Requiem for a Lonely Soul

by Somigliana

Disclaimer - As usual, they all belong to JKR - just taking them out for a little fun, or in this case, introspection.

Percy shivered despite the warmth of the perfect summer evening. Dumbledore's phoenix was singing again.

The achingly beautiful song resonated with his buried feelings of loneliness, guilt, and regret. His ironclad sense of obligation and pride seemed to tremble as Fawkes' song reverberated on an especially poignant note. His face relaxed from its customary stiff and serious expression—exposing a hint of vulnerability and raw emotion—as he glanced up from his work and turned his head towards the silvery moonlight that mingled with the golden glow surrounding the candle on the desk.

He took his glasses off and rubbed at his eyes—the document he was trying to read had blurred slightly. He concentrated on cleaning his glasses on his robes fastidiously, intent on removing the smudge that had obviously caused the blur of his writing on the parchment. He put his glasses back on and gazed towards the window again as one last wavering note echoed into the night, and then the phoenix fell silent—for now.

He turned his gaze back to the desk and lifted his quill again; despite the uproar that surrounded Dumbledore's death, there were press reports to publish … and he was Scrimgeour's man through and through, after all. He sighed and continued to work on the rough draft he'd composed for the early edition of the Daily Prophet.

The quill scratching on parchment was the only sound for a few minutes, but for a distant wailing from the direction of Hagrid's hut and the light hum of hundreds of voices mingling out of castle windows into the balmy air; voices that comforted each other over the devastating loss, expressed shock over the events that had led to Dumbledore's death.

Percy sighed as he reread his last paragraph. Obviously he wasn't concentrating, because his inner thoughts and frustrations had seemed to bleed onto the page in a scrawl of black ink. Yes, he thought that Dumbledore had died because he and the vigilante Order had not trusted the Ministry to assist them, kept important secrets from Scrimgeour, but that was perhaps a little insensitive at this juncture. And the Ministry did not want to seem insensitive about the wizard that many considered the icon of the Light.

He scratched through the offending words and put his quill down, and then he stared into the flickering candlelight. He leant his head on his left palm and scratched at the dry, flaky skin next to his right thumbnail; a new habit that he'd acquired recently … since Christmas, if he had to pinpoint the time it had started. He'd pick and pick and pull at the skin until he bled—most of the time he hardly realised that he'd done so until he felt the sharp rush of pain when he pulled a strip of skin too far.

Fawkes' song filled the night air again. This time it was a slow, mournful song that tugged and teased at the edges of Percy's self-control, threatening to break through this meticulously constructed emotional guard.

His family were almost all here tonight, he realised, swallowing thickly. His Mum and Dad likely sat at their almost constant vigil with Bill in the hospital wing. Ron and Ginny were ensconced in Gryffindor Tower with The Chosen One. Fred and George would be at the funeral tomorrow, but he wasn't sure if they were here tonight. And Charlie, well, he had no idea where he was. Likely drinking himself into a stupor in Romania somewhere.

He had avoided his family this afternoon, although when he'd walked down a corridor, the hospital wing had seemed to have a siren's call. He'd stopped just in front of the double doors and berated himself for imagining that he'd be welcome there—even for that briefest, hopeful instant when he'd reached for the door handle. Bill would be fine, he'd reasoned with himself, before turning on his heel and retreating to the quiet of his guest room.

They just didn't understand him … never had, really. They'd all seen past him; the dull, studious middle child. Plain Percy, boring Percy, the most un-Weasley Weasley of them all. They would never understand his viewpoint—his disapproval of their crusading service that caused friction within the Light side when they all should be working together to bring Voldemort down.

The candlelight blurred and shimmered, and Percy scowled, rubbing furiously at his eyes again. He reached for his wand and flicked a Silencing Charm at the window.

The phoenix song stopped abruptly, but the haunting sense of loss it had evoked remained with him still.