Pairing: Genfic- Tiny hints of some canon pairings.
Word Count: 2,585
Notes: This was written for Kirarakim on livejournal. Goes with the idea that characters went back to Hogwarts to properly complete their seventh year. JK didn't ever answer whether they did or not. According to JKR, the Dementors were removed from Azkaban as they showed a deeper corruption within the ministry, hence the Quibbler reference. Big spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My very first HP fanfic. I'm a bit scared to be honest. It's a pretty daunting series to write for. Hope you enjoy!
In the End We'll Smile
It had not been until Ron had forcefully brought it up with him over the Christmas holidays that anyone had mentioned Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to George.
"You've got to open the joke shop back up!" Ron had proclaimed when the two were alone cleaning up the living room for Christmas festivities as per Mrs. Weasley's demands. Ron considered adding; it's been over six months but decided against it.
George dropped the dust rag he was holding as if it were something very unpleasant. No one had muttered a word about anything related to the joke shop or any products it had sold since Fred's death. There wasn't a single skiving snack box or ton-tongue toffee to be found in the house, any that were discovered having been confiscated by Mrs. Weasley. No one said anything about this, but everyone, from the Weasleys to Harry and Hermione, knew why. It's best not to remind him. It's been so much harder on George than anyone else. He can just stay at home for as long as he needs to.
As such, Ron was as surprised as George to hear the words come out of his mouth. He did not know what had brought it on. Maybe it was how different this holiday felt, without the laughter and frivolity his twin brothers had always provided. Perhaps subconsciously he felt that once he returned from a few months at Hogwarts for the holidays, George would be a bit more spirited. He wasn't.
"Leave me alone Ron," he mumbled.
Ron felt very out of his element. Giving emotional advice was not his strength, as Hermione had reminded him more than once. However, as he watched his brother sluggishly clean the living room, he sighed and took a deep breath. "Listen up, okay?" He didn't wait for George's reply. "I think it's a mistake that everyone is refusing to talk about it. Mum hides anything she finds that you two made, like she thinks it will help you forget about him."
George looked a bit surprised at this. "Oh come on, you've got to know Mum does that," but Ron wondered if maybe his brother had been living in such a haze that he actually didn't notice it was happening.
"Just shut up," George's voice was teetering on irritation, and he moved to leave the room.
Watching George was agonizing. He had never met anyone more full of life than his brothers, able to turn some of the most unpleasant situations into a laugh. These were the creators of U-No-Poo after all, even managing to derive humor out of Voldemort himself.
To see George, one half of that exuberant duo, in such a state, sucked every bit of hope out of him when they were in the same room. Although he knew it wasn't true, he felt like if George Weasley could not laugh, tell jokes, and be happy, then maybe no one could.
Making up his mind, Ron stepped forward and grabbed George by the sleeve. He tried to pull away, but Ron held tight until George went lax under his grip.
"George you're not getting any better at all," Ron phrased awkwardly.
"I'm not sick."
"Don't be stupid, you know that's not what I mean," he rolled his eyes and lowered his voice to almost a mumble, "You know Fred would have wanted you to open it back up."
George lashed away from Ron's grip and turned to face him, "What do you know?"
"You both put a ton of work into it! He wouldn't want you to give it up," he gestured with his arms.
"Bloody hell George, you don't act anything like yourself anymore. Do you think he would have wanted that?"
George didn't reply.
"It's what made you two happy," Ron continued, "I don't think you can be happy without it."
"I reckon Fred's not happy right now," George countered sourly.
"Bet he's happier than you," Ron crossed his arms in front of him.
Within moments, the force of George's hands pressed against his shoulders and he was shoved into the wall. Ron's eyes widened in shock.
"He's DEAD!" he shouted into his brother's face.
Ron regained his composure, and then spoke bravely. "Better dead than barely alive."
George pulled back to punch him, but Ron blocked the punch by catching his hand. "Mum and everyone, they're all wrong to help you avoid it. I mean I know they're all just trying to protect you but…"
"I mean you've been doing this since I was barely old enough to talk," Ron inwardly recalled how he'd gained his fear of spiders and cringed, "I don't think there's anything else in the world you'd be happy doing. You're sure as hell not happy now, and if Fred could see you now, or if he can see you now… you know he wouldn't be either."
