Chapter 2: Forbidden kisses
I am so excited about tonight. She has no idea about what I've planned for her.
It's Hermione's 21st birthday today, and I've organised a surprise bash for her. I've invited everyone we know, there's around a hundred people confirmed who are coming. She hasn't got a clue; I just can't wait to see her face! I've booked a large function hall in Powderham Castle; she's always admired it from afar. She's mentioned that she'd like to have a look-see inside, and now’s her chance! It even has multiple balconies from the main function hall, I'm sure she'll love it! It wasn't cheap, but she's worth every knut!
I told her we're going out for a dinner with Harry and Ginny, so she should be truly shocked to see a hundred faces shouting 'happy birthday' to her! There were times when I thought she had found out, after all I have been acting slightly suspiciously, but I've managed to get out of the tights spots with my lightening fast thinking!
I woke her up this morning with a full English breakfast in bed - which mum made obviously, I tend to burn everything I cook. She seemed pleased with it. I gave her present in bed as well. A matching earring and necklace set. White gold, set with diamonds. Since being as famous as we are now, money isn't too much of a problem, but obviously I try to keep a tight hold of things. After all I grew up with hand-me-downs, so I know how to keep a tight leash on money - why do you think we're still living with my parents? But with Hermione, there is no tightening the strings, I would happily use up all the money in our bank account if that's what she wanted! But she's the same as me with money. She hasn't complained about living with my parents, so she's obviously happy living here and saving the extra cash. Plus, mum and dad are brilliant and they love Hermione as if she were their own daughter.
"Honey, Ginny is taking you shopping today to buy a new dress" I tell her after her birthday lunch.
She looked surprised "Really? Why?"
"Well, think of it as another birthday present" I reply, smiling at her.
"Ron, you've already spent so much on me, I don't need another dress" she says, not looking as keen as I hoped she would be. Guess more persuading is needed.
"Sweetie, it's just a new dress for going out tonight. I'm taking you somewhere really nice, and Gin is getting a new dress, so I thought you would like to as well?"
"Well, I don’t think I need another dress Ron" she states, but continues after seeing the puppy-look I always give when I want something. "But alright, if you really want me to" she says, rolling her eyes.
I grin to myself. She's never been able to say no to me. That woman loves me too much, I'm so lucky to have her!
As she leaves for shopping, me and mum apparate to Powderham Castle to set up the hall. Fleur, Angelina and Harry are already there waiting for us. Me and Harry leave the girls to decorate and decide to look around the grounds; after all we would only get in their way.
"Mate, well done for not spilling it to Hermione yet!" laughed Harry.
I play punch him on the arm "This is different, it's for Hermione, I want everything to be perfect!"
"Don't worry, it all is! She will love it, I'm sure you'll be in for a treat from her later tonight!" he smirks at me.
I can't help but turn slightly red. I certainly hoped so. Me and Hermione hadn't made love for a number of weeks, and I hoped after this party she would be up for something.
For some reason, she'd already be fast asleep by the time I get into bed, no matter what time of night it is. Or she'd have a headache. Guess she's just tired and stressed about work.
I quickly apparate back home as I get a patronus from Ginny telling me their shopping trip is done.
Twenty-one today. I feel old. It feels like it was only yesterday I was boarding the Hogwarts Express. The day I met Ron for the first time. I still remember his soot-covered face. I can't help but smile; he's always been a goof. He's tried to make my day special; he brought me breakfast in bed, which Molly obviously made.
His present was surprising though. He isn't the type to splash out on gifts, so it was sweet of him. The set was however too grand for everyday use, more for special occasions, which was a shame as it won't be seen much. I kind of wished he would give me something simple, but I guess nothing is ever simple these days.
After lunch Ron told me I had to go dress shopping with Ginny. Supposedly he's taking me somewhere that’s too nice for the dresses I already have.
