Merry Christmas, Angelina:

Part I

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all other characters are the sole property of JK Rowling. I'm just borrowing them.

Angelina Johnson woke with a start, breathing heavily. That recurring nightmare had, as all recurring nightmares do, come back. She tried to fall asleep once more, but sleep just would not come. Sighing, she slipped out of bed, put her robe on over her nightgown, and quietly walked to the common room.

It was probably the stress that was causing her to have these nightmares, as they were about losing the Quidditch Cup to Slytherin. Angelina could deal with losing the Quidditch Cup, but she just couldn't handle losing to them. It was bad enough that the Gryffindor team had lost to Hufflepuff, but to lose the Quidditch Cup to Slytherin again would just be unbearable.

Harry. Yet another factor in Angelina's stress. Even though the loss of the game to Hufflepuff was not his fault; she couldn't help but blame him for the losing game.

Angelina sat down on the sofa in the corner of the common room and stared at the dying fire. She glanced at her watch. 1:00. "Merry Christmas," she said to herself sarcastically. She wanted to cry; she really did. Her 'perfect' life had been going down the drains for over a year now, and it looked like Quidditch, the last perfect thing in her life, washeading down the drains.She replayed everything that had gone wrong in the past year in her mind.

It all started with her parents divorcing. She usually went home for the Christmas holidays, but decided to stay at Hogwarts this time so she could avoid being fought over. They were always fighting about something, and it usually turned violent, so she figured the divorce was for the best. It still hurt her, though. Christmas used to be the time when no one in the Johnson household would fight, and everything would be happy. But that was a shadow of a memory now.

Also, there was the tiny, little fact that her father's girlfriend hated her. She didn't know why; the woman just acted like Angelina had some sort of contagious, incurable disease. When her father and Janine (the girlfriend) went out with Janine's four year old daughter, Angelina was left at home so she could clean the house.

Then there was the fact that O.W.Ls were coming up, and Angelina was nervous. She worried that she wouldn't pass, which would end with her expulsion from Hogwarts.

Finally she had recieved word from her mother that she wasn't wanted at home anyway, because she was too involved with Rick, her new boyfriend of the month. Even though she didn't even spend summer holidays with her mother, it still hurt Angelina deeply.

She felt the tears welling up. She wouldn't let herself cry; she couldn't. She shook her head and continued staring at the fire. Angelina absentmindedly started to clench and unclench her fists, trying to banish her demons. The tears resumed building, threatening to fall. She continued to clench and unclench her fists, all the while staring at the embers in the fireplace.

"You know," came a voice from behind her, "keeping all of that to yourself isn't very healthy, Ang."

Angelina turned around to face Fred Weasley. "I'm not keeping anything to myself, Fred," she coldly replied.

He walked over and sat down next to her. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were dealing with some pretty frustrating things, judging by the way you were clenching your fists," he continued.

She sighed in defeat. "Fine, you got me. I'm just stressed. Nothing to worry about here."

Fred raised his eyebrow. "Right. That explains why you've been sitting here for half an hour close to tears on Christmas morning. I really believe you, Ang."

Angelina glared at him. "Well, I'm telling the truth," she lied.

Fred still didn't believe her. "Look, it might just be me, but your quest for the perfect life is getting a little crazy. Nobody has a perfect life; you of all people should know that. Katie's life isn't perfect, Alicia's life isn't perfect, hell, even Harry's life isn't perfect. Why are you trying to hold on to a fantasy when you have a great life right here?" He was concerned about her; he really was.

Angelina couldn't hold the tears back any longer. "Oh Fred! I-I really tried t-to keep everything t-together! The Hufflepuff game was a disaster! Wood's s-so disappointed! O.W.Ls are coming up a-and I'm sure I'm going to fail!A-and my father owled m-me the other day, a-and he t-told me that he and J-Janine were getting m-married! H-how am I supposed t-to spend summer with t-them and survive?" She didn't tell him about her mother; it wasn't worth getting worked up about, in Angelina's opinion.

Fred held her close to him and tried his best to comfort her. "First of all, you aren't a failure. You're a damn good chaser, and you know it. Second, if you're going to have to spend summer holiday with that woman, then I won't stand for it. You're coming home with me this summer, and there isn't a thing you can do about it," he said. "And third of all, Ange, you'll do fine on the O.W.Ls. If you have to worry about anyone failing, it'd probably be best if you worried about Lee. It always makes people feel better to worry about Lee."

Angelina felt better knowing that Fred was her friend and that he'd be there for her when she needed it. "Thanks," she said softly.

"No problem, Ange," he replied.

They stayed like this for well over an hour, until they both fell asleep.

So, how'd you like it? The next (and final) chapter will either be uploaded tomorrow, Christmas Day, or the 26th.

Review if you see fit!

Cricket-chan, 12/24/2004