the flashback sequence continues (up until Audrey's death). just my reminder that i'm not an English speaker, because i do know some people think 'this wording is awkward / this sentence doesn't make any sense / i don't know what's going on in here'. i'm sorry about that. i really do try to link things together. i think i have a very obvious image of it in my head but sometimes it doesn't show that way! i really hope it doesn't hinder your enjoyment of this fanfiction.
i have two mini plot bunnies in my head that i am seriously considering. one more than the other. as if this fanfiction needs more drama...
Phoenixx Rising: to be fair, Penelope did break up with Percy. i think she's more likely to see his poorer attributes than his positive ones. and Percy doesn't really have any friends, so he just goes along with Penelope's statements.
Guest: it is a little cartoonish. i do imagine it like that in my head if it makes any sense? but i always think there's a part of HP that's cartoonish, like imagining flying mugs and nose-biting teacups. at least that's how it's like for me! to be fair, these chapters are all in Percy's point of view. of course, in Percy's head, it's always the world vs. Percy. but in reality, i did try to make a few arguments for other people's behaviour. but imagine you haven't talked to your brother in years, and find out through the papers that they've gotten married ages ago and never told you about it? or that they have children? in a really close family, i can imagine them feeling really betrayed. especially since i think Percy's family thinks that Percy thinks he's too good for them, i.e. Arthur makes Percy do insane amounts of work because he genuinely believes that if the Minister was someone other than Arthur, he'd do the work and more. in Arthur's head, he thinks that Percy's complacent with him because he doesn't respect him or what he stands for. but it's really hard to write this fanfiction in someone else's point of view (though i tried especially since the chapters are short-ish). especially Molly's backlash (she's always supported him, so to have him hide that much of his life from her is pretty insulting in itself, and she did forgive him.) Daphne also apologsies a lot / Mrs Rosenstein is very nice to him. but he is just such a negative character as a whole so writing in his point of view usually brings about his 'oh woe is me' monologue that i always use when writing him. as for the arrogance of Percy in HP, i do enjoy arrogant characters because i always think that that arrogance has to be overcompensating for something. like for example - as part of narcissitic personality disorder (a really far out example), they also have co-morbidities of anxiety / bipolar disorder. there is a subtype of NPD where people create the illusion of superiority to try and battle with their extremely low self-esteem. i think this is a certain coping mechanism (i forgot it's name but it's basically someone feels another way and act the complete opposite, e.g. hates himself but projects himself as narcissistic to try and cope with his feelings of insecurity). which is a rabbit hole because if that person really is insecure and acts like an arsehole, he gets this backlash where he gets this negative attention and it just perpetuates their feelings of inadequacy (if you understand what i'm saying. so it's kind of cyclical. which is why it's so easy to put this Percy in really awful situations!). i feel like if you just take out all of the self-loathing in this Percy's head, and put in just his dialogue, you'd think he thinks himself as very superior if you don't know what he's thinking (does that make sense?). as for Penelope / Percy, it's always really hard to write Penelope because she always morphs into someone that isn't that great when i write her (oops on my part). as for Divination Percy... i looked this up to be sure but he did get an O.W.L in Divination so he must be at least moderately good at it. i think he's really oblivious though, weirdly enough.
finkles89: i feel bad for all the good characters i always portray so badly... oops!
The Devil Wears Second-Hand Robes
Chapter Ten: Baby Blues… and Pinks: Part 4
Things that Percy had excluded when retelling this part of the story: the fact that he continued to work from home, eating bourbon biscuits for dinner (his mum would be furious), his deteriorating self-esteem and how absolutely terrified he was at the thought of having to take care of twins by himself (that ruddy Sorting Hat would be laughing now, wouldn't it?).
Living with Fred, George and Ron, Percy saw a lot of things growing up. None of those things were a four-foot-eleven woman with the stomach the size of a Quidditch equipment set. There had to be at least three Bludgers in there!
"Hello," Percy was glad Audrey opened the door. "Again." Penny said baby, right? Not Romanian dragon herd.
