A/N: So, although I normally just completely disregard Fred's death in the book, I decided to tackle it this time. Don't worry, I'll go back to being in denial in my next fics and Fred will be alive and happy! Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Replacement

You have his face, she says, as her hands skim over his face, but you're not him.

He tries to hold himself apart, tries to keep the distance between them, as he stares into her eyes. Her eyes are broken; they shine silver, seem alive, but behind the gleam of the tears they are broken and flat. Dead, he thinks, with a shudder. And despite his best intentions, despite the knowledge that he must keep his distance, the look in her eyes draws him closer. He can't break himself away.

She lets herself drop into his warm, familiar embrace. His arms go around her automatically; its an instinctual response not to her, but to the feeling of a woman in his arms, whether it be his sister, his love, his mother, or her. He holds her, and she is fragile in his embrace, like a wilting flower. He feels as though she is water, slipping through his fingers. He holds her tighter, almost against his will, and she seems less there, as if she is going to just evaporate.

As if she is a ghost, and he is her last bond to the world of the living.

She rests her head on his chest, her ear pressed against his shirt, listening to the beating of his heart. It is a solid sound, steady, pulsing, living.

She listens to the thumping of a heart that doesn't belong to her, closes her eyes, and pretends that it is the steady sound of the heart that is hers. She breathes in his warm, comforting scent; lets herself sink into his embrace, and she pretends for a moment, that he is the one she loves so much that it hurts.

Opening her eyes, tilting her head up, she looks into his face, and the illusion—delusion—captures her, holds her. She stands on her tip-toes, presses her lips against his.

His lips are just as strong, just as soft, just as warm—she wishes that she could feel warmth again, but the only thing she feels is cold—but there is no sweet rapture that circles her, that makes her heart flutter, that makes her head spin. The only thing she feels, pulling away, is the bitter taste of regret and the too-familiar ache.

She falls to the floor, slipping right through his arms, and tears slide over her cheeks. He kneels in front of her; his hands cup her face and he brushes a rough thumb over her cheek, trailing a silver tear. She squeezes her eyes closed, can't bear to look at him.

You're not him, she whispers.

And the realization finally sinks in, that no matter how much he looks like the man she loves, he isn't, and can never be.

He's gone, and she can never replace him.

She opens her eyes and stares into the too-familiar face, vision blurred by tears.

It's okay, love, he whispers. He tries to smile, but his blue eyes—not dead the way hers are, but broken and crushed all the same—reflect her heart-sickness.

They're the wrong shade of blue, she realizes in an instant. Just a shade too blue, with not enough gray in them. These eyes are like a summer sky, but the ones she craves are the sky before a storm rolls in.

She stares at the almost mirror reflection of the man she loves, and realizes that she'll never get him back. She can't make him into him.

You're not him, she whispers a third—last—time, and this time it holds the finality that she needs.