Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me.
"George, don't be such a twat."
"No, really. You go with Percy. I'll go with Lee. We'll meet up with you later."
George smiled at him, but Fred rolled his eyes. "George, c'mon, I'm serious. He apologized. He's sorry. He is! I know he was a prat to leave, but don't hold a grudge. That's not like you." George's smile flickered slightly. Fred turned his head to see Percy walking up beside him. He was looking at George apologetically, but George wasn't looking at him at all. Fred sighed exasperatedly, "George—"
"I'll see you later, Fred." George said softly, turning to follow Lee out of the Room of Requirement. Fred felt a chill of panic stab at his spine and grabbed his wrist. That wasn't a good enough goodbye. Who knew what was going to happen in the next few hours?
"Wait—" he pulled George into a hug, his mouth by his good ear. "Be careful, Georgie." George smiled and nodded. Fred looked like he wanted to say something else, but glanced at Percy and hesitated. "See you at the end, then." He said instead, their trademark smirk pulling at his lips. George nodded again.
He didn't seem capable of saying anything for a moment, and when he finally did speak, his voice broke, and Fred realized he hadn't wanted to show vulnerability in front of their older brother. "See—see you at the end." He was smiling, but Fred knew he was scared out of his mind. He glanced back at Percy, briefly contemplating telling him to go with someone else so that he could stay with George. He frowned. He shouldn't have to ask such things. Why was George being so stubborn?
"Serious, are you?" He asked one last time, his heart sinking when George nodded. "Alright, then." He nodded at Percy and they left together into the hallway. George watched them go before turning to look at Lee, whose expression was excited, albeit a little nervous.
"Ready?" he asked, his smile faltering at the sight of his friend's pale face. George forced his grin to widen, nodding genuinely. Lee seemed to take this as answer enough. "Let's go, then!" He shouted, briefly tugging George's sleeve to lead the way. With a final glance at his brothers' retreating backs, George followed Lee out the other exit.
They hadn't gotten far before they crossed paths with a tight knot of Death Eaters. The cloaked figures seemed to sense them at once. They turned as one, and George felt their eyes boring holes into them from deep within the shadows the hoods cast over their faces. George felt ice in his stomach. This was real. This was happening. There was no turning back now. He raised his wand, but before he could even think of a curse to try, Lee had already shot down four of them. The bright light the spell sent off seemed to snap George out of his stupor, and he joined in the fight, striking them down in droves.
Then suddenly, something hit him. The pain was unimaginable. Crucio. It had to be. He couldn't imagine a worse torture than this. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't move. His heart couldn't even beat. But he couldn't understand, because he hadn't even seen any Death Eaters lift their wands. Who was doing this? Before he could even get a good look around, everything went black.
"George? George, you scared me there. I thought you were a goner." George blinked confusedly, Lee's face coming into focus. With another blink, he realized he was lying flat on the floor, surrounded by rubble and unconscious Death Eaters. The memory and the pain returned simultaneously, and all George could do was moan. "Can you hear me, George? Are you alright? What happened? You weren't even..."
"Wh—with Percy, remember?"
No. Oh God, please, no. George suddenly became aware of the fact that he was sprinting down a corridor. He had no idea how long he had been running, let alone where he was going, or where Lee was, but he couldn't stop. Not now. Not until he could breathe again. His heart fluttered when he saw a shock of red hair racing toward him, but it sunk when he realized it was only Percy. Dread swelled in his chest. He was alone.
"Where is he?" George asked breathlessly, too preoccupied to reject his brother now. Percy looked very pale, despite the blood and grime strewn gruesomely over his skin. He didn't say anything for a moment, and it gave George time to realize he was shaking.
"George…" Percy's voice was soft, tentative. No.
"WHERE IS MY BROTHER, PERCY?"
Percy took a shuddering breath, his entire body heaving now. "George…" he repeated, this time his voice came out strained and helpless, tears slicing through the dirt on his cheeks. No. No, no, no. "George, I'm so—I'm so sorry…" George felt bile crawl up his throat. It wasn't possible. This wasn't possible. George shook his head slowly, vacancy seeping into his eyes as he took a step back. Percy hesitantly reached out to touch his shoulder, but thought better of it and pulled back. "It's my fault, George—"
Percy's tears were starting to come harder now. "George, please…please don't do this…" George couldn't hear him. Everything around him had turned red. He felt sick. He needed to lie down. He needed to find Fred. Why hadn't he gone with him? He couldn't remember now. It had seemed so damn important when they separated, and now he couldn't even remember. Why wasn't he there?
"George?" George realized with slight disorientation that he was sitting on the floor, the taste of vomit in his mouth and Percy kneeling beside him, looking worried. His expression blank, George snatched the front of Percy's robes, pulling him close to his face.
