Almost 2 years after the Battle for Hogwarts, and his twin brother's death, George Weasly has given up on life. He just doesn't care about anything anymore. Then he recieves a surprise vist from a...
A Surprise Visit
By Robert Conner
The Burrow shook with the sounds and activities of the entire Weasley family, and a “few” of their friends. It was the first time that they had all been together since the funeral of Fred Weasley, almost a year-and-a-half earlier.
The reason for the gathering, and celebration was the announcement that Ron had finally worked up the courage to ask Hermione Granger to marry him, and it was a party for the couple. Not only was the entire Weasley clan present, but also present were Rubeus Hagrid, the half-giant Hogwart’s professor, Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwart’s, Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley’s fiancé, and his godson, Teddy Lupin, along with several friends of theirs.
The party was going smashingly for everyone. Well, almost everyone. George Weasley sat off by himself, not really wanting to be there. He sat quietly, staring off into the fire blazing in the big fireplace, and nursing a firewhiskey. George had not been himself since his twin brother, Fred, had been killed during the Battle for Hogwart’s.
Everyone present had tried to talk to him, or to jolly him out of his funk, but it was all to no avail. He barely acknowledged their presence, much less to engage in conversation with them.
The oldest Weasley son, Bill, had cast an enlarging spell over the dining room so that everyone, even Hagrid, could have a seat at the table, without sitting in someone else’s lap. (Not that Ron or Hermione would have minded it all that much.)
Molly, the Weasley family matriarch, called everyone to the table.
“Come on, you lot. Dinner’s ready.”
“Okay, mum. We’re coming,” said Bill, pulling his quite pregnant wife, Fleur, up out of the easy chair she was ensconced in.
Ron held Hermione’s hand as he led her to the table, and Harry had Teddy in one arm, and held Ginny’s hand in the other. George came in last and sat as far from everyone else as he could, present in body, but not in his heart.
Arthur Weasley, the head of the family, magically filled everyone’s wine glass, and then proposed a toast.
“To those who are not with us in body. In spirit, they will be with us always. Cheers!”
Cries of “Cheers!” arose from around the table. And all drank. But George uncharacteristically downed his glass in one swift draught.
Molly waved her wand over the table, and platters of food, baked ham, roasted chicken, potatoes of several varieties, tureens of vegetables. And pitchers of butterbeer, milk, and ice water.
“Tuck in, all,” said Molly, and that is exactly what everyone did. Except for George. He hardly took any food, and only picked at what he took.
“George, dear, you’ve hardly touched your food. Are you all right?,” Molly asked him.
“I’m fine, Mum. I’m just not very hungry right now,” replied he son.
The meal was a festive occasion, and would have been much merrier but for the pall cast over the table by George’s blue funk.
George made his excuses after dinner, saying that he had an early business appointment the next morning, and left after collecting hugs and kisses from Fleur, Hermione, Ginny, and Molly.
Arthur and Molly exchanged worried looks as he departed, and the oldest boys, Bill, Charlie, and Percy, just shook their heads. Ginny and Ron wrapped up in their fiancés, scarcely noticed what had gone on. But Harry noticed, and decided to grab Arthur later and talk privately to him.
Hatching A Plan
After the other guests had left, and while the ladies were cleaning up, and chatting, making plans for the wedding, Harry asked Arthur, very quietly, to meet him on the porch for a talk. He had asked Percy to keep Ron busy for a while. He thought that Ron would become too emotional to think rationally during the conservation about to take place.
A few minutes later, when the men were alone, Harry took the bit in his teeth and brought up the subject of George.
“Arthur, I know that I’m not family yet, but I’m worried about George. He looks deathly ill. His color is bad, he has dark circles under his eyes, I doubt if he weighs as much as 9 stone, (126 lb.), he isn’t eating enough, and to be blunt, he wasn’t terribly clean tonight. Quite honestly, Arthur, he looks ghastly. It’s like he’s wasting away right in front of our eyes.”
Before Arthur could protest at Harry’s critique of his son, he took a moment to think about what Harry said.
“Harry, we’ve noticed it, too, and be damned if we know what to do about it. We’ve all tried to talk to him. But he just shuts us out. Since Fred was killed, he just isn’t the same. It’s like a part of him died along with Fred. And how in God’s name do we bring that part back? I don’t know. I don’t think that anyone does. I doubt that even Dumbledore could answer that.”
