the title alone took me two weeks to agree on! originally this was called... something awful i can't even disclose it.
i can already tell that the next chapter is going to be extremely difficult to write! as will be the row, and the Death Eaters scene! i have a very particular writing style so having Percy be told by Fudge that he has a promotion is going to be extremely difficult to write - but i also don't want to skip straight into the aftermath. sigh. i think you'll be frustrated with me! three to four chapters just to set the plot in motion!
trigger warning for self-harm! oh, that's surprising isn't it?
Chapter One: Lost Job! Return to the Burrow If Found!
"PLEASE, MADAME UNDERSECRETARY!" nineteen-year-old Percy Weasley was shaking in his werewolf brown plimsolls, which looked rattier than Scabbers. He was holding a stack of blotchy-inked papers into his shaking arms and following Dolores Umbridge down the dungeons. She was heading to the Wizengamot meeting that would decide his department's fate. "You must understand my-my predicament! You see… Mr-Mr Crouch and I were not particularly close at all! It wasn't like he'd invited me over for tea and-and-and… I had to run HIS department to run when he was gone! Dumbledore put my brother under water in Hogwarts without consulting me first!"
Twelve O.W.L's and here he was—sat as the department crup. His whole department sat on their arses whilst he did their work and they threw him under the Knight bus… and it was driving beyond the allotted speed limit!
"I did everything I was asked to do," Percy rambled incessantly. "I never dared question Mr Crouch because he was my superior after all. He was ill! He'd just lost his wife, who he loved very much! I didn't have any reason to…"
His papers were flying from his hands. Percy's eyes were red-rimmed and sore as he watched her about to enter the courtroom. He remembered how it felt like to be excited about the big green box in his mum's room. Nine-year-old Percy was so SURE that it was his birthday gift until his father announced that it was for Bill for making prefect!
"He didn't know me!" Percy cried out in desperation. "He didn't even know MY NAME!"
Dolores Umbridge stopped in her tracks and turned around with a smile faker than Celestina Warbeck's hair.
"Weasley, isn't it?" she sneered. Suddenly, he felt like a first year about to hand in his first essay to Professor Snape.
Percy could not believe that his knees were buckling under this four-foot-ten strawberry tart in purple robes. He slowly nodded his head and bit on his lip so tightly he could almost taste his own failure. "Y-yes," he whispered softly. Something inside him snapped, as he felt the pressure of her gaze on him and he didn't know if he was brave or idiotic. He might as well since he knew deep down he lost his bloody job. "Mr Crouch was part of the Wizengamot too! If there was anyone that was supposed to notice that he wasn't himself, it should have been YOU, Madame Secretary!"
Dolores looked amused. "Don't you find it fitting that we're deciding your department's fate is in the dungeons?" her smile was mocking him. "I think that the Ministry only hires the very efficient."
Percy nodded his head apathetically. "It's a mystery why they hired you then!"
Why did he care? The first time he met the rat-woman, he wondered if the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures classified her yet. In fact, his proof that Merlin existed was the fact that she had yet to reproduce. Oh, and he wanted it to go on the record that before he met her, Percy didn't know that Dementors came in pink!
He leaned down to start picking up his trail of papers. The ink hadn't had time to set. It was smudged from the rainstorm outside. You'd think that the American Thunderbird came to pay them a visit with this rain!
He looked as dishevelled as Oliver Wood after he came in from his five-am Quidditch practice. He sighed deeply into his ink-stained Ministry robes. It was impeccable two days back, and now, it had holes, rips and stains. Percy smelled like half-off coffee, cheap body cologne and fake dragonhide couches. He also felt dirty because he was wearing the same pair of trousers for a whole week—he, PERCY WEASLEY, was using a scouring charm to clean his clothes!
Instead of going back home to lick his wounds (how unhygienic! Percy thought), he decided to embarrass himself further by knocking on Penelope's flat at around eleven at night.
He tucked his stack of useless, scrolled-up parchment paper under his arm. As he sipped a cup of almost white-coloured coffee, a wet, muddy Percy was going to tell Penelope Jane Clearwater to go on without him! When he slowly withered away from humiliation when he got sacked from his job, she should continue her healer studies far away from here… where she didn't have to admit that she once shagged a pathetic loser such as himself!
He knocked on the door. "Penny?" he pulled out his spare keys to her flat. "Penelope?"
Hmm! Percy walked inside the flat. The state of it! He didn't know the rainstorm happened indoors too!
