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He leaves the Burrow in a flurry of tears and anger. How could his own father say such things about his life’s ambition being realized? Did they not understand that everything he had done, everything he was going to do, was for them?

Well.

It didn’t matter anymore. This didn’t change things. He’d always known where he ranked in the family; this just made it more official.

--

Percy Weasley is at work the day the Ministry falls. He’s at his desk doing paperwork when the Minister falls to Death Eater fire. When they make the rounds to secure the employees, he is hiding under it, in the spell he fashioned months ago, that allows him to hide in plain sight and get his job done without interference.

He forges bloodline paperwork for muggleborns and their families. He steals wands from the Death Eaters’ growing collection and finds ways to get them to their rightful owners, or the family of their deceased ones. He runs a safe house for the resistance’s spies without ever revealing his own identity to anyone. He gets ahold of obscure spells to hide one’s appearance and presence and raids Death Eater prisons to free their prisoners. He buries the bodies of those he is too late to save. If he knows their name, it is tattooed into his arms. If he doesn’t, they are a tally on his back. At the end of the war, he will know exactly how many he failed to save. It helps him to work through it, keeping a record, staying organized.

All of this is done without ever once revealing that it is he, himself, Percival Weasley, doing a single thing to aid the resistance. He does have self-preservation instincts, after all. ( Sometimes he wonders if that makes him a bad person .)

He’s caught, sometimes, though at least always when he’s “in costume” so to speak. The Death Eaters are fond of torture but with his mind for organization and logic he is soon free again, and it’s almost easy to hide the symptoms left over from those times from the people who would be concerned and ask with potions. Most people don’t notice; they’re busy after all. It’s a war. Percy doesn’t hold it against them.

He is employed still by the Ministry, bedraggled as it is, and thus they expect a bit of brusqueness in his dealings with the resistance, if he ever spots them. They also require that he report the rebels, but he never does. He’s a good enough Occlumens (his discipline practically demands the skill be learned, and he did grow up in wartime, when secrets only you knew were valuable) that none of the Death Eaters notice anything amiss. Everyone knows his family’s disowned him; the family trees are publically available, after all, and there was a great upheaval in which one of the more enterprising of the junior Death Eaters decided to shove his face in the fact that apparently he’d been formally disowned. He refused to give a reaction, instead continuing with his paperwork and filing, and the resulting humiliated Crucio had been almost useful at helping him hide how much the confirmation truly hurt. He supposed he couldn’t blame his parents, though. It was the middle of a war, and he came to work faithfully as ever.

He lives in a pocket space under his desk. The Death Eaters haven’t managed to find it to raid it yet, and it’s faster than walking through London’s dangerous streets in this day and age. He irons his robes and makes himself breakfast and ignores the shouting from outside.

To get to the owlery for deliveries, he walks past Nathan McNeelin cursing crying interns into peeing their robes for a laugh. His face doesn’t twitch. It’s better than last month; Evelyn Borris’ body was left on the floor of the Atrium’s fountain, drowned. Her grandfather had been muggleborn, and she’d tried to hide it but gotten caught. She’d snuck Percy quills when his broke before she’d been transferred. He didn’t think about it. That night, however, he gained a new tattoo on his inner forearm, charmed invisible so the Death Eaters wouldn’t see tangible proof of his regrets and use them against him.

--

He doesn’t go to the Battle of Hogwarts. He is busy; the Death Eaters are distracted, and final battle or not, there are people being imprisoned and tortured who don’t deserve it.

After the Battle, Kingsley Shacklebolt leads a force against the remaining Death Eaters in the Ministry. He isn’t quiet about it, either; he comes in through the front door, ignoring the side-eyes pointed at him, and announces to the receptionist at the desk that he is going to kick some Death Eater ass and would she kindly give him a visitor’s pass?

She smiles, stands, points her wand into the air, fires something yellow-gold into the Atrium’s tall ceiling, and asks what name he’d like on that pass?

( “Death,” he tells her solemnly, and she has a fit of hysterical laughter at the thought. )

The spell is a signal: the resistance has won. Get as many of the bastards as you can. There are no reinforcements for them coming. It conveniently colors every known Death Eater a vibrant, gorgeous lavender.

Percy Weasley is in the first department to see it, the owlery management’s. He is very calm about it when he sends a Cutting Hex at Nathan McNeelin’s head. There is a sudden silence where everyone absorbs the fact that Weasley just killed a Death Eater. Another lavender-colored Death Eater wanders in to see what the lack of noise is about, and Margaret O’Reilly launches herself at him, shrieking. There’s a cacophony as people storm the halls, wands out and carrying letter openers and knives they’d stashed under their desks. Percy has a small following as he paces the length of the building and curses each lavender-colored foe he encounters to slow them down so the others can reach them.

The retaking of the Ministry is far more bloody than the Battle of Hogwarts. Shacklebolt’s forces do hardly a fraction of the capturing and killing and revenging and isn’t that proper? They hadn’t had to watch people die at wand-point from prolonged torture and do nothing for months , nearly years , and swallow any reaction because speak out and you’re next , had they?

