Reassignment: Project Amshas

Chapter 5: Getting to Know You

Draco sat at a table filled with food and stuffed his face to the point where even Crabbe and Goyle would have been put to shame. The Malfoy have just looked at him in shame and those departed from this world would have rolled over in their graves 10x over but none of that mattered to Draco at this point as the one need he needed to satiate was thicker than blood or manner combined.

Percy sat at the other end of the table watching his "guest" in repugnant awe as he inhaled everything that was placed before him. "I hope you realize at this rate, if the food disappears faster than it can be replenished, you and I will have a few words if you start gnawing on my table.

"Can't talk…must…devour everything in sight, lest it be a dream"

And true to his words, Draco crammed more food in his mouth as Percy shook his head exasperated but none the less appalled.

"Disgusting. You do realize that your apatite is the equivalent of all my brothers combined right before a game; eating everything within sight."

"Mm..It must've been a shame to have them eat the Weasley's supply of food for the year all in one sitting then."

"Now see here-!"

"I'm only joking." But something in Draco's voice gave Percy the impression he wasn't jesting at all. Resigning himself from watching the Slytherin eat him out of house and home, he walked out of his tiny den into a small room lit only with candles and decor like the rest of his flat; through a minimalist's touch and point of view that is.

Percy sat at a single desk in the middle of the back wall looking off into the bay. He pulled out his glasses case from his robe and whispered the spell to reverse the shrinking on it back to its normal size.

"Ah, where was I before I was rudely interrupted?"

"You were about to tell the Ministry about your great feat with capturing and banishing the 'Alley Poltergeist'."

"Ah!" Percy jumped at Draco's sudden reply. "Damnit, man! Were you never taught to knock!"

"Sorry, but a Malfoy does not need to knock as everyone should be at attention when they are present." He said with a wily grin.

"Well, I don't care who you are, but you will learn to knock when you're under my roof. Plus, I need to get to some business!"

Percy straightened his now askew horn-rimmed glasses and continued to unfurl his scroll. He began to write as though his guest's presence wasn't making him nervous in the very least.

'Lured it into my trap and...' "And…Oh, bother!" Percy slammed his quill down.

"I don't know…use a banishing spell."

"Noo, I can't just do that! I've got to have captured it and then try to reason with it before turning it into the Ministry."

"Riight, you were going to capture it..? A ghost that can walk through walls and then try to council it?! That's a good laugh!"

"Well, what do you propose I do? I can't just say I did something and not have some sort of proof! You are the only proof I've got and I need you for my plan to work!"

"Now, about this plan..?"

"Not now! One thing at a time and I've got to complete this blasted task before I move on!"

"Anal and testy, aren't we?"

"Yes, I mean, NO! I mean, I've got to complete sodding report!"

"Alright, how about this: You cornered the poltergeist and used a spell to immobilize it for your interrogation and it, not wanting to cooperate, saw the "light" literally, and crossed over since it couldn't finish it's unfinished business and just...left. The END!"

"Malfoy, that's absolutely absurd! Who would believe a cockamamie idea like that?! Why, who has ever heard of such hogwash?! No one!...Wait...a minute..." Percy paused and looked thoughtful for a moment. "This just might work because there's never been a case like it? God, Malfoy, you're a genius! Why didn't I think of this?!

"Yes, yes, I'm glad I've got a brain but now that that's done and over with, what do you have in mind for me?"

"Just a moment! Can't talk...must...write."

Now it was Draco's turn to walk about and sigh in resignation as Percy furiously put the quill to parchment with nothing short of the Dark Lord attacking his flat to deter him from his task at hand.

The Flat in itself would have been the size of the Malfoy Manson's Dining Hall, but there was something about this place that gave it "charm"; its personality - although the minimalist decor contributed but that's beside the point - as Draco looked at the room and a light bulb sort of click on as realization hit him:

The place itself radiated "Self-Earned".

This realization weighted heavy on him as he never earned a thing honestly in his life. Granted, he worked hard as a Prefect as well as his grades but it was never for himself. His induction in the Death Eaters too, wasn't earned all on his own as his father was a key figure for the Dark Lord and one of his well-groomed black Labradors – so-to-speak.

The one thing he could give this Weasley - or practically all the Weasley's in general - was respect for making it on his own and all by himself without the influence of his father or family name. As he walked about the house, he felt as thought there was something missing though; not a lot, just something small or minute.

Draco continued to pace around a bit more and sat by the warm hearth. He found himself in front of a leather bound photo book and glanced at the first few sleeves to find pictures of Percy. From baby picture to him growing up and pics of his friends and scholarly achievements, but something was still gnawing at him. There were no more pics but the one displayed in the first pages so he closed the album. When Draco moved to lift the bound album and sit right where it he had found it, he unconsciously lifted it to the fire when he heard flapping and something light thwacked the wooden floor; a stack of unseen photos fell.

Upon closer inspection, he realized what it was eating at him.

Family.

Malfoys' were never the lovey-dovey type, but he still would have had his family's support if not for his failed mission. His father had devoted all his time to provide the best for him and their family, but now that his ties were severed, he was all alone...just like Percy.

