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I Just Can't Help Myself... by Hazel Bludger
Chapter 13 : I Just Love Her
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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What'd I tell you? Didn't take too long, right? Boom. I'm impressive. (Not really, but let me have this one.)

Let's just go enjoy the story before I ruin this for myself.

Disclaimer!: Still not British and successful.






Chapter 13: I Just Love Her

 




“Neville!” a voice called as the doors to the Leaky Cauldron burst open.

Neville poked his head out of the kitchen where we was busy harassing his wife. “George?” he said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

“To ask you and your beautiful wife for a huge favor,” he said, obviously out of breath. His dark red hair was standing on end from what the Longbottoms assumed was stress.

Hannah left the kitchen with a smirk. “Sweet talker.”

George winked. “You know it, baker lady.”

“Oi, stop flirting with my wife and tell me what you need,” Neville joked.

“So, Angie just started training camp again with the Tornadoes since Roxanne’s birth,” George began.

“Yeah, we just had the party on Saturday,” Hannah said with a grin.

“Right,” George said.”And do you remember how we talked about maybe a toddler watching schedule?”

Neville looked at his wife unsurely. “Maybe?”

George looked desperate. “I’m swamped at work. Left my assistant in charge of the shop. Got to hurry back. But Fred’s at that age where he sneaks away from the sitter and touches everything, and I’m sure he’ll end up hurting himself…is there any way he can stay here during the day this week? Just until Angie comes home?”

Hannah looked from George to her husband, who shrugged. “Thee’s not too much of a handful.”

“Is that a yes?”

Hannah smiled. “Anything for you, prankster.”

George beamed and planted a fat kiss on her cheek. “You’re a lifesaver,” George lamented. “He’s just outside, got distracted by the flowers. Boy’s bloody mental if you ask me.”

The three adults left the pub to find a chubby, two year old Fred Weasley sitting in the dirt, a pile of flowers between his legs. His hands and face were coated in a layer of mulch and he seemed to be dissecting a worm in his stubby fingers. “Freddie?” George asked, trying not to laugh.

Fred looked up immediately, his sweet face breaking into a sparkling grin. “Daddy!” he squealed happily. He held up the gooey worm carcass. “Worm!”

George chuckled in defeat. “You’re right, buddy.” He squatted down in front of his son and lifted him to his feet. “Seems like that worm doesn’t want to play anymore, though. But you know who you are going to play with today?”

“Daddy?” Freddie guessed innocently as George cleaned him up with a simple spell.

“No,” he replied. “You’ll play with Daddy later. Do you remember Thee Longbottom?”

Freddie scrunched his face up in deep concentration for a moment, and then shook his head. George laughed and scooped Fred up in his arms. “Well, you will after today. You’re going to stay with Uncle Neville and Aunt Hannah, okay? Will you be good for Daddy?”

Fred nodded resolutely and allowed his father to place him in Hannah’s arms. “Thanks again,” George said running a hand through his hair. “See you later, okay, Freddo?”

Freddie blew a raspberry at his father. “Love Daddy,” he said, smiling.

George smiled and blew a raspberry back. “Love Freddie.”

George left the pub and Hannah looked at the little boy on her hip. “Well, Freddie, looks like it’s just us now, huh?” He smiled and nodded. Hannah grinned. “Let’s get you upstairs, yeah?”

Hannah opened the door to the room where Dorothy sat playing with her Quidditch figurines. “Hi, Mummy,” Dorothy said smiling.

“Hi, baby,” Hannah replied, setting Freddie down. “Do you remember Freddie?”

“No,” she replied, already back to playing with her toys.

“Well, he’s going to be spending the day with you for the week. Play nice, okay? I’ll come and get you for lunch soon.”

“Okay, Mummy,” Dorothy responded.

Once Hannah left, Freddie toddled his way over to Dorothy. She was smaller than he was, and her long blond curls were pulled into pigtails. He wrapped his hand around one of them tugged.

“OW!” she screeched. Her eyes watered. Freddie, obviously surprised, yelped at her reaction, his own eyes watering.

“Sorry,” he whimpered.

Dorothy looked at him, holding her pigtail tightly in her own hand. “S’okay.” She picked up one of her figurines and offered it to him. “Want to play?”

Freddie reached out and grabbed it, nodding.

***

“What’s going on?” Freddie demanded, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed Dorothy was lying on. She was so pale, paler than usual. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. No one would answer his questions.

Madame Whittle was murmuring spells diligently beneath her breath, gold sparks falling from her wand and onto Dorothy’s unmoving body; coating her chest, all the way down to her hip. “Mr. Weasley, I need you to calm down,” she said in her high-pitched and squeaky voice, not looking up from her task.

