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Chapter 1: Legends Never Die
George ran into the Great Hall, You-Know-Who had just announced that Harry had one hour to meet him in the forest. However, George wasn’t perturbed about that. He had been separated from Fred at the beginning of the battle and hadn’t seen him since. Slowing his pace as he came upon his family, George walked up to them. Immediately, he knew something was wrong and it wasn’t from the grief on the faces of the ones he loved. No, it seemed that in the pit of his soul - if souls even had pits - a strange essence of him seemed incomplete. He had never felt it before, but the feeling unnerved him. Slowly, he looked into each face, ticking in his mind every member that was living. Ginny- check, Dad, Mum, Charlie, Bill, Percy- check. Pausing, he frowned to himself, only six. But wait, Ron would be with Harry that made seven. Before his mind could register anything else, he felt a gentle hand on his forearm; the mere touch told him all he needed to know. That when he looked into the eyes of a Boggart that fear had finally revealed itself.
If he had been punched in the gut a thousand times over, the feeling would never amount to this. He may even welcome it if he could turn back time. This was chilling, as if he had been doused with a bucket of ice-cold water. The chill of it surging through his body like the blood does through the veins. Freezing all else but the thoughts that rapidly coursed through his brain like an unrelenting film. He stood there, unmoving, as if the blow of what he saw rendered him paralyzed. No one spoke, and the chaos around him faded into the distance. George stepped forward, shaking off Ginny’s hand on his arm. The Weasleys parted as George walked through stiffly. His mouth parted slightly as he stood over the man who looked so much like himself. Closing his eyes slowly, he imagined that this was just one of Fred’s jokes. That he was going to pop up any second and tell them he was only kidding. But, as he heard his mum’s sobs beside him, his hopes melted away like a glacier does in the Caribbean sun. Wrenching his eyes open again, he gazed into Fred’s lifeless eyes as if they only held the key to his life, but the dead stare answered George’s worst fear.
Fred was a legend, not a man, and legends don’t die, George kept telling himself. They’re invincible; they’re always there, steadfast and strong for anyone to lean on. George shook his head as if to clear the muddle in his head, but only succeeded in baffling it more. How could this happen?
“One moment,” he whispered to himself, “One moment and everything changes.” Scratching his head roughly, George opened and closed his mouth but was unable to form any coherence words. No one replied to his mutterings, themselves unable to believe what their eyes were telling them. It must have been a lie. “One moment,” he muttered again. “The world is whole and Fred is alive, and the next-“ George stopped and looked completely lost. He looked up but his eyes were unseeing. It was as if he was calling out to some invisible force, pleading for change, wishing that it were he and not Fred who was lying there.
George swallowed hard; he remembered the first time they had played with fate. They had been eight years old.
A young boy with vivid, copper-red hair jumped over the fence that was on the border of his family’s property. Another shock of the same colour of hair followed the first. Their mum had specifically told them to not go into Mr. Lockley’s land or they’d scare his sheep. What she didn’t understand was that was the whole point of their rendezvous. The first time they had dared venture into the unknown, they had accidentally turned one of the sheep blue. Mr. Lockley almost had an aneurysm at seeing the two identical boys cackling at the altered sheep. Since then, Mr. Lockey had bought a big, black, snarling dog and the two boys had been unable to get close to the sheep to see if one of them was still blue. Though, that didn’t stop them from trying.
“George, stop!” the first boy commanded sharply. The boy named George, who was just about to take a step forward stopped, leaving one of his legs hanging in mid-air. The first boy looked back and rolled his eyes, but a huge smile was plastered across his freckled face.
“Can I move yet, my leg is bushed,” George whispered out of the corner of his mouth. Fred shook his head no, and quickly shuffled to the edge of the trees. This is as far as they ever got before Monster, for that is what they dubbed the dog, came chasing after them. And, if anyone saw that dog’s teeth, even the brave Harry Potter would be running for his life.
Peering out from behind the tree that covered him, the boy looked around for the dog. Seeing the dog far enough away he motioned for George to come forward. As George moved from his position, Fred ducked back behind the tree.
“Have you got them?” Fred asked, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. George pulled out a medium sized bag.
“Thank Merlin Charlie brought these back for us,” George whispered. He held the bag almost reverently as if it had their life in it. “Right, so I’m going to jump out and howl like a dying banshee, this will get Monster’s attention. He’ll come running and then you’ll-”
“I’ll save your life, just before he’s going to take a hunk out of your flesh. I’ll hurl a few of these at him. Hopefully, that will scare him away and we can go see the sheep,” George nodded in affirmation.
“Though, I’d appreciate it if you chucked them as he’s coming for me and not just before I see him trying to take a bite out of me,” Fred waved his hand as if he understood. “Okay, here,” George handed Fred the bag. Fred took them and saluted his brother.
