The next few days were blissful. They spent countless hours exploring each other's bodies, making up for the years that they'd both wanted to do just that. They also found time to plan out the ideas for wizarding versions of both Monopoly and Scrabble and watch all of the videos in the cupboard.
Finally, it was the morning of Christmas Eve. Lingering at the table after breakfast, Hermione smiled at Fred saying, "I'm excited to leave here and truly begin our life together, but I'm also sad. This has been the best week of my life and I truly don't want it to end." Looking thoughtful, she added, "I guess that we have George to thank for this. I know that we were both furious with him in the beginning but it all worked out rather well."
"Oh sweetness, it did work out, but my dear twin still must be punished. We need a plan before we see him tomorrow. How should we get our revenge?" Seeing the conflicted expression on Hermione's face, he continued, "Remember the snowstorm we had to walk through to get here? The purple bikini? Those amazingly sexy pyjamas? When you think about thanking him because it all turned out perfectly, remember how angry you were and help me repay him for making you think I was with all of those other women. We can thank him later."
With a smile slowly spreading across her face, Hermione nodded.
The next morning, they awoke early, knowing they would need to return to the hotel to collect their belongings and to get the Portkey back to England. They had cleaned up the previous evening, and Hermione had taken the time to write the tale of their stay in the journal for the owner - leaving out the salacious bits, of course. All that was left was for them to say goodbye to their home over the past week, the place where they finally acknowledged their feelings for each other.
Wrapping an arm around her, Fred whispered, "We can always come back one day if you like."
She nodded and leaned into his embrace. "Happy Christmas. I'm going to miss this place, but I'm happy to get back and experience real life with you."
Smiling at her, Fred returned the greeting. Taking out his wand for the first time in a week and glancing at Hermione for assurance that she was ready, he apparated them away, back to the hotel.
A short time later, they arrived at the Burrow. Knowing that they only had a few hours before George and Angelina would be there as well, they immediately set their plan into motion.
Entering the house hand in hand, they were met by thrilled shrieks and cheers. Molly gathered them into a tight hug, tears shining in her eyes and started to speak. Fred stopped her. "Mum, I know what you're going to say, and yes, marriage and babies will happen, eventually. But, give us some time to get used to being together first. We've only just started."
With his mum settled, Fred and Hermione quickly filled the others in on what George had done and their plan to teach him a lesson. Knowing George as they did, no one was surprised about the lengths he'd gone to in his attempt to bring Fred and Hermione together. They were all happy to assist with getting him back though, everyone there having been on the receiving end of multiple pranks.
Everyone got into position, and not a moment too soon. Just minutes later, George and Angelina appeared at the boundary of the Burrow, glowing with happiness over their new engagement. Momentarily, Fred felt guilty for spoiling their happy day like this. Deciding on the spot to alter the plans, just a little, he shifted tactics. Instead of approaching his twin angrily, he hung back, waiting as the rest of the family gathered around the happy couple, congratulating them on their engagement. George, spotting him some distance from the group, beckoned him over.
Looking at him expectantly, he asked pointedly, "Well, how did it go? Where's that beautiful bookworm of yours?"
Fred didn't respond to the question. Instead, he said, "Congratulations you two. I'm very happy for you." Then, looking over George's shoulder at Angelina, added, "I'm sorry about this, Angie." With that, he hauled back and punched George in the face.
George, who had been knocked back several steps, sputtered, rubbed his sore jaw. Saying wryly, "I'm going to guess that it didn't go well."
"Well, what the bloody hell did you expect? Trapping us like that, nearly freezing us out in a snowstorm. But then, the cabin was nice, and I was there with her and she's hard to resist so, I took your advice, and took a chance, only to learn that my dear brother had ruined everything before I could do anything about it."
Confusion written all over his face, George asked, "What do you mean? I know she fancies you too. How did I ruin your chance?"
"Well, brother," he spat, "you made her think that our flat was a revolving door for women lining up to take their turn with me."
Closing his eyes, George ran a hand through his hair and sighed deeply. "Didn't you explain? Show her your letter maybe?"
Fred glared. "This is Hermione Granger we're talking about. When has she ever listened to reason once she gets an idea into her head?"
"Gods, Freddie, I'm so sorry. I'll talk to her, make it right. I promise."
"Well, that's going to be a little difficult seeing that she disappeared as soon as we got back here."
As George stared down at his feet, mumbling apology after apology and undoubtedly trying to come up with a plan of his own to corner Hermione, Fred looked up at the window of his old bedroom where he knew Hermione stood disillusioned, in the window watching everything unfold and shot her a quick wink. Glancing around he realised that he'd been caught by Angie who pointed a finger in his direction, and flashing him a bright smile, shook her head, and mouthed, "you prat!" at him.
