George Wrap Up Post Who: George Weasley What: The life he never thought he'd be living. When: The post-battle years. Where: London and Ottery St. Catchpole, mainly. Rating: PG-13 (for Georgie's colorful language)
The night of the Final Battle, George and Fred had been sitting in the firelit parlor of their aunt's cottage, having a clandestine nip of Firewhiskey that they'd pilfered from Muriel's surprisingly well-stocked liquor cabinet. When word came from the Order that it was time to go join the happenings at the castle, they told their parents they were going on ahead while Molly and Arthur Flooed Bill and Fleur to let them know it was time. In truth, once they'd left the cottage, they Apparated back to the upstairs hallway and roused Ginny from her room, taking her with them before they left - they knew their Mum would pitch a fit when she found out, but they also knew that Ginny would be livid if she were left behind.
Arriving at the Hog's Head, they followed the passage into the Room of Requirement and quickly found themselves in the midst of chaos. They were relieved to see Ron again, and even vaguely glad to see Percy alive and actually there - not that they'd ever tell the pompous git that. For awhile, they fought together, but eventually they got separated. Fred was joking with him as they parted company, but his exact words are as fuzzy to George now as is much of what came after that point in the evening. The speed of the battle blurred events together, and he remembers flashes here and there of fighting, and shielding others, but little with clarity. He's regretted ever since that he can't remember what turned out to be the last words his twin said to him, but over the years, the fact that they'd had time together earlier that night, has somewhat lessened the sting of missing those last words. They'd shared a drink by the fire and talked about the future. They'd been uncharacteristically solemn that night at Muriel's, speaking of wishes and hopes for the time when Voldemort was no longer a shadow over everyone's lives.
One thing that George does remember with complete, crystalline clarity, is the moment he saw Fred's dead body lying in the Great Hall. He'd come into the hall with Lee, bruised and sore from the last round of fighting they'd been through, and as soon as he saw his family clustered at the other end of the long room, he knew. Most of them were standing around Fred, though Percy was huddled on the floor instead, and when they turned to look at George, they collectively stepped back far enough that he could see his brother laid out on the stone floor. George doesn't know how he got from one end of the hall to the other; sometimes, he thinks that Lee must have Levitated him, or carried him, because his legs couldn't have been working - they just couldn't have. He doesn't know how long he spent sitting with his family around Fred's impossibly still body, the only thought in his head a repeated no, no, no, no, NO, before the fighting resumed and he was swept up in it again. He remembers seeing Percy absolutely clobber Minister Thicknesse, and can still feel Yaxley's jaw crunching under his own fist - he'd been so out of his mind that at times he forgot to use a wand.
When all was said and done, he was thankful that Harry finally ended the snakey bastard, but mainly he was numb. He couldn't face moving back to the flat without Fred, and so he moved home for the first several months following the battle. But he couldn't face sleeping in their old room either, and often found himself falling asleep in either Bill and Charlie's old room or on the living room sofa. That summer and the following fall were horrible - he couldn't stop himself from picking fights with Percy every time he saw him, blaming him for coming back when he wasn't needed and for, as George saw it, distracting Fred at a crucial moment. Every time he fought with Percy, it made their mother upset, which made George feel horrible, yet he couldn't seem to stop himself. Finally, after a spectacular blow out in late August, he decided it was best if he moved back to the flat, even if it was difficult for him.
He left Fred's room just as it was, and avoided going down into the shop, despite the attempts of several family members and friends to get him to at least go down and look around. He couldn't make himself think about going on in the business without Fred, despite what they'd talked over the night of the battle when they'd promised each other that no matter what the shop would continue. He didn't want to make other people laugh, he fucking well didn't want to laugh - it seemed like the least important thing in the world. The grief was crippling, and he wanted nothing more than to recapture the numbness he'd felt right after it was all over, so he started going to the Leaky Cauldron most nights, drinking himself into a stupor, and then staggering home. He'd pass out on his bed, sleep well into the next day, haul himself up, only to stay in the apartment most of the day before going out to repeat the cycle. He showed up at family functions only when absolutely necessary, and didn't see any of his friends for weeks until one day when Angelina Johnson Apparated into the flat without warning and lit into him.
Her fury had surprised him, then angered him, but it also began to break down the walls that he'd been building around himself and after they'd fought, with her screaming at the top of her lungs that "he was being a selfish prick, thinking he was the only one who'd lost Fred," he somehow found himself crying for the first time since Fred's funeral. He didn't know how long he sobbed, but Angelina sat on their battered sofa and simply held him until he was done, saying nothing further, just offering him a tissue and a soft smile when he'd come back to himself. After that day, they fell into a bit of a routine, with her coming to check on him every couple of days and make sure that he was getting out and about and wasn't continuing to drink his life away. Looking back on it now, he knows that he wouldn't have made it without her.
He also wouldn't have made it without Ron - it was his little brother that finally convinced him to go back and open up the shop, deferring his own career dreams to help George do it. Ron, with a bit of help from Bill, also managed to get him and Percy on speaking terms again, although the road of their relationship is still a bit bumpy even today. He and Angelina developed another routine over the course of the first year after the war, one which turned into a rather desperate, co-dependent relationship. After a certain point, though, they both realized that they were meant to be friends and that forcing anything else onto their relationship was really an attempt to connect with the only other person who knew Fred on such a deep level. They broke off their romantic relationship the summer after Hermione, Ginny, and Luna finally finished Hogwarts. They've maintained a close friendship, however, and he will always be thankful to her for pulling him out of his early depression.
It was some years later, after the shop was running quite well again and he was back in the full swing of inventing, when things changed significantly for him once more. Ron had finally gone to join Harry in the Auror department, and George was supervising two shop managers - one for the Diagon Alley store, who handled day to day business while he did the inventing, and one for the WWW's new location in Hogsmeade - all in all, things were relatively good, despite not being what George had ever planned. He felt that he was finally living up to the promises he and Fred had made each other on that long ago evening, at least as far as the business was concerned, but something still felt...hollow. He'd not seriously attempted a relationship since breaking things off with Angelina, and he realized one summer evening that he'd not even been on a date in three months.
He happened to come to this realization in the produce section of Diagon Alley's Magical Market, of all places, and the shock led him to accidentally topple a display of apples. As they rolled all over the floor and he attempted to gather them up before the shop clerks saw him, a dreamy sounding voice asked him if he'd lost control of the apples because he'd been frightened by a horned toad - apparently they liked to lurk at the bottom of produce crates. He'd turned to find Luna Lovegood watching him with a twinkle in her eye and an enigmatic smirk on her face, and was pleasantly surprised to find that instead of being serious, she appeared to be, well, actually teasing him.
She'd helped him pick up the apples, and they'd talked...and talked and talked...and somehow found themselves having dinner at the Leaky and talking some more. It was the utterly unexpected beginning of a relationship that would last the rest of their lives. They eloped spontaneously a few years later, and settled down in a cottage near to both her childhood home and the Burrow. She pursued a career as a magical naturalist, and George continued to expand the WWW empire. Luna was smart, and funny, and George found that he truly enjoyed her unique insights which, far from being "loony," were often simply driven by looking at life from a different perspective. He will always miss Fred deeply, but he no longer can imagine his life without Luna, or their children - Fred and Iris - and is intensely grateful for the chance she gave him to start over, to start something new with her, something that helped him figure out who he was in this new, post-war world in which he was no longer one of a matched pair. Something that he is truly happy to call solely his.