A/N: This is a basic requiem for Fred Weasley-I have no idea how long it's going to be-probably until I feel better. I have no idea of the direction that it's going to take or any minor details like that. Again, I'm just going to write until I feel better.
He knew when it happened. He didn't even know how to explain it, to Lee, to Ginny, to his parents, or even to himself, but he knew when it happened. Something inside of him withered and died, almost as if he'd had butterflies in his stomach, and they were gone in an instant. One second he was fully alive, vibrantly alive, tasting in the air as if he'd never breathed before and then-gone.
The noise in his ears dimmed and he fell to his knees. Somewhere above him he could hear voices shouting at him, he even thought that he might recognize Angelina's voice shrieking, but he ignored her. He ignored everything except that which was not there-that happy light feeling that he always had. The one that assured him that no matter what, he would always have a partner in every single class. That he'd always have someone to understand exactly what he was thinking, even without speaking. He was vaguely aware of curses hitting the floor around him, of feet stampeding around him, and of voices shrieking, until everything was quiet again, save for a small buzzing in his ears-well, ear now, wasn't it?
George got up, pushing himself up off of the familiar stone floor that he'd fallen on so many times throughout his school career and shakily started to walk towards the Great Hall. He could hear voices calling after him, but they didn't matter now…Nothing mattered now…
The buzzing grew louder inside his head, almost as if his brain deliberately wanted to prevent him from hearing what it was that was being said around him. He looked at the people, many of them his former schoolmates, and noted their injuries in a calm, clinical way. He wasn't interested in them. No, he could see what he was interested in further down the Great Hall, at the place where all the bodies were laying. The bright red hair acted as a beacon for him, and he was as helpless as a moth to the flame. The world seemed to shrink around him until it was just as if he was walking down a small hallway towards the flickering red hair, so goddamn much like his own. His footsteps echoed oddly in his ears until he stopped.
He'd known of course, known it from the second that it happened. But that didn't stop him from hoping; from praying to a God that he knew did not exist. And he knew that God did not exist, because if He did, then Fred could not be here, laying before him, his face so empty and black and dead, oh no dead, please no I'll do anything, not dead, let it be anyone else, let it be me, just please not Fred…
He supposed that he fell to the ground. He couldn't remember a thing. All he knew was that his twin's face was as empty as a blackboard wiped clean, that there would never be another snicker, identical to his own, to come from that mouth, that from now on he was alone, desperately, completely, terrifyingly, alone.
He was almost looking down on himself, kneeling at Fred's head, his forehead resting against Fred's, fitting perfectly together. His mother came, threw herself down upon both her slain boys, because they were both dead after all, weren't they? His father didn't even attempt to say anything, not because this moment was best reserved for silence, but because his tongue was cleaved to the roof of his mouth. As much as the twins exasperated him, infuriated him, he'd always known that they would be there for a laugh if you needed them. They were perfection itself, the ultimate triumph of a theory of duality. Now that certainty, that wonderful predictability was ripped from their world and it was left barren.
He could see Percy embracing Bill, sobbing like he was a little boy again, Ginny clutching Charlie, her face buried in his chest. Ron was standing alone, until Hermione came and embraced him. His arms encircled her, but without any real spirit. He was instead looking down on what he thought he'd never see-mirth ended, a spirit snuffed.
George could feel his legs becoming numb, but they weren't really his legs, were they, they were someone else's legs, because he was living someone else's life, because this could not possibly be happening in his life. This could not, would never be happening. He could hear muffled sobbing throughout the hall, and felt a small glimmer of annoyance. Those people had just lost a loved one. He'd lost part of himself, his better half!
Almost on reflex, his hand went to the side of his head and his fingers probed the hole where his left ear used to be. He'd gotten used to the gaping wound, the looks on people's faces when they first beheld the wound, but now he felt like he had the first night when he was flicking dried blood off of his chin and neck.
While Fred was out of the room he took a second to contemplate the wound, turning his head to the side to get a better look. His stomach churned, though he would have to swiftly get over that impulse. He couldn't be throwing up every single time he looked in a mirror. If he combed his hair just right…it would look almost normal.
Just then Fred burst into the room and George guiltily whirled around. But he should have known that it was stupid to lie to Fred; he always found out the truth anyway.