"Ginny, please tell me this is actually for our dinner tonight, and not
for some ridiculous surprise party!" I tell her while we're in Diagon Alley. I had been suspicious of a surprise party for some time now, Ron had been acting like a fool, and Molly had been acting very queer recently. But I was pretty sure it couldn't be, Ron wouldn't really be able to pull off something like that.
I'm not saying he isn't smart enough, of course he is, but he's never had the tact for such things. I mean, he gave away Molly and Arthur's surprise 30th Wedding Anniversary straight to their faces, the fool, which is why I doubt he'd be able to do this either.
"Hermione, let's just get a dress ok? I want you looking stunning tonight!" she replies, not looking directly at me.
Hmm, please God don't let there be a party! I just want a quiet evening, I don't need more people to act happy to.
I return home, with a new dress. It's a red, floor length dress. Ginny forced me to buy it. It's confirmed now. There is definitely some sort of surprise party coming. There are no restaurants in Devon that requires a ball dress as their dress code.
As I step into the Burrow, all is quiet. Nobody seemed to be around. I'm glad for the silence, there is hardly any time in the day where I can be myself. Apart from the times I spend with Fred of course.
As I climb the stairs to the bedroom, I bump into him.
"Oh, I didn't think anyone was home!" I say surprised, knowing I turn slightly red. Ever since realising I'm in love with Fred, it was increasingly getting harder to talk to him normally.
He smiles down at me "Nope, just me in the house. I'm glad you're here actually, I've still got to give you your birthday present!"
"Oh Fred, you didn't have to!" I smile at him. I was quite thrilled to think he had thought about getting me something.
He places something heavy in my hands.
I look down to see a tattered book. I look at the faded out text at the front. I let out a squeal.
"Fred! Where did you get this? It's a first edition! Oh, Fred, this is the best present ever!" I squeal, unaware of what I was doing, I jump on him to give a hug. I was so ecstatic, I guess I didn't realise what I was doing. I stand on my tiptoes to reach his face and pull him nearer to my face.
I kiss him.
It happened so fast. It only lasted two seconds. I had kissed him on the lips.
It could be passed as a sisterly kiss, a moment of happiness. As that is what it was to him, after all.
I step back, still slightly shocked at what I had done.
I pretend like it wasn't anything other than a thank you kiss. I give him another hug, loving the way he smells. I love the feel of his strong arms around me. I pull back quickly.
"Thank you so much, where did you find this?" I ask him, now looking at the book. Anywhere but at him.
He takes a few seconds to reply. "Well, you always go on about this book, so I just pulled a few strings and got it pretty easily. No big deal." he replies.
a big deal Fred. Thank you" I say, as sincerely as I possibly can.
At that moment, Ron apparates at the bottom of the stairs, looking sheepish.
"How was dress shopping? Managed to get anything?" he asks, trying not to sound like he was too bothered.
I didn't really care he was throwing me a party anymore. I was just so delighted with Fred's present, that it didn't really matter what was happening tonight.
It was difficult but I had finally managed after a vigorous search for two weeks. I finally had the book in my possession. I had pretty much searched all of Europe to get my hands on this beauty, and I finally succeeded. I knew Hermione would love it, she had been talking about this book for so long. She already has a copy if it, but I knew she would love a first edition.
"You're going through a lot to get a present for our sister-in-law" says George to me, looking at me disapprovingly.
I shrug "Why not? It's something that she likes, and 21 is an important birthday."
"Fred, I've been meaning to bring this up for a while, and there’s no easy way for me to say this, but I'll just put it out there. Lay off her."
"What? What are you talking about George?" I ask, perfectly aware of what he was referring to.
"Fred, don't act stupid. The past four months all you've been talking about is Hermione."
"So? I live with her, obviously she's going to come up in conversation from time to time" I reply defensively. Have I been talking that
much about her?
conversation somehow leads back to her. Fred, you're my brother. My twin. My best friend. I know
"That you love her."
Shit, I think to myself. Have I been that obvious?
"I know what you're thinking and the answer is no. You haven’t been obvious about it. It's likely that only I know. So, I'm telling you before other people start noticing, she is our little brothers wife, so lay off!" he says, quite aggressively.
