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Three Years

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Time Goes By". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Percy remembers. Part 2 of "Time Goes By"

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Percy WeasleyNightmarishFR1511,6872222,51828 May 0628 May 06Yes
Disclaimer: I own nothing.  Everything belongs to either Jo or Joss.

 

Spoilers: Nothing major.  It will not make any sense, however, unless you’ve read through OotP and watched through Chosen.

 


~*~

 

                                                                         Three Years

                                                          Part II in the Time Goes By series

                                                                   -A Work of Fanfiction-

                                                                                  By

                                                                           Nightmarish

 

~*~

 

Three years.

 

It’s been three years since he left.  Since he turned his back and walked away, leaving that world behind forever.  It’s been three years since peace was declared and the Dark Lord was defeated.

 

It’s been three years, but it feels like much longer.

-

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He had only been in Los Angeles for two days when he met a woman named Buffy, and subsequently found himself in the middle of the impending (and apparently semi-annual) apocalypse.  His magical assistance had been welcomed, and afterwards, when it became apparent that the world wasn’t going anywhere, they had offered him a job he couldn’t refuse.

 

Not after everything he’d seen.

-

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He lowers his wand, resisting the urge to gape at her.  “You’re offering me a job?”

 

She nods.

 

“You’re serious?”

 

“Look buddy, I don’t know what sort of an impression you have of us, but we’re majorly short handed.  We need all the help we can get,” she says, matter-of-factly, wiping a trickle of blood at the corner of her eyebrow with the back of her hand.  “And a wizard would be damn useful.”

 

“You’re serious.”

 

“Like a heart attack.  Here, I’ll give you a hint.  This is the part where you say ‘Yes Buffy, I’d be delighted to accept your job offer, and yes, I would love to take you out to dinner tomorrow night.’

 

He blinks.  “You’re…you want to…to go on a date?  With me?”

 

“Do you see any other slime-covered, red-haired hotties in the general vicinity?”

 

He feels himself flush, and begins to stammer out a reply when she abruptly cuts him off, pulling him down for a searing kiss.  When they break apart several seconds later, both are breathing heavily.  He coughs, and adjusts his glasses, a small smile crossing his features.  “Miss Summers, I would be overjoyed if you were to join me tomorrow night for dinner.”

 

She grins, and kisses him again.

-

-

-

He settles easily into his new life.  Living on the Cleveland Hellmouth is…interesting, to say the least, and dating Buffy even more so.  For once in his life, he feels truly accepted.  Wanted.  Needed.  They’re still rebuilding the Watcher’s Council, and he is in his element.  Slayers, as it turns out, rarely make good administrators, and his background in government and knowledge of magic are greatly appreciated.  Under his careful supervision, things are running more smoothly than any of them had originally imagined possible. 

 

That is, until one Sunday morning when an owl flies through the kitchen window.

-

-

-

“Err…anyone wanna explain why there’s an owl eating my bacon?”

 

Dawn pats the bird fondly.  “She flew in about twenty minutes ago.  Well, at least I think it’s a she – kind of hard to tell.  There’s a letter addressed to Percy.” 

 

He stiffens, and takes the envelope with a trembling hand.  Unfolding the parchment carefully, he scans its contents before looking up.  He catches Buffy’s worried gaze.  “It’s…”  He swallows.  “It’s from my brother.”

 

Buffy’s eyes widen, and she lets out an ‘oh’ of surprise.  She knows a little of the story, and can see how badly affected he is by the letter.  She gently gathers him into a tight embrace.  When she pulls away, they are alone in the kitchen.

 

“Oh Percy…I’m…what does it say?”  She bites her lip, and takes his hand, leading him over to the table.  They sit.  “Do you want to talk about it?”

-

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And it all comes pouring out.  How he’d chosen the Ministry over his family, how he’d left at the end of the war, how he’d massively screwed up.  How he couldn’t face them.  How he couldn’t go back. 

 

And she listens patiently, and once he’s finished, sweeps him into another hug, whispering soothingly in his ear that it will be all right while he weeps shamelessly into her sweater.

-

-

-

And life goes on.  He reads the letter twelve more times before tucking it safely away in the top drawer of his desk, and then he puts it out of his mind.  He’s not ready to delve into the pool of emotions generated by its arrival, and in the mean time, there are demons to be dealt with and books to catalogue.  He grudgingly learns how to use a computer, and the days pass by.  And one by one, the letters keep coming.

-

-

-

She enters their bedroom quietly, taking a seat beside him on the bed.  “Another letter from your brother?”

 

He looks up, distracted.  “What?  Oh…yes.  Yes, from Charlie.”  He looks back down at the parchment, running his fingers gently over the deeply etched lines.  “My brother Bill is getting married.”

