i changed the title of the mini series from 'Pixie Puff Problems' to 'The Ministry Hires a Salesman'. i like that better! drat though! i have to replace the other chapters now!
IfILeaveMyGrinBehind: i LOVED you disjointed rambling. i can't stop smiling reading it! and bratty kids are SO fun to write... even though i want to give more interesting dialogue than 'i don't like her, she's mean, i hate her'... hopefully in the future! fleshing out four-year-olds is gonna be hard.
Checkmate-13: that is the best feeling! when you feel like a story is just written for you! hopefully, i can do it justice!
courgette96: this review put me over the moon! of course, Audrey had to be dead. you know this fanfiction had to be riddled with a cacophonous amount of angst... i know how you feel about Audrey though. though hopefully Percy reminiscing and the fact that she's part of his inner monologue sometimes might help flesh her out! and SAD ABOUT PERCY! the only way i know how to write Percy... i hope you're prepared! i LOVE my Percy angst thick and strong! and yes, i do want Arthur/Percy to reconcile and get their head out of their arses. hopefully at some point in the next 34535 chapters, they'd come to a reconcillation. ;)
The Devil Wears Second-Hand Robes
Chapter Three: The Ministry Hires a Salesman – Part 3
"DAD, COME ON!" four-year-old Molly threw herself over at Percy's frame. "GO TO BED!"
Percy yawned in response. "Molly, you are not my mum." Well, his mum was Molly, but Molly was not his mum.
Molly sighed deeply. She collapsed on top of him, and spilled ink all over his desk. Perfect! Just what he needed at three in the morning—his own personalised Rorschach test! He could already see his future deteriorating before his eyes!
Meanwhile, Lucy was sat on the top of their pillow fort. He had built it with them three hours ago—there weren't that many temper tantrums and tears. Oh, and he supposed his children hadn't been too bad either!
"I want to do your hair!" Lucy got up and attacked him, grabbing a fistful of The Unruly Thing. "It's so CURLY!"
Curly was one thing. His hair was a tangled mass of carroty umbilical cords that relied on his head for nourishment.
"I've seen Fwooper's nest look better after a storm," Molly said, rolling her eyes. "Lucy, Dad needs to go to SLEEP!"
"NO!" Lucy said, and then went to look for her ribbons and comb. "I'M going to do your hair, Dad! TELL HER! MOLLY IS THE WORST! SHE HATES ME SO MUCH! I HATE HER BACK! SHE… SHE ATE MY LAST LOLLY!"
Percy knew that he shouldn't let his daughter play with wild animals but given what they'd done to his couch, he supposed that Lucy could give it a go. Well, he thought that she could give it a go, but he regretted instantly when Percy felt like she'd yanked out his diminishing Transfiguration knowledge right out of his skull with her comb!
It was a far cry from his gentle, freckled hands braiding Lucy and Molly's straight copper hair into neat fishtails!
"LUCILLE!" Percy cried out. He hoped Lucy didn't go into dragon taming. The dragons wouldn't stand a chance.
"It's so CURLY!" Lucy shrieked in excitement. She dug her hands into his hair. Percy had seen Ron be gentler with Puffskeins. "I'm going to put ribbons in your hair! You're going to be so pretty—like a unicorn!"
Percy bet that every bloke's dream was to look like a glorified horse with a horn. "Lucy, it's-it's… time for bed!"
He saw Molly collapse into the pillow fort and had pulled a blanket over her head to fall asleep. "Goodnight!"
An hour later, Percy could barely read the report. That rubbish might as well be written in Elvish for all he bloody knew. He felt like he was decrypting a paper riddled with Ancient Runes. He held a sleeping Lucy into his arms. He tossed the parchment paper to the end of the table and threw himself over into the teeny-tiny fort. Percy's legs poked out. He had more ribbons in his hair than Ginny had in her room and his arms were too long. His head was gigantic, as his family didn't make him forget. He still had the jeering letters his family sent him saved in his flat.
And Merlin, he was freezing. It was colder than the exchange he had with his father that morning!
"Dad," Molly nudged him awake only moments after he started to fall asleep. "I'm cold."
Percy reluctantly unzipped his Ministry robes and wrapped them around Molly before scooping her into his arms too. Molly said a 'thank you' and the last thing he remembered was feeling warm inside—like a sticky toffee pudding that just had hot caramel sauce poured on. Percy felt Lucy cling onto his arm and Molly curl up against his arm.
He supposed it wasn't that cold… well, he could never have children again after tonight, but that really was a blessing!
Lucy was nudging him. "Dad?" she looked at him with weary eyes. "It's SO hot! I'm about to DIE!"
Percy feigned sleep so that he could pretend that he didn't hear her.
At six in the morning, Percy very cautiously apparated back his daughters to the flat. The terrible terrors didn't seem to be startled by the fact that Percy accidentally swished around too fast and smacked his bum against the kitchen counter. He cried out in pain, but his pain was probably a lullaby to their ears! Last he remembered, those two had no problem waking up at this time when Percy bought in the first chocolate cakes of the week!
