The night Percy came to him, Oliver’s body was beaten from failure and rainy showers.
He couldn’t afford to lose again; this was his last year at Hogwarts, and the Cup was well-within his line of vision, blocking out any other things that might take up his time. His other roommates were wise enough to avoid Oliver on his warpath; making excuses to get out of the room, they left, leaving him alone with Percy.
Any other day, he wouldn’t mind being alone with his icily quiet but interesting-to-look-at roommate, though today he just craved space. Percy was the last person he’d expect to understand his struggle with winning the Cup, but the redhead looked at Oliver with such soft eyes.
“I’m sorry about the match,” he said with enough human sympathy, surprising Oliver, who had collapsed upon the bed. “Is Harry alright?”
“So am I,” he gruffly replied. “And I don’t know, I haven’t been to the Hospital Wing yet. He’s supposed to be a top-notch seeker, but so far he’s brought a lot of added drawbacks to the team’s performance.”
“You should let off some steam before the next one,” Percy said, then turned back to the stacks of papers on his desk (it was a shared desk, but Percy frequented it the most).
“I’ve already screamed too many times in the shower,” Oliver sighed. “Not your elegant way of ‘blowing off some steam,’ I’m sure.”
Perhaps his ears were playing tricks on him, but he swore he heard: “Oh, I scream too, just in a different context.”
“What?” Percy glanced at the other boy, raising an eyebrow. “I dated Penelope for a year, you know.”
“And your brothers teased you to death for it. Merlin, I can’t believe you just suggested –”
“I’m desensitized to their teasing over the years,” Percy rolled his eyes. “It’s something to be expected when you’re older, responsible, and infinitely more sensible. But that doesn’t mean I’m a prude.”
“You’re a humble bloke, aren’t you?” Oliver couldn’t help but smile; something he’s never done after a loss. This was his most memorable conversation with Percy to date – usually they bickered well into the night, one insisting on studying and memorizing and practicing spells, the other devoting his nighttime to his Quidditch model and brainstorming new strategies.
“Let’s say I know my strengths and what I want.”
“Oh?” Oliver quirked an eyebrow, resting his elbows on either side of his head as he reclined back on his bed. “And what would that be?” He shouldn’t push it, but Oliver liked the feeling of knowing that he was on the cusp of something new.
It seemed to take Percy a minute or two to conduct a reply. When he did, he said, in his typical Head Boy tone, “Pardon me if this sounds presumptuous, Oliver, but I do have eyes and I happen to notice the way you look at me. So, be honest – do you find me, ah, particularly personable?”
“Particularly personable?” Oliver repeated, not sure what to make of that. He was embarrassed and somewhat amused, but more of the former than the latter. He thought he’d been sneaky – stealing glances at Percy’s arse, admiring the red-gold shine of his curls, his bored gaze following the nape of his neck in class – but he underestimated Percy after all.
“Well, do you or don’t you? It’s not a life-altering opinion. I just want to know.”
“You’re very pretty, for a bloke,” he admitted. “But I’ve got to say, we don’t exactly get along.”
“For how long? Have you been thinking that, I mean.”
“Ever since fifth year, when you stopped looking so weird and gangly.”
“Ah, so your timeline matches mine.” Oliver looked at him. Percy was smiling, a hint of smug satisfaction sitting on those plump red lips, and Oliver never wanted to kiss and challenge someone more than this very moment. He sat up.
“So…you want me, then? Is that what you’re trying to say? Because, if you do, let’s not waste any more years,” Oliver said. He was always blunt, which appealed to the straightforward, no-nonsense type, while costing him the ones who liked to play hard to get. He was interested to know which type Percy was.
“No-one can know about this,” said Percy (the first type), getting up from his seat and taking two long strides to the foot of Oliver’s bed. “Do you understand me?”
The Quidditch captain couldn’t care less about Percy’s rules for the moment. As Percy climbed on top of Oliver, his hormone-riddled mind was too occupied with lips and red hair and trim hips. Oliver’s hands, calloused and beaten, tugged and pulled at Percy’s strands as their moans and whimpers increased with each snog and bite.
Percy took Oliver’s earlobe between his teeth, sucking and nibbling on it with expertise. “Y-you’re good at this…” Oliver hummed, closing his eyes. “No, don’t stop just yet…”
In his dreams, Percy’s skin was always clean and spotless aside from the splatter of freckles on his nose; that snowy flesh looked like ivory, all cold and sharp beauty generously splayed out for Oliver to touch and kiss. But in reality, the boy’s body wasn’t as spotless – there was a beauty mark on his right inner thigh, the shape of a dusky moon – while a messy trail of light freckles peppered his hipbone like a constellation.
“You are so beautiful,” Oliver tried to tell him as Percy mounted his hips, but the last word was caught in his throat as they got lost in each other’s mouths.
The next few days left Oliver wondering if other people could see scrubs of Percy Weasley on him too. If fellow students gossiped about them in the corridors, if Percy’s brothers or their friends noticed how they sat a little closer, if even the professors detected how distracted Oliver’s been by that loopy, darker strand of hair behind Percy’s ear lately.
