The Sugar Quill
Author: Fitchburg Finch (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Education of Percy Weasley  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Percy Weasley opened his eyes abruptly

 

The Education of Percy Weasley

By

Fitchburg Finch

 

 

Disclaimer:  J.K. Rowling owns the wonderful world of Harry Potter.  I am not J.K. Rowling.  Percy and Arthur’s row is based on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix pp. 70-73, U.S. Edition.

 

 

I’d like to say thank you to my beta-reader, NightZephyr, for her time and help.  Also, thank you to my awesome friend Lisa, the first person to read this story, for her support and encouragement.

 

 

 

Percy Weasley opened his eyes and squinted at the Sunday sunshine pouring through his window.  He instinctively took his horn-rimmed glasses off the bedside table and his blurry bedroom came into focus.  He threw back the blanket and swung his long legs over the side of the bed.  A wooden desk with several drawers stood across from the bed.  Its top was covered in spare rolls of parchment, boxes of fresh quills, and bottles of ink.  The desk chair held Percy’s neatly folded work robes.  His shoes, freshly polished, sat on the floor beneath the chair.

 

 

Hermes’ cage was on the floor beside the desk.  The screech owl was asleep with his head under his wing.  As Percy looked at Hermes, he wondered what Ron had received from their parents for making prefect.  With Ron’s new responsibilities, I’m certain he asked for something practical, he thought.  Percy’s Hogwarts trunk, which was placed at the foot of his bed, was the only other piece of furniture in the room.  It contained his school robes, his best jumpers, shirts, and trousers, and a small tin that held his gleaming prefect and Head Boy badges. 

 

 

Surveying the room, Percy admitted to himself that it was a bit sparse.  It was not as comfortable as his room at the Burrow, nor was it even as large.  However, it was affordable, and there were many wizards and witches in the area.  The London flat suited his needs, though it was not what he had imagined for the beginning of his professional life.  But it’s mine.  Besides, I might find something better soon.  The Minister did say that I was becoming indispensable, he thought with a satisfied smile. 

 

 

The rest of Percy’s belongings remained at the Burrow.  He thought of retrieving them, but quickly dismissed the notion.  He stood and crossed the room to get dressed.  I’ll collect the remainder of my belongings once my parents come to their senses and cut all ties with Dumbledore and his “crowd.”  And to think Mother tried to persuade me to return to them…  Percy paused.  Not for the first time, he remembered the night his mother visited his flat.

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy sat at his kitchen table, putting the finishing touches on a report.  He looked up from his work when he heard a soft knock at the front door.  He frowned slightly, surprised at having a visitor.  When he opened the door, he saw his mother standing on the front step.

 

 

“Hello, dear,” said Molly Weasley, with a sad smile.

 

 

“Mother-” Percy exhaled deeply.

 

 

Molly held up her hands.  “Please, Percy.  Please listen, I just want-”

 

 

“I’m sorry, Mother.  I’ve made myself very clear.  Nothing has changed.  Goodbye.”

 

 

And with that, Percy shut the door.  He knew his mother was still standing on the other side.  He pressed his hand against the closed door for a moment, and then returned to the table.  They left me with little choice, he thought.  Percy sat at the table for a long time afterward.  However, the reports remained unfinished that night.

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy blinked several times and cleared his throat.  He knew he had hurt his mother that day.  I wish it didn’t have to be this way.  But this is my only choice if they continue to follow Dumbledore instead of the Ministry.  Though Percy had respected Dumbledore as a student at Hogwarts, he was certain that the old man had lost his way.  The Minister of Magic declared Harry Potter’s story of You-Know-Who’s return to be the delusion of a troubled young man.  I am astounded that anyone could disagree.  He shook his head in disbelief. 

 

 

Percy neatly combed his hair, and glanced longingly at his work robes.  He had received an owl Friday morning instructing him to take a long weekend because the Minister had personal business.  He had remained in his flat since returning from work on Friday, and spent his time on reports for the Minister.  However, Percy had found it difficult to concentrate due to all the commotion on Saturday, the source of which did not interest Percy nearly as much as completing his work early.  The reports the Minister wanted are ready.  Perhaps I’ll go into the office after breakfast, just to hand them in.

