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Title: Twenty One

Author: Silver Symphony

Rated: K+

Summary: Fred and George's might-have-been birthday.

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At six o' clock sharp, Fred and George would have Apparated right out of bed. They might have ignited exactly forty-two Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs— Fred igniting twenty-one fire-breathing dragons and George igniting twenty-one Catherine wheels, their respective favorites.

Once everyone was startled out of bed, Fred and George might have led a raucous rendition of Weasleys are Our Kings on the top of the kitchen table, substituting the Quidditch references with swears and exaggerated grandeur. Molly would have certainly chided them about the potty-mouthed lyrics and ushered them off of the table so she could properly serve up an enormous birthday breakfast.

Breakfast would have been finished by nine. The Weasleys aren't slow eaters, but the continuous eruptions of laughter and joyous talk surely to occur would have lengthened the time.

Fred and George would have likely considered checking in on the joke shop, but Molly would have insisted that they leave such affairs for tomorrow. They probably would have done it, anyway, but Arthur might have given them that steely glare beneath his glasses, the glare that screams terrible things would befall them if they disobey their mother's wishes on this day.

The post would have arrived by noon, the cards and envelopes stuffed with birthday goodies clutched tightly in the owls' talons. Fred and George would have had a Summoning race to see who could Summon the envelopes faster; George probably would have let Fred, the older one, win (George would have missed it by one measly minute).

Timing their movements together, Fred and George would have ripped the letters open. One of them might have contained a fake rubbery ear – a tribute to George's fallen ear—courtesy of Lee Jordan. A few laughs would have ensued, but George would have likely had the presence of mind to stash the ear away from sight. Molly would have nagged over it.

Cards from Hermione, Harry, Angelina, Percy, and others would have definitely been a part of the package. They would have perused them, teased them for their over-sentimentality, and stashed them in a special place (deep down, they would have appreciated the gestures). The laundry drawer would have been the spot for George; Fred would have stored it in his trinket chest.

Fred and George would have absolutely set about the house, agitating everyone with their practical jokes. Molly's kitchenware would have likely became targets— "Can't you two do something helpful with your wands?"—along with Arthur's Muggle gadgets— "Honestly, boys!"—and Ron's knickers— "Really witty; next time I want pink bloomers, I'll buy them, thanks!"—but Ginny would be the trickiest. She would either curse them into oblivion or, even worse, yell at them. And her yelling would remind them too much of Molly, so they probably would decide against it.

And after a wonderful day of antics, night would have descended upon The Burrow. The Weasleys might have eaten in the garden, and the space probably would have been decorated with wonderful multi-colored lights and a table topped with a gold cloth. Bill and Charlie most likely would have apparated to The Burrow for the celebration. Fleur might have been there with Bill, or she might have stayed home as she was nearing the end of her pregnancy. Fred and George would have been delighted if she showed up so she could annoy Ginny, who definitely wouldn't be as pleased.

Harry and Hermione would have certainly made the gathering. Fred, more likely than George, would have made a remark about Ron and Hermione keeping the snogging to a minimum. Hermione would have been a bit flustered. Molly would have given Fred a nice hit to his backside. Ron's face would have probably turned the color of beets. And Fred would have considered saying the same for Harry and Ginny, but Ginny would have already been glaring in his direction, begging him to say anything cheeky. Most likely, Fred wouldn't have taken the bait.

Percy wouldn't have been able to make it, but Fred and George wouldn't have minded. They would have understood that Percy would have been there if he could help it.

Molly would have levitated the giant cake out after supper was complete. Fred and George would have said silly things all throughout supper, possibly making Harry choke on his water and causing Molly to threaten to magically sew their mouths shut. She wouldn't have, though.

But the cake! The cake would have been the highlight of the night! Molly would have baked it in the shape of Fred and George's heads with huge purple top hats. Fred and George would have made a few asides about how their mother was losing her creative flair. She would have a few sharp things to say, but purely out of love.

The twins would have carved the cake up, together. Fred might have let George know not to cut into his face; George would have informed Fred to save an ear for him. Everyone would have glanced over at Molly to see her reaction. Her face surely would have frozen over in shock, but just as quickly, her face would have given into a wide grin. Tears would have been in her eyes and she would have commented on how relieved she was for her family to be alive and in good health. Fred would have pretended to wipe his eyes in mock sadness; George would have given his mother a napkin and told her that she needn't cry.

And, of course, she would have wished the twins a very merry birthday— with everyone chiming in, "And many more!" And the twins would have replied with, "Always!"

And everything would have been perfect.