What In The...?
AN: This just came to me after reading a particularly funny Fred/Hermione comedy, I just had to get it down :) Enjoy!
Chapter 1 - Why are elevators so messed up?
Ah, finally. Peace and quiet. I'm on my way to my favorite place in the world, my office. You would think that I would have a better place to calm down and be myself in, well, let me just tell you something, you're wrong.
I literally hate every other bloody place in this dratted world. I hate my house, it's filthy thanks to my pig of a husband, it's filled with the smell of diapers thanks to my demon child, and it constantly has the most irritating symphony playing in the background of every room you go into thanks to our lovely friend, Mr. Potter, who in an attempt to put my before-mentioned demon child to sleep, cast a charm around the nursery room, but it went terribly wrong. Obviously.
So now, the only other place worthy of a mention is my office, my wonderful, trust-worthy, clean office. It's free of wretched smells, there are no unfailingly annoying people in it and I have complete undisputed control everywhere within a mile of my 100 square-feet work-place. It was a heaven for me, it is my heaven.
Wait a minute, why is the lift door opening again? No one is supposed to be in the Ministry yet. What retard, besides myself of course, would come into work at 5:50 in the morning? I have every reason to, I have just been received the opportunity of a lifetime; finally, after years of exceptionally hard back-breaking work, I was offered the position of Head of the Auror Office. I was promoted last Friday, and today, Monday, my first day as Head, I decide to get off to a good start, so sue me.
Woah, hold on a second, who is that? What on earth...is that...red hair? Oh god, please don't tell me that tyrant is taking over this part of my life too! Wait, no, that's not Ron...that man is taller, much taller. And he's not fat...and he can see his toes. Who is that?
Holy...is that...? Is that really...?
He's walking towards me, he's about to enter the lift with me...damn. What is he doing here? Is he here for a trial? Has he become a criminal? Dear god, I never knew he had it in him to actually hurt people, other than Umbridge of course, that woman, though in her 50's, still has scars on her face.
He's smiling. That can't be good. WHY IS HE SMILING? HE'S ABOUT TO BE SHIPPED OFF TO AZKABAN! Here he comes...
He's standing next to me, Merlin, he smells good. And his hair...he combed it. He actually combed it. Why is he wearing a suit? Since when does anyone wear a suit to a hearing? If you're going to prison anyway, what's the point in looking good? Really good...
"Aren't you a bit young for those shoes?"
WHAT?! You haven't seen someone in 15 years, and that's the first thing you say to them? Who the hell does he think he is? Damn, how is someone supposed to reply to something like that? Think, Hermione..come on! THINK!
"Aren't you a bit too immature for a tie?" Why would I say that? I just sound like a prat...a stupid picky prat.
"Touche." He nods and looks away.
What the hell is his problem?
"So why'd you do it?" He asks me.
Somehow I know what he's talking about...but I don't want to seem like I still know what he's thinking...I'm not supposed to feel that way about him anymore. So I play dumb, what else am I supposed to do?
"What are you talking about?" I snap, trying to gain control of my rising temper.
"Why'd you marry that git? Why'd you bother settling with him when you could have anyone else?" I knew it, he wouldn't try playing around it, he'd get straight to it, oblivious of anyone else's feelings, as usual.
"Excuse me? What business is that of yours?" I attempt to put on my best 'you're-an-idiot' voice, I think I failed.
"Well he is my brother." Okay, I wasn't expected that, one of the last things he told me before he disappeared was that if I were to ever accept Ron's so very generous offer, he would refuse to acknowledge him as anything more than a girlfriend-stealing, idiotic, dim-witted git.
"Still, maybe if you asked ten years ago, I may still have had a little more than a shred of respect left for you to answer you." Bringing back the past, that's all I can do. What else am I supposed to say? I vowed to never share pleasantries with this man...ever. I can't very well break that, now can I?
"If I could, I would, trust me. It just so happens that I wasn't even aware that you two were engaged."
"Is that so?"
"Well, that makes me feel better." I try to hide the sarcasm in my voice, he falls for it.
