Fred Weasley
TheEmpress


First of April, 1978
  
First of September, 1989
  
Fifteenth of June, 1996
  
Second of July, 1996
   
Dates. Dates that carry memories of people. Of someone. Of him. I miss him now, more than ever. I didn’t think this could ever get worse, I didn’t think it would ever have me this low. April first, his birthday. I remember parties, full of fun and laughter. Laughter followed him. Or perhaps he followed laughter. I’m not quite sure, but wherever he was, there always seemed to be a light and fun spirit.  So it only stands to follow that any party in his honor would be the same way. His last birthday was no exception, not even as dark times descended and a deathly threat hung over us all. He insisted that his twentieth be the best yet. Auntie Muriel’s was decorated with outlandish streamers and balloons that he and his brother created. There was a cake and candles, and he even put on a party hat. No sour mood was allowed to infect his day.
  
He was so little once. He wasn’t always the strong, stocky, well muscled man he became. Once, though he would never admit it, he was small and scared. The first of September, 1989, as he stood in King’s Cross train station, preparing to leave for his first year of school. His brother went right through the barrier, charged forward and left his twin staring at the brick wall before him.
  
“Mum,” he whispered nervously. “Will it hurt?”
  
“Course not love.  I’d never let anything hurt you.”

  
He left then, hesitating only long enough that no one could question his bravery just yet. Brave, he was very brave. From the stupid sort of courage that allowed him to get away from Filch more times than anyone could count, to the sort of courage that let him defy injustice, any form of it, without so much as flinching. The fifteenth of June, 1996. His seventh year of school, so close to the end, and yet he knew exactly what he wanted, what was right. A defiant look upon his freckled face, he accioed his broom and with his twin, he set the school into chaos. Even now, after everything, there’s a little bit of swamp in the upper corridor on the fourth floor. A neat little bit of charm work.  His work, I know, he was always the charming one.
  
It was his idea that they open the store in Diagon Alley. George was content to continue with their mail-order business, but he had bigger dreams. He wrote the letters of inquiry, he secured the premises, he named the store, he bought the bright, magenta robes. July second, 1996, three weeks after their escape from school, he and his brother opened the doors of their joke shop. His dream, his goal, his accomplishment. How proud he was, a grin stretching from ear to ear as the customers poured in to look over the hundreds of amazing and eye catching trinkets and gadgets lying all about. In only a month they hired help and began to think of ways they could improve. That store was his pride and joy, I could see it in his eye.
  
Those blue, bright, and laughing eyes. Always laughing, always happy and brimming with excitement and promise. He could never really hate anyone, except perhaps the Death Eaters, but he hated them because they were hate. And evil and death and everything he would never be, never wanted to be, never could be. There was good in anyone, he could see it. He could mock and tease, mercilessly take the mickey out of his siblings, but in the end, he was there when they needed him. He was there at the end. He opened his arms, he opened his heart, he laughed. With his brother, for his brother, because Percy needed that. He needed the love and forgiveness of his family. Fred gave that to him.
  
May fourth, 1998. If all other dates and the memories with them are forgotten, this one never will be. When my mind is fogged and no other face remains in my memory, his will remain etched there forever. I could not hear what was said, I will probably never know.  But I saw, I watched. I saw Percy, the lost, prodigal Weasley fighting alongside his brothers. His face was contorted with pain and real regret as he looked at his brothers and spoke. A confession, an apology. Begging for forgiveness, for re-admittance into the family he had abandoned years before.
  
Fred looked at him skeptically, asked him a question I could not hear.  Even from my vantage point I could see that his blue eyes were dancing a bit, holding back the laughter that never really left. Percy’s answer came. Those around them smiled. He laughed. He was laughing as a curse hit the wall behind him. I saw Percy’s face contort into a scream. I heard that. I heard the resounding crash, watched Fred disappear, heard his brother screaming. He was still laughing.

***

  
It has been many years now, and those memories are old. They’re still there though. I don’t hear the screams anymore, I don’t hear the scrape and crash of stone. Not unless I really strain for it, but I don’t.  It doesn’t matter anymore. After everything, the end never really matters. It’s the beginning, the middle. All the things leading up to the end. The dates, the memories, the past. My past, and now I’m watching the future unfold before my eyes.
  
A crowd of laughing, shouting, jostling bodies crowd the platform around the scarlet engine. I can see George, without the shadows that used to haunt him, sending off his children. They’re nearly done with school.  Fred, named for his twin brother. Fred is tugging on Roxane’s pigtails and she glares at him. I can’t hear what either is saying, I can’t hear his mother’s rebuke. He laughs then, I hear that.  His blue eyes are dancing, his laughter shouting across the platform. Laughter.
  
I close my eyes and smile, listening to the laughter as it echoes through the years.

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