Author's Notes: This is rated M for language and sex. I was just as surprised as anyone else when I heard that Angelina married George. This particular Angelina/George piece is not fluffy, as Angelina/George is not a fluffy ship. Angelina/George probably started out as very unhealthy, kind of squicky, but I think that they would eventually grow to love each other for each other and not for the other's connection to Fred. I hope so, anyway. This relationship is fascinating and extraordinarily complex to me—I would love to hear what you think about it, as well as the piece, so please review if you can. Thank you for reading.
A special thanks to Travisty, editor extraordinaire who won't let me be paranoid and who would probably choose George Weasley (or any of the Weasley boys for that matter) over the children at "it's a small world".
She is invited to the memorial.
Angelina stares down at the delicate invitation in her hand then tosses it on her coffee table. After some seconds, she buries it under a mound of bills.
She sits down on the couch and forces herself to pick up the latest Quidditch Quarterly. She will not think about Fred Weasley. She will not think about Fred Weasley. She will not think about Fred Weasley. She will not—
She thinks about Fred Weasley. She thinks about the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, she thinks about how perfectly her head fit into the space between his head and shoulder. She thinks about how he sometimes fell asleep with his mouth a fraction of an inch open, exposing his white teeth. She thinks about how she used to lay in his arms and trace the constellations of freckles all over his body. She thinks about how he always knew exactly what to say to her, how he knew exactly when to kiss her, how when he was sure no one was looking, he would entwine his fingers with her. She thinks about his awful singing in the shower, his slightly rough fingers, and his kindness. She thinks about the future they might have had together, the bright, brilliant, possible future.
She thinks about how final death is, how utterly and completely inescapable and error-free it is. There is no room for mistakes; there is no room for hope. Not for the living, anyway.
Angelina thinks about all these things and then she cries. She cries for two weeks straight, until the night of the memorial, when Alicia and Katie show up at her door an hour before.
"Angelina, sweetheart, open up. Fred's memorial starts in an hour, we've got to go," says Alicia, tapping lightly on the door.
"I'm not going," yells Angelina from her living room couch, wiping her eyes furiously with a tissue.
There is a whispered consultation and then Angelina sees silver sparks fly through the keyhole. The door opens and Alicia and Katie step in.
"I know your lockspell," admits Alicia sheepishly, running a hand through her hair.
Katie sits on the back of the couch. "Ange darling—"
"No," Angelina says, "no, I am not going and no, you will not call me that ever again."
Alicia and Katie exchange looks and then proceed to take turns coming up with reasons for Angelina to go.
"Angelina, this will be good for you."
"Angelina, you need to get out of this apartment."
"Angelina, you didn't even attend the Hogwarts memorial today."
"Angelina, Ginny said she really wants you there."
"Angelina, you need to move on."
Angelina gets up and walks into her bedroom. She sits on the edge of the bed, tears still flowing steadily and stares up at the white ceiling.
Alicia and Katie follow her. She wishes they would just leave her alone, alone to cry, alone to die.
"What good are you doing to Fred's memory by sitting here all night?" asks Alicia, after a long silence. "This is the day he died. Wouldn't he want you to…I don't know, celebrate his life with his family and friends instead of sitting here and mourning the end of it?"
"It'll be nice—just a small get-together at the Burrow, with all the Weasleys…Lee'll be there, Oliver, just the old crowd really. We don't have to stay long if you don't want to."
Angelina thinks of all the things she could do instead of attending Fred's memorial. Instead, she could cry some more. Instead, she could go to bed and never wake up. Instead, she could reread Quidditch Through the Ages. Instead, she could clean out her closet. Instead, she could finally write her parents. Instead, she could pluck her eyebrows. Instead, she could cook something. Instead, she could paint her nails. Instead, she could eat. Instead, she could write the great wizarding novel of the century. Instead, she could repair her broom. Instead, she could wander the streets. Instead, she could sit and think about Fred Weasley. Instead, she could be alone.
Angelina does not really want to be alone. "Is there a dress code?"
Alicia and Katie exchange looks of relief and triumph. "No, wear whatever," says Katie, trying hard not to smile.
Angelina stands. "I'll be ready in a bit," she says, though if she really thinks about it, she will never be ready to face the fact that Fred Weasley is dead and that she is still alive.
