Agnes woke the next morning and had to take a moment to remember where she was. Her temporary bedroom was still dark, although light was just beginning to creep in through the window. The bed where she had slept smelled musty, but there was the very faint scent of cologne, making it somewhat bearable. She turned her head on the pillow, noting that her mother was still sleeping.
So, as she slipped out of her bed, Agnes tried to be a quiet as possible. She lifted the lid of her suitcase and, after digging for a moment, pulled out her pink bathrobe and pulled it on over her pajamas. It was chilly, after all, and she didn't want to catch a cold.
Taking one last look at her sleeping mother, she opened the door and headed down the stairs. She wanted to get out of the stairway as quickly as possible. It just creeped her out, especially since it was early in the morning and the stairway was dark. Agnes hurried to the bottom and opened the door to the kitchen. She was surprised to see that someone was already there.
"Fred!" she cried, her heart thumping. "You scared me!"
The red-headed boy sitting at the table grinned at her. "Sorry about that. I didn't realize sitting was such a disturbing thing to American girls," he said cheekily. "Plus, I'm not Fred. " Agnes stared at him. "He didn't tell you I was his twin?" asked the boy, chuckling slightly. "I'm George."
"Nice to meet you," said Agnes, laughing nervously.
"You want something to eat?" asked George. "We've got eggs and stuff."
"That would be nice," she said, seating herself.
"Only," he said, giving her a grin exactly like his twin's. "I dunno how to make it."
"Oh..." said Agnes, standing up again. "I can do it then. Do you know where the pots are?"
A few minutes later, Agnes was showing George how to make scrambled eggs. "You know," she said teasingly, as they began to fry. "For someone who can make all those tricks and inventions, it's kind of pathetic that you can't cook."
George gave her an indignant look. "Hey, now, that's not fair," he said. "My mum's such a good cook that I never needed to learn how."
"Well, thank you, dear," said Mrs. Weasley, entering the kitchen. Her fiery hair was rumpled, and she was wearing a tattered old robe. "You must be Agnes," she said, smiling kindly at the girl. "Remus said you arrived last night, but I'm afraid you and your mother were asleep before we had a chance to meet."
"This is my mum," said George proudly, in case Agnes was stupid and hadn't figured it out yet.
"I'll finish those for you, dear," said Mrs. Weasley, heading over to the skillet. "You take a seat."
"Thank you, ma'am," said Agnes politely.
As she sat down, the door swung open again, and Remus entered. His eyes met hers and Agnes felt a slight jolt as she realized where her own eyes had come from. "Good morning, Molly," he said, heading over to the window. "George." He turned again to her. "Agnes."
George nodded slightly before digging into the eggs that his mother had just placed in front of him, but Agnes could not help but stare at her father as he took a newspaper from an owl which had just appeared in the window. "Mum, how much longer are we going to be here?" asked George, finishing his eggs. "I hate this place."
"Oh, I think we all do," said Remus cheerily, seating himself next to George.
"We'll be going back tonight," said Mrs. Weasley irritably. "Harry's almost finished sorting through Sirius's possessions."
"I don't see why we all had to come along," grumbled George.
"Might I remind you," snapped Mrs. Weasley, brandishing a spatula at him. "That you were the one who wanted to tag along. You were the one that said that Harry might need the extra help." Her face softened as she finished, "Although, he probably did, the poor dear." After a moment's thought, she turned to Agnes. "Will you be staying for the wedding?"
Agnes's head snapped up and she glanced nervously at Remus. "Wedding?"
"Yes," said Mrs. Weasley, failing to hold back a girlish smile. "My eldest son, Bill, is getting married in two weeks."
Agnes shrugged. "Sorry," she said sheepishly. "I'm not even really sure what we're doing here in the first place."
That was a lie now. She knew the reason. And that reason was sitting right next to George.
Remus, who had buried himself into his newspaper, looked up ever so slightly at this remark. "Do you have enough room for them?" he asked, keeping his eyes on Agnes.
"Well, we should be able to manage," said Mrs. Weasley. "It'll be awfully cramped, though."
"I don't mind sleeping on the couch," said Remus, with a slight smile.
