Title: Gift for BrigidMN
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: These characters and their world are as not mine as they could possibly get.
Summary: Percy and Oliver are just getting used to their relationship, just to have it disturbed by their previously made holiday plans. But to Percy's frustration, there are some things neither of them can plan for.
Notes: Written for BrigidMN for the winter holidays, 2004
Gift for BrigidMN
The wizarding world was very large. Wizarding
alone was, actually, enormous. Percy Weasley sometimes forgot this fact. Having spent so much time at Hogwarts, attended by students from every family in the region, he was used to knowing people from Britain , Wales , and Scotland as well as Ireland . At Hogwarts, he had gotten to know his peers, and learn about their families, and it all seemed so small and localized. At the Ministry of Magic, things weren't much different. He was constantly in contact with wizards all over in order to work on issues that would affect them all. So sometimes the fact that there were so many wizards and witches in England , or that there was so much of a distance between them all, really hit him. Britain
"Percy!" Percy blinked and quickly looked down around the mattress at Oliver. "There you are. I thought I'd lost you again." Percy smiled apologetically. He had been spacing out, lost in thought often lately. It was no reflection upon his company; he simply had a lot of important things on his mind. "Your end," Oliver told him, gesturing down towards Percy's feet.
Percy looked down to see that his hand had gone slack and the wand in it was pointing down instead of up in the air. "Sorry!" apologized Percy. "Wingardium leviosa!" he said with a swish and flick. His end of the mattress raised in the air, just as Oliver's side was. It lifted only a few feet off the air, which was just enough for what they needed.
And what they needed was to get the mattress up several more flights of stairs to Percy's new flat. The mattress was not too heavy for just one person to lift, but because of the size and need to maneuver it upwards the task was much more easily accomplished by two people. Percy was quite grateful that Oliver had offered to help.
Even though they were in a relationship now, Percy had hesitated to ask Oliver to help him move out of his room at The Burrow and into his first flat. But Oliver had volunteered and been more than happy to put his Quidditch-toned body to use for Percy's benefit. Whether it was using magic to levitate objects up the stairs or moving objects around with his muscles flexed as the boxes were unpacked. Oliver's muscles... and his chest when he lifted the hem of his shirt to wipe sweat from his forehead...
"Perce!" Percy jumped, realizing that he had allowed his mind to wander off again. Accordingly he had dropped the mattress again, leaving Oliver to support the whole thing so it would not slide back down the stairs. Percy uttered the levitation spell again and kept his mind on the job as they directed it all the way upstairs.
Blindly feeling behind him as he got to the top of the stairs, he managed to keep the mattress in the air and open the door to his flat. They guided the mattress inside and towards the bed where the bottom mattress already rested on the bed frame. Percy's face twitched with a brief lapse of concentration and the mattress dropped, prematurely falling upon the other.
Oliver laughed. "Let's just do it without magic. Just a little push." As it was raining out, their hands, like the rest of them, were wet. But they both squatted down and grabbed hold of the mattress well enough. Percy nodded and together they lifted the mattress and slid it into place on top of the other. Oliver sighed with relief and sat down on top. Percy sat beside him. "Please tell me that's the last of it."
Percy nodded. "That's it." Then he smiled charmingly and pecked Oliver on the cheek with the softest of kisses. "Thank you so much for helping me."
"I still don't know why you couldn't just transfigure something to be a bed. Or keep using the couch for that matter." Percy had a fold-out couch he had been using as a bed during the night.
"This is much more comfortable," Percy said, running his hand over the mattress. "Besides, if the transfiguration wore off in the middle of the night and I would myself tangled in blankets lying on top of a teacup or something. And I'd miss my old bed. I've had it for as long as I can remember." The Weasleys may not have been allowed a lot of extravagances as children, but everyone had his or her own bed and Percy had been the first to get his own room. And now he had his own flat.
Olver shrugged, "Yeah, but don't you think it's a little... a little..."
"Damp?" Percy guessed. He felt likewise. Though he was quite glad that they didn't have to keep going out into the heavy rain to move things now. When Oliver did not agree right away, "Ah, low?" The bed hardly stood more than three feet off the ground. But that gave the impression of a tall ceiling. Percy took off his glasses and rubbed the end of his shirt over the lenses to dry them off. But as his shirt was damp, it didn't do much good. Oliver had not yet confirmed either word, so Percy tried again. "Blue?"
Oliver laughed, shaking his head. The mattress was, indeed, a striking shade of blue. "No, I was going to say little, actually." It was only a twin sized bed. And though it looked the right size in comparison with Percy's smallish apartment, it was still just a twin sized bed.
