A/N: I own nothing, just the plot and that may in fact have been sparked by something else I read. JK is the mastermind, I am just taking my favorite Magical folk out to play a bit. Promise to return them all healthy and alive as they should be. Thank you to my dear Beta Annie3773
This is the second one shot in a series called The Afters. This is also my submission to Jack's Song iPod shuffle song fic challenge. Mine was a little bit easier/harder because it was an instrumental, but the rules were the first song that played. So here we are: This story is inspired by "A New Beginning" by Good Charlotte
Fred and George cleared out most of their room sending it over to the shop. What they didn't want to take, Fred stayed behind to shrink down and seal up in boxes. "Mione, it's all yours love. Mind you don't go in the boxes, ya don't want to see a repeat of the summer before your sixth year."
"Fred, that's not fair. I had just received shocking news and squeezed it. I thought it was a telescope not a gag," Hermione said as she threw a pillow at him.
Catching the pillow midair, he laughed at her. "I brought you something."
"Yeah, what is it," she said laughing poking him in the chest.
He pulled a box out of his pocket and handed it to her with flair, "You need a bit of a rest, so here is another Patended DayDream Charm. I charmed it special for you to last longer than normal."
Looking at the picture on the front of the box, she snorted, "Oh yeah that's what I need, a day off with a world class Quiditch player, so thoughtful of you, Fred." And she went back to putting the twin's trophies and what nots in a trunk bound for the attic.
His smile grew, "Well love, I know what ya like, now don't I."
She threw a ball of something at him and he quickly ducked. When the ball hit the wall behind him, it shook the house with the boom. "You need to be careful what you throw in here, some of that stuff is dangerous."
"Frederick Weasley!" Molly screamed up the stairs.
"IT WASN'T ME!" He yelled back down to his mum.
"You know 'Mione, I really am glad that you and that idiot brother of mine brought Harry back safe and sound. I don't want to think what Mum would be like if you hadn't."
"Yes and I am really glad that you only got suspended when that wall fell on you, I can't imagine what George would be like if you were flat," both were a little surprised at how easy their new friendship was.
Once she had realized how brilliant Fred and George were and how focused they could be outside of Hogwarts, she had developed quite a bit of respect for them or maybe it was all the rule breaking she had done that had loosened her up a bit.
"Are you sure you don't mind me taking over your room?" she asked quietly.
"No it's no trouble at all. I am glad to have a real troublemaker in here, if it can't be us. Well, I am all finished here. If you find something that isn't yours don't touch it, just send me an owl and we'll come check it out." He winked at her and spun out of sight with a pop.
For the next week no one saw much of the Twins, Lee or Verity, as they were working non stop to get the shop open and the shelves restocked.
Hermione went to go check on her parents. She wasn't ready to bring them home yet, she just wanted to see how they were doing. Luna decided to go with her and the Trio to Australia where they found out that they had moved back to England to help the families of the natural disasters (the Muggle version of the Wizarding War). It seemed like they were destined to be involved in the war, at least this way no one knew how involved they really were.
She found them, happy and successful. What was surprising was that in the year they had been gone, they had adopted an orphaned family of children from England, who's parents had been killed in one of the Death Eater attacks. The girl was the oldest at eleven and the boys were both nine. Hermione didn't want to destroy their happy family as the children seemed to be healing.
Hermione and Harry were discussing her options when Luna suggested that she seek them out with an invented story, long lost cousin or something. They had no family except what she had invented for them anyway, so what could it hurt? The group agreed that was true and this way she could still see them and they wouldn't miss her as much when she was in the Wizarding World.
Their two week long trip actually ended up taking them two days because Hermione wasn't ready to invent a new history and identity for herself on the spot. It was hard leaving without even speaking to them, but she needed time to process the entire situation. They arrived back at the Burrow late to find only Molly awake in the kitchen waiting on Arthur. He was working late again. Although the danger from Death Eaters was down, danger from their booby traps and cursed items was up. Arthur and his department was working overtime trying to sort through it all. He had hired four extra people but it was still crazy busy. She offered them all a cuppa tea, but they declined on their way to bed. Molly wished them a good night and said she'd have breakfast for them in the morning. Each one headed up the stairs stopping at their own room.
Hermione had the furthest to go as the Twins room was near the top of the house. She eased into one of her old pajama sets and was asleep before her head hit the pillow.
