A/N: There are several direct quotes of dialogue from DH Chapter 30, "The Sacking of Severus Snape". JKR owns the entire HP universe--I'm just playing in it. ;)
Percy arrived in the Hogshead with a small pop. He was surprised that the place was empty except for Aberforth behind the bar, idly wiping a glass with a dirty rag. Percy had to wonder if he ever had changed that rag.
“You’re one of the Weasleys, aren’t you? What do you want?”
“Yes, Sir. I’m Percy Weasley.” Percy continued to look around in a distracted manner.
“What are you looking for, boy?”
“I’m just surprised at how empty your pub is. I’ve never seen it without anyone here.”
“It’s that damnable curfew. Bloody well could put me out of business,” Aberforth grumbled.
Percy took a deep breath and decided he better quit wasting time and state the reason he had come. “Augusta Longbottom told me I should stop by.”
“She did, did she?”
“Yes, Sir. She told me I should ask you about the Phirewhiskey. The kind with a “ph” not an “f”” . . . Percy trailed off as he knew he was babbling.
“Well, why didn’t you say so? Come on, lad. Follow me.” Aberforth’s abrupt change of demeanor rather startled Percy, but he hastened to follow. As Aberforth climbed the stairs, he continued talking, “They’re making a go of it at Hogwarts. Harry Potter has come back, and they are preparing to fight the Death Eaters. I’m sure they’ll need all the help they can get.” Aberforth opened a door and ushered Percy through. He pointed to the fireplace and said, “Up you go.”
“Up I go, where?”
“Climb on the mantle, and go through the secret passage behind the portrait of my sister. It leads to the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. I’ve been smuggling food in to Longbottom and some other kids through there for weeks.” Aberforth glared at Percy. “Well! What are you waiting for, lad?”
Percy nodded, and did as he was told. He had never heard of any Room of Requirement, but was glad Aberforth was taking care of Neville. Neville’s still being alive was definitely good news.
Percy hurried through the tunnel, surprised that such a thing existed at Hogwarts. He reached the end and was climbing out when he lost his balance and fell with a great thump. He used a convenient chair to pull himself off the floor, and as he straightened his glasses and clothing, he said, “Am I too late? Has it started? I only just found out so I—I— . . .”
Percy’s voice trailed off. As he looked around, he saw his whole family except for Charlie. He assumed the blond woman standing next to Bill was his new sister-in-law, Fleur. When Percy just stared, and didn’t say anything, Fleur began speaking to Remus Lupin just to break the silence. Percy was trying desperately to gather his thoughts and say something, but his brain had completely abandoned him. Finally, Percy decided he couldn’t just stand there and would spit out everything he had been thinking for months.
“I was a fool! I was an idiot, I was a pompous prat, I was a—a— . . .” He couldn’t really think of words bad enough to even describe the way he had treated his family.
“Ministry-loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron,” Fred supplied helpfully.
Yes, I was!” Percy wondered if he still had some of the Veritaserum in his system. Oh, well. It was about time he was honest with his family.
"Well, you can’t say fairer than that." Fred came over to Percy and shook his hand. Percy was so overcome with emotion he couldn’t speak. He found it hard to believe that he would be forgiven so easily, especially by Fred. His Mum burst into tears, ran towards him, pushed Fred out of the way, and almost tackled Percy in one of her signature hugs. Being in his mother’s arms made Percy realize just how much he had truly missed his family.
With his eyes tearing up, he looked over his Mum’s shoulder and said, “I’m sorry, Dad.” His Dad hurried over to hug him, too.
“What made you see sense, Perce?” George asked.
Percy cleaned off his tear-stained glasses on the edge of his shield cloak while he answered George, “It’s been coming on for awhile, but I had to find a way out and it’s not so easy at the Ministry, they’re imprisoning traitors all the time. I managed to make contact with Aberforth and he tipped me off ten minutes ago that Hogwarts was going to make a fight of it, so here I am.”
“Well, we do look to our prefects to take a lead at times such as these.” Percy snorted at George’s rather spot on imitation of his most pompous voice. “Now let’s get upstairs and fight, or all the good Death Eaters’ll be taken.” Percy laughed again and nodded. He, Fleur, Bill, and Fred followed George as he started up the stairs.
“So, you’re my new sister-in-law now?” Percy asked Fleur. She nodded and shook hands with him.
Percy heard his Mum yelling at Ginny, but decided to continue on up the stairs. He wasn’t going to get in the middle of any argument involving his Mum when he had just been welcomed back into the family. He knew he’d have time to ask Ginny to forgive him later.
Lee Jordan ran over to join their group. Punching Fred in the arm, he said, “Hey. Percy’s here! We can finally settle our bet.”
“That’s right!” Fred replied. George rolled his eyes. Bill and Fleur looked confused, as Percy asked, “What bet?”
“Last July, did you come into our shop?”
Percy glanced at Bill whose eyebrows had risen drastically. Fred was eagerly awaiting his answer. Percy could feel himself blushing as he looked back at Fred, and stated simply, “Yes”.
Fred whooped and jumped so high Percy was surprised he didn’t fall down the stairs. “I knew it! That’s 20 galleons you owe me, Twin!”
“Me, too!” Piped up Lee. Bill had starting laughing.
Before Percy could say anything, Fred said, “And were you snogging Audrey Mitchell in the middle of Diagon Alley?” Now Bill guffawed, and Percy could feel his blush deepening. He again answered simply, “Yes”.
George snorted, “Snogging? They were practically shagging in the middle of the street!”
Percy retorted, “I was NOT practically shagging her in Diagon Alley!”
Arthur suddenly piped up from behind Percy at the bottom of the stairs, “Really? Who was it you were not shagging in Diagon Alley, Son?” Percy blushed even more furiously if that were possible.
Fred added, “So where were you shagging her, then?” Percy heard a chuckle from his dad, and his Mum’s exasperated, “Fred!” only made Arthur chuckle more.
Molly hissed, “Don’t encourage him, Arthur!” But Percy could see the twinkle in his Mum’s eye and knew she was trying hard not to laugh herself. Percy couldn’t believe he was thinking it, but he had even missed the twin’s teasing.