Warnings: Mentions of Violence, Sexual Situations, Rough Intimacy, and Murrrrrrrrder?!
A/N: Written for #SpookyScaryDulceWeen 2017 Halloween Tumblr event!
The Strange Case of Perfect Percy and Mister Ignatius
It's what they always said to make fun, to demean him, to make him feel lesser for all the things he worked so hard to accomplish. Was it such a crime to put stock into things like well-constructed cauldrons, proper and timely calibrations to the Floo Network, and broomstick regulations? Was it really?
The taunting, the teasing, it lessened somewhat after the war if for no other reason than the somber days that followed. Once everyone had taken up into a new routine, however, they fell right back into place with everything else. Perhaps it was some piece of normalcy attempting to be shoved into a hole that didn't quite fit in the aftermath of war. Perhaps he was just that monumentally dull. Whatever the case may be, Percy was quite sick of it – he didn't live through all of that misery, horror, and pain just to be no better off for it, after all.
So Percy did what he did best and he analyzed.
Social situation after social situation he analyzed others' behavior and measured it against his own in order to discern what exactly it was that made him such a—to quote Ronald—"fuddy duddy." Sure, maybe some could construe his calculated engagement of others at a party a bit stuffy or uptight but if he'd learned anything at all, he understood that an excess of conversation did nobody any good. Hardly anyone listened to what he had to say anyway so he had to make interacting with others count! Strike seldom and strike true, he always said.
Or, well, he'd just started to say—not all that long ago, actually.
In any case, Percy analyzed.
He worked weeks on the issue and finally drilled it down to the simple task of addressing his single measly little source of the problem: his personality.
The long and short of it seemed to be that, after it was all said and done, he was simply afraid.
Afraid of speaking to others and not being heard.
Afraid of having an opinion and having it ridiculed.
Afraid of achieving something else that he was particularly proud of only to have it picked apart to no end to become the never-ending butt of everyone's new joke.
Well, no more of any of that, he vowed to himself.
He could use his hard won expertise, magical abilities, and skills to deal with this.
He could and he would.
And he did.
. . . . .
It was a Tuesday when Percy finally conceived the potion to help him overcome his fears.
His first dose resulted in a bit of volatile reaction, similar to taking Polyjuice.
His stomach churned, his head ached, his skin felt like it was liquid fire.
Once recovered, however, he found himself feeling rather splendid.
His energy levels were high, his vision was sharper—Hell!—he felt as though he could breathe clearly for the first time in ages!
Aside from still feeling a bit warm under the collar, Percy felt AMAZING!
He had to get out, he had to GO out—his flat was so stifling.
And so he did.
Percy left his glasses on the edge of his sink, dressed in a comfortable jumper and coat, and went OUT.
In an effort to avoid running into anyone he knew, Percy made the evening an adventure and wandered to a nearby Muggle pub—his father would have goggled.
Thanks to the tutelage of Hermione in the off moments of her and Ronald's on-again-off-again relationship, though, he was well prepared for the night.
Or at least he'd thought so.
. . .
Percy thanked the Muggle bartender for his drink and passed over what he was sure were too many paper notes to the man. He was busy eying the clear liquid and the wedge of lime floating merrily among several chips of ice to notice the body moving in just as he was moving out.
A female voice cursed in surprise when they collided, booze sloshing everywhere.
"Hell!" The woman exclaimed, shaking liquor from her fingertips.
Percy muttered his own displeasure and caught the annoyed glare of the pale haired lady attempting to dry out her blouse colored a flattering shade of teal. "A million pardons, dear." He heard himself speak and it sounded very far away.
He procured a stack of cocktail napkins and split them with her. At the sight of his apologetic smile, the annoyance in her expression lessened.
"So sorry about that, Miss. . ." he trailed off expectantly.
"Delilah," she answered after a beat, a slow smile also nudging the corners of her lips.
"Miss Delilah. Here, allow me." Percy turned back to the bartender, asking for another round of alcohol to replace those that were now drying on their clothes.
Delilah looked from Percy to the bartender then back, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "I don't usually accept drinks from strangers."
Percy clicked his tongue and shook his head. "Of course you don't! My apologies, my manners seem to have buggered right off in light of the trauma." Wiping his hand on his trousers in an attempt to remove any of the remaining gin, he held it out to her and presented a lopsided grin. "The name's Ignatius—" Ignatius? "—pleasure to meet you."