"Hello," Audrey was eying his clothes. He was wearing a white shirt with a pair of faded trousers. She wore the exact same thing, except she didn't look like a potion abuser that was going for a job interview at Fortescue's. "Again."
She let her hand wrap around her stomach, protectively almost. "I suppose you'd like to come in?"
What was she protecting that thing from? A premature labour—which was warranted at this point? A six-foot-two bloke whose likely cause of death was 'healer didn't know he had dragon pox because he had so many freckles'?
"You must be a seer because you're… e-evidently correct!" Percy replied, stiffening up. "Well… um… can I come in?"
"May you come in?" Audrey corrected him. Did he sleep with Professor Snape? "And… well, I suppose."
Walking into her flat, Percy felt her heart flutter a bit. This flat was so clean he could discern the different shades of white in the wall. He thought he nearly came in his pants, but he tried to keep it to himself.
His shade of white did not go with the rest of her flat. And had he not done enough damage already? His seven-month-old baby was already big enough to ride the Dangerous, Dreary Dragons ride in the wizarding amusement park that Percy used to go to when he was a child. Meanwhile, Audrey wouldn't nearly be tall enough!
"You can sit on the couch," Audrey told him, her back faced to him. Her table was made of GLASS. That wouldn't survive the Burrow for an hour before it ended up being a portrait of glass. "I just fluffed the pillows."
Percy was astonished. Fluffing the pillows! Who did she think she was? Fluffing the pillows! The last thing Percy fluffed was a temperamental Kneazle. He did it for three hours straight. "Thank you, Miss Audrey… Claire Brown."
That woman had the worst surname imaginable. She was so pristine she should apply for government to change it to Audrey White, or you know, Audrey I Don't Need Magic to Clean My Apartment. She didn't need an auto-clave either—on another note, yes, Percy's knowledge of muggles was limited to their cleaning devices and what a Terry's Chocolate Orange was. The only reason that Percy would think Brown was a suitable surname was when he remembered that Brown was one of the dullest names he could think of. And this woman was so dull that she could put HIM to sleep. Merlin knew she should apply to be an animal healer!
He sat on the edge of the couch. Percy could just about sink into it and fall into a completely comfortable coma. If it wasn't for the fact that he was dangerously close to pissing himself from shock… well, he wouldn't leave the couch!
"Do you want any beverages?" Audrey asked, and Percy gawked at her behind. That was larger than he remembered.
"Yes but…" Percy cocked his head. "I mean the normal but. I was not in any way at all thinking or referring to your behind! Nor was I just noticing… I mean… yes, anything. I would accept the beverage if you pour it into my lap."
"What are you talking about?" fortunately, Audrey did not realise that he was 'checking out her Quaffles' as Oliver Wood would say. She gave him a cup of tea that smelled like it could be toxic with the amount of milk she put in.
Just before he drank it, she said, "Bottom's up!" needless to say, Percy choked and burned his tongue.
She sat down next to him… well, actually there was at least fifteen packs of peppermint toads between them.
Audrey was also drinking a cup of tea. This was slightly concerning, as tea was a natural diuretic. He was sure that whatever was growing in her uterus was most definitely compressing on her bladder.
"This is nice. Us sat together like this…" Audrey said. It sounded forced. Oh, and he could barely be around her without turning into a portrait painter's red and pink palettes! How was he supposed to stand it when she pushed out a baby out of her five-stone body? "I don't know if you can particularly tell… but I'm seven months pregnant."
"Really?" Percy raised an eyebrow. "I'd need to bring my telescope over next time… you can hardly tell!"
"Do you know how to use one?" Audrey leaned against the couch. Percy wondered if his baby was a merfolk encasing itself into a Great Lake-sized bath of amniotic gillywater for proper gill efficacy.
"I suppose I do if you're bloody pregnant," Percy had been wondering the same thing. Penelope always said—
"I meant a telescope," Audrey said, and she was smirking at him. He flushed. Maybe they went together. If he ever married this woman, their wedding would be in shades of red roses and pink tulips. They'd look like Ashwinders in wedding apparel. The theme would be 'Too Hot for You' and their baby would be prized for potion making.