Sure, he heard stories about Percy's estranged relationship - between the middle child and his family - but now, he realized they both have something in common.

Draco looked at the photo of Percy and Penelope as well as photos around campus with both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students. He went through all the picture but stopped on one with Percy and all this sibling gathered for a group photo: The twins were making funny faces or adding rabbit ears to Ginny and Ron; the younger Weasley siblings in a groups hug with the oldest at the top and the youngest at the bottom; finally, them all playing Quidditch in their yard with the lopsided house in the background – presumably theirs - and the twins getting tackled by Ron and Ginny as the quaffle smacked Percy in the back of his head. Draco smirked at the replay action of Percy –ooh that looks like it smarted a bit - getting slammed but as he looked at the next picture, he found it hard to breathe.

It was nothing elaborate but a simple graduation picture with his parents and his mother looking especially proud as she would lean in and kiss his cheek, his dad clapping his hand on Percy's shoulder with a proud grin. Percy looked between elated and horrified as his mother kissed him and didn't hesitate - even in photo - to wipe off her lipstick as she wasn't looking.

"You do know, it's rude to go through other people's possession without asking." Percy said slyly startling Malfoy and gently took the photos away from Malfoy's grip. He then flipped open the leather bound book and placed the pictures in the back cover of the album, proceeding to take the bound object and replace it on a shelf above the fireplace.

"Well, so is looking over someone else's shoulder."

"Touché, but you did it first."

"Two wrongs do not make a right."

"Only with the exception that as many wrong you make will eventually yield you a 'right'...or at least in your own eyes that is."

"Very astute." Draco said with feign astonishment in his voice "By the way, what took so long with the report? I would have thought it to have been easy since I laid it out for you."

"I had to make a few minor embellishments make it sound appeasing to certain people and then added some extra things in there that didn't sound as supernatural as seeing the 'light', as you so mildly put it. Needless to say, I made sure I catered to almost every person in the reviewing committee for this report to go in smoothly with any hitches to the Minister; even he wouldn't find even a hair misplaced.

"I'm impressed. Working for the man all this time has had a good affect on you. Good observation skills and able to work around your surroundings in order to get the desired results through those very skills they teach you…with a certain manipulation. You almost sounded like a Slytherin by means of said action, or more precisely, a Malfoy."

"Then I guess I've got a good start and a leg over you." Percy said nonchalantly, with a heavy sigh.

Draco was puzzled by Percy's retort and didn't even try to hide it. Now that the former Head Boy seemed to have gotten his guest's attention, he only paced a bit around the fire place, pinching the bridge of his nose in a nervous habit to collect his thoughts.

"...Now that we are satiated and you practically ate my month's supply of food, I think it's a good idea to start talking about where we go from here." Percy finally stated in a-matter-of-fact- type of voice, yet trying to figure out how to explain, let alone execute, such a plan.

"I'm listening." Draco urged him, now with his full attention on Percy.

"I propose we switch places." Percy just blurted out.

"Wh-WHAT?!" Flabbergasted by the very thought. "This is your big plan?! I was probably better off on the street of the Alley collecting hair! Wha...no, how do you intend to pull this cockamamie idea off?!"

"The same way you did just a few hours ago; through polyjuice." Percy stated simply.

"Just like that?" Draco questioned, resigning for now. "You just plan on waltzing in so suddenly with my face and expect people to think you are me? Preposterous!"

"You were going to try and do just that a few hours earlier, weren't you?"

"Yes, but with the intention of framing you for murder of an insignificant bystander only to help me pinch victim's identity in place of my own lowly existence!"

"Exactly"

"Wha-Huh?" Now Draco was really confused. "You're off your rocker, man! I was hungry and delusional and I fully thought I could get away with waltzing around in his guise forever but I don't now! I would have been in my own guild cage plus, who in their right minds would believe I'm you and worse yet, you're me! You'd NEVER be able to pull that stunt off!"

"Not alone I won't, but together, we can!" Percy replied with a new fire burning within him. "Listen, we both are in a tight situation at this moment but I think that is the key component toward making such an outrageous scheme work! You're in a bind due to your failed mission as well as your family's influence with the Dark Lord. I need to get information directly from the source and mend a few things, but like I said, we need that key component and each other because this plan will not work without you, Malfoy"

"What's this 'key component' you keep mentioning?"

"Desperation and willingness to do anything at this point, and we both are at that point of no return!"

Draco sat there with a furrow in his brow to mull things over and closed his eyes briefly. When they opened, a new fire was ablaze that matched Percy's own and before he said anything, Percy already knew the outcome of Draco's decision.

"I'm in!"

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"Are you sure that's going to work?" Draco asked skeptically.

"For a Malfoy, you worry too much." Percy said over his shoulder as he opened the window pane and directed Hermes, his old owl familiar, out into the night sky.

"We, Malfoys', worry only when our neck's on the line, but my father disguises it the best. By the way, what did you end up jotting in that report to the ever impressible and ever apathetic Minister of Magic?"

