him unusually cautious.
"Are you the one getting spanked this time?" Fred demanded. George shrugged.
"I s'pose, but only if we get caught," George said with a sly smile.
"George, what exactly are you on about?" Fred asked irritably. His buttock throbbed dully, and it did nothing for his mood.
"Here, look at this," George said eagerly and shoved a book at his brother. Fred skimmed the page with a frown on his face and finally looked up at his brother.
"What exactly is this supposed to do?" Fred asked finally. George shrugged.
"Dunno, but that's the fun part, right? See, it's for two wizards and one witch, so we need to find a witch." George explained, pointing to a particular passage.
"Well, can we just use Ginny? She counts as a witch, right?" Fred suggested reasonably.
"I don't know if that's a good idea, Fred. Maybe we should branch out from the Burrow a bit, just in case," George said cautiously, with a glance toward the house.
"Hmmm," Fred said noncommittally.
"Look at this part, there's a spell to find the witch right here," George pointed to another paragraph. Fred rolled his eyes at his twin.
"How exactly are we supposed to do a spell, and then how are we supposed to find her?" Fred demanded.
"We'll borrow Bill and Charlie's wands when they're not looking, and we'll take the Knight's Bus to find her," George said with a wicked grin. Fred stared at his brother for several moments and then an answering grin spread across his face.
"That's brilliant, that is," Fred said to his brother.
It was a beautiful summer's day, and Hermione was laying on her stomach in her backyard reading her favorite book, Charlotte's Web. Perhaps not many five year-olds would be able to read a book like that on their own, but they were not Hermione. She glanced up from her book when she felt someone watching her, and she saw two boys who looked exactly alike. They were twins, she knew because her preschool class had had a set of twins and the teacher had explained all about it. She sat up and frowned at them. They were funny looking boys, and they had odd clothing on.
"What are you doing in my yard?" She demanded. "Strangers aren't supposed to be here, go away!"
"We're here because the spell brought us here," one of them said with a roll of his eyes.
"You're our witch, so we can't be strangers," the other one said. "See, it says so right here."
Hermione walked over and looked at the book. It was large and old, the kind of book she loved to touch and smell and read, but was told that she was 'too young' for. She tried to read the paragraph he was pointing to, but she couldn't understand some of the words so she skipped over them. Huh. It looked like these boys were right. Even at five years-old, Hermione believed that books held the answers to everything. This spell was supposed to show them their soul's mate, whatever that was.
"Okay. How do you know for sure that it's me?" Hermione asked curiously. The twins showed her the spell, let her borrow one of their sticks and she said the incantation. Both boys glowed slightly. Her eyes widened in surprise. "Wow. Does that mean you're my witches?"
"That'd make us your wizards, wouldn't it?"
"Oh. What are we supposed to do now, then?" Hermione felt slightly embarrassed about not knowing the difference between a witch and a wizard.
"Now we're s'posed to take this vow," one of them said, pointing to another paragraph. Hermione read the vow, her forehead crinkling in concentration.
"Okay," she said finally because the book did say that when two wizards found their souls' mate that they should use the following vow. It was sort of long and flowery, but thankfully, she could pronounce all the words in it—unlike some of the rest of the text which confused her.
When they were done, the two boys, who she learned were named Fred and George Weasley, and she each had a delicate tattooed band around their wrists. She stared at her wrist for a moment. The design was fairly abstract, and it appeared to be a sort of dark blue threaded with dark green and a strand of gold that wound through the green and the blue. She decided that she liked the design.
"It's sort of pretty," Hermione said thoughtfully. "What does it do?"
"We're not sure," Fred said with a frown. "I was sort of hoping for more, you know?"
"Me too," George said. "Well, we have to go. If mum finds out we're gone, Fred's other butt cheek's in danger."
"Remember, if anyone asks, you never saw us," Fred reminded her. She nodded.
"Will I ever see you again?" She asked curiously. Both twins grinned at her.
"'Course you will! You're a witch, aren't you? We'll see you at Hogwarts." George explained.
"Oh. All right then." Hermione wasn't sure why she felt compelled to, but she hugged each boy quickly. "I'll see you at Hogwarts."
"George, Fred, I thought I told you boys to wash up," Molly said with a frown. Both boys looked at her with matching angelic expressions.
"We did mum." One of them said.
"What's that then?" Molly demanded pointing at their wrists. They looked at their wrists and blanched.
"Er, nothing," the other said. Molly's mother senses started tingling. She glared at both boys and put her hands on her hips.
"What did you do?" She demanded.
"Nothing!" Both boys insisted.
"Arthur!" Molly shrieked at the top of her lungs. Her husband poked his head around the corner. "I don't know what they've done, but they've done something."
"Come on then, boys. Let's have a look then," Arthur said gently and held out his hand. Fred glared at George who sighed dramatically and gave his hand over to his father.
"What is it, Arthur?" Molly asked worriedly.
"Not sure, they seem to be matching, though. Give yourselves matching tattoos, boys?" Arthur asked. He still felt bad about losing control with Fred and as a result, he'd perhaps been a bit lenient lately. Fred and George looked at one another.
"Er, yeah, dad. Matching tattoos," George mumbled.
"Well, Molly, it'll be all right," Arthur said soothingly.
"Tattoos? Tattoos? They're seven! What seven year-old needs a tattoo?" Molly stomped off into the kitchen muttering under her breath about tattoos. George and Fred slumped in their seats, and only used their right hands to eat that night.
"Hermione, princess, what is that on your wrist?" Hermione's mother asked curiously. Hermione stared at her wrist for a minute. Those boys had said not to mention them, and she had the strongest suspicion that mentioning magic and witches and wizards was probably a bad idea.
"I don't know," Hermione mumbled staring at her shoes, blushing.
Dr. and Dr. Granger were both incredibly intelligent muggles. They knew there was something special about their only child. She had had several unique instances in her life where there was no plausible explanation. They had learned that sometimes, it was best not to push Hermione. When she became very upset emotionally…things happened. Dr. Granger stared at the odd design on her daughter's wrist and sighed heavily.
"All right dear. Let's get washed for dinner," she said gently.
It was no accident that that year, for Hermione's sixth birthday, her parents purchased a lovely silver cuff bracelet that they placed on her left wrist. It completely covered the strange design that had never gone away, no matter how often her mother scrubbed. She wore the bracelet during the day to please her parents because she knew the pretty markings on her wrist bothered her mother, but at night she would take the bracelet off and trace the design.
"Night, Fred, night George," she would mumble every night, and then she'd drift off to sleep.
By the time Hermione turned eleven, she had forgotten about Fred and George and even about the promise of Hogwarts. She still wore her silver bracelet, and she knew the strange design on her wrist bothered her parents so she never took it off, but she couldn't quite recall how she'd acquired the, well, tattoo for lack of a better word. However, when her parents brought her down to meet a strange woman sitting in the Granger living room, she wasn't surprised. When Minerva McGonagall told her that she was a witch, and so was Hermione, she wasn't surprised either. The name Hogwarts sounded familiar to her, almost comfortable. She found herself really excited about the thought of attending Hogwarts. She didn't sleep well for several weeks, and she couldn't figure out why. She liked school, and she was excited to learn everything she could about magic, but was there something else? Something she couldn't quite remember. It was as though it were just out of reach, and that frustrated her.