The Sugar Quill
Author: Jen (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Just Some Harmless Brotherly Advice  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.

A/N: This is my bit of Christmas fluff to add to the masses. I hope that everyone has a happy whatever they celebrate :)

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.

***

Percy knelt, a look of great sincerity plastered across his face.

"Penelope, you know I've been in love with you since our fifth year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, when we were both named prefects and first conversed in that first fateful prefects meeting. Your eyes enchanted me, your beauty astounded me, you have a sensible head on your shoulders, and you are possibly the finest woman ever to be placed on this earth. Throughout my experiences in Hogwarts as a prefect during my fifth and sixth years, and as Head Boy in my seventh, and my time working in various departments at the Ministry, I have not met one girl who would weaken my resolve on the aforementioned point. As you know, I have a good job; I've just been promoted, and my salary has increased significantly. I know I live with my parents right now, but I plan on moving out soon. I…we are grown now, and should live on our own…together. What I'm trying to say is, Penelope Clearwater, will you marry me?"

"Oh yes, Percy, yes!"

Percy jumped at the sound of the mocking falsetto voice that had answered him, causing his horn-rimmed glasses to go askew, and turned so red that he became nearly indistinguishable from a radish.

"Bill!" he squeaked after he saw who the voice belonged to. "Wh-what are you d-doing out here? Why aren't you inside with everyone else?"

"Came out for a breath of fresh air," Bill replied nonchalantly, smiling as he surveyed the snow covered yard behind The Burrow, the Weasley home. "Christmas parties overwhelm me after awhile. How about you?"

"Well, I…"

"Going to propose to Penny, eh Romeo?"

Percy turned redder, if possible. "That is none of your business, Bill. Now excuse me; I have some work to do."

"Hey now, wait just a minute," Bill interjected, stopping Percy from passing him on the path. "First of all, you're on vacation and I forbid you to work through your vacation. Second, I'm on your side here, and I just want to offer you some harmless brotherly advice; what do you think I'll do, tease you?"

"Frankly, yes."

"Well you're absolutely right of course, but I'll at least wait for a respectable amount of time after she rejects you to begin doing that. I'm not one of the twins, you know."

"Why on earth should she reject me? I love her, she loves me, and that's all there is to it!"

"Ah, Perce, Perce, Perce…if only it were that simple."

"I've been dating her for five years! I think I know her a little better than you do, and I know that she-"

"Likes it when you're wordy and pompous?"

Percy's eyes shot daggers at Bill.

"Hey, sorry, just kidding, my lips are zipped on the matter. If you know her as well as you say you do then she'll probably accept, as bad as that 'speech' you just gave was." Bill stretched his arms. "Anyway, I think I'm all fresh-aired out; I'm going in."

Percy's eyes suddenly widened in doubt. "Wait," he suddenly called.

Bill turned around, pretending to be surprised. "Can I help you?"

"What…what was wrong my proposal?" Percy asked grudgingly, looking very stiff and proper. He took off his glasses and began wiping off the water drips left by the falling snow.

Bill's features expanded into a smile. "What was wrong with it is that it was just that: a proposal. A business proposal. Tell me, in your mind, are Penny and work separate things?"

"Yes, of course," Percy answered briskly, looking slightly horrified.

"Then act like it. You sounded like you were talking to the head of your department, trying to get them to let you redraw the warning labels on toy brooms."

"Toy brooms are dangerous! Parents need to be warned of the ramifications of--"

"Calm down; I wasn't insulting your immense achievement with toy broom warning labels. I was just making a comparison. Anyway, try to do something to make it sound less official."

"How do you propose I do that?" asked Percy, wrinkling his nose.

"For starters, you both went to 'Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.'"

"And?"

"And you both know what it's called! A simple 'Hogwarts' will suffice."

"Fine then. That can be done easily. I was thinking of taking that out anyway."

"Good to know. Shall I inform your editor for you?" Bill deadpanned. Percy glared; Bill ignored it. "Now, on to the next problem."

"There's more?" Percy questioned, his face contorting.

