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Clever Mischief Chapter 12: Subtlety
by rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
at January 27th, 2006 (10:22 pm)

Clever Mischief, Chapter 12: Subtlety
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2005
Location: Hogsmeade
Character: Fred, Hermione
Rating: Any Age

Subtlety, Fred Weasley reflected as he surveyed the selection critically, was an art form. For instance, he could have chosen the massive peacock feathers on his left, and charmed them to tickle Hermione until she lost control of her bladder. But then she'd kill him. Dead. And that was not the point of this exercise.

He wandered down the aisle of Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop, looking for something familiar. He wasn't entirely sure what style Hermione used, but he'd seen several of them over the years that looked the same, so he could only assume that, at least at one time, they'd been her preferred choice. He moved past the exotic section, ignoring the fwooper and griffin feather quills, when something on the opposite wall caught his eye. The feather was black and trimmed with gold, and the sign beneath it said that it been taken from a pheasant. This looked just like the quills he'd seen Hermione use in the past, and he couldn't help his devious smile. He chose the straightest quill in the box and, looking around to make sure that old Mr Scrivenshaft wasn't watching, performed the complex little incantation that he'd worked out and tested that morning. An aqua aura surrounded it momentarily and then disappeared, and to the eye Fred could see no difference. But he knew that if his charm worked as it should, the quill would leak on every word she wrote that was more then two syllables long. Aggravating, but not enough for her to suspect that it had been tampered with, and certainly not enough to make her lose her temper with him.

He paid for the quill and tucked the small parcel under his arm as he threw the door open, squinting into the early autumn sunlight. Now all he had to do was find a way to get it into Hermione's library without her wondering where it came from. He set off down High Street, pondering what he should do with the rest of his glorious Saturday. Maybe pop up to the school to visit Oliver? Of course, if he happened to see Hermione too, there was no harm in that. It wasn't as though he'd gone looking for her, right?


Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks had been quiet. It wasn't as if Hermione had expected to see Fred or George or both of them, but they were staying here and it had been a logical assumption that they'd eventually appear for breakfast. True, she had come at the pub just slightly earlier than her normal Saturday arrival time, which wasn't unusual. She'd just been awake for longer and hadn't wanted to start another chapter in her book. That was the only reason she'd hurried to town for breakfast.

The fact that it took her nearly twice as long to eat was understandable. It was her monthly, after all, and she never rushed through her food when she was having cramps. It certainly had nothing to do with the hope that one of them might wake early and keep her company while she ate. Definitely not. Such a thought was ludicrous and she refused even to consider the possibility that she had been looking forward to seeing them again this weekend.

Her disappointment at finishing breakfast without seeing shoulder-length red hair, as she had seen one bloke with short red hair, was nothing more than indigestion caused by the spicy sausage. She paid her tab, told Rosmerta she'd see her tomorrow, and left the Three Broomsticks. Well, there was no use dwelling on her quiet breakfast and how much more interesting it would have been with a bit of company in the form of one or two mischievous redheads.

Instead, she headed towards the bookstore to see if there was anything new to keep her busy during the evening and then she thought she'd stop by and see Seamus. Kingsley and Neville were both becoming a bit stressed dealing with the more lively students, courtesy of a couple of pranksters, so she thought a nice surprise of chocolate might cheer them both up.

Fred's eyes widened as he saw Hermione walking up the street toward him, and without thinking, he ducked into the nearest shop entrance and stuffed the quill parcel into his pack. If she saw him with it first, he could never use it for a prank on her. He glanced around. He was in the bookshop. Oh hell. Where else would Hermione be headed on a Saturday morning?

Rather than wait for the inevitability of the librarian appearing in the bookshop door, Fred stepped back outside, arms extended and a wide smile plastered on his face. "Hermione! Come here often?"

"Fred, don't do that!" she scolded as she jumped in surprise. It didn't even occur to her that she knew it was Fred without even looking closely at him. He smelled of mint and slouched slightly to the left so she knew it was Fred. George, on the other hand, smelled of coffee and slouched to the right when not standing up straight.

She tried to remain stern because, really, she could have stumbled backwards and hurt herself, but he had his arms open and a smile on his face. She wished she hadn't noticed the way his white T-shirt rode up a little from the position of his arms and the glimpse of freckles she saw on his belly, the same damn freckles that had been on her mind more than she'd ever care to admit since seeing them last weekend. Unfortunately, she did notice but quickly told herself that it was not appropriate to drool on one's friend just because he had sexy freckles on his stomach. She moved forward and gave him a hug before she stepped back. "I stop by here most weekends, actually."

