Everyone was in bed. Ron, Charlie and Percy shared a room, Ginny was in hers and Bill and Fleur had one room to them. Fleur had decided to bring Bill to spend time with the family. The war had devastated the Weasleys. 7 children were reduced to six, and for one person it seemed, that his other half was lost, forever. George was the most miserable of them all. He kept himself in his room and ordered that no one disturbed him. Mrs Weasley had tried to get him to control but it seemed next to impossible.
It was few hours past midnight. Everything had finally settled down to peace, at least outside the house. Not that any celebration was going on, it was all about the internal happiness and peace in The Burrow now. They'd returned from Hogwarts that evening and it was as though they were coming to a different place. It didn't feel like a home, not without Fred. For one moment Ron had imagined how the house would have transformed if Fred had been amongst them. The entire house would've resounded and reverberated with the twins' inventions. It seemed to rip him apart. He couldn't bear it. He fell to his knees and broke down and it took the combined efforts of Bill and Mrs Weasley to pacify him. No one but Ginny had seen George silently slip away from the scene, to his room. George took Ginny aside and told her that he be left alone till he wished. Ginny nodded, unable to even look at the pained eyes of George. No one had dinner that night and they all went to their respective rooms. Mr Weasley sat on the table staring out of the window while Mrs Weasley lay down. All that she could think of was Fred and nothing else.
"He is loved Molly dear. Be calm.. He is loved.. He is loved.. We love him here. "
Mrs Weasley sat bolt upright. She didn't know when she fell asleep. What she had seen now, she couldn't be sure. The person she saw just then seemed so vaguely familiar but she had no memory of ever seeing the person in real life. She had no answer to the question.
"What is it Molly?" asked Mr.Weasley, coming close to her and putting his arm around her.
Mrs Weasley was shaking terribly. She composed herself and told what she had seen. Mr. Weasley's eyes widened with shock.
The room itself seemed to be screaming in pain but George felt it was nothing compared to what he was feeling. If the entire world knew how he was feeling now, it would explode to pieces. He wanted to close his eyes and forget the whole world. The void was raw and the depth of it was too much to seal in his lifetime. It was going to be hard. Fred was no more. There would be no more Fred with him to taunt Ron and Percy. There would be no more Fred with him to speak nasty stuff about themselves among themselves and laugh about it all the same. Damn. He didn't know if he'd be able to smile the same way again, let alone laugh. He threw his belongings and sat on the bed, not on his but on Fred's. He pulled out Fred's jumper. He looked at it and he felt as though Fred was laughing at him. He held the jumper close to his heart, wishing a faraway thought that he too had gone with Fred. Tears cascaded down his face without warning. He made no effort to stop them. He let them flow. The night seemed to stretch beyond eternity. He cried for hours and hours and didn't know when he fell asleep.
Ron awoke the next morning with his eyes burning. He guessed it could probably be the lack of peaceful sleep the previous night. Percy and Charlie were already out of bed. Ron climbed down slowly. He didn't feel like it at all. Something was missing and he knew what it was. The hall was so silent. He imagined it, otherwise. Why did you leave us, Fred? He wiped his face and came to the table. It was a silent breakfast.
"Isn't George here yet? Didn't he wake up?" asked Ron, speaking for the first time since the previous evening, though he knew what really the answer must be.
"No Ron, he's in his room. He didn't want to be disturbed. Wanted to be left to his will" said Ginny, looking at her plate.
"It'll drive him crazy. We have to bring him back to normal!" exclaimed Ron "I'll talk to him!" and he went off to the twins' room, now George's , after finishing his breakfast.
Harry and Hermione had bid a temporary bye to Ron because they felt he needed his family the most now. Ron hadn't questioned anything either. Harry was wondering how long Ron would be able to hold it all. Harry and Hermione had told Ron their idea and Ron had merely nodded. While leaving, the two had hugged Ron tightly and he had returned the same to them. They had waved to one another and disapparated to their own places. Harry and Hermione disapparated inside Grimmauld Place. Harry couldn't think of anything else. Once inside, the two fell on the cushions.
