before reading this, i wanted to mention something that friend Fred pointed out. the last chapter, it was clearly emphasised that Percy could not walk again. actually, the effects are much more tragic (see below where Percy is not just paralysed, he's completely off.) however, because it was in Percy's point of view, all he could focus on was a) the fact that he couldn't walk and b) his strange contentment with how everything panned out despite the fact that the epilogue shows a darker turn, i.e. the effects of that on everyone else. just to be clear. i already mentioned it in the last note but just to remind you and to be clear.
Seventeen-year-old Molly placed Percy's copy of Prefects Who Gained Power on her lap. She fixed her blue-and-bronze tie and crossed her long legs over one another.
She dreaded having to read this book.
It was the only book they had in their flat. Her mum told her that if Percy only had one book to read for the rest of his life, it would be this one. Molly remembered being excited the first time she'd opened it ten years ago. By the first three paragraphs, she found herself passed out on the couch, drooling all over the fine print!
It was the most boring book she'd ever read in her whole life.
She actually found Professor Binns' class far more exciting than this drivel that her poor father insisted on calling fine literature. Every sentence she read made her IQ drop a few points... yet she'd read this book so many times that every word of every paragraph of every chapter was probably seared into her brain forever.
She closed her eyes, trying to prepare herself to read a chosen chapter of the book. She'd been doing this for him every day for the past ten years... and she had to admit that it got a little tiring reading a section of a book you absolutely loathed to someone that had as much life to them as a dead flobberworm.
Her mum used to tell her that once that her father had a bed made out of just books. Molly wondered if they were all just copies of Prefects Who Gained Power... because if no other book could compare, then why bother reading other books?
"I'll have to hear about it from him," Molly always told Audrey whenever she mentioned the fabled book bed.
To an avid bookworm like Molly, the book bed sounded like a fantasy. She refused to see pictures of it although her mum claimed to have dozens of them. She was never one for photographs. She left those to Lucy (though she really did insist on taking very risqué photographs... that Molly hoped her mum would never find about. Else she might actually burn Lucy alive.)
Molly had no interest in the things Lucy did. She simply liked to read and she liked to listen.
Molly had her own set of elaborate fantasies... some even more elaborate than the book bed! She used to dream of hearing Percy tell her stories about the stories that he read. She used to dream of going out to a café, sitting with him and having a chat with him about where he used to see himself at this age (he had been permanently stuck at twenty-three for the last seventeen years but still!). She used to dream of taking him out to see the musicals that Avis loved so much. She used to dream of taking him to one of Adrian Pucey's Quidditch games, or to just sitting down to have split pea soup whilst watching the muggle telly.
All she ever wanted to take care of him.
A tired Molly opened her mouth to recite the first few sentences of his favourite chapter, but then lost her motivation. Actually, she had more motivation to join the Ravenclaw Quidditch team than to read this book.
She poured herself a glass of water and took a sip. She decided that had better stories than this for him today.
"Lucy brought her new boyfriend over. Mum's livid," an energetic Molly said. It was so sad seeing him sat in his wheelchair, completely frozen in time and unmoving. He was so cold all the time. Her grandmother knitted a blanket for him every week since he'd been in. Ron got to pick the colour for today's blanket—pink, like the new plimsolls that Uncle George had gotten him... Percy was like a little doll that they dressed up whenever they wanted. "Mum says that you'll probably hate him. She says you wouldn't be keen on Lucy dating a bloke that has more ink on his body than there is my copy of Advanced Potion Making."
Molly fixed up his blanket, draping it to cover his whole body instead of just his shoulders. He looked so cold sitting there, staring at her with ecstatic blue eyes and the biggest smile in the world. He hadn't moved a muscle in seventeen years. "Neither has your grandfather now that you mention it," Molly heard her grandmother say a few times. "Always in that shed... hasn't had the heart to change the walls yet. I think Percy used to like the yellow... you know I used to buy raincoats in that colour."
