Disclaimer: Everything you recognize, and some you don't, belongs to J.K Rowling.
A/N: Happy Birthday Fred and George!
George Weasley awoke to a heavy weight suddenly appearing on his abdomen and a small voice yelling in his face.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!"
His eyes flew open as he felt two small arms fling themselves on his neck. In front of him, actually on top of him, was his only son Fred. His vibrant red hair stood out in stark contrast to the cream wall behind him. The little boy's eyes were lit up with happiness and pride as he accomplished the task of waking up his father.
"C'mon, C'mon, C'mon! Daddy! C'mon! Breakfast!" Fred yelled, releasing his father from the hug and now tugging at his hand.
"Okay, buddy, I'll be there, I'm coming." George said, letting himself be "dragged" off of his bed.
When George was completely out of bed, Fred bolted down the hall yelling, "Mommy! Daddy's up! Can I have cake now?" George chuckled involuntarily as Fred's voice carried back to him.
He rubbed his eyes, his mind still fuzzy from sleep. What was today? Why did he feel so weighed down?
He put his robe on before heading down the hallway his five-year old son disappeared down, trying to lay his thoughts out straight. He walked through the doorway, the smell of cinnamon hitting him. That was when he realized why he felt the way he did.
Today was April 1st.
Today was his 32nd birthday.
Today was not only his birthday.
It was Fred's too.
"Daddy!" Fred yelled upon seeing his father standing in the doorway, his mouth full of pancakes.
Angelina turned to look at her husband, her beautiful face graced with a sad smile. She, unlike her son who knew nothing about the 'Uncle Fred' except that he never came to Sunday dinner, knew the significance of this day, and the toll it had on her husband.
"Morning Sweetie," Angelina greeted, turning her attention away from the pancakes for a second. Her jet black hair, not touched yet by age, was tied up in a messy bun. She had slight lines on her face, but every adult did now-a-days; that's what war did to you. She had one hand on the table, supporting herself from falling on the ground. George should've been mad that she was baking, the Healer had said not to let her stand for too long, as it could do harm to herself in her seventh month of pregnancy, but all he could feel for her was affection. Angelina had been there for him through it all. She had suffered through his different stages after his late twin's death. She had suffered through his suicidal phase, his depression, his silent phase, through everything. She had never given up on him.
"Morning Angel," He said, using the pet name he knew she hated, but secretly loved.
"George, what did I say about calling me that," she said, threatening him with a spatula. He loved how she tried to act tough, although her brown eyes always gave away her true emotion.
"Okay, I surrender," he put his hands up in the generic sign of surrender before slipping around her to steal a pancake off the platter. Cinnamon pancakes were always his favorite.
And Fred's too.
The weight retuned as he joined his son at the table.
It had been thirteen years since Fred had died. Thirteen birthdays had passed, and not a single joke-present, a tradition between the two brothers, had been exchanged. He pushed around his pancakes, not realizing his son was looking at him with inquiring eyes.
"Daddy," Fred started, "why do you put a robe on every morning?"
George looked down at his faded blue robe before looking back at his son, who was sitting across from him expecting an answer.
Fred had recently entered the "Question Phase", which made him ask about everything and anything. It had started with the little ones, 'Daddy, why can't I play outside?' 'Mommy, why do you put a coin in the owl's pouch every morning?', and that was pretty much all he asked about, the little things. He had not yet voiced any questions about where baby's come from, but Angelina and George were preparing for it because, quite honestly, it could happen any day now.
"Because Daddy gets cold in the morning." He responded. Fred gave a little "oh" of recognition, before turning back to his pancakes, which were now drenched with syrup and various fruits.
"Here, open mine Daddy!" Fred tempted, shoving a brightly colored present in his father's hands. George smiled down at the present, which consisted of many pieces of spellotape connecting either to a crinkled edge of paper, or to nothing.
"Did you wrap this yourself, buddy?" George asked with a smile.
"Yes I did!" His son responded, a proud smile on his face, which was covered in icing from the cake the small family of three had just devoured.
George took the present, fiddling with the edges of the paper, before ripping it off the present, earning a delighted squeal from his son.
"Thank you, buddy!" George said, hugging his son. George put the handmade painting of the family on the table, which was littered with wrapping paper.
There was one present, neatly wrapped in shimmering blue paper, left in front of him. He took it in his hands, looking at his wife for a second, before ripping off the paper.
He held a thick book in his hands; a small piece of parchment was attached to the top.
I know it is a bit late, but it took a while to gather all of the files, photos, and notes. On behalf of all the staff and past pupils at Hogwarts, I am pleased to give you a book full of both you and Fred's misdoings. We were fortunate enough to have gathered photographs from your friends and family.
Have a very Happy Birthday,
Deputy Head Mistress,
George removed the note with shaking hands, revealing a picture of himself and Fred in a little window of the book, and passed it to Angelina to read.
He took a second to study the photograph.
Fred and himself were hovering in the air on brooms, their arms were slung across each other's shoulders. Both of the boys were laughing, as if there was no care in the world; and at that time there wasn't.
George willed tears to stay. He didn't want to cry. He had spent years crying. He didn't want to spend anymore. He raised his eyes to look at Angelina, who was looking at him with tearful eyes.
