Disclaimer: Belongs to JK Rowling
He had tried to escape, to get away, and pretend he felt nothing but friendship for her. Really he did. But there is just something about her, something that makes it impossible for him to hide it, and act like there is nothing romantic there at all. One look into her eyes, and he feels like spilling forth all he feels there and then. But then he didn't know if she feels the same way. He had suspected she did, but he didn't want to push it. It's not just her and him. No it is never that easy. No, she's dating his brother. And that fact complicates it more than enough.
All to soon it became too much, he could no longer sit next to her and pretend that her presence had no effect on him. Part of him wanted to just grab a hold of her and never let go, maybe ride off into the horizon with her on his broom. But he could do none of that. She wasn't his.
He suspected that George had picked up on it, but he expected him to. Ginny may have as well. She was always looking, and watching people. Rather intuitive she had become. But they didn't matter, the only ones he didn't want knowing where Ron and Hermione. As long as he kept it hidden from them it would be all right. Ron because, well he liked his nose how it was, and Skele-grow was a bloody awful potion to drink. Hermione knowing was just an un-necessary and unwanted complication, it was just so much easier if it was just he feeling this way. To bring her and her feelings into it would just mess up an already messed up situation.
But then he realised, she knew. One day they were sitting having lunch out the back of the shop, and he looked up and met her eyes by accident, and he just knew. And not only that, but she returned the feelings. It made it somewhat easier for a little while, he didn't have to hide it so much when he was around her, it was never spoken off, and they both just went about their every day routines.
Then that to became too much, they had become so comfortable in the way they interacted around each other when it was just the two of them. Touches that lingered longer than was really necessary, looks between them that spoke volumes of their feelings. It was becoming harder not to do these around everyone else.
One day he just knew it couldn't go on, she was with Ron. No matter how he felt, or how she felt towards him. She was with him, and had made no move not to be with him, so he made a decision. He would go away, he had no idea how long he would go, but he had to get away from her, from her and Ron. So leaving a note on the kitchen bench for George, he went.
It was easy at first, and then it changed. He missed her, more than he possibly thought he would. He missed her voice, the sound of her laugh, her smile, the scent that always carried with her, and mostly he just missed her. He kept himself entertained where he was, but it wasn't enough. It could never be without her. He had to go back, no matter how hard it was to be part of her life when she couldn't be with him. It was so much harder not to have her in his life at all.
So he returned home to the little flat above the shop, George had welcomed him with a friendly pat on the back and then had promptly disappeared, a hot date apparently. Welcome home.
Looking in the icebox he was disheartened to discover that once again George hadn't restocked it, bloody typical. Now he'd have to go out to get something to eat, not what he wanted to do, but he was feeling mighty peckish. Shrugging into his coat, he made his way to the door. Swinging it open he got the shock of his life.
"Hi Fred," she tittered. "Can I come in?"
"I was just… sure, come in."
"Thanks," she said, brushing past him unconsciously. He felt it.
Walking behind her, he joined her in the kitchen. "I'd offer to make you a cuppa or something, but George hasn't restocked the box at all, I was just about to head out and grab some things."
"Oh," she said quietly, "That's alright, I don't want anything. How have you been?"
"Alright," he said quickly, "you?"
"Good, good." Turning and looking at the bookshelf, "I… uh, Ron and I aren't together anymore."
It was indescribable how he felt as she said those little words. It was everything he hoped for, but it still felt odd. "Oh," sitting down at the table, "so what happened?"
"When he got back from his trip just before you left, we sat down and talked. Really talked, and we both decided it wasn't working between us," she said, as she ran her fingers along the spines of the books on his shelf. Stopping when she came to a photo that was sitting there. Smiling softly, "I like this picture."
"Me too," he smiled back. Remembering the day that it was taken. They had all gone out for lunch to a meadow near Hogsmeade, he and Hermione had fallen asleep laying on the blanket next to each other, with their heads resting against each others. Ginny had popped up taking the happy snap.
"Good day," she whispered. "I should go, you just got back, and you were going out," she said moving towards the door, "I'll see you later."
He started moving slowly after her, trying to find the words to make her stop and stay. His mouth opening and closing much like a fish, no words seemed to come out. The door slamming shut, and the sound of her running down the stairs seemed to snap him out of it. And he was after her. He had to stop her.
"Hermione wait," he called after her, rushing down the stairs.
She stopped as she got to the curtain that separated the front from the back of the shop, and turned back towards him slightly.
"Don't go just yet, stay a little while," he urged grabbing onto her hand, looking down he watched their fingers entwine by themselves. "Hermione… "
"Fred… I," and she stopped. Meeting her eyes, he saw the same feelings that were going through him. Fear, and want at the same time. She wanted to be with him, he could see that, but like him she was scared that it wasn't returned, that he didn't want her. But it was, he did.
Stepping closer, "It's alright," he said quietly. Leaning down he brushed his lips gently across hers. Pulling back slightly to gauge her reaction, he was pleased to see a smile playing across her lips. "Stay," he whispered, brushing a kiss over her lips.