A/N: First off, happy new year to all!!! Now I just want to apologize for seemingly dropping off the face of the planet. My only excuse is that my daughter learned to crawl and cruise, and life for me at that point changed completely. I understand if interest in this story has waned but I'm determined to finish it if for no other reason than its been nagging at me like crazy. Anyway, enough of my groveling. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Chapter 5 – If The Robes Fit
Percy listed dangerously to the side, stunned by the jolting kick-start their bond had made at the initiation of physical contact. The subsequent warm purr of their magic blending had his head swimming through thick, intoxicating waves of lust. After a few moments of being caught up in a sea of sensation, Percy managed to locate his centre. He gave his head a quick shake and drove his focus onto the front hall of their home. Without warning, apparation wrapped them both in its sickening squeeze.
Feeling as though her innards were on the verge of being crushed, Pansy clutched tighter to the man in her arms and, clenching her eyes shut as she felt herself nearing the edge of unconsciousness, pressed her forehead against his chest. Within seconds though the feeling was gone and the silence that encompassed her world was deafening.
Glancing about, Percy took in his surroundings then looked down. Pansy was still holding his hand, but at some point had wrapped her other arm tightly around his waist and had her face buried in his shirt. The feel of her supple body pressed firmly against his was sending his ability to form coherent thought into a tailspin. The temptation to fold his free arm around her was almost crippling.
Instead, Percy cleared his throat loudly and waited for her to acknowledge their position. Completely disoriented, Pansy nuzzled her face further into his chest and gave a slight whimper. Percy shuddered and released a muted groan of his own, but resolved to put an end to the precarious moment.
“Come on, love, we’re here,” he mumbled.
His eyes fell shut as he winced at the accidental endearment. It was nearly impossible for him not to slip back into their old ways, especially when she was gripping him so closely. But all it took he acknowledged was for her to regain herself and he’d be thrust into a world of humiliation and self doubt.
Pansy sighed deeply and, placing her chin on his chest, looked up at him. Percy could not… Would not meet her gaze. Their current state of affairs was difficult enough without him getting lulled by her deep, chocolate brown eyes. It took Pansy a few long seconds of staring at his face turned determinedly to the side before she realized the wrongness of what she was doing. Mortified, she violently drew herself back, and with trembling hands began to straighten her appearance.
‘How thoroughly embarrassing!’ she inwardly scolded herself. There was no denying she was the one clinging to him.
Unwilling to examine the reasons for the past few moments too closely, Pansy instead chose to glance about at her new environment. She inhaled a slow reverent breath at what she beheld, and began to stagger slightly backward in a small circle. The room itself must have been twice the size of her father’s dining hall. The floor was a large black and white checkered marble floor and the walls were a pristine white. A massive crystal chandelier hung brilliantly over the yawning space and a large, round mahogany table with an exquisite display of white orchids graced the centre of the room. It was magnificent. It was decadent. It was sleek.
“This is our home?” she panted.
“Yes,” Percy managed in quiet pride, the approval written all over her bolstering his hope. “Well actually, it’s the front hall. Did you want to see the rest of the house? If not, we can just gather your things and go if you prefer.”
“Is the rest of the house as grand as this?” she asked, disregarding the second part of his proposal.
“As what… the front hall?”
“Yes,” she snapped waspishly, cutting a nasty glare his way.
“Um… yes. In my opinion it is,” he offered reluctantly, demurring at her volatility.
“But… but you’re a Weasley,” she stammered, still too caught up in her appraisal of the room to be aware of how deeply her insult would pierce him.
`”Yes, quite astounding really,” Percy responded flatly, feeling his newly acquired optimism deflate. “On second thought, perhaps today isn’t an ideal time for a tour.”
The abruptness of his tone instantly drew her attention. It didn’t take a legimillen to sense that he was put out. Not that she truly cared about his feelings, but it struck her that she had to keep him amiable for at least the next few hours if she was going finagle a viewing of the rest of the house. Their home was not what she’d expected. She simply had to see it to fully understand what she could lay claim to, and if that meant flirting with the Weasel to keep him happy then so be it. She steeled herself for the unsavoury task ahead and set her shoulders back.
Allowing a playful smirk to squirrel its way onto her lips, Pansy sauntered lazily over to him, linked her arm with his, and gave a light sigh at the rekindling of their latent connection. The heated buzz was having some rather interesting effects on her mind and body.
“Why not? I haven’t got anything else planned for the day,” she purred, gazing up at him through her lashes.
Percy flushed red right to the tips of his ears, and looked down shyly at his feet. A shiver of pleasure rippled down her spine and she gasped in shock. Where had that come from? Was that her, or had he caused it somehow?
Knowing his wife too well, Percy unwillingly disentangled himself from her, fighting against his instinct to draw her closer. His girl never made such an about face in mood and action unless she was up to something.
“But I do,” he countered, trying to ignore the fullness of her pout at his withdrawal. “This home doesn’t pay for itself and I have a lot of work to catch up on,” he offered up lamely as he put a good ten feet between them.
“Because of my accident?” she asked in a soft, lilting voice, never taking her fierce gaze off him.