Eying his hand, Delilah hesitated but eventually clasped it with her own. "Ignatius?" she asked skeptically. "That's a bit. . .uncommon."
Percy nodded. "S'true. It's a bit archaic if I'm honest but mum and dad were old fashioned." He gave a dramatic shrug. "At least they saved the worst for my brother. Imagine having to label your pants with 'Randy Jerkin'—dodged a Bludger with that one."
Delilah blinked at Percy for a single long moment and then snorted a laugh. She shook her head, doing her best to stifle a persistent grin. "You're very odd, 'Ignatius.'"
"Odd, yes," he agreed, retrieving their refreshments from the bar at his back. Percy held Delilah's drink out to her, his own tucked close to his chest where it was in no danger of another spillage. "But no longer a stranger, no?" Percy watched Delilah's dark eyes give him a good, long, once over.
"No," she said at last, smirking. "Not a stranger." Delilah accepted the proffered beverage, her fingertips lingering over Percy's a second or two longer than perhaps truly necessary. She raised her glass to him in a small salute and they both sipped from their respective drinks.
"So," Percy said conversationally, leaning back against the bar. "Where are you from?"
. . . . .
Two weeks since his first dose.
Percy hadn't found the need to take his newly discovered potion every day, but whenever the call to be social came, he tested it.
A weekend engagement or two.
Another excursion to that Muggle bar.
Mandatory Ministry events that he, as a member of the Department of Magical Transportation, was expected to attend in solidarity of the organization's efforts.
It was such an evening where he was called to perform and another dose of his potion was consumed.
Headed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Ministry was holding a fundraising gala in an expensive ballroom with cheap h'orderves to support their misguided attempts at opening an educational museum for Muggle Artefacts. The pitch that had reached his ears was that they wished to put forward more of an effort to more actively inform Wizarding citizens of Muggle culture and decrease accident rates associated with misuse of found—or acquired—Muggle objects.
To add to their 'brilliant' idea, they called upon no other than Hermione Granger, war heroine and 'expert' of all things Muggle to be a speaker on behalf of the event.
Percy ran into her that night.
To say that Hermione Granger was viciously offended and disgruntled by the notion of the ludicrous project, much less being made to speak for it, would have been speaking kindly.
. . .
Hermione plucked a flute of champagne from a floating platter that was bobbing its way around and through the crowd. She downed the contents in one big gulp and set the glass down none too gently on another as it floated by.
Scowling out over the crowd, she hissed, "While I might agree that the education regarding Muggles and Muggle technology should be addressed more comprehensively throughout a witch or wizard's formative years in the hopes that we won't, once again, breed an isolated, raving mad sociopath hell bent on committing genocide, the very last thing that I would like to be doing tonight is gritting my teeth and prattling on about what a wonderful bloody idea it is to parade these Muggle-made novelties around in a bloody museum like they're the bloody missing link!" Hermione snatched up another flute. "And on my birthday no less! I've got better things to be doing tonight than this tosh. Instead of getting trussed up like some prized bird and getting pissed off of cheap Ministry champagne I could be naked, alone, and getting pissed in the comforts of my own damned flat!"
They say that silence falls on conversation at twenty past the hour.
If either of them had chanced a look to the grand clock at the end of the hall, they might have found truth in the statement.
Scant moments before Hermione had uttered the last of her vehemence the band had stopped playing, the general tinkling of glasses wobbling against each other on floating silver discs ceased, and the ballroom's conversations all fizzled to nothing, leaving her notion of being naked and pissed in her flat something that not only she, but also all the neighboring patrons within earshot could entertain.
Hermione's scowl was replaced by huge, mortified eyes and a deep red shade that flooded into the tops of her cheeks and nose. "Merlin, I shouldn't have said any of that." Hermione groaned and covered her face looking surely as though she wanted to die.
"Today's your birthday?" Percy's question seemed to break the moment.
Witches and wizards turned back to their partners and resumed their conversations and the band started up another tune.
Warily, Hermione peeked up at him from behind her hand. "Ah. . .yes."
He frowned. "I'm sorry, Hermione, I had no idea!"
Still a bit red in the face, Hermione waved dismissively. "Don't be," she said. "Everyone's busy on a Tuesday night. I don't do much to celebrate anyway."
"Just get naked and pissed in your flat?" Percy asked, evidence of his teasing clear in his tone.
"A-ah—I—" The color flooded back to her cheeks as she stammered.
