Chapter 1 : Alone
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I hope it was quick for Fred. I hope he didn’t feel any pain. I hope he’s happy, wherever he is.
But most of all, I wish he hadn’t left.
It’s much easier to say ‘left’ than ‘died’. Died is too final, it means that I am really alone.
Just one of two.
I can’t even talk to him now. Not to his grave, not to thin air. I don’t feel him. Hell, I even tried talking to myself. I don’t look like him anymore. Not just the ear.
I wonder, when I see him next, will he recognise me?
We were like the simplest jigsaw on the planet. But you always end up losing a piece of a jigsaw. Or one bit is chewed up by a pet and then it doesn’t fit together like it used to.
I’m the mangled piece, but my other bit is missing.
What a screwed up jigsaw.
I walk into my bedroom at the Burrow. It’s not Fred’s anymore. It’s cold. Mum hasn’t been in to dust, or clean –not that she liked to come in here much anyway, and there is a thick layering over the top of the chest of drawers. I run my finger through it, and then draw a smiley face. My bed is still unmade. I straighten it, pummelling the pillow back into shape. I crank open the window, letting the cool November breeze flutter the curtains, and sit on Fred’s bed. I run my fingers over the cover; over the orange and brown check pattern, over the holes I made with a pair of scissors one night because he wouldn’t talk to me. The wind ruffles my hair. Fred had a better view out onto the garden than me. I lie back, but a sudden growling noise startles me. I peer over the edge of the bed- the snarl is oddly familiar. I see the source. 'The Monster Book of Monsters' lurks under Fred’s bed, surrounded by mice tails and fluff.
The book has gone feral, left to survive on its own here.
I attempt to coax it out, but it retreats under a sticking-up floorboard, and I can hear it scuttling around on the beams below. I can imagine it hiding there for years, with its crab-like crawl, living here until its pages are brittle and crack with age.
Fred, if you can hear me, don’t let me hide away. Don’t let me down, Fred.
I walk into Grimmauld Place. This place became like a second home before Sirius left, but again, it’s been left, forgotten. The last people here must have been Harry, Ron and Hermione, camping out on their hunt for Horcruxes. Downstairs looks a lot different, Kreacher is still cleaning and the copper pots in the kitchen gleam in the red afternoon light, but there is still the unmistakable emptiness of an unlived-in house. I go upstairs to the bedroom I shared with Fred. Kreacher’s cleaned. It doesn’t look like I ever lived here.
I pull out the rickety old stool and balance on it precariously, reaching for the top of the wardrobe. My searching fingers find the edge of the massive cardboard box, so I dig in with my nails and pull it forwards. A puff of dust makes me sneeze, but I manage to grab it with both hands and slam it down onto the floor.
I flip open the lid, the Spellotape yellow and useless now. What a load of junk. The Prefect badge that was planned to be swapped for Ron’s... charmed to make a fart noise whenever he said the word ‘detention’. The spell kept wearing off though, and it never got finished. At the bottom is a layer of chewed up Extendable Ears- Hermione’s bloody cat. What else happened that summer? I find my Slinkhard book for DADA; ‘George Weasley’ is inscribed on the title page. I flick through it, and remember why I didn’t bother packing it. Fred has drawn moustaches on every single picture, and doodled incessantly in the borders. I stop on a page labelled: 'Chapter Thirty-four, Non-Retaliation and Negotiation'. Fred’s drawn an awful picture of a troll, a dragon, a merman and a skeleton, attempting to negotiate peace. But I only know this from the caption beneath; ‘Slinkhard’s endeavours at diplomacy’. The dragon is growling, the troll is scratching his behind and the merman is apparently doing the Cha-Cha Slide. Fred was awful at drawing.
I replace the book, and shove the box back up on the wardrobe. I don’t want to see any more reminders of Fred.
He seems so alive.
How can you still surprise me, Fred?
I walk into the joke shop. This should be the worst, because the memories are freshest. But all I see are new items, new inventions that Fred was never a part of. After the war, Lee and I remade all of our stock- it is now possible to choose the heaviness of the nosebleed from the Skiving Snackboxes. I wish it hadn’t been done now... because there is nothing to properly remind me of Fred. Even the poster of the two of us has been written over, with eulogies to him- and my ear. The same thick black marker is on Fred’s nose and my ear: 'miss you so much'.
Don’t we all?
I walk into the Hogwarts grounds, up from the lake, following the well-worn path carved by hundreds of thousands of tiny first-year feet. I wonder how many of them are still around. The wind howls around the trees, and I trap the end of my scarf between two coat buttons, but it seems determined to make an escape. Only the Whomping Willow is characteristically stiff in the gale. Despite the wind, the sky is clear; a weak, eggshell blue, but the grass is stiff and white with frost. I remember when everything was so much bigger... or was I just smaller? Either way, Hogwarts is nearly unrecognisable now.
I can’t quite understand how I ended up here. How did it happen? How did I get the chance to live, when so many didn’t? It’s not like I have children, like Remus and Tonks, or I have someone who needs me, like Ron and Hermione.
The only person I’ve ever relied on was you, Fred.
I walk into McGonagall’s classroom. The amount of detentions Fred and I spent in here... if the hours spent in here were added up, they must at least equal the time spent in actually school. I crouch down and look on the underside of the desk in the far left corner, as far away from the door and McGonagall as was possible. The carved ideas bring back a torrent of memories.
My scrawl says 'bored, daydreaming and Umbridge= blacklisted'. Those were the days, when all I had to worry about was a toad. A sadistic, evil, candy-coloured toad.
Fred’s writing is nearly undecipherable, but I know what he’s written. 'Fireworks and dragons,' it says, 'portable swamps' and 'need some sort of a decoy?'
Portable swamps. What on earth possessed Fred to think up that one? Brilliant idea –even Flitwick thought so- but why?
You always were the more inventive, the more daring, and the better twin.
With a heavy heart, I walk into the Great Hall. But no floating candles light my way anymore, and no ghosts glide past, their transparency glowing like molten silver. I knew he wouldn’t come back- unless he found a way to be a poltergeist. There are no students here, with eyes shining with anticipation, because what really could possibly be better than the start of a future at Hogwarts?
The Hall is still open to the elements from Voldemort’s last attack, the curved beams stretching out into the sky, like a ribcage. The heart has been bombed out of Hogwarts. I thought all was lost. Does Fred know we won, in the end? Does he wonder what happened, whether I’m coming soon?
I had the best time with Fred.
Now, I think, it’s time to say goodbye, for the last time.
Do not pity the dead, pity the living, someone once told me.
I’m living. But I’m determined to live. And so are approximately seven billion others. I’m just one person.
But I’m going to live for the two of us.
A/N: hope you liked this, and reviews are always appreciated. :)
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