"Well, I know it's bad, but you were always uglier than me anyway," Fred said casually, looking at George's reflection, then his actual twin before clapping him on the back and flinging himself into his bed. George gently fingered the hole and looked at Fred, who was propping himself up on an elbow and casually flipping through an experimental order form. He felt a rush of gratitude for his twin-whole, perfect, and wonderful…
That memory came crashing down on George, making him whimper, and clutch at something, anything solid. His hands landed on Fred's hair, so similar to his own. He felt the desperate need to anchor himself to something solid, before he flew off into the buffets of the wind. He started shaking his head as his whimpers became moans, almost cries of agony. Fred's head moved in a grotesque mockery of his own. There was something cruel about that, though George couldn't quite put his finger on it.
Bright lances of pain flew through his body, and George attempted to crawl into himself, though not releasing his hold on Fred. Perhaps if he held tightly enough he could absorb Fred into himself, try to assimilate what was left. All the while he was thinking It shouldn't have been him, it should have been me, it was supposed to be me…
Fred was the clever one, the smart one, the intuitive one. It had been Fred who first suggested the idea for the gift shop, Fred who led all of their illegal expeditions. Fred was the unacknowledged leader, though sometimes George would amaze himself with flashes of brilliance, such as the swamp across an entire castle corridor. But when he thinks about it, if it hadn't been for Fred, he wouldn't have been as good as he was. He would have been good, no doubt about that, but that brilliance, that style, that finesse would have missing from a good deal of pranks.
It shouldn't have been Fred. It shouldn't have been the clever one, the charming one, the bold one, the whole one. It should have been the support, the backup, the maimed one. Poor crippled George with only one ear. It should have been him.
Suddenly his grieving is interrupted by a high cold voice. He knows that he's heard that voice before, but he doesn't bother to listen to what it has to say. Nothing it says now has any semblance on his life. No, his life was ended about twenty minutes ago when Fred Weasley fell down dead. Now all he's going to do for the rest of his miserable existence is to try to bury his forehead into Fred's try to permanently attach it there, and keep up this miserable, pathetic keening noise that seems to come from somewhere in his throat that he thought was eradicated when he was about fourteen.
Now the sobbing and moaning have stopped and he stops whining to wonder why. As much as he was angered by everyone's grief before, now he wants it to come back, he's almost ready to start screaming at them to start crying again. He feels that it's almost sacrilege, them not crying while Fred is lying here on the cold stone floor. How dare they pretend that anything in the world is more important than the death of his brother?
And then he remembers where he's heard that voice before, and a vague series of recollections fall into place. Right. Voldemort. Wants to rule the world, came here to kill them all. It still isn't as important to him as staying with Fred is at the moment. He can tell that something important is happening, but he doesn't care, as selfish as that might sound to everyone who isn't him. Feet are pounding towards the entrance and he hears voices yelling at him, but he ignores them and holds on tighter to Fred's hair.
He finally looks up when someone touches his shoulder. He flinches at the touch and turns to glare at whoever would try to break him from his grief. His lip curls, almost on instinct as he looks into Percy's light blue eyes, now unusually clouded with grief and despair.
"It's Him George," Percy says, trying to choke out the words. George can see that he's forcing out the words, that Percy wants nothing more than to bawl, but he can feel nothing more for his brother than a kind of cold indifference. This is what he feels for the world, so caught up in his own loss that every other life lost feels like a snowflake landing on his skin-discernable, but ultimately insignificant. But Fred's loss has hit him like a boulder in the chest, enough to cripple him, steal his breath, and end his life for all intents and purposes.
"George, it's something about Harry," Ginny says, kneeling beside Percy. Though he might be able to muster enough venom to repel Percy, George somehow cannot bring himself to attack Ginny-something about that glint in her eyes reminds him of Fred-and slowly shakes his head, staring at Fred's impassive face. He tries to form words, but his brain isn't quite functioning on that level yet-he's still trying to find which bits of him still exist, and which have disappeared along with Fred.
He looks over at Ginny again, and sees that her eyes are bloodshot and that there are silent tears leaking down her face. He vaguely remembers that Harry is someone important, not just to the world, but to him, but he can't exactly remember why he should care, not when Fred is lying here dead and his entire world has ended, because the person that he has spent every single waking moment with is no longer with him and for the first time in his life he is utterly and completely alone.
