You Promised It Would Be Together Final Chapter

Ginny told her mother and father that she was bringing a guest home on Sunday, someone she wanted them to meet. Molly Weasley, on finding out it was a male guest was beside herself. She was in the kitchen, wearing a flour-dusted apron, cracking eggs into a bowl. Her father was also in the kitchen, keeping his wife company as he read the paper. Molly turned to her daughter

"Is he your beau, dear?" she asked Ginny anxiously. Ginny had never, ever brought a wizard home to meet her family.

Ginny rolled her eyes.

"No, mum, he's just a friend," she replied.

"I've yet to see you bring a friend to dinner," Arthur Weasley said, looking up from the Daily Prophet, his brown eyes twinkling. "Nor a male one at least."

"Well, he is a rather special friend," she said to her father, reddening a little.

"Oh ho. A 'special' friend," he said, "that makes all the difference."

Ginny scowled at her dad, and he chuckled, returning to his paper.

"I just want you to be nice to him, Mum. Dad. And make Fred and George and the others act at least halfway decent. You know how atrocious they are," the witch said.

Molly put her hands on her hips.

"Now when have you known us not to be nice to anyone, Ginerva Weasley?" she asked her daughter, a sour look on her motherly face.

"I was just saying..." Ginny said lamely, her face red. Her parents always made her feel like a little girl.

"You were just saying nothing," her mother scolded her, "He will be treated like one of the family. That's good enough for anyone, including 'special' friends."

Her mother went back to cracking eggs.

"That's what I'm afraid of," Ginny said under her breath.

Percival looked in the mirror at himself. He wore a nice set of dress robes…but not too elaborate. He had to search around his huge wardrobe for this particular set. Ginny had asked him not to dress formal. But he felt he should make a good impression on her parents.

He didn't see many things that made Ginny Weasley nervous, but obviously his going to "The Burrow" did. She explained they grew up at the Burrow, a very small somewhat rickety house, and that when Fred and George became successful, they wanted to move their mother into a bigger, nicer house. But Molly refused to budge.

"All my best memories of my family are here. I just couldn't leave," she said crying.

Their mother crying was always traumatic to the twins, and they shushed her and told her she didn't have to leave if she didn't want to. So they had the Burrow fortified so it wouldn't keel over, and added some more rooms. But they still lived in the original space, the kitchen and dining room being the center of most Weasley activities. Molly believed in the power of food. It could solve any ill, soothe any savage breast. Sunday supper was important to her. It was when all her family came together under the same roof, keeping their family bonds strong.

All but one, that is. Percy Weasley.

Percy was in Azkaban for being a deatheater. He was interrogated and was found to actually not have participated in a single atrocity, although he witnessed several. He told them he realized he had made a mistake joining Voldemort early on, but once a wizard took the Mark, the only way out was death. So he was forced to stay and pretend to be loyal.

The young wizard hated Voldemort, because he had an interest in the young Weasley that was not in line with what the red-haired wizard felt appropriate. That didn't stop Voldemort from buggering him though. Percy believed it was because of Ron's close association with Harry Potter that he was targeted. But because Voldemort favored him, he managed to get out of committing the horrible acts the other deatheaters did. However, he was still sent to Azkaban for having the Mark. He had a lifetime sentence.

Ginny wrote him twice a week, telling him to be strong. They were appealing his sentencing. It had been going on for almost two years now. They had gone back to hearings several times, but the Ministry Board would not release the wizard.

Like most incarcerated individuals, Percy had a chance to review his life and see exactly why he had ended up the way he had. He believed he despised his family for being 'too common'. But the truth was, he was too stuck on himself. He was proud to be a pureblood and felt it made him special, while the others in his family just took it in stride and never bothered dwelling on that. They were too busy living day to day to put on false airs. Molly didn't help and for some reason favored Percy's delicate sensibilities, buying him new things when everyone else had hand-me-downs. But Fred and George did their best to keep him humble, always pranking him and showing up and acting out when he was trying to impress other, richer purebloods. He couldn't stand his rowdy, boisterous brothers. They were an embarrassment, as was the entire family with their patched robes and hand-me-down books and such.

He was recruited by the deatheaters after he had worked at the Ministry for a couple of years, by Lucius Malfoy himself, who convinced the young wizard that Ginny's unfortunate incident in the Chamber of Secrets was merely a ruse to try and get Potter, that the witch herself was never in danger of harm. He even blamed Ron's association with Harry as the true danger. Lucius then took him about and let him get a taste of the good life, introducing him to other wealthy, powerful deatheaters that seemed to accept him. Shared service to the Dark Lord equalized everyone…they were all brothers. So Percy took the Mark. It was at the first revel that he learned what a horrible mistake he had made.

This did not absolve the wizard however. He really did want to rape Hermione when she was captive at Voldemort's stronghold, though he would have never tried it on his own. He had wanted a go at her for a long time…and it seemed rape was the only way it would have happened. He figured it couldn't hurt, because she was destined to be raped by a bunch of deatheaters anyway. He might as well join in. They weren't going to kill her after all…maybe make her wish they had, but that would have been on Hermione.

Anyway, he regretted what he had given up. Percy would give anything to sit among his boisterous, ill-mannered family and fight over the last bun, or piece of treacle tart on the dinner table. He wouldn't care if Fred and George pranked him all day, or if Ron drove him mad with stupid questions. And he would give anything, anything, to feel his mother's comforting arms around him, covering his face with kisses like she used to do, embarrassing him in front of his peers. He missed Molly. And Ginny. Sweet Ginny. She never gave up on him or forgot about him. She and his mother sent him gift baskets of fudge, meat pies and all manner of treats on holidays and his birthday. It meant so much to him. Percy wished he had appreciated what he had when he had it. He wished he could live his life all over again. He'd be different this time. But there were few second chances to be had at life, and despite all the attempts, the wizard was sure he would never see the outside of Azkaban prison again.

At Sunday dinners, a table setting was always made for Percy and an empty chair placed in front of it. Molly would look at it from time to time, and tears would fall. But her son was always in her heart, and she refused to act as if he didn't exist. This made Sunday dinner bittersweet sometimes, but she did find joy in her remaining family being together.

One good thing about going to Ginny's house for dinner, Percival finally found out where she lived. She never told him. They always met up for their dates.

Percival flew to her flat by broom, since Ginny disliked extravagance and would have balked at going to the Burrow in a carriage drawn by Pegasii. She still hadn't told her family just whom she was bringing to dinner. Most likely they would apparate there, but Percival wouldn't have minded flying with her. It would be an opportunity to hold her in his arms again. The kiss had affected the wizard very much. So much so that the next date he had with a socialite ended with him sending her home after an unsuccessful attempt at taking what she offered him after dinner and a show. Her practiced responses turned him off, and he sent the disappointed witch home in his carriage.

The wizard landed in front of a series of rather tiny run-down flats. He checked the number in his pocket and looked on the front of each flat for the corresponding digits. He found Ginny's. It wasn't as bad as most. She had planted some flowers and given the front of it a coat of paint. Still, Percival didn't like it. She deserved so much more.

Percival reduced his broom, walked up to the door and knocked on it. Ginny opened it, immediately, giving him a nervous smile and a peck on the cheek. For a moment, the wizard considered turning his head so her kiss landed on his mouth, but resisted the urge.

"Hello Percival. Please come in," she said opening the door. "I'll be ready to go in a second."

Percival walked past Ginny into the smallest flat he had ever seen in his life. The combination living room and kitchen was smaller than his walk-in closet in the manor. A bathroom and a bedroom opened off of it. He felt he could hardly turn around.

Ginny kept it nice however. It was painted a soft pastel green, and she had a lot of plants, and nice pictures on the wall, scenes of landscapes mostly. Her furniture was second-hand and mismatched. A small sofa and a loveseat. There was a small recessed bookshelf that held a number of titles, and her little kitchenette was clean and bright, pots hanging from hooks under the two small cabinets.

Ginny walked into her bedroom. Percival couldn't resist peeking in. She had a full-sized bed that almost took up the entire room. He couldn't see the witch but heard drawers opening and closing. He sat down on the sofa…right on a spring. He stood up, pulled out his wand and fixed it surreptiously, then sat down again. He noticed a picture of several red-haired people waving frantically, and stood up, walking over to examine it. Obviously it was her family. All with flaming red hair. They seemed to be in a foreign land. A couple of them were wearing fezzes. It was an old picture. Ginny was quite young. He noted a set of twins who were ruffling the hair of a rather aggravated looking brother, who kept pushing his glasses up in exasperation and swinging at their hands. He smiled.

Percival was an only child, and growing up had been lonely and rather strict. Since his family was wealthy, his parents were quite picky about who he played with. Mostly it was house elves when he could manage it. Both his parents died, one after the other shortly after he graduated Hogwarts and taking over the family business matured him quickly. It was a blessing he was sorted into Slytherin house and lived by their code of self-preservation and self-gain. Other wizards attempted to acquire his holdings while pretending to be taking him under their wings, but he never once fell for it…divining their intentions immediately.

One elderly wizard with an eye for his galleons had asked him, "Do you not trust anyone, Percival?"

To which the wizard responded, "Yes I do, sir. Myself."

Percival learned the game quite quickly and became somewhat of a pariah, though he was a brilliant businessman, with an eye for moneymaking investments. His father had drilled into him that he was a steward of the family fortune and had to make sure it would be there for his children and their children. So he did his best to do so, hoping to have plenty of children with which to share the wealth. Preferably a couple of redheaded children.

Ginny exited the bedroom. She was in a nice dark green skirt that fell below her knees and a lighter green button-up blouse. Her red hair was pulled back in a long French braid that hung down her back. She wore small green earrings and a small watch on her wrist. She didn't have on any make-up. She rarely wore it. Only on special occasions. Still, she looked wonderful. Fresh. Open. Not a bit of artifice about her. Percival wished he could kiss her again.

Ginny looked at Percival, that nervous smile still on her face.

"I'm ready," she said, "Shall we go?"

Percival rose.

"I'm ready if you are," he said, grinning at her nervousness.

Ginny walked to the door, followed by the wizard.

"Then you can't be that ready," she replied. "No one is ever really ready for the Weasleys."

Percival smirked but didn't say anything as he exited the flat. The truth was, he was looking forward to meeting Ginny's family. It seemed as if it would be an adventure.

Ginny locked and warded the door to her flat with care. Percival watched her, frowning slightly as she applied several wards.

"You are certainly piling those on," he commented.

