They would be missing him, he insisted to himself. The whole place would fall apart without him. Nothing would get done. It would be an utter shambles. And then they'd have to rescue him. They just wouldn't have any choice.

It was obviously just because of the complete disorganisation caused by his absence that they were taking such a long tie about it.

He'd been keeping track of the days, of course, as far as he could; he'd not been kept in any individual cell, so he'd taken to scratching the little marks on his arms. It didn't hurt as much as he might have expected it to; maybe he was just getting used to that sort of thing. And he absolutely must keep track of time, or he really would go insane, and that wouldn't do at all.

It had been over a month now. He didn't understand what was keeping them.

He was running out of space before they came for him. Of course, he no longer remembered why it was so important to make that little scratch on his arm every morning, or what they all meant. He'd forgotten that a long time ago. The place will fall apart without me, that was his mantra. It was the first thing he said to his rescuers. They just smiled at him and carried on.

Certainly, there had been a few moments of confusion, when he didn't turn up for work one morning, bright and early as usual. But it appeared that everyone had assumed he'd been assigned to someone else. And that was how Percy Weasley had been lost, gone but not noticed, like the full stop after Dr on a can of Dr Pepper; once thought indispensible, but soon prooved otherwise, a mere pedantic nicety that was easily bypassed.

It was only when he had regained his right mind that he truly lost it, to a Muggle firearm in a field near Catchpole St Ottery. This time, he was not forgotten. But it was too late to tell him that, of course.