A/N: A disclaimer: This is written for fun, not profit. I do not own anything except the plot. Oh & this is written for s8rgrlhinata's Issues Competition. I was given Fred weasley II as a character and cutting as an issue. I did my best, hopefully you'll like it. Even if you don't, please review, constructive criticism can only encourage me ! :)
"Mischief Managed. "
Fred Weasley stands away from the tombstone and the little group gathered around it and focuses on these two little black words written on it. He keeps staring at the letters, the way the "f" curles and how the "a"s resemble "e"s. He wonders whose handwriting it is – probably his father's. He stares at the letters so hard that his eyes water and his vision blurs. He has to keep staring and staring at them, until the rest of the scene disappears and all he can see is those two words. He doesn't want to see the way his father sits next to the grave, murmuring to it, chuckling softly every now and then, telling jokes, no doubt. He doesn't want to see how his mother stands a little behind, biting her lip so hard she draws blood. He doesn't want to see how hard Ginny is digging her nails into Harry's arm, or the way Ron is sobbing quietly against Hermione's neck. No, he won't look at them.
His lips are pressed into a thin line, he's determined not to open them. He isn't going to act like a brat and whine about how they come to the cemetery at the same day every year. How nobody ever remembers that today isn't just Uncle Fred's birthday. No, he is going to keep quiet. He will wait for every single member of their family to wish Uncle Fred a happy birthday in their own way. He will approach the grave last, like he always does, and he will silently sit beside it. Everybody will assume he was having a silent conversation with his uncle, his namesake, the man he is the spitting image of, or so he's told. But he won't say anything. He won't wish him a happy birthday.
He never does.
It's his way of punishing the man for stealing his birhdays.
"Where did I put my wand ? God, I'm such a mess. I can't remember – oh, thank you Fred." Hermione smiles gratefully as Fred hands her the fake wand.
Or the wand that's supposed to be fake. Because when she waves it towards the sink, the dishes begin cleaning themselves as usual. Fred looks over to the corner his father and Harry are sitting. The dancing light in his father's eyes are suddenly switched off. Fred's heart can feel himself burning with shame as he walks over.
"You gave her the real one again ?" George whines, pouting. "Damn it Fred, we've done this prank a million times before, you can do it with your eyes closed, you-"
But Fred isn't listening. He's watching Harry, who is looking at George with a very strange look in his eyes – pity ? His father stops midsentence. He meets Harry's eyes, shock and guilt evident in his face. Then he smiles.
"I mean, you are still new at this. You'll learn. No need to worry. Off you go now, go play with James and Albus."
As he walks away, he hears Harry say "Don't, George. I've had Sirius do the same thing to me – I didn't realize it at the time but I do now – he is not Fred."
He stalls at the door, waiting to hear what his dad will say.
He doesn't answer for a full minute and when he does, it is so quiet Fred almost doesn't hear it: "I know. But sometimes I wish he was."
As he walks out into the garden, Fred wishes he didn't hear it.
Fred is not stupid. He notices how his father flinches slightly as he says his name. He notices how with every joke he doesn't get and every prank he can't pull off; his father's eyes get a little bit colder. He just likes to pretend he doesn't. He likes to pretend that he is unique, that when people look at him, they actually see him. Not him. His uncle, the witty prankster, the other half of the infamous Weasley Twins, the great war hero.
But one day, he simply can't. He doesn't know what made him finally reach this point: Is it all those birthdays spent at the cemetery ? Is it the way people swallow lightly when they say his name ? Is it the look in his father's eyes, always searching his son for signs of his twin, but never finding, always disappointed ? Fred doesn't know. All he knows is, he cannot stand being himself anymore. He locks himself in the bathroom and stares at his reflection. He can't stand his reflection either. He can't stand his red hair, his blue eyes, his skin. God, his skin. His freckled skin with a clover shaped birth mark on the exact spot Uncle Fred had one. His mother always gets teary eyed when she spots it.
So, without thinking, he grabs the razor blade, places it over the blurry edge of the clover and cuts. It feels so good, so thrilling, so empowering to watch the little mark become disfigured and covered in blood. He feels a deep sense of satisfaction as he watches the blood hit the ground.
It becomes a routine very quickly. Whenever he feels himself slipping away and Uncle Fred's presence surround him, screaming how he will never be good enough, he walks calmly into the bathroom and draws patterns on his skin. He cuts out and disfigures each tiny freckle, changing them and making them his, and only his, forever. His scars, he thinks as he smiles bitterly at his reflection, are what set him apart. If only he could cut his face too. Then he would truly find peace. But he cannot, he must always be careful to cut only the places he can hide from everybody else. He has to keep up the charade, for his dad.
"You still miss him don't you ? You still – still love him ?" he hears his father yell.
"Of course I still miss him, I still love him – don't you ?" his mother retorts, yelling even louder.
"You know that's not what I mean ! It was never me, was it ? You never loved me ! You only married me because I'm identical to him !"
There is a silence. Then the sound of breaking glass.
"Fuck you !" his mother hisses. Fred is mildly surprised at her use of language – he's never heard her swear before.
She rushes out and stops abruptly when she sees him. He smiles at her, a mad, delirious smile. She looks appropriately scared and practically runs away.
The door is now open and Fred can see his father curled up on the floor, his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking silently.
Fred feels something rising in his throat and rushes to the upstairs bathroom. He locks the door, stares at his reflection for a second, opens his mouth and –
He lets out a short, harsh laugh. Then another. He cannot stop laughing. He is laughing like a mad man, tears form in his eyes, his sides hurt, but still he laughs and laughs.
As he leaves the bathroom, he chucks the razor into the trash, and with a last, bitter smile he whispers: "Mischief managed."