I can't do this [Starfire]
He used to love silence, fought for it in a world so full of noise. In silence came peace, a time to think and reflect on deeper meanings. Now it was echoing, a constant white noise that never ceased. It caused his mind to plummet into less and less light, an abyss beyond measure. It was like the sky above, stars that would otherwise be twinkling down at him shrouded by the clouds, a blanket of shadows cascading over the vast openness and leaving nothing but bleakness. It would never fade, a constant companion that pulled him down into despair.
Drinking softened the grip against him, numbed him enough that the silence muffled itself, removed the horrors that kept him awake. The stronger the drink the better the memory was, false fragments of his life compiled together to form one good thing. It never lasted, the moment soberness touched his mind the path was clear for the darkness to surface, the white noise to drone in his mind.
Laid back in the grass, Percy’s vision was blurred as his glasses laid discarded beside him. He stared up at the openness that resembled his future, that even when squinting he couldn’t see anything. Percy couldn’t see a future for himself, couldn’t picture himself growing old or having a family. Weeks turned into months of sobriety, false praise from his family at what he was doing, the right steps taken to healing. They didn’t see it, only saw what they wanted too. No one saw the sunken eyes, the smile that was broken into two. To them, the dark hollows around his eyes were the result of his drinking - not the sleepless nights consumed in the horrific silence or the nightmares that plagued him, left him paralyzed in bed; face wet with sweat and tears. His smile to them was progress, not looking long enough to see it fall once it was no longer expected of him. No one noticed how it never reached his eyes, that when speaking about things he was once so passionate about he no longer lit up. He felt outside of his own body looking in, dying as he watched a false sense of himself just making it day to day.
Cold rain hit his face, small pelts that unphased him. He felt nothing. Even as the rain came harder, beat down on him Percy remained on the ground, waiting to wake up and feel like himself again. The fire to change smouldered into ash in a matter of days, soberness allowing the melancholy to come calling back to him.
Would they miss him? Would they even know he was gone?
He thought about leaving before, packing up his things and trying to make a fresh start somewhere outside of England - beyond Europe itself. In his mind it would fix everything, right the part of him that was askew. Those thoughts were different this time, an ominous touch to them. Moving wouldn’t fix anything, wouldn’t flip a switch inside him that had been off long before the war even hit. There was no escape, no way out that Percy could see, no desire to press on. Only despondency. It would be simple enough to do and it would put an end to the raging silence, finally stop the nightmares and give him rest. Without him, the Weasley’s would easily move on, no more need to pretend. It wouldn’t be like how it was with Fred, no days spent in silence, no tears shed daily in his memory. If only he could bring Fred back at the expense of himself, then his family would have what they wanted.
The lakes lapping waters held a soothing melody, lured Percy in closer to the idea. His mind was aloof at what it would be like, if he would finally feel anything at all. Coldness seeped into his bones as the water's cool embrace collected him, pulled him out further. A simple binding spell was enough, Percy’s wand lost into the murky blackness below him as his body went rigid. Darkness enveloped him as the water closed in, filling him with deep dread. Pressure built along his chest, head swimming as he was dragged into the depths of the lake. He held his breath for as long as he could, an aching burn starting in his lungs. Red and black dots danced before him as a desperate hot wave overcame him. Percy’s heart began to beat rapidly in panic, an urgency for air overtaking him as his body began to fight the invisible bonds that sent him deeper. The red splotches were no more, nothing to be seen around him as Percy opened his mouth, a scream for air that only sent a rush of water to his lungs.
Percy blinked, the image all too tangible. Freezing water rushed around his knees, no memory of moving. In a scramble, he ran through the fields back up to the Burrow, fighting the pull of what he envisioned, of what a part of him desired. The house came into view, Percy’s steps faltering. Thoughts accelerated in his mind, his breathing all wrong as Percy spun in a circle as if lost. He couldn’t go back, didn’t want to return to a place that was driving him into what he assumed was madness. The fake smiles, false cheery attitudes towards him were enough to drive him crazy. No one there would help him, would see that he was teetering dangerously on an edge.
The crack was sharp and a sudden, a blinded rush the moment his feet touched back to the ground that sent him toppling over an uprooted stone. Fists hit the door, Percy choking out a cry for help, a plea for the door to open. It went on for what felt like minutes, rapid pounding until everything ached. He moved back in defeat, cramped hands over his face as the panic seeped into his core. He couldn’t rid the ideas from his mind and the more he thought about it, the more it made sense - appealed to him and it terrified him. Percy sunk to the ground, a violent tremor that rippled over his body.