Arthur rubbed his hands across his weary eyes and went on.
“Molly is almost frantic about him, and when we settle down for the night tonight she’ll cry herself to sleep, just like she does most nights.”
Arthur ran his hand through his thinning hair in frustration, if not exasperation.
“I am afraid that George is trying to will himself to death. He was always exceptionally close to Fred, even for a twin, and Fred’s death hit him even harder that it did Molly and me. Harder than anyone could have imagined.”
Arthur Weasley began to pace along the length of the porch, trying to think of some way to save his son, but, as usual, coming up empty.
“Arthur,” Harry said, “ I think that I might have a possible solution”.
Harry outlined his plan for Mr. Weasley.
“Harry”, asked Arthur when Harry was done explaining his idea, “ do you really think this will work?’
Harry said, “I don’t know if it will any more than you do, but we’ve got to try something, or George won’t be with us in a year. He’s given up on life.
Do I have your permission to try?”
Arthur Weasley rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“I don’t see that there’s any alternative. I don’t want to lose another son.” He paused for a moment, and then went on, “ but I do not want Molly, Ginny, or the other women to know beforehand, just in case it doesn’t work. And Harry, I think that it would be well if you kept Ron out of it, too. He doesn’t need this sort of worry right now. Agreed?”
“Yes sir. I agree. I think it would be best, for now, to keep this between the two of us. Although I really hate keeping secrets from Ron. But in this case, I will. So I have your permission to try it?”
Arthur looked at the young man before him. Slender, bespectacled, with unruly black hair, a lightning shaped scar on his forehead, and vivid, intelligent, green eyes. He had, over the last few years watched him go from a callow youth to a bright, brave, honorable young man, who was engaged to marry his only daughter, his youngest child, and was himself another son to the Weasley’s.
“Harry, you could have attempted this without asking, on your own. But you chose to discuss it with me. You’ll never know how much that means to me.”
Arthur took a deep breath and let it out with a large sigh.
“Yes, Harry, you have my permission.”
He corrected himself, “Our permission. I think that Molly would approve. If I dared to tell her, that is.”
Arthur put his hand on Harry’s shoulder in a fatherly fashion, and said, “With God’s Help”.
A Visit To WWW
Harry walked down Diagon Alley to Number 93, the home of Weasley Wizarding Wheezes, and the flat of George Weasley.
What had been a thriving, bustling business, was virtually shut down. The shop was open, but it looked as though no one had dusted or straightened the shelves and displays in ages. The windows were so dirty that it was difficult to see into what should have been a brightly lighted shop.
Harry opened the door, and entered to the sound of a tinkling bell. He looked around and saw no one.
“George?” he called out, but the was no response.
Harry walked to the back of the shop, thinking that George might be in the storeroom, but he wasn’t to be found. He heard a slight noise from the flat above the store, and went up the stairs, calling George’s name. Still no response.
Harry was a little nervous, as well as being worried. He pulled his wand out from underneath his cloak, and held it out before him. Just in case, Harry thought.
He went through the curtains at the top of the stairs, and entered the flat. It was a disaster area. It appeared at first glance that someone had ransacked the place, but closer inspection showed that there was a patina of dust coating almost everything in the room.
Harry heard a small groan from the back of the flat, and with trepidation, walked slowly back to the bedroom on the left. George was lying on the bed, fully clothed, and judging by the smell, in dire need of a hot shower and shave, sleeping heavily. An empty bottle of firewhiskey on the floor by the bed told Harry why George didn’t answer him.
Harry sighed with relief and returned his wand to its place under his robes. He knew that it would be useless to try and rouse George. He’d simply have to wait until the sleeping young man awoke on his own.
“Might as well make myself comfortable while I wait”, thought Harry. Looking around for a clean place to sit proved to be a futile exercise.
Sighing, he pulled his wand out again and began to clean the flat.
Several hours later, Harry heard George start to rouse himself from his stupor. Harry remained silent and still, sitting in the armchair in the living room, and waited for George to come out of the bedroom.
A thoroughly disheveled George came staggering into the room, and stopped with a start when he saw Harry.