I can't stop thinking about what George said to me. I'm such an idiot. She's my brother’s wife, I shouldn’t be feeling this way towards her! I shouldn’t have made the effort to get her that damned book. Maybe I'll give it to Ron to give to her instead?
I couldn’t bring myself around to giving it to him though. This was something I wanted to give her. I would never do anything to jeopardise my relationship with any of my family members, so I knew nothing would ever happen between us. Hell, what am I thinking? As if she
would do anything either! As much as she is unhappy, Hermione is just too good a person to even think about anyone else.
Her birthday finally arrives, and I'm looking forward to giving her my present. I like to make her smile, otherwise one of these days she'll forget how to smile completely.
I accidently meet her on the stairs. She is carrying a large bag. Guess it’s the dress for tonight. I was pretty sure she must know, it's just too obvious for someone as clever as her not to know.
I give her the present. She looks intently at the cover, trying to read the faded title. I see her confused look change to a look of pure joy. She squeals. My heart skips a beat just seeing the pleasure my gift has given her. She drops her shopping, and gives me a tight hug. I hug her back, smelling her sweet scent.
And before I know what’s happening, she kisses me on my lips. It lasts less than a couple of seconds, but it felt longer. It felt perfect. The perfect fit of her lips on mine.
Of course, it was just a thank you kiss, but I was still surprised by it. And overjoyed of course. Being that close to her, it just takes my breath away.
She pulls away from me quickly, looking intently at the book.
She thanks me again. I take a few seconds to respond to her, still shell-shocked by what had just occurred. Having her in my arms for those few seconds was bliss.
I couldn't stop thinking of her soft lips, she tasted of honey and vanilla. I continued thinking about what had happened long after I had returned to my room.
I punch my pillow. I have to put a stop to this! This isn’t right.
Well, I arrived back at the burrow after Hermione had arrived. She was looking absolutely thrilled when I met her on the stairs with Fred. Guess the dress shopping went well.
She had something tattered in her hands "What's that? " I ask her.
"Oh, it's my birthday present from Fred!" she says happily.
I look at my brother, who is looking a slight shade of red.
"Well, what is it?" I ask, slightly annoyed that her response to this present was a lot more excited than mine.
"Oh, it's my favourite book, see?" she responds, happiness still in her voice.
"You already have that book" I reply, trying to make out the faded title.
"I know silly, it's a first edition!" she squeals.
I look at Fred again, who was now making his way back to his room. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised, him and Hermione have been spending a lot of time together, so obviously he would know a present she would like. I just didn't expect that my brother would have got my wife a better present than I had. Not that I agree an old, tattered book is a better present than expensive jewellery, but this is Hermione after all.
At least I've got this evening sorted out, Hermione will be so surprised!
As it's time to leave, Hermione emerges out of our bathroom in her dress. A long, red dress. She looks beautiful.
"Hermione, you look absolutely gorgeous!" I tell her, kissing her.
She smiles "Thanks. Seems a bit much for a restaurant though? And you’re in black tie, which is a surprise!"
I grin. She knows I hate dressing formally, but this is all for a good reason.
I apparate us to the grounds of the castle. I see shock and confusion spread across her face.
"Why are we here?" she asks, looking all around.
I kiss her on the cheek and grab her hand "Come on love, I thought we could have dinner here!"
"Oh Ron, do you know how much I've been dying to see this place?" she cries out.
I grin, surely this beats a tattered old book!
We walk into the main entrance, Hermione looking all around her, drinking in every detail of the old surroundings. I take her towards the dimly lit function room.
"SURPRISE!!" comes the chorus of voices as the lights suddenly become brighter.
A loud rendition of happy birthday starts playing.
I look at Hermione. She looks... calm. As if she was expecting it. Of course she was bloody expecting it, she’s only the smartest witch of our age! I smile at my genius of a wife, giving her a kiss.
She gives out a big smile, taking in everybody in the room, looking around from face to face, giving small waves to people.
