“An extra nibble or two won’t harm him, Mr. Weasley.” She looks at him and arches a brow. “Mercury disagrees with your restrictive diet.”
He frowns and removes his spectacles, wiping the lenses with a cloth as he counts to ten to calm his temper. “Mercury is an owl. It is very unlikely that he has an opinion of his diet so long as he is fed daily.”
“That’s not a very nice attitude. He’s a lovely owl, and he takes after his father. Hermes liked a treat occasionally, too.” She pets Mercury, who seems to flail at the attention. Percy scowls at the ridiculous bird as he puts his glasses back on.
“My attitude is exceptional. I know more about owls than you do, so this disagreement is pointless.” He nods once to indicate that the subject is closed before he sits down behind his desk. “What do you need, Miss Granger? I am very busy this afternoon.”
“I highly doubt that,” she says before she coos at Mercury.
Percy is distracted when she purses her lips and makes odd noises that are improper outside of a bedroom. He feels heat flood his cheeks and quickly glares at the top of his desk before she catches him leering. “Do you need a reminder as to the definition of ‘busy’?”
“Busy -- fully occupied in a particular activity, especially work,” she recites. “See also ‘uptight’ and ‘excuses’ when used to describe one Percy Weasley.” She glances at him and smiles. “I don’t need a reminder, as you can see.”
It’s aggravating how aroused he is by her smug recitation. Even with the slur against him, he is resisting the impulse to snog her and prove that ‘uptight’ is not an acceptable definition. Instead, he schools his expression and gives her what he hopes is an aggravated expression. “Contrary to what you might believe, you are not amusing. I’ll not have such blatant cheek displayed in my office.”
She looks at him, and he suddenly understands how potions ingredients must feel when they’re being analyzed, if they could feel. He frowns as he realizes that that might not be the perfect analogy. She is still staring at him, though, and he can think of nothing better at the moment. She pets Mercury again before she steps away. “Blatant cheek?” she repeats slowly. “I wasn’t aware that I was displaying such a thing by responding to your sarcastic wit.”
“Yes, well, it is a suitable adjective for this situation,” he informs her primly.
“Adjectives.” She purses her lips again as she sits down in his guest chair. “While there is a minute possibility that I could be described by the term cheeky, I can’t say that many people would ever use the word blatant. Few would agree with cheeky, however, since I’m often told that I lack a sense of humor.”
He snorts before he can stop himself. “You certainly have no trouble being cheeky around me,” he mutters, shifting in his chair when he realizes that he is behaving unprofessionally with a colleague.
“Perhaps you should ask yourself why that is,” she suggests quietly. She stands up when he looks at her curiously. “We are not in the same department nor are you my superior. There are no rules being broken if you call me Hermione or decide to ask me to lunch instead of pretending that you’re not staring at me.”
He watches her stroke Mercury’s feathers once more before she walks to the door. When she touches the handle, he stands up quickly and cringes when he hears his chair fall. She looks at him, and he flushes as he realizes that he must appear foolish to her. When he doesn’t say anything, she turns the handle. “Hermione,” he says her name as he places his palm flat against his desk. Before he loses his nerve, he continues. “Would you like to have dinner tonight?”
“Dinner? With you?” She looks surprised then wary. “You don’t have to ask just because of what I said. I was out of line.”
“I’m not.” He straightens his shoulders. “We can discuss our individual experiences with owls over a meal to determine which of us is more knowledgeable.”
Her lips quirk slightly. “I thought that it was pointless to discuss that.”
“Perhaps I was rash in my declaration,” he says simply. He moves his gaze over her, lingering on the swell of her breasts before he looks up swiftly to focus on her face.
“Perhaps.” She smiles then, a smile that seems to light up her entire face and makes her even more attractive, if that’s possible. “Dinner sounds lovely, Percy.”
“It does?” He isn’t expecting her to agree to dinner. Lunch is possibly more platonic but dinner would indicate an interest in something more. He blinks and then smiles slightly. “Yes, it does.”
“Pick me up at my flat at seven,” she tells him before she opens the door and leaves.
He is about to sit down when he remembers that his chair has fallen. He straightens it up and runs his hand over his face before he walks over to Mercury’s perch. “I’m taking her to dinner,” he murmurs as he gives Mercury a treat. He smiles slowly. “I think it’s a date.”