Author's Note: Thank you to Project Team Beta for editing this for me. It's a one shot...most likely? Maybe? Probably? We'll see.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or setting. They belong to JK Rowling.
one month later…
"Percy said I would find you up here."
George looked up at Angelina, then back out over the meadow. He was sitting atop a small hill on the outskirts of the Burrow, but he was facing away from his home. Angelina dropped down beside him, resting her hands on her bended knee and said nothing further. What was there to say? What would he want to hear? Bloody hell, what a mess.
After a while, he said, "Where've you been?"
Angelina's eyes widened as she looked at George. His voice was bitter, almost accusatory. She hadn't expected that, and it hurt. Tears stung her eyes, but she didn't let them fall. She didn't think tears would serve either one of them at this point.
"Where was I supposed to be?" she shot back, turning away from him.
"I don't know. I thought we were friends."
"We are. You and—" Angelina squinted and pushed ahead. "You and Fred are my oldest friends."
"So, what, you're not my friend anymore, Georgie?"
George tore a clump of grass up, not looking at the woman who sat beside him. "If we were friends, you would have come sooner."
After a moment of silence, Angelina said, "I would have if I knew you wanted me. I didn't want to intrude on your family in their time of grief."
"Time of grief," he snorted. "Shite, you sound like Percy. So formal. Fred's fucking dead. I'm not grieving, I'm bleeding to death."
"Well," Angelina said, scooting away, "that sounds serious. Do try not to get any on my shoes, they're new."
George looked at her red, patent leather Mary Janes. They'd cost a bloody fortune and they were stiff as hell, but they were gorgeous. There had been a yellow pair as well, but Angelina had decided to go with red. It was her color.
First George snorted, then he outright laughed. Tears leaked down his face, and he wiped at them with the heels of his hands. Angelina sat quietly, waiting for whatever would come next. She'd grilled Percy before coming up here. She knew that George was prone to mood swings—usually rage to sorrow, according to his older brother. Angelina didn't care. She could roll with whatever George could dish out.
"Merlin's dick, Angelina, you and your shoes." George looked at her for a long time. "I haven't laughed since…" His voice trailed off. He turned his head so that he was staring at the horizon.
Finally, Angelina looked at her old friend. "Well, now you have, haven't you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I have." He drew his legs up, wrapping his arms around his knees. "Thank you."
Angelina scooted closer. She wrapped her arms around him, leaning her head against his shoulder. They sat in silence, the wind ruffling their hair. Eventually, they lost track of time. It wasn't until the sun dipped low in the sky that Angelina realized how long they'd sat there and how stiff her limbs were.
"We ought to head back," Angelina said. She sat up and stretched her arms above her head. "Your family will begin to worry."
"They'll worry no matter where I am," George replied.
"Should they worry?" Angelina asked mildly.
George shrugged. "You know, Fred was in love with you."
"No, he wasn't."
"Alright, he wasn't, but he thought you had the hottest arse in Hogwarts."
"Him and everyone else. I did have the hottest arse in Hogwarts."
Angelina smiled smugly. "What's there to be humble about, I ask you?" She bumped his shoulder with hers.
"Alright, Angie, tell me one thing. Did you really let Fred touch your tits at the Yule Ball?"
"Nice, Georgie," she scoffed, rolling her eyes. "He tried, and I broke his fingers."
"I knew he was lying. Bastard."
"You want to know a secret, then?"
"One of yours? Absolutely."
"When I was in first and second year, I used to think I would marry you and then I'd get Fred as a kind of spare husband. Two for the price of one, as it were. Then I could keep both of you in my life forever."
George smiled sadly, pulling at the grass again. "We were going to marry the Patil twins," he said. "Because they'd get the twin thing, wouldn't they."
"Which one were you going to marry? Padma or Parvati?"
"It didn't matter."
Angelina laughed. "You two are despicable."
"Were," Angelina echoed in a quiet voice.
"I don't think I want to marry one of the Patils anymore."
"Oh, Georgie, I think it's too soon to think about that."
"Lately, I try not to think at all if I don't have to."
Such hurt dripped from his words—it made Angelina's heart ache to hear it. She'd been friends with both Fred and George, of course, but it was always a bit easier with George. It was hard to admit now, but sometimes she hadn't really liked Fred. He could be mean and thoughtless, and he had had a ruthless streak that most had overlooked because he was the class clown. George, for anybody who cared to know him, was not at all his twin. Under the daring and brashness, there was a kindheartedness to George that Fred did not possess. Empathy came more naturally to George, as did helpfulness. On those dead rare occasions that George was alone, he could even be quiet.
But the twins were as similar as they were different. They were a seamless team on and off the pitch. They knew innately how to balance one another's strengths and weaknesses—it was what made them so inseparable and so unstoppable. As much as Angelina had enjoyed stolen moments with just George, she never imagined a world where just George existed. Finding out Fred was dead had torn her heart to shreds. First for her lost friend, then again for the brother he left behind. Angelina was never sure which one she hurt for more.
"Angie," George whispered. "Who am I?"
Angelina stiffened. His words—those dreadful words—echoed so clearly her thoughts that it felt like being hit with a Cruciatus curse. She bit her lip, willing herself not to cry.
"You were never the same person, Georgie," she whispered back, traitorous tears were escaping her eyes now.
"I-I do know that, but…I always thought we lived to balance out the other. I'm out of balance."
"Did you know how to balance on your broomstick the first time you flew it?"
George looked at her. "You want to talk about brooms?"
"Just answer the question."
"No, I fell arse over tits the first three times I ever mounted a broomstick. Happy?"
"But you learned to balance eventually, yeah?"
George stared at her for a long time, then cracked a smile. "If I wanted Quidditch metaphors I would have gone to Wood. Pathetic."
They sat in silence again. The sun was nearly to the horizon now and the spring air was turning chilly. Angelina cast a warming charm over George and herself.
"I threw away my D.A. Galleon," George said. "The day all the names of the D.A. dead were flashed. I mean, whose fucking idea was that? As if we weren't all depressed enough."
"I didn't know some of them," Angelina said, ignoring his anger for a moment. "They must have joined this last year."
"Yeah, yeah, maybe." He started rocking jerkily, as if he were having trouble sitting still. "I didn't know the first one: Louanne Abernathy. Fred was last. Fred Weasley. There were fifteen names between Louanne and Fred."
"Anyway, I threw my coin away, and I did such a good job I can't even Summon it. Pretty dumb, huh?"
"What about Fred's Galleon?"
George shrugged. "What do I do now?"
The sun was slipping past the skyline. The whole sky was ablaze in pinks and golds. Angelina wondered if they were still speaking of the Galleon. She suspected they were not. The non-sequitors were a bit off-putting. When George was on his own he was usually on point. Angelina's stomach growled, making George snort with laughter.
"Well, there's your answer," Angelina said, laughing herself. "Feed me, Georgie, before I get grumpy."
George stood up and offered his hand to Angelina. Slipping her hand into his, Angelina let George pull her up. They stood very close to one another, his blue eyes staring into her brown. He took her other hand and just held them between their two bodies.
"I want to reopen the store," George admitted, looking down at their hands.
The first true smile of the afternoon came to Angelina's face. She was so happy to hear George speak of moving forward. Frankly, she had been afraid he would become stuck in this place where he mourned for his twin and what they had. Angelina was afraid she would lose both of her friends.
"I think that's bloody brilliant," she told him.
"I don't know how."
"Of course you do!" Angelina blurted out, startled by his admission. "You've done it once before."
"But with Fred. I don't know how to do it alone."
Angelina stared at George's bowed head. "What is this about 'alone,' then? Quite aside from your massive and mental family, you have me."
He squeezed her hands, whispering, "Yeah?"
"Definitely. Quidditch season is over, and I won't start up training again for a few months so, you can have me every day, if you want me."
"I do. I do want you. If you can put up with me."
"I think I can manage." She pulled one of her hands from his and stuck it in her pocket. She fished around for a bit until she produced what she was looking for. "In fact, Georgie Porgie, I have a Galleon that says the old Triple W opens in a month."
In Angelina's hand, glinting in the last rays of sunlight, was her D.A. Galleon. On 31 August of last year, knowing students were headed back to a Hogwarts run by Death Eaters, she'd fished it out of her jewelry box just in case. She'd carried it every day, feeling it heat, reading its messages, and feeling helpless. The war was over, but she still carried it.
George smiled, the barest of devilment glinting in his eye. "You're on, Angie Wangie. My money's on three weeks. Seal it with a kiss?"
Angelina pushed his head away, laughing at his exaggerated pucker. "In your dreams, Weasley."
A/N2: I have another story that I am just now submitting to PTB. Editing can be a lengthy process, but look for something new from me soon.