 

Buffy wrinkles her nose in concentration.  “Bill’s the oldest?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And then there’s Ron, George, and…Henry?”

 

He smiles affectionately at her inability to recall even the simplest of names.  In all actuality, he suspects she remembers perfectly, and simply pretends in order to get a rise out of people, but he doesn’t mind.  Enjoys it, even.  He leans back against the pillows, wrapping an arm around her slender shoulders.  “Harry,” he corrects softly.  “Harry is Ron’s best friend.”  He pauses briefly.  “Ron’s the second youngest.  Ginny’s the baby.”

 

“And before Ron there’s George?” she confirms.

 

“Yes, and Fred.  They’re identical twins.”

 

“Jeez Louise, how many siblings do you have?” she says  teasingly.

 

“Just the six.”  He grins suddenly.  “Mum wanted a round dozen originally, but by the time Ginny was born, the twins were getting into enough mischief to make her reconsider.”

 

“It must have been nice, growing up,” she muses.  “Having all that family.”  A sad note enters her voice, and he knows she’s remembering her mother. 

 

“You’ve a bigger family than I do,” he points out.  “They might not be related by blood, but they’re still your family.”

 

She turns her face up, and brushes her lips across his cheek.  “They’re your family, too,” she says softly, squeezing his hand.  “Don’t ever forget that.”  She snuggles closer, and they stay like that for a long time.

-

-

-

Three years.

 

Thirty-six letters.

 

One for every month he’s been gone. 

 

He stores them carefully in a shoe-box he keeps under the bed, and when he’s feeling particularly homesick, he takes it out and reads them again, in chronological order because that’s the type of person he is.

 

Three years.

 

Thirty-six letters.

 

A million regrets.

-

-

-

He stands at the window, staring out into the gathering darkness.  A plain brown feather lies forgotten on the sill.  He picks it up, twirling it absently around his fingers.

 

A chill breeze rustles the curtains, and pulls at his flaming hair.  It had been an exceptionally warm autumn by Cleveland standards, but of late the weather had been catching up.  Thermometers were dropping, and snow was on the horizon.

 

Arms wrap around him from behind, jerking him out of his reverie.  She turns her head, pressing her cheek against his shoulder blade.  He’s never been large, but she’s so tiny that standing beside her he seems taller than he really is.

 

“Whatchya thinking about?” she whispers.

 

He half turns, and she settles against his side, burying her face in the crook of his neck.  He remains silent for a moment, before saying, “Got another letter this evening.”  He stops, and waits for her response.

 

“It’s the third of the month,” she says, voice muffled.  “You always get a letter on the third of the month.”  She pulls away abruptly, searching his face.  “Is something wrong?  Did something happen?”

 

“No,” he assures her quickly.  “I just…”  He trails off, unable to find the right words.

 

“You miss them,” she says softly, knowingly. 

 

“I…suppose.”  He pauses reflectively.  “Yes, perhaps I do.  I…it’s been so long, and I was simply…remembering.  I sometimes wish I –” He stops abruptly. 

 

“Have you ever thought of maybe writing back?” she asks, watching his face carefully to gage his reaction. 

 

He lets out a strangled sort of chuckle.  “Every bloody day.”

 

“You should.”

 

“You think so?”

 

She presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth.  “I know so.”

 

“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he admits.  “I’ve no idea what to say.”

 

“In my experience,” she confides, “I’ve found that the best place to start is at the beginning.”

 

“Sounds sensible.”

 

“You’d be surprised at how sensible I can be.  I’m practically the Queen of Sensible.”

 

“You’ll help me?”

 

“Only if you show me how to use one of those funny quill-things.”

 

The corners of his mouth twitch, and he struggles to maintain a serious expression.  “I think that can be arranged.  But it will have to wait until tomorrow.”

 

She pouts charmingly.  “Why?”

 

“Because right now I am going to ravish you, and afterwards I don’t plan on getting out of bed until noon.”

 

She brightens.  “Oh.  Well, in that case…”

-

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It’s been three years, and he still amazes himself by how much he’s changed.

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Percy likes to think that he’s learned more over the past thirty-six months than he did in all of his Hogwarts years put together, or at the very least, learned the important things. 

 

Now that he’s done it, he knows that you don’t have to save the world to be a hero.  You don’t have to be a genius to be smart.  Magic doesn’t solve all problems, and the world would probably be better off without it.  Demons come in all shapes and sizes, though the non-humans are inevitably slimier.  Having faith isn’t always enough, but more often than not, it’s required. 

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He’s made plenty of mistakes, but that doesn’t matter.  The gains far outweigh the losses, and if he had the chance, he’d do it all over again.  His life has been irrevocably altered, but that, he decides, is a good thing. 

 

And maybe, just maybe, his past isn’t quite as lost to him as he once believed…

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“Dear Charlie…”

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Fin

 

The End

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