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One year.
One year to the day since Fred died and of course George is nowhere to be found.
Everyone knows where he is though, and they let him stay there.
It is hardest for him at night.
I’ve seen him.
I’ve heard him. 

He doesn’t know that I’m there or he chooses to ignore me. He lies on Fred’s bed. He smells the pillow trying to extract any last remembrance of him existing. I regularly spray Fred’s pillow with his cologne in an attempt to help George. I know it makes him feel better. 

The family, Harry and I are at the Burrow today. Molly is bustling about in the kitchen as she usually does and I think this helps her. I had just sat down when George made his appearance. He does not look like George anymore. 

Two days after Fred’s death he shaved his head. He makes sure that everyone can see his scars where his ear used to be. 

I know why he does it. 

He tries to be someone else. I know it bothers Molly even more than his resemblance to Fred. His entrance today shocked everyone sitting at the table. Even I couldn’t believe it. 

“Good morning!” he had announced. He put his hands in the air and loudly proclaimed to the stove “One year since he died! No more mourning! Time to be happy and move on with life. Forget about him! Any toast mum?” 

Molly clutches the counter for support and doesn’t answer. George ignores everybody’s stares and seats himself across from me. He catches the glare I was giving him. 

“What’s the matter Granger? Too harsh? Well, it’s not like it’s any of your bloody business he wasn’t your brother and it’s not like you were ever friends with us.” 

“You and Fred are two separate people and I know you didn’t tell each other everything or else you wouldn’t say that!” I was loosing my temper and I knew it. I got up and excused myself, ignoring the look on George’s face. 

“You don’t have the right to say his name.” George whispered to his piece of uneaten toast.
“I can say Fred’s name. Not saying his name is an insult.” I walked out. 

There are some things about my life that I haven’t shared with people except one. He is now dead. No one else knows much about my life before Hogwarts. Ginny has asked, so have Harry and Ron but I never let too much slip. 

I can keep secrets.
I can hide entire sections about my life from people.
I know how George feels.
I can tell you that much.
I do know. 

The more I think about Fred, the more I start to think about ‘my other life’ as I’ve come to call it. I do find it interesting that George and I both dealt with it in dramatically different ways. While I climbed a mountain of books, George swam in an ocean of Firewhiskey. Of course I was younger but one day I thought booze might be the answer. I found that after the effects wore off I was still in the same place. I had to force myself to move on. Over this past year I have thought about telling him. 

Crying with him.
Swearing and breaking things with him.
Going for a swim in that comforting amber liquid.
But I don’t.
I know I never will.
I do not let myself get trapped in that misery.
I know to move on.
Ron snaps me out of it and I realize that I’ve wandered to the edge of the Burrow’s property.
“Common Mione. I think you should come back in.” 

I allowed myself to be steered back in where we sat on the remaining seats on the well-worn couch. Bill followed, dragging George and plunking himself on the floor. George sat as well. He looked around with a sarcastic smirk “hey! If I was 6 feet under I’d be like him!!” 

Molly got up, the tears spilling from her tired face. Arthur followed glaring at George
“Why do you have to do that? You’re not the only one who misses Fred!” He left to comfort his wife. 

“STOP SAYING HIS NAME!!” He shouted after them.
I couldn’t stop myself even if I wanted to. I got up and moved swiftly beside him. My hand moved on its own free will and I smacked him across his face. He looked at me shocked before I hit him again on the other side. I could see my handprints etched across his face already; I looked into his empty eyes. I couldn’t stop myself from screaming “Don’t you ever say that again! His name is Fred. He IS your brother and you WILL respect his memory! No one wants to see you with Fred for a long time BUDDY!! We ALL love you! Yes, we love Fred as well but you have to realize that!!!” I was cut off as Ron and Harry grabbed hold of my arms pulling me back, probably for fear I would slap him again. George stood up his voice was calm as he spoke,
“Did you lose a twin? No. You didn’t. So you don’t know what that feels like. I don’t have to listen to a know it all little whiner like you.” I registered that Bill and Charlie now stood and grabbed hold of George. I looked at George and saw my reflection in his eyes. I started to cry. I was about to let it slip. 

