Disclaimer: I own nothing!! If Harry Potter were mine, I would hardly spend my time writing little ditties on the internet:)
Chapter One: The End...and The Begining
George Weasley sat at his desk, in the flat above his once beloved joke shop, staring at the flask that lay before him, its blood red contents swirling ominously within the glass confines. It had been surprisingly easy to purchase such a potion. All he had had to do was take a quick stroll down Knockturn Alley, hand over a few galleons and take the desired flask. No questions had been asked, no eyebrows had been raised. That was one good thing about Knockturn Alley. That had been two weeks ago. He had promptly hidden the vial in a desk drawer and had not taken it out since. He had been waiting for a specific day. Today was that day, his birthday, and Fred's birthday. Twenty years old, but he felt much older. He felt like he had lived two lifetimes in his short twenty-year existence. Birthdays were suppose to be a time to celebrate life, but what celebration can you have when half of you is gone? How happy can you really be when there is an empty hole inside of you that aches with each passing day? No, today was not a celebration of life. Today would be something else.
A knock on his door caused George to jump. He hurriedly laid the potion back in his desk drawer and tapped it with his wand, locking it. "Come in," he called.
"George?" the youngest Weasley and only girl called out to the darkened room.
"What?" he asked none too politely.
She glanced over at her brother's silhouette before moving cautiously into the flat. "Mum is fixing dinner tonight…everyone is going to be there. I think it would mean a lot to her if you came," she quietly told him.
"No thanks," he answered quickly, without thought and without glancing at her. He had other plans tonight, not that he was going to tell Ginny this.
"George, she's worried about you, we all are! No one is going to force you to talk about Fred if…" she started but was cut off by a flying book aimed at her head.
"Do not say that name to me!" he roared, tears filling his eyes as he grabbed his sister's arm, dragging her towards the door.
"George! Stop! You're hurting me!" she cried, trying desperately to break through his grief. Immediately, he realized what he was doing. He hastily let go of her and watched as she rubbed the bruises that were already starting to show on her upper arm.
"Gin…I…I'm sorry," he apologized as the tears began to fall. Ginny slowly backed up to the door, reaching around behind her back to open it, her eyes never leaving her brother's.
"He wouldn't have wanted you to waste away like this, you know that," she told him quietly before fleeing down the stairs. George slumped against the wall and slid down to the floor, his shoulders slumped in defeat as the sobs that had been building racked his body. His heart burned with grief and shame. He hadn't meant to hurt her, he just couldn't bear to hear that name uttered, it made it all too real. He knew he was hurting his family and he knew what he planned to do would hurt even more, but he couldn't bring himself to care. His pain would end tonight, and that was all he really cared about.
He pulled himself up and pushed off the wall, heading back to his desk. He tapped the drawer with his wand and pulled it open. He picked up the blood red flask and stared at it. Yes, tonight the pain would end. Tonight he would be able to run with Fred again, laugh again. Tonight he would be whole again.
Laying the flask atop the many papers strewn on the desktop, he made his way over to the couch in the middle of the room and lay down. He stared up at the ceiling and waited. He would wait until Ron and Verity, who had all but taken over the running of the shop, to close up and head home, then, he would find peace.
Ron glanced up from his final sale to see his sister running down the stairs that led to George's flat above the shop, tears streaming down her face. "Ginny! Wait!" he called out to her, watching her pause in the doorway and look back. He quickly made his way over to her. "What's wrong?" he asked cautiously.
"George…he's hurting so bad and I…I just don't know how to help," she told her closest brother. She knew George was going through more than the rest of the family and she knew that he needed help, but how to help was another issue. No one had seemed to find a way through to the stubborn twin. Today was their…his birthday and her mum had gone to so much trouble to get everyone together, hoping to start the healing, but George would not budge. It was going to break their mum's heart, she had no doubt.
"I know, Gin, but there's nothing we can do…we can't force him down out of his flat, he would only resent us. He's going to have to find the strength to come down on his own, and we'll just have to be here for him when he does," he told his sister with a small smile. Ginny just nodded and wiped her eyes before leaving the now quiet shop and heading up Diagon Alley towards the Leaky Cauldron where she was suppose to meet their oldest brother, Bill.
Ron sighed as he watched his sister head up the street. He knew George was bad, but he really didn't know what else to do. He had already made the decision not to return to Hogwarts this year, like most of the other's in his class were going to do. He knew that the shop needed help, more help than poor Verity could bring. He knew Fred wouldn't want the shop to fail and close but he knew George was in no mood to do anything. So he had made the decision to take up George's place in the shop, pretty much taking over and running it with the help of the young woman, who was, at the moment, stocking the shelves and cleaning up before closing. He glanced at the clock above the counter and was surprised to see the late hour. He was closing at six today, so he could make it to the Burrow in time for the dinner his mother had so meticulously prepared. It was five to, and he hadn't even realized the time. He walked over to the door to turn over their Open sign when the door swung open.
"Ahh!" the newcomer gasped, not ready to run headlong into anyone.
"Sorry!" Ron quickly backed up, giving the girl some space. "Katie, what are you doing here?" he asked, putting a smile on so as not to sound rude.
"Oh! Ron, you scared me. Actually, I was…umm…actually…" she took a breath, "I was looking for Angelina…have you seen her?" she asked, glancing up at the youngest Weasley boy.
