Perfect: Ink Stains
Ignatius Weasley. Age? Seventeen. Education? Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry, Prefect, Head Boy. O.W.L.s? Twelve. N.E.W.T.s? ...
The application went on and on, four feet of parchment. Percy had been
preparing himself for this opportunity as long as he could remember, had worked
towards it harder than anything else in the last seven years of his life. All
this preparation... even four feet didn't seem quite long enough.
Percy laid his quill down on
his desk carefully, being sure not to spill any ink on the parchment. He slid
his glasses off his face, rubbing his eyes with his long, slender fingers.
The door to the small room
opened, allowing the noise from the common room to drift into the seventh-year
boys' dormitory. Percy's sole roommate, Oliver Wood, entered and walked towards
his own desk, closing the door behind him. "'Lo, Percy."
Percy, still rubbing his eyes.
Oliver opened a desk drawer
and began rummaging through it, apparently searching for something. "What
are you doing up here by yourself, anyway?" he asked casually.
Percy let his hand fall from
his face. "Going over my application for the Ministry of Magic."
Oliver frowned. "God,
man, have you been doing that all night? It's your last night at Hogwarts.
There'll be time for jobs and all that garbage after we've been forced into the
adult Wizarding world."
Percy looked at him.
"Will there? Be time, I mean?"
Oliver laughed. "Of
course. Besides, with your marks, you're sure to get a top spot." He
stopped digging through the drawer and, grinning, pulled out a pack of
"Still, I want to get my
application in as early as is possible. I only wish I could have received my
N.E.W.T. scores earlier -- my application could have been in much--"
"Percy," Oliver cut
him off. "Not to be melodramatic or anything, but this is our last night
of childhood and we've just won the House Championship. I, for one, am going
downstairs to celebrate with people whom I may not see for years. I would
suggest you do the same." He smiled, stood, and headed towards the door.
"Oliver," Percy said
The stocky boy stopped and
turned towards him. "Yes?"
"Am I..." Percy
swallowed. "Was I a good roommate?"
Oliver regarded him for a
moment, then walked to the other side of the room and sat on Percy's bed.
"That's an interesting question, Percy. I'm not sure what you mean by
Percy put his glasses back on.
"I mean... well... has it been so awful, sharing a room with me the last
Oliver frowned thoughtfully.
"Well... let's see.
You've never been noisy while I'm trying to sleep or study, you usually lend me
your class notes to study off of, and, until tonight, you've never bothered me
with weird personal questions," he finished, grinning.
Percy stiffened. "I'm sorry
to have bothered you, then," he said, turning towards his desk, picking up
his quill, and dipping it into the inkwell.
Oliver reached over and took
the quill out of Percy's hand. "Relax, mate, it was a joke." Percy
still didn't look at him. "Oh, come on," Oliver said, "You have
to admit it's a little strange, us having never talked about anything other
than classes or the weather or 'all right if I blow out the lamp now?'"
Percy turned to face him.
"Why is that, Oliver?"
Oliver threw up his hands in
exasperation. "Christ, Percy, I don't know, maybe it's because you're
always studying?" he said, indicating the parchment and quill on Percy's
Percy's eyes flashed behind
his glasses. "Well, it's not like you've made an effort to be pals with
me, is it? Talking about me always studying -- what about your precious
"What about my Quidditch?
At least Quidditch doesn't stop me from making time to talk to people!"
"I talk to people!
"Yeah, where is Penelope,
anyway? I haven't seen the two of you together since before winter
"I -- we--"
"Percy, you're fine as a
roommate, okay? But why can't you, just once, relax and enjoy yourself?"
"I enjoy myself,
Oliver," Percy said coldly.
"Oh, yeah, you enjoy
yourself. That's why you isolate yourself from everybody else during your last
night at Hogwarts and then try to pick a fight with me just so you'll have
somebody to talk to--"
"What do you know about
me?" Percy exclaimed, grabbing his quill out of Oliver's hand. "After
all, we've never talked about anything other than classes or the weather
"You can't live with
someone for seven years without noticing stuff about him!"
"Such as an obsessive
need to establish his intellectual superiority with everyone he meets!"
"Not to mention the
anal-retentive fixation with adhering to trivial rules!"
'Anal-retentive fixation with adhering to trivial rules'? Where'd you learn
doesn't render me completely brainless."
"Well, you've certainly
worked hard at establishing that very image."
"Not as hard as you've
worked on your image."
"Do you think that's all
I care about?"
"Do you care about
"Is there anything else I
can afford to care about?"
"Well, maybe if you'd
just take the time to relax for once-"
"I can't just relax,
"Oh, sure you can, it's
easy -- or maybe it's just easy for those of lesser intelligence than that of
the marvelous head boy..."
"You don't know what it's
"What, to think I'm
better than every--"
"To have to be perfect
all the time!" Percy shouted, slamming his quill down on his desk. Ink
slowly spread across the parchment, but he failed to notice.
The boys glared at each other
for several moments. Oliver was the first to speak. "Look, Percy," he
said quietly, I shouldn't've--"
"No," said Percy,
taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes again, "don't worry about
"No, Percy, I had no
right to say any of that."
"It's not like I haven't
heard it before. Haven't you met my brothers?"
"That's why I shouldn't've
said that. You get enough from your family. You don't need it from your
Percy looked at Oliver.
"Oh, so that's what you are?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Oliver shrugged. "That's
another thing about living with someone for seven years. You sort of get to
like having them around."
Percy smiled wryly.
"Funny. Fred and George have lived with me for fifteen years, and they
don't seem to like having me around in the slightest."
Oliver laughed. "I
wouldn't be too offended by that. Sometimes I think those two don't like having
anyone around but each other."
Percy smiled warmly.
Oliver stood. "Come
downstairs with me."
Percy shook his head. "I
"Come on, I'll even
protect you from your brothers."
Percy thought for a moment,
then said with a slow smile, "Yeah, all right." He slipped his
glasses on. "Just let me--" he noticed the ink stained application
for the first time. "Oh, bloody hell, what have I done?"
Oliver shrugged. "You'll
get a new one tomorrow."
Percy stood, holding the parchment
at arm's length. "How could I be so careless?" he said, shaking his
head despondently. "Look at it. It's terrible."
Oliver regarded him for a
moment, then took the application from Percy's hand. "Odd," he said,
studying it, "I think it's perfect." He grinned at Percy, crumpled
the parchment into a ball, and tossed it at the trash can.
It hit the rim and bounced
back out onto the floor. As if by reflex, Percy bent down to pick it up, then
stopped himself. Straightening, he grinned at Oliver. "Let's go
downstairs, then?" he said.
Oliver nodded and Percy opened
the door. With an extravagant gesture, Percy said, "After you."
Oliver bowed slightly to his friend and walked through the door. Percy followed
him down the first couple of steps, then ran back up and closed the door behind
anal-retentive," he told his roommate when he rejoined him.