"Who did it?"
"WHO DID IT, PERCY? WHICH ONE OF THEM DID IT?"
Percy was holding George at arm's length now, looking frightened. "George, you need to calm down. Please." George stared at him, disgusted. How could he possibly be expected to calm down? He couldn't even concentrate on breathing. He felt his throat grow tight as he struggled to keep his voice even.
"I need you to te—tell me who did it, Percy."
"Please George; I can't lose both of you. Not again."
"Tell me who killed my brother."
Percy couldn't help the shiver that ran down his spine. George's voice had never been so absolutely emotionless. "I—I tried to get him, but I—I couldn't catch up to…I lost him on the third floor—" George shook his head. He didn't care. This wasn't what he had asked.
Percy bit his lip, still wrestling with the idea of telling his distraught younger brother anything, trying to gauge how drastically he would react. Finally he sighed, knowing that George would find him anyway. "George, please be careful." He warned first, looking into his eyes to see that George had no such intentions. "Rookwood." Percy admitted wearily, "Augustus Rookwood." In a blink, George was gone, flying down the hall with unbelievable speed. Not knowing what else to do, Percy got to his feet and followed him.
It was almost as hard to follow George as it had been to chase after Rookwood. He was racing forward without the slightest hesitation, taking turns and staircases that made Percy wonder how he knew where he was going. Percy couldn't keep up, and as he fell back, he watched George's fleeting back twist up a staircase. "PLEASE BE CAREFUL, GEORGE!" Percy begged helplessly, but George made no sign that he had heard him.
Breathing hard, Percy forced himself after his little brother, hearing him crashing past rubble already far ahead. He didn't know how much longer he could keep this up. "YOU!" Percy felt his heart stop. He had found him. Percy picked up speed again. He was close, he could hear them. There was suddenly a flash of green and Percy's heart rate tripled against his ribs. A blood-curdling scream filled the halls.
But it wasn't George, Percy realized.
It was Rookwood.
Percy slowed to a walk as his brother and the Death Eater came into focus. George had his wand pointed at Rookwood, green light engulfing the older man as he writhed in pain. Percy felt the bottom of his stomach drop as a brief, hysterical cackle filled his ears. Percy had heard George laugh a million times before. It had never sounded anything like that.
George let his wand drop for a moment, and Percy was about to say something to him for letting his guard down before he noticed he held Rookwood's wand in his other hand. "My first thought was that I wanted to make you feel what I feel now." George murmured, his voice foreign and wild, "So I was trying to think of a spell that would rip your soul out." Percy flinched, but said nothing. George probably didn't even know he was there. "Then I remembered. You have no goddamn soul." George continued, "So I suppose this will have to do for now." Green light exploded from his wand again, and Rookwood thrashed on the floor, screams filling the hall again.
The light from the Cruciatus Curse set an eerie glow over George's features and Percy realized with sickness settling in his chest that George's eyes were completely hollow as he watched the Death Eater squirm in agony; tears were rolling steadily down his face. He couldn't let George do this to himself. It would bring no one back, and it would only make things harder. "George—George, stop." George turned to look at him, but his eyes didn't seem to see him at all. Percy shivered, and George turned back to Rookwood without a word. He lowered his wand again and watched as Rookwood took a few shaky breaths before raising it for another round.
"NO, GEORGE!" Percy lunged at his brother and snatched the wand from his hand, holding him back at the waist. George kicked and wrenched in his grip, but Percy held determinedly onto him, merely flinching whenever George struck him. "George, stop it. It's not going to help anything to be this way." George shook his head, shoving fruitlessly at his older brother.
"GET THE BLOODY HELL OFF ME! I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!" Percy could feel George trembling in his arms and his stomach gave a sickening flip. What had they done to him? Why did this have to happen? Things were never supposed to be this way. They had all been prepared to die, that was always the case, but none of them had been prepared to live with the loss.
Percy shook his head, tears stinging at his eyes. "You don't George." He whispered, his voice tight, "You really don't." George was shaking harder now, and Percy could hear sobs reluctantly escaping from his throat.
"Let me go." George hissed weakly, straining slightly in Percy's steadfast grip. "Please, Percy, he can't get—he can't get away, please…" Without thinking, Percy pointed George's wand at Rookwood's feebly stirring body, and Rookwood went instantly stiff as he fell with a loud clunk against the ground, completely unable to move. George fell to his knees, pulling Percy down with him. "I have to do this," he sobbed brokenly, "Please, Percy, I have to…"
"George, you'll never—"
George turned on him, but the emptiness hadn't left his eyes, and Percy still had difficulty deciding if he could see clearly. "NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF? NEVER BE THE SAME? TOO FUCKING LATE." With Rookwood incapacitated and his wand unavailable, George turned his anger onto Percy, twisting firmly in his grip and throwing punches against his chest. "YOU—IT WAS YOU!" His voice was shrill and Percy flinched, trying to keep his grip on George as he attacked him. "YOU WERE THE REASON I—" Percy felt his heart clench in his chest. He should have known. He was their reason for separating.
