Title: Enigma

Beta: Serpent
Rating: M+
Pairing: PW/SS
Summary: Severus Snape was acquitted and the Ministry set up someone to watch him.
---------------------

Severus Snape was acquitted.

Acquitted.

What sort of justice is that for a man who murdered Albus Dumbledore, along with a number of others? However, apparently there has been given evidence that he is a man who helped out with the War efforts.

The Minister of Magic doesn't quite believe it. However, one must do what the Wizarding World's Saviour says.

So he's sent one of his most loyal employee to make sure that Snape doesn't step out of line.
----------------------

He's an odd man… At least, in Percival's eyes he is.

He doesn't appear to be having any difficulties when it comes to getting to know the Muggle world.

In fact he's settled down quite nicely. As though he knows this world as much as he knew the Wizarding World.

There is a stark difference in the way that the man seems.

Whilst Percival was in school he seemed severe in both his teachings and personality… now, however that seems like a contradiction with his more than comfortable pose…
---------------------

In the two weeks that Percival has been as been told that he needs to keep tabs on his old Professor Snape, he has yet to speak to the man.

Not that the red-head has to.

After all if he is to keep merely tabs on him and not to socialize or let the man know he's being watched-- Especially since it is well known that Harry Potter himself gave evidence about Severus Snape's innocence.

Although one must wonder if he really is innocence-- if the man did kill Dumbledore and had once been a Death Eater.

The thing about this all is that Percival isn't sure why he's dithering around like this and unsure of what he is qualified to do.

And he's qualified to do a lot of things. He did after all get the most NEWTS of his year. Possibly of the whole decade…

But instead this young bespectacled curly redhead was sitting in a café across from the corner shop that Snape currently seeks employment.

That perhaps is the other aspect that Percival doesn't quite get. That Snape, with all his intelligence, is working in a corner shop. It seems a pity that this man would be resorted to such things.

Percival agrees it perhaps is something that the man deserves. Severus Snape did deserve the shunning that he himself created. With his cold, mean, and scathing personality that somehow doesn't work.

He watches as the man comes out to lay out the fruits and vegetables in the open air. It's supposed to tempt the people into coming into the store.

Percival's has never seen the appeal in it.
------------------

There were times when he would storm into the classroom with his robes billowing behind him; Percival would catch himself thinking about how much he really admired this man.

It seems like something only the naïve would think.

But he did think it.

After all Professor Snape commanded respect.

So did Professor McGonagall though for some reason Snape's sarcasm and general contempt for all around him made him so much more.

Percival did respect the man. With his dark and hard demeanor that seemed powerful in a different sort of way than that of Dumbledore's. He wasn't a handsome man; his features were very harsh and near to being downright ugly.

Though, Percival had known that there were some girls that had little crushes on him.

Why was always the question?

After all he was an unsavory man who was vindictive and bias.
-------------------

Percival finds it all very tedious. To be sitting here watching the man do the same routine.

Work twelve hours Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday. Then he goes to church on Sunday and a pub on Sunday night. The other days are full of miscellaneous things such as walking, going to the library, and shopping.

All in all Percival finds Severus Snape a pretty boring and normal man. Exempting the fact that he's an ex-convict who managed to get off the hook…

Percival sips his coffee. Black with two teaspoons of sugar-- he's been trying to cut down…
---------------------

"Well, Mr. Weasley, it appears that the Ministry isn't excepting the testament that their Golden Boy gave them are they?" The consonants move softly and slowly out of that mouth creating a strange silky smooth sound.

Percival knew it was a bad idea to actually approach the man. However, he did it anyways.

"As a Ministry official--"

"Save it." The man has a look of irritation about him. Up close he looks more agreeable than he ever did at school.

Though his hair is still greasy, he's cut it down so that it curves just over his ears. He has a small fringe that reaches only to his pitch-black eyebrow. There are very noticeable bags under his eyes… however it adds something to his appearance.