--

Percy doesn’t go to the Burrow. He’s still disowned, it says so on the Ministry’s family trees, and so he continues living in a pocket apartment under his desk even as Shacklebolt becomes Minister, as Professor McGonagall takes over control at Hogwarts as Headmistress again and rebuilds what had been damaged, as there’s a funeral held for everyone who died in the Battle. It’s funny. There isn’t a funeral for Avery Thompson, or Melinda Brittle, or Edgar Sames ( all Ministry employees who’d spoken out against the murders and payed for it publically ), or any of the tally marks on Percy’s back, or Evelyn Borris in the Atrium’s fountain. It isn’t right.

Percy organizes their funerals. He contacts everyone he’d helped escape, everyone he’d sent wands to, everyone he knew at the Ministry (and as Secretary to two Ministers and several months of Death Eater management, he knew quite a few Ministry employees). There’s a public ceremony in the Atrium. Percy stands five feet from where they’d pulled Evelyn’s body to shore. His hands don’t shake at the end. They’re clenched too tightly for that.

He doesn’t ask for praise, doesn’t act as though anything is different. He didn’t do those things for a sense of pride, though he’d have liked if his parents had pride that he was their son. He doesn’t owl home: he’d gotten confirmation that everyone he loved had made it through and would survive, and that was enough. They hadn’t owled him, after all. It seemed rude to assume they wanted anything to do with him, after all that.

--

The Minister invites the entire Ministry to a banquet as a celebration. Nearly everyone comes, but it’s hard to relax in this building. There isn’t anyone dancing; they’re all staring at each other or the darkened corners. They know the building’s clear ( they cleared it themselves ) but they’ll spend the rest of their lives waiting for someone to spring out at them or hex them until they cry or slam doors just to watch them jump, as some of the younger ones were fond of.

Percy isn’t aware the Weasley clan had also been invited until the twins take to the dance floor together, doing some sort of mashed waltz and somehow staying on beat. He catches the eye of one of them; probably George, based on the one ear on his head, and turns away again. The punch bowl is emptying; he taps it gently with his wand to activate the refilling charm.

A hand settles slowly onto his shoulder. He doesn’t jump, but he looks over his shoulder at the Minister and nods shortly, on edge at the sight of the twins. “I’d like it if you’d sit down with your family, Mister Weasley. They haven’t seen you for a long time.”

He is stiff. There is no denying this. “The mutual silence was of their own accord, Minister, but if it’s an order I am happy to obey.” He doesn’t look Shacklebolt in the eye, but around the room there are eyes watching him approach the table where his parents sit with wary, concerned gazes.

His mother is smiling tearfully at him when he sits down, hiding the trembling in his arm by clenching his fist beneath his cloak. The twins have returned to the table, Charlie and Bill are seated on either side of him, and Ron and Ginny are glaring at him from across the circular table, the complimentary bouquet obscuring Ginny’s chin but not her frown.

He takes a shot. Drinking isn’t something he usually does at work (it’s against regulations to drink alcohol on the job, and he could be fired), but technically this isn’t work. He’s not on the clock, so they can’t fire him unless he publicly ridicules the Ministry in some terrible way and he probably wouldn’t do that.

His mother is staring at him. He smiles the way he does when the people on the budget team want something from him and he’s not going to give it to them. “So,” he says. “How is everyone?”

Ron’s hand clenches into a fist. Percy… doesn’t care as much as he thought he would. In front of his eyes is Emily’s body, bloated from absorbing the fountain’s runoff; the interns, crying under the force of three different curses and the Cruciatus all at once; the Minister, smiling weakly as the Death Eaters invaded. His father, demeaning everything Percy has ever wanted to be and not being there as Percy fought for his life every day.

“Actually,” Percy says, and doesn’t bother hiding the shaking of his limbs as he stands, “maybe… this wasn’t the best idea. I don’t… want to know, I don’t think. Well. Good bye, I suppose.” He doesn’t want to hear about their secret missions for the Order or guarding the Saviour or fighting Death Eaters in battle royales; he doesn’t want to hear them mock his job or decisions or temperament when they know next to nothing about the actual Percy Weasley who spent months waiting for the day he could cut off the hands of the junior Death Eater who’d informed him via Cruciatus that he was truly disowned. So he turns away, ignoring his mother’s protests and Ron’s loud, angry retorts.

And he flounders off, smooth and steady despite the way his knee spasms under his dress pants and the scars on his back pull when he stands.

--

Charlie comes to find him at work. Percy smiles his business smile and continues to read the document in front of him. He wonders if Charlie notices the way Percy’s nameplate doesn’t say he’s a Weasley; he wonders if that would matter to Charlie.

“Couldn’t find your address,” Charlie says conversationally as he sits in the visitor’s chair across from Percy’s desk. Percy sighs a little inside.

