Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JK Rowling.

SPOILERS! This is a one shot about what George is thinking and feeling after the battle at Hogwarts. Let me know what you think.


Strong Enough

How do you begin again when your world has fallen in on itself? How do go on? George walked around the joke shop taking everything in.

It had been a long time since he was last in here. Dust covered the multicolored packages and boards covered the windows blocking out any sunlight that would have normally entered the room, making the shop look as miserable as George felt.

He should have been here! Why did Fred have to die? They were both so young. Fred still had a long life ahead of him. He was supposed to be standing here next to him, helping ready the shop for opening. Fred always had the knack for turning the most boring daily chores into some great game or prank. But now that George stood there alone, he couldn't think of one prank to pull, one joke to say.

Fred wouldn't have wanted him to be like this. Fred would have wanted him cracking jokes to keep the family's spirits up, like when George lost his ear and when Percy left. But George just couldn't do it. Not this time. He wasn't strong enough.

George had tried to be strong, he hadn't cried. He had been their at the funeral consoling his family. People kept telling him how badly they felt about what happened, how life wasn't fair. They pitied him, but no one seemed to understand – except maybe Lee – that what George wanted wasn't pity – it was Fred.

All the unsaid things. All the unfinished merchandise sitting in the back room. All the unfinished pranks…

It seemed a million years ago when they first invented the good old Extendable Ears. How many times did that get them into trouble? Or out of it as the case may be. Out of all the pranks they pulled at Hogwarts, their great escape right out from under that hag Umbridge's nose was the best by far. The small section of Portable Swamp that Professor Flitwick kept roped off outside their classroom had been blown away in the explosion that had killed Fred. Flitwick wanted another one to put in its place. The tiny wizard had shown George the plack he would be placing on the wall above it.

Fred and George Weasley: The ones who escaped Umbridge's regime.

And to Fred Weasley who gave up his life on this spot. Beloved son, brother, and friend.

The tears were threatening to come now that he was alone. George walked into the back room and turned abruptly looking into the mirror that hung on the wall. Its reflection showed his face, only the missing ear was back in place as if it had never been missing. George placed a hand on the side of his head and felt the hole, but the arm in the mirror stayed limp at his side. That realization dawned over George. That wasn't him in the mirror.

It was Fred.

"How?" George asked, unable to speak.

"George, mate, you've got to go on. There are hundreds of little wizarding kids out there who are just dying to get their hands on more puking pastels now that McGonagall is in charge of Hogwarts."

George laughed for the first time since that fateful night. Fred was right.

"How is this possible?"

"No idea, mate, it was all Dumbledore's idea. Listen, I'm not going to be able to do this again. At least not for a long time."

"But what if I need you? What if something happens and I need your advice?" George didn't want to loose Fred again now that he could see him and hear his voice again.

"Just talk, I can still hear you even though you can't here me. Besides, you'd know what I would say anyway, George." Fred looked down at his feet – or where they would have been if the mirror was floor length. "Can you tell Angelina that I …that I…" Fred stumbled for the right words.

"I already have, Fred," George said smiling a little. Fred smiled sadly.

"I need to leave you now, O Holey One." Fred and George laughed together. The feeling was so good, so natural. "I love you, bro."

"I love you, too, Fred."

And then Fred vanished and was replaced by George's own reflection. The tears that he would not, could not cry came streaming down his face. He would open the shop later after he mourned for Fred properly.

Perhaps things were going to turn out alright in the end. It was true, George had been so close with Fred that they knew each others thoughts and recently the conversations he had in his head when trying to figure out what to do had been like he was talking with Fred. He was still referred to as Fred and George. And that's the way it would always be.