I paused, for a moment completely thrown. I looked at Fred Weasley appraisingly. He wasn't joking, for a change.
right, then," I said, and turned back to Alicia, who was telling me
about George and her. It all had a pleasing symmetry to it.
We carried on chatting for a few minutes, before it hit me.
What the bloody hell just happened there?
looked around, but Fred had gone off somewhere, and I was left
completely awestruck by how well he'd managed to blindside me. Twice in
That's really not fair.
suppose it's my own fault. A month or so ago, Fred and I had a stupid
argument about me entering the Tri-Wizard tournament. It was all blown
completely out of proportion by me over-reacting to what Fred wasn't saying. He was just being concerned, rather than condescending, and I realised that, eventually.
So why didn't I just forget the whole thing?
Well, for a start, there was the small matter of Fred being, well, pretty good looking this year.
suppose he was last year. I didn't really notice. I was going out with
Zacharias Smith from Hufflepuff, and between that and Sirius Black, the
Dementors and the fuss over the Quidditch Cup, I didn't have much time
to think about the Beaters on our house team as anything other than
good friends. In the end, though, it was Fred and George who got
Zacharias back for cheating on me in spectacular fashion.
then, this year, Fred got on the train at Kings Cross and my stomach
dropped. Katie and Alicia spent the next week teasing me about the
expression on my face and, to be fair, they had a point. I've always
been nearly as mad about Quidditch as Oliver has, and so I've never
been bothered by his 'don't date in the team' rules.
And yes, I know the twins call it something different. They can be incredibly childish at times. Dipping your quill... Men.
Anyway, before I get too far off topic, back to Fred.
think that my reasoning behind keeping that stupid fight going was that
if we were arguing, I didn't have to try and work out what my feelings
were for him. Because, suddenly, they were all over the place.
were my feelings for my friend, the barking mad joker who makes every
class a place where the wise among us tread carefully. Those who don't
tread carefully become wise soon enough.
There were my feelings for my best friend, who was ready to break Zacharias' neck when it turned out he'd been seeing that Slytherin fifth year behind my back.
There were the feelings for the Beater, without whom the Gryffindor Quidditch team would be a weaker unit.
were the feelings for the surprising, unpredictable side of Fred, who
last Valentine's Day dressed up as the Easter Bunny - on a day when we
had Potions, no less - to take my mind off Zacharias Smith. That side
of him combines all the other parts into one, and this year I've been
seeing a bit more of it than I had in previous years.
there were a lot of feelings, and it was all very confusing. At first,
I was sure I'd latched on to Fred as someone who was reliably
unreliable. Any relationship that I had with him was going to be fun,
short, and free of the false promises made to me by Zacharias.
So why didn't I go for it?
I mean, would Fred have turned me down?
was a tiny part of me that said, yes, he would have done. And that
thought worried me. I tried to be logical about it: Why would he want
to risk ruining his friendship with me for a brief fling? He's always
been the no-ties type...
There was a bigger part of me, and it
was getting bigger each time I thought about it, that said a brief
fling wasn't what I really wanted. And I hated that. How thoroughly and
completely stupid of me to fall for my best friend, and to fall hard,
So I did my best to ignore those feelings, and to
ignore Fred as well. It shouldn't have been very hard. There was
usually plenty of noise wherever Fred was, after all.
Imagine my disgust at showing up wherever he happened to be almost wherever I went. It took me nearly two weeks to
realise that the others were steering us towards one another, and that
they expected us just to make up, as we usually do in our group when
two of us have a spat.
Of course, if it's Fred and George who
have an argument, then that always degenerates into them testing their
Wheezes on each other. Sometimes I think that it's just an excuse to
makes lots of noise and mess...
Wait, what am I saying?
Fred and George argue, they do it as a prelude to making lots of noise
and mess. It's a warning, not an excuse. We're here, we're bickering,
and this will be resolved loudly and stickily. Get clear now, while you
have a chance to emerge unscathed. I suppose it's a twin thing, or more
likely just a Fred and George thing.
But it just wasn't as
easy as that for Fred and I. Not as I was doing everything in my power
to stay mad at him. He would have to apologise, I decided and
publicised. Only then could things go back to normal.
Yeah, me and my big mouth, right?
for a while, I thought that I was safe. Despite knowing that all he had
to do was apologise, Fred stayed out of my way. Now, I know he was just
waiting for the right moment. Then, I was hoping that he'd just stay
out of my way.
