It was over.
Voldemort was dead.
Hogwarts was in shambles. Walls had crumbled down. Dust, dirt, and the acrid smell of fire, magic, and death filled the air. Most of the dead bodies had been gathered- as far as anyone could tell. It would take weeks to get a final tally of the death and destruction around the halls.
In a back corner of the great hall, the Weasley family was gathered around their lone casualty. Considering their blood-traitor status among Death Eaters and the size of their family, it was a miracle they only lost Fred. Other families lost so much more. It still hurt though. It hurt immensely.
The honorary Weasleys, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, sat off in a farther corner with Ron and Ginny. Ron and Hermione were talking silently while Ginny was beginning to doze on Harry’s shoulder. Arthur, Bill, Fleur, and Charlie were sitting in stunned silence and occasionally observing the goings-on around the hall. George, Molly, and Percy were the closest to Fred’s body. At some point, Arthur and Bill thought it best to cover him before George- or anyone else for that matter- had a complete breakdown. George and Molly openly wept. What they saw when they saw a boggart was finally real. Molly lost a child, but George had lost his entire life: his business partner, his twin brother, and his best friend. While Percy was also upset, all of his tears dried up when he brought Fred’s body to the Great Hall. He watched his little brother die and, in his mind, it was his fault. He distracted him! If he hadn’t made a joke, what would have happened? Would Fred be alive?
A voice snapped Percy out of his reverie.
“Percy! Percy! There you are!” a very familiar Scottish brogue called out. Oliver Wood was jogging towards him. His brown hair was windswept, he was covered in dust, and under his noise appeared to be the remnants of dried blood. Percy assumed he didn’t look much better. As Oliver got closer, Percy noticed tears in his eyes.
As soon as he reached Percy, Oliver pulled him into a bear hug and gave a few kisses on the side of this face. “I was so worried about you!” Oliver said still holding Percy tightly. “Especially when someone told me a Weasley had died. I almost had a heart attack right there. I don’t know what I’d do without you! But poor Fred! Are you all right? Are you hurt?”
By this point, Percy and Oliver had only slightly loosened their embrace. Both were clinging to each other’s shoulders while their foreheads touched.
Percy finally let some tears shed. “It was my fault. I told a joke and it distracted him and there was an explosion and it killed him.”
Oliver’s voiced turned soft, “Hey, hey. It wasn’t your fault. Accidents happen. It was a tragic accident. You can’t predict an explosion like that.” Percy cried harder and Oliver held him. “I was going to find you earlier, but I noticed you needed time with your family. And then Alicia got hit with a nasty hex and needed medical attention. We got her to Pomfrey just in time.”
Percy looked up at Oliver’s face. “Your nose…” he said lightly touching it, “What happened?”
“Took a small rock to the face. But you know a broken nose won’t stop me. I fixed it up.”
Oliver gave Percy a short, but passionate kiss on the lips, which he gladly accepted. Then, Percy finally remembered his surroundings. Taking a step away from Oliver, he noticed most of his family’s curious stares. Only Harry and Fleur seemed to be giving him any sort of privacy. George was staring off into space.
Percy grasped Oliver’s hand and awkwardly shifted towards his family. Oliver gave him a small nod and smile for support.
Percy cleared his throat. “Um, you all remember Oliver Wood, right?” He asked embarrassedly, his cheeks turning pink. “Um, this is not how I wanted to tell you this, but, um, Oliver is my…my…. boyfriend.”
Percy counted the seconds until somebody said something, did something. One. Two. Three.
“Oh Percy!” Mrs. Weasley cried out and reached to hug him and Oliver. “I’m so happy for you!”
Everyone else either smiled or said something kind, though Bill and Charlie somewhat jokingly gave Oliver the “if you hurt our brother, we will hurt you” speech. Like that, Oliver was welcomed into the family.
Much later in the day, the entire family had assembled at the Burrow. Rebuilding efforts and funeral plans would start the next day, but now it was time to rest.
There wasn’t a formal dinner. In order to keep herself occupied, Molly kept making sandwiches, so the Weasleys (and honorary Weasleys) just grabbed plates and ate at their own hiding spots. Ron, Ginny, Harry, and Hermione were in Ron’s room. Fleur was helping Molly in the kitchen while Arthur and George sat at the kitchen table. Percy, Oliver, Charlie, and Bill sat in the living room.
“How did you two end up together?” Charlie asked Percy and Oliver around a mouthful of sandwich after Bill filled them in on his wedding.
Percy sighed, “Honestly, Charlie, finish chewing before you speak,” while Oliver said, “It’s kind of complicated.”
“Complicated? How?” Bill asked, electing to ignore Percy’s comment.
Oliver started, “When Quidditch was suspended-“
“And the war started,” Percy added.
“Yes, and the war started,” Oliver agreed. “We started hanging out more and more and the next thing we knew, we realized that denying our feelings for each other was stupid.” Oliver smiled sweetly at Percy. Percy blushed.
“I wouldn’t say it was complicated. I distinctly remember opening the door to my flat and you suddenly kissing me,” Percy said.
“You kissed me back though.” Oliver laughed and kissed his cheek.
“That proves my point! It wasn’t complicated,” Percy lightly argued.
At that moment, Mr. Weasley walked in the room. He looked exhausted. Under his glasses, his eyes had bags underneath them and were bloodshot from the crying. He collapsed into a well-worn armchair.
“Well, we gave George a sleeping potion and now he’s sleeping in my bed,” Arthur said, rubbing his eyes. “I finally convinced your mother to wash up, so just Fleur is in the kitchen. I checked on the others and they’re all passed out in Ron’s room. What is happening in here?”
“Oliver and Percy were regaling us with tales of their courtship,” Charlie said.
“Oh? And how are your parents, Oliver? I’d hate if we were keeping you from them.”
“They’re fine. They were actually visiting my mum’s sister in the Netherlands- she’s a magizoologist- when the Ministry was taken over, so I told them to stay until everything was safe. My dad’s a muggle-born, you know, and the Dutch ministry promised to protect them.”
“Have you told them yet?” Arthur asked. A thought seemed to cross his mind. “About the end of the war, I mean?”
Oliver bit the end of his thumbnail. “No, I haven’t had the time. Or a way of getting a hold of them, really. I’ve only talked to them through my aunt. It wasn’t really safe the other way. Though I suppose they should know about the end of the war now.” Percy rubbed his boyfriend’s arm in support. Oliver took Percy’s hand and squeezed it.
“Would you like to borrow one of our owls?” Arthur offered. “I’d hate for your parents to worry about your safety.” His voice cracked with emotion.
“Wouldn’t it be better to do a floo call?” Charlie asked. “Owls can get exhausted for long distance travel and it takes longer.”
“Good point, Charlie. Oliver, is your aunt connected to the Floo Network?”
“Yeah, she is,” Oliver said smiling. To Percy, he seemed to be getting excited. Oliver hadn’t physically spoken to his family in almost a year.
“Our Floo is set up in the kitchen. Let me show you,” Arthur said while starting to get up.
“Dad, you relax. I’ll show him. Besides, I was going to check on Fleur anyway,” Bill offered.
