A/N – This fits in with my Next – Universe, and is also kind-of sort-of inspired by Earl Klugh's song Angelina.
Also, I do not own, everything belongs to JKR, yada yada yada…
Harry killed Voldemort. Alicia is dead. Katie's left eye is gone. Oliver lost an arm. Lee lost a leg and George lost an ear and everyone lost Fred.
Angelina Johnson may be the only one without a scar, but the emptiness she feels when she stares at the slab of granite that marks Fred's grave is enough.
The Harpies send their second- and third-string Chasers to Africa for six months. Angelina goes and enjoys herself for the first time in over a year. She trains and drinks and smiles and drinks and trains some more and sleeps with one of the Beaters from the Patonga Proudsticks. She thinks is name is Mtembo. She isn't quite sure.
She wakes up one morning and realizes that she has a tribal tattoo stamped across her lower back. She has no idea how it got there, and can't find the energy to care.
She never should have come back to England.
She misses the heat and sun of Africa, misses the anonymity she had back at the training camp, because here she's just another war veteran. Another casualty. Another person with bills and groceries and an aching, aching heart for all that could have been.
She attempts to go out to Devon one day, with the full intent of visiting Fred's grave.
Instead, she ends up getting thoroughly, insanely drunk and wanders over to George's apartment. She sleeps with him, and while it doesn't fix her hangover, the hole in her heart is just the tiniest bit smaller.
She goes to George a total of four times. Four times, lonely and broken and aching for Fred; for something familiar and loving and good that can make everything else seem like a bad dream that will just fade away.
She calls George "Fred" twice and is deathly quiet in the mornings afterwards. She's killing him a little, but she already feels dead inside. It doesn't matter much to her.
When Angelina finds out she's pregnant, the Harpies fire her for a breach of contract. There was a five-year, no-pregnancy clause buried in the fine print, and when she tries to fight it, her solicitor tells her that it is a "lost cause". She knew the terms of her contract when she signed it…it was her own fault.
No one actually says that last part, but they don't need to. She already knows.
George smiles weakly and sets the box on the table between them. She knows what's coming, knows she should say yes, knows that this is the right thing to do. She smiles back and puts the ring on her finger, but that doesn't mean she no longer feels like running away screaming from George and his apartment.
She wears red on her wedding day and refuses to feel upset.
Angelina prays for girls when the Healer tells her that she's carrying twins.
If she has girls, George won't be tempted to name one after Fred. If she has girls, she can give them the names of her favorite aunties and Molly Weasley can spoil them rotten. If she has girls, maybe she and George can make this fucked-up relationship of theirs actually work.
But when George is unconscious on a chair in her room and the babies are behind glass in the maternity ward, Angelina stares at the sleeping forms of her newborn son and daughter and just cries, cries, cries.
Can't stay. Can't stay. Can't stay.
She repeats the words over an over again, like a prayer or a rosary or a record gone off the track.
The woman who works in the shop, Verity, offers to baby-sit and she lets her, practically running out of the apartment the second Verity takes off her coat.
She sees Fred in her children's faces, even though he isn't their father. She sees his face in the morning and his face at night and all she can think about is the life she could have…no, the life she should have led.
She's suffocating – she's drowning – she's dying in this place, and she knows that if she is here a minute longer, she'll go crazy.
Can't stay. Can't stay. Can't stay.
She doesn't know why she tells them that she's "going out for shoes".
All she knows is that she has a few changes of clothes tucked in a duffel bag on the stairs and a withdrawal slip for Gringotts tucked into the depths of her purse, and that George doesn't seem to suspect that there is anything wrong. She makes sure that her passport and her airline ticket are safely hidden away and steels herself for what she is about to do.
She kisses them all goodbye – just once – before she goes, and she does not look back.
Six months later, Angelina decides that England was killing her soul as she sits at a coffee shop in California. She feels fine – feels happy and light and, and free – for the first time in Merlin only knows how long.
There is no war in San Francisco. No pain. No loss. No husbands or children or dead ex-boyfriends to tie her down and fill her veins with poison.
She finishes her coffee and arranges for divorce papers to be sent within the week.
She takes up surfing. She misses the way a broomstick felt, and how it used to feel to fly, but this is nearly as good. She buys a house in Ocean Beach and spends her days on the water.
She tries not to think about England much, or Fred, or the family she left behind, but on the water she can forget about them completely.
Two years later, long after the divorce is finalized, she gets a letter by owl post.
It's been a long time since she's had anything delivered by owl, but she remembers enough from her Hogwarts days to give the great eagle owl some toast and water for its trouble. The package is small, and there is no letter attached to it, but inside is a small piece of metal that she doesn't recognize.
It's only when she holds it up to the light, when she sees the tiny words "Angelina Marie Weasley" engraved on it, does she realize that it is her hand from the Weasley Family Clock.
She throws it into the ocean and does not send anything back.
Malcolm Baldwin, her neighbor, is a nice man. He goes out on the water with her sometimes, filling out his wetsuit with broad shoulders and well-defined muscles. He makes her laugh, cooks her dinner, and has a wide, easy smile that seems to warm her up from the inside out. He's a "dotcom billionaire", whatever that means, and thinks that her accent is "charming". He calls her Lina, not Angie, and dances with her on the beach.
He doesn't want to know her past, and she doesn't feel the need to tell him.
Angelina likes him.
She goes back to England only once, not long after the divorce, for the funeral of her Great-Auntie Roxanne. It is a quiet affair, with only a few family members in attendance. She talks with a few of her cousins before leaving, promising to write and visit more often then she had been.
She wanders around London on her last day there, until she finally finds the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Old Tom isn't there anymore; a blonde girl she remembers vaguely from Hogwarts is standing behind the counter, laughing with a few patrons at the bar.
Angelina keeps walking, taps the bricks on the wall, and continues on through Diagon Alley. Ollivander's is still there, as is the Magical Menagerie and Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. She keeps walking, down towards where Diagon turns into Knockturn, until she reaches The Wheeze.
George is inside, with a hugely pregnant Verity and Roxanne and Fred all behind the counter. George is laughing, Fred is talking, and Verity is ruffling Roxanne's hair in an affectionate manner.
Her Roxanne. Her Fred. Her babies.
She coughs. As if she's heard her, despite the glass and wood and brick and empty space that separates the little foursome from Angelina, Verity looks up and catches Angelina's eye, but she says nothing. Her lips press themselves into a hard, thin line and she pulls Roxanne a little closer to her as the four of them head into the back room. Angelina does not move to follow them.
She had her chance, and now…it's gone for good.