"Careful, he's done a lot more than you think."

"Oh, I bet he does." Draco said a bit dead pan.

"I don't know what you mean by that, nor do I care, but I'll ignore you all the same and continue-"

"My, God! Have you no inner monologue?!"

"As I was saying, the report had only a few things that should keep him and the others satisfied: Ghost found, Ghost dispelled, showed the 'Light', everyone "obliviated", Everyone happy again. The End."

"Bravo." Draco chucked, "Highly amusing. I didn't think Wesley's could lie, even if their lives depended on it."

"Well, I'm not like your typical Weasley, but I typically don't like to lie unless I have to or if my career depended on it. In this case, it is a definite necessity seeing that it qualifies for both categories."

"Well said. So, what now?"

"I think we've got two months or more precisely, one month and a half to find out as much as we can about each other, as well as we know ourselves, in addition to planning for such cases if we are ever 'Made.'"

"So, how do you suppose we'll get all that accomplished and still come out alive from all this?"

"Well, I figure we can't go wrong with telling stories by the fire." Percy suggested thoughtfully. "Seriously."

Draco looked at him with an expression that read 'you've to be kidding me' but he knew form Percy's own expression that he was serious.

"Shouldn't we just dump all our memories into a pensive and work our way from there. That way we can have a bigger, wider scope of what happened for that particular memory."

"A pensive would only give you a bird's eye view, so-to-speak, of the events but there is no depth on what you, yourself were actually feeling except for what we see on the surface. It would most definitely benefit me, especially in your case since you're a right bundle of emotions that everyone could read like an open book." Percy explained.

"Touché, but you are no different." Draco agreed begrudgingly.

"Ah, but my family is not."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Draco asked as if Percy was speaking in a different language.

"Malfoy, we will not just be dealing with friends, co-workers and cult members. Oh, no it gets much worse. We need to live and be, possibly stay 24/7, with our family; at least I did and my older brothers did before their jobs took them away."

Draco looked stunned for a second before his facial expression were that of someone totally and completely flabbergasted – jaw hanging on the floor and all.

"Wha-WHAT?!" Draco finally managed to yell in total dismay. "you can't be feckin' serious?! That means that I'd have to be in the constant presence of the 'Weasel'-"

"As well as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger-"

"What?! Scar-face and Mudbl-"

"Don't you even use that term!"

"Ooh, a soft spot for the Mud…Muggles really do run thick in your family." Draco jeered.

"Nothing of that sort. There are many unworthy Muggles out there but I have nothing but respect for that girl and her innovative mind. It's just such a waste that she and my brother are blinded by Potter's brilliant frame when we all know that he would be a nobody without them."

"Feh, the "Golden Trio" would be nothing people if it weren't for the Dark Lord." Draco said acrimoniously.

"Ah, be that as it may, comments like that will only get you into trouble around them and they'll know something's amiss. Plus, I'm sure you'll be shocked to find that Ms. Granger is a charming young lady when you get to know her and my brother, though a bit thick headed at times, but he can be great fun, not to mention he's a mean chess player."

"Oh, spare me the details and trying to make this sound like you are getting the shorter stick of the bunch!" Draco spat at a smirking Percy.

"Well, the way I see it, I am. I've got to brave the Dark Lord's Lair, ask for penance in your stead – thanks! - get into his good graces and act all chummy with a group of block heads that'll do anything to please their Lord: whether he orders them to eat their own foot or to kill my comrades and not to mention, finding or acting to find their delights to be the same as my own – i.e. torturing people I may have know at one point or another - when I would rather reach down my own throat and perform a self appendectomy, yank it out only so I could eat it again!" Percy managed to say all in one breath.

"That was rather graphic but I see your point."

"Thank you-"

"After all, not only do you have to face people that would enjoy skinning you while you are alive and conscious to ensure you felt every sinew of your body is properly torn, only if they ever found out about your true identity, but you've got to reconcile with my mother and brave the dragon's den and convince my father abou-"

"WHOA, whoa. Would you mind backtracking a bit?" Percy interjected with eyes the size of golf balls before Draco could continue his tirade of horrors he would need to face, "Heheh…Did you just say your father? Wow…you really were in hiding for a while not to know…You do realize your father was caught and put into Azkaban a few days after Dumbledore's Death."

It was more of a statement than a question but what shocked him most was Draco's reaction to his comment. One eyebrow hiked up in question and as if his eyebrows were somehow linked to his lips, a smirk appeared shortly after. Before he knew what was happening, Draco was convulsing with laughter as if he was jinxed with one of George and Fred's Wacky-Laughy Charms and Percy almost started to worry. Draco was red after a few moments of collecting himself only to burst out in spurts of laughter once again, wiping the tears from his eyes and trying to fight the fits of chuckles before taking huge intakes of air. Percy was finally fed up with Draco's secret delight and huffed as he asked, "May I inquire what was so very amusing to make you almost die of laughter?"

