Disclaimer: I do not own Percy, Oliver, Hogwarts, boggarts or the Mirror of Erised. But I do own Sam and you can rent him for the price of a cookie a day. But seriously, I made him up because a lot of the people at Hogwarts seem to roam around in threes- Harry, Hermione and Ron; Fred, George and Lee; Katie, Alicia and Angelina…. So thusly was born the trio of Percy, Oliver and Sam.
Summary: Oliver watches Percy banish a boggart and realizes that what Percy fears the most is also his greatest desire. Inspired by the song Crash and Burn by Simple Plan, which, by guidelines, I can no longer quote here. Sigh. No slash. Oliver POV, in case you couldn't tell.
Crash and Burn
The clock jumped. Really, it did. A clock jumping is a humorous sight, and unusual, even at Hogwarts. "Boggart," I said. I turned to my companions, Percy Weasley and Sam Jones. "Should we get a professor?"
"We're seventh years," Percy replied loftily. "We could banish boggarts in our sleep… well, I could at least," He added smugly, casting a look over his shoulder at Sam, who scowled.
"I'll do it," Sam volunteered, still glaring at Percy.
"You will not," Percy snapped right back. "You lisp. It comes out 'rithikulus'. Who knows what we could end up facing?"
I sighed and Sam shook his head, realizing any argument would be in vain. Now, honestly, I know that Sam lisps, but ever since Percy was made Head Boy, it's been Rule Lad to the rescue (even more than usual). And it's driving us insane.
Before Sam or I could get another word in, Percy pointed his wand at the clock, springing open the door with a wordless charm. But the boggart didn't know that Percy was supposed to be facing it, of course, and it must have seen Sam first, for it emerged in the shape of a giant duck.
Why is Sam afraid of ducks? Beats the hell outta me. But here we were, facing down a duck in the hall way, with Percy still tensed and holding his wand up, ready for action. It must have been rather embarrassing, really: for Percy, who was facing the duck as if it posed a danger; for Sam- what seventeen year old boy is scared of ducks? And for me… for the record, at that moment I didn't know either of them.
Sam hastily stepped aside, revealing Percy to the boggart. The duck disappeared and in its place was… a mirror?
Yep, the boggart was now definitely a mirror. Strange… why would Percy be scared of a mirror?
Sam noticed the oddness too, but that doesn't say all that much about Sam- who wouldn't have? But of course, anything Sam notices must become the point of a joke of some sort.
"Aw, you're not that ugly, Perce." This time was no exception.
Normally, Percy gets annoyed with Sam and fixes us both with an I-don't-know-why-I-even-associate-with-you-two glare. And we just grin back at him with a because-no-one-else-can-stand-you smirk.
That's how it always goes. But this time, Percy just stood, transfixed, staring into the mirrorboggart with hazel eyes that were huge behind his glasses.
"Percy?" I asked. He didn't move.
It's not like Percy to freeze. Maybe the pressure of being Head Boy was getting to him, I assumed, so I stepped in to take over. Both Percy and Sam already know that my greatest fear is a Death Eater killing my mother like one did my father- I'm not one to open up, but there's a long story involving a bit too much firewhiskey…. Either way, it's not like I have to worry about the humiliation of having it turning into a giant duck.
But I must not have stepped in far enough, because it was still a mirror- but something was wrong. Percy wasn't reflected in the mirror; it was just me… me winning the Quidditch Cup. Me holding a trophy high above my head and shouting, tears streaming down my face. Me, in the happiest moment of my life.
I frowned. Percy's boggart was not just a mirror. It was a fully functional mirror of Erised.
What was so scary about that? Who fears their greatest desire?
I stepped in further, waiting for the boggart to become a tall woman, clad in black robes with a mask over her face. I've faced plenty of boggarts; my house is old, and has always had a problem with them. They don't scare me anymore.
But Percy recovered before I moved any closer. The shock in his eyes vanished; he raised his wand and said in a loud, clear voice, "Riddikulus!"
The mirror disappeared and, despite the oddness of the situation, I snorted. Of course. Nothing amuses Percy. The best he can do is make the thing vanish.
Then, I fell silent, and for a moment no one spoke. Then Sam said, "You're afraid of mirrors?"
"You're afraid of water fowl," Percy retorted.
"He's got a point," I whispered. I don't know why I felt I had to whisper, but I did anyway.
"Why are you scared of mirrors, Percival?" Sam asked innocently. He calls him 'Percival' when he wants to annoy him. It's quite random, and gets on even my nerves sometimes.
Percy remained silent and completely impassive, which for him means something is really bothering him.
