"OI! No fair, you cheated!" shouted Ron, as George flew by on his broom clutching the ball under his arm. After knowing the twins for nearly 15 years however, Ron knew arguing was beyond pointless.
"Oh, come off it little brother! Cheating or no cheating, you're still rubbish when it comes to Quidditch," said Fred.
Hermione just sat there and smiled. She was growing quite accustomed to spending her summers at the Burrow. It was the summer before their fifth year at Hogwarts, and though a great many things had changed, over the last year especially, the Weasleys tried to keep life around the Burrow as happy as ever.
"Are you going to sit there all day and read Granger?" Fred called over. "You do know what 'Summer Holiday' means, don't you?"
Hermione set down her copy of Ancient Runes and politely looked up.
"I happen to enjoy reading, no matter what time of year. And besides, you know I'm terrible at Quidditch."
"Probably about the only thing you're bad at, eh?" said Ron.
Hermione couldn't help smiling at this. She always did her best to appear modest, but she couldn't fail to notice the truth in those words. She was good at just about everything. Almost everything, anyway…
She thought back to the past year. She had always felt like sort of the "odd one out" when it came to her fellow female classmates. And now that they were all nearly 15, and the unavoidable puberty had hit, it only aided in making her situation worse. But last year was a bit different. Though most of the girls had all shared in their taste of first kisses, first dates, and other 'firsts' of the sort, Hermione had continued to focus on her studies and remain an outcast. That is until Viktor Krum had taken an interest in her.
It was the first time in her life she had ever felt pretty. Hermione knew more than anyone how much of a git Malfoy was, but his horrible and incessant jokes at her expense hadn't helped at all. Always making fun of her bushy hair and her big teeth. Hermione knew she could easily use magic to change her appearance. After all, she was the smartest witch in her year. But it felt too much like cheating (with the small exception of her teeth), and Hermione was never one to play against the rules.
But by the end of last year Hermione finally knew what it felt like to be a girl. And she had even experienced her first kiss, though maybe not with the most ideal person. Granted Krum was a very talented Quidditch player, he wasn't exactly Hermione's type. And Ron clearly wasn't taking any hints. They had obviously been dancing around a mutual flirtation since their first year at Hogwarts. But Hermione was in no real hurry…
Although… she couldn't help noticing how different she felt these days. She had always felt much older than her age, but moreso even now. Her dreams about homework and flying horses had lately changed to dreams of boys and heroes. Her being the damsel in distress. And she could not ignore the instant butterflies that now flew in her stomach every time a cute boy walked by. Especially…
"You honestly have no desire to try this Granger?" called Fred.
Hermione bounced immediately out of her daydreaming.
"Huh… oh… well no, not really." Hermione said shyly. She didn't feel the need to completely embarrass herself in front of the Weasleys, especially the twins. Especially Fred.
Granted Fred and George were nearly identical in more ways than just looks, Hermione had recently noticed somewhat of an extra 'spark' in Fred. Not to mention he had grown astonishingly handsome over the last school year. While the boys thought she was reading from her schoolbooks, she had really been admiring Fred's newly chiseled body as he soared around the backyard shirtless. Hermione had shown up wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but was now wishing she had chosen her new bikini. Fred was not the only one to have grown up over the last couple years. Hermione had finally blossomed into, not to sound too arrogant, a rather beautiful young woman. Her hair was finally somewhat under control, a golden chestnut brown falling just below her shoulders, and no longer that untamable frizzy disaster it once was. And she had lost quite a bit of baby fat, to be replaced by womanly curves and fine toned features. She had noticed a slight change in the boys reactions too when she had shown up on their doorstep the previous day. Though only a month had passed since she had last seen them, they seemed to only now realize that Hermione was not a little girl anymore.
She was all woman.
"You know you may like it Granger. I can give you a few tips if you like," said Fred, smiling devilishly.
Hermione knew that he was taking pleasure in this.
"Well… if it will stop your nagging" said Hermione reluctantly.
She slowly got up and casually tossed her hair back before turning around and walking towards the boys. Ron and George were flying circles around each other 15 feet above, still hidden by the trees. That was one thing Hermione liked best about the Burrow. They always had complete privacy back there.
Hermione hesitantly walked over to the broom, and quietly spoke, "Up!"
Nothing happened. No shock there.
Fred was laughing, though doing his best to try to cover it up.
"You think this is funny do you?" said Hermione, a little annoyed. She really didn't like being second best at anything.
"I'm sorry," said Fred, still laughing. "Here, why don't you try it again. But sound confident this time. I know you have it in you."
Hermione smiled, and tried once more. "Up!" And this time the broom flew right into her hand.
"See, what did I tell you?" said Fred, giving Hermione a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. Hermione couldn't help feeling the slightest bit flustered at this, and let her hair fall in front of her face to hide her blushing cheeks.
"Ok, now get on the broom, and push off the ground slightly," said Fred. But when Hermione did this, she immediately began to shake and nearly fell off her broom.
"Here, try more like this," said Fred, and he climbed on the broom behind Hermione, placing his arms around her and hands just above her own on the broom. She was glad the other two were still preoccupied with each other, because her face was now the color of Weasley hair, and she was sure it would not go unnoticed if they saw.
"Ok, ready? Here we go!" shouted Fred, and they soared off the ground in a matter of seconds.
