A/N: I know it's been 27 million years, and I apologize. But I just started a new teaching job back in September, so I have been beyond busy! But like I always say, I will never ever give up on this story, it just might be an extremely long time between chapters :P The entire story is planned out, and I've already started the next chapter, so fingers crossed that it won't be too long before the next one! This one will be kinda short (and very sad), but enjoy anyway!
APRIL 1, 2003. Five years since the Battle of Hogwarts.
"Happy Birthday." George said softly as he plopped himself rather ungracefully onto the soft grass in front of the polished marble headstone. He reached out and brushed his hand briefly across his brother's name. A heavy sigh escaped his lips. "Twenty-five… quarter of a century! Man, we're getting old, aren't we?" He said with a lopsided grin.
"Well… not quite." He corrected himself, a small hint of sadness in his voice. "I'm the one getting old. Guess you get to keep your youthful good looks forever… Lucky git." He tried to smile, and with some effort, succeeded.
"Oh, I have something for you." He reached into the pocket of his robes and pulled out a small, bright-yellow card. He placed it gently on his brother's headstone.
"Brand new product," George explained. "Looks like an innocent little birthday card, right?" A mischievous smile came to his lips as he spoke. "But anyone who opens it gets bombarded with swears and insults until it runs out of magic… unless they know the counter-spell." He paused, letting out a small laugh. "Brilliant, right? Well, maybe it doesn't sound like it… but I tried it out on Ron a couple weeks ago… His face was priceless. Thought he was gonna kill me…
"Anyway, I figure it might be interesting to leave it here with you. Some nosy bugger passing by might decide to take a peek…" George knew that such a trick was probably in poor taste, but it was too good an idea to resist. Plus, if someone's inconsiderate enough to touch a gift left on someone's grave, they deserve it, right?
He sat there in silence for a few moments, closing his eyes and letting the warm spring sun hit his face. It was a beautiful day. "Sorry it's been so long since I've stopped by." George said finally. "Things have been pretty crazy lately…"
His lips once again stretched into a wide grin before they parted, his words suddenly spilling out in excitement. "Angelina had the baby… about 3 months ago." He paused, as though waiting for some sort of reaction, though he knew one would never come.
"Ah, our little Freddy… He's amazing! Smart as a whip already, and he's definitely got your sense of humor. Wakes us up nearly every bloody night, just laughing his little head off at nothing." George chuckled to himself. "Starting to have some second thoughts on the name though… One Fred Weasley was enough for the world, dontcha think?" He teased.
"You'd love him." George added seriously. "He's the most incredible person I think I've ever met in my entire life, and he's not even four months old." He paused a moment. "I must sound completely mental, but I guess something sort of… 'changes' when you become a parent."
A small laugh escaped his lips. "A bit strange isn't it? Hearing me talk like that. I mean, me, out on my own, married, a kid… Did you ever think you'd-" live to see the day… The words caught short in his throat. He mentally cursed himself for thinking of that particular turn of phrase. With a quick shake of the head he suppressed the unpleasant feeling in the pit of his stomach and continued.
"Speaking of kids, you should see how big Vickie's getting! Er… Victoire, I mean. Fleur hates it when I call her that," he explained. "So of course I do it all the time. I love watching Bill try not to laugh whenever she corrects me." George smiled evilly. "Anyway, little spitfire that one is. Loads of energy, gorgeous like her mum. Can't believe she'll be four next month…
"Oh, and you'll love this." The wicked grin on his freckled face stretched even wider as he spoke. "Percy isn't on speaking terms with me at the moment… I decided to have a bit of fun when me and Angelina were watching Molly a few weeks ago. Little thing is finally starting to talk, and I managed to convince her that 'Da-da' was actually short for 'dummy'. Apparently she's refused to call him anything else ever since."
He shrugged, unconcerned. "Personally I think he should be thanking me… giving her a good sense of humor early-on. I just keep praying she'll turn out like her mother. Lovely woman, you'd like her. No idea what she sees in our brother, but… no accounting for taste, right?"
George could almost hear Fred's voice in his mind. "Yeah, I mean look at Angelina…" He smiled again.
"Alright, let's see…" He mentally continued down the list of family members, making sure he wasn't forgetting any important pieces of news. "This summer, Charlie's supposed to be getting some sort of fancy award from the Romanian Ministry of Magic for his dragon research. Apparently he and some colleagues discovered that contracting and spreading dragon pox is somehow related to dragons after all. Doesn't seem terribly impressive to me, but mum was practically in tears when she got his owl.
