Rating: will eventually be R
Summary: As I’ve re-read the OotP (too many times than is probably reasonable), I’ve wondered exactly Percy was thinking. What if he wasn’t as stupid and arrogant as we all assumed? What if there was a greater good that he was achieving by turning away from his family as he did? This is his story. This takes place one year after the ending of HBP. The horcruxes have all been destroyed, but there will be little discussion about them, or anything else that has happened in that year. This will be a chaptered story, but it's basically finished and halfway through beta right now. I'll post every few days as I finish cleaning up.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, and I can't claim them. Ms. Rowling created a wonderful playground, and I'm only dabbling in the fruits of her labor.
Author's note: Thank you sooooooooooo much Eloise Lovelace for betaing. It's always great to have the encouragement you gave me, and the great grammatical and content-driven advise you gave me. Kudos to you!
btw, thanks for those of you that have taken the time to leave me your encouragement! It’s greatly appreciated.
Prologue – http://community.livejournal.com/weasleys_wood/38799.html#cutid1
Chapter 1 – http://community.livejournal.com/weasleys_wood/39095.html#cutid1
The next few weeks went along without incident. Percy gritted his teeth as the Minister made almost non-stop disparaging remarks against his family and Dumbledore, as well as Harry Potter. Percy did his work, and kept his ears open for any hints as to foul play against the young man, or anything that might put the Order in bigger jeopardy than it was already.
His diligence was rewarded one night at the end of July, when he received information about underage magic being spotted in Surrey. He was working late that night, and was able to send a discreet note to Prof. Dumbledore without Minister Fudge noticing. Of course, the Minister got much too excited by the prospect of taking away Harry's wand that he'd forgotten simple protocol, and Harry had been able to get away. Percy didn’t know where, but trusted Harry was safe enough.
"We'll get him yet, my boy!" Minister Fudge said, with a maniacal gleam in his eye.
The next few weeks were devoted to preparing for the case. It was going to be held in one of the large courtrooms in the basement of the building, with a full convening of the Wizengamot. This worried Percy, but he was not really surprised about it. He was surprised, however, when he was called into the Minister's office the day before the trial.
“Percy, my boy,” Minister Fudge said genially. “I need you to do something for me. About seven-thirty tomorrow morning, send letters to your father and Dumbledore that the trial has been moved from Madam Abbot’s chambers to the courtroom. Not before, but tomorrow morning.”
“Yes sir,” he said dutifully, his head swimming. He was glad he’d had weeks to work with on hiding his reactions, because he had to fight every impulse at that statement. ‘They don’t know the trial is in the courtroom?’ he thought to himself. ‘They’ll be toast if they don’t get there on time.’ Percy excused himself from his office as soon as it would be inconspicuous enough and headed to the closest bathroom, not realizing or caring it was a womens’ bathroom. He set a complicated locking charm that could only be opened by himself or another Order member, and pulled a pendant out from under his robes.
The pendant itself was nothing much to look at, a simple disk in an emerald green with a gold imprint of an outlined phoenix on it, but it allowed him to communicate securely with the Headmaster, and would also bring him to a safe place if he needed it. He’d yet to be told where the headquarters for the Order was, but it was just as well. At this point, Hogwarts was still safe enough that he would simply be brought there if the need arose. He conveyed a short message to Dumbledore to give him the information, but also to know that the Headmaster should not look prepared. Albus agreed, and they ended the conversation there. Percy tucked himself in one of the stalls in the bathroom for a long time after, just staring at the object that solidified the position he had allowed himself to be manipulated into and finally broke down.
He sat in the stall and the tears started flowing down his cheeks, the sobs raking his slender frame. He’d taken his glasses off and placed them on the floor at one point, but couldn’t remember when. The tears streamed down his face, and the only acknowledgement of them was his wiping the long sleeves of his robes along his face periodically.
He sat there for so long that an alarm went up in the Aurors’ headquarters that someone had holed themselves in the ladies room. There was a charm on all the bathrooms that would alert the Aurors if there was the possibility of someone attempting to destroy the ministry by being inside and arranging the equivalent of a Muggle bomb. Tonks, being the youngest one and one of the few women on the squad, was the one in charge of seeing to this particular incident, as it was the ladies room that was potentially being compromised.
