Percy drummed his fingers on the mahogany desk before leaning back into his chair. He sighed heavily and leaned forward, keeping his sharp eyes on the two figures before him
He knew he should've been happy. All the wizards and witches in the streets were, at least, cheering the way they were. The Dark One was gone. The Aurors were right on the heels of his most powerful followers. Chaos was subdued.
But for how much longer?
The end is only the eye of the storm. Peace is only temporary.
"Percy, this is getting out of hand!" Percy turned his head to the other man. The man whom everyone said he resembled. "This paranoia will do us no good!" The man slammed a hand on the desk to emphasize his point.
Percy's expression turned cold. "Take care, Mr. Weasley, to remember who you are speaking to."
"I am speaking to my son!"
Percy slammed his own fist on the desk before standing up. "You are speaking to the Minister!" Percy shook as he controlled his anger. No good wasting his energy on this man when there were Death Eaters to hunt. "This is my decision, and a wise one at that. Mr. Weasley," Percy smoothed his robes before turning back to the red-headed man before him, "I understand your concerns. But here at the Ministry of Magic, we run everything as smoothly as possible using knowledge attained over years of training." Percy's mouth twitched; Merlin, he was sounding more and more like Fudge than ever before. The former Minister would be proud.
"Merlin, Percy, don't give me that kind of answer!" Percy's smile grew as he watched Arthur hunch his shoulders as if defeated. "Your mother wouldn't…"
"My mother, sir, is dead." Percy ignored the stab in his heart as he said these words. "She was killed," he forced on, "by the very people I am ridding the world of. It is for the best of the wizarding community."
"Percy," Arthur shook his head sadly.
"I don't have to explain anything to you!" Percy roared and pointed a finger at Arthur. He had enough. "Go back to your cubicle, Father, and let me run this community as I see fit."
He watched as Arthur was led away, defeated. He turned back to Dolores resolutely. "I've decided."
After Dolores Umbridge left, Percy rubbed his face with his ink-blotted hands. The conversation with his father came back to him.
Oh Mother. I'm doing this for you. To make up for being such a horrible son.
Percy turned to his grand desk and pulled out the left bottommost drawer. He smiled weakly at the picture and the people that waved to him happily. He picked the picture up gently and set it on top of the piles of paper in front of him.
Ten people waved up happily at him. Ginny laughed at the camera, a spitting image of Molly. Ron had one arm around Harry and another around Hermione. All three grinned at the camera, though their faces sagged with fatigue. Charlie and Bill sidled closer to their parents, closing that empty space between them. His father and mother smiled proudly, arms around each other.
It was all too obvious who was missing.
Percy flipped the photo over to read the neatly written note for the umpteenth time.
When you decide to come back
His eyes sparkled every time he saw his mother's handwriting, the graceful curves of her letters. He could imagine Molly sitting at a desk with a single candle as she wrote those simple words and packing them with all her love.
All this time, she never doubted his actions. He was Percival Ignatius Weasley, after all. Prefect, Head Boy, and assistant to the previous two Ministers of Magic. She loved him even after the Crouch incident, after he severed connections with the Weasley clan, after he walked out of all the family photos, and after he pursued the cursed position of Minister of Magic himself.
I'm a good man, Percy thought, but I'm not ready to come back yet, Mother. There's one more thing to do.
Percy turned back to the photo. His eyes lingered on each face.
Ginny Weasley – committed suicide. Did I miss the funeral?
Ron Weasley – estranged from wife Luna Lovegood. Good. A match with the Bones girl will tie two vengeful families together.
Harry Potter – married happily to Hermione. Killer of the Dark Lord. I still owe a statement to Daily Prophet about that, don't I?
Hermione Potter – married to Harry. Wrong choice, Hermione. A waste of your intellect.
Charlie Weasley – killed in a dragon accident. Ah, I remember. The first death in our family.
Bill Weasley – killed in bombing of Gringotts. Why didn't you heed my warning?
Arthur Weasley – tormented by loss. Poor, deranged Father. A trip to St. Mungo's will do.
Molly Weasley – killed by Severus Snape, a Death Eater who escaped capture. Until recently. Yet this is the prime example as to why the scum belongs in a graveyard.
Percy stared longer at Molly Weasley's smiling face. I love you, Mother. Percy convinced himself that the wink the woman in the picture gave him was a signal to continue his work.
"There she is!"
"Ms. Umbridge, is there any news about the decree?"
"Hem hem." Umbridge patted her throat and stretched her toad-like face into a grin. "Minister Weasley has come to a decision." She paused, gleefully soaking up the attention the reporters were giving her. "I have right here," Umbridge held up a roll of parchment, not only the decree but provisions as well, all signed and approved by the Minister of Magic."
Umbridge cleared her throat once more as she unrolled the parchment and began to read.
Kingsley Shacklebolt Apparated into the Leaky Cauldron and smiled weakly as a few nearby wizards and witches hailed him.
"Join us for a drink, Shacklebolt!"
Kingsley shook his head politely and held up a roll of parchment. "Ministry business, I'm afraid."
The room roared with laughter. "Even the Ministry deserves a rest, eh? After our victory!" a bald, raucous man stood with a tankard in his hand. "To Harry, the Boy Who Lived Twice!"
Kingsley turned his back to them as he stopped Tom who was on his way to deliver another trayful of drinks. "Minister wants these decrees in all over wizard London, starting here."
Tom stared at Kingsley questioningly. "It's about the Cleansing, ain't it?" Kingsley didn't need to reply. Tom shrugged. "You can put it up there," he pointed to the wall near the entrance before heading back to his customers.
Kingsley made his way through the crowd and unrolled the parchment. Before sticking it on the wall, he read it again.
The transition from war to peace will be overseen by the Ministry of Magic. Changes and laws must be upheld in order to make the shift smooth. Ministry employees are hereafter permitted to arrest any wizard or witch on sight for bearing the Mark of Voldemort. Any with the Mark forfeit their rights to a trial and will be transferred directly to the prison of Azkaban for life. Ministry employees are permitted to fine or arrest any wizard or witch for referring to Voldemort with a sign of reverence. Ministry employees are permitted to exercise his or her own wisdom and knowledge of the Dark Arts in capturing followers of Voldemort. Ministry employees are permitted to use the Unforgivable Curses without penalty to aid in the arrests of followers of Voldemort. Ministry employees are permitted to incarcerate any suspicious persons by any means necessary without fear of penalty. Signed, Percival Ignatius Weasley
Minister of Magic
Decree 462: Concerning the Treatment of Death Eaters
The transition from war to peace will be overseen by the Ministry of Magic. Changes and laws must be upheld in order to make the shift smooth.
Ministry employees are hereafter permitted to arrest any wizard or witch on sight for bearing the Mark of Voldemort. Any with the Mark forfeit their rights to a trial and will be transferred directly to the prison of Azkaban for life.
Ministry employees are permitted to fine or arrest any wizard or witch for referring to Voldemort with a sign of reverence.His Dark Lord, Lord Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, You-Know-Who, and other titles of respect are hereby prohibited to be used to name the wizard known as Voldemort or Tom Riddle. Those who violate this law will be charged for alliance with Voldemort and for treachery.
Ministry employees are permitted to exercise his or her own wisdom and knowledge of the Dark Arts in capturing followers of Voldemort.
Ministry employees are permitted to use the Unforgivable Curses without penalty to aid in the arrests of followers of Voldemort.
Ministry employees are permitted to incarcerate any suspicious persons by any means necessary without fear of penalty.
Percival Ignatius Weasley
Kingsley shook his head sadly as he placed the decree on the wall. Chaos will reign once more.