Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own any of the characters in this story, as that honour belongs to the brilliant J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Edited April 18th
As Molly busied herself around the kitchen, her flaming red hair flyaway around her head, she couldn't seem to empty her head of terrible thoughts. It had been over three months since the Battle of Hogwarts, and despite all the terrible events of that night, Molly had been acting strong for her family. She had to keep her composure, she had to stay strong. But it was so difficult, after all that had happened, after such painful losses.
Molly waved her wand and five rashers of bacon, three sausages, a round of toast, and fried tomatoes flew through the air and threw themselves onto a plate on the vast pine-wood table, splattering the wood with the red juices of the tomato. Molly sank into a chair, wiping her brow in the heat of the kitchen.
Barely a minute passed by when Arthur Weasley's steps were heard clattering down the stairs. Molly looked up to see her husbands tired, thin face emerge from around the corner.
"Morning, Molly." He sat down in front of the plate; his face wrinkled when he noticed the slap-hazard way his breakfast had been thrown together, but he said nothing. Molly's cooking had deteriorated since the Battle, but Arthur knew better than to press the subject.
"First day back at work today," he said cheerfully, trying to get some kind of reaction out of his wife. "Bound to be busy."
"Bound to be," she agreed, smiling at Arthur. Arthur could see straight through her act, even if no one else could. "At least your pay has increased now that Kingsley is Minister for Magic, and you have less hours. Things are looking up for us now."
"And finally everything is okay with Percy now," Arthur continued. "It's nice to be able to see him at work and have a normal conversation with him. Before it was all about avoiding each other."
"Yes, it's nice," Molly said, not very enthusiastically. "When you see him, ask him to come for dinner some time this week, we haven't seen him for a few days."
Arthur agreed, smiling back at his wife. This had been going on every day, their smiling, friendly conversations. They had not had one argument since the Battle- not one. Arthur wished things were back how they had been before, even when You-Know-Who had been in control. At least they were still a family then.
He hurried down his breakfast, continuing the banter between him and Molly, before excusing himself and turning on the spot, disappearing into the air.
Molly sighed, relieved she didn't have to keep straining her muscles to smile; she waved her wand once more and the plate and cutlery floated grimly to the sink, flopping into the water, and the brush began to scrub weakly at the remaining food. Molly took a bite of the round of toast she had in her hand- her appetite had still not returned since the Battle.
She sat staring vacantly at the wall. She didn't know how much later it was when she heard movement above her. The figure was moving slowly and deliberately down the stairs, and it was with shock that she saw the face appear from the stairs.
George's face was thin and hollow, a deathly white, and somehow his skin looked like it was stretched so tight around his jaw and cheekbones that it was close to snapping. His hair had grown longer- it now reached his shoulders- and his bright blue eyes had lost the twinkle they once had. Molly could barely suppress her tears at the sight of her son. He had locked himself in his room for the past two months (he had disappeared completely for a month after Fred's death and it was still a mystery where he had been in that time). Molly didn't know how he had survived in his room all that time, and he had performed a spell on the door so strong that no matter how hard they had tried, no one could get in.
He stood staring at his mother, barely moving, until she hurried forward, finally letting out the tears she had been holding back so long. Molly gripped her son, hugging him, and George hugged her back, not saying a word. He did not cry, he did not speak, she could barely hear him breathe. Molly's tears flowed, she could hardly take a breath from sobbing, with relief or remorse she did not know. Finally, she let George go.
"George, my Georgie." She began to cry again.
"Don't cry, Mum." She stopped crying abruptly at the sound of his voice. He sounded the same, although his throat was clearly dry. He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry I did this to you."
"Don't be sorry," she said, once again holding in the tears that were welling up. "You're back now. It's all okay."
"The shop? What's happened to it?" He sounded weary, as if he simply couldn't be bothered any more.
"It's fine darling, Ron is looking after it, keeping it going."
George smiled weakly. "Well... that's good."
The two stood in silence until George took another deep breath. "I'm not staying Mum, I'm sorry. I have to go."
"W...what? Where? Why?" She began crying again. "Please, George, d...don't leave us again!"
"Mum, please, stop crying!" he said in anguish. "Please, you don't understand. I can't stay here, not with all these... memories. It's too painful."
"But where will you go?"
He hesitated, as if he wasn't sure what to say to her question. "I don't know yet, anywhere. I will be back though."
"When I've brought Fred back to life." Molly's mouth dropped in shock but George didn't seem to have noticed.
With that, he turned away from his mother and Disapperated. Molly sank onto the floor in floods of tears; not only had she lost Fred, now she had lost George.
Ron stood behind the counter, marvelling at how the crowds seemed to keep coming. Not one day had been bad for business as yet, and Ron knew he had to keep going until George was... back. He watched random members of the crowd- he loved people watching, and seeing the joy on the faces of the children when their parents brought them a Pygmy Puff, or the interest on the faces of an Auror as they tried out the Peruvian Instant-Darkness Powder.
His eyes then fell on the back of a figure he recognised. But no, it couldn't be... he was imagining it. Lots of people had red hair, and it was too long anyway for the person he knew. And then the figure turned around, and from the side Ron immediately knew it was George. He hurried forwards, rushing through the crowds to greet him, to hug his brother. But it was too late. George had seen him, and the expression on his face before he turned and disappeared was one of pain and sorrow.
Arthur Weasley sat at his desk, reading through the unending list of Muggle artefacts that had been cursed in the past month. He had expected a lot of work, but never this much. He sighed and rubbed his temples. Behind him, hidden from view, George watched. He turned away from his father, left the building and Disapperated.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the first chapter (: Please story-alert and wait for the next chapter, which I promise will be soon (:
A/A/N: First edited chapter, the only main difference is that I've changed the time the story is set, it's now three months after Fred's death, not one month, so if you're reading on and I haven't edited the next chapters yet, then the times won't make sense- yet. So story alert if you liked this and I will work on editing the next chapters as soon as possible!