The Sugar Quill
Author: Poppy P (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: I'm Like a Bird  Chapter: Part One: I'm Like a Bird
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I'm Like a Bird

Part 1

Youíre beautiful, thatís for sure
Youíll never ever fade
Youíre lovely, but itís not for sure
That I wonít ever change

I sit across from the red-haired man transfixed by the sound of his voice, but not his words. I nod at varying intervals to feign interest. He doesnít notice. Resting my face against my hand, I lean towards him. He takes this as a further sign of interest on my part and continues his monologue. Little does he know, Iím really drinking in his features. Eyes the color of dark honey, behind horned rimmed glasses. Long, slender nose. The shocking red color of hair that his familyís trademark. Puckered brow that indicates deep, intense thoughts. Deep pink lips that look soft and invitingÖ.

And though my love is rare
Though my love is true

Iím like a bird, Iíll only fly away
I donít know where my soul is
I donít know where my home is
And baby all I need for you to know is

"Penelope!" Have you heard a word Iíve said?"

I start at the sound of his voice. "Of course I have, love. It sounds like things are very busy for you at the Ministry right now."

"Indeed," he responds in a petulant voice as he picks up a menu, opens it with a snap and hides his face from me. We both know this is a useless exercise because Percy invariably ends up ordering Ďthe usualí. The waitress smiles and takes away the menus.

Iím like a bird, Iíll only fly away
I donít know where my soul is
I donít know where my home is
All I need for you to know is

We are regulars at this little Hogsmeade pub since we graduated from Hogwarts. I prefer the Diagon Dragon at Diagon Alley myself, but Percy likes Apparating, so we come here. Weíve been dating since the end of his fifth year at Hogwarts. In the past two years Percy has steadily risen within the Ministry. Iím on my first year of an internship with St. Mungoís. I could point out to Percy that St. Mungoís is just as inundated with work due to the current war. But I donít because for one thing, Percy has only recently accepted the fact that You-Know-Who is really back. For over a year, Percy kept insisting that the various deaths in the wizarding world were just random acts of Dark magic, because this was the Ministryís official position. The death of Bartemious Crouch set him on a frenzied, one-man crusade to capture Azkaban escapee, Sirius Black who Percy insisted was the murderer. He became so obsessive about capturing Black that it put him at odds with his family. The tension finally culminated in a nasty fight over dinner one night that I was unfortunate enough to witness. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were also there as it was their summer vacation. When Percy went into his usual tirade about Black being a cold-blooded killer who should be executed, Ron finally exploded.

"Shut up Percy! Nobody wants to hear your bloody opinion about anything!" While Percy spluttered in rage, Mrs. Weasley shouted at Ron to watch his language and not to yell at the dinner table. I donít believe Iíve ever seen Molly Weasley so angry. All of the yelling seemed to upset Harryís big, black dog, which accompanied him on this visit. The poor animal dashed out of the Burrow whimpering and refused to come inside for the rest of their stay. It was awful. Ron wouldnít talk to Percy for weeks after. The good thing was that it seemed to be an epiphany of sorts for Percy. He told me later that his mum and dad had had a long talk with him and made him some revelations that finally convinced him that You-Know-Who was back and that there was really a war going on. Poor Percy, it was hard for him to accept that the Ministry was lying to people. However, now he had a new crusade, to help Dumbledore and the resistance through his Ministry connection, just like his dad.

Your faith in me brings me to tears
Even after all these years
And it pains me so much to tell
That you donít know me that well

I have to admire Percyís tenacity. Heís always been intense like that. Itís one of the things that attracted me to him. Heís so together. Of course, Iím intelligent. Iím a Ravenclaw. But before Percy I had no direction, no focus.

And though my love is rare
Though my love is true

Iím like a bird, Iíll only fly awayÖ

I thrived on the kind of structure and stability that he brought to my life. Perhaps itís because Iím Muggle born. Sure, my parents were proud of me, but they never really understood my world. There was so much I could never share with them. I felt lonely, isolated. Percy changed all of that. He became my rock to cling to in the wizarding world. My guide and soul mate. I donít know how I could have borne some of the strange and terrifying occurrences in the wizarding world without him. Like being Petrified by a basilisk almost three years ago. Oh! How confused and disoriented I was after being revived from a two month sleep! I remember leaving the infirmary weak-kneed and sobbing. Percy pulled me into an empty classroom and held me until I couldnít cry anymore. Later that same night we stole into this same empty classroom and made love. We were both so nervous! Not only was it the first time for both of us, but we were both worried about being discovered by the caretaker Filch or his foul cat Mrs. Norris.

