Memories and Resolutions
"Severus it is good to see you again." said Albus Dumbledore who was walking towards him with sprightly steps, still wearing the garish robes that he favoured. "It has been too long."
Startled the younger wizard whirled around and bit back a scathing reply as he was still ticked off for being forced to go through with the Headmasters plan. A Millennium could pass by and Severus wasn't sure if he would ever forgive the elderly wizard for putting him into that unenviable position.
"Hmmmm, I see you still refuse to be sociable." commented Albus as his blue eyes still twinkled even years after his death. "I thought you would have boarded the train with everyone else."
"SOCIABLE! I have no earthly or other worldly reason to bother with such niceties. Especially when it involves you!" Severus Snape replied through gritted teeth. "I was quite happy wandering by myself without having to meet up with anybody. So if you will excuse me I have the rest of eternity to enjoy the solitude I crave."
"You know Lily was a little disappointed that you refused to go on."
Severus recoiled and his face hardened as the memory of his only love in life turned away to be with his tormentor, James Potter returned to haunt him. He replied back with a sneer, "She made her decision and I do not wish to be reminded for all eternity that I lost her."
Albus was going to say something, anything to try and comfort the wizard who had served him for all those years, but he didn't as he felt the waves of pain, anger and disappointment flow off the broken figure that stood proudly in front of him. Snape turned and started to stride purposely away from the elderly wizard who promptly followed him step for step without speaking a word, which after awhile irritated the wraith that was all that remained of Severus Snape.
"Do not follow me." Severus finally yelled "I do not wish for your company or that of any other being alive or dead!"
"In time you might. You still have that choice before you." answered Albus calmly as he stopped and watched various emotions struggle across the sallow pallid looking features of his former colleague. "I will leave you alone forever if you wish but first you are needed to help Arthur Weasley and his son George."
"ME! WHY ME! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS WANT TO MANIPULATE ME!" Screamed Severus with the force of many years of anger, disappointment, and pain fuelling his frustration. "I'M DEAD! I'M DONE WITH HAVING TO FOLLOW YOUR ORDERS AND THAT OF ANYBODY ELSE! WHY DON"T YOU JUST DO IT YOURSELF?"
"I am unable go on to the next great adventure. Nor am I able any longer to communicate the living." The icy blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore gazed into the deep black yet vulnerable eyes of the unhappy bitter young wraith.
Albus's eyes spoke volumes about regret, compassion and finally redemption, whether it be for Severus or him-- or maybe both.
"WEASLEY!" a roar shattered the eerie stillness of platform 9 and 3/4's. The young man who was sitting unmoving on the bench, leaped up, startled by a very familiar voice. He turned quickly and glared at the tall thin wizard who was still dressed in his black outfit that made him look even more deathly than any spirit had the right to be. Then again he never had much colour when he was alive and being the ever-constant thorn in the sides of all the students who passed through Hogwarts school.
"What are you doing here?" Asked Fred Weasley as his eyes narrowed and he glanced around for somebody-- anybody, but there was no one in sight for the train had left with the last load of passengers. Fred had opted to stay behind to wait for George, no matter how long it took.
"I thought I'd torture myself by being in your presence for a while." snapped the very surly sarcastic ex-potions master and former Headmaster of Hogwarts during the war against Voldemort.
"Right and why is that?" Fred spat back as the older wizard stood in front of him with his arms folded and his dark dead eyes glowered at the short stocky freckled red head.
"I was requested..." Snape frowned, "If that is the word, by Dumbledore to check on you and see if you had been looking in on your family.
"No I haven't gone anywhere from here. I am waiting for George to arrive before getting on the train." said George as he watched Snape carefully. "Why?"
"Since you and I are the only war dead left behind at the moment with the ability to communicate with the living if we please, we are to go try to help two members of your family." Snape explained as Fred listened. "It seems that George, though whole in body is not in spirit or mind. As for your father, he too has been unable to move on since you died. "
"You... ?" asked Fred . "Me... We're to go together...?"
"That's the general idea. Not necessarily together." Snape rolled his eyes and shook his head, "We could each take one... You go help your brother and I will see to your father."