“Hullo, Harry. Surprised to see you here.” He looked around the now spotless flat and said, “I see that you’ve been busy.”
Harry said nothing as George went into the kitchen, and got a bottle of MagiCola© out of the refrigerator and opened it. He came back into the living room, and flopped down on the couch. Harry still said nothing, while George sipped at his soda.
“Okay, mate. Out with it. Why are you here?” asked the older man.
Harry remained silent for a moment. All of those hours of rehearsal in his mind, planning what he was going to say, and he couldn’t remember any of those things that sounded so good in his mind.
Finally, he started to speak.
“I’m here because you’re my friend, you’re about to be my brother-in-law, and I’m worried about you. So is your entire family. Your mum is almost sick with worry. Your friends are worried about you. I’m here to find out what in the hell is wrong with you. I’m here to try and help you.”
“There’s nothing you can do, Harry”, George said wanly.
“I’ve tried, and tried, and I can’t get past it. I can’t put it behind me. It haunts me every minute of every hour of every day. It haunts my dreams every time I close my eyes.” George leaned forward and placed his hands over his face, but Harry could easily tell that he was crying.
“I have to drink myself into a stupor, just to get some sleep. Even when I took the Draught of Sleep, I had terrifying dreams, reliving that horrible night. You have no idea how it is to see your twin die every night. Night after night, after bloody damn night!”
Harry knew exactly what George was talking about, the night Fred died, during what has become known as the Battle for Hogwart’s. George watched as his twin was killed during the battle.
Harry felt his pain, or at least, his own version of it. Remus and Tonks Lupin, Mad-eye Mooney, little Colin Creevy, Susan Bones, his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, his godfather, Sirius Black, the freed elf, Dobby, and so many others. Too many others.
Harry took a deep breath, and said to his friend, “Listen, mate. I know that Fred was your brother, as well as your best friend. I know you miss him. We all do. But are you going to let his sacrifice be in vain, by giving up? Do you think that’s what he would want?”
George grew red in the face, and shouted at Harry.
Dammit, Harry! Don’t you think that I have tried to tell myself all of those things? Don’t you think that others have said the same damn things? YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND!! THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SOUL! I AM NOT A COMPLETE, WHOLE MAN ANY MORE! PART OF ME IS MISSING!”
Spent, George leaned back, and said softly, “You can’t really understand, Harry. No one who isn’t a twin can understand. Fred and I was each one half of a whole, a set. Now the set is broken and it can’t be fixed.”
“George”, Harry said gently, knowing that this is where the hard part begins, “listen to me. You’re wrong. You were so used to being twin, that you simply never learned how to be yourself. You got so used to being “Fred and George” that you never tried being yourself.”
Harry pressed on remorselessly, “George, I know all about that hole in the soul. I’ve lived with it for almost every day of my life. You lost your twin, your brother. I lost both of my parents. Can you imagine that?”
George looked at Harry with incredulity.
“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, Harry. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone now.” He stood up, signifying that this conversation was over. Harry remained seated, and made no effort to rise.
George’s face clouded up, and he was just about to lose his temper when Harry spoke.
“No, mate, I do know. Fred told me himself.”
Taking A Chance
George looked stunned that Harry would make a bad joke like that, and said so.
“It’s no joke. I spoke with Fred just last night. He explained to me much of what you’re feeling, what you’re going through. And he’s worried about you as much as the rest of us are.”
George’s voice grew dangerously quiet.
“Get out, Potter. Get out now, while you still can. Get out while we can remain friends. Leave me alone. Whatever happens to me, happens. Just leave me the bloody hell alone!”
Harry still remained seated, watching George very carefully, knowing that the time was almost right.
He shook his head, no.
George began to reach for his wand, when Harry’s next words stopped him as effectively as an Immobulis spell.
“If you don’t believe me, then ask him yourself. Let him tell you. Someone needs to set you straight, and I guess that he’s the only one left who can do it.”
Slowly, George lowered his wand, and gaped at Harry in amazement.
“Harry, you’ve either lost your mind completely, or you’re trying to play some incredibly cruel joke on me. Maybe both.”
“It’s neither, George. Truth. I have a way that you can speak with your brother. It’s not a joke, or a hoax, and it’s not a memory spell, or anything of that sort. Interested?”
