Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a man named Percy Weasley. Percy Weasley was under-appreciated by his family and co-workers, and spent most of his time struggling with a massive workload. Nonetheless, he remained sweet-tempered and patient in the face of his trials.
"Stupid bloody papers," hissed Percy Weasley, as he sorted through the reports on his desk in his room one evening. "Bloody waste of time, they never read the damn things, so no matter how important the points or well-written they are, nothing will change. And then when it does become a problem they can't ignore, guess who'll be blamed? Me!"
An explosion rocked the house, coming from the twins' room. Since graduation, they had opened their joke shop but often worked on prototypes at home in the evenings. Enraged by the plaster drizzling down upon his papers from the ceiling, Percy flung the door of his room open. "Will you two give it a rest? Some of us are trying to do REAL work here!"
Two voices rose in simultaneous mocking as he slammed his door and tried to return to his work.
"I hate my life," thought Percy.
Also in this kingdom there lived a Prince. He was good and brave and handsome, everything a prince should be. His parents wished to throw a royal ball for him, inviting all the eligible witches and wizards so that the prince's life would be complete. The prince did not wish this, holding true to his belief that True Love could not be forced.
"No!" growled Oliver to his mother. "I won't do it! I didn't sign up for this! I just want to play Quidditch that’s it! I have no interest in getting married or even getting in a long term relationship!"
"But Oliver, sweetie," plead his mother. "You just made the first-string team! We have to have a celebration!"
"I had a celebration already! I went out with the team for drinks just the other night. If you want to celebrate, let's go out for dinner somewhere, and have it over with." Oliver sulked.
"But darling, you've been voted both the Best Player of the Year and Most Eligible Wizard! I promise you, it will be a low-key affair, and all you have to do is show up and dance with a few people. Then you and your Quidditch buddies can huddle somewhere in the corner and discuss the game as usual."
Oliver, who really did love his mother, and hated to see her upset, gave in. "Very well. I'll show up. I'll dance. I am NOT going to date or marry anyone there though, so give up on that idea now! Do I have to dress up?" he asked worriedly.
"Don't worry about a thing dear, I'll take care of everything," replied Mrs Wood. Mr Wood just shook his head in horror from the corner of the living room, wisely staying entirely out of the matter.
Soon word went out throughout the land, that there would be a great masked ball in honour of the Prince's recent victories. Every household with an eligible witch or wizard waited breathlessly for an invitation...and they were not disappointed, for every last one of them received an invitation. Even the Weasleys got one, although they cruelly refused Percy his right to attend.
"Oh isn't this lovely boys!" cried Mrs Weasley brightly. "An invitation to Oliver Wood's party!"
The twins cheered, and Mr Weasley smiled benignly upon them. Mrs Weasley frowned at them. "I don't know if I can TRUST the two of you to attend," she said darkly.
"No really, Mum, we're not going to cause any trouble!" cried Fred.
"All our friends will be there!" added George.
"Oh very well," grumbled their mother. "You may attend. At least I know Percy won't cause me any trouble," she added with a fond smile.
Percy's head jerked up from studying the reports about the deteriorating flying carpet situation. "I'm not going," he said firmly.
"But darling, you'll have fun!" coaxed Mrs Weasley anxiously. "Get to see your old friends from school, have some downtime... relax a bit."
"Relax?" shrieked Percy. "I can't relax! I have to read more than 40 reports each day, summarize them all for my boss, and write up recommendation reports for each individual problem! I have no time!" Grasping his papers he stomped back up to his room.
"I wonder if I should tell Percy that nobody really does all that," mused Mr Weasley. "It's not humanly possible... I know it's in the job description, but nobody really expects it. If he doesn't stop it he'll end up sick... or worse, the Minister of Magic! Now there's a job nobody wants!" He shuddered dramatically as they all resumed eating.
The evening of the grand ball at last arrived, putting an end to the impatient waiting of the kingdom. The King and Queen were resplendent in their finery, but were far out-shadowed by their son, the Prince. As the guests arrived, he greeted them each with graciousness only surpassed by his courtly manner.
