| "Percy? Percy Weasley?"
Only with a maximum of effort did Percy
suppress his groan. He had really thought at least in the Muggle world
he would be safe. Something which was getting less and less possible in
Then he noticed that his name hadn't been spoken with
the usual disdain and aggressiveness, but rather with curiosity. He
Squinting at the figure in front of him - he
couldn't have had that much to drink already, could he? - he finally
focused his eyes. The man before him was perhaps in his middle
twenties, black hair and green eyes that reminded him of something, but
at the moment his mind was too fuzzy to properly think about it.
stranger lifted his fringe off his forehead and suddenly Percy
remembered where he had seen those eyes before. They belonged to Ron's
best friend, Harry Potter. Well, former best friend. He vaguely
remembered that for some reason Potter had broken off all contact with
his family - actually the whole Wizarding world now that he thought
about it - and hadn't been talked about again by his family.
He had been too busy with something or other at that time to really notice.
sighed thinking about what a debacle his life had become since then and
didn't even realise he hadn't said anything to Potter yet.
depressing thoughts were only interrupted when Potter slid into the
chair next to him and looked like he was about to make himself
comfortable. Percy tried to decipher the expression in his face, but
Potter just wouldn't keep still, so he gave up. With unfocused eyes he
looked around, trying to find the barkeeper and order another drink,
but he couldn't find him in the low light. He frowned in confusion.
Shouldn't the barkeeper always be available?
Then a voice from
beside him interrupted him once again. "So, what are you doing in
Muggle London, Percy?" He turned around once again, still trying to
find somebody to bring him more to drink and didn't really notice when
he answered the question.
"Gettin' drunk." Stupid question. At
least his speech was still working properly. But what was wrong with
his eyes? Perhaps all this smoke in the pub had affected them? He
distractedly waved a hand in front of his face to see better, but it
didn't work. The barkeeper was still gone.
A touch on his arm
startled him and he turned to Potter again. "Wha' now?" He really had
to find something to drink. Perhaps Potter could show him where the
"Are you okay, Percy? You look kind of panicky."
Was that concern he heard in that voice? No, that couldn't be, nobody
ever was concerned about him. He frowned in confusion. What had he been
looking for again?
Oh, yes. "D'you know where the barkeeper is?"
He could vaguely make out Potter's eyes assessing him, but didn't pay
him any mind. Probably didn't know where the barkeeper was either. He
looked around again. He was going to have to complain to the manager
about the miserable service around here.
"Don't you think
you've had enough to drink?" He looked at his neighbour again. What was
he still doing here? Then he realised that this man wanted to keep him
from drinking. He slowly shook his head.
"'M perf'ctly alright."
He waved his hand in front of his face again. The smoke in here was
getting worse. Maybe he should go outside and look for a different pub.
Yes, that was a good idea.
Leaning heavily on the table he stood
up, and then almost sat down again when he realised he had landed in
some kind of amusement park. Those idiots wouldn't stop turning the
room. He looked at the man next to him; where did he know him from? -
made one last attempt at getting something to drink "Barkeeper!" - and
promptly passed out.
next morning Percy woke up in a strange flat, in a strange bed and with
a hangover the size of Britain. Fortunately, the curtains were shut, so
the sun couldn't torture him, but it also gave him no clue as to where
Then his brain caught up with him a bit more, and told
him that the smell of fresh coffee must have woken him. He took a long
look around the room he was in, discovering his glasses on the bedside
table. He put them on and now he could make out other objects on the
bedside table. He blinked and then blinked again.
There stood a
strange contraption that could only be a clock, albeit a very strange
one, together with a glass of water and a small bottle.
brain was finally fully awake, even though the pounding in his head
still distracted him and he remembered from his Muggle Studies class
that Aspirin was some kind of dehydrated headache potion.
Grateful to whoever had put that substance there, he took the cap off the bottle and swallowed one of the white things.
his head had somewhat cleared up, he turned his brainpower towards
figuring out where he was. He didn't think that he had just gone home
with somebody, and besides - he threw a sharp glance at the space
beside him - it didn't look as if anybody else had slept in the bed.
room itself also gave no clue as to who lived here. There were no
photos on the wall and the yellow walls were so common that it didn't
even give an idea about the taste of the owner of the flat. The clothes
that were thrown throughout the room only indicated that the inhabitant
was male and slim, but that was it.