Fred was standing in the castle, there were curses flying everywhere. He was looking around trying to find the best place to join the fight. Then he face the most terrifying sight he had ever seen. His family was fighting all off to one side and someone shot off a curse that exploded the base of the wall. The entirety of his family was buried under that collapsed wall. Nearly everyone he loved was buried and he was stuck. He couldn't move to get to them; the floor was sucking him in and down.
Someone must have cursed the floor, because he was definitely sinking through the floor. He landed with a thud in a funeral room. He was horrified with what he saw, his family was broken and lying dead on tables all around the room. Equally bad was that Harry, Hermione, Lee and Verity were also laid out. They were all dead and there was nothing he could do. He was the soul survivor and then he realized that the Lupins, including Teddy were also there dead.
He woke up to the sound of traffic out on the street. It was still dark so it must have either been very late or very early in the morning. He was drenched in sweat and after verifying that George was safe and sound asleep, he dried his sleep shorts and Apparated as quietly as he could to the Burrow. He just wanted to be near his mum and dad, no one had to know he was there. Since the Trio plus Luna was out of the country, he knew his room would be empty. He could sleep in his old bed and no one would be the wiser, just this once.
Fred had mastered the art of silent Apparating. Without a sound, he appeared in the pitch black room and slipped his shoes off. He sniffed, his room no longer smelled like gun powder, it smelled like citris, like Hermione's shampoo. He wondered if she slept in his bed or George's.
He tip-toed across the room and stopped dead in his tracks when he heard a whimper. He tried to control his heartbeat for fear it would wake her up. He started to back away towards George's bed when her whimpers turned into sobs. He came over and kneeled by the bed, to get a better look. He wasn't sure what he could do but, he couldn't stand to see her like this. All thoughts of his nightmare were gone, he was totally focused on her.
He peered in closer and she rolled over toward him clutching her arm to her body. He saw the scars on her arm for the first time. What the hell had happened to her? Who would have done this? Malfoy? No, the little ferret didn't have the bollocks. Lucius? Same as the ferret. Snape? Greasy bastard but he'd had plenty of chances before. Bellatrix? That crazy bitch, she'd have enjoyed every second of it.
"Noooooo it's fake," she cried. This was breaking his heart. He put his hand on her shoulder to calm her down and she cried out in pain. He quickly cast a silencing charm on his room.
"Mione, it's me Fred, wake up love, it's just a dream," but he knew he was wrong. What he had was a dream, this on the other hand was a memory.
She balled in on herself again and sobbed out in pain again griping her arm. He shook her gently "Mione, wake up, love," and she opened her eyes with a start. It was obvious that she didn't know where she was at first and then realization covered her face. Tears poured down her face.
"Fred? What are you doing here?" She was scrambling to cover herself but mostly her arm, then giving up she just looking defeated. Her tears had stopped when she woke up, and she was trying to calm her breathing.
"I had a nightmare about the battle, and wanted to sneak in here to sleep under mum's roof without anyone knowing," he winked at her. "I thought you were in Australia."
"Long story," she said picking at the blanket on her lap.
"I don't think I'll be sleeping anytime soon, want some company?"
She smiled a little and scooted over in the bed. He climbed in and Accio'd the pillows off of George's bed. Propping himself up and pulling her back to lean on his shoulder. She leaned back but remained stiff, like she didn't want to put any weight on him.
"Mione, I used to do this with Gin Gin all the time. Relax, I am not going to bite you or make you tell me anything you don't want to."
She took a deep breath and leaned into him. He was warm and smelled nice. She hadn't really had any comfort like this since her dad. Harry tried but well he was even more up tight than she was lately. "Thanks, Fred, you really don't have to do this ya know."
"Yeah, I know just don't tell anyone I have a gorgeous bird in my bed half dressed and I'm not even going to flirt with her. It will ruin my reputation for being the aggressive Twin," he smirked. She could feel his breath on her hair and his smell was intoxicating.
"Your secret is safe with me," she yawned. It didn't take long for her to fall back to sleep in his arms. He took a moment to look at her arm when she rolled into him and flung it across his chest. The word 'mudblood' had been cut into it and not with a curse. No, it couldn't be, it looked like the sharp end of dagger or something. He had never been so glad to have a murderer for a mother, because he was pretty sure that Bellatrix was the cause of Hermione's agony.