Draco almost started another mad-fit of laughter from Percy's frustrated expression but contained it to a few well-kept chuckles and responded, "You…think my father is in Azkaban? Heh, that truly is the funniest joke I've heard in ages."

"Malfoy, I saw them as they were interrogating him!"

"Ha! That's funnier still! Let me guess, he claimed 'full allegiance to the Dark Lord and would rather rot in a cell before cooperating with Ministry filth such as yourself?"

"Wha - yes, that's just about the gist of his confession. How did you know?!"

"Tsk, tsk, tsk." Draco tutted with a small smirk and gleam in his eye. "That's what they want you to think" Draco practically purred that line and continued, "Did the Ministry actually think they could ensnare the Dark Lord's top henchmen, Lucius Malfoy no less, and just as easily have a confession out of him? chuckle No wonder the Ministry is so far behind!"

Draco's words were affecting Percy's pride and the integrity of the Ministry, which he worked blood, sweat, and tears for and now was saying one of their greatest accomplishments was all a hoax!

"Get to the point, Malfoy! What are you trying to say?!"

"I'm saying you and your Ministry have been 'had'!" Draco thoroughly enjoyed saying that with such delight that Percy was very tempted to wipe off his grin in a level he would have never considered civil, but his brother Ron would not had a problem with.

"Explain."

"My father is still out there while you people have your noses so far up in the air that you can not see beyond your so-called victory over the Dark Lord. In fact, that would be their victory since your Ministry took a decoy without noticing."

"What?! That's absurd!"

"Is it? How long have you worked around my father? If you know him as you claim you do, you would have picked up on the decoy right away because Lucius Malfoy would not have made a confession such as the one that the Ministry received. One, because he would never have admitted his affiliation if it was going to affirm his capture, therefore hindering the Dark Lord's plans. Two, because he would rather be a traitor – outwardly at least – before having to be humiliated and locked in a cell. My father is a proud man and would rather go down fighting and if - and I do use "if" relatively loosely - if he were to be captured, it would be because of some miraculous event that would enable him a sudden loss of all his powers or he was brought in dead.

"So, what you're saying is that someone else, who looks like Lucius Malfoy was capture in his stead so that the real one can run around beneath our detection…but how do you explain his-"

"I'll get into detail later, but for now, know that you've had a dummy in your clutches the whole time."

"Extraordinary! This is hard for me to believe but…you're logic makes sense! And that's what bothers me the most! The fact that it is plausible now that you put it into perspectives, I should report it-"

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Why not?"

"Think about it, Weasley. If you go and tell them what is really happening, they will first question your source and we don't want to go down that alley. They'll then have to question where my actual father is and make up a lie to the Wizarding World about their faux pa and why they weren't as thorough as they thought they were when they 'caught' him. Finally, you don't want to do this because it will make your situation a lot harder! My father would then be wanted again, granted, him being out there is still a very huge risk but not as much of a risk as it will be if he felt cornered. It would be harder for you to infiltrate the Death Eaters – even as me – and expect them to trust you if they suspect there is a mole within the organization. My father would even ostracize his own son for the Dark Lord if he thought I had anything to do with the leaks."

Percy was going to object when Malfoy first suggested it, but held his tongue and listened to his reasoning. It made perfect sense – thought he would never acknowledge it aloud – but had he informed the Ministry, his plan would not even launch as everyone would scrutinize him and the Minister would not acknowledge their agreement just as they agreed. It also wouldn't bode too well with him having to work twice as hard to earn the Dark Lord's trust; a false move could mean his as well as Draco's life. Percy scowled at the possible outcome of their discovery and had to physically shut his eyes to stop the mental picture.

"Alright." he settled begrudgingly and adjusted his glasses to perch high on his nose. "I will come to an understanding that I'll not notify the Ministry if you elaborate more on that so called 'plan' you mentioned earlier."

"Bullock! I can know for a fact that you are lying through your teeth with your 'understanding' and know that I am right!"

"You don't know anything!"

"Heh, I know that you fiddle with your stupid spectacles when you want look down on someone to give airs that you are confident and unyielding; a way to boost your waning confidence and salvaging it by making the other person insecure with your hollow ultimatums, am I right?"

Percy's mouth just dropped and Malfoy smirked confidently before stating, "…and I know when I've succeeded lying through my teeth because you have that utterly defeated look on your face that just about says, 'How the fuck did he know that?!'"

Now Percy was really at a total loss for words by Draco's observations and his own flaws pointed out to him point blank, only to have it all be a hoax. In a way, it was good that Draco made such good observations so early on in the game but it was still unnerving; especially since he was able to lie and play it off with such confidence! Looking back at the last few seconds of the conversation, he had been had, and by a Malfoy, no less, but Percy couldn't help it as a smile tugged on his lips; it seemed to be infectious and Draco as started to chortle.

"Alright, you've got me. But you owe me big, Malfoy!"

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That statement then started a vicious cycle of contagious chortling and once again there was resignation as laughter and the room that was once filled with tension now filled with their mirth.

