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Chapter 9 : Chapter 9
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Fred Weasley. Fred whatever-his-middle-name-is Weasley. Weasley, Fred Weasley. Gryffindor Beater Fred Weasley. Sixth year Fred Weasley. Bloody hell, I’m pathetic.
I spent the next week pretty much rehearsing every possible outcome of what I wanted to say to him. I needed to tell him soon too, Snape had taken ten points off Gryffindor for my potion as a not so discreet reminder. Getting Fred alone was also an issue. It took some time but I had a plan now. Well I thought I had a plan, maybe not as detailed as I would have preferred but hey, it was a start. Who am I kidding? This was going to go horrible, absolutely horrible. No amount of planning would prepare me for it, why was I even trying? Ugh, I would have liked to slam my head on my desk but I think even Professor Binns would have noticed that.
On Friday I sent a note to Fred asking him to please be in the common room at half past five the next morning. I didn’t feel the need to sign my name at the end, the meeting was early enough that Fred would guess it was from me immediately. Now I just had to wait until tomorrow. No chance of me getting any sleep tonight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Twenty minutes after five I was sitting on one end of the couches near the fire. Honestly this was the most nervous I’d ever felt in my life. It crossed my mind that this could very well be my last early morning meeting with Fred. He needed to know though, well deserved to know why I had been acting this way. Why I was truly avoiding Moody and why I kept insisting that I couldn’t risk detention. I was going to tell him that I was a Death Eater’s daughter and then odds were I was never going to talk to him again. It would be the same way Draco and I were, pretending the other didn’t exist. It was going to hurt and I’d probably even cry after I headed back up to my bed, but I would get used to it. I’d done it before, I could do it again. I had to.
At the arranged time Fred came down the stairs looking unsurprised to see me. He sat sideways at the opposite end of the couch, facing me.
“Morning,” he said sleepily, rubbing an eye.
“Morning,” I returned quietly.
“Awfully early wake up call.”
“Sorry. I…I wanted to talk before everyone else was up.”
“Right,” he said nodding. “Let’s talk then.”
I could still back out. I could make up any number of excuses and leave. What would that solve? There would still be a heavy weight in my chest about not being honest. I had to do this, no matter what would happen to the shred of happiness I’d built with Fred. How was it that with all the people on the planet, one of the very few I felt the strongest need to be honest with was right in front of me? That Fred was someone I couldn’t handle lying to, but I also didn’t want him to know just how messed up my family was. You’re a bloody Gryffindor. I was, wasn’t I? I needed to pluck up the courage and just get it over with.
“You asked before how many secrets I had. I have a lot, some that I can’t ever share. Some though, you deserve to know.” Why did I have to sound so shaky? “I told you before that I’d met Auror Shacklebolt. The first time was when I was two. He came to my house with other Aurors because of my parents. I spent some time at the Ministry before they approved the Malfoys taking me in.”
Fred looked confused. I suppose it was because most people didn’t have memories from that age, even if you did happen to have a photographic memory. ‘Thanks for that dad, because I wasn’t already messed up enough as it was,’ I thought sarcastically. There always had to be something abnormal, didn’t there?
“Let me finish, please.” Just keep talking and get it over with. “The reason Shacklebolt, Moody, your dad even, along with the teachers and other adults know me is because I look exactly like my mother. That’s why I was avoiding Moody. He was at the Ministry when I was young, he knows my parents. He, along with several other people believe I’m like them. I haven’t exactly done much to convince them otherwise. You remember me saying I wasn’t risking detention? That’s because I can’t. Dumbledore gave me strict rules to abide by. If I don’t he’ll expel me.”
“You wouldn’t get expelled over detention,” Fred interrupted, frowning.
“I would. Dumbledore was taking a risk allowing me here. I wasn’t a transfer student by choice. Salem was the third school I’ve been expelled from.”
“What?!” Fred asked, taken aback.
“I attended Durmstrang for most of my first year. Over Easter Karkaroff expelled me. Then I attended Beauxbatons for the rest of the year. I was expelled from there too. Second year Narcissa somehow managed to convince the Headmaster to accept me into Salem, but I was expelled from there at the end of the year. I…I know you won’t understand, but I want you to know it wasn’t as simple as the people who know think it was. I can’t fully explain, I’m sorry.” There would constantly be something I couldn’t explain. That’s how it always seemed to be. “Dumbledore, well he accepted me and now I’m trying very hard not to be what everyone expects. It’s a bit difficult when Moody assumes I’m like the rest of my family. Every time I see him I worry that he’ll say something.”
“That he’ll say what?”
“What other people are too polite to voice, even if they are thinking the same thing. That I’m like them, my parents.” Here goes nothing. “They served the Dark Lord. They’re Death Eaters.” There was a pause as Fred took that in.
“They were arrested by the Ministry? By Moody?”
“You said you were two when the Aurors came. Wouldn’t you have been one when you-know-who fell?” Fred asked, sounding confused.
“They didn’t get caught until later. Much later.” I’d never told anyone about this next part, not even Draco. “One day my parents, my uncle, and another Death Eater went to the home of a married couple who were Aurors to get information about the Dark Lord. They…they used the Cruciatus Curse on them.” Fred froze, looking stunned. “They tortured them for hours.” Don’t picture them, don’t imagine them. “Eventually the couple…they endured too much. They were tortured to insanity. My parents, uncle and the other Death Eater were sent to Azkaban.”
“Er…are your parents…dead?” Fred asked awkwardly.
“No, they’re still there,” I reluctantly admitted.
