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08/10/2020 05:42 PM 

Molly Weasley II

07 February 2006
The air was brittle, a silence that had Percy holding his breath in anticipation for it to break. Terrified brown eyes stared up at him in a need for answers, the pressure over his hand crushing his name repeatedly leaving Zoshia as the panic began to set in. He couldn’t look down at her, his own fear growing. It was a small sprout of dread that began to settle in his mind and make a home there, expanding over his features slowly. Zoshia needed him to be strong, assure her that everything was okay when he wasn’t certain himself. He couldn’t let her see it, give her any hint that something was amiss. The silence ached on, far longer than it was supposed too and Percy held into Zoshia’s grip.

The cry was small and sudden, something that steadily grew in volume. Zoshia’s grip on Percy’s hand laxed enough for the blood to rush back to the tips of his fingers. A broad grin slowly spread over his face as Percy brought his wife’s hand to his lips, an affectionate act as she collapsed back into the bed from exhaustion. Both of their worries had been soothed with that one singular noise, a weight lifted from their shoulders instantly.

Wrapped in a small pink blanket, a bundle was eased onto Zoshia’s chest, Percy’s heart expanding in inexplicable joy. Nine months of prepping, devouring every book he could get his hands on about parenting did nothing to prepare him for the moment before him. In his mind, Percy imagined he would be a decent parent, that after the baby was born he would know exactly what to do - everything the books had instructed him with. Little did he know the books wouldn’t do him any good, that the one thing he relied so heavily on in his life would offer him nothing but reading material during the sleepless nights to come, a means to read both his children and himself to a steady sleep.

“We’ll just pass you over to your dad while we run the checks over mum.”

Dad.

The word rushed him, a flush of color to his face in disbelief that this was now a reality. The nurse beamed as she offered the small bundle to him, Percy’s smile fading slowly as fear resurfaced. Everything he learned from his siblings, the countless of times he held his nieces and nephew while babies went out the window. His eyes were wide, the blasted beaming nurse advancing on him as Percy took a timid step back. It took three years into their marriage for Percy to even entertain the idea of having kids, a simple discussion when he proposed to Zoshia all those years ago to make sure they were on the same page, both agreeing that neither wanted to follow the path others around them had.

Percy wanted to recognize himself before he even thought of bringing another life into the world. He had to face his demons and not only beat them but demolish them, make sure he never slipped back into a place of such desolation that he possibly wouldn’t be able to climb back out from. Much to his family’s chagrin, Percy wanted his status back at the Ministry back, climbed through a fiery hell before his wedding to secure a better position than the one he was graciously given by Kingsley. Percy needed security in his life, a job that would never leave him feeling as if he failed Zoshia as a partner. Percy wanted to give Zoshia and their children everything, never wanted them to go without. He never looked down on the way he was raised, even if at times Percy despised it, but it taught him, made him strive for more. For better things.

It wasn’t just him, Zoshia’s feelings mirroring his own. Her career was everything to her, something she fought tooth and nail for and wasn’t easily pried from her fingers. In their brief discussion she let him know she wasn’t meant to stay at home, refused to bid him farewell every day for work while she remained trapped at him. It wasn’t a life for her and it wasn’t one Percy wanted for her. Zoshia was a star in his life, a light that always kept him above floundering when his resolve fizzled out. Even through all the comments from his family, the immediate assumption that they would have kids right away after getting married, she never faltered in her decision, in what they had agreed upon.

“Oh, don’t be so nervous.”

Arms bent, the small bundle was thrusted at him, the baby curling into the crook of his arm in search of warmth and comfort. Tiny fingers wrapped around his pinky, warmth spreading through Percy, his breath snatched away in the awe and beauty of her. His daughter.

Soft fingers skimmed his arm, Percy’s once fixed attention lifting to the Zoshia’s smile that had a way of melting him. It was the same smile she wore when she told him she loved him and every time since. A lump formed at the base of his throat, Percy not feeling an ounce of shame as the emotions he usually kept well hidden emerged.

“We picked the perfect name, you know.” Zoshia mused.

Percy grinned like an idiot, the picture of perfection in his arms. A soft kiss pressed against their daughter’s head Percy couldn’t agree more.

“Hello Molly.”
 

07/30/2020 08:35 PM 

.1.

I was the one who was with him, not you.
It's my fault
“Percy, do you have a moment?”

Arthur stood shyly just outside of his son’s office, his eyes tired and withered as he waited for Percy to look up from the stacks of paper that surrounded him, the fire message crumbling into ash in his hand.

“The next trial is about to begin and I’m running late as it is.” Percy scrambled to grab the list of things he needed, draining the last of his cold coffee, face pulled at the taste of the dregs at the bottom. It was one trial after another, and endless horror he had to sit through, listening to Death Eater’s accounts of what they had done. Waited to pass a verdict on their crimes and decide their fate. “I’ll be free around . . .”

Percy’s words trailed off as he looked at his father. Even through all the suffering they had endured his spirit seemed unshakable, a light that would never go out now nothing but a wisp. Percy watched. Watched his father shuffle from foot to foot, his hands tapping at his legs in a nervous tick as Arthur cleared his throat a few times. Their faces never met, but Percy could hear it in the words, the mumbled apology for wasting his time. His feet were cemented to the spot as Arthur backed away, hunched over and lost.

“Dad!” Percy made himself move, pushed his legs to take the fearful steps. Something wasn’t right, a familiar look on his father that Percy saw in himself. “Just give me a moment, come in and sit.”

With Arthur ushered inside, Percy bolted from the room. He knew time was limited, not just for the trial but with his father remaining in the room as well. Arthur never sought him out for anything more than just invites to dinner at his mother’s request. It once crushed him, destroyed the hero Percy built him up to be and to see his father like this now, to be so desperate and come to him? - Dread pulsed through him with every beat of his heart.

“The Minister needs these.” Percy was short of breath as he shoved the files the secondary assistant, her eyes widening in alarm. “I won’t be sitting in on this one for emergency reasons. Do you know what to do?”

Percy was gone the moment the witch nodded, his heart hammering as he stopped just outside of his office. He took in three steady breaths, an attempt to remove the flush from his face and regain some composure about himself. A lifetime ago Percy would have carried on with his work, not ignore his father exactly, but schedule a time when they could talk. His father’s actions, the unnatural behaviour would have played on his mind but not enough for him to act, to miss out on a chance to prove himself to the Ministry. The war had changed many things in Percy and the perspective over priorities was the only good change that came. He wouldn’t turn his back on them, not again.

Arthur stood tucked away in the corner of the room, an absent stare out the window. Percy inched closer, using the time of silence to study and assess the situation at hand. It had been a difficult time for them, each Weasley finding their own means of coping with the war and Fred’s death. Percy had tried to remain strong for them, maintained his persona of perfection to allow everyone else a chance to grieve. As the one who abandoned his family only to show up last second it didn’t feel right that he should get to grieve like the others when he wasn’t one of them. Percy pushed down his own pain until he could take no more, a horrible mixture between guilt, grief and the trials driving him to seek refuge from the bottom of a bottle.

Eyes flitted to his desk, the dwindling supply of clear poison that joined his morning tea and most times his afternoon coffee’s. It gave him the needed push to make it through the day, a risk he was willing to take at the moment considering the things he had to sit and listen too in the courtroom. Percy’s hand twitched with need for the spirits, some courage to in what he was about to step into with his father.

“Things seem to be going good for you, Perce.”

Pulled from his thoughts, Percy blanked. It took a moment to recover himself, to alter his mindset back to what was important instead of when he would get the next drink to drown out the day. “Don’t beat around the bush, what’s wrong?”

“You know how your mother wanted those weekly family dinners?” Arthur fumbled over his words as he moved from the window, unease over his face. He took a moment, an inner battle out on display to say the next words. “I just wanted to let you know that you needn’t worry about them anymore.”

Percy’s eyes blinked rapidly, taken aback by the words. Were they just not happening anymore or was he being uninvited? “Is this because I haven’t been to the last few? I know how important they are, it’s these blasted trials, they’re . . .” Percy stopped himself with an aggravated sigh. He knew what they all must have been thinking, could hear all the remarks about how he hadn’t changed at all. That he was the same old prat he had always been. They would never know the actual reason he never showed up, that the last few Friday nights he drank himself into a numbed sleep. Panic trickled into his voice, desperate not to lose them all again. He couldn’t handle being alone, outcasted once more. “Friday’s are just impossible right now, I’ll come over Sunday.”

“Perce.”

“No, we’ll make a big thing of it. I’ll um . . . I’ll bring some -”

“Percy, mum’s gone.”

