Author's Note: This is the final chapter of this story. Thank you to everyone who has left me a review. I really appreciate all of them.
Additional Author's Note: This takes place after the battle in the Department of Mysteries.
Percy was in a deep sleep when he was suddenly woken by the sound of tapping on the bedroom window of his flat.
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Percy looked towards the window and was surprised to see that an owl was the source of the tapping.
Percy quickly noticed that the owl was carrying a letter.
Has something horrible happen at the Ministry? Has Dumbledore somehow manage to break in? Is the Minister all right?
Percy walked over to the window and opened it up. The owl flew inside just long enough to drop the letter in Percy's hand. Then, it immediately flew back out the window.
Percy walked back over to his bed. He grabbed for his wand as he sat down.
"Lumos," he whispered.
A beam of light shot out of Percy's wand and onto the letter.
It was short and left Percy with more questions than answers.
Dear Mr. Weasley,
Your presence is immediately required at the Ministry.
Percy did not take the time to change his clothes. He just threw a bathrobe over his pajamas. Whatever was going on at the Ministry was urgent, and he seriously doubted that anyone would care what he was wearing.
That is definitely not a normal thought for me, Percy couldn't help thinking as he made his way over to his flat's fireplace so that he could Floo into the Ministry.
Despite the late hour, the Ministry was full of people running around in a panic.
Percy grabbed the arm of a man who was running past him.
"What's going on?" Percy asked.
"You-Know-Who has returned," the man gasped, his eyes wide, "and several Death Eaters were found in the Department of Mysteries."
You-Know-Who. Death Eaters. Here at the Ministry.
"What?" Percy sputtered. He took a few moments to compose himself before asking, "Do you know where the Minister is at?"
"With Dumbledore," the man answered.
"Dumbledore?" Percy gasped.
What in the world is going on? Is this some sort of nightmare? Am I still sleeping? None of this can possibly be happening.
"They're currently in the Minister's office," the man added, "but strict orders have been given not to disturb them."
With that, the man pulled away from Percy's grip.
For several moments, Percy just stood there in stunned silence. Then, he began to make his way towards Fudge's office. He needed some answers. He needed to know if all this was really true.
Percy urgently knocked on Fudge's door.
"Go away," the Minister's voice barked from the opposite side. "I asked not to be disturbed."
"It's Percy Weasley, sir."
There was a brief moment of silence.
Then, Dumbledore's voice said gently, "Come in, Percy."
Percy opened the door and walked inside.
Fudge was sitting at his desk, and Dumbledore was standing beside him.
The sight of Dumbledore in Fudge's office made everything feel so unreal.
"Is it true?" Percy gasped. "Is it true that You-Know-Who is back?"
"Yes, it's true," Fudge sighed in obvious weariness. "I saw him with my own eyes."
Percy somehow managed to stay on his feet.
"I heard that some Death Eaters were found in the Department of Mysteries," he then breathed. "Is that true as well?"
"Yes," Fudge confirmed, his face tightening. It was clear that he was angry about something.
"Unless you have any more questions for me, Cornelius, I must be on my way back to Hogwarts," Dumbledore spoke.
Fudge just waved Dumbledore away.
Percy waited until Dumbledore had closed the door behind him before approaching Fudge's desk.
"I'm ruined," Fudge moaned. "I'm absolutely ruined. There's no way I'm going to be able to recover from this."
"This isn't your fault, Minister," Percy tried to say reassuringly. "None of us saw this coming."
"I am the Minister of Magic," Fudge snarled. "It is my job to protect our world, but I was blinded by twisted, vile deception. Damn Lucius."
"Mr. Malfoy?" Percy spoke in confusion. "What does he have to do with anything?"
"Everything!" Fudge roared. "He's one of them, Weasley! I saw him with my own eyes down in the Department of Mysteries!"
"No, that can't be," Percy breathed. "I had lunch with him earlier today. We talked about normal things. He's a friend."
"He's a filthy, disgusting liar," Fudge hissed.
Percy shook his head. None of this was making sense. There was no way that Lucius was a Death Eater. Death Eaters were evil. And there was no way that Lucius could be evil. Percy had spent a lot of time alone with him, including behind the walls of Malfoy Manor. And Lucius had never once said or done anything to make Percy feel threatened or afraid. In fact, Lucius had shown Percy nothing but respect. He had shown Percy more respect than he was used to receiving from his own family. Lucius cared about him. Death Eaters didn't care about anyone. Therefore, there was no way that Lucius could be a Death Eater.
"Where is he?" Percy finally asked. "I have to see him."
"He's currently being questioned by the Aurors," Fudge answered, "and there's no way I'm going to allow him to have any visitors. I won't give him a chance to cause more damage than he already has."
"I have to see him," Percy repeated stubbornly.
