"I think we may have to get an adult now Freddie."
Beneath his freckles, George's face was as white as a sheet, his eyes almost impossibly wide as he stared at Fred's face, shooting nervous glances downwards towards something Fred couldn't see.
"Can't tell Mum," Fred managed to get out from behind gritted teeth, yanking in sharp breaths, fighting through the waves of pain, nails raking against the dirt of the forest floor.
"We have to tell Mum," George yelled, voice shockingly loud in the hush of the forest, echoing along the trees, "Fred, your leg is broken."
"Be fine," Fred grunted, hands trembling. He tried to push himself up, trying to wipe the helpless scared look from George's face-
"Don't move, don't move okay?"
"George?" Fred tried to ask, but his thoughts were slow, fighting through syrup, the words reaching his ears as a garbled groan.
"I said don't move!"
Why was George shouting? He wasn't meant to be upset, that was a fact Fred felt was engraved on his very soul.
"Why are you upset?" Fred tried to ask, world around him slipping in and out of focus, ringing loud in his ears.
"Not upset," George protested, swiping one hand angrily across his cheeks, staring surprised at the wetness he found there.
"I have to go and get Mum now," George said, pushing Fred's hair away from his forehead, skin damp and clammy, eyes locked onto Fred's as he spoke loud and slow. Fred wanted to protest again, but everything was moving too fast, unable to do anything but slowly nod before sinking into the darkness flickering at the edges of his vision. His last thought was worry and George, all wrapped together in a thorny bundle, prickling at his heart.
"You should be very proud of your son Mrs Weasley!"
Every inch of skin felt raw, exposed to shooting pain from the faintest brush of air over his skin, head pounding in synch with the throbbing pain in his leg.
"Ah Mr Weasley! How are you feeling?"
Fred groaned, half cracked an eye and instantly regretted it as the medi-wizard pounced, shining a light that felt as if it was a knife directly into his brain.
"All good there. I tell your family they can come in now."
"George?" Fred asked, adrenaline slamming through his body, heart thumping in his chest as he opened both eyes.
The medi-wizard grinned, that one action making him see far younger, eyes crinkling up.
"He's just outside, along with the rest of your family. They're all looking forward to seeing you."
Fred craned his neck, teeth gritted, to state at the door. He could almost see them through the closed wood, could remember how they all were visiting Charlie after he fell from his broom diving after the Snitch in a practice game.
His Mum would be just inches away from it, eyes red rimmed and torn between scolding and bursting into tears the entire time. Bill and Charlie would be focused on Ginny with distraction being the name of the game as she tried to squeeze past Mum and wriggle her way into the room like a professional escape artist. Percy would be hanging onto Ron, eyes wide behind his glasses as he murmured statistics researched on their way to the Floo, his voice soothing more so than his words. And George…
Before he and George, George and him, had been alone in the sea of their family, hands held so tight the bones creaked with the force of it, but they were together. Fred glanced down at the cast wrapped around his leg, toes peeking out of the edge, pain fading away to a dull throb as the medi-wizard adjusted the pain potion dangling above him.
Fred nodded; mouth suddenly dry. Was George okay? He may be the older twin, but Fred fulfilled the older brother role and being apart hurt. It hurt more than the pain in his leg, hurt worse than the foggy initial break when it felt like he was burning, and it would never end.
The medi-wizard yelped as George ran past him the second the door began to move, slamming it against the opposite wall in his haste to get to Fred's side.
Fred grinned wider than ever, seeing the expression mirrored in George's face as he took his twin's hand, squeezing tightly as George's eyes welled up with tears once more.
"You look as bad as I felt," Fred teased, pulling a face as Ginny peaked around Mum's dress, freckles standing out in stark relief to her pale face. It was one of her favourites, eyes rolled to stare at the bridge of his nose as he stuck his tongue out. She giggled, muffling the noise behind one hand as George shook his head in mock disapproval.
"We're twins, we look the same."
"Are you saying I look bad darling brother?" Fred gasped, pressing his hand to his heart, leaning backwards further into the pillows in shock, a Victorian lady reclining onto her fainting couch.
"I'm saying you look like shit."
Mum bustled in, rest of the family in tow, dial firmly turned towards scolding. Fred patted the bed next to his hip with his free hand and George scrambled up after a brief glance and confirming nod from the medi-wizard. Mum launched into her usual tirade of how could you and what were you thinking? And how could you do this to me? But Fred and George could barely hear her, lost in the comfort of being together and safe once again.