Dread rushed down his spine, Percy’s stomach twisting in the unease. He heard the words, but they didn’t register, made little sense. She would never leave them, not even after all the hell they put her through; she’d always be there. She was the one person Percy knew he could rely on, that she’d never turn her back on him even when she was furious at him. It didn’t make sense.

She wasn’t gone. She couldn’t be.

“What do you mean gone? Gone where?”

“She went to Bill’s a few weeks ago.” Arthur’s words were shaky, his face crumpling with the weight of the words. His nose dripped as the tears formed, Arthur looking at his son lost and in need of help. “I thought it was just for a few days, a way for her to clear her mind, get herself straight, you know? Losing Fred is killing her. She would just stay in bed all day blaming herself for losing him, thinking it’s her fault. I tried to talk sense into her and she left, she won’t even see me when I go to visit.”

The howl of pain was horrific on his ears, Percy’s eyes wide and terrified as his father broke down in front of him. He was at a loss of what to do on the best days when people had emotional meltdowns, but with his father? Percy leaned away as Arthur buried his face into his hands, everything from the past weeks flowing from him. Awkwardly, Percy forced his arm around his shoulder’s, muscles tense with his if made him squirm on the inside, but this wasn’t about him.

“I don’t know what to do anymore. The house is falling apart, George won’t leave him room. Ginny’s heading back to Hogwarts while Ron and Charlie are working. You don’t come around anymore again.”

It was a backhanded slap and Percy quickly removed himself from his father’s space. “Dad, that’s not -”

“You don’t. It would have helped her with losing Fred. She shouldn’t be blaming herself because you were the one who was with him.”

Percy couldn’t stop the sudden look of anguish that appeared on his face even if he tried. His heart stuttered, a endless drop that had him tumbling. There were multiple ways what his father said could have been taken, context left open but no matter which way Percy tried to see it, they all hurt. “So I’m what exactly? Responsible?”

Arthur’s head shot up, his face paling from the already pasty color. “No. Merlin, no! That came out wrong, I’m sorry. What I meant was, he wasn’t alone, he was with family. And when you came over you - well you were you. You took charge, you took on so much responsibility that gave your mum a break, you gave us something of our old lives back. You didn’t lean on us like the others do, you aren’t grieving like the rest of us. Then you stopped coming around and everything’s fallen apart.”

His hands shook as Percy’s adjusted the tie around his neck. He felt as if it were choking him, cutting off all the flow of air as he dangled, screaming for help. Every word latched to him, pulling him under the dark recesses of their meanings. He wanted to lash out, strike his father where he knew it would devastate the man just as much as he just did to Percy, but Arthur was already broken. He fought the quiver in his voice, anything that would hint to the fact that Percy was hurting in that moment. “I’ll go talk with her, but dad maybe this is the best thing for her. Sometimes time away does tremendous good.”

“I’m just so lost without her.” His reply was heavy and filled with defeat. As Percy headed for the door, Arthur called out to him. “I’m really proud of you Perce, for the way you’ve stepped up.”

Percy swallowed the lump in his throat, the bittersweet moment of hearing the one thing he always wanted to from his father. “I’ll come by later tonight.”

 
------------------------------------------

Waves crashed outside the cottage, Percy’s eyes trained on the door Bill had led him back too. The determination faltered the moment he entered the roomy home, uncertainty in what he was now doing. His father’s words still bounced around in the back of his mind, whether or not he meant them, they meant something to Percy. He knew he was to blame for Fred, his father’s misjudgement of words proving a point that killed what little light Percy had left inside him.

With the tips of his fingers, Percy drummed the small melody he used as a child, one that let his mum know when something was wrong and he needed her, a way to show he was upset without his siblings knowing; the usual root cause of his hurt back then. He couldn’t remember the last time he had done it, certainly before he went to Hogwarts. He waited, a lump forming in his throat. Maybe she didn’t remember.

The door clicked and softly he pushed it open to the dimly lit room. He wanted to turn and run, afraid of what might happen and the possibility that she too blamed him. Each step into the room was one of force, a mental push to do what needed to be done. It would hurt him, of that he had no doubt, but his mother needed him more than he feared the blame.

“Percy. This is a lovely surprise.” The smile didn’t reach her cheeks let alone her eyes, a puzzled look as she took note the time of day. “Shouldn’t you be at work?”

“I just spoke to dad.” He wanted to ask her what she was doing, why she was doing this. If she knew the damage she was inflicting on all of them by leaving. If she knew how much she was hurting her husband; a man who loved her proudly, who would walk through hell just to be with her. But Percy understood, knew better than anyone that sometime walking away was best. It didn’t mean forever, just like it wasn’t forever for Percy, she just needed time to find herself again.

“I don’t want to talk about him.” There was a softness in her voice, the fight in her gone. She looked almost helpless in the chair, withering away as grief encased her.

“Good, neither do I.”

In a few quick strides Percy was at her side, his back pressed up against the wall as he took a seat on the floor beside her. The right thing to do would have been to convince her to go back home, let her know how much they were all suffering but he couldn’t bring himself too. She was hurting, deeply hurting in a way that none of them could repair and it was because of him. Everything that was happening now resulted from his actions, a horrible domino effect that was ripping his family apart at the seams. He played the moment of Fred’s death over and over in his mind, trying to find a means in which he wasn’t at fault but all he could find was blame. He could have responded faster. He could have been acted like himself, never tried to be a smart arse at the Minister which resulted in Fred laughing in the first place. He could have never shown up or at most stayed away from his family. He could have battled Rookwood himself instead of going for the man who desecrated the only place that accepted him; then it would have been him and not Fred. There were so many things he could have done differently, and endless supply of what if’s that did nothing but pile of the shame and guilt.

“I’m so sorry mum.” Her hand came down on his shoulder, his own reaching up to hold hers. It was the most he could offer her, his own guilt and grief bubbling away inside him. “It’s not fair, all of us coming here and asking you to come home. We never gave you a chance to mourn Fred, not really. You were expected to be this great pillar of strength, some kind of glue to hold us together and it wasn’t fair. Don’t feel guilty about this or about Fred.”

I was the one who was with him, not you. I should have been better, faster to react.

He kept the words to himself, a guilt that would have only added to her agony knowing that he was struggling, blaming himself. He couldn’t add his own grief on her. She needed someone, just one of them to not rely on her and be there for her instead. Molly’s hand squeezed his tightly and Percy looked up at her.

07/26/2020 11:53 PM 

A difference of I love you [HC]

Love was a verb, not a noun. It was shown in small daily acts such and not screamed from the rooftops for all to hear. It was hours spent in the library, scouring endless books to find a cure to a petrified state. It was patiently waiting, dying to just hear those three words uttered back to him just once. Percy loved Penelope in a way that he never believed her could love anyone. He was always the one pushed aside and forgotten, he never dreamed love would ever find him. While his classmates flirted and became hormonal pests, Percy remained impassive to it all. He cherished his own space, didn’t fancy the idea of someone encroaching on his personal vicinity, consuming his time as well as his face. To him, one didn’t need to shove their tongue down another's throat to acknowledge beauty.

The blonde beauty entered Percy’s life like a tornado, a fierceness to be reckoned with. Surprise was all he felt when his fellow Prefect asked him out, sparks flying between them as Percy ventured out into the world of dating. Penelope was everything and more. Intelligence and grace. She held respect and everyone admired her. She was clever and a dreamer. She understood Percy, gave him a sense of finally belonging somewhere in a world that constantly rejected him. She pushed his dreams higher, encouraged his ambition without the mockery he was used too.

She burned like the sun, stole Precy’s breath away every time he looked at her. He anticipated the feeling of love, uncertain of what to expect and assumed the angry butterflies that twist his stomach into knots and cease all logical thoughts of his to be it. Her smiles were as easy as they were intoxicating, a honeyed voice that made him bend to her every whim as he drank her in. He overlooked her veering lies and shady actions. Glanced the other way when he heard rumors of her dates with others, nights spent in the arms of another.
 

‘If you really loved me you’d know it’s not true. But could you blame them for saying it, no one in the school knows we’re even dating because you lack warmth and affection. You say you love me, prove it?’

She convinced him it was all in his head, that due to his own lack of confidence and prudish behavior it was his fault if she turned to someone else. Never affectionate, Percy struggled with trying to keep up with her demands, forced constantly out of his comfort zone until he could take no more and forced her back and shied away from making those irrevocable steps. It never felt right with her and nothing ever satisfied Penelope.

