Title: Come Home
Betas: Nox/BJ, Onigami/Lorne
Fandom: Harry Potter
Warnings: Violence. Twincest if you squint and tilt your head.
Summary: George looked back down at his twin, "Come home," he said softly to Fred.
"Fred!" Percy's hoarse scream echoed over the dust and debris, rolling down the corridor, "No! No! No! Fred!"
He dropped to his knees next to his fallen brother, one of the matching set he had so outwardly disapproved of but so inwardly admired. The once bright and laughing eyes now stared sightlessly up at the ceiling, blood had stopped trickling down his pale face and now just hung over it like a velvet stage curtain. Percy's hand trembled as he reached out to him. Then both Weasleys trembled as Percy took hold of his younger brother's shoulder and roughly shook him, calling his name while Fred's head lolled limply.
"Perce…" there was a hand on his shoulder; he shrugged it off.
"Percy," the hand pressed down almost painfully, forcing him to look up into Harry's eyes, "Come on…"
Between them they manhandled Fred's… body… it hurt even to think the word… into a niche in the hallway. A suit of armour tilted its helmeted head mournfully at the surviving Weasleys and Harry as they left Fred in the niche, then clanked into a guard position in front of him, protecting the boy from any more flying curses and hexes.
Three corridors and two flights of stairs away, George threw one more curse before ducking back behind a pillar, flinching as bits of rock exploded past his head. He swore vulgarly, darting his head back around the pillar to get a look at where the Death Eaters were. He needed Fred for this! He was better at the more delicate spells, he did all that sort of work for Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Where was Fred?
Time seemed to stop for a moment. George froze, all colour draining from his face. No… not happening. His twin… his soul… Dead? That word in his mind seemed to reiterate the fact that George himself still needed to breathe. Gasping in great lungfuls of air, George looked around wildly as time and sound came crashing back in on him.
"George!" Kingsley yelled his name and hauled him back behind the pillar as pieces of rock flew dangerously close to his left eye.
"Fred," the name was said softly into the chaos.
"What? I thought you were George?"
"I am. So's he. Where's my brother?" George looked up at the tall, black man, eyes wild in his head.
A Death Eater flung a curse at them. Kingsley swore and went to turn away, ready to hurl himself back into the fight. George simply hurled a shield charm back without taking his eyes off Kingsley's face.
"Where's my brother? Where's my twin?" George's voice grew in volume, the wildfire in his eyes making the chaos around him seem dim in comparison.
Kingsley blinked at the redhead in front of him, slightly scared of the feral light in George's eyes. He shook his head dumbly, unable to break his eyes away from George's. A Death Eater could have flung ten Killing Curses at him by now, they probably had, but while George's eyes hadn't left Kingsley's face, his wand hand was moving almost incessantly, blocking hexes and throwing curses.
"Where's my twin?!" this time it was almost a scream.
Kingsley was saved from answering by another feral roar, "Rookwood!" was followed by Percy Weasley, eyes blazing furiously as he stalked through the halls.
Percy flung another hex at a Death Eater that got in his way and stopped short, face draining of colour as he locked eyes with George. A choked sob forced its way out of Percy's throat, tears still leaking down underneath his glasses. He stared at George for a moment. Then he mouthed, 'I'm sorry', and tore his eyes away, moving relentlessly down the halls, hurling curses and hexes as he went.
George stopped. He simply stopped. His wand arm dropped to his side. Fred was gone. Dead. Percy was hunting down Rookwood. Rookwood had killed his twin. Kingsley swore and flung up a shield charm, protecting them both as he hauled George back behind the pillar.
"… George…" the voice, surprisingly deep and soft, and a little… scared… came from very far away.
"… George, it's over…" that made him blink up into Kingsley's face.
Over. Damn right it was over. He was over. Fred was gone. George blinked again, an eerie calm settling over him. Fred. He needed to see Fred. Now. Right now. Kingsley suppressed a shiver as George blinked at him again, eyes eerily vacant. His jaw dropped as George spun on his heel and walked away, stepping over and on the bodies of the Death Eaters he had cut down with a ruthless efficiency.
George walked into the Great Hall, eyes still holding little more than the vacant calm that had so unnerved Kingsley. Those selfsame eyes scanned the room, coming to rest on a gathering of redheads. A wave of sorrow washed through him, only to be replaced by the eerie calm once more. He walked between the aisles of bodies until he came to his family. Almost as one, they raised their heads.
"… George…" Arthur Weasley's voice cracked over his son's name.
