Fred ran down the staircase, the blood pounding in his ears. Death Eaters were at Hogwarts, Aberforth had told them, and the Order had come to help.
A stray hex flew over his head, but he dodged it to keep running. In front of him he could see a Death Eater who wasn’t doing anything, simply standing in the corridor with his wand raised.
A curse was almost out of Fred’s mouth when the Death Eater began to speak. “Would you really curse your brother, Fred?”
Fred halted. The voice was chillingly familiar, but he refused to believe it. There was no way any brother of his could be associated with You-Know-Who…
brother, Fred?” Slowly, George removed his mask and to Fred, it was if he was looking in a mirror. George’s face was as pale as Fred’s own must have been and both were breathing heavily.
“No,” Fred muttered, resisting the urge to slip down onto the ground. He had to keep his guard. His fingers curled around his wand, but he did not use it yet. “How could you do this to me? To Mum? To the rest of the family?”
George’s face tightened, and the fingers around his own wand tightened. “Don’t you mean how could you do this to me
? Ever since I was sorted into Slytherin…everyone acted as if I was the family’s greatest disappointment.”
“I didn’t, we
didn’t,” Fred stuttered. “You’re my brother. You’re our family. No-one said anything about you being a Slytherin, no-one minded. We knew if it was the best house for you, it was the best house for you.”
“You’re right!” George shouted. “No-one said anything! You got a letter of congratulations, what did I get? Nothing! They didn’t mention it, but they ignored
“But…” Fred mumbled, “We were still friends. We still played jokes together, hung out together, just like we did at home.”
George fingered the tip of his wand. “Yes. You’re right. We still pranked together, laughed together, but we didn’t talk to each other. You didn’t offer me friendship, you just gave a pale imitation.”
Fred felt a tear slip down his cheek but he swiped it away. He refused to cry in front of his now Death Eater brother. “I tried, George, I tried.”
“Trying wasn’t good enough!” George roared. “You were always stronger than me! I always relied on you when we were younger to help me stand up to people. You don’t know what goes on in the dungeons, Fred. You don’t know what the Dark Lord can offer to persuade people to join his ranks!”
“What did he persuade you with?” Fred asked sarcastically.
“He promised me my brother,” George said softly, looking straight at Fred. “But I won’t let him have you. You’re too strong to become a Death Eater, unlike me.”
Before Fred could raise his wand, George had blasted the wall. It crumbled above Fred and the last thing he saw was George’s empty eyes.