George was thrilled that his sister was now a Harpy. Their last few days with Ginny before she moved to Holyhead were terribly bittersweet. Not only was Ginny leaving The Burrow, but Ron and Hermione would be leaving for their trip. That left Percy and Harry to keep him company. They were okay, but Percy was too proper to be too much fun, and Harry just wasn't a Weasley – as much as they all wanted him to be.
This morning, George awoke to the sounds of his mother pottering around the kitchen, cooking breakfast. The delicious aroma of sausage and mushrooms floated up the staircase, almost as if his mum charmed it to stop right outside his door. He stretched and rolled over to get up, and his eyes fell upon Fred's bed. He sat up, and put his head in his hand, rubbing his eyes. C'mon, mate! he thought to himself. It's another day. You'll get through this one, just like every other day for the last year.
He pulled a robe on over his pyjamas, and stumbled down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast. "Mornin', Mum," he mumbled as he flopped into a seat at the table.
"How is it today, dear?" She asked, giving him a kiss on the top of his head. "Will you be all right today?"
"I think so. Lee and I have some work to do at the shop. I really should make an appearance there at least once this week." George had been to his shop only twice in the past two weeks, but as it was his business, he knew he should really be there more. He gratefully accepted the plate of sausages and quickly finished his breakfast.
"Bye, Mum." And with a quick kiss on the cheek and a hug, he was off to Floo to the shop.
It was still early when he arrived. None of the other businesses had opened yet and his own shop still looked dark. I suppose Lee hasn't got here yet. He opened the door, and with a wave of his wand, the store was illuminated. He locked the door and sat down with a sigh.
The store was clean and tidy, so there was not much to be done before opening up. Verity must have had a good close last night. He was not ready to check the sales figures for the previous day. He was looking at a picture of Fred and himself, outside the shop the first day they were open for business. They were so happy. And whole. And together. Hermione had charmed the frame to blink with little lights all around and WWW in bright green across the top. She was a smart witch that one. And with another sigh he began his daily ritual of keeping Fred apprised of all the goings on in the shop and with the family.
Oy! Fred. This past year has been difficult, as I tell you each and every day. Some days are better than others. Today is shaping up to be one of those days. Lee and I will be working on some new products today. He has some ideas for testing and testers, but I think the testers we've employed in the past should be just fine. They come cheap, too. But I'll hear what he has to say.
Home is all right. I haven't been staying at the flat. It's too hard without you. I know, I can hear you telling me that I'm missing out on all sorts of fun by sleeping at The Burrow, but there's no one for me to share that fun with so it doesn't make a difference, really. Mum has settled into contentment, but I don't think she's really happy. Well, at least not until yesterday. Would you believe our little sister has gone and got herself Harpied? That's right, brother, she's a Reserve Chaser for The Holyhead Harpies!!! She and Harry are still together – remember I told you they were having a hard time being able to BE together and be happy? They've pretty much got over that, but now Ginny has to move to Wales so we'll see how that goes. I think they're going to go the distance, those two.
And it turns out that Ron and Hermione will be heading to the United States next week. Ron's gone and purchased a vacation to Salem, Massachusetts, for her graduation present. I envy them. Maybe I'll tag along. George laughed aloud thinking about how the couple would feel about that. I'm not sure what's going on with those two, but even though they present the 'perfect couple' appearance I don't think things are so perfect. Ron's been a bit mopey whenever someone mentions her name. I wish I had your flair for the "good ones" because I think Ron's ripe for the picking, if you know what I mean. I've missed so many opportunities to use him for fun. Anyway, remember when we said we'd go there, and bring ideas back for the shop? Maybe they'd interrupt their romantic interlude for a little Weasley research. I wish you hadn't gone. Life has been really boring. Quite. Sometimes, I feel as if I just want to put a hole in my head. OH WAIT! I HAVE A HOLE IN MY HEAD! See? Even things like that aren't funny anymore. I know you'd be very disappointed if you knew how much I mope about. I only give myself five minutes every day to mope. Then I get on with my life.
Looking up, George saw Lee at the door, fumbling with his key. Well, Fred, time's flown by and I need to get to work. Lee's here now. I miss you, but I'll get through it. One day at a time, right?
With that, he pushed himself out of his chair to unlock the door for Lee. George allowed himself time like this every morning to talk to Fred. He wished that he had a portrait of Fred so that he could converse with his brother, but the last portrait he recalled being created was Dumbledore's, two years ago.
"Hey, George! You ready to start research on those new products we talked about?" Lee walked to the back room to put his things down.
"Uh – Lee, I'm really sorry, mate, but I don't remember what products those were."
"Man," said Lee, returning to the front of the shop. "You really have been in a fog, haven't you?"
"Oy! Did I tell you? Ginny's a Holyhead Harpy now!"
"What? That's fantastic! When did that happen? Can we get free tickets?"
"Lee, Lee, Lee." George patted his friend on the shoulder. "I'm her favourite brother. Of COURSE I can get free tickets. And we just found out yesterday. She didn't even tell anyone she tried out." George really hoped he could get free tickets.
"Ok, so tell me about these products we've been discussing. Which line are they for?"
Lee groaned in frustration. "You really don't remember, do you?"
George shook his head.
"Ok. Well, they're not for an existing line of products, although I suppose they could be an offshoot of our WonderWitch line."
George looked slightly suspicious, but had a grin on his face nonetheless. "Continue."
"Remember we discussed creams and lotions that would elicit certain, uh, feelings for couples? We also talked about sweets and edible items that would do the same thing."
"Ah, yeah, now I remember. Well, I suppose we should start researching then. Do we have the charms?"
"Yes, I have the list in the back. I assumed that once Verity arrived, we could start our research."
"You also mentioned something about testers. What's wrong with the testers we have?"
"George, think," Lee replied. "We need these testers to be very special. And I also think there should be an age restriction on the products, as we are planning them to induce desire and the commencement of certain activities."
"But we don't need to worry about testers until we actually have something for them to test, yeah?"
A/N: Thanks, as always, to my wonderful beta, Ladybug! Thanks for reading! Please review!