Chapter 8 : Employment Opportunity
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She kept gazing in the window when she spotted Fred and George at the counter, helping with a line of children—undoubtedly stocking up for the year at Hogwarts.
Fred paused momentarily and looked out the window. When his eyes found hers she waved, causing him to grin. He shouted something behind him and an employee approached taking over Fred’s line. She watched as he popped out the front doors.
“Hello pretty lady! Why don’t you come inside, gander through some of our wonderful products!”
“Only if you have U-No-Poo in stock.” Olivia gestured toward the sign in the window. “I want to play a nasty prank on my mother.”
Fred jumped down the few steps, landing street level with Olivia and gazed at the sign. “Sorry U-No-Poo is fresh out of stock, but for your mother? I have the perfect prank.”
Olivia smiled and hugged him. “You’ll have to convince me. I was really set on the U-No-Poo.”
Fred looked down at her. “Oh, I have my ways.” Fred steered her into the joke shop, the noise level getting louder. “Which reminds me,” He said, pulling her upstairs and into the flat that he shared with George. The noise level returned to normal, only a small hum could be heard from downstairs. “How is the wicked mother?”
Olivia took a seat on the sofa that stood next to the fire. “She’s wicked—as usual. I think Sophia had the right idea. Move out and as far away as you can.”
Fred flopped on the couch, letting his head land on Olivia’s lap. She let her fingers play with his hair absentmindedly. “Technically she ran away—with an American.”
Olivia laughed. “Ben isn’t too bad. He’s really a nice person.”
“Yes, but an American? And just because he lives in California? I swear California doesn’t belong with the rest of those states. It should be an island.”
Olivia swatted his head. “Don’t be ridiculous Fred.”
He shrugged. “I’m just making an observation—it would be wicked awesome if California was an island.”
She went back to playing with his hair. “As I was saying before you went on your rant about the United States—Sophia had the right idea, moving out.”
Fred bolted up. “Are you telling me you want to move out?”
Olivia smiled and nodded yes. “I’m going to start looking for a flat tomorrow.”
Fred waved his hand. “Nonsense Liv—you’ll live with me.”
Olivia’s green eyes got wide. “What did you say?”
“You’ll live with me. I’ve been looking for a reason to kick George out. He’s a giant mess.”
Olivia laughed softly. “George wouldn’t be too happy with that.”
Fred rolled his eyes. “I would pick you over George as a flatmate any day.”
She lifted an eyebrow. “So I would be getting George’s room?”
“Don’t be silly, you’d be sleeping in my room.” He grinned devilishly. “Of course.”
Olivia nodded in understanding. “Of course.”
“I guess you wouldn’t be so much as a flatmate as a roommate—literally in my room and all.”
Olivia’s brow knotted together in fake confusion. “So would that mean George could stay?”
Fred shrugged and rolled his eyes again. “I guess so—he is my identical twin and all. I don’t want to desert him on the streets.”
“Oh. Oh! I see.” Olivia said excitedly, lifting herself on her knees to be eye to eye with Fred. “I would move in, but share a room with you! George would still have his room! And everything would be perfect!”
Fred grinned and grabbed Olivia’s hands. “Now you get it! So we’ll get your stuff tonight?”
Fred’s shoulders collapsed. “Why not?”
“Because I like being liked by your mother.” Olivia answered, sitting back down.
“Mum would be fine with it.”
Olivia looked at Fred.
“Okay, so she might be a little unhappy about the whole arrangement at first, but she’ll warm up to the idea.”
“I highly doubt that.” Olivia giggled. “I could just see her now—with that disapproving look on her face. The one she gave you for a month after you dropped out of Hogwarts.”
“Are you telling me you care more about what my mum thinks, than being with the man you love?”
“Fred,” Olivia said slowly. “If I had to choose between you and your mother. I chose your mother.”
“Damn that woman.” He seceded falling into the couch.
Olivia grabbed his hand. “I would move in with you in a heartbeat Fred-“
“-but I want to do this properly. We’ve been doing so well and I don’t want to mess anything up.”
Fred was quiet for a moment before he turned to face Olivia and pulled her toward him. When he had finished, Olivia laid on the couch with Fred hovering over her. “You could never mess anything up.”
“Quickly moving in with you—that might mess things up.”
