Title: Chance Encounter
Fandom: Harry Potter, post OotP
Disclaimer: *sigh* I wish they were mine. If they were, I'd still treat them like this, though
Summary: Oliver finds himself in Diagon Alley on St. Patty's Day and runs into some old friends
Notes: Annual Oliver/Percy fic written on St. Patrick's Day
As the rain
pored down the narrow cobblestones streets of Diagon
Alley, Oliver Wood hurried out of Quality Quidditch Supplies. He needed a place
to go to wait for the rain to calm down a bit before he headed back with his
purchases and newly acquired head cold. It was always rainy in
Then the need to sneeze seized him. His hands full, he had to direct the sneeze into his shoulder and sniffle. "hihChuhh!" Looking up, he realized where exactly he'd stopped. Number 93, Diagon Alley. Weasley's Wiarding Wheezes. "Excellent!" Oliver sighed and backed into the door to open it and slip inside.
The store was virtually empty, and neither Fred nor George seemed to be there. The one calling him was, instead, the twins' friend and Hogwarts Quidditch commentator, Lee Jordan. "Lee!" Glad to see a familiar face, though not exactly the one he'd expected, Oliver hurried over. "How are you?"
"Great. I'm watching the store for Fred and George. They're out to lunch right now." Lee smiled. "A bit far from Puddlemere, aren't you?"
Oliver nodded. "Just in town for a few days. We're playing the Cannons this weekend so I thought I'd stop over in Diagon Alley for some supplies."
Lee smiled, dreadlocks bouncing on his shoulders. "Well I'm sure the twins would love to see you. Business has been a bit slow today as everyone's out drinking. You want to stick around for a little while? I could put your things behind the counter here."
"Yeah, that'd be great," Oliver agreed, glad to put them down for a little while at the very least. He handed over the several bags of new pads and balls. With great care he passed over the automatic flyer broom, which was meant to fly around, imitating moves a player on the opposite team might make so you would practice finding ways around those moves. It was especially useful for a keeper who was constantly facing new moves from opposing chasers. As it left his hand, he pulled back, cupping both hands to his face. "hehShhhhhh! hehUHShhhh!"
"Bless you," Lee chimed. "Gosh, Oliver. You sick?"
Oliver nodded woefully. "It's just a little head cold is all. Think I picked it up from one of my teammates. And this rain isn't helping much."
"Yeah, I bet. Hey," Lee looked sympathetic, but his face brightened. "How about I get you some tea? Would you like that?"
Oliver looked around. This was Fred and George's joke shop. If there was anywhere to refuse food it was here. "Ah, real tea?" he asked suspiciously.
Lee laughed. "Yeah, Mate. Real tea, I promise." Oliver nodded appreciatively and started looking around the store. It had grown substantially since his last visit. New shelves had been put in, and a new display case on one side was host to all the edible jokes, to keep them fresh and keep hands off them until purchase. There was a whole section by the window display for new items, including little pellets that produced smoke when thrown and others which turned into large puddles of water for use, the display said, when needed a quick escape from pursuers. Wondering mildly whether the use of fog during a Quidditch game was against the rules, Oliver did not hear the door open and shut. He turned, looking at the supply of books meant to conceal jokes of all shapes and sizes.
"Oliver? Is that you?"
Oliver looked up to see the faces of Fred and George smiling identically back at him. He raised a hand to wave in greeting, then noticed a third Weasley backing off behind them, running a hand through his hair, and adjusting his glasses. Oliver lowered his hand at once and the smile faded quickly from his face.
The twins came over with hugs of greeting, saying that if they'd known he was in town they could have waited to take a later lunch and all that. They wanted to hear news of the team, and to show off a couple of their new creations. Oliver forced a smile and humored them, but kept his eyes focused on Percy.
Percy Weasley stayed on the far side of the store, pretending to be interested in something on the shelves, while still casting sideways glances Oliver's way. When the twins disappeared to retrieve something for Oliver to sign, Oliver found himself completely alone in the room with Percy. "Hey," Oliver said moving closer by pretending to want to know more about the fake wands on the shelf just behind Percy.
Percy nodded politely to him. "It's been a while. How've you been?"
Oliver shrugged. "Oh you know, the usual..." Feeling another sneeze coming on, he turned and cupped hands to his face. "ihShhhh! huhKushhhh!"
Percy raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
"This is just a head cold," Oliver explained, waving his hand dismissively. Luckily, Lee came over with tea just then, interrupting and giving Oliver time to stay silent as he drank a little.
"Didn't know you were in town," Percy said, feeling it was easier to stick with stating the obvious.
"Just for a
couple of days, really," Oliver replied, pretending to concentrate on cooling
his tea with a few blows against the surface. "Didn't want to
bother anyone by dropping in out of the blue. I'm staying at a hotel
"Oh I see," said Percy, nodding. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose nervously. They hadn't needed to be adjusted at all. He took a deep breath and looked up at Oliver. "Look, Olly, I'm sorry."