As we settle in to the party, I see Hermione saying her hello's to everybody. She seems happy, I'm pretty sure she's enjoying the party.
I get patted on the back by Harry.
"Told you this would be great!" he says grinning at me.
"I know. But she did know about it!" I reply.
"Oh, stop moaning, it's Hermione, there’s no way anyone could keep something like this from her!" he laughs.
As everyone gets seated to eat, it's time to make a toast. Short and sweet said Charlie, don't want to put people to sleep!
"Hi everybody, firstly I'd just like to thank you all for coming tonight!" I start off. A polite round of applause is given.
I continue, knowing my ears are turning slightly red "So, tonight is a special night for Hermione. She's now the important age of 21, and I'm very lucky to be sharing it with her" I say, smiling down at her.
"I've written a very short poem that pretty much conveys everything I want to say to you tonight."
I clear my throat, getting ready to read my poem that Harry had written for me. He winks at me, and I can't help but grin. I was never good with words.
I finish the poem, and am met with a loud round of applause, and Hermione seems very happy with it.
"Please everyone, enjoy your meal, and join us in celebrating Hermione's birthday!"
Once the dinner was done, all the tables were cleared to reveal a large dance floor. Me and Hermione lead the way with some ball dancing. I put my arm around her petite waist.
"This reminds me of our Yule Ball!" I say to her.
"We never danced together at the Yule Ball Ron."
"Oh, I know that, but you know, it feels the same. The same feeling of not being able to dance!"
She laughs at my joke, as more couples join us on the dance floor.
A few dances later, and I am dancing with Fleur, while Hermione has been dancing with a couple of the guests, looking like she is enjoying herself.
This night has turned out to be a success! I make my way towards Harry and Ginny sitting at the bar. I can’t help but congratulate myself on such a successful evening.
Well, just like I thought, a surprise party. I guess I don't mind really, but there are over a hundred people here! Ron has even invited people I hardly even talk to anymore. But there is something he's done right: the location is perfect.
I've always wanted to see this castle for such a long time. He really does listen to me. A rush of guilt sweeps through me. Why can't I just love him back?
As I greet my friends and family, I keep my happy mask securely on.
As Ron makes a toast, I search around the room. I find what I am looking for. Fred. Sitting on a table close to us, with the rest of the Weasley family. He has a blank expression on his face, staring intently at the stone cold floor. I hardly hear a word Ron says, as I'm worried that something is troubling Fred. Suddenly everybody is clapping, I quickly face Ron, giving him a big smile and a kiss.
"The speech was lovely, thank you" I tell him.
"I'm glad you liked the poem love. Eat your dinner, and lets go dance." he replies.
The poem? I hadn't heard a word of it. I hope I don't get asked about it later. I'll try and get Ginny to tell me about it, without her hopefully realising I didn't listen to a word of it.
As I finish dancing with a couple of the guests, Fred approaches me.
"Would you like another dance Hermione?" he asks.
"Of course Fred" I reply happily.
He places his hands on my waist, and mine around his neck. This is the closest we have been for such an extended period of time. I feel shivers down my spine as he gently twirls be around the floor.
"I have something to tell you Hermione" he says, looking deeply at me.
"Yes?" I reply, hardly able to get a word out, I feel so breathless being so close to him.
"I'm going to America in two weeks time." he says, no longer looking at me.
"Really? On holiday?"
"No. I'm planning on moving there for a year. Maybe two."
My heart skips a beat.
"What? But, why Fred?" I reply, shocked to the core at this news.
"Well, I've been thinking about it for quite some time now. The business is doing well, and I think George can hold the fort himself for a while. Plus Lee is planning on working with us soon, so he'll still have a hand. I just think it's best that I leave here for a while."
"I don’t understand. Why do you want to leave?" I reply, trying to keep my voice under control. Could he really be leaving me? Terror fills my heart at the thought of not seeing him every day.
"It's just something I need to do Hermione. It's more of a personal reason."
