"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Once school started again, Sara was in full out preparation mode for her OWL exams, even though it was only January. She still liked to get a head start. That much hadn't changed.
Despite her constant advice, Fred and George didn't want to start studying yet. They spent their evenings running around the common room, stealing Percy's Head Boy badge, being chased by an annoyed Percy, inventing things, and starting small, short lived fires at their usual table in the common room.
"Sara, I must ask you to control your boyfriend," Percy said, interrupting her studying, looking out of breath. His glasses were crooked and Sara noticed he didn't have his badge back.
"You're the one related to him," she said with a smile.
"Yes, but that's exactly why he won't listen to me. Plus, I think you're a lot scarier when it comes to this kind of thing. I still remember that night Lee Jordan spilled ink all over your Potions essay. I had been trying to study and I had to come over and see what all the noise was about. Even then I thought you would make a good prefect and Head Girl someday. I'm actually surprised you didn't get the position of prefect this year."
"You really think that?" Sara asked. "And I lost it to Iris over there." She pointed to another girl sitting on the couch with her friends.
Percy nodded. "Anyway, Fred and George are hiding under the table in the corner. I won't dare trying to crawl under there. I might end up with the loss of a body part, most likely my head. I hate to interrupt you. I know you have OWL's coming up, but-,"
"Percy, it's fine," she said. Sighing, she crossed the room and got on her hands and knees, sticking her head under the table. Fred and George were sitting on the far side, against the wall. They were laughing their heads off behind their hands.
"Okay, hand it over." She held out her hand.
"Hand what over?" Fred asked innocently.
"You know what," she answered, her voice menacing. She was tired and had a headache. She was in no mood for this.
"Are you angry?" George asked.
"I'm getting there. Just give me Percy's badge."
Fred and George looked at each other and grinned. Fred reached into his pocket and pulled out the shiny silver badge. He handed it to Sara with a smile. She glanced down at the badge. It now read "Head Butt" instead of "Head Boy."
"We're hoping people will start head butting him in the hallways," Fred explained.
"Or they'll just think he's the head butt of the school, which he is," George added. "Either way, he gets insulted."
"You won't tell him just yet will you Sara? I don't want the surprise to be ruined."
"It's not right to just leave it," she answered.
"Come on Sara," Fred said, his voice a mock warning tone. "Remember what I taught you."
Sara closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Fine, but only because I need to get back to studying and I have no time to deal with this."
"It's January," Fred answered, exasperated as Sara crawled out from under the table. She started to stand up, but then stuck her head back under to look at the twins.
"Also, get out from under the table."
She stood up and handed Percy his badge. "Here you go."
"Thanks," he said, pinning it back onto his uniform. He hadn't even noticed the change on the shiny metal. If Sara were him, she would have checked anything stolen from Fred and George immediately after getting it back.
Shaking her head, she headed back to her books.
"I miss you," Fred said a few minutes later, perching on the arm of her chair. He was tossing a rubber ball back and forth between his hands. George was sitting with Katie across the room.
"I miss you too, but I do see you every day," she answered, flipping through her Transfiguration book.
"Not as much as I'd like," Fred said. He reached over and closed her book.
"Fred, I mean it," she said, rubbing her eyes. "I need to study."
"It's January," he said for the second time that night. "Exams are in June."
"I need to get good grades. I need to be an Auror."
Fred tilted her chin up so that she was looking at him. "You will be. I know you will be. You're naturally smart. Not like me."
"You are smart," she insisted. "I told you that once before. If you'd just try harder in school, you could get really good marks."
"But that's the thing," Fred shrugged. "George and I just want to open a joke shop. We don't especially need great marks or a lot of OWLs for that. Our mum thinks it's a phase."
"You're smart," Sara repeated. "I've seen your sketches. They're brilliant. You have something that I don't. You have that outgoing, businessman personality and when you do get a joke shop, you'll be brilliant."
"When," Fred repeated wistfully.
