A/N: I just can't seem to stop these fic ideas popping into my head so here's another shorter fic for you to read. Those of you, who follow my fic Sky, don't worry, I'll post a new chapter soon - that won't change even though I'm posting this one at the same time.
This fic was inspired by Evanescence's song called Everybody's fool.
Hope you enjoy!
Summary: AU. Harry is tired of pretending to be someone he's not. He kills Voldy off in the DoM at the end of his fifth year and leaves for US for a fresh start. His only regret is that he has to leave someone special to him behind, but what will happen when nine years later they meet again?
Warnings: Swearing, Slash
Pairings: Harry/Fred, George/OC
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize from Harry Potter belongs to J.K Rowling.
Fred Weasley walked through the corridors of Hogwarts cursing the toad in the pink cardigan. He was just coming from one of her detentions and once again she had made him use that blasted blood quill. His hand was hurting so much that he felt he was going to faint anytime, but still he kept going – he was not going to show any weakness in front of anyone apart from his twin and best friend.
Fred continued walking towards the Gryffindor tower trying rapidly to blink away the black spots that had been starting to appear in his eyes from the pain he was in. He stopped for a moment trying to clear his head while chanting in his head 'I need to get to George or Lee'.
Suddenly he felt an arm taking hold of him and he was pushed into an empty classroom close to the Gryffindor tower.
"What the hell?" He exclaimed and turned around to face his attacker.
"Sit down Fred." Harry Potter said gesturing to an old chair.
"What the hell? Why did you bring me here?" Fred asked, but sat down nevertheless.
"'Cause you looked like you were gonna faint any second." Harry said curtly. "Now let me look at that hand."
Fred stared at him for a moment before giving him his hand and Harry started to examine it.
"Respect your betters." Harry murmured aloud. "Not very creative of her, bloody bitch..."
"I know, I suggested her 'Hail to the toads', but she wasn't very happy about that." Fred joked trying to lighten the mood, though all he wanted to do was cry out from the pain he felt.
"Didn't think so." Harry said muttering something under his breath and suddenly the pain from his hand was gone.
"How did you do that?" Fred asked amazed stretching his hand.
"Magic." Harry said tonelessly causing Fred to frown. There was something wrong with Harry. They weren't really close friends, but Fred knew enough of him to know that he wasn't usually this serious.
"You okay Harry? Having girl troubles?" He asked teasingly.
Harry stared at him for a moment making Fred feel uncomfortable under the intense gaze of his emerald eyes, before he spoke.
"You can drop that all time cheery act, Fred. You don't need to pretend with me." He said softly.
"What d' -?" Fred started. How did Harry know? He was sure he wasn't slipping.
"Don't play stupid with me Fred; you know what I'm talking about. That carefree, joking, prankster act doesn't work with me. I know you're in pain and scared."
"Am not and I…" Fred protested.
"True, you're all that, but you're not as carefree as you look like. You hide your true emotions under that mask and bottle it up. I don't think you even let George or Lee see all of it." Harry cut him off. "You're scared of what will happen now that Voldemort is back and the Ministry won't acknowledge it. The attack on your dad was just the beginning and you know it. You're scared for your family. You feel pain over Percy's leaving, but you turn it into anger towards him. You feel betrayed by him. You hide your true feelings behind that carefree mask. You play pranks to cheer people up in these times, which is a fine thing to do, but who's going to cheer you up? Keeping it all bottled up doesn't make you stronger, Fred. It makes you weaker. There will be a day when you can't take it anymore and you'll come crashing down."
Fred was confused. Harry was right of course, He didn't reveal his true feelings to anyone, sometimes not even George, but no one had ever questioned his act before. No one had ever cared about his feelings or about him behind that mask, enough to see through it – except for George and Lee of course. So why was Harry bringing this up.
"Fine. How did you know?"
"It takes an actor to know one, or so they say." Harry said. "I'm a master at what I do."
"And what do you have to hide or be afraid of? You have never shown any fear against Voldemort or anything really. You're strong." Fred said.
