A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This is a Fremione story to celebrate my pal, xakemii's, birthday. Sorry it's a little late, Kimmy! Read, review, and enjoy!
Hermione rolled her shoulders and sat up straight in her chair. Sitting at her desk all day at the Ministry had taken a toll on her back, and her muscles ached something terrible. She put a parchment down and rubbed her tired eyes. She really needed to learn to take a break.
As if summoned by the thought, Ron knocked on her office door. "Hey, 'Mione. You good for a break? I was thinking we could go out to lunch."
She smiled easily. Go figure that her fiancée would be thinking of food. But her stomach grumbled. "Yeah, that sounds lovely, Ron. Where?"
"Why don't you think about that?" He winked and gestured to the two huge files in his hands. "I've got to swing by the Auror Office and give these to Harry. I should be quick, though, so think fast." He waved and was off.
Hermione sighed. Not that she didn't want to snatch a bit of time with Ron, but she thought that relaxing meant she could turn off her mind, too. She didn't want to have to decide where they'd eat. Of course, if she left it up to Ron, they'd probably have a quick bite at the Leaky Cauldron and, though Hannah was as nice as ever since recently taking it over, Hermione really didn't want pub food.
There was another knock.
"Back already, Ron? I haven't thought of where to eat yet—"
"Well, that's high-and-mighty of you, then, inviting me out to eat. That wouldn't be an invitation for a date, now would it, Granger?"
She turned bright red as she saw not Ron but Fred standing in the doorframe. "Oh, Godric—I'm so sorry, Fred! I had just seen Ron and he said he would be back shortly and—"
Fred laughed. "No harm done, Hermione. It wasn't our faces you got confused."
She tried to relax at the gentle teasing, but it was hard to with Fred. She'd known the twins long enough now to get used to them and their antics, but there really was no getting used to them—to an extent. With George, Hermione simply laughed and smiled; George was funny and nice. But with Fred…with Fred, Hermione guffawed and hid her red cheeks behind her bushy brown hair; Fred somehow knew how to keep her on her toes, always.
"So are you sure you'd rather go out to eat with my brother instead of with me?" the wizard asked as he casually slipped into a chair he pulled up beside her. He had the chair turned around so that he could lean on the back with his arms. And he was grinning.
"Sorry, Fred, but I know you. I'd be afraid to touch my food."
"I'd say that's insulting, but considering that was how Georgie and I tested some of our early edibles for the shop, you're not too far off."
"You did what?" she asked, horrified. "To whom? When?"
"Some Slytherins, of course, so it didn't matter. What does matter is ickle Ronniekins." Fred raised his eyebrows. "This isn't the first time I've seen you waiting around for him."
The topic switch didn't catch her off-guard, but the topic itself did slightly rile her. So she changed subjects herself. "You know, it's barely been five minutes and you have yet to say why you're here, Fred."
He sighed. "Right. You've caught me. I was eavesdropping, ready to pounce and say that no, you were going out with me for lunch!" he stated dramatically.
She rolled her eyes. "I can only believe the eavesdropping part."
"Oh?" He raised one sly eyebrow, and the expression he gave her made her hide her face with her hair. Damn him. "No, in all honesty, I was looking for my baby brother. Since George took some time to recuperate after the war—apparently no one's ever the same after losing an ear—and Ron helped out with the shop for a bit, we kind of miss him there. I came to ask for some advice about some new wares we're planning."
"Asking Ron? For advice?"
"Don't sound so skeptical. He did all right at the shop when we let him. Then you and Harry dragged him into all this Ministry stuff."
"So Harry and I are to blame?" she asked. Her lips curved up at the ends in a small smile as she put away her things.
"Yes, Miss Granger, you are to blame for many things."
His tone of voice as he said it…got to her. She didn't want to think she was bothered or that she might've shivered at his words, but she did know that sometimes he matched her tit-for-tat. It was what was boggling about him. Well, one of many things, but it was probably the biggest.
Fred cleared his throat. "So, you two… Have you done any planning yet?"
