Chapter 2 : What Love Is
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“I feel…saintly,” Fred quirked a brow at George. Trying to figure out what he meant.
“Are you going mental George,” he asked seriously. George laughed a little.
“No, I just feel holy. Get it,” now George burst into laughter while a frustrated Lupin tried to wipe the blood from around his ear away. The napkin that Lupin held was drenched in the sticky red liquid. Lupin hands were covered in it as well. He threw the old napkin aside and went off to find another. Fred looked to his left, there sat his mother in the kitchen. Her eyes filled with tears as she fanned herself. Fred smirked a little as he realized that she had probably about fainted at the sight of George. He laughed to himself as he crossed over to George’s side.
“Out of all the ear jokes out there you went and picked that one? Have you learned nothing from me,” Fred straightened his posture and looked into the light.
“I’m sorry Professor. I’ll try harder next term.” George joked from his position on the couch. Fred looked down at George and smiled. It was that bond that they shared. It was the undeniable tie that made them Fred and George. There was no Fred without George, or George without Fred. George winked at Fred and turned to Lupin.
“Could you get me some ice? I’m feeling a tad dizzy old chap,” George said as Lupin got up to get him the ice. George waited until he was out of sight before returning his attention to Fred.
“What’s the matter Fred? You don’t look so good.” George eyed him over as Fred looked down at the ground.
“You scared me,” Fred muttered. At that comment George sat straight up.
“I’m sorry Fred. I didn’t mean to.”
“Yeah, well the final battle is going to come soon. What if you die, or I die? What happens then?” George scooted over to Fred.
“Neither of us are going to die,” George said slowly. Fred shook his head at him.
“It’s war, everyone is fair game in it.” George looked away and then back at him.
“Then maybe…it’s time that I propose to Katie.” Fred observed him carefully.
“Are you really going to?” George nodded and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a small box, covered in velvet. George smiled at Fred and opened it. Sitting inside of it was a ring. The band of the ring was gold, and on the band it read, “I love you.” Fred looked at the closer. The diamond on it was fairly large and it twinkled in the sunlight that was pouring into the room.
“Love it, I know,” George finished for him. Fred and George looked around the house.
“I suppose that she’ll move into the flat above the shop?” George nodded. He winced a little as he touched the spot where his ear used to be.
“Hey Fred, I’m tired. Mind if I go upstairs to take a nap?”
“I’m sure that getting your ear blow off is tiring. Go ahead. I’ll just…stay down here,” Fred said to George. George smiled and then headed off upstairs. Touching the hole in his head as he proceeded up the stairs.
For a long while Fred just sat there. Staring blankly at the fire. The sky outside quickly became dark once more, and their Fred sat. Staring at the fire, unblinkingly. Mrs. Weasley came in to light the fire after the sun had gone down.
“Fred, are you okay?”
“Yeah mum, I’m fine,” Fred said quickly in response. Mrs. Weasley eyed him curiously for a long moment and then left the room. Leaving him to sit there.
Fred continued to sit around the fire in the Burrow. His eyes twinkling in the ginger flames, the flames nearly matched his hair. He sat there on the couch. His hands folded delicately in his lap. Hermione walked into the room, her footsteps silent as the dead of night. Fred had not taken notice to her. He just began shaking his head.
“No, I have to. I’ve got to do it.” Hermione chuckled slightly as she heard Fred talking to himself but he didn’t seem to notice, he had been talking to loud to hear.
“There’s a war going on Fred, snap out of it.” Hermione paraded over to the couch.
“Talking to yourself now are you,” she said as she sat down in a chair adjacent to the couch. Hermione’s auburn hair was shining in the firelight and her hazel twinkling with her laughter. Fred whipped his head around, his eyes wide in shock.
“When did you get here?”
“About a minute ago,” she laughed again before continuing, “I could hear you talking from Ginny’s room.”
“You’ve been spying on my have you?” Hermione shook her head and laughed again. Fred smirked and leaned back into the couch. His long hair trailing down his neck. She smiled and looked at him. He seemed peaceful and relaxed. Yet outside of the Burrow Voldemort was rampaging about. Causing pain and havoc all over the wizarding and muggle communities. Fred was always that way; relaxed about every position he was placed in. Unlike Hermione, she knew that when put under intense pressure she had a tendency to crack. She longed to be like Fred, carefree and happy.
“Just out of curiosity Fred, what were you talking to yourself about,” Fred looked at her suspiciously. Then he straightened up and looked at her sternly.
“I would prefer it if you used to correct terms, like so. Fred, why were talking to Fred.” Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Fred, why were you talking to Fred,” Hermione asked quizzically.
