The new Head of the just as recently restructured Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures looked in the mirror and he didn't like what he saw. His glasses were too heavy and they fought with a sprinkle of summer freckles over the space of his nose. The robe looked proper, though, for a wizard of standing. Twilfit and Tattings still made the best tailored robes the wizarding world could offer. Despite the nice robes he looked too thin and too young.
'Five years, and nothing has changed,' he said to his twin in the mirror. 'Nothing.' He heaved a sigh, expecting an evening entirely without redeeming features. The event he was preparing for was merely a duty he had to perform. Except for the fact that Wood had promised to show up to help him getting through the ordeal, Department Head Percy Weasley did not look forward to the next couple of hours. Five hours of inane chit-chat, probably a brief conversation with his mother, during which she'd berate him his lack of interest for the family and ask him again, what is it that you do now, Percy? or hint at the lack of grandchildren springing from his loins for the umpteenth time since the war, indicating that he was still entirely useless and not really worthy of being a part of the family. And then a lecture would follow (during which Percy would consider his possibilities for a polite retreat) whose purpose seemed to be a comparison between Percy and his elevated-to-deity-status brothers. Percy sighed again. Yes, it was such a pity he was neither a half-werewolf, thinking only of meat, whether this was placed on a French tart or on a plate in the shape of a bloody steak, or promiscuous, living in Romania with dragons, or worse: dead. Like the third one. Even on the peak of his career he couldn't do anything right, not even something simple, like dying.
An evening at home with a book, or at the office, cleaning up the mess his predecessors had left (Merlin, the filing system was rubbish!) was just so much more attractive than listening to four hours of unrestrained drivel. Percy wished somebody would stop these uncouth recurring celebrations of this and that which messed up his schedule.
It was with a certain reluctance that Percy turned away from the mirror and left the Department Head's private gents room. He was ready for the Ministry of Magic's annual Christmas party--as ready as he could possibly be.
He was picking up his cloak from the elegant Regency chair he'd placed it on when somebody knocked on the door to his office.
'I can see Scrumtones,' his assistant informed him. 'They're attacking in the corridor, so be careful when you leave. They are quite rabid tonight.'
'Er-.' Percy looked at Miss Lovegood with some scepticism. 'What precisely are Scrumtones?'
'I have a Christmas present for you.'
Obviously Percy wouldn't get an answer. He had only had his current position for a few months and hadn't yet got used to the status and the fact that he no longer was an assistant but had his own. One thing he'd learnt, though, was that his assistant, however useful she was, had a brain that worked and lived in another universe than the one Percy knew. He shook his head. He'd probably never get to know what a Scrumtone was. The proposed gift was another problem. 'That is very nice of you, Miss Lovegood. But strictly speaking, perhaps not fitting. Regulations for the Distribution of Non-Work-Related Goods to Ministry Emplo-'
'It's a charm,' Miss Lovegood said and pulled from her pocket something that looked like a bracelet made of pieces of painted wood and green and silver wire. 'It was free.' She held it out for Percy to take, the narrow band dangling between two fingers. Miss Lovegood had yellow nailpolish on one finger, purple on the other, Percy realised. 'I found it on the bottom of a antique Celtic cauldron I bought in Brittany,' she said. 'I think it might bring you luck. See,' she said and turned the bracelet in her hand. 'The sign there. I'm sure it's for good fortune.'
Knowing Luna Lovegood, it could just as well be a charm which prevented one's underwear from going grey or one which turned one's bogeys into gold. Percy decided not to tell her that. She was nice and did a good job as his assistant--when her brain was on this side of the dimension barrier between the alleged alternate universe she preferred, that was. It was highly irregular, of course, receiving gifts from an employee, but he held out his arm so that Miss Lovegood could tie the piece of string around his wrist. If any luck truly was involved, it was the fact that his cuffs would cover the grimy little thing until he could remove it safely and discard it. 'Thank you,' he managed when Miss Lovegood stepped back and admired her work. 'It's awfully nice of you. I'm sorry, but I don't have anything for you.'
'It's all right,' she said. 'I'm used to that. And I just want to see you happy and now I know you will be.'
Happy to get rid of it, yes. When he could do so without hurting Miss Lovegood's feelings, of course.
'See you downstairs,' she told him, smiling, before she walked over to the door. ' Minister Shacklebolt asked us to join him. And Scrumtones are tiny worms that carry around sound. They live in your ears,' she said and closed the door.
'Do they really?' Percy asked sarcastically, glancing at the door. 'One certainly needs luck to get a precise answer from her,' he said aloud. Perhaps the bracelet really worked, then. He scratched his ear with his little finger. 'Scrumtones, huh?' Percy decided to examine the bracelet more closely. No, still just a string of green vines and silver cords and a row of painted slices of wood.
But it wouldn't hurt to give it chance, though, would it?
The party was in full swing when Percy arrived in the Atrium. He was deliberately late; the one time of the year when he allowed himself to be less than punctual. The less time he wasted on this frivolous nonsense, the better. Percy knew he wasn't cut out for the light-hearted mingling at parties. He was an administrator and not very good at pretending that he wouldn't rather be elsewhere, perhaps finishing this or that document for the Ministry. He had little interest in the topics that people seemed to favour, Quidditch as a possible exception. He went to see Wood play once in a while. He did have adequate knowledge of the game to discuss the finer details, though.
A House-elf offered him a glass of wine from a tray. Percy took it; it was easier to know what to do with something in his hands. He sipped it, enjoying the spicy taste of the chilled wine. He walked through the Atrium, between the many groups of guests, nodding at those he knew. A few stopped him and congratulated him with his recent promotion. Percy scanned the room, looking for Oliver. Of course his best friend was late. Percy rolled his eyes. Oliver was probably polishing his broomstick. Or Marcus's. What Oliver saw in that troll was beyond Percy, but as long as Oliver was happy, Percy didn't care. That was what he told himself, for both men were frequent guests in Percy's dreams, and some of them did indeed feature broomstick-polishing. Percy had long coveted Oliver's well-trained body, and the thought of him with the even larger and hotter Flint was quite stirring. Disturbing, even. Flint was a Neanderthal, but brute force had its charm too. Unfortunately Oliver's tendency to kiss and tell left Percy with fodder enough for a century of wet dreams, featuring every perversion Flint had come up with plus a few of Percy's own invention. Flint was an idiot, but his imagination was certainly advanced.