Fred blinked, surprised. Not even his mum knew just by looking at him if he was himself or his twin. Maybe it had been a lucky guess.

"Nice try, Hermione," he said as he hugged her back. Damn it, he was not lingering a fraction of a second longer than was appropriate. And he certainly didn't stop to breathe in the scent of her hair, like apples and the parchment from her library. "But I'm George, not Fred."

"Aren't you too old to be playing those switching games?" she asked as she rolled her eyes. "You're Fred so do quit lying. George smells like coffee and doesn't wear white. I'd hate for your nose to grow as I might be forced to freeze it that way so George could make fun of you."

Fred shook his head. "How do you know things like that? No one knows how to tell us apart- half the time when I wake up in the morning I don't remember which one I am." All right, maybe he was exaggerating just a little. And smiling a bit too much- but he couldn't help it. The smile wouldn't leave his face.

"My brain has a high capacity for useless information," she informed him loftily before she grinned. "Actually, it was a self-preservation technique. Back at Hogwarts, I watched you and George my first few weeks at Hogwarts so I'd have an advantage should you decide to make me the brunt of your pranks. It always flustered you both if I greeted you in the morning with your name so I had to make sure I knew which was which. Are you on your way in or out?"

"In," he said a bit too quickly.

"I'm on my way in, too. Would you like to join me or did you have other people to harass by attempting to be your brother?"

He held his arm out to usher her into the shop. "Looking for anything in particular, love?"

"I'm just browsing for something to entertain me this upcoming week at school. The evenings get rather dull sometimes," she told him before she continued remembering first year, smiling as she recalled a particular memory. "I remember the first time you attempted to prank me. I believe it was a month after school started and I was just a defenseless ickle first year. You tried to distract me so George could do something to my book, but I said in a very matter-of-fact tone, 'Hello, Fred, may I help you?'. You both were completely disconcerted, so my plan worked. George gawked and forgot all about the prank."

Fred laughed appreciatively. "One should never underestimate the importance of survival skills. I think we were trying to slip a dead spider into your book to see if you were as frightened of them as Ron was."

Although, he reflected, that wasn't a bad idea. If he could distract her while she was shopping for books, he could slip the enchanted quill into her bag and she'd never be the wiser. Hopefully she had a couple of them in there already and wouldn't notice the new addition.

"A spider? You weren't particularly creative at age thirteen, I see," she mused as she scanned a shelf of books for anything that caught her attention. "I think I'm glad you didn't prank me, then, as I'd have surely been disappointed that that was the best you could think up. Fortunately, I've never had a particular fear of spiders or crawly little insects and the like."

Fred smirked. "Sure, a dead spider doesn't sound like much. But it’s worse when it comes back to life and engorges to five times its normal size the moment it touches your skin, though."

"Oh, that's a new one," she said, ignoring him. She set her bag down and reached up for the red binding that caught her attention, frowning as her fingertips barely reached the bottom of that shelf. She normally didn't mind not being very tall since she wasn't particularly short, either, but she did hate that she always seemed to want the book that required an extra two or three inches to reach. She was about to step up onto her tiptoes when a sudden warmth pressed against her from behind. She watched a large hand reach above her head and easily grasp the book. The twins weren't very tall but the few inches they had on her gave Fred the extra height needed to reach the shelf. She refused to consider the reasons why her face was flushed from feeling his rather strong and muscular body- as she had seen him without a shirt and knew that statement to be fact- pressed casually against her. They weren't even touching but she could feel his presence and body heat nonetheless.

It wasn't until Fred turned his attention to her that he realized how little space was between them, and the fact that he was still stretched toward the top shelf wasn't making the situation any better. He held the book up between them and didn't his best not to blush and stammer like an adolescent. Cool, Fred, be cool, he thought.

"Anything else I can reach for you, love?" he asked, leaning in just a little.

