Title: Brigidmn's Request 2007
Disclaimer: Sadly, these characters are absolutely not mine. Also, I make no money from this.
Percy and Oliver take a holiday trip to a very cold Canada.
Notes: Written for brigidmn. I had your “Percy/Oliver” request on my list and when I went to find specifics, I accidentally read your 2007 holiday request instead of the 2007 July request. So the situation might be somewhat similar but the story itself is much different. I apologize for the mix-up and hope the story is all right anyway.
Percy stared at the suitcase as it lay open on the bed. He pushed his glasses up against the bridge of his nose and stroked his chin thoughtfully. Oliver walked by, behind Percy, and chuckled. Percy turned his head and frowned. “What was that for?”
“What was what?” Oliver asked innocently as he passed by again, going the other way this time.
Percy narrowed his eyes, which Oliver did not see as he was in the hallway. “That look and chuckle. What was that for?”
Oliver came back in and shrugged. He placed his hands on Percy's shoulders and squeezed. “Honey, I travel with the team about once a week. All you have to do is toss a change of clothes into a bag, grab your toothbrush, and you're done.”
Shaking his head, Percy rested his hands on his hips. He stared down at the suitcase. “But what if I forget something important? Ooh! Or what if it rains?”
Oliver kissed the back of Percy's ear and whispered, “Then you'll get wet.” Quickly, he corrected himself. “We'll get wet.” He wrapped his arms around Percy from behind and hugged him.
Percy relaxed a little. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Then he pulled away. “Umbrellas. I'm sure we have umbrellas. I can use a shrinking charm to get them to fit in the suitcase.”
Chuckling softly, Oliver left the room to go get his toothbrush.
* * *
Percy sat in the freezing cold, flanked on both sides by girlfriends of other team members. Because the away game fell on Christmas weekend, all significant others of the members of Puddlemere United had been invited along on the trip to Canada. The team was there to play an exhibition game against the Moose Jaw Mounties. They'd been put up in a lovely inn on the magical side of the town and given a day to settle in before the big game. This afternoon, the team was getting the feel of the pitch and the wives, girlfriends, and boyfriend of the various players were freezing their bums off in the stadium while watching.
To say it was cold out would have been an understatement. Percy's nose had been running for the first ten minutes, but then it got too cold to run and froze. After half an hour, he ceased being able to feel his hands. And after forty-five minutes, Percy felt completely numb.
Even when practice was over and Oliver was hot, sweaty, and hugging him tightly, Percy was too cold to feel much of anything. “Is there a team dinner or anything planned tonight?”
Oliver shook his head. “Some of the single guys are going out on the town, and we're welcome to join them. I don't expect there are any gay strip clubs in town, so we might not get much of a show. However, I thought we might have a nice, romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant near our hotel. What do you think?”
Percy smiled up at him. “I think you'd better call and get reservations before your teammates get the same idea.”
As it turned out, they ran into quite a few familiar faces while out at dinner. Percy was much better at names, and able to whisper into Oliver's ear when it came to saying hello to a wife or girlfriend. As the only man in the group of significant others, everyone knew who Percy was.
The Italian restaurant Oliver had chosen was quite classy. Some of the main courses cost what Percy and Oliver were used to spending on a week's worth of meals for them both. And Percy was glad he had thought to pack neckties for the both of them. Their normal clothes and sneakers transfigured into suits and dress shoes well enough.
“What are you thinking of getting?” Percy asked, looking at the menu and taking a sip from his wine glass. He knew how hungry his lover got after a long practice.
His nose stuck in his menu, Oliver shrugged.
Percy waited a few minutes before trying again. “The Basil Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb sounds amazing. But I was thinking of getting something a little smaller. Maybe the risotto. You?”
Oliver shrugged again and lowered the menu. “I'm not feeling so hungry.”
Percy looked sympathetic. “Not even for Zuppa Di Cozze? You love muscles.” That was supposed to be a joke, but Oliver did not seem to get it.
Instead, he gave a third shrug. “Yeah.”
