Clever Mischief, Chapter 16: Chocolate and SeamusDate: Friday; September 23, 2005Location: Honeydukes, Seamus' FlatCharacters: Hermione, SeamusRating: Any AgeFor seven years, with only a handful of exceptions, Hermione could always be found in her suite on Friday nights. She took dinner up there and spent her evening writing owls to friends and reading whatever book she hoped to finish before the end of the weekend. Even Kingsley and Neville rarely disturbed her on Friday nights as they had their own routines set into place over time. It was well known by any who knew her that Hermione enjoyed schedules and plans. She liked routine, even if she could adjust reasonably well to surprises and could adapt quickly when necessary. The people who knew this about her, who knew that she’d rather fly than deviate from a comfortable routine that had become habit, would be shocked to see her at the moment. It was Friday evening and she wasn’t in her room. She wasn’t even in the castle. Instead of lounging in her most comfortable chair with an open book in her hands, she was walking down to Hogsmeade with one thought in mind: I need chocolate. Chocolate would make everything better because it always made everything better. Once she had a box of chocolate covered cherries, things would make sense once again. Hermione was quite confident about that. Well, somewhat confident. All right, slightly hopeful but not holding her breath.The past week required an unexpected trip to Hogsmeade and a break in her routine. Work had been fine, actually, and there were no complaints really. No, what had disturbed her week was that kiss. A simple kiss should not have such an effect on her schedules or her mind. After much analysis and thought, she had decided it was an accident. Not an accident in terms of ‘oops, I slipped and my lips now happen to be against yours, George’ but an accident in terms of it being a surprise and not at all planned. Perhaps that wasn’t the right word but it was the best she could do, really. It had left her feeling far more confused than she’d thought possible and she wouldn’t even think about the dreams she’d had that certainly hadn’t ended with just a kiss. There hadn’t been those sort of vivid dreams in quite a long time but she supposed they meant she’d at least not forgotten what sex was like despite the number of years since she’d experienced it. Not since Viktor, which meant it had been long enough ago that she wasn’t entirely sure she could remember much beyond what part went where.Thinking about sex was not helping, she decided with a scowl as she scolded her brain. Why couldn’t she ever stop thinking? It was a curse, really, to have such an active mind. There were times she almost envied people who were vapid and didn’t seem to understand the process of thought. The envy didn’t last long, of course, as Hermione was proud of her intelligence and ability to think outside the box when the situation warranted such behavior.Until Monday afternoon, she’d thought her infatuation with Fred was coming back. She knew it had been, actually. After their visit to the bookstore, she’d regretted not kissing him even if it would have been risking humiliation should he be disgusted. If she was developing a small crush on Fred, though, why had she kissed George? It wasn’t logical at all. Well, it made sense with regard to the moment and feeling as if there had been no way she could move again until their lips pressed against each other. It had started accidentally, a missed kiss to the cheek landing on his lips, but the other kisses had no such excuses. Kisses. God, she’d snogged George Weasley to a point where she didn’t even know how many times they’d kissed and there had even been groping. She was thankful that she’d stopped it before it went further because there was a moment when his lips were against hers and his body was pressed close that she wasn’t sure she would have been able to stop.The only possible justification might be that she had somehow mixed up George and Fred since they looked alike, but that was ridiculous and an insult to all three of them. She knew fully well that it had been George beside her and she’d willingly kissed him despite possibly having a renewal of feelings for Fred. Now she was all mixed up and confused, unsure why a woman her age would even develop something as foolish as a crush in the first place and not certain whether it was Fred or George she might fancy and wondering if it wouldn’t be better for her mental health if she just stayed away from both of them until she could think clearly once again.Chocolate would help.When she saw Honeydukes, she seriously considered bouncing with glee. Of course, she didn’t as that would be immature and embarrassing but the temptation had been there. Hermione discreetly made her way to the shop, not wanting to risk running into Fred or George when she was still confused and unbalanced due to needing chocolate. The store was about to close when she walked inside, which meant her timing was perfect. Already chocolate had started to improve things and she was on some sort of schedule once again.