She turned to face him, somewhat trapped between him and the bookshelf, and hoped he didn't notice the pinkness to her cheeks. If he did, she'd claim the bookstore was too warm, which wouldn't be a lie because it really was now that she thought about it more clearly. She took the book from him and her gaze most certainly did not wander down to look at his lips when he leaned forward a little. "I think this will do it. Thank you, Fred," she said as she looked down at the title and frowned when she saw it was a book on the Goblin Rebellion that she already owned. They had just redone the cover, obviously, which was really quite annoying. "Actually, could you please put this back? I already own it."

Fred wondered why the shop owners had turned the heat up so much. He felt flushed and unfocused and really, did her chin have to tilt up quite so fetchingly?

Oh bloody hell. She was going to have a word with Mr. Zawnhopper because he needed some cooling charms during this time of year. It was even warmer in here today than during the height of summer. Perhaps he had a cold and was suffering from a chill? That would explain the accelerated temperature. She'd have to bring him some soup. Soup was a good thing to think about when Fred was standing so very close and she was far too aware of the muscles beneath his T-shirt and those bloody freckles on his belly. Tomato soup or chicken, she decided.

He took the book back from her, his fingers brushing hers and he suppressed the little electric shock that thrilled through him. His eyes widened- God, he hadn't been expecting that.

All thoughts of soup left her mind at the shock too. Static electricity. That was the only explanation for the slight spark she felt when they touched.

"Of course," he said, reaching up to return the book, which brought him deep into her personal space again. He replaced the book and his hand, with a mind of its own, skimmed down her arm on the way down. "Can't say no to a librarian, can I?"

The scent of mint was stronger and she thought she smelled vanilla beneath it. If she raised her head just slightly, she could have sniffed his hair to see if that was where the vanilla was coming from. Instead, she licked her lips and ignored the tremor that passed through her when his hand trailed down her arm. She tugged on her sleeve until it covered half her hand just to keep her fingers busy so she wouldn't reach up to see if his hair was as soft as it looked. Stop it. She smiled at him, giving her best unaffected 'we're friends and I really am not thinking about kissing those freckles on your belly at all' smile. Of course, she'd never had to use that smile so she was pretty certain she probably looked odd.

"You shouldn't say things like that, Fred, or I might be forced to take advantage of you," she teased casually as she sidestepped him and moved to another bookshelf. "After all, I might put you to work helping me clean the library if you can't tell me no."

Fred massaged the back of his neck as she stepped away from him, suddenly grateful for the space. Fuck. He'd been about to- Damn it all to hell, he had wanted to kiss her. Would have done, if she hadn't stepped away from him with that odd, tight expression on her face. Clearly he was out of his mind, because she had no interest in him that way. She never had. He had to get it together and get over this bizarre infatuation, or it would drive him mad.

"Be happy to help out, love," he said, a bit too genially. His gaze alighted on her abandoned bag, and while her back was to him he fished out the new quill and tucked it inside. Mission accomplished. "Though I'd rather expect payment of some kind. Don't you think I'd deserve it?"

Hermione ran her fingertips over the books in front of her as she tried to focus on finding a new title. It was rather difficult to focus when her mind was currently far too interested in thinking about Fred to focus on something other than his eyes, his smile, his muscular build, and those blasted freckles on his belly.

She found a title that seemed interesting so she removed it for review. It was actually intended to be a distraction from the handsome man beside her but it didn't look too bad. His words brought her attention back to him, however. She quickly closed the book and turned around to face him. She looked at him suspiciously after he agreed, rather happily no less, to help her clean the library. Even with his additional statement, his easy acquiescence was somewhat intriguing.

"The question as to whether or not you would deserve a payment would be dependent on the work you did while cleaning and overall satisfaction of said assistance," she told him matter-of-factly. "It would also depend what manner of payment you had in mind. What exactly did you have in mind, Fred?"

He waggled his eyebrows as he ran his hands over the book spines, not even looking at what he was pulling off the shelf. "I think you'd find your overall satisfaction rate very high indeed, Madam Granger."

"Would I?" she drawled as she arched a brow and gave him her best 'prove it' look. "That is either justifiable confidence or smug arrogance, Mister Weasley. The former can be an attractive quality while the latter is quite unpleasant."

He was about to question her on just how attractive when he jumped back with a startled yelp. "That book bit my finger!"

She moved forward to check the book, her wand in hand without even thinking about it in case she had to perform a counter-curse. Fortunately, it was just a copy of What Big Teeth You Have: Magical Creatures Throughout the Last Century. She put her wand down and looked at Fred, unable to conceal her grin. "Did the big bad book bite your ickle finger?" she asked teasingly as she reached for his hand.