He bent down and kissed her. “I plan on having you in my life for quiet sometime, I’m expecting that time to be quiet messy.”
Olivia pulled him down again, kissing him once more. “Oh yeah?”
He kissed her again, this time deepening the kiss. “Yes. Big messes? Are expected, I don’t know if I could be with you otherwise.”
Olivia giggled as Fred let his lips linger on hers, finally letting his full weight fall on her. The kisses became more passionate, causing Olivia to lose her train of thought. The only thing she could focus on were Fred’s lips, and how perfectly they fell on hers
He began to let his hand wonder up her blouse, before stopping half way up her side. He pulled away from her, his face inches from hers. “You know, if you moved in we could do this more often than we currently do.”
She let her lips collide with his.
“I can’t believe you did it!” Matt yelled, bouncing across the walkway.
“Me either,” Zack piped in, watching Matt bouncing up and down some more. “But let’s act like the mature adults we are.”
“Shut up, before I hex you.”
“I’ll hex you both.” Olivia huffed, feeling nervous as they walked toward Weaslys’ Wizard Wheezes.
It had been a week since she told the Weasleys’ everything. A week spent figuring out how she was going to tell Zack and Matt about Fred. She had spent most of her nights lying awake in bed, going over how she would tell them. It would help if she could foresee their reactions, if she could do that, then she would know the best way to tell them.
She decided that they should at least be introduced to some of their family and maybe, just maybe, they would realize how many physical features they shared with the Weasleys. She wouldn’t have to tell them then, they would figure it out on their own. Everything else happened to fall into place, so why couldn’t this as well?
Ron and George had agreed to meet with the twins and Olivia with the intentions of hiring Matt. Olivia was weary of the idea, not sure what would happen if Matt did piece together the puzzle pieces of his paternity that laid right in front of him.
But she knew that as much as she wished for the pieces to fall into place effortlessly, she was going to have to try. It was the only way to heal. It was the only way to help along those nasty scares that Mrs. Weasley spoke of.
Matt had been over the moon when Olivia told them that they would be speaking with George Weasley of Weaslys’ Wizard Wheezes. He had almost fainted when she told him that George was very interested in hearing Matt’s ideas. Zack had watched as his brother hyperventilated in their small living room, before asking if he could tag along to see this disaster in the making.
Matt was the first to enter the shop, it wasn’t too pack since most of the children were away at Hogwarts.
It was just as Olivia remembered it, only there was different product being offered. The sight hit her chest the wrong way and she took in a deep breath.
“Are you alright Mum?” Zack asked, stopping when he saw Olivia double over.
Olivia sucked in air and stood. “I’m fine.”
Zack eyed her, not believing her. “Are you sure?”
Olivia waved him off. “Yes, my ankle gave out, that’s all.”
Zack finally nodded and opened the door for Olivia, they entered the shop together.
“Welcome to Weaslys’ Wizard Wheezes!”
Standing at the counter were Ron and George. George was the first to look up, he had yelled the greeting without observing who had entered the shop. But, when his eyes finally found Olivia and the twins he stood straighter, taking in the sight of the three.
He nudged Ron, who was working on calculations. Ron squeaked in surprised and shot George a dirty look, before looking forward to give the shoppers a welcoming smile. When he found Olivia, he too stood straighter as his smile turned soft.
“You’re early.” George said, pulling at his robes. “I forgot that you’re always early.”
Olivia shrugged. “Some habits never die.”
“I wished that one would. I hate the ones who arrive on time for the party. The party isn’t even ready by then.” He turned his attention to the twins. “Hello again.”
Matt was quick to take George’s hand. “Hello, nice to see you again.”
Zack followed. “How are you?”
“Good, good.” George said, eyeing Olivia for some sign that she had made progress in telling them about their father.
Olivia shook her head slightly.
George turned his attention back to the boys and smiled. “I heard that you have quite a few ideas for me to hear?”
Matt beamed. “I do. Personally I think they’re brilliant, so I’m hoping that you’re just as brilliant as I am and will love them.”
George chuckled. “I like your attitude.”
“You won’t like it after about ten minutes—I promise.” Zack mutter, but all four of them heard him.
George chuckled again, this time harder. “Why don’t we go up to my office and have a little chat? Would you care to join Zack?”
Zack shook his head. “No actually I was going to step out for a bit and glance at Bromstix and see what they have in stock. Do you mind?” He glanced at Olivia.
