Chapter 8 : Chapter 8 The Unforgiven
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I hope this letter finds you well. Well, no, actually, it is my deepest desire that this letter finds you squirming in your seat with putrid, pus-infested boils the size of Galleons on your Weasley-freckled arse. What possessed you to write such a letter to Ron? What did you hope to accomplish? If your goal was to alienate your youngest brother, then let me assure you that you were successful in your objective. Did you aspire to advise your brother on the proper behavior of an obsequious, sycophantic Ministry employee? Is this your 10-year plan for climbing the Ministry ladder - by ingratiating yourself to sadistic, ill-informed, power-hungry maggots, such as Umbridge and Fudge?
For this, you have forsaken your family for strangers who care not a whit for you and only for what you can lay at the foot of the altar of their greed. What has become of you Percy? Has your ambition blinded you to the truth? Will you place your faith in those who would sacrifice you on this same altar in order to save their own precious hides?
You count yourself lucky to have escaped the stigma of association with such people as Dumbledore and the cause he is leading against Voldemort, and make no mistake Percy, he has returned, do not delude yourself! You’re happy that you have not allowed family ties to blind you to the misguided nature of our parents’ beliefs and actions. What actions and beliefs would those be Percy? That our family fights for the light and what is right? What are you fighting for, you selfish, self-centered, arrogant prat?
It is my hope, Percy, that you attain that which you seek, may you be given the power and prestige you feel you so richly deserve. Think on this when you reach this elevated position. With whom will you rejoice? Who will be standing at your side? More likely than not, you will find another such as yourself. Someone who is willing to sacrifice his loved ones for power and prestige. May it be cold comfort.
I would not wait upon receipt of the apology you feel is owed to you. It is my hope that you come to the realization that the error is yours and that of your vaunted associates. And that you are as prepared to give the same apology you were so ready and willing to receive.
I am so deeply disappointed in you. I am sure that you were made aware that during the Christmas hols, Father was in St. Mungo’s. Yet you did not think it of sufficient import to visit your father while he convalesced. Where is your compassion? Where is your heart? Would you not visit a mere colleague if you’d heard that they were ill, yet you do not afford the same consideration for the father that raised you?
Percy, where is the brother I grew up with? Where is the boy I knew? I do not know the man you have become and it shames me to say I do not wish to know him if he has turned into the heartless man that would ignore his family during its time of need.
I know in time I will be able to forgive you this action, but at the moment I cannot entertain the notion.
I’ve enclosed for your perusal my end-of-term progress report. As can be ascertained by my scores, I am top in most all of my classes and I am well on my way to following in your illustrious footsteps and attaining the much lauded O.W.L’s in twelve (yes, Dearest Weatherby, count ‘em, twelve) subjects. You would be proud. Of course, I will probably never know since you’ve never answered any of my past correspondence.
You made Mum cry yesterday when she received the jumper she made for you by return owl. I was going to reprimand you for it, but I just don’t have the energy. One day you will have to atone for the choices you have made Percy. I will let your own conscience be your judge and jury.
I hope that you were not alone this Christmas. Are you still dating Penelope? I didn’t want you to be alone, and I hope that you at least spent Christmas with someone you cared for.
Write soon, brother.
Well, I didn’t make Prefect, sorry to disappoint. That might have had something to do with my little end of year field trip to the DOM. Although I think it has more to do with the fact that I am more like the Twins than even I would like to admit, and our illustrious Hogwarts staff is well aware of my penchant for rule breaking and my subtle yet ingenious pranking prowess to both student body and staff alike. Think of it this way Perce, I will be able to concentrate on my O.W.L’s and that much coveted goal of twelve Outstanding marks.
I don’t recall if I wrote you about my playing Seeker last term, I caught the Snitch against Cho Chang of Ravenclaw (a veteran Seeker no less), in only my second game of the season, to win the Quidditch Cup. While I know you do not put as much stock in Quidditch as you put to academics, I hope this news gives you at least a twinge of pride in your baby sister’s accomplishments.
I plan on trying out for Chaser now that there is a position available on the team, what with Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet having graduated. Harry’s been made Captain. I am so pleased for him! He didn’t make a big fuss, but I could tell he was terribly pleased by the appointment.