“Well, if you must know Fred is trying to decide what to do about his girlfriend.” Fred smirked with confidence upon mentioning Angelina. Fred knew that it wasn’t love, but all the same he cared about her and was proud to be called her boyfriend. But they were in a war now; he had come to the realization that not everything was fun and games anymore. Things were different now.
“What does Fred want to do about-,” Hermione paused.
“Angelina,” Fred finished for her. She nodded and looked at him firmly.
“I don’t know,” Fred sighed and sank back into the couch. Crossing his arms across his chest.
“What’s wrong with Angelina Fred?”
“Nothing’s wrong with her it’s just…it’s stupid…just never mind.” Hermione raised her eyebrow at him. He should know her better than that after all these years.
“Fred, just tell me,” Hermione persisted. Fred shook his head, “No you of all people will think that it’s stupid.” Hermione quirked her brow in curiosity.
“Fred, it can’t be dumber than some of the things that I heard Ronald say.”
“True, true…” Fred mumbled while he stroked his chin.
“Fred if you aren’t going to tell me then there really is no reason for me to stay down here,” Hermione said sternly. Fred snapped around and grabbed her leg.
“No, stay,” he said pleading. He smiled at her, his laugh lines shining back at her. She smiled back and pushed his hand away.
“If you have to know…I need to break it off with her,” Fred said rather seriously. Hermione frowned slightly at the seriousness of his tone; she had always known Fred to be a very carefree and immature person. This was a new side of him that had never been revealed to her.
“Why? I thought you said she was great,” Hermione replied questionably.
“She is, it’s just that. Well, it’s not love,” Fred said with an honest quality to his voice.
“I’m sorry Fred.” Hermione over at him, her eyes twinkling in the flames.
“You haven’t done anything Hermione, what’s there to be sorry about,” Fred laughed a little, “I want to ask you something.” Hermione quirked her brow.
“Have you ever been in love before?” Fred looked down after he had finished his question, Hermione stared at him. No one had ever asked that before. She looked around the room, searching for an answer that books could not tell her. Nor help her in deciding.
“No, I can’t say that I have,” she paused for a moment while still looking around the room, “But what is love anyway.” She shrugged and turned around in her chair, her eyes skimming over Mrs. Weasley’s bookshelf.
“Love is trust and friendship. It’s the strongest bond there is. Love is the one thing that can conquer all Hermione. How can you just shrug off such a deep word off like that?” Fred looked at her sternly as her head spun around to look at him. She looked him over, beginning at his feet and reaching a rest at his eyes. His father’s eyes, his brother’s eyes, the Weasley eyes.
“Fred, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I didn’t care about love, love means the world to me.” She folded her hands gently in her lap and held her gaze with him. Their eyes connecting.
“It’s fine Hermione. It’s just that I’ve been thinking a lot lately,” he scooted closer to her, “We’re in a war, I could die any day now.”
“I don’t want you to die Fred,” Hermione grabbed his hands and squeezed them. Her eyes brimming with a few tears.
“To be honest Hermione I’m not scared to die. I’m scared of not having enough time. Enough time to tell everyone everything that I need to. To spend time with Ron and Ginny, and Charlie and Bill. Even Percy. Hell, I’d even like to be able to tell Umbridge a few things. It’s time that scares me the most,” Fred looked away from Hermione but he squeezed her hands hard. She squeezed his back.
“That is the most…intelligent thing I have ever heard you say Fred,” Hermione looked at him. She had never known this side of Fred existed. She looked at him in a new light, with a newfound respect. She smiled at the thought.
“Hey, Hermione. How do you know when you’ve fallen in love?” Fred smirked at her and then crossed his arms, once again leaning into the back of the couch.
“I don’t know Fred,” she copied him, “you tell me.”
“Hmm…when I figure it out I’ll let you know,” he smirked at Hermione and played with her hands a little. After a minute she got up off the couch and dusted herself off.
“Well I’m going back to bed, night Fred,” she began to walk out of the room.
“Wait, Hermione. Would you mind, sleeping with me,” he said as his cheeks turned red. Hermione turned her head around to look at him.
“What do you mean?”
“Look I know that it sounds funny but…I don’t like being alone. George is spending the night at St. Mungos because of the whole ear thing and it feels weird not having someone else in the room with me,” he crawled over to her feet and grabbed her ankles, “Please?” He looked up at her pleadingly. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Silently they went up to Fred’s room, not wanting to wake anyone. Hermione let her eyes skim over the room. It seemed as though the room had been split in half and copied. Both sides of the room contained a bed and a dresser. Each dresser had four large drawers and a mirror. The window on the opposite wall had a small golden seat bellow it, and the walls were a crimson color. She smiled as she noticed that above each bed was the Gryffindor lion. Carefully Hermione stepped over the bottles of various potions and dirty clothes as they made their way to Fred’s bed.
