Author's Note: This is my first Harry Potter fanfiction ever. Also, one of my first times writing in English. I am not an English native speaker, so I apologize for any grammatical mistake you might find. (But feel free to let me know if you find them so I can correct them :D).
The story's name is from a song by the band Marianas Trench and it really fits, so if you want, you can listen to it while reading this.
Hope you like the story and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter world, nor the characters. I just like writing, all credits go to the amazing JKR.
Four weeks had passed since the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry found himself at the Burrow's entrance, where he knew the entire Weasley clan, plus Hermione and Fleur were. The mood in the family wasn't the best of all, how could it be? They had lost a son, a brother, a friend. Fred's death had hit them hard, and the big house that once had been full of laughter, now was completely silent and depressed.
"Harry, what a surprise!" said Molly, as he stepped inside. She had a small smile on her face, which didn't reach her eyes, trying to lighten the spirit a little.
"Good morning, Mrs. Weasley" he said returning the hug she had given him. "I just thought I'd pass by to see how everyone is"
"How sweet of you, my dear. Have you gotten breakfast?" she asked, rushing him into the kitchen, where the oldest Weasleys were already having breakfast.
"Not really, I'm not hungry, though" he said and turned to the rest of the family "Good morning guys"
Charlie and Bill nodded at him as they both had their mouths full of food, something that reminded Harry of Ron, now he knew where his best friend had gotten his eating manners from. Percy, on the other hand, greeted him with a simple "Hello Harry" and went back to his own business.
"You won't fool me with that, Harry" Mrs. Weasley exclaimed and placed another plate on the table, right next to Charlie, filled with bacon and scrambled eggs "come on, eat up... Ron and Hermione should be up in a few minutes"
Knowing better than to contradict Mrs. Weasley, Harry sat down, took a fork and begun eating. He wasn't hungry, that was true, he hadn't been hungry for the last couple of weeks but he had forced himself to have at least a decent breakfast and dinner every day, because he knew he'd had both Hermione and Molly fussing over him if he didn't eat properly, telling him he was too skinny and they would try to make him move to the Burrow or they would go to Grimmauld Place every single day just to make sure he ate, and Harry certainly did not want that.
A moment later, Molly excused herself and left the kitchen, leaving her three older children and Harry alone. Not long after that, Percy left too, saying he had to go to the Ministry as there still was too much chaos in there to help with. Charlie, Bill and Harry soon started chatting while they finished what was left of their breakfast.
"How you doing, Harry?" asked Charlie after taking a sip of pumpkin juice. "I know it must be really hard"
"You know it's hard, we're all going through the same right now... but I guess I'm trying to cope with it. I don't want to think too much about it, or I will have nightmares on a daily basis and that's something I definitely want to avoid as much as possible, I do have a few, but I'm finding the way to keep them away with the help of some Dreamless Sleep even if I don't like to take it, but the first week was unbearable. I try to distract myself with whatever I can think of and not to spend too much time alone. It's not easy at all, sometimes I wake up and feel as if it was all a dream and I am still camping around the country with Ron and Hermione trying to find the Horrocruxes, but then reality hits me and I remember all that happened; the battle, the screams, every death... and although everyone has already told me it's not my fault, every time I think about the battle I find something I could have done to prevent some of the deaths from happening, and I wish I could turn back time... but I know I can't and that haunts me every night." he finished in barely a whisper. He hadn't felt up to talking that much about the war with anyone, but most of the Weasleys, especially these two, had something special in them that made Harry open up.
"We understand" said Bill "Percy might look like he's quite alright, but he uses the Ministry to distract himself. Every night he has nightmares about Fred's death... sometimes we have to pour a calming draught or something in his glass at dinner so he can rest or he will end mad. He keeps blaming himself for what happened to Fred and says he should have saved him, because according to him that's what big brothers are for".
"I'm sorry" Harry mumbled. Fred's death was one of those who had affected him the most along with Remus', Tonks' and Snape's among others.
"Don't be. It was not your fault just as it wasn't Percy's. We all feel guilty; Mom and dad do, because they think they should have protected us all, just as they feel guilty about my scars, and George's missing ear. Percy and Ron feel guilty because they were there with Fred, and even if they didn't see it coming, they think they could have done something to prevent it... George feels the same way and says he should have been there with him because if they had been together as they always were, maybe it wouldn't have happened... the two of us feel guilty too, because he was our little brother and still had so many things to experience... but deep inside we know it wasn't our fault and we can't do anything to bring him back, we can't change what happened, it kills us, but we know it's the truth and we're fighting hard every day to let it sink in. A part of us died that night with the people we lost, but I'm sure they wouldn't want us to grieve endlessly."
