All My Years

Hearing Fred Weasley begin a joke and trail off was the most terrifying experience of my life. At first, I was just a bit surprised, because nothing stops Fred from completing his jokes, but I reminded myself Fred had never been in a war. I wasn't worried. It didn't even occur to me anything had hurt Fred in the slightest. I kept fighting, evenly making my way to where I saw my brother last so I could grin at him.

I murderedsomeone. It was the first time. I'm not even sure who it was. But when I heard Mum's scream, a scream so absolutely deep it could destroy a Horcrux, I knew something was wrong and that I needed to get to Fred. Whoever he was — I was sure it was a man — was in my way, jeering, wand raised like a sword, blocking the path to Fred. So I cut out torturing, disarming, and every other spell I'd ever learned — and I killed him. I'll never forget the look of shock that emblazoned his face, obviously surprised to be beaten by a tiny Weasley girl. I didn't care. I leaped over his body.

And then I saw Fred.

He was lying on the ground, eyes open, grinning, and I can admit now, I was livid with fury at that point. I had seen this trick done by him many times. He would lie in my doorway, a grin plastered on his face, eyes bright, to scare me. It was never to make me think he was dead, just to give me a little shock. But NOW was not the time! Mum was sobbing over his body, and Ron looked numb. He'd stopped fighting, wasn't crying, he was numb. And I am thoroughly ashamed to admit, I instantly thought, I'm gonna kill him! And — I punched him in the stomach cos I wanted the smile to fade, the glassiness to disappear from his eyes. But nothing happened — except Mum grabbed the scruff of my robes and yanked me to the floor. I was sure she'd yell, but instead she enveloped me in a desperate hug. And then I figured it out. My brother, my best friend, was dead.

And I screamed. In all my years, I never screamed more than I screamed at that moment.