The Sugar Quill
Author: Julu  Story: Hiding  Chapter: Prologue
Next Chapter
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Everything belongs to JK Rowling...including the wonderful mysterious Percy.

Hiding
By Julu

The Prologue

Molly Weasley gripped the banister tightly as she followed Arthur and Sirius up the curving staircase of 12 Grimmauld Place.

"I'm - uh - taking the portraits down," Sirius was saying. He had propped them all along the walls and they hissed at her, obviously enraged to be displaced. "There are bedrooms on both sides of this hall, and more up the next flight. You can choose any you like for your family. My room's up at the very top."

He looked awkward and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Well, I'll leave you to it then, but don't be long. People are arriving."

Molly paced down the hall and shook her head. "Arthur, this place is infested with Dark Magic. You can’t expect me to bring the children here. No one could sleep at night."

"Well now, I know it needs a bit of attention, dear but…" Arthur opened a door, only to shut it quickly as a burst of winter wind struck him in the face, "But really, it's nothing a little elbow grease won't solve and it will keep the children busy to help you. If anyone can get this place in ship shape, you know it’s you."

Her eyes narrowed dangerously at her husband’s flattery and his smile faded. "I know it’s bad, Molly. But it’s safe. The safest place outside of Hogwarts."

She sighed and peeked inside the next room. It was dusty and filled with cobwebs. A snoozing portrait hung over the bed and in the corner sat a lovely antique desk. "Well, perhaps I shall let them all pick their own rooms tomorrow. They will have to tackle whatever pests they find. That should keep them out of trouble for about a half hour." She sucked the dust from the desk with her wand then pulled out a handkerchief to polish the wood. "I'll clean this one, though. This one should work for Percy."

"Molly, there's something we need to talk about," Arthur began. But before he could finish, Bill's voice drifted in from down the hall.

"Mum, Dad, where are you?" He appeared breathless in the doorway. "What are you two doing in here? Dumbledore's arrived and everyone's waiting on you."

"Oh my goodness!" Molly bustled from the room and they hurried down the stairs. At the bottom of the steps, a bright red head and a sunburned face greeted her. "Charlie!"

"Hi Mum," Charlie grinned as she gave him a large hug and a quick peck on the cheek.

"What are you doing here? Are you staying? Can you come home tonight?"

"No Mum. I’m only here for tonight’s meeting. I’ve got to Apparate straight back, but," he paused, "I wouldn’t want to miss this."

Charlie ushered her into what had once been the Black's formal dining hall. Standing around an ornately carved table, the members of the Order of the Phoenix were already deep in conversation. At the head of the table stood Albus Dumbledore. He nodded as the Weasleys took their seats and Professor McGonagall tapped her water glass with her wand causing a brilliant bell sound to echo through the room. "Let’s all take our seats please, there’s still much to accomplish this evening."

The group sat quickly and everyone turned to Dumbledore, who sealed all doors but one before he spoke. "This evening’s meeting was called to vote on the induction of a new member of the Order and to discuss his role within our midst. I will dispense with lengthy and formal introductions because I think you all know him. Arthur if you’ll bring him in, please."

Arthur rose and went to the one unsealed door at the back of the hall. In a matter of seconds, he reappeared with the new inductee.

"What, in Merlin's name, is Percy doing here?" Molly gasped as the door sealed behind them.

**

Percy paced the worn carpet of the small sitting room and went over his strategy for the hundredth time. Project confidence. Stand tall, it makes you look older. Look people in the eye. He ran his hand through his curly red hair and took a deep breath thinking of whom it was he would have to look in the eye. Bill and Charlie would be there. He didn’t know if that thought made him feel better or worse. Professor Lupin, Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore.

His stomach did a flip. They would all know. Know what he did, or more precisely what he didn’t do. Know how foolish he had been. What had Penelope told him? Learn from your mistakes and move on.

The thought of her made his pulse slow. She said she loved him. She said he could make mistakes if she could too. She said she was proud of the person he was, not the job he had. He would do this for her. He would do this for Mr. Crouch. He would do this for the people he had let down.

