That One Time I Fell In Love
(And Other Impossible Things). Fred Weasley II finally meets his match in the form of one loud-mouthed and free-spirited, Emma Terry. [NextGen GIR World!]
Epilogue: That one time I did some impossible things.
Four months later
Late December is probably not the best time to go on holiday in England, just pointing that out for ya!
(You're all fuckin' welcome).
But it was the only time that both of us could get the time off, what with work being insanely busy for both of us lately, and after the fiasco that was Christmas, we'd figured it was about time to use that hotel brochure that Emma had gotten me (read: us) for my birthday. Naturally, it was raining on the Cornwall coast, because when doesn't it rain in England, but at least the beachside town of Newquay had a lot going for it.
Going on holiday together was … certainly something. The topic had come up so quickly ("Look, I still have a week off until I have to go back to work, do you want to go to Cornwall and get drunk on the beach?" "UH, YES PLEASE?") so I really hadn't had the time to wrap my head around the fact that OH, SHIT FRED, YOU ARE ON YOUR FIRST EVER TRIP AWAY WITH A GIRL! I was here to take dumb tourist photos, eat out in fancy places and hold hands on the beach and all that shit. Since when had I become the kind of person who did this sort of thing? I hadn't had a good ol' relationship spiral in a long time (how's THAT for development?) but I suppose that meant I was overdue for one! Therefore, I had admittedly panicked a lot over our first couple of days here and in true Fred Fashion, I mentioned absolutely none of it. Instead, I just acted suuuuper weird until finally, Emma had grabbed my hand earlier at dinner and said, "Shut the fuck up, Bonehead. Let's go to the beach."
How she puts up with me, I'll never know.
"Emma, it's cold as hell out here, I'm freezing my balls off!" I called out over the wind. "What are we doing?"
"We are having what's called a good time, damn it!" Emma yelled back. She ran over the sand back to my side, grabbing my hand and dragging me after her. "A little bad weather never hurt anyone!"
"Tell that to my head when it finally blows off."
She just snorted, her ridiculous hair kept under control in the wind by being trapped underneath a woollen beanie. Naturally, we had Fiscal Beach literally all to ourselves, since the rest of Newquay was apparently normal and didn't have a death wish. It was picturesque, here, I'll admit. The beach stretched out for miles either side, several large and classic hotels lining the road behind us. Emma pulled me nearly all the way to the water's edge, before leaning down to pull her boots off.
"Oh, what in god's name are you doing?" I asked in amazement.
"Oh no, you don't," I warned, even as she was stripping her socks off and rolling up her leggings. "Your feet are gonna come back with fucking frostbite!"
"Come catch me then," she grinned, before dancing back out of the way.
"GOD DAMNIT, EMMA–"
Splash. She was already in the water.
"I can't take you anywhere," I shook my head. "How is it?"
"I definitely can't feel my toes, hooooly shit! But come on!"
If anyone was going to be the death of me, it was this woman. My poor feet were already crying about being forced to plunge into icy water, but I stripped them off anyway, my jeans thankfully easy to roll up to the knee. "JESUS CHRIST," I yelped when the first waves hit.
"Ah, yes!" Emma grinned, leaping majestically through the water to reach me. "Feeeeeel the crisp chill between your toes!"
"I'm gonna have no toes in a minute."
"Quit whining – JUMP THE WAVE!" Emma yelled dramatically. We both jumped into the air and landed with identical freezing splashes. "See?" she asked, happily. "Isn't this fun?"
I glanced down at her and felt my chest lurch painfully. This was the best I'd felt in months, despite the cold, and of all reactions I could have had, I ended up pulling finger guns at her and saying,
Emma kicked water at me. "Yeah, ok," she said. "You've been acting like you're on drugs for long enough. What gives, mate?"
"I have nooooo idea what you're–"
"Save it," Emma held up a hand.
"Fine," I braced myself against another wave hitting. "I guess the whole … 'trip away together' thing … I dunno, it's been a lot to handle."
