WARNING: SPOILERS OF DEATHLY HALLOWS
For a while afterward, he refused to come out of his room, for food or otherwise. He stayed in there, trying in vain to avoid any thoughts of Fred. If he just didn't think about what had happened, perhaps it could seem as though it had never happened at all. He could move on with life and never think about his lost brother.
Of course, deep down he knew that life, pain, and suffering didn't work that way.
The entire family had been devastated by Fred's death, but slowly, they had been able to pick the tattered pieces up and move on again, slightly satisfied with the fact that his death had not been in vain. But he had never been able to get over his twin's sudden death. It was a part of him that would never be reconciled nor dealt with.
At night, when he tossed and turned, begging for sleep to take him, he swore he was back at Hogwarts that night, fighting the Death Eaters, ready to rejoice with his family when it was all said and done with and they had won, as they most assuredly would…
It happened very suddenly. One moment he was laughing gaily, the joy of battle sending him into a dangerous high; the next, nothing. There was a tug and suddenly, silence. And he knew something was very, very wrong. Some strange connection – different and more powerful than any usual sort of magic – that he had never been aware of was missing, and he knew it couldn't mean anything good.
Sending a curse in his attacker's direction, he raced down the hall, searching vainly for Fred, praying to God (if there could possibly be one) that nothing had happened to him. He raced down every corridor and around every bend, but it was in the Great Hall that he found him, strewn along the floor with the others.
Dead. Not a trace of life left in him.
For a moment, he stared at his brother's serene, empty expression, lacking all the life that had once lit up his friends and family's lives. And now it was gone, never to return.
Without another thought, he hit the floor, tears pouring down his face.
Shaking his head, George Weasley sat up from his position on the bed, trying to push all traces of his twin brother from his memory. It wasn't healthy for him to think about it; it only made it harder to go on without him.
"George!" his mother called up the steps, her voice still missing its usual shrillness. She had been that way ever since…well, ever since that battle. He wished with all his heart that things could just go back to the way they had once been. It would make forgetting just a little bit easier.
"Yeah, mum?" he answered, opening the door slightly.
"Why don't you come down and have some lunch?" she asked, trying to sound a bit more sunny. George sighed, shaking his full head of red unruly hair. He trudged slowly down the steps.
"Nah, mum. I think I'll just go take a walk," he said pitifully, heading toward the back door. Mrs. Weasley nodded, watching him go with sorrow-filled eyes.
George hopped down the back steps in one leap, just as he and Fred had used to when they were younger. They had often competed to see who could jump the farthest, and, though he'd never admit it to his brother, he had started to miss those little games as they got older. It was something special that just couldn't be replaced.
"Good morning, George," a female voice said softly. He looked up to find his younger sister and her boyfriend holding hands in front of him. Ginny stared up at him cautiously – that was really getting on his nerves – and pushed a strand of red hair behind his ears. George looked away from her face. She reminded him far too much of Fred with that mischievous twinkle in her eyes and ears far-too-big for her face.
"Morning, Ginny, Harry," he said roughly, the tears building up in the back of his eyes. Turning his head away, he managed to blink enough to force them back down. He would not cry in front of his little sister.
"Where are you headed?" asked Ginny, forcing his attention on her once more. He shrugged.
"Dunno. Just gonna go for a walk," he told her, moving past her slowly, sure that the tears would hold back for a while longer now. Ginny nodded.
"All right, then," she called as he went. "See you for supper?"
"Yeah. Right," he answered. "Supper."
And he Apparated far away from the Burrow before the tears could get any more difficult to hold in.
Why did I chose this spot? he wondered as he walked slowly among the trees that had once been home to many of the twins' concoctions. Even at an earlier age, they had been creating things that could be used in one of their infamous pranks.
But why now? Why had he gotten the sudden urge to come to this particular park? Everywhere he looked, he was only reminded of his forever-lost twin. He swore several times that he could see younger versions them both – just as devilish then as they were in their teen years. They would race around this park with such fervor that they often times managed to knock people down. On complete accident, of course.
It was here, in the only Muggle place their mother ever took them to more than once, that the twins had planned their future together. They decided here that grades could never really matter to them as much as having a good laugh. Here they planned to open a business together. It was here that Fred finally confessed to him about his love for Angelina, and George had eventually owned up to the fact that he just might have a thing for Alicia. It held so much of them that George swore he could feel his twin beside him when he sat down on the park bench.
But when he glanced over, just to make sure, Fred wasn't there.
People could never tell them apart no matter how old they got, but George knew there were things about them that were different. Fred had always been the louder, more out-going one. He loved danger more than George did, who secretly had always been afraid that it would all end badly. No, Fred never appeared to be afraid of anything, but George had always known better.
He was afraid, very often, especially when he found himself without company. And that was just one of the things he was afraid of: being alone. He also had a fear of not being loved, which George had quickly assured him could never happen, and, unexplainably, he had a strange fear of one day having to live up to all the mistakes he'd made in life. Mistakes that George had no knowledge of. Because in his eyes, his twin had never done anything so horribly wrong.
But if there was one thing Fred was not afraid of, it was Lord Death.