“Perce, do you want to go with me?” Oliver asked.
“If you want me to, absolutely. But if you want to have a private conversation with your family, you are more than welcome to,” Percy said.
“I guess it might be a bit awkward watching my arse while my head’s in a fireplace, wouldn’t it?” Oliver said sheepishly.
“Maybe,” Percy said with a smile.
Oliver looked around the room and leaned in. “Are you sure you’ll be all right?” he whispered. “I don’t want to leave you alone with your family if you aren’t ready for that.”
“I think I’ll be fine,” Percy reassured him, even if he wasn’t sure himself. “Will you be fine?”
Oliver nodded and smiled. “Yeah.” He kissed Percy. “Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
Percy watched as Oliver got off the couch and followed Bill to the kitchen.
He turned back to Charlie and his father to see Charlie’s bemused expression and Arthur smiling sadly.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Wood talk so little about Quidditch. In school, that’s all he talked about,” Charlie said.
“He’s calmed down. A bit.”
“I’m so happy you found someone who cares about you,” Arthur said breaking down into tears. “I’ve been such a terrible father to you. I should have supported you more. I’m so s-s-sorry.”
Percy also found tears rolling down his cheeks. He rushed to his father and knelt at his feet. “No, I’m the one who should be sorry. I said some awful, horrible things about our family. A-about y-y-you. I was so young and stupid. You were absolutely right. They were just using me. And I let my pride and ambition get ahead of my senses. I missed you all so much. Please, please, please forgive me.”
Percy put his head in his father’s lap and sobbed, like a young child.
“Of course I forgive you, Percy,” Arthur said choking up.
“Merlin, you two are making me cry,” Charlie said, wiping away tears. “C’mon, let’s hug it out.” He brought his father and brother to their feet and enveloped them in a bear hug. It was simultaneously strange and right to Percy. He hadn’t seen his family in so long- especially Charlie who he hadn’t seen since the Tri-Wizard Tournament- but they had always been an affectionate family, especially in times of trouble. The well-worn wool of Arthur’s sweater felt comforting against Percy’s skin. It felt the same as it did when it did when he was a little boy scared of the First Wizarding War going on around him.
After several minutes, Charlie asked, “Are we good?”
Percy wiped tears away from under his glasses and nodded. “I think so.”
Arthur led Percy over to the sofa and sat next to him. Charlie took the armchair closest to the sofa. The three of them sat in silence for a few moments to compose themselves. Arthur took a handkerchief out of his trouser pocket and offered it to Percy. Percy graciously accepted it.
“So…Percy,” Arthur said. “What have you been up to? You obviously don’t have to answer that, if you do not want to.”
Percy ran a hand through his curls. “Um,” he said, “Quite a few things, actually. Before the war, I was just a prat who worked all the time. But then the war happened…Mainly, I tried to just survive and help where I could. Oliver and I actually helped some Muggle-borns hide or escape during the war.”
“Really?” Arthur breathed.
Percy shuffled in his seat a bit. He never told anyone what he was doing before. It was much too dangerous. “Yes. It wasn’t much. Maybe 20 or so people? But I had to do something. You know I never believed in that pureblood nonsense and I couldn’t leave the Ministry. It was much too dangerous to do that.”
“I’d argue hiding 20 or so Muggle-borns is much more dangerous than quitting your job,” Charlie said, slightly in awe.
“And what would I do if I left the Ministry?” Percy argued. “Come back here and lead the Death Eaters to the Order and ruin everything? I figured if I kept my nose down at work they’d leave me alone and I could do this work quietly. If I was a bit bolder, maybe I could have gotten more people to safety. I think about that all the time.” Percy was now trying to hold back tears.
Arthur touched his shoulder in support. “What you did was very brave, Percy. And don’t beat yourself up about it. Twenty people is a lot. Think of it. That’s twenty people not facing dementors. Or worse. How on Earth did you do it?”
Percy straightened up a bit, bolstered by the compliment. “Well, Oliver and I did it together. His parents were the first ones. We just lucked out on that one. But everyone else was either old schoolmates- like Penelope- or people Ollie knew through Quidditch- players, coaching staff, trainers. Most of the safe houses were out of the country, mainly owned by Quidditch players. We’d communicate through secret codes and messages on what was happening and who was going where and when. I set up portkeys to get our friends to safety.”
“It was bloody hard work too,” a familiar voice said. Percy turned around to see Oliver walking back into the living room. “Lucky the two of us are ‘obsessive freaks’, as some classmates used to say.”
Oliver sat down next to Percy on the sofa and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“I thought you would take longer on your call,” Percy said. “Is everything alright?”
“It went fine. My folks are good. They just needed to process some things. Start to make plans, you know? They said they’ll keep in contact while they work on a few things back there. Besides, you can only keep your head in a fireplace for so long without things starting to cramp up.” He leaned over to Arthur and spoke in a softer tone. “They also wanted me to give their condolences for your loss.”
“Thank you,” Arthur said.
The room became quiet as each person silently reflecting on the past few hours. Charlie had his feet on the armchair and had put his arms around his legs. Arthur was slumped over, looking at his feet. Oliver wrapped his arms around Percy and rested his head on his shoulder. Percy leaned into his boyfriend.
The sound of creaking stairs alerted the group of incoming people. It was Bill and Fleur.
“Mum’s asleep. I found her holding George,” Bill said sadly as he led Fleur to a loveseat.
“And ‘arry and ze rest of zem are sleeping in Ronald’s room,” Fleur added.
Charlie perked up. “I just realized something,” he said. “Oliver, have you and Fleur been officially introduced?”
“Not really,” Oliver said.
“Then, let’s get this out of the way,” Charlie said, “Fleur, this is Oliver Wood, former Gryffindor Quidditch captain, current Puddlemere United reserve keeper, and apparently Percy’s boyfriend. Oliver, this is Fleur Weasley, my sister-in-law and former Tri-Wizard champion.”
Oliver walked over to Fleur and offered his hand. “Very nice to officially meet you.”
Fleur shook his hand. “And you.”
Oliver returned to his spot on the couch. “I actually saw you during the first Tri-Wizard Task. You did a bloody good job,” Oliver said.
“Zat is very kind of you to say.”
“Ollie, I cannot honestly say how glad I am that our last year at Hogwarts was not the year of the Tri-Wizard Tournament,” Percy said.
“Why? Would you have been too scared to ask me to the Yule Ball?” Oliver joked.
“No,” Percy snorted at his boyfriend. “Because Quidditch was suspended then and you would have been absolutely insufferable.” Percy looked at Oliver and gave him a sly smile.
Charlie, Bill, and Oliver laughed.
“And you would have been an insufferable Head Boy then too, especially with the cancelled exams,” Oliver teased back, but kissed him on the cheek.
“I do not get it,” Fleur said.
“Oliver is a bit Quidditch-obsessed,” Bill explained to his wife.
“That’s a bit of an understatement,” Charlie said. “When I was Gryffindor’s Quidditch captain, he kept suggesting plays and strategies for us to use.”
“I was trying to be helpful!” Oliver defended.
“You once gave me six feet of parchment’s worth of in-depth analysis of every single player in every house,” Charlie shot back.