Just to keep you in the loop of your baby sister’s love life, I’m dating a boy in Ron’s year, Dean Thomas. You may or may not remember him; he was a first year during your fifth year. Just to put things into perspective for you I’ve only told Charlie, and Ron will find out soon enough, so you should feel privileged that I’ve chosen to share this auspicious news with my dear older brother. Well, that and the fact that I won’t be receiving a reply lecturing me on the fact that I am too young to be dating might have something to do with it.
I miss you Perce. Write soon dear brother.
I write these letters and send them into the void. Why won’t you write me Percy? What have I done to garner your resentment? Is it because I am a Weasley and therefore on principle alone, you refuse to acknowledge that we have blood ties that bind us? Is it your pride that does not allow you to see beyond what is true and right? Even Fudge had no choice but to acknowledge his error and admit that Voldemort had returned after the debacle at the DOM, and in so doing, your arguments – or rather your reasons – for having left your home are no longer viable.
Is it truly your pride that keeps you from knocking on the door of your childhood home and seeking forgiveness for your transgressions. Pride goeth before the fall, brother; meditate on this proverb, for your pride will only take you so far. Perhaps it has served you well in deluding yourself into believing that your family and your father in particular, has been a hindrance to your advancement in the Ministry.
Did you forget that our home, humble in stature yet honorable in its occupants, has had the honor of having men of great consequence pass through its threshold? Albus Dumbledore, indisputably the greatest wizard of our age, has sat at our table for supper. Ministry department heads have sought our father’s counsel in the kitchen of this ramshackle home you are so ashamed of. Famous Auror’s have called our ‘un-ambitious’ father, friend.
Explain to me what is unexplainable, give me a reason to understand what is inexcusable. Percy, do not wait to find reconciliation with your family – you do not know what the future holds, or who will survive this war. Can you live with yourself if the least of us were to be lost to this cause and you had thrown aside the opportunity to speak your love one last time? I pray that you do not find out.
Do you not know, dearest brother, that upon your return we will kill the fatted calf in honor of the prodigal son’s return. All will be forgiven, your inheritance returned, the angels in heaven will rejoice. Do not fear rejection or reprisal, we await you with open arms.
Write soon dearest brother.
I was going to send you a Howler, but decided you weren’t worth the energy it would expend. You bring Scrimgeour into our home at Christmas on the pretext of visiting your family, only to have that twice damned idiot seek an interview with Harry.
I don’t know who’s the bigger arse – you or him. Merlin, Percy, can you dig your grave any deeper? I hope you are happy with the results of your actions. May they further your lofty aspirations as they continue to alienate your family.
Well done brother!
I know this news will most likely bring you grief, but as for me, it brings me nothing but happiness. Harry and I are officially dating, is that not wonderful? Do not frown so, Percy, pouting does not become you. Be happy for me, set aside your petty differences for a moment and share in your dear sister’s joy. I am still you dear sister, am I not? It’s rather hard to tell since I have not received any reply from my many previous correspondences. But never mind that, I did not want this letter to be another reprimand for your reprehensible behavior.
I am happy, Percy – giddy – actually. He loves me, he told me so and I love him in return. I know what you’re thinking and you can wipe that thought clear out of your head. I am not too young to know what love is. I know that it is difficult for you and the rest of the clan to acknowledge that I am no longer a child, and think that at the tender age of only fifteen, I am incapable of distinguishing feelings of infatuation from a deeper feeling of love, but I assure you that I am mature beyond my years the Chamber made certain of that.
I’ve grown so much since last you set eyes upon me Percy. And not just physically. Although my stature has had very little development, I can attest to the fact that I’ve grown in all the right places. Stop sputtering, Percy. I’ll have you know that Harry thinks I’ve grown into quite a beauty, and although I honestly don’t see it, I certainly will not be the one to disavow him of his assertions. Let me also assure you, Percy, that my life experiences have given me wisdom well beyond my physical age. Therefore I know of what I speak when I say I love him.
Percy, you are so wrong about him. It is my hope that the day will come when you can see him for the wonderful, kind-hearted, selfless young man that he is. Besides, he may one day be your brother-in-law, therefore it behooves you to begin to see him in a kinder light.