“Here Hermione, I can push the two beds together. I don’t want to accidentally push you off or something,” Hermione levitated the various potion bottles on the golden seat below the window. She walked over to Fred, hugging him tightly.
“Woah, a bear hug? What’s the occasion?” Fred turned his head around to find her looking up at him.
“It’s just that…I’ve…I’ve seen a new side of you Fred. It’s nice. It’s a caring, compassionate, and intelligent side. Frankly it’s a pleasant change from your usual care free, childish, prank-pulling self,” she smiled gently up at him, “I didn’t know that this Fred existed.” Fred stepped back and looked at Hermione, her eyes were beaming. As was her small mouth. The laugh lines in her face were showing vaguely. Fred quirked and eyebrow at her and she laughed. Fred began making a box around his face, making a new expression with each box.
“The many faces of Fredrick Weasley,” Hermione laughed softly and walked over to him. As she did she tripped over the edge of the bed and fell. Fred caught her just as she was about to crash onto the floor of the room.
“What? So know you’ve fallen for me Hermione,” Fred asked sarcastically. Hermione did not reply. She just flashed him a small smile and coughed a little. Fred noticed that she didn’t respond and set to work on pushing the beds together. Fred blushed a little as he pushed the two together with a flick of his wand. Hermione hid her newly reddened face from him as she climbed into the bed, lying right beside him. A silence fell between the two of them; it was not the awkward kind. It was more so an understanding that there needed to be a pause in dialogue, they needed to let everything soak into them.
“I like having your company Hermione,” Fred said from beside her. His breath hit her neck softly.
“Fred,” Hermione said softly from beside him.
“Remember earlier when you asked me how you know if you’ve fallen in love?” Her breath was shallow and long. Fred turned on his side to face her, she did the same.
“Yeah, I do. Why?” Fred eyed her curiously.
“I think I know, it’s when you see someone you know…in a different light.” She smiled at Fred and turned back over so that she was facing the wall.
That’s when is hit him, like a ton of bricks smacking his full force upon the ground. Fred Weasley was falling for the Hermione. “No, love doesn’t happen this quick,” Fred thought to himself, “love is supposed to take time and all that. I can’t be falling for her.” Fred looked over at Hermione, she lying beside him. She was now just staring at the ceiling, her chest rising and falling delicately. Her eyes twinkling every so often in the moonlight. He smiled to himself. Maybe falling in love on a moments notice is a good thing. Without an ounce of hesitation Fred coughed to get Hermione’s attention.
“Now I don’t want you to think I’ve gone mental,” Hermione quirked her brow, “But I need you to do something for me?” Hermione looked at him for a long, intense moment.
“What do you need?” Fred breathed in a long, hollow breath.
“I need you to kiss me.” Hermione’s eyes widened. For a instant she just stared at him and then, she nodded ever so slowly. Fred nodded as well and scooted over to her, until their bodies were almost touching. Carefully he leaned in and brushed his lips against hers, Hermione closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck. He could feel the grip of her hands in his hair and he pulled her closer. Letting his tongue slip across her lips, she granted his the access he pursued. The kiss depended immensely, what had started out as Fred way of figuring out his feelings for her, had turned into a deep, passionate kiss. Suddenly Hermione pushed away from him, Fred looked back at her with a confused expression.
“Fred, I do not want you to take this the wrong way. I just don’t want to go any further than this, at least for now.” She looked at Fred for a response, slowly he nodded and smiled at her.
“I know Hermione. But can I tell you something, really serious?” Hermione nodded vigorously, sitting up in the bed. Fred followed the suit.
“Tonight, you’ve made me warm and happy inside. When I look at you right now I can’t believe that you are the girl I’ve grown up with all these years. I just…Hermione I’m not completely sure but…I think that…maybe…possibly. I love…you.” Fred looked at Hermione’s face. She was smiling like no other, her entire face lit up with happiness. She jumped at Fred and engulfed him a hug, then she brought her mouth up to his ear.
“Me…to.” Fred squeezed her tighter and then fell back into the pillows of the beds. Hermione laid her head down on Fred’s chest and sighed deeply, soon she had fallen asleep.
Fred looked at her. “She is beautiful. Well…I have my answer now. Love, is something that happens. It’s something that you cannot control. You don’t chose to fall, it just happens. That’s how you do it, you allow yourself to let it happen,” Fred thought to himself. He yawned loudly and shut his eyes, the last thing he saw was Hermione sleeping against his chest. Their bodies rising and falling in perfect harmony.
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