"I'm sorry Lucy doesn't visit as much," Molly smiled weakly. "She said she can't bear to look at you, that you make her sad. I suppose I can't blame her... you're not very talkative, are you? Mum says that you used to be very talkative and that it was hard to make you shut up for more than three seconds. Uncle Fred and George agree." She wondered how he sounded like...
Molly laughed, but she didn't find this very funny.
She looked down at her feet again. It was very hard to look at him. He broke her heart.
Molly was tall and thin like he was. She had long, straight red hair but she had her mother's eyes—her grandmother's eyes. Her hair was naturally curly, but she straightened it up with a host of glamour charms and Madame Primpernelle's beauty products. She didn't like the curls. They frizz up too much, and she'd end up with hair worse than her aunt Hermione's.
"Lucy's going to be a dragon tamer," Molly finally found a new topic to talk about. It was hard to keep a one sided conversation. "She's going to go to Romania and live with Uncle Charlie and her new boyfriend. Mum says that Lucy's hoping to wake you up by doing things that are going to give you a heart attack."
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
"Mum doesn't want to come anymore either. She says it's too hard, and she has herself a new boyfriend too—he doesn't have any tattoos. He's really nice. He's bought me a few books but I've not read them yet. He's not as good as you... I suppose since I've never actually met you but-but-but from what I've heard..."
Molly wondered if her grandmother was ever going to stop seeing him. She wondered if one day, her uncle Bill thought that it was a waste of his time to sit down with someone that was completely inanimate.
"You have me," she flattened an already flat segment of his hair. "I'm not going to leave you."
She stood up from the chair she was sitting on.
"Mum said that... " Molly's voice trailed off.
She felt her chest tighten. She had a new blanket that Molly had made for him in her rucksack and she just wanted to tear it into pieces. It was blue like his eyes.
"It doesn't really matter what she said, does it?" Molly sounded miserable. "She's left you. Lucy's left you and... and maybe when I run out of things to say, I'm going to leave you too."
She closed the smallest gap that was between them and reached over to touch his cheek.
"You saved the world and now, you're stuck in this chair forever. You can't say a word and I'm not even sure if you can hear me. You're not dead because you can't die because of all this magic inside you. You're doomed to sit here in this Godric forsaken hospital and do nothing for the rest of eternity," Molly found it hard to say the words but they were true. She didn't know why she said them. She was hoping that somehow, he'd just snap out of it and yell at her for hurting his feelings.
She crouched down to his eye level. "Lucy is two years older than you now. In seven years, I'm going to be older than you and you're... still going to be stuck in this chair. Alone. You're probably going to be alone for the rest of your life. People will stop coming because they've died and you'll still be here, being nothing."
She wondered sometimes if she was really talking to her father, or if she was talking to a statute and that she'd been tricked all her life. Sometimes, she felt like there was no way the man before her once used to be a human being. It just seemed impossible! But then...
She'd touch his cheek and feel his skin. His human skin. And she could feel how cold he was.
"Mum said that I was going to die and you gave me my life," Molly said. "Is it true?"
He didn't answer. He never answered.
"I've gone mad," Molly said to no one in particular. "I'm... I'm talking to the air!"
She went to pick up her coat. She pulled it over her tall frame and turned to have a look at him.
She put her hair up into a bun and waited for him to move or to blink or to smile... or do anything.
The healers had told her that he was breathing on his own, but she wasn't sure how someone could be breathing when their chest wasn't moving and their mouth was always closed into a thin, tight line.
"Please wake up," she pleaded. "I want to meet you, and I... I want to take you back home with me!"
Those fantasies were swirling in her head again. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
"I've got my own flat and it's really nice," Molly chattered energetically. "I've got a muggle telly in it too so that granddad can come and watch sometimes. We can order a takeaway. There's fish and chip shop near my flat. It's proper stodge and it's not good for granddad because grandmother's worried about his heart, but it tastes amazing. And if you come with... I'll—I'll even read you your poor excuse of a book! How's that?!"
Molly didn't know what happened afterwards. She screamed... and then...
Fireflies started to form into her eyes and one second later, she found herself on the ground. She woke up, dizzy and discombobulated. She must've slipped down and hit her head in the process. She had a headache that reminded her quite a lot of a hangover.