"Hey, Fred ‘n George! What're you guys doing here!" Oliver half shouted, pounding the twins on the back, as both sets of parents looked on with amusement.
"You invited us you prat!" exclaimed George.
"Me? Oh no, this was all Mum's idea. Say, have you guys been playing any Quidditch since you graduated? C'mon over here, some of the old team has already arrived... Oh, Hi Mr and Mrs Weasley," he added, as he wandered off.
Back at the Burrow, Percy was sitting in the kitchen, working on 3 reports for the next day. He'd chosen to work in the kitchen because with the entire family gone, he could spread out his papers on the table and work in peace.
"Can't believe they expected me to go to this bloody ball. Anybody who knows Oliver knows this can't have been his idea anyway! I'm never going to get these done... why did I ever sign up for this job in the first place? Every time I catch up on my work and get a moment's peace, they promote me! " He muttered, as he worked.
Unnoticed by the gentle and hard-working young man, a light began to grow in the kitchen. It grew from the tiniest pinprick of light to a beautiful warm glow that filled the kitchen. As it began to fade, Percy looked up and saw a winged vision standing before him.
"Who in Merlin's name are you?" Percy demanded, staring at the odd creature. She had a green mohawk, blue eyes, and was dressed in leather pants, a sparkly purple shirt, and a very dramatic black trench coat. Pink sparkly wings were tied onto her back. She was all of 3' tall. Never had he seen so bizarre a sight.
"I'm your fairy godmother, silly!" cooed the disturbing being. "I'm here to help you fulfil your wish of going to the ball and marrying the Prince!"
"What?" yelled Percy. "If I had a wish, it would be to have these reports done! I don't want to go to the ball, and I certainly don't want to marry Oliver!"
"Yes you do," replied the fairy godmother, who we shall call 'Glynnis' as she was rudely refusing to give her name. She gave a wave of her wand, and the papers on the table leapt into neat piles, with three new piles filled with Percy's neat writing. He looked at them in consternation, clearly wondering if he could learn that spell.
"Err… Thank you," said Percy, puzzled. "I'm glad the reports are done. I don't want to go to the party though, so uh--- thanks, you don't have to stay." He realized now that Glynnis was who she said she was, and no wizard with any sense would anger a fairy godmother. They were known to be somewhat... unpredictable... and there was no spell in existence that could control one of them.
"That's very kind of you not to want me to go to any trouble," beamed Glynnis. "But I've been waiting for my chance for years, and here it is! I'm going to liberate you from your unfair workload," she gestured at the table, " and then give you a wonderful costume and send you off to the ball." By the time she finished the sentence, she was practically bouncing, a mad grin on her little face.
"Really, that won't be necessary," said Percy anxiously.
She waved her wand, and Percy found himself dressed in black pants, a blood-red velvet shirt, and oh dear, was his hair dyed black??! Percy stared in the mirror in shock at his whitened face, and kohl-rimmed eyes.
Glynnis looked at him. "Oops! You went Goth! Wrong fandom!" and waved her wand again.
Percy looked in the mirror again and screamed. "I'm a llama! You turned me into a llama!" he bleated in horror.
Glynnis looked embarrassed and quickly waved her wand again. Percy noted it had an insanely cute little pink heart on the end of it, and sparkly streamers swept through the air as she waved it with an exaggerated gesture.
He looked down to find himself in elegant dress robes, gleaming with the colours of peacock feathers. He glanced in the mirror. He appeared unharmed, other than the rather outrageous mask, which was painted to look like a bird's face, and rimmed with peacock feathers. He looked down and saw that he was shod in spiffy glass dress shoes as well. "For pity's sake," he murmured desperately.
"Don't you like it?" pouted Glynnis, practically dripping with cute angst. "I can try again..."
"No!" shrieked Percy. "This is fine! Please, please just don't change my outfit again! What is with that anyway? You know I'm a man, right?"
"Of course you are," huffed the small fairy godmother. "But are you seriously telling me you're that obsessive about traditional gender stereotypes? I expected better of you," she finished rather disdainfully.