Oliver was also conspicuously quiet throughout dinner. It was worse considering that Percy was equally as quiet. They talked about their meals, which were fine. They talked about the game, which Oliver was feeling good about. They talked about the restaurant, which was not as exquisite as they had hoped but not disappointing either. There was a string quartet. The décor was straight from Tuscany. The plates were crazy shapes. The lighting was low throughout but with flickering candles at each table. The prices were staggering.
“Oliver, are you all right?” Percy asked finally as the Puddlemere United reserve keeper helped him on with his coat. It was fiercely cold outside at night, and that struck them the second they stepped out of the door. Percy felt like turning right around and going back in for a second helping of dessert, just to savor the warmth for an extra few minutes. “Only you've been rather quiet tonight. Either Canada's really changed you or something's wrong. Frankly, I'm hoping it's the former.”
Oliver's laughter came with white puffs of warm breath against the cold. He hugged Percy close. “I'll tell you back at the hotel, okay love?”
Feeling that this could not be anything good, Percy was forced to nod. He did not pressure the man when they got back to their hotel room. As though reading each other's minds, they closed the door behind them and immediately stripped off their coats. They dashed into bed fully clothed and snuggled up to each other. As Percy hugged Oliver and Oliver hugged him back, Percy suddenly realized what was wrong.
It was almost as though he had known it all along. It was as if the idea had occurred to him before but he hadn't wanted to admit it until now. And it was all the more terrible because Percy felt just the same. Percy nuzzled close and whispered into Oliver's ear, “It's all right. You don't have to say. And I… I'm coming down with a little something, too. I can feel it coming on. I was afraid to say something about it because I didn't want to ruin your game.”
“And I didn't want to ruin your Christmas,” Oliver said softly.
“Maybe it won't be so bad.”
Percy woke to the sound of constant coughing. He rolled onto his side and patted his hand against Oliver's back. His head was stuffed full of icky, horrible stuff and it spun when he moved. His body told him to go back to sleep, but instead he patted Oliver until the coughing subsided.
“I thidk I'b ruddig a fever,” Oliver said. He rolled over onto his other side to look at Percy. “Cad you tell? Cad you tell if I'b ruddig a fever, Bercy?”
Percy laid his hand upon Oliver's forehead, frowning. He pressed his other hand to his own forehead. “I can't tell, honesty. What do you think?”
Oliver did the same, pushing both of Percy's hands to the side slightly to make room for his own. He paused, evaluating, then he pulled one hand back. He cupped it to his face. “huh-g'tshhh!”
“Oh, bless you. Where…” Percy reclaimed the use of both hands to search around blindly. “Where did the tissue box go? Did we crunch it?”
“Duddo,” Oliver replied stuffily. They rolled about, feeling everywhere, until they discovered one of them had knocked it over the side of the bed. The air in the room was cool and made Oliver shiver. He snuggled up to Percy as he blew his nose. But he found it difficult to get comfortable.
The hotel mattress was too soft. The pillows were all lumpy. The blankets were stiff. The sheets were rough. The bed was too small. Or too big. Or just plain wrong.
“ehhTchoo! Sniff! I feel bad. I can't sleep,” Percy said. He reached over to the nightstand for his glasses. “I miss our bed. I wish I were home,” Percy admitted.
“Baybe you should go,” suggested Oliver. He coughed and rubbed his head. “I would't blabe you. I bet you're ruddig a fever, just like be.”
Percy knew it would be easy enough to take a portkey home and wait for Oliver's return. But he had come all this way and it would take more than an uncomfortable bed and a little head cold to make Percy abandon his Oliver. Besides, it was Christmas. “I'm not going anywhere.” He kissed Oliver then pulled away. “Scratch that. I'm going to find my suitcase. Hold on.”
Oliver whimpered and muttered, “Hurry back.” Percy was back in an instant, waving a thermometer in his hand. Oliver narrowed his eyes at it in confusion as Percy climbed back into bed. “Where'd that come from?”
“I brought it along from home in case we needed it. Good thing I did, too. You first Mr. I-think-I'm-running-a-fever. Open up.”
