Disclaimer: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling. I meant to have this up for Valentine's Day, but then I...didn't.
Not So Bad
Exactlywhy they had thought it necessary, or even remotely enjoyable, was completely beyond Angelina, but she most certainly did not want to speak with Fred and/or George Weasley as she left the Quidditch pitch to trudge back up to the castle. When she'd demanded that the team stay behind from the visit to Hogsmeade to practice, a very large part of her had been hoping that this would cut down on the number of unwanted spectators. She certainly hadn't counted on her two former Beaters turning up and sitting quietly in the stands, and she wondered whose idea it had been. It depended, she supposed, on the purpose of their visit.
In any case, practice had been so horrendous that she didn't want to speak to anyone, and the rest of the team seemed to feel exactly the same, because none of them said a word to each other between landing on the muddy pitch and leaving the changing rooms. She should have known that the Weasley twins wouldn't care. She should have known that her being on the verge of frustrated tears would only spur them on.
George caught her arm when she rounded the corner, but she chose, at the last second, to save her vitriol for his brother. "What are you two doing?" she snapped. Well, maybe just most of her vitriol.
He gave her an easy grin. "Just curious how the team's faring without our brilliance."
"I'm sure. Where did Fred go?"
"Oh, I'm sure he'll turn up eventually."
Gritting her teeth, she said, "I am notin the mood for this; perhaps you didn't see our gobshite practice just now--"
"You've certainly gotten fouler since our removal from the team," he remarked, still in that obnoxiously light tone.
"George," she growled. "What--do--you--want?"
He didn't look sheepish in the least. "I have a request from Fred."
"Can Fred not ask me questions himself?"
"Considering your sweet disposition, I can't imagine why he's not leaping at the opportunity," George remarked innocently.
She brandished her broom at him threateningly. "I'm not in a good mood at all, and I'd like nothing better than to take it out on the nearest animate object, which happens, funnily enough, to be you, so I suggest, if you don't want a number of unattractive bruises -- which incidentally would clash horribly with both Gryffindor scarlet and your hair -- that you tell me what the hell it is that you and your brother want."
George looked impressed, though whether at her anger or the fact that she'd managed the whole tirade in one breath, she didn't know. "He's wondering if you recalled that today is Valentine's Day?"
"You'd better not be joking."
"Yes, I know it's bleeding Valentine's Day," she snapped. "Why do I care?" As a matter of fact, she had cared -- back in the innocent hours of the morning, when she'd woken up feeling refreshed and full of life, and the sky had hinted that perhaps the sun might just make a showing sometime during the day. Quidditch practice had quite taken that joy for life out of her.
With a smug look, George said, "Now we come to the purpose of this charming conversation." Before she had a chance to snarl something in response to his sarcasm, he said, "Fred would like to know if you'd give him the pleasure of your company this evening."
She blinked in nonplussed annoyance. "Let me get this straight."
"Fred's asking me on some sort of date."
"I suppose one could call it that."
"Only he's got you doing it for him."
"He really knows the way to a girl's heart, doesn't he?"
"I did mention that you might not find it particularly charming." George flashed a grin at her. "But you fancy Fred, not me, so I can only assume that you somehow find his...er...cavalier attitude towards romance appealing."
She rolled her eyes, though part of her had to concede that this might, in fact, be true. Not that that was the only difference between Fred and George, but there was probably a connection between that attracted her to Fred and his...well, cavalier attitude towards romance.
"Fine," she grumbled. "Yes, I'll see him." She tried not to think about the fact that she was probably encouraging him to use George as a go-between in future with her acceptance.
"He'll be thrilled, I'm sure," George remarked. He glanced at her and stuck out a hand. "Let me carry your broom, Ange."
"You're just afraid I'm going to hit you with it," she said, handing it to him grudgingly.
"True, but you could look at it that I'm being chivalrous."
George looked outrageously wounded. "You don't have to make it sound so far-fetched."