‘It’s probably just some young Ministry worker that got embarrassed about something or other,’ she thought to herself. That was what it had been the last five times. She swore that people tripped the alarm just to see her running. As she neared the bathroom, she couldn’t hear the telltale signs of crying that usually came with this sort of alarm; no muffled sobs, no gasping sighs trying to regain control, no unraveling rolls of toilet paper to dry eyes. She couldn’t hear anything, in fact. She reached for the doorknob, and found it wouldn’t open. ‘Strange.’ she thought. ‘Most times, they aren’t that careful.’ She reached for her wand, and tried a few standard unlocking charms, but they didn’t work. ‘Curiouser and curiouser.’ she said to herself. As she reached for the doorknob again, her violet pendant denoting Order affiliation made itself known. She put her hand to it with sudden comprehension, and worked the countercharm Dumbledore had taught them all, and the lock clicked. She stepped into the bathroom and listened for someone. She put the lock back up, knowing that there would be no further investigation, as they knew she was there.
“Hello?” she said cautiously, hearing sporadic sobbing coming from one of the stalls. “Someone there?”
A ginger head poked out of the stall. “How did you-?” Percy said to her.
“Get in here?” Tonks answered. “It looks as if we have a similar affiliation,” she said with a smile, reaching down into her robes and bringing out her own pendant. She knelt down in front of him. “Percy, why did you to what you did to your family if you’re part of the Order?”
“I did it because I’m part of the Order,” he said quietly, his tears having mainly subsided. “Has Dumbledore mentioned a spy inside the Ministry?”
“A few times, wh-Oh,” Tonks said, finally understanding. She closed her eyes and nodded.
Percy nodded. “I saw what my sister went through her first year at Hogwarts. He tried to kill my girlfriend at the time that year, also. My youngest brother is best friends with You-Kno- Voldemort’s most wanted, and my parents and my oldest brothers are doing whatever they can to protect him and Harry. I had to do my bit,” he said, motioning to his pendant. “I only wish it wasn’t so hard,” he choked out, tearing up again.
Tonks knelt down and took the young man in his arms. “The Minister can’t deny Voldemort’s existence forever. I know that it doesn’t help now, but there is an end to this. I don’t know when, but it will end. I can promise that.”
“What if…” Percy looked up at Tonks with tears in his eyes. “What if something happens before I can tell them the truth?”
Tonks looked back at him and said fiercely, “They will know the truth. I promise you that. I will tell them, should anything happen to you, and if it happens to them, they’ll know.”
“Thank you, Dora,” he said.
She looked at him strangely.
“What’s wrong?” Percy said quickly. “Do you prefer people using your full name or something?”
Tonks let out a barking laugh reminiscent of her cousin. “Hell no!” she said emphatically. “I hate my given name. I’ve always gone by my surname, but no one’s shortened my name to something I’ve liked before. I like Dora.” She smiled. “Just remember, in public, I’m Tonks, ok?”
Percy nodded and smiled. A little smile, but the first genuine one for what seemed like weeks. “It’ll be our little secret,” he said, watching Tonks giggle.
Percy and Tonks started to stand up, but they soon heard the grinding of glass under a foot.
Tonks cringed. “Sorry,” she said, looking apologetically at Percy, who, to both their surprises, burst out laughing. Tonks soon followed, and they repaired his glasses as best as they could then headed out to their respective offices.
As Tonks returned to her office, she felt Kingsley behind her.
“What took you so long?” he said curiously.
Tonks turned around and said nothing, but placed her hand briefly on her robe, where her pendant was safely hidden. Kingsley nodded once and that was all that was said about that afternoon for a long time.
In the coming weeks, Tonks and Percy, both needing someone to talk to candidly, would trade stories as to which one of them had more problems. After the run-in at the Ministry in which his father, escorting Harry back from the trial, wasn’t even able to look at him, Percy was introduced by Tonks to the strawberry daiquiri, and their friendship became much more honest as the alcohol started flowing.
It was a few weeks after that when Percy made information known to Tonks that even he didn’t expect to tell her.