Holding a finger to his lips, he silently asked her to go along. She nodded her agreement and turned to George. "Why don't we go inside, give everyone a chance to cool off, yeah?"
When they were out of sight, Fred shot a thumbs up in the direction of the window where Hermione stood, her signal to move along with the second phase of the plan. As soon as he did, he made his way inside to watch the show.
Before long, an unfamiliar owl flew in the open window, dropping a bright red, slightly smoking envelope onto George's lap. When he saw what it was, the color drained from his face. Ron, barely able to contain his mirth, laughed. "Better open it now. It only gets worse if you ignore it."
George, still pale, nodded and opened it. Hermione's angry voice immediately filled the room…
HOW DARE YOU PULL A STUNT LIKE THAT! WE COULD HAVE FROZEN TO DEATH! I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WERE THINKING BUT YOUR LITTLE PLAN DIDN'T WORK. I'M GOING TO STAY AWAY FOR A WHILE. I DON'T THINK I CAN STAND TO BE NEAR YOU RIGHT NOW. I DON'T KNOW WHEN I'LL BE BACK. DON'T TRY TO FIND ME!
As the howler dissolved into a pile of ash and Hermione's angry voice faded away, George turned to Fred. "I've really buggered this one up. I don't know how, but I promise I'll fix this. I know for certain that she loves you too. The two of you belong together."
Though the plan had been to drag this on until after dinner, Fred was beginning to feel guilty. He thought that George had suffered enough. Apparently, Hermione had been listening to the exchange because she appeared suddenly, sliding into Fred's lap. George, who was still looking down at the remnants of red on his lap, didn't notice. Hermione spoke up, "I hope you've learned your lesson. It's not nice to meddle in other people's lives."
Looking up, evidently shocked, George could only stare, then a broad grin began to spread across his face. "So it worked then? The two of you finally get your heads out of your arses and admitted that you were in love?"
Fred replied, "Yes, well, no thanks to you. Everything did happen like I said outside. You really had made Mi think all of those awful things about me, and she wasn't very willing to hear me out at first, but we were trapped and she couldn't very well go anywhere so I got her to come around in the end."
George and Angie wanted to hear the whole story then. Fred first apologised to his soon to be sister-in-law, saying that he truly felt bad about spoiling their engagement announcement. She shrugged it off saying that if she was going to be married to a Weasley twin; it was part of the package.
Over the next hour, everyone listened as Fred and Hermione told a family-friendly version of their adventure, then George and Angelina recounted their own holiday and engagement. By the time Molly called them all to the table, they were all relaxed and happily chatting about wedding plans and what Hermione and Fred planned to do next.
As the hour grew late, Hermione found Fred in one of the armchairs near the fire chatting with George. Slipping onto his lap, she whispered in his ear. "You know, our magic is working again."
Raising an eyebrow, Fred felt himself begin to grow hard at the implications of her statement, groaning quietly when she discreetly moved her arse to brush against him.
Gazing at him, attempting to appear innocent, but with eyes full of mischief. She whispered again, "What would you like to do now?"
Before he could answer, George spoke up. "The two of you need to get a room. Preferably in Hermione's flat. Angie is staying with me at ours tonight."
Hermione turned back to him and said lowly, "I like that plan." Then, leaning closer, mouth against his ear, she breathed, "I need to feel you inside me. I can't wait any longer."
With that, Fred grabbed her and kissed her soundly. Pulling away, he whispered, "I need to be able to get out of this chair and tell everyone goodbye and Happy Christmas. If you don't stop, we'll be stuck here all night."
Hearing a chuckle from George, he realised that he hadn't spoken as quietly as intended. Hermione turned red and hopped off his lap, announcing that she would go find Ginny and say goodbye and he should let her know when he was ready.
Soon, they were saying their goodbyes and heading off to Hermione's. This was his life now. He still couldn't believe that Hermione was his. Turning to her, he said, "This has been the best Christmas ever. I can't wait until next year to see what we can do to improve on this one."
Their year was crazy, the potion that they created using the Stella Gelida was a success, slowly improving the lives of those who had been tortured into insanity. Hermione had been thrilled to help all of those people, and she and Fred were blissfully happy with each other.
True to his word, Fred made plans to make this Christmas even better than the last. After talking to George, he got details on how to access the cabin in Norway. The trip was dual purposed. They did need more of the flowers to continue brewing the life-changing potion and Fred had big plans for the week that they would be stranded. After packing Hermione's beaded bag, bringing along the purple bikini, of course, he arranged a surprise Portkey to take her back to have a repeat of the trip where they confessed their love for each other. Only this time, when they returned, the day after Christmas, Hermione was wearing a new piece of jewellery and glowing with happiness.