Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine.
A/N 1: I found it unfair that George never even got to say goodbye to Fred, so I wanted to take a bit of a creative license, and this is what came up. I was going to cut this into chapters, but I didn't seem to flow as well, so I left it alone. Hope no one minds. :)
"George!" Fred burst abruptly into their room, surprising George enough to nearly fall off of the bunk bed ladder that he was so precariously balanced on. "George, follow me!" Fred grabbed his hand and tugged, his brown eyes eager with the kind of excitement only young children experience. He had found something; George could see it in his face. Something amazing. George hopped down and, without asking why, sprinted after his brother as Fred led him out of the Burrow and behind the garden.
It was always this way. All Fred ever had to say was "follow me," and his brother would drop whatever he was doing and follow. It was like an unspoken law. Fred always seemed to know the way, and George never minded Fred being the ringleader. He had never wished it any other way.
It was late, and as George trailed behind his brother, he began to wonder where they were going. It was dark, and Fred was heading into the woods. If their mother found them out of bed, they'd never hear the end of it. But George didn't bother looking back. He knew whatever it was; it was worth whatever trouble they may get into. It always was.
George nearly had to fly to catch up with his brother, who was animatedly twisting around tree trunks and hurdling over bushes. Watching him, George was absurdly reminded of a monkey. Fred finally halted behind a large black tree at the edge of a small clearing and glanced over the tree trunk before motioning George closer.
George crept sneakily next to him. "Look, George…" Fred had dropped his voice to a whisper, as if they where looking through the bars of their newborn sister's crib. George peered over Fred's shoulder, wary of getting much closer than his brother had to whatever they were looking at. When his eyes caught sight of the large, grey spindly looking creature, George gasped, and he was caught off guard when Fred suddenly clapped a hand over his mouth. "Don't let it hear you, it'll run away." he hissed under his breath, "You gotta watch it dance, Georgie, it's hilarious…"
As if on cue, the animal reared up on its hind legs and began stomping about in an awkwardly graceful way, its front legs flailing like windsocks at its sides. After a moment it started to make an odd, ghostlike noise from the back of its throat, as if it were singing. The two boys watched it, captivated as the thing spun around wildly, it's large round eyes shut tightly in concentration. Its grey skin looked almost silver in the light of the full moon.
"What is it?" George asked softly, watching as it did a flip into the air and landed elegantly back onto its feet without a sound. George resisted the urge to applaud. Fred didn't seem to have heard him ask his question, because he made no move to answer. "Hey, Freddie," George grumbled. Slightly miffed from being ignored, he nudged his brother's shoulder, "What is that thing?"
"It's a mooncalf." Fred murmured, a tiny smile on his face as he never took his eyes away, "They're supposed to be really rare…I read about them in dad's old copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
"You read?" George asked incredulously, and, it seemed, a little too loudly, because the mooncalf stopped abruptly in its ministrations and spun around, its bulging crystal blue eyes blinking rapidly as they scanned the edge of the forest for signs of on-looking life. Both boys stood absolutely still, hoping that the thing's eyesight was bad enough that it wouldn't see them if they didn't dare to breathe.
However, after a moment of searching the trees, the creature seemed to deem the location too dangerous and ran–much faster than George would have guessed possible for such a gangly thing–into the shadows of the trees on the other side of the clearing.
For a moment, George thought Fred was going to be angry, but instead he burst out laughing, his butt falling into the dirt as he was overcome with mirth. It was as if he had never seen anything so funny in all four years of his life. "Did you see how fast that thing ran?" he wheezed cheerfully, "ZOOM!" He made a swift gesture with the wave of his arm, still laughing through his words. "Like a rocket! Who would've thought, with how big and flat its feet are!" George smiled. It always seemed as if Fred could read his mind.
George was trying to concentrate on his overdue homework when he heard Fred race into the room and leap onto his four poster bed with a loud, creaking landing. "George!" Fred beamed enthusiastically, "Follow me!" George knew he should have told Fred to wait until he got this done, but he had never been able to. That glint in Fred's eye was the same at eleven that it was at four. He set down his quill and let Fred grab his wrist and lead him out of the Gryffindor common room and down the corridor.
"What're we doing?" George asked cautiously as they ducked behind a nearby stone pillar, but Fred put a finger to his lips and gave him a wicked grin that plainly said, you'll see. The two of them stood in perfect silence for a moment, Fred clutching his hand tightly around what looked suspiciously to be several Dungbombs. When Filch rounded the corner, Fred turned and grinned at him.
"It's been a while since we've pissed in his porridge, hasn't it?" George saw where this was going. He grinned and nodded. Fred reared his arm back and tossed a Dungbomb as hard as he could muster, and both boys high-fived when it landed with a loud bang at Filch's feet. Filch jumped, uttering a ridiculously feminine shriek and quickly covering his mouth and nose with a bony hand to block out the stench.
