Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I'd obviously have done it the way I wanted it the first time. That's what makes it FANfiction. And as it is a fanfic--written by the fans, for the fans--it is also obvious that it's not helping me pay any bills. Got it? Good.

A/N: This fic was written as a birthday present for the awesome Fey, based on one of the pairings we have in an expansive rp that defies all logic and common sense, but is still just pure love. Hope you enjoy it, Fey.

I'm rating this 'M' just to be on the safe side. To be honest I wrote this a while ago and have been waiting to upload it...and while waiting, sort of forgot half of what happened. Most likely it leans more towards 'T', but better safe than sorry.

Tepid

tepid:

1) moderately warm; lukewarm

2) lacking in emotional warmth or enthusiasm; half-hearted

I. The Signs

(The Journal of William Arthur Weasley, undated entry no.1)

I'm not sure why I didn't see the signs. Wasn't looking, I guess. Turns out when Fleur walked out on me I was surprised--shouldn't have been, really. It was probably fated since our first 'hello'.

Fleur really loved me, you know. I loved that about her. I mean, here's this smart, kind, absolutely gorgeous woman who can get anyone she wants, and all she wants is me. I'm not being modest here; I know I'm attractive, but that was never the point. Fleur's beyond beautiful and she knows it, so I knew whatever it was she saw in me went deeper than my dashing good looks. I never did figure out what that something was, but I still figured I was pretty lucky.

So, here's this basically perfect woman and she loves me--really, deeply loves me, right? I'm not a kid anymore, so marrying her just seemed like the only sensible thing to do. She accepted, of course, and I figured things were going pretty good. There was just this one tiny snag--I was never actually in love with her. I figured by the time she noticed I would be. Whoops.

Wow, that really makes me sound like a total arse, huh? I guess I should explain myself. I really do like Fleur. A lot. I like her more than anyone, except my family, and I really adore my family, do anything for 'em, you know? Anything. Just name it. So there's that. Even now I really like Fleur, and I wanted her the second I laid eyes on her. I guess that goes without saying. But those two things, I know from experience, don't necessarily add up to love. On their own they just add up to a heaping serving of 'like', which is completely different.

Charlie's been in love. Ron's madly in love right now. Love is this thing that just consumes you, burns you from the inside out, and makes it almost impossible to make sensible decisions. It takes over your entire life when you're in it, and when you're out of it it's like you forget how to go on. It's a force of nature--sort of has a way of devastating anything in its path. I know what love is. That's why I can say with absolute certainty that I've never felt it. Not once. Not for anyone. ...and not for Fleur, no matter how hard I tried. Charlie knows I'm like this. I think dad suspects it too. So knowing that it's always been this way for me, it just didn't seem relevant that I wasn't in love with Fleur.

At least, it didn't seem relevant until she noticed. It took her a while. There was the war, the honeymoon, the baby. Victoire is already over a year old. Adorable little thing, really. It's a shame that I'll probably never see her again. I don't know when Fleur started to notice, but if I think about it things were kind of tense for a while before she trundled down the stairs with her suitcases and the baby. I was sitting at the kitchen table smoking--not real smoking, they're these herbal cigarettes, full of all these ingredients I'd rather not think about that help with the pain--my scars still ache sometimes. I asked her what was up and she just exploded. She said I was just going through the motions, that she deserved better. Said Victoire deserved better too. How was I supposed to answer? She was right. But just because I didn't love her didn't mean I didn't hate that she was leaving me. It doesn't mean that I don't still think it sucks. It doesn't mean I'm not allowed to feel like I've lost something important, because I do feel that way, I do think those things. And even if I didn't love her, of course I miss her, even though I know she'd tell me I don't miss her enough, and she'd be right about that too. I guess I just needed to say that, you know, that I miss her even if I still don't love her.

***

VIXEN OR VICTIM? FRENCH FOP KRUM'S LATEST CONQUEST?

Viktor threw the paper on the table in annoyance. Fleur had come to visit him when she was broken-hearted and in need of a friend she knew wouldn't spend the day bashing Bill Weasley. He could tell from the moment she'd apparated in front of his apartment that she desperately needed a day where she didn't need to think about Bill. Her friends, she said, didn't really understand--bashing the man she loved, calling him all sorts of names, that didn't help, even if most of the time she did agree with them. He was horrible! Married, with a baby! And he didn't love her. She didn't think he ever had. All of that, Viktor was able to see in his friend's eyes the moment she appeared before him. He did the only thing he could think of--he took her to a show, and they went to dinner at a French restaurant. He didn't really like French food much, to be honest, but he'd never told Fleur that. Expensive restaurants were better for not getting accosted by fans anyway, and she'd been too busy chattering on about being back in France and how what they were eating was 'only a pale imitation, you must visit me in Paris sometime, Viktor, I will show you what real French food is like', to notice that he had barely touched his own food. But just because they'd had something that vaguely resembled a date to the naked eye did not mean that they were sleeping together and it certainly didn't mean it was okay to accuse Fleur of being a slut in the newspaper.

He sighed. In a way, he supposed this was his fault. Since the war, he had slept with many women and given none of them a second thought afterwards. He hadn't had real feelings for anyone since Hermione, and now that he looked back he couldn't be certain his feelings for her were really love. The more he thought, the more distant it all felt, and the more likely he thought that it may have just been a crush on someone he would always think was smart, charming, and immensely unique.

Lately, a lot of people had accused him of being rather tepid. It disturbed him, because he couldn't remember when he became that way. He knew it hadn't always been so. He'd been a broody teenager, but no one would have accused him of being 'tepid' then. He couldn't deny the truth in it now, though. His relations with women centered around physical gratification and after a week or two he was sick of them. He couldn't keep their names straight and often made them repeat themselves so he knew how he was supposed to answer to questions asked while he wasn't listening. He knew that this was wrong, but if they were only using him for his fame, he couldn't bring himself to feel too guilty about using them for their bodies. His relationship with his family didn't seem to have much substance either. He often wondered how he had managed to live with them as long as he had. Every little quirk drove him mad to the point that he hadn't spoken to any of them in months. He wasn't sure how many. In any case, he thought some time away might help him clear his head. If it didn't work, he would try something else. Anything. He knew he couldn't keep living this way. It was the only thing he was certain of anymore.