Stunned, George sat back down on the couch. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of Harry’s revelation. Speak with the dead? Really speak with his brother again? Is it possible? Did he dare to pass up any chance to speak with Fred one more time? All of these thoughts, and a thousand more raced through his mind in the space of a few seconds.
“Can I really talk to him? Is it possible?” he asked, barely daring to hope.
“Yeah, mate, it is.” Harry replied with a smile.
George sat stock still, hardly breathing, mulling it over for a few minutes, then told Harry of his decision.
“Show me how. Please.”
Harry reached into an inside pocket of his cloak and brought forth a small package. He opened the box to reveal a black stone with an odd symbol engraved on its face, and a crack running down the middle of it. Harry handled the stone with a combination of veneration and trepidation.
Harry held the stone up for George to see, but pulled it back when he reached out towards it.
“George, this is the Resurrection Stone. It allows one to communicate with the dead. Not an echo of them, but to them, their souls, directly. I used it last night to talk to Fred about you and your problem. He agreed to talk to you, but only this one time. After this, you won’t be able to speak with him, until you join him. Do you understand?”
Numbly, George nodded his understanding.
“Good”, Harry said. “There are a couple of things that you need to know. First, don’t take your hand away from the stone until you are ready to end the conversation, or the connection will be lost. Second, what you see and hear will be real, not any sort of spell or illusion.”
Harry took a deep breath, and asked, “Are you ready?”
George took a deep breath and said, “I think so, mate. Yeah, I’m ready as I’ll ever be.”
Harry handed the stone to his friend and told him to turn it thrice in his hand, and to think of Fred.
George closed his tightly and turned the stone three times, concentrating on his dead brother.
“You’ve been a right stupid git, you know that, Georgie?”
George’s eyes flew open to see his brother Fred sitting in the chair that Harry had vacated while his eyes were closed.
“We need to have a long talk, bro,” said the soul of his twin.
George gaped at the apparition seated across from him. No, apparition was the wrong word. Fred was as real and solid as George himself was. Or so it seemed.
“Fred, is it….I mean, you’re….how…”, sputtered George, more confused and shocked than he had ever been before in his life.
Fred grinned, and said, “Georgie, calm down. It is me, and yes, I am what you call ‘dead’, and that stone in your hand is a link between your world and the one I’m in now.”
“I can’t tell you too much about where I am now, except to tell you that life does not end with death. I have a life here, and I have someone to love here. Believe it or not, bro, I’m happy here.”
Yes, I miss you, Mum, Dad, Ginny, Charlie, Bill, and even Perce. I miss my friends. I miss the shop. Which, by the way, has gone straight to hell in a handbasket. What in the world is the matter with you, to let it fall apart like that? After all of the blood, sweat, toil, and tears we put into it, it should be going great by this time. Are you going to piss it all away, just because I’m not there? That’s not the George Weasley I know.
The George Weasley I know would never just try to curl up and die. Bro, I’m disappointed. This isn’t like you at all.”
George was unsettled by Fred’s declaration. And he knew, deep inside, that Fred was absolutely right. But he still didn’t know what to do. He still felt lost, adrift in a boat without a paddle. And he said as much to Fred.
“Damn it, you great prat!’, roared Fred, ‘Why don’t you try asking your family and friends to help you? At least until you can pull it all together, and stand on your own two feet. George, you’re the most creative person that I have ever known. And one of the strongest. And for you to simply give up, and quit like this is a real pisser. It’s not like you at all!”
Fred and George talked until the wee small hours of the morning. They worked out a lot of George’s problems, and fears. Fred helped George make plans for his future. And gave him some ideas for new products for the shop.
“George, you wouldn’t believe it, but I have been out-pranked since the day I got here. This guy makes me feel like a rank amateur. And when I found out who it was, I almost dropped my teeth!”
Okay, Fred, who is this master prankster? Who can beat you when it comes to pranking?”
George almost fell out of his chair when Fred said, “Albus Dumbledore”.
“Dumbledore?????”, asked George incredulously.
“Yep. The old man has a wicked pranking streak in him miles wide”, Fred told him, grinning hugely.
Turning to a more serious note, Fred had a final statement for George.