Percy had been saving for Penelope's engagement ring since he first started exchanging letters with her in his fifth year. Obviously, he liked to plan ahead, and he was most definitely NOT going to give Penelope a second-hand engagement ring! It had been at least six months since Percy bought the ring and he still didn't know what a karat was, or what the clarity of the stone meant…but Percy was most definitely clear about how much that glorified stone was going to cost him! He'd been carrying it around in his Ministry robes before they'd broken it off, and he had specifically charmed it so that prying, freckled hands wouldn't be able to break the enchantment without the help of Bill and his whole team. It was a pity they didn't last. Penelope wanted to focus on her career. Percy should've gotten the hint when she started refusing to take off her pants when they were… um… petting the dragon.
Percy walked inside the room and felt his stomach twist as he saw the loaves of bread sat on the kitchen counter. They were so stale and hard. It had the density of one of Hagrid's rock cakes, which he was sure wasn't many karats.
The carpet that she had looked very nice. It went with the sludge growing at the side of the wall too.
"I KNOW that look on your face!" Penelope suddenly appeared beside him, clad in a bright purple Puffskeins dressing gown. Percy mistook the slippers she was wearing for Kneazles. His hands started trembling, still clutching the bread. "You're one to talk! You're the one that's covered in mud, Mrs I Use a Scouring Charm on Soap! I—"
"I'M RUINED!" Percy yelled, his world crashing before his eyes. "I'm beyond repair! I'm almost as bad as THIS!" he waved around the bread loaf. "Except a dragon might still find me edible… if aggravated and in serious famine!"
"A baby dragon maybe," Penelope stared over at his frame—or whatever was left of it. "Or a glumbumble maybe!"
Percy wished Penelope was a beast (such as Dolores Umbridge), so he could smack her over the head with her bread.
"Well, if HARRY POTTER turned out to be right, which he is NOT because he can't be right because… then-then my whole existence means NOTHING! What an absolute shock because I'm sure he has to be right because everyone hates me and I'm never right! What is the point of having twelve O.W.L's if you're NEVER RIGHT?" Percy thrust the stale, seeded brown bread into her chest. That was more foreplay than they'd ever had come to think of it. "Well, you can use that as a weapon against the Death Eaters… because THAT is criminal! Even mould has refused to grow on it!"
Penelope's face softened as she reached over to hold his shoulder. "When's the last time you slept?"
"SLEEP?" Percy's hands were trembling so much he spilled his two-sickle coffee flavoured milk on the carpet. It went along with the rest of the multicoloured stains. He supposed when he went tomorrow to pack his things from his department before he killed himself, he could take Penelope's carpet down to the Department of Mysteries. "SLEEP is reserved for people that haven't been called Git of the Year every single year in their Hogwarts' yearbook!"
Penelope wrapped her arms around him. "You were also captain of the debate team, Prefect—and Head Boy!"
"That's why they called me Git of the Year!" Percy's shoulders slumped dejectedly.
Penelope shook her head, laughing. "Really now, Mr Percival Ignatius Weasley?" she said in a sing-song voice. "So, it has nothing to do with the fact that you make Gilderoy Lockhart seem modest with the amount of gloating you do?"
His heart was in the process being butchered, not unlike a golden snidget in a Quidditch game. "I do NOT gloat!"
Penelope smirked a him. "I don't think you realise how insufferable you can be!" she laughed. "I was your girlfriend and there were times I wanted to throttle you over the head with my copy of The Monster Book of Monsters!"
Her? Harm a book like that? NO! Percy thought bitterly. "My big fat head would crack it into two halves."
Penelope laughed even harder. "And people say you aren't funny!" but he wasn't laughing. "You're hilarious."
Percy's face was rigid. "Yes, I'm absolutely hilarious! Especially when people insist on making a mockery of me!"
People don't need to make a mockery of you, Perce! Cause you do it to yourself! his inner contemptuous monologue sounded a lot like his tender twin brothers. Why couldn't they go suck on a shipment of Acid Pops and leave him alone?
"It's not like that, Percy," Penelope tried to assure him. "You're the middle child! You had to get lost in the shuffle."
"I thought that was impossible…" Percy replied coldly, "with all my GLOATING!"
It was three in the morning by the time that he arrived at the Burrow, fuming over his interaction with Penelope. And to think! He used to share Jammy Dodgers with her and ate the jam filling because she hated it. Well, HE hated it too!
He was the one that was insufferable? She was the one that took enough birth control to ensure protection for the couple next door and suggested sterilising herself! Percy wouldn't sterilise a crup.