He didn’t tell Percy all this, of course. He’d hate to sound like a lovesick schoolboy or an infatuated admirer.
Either way, he was neither of those things: he was Oliver Wood, strong and independent and focused on the goal, and he spent his hours (well, most hours) devising new strategies for the team to practice. The rest of the time was spent thrusting Percy against the bathroom wall while their roommates played Exploding Snap in the next room.
“We should do it in a broom cupboard,” Oliver moaned, burying his face into Percy’s neck as the other boy reached his climax. He loved him like this – uncontrollable and flushed, sweaty from passion and messy imperfections – but even in the haze Percy mastered a haughty look.
“Let’s not,” he murmured. “It’s too dusty in there, and my robes –”
“You don’t seem to care about your robes,” Oliver nodded to the crumpled, abandoned pile at their feet.
“Well, regardless, there’s the Prefects’ Bathroom, the Great Lake, the Astronomy Tower, plenty of unused classrooms, the library…” Oliver was greatly amused that the other boy was ticking off each option with his fingers.
“You and Penelope surely got up to a lot, huh?”
He meant it in jest, but there was pain in Percy’s wince.
“Oh. I’m sorry,” Oliver swallowed. “Do you miss her still?”
He nodded begrudgingly, not meeting Oliver’s eyes.
“Why did you two break it off, or is it too insensitive to ask?”
“No, no, you’re fine. She and I just separated through natural differences. We liked each other because we were both brainy, bookish types. But she was freer than me in her pursuit of knowledge.”
At Oliver’s questioning look, he said, “she was creative and defiant and reckless, all the things that I am not. I helped her when it came to the taxonomies of plants and creatures, but I always held back when she wanted to venture into the woods,” he chuckled. “She’d camp out in the Forbidden Forest if it meant she could study centaurs closely.”
“Ah, well,” Oliver said lamely, inwardly wincing at his own casual tone; he was never really good with words – giving his pre-game speeches was the closest he’ll be to an orator. “Those Ravenclaws are a zany bunch.”
When Percy still looked glum: “Does any of this,” he gestured at the minuscule distance between them, “help you at all? In getting over her?”
Percy met his eyes. “Yes,” he drew Oliver closer, so their foreheads touched. “I was right when I said you should blow off steam, yes?”
They really weren’t friends. Friends don’t name stars after each other’s moans, friends don’t leave a trail of ghostly kisses in the dead of night, and friends don’t scream each other’s names like a godless prayer.
But they were, in many ways, bonded. Both boys were starting to learn the art of impulsiveness; it involved body heat and rough tumbles, searing kisses and scratch marks, and it left both parties ignorant of their other priorities. Percy even forgot to proofread his Transfiguration essay.
“Don’t go,” Percy’s little whimper was imprinted into his heart. He grabbed Oliver around the waist, “Quidditch can wait for one morning. I need a helping hand.”
For the first time ever, Oliver was late to Quidditch practice, a whole ten minutes – he berated himself along the way, expecting disappointed teammates and a permanent hinge in their road to the Cup. But all six of his players looked drowsy and annoyed, albeit baffled at Oliver’s uncharacteristic lateness.
Fred and George took one look at him – ruffled hair and flushed cheeks – and cracked evil grins (“So our dear leader scored a goal this morning!”). Angelina wiggled her eyebrows, Katie and Alicia gave him thumbs-ups. Only Harry looked wistfully deep in thought, staring off into the distance. Oliver hoped he was thinking of different tactics to catch the Snitch.
“Okay, team! Follow me!” He was back in business mode.
The match against Ravenclaw turned out to be a victory for Gryffindor, and Oliver drowned himself in the roars of the crowd. He hoped it wasn’t too obvious that he was trying to find one particular person usually not seen at the games.
Just as he resigned himself to the likelihood that Percy hadn’t come, a familiar splash of red hair made its way through the gaggle of red-and-gold.
“Hey,” said Percy, grinning like he couldn’t stop.
“Hey,” said Oliver, matching his expression.
He whispered ‘locker rooms’ into Oliver’s ear, delivered with an all-too-arrogant smirk. With a shiver, he watched as Percy broke away from the crowd and walked into the sun.
The stutter in his heart, Oliver told himself, had everything to do with victory and nothing to do with Percy Weasley.
Oliver had never found it easy to fall asleep.
He thought of everything: counting sheep, whale songs, willingness for this night to end. Alas, they hardly worked, and he resolved to listening to the snores of his roommates until he got tired of it.
It wasn’t until he had someone to sleep next to that he welcomed the lovely darkness. Of course, Percy daren’t climb into his bed until they were sure their other roommates – a happy-go-lucky boy, Liam, and a bald jokester, Boris – fell asleep. Until then, Oliver was so attuned to the night that he saw everything in a glow of silver.
