Title: Tug of War

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Oliver/Percy and Percy/Oliver ;-)

Disclaimer: These are JKR's characters. I've just borrowed them for play. I gave them right back when done.

Summary: When Percy gets a cold, it's a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Oliver.

Notes: Written for brigidmn because it looked like snuggliness might do some good



Tug of War


     If there was one thing Oliver had learned from his mother and older sister it was that cooking could be very therapeutic. At the moment, the sounds of repetitive chopping of celery and carrot was a comforting rhythm. He paid just enough attention to keep himself from chopping off a finger, and let the rest of himself slip into a relaxing meditative state. It was a welcome change.


     He'd been out late drinking in celebration the night before following a brilliant win against the Wingtown Wanderers. As such, he'd had a bit of a lie-in this morning. It was just after he'd showered and sat down to breakfast that the door to the flat had opened to reveal Percy. Checking his watch to be sure it was still working and he hadn't slept all day, Oliver gulped down his mouthful of cereal. "Perce? What're you doing home so early?"


     "I got sent hobe," he said, closing the door behind him and slumping against it with a sigh. "By suberiors seebed to thig there was subethig wrog with the way I souded." He snorted in amusement, which caused him to cough. He dug a hanky out of his pocket and proceeded to snuffle into it with laughter.


     "Right," said Oliver gently. "Because you sound perfectly fine to me."


     Percy either missed or chose to ignore the sarcasm. "Exactly. Fide. Just a little sick. heh-hih-Chuhhh! Sniff!" He broke down, shoulders sagging, head tilting to the side, arms going limp at his sides. "Olllllly! I'b sick!" he groaned and sneezed again. "Hitchoo! Really sick!" He moved in slow motion towards the couch and swayed with dizziness.


     Sitting across the apartment, he didn't have time to run over. So he apparated there in a second instead and grabbed hold of Percy. "Whoopsy-daisy!" Percy looked at him with bewilderment then he reached weakly past Oliver towards the couch. "Nope." One of Oliver's hands slid down Percy's side. It paused for a moment on the man's arse, then slid down more. With a deep breath and all his strength gathered into one moment, he scooped Percy into his arms.


     Percy looked as though he would protest, then he grabbed a handful of Oliver's white undershirt and nuzzled into chest and neck with whimpers and sniffles and little nipping kisses of appreciation. "Olly..." he crooned softly, invitingly. "Let be stay out here with you." His nuzzles turned to kisses.


     "Don't you bother," Oliver told him, chuckling as he carried the man down the hall before Percy could say any more. "If you're sick enough to be home from work, you're going straight to bed and no arguing."


     He deposited the man on their bed. He pulled the heavy covers up over Percy and tucked them around him tightly. "You're going to stay tucked in and go to sleep. And I'm going to go finish the dregs of my sodden cereal."


     "hihh..." Percy warned, rubbing two or three fingers at his nose from one direction and then the other. "hehh-eh-IHHTchooo!" He rubbed at his nose as he sniffled, then he pushed his glasses up his nose as they'd slipped during the sneeze. "Fide," Percy said with resentment, waving his hand. "Just go eat add leab be here alode... while I'b all sig add sdeezy-- hihh-KShooo! Ktchooo!" He put on a pout and sniffled miserably.


     Oliver sighed. "Look, I'll be right back. I'm not leaving you completely alone, just going to finish breakfast." He reached down and kissed Percy's pale, freckle-laden cheek. Then he stroked Percy's forehead, petting back the curly red hair though it still bounced back into place, one of only two things about Percy that could ever be described as wild. After one more long look, he headed back to the kitchen.





     Oliver now cut the chicken breast into small cubes, plopping them into the pot on the stove one at a time. He liked the different sounds they made as they hit the water from different heights. It was entertaining to listen, though he had to be careful that small droplets of water and brother didn't catch his hand and scald him. Instinctively, he glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see Percy right there. He was quite relieved to find he was alone.