It took years for Percy to learn that sex was a means of control for her. Penelope could dangle it like a carrot and make men dance for her, all but him. He never caved to her, and she had to find another means of control. Percy loved her more than she loved him, if she ever did at all. Penelope took those three-letter words that were sacred to him and tainted them, injected them with her poison.
 
‘I love you.’

She said what Percy craved for the first time through hysterical sobs at being caught in the broom shed with someone else by his brothers, her perfect make-up running in streaks down her face. He should have known the words meant nothing to her but to him, it meant everything and she destroyed him.

‘You know how much I love you . . . right?’

‘You have no idea of what love really is. If you did you’d be better than this.’

‘If you just relaxed you’d see how much I love you.’

‘Prove you love me.’

‘And maybe I’ll love you a little more.’

‘Normal boys would cut off their own legs to have me. Clearly, you aren’t normal or just lacking.’

‘You’d believe them over the person you say you love? But could you really blame me for snogging him when I’m stuck with someone like you?’

‘You’re lucky that someone like me is even interested in someone as cold and unlovable as you.’

Penelope was a firestorm that incinerated Percy slowly until there was nothing left but scorch marks over a closed heart.


Love became a ghost, Percy’s attention purely on his work and nothing else. He didn’t companionship, didn’t long for anything beyond the means of friendships he could keep at arms length, all emotions and feelings removed from the equation. Love was sneaky and slowly it wormed its way back in, wanted or not. It held no regards or pity for his previous burns, wounds still raw and healing.

When it arrived back into his life, love was unrecognizable. It wasn’t packaged in shiny paper and bow, but rather in laughter and smiles he craved to see and hear. It was red hair with an angry Scottish accent, no butterflies forming when she came into his line of vision. No, it arrived with stealth, a switch unknown to him that she went from being another face to the only one he saw. It greeted him with completeness when he was near her and longing when he wasn’t.

Zoshia understood him better than he did himself. She listened, found hidden layers in his words that made Percy feel heard. He knew the moment he risked everything he worked for at the Ministry to save her it was more than just mere friendship and instantly Percy shied away, closed himself off in fear. The war had broke them, altered who he was and still she remained at his side, fighting to get him back. It took more courage than he had to step out from the shadows of hurt and into love, Zoshia’s deep caring encircling him. She never pushed for more, never forced him or bullied him into things. She was patient. She was everything he wasn’t.

He knew he loved her, knew it before they began dating and as time passed it grew stronger, frightened Percy into keeping it to himself. He refused to say it until he was certain of their future, knew that she wanted the same things he did in life but Zoshia was a fire of passion who waited for no one.
 
Percy paced the floor in the small office, his thoughts streaming out as he tried to make sense of the project he had been given as Zoshia sat tucked away in his chair. It took him a moment to realize she was smiling as she watched him, a daydreamed look on her face.

“What?” Panic rushed his cheeks as Percy looked over himself, concern that something was out of place.

She got to her feet slowly and crossed over to him, Percy’s heart stuttering in response. She always respected him and his quirks, never mocked him for what was once deemed prudish behavior and his need for space. “Nothing, I just . . . don’t get weirded out but -” Her lips brushed his cheek quickly, Zoshia’s face returning directly in front of him nervously. “I love you. And regulations C238 gives you a loophole to solve your issue.”

Percy’s heart thundered as the words settled into his heart, made home in what was once blocked off. There was no hidden agenda behind the word, no push for him to say the words back or malice. There was only softness in her eyes as she looked up at him, a soft mumble that she just wanted him to know. Zoshia loved him and he believed her.

 




//HC//
Percy is a Storge type. He is never activly looking for love, especially after Penelope burned him. He shut himself off to the idea of love but in true Storge behavior found it in friendship from Zoshia. 

 

Storge is the Greek term for familial love. Lee defines Storge as growing slowly out of friendship and is based more on similar interests and a commitment to one another rather than on passion. However, he chooses Storge, rather than the term Philia (the usual term for friendship) to describe this kind of love.

There is a love between siblings, spouses, cousins, parents and children. Storge necessitates certain familial loyalties, responsibilities, duties and entitlements. The dwelling is to be sanctuary for its members and all members of a family are to pull through together in difficult times. Except for marriage, all other relationships have existed often by blood for as long as the individuals have known each other. In marriage, a couple, who formerly did not accord each other this love, promise to extend and build this love and form a new bond of kinship. Family members hold each other in good esteem to the outside world. Insults undermine the connected family reputations. In many judicial systems a family member cannot be asked to testify in court against a member of one's immediate family for a crime external to family. Storgic love often develops gradually out of friendship, or out of extended duration of cohabitation. The friendship in some cases can endure beyond the breakup of the relationship.

Lee's recognizable traits:

  • Is not looking for love but is ready if encountered
  • Quietly possessive but not overly jealous
  • Believes love comes from friendship but not a goal of life
  • Only has sexual desires after commitment is declared

07/25/2020 12:56 PM 

Collateral damage [war мιnιѕтer.]


Snow crunched under Percy’s hurried steps, his face pulled tight in emotions he wouldn’t allow to surface. His heart hurt, ached with every beat that sent him crashing into an oblivion of obscurity. He didn’t dare look back at the warmly lit Burrow behind him. It had been a foolish mistake to return, a fantasy of an idea that he would be welcomed back, not with open arms but as warmly as they could all manage. It had been a year and four months since Percy had last seen the Burrow, a year since he heard anything from his family apart from the casual paths crossing with his father at work. It was something he longed for, each day the desire to return and make amends growing stronger.

Loneliness was a brutal companion, something Percy once craved now a burden around his neck. It pulled him down, leveled him mentally when he was alone with his thoughts and showed no mercy. It was why Percy worked as long as he did, took on added projects and tasks. Not because he was an ass kisser, though he was, but it was to keep him busy, away from the pollution in his own mind.

“Weasley!”

Minister Scrimgeour’s voice echoed through the garden Percy was rushing to get away from. He wasn’t overly fond of the man that claimed the title of Minister of Magic and in the beginning he convinced himself that he wasn’t too terrible; he remembered Percy’s name at least. And he was apparent in his reasons for keeping Percy around, reasons that had nothing to do with his ability or work ethic. Liking him more than Crouch Snr. and Fudge did nothing to stop the sweeping anger that Scrim had blindsided him, used him in the most heinous of ways to get to Potter alone.

“Damnit Percy, slow down will ya!”

His vision blurred, not from emotion but the mashed parsnips Ginny and the twins had hurled at him after he spoke briefly with his mother, came out to explain the genuine reason he was at the Burrow. Percy stopped as he drew in bitter air that matched the blood pounding through the normally well composed ginger. There was a tremble in his arms as he forced himself to stop moving, and carefully Percy turned. Through his smeared glasses he could make out the wide-eyed stare he received at the sight of him covered in food.

“Bloody hell,” Scrim breathed with pity.

“I just couldn’t resist dropping in to see them - I’d been dying to catch up?” His words were laced with venom, spouting the excuses Scrim gave his family to their sudden appearance. He knew he was being used to get to Potter, that he was easiest excuse to show up at the Burrow but Percy never imagined being tossed to a pack of wolves and left there. He assumed it would be cut and dry, a quick chance for him to explain himself on his own terms to his family while the Minister spoke with Harry.

“None of this went according to plan,” Scrim began. “I didn’t get anything useful from Mister Potter and you . . . well.”

Percy knew what he was getting at, didn’t need him to mention the mess that covered him head to toe. It hurt in ways Percy never thought could, believing he experienced it all during his trial and then again when he left the Burrow. But it kept piling on, kept getting worse with every rejection from his family. Now he’d been driven out from the place he considered home before he had the chance to explain or apologize and it weakened his resolve.

“I’m sorry, if I had known your family was -”

“You’d what?” Percy snapped, his voice carrying through the surrounding openness. He rarely raised his voice to anyone, it took a special kind of fracture in him to make him succumb to it. Everyone knew of his estrangement from his family, common knowledge that Scrim had easy access too. There was no excuse for his manipulation, the way he saw the loneliness in Percy and preyed upon it. “You wouldn’t have used me as a pawn to get to Harry if you knew my family was going to throw food at me until I left?”

Scrim paused, realizing Percy caught him in his own game. “If you knew I was using you, why’d you agree to this? From my understanding Mister Weasley, you left your family on a rather bitter note. Surely you didn’t expect a happy reunion.”

Percy’s eyes narrowed dangerously, his head tilted slightly. Never in his life had Percy felt compelled to punch anyone in the face, let alone the Minister of Magic, until now. “You’re an absolute f***wit,” he snarled under his breath. He knew nothing of Percy’s situation, had no concept of why he left or how difficult it was let alone why he kept his distance all this time. No one did. Everyone assumed it was a vanity project, a sweet spin on the truth to make him a villain.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” Scrim challenged, asserting his authority.