What the hell is this?
"So you're not going to tell me?"
"Tell you why I married your brother?" This time I don't hide the snide-y-ness in my voice, he has to know some way or another that this is not going to end like all our other arguments.
"No, I'm not." I look straight ahead...why is the lift moving so slowly?
Merlin, it's gone up three floors in the past two minutes. What is going on here?
"Are you willing to trade for the answer?" He asks me.
What's he going on about now?
"No idea what you're talking about." Honesty, that's the key to everything, even to piss people off.
"If I tell you why I'm here, will you tell me who hoodwinked you into thinking that darling Ronald deserves you?"
"How dare you! I'll have you know that I am perfectly happy with Ron, he takes care of me, he has enough money to supply all four of us - " Damn, that wasn't supposed to slip out.
The Weasley's face pales.
"Four? You have two kids?" The pain in his voice is evident, it's almost enough to make me feel bad about myself...almost.
"Yes. A 7 year old boy and a 17 month old girl." My words are crisp and sharp, this is making me feel uncomfortable.
Talking about my kids to an ex is not the smartest thing to do. Why am I still even talking to him? Why is he talking to me?
Why did I say that? Hermione Granger, why are you such a moron?
"What was that?" He looks at me again.
What do I do, what do I say? Should I tell him what monsters my family is made up of? Other than Johnny, he's an angel. He's the only thing keeping me sane.
No, it is definitely not his business. If he's having second thoughts, that's his problem, his fault. He's not allowed to regret his choice. Why am I even considering telling this guy what's been going on in my life? He doesn't deserve to know, he wasn't there, he's no longer a friend.
"Nothing." I cover up the doubt in my voice, even though I know I can trust him, that's not the point. He may have left me, he may have abandoned me, he may have left me to his hell-sent brother, but he knows how to keep his mouth shut. He's never told anyone what I've told him not to, but that never stopped him from mocking me about it. I know I won't be able to stand it if he rubs it in my face what a failure my family life is.
He doesn't say anything, why isn't he speaking? This isn't like him...wow, he's finally learned how to accept defeat. I look at him, I can't help myself? His face his hard, he's frozen. He's probably got the gist of my hidden meaning. He knows my life isn't perfect, he's not supposed to know that.
This silence is unnerving. Come on, Weasley, say something.
"So, trade?" Ah, there it is. I know he wouldn't be able to last long.
"For heaven's sake! NO! You don't get to ask me that! You don't deserve an answer! You abandoned me remember? You chose to step out of my life, after you chopped it up into pieces."
Silence. Again. Damn. That's not what I was going for.
"That doesn't mean I never stopped caring." He's whispering now, great. I can't believe he has the gall to say that!
"You're not allowed to care anymore, Weasley. You walked away from a life that would've been way better than the one you're living. Maybe I hate my husband, maybe I think my daughter was born to make my life even more miserable, maybe I made the biggest mistake of my life ever letting you walk into it and trample all over it, but you know what? At least I'm not about to be shipped off to Azkaban!"
"...What?" He's staring at me now. What is his problem?
"You heard me, I'm not saying it again."
"Azkaban? Where the hell did you get that from?" He's scoffing, that little bastard is scoffing at me!
"Why else would you be here? Have you not turned into a full fledged criminal? Are you not here to attend a trial which I know you'll lose, mostly because you've never had a way with words?"
"One, there are several reasons for me to be here, two, no, I have not become a criminal, although a life like that may be a little more fun, and three, I have always had a way with words. I'm the most charming man you've ever met! Hell, I'm the most charming man anyone's ever met! Even if I were here for a trial, I'd just twist my way around it, they'd have no choice but to let me go."
"Pompous, arrogant, over-large ego, way too proud, I see you haven't changed a bit." Change the subject, change the bloody subject! There's no way he's telling the truth...but if he is, lets not dwell on the fact that I was wrong...
"I see you have."
"I'm not as easily manipulated as I used to be. You are certainly not 'charming' your way back into my life."
"What makes you think I want to?"
