Fred stared blankly out of the window of the house he now shared with George. It had been only a few weeks ago that someone else had occupied the house with him; her name was Hermione Granger, the only girl who had yet to conquer his heart. The only girl, he feared, that would ever be able to do that. Before her, he bounced from one girl to another, but then she stumped him like no one else could. Who would have thought that a prankster and a bookworm could find love together?
He could remember the first time he spotted the house; he was on his way back to his flat from a date with her. Usually he aparated, but this time he decided to walk, and there on the corner it loomed above him. It was a two story house; the blue paint was peeling pack leaving the white siding beneath to peak through, the windows shattered and the glass spewed everywhere declaring the house’s abuse, and the railings on the porch were moudly and waterlogged from years of disrepair. He had never seen it like that though, he could only ever see potential and how this could be the step they needed to take, the only step he wanted to take with her. The very next day he had almost dragged her from work to see the place.
"Close your eyes." He commanded softly into her ear, she gave him a disapproving look; she hated surprises. "Please?" He asked again giving her a look she had never been able to say no to. Grudgingly, she closed her eyes and held onto his arm tighter.
"Just don't let me fall into anything," She warned seriously. "Or just leave me standing here for the dogs to get." She added shrewdly, thinking of the last time he tried to surprise her. George had ran in and started yelping this breakthrough he had about a new product they were inventing. Fred had forgotten about her and had left with George only to show up minutes later apologies in hand.
"I won't, trust me. If George or anyone shows up I'll pummel them." He chuckled. Leading her down the street he stopped in front of the house, "just wait here for two seconds." With that Fred ran up to the porch and conjured up a rocking chair. "Okay you can open them!" he yelled back to her. Opening her eyes, a look of disappointment crossed her face.
"It's a house." She said doubtfully, looking at Fred as if he had lost some marbles.
"Just a house? Just a house she says! Hermy, I’m appalled!" Glaring at him for the use of her hated nickname, he smirked in pleasure.
"Yes Fred, it’s someone's house at that, now get over here before they call the police on you." She reprimanded sharply. Giving a sound of disbelief he started chuckling.
"For being the smartest witch of your time, you'd think you'd notice the small detail you seem to be missing." He said, "This house is for sale! Just imagine, rocking Fred Jr. back and forth here on this rocking chair while I'm in the front yard teaching Hermione Jr. how to be the best prankster the world has ever seen." Hermione beamed in happiness.
"Oh Fred!" Was all she could get out before she rushed over to him and planted a chaste kiss on his lips. "It's perfect." She whispered against his chest.
He would have done anything to keep that woman in his arms, but somehow, he figured, it just wasn't meant to be. No matter how much he wished they could go back to their young naïve love it just wouldn't happen, for who had ever heard of the never ending love of a bookworm and the prankster? He had not heard hide or tail of her since she ended it, but maybe one day they’d meet again. Maybe then they could talk and not just speak. He would tell her all he thought then.
He couldn’t all they had done to get this place into living standards, the months they had slaved away at I were the best he’d ever know. This place, the walls that still sang her presence haunted him, screaming at him at where he went wrong. Glancing around now he could still see her up on the ladder painting like a madwoman, she had insisted they do it the muggle way, he never had any objections, how could he say no to her beautiful face. Np, he stopped himself, it wasn’t beautiful, but it had been hers and he had loved it. If they could have continued on with their carefree ways, he knew they could have fixed anything.
Fred glared out the window as f the night had swallowed their love. Maybe if he could have provided for her then maybe she wouldn't have left him, maybe then she would still be here, right in his arms where she belonged. Images of that morning when he had walked to work to see Ministry officials closing down his shop flashed quickly through his mind. He remembered Malfoy standing a bit away, a smirk nestled on his pointed face. Grabbing his hair he pulled his head between his knees. Their shop had not been too dangerous. But who where they to fight it? They were only brothers of the brother who was best friends with the Boy-Who-Lived. The Ministry had decided. That winter was the only time in his life he wished he had finished his education at Hogwarts. It seems as if no one wanted an 'uneducated' kid working for them.
That winter also showed the strength of their love. With no income, their love unraveled like a poorly made blanket, their faults and weaknesses laid bare for everyone to see.
"Fred, when are you going to grow up?" Hermione snapped from the breakfast table, Fred looked up from the kitchen counter where he was preparing breakfast; he had just put a mint on her plate.