Percy reached to the breast pocket of his dress robes and tugged the pocket square free. He whispered a few words that sent the silk twisting and folding, stretching and tugging into a less practical yet more aesthetically pleasing shape.
Holding the newly transfigured silk rose out to her, Percy smiled. "Happy birthday, love."
Hermione's mouth dropped open, eyes taking in the perfect rose-like shape in the wake of his effortless wandless invocation. "Percy, it's brilliant!" She plucked the rose from his fingers turning it about in her own and pausing more than once to stroke its impossibly soft petals. Hermione grinned. "Thank you!"
Her enthusiasm was contagious and he found himself grinning back.
. . . . .
Two weeks since Hermione's birthday.
Four weeks since Percy's first sip of his own personal 'calming' draught.
After the debacle of the Ministry fundraiser, Percy bid Hermione for the opportunity to celebrate her properly.
'Celebrating birthdays are selfish acts,' she'd said in avoidance.
'They are,' he'd agreed. 'But I would be delighted to celebrate the enjoyment of your company for yet another year.'
She'd not known what to say to that and instead took him to a Muggle diner in a mockery of the reverent theme from the evening. They had breakfast foods a quarter to midnight and shared a huge slice of chocolate cake one minute past.
'Not my birthday anymore,' she'd said, sucking the chunks of moist chocolate from the tines of her fork.
'No,' he'd said, 'but I could stand to celebrate more days like this with you if you'll let me.'
Percy hadn't known where that'd come from.
His stomach turned after he realized what words left his lips.
He'd been ready to backpedal and laugh off the brazenness when Hermione's head dipped, hiding a flush, and she turned a chocolate mottled smile on him. 'I would love that.'
And that, as they say, was that.
. . .
Hermione unlocked the door to her flat, turning as she always did at the end of an evening out to meet Percy's mild gaze.
She reached up to tuck a small curl of fiery ginger hair back into his neatly slicked 'do. Her touch lingered at his temple, thumb smoothing over his cheekbone before she grinned. "It's still so different seeing you without your glasses." At his responding chuckle she added, "Were you even able to see the movie?"
Percy cupped her hand with his, snaking his other beneath the edge of her coat to rest on the swell of her hip. "I saw everything I wanted to see tonight, don't you worry on it, love."
Hermione bit at her bottom lip, shifting her gaze to his lapels. Her hands moved to fuss with their edges. "You know you don't have to forego your sight for our dates, Percy. I. . .I like the way you look with them, too."
He curled a finger beneath her chin, coaxing her head back up. Her teeth were worrying at the plump flesh drawn between them and Percy allowed himself a long moment to admire the freckles dotting the bridge of her nose and cheekbones before addressing her again. "I'm not foregoing anything. Just trying a new treatment."
"And. . .it's working?" She'd moved to press her palms over the pressed Oxford beneath his coat.
A sound not unlike a rumbling purr vibrated through his chest at the feel of her heat through all his layers of clothing. "Beautifully."
Hermione released the poor swollen bud of her bottom lip, her tongue darting out to moisten it again.
His eyes tracked the movement hungrily.
It was the first invitation to come inside her flat since they'd started their dating stint.
Percy's brain barely registered it in its entirety before his feet had already started moving.
He made a sound in his throat that was more animal than man and crushed his lips to hers.
His hands found purchase on the ample rump of the witch before him and hoisted her up.
Her legs clamped around his waist, nails digging into his shoulders in a sudden effort to not be dropped.
Hermione's front door slammed shut with a kick of his heel.
She cried out in pain when her body crashed against the closet door in the foyer, the wood rattling in its frame in protest and dismay.
She cried out in something else when his mouth found her bared neck and his teeth painted it black and blue.
. . . . .
Two weeks since he fled Hermione's flat.
Two weeks since he nearly ravaged her like a beast in her own foyer.
He'd come to his senses before it had gone too far but, much to his horror, several bruises and scrapes had already taken to coloring her skin.
She'd looked so dazed and confused when he pulled away.
The ache between his thighs was maddening.
The press of her body against his was worse.
His apology for overstepping was hasty and desperate and she'd accepted fuzzily.
They'd parted then, her a disheveled mess and he no better off—the comical tent to his trousers only serving to add to his humiliation.
Imagine his surprise when she still wanted to see him after the fact.
For better or worse, they laughed off what had happened that night and picked up mostly where they left off before. . .that.