She moved her hand to cover his heart and sighed into his shoulder. She had broken his heart earlier with her tears and now she was melting it with her sighs. What in the world was going on, he thought. This was his friend. He could snuggle with her just like he did with Ginny. Nothing different about it at all, except her shampoo, he loved the smell of her shampoo. It was citrusy with a hint of something delicious. Whatever it was it shouldn't be legal. He slid them down in the bed a little and removed one of the pillows. He turned the light off, cast a locking charm – he really did not need his mother or anyone else for that matter barging in on them in the morning getting the wrong idea.
Then he closed his eyes and softly stroked her back, until he too fell asleep. Neither one of them woke again or dreamt for the rest of the night.
Hermione woke up feeling warm and safe. Her nose was rubbing against something warm yet rough and her leg was resting across a … a flashlight? She opened her eyes. Fred was still sleeping and it was barely light out, so she knew that it was very, very early. He was so very sweet to stay with her and if she remembered correctly it was a nightmare that brought him there to begin with.
She didn't want to wake Fred, but she realized what her leg was resting on, since it was practically wrapped around his waist. She knew he would be embarrassed even if it was just a physical reaction to having her draped on his chest. Truth was she had never been draped across anyone before. She moved ever so slightly and he moaned a little and tightened his grip around her bum. She realized that turning her head must have felt like she was nuzzling her nose into his neck.
Fred rolled to his side so that he was facing her, still holding her leg in place she was all but straddling his lap. She could feel EVERYTHING, and the man had a lot to offer. What to do, what to do…. Think rationally Granger!
His lips were centimeters away from hers and the whole situation was incredibly distracting. She was sure that what she was feeling was not real but this is going to be awkward either way. And now that she thought about it, here was the reality, she had been kissed once by Victor, which was wet and sloppy and gross and once by Ron. The Ron kiss was in the midst of the battle and was like kissing her brother if she had one. Just once, she wanted to see if she could kiss someone and it be nice.
She took a deep breath and leaned in that extra few centimeters, closed her eyes and let her lips touch his. The hand that was holding her lower back pulled her closer and the one gripping her left leg ran up her body to settle in her hair as he kissed her softly.
Dare she open her eyes? She almost didn't want to know if he was awake or just reacting to her in his sleep.
She opened her mouth slightly to gasp when he slid his leg between hers and made contact with their hips. He slipped his tongue in her mouth and she sighed at the feel of him EVERYWHERE. She was pleasantly on fire and her hands tightened in his hair. He froze.
"I'm… 'Mione… I … Oh shite … I am so sorry," he said frantically jumped from the bed. The barely there light in the room was enough for him to see that she could see the tent he was sporting. Panic set in and he popped out of the room and into George's room at their flat.
"What the fuck?" George howled as Fred was pacing not so quietly in his room mumbling to himself about wanting to shag his sister. "What did you do to Ginny, you arse hat?"
"What? No, no, man that is sick, not Gin, no, no," then for the first time in his life he decided not to share his situation with George. He really needed to talk to Hermione. "Go back to sleep, it was just a bad dream. Sorry George, I'm going back to bed."
With that he walked out of Georges room and walked into his bedroom. Flicking on the light, he looked himself over in the mirror.
"You look fine, now go talk to her," it said in a motherly voice. Molly had charmed each of the children's mirrors to be encouraging when they were little and it had been wonderful for when they didn't want to share with her their troubles. He looked himself over and realized that he looked like a deranged lunatic in sleep trousers.
After slipping on a t-shirt, he silently popped right outside of his old room at the Burrow and knocked, holding his breath. Hermione opened the door.
The sight in front of him caused his heart to melt. She was biting her lip and wringing her hands. Her eyes were wet and her eyes were on the floor. What had he done? He walked in the room and shut the door behind him, locking it manually. He took a step towards her and she backed away. Her knees hit the bed and she sat down with an umph, her little hands covering her face.
He knelt beside the bed and gently tried to pull her hands from her face, but she would not meet his eyes. She was utterly mortified and equally horrified at his response to kissing her.
Gripping her little hands in one of his, he used his other hand to lift her chin so that her eyes met his. The tears in her eyes spilt down her cheeks, "Gods 'Mione, don't cry. I am so sorry, I didn't mean to treat you like that. I wasn't going to hurt you, I swear," he said, when he was hit with the revelation that maybe she had been raped when she was tortured. He dropped her hands and put both hands on either side of her face wiping away her tears with his thumbs. "'Mione, you do know that I would never force myself on you, right?"
She choked a laugh and simultaneously started to sob.
He wasn't sure if he should hold her or get away from her, what if she was scared of him. "Love, do you want me to go away? Are you scared of me? Should I go get Gin or Harry?"
