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Written for World Cup Prompt - Hermione

Word Count - 586

His Silence Broke Her Heart

He was there until he wasn't. Hermione was so used to his presence in the back of her mind that she learned to ignore it for the most part. She loved him, but their way of thinking wasn't always compatible; particularly when she really need to study and he was thinking about his latest prank.

She tuned in when she was feeling down, and he cheered her up always, because that was what Fred did. He was always ready with a joke or a kind word, a funny story or a soft reprimand about her being too hard on herself.

He knew what she needed when she needed it, far better than she did. That was why he was her soulmate, she supposed.

They'd found out at that first meeting. She'd met him, disapproved of him in her mind and he'd argued with her as she'd thought he was an idiot.

Hermione had been fuming. She'd read books about soulmates, of course she had, and she knew that was what it was, and she was so angry because why? Who thought it was a good idea to land her with a joker who couldn't take anything serious.

And so, for a long time, Hermione had ignored him. She'd pushed the voice away, refusing to pay him any mind when he tried to get her attention.

Slowly, glacially in fact, things changed. They aged, and while Fred was and would always be, a joker, he got more serious. They conversed properly, him telling her about the work that went into their products, and her respect for his smarts raising.

He listened to her ramble about her school work without complaint, even offered suggestions occasionally.

Those conversations turned into friendship, and out of nowhere, Fred was the first one she thought to turn to when she had something to say. While she'd always say that Ron and Harry were her best friends, Fred somehow became more.

Their first kiss came three days before Fred and George exited Hogwarts in a storm of fireworks and sass. It was tender and sweet and just slightly desperate.

Hermione had realised later that he was saying goodbye, or maybe it was just see you later.

They clung to their mind link after that. Aside from a few moments over the summer, Hermione didn't have much time with Fred, and then George lost his ear, and Bill and Fleur's wedding was interrupted and she didn't have time to even say goodbye.

Goodbye and not see you later, because she didn't know if any of them would survive.

When she was on the run with Harry and Ron, Fred was the one that kept her sane. She'd listen to him in her mind at night, and he'd make her feel normal, if only for a little while. He'd remind her that there was a world outside of their tent.

When Ron left them in his temper tantrum, Fred was the one that told her he'd be okay, that Ron was just being Ron, that he'd keep himself safe.

When Harry was hurt by Nagini, he was the one telling her that he'd be okay, keeping her calm through the horrendous night.

When Hermione was plagued by nightmares, Fred was the one who comforted her, told her that they weren't real, that she was safe, that it would all be okay.

In the midst of battle, she didn't notice immediately that he'd suddenly gone silent.

Until she did.

Until her heart broke at his silence.