“I made out with Oliver,” he said suddenly.
Tonks, already heavy into the daiquiris, fell out of her chair. “What?” she said, her arm flopping on the chair to pull herself back up.
“I made out with Oliver,” he repeated. He was well known for coming out and saying all sorts of things like this when he was drunk. He preferred being honest while under the influence. “Many times.”
“When was this?” Tonks said, finally climbing back into her chair after two failed attempts.
“Back at Hogwarts,” he said with a shrug. “It never meant anything.”
“Did you do anything else?” Tonks asked him.
“NO!” Percy said quickly. He got quiet. “Well, there was one night our Seventh year, when our house team had lost to Hufflepuff…”
Percy watched as Oliver came back into the room, his hair soaking wet. It was after 10 p.m., and by all rights, as a prefect and Head Boy, he should have taken points from Gryffindor, but even if it had been someone from Slytherin, he couldn’t take points from someone who looked so forlorn. Oliver looked as if he’d seen a bunch of grown men kick a defenseless puppy and then send it to the Giant Squid.
“What happened?” Percy said, quickly locking the door so their roommate would give them the privacy they needed for this conversation.
Oliver shrugged. “You were there,” he said quietly, shoulders hunched. He sat on his bed, Percy quick to sit beside him.
“I meant this,” he said, pulling at the water soaked locks. “Did you walk from the locker room with wet hair like this? You’ll get sick.”
“What are you, me mam?” Oliver said, without any heat. “I couldn’t face them. The team, all of Gryffindor, in fact. I let them down. I mean, I thought for sure, this would be our year. We’d finally get that bloody cup. We couldn’t even win against Hufflepuff.” He looked up at Percy through his lashes. “I jinxed us, you know. In my speech before we went out. I mentioned that Harry had never lost us a match.” He sighed. “I’ll go down in the record books as the worst captain ever.”
Percy put his arm around his friend’s shoulders. “It’s not your fault. Malfoy and those other idiots were the ones who took that win away from you. Cedric even said he wanted a rematch. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over something that you had no control over.”
“But, Percy-” Oliver started, but was stopped by Percy’s hand.
Percy sighed and waved his wand drying Oliver’s hair. “You’ll still get a contract.” He sat closer and calmly stroked the now dry hair. “Just because you lost one game doesn’t take away the fact that you’re an incredible Keeper. The best Hogwarts has seen for a long time, I reckon.”
Oliver lifted his head, looking in Percy’s eyes and moving in closer. “Really?” he whispered.
Percy nodded and smiled. “Really,” he answered.
They sat there for uncountable moments, smiles sliding from their faces and just staring at each other. The comfort that had been so warm was slowly turning into passion, as it had before. Slowly, Oliver moved in, gently slid Percy’s glasses off his face and put them on the nightstand beside his bed, and captured his lips in a gentle kiss. Percy responded, shifting on the bed to face Oliver. They had kissed before, but it felt different. This was more than just a friendly experiment that it had been prior to tonight. There was an urgency that neither had felt before. Fingers tumbled and slid robes off shoulders, as explorations went to previously uncharted territory. Hands slid lower on each other’s bodies then they had dared before, and Oliver’s fingers finally shifted to Percy’s hipbone then to the front of his trousers.
Oliver pulled back from the kiss. “Is this ok?” he asked, gently squeezing. At Percy’s nod and groan, he reached for the zipper. Percy slid back and got into a more comfortable position before arching off the bed from the first foreign contact to his hardened cock…
“And that was my first night giving and receiving a blow job.” Percy finished.
Tonks’ eyes widened. “Did it ever happen again?”
Percy shook his head. “It was just a one-off. Two boys relieving some steam.” He stood a little wobbly, bringing his glass with him for more libations. “You want, Dora?”
“Bring the pitcher in here with you,” she shouted back. “I want to hear more sordid details about Percy’s secret homosexual sex life.”
He teetered back in, having the good sense to not pour himself another drink before returning. “I told you everything,” Percy insisted, putting his glass down refreshing both of their drinks. “It was the one night.” He smiled at the memory. “Well, that night and the last night before we left Hogwarts for good. It was the first time I got drunk, broke more Hogwarts rules than ever before at one time. I guess it was my first time being really rebellious.” Percy looked away from her, from everything, really. “He was my first.”
