A/N 2: I know that JKR changed the name of one of the spells Percy uses in this chapter, but you know how Percy is; he prefers the archaic version of the spell.
A/N 3: I always appreciate all of your comments and constructive criticism, but even more so for this section, as action sequences are very new to me. This is my first one, actually. ;)
Enough author's note!
Percy quickly left the Great Hall and followed Fred along the corridor to wherever it was this secret passageway they were supposed to be guarding was located. Secret passageways in Hogwarts? Percy knew he really shouldn’t be surprised. And of course, his twin brothers would be the ones who knew where all of them were. Percy had never been able to catch the twins in wrongdoing when they kept showing up in the common room with food after Quidditch games. He thought the house elves liked them.
“Here we are.”
Percy nodded at Fred. Everything was happening so quickly. He’d only just came back to his family, who had thankfully forgiven him, and now they were about to be in a battle for their lives. If that brat Pansy Parkinson had her way, Harry would have already been handed over to Voldemort. Even with as big a prat as he had been for three years, Percy never would have handed Harry over to Voldemort.
“Fred, your shop is brilliant. I’m sorry I was too much of a coward to tell you when I was there.”
“Thanks, Perce.” Fred looked surprised. “Wait a minute, have you been in the shop more than that one time with Audrey?”
Percy blushed and nodded. “Yes, I came shortly before Christmas to buy gifts.”
“You’re the bloke in the Muggle disguise who bought up all of the shield products!”
“Yes, I am.”
“And that’s our shield cloak you’re wearing!” Fred abruptly hugged Percy.
After a brief hug, they both looked away, embarrassed by their uncharacteristic show of affection.
“Um. Let me ask you something, Perce.” Percy nodded. “Was that Hermes who kept coming to the shop?”
Percy nodded again.
“So you bought the bleengrue Pygmy Puff, the daydream charm, Puffy Chow, and the Voice Activated Perpetual Parchment!”
“How do you remember all of that?”
“Good head for business, dear Brother.” Fred grinned and tapped his temple. “So I have to admit I’m rather surprised you’d buy a Pygmy Puff.”
Percy blushed and mumbled, “Well, I bought it because it’s the same color as Audrey’s eyes.”
“That’s what Lee said!”
“Oh, don’t worry about Lee. Audrey never liked him as more than a friend. Lee just wished she did.”
Percy nodded curtly and changed the subject. “So I bet the VAPP is one of your best sellers.”
Fred laughed, “You’re the only one who’s bought one!”
“The only one? You’ve only sold one of those?!”
“Well, we have to make them from wand wood to work all of those spells, so they’re wicked expensive. We only keep two in stock at any given time.”
“The VAPP has been worth every knut. It’s the most brilliant thing I have ever seen! I can’t believe nobody else has bought one. I’ve been using it to talk to Audrey every day so when I see her again she can listen to it.”
“So, where is Audrey?”
“With her great-aunt in the States. At least I know she’s safe, even though it’s awful not having any contact with her.”
Fred nodded sympathetically. “At least I can write to . . .”
Fred abruptly stopped talking and held up his hand. Percy knew why. Someone was coming.
Fred immediately disillusioned himself, and Percy followed suit. They waited quietly as the footsteps grew closer. Soon two Death Eaters peered around the corner. Seeing nothing, they continued into the corridor without even having their wands raised. In unison, Percy and Fred stunned them. The Death Eaters fell to the floor with loud thumps.
Percy said quietly, “Incarcerous!” and both Death Eaters were bound together with tight ropes. Then Fred said “Mobilicorpus!” and moved the Death Eaters into a nearby broom cupboard. Percy disillusioned them, silenced them, locked and imperturbed the cupboard door, and then disillusioned the door.
“There. That should hold them.”
“Good thinking, Perce!”
They didn’t have time to rest before they heard a shouted, “Stupefy!” and red light hit Percy. Fortunately, Percy’s shield cloak stopped the spell. Fred fired a stupefy back as Percy got his bearings, and as another Death Eater joined in, Percy and Fred were dueling in earnest. These Death Eaters were more intelligent than the first two, and unfortunately, actually knew how to duel. Percy and Fred were able to block the Death Eaters’ spells, but their spells were also being blocked by the Death Eaters. The casting and dodging and moving was exhausting.
One of the Death Eaters sent green light straight at Percy. Percy conjured his fastest mirror yet, and the Death Eater fell to the floor. His companion’s surprise allowed Fred the second he needed to stun him. Instantly, two more Death Eaters were upon them. Percy used Aunt Gussie’s mirror trick again, but the Death Eater managed to dodge the reflected spell. Percy and Fred were getting tired, and the Death Eaters began to push them back. They stopped firing offensive spells and were only trying to block to stay alive.
Right when Percy was wondering how they would ever get out of this mess, Harry, Ron, and Hermione ran forward to help. Percy’s Death Eater began to back off, and his hood slipped. Percy couldn’t believe who it was.
