Rating: PG I reckon...
Summary: In which Percy goes about his Prefect duties and Oliver interrupts them.
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me. Credit to JKR
Author's note: This is my first Percy/Oliver I've ever written or posted. I don't know if I'm entirely happy with it, but I did my best. Thank you so much to jtriskell for the beta. Honestly, I think you are one of the best betas I've ever had. Thanks so so much. So yes, that's that. Enjoy if you wish.
Percy’s duties went in a series of events. Perfectly noted and scheduled. It had to be, as a fifth year prefect he had certain responsibilities. And certain rules he strictly adhered to and do his damnedest to make sure everyone else adhered to those rules as well. At six he would leave the castle and walk on the grounds: make sure no children were up to tricks. Make sure no one was out after the curfew. And then, every few minutes or so, as he was walking, he’d check the field to see if Oliver was flying.
And then he’d look elsewhere. Every evening during his rounds, he said hello to the Forbidden Forest. Never went in, he couldn’t. But said hello all the same. And sometimes, he was sure it answered back. Sometimes he’d peer into the forest, and think it called to him, beckoned him inside.
But thinking of the forest and breaking a rule almost always ended with thinking of Oliver. So Percy didn’t recall that memory as often.
He doesn’t quite remember when this fascination with the captain began. Well, it must have happened at some point, most things do have a beginning. Naturally, there are exceptions to each rule, especially in the wizarding world, where odd things happen at times. But, in human nature, beginnings are somewhat intrinsic.
But surely… no it must have been before that walk in front of the Forbidden Forest. Much before then.
It just was that, he’d always wanted to know Oliver. And so therefore it must have been much before then. Percy didn’t really have the luxury of having many friends, but Oliver was always civil to him for some reason. Percy usually brushed off the courtesy as a part of Oliver’s character. Sometimes he wondered, but it was always nice to know someone would say “Goodnight Percy, see you tomorrow,” before the 5th year boys would go to bed. So he spent time thinking about Oliver, his friendliness, to the point where he was analyzing the other boy without really pursuing a friendship. And thinking about him consistently.
And he knew Oliver wasn’t really the spontaneous type. He was more of… well Percy couldn’t rightly say. But if there was one thing he knew about Wood, Oliver, was that he stuck dogmatically to one thing. Be it quidditch, winning, or-
The thing that struck him was though, that he himself was more or less the same.
It made sense. Somehow, it just all made sense. If there was one thing that had held them together, Percy supposed that must have been it.
Of course this was just a later observation. Percy didn’t think of it till years after, when he could really sit down and breathe. Funnily enough, the thought that he and Oliver were somehow compatible deep down never did leave him. He thought it would have, but things like that don’t leave so easily.
When did he start looking in earnest for the quidditch captain during his rounds?
Mind you, he never really spoke to Oliver. He just looked for him every now and then. And thought plenty. Sometimes he’d imagine a conversation, a real one, much more than a simple goodnight. Sometimes, when talking to Penelope, Percy would sit and idly wonder what he was Oliver would say together. Then he would banish the thought a little guiltily, feeling like he was betraying Penelope by wishing she was someone else.
Percy enjoyed classification above most things, establishing social order. Most things had to happen in at least some semblance of order. And well, he was probably too good for Oliver anyway. Actually, not just that. Percy was sure, dead sure that he and Oliver had nothing in common, bloody nothing at all. People seemed to glorify their differences, Percy the house irritation and Oliver the house treasure.
Percy found all that superficial: Merit from sports, being the most popular boy.... True intelligence, ambition, meaning, those things must have been found in studying. From excelling in academics, full marks of the NEWTS, those sorts of things. Being successful, getting a job, not as a professional sycophant but an assistant to someone respectable and worthy. Well, what was Oliver doing with his life anyway?
But that wasn’t entirely true either. Deep down, he must have respected Oliver. And somehow, he must have enjoyed the game as well. Winning, quidditch, all of it. Watching the keeper at his best. Watching Oliver, seeing the game through Oliver’s eyes. The rush, the thrill. He wouldn’t feel himself without it. But certain contentions...