He would have to get up and find out. He sighed. This could be awkward if there was something he was supposed to remember.
got up slowly, minding his still hurting head. That was when he noticed
he wasn't wearing anything beside his boxers. He felt his body heating
up at the thought of what must have happened here last night. Then he
discovered his clothes neatly folded over a chair.
He swallowed. Surely, if he had had... sex with whoever lived here, they wouldn't have folded his clothes, right?
took another calming breath and quickly dressed in his trousers and
shirt. The smell of smoke and alcohol that emanated from his clothes
told him at least part of where he had been last night, as it did more
and more mornings. However, it still didn't explain everything else.
a sick feeling in his stomach that had little to do with his
consumption of alcohol last night, Percy opened the bedroom door and
stepped into a bright hallway.
He was at the end of it. On his
right side there was another door that probably led to a bathroom. On
the other end at the left side the hallway opened into an open space
and that was where Percy went.
The coffee smell was coming from there and Percy could also hear somebody moving around.
steeled himself for the embarrassment that was sure to come. He was
sure that his face was impassive when he entered into a similarly
bright kitchen, but this quickly changed when he saw who was standing
there setting the table with cups.
At first Percy thought he was
still drunk. Harry Potter hadn't been seen by anybody in the Wizarding
world for years and at the Burrow nobody ever mentioned him. Percy
frowned. Now that he thought about it, that was a bit strange.
he cleared his throat and was surprised when Potter looked up and
smiled. It had been a long time since anybody had smiled at him.
Disappointment and anger on the other hand were very frequent
He tried to hide hid surprise by being polite,
something he had always hidden behind when he was unsure of his
surroundings. "Good morning, Potter."
Potter looked surprised at his words. Percy was still wondering why, when the solution was given to him.
"You used to call me Harry."
frowned again. Did he? Probably before the whole debacle with Fudge and
You Know Who and also before... he clamped down at that thought. There
was no use in getting upset about it now.
The situation had come out and he couldn't change it anymore. He was just going to have to live with it.
He made an effort to relax his face and succeeded just in time to hear Harry ask: "Do you want coffee or tea?"
His answer came automatically. "Coffee."
added the black liquid to both their cups and motioned for Percy to sit
down. He was really quite hospitable considering Percy had just taken
over his bed for the night and considering the fact he was... well,
He sat down uncomfortably. No matter how nice
Harry was being, he had better not get used to it. That would only make
it harder when he returned to his life, or at least what used to be his
He made an effort to let go of these thoughts and instead
surveyed the table. It was covered in breakfast dishes, fortunately
nothing that made his stomach turn from queasy to nauseous. He watched
as Harry poured some milk into a bowl and then added some crunchy stuff
that came from a box called Wheat Bix.
He noticed a plate and
bowl in front of him as well and deducted that he was invited to eat
breakfast. However, he only took a dry toast and bit into it
lifelessly. It really wasn't his priority to eat. He wanted to find out
what had happened last night and then disappear as quickly as possible.
"So, Percy, did you sleep well?"
He nodded slightly, not sure what Harry was getting at. Was he making fun of him? The answer came pretty quickly though.
looked at him seriously. "Ah, I see you're still the silent type." He
nodded to himself. "You know I really never pictured you for the kind
of guy to get pissed in a Muggle pub."
He didn't let Percy even
try to explain himself and instead just went on. "But then you aren't
exactly the type everybody thought you were, right?" He put his spoon
down and leaned forward. Involuntarily, Percy moved back. He had an
idea what this was about and it couldn't be good. What was Harry
"You don't know why I left the Wizarding world,
right?" Percy just shook his head. He was wondering when the derision
would come and already steeled himself for it.
"I had the same problem you have."
head snapped up. There was somebody else like him? No, that couldn't
be. Harry had to be talking about something different. Just what?
He seemed to be reading his thoughts. "Yes. That problem."
