i know the 'Percy losing his memory completely idea' generated more interest on the poll on my profile page. i want you to know that i am working on that too, but the beginning is not turning out as smoothly as i want it to. i wanted to post them both, but it doesn't seem like it'll be happening tonight. sorry! i am going to stick with shorter chapters, so that it is easier on both fanfictions when i post them. i'll flesh out the background and characters better as the story goes on.
The Devil Wears Second-Hand Robes
Chapter One: The Ministry Hires a Salesman – Part 1
On a beautiful, bristling happy Monday, Percy was busy attempting to put on a pair of trousers that was threatening to cut off the circulation of his perineal region. He lost his will to live an hour ago—which he just had finalised yesterday.
He could see his dull, uninspired life unravelling before his eyes… and he hadn't even done the button up yet!
Percy threw himself on his bed, tightening his flat stomach as much as he could. His hairline was becoming sweaty, which was given him perpetuating anxiety because he just showered and combed The Unruly Thing. Percy would bet that The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures would be his arse all day now. His Madame Primpernelle's hair products were for beastly locks after all. Not that the bloody overpriced rubbish did any—
Honestly! He wondered what propelled him to squeeze his hips into a pair of these teeny trousers TODAY of all days!
On the very morning they were due to announce England's new Minister for Magic!
And the Minister was already busy—not making sure hospitals were stocked up with enough medical equipment or giving people that had lost their homes shelters until the government reconstructed their homes… oh, not that rubbish.
The Minister for Magic issued a very important decree yesterday to discontinue selling Pixie Puff breakfast ice lollies.
Lucy was very livid when she heard the news yesterday. In fact, she had gone on an underpants strike again.
He glanced at the clock and noticed that it hadn't even struck six yet. Wonderful. He always liked to schedule in time to contemplate how much he hated himself. As he sat up on his old and uncomfortable bed, Percy felt his internal organs rebelling. He felt the thick band of the trousers cut into where he supposed his appendix was supposed to be at.
Fortunately for him, the joke was on the bloody trousers because he had his appendix out when he was eight!
He cautiously slipped out of bed; careful not to disturb his erratic trousers. He picked up his tattered, old briefcase that he stole from his father before he left the Burrow, took a deep breath… and bravely walked directly into the kitchen. His daughters had outdone themselves this morning—you couldn't tell this place had been spotless yesterday!
Percy suddenly very felt unwell, and he wondered if one could have appendicitis without an appendix.
"What am I supposed to do NOW?" Lucy called out from their mini freezer, which was Pixie-Puff-ice-lolly-less.
Lucy threw herself on the carpet, which was had more mismatching colours than the Burrow sock drawer!
"It had TWELVE VITAMINS AND MINERALS!" Lucy screamed. Percy made a mental note not to make his children read the packet of any purchased they made to enhance their already extensive vocabulary. They also knew that Cheeri-Owls were made with skrewt oil and wrote a strongly worded owl to the company about how they should not, um… press skrewts. "And is part of a complete and nutritious breakfast! And-and… they were ALMOST vegetarian!"
She sobbed. "I'M GOING TO DIE!" Lucy yelled. "I'm not going to eat EVER AGAIN and then I'm going to DIE!"
"Dad, she's at it again!" Molly screeched from where she was standing, holding a half-open tin of baked beans.
"Lucille, really!" Percy picked his daughter up. Though he really wanted to lie down there with her. "Do you know how many pesky microorganisms live in that carpet? There's more mould in here than there is in… mouldy things." His creativity was failing him that morning. He hadn't had breakfast. He, too, did not have any ice lollies to consume.
"Who cares? I'm going to die," Lucy said, and Percy wondered where she got that pessimistic view from! "TODAY!"
"Good!" Molly replied. When did his daughter not care about her sister's death? "Then I can have all the blankets!"
Lucy sobbed even harder. "I HATE HER!" she pointed at Molly. "SHE ATE MY LAST ICE LOLLY!"
Her pastel pink pyjama bottoms were only a little smeared with… whatever amorphous substance was growing on the carpet. Percy had the irretractable urge to take it to a professional Herbologist to make sure that it wasn't fatal.
"If she dies, can I have her wand when I go to Hogwarts?" Molly asked him. "And can I have two pets?"
