(This is the first in my triad of Piano Man by Billy Joel based oneshots. Hope you enjoy.)
Title: Drinking Alone
Summary: George goes into a bar for the first time since the war. The bartender looks vaguely familiar, but George doesn't recognize him. 'they share a drink called loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone'.
Warning: contains twincest implications.
Fifteen years. Fifteen years since I last looked in a mirror. Fifteen years, that's how long I had been alone. Sure there were other people around me, and I was hardly ever in a room by myself. But I was alone. Fifteen years of loneliness and emptiness.
I wasn't always alone and I wasn't always empty inside. Fifteen years is an awfully long time though.
I needed a drink or ten. I walked to a nearby muggle village and located the bar. I ordered a double shot of the strongest drink the bartender had. I took a glance at him and did a slight double-take thinking he looked like one of my brothers. At the second glance, I saw that he looked nothing like my brothers except for the red hair. He still looked like someone I knew. I couldn't place his face though.
The bar wasn't very busy, but it was a Sunday evening. I drank the shots and ordered more. I wasn't always a drinker.
I noticed a woman eyeing me from across the bar. I looked down to my drink, she wasn't my type. Call me conceited, but my type could never be replicated again. Sure the curve of a face might be the same on some men, the hair color might be similar when my hair gets too long. I stopped thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I would break down.
"Hey, sexy, mind if I join you in your bottle of Loneliness?" A very feminine voice purred in my good ear. I turned to her revealing my bad ear. Her eyes met mine briefly before they laid to rest on my ear.
"I think you may have the wrong person, besides even if you did, you aren't my type." I said. I turned back to my drink. I heard a muffled 'humph' before she left.
"You could have been a little nicer. I mean we do only have the few bottles of Loneliness." I looked up at the bartender. He really had the certain distinction that my brothers had, but he was different enough that set him apart from my brothers. Maybe it was the hair, his was straight and most of my brothers hair got curly after a certain length.
I grunted, "She wasn't my type, and I figured it was kinder of me to tell her straight away, rather than lead her on that I was interested."
He smiled, it was beautiful. "Oh, well, Chividare." I stared at him. If I heard him correctly, he had said Chividare. That was a word I had made up a long time ago with Him. It meant 'brother'. His smile faded. "I just meant she deserves more in the sense of someone who can treat her right. No offense intended, but you seem like you need someone to bring back a balance you once had."
I looked back at my drink. "My hearing is just bad sometimes. I had heard something else."
He smiled again. "Oh. What did you hear instead of she deserves more?"
"A word I had made up with someone a long time ago. The word was Chividare." I said watching his smile before he turned away.
"Brother." He turned back. "A few customers come in a long time ago. They got really drunk that night and started using that word. It was humorous at times, they came in looking like the world was going to end, and by the time they had their second or third drink they had loosened up and started calling each other brother and Chividare and laughing about it. Tried keeping it all hush hush too. It didn't take me too long to piece together that the two words were interchangeable. Gosh, that must have been ten, fifteen years ago."
I remembered that night, that was when Harry was hunting horocruxes. I had come in to this pub to take the night off. A few days later, Harry had returned and Voldemort had been vanquished. "How do you remember that night? That group of customers, when you have so many customers every night? That was fifteen years ago." I said quietly. He had heard me though.
"Because it was my first night here. And they were identical twins." I choked on my drink. Reaching for a napkin, I heard him say, "You kinda look like them."
I finished my drink quickly and asked for another. I finished that one almost as soon as it was in the glass. "That was a long time ago, and I am not young anymore."
He nodded. "You can hold your liquor better now." He poured me another drink. This one I took slower. The woman had left and we were the only ones in the bar. He poured him self one and raised his glass. "To lost time, and since loneliness."
I tapped his glass with my own, and said, "To lost time." I paused. "You remind me of someone I know."
He gave a half-smile, "I have that affect sometimes. It's interesting when people think they know me and they call me George. I never understand their look of sadness when I tell them my name's actually Fred."
