For StoryGirl02 in the drabble request thread at the HP Fanfiction Challenges Forum. I changed the quote a little - hope you don't mind!

After - Going On.

It is the day after the battle, and it seems that the whole world is celebrating but he can't. It doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem real that it's over.

More to the point, it doesn't seem real that Fred is dead. Not Fred. He can't be.

He doesn't remember when he first saw his body. Oliver told him he cried out, but he doesn't remember that at all. He doesn't remember saying anything to George, though Ron told him he did. He does remember fighting alongside George once the battle restarted, and wondering how George was still walking and talking and thinking.

After that, he remembers a bottle of Firewhisky and not a lot else.


It is a week after the battle, and he has to go to his best friend's funeral.

He doesn't know how the hell he is going to get through it, but he has to go. For the sake of his other best friend who is still alive, even if he doesn't look like George any more.

He does it by not looking at the coffin or the hole in the ground. Such things have nothing to do with Fred Weasley.

But he makes the mistake of looking at George at the graveside, and that is when he falls apart.


It is a month after the battle, and he is in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes helping George and Ron (and assorted Weasleys and friends who come and go) put the shop back together.

They laugh and make jokes and talk about Fred and drink a lot of tea. Some days.

Other days, Fred's absence is too raw, and they avoid each other's eyes and substitute Firewhisky for the tea; and Lee goes home early because there is only so long he can look at George before he breaks down completely.


It is six months after the battle, and things are more or less normal. He can look at George, talk and laugh with him, and almost forget that something is dreadfully wrong. This is their new normal.

Sometimes, when he goes home, it strikes him that this isn't what normal should be like.

He keeps a bottle of Firewhisky in the cupboard for those days.


It is eleven months after the battle, and his best friend is twenty-one.

One of his best friends.

He thought he was over it, that he was coping, that he had come to terms with Fred's death.

But, watching George blow out the candles on his cake on his own, hearing everyone sing, "Happy birthday dear George," with a beat before the "George" where Fred's name should be, he realises he is not.

How does he ever get used to this?


It is a year after the battle, and he makes it through the memorial ceremonies without disgracing himself. If George can get through this dry-eyed – albeit as white as a ghost – he can too. Afterwards, the DA takes over Viggo's Bar in Diagon Alley, and they drink and reminisce and cry and laugh and drink some more.

He knows – they all do – that life is for living, that they must live it to the full for the sake of those they lost. They know it will hurt, but they have no choice.

And Lee will do it too, for Fred and the others.