I miss you brother, write soon.
He’s dead. Does this news bring you satisfaction? Murdered by a man he gave his trust to. Senile, foolish old man to have faith in the goodness of others. The funeral was held on the grounds at Hogwarts.
Harry was there to witness his betrayal. Death Eaters infiltrated our school. We fought on the stairwell to the parapet. Your brother Bill was injured in the struggle, we now fear for his future.
What will become of us without him? What happens now? What does our future hold? Who is to lead us? Who will stop Voldemort?
And Harry, my dearest noble Harry, has broken things off with me. To protect me and keep me safe from Voldemort. I knew this day would come, but I was hoping it would be in the distant future. We had just a few short weeks together and now for my protection and his peace of mind, we can longer be together. I know his reasoning and I understand his motivation, but he is wrong. He needs me – my love will sustain him through this struggle –but I must allow him to do what he feels to be right even though it brings us both pain in the separation.
Be careful dear brother, especially with whom you choose to align yourself. Those in power have done much to inadvertently aid Voldemort’s cause. Do not allow yourself to become a pawn.
Be safe, be well.
I have returned to Hogwarts for my sixth year and for the first time since my tenure in these hallowed halls, it is without another Weasley in attendance. I cannot even begin to explain how surreal it was to attend a welcoming feast without our beloved Headmaster. Quite frankly, I am surprised that Hogwarts was allowed to reopen after the battle on the parapets last June. Many students have not returned; all houses have been affected, but none as much as Slytherin. Only a handful of the older students returned and three out of the twelve first years were sorted into that notorious house. Gryffindor did not fare much better – a few of those I consider friends returned: the Creevey brothers, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan and Neville Longbottom. None of the seventh year girls returned, and only a handful of students from the years below me. Yet none of these absences were felt as much as that of Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s.
As you know – what with my having attained the twelve O.W.L’s and all – I have been striving diligently, and so I can pretty much take any class I so desire in order to further my chosen field of profession in my N.E.W.T study year. For the moment I’ve decided to drop two of the N.E.W.T. level classes to attend to an apprenticeship of sorts with Madam Pomfrey. While this is a bit unorthodox, Headmistress McGonagall has made an allowance for it. It would appear that my Weasley powers of persuasion were at their best the day I made the request. I feel that it is important that I at least have a rudimentary knowledge of the healing arts in preparation for what is to come. I have no illusion regarding the safety of Hogwarts. Truth be told, that belief was shattered my first year, but I fear that the war and at least one of its battles will be fought on our grounds. Hogwarts represents a bastion for the light, what better target for Voldemort and his sycophantic minions to destroy in order to bring the Wizarding world to its knees?
Along with my Healer lessons, Mad Eye has been called upon to teach a select few students – of which I am among them – advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts. Merlin bless the paranoid old coot. I’ve been called upon to assist him in training and together we’ve put together a healing corps of students, among which are Neville and Luna. It gives me a bit of hope that we will not be caught unprepared for what is to come. That while we may be out numbered and outclassed by older and far better experienced fighters in the Dark Arts, we will not go down without a fight. We will give old Tom a fight to remember.
Regular activities have resumed through out the castle. I was made Quidditch Captain – a bittersweet appointment that. To be made Captain due to Harry’s absence brings me no joy, I assure you. You will be happy to know I was made Prefect. I tried to decline the honor, but McGonagall convinced me that I was a leader among my peers and that in these times, I would be called up on by others to do just that.
I feel as if my life has taken on the characteristics of a Greek tragedy. I know now how Penelope must have felt waiting for Ulysses to return from the Trojan wars. Merlin, I hope I don’t have to wait ten years for this war to run its course, and another twenty to wait for my own victorious hero to return, because of the cruel fickle favor of the gods.
Speaking of victorious heroes, I’ve not heard from Harry in months. You may or may not be happy to know that I wore him down over the summer, we agreed to reconcile on the condition that we maintain a low profile and on the promise that I return to Hogwarts without complaint. Well, I kept most of my promise (except for the without complaint part), but I will admit I was very pleased with Harry’s powers of persuasion, that boy has a very talented mouth and tongue and – teeth. Oh, stop blushing Percy, don’t forget I caught you in that empty classroom with Penelope when you were about my age, so stop being such a prude.
