Percy didn't know when he first began to prescribe to the theory that if you can't see what's happening, it's not really. Nevertheless, he chanted it like a mantra in his head, eyes focused (not closed- as his situation was made even more terrifying by total darkness) on a dirty water-stain on the ceiling near the corner of the dimly-lit room.
Everything had gone wrong all too quickly. He was told it was safe. He was told it was just a routine surveillance mission. He was told it was foolproof. Once again, however, Percy proved himself to be woefully misinformed.
Never again, Percy decided inwardly. Never again would he be a pawn in the great struggle between good and evil, and fall prey to such a miscarriage of justice as this. At the moment, however, Percy had other things to worry about.
Dilemma #1: The shackles currently attached to his arms and legs. Possible solution: Shimmy from beneath them? Inadequate.
Dilemma #2: The man standing watch by his prone form, grimy hair slicked back by a combination of blood (not Percy's, though he wasn't sure if that would last much longer) and sweat. Possible solution: Violent action on Percy's part. …Inadequate.
Dilemma #3: The fact that this man expected to… well, he didn't actually know. But chances were it wouldn't be pleasant in the least and would no doubt include pain, misery and/or despair. Possible solution: Beg for mercy? Inadequate.
Percy cast a glance around the room serving as his holding cell. A dark and dingy space, it showed the telltale signs of neglect and damage. Water stains dominated the ceiling, throwing the corners of the room into deep shadows and somewhere in the distance he heard the soft drip, drip, drip of a broken water pipe. This was obviously not a lucrative operation or else they would fix that. Unless, however, Percy thought with just a touch of depression, they wanted their captives to suffer in the damp chill of the cell in order to break their spirits.
Well, he may be down and out- but he was a Weasley! Never mind that- he was Percy Weasley! Percy did not give up- he was strong, determined and intelligent. There was no situation that he couldn't think his way out of with time…
The door slammed open, admitting another slimy character- this one with a perverted smile- and Percy began to doubt his ability to think his way out of his plight.
"C'mon, pretty boy," the man cooed to him, unchaining him from his cot and looping the slack around his ankles to serve as bulky shackles. "Time to see what that tight arse'll buy, eh?"
With a strangled gulp, Percy allowed himself to be shoved out of his room (he didn't hate it so much anymore- oh! to return to that damp haven!) and toward a battered hallway. A minute or so passed and the man jerked him to a stop. Percy was surprised to see that he now faced a set of rather grand oak doors with carved ivy crawling up the expanse and a two brass handles curving elegantly out.
His captor squinted at him irritably, muttering under his break ("Shouldn't have roughed him up so bad.") and licking a palm with aplomb, cleaned Percy's face. Percy didn't succeed at holding back a disgusted shudder, and the man narrowed his eyes but refrained from commenting.
All Percy heard was, "Not my problem anymore, is he?" before the doors opened and the murmuring of dozens of voices washed over him.
"Skinny little thing-"
"…delicious! Would you-?"
"Twenty pounds. Do you happen-?"
"…recognize that hair… a Weasley! That'll up the-"
"Who d'you reckon…?"
Percy flinched as the conversation seemed solely focused on him. He couldn't imagine what a sight he made- dirty, hair mussed, clothes in tatters…
A hand—rough with calluses—took hold of his arm, forcibly yanking him toward the front of the room where something resembling a large platform-like pedestal had been set up (used to conduct human sacrifices no doubt! Percy thought with no small amount of alarm). The man careening him through the crowds of well-dressed people was large and dark, a foreboding character indeed. Sinewy muscles flexed in warning as Percy tested his luck by tugging at the firm grip of the other.
Resigning himself to his predicament, Percy sighed and attempted to muster his wits. He would escape! If brute force was not an option (though admittedly, it probably never was), he would merely outthink them all!
Apparently reaching their destination, his swarthy captor released his arm and Percy failed to quell the protective instinct that made him cradle his arm after the rough treatment. He received a sneer for his weakness, but apparently the man had other business to attend to as he turned to a well-dressed man approaching.
"Mr. Macnair," the new man said with a slight smile. "No one will ever accuse you of gentleness, will they?"
Macnair grunted his assent, though a frown tugged at his mouth, telling of his annoyance. "I'm paid to deliver, not to coddle, Rookwood."
"All the same," Rookwood said with benevolence, taking Percy's chin in his hand and inspecting his dirty face. "I certainly hope your treatment doesn't interfere with my operation."
Macnair grunted again, and Percy felt his breath begin to quicken in anxiety as he mulled over his current situation, quickly divining what was to be his fate. 'Operation' implied mutual action; the pedestal implied a showcase; the crowds of people implied a consumer base. It appeared Percy was to be sold to the highest bidder. Oh! But to be ignorant of his impending doom!
Having spared himself a moment of self-pity (what would Penny think indeed?), Percy failed to recognize when he was handed over to Rookwood and cuffed unceremoniously. It was only as the cold steel of the handcuffs encircled his wrists that he deigned to rejoin reality and find it not quite to his liking.
Rookwood chuckled at his startled flinch, pulling a handkerchief from his pocket to clean Percy's face rather unsuccessfully (though it may be conceded that much of the supposed 'dirt' on his captives' face was in fact a copious amount of freckles, courtesy of his Weasley heritage, and therefore difficult to remove in a hurry).
"Time to get you all set up, I'd say," he remarked with a grin, casting a glance around the room. "Besides, I think the natives are getting restless."
It was then that the discontented murmur of the room became apparent to Percy, and he flinched again at the thought of being sold like chattel. He was reminded of why he was so much more suited to deskwork rather than the adventures of the field. If he ever saw them again he would explain that quite thoroughly to his Mum and Dad!
'If he ever saw them again,' being the operative phrase in this particular instance, Percy made a point to not give in to the quivering-little-boy area of his psyche and instead focus all his mental capacities upon concocting a solution.
While his mind whirred with escape plans, Rookwood herded him to a holding area just behind the looming platform. Three others were similarly restrained and guarded by several silent guards. As Percy fell into line with the others, Rookwood called the meeting to order.
"My dear ladies and gentlemen," he began in a refined tone, speaking clearly and succinctly into the provided microphone.
"I am sorry for the wait—though I am sure you will find it worth your while… We have a late addition to our line to announce to you this evening. He will be bid upon in position four, and as he will not be listed in your program, we will supply his credentials directly prior to his auctioning. Are there any questions?"
Rookwood swiveled his gaze across the room, and upon seeing no hands raised, he continued with a wry smile. "Shall we get on with things then? May I direct your attention to your programs to bid one: Seamus Finnegan."
The first boy in the row was helped onto the platform and stood quiet and relaxed. Eying the boy's wiry stature and stubborn chin, Percy was surprised to see no resistance from him. It was then that he realized the boy's posture was in fact too relaxed and seemed rather an effect of some sort of drug.
Rookwood, the apparent auctioneer of the unholy event, nodded his head at two of the guards. At his signal they stepped forward and began working a mechanism at the base of the pedestal, rotating the platform to provide the audience with a better view of the merchandise.
"A particularly difficult catch," Rookwood admitted with a smile. "This one has some spirit yet—you'll see that we've taken a few precautions… Shall we start the bidding at 5,000 pounds?"
As hands went up around the room in seemingly random order, Percy marveled at the efficiency of the operation. He had been brought in late in the proceedings to be sure, but everyone involved—from the auctioneer to the clientele—seemed to have vast experience in what was essentially a high-class slave trade.
"No other offers? Very well—6,570 pounds to Mr. Goyle. Now for our second prize-"
Percy watched as a second captive was ushered onto the stage—this one a blonde girl with vacant eyes—and the recently-purchased young man was given into the care of a robust man with dark features. This… was most certainly real. What the bloody hell had he gotten himself into?
It was all very well and good to offer to fill in on a routine surveillance mission. The force was understaffed, and despite his restraining desk job, he had fancied himself somewhat capable of taking care of himself.
His work in intelligence had convinced him of his own superior intellect and manipulative skill. Uncovered as a plant and threatened at gunpoint, however, Percy found himself hard-pressed to use said intellect to escape.
To think though! That in the process of investigating the possibility of money laundering at a local pub he- Percy Weasley, desk jockey extraordinaire- would stumble across a high-rolling slave trade. Ironic, that.
