A/N: So this is a random little oneshot I thought of instead of studying like I'm meant to be. Oh dear. So it's probably not very good, but better I get it out of my head instead of having it nattering around inside. Or so I tell myself. Anyway, this is a quite a plotless story. Just some brotherly fluffiness between the Weasley's. Which is always fun to write. I take full responsibility for any mistakes, and I apologise in advance for them, because I know they're in there somewhere. Reviews are love!
Family, Fears and Faith
The Weasley house, however chaotic, noisy and overcrowded it was, often followed a regular schedule. At 7am, Molly Weasley would wake up and go downstairs, joined by Arthur if he was heading off to work. Molly would begin tidying the house, and generally just enjoy the peace and quiet that was rarely present otherwise. Come 8am, the first of the Weasley children would usually awaken and come downstairs, waking up several of their siblings on the way down. It was at this point that Molly would begin making breakfast. By 9am, with the smell of bacon and eggs wafting through the house, almost all the Weasley's would be at the breakfast table, devouring their food. Any divergence from the norm was usually a cause for concern.
As it were, one Saturday in the summer of '82, Arthur awoke and was immediately concerned. It was 9am according to the clock on his bedside table, however there was no smell of breakfast, no clanking of cutlery down at the kitchen table. He glanced over his shoulder, thinking that perhaps Molly had slept in for once, but her side of the bed was empty. Pulling on a robe and his glasses, Arthur headed downstairs. Once he reached the kitchen, he was met be several voices.
"Dad, what's happened?" Bill demanded instantly. At 11 years of age, Bill was quite aware of the war that had finished less than a year earlier and as such was extremely cautious.
"Why's there no breakfast?" Percy whined.
"Where's mum?" Charlie asked, his tone worried.
"Daddy, hungry," Ron complained from Bill's arms.
"Alright, alright, calm down everyone," Arthur said, holding his hands up to stop the questions. He instinctually glanced at the clock on the wall, and to his relief Molly's hand was pointing to home, as was everyone else's. Breathing a sigh of relief, Arthur quickly decided that he had to deal with his children's stomachs first before looking for Molly. He assigned each of the boys (apart from Ron) a task to complete; Bill was in charge of the eggs, Charlie was in charge of the toast, while Percy set the table. Ron sat on his chair, happily banging his childproof fork and knife together. Meanwhile, Arthur quickly whipped up the bacon.
Setting the food on the table, the Weasley children dug in happily. Arthur, after reassuring himself they would be fine, headed upstairs, calling for Molly. He was at the second landing when a gurgling reached his ears, and he peered inside the nearest room to find Ginny staring up at him from her crib.
"Hey there sweetie," Arthur crooned as he bent to pick her up. "Have you seen mummy?"
Ginny shook her head at him. Arthur sighed.
"Okay, come on then. You'll help me find mummy, won't you?" He asked as he walked to the door. Ginny giggled and tried to remove his glasses.
Arthur proceeded up the stairs to the third landing. This was the where the twins' bedroom was; Arthur frowned as he realised they hadn't been present at breakfast. He approached the door and opened it slowly. To his relief, he found Molly inside, along with the twins. However his relief soon transformed into worry.
"What's happened?" He asked as he approached the bed furthest from the door, where Molly was. She looked up at him, slightly flustered.
"Oh Arthur, thank goodness," she murmured. Arthur took in the bowl of water and the cloth in her hands before transferring his gaze past her to the bed. There, huddled under a pile of blankets were Fred and George. The former was propped up against the headboard of the bed, and in his small arms lay George, who was flushed and shivering.
"It's the flu," Molly said, wringing out the cloth before placing it gently on George's forehead. Fred, frowning, adjusted the cloth slightly, and George's pained expression immediately relaxed.
"Is it serious?" Arthur asked, shifting Ginny to his other hip. Ginny had stopped giggling at the sight of her brothers, apparently realising something was wrong.
"It could be worse, but it's no laughing matter," Molly said as George coughed. "I've been up here since 5, but he hasn't improved in the slightest. What's the time now?"
"It's past 9, Molly," Arthur told her. She started, turning to face him.
"Past 9? Oh no, I haven't made breakfast or anything…" She said, her eyes showing her distress.
"It's okay, they're already eaten," Arthur reassured her. "What do we do about George?"
"If this fever doesn't go down, we're going to have to take him to a healer," Molly said quietly. Fred's head shot up.
"No healer!" He said loudly. Molly and Arthur turned to him.
"No healer!" Fred insisted, his eyes wide. "Don't like healers."
"You may not like them, but they'll help George get better Fred," Arthur tried to explain, but Fred was adamant.
"No healer!" He persisted, tightening his grip on George.
