Country: United Kingdom
February 12, 2020
06/30/2020 08:25 PM
Whose side are you on? [One Ear Wonder]
Dark days had descended at the fall of someone great and the rise of evil. There was no more denying Voldemort’s return, the smoldering ashes of hope doused in icy water. It was a reality now, an enormous dose of reality smacking even those that believed in the face. Percy had been there, stood beside the Ministry he blindly put his faith in and betrayed his family for and even as Voldemort looked at them, as the horror of disbelief set in, Fudge still tried to deny it. A hoax perpetrated by Potter and Dumbledore, a scheme to remove him from power. Acceptance was mingled with fear of what the future held, memories of the past severing as a reminder of the mistake they currently made. Percy couldn’t defend him, could no longer back the man that mentored him and when the time came, Percy sided with others in a drive to push Fudge out.
He couldn’t ignore it anymore, no longer wanting to pretend that something horrible wasn’t coming at them. He had lost so much already to what was just beginning. The transition was supposed to be smooth, a quick shift of power from Fudge to Amelia Bones but dominos began to fall, plays of the dark lord’s power and strength in numbers showing in the death of their new leader. Shock waves were sent rippling through the wizarding community in her death, remained latched to them as Rufus Scrimgeour succeeded her before she even began. In the days that followed Percy wanted to return to the Burrow, to seek some feeling of safety from everything that was transpiring around him. Desire didn’t outweigh his responsibility to the Ministry, to trying to keep a sense of trust in the very facility that failed their people yet again. Tirelessly they worked, Percy at Scrimgeour’s side as he maintained his position as Junior Assistant, long days ending in a collapsed heap on his bed for a few short hours of sleep before it started again.
Percy was always one who took his work home with him, three massive stacks of papers complied on the floor around him. His desk was already covered, the once pristine flat of his littered with work, an unorganized mess that set his nerves on fire, long scratches along the angry red hives that covered his arms. He lived for order, did some of his best work while under stress but this was more than just simple stress, it was a chaos that Percy couldn’t cope with. For hours he sat hunched over, carefully transcribing everything from Fudge’s work to what the new Minister of Magic needed, vital information that had been locked away to keep the fear down. The truth got out though, always did and everything Fudge had been doing, trying to hide away from the public eye was now out for all to see.
The soft knock perked his attention from his work, shoulders tense as he waited. People were going missing, taken right out from under their own roofs and alone in a flat, Percy felt the pit sink into his stomach. It took a moment, for the exhausted laugh to escape him at the fear. Death Eaters wouldn’t knock. His mind was playing tricks on him, the lack of sleep messing with his mind. Percy leaned back with a heavy sigh as he ran his hand through his disheveled hair. He needed sleep, just to rest his eyes for a few minutes either that or he needed stronger tea.
He eyed the paperwork, his body aching as he rose to his feet and for the kettle. He heard it again, the knock louder this time around and Percy’s brows furrowed as he stared at the door. Not many knew exactly where he lived; his parents, Scrimgeour, Zoshia and Felix. Five people, three of which no longer spoke to him. Wand hidden in the back pocket of his jeans, Percy opened the door enough just to see. Red hair and freckles greeted him and he took a step back in surprise.
“George?” His confusion was evident, Percy opening the door fully in expecting to find the other half of the twins beside him, but George stood alone. His mind raced, a million different scenarios that played out before him. Fred and George went hand in hand, the one always with the other. Unless . . . “Where’s Fred? Is everything okay - oh Merlin, is it mum or dad?”
George regarded him coldly, arms crossed. “Ah, so you do still remember us?”
Percy scoffed, a rush of anger that had him pushing the door closed on the familiar face. George’s foot wedged between the door, all attempts to close it futile. In rough push, George stepped fully into the flat, Percy braced up against the wall from the shove of the door.
“Just invite yourself in why don’t you. Make yourself right at home,” Percy spat sarcastically. He took a quick glance into the hall before he closed the door and locked it.
“Not like you were going too,” George replied pointedly. “You making tea? I’d love a cup.”
Not seeing a chance of getting George out from his flat, Percy made his annoyance known as he roughly slammed the cupboard as he retrieved a second cup. “What exactly is it that you want?” A single tea bag remained in the large box, a reminder of how work had taken over everything. He didn’t dare open the fridge, the barren shelves would be all that was there to greet him. There was no time for food shopping, no time to do anything that involved caring for himself. “You okay with black tea?”
Percy caught the grumble from his brother but ultimate agreement to have the tea as Percy made it. “Dad said you haven’t responded to Bill and Fleur yet about the wedding.”
Of course that was why he came. He put his focus on steeping George’s tea, pretending to make himself one as well. He didn’t want him to know, to think that Percy was struggling. “I heard you and Fred opened shop.”
“Don’t change the subject, Perce.” He took the cup offered to him in thanks. “This is Bill’s wedding we’re talking about. You have to be there.”
Percy took a sip of the hot water. He wanted to be there, kept the invitation neatly tucked away in his room in hope that the war would be over before it even started, that things could return to normal or some semblance of it. Until then things had to remain the way they were. Percy stuck with the Ministry to protect his family from becoming targets but now his loyalty did exactly what he was hoping to stop. He was a target with the secrets he held from Fudge, his connection to Scrimgeour. The allure of returning home now was shattered, Percy knowing exactly what would happen if he did. No one saw his family as a connection to him anymore and any attack on him would just be that, him and him alone. He had no one left, no friends or family to be used to hurt him, sway him to give death eaters what they wanted. His family wouldn’t understand or see that by still keeping his distance he was doing the only thing he could to protect them.
“I’m rather busy with work at the moment.”
“It’s practically a year away! I’m sure your precious work will give you a day off.” George waited a moment before he added quietly. “It’d mean the world to mum.”
He knew what to say to get under Percy’s skin, even if Percy didn’t show it. The memory of slamming the door in Molly’s face, pushing her as far from him as he could was still fresh in his mind. He still heard her pleas for him to stop as he left the Burrow. “I can’t.”
“Yes, you can. Just put that blasted ego aside and be there for your family for once in your life.”
Percy’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Send my apologies.”
“Whose side are you on here?”
The question threw him, a question that Percy wasn’t even certain he held the answer too. He wanted to believe he was on the right side, the noble side but he had been wrong. “Where’s Fred?” He turned the questions around, tired of being the one always to answer, bullied into things he didn’t want. “He didn’t want to come with you I take it, doesn’t want to see me?” Percy knew he was right by the solemn look on George’s face and he offered half a smile. “I feel like that will a common feeling if I showed up to the wedding.”
“It’s nearly a year away, you have time to mend things.”
Percy swallowed hard as he sat down on the cheap couch, finding the only route to take that would get George to listen, make him leave. “You don’t understand; you have no concept of what it’s like to have to constantly be perfect. You’re allowed to make mistakes and are forgiven easily for it. You’re allowed to be you. Bloody hell, you abandoned your education to open a joke shop and everyone cheered you on, supported you and Fred because it was your dream. What did I get? Berated from the moment I said I wanted to work in the Ministry. I know I made a mistake in leaving, don’t for one second think I don’t, but no matter what path I chose I would never have been good enough.”
George stood awkwardly, no attempt to argue as he downed his tea with a grimace. “Just think about it, you have time so don’t just refuse immediately.”
Percy followed him to the door, a heaviness in his heart that he already knew the answer wasn’t going to change. The future was bleak, an almost certainty of war on the horizon. “It was good seeing you.” Percy didn’t wait for his brother to respond, the door closing heavily as Percy leaned up against it in defeat.
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