I'm Here For You, Part Two
Disclaimer: Oi, come on. I didn't own in any of my other stories and I haven't magically claimed ownership from the Queen of Magic herself, Madam J.K. Rowling. Maybe one day….
Summary: This part takes place after the war and, as Percy discovers, even though the war's over and he's home with his family while Bill's married and living at Shell Cottage, he's still there for his brother when he needs him.
Author's Note: Hi. I didn't plan on this to be continued, but this actually started out as a RP between me and a friend. I decided to tweak it and add some it to make it into a fic. Hope you enjoy! Italics are thoughts/flashbacks, by the way.
"Hello, Minister, did I mention I'm resigning?"
Those words seemed to echo inside his mind like a muggle's broken record. Then the next words that followed were something he'd never forget. "You're joking, Perce! You actually are joking... I don't think I've heard you joke since you were—" Since when, Fred? He'd never know.
Then a loud BOOM! sounded and the walls were crumpling around them. Percy had made it out barely harmed, a few scratches and bruises though nothing was broken, but Fred... Fred wasn't so lucky. Next thing he knew, Fred was lying in the rubble next to him, unmoving. "No—no—no!" he remembered screaming. "NO! FRED! NO!" But he was gone. Blind rage consumed him, and before he knew it he was roaring after a Death Eater.
"Did I mention I'm resigning?" The words floated through his mind again. Maybe, just maybe, if he hadn't chosen that moment to try and make a joke, Fred would still be alive.
It echoed another time. Then flashes filled the forefront of his mind, and he began to relive itonce more: Fred talking, the explosion, the lifeless body of one of his most lively brothers... "He's gone, Perce. There's nothing you can do for him."
A sudden ringing caused Percy's overtired eyes to snap open. He rolled over towards the general vicinity of where his wand should be on the empty side of his bed, and slapped his hand down around its handle. "Confringo!" he snapped, turning his wand towards the alarm clock across the room. It was the first thing that came to mind to shut up the incessant ringing. It exploded; a different kind of ringing noise followed the blast and reverberated around the room and in his ears. Groaning, Percy tossed his legs over the edge of the bed and placed his head in his hands. What a great way to start the day.
The night hadn't been any better, as it had consisted of constant nightmares all about the same topic—that topic being his brother's death. It'd been two years since the end of the war, and thus two years since Fred's death. Percy thought it was supposed to get better in time—everyone had told him so—but he still stayed awake at night due to the overbearing nightmares. No one would brew him or sell him any Dreamless Sleep anymore, as apparently it can be a very addicting potion. He really didn't care any longer; he just wanted a good night's rest for once.
With great reluctance and a groan to match, Percy dragged himself off his bed and crossed the room towards his closet. He passed the broken pieces of the alarm clock on the way, taking care not to step on any. He'd have repaired it, but there were too many pieces. It was a bit too far past repair, even for magic. "Have to buy another," he muttered to no one in particular as he pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a tee.
He washed up a bit, trying to make the dark circles under his eyes not look so noticeable. He could easily cast a Glamour charm on himself and conceal the traces of his long night, but he didn't have the energy. Glamours took a lot out of him, and he needed all the energy he could get today.
Mum had called him and Bill over to help her with a little yard work. She originally was just going to ask Bill, but decided to see if Percy had the day off and if he wanted to help.
Two weeks ago, he had jumped at the opportunity. Now, however, he regretted it. He wasn't up to much manual labor today, not with his current state of being. He hadn't had a good night's sleep in at least a week and a half, as the nightmares had begun to plague him around that time. He would have to use a lot of magic to get the work done, he decided, even though he knew it could be very draining to use magic as well. He just wouldn't be able to overtax his magic too much, is all.
"Perce, are you sure you're okay?"
That had to be the eighth time Bill had asked that since Percy arrived. Apparently he looked as dead on his feet as he felt, because his older brother had noticed. The moment he stepped into the Burrow was when Bill had first asked the question, and here he was again.
Percy replied the same way he'd done the last few times, "Yeah, of course. I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
Apparently, Bill thought he didn't know his own limits.
"Bill," he sighed, giving him an exasperated look. "Give it a rest, would you?"
"Looks more like you're the one who needs to rest, not me, Perce."
Percy cursed his brother's way of twisting his words. "I do not," he insisted. A bit childish, he knew, but didn't care.
"Look at you! You look like you're about ready to fall over."
"You're seeing things," he dismissed. "I'm absolutely fine."
"Oh, you are not," he snapped, turning his wand away from the ground they were currently digging up in the garden and pointing it at him. "Something's up, and I want to know what."
Percy rolled his eyes, determined not to let his brother know he was still having nightmares. The last thing he needed was Bill fawning over him like a bloody mother hen.
"Percy," Bill said steely, poking him in the chest with his wand. "Stop it."
"Stop what?" he asked innocently.
"Hiding whatever it is your hiding from me! Whatever 'it' is, it can't be that bad. Just tell me what's going on with you."
"It's none of your business," he muttered.
"None of my—? Perce, you are my business."
"So does that mean you make money off me? Since I'm your business and all." It was a stupid retort, but he didn't know what else to say. His lack of sleep was starting to addle his brain a bit.
"What? No! You know what I meant."
"Look, let's just get back to working, alright? Mum wants this ground dug up so she can pot her new flowers." More like we'll plant the flowers, he thought bitterly. And that wasn't something they could really do well with magic.
