Author's Note: Thanks for reading! This was originally supposed to be a oneshot, but I decided in the end to have it in five separate chapters. Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to leave a review!
George Weasley thought about suicide five times in his life:
1. May 4, 1998, 5:45 p.m.
He sat on the edge of the cliff. He waited there for a long time, thinking about everything and of nothing at all. The sound of the water crashing against the rock wall was mean to comfort him, he originally thought, but he soon realized that it did the opposite.
It made him, more than anything, want to join the water.
He wanted to become the water, and to crash against the rock wall. He wanted nothing more than to repeatedly rock up against the side of the cliff until he could feel nothing more, because as far as he was concerned, there was nothing more.
He threw a stone into the water. He watched it as it rotated multiple times before hitting the cliff's face, then rebounding in the opposite direction before puncturing the water, sinking to the bottom. None of the other elements had stopped for it; the waves continued to smash into the cliff; the wind continued to blow through his hair; the sun continued to creep lower in the skyline, soon threatening not to be seen at all.
His desire changed. He now wanted to be the rock; the useless, forgotten rock that could disappear without a second thought. It would be easier that way, for him and everyone else.
Fred's dead, he told himself. He was buried and gone and there was nothing more.
He had repeatedly told himself that all afternoon. It hadn't sunk in until then. The the past two days have simply been a blur.
The funeral was earlier that morning. It was Bill's idea to bury him at Shell Cottage; it was where a brave house elf, yes, a house elf, was buried earlier in the year. What a completely stupid idea, thought George. It's bad enough having to think about moving on from everything as is, but being forced to reface everything every time he visited Bill's house …
He accepted the idea because he wasn't thinking clearly at the time. He truly believed that he would have peacefully died in his sleep before the funeral so he wouldn't have to deal with it. But he had to deal with it. Watching the minister in the foreground of Fred's tomb, his final resting place, hearing him say pointless and generic words about the life of the deceased. Saying a speech, the one he purposely didn't plan for to put himself in less misery. And now, since that didn't happen, and he was still here, he would have to end his life himself.
He picked up another rock, scraping his hand on the pile while doing so.
'Fuck!' exclaimed George, but he did nothing else to heal the wound. There was a jagged cut on the back of his hand, a bead of blood streaming towards his wrist. He watched the undivided stream travel, as this was a good way of distracting him, just as the rocks were. What use would it be, taking the effort to clean up the cut? He would be dead soon enough anyways.
So why not jump now? He was right tbere on the edge of the cliff, and, upon a single jump, air would be the only thing stopping him from having a fate as the rock. But he was too tired to stand up, and he didn't want the final word out of his mouth to be a profanity. He would choose some thought-out phrases that only he would hear to satisfy himself, and then he would go.
He started to think of what his famous last words could be when he heard footsteps from behind him.
He didn't turn to see who it was, because as far as he was concerned it didn't matter. Whoever it was had distracted him from his inevitable death, and he decided to hate him for it on default. It wasn't until the figure sat down that he recognized the balding ginger hair and glasses that his father wore in his peripheral vision. George avoided looking at him, but could feel Arthur Weasley's eyes boring into his head. This was the first time anyone had directly approached him one-on-one since Fred's death, and upon realizing this, he realized how much he had wanted this all along.
Nothing was said for several minutes, yet the minutes were calmer and easier to cope with. And then …
'I'm sorry you're going through this, George,' said Arthur softly.
George knew that he meant it, and that alone helped slightly. The tears began to swell up in his eyes, which was also strange to him since the whole affair happened; he couldn't cry. Perhaps it was because he didn't want to believe it, or because the pain was too piercing for tears, but no matter the reason, the fresh tears caught him off guard. Arthur continued after a pause.
'I understand what you're going -'
'Don't you dare finish that sentence,' snapped George. He stared into his father's eyes, which were deep with emotion. George's voice was quiet, but full of anger. 'You don't know what any of this is like. You never had your - your - other half just -' he struggled with the word '-die.' His voice started to raise. 'You never had to go through that with your brothers! I haven't been away from Fred this long in my entire life!'
'George, please, just listen to me -'
But George stood up, too deep in his exclamation of everything he had been going through.
'Do you know how long we've been apart before, Dad? Do you?'
Arthur opened his mouth to interrupt, but thought better of it at the last minute. He shook his head.
'We were apart for ten hours in our fourth year when Snape gave us separate detentions, that's when, Dad. We've never been apart any longer than that. Aside from whenever one of us is on a date or having sex or something, and those six and a half minutes when Mum was in fucking childbirth, we've been together. So now, when we've been apart for two days and will continue to be apart forever …'
George broke off and fell to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Everything started to speed up and he understood who he was in that moment: he was a frightened young boy desperate for hope, just one thing that could keep him here so he could keep his brother's memory alive. He knew that Fred certainly didn't want him to go through this, but the situation made it impossible not to. He needed that little spark to keep him alive.
Arthur wrapped his arms around him, allowing George to cry in his arms. George was crying so hard that he couldn't speak, so he called out to his father by thinking as loud as he possibly could, Please, Dad. Help me. Save me …
Either Arthur could sense this request, or it was simply a moment of good parenting, because what he told George next gave him hope to go on.
'George … did I ever tell you about William?'
George looked up and choked back tears, confused. 'W-William?'
'Yes, William … my brother … my twin brother.'
This was ridiculous, thought George. Absolutely fucking ridiculous. He tried to get out of his father's grip, but Arthur held tighter.
'Let me go, Dad.'
'Not until you hear me out.'
George stopped struggling. This conversation wouldn't matter in a few minutes: he'd be dead. He might as well listen to whatever his father had to say.
'George, listen to me. I promise every word of this is true, and I want you to know that. What I'm about to tell you is something I have only ever told your mother, but I'm all right with you passing it on to whomever you want.'
George looked up at his father. He couldn't help it; he was curious.
'I was actually supposed to be a twin. My mother went through a very healthy and normal pregnancy but at the last minute, something … something went wrong. He was alive for the hour and then passed away.'
'And his name was William?'
'It was. Now, I know what you're thinking: you had the opportunity to get to know Fred. You got the chance to see him grow while I was never aware of a time when William was with us.'
George gave a reluctant chuckle: this was exactly what he was thinking. His father knew him better than he thought.
'That is true. That is where we, the surviving twins, are different. But you have many memories of Fred from his life that you can look back on and smile at, whereas I have nothing to remember of William. Not a day goes by where I don't think of him. We could've been more than brothers, than twins, but friends. I often wonder whether we'd have the same interests, or have done equally well in school. And I won't lie when I tell you that it does get very difficult sometimes, losing the best friend I never had. But if there is any sort of advice I could give you, is to learn to find Fred in other things.'
'Well, I always saw William in my eldest son.'
And then it all made sense. William. Bill. He was named after his father's late twin. Bill was his Dad's way of seeing William in other things. And maybe be could see Fred in other things too, like in Bludgers or fireworks or simply just good times, as they were all things that reminded George of him.
Arthur stood up and held out a hand to George to help him up. He accepted, and from that day on, whenever he felt sad, he would search for Fred Weasley in the world around him to cheer him up and to keep him marching on.