His nose is still too big and there are wrinkles on either side of his mouth. His skin is still pretty bad but not as deathly pale or sallow as it once was.

He moves with in a more careful way than he did at school.

It hits Percival that this man is nearing his fifties at the latest. Though, in retrospect he must have grown old long before his time…

He uses his hands to mop up the counter on which the costumers place their purchases. He does this with a quick practiced swift of his arm.

Percival thinks how hard it must be for this man to go without magic. After all that was the condition in which he is forced to live. Not even Harry Potter could save him from that fate.

"I am here for the--" Percival figures he might as well try to explain in some way why the Ministry felt inclined to basically, spy on Snape.

Snape has black eyes that always seemed so cruel. They haven't changed.

"I said I don't care. Now, are you buying anything? If not, get out." He says this mildly as though he could care whether or not Percival did make a purchase.

Percival pays for a hot cocoa, while taking in how Snape looks in Muggle slacks and a buttoned up shirt.
----------------------------

The next few days Percival shows up at the shop rather than at the café across the street.

"You stopped following me around when I'm not here," he states this as he places milk cartons in a small fridge.

Percival nods, than replies after he realizes that Snape can't see his nod.

"I didn't think I would need to." He really wanted to reply that he had other things to do. But that would be a lie and he still thinks that Snape can read thoughts.

They don't say anything else.
--------------------------

When he sits in his lonely flat and eats his dinner he thinks about how nice it would be to have someone there with him.

He figures it comes from the fact that he's from a big family where everyone is everywhere and so it's only natural that he would miss the noise…

He managed to make too much dinner tonight. It's only chow mien but he figures that he can't eat it all without becoming sick of it. He's rather fond of it, so he figures he'll put some in a container and bring it with him when he visits Snape.

If he's not interested he'll just freeze it later.
------------------------

During the days that Snape works Percival finds him down in that small corner shop with him. Sometimes they'll eat a lunch made primarily out of leftovers that Percy brings. Other times Percival will pretend to browse around the place to see if he wants anything.

He has already memorized the entire stock of what is in the store. When he spots something new he asks Snape about it. Amazingly, the man answers him.

Some days when it's raining outside and Snape can't go out there to obsessively rearrange the stock he places out there; they'll sit inside and drink hot cocoa.

Percival thinks he has finally found something that may curve his coffee addiction.

True, it's not a healthy thing. But small steps will get him off that caffeine…

They don't talk much. Though Percival once asked how come he could accept being like a Muggle so easily,

"I grew up like one." It's a short answer. But nonetheless one that gives Percival a pause before he goes back to breathe in that intoxicating scent of chocolate.

Once or twice he's helped out Snape with moving things around.

He would suggest that he just move it with his wand.

But somehow he knows that wouldn't be a smart thing to do.
-----------------------

Percival finds that he's relatively happy with doing what he's being paid to do.

Which is following Severus Snape around to see if he steps out of line.

He doesn't have to go into the office. Only send in progress reports by owl.

He's startled to find that there is a Ministry owl awaiting him at home.

The letter itself tells him that there will be no more need to ascertain what Severus Snape does, as he is fully well clean and completely free of all that he was once partied to.

Percival doesn't know why it feels as if the bottom of his stomach has dropped down past his knees.

He isn't even able to eat the chocolate ice cream he bought from that corner shop.
------------------

He doesn't know why he still shows up at that small corner shop every Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday at noon. Where just before going there he'd grab some take out from a restaurant on his way over.

He knows that Snape knows he isn't watching him anymore.

After all, he dresses in the Muggle suit that he's started wearing to the Ministry. A suit that he thinks is something that should be considered mandatory by Ministry Officials just in case.

The Minister agrees with him and has also taken to wearing a suit.

Percival sometimes goes to the same church at ten o'clock that Snape goes to.

He sits beside Snape during the sermons and finds that church isn't something he enjoys. But observing the people around him is something that keeps him occupied.

"Why do you come here?" It takes Percival a lot of guts to finally ask Snape this question.