Faced with a second chance, Percy faced the reality that his potion wasn't just relaxing him—it was changing him.
It had changed him.
He tried to wean himself off of it, merely reducing the dosage. When he'd barely restrained himself from ripping Hermione's Ministry robes to pieces and fucking her in a toilet stall at work after a stolen snogging session, however, he knew what he had to do.
Percy went home that very night and dumped every ounce of potion down the drain, burning his notes on the formula to ashes for good measure.
He wouldn't risk hurting Hermione.
Carnal desire? Fun in doses.
Aggressive need for post-coital murder and mayhem? Not so much.
It was the latter, Percy knew, that lingered beneath those other desires. If he allowed himself to let go, he had no doubts he would shag her so thoroughly that she'd need several days to recover and then. . .
The other desire he thirsted for after the fact is what horrified him.
. . .
Percy had been clean for the better part of a week.
It was a miserable week.
Half-dressed and his glasses askew, he braced himself against his bathroom sink, panting in an effort to cool himself from the ever persistent fever that emerged on the tails of his sobriety.
Hermione would be there any moment and he still wasn't ready. She'd wanted to dine at a new restaurant that evening, one closer to his flat than hers, so they agreed to meet there. Even with a handful of hours to prep himself since parting ways from the Ministry, there he was, heaving shaky breaths and glaring at his washed out reflection in the mirror.
For the tenth time at least, Percy ran the tap, cupping his hands beneath the stream of cold water with the stubborn intent to wash away the sticky sweat from his face. He dumped it over his head, spattering the lenses of his glasses and blurring his sight.
Take them off, a voice purred in his head.
Percy didn't want to take them off.
When he took them off, he looked too much like. . .him.
"Come on, you twat," Percy growled at his reflection. "Pull it together. Why can't you pull it together?!"
Yes, Percy. That voice spoke and laughed at the same time. Why can't you just pull. . .it. . .together?
Percy swallowed, water still dripping from his hair and cheeks and chin. "Sod off." It was shaky, unsure.
I think you know.
He blinked his eyes rapidly, trying to clear his vision, trying to see his frazzled image in the looking glass. Gaining some nerve, Percy ripped his glasses from his face just long enough to wipe clean the lenses with a cloth, replacing them in time to see it—to see him.
"Ignatius," Percy rasped.
His glasses free reflection peered back at him, entirely collected, entirely unperturbed by Percy's distress. Ignatius stared back. He smiled.
I forgive you for suppressing my freedom these past weeks. But, really, let's stop mucking about and be serious. Are you really so keen to discard everything that I've given you? You're really that foolish?
"I don't want it! I don't want any of it!"
It was a purr brimming with amusement.
Your newfound confidence at the Ministry has brought you recognition. Whispers around the office tell of talks of promotion. Keep it up and you might just become department head! Beyond that, isn't it delightful that your family no longer thinks you're such a tosser? A self-indulgent prude? And Hermione, let's not forget about her—
"Don't you dare bring her into this!"
Ignatius' laughter pinged around Percy's skull even as the mirror image of his alter ego blinked stoically back at him.
You think she'd want the real you? The you who only cares about rules and regulations, the Percy Weasley that has a broomstick shoved so far up his arse that when he talks you see wood? Please.
"We've always gotten on fine without you!" Percy's rebuttal sounded lame and grasping even to his own ears.
She's a hellion, Percy. I've tasted it. She doesn't want anything to do with you.
When was the last time that you made her make those delicious sounds in the back of her throat, hmm? Those ones where it makes your skin prickle and your todger so hard and aching you just want to—
"STOP TALKING!" Percy's face scrunched tight in disgust and shame as he did remember exactly what sounds Ignatius referred to and they had exactly the effect he refused to hear so lewdly described.
Gritting his teeth, Percy glared at his reflection. "I won't let this continue—I WON'T. You can't be allowed to run wild and you will NOT touch Hermione!"
Oh, you sweet, naïve little nit. It's far too late for that.
Percy's eyes widened but before he could voice his question, excruciating pain speared his gut. His arms guarded his stomach, body lurching forward so suddenly his forehead connected with the mirror.
I'm a part of you, love. Always have been.
Percy's eyes watered, his breath coming in staccato pants.
Your job. Your life. Your witch. They're as much mine as they are yours.
Don't worry about Hermione, by the way. I assure you she'll be well taken care of.