Perhaps that made him the braver of the two. George had always had a secret fear of dying – of heading towards the unknown – but it seemed only right that Fred should go down fighting.
It was just harder on the people left on earth without him.
"'Scuse me, sir," a quiet voice said, breaking into his thoughts. George jumped, unaware that anyone else had been around. Looking down, he found a young girl of six or seven staring up at him with large golden-brown eyes. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail and her sweater was far from new, but he couldn't help but think that she would the cutest little girl he'd ever seen.
"Are you all right?" she asked. George stared down at her, debating his answer, before he sighed for what felt like the millionth time that day.
"No," he admitted in brutal honesty, and he found that he had just admitted something to a stranger that he could not seem to admit to himself. "Not really."
"Why are you sad?' the girl continued, tilting her head slightly as she gazed at him.
George struggled for words, wondering wildly why he was trying to explain this to a young girl. Perhaps it was the fact that he reminded him a little bit of Ginny. Or maybe it was the inner child in him that made him begged to talk to one. "I…" he began.
"Someone very close to me," he told her, "passed on." The little girl nodded, seeming to understand. She pulled herself up slowly on the park bench next to him and placed her hand gently over his, as if trying to comfort him. And, somehow, he did, in fact, feel more comforted than he had in a long while.
"Who?" she asked curiously, a sweet sort of sadness filling her eyes. George did not hesitate in answering this time.
"My twin brother." The girl gave a soft, "oh," and was silent for a very long time, simply holding his hand in hers as she shared his pain. The next she spoke up, it sounded as though she were close to tears.
"My daddy…passed on, as well," she admitted tearfully. A single tar slid gently down her face; George lifted up his free hand to wipe it away. As he did this, she looked up at him and smiled brightly threw her tear-filled eyes.
"But I know he's all right," she told him confidently. "Because he's up in heaven, now." She patted his hand again. "And you know what? I bet your brother is, too. And I bet they're both watching us. Right now. And you know what I think they'd say if they could talk to us?"
"I think they'd tell us that it's all right to be sad, but that we have to keep going on because that's what they would do if we were gone," the girl continued, a strange, almost holy light creeping into her eyes. "We have to be strong, because, if we aren't, then we won't really live anymore, will we?"
George was left speechless by what the little girl said, but, amazingly, it made more sense to him than anything anyone else at the funeral had managed to tell him. Heaven…if there was such a place, he was sure that Fred was there, and if he had to walk ten thousand miles to get there as well, he would.
"Jane!" a woman called from across the park. "Come on! We've got to leave!" The little girl jumped off the bench and began to run to her mother, but first she turned back, her smile bittersweet as she gazed up at George.
"I hope you feel better, sir," said Jane. "Don't worry. You're brother is still there, even if you can't see him. I know my daddy is. Good-bye, sir!" And off she ran, not waiting to hear George's answer.
"Good-bye…Jane," he answered softly as he watched her run back to her mother, who picked her up and spun her around, planting sweet kisses all over her face. George smiled as he watched the display thinking over what Jane had said.
Had Fred been in this position, what would he have done? Would he let grief become master of his life, or would he live fully enough to make sure that George was remembered in everything he did? Would he ignore the pain that swelled so greatly in his chest, or would he face it, realizing that it would never completely be gone, and move on with his life?
And suddenly, George knew exactly what he needed to do.
Jumping up, he flipped around, ready to Apparate back home…
But he was stopped by a familiar figure that stood in his path, leaning against a tree. Harry Potter was surveying him with curiosity, his hands stuffed into his pockets awkwardly. He looked up at George and explained,
"Ginny guessed where you went. I thought maybe it was time to tell you what everyone needs to learn at some point in their life, but…" He glanced over at the bench. "…it seems like that little girl had got a handle on things."
George shrugged, unsure of how to answer. For a moment, the two boys stood in silence then Harry spoke again.
"I know it's hard, believe me," he said, laughing bitter at everyone who had been lost in his life. "But there comes a point when the denial and suffering has to stop, and you just have to…move on. Not forget, never forget, but move on."
George paused a moment, taking in Harry's expression. "How do you do it, Harry?" he asked. "You've lost countless people in your life, but you still continue living, and – "
"It's hard sometimes," Harry interrupted. "That I'll admit, but, if you ask me, everything that little girl just said is probably true. You've not seen the last of Fred, George, trust me. I like to think the dead are everywhere – in the world around us – because it helps to think that maybe we're not so alone in this universe, and maybe those we love will always be with us." He paused. "At least, that's what I believe."
He turned, heading back deeper into the forest so he could Apparate back to the Burrow. Halfway there, he turned back to George, "You coming?"
For a moment, George almost answered with a "just a minute," but, before he cold get the words out, he stopped himself. For just a second, he thought about Fred, and Jane, and how he was supposed to live his life. In that one second, everything was laid out so perfectly before him that he had to let on the slightest smile.
He looked up at Harry, who was still waiting.
"Yeah," answered. "I'm coming."
After all, he had a whole life full of adventures waiting for him, and he wouldn't let any opportunity go to waste anymore.
And Fred would be with him every step of the way.