 

 

Percy changed into his work robes, took his wand off the bedside table, and walked briskly down the narrow corridor into the kitchen.  He pointed his wand at the kettle, and steam issued forth from the nozzle.  He took a mug from the cabinet and prepared his morning coffee.  When he looked out of the window, he spotted a familiar barn owl in the sky.  He opened the window for the owl to swoop in, and stood back as it landed on the table.  It dropped his copy of the Sunday Prophet and ruffled its feathers expectantly.  Percy took a Knut from a tin on the counter, dropped it in the owl’s pouch, and shut the window after it had soared out for its next delivery.

 

 

Percy sat down at the table and unrolled the Sunday Prophet, the steaming mug of coffee in his other hand.  However, the coffee remained at arm’s length.  Percy stared in disbelief at the headline of the paper: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Returns.  He blinked and read the headline several times before it sunk in.  He continued reading, his mouth agape.  This is absurd!  How can the Prophet claim to have these direct quotes from the Minister?  He just assured them Wednesday that all is well!  Percy felt an odd tingling sensation spread throughout his body.  Though as quickly as it had come, it was gone.  He gave a nervous laugh.  Honestly!  They expect us to believe that You-Know-Who is back, that the Dementors have revolted, and that there were Death Eaters in the Ministry of Magic!  

 

 

Percy hastily tossed the paper aside and folded his arms across his chest.  Well, this must be someone’s idea of a joke.  I thought the Prophet was a respectable publication.  The Minister will not be pleased at all.  Some people are bound to be gullible enough to believe this rubbish.  The Minister will have to work even harder to proclaim the truth.  Yes, it’s best that I go into the office.  Perhaps I might be of some assistance.  And I can hand in those reports a day early.  He stood suddenly, snatched up his wand, and strode towards his bedroom.  The coffee remained untouched on the table. 

 

 

Percy put the reports, several rolls of parchment, a few quills, and two bottles of ink into his bag.  He quickly slung the bag over his shoulders, breathing heavily.  Regaining his composure, he took his wand in his hand and, with a soft pop, Apparated to the Ministry of Magic.

 

 

Percy immediately noticed the buzz of many voices in the Atrium.  He noted how unusual it was to see so many people at the Ministry on a Sunday.  Witches and wizards were clustered in small groups, whispering incessantly to each other.  None of them seemed to be in a hurry to go anywhere.  A small group of wizards were clustered around the Fountain of Magical Brethren.  Peering between them, Percy noticed that they seemed to be doing repairs. 

 

 

As Percy walked past a pair of witches, he tried to make out their hushed conversation. 

 

 

“Can you imagine?”

 

 

“I never thought I’d see the day-”

 

 

Though his curiosity was piqued, and the odd tingling sensation had returned, Percy waited for one of the lifts.  With the exception of several violet memos, he rode alone to the Minister’s office.  He frowned, feeling unsettled. 

 

 

As the lift doors opened, Percy cleared his throat and straightened his shoulders.  When he walked into the office, he saw Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, rifling through papers on a desk.

 

 

“Good morning, sir,” said Percy readily.

 

 

Fudge glanced up, looking surprised.  Percy noted that Fudge looked as though he had been awake all night. 

 

 

“I thought I told you to take a long weekend, Weasley,” said Fudge, in an annoyed tone.

 

 

Percy hesitated, puzzled by Fudge’s irritated reaction.  “Yes, sir.  Yes, you did.  It’s just that I have those reports you wanted,” said Percy eagerly, searching through his bag.  “They’re a day early, but I like to stay a step ahead,” he said, with a quick laugh. 

 

 

Fudge gave Percy a blank look before returning to the paperwork.

 

 

Percy paused, steeling himself, then said, “I saw that article in the-“

 

 

“I haven’t got time to chat now, Weasley,” said Fudge, waving his hand impatiently.  “I suppose it’s good that you’re here.  There’s much to do.  We need to get those defense guides out as soon as possible.  I’m meeting with several of the Aurors to get their suggestions, and I’ll need you to take good notes.” 

