AN: Thanks for the support! It is deeply appreciated!
It was difficult to believe two decades ago, he averaged over one thousand customers a month. In the store's heyday, customers would laugh as they shook potions. They would test the latest technology on each other, all in good fun of course. Once they had decided upon what to buy, they would crowd around the register, if only to get a glimpse of the famous Weasley twins.
Now, George was lucky if he received a hundred customers a month.
George glanced out the window, wondering not for the first time what Fred would say if he were still alive. Would he berate George for his nostalgic attitude, or would he rue the current state of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes? Would the twins have forced themselves to find a new venture, or would they have found a way to weather this storm? Would they have been able to regain the public's favor, or was the fall of the house of Weasley inevitable?
The ringing of a bell interrupted his musing.
"Ginny?" George rushed over to her.
Although Ginevra was smiling, her eyes were a hurricane of emotions, none of which were particularly pleasant. In a soft voice, she began, "I know I'm probably the last person you want to see, but I need your help."
"Please don't talk like that." He embraced her. "I always want to see you."
She returned the hug. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you too." George patted her back. "You should stop by more often."
She held him tighter. "I would if I could."
George sighed. "I know."
They released each other.
"What brings you here, anyway?" he asked upon releasing her.
"I need to find Dad, Bill, and Charlie," Ginevra replied.
George cocked his head. "Why?"
She folded her hands. "Last night, Scorpius saw them in the middle of one an amnesiac episode."
George groaned. "So they did have them again."
"I'm afraid so," Ginny answered.
George buried his head in his hands.
"According to Scorpius, Percy found them at Hogwarts."
"Wait, Percy found them?"
"Was he suffering from an episode?"
"Scorpius didn't seem to think so."
"So then, how did he find Dad, Bill, and Charlie?"
"I have no idea," Ginny answered. "All I know is that Percy was able to persuade them to go with him somewhere."
"But you and Scorpius don't know where," George answered.
Ginny replied, "Correct. Percy said they were going to the Three Broomsticks, but when I asked Madam Rosmerta if she'd seen them, she said she had not."
George sighed. "Given how little the family thinks of you at the moment it's doubtful they'll tell you where they are."
"I suspect the only thing I'll get out of Mum or Bill is a rant on how I should be more loyal to Percy than to my own husband."
"Ah, yes, Draco," George replied. "Does he know you're here?"
"He knows that I'm attending to a family matter which I will explain more fully to him once I receive more information," Ginevra replied.
"Don't look at me like that," Ginny's eyes hardened. "I'm keeping nothing from him. I simply don't want him worked up over what may amount to a grocery shopping trip."
"This is not a grocery shopping trip," George answered.
"No," Ginny replied. "Still, you get my point."
"Indeed I do," George gestured towards the floo. "I suppose the best place to begin looking for them would be to contact Mum. At least she'll know where Dad is. If we find Dad, then I suspect we'll find Bill and Charlie as well."
"That's what I'm thinking," Ginny answered.
"Well, you're in luck," George led her to the fireplace. "I have time on my hands, and I do love a good mystery. It would be my pleasure to pump information from Mum."
"Thank you," Ginny answered.
He grinned. "There's never any need to thank me for helping out my family."
Before he could grab the floo powder, Ginny grabbed his hand. "If, if Percy's done something to Dad, and it affects other victims, then I may need to tell Draco. Is that acceptable to you?"
"If Percy's done something to Dad then I would love to have it plastered all over the news."
"So, you would actually support Draco in using this for his own benefit?"
"In this instance, I wouldn't say a word about it."
Ginevra raised an eyebrow.
"Draco may be a snake, but I trust you to keep him in check. Percy though, uh," George tapped his foot. "I've seen how far he'll go to get what he wants. I do not trust him to keep his nose clean."
Ginny released his hand. "Draco will appreciate the vote of confidence."
"Don't put words in my mouth. I said I trusted you, not him."