“Well, that’d be easier if I knew what was happening!” he shot back, approaching the bed. Madame Whittle did not respond. Neville said in a chair next to his daughter’s hospital bed, his face tight with restrained concern.

“I am attempting to stabilize her,” Madame Whittle said. “Something done much easier without interruption. I will have you wait outside if you cannot contain yourself.”

Freddie frowned, displeased. He stared down at his best friend, his heart pounding in his chest. The gold sparks suddenly stopped pouring from Madame Whittle’s wand. Freddie tensed in panic as Madame Whittle frantically waved her wand, spells exploding from her lips.

“What’s happening?!” Freddie demanded. He felt tears pressing against his eyes and pressure building up in his temples. “What’s going on?!”

“She’s stopped responding,” Madame Whittle said, flourishing her wand over Dorothy’s body. “I need you to back up.”

“What do you mean she’s stopped responding?!” Freddie cried, the pressure in his temples becoming unbearable. “You have to save her! She has to be okay!”

“Fred,” Neville said firmly. “You need to calm down.”

“How am I supposed to calm down?!” he shouted. “She’s dying! She can’t die!”

Tears escaped his eyes, and before he could contain them, Freddie was sobbing. An empty bed in the far corner of the wing was suddenly engulfed in angry flames.

“Get him out of here, Neville,” Madame Whittle instructed.

No!” Freddie cried, fighting as Neville pulled him from the wing, taking him into the corridor.

“I promise that as soon as she is stabilized you can come back inside, alright, Freddie?” Neville said. “You’re too unstable yourself. You could accidentally hurt her.”

“Please,” Freddie begged. “She has to be okay, Uncle Nev.”

***

“Where’s Freddie?” Dorothy asked, looking up from her coloring page. She was seated on top of the bar as her parents worked on setting up the rest of the pub.

“He’s with his Mummy,” Hannah said. “He’s not coming over today.”

Dorothy’s eyes filled with tears. “But…Freddie…” she said, her voice shaking.

Neville’s eyes widened. It broke his heart when his baby cried. “Thee, honey, it’s okay.” He hurried over to her and wiped at the liquid beneath her eyes.

“I wanna play with Freddie!” she sobbed.

Hannah had also dropped the chair she’d been unstacking and hurried to her daughter. “Nev, go talk to George , would you?”

Neville Apparated straight into George’s office. “Well, hello, mate. Please, come in,” George said cheekily.

“My daughter is currently sobbing because Freddie isn’t coming over today.”

At that exact moment, Angie burst into George’s office. “Fred is throwing a tissy because he’s not going over to play with Thee today. I’m about to maim you.” She paused and looked at Neville. “Hello, Neville.”

He smiled at her. “Angie. Seems like you’re having a very similar problem to me. Dorothy is devastated Freddie’s not coming to play.”

George smiled. “Seems like they made friends.”

“Well, the two of them can’t spend every waking moment with each other,” Angie snapped.

“And why not?” George asked. “We live on the same street. We’ll take Thee on some days, and send Freddie to the Leaky on others. Make it work with our schedules, keeps our kids happy.”

Neville thought a moment. “We are expecting a large check-in later today.”

“And our day’s been slow,” George said. “Bring Thee over. They can play here. We’ll come to the Leaky for dinner and work out a schedule.”

Neville Apparated away and Angie walked around her husband’s desk to kiss the top of his head. “They’ll be inseparable, won’t they?”

***

“What the hell are you doing out here?” Fiona cried as she and Hope skidded to a stop in front of the Hospital Wing.

“How is she?” Hope demanded. “What’s going on?”

“She’s not stable yet,” Freddie growled through his teeth.

Fiona’s face paled. “Merlin.”

“Why are you out here rather than inside?” Hope asked.

Freddie, who had picked up his pacing once he’d managed to restrain his sobs enough to see straight, shrugged his shoulders. “I was emotionally unstable.”

“Emotionally unstable?” Fiona asked.

“I may have set a hospital bed on fire.”

Fiona couldn’t help but chuckle. “At least there’s a good reason,” Hope said after a moment.

“Neville said he’d come get me as soon as she was stable,” Freddie murmured. “Why hasn’t he come out yet? Why isn’t she stable?” he asked himself, feeling the tears coming back on.

“We won the match,” Hope said. “Jen left with McGonagall right after you left with Whittle. Drummand made us finish.”

“They say Jen might be charged,” Fiona said. “She’s not going to be playing Quidditch anymore, though, that’s for sure.”