“But it helped!”
Percy watched bemusedly. “I love you, but you’re ridiculous,” he told Oliver.
“In my defense, I was thirteen.”
“I’m honestly surprised you didn’t complain about the lack of Qudditch during the Tournament for like ‘ruining all that you worked for’ or whatever,” Charlie joked.
Percy gave Oliver a knowing smile. Oliver sighed. “I actually did,” he mumbled.
“What?” Arthur asked, speaking for the first time in a while.
“I wrote a letter to McGonagall expressing my concern that by suspending Quidditch, winning the House Cup the next year would be extremely difficult,” Oliver said earnestly.
“What was her response?” Bill asked.
“Essentially, ‘piss off, Oliver’. Not in those words of course, put the feeling was there.”
“She is a very tough woman but kind,” Fleur said. “She was on of ze few teachers I really liked zere.”
“Try having her be your Head of House,” Charlie said. “I think she’s the toughest on her own house.”
“Not that we made her life easy or anything,” Bill said with a small smile. “I think we all gave her a fair bit of trouble.”
“Except you, Mr. Coolest Head Boy Hogwarts had every seen,” Charlie said. “No offense Percy.” Percy shrugged. He knew he wasn’t “cool”.
“No, I got in trouble a few times,” Bill said. “Mainly calling out professors for being too harsh on students. And I hexed a bully once for picking on Charlie.”
“You can say Snape, it’s fine,” Charlie said, referring to the professors. They all knew Snape preferred his own house to any other.
“Well, he’s dead now, so it seems wrong,” Bill shot back.
“I cannot believe Percy caused any trouble,” Fleur said.
“Oh no, I did. Mainly by complaining about rule breaking, mainly by my own brothers,” Percy said.
“He snitched on me when I tried to heal an injured niffler in my dorm room,” Charlie said.
“They tend to destroy things, Charlie,” Percy said in his own defense.
“I know that! I see it was stupid now. It did try stealing a bunch of jewelry from the girls’ dorms.”
“How many times a week did you complain to McGonagall about the twins?” Bill asked Percy.
Percy thought for a moment. “On average? Probably about three times. There were a few times where I caught them in a prank every day in a week though.”
“We were their favorite targets,” Oliver said with a mix of fondness and sadness.
“No, we were their second favorite. Their first favorites were the staff, especially Filch,” Percy corrected.
Oliver noticed Fleur’s interested look. “Because we were the only Gryffindor boys in our year and were the hardest on them, they tended to prank our room a lot.”
“I don’t know why they did so often when we were able to punish them,” Percy said.
“Remember when they somehow created like a giant spider web in our room while we were asleep and it took us an hour to get out of it?” Oliver asked Percy with a smile.
“Yes and we were late to Transfiguaration and sticky for the whole day. Can’t say it wasn’t clever though.”
“I made them do three hundred laps for that one.”
An amused smile crossed Percy’s face. “Remember when they spiked Lockhart’s tea with a pimple-inducing potion? And all the professors refused to help him because it was ‘unimportant vanity’?”
Oliver chuckled. “I forgot about that! Didn’t he cancel all his classes for the day and spent that time crying in his office?”
The rest of the group went around and stared stories about Fred and George’s pranks, especially the ones that were clearly Fred’s idea. They laughed through the tears they were finally letting out. As the night wore on, the emotional and physical exhaustion finally hit. One yawn led to several more and the group decided it was best to get some rest. Fleur led Bill to his old room. No one was entirely comfortable sleeping in the twins’ room, despite the lack of space. While it was just Molly and George in the master, they weren’t sure if Arthur would also fit. Charlie suggested Arthur sleep in Ginny’s room as she was in Ron’s room. Meanwhile, Charlie also volunteered to sleep on the sofa. Naturally, Percy and Oliver would sleep in Percy’s room. Charlie grabbed an old pair of sweatpants and a ratty Gryffindor quidditch t-shirt for Oliver to sleep in.
Oliver found Percy in his old room, looking around. Oliver figured he must have found an old pair of pajamas, but the arms and legs were a bit too short.
The room was mostly how Percy remembered it when he stormed out of the Burrow a few years ago. The few knick-knacks, books, and clothes Percy took with him were gone, but everything else was there: a scorch mark on the wall from a rogue firecracker, a homemade quilt on the bed, a poster mapping the stars on the wall. He was feeling so stupid for what he did. It was impulsive and extremely naïve. However, he was surprised his family didn’t bother to change his room.
Percy felt Oliver’s familiar strong arms wrap around his middle. Percy leaned back into the arms, accepting the comfort.
“Sickle for your thoughts?” Oliver muttered, nuzzling Percy’s ear.
“They didn’t change it,” Percy whispered.
Oliver gave his boyfriend a squeeze. “Because they love you,” he said. Percy hummed in response. “You’ll always have people in your corner, Perce, especially me.”
“Why, though? I’m such a fool,” Percy sighed.
Oliver led his boyfriend to the bed and made him sit down. Oliver knelt at his feet. “No you’re not,” Oliver said while grasping his hands, “You are brilliant.” Percy started to say something, but Oliver continued, “Please just listen to me, love. You are brilliant. Do you think I would have gotten half the N.E.W.T.s I did without you? Do you think anyone else could have set up our rescue system, especially under the pressure you were under? Yes, you said some dumb shit and made some mistakes, but so does everyone else at nineteen. I can’t count the number of insensitive shit I’ve said. But you learned from it and you came back. That’s what’s important. Your family loves you. I love you.”
Percy started crying from Oliver’s sincere words. Deep down, he knew Oliver was probably right, but he had so many regrets. He missed his family and then he lost Fred. Oliver was hugging him again and whispering supportive things and kissing him. Eventually, Percy quieted down and snuggled up in Oliver’s arms, but he was actively trying to calm his breath.
“I love you, too,” Percy whispered into Oliver’s neck.
Oliver brought a calloused thumb up and gently wiped some of Percy’s tears away. “Do you want to lay down?” he asked. Percy nodded. Oliver carefully leaned the two of them down until their sides hit the mattress. The two men then had to adjust themselves until the fight comfortably. Because the bed was so small, they had to cuddle close to one another, not that they minded.
Oliver gave Percy a tender kiss and ran his fingers through his curls. “How about we try to get some sleep, gorgeous? I don’t think either of us has slept in days. Yeah?”
Percy gave him a kiss back. “I can try,” he croaked as he took off his glasses and leaned over to put him on the bedside table.
Much to their surprise, Percy and Oliver didn’t have any nightmares. Both men assumed they were too exhausted to experience dreams of any kind. But being awaking now, they decided to head down the stairs to see what was happening for the day. Trudging down to the kitchen, they discovered they were the only ones awake. The only other person around was Charlie, but he was snoring on the sofa.
“How about I make a good ol’ Scottish fry-up?” Oliver asked with a gleam in his eye.
“For everyone?” Percy asked slyly.
“Oi! Like I would deprive my favorite family to redheads the best meal of the day,” he said putting his arms around Percy and giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“You’re so odd,” Percy laughed.