"No…I didn't even know she was in London," he told the brunette ex-Gryffindor.
"She's been staying with me…didn't you hear about her dad? He was killed during…well…during the Battle, towards the end when the rush from Hogsmeade came," she told him, a dark cloud entering her eyes at the mention of that last horrific scene.
"Oh, I didn't know," Ron muttered feeling shamed that he hadn't really taken a close look at the others who had lost their lives that day…only noticing those who had been close to him and his family.
"It's okay, Ron. You lost family and close friends, no one would expect you to remember someone whose name you didn't even know," she said quickly, to make up for causing him pain. The red head gave a small smile.
"Listen, I'm closing up here, but if I see her, I will let her know that you are looking for her, okay?" he told her.
"Sure, thanks," Katie said as she turned to leave. "Oh, and if you talk to George…tell him…tell him I'm so sorry and…well…just tell him to take care," she said, closing the door behind her.
Ron glanced at the closed door for a moment, lost again in memories before giving his head a firm shake and turning the sign to "Closed". He slowly made his way up the stairs to his brother's flat, attempting one more time to talk him into joining the family for dinner. He gently knocked on the door, but received no response. "George," he called quietly, still nothing. Finally giving up, he spoke quickly through the closed door, "If you change your mind, you know where we are…think about it, okay?" he called before heading back down to the shop. He glanced around, noting that Verity had already left, before heading out to the back alley and disapparting to the Burrow.
George had heard Ron calling him from the other side of the door, but he didn't really feel like another Weasley confrontation, so he had ignored him. After a few moments he heard the telltale Pop! of someone disapparating. He knew he was alone now. Quietly getting up, he made his way over to his desk and pulled out a piece of parchment. His hands were shaking as he dipped his quill into his inkwell; this was going to be harder than he thought. Slowly he began. "Dear Mum and Dad," he started to write, as the tears began to fall again.
Angelina Johnson glanced up once more at the full moon. It was a cloudy night and the moon had broken through for only a moment, casting an eerie glow on the empty road ahead of her. She had been wondering around for almost two hours, with no destination in mind, when she found herself standing in front of number 93, Diagon Alley, Fred and George's joke shop. Overhead, the moon disappeared again as the rain broke through, immediately coming in torrents, drenching her instantly. She sobbed as she glanced up at the purple You-No-Poo signs adorning the large windows. She remembered Fred's laughing face as he told her about his latest idea, he had pulled her close and offered her a "night to remember" if she would be brave and test it for them. They had wanted to know how it would affect a female. She had agreed and he had held up to his end of the bargain. She would always remember that night. It was the first of many. She would also always remember their last, the night before the Battle of Hogwarts. They were scared and unsure and had fallen into each other, hoping to get lost in one another's arms, hoping to forget the future and what the coming days might bring. It was the last time he had held her like that. She had seen him again, for a moment in the Room of Requirement before they had split up to go to battle. The next time she had seen him, an eerie smile was frozen forever on his face as he lay quietly beside the other fallen in the Great Hall. That picture of total peace on his face would probably be how she would always remember him.
Eight weeks later she would find herself sobbing on Katie Bell's doorstep on a clear, cool night, much different from tonight. She had been to the medi-witch at St. Mungo's and could deny the truth no longer. She was pregnant, pregnant with Fred Weasley's baby, pregnant and alone. Katie had taken her in, and given her the spare room that had once been her older sister's. She had helped her through the next agonizing weeks.
Tonight Angelina knew she should feel guilty for running off and not telling Katie where she had gone, but she needed to be alone. Today was Fred's birthday and her grief could not be staunched. She slid her hand down to her slightly firm abdomen, the only sign of the fragile life she carried inside her. She really hadn't meant to come here tonight, but she had none-the-less found herself standing outside the joke shop, soaked to the bone and shivering. Without thinking, she tapped her wand on the call knob that would alert George to her presence, assuming he was even here.
George finished his letter, signed and folded it. He picked up his flask and stared at it for a moment, his eyes dry. He slowly reached for the cork in the top when a chime sounded behind him. He glanced at the door, knowing that the chime meant someone was standing outside in the torrential downpour wanting to speak to him. He turned back to his potion, but an inkling inside him was pushing him towards the door. He put down the potion and walked over to the door of his flat. Beside it was a mirror. He took out his wand and placed the tip at the top of the mirror and muttered, "Revelo". To his surprise, he recognized the small figure of Angelina Johnson huddled under the small awning over the door to the shop. For some reason, he was pulled to the shaking figure. Putting his wand in his pocket, he started down the stairs. He made his way through the dark shop and opened the door.
"Angelina, what are you doing here?" he asked, a little harsher than he meant to. He watched the poor girl's eyes stray up to his and he noticed fear in them. He felt his heart, which he thought was dead, stir at the need in her chocolate depths. Then she spoke. The words that fell from her lips caused his world to tilt and his reality spin.
"George…I…I'm…p-pregnant," she whispered, shivering, and then she passed out.
A/N: Please, Please, Review!! It is the only payment we lowly fanfic writers get!!! Oh, and I really, REALLY need a beta, mine has mananged to go AWOL, so if anyone is interested, please, PM me!! Or OWL me if you happen to be a FA account holder.