“We shall always remember your bravery, commander, and if you do not live through this, I’ll make sure you become more famous then Harry Potter himself!” George returned the salute and jumped out from behind of the bushes of tree.
“Hey you- yeah you! You great big, ugly brute! Over here!” George screamed out, waving his hands over his head. George watched as the dog perked his head up from his spot beside the sheep. “Yeah, I’m talking to you!” But before George could yell out anymore, the dog was already on his feet and running full speed at George. “Is that as fast you can go? My great-grandma could hobble faster than that!” Monster was almost upon George when a loud bang startled the dog and it stopped running. But the pause was only momentary and Monster started prowling closer to George. “Fred, throw another!” George backed up as the dog came closer. George heard a few loud bangs come startlingly close to Monsters right. The dog leaped back and growled low, but didn’t come any closer.
“Let’s go, as long as we throw a few of these at him, he won’t come close,” Fred ran up to George. The two boys grinned devilishly and did a large loop around the dog. Monster watched the boys with his deep-set eyes. As the boys had almost completed the loop, Monster seemed to get his wits back about him and he chased after Fred and George. Fred opened the bag and threw a couple more; they hit their target and exploded with a foul smell again drifting from the smoke. George scrunched his nose up and the two boys hurried on before Monster started pursuing them again.
A few times down the field, Fred had to stop and throw a few more of the merchandise Charlie had bought them on his last trip to Hogsmeade. Finally, the boys reached the sheep. Looking over the herd, they noticed that they were all white.
“That’s almost like cruel torture,” Fred said, crestfallen.
“Yeah, we’ve spent the better part of this month trying to get into this field just to see our blue sheep and the old cow got rid of it,” George replied bitterly. Fred nodded in annoyance.
“Ah, well, now that we’re here, we might as well stir things up a bit,” Fred reached into the bag and started throwing them amongst the sheep. The sheep started bleating loudly and immediately they spread out, running in all directions, trying to get away from whatever was assaulting them. The scene of all the sheep ramming into one another was quite amusing, or at least the twins thought so as they were holding their sides from laughing.
A low growl interrupted the boy’s fun; they turned around to stare straight into Monsters eyes. Up this close, they noticed that Monster was at least half the size of them and his teeth looked bigger than their longest finger.
“Fred,” George said his voice for the first time showing a little fear. “If the time came for you to save lives, this is it,” Fred dug his hand into the bag, a look of panic crossed his face.
“There’s none left!” Fred squeaked. George’s eyes went as round as saucepans.
“Well then, here’s what we’re going to do,” George said in a rush. “Run!” George yelled loudly and took off towards home, Fred was at his heels. They could hear the angry yowls of Monster right behind them. “How stupid could you be?” George accused. “Sure, just go and throw all of them at the sheep! No, we don’t need them to try and fend off the beast as we go back!”
“I didn’t hear you complaining!” Fred shot back. George huffed and sped up. “Oh Merlin!” Fred yelped. “I think the stupid thing took a bite out of my shirt!”
George, who was the faster of the two, reached the fence first and he pushed himself over it and then stood to watch as Fred came hustling towards him. The dog was right on Fred’s heels and was looking ready to bite. George watched with rapt attention, he had to make it, George thought desperately.
“Fred!” George cried in panic as Monster tried taking a chunk out of Fred’s arm. Fred dodged just in time. George jammed his hands in his pockets to keep from leaping over the fence again to try and save Fred. To his surprise, he felt a small circular object at the bottom of his pocket. Pulling it out, George grinned.
Taking aim, George threw the item straight at Monster. Hearing the dog yap in fear as it exploded on his fur, George grinned in victory. Fred meanwhile jumped the fence, panting.
You alright, mate?” George asked, still grinning.
“Never better,” Fred replied between pants. “But next time find that blasted thing faster! I almost was dog food there!” Fred straightened up and the boys looked over the fence to see Monster still barking and growling angrily from the other side. In unison, they stuck out their tongues at the dog. It only seemed to make Monster angrier, high fiving each other they turned around and headed back up the hill to the Burrow.
“Boy, do I love dung bombs,” Fred said.
The rush of the memory hit him full on. It was, as they had always said, their first escape from an early grave. This was their last - George exhaled noisily. How could someone with such life be swiped away in mere moments? They were ruled by moments; moments that in one swift motion can take everything you’ve ever loved away so unexpectedly you almost don’t realize what happened. It shouldn’t have been finished for him, his life still stretched out before him, like sporadically laid down path, yet here he was, unable to follow it. Unable to stand for a moment longer, he collapsed at Fred’s head. His hair was still wild and sweaty as it clung to his laughing features. Reaching up, George tried to push the copper locks away from his face but the mere action seemed to be too much for the twin. His hand, as soon as it touched the hair, shot back as if a bolt of lightning had shot down and electrified him. George dug his hands deep into his robes pocket, trying to stop the unfamiliar pang that was taking over his body. Is this how it feels to have your heart break? George thought shrewdly.
