this Story was first published in German around 2007. For different reasons I stopped writing about six chapters into writing. But seeing how the fandom has been blooming those past weeks, I couldn't resist translating the story in the hope to finish it =)
Disclaimer: Not mine, obviously – this would have already happened in the books, if it was ;)
Very special thanks go to my wonderful beta reader Sarah, because this might turn out a mess without her =)
The trouble with love is its recklessness. Sometimes it brings people together only to rip them apart again on a whim. It turns worlds upside down and leaves battlefields of broken hearts in its wake.
Yes, love is reckless indeed. Why else had Fred Weasley fallen in love with his brother's girlfriend?
"I haven't seen Angelina in a while. Are the two of you alright?"
Molly Weasley had always been a direct woman. Being the mother of seven children, all of whose sole reason of being seemed to be to wreak havoc and accumulate property damage, that particular character trait had never done her any wrong.
And being the mother of these children, it hadn't taken her long at all to realize that vague, cautious questions only lead to vague, cautious answers. So after the first ten seconds of silence, she tried again to address her son, who all throughout dinner had been nothing but grumpy and uncharacteristically silent.
Fred sighed, not even daring to lift his gaze. It was the second dinner at the Burrow without his girlfriend and he had been waiting for the familiar concern to creep in and bring up the matter.
George knew, of course. They were twins in every sense of the word and practically of one mind. And until recently there had been no secrets between them, but that was a different matter.
As for telling the rest of his family, that was a spot more difficult. He really didn't feel like dropping a bomb over his mother's famous roast beef. And especially not with her there, giving him that enquiring, but well meaning, look that was so typically her that it made his stomach churn. But what use was there delaying the inevitable now?
"Angelina and I aren't together anymore…"
His family's reaction would have been comedic, had he not been so melancholy. He could literally see his mother's heartbreak when her dreams of chocolate-orange grandchildren shattered. Fred glanced around the table. His father looked quite helpless while he searched in vain for the right words to say, ending up mumbling something about "other mother's fish in the sea". Bill and Fleur exchanged quick side glances with Harry and Ginny before returning to their meals without saying a word. He was more than grateful for that. Ron who was sitting next to him clumsily patted his shoulder. "Chin up! Maybe she'll change her mind."
Fred nodded, relieved by the fact his brother naturally assumed it had been Angelina who had done the dumping. The least he knew the better.
When Hermione leaned over Ron to cover Fred's hand with her own it caused a sudden involuntary jerk that sent his hand flying, nearly knocking over his glass. "I'm so sorry," she said as she gently stroked his hand, kind enough to ignore the embarrassing outburst. "Why didn't you tell me when I visited the shop the other day?"
"Didn't feel like talking about it." He muttered as he dully yanked his hand away. She looked hurt, but he tried to ignore it. He stood up abruptly and his table napkin dropped onto his still half-full plate. "And to be honest, I don't feel like talking about it now either. Excuse me…" he spat, storming from the kitchen and up the stairs.
"I'll talk to him." George also got up with an apologetic smile. "He's had some rough days."
George caught up with his brother, sliding between the frame and swiftly closing bedroom door before Fred was able to slam it shut. "Don't even think about locking me out of my own room!" He panted, fingers clasped tightly to the door in a display of sheer determination. Fred sighed in resignation, stepping aside to let him in. George did so and promptly collapsed onto his bed, rubbing the shoulder that took the blow from the door as Fred sat down on his own bed opposite him.
"Oi, could've sworn you meant to take the whole thing off." George chuckled, testing the waters of his brother's humour. There wasn't even the faintest twitch of a smile. Instead his eyes remained fixed downwards as they had been all throughout dinner. There was no doubt that he felt his brother's concerned, but questioning gaze burning into him as every so often he would twitch uncomfortably.
They silently stayed like that for six minutes, Fred had counted. It at least somewhat distracted him from his current troubles, no matter how temporary. To neither's surprise, it was George who broke the dead air. And by his posture, Fred gathered as he glanced up, he had had enough of his twin's stoic silence. In one fluid motion he flung himself up and over onto Fred's bed. He folded his arms behind his head and stared above at the panelled ceiling before blurting out in his own non-diplomatic matter, "Let's hear it. What happened?"
"Don't know what you're talking about."
Fred shrugged in what was perhaps the most pathetically failed attempt at nonchalant that George had ever seen. Fred was determined nonetheless to keep it up as he slumped back against the headboard. "I just didn't feel like discussing my breakup in front of the whole family. Mum will stonewall me into an interrogation anyway and when she does I would rather not be surrounded and judged by the league of dream couples."
"Wow, you really must be bitter if you're labelling Ron and Hermione as a dream couple." George gave a toothy grin. "Besides, it could have been worse. Imagine if Percy and Penelope had been here tonight as well."
"Merlin!" Fred's depression momentarily subsided and replaced with horror as he shuddered at the thought of the couple's constant billing-and-cooing. His mother might have thought it was all so charming, but as for the rest of the family, they only felt nausea around them. Suddenly the whole evening seemed much less torturous as he imagined Percy lecturing him about the way maturity was the keystone to every happy relationship while "Penny-Bear" smiled up at him as if he hung the moon.
"You really know how to comfort a man who's hit rock bottom."
"Easy-peasy", George chirped, elated to see at least a tiny re-emergence of his brother's usual humour that had been trapped beneath his heap of misery. "There is very little in this world that could be worse than dinner with Headboy and Penny-Bear." He stood again and stretched lazily before taking a few steps toward the door. "You coming? Rumour has it Mum made pudding for desert."
"I think I'll just stay here." Fred replied with a small smile. George nodded in respect before he continued his way to the door. "Wait!" Fred stopped him just as he placed his hand on the doorknob. George turned back, taken aback at how his brother visibly hesitated before asking, "Can you please tell Hermione that I'm sorry? I really didn't mean to be rude."
"I will." George promised. Fred could see how he was fighting not to pry any deeper. "And you will tell me what really happened between you and Angelina, won't you?" It was quite clear that this was not a request, but a loving demand.
"Soon, Georgie. I promise."
Fred spent the next few minutes just staring blankly at the door that had comfortingly fallen shut behind his brother. He hated not being able to talk about everything and anything with him anymore. Not once had there been any secrets between them in their over twenty years of life and now suddenly there was a part of his life that he couldn't share with him.
Worse, it didn't matter what came out of this mess, George would always know that there had been something his twin had hidden from him. He had never said a word about it, but Fred knew that it had hurt him terribly because it hurt him, too.
Still, this was something he knew that he had to face alone if he didn't want anyone else to get hurt. Furthermore he doubted that anyone would understand anyway.
True, it wasn't a crime to fall for someone while being with someone else; those things do happen. But how in Merlin's name was he supposed to explain to anyone how out of all the witches in the world he had fallen for his little brother's girlfriend?