"Yes."

"Just exactly how much more?"

"I'm getting there. Now, how would you relate asking Penelope to marry you to, say, applying for a prestigious job?"

"The two are completely and totally unrelated!" Percy sputtered.

"I thought so. Then please, tell me why you are listing your qualifications to a girl you have most likely been describing them to, in great detail, since you met?"

"What do you mean?"

"'I, Percy, prefect during my fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-'"

"I'm taking the 'Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry' out. You can stop teasing me about that."

"Okay then. ''I, Percy, prefect during my fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts, Head Boy during my seventh, Ministry wizard extraordinaire, wish to marry you.'"

"Sounds good to me."

"Actually it sounds really shoddy."

"Why?!" Percy exclaimed, getting irritated.

"Face it, only someone who really and truly loved you could stay with you five years. You're already sold to her, there's no need to sell yourself again. The product will lose its appeal, and will be dropped for another brand. Catch my drift?"

Percy bristled. "I think she's quite pleased with the 'product' thank you very much."

"Hey, I wasn't aiming that low. Anyway, trust me. Take my advice, and drop that part."

"But-"

"Look, I'm older and wiser, and I know."

"Fine! Just…fine!" Percy spat in frustration. "What else?"

Bill cocked his head to the side in mock concentration, very aware of the fact that Percy, despite his furious façade, was now desperately drinking up every single syllable he uttered. "Do you really aim to compliment her as the most beautiful, perfect woman on the planet?"

"She is, and yes, I do."

"Then I'd take out the parts in your compliments that have to do with yourself, and the fact that she's got a 'good, sensible head' on her shoulders. Just tell her that you love her more than anything."

Percy was fuming, but still attentive. "But-"

"But nothing. Don't weigh down your compliments with self-praise and the like. You'll sound like a cocky old man."

"Hmmph." Percy, evidently finished, again tried to push past his older brother to get back into the warm house.

"Not so fast loverboy."

"You've picked apart my entire proposal! What else is there to say?"

"If I were you, and thankfully I'm not, I wouldn't say 'aforementioned' once throughout the entire thing. Oh, and don't bring up the fact that you live with your parents."

"There's nothing wrong with living with my parents!"

"No comment, Perce."

"Look, you've humiliated me, forced me to cut out every single part of what I planned to say, and made me extremely nervous. Can I go in now?" Percy had moved beyond red and furious; he was now looking livid and very close to the color purple.

"Almost. I want you to pretend I'm Penelope and propose to me."

Percy looked at him with the expression he would have used if he had been asked to perform a naked interpretive dance to a Weird Sisters song as part of the opening to the Quidditch World Cup.

"I'm your brother; I refuse to let you make a fool out of yourself. I have to make sure that you learned something from our little chat."

Percy gave a resigned sigh, looked left, right, then behind him, crinkled his nose, and sank to one knee, all the while looking like he would murder anyone or anything that dared to make even one crack at his actions.

"Penelope," he started, "I…this is stupid, Bill."

Bill shook his head, crossed his arms, and shook some of the powdery snow out of his long, ponytailed hair as he stared at his brother, trying to hide his amusement.

"Bill, I mean, Penelope, I love you more than anything else in my life. Especially my brother Bill, who has moved to the bottom of the list-"

"Percy."

"FINE. Penelope, I love you more than life. Will you marry me?"

"BEAUTIFUL!" Bill yelled, throwing his arms in the air. "Well done! You'll be picking out china patterns in no time!"

Percy mumbled something about a few illegal curses and what they would currently be doing to Bill had he not had a job and reputation to uphold.

Bill tactfully ignored him and slapped his brother affectionately on the back, steering him back toward the house.

"Ah, what a lovely evening. It's snowing, there's a fabulous dinner inside, you're going to be getting married," Bill paused to point at the window, "the fairy lights on the tree have mutinied and are wreaking havoc on our poor family…isn't Christmas wonderful, Percy?"

Percy growled and walked inside after Bill, slamming the door behind him.

//
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