But he digressed. The blonde girl went to a rather enthusiastic Mr. Lestrange, who led her to frazzled looking dark woman whom Percy assumed was his wife for approval. Percy noted the narrowed eyes and sharp nod before looking away in sympathy and disgust as the woman perused the girl's figure. It was no good to interfere—what could he do in his current state?
Feeling out of control (a state which Percy abhorred more than anything else in existence), Percy did his best to catalog the people present. They would pay for this gross extortion!
Caught up in his scheming, Percy nearly missed the third bid. Another young man was displayed on the pedestal, remarkable in that he lacked the vacant expression of the first two bids. This one wasn't drugged, Percy marveled. Perhaps he could aid in Percy's escape? It was certainly worth a try!
While the pedestal rotated, Percy tried to catch the eye of his fellow victim. 'Oliver Wood' failed to respond to Percy's motions—though in his defense, Percy lacked the virtue of subtlety and probably appeared to be propositioning the guard below.
"The bid goes to Mr. Malfoy for 8,450 pounds. You may collect your prize now."
The prisoner was led down the pedestal where he was met by a richly dressed man with platinum hair. Percy would have watched the two walk away, but was rudely interrupted by his turn at bidding. He gulped nervously as he was lifted onto the platform, small shivers of nervousness making his teeth clatter together.
"As I promised you, ladies and gentlemen, here is the special bid of the night. Percy Weasley," the auctioneer declared with much pomp. "Allow me to introduce him to you."
"Age 22, weight roughly 10 stone. We acquired him when he stumbled across one of our sister companies. He is indeed a Weasley—no doubt you are all familiar with the activity of said family within the Ministry?"
There was a rumble of discontent, and the man continued with a simpering tone: "He is quite a prize. I would tame him myself if I had the means…" the man trailed off with a wicked glance at Percy. "Shall we start the bidding at 7000?"
Fighting off a disgusted shudder at Rookwood's sleaziness, Percy was startled at the sheer number of hands waving in the air. As the numbers climbed past 10,000 he reeled in shock. Surely he wasn't worth all that to these people? What had he gotten himself into?
"If there are no other bidders?" Rookwood smirked in satisfaction. "Very well. Mr. Malfoy, this has been a busy night for you. Thank you for your generosity. You may collect your prize."
Percy goggled as the pale man strode forward again, this time to collect him. 12,800 pounds…
Somehow, it didn't seem as if this would end well.
Percy didn't know quite what to think as their car pulled up the drive to a large mansion. Mr. Malfoy sat across from Percy and Oliver, making notes in a ledger and occasionally glancing up to smile softly at them. However creepy, it was a sure improvement from the first few moments of their time together, during which he had stared at them with narrowed eyes until finally declaring: "You'll do. I chose well." The tone would have been paired well with a condescending pat on the head, though thankfully one never came.
Percy had spent the rest of the drive nudging Oliver with his elbow, trying to catch his eye as he contemplated the virtues of throwing himself out of the moving vehicle. The other man simply jabbed back with unnecessary force and Percy huffed in exasperation.
Now being let out of the car by a manservant in a dark suit, Percy goggled at the sheer size of the building. Seeming to go on for miles, the white marbled building stood out in relief against the blue sky of spring. Oliver followed after Percy, pushing him aside on the walkway to make room for his exit. Mr. Malfoy was close behind, straightening his suit as he unbent from the vehicle's cabin.
"Follow me." The blond swept past the two up the walkway, pausing briefly to give an order to a passing security guard.
"Fences to electric charge 7, if you will."
As the guard snapped to attention with a salute, Percy noticed for the first time the high fences that surrounded the mansion. Well… damn. That wasn't conducive to escape.
A hand clutched at his arm and jolted him into movement. Oliver stared straight ahead, seemingly unaware of the discomfort he was causing, and mumbled out of the corner of his mouth, "You are going to get us both killed. Behave, will you?" With a sigh, Oliver released him and quickened his pace.
Percy stared aghast—apparently Oliver wasn't going to be very cooperative in his escape plans.
By the time they reached the entry hall Percy was wary—more so than his usual paranoid self. The place was built like a fortified prison. Guard posts were dotted along the property, while security cameras took note of all activity on the grounds. The entry way itself was filled with hired help—maids dusting priceless antiques, guards doing their rounds, and a butler accepting coats at the door. It was too surreal.
The smooth voice of Mr. Malfoy awoke Percy from his daze. "James, these are the slaves I acquired. Please set them up in the rooms we discussed. Has Draco returned?"
"Yes sir, he is just—" the old man was interrupted by the appearance of a young man, roughly the age of Percy's youngest brother, who resembled Mr. Malfoy.
"Draco," Mr. Malfoy greeted with a smile. "Take your pick."
Draco turned to them with curious eyes. Taking his time, he circled Percy and Oliver like a vulture, noting Oliver's stony expression and rough calluses and then Percy's slender build and shocking red hair.
"The redhead, I suppose," Draco simpered. "He'll suffice."
"I assumed so. Very well, you may take him to your rooms."
"Thank you, Father."
Percy's brow furrowed as the exchange took place. Now he belonged to a teenager? Hmm… perhaps he could work with this. Yes! The younger Malfoy would be easier to slip away from and-
As his hand was grasped and he was gently pulled up the stairs, Percy failed to notice the sly expression that took over Draco's face. He would come to regret such an oversight.
Percy's room turned out to be Draco's room. Or rather, his 'Master's room,' as Draco had termed it.
"Now, slave," Draco demanded imperiously, gesturing toward the bed. "Serve me well."
Staring blankly at the boy, Percy cleared his throat nervously. "Ah- what?"
"Serve me," Draco repeated in a frustrated tone.
"Serve you what?" Percy glanced around the room, eyes alighting upon a water bottle left abandoned. "Do you want water?"
Draco stared at him blankly. "You know, fulfill your purpose."
"Oh, just get on the bed." Draco said with no small amount of frustration. With a huff, he fished underneath the mattress and pulled out a book. "My books are very clear about this. As a sex slave you are here for my sexual gratification. So get to sexually gratifying me!"
A study of the book's cover revealed its fallacy. A young man in princely clothes was held in the arms of a rough looking man. A Night with the Prince the title proudly proclaimed. Percy was not amused.
"That's a romance novel," Percy said with his best serious-face.
"Life imitates art and so on," Draco countered with a prissy sniff.
"I'm not even a sex slave!"
"How do you know?" Draco countered with a smirk. "You are whatever I say you are. And I say…" At this point Draco began to stalk toward the redhead, crowding him closer to the bed.
Percy began to hyperventilate as he felt the back of his knees hit the bed. "Now wait just one minute-"
"No," Draco said with a disdainful snort. "I don't know if you've noticed, but you aren't exactly calling the shots around here." He reached forward, unbuttoning the top button of Percy's collared shirt. "That's very good, just stay still like a good boy."
A flustered squeak was Percy's response and he flinch backwards, losing his balance in the process and tumbling onto his back on the bed. Oh, that wasn't good.
"Good," Draco simpered, "I like you in that position." The blond joined him, straddling Percy and continuing his work on his shirt.
Percy's mind whirred. Dilemma #1: Draco was wreaking havoc upon Percy's buttons. Possible solution: ask him kindly to cease. …Inadequate.
Dilemma #2: Percy was trapped beneath said blond. Possible solution: use force to throw the teenage off of him. …Inadequate.
Dilemma #3: The fact that Draco was so deluded as to consider Percy his sex slave. Possible solution: appeal to his logical side? …Inadequate, as it didn't seem as if the teenager would be willing to pause to be lectured.
Left with no other means of escape, Percy mustered his strength. He took a deep breath, positioned his arms between his body and Draco and shoved.
"RAPE!" Percy shouted at the top of his lungs, scrabbling on the bed for traction to move away. "Rape! Help!"
Draco stared at him from his position above Percy with his mouth agape. "What?"
"Rape!" Percy screamed again, lashing out with his arms and legs as much as he could manage. He certainly hadn't thought to use the method of escape that his parents had taught his little sister, Ginny when she began secondary school, but he couldn't argue that it certainly was effective.
Percy's flailing paid off—or perhaps Draco's disgruntlement won the day—and the blond removed himself from the bed with arms raised in surrender. "Damn it- will you quiet down? The whole manor can hear you!"
As if on cue, a knock sounded at the door, followed by a curious, "Draco- Son, are you quite alright?"
Draco blanched at the feminine voice, shushing Percy with a frantic hand over his mouth. "Yes, Mother!"
"Are you sure, dear? I thought I heard screams—"
"I was watching a program. Sorry to have disturbed you," Draco called through the door.
"Yes, well please turn down your volume."
Draco promised to do so and the sound of footsteps could be heard leading away from the door. Draco heaved a sigh of relief and turned with a frown to Percy.
"That was not on," he told the prone form of the redhead.
Percy did his best to glare menacingly.
"No, really!" Draco protested, taking his hand away from Percy's mouth. "I wasn't about to rape you!"
Huffing, Percy shuffled his body toward the headboard.
"I'm perfectly serious! I don't need to rape you," Draco near-shouted with indignation. Percy's movement caught his eye and he watched for a moment, allowing his gaze to trace the outline of long legs. A sly smile tugged at his lips.
"You'll be perfectly willing when you come into my bed," Draco boasted, running a finger across a revealed ankle.
Percy yanked his ankle away, folding his legs beneath his body as if to say 'keep your hands to yourself, thank you very much.'
It was truly a conundrum. Percy swatted the errant hand that swept across his arse—Draco Malfoy, at first terrifying, was now merely a perverted nuisance in his quest to seduce Percy—and attempted to flatten himself further against the wall.
He was listening at the door of Malfoy Senior (hereafter known at Lucius)—more specifically of his study. Percy had hoped to overhear something useful— the security rounds, the coded gate pass, etc.—and instead had become privy to a rather odd meeting.
Through a miniscule crack in the door jamb Percy could see Oliver, the other man kept prisoner in the Manor. Though it was only the back of his head, Percy could easily identify the short coarse brown hair. Oddly enough, Oliver was kneeling at the seat of Lucius. Percy's angle didn't allow for much in the way of vision, but it allowed enough leeway that he could make out the repetitive motion of Oliver's head being stroked by the older blond. That was… odd. Bordering on perverse really.
Speaking of perverse, Percy scowled as an arm snaked around his waist and a tongue flicked out to taste the rim of his ear.
"I'll never understand this obsession of yours," Draco breathed into his ear. "Watching my Father with his toy… Perhaps I should show you what they do when you aren't watching at the door? I know just the place—let's head back to my room, shall we?"
Wincing at the implication that Oliver and Lucius did indeed participate in those sorts of activities, Percy jabbed Draco in the stomach and swept away down the hallway. He could hear Draco protesting behind him, but paid no heed. It was time for scheming.
The stubborn insistence that Draco would win Percy into his bed willingly had been an unexpected godsend for Percy. Suddenly, rather than being ravished (though there had been some near-misses) he was being wooed. That made all the difference.
Someone being ravished couldn't leave the bedroom, had little authority and little information.
Someone being wooed had limited access to the rest of the property, had relative free reign to do as he liked and was kept somewhat informed of happenings.
"The gates are being repaired tomorrow just after lunch," Draco revealed to him over breakfast. "Be sure you steer clear of the perimeter, mm?"
Percy hummed his assent, but his mind whirred with the possibilities. Would the electric charge be down then for the repair? They must be or else the technician would be injured. But how to make it across the grounds and through the gate?
It was a dilemma not easily solved, Percy knew. Perhaps someone else might have an answer? He glanced uneasily at the brunet across the table. He had been toying with the idea of bringing Oliver in on his escape plan, but hadn't yet gotten the opportunity to corner him alone in the week since they were brought there. Perhaps today…
His chance came just after breakfast. Draco engaged him in a steamy kiss—though with Percy's cheek as he turned his face at the last moment, well used to the other's antics—and left to visit with school friends. Lucius patted Oliver on the head (a practice that had not become any less disconcerting with familiarity) and excused himself to his study, warning the two of them to 'be good boys.'
Percy winced at the condescending remark, while Oliver simply nodded. Lucius left then and Percy struck.
"Oliver," he whispered across the table.
"Percy," Oliver returned with a raised brow.
"I need your help," Percy said, attempting to ignore the other's mocking tone. "The gates will be down, but how do we sneak through?"
Oliver stared at him for a moment and then sighed, standing up and turning to walk out of the room. "Shut up."
Percy blanched. What was that?
"You won't escape," Oliver explained with a wave of his hand. "Don't even bother trying." No more left to say, Oliver left quietly.
Fuming, Percy did his best to control his temper. Of all the nerve! A pang of pain shot up from his hand and he glanced down, surprised to see that in the process of strangling his napkin he had cut off the circulation to his fingers.
He untwisted them and watched the color bleed back in. One thing was for sure: Oliver was a pessimist and a coward. Let him rot here. Percy certainly wouldn't!
As he watched for a security guard from his hideout behind a conveniently placed tree, Percy continued to brew in anger. What was the other man about anyway? Why wouldn't he want to escape? He must be a supreme idiot.
Seeing a chance as the guard began to walk in the opposite direction, Percy sprinted away from the tree, moving toward the guard outpost. The building was situated about halfway down the drive in close proximity to the gate. From this new position, ducked behind a hedge Percy could see the repairman working just a couple hundred yards away.
There was still the matter of covering the distance and sneaking past the repairman and the two guards doing patrols nearby, but Percy had confidence in his stealth. No problems here—just wait for the patrolmen to pass by his location first and then he'd be off!
As he watched their progress, a thought occurred to him. It was a gross possibility, but he had to acknowledge it: was Oliver involved with Lucius in the way that Draco so often implied?
Percy began to panic. Was Oliver in love with Lucius? Had Oliver told Lucius of Percy's escape plan? Oh, bugger, bugger, bugger!
A deep breath later, Percy was in control. There was nothing for it- he had to try at escape anyway. The bush rustled as he leapt forward, but he had no time to take note. His eyes locked on the gate's weakness—the hinged door being repaired—Percy sprung into action.
He set up to sprint forward but was foiled by the uneven terrain. His foot caught on a clump of dirt and he tumbled in an instant. The two guards, who had just passed his location, ran up with concerned expressions inquiring as to his health.
While one guard tested his ankle for breaks, the other paged Draco with a handheld and Percy cursed his luck. At least, he comforted himself, Draco was too enamored with the idea of seducing his slave to be suspicious. The failure of his seemingly foolproof escape however stung despite that fact.
An hour later, set up in Draco's bed with a wrapped ankle (a mild sprain the doctor comforted—though Percy was disturbed at Draco's sudden urge to 'play nurse' as a result of the prescription of bedrest), Percy allowed himself to whine in pity. Damn it! He was never going to get out of here! Oliver was right.
Oliver. Percy sneered—no Oliver wasn't right. Percy would escape; Oliver didn't want to escape because he was set up in comfort with his sugar daddy.
Ugh. What a disturbing situation that was. Percy was glad to have been given to Draco instead of Lucius. Being felt up occasionally was infinitely better than whatever went on behind Malfoy Senior's closed doors.
What exactly did go on there? A flush arose on Percy's face as he contemplated. The both of them were certainly—
No! He was not going to think about that. After all, that wasn't why he was curious. Really. He merely didn't want to judge Oliver until he knew the truth about his situation. Right.
It was with this thought in mind that Percy decided to stalk Oliver Wood. To be fair, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Percy drummed his fingers against the wall and swallowed a dramatic sigh. Oliver was so boring! All he seemed to do was eat, sleep and visit one of the Manor's towers—presumably to stargaze.
Granted, Percy wasn't the best stalker to ever walk the face of the earth—though to his credit, Oliver was remarkably paranoid, seeming to sense whenever Percy approached a few yards of him. Percy kept having to drop back at the risk of being discovered, and therefore wasn't able to monitor every moment of the other man's day.
With what knowledge he had gleaned, however, Percy felt there were two logical conclusions.
Conclusion #1: Oliver was indeed in flagrante delicto quite frequently. Evidence: Oliver slept in Lucius' room and seemed to ignore all except his Master. Whether this indicated love, Percy wasn't sure.
Conclusion #2: Oliver was the worst kind of angst-ridden individual with suicidal tendencies. Evidence: excessive time spent alone. Reticence. Frequent visits to dark and high locations—perfect for throwing oneself off of.
