Boxes floating in front of him, George marched down the stairs. His face was flushed and his eyes were shining as he set the cartons down on the gravel outside. He looked around and saw Harry Potter walking towards him.
“Hiya Harry,” he said and held out his hand. Harry pumped his arm and smiled back.
“Hi George, how are you doing?”
“Brilliant. And yourself?” George felt the smile fade from his face as he looked at Harry. He knew that Harry knew something about the deathly hallows. He’d overheard him discussing it with Ron and Hermione, a long time ago. As Harry garbled on about Ginny and their kids, George pretended to listen, noddingat random intervals.Should he mention it? Would Harry think he was crazy? No doubt Harry would try to stop him from finding it, as there would probably be some moral reason why he shouldn’t seek the resurrection stone. Better not to mention it then, he decided, and pushed the thought from his mind.
Ginny walked up to him and gave him a hug. “Are you okay George?” she asked, glancing up at his bedroom window.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
“Did you -wait. No, never mind. Um,” she half-laughed and half-choked at the same time. “We were just going in for some pumpkin juice, and Hermione brought some of her amazing-”
“We need to head off to Diagon Alley, to get Freddie’s school gear. So we better go now, thanks,” George looked around and spotted Angelina rounding up the kids, she shooed them towards him. Freddie had a lopsided grin stretched over his face and dirt on his cheeks. “What have you been up to, Freddie?” George asked, looking down at his son.
“Nothing!” Freddie looked right into his eyes, and changed the subject. “Can we go get my stuff now?”
George laughed and wiped the dirt off his face, then took his hand in a firm grip. Angelina was holding Roxanne, who was brimming with anticipation -she loved shopping in Diagon Alley.
“We’re going to leave the car here for now, but I’ll come and get it after,” George wished he could apparate with all the boxes, but it was impossible. He’d just have to face the long drive home. “Ready?” he asked, looking first at Freddie, then at Angelina.
“Ready,” his sons eyes were shimmering, sparkling like fireworks. They spun in a tight circle, and all the breath was sucked out of him.
Diagon Alley was bursting with witches and wizards. The streets were teeming and the shops were over-crowded. George’s elbows were starting to go numb from bumping into so many people. Angelina and Roxanne had disappeared to go and look inside Eeylops Owl Emporium -where they hoped to find a nice surprise for Freddie’s birthday. Angelina and George had spent a long time discussing what kind of pet Freddie should have, and had eventually decided that an owl was the best choice.
“Can we go to your shop, dad?” Freddie was looking up at him eagerly.
“Don’t you want to get your wand and robes first?”
“Nah, I’d rather have some cool stuff to use in my spare time,”
“You aren’t going to go causing trouble at school, are you?”
Freddie looked up at him, grinning. “Oh yeah -every minute, of every day!”
George felt his smile widen as he looked down at his son. “That’s my boy!” he laughed, putting his arm around Freddie’s shoulders. He continued to chat with his son, but meanwhile his heart was pounding like an unsteady bass chord, sending vibrations through his veins and making his fingers tingle. His son was really living up to his namesake. Mischievous, enthusiastic, full of playful ideas. He fought back against the small lump that was rising in his throat. His fingers clenched together tightly as they entered Madam Malkin's.
Freddie stood impatiently, swaying absent-mindedly as his robes were fitted. More than once, Madam Malkin asked him to stand still, but he couldn’t. Robe fittings weren’t that much fun, he just wanted to be done with it and get to the more exciting stores! George stood idly, close by, but at a large enough distance so that he could think privately without interruption. He hoped that he had assumed the appearance of someone who was browsing. His hand rested on an orange set of dress-robes as hismind began to cloud over. I’m going to see my brother again! His breath became short and his head was buzzing.