She gripped his hands and shook her head as much as she could while holding his hands still. Trying to grasp control of herself she managed, "No, stay. I'm not afraid of you." She hiccupped, "This is all my fault."
He could not imagine how him molesting her in their sleep could possibly be her fault but she didn't seem to be afraid of him either. "Love, I doubt this is your fault, just my body acting without the consent of my brain," he tried to laugh.
"No, Fred," she took a deep breath trying to gather up her courage, "I wasn't asleep when I kissed you." Terrified to look away from his face but also terrified to see the disgust she knew would cloud his features, she held her breath.
He was more than a little shocked. He didn't want to react until he could process what she had said. She had kissed him, on purpose. She had known she wrapped around his body. She had known the effects of her body on his. She had known where his hands were and she had pulled him to her and kissed him. He wasn't sure how he felt about that, but it didn't bother him at the moment.
"Fred? Say something, please?" Hermione said pitifully.
He really had nothing to say, yet. So, he just leaned his forehead to hers and closed his eyes. Her hands were still on top of his and she longed to smooth the wrinkle between his eyebrows.
Her hands slipped to his face, mirroring how he was holding her face, but her thumbs grazed his lips. He opened his eyes, tilted his head a bit and looked at her. She was quite lovely, actually. She must have kissed him for a reason, and he wondered if she had felt like he had but the other way 'round when he disappeared.
Taking a deep breath, he leaned forward and touched his lips to hers. Her hands slipped into his hair and she whimpered a little. A bit surprised to feel something in his chest he moved his hands to pull her closer to him. He could feel her tears on his face and a tentativeness through her lips.
After a moment of chaste kissing, he opened his eyes, "Mione, what do you want? What is this?"
She shook her head, she had no idea, was this comfort, was it the heat of the moment, was it running toward any kind of pleasant feeling after so long of just hurting? "I don't know, Fred," she whispered against his lips.
"Do you want me to leave you so you can go back to sleep? Do you want me to stay or do you want to just sit and talk?" He wanted to do the right thing but he had no idea what that was right now.
"I want us to talk about this in the morning, I mean later in the morning," she said, "but I don't want you to leave either. If I promise not to snog you in your sleep, will you just lay here with me?"
He started to stand up and she slid over. He laid down and she put her head on his shoulder. He kissed her hair and hugged her close to him. "Now, Granger, I know I am irresistible, but until we get this sorted out, try to keep those lovely lips and hands to yourself," he joked.
She giggled, "I think I can handle it." They drifted back off to sleep but both drifted back awake at the slightest movement, trying to keep themselves in check.
Fred wondered, how he felt about this whole situation while he was drifting. He had never thought of Hermione as anything other than a family member but he had definitely felt something in his chest stir during those kisses. In fact, he was afraid to really think about those kisses because he knew little Fred would react.
Hours later, they woke up to the smell of breakfast wafting through the open window. He kissed her forehead to wake her up and when that didn't work, he tickled her sides softly. She was really quite pretty when she smiled like that, he thought. He told her he'd be by to get her for lunch so that they could talk and popped out of the room and back to his own flat, so that no one would be the wiser.
The floo flared green and out stepped Fred. "'Lo Mum, 's Hermione around?"
After giving him her obligatory squeeze, Molly sent Fred out back to find Hermione sitting in a swing she had conjured and hung on the large ash tree just past the garden. He walked up behind her, trying not to disturb her but also not to be too quiet, as he didn't want to startle her. "Ya want me to push you?"
She turned her head and smiled at him, "I'm not really sure what I to say."
"Simple yes or no will do," he said with a grin and a wink.
He walked up to her, put his hands on her back and softly pushed, "Might be easier or at least safer if you turn around." For several minutes he just pushed her.
"Mione, you want to talk about what happened?"
Silence. He pushed her a few more times then he tried again.
"Did you get those scars when you were at Malfoy Mannor?"
She didn't say a word she just bent her head down.
"Have you told anyone other than Harry and Ron?" He kept pushing gently.
She shook her head.
"Did they, um, did they hurt you, um did they, uh"
She interrupted him, "No, they didn't rape me just labeled me and Crucioed me. Bellatrix just wanted to…" she couldn't go any further and started to sob.
A fury started to build up in his gut but he knew he had to suppress it for now. "Have you talked to anyone about this?"
She shook her head again and after taking a deep breath she said, "Fleur tried, but we didn't have time, the mission was more important so I just, I just pushed it down."
"Mum killed her."
"I know, I tried but I just wasn't good enough."