Percy had noticed more than once that his interest in Quidditch to some degree revolved around the men who played it and not so much about the game itself. A part of Percy's enthusiasm was caused by something that he'd kept a well-hidden secret, a secret that Percy couldn't reveal to anyone, Oliver least of all: Percy was turned on by the game, by the muscular, hard, ruthless players and by the power they exuded. He liked the smell of leather and oil. He relished in the speed and the wounds and the risks. He admired the sleek brooms with their aerodynamic handles, longing for a good ride on one. He often entertained the idea, the fantasy, of him with one or more of the players. He knew it would never happen, for anyone surrounded by so many well-trained bodies would never look in Percy's direction. He had no illusions about his looks. He was bespectacled and boring and his thin body had little to offer compared to prime specimens such as Flint and Wood. Unless one liked freckles and glasses and a tall, thin body mainly formed by office work instead of physical exercise, that was. Percy had yet to find anyone who did, except for a few girls who lacked but one thing that Percy preferred in a partner: male bits. It had always been like that, even at Hogwarts. In the deep, dark nights he'd found pleasure, tossing off to the thoughts of the his fellow students, young men who'd never look at him twice. Higgs, Wood, Pucey, Flint, Davies... there had been so many.
Lost in thoughts about Quidditch and his relationships--or the lack thereof--Percy almost spilled his drink as someone stopped him with a hand of his arm.
'Weasley? Percy Weasley?'
A lean man with tanned skin and blue eyes smiled at him. Percy looked confused, stopping himself from looking around for another Percy Weasley. There was no other explanation to the approach and to the hand which still rested on Percy's upper arm. 'Yes?' he replied reluctantly.
'I should have known you wouldn't recognise me. I'm Terence Higgs. You were at Hogwarts with me, or, I was in Slytherin, so...'
Terence Higgs. Oh, Percy most certainly remembered. He'd been handsome even then. A young boy, a slim, elegant, cat-like Seeker. A year older than Percy and the man of his dreams an entire Quidditch season, the target of his first innocent school crush. Now Higgs was more. The man had added the confidence of an adult male and he was, to say it mildly, gorgeous. He was still slim, but muscular in all the right places. His robe was thin enough to reveal the outline of a very nice body. Perhaps he was still into Quidditch?
'Oh, yes.' Percy nodded politely, trying to hide his appreciation. 'Higgs.'
'Congratulations. I heard that you've been promoted. Department Head.' Higgs's let his hand slide down Percy's sleeve, squeezing it lightly before he let go. 'First step to take over the Ministry? You were quite ambitious even then--at Hogwarts.'
'No, I-' Percy was confused. Higgs remembered him, and if Percy hadn't lost it entirely, the man had just caressed his arm. 'I am perfectly satisfied with my current position. Minister Shacklebolt is a remarkably competent man.' Compared to the rest of the Ministers for Magic, Shacklebolt was indeed an improvement, not to speak of much easier on the eye. 'I support him fully,' Percy said, underlining his words with a firm nod. Basically Percy could find no faults in Minister Shacklebolt but the fact that he wasn't a professional Quidditch player. And that, on top of being the Minister for Magic, would be a bit too much to demand, even from someone as richly gifted as Kingsley Shacklebolt.
'You were his personal assistant, weren't you? Before you went to the Magical Creatures?' Higgs asked. 'You were clearly sorted into the wrong house, Percy.' Higgs smiled broadly. 'Could have been... interesting had you been in Slytherin.'
Percy opened his mouth to reply, but paused before he managed to say anything.
Higgs took that as an encouragement for he continued, sending Percy an intense look and stepped closer. His eyes were the vivid blue of a clear spring sky. 'I know it has been years since we met last. I'm so glad I ran into you. If you'd like we could find somewhere to go? After the party.'
Unless he had a label glued to his forehead saying I'm gay, please, fuck me up the arse, Percy had no idea where this was coming from. He hadn't seen Higgs for years and the man had never expressed any interest in him. Odd. Highly suspicious, to be precise. And tempting. Percy inadvertently rubbed said forehead. What the bloody hell was going on? 'Ouch!' Percy moved his hand away to see what it was that had scratched him. Oh, the bracelet.
I think it might bring you luck, Luna had told him and he hadn't believed her. Perhaps it was time to consider a suspension of disbelief? Stranger things had happened than finding magic hidden in small pieces of ancient wood tied together with strings.
Before he managed to think things through, Higgs took his hand. 'Interesting. Celtic?' He turned the bracelet a bit, brushing over Percy's hand in an almost sensual movement. 'So, I'll let you know I'm used to getting what I reach for.' Higgs laughed, a deep intimate laughter. 'I hear that you like Quidditch. I just signed with the Arrows. Seeker. As I said, I'm good at pursuing what I want.'
Percy thought he was going to faint, but he managed to keep standing by imagining the scandal of Department Head Weasley lying on the floor with a foolish grin on his face and Higgs's hand in his. It would be without precedence, and he had no intentions of appearing less than professional as long as he was on the job. 'Perhaps,' he managed to croak as he pulled his hand away. 'Later.' He blushed vividly, then turned on his heel and fled, a sense of panic rising inside him.
Putting quite a distance between Higgs and himself, Percy hid in the deep, comfortable sofas that lined the Atrium's walls for the evening. He turned the bracelet, examining it more thoroughly. It seemed old. The silver was grey and matte from age. He didn't recognise any of the quirky little drawings on it, except the style looked Celtic. The green cord seemed to be made from some kind of plant. If Neville Longbottom was present, perhaps he could take a look at it. Surely they were magical, otherwise the bracelet wouldn't work so well. Percy looked up, wishing he had a drink. But he didn't dare leave his safe little corner; he'd prefer not to run into Higgs right away, not until he'd decided what to do. The offer was, however, enticing.
This sudden change in how other men perceived him... it had to be the bracelet, there was no other explanation. Why would a handsome Quidditch player come on to him, to boring, stiff Percy Weasley, if it wasn't because of the small charm? His luck was turning, there was no doubt. He did, however, need time to think of what to do. He had after all a position in the wizarding society, one he would not jeopardise, not even for an affair with someone as handsome as Terence Higgs.
One of the House-elves popped up next to him with a glass of brandy. 'Is good for Department Head Weasley,' the critter insisted. 'Department Head Weasley is to relax. Then he is to find Minister Shacklebolt!'
