Fandom: Harry Potter
Category: Comedy, Fluff
Summary: Takes place during GOF, between the happenings of Chapters 7 and 8 (during the Quidditch World Cup Final).
Author's Note: Actually, this is my first P/O. The idea just came to me the other day and I couldn't resist writing it. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own the plot. Everything else belongs to J. K. Rowling.
Ah, the Quidditch World Cup. The hustle and bustle of the event was simply overwhelming. Percy Weasley was one who generally preferred to spend his time in top control of everything, with his clothes neatly pressed and his glasses clear of any dust spots, so as he walked along the paths between the eccentric camping tents of the hundreds of wizarding families, it would be an understatement to say that he felt nervous. When a series of rogue sparks in various shades of green began shooting out of a tent on his left, Percy felt a hint of regret that he hadn't just stayed at his own family's tent and endured through the teasing words that his brothers had been dispensing ever since the appearance of his boss earlier that day. Then, of course, the more he thought about it and the more he imagined the sorts of things his brothers would be saying ("Barty Crouch's lapdog!" "We should get you a collar!"), he decided that going for a walk was indeed the smarter choice.
A shriek followed by the laughter of a large group came from somewhere behind and off to his left. Percy turned with alarm, but upon looking, he found that the commotion was simply coming from an Irish clan that was gathered around a fire. It looked as though one of the women had been offended by something, but not enough for it to have really been a concern. The entire party almost immediately slipped into raucous laughter, and a few of them even got up to dance. Shaking his head, Percy made a turn down another path, one that took him decidedly away from that particular party.
With all of this excitement and complete lack of control becoming more by the minute, Percy could practically feel it building up around him. He was almost certain that if he looked up there would be a dark cloud above his head; a big heavy rain cloud, just hanging there because it knew it was making him uncomfortable. Things at the Ministry were busy, everything always moving about, but it was nothing like this; things at the Ministry moved about constantly and rapidly and with a sense of order. Whatever was going on there, there was a point for it, and that made Percy Weasley comfortable. This mass disorder was most certainly not making him comfortable. In fact, he was, daresay, feeling a bit claustrophobic while he walked along the open camping grounds. Percy was so on-edge, in fact, that when a hand gripped his wrist and halted his stroll, his stomach nearly shot up his throat and continued to go.
"Blimey, it is!" A distant but familiar voice exclaimed, "Percy! I didn't expect to see you here!"
Percy picked his head up from looking at his feet, and saw that it was none other than his old school roommate Oliver Wood holding his wrist.
"I saw Harry earlier and he was with your brother — I knew your dad must be here and the twins but — You like Quidditch?" The smile on Oliver's face was wide and he was visibly excited, he was hopping around as though he didn't know which foot he should stand on. He was rambling, and for a moment, Percy was too stunned and amused to say anything. He watched as Oliver bit his lip and looked Percy up and down, like he thought he might have grown another leg since their last having seen one another.
After the pause grew long enough, Percy registered that he had been asked a question, and that meant that it was his turn to speak.
"Well, yes, the whole family's here, everyone except Mum. And I like Quidditch just fine, you know that," he lightly socked Oliver in the ribs. The claustrophobic feeling had all but lifted — even the dark cloud was dissipating — and in the few seconds that they'd been standing in the path together when he looked at Oliver, Percy had to blink to readjust his eyes to the light of the clear day. "I couldn't grow up a Weasley and not enjoy watching the game."
"Ah, true. I guess it's just a fluke you can barely hold yourself on a broomstick — Hey!" Percy had jabbed at him again. "I'm only joking. Oh, come on! You have to come see my parents!" Oliver grabbed for Percy's arm again, turned them around, and began leading the way back down the path. Percy perked his ears up as Oliver continued to talk. "I was sitting outside our tent testing my Omnioculars and I saw you walk by. Pretty lucky I had them, too!" He made a turn into the mass of tents, and Percy brought his other hand over so that he had a double grip on Oliver's as the burly Keeper led the way. "I followed you until your back was to me, then hit replay so I could make certain it was really you."
Indeed, Oliver's tent was not close to where he had finally managed to catch up with Percy. It was a modest tent, not unlike the one Mr. Weasley had borrowed from his friend Perkins. Oliver released Percy's hands when they approached and bent down to pick up the Omnioculars that he had hastily discarded when he went on his chase after Percy. He held the flap of the tent open to allow Percy to enter first.