"I would have thought it would be Mum not Dad who would be unable to move on as she always was the one who's boggart was her fear of losing family and friends." Fred commented, almost too quietly for Snape to hear. But he did.
"She was devastated." Snape said as he pondered what else to say to the red headed young man. "When a family member or close friend dies it is not something you get over, you learn to live with the pain and eventually it goes away. The sense of loss and emptiness doesn't completely go away but you learn to adjust even if you never get over it. Your Mother was able to do that."
Fred looked at Snape thoughtfully as he wondered at the pained look that flashed across the pallid face. "So your saying my Father hasn't adjusted. Why?"
"Your father kept his own grief from showing as he was head of the family and felt that he needed to be strong for everyone else. " the former Professor and Headmaster studied Fred's scowl. "As for George he is your twin and best friend. I don't think I need to convey to you why he hasn't moved on."
"No you don't. I can feel when he thinks about me." Answered Fred with a sad wistful tone in his voice "We were like one soul that had been divided into two. We even had so many plans for our futures..."
"You know time is not going to stand still and we need to go." said Severus Snape firmly as he was beginning to get impatient with this maudlin type of talk. "You had better go to see to your brother now."
"How? Where is he?" asked Fred. "How do I find George?"
"Concentrate on seeing your brother and you will appear before him. I will go find your father." With that said, Severus disapparated leaving Fred to ponder momentarily the situation and he too disapparated.
Meanwhile Arthur was staring at the entrance of the graveyard where members of his family and of Molly's laid for generations. There were other names but the one that concerned Arthur was that of Fred-- Fred Weasley, his son. "It just wasn't right but it happened." Arthur thought bitterly as once again like he had many times in the years since the war ended he pushed open the creaky gate and entered. The graveyard and followed a well-worn path to a well kept grave.
"Arthur... Arthur Weasley." a voice in the wind called to him. Startled, Arthur raised his head and looked around. There was no one near him. He turned back to stare at the granite stone with the simple words
April 1 1978 – May 2 1998
Arthur stooped then knelt down on one knee and pulled out some weeds that were growing at the base of
the headstone and then watched the magically embedded picture of his son as he gazed back at him with a slightly bewildered look upon his face for George was not with him.
Arthur fought to keep his voice steady and firm as he whispered. "Sorry Fred, I wish I could tell you that George has moved on with his life since your death. Sure he has gone on with the shop and has made a huge success of himself and married Angela Johnson. You remember her, Black hair, brown eyes, Played chaser for Griffindor house. "Arthur paused a second and then continued.
"He named his firstborn son, Fred in your honour. He really misses you, I don't think he will ever completely recover losing you . Not only where you his twin brother, you were also his best friend." Arthur stroked the face in the picture with his pointer finger and in a trembling voice that cracked he said as tears started to slide down his weathered cheeks. "You died too young... you never had a chance to live your life to the full, to marry the one girl whose very name quickens your heart, have a family... a son you could raise up and worry over or own your own home and experience all the wonderful things this world had to offer."
"He knows Mr. Weasley, Fred knows very well how much everyone of you miss him." said the voice that sounded strangely familiar. "But you are wrong about one thing He did live his life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute of it even at the end.
Arthur whirled around; his eyes were wide and bright with fear. He was hearing things. That voice. It couldn't be. Severus Snape was dead, just as dead as Fred was. "Show yourself!" he yelled which startled a tiny blue speckled bird that Arthur identified as a Jabberknoll. "Well it can't be you, your kind don't make any sound till you die." he muttered as he watched the bird flay off.
Arthur was uneasy as he listened for that voice to speak again. He must be going mad, he was sure of it. Nobody hears voices like he was hearing now unless they were. He looked all around for the source of the ethereal voice as he gripped his wand tightly, ready to use it if necessary. Even during the war he was never felt this frightened. "I'm a foolish old wizard." he muttered to himself. "I actually believed I heard the voice of Severus Snape."
"That is correct." a figure started to form in the still air. At first it looked as if the air shimmied and formed clouds then the shape formed itself into a thin, hook-nosed wizard with sallow skin, black eyes and greasy shoulder length black hair. He was dressed all in black with his trademark, a black cloak which, made him look like an overgrown bat. It was Severus Snape, at least his image-- for he was dead.
