Chapter 3 : 3; The Ditch Deepens
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The last thing Percy wanted to see was his family. They had been right all along (turns out Fudge was raving when he declared You-Know-Who couldn’t possibly be alive) and Percy didn’t think he could stand their gloating. He waited for his family to say “I told you so”.
The visit was a disaster. Percy didn’t want to think about it, but the last straw was when one of his juvenile sibling (probably one of the twins) threw mashed turnips at him.
Percy stormed back in his apartment in London. “I’m home!” He called for the hundredth time to the empty rooms – only to remember the people he kept talking to were the same people he had just run from.
His apartment looked like it did every day; nothing to show it was Christmas, not even a Christmas present. Actually, that wasn’t entirely true after a second glance; there was a small note on the table. I am coming.
Percy recognized the handwriting and locked the door at once, casting enchantment after enchantment to keep Bill from following up on his promise. Ten spells later, he was satisfied and turned to a book on a nearby table. Bad idea.
Percy fell out of his seat and threw the book he was reading. “How did you get in?”
“I used to be a cursebreaker for Gringotts; it’s nearly impossible to keep me out of somewhere.” Bill didn’t look that much different from the last time Percy saw him, perhaps he was a bit paler, but his long hair and fang earring were the same as ever.
“Aren’t you still a cursebreaker?”
“I got a desk job last year after you left to help work for the Order of the Phoenix.”
Percy groaned. “Go on, tell me how Dumbledore was right and the Ministry was wrong.”
“Actually, I came to congratulate you.” Percy stared at his brother. “For being the biggest prat in the world.”
There it was. “Yeah, well – they don’t want me back anyway.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you saw Mum sobbing after you left.”
“Mum has to miss me – it’s the law of nature!” Percy screamed. “But the others, you should have seen the hate in their eyes. They never cared for me; I was always the boring older brother who didn’t play quidditch. Even little Ron and Ginny; they can’t stand being in the same room with me! And don’t get me started on Fred and George, but that’s not surprising, seeing as I was the one they picked on when we were kids!” All the stresses Percy was struggling under began rising to the surface. But Percy ignored it; he would not give Bill the satisfaction of watching him cry about his broken family ties.
Bill didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “Do you know why Fred and George pranked you more than the rest of us?” He said quietly. “Because they wanted you to laugh. They thought if they kept making fun jokes at your expense, you’d catch on and laugh with the rest of us. As for Ron and Ginny, they remember when you took it upon yourself to keep track of them in Hogwarts, and they want that person back.”
Percy huffed. “They didn’t like when I tried to help them in the first place.”
“That’s because they were immature kids back then. To be honest, Perce, you probably matured faster than the rest of us.”
Percy shook his head and grabbed the book he had thrown on the ground when Bill came in. “Doesn’t matter now; they can’t stand me for my reliance on the Ministry last year. At least now I make more money than I’ve had in my life, I have a nice home, and I’m perfectly happy without them.”
“Perfectly happy mon oeil, as Fleur would say.” Bill pulled something out of his pocket. “You’re a Weasley, and Weasleys aren’t meant to be alone for extended periods of time.” He threw it at Percy’s chest, and Percy saw it was his Christmas sweater he had sent back to his mother last year (fearing what Fudge would say if he saw it; Fudge used to visit his apartment on occasion). “Remember who you are.” Bill left.
Percy brought the sweater up to his face and smelled the recognizable scent of the Burrow. Memories of his father teaching him to read, his mother holding him after a horrible nightmare, his older brothers teaching him to stay on a broomstick, and his younger siblings pulling on him to referee their game flashed through his mind.
The sweater had never had so much salt water fall onto it.
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