"It hurts, and it's okay to grieve, but it's not okay to forget to live because you spend your life grieving" Charlie added and Harry nodded in understanding.
"How's George coping with it?" Harry then asked. He had barely seen the twin in the past month.
"He's the most affected, as it was expected. But we're really worried about him. He barely eats, he doesn't leave his room, and he doesn't let any of us in either. We know he's grieving and we respect that, but we fear it might do him more harm than good."
"I can imagine how he must be feeling..." the younger boy said in a whisper and then an idea occurred to him."May I see him?"
"Of course, Harry, but don't get your hopes too high... he hasn't let anyone in that room for the last month."
"I'll take my chances"
"Okay, let's go then".
The three boys put their plates and glasses in the sink and headed upstairs. When they were reaching the second floor, they bumped into Ron and Hermione, who by the looks of it, had just woken up.
"Harry! It's so nice to see you!" said Hermione and immediately gave her best friend a tight hug.
"Nice to see you too, 'Mione" he replied, holding his friend.
"What are you doin' here, mate?" asked Ron, looking from Harry to his two oldest brothers.
"We were on our way to George's bedroom" said Charlie, matter of factly "Harry wants to talk to him"
"Oh, okay" the younger redhead said "See you later then"
Harry nodded and his two best friends headed downstairs. Charlie, Bill and himself kept climbing stairs in silence until they reached the fifth floor, and then Bill knocked on the door of the room that used to be Ron's.
"George... it's me, Bill" he said, calmly, hoping his brother would at least reply.
"Go away, I'm still alive"
"Harry is here and he wants to talk to you" Charlie tried, feeling sad because of George's words; and even if he hadn't said a thing, he heartedly hoped that Harry could help the twin.
"With all respect, I don't need Harry's pity."
"George..." it was Harry's turn to speak "I'm not here to pity you or anything like that. Please, let me in. I swear I will go away if you want me to, but I really need to have a few words with you"
Silence took over the whole floor for a few minutes. The boys standing on the corridor wondered if they should say something, until they heard a soft "click" that indicated the door had been unlocked.
"Just Harry" the raspy voice that belonged to George said and so the black haired boy stepped inside as the oldest Weasleys made their way back to the kitchen. Harry closed the door behind him and took a look at the room he was in; gone was the bedroom he had been in so many times before, now being completely dark as if not a ray of sunshine had got in for a long time, which was likely the truth, the only window there was closed, and a small candle was all that lighted the place.
"George..." he begun, but was quickly cut up by the man lying on the bed above the window."What do you want, Harry?"
George didn't mean to sound rude, but he couldn't help it. He didn't want nor need anyone's pity, so why couldn't they leave him alone? Why was so hard to understand he just wanted to be alone and grieve the loss of his brother, best friend and other half in peace? Yeah, they had lost a brother, a friend or a son too, but he had lost his everything. What is Batman without Robin? What is Sherlock without Watson? What is Mario without Luigi? They are nothing, just as he was nothing without Fred. They had been together since the day they were born, and they had never been apart for too long; they shared everything, they knew each other better than anyone else, they could know what the other was thinking just by exchanging a single look... and now he didn't have that anymore. He didn't have his brother, his twin, his best friend, his pranks mate, his confident, his fellow worker at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes... he had lost a huge part of himself in that battle, half his self had died along with Fred, and now nothing made sense to him. Life didn't make sense to him without his twin.
"I-I want to talk to you"
"I gathered that much"
"You can't go on like this George... You're throwing your life away. Do you really think Fred would have wanted this for you?" and that was all it took to make George snap. He quickly got up of bed with the little energy he had and walked to where Harry was standing, a deathly glare on his pale face and dark circles around his eyes.
"Don't bring him into this. You have no idea of what he could have wanted for me. No one does. Stop telling me that!" he shouted, not caring if Harry just wanted to help. He was getting sick of everyone 'trying to help him'. "I'm sick of all of you telling me how Fred would have wanted me to move on, to be happy, to live a good life... but guess what? HE'S DEAD and has NO FUCKING WAY to tell you how he wants me to be. None of you has a fucking idea of how I'm feeling, so don't come here with the 'oh I know how you're feeling' speech, because you don't. Don't try to understand what you can't feel. You didn't lose the most important person in your life, I did."