"Like I said, a master." Harry said. "I have so many masks on that sometimes I feel like I don't know what the real me is anymore. And I'm not strong, Fred, far from it. I just pretend to be strong, because that's what I have had to learn since I was fifteen-months-old." Harry laughed bitterly. "Every day I went to school pretending I was okay, pretending I was lazy student, pretending I wasn't in pain because of another beating, but I learned to hide myself under these masks. I didn't give them the satisfaction of seeing me in pain. I'm a master of pretense."
'Why is he telling me this?' Fred thought as he stared at him for a moment and thought back to the times he had seen Harry and suddenly he noticed little things, like anger behind his eyes for example at one of Ron and Hermione's fights or fear and tiredness until in one single blink of an eye it disappeared. Suddenly he felt like he knew nothing of the boy in front of him apart from what everyone else did too. But what was true of all that and what was just an act?
Fred nodded slowly, showing Harry he understood before speaking.
"Why are you bringing this up?"
"Because I don't want you to end up like me – with too many masks and then one day you realize you don't know who you are anymore. And because maybe… maybe you can help me to find myself again. And I think you're the kind of person I could learn to trust. I want to get to know you – the real you – and know that I can trust you." Harry said softly. "I don't trust anyone easily, Fred."
"Why me? Why not Ron or Hermione? They're you best friends aren't they?" Fred asked confused.
"Yeah, they are." Harry laughed bitterly. "Except that they know nothing about me – nothing that matters. I don't trust them. They report every single thing I do or say to Dumbledore. Can you call that a friendship? But it doesn't matter. All they see is the mask I have on every day. They see the Boy-who-lived like everyone else in this world."
Fred stared at him thoughtfully not really knowing what to say. It was shocking to learn that Hermione and Ron were reporting on him to the Headmaster – the Golden trio had always seemed so close.
"I don't see you just as a Boy-who-lived." Fred said.
"No, you don't. You see me as your little brother's best friend." Harry said. "But I'm willing to change that, if you want to." He continued before exiting the room and leaving Fred alone with his thoughts. He knew that Harry was right – he had always been just his little brother's best friend to him, along with the Boy-who-lived image, but Fred had never really cared about that. And he could use someone to talk to, someone that he didn't see as a brother like George and Lee. Someone he could speak bluntly and honestly without modifying anything.
And maybe now he would get to know the real Harry Potter.
Fred and Harry continued their little meetings through the rest of the spring semester and got to know each other better. Fred was amazed of Harry every time he learned something new about him – and that was often. Harry hadn't been lying; he had hidden himself under so many masks that almost nothing the other people knew about him – or thought they knew – was true at all and Fred couldn't help but admire Harry's skill to keep himself completely hidden by the world.
It turned out that nearly everything Fred knew about Harry was wrong. The Harry Potter that everyone saw was reckless, a bit lazy, self-sacrificing, noble, trusting and naive… all in all a perfect Gryffindor. He was a bit above average student and hated his fame. He was Dumbledore's Golden boy and totally oblivious to all his manipulations – he was his weapon.
The real Harry Potter was complete opposite of his mask. Harry trusted no-one completely but himself and was wary of everyone he met, which was a result of his treatment at the Dursleys. He was confident, cunning and sneaky when he needed to be, but still very caring and loving towards the people who deserved it – his biggest wish was to get a family and friends, who really loved him. The real Harry also loved to have fun as much as Fred did, but had never really had the change. Fred found out that Harry had an amazing sense of humor, even enough to rival his own, and had numerous ideas for pranks.
What amazed Fred the most though, was Harry's power, intelligence and endless knowledge of things. He was no average wizard with the power he displayed and Fred had to wonder how Harry could keep it hidden all the time. He had confessed to Fred that it was really hard to keep his grades average in class and use only a small part of his magic. Harry was also aware of all Dumbledore's manipulations and plans for him and Fred was horrified to found out about them.
"I'm his weapon against Voldemort." Harry had said. "He plans to use me to kill Voldemort and die while doing it. He even faked a prophecy to state that I have to kill him, but haven't told me about it yet."
Fred had asked him to elaborate, only to be met with an answer:
"I will tell you when the time is right."