Olivia smiled. “Not at all.”
“Nice seeing you again.” Zack said before leaving the shop.
“We needed this.”
“You and I personally?”
Olivia watched as Bill and Fleur danced, they floated effortlessly around the other couples. As she scanned the tent she saw happiness on almost all the faces she passed over. She finished her glance around the room with her eyes on Fred.
“No, we—as in everyone.”
Fred looked around, seeing the same easy happiness that Olivia saw. “I think you’re right.”
She leaned in close, happy to feel the warmth radiating off of Fred’s body. “I think it shows us that everything isn’t doomed. That’s there’s light even in the darkest places.”
Fred’s eyes continued to shift through the crowd. “It does.”
“For instance, I was in a very, very dark place about an hour ago.”
Fred’s eyes stopped wondering and quickly focused on Olivia. A serious gleam shining in them. “You were?”
Olivia nodded, closing her eyes. “It was after I left to use the bathroom and when I came back, I found you flirting away with two silly French girls. Which I might add, only seemed to be around the age of fifteen.”
Olivia opened her eyes and found Fred speechless. The color slowly draining from his face.
Olivia felt jealously spark in her chest, she tried her best to stomp the feeling out, but it was hard. Fred had been distance lately, ever since she went to live with her mother again. Her parents were having a difficult time adjusting to Voldemort’s return and a few weeks ago her mother came to her flat crying, pleading for her to come home. As much as her mother annoyed her, Olivia still loved her.
When she told Fred about it, he wasn’t happy and even though he told her he understood why she did it, she had the keen sense that he was lying to her.
His flirting with two attractive French women did not help ease the feeling of distance between them.
Olivia pulled away from him. “Look I know that you don’t agree with me moving back with my parents—“
Fred snapped out of his speechless daze. “I never said that!”
Olivia stood up. “You didn’t have to. I know you Fred! I’ve known you for years!”
Fred slouched in his chair, finally giving in. “Of course I’m unhappy with it. Your mum’s a lunatic!”
“But that doesn’t stop her from being my mum!” Olivia stomped her foot with anger.
Fred ran a hand through his hair in frustration. “You could just forget about her.”
“Oh, I could say the same thing about Percy!” She shot back.
Fred stood quickly from his chair, towering over Olivia with an angry look in his eyes. “Don’t bring him into this.”
“It’s the same thing!” Olivia said, ignoring him. “No matter how rotten Percy’s been—or how rotten he will be, you can’t just cut him out of your life! Just like I can’t cut my mother out of my life!”
Fred’s face began to turn a reddish color and he opened his mouth to response, but something stopped him.
A silver light burst into the tent, the brightness engulfing even the darkest corners.
Olivia couldn’t see what the light was, but the moment the light entered the tent Fred threw his arms around Olivia protectively.
“The Ministry has fallen…”
With those words the angry pulsing through Olivia melted away. She felt Fred’s arms tighten around her and when she looked up at him, their argument was meaningless. They continued to stare at each other until the message ended and panic consumed the reception.
A loud cracking noise filled the air around them as guest began to disapparate. Fred’s arms only gasped Olivia tighter.
“Death Eaters!” Olivia whispered, looking up at the top of the tent, but seeing nothing.
Fred turned to face Olivia. He grabbed her face with his hands, making Olivia look at him. “Get out.” He commanded with a hoarse voice.
Olivia shook her head. “No without you.”
“-no Fred, I’m staying.” The initial panic that had shaken her body was gone, replaced with an eerie calm.
“Please Liv,” He pleaded, his eyes growing anxious. “You have to leave. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to you.”
Another spell crackled overhead, signaling that a protection spell had failed.
Olivia closed her eyes momentarily, listening to the panic flutter around them. When she opened her eyes she spoke. “If I leave, I want to see you within ten minutes. If you’re not there, I’m coming back.”
“Olivia-“ Fred began to plead again, the anxious look traveling to his vocal chords.
Olivia stepped away and into the panicked crowd. “Ten minutes.”
She closed her eyes and when she opened them, she was home.
Her parents sat on the loveseat, each reading separate books and sitting as far away from each other as humanly possible.
When she apparated into the room, they looked up from their books.
“Olivia?’” Her father questioned, putting his book down. “I thought you were suppose to be at the Weasley wedding?”