Something about that last thought hits him, and, much as it pains him, he drags his forehead away from Fred's. The Great Hall is deserted, save for him and the bodies. Even they seem to have pushed themselves to the side, anticipating what would happen next.
And George knew that it wasn't over yet, that even after everything that he had already lost, he still had everything left to lose. He looked down at Fred and mapped out every single contour of his face, the faint laugh-lines that had not yet matured; wrinkles that until now he never knew existed. It suddenly hits him, as he is staring intently at his twin's face that Fred is old, much older than he should be by rights, and George wonders whether he himself looks just as aged when the grins are wiped off of the faces.
From the entrance to the school George can hear some minor sobs and whimpers, and then, in one loud cry, the entire world splits apart into an explosion of grief and despair. At this moment, he is unable to stop himself and he throws back his head and howls at the ceiling, still enchanted, even after what it's been through. His own voice is lost in the mass outpouring of horror on the front lawn that he knows heralds the beginning of something horrible. He was still wailing at the ceiling when a very distinct voice disturbs him from his mad, obsessive release of grief.
George immediately shut his mouth, his heart pounding in his chest. He was going mad. The shock of seeing Fred's body had driven him over the edge, because this could not be happening. In a million years, it could not be happening. His entire body trembling, he looked up to see Fred's familiar face looking down at him.
He was wearing that slightly critical look that he got when George failed to deliver on a great idea that they were developing. It said plainly "You can do so much better than this!" George looked up at Fred and mouthed several sentences, none of them actually making the trip out of his mind. Fred looked critically down at him, impatiently crossing his arms and drumming his fingers on his arm. George finally managed to choke a word out.
Fred rolled his eyes and looked away while George struggled to his feet. George faced his twin, their eyes perfectly aligned. "You. Are. Pathetic." Fred tapped George's head with his fist to make sure that every word made the trip into his brain. "Bloody wanker you are. I leave for about two minutes and look at you. Absolute lump of dung, you are."
"Hey," George said slowly, feeling that this wasn't quite fair. "You're not a ghost?" he asked suspiciously. Of course Fred couldn't be a ghost. He had just hit him repeatedly, and rather painfully, with his knuckles.
"Don't be daft," Fred said, clearly irritated that George wasn't yet catching on. "Listen, this is all rather touching and everything, but you're being a bit of a prat. So go out there and fight." George mouthed in astonishment at Fred.
"Don't tell me what to do!" he finally came up with. "You're dead! You can't tell me what to do!"
"I may be dead," Fred said, turning his back and beginning to saunter away, "But at least I'm not holey, eh Saint George?" He turned his head to let George see a wicked grin, and then casually prowled off, his hands in his pockets. George snickered a little bit at the dig before realizing that Fred was about to leave him for the second time that night.
"No!" he shouted and launched himself after Fred. Fred's retreating back didn't seem to hear him and kept on walking until it was out of the Great Hall. By the time that George had gotten there, the corridors were deserted, and he was only breathing figure that stood there. "Fred!" George called helplessly, but he knew then, that there would never be an answer.
But now that chamber in which he had been existing for as long as he could remember opened, and he, for the first time, could hear the screams that came from the grounds. Remembering Fred's words, George pulled out his wand and started to jog out to where the screams seemed the loudest.
It was like walking into Armageddon. Jets of light were flying through the air, sometimes hitting people and sometimes not. And then, straight out of Ron's nightmares came the spiders. Giant spiders, their legs almost as big as he was, advanced on the battle, no doubt drawn by the screams and the stench of death. As one, Death Eaters, and Harry's supporters screamed and fled towards the castle. Over the noise of their retreat George heard Hagrid shout out "WHERE'S HARRY? WHERE'S HARRY?"
Had something happened to Harry? George wondered, but before he had time to properly think that over, he was slammed to the ground. There was a sickening crack as his head hit the stone and he had to lay there for a few moments, just so that he could regain his equilibrium.