Harry couldn't help but think about Ron. It was the second time in a few days' time that Harry and Hermione were without Ron, although the reason for the first one was a completely different story. In some corner of his heart, Harry felt that their already strong relation was set to a stronger one since the patch up after the disastrous fight in the forest the other night. He still remembered the first day on the train. Ron had always been the cheerful sort of person and Harry had never felt discouraged while he was with him. They'd had misunderstandings and all that, but that was part of every relation. For the first time since they had met, Harry had seen Ron in a situation that quite crushed and numbed every single sense in the body. He felt terrible. He looked at Hermione. She was resting her head on the cushion, with her eyes closed. He had an idea.
"Hermione, do you think we could go to, you know, to Ron’s house?"
Hermione sat straight and thought about this. She knew why Harry might want to go.
"But Harry, don't you think Ron and the others need more time?"
"Maybe yes. I want to talk to them, as soon as possible, maybe even tomorrow -to George, to Mrs Weasley, to Mr Weasley."
"That's fine Harry but see, they really need some time. We can't just barge in like that"
"We're not going to barge in, Hermione. You…you don't understand."
"Yes I do, Harry. I very well understand."
"It's not just them that have lost Fred, Hermione. We've lost too. How many have died for me. It was my fault Sirius died, and for my cause I've let people die, right from Remus to Mad Eye, why even Dobby and Hedwig. It hurts Hermione. I need to talk to them."
"Relax relax Harry! Alright, we'll go in the evening perhaps. At least give them a day's time to let it all sink in."
"Thanks Hermione" said Harry
Hermione smiled in return and they both got up and went to bed as they didn't feel like having dinner. Harry went to Sirius' room and Hermione to Regalus Black's. They lay staring at the ceiling for a long time before they sank into a deep sleep.
Ron climbed up the stairs to where George was. He found the door slightly ajar and went inside. He tried not to breakdown again seeing George lying on Fred's bed, holding Fred's jumper tightly to his chest as though it were his most favourite toy in the world. George's every cell seemed to be screaming even in his sleep. Ron took few deep breaths and edged closer to Fred's bed and sat on it. He absent-mindedly started to run his hands over Fred's jumper. His insides clutched tight and he felt a sharp pang of pain tearing his chest apart. He thought his ribs would break open any time. Ron couldn't remember feeling so lost ever before. He longed to see Harry and Hermione for he knew, that if anyone could ease his pain, it were the two.
"Try some Puking Pastilles, Freddie?"
Ron snapped out of his reverie on hearing George's voice. His eyes were closed but he seemed to be mumbling. He went closer to George, held his hand and called softly, "George"
But all that escaped George were words about their inventions and more often the word "Freddie"
"George, this is Ron. Wake up", Ron said gently once again
George's swollen, bloodshot eyes flickered open slowly and he blinked at Ron. He didn't speak a word. He ran into Ron, hugged him and broke down for the umpteenth time. Ron could do nothing but pat on his brother's back and console him. He too was breaking inside, but he knew, that if anyone else needed the family's full support, it was George. He was determined to do anything to get him back to normal, even if it took days, weeks or even months.
"You have to calm down George. Fred will not want you to be crying like this." said Ginny who had just come inside the room. "Come on now, have breakfast"
George pulled away from Ron, and stared at Ginny. She was looking at him straight in the eye. He looked back at her, and shook his head.
"No George, you are coming. Now!" said Ron, kindly.
After much persuasion, George agreed and came quietly down with Ron and Ginny. Mrs Weasley was cooking. Apart from the clatter in the kitchen the entire household was in a pin-drop silence. George sat down quietly at the table, and looked at his food as though it were a strange object. Ginny tugged at George's shirt and asked him to eat. He ate few crumps of bread. Ron tried to persuade George into staying with them for some time, but it all fell on deaf ears as George went back to his room, leaving behind Ron and Ginny staring behind him.
George climbed as slowly as he could. Part of him wanted to stay away from that room but part of him really wanted to be in the room to at least live with Fred's memories for the rest of his life. The truth was facing him like the sharpest blade ever, only he was trying to shy away from it. There was no denying. His other half was gone to a land that was quite unreachable. He wished he'd gone too. He couldn't bear it. He remembered the day of the battle when his Percy had told him this horrible truth.