 

 

Percy felt as though all the air had left his lungs.  He opened his mouth to reply, but no sound came out.  He pushed his glasses up his nose and cleared his throat.  “Yes, sir,” he croaked.  Percy stared at Fudge with unfocused eyes.  That article was true.  He was brought back to reality by Fudge’s aggravated voice.

 

 

“Weasley!  Weasley, are you listening?  We must be going!” exclaimed Fudge. 

 

 

“Yes, sir,” said Percy in a barely audible voice. 

 

Mechanically, Percy set his bag on the floor and took out several rolls of parchment, a quill, and some ink.  He followed Fudge out of the office, hurrying to keep pace.  The rolls of parchment slipped around in his arms.  Fudge jabbed at the lift button and swept inside. 

 

 

During the ride, Percy glanced at Fudge out of the corner of his eye.  He waited, certain that Fudge would speak to him at any moment about the unbelievable news.  However, Fudge was silent.  He merely stared straight ahead.  Percy felt a rush of resentment towards Fudge.  With all I’ve done, you didn’t have the decency to tell me yourself?  But as soon as it had come, it was gone.   

 

 

“Level Two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services,” said the female voice. 

 

 

Fudge burst out of the lift, then stopped dead in his tracks and gave a great sigh.  Turning back to Percy, he said, “I’ve forgotten, I need to speak with Madam Bones.  I believe I saw her in the Atrium earlier.  I’ll be a few minutes.  Wait here, will you Weasley?”  But before Percy could reply, Fudge had already walked back into the lift and ridden away. 

 

 

With the exception of Percy, the normally bustling corridor was empty.  Everyone must be meeting in the Atrium.  Apparently, I’m the last to know, he thought with a sad smile.  Glad to be alone, Percy leaned heavily against the wall.  How could this have happened?  He felt overwhelmed, unable to process the torrent of thoughts.  He looked up at the magical windows that lined the corridor.  Though the sun was shining outside, thick drops of rain pelted the windows.

 

 

Percy heard the heavy oak doors that lead to the Auror Headquarters open, and then close.  “So Ron and Ginny are all right then, Arthur?” said a voice softly.

 

 

Percy snapped to attention at the mention of their names.  Ron and Ginny?  What’s happened?  Why didn’t anyone tell me?  Before he could restrain himself, he peered around the corner.  He noticed one of the Aurors, Nymphadora Tonks, standing outside the doors.  Arthur Weasley stood across from her.  Percy noted that he looked tired and slightly disheveled.  He looks quite healthy, though.   

 

 

Percy hastily leaned back against the wall, out of sight.  He held the rolls of parchment so tightly that they crushed against his chest. 

 

 

“Yes, Ginny’s fine,” said Arthur.  “Ron’s still in the hospital wing, but he should be released soon.”

 

 

Percy released the breath he had been holding and slumped against the wall.  He shook his head reproachfully.  I’m certain this has something to do with Harry Potter.  Ron never responded to my warning about him.  I’d hoped it was only because he was busy with schoolwork and prefect duties.  But I suspected he would be unwilling to break his ties to Harry.  Now they’ve dragged Ginny into their mess.

 

 

Percy peered around the corner once again.  In the past few months, Percy had scarcely seen his father.  When he had seen him, it had been at a distance.  Now that they were in such close proximity, Percy was flooded with memories of his father’s accident. 

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy sat at his kitchen table, stunned.  His heart pounding, he read aloud in a shaky voice the note that was clenched in his hand.  “Percy, Dad has had a very serious accident.  He has been taken to St. Mungo’s.  I am on my way there.  Mum.”

 

 

He stood up to Apparate to the hospital.  Suddenly, he felt full of doubt.  What if I’m not welcome there?  Well, that’s ridiculous.  Mum wouldn’t have contacted me if they didn’t want me there.  What if Dad gets upset when he sees me?  I could make him worse.  Will he notice if I’m not there? 