“We’re all screwed. You’re no different from Fudge.” Percy removed his glasses to clean them, his heart raging in his chest to the poisonous emotion. The things he was saying, just the mere way he spoke to Scrim was grounds for termination but Percy didn’t care. He had leverage, knew too much; secrets of Fudge and now the current administration to be easily let go without fear of it hitting the front page of the Prophet. “Always looking for a scapegoat, thinking your these brilliant master manipulators when even a first year at Hogwarts could see through you. You will make us lose the war playing your stupid little games.”

The look on the Minister’s face was hard to place, the blurred image of him just feet away giving Percy a headache. “You knew Fudge was using you and you still . . .”

Percy’s brows lifted in a dare for Scrim to finish the sentence. He was tired of being condemned for his decision, judged by outside eyes. In that moment, Percy felt so much like his brother’s, the condescending expression on his face at news he already knew. “What do you mean Fudge was using me?”

“You don’t think he brought on someone who just narrowly escaped his trial on as junior assistant because of your record, did you?”

Percy rolled his eyes heavily, the parsnips cleared from his glasses, no smears remaining as he placed them back in his face. He either didn’t lay the sarcasm on heavy enough or lacked the skills his brothers had in making it both obvious and amusing.“I was being sarcastic. And yes, I chose a job I was clearly being used in over my family. Someone had to keep connections in the Ministry if my father refused too. He couldn’t comprehend that he could maintain good standing in the Ministry and quietly support Harry at the same time. Instead, he put targets on my mum’s and siblings backs. So while Fudge thought he had me under his thumb I was paying attention to everything in case they were ever in danger from the very facility that was supposed to protect them.”

It was the first time Percy admitted to what he was doing behind the scenes, anger blowing his cover to the wrong person and the only protection his family had left was now in jeopardy. Still, there was no remorse on his face, nothing that showed he regretted any of his actions from the past. Percy would do it all again if it meant his family was safe.

Scrim’s head bowed as he took in everything that was thrown at him, a small understanding to the sacrifices Percy had made to keep those he loved safe. “So you kept your distance to maintain the persona you weren’t aligned with them or their beliefs. Very noble of you.” Percy eyed him, unsure if he was now facing sarcasm of his own. “So why did you agree to this, why come here and risk everything?”

“Because I wanted to see my bloody family! I wanted to test the waters and see if there was any hope they would forgive me.” But they wouldn’t and he knew that now. Mashed parsnips fell from his suit and into the snow just outside the Burrow. He could see his mother in the kitchen window, staring out at them as Percy fought not to breakdown just yards away. Voldemort and his followers were killing people faster than the Ministry could deal with, targeting people in the Ministry like Percy who had knowledge and he was left to fight it alone.

“I only came with you - even agreed to bringing you here for purely selfish reasons; to see them. I just wanted to go home and see all of my family at Christmas, to apologize for how I left and to let them know I’ve been looking out for them, trying to protect them.” Percy sniffed, a mixture between his admission and the cold making his nose run. “But I didn’t get that far because you threw me under the bus immediately with your stupid comments when we arrived. You made them hate me even more.”

Scrim crossed over to him, his free hand coming down roughly on Percy’s shoulder before he removed it to shake off the parsnips that clung to him. “That was never my intention with this. I hoped it would help resolve some family issues while I obtained what I needed from Potter. Truly, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t lie, I’m just collateral damage to you.” Percy once would have accepted the apology, but the damage had been done, his only chance to fix things not just irreparable but gone. Percy’s head shook as he forced himself to look away from the Burrow. “I can’t stay here any longer with my mum watching. Lets go.”

07/20/2020 10:35 PM 

Scabbers [July 1987]

July 1987

Sat alone out in the garden, Percy’s knees were tucked close to his chest, a slight frown on the boyish face as the sun set before him. The sky was flecked with color, vibrant hues of the late summer scattered across the darkening blanket above. The excitement rang through the Burrow, endless screeching and chatter since they returned from Diagon Alley. Another year at Hogwarts was fast approaching the Weasley’s household, three sets of requirements delivered by owl that morning, Percy’s own letter neatly tucked away in the pages of his book he took with him on their day out.

He should have been excited about it, just as excited he had been that morning when he opened his Hogwarts letter of acceptance. It wore off as the day went, one by one each sibling ushered into the many shops. Percy waited patiently as his parents worked through the lists, Bill’s things coming first followed by Charlie’s. When his own list came up in the first shop, Percy noted the scratches through some items along with the frazzled look on his mother’s face. He was old enough to understand what was happening, had been given enough hand-me-downs of Bill and Charlie’s things to know what his trunk would consist of. A part of him expected it but also knew that some things were impossible to pass down to him. Percy only hoped Charlie had the decency to keep the books intact.

He didn’t mind, never put of a fuss or an attitude to what was happening, at all the new things his older brothers were getting. There was only one thing he wanted, and the smile remained on his face as they neared Eeylops Owl Emporium. Percy loved owls, was giddy knowing that he would finally get one. He knew everything there was to know about them, took extra time the past few weeks reading up on proper care for owls. Bill and Charlie still needed their animals which meant that Percy would finally have something new, something that was his own. He brimmed with excitement when as they walked in, already knowing what owl he wanted. They left before Percy had a chance to even look, Ginny kicking up a fuss as her small legs struggled to keep up while Fred and George ran wild, trying to free any owls at their level. In a rush to leave, his parents promised they would return another day to give him a chance to look but there was relief on their faces that sent Percy’s heart sinking.

With a heavy sigh, Percy glanced down at his owl book. The wise eyes of the barn owl looked back at him, the corner of his Hogwarts acceptance letter marking the page of the owl he wanted. His owl.

The dried grass crunched a little, Percy’s eyes going wide as he sat utterly still in fright at the massive rat that made home on top of his book, small paws cleaning its whiskers. Slowly, he eased back. Terror instilled on his face, a shiver running over his spine as Percy held his breath. He hated rats, despised everything about the filthy little creatures. They were weren’t just horrible to look at, but the knowledge of where they had been, or worse yet, the lack of knowledge of where they had been, set Percy’s skin crawling. The small beady eyes landed on him, an almost human look to them that had Percy running headlong to the Burrow for his mother. Her name was there, the tiny screech silenced by the rough voices of his parents.

“We have to figure something out. He can’t go to Hogwarts without one.” His mother’s voice floated out the open window. It was wrong to linger, to remain listening, but he knew they were talking about him and Percy wanted to prepare himself for disappointment when they broke the news to his face.

“We can get him a toad and when Charlie leaves Percy can have his owl.” There was a deathly silence, a sharpness in the air until his father sighed. “Don’t give me that look, what else are we supposed to do?”

“Bill didn’t need that new fangled broom.”

“We agreed it was a gift for making Prefect!” Arthur replied defensively.

“Then we should have gotten Percy’s things first and the broom last! We don’t have enough to get the only thing he -”

Percy backed away from the window, hands covering his ears to block them out. His parents never argued, at least never in front of them and guilt washed over him that it boiled down to the fact he wanted an owl. Shoulders hunched, he made his way back to his favorite spot in the garden, a place of refuge from the noise that surrounded him. The fat rat remained on his book, fury exploding in his heart the moment he saw the chewed corner of his beloved book. “That’s my book, you blasted . . . ” Foot arched back for the kick, Percy’s foot jammed into the ground as he stopped himself just short of making contact.

Shame rushed his cheeks not just at what he had almost done to an innocent creature but the emotion he was feeling. Simultaneously, his heart broke and hardened, a sadness that was indescribable lost in him and Percy snatched his book back, hugging it to his chest for comfort. It wasn’t fair that he wasn’t going to get his owl while Bill and Charlie each got new things, things they didn’t need. But acting like a spoiled brat wouldn’t get him anything but trouble. If he kicked up enough of a fuss, Percy was sure he would get his owl but at the cost of Bill having to return his new broom, making his siblings hate him even more. And he didn’t want his parents to argue anymore, to be at ends with each other over him.

Chin lifted prominently, Percy’s mind worked quickly to the perfect solution, a way to prove to his parents he was mature and a worthy of their attention. His hands shook as he caught the rat that tried to scamper away, Percy’s book tucked under his arm tightly as he held the rat out at arms length to inspect it. “Disgusting.” He dreaded his next action, a decision that he could never go back on the moment his foot hit the back door until it opened.

“No need to kick, just use the - OH!” His mother jumped back, her hand at her chest as she looked from Percy to the rat with questions burning in her eyes. “Percy . . . darling, take that back outside. Now.”

