A/N: No, I don't own anything. However, should you wish to
give me something to own, please e-mail me for shipping instructions.
Many thanks, once again, to my Alpha Reader, One-N-Jen for
helping in the creation of the text below, and my Beta Reader, Thrennish, for
her unbeatable Canon thumping skills.
"Please, Ms. Simon, I need to know exactly where he
is. It's important."
"Yes, sir. Give me a few moments and I can find
it for you. He was just admitted an hour ago, and it takes time for these
reports to hit over here."
"Yes, I know, I know. Just please. . .
Percy Weasley's disembodied head floated in the grate
of the Ministry of Magic night secretaries' floo, his hair disheveled and his
glasses askew. It looked as though he had been run over by a stampede of
"Ah ha! Here we go, he's been. . . oh. Oh
"What? What's wrong? Ms. Simon, what's
"Sir, I'm sorry, but it looks as though he's been
placed into the Dai Llewellyn ward at St. Mungo's. No visitors are to be
allowed until tomorrow, at the very earliest."
The news hit Percy like a ton of bricks. Only those
persons facing life threatening injuries from magical creatures were taken to
the Dai Llewellyn ward. This was bad. Very bad.
"Oh, god, what has he done to himself now? When
was he admitted? Do they say what happened? Is there anything else in the
"No, Mr. Weasley. Nothing of importance. Just
that he has been admitted an hour ago and they are testing him as I speak.
Should I request some more information on the patient?"
Percy thought for a few moments. "No. . . no,
that's all right. Thank you, Ms. Simon. I am sorry to have bothered you with
all this. I know it's late."
She looked at him over the top of the report. "No
problem, Mr. Weasley. Are you going to be all right? Is there anything I can
do for you?"
"No. . . No, that's fine. Thank you, you've
helped me immeasurably tonight."
"You're welcome, Mr. Weasley. If there is
anything else I can do."
"I know, Ms. Simon. Thank you. Goodnight."
If she made any reply, it was lost on him as he pulled
his head from the fire and back into his own small flat. He sat on the floor
in front of the hearth, staring blindly at the parchment clutched in his hand.
It was rather dingy, with blotches marring the fragment and Bill's usually
impeccable handwriting scrawled across the page.
Dad's hurt. At St. Mungo's.
He scanned the one room blindly, not seeing anything.
It was a very small place, not much bigger than his room at the Burrow had
been. Small as it was, he kept it immaculate, from the neat rows of dishes on
the shelf to his spare robes hanging exactly the same width from each other on
The best part about the tiny flat was that it was all
his. If he chose to, he could leave the bed unmade or the dishes undone. Not
that he would ever think of such a thing, but it was an option. No one to
bother him when he was working here. No one to tell him what to do.
No one to say what he should believe.
"Oh, Dad. What have you done?"
He took a quick look at the clock. It was the middle
of the night, and he had work in the morning. He should be getting some
sleep. He could go tomorrow when the kerfuffle died down and no one else would
He grabbed his Ministry badge and his cloak and
He arrived at the Apparition point inside the hospital
and almost ran over one of the night janitors in his haste to get to the Dai
Llewellyn Ward. Several people tried to stop him but he ran past, flashing his
Ministry badge without a word.
He expected to hear something from his family before
he saw them, but the entire hospital was as quiet as a tomb. Slowing to a fast
gait, he tried in vain to smooth his hair down and polish his glasses at the
same time. He turned the last corner towards the Dai Llewellyn Ward and found
himself staring at the back of a very familiar strawberry-hued head.
He ducked back behind the corner as quickly as he had
come around it and strained to listen to the conversation.
"No, Mrs. Weasley, I am sorry, but no one is
allowed in to see him yet. I can't even bend the rules for his wife."
She was young and pretty, and wearing the robes of a
mediwitch in training.
And she was sitting squarely in front of the entrance
to the Ward.