I pushed the drink away. I looked him in the eyes. "Maybe I can't hold my liquor as well as I thought." I stood and went to the restroom. I shut the door behind me. "Fifteen years. Fifteen years since I last looked in the mirror." I muttered as I gained the courage to look in the mirror.
I looked, seeing my reflection for the first time in fifteen years. It was the same face the bartender had. The only difference was the ear.
I turned and stumbled out of the bathroom. I went back to the bar. The bartender was across the bar pouring a couple drinks. I sat back down at the spot I had been in before. I studied the bartender trying to locate any differences in him and I. I could see none, but there was no way he could be who I wanted him to be. I pulled my drink to me and sipped at it.
He smiled at the couple and came back over to refill my glass. "Do you ever look in the mirror and think there is someone out there who is so similar to you, so similar that you might be related or even identical?"
His smile faltered. "I don't look in the mirror, I can't bring myself to do so. I haven't been able to since I got out of the hospital. As for the feeling that someone one is so similar, I always have that feeling."
I nodded. "Look in the mirror. Tell me what you see."
He shrugged. "Won't do much good. Do you want anymore?" He asked indicating the bottle. I shook my head.
"Why were you in the hospital? That is if you don't mind sharing." I asked.
He looked over to the couple. They waved him over. He refilled their drinks, offering them smiles. One of them asked him a question, pointing over to me. He looked back over, then answered the question. The answer left the couple confused and glancing back and forth between him and I. They asked another question. He looked doubtful, and responded. The couple smiled and went back to their conversation. He came back over.
"I went to the hospital because I should have been dead. I was apparently in a war and was injured so badly I was presumed dead. I was in the morgue, when I woke up. The doctors were shocked. I started questioning where I was, who I was, how I got there, and yelling about finding George. They attempted to calm me down. When they finally did, they told me my name was Fred, that I had been injured and that I was in the morgue. They couldn't tell me who George was, though. They also had no way of contacting my family or anyone who would be able to identify me further. But I was better, and from what they could tell, I was just suffering memory loss. The memories from before ending up in the hospital are long gone, except for two. George is important, whoever he is, and being in this bar just before the hospital. I came in here as soon as I could after leaving the hospital. The owner said he was hiring and he would give me a job as soon as I got my bartending license. Been here ever since." He finished.
I nodded. "And people come in and call you George?"
He half-smiled again, "Yeah. It's a bit strange that I wake up looking for a George, and the only name people mistake me with is George."
I shook my head. "It's not that strange. People used to call me Fred all the time. They stopped when they could no longer mistake me for him. Look in a mirror and tell me what you see."
He smiled. "If it means that much to you." He went over to the couple and asked if they needed anything. They shook their heads and he went to the bathroom. He came back out shortly and marched over to me. He studied me a bit. "We are identical." He said quietly.
I nodded. "Fred." He held up his hand.
"You can only be George. And I can only be the balance in your life." He said. His face thoughtful. "You're George, my identical twin."
I sat in disbelief. "You have been gone for so long. The telepathy was gone when you were."
"We had telepathy?" I nodded. "Was there unison too?"
"Yes, almost always. Drove people crazy, but we always were in sync. I can't believe it's you."
He laughed, "I always knew if I ever met George, they would be the most important person I know. I was right."
We spent the next several hours catching up. Turns out he had been hit with a memory charm, a stunning spell, and a powerful knockout curse all at once. The telepathy had been broken immediately. When we had found him, he appeared dead. St. Mungos was full, and we wanted a proper burial, Harry had suggested a muggle morgue. So, we took him there in hopes that the muggles would be able to prepare him for burial. He woke up there in a daze, confuse and panicked. He had freaked out, and the muggles had no idea who we were.
As the night wore on, we talked well past closing time. When we finally ready to get some sleep, the sun was coming up. We continue to talk.
I smacked my forehead. "You gotta see mom. She's gonna freak when she realizes she has all her children back."
He laughed and said, "I guess it's true sharing a drink called Loneliness is better than drinking alone."
(Hope you enjoyed. -Luvs Cassy.)