"Yes," Percy nodded his head. "Would you like to try?" Did he really just say that? He wished to be set on fire.
And the worst part was that she'd answered him! Forget his Language of Dragons novel! What was SHE thinking?
"I'm not sure. I've never tried it," Audrey replied. "Are you staying for dinner? I'm making spaghetti bolognese."
"I suppose?" Percy was so confused now. He was just visiting Audrey about her pregnancy. Oh, and was this a date? He should accept the date from the woman carrying his child, but he wasn't sure if he wanted a relationship. "I'm not sure if I want to date you… despite the fact that you're pregnant with my child."
"Date me?" Audrey reiterated. "I asked you if you wanted spaghetti bolognese… not a marriage contract!"
"I never said anything about marriage!" Percy realised he really should marry her though. How could he have an illegitimate child? Him? Percival Ignatius Weasley breaking what was considered appropriate in society? "I simply mentioned an innocuous date… which I do not want now that I mentioned it. Though I shouldn't have."
Oh well, he didn't always follow the rules. Yesterday, he ate his biscuits before his supper! TWELVE bourbon biscuits from his biscuit tin! Well, the biscuits were his dinner so… he supposed that might cancel it out. Did he look like he had time to cook? He thought, as he was looking at a heavily pregnant woman who was about to prepare a meal from scratch after fluffing her pillows. Percy thought that Holidays with Hags was a wonderful, suspenseful tale but that was nothing compared to the fact that Percy still hadn't figured out how this four-foot-eleven woman, carrying a baby that weighed more than her, managed to use the TOP shelves of her kitchen?
"Of course, you don't, Percival," Audrey huffed. "Nobody downgrades from Shakespeare to Judy Blume!"
Percy wondered if that was how he sounded to others. He didn't understand a bloody thing she said.
"What in Mer—what ARE you talking about?" Percy corrected himself. He did not see any books of any Arthurian legends covered in gold and kept in a plastic case around in her flat. He did not want to take his chances. Then it hit him like a flying Bludger to the head. "You… you think that you're inferior to Penelope? My EX-girlfriend?"
"I had A*s in all my GSCE's," Audrey replied. "I don't think anything, Percival. I KNOW."
Percy didn't know anything about muggles, but he was sure that Audrey just said something that was the equivalent of her mentioning she had twelve O.W.L's—or more, Percy rationalised. She'd invent more O.W.L's in her spare time.
"I've been waiting to tell you this since I've met you, Miss… Audrey Claire Brown," Percy wondered if floating in a Quidditch pitch felt like this. "YOU are SO wrong it's not even funny." Okay. Maybe it was hilarious. Just a little!
"What do you mean?" Audrey replied, raising an eyebrow. "I caught you staring at my—… well."
"I was not staring at your arse!" Percy said. He most definitely was. "Oh. You mean…"
He reached forward and then placed his finger across the jagged line of her lip scar. This was even more intimate than them having it off again, he was pretty sure. It was the closest he'd been to anyone. Ever.
He let his hand drop and Audrey let out a breath that she'd been holding in. Was that foreplay? Percy wondered.
"Oh," Audrey said. "Very well," she cleared her throat. "So, you're not staying over for dinner? As a friend?"
"I suppose I might," Percy replied. Then his eyes moved down to her stomach that he somehow forgot about. Oh, that was why he came over… Merlin, it was impossible to have a conversation with this woman without veering off track!
If this was a Hogwarts Express, he'd somehow end up smack in the middle of Austria with no money whatsoever the time this expedition was over. Did you know how unsanitary it was to give birth on a train? Sleep with this woman and she talked about the weather and her neighbours' flowers! Instead of talking about their fornication, she ironed his clothes—did a marvelling job by the way. Now, try visiting her when she hadn't told you she'd been knocked up for seven months! Apparently, she thought it was the best time to try and take your resume! Can you use a telescope?
Yes, Audrey, he could use a telescope. He still mapped out star charts. He wanted to ensure that if at any point in time, he got bitten by a rabid werewolf then he'd be able to dictate the phases of the lunar cycle.
