A/N: This was a one-shot, but I decided to continue. Hopefully I don't ruin anything. Enjoy.
Chapter 1: Play Your Hand
This was the first funeral he had attended. As a child, when a member of his family died, Draco had been able to weasel his way out of going- he found it was easy to get the best of a grief-stricken mother.
Now, clutching a peony roughly shoved into his hand by a red-headed doorman, no doubt a distant Weasley relative, the young man regretted his stubborn whining. For both his sake and his poor mothers, he wished he had attended those funerals. Maybe then he'd know what he was supposed to be doing here.
The seats were all full. He had expected a sea of red and freckles, staring and crying daggers aimed towards himself. What he found, instead, was a lawn full eerily quiet people recognizable from Hogwarts, from his father's dinner parties- how long ago they now seemed- and pictures in the Prophet. "New Times, New Minister," the paper had said, an important-looking Kingsley Shacklebolt smiling confidently underneath. And there he sat, no smile on his face, nor guards or Aurors at his side. In their place was Bill Weasley and his wife, his scarred face and her perfect one both marred with tears.
The three of them sat amongst the Weasleys and their closest friends- those with whom they had fought not more than a week ago. The whole clan filled the long second and third rows, leaving the first empty. Granger and Potter sat on either side of Ron and his sister, Ginny. They were silent, except for Hermione, not to Malfoy's surprise, who was muttering to Ron- comforting him, probably, through her own tears. Ginny's face was like stone. She stared straight forward, and as Malfoy moved his attention to the last in their group, he was met with Potter's confused eyes.
The odd thing was this face was not the one of suspicion and hate Malfoy had grown accustomed to. It was, instead, confusion and hate. The blonde wizard quickly dropped his gaze. He wasn't here for a fight. He didn't know why he was here.
Instead of sitting, he chose to stay where he was- standing in the back. He had no one to sit with, anyways. The aforementioned dinner guests of his father's were no longer cordial with his family. As soon as Voldemort had lost, they considered their dear friends, the Malfoy's, a disgrace, or "Pureblood supremacists."
Aurthur Weasley came to stand behind a podium at the head of it all. He had tears running down his face, crying without shame in a way that made Malfoy envious of both a poor man at his own son's funeral and the poor man's son. Weasley got straight to the point.
"Fred and George like to tease Molly and me about how we we aren't proud of them. Their brothers were prefects, got good grades. Their sister is the only girl, our little angel that we waited so long for- I don't think I ever said this to Fred in this way, and I wish I had." He paused to sniffle and wipe a few tears off his face. "Fred can make you smile- so can George. Even when- we all know smiling was hard for a while. Even then. I could never have been more proud..."
Draco couldn't hear Mr. Weasley anymore- he had spotted George. Mrs. Weasley had her arms wrapped around Fred's identical twin protectively as Percy rubbed her back, trying to control her weeping. George had an arm around her, his face much like his that of his sister- expressionless. His eyes and the copious amount of tears that leaked from them gave him away, though, where hers didn't. Draco could barely stand to look at him, never mind how it must have been for the Weasleys- he was Fred minus an ear, a constant reminder.
Applause from the crowd brought Draco back to the speech a second to late as Mr. Weasley went back to his seat.
An athletic girl with a pretty face came up next. She was crying as well- looking around now, Draco could see that nearly everyone was- but she attempted to hide it. She was vaguely recognizable- he could remember her hanging around with the Weasley twins.
"I'm Angelina Johnson," she helpfully introduced herself. "I was a close friend of Fred's."
Angelina took a deep breath and pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket; she had pre-written something. She continued, looking off of it.
"We're here to celebrate Fred Weasley. What I can say for him is that he was a good guy, but we can't act like he this perfect, innocent kid. We've all played happy victim to his tricks long enough to know this isn't true." She looked up and smiled, receiving a good amount of laughs. The pranks of the Weasley's were known far and wide. Malfoy was beginning to realize this would be one of those laugh-so-you-don't-cry speeches.
"Faking innocence was a specialty of Fred's though. A few of us had a theory at school that he- that the teachers never wanted to catch him or George for any of their schemes. We thought they had to at least find the jokes a little funny. And I hate to group Fred and George together," she looked towards George's area of the second row, "but how else can I talk about them? They're my best friends, and they're loyal and honest and all that as far as I'm concerned. But too each other... I'd say they're joined at the hip, but it's more like joined at the brain. I can- I can only imagine how hard-." She looked away from George and down at the podium.
"Fred is watching over us from up there, I know he is. He's laughing at us for being such babies about this, and he's missing his family and he's waiting for the next Wizard's Weezes product, and for all of us to stop crying and start smiling again. I know he is." She left the podium quickly, her face away from the crowd. Draco could tell she was sobbing from the shaking of her shoulders as she sat.