Some nights they don’t even have sex, seeking out physical intimacy in other ways. Oliver liked to clasp Percy’s long-fingered hand in his own, because his skin was so soft. Percy liked to snuggle up against Oliver’s neck, because it reminded him of climbing into his brother Bill’s bed when he was six and scared of monsters.
“You look so innocent,” Oliver chuckled, watching Percy in his oversized sweater and multicolored socks. “How misleading.”
“It’s you,” he joked. “You’ve corrupted me, Wood.”
“It’s nice to see you loosen up, Weasley. And I don’t only mean that literally.” They muffled their laughter against Oliver’s pillow, then Percy kissed him. Unlike their other kisses, which happened in the heat of the moment, this was soft and unexpected and spoke of something like gentleness.
It was how he knew that Percy – who doesn’t give out compliments, jokes, or kisses easily – was letting some of his guards down.
The next day, their roommates woke them up with matching Cheshire Cat smiles. “We knew it!” Boris yelled gleefully. “Come on, Liam, pay up.” Liam reluctantly handed his friend ten galleons; it was a bet they’ve made since the start of fifth year.
“How long have you been shagging my brother?”
Oliver nearly did a double take when he looked up from his homework to find George Weasley with his arms crossed, eyeing Oliver with incredulity. He was so used to seeing the twins attached by the hip, including on the Quidditch pitch, that he rarely thought of them individually.
But the question still hung in the air – a clear divide.
“I…” he gulped, settling his work aside. He thought about lying, but that was in bad form, and Percy would not like it. “Since the first match. You do the math.”
“Oh, bloody, stinking hell,” George groaned, collapsing on the couch opposite Oliver. “I was hoping that Ron and Harry were messing with me!”
“Wait, what?” Oliver widened his eyes. “Ron and Harry? But how would they –”
“Harry saw you two in the locker rooms,” George cringed. “Can you blame him? That kid’s gonna have two extra scars where his eyeballs used to be.”
“No, but I can blame him for outing us,” Oliver shook his head. “I’m really disappointed. I thought he was a good kid – a knack for trouble, yes, but still a good kid.”
“He only told Ron, and Ron couldn’t keep his mouth shut.”
“He shouldn’t have told anyone, even his friend,” Oliver groaned. “Does Fred – or anyone else – know?”
“No, he was snoozing off when Ron let it slip. Look,” George pinched the bridge of his nose, “I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t all horribly strange. I’ve had my suspicions about Perce – he’s picky about clothes and he folds his darn socks. But you, Ol,” he raised an eyebrow. “I don’t remember you going on a date. With anyone. Ever. And with Percy? Of all the people in this whole wide world? Really?”
“Percy and I aren’t going on dates,” Oliver said.
“But…what Harry saw...”
“He doesn’t want to date me, and I’m not so sure myself.” He thought about Percy’s kiss last night, then pushed the thought away before he would overthink its sentimental value. “Look, George, he and I are just having sex – it started when I was mad at losing and he was getting over Penelope. I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, but I promise you, we’re big boys.”
George grimaced. “Please don’t say ‘big boys’ in this context.” He awkwardly patted Oliver’s knee, and before making a move to leave, said, “To be honest, if you had to go for one of us Weasley brothers, I thought it’d be Charlie.”
“I had a crush on Charlie once upon a time.”
“Scratch that, then. Listen, mate – whatever you’re…doing with Percy, try not to hurt or offend that prat. Otherwise he’s just gonna take his frustration out on us.”
“You care about him, admit it,” Oliver smiled. George poked his tongue out.
The Cup fit right between his hands. It was heavy, and bright, and shining, and brimmed with so many of Oliver’s dreams that he himself could hardly believe it was real. But it was real – as real as the face that knocked the wind from beneath his feet.
Percy smiled up at him when Oliver finally staggered back to their dorm, drunk and happy from the celebration in the common room. Both he and Harry were pushed into the center of the spotlight; he seriously contemplated pulling the younger boy aside to have a chat about the locker room incident, but enough firewhisky made him soon forget.
“So proud of you,” Percy murmured against his jaw, giving him sloppy and wet kisses. He had also been drinking a little, though not nearly as much as Oliver. “I knew you could do it. Did you see me in the stands?”
“I tried not to look too much,” Oliver chuckled, losing his hand in Percy’s mass of curls. “You were cute, jumping up and down and all. And I’m guessing you made up with Penelope?” He saw the two of them together before the game, talking and laughing like old friends – he wished he hadn’t, because it may have impacted his enthusiasm.
“Penny and I are on speaking terms,” Percy said, moving on to straddle Oliver. “She’s a great friend. But we’re never, ever going to go out again, I can promise you that.”
“I’m relieved to hear,” said Oliver. “Because – I think I’m going to date you now.”
Percy emitted a small puff of laughter. “Don’t I have any say in the matter?”
“If you date the same way you ride me, you’ll be putty in my hands one way or the other.”
“Oi, hush, this is the Head Boy you’re answering to,” but he felt Percy’s smile, carrying with it all its moonlit secrets, as he leaned down to kiss him.