My energy is ebbing. The demands on my physical and mental abilities have risen to be nearly insurmountable, but I must not let on. My story must be told, no matter the cost.
As the time was growing short before I was to board the Hogwarts express, no time was wasted in getting my supplies. Once again, when we went to Diagon Alley, my favorite shop was Flourish and Blotts, where we purchased my school books which were new for that year. Most of my books for Hogwarts I would inherit from Bill and Charlie, since they no longer needed the beginner books, but Mother promised me one or two of my own.
I could have spent hours in there, and probably all of the money Mother and Father had in their vault, which had dwindled considerably since they had so many of us to care for.
Mother bought Bill an owl as a reward for being made Head Boy, and he named him Merlin. I had wanted an owl too, but Mum told me that Bill would let me use his and that I could take Scabbers with me to Hogwarts. Don't know how they got Headmaster Dumbledore to agree to that, since the letter said a cat, an owl or a toad with no mention of rats, but apparently they received permission.
I had found Scabbers five years ago in Diagon Alley on one of my shopping trips with Mother. I remember the day well. It was November 3rd, two days after the disappearance of You-Know-Who. Mother hadn't especially wanted to go out because of what had happed with Sirius Black, but we were out of some supplies that she needed.
Anyway, there he was in the street, hurt, with a toe missing on his right paw. I scooped him up in my hands and showed him to Mother, who said we'd take him home and see if we could make him better, and thus he became my pet.
He wasn't an owl, but he was better than nothing. With two older brothers, most of my stuff was handed down to me from them. My robes, my books, plus assorted other non-school related things. It was nice having something that was just for me. I knew that he was just a rat, but it almost seemed as if he knew what I was saying when I talked to him. Crazy, really.
Finally, it was August 31st, the day before I was to go to Hogwarts. I was in my room, meticulously packing my trunk with all my school supplies, when I heard a knock at my door.
Sighing with agitated frustration, since I figured that it was one of my bratty brothers, I opened it to find Ginny standing there with a solemn look upon her face.
"Hey ,Ginny, have you come to help me pack my trunk?" I said, inviting her in and closing the door.
"I don't want you to go, Percy," she said, coming into my room and sitting upon my bed.
"I know, Gin Gin, but you know what? I have a present for you,"I said, pulling out the special calendar I had bought for her with my pocket money. I had wanted to get her something special and had saved up for a long time for this. Handing it to her, I smiled, "This is a very special calendar. I had it bewitched so that every day you will get a message from me and it will tell you how long it will be until I return home for Christmas."
"Thanks, Percy!" She exclaimed, throwing her arms around my neck and giving me a tight hug.
"So, are you feeling better about me going away now? I promise to write to you if you will write back," I held her at arm's length and looked into her soft brown eyes.
"I promise, Percy," Ginny told me, tears glistening upon her lashes.
I must pause here. I'm sure you know by now how special Ginny was to me back then, and she still is. I know that my years apart from the family have hurt her more than anyone else, and I hate myself for that. I never meant to hurt her. I'd like to think that if I could turn back the hands of time and do it all over again that things would turn out differently, but perhaps I am just fooling myself.
I allowed Ginny to watch me finish packing, and then we stayed in my room talking until Mother told us it was time for her to go to bed. I, too, changed into my nightshirt but lay for a long time on my bed, my arms behind my head and my legs crossed one over the other. It was really happening. Tomorrow I was going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Another knock came at my door, but instead of waiting for me to open it, my brother Charlie burst in and took a flying leap onto my bed, narrowly missing me.
"So, little bro, you ready for that big test you gotta do when you get Sorted?"
I looked at his face, not sure if I should trust him or not. But it was full of sincerity. "I thought you just had to put a hat on your head and that's how you got Sorted?"
"That's what they have done in the past but at the Closing Feast last year they said that the rules would be different this year. They talked about having the first years wrestle the giant squid in the lake."
"Wha -?" I said, shivering despite myself. I hated swimming and there was no way they would get me in that lake. Surely Father would know. Running downstairs, my nightshirt flying out behind me, I found Father in his study.
At the sight of me, Father laughed and rolled his eyes, "All right, what wild stories did Charlie tell you about Hogwarts to get you so riled up?"
That question stopped me dead in my tracks. "What do you mean?"
"Well, Bill did the same thing to Charlie when it was the night before his first day at Hogwarts, so I have been waiting for this all night. Trust me, whatever he told you, it's not true."
Unabashed, I went back upstairs with as much dignity as I could muster. Knocking on Charlie's door, I waited for him to open it.
"So what did Bill tell you?"
"Oh, something wild about turning a chicken into an egg. You really didn't believe me, did you?"
Sniffing with an air of superiority, I shook my head. "Of course not. I just wanted to say goodnight to Father, that's all."
"Yeah, right..." Charlie said, laughing, "I did the same thing when Bill told me that wild story, I had to make sure it wasn't true so I asked Father. Chocolate frog?" He said, offering me one.
"Thanks," I said, giving him a smile. I felt as though I had gone through my rite of passage in the Weasley clan and looked forward, more than ever, to the next day.
The stories that we told to our younger siblings on the nights before they started Hogwarts became wilder as the years went by. I really miss those days that I know I can never get back now.
I must leave you for now. I will return when I have rested and am more refreshed. The next part takes more energy to tell than I currently possess.
Author's Notes: Hope you like this, it's different!