George didn't acknowledge his father. He stayed loose and compliant when his mother sat up from where she'd been draped over Fred's chest and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug, sobbing into his shoulder. He listened to Ginny crying quietly into Bill's arm. He watched as the rest of his brothers bit their lips, tears rolling down their faces regardless of all their efforts.
Finally released from his mother's embrace, George looked down at Fred. His mirror image stared back at him. George tilted his head, crouching down and eventually dropping onto his knees next to his twin's head. He looked at Fred's eyes, normally so full of life, now glassy and still. He reached out, hesitantly, touching Fred's cheek with his fingertips, before resting his palm against it. George bowed his head for a moment, listening to his family's tears. Then he lifted his hand off Fred's cheek…
… and brought it back down, hard, in a slap that resounded through the Great Hall.
"George!" his father hissed at him, pulling his mother close to his chest as she wailed.
George frowned, half in annoyance, half in incomprehension, at his father. He didn't understand. George looked back down at his twin's face and scowled. Damn him… damn him to whatever hell he was currently stuck in and further. Then his eyes widened. No. No, Fred, he didn't mean it… honest. He put his hand back on Fred's face, brushing his hair away from his forehead.
George swept his twin's hair away from his forehead, running his fingers through it, untangling the blood matted strands. Then in a gesture that made all the Weasleys cringe, he curled his fingers through Fred's hair and yanked hard. Molly burst into fresh sobs. Arthur paled even further. Ginny keened, turning further into Bill's chest.
"Stop it," Bill snapped, "You're upsetting Ginny."
"You're pushing it, George," Charlie growled, voice sounding very similar to the dragons he worked with every day.
George looked up then, meeting Charlie's eyes and making him wince, "Aw, George…" the dragon-handler crouched down next to the surviving twin, "George… he's gone. Fred's gone…" Charlie's voice cracked over the words, "Let him go."
George looked up at Charlie, not saying a word, staring him down until Charlie turned away, unable to handle the vacant look in his little brother's eyes. George turned his head back down to Fred's face, still carding his fingers through his hair. He shifted his hand tracing it down Fred's cheekbones until his palm was resting on his twin's cheek again. Charlie saw it coming this time and reached out a hand to stop him. But George was too quick. He brought his hand down across Fred's cheek with a harsh crack yet again.
All the Weasleys stared at George in shock. Charlie reached over and grabbed his wrists, preventing him from doing anything else. George blinked up at them all. Not a single one understood. None of them. A strangled noise drew the Weasley's attention away from their surviving twin for a moment. They all looked over at Percy, who'd made the horrified noise and was staring down, not at the still-restrained George, but at Fred's still form.
"Perce?" Bill said, hesitantly.
Another strangled noise was all they got out of the bespectacled redhead for a few seconds, before Percy finally managed to choke out, "Han… handprint!"
Bill stared at Percy, wondering if he'd finally gone mad, "Perce?" he said again, softer this time.
"Handprint, Bill! Look at his cheek!" Percy's voice rose, a slightly hysterical note coming into it.
Bill looked down at Fred, sure enough, a faint red handprint had shown up on Fred's cheek. He looked back up at Percy. Bill shook his head lightly, pony tail swinging, frowning at Percy in confusion. The strangled noise Percy made this time was one of exasperation not horror.
"The only reason you get a red handprint or mark when someone hits you is if…" Percy shook his head in disbelief, "… if …if …"
Bill paled abruptly, "If blood is moving under the skin…"
Hardly daring to hope, Percy dropped to his knees next to Fred, placing two fingers on his neck. He took a deep shuddering breath, then let his head drop to his chest, running his hand down to let it rest over Fred's heart.
"Nothing…" he said quietly, "I'm sorry… I thought… the handprint… the blood…"
Charlie looked over at Percy, hands still gripping George's wrists and spoke quietly as Ginny cried harder into Bill's chest, "That was cruel, Percy… I saw you carry the body in here… We all did."
Percy rounded on him, "And I was standing next to him when Rookwood…" Percy swallowed hard, "When Rookwood killed him."
Charlie blanched at that, "Right… right… I'm sorry, Perce," he looked down at Fred's still form, the handprint standing out in stark contrast on his pale cheek, "But… he's… it can't…"
"Can too," George spoke up, voice calm and soft, despite the fact that he was still being restrained by his brother.
"George…" there was a soft, pitying note in Ron's voice as the youngest Weasley boy spoke up for the first time.
It was Arthur who spoke up next, startling them all with the words, "My word… I think they can. Molly? Do you remember…?"