"Percy?" Mrs Rosenstein opened the door with her key. "You—!" she went white.
"Mrs Rosenstein, there's some tea in the pot, but I'm not sure if it's consumable," Percy walked towards Molly and Lucy's rooms. He managed to lay them in bed without tripping through the wasteland of stuffed animals. "Actually, I'm pretty sure that it could be legalised as a weapon by the Wizengamot… I'll make another pot before I leave!"
He tried to slowly remove his Ministry robes from Molly, but she was clinging onto them. Then she whimpered.
Of bloody course! Percy said to himself. Of course, she got attached to them in the span of two hours! He blamed Audrey for that one. He'd been with his family for eighteen years, and he still wasn't attached to them.
He tossed a look at the clock, and then left to take a shower, deciding not to wash The Unruly Thing. Percy ran to his room and pulled out another pair of shoddy clothes. He could practically hear Audrey hiss at him. You're wearing those RAGS outside? In PUBLIC? Because I didn't realise that you were starring as the lead in Oliver Twist, Percival! He was still not sure who Oliver Twist was, but he supposed he was not a star Quidditch player for Puddlemere United. Percy would like to think that if he starred as a lead in a play, he'd play someone that had more intelligence than a puffapod.
He tried to look for something acceptable, but all his clothes were either muddy, discoloured, too big, too small, or looked like it had just had a row with a Death Eater! Percy decided to change into a pair of extremely baggy red trousers that looked like they belonged to a mountain troll and a beautiful, crisp white shirt.
Well, it had probably been last been a beautiful crisp white before Dumbledore was born. But, uh… it had character!
And more O.W.L's than Fred and George did, Percy thought indignantly. Dropping out of school!
Percy knew he'd have his arse handed back to him if he showed up in work without those sodding robes, but he'd rather keep himself in his children's good graces. He threw a generous pile of owl snacks for Hermes, who looked shocked as he gawked at him, and then made tea for Mrs Rosenstein. Percy put the stove on and made enough porridge oats for the whole of Dumbledore's Army! That should be sufficient enough—he hoped Molly and Lucy left something for Mrs Rosenstein.
"Percy, before you go…!" Mrs Rosenstein looked at him with an alarmed look on her face. "Your—!"
"I hope you don't mind if I talk to you about it after work, which I am late for!" Percy turned the stove off and put his plimsolls on. He'd have to run to get to the Ministry of Magic before he was sacked. "There's tea in the pot for yourself! The play starts at eleven and if Lucy and Molly do anything to get the Ministry involved… again, a copy of my identification papers are in the second drawer in my bedroom. Call me if anyone develops a sore throat—well, except for Lucy. She had a tonsillectomy! She's lying if she says she has a sore throat and she most definitely does not need ice-cream for it! They are not allowed to bring anymore flobberworms back home. Thank you… Goodbye!"
Mrs Rosenstein was still staring at him. What was wrong with the coot? She lived through two wizarding wars. Whatever it was that was giving her that look couldn't actually be there. The bat was turning senile! "Percy—"
"DAD!" Lucy cried out from her room. "MOLLY HAS BETTER PILLOWS THAN ME AGAIN! I'M SO SAD!"
Percy immediately ran out. Fortunately for him, Molly could sleep through anything except probably a debate about the rights of house elves. Bollocks. She had no problem treating him like her own personal house-elf!
By the time that Percy got back to his office, he attempted to get rid of that sodding pillow fort!
"Percy?" Daphne was standing by the door, watching Percy get entwined in blankets. "Did you sleep here? Your—!"
"Daphne, I—" Percy managed to pull himself out of the blankets and was horrified. "The morning meeting!"
Percy grabbed his files and then ran into the main meeting room as fast as he could.
He never had so many officials in one room. Percy's heart was hammering into his chest, and suddenly, he felt worse because even his father tried to make sure that he was wearing his nicest clothes. His father had a pair of trousers that he wore on extremely special and important occasions. He'd even put his Ministry robes on in a way that practically camouflaged the fact that it had more holes in it than… well, George. Apparently now, he was hole-y!
"Percival," Arthur was staring at him with a shocked facial expression. Percival! Again! Percy's blood boiled.
Percy wondered why everyone was staring at him like they just noticed that he wasn't exactly Gilderoy Lockhart.
"These… these are the people from the Honeydukes," Arthur cleared his throat and managed to compose himself. "I thought you'd enjoy telling them how much you enjoy their Pixie Puff ice lollies since you seemed so distraught yesterday when I've banned them. And how much you want to help reformulate them to bring them back!"
That was NOT the point that I bought up yesterday! Percy wanted to yell. I AM NOT A FOOL! Don't make me look like—!
Percy turned white. He nearly dropped his file of notes. "Help them reformulate their—?" he felt faint.
He was NOT a cook by any means. He had as much knack in the kitchen as a drunken flobberworm did!
