A/N: Hey, all. Decided to update the fic, because if I have a shot of finishing it, I have to make sure I don't cringe reading my earlier chapters. It won't be as lighthearted as before, but I hope to maintain a sense of humor throughout.
Disclaimer: Just playing in the Rowling sandbox.
Fred woke up suddenly and in the dark. His back felt very cool against the flagstone floor of the castle, because that's surely where he was. Only minutes ago a bright flash of light had hit the walls of Hogwarts and the stones had buckled inward, fell towards him as if he and they were magnetized.
The sounds of shoes scraping the floor could be heard around him and what were more disconcerting were the distinct sounds of crying in the air above him.
He could hear George—the familiar hitch before a sob that he'd heard seldom over the years, but often enough to recognize it. Fred frowned, an inappropriate joke at the tip of his tongue, or he tried to. His mouth refused to budge. Something simpler then; he tried opening his eyes. There was no response from his body, not a twitch, not a shudder.
Ginny was sniffling somewhere nearby, the angry sounds of her anguish easy to distinguish among the murmurs around him—his heart gave a panicked wrench at the thought of her pain. She was and always would be that little three year old girl who smiled up at him, her teddy clutched between her tiny hands like an offering.
The squeak of Percy's shirt against his glasses was the next thing he noticed, then his dad clearing his throat gruffly and his mum, breathless and still grieving, occasionally giving voice to a low moan that was muffled against something, probably dad's chest.
He tried moving again, inhaling for all he was worth, but his chest felt heavy. A little worm of panic began to form in his mind, a fear of small spaces and dark places that had never been a problem before suddenly manifest. He was stuck here, inside himself, while his family was grieving around them. Why didn't George do something? Make a joke? A tasteless, glib remark? A terrible pun? Anything?
Fred's brain was succumbing to lethargy, his head aching a little with a foggy pain he didn't recognize a moment before. He wondered, in the seconds before he passed out, if he was already dead.
A/N: Reviews are love. ;)