AN: So this is a side-story to The Man Who Was a Doctor, which isn't a must-read for the series but it would be nice if you did, because it does end up coming up in the actual, main story. It's short, and has the potential to be sad depending on the person. This has been long over-due, and I'm excited that I'm finally posting it. Anyways, enjoy, and as a disclaimer, you should know that I own none of these characters, or elements within this story.
And so they waited.
Five years later, and The Doctor hadn't come back for them yet. Since they were six, Fred and George had taken turns sitting at the window (and sometimes together), staring up at the dark sky with the milky blaze of cosmos through it. Eleven years old now, and Fred was slightly disappointed that they didn't seem to be "older" yet. He would've come back if they were. But that didn't stop him from waiting at that window.
'Anything yet?' queried George as he stepped into their room, carrying the spoils of a midnight rummage for snacks. Fred shook his head, and happily accepted the rice krispe their mother had made earlier in the week (and then hid because of the two of them). 'Damn.' George cursed, and flopped onto his twin's bed. Fred munched at his treat, and George tapped his new wand against Fred's bedside table in bored thought.
'Do you think he'll find us?' asked Fred suddenly, and George angled his head to see him better. At his puzzled expression, Fred continued. 'When we go to Hogwarts, I mean. Do you think he'll be able to find us if he realizes we're not here?' There was a worried expression on Fred's face that George wasn't used to seeing.
'Course he will.' Said George. He twisted his wand between his fingers, his gaze to the ceiling. 'I mean – he's all the way up there. Remember that thing? The cool wand he had? He did something to us. He'll be able to find us wherever we go.'
At the age of sixteen, both lads were quite upset that they were still deemed as not "older". But that didn't stop them from waiting. And looking.
Fred ducked around the corner, casting a quick charm to make them blend in with the wall. He slapped a hand against George's chest, turning his head to face him. 'Check the map,' he said. George pulled the folded parchment from the back of his pants, opening it quickly and scanning the names. After a few moments of silence, he reluctantly shook his head.
'Nope,' he sighed. The Doctor had failed to come up on the list, name or otherwise. Fred's face became pinched, and he pursed his lips as he chewed at the inside of them.
'Fuck' he cursed. George shrugged a shoulder in disappointment.
'When do you think he will come?' asked George, as he folded up the map and stuffed it away again. Fred passed him a dungbomb, then pulled one out for himself as he cocked a half-grin.
'Soon, Georgie,' he winked, tossing the dungbomb in his hand before turning the corner and whipping it into the hall. George leaned out a bit to do the same after the first one went off. He passed Fred a clothes-line pin, and stuck one on his own nose.
'Go home, Verity!' shouted George as he lugged a box of excited squirming Pygmy Puffs from the storage room. The day had been busy, but luckily – it was at an end. With the days profits, it was clear Fred and George had a new week upcoming entirely reserved for sweets making and the like. However, neither of them had qualms about it. It was what they loved.
'In a moment!' replied the blonde, tucking a pink streak in her hair behind her ear as she counted what was in the till. 'My shift isn't over.'
'We're your bosses,' chimed Fred, slamming his hands down on her shoulder. She jumped, but continued on with what she was doing without a peep. Fred grinned. Ever since they had hired her, they had attempted to get her to fall for a prank or screech in surprise or something. But she wasn't having it. Phasing her deemed impossible, but as annoying as it was at times – they valued that. She had a straight head, told them off and yet managed to keep the utter respect she had for them ("Mr. and Mr. Weasley."), and sustained the title of a good employee. 'So if we say you can go home, you can. We run the joint.'
'I'm not done,' Verity glanced over her shoulder at him, and tapped his nose with a knut. Fred jerked his head back, shaking it and wrinkled his nose indignantly.
'Why are you so bloody difficult?' asked George, amusedly. Verity did not answer. So they let her finish, meandering around the story to take inventory on exactly what needed to be remade. Whenever they met in isles, they'd throw a Pygmy Puff at one another's face, before snatching up their ammo and darting off to wait until the next time they crossed paths. Finally, Verity sprung up right and whistled for their attention.
'I'm done. I'm off now.' She gave a wave, stepping down from the rise the till was on and crouching to grab her things.
'About time!' they hollered, though George's response was a bit hindered by the fact he had taken a Pygmy Puff to the side of his face. Then, after a enthusiastic goodbye, they were alone. They both stopped, and listened.
'Do you hear it?' whispered George after a moment. There was another long stretch of time before Fred shook his head.
'No.' He palmed his face, rubbing it. 'You?'
'No.' replied George solemnly, and put both Pygmy Puffs back in their box. He kept his hand in there, roughly petting one. It wrapped its long tongue around his wrist and held on. 'But he'll come.'
