"Accept suffering and achieve atonement through it – that is what you must do."
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment.
Standing at the entrance of the broom closet on the sixth floor, my breathing laboured and my heartbeat erratic, I watched the scene unfolding before me.
He had her wrists pinned above her head while he pumped it in and out of her on a fast rhythm, his breathing coming out as difficult as mine.
The heap of her long brown hair hid her face from view; her head burrowed into the crook of his neck, hanging lifeless as if she had no strength to support it.
Her legs were encircling his ever-moving hips, as if holding on for dear life.
I ran away from the scene that it would be forever imprinted on my memory.
"How could you do this to me?" I yelled, rage and tears fighting a battle to overpower me. "You knew how I felt about her!"
He opened his mouth to speak, but I turned around and walked away from the person I loved and trusted the most, above everyone else in the world, the person who had just betrayed my trust and went after the girl he knew I was in love with.
Her dark skin flushed as she caught my staring eyes from across the Common Room, and I could feel myself blushing as well.
She sent a tentative smile on my way, and I smiled back.
Then he entered the room and plopped down by her side, and it was if I no longer existed, a mere shadow on the corner of the room. I was no longer there.
There was only him for her at that moment.
There was only her for me all the time.
They danced, their movements perfect and fitting, his pale arms sneaking their way around her small waist. She rested her dark hands on his shoulders, her eyes looking at him with admiration and surrender.
He twirled her around, and as his eyes crossed with mine at the other side of the room, he winked and beamed at me, a man filled with content.
I winked back, the gesture feeling anything but natural like it used to, my smile tight and forced, a man who was anything but content, a man with a storm raging on the inside.
My date came back with drinks I didn't really wanted it, but I still shot down the Butterbeer as if it was Firewhiskey, and I was a man at the desert desperate with thirst.
Her laughter ran clear through the room and reached my ears.
My hand convulsed around my drink, and I felt myself growing sick, wanting to heave out the contents of my stomach. Wanting to heave her out of my system.
"She ditched me," he told me, as our brother walked down the aisle with his beautiful wife on his arms, their face a picture of happiness and unadulterated newly-wed bliss.
His face a mask of impassivity.
"Fancy getting smashed and acting stupid tonight?"
I was torn between laughing myself to tears or crying myself to laughter.
She had ditched him. They were no longer together. But he was still my brother. It would never happen for me, not with her. I wouldn't do that to him.
"Do you even have to ask?" I told him, my face mirroring his in every possible way. "But no Firewhiskey tonight – we need something stronger."
"When this bloody war is over," he chokes out, facing a spot somewhere above our heads, his drink hanging sloppily from his hands, "and Harry gets rids of Voldemort for good, I want you to find her and tell her everything."
"Find who?" Panic engulfs me, gripping and paralysing, and I try to find something to say that can turn his attention to something else.
He turns to glare at me, pointedly, and I quickly swallow the last remnants of my drink just to find something to occupy my shaking hands.
It tastes bitter and sweet at the same time.
"I want you to find her," he repeats earnestly, "and tell her how you feel. Tell her everything – that I've always known and that still didn't stopped be from being a selfish git and steal her away because I wanted her for myself. But that you still forgave me for it, even if I could never quite manage to forgive myself."
"And why would I tell her all those things? Why wouldn't you? Aren't you planning on surviving this war?"
"I'm planning on fighting like hell to."
"Then why are you telling me this?"
"Because I want you to be happy if I don't." He grasped my shoulder and shook me, hard. "You've got to understand that if it weren't for me, if I hadn't...prevented it, she would've been with you instead. And you could've made her happy, like I never could quite manage to.
"I'm not drunk, even though I would very much like to be. This isn't the Ogden's talking, and this isn't morbidity on my part as well." I was speechless, and furious. "Just humour me here, or even consider this as a final act of kindness from my part, a twisted form of atonement. Just in case I don't...Just in case."
"Well, fuck you and your fucking atonement!" I exploded. "When it comes to you, to us, to our family, there's no bloody 'just in case'." I took a deep breath, and wish I had learned the spell that would fill my glass with more liquor.
"We're surviving this bloody war. All of us. Including you."
"Then after, if you still want to, you can tell her those things yourself."
"Go!" He yelled at me, while dodging a Disarming Spell. "Go and find her, we'll meet back here in an hour!"
I didn't want to leave him alone, but I knew she was hurt and in danger somewhere. And yet, I didn't want to choose between them.
"For Merlin's sake, just go help her, will you?" He smiled at me as I produced an Impedimenta jinx and sent it on the Death Eater's way.
