A/N: DEATHLY HALLOWS SPOILERS.
Please do not read farther if you haven't finished the seventh book yet.
You have been warned.
Everyone's writing their own version of seeing George cope. This is mine, though it's mostly Molly-centric.
"It is so good to have friends who understand how there is a time for crying and a time for laughing, and that sometimes the two are very close together"
A Summer to Die
Fred and George were not the only children whose names Molly Weasley mixed up. It happened to the best of mothers; no matter how different each of her children were, and no matter how adept she normally was at getting their names right, there had always been occasions where she had called Percy by Bill's name, or Ron by Charlie's, or even Bill by Arthur's. She had even once accidentally called Ginny by the cat's name, which had caused the then-preteen to storm off in an indignant huff. Out of seven children, she was bound to get their names wrong, and having a set of identical twins thrown into the mix had never helped matters.
Just because she might have mistaken their appearances didn't mean that she didn't know her sons as individuals. No matter how alike they might seem, she knew their differences. She knew that Fred was actually the slightly more talkative of the two, and that it was usually George who came up with the bright ideas for their pranks. Fred was more prone to rush into things, although no one would know it because George was always right there alongside him. Fred was the physical comedian; George was the wittier one. Together they were unstoppable.
Molly didn't know what they would be apart.
What he would be. They weren't a they any longer. And George, the ever-so-slightly quieter twin, the just-a-tad more sensitive one, was the one left behind. And as much as Molly hurt for herself, as much as she was torn apart by the loss of her child, the pain seemed even more cruel at the thought of her remaining child being forced to live without his other half. As much as she scolded them, as much as she bellowed out reprimands whenever they pulled a prank, she understood the connection they in a way even they didn't realize. After all, she had grown up alongside their uncles. Every time she let herself be reminded just how much Fred and George were like Fabian and Gideon, it pulled at her heartstrings. It had only been a week since her brothers' deaths that she had found out she was carrying not one child, but two. Still grieving too much over their deaths to name the twins after them, but feeling it wouldn't be right to ignore the connection entirely, she and Arthur had ultimately picked names that shared a first letter with the brave uncles the boys would never know.
Now, with Fred's funeral only hours away, Molly couldn't sleep. She hadn't slept, not really slept, since before the final battle. She knew she wasn't the only one awake in the Burrow; she had heard movement in the kitchen earlier. It was almost strange to be comfortable with hearing movement in her own house. Only a few days ago, the slightest disturbance would have triggered fears of dark wizards, and no one was used to be safe just yet. Still, she knew in her heart which one of her children was in the kitchen, and she battled with herself over whether or not she should go talk to him or leave him to his grief.
In the end, her desire to see her son won out. Besides, Molly Weasley had never been a woman who was content with leaving people alone.
He didn't even look up as she entered the room and sat down at the end of the table next to him. She couldn't help but wonder how long he had been sitting here, not eating or drinking or doing anything at all except sitting. It pained her to see him this way, his somber expression a bitter reminder of the scars that the Dark Lord had left upon each and every one of her children.
They sat together in silence for a long while. She briefly considered summoning a bottle of firewhiskey for them, but decided against it; in George's current state, encouraging him to drink was probably not the best solution.
"Guess you really won't get our names wrong now, eh Mum?" The silence was broken suddenly, and the words were said without anger; Molly recognized it as George trying to make a joke. It fell flat to both of them, and Molly watched as her son's lip twitched in anguish instead of amusement, his eyes blinking rapidly.
"George," Molly began, swallowing back the tears that threatened to choke her, but still unable to completely quiet the tremble in her voice, "All those times I yelled at you and...at you and Fred...every time I tried to stop you from opening up your shop, every punishment I ever gave...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, now, George."
For a moment, George didn't say anything. Then, without warning, he smiled. It was only a shadow of his usual grin; this smile was closed-lipped, subdued, but it was the first smile she had seen on his face since...
"No, you're not," he replied, and continued on before she could protest. "You wouldn't take it back, not a word of it. D'you really think we'd have kept on like we did if you hadn't yelled at us? D'you think we'd have ever become master pranksters if it weren't for you? You screaming your head off at us is part of why we kept on at the joke shop the way we did." To Molly's astonishment, the grin on her son's face was widening. "Blimey, Mum, if it hadn't been for you egging us on, we might have turned out like ol' Perce." He pulled his face into a long, sour look that bore a distinct resemblance to the expression Percy wore when annoyed.
Any other time, a reprimand would have been waiting on Molly's lips for George's jab at his older brother. Some part of her almost wanted to take offense to the remark, especially since Percy was so newly returned to the family. But for whatever reason, something in the feeble attempt at a joke had struck a chord in Molly, and the sound that escaped her lips was not a scold. It was an odd, muffled beginning of a laugh. Fleeting and indistinct, but a laugh nevertheless.
George looked at his mother, his face slowly spreading into a grin, and then he began to chuckle. Molly joined in, quietly at first, and before either of them knew what was happening, they were laughing full-out, laughing louder than either of them had laughed in weeks. They kept going until the laughter was mingled with tears. Mother and son sat at the kitchen table, in the middle of the night, laughing and sobbing until they could barely breathe.
The laughter eventually faded, leaving Molly wiping her eyes and sniffling and George with a tired, thoughtful smile on his face. "Surprised we didn't wake the whole household," Molly remarked, her voice slightly thick, and George smirked.
"Surprised ol' sourpuss didn't come down and tell us off," he replied.
"Oh, stop it," Molly chided, though her tone wasn't really in earnest. George's jokes about his brother no longer held the malice they once had; Molly had the feeling that if the Percy that had just returned home to them had witnessed the scene in the kitchen, he would have been laughing along. A peaceful sort of silence hung in the air around them, one that George broke by speaking as he reached across the table to squeeze his mother's hand.
"I'll be all right, Mum," he reassured. It was the question that had been weighing on her mind, and she half wondered if George himself had even been sure of the answer before that moment. "We'll all be." She looked up to meet his gaze, seeing her lost brothers and her lost son reflected back at her...but more than that, seeing the brave determination of the son left behind.
"I know," she replied, her voice much stronger than she had expected it to be. Another smile passed between them, then Molly rose from the table. Placing a gentle kiss on her son's forehead, she retreated upstairs to sleep peacefully for the first time in days.
They were all going to be all right.