"Mom!" Oliver called as he climbed in after Percy. "Mom, come and see who's here!" Percy shared a smile with Oliver, who was still having trouble deciding which foot was best to stand on, and couldn't help laughing at the sight of his friend. Oliver could be so adorable when he was excited; Percy had seen this look many a time when they were back at Hogwarts. He recalled watching his roommate doing the very same dance around their dorm room after Gryffindor would win a Quidditch match, or when Oliver would miraculously manage an impressive grade on an exam and not simply a decent one (that one usually involved some massive help from Percy himself). A flush came over his cheeks and he looked down at his feet for a moment as he told himself not to allow himself to get too carried away with thinking about things which had caused him to lose so many hours of sleep while they were back at school. "Mom'll be pleased to see you, I'm sure," Oliver reassured.
Mrs. Wood came into the living space from around a corner, which Percy understood must have led to the kitchen of the tent. She was shorter than the two boys, but Percy noted that she was still taller than his own mother. "First your Seeker — who is it now, Wood, one of your Chasers?" She was wiping her hands on a dishtowel and looking down at her feet in order to make sure that she didn't trip over any of the objects that lay strewn about the floor: three broomsticks (one looked to be in very tattered condition), a large rattling case, and a Quidditch Equipment Care Kit, as well as several tattered books which Percy thought he recognized as Oliver's old playbooks. Mrs. Wood stepped over the handle of one of the broomsticks and kicked a playbook off to the side before she finally made it in front of the boys and looked up.
There was a brief pause as Mrs. Wood looked at Percy, and then switched to looking at Oliver. Percy watched their exchange, and thought it might be possible that she actually didn't realize who he was. Oliver was beaming and his eyebrows lifted in a way that clearly relayed the message that she should very well know who he had just brought into their tent. Finally, Mrs. Wood turned back to give Percy another look. In a second, her eyes showed a fondness and her face broke into a grin.
"Oh, is this Percy Weasley! My! It's been months — Since the Express brought you all back! Have you gotten taller since I saw you last?"
"No, ma'am, I don't think so," Percy was chuckling now, quite amused at how she had appeared to switch from completely clueless, to wrapping her arms around his neck for a hug.
"I think you must have! Such tall boys — " her eyes lit up — "Has Oliver told you the news?"
"No! I haven't gotten round to it yet!" Mrs. Wood slapped her hand over her mouth, her eyes twinkling as she gave her son an apologetic look. "Mom? You just made tea, didn't you?"
"What? Oh, yes!" She out a giggle and turned, remaining mindful of the mess on the floor. "But that'll be cold by now; I'll go and make a new pot. You two can stay out here, I'll be out soon." And with that, she darted back around the corner and into the kitchen.
Oliver led the way over to a set of armchairs in the living room, picking up some of the more bothersome items and a clear path for Percy to follow. Percy sat down into the comfortable chair and Oliver followed suit after he had made a decent pile of the things.
"What's this news your mother was talking about?" Percy began, very interested indeed. It must be really exciting. She looked absolutely thrilled."
"That's because it is really exciting news, my man!" Oliver sat at the edge of his seat, with his elbows leaning on his knees and his hands rubbing together. The smile on his face was much like the one he'd worn while out on the path: excited, his bottom lip hidden behind the top as if he was keeping himself from simply screaming whatever was on his mind. "Puddlemere United!" He finally burst out. Percy's face was blank, and Oliver rolled his eyes, "I made their reserve team!"
Percy's eyes widened and he let out an astonished laugh, "Oliver, that's amazing!" He stood from his seat and leaned over to give Oliver a congratulatory hug. "It's no wonder your mother was so eager for me to know! I bet she tells everyone."
"You're right about that. I think she owled my grandmother before the ink on my contract dried." Oliver watched as Percy settled back into his chair. "Ah, Puddlemere." Percy smiled and nodded his head, and suddenly, Oliver felt embarrassed that he was coming off rude and flaunting. "Oh! Listen to me, bragging. I'm sorry, Perce. Didn't mean to come off so... brash."
"Not at all, Oliver," Percy waved a dismissive hand, "you have every reason to be happy with yourself. I'm happy for you, too."