"It's those damn twins, isn't it, Mrs. Norris?" Filch gruffly asked his cat, whom eerily meowed in response. Fred dared to stick his head out from behind the pillar, but that turned out to be a mistake, as Filch suddenly shouted, "You there, you redheaded little brat! Get back here!" Fred grabbed onto George's wrist and turned to run, but Filch's cat bounded gracefully in front of them, meowing with contented victory as her master caught up with them.
"You two are coming with me!" he snarled threateningly, grabbing them both by the backs of their robes. Fred seemed relatively unimpressed.
"What're you gonna do?" He asked uninterestedly.
"Send us to Dumbledore?" George offered helpfully, sounding bored, himself.
"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Filch snarled, "Headmaster thinks you're awful funny, don't he? Thinks I shouldn't be such a–" but before he could finish, the boys cut him off excitedly.
Filch didn't seem to find any of their suggestions suitable. "When I'm done with the two of you…" Filch started nastily as he began dragging the boys to his office by the collars of their robes, but he didn't finish aloud as he shoved the boys into his dingy office. "You two are going to have detention until you graduate!" He snapped wrathfully, forcing the boys to sit into a pair of chairs in front of his lopsided desk, "I'm going to hang the two of you from your thumbs and let the other children practice curses on you!"
Fred didn't seem to be listening, and when George looked over to what he was staring at, he understood why. There was a large file cabinet behind his desk, one of the drawers labeled in messy, nearly illegible scrawl: Confiscated and Highly Dangerous. The twins exchanged eager looks, and then Fred slipped a Dungbomb surreptitiously into George's hand. Understanding, George waited until Fred nodded and chucked the Dungbomb against the wall by Filch's head.
Everything seemed to go three times faster than normal after that. Fred dove over to the file cabinet and wrenched it open, riffling through at lightening speed as Filch swore loudly and waved his arms around like a great windmill. "Follow me," George heard in his ear before he felt his brother grab his arm and haul him towards the door.
They didn't stop running until they'd reached their dormitory. "What'd you find?" George asked keenly, looking at his brother's hands to see a tattered piece of parchment. "What is it?" he asked before Fred even had time to answer his first question. Fred shrugged and spread it out onto George's bed. They both stared at the disappointingly blank page a moment before Fred grabbed his wand, pointed it at the page point blank and whispered,
"What's your secret?"
Immediately, large, loopy letters began to glide over the page, as if someone were writing them from somewhere else, without a quill. The boys gaped as the letters began to form words:
Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs would like to express what an honour it is that decedents of the great Prewitt twins find interest in work of the humble Marauders. Would you care to learn the rules of our magical map, young sirs?
Fred turned and grinned at his brother. "I do believe we've nicked the jackpot, young sir."
"We should've opted for detention." Fred grumbled, looking out the window as the bulk of the Hogwarts student body scurried gleefully out into the snow, on their way to Hogsmeade, "No one's here to keep us company. Even Lee's left us. Fickle bastard. He better bring us back a whole bag of stuff from Zonko's."
"Ah, it's not so bad." George muttered from where he lay lounging over one of the overstuffed red couches by the roaring fireplace, "It's not like it wasn't worth it to put pink dye in Snape's shampoo. Who would've thought, eh? He does use it, after all." Fred smirked, walking away from the window to sit beside George's feet on the sofa. He pulled out his wand and started toying with the fire to spell out his name. "We could try sneaking out the witch's hump, if you really wanna go." George offered, the body language of his opinion obvious when he didn't stir from his comfortable position.
Fred shrugged, seemingly apathetic. "To be honest, I'd rather guilt Lee into buying our stock of Dungbombs this month." He said with a sigh, and leaned up against the couch.
"So what do you want to do, then?"
"Madame Hooch has the balls locked away in her office," George sighed, throwing an arm dramatically over his eyes when Fred turned his name a blinding neon green, "and she went to Hogsmeade."
"We could break the lock."
George gave an odd, full-body heave that Fred guessed, if he had been in a sitting position, would have been a listless shrug. "Oh, no rush." Fred muttered sarcastically, falling with a whump onto George's chest. He stayed sprawled there for a moment; George's relaxed breathing in and out causing Fred's head to loll slightly against his ribs. "George dearest," Fred suddenly said into the comfortable silence, "is your wand in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
Fred was only able to laugh a full second before George shoved him off of himself, and, ultimately, the couch. Startled, Fred grabbed onto his brother's robe on his way down, and George ended up tumbling off as well, falling on top of Fred with a grunt. For a long time, neither boy moved. George felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end as Fred looked him directly in the eye, his expression not telling one way or the other. Then, as was always the case, Fred was the first to react. "I believe we may not be identical in every aspect, there, Georgie."