"Well, I was cleaned out once. Someone broke in and stole everything of value I had…which wasn't much really. They left what really mattered to me…my photos and books," she said as they walked up the street to an apparation point.

Percival tried to wrap his mind around this. He had never been robbed in his life, but if he had…he would most certainly had moved from the place which had been violated.

"Why do you stay there?" he asked her, his brow furrowed. "This doesn't seem like a very good area."

Percival eyed several shady-looking young wizards in front of a flat who were watching them pass. Not a very friendly-looking lot. He slipped his hand in his pocket, gripping his wand.

"I can afford it. It's not too bad really. I'm just very careful, and it's all right. I'm not a 'victim' type. I will hex the hell out of anyone who even looks like they want to mess with me," Ginny said with a cruel little smirk. "One bloke told me I fit right in down here."

Percival didn't think so, but didn't say anything. Now that he knew where she lived, and how she lived, he would hire some extra security to watch over her home and the witch. Quietly of course. Ginny would kill him if she found out. But she wouldn't.

They arrived at the apparation point. Ginny took his hand. Percival noticed her grip was rather firm and sweaty.

"Don't be nervous, Ginny. I'm sure everything will go fine," he said, patting her hand reassuringly.

Ginny looked up at him hesitatingly.

"Um, Percival…would you mind if I introduced you as Mr. Percival Hornswallow, rather than Lord? It might make things a little less…er…tense," Ginny said in a small voice.

"Well, that would be fine, Ginny, particularly since I am going to tell your family to call me Percival," he replied.

Ginny stiffened a moment. How could she have forgotten such a thing?

"Percival, my mother might have a reaction when she hears your name. I just want to prepare you," she said.

"A reaction," Percival repeated, his eyebrows raised. "What kind of reaction?"

Ginny hesitated.

"An emotional one. She might cry. You have the same name as my brother who is in Azkaban…but we call him Percy," she said softly, her brown eyes sad.

Percival looked at the witch.

"Why is he in Azkaban?" Percival asked, hoping he wasn't being too intrusive. But he hadn't known this…not that it reflected in any way on Ginny or her family as far as he was concerned. People made their own bed of nails to lie upon, and not everyone slipped into it.

"He joined Voldemort, not understanding what he was getting into. He's in Azkaban because he was a member, but he never committed any crimes in the Dark Lord's name. We've been working on an appeal for almost two years, but the Ministry won't let him go. He used to work for them and I think they feel he needs to be punished worse than an ordinary wizard since he was one of theirs," Ginny said.

Percival nodded.

"Hopefully, your mother won't be affected too long," he said, tightening his grip on her hand.

"Mum is always affected. She is always grieving for Percy," Ginny said, "Even in her happiest moments, if you look deep enough, you can see the sadness underneath."

Percival nodded again.

"Let us go, Ginny," he said softly. "I want to meet your family."

The witch nodded, and they disapparated.

When Ginny and Percival arrived a short distance away from the Burrow, the witch was appalled to see every member of her family in the doorway, waving at them frantically, smiles on every face. Percival was delighted as the witch grimaced.

"Seems like a very friendly bunch," he said as Fred and George broke away from the group and strode up to meet them.

Percival looked at the house, trying to hide his amazement. It was at least four stories tall and built so wildly only magic could have held it up. Closer examination showed some rooms had been added on. The yard was more of a rather unkempt garden area. Gnarled trees lined the walls and there were plenty of weeds and overgrown grass. There was a large pond, and Percival could see a lot of potato-like gnomes running from clump to clump. There was also a large shed and what looked like a stone outhouse.

Fred and George walked up to the approaching couple, smiling broadly.

"Hey Ginny. Brought home some new meat, eh? An unattached male in the Weasley household. Mum's going to be on point, old boy," Fred said, looking Percival over and extending his hand with a smile. "Gred Weasley here."

Percival shook his hand and didn't get a chance to speak before the other twin stuck out his hand as well.

"Forge Weasley," he said, grinning wickedly as he too shook Percival's hand. His brown eyes swept over the wizard. "Nice robes," George commented. "Will probably be covered in gravy by the time dinner's done. You would've done better to wear something like this."

George pointed to his own worn robes.

"These are Weasley dinner robes…well seasoned from years of battling at the supper table," he said. "Been hit with everything from coffee to mashed potatoes."

Ginny rolled her eyes at her brothers and said evenly, "They are Fred and George, Percival, not Gred and Forge. Honestly."

The twins smirked.

"I am Percival Hornswallow," Percival said, smiling at the mischievous pair. He liked them already.

At his name, the twins sobered and looked at Ginny.

"You couldn't find a Frank or Ivan, Ginny? Mum's going to blow a cork the minute you introduce him," Fred said.

"Yeah," George agreed, "We're going to need waders when the dam bursts."

"Mum will be all right," Ginny said, frowning at her brothers. "Percival knows she might cry."

Fred and George scowled at the wizard a moment as if he had purposely taken their brother's name to bring grief to their mum. Then both sighed.

"A bloke can't help his name," Fred said.

"Nope, not a bit. Though I've always wondered about parents who would name their sons 'Percival,'" George said, peering at Ginny's guest with a "I'm so sorry" look.

Ginny groaned. Her brothers had no couth or tact at all. She looked over at Percival, who was smiling at her brothers. He didn't seem to be insulted.

Fred and George kept up an annoying commentary as they entered the yard. Molly Weasley wiped her hands a little self-consciously on her clean apron, while Arthur Weasley smiled, though he had on his "What are you doing with my daughter?" face. His brown eyes swept over the wizard. Tall, handsome, well-dressed, nice boots. His bearing suggested nobility. But Ginny with nobility? That was highly unlikely. Arthur knew his daughter considered the rich…well…beneath her. "All frauds and phonies," she said.

The couple approached, flanked by Fred and George who were giving Percival the once over as well. They smelled money.

Charlie, Ron and Bill Weasley, standing behind their parents studied the wizard with interest.

Ron was frowning. He was very protective of Ginny, and this wizard looked very smooth. But he didn't see any obvious signs of intimacy between them. There was no handholding and Percival wasn't standing too close to his sister. Still he was good-looking and obviously well off. And that meant trouble as far as Ron was concerned.

"I've seen that bloke before, Charlie," Bill said.

Bill worked for Gringotts as a spellbreaker. He had indeed seen Percival before, on several occasions…but just in passing.

"Yeah, he looks familiar," said Charlie.

Percival had been at a dragon auction once. He made a couple of half-hearted bids on a Horntail, but didn't purchase the animal. But the bids had been high enough to attract Charlie's notice as he stood near the pens watching the bidding.

All Molly saw was a tall, well-dressed handsome wizard of marriageable age. She tried to imagine what her grandchildren would look like as she greeted him.

"Hello. My name is Molly Weasley. I'm Ginny's mother. Welcome to the Burrow," she said.

Percival bowed and took Molly's hand and planted a gallant kiss on it, making the witch titter.

"Mrs. Weasley," he said, "A true pleasure to meet you, Madame."

All the male Weasleys looked at one another. That settled it. This wizard was definitely nobility. Percival offered his hand to Arthur.

"Mr. Weasley, I presume," the wizard said as Arthur gripped his hand firmly. "An honor to meet you, sir."

"A pleasure to meet you too, Mr…?"

"Mr. Hornswallow. Mr. Percival Hornswallow," Ginny interjected.

At Percival's name all the Weasleys with the exception of Fred, George and Ginny, stiffened, then looked at Molly, who stared up at him.

"Percival?" she asked the wizard. He nodded.

Yes, Mrs. Weasley," he responded gently.

Molly's eyes began to glisten.

"I have a son named Percival. He…he isn't here," she said, a catch in her voice.

Percival took her hand in his, and covered it.

"Yes…I know. And I am very, very sorry to remind you of that," he said sincerely.

Molly sniffed as Percival continued to hold her hand, trying to comfort her. The Weasley men looked on in approval as the approaching flood of tears receded.

"Well then, won't you please come in, Mr. Hornswallow?" she said, leading him through the doorway.

"Would it be too painful for you to call me Percival, Mrs. Weasley?" he asked her as the men parted, letting them pass through.

She looked up at him.

"No. No, I can do that, Percival," she said, giving him a small sad smile.

"Good," Percival said as everyone streamed in after them.

They entered the rather small cramped kitchen. There was a scrubbed wooden table and chairs in the middle of it, as well as a fireplace. Cookbooks were stacked on the mantelpiece and a clock with one hand stood against the wall. An old radio was softly playing music, Tuned to the WWN. The kitchen used to be the center of activities, but Fred and George had a dining room added on and they could all eat comfortably there.

Molly escorted Percival to the dining room. The table was already laden with an assortment of home-cooked food. The wizard's mouth watered as he looked at the ample spread.

"It all looks and smells delicious, Mrs. Weasley," Percival commented. He meant it too. He never got to eat good home cooked meals like this.

Molly beamed. Nothing put her in a better mood than someone new complimenting her cooking. Molly Weasley was the consummate homemaker. She took great pride in her abilities.

"Thank you, Percival," she said, "Ginny is also an excellent cook."

Ginny rolled her eyes again. Her mother was already starting in on sharing information that she thought would make her daughter more appealing as a wife.

"Mum…" Ginny fairly whined as she took a seat at the table. Percival sat down next to her as everyone grabbed a seat, Arthur taking his place at the head of the table, Molly sitting at the other end.

"All right…before we start our meal, Mr. Hornswallow…" Arthur began.

"Percival," Percival said, "Please, I would like for all of you to call me by my given name."

They all nodded. Not stuffy this one. Ron's eyes were still a bit narrowed as he looked from Ginny to Percival.

"All right, Percival. Before our meal I'd like to introduce you to my family. This is Bill, Ron, Fred and George," he said going down one side of the table, and Molly, as you know," he said then pointing to Charlie, "And Charlie."

Next to Charlie was the empty chair that Percy would have occupied.

"That is where our Percy would be, if he were here," Arthur said soberly.

Molly's eyes began to glisten again as Percival nodded.

"Obviously he is here in your hearts," the wizard commented, looking directly at Molly, "so he is never really far from you."

Molly blinked back her tears and gave Percival a smile.

"No, no he's not Percival," she said softly.

Almost all the Weasley men were impressed. This wizard was quite smooth. Mum hadn't cried yet.

Arthur cleared his throat. "All join hands please," he said.

All around the table, the family joined hands, Percival among them, reaching over the empty chair to take Charlie's rough work-worn hand. Ginny held his other.

"Now please bow your heads for a moment of silence, in thanks for the meal before us, and to give a thought for our loved ones who cannot be with us in body, but are with us in spirit and in love," the wizard said soberly.