"Yes, when," Sara answered. "You'll find a way." She patted Fred's knee. He slid down to the ground and sat at her feet, his back resting against the chair. She opened her book again and absentmindedly began twirling Fred's hair in her fingers. She saw him staring into the fire, still tossing the rubber ball back and forth. There was silence between them, and Sara noticed that it wasn't an uncomfortable one. She never felt like she needed to talk around Fred, but at the same time, he had gotten her to talk and for that she was grateful.
On the day of their last OWL exam, Potions, Sara sat in the Great Hall, her fingers cramped from writing. When the exam finally finished, she gathered up her things and turned on her heels, walking across the room, looking for Fred. She finally saw him through the crowd of fifth years. He was talking to George and examining his hand.
"It might be permanently cramped," he was saying. He looked up and saw Sara. She beamed at him and began running as if she hadn't seen him in ages.
"We're done, we're finally done," she giggled as she ran into his arms. He spun her around, laughing.
"You're certainly much happier."
"Of course I am. How do you two think you did? I'm nervous about that essay on the side effects of the Shrinking Potion. I might have missed one, but I'm not sure. I think-,"
"Relax," Fred interrupted. "You should be stress free. You just finished your exams. It's almost summer."
"How do you think you did?" she asked again.
"Fine," Fred and George shrugged.
"What did you write in your essay on the Shrinking Potion?"
"Can't remember," Fred said. "Although, I do appreciate the tutoring you did with me last week. It really helped on that equation section."
Sara smiled. "See? You'd be lost if I hadn't helped you study."
Fred shrugged again, but he smiled all the same. "Thanks. I mean it," he said.
Sara loosely grabbed his hand. "It's no trouble."
"Meet me here at midnight," Fred hissed in Sara's ear. They were standing in the common room, near the dorm staircases. Sara had just announced that she was going to bed. Fred had his arms wrapped around her.
"That's an hour from now. I'll be sleeping."
"No you won't. You'll be meeting me here."
Sara sighed. "What are we going to be doing?"
"It's a surprise." Fred kissed her nose and moved down to her lips. Sara tightened her grip around him, pulling him closer.
"Please tell me," she whispered when they broke apart.
"No," he whispered back, letting her go. She wished he hadn't. "Just promise you'll meet me here."
"I promise," she answered, kissing him lightly.
When midnight arrived, Sara snuck back downstairs to the common room. Fred wasn't there yet, so she sat on the couch to wait.
"Ready?" Fred asked, hurrying down the stairs to the boy's dormitory.
"Why are you carrying that?" Sara pointed to the broom in his hand.
"We're going for a little ride," he said with a smile.
"No," she answered, standing and heading back towards the girl's dorm.
Fred grabbed her arm. "Yes. You're going to get over your fear of falling."
"I already fell for you, isn't that enough?"
Fred laughed. "Good one, but no. You need to get over your fear of physical falling, not metaphorical falling. That's already been dealt with, as you know." He winked at her.
"Can't we at least do this in the daytime, when it's light out?" she complained as he dragged her out of the common room, down several staircases, and out the front doors, whispering and sneaking around so that they wouldn't be caught by Filch or Mrs. Norris.
"No, the sneaking out makes it a lot more fun," he said.
"It won't be fun if we get caught," she argued.
"We won't get caught," Fred answered, looking around the Quidditch pitch as they reached it. "Hopefully."
"Hopefully?" she squeaked.
Fred grinned at her. "Wait here for a minute."
"What are you-?" she began, but Fred had already hopped on his broom and was flying around the field. Sara folded her arms across her chest and watched. He really was a good flyer. As she watched, she realized how much she missed flying. She hadn't been on her broom since she had been eleven, but she remembered loving the feeling of being in the air. Until she fell, of course.
Fred landed in front of her, his hair windswept and his cheeks red. It was rather cute. "Ready?" he asked, jerking his head towards the front end of his broom. "Climb on."
Nervously, Sara swung her leg over Fred's broom. He kept one hand in front of her on the handle and slid the other arm around her stomach.
"I was thinking that we could start off sharing my broom," he said. "Then we can sneak into the broom shed and get you your own."
"Okay," she squeaked, closing her eyes.