Nodding, "Yeah, well, I don't need much. It's just me here, after all." There was a sad note to his voice that Oliver was quick to pick up on.
Oliver gripped the edge of the mattress a bit harder than he normally might. "Maybe you should get a cat or something?"
Percy rolled his eyes. "That's just what I need: cat hair all over the place with my allergies. Besides, Hermes probably wouldn't be too keen on having a cat around." Both were terribly weak excuses. Percy took an allergy potion weekly that kept his few, minor allergies in check. And cats purchased at wizarding pet shops were already trained not see owls as prey. In fact, many owls and cats who lived in the same home became very close friends. But Percy did not want a cat. He wanted something else. Someone else.
"Sorry the bed's so little," Percy said, snapping back again with another apologetic and slightly sheepish smile. He hoped his thoughts hadn't betrayed him.
"I reckon I can handle it for one night," Oliver said with a shrug.
Percy nodded and looked down at his lap. If it meant Oliver would stay, he would have gone right back out into the pouring rain to buy a larger bed. But the reason Oliver was leaving was much more important than a bed. It was the holidays in just a few days. Oliver would be going home to
to be with his family and Percy would be staying in Scotland to be near his family. Celebrations and arrangements had been made months in advance, before they had even met up with each other again after Hogwarts. Plans couldn't be changed now, much as either of them might like that. London
This time it was not Oliver but a sneeze that shook Percy from his thoughts. "hekshihhh!"
Oliver cleared his throat. "We should get out of these wet clothes. Wouldn't want to catch cold, aye?"
Percy agreed and got up. He took some clothes out of a drawer to change into just as Oliver squatted on the floor, fishing some out of his duffle bag. "I'm in the mood for a hot shower," Percy called out, trying to sound casual. "Want to join me?" He looked over his shoulder, looking curious.
"Love to," Oliver said, grinning. He sprang up, change of clothes in hand, and intercepted Percy with a strong, playful embrace as they made their way to the bathroom.
Percy shivered a little more than usual as he stripped out of his rain-soaked clothes. But as he noticed Oliver was shivering a little as well in the somewhat chilly bathroom, he thought nothing of it. He was happy when the sensation of bare feet against cold tile was overwhelmed by soft, hot water rushing against his chest and a warm body wrapping itself around him from behind. Percy closed his eyes in order to savor the moment. He was going to sorely miss moments like this while Oliver was away.
It wasn't as thought Oliver didn't leave all the time. His Quidditch team was based in Puddlemere, after all. And he was constantly traveling with it to away games. But this time he was going for two weeks straight. Two weeks during a time of love and celebration that Percy wanted to spend with everyone he cared about, including his new boyfriend.
Oliver kissed the back of Percy's head. "Feeling a little sneezy?"
"I'm all right. Probably just a little chilly still," Percy said, sniffling and wiping his nose with the back of his wet hand. He instinctively turned the temperature knob higher towards 'hot' and Oliver did not object.
But as soon as it had started, the shower ended. Oliver gave him a strong hug from behind then shivered and pulled away to get a towel. Percy stayed in the shower stall a little longer, breathing in the steam deeply and looking up with slightly blurry vision at the shower head. Water was dripping out of it, still, through some of the little holes. He cocked his head, watching more closely to see if there was a pattern to the water droplets.
"Perce?" Oliver chuckled as he pulled on plaid flannel pants. "You coming out or do I have to get back in there and drag you out?" Percy did not answer. He continued to stare at the dripping water. Oliver narrowed his eyes in concern. "Percy? You all right?" He started back for the shower stall just as he saw Percy sway, and he reached the man just as Percy fainted.
"Oliver?" Percy called out when he regained consciousness to find himself dressed and stretched out on the couch beneath blankets.
Oliver sat down on the edge of the couch with a cold washcloth for Percy's forehead and a box of tissues for the large box in front of the couch which served as a makeshift coffee table. "You're burning up, Percy," he said softly. Then, when Percy didn't understand, he said, "A fever. You're running a fever."
"Really?" Percy asked, reaching up to feel his forehead around the washcloth. It was true. Even he could tell he felt hot. It was probably too far along by now to try a temperature reduction spell. And if he had a fever already, it was also too late for anything like the pepper-up potion. And, yet, he didn't feel quite so bad as it seemed. "But I don't feel sick." He started to sit up, but his head swam and throbbed, and he quickly lay back down again. "I take that back," he groaned and coughed. "What's wrong with me?"
"I'm sure it's just a cold," Oliver said comfortingly. "All this moving and stress... you probably just wore yourself out and caught something and with that cold rain all afternoon and evening... I'm sure it's just a minor cold. Nothing to worry about, okay?"
