A/N: So, I was inspired by a picture I saw (which apparently came from deviantart, but I first saw on facebook) with the caption being the first line incorporated into this story. I thought out this for days, and finally decided to write it out so I could get it out of my head. Certainly not the most brilliant piece of fiction ever, but maybe now I can stop being tormented by the thought of it.
For George, every mirror was the Mirror of Erised.
For years, every glance in the reflective surface had sent a shockwave of pain that lacerated his heart. He could see him there - his twin, his other half - staring out at him from behind the glass. The mirror of his own soul that he'd never be able to see, or touch, or laugh with again in the flesh.
He'd often stared hungrily into his bedroom mirror - sometimes talking, sometimes crying - imagining it was Fred who answered, Fred who laughed at his jokes and comforted him when the grief was overwhelming. It was as if he'd lost more than just a brother - someone outside of himself, unconnected. Fred was an extension of his own being, and every gesture now was half-done, incomplete. Without Fred his sentences hung unfinished, his gestures meant to be finished by another left hanging.
It was more than a decade after his twin's death that he noticed a significant difference. He was no longer a young man, and the person in the mirror no longer his dead brother. This man was older, and far wearier than Fred had ever been. His face was drawn and his eyes empty of the mirth and warmth that had always exuded from George's beloved Fred.
He wept for days.
The changes reminded him both more and less of Fred. While he no longer saw a replica of the deceased boy in his own image, instead he saw what Fred might have been, had he lived. He would have been happier, his face not so lined with grief and rage at a world that had taken the only person who mattered from him - but the features would be the same.
Would he have grown his hair out, as George did? Would they still finish each others sentences? Fred's smile would be more full. His eyes would be brighter than George's own. He might have married, and had children - but George doubted it. Fred had only truly loved only one person in his lifetime (as had George himself), and those options would not have been available.
They'd live together. Their own place, the same as they had before the war had come and ruined it all. Their own business, doing what they loved - with the one they loved. Together. Always and forever, as it was meant to be. Fred and George. Inseparable.
His heart cracked, to realize that it was not meant to be. He was alone - a lonely man, staring into a mirror with nothing but faded memories and dreams of what could and should have happened. An empty home, with a dusty mirror and a bitter man who could never seem to look away.
Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
Fred was alive, if only behind the mirror - and without him George was hardly alive at all.