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Title: The Wall of The Missing
Author: [livejournal.com profile] iwasanartist
Summary: Arthur thought his coworker had been offering his condolences for George's ear. If only that were the case. Set afew days after the ministry fell.
Rating/Warnings: There's no blatant violence or gore or sexy times, but emotionally, it's kind of dark and open-ended.

*****

Arthur had just began to sift through a mountain of paperwork when he heard a knock at his office door. Davis, one of his colleagues popped his head in when Arthur looked up.

"Hey, how you doing?" Davis asked as he walked into the room.

"I'm well," Arthur said. "But very busy. You know, Bill just had his wedding over the weekend, and then with everything here -- it's been three days, and I've barely made a dent in all of this"

"Yeah," Davis said as he absently ran his fingers across a box of quills.

"Davis?" Arthur said. "Did you need something?"

"Yeah, sorry." Davis answered. "I'm just...I'm afraid I'm just not very good at this," Davis paused, as if trying to find his next words. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry about your boy and I hope everything turns out okay."

"George?" Arthur said. "Thank you. We were all shocked about it, but boys will be boys." The words tumbled out of his mouth as naturally as he could make them. The cover story for George's run-in with Death Eaters had been a simple accident. "Thankfully it was just an ear. Healers say there shouldn't even be any hearing loss."

Davis cocked his head to the side and looked at Arthur, his brow furrowed in confusion. "No," he said. "I meant Percy..."

"Percy? What do you mean?"

Davis ran a hand down his face before sitting in the chair opposite Arthur.

"I'm sorry, I just...I thought you knew..."

"Knew what, Davis?"

"I saw his photograph on The Wall this morning."

Arthur had never run through the Ministry so fast. How could he have been so stupid? Percy worked directly with the Minister of Magic. The Minister of Magic fell in a battle that was being covered up as an experiment gone wrong, and apparently no one had seen his son in three days.

The "explosion" had taken out an entire wing of the ministry. The wing was saturated with magic, and all spells that had been cast to lift the wreckage died before even the smallest of pebbles were raised. Search and rescue was being done by hand.

The devastation was extensive. Arthur had helped the first day. Many had. Only some of the victims had been aurors and death eaters. The attack -- which no doubt HAD started with a giant explosion -- had been in a populated area.

Arthur moved a lot of rocks that day, helped pull a few people out and directed them to the nearest healer. Not long after, rescuers stopped hearing cries for help. They stopped finding people who needed rescued -- only those who needed recovered -- and by the end of the day, most of the people there had been told to go back to their offices. Back to their normal jobs, and cleanup crews would take care of everything -- and everyone -- else from there.

The Wall started the next day. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who realized a family member hadn't come home began placing photographs in case anyone had seen their loved ones. Pulled them from the rubble. Taken them to St. Mungos. Or the morgue.

On Day Two, people had begun leaving notes of encouragement and love. Candles and trinkets and anything else that reminded them of their little piece of what had collectively become referred to as The Missing. Arthur had heard of The Wall, but hadn't been to see it. Too much work.

And now, as he sprinted through the building, he didn't take the time to notice the items that had spilled out from The Wall. A teddy bear here, a vase of flowers there. Arthur kept moving until he reached his destination, skidding several feet to a halt.

It was bigger than he expected. The Wall stood about a meter high and stretched at least double that. A collage of faces smiled back at him. Some waving, others holding up just-opened Christmas gifts or blowing out candles on a cake. Notes accompanied some.

Mummy, come home soon!

Thinking of you, Paul. Stay safe.

Happy birthday, Eddie! Your cake was delicious...come back and have some...


Arthur scanned the photographs, hoping that Davis had been wrong. That he'd mistaken someone else's son for Percy.

But then he saw it.

About halfway down The Wall was the picture of his child -- different from the rest in its stillness. Percy was glancing down, a playful smile on his lips as if he had been captured mid-chuckle.

Arthur reached his hand out and placed it on the glossy paper. A stifled sob escaped his mouth as he fought tears. His whole body shook, and he thought he might have toppled over, if not for Davis, who had finally made it to the wall, huffing and puffing and reaching his arms out to steady his friend.

"Are you ... okay ...?" he asked between gasping breaths.

Arthur's hands dug into the sleeves of the other man's robes, clenching it in his fists. He tried to speak, but couldn't

"It doesn't .... It doesn't have to mean anything," Davis said as his breath recovered. "Maybe he was on holiday. Or he's just laying low for a while after the bat...after the accident."

"You don't know Percy," Arthur said has he straighened up and wiped at his face. "I don't think holiday is in his vocabulary."

They stood in silence for only a moment before Davis gave the photo a closer look.

"Is that a muggle photograph?" he asked.

"Yes," Arthur said absently. "The muggles have created devices that will show moving pictures, but they can't do like us."

"Do you know who took it?"

Arthur examined the sepia-toned image once more. Percy was sitting against a tree in what looked like the countryside, clearly enjoying the company of someone just out of sight.

Who did Percy know that would take muggle photographs? That could make him smile like that? Who did he know that would miss him days before his family ever gave him a thought?

"I don't know," Arthur said, and those words filled him with almost as much sorrow as seeing his son's face on The Wall of the Missing.

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