Percy nodded, though he wasn't so sure about not worrying. In his estimation, passing out in the shower stall and waking up with a fever was a perfectly good reason to worry. Not to mention that the holidays were coming up. He didn't want to spend them sick. Of course, he might not have much of a choice about that. It was not as though he could just tell it to go away until after the holidays.
"Olly?" Percy said, his voice slightly higher than normal. "I think I need one of those tissues now."
"Sure." Oliver pulled one out of the box and handed it over just in time for Percy to sneeze again.
"hahhKShhhh! ehhhhShihhh! hehhShhhihhh!" Percy sneezed into the tissue, then blew his nose into it. "Excuse me. Ughhh," Percy sighed. "This is so..." Annoying. Frustrating. "Sudden. Sniff!"
"You really didn't know you were coming down sick?" Oliver asked, taking the used tissue from him and handing him a fresh one, just in case. "I mean, you weren't hiding it from me? You actually weren't getting sick all day?"
Percy shook his head. "I'd no idea. I mean, I was a little tired and a little cold. And maybe my throat hurt a little bit earlier. But I just figured it was from all the moving and running in and out of the rain. I didn't think I... I... ehhhShuhhh! ehhhKShhhh!" He rolled onto his side and blew his nose again. "Excuse me," he whispered, closing his eyes as the washcloth began slipping down his forehead.
Oliver reached up and put it back into place. "It's all right, Perce," he began.
But Percy shook his head. "It's not all right. It's a shite way to spend our last night together. All day I make you move my things up eight flights of stairs and now I can't event thank you or say goodbye properly."
"Now that's not true," Oliver said, frowning. "First, you didn't make me do anything. I enjoyed helping you. I would have done it even if we weren't dating. And second, there's no need to give me a long goodbye or anything. We'll be in touch while I'm gone for the holidays. Hermes knows where I'll be, and your parents and mine both have fireplaces." He raised his hand, hesitated, then cupped it over Percy's cheek. He stroked his thumb gently against the side of Percy's face. "Third, I didn't expect anything from you just because I helped you move or because I'm going. I love the sex, Perce, but I never expect it. And I'm not disappointed that there won't be any tonight. I'm just disappointed that you're not feeling well."
Percy was biting his bottom lip throughout Oliver's explanation, trying to will his tears back. One escaped out of the corner of his eye, but Oliver had not seen it. And his sniffling could easily be attributed to his cold rather than to the fact that what Oliver had said had moved him greatly. "Oh, Oliver," he sighed weakly, his voice cracking.
"Hey," Oliver said, staring Percy down. He seemed to understand it wasn't just from the head cold. "No need to get all..."
Percy nodded. "I know." He sniffed again. "I know." He tried to smile convincingly, but he'd never felt more like crying in his life. Crying and begging Oliver to stay. Oliver was so nice, so sweet. Oliver knew just what to say and knew just how to take care of him. If Percy had to get sick during the holidays, he wanted more than anything for Oliver to stay with him. Clearing his throat and keeping his smile in place, "How about a little dinner?"
"You're hungry?" Percy nodded and Oliver looked rather relieved. "Well, that's a good sign. Sure. I'll whip something hot up right now for us."
Two hot somethings later, Oliver was making the bed up as per Percy's request. Percy wanted to be sick in his own bed. But more importantly, he just wanted to be in bed. "hehhhChhhh! hehhhChuhhh! Sniff! Olly?"
Oliver tucked the top sheet in at the bottom of the bed and pulled it up to the top of the bed. Then he headed over to Percy on the couch. "Are you okay?" he asked concernedly. "Need more tissues? A drink? A hug?"
Percy couldn't help but smile at the last one. "All of the... hahh... above?" Percy said, holding a hand over his nose. Oliver sat down sideways on the couch, one leg bent beneath him. He put an arm around Percy and pulled a few tissues out from the tissue box. He handed them to Percy. "hehhhKShhhh! ehhhShuhhhh!" He gave his nose a quick blow and exchanged the used tissue for a glass of water. When Percy had finished drinking, Oliver squeezed him reassuringly then cuddled him close. Percy rubbed his face into Oliver's chest, sniffling. "Thank you," he whispered, his voice muffled into Oliver's shirt. "Merlin," he sighed deeply. "I'm going to miss this when you're gone." He snuggled closer into Oliver's chest. "Don't know how I'll get through this without you."
Oliver chuckled. "It's not as though you've never had a cold before." He ran his hand absentmindedly through Percy's soft, red hair. "Besides, I'm not doing much. Just handing you tissues. You don't need me for that."