Percy felt himself start to shake. How had he found out? Or rather what was he going to do about it?
Harry seemed to read his thoughts. If Percy had been in a proper state
of mind, he would probably have realised that his face was like an open
book, no sign of the impassiveness he had tried to achieve at the
beginning of this conversation.
"Leaving the Wizarding world,
didn't mean I also left all my friends behind. I still have contact
with Hermione, Luna and Neville." His face clouded over for a moment.
"Unfortunately, Ron and your family didn't see my... choice as
Percy didn't bother to ask who those three people
were. He vaguely remembered two of them as being part of the group that
had broken into the Ministry years ago, something that he had had to
work on afterwards. And Hermione Granger still was a friend of Ron,
even though he had seen more of her at the Ministry than at home.
what was Harry trying to tell him? Then for the first time, he replayed
everything Harry had just said. He had had the same problem as Percy
had? But how could that be possible?
Harry continued his
monologue. "When I realised that I would never have a chance in the
Wizarding world, being the way I am, I decided that I would move to the
Muggle world. After all, I wasn't really missing anything... I had
already lost most of my friends and my NEWTs hadn't been good enough to
start working as an Auror anyway."
Percy still remembered. It
had been the talk of the Ministry for days that the great Harry Potter
had only got two NEWTs, and that in Defence and Care of Magical
Creatures. Fudge had laughed about him for days.
"Percy, are you listening to me?"
jerked out of his thoughts. He really had to do something about this
problem of his absent-mindedness. He reacted irritated. "Yes, I am.
However, I don't know why you're telling me all this."
Harry looked at him imploringly. "Because Hermione is worried about you."
Granger was worried about him? She certainly didn't show it. But then
associating with somebody like him would decrease any chances she had
in climbing the ladder in the Ministry; it was hard enough with her
being Muggleborn and all.
"Yes, Hermione." Was Harry a mind
reader? "Of course she heard about your problem and she also noticed
that you can't find a new job after you were fired at the Ministry. And
she also noticed that you spend a lot of your time drinking yourself
into oblivion in Muggle pubs."
Percy scowled. That was not what he had been doing, he had just... "I don't drink myself into oblivion! I only... I..."
had the gall to nod at him. "Drink yourself into oblivion, exactly." He
crossed his arms over his chest. "So, Hermione thought it would be a
good idea for you to try something different."
"Hermione thought? What has Hermione got to do with my life?"
Harry shrugged. "Nothing really. But you know her. She always makes other people's life her business."
"So what does Hermione think I should do?"
grinned. "Good, that you already give up. Wouldn't stand a chance
against her anyway." Percy wondered if he hadn't noticed the sarcasm in
his voice, but he probably only hadn't reacted to it. "So, Hermione
thought you should consider moving into the Muggle world."
gaped. He should do what? He couldn't move into the Muggle world! He
had lived as a wizard his whole life - he couldn't just change that.
True, at the moment he was having a few problems, but he couldn't just
throw everything away. That was his life they were talking about! He
had responsibilities. There had to be a reason that he had been the
best student of his year!
"I can't do that!"
"Well, of course not right away. You could test it for a while."
Percy lifted his eyebrows. "Test it?"
"Yes. My sofa can be used as a bed and then I could introduce you to Muggle life. You did take Muggle Studies at school, right?"
Percy nodded. This idea was insane.
So it won't be too difficult. Once you get used to it you can see about
getting a schooling license from the Ministry and then finish your
Muggle education." Percy was surprised. That was possible? "I did that
myself. And you've always been a good student, so even if you have to
work part-time, you should still be fine." He leaned closer. "And be
honest. Do you really want to live the same life you've lived for the
last months for the rest of your life?"
He sat back and looked
at Percy expectantly. As if Percy would just jump at the chance! There
was so much to think about. He noticed Harry getting up and lighting a
cigarette. Percy could see him inhaling the smoke, but his mind drifted
off once again.
As if Percy could just leave his whole life! He
had never had anything to do with Muggles and he had...
responsibilities. He hadn't worked all those years, just so he could
give up now and start all over again. Do his school education again!
