Chapter 1 : Genius
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Hermione remembered the early days of the romance they had danced around for years. She had liked him for so long, but it took them seven years to really find each other, despite how much they cared.
From the moment she first kissed him, she was certain they would last forever. After all, they had been through much more than most couples had together. For quite a while, things had been more perfect than she could have ever imagined for them.
Unfortunately, life has a way of ruining perfection. Things started to become difficult for them when Hermione went back to school and Ron was pursuing his Auror career. They wrote each other a lot but the separation was a difficult time in their relationship.
When Hermione’s Hogwarts education was finally completed, she reckoned that things would go back to being great for them. She was right, to an extent. Certainly, the separation had made them both more appreciative of her time with each other. She found herself falling more in love with him every day. Yet Hermione found that being in love with him was a very trying thing. They argued constantly over many senseless things, causing them to constantly hurt one another for no good reason. They always ran right back to each other, apologizing like crazy. For a while, things would be greater than ever – that is, until the cycle repeated.
And this was what worried Hermione. She loved Ron, but how in the world could they expect to have a successful marriage when their relationship was already so bumpy?
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door. Irritated, Hermione walked over and opened it.
“Percy! What a pleasant surprise. Come in.” Hermione greeted, her mood lifted. Since Percy’s aid in the Battle of Hogwarts, he had become surprisingly close to her and Ron. She enjoyed his company as she could discuss and debate many different topics with him. At this moment, she needed something like that to distract her from her troubles. “How are things with your job in the Ministry?”
“Busy, as always,” Percy answered, and Hermione noticed he had a worn-out look about him. Little did Hermione know that his weariness was not related to his job.
The fact was Percy had been beating himself up mentally for coming to her and Ron’s door again. He visited them nearly any time he had a chance from work. After the final battle, he had begun to spend as much time as possible with all of his family to make up for the time with them he had wrongfully given up. Over time, he progressed to spending much more time with Ron than any of his other family members. The thing about this that made him hate himself was that it was not his brother he wanted to spend his time with, but his brother’s fiancé. He found himself constantly asking himself if he, the supposed smartest of the Weasleys, would always be the foolish traitor.
Yet his dislike of his actions changed nothing. More and more, he found himself longing to be in Hermione’s company. He tried telling himself that this was just because they had so much in common, but that was only part of it. The fact was, he loved being in her company regardless if they were discussing interests or current Ministry happenings; simply being in her presence made him happy. It didn’t matter if they vehemently disagreed about something, he still loved her presence. Furthermore, he had come to believe that she was quite possibly the only person who really understood him.
Percy Weasley had come to realize that he had fallen in love with his brother’s fiancé, and it was torture. He didn’t want to cause any more problems within his family than he already had, but he could neither deny his feelings for her nor keep his distance from her. His only hope lay in that he knew his feelings were unreturned. This fact alone saved him. He could spend as much time with her as he wanted and keep dreaming of things being different, as long as he kept those dreams to himself
Percy and Hermione sat down opposite each other on the living room floor as Hermione and Ron had yet to agree on furniture. At first, Ron told her to just pick out anything she wanted that was reasonably priced, but Hermione insisted that he be more actively involved in the decision. When Ron did become more involved, Hermione found that their personal tastes were completely different. This was one of their more humorous and lighthearted agreements, but it still proved to be an inconvenience that furthered Hermione’s fears that they were incompatible with each other.
“Where’s Ron?” Percy inquired, very aware of his brother’s absence.
“Work.” Hermione answered. “Some Muggles are reporting strange occurrences and getting injuries that could be explained by magic. They think a former Death Eater may be behind it.”
“I should have known. Shacklebolt was telling me about just that earlier.” Percy replied. They then fell into the normal discussion of Ministry happenings, which both of them found difficult to discuss due to their preoccupied minds.
“So what do you think of the new girl working under you, Audrey?” Hermione asked during the conversation, recalling running into the girl a few times. Hermione had noticed she seemed to be an enthusiastic worker.
“She’s a competent worker,” Percy replied, “when she can keep her eagerness from causing silly mistakes or clumsiness.”
“You were once over-enthusiastic in your work.” Hermione said with a teasing smile.
“Yes, but it never affected my job negatively.” Percy argued. “In all honesty I never thought I’d meet anyone whose eagerness to work at the Ministry was a disadvantage. At any rate, you’re not exactly one to talk about me being enthusiastic. At the very least, you tie with me.”
Hermione blushed, unable to deny the truth in his words. He couldn’t help but stare at the expression; it was so…cute. It was enough to not prevent him from asking the question he knew he shouldn’t have, but he selfishly asked anyway.
“How are you and Ron doing?”
