Healing an Old Break
Notes: This is my first Harry Potter fanfic in a long, long while. I seperated this from the plotlines of a much longer story that was no longer canon-compatible, set the timeframe further along, and cut down on a lot of original characters. If there's a good reaction following this story, I might be tempted (please send all bribes in chocolate form) to continue.
April 5th, 1999
Nobody in the Order of the Phoenix was very fond of Percy Weasley. Ever since he'd made it clear that his loyalties lay more strongly with the Ministry than with his own family, they ignored and scorned him in various degrees. However, not a one of them had ever truly wished him dead.
That was why the entire Weasley family waited anxiously in the St. Mungo's waiting room for word on Percy's condition. Voldemort's Inferi had been part of an attack on the Ministry, and while the alarm had been raised rather quickly, several people in the Ministry's employ had been seriously injured.
Percy had been discovered near the fighting, covered in blood with his left leg in the death grip of an Inferi's detatched hand and arm. He'd been casting combat spells despite the pain, driving Death Eaters and the undead alike back, away from the door he leaned against. When the rescue team had freed him from the vise-like grip, they'd discovered several other gravely hurt Ministry workers. Percy had been protecting them.
That was what Apollo Maddox, the dark-haired Auror who had brought Percy into the hospital, told them. He stayed as well, looking just as concerned as the rest of them. He was, in fact, the second person into the room (hot on the heels of the frantic Molly Weasley) when the healers allowed them in.
Percy, looking wan and bloodless, had brightened considerably at the sight of Apollo. "You're all right," he stated raspily, "I'd wondered."
"So're you." Apollo replied. "I've got news for you."
Percy, caught up in a fierce hug by his mother, said nothing, but his eyes shone with curiosity. The rest of the family had dutifully filed into the room by the time that Molly, satisfied that her son was indeed whole if not unharmed, let him go. Everything but his leg - still held in the field of a Stasis Charm while the healers analysed the damage - had been healed. The others (those who were not official family members) hung back, unwilling to crowd into the room.
"What's the news?"
"You've earned an Order of Merlin, First Class." Apollo told him, smiling.
"That's great, Percy!" Arthur spoke quietly, his eyes shining with pride. Even Ron, Fred, and Ginny managed to be civil as they congratulated him.
"I know it was you that upped the power on the security wards, and you were the one on watch who tipped us off to the attack," Apollo explained, speaking over the others.
Instead of looking pleased at this news, as most people would expect him to, Percy looked embarrassed. He protested, "Apollo, no. I only did what anybody would have done. I don't deserve a medal for that."
"I can respect that," Apollo said, and Percy looked relieved. "However, you're still getting the Order of Merlin."
"What?" the bespectacled young man cried, "Come on, Apollo -"
"Math' will raise a huge fuss if you don't." Apollo pointed out. At Percy's pained expression when he mentioned their opinionated and outspoken coworker, Mathara Lockley, Apollo grinned slyly and asked, "Regretting saving her, now?"
"No! It's just...this is too much..." Percy said uncertainly. "I didn't...I didn't do anything worthy of this...I just..."
"Oh, tell the man you accept, Perce!" George exclaimed. "If you really don't like it, just give it to Mum to hang over the mantle or something!"
Everyone looked startled at this outburst from George, whom everyone had always thought of as the 'quiet twin'. Percy's answering half-smile and voice were sardonic as he asked,
"Are you sure you'd want something of mine over the mantle?"
"If you wanted to be part of the family again..." George replied.
"...we wouldn't say anything," Fred finished.
"And that's really saying something!" Charlie muttered.
Most everyone had been called away from the hospital for business with the Order, though Bill, Charlie, Molly, and Fleur remained behind with Percy.
"Well, no wonder..." Healer Gwynn said, pointing to an area on the magical projection. "His left tibia has been broken before. There's a weakness in the bone all around the break, as though it were not healed properly."
Molly flushed. "I assure you, Healer. I've never neglected to take care of my sons, or my daughter." This was true. Despite the family's poverty, Molly Weasley has always made sure that they were healthy and given proper medical care. There had been times that she'd sacrificed something she needed, like cloth to patch her own clothing, in order to pay for one of her children to see a well-qualified healer. Molly was about to explain this when she noticed her eldest sons, and their reaction to Healer Gwynn's news.
Neither Bill nor Charlie looked surprised, and Percy had that look on his face - the one that Molly knew meant that he had something he wanted to tell her, but didn't dare. She stood up, and the three young men seemed to shrink, flinching away from her angry gaze. In a low voice, she spoke just one word,
Bill looked away. Charlie gripped his older brother's shoulder. Percy turned red. None of them spoke for a while. The healer, rightfully anticipating a family spat which she had no wish to witness, slipped out the door. Fleur stood beside her husband-to-be, even though she would have dearly loved to follow the healer out. She wasn't going to abandon Bill now.
Faced with their silence, Molly focused her glare on the youngest of the three. Her tone was cold as she asked, "Percy? What do you know?"
"Ask Bill!" Percy cried.