Percy shuddered as he recalled the dankness of the tower that Oliver frequented. Percy had crept up the small staircase in his free time, curious to see what drew Oliver as he'd never had the opportunity to follow him this closely in the past. The room at the top of the tower was cold—the person last in it (Oliver, he suspected) had left the door to the balcony open and the brisk spring air was allowed to pour in. An owl had roosted somewhere in the rafters—Percy could hear the hooting of the nighttime predator far above his head.
Either way: Oliver Wood was a whack job. Percy was perfectly justified in keeping watch over him. Right.
This time Percy had trailed Oliver through the hallways to the library. Oliver was browsing the bookshelves, casting frequent glances to the blond in the room. Percy frowned as he noted the blond to be, in fact, Draco. That was new. Did Oliver have a thing for blondes or something?
He saw Draco return the glance a couple of time, but with little more than curiosity. Draco's brow was raised in a 'Why the bloody hell are you staring at me?' sort of way. Percy ruled out a scandalous relationship between the two almost immediately.
Oliver abandoned his perusal of the bookshelves soon after the exchange. He swept from the room, heading toward Lucius' study and Percy had difficulty hiding himself behind a valuable vase in the flurry of movement. Once Oliver was a decent enough distance away, Percy followed.
It was a short visit there as well. Lucius' study was occupied by the man himself, and Oliver paused at the door before turning away and heading in the direction of his favored tower.
Not again! Percy bemoaned his luck as he followed carefully behind, noting the familiar passages. Oliver disappeared up the ladder and Percy decided it was high time he followed and saw what the man got up to in there. His sneaking had improved vastly over the past two weeks and he felt confident in his skills to follow up the spindly staircase undetected.
He crept up the stairs carefully, successfully avoiding detection. When he alighted, he saw Oliver's back facing him and hurriedly cast his eyes around for a hiding place. A nearby corner was chosen for its shadows and its position overlooking a small writing desk. Percy applauded his own intelligence.
Oliver was acting peculiar—more so than usual. He was whistling, face pointed toward the rafters. To Percy's surprise, he was answered by a soft hoot. A moment later an owl fluttered to land on Oliver's outstretched arm.
"Hey," Oliver cooed to the creature, offering it a piece of biscuit. "I have a letter for you."
Oliver crossed the room to the writing desk and Percy did his best to sink into the shadows. Oliver settled into the chair set up, his back to Percy, and pulled a pen and paper from a drawer. As he scribbled, Percy forgot himself and began to creep forward. He was a breath away from Oliver when he saw who the letter was penned to: Dumbledore.
A gasp escaped him without warning and Oliver spun in his chair with wide eyes. "Percy?"
Percy's mind whirred with the implications.
Oliver was writing to Dumbledore. Oliver was in contact with the Chief of Security for the Ministry. Oliver was working for the Ministry?
Oliver stood slowly and reached for Percy, setting his hand on Percy's shoulders. Percy vaguely realized he was hyperventilating.
"Calm down, Percy."
"Shh," Oliver calmed, rubbing Percy's back. "I can explain."
"No need," Percy finally sighed out. "You're working for Dumbledore- that's clear enough. What are you—a plant?"
"Yes, I'm undercover," Oliver admitted quietly, glancing at the stairwell in a habitual motion. He gestured for Percy to take a seat in the recently vacated chair. When Percy did so, Oliver took a deep breath and began.
"The Ministry has known for a while that certain shady businesses like the one you were monitoring," here he waved a hand to silence Percy's exclamation, "Yes, I know how you were captured. Businesses like that one were merely serving as a front for something bigger. Their tax records revealed that much."
"The auction we were sold at," Percy supplied with horror.
"Exactly so. The Auction has a specific type of product: young, good-looking, often those that come from Ministry-affiliated families," Oliver supplied a wry smile. "I fit into that category nicely. Dumbledore knew I could learn the ins and outs if I were captured. So here I am."
"And me?" Percy asked, though he thought he already knew the answer.
"Honestly?" Oliver winced. "You were just at the wrong place and time. I suppose the fact that you're a Weasley made you pretty irresistible- your family is pretty involved with Dumbledore."
Percy nodded—he knew that much.
"Plus, there's the fact that you're, well, not bad to look at."
Blinking, Percy wondered if he'd heard that right. A flush began to rise on his cheeks.
"Downright adorable at times," Oliver admitted.
Having been sworn to secrecy and subtlety, Percy left the tower with mixed feelings. On the one hand: Oliver was working with Dumbledore to bring down the slimy operation that had gotten them into this trouble. On the other hand: Oliver had stressed the necessity of no more escape attempts. 'I need them to feel comfortable enough to slip up,' Oliver had said. Percy found it difficult to disagree with Oliver when he said things so earnestly.
It wasn't that Oliver's eyes lit with determination or that his posture straightened to resemble a knight in a fairy tale, but rather that Percy found his work ethic to be admirable. …Yes, that was it.
One benefit of Percy's newfound knowledge was that he could serve as a lookout for Oliver as he searched for clues to bringing down the operation. One such occasion arose when Oliver expressed the desire to search Lucius' study. The man was to be out all day in meetings, and Draco had been dragged along for the business experience, though he bemoaned his separation from Percy, who he claimed was this close to giving in to him!
Feeling safe from discovery, Oliver opted to enlist Percy's help in searching the room. Oliver combed through the desk, while Percy flipped through a daybook for any clues.
"Look for sales receipts," Oliver explained as he rummaged. "Anything that indicates that people are being bought and sold."
Percy nodded and resumed his study. A couple of hours later found the two of them glancing over the bookshelf for any hidden items. The search had been fruitless so far, and Percy found himself becoming discouraged from the exhaustion of the day.
Slamming a book closed and returning it to its place on the shelf, he turned to complain to Oliver. "Do we-?"
Oliver shushed him and reshelved his own book. An anxious expression overtook his face after a moment. "They're back."
Sure enough, Percy could hear the tell-tale clatter of footsteps and voices ringing in the hallway. "We have to hide," he hissed to the brunet.
"There's no time," Oliver returned. He looked around wildly for a moment, before dragging Percy over to the small couch near the bookshelves. "Play along," he managed to whisper, before the door opened and Oliver was kissing him.
There was a shocked silence. The door creaked slightly from its recent use—Percy had heard Lucius order it to be oiled the day before, but it hadn't yet been fixed. The only other sounds in the room were provided by the breathing of its occupants and the wet smack of lips meeting.
Percy thought he played along quite well. His heart, despite its pounding, did not burst out of his chest and his lips were not quite white with tension. His performance, however, was far outshone by Oliver, who had managed to not only straddle him on the couch, but also release what sounded like pleasure-filled groans occasionally.
After a long thirty seconds, Lucius interrupted them with a cough. "What is going on in here?"
Oliver pulled away panting. Percy counted it as luck that nervousness so easily passed for arousal.
"Sorry, sir. We forgot ourselves.""
"Indeed," Lucius raised a brow in curiosity. "How long has this been going on?"
While Oliver made up quick lies about their passionate love affair, Percy found himself avoiding the half-devastated looks sent his way by Draco. He felt a pinprick of guilt at the teenager's sadness, which disappeared readily as he caught what the other half of the look was. Speculative perversion.
Percy huffed inwardly—now the blond would want a threesome! What horrid luck. He was startled out of his thoughts as Oliver wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "We will leave now. I'm sorry to have trespassed," Oliver was saying.
Percy played along, allowing himself to be led to the door and down the hallway. The first opportunity he saw, he pulled Oliver aside into an unused room.
"What was that?"
"That was saving our skins," Oliver replied with a sigh. "It's complicated though."
Oliver rolled his eyes at Percy's outburst. "I had to make us seem like lovers. How else could we explain being in his office alone? I said we needed privacy and knew the staff wouldn't interrupt in there."
Despite the apparent logic of the assault on his person, Percy couldn't hold back the irritated grunt that surfaced.
"I'm sorry," Oliver said with a frown. "It was the only thing I could think of. Now listen," he grabbed Percy's arm to catch his attention. "We have to keep up the act. I'm not sure if he believed me, but he can't know why we were in there. Do you understand?"
Percy nodded. This was the worst day ever. He'd been standing on his feet all day bored to death and now this! His whole body was riddled with tension—even his lips were tingling! Oh.
