He sits in a dark, isolated room, at a besmirched bar with a tasteless Muggle drink in front of him. It is chilly in the room, and he shivers, heart and skin both frigid.

He feels a comfortable but age-worn chair, positioned near a roasting fire, with a warm butterbeer in hand. The territory is well-lit and welcoming.

He pretends he doesn't feel it.

A repeating record plays in the corner, sending a scratchy Christmas carol into the dismal atmosphere. The song is painful to listen to, and he cringes, heart and ears both filled with agony.

He hears the timeless voice of Celestina Warbeck, and an off-key but comforting voice singing along.

He pretends he doesn't hear it.

A plate sits in front of him, but is scarcely filled. The food it is covered with is bland and minimal, and his belly growls, heart and stomach both hungry.

He smells an extraordinaire Christmas feast, with sauce dripping off meats and tarts of all sorts. The assorted scents from a kitchen fill his nose.

He pretends he doesn't smell it.

A windswept trio stumbles into the pub, and he turns around to see that it is a family traveling for the holidays. A man balances luggage, while a woman carries a young and blanketed baby. The parents smile at each other as they set down their things and begin to feed their child. He sniffles, heart and soul filled with longing.

He misses a family of eight others, their hair red and impassioned. A mother smiles, a father laughs, five brothers joke, and one sister plays along. There is the warmth, music and food; there is the laughter and the memories.

This time, he doesn't pretend.

Anxious and feared tears long kept in emerge, and as he struggles to control himself, he admits it in a whisper…

"…I never should have left home."


A/N: This was my first time writing Percy, and my return to writing Harry Potter pieces in quite some time. I hope I did both justice. Please review on your opinions, even if they're only one word. Once again, this was for the Disney Challenge at HPFC. The very last line is from 'Mulan'.