I suddenly realise we had stopped dancing since he broke the news, and we were standing still in the middle of the dance floor. Tears fill my eyes, and my hands begin to tremble. I quickly make my way away from him. Away from everyone. I find myself walking towards an empty, dark balcony, lit by only the moon light. I wipe the tears that are freely streaming down my face.
Is he leaving because of me? Because he knows I love him?
Before I can think anymore, Fred is right beside me once again.
"Yes?" I reply, hiding my tear-strewn face away from him, looking up at the stars.
"Why are you running away from me?"
A small sob escapes. The tears start flowing again.
"I'm not the one running away Fred, it is you
running away from me."
"What do you mean Hermione?" he asks gently, pulling me around to face him.
"You're moving away because of me."
His face falls, his eyes looking down at the ground.
I can feel my heart pounding away furiously at my chest. So I'm right. It’s because of me.
"It's not because of you Hermione."
"Yes it is Fred. You were never good at lying. Not to me anyway."
He doesn’t reply, looking at me once again.
"I'm sorry about how I feel. I’m so sorry" I cry out again.
He looks puzzled at me. Does he want me to spell it out?
"I can’t help that I love you!"
I follow Hermione as she runs away from me towards a balcony. She looked so hurt when I told her the news. I didn't expect her to take it like that. Yes, I knew that she would miss me, but surely this wouldn’t be so bad?
I had decided to move just a few hours ago. George was right. I had to let go. I couldn't do this to Ron. Not that I was doing anything wrong exactly, but these feelings had to stop. And the only way they would is if I get as far away as possible from Hermione.
I hear her crying, moving her hands towards her face, no doubt wiping her tears away.
"Hermione?" I call out softly.
"Yes" she replies, her voice full of sorrow.
I ask her why she has run away from me.
"I'm not running away Fred, it’s you running away from me." she replies.
Does she know? Has she realised I love her? Of course she knows! She’s the smartest witch of our time of course she would know! If George had figured it out, why wouldn’t she? This has gone too far!
"What do you mean Hermione?" I ask her, hoping for a different answer, anything else other than her knowing my true feelings for her.
"You're moving away because of me."
My heart skips a few beats. I feel sick to the stomach. How can I explain to her that I would never do anything to compromise her relationship with Ron? This is why I'm leaving, she must surely understand that.
"It's not because of you Hermione." I lie to her.
"I'm sorry about how I feel. I’m so sorry" she says, starting to cry again. I want to hold her and comfort her, to stop those tears from falling. But why is she apologising to me? Why is she sorry about how she feels? What is it she is even feeling? It should be me apologising to her. I'm unable to respond to her, afraid that I will just blurt out how much I love her, and how she means the world to me.
"I can’t help that I love you!" she cries.
I stand there in shock, staring at this beautiful girl in front of me, this woman that I love, and saying that she loves me.
"What?" I whisper. It's all I can say. Did she really say that?
"I love you Fred! I have been in love with you for so long now! And I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for it to happen. And now you’re moving away because your disgusted that I could do this to Ron!" she cries out at me, tears flowing down her face once again.
This time I pull her in close, hugging her tightly, feeling her body sob against mine.
"Hermione. I'm not moving away because you... love me. I didn't even know that" I reply. I feel something stir within me. A surge of happiness as I know now that it wasn't just me that feels this way.
"Then, why are you going?" she asks, her big brown eyes staring intently at me.
love you, Hermione. I wanted to move away because it wasn’t right for me to feel this way for you. I didn’t know you had any feelings for me at all." I can hardly believe we are even having this conversation.
Hermione looks slightly taken aback, but she remains in my arms, close to me.
"I had no idea Fred. I just never thought you could love me too" she says. How could she think that? It is I that would never have thought she could love me in this way either.
Before realising what either of us were doing, I lean in towards her, and she towards me.
We kiss passionately under the moon and stars, forgetting where we are, lost in our own world.
Fred finally pulls away from her, but keeps his arms tight around her waist.
"What are we doing?" Hermione whispers.
"I don’t know" answers Fred truthfully.