 

And though my love is rare
Though my love is true

Iím like a bird, Iíll only fly awayÖ

This is how I remember our seventh year: a series of stolen moments in empty classrooms and closets with the stakes raised because now Percy was Head Boy.

I thought graduation would mean an end to all the sneaking around. I figured if Percy didnít ask me to marry him, surely weíd move in together. Unfortunately, Perfect Percy became Prudent Percy who didnít want to leave his parentís home until he was financially established. Now and then we reserve a room in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley for a romantic evening and breakfast, but never longer than that. Percy tells his parents heís on business. I donít think Molly Weasley approves of pre-marital relations and her opinion has always been of utmost importance to Percy. Always. Of course, Percy insists that we split the cost of the room. I donít mind, not really. Except lately, even these overnighters have become few and far between.



Itís not that I wanna say goodbye
Itís just that every time you try
To tell me, me that you love me
Each and every single day I know
Iím going to have to eventually give you away

I pick at the food on my plate broodingly as I listen to Percy explain why he must cancel another one.

"Please donít sulk Penny, itís really unbecoming. You know how important this job is to me. With all this business about You-Know-Who coming back, itís imperative that I stay on top of things. Without people like me and Dad to guide the Ministry thereíd be chaos, canít have that now, can we?"

"No Percy, youíre right of course. Itís just that, well, I miss you." I reach across the table to give his hand a squeeze. Percy immediately jerks his hand back almost upsetting his wine glass.

"Penelope, please!" he hisses in an undertone, "You know how I feel about public displays of affection. Itís not proper for a Ministry Official."

I scan the pub quickly. The place is nearly empty, but instead of pointing this out I find myself pleading, "Percy, itís been three months since the last time weÖ" I stop, aware of the crimson flush rising on my face, "Donít youÖerÖI meanÖ"

"Of course I have needs Penny. But weíre not animals. I daresay we can control our primal urges. " Percy shakes with a malevolent snicker, "Not like Ron and Hermione. Madam Hooch caught them in the broom shed a couple of months ago. Dumbledore must have written home about it because Mum was so angry, crying for days about that Ďher baby boy losing his innocenceí. She sent howlers to both of them. Fred and George said they wouldíve given up the joke shop to be in the Great Hall when they got those."

Iím not laughing. Iím remembering the time we shared a secret tryst in the broom shed. When Percy transfigured a broom into a bed and conjured up a cover of rose petals, it took my breath away. I smile at the memory.

"Thereís a good girl, " Percyís voice breaks into my revelry. "Thereíll be plenty of time for, wellÖyou knowÖ"

"When?" We both startle at the forcefulness of my word.

Percy takes a swig of his goblet before asking, "What do you mean, when?" He follows his question with a patronizing smile that is too much for me.

"I mean when will you get your priorities in order, Percival Weasley!"

His voice matches mine in intensity now, "Penny, thereís a war going on. My job is vital to the resistance. Iím needed."

"Itís not like youíre Harry Potter." The look on Percyís face confirms that Iíve hit a nerve. Heís always had a bit of a jealous streak when it comes to Harry. He takes a few seconds to control himself before he responds.

"Not everything is about Harry Potter. I have no idea why youíre being so unreasonable, but I donít like it. Mother would never make such frivolous demands on Fatherís time. Mum understands. But if it makes you feel any better, Iíll look at my calendar when I get back to the office and owl you back with a date." He smiles magnanimously, "There, will that do?"

Iím struck dumb by the callousness of his remark, and gape at him incredulously before answering him.

"Donít-bother," I say both words slowly and clearly, pushing my chair back from the table and walking away from the man Iíve loved since I was fifteen years old.

Outside the pub itís dusk and the air hits me with a cold, clear crispness that I breath in deeply. I look up at a nearby tree where a couple of birds are twittering softly as they settle in for the night. I remember wanting to be a bird when I first heard about animagi. Then we studied them in class and I found out that transforming into a bird means you have the brain of a bird. It doesnít matter anymore, I tell myself. Because even though I donít have wings, for the first time in six years I feel like I can fly. Just as Percy rushes out the door of the pub, I spread my arms like wings and Disapparate away before his stunned face.



And though my love is rare
And though my love is true, yeah
Hey Iím just scared
That we may fall through
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Iím like a bird, Iíll only fly away
I donít know where my soul is
I donít know where my home is
All I need for you to know is

Iím like a birdÖ

//
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