Suddenly his father stood in the door. "It’s time, son."

Percy took a deep breath and pulled himself straight to his full height. It was time to be a man.

**

Dumbledore pointed his wand between Charlie and Bill and the table expanded to include space for the extra chair that dropped magically from the ceiling. "Please join us Percy."

Bill and Charlie gave their brother encouraging nods, as did Professor McGonagall. Professor Snape eyed Percy with a curled lip as all eyes turned toward the Weasley family.

"Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?" Molly asked around the table and several eyes lowered to study their hands. "Arthur, what is going on?"

"Molly, dear, Percy has volunteered for the Order, but his mission is unique and we can only discuss it in a closed meeting."

"What do you mean his ‘mission’?" Her voice was beginning to rise. "What mission? Aren’t four Weasley’s in the Order enough? Percy I demand to know what is this ridiculous talk about a ‘mission.’" Molly had turned on her son and was now slowly rising from her chair. Bill pulled her back down and offered a reassuring pat.

"Molly, you are, of course, right." Dumbledore said gently. "You deserve a full explanation. Percy please tell us the circumstances that bring you here tonight."

Percy cleared his throat and held his head up even though red splotches were cropping across his cheeks. "Everyone here knows the mistake I made last year, not questioning Mr. Crouch’s absence. My naivete lead to Mr. Crouch’s death at the hands of his own son."

"What happened was not your fault," Molly said sharply. Percy cut his eyes toward his mother but continued quickly.

"Despite my misjudgment, I have recently been offered a position as a junior assistant to the Minister of Magic. A promotion for which I am sure Fudge has ulterior motives."

"To spy on us," Moody growled from across the table. "He is a slimy mole rat."

"Yes, well," Percy continued stiffly, "as Fudge has instructed all open supporters of Dumbledore to leave the Ministry and as it is a position that would allow close access to the Minister and his dealings…"

"Oh no, no, no, no…" Molly interrupted. "I can see where this is going. What were you all thinking? This will never work. First, take away the fact that Percy is only nineteen and this is a position for an experienced wizard."

"Mother, please," Percy whispered.

"Well it is," Molly said sternly. "We all know Fudge is surrounding himself with known Death Eaters. If a slight slip came along that Percy was leaking to us, well, I don’t want to think about it. Secondly, why in the world would the Minister trust a Weasley? It’s laughable really! If Fudge suspects Arthur, why would he trust Arthur’s son? I can’t believe you haven’t thought this all through!"

Molly looked expectantly around the room and stillness fell over the entire table. From the far end Minerva McGonagall let out a small sniff as everyone slowly looked away from Molly. Even Snape seemed very interested in a portrait on the opposite wall.

"What? Why are you all acting so strange? Arthur? Percy? Bill?" Molly turned to each in turn.

"Mother," Percy said quietly, "we have thought it through; there is a way for it to work."

"It would take some acting, Molly, on all our parts." Arthur added gently. "We’d have to pretend, we’d have to make them believe."

"Believe what!" Molly almost shouted as she looked desperately around the room.

"Mum," Bill continued, "In order for this to work Percy will have to completely cut ties with our family. Everyone who is not a member of the Order must believe that he has sided against us and with Fudge."

"And that means everyone, Mum," Charlie added, "including the rest of the family. Especially the rest of the family."

"It shouldn’t be too hard." Percy muttered.

"No, no…" Molly shook her head as tears welled up in her eyes. "Please Percy. Arthur this is too dangerous."

"Mum, don’t you know the danger I was in all last year?" Percy’s voice raised with the same passion as his mother. "Two people died because I didn’t do anything. Now is my chance to make a difference. I’ll be smarter this time."

"I’m afraid I must agree with the boy’s mother," Professor Snape spoke from the far end of the room. "The boy has proved easily manipulated. How do we know he won’t be influenced by the authority that will surround him?"