"Well, I did suppose that after yesterday's discussion, you seemed keen to have them back on the market. Honeyduke's were thrilled to hear this since they'd been so profitable!" Arthur explained. Percy believed that he still had to be sleeping in the pillow fort, with his daughters right beside him because this was a JOKE. A big, fat joke… and Percy wasn't laughing. "It had to be important! You didn't even arrange a meeting to see me about it!"
Percy was stunned. THAT was what this was about—he didn't arrange a meeting to see him. He dared mouth off to him. He was trying to teach him a lesson. This was his PUNISHMENT for not treating him like the Minister for Magic!
"They even would like you to be the spokesperson for the launching of the new Pixie Puffs ice lollies after you're finished reformulating the product!" Arthur went on. Percy thought that it couldn't get any worse, but it did.
"Of course, Mr Minister," Percy replied in a defeated tone. "Thank you," he replied in a quiet voice.
He was the JUNIOUR ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER FOR MAGIC! He was NOT supposed to be… UGH!
"Dad!" just when he thought that his day couldn't get any worse, he had the twins whiz in the office. Percy's stomach tightened when he noticed that George's ear really had been torn off. "We can help with the reformulation!"
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Percy bellowed, assaulted by images of the twins pranking his daughters and suddenly, he felt very protective and vengeful. "THOSE ARE MARKETED TOWARDS CHILDREN… AGED FOUR TO SIX!"
Instead of having a row with him, Fred and George stared at him and burst into laughter.
"I can't…!" Fred was crying from laughter. "Getting styling tips from Bill?"
George shook his head. "More like from Gabrielle!" he wiped a tear off his eye. "I needed that!"
"Styling tips from...?" Percy paused and then tugged at his curl and froze when he a pastel pink ribbon fell into his hand. LUCY!
Percy thought that he was going to faint. He didn't know why he didn't bother pausing to look at himself in the mirror—probably because he didn't want to depress himself by looking at his mucked-up thin, freckly face. Percy wished he could scream without looking like an inconsolable twat. And… he almost lost it when he overheard one of the Honeydukes' blokes whisper to another one that at least it'll involve the gay movement committee!
When Percy had a chance to go to the lavatory, he was disgusted. "I don't look like a unicorn! More like a thestral!"
He spent ages doing their hair whilst they insisted on playing Exploding Snap in front of him, and she lazily strung around these ribbons like he was a dying Christmas tree. Percy knew how Rudolph the poor demented reindeer felt… having to lug around Father Christmas' arse around. And that fat git got all the credit!
Percy slumped over the sink. He wished he could take his girls to their first Beedle the Bard play today.
"You humiliated me! Showing up to-to my office wearing that ridiculous—!" Arthur said the second that he came back into the office. His face was so red he matched whatever tuft of red hair he had on his head. It was almost comical. "You did it on purpose! Instead of working, you've been off frolicking with Madam Primpernelle! And where in Merlin's name are your official Ministry robes? I don't run a bloody circus in here!"
No, you just keep the ruddy circus in your house! Percy hissed. He'd done more acrobats than most gymnasts did trying to dodge the twins from their upcoming prank. He could probably bend in more ways than a Whomping Willow.
Percy opened his mouth, but it twitched. "Excuse me, I humiliated YOU?" he was demoted to a salesman for Honeyduke's! He grabbed the reports that he did last night and then slammed it towards his father's chest.
"I'm the MINISTER FOR MAGIC!" Arthur yelled. Percy's heart almost sank into his chest when Arthur threw the stack of paper into the rubbish bin. "And you will treat me like it, or I'll find someone who does. Understand?"
Percy slowly nodded his head. "Of course, Mr Minister," he said apathetically. It had only been two days and already his father was threatening to fire him! He was in absolute shock that he'd spent the whole night there just for his father to bin his work without even looking at it! Even SNAPE had never done that. "I'm sorry, Mr Minister."
"I'll see you later," Arthur said, and then turned to walk back to his office. "I hope you've lost your attitude then!"
"Percy?" Molly was standing by the door and Percy's heart shattered. "What in Merlin's name are you wearing?"
She ran over and hugged him tightly, wrapping her arms around him. "Are you broke?" she asked him. "Did you get in trouble with anyone at the chess club? Do you owe the librarian a lot of money because you didn't take your books on time? Oh, honey! I always told you to take them back on time! And… you look so pale! I can hardly see your freckles."
Percy was trapped. "Mum, I'm fine!" he told her, seeing her sob on his clothes. He upset his mum… again!
"AT LEAST let me give this a wash!" Molly grabbed the sleeve of his shirt. "The state of it! You know, George wasn't even in this state right after the war and he lost an ear… Godric, Percival, what have you done to yourself?"
"Mum!" Percy saw Daphne stood by the doorway with two cups of coffee, smirking. "Not in front of my secretary!"
Daphne laughed. "Nice to meet you, Mrs Weasley," she smiled warmly. "Percy, Honeyduke's want to talk to you! They said that they want to launch their new product before ten TODAY! But you get to choose the venue for it."
Percy nearly tripped over his feet as he replied, "The Beedle the Bard play today in Diagon Alley!"