Unnerved by his assurance, George laughed. "Is–is that an insult or a compliment?" The corner of Fred's mouth twitched in vague response. George was about to get up when Fred grabbed the front of his robes, keeping his twin's face near his own.
"Care to find out what real rule-breaking feels like?" George's mouth fell open wordlessly. Fred took that as a yes, pulling his brother's mouth to his and running his tongue over his lips. George gasped, and for a second his back went rigid, but when Fred sucked his tongue into his mouth, he seemed to melt again. His hand dropped beside Fred's left ear, and in a brief fit of desperation, he grasped roughly at his fiery hair.
Fred let out a moan that purred all the way down George's spine and back again. Intrigued, George gave his hair another tug, and was forced to break the kiss when he felt Fred buck involuntarily against him. Gasping loudly, George kept his eyes locked with his brother's, which now looked slightly glazed and disoriented. George felt his heart thudding heavily in his chest. He was still unsure if he should believe this was really happening.
"Fred–" George started waveringly, but Fred pulled George back to his mouth, devouring him greedily until George sagged helplessly against him, forgetting any and all doubts. Deciding he should probably do something with his hands, George tentatively placed them on Fred's chest, dragging them down to the waist of his pants.
"George…" Fred whispered against his brother's lips as he gently broke away from the kiss, "Follow me."
George blinked hazily as Fred pulled him up by his arm and led the way to the fifth year dormitory to shove him clumsily onto his bed.
"HAPPY CHRISTMAS, GEORGIE!" Fred howled, bounding off of his desk and onto the bunk George was currently sleeping in with alarming precision. George sat up with a very non-Christmas-y explanative spewing from his mouth. Fred sat perched on his brother's lap, grinning as he narrowly missed a blearily aimed punch at his face. "C'mon, George, it's Christmas! Try to downplay the violence."
George rubbed groggily at his eye, gently pushing his brother off of him so that he could move out of bed. "Wh-what are you doing already dressed? Is mum making breakfast yet?" Fred was beaming, the mischievous spark in his eye again.
"Why not? Where is she?"
"She's still sleeping. It's only 4:30."
"Four-thirty? Fred, what're you doing waking me up at–"
Fred's hand was suddenly over George's mouth. "I wanted you to see your present before we got wrapped up in the whole family-get-together thing." Fred explained, "If Ron sees what I got you, he might feel a bit robbed. I mean, it might've been a useful book we got him, but we still only got him a book."
George felt a thrill in his chest. "Ooh! What'd you get me?" he asked enthusiastically as Fred removed his hand. He suddenly felt wide awake. A smile stretched across Fred's face from ear to ear. Without a word, he jumped down from George's bunk and onto the floor. George swung his legs over the side of his bed and landed down beside him. "What?" George asked when Fred looked impishly at him. Fred said nothing, grabbing onto his brother's arm and turning on his heel.
When George reoriented himself, he realized with a slightly embarrassed start that he was standing in the middle of Diagon Ally in his pajamas. He was thankful it was too early for anyone to be milling around. "C'mon, George, follow me!" Fred chirped, taking George's hand and leading him down the street, past Zonko's and Honeyduke's.
"What kind of gift is this?" George asked dubiously, stumbling to keep up with his brother as he whizzed past the Three Broomsticks. Fred stopped short and turned to grin widely at him, his eyes sparkling in the dim light of a nearby street lantern.
"The kind you'll never forget me for, Georgie-boy." Before George could even bother asking, Fred was on the move again. He seemed to be counting off the address numbers to himself, his head darting left and right. Finally, Fred came to a stop; he was looking a few buildings away from where they were standing. "Okay, one more minute." He ducked behind George and put his hands over his eyes. "C'mon. Forward, march!"
Confused, George did as he was asked until he felt Fred pull back on his head like the reigns of a horse. "Ow! You bloody git! That hurt!" George grumbled, his hand flying up to massage his sore neck. "This present better be damn worth it or–" George stopped in mid-sentence when Fred removed his hands. For a moment he stood gaping at the empty little store, reading and rereading the sign until the words Future Home of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes: Opening Spring was burned forever into his memory.
"Well? Is it worth it, or are you going to finish that threat?" George turned his slack-jawed look to his brother. Fred was radiant. "Worth it then? Good. Bit worried there when you didn't say anything." George suddenly released something that sounded to be somewhere between a scream and a laugh, tackling his brother jubilantly.
"You–I can't believe you–Bleeding Christ, Fred, you're a genius! You're a god!"
Fred laughed, brushing off the compliment as if he heard such things every day. Of course, being Fred, George wouldn't have been surprised if he had. "Yes, yes, I know, I'm the greatest brother in existence. But you haven't even seen the best part yet!" Fred ran ahead of him, opening the door with a quick wave of his wand. "Follow me!" George darted inside, racing after him when he saw Fred climb a spiral staircase set towards the back. "Two in one, see?" Fred called out as George reached the landing. He swung open the door to reveal a comfortably large flat. "It's got everything we'll need," Fred assured fervently, "and a whole extra room we can conduct experiments in! Want to take a tour?"