That was insane! He couldn't. It just wasn't possible. He was Percy
Weasley and he would not give up this easily! And as if he was
dependent upon the goodwill of somebody he hadn't seen in years, had
barely talked to in ten years. He was going to show everybody that he
wasn't the monster everybody thought he was. He was going to do this on
Percy stood up. His impassive demeanour had returned.
"Thank you for the offer, but I think I'll go now. I'm sure my parents
are already worried." He didn't look back when he walked out the door,
otherwise he would have seen the amused look in Harry's face.
went down the stairs quietly. From the kitchen he could hear the voices
of his family, loud and boisterous as usual. How any one of them could
make out what the other was saying was beyond him.
the door without making a sound. He had become good at that. Still
catching the last words from one of the twins, "... absolutely soaked."
and the laughter that followed, he felt his skin prickle uncomfortably
when every noise died as he sat down.
He could feel their eyes
on him eyeing him as if he was going to start throwing Avada Kedavra
around any moment. Feel their stares drilling into him, asking him what
he was doing here, why he was interrupting their good time. Why
couldn't he just leave?
Percy tried to ignore their looks, their
unasked questions and instead hid behind his usual mask of
impassiveness. There was nothing new to this. Ever since The Incident,
he had been treated like this. And really, if he thought about it, even
before he had never been comfortable, had never felt at ease around his
Still, he tried to act normally, not show them any weaknesses. This was the last place he had, he would just have to endure it.
quickly looked up, then down again, asking in a falsely cheerful voice:
"Could you please pass me the salt, Fred?" At least he was pretty sure
that it was Fred he was sitting next to. Not that it mattered. They
both hated and treated him like he was a waste of space, why should he
feel bad about not knowing them apart.
No salt was being thrown
his way. Apparently, he even wasn't acknowledged anymore. He looked
right at the twin next to him this time, intending to ask again, but
his brother moved away quickly, not meeting his eyes, none of his usual
jokes or even teasings on his lips, only contempt in his eyes.
they weren't even going to look at him anymore. Perhaps afraid of being
contaminated by whatever they thought he had done that night. He looked
closer, absently noticing that the whole table was following his
movements, and found that it wasn't only the usual disdain in Fred's
eyes, but something more. What... fear?
He almost laughed when
he realised his obnoxious little brother was afraid of him. It was
either that or cry, but he kept his facial muscles in check, he had had
enough training doing that after all. Still, he couldn't stay here.
chair scraping against the floor echoed loudly in the noiseless room,
as did the ringing of his voice. "For Merlin's sake, Fred! I'm hardly
going to... to ambush my own brother! At the kitchen table no less!"
He left as quickly and quietly as he had come, locking the door to his room. His last heaven from the hell his life had become.
Mr. Weasley," the manager looked at him over his half-moon glasses, "I
see that you are absolutely qualified for the job. Rather more than we
expected actually." He threw a smile at Percy. "But that's nothing that
we will let stand in our way, won't we?"
Percy tersely nodded
and tried to smile just as jovially as Mr. Bumbleton, the manager of
the 'Bottoms Up - Cauldrons In All Materials And Sizes' in Diagon Alley.
only waiting for the owl from the Ministry with your recent records-"
he must have noticed the worried look on Percy's face, "- don't worry.
It's a pure formality. Couldn't hire a murderer after all!" He laughed
Percy smiled back, even though he felt as if he had
suddenly been dunked into ice water. He had thought this was finally
going to work, a small shop, tucked away in a corner of the Alley and
an old manager who looked as if he hadn't seen the outside since the
riots of '64.
He almost left before the manager could get his
record, spare himself at least some embarrassment, but just then a
small brown owl tapped at the window, carrying a file with the official
Ministry seal on it.
Mr. Bumbleton gave another one of his
brilliant smiles and hurried to the window. "Here we are. Let me just
give it a quick once over and then we can get to the signing of the
He pushed his glasses further up his nose and
started to read, nodding from time to time, smiling all the while.
After a while he paused and said: "Really, Mr. Weasley, your
achievements are impressive. I'm never going to understand why the
Ministry let you go."
Percy didn't answer; instead he watched
on, feeling dread coil in his stomach, and finally coming to a stop
when Mr. Bumbleton turned to the last page.