“Y- yes, in a manner of speaking,“ he stuttered nervously.
“Because you dropped everything to be by my side.” Her voice had fallen to almost a whisper and she had begun to cautiously slink toward him.
“I guess you could –“
“And I’ve been so inconsiderate and mean to you,” Pansy simpered as she laced the fingers of her right hand through his left and then with calculated precision, brought her other hand up to toy with the buttons of his dress shirt. And there it was again, the gentle thrumming inside her, growing more persistent and forceful.
Percy, not immune to the stirrings of their mingling magic, visibly swallowed and tried to avoid making eye contact. Now he knew she was up to something. “Pansy, today is just not a good day for a tour of the house,” he managed through a shaking voice.
She stepped in closer, her body now a whisper away from his, and took up his other hand. “Then perhaps you should just take me to my bedroom.”
A high-pitched squeak emitted from deep within him at the suggestion playing darkly in her eyes. He quickly cleared his throat and tried to regain his composure by looking anywhere but at her.
“So I can get my things,” she finally amended, but not before she had hit her mark and landed the insinuation. She might not get to see the house today, but better to keep him under her thumb than fighting her. That was at least what she was trying to convince herself.
“Of…of course. Did you want to walk there? Or… or would you rather just apparate?” he fumbled awkwardly.
Why was her behaviour having such an effect on him? They’d been married for ten years. He knew her wiles intimately, and she obviously didn’t mean what she was implying. Why was he acting like such a nervous teenager? Their bond had never felt so blatant before. It was always just a subtle hum. Now it felt like a thundering river, madly pounding in his ears.
She leaned in closer, tilted her chin up, and murmured, “As you said before, I don’t walk. So perhaps you should just take me.”
The edges of her reasoning were beginning to blur. Seeing the house at this point in time held very little importance. Seeing the inside of a bedroom, however, was paramount.
“Right,” Percy mumbled, becoming entranced by her nearing features. Her lips… her eyes… This was not good, but at the moment he couldn’t exactly fathom why.
Suddenly, the solitude of the vacant bedroom was disrupted by two seemingly still figures, its absolute silence shattered by their slow, deep, ragged breaths. Their eyes fixed, hungrily ravaging the other’s features... their hands still held fiercely, as if onto a lifeline. Paralyzed by want and past resolutions power, the two stood transfixed in an electrifying trance.
Identity and self-awareness had fled with the perseverance of their physical connection, and a force more powerful was quickly taking control. At what seemed the peak of the frenetic energy surging just below the surface, the man began to walk forward with a slow sureness that belied his inner state, edging the willing female backward in a soundless kind of dance. When her calves finally brushed the end of the king size bed, she sat but refused to relinquish her hold on her partner.
Her eyes were dark and ravenous as they taunted him to take the next step. His hands trembled as they itched to take her up on her wordless challenge. She released his hands in order to recline and lay out more appealingly what she had to offer. In a brief moment of clarity as the lust clouding his mind lifted, Percy shuffled back three jilted steps. He regarded her with no less want, but the addition of apprehension marred the perfection of his desire.
It was this spirit of doubt swimming in his eyes that triggered a horrid realization in Pansy. What were they doing? What was she doing? She wanted to coax him into a more pliant, cooperative state, not have him naked and writhing beneath her.
‘Where did that come from?’ she considered in passing.
Before she had the presence of mind to sit up from her inviting pose, Percy turned and gave his back to her, averting his gaze from having to witness her crushing yet inevitable withdrawal. The abrupt disconnect of the bond was so jarring that Pansy involuntarily curled forward in pain and gasped for air.
Unaware of her struggle behind him, Percy began to wage an internal debate on why he’d let himself get tangled up again in her and how best to proceed. He’d known damn well this was coming. Why he’d let himself get lulled back into her was a mystery. True she was being playful and sweet, but he knew she was only doing it because she was after something…. namely a viewing of the house.
‘Probably wants to see how much she can take me for,’ he steamed silently.
Feeling a sharp stab of resentment, Percy sniffed stiffly as a ripple of tension played its way through his jaw.
Ready to be unbending and businesslike, he swiveled back around to face her only to find her clutching at her chest and panting frantically. His resolution of coldness quickly forgotten, he vaulted forward, landing in a crouch at her feet.
“Sweet Merlin love, are you all right?” he stammered, placing his hands on her upper arms and giving them a light rub.
“Don’t touch me! Get your hands off me, you toss pot!” she barked as she roughly pulled her arms from his grasp and launched herself off the bed and into a flustered, blind walk about the room.
Percy let her agitation and insult settle into his core, then resignedly stood and sat in the newly vacated spot at the end of the bed. He chose a point on the lush rug and bore all of his withering hurt and loss into it. Things were never going to be the same again. She’d never remember what they’d had together. He, unfortunately, had a perfect memory and would never be able to let her go. As things stood, it seemed quite definite that he’d spend the rest of his life loving a woman who loathed him.