Rage boiled in the pit of Freddie’s stomach at the mere thought of Jen Brady. With a strangled roar, he turned and slammed his fist into the wall. He choked out a sob, letting his forehead fall against the cold stone. His shoulders shook violently as he drew in a ragged breath, exploding with painful, bellowing cries that echoed throughout the hall.

Hope and Fiona were immediately at his sides, holding him up. “She’s going to be okay, Freddie,” Fiona whispered strongly. “She’s a fighter.”

“She wasn’t responsive,” he managed, his body shaking ferociously. The tapestry behind them erupted into flames. “What if she dies?”

***

Hannah sat with Angie and Ginny in the kitchen of the Burrow after the Easter brunch. “I can’t believe James is playing with Thee,” Ginny said, taking a sip of her tea. “He’s been on this ‘Anti-Girls’ kick for almost four months. Won’t even go near Lily. Swears she’s got cooties, or some rubbish. Poor girls only two years old.”

“It’s Freddie,” Angie said. “Won’t do anything without Dorothy beside him.”

“Freddie’s great for her,” Hannah said. “She’s the shyest girl; he really brings her out of her shell.”

“I’m just glad James isn’t trying to cleanse her with his magical ability,” Ginny joked. “Did I tell you? He’s been showing.”

Angie and Hannah grinned. “That’s wonderful,” Hannah said.

“How’d it happen?” Angie asked.

“Flew across the house the other day when I told him he couldn’t go out on his toy broomstick in the storm,” Ginny said. “Thought he was on it at first, almost exploded. Then Harry told me to look closer. Pretty sure the bloke cried; you know how he gets with the ‘proud father’ stuff. It’s sweet, really.”

“That’s brilliant,” Angie said, laughing. “I’m sure when Freddie shows, something’ll explode and George will turn it into product.”

Hannah and Ginny laughed. “No clue when Thee’ll show. Neville was so late, she might be as well.”

“Oh, you never know,” Angie said.

“So, have you two started a pool yet?” Ginny asked coyly.

“A pool?” Hannah asked. “For what?”

“For when Dorothy and Freddie will start dating!” Ginny exclaimed. “Honestly, Hannah, it’s obvious the two will end up married.”

The women peered out the window to see James running from Freddie who was lugging Dorothy around on his back, all three of them screaming.”They’re a pair, alright,” Hannah said thoughtfully.

“At least I like the family,” Angie joked. She stood from the table and rummaged through one of her mother in laws cabinets, pulling out a bottle of wine and three glasses. “Let’s toast to their future happiness.”

Hannah laughed and accepted the wine. “To our children’s future together,” she joked.

“To one hell of a Weasley-Longbottom wedding,” Angie added.

“To the wedding day being the day after their graduation!” Ginny declared. Laughing, the three women toasted.

***

“How is she?” James shouted once the Hospital Wing was in sight. He had sprinted faster than he ever had before, desperate for information.

Freddie’s head snapped up from the cradle of his arms and quickly stood from his seat against the wall. “What are you doing here?”

“Dorothy,” James wheezed, concern evident on his face. “I came as soon as I heard.”

“You weren’t at the match?” Fiona asked.

James looked over at her, and shook his head. “Didn’t think it’d be appropriate.”

“But it’s appropriate for you to be here?” Freddie snapped.

“Like it or not, Fred, she’s my friend, too!” James shot back. “We may not be as close as the two of you are, but we’ve been friends for almost as long!”

“Well, you haven’t been acting like much of a friend lately!”

“What do you want from me?!” James demanded. “I’m sorry that I’m confused! We’re not all emotionally cut-off like you, Fred!”

“Oi!” Hope shouted, getting between the two boys who had slowly been closing the distance between them. “Is this really the time or place for this?”

Suddenly, the door to the Hospital Wing opened. Freddie whirled around, watching as Neville appeared, his face tired. “She’s sleeping. Madame Whittle says she’ll probably be out for a few days, but there should be no permanent damage except for a scar on her side.”

“She’s okay?” Freddie breathed, disbelief evident in his voice.

Neville took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes. She’s okay.”

Tears began once again streaming down Freddie’s face. “Can I…can I go back inside now?”

***

“Mum!” Dorothy shouted. “Just because I’m growing breasts doesn’t mean Freddie shouldn’t be allowed to spend the night! He’s my best mate; we’ve been sleeping in the same room since we were toddlers!”

Neville’s head hit the table at the mention of his daughter’s breasts. “For Merlin’s sake, you’re nine years old, you’re not ‘growing breasts’ yet!” Hannah shot back.

