Chapter 1 : Of Tears and Laughter
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MUCH LOVED SON, BROTHER AND FRIEND
April 1, 1978 – May 2, 1998
George stared sadly at the engraved writing. It was now several months since Fred, amongst many others, had died and the war had ended. Sometimes he would see Fred standing in his bedroom or looking through their shop window and he would start a conversation with him, or demonstrate a new product.
At other times, the bright lights and shouts of the war haunted him. He saw Fred lying cold and dead on the stone floor. He watched from a distance as his family cried over the body at the funeral. He was still angry that, despite everything they did together, Fred died without his twin brother. And as far as George was concerned, that meant he died alone. Nightmares were often and recurring and even the Dreamless Sleep potion did little to block them out.
He visited Fred every week and told him what was happening in the mortal world. Sometimes he would be accompanied by the Weasley family but more often than not, he’d just sit there on his own, breathing in the earthy smell of the cemetery and listening to the whistling wind. It was during these visits that reality began to sink in. Never again would Fred tell a joke, finish his sentences or take the fall for him. Never again would George see his twin brother.
“Alright Fred? It’s me again. Thought I’d come by and let you know what’s been going on. I won’t stay long; it’s bloody freezing out here,” George said, trying to sound more cheerful than he actually was. “Oh, I brought you something. It’s your Christmas present so I’ll leave it for you to look at later. I hope you like the sweater. You know, we’ve never spent a Christmas apart, Fred. It’s going to be really strange at home. I’ll bet you anything Mum will be crying most of Christmas Day just like she did when Percy wasn’t here.”
“Anyway, Ron and I have almost got the shop up and running again. Those Death Eaters certainly did a lot of damage; I’m not so sure it wasn’t a personal thing, you know. After all, I don’t think Voldemort appreciated U-NO-POO very much. And yes, I know how much money we’ve lost out on because we weren’t open for the run up to Christmas but if you ask me, it’s your fault. I mean, you just had to go and die didn’t you?” George chuckled.
“Ron’s been brilliant though,” he said soberly. “I don’t know how I would have coped without him these past months. He’s agreed to put his dream of being an Auror on hold to help me out. Angelina too. You know how much she’s always wanted to play Quidditch; she’s had offers from Holyhead Harpies, Puddlemere and the Wasps. But she’s helped us set up shop again; helped me get my life back on track. God, I don’t know what I would have done without either of them. You know, our family were grieving also, but Ron and Angelina, they understood better than anyone. They gave me space when I needed it and most of all, stopped me from making a mess of myself when I was at my worst.” George stopped talking, thinking over what he’d just said.
“I can see you now, laughing at us down here, while you’re up there where you don’t have to worry about a thing. Actually... I can’t.” George fell silent for a moment. “I can’t remember your laugh, Fred. It’s like... it’s like details are fading from my mind. I think I’m forgetting some stuff about you. Like how you used to argue and roll your eyes when Mum told us off. But I don’t want to forget you, Fred. You’re my brother, my twin, and I should be able to remember everything about you.” George sniffled and realised tears were streaming down his face. “Why’s this happening?” he whispered.
A few metres away, a tall figure stood behind a memorial statue. He watched the broken outline of George Weasley crouched in front of a gravestone. Every word carried perfectly over the silent night and he was visibly moved watching his grieving brother.
Eventually he’d heard enough. He moved out from behind the statue and sat down next to George. For a moment he wasn’t sure if George even knew he was here but then he spoke.
“Thank you Ron. Honestly, you’ve been brilliant and I couldn’t wish for a better brother. I only wish I could pay you back somehow.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it. We’re family aren’t we? Besides, Mum would’ve killed me otherwise. Listen George, I heard you back there. I understand how you feel but you need to stop worrying about Fred. You’re not forgetting him, you never will. I think you’re finally coming to terms with Fred’s death. You’ve denied yourself a chance to mourn for him for so long and now you’re accepting it. Just keep him in your mind. 'Cos if you forget him, you'll lose him forever."
“When did you get so wise, Ron?”
“Huh. I guess Hermione’s rubbing off on me,” he said thoughtfully.
“Yeah,” George sighed.
“Hey, do you remember the time we tried those Canary Creams on you?” George asked quietly. Ron looked at him, surprised he was willing to talk about Fred.
“How could I forget? It didn’t work properly, despite your assurances, and I was left looking like a canary for the rest of the day.” Ron smiled. “And then the time when Fred planted a screaming teapot and decoy detonators in Mum’s kitchen. She went absolutely mental. The look on her face when those detonators exploded was hilarious!” George and Ron were trying to hold their laughter back.
“This is what I miss. I miss not being able to laugh and joke like we used to. The pranks Fred and I pulled on you and Ginny were simply brilliant. The best one will always be when we turned your teddy bear into a spider. Ow! Ron! There was no need for that!” Ron had just punched his arm.
“You two have made me terrified of spiders for the rest of my life.”
“Yeah, and that’s exactly why it’s the best one we’ve ever done,” George responded smiling. Ron just rolled his eyes turning away from him.
“Do you see Fred? This is what you left me with.”
George leant back, resting his weight on his hands behind him. Ignoring the dampness of the grass underneath him, he looked up to the sky.
“There you are. Waiting for me... waiting for all of us. I hope it won’t be too long until we meet again. I couldn’t bear it if...” He trailed off.
Clouds rolled across the sky and raindrops began to fall. First slowly, then heavier and faster as if to wash away the pain and sorrow of the past year. Rivers ran down George’s face, his hair matted. He ground his teeth in frustration, letting the rain wash the tears away.
A/N: Thank you for reading this fic. A lot of thanks go to my wonderful beta, LadyMalfoy23, who gave me much needed help. All that’s left for me to say is, please review!! All reviews are appreciated! :D