“So he’s a cat?”
Ron snorted, “Serves him right.”
“Ronald!” Molly Weasley’s shrill reprimand cut through the room and she glared at her youngest son pointedly.
“So this woman turned Percy into a cat and Lysense brought her to you. And then he” Harry frowned here. “Bit you?”
Arthur nodded vehemently at his future son-in-law. “He scratched me! Right here!”
Harry shook his head in wonder and shared a glance with Ron. Officially, the two were aurors. But after the end of the war and the fall of Voldemort, the need for wizarding police had dwindled somewhat and unofficially, the two were Ministry lackeys. Although, this was one instance that Harry Potter was grateful for his job.
“Are you sure it was Percy? Sounds like Bill.” Harry nodded his agreement and looked back to Arthur. Before he could respond, they were interrupted by knocking on Arthur’s office door. A young red-faced lad stuck his head in and waved a small orb.
“Official Weasley. Mrs. Weasley. Auror Weasley. Auror Potter!” He rushed through his formal greetings and waved the orb about impatiently.
“I have it here sir! Sirs! Madam! The security reel from Official Weasley’s desk!”
“By all means!” The boy set the orb upon Arthur’s desk and cleared his throat. He tapped his wand four times, and the inhabitants of the room watched as the delicate sphere projected the image of the middle Weasley and the large frightening woman who had turned him into a cat.
Percy waved his hands in front of her face. After he had appeared in his man-form practically sprawled in her lap, the redheaded witch had gone completely silent. Percy was quite worried.
“Willow? Are you alright?”
Wordlessly she shook her head.
Percy frowned. “Do you need anything? I believe the unicorn wouldn’t mind if you drank from his pool. Willow?”
Percy’s face split into a grin most unbecoming. Finally she had spoken words. This was indicative of a Willow that had not gone insane.
“Er yes. Yes, I was a cat. I really must apologize for tricking you. But I really had to get us here. And then I had to make sure you were kissed by that unicorn. I do apologize, Willow. I really had no choice.”
“So you’re not a cat. You’re a man.”
Percy reddened suddenly. He was horrified. Where were his manners? He scrambled to collect himself, patting down his rumpled robes and smoothing his hair.
“My goodness! I am so terribly embarrassed. I am Ministry Official Percy Weasley, at your service. I must thank you, you have certainly assisted me a great deal. Miss-- ”
“Rosenberg. Willow Rosenberg. So you’re not a cat? You were just a cat. And now, you’re not. You’re a man, named Percy. And you have sticky-uppy hair. And you’re wearing those awful robe things that Giles insisted we buy and oh dear, you must be a wizard.”
“Awful robe things? Miss Rosenberg I assure you, my robes are top of the line!”
Suddenly Willow giggled.
At first she had been frightened when Percy had started glowing. And then she had been shocked and stunned to find him sitting in her lap as a man. And he was a cute man too. He was all glasses and gangly limbs and light red hair. She’d gone straight to suspicious when he confessed to tricking her but then relaxed when he had sputtered out apologies for forgetting his manners. And now, now Percy Weasley was looking all offended because Willow had insulted his robes!
Willow started coughing between her peals of laughter and just shut her eyes. No need for the cat-man to think she was off her rocker.
“I’m sorry. It’s just, you look so silly there with that look on your face like I just killed your cat. Oh, I didn’t mean that! I would never kill a cat. I love cats. I had a cat once, before you. Her name was Miss Kitty Fantastico but then she died because Dawn forgot to put the safety on Buffy’s crossbow and it was just a terrible terrible day. I guess you’re not really a cat so you don’t count.”
“I-I-I no, I’m not a cat.”
“So why were you a cat?”
“This dreadful woman turned me into one!”
“Aren’t you a wizard? Couldn’t you turn yourself back?”
Percy frowned. “Of course not. She cursed me! And besides, cats can’t use wands. Or spells or--” Suddenly Percy leapt to his feet, searching frantically for his wand. He would need that to get home. He would need it to do anything. His heart sank as he wondered what his foray into shapeshifting had done for his precious wand.
“Are you having a seizure?”
“I can’t find my wand!”
“So Giles was serious about wands? You need a wand to do your magic?”
“Of course! Every respectable witch or wizard needs a wand to do their magic. And I’ve lost mine!”
“So a wand is like a stick right?”
Percy all but growled at here. How ignorant could one person be? “Of course not! A wand is crafted, it’s sculpted, it’s created. It is no simple twig. It must be bound and woven with powerful magic and powerful materials.”
“But it looks like a stick.”
“So like, this stick?”
Willow grinned as she held up the thin ash wand and rocked on her knees.
Percy grabbed at it and then fondled it lovingly in his hands. He looked at Willow’s bright smile and then did something very unlike himself. He threw his arms around her and hugged her.
“Thank you! You saved my life and you found my wand. Oh how can I thank you enough?”
Willow squeaked. She hadn’t hugged a boy in years. Xander didn’t count of course, because he was as good as her brother, and everyone knew that didn’t count. She hugged Buffy and Dawn and Faith and Xander and Giles. She held hands with Kennedy and then with a quiet blonde witch that wasn’t Tara enough for her, but she just didn’t hug boys.
And this boy was not a boy at all. He was a man. He was a wizard with silly looking glasses and hair that rippled like fire. He sputtered and got indignant a lot and he smelled like books and paper and trees and he was hugging her and goodness her face was starting to get a little warm.
“Are you alright? Forgive me. That was highly improper!”
“No it-it’s okay. You’re welcome.”
Willow could tell she was blushing furiously. But what intrigued her was that Percy was blushing as well. She wanted to dive right back into the pool next to her because boys were not supposed to make her feel like her skin was on fire.
Suddenly Willow jumped to her feet. “Are you evil?”
Because only someone evil would take her to this place and almost let her die and then hug her and make her feel woozy and light-headed and like she was about to explode.
Percy mimicked her actions and held his hands up in surrender.
“No! I most certainly am not!”
“Something’s wrong Giles. Willow wouldn’t go off like this without telling us. And now your magical doohickey map is saying she’s on the other side of the country?”
Buffy stared at her watcher. She spoke slowly for his benefit. “Well, how do I get there?”