"I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE! NOT YOU! YOU NEVER EVEN—YOU DON'T DESERVE—HE WAS MINE!" Percy took hold of George's wrists, pressing them tight against his chest so that he could no longer strike him.
"STOP, George." Tears were welling rapidly in his eyes, but he wouldn't let them spill over. He was the older brother. He was supposed to have the control. He needed to be the stronger one now. Percy guided them both back to their feet, trying to lead George away from Rookwood for someone else to find. "I'm so sorry, George. Sorry for everything, but you can't do this. You can't react this way, George. Fred wouldn't want—"
Percy hadn't even realized he'd said his name, but suddenly George was screaming, shaking violently in Percy's arms. "DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT HE WANTS! YOU HAVE NO IDEA—"
"HE DOESN'T WANT ANYTHING ANYMORE, GEORGE! HE'S DEAD!"
Percy's heart snapped at the sound of his little brother's earsplitting sobs. He didn't want to be so harsh, but he had to do it this way. Being gentle had gotten him nowhere. He couldn't get through to him otherwise. "He's dead, George. Fred's gone. And no amount of torturing this bastard is going to bring him back. He's never going to feel remorse for what he's done—George, there's nothing you can do."
George twisted expertly out of Percy's grip, ripping his wand from his older brother's hand and pointing it at his neck. "I should kill you." George hissed, tears falling so swiftly down his face that they were hitting the stone floor with an audible splash. "You're the real one who took him from me—he would've come with me if you hadn't—" Before Percy could respond, George wheeled around. Dropping his hold on Percy, he pointed his wand at the immobile Rookwood. "AVADA KADAVRA!" There was another flash of green light from George's wand, and then everything was still. Percy watched in horror as his brother's wand clattered to the ground, his hands shaking too hard to hold onto it.
"Jesus, George—" Percy raced to his brother's side, holding him up as he sagged against his chest, overcome with tears. "George, why don't you listen to me? I told you it wouldn't do any good…Avada Kadavra was too good for him." George shook his head, wrapping his arms helplessly around Percy's neck and sobbing into his shoulder.
"Everything was, Perce…everything was too good for him. But I couldn't just—I couldn't let him live…there wasn't—wasn't anything else I could do…" Percy sighed and nodded, understanding, on some level, what he meant. For a moment they stood silently, Percy stroking George's hair, unsure if he even took notice of the calming gesture.
It wasn't long before Percy realized they had to leave, escape to a safe place before more Death Eaters arrived. "George…" he started absently, but realized instantly that his little brother was in no state to move. With a sigh he hoisted George awkwardly into his arms, feeling him automatically lock his arms and legs around him like a needy child. Though he was much heavier than Percy remembered the last time he had done this, when he was seven and they were both five, it seemed natural to the both of them. "C'mon, George," Percy murmured, perhaps more to himself than to George anyway, "It's time to go home."
A/N: I didn't mean for it to be so OOC (though I suppose George wouldn't exactly be his chipper self right after his twin's death, but I mean, wow), but I was sitting around thinking to myself You know, it's unfair that George wasn't the one to avenge Fred's death. I think he should've been the one to kill Rookwood. After writing this, I changed my mind. XD Never mind, Jo did it right, but I suppose that's why she's the one with millions and I'm posting on Har har. I'm also sorry it's so similar to my other story, One of Us is Gonna Die Young. Honestly, I didn't mean for it to come out like this. I had this whole other plan for this story, but I couldn't control George. oO; He went a little mad. Sorry about that.
Contrary to popular belief, I don't hate Percy. I love Percy. The only Weasley I don't absolutely adore is Ginerva, and that's because...oh, we won't go into that. I'm getting off track. What I mean to say is, I love Percy, but I have a lot of stories with George blaming him because that's what I think would happen. George wasn't with Fred when he died, why, we're not sure (though I obviously have several ideas, if you haven't noticed. XD Hopefully, the one used in THIS story at least, wasn't cannon, because that's just depressing) but the point is that Percy WAS with Fred, and George wasn't and George probably resents him. He may even be a little jealous, because let's face it, Percy hadn't been around for the past three years, and then he comes back and he gets to be the one by Fred's side when he dies? It doesn't seem fair, does it?
Wow. If you read all that, kudos. Holy shit, I had no idea I could ramble so much.