"I thought that we already killed you," the Death Eater pondered as he stood before George. He thought for a moment, while George slowly rolled onto his side and feebly tried to push himself to his feet. "Oh, that was the other one, wasn't it?" he asked, snickering as he recalled the experience. "I should have known," he laughed, toeing George in the chest so that he flew back on the floor. George wheezed up at him, glaring venom from underneath his eyelids. How dare he talk about Fred? It was little more than blasphemy. "He had both of his ears."
"Oh don't look at me like that," the Death Eater sneered, upon seeing George's look. He snickered and raised his wand. "You'll be with him soon enough." George makes the attempt to get back up, but then a thought smacks into his head with the force of a Bludger. Why bother? The Death Eater-Yaxley?-is making a strange kind of sense. Why fight the inevitable? And he'll be able to be with Fred again, and the world will be right again-because it's just not fair that he has to exist, this little half-person. They are the Weasley twins. They are Fred and George, and nothing will change that, which is why George doesn't even bother getting up off of the floor or trying to block the curse that he knows is coming.
"Don't you dare!" a familiar voice screams, and Yaxley is blown against the wall, where he lies, stunned for a few short moments. It's enough time for Lee Jordan to come and grab George's arms, pulling the reluctant twin to his feet. "Oh God, for a second I thought you were…" Lee looks around George for a moment and then back at George. "Where's Fred?"
George shakes his head, unable to say the words, but Lee has been friends for him long enough to read the emotion in his eyes. George can see him crumpling, unable to believe it, and he wants to join him there on the cold stone floor and do nothing but cry for the rest of his undoubtedly short life, but he senses more than sees Yaxley rising.
"Stupefy!" he yells, pointing his wand at Yaxley, but Yaxley blocks his curse easily and goes on the offensive again. Now Lee is beside George, a fierce intensity that George has never seen before on his face. George sends another hex at Yaxley, and suddenly he feels so dangerous, so possessed at that moment that he goes slightly mad. He takes the offensive, backing Yaxley into a corner, spells shooting out of his wand at an alarming rate.
For the first time George can sense fear coming off of his opponent and he feeds on it, drinks it in hungrily and dives forward for more. He has completely lost himself, and after he casts a jinx he realizes that he is laughing just as madly as Bellatrix Lestrange. He is relishing in the fact that he has gone mad, loving the detached feeling that he has from the rest of the world because he knows that this means that he will never again have to feel pain, guilt, or regret. His peals of laughter are lost in the din of the furious battle, but he can hear them, and George knows, as he laughs harder from watching Yaxley slam into the floor yet again, that he is not quite all right.
But unfortunately, there is only so much that a human body can take, and Yaxley is soon unconscious, leaving George feeling oddly empty with no opponent in front of him. But all of his concerns are blown out of his head when the Shield Charm is erected. He feels the force of it blow past him and curiously turns to see who could have done it. It is only then that he sees Harry standing in front of Voldemort. And it strange, but for some reason Harry looks like Harry, but he also looks like Dumbledore, and he looks like the pictures that George has seen of his parents, and he looks like Sirius and Remus, and strangely enough, because there really isn't any physical resemblance at all between the two of them-he looks extraordinarily like Fred.
George is so caught up in pondering this strange turn of events that he completely misses the words leading up to the exchange between the two. He looks at it, his breath catching in his throat as he realizes that this is the moment that he's been waiting for his entire life to happen, this is it, this is where it all ends. This moment right here-this is why Fred died.
It's anticlimactic, if he has to admit it to himself. After all of the hype, Voldemort just falls to the ground limply, like he was a puppet with no strings. And as one, everyone in the hall surges forward to encompass Harry in their hungry arms, and he just stands there, wand hanging from a limp hand, a shocked smile slowly sliding onto his face. George does not move. He cannot take part in the euphoria. Instead, he returns to the forgotten, the bodies.
He quickly finds Fred again, the ginger hair is good for something after all. He stares down at the body, trying to figure out what exactly he feels. Mostly, he just wishes that he could be fighting more Death Eaters, but they seem to have all disappeared when Voldemort died. He regrets it in a small way. Battle apparently is the only place where he can feel completely normal, if you classify normal as a raving lunatic.
"Georgie?" His mother comes up behind him, and in her wake there are several small explosions of applause. George turns and looks at his mother's worried brown eyes. There is triumph hidden there, and joy, but overall, there is the desperate, inexpressible loss that George feels. It threatens to overwhelm Molly Weasley; it has already taken George Weasley. "George?" she asks again, her hand soft on his shoulder, and despite himself and all his attempts to just be strong for once and take it like a man, he turns, leans down, and buries his head into her shoulder and sobs.
