Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Chapter Twenty-Four

A Predestined Force

--

Wherever you may go,
go with all your heart.

--

An very appropriate thunderstorm began to wreak havoc above. Lightening served as a natural illuminator as I sprinted down the dark corridors of the ancient castle, ducking any signs of life. Thunder rang out so loud that my chest seemed to quake at the audible force. The rain hit the glass windows so hard that I feared they would shatter for the bullet like droplets. I managed to escape to my desired location without being spotted.

"Toby," I whispered, hiding quietly along a dark corridor just outside the Hospital Wing.

A loud CRACK signaled Toby's presence as he apparated before me. I clutched Apollo in my arms, thankfully coming across him on my trip to my destination. He looked up at me with his tennis ball like eyes and smiled broadly, clearly happy I had called on him. His smiled faded in an instant, however; when he saw my solemn expression. I held my index finger before my lips, motioning for him to stay quiet.

"Miss Briney," Toby whispered urgently. "What's wrong? Madam Pomphrey told Toby Mister Fred would be fine and-"

"Toby," I interrupted him quietly, placing a kind hand on his frail shoulder. "I'm going to ask you to run a few final errands for me, and then I am going to set you free."

"No!" Toby squeaked. "Please, Miss Briney, was Toby bad? Toby should have been better at-"

"No, Toby, you were brilliant," I reassured him calmly. "You did nothing wrong, and I could never thank you enough for what you did in the Department of Mysteries."

"Then why does Miss Briney want to punish Toby?" he exclaimed.

"Freedom is not a punishment," I sighed. "Please, don't think that I'm doing this to punish you."

"But, Miss Briney, Toby does not want to be freed," he cried. "Please-"

I knelt down before him, holding his shoulders gently.

"Toby, please just listen to me for a minute," I pleaded. "I need you to do what I ask without any questions. Alright?"

Toby merely nodded regrettably in reply. I placed the small message I had just written in his tiny little hand, tenderly closing his fingers around it. Looking him square in the eyes, I struggled to breathe normally.

"I want you to deliver this message to Professor Snape immediately," I instructed. "Then I want you to take Apollo, take care of him for me."

I handed the pure white feline to him, he clutched him in his arms snuggly.

"Is Miss Briney going away again?" Toby asked, disobeying my request for no questions.

"Yes, Toby," I whispered. "Only this time I won't be coming back."

Toby began sobbing hysterically, clutching Apollo like a security blanket. I pulled him and Apollo into a hug, fighting back tears again.

"W-where is Miss B-Briney g-going?" he wept.

"I don't know where I'm going," I said honestly. "But I do know I have to go alone, and I don't trust anyone could take better care of Apollo than you. Can you do that for me?"

"Y-yes, Miss B-Briney," Toby stammered through his heavy sobs.

"No tears, Toby," I said. "Please."

He sniffled a few times, I pushed away a pair of his oversized tears away with my thumbs.

"Then I have one final thing to ask of you, Toby," I whispered. "And it is the most important. I want you to never speak of me again, forget I exist or even existed-"

"Toby will not!" he objected. "Toby can not!"

"You must!" I insisted. "Fred's life depends on the belief that I am dead."

"But Miss Briney is not dead!" he squeaked. "She is not!"

"I know," I sighed. "But everyone must believe that I am. My mere existence threatens the lives of everyone who knows me, including you. I want you to swear to me that you will tell no one you saw me tonight. You will act as shocked at the news of my death as the others, alright?"

"But why w-will the others t-think Miss B-Briney is d-dead?" Toby sniffled.

"That is why that note you hold in your hand is so important," I explained. "Professor Snape is the last person to see me alive and that gives him the ability to announce my fate from the battle, understand?"

"Yes," he nodded. "Toby will do as he is told."

"Thank you, Toby," I smiled feebly.

"But Miss Briney mustn't free Toby though," he said quickly. "Toby could help Miss Briney when-"

"You have helped me so much already, Toby," I replied. "You owe me nothing. You deserve to be free."

"Please, Miss Briney," he sobbed. "Please, Toby promises he will look after Mister Fred while she is gone if Miss Briney does not free Toby. Please!"

"Alright, Toby, alright," I sighed heavily. "But you must promise not to come after me without my permission, and Fred mustn't know you will be looking out for him."