Tonks goggled. “You cannot say that and expect me to believe you are not gay.”
“I’m not!” Percy protested.
“This explains so much,” Tonks said, waving her glass around and sloshing the half melted daiquiri everywhere. “I always wondered why you and I were never even trying anything. I mean, with the alcohol flowing the way it has been, I was sure you’d at least make a pass at me, but you never did. I thought you had enough secrets, but it never seemed like you were even interested, which confused me. It all makes sense now. You aren’t interested in any girl, even one who can become you greatest fantasy.”
“What do you mean?” he asked her, looking as if she’d grown another head.
She grinned and closed her eyes and screwed up her face in concentration. Her trademark spiky pink hair turned a long chestnut brown. “I’m a metamorphmagus,” she said, opening her eyes. She caught the color of her hair out of the corner of her eyes. “Shit. That always happens when I’m pissed. I was going for red and curly.” She smiled mischievously. “Or maybe I should go short and lighter. And adopt a Scottish burr,” she said with a smirk. “Not to mention that this isn’t the only thing I can change at will,” she leered.
“I am not gay, and I don’t have a secret crush on Oliver!” Percy said adamantly. He took a drink from his glass. “And that’s the end of it.”
The following week was not fun for Percy. He was finding it more and more difficult to deal with being in the Minister’s office. It was more than simply what he had been forced to give up. It was also the absolute egotism he needed to deal with from the Minister himself. The other assistants and people who worked within the office were much more sycophantic than Percy had ever been. Even when he had started at the Ministry, he had never been that bad.
He sat down heavily at his desk, attempting not to glare at the slow moving clock and wishing for it to be Friday instead of Monday. He sighed, looking at the stack of official forms on his desk. As he sorted it into priority, he noted two decrees he’d never really had to handle before, but as he looked at them, he thought that they would become more prevalent as the year progressed.
The two educational decrees were the first that had been enacted in a while, but Percy had a feeling they were not going to be the last. The first one gave the Ministry the power to appoint a professor to Hogwarts if the Headmaster was unable to find someone suitable. That was dated as last week. The second was one to appoint Dolores Umbridge as the Defense professor. This one was dated for a week before the start of the term. He prepared the releases of the few other documents on his desk, with the help of a very handy spell quill that was activated with a few stock documents. As he finished the last one, with the exception of the two educational decrees, he headed to the Minister’s office for his weekly briefing with him.
Percy knocked on the door and poked his head into the office. “Percy, my boy, come in, come in!” Minister Fudge said, smiling jovially. Percy did his best to look happy to be there, and after having over a month of constant practice, he was doing better.
“I have those two educational decrees you put on my office,” he said. “I thought it wasn’t possible to sign on an educational decree without the consultation of the Board of Governors and the Headmaster before they can have the Minister’s signature. I also didn’t think it possible to sign a document with a date other than the date of the day it is physically signed.”
Minister Fudge smiled indulgently at his favored assistant. “This document hasn’t been signed with the preferred quill, but I will invoke a spell when the date comes, and there is still no DADA professor for the term. This is just for our ease when the time comes that the document is necessary. As for the other, there has been a full backing by the Board of Governors, and the Headmaster has agreed that if there is backing by the Board, we would be allowed to put this through. I signed it on Friday, free and clear.” He sat back with a satisfied smile. “All is above board. You may prepare the press release for the decree about the Hogwarts professors in general, but hold off on the declaration of Professor Umbridge until the time comes. I will let you know.” He said it with a sort of finality that left no room for questioning.
Percy was left with no recourse. He stood and left, mind reeling and hoping that there would be someone to take the position in the next week. Percy was paying so little attention he barely noticed someone coming towards him until he felt the contact with another body.
“Oh!” the male voice said. “I’m so sorry.” They backed apart from each other, looking each other in the eyes.