"Babe, I was just giving you…" He started to say before she sharply interrupted him
"I am not you tester Fred. And how many times do I have to say, don't call me babe, it makes me sound like a child." Fred held up his hands in defeat and took off the mint, George and him and just made it, it was supposed to help people cope with stress and instead of the taker seeing everyone negatively they would see the potential in the situation.
"I'm sorry Hermione." He said putting the plate down in front of her before sitting on the opposite side of the table. He couldn't remember the last time he had actually called her by her name; usually he called her some variation of her name or something like cupcake or snookums. Hermione sighed and turned toward her meal.
Fred groaned and pushed the thought away; he would always remember all the rights he had done wrong. They had their share of fights, was it because she was hogging the bed and he didn't much like it because the heating got turned off that week? Or because he seemed to be always testing new products and she thought he should get a real job? It didn't really matter now he thought to himself, they fought, and they fought hard, they both were headstrong and stubborn to fault. That's where the real downfall had come into play, neither wanting to give up and admit that they were wrong.
Looking back out the window as to not see the careful reminders of her, his eyes caught sight of the ladder leaning against the house. He remembered the day he came home from work and she was climbing up to the roof to fix a leak that had been dripping into their bedroom. Biting her lower lip he could still see her trembling form and the way she had bit her lower lip so hard it had started to bleed. But she was Hermione and when she wanted to do something, she would do it.
Slowly standing up from his seat Fred made his way across the room to his bedroom, laying down on the bed he fixed his eyes on the roof. It never once had leaked since. He thought of their house, they had fixed everything yet they could not put that same thought and care into their relationship. He remembered the swing and the countless hours they had nestled into it; it was for their kids, and she had been so proud of it.
"Fred, come here." Fred turned from the new product he was trying to make to see her standing at the doorway, a look of delight lighting her eyes. Putting down his stuff he bounded over to her and took her hand as she led him out the door. At first he didn't notice anything, but she walked over to the swing and jumped on like a little kid. His smile brightened.
"You fixed it." He said as he came up behind her and laid his hands on her shoulders. She looked up at him, a small smile played at the edges of her lips. Bending over he kissed her sweetly. It was an odd feeling, kissing her upside down and he wasn't sure he liked it as much. Holding onto the chains of the swing he gently rocked her back and forth. He leaned down again until his lips where just brushing her ear and whispered, "I love you Hermione, you have no idea how much I do." Hermione giggled,
"Aye, and I love you Mr. Weasley." She whispered. She turned around in the swing so she was facing him and stood up he picked her up and she wrapped her legs around his torso. Giggling she planted a few shy kisses on his pink lips. Growling he pulled her head closer to his kissed her passionatly. "Fred! Not in public!" Hermione blushed pulling away her breath came out in short gasps. Grinning foolishly he pulled open the front door and walked in.
He would never forget the hours they would swing together murmuring sweet nothings to each other. Not being able to understand how they could have fallen apart so easily Fred let out an angry dog like sound. He could still feel her touch, the way she would say his name when they were alone. Or how when she was reading a book her hair would fall into her face and how her eyes would dart across the page. He loved when she laughed; her eyes seemed to come alive then. He had thought they would be invincible, that not even the bars of hell could tear their love apart. But somehow they had.
She packed up her things throwing them hazardously into her suitcase, she left all the books, and notes he had given to her, and they lay neatly on the bed. She jumped into the car she had insisted they get, and drove off without a second glance back. He watched her leave on the swing and no longer being able to reign in the tears he let the streak down his cheeks. His only love had left him and he was powerless to stop it. Even with the fights he thought they could get though it all, but he had thought wrong.
"But baby, what about us? I thought me and you… we could get through anything." He asked softly his hazel eyes looking deeply into her own, searching, hoping to see that familiar glint when she was about to do something unexpected. It wasn't there, the only thing that lay there was defiance and if he looked deep enough a tinge of sadness. "Please say this is just some joke." He choked out. "Please." He begged her. "Don't let this be it."
"Well Fred, I guess you thought wrong." She replied tersely, he felt as if a knife had ripped through his heart leaving it mangled and unfixable. Giving him a final look Hermione quickly grabbed her bag off the swing and walked to the car. Stuffing his hand into his pocket his pulled out a small black box. Flicking it open a small diamond ring lay inside. He bought it months before; he was never sure when to give it to her, now, it was too late.