"Thank you, Remus," said Mrs. Weasley, heading out the door. "Now I've got to go pack up everything."
"I had better do the same," said Remus, setting down his paper.
As he reached the door, Harry came in, bumping into him. The messy-haired boy gave him an uncomfortable look and muttered, "Morning, Remus," before heading over to the table.
Remus just shook his head and headed out the door. "What was that all about?" asked George, giving Harry a weird look.
"Nothin'," mumbled Harry, looking up at Agnes. "How does your mum know Remus?"
Agnes shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "'Don't know," she said quickly. "Old school friends, I suppose."
Harry nodded slightly, feeling that this wasn't quite the case. "Just friends?" he pressed.
"I don't know," said Agnes, shrugging and turning slightly red. "She never talked about him. She never really talked about anyone."
"C'mon, Harry," said George, laughing nervously. "Give the girl a break."
"Just wondering," muttered Harry. He figured that it would be a bad idea to tell Agnes that he had seen Remus and her mother sucking each other's faces off in the hallway. "So," he said, changing the subject. "Are you coming to the Burrow?"
"Sorry," he said sheepishly. "The Weasley's house. That's what they-"
He stopped in mid-sentence as the door swung open again and Ginny Weasley came in through the door. He couldn't remember what he had been talking about. He had instantly become entranced by the way her pajama top was clinging to her body and the way her beautiful red hair was flowing over her shoulders. Her voice snapped him out of his trance as she said, "Morning, you lot."
There was a mumbled response of sleepy voices.
"Did you have a good night, Agnes?" she asked kindly, plopping down next to her. "How was the room?"
"My room," grumbled George, which caused Ginny to smack his arm. "Which bed are you in?"
"The one by the door," said Agnes.
"Aw, that's Fred's bed," said George, sounding disappointed.
"What about me?" asked Fred, entering the kitchen.
"She got your bed," answered George. "He ended up with the lumpy bed," he explained to Agnes.
"Probably smells better, though," said Fred, giving his twin a grin.
And Agnes had to privately agree with him.
Before the two could begin arguing over each other's hygiene, Ginny asked, "Ron still asleep, Harry?"
Harry looked up at the sound of his name. "Uh, yeah," he said, glancing at the door.
"Oh, gross, George," snapped Ginny, smacking his arm.
"You know what, Ginvera," said George, faking a scolding voice. "That is the second time I have been smacked by you this morning, and I think it's becoming a problem."
"Can't help it if you are a problem, George," said Ginny, rolling her eyes at Agnes.
"Well, he is the evil twin," said Fred, winking at Agnes. "I'm the good one."
"I find that hard to believe," said Agnes, finally joining in on the banter.
"Oh, do you?" asked Fred, giving her a smirk. "Well, I could prove how good I am, if you'd like."
"Don't let mum hear you talking like that," said Ginny warningly. "And try to keep the sexual connotations out of the kitchen."
Fred rolled his eyes but kept watching Agnes out of the corner of his eye. Never one to miss a pretty face, he had been thinking a lot about her last night and had been disappointed that she'd been quiet most of the morning. At least she has a sense of humor, he thought.
But Fred didn't have much time to ponder on the mysteries of American girls because his mother came marching back into the kitchen, barking at them to pack their things quickly.
She wanted to get home.
While all the chatter was going on downstairs, Remus had gone up to see Elle, hoping that she would be awake. Unfortunately, her journey seemed to have completely worn her out, and she was still fast asleep.
With a glance to either side of the hallway, Remus stepped inside the room and closed the door. "Elle?" he said softly. "Are you awake?"
When there was no answer, he moved to the side of her bed. There was moment where his breath seemed to catch in his throat. She looked the same as she did all those years ago, only older and more tired. But then, he thought. So do I.
"Elle," he said again. "You've got to wake up."
Elle stirred slightly and her eyes fluttered open. "Good morning, Remus," she said, smiling. "I had a funny-." Her smile faded as her dreams slipped away. "It wasn't a dream," she muttered, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and sitting up.