"What do you mean, 'ask Bill'!?" Fleur shouted.
Bill protested, "Why not ask Charlie?"
"Me? You're the one that did it!"
"It was your idea!"
Molly couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You wanted to break your brother's leg?" she screamed, and Fleur and her sons all flinched as the small window exploded outward in a shower of glass.
"No!" Percy said shakily, "No, that's not what they meant."
August 16th, 1982
Ginevra Weasley was a colicky baby. She cried endlessly, only calming when she was held and walked around the Burrow. Of all the family, she seemed to prefer either Molly or Charlie, but even when she was carried by them, she was tearful. On this particular day, Molly had to take her - with Ron in tow - to the nearest Healer for medicine. Fred and George were being baby-sat by a family friend. There was nothing, however, that Molly could do to line up another babysitter.
Bill, eleven years old and fresh from his first year at Hogwarts, stridently protested the need for a baby-sitter, telling his mum that he was responsible enough to watch Charlie and Percy on his own. After several frantic hours of trying and failing to find someone else - because Molly wasn't about to inflict five children on Carl Franklin, if she wanted to ask for his help again - to watch her sons, Molly admitted defeat. She allowed Bill to take charge, warning him that his father would be checking on them periodically, as Arthur's workload allowed.
The trouble, of course, began within five minutes of Molly leaving. Charlie, always the most out-going and active of the Weasley siblings, begged to be allowed to play outside; Percy insisted that he should be allowed to stay inside and read his books, and Bill didn't know how he could watch them both.
"Bill, come on, it's a beautiful day!" Charlie whined, "I don't want to be stuck inside!"
"Well..." Bill said softly, considering. It was a beautiful day, clear-skied and warm, while most of the summer had been muggy and overcast. He would like to play outside as well.
Percy, sitting on the kitchen table - something their mum would have never let him do, had she been there - clutched his book to his chest and sniffled. "You won't let me read if we go outside. You threw mud at me last time."
"That was a mistake!" Charlie protested. "I was aiming at Bill, but you got in the way. Besides, you can't even walk across the back garden without your nose stuck in a book."
"Enough, Charlie!" Bill interrupted. He'd seen the way that Percy's chin quivered at Charlie's mocking tone. He took charge, declaring, "This is what we're going to do. We'll go outside -"
"Hush, Perce, let me finish." Bill said quickly. Percy shut his mouth and pouted. Bill ignored Charlie, who was rolling his eyes, and continued, "We'll go outside for a little while. You can sit under the old tree and read your book in the shade. Me and Charlie will leave you alone, unless you want to play with us. We can come inside later, maybe when Dad comes to check on us. But I can't let you stay alone in the house; Mum wants me to watch you."
It takes some convincing, but finally, all three of the oldest Weasley boys went outside, playing in the unfenced area behind the Burrow. Charlie climbs halfway up the old tree, while Bill sits beside Percy, who is totally absorbed in the adventures of 'The Selkie's Friend'. Sometimes, Bill is amazed at how smart Percy is - reading thick chapter books at age six! - and wonders if his little brother will end up in Ravenclaw when he goes to Hogwarts.
"Hey, Bill, come on up!" Charlie calls, "you can see everything from up here!"
"In a bit," Bill replies.
Without looking up from the pages of his book, Percy says quietly, "It's okay, you can play with Charlie. He's more fun that me anyway."
"You can come up with us," Bill suggested. "I think you're fun, too, Perce. C'mon."
"I don't like trees." As if on cue, no sooner had Percy said this, than a shower of leaves and twigs fell onto his book. He glared up at his older brother, who was making his way across a thick bough right above them. "Charlie!"
"What?" Charlie said. Bill winced as he swung down, hanging upside down on the branch. "If you climbed up here, you wouldn't get all that stuff on you!"
Percy shook his book out, and slammed it shut. "I'm going inside now."
"Aw, Perce," Bill said, taking hold of his younger brother's arm, "don't be like that. You can always read that book later, you know."
Charlie suddenly jumped down, landing a little less than gracefully on the ground. He was smiling broadly. "It's fun, Percy. I'll show you!" When Percy gave him a distrustful look, Charlie's smile dimmed. He said seriously, "I'm sorry for teasing you. Me and Bill will watch out for you. Nothing bad's gonna happen."
Bill gasped in horror as Percy lost his grip. Charlie made a wild grab for the younger boy, but missed his hand. With a short cry, Percy fell from the tree and landed on the ground hard. There was a sickening crunch.
Both boys scrambled down, Bill calling Percy's name. Percy lay there for a moment, crumpled and unmoving in the long grass. He tried to move, but a sudden burst of pain stopped him. He screamed.
Charlie reached the boy first. He was so white that his freckles looked like spots of blood. Percy was sobbing, screaming, "My leg, my leg!"
"Oh, Percy, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Charlie wailed, bursting into tears himself.
Bill took a deep breath, willing himself to stay calm. He'd thought that Percy'd been killed by the fall, until he started screaming. And with Charlie freaking out, he had to take charge.
