The Sugar Quill
Author: Arya (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Peace, Calm, Tranquility  Chapter: Default
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Alone

Peace, Calm, Tranquility

 

Author’s note: After reading Fred’s death, I found myself mourning the loss of not simply Fred, but Fred and George.  I used this fanfic as a way to explain how I felt about this death and hope I did the characters justice.  Thanks to Zsenya for being my beta and to my flist for the help. 

 

Alone.  So utterly alone.  Empty, helpless, incompletely alone.  Standing in an empty, dark cavern, the sound of the silence bearing down on him as he walked, a child in the void, the silence louder than his faltering footsteps, which echoed horribly into the emptiness. 

 

“…can’t be gone, feel his pulse, you can’t have checked it right…”

 

“…wouldn’t have actually done it, they couldn’t have killed Fred, not our Fred…”

 

“…didn’t even realize it was happening…”

 

“…died laughing…”

 

The waves of the ocean crashed against the walls of the cave, the water washing up against his feet and soothing the pain that he hadn’t even realized was there.  His hands moved up and down his body as he felt the cuts and bruises that covered every inch of his skin.  The darkness of the cave seemed to crush in on him as the continuing sound of the waves echoed through his mind. 

 

*

“Fred, you’re next.”

 

“I’m not Fred, I’m George.  Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother?  Can’t you tell I’m George?”

 

“Sorry, George, dear.”

 

“Only joking, I am Fred.”

*

 

Empty.  Like a hunger pain, but one that could not be cured with a shot of firewhisky and a loaf of bread.  Something in him growled for comfort, but nothing would comfort him, not the weak smiles of his siblings, or the pained sobs of his mother.  Nothing, nothing would comfort him but for the boy next to him to jump up and laugh at them for believing his silly joke.  But it wasn’t a silly joke, for the boy was not moving, he was not even smiling.  He always smiled, except in Potions exams…

 

“…have to get the others to St. Mungo’s…”

 

“…Harry’s gone, can’t find him…”

 

“…leave Fred here, we just can’t!”

 

“…George…”

 

There was a light somewhere nearby.  He turned to follow it, and the sounds of the crashing waves grew quieter.  The water was warmer here, almost pleasant.  But the raw, gnawing feeling of emptiness continued in him even as he followed the light that was to make him lose all sense of reality…

 

*

“Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through…”

 

“It is not a laughing matter.”

 

“Oh, get out of the way, Percy.  Harry’s in a hurry.”

 

“Yeah, he’s off to the Chamber of Secrets for a cup of tea with his fanged servant.”

 

*

 

Couldn’t go on like this, couldn’t continue.  How to breathe, even, how to exist without the other half, without the half that knew all the answers and gave all the laughs?  Without the other half, he was an incomplete set: a Bludger without a Beater; a Keeper without hoops.  How to live, how to move on from this moment, to stand even was too painful, to leave this body, this face that was so familiar it was as if he was looking in a mirror. 

 

“…got to go, can’t stay…”

 

“…George, have to leave…”

 

“…isn’t safe, they’ll be here any minute…”

 

“…do with the body…”

 

The light grew stronger, and the water grew warmer, until it was almost too hot to stand.  But the light fascinated him, like the light of a wand that could never be put out, a Lumos that had no Nox.  He’d have to speak to George about that, how to make a light stay that bright…except George wouldn’t understand this light…George couldn’t know this light…not yet…

 

*

“What’s that supposed to be?”

 

“This, Harry, is the secret of our success.”

 

“It’s a wrench, giving it to you, but we decided last night your need’s greater than ours.”

 

“Anyway, we know it by heart.  We bequeath it to you.  We don’t need it anymore.”

*

 

Standing up, picking up his feet, leaving the body there for just a moment.  He’d be back, be back to stare into the empty face and wonder why they had been touched.  But now was not the moment for that; now was the moment to fight, to find an answer in revenge for his brother, partner, best friend’s unfair death.  He stood and followed his family from the bodies, toward the Death Eaters, toward battle, not caring if he lived or died, if he followed the living or the dead.

 

“…that Harry?”