Pathetic whimpers of pain leaked from between Percy's teeth. He tried to work himself through them with one hand clutching hard at the edge of the sink.
I'll even let her scream your name instead of mine. How's that for a compromise, mate? Well. . .if she can even remember how to speak when I'm done with her.
"Ignatius—p-please—" Percy gasped.
I look forward to learning more about her—really dig into what makes her tick! Her blood would look bloody gorgeous spattered all over our sheets, don't you think?
Bloody gorgeous—you see what I did there?
"Not. . .Her—mione—" His strangled plea fell short at the sound of the knock at his front door.
Playtime's over. Be a good boy and stay out of my hair. Don't worry about her, Ignatius said again, she's made for us, Perce. You'll see.
A second knock came, more insistent than the first. Hermione's muffled voice filtered through the small flat announcing her arrival.
Shakily, Percy pushed himself upright, knuckles white where he gripped the sides of the sink.
His breathing calmed.
He met the eyes of his reflection from behind horn rimmed frames. . .
. . .and he discarded them with a slanted smile as he called out in reply.
"On my way, love! Be there in two shakes!"
. . . . .
Two weeks since Ignatius surfaced entirely on his own.
Two weeks since Percy woke up in the bed of his flat naked, alone, his body bruised and slashed, his sheets dotted in crusted brown bits of blood.
Two weeks since he woke with his heart in his throat, fear in every fiber of his being as he expected to find the ravaged body of his girlfriend somewhere in the apartment.
When he found nothing of the sort, nor any signs of murderous struggle, Percy combed his rooms for his glasses, uttered a quick Reparo, and warily pulled himself into a presentable state to make his way into work a few hours past his usual start.
The moment Percy caught sight of her at the office, he couldn't be sure if he was more relieved or terrified of facing the aftermath of whatever destruction Ignatius had enacted on their relationship.
Hermione conversed with him when he finally approached and it was a cautious and delicate thing. Their words were stilted, postures awkward and uncomfortable, and they parted far too soon.
They hadn't gone out since that night two weeks back.
It didn't take a genius to understand that Hermione was avoiding him.
'Good,' he'd thought then. 'Good.'
Whatever had happened between them, she was safe, even if she looked at him in an entirely different way than before. If this was the price to pay for her safety, so be it. He wouldn't risk her again. Not because of a false cure for his social anxiety—not for anything.
Two weeks without Hermione felt like an eternity and though it proved to be awful, his pesky other self seemed to have buggered off as well.
Aside from the occasional strange dream where he heard his alter ego's voice conversing about one idle thing or another, there had been no sign of Ignatius.
Percy took his blessings where he could find them.
. . .
Surveying the crowd in attendance at his brother's party, Percy readjusted himself in his corner of the room.
A wealth of costumes spanned the gathering from decadent to simple, some with very serious themes, others with none at all. The event was filled with a mix of cultural decorations magical and Muggle alike. Banners stretched from one wall to another. Balloons of orange, black, purple, and more floated on crinkly strands of ribbon. Tiny green figures decked out in black robes, pointy hats, and warts flew about on pitiful brooms putt-putt-puttering puffs of green smoke in their wake. There were an assortment of oddities Percy had managed to spot since his arrival and no less than a dozen more every hour that he made out as the minutes ticked on.
While Hallowe'en feasts and festivities weren't considered unusual in the Wizarding community, George's always managed to be a great deal more than. . .unusual.
As if thinking about him summoned the man from an abyss, George's lanky arm curled around Percy's shoulder, squeezing him in a brief one-armed hug. "Glad you could make it!"
Percy's outward expression took on a very put out air but it was good to see George in good spirits. It was more than good to see him smiling again. "I'm a man of my word." Another hug jostled him and Percy's 'orange monster punch' sloshed in his cup.
"So it seems!" George pulled away shooting a funny look at his brother. "What are you supposed to be dressed up as? Cornelius Fudge?"
Tutting, Percy smoothed his free hand over his tailored work robes. He returned the look with a very dry one of his own and said, "I'm a wizard."
George snorted, punching Percy in the arm. "Was that a joke, Perce? Good on you, then. Blimey, never thought I'd see the day." Shaking his head, George sipped his punch concoction from his cup and eyed his guests. "Next year you'll have to dress as someone that knows how to have a bit of fun. You just wait, we'll get you sociable yet."
