Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling does.

A/N: I know it's been done a million times. I had to do it too. Review if you please.

He couldn't take it anymore. The sounds of weeping in the Great Hall pierced through him, and even though he never wanted to leave his brother's side again, he needed time to fix a smile on his face. It was what everyone would expect. He couldn't let them down.

Straightening up from where he'd been crouched by his twin's head, he let his hand graze Fred's hair and, swallowing hard, he elbowed his way from the room without another word. His father watched him go with a pained expression, but he said nothing. He knew that they all understood each other's grief and that they all loved Fred more than they could ever express, but he also knew that George was now experiencing something none of them could really understand.

George stumbled from the Hall, looking around desperately for a secluded corner where he could be by himself. But he would always be by himself now. The thought came to him unbidden. He swallowed hard again and forced himself to think. If there were anyone in Hogwarts who should be able to find a place to hide it would be him and… well, him. It would be him. Shaking his head to free the unwanted thought that the sentence was incomplete, he managed to spot an alcove that hadn't yet been destroyed and he hurried to it. To his relief, no one was there, and he slumped against the wall, closing his eyes and letting himself slide down to a sitting position.

He stared at the wall in front of him, not really seeing it, not seeing anything but the image he'd left behind in the Great Hall. Because that's what it is, George told himself firmly. It's not Fred. It can't be. He wouldn't have left me like that. He can't be gone.

He let out a shaky breath as he remembered his mother's sobs. She wouldn't be crying like that over an image, he thought. He gripped his head in his hands and pulled hard on his own hair, hoping the physical pain would distract him from an emotional pain he never wanted to accept or even acknowledge. But even the pain he was causing himself only reminded him of the pain Fred must have felt when he fell… no matter that there was a smile on his face, he thought bitterly, his head still in his hands, his eyes firmly closed against the tears.

It wasn't that Fred wouldn't want him to cry. He knew if the situation were reversed, this would be Fred sitting here now. Neither of them would ever try to pretend that they weren't a part of each other. But he didn't want to cry. He wanted to laugh. He shook his head against his knees, which he had now drawn up as he tried to fold into himself. He wrapped his arms around his legs and pulled tightly against them, trying to hold back the sobs that were now rising to the surface. His lips were pursed and his eyes shut tightly, but he could feel the tears slipping past the closed lids. He tried to stay as quiet as possible, but he knew he wouldn't be able to hold this in for much longer. Before he could contemplate another place he could go, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he stiffened.

Afraid to raise his head, afraid of what his voice would sound like, he managed to croak, "What."

But no one spoke. The hand just tightened on his shoulder, and he knew he no longer had any hope of repressing the sobs that were threatening to choke him. He just hoped whoever it was would know enough not to say anything, and he buried his face in his legs as he felt himself shake with sobs that were threatening to overwhelm him. He knew he sounded nothing like himself anymore, but he couldn't care less at this point. He wasn't himself anymore. He was just… George. How could he be a Weasley twin when he was only one?

The thought made him cry even harder, and when he finally managed to breathe again, he knew that whoever had come to him was now kneeling beside him, sniffling as well. Slowly… very slowly… he opened his eyes. Somehow, he wasn't surprised.

"I lost one of you," Percy choked, his own eyes glistening with tears, "and I'm your older brother. I couldn't let that happen again."

George nodded, trying to look reassuring, but he felt his face crumple against his will. This time, though, Percy tugged him forward, and he fell with his head crashing on his chest where his prefect badge had once sat, his older brother's arms around him, as they both shook with sobs. George calmed down first, though, and he pushed himself back to his place on the floor, watching Percy take the deep, gulping breaths that were becoming all too familiar to them now. When he seemed to master himself, the brothers stood up unsteadily, arms about each other as they walked back to the Great Hall.

As they approached the place from which George had fled, Percy felt him stiffen again and he tightened his grip.

"I've got you," he muttered, and George nodded. He tried not to look at Fred and instead looked at the rest of his family, whom he had barely acknowledged before. Bill stood with Fleur, her arms around his waist, his face twisted as he struggled to hold back his own tears. Charlie's head was hanging as he stared at the floor, his arm around Ginny. She was staring at their mother who was still lying across Fred, her shoulders shaking, and tears ran down her own cheeks. George couldn't bring himself to look at his father and instead looked at his other brother, the only other one who had seen his twin fall. Ron had his arms around Hermione and his face in her shoulder, and she was staring at the scene through tear-filled eyes even as she patted Ron's shaking shoulders, trying to murmur words of comfort.

Percy tried to guide him to stand with Ron and Hermione, but George knew where he had to be. He went back to the place he'd left, his face white and his eyes red, and slowly sat down by Fred's head. He hadn't managed to find his smile after all. He'd lost it when he lost his other half.