At least she didn't seem surprised. If anything she actually got it, nodding in agreement and staring resolutely out at the ocean. A small smile adorned her lips as she said,
"I guess it is a pretty serious relationship milestone."
HAHAHAHAHAHA. OH, SHIT.
Look, we don't talk about this. You know that, we just don't go there! We've never been good communicators, we've never been good at being straight-forward and emotional, our best conversations seem to happen when we just let it all pile up as a big stressful 'to-do list'. You know the ones! It's that mound of paperwork you leaving lying on your desk that you KNOW you should be filing, but you're hoping that the longer you ignore it the higher the chance it might just get accidentally shredded someday and you won't have to worry! Well, I'm telling ya now, that paperwork ain't ever leaving, mate. It's always gonna be there, sitting on your bloody desk, yelling 'FILE ME, FILE ME' until eventually, you get to this point.
Our best tactic so far seems to be to just let things happen as they come. It's all or nothing. Finally, one of us gets sick of the anxiety and we plough through the entire pile with as much efficiency and as quickly as possible in hopes that we won't have to do it again for another say, ten years?
Apparently, it had piled up enough. It was time to do paperwork.
"YEP." I winced at the pitch.
"Wow," Emma laughed. "I haven't heard your voice ever get that high and squeaky before."
"Uh–" I coughed hastily. "I mean, yes. Sorry, I didn't realise that we'd … erm, y'know … be doing this."
"We don't have to."
I still couldn't look at her, but I reached out and lightly grazed her hand with mine. "I know, but… we should. WAIT, fuck, who said that?" I glanced around as if some other person with waaaaay less commitment issues than I had might just suddenly pop up from the frigid water.
Emma rolled her eyes, purposefully shoving into me as she jumped over another wave. Apparently, she was willing to let me lead this conversation, as she didn't speak at all. She remained silent, happily frollicking through the water, until finally I got up the courage to speak.
"We're in a relationship."
She grinned at the waves.
"Honey, we've been in a relationship a long time."
I batted at her shoulder. "I'm sorry we don't talk about it."
"That's not just your fault," Emma said. "Fred, everything is two-way. Trust me, if I'd wanted to talk about it too, I would have mentioned it."
"I suck at this," I told her. "Shit, most days I don't even know what I'm doing! I'm an arsehole even in some of my best moments."
"You're forgetting that I fell for said arsehole," Emma mentioned. "You don't need to worry."
"My life is a mess," I said, weakly.
"So's mine," she shrugged.
I glanced away, trying to supress the guilt.
We were here to try and get away from the stresses of real life, only sometimes it felt like the stress had just bloody followed us here. It had been the first Christmas without Dad. It been a rough first few months of Auror training. Emma's promotion meant she had been working at all hours lately and overall, things were pretty shitty at the moment. This was supposed to be a chance to get away from all that!
Fortunately, Emma always had the ability to notice whatever mood I was in. Sometimes it came in handy, especially when I didn't even know how I was feeling myself, but other times I did wish that I was better at hiding it all. It still wasn't any better. I don't know what the hell kind of numb state I must have been in those first couple months, but October was about when everything about Dad had suddenly hit with the force of a freight train and I'd spiralled downhill again. It was almost worse than the first time, because I'd somehow gotten it into my head that I was on the up now, that surely I'd hit rock bottom by this point and couldn't get any further. WELP, turns out I had a shovel and I was willing to dig deeper! My dear Hannah must have had a field day.
Some days, I look at Emma and don't even know why she's still here. She's had to put up with so much from me, on top of dealing with anything that also came along in her life, but she was nothing if not stubborn. She resolutely stayed by my side on the days I couldn't function, she would bring me coffee and comfort snacks, she would let me hold her however long I needed … I honestly don't know what I would have fucking done without her.
"Sometimes I wish that everything was easier," I said to the ocean.
"That would be nice," Emma agreed.
"Do you ever wish that you'd never slept with me?"
Emma pretended to think. "WEEEEELLLLLLL …"
"Nah," Emma shoved my arm, jumping over another wave. I let it crash around my calves. "Sure, you're batshit crazy, but the sex was too good, mate."