That brought to mind another pair of lips. Oliver's mouth looked red—Percy hadn't realized the other man's lips were so full before this. Percy blinked away his thoughts. Woman's lips, he thought with a resolute sneer. That was what he thought of that!
Oliver licked his lips and continued to say something. Percy felt his resolve begin to wane.
Luckily (?), Oliver chose that moment to pat Percy on the back and mention that he should go to bed. With that, the man turned on his heel and headed toward his own room, or rather Lucius' room.
Percy frowned as he remembered where the other slept. Ah, but that was a problem for another day. He rubbed his lips thoughtfully.
Draco was being particularly irritating today. Percy fliched as the teenager draped an arm around his shoulders and began to draw him closer.
"Stop," he ordered, slapping the hand that tightened over its prize.
"You stop," Draco retorted. "Stop being such a stick in the mud. I know there's a part of you that isn't so prudish." He pouted – Percy thought it was an expression that looked ridiculous on anyone above the age of five.
"Go away," Percy emphasized his demand with a hard jab to the midsection.
Draco wheezed in pain. "But why?" He whined, "You're hard up for Wood, but not for me? That doesn't make any sense!"
A blush broke over Percy's face without warning. "No- I-" Belatedly, he realized his error.
"Oh, what's this?" Draco smirked. "Trouble in paradise?"
"None at all," a new voice answered. Oliver strode up the pair, wrapping possessive arms around Percy's middle and pulling him away from Draco. "He's just shy."
"Shy," Draco echoed with doubt, rubbing his bruised stomach. Percy glared at him irritably. "Sure he is."
Oliver squeezed Percy in warning. Percy could hear the unsaid 'Make it look real' and sighed inwardly. He relaxed his body into Oliver's arms, finding the act to be surprisingly easy.
"Hmm." Draco observed them for a moment. "I don't believe you really are lovers."
Percy felt as Oliver drew a sudden breath and his body filled with tension. Percy was anxious as well, but more over the odd look on Draco's face. It took a moment to place it, but when he did he felt his stomach drop in dismay. Subtle perversion. A new one—Draco was typically blatant with his overtures.
Draco suddenly leered at them (that was more like it). "Let's see some proof."
Percy sighed. Of course. Of course Draco would want to watch him humiliated. The blond had been attempting to bed him for close to three weeks now—though apparently he was willing to simply watch Percy be bedded by someone else. Oh, that was a disturbing thought. Not just Draco acting the voyeur, but also the idea of sleeping with Oliver. Right.
Oliver's body straightened at the challenge and Percy prepared himself. If he could just block everything out then it would be over soon. He cleared his mind as Oliver turned him and nuzzled their lips together.
Percy decided that clearing his mind was an awful idea. It only served to make him focus more on his physical circumstances—namely, the kiss. Before he knew it, he was enveloped by heat and closeness and tingling sensations—
Oliver pulled back and favored Draco with a scowl: "Are you satisfied?"
"Not quite," Draco responded with a thick voice. "But I don't think you'd let me be fully satisfied, so this will have to do."
Draco turned on his heel and made for the door. Before passing through into the hallway, he glanced back at their closeness. "You know, Wood, you'd do well to remember who belongs to whom." With that cryptic warning, Draco was gone.
"Bastard," Oliver muttered.
Percy was at a loss for words, though he managed a protesting grumble as he noticed the arms that still held him.
"Hold on," Oliver told him softly, "I can't tell how far he went. He may be right back. Let's just stay like this for a while."
Percy didn't respond, but didn't offer any protest as he was pulled over to sit on Oliver's lap in a nearby armchair. His perch was warm and relatively comfortable and Percy felt no desire to move immediately. Besides, his blush was well hidden burrowed in Oliver's chest.
In the sixth week of their time in the Malfoy Manor, Percy overheard a delicate conversation between Lucius and an acquaintance. They were discussing the next auction to be held, and Percy had listened at the door as long as he dared before running to tell Oliver.
He'd found the brunet in the Kitchen, subtly interrogating one of the servants about her time in the manor. Percy paused in the doorway for a moment, watching the interaction.
He noted the slight distance between their bodies, the way the girl's hips were subtly canted toward her counterpart and the coquettish glances that she seemed to favor. Oliver was bearing it all with a smile, his eyes focused in that way that Percy so admired as it showcased his- ah- work ethic so well.
Still, work ethic aside, Percy thought the meeting inappropriate. The girl was basically throwing herself at him (the reasonable part of him chimed in that it was mere friendliness—he quashed it immediately) and Oliver was destroying any pretense of being in a passionate gay love affair with Percy!
Percy seethed. Two could play this game.
Making Oliver jealous had seemed a much easier task in the heat of his anger. Now sitting beneath a tree (coincidentally the one that had aided his earlier failed escape), Percy felt his reason begin to win out.
It wasn't as if Oliver and Percy shared an actual relationship after all. Even if Oliver was getting involved with others (though the recent interaction Percy had witnessed was probably platonic, if not professional, in nature) it wasn't as if he had any obligations of monogamy to Percy.
Besides: they had to maintain the illusion of a relationship to prevent suspicion forming on Lucius' part. Anyway, who was Percy planning on using to fulfill his plans of vengeance? Draco? Ha! The very thought was-
Oh wait a minute. Percy's face brightened as he contemplated the possibility. Draco was already interested, wasn't he? All Percy had to do was not fight his advances quite as hard. Hmm…
All Percy really wanted to do was teach Oliver a lesson for being such a bad friend. Yes, that's right—he did his best to ignore how very nonsensical that goal was.
Percy's reasonable side fled as Percy began to concoct The Plot.
The Plot was simple. It required a semi-public area containing only three people: himself, Oliver and Draco. Lucius had to be elsewhere. Luckily an opportunity presented itself almost immediately.
As Draco walked him to his room after dinner—a habit he had fallen into early on in his attempts at wooing Percy— the blond filled him in on the events to take place the following morning.
"Father will be away again—more meetings—and I will be accompanying him. Do try to keep out of trouble, dearest."
That was when Percy had a brilliant idea. He eyed the blond walking beside him and suffered a brief moment of guilt—he had begun to think of Draco as a sort of friend, but the pinch to his bum that accompanied the comment convinced him.
"Must you?" Percy asked in a purposefully soft tone as he quashed the urge to punch Draco.
Draco raised a brow in surprise. "Do you want me to stay?"
Here was the vital moment: how to make it sound sincere when he had just waved goodbye to the teenager with a cheery 'And don't come back!' the day before…
"You're gone a lot these days," Percy said self-consciously. Blast it, this was so difficult. He wondered how prostitutes managed to fake sincerity so easily. He bit his lip in frustration—this would never work!
Draco's eyes tracked the movement of his teeth pressing into his bottom lip with interest. "Aw, do you miss me, sweeting?"
"Don't-" call me that! Percy almost let slip. He took a breath and did his best to look shy. Gah- this was disgusting.
"Don't tease me," Percy whispered instead.
He thought he heard a snort in response, but must have been mistaken as a moment later his shoulders were encircled by Draco's arm. "Of course I'll stay, Percy. We can have some quality time, hmm?"
Percy was pleased at his success. All that was left was to make sure Oliver was nearby…
The scene was set. On days that Lucius was absent, Oliver could typically be found searching for any new information in Lucius' office. That morning was no exception: Percy had seen Oliver mouth 'office' to him over the breakfast table when the others were preoccupied with reading the newspaper. At the time, Percy had shook his head almost imperceptibly and nodded to the blond on his left.
The meaning was clear to Oliver: Percy was keeping Draco company that morning. The brunet had frowned but acquiesced with a curt nod. Percy barely held back the smirk that threatened to take over his expression.
After the meal was over, Lucius excused himself politely from the table, kissing his wife and son on the head paternally, and patting Oliver and Percy on the head as an afterthought. Narcissa excused herself soon afterward to visit a friend.
"Do try to keep out of trouble, Wood." Draco smirked at the man and helped Percy out of his chair, letting his hand caress Percy's waist in the process. "Shall we, dear?"
Doing his best to keep the tension from his expression and body, Percy allowed himself to be led from the room, ignoring Oliver's confused glance with smug glee. It was all going according to plan…
Manipulating the situation where Draco was involved was more difficult that he had thought originally, Percy thought with a discouraged sigh. Every attempt he made to carefully steer them toward Lucius' office were brushed aside with nonchalant care.
