Pairing: Gen, so who cares.
Warning: SPOILER for HBP
Date: July 20, 2005
Disclaimer: SHE creates them; we just play with them.
When the knock came, it was around three in the morning. He’d been expecting it and had spent the entire time since he’d got home staring at the door.
Still, it startled him and he jumped off his chair, wand in hand, ready to defend himself.
“Identify yourself,” he said in what he realised was a little too loud a voice for the still of the night.
“Mr Weasley, open this door.”
Not what he thought he’d get back, but not unexpected, considering who was on the other side.
He moved to the door, took a deep breath and, wand pointing, he manually unlocked the door. A hand dressed in a black glove gripped the edge of the door and as it pushed, the door widened enough for a black form to slip in.
“Was it really necessary to wait that long? The purpose of this exercise is not to be noticed.”
The sneer was exactly as he remembered it.
“Sor-sorry,” he stuttered. “I’m rather new at this.”
His visitor quickly inspected the room not just visually, but with his wand as well.
“Then let us hope, for both our sakes, that you shed that newness before you get us killed.”
“Sorry. But when we...when I was convinced to do this, I was just supposed to report back what Fudge was up to. I was told there’d be no real danger. Now...”
The snort from the man in black was not the least sympathetic. “Welcome to the world of Albus Dumbledore’s little schemes.”
“How... How can you...” he searched for the right word, “...mock him like that? Considering...”
“Considering that I killed him?” Severus Snape, satisfied that all possible security measures that could be set up for this particular situation were in place, dropped tiredly into the chair his host had vacated. He rubbed his forehead with a finger as he grimaced. “Percy...”
“Not, it’s all right. No explanations needed.” Percy Weasley sat suddenly on the ottoman that usually accompanied the chair. “He told me that there would be things happening I wouldn’t like, but that I should always trust you. He was very emphatic about that.”
Snape stilled then lowered his hand. “And that’s enough for you?”
Percy shrugged. “Bit late if it weren’t, don’t you think?”
Snape shook his head. “You have a great deal of courage, Percy, if you agreed to play this game based on so little. Do you want out, Percy? If you do...”
Percy stared at the hands now folded on his lap. “No, that’s not necessary. And no, it has nothing to do with courage. I just want a chance to do my part. Voldemort can’t be allowed to win, or we all die. Or wish we had.”
He expected Snape to mock him but when nothing happened, Percy glanced up to find Snape looking at him as though seeing him for the first time. When he did speak, it was a soft and approving, “Yes.”
Percy felt a sudden, incredible warmth fill him. And for the first time in a long while, he didn’t feel so alone in this endeavour of his.
“All right, down to business. Lord Voldemort thinks I’m in my lab and I want to return as quickly as possible should he or someone else decide to investigate.”
Percy leaned forward and concentrated on Snape’s words. One of the reasons he’d been chosen, Dumbledore had told him, was for the fact that he remembered pretty much everything he ever heard. That he could be counted on to repeat what he’d heard with the greatest fidelity. There were one or two items he questioned, for purposes of clarity, then, to his great relief, he correctly repeated all he’d been told.
Snape nodded his approval. “When are you going to contact Shacklebolt?”
“I have the perfect excuse tomorrow morning. Minister Scrimgeour wants to arrange for a meeting with the Muggle Minister later that day. The Order should have the information by evening at the latest.”
Snape rose and went to the door. “You know how to send a message to me in case of some breakthrough?”
“Yes. Shacklebolt drilled me on that.”
Snape glanced over his shoulder. Percy blinked at the hint of the smile he saw on the man’s face. “Yes, he would.”
“When can I expect you?” Percy found he didn’t want Snape to leave. He needed more than a nod to find the confidence to continue with what Snape had called a game. Dear god! It was anything but! If he failed...
“Unlike your other contact, I can’t take the time to drill you. I shall come here when I can or when I have something vital to pass on.”
As Snape went to open the door, Percy leaned against it, stopping him. Snape glared at him.
“You know there’s no way anyone will ever believe that you and I...”
“That we haven’t betrayed them. Kingsley is the only one left alive who knows that we...”
“That we are not the traitors others think us?”
Snape smiled at him. “I doubt that it shall be any kind of a problem, Mr Weasley.” He slipped out into the corridor, away from the wards. Just before he Apparated, he added, almost kindly, “I mean, whatever makes you think that any of us will survive?”