“Love ya too. Now, help me figure out where your mum keeps everything.”
Percy dutifully showed his boyfriend where his mother kept the pans and the necessary food for a proper breakfast. Years of watching his mother cook burned it into his memory.
While Oliver started cooking- the Muggle way- Percy grabbed the kettle to start the tea. It was the same old kettle Molly had for ages. Looking around the kitchen, an immense wave of sadness and nostalgia fell over Percy. He had missed this place terribly. So many memories, good and bad, were tied up here. Tears were shed to his mother after something mean one of his siblings said. He got his prefect letter sitting at the table. His mother made gingerbread cookies here during the holidays. After leaving the water to boil, he decided to wrap his arms around Oliver’s middle from behind.
Oliver was watching the eggs as Percy wrapped his arms around him and laid his chin on shoulder.
“You alright, Perce?” he asked.
“Memories. Needed to hold you.”
Oliver continued cooking with the six-foot-one ginger man hanging off of him. He would do anything to make Percy feel better. Like previous times when this sort of thing happened, Oliver just started talking. Together, they discovered that in times like these it was best to distract Percy from his own thoughts. Sometimes Oliver would spout out Quidditch facts and theories. Other times it was memories from Hogwarts. This time, however, Oliver started talking about his childhood in Scotland. Percy knew that Oliver missed his own family, having spent so much time away from them. Percy felt terrible about it.
Eventually Percy let go because Oliver needed to move around the kitchen. He still hovered near the counter, listening to Oliver talk.
Oliver stopped in the middle of the story. “Love, would you mind making the toast?”
“Of course,” Percy said.
They made a very domestic scene, working on breakfast together. Percy had gotten over his previous sadness and was now laughing at Oliver’s story at how he and some of his younger Muggle cousins dressed up their grandparents’ dog. The two men shared brief touches and smiles while they worked.
This was how Charlie found them. He shuffled into the kitchen, bleary-eyed, and headed straight towards the cabinets to find some coffee. As long as Percy could remember, Charlie usually wasn’t fully awake until he was highly caffeinated and didn’t care about much until he was.
“G’morning,” he muttered, “I thought Mum was cooking breakfast.”
“I think we’re the only ones awake,” Percy said as he watched his brother magically brew the coffee.
“Of course you two woke up first. Early risers and all,” Charlie said after taking a sip of his coffee.
“I’m surprised you’re up,” Percy said.
“Dragons eat breakfast early. This is sleeping in for me.”
“Ah,” Percy responded.
“Can I have a piece of toast?” Charlie asked.
“Sure,” Oliver said.
Charlie took his piece and shuffled over to the kitchen table.
When Oliver gave him a look, Percy said, “Charlie’s not much of a morning person.”
“Oh, I remember,” Oliver said chuckling, “Used to drive me mental. Could you please grab some plates? I’m just about done.”
Percy grabbed the plates from a cabinet. Oliver plated the food while Percy used his magic to send empty plates and silverware to the table. Oliver did the same with the plates of food.
“Should we call everyone down?” Oliver asked as he and Percy sat down.
“No,” Percy and Charlie said together.
Charlie explained, “The general rule here is ‘the early bird gets the worm’, but we can make sure no one takes too much food. Besides, we should let people sleep.”
“Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Ron or Bill soon. Ron can smell food from a mile away and Bill is in general an early riser,” Percy said.
The three men ate in silence for a few moments.
“This is actually really good,” Charlie said, surprised.
“Oliver is actually a pretty good cook,” Percy said, giving Oliver a smile.
“You’re not too bad yourself,” Oliver responded, giving Percy a small peck on the cheek.
Charlie looked at them amusedly. “You two are adorable,” he said.
“We know,” Oliver said cheekily.
A mischievous glint shown in Charlie’s eyes, not unlike Fred’s, and he smiled. Percy’s stomach dropped; he knew this wouldn’t be good. Charlie started talking, “You know, I remember-“
“No!” Percy interrupted, blushing. Oliver looked at him, confused.
Charlie ignored him. “It was Oliver’s first game-“
“Please don’t.” Percy was clearly embarrassed.
“It’s all right, Perce,” Oliver said, “How bad can it be?”
“Fine,” Percy grumbled.
“It was Oliver’s first game and pretty much immediately he got hit by a bludger. I was panicking, because, you know, he’s like 13 and my responsibility, but Perce was way more worried. He even yelled at me! Pomfrey told us we weren’t welcome back ‘until we behaved in a civilized manner’. But Percy rarely left your side, Oliver. Except for class, when I dragged him to meals, and when Pomfrey made him leave after visiting hours. And you looked really happy to see Percy when you woke up. That’s when I realized that Percy really cared for you and that you’d be really close.”
Oliver smiled at Percy, who was blushing. He took Percy’s hand. “See, that wasn’t so bad.”
“I’m so embarrassed.”
“C’mon. I thought it was cute.” Oliver nudged him lightly and ran his free hand through Percy’s curls. “And we’re together now anyway.”
Percy leaned into Oliver, slightly smiling. “I guess you’re right.”
Oliver kissed his temple.
At that moment, the group was alerted by footsteps coming down the stairs. Coming into the kitchen was Ron and Hermione holding hands. Ron seemed sheepish and Hermione was smiling at him. Percy gave Oliver a knowing look. Oliver whispered, “Fucking finally.”
“Good morning!” Charlie beamed at his brother.
“G’morning,” Ron said, somewhat suspiciously.
“Oliver made breakfast,” Percy said.
Ron seemed to relax a little. “Cool,” he said.
After Ron and Hermione had piled up their plates, grabbed drinks, and sat down, Charlie decided to strike. “So, is this officially a thing?” he asked, pointing between the young couple.
Ron choked on his pumpkin juice. Oliver gave him a hearty slap on the back to help.
“Yes,” Hermione said with her held yeah after the threat of Ron dying had passed.
Charlie turned to Percy. “Who won?”
“Um,” Percy said thinking, “I thought it was marriage?” Ron was looking at his brothers, confused.
“No, I’m pretty sure the parameters was dating,” Charlie argued back.
“Wait, what are you talking about?” Ron asked.
Percy thought for a second. A thought struck him. “No, wait, you’re right, Charlie. Did anyone write it down?”
“Wait, did you guys bet on me?!”
“The twins wrote the bets down,” Bill said walking into the kitchen, Fleur a few steps behind.
“Wait, did you bet on when we started dating?” Hermione asked.
“Yes,” Percy said.
Ron looked angry. “When did this happen?!” he asked.
“When we were all in Egypt,” Bill said, pouring himself tea, “Don’t worry, Ginny wasn’t a part of this. But we had all been subjected to hearing your ranting and praising of Hermione for two years, so someone- does anyone remember who?” Bill turned to Charlie and Percy.
“It was me,” Charlie said.
“Ok,” Bill said sitting down, “So it was late at night in Egypt. You and Ginny were already asleep and somehow we got on the subject of you and Hermione. And Charlie said ‘Oh, I bet they’re going to date one day’. We all agreed and then one of the twins- does anyone remember which one?”
Charlie said, “Fred,” as Percy said, “George.”
“Well, one of the twins suggested we bet on it.”
