Percy Weasley wasn't running late, which he considered a good thing considering the mob of reporters he had just fought his way through. However, he also wasn't running terribly early, and that meant he wouldn't have time to make any stops if he wanted to get the next press release filed properly.
"Is that you, Percy?"
Percy gritted his teeth, turned around, and forced a smile at the sight of one of his former dorm mates. "Ah, Oliver! It's been too long. How are things for you?"
Oliver's smile was much thinner than usual. "I've been good, got promoted to starting Keeper."
"Congratulations, then." Percy glanced at his watch pointedly. "I'm sorry, but I've really got to get these reports filed. It's been nice seeing you, though.
"Actually, could I tag along?" Percy felt his eye twitch. Why was Oliver Wood so interested in talking to him? They had never been particularly close, even during their time living in the same dorm. Well, there would be no harm in letting him follow.
"By all means," said Percy, setting off towards the lifts at a brisk pace. "I only have about three minutes to get these to the Press Department, unfortunately, so we'll have to move quickly."
Oliver didn't say anything until they were inside one of the spindly golden lifts. "I've heard some strange things about the school this year, Percy."
"Have you?" he asked mildly, though he was immediately on guard. Oliver's tone was brimming with anger.
"Yeah, it seems that there's some witch from your office in there messing things up for everyone. Underbridge, maybe?"
Percy rolled his eyes and pushed his glasses up his nose. "Umbridge, Dolores Umbridge. She's really quite a lovely woman, actually, so perhaps you've heard wrong."
"Did you know she gave the twins and Harry life-long bans from Quidditch a few days ago? Because of something Malfoy started?" Oliver asked. The anger was almost overflowing, and Percy took a deep breath and adjusted his glasses again. "And she's supposedly not letting them use any magic at all in class, I mean come on!"
"I hadn't heard about the Quidditch bans, but if High Inquisitor Umbridge was responsible for the punishments -and I'm sure she was, as Educational Decree Twenty-Five stipulates that she has supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions and removal of privileges pertaining to the students of Hogwarts- then I know they must have done something to warrant them. As for the course work, I can't see her not allowing the use of any magic whatsoever, as that would impede the scholastic achievement of the students at large."
"Level 1: Minister for Magic and Support Staff," said the calm voice of the lift. Percy momentarily ignored Oliver's seething expression and went to a wall of owl cubbyholes next to the lift. A large sign announced it as the "Press Department" in luminescent letters. He placed a sealed envelope at the feet of five of the owls, and each of them picked up the letters and soared down the hallway.
"Direct lines to the media, you see," he said, though Oliver clearly didn't care about the owls.
"Percy, how can you say that? You and I both know that the twins would never do something to warrant a lifetime ban, let alone Harry," Oliver said fiercely.
"I know nothing of the sort." The lift began to move of its own accord, and Percy scowled at Oliver. "My friend, you must have read everything in the Prophet about young Mr. Potter's lying escapades. My family have, unfortunately, followed suit. I'm afraid there's really no hope for Fred and George at all, though since Ronald was made prefect I do hope that he will come to his senses eventually."
"What- but- young Mr. Potter?!" Oliver thundered. "Now look here, Weasley, you've known him for as long, no, longer than I have, and we both know that that rubbish in the Prophet is completely false! He's not lying any more than you're supporting Slytherin for the House Cup this year!"
"I don't pretend that I haven't made mistakes over the years," Percy responded, "but I have acknowledged my former friendship with Potter and renounced it entirely. He has been tainted by his questionable relationship with Albus Dumbledore from a very young age, and while it is sad to see him try and become propaganda for the old fool's lying ways, one must admit that he is old enough to have chosen for himself. Anyone with associations to that miserable old lunatic is just as guilty."
Oliver took a step towards Percy, and for the first time since he was eleven and freshly Sorted he felt slightly nervous around the burly Quidditch player. "That reminds me. I heard another interesting rumor from a friend at the school. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you walk out on your family? Didn't you betray them?"
Percy saw red. "I have no family to betray!" he spat. "They made their alliances very clear. They sided with Dumbledore and his gang of ruffians, which meant they sided against me. Besides," he said with a quieter tone as the lift doors opened, "they're all too stupid and barbaric to be considered family of mine, and I'm well rid of them."
Oliver stared at him for a moment with his jaw gaping before straightening his back and cracking his knuckles. "I see. Well, Percy, it's been an informative chat. I hope you enjoy your alliances." And Oliver was gone from the lift before Percy could retort.
Khgirl08: Hey there! This is actually just the first section of a rather large one-shot I wrote for #WeasleyFanClub over on DeviantArt which features the most underappreciated Weasley sibling ever: Percy. They ask that everything be in one piece rather than separated out, but as there are some rather large jumps in time I feel more comfortable piecing it out. It is already finished, and eventually there'll be five or six chapters, as I'm not sure yet how I'm dividing a couple sections. I'll update it once every day or two, just to drag it out a little, so feel free to add this to your alert for easy perusal of the next chapter.
Anyhow, in case you haven't noticed...I'm a huge fangirl of the entirety of the Weasley crew. Percy ties with Charlie as my least favorite, probably, but let's be honest: they're all in my top twenty characters anyhow. I found Percy's actions extraordinarily unWeasleylike and not very Gryffindorlike during the fifth book, and probably through the sixth as well. This story's aim is to attempt to make sense of his actions while not technically breaking the canon, though I'll warn you early on that this does stretch the boundaries a fair bit.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! I do so love reviews, just so you know. Just saying.