Hi, Cinderella. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I see by your list of titles on your author’s page that you have been contributing to this forum from the very beginning and are still here. So congratulations on your loyalty and long tenure.
This chapter is a very promising start to whatever your story will turn out to be. It is only through fics such as yours that we get a mental picture of what Percy was doing at the Ministry during those final years, because in the seven books he is a pretty one-dimensional character. In stories such as yours we can get a glimpse of his soul.
You have begun to draw a perceptive picture of this poor fellow, inviting us to have sympathy with him, drained both physically and emotionally from the stress, danger and loss of the past few years. Other post-battle fics focus on Ron, George, Ginny, Arthur, and Molly Weasley, and sometimes Bill, but Percy and Charlie tend to get ignored, and I am glad that you are addressing this imbalance of attention.
You present an interesting contrast between Percy and Susan; she is calm, unruffled, and briskly efficient, while he is exhausted and overwhelmed, although too proud to admit it. I ask myself what, beyond their individual personalities, accounts for this difference? They have both lost family members, but he spent the last few years at the Ministry while she was still in school; as bad as Hogwarts was during the last few years, perhaps being in the Ministry was worse.
There is some introspection by Percy in your story, but not so much as to be oppressing (as you see in some fics), and a good balance of dialogue and action. He’s tossed her out of the office twice; I presume he will not do so again. She has given him a bottle of Dreamless Sleep potion, which he refuses to use, so we have yet to see how she is going to assist him. Not just by filing his backlog of papers, I’m sure.
I like your writing style. There is a vivid vocabulary, with many action verbs, and the net effect is a brisk pace and an easy visualization of the events. And you have a wonderful closing line. Miss Bones filed on, apparently unperturbed. This is an open-ended sentence if ever there was one. It fairly invites us to sweep on into the next chapter.
I hope that there will be a next chapter. This story has a lot of promise, and poor Percy certainly deserves to be treated sympathetically after all he’s been through. Good start.
I think this is a really unique take on Percy and how the war affected him. The thought that he would have nightmares after all he saw, that he would feel guilty, that he would bury himself in works just seems so right. And the idea of someone being there to help him is lovely. Making the connection between Susan Bones and the Ministry was a good one. I liked her backbone. I only wonder about her being 'Miss Bones' as it seemed to have a rather distant effect. But I'm guessing that was a distinct narrative choice and hoping that as Percy gets to know her, he'll think of her more as Susan and then it won't feel so distant. If that makes sense. :)
Nice start, good luck as you continue! ~Gina :)