Molly lifted her head from Arthur's chest, eyes wide, "When we separated them?" she received a nod in return, "Oh my…" her hand went up to her mouth, her eyes flitted down to the handprint on Fred's cheek and she burst into a fresh wave of tears.
Bill frowned as a memory flitted through his mind, "Dad…" he said slowly, "Was that when you put them in separate rooms for levitating Percy out the window by his ankles?"
Arthur nodded, "The only time we ever separated them, they were getting beyond a joke," tears fell from Arthur's eyes even as he smiled at the memory, "The final straw came when we heard Percy screeching up a storm when they were seven."
Charlie grinned in spite of himself, "They ran up to Perce's room only to find them giggling and standing by his window and Percy hanging out the window by his ankles," he let go of George's wrists to demonstrate the point.
Arthur gave them a small smile, which quickly faded, "We put them in separate bedrooms after that. They weren't allowed to play together and weren't allowed to sit together at meal times. It devastated them. Every day, your mother and I would be barraged with tears and tantrums, pleading and begging for them to be allowed to see each other again. It hurt us almost as much as it hurt them."
George scowled up at his father, "The hell it did."
Arthur looked taken aback for a moment, opening his mouth to apologise, but George's attention had already turned back to Fred, "I… erm… they…" Arthur shook himself, "They were in separate rooms for almost eight days, when that eighth afternoon they just went quiet. Totally silent. Molly and I went to them, thinking the worst… but they were just sitting there, playing happily."
"I've always wondered," Ron spoke up again, "Their double-speak and the way they played Quidditch… it was mad. Like they were one person in two bodies, almost."
Nobody noticed the secretive smile that curved George's lips as Ron spoke.
Nobody noticed the way George's hand snuck down to grasp one of Fred's, two fingers curling around the wrist and settling on the pulse point.
Nobody noticed the handprint on Fred's face get a little bit redder.
Bill nodded slowly, "That's a good way of putting it, Ron," a sad smile crossed his face, "It did seem that they were one person in two bodies, sometimes."
"That's because they were."
Harry's voice from behind them made most of the Weasleys jump. They all turned tear-streaked faces to him, making Harry wince slightly at intruding on such a private moment. Ron shifted to the side, making room for him to stand next to him. Harry moved into the space created and looked over at Arthur and Molly.
"I'm… I'm sorry… I wouldn't intrude, but…"
Arthur shook his head, "Go ahead, Harry…"
Harry bowed his head and spoke quietly, "Voldemort's soul was divided into seven pieces. That's why he was the way he was. Seven Horcruxes. I had to destroy them all…" his gaze flicked over to Ron, "We had to destroy them all before we could get to Voldemort with any chance of survival. I've learnt to recognise Horcruxes now. I can… feel them… for lack of a better term," he glanced up at Arthur, willing him to understand and believe him.
Arthur held his gaze, "What are you saying, Harry?"
He said it quietly and bluntly, "Fred and George are Horcruxes."
Molly lifted her tear-stained face, "My sons have never had anything to do with the Dark Lord…" her eyes narrowed at him.
Ron cut in, suddenly understanding, "No, mum, no! That's not what Harry's saying…" he looked from Harry down to George then back up to his mother, "Fred and George are Horcruxes, but they aren't V…Voldemort's Horcruxes…"
Percy looked down at the twins, both lifeless even though only one was dead, and interrupted, "They're each others. Aren't they? Fred carries part of George's soul and George carries part of Fred's."
George smiled up at Percy as his brother finally understood. Finally understood what was going on. His smile faded, however, at Harry's next words.
"But… it really shouldn't… I mean…" Harry finished softly, "I am so sorry about Fred."
The Weasleys accepted his heartfelt words of sympathy with hugs and more tears. All except one. George raised an eyebrow, looking at Harry and the rest of his family through ginger lashes. He shook his head almost imperceptibly before turning his attention back to his twin. He walked the fingers of one hand up and down Fred's arm, pressing them over his pulse point every time they met his wrist. His other pressed lightly on his twin's chest, then moved up to the bare skin of Fred's throat and pressed there too.
Fred's skin comforted him. It always had. Just knowing where Fred was comforted him. But now… now Fred was lost… and he had to bring him back. George moved his hands up to his twin's face, cupping it gently, tracing the handprint he had given him earlier with his thumb. He would have to apologise for that, one way or another. Wherever they met.