There was that. Relaxing. Percy grabbed the goblet and downed the content in one go. The alcohol burned in his throat, but it brought with it a blessed warmth and Percy sighed. His shoulders dropped half a floor. The elf certainly had found the good stuff. Perhaps it was his good fortune again? In his corner of the Atrium, sitting in the one of the purple velvet sofas, watching people around him talk and dance and drink, Percy realised that he wanted to take advantage of this unexpected luck. It was of course nothing he'd usually do, it was against any rule Percy had encountered and it was to some degree appallingly immoral. On the other hand, Percy told himself, he hadn't really done anything. Perhaps he could, for once, just take advantage of a favourable destiny? Perhaps, for once, he could experience the excitement of being hunted and desired? Perhaps someone, Higgs or someone else, suddenly would open their eyes and see Percy for who he was, not the boring bureaucrat, but a passionate, if quiet, man with desires and urges like everybody else.
It wasn't really like him to do something like this. There could be a scandal. He pursed his lips, looking at the bracelet. But if there was, then it wouldn't be his fault at all. He'd been under the influence of a spell, so nobody could blame him. Wishing he had yet another drink, Percy sighed. Maybe he should just forget about it all.
'Department Head Weasley is want another drink?' A House-elf poured Percy the glass of brandy he'd merely thought he wanted.
'Er- yes. Thanks.' Percy looked at the elf and the brandy. All he needed was to think of what he wanted and it would appear in front of him? He took the goblet. Cradling it in his hands, he looked at the golden liquid in it. It was real. The effects of the magical bracelet were real. 'I'll do it,' he said to no one in particular. 'I'll do it.'
For once, Percy Weasley would let go of his prim, proper and perfect surface and simply enjoy himself to the fullest. With a bit of help from some kind of ancient Celtic magic, that was.
Watching the throng of guests dancing to the slow music, Percy realised that he wouldn't mind dancing, either. He'd never really done much of it, the annual Yule ball mostly. He remembered clearly how it was to sit there, camouflaging himself as wall-paper, watching the men he desired with women he didn't. Diggory, Krum, Davies, yes. He remembered. All his fellow students drooling over she who would become his brother's wife. Fleur. Percy snorted. He hadn't even looked at her for five seconds, not when the man she was dancing with was-'
'Do you care to dance?' A soft voice pulled Percy out of his musings. 'It's good to see you, Weasley.'
Percy sank. Oh, Merlin! Long muscular legs, those dark, perfect almond-eyes, the smile. He closed his mouth, trying to look remotely intelligent. 'Mr Davies.' He nodded, firm in his determination to enjoy whatever magic the bracelet had evoked. 'Yes, please.'
With a sigh of content, Percy let himself be carried away to the dance floor. He ignored the few witches and wizards who looked at them with light surprise. 'Don't care about them,' Davies murmured in Percy's ear, pulling him closer. Percy could feel Davies' muscular body moving against his own, the constant flexing and relaxing as they moved together, swaying to the music. 'I saw you. At the Falcons-Harpies game in October,' Davies said. 'It becomes you, your new position.'
'Thank you,' Percy croaked, flushing.
Davies tightened his grip. 'You were always... unapproachable. At Hogwarts. Didn't think you'd care to dance then.'
'With you?' Percy's eyes widened in surprise. 'But nobody asked me. And you were interested in Miss Chang and girls.'
'Long legs, gorgeous blue eyes and freckles? Of course I'd have liked to. Cho was a mistake. As was Penny, if I'm not entirely wrong.' Roger Davies' smile was wide and warm. 'Judging from the way you react to me. Glad I took the chance.'
Deciding to be courageous, Percy managed a smile of his own. 'You're not. Wrong.' He let himself melt into Davies' embrace, surrendering himself to his lead. He looked up at the taller man, lips parted invitingly. 'Roger.'
'God, you flirt!' Davies sighed heavily, his breath warm on Percy's cheek. 'If I had know you were this wicked, Weasl- Percy, Hogwarts certainly had been more interesting.' His hand moved a bit down, too far down to be proper, but as Percy had decided to enjoy himself, knowing he couldn't be blamed for anything, he let it pass. Davies thumb moved on his back in slow, caressing movements. 'If you knew how much it turned me on to watch you study,' he murmured into Percy's ear, 'so caught up in a book. The perfect Percy Weasley. I often wondered how you'd look--naked.'
All right, so Davies was coming on to him a bit strongly and Percy felt dizzy. The bracelet was stronger than he'd imagined. He'd never dreamed that it would feel so good being held against another male body. Or, rather he'd dreamt, all right, but the real thing was better than anything he'd be able to imagine by himself. When the dance ended, Percy was aroused and blushing. 'I need to... the loo,' he said, trying to hide his erection. It was extraordinarily embarrassing. Percy wanted more, another dance, Roger's body pressed against his, but he had to go relieve himself, or even more embarrassing things would happen. 'I'll be back.'
Percy told himself that he wasn't fleeing. It was a very strange situation, this, one he wasn't used to handling. Not only had he one, but two attractive men lusting after him. Percy had never been hunted and he had definitely never been offered the possibility of choosing between two of the men of his dreams. He felt confused and aroused as if everything was happening to somebody else. The arousal he could do something about and not being achingly hard might leave him able to actually think. He didn't turn around to look at Roger Davies, but he could feel his gaze following him as he walked through the brightly lit Atrium towards the smaller hall and the lifts. He needed to get back to his office, into his private loo where he could toss of without being disturbed.
Luckily not many of the guests were using the lifts. Percy stepped up to one of the golden grilles, waiting for the lift to descend. As the lift doors opened, somebody went into the lift with him. The doors closed and the grille clattered back in place.
'Allow me.' The other wizard pushed the button of Level One.
'Level Four, please,' Percy managed.
'Mine. If you want to be.'
The wizard next to him grabbed him and pushed him up against the lift doors. Gasping in surprise, Percy recognised the man immediately. Adrian Pucey was assistant to the Chair of the International Association of Quidditch and an avid player still. 'Pucey! What are you doing?'
'I saw you. With Davies and Higgs. How you rubbed yourself against Davies.' Pucey's fingers were tightly wound around Percy's wrists. 'They're not good enough for you,' he purred. 'Someone powerful like yourself... you don't need rubbish like that. You need someone who knows what to do with power. Someone who wants it, sees its attraction. It took you a while to develop, but I think you see the allure now, Department Head Weasley.' Pucey's strong, muscular body was aligned with Percy's. 'Both in and outside the office.'