It is my hope that this letter finds you safe and well and it is my greatest wish that we now set aside our differences. Do not wait too long to mend your fences, no man is promised tomorrow.
Must I now temper my letters to you, must I now write in fear that what I have told you in confidence will be bandied about as an instrument to your ascension into the echelon of Ministry hierarchy.
As I am sure you are aware, I was called into Headmistress McGonagall’s office for an interview by none other than Minister Scrimgeour. I am sure I do not have to tell you that he wished me to reveal my knowledge of Harry’s whereabouts. Even if I knew, do you honestly think I would betray Harry? I wouldn’t tell that pompous windbag how to find his own arse.
Were you made aware that he threatened to have me expelled and he threatened father’s position at the Ministry? I told him where he could shove his wand and to do whatever pleased him; there were other choice words exchanged which I will not mention here. I will say that I never thought I’d see the day when McGonagall would award points to a student for showing disrespect to the Minister of Magic! The Twins would have been proud.
I know it must have been a scourge for someone as ambitious and ruthless as you to grow up poor and a Weasley. How the Sorting Hat managed to put you into Gryffindor will forever be a mystery to me, for you were obviously better suited to Slytherin. How far are you willing to go, Percy? You are obviously not above using your sister to further your aspirations.
If something happens to Harry because of your machinations, I pray God forgives you, for I never will.
I read in the Daily Prophet today that Penelope was among the casualties in the attack of St. Mungo’s. Percy, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you do not think it presumptuous of me, but I had written Penelope a letter over a year ago asking if you and she were still dating. She was kind enough to answer my letter, but begged me to understand that she could not accept future correspondence in deference to her husband’s wishes. I was both pleased and shocked by her admission. It was a very short but sweet letter. I can see why you love her.
She would not discuss you or the rift with the family. She only wished to assure me that you were not alone and that you were well loved. She did admit that she had tried in the past to discuss your alienation with your family, but that discussion was closed and never to be mentioned again. She respected your wishes and assured me that you would be well taken care of. Her letter gave me great peace of mind.
I didn’t say anything to the rest of the family as I thought I should respect your desire to keep your new life separate from ours. Not to mention that Mum would have been devastated, but that is of no consequence now.
It must be so much more difficult for you knowing that the attack was perpetuated by a few rogue Death Eaters a month to the day after the victory over Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts. We were at peace – the Wizarding community was beginning to heal, and now this heinous crime. She died defending her patients and while I am sure that at this moment that is of little comfort to you, she died a hero defending those who could not fend for themselves.
Dearest brother, please know that my heart breaks for you, if you so desire I am here to lend support in your time of need. I know that there are no words that can allay the pain in your heart at this time, please know that you are not alone, that you are in my heart and in my thoughts.
Your Loving Sister,
When I first started writing these letters, I promised myself that I would not give up on you. No matter how long it took or how many letters I had to write. It’s been four years, Percy, and countless letters later, still not a single reply from you.
Tomorrow is my wedding day, I know you received the invitation, Hedwig delivered it herself and yet I’ve received no response. I will not delude myself into believing that you will be in attendance along with the rest of our family. I wanted all of my brothers to present me to my groom, but given your lack of response, that will be one wedding day wish that I will have to do without.
I’ve given up hope. The war is over and yet it would seem that for you it goes on. The wounds of battle have not yet healed this chasm that exists between you and our family. What wrong did we commit in your eyes? Is it that we were right and you were wrong? I cannot believe you would be that intolerant.
Where are you, brother? It took Hedwig days to return when she set out to deliver my wedding invitation. No one has seen or heard from you in almost a year. By some miracle our family survived this war intact, much the worse for wear, but at it’s culmination, we survived with our lives. And yet we mourn the loss of a beloved son and brother who has not returned to hearth and home from the war.
Bill is still working for Gringott’s; he and Fleur have a son, Jean Luc. He’s a beautiful blue eyed redheaded little devil and he looks just like his father. The Twins and I call him Johnnie, much to Fleur’s consternation. Thank Merlin that Greyback's attack did not have the adverse effect we feared. His handsome face is scarred but he is still Bill, the cool brother, still trying to keep us all in line.
