I had passed by this building nine times already, but had yet to work up my Gryffindor courage to actually go in. It’s not that the shop itself is scary - well, unless you accidentally bump into something and knock it over. The thing that scared me most was actually its owners, and they aren’t really scary, either. It was more the fact that I’ve had an unrequited crush, and maybe even love, for one of the twin boys who owned this shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
This crush of mine started back in second year, my first year playing Quidditch. I don’t remember the exact moment I realized that I had a crush on the twin named Fred - only that as I watched him and George beat the Bludgers away from our team, I was enraptured by him. They would sometimes wait until the Bludger got close to its mark, causing me to suck in my breath, before they would interfere and knock it away. This, of course, caused some very sour looks from our captain, Oliver Wood, before he would go over and reprimand them. There was just something very intriguing about the two of them. Only later in the year, after we won our first Quidditch game of the season - against Slytherin, no less - did I realize what it was that I felt for him.
They had this playfulness about them that made people like them, and when they smiled, you just couldn’t help but smile yourself. I was a goner from that moment on, and even though the twins never had a girlfriend while they were in Hogwarts, I still waited each and every day, hoping that our friendship would turn into something more. In my sixth year, their seventh, we joined Dumbledore’s Army, and if I was being honest, I really only joined to spend more time with Fred. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Harry or what we were doing, but I doubt that I would have gone if the twins hadn't. I mean, really - what could a sixth year learn from someone only in their fifth? Though as the time continued on with our “classes," I found out just how much I could learn from a fifth year.
Finally, I worked up the courage to open the door to the shop, knowing that if I walked back to the Leaky Cauldron, Tom would just give me another weird look. Today was the day that I decided to stop waiting for Fred to ask me out; instead, I was going to ask him. It wasn’t the scariest thing happening in my life, considering that there was a war going on; the evidence of this was all around me on the street. I figured that it was now or never as far as asking him, considering you never knew what tomorrow would bring.
The shop was bright and energetic as many customers walked around, laughing at gadgets and ogling whatever items caught their eye; for most, this was the Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder. My eyes wandered the shop until they caught sight of one of the twins. I stood transfixed in my spot as I looked for the telltale signs that would reveal to me which twin I was looking at. From a distance, it was much harder to tell exactly which one was which, but then I saw it: That smile that had a little bit of a curve to it, which told me that the Weasley I was staring at was George.
“What are you looking at?" a voice said from beside me, but it wasn’t just any voice. It was the voice of Fred Weasley.
“Actually, I was looking for you,” I told him, thinking that, so far, this wasn’t too hard.
“Looking for me, were you? Well, what can I do for you?” he asked, before dropping down in a mock bow.
“Could we, um - could we go somewhere that’s not so loud?" I asked tentatively.
“Right this way, then, milady," he joked, and started off to the supply closet that also doubled for their office.
He led me to the back corner, where it would be the quietest and we would be undisturbed by George if he needed to come back in order to stock something in the store. I plopped myself down in the chair before standing back up, my nerves making me not want to stay still for very long. Fred let out a chuckle at my behavior, and I flashed him a glare which made him shut up almost instantly. I opened and closed my mouth multiple times, trying to spit out the words that I'd held in for about seven years.
“Well?" Fred questioned, when I still hadn’t said anything after staring at him for five minutes.
“You’re not making this any easier,” I spluttered, embarrassed, before taking a deep breath and finally saying what I came here to say. “Would you go to dinner… with me… tonight?” My cheeks flared red as I realized how awkward that sounded.
I watched his face for any cues that would tell me what he was thinking, but his face remained a blank slate. We stood there for a few minutes, just staring at each other, not saying anything. When I thought I wasn’t going to be able to hold the humiliated tears back any more, I turned and started walking away. I was sure that his silence meant that he was trying to figure out how to put me down lightly. After walking only a couple feet away from him, I felt a hand on my shoulder to stop me from leaving.
“I would love to join you for dinner, Katie,” he sighed, before brushing a hand through his hair. “But my mum has this huge meal planned, and wants everyone home for it. If you would like, though, I’m sure you could join us. My mum always says the more, the merrier,” he told me as he looked me in my eyes, trying to convey to me that he really did want to have dinner with me.
“Are you sure I wouldn’t be a bother? I mean, it’s really last minute,” I asked skeptically.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t be, but if you would like, I could send an owl to my mum, just to make sure,” he told me. Before he even got a response from me, he was already walking over to his desk, and started inking his quill.
I watched as he wrote out a quick letter, his handwriting rather sloppy, and then sent if off with their business owl, which they had called Joker.
“Now all we have to do is wait about a half hour or so before a response should get back here. I’ll even let you open it, so you can’t think that I’ve tampered with it,” he told me before pulling me out of the storage closet and back into the crowded shop.