In the time that had passed, Fred had lost his dependency on the man with the blue box returning. George had grown achingly used to watch the child-like expression fade from his twins' face. He, however, had never lost that twinge, and always tried to encourage Fred to believe it. Fred gave him a speculating look, like he was reading George for lies. George smiled slightly.
From where they stood in the chilly May breeze, they couldn't see the stars. Though they both could remember a time where they'd been vibrant and burning above. But now they hid, and not of their own free will. Fred and George walked along the bordered ledge of the Astonomy tower, watching the protective enchantments quiver under the duress from spell fire. George had always liked seeing the stars from here. When they had first come to Hogwarts, they had been up on this tower almost every night, watching the skies for a streak of blue in black. But it had never came, and now they couldn't even see if it would.
They took up a leaning post, far more quieter with each other than the other was used to.
'You ok, Freddie?' asked George quietly, unable to look at Fred as he said it. His eyes were watering from staring at the bright expanse of warring magic. It burned them, and he didn't want Fred to think he was actually crying. He tried to ignore the waver of his voice as he listened to the roars of panic below, of students and adult alike running around with valiant effort to secure their domain.
Fred swallowed beside him, gave a curt nod, and replied, 'Yeah.' George wasn't convinced, but he didn't feel all that ok, either. He nudged his elbow into Fred's arm, and turned to regard him.
'Me too.' He tossed out a forced grin, which Fred returned, even though the both of them were wise enough to know they were lying. But neither called the other on it. A loud crack ripped through the enchantments, and in alarm – they turned to regard the shield.
It was giving way.
George could feel his heart hammer in his chest, and he moved closer to his brother, wanting the comfort he'd only ever gotten from his twin – better than his own mother. He'd never felt safer, not in Hogwarts or the Burrow, than when he was around Fred.
'Think he can still see us now?' there was a tone to Fred's voice. Like for once he didn't have any hope. It startled George. He turned his head sharply, brow dipping down.
'That Doctor.' Murmured Fred. George had momentarily forgotten him. How could he, when for fifteen years that had been all they had dreamed of? The Doctor coming back, with his big blue box and fancy wand?
But to Fred's question, he had nothing to say other than, 'He'll come.'
'No, he won't.' Fred's voice was hard, and George's grip on his wand tightened. 'He was something we probably dreamed up. He was never there, George.' He sighed, and bowed his head. 'Not even Lee believed us. Not one person we told about him believed us. He's a figment from a pair of six-year olds' fantasy.'
The wait time had torn Fred from his belief. His hope. The promise he had put in the lanky man to return for them. It crushed George.
'He'll come.' Said George after a long moment. There was bravado to his voice. 'He'll come just as surely as Sunday Dinner when this is all over. We'll sit down at the table, and I swear, we'll hear him, and there he'll be in the field. Like the first time we met him. He'll come back. He wasn't some figment. When have we ever not believed something, just because someone else didn't?' George leaned his shoulder heavily into his twins'. 'I know you're impatient. I know we've been waiting a really, really long time. But he'll come back. Please, just… don't leave me being the one who has to hope for it all.'
Fred was quiet for a long moment, before he turned his eyes to George. He attempted to read the emotions simmering there, but there was another crack. Their heads snapped around, heads tilted sky-ward.
The enchantments had fallen.
Fred gave George a last, long look. A slight nod was all George wanted to see, and with their wands gripped tight, they ran off to fight the fray.
The room seemed emptier than George could remember. Bigger on the inside, like a funny house he had seen before.
He leaned forward against the window sill, the child-chair under him creaking despite the reinforcement charms he'd casted on it. The skies were still and the stars sprinkled through the black, blinking in attempt to outshine the moon, but giving no answers. He sniffed against the lukewarm air, rubbed the tip of his nose against his sleeve. He felt ill, but not like he had a cold.
Waiting at this window now felt more alien than anything George had ever known. Of course, in the past day – everything was freshly alien. He didn't know how to operate. He didn't know how to think. He didn't know what to do, other than hole himself away from others and cry like an adult man shouldn't.
The house groaned around him.
His eyes, wet from his thoughts, shifted down to the various fields that surrounded the lurching Burrow. He scanned them over and over, but they remained empty. An angry sort of wave overtook him, and he stood up so abruptly the chair splintered backwards. He slammed the window down, kicked the wall so hard his foot throbbed like he'd broken something, and shut the blinds so no more starlight illuminated the room fully, but only through the slits in the shielding. He was striped with light and the pitch black of the room now, and his eyes burned hotter from it.
His hope that the man would return had died with Fred. The Doctor's promise had grown stale.
The wait time had been too long.