Everyone sat quietly for several moments, Percival included. He had never felt such a pure connection between people. His heart went out to the family as they thought of their incarcerated son and brother.

Finally Arthur Weasley said, "Dig in!"

Percival was taken by surprise as dishes clinked and hands reached and bedlam ensued as everyone sought to fill their plates at once.

Fred looked over at the stunned wizard.

"If you want to eat, Percival old boy, get in here," he grinned as he plopped a large amount of mashed potatoes on his plate, then poured gravy over it.

Percival looked at Ginny who was quickly piling her plate. She passed him a bowl of rolls, then a plate of chicken wings.

"Hurry up before Ron gets them," she urged the wizard. Percival looked over at Ron who had a huge amount of food on his plate and was still going at it. The wizard hesitated, then started battling for dishes too, catching hold of a bowl of sweet peas at the same time as George and wresting it away from him with a grin.

"Now you've got it," George said encouragingly as he grabbed for the corn.

Finally the battle was over, and everyone had food, more or less. Percival had been too slow for the pumpkin pie, but Ginny slid half of hers on to his plate. He in turn shared some of his macaroni and cheese with her. Ron had struck before she could get her hands on it.

"How is Shannon doing, Ron?" Molly asked her son. Shannon was Ron's three-year-old daughter. His wife Darlene was home with the child, who was sick with a bad cold and fever. Darlene did not like to use magic on the toddler unless it was absolutely necessary and was taking care of her in the muggle way. She insisted Ron go to Sunday dinner though. Darlene knew how important it was to Molly that her family be together.

"She's getting better, Mum. Personally, I thought she could come, but you know Darlene. If Shannon even sniffles, it's off to bed with her. And I thought you were over-protective," Ron answered around a mouthful of peas.

"Darlene is a good mother," Molly said to Ron. "When it comes to children, better safe than sorry."

Arthur nodded as he bit into a chicken wing.

Percival was enjoying his meal immensely as well as the company. Smacking, grunts of appreciation and finger licking went on all around him as the family tucked in, completely unabashed as they ate and talked.

Arthur looked at Percival.

"So, Percival, what do you do for a living?" he asked the wizard. It was grilling time. Everyone around the table looked at Percival with interest, although they continued eating.

Percival sucked two fingers appreciatively as he finished a chicken wing, took a sip of pumpkin juice, then answered the wizard.

"I am a businessman, Mr. Weasley," he answered. The twins perked up.

"What kind of business, Percival?" Fred asked him.

Ginny was looking nervous.

"I have…varied interests, Fred…George?" he answered.

"George," Fred lied.

"That's Fred," Ginny hissed as both twins grinned.

Ron narrowed his eyes at Percival.

"You're a Lord aren't you?" he asked accusingly.

Ginny's eyes widened as Percival looked at Ron coolly.

"I am titled, yes," he replied shortly, eating some mashed potatoes.

Molly went pale. They had nobility in their house. Self-consciously she patted her hair and shot Ginny an angry glance for not telling her. She would have dressed better and made everyone else do the same.

"Percival," she asked him in an almost frightened voice, "What exactly is your full titled name?"

Percival looked at Ginny, who dropped her head. The dragon was out of the lair now.

"Lord Percival Hornswallow the 2nd," he replied, eating a forkful of peas and dropping a couple.

Eyes widened around the table. They all knew about him. One of the richest, most eligible bachelors in the wizarding world.

"Hot damn! Jackpot!" George exclaimed.

"George!" Ginny yelled at him, horrified as Percival smirked.

"What? You landed a winner," he said, smiling broadly at Percival. "I'm just sharing the joy."

Fred was actually rubbing his hands together, as he wondered how much he could get Percival to invest in the joke shop.

"You stop that," Ginny said agitatedly, "Percival and I are not involved. We are just friends."

Percival looked at Ginny in that instant, and it was clear to everyone at the table that the wizard would like to be much more than friends with the witch.

Fred and George both groaned.

"Oh no, not the 'redheaded little angel' bit again. I swear, Ginny, you run off more rich wizards that way," Fred griped, stabbing a roll with his fork in frustration.

"Yeah, you've got aspiring family members to think about," George said, frowning at his sister.

Ginny turned bright red at these statements.

"Fred and George Weasley…if you think I am going to hop in every rich wizard's bed I meet just so he'll invest in your stupid joke shop, you've got another thought coming! I can't believe you two! I knew I shouldn't have brought Percival here!" she said, pushing her chair out savagely and leaving the table, rushing through the front door and out into the garden.

Fred and George looked at each other.

"What's wrong with her?" they both said in unison.

Percival stared at them in stunned disbelief. He had never met two more outspoken wizards in all his life. What they said was extremely selfish and thoughtless…but still. They were honest chaps, that's for sure…if a bit dense when it came to others' feelings.

Molly growled at them.

"You embarrassed her, that's what's wrong," she snapped. Then she looked at Percival apologetically. "I'm so sorry, my Lord," she said softly, "my sons are idiots."

Both Fred and George scowled at their mother until she turned her eyes back on them. They seemed to shrink to child-size though there was no actual physical change.

"We are going to talk about manners later," she said to them in that tone mothers use when about to do some real earsplitting.

"Yes mum," both wizards said, and returned to eating their food with a lot less gusto. They weren't looking forward to Molly's 'discussion'

Percival dabbed his mouth with his napkin and rose.

"I'll go get Ginny," he said, "If you will excuse me."

The family watched him stride out the door.

"Did you see the look he gave her when she said they were only friends, Dad?" Bill said to his father in a low voice.

Arthur nodded and looked thoughtful.

"He likes her," Molly whispered, "And he's a Lord. A pureblood too."

"He must like her a lot to come have dinner with us," Charlie observed, "Most Lords would never do this. They'd think it was beneath them."

Ron scowled.

"Well I don't like him. He's trying to buy his way into her bed," the wizard said snarkily.

"That would never work with Ginny, Ron. You know how she blows off rich wizards. Poor Percival probably hasn't spent more than a galleon on her, and knowing Ginny, she probably paid him back," Fred said, shaking his head. "Man, I wish I was a witch. I'd be loaded."

Charlie looked at Ron.

"Ron, get over it. Ginny isn't even a virgin," Charlie said, then he realized he had spoken in front of his parents. He didn't even look at them, but concentrated on his peas.

Arthur and Molly scowled at their son as Bill, Fred and George did their best not to bust out in laughter. Ron looked absolutely scandalized.

"I think what Charlie is trying to say Ron," Arthur said diplomatically, "Is that Ginny is old enough to decide who she wants to be involved with, and you have no right to try to interfere."

"But she's my sister," Ron said weakly.

"And our daughter," Arthur said, looking over at his wife, "This is the first wizard she has ever brought home to meet us. Their 'friendship' might be on its way to becoming more, and Ginny, sensible as she is, probably wanted Percival to get a look at us so he would know what he was getting into."

Molly frowned at Fred and George.

"You two might have ruined it all with your greediness," she hissed at them.

Bill looked thoughtful.

"I don't think so, mum. He looked more delighted than anything when the twins said what they did. I don't think the Lord gets to hear the bones of it very often. He might be more comfortable with that, then people hiding what they feel. At least he knows where he stands with these two morons," the spellbreaker said, grinning at Fred and George.

"Hey!" they both exclaimed angrily at him. "Our business will make him loads of money."

"Be that as it may," Arthur said, "You still shouldn't try to get your sister to sleep with every wealthy wizard she comes in contact with just so they'll invest with you. There's a name for wizards that use women like that."

"Yeah," George said grinning, "Rich."

Arthur just shook his head as the twins high-fived each other.

"Well, I want you two on your best behavior for the rest of the evening," he said to Fred and George, scowling slightly. They blanched and nodded.

Arthur Weasley did not give direct orders very often, but when he did, he meant it. They might be grown wizards, but Arthur was still their father, and the head of the clan.

Percival managed to convince Ginny to come back inside. He really was not offended by Fred and George or even Ron. They were just honest in what they said, if not tactful, and Percival had just about had it up to here with tact. He preferred the straight shot. He learned from Ginny that her brothers owned Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Actually, Percival had been hearing quite a bit about their company and the profits they were garnering. However uncouth Fred and George were, the two obviously knew what they were doing.

Ginny and Percival returned to the table and finished their dinner. The wizard truly enjoyed the company of the family. They were warm and open and argumentive and delightful. He couldn't remember a freer, better meal in all his days.

At the end of the evening, Percival thanked Molly for the best dinner he ever had, and Arthur for accepting him into his household for the evening. He then shook the hands of all her brothers, including Ron who still looked at him suspiciously.

He insisted on apparating back alone, so Ginny could stay and help her mother clean up, and probably talk. Ginny gave him a peck on the cheek, and Fred and George groaned again. Why oh why couldn't they have a looser sister?

Smiling and waving at the family, who all stood in the door to see him off, Percival disapparated.

Percival lay awake in bed all night thinking about the Weasley family. That would be the kind of closeness he would like to have with his own children. Obviously they had been brought up to be free thinkers, and weren't cowed by their poverty. It seemed to have given them strength in other areas. A truly nice family all in all. He could easily deal with them.

If Ginny had thought to run him off, she had failed miserably. Instead, she had shown him what it was like to have a large, close knit family up close. And he liked it. Very much.

The next morning, Lord Percival Hornswallow the 2nd arrived at the Ministry, immaculately dressed. He was a major contributor to the campaigns of several board members. He asked to speak to the twelve-member counsel, who immediately convened for a special session with the wizard.

Chairman Figglesworth grinned at the wizard when he strode into the boardroom.

"Ah, Lord Hornswallow, a very rare pleasure to see you. Now what is this matter you wish to speak to the Ministry Board about? As you know, many of us are in your debt in a manner of speaking and you have never asked anything of us as long as you have been contributing. If there is anything we can do for you that is within the realm of law and reason, we will be happy to assist you," Figglesworth said graciously.

Percival pulled off his black leather gloves and walked up to the podium.

"Yes, gentlemen. I do have a request to make of you. Most likely your response will have an effect on whether I will continue to contribute to your campaigns in the future," Percival said evenly.

The Board members murmured among themselves a bit worriedly. Most of them wouldn't have gotten re-elected without Percival's support. In effect, Percival was blackmailing them.

"What do you wish to discuss?" Figglesworth asked, frowning slightly. An election was coming up.

Percival looked at him.

"The release of one Percy Weasley from Azkaban," the wizard replied, his green eyes narrowing.