Percy stared, unable to speak. He finally shook his head, trying to speak cohesively. “It was…my fault,” he was finally able to say. He looked down the body, looking for any injuries, but only saw the hints of a solid muscle tone, and clean work robes. He was a few years younger than Percy, only fresh out of school, though Percy didn’t think he recognized him from Hogwarts. The brown hair was clean cut, and the robes simple but impeccably neat. “Are you alright?” he said, holding his arm gently at the elbow.
The other man nodded. “I’m fine, Mr. Weasley,” he said, looking a little dazed.
Percy smiled. “I’m not that much older than you. It’s Percy,” he said kindly.
The younger man nodded again and smiled shyly. “Okay…Percy. I’m Jimmy,” he said. They stood there for a few more moments. Finally he moved away from Percy and said, “I should probably get back to work.” An unsure question forming, he said, “I’ll see you around?”
Percy nodded. “We both work here, don’t we?” he said.
“See you later.” Percy turned to return to his office, his mind back on his work. He couldn’t remember ever being that young, even though he was, has he said to the boy, only a few years older than him. It wasn’t until he sat at his desk that he realized that Jimmy was probably flirting with him, or at least interested in him. That afternoon, he realized that it didn’t exactly bother him.
As the week went on, Percy found himself noticing just how many of his co-workers were gay, or at least he suspected were. It wasn’t that there were that many, but he had started to notice a few that were willing to show where their affections lay. He was starting to see the subtle, and not so subtle, innuendo of the few men that were completely open about their feelings. He found himself starting to follow the jokes, and coming up with his own rebuttal – not that he could actually make any comments back to their raunchy jokes. It would only complicate matters for the Order mission for him seeming to have had a personality transplant. It also terrified him that Tonks might actually be right. Not about Oliver, of course, he was not in love with him, but about him not being as happily heterosexual as he once had thought. Maybe there was some truth to the explanation she believed for his breaking up with Penny. The revelation scared him more than he would want to admit, and he decided to do something about it.
Percy stormed into Tonks’ office the following Friday at 5:15 p.m., steam coming out of his ears – figuratively, of course. “You!” he screamed. “You did this to me!”
Tonks’ eyes flew open in shock. She quickly spelled the door shut and put an Imperturbable charm on it. “What do you mean?” she said, bewildered, looking at him for any signs of injury or other malady. She’d forgotten all about their conversation last weekend.
“You made me GAY!” he declared. “I’ve been seeing guys this week and getting these feelings. Feelings I’m not supposed to be getting. Feelings I’m supposed to be feeling about girls. I’m not supposed to be thinking of pressing against strong hard chests and prickly faces. I’m supposed to be wanting long soft hair and warm bosoms and-” Percy stopped at Tonks’ unsuccessful attempt at hiding her laughter. “What’s so funny?” he demanded.
“You said bosom,” she said with a full out laugh escaping. “You called breasts a bosom.” She held her stomach, unable to stop laughing.
Percy glared at the woman. “Somehow, you did this, and I’m going to undo it if it’s the last thing I do,” he said seriously.
This started Tonks laughing even harder. “You’re going to undo your homosexuality?” she said incredulously when she finally was able to catch her breath. “Isn’t that what Penny was for? That didn’t go so well, did it?” She put up a placating hand to Percy’s sputtering, gently sitting him down in the chair next to her desk. She sat on the edge of the desk and looked him in the eye. “I know this is all still new to you, but you know, in your heart of hearts, that this is the truth, and whether you want to accept it or not, this is a part of you that isn’t going to just go away with a wave of your wand.”
Percy closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Goddamnit, I hate it when you’re right.” He opened his eyes when he heard muffled giggles. “What do you find so funny now?” he said, half frustrated, half amused.
“I think that’s the first time I’ve heard you curse sober,” she said. “I have heard Percy the Prefect Prat curse. Or, was it Bighead Boy?” she pondered, seeing a glare come to his face. The glare, however, soon faded. As his face fell, she realized what she had said, and that she wasn’t the first to use either of these names for Percy. “I’m sorry,” she said, feeling terrible. “I should never have mentioned it.” She wrapped her arms around him.
“It’s okay, Dora. The twins are prats anyway,” he said, muffled into her shoulder. They were there for a while before heading out.