Percy felt like
watching a Quidditch accident. Too bad to look at, but at the same time
unable to look away. He saw Mr. Bumbleton's smile fade, turning into a
grimace, finally looking at Percy with a fearful little glance and
eventually crumpling the parchment in his hand and banishing it with a
flick of his wand.
A small feeling of hope began to unfold in Percy, perhaps he had finally found somebody who didn't care about... it.
his hope was dashed when Mr. Bumbleton squared his shoulders and turned
to him. He cleared his throat. "Well, Weasley, there were some
unexpected... problems..." He looked almost apologetic. "I'm sure you
understand that I can't hire you under these circumstances." He moved
towards Percy, hand held out to shake Percy goodbye, but in the last
moment, he stopped and turned away. "I'm sure you remember where the
door is, Weasley."
Percy only nodded, too numb to do anything but leave quietly. Damn the Ministry for blacklisting him!
got the same responses in Eeylops Owl Emporium, the Magical Menagerie
and even Borgin & Burkes. He had thought that at least the last
would yield some results, and he wasn't quite sure if he would have got
that job if his name wasn't Weasley. Still, it was depressing.
way he was going he wasn't even going to get a job as the driver of the
Knight Bus. After all one couldn't leave him alone with all those male
He snorted as he made his way upstairs, to tired to even
feel angry at his mother's disappointed frown. He hadn't asked to be
Since he was small, he had always wanted to be the
best, to be recognised for his achievements, and now everything had
gone down the drain.
His marriage with Penelope had been a
disaster from the beginning to the end and if he was truthful, he was
glad that he didn't have to fulfil his marital duties anymore. And
hadn't that been the first sign?
Percy opened the door to his room and laid down on his bed.
first sign of his destruction. He had thought all his worries and
feelings had been normal, only to find out that he was far from normal.
Of course, he had also noticed before that his tastes were somewhat...
eccentric, but he had tried to suppress it as much as possible and
blend into the life he had planned to live.
Only his plan hadn't
worked out. Over the years, the relationship with Penelope had become
strained, had contained less and less love and more habit. In the end,
they had only lived their own lives, barely interacting with one
another and certainly not sharing their bed.
He still felt
horrified when he remembered those nights were they had tried, but he
just couldn't function. He had never felt so humiliated in his life,
not even when the twins had strung up half his underwear in the
Gryffindor common room in their second year.
Penelope had been the first to utter those devastating words, telling
him he just didn't find her sexy... or perhaps no women at all. Of
course, she hadn't known how true that idea, shouted in the middle of
an argument, was.
That had been the beginning of he end for him.
For days and weeks after their last argument, Percy had sat brooding,
thinking about what his wife had said, what he felt, what he knew.
In the end, no amount of thinking had been able to help him.
biggest mistake in the whole affair had been to think that he could
keep it quiet. He had thought if he was just hard-working enough, if he
loved his family enough everything would be fine.
Then Penelope had left him.
had been very decent about the whole thing, hadn't told a soul about
his problem, had only told everybody that they just didn't match
anymore and that she was only glad they didn't have children who would
suffer under a divorce.
He hadn't taken the whole thing so
calmly and had drunk himself into a stupor. He had never drunk a lot
before and within an hour he was so oblivious to anything around him
that he didn't even stop to think before he hit on one of the guys in
the bar. Within days, everybody knew that Percy Weasley was a
At first the whispers during his work had only been
annoying, until he was ordered to meet his Head of Department. He had
been informed that his contract had been revoked because of indecent
behaviour and he was going to be blacklisted.
His Head of
Department had assured him that his listing wouldn't have any
repercussions. It was only a preventive measure to insure that with his
unhealthy behaviour he couldn't work in a hospital or school or
wherever else helpless people were vulnerable to his personality
Percy snorted when he remembered how naive he had
been. He had thought with his experience other employers would fight to
have him in their business, instead he had to walk from door to door
and ask for a job. It was humiliating.
