shuffled out of his apartment building into the unnaturally empty street. It
was amusing to him, almost—there were so many people left empty and abandoned
that the street took the same form. He couldn’t say he didn’t relate at all.
Solitude is bliss. For those who have suffered as the wizarding community have,
solitude and secrecy are routine. Hiding your true thoughts and feelings until
no weakness is shown. Percy’s thoughts on showing emotion were clear—if you
cry, you die.
But that didn’t stop him from showing emotion just this once. It would be impossible not to. If he were showing true emotion, he would be crying. He would be shaking and screaming and punching anyone who spoke to him. To unaware passerby he would appear to only be exhausted. The glasses that adorned his face served as dams to block the clear feelings pouring from his soul. They caught the sadness and repressed them. They did their job near perfectly, like they had for years.
If you had really been looking, you would’ve been able to tell. There are obvious ways to tell something is wrong with someone, Percy is no exception. In all honesty, it should’ve been obvious there was so much more going on than tire and mediocre sadness. The blue gaze trained on the damp pavement was foggy and unseeing, surrounded by a pink sclera and a sallow, graying face. It should’ve been obvious, only it wasn’t.
Percy’s footsteps echoed in the near-empty streets, a rhythmic tapping that fell on deaf ears with every methodical, planned step. His mind was anywhere but on the empty street, it was whirring around a thousand miles at a time, scattering all other thoughts to places of near impossible reclaiming. He replayed the scene over and over again, analyzing each tiny detail in scrutiny. The ghost of his smile, the loud explosion, the floating dust that sparkled ever-so-slightly in the sunlight.
He went over it so often he was beginning to wonder if he even remembered the truth anymore or if his memories had been jaded by his own hollow perceptions. It didn’t matter really—no matter how he looked at it, it ended the same. Nothing major changed. It didn’t change the fact that he was wandering around the street to avoid going to the funeral. He didn’t want to go. It would make it real; would set it in stone that smiling, happy Fred Weasley, among others, was dead.
The early morning sunlight cast an amber glow on his face, elongating the tall dark shadow following him, head hung in shame and sorrow. Like it was mourning the darkness it caused.
He wandered these very streets often. He would wander them in times of darkness. In times of happiness. He wandered them whenever he needed something to occupy his time. Percy knew his way around these streets and there was no issue about that. He had been asked many times before if he was lost.
“Why would you think that?” he would ask.
“You were wandering,” they’d almost always say. “You looked like you were in some haze going around in circles like that.”
“I’m not lost. Just because someone wanders, doesn’t mean their searching for something.” It was true, that he wasn’t lost. It was true he wasn’t searching for something. But that all depended on how you looked at the picture. By the means of direction, he knew exactly where he was and exactly where every step would lead him. By the means of internal self-awareness, even before he wandered these streets he was lost and searching.
He had always been a wanderer. He would disappear from the sight of his mother at a young age only to be found walking in circles or sat somewhere else. He would walk past his siblings playing merrily together only to come circling back a few minutes later and repeat the cycle. Puttering Percy was the nickname he acquired. It was bestowed upon his being by his own father when he was young. It didn’t bother him then as it had been accentuated with a good-natured ruffling of his gingery waves and had never been used as anything besides a cute little pet name for curious, ambling young boy until the twins overheard and took it as a mean of torment. The twins…
“Sorry,” the person would mutter before following it up with an exasperated continuation of the sentence. “I was just trying to help.”
Maybe that was his problem. He was defensive by nature. Years of hiding had ingrained permanent traces of fear in his systems, invading his thoughts with an eerie desire to escape always. It left him with the constant fear of emotion, suffering, and clarity. It even left him scared of the light, like he would be caught if things were too bright. Secrecy and darkness were an unfortunate ever-present truth in his life. If it weren’t for the war, Percy thinks, he may have had a shot at friends. It’s easier to blame the world than himself.
Percy looked across the street, checking for possible hazards in his path before shaking his head at his own antics. Everyone was on their way to funerals for their families and friends besides a few stragglers such as himself. It was about time he Apparated there, before he was killed by enraged siblings for skipping out on it. He could imagine their words now. Perfect Prefect Pompous Prat Percy was too smug to go to his own brother’s funeral? He was there when it happened, you’d think he’d swallow his pride for one damn second. Of course I don’t completely blame him, it was his fault after all. Percy shuddered as he pulled out his wand, repressing the need the need to let tears slip from his blue eyes. It was his fault and there was no doubt in his mind about it.