“I’ll be right with---Hermione?” Seamus stopped counting money and gaped at her. “It’s okay. I can wait,” she said pleasantly as she went to the display counter and started making a mental list of what she wanted to buy. “Oh no,” he interrupted her perusal as he shut the register. “It’s Friday night, sweetness, and you’re here, in my store, which means I want to know what’s going on!”“I have a craving for those chocolate covered cherries you’ve gotten me addicted to so I came to get some, though these Peanut Butter Poppers looks good, too,” she mused.“Hermione,” Seamus whined as he pouted, “you don’t come visit on Fridays. I wanna know why you’re here.”“You sell chocolate. I wish to buy chocolate,” she said patiently in a teasing voice. Seamus looked like a whiny puppy when he behaved like this and she was torn between humoring him to make him smile or smacking his nose and telling him to hush. “Fine. Be that way then, see if I care,” he declared loftily as he stepped out from behind the counter and went to lock the door and remove the open sign. “I just won’t tell you the latest gossip I’ve heard.”“That’s not much of a threat since I don’t like gossip and think the entire practice is ridiculous,” she reminded him as she went around the counter and got a handful of ‘won’t melt in your hand’ choco-bites, white chocolate with a creamy texture that was just delicious. “Oh please. You like gossip as long as it isn’t mean or malicious. Besides, I know you’ll like this gossip,” he taunted with a cheeky grin as he joined her and sat on the counter, kicking his feet like a child as he practically bounced. “Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!”“You’re really quite annoying sometimes, you know?”“Yes, yes, you’ve told me that before. You’re a stubborn bitch sometimes.”“Hmph. You’ve told me that before, too. These are really good, Seamus. You should make some with peanut butter in the middle, though, as chocolate and peanut butter are a heavenly match.”“You think peanut butter would be a compliment? I thought about it but the texture is so creamy that I wasn’t sure if the consistency would be any good. And stop that, you wench! You’re trying to distract me.”“You’re just too observant, Shay.”“Damn right I am when it comes to your diversionary tactics, Hermione.”“I just felt restless and wanted a walk. Chocolate is always nice and I was actually out of everything except some plain strips of milk chocolate,” she told him, wondering if she could adequately blame him for the extra weight she’d gained over recent years. It was certainly his fault for making such delicious candy and supporting her chocolate-habit.“You’ve not been sleeping, have you? There are circles beneath your eyes. It’s not---the nightmares aren’t back, are they?” he asked with concern.“No more than usual,” she replied softly, feeling guilty for making him worry about her. “It’s just been a thoughtful sort of week and I can’t sleep well when my brain is working so fast all the time. Now what’s this gossip?”“Oh, the gossip!” Seamus grinned smugly before he teased, “It seems Hogsmeade has two new residents.”“Really?” she asked even though she suspected who he was talking about.“A certain pair of twins who are, I must say from the glimpse I caught of them the other day, absolutely scrumptious! We’re talking high priced dark chocolate with almonds here and maybe even a bit of coconut,” he told her before licking his lips. She wasn’t entirely sure it was caused by thinking about Fred and George or imagining the chocolate.“I knew Fred and George were here,” she said even as she cursed her pale complexion that made her blush obvious. “I’ve run into them several times in the last few weeks.”“You knew and didn’t tell me?” Seamus gasped and looked horrified before his gaze narrowed and he started to smile a smile that let her know he’d noticed. “What’s this now? A blush? When does the fair Miss Granger ever blush? I can’t seem to remember a time, in fact.”“It’s warm in here,” she replied dryly, knowing that Seamus would be like a dog with a bone if she let on there was anything to her blush. “Piffle,” he declared with obvious glee. “You blushed after mentioning the hunky Weasley twins so there must be something there. Shall we let me make a variety of suggestions, most of which would probably shock you in a most amusing way, or will you just tell me, which isn’t nearly as fun but saves time?”“I want wine and chocolate,” she told him stubbornly, relieved that she would be able to talk to someone about this. If chocolate couldn’t help, maybe Seamus could. “You’re so easy to bribe,” he said with a laugh as he slid off the counter. He handed her a clean plate. “Fill it up with whatever you want and I’ll finish closing.”Seamus rarely ever let her pay for chocolate, which was surely another sign of enabling the addiction, but she had no complaints tonight as she put several candies on the plate and then followed him to his flat upstairs. He got wine and she took over the sofa, leaving enough room for him to lie beside her. She loved his sofa. It was huge and comfy and transfigured so they could each lie side by side without someone’s arse nearly hanging off. “Wine for you, platonic love of my life.” Seamus bowed and winked before he settled beside her, sitting the opposite way and leaning against a large stack of pillows. “Now, blushes! Tell me!”