“I don’t have one. Useful for not being raided for being a blood traitor,” he tells Charlie, who raises an eyebrow.

“You’re still one of those? How odd. Anyway,” he continues, as though Percy was going to interrupt him. “You’re in the Prophet , you know? They found evidence of some sort of duplicity on your part. They’re still letting you come in to work?” He’s grinning; obviously Percy being unable to work is something of a joke to him.

“I stole confidential files from the Ministry,” Percy tells him. “Information about muggleborns and their families, confiscated wands, information on the resistance’s safehouses and the Death Eaters’ informal ‘prisons’, spells locked away because they’re forbidden. The Minister hasn’t decided whether or not to press charges for theft and corporate espionage, but it doesn’t look as though he’ll need to.” He doesn’t look at Charlie’s face consciously. He hadn’t told any of his family this because he doesn’t think it would matter to them; or rather, that it would matter but that they’d think he was trying to compensate for his “prissiness” or that he was lying.

“You… aided the Light?” Charlie sounds like he’s choking. Probably on laughter, the berk.

“Political correctness is important, Mr. Weasley. It wasn’t just the Light wizards fighting for freedom. Dark wizards were just as involved, and it’s speech like that that gets us at each other’s throats in the first place. The term that’s been used in official circles is ‘the resistance’.”

He has to go to an important meeting in the break room after that, and doesn’t want to talk to Charlie anymore.

(He hides in his shower for a long time that night, tracing the names on his arms again and again until even the water charmed as hot as he can take feels chilling against his skin.)

--

He gets an award. He likes it well enough, but what is he going to do with it? Hide it in the apartment he still lives in under his desk, where no one will ever see because he doesn’t think he’ll ever trust another person that much ever again? In a place of honor on his desk like he’s a bragging newbie? Sent in an envelope to his mother, who seems like she’d value something like that? But maybe she wouldn’t. It’s his award, after all.

He settles for leaving it on his desk where the Minister left it and covering it in paperwork. He ignores the way the man’s eyes go a little tighter at the edges when he sees Percy’s Weasley-less nameplate.

They announce the recipients of the awards in the Prophet . Percy is, for some reason, given a paid day off, which...the money isn’t why he goes to work. He’s pretty sure it’s a subtle hint to talk to his family, or at least go see them.

He spends the day in his apartment, reading and drinking the best alcohol he can afford on his salary, which is surprisingly fine. The award is still on his desk the next day; he comes in to find that someone has framed it and moved it out from under the tower of paperwork he’d contained it beneath. He’s careful as he puts the entire thing in his desk drawer where he’s made just enough space.

--

There’s a ceremony to honor Harry Potter and his contributions to the war. Percy doesn’t go. Isn’t the whole thing just highly ironic? He likely only stepped up to kill Voldemort because everyone around him was convinced it was his destiny and his duty and that rubbed off after seven years, didn’t it?

Percy worked through the whole thing, right up until the end of the day when Ron stormed the Ministry and punched him from across his desk and started shouting. Percy didn’t even stick around for that; he clocked out with Minister Shacklebolt, who stared disapprovingly at the bruise already developing on Percy’s cheek bone, and slipped under his desk. He could hear his coworkers growling at Ron outside his pocket apartment, but didn’t bother listening in.

--

Harry Potter comes to visit him, then.

“I think you had the right idea, not going,” he tells Percy from the visitor’s chair. Percy doesn’t look up from his report. He doesn’t know what Potter wants, but he can guess. Potter is famously best friends with Ron, and probably wants him to visit the family. “It was pretentious and horrible and nobody on the podium with me actually fought in the Battle, so it was a waste of time.”

Potter peered across the desk at him. “You know, Arthur’s still out of a job. Because he was fired for stealing, I mean. Remember? He decided to go out with a bang; robbing the office and punching a superior, he’s in right trouble.”

Percy does remember that. He’d had to write an incident report for it, and the memory of it filled him with shame.

“Do you even want to go home?” Potter asks, changing tacks. Percy pauses to look at him.

“I’m disowned, Potter.” He says gravely, because why do they act as though that shouldn’t matter to him? They didn’t want him anymore , and he was in the wrong for not fighting a decision made without him? “The wards would reject me. I know I’m still disowned; I check the charts at the department every day.” Potter is silent. “I live in an apartment under my desk where no one can enter but me. For once in my life I feel as though maybe I’ve accomplished something; the day of the great Battle I was here, killing Death Eaters who had been terrorizing and torturing Ministry employees right up until the end, and Mr. Weasley still has not apologized for calling me deluded and disappointing to his family line. So no, Potter, there is no particular desire in me to return to that place. The other scourers were more than willing to tell me that they all emerged hale and victorious from the rubble, so I did care enough to ask. I remind you, no one has owled or fire-called me since I left home, so why should I reach out? It is obvious enough I am not welcome there.”

Potter is quiet for some time, and finally he nods his head and leaves Percy to his report in peace.