Friday, Early Evening ~ October 6, 2006
Cedric was closing files and setting them aside in preparation for going home. If he was lucky, Percy would be home today for the weekend, and if not, they had planned to at least have dinner together. He looked up when his office door opened and Percy stepped in. Instead of the smile he was used to, he was greeted with a pale, unhappy face instead. "Alright there Percy?"
Percy stood in the doorway, feeling stunned. Memories about the truth of himself kept flickering past his mind's eye. It was like looking at the life of someone he didn't recognise. But it was him. He did those things. His mind had started to build defenses against this terrible truth, saying he was broken at the time, he did what he thought best at the time, but those rang utterly hallow. His mind grew quiet and just watched in growing horror. It was like watching a train wreck.
"I'm a real arse." Percy said, his voice sounding rather far away. "They were right. Every single one of them. I'm a complete and utter smeg head."
Cedric blinked, locked and warded his door, and pulled Percy over to the couch. He pulled a small bottle of dark rum from his drawer, poured Percy a shot and handed him the glass. "Who was right? About what? What are you talking about?"
"Family, aquaintences, friends." Percy just held the glass with a small smile of thanks. He didn't particularly want to drink right now. The alcohol might make him weepy and he didn't think that would be productive. "I was a complete arse. All the things I said that hurt people. That letter I wrote Ron in his fifth year telling him to stay away. The rows with my siblings and parents. The things I've said to you that must have stung like hell. There is no getting around it. If I met me on the street, I wouldn't like me very much. It's a wonder I've been forgiven for so much."
Cedric's mind unhelpfully supplied him with images of times Percy had said something that cast both himself - and Percy - in a bad light, as well as those times Percy had managed to hurt Cedric's feelings. He couldn't imagine what had brought all this on.
"Bad session? Or is this a good thing?"
Percy let his eyebrows rise. He knew it was likely his therapist's doing that she had put a small barrier in his mind so he felt a bit like he was observing someone else's life. It helped prevent the reaction Percy could feel welling up. Tears and exagerated self recriminations, while satisfying in an odd way, would not be productive.
"Well, it's good in the sense that now I know this I can more clearly work to stop this destructive behavior. It hurts myself and others." Percy placed the glass down and rubbed his face as more memories surfaced of things he had done. The look of hurt in the eyes of those he cared about came through clear as if he were facing them now. "But it's not pleasant to realize this kind of truth about yourself. Everything I didn't like about myself before just doesn't compare to what I'm seeing now."
Cedric took a deep breath. He really didn't know what to say to that at all. "Do you need to be at Hpgwarts in the morning?" he asked quietly, thinking that taking Percy home might be a good idea.
Percy frowned and chewed his lower lip as his stomach started twisting into knots. "I need to be there for the lunch shift but no sooner then that. Part of me just wants to stay up all tonight and write some long over due letters of appology. I know it won't make what I did right. But it's a start."
"Perhaps not all night," Cedric said, standing and unwarding and unlocking his door. "Let's go home. I'll cook, you can write."
Percy felt a small smile flicker on his lips. "Thank you. For everything. I'll save my appology to you for my letter. Hopefully I can follow through on my next task, changing my behavior."
Cedric smiled softly at him. "You know what the problem is. I suspect you also have a good idea how to fix it. I don't see why you couldn't follow through on it."
A small smile appeared in Percy's face. The tears were closer to the surface now. "I really do hope so. I want to be someone I like."
Cedric gave him a brief kiss, then stepped over to the floo, tossing powder in it. "See you at home," he said before he disappeared.
Percy stood in the room, trying to gain control over himself. Stuttering while giving floo directions would likely land him in an odd place. Looking at the sheer volume of his transgressions it looked like an insurmountable hill. His heart thudded in his chest. It took years to accumulate a list like that. It would likely take years to make up for it all. He bit his lip. He could only hope that since there were still people who stood by him despite it all that they saw something salvagable in him. If they were right about him being an arse, maybe they were right about this too.
He picked up the floo powder and felt it in his fingers a bit before going home.
Percy stared at the stacks of hand written pages. As methodical as he is in everything else in his life, he went about this. Names of family and friends were propped up in little cards. As Percy thought of something, he picked up the scroll for the person and added the appology for it to the list. Some family members were already up to three pages. His fingers were stained with ink, back and neck ached from being hunched over.
He sat back and rubbed his eyes as he looked up at the clock. The hour was unholy but he couldn't stop, not now. He knew he was likely missing several things for people but he felt somewhat confident he got the major transgressions for most. A small smile touched his lips as he looked down at his latest project. The opening note. Figuring out a way say this without it sounding like a suicide note was proving somewhat more difficult then originally thought. The fire was being kept alive with all the drafts Percy had tossed in. He made a mental note to leave Cedric a galleon or two to make up for using nearly every scrap of parchment in the house.
Cedric got up for a glass of water and saw percy still sitting at the desk. "Percy. It's time to stop. Come to bed."
Looking up, Percy blinked wearily at Cedric. He shook his head. "I just need to finish it tonight. I don't think I'll be able to sleep if I don't. I don't think I'll sleep all that well if I do."
Cedric looked at him consideringly for a moment, then said, "When you're done, come to bed." Percy might sleep better if he wasn't alone, and Cedric wanted to have him in his bed, even just to sleep. Aside from which, he really didn't look at all well, and Cedric would sleep better knowing Percy was close by.
Percy bent back to his work and assembled his appology introduction letter. He needed to personalize it for each person. It somehow took away from the geniuneness of it if Percy made a form letter. But some phrases were appropriate for all parties. Finally, after getting the first one completed for his parents he moved to the others. By the time he was finished he saw that the sky was turning grey. Dawn was approaching in less then an hour.
He got up, feeling his body creek in the process as he quietly slipped to Cedric's room and eased himself into bed.
Cedric rolled over and curled a possessive arm around him. He brushed a light kiss to the back of his neck and murmured, "Go to sleep Percy. I'll make sure you're up in time to get back to Hogwarts."
"Thanks" Percy willed his muscles to relax, but his eyes just stared at the clock. He was so tired he couldn't sleep. Someone very wise once said that a clear conscience was the softest of pillows. Never did that saying ring more true. He shut his eyes and hoped that sleep would find him.
Cedric rubbed his hand in slow cirlces over Percy's stomach, then slid his hand to move softly along Percy's side and thigh in long, slow strokes designed to help soothe the other man into sleep.
Reaching out for a tissue, Percy softly blew his nose and settled back down. The soft touches on his body felt wonderful. Warm and gentle, it was enough to make him feel accepted and ease the tight little circles his conscience was in. The last of his muscles finally relaxed and his eyes drifted shut.
Cedric kept slowly stroking until Percy's breathing evened out into sleep. He then cast a modified Tempus charm to chime an hour and a half before Percy needed to be at the school, then settled down to sleep.