"I've got to check on the food. Tell Hermione hullo when you see her, eh?" George's hand found Percy's shoulder again and gave it a squeeze, utterly clueless to the fact that the couple was not, how one would say, together at the moment.
Grimacing into his cup, Percy chastised himself for the billionth time.
Trying to be someone that 'knew how to have fun' is what started the whole mess.
No. No, thank you.
Being a wallflower was fine—nothing wrong with it at all.
Barely an hour passed before Percy's resolve was put to the test.
The startling visage of a familiar dark-haired witch crossed before him. She stood short and slender, a gauzy lavender gown covering her from breast to ankle in wisps of layers that might as well have been breathed into existence by a goddess herself. The fabric wafted and fluttered like silk in the sea, caught in an unseen current, anchored only by the cleverly coiled bands of strategically placed jewelry and brooches. Gems as pale as moon and sand and ones as dark as the depths of the ocean dangled from the circlet holding her hair at bay. They created haunting shimmers of light in the pockets of rich auburn curls, coaxed as they were by magic to relax instead of frizz, stretching as far down her back as the tops of her thighs. She looked straight at him, doing that thing that she did, teething her bottom lip while it glistened at him with muted pink gloss.
Percy willed himself to look elsewhere—anywhere else—but found himself pinned by her stare.
"Can we talk?"
He understood Hermione's question slowly, sluggishly, as though he were listening through a pool of water, straining to hear. He must have been quiet long enough to worry her because she spoke again, her sandaled feet taking the steps necessary to close the gap.
"About what happened the other night," Hermione whispered urgently near his ear.
When had she gotten that close?
Percy meant to resist.
He meant to say 'no.'
Really, he meant to do anything he'd needed to so that he didn't endanger her any more.
When he nodded and trailed after her to the upper level of his brother's home into a quiet room removed from the chattering of the party crowd, however, he knew in his heart that he'd failed.
Hermione fiddled with the golden chain tying part of her gown shut.
They stood in silence, closer than they'd been in days, in—
He ignored the voice that corrected him as the silence grew more awkward and uncomfortable by the second.
Having had about all he could take, standing there with his girlfriend—ex-girlfriend?—looking as splendid as he'd ever seen her while they accomplished all of nothing, Percy opened his mouth to speak.
"I'm sorry," Hermione blurted suddenly.
Percy's mouth clapped shut with the sound of his teeth clicking together. He blinked, confused. "Pardon?"
And at once, Hermione tossed up her arms, spun about in a frustrated half circle, and then turned right back to him. "Percy, I'm sorry," she said again. Taking his hands in hers, she fixed him with a pleading look. "I just didn't know how to act."
"How to. . ." Percy tested the words, mouthing them out a few times before he found his voice again, ignoring how her touch burned so gloriously. "What are you talking about?"
This time it was Hermione's turn to look befuddled. "That night?" When he didn't respond but for a slight shake of his head, she grew annoyed. "And the one a few days after? . . .and last weekend?"
With every marked date, the furrow of Percy's brow deepened.
"Oh, for Merlin's sake!" Hermione huffed in exasperation and dropped his hands in favor of turning to stomp off. "This is what I'm talking about!"
Utterly baffled, Percy found he could do nothing else but follow, babbling his questions. "Last weekend? Hermione? Hermione!" He caught up to her as she was trying to escape into a nearby powder room. Percy stopped the closing of the door mid-swing, pushing his way through with an ever growing urge for violence bubbling up to the surface. "What are you talking about?!"
Hermione loosed a surprised yelp when Percy's form crowded the small room, managing to stifle the second one when he slammed the door shut behind him. He peered down at her from behind his glasses with an expression that made her lick her lips.
"Hermione!" Percy snarled, unable to contain himself. Somewhere in his mind he knew that one did not snarl at people, but the way Hermione's gaze flicked between his eyes and mouth chased that thought right off. He took another step, crowding her until she was backed up against the counter of the vanity.
"This," Hermione said, her voice too breathy, her cheeks too pink.
Leaning forward, Percy braced his arms on either side of the pretty witch. That close he could smell a delectable array of fragrances threading through the scant space between them. He drew deeply of the scents, exhaling a satisfied rumble at the smell of flowers, earth, and water.
Hermione's head canted to one side, Percy's face so close to her neck that his breath ghosted her skin with each exhale. "This," she said again. Her lids fluttered shut. "I didn't know—after that first night—I didn't know h-how to. I didn't know if we were supposed to talk about it or not."
Talk about what?
The thought drifted through his brain.
A flash of an image—a memory—blurred his vision.
A naked, sweat-slicked body beneath his own, keening in pleasure as curled fingers raked sticky red lines into his flesh.
Percy gasped, drawing back from the sweet scent of his witch.
The echo of laughter sounded from somewhere deep within his skull.
Hermione didn't notice, eyes squinched shut with one hand bracing against the counter, the other resting over his own.
. . .his own that had, apparently, found a part in her gown and was running up and down the length of a bare, toned thigh.
"I didn't—" She hesitated, voice colored with a hint of embarrassment. "I never expected you could. . .Ron could never be rough enou—AH!"
Percy witnessed with some amazement as his hand clamped down of its own accord, fingers digging hard enough into Hermione's thigh to bruise at the mere mention of his youngest brother.
With less astonishment and more mortification, he felt the fabric of his trousers strain in response to the glorious half-muffled moan that worked its way free from her throat.
They were both still half-dressed on the return from their outing, having only made it as far as his living room.
Her skirt was wrenched up, half draped over her back.
His trousers and pants pooled at his ankles.
The tatters of her knickers littered the rug, shredded only moments ago.
Hermione panted and begged, bent over the arm of his couch as she was.
He felt himself sneer, admiring the naked welts so beautifully raised in haphazard patterns all over the skin of her arse.
He gripped her tangled mess of curls in one hand, using the other to tease languid, meandering paths between her spread legs as he growled out every single depraved thing he was about to do to her.
Her pleas for more were music to his ears.
The laughter was louder now—it thrummed in his ears.
"Y-you acted like—" Hermione's breathing hitched when Percy's hand suddenly moved higher on her leg. "—nothing happened."
Oh, but something happened.
Ignatius' long absent voice flared to life in Percy's head.
Percy swallowed past a solid lump in his throat, the world going fuzzy while Hermione continued to speak.
"I thought you regretted it."
We didn't regret it, though, did we Perce?
"No." Percy's voice was strained. "Never." He lowered his mouth to Hermione's neck, brushed his lips over the taut skin.
Hermione gasped when he drew her flesh up between his teeth and bit down.
In one swift series of movements, Percy gripped the witch at the backs of her thighs, hefting her roughly onto the countertop. Hermione's hands flew from their previous perches to thread through his hair, her fingertips biting into his scalp where she tugged him to her.
"I don't want to go back to pretending—"
Her back was freshly torn and bloody.
His arms were lashed and bruised by magic.
Hermione's cries filled his ears.
The sound of skin on skin only seemed to make them louder.
He heard Ignatius' voice.
"No more pretending, love."
Percy's heart thudded in his ears when he realized Ignatius' words came from his own throat.
His body pulled away enough to tug Hermione's gown open the rest of the way.
A rough grip jerked her to the edge of the countertop.
Her freed legs bracketed his.
One of Percy's arms lashed out, hand encircling Hermione's throat and bearing down so that her lashes fluttered, mouth working to pull in air even as her hands clawed at his trousers, fumbling with his belt and zip.
Percy snarled, gaze fixed and hungry on his decadent little witch.
She was made for us, Perce.
Groaning when she freed him enough for her attentions, he returned the favor with a muttered spell that sliced apart her underthings, gouging lines into select stretches of flesh along with it to the sweet song of her strained whimper.
Giving. Receiving. She likes the thrill of it—someone bleeding out at the end of a spell.
Some things about war stick with you, after all.
You should know that.
He released her throat to caress and spread her with deft fingers, eying her sliced and blood slicked thighs heatedly before burying himself inside of her with one rough thrust.
Hermione's head knocked back into the mirror, hands wadded in his hair, dragging him closer.
Her voice cracked on her moan.
That sound, that Merlin forsaken sound that Ignatius loved so much erupted from the depths of her chest.
Gods, just LOOK at her.
Our beautiful Hermione.
Their hips met again and again, frantic and uncaring of anything outside of their moment—of anything that wasn't them.
"Percy—" His name keened from her parted lips in between desperate pants. "—I missed you."
We'll paint the town red, Perce.
Don't you worry 'bout a thing.
Ripping the horn rimmed glasses from his face, Percy's lenses cracked and shattered against the tile.
He buried his face against Hermione's neck, inhaling deeply the maddening scent of his wanton goddess.
"Shh, it's alright, darling. I'm here now," Ignatius soothed. "Here to stay."