The sun was shining invitingly through his bedroom window, but Percy Weasley sat just outside of its reach. It was as if the warm tendrils would wrap themselves around his skin and drag him outside if he let them touch him, and he couldn’t risk that. He had too much work to do. Always too much work.

He wasn’t complaining, of course. In fact, he rather enjoyed it. He liked to make a difference, to see everything laid out neat and organised. To hear the Minister for Magic himself say, “Excellent work, Willsburg.” Percy closed his eyes briefly in exasperation at the memory of his latest name, but then they were open again, and focused.

Focus, focus, focus.

A loud crash sounded from downstairs, followed by two identical shouts of laughter. Percy clenched his jaw, remembering to loosen his grip on his quill; he’d snapped too many already. He turned his concentration back to the parchment, but he’d already lost his place. He shot an accusatory glare at his closed bedroom door, as if his gaze could burn into the twins downstairs. His family didn’t understand how important his work was, didn’t understand him, and it was frustrating.

The Smith file, the Smith file… Percy let out a groan. Where was it? A quick look over his room proved fruitless, nor had it fallen under his bed, which was neatly made; he’d hardly slept in it. Just a few hours here and there on top of the covers before his brain was awake and ticking again. More loud obnoxious laughter came just as the realisation entered his head. The file was downstairs.

Of course.

He crept to his door and silently opened it, the shrill voice of his mother loudly entering his room.

“George! I said no!”

“But Muuuum…

Percy sighed and slipped out onto the landing. What were the chances of him making it downstairs, undetected, and grabbing the paperwork?

“Hey, Perce.”

Oh. The chances were zero.

Percy sniffed. “I’m sorry, Ron, but I can’t stop to chat.”

Ron leaned against the doorframe of his own bedroom with his arms crossed. “I get that, Percy. Was just saying hello.”

Had he left the Crawford file downstairs too? “I don’t need you wasting my time.”

“Fine.” Ron shut his door louder than Percy thought necessary. He felt a tiny twinge of guilt, but it was quickly swamped by a fresh wave of worry. Ron could wait. Where was that file?

Percy made it to the living room undetected, and shuffled through the papers on the rickety desk. He found the Smith file, as well as an assignment of Ron’s, the writing nearly illegible. Percy felt his lip curl up in disapproval. How did he get away with that handwriting, and submit assignments that looked like that? Was he not proud of his work?

Paperwork tucked under his arm, Percy hovered. Well, since he was down here, he might as well make a cup of tea.

The cluttered kitchen was occupied by his mother, Fred, and George. Molly gave him a small smile before she quickly turned away. Again, Percy felt a stab of guilt. Their last conversation had been tense (she thought he worked too much, didn’t she understand that he had to?), but once the Smith file was finished, he would talk to her. He reached past her for a cup.

“Oh, not that one, Perce!” Fred cried, snatching the cup from his grasp. “George and I bewitched that one.”

Percy looked at him in astonishment. Had his brother really stopped him from becoming the victim of a prank? Maybe his family was finally starting to understand him after all.

“Thank you, Fred.” Percy poured hot water into the new cup. “That’s… kind of you.” He turned to make his way back upstairs, when the bottom of his cup disappeared, and hot water hit the floor, onto his feet and splashing back up his trousers.

“Oh, wait – it was this one!” The twins collapsed into chairs, roaring with laughter as Percy’s trousers dripped steaming water.

He bit back his remark and stomped upstairs, all the more irritated because not only was he wet, but he didn’t have a cup of tea either.

Percy slammed his door shut. How could his parents possibly wonder why he worked so hard? Did they really think he, Percy Ignatius Weasley, was going to act a fool and a joker just for laughs? That was not Percy’s way. If they knew him at all, they would leave him alone to reach his ambitions in peace.

He replaced his trousers, discarding the wet ones into his laundry basket, which was full. Once again he cursed the fact that his parents don’t have much money. His face still felt hot when he thought of his colleague teasing him for the wear in his robes, the set Charlie had worn when working with animals. Did they want him to turn out like them? Struggling with many children, where hand me downs could be handed down five times and still be acceptable?

Sitting down at his desk, Percy picked up his quill. They would see him rise, and then he would be the one to laugh. He bent his head again, scribbling furiously on the parchment, thinking of when it would be his time to rise to the top.

To glory.

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