Chapter 1 : Fighting the Demons
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“Jamie, would you answer the bloody door?”
“One second,” came the choked reply as the brunette struggled to wipe away at the mascara streaming down her face. The boy could just apparate into the house if it were really that bloody important she thought as she tossed a tissue into the waste basket.
“Jamie, my mum is really impatient right--”
“Ronald, would you please gain a bit of patience?” Jamie replied back coldly after crossing the bare living room of her Diagon Alley apartment. She turned the cold brass knob and yanked open the door, bloodshot eyes meeting bloodshot eyes.
“Sorry, Jay. But my mum--”
“I know, Ron. Trust me, I know,” she said, her voice trailing off as she fought the prickle of tears. Naturally the mother of the deceased would want to be on time to the memorial service, but so would the assumed future fiancé. So much for that.
Everyone knew that Fred had been mustering up the courage to ask Jamie to marry him. It wasn’t a surprise, even to Jamie--the couple had been discussing marriage for months and the future had been looking so bright. How quickly things had changed.
“Ron? Jamie?” piped in a feminine voice from the door, causing the redhead and the brunette to turn around. “Mum’s wondering what’s taking so long and sent me up,” Ginny explained quietly as she stepped around the chipped blue door and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Merlin’s beard, I’m coming,” Jamie sighed, throwing her arms up in defeat.
Her shoulders sank as she snatched a letter off the stack of memories on the couch. One would assume it’d be easier to attend the little monthly memorials the Weasley’s held in memory of Fred, but every time was as hard if not harder to endure for Jamie. For a year she had been completely miserable. She didn’t want to face reality anymore. It was so much easier to lock herself in her apartment, clinging to the memories of better times. Despite how unhealthy it was for her and how separated it made her from the rest of the wizarding world, it was darkly comforting.
“What’s got her--” Ron was interrupted by a slap to the back of the head, given by Ginny as the two followed Jamie out of the apartment. “What was that for?”
“For being a downright prat,” she replied simply in a whisper, offering a weak smile as Jamie turned around to see what all the fuss was about. Ginny narrowed her tired eyes at Ron then hurried her steps to catch up with the other girl, linking arms as they made their way down the stairs. “Don’t mind him, Jamie. He has the, oh what did Hermione call it? Emotional depth of a teaspoon?”
“Clearly,” Jamie replied stoically, stepping out into the streets of Diagon Alley and coming face to face with the rest of the Weasley’s, and respected friends.
“Ah, there they are, dear!” Arthur announced to Molly, who looked rather panicked as she stood there with tears welled up in the corners of her eyes and a rather tattered handkerchief in her hand.
“Sorry, Molly. Rough morning?” Jamie said softly, her eyes brimming with tears once again. The woman said nothing, but enveloped the petite brunette in her arms and hugged her tightly.
“I know, dear,” Molly cooed as she ran her hand over Jamie’s back.
“Dear, we should be going. The others will be there soon,” Arthur reminded, placing his calloused, aged hand on his wife’s shoulder as Jamie took a step back.
“Yes, yes you’re right. George, Ron, and Harry stand over here,” Molly started, beckoning them with a few frantic waves of her hand. “And Ginny, Hermione, and Jamie right next to them. On you go, no time like the present,” she said in a nurturing voice, clearly trying her hardest to keep everyone’s spirits up.
Jamie’s eyes flickered over to George who looked about as bad as she felt most of the time. The corner of his mouth twitched in what seemed like an attempt at a smile causing Jamie to mirror the gesture the best she could before shuffling over to Ginny and Hermione.
“On my count, you three will apparate to the cemetary in Mayfair,” Arthur Weasley explained as he placed a hand on Harry and Ron’s shoulder and looked up at George.
“And on my count, we’ll do the same, alright dearies?” Molly chimed in as she stood there with the three other girls.
“Jamie? Jamie, you okay?”
The brunette shook her head, blinking as she snapped from her trance. The sun was shining brightly along the horizon, casting golden rays across the green grasses which were rolling in the warm summer breeze.
“Y-yeah,” she stuttered as she looked over at the person who had stirred her from a whirlwind of memories. Jamie casted her hazel gaze down to the headstone with her letter still clutched tightly in her hands.
Son, Brother, and Friend.
May 2nd, 1998
“It’s crazy to think it’s been a year already,” breathed George as he scratched the back of his neck. Jamie turned slightly, looking at the boy who seemed to have aged so much over this past year. He had lost that light, that contagious feeling of absolute joy, the day his brother had died. It was almost like a part of him had died with Fred, and to be honest, Jamie firmly believed that was exactly what had happened.
“Yeah, crazy,” she repeated, kneeling down in front of the grave and tucking her letter in between withered flowers and the new bouquet that Mrs. Weasley had placed at her son’s grave. Jamie looked around and suddenly realized that the sun had slowly descended and everyone else had already left. “Where’d--”
“Left a bit ago. Mum was....well tired.”
“So are you.”
“Have you looked in a mirror lately?” George shot back in a weak attempt at a playful tone. Jamie smirked softly but it soon faded as the ache of her heart sobered her up.
“It’s so hard to accept that he’s gone, George. I can’t do anything without some memory of him popping into my head and then every bloody memory floods in and I feel like I can’t breathe and I--”
“Breathe, Jamie,” he sighed, turning to face her and placing his large hands on her shoulders.
She looked up through glassy eyes, her lower lip quivering subtly as she peered back at him. His eyes were tired, blood-shot and just as glassy as her’s. Soon his arms were wrapped tightly around Jamie’s shoulders, pulling her into a hug. The strong embrace should’ve been comforting and it really was like hugging Fred, but she wouldn’t let herself slip into that illusion. It had happened so many times before, but tonight she just couldn’t bear lying to herself.
“George, I can’t keep fighting these demons. It’s going to break me,” she whispered, her cheek resting against his chest, crystal tears cascading down her pale cheeks as she looked over at the headstone.
“You don’t have to fight them alone.” And how true that was, how very true that was.