"Wh...wha.. what are y-you d-do-doing here?" Arthur stuttered as he stepped back. "You're dead!"
The spectre nodded and smirked as he glided forward . "That I am."
"Why are you here?" Arthur blurted out uneasily. If you could appear here, why hasn't my son Fred done the same?"
"Why indeed, the last I saw Fred, he was sitting on a bench at 9 and 3/4s waiting for George to come over before he will board the train for the afterlife. As for me, well I prefer the solitude of being a ghost for now."
"Yet you appear before me. Not my son." repeated Arthur with shock. "Why is that?"
"It wasn't my idea. Dumbledore requested that I might show you that you scenes from your sons lives so that you could go on with yours. Besides you are wrong thinking that Fred didn't experience what the world had to offer.
Arthur felt the sting of Snape's words and said angrily. "Why would Dumbledore decide that from of all those he could have sent to show me anything about my son... he would send you... If I remember correctly you were the cause of his now having only one ear."
"I had not intended to curse George's ear off; I had been aiming for the arm of the Death Eater who was about to curse Lupin" explained the ghostly spectre. "It wasn't intentional."
Suddenly Arthur felt himself become lighter and he floated upwards. He felt terrified as he didn't know what to think as the air around him seemed to shimmer and change. He turned and found that Snape was beside him looking as if he was expecting something to happen.
"Wha,...what's g...g..going on?" he stammered as he looked around and saw nothing but sky and clouds. Surrounding them.
"Patience you will see for yourself that I am telling you the truth." answered the dark spectre who floated calmly beside him as he supported him in the air.
It wasn't long before they spotted Harry Potter, not only one but easily a dozen or so flying with different guardians. It was the day that Potter had turned seventeen and the Order was escorting him from the Dursley residence. Soon there was a flurry of activity when about thirty or so Death Eaters came flying down. Arthur heard Severus tell him to watch what had really happened to George that day.
Both of them watched his former self flying, accompanied by other hooded Death Eaters. They watched intently as one burly Death Eater went ahead of the cloaked Snape and aimed his wand at Lupin as he accompanied George who had been one of those chosen to be polyjuiced to look like Harry Potter. Both of them winced as they watched Snapes former self aim for the Death eater's wand hand and miss. The look on Georges face as his ear disappeared was horrifying to see.
Arthur closed his eyes and felt faint then found himself lying on the hard grassy ground near Fred's grave.
"Believe me now?" asked Severus Snape in a toneless voice.
"Y-Yes." stammered Arthur. "For a moment I forgot that as a ghost you have no need to conceal the truth."
He thought back to those years when the war was still on and how each of his children complained about the greasy git and bat of the dungeon.
"I know your ideas of me are coloured by the opinions of your children. But as you must have realized by now I could not have behaved any differently."
Arthur nodded and sat up. "I will come with you,
Snape lifted a ghostly white finger and pointed. Arthur turned around and saw that he was no longer at the graveside but was standing at the Burrow watching the twins as they mixed ingredients that made small explosions and smoked while they spoke of their plans to run a joke shop together.
Arthur blinked with amazement. The Burrow was much like it was years before the war ended and the twins were living at home causing those mysterious explosions inside their room.
"Molly didn't approve of the joke shop at first you know." explained Arthur. "She expected the boys to follow me into the Ministry. She blew up when she found out that they were planning to run a mail-order service and sell their inventions during school instead of settling down and working towards their Newts.
"I'm not surprised! I believe they each had only three Owls. Charms, transfiguration and Potions I believe. The last was a surprise considering how much shenanigans they were involved in." said the bloodless wraith who looked as if he would quite like to keep drifting but for his sense of obligation. "They would not have been happy serving the Ministry you know. Even I know that from watching them and dealing with the results of their many experimental pranks over the years."
George was feeling exhausted as he closed and locked the door leading into the shop. Verity and Ron had already departed for their homes and he was looking forward to heading home to his wife Angela and his first newborn son who was named for his brother Fred. He thought of his brother and sighed. Even with all the years that had passed since the last great battle he still felt guilty for surviving when his twin did not. He knew he was foolish to feel that way but he did. If only he could have been there with Fred at the time of his death... If he had died too or..."