George barely registered that his mum had dropped down beside Fred as well, covering his stocky frame with her own. Her loud howls, though they reverberated across the walls of the Great Hall, seemed far - off to his ears. His mind was still denying that this was happening, that his lifelong partner in crime was - George stopped, he couldn’t face it. He had faced testing products that gave them extra limbs or even changing him into a pig, but seeing the mass of coppery hair lying there, he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t believe that he’d be returning to his flat, completely alone. He couldn’t remember a time that he was that alone.
George noticed that Ron and Hermione had showed up, Hermione was hugging Ginny, and Ron looked lost. For a moment, he wondered where Harry was. But, as George looked back to Fred, all other thoughts disappeared. George’s gaze fell upon his eyes once again, eyes so much like his own; the only thing that really said that he was never coming home. The ever-present glint in his eye that George was so used to seeing had at last been extinguished, and George was afraid that the light in his own had died along with him.
The time seemed to drag on for hours, but, in reality, it wasn’t nearly as long. George still knelt at his brother’s head, but his mother had long been pulled away from Fred and she was clinging to Arthur. Her sobs had subsided considerably. Feeling a light hand on his shoulder, George looked up to see Ginny standing above him. Her shoulders were shaking and without thinking, he pulled her down into his lap and held her small frame.
“I’m so scared, George,” she whimpered into his shoulder, “What if this never ends?”
“Of course it will Gins, we all know Harry will finish You-Know-Who off,” George reassured, rubbing her hair soothingly, “And if he doesn’t I’ll go over and give him a good punt in the arse.” Ginny laughed half-heartedly through her tears. George reached over and brushed them away, “Stop your weeping, if Harry comes, he won’t be able to see your pretty brown eyes.” Ginny rolled her eyes at George. George grinned down at her cheekily. Though he knew the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“You’re not alone, George,” Ginny said after a few minutes of silence. George looked down at her earnest face. She reached up and touched his face. “We’ll never forget him,” George remained silent as he watched her. He knew no one would ever truly understand how it felt to lose a twin, it was as if some part of him had been ripped unceremoniously away and there was no way he was every going to get it back.
“I know, Ginny,” he finally answered and he ruffled her hair affectionately.
“George!” she shrieked and swatted his hand away.
Before they could continue on with their banter an eerie hush fell over the Hall. For a moment, neither knew what was going on. But then his voice took over the silence, a voice as cold as a winter’s day covered everyone’s heart like a blanket of ice. The man who was the reason behind the war was speaking, informing them in a sinister voice that their hero was dead. The light-hearted manner George and Ginny had created had vanished as their hopes were.
George looked up at the ceiling into the angry clouds. He saw only a few brave stars shining through. It was funny that at times like these when you’re begging for something to change, the stars that were once life, only stare mockingly back down on you neither offering their help or pity in their glittering multitude. He needed answers, a reason why he had to fall and not take him along. The one place he couldn’t follow Fred, and that was through death, the only place he really wanted to be.
Ginny yelped at what was being spoken and she shot up from George’s embrace and raced out of the Great Hall. Many others followed her lead.
George couldn’t move, couldn’t leave the only one who ever understood him fully. He was, after all, his brother, his best friend. How could he leave him here, it was like he was glued to the ground, but even then he could hear the gloating words run through his head again and again from the man he wished to be dead.
Harry was dead. That’s what You-Know-Who claimed. He said that he killed him as Harry tried running away. George scoffed at that. Harry would have gone down fighting. The blatant lie infuriated him, as if the one person who had their hopes would actually run. No, Harry would have died with honour, as everyone else in this room had done. They died fighting for the true cause- they were fighting for their freedom. Finding his wand in his pocket, he grasped onto it tightly. He wasn’t going to let their sacrifices be a waste, but be an emblem of all they had to gain in their struggle for liberation. Feeling the tightness that held him down release its angry grasp, George stood up to fight for Harry’s honour, his brother’s honour. Legends don’t die, but men do- and so do brothers. It was not over, at least not yet. This moment he decided to stay strong, for the time to mourn was later, for now, he must go on.
Authors Note: Well, i guess this is just my way to say goodbye to Fred. I'm very disappointed that he's dead, but i guess that's the way the cookie crumbles, right? So i hope that you guys liked this. Do tell me what you thought of it and what parts you didn't quite get.
And, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of Heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night. -William Shakespeare.