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Chapter 5
The Conversation

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?" Fred was seriously pissed at George over this.

"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.
They laughed together, and they cried, too.

“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, grinningly hugely,  “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. Just like everyone else.", Fred told him firmly, not allowing George to pity himself.

“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.

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