Nonetheless, Percy had persevered. He shuddered at the thought of what he'd had to endure: eating strawberries from Draco's hand, cuddling beneath what he know thought of as his tree, responding in non-violent ways to Draco's thinly-veiled insinuations.
By the time the morning was half-way over, Percy was ready to despair. Then, luck struck:
"What would you like to do now?" Draco asked as he innocently stroked a finger up the bridge of Percy's nose.
Nearly going cross-eyed as he followed the progress of the finger (Draco was never innocent), Percy smiled suddenly as he had a notion.
"The library," he breathed out, in awe of his own intellect. The library could only be reached by passing Lucius' office. This was his chance!
"Alright," Draco agreed. He didn't look surprised at Percy's choice of activities— he apparently knew the redhead to be the worst kind of bookworm.
As they made progress across the grounds toward the manor, Percy schemed. All that was left was to figure out how to make Draco advance on Percy outside of the office. Oh bugger—Percy realized—this would require flirting.
Percy had attempted to set a mood when they were a corridor away from the entrance to the office. He did all he could—emanating every flirting gesture he had seen put to use by women in the past. Granted, he hadn't witnessed much before— it wasn't as if girls tended to flirt with him. Percy was forced to rely heavily on the most recent example of the servant girl talking to Oliver in the Kitchen.
Attempt #1: Coquettish glances through his eyelashes at Draco. Result: Utter failure. Draco's attention was focused straight ahead and besides that unfortunate fact, one of Percy's lashes was transferred into his eye for all his trouble. He wasted another minute attempting to fish it out.
Attempt #2: Angling his body toward the other. Result: Impossible to do while walking, Percy just ended up nearly tripping himself.
Attempt #3: Proximity. Percy heaved an inward sigh—if this didn't work, he was out of luck. Percy reached a hesitant hand out to touch Draco's. The blond twitched at the contact, turning a questioning glance at him. Percy did his best to ignore the rose flush rising over his cheeks and finished the maneuver, lacing their fingers together in an intimate handhold.
Result: Draco stopped them—Percy vaguely recognized their location as within a few feet of the library door—and pulled Percy closer. A convenient wall was used to trap the redhead in an embrace.
"So cute," Draco said and drew a shaky breath.
Feeling as if the situation was getting further out of his control as it progressed, Percy did his best to take advantage anyway. This whole encounter was worthless if Oliver didn't witness. He pitched his voice as loud as he could without drawing suspicion.
"Don't say that," Percy protested breathily—counting on the fact that shyness had seemed to impress Draco the day before.
Draco's eyes flashed with some unknown quality—Percy began to feel wary at their close proximity—and he smiled, though not kindly. "You're just asking for it, aren't you?"
Percy had a feeling he wasn't meant to attempt an answer, but he felt the beginnings of fury at not being addressed directly when the situation clearly merited the consideration. "What do you-?"
His question was cut off, however, by the fruition of his plan. The corner of his eye recognized the wide-eyes of Oliver looking at them through a crack in the door, and the next instant Draco's lips were crushed against his.
The kiss was dominating, and Percy was aghast that his plan had led to this result. What had he been thinking?
Remembering that his method of clearing his mind did little to help him keep his wits during a kiss, Percy made a protracted effort to distract himself from the heat of their lips meshing. As an insistent tongue began to map out the inside of his mouth, however, Percy found his attention brutally held by slickness, heat, intensity, roving hands—
Percy frowned into the kiss. What was that sensation? The tickling feeling on his chest continued and it took a moment for Percy to comprehend that his shirt's buttons were being manipulated as a hand crept inside the fabric to explore.
Not again, Percy grumbled to himself. That was enough of that—and he began to struggle out of the hold, beginning by twisting his face from the distracting kiss and arching his body away from his captor.
"No," Percy said clearly.
"Tease," Draco groaned in complaint and then yelped as he was whacked hard in the midsection. Taking advantage of his distraction, Percy huffed and stormed away from the blond.
"Wait!" Draco shouted and began to run after the other.
Neither noticed the calculating eyes still focused on them from the slightly ajar door to the library.
Stomping down the hallway to his room, Percy seethed at his own stupidity. What the bloody hell did that little escapade accomplish? His arms swung wildly, hands clenched into tight fists.
Footsteps approached from behind and Percy found one of his arms caught by Draco.
"Wait up, will you?" Draco asked with exasperation. At Percy's snort of derision, he tightened his grip. "Come on," Draco sighed. He pulled the redhead down the remainder of the hallway and let the both of them into Percy's room.
"So," Draco said as he reclined on Percy's bed, ignoring the other's angry sputtering. "Using me to make the boytoy jealous?"
Percy blanched. "I-I don't know what you mean."
"Right," Draco snorted. "Well, I'm feeling rather accommodating today." He licked his lips, looking for all the world like a cat who had feasted upon a succulent canary. "I'm in."
"What?" Percy blinked.
"I'm in," Draco repeated slowly. "I'll help you get back your man."
"You know," Draco said with annoyance, tired of explaining something that made perfect sense to him. "He's been flirting with the female staff—I've seen it and I'm guessing you have too if I'm to believe your sad attempt at seducing me."
Percy could feel the embarrassed flush break over his face. "It wasn't like that," he protested, about to wax eloquent about how they were just friends.
"So you're just madly attracted to me? Mmm, I can work with that too," Draco purred while beckoning him closer.
"No!" Percy shouted with disgust. "I meant-" He abruptly paused as he realized that he couldn't reveal the truth—Draco had to keep thinking that Oliver and Percy were… involved.
"Right," Draco said with blatant sarcasm.
"Fine," Percy replied grudgingly. "How are you going to help?"
Draco beamed—an ungodly sight, Percy thought with a shiver. "That's more like it!"
It turned out that Draco's plan was nearly identical to Percy's. Percy was not impressed.
Draco protested. "They aren't even close to the same! I actually know how to seduce someone!"
Percy refused to respond, though his hands clenched into fists and he seethed in humiliated anger. Oblivious to his close brush with death at the hand of Percy, Draco prattled on about his scheme.
"It's perfect," he crowed triumphantly. "I'll pretend to be infatuated with you—wax on poetically about your many charms-" Here, Draco turned to frown at Percy. "You do have charms, right?"
Percy's glare was answer enough. This was so. idiotic.
Their first opportunity was presented at dinner that night. Lucius was still away—his meetings had apparently given way to dinner with colleagues, and Narcissa had retired early with an upset stomach. Draco took advantage and Percy was thoroughly molested.
As Percy's hand was fondled (fondled! Ugh!), Oliver didn't even bat an eye. A slight tensing of his jaw was the only response that Oliver showed, but Percy was fairly certain that any decent person would react uncomfortably as two people made out in front of them.
Finding the physical to be ineffective, Draco turned to the verbal. "Mmm, so sexy," he purred as he dropped a kiss on the side of Percy's neck.
"Isn't he though?" Draco asked Oliver and Percy felt the desire to grown at the obvious nature of the question.
"Um," Oliver started with wide eyes.
But Draco wasn't finished. "I just love the way he shivers when I kiss him. A good opportunity to warm him up, wouldn't you agree? And he's so responsive! Especially when-"
Percy hated that the only way to shut Draco up was to kiss him. He shook from fury—never having felt so humiliated in his life—and bit Draco's tongue when it tried to take advantage. The blond flinched, but hid his pain smoothly, breaking the kiss and burying his face in Percy's neck panting.
"Ha," Draco said when he had recovered himself. "So insatiable too." He smirked and narrowly avoided the kick sent at his shin by Percy.
Oliver's face seemed to be paler than usual, but Percy couldn't ascertain any other indication that he was disturbed. He sighed in relief- maybe now Draco would leave them in peace!
Draco excused himself from the table to check on his Mother, bending down to kiss Percy goodbye. He winked and mouthed 'good luck' to the redhead, before saying goodnight to Oliver. Once the blond was gone, Oliver couldn't contain himself.
"Brilliant!" Oliver said with a wide grin.
What? Percy stared blankly at the clearly excited man across from him. This was not the reaction that he—or rather, Draco—had been looking for.
"I mean- have you gotten any information out of him yet?"
"You… don't mind?" Percy tested the water.
"Well, it's risky," Oliver admitted with a furrowed brow. "Lucius can't think that we were faking a relationship… but if it gets us what we need then I'm all for it!"