She snorted. "Sorry. It's kind of you to be gallant."
"You're quite welcome." George shouldered her broom and Angelina tried to put herself in a slightly more amenable frame of mind.
"Can I ask you something?"
George voice startled her, and she asked, "Sorry?"
He looked amused -- not that this was unusual. "I wanted to ask you a question."
"Oh. Sure." She tried to keep the wariness out of her voice. 'Can I ask you something' from one of the twins was always code for 'I'm about to say something awkward.'
"Whydo you fancy Fred and not me?"
Angelina choked just a little. "If this is your way of telling me that you think I'm with the wrong twin--"
A bark of laughter from George cut her off. "Don't you know me better than that, Ange?"
With a sigh of relief, she conceded, "That's true. You'd probably choose something much more showy to announce that."
When he gave her an expectant look, she asked, "You really want to know?"
"Wouldn't've asked if I didn't."
"Why?" All she received in the way of an answer was a shrug, so she scrutinised him closely. He didn't look particularly as though he were trying to hide some sort of grand passion from her, so finally she concluded she had no excuse not to answer. "Well, I suppose it's because...that is..."
"How articulate," George remarked.
She made a face at him. It wasn't that she couldn't think of a few definite things that had made her fancy Fred since practically the minute she'd seen him, but it didn't really explain, in the way that she thought George meant, why she'd chosen one twin over the other. Finally, she just said loftily, "My feelings for Fred are rather intangible, you know. They won't be forced into the constraints of mere words."
George stared at her and she made an effort not to feel uncomfortable. "So you don't know."
With a long-suffering, exasperated sigh, Angelina said, "George, that's just...completely not what I said."
"Okay, right." He looked as though he were barely containing laughter. "I don't mean to offend your intangible feelings."
Angelina stuck her lower lip out for a minute, disgruntled. "You're not exactly being charming, you know."
"I don't have to be charming, you don't have intangible feelings for me."
Despite herself, Angelina felt a smile tugging at her lips. "Keep it up and I won't even have tangible feelings for you."
George laughed, and Angelina felt a little pleased with herself. It wasn't always easy to feel amusing next to the Weasley twins. "Well, Ange, it's been a pleasure." For a second, she felt a twinge of confusion, before realising they'd reached the castle doors without her even noticing. "I must be off, but--"
"Where are you going?" Angelina asked, telling herself that it was curiosity, not the stupid sense of being left out, that made her say anything.
With a slightly surprised look, George replied, "To find Fred, and then to meet Lee. He's got some elaborate thing worked out to impress that Ravenclaw girl that he's always on about. Daft, I'm sure, but at least he won't be able to say we didn't warn him." He handed her broom back to her and patted her shoulder, then, seemingly out of nowhere, produced a rose and handed it to her. "Happy Valentine's Day, Ange."
A bewildered look on her face, Angelina stammered, "George, thanks--"
He didn't appear to notice her awkwardness, but the way his eyes refused to meet hers for much longer than a second or two betrayed that that wasn't exactly true. "Yeah, well. I still haven't made it up to you -- getting chucked off the team and all."
She shrugged. Talking about that was the last thing she wanted to do. Besides, she was still attempting to come to grips with George's strange show of...sweetness.
A bright smile returned to his face and he said, "Anyway, meet Fred by that statue of Gregory the Smarmy. Seven o'clock." He started to walk away, then turned again. "Oh, and by the way, I'd be just a bit careful with that rose."
Angelina rolled her eyes. "A Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes product in the making?"
"Yeah, only we can't remember exactly what it does..." At her horrified look, he snorted and said, "Just a joke."
In a moment, he was gone, and Angelina felt the misery of the day rushing back in on her. She fingered the rose, staring at it thoughtfully, and sighed. This hadn't exactly been the Valentine's Day she'd envisioned when she'd woken up that morning, but it wasn't quite over yet. And maybe -- just maybe -- so far, it wasn't so bad.