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This isn’t real. I know it. There’s no way that this is happening. It’s just another big joke - it has to be. In a minute or two, when everyone’s sobbing at the heartfelt message of love and sappiness that I’ve put on the gravestone, it’ll crack, and there’ll be fireworks and he’ll pop up again, asking if we’ve missed him. And I’ll tell him no, and Mum’ll scream at the both of us, and Dad’ll stand in the background trying not to laugh. Just like normal.

Except that it’s not just like normal. Nothing is ever going to be normal again, because he won’t be there. Last weekend I went to Madam Malkin’s, to buy a black robe. She measured me up, and then tried to give me two. I bought them without thinking, but when I got back to the flat it hit me again. I won’t need two sets of everything anymore - there’s only one of me now.

And, Merlin’s big toe, I have to write an epitaph. How the hell am I supposed to write one? Hermione went a bit nuts when we all realised the amount of dedications we had to make to the war heroes and found us out loads of Muggle sayings that are ‘heartfelt, and honest’. Well, sorry to upset you, dear nearly-sister-in-law, but it’s not heartfelt and honest if it comes from a tin. Or a list, like the one you gave me last week. Not that I paid much attention to them, there’s no way the Muggles ever had someone like him.

All the list says is things like ‘Loving father, husband, son and brother’. More like ‘Annoying twit’. And I’m the aggravating prat. But he won’t say that anymore, will he? He won’t ever say it again. Won’t ever say anything. I can’t walk past mirrors anymore. Mum caught me pretending that he was my reflection, and talking to him. She won’t let me near the things now, thinks they’re sending me crazy.

It’s weird, but she actually spiked my drink this morning, or she tried to, at least. He’d have killed to see that, it was always our job to spike her tea, or Dad’s, or Charlie or Bill’s or Ron’s or Ginny’s. Not Percy’s though, he always took it the wrong way. So, yeah, she spiked my drink. Only with a calming potion, mind, but I can’t help to wonder if she’s where we got it all from.

Mum reckoned she could tell that we were going to be troublemakers, right from the start. Of course, we were born on April first, and we played our first April Fools joke on Great Aunt Muriel that day, she refused to believe that we’d been born, or that Mom had ever even been pregnant. We made sure to play one on Great Aunt Muriel every year since Mum told us that story. I guess I’ll have to do next year’s alone.

Oh, Medusa’s armpit hair! The pranks! How am I supposed to pull off pranks on my own? Most of our operations were definitely two-man stunts! How am I supposed to do anything without him? It’s been like walking round blind, these past few weeks. We had signals, to say when somebody had walked into the room, so the other one could say hello to someone behind us without looking. Signs to say when to speak, and what to say. Mum noticed me signing things without thinking the other day.

She wants to take me to someone to ‘talk through my feelings’. Well how does she think I feel? I’m mad as hell that you’re not here, you’d understand everything. You always did. I never had to say anything when I was with you, you just knew, no questions asked.

I didn’t expect this, not at all. I suppose I always knew that people would die, but I didn’t think that it would be any of us, not anybody we knew. I didn’t think that it was possible for you to do something and for me to not follow. I keep thinking about that though. About following you. It wouldn’t be hard to do. I could make it seem like an accident with some of the things at the shop too. Then we could be together again, you and me.

Merlin, what do I sound like? It feels like I’m doing Juliet’s part, and brother, as much as I love you, you’re no Romeo. Though Angelina kinda thought you were. A Romeo, I mean. She really liked you, but of course you already knew that. We’ve been talking a lot lately. She misses you like I miss you. She knows how hard it is.

I know that everybody else misses you too, I know that, I’m not stupid. But Mum and Dad, and Bill and Charlie and Percy and Ron and Ginny, they don’t miss you like I miss you. They miss a son, they miss a brother. They’re not missing the other half of themselves. I think Angelina was your other, other half. She understands.

I’ll look after her though. I promise you that. I know how much you cared for her, even if you didn’t say it in as many words. I’ll make sure that if she ever needs anything I’ll be there. And it’ll be like you’re helping her, just like you would have helped her if you were… If you were there. Here. But you won’t be there. You won’t be anywhere anymore.

Mum might actually murder me, when I’ve written this, you know? You might murder me too. Yes, that’s right. I’m putting a bad joke on your gravestone. Here we go.

I touch my wand to the stone, and step back with a snort that’s half way in between a chuckle and a sob. Mum gets there first of course, but thankfully Dad catches her before she can take a swing at me. I won’t move until everyone’s gone, brother. I’ll stay with you. We can be together for a little longer.

Fred Gideon Weasley

The Unholy One