A/N. Hello everyone! This is the Fred/Hermione story I promised! It won't be as long as The Last Marauder - and maybe not as long as Prisoner either - but it will have about 20 chapters I think, give or take. This will be more fluffy and light than my other fics, but I hope you enjoy it all the same!
Note: There are only two ways this story is "AU" I suppose you'd call it. 1. Fred isn't dead - obviously. 2. I refuse to acknowledge JKR's epilogue.
DISCLAIMER: Hello, I'm JKR. Oh, wait. No I'm not. I am not JKR and I own nothing.
Chapter One: Dinner with the Twins
"Yes, yes, yes!"
"Almost there, yes, almost there..."
"Come on, baby!"
"UGH! ACK! COME ON!"
Hermione burst into the room, "What are you two doing in here?!"
Fred and George turned to Hermione with grins on their faces, George's face also covered in soot.
"Playing Exploding Snaps, love," Fred said, his lopsided grin make Hermione instinctively smile in return.
"Want to join?" George asked. "I just lost."
Hermione blinked, looking back and forth between the twins rapidly, blushing. "Were you two doing that on purpose? All the yelling?"
The twins exchanged a look with one another before sing-songing in unison, "Perhaps..."
Hermione sighed, her cheeks still pink. "Don't either of you have anything better to do? You are adults, remember? You own a business? Why are you not working?"
Fred said, "For the same reason you aren't at the Ministry right now -"
" - it's our weekend off!" George finished.
The Burrow constantly had redheads of all shapes and sizes entering and exiting at all hours of the day, and the ones who've officially moved out - like Fred and George - were no exception. They knew that there was always a hot meal waiting for them at their mother's house, something that the bachelors of the family - again, like Fred and George - lacked in their own homes.
Normally, Hermione would be at the Ministry that weekend. It was where she spent seven days of her week. But currently, she requested a short holiday to get her bearings and catch up on some personal reading.
"GEORGE! FRED! HERMIONE! WILLIAM! RONALD! IT'S DINNER TIME!" Molly shrieked from the kitchen, the entire house rattling with the shrillness of her cries. The cabinet glass panels in the parlor threatened to crack.
"Of course it's dinner," Fred groused. "The place smells bloody awful."
"I've been meaning to ask," Hermione said. "Why does the house smell so weird? Normally Molly's food smells heavenly."
"Whenever Bill comes home for dinner, she makes him hare," George explained with a grimace. "The stuff smells so bad when it cooks, it stinks up the house for days! But if anyone dares complain -"
"Scary Mum comes out to play," Fred said.
Hermione only rolled her eyes and made her way towards the dining room with the twins close behind. She heard them whispering and sniggering, but dismissed it. They were probably just making fun of her prudishness, as they usually did.
Around the table sat a collection of her dearest friends. Arthur sat at the head, as always, and Molly was levitating trays and dishes to the table from the kitchen. Bill sat to the left of his father, the spot across from him open for his mother. Fleur was not in attendance, which Hermione found strange, but didn't think much of it - she'd never been a huge fan of the Frenchwoman, really. Fleur was always trying to do Hermione's hair or put make-up on her or choose her outfits.
Then, there was also Harry and Luna, sitting next to one another, Ron, Percy, and three open spots for Hermione and the twins.
The twins sat and Fred said sarcastically, "Smells great, Mum."
"Oh, shut it, George!" Molly scolded.
"I'm Fred," Fred said, sounding tired with the whole affair. "You'd think the fact that I have two ears might be some kind of hint, but really nothing's changed."
"Well, it isn't my fault!" Molly said as she dropped a plate of hare in front of Bill and a turkey in the center of everyone else. "With the both of you growing out your hair like you're fifteen again hardly helps!"
Harry said, "Why are you both growing out your hair?"
"Fred is just copying me," George said.
"No, George is copying me," Fred corrected.
"You know it's true."
"Boys, stop," Molly said as she took her seat beside her husband. "It's time for supper, not your bickering. Tuck in, everyone! Goodness, you all look starved."
Ron dug in like it was his final supper while everyone else took their time.
"Thank you for having me for supper, Mrs. Weasley," Luna lilted, scooping quite a bit of carrots onto her plate.
"You are welcome anytime you like, dear," Molly said sweetly.
From her seat beside Luna, she had a direct view across the table to the twins who were looking especially mischievous. Hermione was watching them with caution, one hand drifting down her wand, ready to defect any prank that could happen.
Having dinner with the twins meant putting your own life in your hands. It was a dangerous affair, because one of two things could happen. One, everything could seem perfectly innocent until something popped out at you. Or two, there be no prank whatsoever, but you spend your entire time eating being terribly paranoid and cautious, which really only satisfied the twins even more. It was a vicious cycle.
Hermione didn't want to give in to their mind games, but she certainly didn't want to be handcuffed to her chair by the bratwurst until she sang the "I love Harry Potter" anthem that was being played on the radios nonstop since the war's end.
But the twins' eyes weren't on Hermione. They were on Bill.
Just as the demi-werewolf reached out to serve himself the hare, the cooked rabbit exploded spontaneously, the pinkish meat splattering over everything and everyone.
"Son of a..."
"Merlin's socks, that was awesome!"
"How peculiar, I've never seen a cooked rabbit do that before."
That last one was Luna. The rest were a collection of Weasleys' shouts and exclaims while the twins laughed so hard their stomachs ached.
Looking absolutely simmering with quiet fury, Bill flicked a piece of rabbit from his long red hair and glared so darkly at his young brothers that even Hermione felt his silent wrath. But the twins paid no attention to his anger, they were reveling in their triumph.
Everyone was glaring at the twins, actually.
"Why do you assume it was us?" they asked in unison.
"Do you see any of us laughing?" Bill growled.
"We should have known better than to have dinner with them," Ron grumbled, stuffing a turkey leg in his mouth, ignoring the splattered rabbit all over it.
Arthur with a silly grin on his face said, "That was impressive, boys! Tell me, how did you manage to plant the explosives before -"
"ARTHUR!" Molly cried, smacking her husband on the arm. "Don't encourage them!"
"I'm sorry," Arthur said sheepishly before clearing his throat and turning to the twins with what was supposed to be a stern expression. "That was very rude, George, Fred. Very rude, indeed. And not at all funny."
Harry was hiding a grin and holding back laughter. Even Hermione was trying not to smirk. It had actually been quite funny, but none of them wanted to be the ones caught by Molly for "encouraging them".
Changing the subject hastily, Harry said, "So, 'Mione, you'll be dropping your stuff into Grimauld tonight, right?"
"Yes, if not tomorrow morning," Hermione said. "I still have a few things I want to pack."
"Hermione," Harry chuckled, "it's only a week, not a month."
"What's this about Hermione packing?" Molly inquired, forgetting completely about Fred and George's rabbit stunt. "And Grimauld?"
"Hermione's taking a holiday," Harry said with a proud smile.
Everyone gaped, some people almost spewed their food, and other snorted.
George said, "You must be mistaken -"
"- because our Hermione would never -"
"- not in a million years, I'd reckon -"
"- request for holiday!"
"Unheard of," George finished, shaking his head.
Hermione huffed. "I am just like any other hard working woman who gets overwhelmed by the daily stresses brought on by the workplace," she declared.
"We're very proud of you, Hermione," Fred said, "for being normal for once."
"But, dear, what in heaven's name do you plan on doing at Grimauld Place for a week?" Molly asked, her eyebrows raised in concern.
"The library at Grimauld is fantastic," Hermione said, "and it's perfect for the reading I'd like to catch up on."
"Leave it to Hermione to take holiday so she can read," Ron said with an eye roll.
"For once, Ronniekins is right," George said, eyes wide. "Who on earth wants to read during holiday?"
Molly joined in, "Hermione, that isn't a proper way to spend your week off from work, dear. You should be relaxing! Having fun!" Then she had an epiphany. "Oh! You can stay here! We're having our annual family reunion and you should join us!" she enthused. "Isn't that a wonderful idea, Arthur? Shouldn't Hermione join us?"
Hermione's brow furrowed. "I'm a little confused. What family reunion is this?"
"Every year the Weasleys and Prewetts all get together for a week-long family reunion," Bill explained while Molly already began fussing about the new plans. "Everyone takes the week off and meets here. A lot of our cousins camp on the property. Even Charlie comes around. And everyday we have different events and pot luck and cook-outs and games. It's a lot of fun, actually, and a nice way for everyone to meet the new cousins and cousins-to-bes. That's why I've been staying here these past few days."
"It's a great deal of fun!" Molly exclaimed. "And you simply must join us!"
"Oh, I couldn't impose," Hermione said, shaking her head. Anyway, she just wanted to read!
"But you must! You can use Ginny's room!"
"But where will Ginny sleep?" Hermione said, pulling at straws.
"She has a series of play-off things with the Holyhead Harpies this week!" Molly insisted. "She won't be able to make it, so it's absolutely perfect for you! I will not take no for an answer, dear. I can't even imagine you being locked up in that dusty old house on your week off from work."
Fred and George exchanged glances.
"You must, Hermione!" Fred said.
"Yes, you have to!" George added.
"I'm not sure I feel comfortable with your enthusiasm," Hermione said, narrowing her eyes. "You just want me here so you can prank me! Put hair-growth serum in my face wash or charm the shower to dye me pink when I stand under it."
In synchronization, the twins raised their right hands solemnly.
"We swear, we will be on our best behavior," George vowed.
"We won't even turn you into a toad!" Fred added.
"I'll make sure they're angels, love," Molly promised sincerely. "Please? It won't be the same without you!"
"That's not exactly true, seeing as this would be her first year coming, Mum," Ron said.
"Shut it, Ronald!"
Hermione took a deep breath. Harry gave her an encouraging look and Hermione said, "Alright. I'll stay. It sounds like a lovely time."
"Just be careful about getting eaten by the Wargacks, Hermione," Luna said softly. "It is their mating season, after all."
Everyone's eyes widened and Harry sort of blushed and patted his girlfriend's hand.
"What are Wargacks? And why do they eat humans?" Ron asked nervously.
"There's nothing to worry about, really," Luna explained with a dreamy smile. "They only attack if your name has the letter G in it."
Hermione Granger, George, and Fred Gideon all visibly paled.
But Wargacks didn't exist...
Challenge: 1. Favorite part and line? 2. Do you think Wargacks exist? 3. What kind of events do you think the family reunion will have?
~ So Long And Thanks For All The Fish ~