His twin had tried to help, moving in with him, telling him things that George thought was helpful. They weren't, but Fred liked to make George think that he was doing him a big favor but sometimes Fred just wished to be left alone. Everything Fred had thought about the relationship had been a lie.
They had never talked about the strain that was coming between them; both had hoped that it would sort itself out in time. Time was the greatest healer. Fred laughed hollowly at the thought, it hadn't fixed anything, it only drove them apart. Sometimes, he wondered that if they had tried harder would she still be here? Or was this just a cruel twist of fate taking them for a ride?
He looked at the sky and saw the stars glittering down and wondered if they had aligned the day she left, but he hated the thought that they weren't meant to be. Every time he tried telling himself that she wasn’t right, he'd remember all the times they had shared he knew that what had happened between them was real and it shouldn't have ended. Shaking his head at his foolishness he tried thinking on his brothers words. And though he knew them untrue sometimes that was all that got him through.
"You are better off mate, she was just a disaster waiting to happen. What do you expect when you fall in love with your complete opposite. Plus she was too stuck up for her own good." Fred glared at George for a second, but soon he looked down, both of them knew it wasn't true. Sighing Fred nodded disheartened.
Oh how Fred wished those words were true, he stayed awake at night trying to convince himself that he was better off. But he wasn’t, without her, he was nothing.
"There it’s done!" She cried in delight, standing up from the ground she surveyed the work she and Fred had completed. "It doesn't make a sound, not one!" Fred came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her lovingly.
"Does that mean that now I can steal cookies in the middle of the night without you knowing?" He whispered into her ear.
"You already do steal those cookies." Fred pouted,
"How'd you know?" He whined.
"Why else would there be a jar full of them and the next morning only one?" She pointed out smiling, he eyes dancing with mirth.
"That means I'll just have to perfect my act." He said carelessly before running to the cookie jar and stuffing a couple cookies in his mouth. Laughing Hermione ran over to him.
"Take those out before you choke yourself!"
A fist connected with the plaster on the wall, making a dent, he didn't understand how she could just up and leave him like she did. They had worked so well together; everything they had worked so hard for was just going to waste now. He knew he would never use the swing ever again, sometimes he even wondered about making a hole in the bedroom roof just so that he could be rid of the memories of her.
Fred collapsed onto the couch sighing deeply, the radio buzzed in the background reminding him how many things they had wanted to fix yet. He had hoped that she would have stayed a bit longer; maybe then he would have been able to fix their relationship. Just the two of them with tools in their hands making their old rundown house a paradise.
"What color?" She asked softly looking around the room with a content look upon her face,
"How about baby blue?" He said looking at the color things she had picked up earlier that day, her eyes brightened,
"I'd hoped you'd say that. He's going to love it." She said stepping into the room turning in a full circle sighing happily.
"How do you know if it’s going to be a boy, your aren't even… are you?" He asked a look of wonder crossing his face.
"Don't be silly Fred." Hermione said seriously. “One day when it happens, it’ll be a boy. Never argue with a woman about her baby.” She smiled childishly.
It was too bad they never had the chance to actually have a kid.
Fred opened the door of the house to see George calmly reading the newspaper, at Fred's appearance George looked up gravely.
"Hey mate, how was it?" George asked uneasily, Fred had finally decided to move on from Hermione, it had taken a year and a little but now he had just taken his first date. Fred nearly glared at his brother,
"Terrible, she was so… so conceited and worried about her looks. I went to pick her up and she wasn't ready, I waited for a half an hour. I never had to wait that long with… with Hermione." Fred said with some hesitation, though his eyes held determination that he wasn't going to let her get to him. George chuckled.
"Woman." Fred nodded in agreement but he didn't like it. "Fred there's something you should know." Fred looked over at his twin; he had never heard George sound so serious in all his life. George looked down nervously,
"Well spit it out."
"You haven't being going to the family dinners for… well since you and Hermione broke up." George plunged on, ignoring Fred dark look. "And well, mum said that this Tuesday you had to come or she come over here and drag you there herself." Fred pursed his lips, there was a reason he didn't go every Tuesday to family dinner, that's because Hermione came as well, he still couldn't are seeing her sweet face. And he knew she was happy without him, as selfish as that sounded, he didn't want her to be happy when she was not with him. "And well… there has been this development since you've sort of disappeared from the family for a while." George continued on, dreading his next words. "Ron well… Ron and Hermione they are getting quite serious." Fred dropped to the couch, he knew the day would come where she would move on and he'd be forced to accept that. But he never imagined she'd move on to his own flesh and blood.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier?" Fred demanded. "How long?"
