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The next day Padma woke up thinking of George Weasley. She hated him. She hated herself more for not sticking up for herself yesterday. What the hell was that crap she had said about liking to watch him laugh? And why did she cry?
Padma could feel the heat in her cheeks as she remembered her weak reaction. She was embarrassed for herself. She was never this weak last year when she basically had to learn to be a soldier because of the Carrows' teaching methods.
'Are you refusing a direct instruction Ms Patil?'
Padma simply glared at her Muggle Studies professor, Alecto Carrow and did not answer.
'You were instructed to give an oral presentation on the stupidity of muggles Ms Patil and now you say you are not prepared? You do know the consequence for not doing your homework don't you Ms Patil?'
Padma clenched her fist. She wouldn't have been surprised if her nails had drawn blood from her palm. She was beyond angry and was trying to keep her emotions in check. She tried to remember what Parvati had said to her about controlling her temper. She tried to focus on her breathing. She tried to focus on the bigger picture. There was a war going on outside and they were just in a classroom. All they had to do was pretend to agree. Just pretend.
But she couldn't.
'No professor, I'm not unprepared. I just don't agree with this ridiculous assignment!'
Nothing could have prepared her for the 'detention' she received for this 'defiant behaviour'.
Padma's reverie was interrupted by an insistent tapping noise at her apartment window. She opened it to find a beautiful grey Indian Scops Owl with a letter for her.
She opened it feeling slightly anxious hoping that it wasn't from any of the members of the DA. Several of her fellow members - her friends - had tried to contact her to catch up. But she avoided them. She didn't want their pity.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that the letter was from her Aunt Marathi asking her if she could babysit her little cousin Arindam in four weeks for a weekend. She wrote back saying that she would love to.
That night George went to The Burrow for dinner. It was family night and he hated it. For weeks after Fred's death he had refused to show up. This changed after Ginny had had enough and had punched him for making them feel as if they had lost two people they loved instead of one. He now forced himself to show up once a week and tried to act pleasant.
But this time he couldn't pretend to be ok. He was still furious about one of the Patil girls daring to mention Fred to him while lecturing him on his desire to close the shop. Her words were torturing him.
You can't close this place down!
Your products brought everyone such joy.
To close it down would be an insult to Fred's memory!
Her words were torturing him because they were true. Everything he and Fred had built together would mean nothing. If Fred were alive he would beat the crap out of him for quitting and then would probably poison him with a puking pastille or nosebleed nougat for good measure.
It was Hermione who had been brave enough to ask about what put him in a foul mood that night. George had stepped outside to get some fresh air after dinner and she had followed him. She found him sitting under a tree, leaning against the trunk, apparently fascinated by the leaves above.
"You're mum's worried about you, you know?" Hermione said as she handed him a bottle of butter beer.
"Alert the Daily Prophet. Molly Weasley is worried about something," came his sarcastic reply as he accepted the bottle.
Hermione rolled her eyes and sat next to her boyfriend's brother.
"Did something happen today to put you in a mood?"
"I'm not in a mood," he grumbled as his eyes focused on a patch of grass next to him.
"If you're not in a mood, then I'm a Veela."
George looked up and slightly smirked. "To Ron you are."
Hermione smiled at this but didn't say anything. She waited patiently sipping her butter beer until George finally cracked.
"Yesterday I was packing up the shop and one of the Patil girls came in."
"Padma came into your shop? What did she say?"
"I don't know which one it was but she basically lectured me on closing the shop, saying that I was insulting Fred. Bitch has the sensitivity of a Blast-Ended- Skrewt!" George ripped out a handful of grass and threw it back down.
Hermione's eyes widened as it dawned on her that George didn't know that Parvati had died.
"George..." she began, but was cut off.
"I told her where to go, I mean, what kind of person would rub in the fact that their twin is still alive to someone's twin who is not."
"George, Parvati died two months ago!"
George looked up at this. "What are you talking about?"