"Okay fine Fred, no healer," Arthur finally gave in. Fred nodded his approval before turning his attention back to George.
Arthur beckoned for Molly to follow him to the doorway. She complied, and the two stood by the door, looking back at the twins.
"Why is Fred still in here? He's going to catch the flu soon if we don't be careful," Arthur muttered to his wife.
"He was already holding George when I got here. Poor thing, he was absolutely terrified, been up half the night. He refused to leave when I asked him to, and I didn't have the heart to separate them," Molly said, glancing at the twins.
"Well he can't stay in here all day, or else we'll have two sick sons on our hands."
"Well you can tell him then. I've already tried."
Arthur headed back towards the twins with trepidation.
"Fred?" He said quietly. Fred's head perked up.
"Son, you need to come downstairs with me," Arthur said, already knowing what Fred would say.
"I can't, I have to stay up here with George."
"George is going to be fine. But you had to go eat breakfast-"
"Don't want breakfast. George isn't hungry, so I'm not either." Fred told him matter-of-factly.
"Fred, you can't stay up here all day. You have to come downstairs now." Arthur said firmly. Fred shook his head.
"Fred, I mean it."
Fred looked at Arthur, and for the first time Arthur could see the tears brimming in his eyes.
"I can't daddy. I have to stay with George. I have to help him get better," Fred said, his voice trembling slightly. Molly immediately pulled him and George into a hug, smoothing his fiery hair.
"Oh sweetie, George will be alright. He just needs some rest. Now, why don't you do as your father says and go eat breakfast? You can come back to see George later," she added. It took several minutes before Fred finally agreed to go eat, although not before he hugged George gently.
"I'll come back, I promise Georgie," he told his brother solemnly before following Arthur and Ginny downstairs.
The four Weasley boys looked up as they heard Arthur approaching.
"Dad, did you find mum?" Bill asked. Arthur nodded.
"She's upstairs with George," he told Bill, who furrowed his brow.
"George has come down with the flu," Arthur said quietly, staring at Fred who looked lost without his twin by his side.
"Oh no! Is he alright?" Charlie asked.
"I'm sure he'll be fine. Time will tell, I guess. In the meantime, why don't you boys find something to do? Fred will come join you after he eats his breakfast, won't you Fred?" Arthur asked Fred encouragingly. He was rewarded with a shrug. Sighing, Arthur placed Ginny in her highchair besides Fred, and served them both breakfast. Bill, Charlie, Percy and Ron headed upstairs to get changed.
Meanwhile Fred was staring at his bacon sadly. He was interrupted from his thoughts by Ginny, who was solemnly holding her spoon of baby food out to him.
"Eat," she demanded, waving the spoon in front of his face. Fred smiled slightly before shaking his head.
"No thanks Ginny," he said quietly. Ginny frowned, looking at her spoon, which she then put into her own mouth happily. She bared a grin at him, several small teeth protruding from her gums. But Fred found that for once, he couldn't smile back. Instead, he sighed heavily and returned his gaze to his plate of uneaten food.
Several minutes later, Bill came barging down the staircase carrying Ron, Charlie at his heels. Percy followed several steps behind, his nose in a book.
"Hey Fred, you finished eating? Come on, we'll go play," Bill said enthusiastically. Fred shook his head.
"Don't wanna play," he murmured. Bill glanced hopelessly at his father. Seeing Fred so sad and solemn was an immense change from his normally playful, exuberant nature. Meanwhile Charlie took a seat next to Fred.
"Hey Fred, how about you come outside with us, huh? It might make you feel better," Charlie suggested.
"Only George can make me feel better," Fred told him bluntly.
"I know, but George is sick. So while we wait for him to get better, we can go play outside."
After much prompting, Fred finally agreed, although his enthusiasm was virtually non-existent. Bill bugged Percy until he put his book down, and the five boys went outside. The sun was shining brightly, barely a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect day for being outside, yet as Bill looked at his four brothers, he couldn't help but feel down. Fred's mood was affecting them all, his worry for George infectious.
In an attempt to cheer Fred up, Bill pulled out a beaten old Quaffle from the shed. Instead of using brooms, they played catch with the Quaffle instead, while Ron sat and watched. However after about two hours, Percy burst out crying after the Quaffle slammed into his nose, and Fred wandered off to sit under a large birch tree. Bill and Charlie exchanged a glance before splitting up; Bill taking Percy inside to be treated, Charlie picking up Ron and following Fred.
"What are you thinking about Fred?" Charlie asked as he sat down beside his younger brother. He planted Ron in between his legs.
"George," Fred said moodily.
"What about George?" Charlie prompted. Fred looked at Charlie, his eyes reflecting fear.
"Is George going to die?" He whispered. Charlie was shocked.