“Actually, I was hoping I could keep him.” The words were as forced as the smile on his face. His skin crawled every moment that passed with the rat in his hands, it taking everything in his power to not drop it and run to scrub his skin raw. “I was hoping I could take it with me to Hogwarts.”

Percy didn’t understand the look on his mother’s face, the way her smile faded at his words. He thought she would be happy; pleased that their problem had been solved without tears or fighting.

“What about your owl?”

It was a way out, a simple way to get what he wanted but Percy kept the smile on his face. “Everyone will have an owl, no one will have a rat. This will make me different.” He observed the look his parents shared between them, his father’s shoulder lifting in a slight shrug. “Can I keep him?”

His mother’s hands shook a little as she held them up, a silent way of telling him to stay put as she walked away. It took a moment, Percy standing awkwardly with the thing that disgusted him to his core as far from himself as he could while his father stared at him baffled.

“Here we are!”

The box was set at his feet, Percy taking extra care as he placed the rat down. There was a small bed of grass in a nook, the remaining corners empty. He didn’t know what a rat needed, if it even needed anything really to survive. There was a sudden brush of unease through him, knowledge he didn’t have that put his mind in a state of panic. He didn’t even know what a rat ate.

“Are you sure about this, Perce?” His father asked, sensing the sudden hesitation in his son. “It’s missing a toe, might die before you even leave for - ”

“We’ll get you a proper cage for him.” Molly interjected, a sharp glare sent in his father’s direction. Her hand brushed Percy’s hair back, soothing away the sudden look of distress at the thought of the rat dying.

“And a book about caring for them?”

Her hand squeezed his shoulder as she smiled. “Of course, but only if you’re sure about this.”

Percy beamed at his parents, doing his best to hide everything happening in his mind, all the emotions that were tangled up inside him. “Thank you. Night.”

He felt better with the box in his arms, no longer having to feel the rough and grimy fur of the rat. It would get better over time, he’d adjust once as the rat was cleaned and not just dirty looking. Gingerly, Percy set the box down on his dresser as he peered over the edge through his thick lens’.

“I was going to name my owl Sir Galahad. You’re neither a sir nor a Galahad.” The sigh was lengthy and exasperated. The corner of his lips lifted into a small smile as the rat stood on its back legs, nose twitching against Percy’s. “I’ll call you Scabbers.”
 
Head Canon:
As the years passed, Percy grew to be rather fond of Scabbers, choosing to keep him over taking Bill’s owl once he left Hogwarts. Percy believed Scabbers found him during a time when he needed a friend. When the time came for Ron to attend Hogwarts, Percy struggled with letting go of Scabbers and giving him to his younger brother. Of all the things Percy had growing up, Scabbers was the one he could freely speak to and express his emotions around without fear of being judged.

When it became common knowledge that Scabbers was in fact Peter Pettigrew, it left Percy extremely disturbed and preyed upon since he’d been chosen because he was emotionally weak. Secrets he confided in Scabbers were later secrets of Death Eaters and later used against him when he remained at the Ministry during their takeover.

07/13/2020 01:16 PM 

You're not okay [Mamabear]


Percy stood at the edge of the cliff, the pebbled ground below engulfed by the foam of the sea that took over the shore little by little. There was no telling where the blue skies ended and the seas depths began, a calmness as if it were a slumbering giant. The weight of everything pressed down on him, pulling down on his shoulders and sat on his chest simultaneously. He needed a place to go, somewhere that wouldn’t force more hurt on an already fragile mind. He longed for the burrow, for a sense of familiarity as he fled the Ministry but he couldn’t do it, couldn’t face his mother. Percy had already seen the look from his father, the sheer disappointment and abhorrence in what Percy had done - allowed himself to become. He didn’t want to see it from his mother as well, couldn’t handle it.

As the alcohol wore off, panic took its place. It lodged deep within his mind, talons locked unrelentingly, eager to pull him down further. This had to be the bottom, the worst anything could get. Everything he feared was manifesting, one singular moment compounded into the disaster of his life with no one to blame but himself. Publically fired from the Ministry, hearing Kingsley’s damning words ringing in his ears still. The shock on his fathers face at the failure he created. It was the way Arthur looked at him but somehow past him, through his pain as if he weren’t his son that stuck with Percy. He should have hit the bottom, felt there was nowhere else to go but he kept tumbling, head under water.

Percy retreated like a coward, ran away from the destruction he had caused and sought refuge along the white clifftops of Shell Cottage, a place he thought no one would ever look for him. They had gone as children, visiting their aunt and it was one of the few fond memories Percy had growing up. The peace of the lapping waters, the way storms would roll in dangerously from beyond what the eye could see. He had forgotten that Bill and Fleur took it over, brought the place back to life after so many years of being vacant until he saw the blond witch down on the shore staring up at him.

The crack hit the air like thunder and Percy remained completely still, eyes trained ahead as the steps followed. His mind buzzed as he counted them, a swarm of bees racing in the urge to run once more as it became clear who approached him. He knew it was his mother, didn’t need to hear her speak or look back for confirmation. It was only a matter of time before his father said something to her, recounted the horrors of the day, the horrendous things Percy had done.

“Fleur owled saying you were here. She was . . .” Molly’s voice trailed off as she came to a stop beside Percy, intense gaze settled on her son. “I’m not the best at French but I’m fairly certain you’re worrying her as you’ve been standing here for hours.”

Hours. The lapse of time went unnoticed to Percy, another reminder of how drunk he had been earlier - still was. A noise left him at the lunacy of it all. Fleur, someone he hardly knew could see there was something amiss but no one else could? It hurt, left micro-tears across his heart that even in his hour of need, when he made it so painfully obvious he was still overlooked.

“Percy, what are you doing?”

His gaze remained out at sea, waiting for some symbolic wave that mimicked how he felt to come crashing in and swallow the beach. He wanted the clouds to churn and twist as the storm that raged within him manifested in them too, streaks of lightening, sharp rain, deafening thunder that couldn’t be ignored. It all remained peaceful, nothing that mirrored his own emotions as the sun-kissed sky sent diamonds across the tranquil waters below.

“Have you spoken to dad?”

“Of course I’ve spoken with your father. He came home looking for you, I’ve never seen him so worked up. What would possess you to do such a thing? Everything you worked for, all that you sacrificed just to have that position and you throw it away in a moment of . . . I don’t even know what! I never expected something like this from any of you, but especially not you.”

Percy let the words hit him, each one a punch that knocked him down further until he was incapable of anything. It left him broken inside and out, the reminder of what he had to be, what had always been expected of him. He was so far from who he was, from who he wanted to be. He was far from being free of a past that was haunting him, of everything he had destroyed, relationships with his family still left in pieces as a result now for nothing. His future was slipping from him, beyond his reach as darkness skimmed at his mind.

Softness crept into the sternness she was trying to maintain, eyes crinkled as she looked at Percy. He wasn’t sure if she could see it, could finally see that there was something missing inside of him but it was too late. He tried before to have someone notice, just that morning when he stopped by the Burrow before work, looking for help. He went unnoticed, lost once more in the shuffle of faces. "What has been going on with your lately?"

“You don’t want to have this discussion, mum. Not right now, trust me.”

Her hands went straight to her hips, taking the pose Percy had seen her give to his siblings whenever they were in trouble but never him. He always made sure he was well behaved, never set a toe out of line so they had one less child to worry about. He maintained perfection for them until it made him invisible. “And why the hell not?”

His face turned slowly up to her. She didn’t sway, nothing blurred as the effects of the drink faded. “Because I am still a little drunk and there is no filter between my mouth and mind.”

There was a snort of derision from her, a distasteful noise that set Percy’s mind on edge. “Oh I think I do. Do you have any idea what you’ve done, the mess your father is cleaning up after you?”

His eyes closed slowly, allowed the weight of the blame to drag him into unknown depths, waited for his body to hit the bottom, for his life to finally stop and give him a chance to look up, find a means to fight. “Right, it’s all about dad. All about the mess I made that he will have to deal with. Never mind why I’m . . .” He couldn’t bring himself to say it, to admit to anguish that was inside his mind. Percy swallowed hard as he waited for the pull of tears, for them to well in his eyes but there was nothing. He had nothing.

“You’re what?” It was a gentle prod, a poor attempt to get her least open child to do just that, be open and honest. Molly’s hand gripped his forearm as she moved carefully in front of him, inches away from the drop of the cliff. Her eyes were unwavering as she looked up at him, truly looked. “You’re not okay.”