George turned and smiled at him. "Where's the bedroom?" he asked deviously.
It was as if they were each simply an extension of the other. Fred seemed to know exactly when George was going to fire as well as what spell was going to shoot out of his wand, and George knew nothing less of Fred. They worked like a machine, quick on their feet with lightening reflexes and never faltering once. Death Eaters were falling in heaps around them, the faster they came at them, the faster the boys shot them down.
This was it, George thought to himself, the home stretch. The war was nearly over at this point. After this, everyone would be so much happier. He and Fred could go back to work at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and everything would be even better than it used to be. They would win this, George knew they would. Losing was never even a thought. Harry had beaten Voldemort in one way or another ever year for the past six years, not counting, of course, his initial victory at age one. Voldemort didn't stand a chance.
"George, watch out!" George felt his brother tug him by the collar of his shirt, and watched as a bright blue flash of light shot past his face. "If you're not careful, you're gonna lose that other ear, Saint Git." George smirked, quickly firing a shot at a Death Eater who thought he was sneaking behind his brother before turning back to his own.
"GEORGE!" It all happened so fast. Fred suddenly slammed his body against him, sending George reeling to the floor. There was a flash of bright red light and George heard the dull thump of several bodies collapsing. Then it was silent.
No. No. No.
George sat up, looking around helplessly, praying his gut instinct was wrong. Then he found him, surrounded by the rubble of a broken down wall, his red hair coated in white dust. An odd noise strangled in the back of George's throat, and he crawled over to kneel beside his brother. "Fred? Fred, oh God, no, please…"
There was a soft groaning noise in response. "Sorry, Georgie." George had barely heard his brother's voice over the eerie silence. It felt so wrong to hear Fred so quiet, and the hope George had been expecting to feel diminished. It was over. Fred Weasley was going to die here.
George couldn't remember the last time he'd cried. The tears felt awkward and unnatural in his eyes. "Fred," his voice croaked, and the sound of it would've taken George by surprise if he had noticed, "Why would you do that, you idiot? Why did you have to push me out of the way?"
"Because," Fred said weakly, his eyes opening just enough to see George's face, "You're my…brother. I couldn't just…watch you die." A thin trickle of blood began to cut through the filth at the corner of Fred's mouth. It made George cringe.
"And what about me, you great git?" George shouted hysterically, tears pouring down his face as he gripped tightly at his brother's shoulders, "What am I supposed to do, watching you die? How could you do this to me?" Fred smiled and made a feeble coughing noise at the back of his throat that, George realized with a stab at his side, was meant to be a laugh.
"I obviously…didn't think my…plan through…very well." George was shaking, his sobs starting to rise in volume. It was Fred's turn to flinch. "Oh, don't…start that, George." George wasn't listening. He dropped his head against Fred's chest, shuddering when he felt how slow and weak his breathing was.
"How can you leave me like this?" George asked helplessly, tears soaking Fred's shoulder.
"A little gratitude…for saving your life…would be nice…you prat." Fred wheezed.
"NO!" George sat up, his face shiny and wet, "If I say thank you, then that's–You'll leave me."
"I'm dying…either way…Georgie-boy."
He seemed so calm about it, so willing and ready, it almost made George resent him. "No," George meant to shout at him again, but it came out barely more than a whisper. "Please, Fred, you can't leave me alone. I don't know how to be alone! You can't do this to me! Please…I–I can't…" Fred was smiling again.
"I love you, too, Georgie." George felt his throat tighten. It always seemed as if Fred could read his mind. He wanted to say something, but could only succeed in crying harder. Fred watched him in silence for a moment, and then, "George?" George's chest heaved when he realized this was probably the last time he was ever going to hear Fred's voice. He tried to quiet his sobs behind his hand. Fred was grinning, as if he were about to tell a big joke. "Don't follow me…this time…okay?"
Percy was the one that found them when the war was over, Fred's body cradled in George's arms, George sobbing into his neck, speaking thickly through his tears. It was hard for Percy to understand him, and as he inched closer, he prayed his brother wouldn't notice him. He was only a foot away when he was finally able to hear that he was simply repeating the same sentence over and over again.
"I don't know where else to go."
A/N: I didn't like it much at first, but as it turns out, it's become the closest I have to a favourite story of mine on here. It was in my head, and I had to write it as an obligation, but it really did come out the way I wanted...except the last paragraph comes off as wordy to me or something. Oh well. Anyway, I'm currently going through barganing (for the umpteenth time) over Fred's death, and I figure, if he's gotta die, George should at least be able to say his goodbyes. Oh, and did anyone catch the hint to Shoebox-cannon, or was it too obscure?