George was fighting few Death Eaters, completely unaware of the terrible fate that his twin had met with. He stunned a death eater, and petrified few. Spells were flying from all sides.
"Avada Kedavra!" cried a death eater
George ducked in just in time and cried "Stupefy!” The spell hit the death eater squarely in the chest and he was thrown backwards. Bill was fighting along with him, throwing curses and spells at the Death Eaters. Suddenly it all became silent and the entire zone echoed with Voldemort's voice.
"....you've allowed your friends to die for you..." and it went on and on till it ended with a warning to Harry that if he didn't meet Voldemort soon, many more magical blood would be spilled without mercy. George hoped that Fred and the rest of his family were alive, if not injured. Bill pulled him by the shoulder and they both walked slowly towards the Great Hall. On the way they saw Percy- a look of inexplicable grief writ on his face. He sat staring far, at nothing in particular.
Bill and George came closer to Percy. Percy looked back at Bill in a helpless sort of way. It suddenly struck Bill as to who was with Percy during the fight. Bill looked at him in a questioning sort of way, a look of fear in his face that only increased a million fold when Percy nodded.
"Hey hey.. What’re you both nodding about? Let me know too" asked George impatiently. "Hey Perce... where's Freddie?"
Percy gave one helpless look at George.
"C'mon Perce..." he said again impatiently."Oiii...Freddiee" he called out impatiently.
"He's not going to come George" said Bill, in a sad voice
"Where's he gone? Trying to drown himself somewhere" laughed George
"He's gone George. Forever! He's not going to return" said Percy, his voice breaking
"You're joking, Perce, aren't you?" laughed George again, but some corner of him tightened as he asked this. “Please tell me you're joking, Perce." Percy felt his chest taut as he remembered that those were the last words of the person he and his family had just lost.
Percy got up and looked at George straight in the eye and shook his head as tears flowed down his cheeks. The scene still haunted Percy as he explained the fatal moment to Bill and George. George's wand fell away from his hands and he fell on his knees. He didn't know what was happening. Had the world ended? No! Fred could not just leave him and go. It was impossible. George got up and the three of them entered the Great Hall. They saw the Weasley family except Ron, crowded around, hugging one and other. George's insides clenched tight. He desperately hoped it was all fine. They neared their family and George stopped few feet away. He couldn't believe what his eyes had met. He wished the world would end right there. He felt an arm closing around him. It was his mother. She pulled him towards the family. Ginny ran into him and started to sob bitterly.
Feeling numb all over, George stared at the motionless body lying on the floor. A body build that resembled him to the last freckle. Fred's hands had bruises and cuts at several places. His head was covered in dry blood. He saw the face that still carried traces of his last laughter. Fred seemed to be lying there peacefully, and George wished that he too had died with Fred. The grief seemed to rip every cell of his body apart. He looked at his twin once again. Fred was gone. He didn't want to believe it. But that was the truth. Fred was gone- gone to another place to make people happy and left this place with a gaping void in everyone's heart especially George's. He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry but even his voice seemed to have deserted him now. All he could feel was the truth piercing him like scalded knives. He felt his mother's arms cuddling him again, and he stared at her with blankness in his eyes and lifelessness in his gait.
The wound felt as raw as he again stumbled on to the bed. He thought of the reign of Umbridge, when both of them spent hours together inventing new jokes to annoy the tyrant. Every single day, every hour and every second, Fred was with him. He wished they were never separated during the fight because the fact that the only time they were separated, he had lost an ear. He doubted if he would ever be able to perform the Patronus Charm, because every happy memory that he had was associated with Fred and there was no way that he could produce a Patronus with this huge, never-to-be-filled void in him. Both of them had always felt secure in each other's presence though they never told this out in open. George felt so vulnerable and insecure with Fred gone. He doubted if he'd be happy every again. Memories of Fred flooded into his mind and he sat in Fred's bed, helplessly.
