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Twenty-Six Stories by fluffball
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 6: F is for Fred
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any characters.
F is for Fred
Well. This was odd. Where was I? A moment before, I’d been at Hogwarts, duelling Rookwood and Percy had been duelling Thickness and...Percy had made a joke! But now I was nowhere near Hogwarts now, was I? It was certainly peaceful here. And rather empty.
Then it hit me. I was home, in the flat above our store. George’s and my store, to clarify for those of you who don’t know who the other half of the “we” in relation to me is. But it hadn’t ever been this empty that I could remember, not even when we’d first purchased it. I mean, there wasn’t even any dust or beds or really anything. I could only pick it out from another building because of the sloped ceiling on just one corner of the room.
How did I get there?
Figuring there quite literally wasn’t anything to look at in our flat, I made my way downstairs. To my surprise, our store had been completely emptied, too, both of merchandise and people. It seemed that, for the first time since we bought it, I was alone here. “George?” I called out, quite sure that he was somewhere around here. He had to be. We were always together. Always.
I looked around, walking slowly from room to room. There was something eerie about the place, quite apart from its emptiness.
“George?” I was beginning to detect panic in my own voice, although for the most part I felt strangely at ease.
Now that I’d actually had a look around I began to notice how comfortable I felt here, despite the slight anxiety I felt at being ripped apart from my twin. None of the bruises, cuts, and other injuries I’d received in the battle I’d just left were bothering me anymore. In fact, it didn’t seem that I was injured at all. The building was a perfect temperature and the usual draft coming from the back door was completely absent. What was more, I noticed that I wasn’t wearing anything. That was strange to say the least, because I was quite sure that I hadn’t forgotten to get dressed this morning. Of course, even though I had noticed this, I couldn’t get dressed because the place where I’d once kept my things was now quite empty. No matter, though, because it was clear no one would come here.
“George?” My voice was soft. I wasn’t expecting an answer.
The door in the front room creaked open. I hesitated, then moved forward to see who it was. “George!” I ran forward in excitement, but as I drew near I realised that this was not my twin, though he looked very much like him. His face was framed by two ears, not one, and my brother had lost one just months before. This man’s eyes were a bright brown colour that immediately reminded me of my mother and sister, but were certainly not the blue my brother and I sported. I thought a couple of his freckles looked to be in the wrong spot, too.
“You’re...not George,” I didn’t know what else to say. Despite the differences, this man had our exact stature and build. He had to have been within millimetres of our height. Atop his head was flaming red hair, the exact shade of ours, his ears were the right height, his nose was the right shape, and he had that glint in his eyes that said he could be pulling a prank right underneath my nose.
“No, I’m not,” the man answered with a warm smile.
“Then who...” I trailed off because in that moment I knew who he must be. Or I could guess with a 50% chance of success at who he was. “You’re Uncle Fabian. Or are you Gideon?”
The stairs creaked to my left. I turned to see an identical man traipsing down the stairs. “He’s Gideon and--”
“He’s Fabian,” the first one I’d seen finished the second’s sentence for him.
“Gid, he looks like--”
“Yeah, he does, but--”
“Maybe, I think that there’s--”
“Oh definitely. He’s worried--”
“So was I but I’m not the one--”
“I know. How can I--”
“Well first we have to--”
“How do you--”
“I don’t know.”
So this was what it was like for an outsider to hear George and I talk to each other. Blimey, we must be annoying. Unsure of what exactly the twins had just said to each other, I decided to go ahead and ask, “How did I get here?”
The two looked at one another and seemed to have an entire conversation with their eyes alone. A part of me wished they’d cut it out, but another part of me was really beginning to feel that these uncles, who had died when I was just a toddler, could likely still understand me and my apprehension very well.
“Er...well..” Fabian looked a little nervous. He seemed to be searching for words.