"Oh, and speaking of mum, she's been driving poor Ginny up a wall lately. The wedding's still more than a year away, and mum is already pestering her about every little detail and trying to run the show herself. Dad says he's been trying to talk to her, but she's not backing down." He shook his head sadly. "She wasn't nearly this crazy when the rest of us got married, but I guess it's different with Ginny. Still, I keep telling Harry they should just pack up and elope. Last time I mentioned it, he looked like he was seriously considering it."
He paused, trying to think of who he was forgetting. "Oh right… the lovebirds. Ron and Hermione are doing well… nothing very exciting to report there, still living in 'wedded bliss', I suppose. They certainly seem happy… when they aren't fighting, at least. But you know how they are.
"Mum keeps trying to drop baby hints to Hermione every chance she gets, but dad looks horrified whenever she mentions another grandkid. Guess he should have thought that one through a bit more when they decided to have seven of us, right?" He laughed. "But I think it's just an act… I don't think I've ever seen dad happier than he is with the little ones. But it sounds like it's gonna be a while before there are any baby Ronnies running around, thank God. I mean, Ron? A father? Terrifying, right?"
George was silent for several moments as the smile that had crept on his lips as he spoke slowly began to fade. He tried his best to make this visit to his twin every few months and catch him up on what he'd been missing. But with each passing year, the visits became less frequent, and George felt more and more pathetic as he carried on these one-sided conversations with a polished block of marble.
"I know it's silly to be telling you all this…" George muttered to himself. "Or to feel like I have to come here to do it. I guess it just… feels good to be able to talk to you." He shrugged as he spoke, blinking away the tears that had abruptly filled his eyes. The emotion that he had been fighting back since he first walked through the cemetery gates had suddenly crept-up on him. "You should be here." George whispered.
Here he was, twenty-five years old, happily married with a beautiful child. And his brothers and sister were all doing the same… settling down, starting families, living their lives… All things that Fred would never know. It suddenly dawned on George why these visits to his brother always seemed so important. Because they were all carrying on, moving forward, growing older… And he dreaded the thought of leaving Fred behind.
George was no longer able to contain his feelings as the tears fell freely from his eyes. "I thought it was supposed to get easier." He said softly, his voice thick with emotion. "But it's getting harder… It's scary, not having you here. I feel like I'm losing you a little bit every day, and there's nothing I can do to fix it." His eyes closed slowly and he leaned forward, pressing his forehead gently against Fred's name.
It had been more than two years since he'd shed a tear about his brother's death. It was strangely comforting to be able to finally let it out. He sat there a few more moments, grateful that there was no one around to see him.
"I should go." George murmured finally, hastily wiping his eyes with his sleeve. "Birthday dinner at mum and dad's tonight. Guess I shouldn't be late for my own party." He stood slowly, reluctant to leave, but knowing he could not stay forever. "Miss you. I promise I'll come back soon."
He turned to walk away, wiping the last few tears from his eyes, when he felt something sharp and painful suddenly strike the back of his head. George swore loudly and turned around in confusion to discover that the mysterious sharp object had been the corner of Fred's birthday card. A sudden gust of wind had blown it from the headstone and directly into his head. It now lay open on the ground in front of him.
"Oi! Down here!" It shouted up at him. "Yeah, you, ye specky little – "
George paused in shock for a moment, then he couldn't help it – he burst into a sudden fit of laughter as the quiet, somber air of the cemetery was broken with a sudden stream of horrible language not suited for polite company. He let it continue for a few more seconds before pulling out his wand ("Trying to threaten me now, eh? Am I supposed to be scared, ye cheeky son of a –") and silencing the tiny little card. With a small shake of the head, he stepped forward and placed it back on Fred's grave.
"Very cute. I knew you'd appreciate it." George said with a smile, and a strange feeling of warmth seemed to wash over him.
The smile on his lips faltered ever so slightly as he spoke. "And… I love you too."
A/N: I have very mixed feelings about that chapter, but I hope you guys liked it! I cried while I wrote the end (hahahaha) even though I feel like it's also kinda too cheesy. It was also "awkward" to write a chapter that's essentially a one-way conversation, and it's hard to gauge how George's personality would be, particularly an older/more mature George who is a husband and father. It took forever to get it to flow and sound the way I wanted it to, and I still feel like it didn't come out exactly how I intended, but I was just super anxious to get a new chapter up for you guys :P So yeah, not my best, but I hope you liked it!