He clutches his mother to him, never wanting to let her go, and feels her arms enveloping him, safe and warm, and loving. He doesn't know how long he spends there, but he knows that somewhere along the way his father comes and wraps him in an embrace as well. It seems that the tears will never stop flowing, which George knows is ridiculous because there has to be a limit on tears. There's a limit on everything else, so why not tears? He finally pulls away from his mother and wipes his nose with the back of his hand.
"Thanks Mum," he chokes out in a shaky breath. She tearfully nods and George can see some of the anguish extinguished in her eyes. He knows that none of it is gone in his soul.
As if on one signal, everyone looks around the Hall. It suddenly hits everyone that there are entirely too many people here and Hogsmede is not nearly large enough to hold all of them. Then, the solution rises from everyone and no one at once. Why not stay at Hogwarts? It is, after all, large enough to hold all the remaining students, their families and friends. George silently goes up with the rest of his family to the Gryffindor common room. For the first time in his memory the Fat Lady does not ask for a password. She silently lets the portrait swing open, admitting all of the Gryffindors, past and present, who have come to seek refuge in the common room for the night.
George collapses soundlessly on one of the couches and turns so that the earless side of his head is facing the world, making it difficult for him to hear anything. Everyone understands and they give him a wide berth while George tries to wipe his mind clean. Perhaps he'll wake up above the shop and none of this will have happened. Fred will be hitting him liberally about the head and asking why he always sleeps so late and George will sleepily yawn, roll over and go back to sleep.
He leaves one eye cracked open, just to keep an eye on everything that is happening around him. He sees his parents sitting together, giving him concerned looks, sometimes crying silently, sometimes just holding each other. He sees Bill holding Fleur, his scarred face troubled. He surprises himself by feeling a slight sort of amusement when he sees Ron and Hermione, both sitting together and holding hands. Every now and then Ron brushes back Hermione's hair and nuzzles her neck. It's somewhat sweet, and rather nauseating. Harry and Ginny are sitting quietly together, which alone by itself would not be that disturbing, but Harry keeps on shooting George guilt-stricken glances that make George's insides want to curl up and migrate somewhere around his toes.
At one point brave, brave, brave Katie come up to him and asks him hesitantly whether he wants to come sit with her, Angelina, Alicia, and Oliver. The look that George gives her in return is all the answer that Katie needs and she retreats to the relative safety of the other side of the common room. Though she and the rest of his former Quidditch team keep on sending him furtive looks George pretends like he doesn't see them. Somehow, he's not quite sure, he manages to fall asleep.
He feels someone poking him and rolls over to see who it is. He is confronted by Fred, his face shining excitedly. "Come on!" Fred whispers, grabbing his elbow and dragging him out of bed. George shivers as his bare feet hit the cold floor and bemusedly follows Fred out of the dormitory and into the common room. The last lingering sparks are still glowing feebly, but everyone has gone to bed long ago. George looks around and scratches the back of his head as he looks at Fred, who is pacing around the common room, his face alight with a wonderful secret that he'll share with George as soon as he's finished digesting it himself.
"What?" George finally asks, and Fred stops pacing and looks at him with barely contained excitement, like a mug of butterbeer that is close to foaming over.
"I've figured out the password!" Fred whispers to George and George immediately goes to stand right next to Fred, their heads pressing together. Together they reverently hold a piece of crumpled, stained parchment. "At least I think I have." He brought out his wand and tapped the parchment, whispering, "I do swear that I want to do mischief."
The parchment feebly flutters in their hands as spindly writing appears across it.
Mr. Moony would like to offer his encouragement to Mr. Fred Weasley and suggests that he try adding solemnly to his phrasing.
Mr. Padfoot heartily agrees with Mr. Moony and would like to acknowledge that the Messer. Weasley should be the true holders of the Marauder's Map.
Mr. Prongs would like to register his admiration for the way in which the Map came into his possession, and wishes to add that Mr. Fred and George Weasley may try adding that they are up to no good.