Nearly two hours and six outfit changes later, the girls Apparate on the doorstep of the Burrow. Angelina stands as far away from the door as possible so she won't have to be the first to enter. She is wearing jeans and a Weasley Wizard Wheezes t-shirt that Fred left at her house just weeks before the battle. It feels like protective armor to Angelina, as if under it she is raw and red and bleeding, her chest torn open, her beating heart exposed for the entire world to break.
Alicia rings the doorbell and it is a very pregnant Fleur that answers it.
Alicia immediately begins apologizing. "Hello, sorry we're so late, we—"
Fleur opens the door, smiling politely. "No, no, c'est pas grave. We 'ave just begun. Come."
She leads them through the house to the backyard. The stars have just come out and there must be thirty or more people there. Everyone is standing in a circle and candles hover in mid-air, illuminating a face here, a face there. Angelina recognizes all of them.
Angelina walks out last and immediately feels as if everyone is staring at her. She holds her head up high and draws her head back, going to stand by Lee Jordan who takes her hand and gives it a comforting squeeze.
Mr. Weasley steps out into the center of the circle. By candlelight, Angelina can make out the rest of the Weasleys standing together.
"Uh, thank you all for coming tonight. Molly and I and the kids really appreciate it. We know that Fred—", Mr. Weasley has to swallow, "that Fred would have loved to see the people he cared about most in world all in one place, talking about what a great person he was. It would have increased his already solid ego substantially." People laugh quietly. "But Fred can't be here with us tonight, so it's up to us to make sure he hears us. I guess I'll start."
Mr. Weasley clears his throat and speaks to the sky. "Fred, my boy, we miss you down here. I can't remember if your mother and I ever told you how proud we were, are of you. We're so proud of you, son, so proud of the man you grew up to be. We love you so much." He can't go on and Mrs. Weasley steps out of the circle to hold him. She too faces the sky.
"Fred dear, I wish you'd come back to us. Everything is as well as it can be, with you gone. I miss you—your noise, your messes, you, my baby boy. There is not a moment in my day when I don't think of you, sweetheart, not a moment. Mummy loves you darling," she says softly, blowing a kiss to the stars.
Several girls are audibly sniffling at this point. Angelina is determined not to cry but she can feel the tears well up behind her eyes.
The rest of the Weasleys come forward and speak. Bill tugs at his ponytail repeatedly when he talks about his little brother. Charlie's voice is husky when he tells Fred about the captive Chinese Fireball he named for him, born on his birthday. Percy is slightly stiff and formal, but there is no mistaking the sadness in him. Ron, always awkward about speaking in public, shifts about constantly as he speaks and Ginny's voice breaks more than once, but she gets through it.
The last Weasley to speak is George. He puts his hands in his pockets and takes a deep breath, trying to swallow courage. "Fred mate, I…" He pauses and then shakes his head, looking at his mother. "I can't do this. Sorry Mum." He melts back into the circle and no one says anything.
It is Fleur who breaks the awkward silence by stepping up, rubbing her stomach. Then Harry, Hermione, Oliver, old classmates, members of the Order all say their bit. Angelina laughs at some, fights back the urge to break down and sob into the grass at others.
As Lee finishes, Angelina suddenly realizes that it's her turn. Everyone looks at her.
"You don't have to, if you don't want to," Lee whispers to her.
But Angelina somehow finds it in her to step into the center of the circle.
"Fred Weasley, you're a prat. It's like you to go off in a blaze of glory and heroics and leave us all behind. I am going to miss you every single day of my life and what's more, when I get to wherever you are, I am going to kill you." The crowd laughs softly.
"I don't know how to do this without you," she says suddenly and quietly and earnestly. "I don't know how to go on without you."
Strangely, she does not cry. Instead of crying, Angelina just stares up at the sky, waiting. Waiting for what, she does not know. But for something. Angelina is waiting for something.
Later, after the circle has disbanded and everyone is milling about the backyard, speaking quietly in their own groups, Angelina stands apart from everyone else. Someone—Lee, she thinks—has put a drink into her hand, but she has yet to drink from it. Instead of drinking it, she merely holds it and stares into the darkness of the shrubbery.
