"...And I am pleased to inform you, the fourth and sixth years shall be working on a Potions project together. List of the partners are with Professor Snape. That will be all. Now, pip pip!" Dumbledore finished.
"A Potions project? Blimey, Harry, we'll probably blow up whomever we're working with."
"Oh relax, Ron. The sixth years are more accomplished. So accomplished, in fact, they'll probably push you aside and finish the potion themselves." said Hermione.
"I'm definitely going to hope for that kind of partner." said Harry.
"I'm fine with anyone as long as they're not Fred or George. They'll take the mickey out of me and my potion!" Ron groaned.
"I hope I get Angelina or Katie." said Hermione.
"Or Lee." Ron said wickedly, "He's worse than Neville."
The next day, the fourth and sixth year Gryffindors all milled around the dungeons, for the first time, anticipating Professor Snape.
Snape swept through the crowd and telepathically sneered at everyone to sit. He took out a long roll of parchment and began reeling of the names and their partners.
"Potter and Jordan."
Harry gave a silent whoop and pranced off to join Lee at his table.
"Weasley and Johnson."
Ron punched the air under his table and went to sit next to Angelina.
"Longbottom and Bell."
Neville began to sweat profusely as Katie made her way to his bench.
Hermione's face fell a little. Both of her good sixth year friends were taken. Ron, lucky Ron, had gotten Angelina while Neville had gotten Katie. This loss just made her more anxious about her mystery partner.
"Granger and Weasley."
Hermione was floored at this. Both the twins stood up.
Fred grinned, whispered "Ten Galleons." in his brother's ear, and practically skipped his way to Hermione.
Once all the partners were read out, Snape started listing the essentials of the project.
"Each of you will meet your partner seven hours a week to brew your potion here, in the dungeons, along with your regular Potions classes. This will take eight weeks.This project counts for half of your pre - O.W.L grade, so make sure the concoction is at least... acceptable." Snape finished, glaring at Neville.
"Each pair will be brewing a different potion - that way you cannot take help from your friends - and that list is also with me. They are unfortunately all safe potions, as the headmaster has requested me to keep."
"Weasley and Johnson, Polyjuice Potion."
Ron went green.
"Potter and Jordan, the Mandrake Draught."
Harry went pale at the thought of handling Mandrakes again. Hermione gave him a
"Granger and Weasley, Amoretina."
Hermione froze. Coincidence. Just pure coincidence.
"Alright Fred, get serious."
Fred simply stood there and laughed.
"Hermione, you know I could never get serious."
"At least try." said Hermione, rolling her eyes.
"That's like telling a pig to grow wings and start flying."
Hermione rolled her eyes again. He's funny, she thought. She also allowed herself to think about the mere factor that Fred was, looks wise, pretty appealing. No! she scolded herself, No! You like Ron!
Another voice nagged her in the back of her head.
You're supposed to like Ron. it said, But you don't. Are you so weak that you can't break the stereotype?
The first voice argued back.
You know he's too old for you.
Love doesn't have age boundaries! said the second voice.
The two voices kept arguing in this fashion untill Hermione got fed up.
"Stop it!" she said.
"I beg your pardon?"
"No - nothing, Fred. Doesn't this potion call for some sophohorous bean juice?"
While Fred strode over to Hermione when Snape called out his name, he felt that this would be the first time in his life he ever got a good grade. Mum would be proud.
He allowed himself a once-over at Hermione. Slim body. Striking features. Veela beauty. Wavy, honey-brown hair.
No! he screamed at himself. She's off limits! She's your brother Ron's, remember?
Ah. another voice said. Not yet.
What's that supposed to mean?
You have the perfect chance in these eight weeks, Fred Weasley. You can easily sweep her off her feet, that is, before her common sense gets to her first.
Fred shut the two voices up.
Six weeks progressed quickly in this manner. Hermione and Fred meeting in their scheduled hour. Hermione constantly thinking about Fred. Fred constantly thinking about Hermione. Neither paying attention to the potion. The potion emitting sparks. Hermione fixing the potion. Leaving the room.
Neither of them were ready to say they had a crush on the other.
Hermione weighed her odds on the last day of The Potions Prison, as the Gryffindors had dubbed it. The chances of Fred liking her were too minute to even possibly contemplate it. But, if she told Fred she liked him, he might like her.
Fred, on the other hand, was pacing an empty corridor in front of his now too-shocked-and-frozen-to-speak brother.
"So wait," George spluttered, "You're telling me that you like Hermione Granger, bookworm, Gryffindor Princess?"
"And you've fallen head over heels over head for her?"
"And now you're scared that if you go tell her, she might scorn you?"
"Blimey, George, YES!"
"Methinks you should go tell her, mate. Because if you don't, Ron might end up getting her, and you'll live the rest of your life in a miserable pressure cooker."
"You know what George? For the first time, I think you're right. And really? Methinks?"
"Hey, it doesn't hurt to use medieval words from time to time."
"Thanks, mate." and Fred slapped his brother on the back.
"Anytime." George called.
Hermione walked briskly back to the Gryffindor common room before she could change her mind. She was right in front of the portrait when - she bumped into a Fred Weasley.
"Listen, Fred. I like you. I really do. Don't think I'm crazy. My twisted labyrinth of a mind made me do this. So- um- bye!" She said this all in a rush and tried to make a dash in the opposite direction when a warm arm encircled her waist.
"You're not going anywhere till I fess up, too."
Hermione was still on the fact that Fred had his arm around her waist. It was odd. She never acted so- girly before.
"You know what? I really like you too. And I thank Merlin that he gave me this chance before my jerk of a brother got to you."
"I don't like Ron- as a boyfriend. I never did."
"Good, that means you're all mine, then."
"Aren't we taking this a little too fast?"
"But we've liked each other for a long time."
Later, in the Room of Requirement, the two were cuddled together on a couch.Hermione's head rested in the crook of Fred's neck, and Fred's head was on top of her hair. He was holding her, gently tracing circles on her cotton-clad stomach.
"Stop tickling me." she whispered.
Instead, he just brought he closer.
"Thank Merlin Snape gave us this project together. If we didn't confess, I would have used some of the love potion we made on you."
"Fred Weasley," she giggled, "I would have done the same thing."
He just kissed her.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! Methinks you should review.