27 November 1998
Well, it's the first winter without you. Strange isn't it? Everything this year is a first: first summer, first winter, first sale. Yeah, I reopened the store just last week. I couldn't stand to do it before then. You'd like it, I think. Ron's helping out some, when he can. He and Harry are going through Auror training, to make things official. Mum wanted him to go back to Hogwarts like Hermione's doing but we all know that's not for him.
I made a new product, just for you: Fred's Foreverlasting Fireworks. They don't really last forever, but pretty close. People seem to really like them so far. I think you'd like them, too.
It's really weird writing this, but Ginny told me it'd be a good idea. Help me move on, I guess. Who know, maybe it will. Maybe I don't want to let go.
1 December 1998
It snowed today, first snow of the season. You always loved the first snow, even if you would never admit it. You always said it was because the first snow made the best snowballs. You were like that about stuff you liked, always trying to pretend it wasn't anything special. Like Angelina. You always said you liked her for her...well, you know. But I knew that you really liked her.
I'm starting to think maybe Ginny was right; this really does help.
Your fireworks are selling great. You'd be proud.
2 December 1998
It's still snowing. I spent all day thinking about past winters. Isn't that corny? Remember that year we cursed the snowball to follow Ron around? It hit him on the head all day until Bill reversed the curse and it hit you in the face. I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. You did the same thing to Professor Quirrell that one year - remember how it turned out we were hitting old Voldy in the face the whole time?
There was that year at Hogwarts that you, Lee, and I annihilated Ron, Harry, and Hermione - best snowball fight we'd had in ages.
Or that time we went sledding down that hill, behind the house. You nearly ran over Loony Lovegood. She told you off pretty soundly for sledding over her patch of snowdrops. You helped her plant a whole new patch the next spring. I'm pretty sure she fell in love with you that day.
4 December 1998
I ran into Angelina today. I took her to lunch and we talked about old times. I can see why you liked her, really. She's easy to talk to, like you were, always making people feel comfortable. We went for a walk in the little park across from her house. We talked about you a lot, and she cried. She misses you, you know.
There are a lot of people that miss you.
5 December 1998
I invited the family over for dinner today. It's nearly midnight, but everyone only just left. Ginny and Harry came. I think everyone knows that it won't be more than a year before they're engaged. Ron and Hermione came, too, and Hermione was wearing a diamond on her ring finger. They're going to wait until she turns 19, though. Bill and Fleur came, and it's pretty obvious that she's expecting. Mum and Dad were there, of course, and Charlie. Percy was there, too, with his girlfriend Audrey. It's still a little awkward with him, but we're getting there. Angelina came. I'm really glad we're still friends, she's helped a lot in the last couple weeks.
Our little flat was bursting at the seams, but it still felt empty without you there.
7 December 1998
I decorated the store yesterday. I kept putting it off, because it wouldn't be the same, but it looks really nice now. Angelina helped me.
I miss you. I miss you every day, but more today. Why'd you have to go? I feel empty without you. It's like half of me is gone too, and I've got this gaping hole. It's never going to be filled, ever.
10 December 1998
I'm not mad at you. I was just a bit lonely that day, and upset.
Anyway, Lee came by yesterday. I haven't seen him since your funeral. We talked a lot about our school days. The good years. We sort of avoided anything really recent. I've been doing that a lot lately. I wonder if I'll ever be able to talk about it.
I had to close the store today because it snowed so much. You would have made something fun out of it, but I just sat in the flat and went over the sales books.
11 December 1998
Ginny came over today, because it was another snow day and she figured I'd be lonely. She was right of course. We finally talked about that day. I actually cried. I couldn't do that around anyone but Ginny. Mum would try and comfort me, and our brothers wouldn't be much help, but Ginny just let me get it all out. She didn't even try and give me a hug, where mum would have smothered me. Ginny reminds me a lot of you, only nicer. I told her about Angelina, too. She told me to not take things too fast, to wait until I didn't feel like I need her because of you. Something she gives good advice, that sister of ours.
13 December 1998
I was able to open the shop again today. It was still really snowy, though, and the shop was bloody cold. I had Hermione come over and show me how to do those little flames in a jar that she's so good at. I've got a bunch of those around the shop now, and it's a bit warmer.
I wonder, if you were here, if you would get tired of my rambling. But I figured if I wrote about every day stuff then it'll seem normal.
15 December 1998
Sales are booming. I guess there are a lot of budding pranksters who want our stuff for Christmas. It's really weird thinking that you won't be here for Christmas. Angelina's been coming round a lot. We go out to lunch sometimes, or out for walks, but mostly we just talk. It's so easy to talk to her, she can even get me to talk about you without it hurting.
She's coming to the Burrow for Christmas. I wonder what you would think about that.
17 December 1998
I've noticed that I'm not very funny anymore. Sure, I make people laugh at work, where I have to, but I haven't cracked a single joke. I don't think I've smiled at all since you...died. I wonder if I was only funny because of you.
20 December 1998
There's only five days left until Christmas. I've closed the store until January third, so there won't be anything to keep me busy.
Well, there's Angelina, I guess.
She's been coming around almost every day now. I think I'm going to ask her out on a real date soon. Do you remember when you went to the Yule Ball with her in sixth year? I made fun of you for asking her, because she was always just one of the guys. I think that I know why you asked her.