There was a subtle fear in her eyes, a realization that the person before her was no longer her son. Percy’s gaze hardened in response, finally moving away from the open sea and at his mother. She finally saw it, could finally see him and it did nothing to relinquish the pain. If anything, it made it worse.

“Really?” Percy threw as much sarcasm as he could behind the word. “And what gave you that brilliant inclination? Was it the fact I’ve been drinking myself to death for months? Or is it the fact I am a shell of myself?” His mind stumbled, a momentary jump in thoughts. “Is inclination the right word, I don’t think it is.”

“Oh, Percy.”

“Don’t” His voice broke, a feeble attempt to get out of his mothers grasp. “Don’t ‘oh, Percy’ me as if you give two sods!" Percy’s head began to throb, his mouth unnaturally dry as he backed away. “Is this what it takes? Being fired from the Ministry because I couldn’t beat a blasted boggart?”

“Sweetie, there wasn’t a boggart.”

Percy scoffed obnoxiously, tired of being told what was and wasn’t in his mind. He needed to believe in the boggart, didn’t want to face up to the fact that his mind created something so monstrous. So cruel. “You’re missing the point, mum! I had to f*** up this badly for you and dad to see I need you, to realize that I’m not okay and haven’t been for a long time! I blew up my bloody office, Kingsley fired me in front of dad. I hurt Zosh, I . . . I . . .”

His words trailed off as he recounted what had happened earlier, a dawning on his face of what he had done. Percy sunk to the hard ground, the faint memory of earlier coming back to him, the urgency in which Zoshia rushed out of the room, the ground stained with her blood. Molly was there instantly, her hand gently placed over his shoulders as Percy looked at her wide eyed, pleading for help. Panic swept through him like the waves devouring the shelled shore below, a tide that pulled Percy deeper away from reality and into a pit, trapped with his mistakes.

“Mum . . .”

The smile on her face was soft, the same one he saw on her the day of Fred’s funeral. It was strength cracked, spider cracks webbing out as she maintained a brave face. In one swooping embrace she forced the hold on him, a hug he would otherwise squirm out from now the only thing that grounded him. “It’ll be all right, you’ll be all right.”

07/11/2020 11:35 PM 

Our little Secret [Pain & Blood]

[Date: May 1995]

“It’ll be our little secret, eh Weatherby.”

Crouch Snr. words resurfaced as Percy stood at the mouth of the Forbidden Forest, back to the castle as he stared into the darkness that ebbed closer to him as the sun set. Panic began to spread across his chest, every breath met with little expansion of his lungs, leaving him dry and wanting more. But with every inhale it became harder to draw in the next, to subdue what was rising on his arms as a result. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could wait. At some point he would have to go to the castle, would have to admit to what was happening.

He should have known better, should have seen or sensed something was off the moment Crouch asked him to take on added responsibility, things that no assistant had business doing, nevermind a novice in the Ministry. Percy was a pleaser though, anything done that would further his career, no questions asked. He had been foolish to go against his gut instinct and now his stomach churned at what exactly he had gotten himself into. In a desire to believe he was special, that he was hand selected by Crouch for his immaculate decision making and ability to juggle many responsibilities at once; that Crouch saw a similar passion and drive in Percy as he did himself and took him under his wing, Percy was now ladened with more than he could take on. It was all a ploy, something deeper happening just beneath the surface that Percy was initially too afraid to scratch at.

He just wanted to believe that someone saw something in him. Prove his family wrong, show them he would indeed be someone one day.

Dusk skimmed the sky and Percy’s jaw clenched harder with every passing moment as fear blended with anger pulsed through him. Crouchs orders were simple, meet him outside the Forbidden Forest to discuss the upcoming final task and how things had been going. Crouch wanted something to report back to the Ministry with, something to show them and the press that nothing ominous was happening despite the fact they allowed a fourteen year old to participate in tasks he was ill equipped for. Tensions rose the moment that Harry had been selected as the fourth champion. Even though Percy wasn’t overly fond of the young wizard anymore, he felt the compelling pull during the tasks, a brotherly protectiveness that unnerved him as he had to sit and watch - wait to see if death would take away someone his family considered to be one of them.

It wasn’t just Harry now though, Percy locked to the judges booth in horror as Ron surfaced from the black lake, hours spent in the murky waters, held hostage by mermaids. He had no idea they involved his brother in the second task but he knew Crouch did, knew the man had a list of who was taken under and while Percy should have suspected he never dreamed they’d actually take Ron. Crouch had promised him his siblings safety, swore that despite Harry being a champion nothing would happen to his brother or sister. Like a coward he didn't show, put Percy in charge of the scoring and only spoke through owls. The letter from Crouch sat heavily in his pocket, Percy planning more than just to have a simple conversation with the older man once he dared to show his face. Whether he had the balls to actually say what he had planned was another matter entirely.

The panic spread to his arms, nails unable to sooth the itch under the layers. The hives were a sign of his stress levels, the duress his body was being put under and trying to force him into submission. In a quick glance, he noted the time from the castle tower. “Bloody hell.” He needed to say something, voice his concerns to at least Dumbledore. He could feel the danger around the corner, everything he was risking the longer he waited to speak up but pride was a wicked thing. He wasn’t ready to admit that he messed up, wasn’t prepared to hear it from his family what a failure he was, the shame he brought them by being pig-headed. That he was only chosen by Crouch because he was a sheep - a nobody.

Twiggs snapped near the opening of the forest, Percy’s attention fixed on where he believed it came from. Hand on his wand he waited a moment, uncertainty in the situation. There was no reason for Crouch to be in the forest, not unless he was up to something. When they snapped again, Percy listened closer and a momentary relief filled him knowing they were footsteps coming towards him. He let out a long breath into his cold hands, face up to the dark sky above as he readied himself for his speech, to tell Crouch exactly what he thought and where to shove it.

“Bit late for you to be out here, don’t ya think?”

Percy didn’t mean to groan out loud, a fluid yet subtle string of curses mumbled into the palms of his hands. It wasn’t Crouch.

“Everything alright, lad?”

The smile placed itself on Percy's face before he lowered his arms, a meticulously look of perfection making over the stress, fear and anger that were all raging within as he faced the one who exited the forest. Percy tried to maintain control over his reaction, but he knew the man instantly, all the stories his father told them flooding Percy. “You’re Alastor Moody!”

His steps were rough and uneven as he advanced on Percy, his appearance just as mad as his father had described. “Don’t know why you’re so surprised, you’ve been here long enough to know I’m a professor here.”

Percy winced at how stupid he must have sounded in front of someone so great, a hero by all standards. “Right, sorry. Just, my dad speaks so highly of you and I never actually thought I’d met you.”

“Weasley.” It wasn’t a question and Percy extended out his hand as he went to introduce himself. “I know who you are Weatherby.”

Weatherby. The ridiculous insult of a name caught him off guard, Percy’s face flushing to the color of his hair. He hated it, was a stern reminder that to Crouch he was expandable, not even worthy of being remembered. Percy wasn’t a hard name to remember and even so, he was a Weasley appearance wise through and through. He hide the rise of anger well, kept the smile firmly in place to not show that the name got to him, that he was growing to despise the man he modeled himself after.

Curiously, Percy looked over at the mad auror. Few knew he was called that, only his family and the man who expected so much from him but couldn’t even remember his name. “Sorry, Weatherby?”

The fake eye whizzed around in the metal clamp, studying Percy before Alastor shrugged. “Your brothers mock you with it here at school. And your father may have told the Ministry the story for a good laugh.”

The color of his face went darker, embarrassment burning into his skin. He wasn’t surprised by his brothers, especially the twins, using that blasted name. They had been calling him it since the Quidditch World Cup but his father . . . it destroyed Percy to hear and for a moment the air of perfection fell around him.

“I didn’t mean to upset ya, I’m making a point to you with it. Grow a set and make them remember you or you’ll be Weatherby forever. Why are you out here anyways? Student or not, what lies beyond these trees isn’t safe for anyone.”

The lie was there and ready, a quick small thing that remained at the tip of his tongue. He needed to speak with someone and while Dumbledore would have been ideal, Moody was just as good of an option in his eyes. Awkwardly he pulled out the letters from Crouch, every owl sent to him with instructions of what he needed and wanted Percy to do. “I don’t believe Crouch is acting himself. This isn’t the man that originally hired me. He’s claiming sickness but . . .” Percy handed over the letters, a weight from his shoulders going with them. “I think I messed up in following these. I’m going to Dumbledore and Fudge tomorrow because I know something isn’t right.”

“You want some advice?”

Percy’s lips curved into a lost smile. “Please.”

“Give it a few days before you report anything. I know Crouch and he’s probably just testing you, seeing how loyal you are.”

