The Sugar Quill
Author: Mingo Cortez  Story: A Delicate Situation  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

“Well

Author Note: Much thanks to all the fabulous people who helped along the way—in particular Night Zephyr for being a “fresh set of eyes” and a fantastic beta!

Standard Disclaimers Apply.  Thanks JKR for never saying we can look but can’t touch.  *grins* Oh, and please review!

 

 

A Delicate Situation

-by: Mingo Cortez-

 

 

“Well?” Fred demanded sourly.  He was slumped onto a bench, still wearing his Quidditch robes which were grimy with mud and sweat from the match.

 

“Well, what?” Angelina threw back at him, as she stormed into the team’s locker room.  The rest of the team had either been ordered off the pitch by Madame Hooch or else had quickly retreated to the castle.  She pulled off her gloves and let them fall to the floor, then turned her back to Fred to struggle roughly out of her crimson robes.  With equal intensity she sat and began working on her boots. 

 

“George! Harry! What happened to them?” he asked impatiently. 

 

“You want to know what happened to them?” Angelina was livid.  She shot Fred a nasty glare, throwing one boot angrily to the floor.  “They’ve been banned from playing Quidditch by Umbridge—the both of them!”  She paused and then in a quieter tone added: “And you have, too.”

 

Fred’s jaw dropped.  Banned? You’re joking.  Umbridge can’t do that.”

 

Angelina’s second boot was hurled to the floor. “Apparently Umbridge can do that.”   She got to her feet with a bitter smile.  “And she did.”

 

“But…” Fred was still staring at her in disbelief. “But I didn’t—”

 

“You just had to lose your temper, didn’t you?” she shouted, turning on him. “You just had to let that spoiled little cheat wind you up! You didn’t think about anything else—just your own damn pride!”

 

“Hey!” Fred protested.  “You’re blaming me? Malfoy—”

 

“Malfoy got just what he wanted, didn’t he?  I’ve lost both my Beaters and my Seeker because you had to be such boys.”

 

Fred got to his feet, angry red patches forming on his cheeks.  “Oh, that’s fair, Angelina! I didn’t so much as touch Malfoy.”

 

“You would have!”

 

Fred glared at her darkly.  “I’d have flattened him into the ground with my bare hands.”

 

Angelina snorted and turned her back to him again. 

 

“Don’t you see, though, it’s that Umbridge woman! She’s had it in for Harry since day one—everyone knows that!—and for Gryffindor as well.”  There was a hint of pleading in Fred’s voice.  He tentatively approached Angelina, but jumped back a step when she rounded on him again.

 

“And you knew McGonagall had to go over her head to get the team approved!” She jabbed her finger into Fred’s chest.  “You knew it!  And you just had to test her anyway!”

 

“Look, I’m sorry, all right!” he yelled.  “What do you want me to do? Go try to level with Umbridge?  See if she’ll let me back on the team?”

 

Angelina gave a little huff, crossing her arms over her chest. “Right.  You’d do that?”

 

Fred realized what an absurd offer he’d just made.  Fred Weasley grovel and plead with Dolores Umbridge? But he was beginning to feel guilty.  He knew how hard Angelina had been working—how much it meant to her to have a winning season.  And that look she kept giving him, as if he had driven a knife into her back, was almost making him feel worse than the idea that he’d never play Quidditch again.  “I’d do it,” he offered quietly.  “I’d do it for you.”

 

She gave him a quick look, clearly caught off guard. 

 

Fred’s stomach clenched.  Despite Angelina’s tight jaw and hostile posture, there were tears in her eyes.

 

She quickly wiped her hand across her face and then went on with renewed vigor. “Do you have any idea how hard it is with Oliver gone?” she demanded.  “And then with no Keeper and the tryouts?  And not enough practices and the rain?  We won the last Cup, Fred! And if we don’t this year, guess who’s to blame?”

 

“No one else sees it like that.”  He puts his hand on her shoulder but she jerked away. 

 

“Well I do!” she countered angrily.  She raised her hand to her eyes again, furiously dashing her tears away.

 

“Come off it, Angelina.  You’re too hard on yourself,” Fred sighed, pulling her close to him.

 

“No—” she argued, struggling slightly. 

 

“Yes, you are,” he said, sliding his hand to the back of her tense neck. 

 

Angelina pressed her forehead into his shoulder, and took in a thick gulp of air.  Fred held her and she wrapped her arms tightly around him, crying into the front of his robes.  He sighed quietly, smoothing her hair down.

 

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled after a moment, gently pushing away from him.  She rubbed her face and took a deep breath.

  

“Don’t be,” Fred shrugged, feeling suddenly awkward.  He usually kept far away from delicate situations like this—with a girl crying.  In fact, avoiding such scenes was a long-held principle of his.  He had no practice at what his mother would call “showing some sensitivity” and was only going on a gut feeling that hated to see Angelina so upset.  Angelina, who could be more manic than Oliver over Quidditch.  Angelina, who could throw a punch that Charlie couldn’t top.  Angelina, who fit against him perfectly during the last slow song of the Yule Ball.  He cleared his throat.

  

“No,” she shook her head and glanced up at him wryly.  “I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that.  I mean… of course it’s not your fault…”

 

“Forget it,” he said hurriedly. He was still feeling rather guilty.

 

They stood in silence a moment and then Angelina gave him a sly little smile.  “You’d really go to Umbridge for me?” she asked.

 

“Did I say that?” Fred tried to put on a smooth innocent look, but couldn’t help blushing just a tinge. 

 

“Yes, I think you did.”

 

He waved his hand dismissively.  “I think your hearing must be off.  Or else you’re imagining—”

 

“Well,” she interrupted him quietly.  “Thank you for the offer, just the same.”  She put her hand on his arm and kissed him softly on the cheek.  Then she turned and walked away, leaving Fred to babble senselessly into the empty air.

 

//
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