Snape didn't blink twice and kept his eyes on the reverend.

"I used to have to go to church when I was a boy. No matter if I was sick or my father was drunk, we all had to go to church."

Percival doesn't really think this is an answer.

Maybe because he looks at the people in the same church around them and can see that they do believe in God. While he and Snape appear intruders in a place that they don't believe in.

Percival always found that religion was for guppies and for people who couldn't believe that after Death there is ultimately nothing.

But he watches what happens while sitting beside Snape.
---------------------

He's been promoted to be the Secretary underneath the Minister for Magic.

He's is perhaps the youngest one for at least a century or two.

Percival is proud. After all it is just one more step to achieving the goal that he has wanted all his life.

Well, maybe not all his life. When he was a boy he wanted to be a knight who would fall in love with a beautiful girl who would turn out to be a princess that he had to save…

But he grew out of that.
-------------------

There is something about the small corner shop when it's raining outside that Percival really likes.

That odd darkness in the middle of the day; the rainfall that is above the people who rush back and forth and finally the way they all smell when they come into the shop.

Breathing heavily and making small comments on the weather.

There is something about the way that it looks; the way that it feels to Percival.

He tends to smile a lot at Snape during these times.

Sometimes Snape smiles back at him.
------------------

He's sitting in a conference with the Minister and many other delegates when he realizes he's being called on.

"Yes?" He isn't sure why they want to talk to him.

The Minister is looking at him strangely, "I was asking if you finished that report about the International United Magic."

"I found some interesting bits on that if you can wait one more day." Percival already knows that they will.

What he doesn't know is that there is a young Miss. Granger watching the meeting and taking particular attention to his lack of one.
-----------------------

Percival isn't really all that sure what made him do it.

Invite a man he barely knows, never mind trust to his flat for supper.

All he knows is that he did invite him and now must cook the best meal he can for this man.

He spends all day on it.

Finding it indeed ready by the time Snape shows up at his door, Percival spent tons of time in between cooking to try and find the perfect outfit which turned out to be casual black trousers and blue ruffled shirt. The shirt oddly makes his appeared more appealing. The curled around his face and brought the attention to his eyes.

He gave up the horn-rimmed glasses for a smaller more square framed. He had thought of doing a temporary eye correction spell, but he doesn't like the thought of playing with his eyes like that.

He's jumpy and ready to scream when he finally answers the door.

Snape looks the same as always.

Expressionless. He was wearing some dark blue slacks that don't tell of the very firm legs that Percival knows are hiding. His shirt is a black one that looks stark next to Percival's ruffled one.

Snape doesn't bother waiting for Percival to ask him in. Instead he steps in and waits for Percival to invite him to the table.

Which he does.

The flat is rather small and the kitchen is just a kitchen. Though Percival's taken to putting a kitchen table in there which is where the dinner he's worked so hard to create is sitting.

Snape sits on one side of the table where there is a plate full of near gourmet food is. Percival doesn't bother presenting the dish, he doesn't care about it himself, so there's a good chance that Snape won't either.

Percival sets two cups of red wine on the sides of their plates and goes to sit down himself.

He doesn't know how to make conversation during things like this so he figures it's best if he doesn't try.

"So Percy. you were promoted?" Snape is staring at him. His wine glass is tipped up to his mouth.

That's all Percival can see-- The wine glass tipping that red liquid in that thin lipped mouth.

Percival nods.

Snape puts down his glass. Percival's attention is back onto the lines around his mouth. He doesn't think a man this age should have such prominent lines.

"I'm assuming you haven't taken to talked to your family yet." He's not a man who really asks the easiest of questions.

Percival finds himself staring at the kitchen cloth he's placed on the table. By the wine bottle there is a drop of red stained into that pristine white.

"I… I don't know how to really talk to people. Other than what I do at work." This is really to explain why over that last few months it has taken Percival this long.

"I know." Snape doesn't make this feel uncomfortable. But then he isn't much of a talker himself.

They don't talk much but to make little observations the rest of the night.

