Percival was a gifted child. He was had a most extraordinary mind.
He could talk fluently by eighteen months and read by two. He read the newspaper every morning, and even though he didn't understand a lot of it, his pronunciation was wonderful.
Molly Weasley had owled Arthur and proudly told him. Charlie had patted his brother on the head and gave him a reader to go through.
Then, when Percy was three, and Charlie was at school and Molly was very pregnant with twins, Percy was left with his books and his quill and some spare paper to entertain himself through the long days.
There were house rules where he stayed. The Burrow, their house, had been abandoned a few months ago. They lived in a house with lots of people coming and going.
There was the little round man who bounced him on his knee and told him stories about Hogwarts. He was only there for two days before he went away.
Next was the thin man with dark circles under his eyes and a tired smile. He sat with Percy all through the night, when his mum was asleep or suffering cramps as the twins kicked. He was told to call him Remy, because his name was too adult sounding and Mr Lupin was his father.
He stayed nearly six days. He was kind and friendly and hugged Percy when he was scared.
Then, on the seventh day, he said he had to go. He told Percy he'd come back to see him.
But he never did.
After Remy was a visit from a man with a long white beard and a jolly laugh. He wore a cloak with a long hood and a pom pom, and he had a big bag with him.
Percy asked him if he Father Christmas. He said he wasn't, but Percy suspected he really was, but he said he wouldn't give him away. The man had patted his head and thanked him and given him a letter from Charlie and Bill.
That's how he knew he really was Father Christmas, because it was just what he wanted.
A month later, Molly gave birth. She screamed and abused and Percy hid under the kitchen table until it all went silent and the nurse came downstairs and told him his mum wanted to see him.
She smiled at him when he went in. She was sweaty and she had a baby in each arm.
She told him that the one on the left was George and the one on the right was Frederick. He was their big brother.
Two weeks later, Molly and the twins were moved to a safe house far away, where they would be safe and not heard when the twins screamed all the time.
His mum told him to be brave, but he had to stay, because it was safer away from the twins. Charlie would come home soon, so would his dad.
He said good bye, and he was left at the safe house with a revolving set of adults taking care of him.
Six months later, Percy turned four. He stopped speaking, because they were hunting for him. He knew they were after him, he heard Father Christmas and what had to be Mrs Christmas talking with a lady they called Mrs Longbottom.
He thought her name was a bit funny, but he didn't laugh. Laughing was even louder than talking.
Father Christmas had said "He's the only Weasley we can't find a safer place for. Arthur is worried sick about him.".
Then Mrs Christmas; with her grey bun and long robes; had said, "Arthur is in a dangerous position. If they were to find Percival, he would be good leverage against them. You remember what happened to Isolde Blacktree. They took three weeks to identify the body she was so badly mutilated. The magic was still crackling around her."
Mrs Longbottom had sniffed. "I remember. The poor child, she was only the same age as Percy. Not as aware though. I swear, that boy knows more about magic than the First years at Hogwarts."
Father Christmas said, "Maybe, but he's still a little boy, and we need to keep him safe. If anyone sees that red hair, they'll know he's Arthur's child. How does he behave?"
"Like a little angel," Mrs Longbottom said. "He's quiet, he stays away from the windows, he barely even speaks anymore. He even cleans up after himself and repacks everything in his travelling case every night."
Father Christmas had looked thoughtful then and Percy had gone back upstairs. He barely heard Mrs Christmas say, "It's a pity he can't be taught any spells. He has no way of defending himself, should the worst happen."
"Should the worse happen, a child couldn't stop them anyway."
He had gone to bed then, but he hadn't been able to sleep.
Mrs Longbottom, and sometimes Mr Longbottom, were with him for two months and five days. They told him that his mum was pregnant again. It was going to be a boy.
He said they should call him Ronald, or Ron, because Ron was a better name than Percival.
Then, Mr and Mrs Longbottom went away, and, for a short time, Lily moved in
Lily was sweet. She had red, red hair, like his mother, and big green eyes. She smiled a lot. She was pregnant too, but she didn't want to know what her baby would be.
She said she was a friend of Remy. Remy was away fighting with her husband James and their friends Siri and Peter.
Peter turned out to be the round man who had told him stories. She was surprised he remembered.
Percy remembered everything. People said it made him special.
He just wanted to be able to forget like all the other kids his age.
Lily didn't try to make him talk. She gave him a blank book and told him he should write down things. Sometimes he wrote, but not often. He didn't need to write to remember.
Then, when she was swollen and slow, James arrived and took Lily away.
Hagrid stayed for two days. He was big and noisy and made Percy scared, because silence was your friend.
He took Percy to a new safe house. A safe house with lots of scared looking adults who were quiet. He called them muggles.
Percy knew what that was, but he didn't say so. They all stayed together and were silent.
Percy worked out who they were. They were the families of people fighting. This way, they were away from the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Molly had given birth to a little boy. They called him Ronald.
Lily also gave birth. But he didn't hear about that for several more weeks.
A week after he went to the Muggle safe house, they were attacked. The three wizards protecting them were completely inadequate to look after seven adults and a wizarding child.
The rules were, no less than one wizard for every two defenceless people. They were short staffed, because they weren't important. The wizards were elsewhere, guarding important people.
The wizards died almost instantly, and rather than staying hidden and quiet, the adults started screaming and running around. Just in case the Death Eaters hadn't already located them.
Percy hid under the staircase. He listened to people screaming and the Death Eaters laughing. The screaming kept on going and going, and he thought of Isolde Blacktree, whose little mangled body had been found all those months ago.
Then, someone opened the door.
The Death Eater wore long black robes and a silver mask. He had bright dark eyes and he watched Percy for a second.
Percy watched him back. He did not scream. It wouldn't help. He didn't even cry, though maybe a tear escaped.
The Death Eater looked around stepped into the close, closing it behind him. He pulled out his wand in the gloom and Percy closed his eyes.
The man pushed up his mask. He wasn't very old, not even as old as his mum and dad. He looked the same age as Remy, with the same worn and tired look.
But Remy looked alive. This man looked like he had died inside a long time ago.
"You're a Weasley."
He didn't say anything.
"Stay quiet, and you will get out of here unharmed."
The man slid his mask back on and picked him up, tucking him under his cloak. He had held onto the man's neck, and he was warm, just like the other adults he had met.
He kept Percy's face pushed against his neck as he hurried through the burning safe house. He didn't stop until they were outside, where he put Percy down.
He pushed a small token into his hand. "When I leave, whisper 'Sanctum', and the coin will take you to safety. Tell them the safe house was attacked, and that the snake will report tonight."
The dark eyes had watched him. He felt like someone was actually paying attention to him for the time in years. "Remember, Percival. Sanctum, then tell them everything you can remember."
He nodded. The man straightened up and brushed down his robes.
"Sir?" It was the first word he had spoken in over three months.
The man was still.
"How can I thank you?" He whispered.
"Be a good, law abiding man, Percival."
And he was gone.
Percy thought about that and then whispered, "Sanctum."