Molly wouldn't know then, but many years from now, she would realise that she had a fit. It would be the only fit that Molly would ever have in her life and she would never forget it.
Molly moved to grab the table and pull herself up, breathing heavily. She placed her head into her hands and sobbed. Her entire body ached.
She looked up to see that Percy was staring at her. She thought it was a figment of her imagination for the first few seconds, but she could've sworn he was looking at her.
"Look at what you've done!" Molly shouted at him. "You've made me hurt myself! You've—you've..."
She paused to stare at him. His eyes were getting glossy, like he was going to cry.
Her heart must've stopped. "Percy?" she said, placing a hand on his cheek and stroking it gently.
She shouldn't have said his name. He was her father for Merlin's sake, but she'd always called him Percy. Her sister was bloody older than him! She couldn't go around calling him her father. It looked odd.
"There was a time... long ago... where I gave you life..." Percy's voice was hoarse. Of course, it was hoarse. He hadn't spoken in seventeen years! but oh, did he have a lot to tell her... "And now, you've given it back to me."
yes, that ending was supposed to be bittersweet. i hope i succeeded in having that come across.
The most important element in this fanfiction is irony.
Throughout the chapters, Percy has said many times that one of the biggest mistakes in his life was running away when he is young... and thus procuring his leg injury. There are quite a lot of scenes in the morning with him sulking about it, and even later on with him still moaning on about it. It's a very prominent theme in this work. His leg injury is the driving force for many plotlines and gags in this fanfiction and has been perpetuated as a device for assessing and developing others characters' relationship towards Percy. Some characters do not think much of it (e.g. Oliver Wood) whilst others do (e.g. Penelope Clearwater). The ironic part this whole fanfic is that he is able to fool Ares by using his leg injury (his disability) to gain an advantage... making a) the biggest mistake of Percy's life ironically being the best mistake of his life and b) the irony that disability has actually given him the ability to trick Ares.
The disrupted system is very important here too. It is shown in the Ministry in the discrimination of Percy as an epileptic (though understandable because Percy is posed as a danger), and it is shown mostly in the medical system, where Percy was able to escape as a child. He is consistently been in and out of hospital, and sickness is very important here. It is how he's treated, the interaction, the reason and for a good part of it too, Percy is involved in the hospital when he's volunteering, and when he's in the ward. Marcus, Penelope, Tarvos and Audrey are all are part of the desperate healthcare system. This is important especially because Marcus has terrible school records but is accepted anyway. Penelope and Percy have been volunteering at young ages, because of how desperate the system is and Percy wants a certificate. The point of Percy's volunteering, however, is to further establish that a) him and Audrey meeting, b) people view him as disabled... which was not really touched on until then.
Books in this fanfiction are very symbolic. The first scene in this story is Percy trying to get his books from the twins, whom had stolen them from him. The driving force behind him running away was the books (six books, as in all the Weasley children excluding Percy). The following day, after he's run off, Molly had a book for him in the morning (signifying Percy, i.e. including him... in a very dissociative way that is because the other six are missing). It is yet again symbolic later on when there is an accumulation of books on the shelf as the years has passed... the books accumulating to the point where Percy has run out of room to put them in and had being forced to make the infamous book bed out of them. The books in this case reflected as the implied guilt that the family continued to feel all those years (even after!) for giving him a reason to run away from his home. Percy's first complaint was that he did not have enough books. Later on, he did make quite a few quips about how he didn't know where to put his books because there was so many. Percy seems to miss this as what it actually is—i.e. a token of affection. He is blind to it. At some point later on in the fanfiction, Percy gives away all his books for money but has only kept one book (i.e. "Prefects Who Gained Power.") There is a scene where Fred and George started throwing Percy's books to Arthur-Ares in their attempts to harm him (this scene also had "Prefects Who Gained Power" as a solitary mention), further reinforcing the significance of the book symbol. Also, there is the fact that Percy gives his books away to provide money for his daughters, i.e. take that implication as you wish but it can be seen as Percy giving away his family's love (i.e. the books) for monetary gain (money) or that he is trading away his family's love to give his family love (i.e. to be able to provide for them in a way that he felt like his family did not provide for him when he is younger.) The book symbolism is later on reintroduced as a form of affection in the epilogue when Molly reads using the only book that he has kept.