Charlie is currently in Bulgaria setting up a Dragon reserve there. He lost his left arm during the battle of Hogwarts – he threw himself in front of a slashing curse that was meant for me. It would have severed my head as I was kneeling at the time attending to the wounds of a fallen student. He’s still a very happy bachelor, he claims that it would be a very rare and special woman indeed who would be able to keep up with his lifestyle and compete with his beloved dragons. Not that he lacks female companionship, the scoundrel, he brings home a new girlfriend whenever he comes to visit.
The Twins are rebuilding their shop and replenishing their Gringott’s vault. Those two practically bankrupted themselves in providing gadgets and weapons for the Order, Auror’s and DA. They funded the research and manufacturing of all their inventions. They were brilliant and their inventions saved countless lives. Mum is quite proud of her mischief makers and she no longer berates them for not having graduated from Hogwarts. After all, they are decorated war heroes. What’s that compared to not having sat for their N.E.W.T.’s?
Ron and Hermione are engaged. No surprise there, but they’ve both decided on a long engagement. Hermione is currently studying for her A levels, I think she calls them, as she wants to attend a Muggle university - Oxford, I think. Ron hasn’t quite decided what he wants to do. He’s been accepted as a full Auror but I think his heart’s not in it anymore. He’s been offered a management position for the Chudley Cannons. You would think he would have jumped at the chance to work for the Cannons, but he has several offers from other teams and a position in the Magical Games and Sports Office at the Ministry, and for once, our brother has decided to weigh his options and not go off half-cocked. Hermione’s been a great influence on him.
I am sure you heard that the Burrow was destroyed during the war. Mum and Dad are rebuilding. They are using a real magical contractor this time round and since the Ministry is footing the bill, in remuneration for their sacrifices during the war, they’re going all out. Well not too much, you know Mum and Dad are simple people. Mum’s in her element. Dad was made head of his department and has finally been able to staff it properly. Directly after the war he was offered a position as Deputy Minister but he turned it down. He didn’t want to give up his beloved department.
And what am I doing? I’m marrying my Hogwarts sweetheart. In two days time I will be Mrs. Harry James Potter. After so much pain and so many sacrifices and bouts of long separation, we will finally have our happily ever after. We’ve decided to travel for a year or two, we want to be together, just the two of us, making up for lost time. We’ll be traveling by Muggle transit. Harry’s thrilled but I am a bit apprehensive. I do trust Harry to get us there and back again without incident, well, at least without too much incident anyway. We need to get away from the constant scrutiny of the press and of the Wizarding public. Harry’s done enough. It’s time for him to be a little selfish. Whenever we return, I’ll probably be going into Healer training. It appears I have a bit of an aptitude for it, but I haven’t quite decided and Harry’s as rich as Croesus so he doesn’t have to work a day in his life if he so chooses, but he’s keeping his options open. When asked what he wants to do with the rest of his life, all he says is he wants to spend it with me. Merlin, I love that man!
So this is it Percy, my last letter. I can’t keep doing this to myself, every single solitary letter I’ve ever written has been sent to you with the hope that this will be the letter you respond to. I send it out and wait, and when I don’t receive a reply a little piece of my heart – the one that’s reserved for stubborn pig-headed, prideful brothers – bleeds. Well, I’ve given my last ounce of blood.
It would have been better if you’d have died, then we would have been able to mourn you, we would’ve had a grave to visit, we would’ve had an end to this torture.
I love you brother. Wherever you are, may you find peace and happiness. Know that you are always in our hearts, that you are loved, that you are missed.
Forgive me. Forgive me for giving up on you, forgive me for not loving you enough, forgive me for whatever crime I may have committed to offend you. Forgive me for losing hope.
Peace be with you dear brother.
Your Loving Sister,
The words blurred slowly before him, as he attempted to continue reading her last letter through the tears that were pooling in his eyes. He blinked rapidly in an attempt to stave them off, but only managed to dislodge them and have them rain down in a torrent of tears.
He had lost everything – his position, his honor, his wife, his unborn child, and his family. And now, the one thing he had clung to through all the years was the hope that was embodied in his sister. She had finally given up on him.