"Toby promises, he does!" he exclaimed.

"Good," I nodded, placing a kiss on his forehead. "Now go find Professor Snape, and stay safe."

"Yes, Miss Briney," Toby cried, hugging me once more. "Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Toby," I whispered.

Toby disapparated with his usual loud CRACK, leaving me alone to look at the open door to the Hospital Wing. Getting up from my crouched position on the stone floor, I began tiptoeing towards the last place I would ever see Fred.

--

Unbeknownst to Briney, Draco Malfoy was positioned against the wall diagonal from her with his back flat the stones, hiding in the darkness. He had heard Briney and Toby's entire conversation. His chest rose and fell rapidly, unable to calm his beating heart. Briney was leaving…for good. He had do something, something to stop this from happening.

He abruptly peeled himself off the opposing wall and sprinted down the corridor towards the dungeon, clueless on what he should do. He knew Briney wouldn't be able to securely return until her safety was ensured, but he had no idea on how to manage that. However, he was determined to find a way. Even if it killed him.

--

I slowly approached the opening, looking about apprehensively for Madam Pomphrey. I wanted to be able to see Fred one last time. The only problem was the fact that I couldn't afford to be seen by anyone, not even him. Praying he was asleep, I peeked my head into the room filled with rows of beds. I saw Hermione first, she was unconscious under the white covers, but still clearly alive. I suspected Madam Pomphrey must have been searching for more potion ingredients to manage Antonin's curse. I hoped, at least.

I spotted Fred at the last bed in the opposite row of Hermione. He was unconscious as well. I breathed a sigh of relief and crept inside. A chair was at the ready beside Fred's bed. My stomach, that was already in knots, began to tighten as soon as I reached his side. However, as soon as I got a good look at his unconscious body I knew I was going to make the right decision.

He was shirtless, his abdomen wrapped in clean white bandages. He looked peaceful under the pristine sheets that covered his lower body. I took a tentative seat in the chair beside him. The tears I was determined to keep at bay escaped my eyes at that moment. My chest shuttered, placing my palm on my chest, I fought my urge to release a heavy sob. I knew leaving Fred would be hard, but I had underestimated the overwhelming pain I already expected to feel. I placed my trembling hand on his, gently holding it in mine. His soft skin sent a familiar warm sensation throughout my body. Oh, I would miss that feeling.

I had so many things I wanted to say to him, wanted to tell him. I opened and closed my mouth several times before I finally was able to speak.

"Fred, I don't know if you can hear me, and I don't even know if I want you to hear me," I managed to choke out. "But I need to say what I came here to say, because I won't have another chance to say it."

He laid, unresponsive, dead to the world.

"Here goes," I sighed, taking one more deep breath. "I'm awful, Fred. I'm a terrible person, and I deserve every consequence due to my stupidity and selfishness. You see, I ignorantly believed that if I just ignored all of the horrible inevitabilities I will undoubtedly endure then they would simply fade away. I was wrong, and in effect I am solely responsible for the misery of those whom I care for most. I am no longer able to continue causing pain and sorrow to innocent bystanders, and I know now that there is only one possible alternative for me to prevent any further agony. I must leave here and never return.

I know you'll be angry with me, and you have every right to be. You must think me an extraordinary coward to leave without a proper goodbye or even a conscious verbal explanation. But I know if I looked up into your eyes I would never be able to say this: I can't go on hurting you, Fred. I can't keep up this facade anymore because I no longer have the strength to defy a predestined force.

I had a sliver of hope for us when my Mum and Dad managed to rekindle their relationship, despite the odds against them. But after witnessing the end result of their brief and ignorant duel with destiny, I realize that I must do all I can to avert a similar fate for us. I know now that love does not conquer all, Fred.

I fear that we were only fooling ourselves when we thought what we had would last forever. How could we think such silly thoughts when we knew deep down that there was no feasible way for our relationship to withstand such outstanding adversity?"

I was crying so hard by now, my throat began to close up. I wiped my tears away with my free hand and continued through my pain.

"I love you, Fred Weasley. I love you more than I ever thought I could love another human being. I love you so much I physically ache at the thought of never seeing your smile again. And I love you so much that the mere idea of losing you to Voldemort terrifies me more than anything on this earth. That is why I must leave you. You cannot imagine how difficult this is to say, Fred. My heart aches after every syllable I speak, for the thought of these being the last words I will ever say to you is too dreadful to fathom.