"Thanks, Percy. But, what about you?" Oliver leaned back in his seat, settling in some. Just then, Mrs. Wood came into the room with a small tea tray carrying two cups of tea. She came over to where they were seated and set the tray down on the side table next to Oliver's chair. "Oh, Wood, I heard you telling him the news. Isn't it marvelous, Percy? We're so proud!"
"Yes, Mrs. Wood, I can certainly understand why." Percy took a teacup and had a sip. "This is very good!"
Mrs. Wood shook her head and waved a hand, blushing slightly. "Thank you, dear. I'll let you two get back to your catching up." And before Percy could even ask if she wanted to join them, Mrs. Wood was back in the kitchen.
Percy had another sip of his tea. "I can't believe even your mother calls you Wood. Am I the only person to call you Oliver?"
"Well, no. Dumbledore called me Oliver... or Mister Wood." Percy scoffed. "But, come on. Tell me what it is you're doing now."
"Oh," Percy coughed and sat up a bit straighter in his seat, as he tended to do whenever he set himself into Ministry-mode. Just as he opened his mouth, however, Percy felt that the words would not come as easily as they did whenever he mentioned anything related to his new job to a member of his family. In a considerably more humble voice, though Oliver wouldn't have noticed a difference anyway, Percy replied, "Well, I'm at the Ministry, working in the Department of International Magical Cooperation."
"Aha! You made it into the Ministry!" It was Oliver's turn to stand and give the congratulations. Percy patted his former roommate on the back and felt a flush hit his cheeks as Oliver took his seat again. "How is it going for you?"
"Well, right now, it's actually going quite well. I've just been working on a report about cauldron thickness, and we're — Oh —" Percy stopped himself suddenly and averted his gaze. "What am I going on for? You really don't want to hear about cauldron thickness." He imagined his ears must be incredibly pink. Oliver hadn't actually been about to stop Percy, he hadn't even made a move to roll his eyes or look away while the other had been about to explain, and he still made no attempt to do either now. Percy went on, "That's why I was walking along outside, anyway. I had to get away from the campsite for a while, away from my brothers. Mr. Crouch, my boss, he stopped by earlier in the day, and ever since, the twins have really been letting me have it."
Oliver appeared confused, "Just because your boss showed up?"
After another sip of his tea, Percy contorted his face into a most regretful look. "I supposed I seemed a little too over-eager while he was there. I offered to get him tea and then when he thanked me for it, he called me Weatherby."
His friend looked deflated, and Oliver reached out an arm to pat Percy on the shoulder. "Oh, Perce. It's not so bad. There's a million people working at the Ministry of Magic, and you've only been there a few months. He'll get your name straight soon." When all Percy did was nod without picking his head back up, Oliver tried again: "You've been dreaming about being a Ministry stooge since you were a tyke, Perce. Don't get so down on yourself. In another five months I bet you'll be promoted."
Percy lifted his head, smirking. He chuckled, "Yes, well, I guess we can't all be amazing successes right after school, can we, Mister Puddlemere United?"
"Oh, say it again, I love hearing it!" Oliver leaned back into the armchair and covered his face with his hands, laughing wildly as Percy obliged and said "Puddlemere United's newest reserve Keeper, Oliver Wood!"
"I can't say I'm surprised," Percy was laughing. "You've always been a fabulous Keeper."
There was a pause then, and Percy watched as Oliver kept his head down, focused on his shoes. Percy sipped the last of his tea and looked at the bottom of the cup for a moment, and then he glanced back at his friend. He'd seen Oliver this way a number of times during their time together at Hogwarts, and he knew that Oliver was thinking very intently, probably watching something in his mind. Probably watching himself on the Puddlemere pitch, Percy imagined. Back when they shared a bedroom, Percy would often sit on his bed with a book and occasionally look over toward Oliver's bed and watch as his roommate stared off into space, watching the thoughts in his head while they no doubt played in front of his eyes.
"Sorry," Oliver cleared his throat and looked back up at Percy.
"Don't worry about it," Percy shook his head. "Do you mind if I use the restroom?"
"Not at all," Oliver shrugged and turned to point toward the corner that his mother continually disappeared around. "It's just down that hall by the bedrooms, past the kitchen."
Percy nodded and followed his directions. When he was in the bathroom, he headed straight for the sink and splashed a bit of cool water onto the back of his neck. He was being silly, really. He had felt a fondness—a crush, even—for Oliver when they were back in school, yes, but that was so long ago, and — Merlin, he should not be thinking this way now! It was only a matter of weeks since the last time he had seen Oliver and already, it was like everything that Oliver did today was something that Percy had found to be appealing. It just wasn't fair! He needed to calm down and not let any of those things affect him; he needed to be in control.
