“No! I’m a witch, I tell you! I was a prefect in Hogwarts!”

Percy glanced up from his paperwork as he moved towards the Atrium. What was this about someone being a witch? He knew the Ministry was losing the war to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but he didn’t think they’d succumb to tactics of Death Eaters. What he saw made him sick.

Penelope Clearwater, who had matured beautifully, was being dragged away by some Ministry officials to where two large Dementors were waiting. She was certainly giving them a lot more trouble for it, punching and kicking and stealing their wands to use against them. Percy tried not to beam with pride about how valiantly his ex-girlfriend was fighting. Then he realized what was happening; she was going to Azkaban for being Muggleborn.

Penelope looked around frantically and her eyes locked with Percy’s. “Percy! Help me! You know I’m a witch!”

“Struggle much longer and you’ll be subjected to the Dementor’s Kiss!”

He stared at her a moment. “Pe – Penelope!” He dropped his paperwork and grabbed his wand. “Expecto Patronum!” A silvery wolf-like animal shot out of his wand and warded off the two Dementors and forced them to back away from the woman. “Expelliarmus! Stupify!” He continued shooting spells at the officials holding Penelope until he was also grabbed by some people he knew to be Death Eaters and held back as he watched her be dragged away.

“Percy! You can fix it! Stop this madness!”

“Penelope!” He struggled against those holding him. “She’s a witch, let her go! I’ll vouch for her. I dated her for two years; I know she’s a witch!” He was hit with a Silencing Spell, but he continued fighting and trying to reach Penelope.

“Percy.” Penelope stared into Percy’s eyes. Her voice had gone calm and she stopped struggling, but she remained rooted where she was. “You can help me. Save us.” And, with eyes still watering, she was dragged to the Dementors.

Percy was released and he fell to the floor. The Ministry was going to chuck Penelope, lovely, intelligent Penelope, in Azkaban because her parents were muggles, and maybe take her soul because she fought them. He heard sharp footsteps walk up and stop in front of his head.

“Percy Weasley! I thought the Ministry meant more to you than this.”

It was Dolores Umbridge; the Senior Assistant to the Minister of Magic. Percy forced himself to his feet, but before he could say a word someone stepped forward.

“The Mudblood, Miss Umbridge, she cast the Imperious Curse on him. I heard it.”

It was a woman Percy remembered becoming a fifth year Ravenclaw prefect after he was made Head Boy. He vaguely remembered her being at the Ministry for a year or so, but not much else.

Umbridge stared at the girl as if examining her. “Very well. Percy, I hope you’ll try harder to fight the spells of a Mudblood in the future. Thank you Miss Puppiney, I would hate to have to remove of Mr. Weasley, despite his blood traitor family.”

Percy felt numb. Why had he just been saved by this (almost) complete stranger? And the Ministry – all he had ever dreamed his life would be had become You-Know-Who’s headquarters. He felt her hand slip in his and him being walked somewhere. During the elevator ride, she kept saying “The Mudblood woman got him with something strong. I’ll fix him up.” He felt her move him into a tiny office and when she shut the door he finally found his voice.

“They’ll destroy her! Just because she was born from Muggles! I’ve got to –”

“You’ve got to shut up!” There was something about her voice that made him stop talking. “Get a grip on yourself and face the facts; Death Eaters have taken over the Ministry and are extending Voldemort’s regime to all of Britain.” Percy shuddered at the name. “I’ll say it all I want; Voldemort Voldemort Voldemort!” She fell into her desk chair just as Percy fell into the chair facing it and as one they began crying. “I don’t know if I can live this way anymore; nodding along to everything like it’s right. Meanwhile they’re responsible for my little sister’s death.”

Percy looked at her. “I’m so sorry.”

“And I’m sorry for Penelope; was she a friend of yours?”

“An old girlfriend.” Percy sighed. “At least you know she died loving you; if any of my family passed away they would do it hating me. I missed my own brother’s wedding!”

Percy remembered seeing the invitation in the mail and casting it aside thinking it was another letter condemning his behavior towards his family. Just last night he summoned up the courage to open it and found it to be a wedding invitation, which had taken place two night ago. “I need out.”

“It’s too late now; they’ve changed everything and no matter how hard I’ve tried, I can’t escape. You miss one day of work and they send people out to make sure you’re not trying to run. You contact anyone in league with the Order of the Phoenix and you’re investigated. I was almost a suspect for looking into resigning.”

“There must be something we can do!” Percy stood and began pacing the woman’s office. “Surely we can figure out a way to stop this, get Muggleborns to lose their criminal classification, somehow deter the search for Order of the Phoenix members, anything!”

That was the first statement that prompted Percy and the woman (whose name turned out to be Audrey) to do undercover work against Voldemort. They managed to fake about fifty muggleborns’ family trees just enough so they wouldn’t be hauled in for questioning. They did all this without being suspected – until Percy’s family went into hiding and Umbridge began cracking down on Percy as to where they went. Thankfully, Audrey managed to convince her Percy broke all ties with his family years ago so he wouldn’t have any contact with them now.

Audrey played her part well. In public she was a diligent worker accomplishing all her superiors needed. However, Percy saw her repeatedly break down in the safety of her own little soundproof office. She was holding up better than Percy until one evening in early May.

He opened his apartment door to see her in a panic. “Audrey,” he quickly ushered her inside and with a wave of his wand locked the door. “What’s wrong?”

“Harry Potter just broke into Gringotts and managed to escape on a dragon. The Ministry is in complete chaos. Umbridge is talking about firing people and – I don’t know if I can do it anymore. I can’t keep nodding and saying ‘I’ll get right on that, Miss Umbridge’ now that I know he’s alive. I want to help Harry – he’s the best hope we have of winning this war.”

Percy paused a moment. If Harry was in action; that meant Ron was with him. Knowing anything about his family made his desire to see them stronger than ever before. But what about Audrey, Percy couldn’t just abandon her now: she was in a serious mental break down.

“Here,” he laid her down on his couch and she quickly curled up in it. He transfigured a blanket and tucked it around her before going to make some tea.

As Audrey began sipping her tea, she gradually calmed down. “Thanks, Percy. I really needed this.”

“I’m just surprised you made it this long.” Percy said as he sat on the floor next to her. “I had to talk to this plant,” he gestured to the little potted plant on a nearby table. “To keep from revealing myself at work, I’d just yell and reason and converse with it. It kept me going, but you kept me sane at the Ministry.”

“I don’t even know how I did it.” Audrey took one final sip. “I should probably head to the Ministry before Umbridge gets suspicious. Do you want to come with me?”

“This is my day off.”

“Oh, right.”

“Here, I’ll try to figure out what’s going on with Harry Potter and keep you posted.”

“Thanks.” Audrey stood and did some things to appear composed. After a moment’s hesitation, she wrapped her arms around Percy. “Just – be careful, alright? I don’t think I could keep this up without you.”

“Likewise.” Percy said, briefly returning her hug. “I’ll try not to let my Gryffindor daring put me in danger. But all bets are off if there’s a battle.”

Audrey smiled feebly (which was the most either of them could manage these past few months) and Disapparated while Percy went off to find any information on his family he could find, as well as his dusty book of dueling spells.

If there was a battle, he would be prepared.

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