Special thanks and hugs to my wonderful friend and beta winkielovegood.
Percy had not gone far when he found Aunt Gussie . . . battling four Death Eaters. She was amazing! She was swinging her red handbag with one hand, making the Death Eaters constantly jump out of her way. With her wand in her other hand, she was simultaneously casting spells faster than Percy had ever seen. She didn't look like she needed it, but Percy hurried to help her anyway.
The Death Eaters did not notice Percy's approach, and he nonverbally stunned two of them in quick succession, providing enough of a distraction that Aunt Gussie stunned the other two. Aunt Gussie lowered her handbag, but not her wand, as she turned to Percy, and said, "Thank you!"
Before she could say anything else, another Death Eater rounded the corner, shouting, "Avada Kedavra!"
Percy conjured a mirror like Aunt Gussie had taught him and reflected the spell back at the Death Eater who had cast it. The Death Eater fell to the floor. Percy stared in horror. He had just killed someone. On purpose. He thought he was going to be sick.
"Good work, Percy!" Aunt Gussie hugged him. Then she looked up at his face and her expression turned shrewd. "Percy. You did not do anything wrong, lad. That Death Eater was killed by his own spell. What you did was completely defensive. You saved my life."
Percy nodded, but he still felt incredibly sick. He turned away from Aunt Gussie and vomited. Apparently, Aunt Gussie's reflexes were even better than his, because she had already conjured a bucket for him. When he was finished vomiting, she vanished the mess, bucket and all, and handed him a conjured glass of water before he could even ask. "Don't worry, lad. Every Auror I've ever known, including me, threw up the first time."
Before Percy could respond, they heard a loud voice, "You have fought valiantly. Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery." Percy shivered violently. He'd never heard a more creepy voice. He could hardly stand to listen. He looked at Aunt Gussie, but she was listening intently. "Lord Voldemort is merciful." Aunt Gussie snorted. "You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured."
Aunt Gussie snorted again. "Like we can actually do anything in an hour other than catch our breath." Aunt Gussie waved her wand at the stunned Death Eaters to tie them up. She then conjured a large net around them, and attached it to the ceiling. The two dead Death Eaters, she tied to each other, and cast, "Mobilicorpus" on them.
Percy watched, and knew he was going to have to go get Fred. He couldn't stop them anymore, and several tears leaked from his eyes.
Aunt Gussie put her hand on his arm and said quietly, "Who was it, Percy?"
Percy whispered, "Fred."
Aunt Gussie patted his arm and said, "I'll come with you."
Percy led Aunt Gussie to the alcove where they had hidden Fred's body. The bodies of the two Death Eaters were charmed to float creepily behind them. Percy couldn't stop the tears that were flowing down his face, nor did he try to, especially when he saw the dead body of his little brother again. Percy stared at Fred, and decided he could not charm him to float. He put his wand in his pocket, knelt, and picked up his brother. Fred was lighter than Percy had expected, and he suspected that Aunt Gussie had cast a featherweight charm on him, although he didn't ask.
Aunt Gussie gave him a quick one-armed hug and gestured for him to follow her. Percy thought she must know some plan that he didn't, since he wasn't sure where they were going. Percy followed her to the Great Hall. Aunt Gussie looked in the door, and said, "You can place Fred there." She pointed to the middle of the Hall where there was a long row of bodies. Percy really couldn't bear to look to see if anyone else he knew had died. He placed Fred gently at the end of the row, and stood up. He was openly sobbing now, and he didn't care. He just stood there, looking down on his brother, and crying. All around him, people were scurrying about to bring in the wounded to one corner and the dead to the center. He heard crying and screams of anguish, but Percy could only focus on Fred.
Percy heard a gut wrenching scream, and suddenly his mother had flung herself onto Fred's body, sobbing. His father followed, hugged Percy tightly, then joined his Mum on the floor and began rubbing her back, and caressing her hair in the midst of his own sobs. Bill and Fleur were suddenly hugging Percy. Percy wasn't sure where they came from. Bill kept one arm around Percy and the other around his wife.
When Percy looked back down at Fred, George was sitting by his head. Percy didn't know when George had arrived. George was not crying, but Percy had never seen such an empty look on his face before. If it was this bad to lose a brother, Percy could not even imagine losing a twin. Ginny was next to Fleur crying, and then Ron and Hermione appeared. Hermione went to hug Ginny while she sobbed, and Percy put his free arm around Ron.
Percy did not know how long they all stood there. Eventually George asked in a monotone, "What happened?"
Everyone looked around at each other, until Percy cleared his throat and told his family what had happened. No one said anything, but just nodded. They heard Madam Pomfrey's voice under the influence of a sonorous charm.
"I know we have all lost loved ones, but please. I need all able bodied people to help bring in the wounded. If you have any knowledge of healing, please come help me over here. If you do not have knowledge of healing, please help bring in survivors from outside." Her voice broke as she cancelled the charm.
Percy saw his Mum quickly dry her eyes on her sleeve and get up, suddenly all business. Without a word, his Mum, his Dad, and Fleur went to help Madam Pomfrey. The rest of them looked at each other, then turned to leave the Great Hall to look for survivors.
As Percy left the Great Hall, Neville was coming in carrying a body. Percy didn't look too closely. He was so thankful to see Neville alive. Neville nodded in greeting, and Percy nodded back, gripping Neville's shoulder briefly as he walked by.
Percy joined many others in searching the grounds. He saw Ginny talking to a girl who appeared in very bad shape. He himself found a few dead Death Eaters, and brought them inside to a separate room off of the Entrance Hall.
