New beginnings with old friends
In the beginning there were nothing but pain and the smell of alcohol.
And Oliver's friends saw that it wasn't good.
It took weeks before Oliver even left the sanctuary of his darkened apartment. The place was wrecked, cleaning had definitely been neglected and it smelled awful.
Sorrows were drowned in bottles of firewhiskey and he envied how empty they were afterwards. He wished he could be that empty, just as empty as he had felt at the moment he saw Percy retreat. Because at least at that second the shock had paralyzed him and it didn't hurt as much, not like it did now.
"Oh come on Oliver, let us in!" Jack was pounding the door from the outside but Oliver didn't move from his bed. He lay facing the wall staring at a spot that he guessed was sauce.
There was a loud bang as the door flew open and Oliver quickly sat up, sheets tangled around him.
"Blimey Jack, you could've just used 'alohomora'" a voice called out in surprise.
The second voice Oliver recognized as the one of Artemis Crowley, one of his new teammates. He had only met him briefly but had taken to him quickly.
He was a friendly figure; dark brown hair cut short and glistening brown eyes that could fill you up with warmth.
They sat down next to him on the bed and the floor. They hesitated a little at the mess but sat anyways. Artemis removed some items of clothes from his place on the floor, covering his hand with his robes as he did so. Oliver just collapsed again.
"Are you gonna tell us why you're sulking?"
"No." his voice was cracked and unrecognizable.
"Arty is here to pick you up mate, you need to get in shape you know…" Jack sounded concerned. "It's been a month"
Had it really? A month, had it been so long? Wasn't he supposed to start playing for Puddlemere in three weeks from now? He shot up, swaying a bit as the room grew dark in front of him. He took a firm grip on his head to make it stop but it just made him feel nauseas.
But they were right; he couldn't let Percy ruin him like this anymore.
One thought of the redhead was all it took to take him right back. Tears welled up again as he fell to the bed, helplessly.
The other two watched, rubbing his back and looking at each other quizzically. Not sure how to handle the Scotsman at this point.
It took another day before Oliver decided to start over. He tried not to think about the Weasley's at all, every time he heard news of them he shut the sound out.
His time with Puddlemere united went well and he never saw Percy.
It took four years before he caught even a glimpse of him.
He had arrived at his old school together with his old teammates, in all the horror of the situation he couldn't help but feel happy.
There they were, Katie, Angelina, the twins and Harry! Poor Harry, think to have such a weight on your shoulder at that age.
He was running up the stairs away from the strange, unfamiliar room in which they had arrived when he heard it.
"… Has it started? I only just found out, so I-I-"
Oliver froze in the stairs at the familiar voice.
He turned slowly and there he saw him, awkward as he was facing his neglected family, Percy Weasley the reason for his sorrows.
A thickness filled up his throat and he struggled to breathe. He hesitated but then continued up the stairs, the voice of Percy's remorse drowned out by the sound of people out in the hallway. It wasn't directed at him anyway, Percy had probably not even seen him.
He felt he shouldn't interfere with their reunion, he told himself this but in reality he just couldn't handle meeting Percy.
Not even when it ended, when it all ended, did he approach Percy. Not with death in his family, he couldn't.
He grieved as well, no chance that he could face Percy now.
He imagined he saw Percy look his way, shifting as if he wanted to approach him but he didn't.
And Oliver didn't give him time to change his mind, he quickly moved away from the place.
And another ten years passed, and since it had been fourteen years since they last spoke Oliver was a bit surprised to receive an owl from Percy himself a Tuesday afternoon. The note attached to the owl asked Oliver to meet him, it were to take place at a café downtown. It lay in Puddlemere's district near the arena where he practiced so he knew where it was.
Without thinking he sent a reply accepting the invitation. He immediately regretted this.
At first he decided he wouldn't go, but then he changed his mind and put on his best robes.
Then he changed his mind again, thinking that he wasn't interested in whatever Percy had to say to him. He threw the robes of and suddenly felt that it would be rude not to at least show up now that he had answered that he would.
He would just go there, tell Percy he wasn't interested in whatever it was and go home.
