Authors: Debbie and Lissanne
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter. We can only dream.
Summary: It's Fred and George's last night together, and fears of separation are almost overwhelming.
Feedback: Yes please. Even short notes mean a lot. This was a co-operative effort; we each took a twin. Let us know what you think of the result.
**TWINCEST WARNING** If the very idea makes you cringe, leave now. Flamers will be laughed at; the only exception will be made for flamers who can explain, in a coherent fashion, the reason they insist on reading something they know they will hate.
As we walk silently down the hall to our bedroom, I realise that this is the last time we will both be sleeping in it, and a thousand thoughts start to race through my mind. How can he leave me? How am I going to cope without him? *Breathe* without him? Who's going to hold me when I wake up at 2 in the morning from a nightmare? Who's going to wipe my tears away and tell me everything will be alright? Who's going to love me so thoroughly that I feel like I'm going to explode?
We make it into the bedroom without saying a word. I study him in the moonlight that illuminates his features. His face is drawn into the same look that has been ever present since we made the decision to be separated. Not that we had much choice; Bill pulled some pretty major strings to get us these jobs with Gringotts, and they were less than impressed that even *one* of us had to drop out, and Mum simply has to have someone here with her. Since she got sick, she's barely been able to move out of bed. Of course, when she first got sick, she was admitted to St Mungo's, but after a week there, they had to admit that they had no idea what was wrong with her, or how to treat it, so they suggested we bring her home and look after her here. For the last month we were at Hogwarts, Dad hired a full time nurse, but that was expensive, and we both knew he couldn't really afford it, even with Bill, Charlie and Percy kicking in to help pay. So, after many sleepless nights and just as many talks, we agreed. Fred would go to Egypt with Bill and I would stay to look after Mum. There just wasn't anyone else - we've just finished our final year at school; Dad, Bill, Charlie and Percy couldn't take the time off work, and Ron and Ginny are still at school - Mum wouldn't hear of them having any time off, even when Ginny happily agreed to do so. So that was that. Decision made for us.
I sit down on the edge of my bed, watching as Fred paces up and down in front of me. He opens his mouth several times to say something, but nothing comes out. I know how he feels; there are no words that can even begin to describe the myriad of emotions that run through my body at this moment. I can feel the tears begin to well up in my eyes, and I shake my head furiously. I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I won't break down in front of him. I won't let him see me cry. I try to tell myself that it's not forever; that we'll be together again soon. But as I watch him pace, it doesn't work. I feel like my heart is disintegrating inside my chest. Like my soul is being ripped out.
He stops pacing and turns to me; the look on his face....it's like nothing I've seen before. If I had to use a word to describe it, I'd have to say...despair. Oh God. I want nothing more than to wrap my arms around him and never let him go. And suddenly, he speaks.
"George," he says my name in a shaky voice. Like he's just hanging on by a thread. The pain is now so heavy in my chest that I feel as if I'll just stop breathing if he touches me. He crosses the room in a few strides until he is standing right in front of me. I can't bring myself to look at him, because I know if I do, I'll surrender. I'll give in to him, and I desperately don't want to, because I know it will be the last time, and I can't cope with that thought. When he realises I'm not going to look at him, he ever so gently reaches down and tips my chin up with his hand.
I can feel George try to pull away as I turn him to face me. But I need to touch him, to imprint the feel of him on my memory. How long will it be until I get this chance again? A few months? A few years? Bill hasn't always been able to get home for Christmas; as a mere junior employee, I'll surely be given even less consideration when it comes to holidays. All that time without the other half of my soul. We barely survived the one night when I ate a bad batch of Canary Creams and had to stay in the hospital wing without him. How will I survive the next-- Oh, God. I can't think ahead like that. It hurts too much.
Instead, I concentrate on the present, gazing into his face -- my face, and yet not -- noting every detail; the curve of his eyebrows, the shape of his jaw, every freckle still visible in the moonlight. Looking into a mirror just isn't the same, even when it talks back to me. I know that image is cold, empty. Flat. Not my warm, living, breathing George. Even now, though his eyes are dark with pain and partly obscured by unshed tears, I can still see the strength of his love shining through. No mirror has shown me that.
