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           Disclaimer: The characters are not mine they belong to Jo Rowling so please don't sue me! I'm just taking them out for a spin.

           

The next few days were some of the strongest roller coaster emotional filled days Harry had ever experienced. They buried and said their final farewells to many brave friends. The hardest to say goodbye to, of course, were the closest friends. Lupin and Tonks, who were buried side by side. Colin Creevey, so small but so full of courage. Lavender Brown, who didn’t recover from her vicious bite from Fenrir Greybeck. Fred Weasley, who was like a brother to Harry.

George seemed lost without his twin, his other half. Together since conception, they had had the closest bond any human could ever have. Now that the final battle was over Harry could allow himself to grieve. It wasn’t until nearly a week after Fred’s funeral that Harry decided it was time to talk to George. George had shut himself in his old room at the Burrow and refused to eat. Mrs. Weasley had been forcing him to at least drink broth. She had turned to Harry for help in getting through to him.

“George?” Harry called as he knocked on the closed bedroom door. George did not answer. Harry intended to talk to George whether he wanted to listen or not. Harry tried the knob and was not surprised to find that the door was locked.

“Alohamora,” with a click the door unlocked and Harry cautiously entered the room. George was lying on his bed, his eyes open but not looking at anything in particular, glazed over and red from crying.

“George?” Harry ventured. George didn’t move or speak. Harry decided that he would continue, “George, I - I just wanted to talk to you. Your mother said you weren’t leaving your room or eating.” Still there was no response or change in George. Harry tried to provoke him into responding. “Do you mind if I sit down?” Harry gestured at a box that he could use as a seat. With no answer Harry sat down.

“I know it hurts to lose someone you love. I know--”

“SHUT UP! You don’t know anything! You don’t know how I feel! You- You-” George bellowed then stuttered with anger as he leapt of the bed. Harry could tell George was close to throwing a punch. “Fred is dead because of you! If it weren’t for you he’d still be alive!”

Harry sat quietly on the box, his elbows on his knees, his hands steepled in front of him, as he watched George through his round-lens glasses. He had a feeling of déjà vu except when he had been in this argument the last time Harry was the one doing the bellowing. Dumbledore had sat quietly behind his desk watching Harry tirade and tear apart his office. Harry remembered how much angrier it made him with how calm Dumbledore had stayed. On that thought Harry cautiously got up and began pacing the room. Without George noticing he waved his wand a fraction, thinking the incantation Coloportus, relocking the door.

“You’re right,” Harry told George.

“I - er, what?” George stood there his chest heaving, about to continue shouting and arguing until he realized Harry had admitted guilt.

“You’re right, Fred might still be alive if it weren’t for me. So would countless others who died fighting. Then again…they’d also be living under Voldemort’s rule.” George hissed upon hearing Harry use the name. Harry waited a moment before continuing.

“Fred knew the dangers of fighting for the cause, just as much as you did. As much as anyone who helped fight did. I wish I could say that that makes me feel better about it but it doesn’t. The cost of freedom doesn’t come free. I still feel responsible knowing they all had faith in me to help them win but I couldn’t save them all. But then I had to think about the kind of people they were. They were all fighting for a better future. A place where people don’t have to live in fear. Thinking about Fred I know he’d have wanted everyone to be happy, to find the joy in life-”

“You don’t know what he would’ve wanted. You’re not his brother. He wasn’t your twin! I don’t have to listen to you dictate to me what they all thought and felt,” George exploded, making a dash for the door. It was still locked.

“No, I suppose not, but I think, in time, you’ll come to see that I’m at least partly right. That Fred would have wanted you to be happy. If that isn’t enough to convince you to have a care for yourself then think about what you’re doing to your family, George. They’ve already lost Fred; they don’t want to lose you too. They care, George, and so do I.”

“Stay away from me and stay away from my family. If I see you anywhere near Ginny again you’ll regret it,” George said in a menacing tone. With a loud CRACK he was gone.

Harry unlocked the door and walked back downstairs with his head bowed in defeat. Most of the Weasley family was sitting around the table and clearly had heard most of the conversation. Harry tried to avoid Ginny’s gaze.

“I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a help, Mrs. Weasley, I’m sorry,” Harry apologized.