"I was so embarrassed and mortified with my mother!" Percy clutched his head and shook it to get the images out of his mind and not quite wanting to look at Draco in the eyes. "I mean, how would you feel at the very prominent age of 5 and as your mother called out to you in front of all your chaps, 'Percy, dear, don't forget to wear those Muggle tightly-whities that your father found for you just in case you tinkle-winkle before reaching Mr. Potty'?! Arrgh! They all laughed at me and Oliver Wood, back when we were good mates because the prat was older, he would tease me endlessly spurring on the rest of them relentlessly! Till this very day, he will not let me live it down but I'll show him!

Draco was laughing uncontrollably since Percy started his tale, turning almost as bright a red as the storyteller's hair!

"Okay, enough about me, you now know one of the most embarrassing moments of my fifth summer."

"Oh, only 'one'? Meaning there are more to hear?" Draco asked in fake interest.

"Oh, knock it off, let's hear about you now."

That sobered Draco up quite fast and he was suddenly sullen.

"I've got no stories to tell."

"Poppycock! You've got to have some good memory!"

"Unlike you, where you built your wealth through each other - don't give me that look! Contrary to common belief, I maybe rich, but I'm not blind to real happiness when I see it! We only had wealth, material things and the connections that we knew. Malfoy's thrived on power, social gatherings as well as formalities; even within the household and away from prying eyes." Draco looked off distracted as if he were looking back at moments when his mother and father would look the part of the "perfect aristocratic upper-cases couple" yet seemed so distracted from each other. Percy watched him intently, not wanting to divert him from his first "open" discussion on different matters.

"My father had a knack for making you feel like you are in his good graces but when it came down to it, you were still at the level of his feet. He kept everyone at a distance: Friends, family, my mother and myself included. Why, when I w3as little, about 5 or 6 years old, I would see how all the children around me got on well with their parents and I…wanted the same. I…tried to suggest that we play games like father and son; Tag on a broomstick, that sort of thing…Do you know what he said to me in turn?"

'Draco, I'll only say this once and once alone, we as Malfoys' must maintain a certain decorum that becomes us both publicly and privately. Now, are you suggesting that we bring ourselves down to the level of those substandard wizards and witches or even mudbloods that are beneath us? No. So run along and get back to you lesson.'

"And…that was about the end of our 'father/son bonding'. Heh." Draco chuckled mirthlessly before continuing on. "I even remember a time shortly after that whn I tried to hug my father but as soon as my arms encircled him, I was shoved away like a beggar; the look of disgust that was on his face…It was akin to him swallowing a spider.

'Never, NEVER, do that again! Do you understand me?!'

"The look on my face must have indicated that I was close to tears. As soon as he finished dusting himself off of the 'remittent' of my touch, a look of pure curiosity as well as a fearsomely-cruel smile over came his features; I knew I was in for trouble."

'My boy,' He said laconically, 'I'm going to teach you the most valuable lesson you'll ever learn in your life. Show me your arms.'

"At that point I was too afraid of him, let alone frightened to move. My father then performed the "Imperio Curse" on me in order to get me to do as he willed.

'Now, I asked you to show me your arms.'

"He started nicely but snarled towards the end. I had no choice, so I had my palms out before me and up for his display."

'One thing you must learn, do not be dependant on other'

He cast a spell on me that made my arms burn as if they were plunged into a pit of lava.

'They will only let you down.'

Draco Paused again, closed his eyes and hissed softly as if it still burned; clutching his forearm unconsciously.

'Rely only on yourself'

"He then cast a spell that hung me in the air like a rag doll and proceeded to twist, my arm until there was a deafening snap" Draco flinched suddenly.

'You get yourself into certain…binds…only you can redeem yourself from.'

"He didn't stop there."

'Last but not least, never put shame upon the Malfoy name and especially me!'

"And with that, he dropped me and released a silencing spell he must have cast wandlessly and suddenly my voice as well as the pain flooded my body instantly. My father just walked away as I cried in agony without a look back at me; from that moment, I knew what sort of monster he was!" Draco snarled that last part resolutely but fell into another silence.

Percy let him stew for a few moments and watched the most emotions he'd ever seen on any Malfoy come across his aristocratic features.

'I can't imagine the kind of damage he has after living all his life with that soulless bastard! It's almost as bad as having a Dementor as a father!' Percy thought with such anger and pity building up inside him as he heard Draco's tale. "Do no one come to your aid?" he finally asked tentatively, stirring Draco from his train of though.

"Wha-? Oh, as soon as my father disappeared into the house, my mother came running out with some attendants to come to my aid. She was probably watching in the window." Draco said nonchalantly.

Percy was flabbergasted for a few seconds with his mouth handing wide and then stuttered his comment.

"Wha-but- ho-so you mother just stood by and watched as your father did those atrocious things to you?!" Percy yelled getting heated just by his thoughts of the situation.

"What else could she have done?! Just look at what he did to his only son and heir! She would have been in the same situation if she interfered, if not, worse!" Draco defended his mother fiercely.

"She could have still some to your aid! I know that what my mother would have done so; no matter what kind of danger would have come her way. She protect4e us fiercely because she loved each and everyone of us." Percy rebutted.