Fred had grown to like and look forward to these meetings with Harry where they could both be themselves without all the masks on all the time. Fred loved it when he got to be serious and tell someone his worries and fears without being looked at weirdly for not cracking a joke and Harry too had started to find himself again like he had hoped. Fred had also noticed that he felt like something was missing in those days when he couldn't meet with Harry and his down attitude drew a lot of uncomfortable questions from George.
That's right – Fred Weasley hadn't told his twin, his second half and partner in crime about his meetings with Harry. Fred didn't know why he hadn't told him as Harry had never forbidden him from telling George. There was just something that held him back. He didn't want to share Harry with anyone, not even with his own twin. He wanted to be the one who was there for Harry when he needed comfort or tell someone his worries and cheer him up again. He liked the feeling he got from being the one who Harry could trust his secrets and could still vividly remember the first time Harry had really opened up for him.
The meetings with Harry had lasted for three months and once again Fred was sitting on a conjured couch in that empty classroom waiting for Harry, who had been yet again given another one of Umbitch's detentions. A few minutes later Harry stumbled inside clutching his bleeding hand and collapsed on the couch next to Fred.
"Someday that bitch will get what she deserves." He wowed as he healed his hand. "I'll make sure of that."
"And I'll be there to help you." Fred said.
They sat in silence for a moment Harry leaning his head on Fred's shoulder, before he spoke.
"It was after second year, you know, when I started to notice things. Your mum knew about the abuse I suffered at the Dursleys. How could she not? I had bars in my window when you rescued me. I started to question things; Dumbledore sending Hagrid, to give me my letter when he wasn't even a teacher at the time. I should have been treated like a muggleborn student with someone to tell me properly about this world. And my letter, my letter was addressed to the cupboard under the stairs. Surely they must have thought something about that. And then there was that meeting with your mother and you at the platform. She asking you what the platform number was even though she had been there dozens of times. And Ron 'happening' to end up in my compartment claiming everywhere else was full on a train that expanded itself to fit all the students. I started to realize it was all arranged." Harry said.
"I started thinking back to my school years and realized that things like that couldn't normally happen in a school and I realized that Dumbledore had used the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets to test me. He left me clues all through the year by using Hagrid as his tool and I fell for every one of them. I had started to create another mask without even realizing it. I had stopped being wary and observant, blinded by the feeling of being happy for the first time in my life. I was so happy to have friends that I thought genuinely liked me for who I was and later feeling home with your family that I changed myself to fit in with you, so that you would like me and care about me. I became lazy for Ron and dumb for Hermione. I thought them as a brother and a sister I never had and changed myself to keep them happy. I loved them just like I loved your mum as the mother figure she was for me once. And it broke my heart to find out that it wasn't real. I wanted it to be real so badly that I almost convinced myself to let them use me as long as I felt like I was being liked and loved, but I knew that even if I did, it wouldn't last forever and I wouldn't be able to live like that."
"When I blew up my aunt in the summer before third year and spent the rest of my holiday at Diagon alley, I visited Gringotts and found out about everything; my inheritance, your mum and Dumbledore's thievery, the prophesy and a marriage contract between me and Ginny. That's when I realized I needed to get away from them, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to do it with Voldemort after me. So I waited. I have acted normal these past years, been the loyal puppet Dumbledore wants me to be. I have passed all his tests, pretended to be oblivious to his manipulations and endured everything that has been thrown at me."
"But I'm tired Fred." He said quietly. "I'm tired of this game – these masks. I'm tired of having to hide myself all the time. Downplaying my abilities in class so that Hermione can have her spotlight and Ron won't get jealous. Worshipping Dumbles and getting visions from Voldy every fucking night. I'm tired of the press dragging down my name in the mud and Snape mind-raping me night after night. I fear all the time that he digs too deep and finds out that I already have Occlumency shields and finds my secrets. I have more than half the school thinking I'm crazy and on the top of the cake that fucking toad and her detentions." Harry continued silent tears running down his cheeks. "I just want it to be over, Fred." He sobbed and Fred moved to comfort him, hugging him and stroking his mob of a hair while whispering shooting nonsense to his ears.
"It's going to be okay, Harry."