"Especially that mirror," I pressed. Now my curiosity was engaged as well.
"What mirror?" Sam asked.
"That mirror was the mirror of Erised," I explained irritably.
"Oh. Why's he scared of that, Ol?"
I was opening my mouth to explain the world, yet again, to Sam, when it hit me. I didn't know that answer.
Now, you've got to understand something. Maybe you've wondered how on God's green earth Percy, Sam and I became friends. The simple answer is we didn't. We're not. Well, maybe we are friends, but even so, we've never actually come out and said it.
Sam is easy. He and I went to the same primary school. Percy and I are a little more complicated.
First year, Percy and I both dove straight in, him to his studies and me to my flying. I admit it, we're both obsessed. We never had time for fun and even when we did, we had never had enough time before to actually make friends to spend it with. So it came to be that the two random people who just didn't have time for friends became sort of dependant on each other. Not in a friend way, but in more of an unspoken, keep-each-other-sane way. So, because of that, I guess I can see why we don't know too terribly much about each other, even after seven years of spending all our free time together.
I know random, weird things about Percy, such as that he labels his socks 'left' and 'right', and that he has thought Penelope Clearwater to be the most beautiful lass in the world since he saw her on the train our first year. I don't know anything truly important, such as why his greatest fear would be his greatest desire. I didn't know even Percy was that odd. And this all leaves on final question:
What does Percy see in the mirror of Erised, anyway?
Him, as the Minister of Magic? What's scary about that? Him, married to Penelope? He's not that scared of girls. If his is, he's more of a wimp than I thought.
"Percy," I said quietly. "What do you see in the mirror of Erised?"
For a moment I thought he wouldn't answer. That would be quite in-character for him, actually. But then he replied, equally softly, "Myself."
Sam snorted. "Well even I knew that, Perce."
Percy was more shook up than I've ever seen him, and I've seen him pretty badly shaken up. Maybe the stress of being Head Boy actually was getting to him, after all.
"You see yourself how? As what?" I hated to prod; it wasn't like me at all. But this wasn't like Percy, so I felt justified.
Percy gave me an odd look and replied, "I see myself normal."
"I thought you liked being abnormal," Sam interrupted, but Percy didn't hear him. When Percy talks, he talks.
"I ran into the mirror fifth year, on patrol on night right after Halloween, about. I saw myself a normal kid. Not a prefect. Not top of my class. Normal. No responsibility. Like you two."
"Well excuse us lower folk," Sam muttered. As for me, I stayed silent.
"That's what I see when I look into the mirror of Erised," Percy concluded in his that's-all-you're-getting-from-me-voice. But that wasn't good enough for me this time. In a year, we'd be gone. Him, to the Ministry. Me, hopefully to the Quidditch reserves. Sam, to who knows where. But the point was he was the closest thing I had to a best friend and in a year we'd be moving in opposite directions, and it was time I finally learned what kind of person he was.
"So you want to be normal, and you're scared to be," I summarized. "I see the logic, Perce."
"No!" Percy insisted, a bit too quickly and a bit too loudly. Then he ruffled- it's this thing of his, just like a prideful bird- and any flicker of emotion was gone again, to wherever Percy's feelings lie dormant 98 of the time. "I am not… scared of being normal. I am… ashamed that my greatest desire would be as such. It is illogical to wish for the bliss of ignorance."
Then he turned and walked away. I'm pretty sure the first kid to cross his path got ten points from whichever house just for walking.
Ten seconds later, Sam said, "I think he just called us ignorant, Ollie."
I laughed. I do that a lot, when there's nothing else to say. Percy has actual daemons, who'd've thought? The weight of the world is truly on that boy's shoulders, and I'd always thought if it were ever taken off them he'll just crumble without it.
And it hit me. Percy had just confessed (quite randomly, really) his deepest secret. His deepest desire to be normal, and his fear and digust that that would be his deepest desire.
Percy Weasley had just opened up to me, let me and Sam see a little ways inside him. But all I saw was a perfect kid who was getting a tad bit closer to crashing and burning every day.
AN: Mmmmm… this started as more of a study as Percy but ended up more as a study of Oliver's relationship with him. It's an interesting one (relationship) to be sure, and one I plan to explore further, as soon as school lets out. Oh yeah, Percy would be ashamed of me… I'm writing this instead of studying for finals. But I'm making a point to chill a bit more because I see an awful lot of me in Percy and that scares me a little… but it does make him a thrill to write!
PS: It is only in retrospect that I realized the song applies even more to Oliver's thoughts on Percy after he leaves… oh well.