He looked up at his family again. Not a one was paying attention to him and Fred. They were all lost in their own private grief. He turned his eyes back to Fred. George ran one hand up over Fred's nose, tracing his cheekbones, then began to card his fingers through Fred's hair. He frowned slightly. Fred was still lost.
George frowned again and shifted so he was sitting with his knees bent out to the side. He slid down so he was almost lying next to Fred, before leaning in and resting his head on his twin's chest. He stayed there, ear over Fred's heart, for who knew how long, just waiting and listening. Waiting and listening, not moving until he heard Bill's pained voice.
"George… George, please…"
George didn't move, instead rolling his eyes up so he could see Bill, "I'm listening," he told him calmly.
Charlie's sorrowful gaze met his, "Georgie… he's gone…"
George kept his head on Fred's chest, allowing a small smile to creep across his face, "Only Fred gets to call me Georgie…" he spoke in the present tense, making no mention of Fred being dead.
George lifted himself up, moving himself back up to look down on his twin's face again, "Still lost…" he said, almost to himself.
All the Weasleys were staring at him by now, but George paid them no mind. He walked his fingers across Fred's face again. He placed his palm flat on Fred's forehead and brushed it down to his chin, as though to close eyes that were already shut. As his pinky finger brushed over Fred's lips, George paused. His head tilted to the side. He leant down again, resting his ear over Fred's heart. This time the smile that crossed his face was almost brilliant.
He sat back up again, oblivious of the eyes of his family on him. George looked back down at Fred's face. He was slowly making his way back to them… to him. He just need a little more help. George frowned slightly, absently carding his fingers through Fred's hair. He ignored his mother's sobs and Ginny's tears. He ignored his brothers' pleas to let Fred go. George's hand brushed over Fred's forehead.
Harry looked down at the seemingly entranced George. Could it be possible? No… Fred was definitely dead. So were you, his mind whispered at him. Harry's eyes widened behind his glasses. He had come back. His soul had been called back. Harry looked over at George, meeting his eyes. George tilted his head at him and smiled, a brilliant, yet serene smile, almost scary on the redhead's face so normally full of mischief.
"Oh my God…" Harry breathed quietly.
None of the Weasleys heard. They were all too focussed on George.
George looked back down at his twin, "Come home," he said softly to Fred.
Then George made a move that completely annihilated every Muggle fairy tale cliché in existence, and, Harry was willing to bet, a fair few Wizarding ones as well. Looking slightly confused, George pressed his hand over Fred's heart. Then in one swift motion that left the entire Weasley family and Harry completely stunned, George leant down and quickly pressed his lips to Fred's.
He sat back up and looked down at Fred expectantly. He frowned, pressing his hand back over Fred's heart when nothing happened. George's face fell. He turned his face up to meet the stunned Harry's eyes. Harry simply stared at him.
"It didn't work…" he whispered, the confusion and pain in his voice enough to bring tears to Harry's eyes.
"George…" Harry said, "Are you sure? I mean, I know you're twins… but are you sure it's supposed to happen?"
Percy's voice, still stunned, cut into the conversation, "Sure what's supposed to happen? What is going on? Please…"
George didn't answer, turning his pain-filled eyes back down to Fred, "You were supposed to come home."
That left Harry to say softly, "Five of Voldemort's seven Horcruxes were objects, things of value. Two of them weren't. One was his snake, Nagini. The other was me."
The Weasleys stared at him in shock, prompting him to continue, "I walked right up to the Dark Lord and let him throw Avada Kedavra at me. It worked. I died. But for some reason… because of the connection to the Horcruxes… I was sent back."
As one, the Weasleys and Harry looked back at Fred and George. George ignored them all. He was too busy looking down at Fred in disbelief. He had one hand pressed down on Fred's chest. The other was pressed to his own chest. George shook his head and the Weasleys could all see his mouth silently forming the word 'no'.
"You were supposed to come home…" he said to Fred's still form.
George's expression of disbelief morphed into a scowl, then a look of pure fury, "You utter, complete bastard. You were supposed to come home!"
Percy and Charlie eased forward to try and pull him off Fred, but stopped short, faces paling and hands dropping loosely to their sides. With no warning whatsoever, George pulled back the hand covering his own heart, curled it into a fist and drove it in a vicious punch into his brother's stomach.
The fury fell away from George's face, morphing into pure, unadulterated joy, as Fred let out a great shuddering gasp, eyes flying open as he tried to heave air into his unused lungs. He broke into a broad grin, leaning over his twin, helping him into a sitting position so he could breathe easier, all the while murmuring the same words over and over.
"You're late… but it's ok… you're home now."