Everyday away from her stung a bit deeper and I found myself missing her more often. She still refused my visits to Faerie Ridge and I was turned away at the door as if I were a stranger. It felt odd not being able to talk to her, to cry to her or let her hug me. I had Fleur, and Aveline, but they weren't around much in the latter years, as Aveline had her job and Fleur had Bill, and then her estrangement with mere. It felt a bit odd, going from mere's arms to Fred's. I was as dependent on him as I had been with my mother and I was mildly afraid of what things would be like once I got my own job and was out on my own. I didn't want to disappoint Fred or mother with my choices.
I tap the end of my quill against my chin as I read the last question of my History of Magic test and then chew my bottom lip anxiously. This witch invented Floo Powder in 1265.
I should know this, I should. I've read the History of Magic, all volumes, at least twice. She was an Irish witch wasn't she? Or was she Welsh? My mind drew a blank and I groan, dropping my forehead into my palm in frustration.
"Five minutes, class," Professor Binns announced as he floats back and forth in front of his desk.
I bite my lip to keep from uttering one of the many curses I've learned from the Weasley brothers, before I close my eyes and tried to clear my scattered mind. The inventor of Floo Powder...Inventor of Floo Powder. My mind drifts and I suddenly remember a study night with Fred, about a week ago, books were scattered on the floor around us and he had me on my back, partially clothed as he lay between my legs and quizzed me...with every answer I got correct, he brushed another kiss further up my thigh...when his lips were hovering over my heat...what did he ask me?
"Which witch invented Floo Powder?"
I remembered whimpering, telling him the quiz was foolish and to just do it already but he pushed for the answer until I nearly screamed in sexual frustration.
A wide smile curves quickly on my lips and I scribble in the answer on the parchment as Professor Binns calls for the end of the test. The parchment on my desk immediately pulls away from my quill and rolls up, tying magically and flying with the other student's tests to his desk. Relieved, I picked up my satchel and wait for Mary as she gathers her things. She flings her bag over her shoulder, scowling as we walk out of the classroom.
"How am I suppose to remember who invented Floo Powder?" she huffed. "I try not to Floo anywhere as it is!"
"Ignatia Wildsmith," I tell her, grinning when she shot me a look. "A witch in 1265, remember?"
Her scowl deepens . "There is no way a witch invented Floo Powder, it's far too dirty. I have to wash my hair at least twice after traveling by Floo." We descend the large stone stairs after they've stopped moving and I sigh when I realize this is the last day I'll see Mary at Hogwarts.
"Hey, do you want to eat dinner with us tonight in the Great Hall? It's your last day here--"
"I know, but I promised Fred we would go out and eat to celebrate."
"Is he finished?"
I glance around and don't spot his ginger hair. "I don't think so. He should be done any minute." Turning back to her, I smile. "But we'll see each other, right?"
"Of course! I don't live too far from Hogsmeade, you know." Mary reaches over and hugs me tight. "We'll get some Butterbeer, go shopping, it'll be fantastic."
"Promise?" I ask, hugging her back before she pulls away.
"Promise." Someone calls Mary's name and she glances over her shoulder before waving. "Send me an owl, Gabrielle! I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too," I lament, but she's already rushing away into another group of her friends. I sigh and turn around, standing in the middle of the hall when the students begin to multiply as the other classes let out. I wait for Fred, greeting and saying goodbye to a few acquaintances I made over the past few months at Hogwarts. Finally the halls empty again as students return to their dormitories to prepare for dinner and Fred is nowhere to be found.
I sit on the bottom step of the stairs, praying that they don't feel the need to shift anytime soon. I wait only a few more moments before I see Fred walking toward me. I smile when I see him and grab my bag as I stand. "How did it go?"
"Pretty good, I think," he tells me, taking my bag for me. "It felt strange sitting in the back of a classroom of seventeen year olds, but I think I did okay."
"I bet you did fantastic." I take his hand and we prepare to leave the castle. I feel a bit sad, knowing I was going to miss the school. I glance back at it morosely and then I feel Fred squeeze my fingers softly.
"You can always come back and visit," he says. "It's not going anywhere."
"I know," I sigh. "I just wish I had been able to get the whole experience, from first year. I missed Beauxbatons, I hated tutoring. I just wish mere had given me the chance."
Fred looks at me as we walk down the path that leads us home. "It's better to have gotten some experience, right? You got to see a few Quidditch games, eat in the Great Hall..."
"Make fun of the Slytherins," I add with a small laugh.
"See? It's not so bad."
"I suppose." We fall silent as we walk and when we finally enter Hogsmeade, I look up at him. "What do I do now?"
He glances at me before looking away, his tone oddly tense. "What do you mean?"
"Well, after I get my results back, I have to find a job. I have to do something with my life, right? I can't let you take care of me forever."
"Maybe I like taking care of you."
I slip my arm around his waist and lean into him, brushing my cheek against the soft cotton of his shirt. "I know you do."
"You can always stay and work for Wheezes. Your suggestions for some of our potions have increased quality in the products. We could use you."
I lift my chin to look up at him. "I'll always be around to help you and George, Fred." Silence engulfs us again and I settle against him as we approach Zonko's. A new chapter of my life was about to start, it was exciting and terrifying at the same time, but I knew I would get through it okay with Fred.
"We have some time now," Fred says as he unlocks the door to our flat. "Before our results come in."
"Yes, we do." I enter and pull off my robes. He seems distracted, so I wait until he's put down my bag, sat on the edge of the bed and taken off his shoes before I crawl up behind him and begin to kneed his tense shoulders. "What do you suggest we do with all that time?" I bend down and nip at his ear. His head lulls forward as I massage his muscles and I hear his small groan before he opens his eyes and looks back at me.
"I thought we could take a short trip to France."
I pause in my ministrations, excitement bursting inside of me. "Goddess, Fred, are you serious?"
"It's been awhile since we've been, and it would be a nice holiday, don't you think?"
"Yes!" Trying not to bounce on the bed, I throw my arms around him and smother his neck and throat in kisses. "When can we go?"
"Soon, after I make sure the stores are covered properly." He twists around in my arms and gathers me across his lap. "I love you, Gabs."
"I love you too," I reply, crushing my mouth against his as his hands slip underneath my skirt to my hips. "I think France is the perfect place to start a new chapter in our lives, don't you?"
He murmurs his agreement and we fall together onto the mattress, forgetting our NEWTs, my mother and everything else as we get lost in each other, both of us looking forward to the future