"Yes, well, I've used a new recipe for the spaghetti bolognese," Audrey said. "I use carrot puree in my bolognese to—"
"Audrey, I'm sorry for cutting you off. That is very rude, but… can we discuss the giant baby in the room? The one that you're having because I'm a mindless twat?" Percy asked.
She pushed her glasses up, nodding her head.
"Well, the baby is…" Percy cleared his throat. "I-I… I didn't mean to upset you that night—and-and I really liked that loaf you sent me! I also have twelve O.W.L's—what did you call them? And how's… well, how's your job?"
He was not talking about the giant baby in the room. That was typical of him now, wasn't it?
"Alright," Audrey replied. "Firstly, there is no 'giant baby'." Really? There was nothing giant about her? Hagrid looked readier for his bikini body. "They are babies. They're small. There's not that much space for them to grow!"
Percy was sure that he was not hearing that correctly, so instead, he tried to wonder how much Dreamless Sleep potion he had yesterday before he went off to sleep. Evidently, it didn't work! Dreamless Sleep his dotty arse!
"Secondly, Percival, I am pushing out these babies and then I will most probably never want to see them again in my life," Audrey told him seriously. "If you want them, then they are yours. If you do not, then they go straight into an orphanage. But they are nothing more than a mere inconvenience to me. They are making it hard for me to be able to stack books and I had to take time off my job, which is unheard of. I get winded often and have to lie down. I had to downgrade my strenuous exercise regimen to basic yoga and meditation as a recommendation from my obstetrician. I have to do a series of rather disturbing pelvic exercises because I refuse to get a Caesarean section done. Because Percival, our little rendezvous is not going to be the reason I have another scar on my body thank you very much!"
Holy hippogriff. Percy did not want to talk about the giant baby in the room. What else did she use in her spag bol?
"I have absolutely no attachment to the babies growing in my uterus. My parents are furious with me. They think I should have this thing and nurture it and marry you so I don't have an illegitimate child but why would I do that?" Audrey mumbled. Percy was amazed at the level of attachment she had to these babies—he'd practically have to claw her out of her hands when she gave birth. "I am very glad you contacted me about this now. I was going to send you a letter in the post this week, asking you if you want the babies, or if I can give them away. I mean it's only fair since you have a genetic claim to them. I… I have a thriving business and I do not want to waste my time on this nonsense."
Audrey then looked over at the mug in his hands. "Now, drink that!" she gestured to the cup. "That's cold now!"
His tea was not cold. Percy's tea burned the roof of his mouth because he was a twat. Some of the death tea was already falling on his lap, and he was about to break into tears. "Did you say BABIES?"
"Calm down, Percival, or I'm afraid that you'll be giving birth on this couch!" Audrey yelled. "I just cleaned it!"
Your babies? Percy wished he had a Time-Turner right about now! "Babies?" he repeated. "As in… plural?"
He could envision himself weeks from now. Him and his seven children. Will, Marley, Marcy, Gred and Forge, Don, and Minnie. Percy was sure that this was how it felt like to be under the Cruciatus curse! Merlin… PLURAL!
"Do you want to keep them?" Audrey asked him. "Because if you don't, then… well, I'm not going to! I have A*'s in all my GSCE's! I am meant to be more than just anyone's housewife… which you do not want me to be anyway."
His hands felt very clammy and he felt like he was about to throw up. He should've said that he'd think about it, but the idea of two little babies that looked a lot like Ron and Ginny being tossed in an orphanage just—!
"Yes," Percy softly said. "Yes, I'll… I'll keep them… I-I-…I suppose." By the way, did they have a return policy?
Percy tried to calm down, but he felt like he'd just shook hands with a Dementor! He was gutted.
As he sipped his cup, Percy felt his heart sink into his stomach. He noticed three pregnancy books on the table! And worst of all? Her notebook was there and…—she was making notes for the BABIES that she did not want to take care of!
Meanwhile, he was still having a wobble and it was a week since he found out! And he didn't know if he wanted to have babies, but an… orphanage? Was she having a laugh? He wasn't going to send his children to an orphanage!