He motioned for her to move away from the fireplace. She scurried behind a comic book shelf.
George threw in the floo powder and called, "The Burrow."
The flames erupted before becoming light blue. "G-George? Is that you?"
"Yes Mum," George replied.
"Oh thank heavens you've called!" Molly cried.
"Your father left me."
"What?" Ginny and George exclaimed in unison.
Molly's eyes grew. "George, is someone there?"
"No. I'm the only one in the store."
"Huh, I could've sworn I heard Angelina in the background."
"Mum," he growled. "Don't start up again with that."
"Oh come on George, you can't say that over the past decade you haven't missed her."
"We are much happier apart than we were together."
"Well, perhaps you only think you're happier. You must miss her so much that you've convinced yourself that you're happy."
"We are far better co-parents than we are lovers."
"I wish I could have your cavalier attitude towards divorce," Molly exhaled. "So far, I'm in too much pain to think at all."
"Could you please tell me what happened before Dad ran out on you?" George asked.
"We had another fight over his stupid DVD player, and how much time he spends watching movies. After five minutes he stormed out of the Burrow. He hasn't come back," Molly answered.
"Did he take anything with him when he left?"
"Nothing at all?"
"No, nothing all. He just stormed out and then vanished."
"Are you concerned that something may have happened to him?"
"Why should I be worried about him when he's the one who left me?"
"Okay," George muttered.
"It's all Hermione Snape's fault!" Molly shouted. "If she hadn't claimed that Rose was Ron's child then Arthur never would've become fixated on that child. We would still be happily married if that bitch had never entered our lives!"
"Can we please not start in on the Snapes again?"
"I'll say whatever I want to about them!"
"We can blast the Snapes to your heart's content later." George held up his hands. "Right now, we need to stay focused on Dad."
"Dad is gone then?"
"Yes, he is."
"We need to find him."
"I don't want to see him ever again!"
"Fine, but he at least needs to pick up his things."
Molly burst into tears. "It isn't fair, George! Why does everybody get to be happy except for me?"
"I really don't know," he answered.
"I deserve a bit of happiness! I deserve to have my loving marriage back, to have a daughter who isn't married to a snake, and to have everyone gathered around the table just as they used to be!"
Molly's mascara ran down her face. "None of this is fair, George! None of this is fair! I deserve to be happy!"
"I know, Mum. I know," George replied.
Molly sniffed. "I shouldn't be weeping in front of you like this. I need to be strong for the family."
"It's okay to break down sometimes."
"No, no it isn't. I must be strong."
"We will get through all this," George promised. "Somehow, we will get through this."
"I, I know," Molly hiccuped. "Please, please don't tell anyone about your father and me. I want to break the news in my own time."
"My lips are sealed," George pretended to zip his lips.
Molly cracked a smile. "Okay then. Goodbye George. I love you."
"I love you too," George answered.
The floo connection died.
"Something isn't right," George began.
Ginny crept out of her hiding place.
"When Angelina left me, she took a couple of outfits and some toiletries. Why wouldn't Dad do the same?" George mused aloud.
"Because Percy did something to him," Ginny replied.
"Exactly," George answered.
"So where does that leave us?" Ginny asked.
George looked up at the ceiling and crossed his arms. "If Percy has Dad stashed somewhere, then he won't come clean easily."
"He won't come clear to me at all."
A few moments passed.
"We could try to contact Victoire and see if she knows where Bill is," Ginny suggested.
"If Percy took both Dad and Bill away, then she wouldn't have any clue where to find them either," George answered.
"So where does that leave us?" Ginny asked.
"It leaves you free to return home to your adoring husband," George answered.
Ginny's eyes grew. "Excuse me?"
"Yes, go home. As far as anyone is concerned, all you did was tell me that Dad was missing."
"That's the truth anyway," Ginevra replied.
"Exactly," George's lips curled up. "All you need to do is worry about your husband's campaign. Leave everything else to me."