"No," Percy agreed. "But I really like you for it." He sniffled and rubbed at his nose. "It's not so bad feeling rotten with you here to hold me." After hearing those words flowing from his mouth, he flushed from cheeks to ears. "Sorry," he whispered. "Must be the fever talking."
Oliver chuckled lightly again, but the comment stirred something in him. "Hey..." he said softly, leadingly. "What do you think about coming with me to
for the holidays this year?" Percy's head snapped upwards at once, looking stunned by the offer. "I was just thinking... you wanted me to look after you and I want to do so. So I thought, well, maybe you could come with me." Percy still said nothing; he just looked at Oliver oddly. "No, think about it. You never get enough time away to visit with me properly up in Scotland . You can stay at my flat and we'll decorate it for the holidays together. You can meet my family and go through our traditions with us. We can stay up late on Christmas Eve and keep the fire burning together. You'd love my grandmother's bannock cakes. I can show you how to dance at the Hogmanay ceilidh. And we can go firstfooting together, though I suppose I would have to go in first since I've dark hair and you red." He took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "What do you say, Perce?" Scotland
It sounded good. It sounded fun. It sounded absolutely delightful and would have been perfect... if it wasn't for the fact that he'd promised his parents he would spend Christmas with them. Bill and Charlie were coming back home and even though they'd visited briefly during the summer, Percy could never see enough of his older brothers. And now with the time off from work he would really get to enjoy his time with his family. While he had been home, he'd shut himself up in his room to work. But now that he had his own flat, he missed The Burrow and everything about it. His mother's cooking and the way the scent of it filled the house. The decorations that seemed to multiply every year. The way they'd all sit around in their new, matching sweaters and drink eggnog after opening presents. "Oliver..." he started weakly, not quite sure how to go about saying it.
But Oliver shook his head. "Right. I understand. We made promises to our families. I just thought..." He shook his head again. "No matter. Forget I said anything." He pushed Percy's hair from his face and kissed him tenderly on the forehead. "We'll just enjoy being with each other one last night then."
Percy smiled and nodded. "If you can bear sleeping in that little bed with me, that is."
Chuckling again, "With you beside me, I think I can put up with it. Come on. Get into bed and I'll make it around you. That way you're all snug and warm and comfy. Would you like that?" Percy nodded quickly and gave a bit of a surprised yelp when Oliver scooped Percy up in his arms. "One of the advantages of having a strong boyfriend, aye?" Oliver joked as he carried Percy over to the bed and set him down on it.
He pulled the sheet up over Percy, then stacked pillows with fresh pillowcases behind the man. He layered the blankets on top, tucking a few in at the bottom of the bed and just draping the larger, thicker ones over everything. Then he stood back, hands on his hips, and admired his work. "Whoops, almost forgot!" He brought the water and tissue box over. Then he looked Percy and the bed over again. "There. Now, all set?"
Percy shrugged and stared down at the tissue box on his lap.
"Well what else could you need?" Oliver asked. But as he asked, his words slowed and a smile grew on his face. "Oh." With a wave of his wand, he turned off the lights in the one-room apartment. Then he tucked his wand under a pillow. He pulled back the blankets just long enough to climb beneath and stretch out on his side against Percy's side. He breathed warmly onto Percy's cheek, then followed that with a gentle kiss. "Now?"
"Now is great," Percy whispered, closing his eyes. He had half a mind to grab hold of Oliver and not let go. He did not want the man to leave, especially not since he was so warm and comfortable in bed with him. "Now is... almost perfect," he said, glad that Oliver couldn't see him blushing now. Oliver slid an arm beneath Percy's shoulders and hugged tightly. So warm and secure now, Percy was ready to revise his previous statement to eliminate the 'almost'.
But the need to sneeze came over him, and he was rather glad for the 'almost'. He adored snuggling in bed with Oliver, but with a stuffy nose and when all they could do was snuggle... things weren't exactly what he would call perfect. Oliver anticipated the sneeze and got a tissue for him. Even before their eyes had been properly accustomed to the darkness in the room, Oliver had been able to locate Percy's hand and give him the tissue. As the sneezes turned out to be especially wet, Percy was quite glad for it. "heh-hehhSHHHHH! ehhhShihhhh! Ehhhh-ehhh-HIHSchhhhhh! IhShhhh!" Oliver handed over a few more and Percy blew his nose. "Excuse... me," Percy apologized, yawning rather powerfully in-between words.