"Absolutely not!" Percy groaned. His pants were sucking in the life of him. He might lose a spleen today. "I—"
"What about her dress robes?" Molly said, her skinny, freckled arms poking out of her oversized pyjamas; the very pyjamas that were now stretching over Lucy's tummy now. Percy watched her open the tin and started to slurp up the cold contents. Percy hated to admit she got that disgusting habit from him. "I want the one with the ribbons and—"
"I NEED THE PURPLE ICE LOLLIES OR-OR—" Lucy dissolved into tears. "I'M GOING TO DIE!"
Well, I want MY room! Percy wanted to scream himself. The one in the Burrow! The one where I didn't sell my comfortable mattress in to pay for YOUR tonsillectomy, Lucy! What is it with this family and their inability to keep their internal organs IN?
Lucy refused to detach herself from Percy's side. She refused breakfast. And most of all, she refused underpants.
He even went to the stores to try and find that bloody ice lolly, but it really had been discontinued!
Instead of appreciating one of the other forty-two ice lolly flavours that he'd gotten her, he had boxes of lollies thrown at him, with Lucy screeching at him a very loud and ear-shattering "I HATE YOU… AND YOU'RE BORING!"
If I did that to my mum at your age, Lucille…! Percy thought to himself.
Now that Lucy went from reminding him that she would die to telling him that she hated him, she took to throwing things around the flat. She hated him because he didn't understand, was boring, and didn't know how to fly a broom. Stupid!
Meanwhile, Molly was looking at magazines for all the new pretty dress robes that she wanted to wear for Lucy's funeral. Funeral dress robes are black, Molly was probably not an appropriate thing to say, especially with Lucy in earshot. "YOU WANT ME TO DIE!" Lucy screamed when she heard that. "I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU!"
"I don't care if you hate me!" Percy decided to say. "You're wearing your underpants AND you're eating breakfast!"
"YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!" Lucy said, and Percy wondered how illegal it would be to use an Imperio on her.
By six-thirty in the morning, the sea-green wallpaper was giving Percy sea-sickness. There was frosting on his sofa even though there was no frosting in the flat. His poor wooden coffee table had become even more asymmetrical than usual and Lucy smeared strawberry jam everywhere; jam that Percy had paid FULL PRICE for.
Mrs Rosenstein looked like she was about to faint when she walked into the flat. "LUCY!"
"NOT YOU!" By then, Lucy had underpants on, but she was now refusing pyjama bottoms. "GO AWAY, OLD HAG!"
"LUCILLE! Apologise to Mrs Rosenstein NOW!" Percy said, feeling his being come undone before him.
Mrs Rosenstein was a witch that used to work in the Ministry about a thousand centuries ago. Percy paid her a considerable sum to make sure that Molly and Lucy didn't burn his flat down. She had done a wonderful job thus far, except for the few events within the last month where he'd had to get the Department of Magical Catastrophes and Accidents involved. And the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Oh, and he still had to pay for Florean Fortescue's expensive dental procedure after the toothachingly sweet incident in his shop.
And for Madam Malkin's favourite flowers… and for the Twilfit and Tatting's… shop sign.
"I'm sorry," Lucy said, and she meant it about as much as Percy meant it when he told the Fudge that his dress robes didn't make him look portly. How could he be so bloody fat? "You're not that old… maybe only a little old."
Well, Percy supposed he'd take it. Honestly, Mrs Rosenstein was more ancient than Professor Binns.
"I'm glad to hear that I'm not that old, because if you really thought I was that old then I wouldn't have bought you this gift!" at that time, Percy wanted to give Mrs Rosenstein a great old snog of the century when she managed to produce a box of Pixie Puff ice lollies from her cavernous purse. Wonderful! That should buy him fourteen days without any more jarring (ha, strawberry jam jar) temper tantrums. "Though it looks more like a gift for your father."
Molly got up to give her father a hug and a little peck before he left for work, like she did every morning (and told him that they'd wait for him for dinner). Lucy's awful mood disappeared now, and she gave him a few pecks too.
"I'm sorry I said I hated you," Lucy told him sweetly. "I don't really hate you… only sometimes!"
"I love you too, Lucille," Percy mumbled, as she sucked on her ice lolly. She was already ruining her pyjama top.
"Oh, Mrs Rosenstein, thank you!" Percy would write her a song if he didn't think he'd be late for work. Besides, she might be a little too old for him. He supposed cheese was better aged, but he'd rather not. He managed to get the pyjama bottoms on Lucy without another temper tantrum. His life had a sudden clear meaning, and he didn't seem to mind at all that there was strawberry jam all over his trousers. "Thank you!"
