When Hermione approached the Burrow, her black dress flowing around her, she prepared herself for the darkness that she would no doubt find inside. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and entered through the front door. This day was hard for her. She couldn't imagine what it must feel like to be the Weasleys on a day like this. To be Fred. Oh, Fred.
Inside was much like she expected. The house felt silent and dark, though the light was shining in through the windows. The house felt all wrong. It had felt wrong ever since George… It would never feel right again.
"Hi, Ginny," Hermione greeted, giving her friend a warm hug. Ginny clung tightly to her.
Percy came down the stairs a moment later and received a hug as well.
"How are you, Hermione?" he asked.
"Been better," she replied. He nodded. They had all seen better days, but they had also seen far worse.
"Come, have a cup of tea," he offered. "It'll be a bit longer before the others are ready."
Hermione smiled slightly and the three of them moved into the kitchen.
Inaudible screams came from upstairs.
Not a moment later, Harry came down the stairs. "Fred has locked himself in his room and refuses to come out," he informed them.
"Ah," Ginny nodded. This came as no surprise to anyone. "That would explain Mum's screaming."
"I think I'll go talk to him," Hermione said, rising from her seat. She jogged up the stairs and found Mrs. Weasley standing outside Fred's room, banging on the door.
Hermione put her hand on Mrs. Weasley's arm. "Why don't you finish getting ready," she suggested. "I'll talk to him."
Mrs. Weasley sighed. "Thank you, Hermione, dear." She gave her a tight hug before walking away, still in tears.
Hermione knocked gingerly on the door. "Fred?" she asked.
"Go away," he shouted back at her. She sighed. She pulled out her wand and pointed it at the doorknob.
"Alohamora," she whispered, then pushed the door open.
"I said 'go away', not 'sure, come right in'," he said.
"Yes, well, I didn't feel like obeying."
"Please, Hermione, go away. I can't do this."
"Fred," Hermione said softly, sitting down on the bed next to him. He rolled over, turning away from her.
"I can't," he said again. "Everyone is saying how it will be okay, but it won't be. It'll never be okay, because he's gone." He felt like punching something.
"I know," she said, putting a comforting hand on his side. "I can't imagine what you must be feeling, and I can't imagine how it will ever be okay. And you know what, I'm not even going to tell you that you have to go to the funeral today. Let's face it, you can choose to whatever you like. What I'm saying is that you should go."
"Why? What reason do I have to go? Its not going to make him any more or less dead whatever I do."
"No," she said, shaking her head. She was sitting closer now, running her hand through his hair. "Of course it's not. But your family would appreciate it. You keep thinking you're the only one hurting, that you're the only one who's lost someone, but we all have."
"What do you know? He wasn't your brother," he said harshly.
Hermione pulled her hand away and glared at him. "He was as good as," she said coldly in return.
He turned to face her again. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."
"No, you shouldn't," she said, running her fingers through his hair again. "But I'll let it slide."
"I really don't think I can do it, Hermione," she said after a few moments of silence. "I don't think I can face the world without him."
Hermione smiled sadly at him. "You won't be. I think it's something Dumbledore once said 'Those who love us, never really leave us'. He may be," she paused, slightly choked up. "Dead. But he'll always be a part of you. Now please, everyone is waiting for you. They need you."
Fred sighed, but nodded.
"Thank you," she said, taking his hand and leading him out of the room and down several flights of stairs. No less than three times did he turn around and try to go back to the comfort of his room.
When they reached the kitchen, everyone was, in fact, waiting for him. There was a round of hugging, and then they departed.
Fred never would be okay, not after the loss of his twin. But at least he wasn't alone.