"Oh," Percy managed. Bugger.
"So," Oliver cued with a perverse expression that belonged more on Draco's face.
"So?" Percy echoed faintly.
"Have you got anything? Dates? Names?"
"Um." Percy's mind whirred for an answer. He suddenly recalled a conversation he had overheard before this whole mess had started. "Yes—the next Auction is on the 18th of this month."
"Seriously?" Oliver's grin doubled in size. "Good job! Keep it up! I'll let Dumbledore know tonight."
Percy trudged down the hallway feeling very much downtrodden. He knocked morosely on an oak door and waited. As the door swung open, he dragged his body in and fell forward on the nearby bed, exhausted.
"Well?" Draco asked.
Percy mumbled into the sheets before flopping onto his back. "He thinks it's a bloody great idea, me seducing you. Just so that-" Percy stopped abruptly before he could give their secret away again.
"Just so he can go after the girls, eh?" Draco patted his shoulder sympathetically. "Do you need a pity fuck?
"What?" Percy roared, flinching violently away from Draco's hand.
"Just asking," Draco said with a not quite disguised pout.
"Well stop asking," Percy groaned, draping an arm over his eyes as if to block out the world.
"I'll try," Draco said with surprising sincerity. "I want to be friends with you."
Percy peeked from under his arm at Draco's expression. Sure enough, it looked sincere. "I'd like to be friends too," he admitted.
"Good," Draco chirped, cuddling close to Percy on the bed. Percy twitched, but allowed himself to be tugged close. Friends could cuddle, he supposed.
Friends, however, did not feel each other's arses up. Percy jabbed an unrepentant elbow into Draco's midsection. "That is not friendly behavior, Draco."
"Hey, I never said I was a saint," was Draco's pained response.
Life was going relatively smoothly. Convinced of Oliver's infidelity, Draco had urged Percy to move on from the relationship. The blond no longer tried to make Oliver jealous by 'moving in on his territory,' claiming to hold Percy's friendship too high in esteem to ruin it by seducing him. That didn't stop the occasional molestation, but as Draco reminded him time and again: he wasn't about to become a saint.
Oliver and Percy kept up the charade of being in a relationship purely for Lucius' sake. Holding hands in hallways where appropriate, and inspiring Draco to rant in Percy's ear later about the dangers of Percy's being taken advantage of, while- of course, he took advantage of the situation himself by sneaking a few gropes in. Percy though he bore it all with remarkable dignity. (Meaning he kicked Draco irritably and stomped off to complain about it to Oliver.)
One fateful night, however, their luck would change.
Oliver had been shredding the notes from Dumbledore underneath for the entirety of their stay in the manor. Oftentimes, Oliver would have very little time to retrieve the note delivered by the carrier owl Dumbledore provided, having to race back to Lucius' side to carry out tasks designated to him. Usually, Oliver had the time to read the note and shred it while still in the tower. This particular day, he was summoned (by the gong-like bell Lucius had installed for this particular use) back to Lucius' room to perform nighttime activities.
It was all entirely innocent, despite Percy's misgivings. Lucius enjoyed the power he had over Oliver and liked to be reminded of it constantly. To assert his control, he had Oliver housed in a small room off of his own bedroom. It had once been a large closet—a match for the one on the opposite side of the room in true aristocratic form—but had been easily converted into slave quarters. Oliver was kept close to do the truly servile tasks—brushing Lucius' long hair, helping the man dress, fetch him glasses of water, etc.—all of which reminded Lucius of his authority.
Summoned to Lucius' the moment after he reached the tower, Oliver groaned at his luck. He grabbed the missive quickly, apologizing to the owl as he did so, and hurried back to Lucius' rooms, stuffing the note into his pocket as he went.
A quick glance into the room showed Lucius was rummaging through his closet, and Oliver took the chance to stow the note beneath his mattress before reporting for duty. It would be safe enough there, especially since Lucius had developed the habit of having Oliver's body searched for weapons lately. (Oliver didn't realize that it was because Lucius had overheard some of the scandalous interaction between Draco and Percy, and thought that if Oliver was ever witness would take it upon himself to attack Draco in a jealous rage. Ah, the love of a Father.)
This choice turned out to be a very bad one, as Lucius decided that this was the day Oliver's room was to be searched for smuggled weapons. Naturally, the first place he deigned to look was underneath the mattress…
Needless to say, Lucius was not amused by the fact that his slave (whom he had thought wholly obedient to him) had betrayed him. It was a good thing the manor contained a dungeon.
Percy was not pleased. The dungeon was cold and somewhat unhygienic. There wasn't anything as gauche as blood on the floor, or bones piled in a corner, or even shackles hanging intimidatingly off the walls, but the darkness and chill of the stone was enough to unsettle him.
And Oliver! The prick didn't even have the courtesy to talk to Percy to distract him! The brunet had been irritatingly silent for the past hour. Percy couldn't stand it anymore! He opened his mouth to speak and found himself cut off abruptly by Oliver's first words in their time there.
"I'm sorry," Oliver whispered. "This is all my fault. I should have hidden it better-"
Oh god, Percy groaned inwardly. This was even worse than silence! He huffed- as if he wanted to be reminded of how they ended up in here! Oliver didn't look like he was stopping anytime soon though. He waxed on about his own worthlessness: "I should've protected you better," was the main complaint against himself.
Percy sighed. That was it. He had gotten quite good at shutting Draco up and tried the same method. He lunged at Oliver and caught the man off guard, his mouth still ajar from speaking. Percy took merciless advantage, and turned the would-be chaste kiss into an open-mouth smoldering one.
When they parted a moment later, Oliver stared at him in confusion. "What was that?"
"What do you mean 'what was that?' That was a kiss, you dolt!"
"Well, why are you kissing me?" Oliver asked with no little amount of exasperation.
"Because I bloody well feel like it, jerk!"
"Just because your lover boy isn't here? Ha! That's nice of you."
The two had progressed to shouting to make their points known, faces blooming with angry flushes and voices become hoarse from overuse. Percy decided the whole thing was absurd—especially that last part.
"What the hell do you mean?" Percy demanded. He decided, a bit late, that he didn't want the answer. It was clear what had been meant.
"Draco and I are friends," he stressed emphatically.
"Didn't look that way," Oliver hissed in response.
"Just because you're so bloody obtuse!"
Percy decided that talking wasn't getting them anywhere. He lunged forward again and pulled Oliver into a harsh kiss. Their teeth clacked together before the angle was adjusted, but as their tongues mimicked a battle and hands clenched shoulders and hair respectively, Percy felt that they were finally understanding each other. About bloody time.
Draco, of course, had to ruin it all. He always had prided himself on his perfect timing.
"Hello, darlings!" Draco leered as he watched them untangle themselves.
Percy coughed and attempted to make himself appear as dignified as possible. From his splayed position on the floor it was difficult, but he thought he managed it relatively well. Oliver, he admitted, probably had more luck, though there was a flush on his cheeks at being caught with a hand in the metaphorical cookie jar, or rather up Percy's shirt.
"Not that this isn't cute," Draco said with a wicked smirk. "But, perhaps you would like to escape now?"
"Cut it out, Malfoy," came an irritable voice from behind him, and Percy goggled as his youngest brother stepped into view.
"Hey, Perce," Ron replied, looking somewhat disgruntled at his brother's state. "Hey, Oliver," he acknowledged as an afterthought, nodding at the brunet currently getting up.
"Not that I'm not glad to see you, Ron, but what are you doing here?" Percy asked, accepting the hand up from Oliver.
"Bailing you guys out," Ron returned with a smile, which turned to a scowl as Draco pranced forward.
"I called in the calvalry," the blond chirped merrily, bringing a key into sight and waving it in front of their noses.
As Draco bent to unlock the cell, Ron explained, "Malfoy here made a deal with Dumbledore when you were found out. He's handing over some names and dates in return for immunity for being involved and a job in the security bureau." Ron looked particularly sick at the last part.
"Gotcha," Draco crowed triumphantly as the door swung open. "Let's go, ladies!"
The four made their way onto the grounds. The plan was to exit by way of the gate, just as Percy had attempted the previous month. Percy reminded them of the fact of his utter failure—Ron looked wary and Oliver considering, while Draco railed against his objection.