"We can’t do this Fred. I’m married" she states, tears forming in her eyes.
"I know Hermione, I know. I'm sorry, we shouldn't have done that". Fred drops his arms to his side, feeling empty without holding her.
"I'm not sorry Fred. I've wanted to kiss you for such a long time now, and I finally have. And I guess that’s something I can hold on to forever."
Fred sweeps in for another kiss. He can’t help himself. Hearing those sweet words come out of her mouth is too much for him. She wants him as much as he wants her.
Lost in their passion, Fred pushes her towards the stone wall, deepening the kiss, combing his fingers through her hair. He starts to kiss her down her jaw line and feels her shudder under his touch. His kisses become more desperate, more harder, as if scared she would disappear from him if he stops.
Hermione hadn’t felt this way in a very long time. The longing inside her increased with each kiss Fred gave her. She had her arms around his middle, and tightened her grip, pulling his body closer into hers.
And suddenly they hear somebody calling out Hermione's name.
They freeze on the spot, looking at each other in fear.
Ron was looking for Hermione, he had been calling out her name as he popped his head into each balcony.
Fred quickly moves into the shadows of their balcony, as Hermione remains in the moonlight. She tries to regain her composure, smoothing out her hair and dress, trying to breath at a slower rate.
"Hermione, here you are! I've been wondering where you’ve been!" said Ron, walking towards her.
"I've just been looking at the stars, it’s a clear night tonight" lies Hermione, afraid that if Ron came out any further, he would see Fred pushing himself against the stone wall.
She walks towards Ron, putting her hand in his, pulling him back into the hall.
"Shall we dance Ron?" she says, giving one final look at where she had stood with Fred just moments before.
As the night comes to a close, Hermione is racked with guilt at what had passed between her and Fred. She felt a number of emotions pass through her. She was elated that Fred felt the same way as her, but close to tears as to what they had done. Not only had they kissed twice, but if there was no interruption from Ron, she wonders how far they would have really gone.
Once they had apparated back to the Burrow, they sit down in the living room for some hot drinks before bed. It was the early hours of the morning, and everyone was shattered.
Ginny, George and Angelina join them too. Hermione is the first to notice that there is one certain person missing from their company.
"Where's Fred?" asks Molly, as she sets down the tray full of hot drinks.
"No idea mum. Saw him flirting with one of Fleur's cousins, maybe he's gone off with her?" replies George, laughing to himself.
"George! Behave yourself!" scolds Molly.
Hermione flinches slightly at his comment. She was sure it wasn’t true and that George was only joking, but the idea of it hurts her deep inside.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" asks George to Hermione, noticing she had turned pale.
"Yes, very much. Thank you all so much for organising it, it really was so lovely" replies Hermione, giving them her best fake smile.
"You're looking a bit peaky love, are you feeling okay?" asks Molly, looking at her daughter in law in concern.
"Yes, fine Molly, I’ve just got a bit of a headache to be honest" she replies.
"Well of course you do! It's very late, you must be exhausted, straight to bed for you, go on dear!" says Molly, fussing over her.
Hermione makes her way to her bedroom, relieved at being able to get away from them all without making up an excuse herself. She really did have a headache, and she just wanted to get under her covers and hide away from the world.
"Where’s Hermione?" asks Ron, as he enters the Burrow. He had remained at the castle to quickly clear up the hall and fix anything broken with Harry.
"She's gone to bed love, she had an awful headache" replies Molly.
Ron looks dismayed by this, as he was hoping it would be the end of his dry spell. He had hoped he and Hermione would have made love this evening, he had missed the touch of her body and the closeness he had felt in those moments. Ron was starting to get frustrated that only after a year into their marriage they were already acting like an elderly couple.
He makes his way to his bedroom after saying his good nights to his family, quietly making his way into the bedroom. He looks at the figure in his bed, hoping that maybe she would be awake. He sees the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest, hears her soft breathing, and knows that she is fast asleep.
AN: Hope you liked the chapter, let me know what you think! xx