“Father in the room,” Neville managed weakly.

“Mum,” Dorothy begged. “Please?”

Hannah sighed. “Only because it’s Freddie.”

Freddie’s head popped out from the kitchen. “Brilliant. Thanks, Aunt Hannah.”

Hannah shot her daughter a glare. “You,” she threatened.

Dorothy quickly pecked her mother on the cheek. “I love you, Mum!” She turned to Freddie. “Go, before she changes her mind!”

Hannah rolled her eyes and turned to her husband, who looked up at her wearily from his seat at a table. “What are we going to do with those two?”

“Pray they don’t take over the world,” Neville said, scooting his chair back far enough for his wife to sit on his lap. He pecked her lips. “Oh, and can we keep the breasts conversations between the two of you? She’s my little girl who thinks boys have cooties and doesn’t have those.”

Hannah laughed and pecked his lips again. “Oh, honey. You’re in for a real surprise if that’s how you think you can get through raising a teenage girl.”

***

Freddie pulled up a chair on the left side of Dorothy, grasping her hand in his. It was warm. Her skin was still pale, but it no longer looked to be grey. He brought her hand to his lips and squeezed his eyes shut, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand. “Thank Merlin you’re alive,” he whispered.

James stood farther back; not wanting to intrude on his cousin’s deserved time with Dorothy. Hope stood near him, trying to restrain her own tears of relief. “So, what exactly happened?”

Hope looked over at him in surprise as if she’d forgotten he was standing there. “Huh?”

“What happened?” James repeated. “All I got was that Jen hit her with a Bludger and it was bad. I didn’t stick around for the story.”

Hope nodded. “Oh. Of course.” She took a breath and wiped at her eyes, studying the ground as she began to speak. “So, Jen had been off her game the entire match. Let her emotions cloud her judgment. After Dorothy blocked Jen’s fifteenth shot, Jen took Burrow’s bat and slammed a Bludger at Dorothy. I doubt she meant to hurt her as bad as she did, but it was obvious that Jen wanted Dorothy out of the game.”

James nodded, and Hope continued, still refusing to look at him. “The Bludger made contact in the center of Dorothy’s chest. She was thrown off her broom and through the center hoop, then hit the ground.”

“Why didn’t someone cast Arresto Momentum or something?” James asked. “Slow her down.”

“No one expected the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain to take a Beater’s bat and take out the Keeper,” Hope said. “By the time people realized what was happening, she was on the ground.” Hope paused, looking up from the floor and at James. “Right after she did it, Jen dropped the bat like it was on fire. Looked like she was about to puke. Like she couldn’t believe what she had just done.”

James looked over at Dorothy’s unnaturally still body, studying the subtle rising and falling of her chest and the shaking of his cousin’s hand as Freddie reached out to tuck a loose strand of blond hair behind Dorothy’s ear. “Yeah,” he said softly.

***

A warm, blue light illuminated the inside of the blanket fort Freddie and Dorothy were sitting in early in the morning of September first. Dorothy was clutching the stuffed bear her father had given her a few years ago as she gnawed on her bottom lip. “What if we’re not in the same House?”

Freddie looked over at his best friend, the same fear written all across his face. “We’ll be okay, Dor. Right?”

“But if we’re not in the same House, we won’t be able to have sleepovers and we won’t have all our lessons together and what if we don’t talk and make new friends,” Dorothy rambled.

“Dor,” Freddie said quickly. “We’re best friends forever, no matter what. We’ll eat meals together and sit together in lessons and even have sleepovers. If we’re not in the same House, it’ll be like we have two Common Rooms. We have those journals from your dad.  And it’s okay if we make new friends. No one will ever be us.”

“Really?” Dorothy said.

“Course,” Freddie said with a smile. “Unless you’re in Slytherin. Then you’re on your own.”

Dorothy gasped and grabbed a pillow, beating him with it. “That’s not funny!”

***

Freddie was asleep at Dorothy’s bedside, still holding her hand like a lifeline. A week had passed since the match, and he had not moved from his chair; the boy had fought viciously to stay by her side at all times. He looked to be uncomfortable, but Neville had left him slouching forward out of his chair after placing a blanket over his shoulders, knowing that he was emotionally exhausted enough that comfort didn’t matter.

The clock struck one AM in the dark Hospital Wing, and the large wooden door creaked open. Nothing entered or exited, and the door quickly creaked shut. Suddenly, James Potter appeared on Dorothy’s right side as he placed his father’s Invisibility Cloak on the bed directly behind him.