I know it's unfeasible for me to ask you a favor at a time like this, but I must for your sake. I ask that you forget me. I ask that you move on. Please understand my motives, and know that I love you far too much to see you hurt anymore. I cannot bare to see you suffer. My happiness relies solely on yours. Try to forgive me someday for my sins. I was blind but now I see how to make things right again. Goodbye, my friend, my lover, my soul mate. I will never stop loving you."

I lifted his hand to my lips, kissing it gently. I stood from my seat and placed another kiss on his forehead, inhaling his scent one final time.

"You're thick."

I froze in an instant at the sound of Fred's voice. However, after seeing Fred's expressionless face, I knew his voice hadn't come from him. I turned around swiftly, knowing at that moment exactly who the statement had come from.

"George," I breathed. "What are you doing here?"

"Mum sent me as soon as we got news of Fred's accident," George replied curtly. "She'll be on her way soon enough. I just saw the others. They've gone to tell the other D.A. members about tonight."

George stood a few meters behind me, his arms crossed, his face unreadable. He was one of the last people I wanted to see me. He walked slowly forward, peering over at Fred, before his gaze lingered to me again. He didn't say a word. I knew he wanted me to speak first.

"So how much did you hear?" I said shamefully.

"Enough to determine that you are a bloody idiot," he replied.

"I'm not an idiot," I insisted. "Don't you see this is the way it has to be?"

"Don't you see how idiotic you're being?" George snapped. "Things get a little tough and you head for the hills!"

"A little tough?" I sneered. "George, my entire family is no more!"

"And what are we?" George spat. "Chopped bloody liver? We are your family, Briney! Open your eyes for Merlin's sake!"

"I have never seen things so clearly as I do now!" I replied. "I have to go. I have to protect Fred."

"You think you're protecting Fred?" George scoffed. "Well, I think you're being bleeding selfish! You say you're leaving like it's some gallant gesture of love, but you're just scared. You're no noble self-sacrificing hero. You're just a coward."

"You have no idea what you're talking about, George Weasley!" I sobbed. "You know nothing of my motives!"

"Well, what is it then, Bri?" he sneered. "What other than-"

"I'm pregnant," I blurted out without thinking. "I'm pregnant, George."

My knees buckled, but George strode forward to hold me steady. He pulled me into his arms without hesitation and hugged me against his chest. He was the first person I told. No one knew, not Fred, not anyone else. I clutched his corduroy vest in my fists and sobbed against his chest without censor. His hand brushed the back of my hair gently, resting his chin atop my head.

"How long have you known?" George said in a much more understanding tone.

"Since I got to Malfoy Manor," I admitted. "I'm about three or so months along."

"And I wager you've not told him," George said, motioning to Fred's motionless body.

I simply shook my head, rubbing my forehead sorrowfully against his chest.

"So you were just going to run off, carrying his child, making everyone think you were killed," George said, "without Fred any the wiser."

"Yes," I sighed. "It's the only way."

"There has to be-" George started.

"No," I insisted. "There isn't, and you have to swear not to tell Fred. You have to promise me that you'll go along with the belief I'm dead, that Voldemort killed me."

"How can you ask me to do that?" George said, holding me before him by my shoulders. "Fred isn't just my brother. He's my best mate, Briney. I can't keep that from him. We never lie to each other, never."

"You know exactly what he would do if he knew the truth," I said. "He'd come after me and end up getting himself killed. You know I'm right, George."

"Briney-" George started.

"Promise me," I insisted.

"I-I promise," George said reluctantly.

"Thank you," I breathed a sigh of relief, hugging him tight. "Thank you, George."

"Where will you go?" he asked.

"Somewhere no one can find me," I said, honestly unsure to where that would be.

"So you have no idea," George said, reading me like a book.

"I have a few locations plotted out," I objected. "I just need to choose one."

"I expect you to write me," George said.

"No, I can't," I replied.

"You either write me, or I tell Fred everything," George replied.

"Fine," I sighed. "But not often."

"Agreed," George nodded.