"I don't think that was it," he said, "She said Bellatrix was aiming at Ginny and she couldn't let her do it. There is something about a love between a parent and their child." Then he remembered that she was supposed to be going to get her parents.
"So, erm, what happened with going to get your parents?"
"They've started over. They have three children now, adopted them. If I give them their memories back, well it just isn't fair to those children," she said quietly.
"So you're just going to let them go?" He didn't know if he could just let his family go like that.
She didn't answer for a few minutes and then she said, "When I was a little girl, I used to go to church with my Grandmother. I can remember a story about a young woman, who gave up everything because she loved her Mother In Law. Even though her husband had died and she was free to go back to her family and remarry or live with them. She sacrificed everything to go and take care of her elderly Mother In Law in a time and place where she was looked down on because she was of the wrong tribe. Grandmother said it was one of the most beautiful stories of sacrificial love.
Another time she told a story of a mother who hid her baby son in a papyrus basket in the river, because the Pharoah had ordered that all the baby boys were to be murdered. The Pharoah's daughter found him and raised him as her own. Again, a mother's sacrificial love. Then of course the most poingent story of sacrificial love in the Bible is the story of Jesus giving his life for the people of the world.
I am not particularly religious, I mean we didn't go to church except at Christmas and Easter after Grandmother died, but those stories of sacrificial love always stuck with me."
"So you are saying that you love your parents enough to let them have this normal Muggle family?" He asked?
"Yes, they're happy and their happiness is the most important thing. I can still see them from afar, or pretend to be some long lost cousin, but they missed out on so much of my life, it just wasn't fair to them. They have a second chance to have a proper family. To not miss out on the day to day lives of these children as they grow into adults."
When she came back to him instead of pushing, he gently grabbed her waist to stop the swing. When the swing stopped he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her from behind, "Everyone is wrong, you, Hermione Granger are the bravest person I know. Harry doesn't hold a candle to you."
She put her hands over his and they stayed like that for some time until Fred's stomach gurgled. She giggled and he lightly pinched her side, "Cheeky witch."
"Let's get you fed, seeing as you are a Weasley, your stomach may well start to eat you from the inside out if we don't find food soon," she said winking at him.
Reaching out and pulling her to him he spun them on the spot Apparating them just outside the Leaky Cauldron on Diagon Alley. Once she was steady on her feet he let her go, "I don't fancy having this conversation in Mum's kitchen."
After ordering, he cast a Muffliato spell, so that they wouldn't be over heard. She was a celebrity now and he didn't want this making it into the papers.
He took a deep breath, "So do you have dreams like that often?"
She dropped her eyes to her hands and nodded, "Do you?"
"Every night, sometimes more than once. I usually pop home so that I can sleep under the same roof. George won't let me out of his sight when he's awake but,"
"I understand. We didn't know about the binding and we, after the battle, Harry, Ron and I, we thought you were dead. It was, Fred, I can't explain it but it was horrible."
"You're right, a world without me would be horrible," he was trying to lighten her mood because he couldn't stand her sad expression.
"Idiot!" she snorted giving him a smile. "Look about that kiss, I am really sorry."
"Don't be sorry, I just want to know what brought you to kiss me? And I am sorry I did a runner, I panicked when I thought I had assaulted you in your sleep."
"You what? No, not at all," she could not believe she was about to tell him the truth but hell, why not. She had already shared things with him today that she had never talked to anyone else about including her two best mates.
She took a deep breath, "Did you know that I have only ever kissed one other person than your brother?"
"Yes, and only once and it was right disgusting." She shook her head at the memory, "Then there was Ron, who I thought I had romantic feelings for but, well there might have been a time, but not anymore. It really was like kissing my brother." This time she shuddered a bit.
"But then I woke up and was in your arms, I've never been held like that. And when you rolled over to face me, your lips were right there and I wanted to feel what it would be like to kiss someone I wanted to kiss." She was blushing and wringing her hands.
"Hermione, how long have you wanted to kiss me?" He asked taking her hands in his, noticing for the first time how small they were compared to his.
"Off and on for about, oh, six years," she said to their hands, to his amazement blushing even more.
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
"Right," she snorted again, "I can see it now, little bushy haired swot coming up to you in the my third year while you were dating girls like Angelina, Alicia and Katie. You'd have had a right good time with that."
"You're probably right. Hey do you ever use that Patented Day Dream charm I sent you when we first opened the shop?" He asked. He had to know.
She gulped, "Um maybe."