Unease settled deep within Percy. He knew what he had to do, believed it was the right thing but if Moody was right and Crouch saw him as weak, disloyal he had the ability to destroy Percy’s career before it even took off.

“I’ll hold onto these and if you haven’t heard anything from him by the end of the week express your concerns. Don’t you have work to finish?”

With a small nod, Percy gave his thanks unable to shake the growing sense of dread took over the weight that was once on his shoulders.
 
-3 Days Later-
Percy stood in the center of Dumbledore's office, his eyes wide in a state of permanent shock. Crouch had been seen in the Forbidden Forest, Viktor Krum found stunned where Harry had left him with Crouch. The events spiraled out of control the moment Harry said Crouch kept asking for Percy, using the name Weatherby. The statement condemned Percy, Minister Fudge looking for a quick scapegoat that had no power or position, no one loyal to them.

Vomit rose as invisible bonds were placed around his wrists, Percy left alone for a moment as Dumbledore tried to reason with Fudge, almost plead Percy’s case to make others see just how insane it was, that Percy wasn't capable of manipulating Crouch and possibly killing him. His entire body trembled as Moody walked into the room, the mechanical eye locking in on him and Percy tried to step forward, pain slicing through his skin as a result.

“Moody . . . Moody!” There was desperation in hushed voice to only be heard by the auror that entered. “Please tell me you brought the letters.”

There was a look on the older wizards face that Percy couldn’t place but it sent his heart plummeting. “What letters?”

“The letters Crouch sent me that I gave to you! We spoke about this, you told me to wait until the end of the week before I said anything. I did what you said and Crouch is missing now and they think I had something to do with it. Please, just tell them I didn’t do this.”

A smile snaked its way across Moody’s face, a glint of wickedness behind his seeing eye as he leaned in close to Percy. “Don’t worry Weatherby. It’ll be our little secret.”

Horror sunk into Percy as Moody stepped back, two aurors taking his place. Their voices were muffled, the crimes in which they were arresting Percy for going unheard as he stared at the madman grinning at him from across the room.

07/09/2020 10:53 PM 

Ministry of Magic [C.S turn back time]

Prompt chosen by Gingersnap
Year: 1984

The ministry was a thing of beauty, every level a new marvel to the young, bright eyed ginger. Everything from the sheer amount of people that bustled around, an endless sea of colorful cloaks to the way every ceiling vaulted, a different scene displayed above that was rimmed in gold. Percy stared up at all of it in awe. It was just as he pictured, if not better. All the stories his father told them as they sat around the table eating, wild tales that pulled Percy in didn’t do the Ministry justice. It was more spectacular in real life, a place that for the first time in his short life, Percy felt at home.

“Keep up Percy!”

Percy trailed after his father and brother, eyes wide behind the thick frames, his mouth slightly agape. Usually he was latched to his father’s side, carefully mimicking everything his hero did from the way his father spoke with his hands when excited to the way he walked. Percy always listened and watched, waited patiently for his turn to speak and be seen by his father. Now he slinked behind, his attention elsewhere as he took it all in. Percy couldn’t figure out why Charlie had put up such a fight in going. It was brilliant. Magical.

“Where’s the dragons,” Charlie whinged from up ahead. “You said there would be dragons.”

“Dragons are in Gringotts, Charlie,” Percy piped up with a grin as he awkwardly jogged alongside his father to keep up. “There’s a floor that has people who make laws for creatures like dragons, but there aren’t any here. Right, dad?”

The glare from Charlie instantly made Percy hide awkwardly around his father as they kept moving. “You don't know everything, you prat.”

Percy’s nose wrinkled at the cruel name. It was something they called him when their parents weren’t around, but the lack of reaction from their father only showed he wasn’t paying any attention as he ushered them through the hall. Percy puffed his chest out a little, knowing he was right. “No, they protect Gringotts, you knobhead!”

“Percy!”

His face flushed in color as his father admonished him, a pout forming in his face. “Charlie called me a prat because I said there aren’t dragons here, that they are at the bank.”

Arthur sighed, a look sent to Charlie. “Don’t call him a prat because he’s right about something. Now hurry up, there’s someone I want you to meet Charlie.”

The air went out from under him, Percy’s hands lifted to block the blow as he hit the ground hard, his father disappearing in the crowd oblivious. He let out a slight whimper, everything one massive blur as pain radiated through his arms where he blocked his fall. Tears burned his eyes as Percy squinted, carefully reaching out to find where his glasses went. “Help me find my glasses or I’m telling dad.”

“Tell him, he won't care. You think you are so smart but you can’t even figure out that dad didn’t even want to bring you. Mum made him to get you to shut up.”

“Mum says lying is bad.”

In a rough shove, Charlie forced Percy back down with a grin. “It's not a lie if you know it’s true.”

The crunch was deafening to Percy’s ears as his heart sunk not just to the noise but what he knew was the truth. Charlie was right, even if Percy refused to admit it. He heard his father that morning trying to get out of taking him, saying he wanted to bond with Charlie before he went off to Hogwarts in a few weeks. Charlie hated the Ministry, something that Arthur wanted to change, to nudge his second born into loving just as much as he did. He didn’t see Percy, never noticed the way he clung to his stories and tried to engage with his father about wanting to be like him and work there. Percy wasn’t proud of the way he whined his way into going, but it worked.

Percy glared after his older brother as he fought back his tears. Charlie didn’t say anything else, a satisfied smirk on his face as he walked off after their father. Quietly, Percy felt around for his glasses, a small sniffle as he gingerly lifted them up. He felt the earpiece fall off and his stomach tumbled with fear, making the tears rise faster. He knew the trouble he would be in, knew that they couldn’t afford a new pair of glasses for him. They barely scraped together enough to get him the current pair, Percy promising to take the best care of them. The itch started across his arms, tiny pinpricks that forced ugly welts to appear in his arms as the dread took over that he failed them. The frame twisted under his hold, pieces of the lens falling away and a tear of frustration fell, Percy angrily wiping it away.

“Now, this isn’t a place to be sitting.”

A soft voice of authority hit Percy like a punch and quickly he scrambled to his feet, glasses hidden behind his back. The woman like the rest of the world was unfocused, hard to look at without his head hurting. “I’m sorry.”

The woman bent down in front of him as Percy took a shy step back. “You’re one of Weasley’s boys?”

He smiled bashfully. “Percy.”

She smiled at him kindly from what Percy could make out. “Well Percy, may I see your glasses?”

He hesitated, thought of lying to get himself out of trouble but there was no point. The moment his father saw him he would ask where his glasses were, assuming Percy could find his dad now that he could barely see past his nose. The stern stare from the woman made him squirm until he surrendered them over. At the small tut, Percy’s cheeks went ruddy. “I fell.”

She nodded in understanding before she tapped her wand against the frames. Instantly his glasses repaired themselves, the woman giving them a quick once over before she placed them gently onto his face. The world came back into focus, the smiling face the first thing that Percy saw. “I heard you talking with your brother. You seem to know an awful lot about the Ministry here.”

“Yes, I want to work here just like my dad.” Percy’s smile fell a little, his hands stuffed into his pockets. “My brothers make fun of me for it. They say I’m a brown-nosing prat.”

There was a look of recognition on her face as she stood back up, her hand stretched out for Percy to take. She took a quick glance around before she guided him through people, offering cheery greetings to those they passed. Percy watched it all, admired how everyone attempted to speak with her, gave her unified respect. The lift was massive, a hellish beast that spiked a fear in him. His mind when to Charlie, how he would have mocked him for being afraid of something so stupid and in three timid steps he shuffled his way inside.

“Now Percy, I need you to promise me something.” She spoke once as the doors closed, face turned down at him.

He knew it was coming, Percy’s small round face scrunched back in anticipation of being told off. “I know, I should take better care of my glasses and not wander off.”

“Well yes, those are true but that’s not what I was going to say.” The warmness reached her eyes, made him feel safe. “Don’t let your brothers dissuade you from the Ministry by calling you a prat. My sister used to call me the same thing and you know what . . . some of the best, most intelligent people were called prats. Just look at me, I’m now the Minister of Magic.”

Percy’s eyes widened as his heart skipped a beat. “You’re Minister Bagnold?”

“Indeed, I am! Should I expect to see your application soon?”

“I’m only eight! Well, I'll be eight in a week and five days.”

She played along with a feigned gasp of shock. “Well, a few years' time then? We only accept the best here you know and my nose says you’re one of the best.”