Remus gulped slightly as the neckline of her nightgown shifted somewhat and revealed a bit more than it should. "Fix your, um, fix your nightgown," he muttered, focusing on his hands.
When he looked back up, she was looking at him rather sadly. "I never should have left you," she whispered. "You never should have made me."
"Elle, don't start that again," he protested.
"Remus," she said, standing up. "It wasn't supposed to happen this way."
"Well, you know what," he snapped. "Sometimes things don't go as planned." He threw up his hands in exasperation. "I came in here to tell you that we're leaving," he said shortly. "You're welcome to come with us."
Elle bit her lip and looked at the floor. "Alright," she said quietly.
"Okay," said Remus, taking a deep breath. "Well, I'll leave you to it then."
And as he walked out the door, he could almost swear that he hear her whisper, "I love you."
A few hours later, the group arrived at the Burrow by Floo Powder. "Arthur?" called Mrs. Weasley, looking around her kitchen for her husband.
"Right here, Molly, dear," he said, enveloping his wife in a hug, before noticing the group behind her. "Godric, that's a lot of people."
"We'll have room," she said. "I just have to get everyone situated."
"I'm sleeping on the couch," said Remus, as a reminder.
"Harry and Neville will be in Ron's room," said Mrs. Weasley, not noticing as Ron and Hermione began making their way upstairs, trying not to look suspicious.
"And Hermione is sleeping in Ginny's room, right?" said Mr. Weasley quickly, before Mrs. Weasley could figure out what was going on. "As is Luna, I would assume."
"Fred, dear, will you take Elle, Agnes, and Tonks to Charlie's room?" asked Mrs. Weasley. "Fleur should be up there already." She turned to Elle and explained, "She would have come down to greet you all but she's become a bit obsessed over the wedding."
As everyone began to clear out of the kitchen, Mr. Weasley beckoned to Ron, and as Harry hurried up the stairs, to avoid hearing any uncomfortable conversation, he heard Mr. Weasley say, "We need to have a talk, son."
Fred knocked on a worn wooden door on the fourth flight of stairs. A few moments later, the door opened to reveal a very beautiful woman with silvery hair. "What iz eet, Fred?" she asked sharply. "Can you not see zat I am busy?"
"You've got company, Fleur," said Fred, lazily, picking up Agnes's bag. "You remember Tonks, right?"
Fleur gave Tonks a disdainful look. She had never been very fond of her. "And zee uzzers?" she said, inclining her head towards Elle and her daughter. "'Oo are zey?"
"This is Elle Insontis and her daughter, Agnes," said Fred, pushing past his future sister-in-law and motioning for Agnes to follow him.
"Eet iz nice to meet you," said Fleur delicately. "But surely, you must be joking. Are we all to fit inside zis small room?"
"Yup," said Fred, dropping the bag on the floor. "Make yourselves at home."
With a slight grin at Agnes, he left the room.
"Molly has a cot for you, Elle," said Tonks, who had already set down her suitcase. "Agnes and I can camp out on the floor."
"Great," groaned Agnes, rolling her eyes.
Tonks chuckled slightly. "Don't worry," she said cheerfully. "We've got sleeping bags and all."
"Eez Bill 'ome yet?" asked Fleur, returning to wedding plans spread out on a small writing desk.
"'Fraid not," said Tonks, grinning at her. "Still out with Charlie."
"Zis eez a very important week," said Fleur, sounding ticked. "'Ee should be 'elping me. I do not know why 'e would be out."
"I bet I do," muttered Tonks, winking at Agnes. "Fancy something to eat, Agnes?"
"Thanks," said Agnes. "But I think I'd rather sleep for a bit."
"Well, I will not bother you," said Fleur. "I haff very important work to do."
"Elle and I could go get a cup of tea," said Tonks, smiling cheerily at Elle.
Elle managed a smile back and nodded, following the pink-haired woman out of the room.
"So you fancy that American girl then, huh?" said George, flopping down on his bed.
"Good guess," said Fred, grinning at him.
"You're too loud," said George, as if it were obvious. "You'll never be able to get her."
"Yeah, right, tosser," said Fred, laying down his own bed. "I could get a girl like her." He sat up and grinned at his brother. "And bang her on your bed, too."
