Several weeks passed in a blur of preparations, stretched out clothes, cravings, and above all else chaos. I felt as if my head was going to roll off my shoulders for most of the day, I was now 25 weeks along and I could barely waddle, let alone walk around the flat without feeling dizzy or aching all over. I had confined myself to the sofa in the living room next to a rather large pile of books Fred had accumulated for me. I knew I was being no help to him but he could cut me some slack, I was caring his child after all. I groaned as I tried to switch into a new position to allow myself better reading light but my legs ached with the effort. I thought again to the promises Mrs. Weasley had made, she tells me every time she sees me that she knows every pain remedy in the book and at first I was reluctant to take her up on the offer.
In all honesty, I felt like I had to endure the pain. This was my fault and the only way I could see fit to punish myself would be to take the pain like an adult, owning up for her decisions. A sharp pain shot through my foot and I attempted to reach it with no avail, I was suddenly very thankful that this was not a normal occurrence. I gave up and leaned back into the cushions, breathing deeply to distract myself from the pain. I looked at the clock on the wall, nearly 6. Fred and George would be closing up shop soon and then I could finally have some human interaction, anything to distract from this pain. I leaned my head against the pillow and decided to allow myself to relax as I waited, with thoughts of my sweet baby swirling in my head...
I didn't know how long I had fallen asleep, all I know is I awoke to what sounded like a heated argument between Fred and George. Never in my life did I believe I would hear such a thing. I kept my eyes closed and tried to remain as still as possible, eavesdropping was never something I condoned but another part of me, a stronger part, urged me to listen.
"Fred, I just don't understand how you can do this," George said with an exasperated sigh.
"Look Georgie, I know that we're twins but when are you gonna realize that we're different."
"Fred, I've seen the girls you dated, trust me I know we're different." Fred chuckled and shrugged.
"Too right," Fred chimed, "and now look what I've got myself in." There was a pause in the dialogue and I could only deduce that they were both unsure of what to say. A pain of guilt so strong it threatened to knock the wind from me struck through my body. This was all my fault, if only I hadn't have...No, I couldn't think like that. Now was not the time. I erased the thoughts from my mind and continued listening.
"It doesn't have to be all bad," George said, an attempt at reassurance.
"George, it can't get much worse. My wife doesn't even love me, let alone like me. I'll always be the guy that knocked her up and Ron will always be up high and some pedestal. I know she wants to do the right thing, and so do I, I just wonder if this is it, "I heard Fred and sigh deeply as he collected his thoughts, "The thing is, I really like her and who knows, maybe one day I'll love her the way a man should love his wife, but the way things are now she sees me as teenage Fred, pulling pranks and irritating the snot out of her."
George laughed but Fred remained silent, another pang of guilt twisted my stomach. The horrible truth was, almost everything he said was accurate. There was a place in my heart that completely belonged to Ron because I had harbored feelings for him for so long, and as of yet the gates that were built so strongly around my heart had all but kept Fred shut out. I felt like crying, not for myself, but for Fred. For everything that he was feeling in that moment, and for everything I wanted to do to help but knowing that there really wasn't anything I could do. Not yet anyway.
"Fred," I heard George cross the room to him, "I can tell you that I see the way she looks at you and her opinions are changing. Hermione's always been...neurotic, shall we say? Give her the benefit of the doubt. She's the one wearing the signs of your mistake, not the other way around. She'll come around. With our looks and unmistakable charm, who wouldn't?" I felt Fred release a small chuckle.
"George, I know I don't say it enough...but," Fred seemed to pause and an almost awkward air filled the room.
"It's okay Fred, no words are needed." The air lightened and I felt the connection the two of them had, truly there was never one without the other. I smiled in my sleep until I felt a sharp kick from inside of me. It surprised me and I couldn't help but yelp in the shock. It had happened before but it was without a doubt the strongest I'd felt to date. I sunk back into the couch, hoping that they hadn't heard me. I allowed myself to peek over the top of the couch and they were both staring directly at me, I had never felt more awkward in my life. Then without warning they both fell the floor in a fit of laughter. I sat up and crossed my arms, I couldn't imagine what was so funny. I silently fumed as they calmed down and made their way over to me.
"You should have seen your face," Fred managed to squeeze out through long breaths.
"Man, if you being pregnant means I get to see that on a daily basis I think this arrangement might work out in my favor after all," George said through his laughter. I rolled my eyes, trying to contain my own laughter, seeing the pair of them rolling on the floor over something I unintentionally did had a way of making me feel like smiling, but regardless I did not appreciate being laughed at.
"Give me a break, he kicked me!" Instantly I regretted saying it. Fred and George both stopped and raised an eyebrow at me.
"So you've finally seen the light have you?"
"No," I retorted.
"Did my ear deceive me or did she refer to the baby as a boy?" George put a hand to his good ear and pretended to be listening to me. I wanted to be angry at them, and I really didn't understand why, but I couldn't. Something about them both was so warn, so contagious, so inviting that I couldn't stay upset or mad very long. Which never ceased to amaze me seeing as it was quite the opposite when I attended Hogwarts with them., but times change and I people change I suppose. Silently, in the small corners of my heart, I hoped that I was changing for the better.