"Now, here's your broom," she said firmly, handing him an appalling creation. It had been painted white, and rather than straw bristles, it had sparkling streamers like those attached to her wand.
The fairy godmother watched smiling as the young man thanked her profusely for giving him this one chance at his dream, and swept away on the wonderful conveyance she'd created for him. "Remember now, you must leave at 12 midnight, for the magic will end then, and all will be returned as it was!" She called after him. "I'll remember," he cried, waving.
Once he was out of sight she danced around gleefully for a while, mumbling to herself about happy endings and true love, before finally vanishing.
The party was in full swing, as the Prince danced with his guests. His parents though, sensed certain sadness in him. Clearly, he had not met his true love here tonight. Suddenly, people began to fall silent as they noticed the mysterious beauty on the stairs. No one could imagine who he could be, that he so suddenly appeared. The Prince looked entranced and left his dance partner to greet this unknown.
"Oi! Percy, what're you doing here? Brilliant costume by the way... where'd you get it?" Oliver said cheerily, as he greeted his one-time fellow student.
Percy raised the mask so Oliver could see his harassed expression. "It appears I have a fairy godmother, and she's insisted I attend this tonight."
Oliver's lips twitched as he manfully attempted to contain his laughter. Percy glared. Oliver cracked and nearly fell over laughing. Eventually, he calmed down enough to stop the wrathful man from either walking out or punching him. "Sorry, I know, there's nothing worse than falling afoul of one of them," he gasped. "Here, come dance with me, that ought to appease her." He grinned kindly, and Percy's heart began to speed up.
"You don't think she's HERE, do you?" he asked in horror.
"After all the effort she put into it? Of course she is, she's just hidden. C'mon, a few dances won't hurt and ought to get her off your back."
The beautiful stranger took the Prince's hand, and they swept into the most graceful of waltzes across the floor. Everyone sighed at the beautiful sight they made, and the king and queen were happy, thinking that their son had at last found his true love. The Weasleys however, were consumed with curiousity over the identity of this marvelous creature, who seemed somehow so familiar.
"Hey, Mom, isn't that Percy?" asked Fred, pointing to the dance floor where his brother and Oliver were engaged in a classic rendition of "The Freddy".
"Yes it is dear, looks like he decided to come after all," said Mrs. Weasley happily.
"He's so bloody weird… Why didn't he just come with us in the first place," muttered George in exasperation.
"Who knows," sighed Fred, "He's Percy..."
The Prince danced the rest of the evening with no one else but the newcomer, and stayed by his side at all times.
Oliver stood over by some of his friends amongst the Quidditch players, arm slung around Percy's shoulder, as he spoke louder and louder to try to interject his point into the free-for-all discussion that had broken out as to the relative merits of Quidditch and the American version. They all agreed Quidditch was better, so it wasn't really much of a discussion, except that Percy kept making points for the Americans.... As far as Oliver could tell, he was just doing it because he was bored, since he had had never shown any signs of holding such a distasteful opinion before.
Since Oliver was also very bored, and this conversation was allowing him to escape dancing, he had no objections. Besides, he was rather comfortable where he was, with Percy half leaning against him.
The fairy godmother could not resist coming to see what she had wrought. She gazed across the stunning ballroom to the affectionate couple she had helped unite. At last she fled, satisfied with her evening's work. It was almost 12, so she knew young Percy would be leaving soon anyway.
Percy suddenly woke from his half stupor with a jerk. "Oh gods, it's almost 12, I better take off now." he told Oliver. "That wacko said the magic would wear off at 12, so who knows what's going to happen then!"
Curious as to what exactly would happen, Oliver gave him a speculative look and followed him outside. After all, he had heard rumours that sometimes the fairy clothing just vanished, leaving the victim in a rather embarrassing quandary.
As the clock struck the final note of 12, the glamorous outfit and accessories faded away, leaving Percy standing at the bottom of the stairs dressed once more in his miserable rags. With a cry of grief, he fled before the Prince could stop him.
Percy glanced down at his nice, comfortable, normal robes. "Right then, I'm off, it was nice seeing you again Oliver!"
"Yeah, see you around sometime maybe Percy? Tonight was kinda fun once you got here," Oliver said.