"Nah, I'm good with Athena," said George, patting his stomach as if it were a drum.
"The girl working in our Diagon Alley shop?" asked Fred incredulously.
"Yeah," said George, with a smirk. "Besides, Ron's been doing enough shagging for the both of us. Merlin, did you hear him moaning?"
"It's lucky Mum didn't. He sounded like a dying cow," said Fred, smirking. "Dad already knows what's going on. He's giving Ron a bit of a 'talk'."
"Poor bloke," muttered George. "You'd think Hermione'd have the sense to use a Silencing Charm."
The two were interrupted by a knock at the door. "What?" called George.
"Which way is Ron's room?" asked Neville, from behind the closed door.
Fred got up off his bed and went to the door. "You could've opened the door, mate," he said, doing so himself.
Neville shrugged slightly and muttered that he "hadn't wanted to bother them."
"It's no trouble," said Fred, shrugging. "Just go to the top. Keep following the stairs."
"Now get out of here, you little bugger," said George, with a grin.
When Neville reached the top, Ron had still not been freed from his lecture, and Harry was lying on a cot, reading a Quidditch magazine. "What a load of idiots," he muttered, shutting it. "Where've you been?"
Neville turned pink and mumbled, "Talking to Luna."
Harry smiled slightly but chose not to further embarrass his friend. "Ron still downstairs?"
Neville nodded slightly, and there was a bit of a pause. "Are you okay, Harry?"
No. "Yeah," said Harry unconvincingly. I'm just about to endanger everyone I love, when all I want to do is save them. "Thanks for coming, Neville."
"Hey, what are friends for?" responded Neville, obviously trying to sound confident in what he was saying. "Besides, my gran's proud of me, and she...she says my parents would be, too."
Harry just looked at him for a moment, before saying, "You really are a true Gryffindor."
Neville did not have a chance to respond because at that moment, Ron burst in, exclaiming, "Bloody hell!"
He collapsed onto his bed, with a flabbergasted look. "What did he say?" asked Neville warily.
Ron, who was laying with his face in his pillow, did not answer. "That bad?" asked Harry, starting to feel his mood lighten.
Ron rolled over and groaned, "Yes. That bad."
Neville glanced at Harry, both obviously trying not to laugh. "C'mon, what'd he say?"
"Well, he started off by asking me how 'things were with Hermione'," said Ron, at which, Harry snorted. "And I responded, with a 'fine.'"
Harry coughed rather loudly at this.
Ron gave him a dirty look and chucked a pillow at him. "Anyway, so he started going on about how he knew I was a teenaged boy and that I was probably having urges and that he knew I was following some of my urges and, just,-bloody hell, Hermione!"
Hermione had just burst through the door. "What's going on, Ronald?" she asked, her hands on her hips.
Ron immediately took on an expression that strongly reminded Harry of Mr. Weasley.
"Nothing," he mumbled. "Absolutely nothing.
"Don't you dare give me that," she warned, crossing the room and sitting next to him. "Your dad knows, doesn't he?"
The red-head looked as is he were going to deny it for a moment, before muttering, "Yes."
Hermione groaned and fell backwards onto his bed. "Does your mum know?"
"No," said Ron. "Dad says he's not going to tell her, but he says if we're going to be...you know-"
"Oh, for heaven's sake, Ronald," snapped Hermione. "If you're mature enough to be having sex, you should at least be able to say the word."
Harry, who had been trying not to listen, dropped the magazine he had been holding. The bump of noise seemed to make the couple remember that there were other people in the room. Hermione got quite flustered, and Ron's ears turned pink. Neville gave Harry an awkward glance, before asking, "Do you want us to leave?"
Hermione forced a smile and nodded. "That would be nice, Neville," she said. "Thank you."
As the two scrambled for the door, they could hear Ron mumbling to Hermione about his dad being worried about the possibility of Hermione getting pregnant.
Harry slammed the door behind them and looked over at Neville. "That was the most dreadful thing I have ever experienced," said Neville, starting to laugh nervously.
"No kidding," said Harry, rolling his eyes. "Let's get out of here."