After a few long minutes, Pansy finally managed to corral her anger and frustration. Obviously getting him wrapped around her little finger was not going to work. For some ungodly reason, he seemed to have a greater affect on her than she did on him. Damn that bloody marriage bond. No wonder she’d wanted the sodding thing dissolved.
She turned her eyes on the man and found him hunched over lost in his own painful thoughts. A pang close to pity spiked through her but she quickly brushed the notion aside.
“So this is my room?” she asked coolly, sending her nose further into the air.
Heaving a large sigh, Percy hefted himself up and answered on the exhale, “Yes. Yes, it is.”
“I guess it’s adequate,” she spouted pompously, attempting to belittle the grandeur of the room. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Where do you sleep?”
“I… I have my own room.”
The lie fell flat between them and Percy scoped about anxiously unable to meet her assessing gaze.
“Really?” Pansy snapped back. “That’s a surprise. From what I understood, you Weasels liked being huddled up in one dingy, little room. Like a den of… well… weasels.” She began to titter at her own lame joke. “To be perfectly honest, I half expected to find the little rodents bunked up with us as well.”
She waited for an outburst accompanied by righteous indignation, but it never came. Instead he stared at her with such a wrenching disappointment that she thought she should burst into flame from its sheer intensity.
“Yes. Well being incredibly rich does have its privileges,” he finally mumbled in a low, emotionless voice. “Speaking of which, if you’ll excuse me I have a great deal of paper work. If you need anything just call for Tibby and she’ll be more than happy to oblige you.” With that, he began a slowly steady pace toward the door.
He was dismissing her. Who was he to dismiss her? “You’re leaving?” she lobbed at him in a high-pitched shriek.
He turned back slowly. “Yes. It should be fairly easy for you to find everything you need.”
“Aren’t you worried I might steal or break something?” she shot back, trying to prod him.
“It’s all yours, Pansy,” he huffed at her ridiculous assertion. “Do whatever the hell you want with it. I… I don’t care.”
He turned quickly, grabbed the brass doorknob, and swiftly slammed the door shut behind him on his way out. He hadn’t even given her a chance to get another word in edgewise. She stared blankly at the space he’d just been occupying, feeling her insides curdle with bubbling ire that had lost its only outlet.
“Ponce,” she finally spat darkly before turning a discerning eye to the room.
She had to admit it was beautifully decorated and triple the size of her room at her father’s house. The walls and plush rug that adorned the floor were bathed in warm, rich colours and the furniture was a luscious, dark oak. The fact that it was her taste to a tee did little to put her mind at ease. Even more perturbing was her growing desire to simply stay.
As she continued to wander through the room, idly looking through various drawers, poring over her vast assortment of decadent jewelry and toiletries, and perusing a large but oddly half empty walk in closet, she tried to rationalize legitimate reasons for remaining instead of returning to her father’s house.
She told herself that she wouldn’t be able to transport even half of all this back and she wanted everything she saw. Further, her private quarters at her father’s would feel cramped and confining compared to this. Finally, her father had been far too coddling over the last few days. The Weasel would most likely give her the space she wanted if she demanded it.
The niggling cognizance that her wanting to stay had more to do with being near said man rather than the logical reasons she’d come up with was becoming harder to ignore. As much as she disliked him, there was something truly addictive about the energy he exuded. She hadn’t felt this good in days. As she looked about the room, she became acutely aware of all the gaps his obvious departure had caused when he vacated the room for her. She wasn’t exactly sure how to feel about his lie. On the one hand, she was relieved that she wouldn’t have to endure his presence. On the other, however, curiosity was eating her alive at what the room looked like when complete.
Coming to a decision, Pansy sat down at the side of the bed and pulled opened the nightstand drawer as her final step to fully investigate the room. It was clear the tosser had forgotten this one. It was full of papers, a stack of what appeared to be bound letters, and a few photos.
The papers were nothing of consequence in her estimation – just a list of ingredients for different potions. She tossed them back into the drawer and reached for the letters. It only took one glance for her to recognize who they were from. Did she really want to read what were probably love letters from the weasel? Was she ready for that? Did she actually want to make herself sick? She scoffed at the last question and placed them back in the drawer, resolving to read them at a later time. As distasteful as the exercise would undoubtedly prove, she knew she’d be able to glean some rather useful information from them.
The colour and movement of the photographs then caught her eye. They were of the children. Of her or him laughing or smiling with the little monsters. As she flipped through, she felt herself growing angrier and agitated. Suddenly, the last photo in the bunch faced her and she felt herself go rigid. A swirl of mortification and sick fascination snaked its way around her insides. She watched frozen as the events of the photo replayed itself.
It was of her watching her ‘husband’ with a disgustingly clear expression of adoration as he related a story to someone off camera. Suddenly, her photo self reached up, hooked his far cheek with a sole finger, and turned his face to hers. Then Pansy watched in horror as her photo self planted a fierce kiss on the wanker, who in turn wrapped his arms happily around the image of her. It was there that the photo stopped and began to replay itself. With each viewing, she felt humiliation, revulsion, and something far too close to envy for her liking blossom in her chest. This disturbing, revolting display was her life?
“Not if I can help it,” she muttered blackly before tossing the photos back into the drawer.
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