Agnes awoke two days later, tired and crabby. She had spent the entire day before walking on eggshells around her mother, who seemed to be in a terrible mood for one reason or another. Which is why she was glad to see, when she looked up at the cot next to her, that her mother was still asleep. Unfortunately, so were Fleur and Tonks so she had to be extra-careful. She'd already woken up Fleur yesterday, and she would rather have faced a horde of dragons than do that again.
She made her way over to the door, carefully stepping over Tonks on her way. She placed her hand on the knob, checking around to make sure she hadn't woken anyone, and turned it slowly. She had stepped backwards into the hall, closing the door, when she felt someone run into her back. She almost let out a yelp when a large hand clamped over her mouth. She heard Fred whisper in her ear, "Calm down, Agnes. It's just me."
She wiggled out of his arms and turned around, with an indignant look. "You didn't have to scare me like that!" she whispered sharply.
Fred just grinned at her and said, "It's not my fault that American girls are so jumpy."
Agnes giggled, trying to keep her voice down. "C'mon," said Fred, reaching for her hand. "Let's go down to the kitchen."
She nodded and let him lead her down the stairway, loving the way that his hand completely enveloped her own, making her feel safe in the strangest way. Snores rattled from the other bedrooms, making it obvious that the rest of the household was asleep. "What're you doing up this early?"
"I might ask you the same question," said Fred, winking at her.
Agnes couldn't help but smile.
Remus wasn't asleep. He'd been up all night thinking. About Elle. About Tonks.
He couldn't see how any of this could possibly end well.
If only she'd shown up one year earlier-his thoughts were interrupted by a loud bang, which made him jump in surprise. He ended up sprawled on the living room floor, his heart racing wildly. What the hell was that?
Remus stood up, drawing his wand out of his pocket. He raised it, ready to cast a spell, when Fred and Agnes stepped into the room. "Easy there, Remus," exclaimed Fred. "She just tripped on the step."
"You nearly gave me a heart attack," said Remus, rolling his eyes.
"We're going to get breakfast," said Fred, tugging on Agnes's hand. "Come on in if you want any."
The older man nodded and moved to lay back on the couch. He watched Fred and his daughter walk out of the room, hand in hand. A bit of a parental instinct kicked in and he felt the need to say something. But it's not my place, he thought. After all, I've only been her father for a week...and not even then...
"You want me to make some bacon or something?" asked Agnes awkwardly, as Fred looked out the window.
"Dunno," he said absently. "But there's an owl coming in the-"
He was interrupted as a flapping bunch of feathers flew into his face. The tawny owl squawked loudly as Agnes rushed forward, exclaiming, "Roger!"
"Is this your monster?" spluttered Fred, forcing the bird out of his face.
"He's Greta's," she said excitedly, taking the letter from the owl's leg. "My best friend. I haven't heard from her since school ended. She's been staying with Timothy-"
Agnes stopped in mid-sentence and her smile, having appeared on seeing something familiar, faded slightly. "Who's Timothy?" asked Fred suspiciously, noting that her expression had changed.
"That's probably who the letter's about," muttered Agnes, opening it and beginning to read.
And she was right. Greta was writing to tell her that she and Timothy had fallen in love. They couldn't help it and Greta felt just terrible about it. She kept repeating that she didn't want Agnes to be angry with her. It just happened.
By the time she finished the letter, Agnes had tears welling up in her eyes, while Fred watched helplessly. "Is everything okay?" he asked.
"It's fine," mumbled Agnes, sitting down in the chair. "My best friends, Timothy and Greta, just-"
"Oh," said Fred, as understanding dawned on him.
There was a silent moment, filled only by Agnes's slight sniffling.
She looks kind of pretty when she's crying, thought Fred, slightly amused by this fact. Even if her nose is all red.
Fred leaned forward slightly. He'd been dying to kiss her all week. And now she was looking up at him, her beautiful blue eyes, slightly red from crying, gazing intently into his own.
But just as they drifted closed, and he slid his hand up her arm, they were interrupted by footsteps coming into the kitchen.
Fred leapt backwards and crossed his arms, trying not to look suspicious, while Agnes tried not to laugh. Mrs. Weasley came bustling into the kitchen in her tattered pink bathrobe. "Good morning, you- Agnes, dear, have you been crying?"
"Oh, it's nothing, Mrs. Weasley," said Agnes, wiping her eyes. "Fred's cheered me up quite a bit."
"He has a knack for that," said Mrs. Weasley fondly, while Fred smirked behind her back. "I've got something to cheer you up."
"You're making pancakes?" asked Fred quickly.
"No," said Mrs. Weasley, laughing. "You and your mother are going to need something to wear to the wedding, so I'm going to take you both to Diagon Alley."
