Disclaimer: I own nothing
Percy needed help, he needed serious help.
He was getting in a lot deeper with Audrey than he had thought possible, looking back now he wasn't sure what he had been thinking asking her out, and now here he was facing the very dilemma he'd spent weeks, months trying to bury, trying to ignore the inevitability that this relationship could never work.
Now he was finally accepting it and it was too late to stop anyone getting hurt.
How could he end things now, when they were going so well?
Of course if things carried on he would eventually have to be honest with her.
Looking down at the invite clasped in his hand he sighed.
Percy Weasley plus one
She was the only person he would consider accompanying him to his brothers wedding and he could already imagine his fathers enthusiasm when he brought a muggle, and his mothers delight simply that he was bringing a girlfriend.
But, how would Audrey cope with his little secret, his families secret. Would she even believe him when, if, he told her?
How did he come out and tell her? How did he even get the conversation moving in that direction?
It wasn't the sort of thing he could casually slip into dinner conversation.
"Oh really you've been to Paris too, yes it's fascinating there. Something else that's fascinating is the fact I'm a wizard."
It was laughable how ridiculous that sounded, and he knew Audrey would just laugh at him, no matter how he tried to word it, there was no way she'd believe him, and if he told her and things didn't go well he risked her safety and his position at the ministry.
"Knut for your thoughts little brother."
Percy jumped at the sound of Bill's voice, turning he found him leaning against the fence next to him, and amused smile on his scarred face.
"It's nothing really, just something with work." Percy muttered distractedly looking up at the overcast sky.
Bill chuckled "Oh right, it's a girl."
Percy's head snapped back down in shock "How did u know?" he asked before he could stop himself.
Bill laughed again "I didn't for sure, until now."
With a groan Percy turned resting his elbows on the fence he covered his face with his hands. He felt Bill place a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"Don't worry Percy, we've all been there. So who is she, a girl from the office? Having trouble gaining her attention with reports about magic carpet smuggling?" he teased good naturedly.
Percy gave a dry laugh "I wish it was that simple Bill."
He looked up at his older brother and realised his wish had been answered. He had asked for help and who better than Bill. Being the oldest he had always looked out for all the others and Percy had never really appreciated that. Bill hadn't even held a grudge that Percy had missed his wedding, and although he ribbed Percy as much as the others for his workaholic nature, he had put as much energy into defending Percy when he needed it.
With a sigh he looked away over the large field behind the burrow.
"She's different Bill. I know it sounds cliché but when I'm with her I feel different, I feel better."
"I believe the easiest way of explaining it is simply saying you're in love little brother, mum will be thrilled."
Bill waited for Percy to speak, to look up and smile, but he just kept staring out across the fields as though hoping salvation would appear on the horizon.
"Percy?" Bill called softly trying to bring his brother back to the conversation.
Percy finally looked up, but there was no smile.
"What's wrong?" Bill finally had to ask as Percy wasn't being very forthcoming with information.
"She's a muggle." he murmured quietly.
Bill nodded slowly in understanding, "And I'm guessing she's yet to discover the family secret, so to speak."
Percy shook his head with a smile "I don't know how to tell her, I don't even know how to …" he gripped his hair in frustration.
Bill just shook his head in amusement "Well Percy I think the best person to talk to about that predicament would be our soon to be sister in law." he just shrugged when Percy gave him a questioning look "Hermione will probably be able to help more with how to explain magic to a muggle." he explained.
Percy nodded slowly letting that idea sink in, he had to admit the thought had never crossed his mind when it seemed so obvious now.
"So how did you meet her?" Bill asked curiously once Percy seemed willing to talk again.
"She works at this little Bistro I visit sometimes after work." Percy explained "I didn't even notice her at first, if I'm honest." he chuckled "Then all of a sudden I couldn't stop noticing her, she was so fun, so full of life. She's different to all the other girls I know from work, so different from me." he smiled lost in memories "I thought she was going to shoot me down in flames when I asked her out, I don't know what I was thinking. But, for some unknown reason, she agreed and now" he paused looking up at Bill "I'm really scared I'm going to lose her Bill." he admitted quietly.
Bill observed his younger brother carefully and realised just how deeply he cared for this girl and just how real his fear was.
Bill gripped his shoulder in support "If you feel this strongly about her Perce you have to tell her the truth."
"What if she thinks I'm insane?" Percy began to ramble "Or worse what if she runs away screaming? Or what if she just doesn't accept the truth, what if it's too much for her? Or what if…"
"Percy shut up!" Bill yelled suddenly before laughing "Have you ever thought, what if she's ok with it? What if she accepts you and can handle the big secret? If you care even half as much about this girl as I think you do then in my opinion it's worth the risk, you can't keep lying to her Percy it's not fair. I mean what does she think you do for a living?"
Percy shrugged a sick feeling of guilt settling in his stomach when he realised Bill was right, he was lying to Audrey "I don't really talk about work that much, just tell her it's a boring office job."
"First time for everything." Bill joked "And how much have you told her about us?" he asked his arm sweeping back towards the Burrow where the rest of the family were still celebrating Hermione and Ron's engagement.
"She knows I have five brothers and a sister, she knows about Fred." his throat tightened a little as he thought of his lost brother "I've told her all about Vic."
Bill smiled at the mention of his daughter "Yeah I had a feeling her favourite uncle wouldn't be able to refrain from gushing about her."
Percy shrugged smiling himself "What can I say she's got everyone wrapped around every one of her fingers."
The light moment faded as Percy sighed thinking about how fascinated Audrey always seemed when Percy opened up about his family life "I know she wants to meet everyone, but so far she's managed to hold off on outright asking me why I seem to be hiding you all. The wedding seems like a good opportunity but then I'm giving myself a time limit to confess and then I feel trapped and panic."
"Have you met her family yet?" Bill asked curiously.
Percy shook his head "She's not very forthcoming about her family, from what she's said it's just her and her mum, they're pretty close apparently but, I think she's waiting until I suggest meeting the families and taking things further."
They lapsed into silence for a few minutes as Percy thought over everything, after a while Bill sighed softly knowing there wasn't anything more he could say to help at this time. He clapped Percy on the shoulder turning back towards the Burrow.
"Don't stay out here too long or the others will get suspicious and start investigating and you need to figure things out before the rest get involved, if mum finds out you've met a girl all decisions will be removed from your control."
"Thanks Bill." Percy called as his brother moved back towards the house.
Feeling calmer Percy looked back out over the fields, Bill was right about one thing, it wasn't fair for him to keep hiding who he was from Audrey, he had to push the 'What if's' to the back of his mind and just be honest.
He turned back to the Burrow, another thing Bill had been right about, he could use Hermione's help trying to figure out how to explain everything to Audrey.
This was just supposed to be a very short chapter to set up the next one, where Audrey learns the truth, but I found it hard to stop writing so it got a bit longer than planned, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
Let me know what you think.