Chapter 1 : One last shot.
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AN: This story is for the October Title Swap challenge at the Twin Exchange. I was given the title Candy Canes in Summer from member townlights. I confess that I failed in trying to come up with a way to turn that title into an October or fall timeline story. So I’m making my story take place in July. Hope you all enjoy this little one-shot! Clumsy
Candy Canes in Summer
“It works! Fred, come quick I finally figured out where we went wrong!” George Weasley hollered up the stairs for his twin brother Fred.
“Keep your pants on Georgie; I’m coming!” Fred said as he ran down the stairs that led to the backroom of their shop. Upon seeing George in nothing but his white t-shirt and blue boxers he began to speak again. “Now that I see how you’re dressed really keep your pants on!”
“Ha, Ha, very funny Fred, come look at this. I got up to get a glass of water and heard you talking in your sleep mumbling something about candy canes in summer. It hit me and I thought if we used peppermint as the tool to deliver said potion as in a candy cane, then the mint would effectively control the side effects from the Unicorn hair! So I brewed it and put it in the candy and BAM!” George said elatedly.
Fred high fived his brother, “Now we need to pay back Mione for her latest attempt to prank us! Plus we’ll finally find out exactly who she is crushing on.”
“Freddie, are you really sure you want to know? If it isn’t you or worse if it’s still Ronnikins will you be able to deal with that?” George asked in a rare moment of seriousness.
“Georgie, I’ve been in love with her for six years now. I think it’s time to move forward or figure out I need to let it go. I don’t think I can keep going this way- it’s been a long time since the D.A. was established.” Fred answered just as seriously.
“Alright brother of mine, if you’re truly ready to find out then we have a lot of work to do before the dinner Sunday. Let’s get busy!”
While they worked Fred thought back to a day during his 7th and her 5th year at Hogwarts; the day he finally looked at her and saw more than Ron’s crush, or brightest witch of the age, or Gryffindor Princess, or resident bookworm. It was the day he really saw rebel and a touch of bad girl and more importantly; his hearts deepest desire.
“Fred! Hey Fred wait up!” Fred heard and tried to speed up and get away from the most annoying prefect since the days of Percy. If he could just make it around the next corner there was a tapestry he could go through that would hide him well and lead him down two floors by the Charms classroom.
Luck was not with Fred today though as she reached out and made him stop.
“Didn’t you hear me calling you Fred?” Hermione said while trying to catch her breath and holding a stitch in her side from running to catch up to him.
“Sorry ‘Mione I didn’t. I was thinking of a paper I have due for Snape.” Fred lied. Maybe if she thought he was thinking of homework she wouldn’t start nagging him about the Wheeze’s products which is surely why she was trying to get his attention. He was tired of her yelling and nagging but the worst was when she threatened to write his mum.
“Really? I didn’t think you cared about schoolwork to be honest.” Hermione said rudely.
“Well, Potions is my best and favorite subject and Snape isn’t really all that bad to me and George; when you three aren’t around that is.” Fred laughed.
“Anyway I need to talk to you privately about something. Do you know a place we won’t be found?” She asked him. At his obvious reluctance she blushed a little because it hurt her feelings that the guy she’d been half in love with for so long didn’t want to be alone with her.
“Alright, follow me.” Fred said with a deep sigh of reluctance.
He led her not around the corner where he had been hoping to escape but back the way they had come. Two corners and one tapestry later they reached a picture of a wizard forever doomed to be running from the manticore in the painting with him. Fred whispered a password so quietly that ‘Mione couldn’t make out what he’d said.
“Wait Hermione.” He said and gently grabbed her arm as she made to enter the room. “Before you go in I need your word that this room doesn’t end up on your prefect list. This is the place that George, Lee, and I work and escape to when we’re under pressure. If you turn us in for this place it’s like violating a personal diary.”
“Fred honestly! I may try and stop you from testing on first years but I think your products are amazing and brilliant. I haven’t reported any of you all year have I?” Hermione said with obvious hurt in her voice and Fred felt a little guilty.
They entered the room and Fred watched her eyes grow round and he saw what she’d said was true as it was written all over her face. He was floored by their little princess when he saw admiration and wonder there.
“So ‘Mione what did you need to talk to me about?” Fred asked.
“Well, I had an idea about how to get around Umbridge and actually learn DADA. It must remain secret or Harry and I can get in so much trouble and she’s just itching for any opportunity to nail Harry.” She said.
“Alright, obviously I can keep a secret.” Fred said as he spread his arms wide to indicate the secret room they were in.
“So then if you and George and Lee are interested we’re having a meeting of sorts at the Hogs Head this Saturday during the Hogsmeade weekend.” She told him. “If you could let the other two know then I don’t have to chase them down as well.”
“Can do. So, would you like to see what we’re working on?” Fred offered to assuage his guilt; but also because for some reason when she mentioned creating this secret rebel class he started looking at her differently. It didn’t hurt that she said she thought what they did was brilliant either!
“I would love to but I have Umbridge’s class to get to. I won’t call it Defense because she’s hardly a teacher.” She complained.
“Come on ‘Mione be daring and skive off one time. Stay and I will show you what we’re working on. You know you want to!”
“I suppose it won’t hurt to miss one class. Alright, show me what you got!” She said, taking the rare opportunity to be alone with Fred for a while.
Fred walked her around and showed her the Snackboxes they had finished. How they made the Extendable Ears and showed her a telescope they were making with a little hand growing off that when finished was supposed to punch the person using it in the eye.