“Is that why they questioned you about Black last year?”
“Partially. My past was part of it too. Well, also being related to Black probably didn’t help.”
“Bloody hell, who aren’t you related to?” Fred’s little touch of humor helped break a bit of the apprehension I was feeling. I’d done it, I’d told him. There was no going back from it now.
“Crazy purebloods, always intermarrying. Hence the high insanity rate,” I responded, letting out a bitter laugh.
“You’re not nutters though.”
“I do a very good job at hiding it,” I muttered more to myself than him.
Fred glared at me. “You’re an introvert, not nutters.”
“Thanks,” I said quietly, giving him a small smile.
“Why do you look so sad?”
“I’ll miss our early meetings and your Weasley logic.”
“What–miss me? Where are you going?” he asked quickly.
“You don’t want to be the guy who hangs out with the Death Eater’s kid. People will judge you before you even open your mouth. It would be better if we stopped…this.”
“This? What exactly are we stopping?”
“I should go,” I said quietly, getting up. Always taking the coward’s way out and running away, some Gryffindor I was. “I’m sorry.”
“No.” Fred stood and grabbed my arm.
“No, I’m not letting you walk away again.”
“It’s better this way –”
“No, it’s not. Not for me. Not for you.”
“Don’t you have a girl to win over?”
“How can you be so smart yet completely thick?” Fred asked incredulously. “It’s you. It’s always been you.” As much as I wanted to believe that, it couldn’t be an option. I was not going to bring Fred Weasley down to the level of a Lestrange.
“I can’t. Fred, I –”
“Why can’t you?”
“Fred. We’re not – your parents would never allow it.”
“Bloody hell woman, you’re not produce.”
“My parents are psychopaths.”
“And getting mixed up with a Lestrange, it’s not a good idea.”
“Really? That’s your best defense? Maybe you are nutters.”
“You don’t understand –”
“You don’t understand that I don’t care.”
“This is not a joke.” Why couldn’t he just accept it and move on? It would have been so much easier than trying to reason with him.
“You’re right, it’s not.”
“Then why –”
“I, Fred Weasley fancy you, Jade Lestrange. And unless I am completely and utterly dense, I believe that you fancy me too.”
“That’s beside the point.”
“So you admit it!” Fred said triumphantly.
“You stop, honestly. I like you, you like me. That’s generally how relationships are formed.” He was over simplifying things, he didn’t understand or he wouldn’t be acting this way. He’d be running in the opposite direction like any sane, rational person.
“If you keep talking I’m going to start snogging you.” I glared at him. “Unless you want me to snog you, in that case I’m ready and willing.” I narrowed my eyes at him.
“You cheeky little –”
“Alright.” Fred leaned in to kiss me but I turned quickly, causing him to kiss the side of my head. This didn’t seem to faze him and he wrapped his arms around me, kissing all over my head as I tried to squirm away.
“Let – go – you – git – bloody – nutter. Fred!” I whispered furiously.
“Do. Not. Call. Me. Sweetums,” I said through gritted teeth.
“I’m not going to stop until you start acting reasonable.”
“You are the one not being reasonable.”
“Any other time I would agree with you, however at the moment you are acting completely and utterly thick.”
“I am not,” I responded, feeling annoyed.
“Honestly, listen to yourself. You’re saying you’re not allowed to be happy because of your parents. It’s completely bonkers.”
“It is not –”
“Yes it is. Alright, so your parents were psychopaths –”
“Fine. They are psychopaths. They’re vile and cruel and heartless. I can tell it’s been bothering you and I’m sure telling me wasn’t easy. You’re not them. You don’t have to be miserable your whole life because of them.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I understand more than you do.”
“You’re using them as an excuse.”
I turned around angrily to look at Fred. “How dare you –”
“Look me in the eye and tell me you’re not afraid of becoming close to someone.” I glared at him furiously. “You can’t do it, can you?”
I knew in the pit of my stomach that he was right, even if I couldn’t fully admit it to myself. Draco was the last person I was close to. Being that happy, feeling that joy of being with your other half, there was no feeling in the world like it. Losing that feeling? There was nothing like that either. It was heartbreaking, it made you feel like a shell of your former self. It made you incomplete, like there was always something missing. Never having that happiness? That sounded safer than having it one day then losing it the next.
“That is not the point of this conversation.”
“Well maybe not the start of this conversation, but that’s what it’s turned into. Why are you so opposed to letting me make you happy?”
“You can’t always make me happy,” I said quietly.
“Maybe not, but I can at least be here to…to hold you while you’re…you know, not happy,” he said very sincerely. Something about it made me feel very exposed and uncomfortable.
“That’s the sappiest thing you’ve ever said.” Somehow a cutting, mocking response was all I could think of. Fred didn’t seem insulted though.
“Well that’s what I’m offering you. Sappy, cheesy, romantic lines whenever you want. And nicknames, lots of nicknames, darling.”
“Madame Sugar-britches?” I snorted as a grin spread over Fred’s face. “We have a winner.”
“If you ever call me that again I will turn you into…into a mongoose.” Fred stared at me oddly. I’m an idiot.
“As long as you’re the cantaloupe to my mongoose.” I went to hit him but he grabbed my arm and pulled me into a hug. I tensed up immediately, remembering the times that Draco had hugged me. Would this turn out the same way? I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle another heartbreak. Was this really worth it? Fred sighed wistfully as he smelled my hair. “Delicious,” he muttered, making me smile.
Yeah, Fred Weasley was worth it.
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