Neither Harry nor Hermione were in the mood of breakfast. They ate whatever Kreacher had prepared for them and after that, they wandered around the house aimlessly, reminiscing and reliving most of the memories that Hogwarts had given them. Hermione flicked through some of her old text books and smiled to herself when she came across the levitating charm in her Charms textbook. She too in some corner of her heart wanted to see the Weasleys, comfort them and spend time with them more specifically with Ron, all the same she wanted to give them more time for the devastating loss to sink in. Harry couldn't help but think only about Ron. Ron was not the best at anything specific, but Harry knew, he couldn't have done it without Ron. Just the mere presence of Ron had pulled him up from his worst times. Ron had trusted him like no one ever did. He wanted to be with Ron, be with him and comfort him. Spend time with him and George. Two more hours were left for them to go to the Burrow. Time went by and soon Hermione called him.
Harry nodded and the two of them disapparated and apparated a few hundred meters outside the Burrow. As the two walked towards it, The Burrow seemed to be swimming in a pool of sadness that could never have been put into words. He remembered the first time he came to the Burrow. It was by the flying car with which Ron and the twins had sneaked out to rescue Harry from the Dursleys. Little had he expected to return to the same house to console one bereaved family. He remembered Ron's words "It's not much, but its home. At that time, it not only seemed like Ron's home but also his. The fact that someone actually wished good for him had made him so happy. As each one of them had their own thoughts about the place, they neared the door.
They didn't know how time flew. Ginny, Mrs Weasley and all others were doing their own work. Mr. Weasley was called for work and so he along with Bill and Percy had left sometime after breakfast. Ron had set his things in place in his room and later he went to George's room to do the same. George didn't notice Ron coming to his room. Ron slowly put back the belongings to their own places. Wanting some fresh air, he climbed downstairs and came out through the door. He played mindlessly with his wand, letting the fresh air brush past his face hoping it would instil a new energy in him to bring his brother back to normal. With every passing second he felt so miserable, for his family, especially for George. He looked up at the sky and hoped his brother would look at him from there. Give me the strength to do it, Fred. I know you won't want him or us like this. We miss you Fred!
Hearing that familiar voice after two big days, he turned to the two people who meant the world to him apart from his family. The other two smiled and before he knew, Ron ran into a hug and broke down on Harry's shoulders. Hermione held Ron's hands as Harry let Ron expel out all his anguish. They stayed there for some more time. Harry felt relieved being there with Ron and for Ron. After some time, they went inside.
"Mum, look who's here" called Ginny as she saw the three entering the house. Ginny could not put into words about how happy she was to see Harry and Hermione, her best friend.
"Aww dear" said Mrs Weasley as she hugged Hermione and Harry. "Doing good both of you?"
Harry and Hermione smiled and nodded, as they sat down for a talk with Ron and Ginny, while Mrs Weasley went to carry about with the chores. As the conversation went on, Ginny seemed to remember something.
"Listen, there's something I need to tell. Mum's being strange since morning. I tried to ask her but she somehow shrugged away." said Ginny
"I noticed that too and there was a mix of shock when both of you entered." said Ron, with a puzzled look.
"It was when she saw Harry. She seemed a bit ok with Hermione, but when she saw you, Harry, I thought I saw her jolt"
Harry listened intently but silently. His mind wandered. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Mrs Weasley gazing fixedly at him, a look of inexpressible grief and shock writ clearly on her countenance. He wondered what made Mrs Weasley behave so strangely. The reason for the grief was so obvious yet he wondered what could have caused the shock on her face. Leaving Hermione, Ginny and Ron surprised with a questioning look, he got up and walked towards where Mrs Weasley was standing.
"Aww Harry dear. Is there anything you want?"
"Mrs Weasley...may I ask you something?"
"Anything dear!" said Mrs Weasley as she got back to her chores.
Harry hesitated. He looked at the elderly woman in front of him. Although he never had the privilege to be kissed on the forehead and to be fed lovingly by a mother, he had seen a motherly figure in Mrs Weasley. She'd cared for him and loved like he was her own son. It was from her that he had received a completely new hand knit sweater for Christmas during his first year at Hogwarts. "He's as good as” was what Mrs Weasley had told Sirius in one of their arguments when Sirius had said Harry was not her son for her to be so possessive of. If his 17th birthday was made special, it was because of her. She had given him a watch, which was a tradition to be given in their family when the children attained the age of 17. It was not brand new, but it was given out of pure affection and he loved it.