Pucey's hip brushed Percy's hardness and he held back a moan. The situation was unexpected, but, Percy had to admit, not entirely unpleasant. A tough, brutal Quidditch player holding him in a rough grip... Percy had fantasies like that about being taken, being ravished against his will. The lift rattled upwards and it was hard to decide whether he'd rather get out or stay in it.
'Come on, Percy.' Pucey's thigh moved in between Percy's legs. 'You were always like that, longing for those who had more... punch that you.'
'Level Four. Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.' A female voice announced the floor, but the lift just passed it over and continued to ascend.
'Give in. You won't regret it.' Pucey licked his lips and looked at Percy as if he was a particularly delicious titbit.
It was too much. It was everything Percy wanted, and too much at the same time. He didn't bloody know Pucey, apart from their years together at Hogwarts he had only worked with him a few times because of his affiliation with international Quidditch and its organisations. Had they seen each other for a while first, Percy would gladly have surrendered himself to the pleasures that Pucey seemed to know about, pleasures of power and submission. But like this, out of the blue? No! Definitely no!
'No. Stop!' Percy needed to think. He needed to breathe, and he needed to meet a nice, calm man, not one who wanted to take it all the way in a Ministry lift during a party. One who knew the right time and the right place.
The lift seemed to have heard him. 'Level Two. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Auror Headquarters and the Wizengamot Administration Services,' the metallic voice cut in, bringing Percy back to reality.
'Pucey. Adrian. Stop.' Percy breathed in deeply. 'Not here. Not now.' He put a hand on Pucey's chest. A very nice chest, Percy had to admit. Adrian Pucey was clearly a sensible man. He let go of Percy's wrists and took a step back, giving Percy room.
'I want to see you, Weasley. Another time. Promise me.'
Percy didn't promise anything since the lift doors slid up with a loud, rattling sound and he was able to get away. Percy didn't care what level they were on, for he needed to get out of that lift and find somewhere quiet where he could wank. 'Not now!' Percy insisted and ran down the corridor, not caring that he didn't belong on Level Two. He just needed a cubicle where he could lock himself up for fifteen minutes and decide what to do. He slipped into the nearest loo hoping that he wasn't followed. He waited a few minutes. Pucey seemed to have taken the hint. Five points to Slytherin.
Percy sat down on the toilet, leaning against the cold tiles behind it. Distractedly he turned the bracelet between his fingers. What kind of odd magic was this? His luck would change, Miss Lovegood had said. It certainly had, but now he had too much of it. It was as if his every thought turned into reality. He had to find out what the small string of vine and wood and silver did. Percy fiddled with the bracelet, but he couldn't find a lock. It was stuck. He'd need his wand to get it off.
Before he could panic he was disturbed by voices. Somebody was speaking outside the loo, in the corridor. A door slammed and somebody passed by the door to the gents. Luckily it made Percy's erection disappear, thus sparing him the humiliation of tossing off at the ministerial premises. Such actions were acts that no decent employee should engage in, just as it was unacceptable to engage in such debauchery as Adrian Pucey had suggested. Percy knew that if he were to chose someone to go out with, the person in question had to understand that kind of behaviour would be highly discouraged; it could not happen here, at the Ministry. Neither kissing or wanking or worse. Percy told himself that was what he needed: a calm, controlled partner who didn't push him against walls or rubbed against him at the dance floor or told him they wanted to see him naked. At least not inside the Ministry, although the idea of performing such wrong and dirty things was quite arousing. To be honest, Pucey's suggestions had merit. Dirty and wrong felt right. As long as right did not jeopardise Percy's flawless reputation.
Smoothing his robe to make certain that no traces of his unexpected encounters could be seen, Percy unlocked the cubicle's door and went to wash his hands. Looking into the mirror over the basin, he realised that nothing had changed. He was still Percy Weasley. He was still thin and his glasses were still heavy and his freckles were still as prominent and undignified as they were a few hours ago. Then again, there was colour in his cheeks and his eyes behind the glass were shining, as if there was more life there.
'I always thought you looked good,' someone said. 'I had a crush on your sister once, you know. Maybe it's a Weasley-thing?'
Percy sighed. Not again. He didn't have to turn around, for he could see Neville Longbottom's muscular shape in the mirror. 'Thank you, Neville, but-'
'Sorry. Didn't want to intrude. I just thought you looked distressed. I mean... running down the corridor to the loo.' Neville smiled. 'I just wanted to see if you were all right.'
Percy turned. Neville's smile was contagious, he'd seen it times enough when they were working together for Minister Shacklebolt before Neville ran off to become a Herbology professor. Percy couldn't help it. He felt his mouth form a similar smile. 'Erm-'
'Are you sure you're all right?' Neville reached out, putting a hand on Percy's shoulder. It was warm and hard and somehow safe.
'Yes. I am. And I'm glad I ran into you,' Percy said, and that was the simple truth. He held out the arm on which the bracelet was placed. 'I just got his from Miss Lovegood... Luna. Do you know what kind of vines these are?' He had wanted to ask Neville about the materials so it was no wonder the bracelet had procured the man in question. Then it hit Percy: he had also wanted a calm and collected man instead of those coming on to him so ruthlessly. Oh, Merlin.
'Here, let me see.' Neville took Percy's hand.
Neville's hands felt much better without fabric between them and Percy's skin. Percy kept in a small moan at the thought of how Neville's callused fingers would slide down his naked body, to touch and rub against sensitive spots. Neville was not a weakling, his shoulders were as broad as any Quidditch player's. Herbology had done him good, it seemed. Percy imagined how it would be to lie under Neville's well-trained body, feeling his muscles rippling, his powerful hips moving faster and faster...
'Nothing.' Percy closed his eyes, trying to get a hold of himself. Luckily Neville hadn't noticed anything strange.
Neville pointed at the thin green vine. 'That, there. That's fluxweed and lovage, or so I thought at the first glance. They're used in love potions and Polyjuice Potion, should have magical properties, all right. The pieces of wood are all wand-wood. And the silver is unicorn hair.' Neville looked up. 'Or rather it is all made to look like those things. But they aren't. Peculiar artefact. There is nothing dangerous about it, I think. Where did Luna get it?'