"For the wedding, Hermione."
She frowned. "Not really. Molly wants a lot of say—not that I mind."
Fred chuckled. "I can imagine that Ron would. He probably thinks she's interfering again."
"Yes, well, we could do with the help."
"He's not planned anything yet, has he?"
She grew very quiet.
"Oh, bloody hell."
"He's very busy."
"And so are you, Hermione. It doesn't excuse my idiot of a brother for neglecting his duties to you."
Hermione frowned again. "Not everything can be at the forefront of Ron's mind all of the time. He's rather… He's kind of got a one-track mind," the witch remarked carefully.
Fred shook his head. "You give him too much credit, Hermione. My brother's about as bright as the ghoul in the attic."
She laughed. "Is that thing still around?"
He grinned once more. "Dunno. But it might be a nice Ron-replacement."
"Oh, Fred… Ghouls don't replace boyfriends."
"But other wizards can replace boyfriends."
"I suppose so."
He grew very quiet, which was so un-Fred. "When I walked in earlier…"
"Yes?" she prompted. She sat her purse on her desk, ready for Ron to return. She was glad to have steered the conversation back to normalcy with Fred. Weirdness with him…and her…the two of them…it was just too weird.
"…we laughed about Ron's punctuality."
She snickered. "You mean lack thereof."
"Could you really only believe me eavesdropping?"
Hermione gave him a funny look. "I'm not sure what you mean."
"You really think I'd never ask you out to lunch?"
She blushed, quite flustered. "Uh…"
He wasn't smiling or frowning. In fact, his expression was very hard to read. "Crookshanks got your tongue?"
She glared at him. "No, Crookshanks does not. And I can't believe you'd ask that…hypothetically."
He raised his eyebrows. "Hypothetically," he echoed.
Hermione nodded. "Yes, hypothetically. Because this is the real word. I go with Ron, just as Ginny goes with Harry, Fleur goes with Bill—"
Fred snorted. "You almost said Angelina goes with me, didn't you?"
"No. I was actually going to say that she goes with George, to be honest." Hermione tried to shrug, but it felt off. She bit her lip. "Doesn't, um…Verity go with you?"
"And why's that? Hypothetically, of course."
"Well, because she works for you two at the shop. And with George and Angelina…"
"Verity prefers witches to wizards."
She blushed again at the bluntness of his statement. "That's…nice."
He smirked. "And why's that? Hypo—"
"Hypothetically, I know." She pursed her lips. Why had she said that? It wasn't as though they needed Fred to stay a bachelor. Hell, it'd probably do everyone in the family some good if he met the right witch. But why did Hermione have to feel as though no witch would ever be good enough for him?
"You're stalling, Hermione," he teased.
"No, I'm not!"
Fred laughed. "You're cute when you're irate."
Hermione internally screamed. Fred could be so irritating sometimes. But it was different from how Ron got under her skin. When Ron bothered her, she just got angry, annoyed. When Fred toyed with her like a cat playing with his food, Hermione wanted to do nothing but squirm, trapped by his gaze and the sound of his voice when he laughed and talked.
Ugh. What a git.
"You're really full of yourself, you know that?" she said as politely as she could.
He shook his head. "You're a riot, Hermione."
"Yes, yes. I'll be here every day, thank you."
He rested his chin on his arms, and his face was closer than before. "Every day? So you're in this dire need of my company every day?"
She scoffed, focusing on her purse and not on his eyes. "No one said that."
"I can read between the lines."
Hermione groaned, her shoulders slacking. "Fred, would you please save the riddles for the shop? Either go out and find Ron or have a proper conversation with me."
A bit of red tinged the apples of his cheeks, but he shrugged. "All right, then. Go out to eat with me."
She stared at him. "What? I mean, if you just want a meal—"
"Go out with me, Hermione."
She shut up. This could not be happening. Years of gentle teasing and flirting-disregarded-as-more-teasing could continue to be ignored by both of them if he took back what he said. This really could not be happening.
