Title: Old Habits
Summary: Red curls, sticking wetly to his pale neck, framed an unfamiliar face that was full of sharp angels. He was a broken man, his eyes dark and his mouth twisted cruelly. "Are you going to try to fix me, Angelina? I can't be fixed." "Yes, you can be fixed."
Disclaimer: I AM Keeperofthemoon. This is my story and I hope you enjoy it.
"Look, let me owl George and he'll come over here and take-"
"George is dead, Angelina."
"He's dead… He's-he-I- This morning. I found him, dead, on the floor, dead. Deatheaters came to his flat. They killed him."
"Where are you going? Fred, listen to me! Fred!"
"I'm leaving. Why do you always search for a second meaning behind my words? I'm leaving and I plan to never come back."
"Because of George? You're throwing your life away, you're throwing me away because… George never would have wanted this."
"You don't even know George!"
"I know you though! I know that you've hardly even thought out this escape route you've created. You're running away from reality, again. Please, Fred, stay. Stay here with me. We'll owl your mum and dad, I'll get Lee over here, anything. Just stay."
"I've just had a bloody part of me ripped out and you want to… call my Mum? Are you mad? You don't even know… I can't stand this- Don't touch me, Angelina! Don't you dare come near me."
"What makes you think you're so important anyway? What makes you think that I'll stay in this hellhole for you? I won't torture myself."
"But you'll torture me?"
"You aren't yourself right now."
"I can't be, not anymore. George…"
"Don't do this."
"Don't beg, it doesn't suit you."
And with a last lingering kiss, a cutting, harsh kiss, he left.
Angelina frowned as she heard the light drizzle of rain hit her ceiling, warning her of the storm that was forecasted to appear. She had been caught up in her memories, again, and she hated it. It had been over five years now, five years since George Weasley died and his twin brother left the wizarding world. Five years since Angelina could call herself sane and five years of heartache and heartbreak.
Grabbing the jumper that hung over the back of the chair in her living room, Angelina pulled it over her head. She was filled with the smell of everything that was the Burrow, the Burrow where she use to spend her summers with Fred. A quiver in her bottom lip was all that was shown as Angelina walked to the kitchen.
She hated memories, she hated that she still thought of him when he had abandoned her and his family in the prime part of the war. Once she had begged Hermione Granger to Oblivate her but the younger witch had refused, sobbing along with Angelina, saying that she knew how much everything hurt but that they would both have to live through it. But Angelina was no longer living.
Grabbing a mug from one of the cabinets in her kitchen, Angelina filled it with water before tapping it with the tip of her wand. Instantly steam rose from the mug, allowing Angelina to place a teabag and a good amount of honey and sugar in it. She closed her eyes for a brief moment as she lifted the mug of tea to her mouth.
The teabag hit her lip as she sipped some of the drink and she opened her eyes. Why couldn't she just shut her eyes and never open them again? Suicide was not an option, never was, but death… Angelina lingered over to the window, looking out. It was raining harder now then before and she glanced around the streets for any signs of life. The street was empty and-
A form was standing on the sidewalk, staring up at her window. Her breath got caught in her throat, a rather painful process, and she put her mug of tea on the windowsill. Angelina tried to study the person but rain blurred the man.
His name was ringing in her ears and she rushed out of her flat, slamming the door behind her and running down the stairs. Oh, it had to be him, it had to be. Angelina ran through the lobby, where a young woman was sleeping at the desk, and pushed open the door. She didn't notice the rain hitting her, making her skin ache, as she caught gazes with the person.
Angelina took a step forward then another and another before she finally reached the man. She took her time examining him, somehow knowing he would go nowhere. Red curls, sticking wetly to his pale neck, framed an unfamiliar face that was full of sharp angels. His skin seemed to be pulled tightly across his body, as if he had grown too quickly, and he was tall.
So much taller then before, Angelina realized. And his eyes were dark, dark to the point that Angelina wondered if his pupils had somehow managed to become his eyes. His mouth twisted cruelly when Angelina walked up to him, close enough that the wind caused her hair to touch the cloth that covered his shoulders.
"You're back?" She asked him, her voice quiet.
Fred's lips formed a straight line.
"The war is over," He offered as an answer and Angelina frowned.
Angelina took his hands, keeping her grip on them tight so that he couldn't snatch them away. She stared at his hands, blinking every time a drop of water fell onto his palms. Fred always had tough hands, calloused from working at the Burrow and from Quidditch, but they weren't so hard anymore.
"Why have you come back?"
Fred lowered his hands and she released them, glancing back up at his face. He was a broken man.
"Are you going to try to fix me, Angelina? I can't be fixed," His voice mocked her and her eyes twitched.
This isn't Fred, this is some imposter… Her Fred would never speak to her this way and yet… and yet she knew that this was Fred. Because her Fred would have never left her alone during a war but he did. Angelina closed her eyes, suddenly tired.
"Yes, you can be fixed," She whispered.