"Come on, open your eyes. You aren't going to fall. I've got you."
Sara opened her eyes and took a breath. Fred kicked off the ground and slowly flew the broom higher into the air. Sara sat tensely with one eye closed and one open.
"Relax," Fred whispered. Sara was pressed into him and he started kissing her neck.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Trying to distract you," he mumbled. "Is it working?"
"Possibly," she answered. Her heart was still pounding. She glanced down. Bad idea. They were really high. "We're really high," she said, voicing her thoughts.
"I've flown higher," Fred said.
"Show off," she snorted.
Fred laughed and she could feel his breath on her neck. She looked around at the scenery as they flew around the field. Flying really wasn't that bad.
"Ready to go faster?" Fred asked.
"What? No," she said. Fred didn't listen. He sped up and they were whizzing around and around. The goal posts were becoming blurs.
Sara closed her eyes again, let out a small scream, and dug her fingernails into Fred's hand.
"Let go," he said, yelling over the wind.
"Let go of what?" Sara asked, hoping he didn't mean the broom.
"You're going to leave puncture marks in my hand," he laughed.
"Sorry," she yelled. She opened her eyes again and began to relax once more.
Finally, Fred landed the broom. They snuck over to the broom shed, and Fred picked out a broom for her. "Try this one."
Sara swung her leg over it. Her hands were shaking and she gripped the broom tighter to try and stop it.
"Okay, now you can start off slow if you want to," Fred said, slowly rising on his own broom into the air.
Sara took a deep breath and kicked off from the ground. She was rising higher and higher and she wasn't falling. She leaned forward slightly and the broom moved forward. Fred flew at her side as they lapped once around the field.
"This isn't so bad, is it?" Fred asked.
Sara shook her head. She was smiling and remembering why she liked flying to begin with. It was the same reason Fred liked it so much. It felt like you could do anything and go anywhere. The wind on her face made her feel alive and awake. She was beginning to regret her decision to stay away from flying. It had clearly been a mistake.
"Want to race?" she called over to Fred.
"So soon?" he asked, surprised.
She nodded. "Yeah, I'm getting the hang of this again. I bet I can beat you."
Fred shook his head. "No bets. I'm not betting on anything for a long time."
"You're still going to lose the race anyway, whether we bet on it or not."
"Oh you're on," Fred said. "If I win, which I will, you owe me five sickles. And if you win, which you won't, I owe you five sickles."
"We'll race from one end of the field to the other," Sara said with a smirk.
Fred agreed and they took their positions. "Ready, set, go!" he yelled.
Sara leaned forward and the broom instantly zoomed towards the other side of the field. She was neck and neck with Fred the whole way, but at the very end, she pulled ahead and won by a fraction of a second. "Yes!" she cheered, slowly landing on the ground.
"No fair," Fred complained, landing beside her.
"It was completely fair," she answered, poking him in the chest. "Plus, you should have expected me to win. I learned to fly again and I only learn from the best."
"You should pay me five sickles for the lesson," he said.
"No, I don't think so. You see, I'm dating the teacher so I get lessons for free. It's policy." Sara smiled sweetly.
Fred ruffled her hair and kissed her. "I guess you have a point." He threw his arm around her and they began walking back to the castle. "I am a good teacher though, if I do say so myself."
Sara swatted him. "Ego maniac."
"Overachiever," Fred shot back with a grin, kissing her temple.
In return, Sara poked him in the chest. "I still don't like you that much, Weasley."
"Well I don't like you that much either, Sheridan," Fred answered, stopping and staring at her with a smirk.
Sara laughed and threw her arms completely around him, kissing him happily. When they finally broke apart, they began walking back to the castle with their arms around each other. Sara glanced up at Fred and smiled.
Who knew that she would ever fall for Fred Weasley and that he would fall for her? In the end, she was glad that they had fallen for each other. Like she had said earlier, Fred had taught her to fly again and in more ways than one.
A/N: Well, this is the last chapter of the story. I'm sad it's over but it was really fun to write! Thank you for all of the reviews and for adding the story to favorite and alert lists. You're all amazing :)