No. It wasn’t right of him to think of his brothers like that. Charlie, Bill, Fred, and George, all of them played. He had to be a proper brother to them after all but was always hoping… perhaps he’d be good at something. Something worth mentioning in passing every now and then. Something besides quidditch. But at the same time, he thought, it still made them just about perfect. If not in academics then in fame. Because so much depended on what other people saw.
But why? Why would someone want fame? It was just the way people were. It was, in all things, logical. Perfectly. It may as well have been a promise to himself.
Percy had his duties. His own, nothing shared with his brothers. They had their own private glories with quidditch and their gift of popularity. He wanted to outshine them all; he would be the best prefect the school had seen. Walk the grounds most days he did. Near the forest, perhaps the only thing that made him brave. But it was his job; no one was to enter the forest. And then glance to the sky.
It was strange. How the dark trees sort of called to him. He thought about it every time he walked by. And what if Percy broke a rule? He couldn’t see a reason not to; everyone else seemed to do it. What if he stepped into the forest, just for a little bit. Somehow, it was something he always wanted to do. He felt guilty for it but still, no one would know. But he wouldn’t do out of the blue things like that. What would people think of him then? And he was not everyone else; he couldn’t just get a thrill out of doing something wrong. The badge on his shirt dictated otherwise.
Then one day while Percy was going about his job, Oliver Wood, randomly, spontaneously even had come flying out of nowhere after him. He called and made Percy wait, asking breathlessly if he could accompany Percy on his rounds, flying practice quite forgotten. Percy wondered vaguely why he hadn’t seen the other boy coming. He searched for him after all. It must have been the first time in years Oliver had spoken directly to him and him alone. Roommates, sure, but friends? Not really.
“Shall we talk then?”
“I suppose we could.”
Oliver spoke first. He almost always did in any conversation. Percy had less to say. He was surprised. Normally Percy had lots of things to say, it was getting him to stop gushing over his grades or Crouch that was the real kicker. But still he was surprised.
Near the forest now. Percy wondered absently if a stray broom had ever flown in the Forbidden Forest, the field being nearby. The field, Oliver’s second home.
“See, it’s a bit difficult to say… ” began Oliver. He stopped, as if catching himself from saying something very important, and smiled nervously. “But well, it’s been jolly good year so far, I mean we still have some time left till vacation. How about those house points, huh? I really hope we win this year” he continued, and even though Oliver would never admit it, his voice tended to get higher when he was nervous.
Naturally it seemed to be more difficult to say, with Oliver so insecure, because Oliver usually always said what was on his mind. Percy could feel himself chewing on his bottom lip as he listened mutely; an unconscious habit that revealed itself when he was particularly nervous. The confusion and tension in the air was mounting, and it didn’t help that Oliver was clearly beating around a bush.
“What I am trying to say is that…” Oliver continued.
Say it Oliver, just get it out.
“We’ve been roommates a while.”
Bravo Oliver, clapped Percy inside his mind, we most certainly are roommates.
“And I know you are seeing the Clearwater girl. But…”
Oh yes, Perfect Prefect Penelope. She was just perfect for Percy, wasn’t she? Oh she was just the epitome of a perfect match Percy. Sometimes Percy wondered.
“And though we don’t really talk much… I think, well, for the last few years I have been wanting to tell you...”
Percy looked at his watch. It was getting late, he needed to study.
“ThatI’minloveyou,” Oliver breathed out.
Well. This was quite a surprise. Percy could honestly say he was surprised. And so he said the first thing that came to mind.
“Are you out of you mind?” Percy realized, in retrospect, he may have been able to say something more than that. But things for Percy were practiced, not ad lib.
Oliver may or may not have been out of his mind, but it didn’t matter, because he grabbed Percy and kissed him. Impulsive, irrationally, without any thought or planning. It was just what Oliver did, what he wanted to do. For Oliver would always be someone whose action would speak louder than words.