'Brittany, she said. In a cauldron.' Percy's hand was still in Neville's warm fingers. 'Can I have my hand back, please?' Preferably before he did something senseless, like kissing Longbottom and ask him for a rough shag up against the wall. God almighty, how he needed sex. His erection had returned, harder and more aching than before. He needed to get laid, and as quickly and as roughly as possible. Which meant that he had to leave, for he had no intentions of letting things go too far. Not inside the Ministry. If his luck kept up with the current pace, he'd have suitors waiting outside his flat already. Wouldn't be a problem.
Neville didn't let go. 'Between Christmas and New Year's,' he said, 'perhaps you'd like to come to Hogwarts and see the greenhouses?' He smiled that annoyingly cute smile that made Percy weak at the knees, just a little.
As far as Percy knew, greenhouses in December were just as entertaining and interesting as a junction at the Muggle motorways. He'd seen them. He'd spent ten minutes at one after a miscalculated Disapparition. Junction 4 of something called the M1 would be forever imprinted on his memory as the most boring place on earth. Clearly, Neville had something else in mind than looking at empty greenhouses. 'Erm- maybe. I'll... send you an owl.' Percy was just about to run away, but thought better of it. 'I'm sorry. You're... I'd like to, but I can't decide right now. I've had the strangest evening, you see. The bracelet... Miss Lovegood said it was for good luck, but I think it's broken because I have all these men...' Percy sounded almost desperate and he definitely didn't make sense. 'I think I need to go. Owl. Later.'
Not only was he loosing the ability to speak in coherent sentences but the entire event was bordering the surreal. Percy walked away, out of the gents, down the corridor and back to the lifts. He needed to get back to his office to fetch his cloak. He needed to find Minister Shacklebolt and apologise before he left.
Behind him a door slammed. 'Percy?' Neville was standing a bit down the corridor. 'Kingsley was looking for you just before. Met him in the Atrium before I went up.'
'I'll find him!' Percy jumped into the lift, relived to see that it was empty. Obviously his determination to reach his office on Level Four had been strong, for the bracelet did not interfere, or maybe that was precisely what it had done: Percy managed to avoid further encounters, which, seeing that he now had offers from four of the most handsome men in the wizarding world, was a relief. He didn't think his brain was able to handle the process of choosing between them if there were more added to the list. There was of course also the problem with the bracelet. When - if - he took it off, his luck would run out and the men would disappear, probably repulsed and angry with him. Percy sighed. If at least he could get laid before the effect ran out.
He opened the door to his office, then closed it again. It couldn't be! Okay, so he'd looked forward to spend some time in Oliver's company. Only this had not what he'd had in mind. Bracing himself, convinced that he was hallucinating, he pushed the door open once more, only to be met with the sight of Marcus Flint with his trousers down his knees and Oliver on the floor in front of him, sucking him off. Oliver let go of Flint's substantial cock with a loud slurp. He wiped his mouth with a hand. Percy wasn't sure whether he'd like to do the same; he felt like drooling. Flint was even more gorgeous than he'd imagined. The man still looked like a troll, but that body... that cock... Percy just stared.
'I think it's time for a Christmas present,' Oliver said. 'If you'd, please, Marcus?'
Before Percy managed to react, he was dragged into his own office. Flint, who hadn't cared to tug himself in, pulled Percy close, his back against the broad chest. Percy made a decidedly undignified moan. The situation reminded him of one of his recurring fantasies a bit too much. The one where he was fucked hard in the arse by Flint while Oliver sucked him off.
'Yes or no?' Oliver looked up, his lips still glistening and red. 'I know you want this, Percy. I have eyes. I've seen how you look at Marcus. Not to speak of your rather intense interest in what we do in bed, Marcus and me. So, what will it be?'
Flint slid a hand down Percy's body. It was large and rough and Flint was less than gentle. He cupped Percy's renewed erection, squeezing it hard. 'Think this is a yes. Right, Weasley?'
Percy just whined and gave up. If he was going to make a fool of himself, then he'd rather do it with his best friend and his lover. Helplessly he leaned back against Flint, surrendering himself to whatever the couple had planned to do to him. He shivered and made another pathetic sound.
'Thought so,' Oliver said and went on his knees in front of Percy.
Flint was pulling at Percy's expensive robe, probably leaving it beyond repair. No, Flint was certainly not gentle, and that wasn't what Percy wanted that instant, neither. 'Please,' he moaned loudly, not certain what he wanted at all. Flint pinched a nipple, stretching it to make it hurt. It felt so good, for in that same instant, Oliver swallowed Percy's cock to the hilt. 'Fuck!' Percy cried out, so very close to coming. Oliver's tongue slid over the head, teasing the slit, before he took Percy into his throat again. Percy only managed to hold back because Flint pinched the other nipple, even harder this time.
With his robe pulled up, Percy had no trouble feeling Flint move between his cheeks, the huge cock rubbing firmly up and down, leaving a trail of pre-come on Percy's skin. Flint groaned loudly as he thrust against Percy's arse.
Oliver let go of Percy's cock. 'No, Marcus! I won't allow it. Get off between his thighs instead.'
'If I get my turn too, then yes.'
'Never! You're mine.'
Flint sounded almost as pathetic as Percy had done, but quite a bit more possessive. Flint might be big and dominant, but it seemed as if Oliver had a great deal more power than Percy thought. Flint was probably wrapped around Oliver's little finger for he didn't argue any further.
'Press your thighs together.' Oliver looked up at Percy. 'Even after three weeks of preparation he split me the first time he fucked me. Wouldn't want that to happen.'
'Yes! Oh! No, I-' Percy really couldn't think. Right now he didn't care, he just wanted to come, preferably with a large cock up his arse. He tried to make sense of what Oliver said. 'Just do it,' he whimpered, desperate to have Oliver's hot mouth around his cock again. 'Just put something in me!'
Somebody whispered a spell and Flint's fingers slid into Percy's hole. He moaned shamelessly, moving to get them further inside. With his hands on Percy's thighs Oliver began sucking him off again. Flint's huge cock slid between his legs, rubbing at his perineum. The head pushed against his bollocks. He heard the sound a robe rustling and Oliver groaned. He was jerking off to the sight of his lover finger-fucking his best friend. Flint managed to push another finger inside and Percy panted, trying not to come at the sensation of at least three large fingers moving in his arse.
'Would feel so good to push my cock in you,' Flint growled in his ear. 'Have you crying for me to ram you hard.'