"Bloody rotten luck!" Percy muttered under
his breath. He heard footsteps walking towards him, and he froze. He had no
desire to meet with anyone at the moment, and his mother was even further down
the list than most people he could think of off hand. How could he explain his
presence to her? What on earth would she say? He was getting ready to make a
break for it when he heard the steps turn off down a side corridor and
Percy waited a full five minutes before he dared look
around the corner. The mediwitch was studying some documents at the desk, but
the rest of the corridor was blessedly clear. He arranged his robes and strode
into the hall.
"Good evening, sir. May I help you?"
Percy flashed her what he hoped was a dazzling smile.
"Good evening. My name is Percy Weasley, and I am here from the ministry
to take a report on one of the recent patients. Might I be admitted?"
"Ministry, eh? Isn't it a bit late to be
"I was summoned especially for this one." He
took a stab in the dark about the nature of the injury. " We have to know
what's attacking our citizens if we are going to do anything about it. Here
are my credentials."
"Well, everything looks in order." She
looked at him quizzically for a moment. "Weasley? Are you related to the
Cursing his lack of foresight, he tried to think
quickly. "Related? Yes. . . he's. . . errr. . . my cousin?" He
hesitated a moment. "Why do you ask?"
"Same last name. Same hair. I dunno. Funny, how
traits are passed along through every branch of the family, isn't it?"
She grinned at him.
He was trying not to sweat through the floor.
"Well, go ahead on in. They should be finishing
up with the testing soon. Shall I notify the family you are going in?"
"NO!" Percy almost dropped his badge, and
the girl blinked at him. "Uh. . . I don't want to. . . alarm them. Many
people feel the Ministry is tantamount to performing an embalming charm, and I
wouldn't want to upset them any more than they already are." He smiled
again, praying she couldn't see through the fabrication. "I'll let them
know when I have finished the report and can speak with them for a few moments
about my findings."
The mediwitch looked at him for a few moments in
silence. Percy was readying himself for flight when she waved her wand and the
door behind her opened.
"Last door to the left. Please try and be quiet,
though. He will need his sleep."
"Thank you!" Percy breathed. He walked
briskly through the aperture and had to keep himself from sinking to the floor
on the other side. He didn't know how long he would have before the mediwitch
notified someone else about his entrance.
Percy peeked inside the last doorway. The room was
empty, save for his father and one other patient. He had to keep himself from
He had been expecting to see something bad, but nothing
like this. The mediwizards hadn't had time to clean up the area before they
went to disinfect themselves, and there were cloths soaked in blood on a table
next to his father's head. Lots of blood.
His father looked so small and helpless there in the
bed. It was utterly terrifying to Percy, who could not recall a time when his
father had ever been sick, let alone close to death. His skin was almost as
pale as the sheets he was laying on.
"He lost a lot of blood over there, but he should
be okay." Percy heard a voice behind him say. He assumed it was one of
the mediwizards, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from his father's still
"No one is really sure, but it appears a giant
ruddy snake bit him. Damned lucky somebody found him when they did, or he
wouldn't have made it. You here from the Ministry?"
"What?" Percy asked. "Oh. . . yes, I am.
. . taking a report."
"Wish I had some more information for you, but we
really won't know anything until the tests come back. Shouldn't be more than a
couple of hours, though."
"But he'll be all right? He'll recover, won't he?"
"Far as I can tell, he should be. He's a strong
fella." The mediwizard came and looked at Percy. "Say. Why do they
have you out here in the middle of the night?"
"Ministry report. Had to be taken." Percy
started to shake himself out of the stupor he was in. "Thank you for your
time. I'll. . . I'll be back in the morning to gather some more
He took one last look at his father, and left the room,
not even hearing what the mediwizard was saying as he left.
He walked soundlessly out of the hall and past the
pretty witch by the door, staring dumbly ahead of himself.
"Damned lucky somebody found him when they did, or
he wouldn't have made it. "
". . . it appears a giant ruddy snake bit
Percy walked out to the Apparition point in the atrium
before allowing his composure to slip a little. His shoulders slumped and he
stifled one sob before Disapparating home to the empty flat.