"What? No! Oh Fred, of course not. He's just got the flu. What on earth made you think he was going to die?" Charlie exclaimed. Fred sniffed.
"Mummy and daddy were talking about healers," he said, trying and failing to stop the tears falling from his eyes. Charlie immediately gathered Fred into his arms, mindful of Ron who was following a butterfly, attempting to catch it in his chubby hands.
"Oh Fred, sometimes we have to bring in a healer if someone's sick. But it doesn't mean someone's going to die," Charlie said comfortingly. Fred burrowed his head into Charlie's shirt.
"But- but last night George was really sick Charlie," he said, hiccoughing. "An- and he felt really bad and he was really hot and he ke-kept shaking and I couldn't make him better!" By this time, sobs were wracking Fred's small body, and Charlie wrapped his arms tightly around his younger brother, resting his chin on the crown of Fred's head, rocking him back and forth.
"Shh, it's okay Fred. It's alright. George is going to be fine. You'll see," Charlie whispered comfortingly. Fred continued sobbing in his arms. Nearby, Ron was laughing happily as the butterfly landed on his nose.
It was several minutes before Fred finally withdrew himself from Charlie's shirt, his eyes puffy and red.
"Charlie? Can- can we go see George now?" He asked, sniffing.
"Of course Fred," Charlie said warmly. Fred's face immediately brightened.
"Good. Cause when we get split up, it hurts here," he said, pointing at his heart. Charlie blinked in wonder at his younger brother.
"It does, huh?" He asked when he'd gained control of his vocal chords. Fred nodded solemnly.
"Well, we should take you back up to George then shouldn't we?" Charlie asked, and Fred nodded again. Charlie bent over and gathered Ron into his arms before grabbing one of Fred's hands, and the three brothers headed across the yard into the house.
In the kitchen, they found Arthur patching up Percy, with Bill hovering nearby.
"All done," Arthur proclaimed, and Percy tenderly felt his newly aligned nose.
"Thanks daddy!" He said brightly.
Bill was looking at Charlie and Fred. He caught Charlie's eye. Everything alright? He asked silently. Charlie nodded his head.
"Dad?" He asked. "Can Fred go up and see George?"
Arthur straightened up, glancing at his sons. "I'm not sure that's such a-"
"Daddy, please?" Fred asked quietly. Arthur gazed at Fred for a few minutes before nodding.
"Okay, just for a little while alright?" Fred nodded before hesitating.
"Can Charlie come?" He asked. Charlie seemed just as surprised at this request as Arthur was.
"Su-sure," Arthur said. Fred immediately began pulling Charlie up the staircase with him.
As soon as they reached the door to Fred and George's room, Fred took off at a run, bursting through the door. Charlie followed quickly behind him. Inside the room, Molly was still tending to a sickly George.
"Wha- oh Fred!" She gasped in surprise. Fred headed straight for the bed, clambering up next to his brother.
"George?" He asked quietly but insistently. George stirred at his name.
"Fred?" he whispered, his voice hoarse.
"I came back," Fred said, a smile on his face.
"Knew you would," George replied immediately. Fred's grin widened and he burrowed himself under the blankets, pulling George close to him. George automatically rested his head against Fred's shoulder, his breathing slightly congested.
"You're gonna be fine, George," Fred said quietly.
"How do you know?" George asked curiously. Fred looked up at Charlie, smiling.
"I just do," he replied. George nodded.
"Okay," he said trustingly. Molly, smiling, gave George some medicine. Soon after taking it, he fell asleep. Molly sat back, looking thoroughly exhausted.
"Mum, you go downstairs and get some rest. I'll look after them," Charlie said, stepping forward. Molly's eyes widened.
"Oh Charlie, that's so sweet of you, but I couldn't possibly-"
"It's fine mum. George is asleep now, so there's not much to do anyway. Besides, you could use the rest," he said and Molly smiled.
"Alright well you make sure you come and get me or your father if anything happens, okay?" She asked as she left. Charlie turned to look at the twins. George was fast asleep, and Fred's eyes were fluttering as he fought to stay awake. Charlie smiled.
"Go to sleep Fred," he murmured, gently kissing Fred's forehead. "George is fine, and I'm right here."
Fred looked at him sleepily before his eyes shut and his body twisted to get more comfortable, unconsciously drawing closer to his twin, his chin resting against George's forehead, their limbs entangled. Charlie adjusted the blankets covering them before taking a seat on the vacant chair, maintaining a protective vigil over his younger brothers.
"Fred?" Charlie asked suddenly. Fred blinked blearily at him.
"What Charlie?" He asked sleepily.
"Has the pain gone away? The pain in your heart?"
Fred considered for a second.