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Chapter 7 : A Constant Struggle
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He was working on some paperwork.
“Ron, I want to train to be a healer.”
“Oh, right. Since when?”
“Well since always Ronald! Since we left school, did you think I wanted to work in... In your brothers’ shop forever until we had kids or
“Erm no, I hadn’t given it much thought I’m afraid. You want to have kids though?”
“Eventually yes, but that’s not the point Ron. I want to become a healer!”
“How many? I’ve always fancied a whole bunch myself...”
“Oh, sorry. Sure if you want to become a healer, enrol yourself for the training. I’ll support you don’t worry. Is this why you’ve been so off with me? You’re bored at work?”
“Oh, erm- Sorry, was it that noticeable? Yeah, it was definitely work...”
“Well, I’m game for anything that brings back my old Hermione, I’ve missed you.”
He came behind and put his arms around her middle. She leant back into his neck. He smelt wrong, like some new cologne...
Hermione didn’t wait around. A month after her conversation with Ron she had left Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and enrolled in the first part of her course on the path to becoming a healer. She only had to work three days a week and the rest of her time was for study. She stuck to her routine of learning at the hospital and studying at home as well as being a good fiancé to Ron. For four months everything was fine until she received an owl from George.
I hate to be a pain but I have to go away for a few days next week. I know you’re on your holiday break from training and I was wondering if you could fill in for me. I’ll pay you double time I promise!
Let me know if you’re available,
Something from within Hermione flamed up with excitement; she quickly drowned it with practised dread though. She would be working with Fred again. She agreed anyway. It was time that they settled their differences and forgot the past.
Her first day back with Fred arrived quickly. She fiddled with her engagement ring while she waited for him to arrive at the front door.
Then she saw him. He looked terrible, still handsome but so hollow. When he saw her something in him lit up but he still didn’t smile.
She smiled at him.
“It’s been a while. How’ve you been?”
He finally smiled back, she’d missed his face.
“Oh you know, not great actually but less of me. I’m so happy for you, training to become a healer, like you always wanted.”
He unlocked the door.
“You will be glad to know we aren’t opening today as we have lots of invoices to sort through so you won’t be diving head first into the deep end all over again.”
She walked towards the cellar.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“I assumed you wanted me to sort through boxes today?”
“No, I thought you could help me with this- If you don’t mind?”
He held a large tray of paper.
“I’d love to; it’s been a long time since someone asked what I wanted to do...”
She sat down on the floor like they used to.
They spent hours catching up and laughing as if nothing had ever turned sour and ruined between them. However eventually someone had to mention the past.
“What did I do wrong? I mean... When did I become unbearable? I’m sorry anyway...”
“Fred, you didn’t do anything wrong. It was the situation that was wrong. That whole, evil mess- it should never have happened.”
“Do you honestly mean that?”
He put down the form in his hand.
No, I don’t. I miss you.
“Of course I mean it. I’m with Ron, I’m meant to be with Ron. That’s how it is, that’s how it goes. I guess I just wanted a change of routine, I’m sorry I dragged you into it.”
She couldn’t look him in the eye and hurt him like this.
“A... A change of routine? Is that really what it- What I was to you?”
He sat cross legged staring at her.
She looked around at the shelves.
“I don’t believe you.” He said.
“Well you should Fred, I’m sorry if you didn’t realise that’s what it was. Just a...”
He launched himself at her before she could finish the sentence. He was on top of her pinning her arms to the floor.
“Look me in the eye and say that Hermione, look at me!”
“You’re being ridiculous Fred get off! I’m in- I love your brother!”
Then she looked at him.
He brought his face down to a few centimetres from her own; his breath was warm on her face. She could smell him again.
“Go on- tell me to get off again. Tell me and I’ll stop.”
His eyes were closed and his breathing was heavy.
She said nothing, she just trembled on the floor. He relinquished his grip but leaned in to kiss her softly. She grabbed his neck and flipped him over kissing him back more passionately. Fred felt for his wand and flicked it at the windows and doors, the blinds flew down as he gasped for air and picked her up. Hermione wrapped her legs around his waist. He pushed her against the shelves, kissing her mouth and neck. She began unbuttoning his shirt, kissing his face, moving down to his neck and shoulders. He pulled off her jumper and ran his hand through her wild hair, he groaned and turned round so he was against the shelves. Various objects were falling around them, but neither of them seemed to notice. They fell to the floor, continued to undress while still entangled in each other. Fred stopped for a moment, panting.
“You know I love you, this means something to me Hermione. I wouldn’t use you; I couldn’t hurt you like that.”
He raised his head to look at her. She caressed his face and kissed him.
“I know Fred, I love you too. I’ve been fighting it so long but I can’t anymore, I just can’t!”
He continued to kiss her, caressing every part of her body so gently as if she may break. Of course her and Ron had had sex before but she didn’t think she’d ever made love until now. It felt so different. Everything was new, more intense, and more special. She could see it was the same for Fred. His eyes were closed as he thrust himself against her but his face was blissful.
A while later she lay in Fred’s arms surrounded by the mess they had created: paper lay all over the place, different ointments and toys had fallen from their baskets and boxes; some lay broken on the floor. Fred’s eyes were still closed but he was smiling, she adjusted herself to look at him better.
“Fred, open your eyes.”
“If I do I’m scared none of this will be real and that I’ll wake up alone, believe me I’ve had dreams like this before!”
Hermione blushed, almost thankful his eyes were closed.
“Fred, this is real. I promise.”
He opened them and his smile grew wider.
“So it is!” Was all he replied and just stared at her nestled in his arms.
“What happens now?” She asked.
“Don’t think about it; Remember you don’t plan the future, you live for
today!” He teased.
She rolled over and sat on top of him resting her head on his chest.
“Fred... I’m engaged, that changes things quite drastically. Especially when you consider my fiancé is your...”
He sat up and kissed her, caressing her back.
“Fred! You can’t just forget that detail. He’s your brother! This is important.”
“Why now Herm? Can’t you just concentrate on the fact that we have another two days together before George comes back?”
“This isn’t going to go away Fred.”
He closed his eyes, then looked up into hers she lost all sense of time in the depth of them.
“I know it won’t go away. Like you do I know the only way out of this, and like you I can’t do that Hermione. I can’t be without you either though. Hence why right now when I’ve finally got what I’ve wanted for about a long time I’d rather you didn’t spoil the moment by mentioning your engagement to my brother.”
“Fine it’s a deal. We have these three days, yes? And that’s it. We go back to normal- I well, we know what I’ll do... But what about you? Where does that leave you Fred?”
She looked at him, a concerned look on her face.
“That leaves me to turn to drink and become a crazy uncle to your children. And they’ll ask you “Mum, why did Uncle Fred never marry?” To which you’ll reply “Because he’s a crazy man kids, you’d best stay away from him.””
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