Harry and Hermione dashed to the Burrow, pounding on the door as soon as they could reach. As Ron opened the door, Harry blurted, “We've been looking for that Horcrux for weeks
, and we've almost–”
“Shh, come in,” Ron whispered excitedly, pulling them inside. “You'll never believe it.”
Harry looked a little confused; Hermione, disgusted. “What?
” she asked incredulously. “Don't you want to–”
“Shh!” Ron whispered, shutting the door. “Percy came back!”
“When?” Harry asked, instantly forgetting his Horcrux-hunt.
Ron led the two into the den, where Ginny and the twins sat close to the kitchen door. “Last night. Mum and Dad are in the kitchen with him, but we... couldn't take it anymore.”
“Same old Percy, then?” Hermione asked.
“No, actually, he's gone a bit... loony,” Ron explained. “He came to the door last night, looking positively terrorized, and said he'd repented
“He started rambling about ‘covert missions’ for the Ministry,” Ginny remarked, “and all the terrible things he wished he'd never seen, and said he wanted to start over!”
“By gracing us with his lovely presence,” said George.
“And he's always hugging you, telling you how much he loves you,” Fred added, shuddering slightly.
The conversation in the kitchen grew louder. “So, Dad,” Percy began. “You're still enjoying your little job at the Ministry?”
“As always,” Arthur replied. “Why, just yesterday–”
“Say, have you ever considered doing more charitable work?” Percy interjected.
“I, well...” Arthur stammered. “As a... career?
“Yes! After confronting the sort of evil that goes on in the Ministry, I'm quite disgusted. I'd hoped that perhaps you and I could join the Society for Muggle-Wizard Relations... as a father-son endeavor?”
“I imagine it'd be a bit more fulfilling
than examining useless batteries all day!” Percy beamed, oblivious, as always, to others' emotions.
“Yes, well,” Arthur began, “isn't that thoughtful? Molly, dear, I just remembered – I left a few files back at the office. I–”
“Oh, please don't go!” Molly begged, but Arthur had already walked out the kitchen door. The eavesdroppers in the adjacent room tried rapidly to appear preoccupied.
“That Percy,” Arthur muttered, “still nothing but a– Harry! Hermione! How nice to see you!” He smiled as he rushed out the door.
Molly and Percy remained in the kitchen, their conversation hushed but continuous. The eavesdroppers had nearly forgotten their eavesdropping, when suddenly, the conversation in the kitchen picked up volume once again.
“But Mother! I want to be happy! I want to live with Penelope in the forest, and sing with the birds while making blueberry pancakes! I don't ever want to think of dark things again! Never!
” Percy exclaimed as he broke into tears.
“That's so nice, dear,” Molly remarked. “I'll be right back, darling.” Molly emerged from the kitchen, shaking her head. “So needy
,” she exclaimed. “I can't remember why
I ever missed the– Oh, we have company!”
“Mother!” Percy called from the kitchen. “I need you!”
Molly smirked, and the whole den rang with laughter.