Pansy Parkinson stared at the note, her hazel eyes flashing with annoyance and ire as she read the perfect tidy script. I need the Zanor file now. Quit daydreaming and bring it to me immediately. The rude little bastard didn’t even bother saying please or thank you. She would have expected his Mum to teach him better manners. She crumpled the note, tossing it in the rubbish can beside her desk.
A smug smile crossed her lips as she reached for her quill and a blank piece of parchment. She wrote quickly, careful not to get ink on her hands, blowing a kiss at the note when it was complete. What’s the magic word ? Rolling it up, she attached it to the leg of the Ministry owl and sent it off. Leaning back in her chair, she watched the owl fly across the small office she called her own on good days and the fifth level of Hell on bad, entering the open door to the boorish redhead oaf’s office.
She took delight when she heard the aggravated snort and mutterings coming from her boss’s office. Contrary to outside observation, she actually enjoyed her position at the Ministry. The very idea of having to work at all was not something she had ever considered, her childhood and early adolescence spent planning her wedding to Draco and imagining a life of leisure with wealth and prestige. However, the War had changed everything. Her parents had refused to support Voldemort when they were pressured to choose sides, the Parkinsons thinking only of themselves and their position in whatever world remained after the fighting ended. Her childhood home had been burned to cinders during the spring of her seventh year at Hogwarts with her parents inside.
Needless to say, by the end of term, most of Slytherin house had joined Potter and his foul little friends. The Dark Lord should have chosen another family to use as an example because Pansy had cared a great deal about her parents and had not hesitated in choosing a side in the ridiculous War in order to avenge those who gave her life. Considering she had more power in Slytherin than even Draco, well, it was a foolish decision on his part. Aiding her persuasion of her classmates to make a stand against their parents had been Draco’s own change of loyalties following his father’s suspicious death in Azkaban, rumored to have been engineered by the Dark Lord to prevent Lucius becoming a traitor.
Less than a year after graduation, the War was over. It was then that she learned the sad state of her personal affairs. Her inheritance had been drained by providing support to her friends who had chosen to fight at her side, their parents’ disinheriting them instantly as well as attempting to kill them at every opportunity. She still had her family’s London home where she and a few others resided, thankfully, but there were currently six people living there and the expenses were rather high.
Greg had been admitted to auror training, which was all nice and good but did not pay enough galleons to keep the floo running each month. Vince had become an apprentice to a baker in Diagon Alley and was able to contribute enough to cover for him and Greg. Blaise had an inheritance from his parents, who had also been killed during the War for wishing to remain neutral, so he was able to always cover any costs the rest could not afford but Pansy was firm about not taking charity, even from one of her dearest friends. Since his relationship with Hannah Abbott had begun a few months ago, Pansy was actually waiting for the day he either moved out or asked to move his girlfriend in to share his room. She didn’t actually mind Hannah, believing the quiet girl made a good match to her shy friend.
As for her other two roommates, they paid their share promptly and without fail. Adrian had only been living with them for six months, moving in with the most surprising resident of Pansy’s home, Hermione Granger, nearly a year after their relationship had begun. Hermione, reluctant as Pansy was to ever admit it to anyone including herself, was her best friend. She had never had female friends until befriending the bossy Gryffindor during seventh year, getting to know her through contact with Potter as well as Blaise, who had had a bit of a crush on the brunette witch. When Hermione had needed a place to stay after the War, Pansy had not hesitated in extending an invitation to share her home and had acquired her first roommate.
Actually, Hermione was the one who arranged for Pansy’s employment with the Ministry. There were times, like this afternoon, when Pansy would gladly hex the smug witch for forcing her to work for that insufferable prat, but she rather enjoyed having money so she was thankful for employment. Besides, Hermione worked in the Department of Muggle Affairs a few levels up so they met for lunch whenever Adrian was on assignment at the magazine where he worked as a photographer and reporter or when Hermione actually stopped working long enough to eat a meal.
It was not at all the life she had imagined having five years ago. At that time, she had loathed Hermione and would have laughed hysterically at the idea of actually becoming friends with the Muggleborn know-it-all much less allowing her favorite cousin to become involved in a relationship with her. She had expected to be married to Draco and possibly have a child to carry on the Malfoy name. Her eyes glanced at her hand, lingering on the bare ring finger. She had never loved Draco, finding him a good friend and rather handsome but there had never been any real attraction between them. Considering his tumultuous sexual liaisons with Ron Weasley, of all people, she could see now why they had been better friends than lovers.
Pulling herself from her thoughts, she smiled when the owl landed on her desk. Removing the scroll, she read it quickly. And just what do you mean by that? Bring me the file now or I’ll fire you, you silly little twit. Her eyes narrowed at the note. Twit? Is that the best he could do? He must be feeling sick because his insults had grown sharper during the last five months that she had been his assistant. Her previous boss had retired just three months after Pansy had started working, and Percy had received the promotion.
From the moment they met, she had been unsettled. He was a rude, stubborn, pompous, condescending, smug prat, reminding her in some ways of a quieter Hermione, and she wanted nothing more than to muss his hair and get him to remove the wand from his arse. True, her thoughts regarding Percy Weasley were that he was an uptight, prissy wanker who was going to make her life miserable right after she had started to enjoy her job. That initial opinion changed after two weeks. Of, he was still all those things, but it had been his ninth day working that she had noticed his hands. He had great hands. Graceful and strong with elegant fingers and smooth palms. There were four freckles on the wrist of his right arm that caught her attention.