“And we promised we wouldn’t do anything to make a certain outcome happen,” Charlie added.
“I’m surprised you let this happen, Percy,” Ron said sulkily, “You usually follow the rules.”
Percy shrugged. “It was only five sickles,” he said.
“And you’re competitive,” Oliver quipped.
“Yes and that,” Percy conceded. At the time, Percy didn’t see any major problem with it. He still didn’t. It wasn’t as if they were betting on a break-up or divorce.
“I thought I heard people up,” Arthur said, shuffling in, “Oh, and someone made breakfast.” He went over to grab coffee.
Before he could get anything done, Ron spoke up, “Dad! My brothers bet on how long it would take for me and Hermione to start dating!”
“Oh, really?” Arthur said intrigued, “Who won?”
“We don’t remember,” Bill said.
“Dad!” Ron shouted.
“I mean, it’s not nice to get into your brother’s personal affairs,” Arthur said, attempting to be stern. “And I’m happy for you, Ron.”
Not long after, the rest of the Weasleys- and Harry- joined the breakfast table. Like any Weasley gathering, it was loud and chaotic. Ron wouldn’t stop complaining about the betting, which earned the older boys a stern talking-to by Molly. However, George did find the notebook with the bets in it- albeit somewhat begrudgingly- and discovered Percy had actually won (he guessed late into their seventh year, which the group decided this was close enough). Percy gave Ron the money to keep him quiet. It was only 25 sickles anyway. Ginny was offended no one told her about the bet because she was certain she would have won. That led to an argument between Ron and Ginny. While Fleur and Bill attempted to mediate, Molly started crying after finding out Oliver made breakfast.
Late into breakfast, an owl appeared at the window, bearing a letter. Harry went up and grabbed it. “It’s for you, Mr. Weasley,” he said, handing it to him.
Arthur opened and read the letter. “It’s from Shacklebolt,” he said, “He says that some people from the Ministry and Hogwarts are planning to clean up Hogwarts and they’re looking for help. They’re starting today. I know I am going. Who wants to join me?”
Everyone agreed to go.
Percy and Oliver explained they needed to go back to their apartment to grab their emergency bags for extra clothes. They had packed bags of clothes and supplies in case the Death Eaters had found their plans out.
Apparating into their apartment, they found nothing had changed. They exchanged a kiss in relief, grabbed their bags, and went back to the Burrow.
Within an hour, the entire group was ready to go back to Hogwarts.
The first day of cleanup was rough. It consisted of cleaning the entrance, foyer, and great hall, which were by far the worst of the damage. Rubble was everywhere. Dust filled the air. The last of the bodies were found. The work consisted of cleaning the rubble, transfiguring it back into bricks, and relaying the bricks. It was intense physical labor that drained Percy so bad that he practically collapsed on his bed that night.
The second day of clean up was better. More people showed up and the main entrance areas were almost done. Therefore, groups were created to go to different areas of the castle to fix things. Oliver was asked to help with the roof because he was a strong flyer. Percy was given the task to leading the library cleanup. He convinced George to join him because he knew it would be one of the areas George least associated with his twin. For some reason, Ron joined their group.
The library could have been worse. There was a hole in the wall and books were everywhere, but considering other parts of the castle, it was a minor mess. Percy decided the hole should be fixed first. The three brothers kept quiet other than casting spells while they did this. Once the hole was fixed and the threat of wind making things worse was gone, Percy had them work on cleaning up the mess.
“I think our first goal should be getting the bookshelves back up and then worrying about the books themselves,” he told his younger brothers. The three young men went about their work.
“Where’s Pince anyway?” Ron asked after a moment of silence,” She’s not one to leave her precious books.”
“Head wound during the battle,” George said softly, “Bad enough she had to be sent to St. Mungo’s.” Percy nodded; he heard the same.
“Oh,” Ron said.
The brothers worked in silence for a quite a while longer. They got the shelves up and the tables and chairs fixed, but books were still everywhere. Ron and George groaned when Percy explained Pince’s shelving system, knowing the organizing would take some time.
While George was working in a different section, Percy went hesitantly to Ron.
“Ron, I would like to apologize to you,” he said, “That letter I wrote to you a few years ago was idiotic. I cannot express how much of a prat I was. Of course Harry was right and was so Dumbledore. And Umbridge is a monster. Truly, she is the most terrifying people I have ever met. Did you know she has a quill that the ink is the blood of the person writing? She made me use it once to prove a point. It hurt like hell too.”
“I know about the quill. She used it on Harry,” Ron said, “And I accept your apology. I can see you’re less of a prat now.” Ron’s voice turned softer, “And you’re not the only one who abandoned your friends and family, you know.”
“What do you mean?” Percy asked, confused.
Ron went on a long explanation, first on how he left Harry and Hermione out of anger and jealousy. Then, he had to backtrack due to Percy’s questions. He explained the general idea of Horcruxes and the gist of what they were doing that year. Percy was gob smacked. He knew Ron had done something to help bring about Voldemort’s downfall, but he had no idea what exactly he did. Ron was telling a story of dark magic and starvation and fighting. He hadn’t seen Ron in a few years; he was clearly a boy then, but now he considered his youngest brother a man.
“Wow,” Percy said when Ron finished.
“It’s a bit mental, isn’t it?” Ron said with a short laugh of disbelief.
“A bit,” Percy said, “You definitely make my work during the war seem like the Yule Ball in comparison.”
Ron was confused by Percy’s statement, so Percy retold what he told the group the previous night. Ron’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline, he was so shocked.
“You’re full of surprises, aren’t you?” Ron asked, “Like dating Wood. Seriously, how did that happen?”
“I’m not sure, really. We just grew closer and one day he kissed me and that was that.”
“I didn’t know either of you liked blokes. I mean, didn’t you date Penelope Clearwater?”
Percy rolled his eyes. “Really, Ron, sexuality isn’t so black and white. Most people are some shade of gray. I like men and women. Simple as that.”
Ron seemed to take a minute to absorb this, but seemed accepting nonetheless. “Oh, okay.”
“Let’s just get back to work.”
Slightly later in the day, Percy decided it was time for them to take a break. Heading into the Great Hall, they found others had done the same. Someone- probably the house-elves still around- had brought up sandwiches and a variety of juices. Percy found a few of the Weasleys and their friends close to the front of the hall.
The trio gave their greetings to the group and updates were given.
“Does anyone know where Oliver is?” Percy asked.
“He was still outside, last I saw him,” Bill said.
Percy started taking a few sandwiches and glasses. “I’m going to grab him and make sure he eats,” he said.
“Good luck with that,” Ron said, which earned him a chastisement from Hermione.
Heading out the front door, he wasn’t sure where to look. A group of giggling teenage girls looking up caught his eye. Oh no he thought. Percy headed towards the girls, dreading what they were looking at.
Sure enough, the girls were looking at a bunch of shirtless guys flying around the roof and working hard. Oliver was among them. Percy knew that backside anywhere.
“Oliver!” he called out.
“Oliver Wood!” he tried a little louder.
“Oi! Ollie! Food!” he tried as loud as he could.