Ginny had not heard from Percival in almost a week, which was quite a long time for the wizard. The witch wondered if the wealthy wizard had second thoughts about her family and decided it would be best not to see her anymore. She wouldn't blame him if he had felt that way.

Ginny had been impressed with the sensitivity he'd shown when dealing with his mother concerning Percy, and also how adaptable he was at dinner, diving in and participating with gusto. He really seemed to enjoy himself. It was very hard to believe that the wizard was a Slytherin. Of course, if she had known about the very discreet bodyguards Percival had assigned to both her flat and her person, Ginny would have adjusted her view of the wizard immediately. He was just as sneaky and driven as any other Slytherin graduate.

Finally Sunday rolled around, and Ginny returned to the Burrow for Sunday dinner. It was a bit subdued when Ginny told them how she hadn't heard from Percival all week. Fred and George looked very sullen. They were feeling guilty. It appeared their sister had actually liked the wizard, and their greed and forwardness had driven him off. They tried to apologize.

Ginny looked at her brothers.

Fred, George…you just acted the way you always act. I brought Percival here so he could see my family in their natural habitat," she said.

Both Fred and George raised their eyebrows.

"You make us sound like animals," Fred said.

Ginny laughed.

"No, you are just…well…untamed. There's a difference. We're all just open, down-to-earth people. We just might have been a bit too much for Percival. He's a nice wizard…but he is from a different background. He might as well be from a different world," Ginny said a bit sadly.

Molly looked at her daughter and felt terrible, and a little angry with Percival. If he were going to stop seeing her daughter, he could have told her. She wished she could get hold of him…she'd give him a piece of her mind.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. All heads turned toward the kitchen. Visitors rarely came to the Burrow.

Arthur stood up.

"I'll get it," he said, heading for the kitchen

Molly rose too, curious.

"I'm coming Arthur," she said, following him.

Presently all the curious Weasleys followed their parents to the front door, Darlene and Shannon remaining behind, the witch trying to get her daughter to eat her peas.

The knock sounded again, and Arthur opened the door. Percival stood there and bowed as Molly's face went black. Percival noticed it immediately.

"Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Weasley…Weasley family," he began. He looked over their heads until he saw Ginny who was looking at him evenly, her face unreadable.

"Hello, Ginny," he called to her. The witch walked back into the dining room as Molly moved forward.

"You have some nerve showing up here after not talking to Ginny in a week. If you were going to stop seeing her, Percival, you should have told her. And here I was thinking you were a nice wizard, obviously I …" Molly began, warming up to her browbeating state.

Percival cut her off.

"I was quite busy in negotiations with my lawyers, Mrs. Weasley, from morning until night taking care of some arrangements. But I do have a reason I am here if you will just give me a chance to explain," he said, looking at the witch furtively.

Molly sighed and crossed her arms angrily. None of the Weasley men looked all too happy with him either. Percival thought they might like to beat him up, the way they were looking at him. It was dangerous crossing a witch who had so many brothers. But he hadn't crossed Ginny. He really had been busy.

"Well, Mrs. Weasley…Molly…the reason I'm here is because I know you have a vacant chair at your table…" he began.

Arthur frowned blackly. Surely he wasn't here to try to mooch a meal, in Percy's spot no less. The wizard's fist tightened. If Percival said that was the reason he was here…

"I just thought you'd like to have somebody fill it," he said.

Arthur started to move forward when Percival stepped aside. A tall, thin wizard replaced him. Pale, red-haired with heavy glasses.

Arthur blinked at him.

"Percy?" he asked, his voice threatening to leave him.

"Hi dad," the wizard said, looking at his father. Then…


It was his mother. She was frozen in place, staring at him.

"Percy is that really you?" she whispered, moving forward as if under the imperious curse.

Percy nodded, his brown eyes filling with tears as he looked down on his mother's beautiful face.

"Yeah, mum. It's me. And I'm so, so sorry," he said softly.

Suddenly Molly let out a scream and flung herself on her son, pulling him down and covering his face in kisses, as the rest of the family stared at him in amazement. Percy's arms locked around his mother as tears streamed down his face.

"Percy! My baby! My baby!" Molly cried hanging on to the wizard as if she would never let him go.

Ginny ran into the kitchen and looked, thinking she couldn't be seeing what she was seeing. It was her brother. It was Percy. The wizard looked up at her, his mother's arms still wrapped around him.

"Hi sis," he said softly. "I think I might have missed your last letter."

Ginny let out a scream and fought through her brothers to get to Percy, wrapping her arms around both her mother and him…kissing him much as Molly did, tears streaming.

He was out of Azkaban. He was home. Home where he belonged with his family who loved him.

"But…but how, Percy? How did you get out? Your last appeal was denied and you couldn't apply for another for six months, she said to the wizard, releasing him.

Arthur tried to pry Molly off her son, but she was molded to him, whispering his name over and over.

"I believe the gentleman who met me at the Ministry today had something to do with it. He was waiting for me when I was released. The guards at Azkaban started treating me very good last Monday, and last night they told me I was to be released in the morning. That someone important had called in one hell of a favor for me and insisted I be out by Sunday morning. Then he took me and bought me new robes and some other things, and brought me here," Percy said.

Ginny looked at him.

"It was Percival, Ginny. Percival brought him here," Molly whispered. "Percival got my boy released. The gods bless him."

Ginny craned her neck to try and see behind the wizard and her mother as they blocked the door.

"Where is he?" she asked.

Percy looked behind him, then shrugged.

"I don't know. He's gone," the wizard replied.

Ginny fell silent.

Arthur managed to get Molly off of his son, then shook his hand.

"Welcome home, son," he said to the wizard soberly.

Percy met his father's eyes, holding his hand tightly.

"Dad, I am so sorry. I was so stupid. I didn't think…I just…" he began.

"Shhh. You're home now, son. You're back with the family who loves you. Come in and have some supper," Arthur said softly.

Percy looked at his father for a moment, then embraced him tightly as Arthur patted his back.

"It's all right, Percy. We love you just as much as we always did. You've still got your old spot at the table," Arthur said, pulling away from him.

One by one, his brothers embraced him. Percy came to Ron last, who scowled at him.

"You're a bloody idiot, you know that Percy?" he seethed at the wizard.

Percy looked at him.

"Yeah, I know, Ron," he replied.

"But I'm glad you're home, you git. Now maybe mum won't wash us away with all the tears she's been shedding over you," Ron said, punching Percy in the arm, then embracing him tighty.

They all moved back into the dining room, in one huddled group.

All except Ginny Weasley, who stood staring out the door, her brown eyes glistening brightly.

Why had Percival left? He was a hero to the Weasley family. He should have stayed to be thanked.

No matter.

She knew where to find him...and exactly how to thank him.

Lord Hornswallow was sitting in his parlor in front of the fireplace, sipping on a cognac, and looking quite irritated. He had watched the tearful reunion of the Weasleys and left when he saw Ginny embrace her brother. It was a family moment, not to be marred by him. The look in Molly Weasley's eyes when she saw her son was worth more galleons than he would ever acquire. He had done a good thing.

But of course, Percival was a Slytherin, and a part of him hoped that Ginny Weasley would be exceedingly grateful to him. His heart was in the right place when he forced the Board to release her brother, but to say other parts of him weren't involved would be a stretch. He desired Ginny after all, and true to his creed, saw no reason not to use his power and influence to sway the witch his way. If gratitude was what brought the witch to his arms, then he would settle for that. Given the chance to make love to the witch, maybe he could persuade her to stay in his arms forever

And that was what he wanted to do to Ginny Weasley. Make love to her. Use every skill he had acquired as a lover to bring her to someplace she'd never been. This was not a situation of mere sexual gratification. He could get that anytime in any place for the price of dinner and a drink, if that. Sometime his name was enough to make a witch drop her knickers. No. He wanted to connect with Ginny Weasley…and if possible, to make her love him. Percival believed he was in love with her. She was in his thoughts constantly. Oh, how happy she looked tonight when she saw her brother.

Percival would be quite happy to sit and idly relive the reunion over and over in his mind except for one problem.

Sylvia Covington.

A silky, sexy, slinking spelled-blonde, magically enhanced-breasted socialite witch who just could not understand he was not interested in shagging her at this point in time. They had several trysts over the past several months, but Percival was quite aware he wasn't the only wizard riding that particular train. When he had returned home, he found Sylvia lounging in his parlor, drinking his best champagne like water, waiting for him. She had bullied her way past the servants, browbeating and threatening them until they let her pass. After all, she had been with the Lord before.

Sylvia was determined to find out what was going on with Percival. On the gold-digging scene, the witches kept up with who was sleeping with what wizard, and Sylvia found that Percival had been completely out of the loop for several months as far as sex went. He was sleeping with no one she knew and that boded no good. The wizard was still dating on occasion, but sending witches home at an alarming rate, saying he wasn't interested in intimacy with them and was only interested in company.

Something was going on with the wizard. Sylvia suspected he was in love with some unknown witch, and if he was, someone needed to throw a wand into the works. Sylvia was just the witch to do it.

She rested against the fireplace, striking sexy poses and pouting at the wizard as he ignored her. He had asked her to go home several times but all Sylvia would say was a variation of the following:

"Percival, you know you don't mean that dearest. I've been asking around and I know you haven't gotten your wand wet in ages. Now be a good boy and come to Sylvie."

Percival ran his hand over his face, then peeked between his fingers to see if the witch was still there. She was. At least she knew better than to approach him without his permission. There was a kind of sexual etiquette that operated between nobility. Desire for contact had to be specifically expressed. To overstep those boundaries was unthinkable for the elite. Everything had a rule or a code of conduct that applied specifically to the wealthy.

Percival was wondering how he was going to get rid of Sylvia without bodily throwing her out and causing a scene. Sylvia was a drama queen of the worst sort and had quite an ugly, jealous personality beneath all her apparent beauty. If he threw her out, he could be sure it would be in the Prophet's society page tomorrow.

Percival was looking at Sylvie with a small frown on his face, when a house elf winked in.

"Good evening, Master," the elf said pleasantly, bowing to Percival before sending a small, disapproving glance in Sylvie's direction.

"Good evening, Slapfoot," Percival replied. "Is there a reason you are here?"

The elf bowed again.

"Yes sir. There is a Ginny Weasley at the main gate, asking to see you sir," the elf replied.

All of Percival's house elves spoke with perfect diction. They were initially taught it years ago by his mother, and then passed on by the elves themselves.

Percival sat straight up. Ginny? At his Manor? The witch would never come to his manor before. Excited, the wizard stood up and straightened his robes, running his hand through his hair.