     Oliver had been getting the mail the second time of many that day that Percy had left the confines of the bedroom to search Oliver out. The windows had been closed to keep the drafts away so Percy's head cold wouldn't turn into pneumonia. After letting the owl in, he untied the letter around Hermes' leg. The letter had no return address but it bore the stamp of the Ministry of Magic. He debated whether or not to give it to Percy, but decided that it might be too important to ignore. He needn't have thought long on it, however.


     "Oliver?" Oliver turned to see Percy standing in the hallway, hands both pressed to the wall to keep himself upright. "I woke add you wered't there." Then he raised the back of his hand to his nose and gave a double-sneeze. "ihhhShooKTchooo! Sniff! Is that letter for be?"


     "Only if you get back in bed," Oliver issued, crossing his arms over his chest in what he hoped looked like a stern, convincing manner.


     Percy did not seem particularly convinced, however, despite his symptoms. "Odly going if you cobe, too."


     Oliver sighed. "Aye, of course I'll go." He started towards Percy and the hallway leading to the bedroom.


     "But cad you get be sub juice add bore tissues first?" Percy requested.


     Oliver chuckled and repeated, "Only if you get back in bed!"


     Knowing when to give in, Percy headed back to the bedroom. Only seconds later he called out. "Ollllllly? Cad you get be tea idstead?" And then, "Hurry back!"


     Halfway through pouring a glass of juice, Oliver downed the drink himself and called back, "I'll be there in a minute, Perce!"





     Now Oliver picked up the chopping board with both hands, balancing it on the edge of the pot sitting on a burner. He used the knife to slide the vegetables into the boiling chicken broth. He dipped a spoon in and stirred, letting the small chunks of chicken mingle with the potato, celery, and carrots. They swirled around together as though part of a dance and Oliver found himself mesmerized momentarily. Then he reached for some noodles and began breaking them up into small pieces to drop them into the pot as well. They became absorbed by the rest of the soup, hiding beneath the large chunks of food, and Oliver smiled, remembering.


     Midday, Oliver had decided Percy needed a treat. He could hear the man coughing and sneezing down the hall in the bedroom. Percy needed to rest, and it seemed he wouldn't be able to get that without some help. Oliver slid a straw into the large glass stein. Root beer floats were reserved for special occasions, like New Year's and winning Quidditch tournaments, but he had a feeling that Percy heading home from a day of work because he felt ill qualified as important enough.


     He held it by the handle as he carried it down the hall and stopped in the doorway. "Perce..." he sung. "Look what I've brought for... you..." His smile and sentiment faded as he saw Percy was in bed with several books and pieces of parchment spread out across his lap. He clutched a hanky in one hand and in his other was a quill. Oliver stared for a moment, then folded his arms across his chest and cocked his head. "I thought you were too sick to do work. You came home to rest not finish a report."


     "It's just a little bit of work," Percy said, lifting the handkerchief to his nose and rubbing as he talked. "I cad fidish this ub id doe tibe."


     Oliver walked to the bed and attempted to sit down beside the lounging Percy. But when he went to sit down on the blankets, something large and hard met his rear, and not in a good way. With his free hand he yanked down the covers to reveal a whole hidden stash of books and papers. He narrowed his eyes at Percy. "Just a little bit of work?" he said sardonically. "This is a week's worth, Perce!"


     Percy sniffled, looking up at Oliver. Then his head snapped down. "hihhKShoo! ihhhTChooo! Chooshh! Sniff! Olly... dad't be agry with be. You wered't here to keeb be cobady so I had to do subthig."


     Oliver sighed. "Oh, so it's my fault you were doing work?"


     With a shrug, "I cad't sleeb adyway. I tried. But I'b lodely here without you. I bight as well work."


     Oliver handed the root beer float over, then began clearing away the things. He stacked them all on top of the dresser on the far side of the room. While he was there, he pulled a pair of pajama bottoms on over his boxers and a polo shirt on over his undershirt.


     He returned to Percy, sliding underneath the blankets where the books and papers had been. He wrapped am arm around Percy's shoulder. "I want you to try again, then," Oliver told him, realizing that pumping Percy full of sugar probably wouldn't do as much good as he'd thought.


