Percy caught up on “writing” to Audrey, then went into his bedroom, changed into his pyjamas, and walked into the bathroom when Aunt Gussie apparated directly in front of him. He was so startled that he jumped backwards into his bedroom. Aunt Gussie grabbed his arm as she whispered, “Potterwatch” and side-along apparated with him.
When they arrived at the Longbottom residence, Neville was sitting on the sofa in front of the wireless. He waved to his Gran and Percy, but none of them said a word, joining Neville on the sofa as they heard Lee Jordan’s voice on the wireless.
“ . . . news from Potterwatch correspondent Royal.”
“Thank you, River. We do not know the details of what has happened over the last several days, but we are in possession of several facts. First of all, and this is the best news we’ve had in awhile, Oswald Ollivander, Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and a goblin named Griphook were all rescued from Death Eater captivity by a house-elf named Dobby.”
“Just to refresh the memory of our listeners, Mr. Ollivander went missing last summer, and Luna Lovegood was kidnapped from the Hogwarts Express by Death Eaters shortly before Christmas.”
“That’s right, River. And both have now been rescued after their long captivity. We also know that Mr. Thomas, Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, Mr. Potter, and Griphook were rescued the very night they were captured, although we do not have the details of where or how they were captured. Mr. Ollivander is in rather bad health from his long imprisonment, Miss Granger was tortured, and Griphook’s legs were broken, but they are thankfully going to be fine. The rest of those rescued were not physically harmed. We do not know how Dobby knew of the capture, but he single-handedly rescued the lot of them. Sadly, Dobby was mortally wounded while carrying out his rescue mission, and did not survive. He was given a proper burial by Dean, Luna, Harry, Ron, and Hermione.”
“I can’t even imagine, and don’t want to think about what would have happened if Dobby had not acted so selflessly. Harry Potter and his colleagues in the hands of The Dark Tosser . . . Let us all observe a moment of silence in honor of Dobby, the brave house-elf who sacrificed his life to save the Savior of the Wizarding world.”
After a minute of absolute quiet, both on the wireless and in the Longbottom home, Lee and Kingsley continued,
“Thank you, Dobby.”
“Thank you, Dobby."
“What other news do we have, Royal?”
“The Death Eaters are now well aware that Ronald Weasley is with Hermione Granger and Harry Potter, not at home potentially dying of spattergroit. Ronald Weasley has been named Undesirable # 3, and is hypothesized to be the impersonator of Reg Cattermole when the Ministry was infiltrated last September. The majority of the Weasley family has now presumably gone into hiding. At any rate, Bill and Fleur Weasley and Arthur Weasley did not show up for work and are not at their home. Fortunately, since it is the Easter Holidays at Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley should have been home with her family. As far as I know, all of the Weasleys are safe.”
“And we hope they, and all the rest of the Wizarding world, remain safe. That is all for tonight, Listeners. Please keep safe and keep the faith.”
The wireless was silent once again. Percy, Aunt Gussie, and Neville, sat on the sofa staring at it. Percy spoke first.
“I knew something had happened after Yaxley’s interrogation of me, but captured by Death Eaters?! And Hermione tortured?!”
Neville just nodded, as Aunt Gussie said, “The important thing is that they are all safe now.”
“True. I’m glad to hear my family is safe. I knew from Yaxley about Dad, Bill and Fleur not coming to work, and Ron’s not having spattergroit. Thank goodness Ginny was not at Hogwarts!”
“No kidding, Perce.” Neville paused for a moment. “How many times does that make that Harry has escaped from You-Know-Who? You-Know-Who must be getting really angry by now.” All of them laughed at Neville’s comment.
During the conversational pause that followed, Percy happened to glance down at himself and gasped, “Aunt Gussie! You apparated into my bathroom! What if I had been starkers?”
Neville burst out laughing, and Percy just glared at him. Aunt Gussie rolled her eyes at Percy, “Did you want to miss Potterwatch?”
“Well, no, but . . .”
“Well, then.” Aunt Gussie nodded decisively. Percy pouted, while Neville continued to laugh.
The next morning, Percy was reading his morning memos, when Yaxley arrived at his office. Percy was terrified. What if the people following him saw him apparate out of his flat?! That must be why Yaxley was here. When Aunt Gussie startled him, he had jumped backwards. Maybe he could pass it off as being afraid of spiders . . .
“Are you busy?”
“Er . . . no, Sir.”
“Oh, Percy. Is it all right for me to call you Percy?” Percy nodded in shock. “You can call me Yax. That’s what my friends call me.”
Percy felt as if someone had either confunded him or taken polyjuice potion to turn themselves into Yaxley.
“OK . . . Yax.”
Yaxley smiled widely. “I want to apologize to you for all of the interrogations, Percy, but we can never be too careful. Can’t have Undesirables in the Ministry, yeah?” Yaxley winked at him.
“Of course not.”
“Well, now that I know you were telling the truth, I won’t be having you followed anymore. Not enough manpower to follow people once it’s proven unnecessary. I know no Blood Traitor would ever set foot in Parkinson’s.”
Percy made a non-committal noise. He was so relieved he dare not risk talking.
“I have to be honest with you, Percy. I really thought you were lying about everything. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you weren’t.”
Percy swallowed. “Thank you, Yax.”
“Good lad. We need more young people like you in the Ministry. I’ll take you to Parkinson’s for a pint sometime, and we can discuss your future with the Ministry.”
“Thank you, Yax. I’d like that.” Yaxley smiled again and left. Percy thought he was going to be sick.