A/N: These are all J.K. Rowling's characters. I own nothing, this is just something I do for fun. Please read and review! More to come soon!
Say What You Need to Say
About two weeks after Fred's funeral, Angelina felt strong enough to go and visit George, the way she'd promised after the service.
"I'll stop by one of these days after work. We can watch a Muggle movie or something," Angelina had told George as the mourners crowd was making their way back to their cars, their broomsticks, their normal lives.
It didn't seem fair that for George and the rest of the Weasley's, life would never be normal again. It wouldn't be normal for her either, not with Fred gone.
"I'd like that," George told her, hugging her close. He had shed not one tear the entire service. Angelina knew because she'd been watching him, wanting to comfort him yet knowing he needed to be with his family more. Only Harry Potter and Hermione Granger sat with the Weasley family. George had just sat like a stone and occasionally rubbed his mother's shoulders when she became hysterical.
Now, riding the trolley into London and still dressed in her work clothes, the thought occurred to her that perhaps she should have sent an owl to let him know of her arrival. She excused the thought, noting that she hadn't been doing most things the way she should have since Fred had died.
Angelina had heard that Ron and Percy had been putting in most of the work at the shop, and that no one had seen George around, but she was fairly certain that he hadn't moved out of his flat, which was located just above the business. The twins had been so proud of the place, always boasting how they were living quite grand indeed for two boys who'd dropped out of school.
It was well after business hours when she got to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, all the lights out inside, save the neon green sign that flashed Closed. Angelina went around the building to the side door and knocked.
She waited for several long moments before she finally heard the turning of locks coming from inside. Then, the door opened.
"H-hello," Angelina stammered out in place of a gasp.
There was no other word to describe the way he looked except terrible. To be redheads, the Weasley's had surprisingly good coloring year round, but George was now very pale, and thin. He'd let his facial hair grow in, and it was wild looking, as if he'd been roaming over mountains. The rest of his hair was shaggy and disheveled. His clothes were dirty, for Merlin's sake. Angelina could see some sort of stain across the front. He didn't say anything, just looked blankly at her.
She cleared her throat, and took a step backwards. "This is a bad time, isn't it? I can come back–"
"No, no, come in," George told her, and held the door open.
When Angelina took her first look at the flat, she could only stare. It was in a right state. Dirty robes, old food containers, things Angelina couldn't even identify were strewn about. There was a horrific stench wafting throughout the place, like something was rotting. It took everything in her power not to plug her nose. Then she noticed the mound of blankets and a pillow on the couch, and her heart sank like a stone.
George was not sleeping in his room.
The room where, once, Fred would have been right across the hall.
"I'm sorry about all shite all over the place…here, let me get this out of the way," he muttered and grabbed a handful of things off the couch. Angelina watched him toss the pile to the floor near the back hallway.
"I should have owled you first to let you know I was coming. I didn't mean to disturb you. I'm sorry," she said.
"Rubbish, you didn't used to owl us before. You would just come. We didn't mind then, and I don't mind now. Don't be sorry," he told her.
Angelina sat down on the couch, and George sat down next to her. She didn't even know where to begin.
"You've grown a beard," she said with a gentle laugh, as she reached out to touch it.
"Oh, yes, it's just…it's nothing, really," he muttered.
She carefully tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, trying to calm herself from the sight before her, this stranger where it should have been one of her best friends. "How are you?" she asked him softly, though the answer was beyond evident.
He pulled at his beard. "I'm doing okay."
"That's good," Angelina said. He wouldn't look at her, and she wasn't sure if she should even be here. Maybe he was angry with her. Maybe she reminded him of Fred and she shouldn't have come because he wasn't ready to deal with her yet. Even still, that would make things awkward if she got up and left this soon. And really, she shouldn't feel awkward. It was obvious he needed her. Hell, he needed somebody to take care of him, because he wasn't doing it for himself.
"Have you been eating? Or sleeping?" she asked.
"Not really doing much of either," he said quietly. He sounded so sad. Angelina swallowed a huge lump in her throat as her vision blurred.
"Oh, Georgie," Angelina whispered. She shook her head, unable to speak for a second. It brought back a flood of memories, seeing him now, and it hit her like a bad spell that it was now just George. Fred wouldn't come bounding in from the back, laughing about something or other, harassing her to try some new potion he'd created that afternoon. Not ever again. Not ever again.
"I'm trying to be strong," she whispered, as tears fell over her cheeks. "I know we split up ages ago, but I never stopped caring about him. I miss him."
"Me, too," George said. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. Angelina scooted closer to him, and hugged him. He held her close, and it felt nice, despite the fact that she could tell he hadn't bathed lately. She didn't care.
Finally, Angelina whispered, "George?"
"I think you should eat something."
"Yes, I know," he said, then, "I just can't find the strength to do anything anymore."
"I'll make you something. What do you want?" she asked him. She got up from the couch, kicking her heels off.
"I don't know," he answered. He lay back against the cushions and flicked his wand lazily at the Muggle television set. It came roaring to life and his eyes glazed over as he watched.
"Have you got anything in your refrigerator?" she asked him.
"I don't know, I haven't checked it in a few days," he said, unblinking as he watched the TV.
"I'll just check to see what you've got, then. Is that alright?"