 

 

Percy remained in his flat for several hours.  He paced the floor, torn over what to do.  Though he felt ill at the thought of what could be happening to his father, his stubbornness fought for control.  If I go, they’ll think I’ve changed my mind.  But if I don’t go, and something happens…  Before he could change his mind again, he Apparated to St. Mungo’s.

 

 

When Percy arrived, the reception area was almost empty.  “I’m looking for Arthur Weasley,” he said in a muted voice. 

 

 

The blond witch behind the counter looked him up and down.  “Another one?” she asked.  “First floor, second door on the right, Dai Llewellyn ward” she added in a bored voice.

 

 

As Percy walked away, he felt a rush of anger rise in his chest.  You wouldn’t have gotten injured if you weren’t involved with Dumbledore.  Will it be worth it if one, or both, of you die?  Don’t you realize you could leave Ron and Ginny alone?  I can’t believe you’re taking this irresponsible risk over one of Harry Potter’s stories.  We would have been better off if we had never met him.

 

 

Percy arrived at the “Creature-Induced Injuries” corridor.  When he reached the second door on the right, he looked through the small window in the door.  He immediately spotted his father’s vivid red hair.  All of Percy’s anger at his parents was suddenly replaced with concern.  His father was lying in bed, propped up by a couple of pillows.  His mother sat on the side of the bed, looking pale and exhausted.  She held one of his hands in her own, her head bowed.

 

 

Once again, Percy fought a battle within himself.  He felt as though he would either burst through the door or run away.  Torn, he remained outside the room.  He rested his hot forehead against the cool window, his hand on the doorknob.  When he saw his mother get up off the bed, he walked briskly down the empty corridor and left the hospital.  When he returned to his flat, he sat heavily at the kitchen table with his head in his hands.   

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy shook his head, breaking his reverie.  He silently chided himself for dwelling on the past.  He looked around the corner once more.

 

 

“I’m glad to hear Ron and Ginny are doing well,” said Tonks.  “And from what I’ve seen,” she added with a grin, “Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes is doing a booming business.”

 

 

“Yes, those two are quite enterprising,” said Arthur, with a laugh.

 

 

Percy sneered disdainfully.  He was not at all surprised that Fred and George had opened a joke shop, only that there people willing to spend Galleons on their brand of rubbish.

 

 

“Molly was very disappointed that they left school to start it, though,” said Arthur with a slight grimace.

 

 

Percy frowned.  It won’t be the last time they disappoint her, either.  Percy felt a stab of guilt as he remembered returning his Weasley jumper at Christmas.

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy placed his notes on the desk in his bedroom.  He spread them out across the surface and unscrewed a bottle of ink.  He pulled the chair in close, his back rigid.  Just as he dipped the quill in the ink, he heard a dull thud.  He turned in his chair, startled.  He opened the window and saw Errol, the Weasley family owl, hooting quietly on the ground under the window.  Percy felt his stomach plummet.  It’s Dad.  I’ve missed my chance.  It’s too late.  He clenched the windowsill, trying to catch his breath.  When he opened his eyes, he noticed that there was no note attached to Errol’s leg.  Somewhat relieved, he leaned out of the window and scooped Errol up. 

 

 

Percy noticed a familiar, lumpy package underneath Errol.  He untied the package from Errol’s leg and settled him in Hermes’ cage.  As Percy carried the bundle to his bed, he felt an odd mixture of relief and annoyance.  He knew immediately that it was his Weasley jumper.  As Christmas drew closer, Percy had wondered if the traditional gift would arrive.  Mother shouldn’t have bothered, he thought as he touched the string on the package.  I’m much too old for such things.  In his haste to leave the Burrow, he had left his jumper from the previous Christmas behind.  Each time he opened his Hogwarts trunk, he noticed its absence.  I suppose I could keep it, he thought, tugging on the string. 

 

 

“No,” he said, his voice loud in the quiet flat.  “I can’t keep this, they’ll think I’ve changed my mind.  But I haven’t, I don’t want to go home.”

