Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 72

AN: For those who celebrate it, Happy MLK Day!

Thank you for all the support! It is deeply appreciated

George glanced at his watch. Six thirty PM. It wouldn't be too much longer now…

The door flung open.

"George!"

Four noise-activated clowns on the top shelf began to cackle.

"George!"

More toys joined the chorus of laughter.

"I know you're in here!"

"I'm coming," George stood. He cracked his knuckles and approached his fuming guest.

"You snake!"

"Hello Percy, nice to see you are doing well."

"How dare you joke with me after what you've done?" Percy hissed.

The clowns fell silent.

"I, I'd expect such treachery from Ginevra or perhaps Ronald, but you?" Percy snarled. "Granted you never did have the good sense to know when to butt out of something, but I never suspected you were capable of outright treason."

George furrowed his eyebrows. "You forced my hand."

"Forced your hand?"

"Yes."

"How dare you try to pin this on me, as if I am responsible for the kind of negative press I am receiving."

"From where I'm standing, you're responsible for every piece of bad publicity you've received from this."

"Why would you say that?"

"You took Dad from us."

"I was trying to help him."

George raised his voice, "By making Mum think he ran out on her?"

"It was unfortunate that Mum needed to be kept in the dark," Percy answered in an even tone. "But sometimes sacrifices need to be made."

"Sacrifices?" George spat. "This is our family you're discussing."

"I have always acted in the best interests of my family."

"How is holding Dad hostage in our best interest?"

The vein in Percy's neck bugled from his crimson skin. "I am helping him."

"How? How is kidnapping him helping us?"

Percy pursed his lips together.

"You could've told us where he was so we could help him as well," George argued.

"I didn't want to worry Mum," Percy retorted.

"So you allowed her to believe her husband ran out on her?"

"She reached that conclusion on her own, not by my own doing."

"She and Dad have been having problems for years, a fact of which you are all too aware. You knew that if Dad didn't show up in the morning she would think the worst."

"You know what," Percy jabbed his finger into George's chest. "It is not my fault Mum and Dad's marriage is in shambles."

George pushed Percy away. "Their deteriorating marriage may not be your fault, but it is your fault for making it worse."

"The amnesia is destroying their marriage, not me."

"You are putting added pressure on it."

"Are, are you actually blaming me for this amnesia epidemic?"

"No."

"Then how have I made things worse for anyone?"

"Mum is irate with Dad because she thinks he's left her."

"And now thanks to you she knows where he's been. There! Problem solved."

"No, not problem solved."

Percy crossed his arms over his chest.

"Mum is becoming used to the idea of being a divorcee. When Dad comes home, he is going to find a mum who may be ready to start her own life away from him," George replied. "You have destroyed his marriage so you could have the chance to play hero!"

"Fine," Percy spat. "I suppose I should have left Dad alone. In the name of preserving his marriage to Mum, I should've watched him continue to lose his memory every night. Would that have made you happy?"

"Knowing the truth from the very beginning would've made me happy."

"Now you have it. Are you satisfied?"

"I will be when Dad is standing in front of me."

"That isn't happening anytime soon."

George's mouth was agape.

"Dad is currently receiving treatment for his condition at St. Mungo's. He will not be released until we are satisfied that he is functional."

"So, you've found a cure."

"No," Percy admitted. "Not exactly."

George snarled. "Until today, I'll bet you didn't even know what caused this disease."

"I know what the cause is now though, do I not?" Percy asked.

George threw up his arms. "I cannot believe this. Even when the entire Wizarding World is against you, all you do is double down and insist you are in the right."

"I am acting for the greater good," Percy began.

"The greater good?" George yelled.

Percy stumbled backwards.

"So far all you've done is ignore a crisis and, when that no longer worked, you kidnapped ill wizards. How is that acting in the interest of the greater good?"

"Everything I have done has been in the interest of keeping everyone calm, content, and safe."

George shook his head. "Are you even listening to yourself?"

"I hear every word I'm saying," Percy spat.

"Then stop acting like…"

"Dumbledore?"

George growled. "Yes, stop imitating the worst aspects of Dumbledore."

Percy's voice was strong. "George, you've never been in a position of power, so let me explain a few things to you."

George bit his tongue.

"People like you only see the short term effects of our actions. All you see is the mirage of someone being kidnapped, when the reality is that we need to perform medical testing on the victims."

"Ask them to join a double blind study then, but for the love of all that is good don't kidnap them in the middle of an episode."

"Do you truly think any of the victims would consent to being researched in the middle of an episode?"

George furrowed his eyebrows.

"Unlike you, I see the broader picture, and I'm always looking toward the future. From where I'm standing, I am preserving the future, or at least I was until my brother interfered."

"Is the future you're trying to preserve the one where you lose an election to Draco bloody Malfoy because you kidnapped his father-in-law?"

"I am preserving the future where I am hailed as the man who cured this amnesia epidemic. I am preserving the future where I am hailed as the Minister of Magic who lowers the rate of squibs until they were almost unheard of. Most of all though, the future I am preserving where the name 'Weasley' is given the respect it so richly deserves."

"Don't you dare bring the family name into this."

"Everything I have done over my tenure at the Ministry has been in service to restoring the good name of this family. Even you should be able to appreciate that."

"Ron has dragged our name through the mud enough. He does not need you to make us appear even more disgusting."

Percy moved in closer to George. In a low voice he warned, "Do not stand in my way, brother. I am not a person you want to cross."

"Is that a threat?"

"That is a promise to myself."

George remained impassive.

"I will succeed in my endeavors, regardless of the cost." Percy sneered, "I will be the greatest Minister who ever lived, with or without your cooperation."

He patted George's shoulder before strolling out of the joke shop.

George stared at the spot where Percy had been standing.

"What happened to you, Percy?" George whispered. "Why can't you be the brother who sometimes shared a good laugh with me?"

Arthur sat in the beige plastic chair and held out his left arm. The Mediwitch positioned it until it was on the padded armrest. Then, she grabbed a plastic blue tourniquet.

"Make a fist," she ordered.

Arthur complied.

The Mediwitch twisted the tourniquet until it was in place. Then, she pulled out a needle and pressed her index finger against Arthur's arm. She hummed before sticking it into a vein. As soon as a drop of blood appeared, she grabbed a vial and set it on top of the catheter.

"You're doing great," she began as the blood trickled up into the vial.

"Thank you," Arthur muttered.

Once the vial was filled, she popped it off. Then, she removed the needle from Arthur's arm and undid the tourniquet. "Okay, you can release your fist."

Arthur relaxed.

The Mediwitch walked over to a desk and pulled up a sticker. "Is this your name and date of birth?"

He examined it. "Yes."

"Good," she put the sticker onto the vial.

"Are we about done with all these blood tests?" Arthur asked. "I'm getting a little tired of being poked every six hours."

"The Healers say this should be the last round," the Mediwitch answered. "Though they can't make any promises."

"Does that mean they're coming closer to a cure?" Arthur asked.

"I couldn't say," the Mediwitch answered.

Arthur sighed. "I suppose every little bit of data helps."

"Indeed it does." The Mediwtich gave him a warm smile. "Indeed it does."