Sylvia looked at the wizard with narrowed eyes. She had never seen him lose his cool at the mere mention of a woman. This much be the bitch occupying his time.

"So, is this Ginny Weasley someone I should know?" the witch asked, "She certainly seems to snap your springs, Percival."

Percival looked at the witch coldly.

"Go home, Slyvie," he said with irritation in his voice. "I have company coming and want some privacy. Now leave my manor."

Now Percival spoke with command in his voice. This was no request. This was a dismissal by the Lord of the Manor. Sylvia had no choice but to go.

"Fine," she spat. "I'll go then. But I don't understand you, Percival. No one knows this witch you are all smarmy about. Which probably means you are slumming. Slumming is fine for a little fun, Percival. Even I put on a glamour and hit the pubs when I'm in the mood for a little lowbrow sex…but you need to move in your own social strata, Percival. Find someone suitable from among your own," Sylvia said, frowning at him.

Percival was tired of the witch.

"Someone like you, Sylvie?" he asked her as he walked toward the main doors. The blonde witch slunk behind him, purposely walking slow.

"Yes. I'm a good match for you," she responded. "I know your circles. I've been bred to be the wife of a wealthy man."

"Sylvie, almost every wizard I know can describe your snatch right down to the last pubic hair. Do you really think I want you for a wife? Or any of these bed-hopping bitches? I can count the strokes until you climax, you're so fucking predictable. You verbally rip and tear every witch you associate with, then join them for tea. You want trinkets that cost a working man two years salary to buy, and for what? To wear once, just to show a wizard spent galleons on you." I'm sick of it. Of all of it, Sylvie. The falseness, the pretense, the coldness. I am in the market for someone real. A real wife, Sylvie…not what you've been bred to be. Now leave my Manor," he said pulling the main door open.

Ginny was standing there. She was dressed in blue jeans, a blue cotton shirt, her red hair a tangle all over her head. She didn't wear a lick of makeup and her nails weren't done. To Percival, she looked beautiful as her eyes met his, glistening unnaturally.

"Ginny," he said hoarsely.

"Hello Percival. I…I wanted to talk to you," she said.

Ginny's eyes shifted to the flawless blonde standing behind him. The witch was scowling at her as if she had interrupted something.

"But if you are busy…" she said, beginning to back away.

Percival quickly stepped over the threshold and caught Ginny gently by her arm, pulling her through the door.

"No, I'm not busy at all. Sylvie was just leaving," he said, looking at the blonde witch, his green eyes flashing a warning at her.

"Yes, I am leaving," Sylvie said, walking past Percival and dragging her hand across his cheek. "Goodbye, lover," the witch purred. You were wonderful."

Sylvie walked over the threshold, bumping into Ginny as she did so.

"I guess you're into sloppy seconds, dear," she hissed, strolling out the door.

Fuming, Percival slammed the door behind her.

Ginny looked at him, uncertainty in her eyes now.

"A friend of yours?" Ginny asked as Percival took her arm and walked back with her to his parlor.

The wizard walked over to a shelf and took down a small bowl, then took out his wand and pulled several silver strands from his head and put them inside.

"A pensieve?" Ginny asked.

"Over the years I've found myself in seemingly compromising situations that were difficult to explain. Now, when it happens, I find it more expedient to share the actual experience. It explains everything immediately. If I were to tell you that the witch that just left here meant nothing to me, and that we had done nothing, and I wanted nothing to do with her, you would have some doubt in your mind as to whether or not I was speaking the truth, Ginny, particularly since I've expressed an interest in you."

He offered her the pensieve, but stopped her before she stuck her finger in.

"You are going to hear me address Sylvie in a less than gentlemanly manner. Sometimes harshness is required when reason is not enough. I want you to keep that in mind, and really pay attention to what she says about me and implies about you. Then you will see why I was so angry," he said softly. "The witch meant for you to think I had just indulged myself with her, when I haven't touched a witch in months, with the exception of that delicious kiss we shared. I don't seem to want them anymore…not even for gratification. I need…I want something more now…" he said, his voice trailing off as he swallowed, looking at the witch.

Ginny stuck her hand in the pensieve and viewed what Percival experienced from the time he arrived home up until the time Sylvie left. Luckily time in the pensieve passed much quicker than real time. It only took Ginny five minutes to view everything. She handed the pensieve back to him. Percival tapped it with his wand, emptying the memories and returned the pensieve to the shelf.

"Sylvie is a piece of work, isn't she?" Ginny asked him in a low voice.

"Sylvie is just one in a long line of Sylvies. Different hair coloring, body types and nail polish, but it seems like all witches are the same witch in this world, Ginny," Percival sighed. Then he gestured towards the sofa.

"Will you have a seat?" he asked her.

Ginny walked over to the sofa and sat down. Percival joined her.

"What do you want to talk to me about?" the wizard asked her, his eyes flicking over the witch. He couldn't believe she was in his Manor. She had not oohed or ahhed about anything. It was as if she was unaware of the opulence. She just didn't care about it.

Ginny looked at him, a little scowl on her face.

"Percival, don't act like you don't know. About Percy. How did you get him out?" she asked him.

"I have a few friends on the Ministry board. I just made a request," the wizard replied.

Ginny frowned at him.

"You made more than a request, Percival. You had his records expunged. He has his job at the Ministry back. It's as if he had never joined the Dark Lord," she said.

Percival sat forward on the couch.

"Ginny, I was made privy to pensieve of your brother's interrogation under veritaserum. He took the Mark, but he was never loyal to Voldemort. After the atrocities he witnessed, and went through…all he wanted to do was leave his service. But they would have killed him. Your brother made a mistake. He didn't deserve life in Azkaban. He paid for his mistake while with the Dark Lord, believe me," Percival said.

Percival wasn't about to tell Ginny that he witnessed the Dark Lord bugger Percy on several occasions, and that the pleasure was not mutual. The young wizard suffered terribly.

Ginny looked at the wizard.

"But why, why did you do this, Percival? You owed my family nothing," Ginny said.

"I did it because I could do it, Ginny. Power and influence has its purposes, and it isn't all bad. I saw how your family missed him, kept a place for him, kept him in their prayers, kept fighting for appeals. I saw your mother's pain, I saw yours when you told me about him. I could do something and it cost me next to nothing to do it. And I got a great reward when I saw your brother reunited with his family. It was beautiful and I brought joy to a few people," he said sincerely.

"You didn't do it because you thought I would be 'grateful' Percival?" Ginny asked him, her brown eyes fixed on his face, looking for the slightest sign of dishonesty.

Percival's green eyes met her brown ones. Gods, he couldn't lie…she would see right through him. Ginny had no truck with liars.

He sighed

"Ginny that wasn't the whole of my reason for helping your brother, but I can't sit here and tell you that a part of me didn't hope that you would throw yourself into my arms as a reward. If I weren't attracted to you so strongly, I wouldn't have helped your brother at all. I am a Slytherin, Ginny. Not as dark as many, but just as selfish, and just as devious. I will do anything to reach a desired end. I want you for my wife. I would release an army of Percys to have you," he said, "Though I imagine my confession has in all probability killed any chance of my having you give yourself to me out of gratitude."

Ginny looked thoughtful.

"Let me ask you something, Percival. Do you think I owe you something for releasing Percival? For making my mother happy? For reuniting my family?" she asked the wizard softly.

Percival thought about this.

"In my perfectly selfish little world, Ginny, you would feel that you did. You would ease my torment and give in to me. You would let me make love to you, and agree to become my wife and bear my children and make me a happy man, in that order because I saved your brother from a life of imprisonment. In my perfect, selfish little world, Ginny Weasley, you would love me because of what I've done for you and yours if not for myself, though I desperately wish you would love me for myself."

Percival blinked his eyes rather rapidly for a moment. He wasn't used to expressing such emotion. It felt like he was slicing himself open and showing the witch the raw core of his heart. It was quite affecting simply because it probably wouldn't make a difference at all. The wizard continued.

" In actuality, you owe me nothing. Well…possibly a 'thank you,' if you are so inclined for politeness' sake. The fact is you did not ask me to retrieve your brother. You had no knowledge that I could do such a thing. I did it on my own. So there is no obligation on your part to reward me at all," he said, slumping a bit.

Ginny looked at Percival closely. He was one of the most powerful, influential and sought after wizards in the wizarding world. He was handsome, intelligent and adventurous. He was kind, but manipulative, still a Slytherin in principles. Witches wet their knickers at the mention of his name, and poured through his bed like water. There was nothing he couldn't afford, nothing he couldn't buy…but happiness.

Percival wanted a real life. He wanted stability, faithfulness and love. He wanted a wife and family to treasure. He wanted her to love him for him. Ginny thought about this and mentally separated Percival from his wealth and power. From his influence. The witch realized that if he had been an ordinary working wizard, they would probably be lovers by now, if not engaged. He was a loveable wizard beneath all the glitz that accompanied his wealth and name. He was painfully honest too. He put it all out straight, even when it was to his detriment.

He wanted her to be grateful, and she was. He wanted her to love him…and Ginny believed she did. He wanted to make love to her, and the witch could still feel the hunger his kiss woke inside her. But if she did this with the wizard she wanted him to know that it wasn't just because of Percy, though that did play a part.

Percival was sitting next to her, staring at the fire. He had poured his heart out to the witch, and she hadn't responded. The wizard was at a loss at what to do now. He was invested. More than likely, Ginny Weasley would break his heart. He had been initially attracted to Hermione, but he hadn't come to know the witch, not like he knew Ginny. He had come to know the witch as a person, a friend and a companion. He valued her greatly. The single kiss they shared held so much more promise…a promise he wished she would let them explore.

"Percival?" Ginny said to the wizard.

"Yes?" he replied, sounding somewhat sullen.

"Remember when I said I was strongly attracted to you? I still am. But it's become worse. Seeing you with my family and getting along so well with them made me more hopeful…and you bringing Percy home to us has made the attraction even more powerful," she said.

Percival turned toward her now, listening intently.

The witch's voice dropped low.

"Do you know why I came to your Manor tonight, Percival?" Ginny asked.

"I presume to thank me," he said, "until Sylvie did her little song and dance."

"In a manner of speaking, I did come to thank you. But the way I thought you'd want me to thank you," she said, her eyes meeting his with a bit of heat now.

Percival looked at her as if he didn't understand. He did, but he wanted her to clearly state it.

"I came here," Ginny said, "To finish finding out just how compatible we are, Percival. I'm ready to deal with wizards again…and currently you are the only one on the list."