Heaving a sigh, Percy looked at his reflection in the mirror above the sink. His cheeks weren't flushed at all for the moment, and every freckle stood out over his pale skin. Better than blushing and matching his hair, anyway. Satisfied with this appearance, Percy exited the bathroom.
While he was passing the kitchen, Percy thought he heard his name being spoken, and he slowed so that he stood around the corner of the doorway. It was Mr. and Mrs. Wood sitting at the table.
"But we should be going!" Oliver's father was waving his arms about. "It's going to be a madhouse at the pitch—impossible to find our seats in all of that commotion. We should already be sitting now, I'm telling you."
"But Percy is still here and the boys are having such a time catching up. We'll go in a bit! Not much longer," Mrs. Wood sounded like his own mother, Percy thought, whenever she was trying to calm her husband after he was fretting about some Ministry-related incidence.
"Percy can come to the pitch with us!"
"No! Just let them alone for just a few minutes longer. Wood is so happy to be seeing Percy — he looked more excited bringing him in than he looked when he had that Potter-boy with him earlier! Oh!" Percy dared a glance around the wall and saw that Mrs. Wood had clapped her hands together and was holding them against her chest.
"What are you on about?" Mr. Wood asked incredulously.
"Oh, don't be daft!" Percy was certain that he distinctly heard Mrs. Wood slap Mr. Wood on the arm. "Wood has had a crush on Percy for years!" She hissed, and Percy nearly swung himself around the corner so that he could ask her to repeat herself. "He told me so at the same time he was telling me about how the Potter-boy was on his school Quidditch team. Ah, he was so very excited in that letter... Please, just let them talk a little while longer."
Right away, Percy realized that he really should be headed back to the living room, as that was clearly where Mrs. Wood thought he was, it would be terribly embarrassing—and not to mention awkward—if she were to find that he was actually standing just outside of her kitchen and eavesdropping on her conversation.
Oliver heard Percy's footsteps approaching and turned his head to watch him make the way back to his seat; he was smiling brightly. "Ah, there you are. Was beginning to think you'd fallen in, Weasley."
"Oh, no," Percy shook his head and quickly attempted to think of something to say. He recalled using the sink in the bathroom. "Just making sure my hands were clean," he said and wiggled his fingers in the air.
"You're so very thorough at everything, aren't you?" Oliver teased.
"Well, you know how we like to obsess," Percy teased right back and gave Oliver's foot a slight nudge. Oliver simply laughed and nodded; he knew perfectly well that one of the reasons they got on so well was perhaps because they both understood that the other had a passion. Of course, their passions were entirely different, but that didn't matter. The point was, that whenever Oliver had needed to plot out a new Quidditch strategy in front of another breathing person just for the sake of not speaking aloud to himself, Percy had always been willing to sit in front of the chalk board and (half) listen, and to occasionally point out when the play was just completely not possible. Likewise, Oliver was always willing to sit around while Percy ranted on about why another meaningless rule, pointless as it might have been to the grand scheme of things as far as everyone else was concerned, needed to be abided by at all costs. They would do this for the other, knowing that if they didn't, no one else would, and both knew what it felt like when that happened.
"I should be going," Percy said with a look to the clock that hung on the wall across from him. "My family will be headed to the pitch soon."
"You don't have to go," Oliver said quickly as he mirrored Percy standing. "Uhm, you could go with us — we'll be leaving soon, too. We could all walk together."
"Oh — Well — I would, but," Percy had already begun walking over to the entrance of the tent and Oliver followed just a few steps behind, "I really ought to go with my father." He climbed through the entrance hole and Oliver followed suit as Percy continued. "There'll be loads of Ministry officials up in the booth, and, well — "
"Say no more," Oliver quelled Percy's ramble with a very soft slap to the back of Percy's calf as the latter stood and the former came through the entrance. Oliver straightened his robes and gave a soft smile. "I understand. You need to network! Get your name out there. Move up the ladder from tea-fetching Weatherby to lunch-fetching Weaselby."
Percy wanted to laugh, but before he could, he gave a forlorn sigh. "Well, it would be more accurate."
