A/N: DH spoilers up the wazoo! Don't read this if you aren't finished or don't want to be spoiled.
Anyway, this story was started on a whim when I finished DH and was left curious about the fate of two of my absolute favorite characters. After some thought I realized that I could resolve both in one fell swoop AND help myself say goodbye to one of my other favorite characters. So this story was born. I can't be the only one that likes this pair! Besides, I may not make this a romantic story depending on the reviews I get. If you all would like to see a GW/LL romance, let me know! If not, let me know that too. Without further ado, I give you...
Light on a Distant Hill
When hard times fall
and good times fade,
always, always, always
keep a weather eye out
for light on a distant hill.
For a person who had spent most of his life being as loud as he could possibly be, George Weasley was vaguely surprised to find that silence came quite naturally to him. He could sit amid his family as the spoke, laughed and wept and never have even the slightest urge to join them. Instead he would wonder about odd, unrelated things that seemed somehow much nearer to him then his emotional family. "Would Hogwarts ever be able to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts for more than a year?" or " Did Harry realize that he had a very small piece of roast carrot in his hair?"
He knew it didn't matter, but it made sense to him, so he let himself think such silly thoughts until they inevitably lead back to him and were added to his list of things he couldn't dwell on.
He knew it worried his family. One disadvantage of his newfound silence, he discovered, was that it sometimes made is nearly impossible to avoid eaves-dropping on them. Their voices would carry though rooms and walls, and against his will he would hear their fretful murmurs echo into his room. They always said his name in a hushed, worried tone and often in conjunction with words like "shock", "depression" and occasionally "unhealthy."
Sighing, George shifted restlessly in his seat by the window.
He didn't mean to worry them, He just couldn't make himself act any differently, no matter how hard he tried.
His distant gaze out the window shifted from a young gnome digging about in the garden to the sun-kissed hill he could see just beyond where the Weasley property ended. The side of it facing the sunset was a warm gold-brown color in the waning light, the tall grass rippling invitingly in the breeze.
Turing away, George rose stiffly from his spot by the window and began to make his way across the room he used to share with his lost brother. It seemed old and empty now, but he had refused Ron's offer to switch rooms weeks ago and didn't intend to change his mind.
The old stairs creaked beneath his feet as he descended towards the kitchen. He wasn't hungry, but eating was a habit he knew better than to let himself break.
He passed Percy's closed door quietly, feeling a small pang of something hurtful deep in his chest. From what he had heard from his family's hushed conversations Percy wasn't taking it much better than he was. He didn't know how to react to that. He didn't exactly want Percy to suffer, yet some small, evil part of him blamed his older brother for not saving his dead twin. If he had been there, he would have been watching his brother's back, like always. Maybe if he had been there he wouldn't be missing so much more than an ear.
He looked away from the old, wooden door and hurried down the rest of the stairs looking straight ahead.
When he reached the kitchen Ginny looked up at him from the table, placing the quill she was using back into its inkwell. It looked like she was in the middle of writing a long letter to Harry.
"George," she said, sounding surprised and slightly awkward. Her posture and voice gave off the distinct impression of a person that had walked in on something private.
George gave her only a small, jerk-like nod in response before walking past her to the cabinets where they stored food.
He pulled out a magically preserved piece of cake that he had the sneaking suspicion may have once been part of Bill's wedding cake. While magic had kept it from going bad, George eyed it suspiciously before setting it aside. No piece of cake lasted that long in the Weasley house without good reason.
Settling on a large granny smith apple, George made his retreat from the kitchen, Ginny's worried hazel eyes burning into the spot just between his shoulder-blades all the while.
Having escaped to the mud room, George placed the apple between his teeth and pulled on an old pair of boots that may or may not have been his own. Not bothering to tie the laces, he stepped out the door on the opposite side of the room and into the backyard.
It was a warm and breezy evening. The occasional sounds of chickens clucking and scratching softly about the yard and the scuffle of little gnome feet were accompanied by the constant rustle of leaves in the wind. It was an odd cacophony of sounds, and George walked further back into the yard to escape it as best he could. He moved away from his house quickly and soon found himself at the edge of the property by the golden hill he had seen from his window.
In the time since he had seen it from his bedroom window the light on the hill had gone from a warm gold to a deep pinkish color. He couldn't see the sun itself hidden behind the swell of land, but the sky and clouds were a wild mess of warm yellows and purples streaking this way and that from the horizon.
Making his decision, George slowly began to pick his way up the hill. It was a slow task, not only because the hill was steep and George's legs slightly stiff but also because his feet would occasionally get caught in the foliage or he would step on one of his own untied shoelaces and stumble.
Finally he arrived on the top of the hill, tired but mildly pleased. He picked a comfortable looking spot with lower, softer grass and settled down to watch the remainder of the sunset.
It was the first time in his life he could remember taking time to simply sit and watch something like a sunset. It was beautiful but somehow terribly sad.
Leaning back onto the grass, he put his arms behind his head and gazed upwards. The first star of the evening was twinkling dully in the distance but the moon was either completely new or hidden behind a cloud. Either way, it eluded his searching eyes and left him to bathe freely in the falling darkness.
Time passed, his eyelids drooped and memories flitted across his mind in a dim, sleepy way. Only when his mind was barely free from sleep did he let himself truly feel the overwhelming grief that threatened to suffocate him. It was like a wall between him and everyone else, cutting him off from everything he had left in the world.
They would heal in time. He would not.
Just before he fell into the arms of sleep, he found himself wondering if Fred had ever taken time to just watch the sun set.
Somehow he thought not.
Crushed under the terrible weight of that thought, he finally surrendered to oblivion.
A/N: A rather boring epilogue, but necessary. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. xD I'll try to get the next chapter out soon!
EDIT: Hahaha... Thanks Belle and Morkhan for pointing out that I meant "Prologue" NOT "Epilogue." Silly, silly mistake on my part. Much love, guys. 3