George gave his head a shake and scolded himself once again for thinking such morbid thoughts. He was alive with a family and the shop was very successful. Just like he and Fred had envisioned. As he stood there he sensed that he was not alone. He turned quickly and looked behind himself. He could have sworn he had felt somebody watching him and he could have sworn that ... no that was impossible for Fred had died and that was final. There was no respite from death and he knew that Fred wasn't going to come back.
A firecracker whizzed by him suddenly as it spoke in Fred's voice. "Time is Galleons, time is Galleons."
His brow furrowed as he gaped at the sight. He could have sworn that he had never charmed any of the fireworks to say such a phrase. It reminded him too much of Fred. Picking up the worn out firecracker he stared at it and then set it down on the counter. He ducked as a few skiving boxes flew off the shelf and floated towards him then landed on the counter.
"Merlin's Beard! Don't tell me there's a poltergeist moving in!" exclaimed George with a groan. "That's all I need right now."
"Not exactly George." A prankster yes. Poltergeist no." Said an eerily familiar voice from behind him.
George screamed involuntarily as he turned to see the exact duplicate of himself hanging upside down from the ceiling of the shop.
"Hello George. Miss me?" asked the apparition. "Long time no see."
George's mouth opened but no sound came out.
"You do a nice imitation of a fish George but unfortunately I don't speak fish." said the apparition who was grinning at him.
"Wha what? Stuttered George in disbelief. "You're dead Fred. What... why, how come you are here? I..."
"Calm yourself George." Fred said with a chuckle. "I'm sorry I haven't been keeping a close eye on you George, I should have come sooner."
"It has to be a dream." George stared and then sighed. "And if this is a dream, I'm really not sure if I want to wake up."
"Hmmmm, no, it is not a dream."Fred assured his twin as he righted himself and floated down to look George squarely in the eye. "I have been waiting for you at the station when I was told that you haven't managed to move on properly since I died."
George's eyes widened and he asked. "Who told you? And how"... , what station. Oh I am happy to see you after all this time but..."
Fred burst out laughing. "Oh George, you needn't get so flustered. As for who told me you wouldn't believe me but it was Snape! Of all possible informants who could have been sent, Dumbledore sent Snape."
"SNAPE? But he is dead... and your dead."said George as he staggered backwards and collapsed into a chair that was fortunately unoccupied. "DUMBLEDORE IS DEAD!"
"I kind of figured that." answered Fred. "I was laughing and joking with Perce then the next thing I knew I was standing at the station with quite a lot of others who had died during the battle. Remus, Tonks, Mad-Eye, to speak of a few. They boarded the Hogwarts Express but I didn't as I wished to stay behind and wait for you to arrive."
"Er, that might be a long time Fred." said George slowly as he regained his senses. "But if you continue to drop in like you have just done, I might be joining you sooner than both of us think.
"No you better not right now George."said Fred. "Live! Enjoy your life fully and then at the end I will still be there waiting for you. I promise."
Molly looked at Fred as she wished for him to get moving onto platform 9 ¾. " Come along, Fred. You first."
George gave her a look of astonishment. "He's not Fred, I am!"
Fred: shook his head and commented, "Honestly, woman. And you call yourself our mother..."
Molly glanced at George then at Fred. "Oh, I'm sorry, George. "
Fred approached the barrier with his trolley and as he started to run he called back with a laugh "I'm only joking, I AM Fred!"
"I remember Molly telling me about them pulling that stunt on her." Arthur said to the silent figure standing beside him. "They did so love to tease her you know. If the opportunity arose to play a prank, that is what they did."
"I know that quite well." Snape scowled slightly and then looked at Arthur. "Its a wonder they didn't get into even more trouble than they did considering the escapades they ended up in and all the tomfoolery. Come there is more I have to show you." with that said the scene faded and one by one others took its place.
Arthur felt a wealth of mixed emotions as Snape's wraith showed him other slices of the twins life together The experiments, friendships, escapades, and the famous escape which infuriated Umbridge to no end.
"George," said Fred, "I think we've outgrown a full-time education."
"Yeah, I've been feeling that way myself," said George lightly.
"Time to test our talents in the real world, d'you reckon?" asked Fred.
"Definitely," said George.
With that the two young men raised their wands and said together, "Accio Brooms!"