"It'll be okay, Percy, I promise!" Bill shouted over the crying, and then he dashed inside the house. He had to find his wand. When he'd broken his wrist, falling off his broom during lessons with Madame Hooch, he'd been taken to the Hospital Wing. Madame Pomfrey had performed a spell and healed him, and if he could remember the spell...
Meanwhile, Percy and Charlie, though both very tearful, were trying to act brave about the whole thing. "It...it d-doesn't hurt so bad," Percy said unconvincingly, through gritted teeth.
"You're ly-lying," Charlie replied, "you screamed like a little girl."
"You're crying, too," Percy pointed out, "and you didn't get hurt."
"Bill can fix it," Charlie sniffled, patting his younger brother's shoulder. "Bill can fix anything."
"Okay, Charlie, you have to hold his leg straight. Percy, this is going to hurt, but we have to do it. We don't want your leg to heal crooked. Ready?" Bill held his wand tightly, going over his momeory of Madame Pomfrey performing the spell. Charlie knelt beside their little brother and nodded. Percy also gave his assent, after a moment of uncertainty.
"Here, Perce, you can bite me if it hurts," Charlie said, leaning down to get his shoulder close to his brother's mouth. Despite the pain, Percy laughed at the ludicrous offer.
"I'm not gonna bite you!"
"Well, it's my fault for not catching you." Charlie explained, but he didn't press the matter. He shifted his weight a bit, then looked to Bill. At Bill's nod, he quickly grasped Percy's calf and held it straight. Percy screamed again, and Bill shouted,
"Dear Mr. William Weasley,
We have received intelligence that a Bone-Healing Spell was used at your place of residence this afternoon at a quarter past two. As you know, underage wizards are not permitted to perform spells outside of school, and further spellwork on your part may lead to expulsion from said scholl (Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875, Paragraph C)."
Percy gasped. Bill ignored this and kept reading, "If this message has reached you in error, we sincerly apologize. No action will be taken at this time, if there are no more reports of unexpected magic in your area."
"They must think that Mum did the spell, or something." Charlie said.
"However, do take care that the non-magical community does not observe you practicing magic. This is a serious offense under section thirteen of the International Confederation of Warlocks' Statute of Secrecy.
"Enjoy your holidays! Sincerely, Mafalda Hopkirk, Improper Use of Magic Office, Ministry of Magic." Bill finished the letter. Looking at his brothers sadly, he asked, "What are we going to do?"
"Get rid of it!" Charlie burst out, "Mum will kill us if she finds out!"
"Yeah," Percy said, "throw it in the fire."
April 5th, 1999
Molly stared at her third son, feeling totally gobsmacked. "You went along with them? You told Bill to burn that letter?"
"Yeah, he did. We all promised not to tell anybody, and we never did," Bill said defensively. They all looked shaken from remembering that day. "Not until now, that is."
Molly put a hand to her head. "I...I think I need a headache draught." Bill had always been the good son, Charlie had always been good-natured if a bit wild (nothing compared to the twins, of course), and Percy...? Percy, who'd always helped out, never given them a bit of trouble until that mess with the Ministry three years ago? To think that they'd kept this a secret for so many years, to think that they'd broken the law and hidden it from her and Arthur...
Charlie approached, if a bit cautiously, and laid a hand on her arm. "Mum, I bet the healers will be glad to give you some. And Percy probably needs rest. Let's go find Healer Gwynn."
Molly looked up, and saw that young Auror, Apollo, standing nearby. She took a sip of the headache draught. "Can I help you?"
The young man smiled again. He had a nice smile, though she had to crane her neck to see it, because he was so tall. "It's just that...after hearing Percy talk about you and looking at your pictures, I didn't really believe you could ever be as scary as he made you out to be. I guess you have your moments."
"Percy told you about me?" Molly asked incredulously. She'd been convinced that Percy was truly ashamed of his family, and would have hidden his connections to them by any means necessary. Apollo sat down beside her.
"Yes, though he doesn't say much about his family at all. We're good friends," Apollo informed her, "and I was fully prepared to take his side over yours. But you seem like decent people, and that's in short supply, what with You-Know-Who and this war going on."
Someone Molly didn't recognize poked their head into the waiting room. "There you are, Maddox," said the man. "We've got to go relieve Quimby and Elmswood on watch."
"Sure, be right there," Apollo told the man. Molly was surprised and pleased that her son had a friend like this. With his long hair, easy-going manner, and dangerous profession, she would have guessed him to be Bill's friend, more likely, or even Fred's or Charlie's. Perhaps it was good for Percy to have dissimilar friends, though.
"It was nice meeting you," Molly said politely.
"I'll see you at the ceremony, won't I?" Apollo asked. Molly nodded. He said, "That's good."
He went to the door, but suddenly stopped. He looked over his shoulder and said, "You know, I'm surprised. You haven't mentioned his tattoo at all."
Molly froze. Apollo left the room, a bit hurriedly, but surely that was because of his duties and not because he was afraid of her reaction.
"WHAT TATTOO?!" Molly shrieked.