Percival smiled at her.

"So, in other words I have the advantage, Ginny?" he asked her, his voice a low rumble.

She nodded.

Percival looked thoughtful.

"When you say 'how compatible' to you mean 'basic compatibility' or 'full compatibility?'

Ginny looked at him. She was not a shy witch at all.

"I mean full compatibility, Percival. Where's your bedroom?" Ginny asked him.

The wizard forced himself to maintain control. Gods, did she mean this?

"I have very many bedrooms," he replied, smiling broadly at her, but not yet sure if he should touch her.

"Fine. Where's your closest bedroom then?" the witch amended.

Percival rose and took her hand. This time Ginny let him kiss it. He helped her to her feet.

"Right this way," Percival said, hoping at least his voice sounded calm as he looped his arm in Ginny's arm and escorted her out of the parlor and into the depths of the manor…because his heart was beating a thousand times a minute.

Ginny Weasley was very aware of the wizard striding next to her, holding her arm rather possessively. Percival didn't look at her as they walked but she could see him swallow nervously. The witch smiled a bit. Knowing that he was anxious made him even more appealing to her.

They walked up a long flight of stairs to the second floor in silence. To Percival, it sounded like a steady drum beat accompanied them, because his blood was pounding in his ears. The wizard wanted to say something to her before they arrived at the bedroom. Something sweet and romantic, but his mouth felt dry and no words would come. He cleared his throat.

Ginny looked at him.

"Percival, you seem nervous," she said softly. "You shouldn't be. I'm a witch like any other witch."

He looked at her, his eyes hardening slightly. She was not like any other witch.

"No," he said hoarsely, "Ginny Weasley you are like no other witch I've ever met. You have depth, character and heart. You have opinions…you have boundaries."

He lowered his voice and stopped, taking both her hands in his, his eyes softening.

"I am very glad and very honored that you are lowering those boundaries for me, Ginny," he said, staring into her face soberly. "That you are giving me a chance to show you how I feel about you."

Percival still couldn't believe Ginny was here, and that the challenging, beautiful, maddening witch was willing to share his bed and her body with him. He knew she had to feel something for him, something special. It was about more than Percy's release. She wouldn't sell herself short, even for that. There was something in her heart for him, Percival was sure. And he intended to latch on that something inside her when he made love to her, and hopefully draw it out and make it swell until it covered her, and she would not deny him his other hopes concerning her.

Yes, Percival Hornswallow wanted Ginny Weasley, but this was not an obsession that one night of passion would extinguish. He was hoping this night would lead to many, many nights, a lifetime of nights. He wanted her to consent to be his wife. That was what their lovemaking would be about as far as the wizard was concerned.

Suddenly Percival's heart seemed to swell and he pulled Ginny against him, pressing his mouth to hers, thrilled there was no resistance or hesitance as their lips met with equal hunger and the witch molded her soft body against his.

Gods, Percival's mouth was sweet, and Ginny slipped her tongue between his lips, wrapping her arms around the wizard's neck and letting the fire she felt racing up and down her frame transfer to him through her kiss. She trembled as her need roared into full flame.

The wizard seemed to pause, feeling her quake against him. Dear Merlin, this was real. Her desire for him was real. Percival crushed her to him, deepening his kiss, feeling himself hardening against her hips, his hands moving through her thick red hair. Ginny felt him growing against her leg and a gush flowed through her. She gasped into Percival's mouth, her hands rising to lock in his hair. Shit, she was so turned on.

The wizard pulled back from her, looking into her face.

"Damn," he breathed as he saw the heat and longing in her brown eyes.

He needed to find a bed. Now.

Percival swept Ginny up into his arms and swiftly headed down the corridor with her. Ginny was no small witch, but Percival carried her easily, his eyes shifting from her face to the passing doorways. Finally he stopped in front of one. He turned the handle but the door didn't open. He scowled. None of these doors were supposed to be locked. He pulled out his wand.

"Alohamora," he hissed.

The door still didn't unlock.

Percival started to let out a string of obscenities, but caught himself. He was in the presence of a witch, and he didn't want to seem as if he was losing control.

Ginny smirked at him. She knew he had been about to curse in frustration.

"Perhaps another bedroom, Percival?" she asked him.

"No, I want you in this one," he said darkly, glaring at the door.

This bedroom had a round bed in it. He had never used it before. He wanted to take Ginny in a bed he had never shared with another witch.

Ginny pulled out her wand from her back pocket.

"Let me try," she said.

Percival stepped back a little.

Ginny pointed her wand at the knob.

"Alohamora," she said, and the door clicked, then opened.

Percival looked at him, his eyebrows raised.

"I think you just weren't really focused on the spell, Percival," she said softly, "obviously your intent was focused elsewhere."

The wizard's eyes swept over her with such desire that Ginny felt as if they were emitted heat she could feel wash over her.

"I think you may be right," Percival said, sweeping her into his arms again and kicking the door open, then entering and pushing it closed with his foot. He looked at the witch in his arms.

"Would you do the honors? I'm sure my 'intent' hasn't unfocused," he grinned at her. Ginny used the wand to lock and ward the door.

Percival looked at her.

"Add a silencing charm, Ginny," he said softly, "Just in case."

Percival didn't know how Ginny responded to sex, but the witches he had all made a lot of noise. It was as if it were required, rather than the result of the act itself. It seemed as if they all thought the more noise they made the better it was supposed to be.

Percival looked at Ginny. He knew she was passionate…simply because of his interactions with her. But he was quite sure that if she shrieked during sex, it would be because she felt it, and not to try to make him feel as if he were a sex god as the socialites did.

However, Ginny wasn't a screamer…she was a whisperer. The kind of witch that responded to a lover's ministrations with gasps, soft cries of pleasure and passionate words. This could be because her earliest experiences with sex required her to be quiet to avoid discovery. However it came about, this was how the witch was.

Percival stood Ginny up in the center of the room and raised the torches slightly, so the light resembled candlelight. The room was very nice, and featured a huge, circular bed, covered in white satin sheets.

Ginny studied the bed for a moment, then looked at the wizard, whose eyes hadn't moved from her.

"A round bed?" she asked him

Percival shrugged.

"No sharp corners," he replied with a slight smile. It faded as their eyes met.

"I've never been in this bed before, Ginny. No one has," he said softly. "We'll be the first. I don't want to make love to you for the first time in a bed that isn't pristine."

Ginny looked at him.

"I'm sure you know Percival, this isn't my first time being with a wizard," Ginny said to him.

"That doesn't matter, Ginny. It's your first time being with me. And I'm hoping that after tonight, it won't be your last time," Percival said, stepping nearer to her, and lifting her chin. "I'm hoping after tonight, you'll want to stay with me…that you'll agree to be my wife. So I have a lot riding on you…"

Ginny burst into laughter at his unintentional pun. Percival let go of her chin and looked confused. Why was she laughing at him?

"A lot riding on me, Percival? Considering our situation…" the witch began.

Percival chuckled, looking relieved. He had thought perhaps she found the idea of becoming his wife ludicrous.

"Not the best choice of words," he said, looking down at her. They both stopped laughing.

"You were very patient, Percival," Ginny said.

"That's because the best things in life, Ginny Weasley, are worth waiting for," the wizard replied, drawing her into his arms again, "but I think I've waited long enough to show you how compatible I believe we truly are."

Percival kissed the witch again, with even more hunger this time, pulling her into his body, his hands on her waist. Kissing Ginny Weasley was so satisfying, but made him want more. This was not a practiced kiss, prelude to practiced sex. Percival wanted her lips, her mouth, to taste her heat, and above all to feel her respond to him driven by need. The wizard broke from her mouth, and moved to her throat, kissing and sucking it gently as Ginny threw her head back with a sigh. Experimentally, Percival licked her skin, and the witch let out a little gasp of pleasure.

Ginny's hands moved over the wizard's back under his robes. He was lean, and she could feel his muscles moving underneath the fabric.

"I want to feel your skin, Percival," she whispered to him, "Take off your robes."

Percival raised his head from her throat and looked at Ginny.

"You have no trouble asking for what you want, do you Ginny?" he asked her, his eyes smoldering.

"No, I don't Percival," she replied. "You never get want you want if you don't ask."

"Undress then," he said intensely. But he wasn't asking.

The couple stepped back from each other and began to unfasten their clothing.

Aware of Percival's eyes on her, Ginny slowly and sexily pulled her shirt out of her jeans and began unbuttoning it, pulling it slightly apart as she did so. Percy saw she had a few freckles on other parts of her body, and wanted to press his lips to each and every one as the witch revealed more and more of her body.

She pulled her shirt open, and the wizard saw she wore a simple, comfortable cotton bra. Ginny had medium-sized breasts, which was fine with Percival. Most socialites had very large, magically enhanced-breasts. Ginny was all natural.

It was the first time he'd seen a woman in an undergarment that wasn't lacy and silky, designed to arouse the male libido. And it turned him on more than any piece of lingerie he'd ever seen, because it showed him the witch was coming to him as she was. There were no bells and whistles, no pretty packaging. What he saw was what he would have. He stopped unbuttoning his robes as he looked at her bra.

Ginny frowned at the wizard and looked down at her bra.

"Is something wrong, Percival?" she asked the wizard.

"No. Everything is perfect," he breathed, beginning to work on his robes again, faster as she removed her shirt.

The witch was slender, her belly flat, her waist small. She began to unbuckle her belt. There was a Gryffindor lioness on it. Percival opened his robes, revealing a white dress shirt and black pants with a belt that had the Serpent of Slytherin as a buckle.

They looked at each other's belts and smiled.

"Gryffindor and Slytherin are old adversaries," Percival said as he removed his robes and placed them on a chair. Then took Ginny's shirt and laid it there as well.

"Are you saying we are going to war, Percival?" Ginny asked him, pulling her belt out of the loops of her jeans and slapping it into her hand.

The wizard shook his head.

"Oh no, Ginny. No wars here. When I tangle with you Lioness…my coils will not be trying to crush you…they'll be caressing you in the hopes you'll purr for me."

His shirt was open now, revealing a well-muscled chest. He slipped it off his broad shoulders. Percival was very well defined. A beautiful specimen of a man. Ginny's eyes raked over his torso with approval.

Percival watched as the witch sat down and removed her white trainers and socks. He doubted any woman had ever worn trainers in his mansion, much less jeans. The witch stood up and slid her jeans down over her thighs. Her knickers matched her bra. Simple, white and comfortable. Percival fought back a hiss as Ginny remove her jeans completely. She had slim hips and long, slender, shapely legs, slightly muscular. Her feet were large but pretty. The toes were devoid of polish but well clipped. She stood before him in her undergarments.