So, a few hours later, found Mrs. Weasley, Elle, and Agnes in Madam Malkin's robe shop, looking at dresses. Fred and George had gone to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes to do a check-up and had left the women to their shopping. The twins had been away for about an hour, and Agnes was still trying to find a dress. Her mother had chosen a simple blue dress, after Mrs. Weasley had insisted she get it, saying that it made her eyes stand out beautifully.
Agnes had just come out of the changing room, wearing a very light pink dress, when a voice from the door said, "I like that one."
The three woman turned in surprise to see Fred leaning against the door frame, with a smile on his face. "Where's your brother?" asked Mrs. Weasley sternly.
"He's at the shop," said Fred, waving his hand carelessly. "Are you almost finished?"
"I don't know," said Mrs. Weasley. "Do you like this one, Agnes?"
She looked at Fred, who winked at her, and nodded.
"Alright," said Fred, rubbing his hands together. "I'm taking you all out for ice cream."
A short time later, after Fred insisted on paying for both Elle and Agnes's dresses, they were all sitting outside Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlor, eating sundaes. The parlor had been reopened by the previous owner's distant cousin, after Florean's disappearance. Probably to give it a new look, the store had been repainted a bright yellow color, giving a generally happy mood to its customers. Even Elle was enjoying her ice cream.
Suddenly, Fred, who had been trying to explain to his mother exactly why their new Whacking Wands were completely safe for small children, spotted someone on the street. Standing up, he called out, "Lee Jordan!"
A tall boy with dreadlocks turned, releasing the hand of the girl walking with him. "Fred Weasley?" he cried. "Is that you?"
Lee hurried over to meet them, with a big grin on his face. "Mrs. Weasley, it's great to see you," he said.
Mrs. Weasley smiled and enveloped the boy in a big hug. "You look so old, Lee," she said. "It must be at least two years since I've seen you around."
Lee shrugged and looked over at the girl with him. "Alicia Spinnet, what're you doing with him?" said Fred, with a smirk on his face. "I thought you swore that you would never go out with him."
"It was the only way I could keep him from singing under my apartment balcony," said Alicia, rolling her eyes and wrapping her arm around Lee's waist. "My neighbor's were beginning to complain."
"You're pathetic, mate," said Fred.
"I think it's cute," said Agnes, laughing.
Lee seemed to notice her for the first time. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm Lee Jordan. Fred's school friend."
"Agnes," she said, holding out her hand with a smile.
"It's nice to meet you," said Lee, pulling up two chairs for him and Alicia. "So, have you seen the joke shop?"
When Agnes shook her head, Lee grinned. "You've got to see it."
"Oy, George!" called Fred, as they stepped into the brightly colored store. "Are you in here?"
There was a clang and, moments later, George Weasley stepped out of a backroom with his red-hair messed up and his belt undone. His mother immediately placed her hands on her hips and scowled at him. "What were you doing?" she snapped.
George, looking very much like a deer caught in the headlights, glanced at his brother, before saying, "Getting some supplies."
He hurried forward and grabbed his mother by the arm, steering her away.
When they were out of earshot, a small, dark-haired girl squeezed out of the backroom. She didn't seem to realize that there was a group of people watching her until she was standing right in front of them. Fred gave a very obvious cough and said brightly, "Hello, Athena."
Athena paled and turned to face them. "George, um, he gave me a break," she said quickly.
"Don't even worry about it," he said, grinning at her. "Why don't you show Miss Insontis around for me?"
He took Elle's arm and led her over to his helper. "Make sure you show her some of our best products."
"I'll show you around, Agnes," he said, tugging her arm gently.
When they got home that night, Agnes and her mother had certainley gotten a realization of how great the twins' company was. The twins and Athena had demonstrated any product that the two had shown interest in, and they had left the shop feeling as though their spirits had lightened considerably. It was now late in the evening, and Elle had fallen asleep on the couch, while Agnes and the twins played Exploding Snap by the fire. Everyone was feeling drowsy after the long day and the mood was fairly peaceful.
"It seems," she said, with a forced, sarcastic smile. "That Monsieur and Madame Delacour have insisted that they will not be staying in a hotel during the wedding."
"No," groaned Fred. "They're not-"
"They're coming in the morning," snapped Ginny. "So we'd better start getting ready."
The three stood up and started to leave the room, when Agnes turned around to wake her mother up. "Let her sleep," said Fred, stopping her. "She looks like she needs it."
Only moments after the teenagers left the room, Remus came in from outside. He had gone out to take a walk after he and Tonks had had a bit of a spat and he needed to clear his head. He was striding through the living room, heading up to apologize to his fiancee when he noticed Elle asleep on the couch. He looked around to see if anyone was watching.
The room was deserted.
He picked up a blanket that lay forgotten on the floor and spread it over her, making sure that she was completely covered. But before he turned to go, he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her cheekbone. A small smile inched its way onto her face, almost as if she had felt it through her dream.