“I do know what it’s like to lose a twin. I’m sorry I didn’t announce it to the world!!! So yes I do. I know what it feels like. And I don’t have to listen to a broken down man crying over his twin and forgetting to live his own life!!” I turned, wretched my arms out of Harry and Ron’s, and marched out the door. My composure broke in mid step out the front door. I huddled on the step. I hoped that they would leave me alone to my misery. I heard the door open and I knew it was George. I didn’t acknowledge him as he sat down beside me. I could feel his eyes burning into the side of my head but I didn’t look at him. 

I shouldn’t have let it slip.
Now everyone knows.
Now I have to tell them.
They won’t leave me alone.
They will look at me with sympathy.
If I ignore it maybe.
They won’t let me.
I have to bring both my worlds together now.
Wasn’t their book like that?
When worlds collide?
Yes that was it.
I haven’t read it.
I should.
Yes maybe I will.
George is leaning in to peer at my face that is hidden in my arms. I look further down at my legs. He tries to speak. 

"I-. I didn’t. I'm sor, I didn’t know." he finally manages to get out.
"I didn’t tell many people idiot. So don’t be sorry. Like you, I don’t like to tell people that I’m the twin that survived." It was harsh but I don’t care. I looked up just as he looked down to speak to his shoes “Fred was the only one who knew right?" that shocked me more than anything. First he said Fred's name, then he figured it out. I guess I took too long to reply because he continued on “Ron, Harry and Ginny had no idea or even a clue. I guessed." 

"Well you guessed right. I’m actually surprised he didn't tell you with what I did and the war going on." 

George looked up at me "What did you do?"
My turn to look down “It happened just after Dumbledore’s funeral. I was the last to leave. I guess he noticed I hadn’t come down and came up to check. I was caught up in the moment you have to understand" My voice was rising and I registered that I was crying, George had put his arm around me. I continued. “I thought about the damn war. The thought of loosing everyone that I love.
Everyone.” I squashed a spider absentmindedly with my shoe before I finished
”I thought that I couldn’t do it. I don’t know what possessed me but the next thing I knew I went into the common room and smashed one of the glass tables. I picked up a piece and slit my wrists. I didn’t think anyone was there so I thought I would be able to die in peace. Next thing I knew, Fred picked me up and healed my wrists. He cleaned up the mess and sat me on the couch. He made me tell him what was wrong and I told him about her." I continued to cry. George held me tighter. "What was her name?" I shook my head. I want to tell him but I can’t. He forced me to look at him "Hermione. If you can make everyone say Fred's name then you can tell me your twin’s name".
"Jane" I couldn’t say anything else. I concentrated on breathing.
"Your middle name is Jane too right?"
“Not originally. I changed it after she died. We were in a car accident two months before we were due to start Hogwarts. She got thrown out of the car. Not even the magic in her could save her."
George was silent for a minute.
"That’s why."
"What’s why?" I retorted through my tears. 

"That day Fred found you he came into the store having apparated back from Dumbledore’s funeral. I asked him what he was doing that took him so long and he said he was helping a friend. He then tackled me in a hug and told me to never kill myself over him. He made me promise by a special curse that would bind me to a Weasley’s side forever if I tried to off myself…” He continued to stare at me “She died two months before you were supposed to start Hogwarts? We had no idea.” 

“Well I think that’s why I was so mean to you two throughout school. I really like your jokes and stuff I was just always pissed that you two had each other and I had no one.” George kept his arm around me “You had all of us Mione. You are so strong. I couldn’t even walk those first two months and I hurt everyone around me including my parents.” 

“They know it’s hard George. We all want to help. I know what this is like. I’ve been through it. I just didn’t know how to tell you. I thought Fred would have said something but…” 

“Did he buy you roses? Now that I think about it he took some over to a gal two nights later and wouldn’t tell me about it.” 

“They weren’t for me. I told him that I never went to Jane’s funeral or visited her grave or anything. Fred took me to see her that night. He let me cry. He held me. And. For the first time in years… I was able to make my peace with her death. I was able to say goodbye. You’ve said goodbye and I always envied that. I couldn’t.” 

I could see that tears were pouring down his face before he buried it in my hair. “I’ve never said goodbye. One time I was so upset I thought I should dig him up. I tried to too. Charlie caught me and knocked some sense into me. Literally. I forgot how strong that shrimp is.” I looked at him and laughed gently “ I know that it’s hard hun. When you are ready I don’t care how long it takes, you let me know. I will be there. I want to.” 

“I will” he leaned down and kissed my cheek and I snuggled into him. I could see Fred in my mind, thanking me and smiling. I smiled back and muttered to myself, 

“I’ll bring the Roses.”

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