Percy had just deposited another dead Death Eater with the rest, when he heard, "Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him. We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone."
Percy couldn't believe it. He stood in shock for a minute, ignoring the rest of Voldemort's speech. To lose Fred and Harry . . . Percy didn't know if Ginny and Ron would survive. He joined the crowds of people rushing to get out the doors of the castle, and saw for himself—Hagrid cradled Harry's body in his arms as large tears dripped into his shaggy beard.
Percy heard several screams of, "NO!" Two of which, he was quite certain, came from his sister and his youngest brother. Voldemort silenced everyone. Percy tried very hard to block out Voldemort's creepy voice, as he scanned the crowd for his family.
He found Ron easily enough when Ron screamed at Voldemort. His baby brother was either very brave or very stupid. The same could be said for Neville, who broke free from the crowd and charged at Voldemort, much to Percy's surprise and horror.
Voldemort cast some spell on Neville, making him grunt with pain, and disarmed him. Neville got right back up and continued to argue with Voldemort. Percy heard him yell, "I'll join you when hell freezes over! Dumbledore's Army!" Merlin! The bloke must have stones the size of bludgers. Percy snorted. He must be channeling Fred to have even thought that. The thought of Fred made Percy stronger. If Neville and Ron could be brave, so could he. Fred would not die in vain. He would fight until his last breath.
Percy hadn't thought he could see anything more horrific than he already had until Voldemort summoned the Sorting Hat, stuck it on Neville's head, and then set Neville on fire. Percy screamed. He didn't care if it made him seem like a girl. So many others were screaming, too, that he doubted anyone noticed.
Then complete chaos broke out. Percy saw hundreds of people charging through the gates of Hogwarts yelling battle cries. A giant came lumbering by, yelling something Percy couldn't quite make out. It sounded like "haggis" but that couldn't be right. Neville somehow broke free from Voldemort's body-bind curse, apparently unhurt by the flames, and used a sword to cut off the head of Voldemort's snake. Percy had not seen where Neville got a sword, but inwardly cheered for his friend.
There were centaurs, and thestrals, a hippogriff, battling giants, the Death Eaters were scattering, and the entire mass of people was being pushed back into the Entrance Hall. Percy could have sworn he saw Charlie in the mass of people who had come to help. House elves were running in from the kitchens. Percy began to cast spells at any Death Eaters he could see, and when he couldn't get a clear shot at a Death Eater, he cast a shield charm around one of the Defenders of Hogwarts.
Percy saw Rookwood, Yaxley, and Thicknesse. How did they manage to get out of the spells he had cast on them, anyway?! George and Lee Jordan seemed to be fine handling Yaxley, Aberforth seemed to be fine on his own with Rookwood, so Percy hurried to help his father with Thicknesse.
Percy just couldn't resist. As he kept a shield charm around himself and his father, he shouted at Thicknesse, "How'd you get out of my jinx?"
The question didn't seem to faze Thicknesse. "You Gryffindors are so arrogant! Did you really think you were the only one who studied obscure spells in the Restricted Section for fun?"
Percy glanced at his Dad, who had never stopped firing spells at Thicknesse. Unfortunately, Thicknesse was as good at shield charms as Percy, if not better. When his father winked at him, Percy dropped his shield, and simultaneously with his dad, cast a stupefy at Thicknesse. They broke through his shield, and Thicknesse hit the floor.
As his Dad petrified and bound the stupefied Thicknesse, Percy heard his mother scream, "Not my daughter, you bitch!" He had never in his life heard his mother swear, but he supposed she couldn't have picked a better person to start with than Bellatrix LeStrange. His Dad looked fairly surprised as well.
Percy was shocked. His mother was as good a dueler as Aunt Gussie. He'd never seen her wand move so fast. Then he saw his Mum kill Bellatrix LeStrange. Good. At least he wouldn't be the only one in his family who had killed someone.
To Percy's horror, Voldemort turned his wand on his Mum. Percy's Dad looked sick, but they were too far away to help. There was a loud cry of "Protego!" and Harry appeared out of nowhere. Percy knew his jaw had dropped. Through his shock, he heard "There are no more horcruxes."
Horcruxes? Plural? Merlin! Percy couldn't believe it. He knew what horcruxes were, of course, but having one was more evil than he could imagine. More than one? Unthinkable!
Snape wasn't on Voldemort's side? Dumbledore chose to die? Snape was in love with Harry's Mum? Percy shuddered on Harry's behalf. Harry must be much smarter than Percy had ever thought, because he couldn't get his brain around everything he was saying. He'd have to ask him later. After they'd won and eaten and slept for a week.
Percy was still trying to get his foggy, tired brain to comprehend everything Harry was saying. The next thing he knew Voldemort had tried to kill Harry, and Harry's disarming spell reflected the Killing Curse back at him. Voldemort was dead!
People rushed forward to hug and congratulate Harry. Percy's first move was to hug his Dad before they ran forward as well. He hugged his Mum, who was crying, and Ginny, and patted Neville on the back, then hugged Charlie, who he was thrilled to see. He kept hugging people and laughing and crying. He just wished Audrey were there to share in the celebration.
They finally all settled at tables, houses all mixed up together, but Percy was sitting with his family. The House Elves had made a banquet for breakfast, which was wonderful. Percy felt like he hadn't eaten properly ever before. It was going to take him a long time to process everything that had happened, but right now he was just thankful that it was over, he was surrounded by his family, his stomach was getting full, and soon he'd be able to get some sleep.