The window burst open and the glass broke into pieces due to the redhead's magic that was out of control. The room was now brighter and clearer, and Harry could see the look of pain and anger on his friend's face.
"You know what George? You're being a selfish stubborn git!" Harry exclaimed, starting to get mad too. "Do you really think nobody knows how you're feeling? Well, let me tell you, you're completely wrong. I lost my parents in the First War, Voldemort himself killed them; I lost Sirius, my Godfather and the closest thing I had to my own father; Dumbledore, my mentor; Remus, the last fatherly image and best DADA professor I had in my life; Snape, a man I learnt to respect and who gave his life for the Light; Fred, a friend who was almost like a brother, and several school mates and Aurors... I lost them all in the Second War, and there is not a god damned day that goes by that I don't feel guilty for each and every single one of their deaths. I had to hear the piercing screams of my best friend being held under the Cruciatus curse long enough to bring anyone mad and I couldn't do anything, I saw all the people I love risking their lives in that war, and every single time a Dementor gets near me, I relive the night my parents died... I hear my mother's screams, pleading Voldemort not to kill me and to kill her instead and then the green flash. I might not have a twin brother, but I believe I've lost more than enough people to know how you're feeling, and so has your entire family."
Harry hadn't planned on bursting out like that. He hadn't planned on saying all those things to George, the least thing he wanted was to make him feel as if what he was feeling wasn't too severe, because Merlin knew it was, but once the words started to come out, he couldn't stop them until he was finished. But maybe -and hopefully- that would be what George needed; no pity, no soft words, no excuses, just the truth as hard as it was.
He was trying to catch his breath after yelling non-stop everything he had said to George, when suddenly he felt a set of hands on each side of his face and chapped lips pressed against his own. Harry froze, completely in shock. He hadn't seen that coming, and everything was happening too fast for his brain to react properly. Seconds later, which felt like hours, George pulled away but rested his forehead against Harry's, a few tears rolling down his cheeks.
He didn't want to cry, he had done enough of that the past four weeks, but he couldn't help it. He knew the younger boy was right, damn, Harry had been through enough to want to die or spent the rest of his life grieving and still he was trying to bring his life together again, while George couldn't even bring himself to get out of bed. And right there, every single comment his family had made was sinking in. Would Fred actually want to see him like that? What would his brother think of his behaviour? Would he be disappointed? Harry was right, he was being a selfish git, but he couldn't find a way out of it.
And as if his brain knew perfectly what he needed, the last talk he had had with his twin brother on the night of the Battle played itself in his mind. He closed his eyes and focused on it.
"Are you scared Georgie?" Fred asked him as the Battle was about to rise. They were staring at the black sky, hoping everything would turn out fine.
"Yes." he said. What was the point in lying? His twin knew him too well. "Are you?"
"I am, too."
"Promise me something, Freddie."
"What?" his twin asked. They only called each other Georgie and Freddie when they were scared, especially when they were kids.
"That if anything is to happen to me, you will find a way to be happy, even if I can't be there with you, physically at least. You know I would never truly leave you"
"Why would you think...?" Fred begun to ask but his brother cut him. "Just promise me you'll do it."
"I promise, Forge. Do you promise me the same?"
And with that promise made, he hugged his brother as if it was the last time he'd ever hug him. Unaware that it actually was.
Reality hit him and he had to blink a few times to remember where he was and what had happened just a few seconds before he got on that trance. His hands were still in Harry's face and their foreheads were touching.
"Help me, Harry." he begged, teary blue eyes staring at emerald ones, his voice almost breaking. "I don't want to be like this" suddenly more tears started to roll down his face and he begun to sob, embracing Harry in a tight hug, not willing to let him go.
The younger boy lead him to the bed and made him sit down, doing the same himself as well. Fred tightened his grip on Harry's abdomen, his sobs becoming more desperately as time went by.
"Calm down, George. I will help you, I promise" he said, caressing his back, trying to help his friend relax.
"You were right, all of you were right." He mumbled against Harry's neck. "I promised him I would find a way to be happy even if something happened to him, and I'm failing him. I'm breaking the promise I made to my best friend"
"No, you're not. You're just taking some time to fulfill it. It's not wrong, but you've got to be careful, because you have a whole life ahead. What do you say if we start slowly? I will bring you some food from downstairs, then you'll have a bath and when you're finished, you'll take a well needed nap. I'll give you some dreamless sleep to help you. Okay?"
