Title: Leaving For The Tea Room
Author: quietliban
This is Percy's life. This is what he does.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe, characters and concepts contained therein belong to JK Rowling and her associated publishers. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Thanks to DanieChagnon23456 from FAP for the beta.

July 1999

10:58 am Monday, 12th of July 1999

Percy walks authoritatively through the Minister's offices carrying files he likes to think are important. He's only a junior assistant and has been for two and a half years. He is proud of his post, and he has always thought that he would be lucky to make it to senior secretary in some small, insignificant office. He is, after all, only young and for twenty-three years of age, a junior assistant position to anybody is quite an achievement.

He carries the files to the receptionist's desk. Eloise Chambers smiles politely at him when he reaches the bench. The vase of flowers and the photographs on her desk are the only things that vaguely resemble the muggle receptionist's desk he and his brother Ron had seen the day their father had dragged them into a muggle doctor's waiting room. Not that he has a father or even a younger brother called Ron anymore. The gerberas in the receptionist's vase are charmed to remember important dates and the people in the photographs are smiling and waving joyously, unlike those who were posing so motionlessly in the photograph on the muggle receptionist's desk.

He leans over onto the bench, pushing the files into the matronly witch's hand.

"For Quigley?" the receptionist asks with her eyebrows slightly raised.

Percy nods. "They're the Dementor reports." He can't help the proud tone in his voice. He was trusted with the Dementor reports, an honour that he takes very seriously.

Eloise's eyes widen slightly at the creatures' name, but she makes no comment, and doesn't flick through the papers like Percy is used to seeing her do. Percy begins to think that maybe she is learning her place.

He turns to go back to his office. It's only a small room and he shares it with Adrian Pucey, another junior assistant. Percy doesn't mind Adrian so much, although sometimes he has looked up to find the other wizard watching him. He is unnerved on these occasions, but he never says anything. Adrian has worked there longer.

He passes a blonde pointy-faced man as he turns back into his hallway. Somehow the man looks familiar to him, and then the pale blonde hair clicks in his mind. The other man is a Malfoy. An uncomfortable distaste flickers in Percy's stomach.

It is stupid to have a grudge against another person he barely knows because of their hair colour. Percy knows this, but it doesn't stop him. Besides, he justifies himself, the other man holds his flag of red hair against him.

Adrian glances up at him as he walks in. He slides in behind his desk and looks back at the other wizard, who is now concentrating intently on the parchment in front of him. Percy shrugs dismissively to himself before re-immersing himself back into the pile of parchment on his desk.

12:46pm Tuesday, 13th of July, 1999

Percy stands in line at the Ministry's cafeteria, the fatty aroma of the dry roast beef and gravy drift down along the line where he is waiting. It has been a long day, he thinks, with the news that morning of yet another unmarked attack. Gossip and disbelief have been simmering through the Ministry's employees, and many of the departments are involved in damage control.

He decides that he is lucky to be working in the Minister's offices, mostly because it means he does not have to endanger himself in whatever clean-up activities the other departments have to deal with. He only has to deal with the panicked letters of distraught housewives. He knows that it's somewhat cowardly to be so glad of such a fact, but he also knows that he is brave in other ways.

As he carries his lunch to an empty table, he notices the blonde man, the young Malfoy, as he walks by.

The pointy-faced man is sitting with a young dark haired witch, who has an Auror badge pinned primly on her shoulder. It strikes Percy as odd that she is not involved in the damage control operations, and as he passes a snippet of their conversation wafts into his ears.

"Yesterday, they said come back tomorrow," the young Malfoy is saying dejectedly. A small sneer enters his voice on the last syllable. "They won't let me anywhere near the damned offices now because of that blasted attack, because aren't I that Death Eater's son?"

"Don't worry about it, Draco. Try again when everything calms down." The dark haired witch pats the Malfoy's arm.

"It would just be easier if he were home, Pansy. Mother would be happier and…" The blonde man looks up, and sees Percy. Immediately the sadness in his face is replaced with cool distaste. He keeps walking, pretending not to have noticed the blonde man or to have overheard their conversation.

2:17 pm, Monday, 26th of July, 1999

Unease has spread throughout the wizarding community. Percy knows that the Magical Law Enforcement Squad have no leads on the unmarked attack.

A reform proposal from the Council of Magical Law sits on top of his desk. When a senior advisor asked him to draft it, he was surprised as it is not usually as task he is delegated to do. It's a depressing piece of paperwork, the details of Azkaban more dark and raw here than in the Dementor reports he had been so proud to be working on. He had never imagined that Azkaban was so terrifying. He always knew that it was place he had never wanted to visit and in some part of his mind it is still a horrific fairy story that his parents threatened him with when he misbehaved. Not that he ever misbehaved or even has parents.

The proposal is to reinstate the Hemlock sentence now that the Dementors and their Kiss have fled. Percy is distressed by this idea. He wonders if he should request that the proposal be handled by someone else, but it is not in him to let someone else have glory and credit to their name when it could just as easily be his. Besides, he knows that now the Dementors are gone that there is a need for greater discouragement of crime, but he doesn't think that the Kiss was ever a reasonable punishment and the Hemlock sentence isn't much better.

There's a knock on the shared office door. Percy looks across to Adrian, who is staring puzzled at the door. They rarely get callers into their office.

"Come in," Percy calls, and the door swings open. The young Malfoy stands over the threshold, his grey eyes meeting Percy's. The red-head shivers slightly at the horror and disgust mixed in the other man's eyes before bending back over the proposal.

"Adrian, can I talk to you for a moment?" He hears the youngest Malfoy ask, and Percy looks up curiously. The young Malfoy pays no notice to him.

"I'm at work, Draco," Adrian answers, something in his tone that Percy can't identify. He thinks it might be annoyance, but it also might be confusion.

There is silence for a moment, as no one in the room talks. Percy watches as the pointy-faced Malofy cocks his head to the side and studies Adrian.

The blonde man is watching his co-worker the same way that Adrian sometimes watches him. This confuses Percy, and he thinks that it must be a Slytherin thing.

"I need you to help me," the young Malfoy says carefully, an almost pleading tone to his voice. Percy is shocked; he did not even think that the Malfoys even knew about that tone. He remembers another Malfoy, the elder one, who was regal and imperious even when cast out of favour.

"Can't it wait?" Adrian answers, his voice is most definitely annoyed now.

"It's important."

"None of them will see you, will they?" Adrian's voice is tinged with laughter.

"Can you please be quiet?" Percy speaks up. He is frustrated by their conversation and thinks that it is his office just as much as it is Adrian Pucey's.

"I don't believe this involves you, Weasley," the young Malfoy tells him. The arrogance has returned, and Percy glares at him.

"You're in my office. I think it involves me. So please Mr. Malfoy, would you kindly remove yourself before I call security?" he says it politely, seeing the outrage on the blonde man's face.

The young Malfoy calms himself and then smirks. The expression changing his features, making them less attractive and more pointed. "All that money is going to your head, Weasley."

Percy is unmoved by the pointy-faced man's comment. "Leave," he simply states before bending his head back to his paperwork. He doesn't look across to Adrian for approval. He doesn't care if Adrian agrees with him. The mere presence of the young Malfoy disturbs him.