"Daddy," Fred's voice was quiet and contained, much unlike his normal loud and cheerful voice, "Who is Fred?"
George froze, this was much worse than the 'Where do baby's come from' talk. He turned to look at his son; the letter was in his hand. Fred wasn't able to read that well yet, but he knew his name, and that was the first thing that had stood out to him.
Angelina took his hand, her presence, for once, doing nothing to comfort him.
The silence in the room was stifling.
Angelina was the first to talk.
"Fred was Daddy's brother." She responded, silently wishing that her answer would be enough.
She watched as her son thought hard of all the uncles he had, coming to the realization that he had never met an 'Uncle Fred'.
"But Mommy, there is only Uncle Bill, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Percy, Uncle Harry, and Uncle Ron."
"Remember, honey, he doesn't come to Sunday dinner."
Realization was evident in her son's bright blue eyes. Then, he looked at his father.
"Daddy, why are you crying?"
Angelina looked at George, and, sure enough, tears were running down his face as he looked down at the picture of his brother. She remembered the day Katie took that photo. It was right after a particularly laid-back practice, something that rarely happened under the regime of Oliver Wood. They were all celebrating the twin's birthday, and Katie snapped a shot of them coming down, they were laughing about something Fred had said to George.
Angelina was about to answer, but George stopped her. His blue eyes, so much like his twin's, so much like their son's pleaded with her for a second before he spoke to her in a low whisper.
"I think it's time to tell him, Angie."
George turned away from her and to Fred.
"C'mere, Fr-eddie." George said, gesturing to his son, choking on the nickname his mother had always used for Fred.
Fred climbed into his father's arms and onto his lap.
"You see this boy, right next to Daddy?" George asked, pointing at the photograph.
Fred looked to where his father's finger rested, before pointing at it himself. A confused look made its way onto his face.
"Daddy, there are two of you."
"No, buddy," He couldn't call his son 'Freddie' it was just too much to bear, "That is Fred. He is my twin brother."
George knew the next question before it came out.
"Daddy, what's a twin?"
"Well, an identical twin is someone who looks exactly like you. They have all the same things as you."
George took a deep breath before speaking again.
"Fred was my identical twin. We were always together. When we went to school, we were the trouble-makers of the school. We pulled lots of pranks on the other children. When we finished school, Fred and I opened up the joke shop, he used to have Uncle Ron's position. We would finish each other's sentences, pretend to be each other; we have never- sorry- were never apart." George finished, a fresh wave of tears streamed down his face, dropping onto his small son's mop of red hair.
Fred looked around, as if expecting his father's twin to pop out of nowhere.
"But, Daddy, where is Fred?" he asked after he gave up to search around the room. Surely Daddy's twin would be around; Daddy even said they were always together.
George momentarily forgot he was home. He momentarily forgot that he was safe at home. He was back at Hogwarts, the ruined Great Hall was silent, all the tables were put away and, in their spot, were the dead. The only person he could see was Fred. Fred was lying on the cold ground, but his twin was colder. His eyes were open, his mouth spread in a smile. There was no way that George could pretend that he was sleeping, like they could for Remus and Tonks. All the signs, the ghostly smile, the wide, glazed over eyes, the pale skin, pointed to the unimaginable. Fred Weasley was dead. The scene around him blurred as the ground rushed up to him. He was on his knees now, holding his abdomen, inhuman-like noises were emitting from his mouth as he cried. Fred was dead. Fred Weasley was dead, and he, George, was alive.
A small hand touched his cheek and the Great Hall vanished, but not the pain, never the pain. His son, who looked so much like his name-sake, looked up at him with sad eyes. His father was crying, his big, strong Daddy was crying.
"You remember about the War? All the stories that Uncle Harry tells you when you visit? How we beat the bad guys? How we won?" George asked, he knew Harry told them about the War, how the good had triumphed over evil and everyone lived happily ever after.
Fred shook his head 'yes'.
"Well, Uncle Fred, my brother, and I fought in that War with Uncle Harry and everybody. At the end of the War, everybody was safe. However, Uncle Fred wasn't. Uncle Fred-"
George broke off, he couldn't say it, not out loud.
Something seemed to click in his little son's head because what he said next wasn't a question.
"Uncle Fred died."
And, all of the sudden, little Fred understood. He understood how his father felt. He understood why his father had always felt sad sometimes, why his father always looked through a big book with a sad smile on his face.
Daddy missed his brother.
And little Fred started crying. He cried with his mother and father. Each member of the small family cried for a different reason, but each for the same person.
George was the last awake. He had spent the last couple hours looking at the scrapbook, tears of happiness and sadness rolled down his face without shame. Each one shed was deserved.
"George?" Angelina called from the doorway of the family room, "its half past two. Come to bed."
George looked up at his wife and nodded, closing the book and setting it aside.
"I'll be in in a second." He responded, she nodded, understanding that he needed to be alone for a while. George waited until he heard the door shut to move.
He turned to face the book, the two teenagers in the photo smiling up at him.
He smiled back.
George got up from his spot on the couch. He walked across the room, leaving the book behind him. He stopped in the doorway, turning back to look at the empty room.
"Good night, Fred," He whispered, "Happy Birthday."
A/N: Reviews are what keep me going.