"That makes me feel better!" I said, cheerfully. But then I turned to look at her and added, "But in all honesty, Emma … thank you. I know I'm not … it hasn't been easy. None of it has been, but I'm still standing here because of you, so."
She stared at me, glassy eyed, and I kind of Panicked.
"Fuck," I added. "Was that too much? I don't think I seriously meant that–"
"Hey," she cut me off with a smile. "Shut up." She stepped forward, tilting her chin up. I met her lips halfway, freezing hands curling up around her neck through her hair. She arched up to meet me, winding her arms around my waist. Waves still crashed against us every now and then and if we weren't careful, we were going to lose our balance and plunge to our icy deaths, but for now we were more than willing to risk it.
"It's ok," she murmured into my mouth.
I might have kissed her longer, but that was about when a rogue wave hit us out of nowhere. Larger than all the others, it slammed into us and we both shrieked. Emma was thrown off her feet entirely, landing on her arse in the water. I staggered, swearing at the cold.
But she was laughing hysterically, tossing wet hair out of her eyes. "I AM A FUCKING ICE CUBE!"
"YEAH, NO SHIT," I stomped through the water, reaching out with wet and numb hands. She tried to pull herself up, but naturally more waves just kept on coming and after twenty minutes of floundering through the shallows, chasing Emma's beanie that was slowly floating away, emptying out pockets of water and kicking up spray at each other, we were able to slowly stagger our way out of the ocean. Gasping at the cold, I let Emma kiss with cold lips a bit too much until we were both shivering and were forced to pull back, lest we both get hypothermia. Luckily the beach was empty so that I could pull out my wand, drying our clothes.
We moved up the beach back to where we'd left our shoes. Emma collapsed down next to me, coat still steaming slightly. "Oh my god, I honestly don't think I can feel my hands!"
"Yeah, that's what happens when you plunge them into sub-zero water, you insane woman," Socks and shoes thankfully back on our bodies, I scooted over closer to her side on the sand, grabbing her hands in mine. We stayed quiet for a few moments, using each other to get the heat back in our bodies.
"This doesn't really work when it's still kind of raining," Emma pointed out, glancing up a little.
"Shut up. It's supposed to be a nice moment, or whatever the hell."
"Whatever you say," Emma smirked. "God, I don't want to go home in two days."
"Think of the positives!" I nudged her shoulder. "We'll get to see our lovely niece once more!"
"For the last time, Ruby is not our niece," Emma rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, but who has the time to say adoptive-cousin-once-removed?" I said. Since it was the school holidays, the now Ruby Potter had come home from Hogwarts! We hadn't gotten to see her yet since we'd escaped to Cornwall the second Christmas was over, but I know that I was excited to see the girl again. Blimey, it had to have been hard on Al and Bea, going from no kids, to suddenly having four of them, one of which who was going off to Hogwarts for the first time less than two weeks later. But hey, if there was anyone who could handle that kind of transition to parenthood, it was Al and Bea Potter.
James and Libby were great, but let's face it, they could barely handle running after a rambunctious toddler.
"Things are changing, huh."
"You gotta be more specific, mate," Emma smiled.
"I just mean … everyone's having kids now," I sighed. "Or starting new careers, or getting married or moving away … and we don't all hang out like we used to. I didn't even see James and Libby at Christmas, because they spent it with Libby's family this year! Everyone's getting their own lives, growing up, doing shit, and I'm still here, 26 and still spending Christmas at home with just my mum because my dad is dead and dealing with the occasional mental breakdown …"
"Fred," Emma's fingers clenched around mine. "It's ok that you're still grieving."
"I know. It's not that … I dunno," I grumbled. "Look, you know me! I don't deal with change that well."
"OKAAAY, at all," I conceded.
"Honey, I don't know what to tell ya," Emma snorted. "You have changed so fuckin' much since I first met you, it's not even funny."
"Fuck off," I laughed.
"Are you kiddin'?" Emma said in astonishment. "Fred! When we first met you could barely talk to me if it wasn't to politely ask me to take my shirt off."
"What? We tooootally talked," I scoffed.
