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“You’re not planning to do anything to embarrass me, are you?”

“Granger, don’t you trust me? You’ve asked me that a dozen times in the last hour.”

“It’s not a question of trust, Fred. It’s simply being a realist.”

“Just for that, you have to buy me popcorn, too.”

“That wasn’t part of our agreement,” she pointed out. “A trip to the cinema in exchange for the instructions on how to make the potion. No popcorn included.”

“Ah, but that was before you doubted me. Now, there is popcorn included or the deal is off,” Fred said with a dramatic flare that almost made her laugh. Almost.

“I’m already having to sit through this silly romance film. I think that, in itself, makes up for any slight against your character.” She pursed her lips. “In fact, I think that you have to buy me popcorn unless you want George to know that you’ve practically blackmailed into accompanying you to see a romance film so you don’t have to go alone.”

“George would believe me over you. I’d just say that you’re desperately in love with me, and I was too nice to reject you since it showed a sign of intelligence and good taste.” He preened for a moment.

“He certainly wouldn’t believe that,” she muttered as she looked away from him to stare at the film times. Her cheeks felt warm, so she just hoped that she wasn’t blushing.

“You don’t have to say it that way.” Fred moved behind her, and she could see his reflection in the glass. “Is it so unbelievable?”

“It looks like the film starts at half-seven. Perhaps we can share a popcorn?”

“Hermione Granger avoiding a question? Never thought I’d see the day,” he said softly, lowering his head so that his words were for her ears only. She could feel his warm breath brush against her skin, and it took a lot of effort not to move away. “I want to change the agreement.”

“I’m not buying you popcorn.” She bit her lip when he moved his hand to her shoulder.

“I’ll buy the popcorn if you’ll give me a kiss. Just one, after the film. If you do and still think the idea of fancying me is unbelievable, then I’ll give the directions for the potion and never bother you again.”

Had he really just said that? She turned around to look at him, wanting to see if he was smiling or teasing. He wasn’t. Oh, God. He was serious. He wanted to kiss her. For once in her life, she was actually speechless. She dropped her gaze and stared at the scar on his neck, thinking about falling buildings and near death and how different life would be without Fred.

She had fancied Ron back then, but that hadn’t lasted long. Did Fred realize that she had fancied him for months now? Was that why he had suggested the cinema with some silly excuse about not attending a girly film alone? How had she not seen through that excuse? She was clever, yet she’d honestly not doubted his suggestion of an exchange. He was waiting for an answer, and she was thinking too much. This was one of those times when thinking wouldn’t really help.

“Not just popcorn,” she murmured as she raised her gaze to his. “I want chocolate, too.”

“Really?” Fred blinked and then smiled. “A kiss? A real one, on the lips, and not just some chaste nonsense like you give Harry and Ron.”

“Yes, really. I happen to like chocolate in moderation.” She blushed when he mentioned what kind of kiss but nodded. “It’s a deal.”