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Twenty-Six Stories by fluffball
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 7: G is for Gideon
A/N: I realise that this is really very similar to Fred’s in regards to themes, but I liked them both too much to get rid of either. It’s just a shame they had to be so close together. I hope you enjoy, anyway, this may be my favorite so far!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any characters you recognise.
G is for Gideon
As much as my brother and I were trying to keep quiet, the floorboards creaked under our feet. We’d never been any good at being quiet, anyway. Right in the center of attention was where we’d felt most comfortable. But this was different. Molly--our sister--and her family could very well be done for if we were discovered too soon. I felt Fabian take a deep, calming breath, slightly behind me to my right. It was draining, moving so slowly when we knew that Death Eaters were, at this very moment, deciding how best to torture our loved ones. But we knew that timing is everything...and patience is a virtue.
Too much hinged on this. If we made a mistake--but we couldn’t. We didn’t have to win this fight. We didn’t plan on winning this fight. We just needed their full attention for long enough that Molly and the children could escape. That would require a good amount of gusto and perfect timing.
I leaned in towards the door, which was slightly ajar, and listened. After some time, the voices stopped and all I could hear was the faint whimpering of my nephew. My eyes locked with my brothers identical set and we took a split second to silently come to an agreement. Now.
When Fabian and I were little, my parents and Molly kept telling us we should keep journals because what we wrote would be a lot more meaningful to us when we grew up than it was then. They called them “journals” because we threw a fit when they said “diary”. That was too girly.
Most of the time, we refused, but on occasion, I, at the very least, wrote in mine. I don’t remember much of what I wrote, but I never narrated anything as “I”. It was always “we”, even when I was describing how I felt about things. After all, it never really was “I”. It was alway us, Fabian and myself, together.
If you wanted one, you were stuck with the other, too.
We burst into the room, making as much noise as we could in doing so. Vaguely, in the back of my mind, I regretted not having the unending supply of Fillibuster’s Fireworks I had in my younger days. After all, we wanted to be as big of a distraction as possible. But our own loudness, it seemed, was enough. Every Death Eater in the room had their eyes on us. Perfect.
I didn’t have to even look at Fabian to know what he was going to do. We were a well-oiled machine, two bodies for one person...and we had one goal at this point. Get to the side of the room opposite the door so Molly and the kids could get out. Fabian dove low, under the table the Death Eaters were surrounding, pulling out his wand and slashing the ropes binding our sister as he did. I went over the table, kicking Antonin Dolohov in the chest and retrieving Molly’s wand to throw to her, then diving none-too-gracefully off the edge.
The Death Eaters were so shocked by our sudden appearance that it took them some time to react. But react they did.
“I’m telling you, wet-start fireworks are a bad idea here. We’ll be caught in the explosion as soon as it lands in the toilet.”
“Get out, we know what we’re doing. We’re the experts. You’re the trainee.” Fabian gently pushed Dirk Cresswell to the side and set the fireworks on top of the toilet.
“See, no backfire,” I smiled, “Nice of Molly to give us this idea.”
Dirk looked nervous. “You sure we won’t get in trouble?”
Fabian turned to me, then back to Dirk, “Look, if you’re scared--”
“You can leave--”
“But we see our pranks through to the end--”
“And we’re sticking around.”
I pointed in the general direction of the stall we’d left the fireworks on. “Would you like to do the honors?” I offered the younger student. Looking extremely nervous, he shook his head.
“Suit yourself,” Fabian fired a shield charm to the opposite side of the toilet bowl and edge around a corner, concentrating on keeping the shield up. That way, I wouldn’t launch the fireworks too far and miss the toilet bowl. That was my cue. I gently nudged Dirk behind me.
The toilet certainly did explode! I had to react quickly to a stray piece of ceramic shot at my face and--
I narrowly dodged it. The curse had been intended for Fabian, but my split-second reflex to knock him out of the way had saved him. We were badly outnumbered. At least five Death Eaters were advancing on me and four on Fabian, who was still recovering from being knocked to the ground. I needed to get to him. I needed to save him so the next story I told I could narrate as “we” again.
“PRETEGO!!! STUPIFY!!!” I had given up on silent spells, if I spoke I was faster and I needed that speed now. The shield charm created a powerful barrier between myself and my assailants and the stunner took out the Death Eater standing between my brother and I. In the time it took me to hoist my brother to his feet, the shield was broken.
We positioned ourselves back-to-back and prepared for the onslaught.
There was nothing else for it. We would face our attacker head-on like men and maybe, if we were lucky, we would make it out alive. When our mum yelled our names like that, it was never a good sign. So, you can imagine our shock when we entered the room to her beaming face and one giant hug that she squeezed both of us into.
“Your Hogwarts supply lists came in,” she said, absolutely brimming with delight.
“Oh, so like they did last year--”
“And the year before--”
“And all the years before that--”
“And when Molly went there--”
“Oh, hush, you two!” Mum was doing a very bad job of sounding stern, she was so overjoyed, “I never would have guessed! I thought you two spent all your time goofing off, but, oh, Gideon! I am so proud of you! And you, too, of course, Fabian!”