Their broomsticks, one still trailing the heavy chain and iron peg with which Umbridge had fastened them to the wall, hurtled along the corridor toward their owners. They turned left, streaked down the stairs, and stopped sharply in front of the twins, the chain clattering loudly on the flagged stone floor.
"We won't be seeing you," Fred told Professor Umbridge, swinging his leg over his broomstick.
"Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch," said George, mounting his own.
Fred looked around at the assembled students and at the silent, watchful crowd.
"If anybody fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three Diagon Alley -- Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," he said in a loud voice. "Our new premises!"
"Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat," said George, as he pointed at Professor Umbridge.
Then with a flourish Fred and George kicked off from the floor, shooting fifteen feet into the air, the iron peg swinging dangerously below. Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.
"Give her hell from us, Peeves."
And Peeves swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the magnificent sunset.
"I have to admit that I was impressed and pleased with them that day." admitted Snape as he floated closer to watch the shrieking witch throw a temper tantrum as her quarry went further out of reach. "I never told anybody though. I couldn't. Not with the way things were. "
"Thank you for letting me know now." said Arthur as he watched Fred and George disappear in the distance.
"I understand why you couldn't before."
The scene faded once again and then both Arthur and Snape found themselves standing in Weasleys Whizarding Wheezes, which was obviously doing a booming business.
"They both look so happy and contented." said Arthur as he watched the exuberant cheerful faces of the twins as they went about their daily business. "We hoped but Molly and I weren't all that sure they would succeed.
"They realized their dream Arthur. Even if only for a short while before Fred died." commented Snape as he watched Arthur went nearer to watch the twins as they demonstrate one of their products to a very excited small wizard and his sister. "They both had a pointed, wicked sense of humour and performed inventive, original charmwork that coupled with a good business sense helped them succeed with their joke shop. They were content to make lives happier in their own way and looked forward to a bright future."
"Which was dashed on the last day of the war." Arthur said with a bitterness that almost rivalled Snapes own during his lifetime.
"The last day... " Snape regarded the flush that had spread over Arthur's face. "Yes, many futures ended that day."
Then with a a bright flash they found themselves standing in a hallway, not just any hallway but the one where Fred had died.
Arthur watched as Harry, Ron and Hermione raced forwards to help Fred and Percy who were dueling with two masked and hooded men. Jets of light were flying in every direction and he gasped with horror as he watched the scene play out in front of him.
"Hello Minister!" bellowed Percy as he sent a jinx straight at Thicknesse, who dropped his wand as he clawed at the front of his robe in great discomfort. "Did I mention I was resigning?"
"Your joking Perce!" Fred shouted as the Death Eater he was battling collapsed and Thicknesse fell to the ground with a lot of tiny pikes sprouting all over his body. Fred looked gleeful as he turned to Percy and said: "You actually are joking, Pearce... I don't think I've heard you joke since you were--"
Arthur watched in horror as he heard the explosion, saw the side of the castle blow away and partly bury Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred and Percy, the two Death Easters under rubble.
"No-no-no" A shout echoed, "No! Fred! No!"
Percy was shaking Fred while Ron was kneeling beside them. Fred's eyes were wide open staring lifelessly while the ghost of his last laugh was frozen upon his face.
Before Arthur could react the scene faded and he found himself back in the graveyard beside the grave once again. He leaned heavily against the stone deep in thought and then he ran his finger gently over the inscription on the stone.
Snape did not speak as tears flowed down Arthur's face while he talked of his families painful adjustment to the death and how the family feared for George who not only lost his brother but his best friend.
Satisfied with the completion of his task Snape faded away as he spotted George Weasley come striding towards his father with the shadowy figure of Fred close behind him.
Arthur turned around to thank Snape but found he had gone but there was George looking at him with concern. He gasped and stared not directly at George but behind him.
"Dad? Are you all right?" George asked worriedly, then he noticed Arthur was focusing on a spot just over his shoulder. Fred was standing there with his ghostly hand upon his brothers shoulder and smiling while looking directly at Arthur.
I'm fine George." Arthur answered as he straightened up and hugged his son.
"I am too." George nodded with understanding as Fred wrapped his ghostly arms around the shoulders of both his brother and father.