Oliver looked down and smiled as soon as he saw Percy. He headed down there right away.
When Oliver landed, Percy was hit by a wave of lust. Oliver looked good and it had been a while. His hair was sexily mussed and sweat was running down his sculpted chest.
“Hey gorgeous,” Oliver said with a smile and gave Percy a kiss.
“Hello,” Percy whispered.
“You brought lunch?”
“Yeah. Sandwiches and pumpkin juice.”
“Brilliant. Let’s eat in the shade of those trees over there,” Oliver said pointing over to a group of trees a few yards off. Percy agreed.
As they were walking, Percy noticed the girls’ jealous looks. Percy straightened with pride.
“How was the library?” Oliver asked as they sat in the shade. Percy handed him his lunch.
“Fine. Ron and I had an interesting talk about the war and what he was doing. George is still being mostly silent.”
“I’m worried about him,” Oliver said.
“Me too. I know it’s really, really recent- Merlin knows I’m not in a great place right now- but if I’m feeling pain, his has to be doubled. And he was always the more sensitive to the two of them.”
“I think we just need to be there for him. That’s really all we can do.”
“Yes,” Percy agreed though he felt bad about it. “How’s roof work?”
“A bit of work, but at least I’m flying. It’s been a while. I hope they don’t work on the pitch without me.”
“You’d just push your way until they did,” Percy said nudging his boyfriend.
Oliver shrugged, trying to hide his embarrassment. “Probably.”
“Those girls were checking you out,” Percy said, then took a sip of his drink.
“Really? Too bad I was checking you out.”
Oliver kissed underneath Percy’s ear. “What? You’re sexy in casual clothes,” he whispered into his ear.
“You don’t believe that,” Percy said.
“Why wouldn’t I? Your work robes hide your cute arse and I love the more dressed down you are.” Oliver played with one of Percy’s errant curls. Percy couldn’t deny that he loved Oliver’s attention.
“Oh! There you are Percy!” a voice said near them. Percy startled. He saw it was none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt. He quickly rose to his feet. Oliver begrudgingly followed.
“Mr. Shacklebolt,” he said to the Acting Minister, “What brings you here?”
“Hello, Percy, Oliver. Percy, I talked to your father and he told me what he did. Of course, I’ll need to corroborate with the people you said you helped, but I wanted to know if you wanted a position in the new Ministry. I heard you resigned before turning Thicknesse into a sea urchin, but I wanted to give you the offer. We could use bright, brave young men like you.”
Percy was speechless for a moment. “I don’t know,” he said. “Could I have time to think about it?”
“Of course, Mr. Weasley. Just let me know,” Shaklebolt said. “Possibly we can schedule a time to discuss this matter in the near future?”
“Of course!” Percy said, “But when everything calms down a bit?”
“I am perfecting fine to that. I’ll let you get back to your break. I’ll owl you soon.”
“Good seeing you, Minister,” Percy said.
“Likewise, Mr. Weasley, Mr. Wood,” Shaklebolt said giving them a nod and walking away.
“That was interesting,” Oliver said after a few moments.
“Should I have accepted?” Percy asked.
“No, I think you made the right decision. You need time to grieve and think. The Ministry is probably going to be a mess for a while anyway. You’ll have time. If that’s what you want to do.”
Percy gave Oliver a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you,” he said.
Oliver turned Percy’s face closer to his own and kissed him on the lips. Percy gladly returned the kiss.
After they broke apart, a thought crossed Oliver’s face. “Oh my god,” he said, “Did the Minister just see me shirtless?”
The rest of the day passed quickly. Percy, George, and Ron got a good quarter of the books properly shelved. Most of the exterior problems of the castle were fixed, so almost everyone who worked outside that day would be working inside the next. The entire Weasley group was exhausted. It was back-breaking labor, but they were proud of themselves.
After dinner that evening, the Weasleys decided it was time to discuss funeral plans. Everyone in the house was welcome to the conversation, but Fleur, deciding that the blood-Weasleys should probably have a private conversation, suggested to Hermione, Oliver, and Harry they should clean the broom shed. The three readily agreed.
George didn’t leave his room.
It was a long hour of deliberation. Everyone was between having a somber ceremony or a celebration of Fred’s life. They kept going back and forth with people constantly switching sides. Molly was Team Somber while Ginny was Team Celebration. Charlie and Ron were the main two uncertainties. Percy was fretful about the energy in the room, but was fine with either option. Arthur and Bill were playing the peacemakers, trying to keep everyone calm. This being the Weasleys, it was extremely difficult.
“I really need to take a break from this,” Bill sighed, getting up from the table. Everyone looked concerned. Bill wasn’t one to lose his cool. “I’m fine. I just need to get some fresh air,” he explained.
Percy also stood up. He also needed a break. “Mind if I join you?” he asked his older brother.
“No problem. Everyone else can continue talking. I defer to your judgment,” Bill said raising his hands and heading towards the back door.
“Same as him,” Percy said, running after his brother.
As he reached the back door, Percy could see Bill striding away. Percy started quickening his pace to catch up.
“Bill? Are you all right?” he asked when he reached his older brother.
“I would just like for us not to argue this one time. Merlin, just this once,” Bill said breaking down. Tears started rolling down his cheeks and he covered his face in his hands. Percy was surprised to see him cry. Bill was always the strong, supportive one; he never let his emotions get the best of him.
Percy decided to stay quiet for once and laid a hand on Bill’s shoulder. Clearly, he had some things to get out. Percy was sure nothing he could say would be better than just being there.
“Why did I go away? I missed so many things. Six years of you kids growing up,” he was sobbing so hard he was shaking, “I miss Fred. And George is miserable and I don’t know what to do. They could always lighten up a bad situation….How are we going to get through this?”
“Somehow, we’ll get through it. We always do,” Percy said, rubbing his older brother’s back. It’s something he remembered Bill doing to him when he cried as a child. “And you’re not the only one that left. Charlie left. I left. Ron told me he left during whatever those kids were doing. They’re all a bit different, but we all missed out on something. But like Oliver was telling me the other day, the important thing is that we came back.”
Bill was taking deep breaths to calm himself down. It took a few minutes and his face was still red from crying, but he looked calmer. “You’re right,” he sighed, “I just needed to get all the stuff I’ve been holding back out. It’s been a long few years.”
“You’re telling me,” Percy quipped.
“Let’s walk a bit more,” Bill said, placing a hand on Percy’s shoulder.
The two brothers walked a bit further into the Burrow property. They were mainly silent, just existing with each other. By the time they started turning back towards the house, Bill spoke up.
“Oliver is good for you, you know.”
“I know,” Percy said with a small smile. “I’m sorry I missed your wedding, by the way.”
“It’s all right. I mean, it ended kind of chaotically. But I’m sure you can make it up to me by babysitting my kids.”
Percy stopped in his tracks. “Fleur’s not…pregnant, is she?” Percy asked, shocked.
Bill laughed. “No. Merlin, no. But I’m sure it will happen someday. And I’ll keep you on the top of the babysitting list. Not that you aren’t the most responsible one anyway.”
“Our family is kind of a mess, isn’t it?” Percy asked.