He didn't want to raise babies on his own either. Percy still remembered how it was like for his mum to practically raise Fred, George and Ron by herself when they were in that safe house! She spent EVERY DAY crying and shouting!
Obviously, Audrey had her life together! And what she was doing for the next thirty days as evident by her calendar.
Percy didn't even know if he wanted to stay alive for the next thirty days, much less if he was going to return that 'blue top from H&M' that he didn't like because it was too small over his flat, almost caved-in abdomen.
Seven months that she had them living in her belly, and she didn't even ask the fellas for rent yet! Inspiring.
And now, in a few weeks, Audrey was going to push HIS BABIES out of her womb! She'd have to close up shop for the labour, which was probably irritating her! As her business was 'thriving'. When Penelope told him about the pregnancy, he told her he couldn't take care of her and Audrey… HA. What a joke! He could hardly keep himself together! Ever since he heard the news about her pregnancy, Percy had barely been able to sleep at all.
Yesterday, he received an owl from his father, asking him about why he wasn't in work TODAY! Percy didn't know how to tell him that he worked from his flat, because he, the Gryffindor, was too cowardly to face what people were saying to his father about HIM leaving the family! Disowning them! Thinking that… he was too good for them!
Percy didn't want to hear other people consoling his father and letting him know that he was a—Humongous Bighead!
Did that bloke sound like he was ready to have babies live in his flat? Percy hadn't even unpacked his things yet!
Tomorrow, he would have to show up to the Ministry, and he was absolutely bricking that. How was he supposed to fare in a delivery room? He was the bloke that didn't want to face people because he was sick of being a constant disappointment. Honestly, he would much rather just stay in his flat forever. Plus, he didn't know where his Ministry robes were at anymore, and he genuinely looked like he'd been mangled by a mermaid!
How was Percy supposed to act smug around his father when he was busy wondering if his babies could make do without their mum breast-feeding them? Could his children make do with just him? What would it be like for them if they grew up without a mum? What about in an orphanage? And if he did show up at work again, then how was he supposed to cut down his hours at the Ministry after the baby… babies were born? Without it looking overly suspicious that he wasn't available twenty-four-second to answer the Ministry's two-am owls?
They might think he was a Death Eater! Or worse, a bent bloke working at a strip club. Not because he was homophobic, but because Fred and George might try to set him up! How was he supposed to say no to a nice bloke?
An hour later, Percy passed out on her couch. He slept for so long that he missed Audrey's spaghetti bolognese dinner. However, it didn't matter if he ate or not, because he was not pushing a baby out of his extended orifices.
When he woke up from his six-hour-long nap, it was three in the morning and he was still in Audrey's flat.
Instead of leaving like an adult, he did the most childish thing he could do. He buried his head into his knees, and he sobbed like someone just stole his rubber broomstick. The sounds that were coming out of Percy were absolutely pathetic. What was he going to do when he had babies? Just weep silently in the showers? How was he supposed to mature enough for babies in the next few weeks exactly? How was he… he couldn't just… why couldn't—TERRIBLE!
After he gave himself a headache from thinking too much, he stared at the ceiling.
"Percival? Do you have to turn in your government job tomorrow?" Audrey was standing in front of him. She was in her pyjamas. He realised that she wanted to go to the bathroom. Ha. Percy knew that tea was a diuretic!
"I suppose," Percy sat up on her couch. She sat down right next to him. No peppermint toad packs between them—they were touching. Knee by knee. It was also extremely intimate.
Was this a date? He was so inappropriately dressed for one! And he didn't want one to boot.
"Percival?" Audrey called out again, and he opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. She wrapped her arms around him tightly, as he tried to take a deep breath. "Of course, I'll be seeing this through the end of this pregnancy at the very least… I can help you if you're feeling very nervous! I had been investigating about this rather thoroughly."
"Yes?" Percy looked at her hopefully. He had a panic attack in his sleep he was sure. He was falling apart!
"Yes!" Audrey nodded her head at him. "I have a book about this!"