" 'Love' ", Draco scoffed, "such a foolish ideal. My mother was weak but never let 'love' get in the way of rational thinking. She cared for me greatly - of that I was certain - but she knew when she was in a battle that she couldn't win. Lesson #1 as a Malfoy: Pick and choose your battles wisely to better help yourself and possibly others in the future.

"Well, Lesson #1 as a Weasley: Always help family or friends in need above your own!"

Both young men were at a stalemate to out-do or maneuver the other, each with their own biting comment about their personal "family" rules, but they resolved to only glare at one another, not breaking contact.

Ting TingTing

Three strikes from Percy's old grandfather clock broke their gridlock stare and Percy sighed out of resignation looking away from Draco's icy glare first.

Sigh It's 3 am. We should catch some z's and continue tomorrow. Percy said resolutely.

Draco just nodded in agreement and looked at the fire. He didn't notice that Percy had left the room until he returned with a few blankets and pillows; he threw them in Malfoy's face unexpectedly.

"What the bloody hell was that for?!"

"It gets cold at night and I prefer not to use a spell all night to keep your place by the fire warm."

"You don't mean to say that I'm sleeping on a couch…what, no bed?!"

"Oh, Boo-feckin'-hoo! Better get used to it because last I heard, either Potter and or Hermione took my…I mean, YOUR room, so…CHEERS!"

With that, Percy apparated into his own room but not before he got a glimpse of Draco's total-awed expression morph into a very infuriated one and snarling "Sod off!" up his stairs, just in case Percy didn't catch it as he popped out .

At first Draco was too shocked to hear the perfect former Head Boy swear needlessly and almost chalked it up to his own influence in the short period of time they spent together. He's learning slowly but surely.

Draco knew Percy was getting a lot of amusement from this situation as it was prevalent with the huge grin on Percy's face on his way out. After telling Percy off, he tired to bean him with a rather lumpy pillow only to miss in the nick of time as Percy was now in a different wing but not out of earshot.

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Swoosh Swoosh FLOP!

Percy was startled awake suddenly when the tapestries in his room abruptly granted sunlight entry into his tiny room and flooding his senses with exuberantly-bright light. His comforter also zoomed across the room and a sudden rush of August's air chilled him to the bone as he fumbled numbly onto the hard, yet freezing cold wooden floor; both the temperate and the sudden wakeup call woke his mind up and alerted the rest of his body that it's fecking freezing!

"Good God, Malfoy, what in the bloody hell are you doing at," and he momentarily paused to glance at the clock on his stand, "…5:30 in the bloody morning?!"

"Oh, just thought we'd begin our "lessons" early and start with a traditional Malfoy wake up" Draco chirped in a rather sickening tone that was akin to Mrs. Weasley but not becoming of him.

"This is payback for yesterday, isn't it?" Percy quickly grabbed his blankets, trying to regain the warmth that still clung to it.

"Yesterday and the past month with all your family traditions that you felt so compelled to demonstrate and "share" me"

"Well, what is family for?" Percy flashed a fake grin that rubbed off from Draco with in the first week of their partnership back into his bed trying not to shake like a fool. "Plus, I thought you needed a real taste of what George and Fred are all about to really know how to react when it actually happens to you."

"Well, I don't think you needed to enjoy watching half as much as you did while I spat up slugs for a good half hour!"

"What can I say? Every time you seemed like you got the hang of it, your face would contort in such a way that rings, "Even Malfoys' can be get sick and look it!"

"Yeah, we'll see how smug you'll be after I'm through with you Malfoy style." Draco said a bit bitter, still able to feel the slime in his mouth. "I must say though, the look on your face when you were stripped of your covered as you got a crisp greeting from the refreshing morning air as well as when you fell flat on it with a good smack - I think there is even a nice bump forming on your forehead - made all my torment by your hands worth while; not to mention that you've got a full month ahead of you." At that last statement, Draco couldn't help but grin with glee as he had the month of payback all planned out.

"Oh, Sod off! It's refreshing to you because you're all bundled and are probably casting a warming spell as we speak!"

"My, we are salty this morning."

"You'd be too if you wer-" Percy didn't complete his sentence as he would have found himself in a trap.

Draco grinned widely and leaned forward with his hand towards his ear as if to say, "huh?"

"I'm sorry, Percival, I didn't quite catch that last comment." Draco egged him on slyly as he watch Percy's purse his lips with irritation; Percy hated it when Draco used his full name, especially with that tone. "It almost sounded as if you were comparing your situation to me before you rightfully shoved your foot in your mouth."

Percy just cleared his throat indignantly and continued as if nothing happened, trying his darnest to ignore Draco's smug grin.

"Well, as I was saying, what are you doing? That is, other than trying to get a rise out of me?"

"As I established earlier, I'm going to give you a taste of the 'Malfoy life' as well as teach you manners."

"I beg you pardon? Though it may not seem so by Ron and his company's example, but I'm very well acquainted with my manners, thank you very much!" Percy said undignified.