Bill smiled. “A little bit. We’ve got a curse breaker, a dragon specialist, an extreme workaholic, a prank shop owner, an eighteen year-old instrumental in destroying Voldemort, and a girl who led a student rebellion.”
“And if you add spouses, it gets worse,” Percy added, referring to the four currently working in the broom shed.
“Well, you can’t say we aren’t interesting,” Bill said, “Now, let’s head back. I’m sure we’ve missed enough.”
The two brothers walked into an unexpected scene. George was standing at the head of the table, mid-rant.
“…cannot believe that you think he would want a sad funeral! I mean, honestly, did you even know your son?! I’m fucking miserable and I don’t want to party, but I will do it for him. Fred even told me what he wanted. He said ‘For the love of God, Georgie, if I die…i-i-i-if I die…don’t make my funeral some sort of sob-fest. I want fireworks and candies and streamers.’ I promised him and I intend to keep that promise.”
The entire Weasley family was stunned silent. They had barely heard George speak the past few days.
Arthur was first to gather his voice, but it was breaking. “Of course we shall honor Fred’s wishes. And yours. I think we were all waiting for your thoughts on the matter.” Everyone else voiced their agreements.
George nodded. “Ok. Good. I can take care of the fireworks.”
“I’m sorry sweetie. I-I-I should have know he’d want a party,” Molly said with her lip quivering.
George went over to her and hugged her. “I’m sorry for yelling at you, mum,” he said sincerely and near tears himself, “I’m…it’s been…I …miss him and it’s been…hard.”
“Oh, I know sweetie. I know.”
Two days later, Percy found himself near the kitchen while Molly was fixing dinner. The progress at Hogwarts was going well. Everyone was thankful for the magic they possessed to speed up the project. The Weasleys were thankful they had something to do rather than wallowing in their grief. It still hurt, but there were distractions.
“Percy, dear, would you mind finding Ginny?” Molly asked. “She went outside a few hours ago and I’m almost done with dinner.”
“Of course, Mum,” Percy said. Truthfully, he was happy to get out of the house. He had almost been there half a week and he was beginning to feel claustrophobic. There was just too many people, too many grieving people. The Burrow was always just too small for its inhabitants, but the extra guests and constant visitors made it worse. He and Oliver discussed going back to their own flat, but agreed they should wait until after the funeral.
Oliver was hanging out with Harry and the visiting Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell. They were together reminiscing and crying. Katie was holding a sobbing Alicia. Angelina Johnson had arrived with them, but she was holed up in the twins’ room with George doing who knows what. Percy decided not to bother the group in the living room as he headed out to find his sister.
Percy decided the best place to look for her was the orchard. It was the place she tended to go to when she wanted to hide.
His hunch was correct. Ginny was sobbing under a tree. She was holding her legs and her face was buried in her knees. His heart broke for his little sister. She was the toughest of them all and rarely cried.
“Is this sit taken?” Percy asked softly as he reached her.
Ginny looked up with tears in her eyes. “Go ahead,” she said with lip quivering.
Percy sat on the ground cross-legged and put one of his arms around Ginny. She leaned in and started crying on his shoulder.
“I miss him,” she muttered into his shoulder. Percy knew exactly to whom she was referring.
“Me too, Gin,” he said petting her hair. Tears started to trickle down his eyes.
After a few moments, she muttered, “I missed you too.”
“And I missed you.” He did miss her while he was away. He missed all of them after he got his head out his arse, but he had always worried about Ginny.
Eventually, Ginny’s sobbing slowed to a sniffle. She lifted her head from Percy’s shoulder and wiped her tears away. Her eyes were red and her face was pink; Percy figured he didn’t look much better.
“Did Mum send you?” she asked as she wiped her nose on her sleeve.
“Yes, to tell you that dinner is almost ready. But we don’t have to go back just yet if you don’t want to,” Percy offered.
“Ok,” she said. After a moment she spoke again, “Please speak to me about something else other than our family.”
Percy said the first thing that popped into his mind, “So, you finally snagged Harry Potter?”
Ginny groaned. “Please don’t phrase it like that.”
“Sorry. But you’ve had a crush on him for forever.”
“And you finally figured out Oliver had a crush on you,” Ginny shot back.
“Wait, what?” Percy asked. What was she talking about?
“He was totally sulking when you were dating Penelope,” she said.
“No, he wasn’t,” Percy said. Yes, Oliver was one of the people who knew he was with Penelope at the time, but he hadn’t acted any differently.
“He looked at you like a wounded puppy during that time.”
“I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken,” he told his sister.
“I know what I saw.”
“You were eleven.”
“Fine, but you should ask him and see that I’m right.” Ginny stood up and dusted off her trousers. “Let’s go back inside.”
“All right,” Percy said, getting up to go with her.
Turns out, Ginny was right. Percy asked Oliver directly that night before they went to bed. Oliver blushed, but admitted he did have a crush on Percy during that time. Percy snogged him for his honesty.
Late that night- or early that morning depending on who you ask- Percy woke up from a nightmare. He bolted up, covered in sweat and breathing heavily. It was Fred’s death playing back at him.
Oliver looked up at him with half-lidded eyes. “Love? Are you OK?” he asked with a sleepy voice.
“Just a nightmare, love,” Percy said running his fingers through Oliver’s hair, “Go back to sleep.”
Oliver looked like he wanted to argue, but wasn’t awake enough to do so. Instead, he kissed Percy’s bare shoulder and whispered, “I’m here if you need me.”
“I know love. I’m just going to get some water and I’ll be right back. Just go to sleep.”
Percy grabbed his glassed and his dressing gown and headed down the stairs. Once he got into the kitchen, he noticed his father was sitting at the table, also drinking some water and eating a biscuit.
“Hello, Percy,” Arthur said when he noticed his son, “What brings you down here?”
“Nightmare,” Percy responded as he poured himself a glass of water. “Have you even gone to bed?”
“I tried,” Arthur said, “but I couldn’t fall asleep. Dreading the funeral tomorrow. Well, I guess today.”
Percy sat down across from his father. “Have you tried a mild sleeping draught?” Percy asked.
“I was considering it,” Arthur said, “but I don’t want to get too dependent on them.”
“Biscuit?” Arthur offered the tin of biscuits to his son.
Percy took one. He muttered he thanks.
“Did you wake Oliver?” Arthur asked after a few moments of silence.
“Yeah,” Percy said, “But I told him to go back to sleep.”
“He cares a lot about you.” It wasn’t a question.
Percy looked at his father, trying to gauge his facial expression. He couldn’t get an exact read. “Yeah. This whole thing would probably be much more difficult without him,” Percy said.
“I’m glad you have him,” Arthur said with a soft smile. “You know, the two of you remind me of your mother and me when we were much younger.”
“Really?” Percy asked in disbelief. He wouldn’t consider his or Oliver’s personalities anywhere near his parents’, or at the very least his father’s. Oliver was calm now, but he was doing this for Percy. He didn’t have a battle plan- figuratively or literally- to worry about. Normally the two of them were high-strung.