 

 

“I’m very happy,” he said, much more quietly.  “I have an excellent job, and this flat suits me nicely.  Besides, I simply don’t belong there.  I certainly don’t miss Fred and George’s constant remarks.”  I could have taught Ron the ins and outs of the prefect trade, he thought, with a small smile.  Ginny will be taking her O.W.L.’s next year.  I could have helped her review.

 

 

“No, I can’t,” he said stubbornly.  “I’ll simply write to Mother and explain it to her.” 

 

 

Percy left the package on his bed and returned to his desk.  He sat for close to an hour, but had nothing to show for it except a few blotches of ink on the page.  He crumpled the parchment in frustration and threw it on the floor.  He looked at the package until he could no longer stand the sight of it.  He turned to rouse Errol, but one look at the exhausted owl changed his mind.

 

 

Percy spent a restless night in his bed.  He dreamed of Quidditch, mince pies, and plugs.  In the morning, he woke Errol and lifted him out of Hermes’ cage.

 

 

“Errol, I need you to take this back,” he said, reattaching the package to Errol’s leg.  The owl blinked slowly, as if waiting for something.  “No, there’s nothing else,” said Percy, turning away to open the window.  He watched Errol fly away slowly.  Percy looked on the floor at the crumpled parchment, and sat heavily at his desk.  At least I’ll get an early start on those notes.  Through the ceiling, he heard his neighbors calling “Happy Christmas” to each other and singing carols.  He glared up at them.

 

 

“Don’t you realize that some people have work to do?”  Percy said sternly. 

 

 

*************************     

 

 

Percy was startled by the sound of the doors to Auror Headquarters opening and closing.  For a moment, his mind was blank.  Suddenly, he turned and walked towards the lift, his heart racing.  He resisted the urge to look over his shoulder for his father as he punched at the lift button.  Just as the lift doors opened and Percy was about to step inside, he heard his father call to him.

 

 

“Hello, Percy,” said Arthur.

 

 

Percy turned, and for the first time in months, he was face to face with his father.  He felt his entire body become rigid, and he heard the rolls of parchment crunch as he clenched them.  Percy saw his tension reflected in his father’s face.  He recognized the anger in his father’s eyes, and it forcibly reminded him of the row they had had the night he left the Burrow.

 

 

*************************

 

 

Percy could barely contain his excitement.  Junior Assistant to the Minister!  I was so afraid that inquiry would botch my chances for promotion.  An honest mistake, really.  How was I to notice anything unusual with Mr. Crouch?  I was simply doing my job.  Well, the Ministry certainly recognizes talent when they see it!  Percy took a deep breath to calm himself before Apparating home.  With a soft pop, he appeared in the kitchen of the Burrow.  Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny were scattered around, collecting various items to pack for the Order’s Headquarters.  Arthur sat quietly at the table.

 

 

“Dad!  Dad!”  Percy shouted.

 

 

Arthur looked up, startled.  “Percy?  What is it?”

 

 

“Dad, I’ve been promoted!  I’m the new Junior Assistant to the Minister!”  Percy exclaimed, his chest thrown out haughtily.  Ron and Ginny froze.  They turned their surprised faces towards Percy.  Fred and George looked up for a moment, exchanged an incredulous look, and continued to rummage around the kitchen.

 

 

But Arthur merely sighed.  “I thought this might happen,” he said, adjusting his glasses.

 

 

“Well, yes, of course,” Percy continued, irritated at his father’s lack of reaction.  “I’ve worked very hard at the Ministry.  It was only a matter of time before they took notice.  I thought you’d be pleased,” said Percy in a hurt voice.

 

 

“Percy,” said Arthur sadly, “I’m sorry, but I think Fudge has other reasons for promoting you.”

 

 

“What do you mean?” said Percy.  He could feel his ears growing hot.

 

 

Arthur stood up to face him, and took a steadying breath.  “Fudge has been trying to keep tabs on everyone at the Ministry.  He wants to make sure no one is in contact with Dumbledore.  And he’s made it clear that anyone who is can clear out their desks.  Fudge thinks that Dumbledore is trying to make trouble for the Ministry.”

