STARDUST

"Freddy-weddy?"

"Yes, Georgy-orgy?"

"…Orgy? Orgy? That's not a very endearing suffix."

Fred rolled his eyes, lifted the pillow in his arms and threw it across the room, hoping that it could hit something. George ducked. "Y'know, sleeping in isn't really sleeping in when we're awake," he said, voiced muffled under his blankets.

Fred turned in his bed. "That's all mum's fault. She had to take a day trip the one day that I get so much rest that I can't even pretend that I want to sleep in."

George considered that for a moment. "That's another thing, sleeping in without mum means there'd be no one who'd scream and cry and beat the crap out of our door till we get up."

Fred sat up, hair tousled and legs tangled in the mess that was his bed. He scowled at George. George flinched. He knew that scowl. Fred narrowed his eyes. "That's it. You just ruined my sleep-in," he declared. George pushed himself up, and attempted to make a run for the door. But it was too late. Fred leapt at him, tackling him to the ground. George screamed, mimicking that siren he thought he heard when they visited Egypt. It was a damn good mimic. Both Fred and him stopped their wrestling as they listened to George's scream echo.

They heard something breaking in the kitchen as hurried footsteps rushed upstairs.

Fred's smiling eyes widened. "Run for it!" he bellowed as he got off his twin and rushed to the window. The ladder they hung there when they were eight held Fred's weight as he descended, in his pyjamas, into the chilly spring morning down below. He stood and waited for George to follow.

George grinned. His eyes scanned their family garden as he swung a leg over the window's ledge.

It was their birthday today. George's eyes lingered over the weed-littered garden. When they turned five, their father had fixed them a swing in the yard, and they fought over it constantly, pulling the nastiest pranks on each other to win the coveted seat. And over in that corner of the yard was where Fred attempted to crawl under the fence the year they turned seven and got stuck. It took George three frustrating hours to get Fred out before their mother noticed and grounded them both.

George leant further out the window. Over in that field next to the house was where they first learned Quidditch when they got their first brooms on their tenth birthday. Fred was a faster learner than George and always flew under George just in case he lost balance and fell. Further down, by that lake was where George always went when he was upset or mad. There was a hole under an outcrop covered with lichen where he always hid when he wanted to run away from the world. But Fred always found him. The last time George hid there was during the summer when they were thirteen, the day after Angelina Johnson slapped George when he pulled down her skirt by accident at the end of the year feast. Fred found him and cracked every single joke and pun he knew, even the not-so-gross and not-very-offensive ones that they promised each other to never use 'cause they were lame.

George smiled.

The morning breeze ruffled his hair and he looked down at Fred, who was waving and grinning like in an old photograph. George stuck out his tongue at his twin, making a mental note to get Fred to help him write a little howler for Angelina today so she'd get super embarrassed at work.

"C'mon, Georgy-orgy!" Fred called from below, jumping up and down.

"Hey, Fred, you remember that song we found in the Hogwarts library that night we snuck out?"

Fred rolled his eyes. "Which night?"

George waved his arms, "How many times did we decide to go to the library when we snuck out?"

"Oh," Fred scratched his head. "Yeah, I remember."

"How did that song go again?"

Fred looked up at the bright, clear sky, thinking. "Something about...a star..."

"If you be my star..." George remembered with a start.

"...I'll be your sky," added Fred, grinning. "You can hide underneath me and come out at night..."

George motioned at the clouds above, "...When I turn jet black and you show off your light..."

"I live to let your shine." Finishes Fred. George grinned. "Aww, sweet of you, brother dear. But I can't say I'm able to return your feelings..."

"Oh, screw you, Geroge," Fred scoffed jokingly, "Now hurry and get your butt down here before I start throwing garden gnomes at you."

George obediently swung his other leg over the window's ledge and grabbed the old trusty ladder with his free hand.

Behind him his door burst open. He heard Ginny gasp aloud and he spun around. He heard Ron tell Ginny to owl dad, and Ginny rushed off, face white. George frowned at Ron, confused.

Ron stood at the doorway, trembling. George turned back to the window, keeping his eyes on Ron the whole time. "Come back up, Fred, there's something wrong with Ronnie."

"What? What happened? Gimme the ladder…" Fred stopped jumping, concern clear in his voice.

Ron took a wary step toward George, who retracted one of his legs back into the room. "Who're you talking to, George?" Ron asked quietly.

George made an annoyed face. "Fred, obviously. Who else?"

Ron shook even more. "Fred's not here, George. Remember?"

George felt the blood drain from his face. Fred's urgent tugging of the ladder had stopped. George looked down. The yard was empty. The weeds were withered. The fields were grey. And the wide open sky above him was heavy and painfully beautiful.

Fred was gone.

George turned to face Ron again. "No, no," he said quickly, "Fred was here a minute ago."

Ron looked pained. "No, George," he replied quietly, "Fred hasn't been here for months…come, don't hurt yourself now. Jumping from here, you'd only break your ankle. It won't bring Fred back. Come, George, hold my hand. Mum should be back to take you to the doctor in a sec. You've got another session today, remember?"

George shook his head furiously. Fred was here. Fred was.

Fred…

Fred was…

Dead.

Everything turned to black as George let go. He thought he heard Ron yell and make a grab for him. He felt his eyes close. And he fell.

.

"Hey, look at this," George pointed, fingers trailing a block of dark spotted ink. "It's a song."

"If you be my star, I'll be your sky," Fred read, whispering, as their lamp flickered across the Marauder's Map set on their table. George lifted the leather-bound volume he held closer to Fred, who squinted at the small, cramped writing on the corner of the page, and continued, "You can hide underneath me and come out at night, when I turn jet black, and you show off your light. I live to let you shine..."

George turned the book away from Fred and toward himself. "But you can skyrocket away from me. And never come back if you find another galaxy, far from here, with more room to fly. Just leave me your stardust...to remember you by..."


End


CAISELE:

Boats and Birds by Gregory and the Hawk.

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