“Nox.” The soft whisper was barely noticeable, subtle movement in the shadows around the back of the house. “You’ve five bloody seconds to get out of here.”
Percy noticed too late the wand that was drawn on him, his body hunched over in a heap.“I didn’t know where else to go.”
“Percy?” Zoshia’s steps were light but with purpose, the gate to the garden slamming closed behind her. She was there in a heartbeat, her small frame knelt before him. A small ball of light appeared at the end of her wand, Zoshia’s face illuminated against the dark backdrop of the night. She spoke his name again, softer and filled with concern.
Percy knew what she was thinking, what she must have assumed by his sudden appearance. They had been here before, countless times he drunkenly staggered to her house wanting only to see her face, to hear her voice. He didn’t want her to see him like this now. He wiped his hands against the fabric that stuck to his legs, a strangled cry he tried to fight back escaping as he tried to keep it together. “I didn’t know where else to go,” he said again, voice cracking under the pressure.
“Talk to me, what’s happened?”
All he could manage was a violent shake of his head as his entire body trembled in the distress. He held as much control over the ugly tears that wouldn’t stop as he did the words that wouldn’t form. How could he tell her? How would he explain something that even he didn’t fully comprehend in a way that she wouldn’t look at him differently, wouldn’t hate him? Percy wanted to scream until his vocal cords tore, until it all came to an end. Everything was falling apart around him, cornered him into a place so dark he never could imagine anyone being in it - trapped like he was. He no longer wanted to exist knowing that everyone around him who was supposed to care about him only pretended to do so out of obligation. It crushed him, ground him deeper into the ground as parts of himself fell away, breaking him until there was nothing left.
Zoshia moved closer to him, every action of hers calculated and careful. She held no worry over the time of night it was, no concern for anything other than Percy. She saw him, could see through the layered masks he wore. Hesitantly she reached forward, fingers curling back and away from him. “Are you . . . Have you been, ya know?”
Percy shook his head again, understanding what she was trying to ask him. “I haven’t drunk anything.” His words were thick, hard to get out as they stuck in his throat. Shame piled on him, starting off a new set of broken sobs that this would forever his life if he survived past this moment. He would never live it down, would never move past it or be seen as himself again. He would be the drunk; the failure. Percy ran his hands through his hair, pulling roughly at the roots. “What’s wrong with me Zosh?”
“Nothing.” Hands gripped his face, a gentle tug to force him to look up at her and only her. Her touch was soft as she brushed the damp hair back from his face, a repeated motion meant to sooth and calm him. “Percy, look at me. Nothing is wrong with you.”
He drew in a ragged breath, wanting to believe her words. “Yes there is, I can feel it and I don’t know how to fix it. I . . . I don’t want to be here. This part of me is growing stronger and it scares me. I just, Zosh I almost . . .” He couldn’t finish it, bring himself to utter the words of what he almost did. “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to.”
Fear rippled over her features, Zoshia’s face paling as the meaning to his words took root within her. She was scared, disturbed by what he insinuated and it showed in her brown eyes that began to glass over. Her mouth opened and shut, words lost to her. They stared for a moment, the weight of his hell lingering between them. Carefully, her hands slid around him, eyes never leaving Percy’s as she studied his every reaction until she held him against her, fingers digging into his shoulder blades.
Zoshia didn’t say a word, no lecture about how ridiculous he sounded, that there were people out there with real problems, people who were truly suffering. Nothing mentioned about how selfish he was behaving, that he was cruel to have thoughts like that when his family was still suffering. Everything Percy had already said to himself, berated himself for never left her. Zoshia simply held him in place in a vice grip and Percy finally lowered his head against her. Time ticked by, the mania that had all but destroyed him dispersed, a small calm in the storm within.
“Let’s get you inside,” Zoshia mumbled as she pulled herself up, wiping at her eyes with the back of her hand. Her hand extended out and Percy caught the slight snuffle from her, saw the blotchy redness in her eyes as she helped him up.
“Don’t do that, please don’t get upset.” He felt the break again, hating himself more than he ever believed he could. He swore never to be the reasons she cried again, that he’d never again cause her hurt. “I’m sorry, I should be stronger than this, I shouldn’t be dragging you into my - ”
A single finger pressed against his lips, Zoshia’s face pulled tight. “I still have some of your old things here. Let’s get you something dry to wear while I make a nice strong cuppa, yeah?”
He wanted to vomit, to collapse in on himself and go back to better times. He felt the tightness of the hold on his hand, Zoshia’s own grip like a lifeline to him as they walked into the house.