"Save it Perce." Oliver's voice was cold. Even his handsome Scottish accent did not make the words easier for Percy to hear. "I don't want to hear that from you. I gave you a shot, remember? One is all you get."
"No rebound?" Percy asked anxiously. "At least give me a chance to explain." He waved a hand in the direction his brothers had gone in. "Damnit even the twins forgave me!"
"I'm not the twins," Oliver replied coldly. "They're your brothers. They're supposed to forgive. I was your lover, Perce. I lived with you. I shared my bed with you. Hell, I shared my body with you!"
Lee, who had come out from the back with a box in his arms froze to hear those words. He looked from one man to the other, then spun around on his heels and went right back into the storage room.
Percy looked wounded and hurt. He bit his lip. "Please, Olly? For the sake of the day? This was like fate, you know?"
"Actually they're your brothers and I know this is their store," Oliver said. "Pretty reasonable for us both to be here. I wouldn't exactly call it fate--"
"Please?" Percy begged, stepping closer. A long rack of products separated them, but they could see each other just fine over it from the upper chest and up. "You remember what day it is?"
Oliver nodded. Apart from being St. Patrick's Day, it was also their anniversary. An anniversary they hadn't celebrated in over a year. That wasn't enough to make him want to let Percy back in, however. Some injuries were not easily healed, and some wounds were never healed.
"At least come over to my flat and let me cook you some soup?" Percy offered. "You can take it back to the hotel with you... or you could stick around and hang out with me. Doesn't matter. But you're sick. I don't like the idea of you going hungry and not taking care of yourself."
"I take care..." Oliver started to protest, then stopped. Percy was right. He'd never been much good at that. He always pushed himself too hard, and Percy knew that. Oliver stared up into Percy's face, the kindness and familiarity flooding back to him. After all that had happened, he still felt attached to the man, somehow. "All right," Oliver sighed. "After I sign those things for the twins, I'll let you make me soup. But it doesn't mean anything," he warned.
Percy grinned but nodded with understanding. Less than an hour later, Oliver was wrapped up in a thick down-filled comforter, stretched out on Percy's couch. Percy, apron and all, was serving him a steaming hot bowl of soup and another cup of tea. And apart from the spoon and napkin on the tray, there was also a tissue box for Oliver's use. Oliver smiled and accepted the tray, then Percy sat down in the chair beside the couch.
"What is this?" asked Oliver, taking a tissue and rubbing his nose and he looked at the soup.
"Alphabet soup, from a tin," Percy replied, guiltily. "But I cut up some fresh vegetables and cooked them in there, too, so it's nice and healthy." Oliver looked down at the noodles shaped like letters floating around in his bowl along with small pieces of celery, carrot and potato.
Then, with a bit of hesitation, Percy reached over and tapped the soup bowl with the tip of his wand. The letters rearranged themselves to form the words: I AM AN ARSE. I AM SORRY OLIVER. Oliver had to work hard to hold his amusement back, though it still showed a bit in his eyes. "I'm an arse," Percy said softly. "And I know you're not here to take me back, but I think I do deserve another chance. Can't we start over?"
"hehh..." Thankful for the sneeze as it allowed him to stall for time, Oliver pulled a few tissues from the box and held them to his face. "hehhUhShooo! HehShooo!" He sniffled and rubbed his nose, then took a sip of tea which, even without words floating in it, showed how much Percy still cared. He sighed deeply. "I don't want to pretend like we're starting over," he said plainly. "I want to remember the good times we had, even if it means remembering the bad."
Percy nodded and had to look away. Two fingers reached up beneath his glasses and rubbed tears from his eyes.
"But if we were to start again... this would be the right day to do it, wouldn't it?"
Percy looked up, hardly believing he'd heard those words from Oliver. "I... I guess so," he agreed.
"I'm not saying we should get back together, just that maybe we should talk about the possibility," Oliver clarified. He took out his own wand and tapped the side of the soup bowl. The letters rearranged themselves to form gibberish. Frowning, he tried again several times, before finally getting it right. Percy leaned over to read: I ALWAYS LIKED YOUR ARSE. AND I AM SORRY TOO. Percy grinned and Oliver caught his cheek with a soft kiss as it was so close. "Happy St. Parry's Day, Perce."
"Happy Anniversary," Percy replied, nodding. "Now eat your soup before it gets cold. You need to keep your strength up."
Oliver grinned. "You sound more like your mother every day."
"Do not!" Percy exclaimed, laughing. But he placed a hand on Oliver's shoulder, massaging gently. He tugged the blanket around Oliver more tightly, keeping him warm. Oliver gave him a soft smile of gratitude. Percy grinned back. How he'd missed this. And how good it felt to have Oliver there.