When they part, Percival ventures to place a soft kiss on the older man's jaw and blushed fiercely when he moves back.
-------------------------

Even though he finally has the promotion he wants, he finds that it isn't helping him. With the big bottomless pit in his stomach that he's only recently found he has.

He's also found that he can't concentrate on his work and doesn't even bother to.

When he's called into the Minister's office about this he promises to try harder.

Unsurprisingly, he does.
-----------------------

There is something wonderful about Severus Snape.

When they are together Percival finds that there are no more upset mornings, no more mundane feelings. Everything seems so right, even when they are so wrong.

When Severus Snape kissed him in the shop right on the lips they spent the night in Percival's flat making love on his small bed.

He remembers the way that Severus Snape put him on the bed, not saying lovely things about him. Instead running those impossibly long fingers down his trembling body as he slowly worked Percival into a frenzy.

When Percival was finally breached he found that he had wrapped himself around Severus with both his arms and legs. Breathing heavily as Severus rocked into him and set up a steady pace that would continue for awhile until Percival found himself falling to climax…

Most of all the most wonderful things about that man that Severus is, is when Percival awoke in the morning he was still there. Still asleep with drool gathering on the pillow and his hair in the most horrific bed head.

It made Percival smile.
--------------------

There was a day when he found that he had had it.

That he didn't want anything to do with the dream job that he's worked all his life to get.

That day was when the Minister called him into his office to discuss the claims of his relationship with Severus Snape.

He told the Minster to stuff it.

And then he left.
------------------

There are days when he can't stand it.

When the looks and hisses become too much.

When the people try to confront him for leaving the Ministry for a bastard of a man.

He pinches his nose and moves on.
-----------------

When Severus Snape kisses him he feels as though he could do anything.

But he stays for when Severus leads him to the bedroom so that he may put Percy on the queen-sized bed and slowly undress the younger redhead and kiss his stomach. The slow tonguing of his arousal as he tries to buck up to that mouth.

Severus will hold down those hips. He'll keep it going until Percy is ready to explode then he'll get up and make Percy watch him slowly undress himself before going to the bed.

When he crawls on the bed Percy instinctually knows to lift his legs up so that Severus can put one over his shoulder as he manually apply the lube with his long fingers.

Percy always shivers and wants more when he feels those fingers inside him. He presses his pale freckled body closer to Severus as he kisses feverishly at that harsh face.

When Severus shifts and presses the head of his own arousal to Percy's hole, he moans and tries to make it go faster than this slow proceeding… however Severus likes to take it slow.

And that's what he does.

The slow breaching of his body makes Percy keen loudly for more. Arching his back and digging his fingers into that pale sallow back above him…

The thrusting goes harder and harsher and the rhythm is all over the place until Percy can't take it anymore and he nearly screams out his completion. He settles down to watch with glazed eyes as Severus closes his dark ones to thrust harder and harder, faster and faster until he too is coming.

Percy holds onto that body crushing him when they are done.

His heart hammering in his chest as he breathes in that sharp smell that is entirely Severus.
---------------------

There are times when the kisses aren't enough.

When he can't believe that he could give everything up for a man he barely knows and one he can't see if it was all worth it for.

There are times when he can't help but wish to be as it was before the hate mail and hard words that travel him throughout the Wizarding World.

He can't retreat into the Muggle World in the same way that Severus Snape had done. He knows next to nothing on how to keep an employment as a Muggle. He does have quite a bit of money still saved in the bank.

He figures he could invest in something.

He thinks that it might be an idea to create an apothecary where both he and Severus can work.

After all Severus was a genius at Potions and he could help with both the business part and magic part of it.

When he gets home on the pretence of telling Severus his thoughts he finds himself stuck in the doorway.

His heart is hammering on his rib cage and he's worried it will break and he'll bleed to death.

He ducks his head as he hears the words:

"Hello, Percy"

He's afraid of the reaction this is creating.

He says his words to his feet.

"Hello, Father."
---------------------------