     But Percy shook his head and turned onto his side, curling into Oliver's side. He sipped the float and sniffled wetly. "I'b dot really tired. Just biserable." He nuzzled into Oliver. "Just wadt you here with be. To talk to be or read to be add distract be frob all dis."


     "I can do that," Oliver agreed. "Big game yesterday which means no practice today. I plan to spend it all with you." Then, before Percy could stop him, he reached over and grabbed Percy's horn-rimmed glasses. They slipped easily off his face and folded into Oliver's large hand. He tucked them into the breast pocket of his shirt and gave it a little pat. "There! Now you won't be able to do any more work."


     Percy looked a little disappointed, but snuggling and sweet root beer mixed with vanilla ice cream swiftly improved his spirits. "Tell be about your favorite blace to visit, of all the blaces you've beed with the teab." Oliver happily obliged though Percy barely made it to the bottom of the glass before falling asleep.





     The soup was just about ready. Oliver stuck a spoon in and made a test sip. Declaring it both delicious and done, he turned off the flame and moved the pot to a cool burner. As he reached up to the cupboard to get two bowls, he felt a pair of hands upon his hips.


     He glanced over his shoulder to find Percy pressing himself to Oliver's back. "Hey there, Sleepyhead." He kissed Percy's forehead tenderly. "I made us some dinner. Of course I'm not going to serve it to you out here." He got the bowls down and set them safely upon the counter before turning in place so that he was facing Percy. He wrapped his arms around the man's waist. "What do you think you're doing out of bed?"


     "Thig I'b kissig you," Percy said, going straight for the side of Oliver's neck. Oliver grinned and lifted his chin, giving Percy more room. Forgetting about the soup, and about Percy's cold, he closed his eyes and enjoyed the strong, wet kisses trailing up his neck to his chin. "Cub back to bed with be," he whispered.


     Oliver's words failed him. He managed to shake his head and nod towards the dinner, but the kisses distracted him and made him wonder what he was doing away from Percy in the first place.


     Then, suddenly, he felt something warm on his chest and looked down around Percy's head to see the glasses sliding out of his pocket. Percy jumped back with a triumphant and playful smile. "Got theb!"


     Oliver laughed, shaking his head. "Sometimes I forget who your brothers are." He held his hand out. "All right. Hand 'em over, Love. Then get back to the bedroom and tuck yourself in where it's warm."


     "Uh-uh." Percy backed up. "I bay be sick but I wadt to be with you." He sniffed long and hard and rubbed his hand at his nose. "Cobe back with be?" He wiggled the glasses playfully to entice Oliver to come after them.


     Rocking on the balls of his feet, as though considering making a play for the glasses, Oliver finally shook his head. "I can't come right this second. I can't finish dinner from the bedroom," Oliver explained, gesturing to the pot on the stove.


     "Thed I'll stay here," said Percy, smiling. He fingered the glasses, sniffling, then reached over to the table for a paper napkin and buried his nose in it. "IHHSchhhhh! Uhh..." He took a deep breath and let it out again. He looked dizzy and unsteady for a moment, but that passed.


     "You can't stay here," said Oliver sympathetically. "You can barely stand and you're all sneezy. Get back in bed with your tissues."


     Percy pouted. "But I wadt bore sdugglig."


     Oliver continued to laugh. "Percy Ignatius Weasley, you are the neediest, clingiest person in the world when you're sick!"


     Percy shrugged as he put on his glasses and blinked back at Oliver. "Cobes frob havig ad overbrotective buther add a large fabily..." He began taking a whole series of steps back out of the kitchen, as though to lure Oliver out after him. "Add a very lovig boyfried who, I thig, likes to hold be."


     "Aye. Damn right I do," Oliver agreed. "I'll be there in a minute. Let me just get the soup and something to drink."


     "Dod't be too log!"


     Knowing Percy would not let him take his time, Oliver used his wand to summon some bottles of water from the fridge and some napkins from the table. He loaded it all onto one tray and immediately headed back again to the bedroom.