Percy didn't even look around, didn't even note who or what might have been near enough to overhear - for him, that was a notable thing.
"You're wrong about one thing, Fred," he said, low and intent in a way that Percy rarely got. "If I had come back, if I ever come back, it won't be like a man. The only way I would be allowed back is on your terms. I would have to apologise for things I am not sorry about and promise to not be myself anymore, since who I am is so entirely disagreeable to you all."
He knew Fred wouldn't understand. He knew he was wasting his breath. But he didn't care. It was a relief, in some dark way, to finally speak at least something of his thoughts to someone in his family.
"I refuse to go back to that home and apologise to people who have told me, to my face, openly and without any reservations, that I am of no value because I'm not likable." He moved a few sharp steps and dropped his uneaten pasty in a nearby bin. His appetite had gone.
"I won't forgive dad for what he said to me. What he thinks of me. And I certainly won't beg his forgiveness. Me staying away from him? From all of you. That is me being a man, Fred."