"Parvati Patil, she died two months ago. Padma was devastated. Especially since they both survived the war. Parvati was hit by a heart-crushing curse but it didn't actually crush her heart because the death-eater died in the middle of casting the curse. He couldn't follow it through to drain her blood. They didn't know that the curse had stayed inside her body until she cut herself deeply and her blood poured out. She died instantly George."
Hermione sniffled a little and wiped away a tear. She hadn't been particularly close to Parvati but they had shared a dormitory throughout their years at Hogwarts. They had basically grown up together.
"I-I didn't know," stuttered George.
"Well what did you say to Padma?"
George mentally kicked himself as he remembered his words.
Why don't you go home to your sister and rub in the fact that your twin is still alive to someone else!
He cringed as he remembered his aggressive behaviour and the look of fear in her eyes when he had backed her up against the door.
George stood up and refused to look at Hermione. "I have to go, let mum know ok?" And with a loud crack, he disapparated.
Who knew that the guilt he felt about his treatment to Padma Patil would be the inspiration he needed to reopen Weasley's Wizard Wheezes? Her voice continued to echo in his head and he listened to it.
Your products brought everyone such joy.
To close it down would be an insult to Fred's memory!
He made a deal with himself that once he had the store up and running he would find a way to apologise to Padma Patil. To his surprise he was presented with the opportunity just days after it had reopened.
The weekend that Padma had agreed to look after her 5 year old cousin rolled around quite quickly.
Even though she had planned not to work this weekend she found herself getting ready go into Flourish and Blotts anyway. But she wasn't alone this time.
"Come on Rin, I just need to go in to work for about 2 minutes to collect my pay and then we can go spend some of it on lunch and maybe a small early birthday present."
Her baby cousin's eyes lit up at the mention of a present.
"Really!" she replied with a smile as she buttoned up his coat. "A small one!"
Rin giggled with glee.
After they had dropped in to Flourish and Blotts, the plan was to choose a child friendly restaurant and have some lunch. It was a simple plan that would have went well had it not been for the fact that they had to walk past Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to get there.
Rin gasped as he peered through the window on their way past. He was in awe of all the products he could see. Padma was also in a state of shock. She had been taking the long way around to get to work every morning just to avoid George Weasley and she hadn't noticed that he had changed his mind. Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes was reopened and back for business.
"Wow! It's even better than Zonkos! Let's go in here! Aunty Nah-Nah!" And without a second thought Rin let go of Padma's hand and ran into the three storey shop.
Arindam had called Padma, 'Nah-Nah' since he could talk. He couldn't pronounce the 'ma' part of Padma and settled for Padna, which later became Nah-Nah. And even though she wasn't his actual Aunt, he still called her so as any family relatives or friends who are older are usually called Aunt or Uncle as a sign of respect in their culture.
"Rin, wait!" Padma begged in horror. Of all the places in Diagon Alley he would have to want to go into Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Padma was surprised at how fast Rin could run with his tiny, little legs.
"Rin!" she whispered as she caught up to him. "Rin we can't be in here!"
"Well," she shifted uncomfortably, as she looked around. George Weasley was nowhere to be seen. "The owner isn't very nice."
But Rin wasn't listening. He was distracted by a mini flying car circling the second floor of the shop. He promptly moved to run up the stairs to chase after it. Padma followed him.
"Aunty Nah-Nah can this be my birthday present? Please Aunty Nah-Nah?" he begged looking like an absolute angel. With that look Padma didn't know how her Aunt and Uncle refused him anything.
Padma picked up one of the boxes off the shelf to read the description and to see how much it cost.
Unbeknownst to her, George who had been tidying some of the shelves, had seen her as she had come up the stairs. He was hidden from her view by a moving mannequin that was puking, puking pastilles.
"An Aviatomobile," Padma read aloud. "A miniature enchanted flying car that comes in burgundy, blue or black. 3 sickles and 11 knuts."