I looked up at George one final time, only moderately pleased with our compromise. I honestly considered just using Obliviate to erase his memory, but I felt bad enough for what I had done already. Footsteps became audible from the hallway. I turned from George, gently kissing Fred's lips one final time before darting towards the nearest window. I opened the latch, looked back and George and simply nodded.

"You'll come back," George insisted. "I'm sure of it."

"You can't bring back the dead," I sighed.

I instantly transformed into my usual white dove form and fluttered out into the night.

--

"Mr. Weasley," Madam Pomphrey said, entering with a quickened pace. "Here to check in on your brother, I expect. Well, not to worry. He'll be waking up soon, no doubt. A full recovery is expected."

"Good," George nodded, still eyeing the open window.

"I was just gathering the ingredients for the next batch of potions for Miss Granger and your brother," she went on. "I'm going to go and finish them up now. I anticipate you will be alright until I return?"

"Sure," George said half heartedly.

Madam Pomphrey nodded curtly and headed to a side room to brew the next round of potions. George didn't move at first. He knew at that moment Briney was long gone. There would be no catching her. He ran his long fingers through his hair in sheer frustration. He knew Briney was pregnant with his brother's child, and he stupidly swore not to tell him. George had never kept anything from Fred in his entire life. No one single secret. Now, he was expected to keep what could quite possibly be the biggest bit of information Fred would ever hope to know. George contemplated what to do.

He was presented two choices: One - backstab Briney, and tell Fred the truth. George could tell Fred that Briney was going into hiding with no intention to return. Two - listen to Briney's request to convince Fred and the others she was dead.

He could tell Fred she ran away, which was what he really wanted to do, but he knew the consequences would be grave like Briney had warned. George knew all too well that if Fred found out Briney was pregnant that his valiant brother would go after her in a heartbeat. This could potentially cost Fred his life, and he knew that too. George loved Briney, he did. He cared about her as much as everyone else, but he knew that Fred getting killed going after her wouldn't help the situation.

George looked down at his snoozing brother, Fred would be beyond furious at him for not telling him the truth. George swallowed hard, his stomach in knots, wondering whether to listen to his head or his heart. Fred's eyes began to flicker, George sat down on his bedside, anxiously watching Fred try to clear his blurry vision.

"B-Briney?" Fred whispered hoarsely, blinking several times.

"Your vision must really be blurry," George replied, smirking slightly. "How you feeling, mate?"

Fred rubbed his eyes a few more times, gently pushing himself up against the bed frame with a painful expression.

"Like I've just been trampled by a herd of angry hippogriffs," Fred yawned. "Where's Briney? Is she alright?"

"Er-no, mate, she's not," George said, suddenly knowing exactly what he was going to do.

"What do you mean?" Fred asked anxiously. "Where is she?"

"It was Voldemort," George started. "He found out about the two of you, and he…er- they couldn't recover the body."

Fred stared blankly at George for a moment, before a look of anger overcame his features.

"That's not funny, George," Fred snapped. "Where is she, really?"

"Fred," he replied sadly. "Briney's dead."

"No," Fred said, shaking his head. "You're lying."

"I wish I was, mate," George said, his insides burning. "I'm so sorry."

Fred suddenly swung his feet off his bed, knocking over the metal tray that rested near his ankles. George shot up from his seat in response, Madam Pomphrey darted into the room after hearing the loud noise caused from dropped tray.

"Mr. Weasley, what do you think you're doing?!" Madam Pomphrey bellowed, hurrying towards him.

"I'm going to find, Briney!" he shouted.

Fred stood up painfully, gripping the thick bandages around his abdomen. His bare feet struggled to support him as he tried to head for the door. George tried to hold him back, but Fred was determined to fight his way to the exit. Blood became visible as his bandages began to turn a deep shade of red. Ignoring his reopened wound, Fred limped on. George finally cut him off, holding him firmly by his bare shoulders.

"Fred, stop," George whispered sternly. "She's gone, mate, she's gone."

Fred examined George's face for any hint of a sadistic joke. He found none. Fred gripped his stomach and collapsed to his knees, George knelt by his side immediately. George couldn't remember his brother crying since they were eight years old and Bill had accidentally broken his nose during a match of Quidditch in their backyard. But, there Fred was, crumbled on the floor; sobbing. George knew Fred wasn't weeping because of his broken ribs. He was crying because of his broken heart.