We exchanged glances, then asked in unison, “What for?”
She pulled me into yet another embrace, “Your Head Boy badge, sweetie!”
I was dumbstruck. Was this some kind of trick to stop us from breaking rules? Then, Fabian, “What’s that got to do with me?”
Mum turned to him, the smile fading slightly, “Well, you two are so much alike, it may as well be both of you!”
“But,” Fabian responded, “It isn’t.”
I got the distinct impression I was the only one who noticed the subtle change in tone. I was the only one who knew him well enough to pick up that Fabian, master prankster, was disappointed in himself for not becoming Head Boy.
“I’m sorry.” Fabian’s voice cracked as he faltered slightly on an attack that could have broken open an escape for us, “I’ve never been the wizard you are.”
“That,” I started, pausing to mutter, “Affligo!” and knock a Death Eater back, “Is complete bollucks.” Another Death Eater’s spell hit me just above the eyebrow, and warm blood began to trickle down my face.
“No,” by now, Fabian sounded on the brink of a breakdown, “It isn’t. Everyone thinks we’re the same, but you’ve always gotten better marks than me, you’ve always kept a more level head than me, and it--anacatus--shows!” A Death Eater unceremoniously shoved his ally Fabian had just dazed to the side and fired a curse. My brother put up a shield charm just in time, but the force of the curse knocked him into me.
I stumbled. Fabian reached out and grabbed my hand, pulling me away from an advancing enemy. I noted with relief that Molly and the kids were gone. I just hoped she wouldn’t come back to help us once she knew they were safe. As I stood side by side with my brother, close enough to feel him breathe, I knew that was how it had to be. How it always was.
My twin and I, standing there, together, ready for anything.
We were looking down at two small boys, hardly a year and a half old. They stood side by side, together, and had already acquired that mischievous glint in their eyes. Fred and George were identical to the last freckle and reminded us so, so much of ourselves. And they could have been us, as babies, except for the eyes. Deep blue to our bright brown. They definitely got their eyes from Arthur. They were staring right back up at us, as if as enthralled by us as we were by them.
Then, quite unexpectedly, Fred threw the quaffle he’d been sucking on at Percy, across the room. When Fabian and I got ready to reprimand him, George stepped in our way. Already, not even two years old, he was ready to take the fall for his twin.
Our backs were to a wall. We’d managed to take out a few, but there were still five Death Eaters closing in on us. Two Death Eaters shot curses at me simultaneously and, in my distraction at blocking those, I left myself completely open to attack on my other side. That was the biggest mistake I’d ever made. Dolohov made a slashing motion with his wand and said an incantation I recognized as his finishing move. I prepared myself for the worst but--
Fred and George were so very young. But even then, at their tender age, the cruel truth of being a twin was present.
One day, and I couldn’t say how far in the future that may be, one of them would die. Before the other. And, while I certainly wouldn’t wish them to know that so young, I genuinely hope they will both come to realise that before reality slaps them in the face.
The name was wrenched from my mouth as I watched my brother, my twin, my other half, jump in front of Dolohov’s assault. The only thing on my mind as I watched him fall was that I had to get to him and I had to keep the Death Eaters from getting in my way. “Confringo!” My spell blew up a nearby chair, knocking them away for long enough for me to lift my brother’s lifeless body from the ground.
By then, I was shaking so violently it was all I could do to keep my wand in my hand. I could hear several sets of footsteps closing in, but I couldn’t see who. It took me a moment to realise that the reason I couldn’t see was because I was crying. I used the back of my wand hand, my hand that wasn’t still clutching Fabian to my chest, to wipe away my tears so I could aim.
I managed to choke out a, “Stupefy!” that, miraculously, hit its target, before it hit me just how pointless this was. I couldn’t. Not without Fabian. I conjured as powerful a shield charm as I could and let my wand drop, collapsing the rest of the way to my knees so I could pull my twin in closer. So I could protect his body against anything the Death Eaters might do to it.
It struck me just how untrue Fabian’s last words to me had been. He was, after all, a better wizard than I. He had died sacrificing himself for me. And, here, I would die, crouching like a coward, waiting for them to break in through my defenses. With that thought, I knew I couldn’t just leave things as they were. I couldn’t let my brother’s body waste away here, never to be found. I had to let someone know what had happened.
I thought of the future of my sister’s twin sons. This felt incredibly bittersweet, but it would have to do. I didn’t think I was capable of feeling a happier emotion than bittersweet. With the last of my energy, I picked my wand back up and forced out the words, “Expecto Patronum!” It took more effort than it ever had, more energy than I would have expected my body to be able to spend at this point, but my silver coyote shot out of my wand. I knew it would take the message to Molly.
Completely exhausted, physically, magically, and emotionally, I slumped to the ground, barely conscious. I could feel my brother’s body under me, hear my breath rattling loudly and, distant as it sounded, I noticed the noises of Death Eater’s continuing to attack my defenses.
The shield charm broke.
I heard footsteps walking towards me.
And a voice.
A/N: As usual, I really do appreciate reviews. Sorry if it takes me a while to get around to responding to them! I know I’m terrible about that, but it doesn’t mean I appreciate you guys any less.