"That Lucy really likes her ice lollies, doesn't she?" Mrs Rosenstein asked.
"Well…" by then, Percy had lost full sensation in his legs. "I suppose she can't live without them!"
When he got into the Ministry building, he felt a relief wash over his bones now that he'd escaped his flat.
Of course, Percy blamed himself most of all for the fact that Lucy hated him sometimes.
He blamed himself for buying full-price strawberry jam because he couldn't stand another day of half-off apricot or quarter-off marmalade. He blamed himself for storming out of the Burrow four years ago without asking his mum where to buy half-off strawberry jam before he cut his family out of his life forever. He also blamed himself for forcing his daughters into the daily ritual of reading four pages from The Daily Prophet. Much to Lucy's displeasure, this did not include the section involving The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle.
Well, his Parenting Without A Wife, Crup Or Copious Amounts of Firewhiskey Instructional Manual told him to implement a strict morning reading ritual to his children to help aid their development into brimming young women.
It also did not warn him that one day, Molly would run up him after work, holding a gigantic book that she shouldn't be able to carry with reedy, little arms like hers. She'd smooth over her new, shiny robes (that she would destroy within the next twenty-four hours) and tell him, "Father, I know what you are!" Molly said with big, bulging green eyes full of excitement, waving her broomstick-like arms around. "You're a sycophant!"
By the time that he'd gotten behind his desk, he tackled on his first few reports, a broad smile on his face. He wanted to make sure that they got everything ready for the new Minister for Magic! Whoever he was! When he was working, Percy didn't have to think about the fact that he hated himself, or that he was too broke to buy himself new pants—really, everything was so threadbare now that he'd tried to squeeze on a pair of trousers he wore at fourteen.
Oh, and he did not know how to get jam off Madam Malkin's Finest. Well, the discounted finest that nobody wanted!
Then about two hours later, he collapsed onto his parchment paper in desolation. Percy couldn't even bring himself to go downstairs for a little cup of coffee or to make sure that he ate something for breakfast now that both Lucy and Molly did. He felt his heart sink, because all he could think about what Lucy and Molly were doing right then…
"Percy!" Astoria Greengrass walked out of the room, holding a bunch of books. "The new Minister is coming!"
"How wonderful," Percy replied, doodling his daughter. Molly with her long, straight hair and tall frame. Lucy with her short hair, short body and her favourite ribbon. And her stupid bloody Pixie Puff breakfast ice lollies Merlin save him—
Astoria was not the only one to wait for the Minister to walk into the office. In fact, everyone now stood with a brimming excitement waiting for him to enter. Defeated, Percy picked up his clipboard with his multiple doodles and joined the extensive crowd. They were murmuring amongst themselves excitedly about what was to come (more working hours, Percy thought in irritation. Was it too early to send an owl to make sure that they were getting along alright?). Percy knew was that Kingsley had chosen, what he believed, to be an appropriate candidate after he stepped down from his two productive weeks of being the Minister. Lucy and Molly had been hoping for a woman.
When his FATHER entered the room, Percy started to feel very lightheaded. He needed TEN ice lollies to feel better.
"Percy?" Astoria's sister, Daphne, looked amused. "I think it's cute that your father is the Minister!"
CUTE! Percy wondered if Daphne would think he was cute if she got a sight of that unsanitary shed of his that probably broke at least three Ministry laws! There were more plants in his father's toys than a Herbology greenhouse!
"I'm sure he'd be just fine, Miss Greengrass," ARTHUR WEASLEY, the new MINISTER FOR MAGIC, said.
Percy's head just imploded, and he felt like pinching—or biting himself awake… or possibly settling himself on fire just in case because this was all a bloody bad dream. This was a NIGHTMARE. His father! The bloke he called ambitionless! The one he insisted would never amount to anything in his life! THE MINISTER FOR MAGIC standing in front of him! Percy was just stood there, gobsmacked! He, like Lucy, also hated his father! MORE than sometimes!
Arthur cleared his throat. "Miss Greengrass, can you please get Mr WEATHERY a glass of water and…" Percy heard a rip and ignored the amused facial expression on Arthur's face. "A sewing kit for his trousers. He looks rather unwell!"