Fred was really shocked to learn all about the manipulations and things that Dumbledore and his own mother had put Harry through. He was downright mad at them and for his little brother and Hermione for playing with Harry's feelings like that and betraying him. He wanted to go and hex them all into oblivion, but knew that Harry needed him the most at the moment and forced to keep himself calm, just comforting Harry.
They sat like that for a long time while Harry cried in his arms like he had never cried before and Fred thought that he wouldn't be surprised if he learned that he hadn't after what Harry had told him about the Dursleys.
"I'm gonna kill him, Fred. I'm gonna kill him the next time I meet him and then it will be all over." Harry said after he calmed down. "And I'm gonna do it on my terms and not because everybody wants me to."
"When do you think that will be?" Fred asked still running his hands through Harry's hair.
"At the end of the school year." Harry said.
"Why then?" Fred asked frowning.
"Something always happens at the end of the school year. Now that he has a body, he's bound to come after me. And when he does, I'll kill him."
"Well at least he's considerate enough to your studies to not come after you until the school year is over." Fred said and Harry turned to look at him incredulously before bursting out laughing.
"Only you, Fred Weasley. Only you could find something to joke about having a mad man after you." Harry laughed.
"I live to serve." Fred grinned and gave him a small bow.
"But seriously, thank you Fred… for being here for me." Harry said his emerald eyes looking intensely to Fred's blue ones. "I don't think I could get through this year if it wasn't for you."
"What are friends for?" Fred said, but something about that didn't feel right to him. If he only could figure out what it was.
End of Flashback
That was also why Fred was feeling rather uneasy as he and George planned their escape from Hogwarts. They had agreed that they could take no more of Umbridge's era and had decided to give her hell before leaving Hogwarts for good and starting up their business. There was nothing more to keep them there, or so Fred tried to convince himself. In fact, he didn't want to leave Harry alone after all what he had told him. Granted there was only two months of the school year left, but a lot could happen during that time and if Harry was right about Voldemort coming after him at the end of the year… Fred didn't want him to be there alone when he faced him.
Nevertheless the decision was made and now all Fred had to do was pick up his Gryffindor courage and tell Harry he was leaving. And that was why he was pacing back and forth in the empty classroom, waiting for Harry to arrive.
"Hey." A voice said from the doorway pulling him from his thoughts as he looked up to see Harry smiling brightly at him. It was rare for Harry to smile like that – it was a true smile – and it made a tingle run through his skin. The knowledge that the smile was for him made Fred want to run around cheering and butterflies flutter in his stomach.
"What's up? You look… uneasy." Harry said frowning as he sat down on the couch.
"I – err… George and I… We're leaving." He blurted out.
"Oh?" Harry said with an unreadable face. "When?"
"Tomorrow." Fred said sitting down next to him. "I'm sorry, Harry, I –"
"Don't." Harry said holding up a hand. "There's no need to apologize Fred. I knew this was coming one of these days. You do what you need to do."
"You knew? How?"
"I don't know. It was just… a feeling." Harry said. "I'm gonna miss you… I mean our conversations." He said a bit rushed.
"Me too." Fred said. 'I'm gonna miss you too.' He thought. Now where did that come from?
"So… you gonna leave with a bang?" Harry asked smirking.
"Of course. We're gonna give Umbitch hell."
They spend hours talking, with Harry laying on the couch his head on Fred's lap, who was running his fingers through his hair, before Fred noticed it was way over curfew and they should have been asleep already.
"We should go; you have the career counseling with Minnie tomorrow, don't you? Better not be late."
"Mmmm." Harry hummed sleepily snuggling closer to Fred before sighing and stretching his limbs and standing up.
"Just, write to me if you need anything, okay?" Fred said.
"I will." Harry said. "And you do too." He continued before Fred pulled him into a hug.
"Just don't do anything stupid or reckless." He said.
"You're one to talk." Harry chuckled burying his face to the taller boy's shoulder.
"I know and I try not to."
"Good." Fred said and they just stood there in each other's arms, lingering a bit longer than necessary before Harry broke off.
"See you when I see you Fred." He said with a last look before leaving the room.
"See you when I see you."
A/N: Thank you for reading. Please review and tell me how I did. The next chapter will be posted in a few days.