-Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
-Just a little oneshot that has been knocking around in my head for a long time that finally managed to burst free! Hope that you like it, please review!
George Weasley stood at the top of the astronomy tower, the ground below hidden by a blanket of low fog, yet beckoning him forward, as if he could hear it whispering to him...
...you won't feel a thing... it will all stop...your pain will be gone.
It was something he had become all to familiar with in the past twenty-four hours. Since that horrible moment he had realized that his brother was gone.
Nobody had had to tell him that Fred Weasley was dead. He had felt it, like an explosion to the back of his head, a sick dizzying blow. For a moment, everything had gone black and he fell to his knees. He heard a voice above him...asking if he was alright, but he couldn't answer. He had no voice, no feeling in his body...he had gone completely numb. Then, the numbness lifted as suddenly as it had come, and he just knew...the numbness he had felt was his brothers life...his soul... leaving his body.
And then, the pain had come. Pain so profound it felt as if he himself might die from it and in the time since, it hadn't abated in the slightest...not that George had thought it would. It was why he had made the decision that he had...what had brought him to where he was at that very moment.
George looked at his watch and discovered that it was almost time. He had planned it all perfectly, that he would jump at the exact time he had felt Fred die. He put his foot up on the railing, preparing to lift himself up, but what he hadn't planned for was that he wouldn't remain alone in the dark tower.
"Please don't." A soft voice said from behind him.
He lowered his foot and turned around to see a small girl with waist length blond hair and huge blue eyes. She was clutching a small package in her hands, standing at the top of the stairs. It was Luna Lovegood.
"Don't what?" He said defensively, worried that if she knew what he was going to do she would try to stop him. Even if his plan to die when Fred had was now blown...he could still die this night. His pain could still be gone.
"Jump of course." She stepped towards him, away from the stairs. "I don't think I could handle seeing another person die so soon."
"I wasn't going to jump." He lied, trying to force some defensiveness into his voice. But it sounded weak, even to him.
"It looked like that to me." Luna said with a raised eyebrow "Very much so in fact. "
"I was looking at the stars." He said "This is what this place is for right, looking at the stars?"
"It is." She nodded as she sat on the cold cement floor. "But, it is awfully cloudy to see the stars, and well, usually one brings a telescope for that."
George fought for a rebuttal, and then he realized that there was none...she was just too sharp for his own good. "That doesn't mean I was going to jump."
"All right then. But, just for the sake of argument, if you are planning to jump...would you mind waiting until I am done?"
"This is the pipe tobacco my father likes to smoke. When I find myself missing him, I burn it and the smell makes me feel better." She pulled a pipe out of the bag, packed it with tobacco, then waved her wand over it, setting it to smoke.
"Would you like to sit with me? You can jump after the smoke runs out, I won't try to stop you."
George looked at her like she was crazy, but went to sit with her just the same, as if his feet had taken on a mind of their own.
"I told you, I wasn't going to jump. I'd have to be mad to do something like that." He wasn't sure why he was denying it, she didn't seem to have a problem with his plans to kill himself.
"I don't think so." She gave him a sad look "I think you would have every right to think about jumping. I imagine you must be terribly sad right now."
George just looked at her. Of all the things he had expected her to say, that certainly wasn't it. A hint of anger flared within him that she should dare to act like she knew how he felt.
"What do you know about how I feel?" George looked at her. "You can't possibly understand."
" I am very sad about all the people who died fighting you-know-who. Colin Creevey was my friend, and, I liked professor Lupin and your brother very much." She sighed and looked over his shoulder at the rolling fog "But,you're right of course. I don't know what it is like to lose a brother. I do know what it's like to lose someone you love though. I lost my mum six years ago and I felt terribly sad when she died."
George looked up at her, the anger draining from his face. He had known that Luna's mother had died when she was very young, he remembered going with his mother to take food to Luna and her father. Most of all, he remembered the look on Luna's face as she sat alone in the yard...so sad and alone that it had made him feel sad as well. He had forgotten about all of that when he said what he had a moment before.
"I'm sorry..." He sighed "I'd forgotten."