His family had reacted
less than well, much less. He had had to move into the Burrow and while
his parents reluctantly accepted him back, the atmosphere was almost
suffocating. His parents didn't talk to him and only looked at him
disappointedly, his brothers avoided him as much as possible and when
they met they looked at him with distrust.
He didn't know what else he could do.
Hermione thought you should consider moving into the Muggle world.
hadn't even thought about taking Harry up on his offer, but was there
really anything else he could do? Was there any form of decent life for
him in the Wizarding world?
Do you really want to live the same life you've lived for the last months for the rest of your life?
he didn't. He couldn't. Was his only chance really in the Muggle world?
A world he, even though he was the son of Muggle-fanatic Arthur
Weasley, didn't know nearly enough about to live in. A world he had
condescendingly thought of as somewhat primitive, as something
interesting to study, as something that he would never actually have to
I had the same problem you have.
Could Harry really
help him? He had lived as a Muggle before he ever came to Hogwarts
after all. Would it be possible for Percy as well? Was he flexible
enough to change his whole life?
Percy's ears, his knock sounded loud enough to bring the whole house
down around him. He stood nervously in front of Harry's flat, wishing
at once that he would open the door and that he wasn't at home.
was clutching a bag with some spare clothes and his toiletries to him,
but other than that he had only brought the few galleons he still had,
hoping that he wouldn't have to rely on Harry's charity.
the door opened and in front of him stood a smiling Harry Potter, his
smile brightening even more when he saw who was in front of his door.
Percy hadn't been greeted this friendly in ages.
Good to see you." He looked Percy up and down, noticing the bag he was
carrying. "Come on in. " He moved away from the door and motioned Percy
to follow him. "I suppose you changed your mind about my offer." It
wasn't even a question.
Percy cleared his throat, trying to get
his equilibrium back. "Er, yes. I would very much appreciate it if you
could show me around a bit. I don't think that Muggle Studies at
Hogwarts really focused on the everyday life of Muggles but more on
eccentricities, philosophy and history." There that hadn't sounded too
He was lead into the living room, from where he could
see the passage to the kitchen. Harry plopped down on a couch. "Come
on, Percy. Sit down. You're going to live here fore the next time, so
it will be best of you make yourself at home."
Percy perched on
the edge of the couch. If he was to make himself feel at home, he was
going to be extremely uncomfortable, but it would be better not say
anything about that.
Now that he was here, he suddenly didn't
remember the carefully planned reasoning he had developed. He didn't
want Harry to know how desperate he really was, after all hadn't he
always been the one who had thought he would one day be Minister of
Magic? How humiliating was it to be dependent upon his parents to
support him when he was almost thirty? And now to be dependent on a
However, Harry made him feel more at ease right
away. "Okay, I don't think you're really into this whole partying and
dancing thing, right?"
"No." Still, he was getting curious.
"There are places where... people like us can dance? After all, I've
always enjoyed a nice waltz even if my partner didn't have the right
Harry grimaced and Percy wondered if maybe he hadn't
understood him correctly after all. Harry had meant that he also liked
"Er, okay, waltz... well, I thought I'd show you
some cafés or book shops first. That way you don't get thrown into the
cold water right away and you'll probably feel much more comfortable
there." He grinned at Percy. "Of course we could also visit a pub
first, give yourself some liquid courage."
Percy debated with
himself for a moment, but then decided against it. Alcohol had only
brought him problems so far. "Okay, whatever you think is best."
are you okay? You look terribly constipated." Percy could feel Harry's
worried eyes on him and really it wasn't that he was terribly
uncomfortable; it was all just so... strange.
sitting in quite a big café somewhere in Covent Garden and Percy felt
as if he needed about six more eyes to take in everything around him.
There were obviously... eccentric men everywhere, sitting and drinking
coffee - or something a bit stronger - laughing together, some even
embracing and... he swallowed, kissing.
It was strange and
wonderful and confusing and he couldn't believe that he could ever fit
in here. He felt right and wrong at the same time; everything he had
been told about men like him coming back to haunt him and at the same
time he felt as if he had finally found his home. Only that he felt
uncomfortable at home once again.
