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Chapter 2 : Foreign Letters of Love
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France, really? I’ve heard it’s beautiful there. I’ve always wanted to visit. Someday, we’ll go, just the two of us, and you can push me off the Eiffel Tower, alright? I’m sure you’d get a laugh out of that. Have you eaten any snails? Percy says he tried one (I don’t believe him) and that they’re good (again). How are your parents? Have they inspected anyone’s teeth and embarrassed you yet? My dad has done both of these, unsurprisingly. Are they enjoying France as much as you seem to be? I’m kind of jealous, I won’t lie.
Egypt is all sorts of wonderful. George and I tried to lock Percy in a pyramid, but Mum had a conniption. The poor lady from the Prophet who took our picture (I’ve included the issue for your glassy-eyed gazing) looked terrified when Mum started screaming. FRED WEASLEY, HOW DARE YOU. I tried to reason with her, saying it was all George’s idea, which he hexed me for, and then, Christ, it was all, OH MY GOSH, YOU DID UNDERAGE MAGIC from the Ministry. Honestly, you’d think we went out and killed Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived, Only Savior of the Universe.
Have you spoken with Harry? Ron keeps moping because he hasn’t heard from him yet. I keep telling him it’s only July, and just barely, that we’ll see him in August, but he’s not buying any of it. I reckon those wretched Dursleys have Hedwig locked up again. I wouldn’t put it past them. You did hear what they did last year, right, with the bars and all? Ruddy awful, if you ask me.
I’ve got to wrap this up, though. George has been throwing marsh mellows at me for some time now, so I assume that means he’s bored or tired of watching me chicken scratch your letter away, so I’ll leave you to eat snails and drop pennies from the Eiffel Tower (Dad said that can kill someone; have you tried?). Much love, and don’t let any boys wearing berets French kiss you, or I’ll have to come over there, and I don’t know how to apparate yet!
“Your name is not Frederick,” was all George said as he finished reading over his twin’s shoulder. He popped a marsh mellow in his mouth as Fred rolled his eyes and folded up the letter. He called for Errol, remembering the last time he’d written Hermione. It had taken nearly three weeks for her response because she was so afraid to let him out of her sight. She tried to nurse him back to health, but Errol was Errol, and forever he would remain battered and broken. And now, he refused to send any letter to her without the scrambling bird.
France is beautiful. I think you’d like it here. It’s the perfect place for blowing things up and trying things out on reluctant people. There are just so many tourists here; it’s hard to imagine how the true French must feel, having to deal with us day in and day out. I wonder if there’s some sort of community of real French people who discuss and plot the downfall of tourism in their country? I think we should start one, if not.
You’re jealous? Goodness, I wish I could be in Egypt. It sounds fascinating. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to study there. There’s just… so much. I doubt you have similar ideas, though. I hope you two aren’t expelled! Who will convince me the elves like to stay up and bake you cookies just so you can share half the plate with them and play Exploding Snaps until they have no eyebrows?
To be quite honest, I really do miss you. I feel like I haven’t spoken to anyone in so long. I know it’s only been a few months since we were last in Hogwarts, but it feels like forever. Do tell Ron and Ginny I miss them and that I say hello. (Stop being so wretched to Percy, even though I’m sure he deserves it.) I have spoken with Harry, and he said he only just managed to sneak Hedwig out with a letter for me and then Ron. I should think it’ll arrive soon enough. On the note of owls, I’m going to murder you if you send Errol one more time. The bloody bird is going to die, and it will be all my fault.
I can’t wait to see you again. August is too far away! I’m very excited to be spending a whole month at the Burrow, though, as I’m sure many adventures will ensue. Mum’s calling; I think my new French boyfriend is waiting with his fake accent. Be sure to pet some cats for me.
Hermione looked up as she felt a tap on her shoulder. Her smile widened as she recognized the two mischievous faces of Fred and George Weasley. “Sit down!” she exclaimed, much to the surprised glances from Ron and Harry, who had snuck in under the Invisibility Cloak. The twins joined them; following them very closely was their younger sister, Ginny.
“How—” Ron began furiously as Ginny blushed when Harry waved hello, “—is she here?”
“We snuck her in,” the twins responded together, shrugging nonchalantly, “It was easy, really. Besides, we felt like she needed a good introduction before she gets all boring next year and doesn’t want to hang out with us on these trips. So, how are you lovely fellows and gals today?”
“Quite good, actually,” Hermione said with a happy smile, “We’ve just come from the Shrieking Shack. Bit chilly out, honestly.”
“Winter is approaching, and fast,” George added, nodding, “Ronald? Harry?”
Ron grunted, and Harry rolled his eyes. “Alright, and you?”
“Well enough. Have we ordered yet, Rosmerta, dear?” Fred inquired as the short, curly-haired waitress stopped by their table.
“We have, but you’re more than welcome to put in orders.” She looked at Ginny briefly, but didn’t utter a word; she merely smiled and tsked the twins. Once they’d ordered, the group delved into conversation consisting of Ron grunting some more, Harry unsuccessfully trying to talk to Ginny that went past blushing and giggling, Harry giving up and engaging the twins, and Fred and Hermione occasionally whispering things and sending each other meaningful, smiling looks.