Percy and Dora continued their weekly sessions, but the alcohol was needed less and less to get them to open up to each other. With the admission of Percy’s sexuality, there were no real secrets between the two anymore. By the middle of September, they were foregoing the alcohol altogether in favor of no headaches and remembering all the evening clearly. This didn’t, however, mean that they were acting completely mature. One particular discussion occurred in the first week of October.
“I still think you have a crush on your friend there, Percy,” Dora said, smiling at him, sipping the strawberry daiquiris they had made without alcohol.
“And I still think that it’s none of your business, Dora, even if I did, which I don’t.” Percy said. He opened his mouth to say more, but was interrupted by a ringing doorbell. He went to the door, in clear view of Dora, and found his object of non-affection staring him in the face.
“Hey, Perce!” Oliver said cheerfully, unaware of the conversation that had been taking place only moments before. “You got a sec?”
Percy started, shaking himself. “Sure, come on in.” He moved out of the doorway and allowed his former classmate to enter.
Oliver saw Tonks, with bright blue hair in dreadlocks and turned to Percy in amusement. “Am I interrupting something?” he said with a smirk.
Percy rolled his eyes. “Only if I feel like shagging a girl who I know entirely too much about. I think you remember Tonks, Oliver. She was at your party in July.”
Oliver studied the girl carefully, not noticing the inflection in Percy’s voice. “You’re an Auror, aren’t you? Wasn’t your hair pink the last time I saw you?”
Dora nodded. “I’m a friend of your roommate’s.” She put her hand out for him to shake, which he took. “And what can I say,” she said, twirling a blue lock around her finger, “us girls like to change it up a bit.”
“Well,” he said, looking nervous, “you should come, too. My roommate and I are throwing a party the Saturday of Halloween weekend, costumes and everything. 8:00 p.m. in our apartment. It’ll be a gas. I was just stopping over to invite you, and now that I have, I don’t need to be here anymore, so I’ll just…go.” He slowly backed out of the room, banging into the still open door. “Maybe I should walk around this,” he said, clearing out quickly and shutting the door behind him.
Percy stared at the door long after it was closed. So long, in fact, that it took Dora having to get up and tap him on the shoulder to get his attention. “Still denying you have a crush on him, eh?”
“Shut up,” he said quietly.
“Perce, come on,” Dora said. “This is me you’re talking to. If you can’t tell your sordid desires to your fag hag, then who can you tell them to?”
At this, Percy opened his mouth to object.
“By the way,” Dora continued, “I don’t think you have anything to worry about in terms of interest on his part. Did you see him walk into the door? Mr. Professional Quidditch Player should be able to walk around doors, doncha think? Besides, we’ll get smashing costumes and go to this party where you can ogle men to your heart’s content, make Oliver jealous as anything, then turn it around onto him. I’ll have you two together by Christmas!”
Percy thought about what she said. A party involved more than just Percy, Oliver, Tonks and Oliver’s roomate, didn’t it? There would be other people that Oliver knew there. That would mean other people that were interested in men. Other people that might possibly be interested in him. His eyes widened. “There are going to be other men there, aren’t there?”
Dora chuckled. “Of course there are going to be other men there. This is the point of a costume party. Being able to check out the delicious men in next to no clothing, masquerading as anything they want!”
“Dora, I’ve never been around other gay men, other than Oliver, I mean. Or the guys in the office, but they know nothing about me, not really,” Percy said nervously. “What if I make a fool of myself? What if I say something stupid, then they go back to their clandestine little gay meetings and tell all the other gay men about my horrible inadequacies? My photo will be up on a bulletin board with the words ‘do not approach’. I’ll be the laughingstock of the entire gay community!”
Tonks laughed. “You’re a prat, you know that?” she said affectionately.
Percy stared at her, not amused.
Tonks rolled her eyes. “Alright, I understand your concern, though I don’t really think they have, as you put it, ‘clandestine little gay meetings’. There is no secret club that you have to learn the special handshake for. You really get yourself worked up with the silliest things, you know. You know there’s only one thing that will fix this, doncha?” Her eyes lit up. “We’re going clubbing this weekend.”