And no one has ever loved me like George has. Our parents, our brothers and Ginny -- they all love us, of course. Harry, Lee, Angela, Katie all great friends. But nothing has surpassed the strength of our twin bond. It pulses between us, day and night, love and understanding, companionship and comfort. What will happen to our bond when I go? Will it stretch? Or will it break?
For the first time in my life I will be alone, and the thought terrifies me. I'm already terrified for Mum; but, as terrible as it sounds, I'm almost more afraid to be alone. If I could only stay with George, if we could still be a "we", I think I could face any trial. But how can I manage if I'm
"Don't say it," he whispers, his jaw barely moving beneath my fingers. "Please"--his breath catches--"just don't."
I let go of him and kneel down so our eyes can be level. Looking into his gaze, so much like my own, I'm suddenly reminded of all the times we shared silent glances before committing our next act of mischief. The thought actually brings a faint smile to my lips, even as I blink away my own threatened tears.
I know what he's thinking. I can see the outline of a smile, and I know *exactly* what he's thinking about. As he kneels there in front of me, he's thinking about the mischief we've created over the last 18 years of our life and it makes him smile. He doesn't have to tell me - because I can hear it inside my own head, like he's talking out loud. But I *can't* go there now, because if I do, the wall I've so carefully built around my emotions, holding them in check, will come crashing down and I'll fall into his arms, bawling like a baby.
But I can't help myself - I softly reach out and trace the outline of his lips gently with my finger. Those soft, full lips that have kissed me senseless. Those lips that have worshipped my body for nights on end. I know I've made up my mind that I can't give in to him tonight, but right now, if I don't make contact somehow, I'll simply stop breathing.
He's not touching me back, though. He's just looking at me, like he's trying to memorise my face. Ha! As if he doesn't already know every curve, every nuance. As if he hasn't kissed it a thousand times before. And suddenly, I can't stop them. I can't stop the tears that overflow and start to roll steadily down my cheeks.
"Don't," he whispers softly, lifting up a hand to brush them away. But before he can make contact, I stand abruptly, and go to the window, staring out at the night. There are no stars tonight - all you can see is black. It's as if the night knows that my world is about to collapse around me - and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I no longer make any attempt to stop the tears, and as Fred comes up to stand behind me, I can feel his sorrow. I can feel his utter despair and helplessness. And suddenly, I feel selfish - I'm not the only one who's feeling the pain. He feels it too....
Ever so slowly, he reaches up and softly places his hand on my shoulder. I can feel him draw a breath in, like it's an effort just to do so. My chest starts to hitch, and I desperately try to swallow the sob that's threatening to appear. "It's not the end, you know," he begins in a whisper, although it feels so loud I could scream. "No matter how far apart we are, you'll always be my twin, George. And I'll always love you more than anything else on this earth." I shut my eyes, and can feel my hands clenching into fists by my side. The cracks are beginning to appear in the wall....and when he removes his hand and tentatively places a small kiss on my neck, that's it. I give up. I surrender.
I can feel the familiar little hairs on the back of his neck, subtle textures beneath my lips. I don't remember exactly when we started doing this -- it's been this way between us for so long. When we were small, we clung to each other for support, or hugged and touched to show affection. We felt no fear or shame, even as we grew older; it was a completely natural thing to do. And so somehow our childhood cuddling gradually morphed into kissing, and then more, more to that final rejoining of our bodies back into one. As we grew older, we learned such things were forbidden by society, so we made sure to keep our behaviour a secret. But we have never felt guilt over it.
I trail a few more kisses along his neck and jaw, but stop when I hear shuddering breaths. I know without looking that they're not in reaction to pleasure; no, I'm sure tears have escaped their prison and are now leaving painful tracks down George's face. Without a word, I simply wrap my arms around him and pull him close against my chest, resting my head on his shoulder. It is a comfortable, familiar position -- nestled together as closely as possible, our bodies making contact everywhere. There is no need for 'personal space' when the person you're touching is an extension of you. And right now, I don't want the space. Starting tomorrow, there's going to be too much space between us as it is.