"Why else would you be here, at 6 in the morning, in an elevator, with me?"
"I'm here for work." He says as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.
What in the...?
"I don't believe you, you're lying." I look straight ahead, refusing to make eye contact with him.
It was then that I noticed that the lift had more or less stopped moving. Great, I'm stuck in a lift with one of my least favorite people in the world. I'd rather be in here with Ron and my devil daughter!
"No, I'm not. Why would I do that? You see right through me." That is true.
"You're trying to push my buttons."
"Please, I'm way past that stage. It wouldn't do me any good to get you pissed off at me."
"I'm already pissed off at you, just for being here, just for being alive."
"Well that's not nice at all. I'm serious, I swear, I officially work here."
"You expect me to believe that after disappearing off the face of the earth for 15 years, the Ministry has just randomly decided to hire you? As what? Garbage boy?"
"Do they even have a garbage boy here?"
I just glare at the wall in front of me, picturing myself punching his nose into his face.
He sighs and gives me a tired look, I'm looking at him from the corner of my eye. I stifle a sigh myself, it's a shame such good looks had to be wasted on such a pathetic waste of human space.
"Yes, I do expect you to believe that, because it's true. The Ministry has actually hired me, and not as anything...lower-class. In fact I'm a new Head"
"Really? Of what?" My voice is practically dripping with sarcasm, he doesn't hear it. Dammit.
"The Auror Office."
This time it's my turn for my face to lose its color. What? WHAT? WHAT?
I pause. "What?"
"You heard me." He says in a high pitched mimic of me. "I'm the new Head of the Auror Office."
"No, no you're not."
"Again with the disbelief?" He smirks at me. "Honestly, I'm a lot of things, but I'm no liar. You'd think someone who's known me for as long as you have would already know that."
I ignore his remark about me knowing him. "You can't be the Head of the Auror Office." I persist, what else do I do? He has to be lying! He can't be telling the truth! HE JUST CAN'T!
"And why is that, Hermione?"
"Because I'm the Head! I've been the Head since Friday!" That sounds ridiculous, that literally means I've been the Head for three days, that's not a long time.
He stares at me as if I've gone mad.
"You're...you're my partner?"
"Partner?!" I shriek. "No one said anything about partners!"
"But...you? Why you?"
"Oh you shut up! At least you knew that you'd be working with someone! I had no idea! I thought it was just me! Least of all would I expect you to ever be working here! You've been a prankster your entire life! You don't know how to be serious, how are you supposed to go around saving and protecting people's lives?"
"Well you're one to talk! All you've ever wanted to do is save bloody elves! Since when do you care about humans? You're barely one yourself!"
I couldn't help myself.
"OW! BLOODY HELL, HERMIONE! WHAT IN MERLIN'S NAME IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? THOSE THINGS HAVE BLOODY HEELS, YOU KNOW!" He rubbed his head.
Is that a bruise...? Wow, he swells fast.
I put my right, black, pencil-heel shoe back on, holding onto the wall for support.
"You were annoying me." I say simply, once again, honesty.
"I'm always annoying you." He's already back to his smirking, seriously, what's the point? It's like he wants to get whacked.
"And that's a good thing?" I ask him.
He just shrugs and suddenly takes a strange interest in the lift buttons.
There's silence again. I take a deep breath, getting ready to re-open a crack that took me a long time to seal.
"I thought you'd get mad."
"What?" He loses interest in the buttons.
"I thought marrying Ron would make you come back, I actually thought I didn't have to go past getting engaged. But you never showed, so I had to go through with it. I've been with that man for 14 years, he still repulses me, even more so than he used to. He rarely leaves the house, when he does, it's to get more beer. When he's home, he practically ignores our children. We don't sleep in the same bed anymore, I'm the only one who works, he borrows money off Harry and then 'forgets' to pay him back, and then Harry takes it out on me. Every year, on our anniversary, he takes me out to some fancy schmancy dinner, gets drunk and sends me home with some waiter because he can't drive me back himself. He doesn't come back home for a week after that, and when he does, his pockets are full to the brim with various girl's phone numbers. And then he calls each and every one of them right in front of me. You'd think I'd get upset that my husband cheats on me days after our anniversary every year, but somehow, I honestly couldn't care less. And apparently neither can he."