George pulled his fist away and crumpled to the floor, his legs having given out on him. Still pressed against the wall, Ron took a moment to figure out how to react to George's sudden withdrawal. Taking a deep breath, he slowly kneeled beside him and placed his arm around his brother's shoulders, not saying anything when he noticed how George's eyes had welled up with tears.
He turned away from Ron when he noticed his eyes were wet, and Ron felt a smile cross his lips in spite of himself. "It's okay, I cried in front of Harry like this last year," he clumsily tried to reassure his brother that there was nothing to be embarrassed about, "Course it wasn't as big a deal… what I was crying about but… I mean that locket was acting pretty rich with all the shit it was saying."
Having no idea what Ron was talking about, he had the sudden mental image of an enchanted necklace (maybe resembling the one he'd received as a gift from Lavender Brown two years before, which the twins had found later on and gotten a laugh out of) teasing his brother and Ron crying in Harry's arms about it. He was quite sure that wasn't what happened, but the mental image was enough to make him smile and let out a sob stifled laugh.
"Oi, what's so funny?" Ron frowned, confused.
"Nothing," George scourgefied his dust rag and wiped his eyes. Ron fought the urge to press him about it, knowing it was probably something about him he was laughing at, but let it go.
"I'll let you laugh at me for now," he expressed, "But only if you send me some skiving snackboxes at school. Those N.E.W.T. classes can be brutal."
"Hermione will kill you."
"What's new?" Ron shrugged, "And since when did you care?" George and Ron both laughed lightly. "So if I help you open the joke shop back up, will you do it?"
George frowned again and didn't respond. "I'll help you out. You can send new stuff back and forth to me, although I reckon we'll need to find another owl if we're sending anything more than slip of paper."
"Maybe Percy will let us use Hermes," George suggested factitiously.
"Yeah right," Ron snorted, "I'm really serious though, but… nothing that will cover my arse in boils or anything like that," he winced at the thought.
"Aw come on Ron, if you're really dedicated to it…"
"No really, if you do that I won't help you," Ron shrugged, "That's way too gross for me."
"Says the one who spewed up slugs," George countered.
"That was years ago and on accident," Ron snapped, but not harshly. He was happy that, even though if partly at his own expense, his brother was in a better mood then he'd been since that night over six months ago. "And this summer we're going to reopen the store together. I'll work there for a couple months, before I go off to Auror training with Harry."
Ron half-smiled at George and held out his hand. "Is it a deal?"
After a few moments' hesitation, George took his hand and shook it vigorously. "Deal."
When Christmas came a few days later, everyone's wands were sneakily replaced after dinner with trick ones that shot out copious amounts of eggnog when you attempted to use them. But no one got angry. Not even Mrs. Weasley. Instead, they all just laughed and George realized how much he had truly missed that sound.
"This is the day," Ron stepped into the dark store with George. "Diagon Alley is sure going to be happy to see you back."
"Yeah and just in time for summer," George grinned, "Best time for business, with the kids not at school."
"Yeah well we've been cleaning this place for three days now, so they'd better," Ron recalled the dusty mess it had been when they first came back. The store had been closed for over a year. "I reckon we have one more thing to do now."
George pulled out a large folder from the bag he carried. In it, photos and newspaper clippings they had spent the last week or so collecting.
"You really think this will help?" Ron glanced at the bare back wall of the store.
His older brother nodded and smiled, "Yeah, I really think it will."
And soon the back wall was plastered in photographs and newspaper clippings. As the pictures and clippings went up, they shared stories and reminisced about each one. It was freeing, and as each piece went up and each story told, George felt a bit of weight lifting off of his heart.
First there were images of all who had been lost in the battle a year before. Fred's picture was the largest and grinned from the center of the collage- bursting with life despite being only a photograph. George had later commented that the only victim missing from the tribute was his unfortunate ear. Ron had laughed and pinned up an extendable ear on the wall in memoriam.
After that, there was a section dedicated to clippings and photographs of what everyone was up to now. The wizarding world had changed and was still changing, and this section was dedicated to the new beginnings brought upon by Voldemort's defeat a little over a year ago.