“Harry and Ron are taking me out tomorrow night for dinner,” she told him idly. “They’re taking me to some restaurant in Aberdeen for my birthday that Ron said is good, which is always a favorable endorsement as he knows good food, and Harry told me he’d heard they had a sinful triple chocolate cake for dessert. With all of you boys trying to feed me sweets, I’m surprised I’m not unable to make it through the door by now.”“I’ll love all of you, sweetness, even if I have to charm the doorways bigger,” Seamus promised with a mischievous smile. “I kissed George,” she blurted and watched him choke on his wine. “I think I might possibly, in a very very small way, fancy Fred and I kissed George.”“Wait, you fancy him?” Seamus blinked as he gaped at her before he squealed, “Wait a minute! You fancy one but kissed the other? Hermione! You minx!”“It’s not like that,” she muttered and scowled. “It just happened! I didn’t plan to snog George.”“Goodness. Wow. This is…fuck.” Seamus shook his head and then smiled. “Was the kiss good?”“Better than good,” she whined and covered her face. “Now I’m so confused.”“You didn’t…that is to say, you didn’t get caught up and maybe think he was Fred instead of---““No,” she said firmly. “I knew it was George and I wanted to kiss George. Maybe I’m wrong and I wasn’t getting a crush on Fred. I’m far too old for infatuations, after all.”“Oh yes. You’re absolutely ancient. I can see the wrinkles from here,” he murmured as he rolled his eyes. “We are never too old for silly infatuations. How is that gorgeous hunk of man, my dear Mister Shacklebolt, by the way?”“Still grumpy, snarling, and straight, unfortunately,” she replied with a smile, watching Seamus sigh dramatically. “Alas, I fear that latter will never change,” Seamus bemoaned in a theatrical way. While he did find Kingsley attractive and enjoyed flirting mostly because Kingsley was fun to tease until he threatened to get his wand, then it was better to run and hide, she knew he didn’t actually fancy Kings, not in a serious way. If she thought he did, she’d have been concerned but she knew Shay wasn’t ready for anything like that yet and, even if he was, Kingsley wasn’t his type. “Probably not.” She commiserated before eating one of the popping peanut butter bites. She wasn’t fond of things like chocolate frogs that actually moved before you ate them but these were quite delicious. “Though I’m sure you’re the first bloke he’ll owl if he ever wakes up gay.”“That’s something, at least,” Seamus said with a wink before he snatched a piece of chocolate from her plate. “So you kissed George and it was good enough that you just started to drool a little and got this dopey look on your face, which is a bit unsettling, I must admit, so I’m not entirely sure I condone the pursuit of either of the delicious but dopey-look-causing Weasley twins.”“There is no pursuit. It was just a kiss that neither of us expected. I doubt he even felt anything anyway so I’m sure I’m being foolish for giving it so much thought,” she admitted before she took a drink of wine. “To be perfectly honest, I’m happy and content how I am now. I don’t need or necessarily want that sort of relationship at this point, you know? I thought my former crush on Fred was coming back and I shared a kiss with George. That’s all it is. See? Chocolate and Seamus have made it all better.”“Chicken,” Seamus teased softly as he wiggled his toes. “I need new socks. These have a hole on the toe part. Anyway, you’re confused and that scares little Miss Must Have a Plan at All Times and Have All the Answers or She’ll Go Mental. You know what you need to do?”“I don’t have to always have the answer,” she grumbled before she arched a brow and debated whether she actually wanted to hear Shay’s suggestion or not. “What do I need to do?”“It’s so easy,” he taunted with a cheeky grin, “you need to kiss Fred, of course.”“What?”“You need to kiss Fred. It’s the only solution. You can find out if there are any squidgy feelings for Fred or if there was more squidgy for George. Then you’ll know everything and things will be all sense making again.”“First, squidgy feelings? That isn’t even something the first year girls up at school would say, I doubt. Second, I can’t kiss Fred! And especially not so I can compare his kiss to George. That’s just utterly ridiculous!”“I think it’s a good plan,” he defended before he shrugged and leered. “Besides, you can’t say kissing Fred would be a bad thing.”“You’re impossible,” she finally decided before she tossed a popper at him and rolled her eyes. It was the silliest idea ever, or, at least, the silliest one she’d heard lately. She was relieved when he let the subject drop and they started to talk about the weekend and her upcoming dinner. Thoughts of Fred and George were soon pushed to the back of her mind for a bit as she giggled over Shay’s whining for her to bring him back a piece of the cake Harry had talked about. She’d been right. Everything might not make sense yet, but chocolate and Seamus definitely made her feel better.
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