"Clearly, you remember things a little differently than me."
"I wasn't … THAT much of a douchebag, right?" I asked, hesitantly.
"If anything even remotely more emotional than how we were doing that day came up, you went screaming for the hills!" Emma argued. "Face it! Fred Weasley's changed over the years, mate. But don't worry, for the record, I've loved all versions of him."
"Fuck offfff – wait–"
That made me come to a screeching halt. Emma tensed slightly next to me and I almost didn't dare look at her.
Did she just say … look, after all the disastrous attempts that had happened so far, that particular word was almost a trigger now. It had been very, very securely locked away somewhere, apparently neither of us wanting yet another confession that didn't count. But here we were, sitting on a beach in the rain, not drunk and holding hands … hell, it was actually kind of romantic? What kind of bullfuckery …
I glanced over at her. Nervousness clouded her eyes, but her smile was genuine.
"Yeah, fuck it, I'm saying this. I love you, Fred," She turned to look right at me. "Literally the moment I met you, I figured that you were either going to be a complete and utter diaster, or somehow the best thing that had ever happened to me. I'm not sure how you ended up being both, but I wouldn't take back a second. You are stupid and ridiculous and wonderful and … I am so stupidly and ridiculously and wonderfully in love with you."
OH, GOODBYE HEART. NO, NO, DON'T WORRY I DIDN'T NEED YOU ANYWAY.
Look, to be fair, I've done a lot of shit over the last few years that I might have once thought impossible. I could protest as much as I wanted, but Emma was right. The Fred before he'd met Emma never would have slept with the same person twice! That Fred would have died rather than give up control for someone or punch a famous Quidditch player in the face. He certainly never would have become friends with the same girl he was trying to get over. Forget freaking out over feelings and fuck ever actually saying the words, because that me just wouldn't be able to comprehend the idea. The thought of ever falling even a little bit for someone was terrifying, let alone falling in fucking love and eventually moving in with said person, but OH LOOK AT THAT, I'd somehow gone and done it all anyway! To be honest, I was at the point where it was hard to even associate current me with past me. We felt like two entirely different people, like there was no bloody way at all that we could be one in the same, but I guess that's why this had happened in stops and starts over months and years, rather than in leaps and bounds. Slowly but surely, I'd become the person I was today.
It was just something about Emma Terry made me defy everything that I'd ever known and truly achieve the impossible.
"I love you, too," I grinned.
But you know … I'm ok with that.
A/N: This epilogue has plagued me, PLAGUED ME I TELL YOU. I apologise if it's Not Good, but I seriously hope you like it. :)
This is honestly the hardest ending I've ever had to face, for a number of reasons. I can't even begin to explain how much this fic means to me, not to mention that it finally actually feels like the end of GIR World for me. When all the other fics finished, I knew already what was coming next and it never felt like the end, but now I'm here without any plans for the future and i"M SOBBIN
But mostly I'm a mess because these fics have literally chronicled my life growing up. Nine years ago I first posted GIR and over those nine years, I've grown from a 16 year old child to the 25 year old adult I am today. If you've been with me since then, you'll have seen me go through the end of high school, all of my university years, my time spent travelling and working overseas, all the way until now where I've just moved cities and started full time work. This universe, these characters, they've always been with me as I've grown up into the woman I am today and I am quite literally typing this and crying haAHJFAFAHFHDHK!
I can't say thank you enough. Thank you to the friends I have made through this universe (you know who you are), thank you to those people who have always been there, always commenting and always reading. Thank you for loving Fred and Emma. Thank you for believing in their story.
JUST THANK YOU!
I love you guys so much.
PS. I use my AO3 account (Moonprincess92) and tumblr (url: moonprincess92nz) to mostly scream about other fandoms, but please if you come hit me up and yell at me about GIR World, I swear to god I would die of utter happiness! I'm not abandoning this world forever, I have ideas in my head and while I don't quite have the energy to write them just yet, I'd love to talk about them with you guys! Please come ask me questions and/or yell at me about the future of your favourite obscure side characters and I promise, I'll answer anything and everything. :D