"One hour!" I yelled back at him before running towards her.
I found him one hour later at the Great Hall, lying motionless on the floor with our entire family circling his lifeless body, a goofy grin still stuck on his face.
The door of his room at our flat stared back at me mockingly, as if it was daring me to open it up, walk in, and just let the parts of him that had inhabited his room, that represented one the millions things that were a part of him, overwhelm me.
Suddenly her scent assaulted my senses and filled the room, and I would've thought I was dreaming if she hadn't sat right beside me wearing a saddened smile that almost made my heart stop.
We just sat there on the empty flat that was once filled with laughter, saying nothing.
Now the laughter had gone away, and there was nothing but a gigantic void in our lives – mine and hers, and we both had no idea what we were supposed to do with it.
Before I realized, it was Christmas again, and I felt nothing but a consuming need to forget him, to start living, to feel something, anything, again.
I knocked on the blue door of her flat, and she answered the door, her eyes puffy and red and her braids undone. She fell into my arms, crying.
"I was hoping it would be you," she whispered fervently against the ticklish skin of my neck, her lips cold and chapped and her hair smelling like a strange but delicious combination of mint and green tea that was entirely her.
We stood there on the cold night until we stopped shaking, until the urge to get warm, to feel anything but this persistent numbness, became more demanding.
After countless glasses of a strong Muggle liquor called Tequila, I was halfway drunk and sitting on the floor of her drawing-room, attempting a spell to revive the golden fire of her chimney that was currently dying out.
Her skin glowed, and her feet were resting on my lap, her eyes currently watching my face with a concentration one shouldn't be able to possess while drinking the amount of liquor we had been drinking that evening.
"I don't know how I could've been so ignorant about myself... so... so stupid," she tells me sometime later in the night, her face serious and solemn. "And you know what I'm talking about, don't you? You knew before I did."
I never knew how I was supposed to respond to her declaration, or how to react.
So I merely leaned in and kissed her lips, shyly at first, until her tongue brushed up against my bottom lip and she moaned against my mouth, and I found myself growing hard with the erotic little sound she'd just involuntarily uttered.
Then somehow, she was straddling me and my hands tangled themselves on her hair on their own accord, and we were kissing and groaning and grinding like we were a couple of randy fifteen years old having a quick hump on a broom closet after curfew, hurried and frenzied because Filch could walk in on us any minute.
She rubbed her cheek against mine as we both worked overtime to win a battle against our clothes and their buttons, the ones that prevented our skins from touching and seeking the solace we both so badly longed, so strongly needed it.
She hissed and wriggled under me when my tongue encircled her hard brown nipple and my hand strayed to find her throbbing clit.
Pure, careless lust reined over our bodies and dictated our actions.
She rained erratic kisses that felt like butterflies wings brushing up against my shoulders and my face when I turned my attention to her collarbone and sucked on it greedily, without caring it would leave a purple mark on her beautiful skin in the next morning.
When we were finally joined as one in every possible ways, she met every thrust of mine with one of her own, her eyes turning impossible darker with an emotion I couldn't tell if it was pain, pleasure, or maybe both.
Her walls tightened around me, and shivers shook her entire body, from head to toes. I latched on her nipples again and gave in to the waves of pleasure that rolled over me. She rubbed circles on the back when it was all over.
I couldn't look her in the eyes on the next morning when I told her I was leaving, that I couldn't even stay for breakfast.
The autumn leaves littering the ground beneath me cracked and crumpled under my weight, its colours cheerful and cruelly alive, as if they were mocking the whole reason of me being there, a bright reminder of what had went wrong in the first place, whom I had been missing for over a year.
Her whole body recoiled when her dark brown eyes met mine across his grave after many months of estrangement and silence between us, many months of regret and shameful desire consuming me.
The hostility in her eyes stung me worst than a slap on the face would, hurtful, upsetting and completely understandable and expected.
I ran away from her eyes, from all things I could never have – the possibility of being forgiven for leaving her on the next morning, the possibility of ever having my sins, my faults, atoned by him. From everything I still felt about her, this traitorous pull that kept attracting me towards her, his girl.
So I ran away from it all, and from the words that it would be forever haunt me.
"Fred Gideon Weasley
April, 1st, 1978 – May, 2nd, 1998.
Keep on living, keep on laughing."
A.N: Remember - reviews are love, so let me know what you thought, and for those interested in it, I've put together a soundtrack for this story that can be found on my livejournal (link on my profile). Cheers!