Okay, I have returned. Now, where was I? Oh yes, my turn to go to Hogwarts and join my brothers in the ranks of Gryffindors and make my parents proud.
My letter came as my brothers' letters had, a week before my birthday. Over the years we had come to know when the letters would be delivered, both for acceptance to Hogwarts and for the supply letters which were delivered to students naming the books they would need for that coming year.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had woken up extra early, knowing that today was the day. In retrospect, I suppose, it was silly since the owl post from Hogwarts didn't come until mid morning, but the excitement was just too much for my ten-year-old mind to bear...
At seven o'clock sharp I heard the magical clock I had set the night before. Nearly leaping out of bed, I ran to the bathroom, washed and dressed in my best casual robes. Today was an important day because I knew I had a post that was coming just for me; the post that would tell me that I was going to Hogwarts. Making sure that everything was just so, my hair, my robes, my shoes, I went down the stairs slowly, trying to act dignified. I may not be eleven yet, but today signified something very important.
Mother was in the kitchen already, as usual, fixing breakfast. Turning, she smiled at me with a knowing look. "Now, what could have you up so early on a summer morning, Percy?"
I crossed my arms in front of me and, in my best grownup voice said, "Now Mother, surely you know what today is?"
Mother smiled at me and gave me a hug. "Of course I do, Percy. But you didn't have to get up so early, the post won't be here for a few hours."
"I know, but I was too excited to sleep. I thought maybe I'd have some breakfast and take a look at Bill's old books. I want to get a head start on things, you know?"
Tousling my hair, she laughed. "Of course I do. Now, what would you like? We have pancakes or eggs."
I was still eating my breakfast when the rest of the family came down the stairs. Father was next, followed by Bill, Charlie and finally the twins.
"Been up since the crack of dawn, have you Perc?" Bill sniggered as he sat down next to me at the table.
"Now Bill, there is nothing wrong with Percy being excited. You know that he has been looking forward to going to Hogwarts for years now."
"I know," Bill said in between bites of his food.
Punching me playfully in the shoulder, Charlie asked, "Going to try out for Quidditch, li'lbro?"
Rolling my eyes to the ceiling I kept an even tone of voice, "Charlie, you know that I am not interested in that kind of nonsense, even if I could get on the team in my first year."
"Well, we could always use another Quaffle or another Bludger if you don't want to be a player." Charlie's eyes twinkled with amusement as he teased me.
Without dignifying his remarks with an answer, I turned back to Bill. Bill was known to tease as well, but at least he was studious and serious.
"Suppose I could borrow your old textbooks, Bill? I want to do some reading and perhaps it will help the time go faster."
"Sure, Perc," Bill smiled genuinely at me, "I know that you will really do well at Hogwarts, you are always so serious about your studies. Unlike some people," he said, glaring at Charlie.
"What? You were just as happy as the rest of the house that we've been winning the Quidditch cup. You know that I am more the outdoor type. In fact, I've been thinking about what I want to do when I graduate."
"Oh really? And what is that? Are you going to try out for the National Quidditch team?" Bill jibed at Charlie.
"Actually I had been talking to Hagrid and was thinking about working with dragons in Romania, but your idea sounds even better..."
Standing from the table, I left just as they started throwing good-natured blows at one another. Just as I got to Bill's room, I heard a sound like someone breaking wind.
Father's voice carried up the stairs, the sternness evident by the giggles that ensued soon afterwards.
Sighing, I went into Bill's room and found his old schoolbooks, then took them out to the garden. The only thing to bother me there were birds and the occasional garden gnome who enjoyed causing mischief.
Sitting on the garden bench, I settled in for a few hours of reading. Before I got totally engrossed, however, I could hear snatches of conversation coming from inside our house. Shaking my head, I wondered how we could all have the same gene pool and yet be so different.
Bill and I were serious, more like Mother. Charlie, well, he was really into Quidditch. Neither Mother nor Father had played in Hogwarts to my knowledge, so that must be something that went way back. Fred and George? Well, Merlin help Hogwarts when they started there because they were anything but serious. They probably would open their own prank shop or something someday; they seemed to enjoy them so much.
Looking back on that day, I wondered if perhaps I had a bit of Seer in me. After all, Fred and George did go on to own their own joke shop, much to Mother's dismay. But quite honestly, I couldn't see them doing what Father and I do, they are not the right type to work for the Ministry of Magic. That requires a high degree of sincerity which they simply don't posses, either then or now.
The hours flew quickly as I immersed myself in my reading. I did not notice the change in temperature nor the passing of time. As per usual, when I read I lost all sense of time and space. The sound of hooting brought me out of my reading induced trance and I looked up to see two different owls flying towards our house.
Through a sheer force of will, I rose from my seat and gathered the books up into my arms. It wouldn't do to run like a little kid to get my letter, I was no longer a kid. I was a wizard, and that demanded an air of dignity and of refinement.
As I entered The Burrow there was much excitement in the air. Mother was hugging Bill, nearly crushing him and Charlie was slapping him on the back in a congratulatory sort of way.
"Eh hem." Clearing my throat, I looked at my mother and brothers. "Did my Hogwarts letter come today?"
"Yes, Percy, it's there on the table. Guess what? Bill was made Head Boy!"
Furious at the timing of my birth, which had caused both the Hogwarts letters and my letter of acceptance to come on the same day, I felt rather dejected.
Laying the books upon the table, I picked up the letter and opened it. Reading over the letter that I knew by heart, I finished and set it down on the table next to the books. I then leaned against the table with my arms crossed in front of me, my right foot crossed over my left, and waited for the hullabalooover my brother to end.
It seemed ages before anyone even remembered that I was there. Finally, Mother came over to me and gave me a hug.
"Congratulations on being accepted to Hogwarts, Percy. I'm sorry, I was just so excited about Bill being made Head Boy."
"It's all right, Mother," I said, but feeling in my heart that it really wasn't. I was caught in the middle, the middle child now, and often overlooked. I was proud of Bill too, being made Head Boy was a great honour, but couldn't help but feel like the spotlight which should have been rightfully mine had been taken away.
Ginny came over to me then, her eyes wide. I knew that look well, she was trying hard not to cry. "You're going away, Percy?"
Giving her a hug, I bent my knees and crouched down to her level. I was tall for my age and she was still rather small. "I have to go to school, Ginny. It's time for me to go learn magic."
"I'm going to miss you lots," she said, throwing her arms around my neck, giving me a hug.
"I'll miss you too, Gin Gin," I said, using my special nickname for her, "but I promise to write you letters and tell you all about Hogwarts."
Ginny and I always had a special relationship, even back then. I had never paid much attention to when my younger brothers were born, but Ginny was special to me. I always was willing to read to her or change her nappies when she was born. She was really the only one who understood me and appreciated me.
Back then, even if I didn't know it, those events helped to contribute to what I became. Living in the shadow of my father and brothers, never really feeling as if were something special. I wasn't the oldest and I wasn't the youngest. I was just an afterthought, another person to take up space.
I grow weary; I have much to do and so little time to do it in. I must rest for now and save the rest of the story for another time.
Author's Notes: Hope you like this, it's different!