“Hey, Dorothy,” he whispered, trying not to wake Freddie. “Hope your day was good.”

He sighed, grabbing her other hand. “You gave us all a big scare, Dorothy. I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if I never got the chance to tell you how I feel.” He took another deep breath and squeezed her hand. “But you gotta wake up so I can tell you, okay? You gotta wake up so Freddie can go take a shower rather than just cleaning himself with Scougify. You gotta wake up so Felicity Burrow can sleep again; she still blames herself. You gotta wake up so Hope and Fiona can smile and joke around again.” He paused, then finished: “You gotta wake up for me.”

Letting go of her hand, James turned around and picked up the Invisibility Cloak, threw it over his body, and was gone.

***

Thirteen year old Dorothy was sitting cross-legged on the top of her four-poster, leaning up against her headboard. Freddie sat at the other end, the thick, mustard colored hangings keeping the wand light from leaving the sanctuary of her bed. Between them sat a large carton of cookie dough ice cream. Freddie dipped his spoon back into the container, sucking the spoon hastily between his lips.

“Um,” Dorothy pondered, balancing her spoon on the end of her nose. “If you had to snog a professor, who would it be?”

Freddie smirked. “Patil.”

Dorothy pulled a face. “Patil? She’s our parents’ age!”

“She’s bloody gorgeous,” Freddie said, the stupid grin on his face growing.

Dorothy rolled her eyes, taking her spoon from her nose and scooping out a large chunk of ice cream. “Blokes. Bloody disgusting.”

Ignoring her, Freddie said, “We’ve got to do this ice cream thing more often. Brilliant idea.”

“I think Fiona was the one who taught me how to get into the kitchens,” Dorothy said thoughtfully. “Don’t remember. I spend more time with you than any of them anyway. Don’t think half of them know my name.”

“As long as they let me spend the night, who cares?” Freddie said with a laugh. “I don’t like how the other Gryffindor blokes are looking at you.”

“Oh, you mean the same way you look at Professor Patil?” she teased.

Freddie frowned. “Yes.”

Dorothy cackled with laughter, taking another spoonful of ice cream. “I’ve got a meeting with Dominique tomorrow about Gryffindor Quidditch.”

“Has MacMillan decided to take his head out of his arse and listen to you yet?” Fred asked.

“After this week’s match, he will,” Dorothy said moodily.

“Bloody stupid,” Freddie muttered. “Oi! It’s my turn! You distracted me.”

Dorothy laughed. “Maybe you should be more focused.”

“You sound like Professor McCain telling me all about how I could test into NEWT Potions next year,” Freddie groaned.

Dorothy laughed. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Anyway,” Freddie lamented. “Hmm. If you could snog any bloke at Hogwarts who would it be?”

Dorothy’s face turned a deep shade of red. “Well, uh,” she began shakily. “James seems to be pretty fit.”

Freddie gaped at her. “You fancy James?”

“Sod off!” she said, shoving ice cream into her mouth. “No need to tease me for it.”

Freddie had a strange look on his face. “No, it’s just…bizarre.”

“More bizarre than you having the hots for Professor Patil?”

Freddie looked up at her, that mystery emotion still obvious on his face. “Yeah, kind of.”

***

The door to the Hospital Wing closed silently and Dorothy’s eyes snapped open, her body jerking. She let out a gasp as pain burned across her chest and hip. She looked around her dark surroundings, recognizing the shapes to be the Hospital Wing. She felt a warm pressure on her left side and something wrapped around her left hand. Carefully, she turned her head slightly to see Freddie’s body slumped over the side of her bed, fast asleep.

“Freddie?” she said softly.

Freddie jerked awake at the sound of her voice. “Bloody—” His voice cut off as his eyes made contact with hers. “Dor?”

She looked at him in confusion. “Yeah?”

Tears filled his eyes as he laughed in relief. “Oh, Merlin, Dorothy!” he cried, throwing his arms around her shoulders and pulling her to his chest.

Pain erupted across her chest again and she cried out. Freddie released her immediately, gently setting her back against her pillows. “Shit, sorry, Dor,” he said, cupping her face in his hands. “Bloody hell, I’m so glad you’re awake.” He leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead.

“What are you talking about?” Dorothy asked. “What happened?”

Freddie sat back in his chair, grabbing her hand tightly again. “You almost died on me, Dor.”






Bam! What'd you think? Lot's of flashback and fun! What do you think of Freddie and James? How about Dorothy, Hope, or Fiona? Tell me everything!! I LOVE REVIEWS!

Please rate and review, lovely readers!

Peace, Love, and Potter,

~Becca~


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