He pointed his wand back at the dirt, muttering a spell that caused round holes to appear in the ground; holes perfect for planting flowers. The quicker we plant these, and the quicker I can get as far away from Bill's inquiries as possible, he told himself mentally. As he bent down to pick up a flower to plant, Bill's hand shot out and stopped him. He turned his brother's half-bent body towards him so they could look each other in the eyes.
Bill's eyes flashed dangerously, more of the wolf in him showing through than anything. While he wasn't a werewolf, he did have a couple wolf-like qualities. Especially when he started to get particularly angry, the wolf part of him would appear.
It caused his scars to become more defined, and began to scare Percy. An angry Bill never was a good thing, but now it was all that much worse. He'd never gotten on his bad side after the war—and, essentially, the attack by Greyback—so Percy was unfamiliar with the angry wolf-like side of Bill.
"I want answers, Perce. Now." He said calmly. Despite the annoyance flashing dangerously in his eyes, Bill was all calm on the outside. Typical him.
Percy's mouth ran before he could stop it, "You sure are bossy today."
Bill growled warningly. He wasn't up for much playing around today. "Do I need to go get Mum?"
Percy paled. Perhaps it was because he was tired and it made him vulnerable, or maybe because his mother was downright terrifying at times, but he couldn't stop himself from going white at the threat. Scratch not needing Bill as a mother hen—he didn't need his actual mother to be a mother hen!
Quickly, he shook his head. "No, you don't have to do that."
"Then start talking."
Percy heaved a deep sigh. He didn't want to get into this; he couldn't bring himself to tell Bill, he just couldn't. Bill noticed his reluctance, and inched towards the house.
Percy pulled him back, his reluctance suddenly vanishing. "No, wait, I'll tell you!"
He stopped and turned back to his little brother, eyebrow raised. "Yeah?"
"I, uh," Percy started. Just say it quickly; like pulling off a band-aid, he coached himself. "I've-been-having-nightmares!" he blurted out as fast as he could.
"Try that again?" Bill asked. "Slower?"
"Nightmares," Percy murmured.
"Okay, now speak up?"
He sighed. Picky, too, wasn't he? Gathering up all his Gryffindor courage, Percy said, "I've been having nightmares again, Bill."
"Nightmares? About—?" He didn't need to finish; Percy nodded affirmatively.
"Oh, hell, Perce," Bill sighed. "Still?"
"Week and a half," he muttered, wrapping his arms around his midsection as if giving his own body a hug.
"A week and a—? Percy! And you didn't tell anyone?"
"It's not a big deal, Bill," Percy defended. "I just lost a little sleep is all."
"A little? You look like you'd be willing to sleep on a bed made of nails!" Bill looked down at the ground sadly, rubbing the back of his neck. "I'm disappointed, Perce."
Percy looked at him in surprise. "Disappointed? What for?"
Bill looked back up, his eyes boring into Percy's. He got the feeling he was looking through his very soul. "You promised me."
His eyes widened. Bill still held him to… that? A promise he made when he left his family—almost four years ago? "I-I didn't know that still applied," Percy stated weakly. He should have known; promises made to Bill don't just disappear. "I came back to the family, so it shouldn't still be in effect."
"Our deal was from that point onward you would tell me if you had a problem or if you needed to talk to anyone, you'd contact me. I told you I'd be there whenever and wherever you needed me, and you promised that if you needed anything, you'd come to me. I qualify these nightmares as a problem, Perce."
Percy wracked his brain for an argument. Bill was right, of course, but there had to be something he could use to justify himself! A few moments of hard thinking, and he was still coming up with nothing. Come on; think back, he told himself. Is there anything I can use, a loophole I could utilize?
He analyzed the parts of the conversation he could remember. Come on, anything, anything at all? Suddenly, a hole opened up and Percy jumped in it.
"You also told me you wouldn't coddle me!" he countered. "What do you call all this? All the 'are you okay' and 'tell me what's wrong' and badgering me? What would you call it, Bill?"
"I call it a man worried for his little brother and trying to help him. That's not coddling, Perce, that's called love," Bill replied smoothly.
Percy deflated as he was out of an argument now. As expected, Bill was right. Bill was always right when it came to caring for him.
"You know, I don't care if you're back with the family, it doesn't make what I told you suddenly vanish. I'm not going to suddenly stop caring about you just because you've come back," he said. "I'm still here for you and that will never change."
Percy took a deep breath. "But I don't need you to be."
Bill put a hand on his shoulder, giving him a gentle squeeze. "For one: that's not your call. And two: after seeing you today like this, I'm inclined to disagree."
"I can take care of myself." There wasn't much insistence behind the words. It was a weak protest and both of them knew it. Whether consciously or not, all Percy needed was reassurance Bill was being serious and would take care of him if he needed it.
And Bill stepped up to the plate. "Not as well as you think you can," he disagreed. His grip on Percy's shoulder tightened and he used it to lead Percy into the Burrow and up the stairs. "You're going to sleep upstairs in your old room and you're not going to have any nightmares," He said matter-of-factly.
"What if I do?" Percy's voice wobbled a bit, betraying his pride and showing his fear. He couldn't stand watching Fred die again; he couldn't.
"You won't, because I will personally kick all those nightmare's arses before they can get to you," Bill said with a grin. They reached the old room—still the same as it'd always been—and Bill pushed his brother onto the bed. He pulled the covers up and tucked it around Percy's shoulders. "I'm here for you for life, kid, whether you like it or not."
A soft snore escaped his lips, and Bill wondered if he had heard his declaration or had fallen asleep before he could get the chance.
However, the edges of Percy's mouth quirked up into a smile and Bill knew that not only did his little brother hear him.
He believed him.