 

 

“And just what does that have to do with my promotion?” said Percy, clenching his jaw.

 

 

“Fudge doesn’t need an assistant, Percy.  He needs a spy, and you fit the bill perfectly,” said Arthur.  “Fudge suspects I’m in contact with Dumbledore, and he’s never seen eye to eye with me about Muggles.  If you’re his assistant, he can keep tabs on our family and Dumbledore.”

 

 

Percy said nothing.  He glared at the table, his hands gripped on the back of one of the chairs. 

 

 

“You’re lying!”  Percy yelled suddenly.  “You’re lying to me because you can’t stand to see me getting ahead of you!  I’ve finally established myself at the Ministry and you hate it!  Well, you won’t be holding me back any longer!”

 

 

“Holding you back?”  Arthur sputtered.

 

 

“Yes!  If you haven’t noticed, Father, you have a lousy reputation at the Ministry.  People think you’re a Muggle-loving fool!”  Percy snarled. 

 

 

Arthur was stunned, which pleased Percy.  Fred and George stared at Percy, astounded.  Percy continued with renewed vigor.

 

 

“All you’re interested in is tinkering with Muggle rubbish in the shed!  If you had any ambition at all, this family wouldn’t be so poor!  Everywhere I go in the Ministry, I have to combat your reputation!  Well, no more!  You’re an idiot to follow Dumbledore!  He may have been a great wizard once, but he’s headed for big trouble and you’ll go down with him.  My loyalty is to the Ministry.  They recognize their faithful employees.  That’s the only reason I was promoted!”  Percy roared, pounding his fist on the table. 

 

 

Percy reveled in his father’s shocked expression.  He quickly changed course.  “Haven’t you been reading the Daily Prophet, Father?”  He asked with a skeptical laugh.  “Harry Potter is a joke!  You’re willing to turn against the Ministry over one of his mad stories?” 

 

 

“Now, see here Percy!”  Arthur shouted furiously.  “It isn’t a story!  As much as a I wish it weren’t, it’s true!”

 

 

Percy continued as if his father hadn’t replied.  “Well, if you and Mother insist on being traitors, then you’ve left me with little choice.  I’ll make sure everyone knows that I don’t belong to this family anymore!” 

 

 

Percy gasped for breath, his entire body felt as if it were on fire.  He ignored their shocked faces and stormed up the stairs.  He burst through his bedroom door, and threw his belongings into his Hogwarts trunk.  He could hear his father pounding up the stairs after him.

 

 

“You’re being ridiculous, Percy!” shouted Arthur, his chest heaving as he came into the room.

 

 

“I’m leaving,” said Percy, much more calmly than he felt.  “I don’t belong in this family, I never have.”

 

 

Arthur stared at Percy, bewildered.  “Of course you belong in this family!” said Arthur, in an exasperated tone.

 

 

“No, I don’t,” said Percy simply.  “Obviously, we have different priorities.”

 

 

*************************

 

 

Taken aback by the vivid memory, Percy stared at Arthur.  Judging by the look on his father’s face, Percy knew they had just relived the same confrontation.

 

 

Percy looked away.  I was wrong.  Percy felt as though a pair of heavy hands were griping his shoulders.

 

 

Both Percy and Arthur jumped slightly at the sound of the lift’s arrival.  They turned to look at Fudge, who bristled at the sight of Arthur.  Fudge swept past them and stopped near the doors to Auror Headquarters.

 

 

“Now, Weasley!  What is the matter with you today?”  Fudge said in an irritated tone. 

 

 

“Everything is fine, sir,” Percy replied in a forced voice. 

 

 

Fudge glared at the pair of them, tapping his foot expectantly.

 

 

Percy stood in the middle between Fudge and his father.  He felt the weight of his father’s gaze, but could not meet his eyes.  For a fleeting instant, Percy thought of remaining with him.  But before he could take a step forward, his pride held him back.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  Mechanically, Percy adjusted the items in his arms.  He straightened his shoulders and walked after Fudge, alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

//
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