Mr. Wormtail congratulates Mr. Fred and George Weasley and agrees with Mr. Prongs in the question of phrasing.
The writing disappeared, leaving a perfectly blank surface once more. George looked up at Fred in wonder. "Well, that's new," he whispered reverently.
"I was just trying out different combinations of words, and I hit on something like that, and the writing just came up. Don't you see George, they want us to find out how the map works, and they want us to have it! All we have to do is to prove ourselves worthy and then we've got it!"
George bent low over the map, trying to work out a solution. "I solemnly swear," he began, and the map gave a faint jiggle, "That I wish to do no good." Faint ink stains spread out over the map. Fred looked at George in wonder.
"I think you've almost got it!" he whispered excitedly. George ran his fingers through his hair, bit his lip, and tried again, remembering the words that Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs had told them.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," he whispered, tapping the map. From where his wand hit the map ink lines spread out, revealing an ornate banner.
Fred read it aloud, his voice shaking, hardly daring to believe what he was reading. "Mr. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are pleased to present the Marauder's Map!" He looked up at George, his eyes dancing. "Do you have any idea what this means?"
"Hogwarts is ours?" George asked, a small smile lighting up the corners of his mouth. Fred laughed and clapped George on the back, dancing around the common room delightedly.
"Got it in one! The poor Slytherins will never know what hit them!" Fred crowed. The twins stomped around the common room, whooping in delight, completely ignorant of any sleeping bodies upstairs, until Percy came to interrupt them.
"Excuse me," he said in a low deadly voice. "Some of us are trying to sleep." Fred and George looked at each other, before rushing Percy, one of them clamped on either side.
"But others of us have important things to do," Fred began, before George took up the strain.
"Very important things," he finished, marching Percy down to the common room, while Percy struggled helplessly between the twins. "And your caterwauling is just going to interrupt those folks from sleeping!" he added in a shocked voice.
"So you'd best let those blokes get on with their lives," Fred said, closing the door up to the boys dorms and locking it with his wand. It took Percy a moment to realize what had happened before he was banging at the door, and demanding that they let him in, or else. Fred and George snickered, before staring at the map.
"This," Fred said grandly, holding the parchment carefully in his hands, "Is going to be the secret to our success."
With a start, George awoke. It was completely dark now, and all that he could hear were the quiet sighs of people in the midst of slumber. He knew where he was going before he ended up there. He rose off of the sofa and walked out of the common room, through the deserted halls. For the first time in his life he was not dodging those halls, nearly missing Filch by an inch. It was also the first time that he was wandering the school corridors alone after curfew had hit. But he wouldn't be alone for much longer.
His feet took him to the Great Hall as he knew they would. He walked to the body and sat down beside it, briefly taking one of its hands and holding it in his own. It was heavy, limp, and cold, and George dropped it almost the second that he'd picked it up. This was grotesque. This thing was not his brother. Fred was alive and warm, his eyes always sparkling with some new idea. His hands were fists, ready to pummel into someone's ear, not dead weights that dropped to the ground with a soft thud.
Suddenly, George felt the darkness close around him, oppressive and silent, and he almost suffocated upon it. He was the living, intruding upon the dead's territory and he felt their longing and resentment rising up against him. He moved closer to Fred until he was touching his side. Sharp lances of moonlight shot through the windows, illuminating certain faces, faces that he knew, and faces that he felt he should probably recognize. A moonbeam fell directly on Fred's face, bringing into sharp relief that which George had failed to notice before-the complete and total lack of expression. Fred was a blank slate, his mouth a straight line, his eyes, relaxed and closed. George let out a dry sob and lay across his brother's chest.
George remembered when he was five and it was storming outside. The ghoul, no doubt disturbed by the turmoil outside had been causing more of a ruckus than usual, causing George to wake up and cry out in fear. "It's all right," Fred had told him, but his eyes were wide and anxious as well. "Come here," he had said, and George had grabbed his bear and gladly clambered into bed with Fred. They sat together, shoulders touching all night, trying to keep the other awake.
In the morning their mother had come in and found them both asleep on Fred's bed, Fred lying on his back and George on his side, his face buried into Fred's shoulder, his arm thrown across Fred's chest.
It was how Minerva McGonagall found the twins the next morning when she went into the Great Hall to pay her respects to the slain.