"You know that we charmed so that each witch or wizard that used it would see the person they fancied as their romantic counterpart, right? And it is also was charmed so that the person who used it would be able to remember it anytime they wanted. We didn't advertise that but it's true."
She turned her head for a moment and thought about the day dream she had enjoyed two years before. She could see it plainly, in her mind it had always been Ron, but now she was sure it was, oh my, it was… "It was you!" she said as surprised at the recollection as he was for her to tell him.
"It was?" again with this strange stirring in his chest.
"It was. Fred that's why I wanted to kiss you so badly, you were the one that kissed me in that Day Dream."
"I did," his eyes got big. The product was not meant to provide erotic day dreams, but he knew that in some people (namely he, George and Lee – not together but individually) but he had assumed that was because they were just well lusty back then.
"Yes, you did." She was blushing again.
"What else did I do," he asked blushing as well and absolutely intrigued.
"It was set at a Ball. We danced and at the end of the night before you left me at my door, you kissed me," she bit her lip.
"And yousaidyoulovedme," she said really fast and into her mug of butterbeer.
"Say that again, I didn't catch that," he said, because she couldn't possibly have said what he thought he heard.
After a deep sigh, she repeated it in a whisper, "you said you love me."
Fred blew out a deep breath, "Blimey." They sat there in complete silence for several minutes until she just couldn't take it anymore.
"You know Fred it was a day dream, it's not like you really said it. I imagined it. It means nothing."
"No, Mione that isn't true, you see you don't know the type of charm that we made. People don't act that far out of character. I mean people may do things that they wouldn't normally do, but no one in the daydream will do something that they wouldn't do in real life. I mean I couldn't get you to fly like Harry or me on a broom, since you are terrified of heights. Or you couldn't dream me kissing a bloke."
"What are you saying?" She was very confused.
"Well if I said that in the daydream, then I must be capable, well it must be probable, I just didn't know it." He was thinking. He had always really liked her as a mate and assumed that they would be friends when they were adults, that's why he gave her such a hard time at Hogwarts and had sent her gifts once they opened the store. He thought she was brilliant and he had been so impressed by her dedication to the rules and her ability to break so many of them at the same time. "You know that George and I discussed making you and Harry honorary Weasley troublemakers in our last year?"
"You did?" a look of awe filled her face.
"Yes we did," he smiled. "This is going sound crazy but would you consider spending more time together, just the two of us? I have a theory."
She was having a wonderful time, so why not, "Sure. What's the theory?"
"I just want to see where it goes," he said with a shrug.
Just then, their food arrived. They enjoyed the rest of their lunch and afterwards flooed back to the Burrow. George was pacing when they got back and he visibly relaxed at the sight of his brother.
"Brother mine, I need to retrieve something from our old room, I'll be right back. Hermione, would you come make sure I don't open the wrong box and find all your knickers?" he said cheekily.
"You'd like that I'm sure, Ah if I must I must," she giggled and did her best to look put out.
Once they were in the old room, he pulled her into a hug and looked her in eyes, "Other than the thinking I had taken advantage of you in your sleep thing, last night was the best sleep I've had since I woke up in St. Mungo's."
"Yeah, no nightmares."
"Well, would it be all right if we did it again? I mean the sleeping part?"
She nodded and he squeezed her gently. She looked up at him and smiled. He very gently brushed his lips across hers. "See you tonight then," and he walked out the door.
She heard George ask him if he was ready to go and Molly complain that they weren't staying for dinner, then they were gone.
That night, she got ready for bed in the bathroom and made sure to wear something she didn't mind being seen in (shorts and a camisole).
Fred silently Apparated just outside the door and knocked ever so lightly just past midnight. She had been reading for sometime and was already quite sleepy. She called him in, sent a charm to lock the door and put up a silencing charm just in case one of them did have another nightmare, they wouldn't startle the whole house.
They could both slept peacefully, Fred would wake early and Apparate back to his flat by six so that George wouldn't miss him. This became their thing. Along with dinners and lunches and sometimes just sitting on the swings side by side talking. Fred had hung a second swing next to hers on the old Ash tree. Something was brewing, something almost tangible just below the surface. Over tea one fall afternoon, Fred toasted, "To A New Beginning," and for the first time in the many months since that first night in his old bed, he really kissed her. Not the sweet gentle kisses they had shared before but as Ginny had described it to the entire Weasley family, "He snogged her senseless." Then, before he left her at his family's back door, he told her, "Hermione, I love you."