'Oh, fuck!' Percy cried out, eratically thrusting into Oliver's mouth. 'Fuck!' Flint was ruthless and Percy loved it and so did, evidently, Oliver for he moaned loudly as he sucked Percy, as if he was even more eager for him to come. It wouldn't take long. Flint, too, was close. He thrust hard, three four times and came with a growl, warm splashes of semen ending between Percy's cheeks, soaking his bollocks, running down his legs. There was no holding back, and supported by Flint, Percy came hard as Oliver fought to swallow everything. Oliver's come, too, ended up on Percy's skin.
Panting for air, drenched by sweat and semen, Percy sagged, his knees refusing to work. 'Why?' he managed when he was finally able to breathe. 'Why me?'
Oliver stood. He was a bit less sweaty and messy. 'You looked as if you needed it. You don't have a boyfriend, and we wouldn't mind...we talked about, you know... playing with you once in a while. We both think you're-' Oliver looked at Percy with a predatory glint in his eyes. 'Interesting.'
For a few seconds Percy didn't react. All right, so he had expressed a wish for hot sex with several men, and now that he'd had it, it didn't feel as good as it he'd thought it would. This was between friends, better than a pity-fuck, but there was no gentleness, no love but the love good friends held for each other. Flint's embrace was warm and rough and Oliver's smile was relaxed and sweet, but it wasn't enough. The sex had been good, only it was just sex.
He pushed his robe down. It was ruined. 'I... appreciate it. This. Percy reached out and stroked Oliver's hand. 'I admit I've fantasised about something like it,' Percy volunteered, blushing. It was a bit embarrassing, to be honest, that Flint and Oliver had seen through his thinly veiled attempts to pretend he didn't notice how gorgeously sexy they were. 'It was wonderful, it's just that it is not what I want.' He frowned. He needed to find out what it was that he needed and then ask the bracelet for it. 'Could you please leave me alone? I have to figure things out. I'm sorry.'
Flint showed a rare glimpse of tenderness. 'All right there, Weasley?'
'Yeah. I am.' Percy nodded although he was lying. He was all right with what had happened, but he wasn't entirely happy about the things that the bracelet had made him do during the course of the evening. 'Just need a quiet drink by myself.'
As soon as Oliver and Flint had disappeared, Percy summoned the bottle of Firewhisky he kept in one of the desk drawers. He took a swig, then yet another before he sat down, wincing at the weak pain in this butt. He should clean himself and get home. He sighed deeply, the pleasure still lingering in his body, making things worse. It had been the most peculiar evening. He drank some more of the whisky before he put the bottle away. He could feel the alcohol take effect; he felt slightly drunk and with the drunkenness a sense of falling apart appeared. The bracelet sat on his arm as a reminder of the odd magic that had given him what he'd asked for. None of the offers had been precisely what Percy longed for, they had just been aspects of a whole that Percy had yet to describe. 'Please, give me twelve hours of peace to figure this out,' Percy said aloud, hoping it would help.
There was a loud knocking on the office door. Apparently not.
Suddenly very aware of his dishevelled and debauched state, Percy fumbled for his wand. If he could reach the loo before anyone burst in here, he might be able to appear the controlled and proper department head that the public saw him as. He groaned as he got up, hurrying to reach the gents before it was too late.
The door opened. 'I've been looking for you, Percy.' The Minister for Magic stepped into the office. He looked at Percy for two seconds. 'Ah.'
A deer caught in a Petrifying spell couldn't have frozen faster than Percy that instant.
The Minister took in Percy's appearance. He raised his eyebrows. 'Is there something you'd like to tell me, Percy?'
There was no way around it. The Minister would surely have him fired and out of the office by tomorrow, anyway, so Percy instantly decided that he could just as well take advantage of Minister Shacklebolt's offer. At least the former Auror was famous for having extraordinary intellectual capacity and if there was something Percy needed right then, intellectual capacity was it.
'I think I've done something I'll regret,' Percy said, scrabbling for hold at the office wall. 'I'm-' His face contracted in a grimace that expressed both pain and sadness. 'I don't know what to do.'
'That bad, eh?' Kingsley's eyes were sympathetic. He took a few steps, offering Percy a hand. 'Are you hurt?'
Percy didn't take it. 'Don't. I'm... dirty.' He was. He felt foolish and idiotic and it didn't help that Flint's semen was dripping down his thighs. 'I've done something really stupid and-' Percy leant against the wall and hid his face in his hands. 'I'm sorry. I know you'll have me dismissed and fired for this. I just can't take any more right now.'
'You've done something stupid?' Kingsley frowned. 'Killed anyone? Or hexed them irreparably?' He wrapped his arm around Percy's waist, holding him up. 'Seems more like somebody did something stupid to you. What with the robe and everything.'
Percy didn't want the Minister to touch him, but then again, it'd probably attract more attention if he was sprawling on the floor because he couldn't stand. 'No. I... I've been with someone. In a carnal sense. Here. In my office. With two men, to be precise.'
'Oh.' Minister Shacklebolt didn't look entirely enthused about the thought. 'Someone you-' He hesitated, as if he was uncertain how to continue. 'Someone you'd like to be with?'
'Yes. No. I mean. I did it willingly.' Percy didn't know what he meant, but he wanted to get away from the party and the Minister as soon as humanly possible. The Minister's kindness only made things worse. 'I'm sorry, sir. Please, let me go.' Percy hiccuped. It sounded a bit like a sob.
'How much have you had to drink?'
Minister Shacklebolt sounded serious and strict and the tone made Percy attempt to get a grip on himself. 'Too much to Apparate. Better use the Floo. Not much good in Splinched condition.'
'Stop being a fool.' The Minister pulled Percy closer. 'We're leaving.'
'No! You can't leave the party. Your guests-'
It didn't help. The pull of the Apparition turned the world into a blur.
They tumbled into a room which Percy didn't recognise. It was a narrow living room. The white walls made it seem light, even at this time of night.
'My flat. Thought you could use some peace and quiet and a cuppa. And-' Shacklebolt looked at the torn robe, 'perhaps a bath and a change of clothes.
'I don't want to be a bother,' Percy said. 'It is not proper for the Minister for Magic to bring home an employee. I should leave.'
'I'll have you fired immediately if that helps. And, please, call me Kingsley.' Kingsley turned Percy around. 'The bathroom is in there. You are not in a state that allows you to go home by yourself. Go bathe. I'll find you a clean robe.'
