The Clock

Disclaimer: This world does not belong to me.

--

The night was still at the Burrow. Voldemort was dead. The war was over. Rejoicing could be heard from all over the land. Fireworks exploded in the night sky. Parties ran long into the night. Celebration ran rampant through the countryside.

Except here.

Stillness surrounded the Burrow. A sadden family gathered around the fireplace, sitting quietly. The girl, Ginny Weasley, rested her head on her father's knee from her seat on the floor. Next to him on the couch were Charlie and Bill. Seated in the adjacent chair was Molly, Ron on the floor next to her, clutching her hand. Percy was seated in front of the fire, some distance away, fiddling with a piece of loose string from the worn rug. George was opposite to him, messing with some small trinket from he and Fred's store.

No one had spoken in quite some time. Fred was dead. He had been killed fighting Voldemort. He had died laughing, shortly after Percy's return. They had been a full family again for such a brief moment. Now they would never be whole again.

It was Arthur who finally broke the silence by simply urging everyone to go to bed. It had been quite some time since anyone had slept. Molly and Arthur moved as robots nudging their children upstairs. All the children were staying there that night. The parents told their children goodnight, hugging each one extra tightly.

The six children stood at the stop of the first flight, not sure where to go. Bill looked at his baby sister's swollen face. He reached out and squeezed her hand.

"Ginny, would it be okay if I set up my bed in your room?"

Ginny nodded, not wanting to be alone. She and her big brother walked off towards her room, arms around each other in support.

"Charlie, Harry's bed is set upstairs. You can stay in there if you want to," Ron mumbled. Charlie nodded and followed Ron up the stairs.

George stared at the room he and Fred had shared for years. He couldn't go in there, not yet. He could not enter that room knowing his twin would not be in there with.

"Percy, I know things haven't been the greatest between us, but I can't go in there. Not yet," George rasped out. Percy nodded and they headed for his room. He could transfigured a bed for George from something around there.

Downstairs Molly and Arthur were quietly cleaning up the kitchen. Molly was carrying a mug to a cabinet when she passed the family clock. She froze, dropping the mug to the floor where it shattered. Arthur hurried over, waving his wand to clean up the mess and to see what was wrong.

Molly pointed a shaking finger to the clock. Fred's name was spinning around. There was no mark for 'death.'

Arthur looked alarmed, then asked quietly, "Do we want to remove his name?"

"No!"

"Shall I make a place for him?" Arthur asked, taking the clock down.

"Yes," Molly answered.

"What should it say?"

"I don't know," Molly mumbled, trying to hold back the fresh set of tears that were ready to spill.

Arthur took the clock and set it on the kitchen table. He opened it up to work on it. Molly left the room and walked up the stairs to check on the children. She could not watch. She could not watch her husband make a special place on the clock for her dead son. She could not stop the tears as they flowed down her cheeks. Fred was gone. Never again would she hear him and George cause mayhem. Never again would they try to trick her with their identity, never mind the fact that she always knew who was who. Never again would they appear out of thin air to scare her. Never again would she receive compliments on her twins. Never again would she hear him laugh or feel him hug her. Never would she hear him say 'Mum.'

Molly sank down on the bed in her room. She buried her face in her hands. Her baby was dead. Never to roam the halls of the Burrow again.

--

Arthur wiped away the tears that clouded his vision as he worked on the clock. He had always known that one day death would have to be added, but he had always hoped it would be his own, not one of his children. He did not know what to put as the label for 'dead.' It was far to blunt to simply state. The spot would also have to be bewitched very carefully. If someone accidently ended up on the spot, neither he nor Molly would be able to take it.

There were so many phrases for death, but some meant other things. He refused to just choose anything. This was his son. He had died in the fight against Voldemort. Arthur and Molly knew they had been lucky to have lost much to Voldemort, until now.

At peace. Underground. Gone. Eternal sleep. The great joke shop in the sky. Arthur tried many, many phrases but none seemed to work. No phrase would work.

Arthur slowly removed Fred's name, staring at it. He remembered when the twins were born, adding on the nameplate.

"Daddy, what are you doing?" Charlie asked standing on a chair next to the table.

"Adding Fred and George to the clock," Arthur told his son as he added Fred to the clock.

"But they can't go anywhere."

Arthur chuckled, "Yes, but they are part of this family."

"Did you have to add me?"

"No, you and Bill were on it when I bought the clock."

"Wow, they knew who we were?"

Arthur chuckled as he added George to the clock, "No, I had it made that way."

"Oh."

Arthur closed the clock a few minutes later and hung it back on the wall. Molly entered the room, a twin in either arm. She handed George to Arthur, "All fixed?"

"Yes, the twins are on it," Arthur responded. He then whispered quietly, "Welcome to the family, boys."

Arthur wiped away his tears. He suddenly knew what he was going to do.

--

Several hours later, all the names on the clock pointed to 'bed.' Underneath the clock face was a hemisphere filled with moving pictures that changed every thirty seconds. A red haired boy could be seen wrestling with is brothers, playing Quidditch, covered in dirt, and more. The clock finally settled on the imagine of an infant. A nameplate was underneath the image that simply read:

Fred.