 

“…no, no, not Harry…”

 

“…can’t be true, can’t be real, can’t have died…”

 

“…no hope…”

 

An echo.  He stopped for a moment, the silence overwhelming.  A whisper, a call?  But who?  The light faded in his eyes for a moment, and the sound of the water was too distant to hear.  Who had called?  He stayed still for a moment, wondering, hoping, dreading, but hearing nothing, continued on his way.

 

*

“-that’s blackmail, that is, we could get into a lot of trouble for that-”

 

“­-we’ve tried being polite; it’s time to play dirty, like him.  He wouldn’t like the Ministry of Magic knowing what he did-”

 

“I’m telling you, if you put that in writing, it’s blackmail!”

 

“Yeah, and you won’t be complaining if we get a nice fat payoff, will you?”

*

 

Defeat Voldemort.  Defend Harry.  Fight.  Revenge.  Blood pounding in the brain, words running through the head, Fred, Fred gone.  People running, scattering, curses, killing.  Screaming, someone was screaming.  Death Eaters, giants, spiders everywhere, humans running in all directions.  Wand out, ready to fight.  Friends at his side, shooting spells at anything that glared at him, anyone who turned a wand in his direction. 

 

“…out of my way!”

 

“…move, Ginny, move!”

 

“…AVADA…”

 

“NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!”

 

There were voices in the distance, murmurs in the back, but they disappeared quickly, choosing a different way, not wanting his way.  The light grew stronger still, and the water seemed to whisper to him, go on, move on, keep moving.  Too late to go back; too late to change course.  The whisper from above had long vanished, and so he continued to walk, his feet bare on the bottom of the cave, following the light that had no end.

 

*

“George, I think we’ve outgrown full-time education.”

 

“Yeah, I’ve been feeling that way myself.”

 

“Time to test our talents in the real world, d’you reckon?”

 

“Definitely.”

*

 

Not knowing what to do, running, running, running.  Shouting at others, his mind back with Fred, needing to fight for him, wanting to fight with him.  Curses shouted, blocked, avoided.  Confusion everywhere, chaos.  Battle ending, people running.  A voice in the distance, a familiar voice shouting to them. 

 

“…don’t want anyone to try to help…”

 

“…can he say that, course we’ll help…”

 

“…not want us to get hurt, but it’s too late…”

 

“…he survive it again?”

 

A ripple in the water this time, a ripple from far above.  But no time to stop, no time to wonder who it was.  The silence, the warmth, they called him, as if his name was in them somehow.  This place was where he had always been destined to visit, to pass through.  This place had waited for centuries for this moment, and there was no time to stop and wait.  Not now, not here.

 

*

“…meanwhile, we can enjoy watching you demonstrate the correct use of a – whoops-a-daisy!”

 

“You made me do that!  You wait, when I’m seventeen-”

 

“I’m sure you’ll dazzle us all with hitherto unsuspected skills, Ronald.”

*

 

Harry, Harry not dead.  Harry alive and running, running toward Voldemort, toward certain death.  Or certain life.  Talking, yelling, confusion.  Hissing at him, mocking him.  Curses shouted, lights and bangs.  Spells colliding, eyes watching.  Then…dead, dead at last.  You-Know-Who, The Dark Lord, Voldemort, Tom Riddle, dead in all certainty, dead like a human, dead like Fred.  Fred, who still lay in the Great Hall, his eyes unseeing, mouth open in a grin for a joke unfinished.  Fred, who would never know the end of it all, who would walk beyond and never return.  Fred, his brother whom he had loved and would miss, but would learn to live without, survive without, be without.  Fred. 

 

“…over, finally over…”

 

“…rest, go home, have some tea…”

 

“…Lupin and Tonks, can’t believe it…”

 

“…Fred, too.  And George, poor George…”

 

White taking over as he left the cave behind, the warm water flowing over his body as the silence wrapped around him like one of Mum’s warm blankets. 

 

“Hello, Minister!  Did I mention I’m resigning?”

 

“You’re joking, Perce!  You are joking, Percy….I don’t think I’ve heard you joke since you were-”

 

Peace, calm, tranquility, and everlasting satisfaction as a smile crossed his face for one last time.

//
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