Hermione had never been a fan of heights, and despite her best efforts she couldn't help letting out the tiniest squeal as they climbed higher and higher.
"Don't worry," said Fred, "I've got you" and he immediately moved his hands over hers and rested his chin on her shoulder. Hermione's insides squirmed.
They flew laps around the Burrow together, and after only a few minutes Hermione was actually able to enjoy herself.
"Oh Fred! I can't believe I'm doing this! I've never been able to get so much as a foot off the ground!" said Hermione with glee.
They landed back down in the yard and once off the broom Hermione lunged herself at Fred without thinking and gave him a huge hug. She quickly dropped her arms though, and began blushing profusely.
"Er… sorry" she said, smiling awkwardly.
Fred just stood there with a tender smile on his face, and reached up to brush her hair back behind her ear. Hermione was consumed with goosebumps.
"Anytime, Hermione" said Fred.
They stood there staring into each others eyes for a moment, until Mrs. Weasley shouted "Lunch time!" and they were brought back to reality. Fred still took the opportunity to give Hermione a quick kiss on the cheek before giving a sly smile and heading towards the house. Hermione was positively beaming, and followed after him and the other two, who had just landed.
Hermione was the last to arrive at the table, and sat herself down next to Ginny. She hoped her cheeks had returned to their regular soft honey complexion, although she knew there was still a good chance Ginny would pick up on her extra energy anyway. She calmed herself with a drink of water before engaging Ginny in a conversation about the new line of robes that had appeared in Diagon Alley. Meanwhile, Fred, George and Ron were on the other side of the table talking the latest on Quidditch. But every now and then Hermione noticed Fred giving her private smiles and winks in between their conversations. Hermione's heart lifted.
At 9:30 that night, everyone started heading to bed. Hermione found that her mind was flying with a hundred different thoughts. She contented herself with reading on the living room sofa. Or at least that's what it appeared to anyone that would happen by. Her eyes however were not moving across those pages. Instead, she was lost in thoughts about Fred. Did he like her too? Or was he just acting brotherly? Oh how embarrassing it would be if she decided to make the first move and found that he did not share her feelings! She mulled this all over in her head when she heard a loud CRACK! Startled, she turned around to see a shirtless Fred standing behind the sofa. The twins had just passed their Apparation tests, and had wasted no time in showing off their newly learned skill.
"Hey Granger," Fred said smiling.
"Goodness Fred, you scared the flying hippogriffs out of me!" Hermione exclaimed.
"So what brings you to the living room sofa at this hour of the night?" he asked.
"Oh, you know… just catching up on some reading," Hermione said shyly.
"Really? You sure about that?" Fred asked as he gave a sly smile and looked down at her book.
Hermione looked down too and noticed that the book had been upside-down the whole time. She began blushing again. Fred just laughed, and knelt down right behind her head.
"Something on your mind, beautiful?" Fred whispered in her ear. It sent wonderful chills up and down her spine. She turned her head slightly and met Fred's eyes. Her breath escaped her, and for once in her life she had trouble forming any coherent thoughts.
"I… um…" was all she could say.
Fred smiled, and again reached out and brushed the hair out of her face and behind her ear. She loved when he did that.
Hermione wanted so badly to simply lunge at him in a fit of passion, but she was still so unsure. She had always wished the facts of love could be learned from a book.
Still staring into her eyes, Fred reached out and grabbed the upside-down book from Hermione's hand.
"Hermione…" Fred whispered, and he leaned in and kissed her cheek again, before pulling back and lightly brushing a kiss against her earlobe. Goosebumps immediately ran across Hermione's body. She couldn't help feeling a bit shocked. 'Me?' she thought, 'he can't possibly be interested in me?'
But that last kiss from Fred was all she needed. She turned around and grabbed his face in both her hands. They engaged in the most passionate kiss either of them had ever experienced. It was like their mouths were made for each other. Her tongue was dancing around his, exploring every crevice. Fred broke away from her lips and planted a kiss on he forehead, then looked her in the eyes again.
"I… have wanted to do that for a VERY long time," said Fred, smiling.
Hermione, breathing heavily, smiled back.
"Same here," she said, running her fingers through his hair.
Fred leapt at her again and threw her back on the sofa. One hand ran along her waist, the other played in her hair. Hermione gasped in pleasure as Fred ran kisses down her neck. She kissed his cheek and pulled on his hair before tossing her head back in ecstasy. Her fingers raked his bare toned back. He moved his attention back up to her lips, and they continued their emphatic kisses.
Fred pulled away again with a frisky smile and grabbed Hermione's hand.
"Come with me," he said, planting a kiss on her hand. She followed obligingly. Fred led her outside and to the broom shed. He gestured to his broom.
"Care to go for a ride, m'lady?" said Fred.
"Absolutely," said Hermione, gazing into his eyes.
He kissed her once more before letting her get on the broom and climbing on behind her. They soared all around the yard for several minutes, their fingers entwined on the broom handle. Fred kissed her neck, and she purred in enjoyment. He flew them all the way up to the roof of the Burrow, where they hopped off. Standing under the stars, they continued what they had begun on the sofa.
They kissed each other long into the night. After several hours, Fred stopped and again looked into Hermione's eyes.
"You know, a guy could get used to this," said Fred smiling.
Hermione looked up and brushed the hair behind his ears.
"Same here," she said.