"About seven months mate," George replied dodging the first question. He didn't tell Fred because he was worried Fred would fly in a temper and go after Ron. But he knew he had to tell him now before the dinner, so Fred could prepare himself with seeing his baby brother with his ex-lover, a lover he still held on to with dear life.
Fred closed his eyes in defeat; through the past year he had fooled himself into thinking that given some time they could work it out. That they could still fix it just like the fixed up the house. It was foolish thinking, he had known that all along but he couldn't bring himself to accept that they were done, clinging to hope was all he knew how to do.
The dinner had been a terrible ordeal; as soon as he walked in he knew it was a bad idea; a very bad idea.
Fred walked into the Burrow with his date, Alicia Spinnet. He had been dreading this moment for the past two days, every since George had told him. Hearing voices in the living room, Alicia smiled and pulled him into the room. He wasn't prepared to see what he saw he almost vomited. Hermione was sitting between Ron's legs while Ron was playing wizards chess with Harry. Before he made his presence known he watched her, the familiar brightness in her eyes angered him, and how could she be happy when he was still dying inside?
Alicia calling his name he looked away from Hermione he walked into the living room brought him out of his reverie. All eyes were on him, walking over to Alicia he sat beside; determinedly not looking at Hermione he placed an arm around Alicia. After some small talk between the group Ron, and Harry continued on with their wizard's chess and Hermione watched with rapt attention. Muttering some well-chosen curses under his breath Fred declared he had to go to the bathroom. Alicia watched him with a concerned look on her face. Fred sauntered up the steps heavily; he couldn't stand being in the same room as her, it hurt too much. Seeing her with his baby brother didn't help matters much either come to think of it. Stepping into his and George's old room he nearly slammed the door shut, he wished he could just aparate away, but he couldn't, everyone would think of him as a coward. Not like they didn't already, he thought shrewdly.
Hearing a tap on his door he turned from the window,
"Come in." He replied, half expecting it to be Hermione he was surprised to see Alicia walk in.
"This isn't the bathroom Fred." She pointed out,
"Wow, your powers of observation have never yet ceased to amaze me, Alicia dear." He joked, giving her a boyish smile. She smiled slightly at his feeble attempt in bringing humour into the situation.
"Fred, you alright?" She asked slowly. He nodded sullenly,
"Fine." Alicia gave him a look that said she clearly didn't believe him.
"Fred Weasley I've been your friend for years and it's quite clear that you are not alright." Fred sighed and told her about Hermione, she never blinked an eye. "Come on Fred, dinner is ready, let's go down there and show them that you are no wimp." Taking his hand Alicia led him out of his room and to the kitchen. Everyone was already sitting there talking amongst themselves. They sat opposite of Ron and Hermione. He couldn’t stop stealing glances at her, he couldn’t stop glaring at his two-timing brother. Soon after the food was done being shoveled into his mouth, he excused himself and gave Alicia a quick hug before he left out the front door.
"Fred, wait!" He heard a voice none no familiar to him call out just before he aparated away. Turning reluctantly he saw her running up to him. Trying to stop the thoughts of how beautiful she had become he pursed his lips into a determined line. She stopped in front of him.
"Yeah?" he asked after she didn't say anything.
"Fred, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry, okay I'm so sorry." She said staring into his eyes.
"Sorry for what Hermione? Sorry you went out with me to begin with? Sorry that you wasted the time on me when you could have been shagging my little brother?" Fred nearly snarled at her. She glared at him momentarily.
"I'm sorry it ended like it did. I could have handled it much better, and I admit that I was wrong." Fred was surprised; he had never in all the year and half they had dated heard her admit that she was wrong. "I know I hurt you Fred, but I'm with Ron, he asked me to marry him last night; I said yes."
"Congratulations, he sure didn't waste any time." Hermione looked at Fred with disgust.
"At least he acted on his feelings." She hissed, tears had come to her eyes, but Fred didn't notice in his rage.
"You took the easy way out! Just when things start getting hard, you ran. It hasn't changed. Tell me Hermione, do you even love Ron?"