She studied the bite, determined that it would be fine in no time, and then brushed her lips against the faint pink welt in a soft kiss. "There. It should be all better now," she told him as she looked up and met his gaze.

Fred managed to swallow the surprised noise that nearly escaped him. Her lips shouldn't have felt so soft against his skin, especially when the contact was so brief. "All better," he echoed, looking down into her brown eyes. He remembered that exact shade from their Order days. He thought he'd forgotten...

"You, erm," he began intelligently, and then shook his head at himself, a sardonic grin gracing his features. "You could have been a healer, Madam Granger."

"No, I couldn't," she murmured as she released his hand. She was only flushed because the store was so bloody warm. It certainly wasn't because she realized she'd just kissed his finger and held his hand, his large, strong hand. "I didn't have the qualifications or the NEWT scores to get into a program at St. Mungo's. Besides, I dealt with enough death and injuries during the war. I had no inclination once it was over to choose such a life as a career, unfortunately."

She knew that he'd only been teasing, of course, but she was flustered and instantly became this awkward creature who hid behind odd facts and logic to protect herself from appearing foolish. "There was actually a study performed in a Muggle hospital regarding whether or not a kiss on such an injury provided favorable results," she informed him as she recalled more random knowledge while she grabbed the first book she'd not read. "The study showed that it did improve the mental outlook of the patient and was 93% effective in recovery."

"Must be magic," Fred said, pleased that his voice sounded like his own again, not strained and tense. Fuck. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to show her just what kind of sparks could fly from the right kind of kiss. And she clearly had no interest whatsoever.

"Yes, it could be magic," she mused as she considered the effects of a simple kiss of affection on the mental well-being of a person suffering from a small injury such as a scratch or book bite. She wondered if Fred had any idea that his lips were very kissable. Not that she thought such a thing as it would be entirely inappropriate for her notice that a friend's lips were perfect for kissing. A friend, she reminded herself as she looked away and handed her book and her money to the clerk. A very masculine friend that she'd once been infatuated with many years ago, though he'd never noticed, despite her rather foolish habit of staring at him during that brief time and listening to every word he said in hopes he'd look at her and speak to her. He certainly wasn't interested now so it would be ridiculous to spend time thinking about his lips, kissable as they were.

He had to get out of here as quickly as possible. And then he needed to get very, very drunk. With a wink, he scooped up his pack and said, "Well, best be off. George should be arriving back with a new shipment of billywig stings any time now."

"You have to leave?" She looked at him as she collected her change and hoped he hadn't noticed how disappointed she had sounded. "I actually should probably finish my errands and go back to the castle. Neville is working on an experiment this weekend and can't leave the greenhouse until tomorrow night so I need to take him some lunch or he'll forget to eat."

"Hasn't changed much, then," Fred laughed, holding the door open for her.

"It was nice running into you, Fred," she told him as she stepped outside. She faced him and smiled before she gave him a hug. "Take care and give George my best. I'm going to stop by Honeydukes and then get back to school. I'll be seeing you, I'm sure."

"Good to see you too, Hermione," he said, wishing he could hold her just a little longer than a friendly hug goodbye permitted. "Stop by the shop any time to say hello."

He walked down the road in the opposite direction from her for a few paces, then turned and glanced over his shoulder, watching the sunlight glint of her hair. God, he was in serious, serious trouble here. And he hadn't any idea what to do about it.


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Posted by: celisnebula (celisnebula)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)


Oh how delightfully evasive of both of them. I was hoping Fred would take initiative and kiss her, especially after she kissed his boo-boo.

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)

Evasive little buggers indeed *g* Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Lady Moon-Loona-cy (jennytork)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)


Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
BtVS- Spike- Kitten poker

Thanks :D

Posted by: selene2 (selene2)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)

This is so wonderful! I loved the tension between the both of them. This is such a fantastic story.

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
Bowie- Drama Queen

Thank you very much :D We both love a dose of romantic tension in a story, so I'm happy other people are enjoying it!

Posted by: witchiepooh (witchiepooh)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)

Awwww, damn! Upping the tension and doing a hellava good job of it. :)

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
Muppets- Bork! Bork!

*g* Thank you!

Posted by: meara_j (meara_j)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
Gred and Forge

mmmm....the tension is so good! I love it. This story is absolutely brilliant.