“Listen, ya goofy git, live your life to the fullest. Be happy. Find a good woman, marry her, and have a raft of kids. Mum would love that, don’t you know? Be a success. Work hard, play hard, and love hard. Live your life to the fullest.”
“We will be together again, bro. There’s no doubt about that. I promise it. Just… live your life. George, I never said it to you, and I regret that, but I was, and still am, so proud to have you for a brother. And I love you.”
Both of the young men had tears in their eyes.
“Harry told me that if I tried to use the Stone to call you again, that you won’t respond. Why?”, asked George.
“Because you have to live your own life, little brother. I can’t do it for you, and you’ll be happier doing it on your own. It would be cruel to you to keep allowing you to lean on me. You’ve got to do it on your own. But just remember this, I love you, and I miss you, just as much as you do me.”
“Fred, I don’t know if I can”, George said, anguish in his eyes.
“Yes, you can, Georgie. You have to’, Fred told him.
“Now, mate, I think it’s time for you to get on with your life, and for me to get on with my ‘death’. There are a couple of things that I do want you to do, though, if you will.”
George looked at his brother, knowing that this talk was about to come to an end, and said, “I’ll do whatever I can for you, Fred. You know that.”
Fred shook his head.
“No, not for me. For you. Live your life to its fullest. Have fun. Be happy. Tell mum and dad, and the others that I am fine, and that I love them and miss them, and not to grieve for me. I’m having the time of my li…, er, death,” he said with a huge grin.
“And one more thing, George. Find Angelina. Grab her and don’t you ever dare let her go. She loves you, and she has been pining for you. You two belong together as much as Ron and Hermione, or Ginny and Harry. She’ll be good for you, and you for her. You need each other. Don’t let her slip away from you.”
George could barely see for the tears, but he looked across the table at his brother, grinned, and said, “You got it, bro. I’ll do my damnedest. Fred, Thanks. I think…I think that I’ll make it now.”
“I know you will, Georgie. You just needed to get your head screwed on right, and I’m just the person to do it.”
Fred took a long, last look at his brother, and told him, “I think that it’s time to put the Stone down, now. Have a drink, and good cry, and start fresh in the morning, bro. You’re gonna make it now. I know it. I’ll be seeing you again one day. But don’t be in a rush to get here. I gotta have time to ace Al out of the top spot, y’know. Bye, Georgie. Be good. Be happy. Love ya, bro.”
Fred stood up, and George set the Stone on the table, but had trouble removing his hand from it. Fred nodded to him, and George pulled his hand away, and Fred slowly faded from sight.
A Very Happy Christmas
It was Christmas Eve, and The Burrow was packed with family and friends. The only person missing was George, but he had sent an owl earlier saying that he would be arriving about dinnertime, and that he was bringing a friend.
This brought about a rather intense guessing game among the women abut the identity of the ‘mystery guest’. As a matter of fact, the men were playing the same game in the living room.
Only Harry knew what was going on with George, since his reunion with his dead brother. He knew who the guest was, but kept his silence, and played along. He had been the only one to visit George at the shop since then, and it had been a rough go keeping the rest of the family from trying to visit him. But Harry and Arthur had succeeded.
At 7:00pm, on the nose, there was a knock at the door. Charlie opened it to see his little brother, looking hale and hearty, and better than he had in many months. George was wearing an iridescent green cloak, white linen pirate shirt, dark brown trousers, and knee-high black dragon-skin boots.
“Blimey, George”, exclaimed Charlie, “You look like you just hoisted the Jolly Roger from the mainmast!”
George stepped into the doorway, and replied with a huge grin, “Not yet, mate. I’m saving that for later, when the real festivities begin.”
Molly heard his voice, and came running into the living room, and grabbed George in a ferocious bear hug, trying to cry and laugh at the same time, tears of joy and relief streaming down her face.
Everyone else in the room was having trouble some bit of trouble keeping their eyes from flowing tears, too.
“Oi!”, shouted George, “what’s the matter with you lot? Crying! On Christmas Eve at that! Disgusting is what that is!”
“Oh, Georgie”, Molly said, “It’s just that we are all so happy to see you. And you look so dashing in that outfit, too. It’s such a relief to see the old George again.”
“George, we have meesed you zo much”, Fluer told him. I am zo happee to see you like zis.”