"Mrs Weasley...may I, if you don't mind....know the reason for your strange behaviour?” asked Harry finally, after much hesitation. "Ron and Ginny have been telling this ever since I came here and sure enough I noticed it too."
Mrs Weasley had expected this. She knew that her youngest children, who were so close to Harry, would definitely tell him and even if they didn't, Harry would have noticed. She didn't know how to put it in words. The moment she saw Harry, her heart skipped a beat and everything fell in place. Those angelic eyes that she had seen in her dream the previous night...she knew who it belonged to. After all, the 17 year old boy standing in front of her had inherited her eyes. She looked into his eyes for a long time, saying nothing.
"Mrs Weasley... do you hold me responsible for Fred's death? I never wanted him to die. He meant to me as much as he meant to Ron and Ginny and....." said Harry softly
"Lily" whispered Mrs Weasley still looking at Harry straight in the eyes.
Harry's eyes widened with surprise, shock and confusion as he wondered what Mrs Weasley might have meant by just uttering his mother's name.
"My mum?!" choked Harry
Mrs Weasley told all that she saw in her dream the night before. Harry was dumbstruck at what he was hearing. The motherly figure standing in front of him never missed the opportunity to show Harry that she loved him too, just like she loved Ron and her other children. He realized then what the dream must have meant. Within moments, he felt his eyes glazed.
"Mrs Weasley, my mum can never be grateful enough to you for having looked after me. I am not your son, but you treated and still treat me like I'm one...and your dream, perhaps my mum wanted to tell..that.." he choked ,"She'd look after Fred just like you had looked after me. Like a son." he finished. Unable to bear the weight of his own words, he turned away to face the garden. The dusk was beginning to set in as his gaze involuntarily shifted upwards to the skies, wishing he'd see his loved ones again. He knew it was stupid to wish, yet he also knew where he'd find his loved ones. Sirius had said "The ones that love us never really leave us...you can always find them in here" and he had made Harry feel the love of a human close to a parent for the first time in his life. Before he knew, he raised his hand and placed it across his chest, and closed his eyes as a single drop of tear rolled down his left eye.
"You were never a different person to us, Harry. The moment you stepped into this house, we saw you as a part of us, as a part of our family. We love you dear" said Mrs Weasley causing Harry to turn towards and face the outstretched hands of Mrs Weasley. Within seconds, Harry had hugged Mrs Weasley. Mrs Weasley smilingly planted a gentle kiss on Harry's forehead, as Harry smiled. It was a beautiful feeling.
Outside the kitchen, neither of them noticed the tear-streaked smiling faces of Ron, Ginny and Hermione, who out of curiosity and concern had come to see what Harry was up to.
Minutes later, Harry was climbing up the stairs towards George's room. He felt all air escape his lungs as he imagined the plight of George who has been worst affected by the loss of Fred. When Ginny and Ron had told them, Harry stiffened but calmed down a bit when Hermione held his hands. Calm down Harry! You've come here to comfort George and not cry along with him! he said to himself. A cold shiver was sent afresh down his spine as he remembered the shock on the fatal day. He had seen him- the boy who made others laugh, the boy who made everyone around them happy, and the boy who he loved like a brother- die before his very eyes. An explosion caused by a Death Eater had separated them in that zone but when everything calmed down, all he could see were three red-haired young men. Praying desperately that all should be well, he inched closer to the place, only to have himself numbed from head to toe. The world seemed to have stopped. It seemed like a Dementor was inching closer because the laughter of his generation had just ceased to exist. Fred Weasley lay there, his lifeless eyes staring into emptiness and his motionless body still reverberating with the echo of his last laughter. Guilt seared into him, as he helped Percy carry Fred's body to a safe place. Controlling the already out-of-control Ron was something he couldn't bear to do, but he still managed to.
The sound of an arguing Ron and Ginny made him snap out of his thoughts and he realized he had already reached George's room.