21 December 1998
I came home today, and Angelina came with me. It's really crowded here, with everyone all here, but it's really warm and almost cheery. It's still not the same without you, but we're learning to cope. I laughed for the first time today, thanks to Angelina. I don't even remember what she said, but it felt so good to laugh, and to hear her laugh back.
Did you ever notice how pretty her laugh is?
24 December 1998
It's Christmas Eve. Today more than ever I realized that it's Christmastime and you're not here. It's weird thinking that we can't do our annual Christmas Eve prank.
I caught mum crying in our room today over a pair of your old pants.
25 December 1998
Today's Christmas Day, and I almost didn't want to open my gifts. It was almost enough to make me cry not seeing your presents piled next to mine. Mum got teary-eyed again. It was still very festive, but it was also more subdued than normal, in a way. I know that you would want us to be happy, but it's so hard with you gone.
27 December 1998
I came back to the flat today. It's really quiet and empty after the bustle of the Burrow. I walked around the flat a few times after dropping Angelina off at her place. It never really hit me how quiet this place is until I got back from all that noise.
28 December 1998
Yesterday I finally decided that the quiet was too much. I went back to Angelina's place, and we went on our first real date. It was a nice Muggle restaurant, really fancy. We laughed a lot. I never realized how good it feels to laugh.
You always made me laugh, even when I didn't want to.
31 December 1998
Tomorrow's a new year, a new start. Your fireworks are all sold out. Lots of New Years parties, I guess. Angelina and I are going to have our own little party in her backyard. We're going to light all of your favourite fireworks, just for you. And for us, I suppose. Hopefully the new year will bring something for all of us.
"This is for you Fred," George said as he lit the last and biggest firework. It flew up into the sky and burst into a million sparks of a dozen different colors. The clock struck midnight. "Happy New Year, brother," he whispered.
"Happy 1999," Angelina said with a smile, wrapping her arms around George's waist.
"Yeah," George murmured. "I hope so."
25 December 1999
It's Christmas again; the second one without you. It's strange to think that it's been a whole year and a half since you've been gone. This past year was very full. I didn't write much, so I'll tell you all about it now. Bill and Fleur's daughter, Victoire, was born on the 14th of April. She's going to be as beautiful as her mum, but she's got the Weasley hair. Percy and Audrey are engaged. They're planning on getting married July of 2001. Ron and Hermione got married last month, so they'll be spending Christmas at their new house this year. Ginny and Harry are engaged; no surprise there. Charlie's been seeing a girl from his dragon center, her name's Elizabeth something-or-other. And Angelina and I are engaged. We're getting married next June. Your picture is going to be next to me as best man. It's not as good as the real thing, but it will work. Angelina and I really wish you could be there.
The store is doing well. I came out with lots of new products, and they're selling quickly. Your fireworks are still a favourite.
Last year, when Ginny said I should write these letters, I thought she was crazy. But I don't think so anymore. Sometimes it's almost like I'm talking to you. I love you, Fred. I never told you that enough, but I do. And you'll still be with me, no matter how many years go by.
"Are you ready darling?" Angelina stuck her head into the study just as George was tucking the last letter into its envelope.
"Yes," he replied, smiling as he picked up the pile of envelopes. "Let's go." They walked together to the front room fireplace, where a merry fire was crackling. George stepped forward and took a handful of Floo powder from the flowerpot on the mantle. He threw the powder into the flames, which immediately turned a brilliant green. Stepping into the flames, he shouted, "The Burrow!" He tucked his arms to his sides as he spun faster and faster until he landed abruptly on the hearth of the Burrow. He stepped out of the way just in time to miss getting hit by Angelina.
"There you are!" George was enveloped in a warm hug before he could brush himself off.
"Hello mum," he laughed, hugging her back.
"And hello Angelina dear!" Molly hugged Angelina next, who hugged back with a smile.
"Hello mum," Angelina said as she pulled back.
"Now, I'll let you two do what you need to do, and I'll have hot stew waiting for you when you get back."
"Thanks mum," George said gratefully, kissing her on the cheek before taking Angelina's hand and heading outside through the kitchen door. George gripped the envelopes tightly in his other hand as they walked through the snow, smiling slightly.
"Here we are," Angelina whispered, coming to a halt. George looked at the headstone before him.
1 April 1978 – 2 May 1998
Beloved brother, friend, son
You brought joy to all who knew you.
"Hello Fred," George murmured. Angelina released his hand and he stepped forward to kneel before the tombstone, heedless of the snow that quickly soaked the knees of his jeans. "I know that you'll never see these," George said, looking down at the envelopes, "but I figured this was the right thing to do with them." He took out his wand and pointed it at the ground in front of Fred's headstone, clearing a small space of snow. He gently laid the pile of envelopes, about two dozen, in the spot and murmured another spell. "There," he said, "now they won't get wet." He laid a hand on the top of the cold stone. "I love you," he whispered as he stood up. He turned to see Angelina still stand behind him.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly, holding her hand out to him.
"Yes," he answered, taking her hand as snow began to fall gently out of the pearly gray sky. "I'm fine."
They walked back inside, and George could have sworn he heard a very soft, mischievous laugh coming from Fred's grave.s