A/N: This story is dedicated to the wonderful N.N.M.R who requested a Fred/Hermione ship! I am so excited to start this new story, so enjoy!
"Hermione, in here…" Harry called out to his best friend as she nearly walked right past him and Ron in their train compartment on the Hogwarts Express. She was more distracted than usual, and blushed as she walked in and sat down with them. She smoothed her school robes out in an effort to avoid both of their gazes. She was sure she looked a wreck, having been up crying most of the night.
"Why didn't you write us back after you left the Burrow? We wanted to know how your visit with Krum went, are you two official?" Ron asked, there was a slight edge to his voice that wasn't friendly and Harry ribbed the red-head hard.
"I was just very busy. It was fine but we aren't anything more than friends," Hermione managed a glance at the boys sitting across from her. But she secretly hoped that they would never ever be friends again. Ron looked like he wanted to say something, having opened his mouth but Harry gave him a glance to 'shut up'. Harry was always more aware of Hermione's emotions like that.
As much as she cared for the two boys in the compartment, there was only one boy she wanted to talk to. And she hadn't caught sight of him yet. He was the only one she had written to after her very short-lived trip to see Viktor. And he was the only one that knew.
And there was also one boy she didn't want to see. Not today anyway. The boy she had feelings for. Unfortunately, both of those boys happened to be twin brothers.
Luckily, the three of them were left in silence as the train departed from Platform 9 and ¾ and started towards the castle. Hermione made general small talk, but buried her nose in her Charms book after a while to keep from any serious questions being asked. She hated that she had to distance herself from Ron and Harry, but she needed emotional space from every one. The summer had been much too trying and she relieved it through nightmares every night. She didn't need more stress or drama complicating things.
It was their fifth year at Hogwarts, and the state of affairs in the wizarding world was nearly in shambles. The Ministry of Magic was by all intents and purposes corrupt, and when Hermione had stayed at the Burrow with Harry for a few weeks, his scar was perpetually burning. The Tri-Wizard Tournament from the previous year had set into motion horrible things for all of them – what with Voldemort more powerful than ever. Hermione thought that Krum could be a small escape from that; her first real possibility for love besides the puppy love she nursed for Ron for the years prior. But things had gone so terribly wrong. She shuddered to even think about it.
They were at the castle in no time, boarding their carriages with their trunks and heading up the hill towards their home away from home. She followed Ron and Harry listlessly into the Great Hall, glad they were too absorbed in their conversation to notice that she wasn't being her usual talkative self.
Dinner was awkward. Hermione literally got a chill up her spine when the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, was introduced. She had a terrible feeling that life couldn't get any worse for her or any of them before Seamus nudged her quickly. She met his freckled face and he jerked his head towards the end of the table.
It was the first time that she had smiled in days. There they were, Fred and George Weasley, sitting opposite each other and beaming back at her. Fred was throwing little bits of pudding at her and she rolled her eyes back at him.
She couldn't deny that the crush she had developed on Fred at the Yule Ball had manifested itself into full on attraction this summer at the Burrow. She often thought of their sly flirtation across the dinner table or their stolen glances on long walks around the fields to mean something and they comforted her on her long sleepless nights. But she knew Fred was older and attractive; and he could have any girl he wanted. He was practically a younger version of Sirius Black—without the prison time—roaming the halls like a new-age Marauder with a new girl on his arm every week.
She knew she couldn't have him to herself even if she wanted to. But it didn't mean that she didn't completely enjoy when his flirtatious attitude fell on her.
Even though George was smiling at her, she could see the sadness in his eyes. It was a sadness she knew she had caused him; and she wanted to get him alone to talk more than anything in the world. Even though Harry and Ron would always be her best friends, this summer, George had become her brother in every sense of the word but blood. Each of them knew secrets about the other that no one else knew and she just wanted to hug him, and thank him.
Later that evening, Hermione settled into her favorite chair in the Gryffindor common room and waited. She knew he would come when everyone else finally went to sleep. It didn't take long for Harry and Ron to leave her, being happy and full from the feast. And soon after the common room was nearly empty—and that was when George Weasley ambled down the stairs from the boys' dormitories in his red flannel pyjama pants and took the chair next to her.
She didn't sit; she nearly threw herself into his arms and held him tightly. There was so much emotion that passed through them in that thirty second hug than words could every convey. It would have taken them years to fully express it, but he pulled back and looked at her thoroughly, as I examining her for wounds after a battle. They both knew that the wounds were mostly mental this time.
"You stopped writing last week, is everything alright?" George asked. She still found it odd that since this summer she had seen the softer, quieter side of him that was always masked by the witty and quick talking joker/partner to his twin.
"I'm sorry, I just needed to be cut off from everyone. I just needed some down time. I slept nearly the whole week—my Mum was so worried," she half-laughed in explanation. He nodded his head.
"Oliver and I broke up," he said, and that sadness from dinner came back to his eyes. Now she knew why he had looked so miserable. He probably wanted to send her a letter, but she had placed herself missing in action. It all made sense and she touched his arm softly.
"He's a prat, you know. But there will be others," she tried to console him. She didn't know how it really worked though. This summer, after they had grown so close, George had admitted to Hermione that he was gay, and was seeing Oliver Wood when he could manage the time to. Not even Fred knew. He had said he realized it the spring of last year, but he felt so bizarre about it. When he had found that Oliver was gay too, he had felt a huge rush of relief that one of his friends and a guy that didn't act in the least bit like that, could relate to him. They had started seeing each other secretly.
"You know damn well there won't be anyone else for a long time. And I'm going to have to get a girlfriend if I don't want it to seem suspicious, what with Fred cavorting around here like the biggest playboy Hogwarts has ever seen…"
Hermione's face fell, and the Weasley saw her sweet smile turn into a narrow, straight line.
"Don't be like that 'Mione, we all know Fred has a crush on you…it was obvious this summer…"
"But that's precisely it! That is now last summer. Not now. I mean look at him…why would he ever want me. I'm damaged goods anyway," she murmured and he held her close again, his hands running through her slightly bushy brown hair.
"I wish you would tell him. I wish you would tell Harry and Ron too…" George whispered, "Or at least my Mum and Dad. They could have helped…"
"But I told you…" she looked up at him, "And I am scared for this year George. I'm scared for both of us. I'm scared I won't be able to handle any of this."
"You are pretty much the smartest witch I know," George smirked, that trade-mark smile filing up his face and making her grin along with him, "And if you can't handle it…then we're all fucked."
A/N: Thanks for reading. First chapters are always kinda the worst for me to write. They are so much set-up and vague-ness…but we will get this thing going soon. Yay for a Fred/Hermione story! As always, please review!