"George" he called, knocking the door
"I told you I didn't want anything!! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!” came George's voice
"George, it's me Harry here"
"Oh Harry! Sorry about that. I thought it was Ron." said George, in a voice that seemed so much unlike his.
Harry went inside the room. It was all silent in the room. A painful silence to be precise, thought Harry. It was evening and Mrs Weasley would be announcing dinner any time.
"What brings you here, Harry?" asked George
It was not George, was it? This young man's usually smiling face, now reflected a pain in bounty, the happy eyes were bloodshot and he had dark marks around his eyes. The very reason for the arrival was George. He had never hesitated to speak out to the twins and he knew that holding back whatever he wanted to talk now would make his purpose meaningless.
"I thought you probably knew, George" said Harry quietly
George gave a pathetic smile that made Harry feel like his insides were pricking.
"Listen George....I....I'm sorry if you think I'm responsible for it. I never wanted anyone to die for me" said Harry, slowly and carefully, lest he should invoke George's anger, if he had any inside.
"Blimey no, Harry!"
".... I understand what you're going through George... But listen, you're only making yourself more vulnerable"
"I already am, aren't I Harry? More vulnerable and more insecure with half of my heart and soul gone to a distant land from which there is no returning" choked up George as he uttered the last few words. He didn't feel the need to hold himself back, because it was Harry he was talking to. He and the rest of his family had treated Harry and Hermione like a part of the family and so George didn't need to put up a mask that would hide everything.
Harry was completely at a loss of words. He didn't know how to react. He had wanted to talk so much, but seeing George was totally numbing his senses. He looked at George once again, who Harry knew, had broken down for the umpteenth time. Harry got off the bed, pulled a chair and sat facing George in such a way that his face was level with George's. Harry took George's trembling hands in his.
"George… Look at me" told Harry gently.
George remained the same way, a cascade of tears pouring down his cheeks, seeming completely unwilling to control them.
"George…please look at me"
George slowly raised his head. If George was worse than Harry had ever seen him, Harry didn't know what to call it. The tear-streaked face was too much for Harry to see. He took a deep breath and spoke carefully.
"I want you to listen to me very carefully George...The pain of losing a loved one is excruciating, I know. What is the point if we spend away the rest of our lives crying over their loss...." paused Harry, as he observed George's reaction. Taking his silence as a signal to continue, "...our loved ones are never really gone from us George. You needn't look for them anywhere because they are always there. Want to see?" asked Harry. George stared at Harry and nodded slightly. Harry took George's right hand and placed his over George's heart.
"Feel it George! There... can you feel it? Your own heartbeat?" Harry asked, looking into George's eyes.
George closed his eyes and he seemed he was trying to feel the sound of his heart, along with the beauty of its creation. When George opened his eyes after a long time, his eyes were glazed. Looking at Harry, he nodded.
"That's where Fred lives. He lives in your every breath and in every of your heart beat, you will be able to hear him- his laugh, his jokes and him as a whole. You don't have to look for him George, because he is always in here" finished Harry, still holding George's hand.
"Fred wouldn't want you to be like this George" came Hermione's voice from the door.
Harry and George looked up and saw Ginny, Ron and Hermione standing there. They came inside and Hermione sat next to George while Ron and Ginny knelt down beside Harry, facing George.
"Fred would be disappointed if he sees you like this, won't he?" asked Ginny, gently going closer to George and putting her arms around his shoulder.
"Please George. We need to move on, you specially. Come on!" told Ron, with the tears in his eyes that threatened to burst out anytime.
"It's difficult George. But not impossible. It does no good if you forget to live now. We're here for you anytime- your family, Harry and I. We will help you George"
George got up from the bed and walked up to the window, stood silently staring outside.
All the four people around him seemed to be talking right. He stared out into the window, hoping to see Fred's face laughing down at him. He sighed and stared into the distance. The night was beginning to set in. The first silvery rays of the bright moon were beginning to paint the nature. The faint final calls of the birds were beginning to cease. George began to feel that every word of what everyone, especially Harry, had said. Fred was not with him physically, but he'd always be with him, in his every breath, in his every word, in his every movement. He felt as though Fred was whispering from the deep chasms of his heart, telling him not to be a cry baby, but to go ahead and live life. George knew, all though it was not possible with immediate effect, it could still be possible with effort and loved ones. He stayed staring out into the distance for a long time, when Ron's hands on his shoulders made him snap out of his reverie.
