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Nobody visits. Nobody sends owls, not since his mother's last one six weeks ago. They've given up on him, and Percy prefers it that way.

At least, he tells himself he does. His only other option is to say his family is right and that he's made a mistake. But he knows what he's doing. This is what he has been planning for years. If they have... other priorities, it's their concern, not his.

If they choose to...let him slide out of their lives because of it, that's their concern as well.

Percy doesn't care. Never had much use for too much family anyhow, and it's a relief to finally have some peace and quiet. Not that the tenement he lives in now is exactly quiet. But there are no brothers hogging the loo, or banging on his door, and the flat is all his own to do as he likes.

There's no one judging him, no one laughing at him -- at least not where he can hear it any longer.

He knows what's being whispered. He'd be foolish not to, and... he knows that if his family's regard were important to him, he'd have to do something about it. But he stopped wanting that a long time ago. He doesn't care what they think -- it hurts that they think he'd allow himself be drawn into He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's followers. It hurts that they think he has no morals, no comprehension of good and evil.

It's just that he has priorities, and they have others.

Percy sits at his window, pretending that he isn't waiting. He's reading the Witch's Weekly Business Report, making note of things he will have to look into when he returns to the office next Monday. He could read at the table, but... he's waiting. Just in case an owl comes by.

When an owl actually does land on the sill in front of him, Percy is too shocked to react. His hand nearly knocks the bird off its perch as he reaches for the letter, and it gives him the dirtiest look he's ever seen on a bird's face. Percy scrambles for a treat, finding a bit of dried fruit that the owl accepts as an apology. It flies away; obviously no response is expected.

Percy unrolls the letter, and is further stunned to recognise his brother's handwriting. He reads fast; the first several lines are nothing. The usual 'this that and another' which letters from Bill always contain. Percy knows that Bill is in London, helping their parents with whatever it is they've been doing. Bill mentions none of it in his letter. Percy's heard about it -- heard about Harry, heard about Sirius. Spent a week fighting with himself about swallowing his pride and going home to make sure none of them were hurt. But... they would have said, would have sent an owl, if they needed him.

He scans this letter quickly, and indeed there is no mention of anything like that now. Just... casual chat, catching him up on the mundane aspects of Bill's life.

There's a vague comment about their mother, wish she'd write you herself, which could mean anything. Does she want to and dare not? Does she not even want to?

Which of them is giving the other one space?

Percy traces his finger over the lines Bill has written. Treasure found, location undisclosed -- as always. Had a spot of trouble with a curse, got a write up at work. Friends getting married, another old friend defying all expectation and having a baby. Percy recognises their names from other letters, from the visits home he used to be there for.

Bill signs his letter as always, take care, don't have enough brothers I can spare one. love, Bill.

It's the most ordinary letter Percy has got since he left.

He folds his head over the scroll, but doesn't cry.