Finding his family in the small crowd was easy—with their flamboyant red hair and large number it would’ve been hard not to. His mom hugged him when he came, and he stiffened in her grasp, hardly letting his arms snake around her until she finally released him, allowing him to take a place off to the side during the ceremony.
He didn’t take his gaze off the ground, instead he watched simply watched the grass curling around the toe of his shoe and took in the appearance of it. He memorized the way it has a line of lighter green across it, the way its tip was white instead of emerald, the way it stood taller than the rest of them. An outcast. Like him.
The sky was light blue, hazy, almost transparent clouds lacing through the cerulean color with its blinding pure color. Only the truly distressed describes the sky to avoid reality. His mom’s cry broke the silence, grass crunching under his parents’ feet as they turned into each other.
When the funeral was over, he turned to leave, wishing to avoid the judging eyes of his family with all his might when a hand to his shoulder stopped him. George was behind him, fiery hair covering his eyes like a red blindfold.
Pain flared in his face as a fist was struck against his skin, nose popping loudly as it spurted out red ribbons of liquid. He was on his hands and knees, staring at the grass between his webbed fingers, watching the blood drip from his nose onto his hand’s alabaster skin, marring the clear porcelain with a red trail as it slipped into dirt.
“Happy now, Percy?” George yelled, brown eyes almost manic with anger. “What irony this is. You abandon the family, you cut us off, you distract Fred and yet he’s the one who died.” The elder Weasley pulled himself off the ground, only to be shoved back by George, making eye contact with him as he got slammed into the ground, his younger brother straddling him while holding the collar of his shirt. His head hit the ground with a shaking force, glasses slipping off his face and cracking as Percy stared up at the enraged redhead eyeing down at him.
Bill and Charlie pulled George off as the third child scrambled up, not bothering to grab his glasses as he stammered an apology and took off out of the cemetery, feet pounding against the pavement as his shoes pressed fallen leaves into the ground. The tie flew behind him as he ran, red hair lifting itself off of his forehead from the wind’s force against it.
It was almost funny. It’s not every day you see a young man dressed in a suit and tie, nose bleeding as he ran through the street. If you did see him, you’d wonder why he was running. You’d wonder why his nose released his crimson life force. You’d wonder where he was going and why it was such a rush. Where the hell is he going? Maybe that’d be the question rolling of your lips as your mind pondered the unknown.
Where the hell is that kid going?
When Percy arrived home he ripped of his tie, the silky black fabric fluttering to the ground, curling in on itself on the carpet. He yanked his shoes off and tossed them over his shoulder where they crashed into his wall, taking down his picture of Penny with the loud lull of shattering glass before landing themselves with a heavy thump. Particles of dust drifted in front of the sun beams shining through his window, stealing the light in fragments before they drifted into the shadows and lost their luster.
The ginger swiped at his nose with shaking fingers, watching the final drops of blood fall of his hand, landing in small rosy circles on the floor.
Red was calming. Red was comforting. Red was pretty. Red was the color of life. Red was very... Weasley.
He stumbled into the bathroom, leaning against the ceramic sink as he raised his gaze to the mirror.
His lack of glasses allowed him to read his emotions well. There was a lot of his face that was the same. He had the same curly red hair. He had the same unholy amount of freckles. He had the same blank, emotionless face. But it was different. His blue eyes had a smear of gray in them. That's weird... he'd never noticed that before. Maybe it was a new occurrence. Perhaps his eyes finally recognized the lack of color his soul had years ago and decided it was time to catch up. The eyes were cracked. Something behind them had broken.
There was a smear of browning blood drying onto his upper lip, no longer the brilliant crimson it had been mere minutes ago. Watching the blood settle into the cracks in his skin, something in his mind sparked. The brown wasn't calming. The brown wasn't pretty. The brown wasn't pretty like crimson. It wasn't Weasley.
Percy turned his wrist over, staring at the blue artery beneath his porcelain skin. Blue wasn't very Weasley at all, either. He had always been the only Weasley with blue eyes, and he knew just how Weasley everyone considered him to be.
He shuffled back to the living room, crouching down and letting his fingers curl around a large piece of the broken glass. It glittered in the sunlight, catching the color in small pools, reflecting the glow onto his hand and giving it an almost golden glow.
Percy ran to his room, footsteps echoing through the empty apartment as he slammed the door shut, the walls shuddering in protest at the heavy force being exerted. The ginger clicked the lock shut, sliding down the door onto the wooden floor, which creaked in response.