Tomorrow suddenly, despite the reassuring words I've just spoken, the pain of separation overwhelms me. Yes, he'll always be my twin, and yes, I'll always love him more than anything, but those are the very things which make parting so indescribably agonising. I can't help it -- the tears begin to run uncontrollably down my own cheeks, dampening George's shirt. He knows what I need, even as I understand him -- within moments, he turns in my arms and we finally give in to our pain, sobbing against each other, our faces each buried in the other's shoulders, oblivious to the silent world around us. Only we exist; only our bond matters.
I'm not sure how long we stand there - is it hours or merely minutes? -- but the ache finally eases up enough for me to raise my head. I push the last of the tears away with the back of my hand, and manage a faint smile when I see George do the same; neither of us has any Kleenex. His face is mere inches from mine now. I'm sure his eyes are reddened by crying, his cheeks stained with tears, but in the dim light none of that is visible, nor does it matter. His lips, however, are still clearly visible, reminding me of the intimacy we've shared over our lifetime. Without any further thought, I act on my need for that closeness by pressing my own lips to his in a soul-bonding kiss.
Oh God. The moment his lips touch mine, all conscious thought flies right out of my head. All I can do now is feel; feel him reach up a hand to brush away the last of my tears; feel his lips press down on mine with rapidly increasing hardness; feel his mouth open, demanding the same from me. And I surrender willingly.
I need this closeness so desperately, like I need air to draw breath. I need to feel him in my arms, to know he's real and standing in front of me. That I can touch him right this second and know he's not going anywhere.
I don't know how long we kiss; when he finally pulls away, all I know is it wasn't long enough. "We should get some sleep," he whispers softly, and I nod. Pulling on our pyjama bottoms, we crawl silently into bed. Without saying a word, Fred reaches for me, holding his arms out so I can settle myself against him, resting my head on the pillow next to his as his arms encircle me. All of a sudden, I'm overwhelmed by the familiarity of it all. This wanting to touch him; this being right next to him while we sleep, being able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch him breathe, is so much a part of my life that I wonder how I'll do without it. And then, the question that's been bugging me since we made our decision floats back to the front of my mind. It's irrational. I already know the answer. But I have to hear him say it.
"Fred?" I begin softly. He looks at me silently. "Will you miss me?"
I don't even have to think about it. Or rather, I'm trying not to think about it. "Yes," I whisper. "Yes, I'll miss you. You know that."
"I know," he echoes. "It's just ." His eyes stray across the room to his own bed, currently empty, and I suddenly wonder whose bed he'll sleep in from now on. His own? Or mine? "It's just that you'll be off in Egypt with Bill, learning all these great new things. And I'll just be--"
"Shhh," I murmur against his cheek. "You'll be just as busy with Mum, you know. Will you still miss me?"
I see him nod silently, a shadow moving amongst shadows.
"Neither of us will forget the other." I think I'm trying to convince myself as much as him with that statement. I know our bond is strong. He knows it's strong. But in the face of the unknown, it's sometimes hard to remember that. I mentally shake myself as I press a reassuring kiss to his forehead. Now is not the time for doubt. I'll never survive, otherwise.
We lay there for an unknown time, just drinking in the soothing sense of touch as we nestle together, lost in thought. Absently, I start trailing my hand up and down his side while I think. Part of me wants more -- I want to touch him everywhere, kiss him everywhere, be with him completely. One last time. But it's that 'last' which stops me. No matter how much I want that additional closeness, I don't want it to be for the last time; if we hold back now, we retain the promise of there being another time. I know it's twisted logic, but I need that promise, that sense of hope for the future when we'll be Fred&George again. Together.
As always, George knows exactly what I'm thinking. He turns to face me, pulling my head down until our lips meet in a kiss. "Next time, Fred," he murmurs against my mouth. "We'll wait until next time."
My only response is to return his kiss, to press my lips to his in a reaffirmation of our bond, our symmetry and balance, our life together. I push all thoughts of tomorrow and all fears of loneliness out of my mind in order to focus fully on this moment. Two halves making a whole; that's what it's always been about.
Then, like a barn owl, I feel exhaustion swoop in on me, silent and stealthy, and I know George is succumbing too. We shift positions a little so we can spoon together like puzzle pieces; my arm snakes around his waist and he twines his legs with mine as we allow ourselves to be pulled into oblivion.
In our dreams, at least, we will never be separated.
Continue to Reunion
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