It was rather awkward for me at first as I wandered around the shop, waiting for a letter that would determine if I would actually get to have dinner with Fred this evening. Even if it wouldn’t be just the two of us, like I was hoping, something is definitely much better than nothing. I was rather excited when a familiar face walked into the shop, since I had already seen almost all of the items in the shop multiple times.
“Angelina,” I called out to the girl.
“Katie,” she exclaimed, "it’s so great to see you.”
Angelina walked over and threw her arms around me, drawing me in for a tight hug. It was always nice to see familiar faces out and about, especially since the war had already taken so many people. I made sure to hold on just a beat longer then I normally would have, since I never knew who I would and would not see again after walking out a door.
“So, what are you doing here?" I asked her as we pulled back from our hug.
“I’m actually here to work. It turns out that the boys are both horrible with keeping track of their finances, so I’ll come in once a day during the rush to help out. Then, once it starts slowing down, I go in back and start going through their daily receipts to figure out what they have left in the bank,” she told me, then waved to George, shooting him a huge smile.
“Are you and George...?" I asked, pointing between the two of them, asking her if they were involved.
“Not exactly,” she sighed. “I like him and everything; it’s just that, with this war spread out in front of us, I’m afraid that something will happen. He understands, and we’ve agreed that if we both make it through the war, we would be willing to try something out. But until that happens, we are both free to do what we want. But I should probably get started before the guys get swamped; it was nice seeing you, though.”
I watched as she walked away to go help a young girl reach a batch of the Ton-Tongue Toffees, and tried to think of something else I could do to pass the time. My eye caught sight of Fred, conversing with another customer about the Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder, and when he smiled I could feel that little constriction in my heart that happened every time. I felt my lips curl up in a smile of their own as I turned away from the boy of my dreams, lest he catch me watching him, which would be almost as embarrassing as it had been asking him to dinner.
Asking him hadn’t turned out how I thought it would, which was a good thing, because I was really expecting him to turn me down. Instead, I was rewarded by being asked to a family dinner; maybe someday I would even be considered family, instead of an outsider coming in. Yeah, that would be the day, I thought to myself as I wandered around the store, touching items here and there. Thoughts of being part of the Weasley family consumed me as the remaining half hour passed by. I imagined myself in a white dress, walking down a carpeted aisle towards Fred as our family looked on. Then, after we both said 'I do,' we would lean forward and exchange our first kiss as husband and wife. It was all there in front of me, until a squeal brought me out of my wonderful thoughts.
Looking around for the source of the noise, I found a red-faced Angelina running away from a laughing George, who was chasing her around the store. Upon catching up to her, he picked her up and swung her around, her flailing legs just barely missing a young brown-haired boy. Watching the two of them interact was really something - it let you see just how much they really liked each other, and it made me wonder why they would want to wait for the war to be over to get together. There was no guarantee that they would both make it through in order to be together, so why waste the little time that could be left? It was this thought that had actually brought me here today, to ask Fred to dinner. Who knew if we would make it through the day to even get another chance, let alone through the war?
From outside the window, I saw an owl pass by and then swoop back in through an open window up above the door. I watched intently as the owl I now recognized as Joker flew towards Fred and dropped the letter in its beak at his feet. It seemed like everything slowed down as I watched him drop down to the floor and pick up the letter before heading over in my direction. Tentatively, I grabbed the letter out of his outstretched hand and looked at it for what had to have been at least a good minute before Fred’s voice startled me.
“You know, the only way to know what the letter says is to actually open it,” he joked.
“Do I really want to know what it says, though?” I asked him.
“If you would like, I could open it for you,” he told me.
“Would you?” I asked, holding the letter out for him to take, but as his hand closed down on the letter, I pulled my hand back. “I changed my mind; I’m going to do it.”
“Well, then,” he said, gesturing towards the letter.
Slowly, I slipped my finger under the flap and tore open the seal before pulling the letter out and unfolding it. I could feel Fred’s eyes on me as I read over the letter. You could tell just by reading the letter how motherly Molly Weasley was, and how much love she carried for each of her children.
“So,” Fred began, “what did she have to say?”
“She said I could come,” I told him, astonished.
“See, not so bad, was it?” he teased me.
“No, it wasn’t,” I began. “Oh, and your mum said you and George need to be on your best behavior tonight, since Fleur’s parents have just arrived, as well.”
“Best behavior - ha! When are we not on our best behavior? It just so happens that our best behavior is playing pranks, of course.” Fred laughed before walking off towards George.
Well, I guess there was one thing for sure about tonight. It wouldn’t be anything less than interesting.
AN: This is my first attempt at both Katie and Fred so I would really appreciate any feedback that you give me about this story. I had this idea for a while and I finally got the first chapter written. Let me know what you think. Thank you to TenthWeasley for looking over the chapter!