Percy knew that Kingsley Shacklebolt didn't take no for an answer. He'd been working as his assistant long enough to know how stubborn the Minister could be. He gave up arguing before even trying.
Half an hour later, wrapped in a robe about ten sizes too big, Percy made his way on bare feet into the small living room. A pot of jasmine-scented tea stood on the coffee table in front of the heavy leather sofa. A fire burned merrily in the fireplace, spreading a blessed warmth in the room. He was clean and quite sober.
Kingsley sat in one corner of the sofa, drinking tea. He put the cup down and patted at the seat next to him. 'Why don't you sit and tell me what happened?' Kingsley urged. 'We're not going back to the Ministry. I sent Potter an owl. They know we've left.'
Percy panicked. It was already bad enough that the Minister for Magic had left the social event of the year for his sake. 'You mean... you've told them we're... together?' He paled. 'What if they... your reputation?'
'I'm good, thanks. I don't really have a reputation, but if snatching you out of your office and bring you here may give me one, perhaps I should take the chance and add a bit of rogue, rakish charm to my otherwise clean sheet. I suppose kidnapping the Ministry's youngest and most handsome Department Head and bring him to one's private chambers is quite roguish.' Kingsley winked. 'Sit down, Percy, and stop making a fuss. Nobody bloody cares that you're with me.'
A grave understatement. It would be all over the Prophet tomorrow if that rag got hold of such a juicy bit of information. No matter that Kingsley merely had offered his help, Skeeter and her band of cronies would get a much more interesting story out of it if they realised that Department Head Weasley had been Apparated away by the Minister for Magic.
Kingsley poured tea. Percy sat down on the edge of the sofa, unsure what to do. A cup of tea was put in front of him.
'So... out with it,' Kingsley said softly. 'Better get it out now. Not good to let it fester.'
Percy took the tea cup and drank some of the strong, sweet tea. He wished he knew where to start.
'At the beginning,' Kingsley said as if he knew precisely what Percy had wished for.
'Oh. Yes.' Percy didn't want to tell Kingsley how foolish he'd acted. But Kingsley had been so kind, and Percy would be out of a job tomorrow no matter what, so to say that Percy owed the Minister an explanation wouldn't be wrong. 'It all started with this bracelet.' Percy held out his arm for Kingsley to see. 'It's giving me everything I wish for and it's not really what I wanted at all! It made me do so many stupid things and... and...' Percy felt the minimal control he had over himself slip away. He was so confused and tired.
Kingsley put a hand over Percy's. 'Calm down.'
Percy heaved a sigh and managed to get a hold of himself. Enough to tell Kingsley the entire story. Curled up in the corner of the sofa, the account of his conquests did little to improve his confidence. Good Lord, he'd been so foolish.
Kingsley had been quiet during the tale, even through the not-very-detailed recollection of Percy's encounter with Flint and Oliver. 'That certainly is an interesting piece of magic,' Kingsley said. He rubbed his bald head. 'Seems powerful.'
'I'd like to get it off, but there is no lock. I don't want to wish or think anything. Didn't go so well before. ' Percy hugged himself. He felt cold, despite the fire.
'Shouldn't be a problem. Don't think there's any Dark Arts involved.'
Kingsley handed Percy a blanket. The brown wool scratched a bit, but it was warm. Percy wrapped it around his shoulders. Percy wouldn't mind if Kingsley tried to open the bracelet. If anyone knew what they were doing, it would be Kingsley. He'd never let him come to harm, Percy was certain. He trusted Kingsley. Explicitly. He held out his arm again, letting Kingsley do with the damned piece of run-amok magic as he liked.
The bracelet diverted Kingsley's attention for some time. He examined it closely, turning it inside out, studying each little piece of wood and string. He drew his wand, waved it in an intricate pattern over Percy's arm before he put the wand down on the coffee table. 'I don't detect any foul magic at all. Should be safe enough to remove it.' Kingsley muttered an incantation which didn't seem to help. 'I think we need the assistance from Muggle tools here,' Kingsley said and summoned a pair of scissors. Calmly he pulled the thin piece of string and cut it.
The bracelet clattered as it fell on the table. Nothing happened. Percy was so relieved that he could have kissed Kingsley in gratitude if it hadn't be because he felt so exhausted that could barely move a limb.
Since the bracelet was off, Kingsley seemed to take that as a possibility to ask questions which would otherwise have evoked more magic. He really was a considerate man, Percy thought.
'So, you wished for...men? It seems to me as if you've only got fragments of your wishes, though. A bit from each man.' Kingsley looked at Percy, as if he was attempting to assess his sanity, just by looking at him. 'So this one man, he should be one who'd cherish you, want you? One who'd recognise your relationship? One who'd understand the allure of power and what to do with it, how to resist it? One who's intelligent and whose intellect is admirable?'
'Yes,' Percy said, blushing. 'That's about it.'
'Not to speak of a man who is calm and kind and a Quidditch player and who likes hot, rough sex in inappropriate places?' Kingsley smiled. 'You're certainly demanding. No wonder the bracelet had to send you your wish in bits and pieces. Can't be many men like that in the wizarding world. Did you have any preferences to which team he should play for?'
'What?' Percy was slightly more awake now. 'Preference?'
'Yeah, you see, I played for Hufflepuff for five years, but I knew early on that I'd rather be an Auror than a professional Quidditch player. Now I only manage a weekly game with a few of my former Auror colleagues. We play at Montrose Magpies' pitch on Sunday mornings; it's really kind of them to let us. Is that all right with you? The Magpies? I'm a fair beater if I may say so. And I'm good on a broom. My speciality is the Bludger Backbeat.'
Percy's brain went into circuit overload. Kingsley Shacklebolt in Quidditch gear and on a fast broom? 'No,' he croaked. 'I don't have any preferences. What kind of broom?'
'Firebolt 2002. I ruined my old 2001. Flew it too roughly and crashed it. Could take you on a ride if you want?'
Percy made a sound, little distinguishable from a moan. He looked up at Kingsley. 'What...'
'There is one more thing we need to establish. Just for future reference.' Kingsley's smile was white and sharp. 'Do I need to drag you back to the Ministry and take you over a desk every day, or is the Minister for Magic's own bed good enough for you?'