Alicia and Katie descend upon her. "Have you eaten anything?" asks Katie in a motherly tone, holding up a plate of Mrs. Weasley's homemade cookies.
Angelina shakes her head no, still staring into the darkness.
"Why don't you have a drink?" Alicia suggests, tapping the full glass.
Angelina robotically lifts the cup to her mouth. The liquid is extraordinarily bitter and tears spring to her eyes. She hands the drink to Alicia. "I can't drink this, it's too bitter." Angelina turns away and begins to walk back to the house.
"But this is butterbeer," she hears Alicia say to Katie in a confused voice.
Angelina walks faster towards the house, intending to grab her stuff, say goodbye to the Weasleys and just go, but then she sees George.
George is walking out of the house, alone, a lumpy brown paper package in his hands.
Their eyes meet.
And then Angelina knows that George can see her raw, red, bleeding self.
It's okay for George to see her that way because Angelina thinks that of all the people in the world, George must be the rawest, the reddest, must be bleeding and breaking the hardest.
George holds up the package. "Fireworks," he says quietly.
Angelina understands. "Fireworks for Fred," she says softly.
"Fireworks for Fred," affirms George with a solemn nod. "I'm doing it in the orchard. Wanna come?"
Angelina does not trust herself to speak, and so, just nods and follows George out of the backyard. No one even notices or if they do, no one tries to stop them.
Later, on the hill top, as they watch the bright sparks fly into the air, George leans back all the way in the grass. "That's the way to do it, you know. That's the way to get to Fred."
Angelina smiles in spite of herself. "Explosions?"
"Yeah. I mean, he would've hated this talking stuff. He would've wanted a bang and a jolly good time."
"That's Fred for you," says Angelina.
"That's Fred for you," repeats George quietly, not taking his eyes off the fireworks.
They lie in the grass, faces titled upward towards the heavens, watching the creation of new, bright, and brief constellations and somewhere in the cosmos they hope Fred can see them too.
At some point during Fred's fireworks, Fleur's water breaks. The entire group troupes rather good-naturedly over to St. Mungo's and there they wait for an hour and a half before learning that Bill and Fleur have a beautiful baby girl, "with ten fingers and ten toes," as Bill shouts happily to everyone the second he leaves Fleur's room.
Everybody claps and cheers and hugs one another. Mrs. Weasley bursts into tears and hides her face in Mr. Weasley's shoulder. Mr. Weasley is all smiles. "What's our first grandchild's name, Bill?"
"Victoire. Because of today." Bill answers, slightly huskily.
No one really says anything after that. Bill takes Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in to see Victoire and one by one, people leave, giving heartfelt congratulations to the members of the Weasley family.
Angelina is one of the last to leave because she wants to say goodbye to George before she does, but he's so surrounded by family members and well-wishers that it's barely possible to even see him. Eventually he breaks away.
Angelina smiles at him. "I'm going now, but congratulations George." She does not move to hug him and he stands with his hands in his pockets.
"Thanks," he says quietly. "Don't you live around here?"
"Yeah, just a couple of blocks west."
George glances out the hospital windows and then at his watch. "I can take you home, it's late."
"Oh, I was just going to Apparate…"
"Let me walk you," offers George. "I need some fresh air anyway."
Angelina wonders if George is doing this because Fred used to walk her home after Potterwatch broadcasts. "This is really unnecessary George."
"Shut your mouth, Johnson. I'm walking you home and that's the end of it."
Angelina shuts her mouth and lets George walk her home.
"Fancy getting a drink? For little Victoire?" asks George as they near her flat.
She raises an eyebrow. "Shouldn't you be getting back to the hospital?"
"I don't think I can be considered a proper uncle if I don't drink to the health of my new niece," says George and for a moment, he sounds so much like his old self that Angelina gives in.
"Okay, but just one."
George inclines his head. "I give you my word on it, as a gentleman."
"You're no gentleman, George Weasley." As soon as she says it, she wonders if that could be misconstrued as flirting and so she hastily adds, "Where were you thinking?"
He shrugs. "Don't really know the neighborhood around here. D'you know of any place?"
Angelina takes him to a tiny and somewhat seedy bar a couple of blocks downtown.