Another fair bit of symbolism is Percy's room. First, it was not very well highlighted, and thus, of no significance. The only time it starts to emerge with any significance was when Arthur tears it down. Then it is 'barer than bare' (and Arthur described the reason being that they were comforting themselves with the idea that certain things, i.e. the room were Percy's and that his presence was somehow in them. He claimed that this was a false notion) Later on, there are very vivid descriptions of his room (the blue walls, the arrangements of his closet, the multicoloured carpet). Percy was very happy with this arrangement. His room was described as very vibrant, colourful and mismatched yet Percy seemed to be oddly happy with it, despite his boring bland wardrobe. This, signifies a childhood yearning (which is an important part of this fanfiction as it keeps coming back again and again. Percy has this need to be treated as an adult and when he is, tends to throws tantrums about it and insist on the fact that he's a child. It actually keeps on happening throughout this fanfic. He has a lot of "lost innocence" that he wants to regain and has been deprived of a normal childhood. It is actually WHY Audrey is so much older than him. It's because he wants someone to treat him like an adult but also wants to be the child in the relationship). Later on, his 'room' becomes the cell in the ward. It just described as dim and dark and signifies Percy's brush with his darkness (his 'fear' of the dark versus his need to embrace it). After that, his room becomes the shed and he describes the walls as an "unclean yellow," a reference to The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story regarding mental illness. It was again, used as a way to describe Percy's state. He has made numerous statements in various chapters that he does not like the colour of the wall and has mentioned that it reminds him of cheap raincoats his mother has bought (i.e. implying that he has a poor association with the colour.) It is described at the end as well when Molly mentions that Arthur doesn't have the heart to change the colour of the shed because they thought that Percy liked the colour. This is a dissociation from Percy and his family, i.e. their best intentions, their thoughts of him vs what he actually thinks. This whole fanfiction in the beginning was meant to show the dissociation ("Percy couldn't have defeated Lestrange") up until the end, where they are well meaning and love him but completely dissociated from Percy.
The lake scene with Adrian Pucey returns as the hypothermia scene with Marcus. Adrian couldn't swim and Percy had a belief that Marcus couldn't swim (Marcus disproves this later on). This are very loosely related to one another, especially because Percy had been fantasising about Adrian's dismay at the same point that he has been fantasising about Marcus' dismay. Take the correlation as weakly or as strongly as you wish. They are meant to be (very) loosely related to another. In both cases, however, Percy saves them. In the first (Adrian's), he is also indirectly the reason why he fell into the water in the first place.
Though this is obvious, I would still like to say this for those that might have missed it: the first indicator of Percy's love for the destruction is not actually the scene where he is drunk and accidentally tells his mother, but rather the scene where he starts to destroy Ginny's doll. It is later on implicated during the flashback scene in his confrontation with Ares where he says that he wants to tear out Terence's eye (I believe) like he did with Ginny's doll.
Although Percy has already explained it when he was telling Ares his 'story' during the last chapter, his high tolerance to the cold is related to the fact that he is 'fed' by the darkness as he liked to call it. The instances that he felt cold (i.e. the flashback scene with Terence, the feeling of coldness when he was looking at a hypothermic Marcus) is associated with a feeling of hopeless and dread. This is hammered back at the end where Molly describes Percy's body as cold. There are many indications in this fanfiction of the need to keep Percy 'warm' and those that keep attempting to do it, i.e. the chapter where Percy keeps on getting clothes from people to be kept warm (from Adrian's mum, from Terence, from his own mum, from Penelope), the scene where Molly has made a blanket and tried to make it smell like Percy because she missed him, etc. There are many little bits here and there—some intentional, some not of winter clothing and Percy wearing the bare minimum even when others tell him to stay warm.
