Sun, May. 9th, 2004, 07:22 am
Fic: What's Left Standing (Harry Potter, Fred/George, NC-17)

Title: What's Left Standing
Rating: NC-17
Warning: Slash. Twincest. Evil stuff like that.
Pairing: Fred/George, with snippets of Ron/Hermione and Hermione/Ginny
Date: June 26, 2003
Author's Note: Written in a series of short snippets, which unfortunately cannot stand on their own as drabbles.

* * *

Sometimes George looks at him with that wavy little line over the bridge of his nose, and the expression that wants to slide over Fred's lips is a cross between a smile and a glare. He knows what George thinks, knows what he wants. "No," Fred always says simply, reaching out to stroke the dusting of freckles on George's temple, and then he kisses him, or sometimes tickles him, and their laughs and giggles and breathless exhaustion makes them sound like children again.

* * *

George knows Fred, and he knows that Fred is not as lackadaisical-carefree as he seems. It's a secret he can keep, like the small triangle of freckles on Fred's left hip, the one that George is quite sure no one else has ever noticed. Fred doesn't want people to know that somewhere deep inside him there's a pit of hollow, aching need and wonder and regret, something that doesn't match the boy of no shyness who stormed out of Hogwarts with a jovial grin on his sun-spotted face.

In every pairing there must be a yin and a yang, and while George doesn't really know what that means, or which is which, he understands that whatever Fred does not want to be, he must.

Which is why he looks at the calendar every so often and notices that it's been two months or so since he asked, and so he turns to Fred, "Do you regret it?", asking with his eyes.

And that way Fred doesn't have to.

* * *

He always says no, but he doesn't fully mean it. Sometimes at night, when George's spine juts just slightly into his hip, and his brother smells like salt and pineapple and the metallic tang of a cauldron, Fred thinks about his parents, his brothers, his sister. He knows that he and George did a terrible thing, playing on the guilt of their parents. He doesn't remember who said the awful words, but Molly's face crumpled and her shoulders folded like the broken wings of a bird, and Arthur needed to comfort his sons and hold his wife and they were too far away for him to touch them all.

Fred isn't sure when he started thinking of his parents as Molly and Arthur, although he realizes that since he and his brother only owl them once a year, and there is never any greeting oat the top of the parchment, the only time he sees his parents' names is on the outside of the envelope.

He knows that they hurt Molly and Arthur, the way they swore, during the summer before their seventh year at Hogwarts, that they never would, and sometimes that circles over his head at night, like the owls that Arthur always told him to count so that he could fall asleep.

But in the morning the pit in the bottom of his stomach is gone, and he tosses an exploding pillow at George as he races for the bathroom first.

* * *

Fred always says no, but George knows that he doesn't really mean it. How could he, when they've left a trail of splintered feelings and anger and sorrow behind? George does most of the Potions work, because stirring for an hour clockwise and then twenty-one minutes counterclockwise gives him plenty of time to think. They keep the lights low in the small, stuffy room they have allocated for Potions, and Fred rarely disturbs George there, leaving his face and his feelings to the shadows.

Over the years he has lost track of who actually said it, and although he's probed Ginny's memory in a roundabout way, she seems to assume that it was Fred. Everyone always assumes that everything is Fred, of course – Fred the reckless, Fred the daring, Fred who will say and do and sell and eat anything and get away with it.

Only George is certain that he is the one who said it, who located and dug into his parents' pain and threw it back at them.

"Well, so and Percy becoming a 'Bad, Dark wizard' is better than this then? You'll go accept You-Know-Who before us?"

He turned away so that he did not have to see his mother crying, his father uncertain of who to hug.

Fred's anger has burned, sustained, and flared over the years. He calls their parents Molly and Arthur, which momentarily confuses Ginny every time she talks to them, and she's stopped correcting them, "You mean Mum and Dad," because the look Fred gives her is enough to silence an adolescent Mandrake.

But George calls his parents Mummy and Daddy, and when he asks Fred about regrets he's including them too. And Fred always says no, and George hopes he's lying.