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
Get Fuzzy- Bucky hammer

Thank you!

Posted by: Melody (kasdie)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)

This was beautifully written, but damnit, it is way too eerily reminicent of my life at the moment. Well, 'sept for the whole bit where he actually likes her back, which isn't exactly the case. But oh gods I feel like hugging them both and then going off to cry.

~ Melody

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
Dragonheart- stars

Thank you :) Sorry to hear that it's reminscent of sad things for, you, though :( I do hope it all gets better!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)

Gah, this is wonderful - I love the build-up. The tension between them is palpable and in my head I was the thought 'OMG you both like each other!', warring with that was the thought of 'gnurgh, how hot would it be if they did it up against the stacks'.

Well written, as always, thanks to the both of you!

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)

*g* Our head were saying the same thing. I'm glad you're enjoying the build-up so far! Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Rebecca Elizabeth (star_faerie)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 12:01 pm (UTC)

I loved it. It was just so sweet. The interaction between Fred and Hermione was quite amusing, me thought.

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
HP- Points Snape McG

*g* Thank you!

Posted by: Kimberlina, fairy of El Dorko (fangirlwithak)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)

teehee and a happy squeal


Happy sighs ahead

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:45 pm (UTC)
HP- Lupin- Too Gay

*g* Glad to hear it!

Posted by: Kris (scifichick774)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)

I absolutely adore the UST (so far) that you've set up in this story. I am, however, wondering where George is going to come into play. Will he be put in the role of mischievous matchmaker or will he develop feelings of his own for Hermione? Looking forward to more. ;)

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
Jon Stewart- giggle

Thank you! *giggles* Oh, don't worry. George will most certainly come into play sooner or later, you'll just have to read how he does :D

Posted by: Angie (angiepangie25)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)

Reviewing this, finally. *blush* I am loving this story. Hermoine and the twins are perfect. And Neville! Neville is perfect too. :)

I love that Hermione is the librarian. It's not something that immediately springs to mind when you think of jobs for Hermoine (at least, not to my mind), but it fits her so well.

The tension between Fred and Hermoine is just woah. I kept waiting for him to grab her and just kiss her already. Or vice versa. I do wonder when George is going to get some play though.

I can't wait to watch the twins drive Hermione crazy, that is going to be so much fun!

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
General- Icon Me

Thank you very much for stopping by to comment! We're both delighted that you're liking the story so far, and that our characterizations work for you.

Posted by: Millie (millieweasley)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)

OMG! You two have clearly desided to kill me! Yup, you both just want to make my poor heart explode from the UST coming off the screen. It's not fair! :p

Seriously, I have fallen completely and utterly in love with this. Amazing. I loved the way their thoughts went back and forth and the way they were both convinced that the other person didn't want to kiss. Although I was hoping that Fred would lose his cool and just kiss her already :D

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
HP- SS/RL- Good Morning- Karasu

*evil laugh* Yes. yes we have :D And now we shall both blush- thank you for your lovely comments!

Posted by: Gertyke (gertyke)
Posted at: January 28th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)

i've waited some time to read it... cuz i knew i couldn't wait for the next chapter... And now i started reading and yes ...I CAN'T WAIT to read the next chapter :D ITS SO GOOOOOD

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
HP- Lockhart Smile

Thank you! *g* We promise not to abandon this or let too much time drag on between updates, as is often the case with WiPs. New chapter is coming soon... ;)

Posted by: A Quiet Whisper (vermillionrho)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)

"God, he was in serious, serious trouble here. And he hadn't any idea what to do about it."


I LOVE this story! I'm so glad you're doing something longer, even if it's sometimes a hassle to keep up! I adore Fred and George both in this! (See now, you've driven me to excessive exclamation point usage!)

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
Faerie- Froud- Dark Lady

Hey, every so often you need a bunch of exclamations :D Thanks so much. We'd both been talking for quite a while about how there should be a lengthy, in-depth Fred/Hermione/George, and this one is going to go on for... well, we don't know how long. But quite a while ;)

Posted by: A Quiet Whisper (vermillionrho)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Amanda!!! <3 (miraclekisses)
Posted at: January 30th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)

I can cut that sexual tension with a knife! I love it!

Posted by: rose_whispers (rose_whispers)
Posted at: February 10th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)

*g* thank you!

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