disclaimer: i own nothing.

characters: percy && ron brotherfic

a/n: so... who watched HP7.2? I DID! MIDNIGHT PREMIERE BABY!

"Percy," Ron asked, tugging nervously at the sleeves of his black robes, "can you help me?" The eleven-year-old boy's ears were scarlet, and he looked utterly mortified.

His older brother glanced at him briefly, then looked back at his parchment. "With what?" he inquired, his voice flat. "Or is this the beginning of some prank Fred and George put you up to?" He held a dripping quil over the parchment; his handwriting was cramped, but legible.

"No!" Ron protested hastily, waving his hands. "I just... I need help. And you're the only one who will get it. Fred and George would laugh and think I'm daft."

Percy set down his quill at last, seeming more convinced. He smiled almost eagerly. "Well, alright then. What is it, Ron?" He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. His fingers were stained with black ink.

"Well... It's just... It's Christmas soon," Ron stumbled. "And I have, you know, friends. Harry, and Hermione, and the others in my dormitory. And I, I dunno what to get them. You know? Because they'll expect it, and they'll give me things. And I can't not give them something."

"Ohh," Percy exhaled, giving his brother a sympathetic look. "It's your first year of this. I forgot you'd need it explained to you." He looked very sad.

Ron nodded. "I have to give them something. And you always know what to do."

"I know you do," Percy sighed, ignoring the compliment. "We've all been doing the best we can for this since first year. Shocking as it may be, Fred and George wouldn't have laughed. They would have gotten it; they have the same problem every year."

"Oh," Ron said, and he looked much older than eleven. "I hate being poor. It's not fair."

"As do I," Percy agreed. "Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do yet. So how we handle Christmas is fairly simple. We give hand-made gifts. Or find nicer hand-me-downs, or ask Mum to make them sweaters. Fred and George often turn it into a joke."

Ron looked quite dejected. "I wish I could give them all something better."

"Yes, I know," Percy said. Then, a fire came into his eyes, and he picked up his quill, returning to his notes with a vengeance. "It will be better eventually," he said determinedly. "Someday I'l work at the Ministry and help us all."

"Yeah," Ron said quietly, rubbing his nose. He opened his mouth to say something else, then closed it again, realizing his brother was absorbed in his work to hear. After a silent moment, he turned and walked out of the library, alone.