Percy brimmed with excitement, his cheeks flushed at the very idea that she saw something in him. The doors of the lift opened, revealing a new floor. He wanted to say something, anything to the Minister of Magic that would make him sound intelligent and not like a silly child but nothing formed between his mind and lips but a meager whisper of ‘bloody hell.’

“Remember, the Ministry will always be a home for people like us. Now off you pop, your dad is in the first room to the left.”

Percy stepped out from the lift, a wide smile on his face. He gave the Minister of Magic a slight wave before he ran off in the direction she told him. He couldn’t believe it, was still reeling from the fact he not only met Minister Bagnold but that she saw something in him.

The Minister of Magic saw something in him.

“Dad! Dad! You won’t believe who I just met!” He burst through the doors, Charlie’s face turned up to the ceiling in boredom as their father went on about something. “Daddy!”

“That’s nice Percy, there’s some quills over in the corner.” Arthur said, gently waving him off. “Now Charlie, what’s fascinating about . . .”

Percy backed away quietly from the pair, his excitement sinking alongside his heart. It took a moment for Minister’s Bagnold’s words to come back to him and they solidified within. He would do more than just work at the Ministry now, he wanted to give people like him hope when he was older. He was going to become the Minister of Magic one day.

06/30/2020 08:25 PM 

Whose side are you on? [One Ear Wonder]


Dark days had descended at the fall of someone great and the rise of evil. There was no more denying Voldemort’s return, the smoldering ashes of hope doused in icy water. It was a reality now, an enormous dose of reality smacking even those that believed in the face. Percy had been there, stood beside the Ministry he blindly put his faith in and betrayed his family for and even as Voldemort looked at them, as the horror of disbelief set in, Fudge still tried to deny it. A hoax perpetrated by Potter and Dumbledore, a scheme to remove him from power. Acceptance was mingled with fear of what the future held, memories of the past severing as a reminder of the mistake they currently made. Percy couldn’t defend him, could no longer back the man that mentored him and when the time came, Percy sided with others in a drive to push Fudge out.

He couldn’t ignore it anymore, no longer wanting to pretend that something horrible wasn’t coming at them. He had lost so much already to what was just beginning. The transition was supposed to be smooth, a quick shift of power from Fudge to Amelia Bones but dominos began to fall, plays of the dark lord’s power and strength in numbers showing in the death of their new leader. Shock waves were sent rippling through the wizarding community in her death, remained latched to them as Rufus Scrimgeour succeeded her before she even began. In the days that followed Percy wanted to return to the Burrow, to seek some feeling of safety from everything that was transpiring around him. Desire didn’t outweigh his responsibility to the Ministry, to trying to keep a sense of trust in the very facility that failed their people yet again. Tirelessly they worked, Percy at Scrimgeour’s side as he maintained his position as Junior Assistant, long days ending in a collapsed heap on his bed for a few short hours of sleep before it started again.

Percy was always one who took his work home with him, three massive stacks of papers complied on the floor around him. His desk was already covered, the once pristine flat of his littered with work, an unorganized mess that set his nerves on fire, long scratches along the angry red hives that covered his arms. He lived for order, did some of his best work while under stress but this was more than just simple stress, it was a chaos that Percy couldn’t cope with. For hours he sat hunched over, carefully transcribing everything from Fudge’s work to what the new Minister of Magic needed, vital information that had been locked away to keep the fear down. The truth got out though, always did and everything Fudge had been doing, trying to hide away from the public eye was now out for all to see.

The soft knock perked his attention from his work, shoulders tense as he waited. People were going missing, taken right out from under their own roofs and alone in a flat, Percy felt the pit sink into his stomach. It took a moment, for the exhausted laugh to escape him at the fear. Death Eaters wouldn’t knock. His mind was playing tricks on him, the lack of sleep messing with his mind. Percy leaned back with a heavy sigh as he ran his hand through his disheveled hair. He needed sleep, just to rest his eyes for a few minutes either that or he needed stronger tea.

He eyed the paperwork, his body aching as he rose to his feet and for the kettle. He heard it again, the knock louder this time around and Percy’s brows furrowed as he stared at the door. Not many knew exactly where he lived; his parents, Scrimgeour, Zoshia and Felix. Five people, three of which no longer spoke to him. Wand hidden in the back pocket of his jeans, Percy opened the door enough just to see. Red hair and freckles greeted him and he took a step back in surprise.

“George?” His confusion was evident, Percy opening the door fully in expecting to find the other half of the twins beside him, but George stood alone. His mind raced, a million different scenarios that played out before him. Fred and George went hand in hand, the one always with the other. Unless . . . “Where’s Fred? Is everything okay - oh Merlin, is it mum or dad?”

George regarded him coldly, arms crossed. “Ah, so you do still remember us?”

Percy scoffed, a rush of anger that had him pushing the door closed on the familiar face. George’s foot wedged between the door, all attempts to close it futile. In rough push, George stepped fully into the flat, Percy braced up against the wall from the shove of the door.

“Just invite yourself in why don’t you. Make yourself right at home,” Percy spat sarcastically. He took a quick glance into the hall before he closed the door and locked it.

“Not like you were going too,” George replied pointedly. “You making tea? I’d love a cup.”

Not seeing a chance of getting George out from his flat, Percy made his annoyance known as he roughly slammed the cupboard as he retrieved a second cup. “What exactly is it that you want?” A single tea bag remained in the large box, a reminder of how work had taken over everything. He didn’t dare open the fridge, the barren shelves would be all that was there to greet him. There was no time for food shopping, no time to do anything that involved caring for himself. “You okay with black tea?”

Percy caught the grumble from his brother but ultimate agreement to have the tea as Percy made it. “Dad said you haven’t responded to Bill and Fleur yet about the wedding.”

Of course that was why he came. He put his focus on steeping George’s tea, pretending to make himself one as well. He didn’t want him to know, to think that Percy was struggling. “I heard you and Fred opened shop.”

“Don’t change the subject, Perce.” He took the cup offered to him in thanks. “This is Bill’s wedding we’re talking about. You have to be there.”

Percy took a sip of the hot water. He wanted to be there, kept the invitation neatly tucked away in his room in hope that the war would be over before it even started, that things could return to normal or some semblance of it. Until then things had to remain the way they were. Percy stuck with the Ministry to protect his family from becoming targets but now his loyalty did exactly what he was hoping to stop. He was a target with the secrets he held from Fudge, his connection to Scrimgeour. The allure of returning home now was shattered, Percy knowing exactly what would happen if he did. No one saw his family as a connection to him anymore and any attack on him would just be that, him and him alone. He had no one left, no friends or family to be used to hurt him, sway him to give death eaters what they wanted. His family wouldn’t understand or see that by still keeping his distance he was doing the only thing he could to protect them.

“I’m rather busy with work at the moment.”

“It’s practically a year away! I’m sure your precious work will give you a day off.” George waited a moment before he added quietly. “It’d mean the world to mum.”

He knew what to say to get under Percy’s skin, even if Percy didn’t show it. The memory of slamming the door in Molly’s face, pushing her as far from him as he could was still fresh in his mind. He still heard her pleas for him to stop as he left the Burrow. “I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. Just put that blasted ego aside and be there for your family for once in your life.”

Percy’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Send my apologies.”

“Whose side are you on here?”

The question threw him, a question that Percy wasn’t even certain he held the answer too. He wanted to believe he was on the right side, the noble side but he had been wrong. “Where’s Fred?” He turned the questions around, tired of being the one always to answer, bullied into things he didn’t want. “He didn’t want to come with you I take it, doesn’t want to see me?” Percy knew he was right by the solemn look on George’s face and he offered half a smile. “I feel like that will a common feeling if I showed up to the wedding.”

“It’s nearly a year away, you have time to mend things.”

Percy swallowed hard as he sat down on the cheap couch, finding the only route to take that would get George to listen, make him leave. “You don’t understand; you have no concept of what it’s like to have to constantly be perfect. You’re allowed to make mistakes and are forgiven easily for it. You’re allowed to be you. Bloody hell, you abandoned your education to open a joke shop and everyone cheered you on, supported you and Fred because it was your dream. What did I get? Berated from the moment I said I wanted to work in the Ministry. I know I made a mistake in leaving, don’t for one second think I don’t, but no matter what path I chose I would never have been good enough.”

George stood awkwardly, no attempt to argue as he downed his tea with a grimace. “Just think about it, you have time so don’t just refuse immediately.”

Percy followed him to the door, a heaviness in his heart that he already knew the answer wasn’t going to change. The future was bleak, an almost certainty of war on the horizon. “It was good seeing you.” Percy didn’t wait for his brother to respond, the door closing heavily as Percy leaned up against it in defeat.

06/30/2020 03:08 PM 

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.
 

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