George nodded but didn't say a thing. He cuddled a little bit more to Harry, inhaling his fragrance, which somehow helped him relax. A few minutes later, Harry let go of him and, with a promise of being back before the redhead could count to ten, he went downstairs in search of some food.
Harry went down the stairs two steps at a time, and as soon as he set foot in the kitchen, he was bombarded with questions from the entire Weasley clan. He knew they were all worried about George, but right now he couldn't take the time to answer each and every one of their questions, so he took a deep breath and tried to explain what had happened in the shortest way possible.
"Look, George is alright, I think I managed to get through him. He's having a hard time but now he understands that we're going through the same and that Fred would really want him to be happy. It's not gonna be easy, but he's willing to try." He said and then turned to Molly "Mrs. Weasley, could you prepare a light breakfast for him?"
"Yes, yes, of course." She said and waving her wand started to place a full breakfast on a tray.
"Can we see him?" asked Ginny, with a worry look on her face. They had hardly seen George since the Battle.
"I don't think he's ready yet" Harry explained "He still has to assimilate everything. You've got to give him time. I will ask him, but first I want him to eat, take a bath and rest. He really needs it".
All the Weasleys nodded with a hopeful look on their faces. They had lost Fred, and they didn't want to lose his twin too. Harry took the tray and his bag, and giving them a reassuring smile, he went back upstairs.
George was still sitting on the bed, hugging his legs and with his face buried on his knees when the black haired boy re-entered the room. He looked up and his eyes soon found a shy smile and emerald eyes staring at him.
"I brought you breakfast. You have to eat something, you're too skinny"
"Yeah… I know" George said. He wasn't going to complain, because Harry was right, he was starting to look almost malnourished.
He took the tray, picked the fork and slowly begun to eat while the other boy stared at him. Just when the plate was half empty he stopped eating, it was all his stomach could handle without throwing up, but it certainly was more than he would have imagined.
"Full?" Harry asked with another smile and he nodded, taking a sip of pumpkin juice. "Okay, then now it's time for a bath. Get some clothes and go to the bathroom while I tidy this room up a bit."
"Okay" he mumbled and walked to the nearest wardrobe; he chose a green t-shirt and a pair of black jeans and headed to the door. With a hand placed on the doorknob, he turned around, looked at the younger boy making his bed and in a low voice he said "Harry? Thank you"
Harry gave him a big smile that reached his eyes and George made his way to the bathroom.
"How did you do it?" a voice asked, making the dark haired boy jump. He turned around to see Charlie standing on the door frame, a glass of what looked like butter beer in hand.
"Charlie… You scared the shit out of me." He said and sat down on the bed "I just told him the truth… that he wasn't the only one suffering. I snapped and told him all the people I've lost, because he kept saying none of us understood how he's feeling, and apparently it worked." He thought about telling Charlie about the kiss, but decided against it.
"You ran a huge risk there, you know?"
"Yes, I know… but I told you I was going to take my chances, and I did it."
"Yes, you're right… and we're glad you did it. Thank you, Harry."
"I'd better go, before he finds me here. See you later"
And with that, the dragon-handler left, leaving Harry alone with his thoughts again. He felt happy because he was helping George, hopeful that his friend would make great progress, and he felt uncertain about the kiss. Harry liked boys, that was why things hadn't worked out with Ginny, but he didn't know if he had feelings for George or if the other man had them for him as well; the kiss had probably been just something of the moment. After all, George felt pretty desperate in that instant.
He reached his bag and took out a small vial of Dreamless Sleep potion; he always carried some with him if he went anywhere, just in case. He placed it on the nightstand and waited for the redhead to return, which happened just a few minutes later.
He looked slightly better; his face wasn't too pale anymore, and the dark circles around his eyes weren't as dark as before, but he still looked awful. Harry handed him the vial, he drank it with just one gulp and lied down on the bed waiting for the well needed rest to take over him.
George woke up to a dark room. He couldn't see a thing and slowly begun to remember all the events from earlier; he reached his nightstand in search of his wand, but instead he found something soft, it was an arm.
"Oh, you woke up" Harry said and with a flick of his wand, lighted up the room. "Sleep well?"
"Yes, thank you" he said, with a small smile.
"Hey! You smiled!" the younger boy said, excited, and George couldn't help but chuckle a little.
"I guess I did. What time is it?"
"Ten past seven. Dinner will probably be ready in a while. Do you feel like going down there?"
George shook his head; he didn't feel ready to face his family. "I'd rather eat here"
"Okay, I'll bring our food up here then".