"No, Weasley," Fudge responded. "I can see that he still has a hold over you. I will have one of the Aurors check you for signs of the Imperius Curse."
"I'm not under the Imperius Curse," Percy returned, "and I'm not going to try to help him to escape or anything like that. I just want to see him for a few moments. I just need some answers from him."
"I seriously doubt that he's going to give you any honest ones," Fudge sneered.
"Please," Percy begged. "There can be a couple of Aurors in the room if that will make you feel better. Just please let me see him."
"Fine," Fudge sighed. "Follow me then."
Fudge knocked on one of the closed doors in the Auror department.
"Who is it?" a man's voice barked from the opposite side.
"Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic."
The door opened just enough for a man's head to peek outside.
"What can I do for you, Minister?" the man, clearly an Auror, asked.
"Weasley here wants to see the Death Eater for a moment," Fudge said, gesturing at Percy.
The Death Eater. Not Lucius or Mr. Malfoy but the Death Eater.
Percy felt like he was about to be sick.
"For what reason?" the Auror asked, directing his glance to Percy.
"I just want to ask him a few questions," Percy said.
"Good luck with that," the Auror sneered. "He's not giving us anything."
"Please," Percy begged.
"Just give him a few moments, so that he will give all of us some peace," Fudge snapped.
"All right then," the Auror said, holding the door open for Percy. "Come in."
Percy hesitated for a moment. He wanted to see Lucius, but at the same time he didn't. He didn't want any of this to be true, but he knew that it would become true the moment he walked into the room.
Taking a few deep breaths to compose himself, Percy walked past the Auror.
"Will you be coming in as well, Minister?" the Auror asked Fudge.
"No, I'm quite through with him, thank you very much," Fudge replied.
The Auror just nodded his head.
Percy paid no attention as the Auror shut the door behind them. He also paid no attention to the other man, clearly another Auror, in the room. His attention was focused solely on Lucius, who was sitting chained to a chair.
The sight of the chains made everything seem more real to Percy.
Lucius regarded Percy with a bored expression on his face.
Despite the chains, Lucius was still the picture of perfect grace and dignity. He was sitting as straight up in his chair as the chains would allow, still every inch the aristocrat.
Percy opened his mouth to speak.
"Save it," Lucius spoke coldly.
Percy's mouth immediately closed. How was it, despite what Percy had just learned, that this man was still able to hold so much power over him?
"I already know what you're going to say," Lucius continued. "You're going to ask me if I'm under the Imperius Curse. My answer is going to be, 'No, I'm not, and I never was under the Imperius Curse.' Next, you're going to ask me how could I have deceived you like this. My answer is going to be, 'I deceived you because I knew that I would be able to do so.' You really were easy to manipulate, especially with the way that you were constantly fawning over me."
"It could not have all been a lie," Percy responded. "I know that I have to mean something to you."
"You are as naive as the rest of your family," Lucius sneered. "I suppose you're going to go crawling back to them now and beg them for their forgiveness."
"No, they weren't even on my mind," Percy replied. "My loyalty is to the Ministry."
"How touching," Lucius drawled mockingly.
Percy looked at Lucius for a moment before saying, "So, everything I've heard tonight is true. You-Know-Who is back, and you're one of his Death Eaters."
"No, Percy, I'm chained to this chair because I'm considering adopting a couple of orphans."
Percy looked away from Lucius.
"You're just like Fudge," Lucius remarked. "He also was disgusted by the fact that I played him like a fiddle."
Lucius then chuckled slightly, but it lacked the warmth that Percy had become used to.
Truly nothing about this night was making any sense. It all had to be nothing more than just a horrible nightmare. It just had to be.
Percy turned to look at one of the Aurors. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need to. The Auror seemed to understand.
The Auror walked over to the door and opened it.
Percy looked over his shoulder to give Lucius one final look.
Lucius's only response was to give Percy a look of utter boredom, as if the younger man truly did not mean anything to him.
But Percy couldn't just accept that. He just had to believe that a part of Lucius did care about him. There was just no way that everything could be a lie.
"Will you be testifying at my trial, Percy?" Lucius asked lazily.
"What?" Percy sputtered.
"Will you be testifying at my trial?" Lucius repeated as if he was talking to a small child.
"Um, no, I wasn't really thinking about that," Percy responded.
"Clearly, you're not thinking about much of anything," Lucius sneered. "Keep on doing that. You're very good at it. You never were meant for greatness."
Lucius paused for a moment for dramatic effect before asking tauntingly, "Did that hurt, being told that you will never be great?"
Percy looked at Lucius for a long moment.
Lucius's response was to smirk.
Percy suddenly turned and broke into an undignified run. All this had finally become too much for him.
Lucius's mocking laughter, however, followed him.