Harry sat down on the sofa, near the fire, as Bill launched into another story about his curse-breaking days. It was wild, and honestly a bit scary.
Bill said, "And then the curse started pulsing up my arms - like blood up the bloodstream, but not following any veins..." Even Art was leaning forward at that...
An owl knocked at the window. Ginny shrieked, then got the cutest look on her face, as if shrieking was the worst thing she'd ever done, because now everyone would remember she was The Girl. Harry then heard the twins fall back to their seats - they'd managed two feet in the air, and were lucky they were sitting on both sides of Harry, or they'd have managed to grab each other in the process.
"Who sends an owl on Christmas Eve?" Ron grumbled, standing and pulling the window open. The owl hopped in, its barding Ministry standard. Ron tried to grab for the letter, but the owl hopped away.
Molly, with a gently stern smile, held up a slice of bacon. "Letter first," She said. The owl complied, its eyes on the bacon. It did an acrobatic spin as it grabbed the bacon. Some owls just liked to show off, Harry supposed.
With owl gone and window closed, Molly opened the letter, only to half stumble, her face turning pale. What had happened? Harry thought, his wand already in his hand, his mind reviewing locations he could reach competently, if needed.
As Molly didn't seem capable of saying anything, Bill stood and looked over the letter, his mouth firming into a hard line. "It's from Percy," he said firmly. "It seems he won't be attending this year."
Art stood up, "Whatever he's doing for the ruddy minister of magic, he can damned well stop it for Christmas!"
Bill moved between Art and the floo, "Dad," he said, his voice breaking, "He said he won't, not he can't."
Art calmed down, like unerupted magma cooling, "What do you mean?"
Bill said softly, "He says we're fools, to be used by Dumbledore in his illicit pursuits of miscreants."
George said, with a chuckle, "He really called Tom Riddle and his Merry Men miscreants?"
Leaning over Art's shoulder, Fred nodded, "He did!"
Fred continued, where Bill wouldn't - his smile turning unexpectedly sharp in the process, "Says he thinks Dumbledore's just going to spend us like a Malfoy does knuts, without care and without mercy. Talks here of Ron getting hurt, and then Ginny - and Da, you too..."
Harry felt a peculiar sort of chill. It did sound bad, didn't it? When you thought about it? And it wasn't Dumbledore doing it, it was Harry Potter. "I'll write to him," Harry said, "I'm not sure how much of a proper explanation he's been given."
Concerned eyes from around the room looked at him, before Ginny said hesitantly, "What do you mean, write to him?"
George simply asked, "Do you think he'll listen?"
Harry shrugged, "The truth's the truth, regardless of how many ears it spills out of." He was used to the Dursleys not believing him, so he didn't know if Percy would or not - but he owed it to Molly to try. She looked ghastly there, as if she might start seizing with death rattles.
[a/n: That last line? I'm aware it's nonsense to "seize with death rattles." Harry's not a fan of medical dramas. Leave a review?]