She asked for his forgiveness, she who had not wronged him in any way. Forgive me for losing hope. It humbled him and brought him to his knees.
His pride, his arrogance, his unwillingness to admit his error, had all brought him to this moment in time. Alone, destitute, unforgiven.
He maintained the lie, even to himself until the truth and the lie converged and he could not longer distinguish the one from the other. In the beginning he thought he could discriminate the shades between black and white. How naïve he had been. He was a lamb among wolves. He had entered a world of intrigue, deceit and corruption while he maintained the lie that his integrity could remain intact, all the while knowing in his heart that he was being pulled further and further into a trough of deception and mendacity.
Without conscious thought, he found himself standing on the edge of the orchard to the Burrow. How he had hated that name growing up; it was demeaning to him. He looked beyond the trees to where the Burrow had once stood and saw the partially constructed house.
His heart constricting painfully in his chest, he whispered. “Home.”
He walked slowly as a man to the gallows. He could hear music flowing towards him on the breeze. He stood before the gnarled tree that held her beloved tree house. He put his hand on the knotted trunk to steady himself as he stood on shaky legs. Before him, lighted by what seemed liked hundreds of paper lanterns blowing in the warm late summer air, was a wooden platform on which danced two figures. They were silhouetted by the backdrop of the sunset that could be seen through the Burrows copse of trees. Behind them, the family of the bride sat at the wedding table. Surrounding the wooden platform were dozens of white linen covered tables, filled with on-lookers who watched the dancing couple in silent reverence.
Without conscious thought, he moved slowly towards the platform’s edge, walking painfully closer. As if drawn by the eyes that stared at them so intensely, the couple stopped dancing and turned their heads towards the figure standing in ragged robes. The face was unrecognizable but the hair was unmistakable, incongruous in its wild, matted disarray. In his tightly clutched fist he held a parchment, wrinkled and torn.
“Percy?” Ginny whispered, bringing a hand to her lips in an effort to keep the gasp that still lingered there at bay.
Slowly, as if afraid that if she moved too quickly this apparition would fade away before her eyes, she made her way towards her brother. As she approached, she could see the tears and the anguish that were present in his countenance. When she was a mere centimeters breath away from him, he fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around her hips, burying his face in her soft bosom, weeping as a child and repeating over and over – a prayer, a supplication of the repentant – “Forgive me,” he whispered. “Forgive me.”
“Shh, love, you’re home. It will be all right. Shh, I love you. We love you.” She stroked his matted hair, she caressed his stubbled cheek, and she kissed his tear-filled eyes, all the while crooning nonsensical words of comfort.
“Forgive me, please forgive me.” He repeated in a hoarse whisper, a mantra of despair until she understood what he sought. He wanted her absolution.
“I forgive you Percy – we all forgive you.” She cried with him, tears of joy washing away the pain, washing away grief.
He clung to her as a child to its mother, feeling the years melt away in the arms of her generous heart.
She felt Harry’s strong hand at the small of her back, giving her support, its warmth and assurance spreading through in waves. Her family had gathered around them. She turned and she saw her Mum clinging to her father and crying softly on his shoulder. She saw her father and all her brother’s with tears in their eyes and forgiveness in their hearts.
She knew in that moment that there would be no accusations or demands for explanation, there was only mercy and grace and the knowledge that what once was lost was now found.
“You’re home now – all is forgiven,” she said, taking his tear-stained face between her hands, her thumbs wiping away the tears as they fell from his eyes.
And there in her presence and among the family he had betrayed in the name of ambition, he felt her forgiveness wash away the sins of his past and cleanse him of his guilt and shame. And with this forgiveness, he felt the warmth of the hope that was denied him for so long.
He who was unforgiven was now redeemed.
AN: Please note that there is a paragraph in Ginny’s first letter to Percy that is taken directly from Percy’s Letter to Ron in Chapter 14 of OofP. It is not meant to be plagiarism, but Ginny paraphrasing her brother’s letter back to him in accusation. The line begins with “You consider yourself lucky…”. If you are so inclined the letter can be found at The Harry Potter Lexicon under Which Wizard and Percy Weasley’s bio. Thanks for reading.
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