Although also explained, Percy's 'fear' of the dark is not an actual fear. It is a fear of embracing it. Avis was named so because Avis means "bird", i.e. referring to the fact that Penelope ate a canary cream and turned into a bird just as she was giving birth. Also, Percy did mention he memorised everyone's handwriting but didn't recognise the handwriting of the bloke that wrote the letter. There is an explanation for that. It was mentioned that Marcus typically uses Quick-Quills to write information from before. It is implied that he's written the letter with his own hand (with or without his glasses), which lead to Percy not being able to decipher it. Because he has not familiarised himself with Marcus' actual handwriting.
With that aside, there is also another important part of this fanfiction, i.e. parallels. Ares and Percy were described as equals and mirrors of each other, but they are not the only parallels or mirrors.
Percy and Oliver: to Oliver, Percy was the Slytherin epileptic that still somehow managed to get unconditional love from his family because he shares the same blood as them and no matter what Oliver does, he is not worthy of them and will always be compared to Percy. To Percy, Oliver was the perfect Gryffindor Quidditch playing child that got unconditional love from Percy's family even though he did not share blood with them. They were jealous of each other for the same exact reason basically. They are both very stubborn characters with very specific ideas about each other. The only time that their ideas of each other has implied to change was towards the end (and that was mostly Percy's opinion too.) Oliver's stayed pretty firm throughout the whole thing.
Oliver as an Animagus was a very interesting plotline. It was not branched very well, but it was implied very much so in the beginning—then 'forgotten' about, and then mentioned again in much later chapters. He has mentioned his want to be adopted multiple times, and the adoption story was a very important key in the development of Oliver in the first place. Oliver has a very keen need to be wanted, to belong. He is a very genuine character and writing him was almost as easy as writing Percy (initially, it was even easier to write Oliver because he is meant to be so pure.) It is implied many times that he had feelings for Marcus. I did not want to go the traditional route and have them be together (though tempting) because of the fact that I feel like this is done too often.
Others (I won't describe it, but I hope you can see what I was trying to do): Penelope/Audrey, Percy/Lucy (albeit this is less strong), Arthur/Percy(again, less strong). as well as each Greek God with their vessels: Ares/Percy (obvious), Penelope/Aphrodite (her issue with beauty in general and her jealousy of Holly), Marcus/Apollo (his father could see the future, i.e. the Oracle, and his life is based on healing). There are many parallels as well with Percy and Perseus, the God that destroyed Medusa (Penelope and her snake hair), the lightning bolt that destroyed the commons (Zeus), and him summoning Pegasus during a fit. The manticore scene loosely is related as well, because the manticore is a Greek creature.
I was going to write this fanfiction in a different way. Percy was supposed to turn into the dark side. He was meant to succumb to Ares. He was meant to be evil. He was actually meant to kill Molly (his mother, not his daughter) and spare Arthur because he wanted Arthur to suffer. Molly was supposed to even accept death because it's Percy that's killing her, that she tells him that she forgives him, that she blames herself. The final scene I had in mind was one where he is defeated (by Oliver Wood) and that he turns out to be the hero of the day. It was supposed to be extremely disturbing (more so than this reawakened statue Percy). It was supposed to be more Arthur/Percy centric, but the whole fanfiction is leaning more towards Percy's relationship with his mother (as evident by the last where he said his mother has promised him a better home.) I chose to write it in this manner because I wanted Percy to use his disability as an ability and I thought that that would be more memorable than adding 20 chapters of Percy descending into the darkness and going on a twisted killing spree. Though I really did want Oliver to be right about Percy succumbing. It would've been interesting if Oliver was giving warnings and people were continually ignoring them, because 'it's Percy.'
I've forgotten what else, but hopefully, whatever I've missed is all self-explanatory! I could write sections and paragraphs about the 'home', 'hunger' and 'darkness' metaphors but they've been repeated again and again and I think that they're pretty obvious right about now. I've only included ones that are not too lengthy to explain or ones that are lengthy but not as obvious or as emphasised on as these plotlines... Thank you for reading! I hope you leave a note or some sort of feedback. I hope that this whole thing does make sense to you all and that you've enjoyed reading.