He ran his finger over the sharp edge of the glass, just light enough that it didn't cut his skin until the side of his finger clipped the sharp corner. Percy turned his wrist over again, pressing the glass into the pale skin. The sting and pain were welcomed, bringing joy and peace to the ginger.
The corners of his lips curled up into an almost manic smile as his eyes stayed transfixed on the glass, fascinated by the way the bloody paint sat on the clear surface, the light the glass would've picked up and put towards the ground now a red beam of light, as though the sunlight was adopting the color and agreeing that it was beautiful. His wide-eyed gaze stole bits of sunlight, the angelic color spilling across his iris into his pupil in a thin white drizzle. Right now, the glass was like an extra appendage to his body, and he was about as Weasley as they come with all the red paint slithering down his skin and suit.
He stood up, putting the glass down before padding over to his desk and grabbing a paper and quill. The 21-year-old returned to his original position, kneeling down in front of the small puddle of blood.
He dipped the quill into the liquid, using it like perfectly red ink. He wrote slowly and carefully, but a few letters had quivering wavers in the ink. Percy took out his wand, muttering a charm to let it keep it's red luster, also giving the puddles of crimson on the ground the same treatment.
Percy placed the note down, holding the glass above his vein, lining it up to make a perfect vertical incision. Just as the point began to break his skin, he caught his reflection. He frowned. Something was off.
Here he was, ready to die, but his face was so sadistically unprepared. Fred had been smiling when he died and he was frowning. Clearly death was happy--funny, even--if Fred was smiling because of it. He had always been so good at funny things. He knew when happiness was deserved and when it wasn't.
Not only that, but his face was still marred by that unsightly brown color. How could we call himself a Weasley if not all of him was. He was an impostor if he couldn't honestly say he was 100% Weasley.
Weasleys love red. Weasleys always smile.
Percy took his make-shift blade and pressed it into the corner of his mouth, a jagged piece snagging on a piece of chapped skin. He dragged it upwards in an arch until it rest diagonally to his eye. The incision oozed blood, dripping onto his shirt, onto the floor, glissading down his neck and chest in silky trails.
He repeated the action on the other side, his face now a perfect smile. It stung, like he had been laughing and smiling for too long.
Perfect. A Weasley smile covered in Weasley red on a Weasley face.
He could truly rest in happiness and peace now.
So he brought the blade down on his rest, thumping onto the ground as he curled in on himself, watching the crimson pigment paint the floor and his arm with its perfect color. His note was the last thing his eyes fell on.
When the darkness set in, he opened his eyes to find a girl with dark brown hair and calm brown eyes standing in front of him. She wore a simple white dress which the wind threw in the same direction of her chocolate brown locks. He was on a path, set in a black and white world with wind rustling the trees lining the dirt road.
The cuts were gone, he no longer felt the joy of the pain, the manic lust for red, instead he felt at peace. It was like it was meant to happen that way--he was meant to suffer temporary insanity so he could be released into whatever this afterlife was.
Percy Weasley truly was happy.
His gaze fell on the girl once again. "Who are you? What is this place?" He asked
"I'm Audrey. I'm not sure, but I've chosen to call it Nil," she replied.
"The land in between. A path to Heaven. At least I think. I've only been here a few days myself. I chose to wait for someone else to come along and take the path with me."
"Oh. I'm Percy, by the way. If you don't mind me asking... How exactly did you die?"
"A stray Death Eater got me after the Wizarding War. How did you die?" Her eyes were calm and gentle, her head cocked slightly as she smiled at him calmly.
"I-I killed myself. My guilt over my brother's death led me to a lapse of temporary insanity in which I took my own life." She frowned, brown eyes filled with sadness as she looked at him.
"That's too bad," she began. "But if you hadn't, I'd still be waiting for a traveling partner or walking alone. Do you feel like it was supposed to happen that way? I mean, was this your time?"
Percy shrugged, brushing a particularly wavy strand of hair from his eyes. His glasses, he noted were gone.
"I think so... Should we begin our journey, Miss Audrey?" She smiled, curling her fingers around his to calm both their fears. It worked surprising well, and Percy immediately felt comforted by the thought of what lay ahead, even if he just wandered forever. At least he wasn't alone.
As they walked, a paper slipped through the breeze and disappeared into the trees. If Percy had seen, he would've immediately recognized the paper.
If Percy had stuck around moments longer, he would've heard his name being shrieked in agony by Charlie as Bill read the note. His final legacy was rested in the palms of his brother.
May I be found resting in peace, smiling like Fred in a pool of Weasley red.
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