a / n; written for challenge five of the HPFC forum-wide competition. I am representing slytherin house and my characters for this challenge are penelope clearwater (ravenclaw) and percy weasley (gryffindor) both of which fulfill the requirement for this particular challenge, as I previously chose to write about characters from slytherin and hufflepuff house. This was ridiculously fun to write, even though I totally procrastinated on this. I just adore writing about characters I've never written before. :) Also, I feel I should mention that the title is stolen from the same poem the prompt is stolen from, and therefore, doesn't belong to me.

et al
these, our bodies, possessed by light

: - :

tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us
—Richard Siken

: - :

There is a moment—and it is the sort that keeps you company on lonely nights when your tea has gone cold and his absence is most tangible—the two of you share the spring you turn twenty-one, just before Dumbledore's death and the downward spiral of your otherwise average life. And you suppose that is why it means so much to you, and that is why it stands out the most.

There is a moment and an afternoon in which Percy has managed to extricate himself from the Ministry, in which he holds your hand as you wander along the coast of your childhood home, chatting and laughing and picking out interesting objects dotting the sands—a seashell, a crab, a broken glass bottle breaking the light into a thousand tiny rainbows.

And all of a sudden, you stop and point to a house sitting alone along the shore, and he follows your finger with a frown.

"Do you see that balcony?" you ask, indicating the uppermost tier of the house.

"Yes, of course," he says, as if he doesn't quite follow, and it's so very Percy it makes your heart skip.

"It's a widow's walk," you say, and then, "do you know why they call it that?" and he probably already knows the answer, but he only smiles and shrugs his shoulders, and you can't help but lean your head against him and smile "Mariners' wives used to pace those platforms, watching the horizon for their husbands' return. Sometimes, they never came back."

And he tells you how sad that is, how tragic, and how you shouldn't dwell on morbid thoughts like that, but you shake your head and tell him it's beautiful, love like that, and then because it seems right and because you believe it, you continue, "I'd wait for you, Percy. A lifetime if I had to."

: - :

And that is the last time you're really whole, and you try to hold on to it, because the next months are dark and grim and riddled with promises of bleaker times to come, especially for mudbloods like you and bloodtraitors like Percy, and the moments you have together now are the sort punctuated with long silences and tense shoulders.

And then there is a night in which the Ministry is overthrown and you are awoken with a bang and a gasp, and you reach for your wand and think, frantically, so, this is it.

But you never thought it would come so soon.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, and you think it's quite possibly the last you'll ever hear.


And you very nearly cry, because it's Percy. Percy. And you're safe, if only for a night longer.

"You have to leave, Penny. Now," he says, taking your wrist and pulling you from the bed.

"Wh—" but before you can reason or react, he turns on the sport, and with a crack you are somewhere else entirely.

: - :

When you turn twenty-two, it is alone in a cramped apartment in Romania, and the rational, Ravenclaw part of you supposes you should be grateful that you've lived to see it, but the part of you that is entirely in love, and not just with Percy, but with your family and life and freedom, can only sob into a teacup and pray for Charlie to show up and tell you everyone is still alright—that they haven't found your parents or your sister and that Percy is still safe.

But the night turns into morning, and all you can do is wait.

A lifetime, if you have to.

(it's not as poetic as it used to be)

: - :

"How are you coping?" and it's not quite the person you would like it to be, but it's a conversation, and if you squint your eyes just enough the red hair and freckles almost seem to match up, and at any rate, you can pretend, so you take it.

"Alright," you say, but the words are hollow and unconvincing, "It's colder here."

Charlie laughs, then, that rich laugh that his brother never had, and you want to tell him he's absolutely wrecking your charade, but that seems impolite.

"You should see how it is outside." he grins, but you know he's half serious when he says it, and you find it difficult to return his smile.

"Look, Penelope, I know this is hard for you—"

"Have you spoken to Percy lately?" you ask abruptly, and Charlie gives you that sympathetic look that makes you want to cry from frustration and loneliness.

"A bit," he says, "But he's been really busy with work, Pen, he has to keep his head down."

"I know," you say, but it's not really enough.

: - :

"How's your Romanian?" he asks you, on one of the rare occasions he feels it's safe enough to chance a visit.

"Abysmal," you say twisting your hair around your finger smiling, and it would almost be like old times, except for the black cloud hanging ominously at the edges, "I don't even bother to go out most days. I just make Charlie run errands for me."

"It's probably for the best, anyway. The more you keep your head down the better," he says matter-of-factly, and it almost makes you want to hit him. You want him to tell you that you need sunshine and civilization and to come home with him that very instant. You want him to tell you he loves you, and hang the war! he'll have you. But he's far too practical, and you know you're expecting too much anyway.

For now you'll have to settle for his arms around your waist, because this moment is precious, and this moment is all you have to hang on to.

: - :

"Marry me," you tell him, the next time he's around, and his jaw drops and his voice cracks and you don't care in the least that you're being tactless or that you've put him on the spot.


"I'm serious, Percy," you say, reaching for his hand across the table. "I love you, and I've waited for you, and when this war is over, I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

And he sighs and looks you in the eye.

"Alright," he breathes, and you can't help but grin.

(his lips, you think, feel a lot like home)

: - :

"Penelope," and you nearly jump out of your skin from fright, but it's only Charlie, and you can't help but breathe a sigh of relief, and you can't help but feel ever so slightly disappointed, too.

"Char—" but you catch the look on his face—all stark and serious—and you're terrified of what he'll say next, "what's happened? Is Percy—"

"It's You-Know-Who," he says, "at Hogwarts."


(you never had the strength to walk those balconies anyway)

: - :

The night is on fire and you're choking on smoke and screams, and stumbling over stones and rubble and bodies, and everywhere spells are flying, and all you can do is run and search and hope.

: - :

"Percy!" you scream, and it's him, it's really him—dirty and bloody but so gloriously alive, and it's more than you could have hoped for.

"Penny," and his shoulders are stiff and his face is drained of color and you think you see tears leaking from his eyes, but it's too dark to be sure, "What are you—you should have stayed in Romania."

But you shake your head and wrap your fingers around his.

"I love you," you say, and it's true and it always has been and you know it and he knows it, and this is the way it's going to be.

(and, you think, if the mariners' wives really loved them, they would have followed them out to sea)

a / n 2; initially, I wrote this with Penelope dying at the end, which, I think, fit the prompt more closely AND was more canon-compliant, but after I went back and edited, I just couldn't turn this into another angstfic. Sorry? But, I'd love to hear what you think about this, and

please don't favorite without reviewing. :)