He nodded. Angelina went into the kitchen, and almost gagged when she saw the residue from something disgusting in the sink. She wouldn't be able to cook a blasted thing in here until everything was clean.
She'd had an important meeting today, so she hadn't been dressed in her usual uniform that she wore when she was at the lab mixing potions and documenting results. It would have helped the job she was about to do if she'd at least had that one instead of her expensive dress and her pearl necklace. She tapped her hair with her wand, murmuring a quick spell to keep her hair tied into a knot off of her face and tried to decide where to start. She figured the counter on the left, since it was the messiest, and as she pointed her wand at it and sent the first cleaning spell to work, something yowled and came flying out at her. She shrieked in surprise as the small, black animal raced down the hall.
"Oi, George! You've got wild animals in here! Did you know that?" Angelina called to George, going back to the living area.
The small, black thing was a cat that had curled up on George's lap.
"What, Hestia? She showed up a few days ago. She keeps the gnomes away."
Gnomes? Things had gotten truly bad if gnomes had found their way into the flat. She didn't say anything else on the matter, just went back to the kitchen and set her wand to work. As the dishes polished themselves, and the stove did likewise, she poked around in the refrigerator. She saw enough ingredients to make some potato soup and saw that George was well supplied with butterbeer. She found two large bottles of fire whiskey in the cabinet as well. They were standing among four more empty bottles.
Close to an hour later, the kitchen was sparkling clean, all the rubbish and rotten food had been emptied to the bin, and the potato soup was ready.
George was still staring blankly at the television screen as his fingers stroked the fur of Hestia, who had fallen asleep.
"Accio, serving tray," Angelina said. George started, seeming to be more out of it than ever, as she put the food and a butterbeer down in front of him.
He stared at the soup, and she felt suddenly silly.
"It was the only thing I could make from what you had in there," Angelina said. "It doesn't look as rich as it should. Here, let me see what else I can do with it." She reached for the hot bowl, but his fingers grabbed at her wrist.
"No, Angelina, it looks fine. I'll have it," he said, letting her go. He picked up the spoon she'd set out for him and began to eat. Angelina flushed a little, then went to work cleaning up around the living area. She was surprised when she looked back after a few minutes to find his bowl empty.
"Did you eat that or get rid of it?" she asked incredulously.
George looked embarrassed. "Er, I ate it. I guess I was a little hungrier than I thought," he said. Angelina took the bowl and got more soup for him, filling it to the top.
"Thanks," he said as she handing it back to him. When he started eating again, she went back to work cleaning up around him. She had started to perspire, despite the help of magic, because there was so much that needed to be done. She was aware that he finished eating before she was done cleaning, and a few times, she'd caught him watching her, but he never said anything, and neither did she.
Finally, she had finished and even though she was exhausted, she was pleased that at least it looked more like the flat that she remembered from when she would visit.
"Fred was always the neat one," George said softly as he looked around. Hestia had stretched herself out onto her back, claws extending slightly. It was funny the things you noticed when you were trying to keep from breaking down.
"I can help you keep it clean, if you want," she said, fighting back tears.
"No, I need to learn how to take care of myself. I've got to learn how to be by myself," he said simply.
Angelina sat next to him on the couch, taking his hand. "It'll be hard for awhile. But you hang in there. You'll wake up one day and you'll be able to feel happiness again."
"I don't think I'll feel anything again," he said.
"Yes, you will," she said. She kissed him quickly on the cheek. "I put all your dirty clothes in that basket by the hall. You can wash them when you're ready."
"I don't wash clothes anymore. I don't do anything anymore," he sighed, leaning back against the couch and closing his eyes once more.
"Alright, then I will come here tomorrow and do it. If I have to check on you every day after work, I will. You'll just have to change the locks if you want me to stay out. But I'm not going to just let you waste away. We're too good of friends for me to allow that," she said. George said nothing, and Hestia was still asleep, so Angelina stood up.
"I'm going now. So I'll see you tomorrow, then," she said.
"See you," he replied, pulling the covers up around him.
"Don't smother Hestia," Angelina said smartly, yanking back the edge of the blanket that covered the small cat.
She reached into her bag and took out some Floo Powder, throwing it into the fireplace of his flat. She glanced back at George before she stepped in, but he hadn't moved from his place on the couch.
It suddenly hit her, as she looked at him, that it might not be safe to leave him alone. It bothered her, the sight of him laying about the couch like he was the one who was dead. She'd never seen George so detached. He'd always been so vibrant, so full of energy and jokes and laughter...
There was nothing alive about him now. Nothing at all.
Suppose he tried to do something harmful to himself? He had said that he didn't care about anything. She just couldn't bear even the thought of losing them both.
"Georgie? I'm going to get some things for work and come back here, maybe stay the night. What do you think about that?"
He didn't answer, just shrugged his shoulders, eyes still closed.
It was set, then. She stepped into the Floo, already making mental notes of the things that she needed to do. It wasn't like she could report her concerns to his family, as they had enough to deal with on their own. So many people had been killed at the final battle. There had been so much death, and now the living were the ones left to suffer.
Well, she wasn't going to let George suffer. Aside from Alicia, he was her best friend. She owed it to both him and Fred to bring him back from the edge, and by God, she would do it.