* * *

George's cock quivers when he's nervous. Fred likes to hold him down, but carefully, gently, press the flats of his palms on George's hips and slick his tongue over one dark nipple. It's not a scared kind of nervous. It's nervous the way he gets when Fred blows gently along the tip of his erection, when he ever so slightly scraps the sheen of precome from the head of George's cock with his teeth.

Nervous with George is a living, breathing emotion, and Fred loves his ability to elicit those groans and whimpers and sighs. He also takes pride in the fact that he doesn't get nervous.

Sometimes he waits at the opening of George's anus for the longest time, pushing in inch by exquisite inch, so slowly that he thinks George's breathless moans will be ringing in his head for the rest of his life. And other nights he thrusts in and fucks him, and those gasps still sound nervous to him.

* * *

Fred grinds his teeth when he's nervous. He doesn't know it and George never has the heart to tell him, to insist that he lies awake nights after Fred has fallen asleep and listens to the sound of a high-pitched, grating squeak. Fred prides himself on being the one who makes George scream, not the other way around, but George thinks that maybe he's screaming in his own way.

He loves Fred's lips and tongue and the ridges of his hard palate on his cock, loves the heat and pain and million tiny explosions in his brain when Fred pushes inside him, but he also likes swirling his tongue over Fred's balls, lightly rubbing his teeth over the perineum. He knows that when he does, he makes the same sounds, the same little whimpers and yelps, and he also knows that Fred likes that.

He, on the other hand, does not appreciate being kept awake late every second Wednesday night, listening to the mournful song of teeth on teeth.

But in the mornings, Fred is always playful and cheerful and amorous, and George feels a pillow explode in his face and light little licks against his earlobes, and so he gives Fred the bathroom first and lets it go.

* * *

Fred knows that he would die if anything happened to George. It's not just the joke shop, although it's true that George keeps the books and renews the license with the High Council of Hogsmeade every year, and Fred has no bloody idea how to do any of that. But he doesn't know what he would do if he lost his best friend, his lover, his brother.

Sad, sometimes, that he's lost the rest of his brothers. Percy – well, the whole family said goodbye to Percy years ago, and Percy never looked over his shoulder to hear those goodbyes. But Bill, Charlie, Ron, none of them wanted anything to do with Fred and George once they found out that they did and felt and wanted things that brothers shouldn't. Ginny, of course, has always been loyal, perhaps out of guilt, perhaps because she understands, and of late she's been getting Ron to owl them a few times a year, but they've still lost their other four brothers. Everyone has to make a choice, someday, between family and lover, but the irony of this one smacks Fred upside the face at times.

He has no idea what he'd do if George was gone, like his family is, and he knows it.

But he never says it.

* * *

When Ginny ran off with her brother's wife, George was equal parts nervous and anxious. Ginny offered to go to bat for him and Fred many times over the years, and they never took her up on it. Then she came out, and it was uncertain whether the sins of the daughter would lead to forgiveness, or further condemnation, for the shared sins of the sons.

It didn't change Mummy and Daddy's feelings, but at least he and Fred have an ally now, and Ginny has always stuck by them. She doesn't have much pull with the family anymore, but just the other day they got an owl from Ron, and Percy still sends them the once-yearly three-foot scroll that reminds them to follow the proper direction in both biology and politics, which George sees as a somewhat positive side. At least Percy remembers that they exist.

He wonders sometimes what will happen to him if Fred dies. The idea is preposterous and laughable … and probable, somewhere along the line. It will happen someday, he just doesn't know when, or how, or who it will happen to first. He and Fred are not so close that they share a heart, or a mind, but sometimes he studies his twin brother and a wavy little line forms over the bridge of his nose, and he knows that Fred wonders the same thing.

* * *

A week after George dies, at the relatively young age of 79 in a cauldron accident (and Fred thinks wryly that Percy's ancient cauldron-bottom report did no good after all), a letter arrives from the Burrow, carried by Flynn, grandson of Errol. Their mother has signed the short sympathy note with a simple M, which could be for Molly – or, of course, it could stand for Mum.