There was Ginny, the celebrated new Seeker for the Holyhead Harpies, shaking hands with team captain Gwenog Jones. Next to her was a newspaper clipping featuring Hermione Granger, well dressed and professional as any business woman, making a powerful presentation to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures regarding House-Elf rights.
Harry, always in the news whether he was doing anything of note or not, had not taken a career yet. However, it was no secret (in fact it was common knowledge), that he and Ron would begin Auror training at the ministry in the upcoming Autumn. There were countless newspaper clippings they could have chosen to put up for him (including one on the well publicized ceremony where he was awarded Order of Merlin, First Class), but instead they decided to tack up a photograph of him happily holding his godson, little turquoise haired Teddy Lupin, to represent him. Ron and George both had little doubt that Harry would prefer this choice as well.
Bill and Fleur snuggled in a photograph next to Harry's, Bill rubbing his hands over Fleur's very pregnant stomach. Then, an image of Neville, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, all returning to Hogwarts for another chance at their seventh year, this time under much better circumstances. A Head Boy badge gleamed upon Neville's robes, and he glanced down to it with a sheepish and modest smile as if still not quite believing it was there.
The entire Weasley family, Arthur and Molly in the middle, beamed from a photograph taken during the Christmas holidays, when they were celebrating Arthur receiving both a pay raise and a larger office. An ad for Lee Jordon's popular new radio show was pinned next to it. Charlie and Hagrid shared a shot, Norberta in the background. Hagrid had insisted on going to see her during the holiday.
On the cover of the Daily Prophet, Percy stood proudly behind the now officially appointed Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt.
Next to that, an issue of The Quibbler, which they had decided Weasley's Wizard Wheezes should carry as an in stock item for a couple reasons- one being that the Lovegoods were still trying to procure the money necessary to repair the damages on their house and secondly of course, because it was quite funny. The current issue's headline read- DEMENTORS: HAWAII OR BUST? Azkaban's Dementors, now out of a job, have been seen taking up residence in popular Muggle Vacation Resorts on the Islands of Hawaii. Accompanying it was an obviously doctored photograph of a Dementor wearing sunglasses, a lei, a hula skirt, and sipping a tropical beverage while lounging on the sun-soaked beach. The Dementor took a last sip and shook his empty coconut half, at which another Dementor (wearing a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a surfboard) came into the photograph with a tray and handed it a new drink.
"Loads more entertaining than the Prophet," Ron remarked. "Just one more thing, right?" He gave his brother a wink as they surveyed the back wall, which would be visible to any customer perusing the store. George nodded and walked to the front of the store, pulling off the large poster that they'd hung on the door just a few days before. "This one is yours to put up."
George took the poster and glanced furtively at Fred's portrait, as if asking for reassurance.
"Blimey George, you know what Fred would say, right?" Ron cut in when he noticed what his brother was doing. "I mean come on; you've spent months developing all this new stuff."
From the photograph, Fred gave George a mischievous grin. The kind he'd worn whenever they were plotting something most brilliant. George smirked, "He'd say, George you stupid git, are you really going to let something like me kicking the bucket ruin everyone's fun? Don't go chicken shit on me now."
In spite of themselves, both Ron and George covered their mouths and stifled laughter.
"Then he'd say- I'm just one person; people will still need to laugh whether I'm here or not," Ron added.
And George, waving his wand and performing a permanent self-sticking charm, placed the poster on the end of the part of the wall that represented new beginnings.
WEASLEYS' WIZARD WHEEZES WILL SOON BE REOPENING
Underneath the text, the triple W that they twins had adopted as their logo, sparkled and moved as if made out of fireworks.
Ron and George stared at the back wall for a few minutes longer, George as if he was gaining courage from all the silent moving pictures. Then, with a mutual look at Fred's beaming photo, Ron stood by the door as George unlocked it and walked outside, having grabbed a very large and very bright standee. He placed it on the ground directly in front of the store, and charmed the text to glitter like the poster they'd just hung up. George stood proudly by the standee and Ron watched from inside as the many visitors to Diagon Alley whispered excitedly over what it said.
WEASLEYS' WIZARD WHEEZES- NOW REOPENED FOR BUSINESS!
Loads of new merchandise along with all your old favorites available!
Don't go back to school without the most important supplies not on your list.