DISCLAIMER: I OWN NOTHING. IT'S ALL J.K. ROWLING'S.
A/N: Thank you everyone, for reading and favoriting. It makes me feel really good. So, now there is a choice to be made. I haven an idea for another chapter, but at the same time, I feel that this chapter could be a successful ending. So, if you want to, please leave a review once you've read this one and let me know if you want me to leave it with that ending or to post another chapter. I hope you enjoy it, and that you are all well.
George continued to hold Harry's hand like a lifeline as they stood before the door. The door that gave entry to the world that had been his and Fred's alone. This door stood between the outside world, where everything could be a hoax, and the inside where nothing remained but the truth.
George stared at the door knob. His anger had dissipated. Now he was left with reality. He remembered when he and Fred first bought the flat and shop combo. It was everything they could need. A place to call their own, to create and escape. The price wasn't bad either. Fred had managed to talk the seller down. Always persuasive, that was his twin.
Harry watched George carefully, unsure what to do or say. He needed to comfort George somehow, needed to let him know it would be okay. But those words don't ring true. Not now, not so soon.
He cleared his throat and mumbled, "We don't have to go in. We could go to the Cauldron and come back tomorrow, in the daylight."
George shook his head, blinking back tears.
"If I don't go in there, Fred will never really be dead. I have to go in. Will you promise me something?"
"Anything," was the immediate response.
"Promise me you'll stay. Please don't leave me alone. Promise me."
The look in George's eyes as he said this broke Harry's heart. This was a man at his most broken and vulnerable. There was no hiding, no deception. And Harry had never loved him more.
"I'll stay until you tell me to leave."
"And if I never do?"
Harry smiled, "Then I guess I'll be here forever."
George squeezed Harry's hand and almost kissed him. But he didn't, for fear of the unknown.
He gave a small cough and tapped the door with his wand. It opened silently, revealing the pitch black flat.
George took a deep breath and entered, never letting go of Harry's hand. Harry followed, ashamedly intrigued and excited to be going into George's place.
When George turned on the lights, the flat proved to be rather attractive. The furniture was eclectic with random bits of color and pattern scattered about.
George stood in the center of the main room and looked about. Fred was everywhere here. The furniture, the walls, everything reflected the humor and joy of the man now dead.
Tears started rolling down his cheeks as he turned to Harry.
"What am I going to do, Harry? I've never been alone in my life. He was always there. And I took that for granted. Now he's gone and I don't know how to live without him. I can't live without him."
Harry did his best to hold back tears. He knew that George needed him to be strong right now.
"It will get easier, George."
"You don't know that! I don't feel whole anymore. Ever. I can't breathe without thinking that Fred isn't breathing anymore. Every single heartbeat is a hammer reminding me. What do I do, Harry? I don't want to live my life thinking that he isn't living his."
George collapsed onto the sofa, burying his face in his hands. Harry stood dumbstruck for a minute before regaining his senses. He knelt down in front of George and gently held his hands. His voice shook as he spoke.
"George, Fred is gone. That is never going to be okay. But you can't let yourself live dwelling on it forever. Would you want Fred to do that, if it had been you who died? "
Both men were crying unashamedly. Harry gave a half-smile.
"George you are one of the strongest men I know. You have managed to stay humorous about everything, in spite of everything. You'll survive this. And you don't have to be alone in it. I-I love you, George. More than anything or anyone in this world. I will be here until the end of time if you want me to."
George was silent for a moment, and Harry was afraid he had just made a terrible mistake. He could feel the tears forming in his eyes when suddenly George leaned forward and kissed him. It was clumsy at first, both men unsure and apprehensive. Then it was bliss.
They pulled away and George felt himself smiling.
"I love you too, Harry. You're not doing this out of pity, are you? Trying to distract me and make me feel better?"
Harry laughed, the sound echoing. He quickly quieted, remembering today was not for laughter.
"Did your brain fall out when you lost your ear? Or has Ron been teaching you his clueless ways? I've loved you for a while now. Didn't say anything because I was scared."
George looked into Harry's eyes for a moment.
"Fred knew. He always said I should stop being a bloody git and kiss you first chance I had. Don't know how he knew. He knew about my feelings before I did. He always gave me such hell. Merlin, I miss him."
George broke down into tears again. Harry kissed his forehead and sat beside him on the sofa, pulling him into an embrace. George didn't say anything. He just cried, until his tears ran out. Then, in the comfortable silence, he and Harry fell asleep holding each other.
George awoke to sunlight streaming through the windows. His first thought was that last night had been a dream. Then he heard Harry's heart beating beneath his ear. He smiled.
The pain of Fred's death was still there, like a weight on his chest. But in this moment, George felt like he would survive. Like he wasn't alone. Like he was loved.
"I love you, Harry Potter."