Those around him began to whisper now, and bits and pieces were overheard.
"The twin's going now, I heard."
"I heard he didn't think he'd be able to talk about-"
"I heard Molly wouldn't let him."
"Absolute rubbish. It's his brother. I don't-"
They all fell silent as George sunk into a standing position, walking slowly towards the podium. Molly Weasley clung to Percy now, not watching. George stood behind the podium looking smaller than usual, a practiced face of only slight sadness and anger on his face, ruined by his tears. He stood and looked at everyone for a minute. When he finally spoke, his voice was slow and it broke mid-sentence.
"It's not fair. It's really not. I shouldn't have to go on without part of myself and he shouldn't have to be gone forever."
Malfoy's thumb nail dug into the peony he still held. He tried to concentrate on his pulse, counting the beats; he tried to picture his blood pumping through his body- his pure, clean blood. He wanted to rip out his veins, to not be a part of this. He wanted the blood out of him. It felt dirty and it burned his insides. Rip out his veins, let the blood lay on the ground, on everyone around him, but not in him. He didn't do any of this, or at least he didn't want to have done it.
"This wasn't- this wasn't his bloody war." George continued, hands in tight fists. "This wasn't any of our war- this wasn't even a war. It was a attempted genocide and a successful rebellion. My brother is not a war casualty, he is a rebel hero."
George laughed quietly and without smiling. "He would like that title better, anyways. I-" he cursed, hitting his fist on the top of the podium. "Everyone keeps bloody telling me that he'd want me happy. I know. I know what he'd want, I do. He'd also want to kick the ass of every Death Eater that's still lucky enough to be alive when he's not, and I-," George composed himself with a deep breath just the second Malfoy did the same.
"He's my brother and I love him and I can't help but think it should had been me, but if it was he'd be here saying the same thing to all of you. But I still wish it would have been like that, that he hasn't left me here without him." George cried now. For the first time most of the people at the funeral had ever seen, including Draco, he really cried. He was sobbing and gasping for breath and his family was soon around him, blocking him from view in a mass of red, unruly hair.
Fleur came to the front of the mob at the podium, speaking for the rest, who couldn't. "I think zat it was ze plan to 'ave all of ze guest say a final goodbye to Fred. If you please-," she motioned to a casket, to the right of the podium.
A line formed quickly as Fleur went back to the family. Draco waited a bit where he was standing, watching as the people in line passed Fred's casket, which was open, and dropped their peony next to it. As they stopped, some looked at him fondly; others said a few words. When Draco finally joined the line he was last, with only the Weasley family left to join. The line was going fast now; the guests were less familiar and most just set down their flower and kept walking. As they moved, Draco's gaze drifted across the rows of chairs. The empty first row, as he assumed, had been reserved who had also lost their lives. Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Colin Creevey, Sirius Black, Alastor Moody... it was a long row.
Professor McGonnagal was a few people ahead of Draco, and he watched as she set down the flower at the base of his casket and straightened back up. She was muttering something, her eyes shiny with tears. It looked as if she were scolding him quietly.
The line continued to move quickly, though it felt like days for Draco. He tried to think of something, anything to say. He considered dropping the flower and walking away. After all, he was never friends with Fred. It didn't feel right. He stepped up finally and set his flower down and looked down at Fred, preserved perfectly for this funeral and wearing a bright, tweed suit. He face was smiling, but it seemed faint, as his eyes were closed.
"We're not terribly different, you know," Draco said, expressionless. His nose stung from the smell of the pile of peonies, his least favorite smell. "You just got the good side of it all, the good family."
If this were his funeral, if he had died during the war, no one would have come. He may not have even had a funeral. No one cared what happened to the Death Eaters now as long as they were gone and punished. That's what he was, he supposed, a Death Eater. He helped them; he worked with them. He didn't fight with them, but that was laughable. He didn't fight because he was a coward. He knew he was a coward. He didn't have a moral high ground in any situation.
Draco stared down at Fred, tears in his eyes. He was crying for Fred and he was crying for himself, and then he was crying because he was so selfish for doing so. At the forefront of his minds, though, was one thing. He wanted to be Fred Weasley. He wanted to be the dead man if it was the honorable man.
"You were a funny guy. Sorry, Fred."
He sniffled and wiped a few stray tears of his face, turning to leave. He made eye contact with a red-faced, wet-eyed Ron, who poked Hermione. He pointed Draco out to her, unabashed, saying something in her ear. She shook her head, shushing him, and took his arm, steering him the other direction.
For that, Draco was thankful. He wasn't here to make a scene, he was here to apologize. Not to the family- he wasn't ready for that-, but to Fred. He may not have personally killed the young man, but he played a hand in it.
He would play the hand no more.