"You are beautiful," Percival said, a bit of a groan in his voice as he toed off his boots and socks, kicking them away.

"I'm sure you've seen fancier lingerie than this," Ginny said.

"Fancier, perhaps, but nothing as sexy," the wizard replied sincerely.

Ginny watched as the wizard slid his trousers down. He wore white silk boxers. They were tented. He stepped out of his trousers and picked up Ginny's jeans and placed them on the chair as well. Then they stood looking at each other.

"You're very handsome, Percival," Ginny said appreciatively. The wizard looked like a model from some muggle magazine. He smiled, his dimple appearing.

"I'm glad you approve," he said, his eyes raking over her. He looked down at his tented boxers then up at the witch. "My feelings toward you are … er …quite obvious I believe."

Ginny looked down at his hidden erection.

"Quite," she agreed.

She wondered if Percival's tool was as good-looking as the rest of him, while Percival wondered if her pubic hair would be as bright as the hair on her head. He had no doubt she was a natural redhead, based on her family.

They stared at each other. Percival had never experienced such a sense of awkwardness with a witch before. Normally he'd strip down completely and just start shagging. But this was Ginny. Ginny was a completely different story. Someone had to make the first move.

"Would you like to get in the bed?" he asked her.

"I think that is the next logical step," Ginny replied.

Percival gave her a small grin, took her hand and led her to the bed, helping her in. He climbed in behind her and watched as she lay against the pillows, her slender body stretched out before him. His eyes washed over her, then suddenly, the wizard rolled on top of her, kissing her passionately, his hands sliding over her warm, soft skin, his body moving against her sensuously,

Percival had surprised Ginny with his ardent attack, but the minute she felt his hard body on top of hers, and his tongue slip into her mouth, the witch was ignited. Her hands explored the muscles of his back, buttocks and legs, caressed and grasping as they rippled beneath her fingers. Percival rhythmically pressed himself against her, then managed to get between her thighs and rub himself against her crotch lustfully, but not roughly. The feel of him between her legs made Ginny soak her knickers and she moaned into his mouth with pleasure and need.

Percival began to slide down her body, kissing her neck and shoulders, his hands petting and caressing her sides, hips and thighs. He moved to her bra-encased breasts and without hesitation pulled her bra up, releasing them. They were firm and pink-tipped. Percival kissed both of them softly, his hands encircling them lightly, feeling their fullness. Then he suckled the witch, and Ginny groaned, her hands moving over his head and shoulders, her pelvis thrusting upward reflexively as she went into overdrive. Ginny wasn't a patient witch when it came to sex.

Percival felt her grinding against him, and realized that she was anxious for him. Wanting to make sure, he asked her.

"Ginny…Ginny do you want me now?" Percival asked her softly, working his body against hers.

"I'm…I'm not patient, Percival…at least not at first," she whispered up at him, her brown eyes liquid with need.

"You don't have to wait…we don't have to wait," he breathed.

Percival unfastened Ginny's bra and dropped it off the side of the bed, then rose to his knees and caught hold of her knickers. Ginny lifted her hips so he could remove them. Percival looked down on her bright red bush and groaned.

"Now that's pretty," he said, looking up at the witch.

"Your boxers, Percival," Ginny said softly. "Take them off."

Percival felt himself throb at the note of need in the witch's voice. Her passion was real. He lowered his boxers and slipped them over his knees and down his legs. He dropped them off the bed as well. He let Ginny get a good look at him.

Percival's member was just as good looking as the rest of him. It also curved slightly to the left, rising from a tangle of soft, brown pubic hair.

"Just as I thought, Percival. It's just as handsome as you are," she said, looking up at him. "I kind of like that curve. It looks promising."

"Oh, it is," Percival said, lowering himself back on the witch and kissing her lightly. He never talked before sex either, nor had any witch commented on his tool unless to cry out the customary …"oh Percival…it's soooo big!" as he shagged her. The witches really needed to work on getting some different lines.

"I call it my 'lover's curve' he said to her, adjusting himself so he rested against Ginny's core. Gods the witch was so hot and wet.

Percival shuddered in anticipation as Ginny looked up at him.

"Are you ready for me, Ginny?" Percival asked her hoarsely, his brow furrowed, his hips thrusting against her reflexively.

His erection slipped between her folds and pressed hard against her opening. Ginny's hips thrust upward lightly, the witch letting out a low squeal, her eyes blazing now as she looked up at the wizard, trying to catch her breath to speak.

"Because the gods know I am ready for you," the wizard groaned, staring down at her as if he could swallow her whole.

Ginny was bucking up against Percival aggressively now.

"Yes, Percival. Do it," she breathed. "Gods, I'm burning up."

Shuddering, Percival shifted again then entered the witch, gasping as he buried himself into Ginny's slick, gripping heat.

He heard the witch whisper "Yessss," as her body welcomed him and his belly tightened as he felt something like a bolt of energy race up his spine. Ginny buckled beneath him suddenly, feeling the connection race through her body as well.

"Oh yes, Ginny" he whispered back passionately, looking down at her face, grimacing from the pleasure of being inside the witch.

"Yes, baby. I can feel it and I know you feel it too. I've finally found you, wife. You're not leaving here until you accept me, Ginny Weasley," he said softly.

In response, Ginny wrapped her long legs around the wizard's waist tightly, drawing him deeper.

"Convince me, then, Percival," she whispered, her eyes soft.

His heart full of longing, the wizard went to work.

Percival wrapped his arms around the witch and kissed her passionately as he moved within her, tenderly kissing her temples, her forehead, her eyelids, her cheeks, before falling to her lips and possessing them hungrily, seeking out her tongue and tasting every part of her mouth he could reach. The wizard desperately wanted Ginny to know this meant more to him than just sex.

Percival had a way of making love that Ginny had never experienced with a wizard, his stroke was rather circular, his hips rotating strongly as he penetrated her, then twisting his pelvis right and left when he hit bottom, caressing and stretching every part of her, while stimulating her, making the best use of his curvature. Ginny tightened her legs around him, lost to the sweetness of the wizard's passionate possession.

The wizard didn't jerk her body, he rocked it back and forth, side to side rhythmically, moving fluidly, groaning with pleasure as he slid in and out of her, lost to her softness and her acceptance of him. Percival fell to Ginny throat and breasts, kissing, suckling and licking the witch as he possessed her, his green eyes burning with passion as she strained against him, listening to her soft cries and hisses, concentrating on how her voice changed with his movements and what motion seemed to please her most. He couldn't remember any witch sounding more beautiful when he took her than Ginny.

Percival loved the witch's muted responses. They egged him on more than any piercing cry ever could. Whatever sound she made, there was reason for it. And he gave her reason after reason as he bore into her body, claiming every part of her tenderly, hungrily, his mouth moving across her skin. She smelled crisp, clean, of nothing but a lightly floral-scented soap. No heavy, cloying expensive perfumes to burn his nose, hide her scent or sting his tongue. She smelled and tasted like a witch should smell and taste. Real. She was starting to perspire now, and he could taste the salt of her sweat flavoring her, stimulating him more. He slid back to her throat, pressing his lips to her ear.

"You are making me mad, Ginny Weasley," he whispered to her. "Not only your body, but everything about you. You have to be mine…for always. I want to do this to you always. Say you'll marry me, and bear my children, give me a family as wonderful and close as your own, and I will give anything, do anything for you. Please, Ginny. Please love me."

Overcome with emotion, Percival began to drive into the witch, lifting himself on his arms and burying himself deeper and harder inside her, still with that delicious motion that drove the witch wild. He stared down at her, watching her as she groaned, her brown eyes flying open, full of passion, locking on him, her mouth slackening as he brought her close.

"I see you rising, Ginny Weasley," he breathed as sweat dripped off of his thrusting, rotating body, his hips swiveling as he rode her strongly, working her body, gazing down and watching his length bury itself in that beautiful red bush, pressing his pelvis against her and whirling.

"My gods, Percival," the witch whispered as she began to shudder, a guttural moan of pleasure flowing from her lips as she came, her legs loosening as bliss washed over her, Percival hissing as she clamped down on him, bathing him in her liquid heat.

"You sweet beautiful witch," he groaned, riding out her orgasm and watching her face contort with pleasure as she hit the pinnacle, "I can never go back now that I've experienced you. You've ruined me, Ginny. I'll never find satisfaction beyond you now. Never."

Percival kissed her passionately again, before pulling out of her and falling to the side, positioning himself behind her and rolling the still orgasming witch to the side. He pressed close to her, lifting up her leg and entering her from behind, slipping one hand around her waist to caress her breasts as he continued, kissing her neck and shoulders. Now he had more of a straight stroke, thrusting into her faster and faster as she tried to come down, lifting her back up. The wizard began to work her leg back and forth, lowering it to tighten her grip, raising it to stroke her deeper, tweaking and fondling first one breast then the other.

Ginny began to tremble again and he started stroking her harder as he felt her pulsing around him increase.

"Percival," she called his name brokenly, but in a hungry way that let him know she wanted him to answer her.

"Yes, Ginny?" he groaned at her, pistoning into her body now, working the curve of his member for all he was worth. He pressed his lips between her shoulder blades, planting small kisses on her back.

"You really can fuck," Ginny gasped as she flipped over the edge again, her eyes rolling up into her head.

Percival smiled against her skin as he felt the witch gush over him, letting out a low hoarse cry as she did so. He tightened his arm around her waist for a moment, and again, rode out her climax, biting his lip as he fought back the urge to release with her. He stopped for a moment, unable to move. If he did, he would explode. Ginny was contracting around him, squeezing him so tightly, Percival thought his balls might pop off. With a gasp he pulled out of the witch and clutched the head of his member tightly, willing the urge to come to go away.

"Percival?" Ginny gasped, feeling him leave her. He kissed her throat.

"I'm here. I'm right here," he said, fairly sighing with relief as the sensation passed.

The wizard rose to his knees and gently urged Ginny to rise to all fours.

He moved behind her and grasped her waist, slamming into the witch with some power and rolling his hips strongly, making her let out a choked gasp.

"Oh gods," Percival groaned as he looked down at his penetration of her body, his erection sliding her soft, plump cheeks, glistening, streaks of her creamy come visible.

He caressed her lovingly, then slid his hands back to her waist, pulling the witch into his stroke, which had returned to the circular motion, his loins winding round and round against her buttocks. Ginny let out a soft string of almost unintelligible words, but the wizard did catch a couple of obscenities, which made him work her body harder and rougher, but not brutally.

