George followed his brother down the stairs for their usual late breakfast. The smell of bacon and biscuits permeated the house, causing his stomach to rumble.
"Hungry Georgie?" Fred grinned back at him.
"No more than yourself!" laughed George as Fred's own stomach growled. Fred scowled at his midsection, and his twin pushed past him. It was obvious by the way George had picked up speed and glanced back mischievously at his brother that he wanted a race. Well, if it was a race George wanted, Fred was happy to oblige.
Somewhere around the second floor landing the race had turned into a wrestling match and both of them fell in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. Fred leaped to his feet and lunged for the finish line: the kitchen table, but smacked back to the floor when George grabbed onto a foot.
"BOYS! Enough of that! Sit at the table and eat like the civilized young men I tried to raise," Mrs. Weasley shouted at them from the sink where she was charming the early birds in the family's breakfast plates to wash themselves.
"Are you saying we're not civilized? That's –" started Fred.
"The most flattering thing anyone has ever said to us," finished George as he and his twin took seats and started eating from the ready-made plates in front of them. The bacon was a bit colder than he would have liked.
"Hush, Fred," Mrs. Weasley said, glaring at George. George felt a pang in his chest. Usually, it wouldn't bother him that people were mistaking him for his twin, but no one had said his name in the past couple days. It was starting to hurt a little. Even if he was just going to get yelled at, he'd like to be recognized.
Ron and Hairy stumbled down the stairs. “Mum, is it still breakfast?”
In the afternoon the Weasley family - plus Harry and Hermione - flooed to Diagon Alley for the annual pre-year supply run. Once the last of the family stumbled out of the fire place at The Leaky Cauldron and shook the ash from their robes, Mrs. Weasley gave out instructions. "You may split up into groups, but meet me back here at four o'clock. Understand?" George visibly perked up at this. “After what happened at the World Cup I just want you all to be able to have fun. Give me your school lists please – thank you,” she gathered each of their letters and took the small bag of coins Harry gave her with an embarrassed blush.
Once everyone had split off, George turned to Fred, “Want to go take a look around Knockturn Alley?"
"Great minds think alike dear brother of mine," said Fred, and they made a ninety degree turn towards the entrance of Knockturn Alley.
They were yanked backwards by their shirt collars. "Oh, no, you don't," said their father's voice. They turned around to stare into their dad's face which was now on eye level with the twins thanks to their recent growth spurt. "I knew you'd go off and get yourselves into trouble. If you don't want to be nanny-ed all afternoon, holding your mother's hand, you will stay away from Knockturn Alley."
They grumbled under their breath but walked in the other direction from the alley. George spun around as a thought came to him. "Dad?" he called to his still watching father. Arthur straightened a bit to show he was listening. "Can we borrow some galleons?"
"'Borrow?' You mean you're actually going to give them back?" He seemed amused at the very thought.
"Sure we will! When our joke shop hits it big we'll even pay you back with interest!" George said and Fred grinned beside him.
"Ha! Won't fall for that, Fred!" said their dad. George's smile faded a bit. "You boys will have to entertain yourselves without gold for today." With that Arthur turned around and headed after his wife who was making a beeline for Gringotts.
Fred looked at his brother, concerned about the expression on his face. It seemed frustrated and something else Fred couldn't put a finger on "Georgie? You alright?"
George faced his twin and twisted his lips in an unconcerned smile. "Of course! Just disappointed we won't have any coins to spend. Let's go check out the Owl Emporium."
They toured the whole of Diagon Alley two times, balancing books on their heads and trying to walk until they were kicked out of Florish and Blotts. George then dragged them to the apothecary to investigate an ingredient he suspected would help stop the unfortunate boils associated with an invention they were creating. Finally it was three fifty, and they started making their way back to The Leaky Cauldron.
"Fred! Hey, Fred!" called a female voice which turned out to be Kattie Bell, their fellow Griffyindor Quiditch player. She jogged to them, her periwinkle robes flattering her nicely. "How are you?" Katie beamed up at Fred.
"Great! Are you shopping for school?" Fred asked.
"Yep! I guess that's what you two are doing too." She glanced at George before giving her attention back to Fred. "So were you paying attention to Ireland’s defense during The Cup? We could definitely use some of their tactics in our match against Ravenclaw.”
Fred and Katie spoke strategy and George made a comment or two along the lines of “Lynch was trying to avoid the bludger and accidentally receipted the Bulgarian’s pass”, but it was clear he wasn’t really in the conversation. Katie talked directly to Fred, creating a personal bubble that encompassed the two of them.
A voice in the crowd yelled out "Katie!" and their friend said goodbye before making her way toward a broad-shouldered woman with a strong jaw and dark features that must have been her mother. Katie called back to them, "See you at school Fred!" and as if she just remembered he was there "and you George!"
Katie hadn't spared the time of day for him. It reminded him of his father and mother earlier that day. Sure they talked to him, but they were really talking to Fred. It seemed as if everyone preferred Fred over George – like it wasn't 'Fred and George' but 'Fred and his twin'. George was an afterthought. George clinched his jaw and sadness welled up inside him. That wasn't true. It couldn't be true. People liked him as well for being George and not for being Fred. But, why did people – his own family – insist on always calling for Fred and not George?
"Fred!" Ginny called them over where she and Hermione were standing by the back entrance of The Leaky Cauldron. George's hands tightened into fists. She had referred to the both of them as 'Fred' as if there wasn't a 'George' too.
"Georgie?" Fred nudged him in the ribs.
"Come on, we've only got a minute left until four. I wouldn't put it past mum to ground us if we're five seconds late," George picked up his pace. He was overreacting, he told himself. This was all in his head.