She came over to him and gave him a hug, and a big kiss on the cheek. Naturally George grinned hugely.
But everyone in the room noticed that George wasn’t the least bit flustered by the attention of his half-Veela sister-in-law. That in itself would draw the attention of a blind man.
Before anyone could comment on it, Hermione asked him who his guest was. Now George got flustered, and looked exactly like Ron did when he asked Hermione to marry him. THAT certainly got the attention of everyone in the room. His face turned bright red, and everyone could have sworn that the temperature in the room went up 20 degrees.
George turned and reached out onto the porch and pulled his guest into the living room.
“ANGEL!!!!”, screamed Ginny, jumping up and running to the newcomer and enveloping her in a great hug. Hermione quickly joined her.
“Mum, Dad, everyone,” said George, ”allow me to introduce Angelina Johnson. My fiancé.”
There was a great thud as Molly’s body landed on the floor, having fainted dead away. Arthur rushed to her side, lifted her limp hand, and patting vigorously in a vain effort to rouse her. Naturally, what with George’s announcement and Molly’s fainting, the chaos in the room increased tenfold.
Harry took out his wand and cast the levitation charm on Molly’s limp form, and placed her on the couch. After a few minutes of Arthur’s ministrations, and those of Ginny, Hermione, and Fluer, Molly awoke, looking both startled, and embarrassed.
She looking at George and Angelina, eyeing them intently. Like everyone else, she could easily see the love they shared. She stood and walked over Angelina, took her hands, looked her in the eyes.
“Welcome to the Burrow, Angelina. Welcome to our family.” Then Molly gave her future daughter-in-law a hug, which was returned in kind. That was the signal for the rest of them to mob the couple, offering hugs, handshakes and congratulations.
Later in the evening, after dinner, drinks were served and toasts were made. Some were syrupy (Ginny, Hermione, Fluer, and Molly), some were bawdy, (Bill, Charley, Ron, Percy, and even Arthur), but it was Harry who came up with the best one.
He stood, none too steadily after consuming so many drinks.
He raised his glass to each of the couples at the table, George and Angelina, Ron and Hermione, Bill and Fluer, Percy and Penelope, Arthur and Molly, finally he looked down at Ginny, seated next to him, and said, “To love, and all the best that it brings out in us.”
A chorus of “Hear, hear’s” arose from the table, and Harry sat down. If he hadn’t, he probably would have fallen. He, along with almost everyone else was just a bit snockered.
Conversation went on at the table for a couple of more hours, when Hermione rose to visit the little witch’s room, glanced out the window, and exclaimed, “Oh, look, everyone. It’s snowing outside!”
She made beeline for the door, forgetting what she had gotten up from the table for, and rushed outside into the heavy snowfall. The others quickly, (well, as quickly as they could, considering the amount of wine, firewhiskey, and champagne they had imbibed in), followed her outside.
They all, even Arthur and Molly, played in the snow, making snow angels, snowmen, and having snowball fights. After a time, they were all worn out from their play.
But George had a surprise waiting for them.
He waved his wand at the field next to The Burrow, and a great red comet flew into the night sky, and exploded with a tremendous “BOOM!”. Millions of tiny fireworks went rocketing every which way across the sky, in hundreds of colors, and exploded into smaller pieces, which then exploded into even smaller bits.
George’s fireworks display lasted for a full 5 minutes. Everyone ooohed and aaahed, and applauded the display.
(The day after Christmas, they learned that the Ottery St. Catchpole Fire Brigade had raced about the area for hours, looking for the “exploding airplane” that many of the town’s residents had reported to Emergency Services.)
When it was over, they trooped back into the house for warmth. It was late, and the party was beginning to break up. Bill and Charlie had spent the day enlarging The Burrow to accommodate all of the guests who would stay over for the holiday. Everyone went to their respective rooms in an effort to sleep off the evening’s festivities.
George was the last to go to bed. He sat on the couch in the living room, alone with his drink. The only lights on were the ones on the large Christmas tree in the corner.
The Angel on the top of the tree brightened and sparkled suddenly.
George smiled, and raised his mug to it in salute, and tossed off the remaining drink.
“Happy Christmas, Fred.”
All was right with the world.