The first drink is to Victoire and all the subsequent drinks after that are to Fred, though neither George nor Angelina will say it out loud.
George drinks himself into oblivion. Angelina is not too far behind.
After her seventh shot, Angelina wants to hit herself for crying for the past two weeks when clearly, she should have been drinking. She should drink until her liver falls out of her and then maybe she can finally forget Fred Weasley and then maybe everything won't hurt so fucking badly.
While they drink, George and Angelina do not talk about Fred. Instead, they talk about how monstrously fat the woman in the corner is. Instead, they talk about how long it took for Ron and Hermione to finally realize they wanted to screw each other senseless. Instead, they talk about how very seedy the bar is, like something out of a bad Muggle film noir. Instead, they talk about their food cravings (George wants his mum's red velvet cake; Angelina wants Peking duck). Instead, they talk about how tired they are. Instead, they talk about how boring it is to be grown-up. Instead, they talk about how shitty the weather has been lately. Instead, they talk about how ridiculously shit-faced drunk they're getting, and really, it is a disgrace. Instead, they talk about how everyone is far too busy cooing over the baby to notice that George's missing in action. Instead, they talk about how splendid their lives are going, just marvelous and peachy and all around wonderful, really, just fucking perfect, like something out of a fucking fairy-tale.
But they do not talk about Fred.
When the bartender politely kicks them out, George fulfills his mission and walks Angelina home to the best of his abilities.
"Well," she says to him on her doorstep, "well, good night." And then she digs for her keys in her bag, only swaying slightly.
"Do you think it'll ever stop?" George asks her, suddenly and rather heartbreakingly.
Angelina stops looking for her keys to touch his face very gently and shake her head. "No," she says, her eyes full and her voice even fuller," no, I don't think it ever stops."
George hangs his head and closes his eyes. He can't imagine living the rest of his life in this state.
"But it might get better," she adds quietly. And then, to both her and his surprise, Angelina kisses George.
At that moment, George realizes that while it won't ever stop, it does indeed get better.
It is a mad fumbling.
George fumbles with the hook of her bra. Angelina pushes him against the wall as she tries to undo his belt, kissing him madly all the while. Hands, fingers, tongues all get mixed up and go everywhere. They stumble towards the bed, still connected by their lips, their hands, everywhere. They are two desperate, starving people set before a feast for thousands. They literally fall on the bed and first it's George on top then it's Angelina and then George again and both act like it'll be the end of the world if they stop kissing one another, if they stop touching one another.
He manages to get her bra unhooked and off and flings it across the room. She pulls his boxers off and then he is touching and kissing her everywhere and she can't think can't breathe. All she knows is that she will die if he stops. He cannot stop. She kisses with more fervor, more passion, more hunger, her hands on his freckled face, his neck, his shoulder, his chest, her hands everywhere.
Almost gently but without slowing down, he pulls her hips towards him and she arches her back, longing, longing, longing for the connection, for the bond, for the moment of unity. He goes into her quickly, unapologetically, and beautifully, pressing her to him. She closes her eyes and holds on tight.
Their bodies move in perfect harmony with each other, mysteriously synchronized. There is a moment where he goes absolutely silent and inhales and she feels the rush of light and ecstasy barrel towards her. When it hits her, she almost goes senseless with euphoria, almost blind with the dazzling white light that floods every inch of her being.
And then he exhales and relaxes and she comes down slowly.
Eyes still closed, he rests his head exhaustedly on her chest and she holds him as she regains normal breathing.
For a moment, they lie like that and the world stops spinning.
After it, they lie in bed, motionless, their bodies not touching. She's pulled up the sheet all the way to her shoulders, as if hiding from something. George stares at the ceiling. A thought pushes its way out of the clouded opium-den of his mind, stumbling into the bright light. He can't believe he's never considered it before, can't believe he's even got the balls to ask it, but he does.
He still hesitates an eternity. "Did you ever—"
"Yes." Angelina does not avoid the question nor does she provide a lengthy answer. What she can say is that yes, Fred and her had sex the week before he died—a week exactly to the day. What she can say is that she doesn't understand how he could be so utterly alive a week before, so utterly connected to the things of this world a mere week before his death. What Angelina can say is that Fred Weasley fucked her like a live man, just a week before his death. But she doesn't. Instead, she just says yes.
