A/N: This is a 10x100, which means ten drabbles of roughly 100 words each, which are tied to each other and linked to make a complete story. Capisce? That's really the easiest way I can think of to put it. Percy/Hermione, written for a friend's birthday.

Disclaimer: No, no, I do not own Percy Weasley, much as I'd love to.

And YES, before ANY reviewer picks on it, I know that Ulysses is actually called Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. Do not sententiously point it out to me, I am aware, and have probably studied more Classics than you. I used the Roman name for consistency. After all, it's Minerva McGonagall, not Pallas Athena Tritogeneia. Got it?

~*~

1) Father often wore ties, blue, gray, beige. The baby would pull curiously on the end, her tiny fingers barely able to grasp the wide slippery silk surface. Father would move her hand away and stand up and look taller, almost daunting because of how serious his face was. Father read her books, stories from mythology. Ulysses tied himself to the mast of his ship and strained against the bonds until his wrists bled as the sirens sang their melancholy songs of loneliness and a false freedom. Little Hermione blinked her big brown eyes and wondered if the man was lonely.

2) Minerva's owl (really) came when she was home with a nanny, because father and mother were working late. The nanny saw the bird and tried to shoo it out of the window, but Hermione had let it inside, because her sharp eyes had noticed that it had a roll of what looked like paper tied with a ribbon in its claws.

Hermione was not Ulysses and she was not afraid of the sirens, and Minerva was a good goddess anyway. Hermione daughter of scientists read the books and saw pictures of students with magic wands and robes and multicoloured ties.

3) They went to get the supplies at a strange, enchanted little corner of the world that they had never known before, and her father looked a little out of place in his suit and tie. But Hermione was running and brushing her cool fingers over books and cauldrons and wands (10 inches, ash, phoenix feather and quite firm).

She cleverly followed a quiet boy with a toad to the secret train platform. And even as she looked around excitedly a bespectacled young man with ginger hair and a red and gold tie gently offered to help her with her trunk.

4) Red and gold wasn't always as warm or kind, and she cried when their fire burnt rather than warmed. His brother hated her and mocked her and Hermione decided, as she sobbed angrily in the loo, that loneliness was universal. And then there came the blur of deafening roars and lies and heroics, and then new ties were created.

She didn't think he'd approve. His name was Percy and he was strict and she just broke the rules by lying. But he didn¡¯t seem to know and smiled slightly when she sat down across from him to do her homework.

5) The second year she was stuck, soul frantic in the darkness, tied to a purgatory which she could not break out from. Her frozen eyes could see him visit, could see Ron and Harry visit, even if she couldn't feel the sensation of fingers prying a scrap of parchment out of her hands.

Or the sensation of the light caress he'd always brush over her bushy hair before he would sit down between the two beds. Her bed and that of the curly-haired Prefect named after the wife of Ulysses. Perhaps her sharp eyes also noticed the tears in his.

6) Hermione leapt up next to him the next year when they WON THEY WON THEY WON! And both were screaming even though they were not by nature boisterous and even as Harry and Oliver and the rest of them were being swarmed by fans, they were jumping up and down, red and gold ties bouncing with their movements, screaming themselves hoarse and warm and exultant. His glasses slid down his nose and she reached up to adjust them unthinkingly and then they continued cheering together, ecstatic.

And the good goddess Minerva was crying, perhaps because of what was to come.

7) The next year he no longer wore red and gold.

He was a young man with a serious face and a sensible set of pinstripe robes and a dark tie because he was working now, and she was almost daunted for a moment. And then after that fiasco at the game they yelled at each other and she just wanted to pull his head down forcibly by that tie and... and...

How DARE he, anyway?

She saw a glance of him at the ball, in blue like her, but then Ron argued with her and she forgot all about him.

8) The man he trusted had been killed by a demon, disguised as a man THEY all trusted, and the complexity and terror of it all made even HER dizzy, and she found herself, too, sitting in the hospital wing by a bed. Harry's bed. But there was no patient on the other side, and it wasn't like her second year.

And then torn between his family and his work (Scylla and Charybdis) he had cut all ties and she really WISHED that she understood why. It didn't seem that simple a choice, and she fingered her own new badge, troubled.

9) It was only after she heard the twins carelessly detail how they shoved a Slytherin student into a vanishing cupboard even as they peddled ever-increasing amounts of trick sickly-sweets that she suddenly had the epiphany and remembered the jokes and bit her lip not to say anything to anyone, because even she was not that brave to throw that firecracker amidst the Weasleys.

Eyeing the badge pinned by her tie she wondered if she'd be treated the same way now had that troll not attempted to kill her. Broken rules meant broken ties. It hurt her head to think about.

10) When she went into Flourish and Blotts alone to buy an Arithmancy text, she saw him, and he stammered a bit in surprise. He was thinner than she remembered and in dark blue robes. There were shadows under his eyes, enhanced by his glasses, and she had stepped forward, bravely like Nausicaa approaching Ulysses, and she had whispered his name.

He had bowed his head, perhaps in supplication, and she suddenly understood that Ulysses had listened to the siren song because it was the first music he'd heard in a long time, and it had bewitched him. Ulysses was just human, and the princess accepted without probing questions.

It was only much later and much closer to him that she noticed, quite randomly, that their ties were identical. Red and gold for their unconventional Gryffindor bravery.