"Ah, Lucius, welcome," Fudge said suddenly. "What can I do for you today, my dear friend?"
Percy looked up from the small desk in the Minister's office where he had been sitting and organizing several documents, and he saw that the platinum-haired wizard was standing in the doorway in his usual aristocratic glory.
Percy frowned slightly to himself. He had always envied how easily and effortlessly Lucius Malfoy was able to look so dignified and refined. Percy knew that despite all his best efforts, he just did not have the other wizard's natural grace and good breeding.
Lucius glanced over at Percy for the briefest of moments before directing his attention to Fudge.
Percy immediately sat up straighter in his chair. He knew of the long feud between Lucius Malfoy and his father, but that no longer mattered to Percy.
There wasn't much about his father that mattered much to Percy anymore.
Percy quickly found himself envying Lucius's natural charisma as he spoke with the Minister.
Percy also quickly found himself feeling as if he was nothing more than just an insignificant bug. How could he ever hope to compare to someone like Lucius Malfoy?
"I truly appreciate all your support, Lucius," Fudge said suddenly, interrupting Percy's thoughts.
"It is no problem at all, Fudge," Lucius spoke smoothly. "I have always been loyal to the Ministry."
"And such loyalty will be rewarded, I can assure you of that," Fudge replied.
Lucius waved his hand elegantly. "There will be no need for that," he said. "One should not have to be rewarded in order to be loyal to their government."
"So true," Fudge responded, "but unfortunately, most don't see it that way."
The Minister's voice then became slightly shaky. "I have enemies everywhere, Lucius. Sometimes, I don't know what to do. Sometimes, I feel like I'm suffocating."
"I understand your concerns, dear Fudge," Lucius returned, "but I can assure you that you are not alone in this struggle. Dolores is loyal to you and to improving our world. And I am the same. Like you, Minister, I only want what's best for all of us; and that is order and structure. I will gladly do my part in helping you to fight against any rebellion."
Lucius's eyes suddenly drifted towards Percy, who straightened himself in his chair even more.
"Here is proof that the peace you desire is possible," Lucius spoke, gesturing towards Percy. "Here is proof that friends and supporters can come from anywhere, regardless of their background."
Percy felt his face turning almost as red as his hair at Lucius's praise.
Percy seriously doubted Lucius Malfoy had ever praised a Weasley before. Yet, here he was, praising Percy as if he wasn't a Weasley.
"Yes, young Weasley here has been a great asset to me," Fudge agreed. "He is an eager learner, and he has not allowed the flawed thinking of his family to taint his own beliefs."
Lucius nodded his head approvingly at Percy before directing his attention back to the Minister. "I thank you for your time, Fudge, but I must be going now. Inform Dolores that Educational Degree Number Twenty-Three has my full support. It is about time that the students at Hogwarts receive a good quality education. They are our future, after all."
"Indeed they are," Fudge agreed. "Thank you again, Lucius, for everything."
Lucius nodded his head with his natural aristocratic grace at the Minister before turning and leaving the room. As he was leaving, though, his eyes once again drifted towards Percy. Then, he was gone.
It was strange. Here was a man that Percy's father had always spoken about with hatred and anger in his voice. Yet, Percy could not help but be drawn towards Lucius Malfoy.
Lucius Malfoy was clearly the exact opposite of Arthur Weasley. Percy had always thought that his father lacked ambition, but Lucius was clearly someone who wanted to make an impact and had the ability to do so. He was the definition of success and power. He was wealthy and influential. He was dignity and grace.
To put it simply, Lucius Malfoy was everything that Percy wanted to be.
Percy most definitely did not want to be just another Weasley. He wanted to be his own man. He wanted to be known for his own unique and special abilities.
"Minister, would it be all right with you if I go get some lunch?" Percy asked politely. "I promise I won't be long."
Fudge looked down at his watch. "Goodness gracious me," he exclaimed, "is that the time already? Go ahead. I probably will be grabbing myself some lunch in a little while as well."
Percy hopped out of his chair with as much grace and dignity possible. He then left Fudge's office and immediately began searching for Lucius.
It did not take Percy long to spot the familiar, unique platinum hair.
Lucius must have heard Percy's approach because he stopped and turned.
"Surely you're not foolish enough to show me your true colors," Lucius spoke softly.
"What?" Percy sputtered. "No, that's not why I'm here at all, Mr. Malfoy. I completely believe in the Minister."
Lucius lifted up an eyebrow with his usual elegance, but he otherwise showed no emotion.
Percy once again found himself feeling very inadequate.
"I just wanted to let you know," he spoke quickly, feeling stupider by the moment, "that you have my support as well. If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know, and I'll do it."
"I would be more careful with what I say if I were you," Lucius responded. "You have no idea of the things that must sometimes be done in order to accomplish something worthwhile. Exactly how far are you willing to go?"
Percy gulped slightly, but he was determined to maintain his composure. He wanted Lucius to take him seriously and to see him as a person of worth regardless of his family name.
"I will do whatever it takes to ensure that the Ministry is not corrupted," Percy spoke, pleased that his voice did not waver.
"You may soon have an opportunity to prove those words," Lucius returned.
Then, before Percy could say anything in reply, Lucius turned and walked off.
"I am willing to do whatever it takes," Percy muttered to himself. "I am not like the rest of my family."