"So…fucking…beautiful," he gasped, slamming and lifting, rolling and plunging into Ginny. She was so wet from coming that he could hear his stroke squishing and sucking through her sleeve. She was tight and slippery and felt so damn good.

This was it, he couldn't hold back any longer.

Percival bent over Ginny and possessively wrapped one arm around her waist and the other around her throat as he hunched into her uncontrollably, his eyes rolling up in his head, sweat rolling off his back.

"Shit! Percival," Ginny gasped, then she was gone again, her forearms dropping and her head hitting the pillows, Percival unwrapping his arm from around her neck and catching himself just in time, not missing a single, gyrating stroke. He corkscrewed into the orgasming witch, drawing up, his neck tightening, veins popping out from his efforts.

"Arrrrrrgh! Ginny!" he groaned, gasping the witch's name as his release ripped through him.

Percival slammed into Ginny, flooding her body with his seed, hoping she didn't have a contraceptive patch on as he spilled inside her, shuddering as he pressed his lips against her ear and once again begged her to say yes to him, passion dripping from his lips.

"Marry me, Ginny Weasley, you stubborn witch you," he demanded as he pulsed inside her, his warm breath flitting across her ear as he panted, "No wizard will ever love you more or make you happier than I will."

Ginny heard his words as if from a great distance…she was coming down from her third orgasm. The witch had never had three in a single encounter before. Percival could make her have multiple orgasms. Gods, she loved the way he shagged. She loved everything about the wizard except his position in society.

Still dazed, she felt Percival's pulsing slow, then his release end. His lips were moving all over her back and shoulders, and he caressed her tenderly before he withdrew and fell heavily to the bed, pulling her down with him, nestling her back against his chest. Ginny could feel his heart pounding against her spine, and brought her hand to her own heart, feeling it racing as well. Suddenly her hand was covered with his.

"Two hearts beating as one," Percival said softly, pulling her tighter against him. "I believe that is one of the definitions of Love, isn't it?"

Ginny smiled. Percival was not a wizard to give up. Now that she had experienced him she knew she was destined to stay in his bed. He was as wonderful between the sheets as outside of them. She tried to imagine him not in her life…and couldn't.

"I think I love you, Lord Percival Hornswallow the 2nd. But I'm not crazy about the way 'Ginny Hornswallow' sounds," she said softly.

Suddenly she found herself flipped over and facing the wizard as he stared at her intensely, his fingers gripping her shoulders firmly.

"Did you just say you loved me?" Percival asked her, his green eyes locked to her mouth.

Ginny looked at him evenly. Then she scowled slightly

"Yes. I also said I'm not crazy about the way the name 'Ginny Hornswallow' sounds," she reiterated.

Percival stared at her, his eyes a bit wild. She said she loved him.

Ginny sighed.

"But I'll get used to it, I guess," the witch said, smiling at him.

Hermione Snape spent a total of forty-five months out of the next six years, pregnant, bearing Severus five children, three boys and two girls.

Argus Jacob Snape...Severus' nose, eyes, Hermione's hair and complexion. Dark-natured.
Sarah Minerva Snape...Severus' eyes, hair, skin color and sarcasm. Hermione's nose.
Albus Odysseus Snape...Hermione's eyes, hair, complexion. Severus's nose and snarkiness.
Severus Arsenius Snape, Jr...All Severus. Slightly smaller nose. Less snarky than Albus.
Melissa Jane Snape...All Hermione. Spitting image and temperament. A bossy little know-it-all.

All the children were home-schooled by Severus and Hermione and had been waving wands since the tender age of five, based upon Severus' claim that at five years of age a child has a basic grasp of what's right and wrong and can handle basic spells and charms. Hermione discovered Melissa adapting spells at age eight without any formal training. There were a few instances of siblings hexing each other during disagreements and turning each other into small reptiles and mammals. After a frantic search that lasted three hours, Severus found Sarah transformed into a newt, locked in a very wet terrarium underneath a very closed-mouth Albus' bed. She had eaten four crickets during her incarceration. All five children entered Hogwarts well prepared, the entire clan enrolled in the school by Argus' sixth year. Together they were a force to be reckoned with.

All the boys were sorted into Slytherin, Sarah into Ravenclaw and Melissa into Gryffindor. Not a Hufflepuff among them. The children's talents seemed to be clearly defined along the lines of sex. The boys were excellent at Potions and the girls showed great ability in Charms, Spells and Transfiguration. They all had excellent grades and were very competitive with each other, but if you messed with one Snape…you messed with them all. Any offending student was guaranteed to pay dearly.

"Don't fuck with the Snapes" became a school mantra.

Their father, Headmaster Severus Snape had no problem with showing abject favoritism toward his progeny during conflicts, though Hermione, who had full tenure as the school's Spells Mistress, tempered his favoritism and made sure the children were properly punished whenever she discovered them in the wrong. This only made them sneakier when getting revenge or wreaking havoc within the walls of Hogwarts. All of them had Slytherin tendencies, even the girls though they were sorted in different houses. This was most likely due to Severus teaching them to follow the Slytherin philosophy from an early age.

The first time Argus was caught in his sixth year shagging a very vocal seventh year Hufflepuff behind the statue of the humpbacked witch, his father deducted one hundred points from Slytherin House and assigned him a week's detention for getting caught.

"Always use a silencing spell and if necessary a disillusionment spell before the act," his father chided him, "or, if you don't have access to your wand, a hand clamped over the witch's mouth can be equally effective for short trysts. You should always be sure to cast a contraceptive spell on yourself before indulging. I would appreciate it if you didn't tell your mother about this bit of advice. She's a witch. She doesn't understand these things. A wizard must get experience," Severus told his son before dismissing him.

Later the Potions Master had quite a candid talk with his son about sex, and the finer details of possessing witches successfully, his son turning all kinds of colors as his father explained things about the female anatomy that the young wizard didn't even know existed. Severus pulled no punches with the boy as he instructed him, saying sex was as much an art as Potions, and if Argus were going to indulge in it, then he had an obligation to himself and the witch he would be shagging to be as good at it as possible. Severus gave this talk to each son when he reached his sixth year. The young wizards were quite successful in the shagging department as a result.

Severus left the sexual education of his daughters to Hermione. When Sarah approached him with a question of a sexual nature, he promptly told her to just say "no" and go ask her mother. But the Snape girls had very little to worry about in the sex department. With their very protective brothers and father, few wizards dared approach them, though Sarah was the object of quite a few young wizards' fantasies. She was tall, slender and moved with her father's feline grace, but in a more feminine mien. Her dark eyes, dark hair and alabaster complexion made her stand out and be noticed. She was a bit sharp too, and had no patience for idiots at all, and was known for dressing down wizards and witches who dared lock horns with her.

All five children graduated Hogwarts with honors, and a few years later after receiving his Potions Master's degree, Argus married a pretty, red-haired and titled young witch named Lady Molly Hornswallow.

Percival and Ginny outdid Ginny's parents, the witch producing eight children for the wealthy wizard, seven boys and one girl, two sets of twin boys among them. Three of them had the flaming red hair of the Weasley clan, and the rest sported wavy brown hair like their father. And just like Percival wanted, their family was close, boisterous and loving.

Ginny did not allow their status to go to their heads. Despite their father's wealth, the children found themselves doing chores, budgeting their allowances and doing odd jobs for extra money. Of course, Percival slipped them a few galleons when Ginny wasn't looking, but the witch was as all knowing as her mother was. Percival was allowed to give his children elaborate gifts only on birthdays, Christmas and truly special occasions. As a result, each child had his or her own Pegasus…which Ginny insisted they care for personally.

Their children started Hogwarts a couple of years after the Snapes, and initially there were quite a few clashes between them…as the Hornswallows were all as fiery tempered as Ginny was, and Molly had the same skill with the bat-bogey hex as her mother. She never hesitated to use it either. She met Argus while she was in her seventh year, when he came to Hogwarts to visit his father. He had just received his degree and was entering the Main Hall when Molly literally bumped into him, and the books she was carrying in her arms fell and scattered all over.

Argus made no attempt to help Molly pick them up, so the irritated young witch then verbally dressed the tall oaf down as he stared at her with his black eyes, his head cocked, a small smirk on his face.

"Little girl, you seem to have the need to expel some of that excess energy," he said to her silkily, arching an eyebrow at the irate witch. "How old are you?"

"Seventeen," she snapped, picking up her last book. "And I'm not a little girl. I will be eighteen next month."

Argus's eyes raked over her. She was pretty. Fiery.

"And then you will be all grown up I suppose," he said to her, studying her face.

"Yes, I will be," she said, still angry, but looking at the wizard with some interest. He was very attractive, if somewhat stiff. He was older too.

"Perhaps I will come back and find out just how grown up you are," Argus said, giving her a small sexy smile that made the witch tingle all over. Then he just walked away.

Argus had much the same effect on Molly as Severus did on Hermione back in her seventh year, though the young wizard had to come up with creative ways to enhance her attraction, since he didn't work at Hogwarts, and then, when she graduated, figure out how to keep in contact with her as she attended university. It was when she was in her second year of college that they…er…connected.

After a rather tumultuous relationship between Argus and Molly that involved a break-up and a make-up, the couple found themselves in the middle of a standoff between the Snape family and Hornswallow family that would have certainly resulted in mass destruction if both sets of parents hadn't interceded. Molly was pregnant, and her brothers were set on avenging what they considered their sister's defilement. Argus's siblings were intent on protecting their brother.

The couple had agreed to meet to discuss their situation in a discrete, private location at a local park. Their plan was discovered by both sets of siblings, who followed them. Luckily, Hermione found out about it by overhearing Albus and Sarah, and contacted Ginny. The witches and their husbands showed up as just as their children faced off, wands drawn, threats and insults flying back and forth from both sides

Hermione and Ginny were the voices of reason that ended the standoff, true love winning the day of course. Percival and Severus were no help. Both wizards were more than willing to join their children in glorious battle. But since a child was on the way, the fathers grudgingly made peace and their children were married.

Both the Snapes and the Hornswallows were contented with how their lives turned out. They had large, loving families and lived long, prosperous and happy lives. When they finally departed this world, they left behind stories, legacies and traditions that endured for generations to come.

There were many more adventures to be had by the offspring of Severus Snape and Lord Percival Hornswallow the 2nd.

But that, dear readers, is another story.


A/N: And that is the end of "You Promised It Would Be Forever." Thanks so much for reading.