“Remind me to stay away from that one.” She laughed. “What’s that potion brewing over there?” Hermione wondered pointing to the corner where they had a brewing station set up.
“That is our biggest headache at the moment. We have a snackbox that creates these massive, pus filled boils but we can’t figure out what we’re missing in the remedy. Nothing we’ve added has worked yet and believe me, since we test them on ourselves first; we’ve tried very hard to work that one out! Sitting a broomstick during Quidditch practice has become a painful experience!” He explained.
“Hmmm…..Have you tried aloe leaves?” She asked; hoping she could help. When he nodded she came up with another solution. “How about Essence of Murtlap?”
Fred went to their little potions cupboard and grabbed out a jar of Murtlap and hurried to the potion. That was brilliant and he wondered how they hadn’t thought of it.
“Thanks ‘Mione! We’ll just wait an hour and we’ll see if it works. Do you want to wait with me?”
Hermione had stayed that day and they talked for a long time about many things. He’d begun to admire her during that hour and a half in the secret workroom and obviously the Murtlap had worked and the boil snack box was finished.
Fred continued working with George and more importantly he was remembering why the candy canes were important. Hermione had returned to talk to him as he worked in that room the next week after the DA met the first time.
“So Hermione, tell me something about yourself that nobody else knows.” Fred said as they both we working at different cauldrons.
“Potions is my favorite subject.” She said.
“No good, everyone knows that.”
“Alright, I like chocolate milk in my cereal.”
“Again, nope we already knew that. You’ve stayed at the Burrow too many times for us not to know what you like to eat for breakfast ‘Mione.” Fred laughed.
“Gah! Alright, my favorite candy is Muggle candy canes! I know that nobody knows that; because they’re not widely sold in the Wizarding world.” Hermione stated emphatically.
“Candy canes? So you like minty things?” Fred asked.
“Yes, especially spearmint and peppermint. It sucks though because you can really only get candy canes around Christmas time so if I want candy canes another time, say in the summer I’m out of luck.” She said. “So I can only have my favorite candy one time a year.”
“That makes me sad for some reason ‘Mione. You deserve to have your candy whenever you want some.” Fred said.
They had laughed so much that day and joked around trying to figure out a favorite candy she could have year round. So Fred had a plan that he wasn’t sharing with anyone, not even George.
The Muggles had a saying; Christmas in July, and he was going to turn his and Georgie’s old room at home into Christmas in July for Hermione. If the secret potion worked and she revealed himself as her crush then he would take her to the room and give her a roomful of candy canes, complete with Christmas tree and a few presents!
Fred had spent Saturday night at the Burrow and had finally had to cave in and ask for help setting up the room. He went to his mum and told her the plan and she had excitedly dived in and helped him work through the night. It was no secret she wanted Hermione to become a part of the family and she had finally given up on Ron marrying Hermione. Fred was actually surprised when she volunteered to get Hermione to eat the potion laced candy cane.
“She will obviously distrust anything you two give her, but if I offer it she won’t hesitate. Plus it will be so much easier on her if it is only me she tells who she has feelings for. If she says your name I will call you into the kitchen and offer you your tea. If it isn’t you then I will have you go to de-gnome the garden. Sound good?” Molly asked.
“Who knew our dear mother had a prankster buried deep down! I’m kind of proud at the moment.” Fred said wiping at a nonexistent tear.
“Oh, you!” Molly exclaimed as she playfully smacked her son’s arm. They laughed and put the finishing touches on the room and then each went to bed to get a few hours’ sleep before everyone started showing up for the Sunday dinner.
Fred was in his room pacing back and forth, back and forth. Hermione had gotten here an hour ago and Molly had left to do her part and all Fred could do was sit and wait. It was driving him spare and so began the pacing.
“Fred dear, could you come down here please!” He heard his mum yell. He was suddenly so nervous that he didn’t want to go down, what if she said to de-gnome, could he really handle that? He wasn’t sure after all these years.
“Fred, did you hear me?” She yelled again so he took a deep breath and walked out of the bedroom on shaky legs with his palms sweating.
When he got to the kitchen Hermione was sitting at the table with a cup of tea. She looked up at him and blushed when she saw him. Was that a good sign, or a bad sign? Urgh!
“Fred dear,” His mom said with a gentle smile. “Would you like a cup of tea?” Fred froze hardly able to believe his ears but when he looked up at his mum she had watery eyes and a tear slipping down her cheek that she quickly hid by turning away.
“Thanks Mum,” Fred said as he walked up and hugged her from behind. “Maybe later, I have something I want to show ‘Mione. Hermione, could you come upstairs for a minute?”
He watched her nod and stand up from the table, he then reached out and grabbed her hand and led her up the stairs to his old bedroom.
“Close your eyes, love.” Fred told her and watched her blush return at the use of the endearment.
He led her right to the middle of the room and positioned her so that the first thing she’d see would be the tree.
“Open your eyes Hermione.”
He watched as she did; her face was full of wonder as she looked around the room. Candy canes were everywhere; there was snow all around the room and a big Christmas tree in front of the window.
“Christmas in July just for you Hermione.” Fred told her with a smile.
He heard her whisper as she remembered back to those days in the secret workroom at Hogwart’s. “Candy canes in Summer.”
Then she looked at him with a loving smile and wonder in her eyes as she came towards him. She seemed determined about something when she looked up into his eyes.
Then she leaned up on her toes and kissed his lips. “Thank you Fred. This is the sweetest, most loving and romantic thing anyone has ever done for me. I can’t believe you remembered. Fred, I love you.”
“I love you too ‘Mione.” Fred was finally able to say after all these years.