Oliver looked warily at the instrument. “But what if I really do have a fever? They won't let me play tomorrow if they think I might pass out on the pitch. Won't look good to the Mounties.” He sniffed.
“Would you rather not know? Do you want to stay in denial?”
Worried, Oliver shook his head. “Just do it.” He opened his mouth.
Typically, Percy carried a pocket watch, which he obviously did not take to bed, so they used Oliver's wristwatch. As seconds ticked by on the digital readout, Oliver got a bit anxious. Percy hugged him close and petted his head soothingly. “Almost done, sweetheart.” He took the thermometer out finally and looked at it. It was just a smidgen above normal. “No fever,” Percy fibbed. Then he quickly shook the thermometer again to get it back to room temperature. “See? You worried for nothing.”
Oliver sniffed miserably. “I guess. I still feel ill.”
“Of course you do. But it's just a little cold. Just get plenty of sleep and you can kick it. I know you can.”
With a shrug, Oliver admitted he didn't quite believe his lover. “Aye.”
Percy stopped shaking the thermometer and read it to make sure it was all right to use again. “My turn?”
Oliver took the thermometer and stuck it under Percy's tongue. They both looked down at the Oliver's watch as the same little digital numbers flipped from one to the other. “Thirty seconds,” Oliver announced.
Percy whimpered, and Oliver looked up at him, confused. Percy's nostrils twitched as he tried to breathe and not sneeze at the same time. Oliver chuckled and Percy shot him a menacing look. “Okay, okay. I'm sorry. Here.” He pressed two fingers to Percy's nose. “Better?” Percy didn't look much better but he didn't sneeze, either. Oliver kissed his cheek reassuringly. “Don't sneeze.” The corners of Percy's mouth turned up in a tiny smile. Oliver smiled back.
Percy's breath hitched.
“Oh no you don't!” Oliver warned, laughing.
Percy's eyes closed. “ehh… ehh…”
“Percy! Don't you sneeze now!” He pressed hard against Percy's nose and kept his fingers there for ten more excruciatingly long seconds. Oliver slid the thermometer out of Percy's mouth and immediately dropped his hand in order to cup it around Percy's nose and mouth. “Okay, now you can sneeze.”
Percy opened his eyes. “Well, now I don't have to.”
Oliver laughed and passed him some tissues. “For when you do.”
They snuggled back up together, arms around each other, Percy's head fitting comfortably against Oliver's chest and neck and Oliver's head resting against Percy's. “You're not running a fever either, by the way,” Oliver informed him.
Percy couldn't help but wonder if Oliver were doing what he'd just done to Oliver and lying about the exact reading on the thermometer. But it didn't really matter right now. “One more thing,” Percy said. He pulled away again.
Shivering, Oliver tried to keep warm in the lumpy, unfamiliar bed without Percy. The tickle in his nose did not help one bit. “huhh… huhh-g'shoo! huhTchoo!”
Percy returned in a minute with a hot water bottle. Oliver laughed. “Don't tell me. You brought that from home, too?”
“Sometimes your muscles can use a little TLC after a game. I didn't want you all achy during our Christmas festivities. But I thought we could use it now.” Percy touched his wand to the bottle he'd just filled up, making it as warm as it could get. Then he stashed the bottle under the covers at the base and pulled the blankets up over them. Oliver grinned as his feet and Percy's competed to get at the warmth. Within a half a minute, they had worked out the sharing and both their feet were toasty warm.
Oliver slipped Percy's glasses off for him and set them on the nightstand again. “Remind me to never give you shit about packing again,” Oliver said.
Percy shrugged. “Well, perhaps I didn't need to pack the frying pan.”
Percy grinned and Oliver, realizing that was a joke, hugged him closer.
“Happy Christmas Eve Day,” Percy whispered to him. “You're going to kick some Mountie arse this afternoon in that game, I just know it.”
“Just so long as I can get some of your arse afterwards.” Oliver held another handkerchief up to his face. “hehh… huhIgshhh!”
Even with a head cold playing with him, even with a strange bed in a strange room in a strange country, even with Oliver shaking against him with each sneeze, Percy felt right at home as he fell back to sleep.