He simply looks at me; his eyes have a wide range of emotions in them, sympathy, anger, jealousy, disbelief, pain and slight relief.
"And you haven't bothered with a divorce?"
I think about that one, how am I supposed to answer that? I don't want to tell him too much, just enough for him to realize what he's let me become. Everything that's happened to me, the good and the horrible, it's all because of him.
"He may be a horrible father and an even worse husband, but I'm not leaving my children without a father. The most he can muster with his excessive gambling is 15 galleons per fortnight, and that's just barely enough for the cost of diapers, clothes, food, cots, toys and a school fee. If I didn't have my job, we barely get by. And if I got a divorce, he'd leave, and I would have to become a stay-at-home mother, which wouldn't get us nearly enough money."
"So leave him, run away, be spontaneous, Hermione."
I raise my eyebrows at him and give him a weak smile, I wish.
"I will be damned before I leave my children unprotected with him. My daughter may be a monster, but even she doesn't deserve to be raised by him. And my son, my sweet darling son, he's so fragile, he'd snap if he was left in Ron's care. He wouldn't be able to take care of them, he'd torture them to a point where they'd probably run away."
"This son of yours, what's his name?"
I hesitate, he's asking too many questions, how much should I tell him?
"Johnny." I finally reply, I honestly can't be bothered to keep it from him. "He's the most amazing person I've ever met, I would've left Ron by now if not for Johnny. He's my sanctuary, the only reason I don't sleep right here at the Ministry is the thought of him waiting at home for me, full of stories about his day at school. It's incredibly hard to separate us when we're together. He loves my daughter, he loves the idea of being an older brother, he helps out a lot with her. He's basically the only one I can count on in my life, I tell him everything." Too much, over-sharing, definitely over-sharing.
"And your daughter's name?" That's the only thing he can think of to say? I've just spilled most of my heart out to him, and he asks me about my demon daughter?
"She sounds like a brunette."
"Her hair is the best thing about her, it's a beautiful mix of brown and red, she's got like maroon highlights in a dark shade of brown, darker than mine. Johnny's got hair almost exactly like mine, well the colour's the same, the texture is more like Ron's though."
"So he could pass off as my son?" What? What the hell?!
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I'm just curious."
I stare at him like an idiot. "Why do you even care?"
"I told you, I'm just wondering."
"Well I'm not answering that."
"Fine, I didn't expect you too anyway."
"So why'd you ask?"
"Just thought I'd try."
Seriously, I think at some point over the last decade and a half, he lost his last marble. What's he getting at?
Wait, woah, why is he getting closer to me. Hold on, that's the lift...why is the lift shrinking? Bloody hell! What's going on?! Merlin! It's pushing us closer together! ACK!
I scream, what else can I do? He grunts in reply, his arm is now very uncomfortably pressed up against mine.
"WHAT'S HAPPENING?" I yell.
"HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW?!"
What's that grinding noise? Woah, it's loud. Why is it getting louder? Are we stuck?
"WELL YOU SEEM TO THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ELSE!" I have to shout, he wouldn't be able to hear me otherwise.
"I'M NO MECHANIC! I DON'T KNOW HOW LIFTS WORK!"
"AAAAAAHHHH!" We're dropping, we're dropping fast.
I clutch onto his arm, if I'm about to die, I'm not dying alone.
"It's okay! It's enchanted! Nothing's going to happen! Technical difficulties don't just happen in places like the Ministry of Magic." Oh, right. I knew that.
I let go of his arm.
"Woah!" He yells, we've suddenly stopped.
The grinding is gone. It's completely silent. I look at the floor indicator; we're on floor -23. What the hell is that? There's no such thing!
Somehow, during the fall in the elevator, I've moved so I'm standing right in front of the obnoxious Weasley who, a few seconds ago, was right next to me. Our bodies are squashed together, it's most uncomfortable.