"You don't have to… I mean, I don't mind eating alone"
"But I want to."
George couldn't help but smile at that statement; Harry wanted to be there with him. He mumbled a quiet "Thanks" and then, the green eyed boy went down to get their dinner.
They ate and talked about non-important things, such as Quidditch, the weather, music, trying not to touch at all any war related subject. The shine that used to be in the twin's eyes was still missing, but Harry promised himself he would do everything he could to bring it back.
Weeks passed by, and George slowly was making progress. It took him almost three weeks to get used to the life at the Burrow again, but he made it.
Harry spent almost every day in there as well; he came early in the morning, had breakfast with George in his room, something the redhead insisted on doing even if he ate the rest of the meals down in the kitchen, stayed the whole day with the Weasley clan, and left late at night after he made sure George was asleep. It had become a routine, but neither of them had a problem with it.
It was a warm afternoon on early August when Harry managed to get George back on a broom. It took them several arguments, but the older boy finally agreed provided that Harry was with him.
Harry took his Firebolt and they went to the backfield of the property where they all used to play Quidditch on Summer holidays; the younger wizard got on his broom, followed by George, who held on to his friend as if his life depended on it.
"Weasley, you're acting like Hermione" Harry joked, trying to help George relax.
"It's been too long since I flew."
"I know, but don't worry. I won't let you fall, you know."
Gently, George got more and more confidence, and soon enough he was enjoying the ride as much as Harry. He hadn't realized how much he missed being in the air until he felt the freedom again.
They flew together for a while, just enjoying the peace and silence the nature offered them, until it got dark and they decided it was time to go back.
The walk to the shed was calm and silent; they both were feeling quite cheerful and didn't feel like talking too much. Harry left the broom inside, closed the shed and stared at the night sky full of shining stars.
"What are you looking at?" George asked quietly.
"The brightest star" Harry said with a smile. "Also known as the Dog Star"
"It's Sirius, isn't it? Astronomy has never been my forte"
"Yes, it is. When I look at it, I feel as if he was with me. It comforts me a little"
The older boy placed a hand on Harry's waist and slowly made him turn around, blue eyes staring at emerald ones, in which the starry sky reflected.
"Are you alr…?"Harry tried to ask, but George silenced him bringing their lips together.
It was a clumsy kiss, neither of them being sure of exactly what to do, but it still felt nice. Their lips fit perfectly and moved in synchrony as if they were made for each other.
"I-I'm sorry" George said once they broke apart, scared of facing Harry.
George's shocked gaze examined Harry as if he had seen a ghost. He couldn't believe what he had heard, and was silently cursing all the potions he had been taking, for making him hear things.
"Are you okay?" Harry finally asked, worried by the look on his friend's face.
"Ye-yes. I just… What did you say?"
"I said I'm not sorry." He repeated matter of factly.
"Because I liked it, George. And if you did it because you wanted to, I don't see why you should be sorry."
"I wanted to but I thought you… you wouldn't like it."
"Well, guess what? You were wrong, Weasley" Harry teased, with a warm smile and George's face turned as red as his hair.
"I like you, you know? I always have, but these last few weeks just reconfirmed it." The redhead confessed, staring at the ground.
"I think it's safe to say that I like you too" said Harry quietly but loud enough for George to hear him.
"Thanks for being there for me, Harry."
"Anytime, George… Anytime" he whispered and hugged the redhead by the waist, resting his head on George's shoulder.
They stood like that for what felt like hours, until they heard Molly calling them for dinner and so they made their way inside acting as if nothing had happened.
That night, however, no one saw Harry head to Grimmauld Place as usual nor did they hear the soft chuckles coming from Ron's old room.
It was a cold February morning and Harry and George stood side by side on the Burrow's fields right where the wards ended, each one carrying his shrunken trunk filled with most of their belongings. It had been nine months since the Battle, six months since they had gotten together, and now they were giving another step in their relationship.
"Are you ready?" Harry asked his now boyfriend, stretching his arm so George could grab it.
"Yes" the redhead said, a little dubious.
"What's wrong, love?"
"Nothing, it's just… scary, I guess."
"Hey, you don't have to worry. I'll be right beside you." He said and gave George a little peck on the lips.
George nodded, grabbed his boyfriend's arm, and together they apparated away. A newly bought apartment in Muggle London was waiting for them.
Through the immense and empty hills around the Burrow, the wind was blowing, and if George had paid enough attention before apparating, he would have heard a familiar voice echoing in the wind, whispering "I love you, Georgie. Be happy".