Chapter 1 : His Other Half
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They were twins; two halves of the same person, two sides of a coin, yin and yang. They had the same personalities, same ambitions and interests, same likes and dislikes. They had the same feelings and thoughts, same speech. They shared the same appearance and voice, height and weight. They were exactly the same, always together.
You never saw one without the other.
Their names were always wrapped with the other's. We, they, those two, them, theirs. Even in birthday cards, one name followed the other. Fred and George, Gred and Forge, the Weasley Twins. George was used to be part of a plural, having a second half.
It was only natural to think of them as one soul in two bodies.
But now, now he was singular. I, he, him, his, that guy. Cards and notes of condolence were addressed to him only, no other name in front of his.
George always came second to his brother, but he didn't mind.
People walked up to him, shook his hand, hugged him, told him it was alright, that they were sorry, that they understood, and would be there if he wanted to talk to them. They bid him goodbye and good luck, using his name and his name only, before walking away. It made him angry, frustrated, annoyed.
Because they didn't understand, they didn't understand at all.
He was so used to having a double, always having someone to finish his sentences and being there to talk to. He was used to sharing a room with someone, of looking at someone like he was gazing at a mirror, and whispering plans for their latest pranks. He was used to hearing his mother call both names when she tried to wake them up, or when she wanted to tell them off. He was used to Fred just being there.
It was weird for everyone, seeing one without the other.
After Fred's death, George kept expecting to see him. He would roll over in the morning and look at Fred's bed, a wide grin on his face as a new idea came to him … the grin would fall when he found the bed empty. He would start stacking shelves in his shop, and call out for some assistance … he would always drop the merchandise when no one answered his call. He would look up from his work and open his mouth to speak, closing it instantly when he found no one sitting beside him. He would pause mid-sentence, waiting for his twin to finish it … he'd finish the sentence hastily and excuse himself when no one ended the sentence for him.
Everyone had trouble remembering he wasn't around any more, but it was hardest for George.
When he finally accepted Fred's death, he felt hollow; he felt like something was missing from inside him, as if someone had ripped away a few of his limbs. He was vaguely aware of a dull pain in his chest. He turned into a shell of his former self, the only thing similar being his appearance. He no longer smiled or joked or pranked.
No one blamed him, or questioned him.
He didn't cry, no, not for a few years. He lived silently, hollowly, feeling nothing. He felt nothing at his brother's funeral, nothing at his sister's wedding, nor Ron's. He felt nothing when he looked at his first niece (Victoire) or his first nephew (James). More and more sprung up, but still he felt nothing. The family worried for him, but never dared to bring it up, too afraid to hear his cold, lifeless voice or see his blank eyes without the joyful glint.
He was so different to how he used to be, so closed and distant, instead of fun and carefree.
People started trying to talk to him; family, friends, teachers; they all told him the same thing. Different words, but with the same meaning. He's gone, George, he won't come back. They don't like seeing you like this. Re-open the joke shop. Start anew. Don't ruin your life. Don't let his death spoil your future. Keep strong. Smile every once in a while, crack a joke, make silly puns, invent a wacky new prank. Don't let this break you down.
They didn't stop to consider that his life was already ruined, broken beyond repair.
Everyone received scars in the war, both on the outside and the inside, some worse than others. Bill, for example, was turned into a werewolf, and Fleur had to suffer each full moon, never knowing if her husband would come back alive or not. Another example would be Ron's arm, the jagged scar still pink from when he splinched himself after their Ministry break-in. Yet another example is George himself. He never got used to only having one ear. It wasn't a major part of him, like his brother had been, but the slit in the side of his head never failed to send shivers down his spine when he touched it.
But the scar earned from the loss of his brother ran deeper than any scar has before.
George was sick of people telling him it would be alright, that it was okay, and that it's perfectly fine to feel upset. He felt upset, yes, but he didn't have to broadcast it to the world. He was sick of them lying to him. Because it's not okay, it's not alright, and the pain will never stop. He will always feel lonely and neglected and hollow, because Fred wasn't coming back.
It would never be alright, no one could truthfully promise that it would be.
He never visited his brother's grave, afraid of what he might find. The first and last time he saw it was at the funeral, most of which he spent looking at the floor, one foot rubbing the other nervously. What would be there? A few words and dates, telling the world that he was a 'dearly loved son, brother, friend, and student'? Anger boiled inside of George at the thought. Fred deserved more than that. People should know about his intelligence and wit, his humour and love for trouble. People should know about the life he led, the troubles he faced and caused, his family that he loved unconditionally.
A grave never said enough about a person, they were worthless and pointless.
And then he bumped into Angelina again. They started talking, remembering their school days, and all the trouble they got up to. They discussed Fred, and what an amazing person he was, and how much the both of them missed him. They talked for hours, about whatever they could, and for the first time in years, a ghost of a smile flickered over George's face, if only for a moment. The memories of their school years haunted George the next few weeks, making him both happy and sorrowful, the hole in his heart aching to be with Fred again.
But George knew that he couldn't be a kid forever.
Angelina helped patch up his life. She slowly made him smile more often, even laugh at times, but the pain never disappeared. He started craving her presence, knowing she could make him feel better; not healed, but better than usual. After a few years, she helped re-open the shop, helped him earn a steady income. She set his life back on track.
Well, as much as she could.
He slowly found himself falling for her, very slowly. At first, he was unwilling to accept it, afraid to open up his heart in case it was retched so cruelly from him again like it had when Fred died. He weighed his options, waited a while, and told her. Not long after that, she was walking down the aisle, and he was grinning at her, proud to be the groom at the ceremony, though he still felt like something was missing.
Fred would have been the best man.
Seven months after their marriage, Angelina gave George some excellent news. She was pregnant with the baby they had been trying for, for the past seven months. George would have started earlier, but Angelina's parents believed in no-sex-before-marriage, so he respectfully waited. George was ecstatic from the news, and his first thought was that he couldn't wait to tell Fred. It was silly that after all these years, his brother was still the first person that came to mind.
It was just too hard to let go.
Their first child was rightfully named Fred, though that had been Angelina's choice. Their second was called Roxanne; George had chosen the name, merely because he liked it. It sounded wild and carefree, like he and his twin used to be, back in Hogwarts, before the Battle.
That time was long gone though, and George knew it.
Life went on, and they played the happy family. They spent Christmas at the Burrow and went to all the family dinners. The kids knew all about their Uncle Fred, how he died laughing (because, if he had to die at all, Fred would have wanted to die having fun), and how Fred and George got up to mischief at school. They knew how they got the money from Uncle Harry to open the shop, which they had fallen in love with quickly. They knew how their daddy had lost an ear, and how Angelina had been romantically involved with Fred before George.
Because they had a right to know about their father's twin.
Yes, they played the happy family, but they knew that if their daddy wasn't looking very happy, they had to leave him alone, let him suffer in silence as he continued to miss his other half. Although they didn't know what it was like, they knew it pained their Daddy to lose his twin, and even a grown man was allowed to feel alone and lost. No matter how hard George tried to get rid of it, the pain in his chest – in his heart – was ever-lasting, constantly reminding him of how he lost part of him all those years ago.
Because wounds like that just don't heal.
A/N: I'd really really appreciate it if you told me your thoughts in a review ^.^Steph.