"Oh, are you..?" Draco said laconically as he knelt in front of the foot of Percy's bed with both arm's folded on the wooden post, resting his head upon them and looking seriously at Percy.

Percy sat up erect in a sitting position in bed with this eyes glued to Draco as if he were in a trance when suddenly the room around him went dark and could. All of a sudden, a bright flash took him off guard and he was now at a grand table of what looked to be a grand dining hall.

The furnishings in the hall were all dark but lavished none the less. Percy's attention was on the beautiful chandelier above his head when suddenly a low raspy voice snapped him to attention.

"Friends," The voice though low and velvety, exuded power with just that one word that implied that he was more than that, "we've gathered on this joyous occasion because…we have captured the traitor."

Percy's attention suddenly zeroed in on the right of him at the head of the two adjoining at tables, forming a "V" shape with whom the source of the voice's origin was.

"…Not just any traitor, but one that has been deluded us for quite some time. I must say, I am very pleased, yet very disappointed all the same. He was one of my most trusted advisors but alas, I knew something was amiss when too many of our missions were spoilt.

Percy watched the Dark Lord in a transfixed manner; too scared or enthralled to know what to do. He looked around the table and saw a gathering of some of the most wanted Death Eaters sitting around him.

'Did Malfoy use some sort of Portkey to transport me here? What's going on?' Percy thought in a panic. 'No…otherwise I'd be dead where I'm sitting. I feel like an unsuspecting bug surrounded by a sticky web with a gang of spiders in each corner. I might as well be that 'traitor" already in the spider's clutches, just waiting to be sucked dry of its life!'

As if on cue, Voldemort calmly purred, "Bring out the traitor."

Percy watched intently to see who this unfortunate soul was as two huge burly figures whom could only be Crabbe and Goyle Senior dragging in a very beaten and bloodied Severus Snape to his dismay!

'Wait a minute…I thought he assassinated Professor Dumbledore in the Dark Lord's name?" Percy's thoughts were cut short when Voldemort quelled all the commotion in the hall as the wounded form of former Professor Snape was levitated in the center of the room before all. The Dark Lord practically glided along side the so-called traitor making sure that all the Death Eaters around him were silenced before he began his interrogation.

"Severus…you've disappointed me. I am grateful for your expertise all these years and killing off Albus Dumbledore but I do not take well to traitors at all; no matter who they maybe. Have you nothing to say for yourself?"

Snape gave Voldemort his nastiest sneer before he spat on his robe. Instantly there was another uproar but Voldemort quelled them yet again. The Dark Lord's eyes glowed even brighter before he drew out his open palm and clenched it tightly as if squishing a pesky bug.

Snape groaned in agony as his body contorted to angles that were unnatural. Percy watched in horror at the sight before him and thought he was going to be sick as Snape's groans turned into tormented screams that never ended. He looked at the cut-throats around him and was even more revolted that some even looked on at Snape's contorted body with a gleam of joy in their eyes.

Voldemort clenched his fist tighter and a final hollow scream filled the hall as snaps and cracks reverberated off the hall's walls.

Percy was transfixed but couldn't look at the sight anymore as he turned away and hard the broken body of Snape land in a broken heap with a sickening thump.

"Hmm…Draco." The Dark Lord called out almost sweetly.

Percy was snapped into attention once again and knew that the Dark Lord was referring to him.

"Finish him."

"Bu-but, he's already dead, ma-my Lord."

"I said 'finish him'!"

"I-I-I can't!" Percy said weakly feeling that sick feeling churn his stomach once again.

"Do it now!" Voldemort raised his voice into a menacing timber that rivaled his earlier tone. "Prove your loyalty and complete your inauguration." he spat in fury pointing his own want to Percy.

Percy couldn't even look away at the practically lifeless body before him, let alone lift a wand it its direction.

"I see. Lucius." Voldemort pursed his lips before turning to his right.

"Yes, my Lord." lowering his eyes and kneeling at the Dark Lord's right hand.

"It seems that Draco still has not learned his lesson and has failed to comply. I do not need such incompetence within our circle." He hissed with venom dripping from each word. "I thought he would have had as much or more potential as you."

Lucius got up and pointed his want at the subdued Percy with a cold look of determination. Percy looked on in utter horror as he saw Lucius Malfoy's mouth the words to the unforgivable curse and saw a bright green light flash in his direction.

Percy clenched his eyes and suddenly felt an slight tug at his navel as if he were being port keyed to a far off place. When he opened his eyes, he saw his old room again and gasped out air he wasn't even aware he was holding. Grasping at his sheets to make sure he was really in bed, Draco was looking at him with an almost somber expression; expecting or almost waiting for something to happen. Percy suddenly go upset and jumped out of bed and hauled Draco by the collar, hoisting him to the balls of his feet to get him at eye level.

"What the bloody hell just happened, Malfoy?!" He practically shouted, still out of breath and pale from the experience.

"Just a taste of what you might be facing even upon your first day of arrival."