--

I turned back into a human moments after I escaped out the window. The storm disallowed me from flying away. I had to go it on foot. My long blonde locks clung to my face like glue as I stumbled through the muddy grounds of Hogwarts. The rain poured so heavily that I could no longer distinguish between my tears and rain drops. I ignored the cold that the storm had brought along into the night. My sneakers sunk into the earth like quicksand. I was certain that I looked like an utter wreck. I was covered in mild cuts, my clothes were coated in thick stains of blood, and I was soaked from head to toe.

I didn't know where I was going. All I knew was; I was dead. I no longer existed in body or mind. I could no longer feel. My head swam in visions of Sirius, my Mum, Grigor, and Fred. I knew Voldemort would discover what had really happened at the Department of Mysteries. There was no preventing the Polyjuice potion from wearing off. Yes, the Death Eaters, Toby, and George would be the only ones who were any the wiser to what really happened at the Department of Mysteries.

I held my stomach, my lower lip quivering. I was in such a huge mess with no way out in sight. Why was I so stupid? I should have never opted to go to Hogwarts, I should have never befriended my friends, and I should have never allowed myself to fall in love with someone who was supposed to be my enemy. I was selfish and idiotic. I cost or endangered the lives of everyone I ever loved. I deserved death.

My sneaker got caught in the mud, pummeling me forward. I caught myself, only landing on my hands and knees. I didn't move at first, contemplating what the point of going on really was.

"Come now, Briney," a voice said from above me. "Get up."

I looked up from behind my drenched hair before my eyes. An outstretched hand was offered to me. I extended a shaky palm to accept the gesture.

"H-how did you find me?" I breathed.

"I suppose I must have a gift for summoning the dead."

--

Fin.

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Part II: A Siren's Song

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A/N: Well, it's official. Part I of the trilogy is complete. I must admit this has BY FAR been my favorite fic I have ever written, mostly because my reviewers are bleeding amazing! I've received more feedback, subscriptions, favorites, and views on this fic than any of my others. I appreciate it SO much. Really, thanks a ton. I adore you all. I can't even put it into words.

I posted the Prologue for Part II of the trilogy. It's titled "A Siren's Song," and it should be under my fics on my profile page by now. Subscribe if you wish to continue Briney and Fred's untold story. I am utterly in love with the first couple chapters I've started for it, and I haven't even had a Briney POV chapter yet.

I'm sure the ending was pretty stupid, I know. I definitely didn't plan on having Briney leave at the end of this until I got to Chapter 18 or 19, and I didn't plan on her telling George to convince Fred she was dead until Chapter 23. I just thought it was appropriate, and it opened up a lot of doors for potential plotlines. I got flamed by some anonymous gutter-slut because she said Briney running away was "stupid, typical, and pissed her off." Well, in response to that: F YOU! Second, I hope this ending wasn't as typical as she anticipated. Anyways, it makes me extremely excited to get into it. Flamers are so fricking pathetic by the way, especially because most of them don't even write their own fics. It's like "If you are such an outstanding writer and want to criticize me then let me read your stuff, then!" Oh, well. Some people just suck at life.

The bad news (actually it's good for me!) is the fact that I will be returning to college soon, and I'm a Pre-Law major…meaning I am busy quite a lot. Therefore, I do not anticipate having as much free time to write, so my updates may become few and far between for a while. I swear I will not abandon it, however. I love Briney and Fred way too much to desert them. Ha!

Also, I will be getting into my George/OC fic, "Crossed Hearts," (which you should totally check out btw) much more than before. I am falling in love with my OC because she reminds me a lot of myself! Ha! Briney is sort of like me, but she makes choices I definitely wouldn't have made. Anyways…

Well, I wanted to also leave this final chapter open to ask me any questions more than anything. They could be about the story or anything about me (though I don't know what anyone would ask, I'm pretty boring). Anyhow, if you haven't left a comment yet please do so. I have over six dozen subscribers and I only average around 10 reviews a chapter. Come on, lazy bones! I don't bite…hard.

Again, thanks so much for all your wonderful feedback. If you keep on reviewing, I'll keep on writing. Can't wait to hear from you all again in Part II!

Happy Reading!

Review.

Love Always,

Mila