“Hello, Minister!” Percy cast his favorite transfiguration spell at Thicknesse. “Did I mention I’m resigning?”
“You’re joking, Perce!” Fred’s Death Eater collapsed as Harry, Ron, and Fred all stunned him simultaneously. Fred was laughing, and winked at Percy. Now that the Death Eaters were taken care of, Percy winked back, and laughed with Fred. Harry, Ron, and Hermione chuckled with them as they all caught their breath.
“You actually are joking, Perce . . . I don’t think I’ve heard you joke since you were—
Percy felt himself blown backwards with so much force he didn’t know how his body would hold together. He landed hard, but didn’t think he had broken any bones. He sat up, trying to see through the dust to make sure his family was all right. He saw Fred knocked out on the floor, and crawled through the rubble to his brother.
Percy still had his wand in his hand and pointed it at Fred. “Ennervate!” Nothing happened. Percy tried again. “Ennervate!” The spell wasn’t working. Percy grasped Fred’s shoulders and gently shook him to wake him up. When he lifted Fred off the floor, Percy saw the bloody piece of broken stone under Fred’s head where he must have landed. Percy could not, would not, believe his little brother was dead! He began shaking him hard! Fred had to wake up! He began screaming “No—no—no! No! Fred! No!”
Percy felt Ron’s hand on his shoulder, looked into the teary eyes of his youngest brother, and knew the truth. Fred really was dead.
Percy just couldn’t believe it. His brother was still smiling for Merlin’s sake! They had just been joking together. Percy heard noises from spells all around him, but he ignored them and stared at Fred, willing him to open his eyes and not be dead.
“Get down!” Harry shouted. Percy flattened himself over Fred’s body. He’d protect him. He’d been a horrible older brother, but he’d make it up to him by protecting him now.
“Percy!” Harry shouted. Ron began pulling on his shoulders, but there was no way Percy was leaving his brother ever again.
“Percy, you can’t do anything for him! We’re going to . . .”
Percy heard Hermione scream, and Ron and Harry yell in unison, “Arania Exumai!” Percy looked and saw an acromantula fly backwards through the hole in the castle.
“It brought friends!” Harry yelled. Percy saw dozens of huge spiders climbing through the hole in the wall. Ron and Harry stunned the leader, and it fell backwards knocking over the others like a line of dominoes.
“Let’s move, NOW!” Harry shouted. Percy had to agree—he hated spiders, but he would not leave Fred. Harry came over and grabbed Fred under the arms. Percy realized that Harry was going to help him move Fred. Percy and Harry carried Fred together to a niche that previously had held a suit of armor. Percy made sure he was well hidden so the Death Eaters would not see him and desecrate his body.
When he looked up, there was chaos; dust in the air of the corridor, spells flying from every direction, Ron and Hermione were going to the passageway behind the tapestry. Then Percy saw that bloody traitor, and screamed at the top of his lungs, “ROOKWOOD!” Rookwood was chasing a couple of students, so Percy ran after him as fast as he could.
When Percy was close enough to Rookwood to be heard over the din of battle, he yelled, “Running after school children, are you, Rookwood!?”
Rookwood turned and fired a stunner at Percy, who easily blocked it. The distraction allowed the students to run to safety. Percy fired a stunner back, but Rookwood blocked it, too. They began to duel, but were very evenly matched, and were able to block each other's spells. Percy felt himself getting angrier and angrier, until Rookwood backed up into another student who had just come running down the corridor.
His momentary distraction allowed Percy to get a stunning spell through Rookwood’s shield. Percy’s anger made the stunner so strong Rookwood was blasted through the window. Unfazed by the shattering glass, Percy ran to the window, pointed his wand and shouted, “Accio Rookwood!” He hadn’t wanted to kill him, and a fall like that certainly would. Percy had only killed the other Death Eater in self defense. Death was too easy for Death Eaters. They deserved to rot in Azkaban for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, Percy was too late. His summoning spell slowed Rookwood’s fall significantly, but couldn’t overcome the pull of gravity. Rookwood hit the ground, but Percy was fairly certain he was still alive. Percy saw Rookwood stirring. He was definitely still alive.
Percy watched in horror as a giant came around the corner of the castle. Unable to do anything, he was sure the giant’s huge foot would crush Rookwood to powder. Percy gasped. Unfortunately, his gasp alerted the giant, who looked over to him and changed direction away from Rookwood. Percy didn’t know giants could hear so well.
Percy shouted, “Run!” to alert some nearby students and took his own advice. He just managed to get out of the way as the giant’s club crushed the wall where Percy had been standing.
Percy scarpered into an alcove to catch his breath. He could hear the sounds of the battle going on all around him as he took out his handkerchief to wipe the sweat dripping into his eyes. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. He felt a sob coming, but knew now was not the time to give into his grief. He had to help win this battle or more of his family would die. And if Voldemort won, Fred’s death would have been in vain. Percy would do everything in his power to make sure that didn’t happen. He conjured a glass of water, drank it, and left his alcove to rejoin the battle.