She crouched down to Rin's level and smiled. "Which colour do you want then?"
Rin's angelic look burst into a big toothy grin.
"Wow, kid you've got talent. It took less than a minute to convince your Aunt Padma to buy you something."
Both Rin and Padma whipped around to see George Weasley smiling at them. Padma stood up fast ready for his objection to her being in his store, but it never came.
"Do you own this place?" Rin asked curiously craning his neck to look into the red-head's eyes.
George crouched down to answer. "I do."
Rin crossed his arms bossily. "My Aunty Nah-Nah, says that you're not very nice."
Padma's blinked in shock and tried to hide the embarrassment she was feeling. She had thought Rin wasn't listening when she had said that. Of all the things to repeat to George frigging Weasley.
George tried not to laugh at this little Indian gangster before him but he couldn't hide his smile. He looked over at Padma who was waiting for a reaction.
"Your Aunt was right but she's not right anymore." He turned back to Rin. "A while ago, I was a bit mean, but I don't want to be mean anymore. I'll tell you what, I'll show you. How about you go get a basket from over there and you can choose 5 things from this shop and I'll give them to you for free."
Rin's eyes went wide as saucers.
Rin took off like a rocket.
"Rin be careful!" Padma yelled after him.
George stood up and she turned her attention to him.
"You don't have to do that. I can afford whatever he wants from here," she stated trying not to sound angry. She wanted to sound calm, as if she didn't care. She realised that George was trying to make up for the way he treated her weeks ago and she didn't want to forgive him, in fact she wanted to punch him in the face for making her feel so weak.
"That's not necessary Padma." He said gently. It's the least I could do."
Padma swallowed nervously. His eyes were...intense. And he was so tall. She felt her heart race a little as she remembered how close they had been when he had yelled at her weeks ago. She had to keep the conversation going or she was going to look like a lovesick teenage girl – that had been Parvati's territory, not hers.
"How did you know that I'm Padma?" she thought out loud.
George looked down. Shit! How was he supposed to answer that?
Padma cocked her head to the side and studied his body language.
"You know." she stated after a short while.
"Yes," he answered simply.
Padma looked away as she cleared her throat awkwardly. When she drew her eyes back to him she recognised the look of pity across his face. There was also a look of 'I know what you're going through' that she immediately hated. She didn't like this feeling of not being in control over her emotions that was starting to take over. So she did the only thing that made her feel powerful. She got angry.
She glared at him and scoffed. "Yeah, I think we'll skip the dead twin bonding thing ok?" Then she walked off to find Rin to get out of there as soon as possible.
George stood still in shock and watched her take the basket which Rin had already filled downstairs to pay. He remembered her being shy and timid in Hogwarts and was surprised by her outburst.
One of his employees, Verity had totalled the cost and as Padma was about to hand over the money George interrupted them.
"I'll take it from here Verity," George said looking at Padma the whole time.
Verity looked at George and then looked at Padma who was glaring at George and then looked back at George again and raised her eyebrows. She said nothing and walked off smirking. It looks like Georgie's got a girlfriend. She made a mental note to tease him about it later.
"I told you that you didn't have to pay for these," George said almost sternly.
"And I told you that I could afford it!"
George opened his mouth to speak again but she cut him off.
"No, I'm not going to accept your charity because you feel bad for being an absolute jerk. You're aggressive Weasley and you're also so incredibly selfish that you can't see past your own grief. Go force your guilt on somebody else because I'm not interested. You may have had chicks wrapped around your finger when you were in school. But we're not at Hogwarts anymore. It's time to grow up!"
Padma slammed 10 galleons down on the counter, grabbed the bag of toys and Rin's hand and marched out of the store.
George's eyes followed her. He felt the rage bubble up inside him as he took in her words. He also thought that an angry Padma Patil was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen and he craved more. This feeling pissed him off more than anything else.
Damn Oliver Phelps is hot! Review if you agree!