"Hey, none of that," Oliver gave Percy's arm a light punch. "Two months ago you were the Head Boy at Hogwarts and you're already working with some very important people. You're very impressive, Percy Weasley. It won't take long for your boss to see that. Forget what your brothers are saying. This is what you've been dreaming about for years; and you're actually doing it."
The words were comforting, and in so many ways, they transported Percy back into their old dormitory in Hogwarts. There had been plenty of times in their seven-year friendship when they would give each other these little pep talks; Percy to Oliver whenever there was a Quidditch crisis, and Oliver to Percy whenever Percy was feeling like something he was doing just wasn't adequate. Now, what Mrs. Wood had said was hinting at the back of his mind, and Percy wondered why he'd never noticed that Oliver probably had been so attentive because he liked him. It was really very stupid of him to not have figured as much; after all, that was a big reason Percy was always so willing to listen for Oliver.
"Thank you," Percy nodded. "Say, Oliver?" There was a murmur signaling that he had the other's attention. "We should — We should make a plan to meet up sometime. You know, on purpose."
Wherever this was coming from, Percy had no clue, but the smile on Oliver's face didn't leave, so he hoped this wasn't a bad idea.
"Certainly," Oliver nodded. "A drink in Hogsmeade, maybe? Like the old weekend trips?"
The thought was nice, but a miss as to what Percy had had in mind. His stomach dropped with Oliver's suggestion, and Percy almost agreed. No! He couldn't just accept that. "Or," he found himself speaking before he could decide if he really wanted to say it. "I was thinking, more like, dinner?"
Oliver's brow rose excitedly for a brief second, but he quickly looked down at his shoes and whatever the look was, it was hidden. He chuckled, "You think we'll have that much to catch up on, do you, Perce? We’ve only been ex-roommates for a few weeks."
"Well, if you don't think your practices with Puddlemere will be exciting enough to chat my ear off for a whole meal — "
"No." Oliver cut him off quickly. "I was only teasing. I'd like dinner." As he looked back up at Percy, the same adorable smile he'd been wearing when bringing in his mother was back on Oliver's face.
There was nothing left to do except to agree to owl one another and be on their separate ways. But Oliver was still smiling and Percy had a strange feeling that he shouldn't simply walk away. In the brief time he'd spent in this tent, some new and very important news had been brought to his attention — Oliver liked him! His mother had said so! Something should be done about that. But now, Percy found himself hesitating. But, damn it! He's a Gryffindor! He shouldn't be hesitating over this. He should be brave and acting on this.
"Oliver?" He'd been looking down again, but picked his head up one last time at hearing his name. The sun was behind Percy and shining into his eyes, so Oliver had very little chance to react when Percy leaned over and kissed him. For a moment, he didn't react at all, and then suddenly, he realized that Percy had pressed their lips together. Oliver smiled at the sheer thought of it, and placed his hands on Percy's forearms.
When Percy pulled back, he found that Oliver was still smiling. Even though that was probably a good sign, Percy found that he couldn't think of anything to say. Fortunately, Oliver spoke first.
"Where— Where did that come from?" He asked with his mouth still pulled into a grin.
"I overheard your mother talking in the kitchen," Percy blurted out. "She said it's been years." It was the most Percy-like response he could have given, in the sense that he'd based his answer off of information that he'd picked up from a source.
"It has!" Oliver shook his head, and that grin was still there. "But, why did you, then—?"
They were holding each other's forearms now, the site would have looked like two people apparently very excited over some bit of news that they had just come to know.
"I mean, it's been years for me as well!" He was battling for his own words, but somehow, he wasn't nervous anymore. "And — I really should be going." Even as he said it, Percy's hands tightened around Oliver's arms.
Oliver laughed and nodded his head. "You really should. You have to go be a Ministry stooge now."
"But I'm not even at the Ministry today — "
"That's never stopped you before." Percy laughed. "I'll send an owl to your office next week. You said dinner, right?"
"Yes, yes I did," Percy nodded. "Alright," he leaned forward without even thinking and pecked Oliver on the mouth again. "I'm going now." And with an assertive nod that seemed to convince his own hands, he let go of Oliver's arms and turned to walk back toward where his own family's tent was located, but he half-turned to throw another look back at Oliver, who was still standing in front of his own tent. He waved. Percy waved back and tripped over the duffle bag of one of the nearby campers.