He pulled on a pair of blue trousers and a matching blazer. Under this he wore a grey long sleeved shirt. It was descent he thought and went on his way.
At first he didn't see him and thought it had been some kind of cruel prank but then, there behind a witch in a very extravagant, very ugly hat he was.
He sat at a round table in a corner outside the café. He was wearing a white high-collared shirt and a beige vest. Around his neck was a thin, blue asclot that complimented his eyes perfectly. He wore beige, chequered trousers with a matching robe and well-polished brown shoes.
His hair was cut short at the sides but the top hair that was as long as Oliver remembered was combed to the side but still kept very curly. It could only have been done by magic.
He looked more mature if that was even possible. It seemed the years had not affected his face at all; there were no stress wrinkles around his eyes as one could have expected and his face was as smooth as ever.
Oliver didn't look very old either, he was only thirty-one for Merlin's sake but his sunburnt features had definitely roughened up a little, his jaw was slightly broader and around his mouth the lines had grown slightly clearer. His features weren't as soft and round as Percy might remember them.
He scratched at his stubbly chin and regretted that he hadn't shaved before he had left.
But what did that matter! He was just going to greet him and go.
But at the sight of Percy all thoughts of ditching or leaving flew from his mind. After all these years he still seemed to care very much for Percy, possibly even love him.
He approached carefully as if it was a startled hippogriff he was dealing with. Percy looked up and a broad smile appeared on his lips.
The worries melted of Oliver as he saw it and he almost forgot that this was the man that had caused him to dwell in his room for a month, almost causing him to starve himself and without showering.
He bit down on his own cheeks so that he wouldn't scream at the man, nodded and took a seat opposite of him.
"Hello Oliver" the voice was the same only slightly darker.
When Oliver didn't give him a reply he decided to continue.
"I'm sorry that I haven't contacted you it's only... Well, I-"
"SORRY! You're sorry huh?" Oliver couldn't hold it in any longer. When a few people frowned at him he lowered his voice and let a poisonous snarl escape his mouth.
"Well sorry ain't gonna mend no hearts now ees et?"
Percy had the decency to look ashamed, he looked down at his own hands fiddling with a napkin he held in them.
"I know I was a prat… I-" he sighted and rubbed at his temples "I don't expect you to forgive me"
It was Oliver's turn to look a little ashamed. He had no right to yell at the man even though he had done him wrong. Percy had done a lot of wrong in his youth and at least he tried to make it right again. Instead of screaming Oliver became modest about his own feelings, putting them aside he changed the subject completely.
"I… I'm sorry about- about Fred n' all and…" he didn't continue. Glazy eyes had met his and the redhead suddenly looked so much older. He sported a withered look only grief could produce.
"I'm truly- Truly, terribly sorry" Oliver breathed out.
Percy gave half a smile and wiped his eye at his sleeve.
"There were many losses at that battle…" he said quietly and dropped the napkin on the table.
They were quiet for a long time, not the kind of comfortable quiet they were used to but a very suffocating one that threatened to break at all the wrong moments.
"Wait, we… we shouldn't speak of such sad things we…" Oliver scrapped at the table a little trying to think of something good to say.
"So how are you? I- I heard you married…" It pained him terribly to mention it; it was something he had tried not to hear in the first place. But he had met Angelina who was now married to George and they had just slipped into the subject.
"Ah… yes. I work at the ministry again. It's… better now, with Kingsley" he looked up at Oliver and smiled "but I'm thinking of teaching at Hogwarts, I'm not sure… it was just a thought"
Oliver smiled back a little, nodding.
"Aye, you'd be good at that but of course, you'd be good at anything"
They laughed a little but the unanswered question hung in the air like a thick substance of a potion gone terribly wrong.
"And the wife?" Oliver asked at last making Percy shift a little.
"Audrey!" the other man exclaimed "she's fine… lovely, it's… complicated" he sighted and laughed dryly.
"It went quite badly actually, she became depressed and started to drink"
Oliver lit up but immediately wanted to punch himself for his insensitivity. He couldn't be happy that Percy's marriage was failing.
"She's at a rehab now, hopefully she'll get out soon and then she can have the girls every other week but the marriage well… we recently got divorced"
"Wait! Girls?" Oliver arched and eyebrow and leaned in a little.