But he wasn't laughing. He had a resolute look on his face, the kind she saw whenever he was determined to see something through—like a new Wheeze. "Go out with—"
"Stop it, Fred!" But her face was growing warmer by the minute.
"I asked you to stop it!" She crossed her arms in a "no way" gesture, a giant "X" to tell him to cease and desist.
But since when in the hell did Fred Weasley ever cease and desist? "Go out with me, Hermione," he said very softly. It was so soft that it almost came out as a whisper.
Hermione huffed, knowing he wouldn't leave until he had an answer. But she wanted one of her own. "Tell me one thing."
Fred smiled as if that was the easiest question in the world. "Simple: no wizard's good enough for you."
"You are but your brother isn't?"
His smile faltered. "I don't really want to throw him under the broom. But I definitely know he isn't right for you. I'm just kind of hoping that I might be."
He said it with such sincerity that her heart melted a little. She'd been thinking a similar thing about him just now. All she could say was "Oh."
Fred gave her a hopeful look.
"But…how would you know who's right and who's wrong for me?"
He snorted a laugh. "Seriously, Hermione? You want to talk clichés about all the subtle flirting over the years?"
"Good. Because I was hoping for one thing to convince you—"
He took Hermione by the chin and not only forced her to look at him but to part her lips so that he could kiss her. Out of surprise, she hoped it would only be a brief peck. But Fred was not one to do things half-arsed, either. His slow-moving lips moved faster, almost frantic as he tried to convince her of at least one reason as to why she should give him a shot.
And damn, Ron he was not.
When his hand moved from her chin to cup the back of her head, Hermione pushed him back a little. They caught their breaths and Hermione groaned again. "Is that all your evidence?"
She actually felt him pause. "Um…I guess I was banking on that being enough."
She grinned just a bit, not that he could see with her head resting on his shoulder. "You do make a good case, Mr. Weasley."
"Why, thank you, Miss Granger."
"Still…I mean, Ron…" She lifted a hand to his arm and clutched the fabric of his suit.
"You're only engaged."
"He's still my fiancée, Fred. And I've known him…for so long…"
"Technically, you've known me for the same amount of time."
"I know him better than I know you."
He craned his neck so that their eyes met. "So isn't about time that you got to know me better?" To support his suggestion, he kissed her again.
But she pulled away again. "I'm sorry, Fred…" Though it was torture to have him pull his mouth away.
Fred sighed and shook his head. "You know, I don't really need to see Ron."
"But you said you wanted his advice—"
"I came to see you, Hermione. That was a lie." He stood and headed for the door, where he paused.
She knew he was waiting for a change of mind. But she shook her head. "I can't, Fred. He's…my future."
Fred grinned darkly. "People lie, Hermione."
She opened her mouth to make a retort, but he turned and left with a wave. And there Hermione sat, at her desk, with her purse, staring at everything around her and wondering if she really wanted this as a future. Especially if it was a future where she did everything herself—like carrying on the relationship.
But no woman wanted that.
Hermione jumped up from her chair, grabbing her purse and rushing out the door. No way would Fred have fled that quickly. That git was probably waiting for her to find him outside the Ministry right now anyway. And when she found him, he would probably say he was on his way back to the shop and that he wasn't hungry and that she could go back to her normal little "perfect" life.
But, as he'd said and she would remind him—people lie.
Ron popped his head into Hermione's office. "'Mione? Oh, bloody hell… That woman left without me! Oh, well…might as well go hit up Harry for lunch for keeping me so long… Oh, hey, Luna! What are you doing here at the Ministry?"
;D This was fun to write, even though Fremione was a wee bit in the wrong…but c'mon, Fred's a whole helluva lot better for her than Ron is. The random Luna cameo just happened 'cuz I felt like it (and I kinda like a bit of Ron/Luna, but shh, don't tell). ;} Anywho, I liked how Fred just swooped in and within an hour had Hermione following him out of the Ministry—boy, he works fast! XDD
Hopefully this fills your need of Fremione, Kimmy? ;3 Happy belated birthday, hon!
Thanks for reading, and please review!