Percy found he couldn’t pull away. But no one could say he didn’t try. But it was useless. Somehow he didn’t want to, not with the Forbidden Forest right there, everything bad in the world, breaking rules it was all right here. Looking for Oliver obsessively, here it was laid out, all very clear. He was going back on Penelope, and not caring outwardly in the least. He was betraying his girlfriend, and God, would this hurt his wizarding career? Possibly? There must be rules somewhere about kissing another man. Would that classify him as gay? The thought disturbed him.
But he let himself be kissed. It was different than any sensation Percy has ever experienced. It wasn’t that he and Penelope never kissed; they just did it half heartedly, like girls and boys were supposed to do. This kiss held everything Oliver couldn’t say or get across with words alone, and it held so much more of everything, passion, promise, than any of the kissed he shared with Penelope.
The truth was, he couldn’t have pushed Oliver, and he simply didn’t have the strength to. Percy was a little skinny by nature, and the present situation seemed to have weakened him in the knees. And he was no match against the little sparks of pleasure ticking off in his mind. Imagine the conversations he and Oliver could have. For a little longer, he could stay like this. Take a short vacation from himself. From life even. Oliver would decide when the kiss was over.
Percy reached out tentatively, trying to find something to hold onto while his knees tried their best to give out on him. He reached out to touch Oliver’s hip, and Oliver pulled away, thinking the movement to be resistance.
“Bugger. I’m sorry, I should have asked for permission.” Oliver ran a nervous hand through his hair.
“No, it’s fine.” Percy couldn’t stop the words from coming, because it really was fine.
An awkward silence descended. Percy took a deep breath, thoughts racing, a summary of events unfolding itself in his mind: Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team was in love with Percy and Percy was allowing him to be.
It was very strange, in a forbidden sort of way.
“I’d like to… do that again if you don’t mind.” Oliver managed to get out shakily.
Percy looked around. He was so very far from the woods, and now there was nothing in the sky that caught his fancy. He was here, on the ground, far away. And the forest was behind them too, no longer challenging them. No longer asking to break a rule, simply being what it was. Dark, inviting. But not here. Not where Percy looked at Oliver and looked. Because there were rules here, larger and more forbidding than the forest could ever be.
He thought. "It’s beyond me; my happiness does not lie there. He’s beyond me. But this time, couldn’t I? Couldn’t I be someone different? Couldn’t I break one rule and be with him? He’d let me, he’d let me be with him. And we’d…"
It wouldn’t work though. He couldn’t let this get in the way, this would hurt his reputation. Being a prefect, doing well on the tests, just being… as perfect as he could be. Maybe, maybe it wasn’t complete happiness, or something thrilling, but it was being content. Percy’s eyes wandered to the forest again. And maybe being content was enough. Unchanging, unrelenting. He was dating his “perfect match,” and he studied and tried so hard to do be everything Hogwarts wanted him to be. After all, Percy had several goals to be accomplished.
“Yes. I do mind.” He said softly. Words, caught up, soaked up by the air.
“Oh,” said Oliver. And that was all he said. All he could say really.
Percy watched him. This boy, this boy who he looked for. Looking so very free and extraordinary in the sky above the field. But what did it matter, it would only get in the way.
"He’s telling you he loves you," a voice in the back of Percy’s head seemed to scream. Yes, he knew that. He knew it well enough. He looked to the forest again. Dark, black, different against the background of his perfection. …and just missing the greatest thing I might have had.
But Percy had things to do. Graduate and work for Mr. Crouch in the Ministry of Magic. He’d be more successful than his father ever was. And it would be wonderful, he’d stand out. He’d be someone.
The swish of a broom rising in the air behind him let him know Oliver was gone.
And Oliver: he would just be a boy Percy knew and loved once.
He whispered a soft hello to the forest. He thought he could hear it answer faintly, but dismissed it as a part of his imagination.