"Why should you have remembered? It happened a long time ago. I remember it very clearly though, I don't think I will ever forget." She looked away, her eyes fixed on a spot somewhere over his shoulder. "I think the worst thing is knowing that it was my fault that she died." Luna said as she looked back at him, her eyes bright with tears.
George was taken aback. Luna had been only nine...how could it possibly have been her fault her mother had died?
"She died on my birthday you know. She was in the back garden and she told me that I mustn't come out, because she was working an a wonderful surprise for my birthday. She'd even blackened the windows so I couldn't peek out." Luna smiled a little, swiping at her eyes with the back of her hand. "Then, there was a horrible loud noise, like a million bombs, going off all at once." She stopped, biting her lip so hard that George wondered how it could be that it wasn't bleeding. He felt something pushing his own pain aside slightly and he realized instantly what it was...compassion, sadness for the pain of someone else.
"Daddy came running from upstairs and he told me to stay inside...but, I didn't listen. I went to the back door and..."She stopped and a sob broke from her as she blinked and a flood of tears poured down her face. "...Daddy was kneeling in a pile of gold and silver glitter holding my mom in his arms, and she was covered in blood..."
Luna couldn't go on and George was thankful that she couldn't, he didn't think he could bear to hear her say the words. Besides, she didn't need to, he already knew how her story ended. She sat, her hands over her face with tears leaking from between her fingers while the sweet smell of the smoke from the pipe drifted around them. The minutes ticked on and George wondered why the silence didn't feel uncomfortable. It should have been after hearing the painful story of Luna's mothers death.
He felt himself overflowing with feelings of compassion, of understanding. And, for the first time, feeling that perhaps, there was someone who could understand his pain.
He spoke softly "You do know how I feel."
She pulled her hands from her face and looked at him, her voice was soft, barely a whisper. "It's not exactly the same, at least, not anymore. I've had a lot of time to heal. But, I do still remember. I remember how it felt at first...it felt like it would never get better."
"It hurts so much." He felt strangled, like something new was beginning to rise within him. "It hurts so damned much I think I'll die."
"I know." She reached across the space between them, through the smoke and took his hand in hers. "I remember..."
And then, the deepest pain within him broke the surface in the form of tears...great, sobbing tears. Luna slid over so she was sitting next to him and put her arms around his shoulders. He buried his face in her neck, holding her as if for dear life...for in a way, he was.
Into the darkness, into his darkest hour, had come the only person who could have saved him..
...the only person who could have understood
...someone one who had lived it.
He sobbed until his body ached, his arms clutching her tightly as the pipe smoke swirled around them and he didn't let go until the first pink of dawn shone on the horizon. He lifted his head from her shoulder and she brushed the tears from his cheeks.
"It will get better George." She promised once again as she squeezed his hand "One day, it will be easier, it won't hurt so much. I promise."
He nodded and squeezed her hand in return, then looked at his watch.
"Breakfast will be ready soon." He stood, wiping his face on his sleeve, and offered her his hand. "Care to join me?"
Luna nodded and waved her wand over the pipe, sighing as she watched the last rings of smoke as it went out. She tapped the ashes onto the floor, then stowed it back in the bag. She smiled at George as she put the bag in her pocket, and then she took his hand, allowing him to pull her to her feet. He held onto her hand tightly, unwilling, perhaps unable, to let it...her... go.
"Luna...I need to tell you something." He stopped and looked back at the sunrise over the side of the astronomy tower. "When the smoke stopped, I was going to jump."
"I know." She smiled and squeezed his hand again. "That's why I charmed it so the smoke wouldn't stop until I told it to."
"You tricked me." George grinned.
"I know." She smirked
George smiled and squeezed her hand, for the first time in his life thankful that someone had pulled one over on him. He knew that it would still be hard, that there would still be plenty of pain...but he understood now that he didn't have to face it alone. He had his family and friends, and, he had Luna. He would always be thankful for her, thankful for the girl and, for the smoke.
George turned and kissed her cheek, then together they went to face the new day.
-Review, please, please pretty please!