"Don't you dare blame it all on me, don't you even think about it." Hermione yelled at him. "Do you know how long I waited for that stupid ring from you? Far too long." Fred stopped stock still for the first time noticing her tears; he slumped his shoulders and dug his hands in his pockets in order not to reach out to her. "Was I ever going to get it from you?" she asked, brushing her tears away. Fred looked back at her; digging something out of his pocket he threw a small black box at her. Gasping she opened it, "How long have you had it?"
"Far too long." He answered with a smirk. "I never found the right time to ask, I guess that was the hint I should have heeded. We weren't meant for one another." Fred almost cringed at his own words, how he could lie like that amazed him.
"Oh." Was all she could get out, she reached up to touch his face but he backed away quickly.
"I'll see you at your wedding Hermione, save me a dance." Fred said with a small smile before he aparated away.
He sat down in the back row right by the aisle George plopped down beside him. His face showed anything but happiness, he had thought about vouching out and not showing up but George and persuaded him to go at the last minute. So here he was watching the woman of his dreams walk up the aisle for someone else. Someone who was his little brother, he had yet to forgive Ron for it.
"I promised you a dance." A voice whispered next to him at the reception following the wedding, Fred looked up into a pair of deep brown eyes.
"So you did." He replied straightening up and taking her arm as she led him out to the dance floor.
Saw the world turning in my sheets and once again I cannot sleep.
Walk out the door and up the street; look at the stars beneath my feet.
The music started and he pulling her as close as he dared without making it awkward, they started to sway to the music for a moment without speaking
"I do love him." Hermione said finally, "Ron I mean, you asked me if I loved him that night and I never answered. But I do love him, with all my heart." Fred glanced down at her pleading eyes.
Remember rights that I did wrong, so here I go.
Hello, hello. There is no place I cannot go.
"I know." He said gruffly. "You're not stupid enough to marry someone you don't love." Fred glanced over Hermione's shoulder and noticed Ron watching, ignoring the urge to glare Fred looked away. He looked back down at Hermione, he felt his heart lurch unexpectedly; she looked so at ease and carefree. The way the light shone on her made her look like an angel. Biting back a groan he couldn't believe how good it felt holding this girl in his arms one last time. One last taste of heaven he figured. One last taste of something he could never have.
My mind is muddy but my heart is heavy. Does it show?
I lose the track that loses me, so here I go.
"Fred, what's wrong? You look a million miles away." Merlin what's wrong? Everything is wrong he wanted to tell her; he wanted to tell her that her simple touch sent shivers up his spine, or how it took everything in him not to bend down and kiss her right then and there. He wanted to tell her he was sorry.
So I set out to cut myself and here I go.
I'm not calling for a second chance,
"Just thinking." He replied with a chuckle. Thinking about you he added in thought. Hermione continued to give Fred a worried look. "I'm fine Hermione, I don't need to get sent to St. Mungos yet." He replied trying to lighten the mood. Hermione nodded, knowing it wasn't her place to press for information.
Give me reason but don't give me choice.
'Cause I'll just make the same mistake again.
"So how are you Fred?" She asked trying to break the tense silence that had fallen over them.
"Dandy." He replied quickly, too quickly. "It's going good, I got a job at the Leaky Cauldron, and Tom said I could help bartending." Hermione nodded.
Look at the stars fall down.
And wonder where did I go wrong?
"That's great. I finally got my certificate for Healer." Fred smiled to himself he knew she would. The song ended then, Fred nearly groaned knowing he'd have to let her go, letting her slip out of his grasp for the second time he watched her walk back to Ron. Turning before the kiss he knew she would give he decided it was time to go.
Sometimes when he was by himself he would dream that one day she would come back to him. Because he still held the foolish notion that they could fix anything, even their broken love. Picking up his cloak he threw it around his shoulders, he knew he would always love her and somehow he knew that the image of them two swinging on that chair until they turned old and gray would stay etched in his brain forever.
Authors Note: Hello all, i hope you all enjoyed this, i certainly had fun writing this peice. This is a rewrite of Broken Hearts and Concrete Floors so if this sounds familiar that's where it came from. Please review and let me know your honest opinion.
Disclaimer: i climbed to the highest mountain and down to the deepest depths of the sea but alas the only thing i found there was a common girl living in a common place and in no way owned anything. (my travels were for nothing.) The song is Same Mistake by James Blunt.