But, upon actually thinking about the fact that I was now in a room with my two dead uncles, I realised I didn’t need to hear whatever words he was trying to form. I knew. “I-I’ve died, haven’t I?”
“Well, yes. You have,” Gideon replied softly.
“We’re here to bring you...home,” Fabian’s voice was gentle, calming.
“There should be a train waiting outside, Freddie. Whenever you’re comfortable with it.”
“We have all the time you need.”
Maybe I was in shock. I certainly felt rather numb in that moment, unsure of what to feel. So I just stood there, letting it sink in. The reason I was no longer at Hogwarts was that I had been killed there, presumably right after Percy had made that joke. So I had died at my brother’s side. Well, at least he was still alive, wasn’t he? I’d left him behind but he could take care of himself. And that was when in really hit me.
“No!” I backed away from my uncles, knowing what going with them would mean. “I can’t go, only half of me is here and I can’t leave the other half...I can’t leave...George...behind...” my voice trailed off. I felt a pressure building up in my chest and throat, a pain that made my heart feel as if it were about to explode. For the first time I could remember, I was completely and inescapably separated from my twin. There would be no seeing him later today or anything of the sort. We were apart.
Fabian slowly approached me, placing a hand on my shoulder and saying, “I know exactly how you’re feeling and I assure you, it will be alright.”
I wrenched away, “You don’t understand what it’s like to leave your twin behind! Not when he’s probably fighting for his life as we speak!”
“Yes, I do,” Fabian responded.
“I could move on but then I’d be leaving George alone and what will he do without me?” I choked out.
“Freddie, he will never stop missing you and he’ll never forget you, but he can still live on,” Gideon now spoke. “The moment Fabian died, I felt lost, confused, grieved. It was terrible and I think you’re old enough not to have that sugar-coated. But it didn’t stop me from being able to function.”
“You and your brother are strong, brave men,” Fabian added.
“You’ve lived through so much, and done it with smiles on your faces--”
“And there is no reason why--”
“That should be any different now,” the two finished together.
I took a deep breath, forcing back tears. They were right. And George wouldn’t be able to live on if he knew that I was unhappy in death, just as I wouldn’t truly be at rest if he didn’t live on.
“The shoppe--” I knew I was stalling now, not quite ready to move on.
“You have a huge, loving family--”
“And a little brother who would be delighted--”
“You think the idea of Ron running the place with George will comfort me? It’ll be in ruins!”
My uncles burst into laughter. “Well I was going to suggest Percy--” Uncle Gideon chuckled.
“Really? I’d have pegged Molly as more the sort,” Uncle Fabian responded with a familiar glint in his eye.
“George can’t run it on his own, he’ll be overworked...”
Both of my uncles’ expressions softened once again.
“When we said that your family would help--”
“We meant it.” Uncle Fabian finished his brother’s sentence.
I walked to the front door, letting all that we’d talked about sink in. I reached my hand out and grabbed the doorknob. At that moment, I froze, thinking of something. “Will I ever see him again?”
“Fred...” Gideon said gently, “I think that, when George’s time comes, he would very much like it if you were the one to guide him into the beyond, just we did for you and just as Fabian did for me.”
That was all I needed. I turned the knob and pushed the door open. To my great surprise, there really was a train, waiting just outside the shoppe.
And I knew it was there for me.
A/N: I appreciate reviews =) Helps motivate me to keep writing, although I generally don’t write a ton except when I’m on break from school. Sorry about the long gaps between chapters, I get really busy! I actually had this one written months ago, but it got deleted and I had to rewrite it, so I really am sorry it took so long for me to post this one in particular.
I also realise I took some creative liberty with what happens after one dies in Harry Potter. It seems like most fics just have everyone’s “moving on” scene in a train station, but I didn’t think that really fit because Dumbledore didn’t know until Harry told him where they were. So I saw it as more of being a significant transitional place where Harry moved from one life into another. And for Fred, I figured that would be his shoppe, where he moved on into his “adult” life.