“It’s all right, dear. Besides that’s the most energy and the first sign of any emotion other than grief that George has shown in a few days. It’s better to have him outwardly angry than to have him turn inside himself. I just hope he comes around,” Mrs. Weasley said dabbing her eyes with her kerchief.

“Of course he will, Mum, he just needs some time, that’s all,” Ron said giving his mother a gentle pat on the back. Mrs. Weasley nodded her head, collected herself then headed toward the cupboard.

“Harry, dear, care to stay for supper?” Molly Weasley asked.

“Erm, no, I uh, I better not,” Harry answered fully wishing he could because Mrs. Weasley was the best cook he knew.

“Are you sure? I was going to make treacle tart for pudding,” Mrs. Weasley goaded knowing full well that treacle tart was Harry’s favourite. After what George had just said Harry’s guilt had made him feel ashamed and he felt more of a burden to this family than a friend. Harry felt like an outsider in a family’s grief. Harry was about to repeat his decline when Ron spoke up.

“Stay, mate, I wanted to talk to you about something anyway,” Ron looked at Harry expectantly.

“I…yeah all right, thanks,” Harry said then followed Ron out the door to the gardens.

“Hermione should be here in a about a half an hour or so,” Mrs. Weasley called out to them as they went out the door.

“Thanks, Mum,” Ron called back.

They strolled around the yard for a bit in silence. A lawn gnome was sitting under a tree eating any bugs that came near it. Ron tossed a rock in its direction and it scampered off.

“So, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?” Harry inquired.

“Few things actually,” Ron told him pulling the top off a tall weed. “First, is I just want you to know we don’t blame you, Harry. Fred knew the risks, like you said, and he would want us to be happy.”

“How did you…?” Harry wondered how Ron had heard him, because while George had been shouting Harry had been rather calm and quiet.

“Extendable Ear,” Ron explained showing Harry a fleshy coloured piece of string in his pocket.

“But your Mum?”

“Yeah, well, Mum has realized how handy they can be to spy on Ginny and me. I saw her using one to listen in and so I figured she couldn’t tell me not to use it without being a hypocrite so… Sorry I eavesdropped though.”

“S’all right.”

Ron waited a moment before broaching the next subject, “the second matter is, now that the main battle is over it’s relatively safe for the Grangers to come back out of hiding and Hermione wanted me to ask if you would come with us to go get them?”

“Yeah, sure, of course, I’ve gotta go get the Dursleys from the safe house they got put in as well. We’ll make a safe relaxing trip of it,” Harry told Ron which earned him a chuckle. “Anything else?”

“Yeah, er, what are your intentions with my sister?”

“Ron, I-”

“Because now that the war is over you don’t have any excuses anymore and you still haven’t talked to her. You’re hurting her feelings you know.”

“I just figured that you all needed some time alone as a family,” Harry explained rather lamely.

“And?”

“And what?”

“Boy are you dim. Are you gonna talk to her or not? If you don’t want to be with her you need to tell her ‘cause right now you’re draggin’ out her hopes and I gotta tell ya, friend or not if you hurt her I-”

“I won’t hurt her, Ron. I’ll talk to her today,” Harry said, this was an awkward conversation to be having with his best friend.

“Just be gentle with her, okay, because I think she loves you,” Ron warned Harry.

“That’s good,” Harry said with a broad smile forming on his face, “because I love her too.” Harry almost laughed at the expressions that crossed Ron’s face. “So what about you?”

“Course I love her, I mean she’s my sister,” Ron said defensively.

“Now who’s being thick? I mean you and Hermione?”

“Oh, yeah, well the past week’s been sort of a blur.”

“Tell me about it,” Harry said dryly. “So, you planning on telling Hermione tonight?”

“Telling her what?”

“That you love her,” Harry said chuckling at Ron’s confusion.

“Oh, well yeah but I’m not sure how.”

“I know how you feel. I’m sure it’ll come to us though.”

“What’ll come to you?” asked Hermione walking up to them.

“Oh, uh, nothing, it’s nothing,” Ron stammered.

“Yeah, er, n-nothing really, Hermione,” Harry said not sounding much better than Ron.

“Uh-huh,” she said obviously not believing them. “Did you ask him?” Hermione asked turning to Ron.

“Yeah.”

“Yeah, he did, course I’ll come,” Harry said thankful for the change in topic.

“Great, we’d better go inside though. I think we should give a hand with supper,” Hermione said leading them back inside.
 

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