"They aren't even close to being the same plan," Draco whispered loudly. "I actually know how to carry it out," he finished smugly and Percy was hit with déjà vu. Great.
"Alright, genius," Percy snarked, "How are you going to get the electric charge dropped?"
"I'm working on it!" Draco returned just as heatedly.
Oliver's brow furrowed as something occurred to him. "Ron- how did you get in here anyway?"
"Air drop," Ron said in a matter of fact tone.
"…and no one noticed a random plane flying overhead?"
"There's an air zone nearby," Draco supplied condescendingly to Oliver. Percy and Oliver exchanged a bemused glance: of course there was.
The quartet had managed to make it to the guard outpost without any trouble—it helped that it was still in the early hours of the morning and pitch black. As they crowded against the wall to consider the next step of their plan, Draco suddenly stood.
"I've got it," he said with no small amount of smugness. With that, he hurried to the other side of the small shack and knocked on the door.
Ron lunged in his direction, hands clawing at Oliver and Percy as they held him back. "I'm going to kill him," he hissed. Oliver shushed him by covering his mouth with a hand as they heard the door open and a curious greeting. Oliver was bit for his trouble, but luckily stayed quiet, glaring at Ron and recovering his hand for Percy to fuss over.
All three of them stilled as they heard a loud thump from inside the outpost. A moment later it was followed by a low moan, and their faces flushed (Percy and Ron more so for their coloring) as the realization of what was going on dawned.
Has he no shame? Percy thought with mortification. He slapped his hands over his ears in hopes of drowning out the sounds issuing from the building. He glanced at the others to see how they were holding up, and stared in surprise at his brother.
Ron was hunched over in a distinctive fashion, eyes flickering toward the direction of the sounds with keen interest.
Percy was shocked and reacted the only way a brother could—gratuitous violence. He flung his foot out in a viscious kick that collided with Ron's shin. "Ronald Bilius Weasley…" he whispered threateningly.
"Shut the fuck up, Percival," Ron returned with a glare.
Percy sniffed in rage, looking to Oliver for sympathy. No luck there: Oliver's eyes were also transfixed by the sounds issuing from the outpost. He kicked once for good measure, and was slightly mollified by the mouthed 'I'm sorry.' He was not amused when Oliver's eyes swiveled back to the building at the next moan. He kicked him twice.
Two minutes later, another thud sounded from inside the building—this one rather ominous sounding. Draco appeared a moment later around the corner, looking a little worse for wear. "All clear," he chirped (disgustingly cheerful, Percy thought.)
The three just stared at him. He blinked, confused. "What?"
"The hell, Malfoy? Was that really necessary?" Ron sputtered out, face red from a combination of anger, embarrassment and something else Percy really didn't want to think about. The reminder of Ron's hunched over posture a few moments into Draco's inadvertent show had him shuddering in disgust. Ew, his brother was not supposed to be a sexual being!
"Of course," the blond replied, cocking his head to the side in confusion. "I had to distract him so I could disarm the gate."
"I could've knocked him out easy!" Ron protested.
"Yes, but that wouldn't have been as much fun for me," Draco said with a leer. "What's the matter, Weasley? Did you get all hot and bothered?"
As the two continued to stare each other down, Oliver cleared his throat. "Should we maybe escape now?"
Surprisingly, Percy reflected, the escape had gone rather smoothly. After Draco's escapade with the young security guard, the gates had been disarmed and the group had passed through them quickly and soundlessly. A short hike down to the town below the hill the manor was situated on provided them with a phone.
Thirty minutes later, enjoying the warmth of the local tavern, they were picked up by a squad sent by Dumbledore. Kingsley, an old friend of the family, gripped Percy's shoulder tightly in greeting, before shaking Oliver's hand.
Ninety minutes later had Percy sipping hot cocoa in Chief Dumbledore's office at the ministry. Oliver was with him and they had just finished relaying the parts of the story that didn't arrive in Oliver's occasional mission updates. Well, not quite all of the story.
"Well, my boy," Dumbledore addressed Percy with a smile. "I am terribly sorry you were involved in this way, but you've done us a great service by the help you gave Oliver."
Percy smiled weakly, the adrenaline rush from earlier dying a quick death in his system.
"I suppose you'll want to retire," Dumbledore remarked with a chuckle.
"Please, sir," Oliver interrupted. "What will happen now?"
"Now, Agent Wood, we will begin taking the Auction apart starting with Lucius Malfoy. Draco will help us there. Now, Mr. Weasley, I believe there are some people who would like to see you."
As if on cue, the doors opened and Percy's parents hurried in. While his Father assured him that he was much missed and clasped his hand tightly, his Mother fluttered around him anxiously.
"So skinny!" Molly Weasley looked around frantically, as if a kitchen would appear out of thin air so that she could cook.
"And this is Oliver Wood, I presume," Arthur looked to Percy for confirmation, and shook Oliver's hand heartily. "Thank you for bringing him home safe, Oliver."
"Ah- not at all, Mr. Weasley," Oliver objected, "I didn't actually-"
"Damn right you didn't. It was all me. I'll take the glory," Draco announced as he made his grand entrance.
Ron followed behind grumbling, "Pompous arse."
Draco leered. "What was that about my arse, Ronald?"
Sputtering, Ron began to poke an accusing finger in Draco's chest; Draco responded in turn and soon all that could be heard were brash insults and veiled innuendo.
"Molly, Arthur— I'd like you to meet Draco Malfoy. He is indespensible in our investigation. I was hoping you would be so kind as to house him until I can iron out some loose ends."
Arthur had just enough time to reply with a surprised "Of course" when Ron caught on to the conversation.
"What? He's going to live with us?"
Dumbledore was true to his word. The next few days were a flurry at the Ministry. Percy watched it all unfold from his comfortable desk—where he was once again gloriously safe and doing paperwork.
A warrant was issued for Lucius Malfoy's arrest mere hours after Oliver and Percy escaped. After Lucius was tucked away in jail awaiting trial, another warrant was issued for the search of Malfoy Manor. After two days combing over the house, a secret compartment was located inside Lucius' desk containing sensitive documents regarding the inner workings of the Auction.
Other warrants were issued and Percy found his in-box overflowing with paperwork. He beamed—giddy to fall back into the routine he loved. As he declined a ridiculously worded compensation request, Percy smiled— life was finally as it should be. Well… almost.
There was a short knock on the door before Oliver peeked his head in cautiously, wary of interrupting anything. He stepped in fully when he knew he was welcome.
"I thought I would see how you are adjusting being back and all," Oliver said with a soft smile, eyeing the large stack of papers.
"Couldn't be better," Percy replied. "It's good to get back into a routine."
"Yeah, I bet," Oliver murmured, fidgeting slightly.
Percy watched as Oliver's fidgeting grew worse—it was clear the brunet had come to say something, but didn't have the nerve. Percy frowned. This was ridiculous.
"Here's the deal," Percy said imperiously. "You can take me to lunch. If it goes well, I might consent to marrying you." Ignoring Oliver's shocked expression, Percy busied himself with gathering his things.
"M-marry?" Oliver gasped in question. Percy refused to acknowledge the sound resembling a dying fish, merely informing his secretary over the intercom that he would be taking his lunch. By the time Percy had turned back around Oliver seemed to have come to terms with the situation.
"Ok," Oliver chuckled, pulling Percy forward by a grip on his hands. As they shared a kiss, Percy thought that maybe a break in routine could be a good thing. Sometimes.
As always, Draco interrupted them. Forcing his way into Percy's office as if he was born to do it (and for all Percy knew he was born to do so—he'd done it at least three times in the week they'd been back), Draco watched them break apart with keen interest.
"Mm, don't stop on my account," he purred. "In fact," Draco drawled while making his way over to them, "Maybe this time I could join in."
Whatever perversion Draco was hoping for was not to be. Ron appeared in the open door a moment later, a searching expression on his face. When his eyes found Draco and noted the blond's proximity to the couple, he growled in anger.
"What the hell is going on here, Malfoy?"
Oliver and Percy watched transfixed as Ron chased Draco out of the room, screaming at the top of his lungs, while Draco shouted back. Percy wasn't sure if Ron would kiss or kill Draco, and he couldn't seem to bring himself to care either. He shrugged. He had better things to do—and with that thought, he went back to kissing Oliver.