Percy sank. He was rather certain he'd fallen asleep and now was dreaming the most perfect dream he'd ever had. 'No, the bed is fine.'
'Good,' Kingsley said and pulled Percy into his arms, hesitating just an instant as if to ask permission before his lips caught Percy's in a heated kiss.
The kiss made a difference. Not just because nobody else had cared to kiss Percy, but because the embrace and the kiss and Kingsley's warm tongue felt right. There was none of the reluctance he'd experienced with any of the other men. There was just the warmth and the slowly rising fire inside his body. He knew Kingsley, had worked for him for years, knew what he took in his coffee, knew that he usually arrived five minutes late in the morning because he wanted his tie to be perfect. He knew that Kingsley disliked shrimp but loved lobster and that he usually went to see his mother every other Saturday. He knew that Kingsley was everything one would want for in a man, even without the Quidditch on Sundays which admittedly was one of the things Percy hadn't known about Kingsley Shacklebolt.
And now he also knew that Kingsley made the most intriguing little moans when he kissed and that Kingsley's cock was almost as big as Marcus Flint's, for the erection rubbing against Percy's hip was impressive. Percy also knew, as Kingsley guided him down to lie on the sofa, that there was nothing he'd rather do that instant than to let Kingsley make love to him, magic or no magic.
Percy's robe slid open, revealing his naked body to Kingsley.
'Beautiful,' Kingsley whispered and leant down to kiss his way from Percy's mouth to his navel.
Percy hissed as Kingsley's hot lips brushed the head of his damp cock. He pulled at Kingsley's shirt. 'You too. Naked.'
Ignoring his request, Kingsley sucked Percy's cock and the mere sight of the full lips sliding over and around the head was extremely arousing. Kingsley took the length in hand, rubbing and squeezing and moving until Percy was certain he couldn't hold back any longer.
'Please,' Percy moaned. 'Naked! Just- let- me- come!'
'Patience.' Kingsley got up. He toed off his boots before he dragged his robe over his head, leaving the garment on the floor with little consideration for it.
Kingsley was naked under the dress robes. Bathed in the golden light from the fireplace and the lit candles, his muscular body was the perfect example of what the demands of Auror training and Quidditch did to a man.
Percy blinked and sighed, entirely speechless. Now he was certain he was asleep. Kingsley Shacklebolt was everything Percy ever wanted, all his dreams come true. His ability to speak was luckily not required for Kingsley lay down on top of him again, making any form of speech impossible as he resumed the kissing. Kingsley's kisses were demanding and deep and Percy gave in to them, his naked skin rubbing against Kingsley's toned body.
Percy put his arms around Kingsley's back, scratching and scrabbling as Kingsley pressed his heavy cock against Percy's, thrusting in a slow rhythm.
'Touch. Please!' Percy reached down between them, only to meet Kingsley's hand there. He entangled his fingers with Kingsley's tightening his grip. It didn't take long before the friction made them both moan. The rhythm and their breathing was erratic and hurried and their kisses breathless and wet. Percy couldn't stop it, the orgasm. He broke the kiss to breathe. One look at Kingsley's sweaty face, his eyes closed in pleasure, was enough. Percy's release was different this time. Everything about it was right: Kingsley's dark groans, the sensation of damp, silken skin against skin, Kingsley's mouth coming closer, the alluring lips taking yet another kiss. Percy sighed and gave in to the orgasm. Above him, Kingsley, too, froze before he thrust hard into their joined hands, spilling his semen over Percy's stomach.
Panting, Percy lay with closed eyes, unable to move for some time. Finally he put his arms around Kingsley's broad back, pulling him down on top of him. Even the heaviness felt precisely right. He only opened his eyes as Kingsley kissed him softly before he sat up.
Kingsley must have cast a cleaning spell, for Percy suddenly felt less sweaty and sticky. 'Nice,' he sighed.
'Indeed.' Kingsley pulled Percy up against his chest. 'Do you understand now?'
'It's just that I always have looked at you as my boss,' Percy sighed when Kingsley finally let go of him. 'I've been so blind.'
'Blind enough not to see that I am in love with you.' Kingsley pressed yet another kiss to Percy's lips. 'Despite being with me every day for years.'
There was such tenderness in Kingsley's eyes that Percy lost the ability to breathe. He let himself bask in the perfection of the moment. Then reality hit. 'Merlin!' He remembered the bracelet. 'It's that wretched thing again.' Suddenly his heart ached. He knew with a deep certainty that what Kingsley offered was precisely what he needed, everything he'd ever wanted. He couldn't take the offer, though. Kingsley's feelings were created by the magic bracelet. Neither of them were responsible for their feelings or actions. 'We can't. The magic.'
Then Kingsley laughed. 'You should probably see this.' Still with one arm around Percy, Kingsley took the bracelet. 'There. Turn it around. The second piece of wood.'
Percy did as he was told. He looked at the piece in question, more confused that he'd been all evening. 'What am I looking for? It's a piece of wood.'
'No. It isn't. It's plastic--Muggle plastic. And the logo there, on the edge, is from a Muggle toy shop. Toys R Us. It's a toy, Percy. For Muggle children. Not magic.'
Percy didn't understand. At all. 'You're saying that... everything that happened tonight... was... what?' Percy frowned and looked up at Kingsley. 'That means I've- that I've behaved very-'
'It means,' Kingsley said and pulled Percy into his arms again, 'that quite a few men actually discovered what a resourceful, intelligent and handsome man you are and that freckles are the new sexy. Is it so difficult to believe that men might find you very attractive? I certainly know that I do.'
Percy felt hot and dizzy. What Kingsley felt was real. It was a miracle. He realised too, that his own feelings were true, and they were not just driven by lust and desire. He wasn't in love with Kingsley just yet, but he was certain that it was just a matter of time. Seconds, probably. 'I should be ashamed of myself, behaving so utterly improper.' Percy hid his head at Kingsley's chest. 'And I even lost my position.'
'Of course you haven't lost your position, Department Head Weasley. I've said it before: don't be a fool. It's all right not to be perfectly perfect. Nobody is.'
'Although you come close.' Percy smiled, then looking up, still with the traces of the smile on his lips. 'I guess my luck has been with me tonight, despite everything.'
'It has. Probably still is, that is if you'd like to test whether my bed suits your demands.'
'I thought you'd never ask.' Percy wrapped his arms around Kingsley's neck. 'Seems as if I still have some luck left for the both of us.'