"A fair question," Dumbledore replied. He turned steady blue eyes back to Percy. "Percy, can you answer Professor Snape?"

Percy lowered his eyes for only a moment. "I have learned that I must answer first, not to any other man but to my own conscience. Those of you around this table have helped to shape my conscience, my mother, father, brothers and teachers. But in the end I answer to myself and I bear the responsibility for my choices. This is my choice and I'll face the consequences - whatever they are."

There was silence around the table. "Are you sure, Percy?" Professor Lupin said gently. "You are young and you have much to live for. Do you really understand what might be asked of you?"

Percy looked at his mother as tears streamed down her cheeks. He thought of Ron and Ginny and the dangers they had faced. And he thought of Penelope. Penelope cold and hard, her soft curls turned to stone.

"I understand, professor, and yes, I'm sure."

Dumbledore broke the silence. "In order to proceed with a strategy of this nature it will require a unanimous vote and I think the time has come for a call. All those in favor of accepting Percy Ignatius Weasley into the Order of the Phoenix, please raise your wand. You must know that with your vote you swear to keep the nature of his work a secret as it protects not only his life but the mission of our Order."

Bill and Charlie rose to their feet with Dumbledore and shot beams of light toward the center of the ceiling where they joined at a point. Arthur stood and lifted his wand as did Remus and Sirius. Soon beams of light were joining from all around the room. With a long cold stare, Snape stood.

Percy took a deep breath and turned to look at his mother who watched him through red and puffy eyes. She offered him the smallest of smiles as she too rose from her chair, her wand bursting with fiery red sparks.

"Well, Mr. Weasley, I think that should do it," Dumbledore said. "Please stand and join the Order of the Phoenix."

Percy stood and sent a golden beam of light toward the vortex and when it connected, a glimmering Phoenix burst from the multiple unions. It soared three times around the room before it disappeared into the ceiling.

"Now," said Dumbledore, "if everyone would retire to another room, we will leave the Weasley’s to their good-byes."

One by one the members came forward to shake Percy’s hand and then they disappeared behind doors into the Black mansion. When they had all left, Dumbledore turned. "Molly, I am sorry for what you must do tonight."

"No," said Molly with a look of resolution. "We will do what is necessary to protect all our children. We know there is information they are not ready to handle."

Dumbledore nodded sadly, but then turned to Percy with a hint of a smile. "I will go, but first Percy, I believe there is one other person who will not easily believe your position on the Ministry and who might be severely hurt by this charade."

Bill and Charlie exchanged grins. But Percy turned white instead of red. "Yes sir, there is."

"I will give you this bit of advice," the older wizard said with a raised eyebrow. "While you may not divulge information, I cannot control what a smart Ravenclaw deduces for herself. If you should need help, let me know."

"Yes sir, I can handle it."

"I bet you can," Charlie snickered under his breath.

"Good luck Percy. You’ll hear from us soon." Dumbledore turned and was gone.

Bill and Charlie smiled and embraced Percy, in turn. "We’re proud of you little brother," Charlie said.

"The only one who can pull this off," Bill grinned. "You always were a little sneak."

"I’m glad I don’t have to witness it tonight," Charlie said, his face falling.

Molly’s lip trembled as she smoothed imaginary wrinkles from Percy’s robe. "What are you going to do Percy? Where will you live? How will you cook? Who’ll wash your clothes?"

Percy looked seriously down at his mother and kissed her forehead. "I have a flat already arranged for tonight in London. And I think I’ll learn to manage those other things."

Molly threw her arms around his waist. "You are so stubborn and hard headed. Just like, just like…"

"Just like you Molly," Arthur finished. "Good luck son. I’m proud of you." Arthur shook his son’s hand before pulling him into an embrace.

"Father, for the things I'm about to say tonight, I am truly sorry." Percy said.

"Well, we shall put on a good show of it," Arthur sighed. They all looked at each other in silence for a long minute.

"Well," Percy said at last. "So we begin."

He turned his back to leave and continued walking, even as his mother’s sobs echoed in the room behind him.
//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --