IMPORTANT A/N: (11 December 2013)
I've edited the end of Chapter 25, after Fred wakes up, to accommodate for this chapter, which was added due to many of you saying the story didn't feel finished!
There is a deliberate return to third person in this chapter – since the first chapter began the same way, I thought it would be a nice close.
Chapter Twenty-Six: The End
Fred offered to walk Hermione to her class, which she gratefully accepted. Fred was talking about his potion along the way with joy.
"I mean, there's already a dreamless sleep potion, so why not make the opposite? I can't believe no one has ever thought about it before!"
Hermione grinned up at the Weasley. "Not everyone has as much perspective as you."
"You know what I like about you, Hermione?" Fred asked suddenly. Hermione couldn't resist teasing, despite his serious tone.
"My endless wit?"
"You don't think of George and I as the same person," he murmured. Hermione frowned.
"Do you not like it when people do that?" she asked. Fred shrugged.
"It's hard to explain. He's my other half, but it's nice to be recognised as my own person too," Fred said. "Not many people do that. I've found that those that do are worth keeping around."
"I wouldn't mind if you kept me around," Hermione said unthinkingly. Fred peered at her from the corner of his eye.
Hermione sighed. "I don't give a damn about Ronald," she said honestly. "I know you firmly believe it, but he has absolutely no claim on me whatsoever. I am my own person." Fred cracked a grin.
"Miss Granger, are you copying me?"
She shrugged. "I thought it was a good way to get your attention."
"You always have my attention."
Seeing her Charms class draw nearer, Hermione made a spontaneous decision. "I don't want to go to class," she blurted. Fred looked doubtful, which made her laugh. "Well, not yet anyway!"
"Then what do you want to do?"
"I want you to kiss me," Hermione murmured, slowing to a stop. Fred nervously looked around the corridor for other students, or worse.
"I really don't think that's a good idea," Fred said unsurely. "I mean, anyone could come by here, and if Ron found out I don't think I'd –"
"Fred," Hermione interrupted. "You owe me a favour, right?"
"Then I would like to use it now, if you don't mind?" Hermione grinned. Upon Fred's nod, Hermione stood on her tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I want you to forget about Ron and focus on me," she breathed.
"I always am," Fred murmured. Hermione chuckled.
"Good. Now, let's get out of sight so we can go have a good snog."
A mischievous grin finally graced Fred's features. "No complaints here."
Giving Hermione a very quick, passionate kiss, he led the way to the Room of Requirement where (to Hermione's horror) they spent the rest of the hour becoming familiar with each other. Constantly reassuring Fred that Ron didn't matter, Hermione finally admitted with a blush, "There's only one Weasley for me, Fred, and it's not Ron."
Frowning, Fred looked offended. "I always knew George was the better looking twin!" Hermione smacked him on the chest with a giggle. Smiling down at the girl in his arms, Fred said "There's only one Granger for me, and I'm sure you can guess who it is!"
As a reply, Hermione snuggled into Fred's chest. The pair were lying on a bed, conjured by the room. It was rather nondescript and the room was just as plain. Hermione liked that.
"I have to admit, this is not how I thought the year would go," Hermione said hesitantly.
Fred laughed. "Don't say that, the year isn't over yet! There's still plenty of time to keep you on your toes!"
"But I'm not even on my feet!" Hermione joked. Fred snorted.
"I thought you'd gotten better at your jokes, but you've just proved otherwise. Oh well, spending more time with me will surely fix that right up!"
"What if I don't want to spend more time with you?" Hermione teased.
Fred pretended to be shocked, holding a hand to his heart. "But you have to!"
"And why's that?" Hermione asked with an amused grin. Fred pretended to think about her question for a moment.
"Because I want you to," he decided.
Hermione laughed at his reason. "Well, that's a bit selfish of you, isn't it? Maybe I'd rather spend time with George!"
Fred wrapped his arms protectively around Hermione. "I'd rather you didn't. He might begin to think he has a claim on you!"
"I'll tell him I only belong only to you," Hermione promised. Fred shook his head.
"No, better make it official, just to be safe," he said easily. "Hermione, will you please be my girlfriend?"
Hermione hid her glee well with a witty reply. "And why would I do that?"
"Because George might be after you, and we had best take precautions," Fred pointed out reasonably. Hermione deliberated, nodding her head thoughtfully.
"I'll make you a deal. I'll be your girlfriend… if, and only if," Hermione stressed, "you'll be my boyfriend."
Fred chuckled "I don't know if I can agree to those terms," he said sarcastically. At Hermione's amused smile, he sighed dramatically. "Alright, fine. It's a deal."
Sealing their deal with a long kiss, Hermione couldn't be happier when Fred wrapped his arms around her waist tighter. "This happened in my dream," he murmured into Hermione's hair. "Along with other things," he added suggestively. Giggling, Hermione leaned back to stare at her new boyfriend sternly.
"Not today," she said firmly. Fred grinned.
"Not for a long time," he agreed. "Second base?" he added hopefully.
"Maybe tomorrow," Hermione said. After a moment of shocked silence, she burst out laughing. "I'm kidding, Fred! It was a joke!"
"That was a mean joke," Fred grumbled, but he was happy all the same. Hermione fit easily in his arms and their banter was entertaining. For now, their kisses would be plenty.
Besides, first they had to face Ron, and who knows? Maybe Fred wouldn't have any organs left after their encounter.
Adamantly refusing to announce their relationship with fireworks at dinnertime, Hermione finally convinced Fred to simply hold her hand when walking into lunch. "Everyone else will work it out on their own," she had said.
She was right, as usual. Whispers and murmurs were heard just below the normal lunch noise when the two walked into the Great Hall confidently. Sitting at the Gryffindor table, Ginny appeared at Hermione's side and began filling her plate.
"So I guess you got that date, huh?" she said casually. Hermione nodded.
"Guess I had the bravery to, huh?" Hermione retorted. Ginny laughed loudly.
"Bravery for what?"
Ron had appeared with Harry by his side, looking at the food greedily. Together they sat almost in sync, making Hermione grin.
"Bravery to get a boyfriend," Ginny said with an evil grin in Hermione's direction. Ron's fork clattered to his plate.
"Who?" he asked immediately.
Hermione lifted her right hand, intertwined with Fred's, who was carefully remaining quiet while Ron processed this. Hermione had no such qualms. "One of the twins," she said casually, nudging Fred in the side. "I'm not sure which one, though."
While Fred pretended to be offended at her joke, making Hermione laugh and assure him she knew he was George, Harry observed Hermione carefully. She was obviously very happy, and her newfound confident and teasing nature made Harry pleased. He didn't think Fred was very likely to hurt her, either. In his opinion, Hermione couldn't have picked a bloke much better.
"Okay," Harry said at last. "So long as you're happy, 'Mione."
"But no snogging," Ron added firmly. "He's my brother. I don't need to see that."
Happy that Ron seemed fine with their relationship – or maybe he was in shock, who knew – Fred laid an arm across Hermione's shoulders. "No snogging where you can see, at least."
A/N: I hope that the story feels 'finished' now. Having left the story for so long, I struggled to find an appropriate ending. This was written very quickly - any typos found, I apologise for, but they should be ignored.