“Yes,” Arthur said, “You’re a very affectionate couple, but you try to hide it. Your mother and I were like that in our early years. And if I know you correctly, you may feel like Oliver is out of your league. For years, I was convinced your mother was out of my league. I still do on occasion.”
Percy was surprised. Arthur wasn’t wrong. Percy thought Oliver was a much better person than he himself was. He didn’t abandon his family and he was gorgeous and liked.
“You’re not wrong,” Percy said.
“Don’t worry about all that. It’s very clear Oliver loves and cares about you,” Arthur consoled him.
“Thank you,” Percy said. By this time he had finished his water and his biscuit, but he the fuzz of the nightmare still coated him. “I think I’m going to take a mild sleeping draught and go to bed.”
“All right, then,” Arthur said, “I’ll see you in the morning. I love you.”
“I love you too Dad,” Percy said with a smile. He waved to his father and went to the bathroom to find a sleeping draught, took a small swig, and went back to sleep in Oliver’s arms.
The morning of the funeral was chaotic. Molly was barking orders at everyone to clean to distract from her own sadness. The tent and chairs had to be set up in the garden for the service. There was a fight to use the shower after the cleaning was done. Percy and Oliver had somehow been the first ones to the door.
Freshly shaved and showered, both men went to Percy’s room to get ready. Seeing Oliver struggling with his tie because his hands were shaking, Percy went over to him. “Here, let me help,” he said. Oliver acquiesced.
“You think I could tie a tie in my sleep,” Oliver joked although there was emotion in his voice. Percy’s stomach dropped with a realization.
“I feel horrible,” Percy said.
“That’s understandable. Fred’s your brother,” Oliver reassured him.
“Not about that,” Percy said, but thought for a second, “Well, yes, about that, but I feel bad that you’ve been keeping it together pretty well for my sake even though he was your friend too.”
“It’s not like you haven’t seen me cry in the past few days,” Oliver said.
“I know. But still.” Percy hugged Oliver. “I love you. More than words can say.”
Oliver kissed his temple while wrapping his arms around him. “And I love you more than words can say.”
They just existed together for a few minutes. Breathed together and tried to calm down.
“Should we tell your mum our idea?” Oliver asked after a few moments.
“Probably,” Percy sighed.
The two men straightened out their collars and ties. Percy offered Oliver his hand and Oliver took it. They went downstairs hand in hand.
They found Molly downstairs, fretting in the kitchen. She was in a nice dress keeping an eye on the food for the wake.
“Mum, can we talk to you for a second?” Percy asked. Molly looked up. She had tears in her eyes and looked the saddest Percy had every seen her.
She wiped her hands on her apron. “Of course,” she said with a forced cheery smile. “What about?”
“Would you like to sit, Mrs. Weasley?” Oliver asked pulling out a chair at the table.
“Oliver, I think I’ve told you enough to call me Molly,” she said as she sat down.
“Sorry,” Oliver said.
Percy took the chair closest to her and Oliver sat next to him.
“So we’ve told you that after today, we were planning on heading back to our own apartment- although we’ll visit often, I promise,” Percy said.
“Yes,” Molly said.
Percy looked at Oliver for a second. Oliver gave him a reassuring smile and patted Percy’s shoulder. “Oliver and I have been discussing this and we wanted to know your opinion.” Percy took a deep breath. “We’ve been worried about George and we think it might be better for him right now if he wasn’t surrounded by Fred’s stuff. And have someone to keep an eye on him. Um, we were thinking about inviting him to live in our guest bedroom for a little bit. Until he was ready to go back to his own flat.”
Molly’s lip was quivering. She leaned over to hug her son. “That’s so sweet of you boys! Of course you’d have to ask him, but I don’t see any harm in your idea.”
The three of them got up. “Do you need any help Mrs.…Molly?” Oliver asked.
“Yes. I shined Harry and Ron’s dress shoes. Could you please take them up to Ron’s room? They are on the bench near the base of the stairs.”
“Of course,” Oliver said, walking away.
Molly wiped away some tears. “He’s a good boy,” she told Percy. “I’ve always liked him.”
“I like him too,” Percy said smiling.
“Should I expect some sort of happy announcement soon?” Molly asked.
“Mum,” Percy groaned. “We’ve been dating less than a year.”
“I know, I’m just teasing,” Molly said. “But honestly, I just want you to be happy.”
“I am. Or as much as I can be, given the situation.”
Molly hugged Percy again. “I love you dear.”
“I love you too, Mum.”
The funeral itself was beautiful. Everyone was there: Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet, Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson, the Lovegoods, Professor McGongall, and everyone else they knew. Endless stories were told. Pranks he did. Times he stood up for others. There was a mixture of laughter and crying. Lee Jordan sobbed the entire time sitting between Katie and Alicia, while the two of them rubbed his back in between their own tears. George gave a moving eulogy that made everyone cry. The five brothers and Harry carried the casket to the graveyard between the Burrow, the Lovegoods’ home, and the Diggorys’ home. It was where Luna’s mother and Cedric Diggory were buried. Angelina held George while the casket was lowered into the ground. Percy cried into Oliver’s shoulder.
The wake was held back at the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley and Fleur outdid themselves on the food. All the guests brought something to share though. The house was filled with people; it was bigger event than Bill’s wedding.
Percy need to escape all the people. He couldn’t handle the “sorry for your loss” and the pitying looks. Eventually, he was able to escape to the orchard.
That’s were he found George.
George was in a similar position to Ginny the other day; his knees were bent and he was sobbing into his legs.
“Hey,” Percy said softly.
George looked up. He looked terrible. “Hi,” he muttered.
“May I sit with you?”
George shrugged. Percy sat next to him.
They sat in silence for a moment, other than their own tears.
Percy eventually decided to speak up. “I don’t know what your plans are,” he said, “In all honesty, I don’t have a plan yet. But I wanted to let you know, if you want a place to crash for a while until you get back on your feet, Oliver and I have a guest bedroom that you are welcome to stay in.”
George looked at him. “Thank you,” he croaked, “I’ll think about it.”
“I’m proud of you, you know,” Percy said, “What you’ve become. Your inventions are ingenious and so clever. I hope you keep with it.”
George was silent for a moment. “We never hated you,” he said. “I hope you know that. I think Fred would want you to know.”
Suddenly, a breeze went by and Percy felt something like a hand ruffling his curls. The hair on his neck stood on end. Percy looked at his brother. He eyes looked huge. “Did you feel that?” Percy asked, shocked. George nodded.
The two shared a bit of shocked laughter.
“Are you ready to head back?” Percy asked. “I think everyone is waiting for the fireworks.”
George groaned, but he nodded. Percy stood up and offered George his hand to help him up.
Once George was on his feet, he gave Percy a big hug. “I missed you, Perce,” he said.
“I missed you too, Georgie.”
As they were walking back, George turned to Percy and said, “So you and Oliver, huh? I always thought you too were oddly suited to each other.”
Percy snorted. “You did not,” he said.
“It’s nothing you can prove.”
Once they got back, George started shouting that the fireworks were about to begin.
As the fireworks exploded in the sky, Oliver hugged Percy from behind.
“Is everything all right?” he asked in Percy’s ear.
“Maybe not yet, but we will be.”