George does not move. It should sicken him that Angelina slept with Fred but instead it gives him a strange sense of comfort; another connection to his brother when most connections have been severed. In a completely sick and twisted way, George is looking after Fred's girl.
She waits for his response, wonders if he thinks she's sick or a whore. At some point she can't wait any longer. She sits up, letting the sheet and her shame fall down and challenges him with everything in her. "Well?" she demands.
George can only stare up at her, momentarily muted by her goddess face, her bare breasts, her dark hair.
Angelina knows that if he stays silent any longer, she's going to cry.
"George," she says firmly. "He's dead. We're not. Fuck me."
George wants to say many things to this command. He wants to say no, you were my brother's girl and he wants to say Angelina, this is wrong and he also wants to say Fred and I shared a lot of things, but not shags and he also wants to say you've got a great rack and he wants to say we don't have to do this, we can just cry, Angelina, maybe it would be better if we just cried and he wants to say what will Fred say but then George remembers that Fred is dead, quite dead, and that he is currently lying in bed with a girl who Fred loved and who loved Fred and that Fred will have no say in anything because he is dead and that's how George got into the whole situation in the first place. He closes his eyes and thinks Fred, if I shouldn't do this—if you don't want me to do this—if this is just wrong on every level—if this won't help either of us, stop me. He waits for a sign. He waits for lightning to strike him, he waits for the window to blow open, he waits for the vase of dead flowers to fall off of Angelina's dresser. He waits for writing to appear on the wall and he waits for Fred to whisper in his ear. And when Fred does not respond (George supposes that Fred has better things to do in heaven than worry about his morally suspect twin brother and Angelina Johnson), George looks at Angelina. He can see the desperation and the hurt behind her eyes; she reminds him of a wounded animal, like the dying unicorn he once saw in the Forbidden Forest with Fred. He hasn't thought about that unicorn in ages and he wonders if this is Fred's sign.
So George takes Angelina's hand and doesn't say a thing.
She pulls him up towards her and in the country of light, she stops thinking about crying and about Fred.
The next morning, George sits at the table and runs his hand uncomfortably through his bright hair. "D'you…I don't know, d'you think we should talk about it?"
Angelina does not pause for an instant in making the coffee. "No."
"Okay." George gets up to get the mugs.
So they don't talk about it. Instead of talking about it, they go to the Leaky Cauldron. They explore Muggle London. Instead of talking about it, George takes Angelina into his laboratory to show her the latest WWW merchandise. Instead of talking about it, Angelina helps George pick out new robes at Madam Malkin's.
Instead of talking about it, they have more sex. Instead of talking about it, they play Quidditch in the park. Instead of talking about it, they move in together.
Instead of talking about it, they get a calico cat, named Lord Smelting IV, from Angelina's favorite childhood book. Instead of talking about it, they babysit Teddy Lupin. Instead of talking about it, they set up blind dates for Oliver Wood. Instead of talking about it, they go to every shop in Hogsmeade. Instead of talking about it, they house-sit Shell Cottage while Bill and Fleur take Victoire to visit her grandparents in Bordeaux. Instead of talking about it, they spend hours walking up and down the beach, collecting the house's namesakes. Instead of talking about it, Angelina cooks for George. Instead of talking about it, George does the laundry. Instead of talking about it, Angelina ends up being a reserve Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies. Instead of talking about it, George makes more money with Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes than he could have ever imagined. Instead of talking about it, Angelina spends Christmas with the Weasleys'. Instead of talking about it, George meets Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Instead of talking about it, they quietly build a life together.
Instead of talking about it, they help one another get through the unbearable pain of loss. Instead of talking about it, Angelina makes George a strong cup of chamomile tea when he has nightmares and strokes his hair until he falls back asleep. Instead of talking about it, George holds Angelina when she has a crying jag and lies in bed in with her, just holding her as if it is impossible for him to let her go. Instead of talking about it, they keep Fred's resting place well supplied with flowers. Instead of talking about it, they spend whole afternoons at his grave, eating and reading and playing Quidditch and talking and not talking and crying and laughing.
Instead of talking about it, they slowly let go of Fred and find each other.