The blush left Hermione’s face, and she frowned like she had been before Percy arrived. Percy found himself torn on the inside. He wanted to punch himself for asking such a question. On top of it being too personal – especially coming from him – he hated to see her unhappy. Yet at the same time, he couldn’t help but find a little bit of joy in the fact that her current relationship was not the best. This slight happiness made him feel more horrible as it showed him yet again how horrible he was as a brother.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.” He said quickly, knowing the words were true and yet not completely representative of his feelings.
“It’s fine.” Hermione replied. “We just have our arguments here and there. Your question just came at a bad time. Things are perfectly fine.”
She wasn’t being completely honest, and Percy knew it. He wanted to seize at the uncertainty she had and at the same time he didn’t. His education at Hogwarts had never prepared him for situations like this.
“How are things in the romance area with you?” Hermione asked with a smile, quickly diverting attention from the uncomfortable subject of her relationship with Ron. “Surely with your high position you have a line of girls knocking at your door.
“No, I don’t,” Percy answered. “None at all.”
“There’s got to be a girl out there,” Hermione said. For an extremely brief moment Percy thought of mentioning that there was someone he wanted to be with, but he quickly decided against it and simply shook his head.
“You know I’ve never been a magnet for the opposite sex, Hermione.” He said simply. “The only girl who was ever remotely attracted to me was Penelope Clearwater.”
“I know for a fact that’s not true,” Hermione replied.
“How?” Percy questioned.
“There were girls at Hogwarts that had crushes on you,” Hermione answered, “but you were with Penelope.”
“And who were these girls?” Percy asked, mildly curious. The answer didn’t matter to him as his Hogwarts days were long behind him and the only girl he was interested in was sitting right in front of him. Still, he was curious.
“Well,” Hermione began, a light blush coming to her face. “I did until fourth year when you wouldn’t support Elf rights.”
Hermione had expected him to laugh, but he made no such gesture. Instead, he stood up to leave.
“Is something wrong?” Hermione asked him as she also stood up, wondering what she had said to spark such behavior. All she did was admit to a silly little schoolgirl crush.
Percy rubbed his head a bit uncharacteristically, unsure how to respond. She had no clue how her words had hit him, and now he was making a fool of himself. He was about to blow everything, and he knew it.
“Hermione,” Percy said lightly, knowing that if he uttered his next words that everything would change. Everything. “What if I told you that there is someone? What if I told you that I had more than a crush – on you – right now?”
Hermione stared at him, stunned. She didn’t know what to say or think, even though her mind was racing. She had not expected this at all. She found herself thinking of Ron and how he’d be furious right now and how she had promised to marry him. Yet she also thought of the golden ring clasped in her hand and all the doubts she had before Percy came. She thought about how for her first three years in the Wizarding World, she had had a crush on Percy. She thought about how she enjoyed his company, and how they had much in common. She thought about how the years had made him grow in looks and wisdom. As much as she hated herself for it, she could not help but think of how none of her doubts about Ron could be applied to Percy.
Their eyes locked and not words were uttered as Percy’s lips crushed against hers. Her mind was swimming in doubts but she found her lips responding to his needy kiss. She did not realize their bodies were moving until she felt her back hit the wall. Percy’s hand massaged her neck while he still kissed her intensely. His lips moved first to her cheek and then to her neck. She moved her hands to his head and ran them through his hair, Ron’s forgotten ring falling from the hand in which it had been residing.
The noise it made when it hit the floor startled Percy away from her. He had been in a dreamlike state from the moment their eyes had locked and had been acting on his wants alone. The clank of the ring brought him back to reality – the reality in which he had just betrayed his brother. His gaze locked on the fallen golden band. He picked it up and examined it before roughly placing it in Hermione’s hand and storming out the door. For someone with twelve OWLs, he had to be the world’s biggest idiot.
“Percy, wait!” Hermione half-shouted after him. He paused for a second and, not looking back, waited for her to say something else. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. She was too confused and unsure about what – or who – she wanted. He continued out the door, apparating away quickly.
Hermione just stood there, changing her stare back and forth between the door and the ring, tears streaming down her face. Hermione had always been brilliant and almost always knew what to do, but today she found herself clueless. Two different roads were laid out before her, and she did not know which one to take. Her mind said one, and her heart said another. The door screamed at her, but the ring whispered as well. Hermione had been dubbed a genius by her peers, and yet she could not make this decision. She did not see a definite answer, but two great and painful possibilities.
Author's Notes: As stated in the summary, this was done for a couple of challenges. I've never written Percy/Hermione before, and I hope y'all enjoyed it. Regardless, please review. And remember that I do not own HP.