It was odd, Hermione reckoned, to be feeling this way about a Weasley, especially one of the twins. Ron was her best friend, and she’d never, in her wildest dreams, imagined crushing on one of his brothers. Considering he was the youngest and the twins were beyond her control, she thought it impossible. She didn’t appreciate their blatant disregard for the rules, but everytime Fred was near, that disturbance seemed to float from her mind. She knew they meant well, even if meaning well was causing a ruckus; it was all in the fun of making people happy and laugh.
And Fred, two years older than her, was something else to contend with. She’d never sought after older boys, she’d never even really sought after boys. She was Hermione Granger, and her first and foremost thought was her studies, but that didn’t seem to matter, just like his rule-breaking nature. She liked Fred, as a person, and it didn’t matter that she was only thirteen and insanely straight-edged.
“The astronauts have spotted something beautiful. Wonder if they’ll bring it back to Earth,” she heard Fred saying, and she laughed softly as she realized he was staring straight at her. “Where’d you go, angel?” he asked quietly, and the nickname shocked her into a lapse of silence until he shook his head and waved a hand in front of her face.
“I’m off in the clouds, sorry. Sprouting some wings or something,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders, “And what have you done lately?” she challenged.
“Nothing,” he paused to tap her on the nose, “that you’d approve of. Alright, I’m full. Gred, Gin, ready?”
“I think I’ll stay here, if you guys don’t mind,” Ginny said shyly, and Harry nodded, causing her to duck her head and hide her eyes.
The twins left without her, and George instantly nudged his brother, arching an eyebrow. “Hermione, really?”
“I don’t know. Is she too young? She’s too young, I know,” Fred answered himself miserably, “And it seems so odd, right? Miss Granger, top of her class and all around goody-two-shoes know-it-all. Wanna bewitch some snowballs to follow Malfoy around?”
“You’ve had it in for him ever since last year, crazy bastard.”
“He called her that name. Of course I have it in for him. Plus, he’s a slimy git, and he tortures Harry and Ron.” George just shrugged and went to roll snowballs with his brother.
Hermione rubbed her nose; she’d been sick recently, and her sinuses were sore. She’d just finished with her classes and had sought out some alone time, and so here she was, wandering the halls of Hogwarts. She did this often, just trying to clear her mind, though she was tired and just wanted to find somewhere quiet and out of the way to relax. She happened upon a door she hadn’t noticed before, and she carefully opened it, closing it behind her. A small hallway led to a room she couldn’t quite make out, and she would have turned back, but there was this smell wafting down the hall, and her curiosity got the better of her.
As she made her way forward, the smell started to identify itself. Different sweets and ranging potions assaulted her senses, and she frowned. Who was brewing something and what?
Hermione stopped just beyond the opening from the hallway, and she almost laughed. Peering into a large cauldron was George Weasley while his brother snuck up from behind, something sticky in his hand. Hermione cleared her throat; this time, she did laugh. George jumped, scattering some small, round black things he was holding and Fred yelped, throwing the sticky thing in the air; it landed on his head.
“So this is your shop?”
George gulped; he looked ready for a heavy berating, but Fred was just groaning and trying to pull whatever it was out of his hair. George seemed to notice, and he turned on his twin.
“Seriously? You were trying to put that on me? What happened last time you did that?” And they were wrestling, leaving Hermione to laugh and wander about. At some point, they stopped and watched her in amusement, but she was far too engrossed in all the strange items they had collected and worked on. It looked like Zonko’s, but it had that Weasley touch that made her smile.
“This is interesting,” she said at last, turning to face them, and their jaws dropped open.
“Really?” George managed, “You’re not going to yell at us or something?”
“No,” she said with a shrug, “As long as you don’t endanger yourselves or anyone.” The twins nodded appreciatively before George went to collect his black things and Fred made his way over to Hermione. He dared touch a hand to the small of her back, and she almost jumped, turning to face him.
“Wanna go for a walk? You look like you’ve got something on your mind.”
“I’m just tired,” she admitted, not stepping away from his touch, “I was trying to find somewhere quiet when I happened upon this.”
“I know the perfect place. George, I’ll be back, alright?” George just smirked.
Fred led the way through the castle, taking so many turns and erupting into so many different hallways that Hermione lost track of where she was. He brought her right up to a door before stopping and smiling down at her. “You ready?” Hermione just nodded, a little nervous, and her heart skipped a step when he took her hand and pushed open the door.
It was a simple motion, really, but it caught her off guard, and she almost forgot to move her feet to follow him. Fred Weasley was holding her hand. It wasn’t romantic, not laced or anything, just regular hand-holding, but it made her stomach tumble. She almost felt… giddy.
They climbed and climbed, up winding stairs, until they erupted into the warm night sky, surrounded by stars and beauty. They were on the Astronomy Tower, and Hermione had never felt like this before. And it was then that she finally admitted to herself that yes, she did like Fred as more than a friend.
Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling.
If you happen to like Marauders era fics, please give my other new story, February Stars, a look! It’s a Sirius/OC, :D
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