When they reentered her flat, they were both dripping wet. Her carpet absorbed the water as they walked into the living room. Angelina waved her hand at the fireplace, watching to make sure that the tiny flame that ignited would stay lit. After a moment, when the fire was taking over all the pieces of wood in the fireplace, Angelina turned back to Fred.
He looked awkward in her living room, like a dark man would in a little girl's bright pink bedroom. They stood still and silent for a moment, Fred looking around the room and Angelina looking at Fred, before Angelina grabbed Fred's cloak. His eyebrows rose in surprise before lowering as Angelina undid the clasp to the cloak. It fell to the ground in a wet heap.
Fred's shoulder blades could be seen through his wet shirt, making him look more like a skeleton then a living person. He stared at her with empty eyes as her hands grabbed the hem of his drenched shirt and lifted it over his head. Since he seemed set on not helping her, his shirt got caught around his head. It took a second for Angelina to get it unwrapped and, when she finally had it in her hands, she threw it next to the cloak.
Before she could help it, she pressed her fingertips to his chest. It was pale and she didn't like it, she didn't like how there were hardly any freckles and how the muscles he once had had diminished over the years. Raising her hands to his shoulder blades, Angelina felt his bones.
"Oh, Fred," She muttered with a silent sob.
Then Angelina lowered her hands and began working at his belt. Once his belt was undone, she unzipped his trousers and tugged them to the ground. And then Fred was standing there, almost naked, in her living room. Angelina took his face in between her hands and pressed a light kiss to the corner of his thin lips.
"I'll fix you," Angelina said; her voice tight. "I promise."
And then Angelina pulled his boxers down. They dropped to his shoes, which she forgot he was wearing, and she bent down, trying to fight the hysterical laughter that was crawling up her throat. He lifted his leg to help her as she took off the shoe of his left foot, then the shoe on his right foot.
"No socks," He confirmed.
Moments later they were in her bathroom, hot water filling the bathtub, and emotion was finally surfacing in his eyes. He seemed unbearably sad as Angelina told him to go into the bathtub and, when he did, he closed his eyes tightly.
"Where have you been?" She asked him in a soft voice.
"Nowhere," Fred muttered.
She grabbed a bar of soap then, dipping it in the water, and used her free hand to turn the faucet off. Lifting the bar of soap from the water, Angelina began to rub it across Fred's shoulders and chest. When she was sure that there was enough soap there, she placed the bar on the side of the tub before rubbing her hands over the top of his body. Bubbles formed as she cleaned him.
"I'm going to help you," Angelina told him.
"Can you do that?"
"I can try."
And so she washed him, washed every part of him until she was sure that he was positively clean, that the last five years were washed off his body. She knew at the moment that she could not reach his mind, that she couldn't wash away the last five years from there, but at least she had his body covered. Angelina sighed, wondering if he even wanted the last five years washed away.
But why would he have come back if he liked the life he lived? Angelina helped him out of the bathtub before grabbing a towel. She dried him like a mother would to a child.
"Why did you come here? Why not go back home?"
"Do you want me to leave?"
"Never leave, don't ever leave me again, please…"
Boxes of his old belongings sat in the extra bedroom of her flat. When she carried the boxes out to him, one by one, she saw his eyes light up with familiarity. He sat on the couch, only dressed in a towel.
When the last of the boxes were out in the living room, sitting in front of him, shaky fingers opened them. Fred took out pictures of the two of them, of the Weasleys, of George. He took out the pieces of parchment, tons of parchment, that had possible inventions written on them; calculations, ideas, drawings. His old clothes were folded neatly and, when he took out the first object, he held it to his nose and breathed in the scent.
He changed in front of her, hardly ever the modest one, and she watched as his body moved. Fred was familiar in that way, the way that she knew how his muscles stretched and how he put his clothes on and such. Angelina knew every curve of his body, every dip and every scar.
"Good night," He said before moving to the extra bedroom.
Angelina watched with a heavy heart and, as the door shut with a click, burst into quiet sobs.
He was back, he was back, he was back…
When she fell asleep that night, in her bed, she felt him climb into the bed with her. The mattress shifted from the unfamiliar extra weight and Angelina forced her eyes to stay shut.
"Did I break your heart, pretty girl?" He asked.
Angelina felt his tears cover her face as he pressed dry, crusted lips to her cheeks.
"Do you love me still?"
His fingers wove through her hair and her eyes opened. Fred stared at her and she was reminded of her fourth year, when his little sister had been taken to the Chamber of Secrets and everyone thought her dead. He was so sorrowful it caused the air to get caught in Angelina's lungs.
"How could you love me still?"
"Because old habits die hard," She whimpered, bringing a hand to his face.
And he fell asleep then, his eyes drooping shut and his body falling onto the bed. Angelina watched as the muscles in his face relaxed and as the exhaustion left his body, if only for a moment.
She would fix him.
Author's Note: I love this story. Review please.