"That'd be great," said Percy with a pleased smile. "Send round an owl" With a nod, he disapparated.
Oliver looked down at the ground. "Oh hey, he forgot his shoe," he remarked in surprise, peering at the glass item in question. "Oh well, I'll give it back to him when I see him next... this looks like it was the Fairy Godmother's work anyway..." With a shrug, he wandered back into the party.
The next morning, the Queen cornered her son and asked him about the mysterious stranger he had danced with the previous evening. The Prince, with great tenderness explained, and showed her the shoe, the one link he had to his own true love.
"Oh, that was Percy Weasley. His fairy godmother showed up and made him come. Lost his shoe though, so I guess I'll swing 'round sometime today and give it back to him." Oliver said, around a mouthful of toast, as he sat at the breakfast table with his parents.
"That's the Weasley boy?" Mr. Wood said with interest. "Hmm... He’s been rising quite quickly through the ranks. Wouldn't be surprised if he made Minister of Magic someday, poor thing!"
"It's that bad?" Oliver asked, so surprised he dropped his forkful of scrambled eggs. "He's that close to getting stuck with that job?"
"I'm afraid so son!"
"Well, when I go over I'll warn him, he can't realize the danger he's in." Oliver said firmly.
The Prince searched and searched for his mysterious love, going from house to house throughout the kingdom.
"Oh, I’m sorry, I appear to have the wrong house," Oliver said, looking at the blond girl who'd opened the door. "You don't happen to know where the Weasleys live do you?"
"Two villages over," came the bored reply, before the door was slammed in his face.
At last he came to the Weasley residence. All the Weasleys who were home greeted him with great acclaim and glee, sure that he had come to choose his life-partner from among them. They took turns trying on the shoe, but alas, it fit none of them. When the Prince asked if there were not any OTHER eligible wizards in the house, they cruelly lied to him.
"Hey, Oliver! Didn't expect to see you so soon!" Fred cried cheerfully, as Mr. Weasley led Oliver into the kitchen.
"Oh, Percy lost his shoe last night, so I thought I'd return it," Oliver replied, carelessly casting it onto the table.
"Cool!" said George, attempting to try it on. "Doesn't fit me though, I had no idea Percy's feet were so small."
"So where is Percy, anyway?" asked Oliver.
"Oh, he's in his room, as usual," Fred replied, and led him there.
And the Prince recognized his true love immediately, and began to smile. "I have not the shoe for you to try on - " he began. Percy interrupted him. "That's okay, I have the other one!" and he held out one daintily glass-shod foot for inspection. Immediately the Prince proposed, and they left that day together.
"Brought your shoe back. It's downstairs anyway," Oliver said, when Percy looked up from behind the veritable mountains of paper on his desk.
"Hello, Oliver, nice to see you." Percy replied mildly. "Well, I've already got the other shoe here, so now I guess I can wear them whenever I lose my mind and fashion sense."
Oliver laughed at the wry humour, thinking to himself that Percy deserved much more than to be relegated to the drudgery of the position at the head of the ministry of magic.
"So since I'm here, did you want to go do something?" inquired Oliver, a little bit nervously.
Percy looked at him standing there, and then looked down at the report he was working on about the texture of ground wormtongue being imported. Abruptly he pushed the papers aside and stood. "Sure, it'd be nice to get out and do something," he said with a smile.
"Great!" said Oliver. "I know this great place over on..."
Fred stared in disbelief as the two walked down the stairs chatting happily, Oliver with a cordial arm around Percy. "I swear the world gets stranger every day," he muttered, before dismissing the matter entirely.
And Percy and the Prince lived happily ever after.
Soon afterwards, Percy ceased his rapid ascent through the ranks, as he was ‘too busy’ to take work home with him in the evenings, and became ‘unavailable’ to work weekends. According to his mother, he’s never seemed happier.
Glynnis sat behind her shiny new desk and stared at the piles of paper on her desk with the greatest of misery. Her wings and wand hung on the coatrack behind her. A Certificate of Merit hung on the wall of the tiny cubicle. Promoted. Gods help her.