Percy released Draco with a shove and paced the room with one hand clasped firmly to his mouth and another on his him. Percy suddenly turned to Draco sharply with a disoriented expression on his face.

"How true was that scenario?"

"…Let's just say, it is such a possibility that it even frightens me."

"So, your saying…Snape is not just a traitor to the Death Eaters in this scenario but even in real life?"

"He was the one that helped me escape them and took the burden off me."

"But why kill Dumbledore?"

"He was under oath to do so or die himself. Snape still didn't say why he took the oath but I assume that it was also part of Dumbledore's plan or wishes; he normally doesn't deviate from what ever the plan are to do his own thing."

"Preposterous. Why would he do such a thing at such a critical time?"

"I have no idea but all I am saying is that Severus Snape is not on a particular side, but I would say shoe the lesser of the two evils. Dumbledore is easier to deal with then a bunch of fanatical cult members, but also because I was way in over my head, he helped me. Snape would be vital but you can NOT reveal his true allegiances. I owe him that much and without him, your ticket in the Death Eater's Den goes with him!"

It was on the tip of Percy's tongue to say he doesn't owe Snape a thing, but yet again, Malfoy did have a valid point; the whole bit on how tricky membership was into that particular society.

"Fine. But he, too, must not disclose anything about what we are!"

Draco nodded and said, "Sometime soon, we need to explain our situation to him so that glimpse that you saw earlier doesn't become a reality because we made him cover for us or we somehow slipped up."

"By the way, how the bloody hell did you do that?'

"My father, as a Ministry Official encounters many new technique and as a Death Eater, gets to experiment and test them. That particular charm was a recent addition to a plethora he taught me before hand but he would mainly use that one to torture his victims for information. A sort of means for extraction by their reaction to the visual stimuli."

"Extraordinary! And what did you observe from my reaction?"

"You aren't ready." Draco said flatly as Percy frown, not quite liking the answer.

"How was I to handle it when they just tortured someone I knew half my life as the Dark Lord asked me to kill him to 'prove my loyalty'?!"

"Which you should have done."

"What?!"

"You don't understand! This isn't just a job that you can quit when it gets tough. No! These maniacs which I'm ashamed to say, that half I'm related to, and in their warped world, they love to hurt others. At times, it becomes a daily event and in most cases for their own amusement. You said it earlier, you have the short end of the stick because you'll have to deal with their demented behavior. You've also got to play the part that you've lived with this sort of thing all your life, so none of it will be new to you or make you flinch. It's kill or be killed in their world. Look and laugh at what they like or be killed. Do as you are told like a dumb lobotomized thug or be killed!" Draco yelled his frustration at Percy who was not quite absorbing the severity of their situation as they originally thought.

"Are you saying that you would have done it?!"

"Yes!"

"You're just as mad as the rest of them!"

Draco had to practically bite his tongue and not reach for his wand as he was offended and appalled by his comment but chose to let it go until he cooled down a bit.

"Look. You need to be prepared to do anything that comes your way, especially since you do need to prove your worth. Don't give me that look because you wanted in and now you need to survive in order for this to work. I wouldn't just kill Snape to prove what a valuable "asset" I'll be to them but as a gracious act for what he's done for me."

At this Draco, seemed so sincere but Percy was obviously perturbed by his statement still not quite understanding the meaning of what he just said.

"Snape wouldn't have lived much longer, 2-4 days in that situation at the very most; probably using elixirs that he made himself to prolong his life. However, during that time, I know they would have tortured him for all he was worth because he was a traitor and no one, traitor or not, deserves that sort of torment, especially for their last moments on earth. I owe him that much at least and killing him would have been the least I could do for him."

"…What about your father?"

"He would think more about his loyalty and his reputation than to spare me." Draco said bitterly.

There was a very pregnant pause before anyone broke the silence.

"Well, I guess that concludes lessons for today." Percy got up and started to fix his bed to break the tension hanging the air. 'And I was eager to learn that technique today too! Ah-well. Next time.'

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First and foremost, I would like to apologize for the constant delay of this chapter! As you can see…it was a bit longer than the norm…actually, it's probably longer than all the previous chapters combined. A large chunk of it is just to get formalities out of the way and get the two on their roads to redemption so-to-speak. I could have broken it up in parts like the did the previous ones but I sort of wanted it to be worth your wait. Hopefully it is :D

Thanks for reading if you've been keeping up. I plan on having the next chapter up by the end of next month but just like this one, it may be longer than anticipated. If it's not going to be their interaction with the families and jobs in the next chapter, you will likely see Draco braving the Weasley Burrow in the following chapter.

Let me know how you liked it and also if there are any mistakes (I'd gladly appreciate it!). This chapter made me realize why there are Betas' out there. It gets kind of tiring looking at your own words over and over again. Not to mention, I tend to see what is in my head on the screen even though it's not necessarily there. It's great to have another pair of eyes looking through your work and able to catch your little mistakes in a

SNAP! LOL, Okay, I'm talking too much but I hope you enjoyed the chapter and HAPPY NEW YEARS!

Amerise A. Rei