"Will you?" was all Ron asked.
George remained silent for a while and then with the faintest possible smile, he nodded and said "I will"
Before they knew, Ron and George were hugging each other so tightly, and soon enough, the other three were hugging him too.
This will take time! But I don't mind as long as I have my family, Harry and Hermione! I will live!
Harry and Hermione spent another day with the family before departing the next day. Harry was glad that he at least had made George agree to move on, although he and the others knew that it was next to impossible. Harry somehow felt confident of the progress henceforth. Harry and Hermione bid a goodbye to the Weasleys and Ron accompanied them till they were outside. Harry couldn't help but notice Hermione sort of restless since the morning and he wondered what was in her mind. He signalled to Ron to ask her, and Ron instantly did it.
"Is there anything troubling you Hermione? You seem really disturbed since morning!"
"Well yeah...I've been wondering… you know..."
"...to go to Australia?" completed Harry, realization suddenly hitting him
"Yeah. It's been over a year and now that all is settled I guess I can go there and bring them back. Of course I'll try to revive their memories"
"Alright… we'll be leaving for Australia soon!" said Harry
Hermione smiled and suddenly felt the longing to meet and revive her parents' memories as soon as possible. Mum! Dad! I'll be there soon! Your daughter is coming for you!
They once again waved a bye and disapparated from the Burrow leaving Ron, with the pain lessened and with a new energy instilled in him.
1 YEAR LATER: WEASLEY'S WIZARDING WHEEZES
"Hey there…How're you doing buddy?"came Lee Jordan's voice as he entered the WWW.
"Better off by pranking around with Ron!" winked George
"Wanna have me lend a hand here?"
"To set this place on fire eh? You try that and I pour an everlasting potion of blackness which will blend you with the background of the night!"
"Oh shut up mate! If alone...."
"Hey there Jordan! Doing well eh?" called out Ron, who was helping out George with the WWW temporarily. He had apparently sensed what Lee Jordan was about to tell, and decided to immediately divert it. George was just in the 50% recovery stage and there was no way he was going to let anything ruin the progress.
“Good. Feels great to see you after a long time! Watcha doing up here? And…how’s he doing?” Jordan asked, pointing to George who was attending to some young ladies with Love Potions.
“Seems to be getting on well..but don’t you mention him here!” warned Ron
“All right, all right!” apparently understanding what Ron meant, “Hey look, Harry and Hermione are here too! Hey there, you both!”
“Hey Jordan! What brings you here?” asked Harry, shaking hands with Jordan
“Just random boring stuff. How’re you both doing?”
“Well! Pretty good actually!”
Harry, Ron and Hermione spent some time together with each other while the George and Jordan had a good time tending to the people’s needs
Ron couldn’t put it in words about how he was feeling with the way seeing George’s progress. George had remarkably improved in those months. Ron, just like the rest of the family, knew that George was still being crushed by the loss of Fred, but was amazed at the way George was making every attempt to go forth and live life. Later while leaving, Harry asked Ron, “So how’s things now Ron?”
“Better than I possibly imagined” smiled Ron at Harry and Hermione
“Go on, mate” winked Harry at Ron
Ron smiled when Harry used the word “mate”. It was just one more of the many times that Ron had felt an unending connection with Harry and Hermione at such an emotional level. He had never said it out much. But Harry had literally saved his father and sister once from dying a terrible death. Although he connected with Hermione differently in the past 2 years, the relationship was just meant to be. “Wouldn’t have been possible without both of you, truly. It was difficult- handling him, speaking to him, why even looking at him was difficult. Thank you Harry! Thank you Hermione! Your arrival was the biggest relief I received on that day last year.”
“We know” said Hermione, as she hugged Ron
“We’re here always, Ron and you know it!”
Ron just smiled and hugged Harry as he and Hermione left the Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.
That night, Ron stayed up late, feeling happy that his brother was finally making attempts to come out of the trauma and live ahead by carrying Fred in his heart for the rest of his life.