"So, you were saying about this not ending like our previous arguments?" Oh that little twat.
"Oh, shut up." I reach up to slap his face, but I can't squeeze my arm out from between our bodies. Jesus, why does this have to happen now? Why me?!
"Nice try." He smirks down on me, his face looming over me.
I forgotten how soft his lips looked, they always seemed so...inviting. And those eyes, they look so similar to Ron's, but different, more...handsome. They're beautiful, a dark brown, quite like my hair, only it has a majestic kind of feel to it, unlike my hair.
What am I thinking? His lips are NOT inviting! His eyes are NOT handsome, and he certainly is NOT majestic! What is wrong with me?
"So...this is interesting." He comments, looking up at the ceiling, a meter above his head.
"No, this is annoying. And tiresome, and plain pathetic."
"Of course you would think that, you've never been one for adventures, have you?"
"Not deadly ones."
"Oh please, have you ever heard of magic? Of all wizard deaths, I don't think a single one of them are caused by elevators."
"Whatever." I roll my eyes, suddenly my body goes numb.
Why am I falling to the floor? Bloody hell! What's happened to my limbs? Why can't I feel anything?!
He catches me. I'm about to hit the floor, his arm goes around my back, stopping me just in time.
"What was that?" I breathe.
"I'm guessing one of your paranoia attacks."
"You remember those?"
He chuckles. "How can anyone forget the time you started spazzing out in the middle of your graduation speech?"
"That was NOT funny!" This time I manage to sock him in the arm.
The numbness is gone, I can feel again. What is happening to me? I'm not that paranoid! I knew I wasn't actually going to die! Jeez, you'd think I was actually under a spell today to have everything that could possibly go wrong, go wrong, just to me.
Why is he leaning closer, oh my god, what's he doing? I can smell his breath! Wow...that's nice...way better than Ron's at least...wait, no! What's he doing? HOLY-!
"What're you doing?!" I scream in his face.
His eyes widen, he pulls me up again, I notice the lift is still reduced to half it's size.
"Nothing." He mutters and looks away.
Damn, now I feel bad. Mostly because I know that if he kissed me, I would let him go on. I wouldn't stop him if he started. But that's okay, because I got him to stop before he started.
"You can't do that to me, you know what it does to me."
"And that's a bad thing?" He mocks, once again putting on that high-pitched mimic of me.
"It is now, you've lost your chance, Weasley. Get over it."
I look up at him, I am still squeezed to his chest, and it's really uncomfortable and completely throws off the message I'm trying to convey. Why did the lift have to shrink? Since when does it even do that? And why now?!
"I never got over it, Hermione. I never got over you. Finding out that you had married my brother was the most...traumatic thing I've ever had to endure."
"Really? Was it worse than losing your twin? Was it worse than finding out that your eldest brother had turned to the dark side? Was it worse than realizing what a pig your youngest brother became?" Harsh, but still, he deserves it. He's not allowed to sweet talk me anymore, he can 'woo' himself back into my heart, it's just not fair.
He pauses and just looks at me. "Yes."
"Well, that's wonderful for you."
"No, it's not actually."
"Listen here mister, and listen good this time. This," I gesture to the two of us "isn't going to work anymore. We lost our chance, you walked out on it. It was too much for you. That's the upside to being with Ron, if he left me, I wouldn't care, my heart wouldn't break because he never took it to begin with. I married him so I wouldn't be alone for the rest of my life; I thought we had a future, that's why I never considered Ron. But you left me with no choice, no other option. And now, I've finally come to cope with this life. I love my son, I love my job, I'm on the way to loving my daughter, and I am most certainly not going to let you ruin that. You've taken enough from me."
I close my eyes and take a deep breath, that was a mouthful.
"I'd give it all back, Hermione. I swear."
"Well guess what, Fred Weasley? You can't."
AN: So there you have it, my second Hermione/Fred, hopefully I did this amazing couple justice Please tell me if that was just a waste of time or if I should continue with another chapter, I already have ideas so it shouldn't take too long :D