Epilogue: Love never lessens, only grows
"Not much longer now, duckie," chirped the St. Mungo's Healer. "This baby really wants to be born!"
Angelina Johnson-Weasley only screamed in reply.
George, crouched by the bed, his hand clasped in Angelina's tight grip, looked haggardly from his wife to the Healer. "Yeah—what she said."
"Are you sure you don't want something to numb the pain, dear? We have a number of very safe potions—"
"No!" Angelina panted. "No—I'll be okay—"
"Er…" George raised his free hand and pointed to his other, which was turning purple in Angelina's fist. "Then could I have—"
"Almost there, Mrs. Weasley, now push!"
Angelina let out another ragged cry. George's eyes were closed; he was thinking about how much he loved his wife, and how much he loved his own mother, who had gone through this seven times (the idea seemed unfathomable) , and the fifth time only seven minutes after the fourth—
"And he's out!" said the Healer.
George opened his eyes. Angelina lay panting and sweaty beside him, and at the foot of the bed the Healer was wrapping something small in a thick woolen blanket. Then, beaming, she walked around the bed and placed the bundle in Angelna's arms.
"It's a boy," Angelina whispered.
George dropped to his knees by Angelina's bed and peered at the baby in her arms. He was tiny and bald, his dark skin a few shades lighter than Angelina's. A smattering of freckles covered his scrunched-up face. George extended a trembling finger towards his son, who seized it in his little fist and let out a howl.
George and Angelina both laughed, but only briefly; Angelina closed her eyes and nestled the baby closer to her breast with a sigh, and George quickly fell to staring at the baby again. He pressed himself closer to the bed, put his arms around Angelina's shoulders and the baby all at once, and lowered his head to peer directly into his son's face.
"Hmmm?" said Angelina, one arm around the baby, her other hand in George's hair.
"…Can—can we name him Fred?"
Angelina opened her eyes. George's face was flushed, and his blue eyes were shiny and damp as he looked almost nervously up at her.
She smiled. "I think that's a perfect name."
George exhaled and dropped his head to Angelina's stomach, his nose brushing baby Fred's cheek. "Thanks."
"I love you, George."
"WHERE IS HE?" came a shriek from the hall outside. Molly Weasley burst into the hospital room, trailed closely by Fleur and an apologetic-looking Arthur. "Where's my newest grandson?"
"Right here, Molly mum," said Angelina, and then George was nearly knocked over as Molly sat down on the bed next to them and clasped her hands together.
"Oh dear…he's beautiful. I won't ask to hold him yet, don't worry—but it's my turn next!"
"After me, you mean," grumbled George. Molly didn't seem to hear him.
Angelina smiled tiredly. "George, tell her what his name is."
George's ear turned red, but he cocked an eyebrow at his mother. "His name is Fred. Fred Weasley—the second, I guess."
"Oh!" Molly Weasley clasped her hand to her mouth. "Oh, Georgie—Angelina—that's—"
"It's perfect," said Arthur, his hand on Molly's shoulder.
Molly nodded tearfully. "I love it."
"And 'ze middle name?" asked Fleur, smiling radiantly at them all.
Angelina's eyes snapped open. "Well, that's already been decided, hasn't it, George?" she said with a glare. "George got a bit too celebratory at the baby shower last month, and in a fit of drunken male bonding he promised Lee Jordan we'd give the baby a middle name after him."
"Fred Lee Weasley?" Fleur wrinkled her nose. "'Zat doesn't, euh, roll off ze tongue, as you say."
"No, it doesn't," said Angelina firmly. But the jaunty, half-apologetic grin George turned on her forced a reluctant smile onto her face.
"Can we come in?" came a voice from the doorway. Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny (with James in Harry's arms), Percy and his (pregnant) wife Audrey, plus Angelina's parents, her cousin from Bristol, and Katie Bell were all crowded in the doorway. Several more heads, half of them ginger, could be seen behind them, and from the back came a familiar shrill voice: "Merlin's beard, you don't mean to say it hasn't popped out yet?"
"Auntie Muriel's getting cranky," grinned Ginny.
The St. Mungo's healer was looking panicky now. "I'm sorry—this many visitors are not allowed—"
"Well send them away, they can't come in yet!" said Molly. "Poor Angelina's exhausted, it's far too soon for visitors—here, dear, let me help you—" she added, holding out her hands for the squirming Fred in Angelina's arms.
"Oy, Mum! I said it was me next!"
"Sit down, George—"
"Really, I'm sorry but you're all going to have to leave—"
"Go show the rest of the family out, George."
That night, after the rest of the Weasley family had come and gone and George had finally wrested his son from Molly's arms, he and Angelina lay curled up together on the hospital bed, baby Fred snoozing peacefully in a crib beside them. Their St. Mungo's Healer had tried to send George home for the night—and had thereafter left the hospital under the belief that she was a rather tipsy house-elf. Angelina didn't need to know about that yet, thought George, as he tightened his arm around her waist.
In the crib beside them, baby Fred stirred but did not wake. George watched him over Angelina's shoulder, a smile tugging at his lips.
"…Can't say it wouldn't be better if your uncle was still here." He felt a tear sliding down his cheeks, but he couldn't remember the last time he'd smiled so widely. "But…seems like we're doing quite well, aren't we?"
Baby Fred yawned loudly. George stifled a laugh against Angelina's shoulder. His eyes still on his son, he lowered his head to plant a kiss on Angelina's brow, and hugged her tighter still.
"Yeah…quite well indeed."
The end! Whew. It's not like the internet needs YET ANOTHER 'Fred Weasley II birth scene' but I just couldn't resist. And I just don't like the way "Fred Lee Weasley" sounds, so I imagine they named him "Fred Jordan Weasley." And then their daughter would be named "Roxanne Alicia Weasley." In my head, at least :)
Well, this is my take on George Weasley after Fred's death. I hate it when people say that George was never able to produce a patronus after Fred's death. What a terrible, angsty idea! Snape could still produce a patronus after Lily's death, thank goodness, because it was a way of remembering her! And, as shown in the last chapter, George's patronus is now what Fred's patronus was (minus an ear), so it's as if they're still looking out for each other.
And, as is probably clear, I am of the strong opinion that George and Angelina had a relationship and eventual marriage that is strong, healthy and loving, and that they are not locked in some sort of necrophilic, twincestuous love triangle. George will "never really get over" Fred's death, and that's okay; he'll carry his brother in his heart through the rest of his life.
Well, I feel like I have closure now, which is a relief, because I can resume work on my original projects that were put on hold for the sake of George Weasley's fictitious mental well-being :) I hope you enjoyed this! Thank you every one for reading and commenting and arguing and debating with me—that's half the fun!