Fred may have worn a fluffy pink bunny suit
into Potions last year and earned himself about six months worth of
detentions from Snape, but he wouldn't be stupid enough to make my
No, only one person would be so totally idiotic to manage that. And you're looking at her.
my defence, I was flustered and tired. And the Deadly Fatal Draught of
Mortal Death is a tricky potion. And Katie was distracting me by
telling us how Lee had asked her to the ball.
And Fred was right across the aisle from me!
there were lots of reasons that I was distracted, and anyone could have
done what I did and added half a bottle of shark's tears rather than
So I was rattled when I left Potions that day. I
was upset, and annoyed, and flustered, and aghast at losing thirty
points from Gryffindor's total.
And then Fred appeared, as if from nowhere, and cornered me.
I barely noticed. That's how distracted I was.
if I could have stayed that distracted, I would have been fine.
Pathetically, I looked up and lost my train of thought as I looked into
Fred's open and - for once - honest face.
"I just wanted to
say that I was sorry," he said. "You're having a bad enough day as it
is, so I thought that if I apologised then maybe it would cheer you up.
So, I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" I echoed, a little stupidly.
His eyes locked onto mine, and he nodded slowly and clearly.
right," he said, his voice unusually sombre. "I'm sorry for making it
seem like I was putting down your abilities as a witch. I apologise for
trying to make you doubt your decision to enter the Tri-wizard
Tournament as well. You had every right to enter, more than George and
I did, even."
My mind went back to that Saturday morning,
visiting the twins in the hospital wing as their long beards moulted. I
remembered plucking a number of the hairs from Fred's chin at a point
when I was still genuinely furious with him. Lee had come up with the
idea of trimming Fred and George's beards while they still had them, so
that they could see what they looked like with different types of
facial hair. George had ended up with a handlebar moustache that did
nothing for him, but Fred...
I shivered at the memory.
Fred had ended up with a goatee that made him look at least five years older and much more handsome.
And now, with a serious look on his face that I couldn't remember ever seeing there before, he looked more handsome still.
"Um... Okay," I managed.
"Okay, you've forgiven me?" he asked, looking a lot more cheerful.
"Er, yes?" I said. What was I supposed to have been forgiving him for again?
"Angelina, I'm being serious here," he said, needlessly. I could tell that much.
"Look," he said, frowning slightly. "It's really important that you forgive me."
I asked, a little fire igniting in my stomach. "Is this part of some
big joke, Fred? If so, I'm not in the mood." I pushed past him, and
stalked off down the corridor. "I'm having a horrible day, and-"
you listen?" he said, striding quickly to catch up with me. "That's
what I'm saying. I'm trying to brighten up your day a bit-"
the only reason you're apologising is to try and cheer me up," I glared
at him, "then get out of my way, Fred Weasley. I don’t need that kind
He looked at me in frustration, as though he were
wondering whether hammering his apology home with a heavy rock would
work better. Then he smiled. It wasn't a trademarked Weasley grin, or
the smirk of a Weasley twin who's just thought of a way to liven up a
This was the soft, winning smile of the man that
I think Fred Weasley will one day come to be, and I knew then and there
that I wanted to see a lot more of it.
"Angelina, you've been
my best mate for years now. You're one of the most important people in
the world to me, and when you're not a part of my life I always feel
horrible. I treated you badly, and for that I'm genuinely sorry. I'd
really, really like you to forgive me my stupidity so that we can go
back to being as close as we were before I was an even bigger idiot
It was enough. More than enough. I accepted his
apology, and the rest of the day was as fun as there had ever been with
the six of us.
And then, tonight, he came out of nowhere and asked me to the ball. Shouted it across the common room, really.
I was eyed him up for a few seconds, trying to work out exactly what it was Fred Weasley was up to this time.
there was nothing but open, honest enquiry in his face. No hint of
guile, no subterfuge, no suggestion that this was all a line up for one
great big joke (and after being his friend for so long, I think I'd
know what it looked like if it was there).
just openness, a hint of bravado to show off to George, Harry and Ron
and the faintest hint of anxiety, as though he were worried I might say
I said yes, of course; you already know that.
As Fred sat down, I caught a fleeting glimpse of his face. There was a broad grin plastered across it that makes me grin just thinking about it.
it's the memory of the honest Fred that makes me smile the most. It's
not a side of him that many people get to see, I imagine, and I like it.