“How’re you feeling?” Melba asked as we sat six people in an alleyway somewhere in London. Fred had bought me ice cream so I was eating that in silence. He had indeed snuck out of school, meaning he was gonna be in trouble when we got back.
I didn’t want to go back. I just wanted Hogwarts over with so I could move on with my life and go somewhere my relatives couldn’t find me.
If Matteo had never decided to file for custody, my mother wouldn’t have been granted it. It would’ve been left alone and my dad would still have custody. Everything was fine how it was. I went to school, never saw my dad unless it was holidays. I would’ve spent Easter with one of my friends seeing as my father didn’t care if I die, and then once I graduated, I would be eighteen and able to make my own decisions.
“I feel like I don’t give a crap.” I said with a shrug. “The only thing I care about right now is this ice cream.”
“You’ve got an unhealthy obsession with ice cream.” Fred said with a soft smile as he brushed my hair back with his fingers.
“It was the only thing that made me feel better when I was a child and my father didn’t acknowledge my existence.” I said. “When I felt alone in that big and silent house. Ice cream was my friend.”
I frowned at my own words.
“That sounds really pathetic.” I said and laughed, shaking my head. We all sat in silence, each of our heads heavy with everything that happened today. We had explained to Fred what happened in the trial and now even he’s troubled by it. “You guys go back to Hogwarts. I’ll go for a walk.”
“A walk?” Nate asked. “In London? How’re you gonna her back?”
“Dunno.” I shrugged. “I need to be alone right now.”
“We came here with Matteo. We’re gonna need to find him.”
“Go do that.” I said. “Fred is staying though.”
“I am?” Fred questioned as my four friends went to stand. I simply nodded. “You said you needed to be alone.”
“I can’t get back without your broom.” I told him. “And I’m definitely not traveling with Matteo.”
I said goodbye to my friends as they started making their way back to the ministry. Fred chuckled softly, wrapping an arm around me.
“So basically you’re just using me?”
I hummed with a faint smile playing on my lips as I wrapped an arm around his back and rested my head against his shoulder.
“Maybe I also needed to be alone with you.” I whispered. “... because you make me feel safe. Even if we’ve been through all that crap, you’re still my safe place, and my home.”
Fred brushed some hand out of my face, then cupped my face and tilted my head off his shoulder. He pressed his lips to my forehead, letting them linger there for a moment before I placed my head back onto his shoulder.
“You’re my safe place too.” He whispered, finding my hand before lacing his fingers with mine. “You’ll be okay. You know that, right?”
I simply hummed, closing my eyes as I enjoyed the warmth from his body. We stayed like this for another moment until I got to my feet with a sigh.
“Walk with me?” I asked and held out a hand. Fred looked up at me, smiling softly before he let me help him up. I intertwined my fingers with his, leading the way out of the alleyway.
I looked down at our hands we walked. They swayed slightly between our bodies. Then I looked up at Fred. He was looking straight ahead, something obviously on his mind.
“Are you okay?” I asked him, giving his hand a squeeze. He looked down at me, frowning.
“I’m alright.” He told me. “Don’t you think I should be the one asking you that? Everything you’ve been through in the last year. I-I wish there was something I could do to make it all better.”
“You are making it all better.” I told him. “By being here. Just— don’t ever leave, alright? Johnson won’t mess with us anymore so nothing stands between us. Now it’s on us to make it work and I know we both want it to.”
Fred let go of my hand to wrap his arm around my neck, my other hand finding his over my shoulder.
“We’ll make it work.” He assured me. “No more toxicity. We need to learn how to communicate without fighting.”
I nodded in agreement. We definitely needed to learn that. We sucked at it so far and I really wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, so if we could make our relationship function properly, that would be amazing.
“I know you haven’t been able to get a break for a while now.” Fred told me. “But three and a half more months and then you’re eighteen and you can do what the hell you want and go wherever you want.”
“As long as you’re there.” I smiled softly. “And Callie... and Melba, Seth, Nate... and Nick. Poor Nick. I can’t believe someone would do that to him. He’s Nick. He wouldn’t hurt a fly and then someone decides to... it’s disgusting. I can’t start to imagine what he’s going through. And we don’t even know who did it. It was probably Pucey and then some girl.”
“Why don’t you—” Fred let out a breath as he shrugged. “Slip some veritaserum into his drink. They sell some of it in Hogsmeade. You just need to be discreet about it but make him tell the truth.”
I stopped in my tracks and looked up at Fred who came to a halt as well. He looked back at me and in the next moment, I wrapped my arms around him, feeling him hug me back as I squeezed the life out of him.
“That’s fucking genius!” I told him. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that!”