"Sleepy?" Oliver asked, stroking the back of two fingers against Percy's cheek. Percy nodded and looked back at Oliver, who wore an expression of sadness. "Oh," he said softly. "Well, you should get some sleep, then."
"I can make myself stay awake a little longer," Percy offered. They had only a matter of hours now before it Oliver had to leave. And clearly Oliver wanted to be sure it was time well spent.
"Absolutely not," said Oliver, shaking his head. "But I am leaving rather early to catch my flight. So if I must leave before you wake up in the morning, I wanted to be sure to wish you a Happy Christmas in person before I left. I've left your present on the top shelf of your closet but I'll probably end up sending something more from
." He kissed Percy's cheek again. "More importantly, you take care of yourself. I want you as good as new when I return. All right?" Scotland
Percy nodded. "All right," he lied. He was notoriously bad at taking care of himself. He either spent days in bed forgetting to eat properly, or he overworked himself and ended passing out. But for Oliver, he would make an effort towards a happy medium. "But wake me up when you have to leave. I want to say goodbye to you."
"I ken, but sleep's the best thing for you now. And I want you to get well as soon as possible. Which means a good, long, restful sleep."
Percy agreed with a nod. Oliver made a lot of sense. Or, at least, seemed to make sense to a tired, feverish Percy. "Have a safe trip then," Percy told him, sounding sad. "Happy Christmas and sweet dreams." He turned and kissed Oliver's cheek very lightly, hoping that wouldn't be enough to give Oliver his cold. Oliver gently slid Percy's glasses from his face and set them on the headboard. Then Percy closed his eyes and fell asleep, snuggled close to Oliver so that neither would fall off the little bed.
It was already bright when Percy woke the next morning. He found Oliver still pressed against him, and he looked over to the clock. It was too blurry to read, so he reached up for his glasses. After putting them on, he tried again. Immediately his eyes grew wide and he grabbed Oliver's shoulder, shaking it. "Ol... it's... hahhh..." He turned his head away. "ahhhhShuhhh! ehhhShehhh! hehhhShuhhhh!" Oliver woke sleepily and blinked up at Percy. "It's nearly ten," Percy explained, running two fingers under his nose. "You've missed your flight!"
Oliver yawned, covering it by burying his face into Percy's shoulder for a moment. Then he nodded. "I'm aware, Perce. I woke up in time. I was halfway out the door, too. But then you started coughing in your sleep and wouldn't stop until I sat you up a little." He touched Percy's forehead to see what his temperature was. "So I got to thinking and decided that you needed me to stay. And, more importantly, I wouldn't be able to go if it meant leaving you here alone."
"But..." Percy shook his head.
"I can always go visit my family when you get better. In the meantime, I'm sure they'll understand when I explain you're not feeling well."
Percy raised his eyebrows. "They know about us? About you?"
Oliver shrugged. "Well they will now. I suspect my parents probably always knew. Yours?"
Percy shrugged back. "Same. Nonetheless, it's a bad time to explain to them the reason I'm bringing you over or staying here with you is because I'm a poof and want to spend time with my boyfriend."
Oliver shook his head. "It's a perfect time. Your parents wouldn't get angry with you on Christmas. That's the time to be forgiving and loving."
"Mom would probably stop everything to go knit you a sweater," Percy agreed. Oliver chuckled.
"Whatever we end up doing, Perce," Oliver told him, pulling some more tissues from the box and handing it over as Percy's face fell with the need to sneeze again. "Whether we're together or not. Whether we're in
or in London . I want you to be looked after and I want you to know I care about you." Scotland
Oliver handed over the tissues and Percy buried his face into them. "EHHKShhhhh! ehhhSchhhh! hehhhShuhhh! ehhhShihhh! Hehhh... hehhIHShhh!" After the small fit, he blew his nose and then lifted his head to give Oliver an encouraging, appreciative smile.
"I know you don't like unplanned things. But can you handle this?" Oliver asked, propping himself up on an elbow to study Percy. "My sticking around a little longer?"
Percy grinned. "Absolutely. But if you're sticking around, do you want to move back over to the pull-out? Given that this bed is a little... little?"
Oliver chuckled and shook his head. "It's cozy. What do we need more room for? I'm just going to cuddle you close anyway when I take care of you." In example, he hugged Percy to him and kissed his temple. "I like your bed." He took one hand off Percy for a moment to gesture at the rest of the flat, empty boxes scattered everywhere. "Besides, now I can help you finish your unpacking."
With a happy sigh, Percy turned and kissed Oliver's forehead. Then he closed his eyes and snuggled into Oliver. The wizarding world was large, extensive. But right now, what mattered most to him couldn't have been closer.