Olivia looked at the grandfather clock that stood in the corner of the room. He had eight minutes.
“Voldemort’s taken the Ministry.”
Her mother stood quickly. “What?” Panic thick in her voice. “Don’t speak such nonsense Olivia.”
Her eyes continued to watch the face of the clock; she swore that the hands began to move slower. “Death Eaters were attacking the reception.”
“Olivia!?” Her mother croaked. “This is not funny.”
“Everyone was leaving,” She took in a deep breath. Four minutes. “The Death Eaters were breaking through the protection charms.”
“Oh Merlin.” She heard her father mutter. “Oh Merlin.”
“You’re lying!” Her mother hissed at her, jerking her arm.
She felt fear swell like a balloon in her chest.
Where was he?
She finally looked away from the clock and at her parents. Fear overtook her father’s usual calm demeanor. Her mother looked livid, still convinced that Olivia was telling them a lie.
“I’m not,” She finally answered. “And I’m about to go back.”
She closed her eyes, imagining the reception and the battle that was surely happening underneath the cover of the tent.
“Don’t you go anywhere!” She heard a familiar voice yell as two hands slap her shoulders, grasping them tightly.
Her eyes flew open and she found Fred standing in front of her, out of breath.
She practically jumped on him, wrapping her arms tightly around him. She let her hands travel up to face, touching his nose, mouth, eyes, and ears—to make sure that he was really there. “You’re here!” She cried.
“What is he doing here?!” Her mother shrilled. “I will not have a Weasley in my house!”
“I was only…George’s…wingman,” Fred said, still attempting to catch his breath. He took in a few deep breaths. “He fancied the one on the right, but didn’t want to go in alone. That was all.”
“OUT! OUT! OUT” Olivia’s mother shouted behind them. “YOU’LL BRING THEM HERE!”
Olivia looked into Fred’s eyes, feeling tears sting at hers. “It doesn’t matter.”
Fred nodded. “I just wanted you to know. You’re the only girl for me. I love you Liv.”
Olivia kissed his forehead. “I love you too.”
Matt and George had disappeared upstairs, leaving Olivia and Ron alone.
Olivia’s eyes lingered on the door upstairs. “The last time I remember, that use to be Fred and George’s flat.”
Ron moved away from the counter. “It was, but now it acts as an office. George lives right outside Diagon Alley.”
“Oh.” Olivia’s eyes left the door and found Ron.
“So, how’s it going?”
“Good. I’m just taking it one step at a time. This-this was a big step.” She glanced around the store. “A lot of things happened up in that room.”
Ron grinned. “I know, George came home several times to spend the night. He was always grumbling about how you were spending the night.”
Olivia picked up one the products mindlessly and was stunned to find that she picked up U-No-Poo. She dropped it quickly. “I’m glad you were able to rebuild this all up. It is everything that he could have hoped for.”
Ron nodded and silence enveloped them.
“You know,” He finally breathed. “I can understand them looking like Fred. They have his DNA, but I can’t get over how much they act like him.”
“Especially Matt.” She offered, picking up another product. This time it was one she wasn’t familiar with.
“And Zack. He has Fred’s serious side. It’s hard to believe that Fred had a serious side, but if someone inherited it, it was Zack.”
“And how they interact.” She smiled, looking up. “Just like George and Fred use to.”
Ron laughed. “It brings back good memories.”
She gently placed the product back. “And reminds us of what we lost.”
Olivia felt Ron place his arms around her. “You’ve got to stop doing that.”
Olivia looked up. “Doing what?”
“Thinking about everything Fred’s missing. If you keep doing that, you’re going to keep missing out on everything.”
Olivia sighed, placing her fingers in her hair. “I don’t know how to tell them Ron. How am I suppose to tell Zack and Matt Fred’s their father? When Zack’s waiting for Fred to show up at our door and Matt had decided that he hates his guts? How?”
Ron blew air through his lips, making a sound. “It’s not going to be easy to do, but you have to keep reminding yourself that it’s something that they need to know.”
“What if they hate me?” Olivia whispered, releasing her fear into the shop. “What if they hate me for keeping it from them?”
“Olivia,” Ron spun her to face him. “Those boys love you. You know it, they know it, hell, even I know it. They won’t hate you.”
Olivia opened her mouth to object, but a loud crash stopped her.
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