It was that evening that she had had her first dream about her boss. She had woken feeling sticky and aroused, recalling a vision of pale flesh covered with freckles that she had been kissing. It had gotten worse from then on. She’d noticed his arms, far more muscular than a snotty bookworm deserved to possess. His voice was maddening. Prissy and formal, enunciating every single syllable in a superior tone, with just a hint of huskiness that she could easily imagine purring her name while in the throes of passion. Unfortunately, passion was not a word that Percy seemed to know other than being able to define.
She felt truly pathetic, lusting after the haughty male version of Hermione who didn’t know she was alive other than being his difficult secretary who liked to fluster him. Perhaps she really fancied Hermione and had applied that latent attraction to her female friend to the closest similar male. That might be a more agreeable explanation for her unexplainable lust for Percy, she decided. Hearing him muttering in his office, she sighed. As much as she loved Hermione, it was not the brunette witch that had her waking with wet knickers or caused ridiculous daydreams of being shagged on her desk.
It was foolish to become infatuated with her boss, a cliché she had read about in Hannah’s Muggle magazines and scoffed at the silly women who risked their employment and galleons for such lusty pursuits. Groaning softly, she ran a hand through her shoulder-length black hair before muttering, “I’ve become a Muggle cliché!”
“Really, Parkinson. Talking to yourself? Next thing I know, you will be inviting your teddy bears for picnics in the middle of the office.”
Pansy arched a brow as she looked up, a haughty expression crossing her pretty face. “Did you need something, Weasley?”
“I do believe you have forgotten just who the boss is around here.” Percy said sharply. “Now where is the Zanor file?”
“I do not recall off hand,” Pansy mused. She picked up the small stuffed bear that Adrian had given her upon her first day of employment, holding it to her ear. “Perhaps he knows.”
“Why must you constantly do everything in your power to annoy me?” Percy shook his head, grumbling, “I should see to it that a law is passed that prevents such unproductive behavior at work!”
“I somehow doubt that Minister Bones would support such a law,” Pansy said dryly, her eyes flashing with amusement as his face began to turn red.
“Yes, well, if you continue insisting on stubbornly refusing to do the job in which you are being paid to perform I will not hesitate in firing you, Parkinson.”
“You can’t. It’s illegal,” she said smugly.
"What do you mean it's illegal?" Percy snapped. “It is not breaking the law to fire an employee who is not doing their job!”
“It is if you fire them without justification. I simply asked you to say the magic word, which really is common courtesy, and then you berate me and call me foul names,” Pansy sighed dramatically. “I have this parchment here, in your very distinguishable handwriting, with your insult written for all to see.”
“Just give me the blasted file,” Percy growled, annoyed that the pretty witch had successfully thwarted his threat to fire her once again. When she simply smiled, he hissed, “Please.”
“Good boy,” Pansy smirked as she picked up the file on her desk. Turning serious, she said, “I have marked the applicable areas in which you need to concentrate and cross referenced the documentation listed at the end for easier navigation.”
“Well done,” he complimented reluctantly. She might be infuriating, but she was a bloody good assistant when she tried.
“You know, I was reading the most interesting survey in Hannah’s magazine the other day,” she drawled lazily, watching his face as he ignored her to read the file. Mischief entered her eyes as she continued, “According to the survey, relationships and sex in the workplace are far more common than one might realize.”
“What?” Percy sputtered as he looked up quickly, his eyes widening behind his wire spectacles. She was examining her fingernails and gave the impression that she was simply discussing the weather. Perhaps he had heard wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time he had imagined his pretty assistant and sex. The petite witch was quite fetching and had the maddening ability to get under his skin in a way that left him aroused, flustered, and excited. There had been several occasions when he got the impression she might be flirting with him, but the idea was preposterous so he knew it was just wishful thinking on his part.
“From what I have read, it has been the beginning of many long lasting relationships,” Pansy remarked casually. Looking up at him, their eyes met as she said softly, "Forty-seven witches couldn't be wrong ... could they?"
“The odds are rather good that they might be correct,” he said, cringing as his voice broke. Clearing his throat, he continued, “It would take further investigation before I could make a definite declaration as to the validity of such a claim.”
“Hermione told me that there is a position opening up in Muggle Affairs. The pay is better and it sounds more challenging than my current position,” Pansy said thoughtfully. “I will not date my boss, Percy Weasley. Do you feel that I should submit my application?”
“I will not date my assistant, Pansy Parkinson,” Percy said matter-of-factly, knowing that such foolishness was not appropriate in the office. “In my professional opinion, I believe that is an opportunity you should not hesitate in trying to secure.”
“Really?” Her cool façade slipped as a small smile crossed her lips, letting him see her nervous vulnerability at having made such a blatant move to gain his attention.
“Really,” he replied with a trace of amusement. Watching her tongue move over her lips, he put the file on the desk and leaned down. Brushing his lips against hers, he moaned softly as she opened her mouth and deepened what was supposed to be a chaste kiss. When the kiss ended, Percy took a moment to collect himself. He could feel her fingers in his hair, her other hand on his arse. He was startled to realize that he’d pulled her from her chair and pushed her against the desk, his hand on her lower back and his other tangled in her hair. A smile crossed his lips as he declared, “Forty-seven witches are definitely right,” before kissing her again.