HE was the one that was insufferable? Not his twin brothers that elected him to be the star of their daily ridicule and torture—an event that even his own FATHER enjoyed? He was the one that was insufferable? They didn't even give a rat's arse about the fact that he'd holed himself in his room all of fifth year exchanging letters with sweet Penelope! Who apparently wanted to throttle him with one of her favourite books! He might as well be the family ghoul!
NOBODY in this whole bloody universe had any right to call him INSUFFERABLE!
But he did agree with it, didn't he? In the small window of time Percy wasn't moaning about his accomplishments or burying his head into a boring book, he spent digging nails into his arms until he bled. He broke an old mug once to use the pieces to hurt himself. Why shouldn't he? He was SO insufferable! And he dared to spill his blood onto his mum's Christmas sweater! How dare he? That was why he was such a git! No appreciation for anyone but HIMSELF.
If HARRY POTTER was right about You-Know-Who coming back (and he probably was because Percy never had anything go his way), then he should just become a Death Eater! It wasn't like his family knew the difference…
He was so sick of this! He was sick of barely eating and sleeping to the point where he was afraid of disapparating in case he'd splinch himself from exhaustion! He was sick of toiling himself to the point where his limbs felt like they were about to fall off and have nothing to show for it but the jeers and scrutiny of others! Percy was sick of people treating him like a redheaded house-elf—they only seemed to remember he existed when they wanted something done but were too lazy to do it themselves. Speaking of house-elves, he was sick of not having ONE pair of good socks because his family stole all his good clothes and he was stuck with Charlie's hand-me-downs!
How was this FAIR? There were Death Eaters, rapists, sexists, murderers and bullies running amuck in a nihilistic society, practicing the Dark Arts with no disregard for human life and Percy felt like he was below all of them.
Percy wasn't sure how he could live in a giant house with all these people and still feel completely and utterly alone.
At the Burrow, he collapsed into his cold bed (which he hadn't slept in for weeks!) and sobbed recklessly into his pillow. He felt an excruciating crushing pain in his chest that made him feel like he might drop dead any second. The last time he went to St Mungo's for it, they told him that he'd managed to pathetically worry himself into a panic attack! The gall of them! Healers were supposed to be some of the most intelligent people in the wizarding world, so how could they come to such a stupid conclusion? And he was not depressed!
Percy felt dead on the inside. What a pity! He was alive when his mum gave birth to him. At least he died a prefect!
He cried so hard his body felt like it had just been maimed by Fenrir Greyback and then chewed out by a manticore.
Brilliant. NOW, he had a thumping headache and couldn't sleep. How absolutely spectacular!
Percy sat up and was horrified to realise that he'd gotten mud all over his PALE BLUE sheets. Frustrated, Percy picked up his sheets and went to chuck the sheets and his dirty clothes in the laundry for his mum. He was going to take a shower before he headed back to the Ministry. Unlike the rest of his brothers, he didn't want until his mum was peeling underpants off their floors and wondering what kind of slodge they'd manage to grow under their desks! Percy had seen more species of plants in the Burrow than he did the Herbology greenhouse back at Hogwarts.
Putting on a towel over his body, Percy went to lavatory to take a bath. The second he opened the door? BOOM!
He ended up flung backwards and rammed into the wall. He rubbed the side of his head, which felt swollen and hot. Fred and George emerged from the lavatory, pointing to a paper taped on the door.
BEWARE AND DO NOT ENTER! Written on the lavatory door! Why not? Did Bill come back from Egypt and decide to give his hair a trim in the bathroom but unfortunately, it had become sentient over time and was about to kill them all? Did Charlie come back from Romania, drunk off his arse and was currently throwing up liquids that Percy didn't even know a body could produce? Did mum buy half-off bolognese again? Did Ron try to do the stupid loops and twirls with his broom?
"OI, PERCE!" Fred's voice was making Percy's head pound even harder. "I thought with all twelve O.W.L's—"
"—you'd be able to read!" George finished off, pointing to the sign. "We're using this lavatory right now."
"I could read just fine! It is called a lavatory!" Percy snapped back. "Not a LABORATORY!"
"What are you three on about NOW?" Molly walked into the scene, rubbing her tired, chocolate-brown eyes. She was clad in the same purple Puffskeins dressing gown that Penelope was wearing. Percy shuddered. "It's five in the morning!"
"Look what you did, Perce!" George gave him a scolding look. "Your big head hitting the wall woke mum up!"