A/N: Hello. This would be my first HP fanfic, ever. I've read all the books, multiple times and have been a fan for years. But, it's taken me a while to write anything. This idea just came to me, quite randomly, after re-reading Deathly Hallows. It's quite depressing, and will remain as a sweet little oneshot. Concrit and reviews are appreciated. Enjoy.
A Pair of Jokers
A loud crack went unheard in the dark, empty street. Nobody saw the young man appear out of thin air, or walk into a pub that had not been open for years. The red-headed man walked through the Leaky Cauldron, giving the barman only a brief nod as he walked out of the back door, tapped the wall with his wand and walked into Diagon Alley. This street lay empty too, all of the shops were closed from Eyelop's Owl Emporium to Madam Malkin's. The man continued to walk down the street, watching the cobbles rather than the shop windows he passed.
Finally, he reached it. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. It was a joke shop, but the windows were as dark and empty as any other shop window at night. George Weasley produced a key from inside his robes, opened the front door to the shop and cringed at the loud bell above the door. He walked in to the cold, dark shop and closed the door behind him, lighting his wand instead of the lamps. The shelves were thick with dust, every surface had a layer of grime covering it. He hadn't set foot in this place for months, not since before the battle. The final Battle of Hogwarts. The battle they had won, but not without sacrifice. It was an empty victory, just like this shop, just like his heart. The Weasley twins were no more. Now it was just George.
He looked around the shop, running a hand across the counter and dislodging some of the dust. This had been their dream, and they had done well. The contents of their vault in Gringotts was testament to their success. Between that, and Arthur Weasley's promotion at the Ministry, the Weasley family were much better off than they used to be. Financially, at the very least, although it paled in significance now. It had truly been a war, and there are no real winners in a war. George had known this, as had Fred and the rest of the Weasley clan. Still they could not take it seriously, there had been no hesitation as the twins rushed off to aid the fight.
The Weasley twins had been jokers from day one. Relentlessly teasing their siblings the second they learned how, always giving Ron a hard time. Ginny was more like them, and she gave as good as she got, but Percy was the most fun because he was so easy to wind up. Always with the jokes. From gag gifts at Christmas, to outrageous lies about going to Hogwarts, not to mention their antics at school. Everyone had known them as a pair of jesters, and this shop was what they had to show for their lives. A joke shop, this is what they had achieved. Did they ever take anything seriously? George began to wonder.
They had taken each other seriously. The twins had been so close. They did almost everything together, and could almost read each others minds. It was natural then, that George would take the loss of Fred the hardest. This is why he had avoided his family, avoided this place, avoided everything. George had left shortly after the funeral, where he had said goodbye to Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, and of course his other half. He still couldn't believe that Fred was really gone, it had taken a long time for him to stop expecting his twin to appear and say it was another joke.
He'd wandered around, and stayed in Hogsmeade for a while. Owls followed him, from various family members but particularly his mother. Molly Weasley had written almost every day, worried for her son. He had only replied a couple of times, a short reply simply to say that he was fine and would be home soon. George climbed the stairs to the flat above the shop, where he'd lived with Fred for just under two years. It didn't feel like home any more, it felt cold and empty like everything did. He stopped outside the bedrooms, glancing between the doors. Finally he opened the door adorned with a large F.
A snort of laughter escaped him before he realised what happened. George shook his head, wondering where it had come from. He just couldn't help it, seeing Fred's bed which had lain unmade for months. He'd always been the messier of the two, although Molly had always pointed out that there wasn't much in it. He remembered one of many occasions, where once again they had been lectured on the state of their shared bedroom back at the Burrow. Molly had made the beds and left, and immediately Fred had jumped on his and messed up the blankets again. Just for a laugh. George realised he was grinning at the memory and shook his head again. This wasn't right, he shouldn't be laughing. Fred was dead.
George moved on to his own bedroom, sitting on the bed and sighing heavily. What was wrong with him, laughing at a time like this? For the last few months, he'd felt like there was a Dementor following him everywhere he went. All of the fun and cheer had been drained out of life, lost along with his twin. But as he sat there, more memories came back to him. Finding the Marauder's Map in first year, figuring out how to work it and using it to explore the Hogwarts Castle further than most students ever would. Sneaking into the Hogwarts kitchens and getting food from the house elves. Escaping Hogwarts in their seventh year, summoning their brooms and causing no end of grief for Dolores Umbridge before they left. The time they'd taken Aging Potion to try to enter the Triwizard Tournament and ended up with identical beards.
The grin had reformed on Georges face at the memories. Their time may have been cut short, but they'd had a hell of a time together. Who cares if their life was one big joke, they'd had a lot of fun doing it. He had made his decision, some of the heavy weight on his mind had lifted. George closed the bedroom door and went back downstairs, taking one last look around the shop before Disapparating once more.
The clucking of startled chickens told George that he was home. It was a comforting sound. He looked up at the house, smiling a little. The Burrow was his real home and it always would be. Picking his way around the discarded boots and cauldrons, which had reappeared gradually around the back door after Bills wedding, he opened the back door and stepped into the comforting warmth of the kitchen.
"Mum? Dad? Anyone home?"
A few seconds later, Molly appeared in the kitchen doorway.
"It's okay." Molly cut off his excuses, enveloping her son in a hug.
"I missed you. But, I missed him more." George sniffed, trying to keep the tears at bay.
"I know. George, we love you. It's been hard for all of us, and we're family. We'll be here for you, whenever you need us."
"Thanks mum." George said quietly.
Molly let her son go, leading him silently into the sitting room. Nobody jumped up to greet him and nobody made a fuss. George was surprised to see the whole family assembled, including recent and potential new additions. Charlie, Bill and Fleur, Percy, Ron and Ginny. Even Hermione was there, perched on the arm of the sofa beside Ron and Harry sat on the floor in front of Ginny. Percy shifted along to make room for George to sit with them. Nobody pestered him with questions about where he'd been or why he'd disappeared, they simply accepted him back as if he'd never been missing.