"Yes! I have two," at that Percy proceeded to pull out pictures of two charming dark-haired children laughing at the camera "see that's Molly, she's six and this is Lucy who is four"
He was absolutely radiant as he spoke of them and Oliver couldn't help but smile as he looked at his old friend. But suddenly Percy saddened.
"Those poor girls, what have I done to them?" he put the pictures away and frowned.
Oliver who had slumped down, lying across the table as he admired Percy straightened up in his chair.
"What do you mean? It's not your fault, these things happen!"
Percy just shook his head wildly and he gripped at his head, a little of the enchanted hairdo coming undone and falling into his eyes.
"But it was my fault, I couldn't-" he paused straightened up and pushed his glasses up "I could never truly love Audrey, so it is really my fault she ended up so miserable"
Oliver scratched at his head in bewilderment of Percy's change of emotions and tried to speak, opening and closing his mouth like a fish but he had nothing to say.
And suddenly he remembered what Percy had done to him so many years ago and suppressed rage fumed up again
"Oh great Percy, come here and cry out your distress to me of all people!"
Percy looked honestly surprised at his outburst this time.
"You could not love her? Of course you couldn't, cause' Percy Weasley don't understand love, that's yer problem aint' it!"
Percy started to panic, he tried to say something, hands fumbling over each other as he tried to hush Oliver into silence.
"It's just like with me then, or did you in all your distress forget about that!" Oliver was now leaning over the table, staring into the sad, blue eyes of Percy.
"You completely broke me heart Percy, completely demolished it because of yer own glorifying dreams n' ambitions! Hell, even yer family came in second, if I wasn't so-"
And so the café went silent again because Percy had taken a firm grip of Oliver's shirt and pulled him into a kiss from across the table. It was a feeling that Oliver hadn't felt in fourteen years but it still lingered so familiarly on his lips when they parted.
Oliver stared, Percy blushed.
"I love you" Percy's voice was so weak Oliver hardly heard it but he did. Or was it wishful thinking, was he dreaming?
"Come again…" he said, voice sounding pubertal from shock.
"I love you" this time Percy's voice was firm and clear and there was no mistaken it "I never stopped loving you and it became the downfall of my marriage"
He stated it all very matter of factly but it just made it all the more bizarre.
Was that why he was here? Did he think that would be enough after all these years apart? How could he be so sure that Oliver still loved him?
And so he realized that he had never gotten the chance to tell Percy before he left that day at the train station. So Percy couldn't be sure that Oliver still loved him because he never knew. He had just taken a chance.
Percy Weasley the safest person in the world had taken a chance with him, with Oliver Wood.
It seemed like Percy was about to speak again but Oliver interrupted him.
"I love you too" he whispered because he had suddenly become very aware that people were staring, he remembered that they were not alone but in fact sitting at a small outdoor café and this realization made him blush fiercely.
"I have loved you since school and it never stopped" he looked pained now. Percy had caused him so much grief and still he could not stop loving the git.
He took a firm grip of the other's hand and squeezed it.
"So what do you say then? Would you like a new start?" it was Percy who asked and his worried blue eyes were transfixed upon Oliver and it made him slightly nervous and uncomfortable. They pierced his soul like no others could.
"I suppose, but could we go somewhere else to talk?" he looked around at the nosy people who stared shamelessly at them "This is the district of my team, people know who I am here…"
They both blushed even more fiercely and Percy nodded, in the past five years Oliver had actually earned his place as a full time player in the team and this would probably make good gossip in the little town.
"Yes absolutely…" there was a pause before Percy quite cheekily asked "you're place is close right?"
He gave Oliver a wink and laughed as he started walking out of the café, leaving a sickle on the table for his coffee that stood untouched. A cup that Oliver hadn't even noticed and he was surprised they hadn't knocked it over. He stared at it before putting his hands in his pockets and went after his love.
"I had hoped there was a deeper meaning to our love though" he said jokingly and Percy just smiled. Oliver put his arm around Percy. He hadn't completely forgiven him but as Percy had said, this was a new start.
A new beginning.