If it's not too much to ask

The boys knew when to tease her and when to stop. Usually, it took five seconds for her to recover from a bigger blow, but she always did and they never ceased to try her patience, knowing full well that she would just come back from the depths unscathed.

But what she wanted now more than ever was release. Not sweet release, never that. Only release, as simple as that. Going under had not happened in a while and she missed feeling defeated, but free, unquestionably on her own and questionably her own.

Pleasing everyone came naturally, but no one ever gave her a break. And the boys, they just kept teasing.

Outside the Burrow, the fences looked wilder than last summer. The great big white birds of the South that didn't even look like birds to begin with were circling the skies like heavy rocks, falling one on top of another, the flapping of wings making the noise much more tangible and close.

Charlie was seeing someone. That was undeniable and as much as the boys said otherwise, she had seen him and everyone else had and they were all keeping a big, obvious secret for the sake of secrecy.

And it made her very angry and absolutely furious. How dare they deny it when it was glaringly here, present and living?

The love of a man for another man was something so simple and unaltered that its beauty was contained in its pure utterance, not in its shameful hiding, which was only a travesty.

Why couldn't they tell her simply? Why couldn't they shout it? Why was it so hard for them to understand the feelings of their brother? A quiet man, was he? A saviour? A brave man? A loving, passionate man?

Of course.

But why did they think they were robbing her of anything? Women don't feel less when men don't love them. They feel more, they don't feel the injustice, they feel the calm equilibrium.

They celebrate what others love and they want men to be men, regardless of where their hearts lie.

Was it so bad for her to want her release? Was it so bad to feel so happy for Charlie? Was it really strange to tell him every time she saw him to kiss Seamus for her?

Now really, was it?

'If it's not too much to ask...' she would repeat in front of the Weasleys' blank faces.