He looked at Harry, who seemed
absolutely relaxed here. He was holding a cigarette loosely and looking
at the other patrons as well, but he also threw Percy concerned glances
from time to time, probably making sure he hadn't fled yet.
remembered Harry's question and tried to smile reassuringly. He didn't
think he quite succeeded. "I'm fine. Just a little too much all at
Harry smiled understandingly and nodded. He leaned closer and started to talk. "You remember Malcolm Baddock?"
Percy thought for a moment, but the name didn't rings any bells. He shook his head.
was in Hogwarts three years below me, a Slytherin. He used to work with
Hermione in the Committee on Experimental Charms. She also sent him to
me, asking me to show him around the Muggle world a bit. You can
imagine coming from a Pureblood Slytherin family and having grown up
with their values, the whole thing was extremely difficult for him."
Percy was intrigued despite himself. "What happened to him?"
smiled. "He studies law at university. It's almost certain he's going
to work in a small solicitor's office that specialises in minority
Percy was impressed. Becoming a lawyer wasn't an easy
feat and if somebody even more hindered than himself had managed to
survive in the Muggle world, he would be able to do it as well.
Distractedly, Percy wondered how many valuable worker and brilliant
minds the Magical world had already lost because of their
close-mindedness, but then Harry brought him out of his thoughts.
"We can meet him sometime if you like."
"Yes, I would like to do that." He paused for a moment. "So, you have done this kind of thing before?"
shrugged. "A few times. There're more of us in the Wizarding world than
you'd think." He waved the hand with the cigarette in front of his
face. "If only there were enough to change something about the
Percy didn't miss the wistfulness in Harry's voice. "Do you terribly miss doing magic?"
looked surprised for a second, then he explained. "Living in the Muggle
world doesn't mean that I can't do any more magic." Percy was
surprised. He had assumed he would have to give up magic completely.
"You only have to be more careful. For example you can't have magical
stuff lying around your flat when friends come over. And you always
have to remember that for Muggles it takes longer to get from one point
to another. So for example if you're meeting a friend in West Ham and
then are supposed to meet another friend in the City, you need to leave
enough time between the dates that you could have got there by Muggle
Percy let those words work through his
thoughts, thinking how complicated it was going to be if he was really
going to achieve this. However, he felt more happy than he had in a
long time. He hadn't been looked at strangely the whole day, so he
certainly was going to try. Something being difficult had never
next stop was a book shop in Holborn where Harry wanted to get him some
books on homosexual culture and show him around. At first he had
protested against Harry getting him anything, but Harry had quickly
shushed him and only told him that he would read the books as well, so
he wasn't getting them for Percy, but Percy was getting them with Harry
and then he would be lending them to him.
Percy hadn't been a hundred percent convinced, but in the end he had let Harry do what he wanted.
entered the shop. Horrified, Percy backed away when a flurry and
colourful... something stormed at them and almost jumped Harry.
Harry! So good to see you! You haven't been here in ages!" Percy
watched aghast, as the... man blew kisses onto both of Harry's cheeks.
He was holding him by his arms and beaming at him. Then he noticed
Percy and cocked his head at him. "And who is this handsome fellow?"
He stuck one hip out and put his hand on it.
Harry gave a small laugh. "Derek, may I introduce Percy to you. He's quite new here, so don't frighten him off, okay?"
lightly brandished his hand in front of Harry's face. "Me? Frighten him
off? Never!" He held his hand out with the back upwards. "It's such a
pleasure to meet you," he looked Percy up and down, while Percy
awkwardly shook his hand. "Or at least it could be."
He winked at Percy and then, like some tropical storm, he was gone again.
drew in a shaky breath. He leaned towards Harry. "I... I don't have to
behave like him, right?" His eyes pleaded with his companion.
laughed again. "No, don't worry. He's a bit... extreme. You know, guys
like us are like every other person. There are some that are totally
normal among and others are a bit eccentric."
He suddenly turned
serious eyes at Percy. "And if somebody tells you you're not enough of
a homosexual because of the way you dress or behave or anything else,
just tell them to fuck off, okay?"
Percy swallowed and nodded slowly. He surely wouldn't forget such intense eyes and the words that belonged to them this moment.
put his hand into the small of Percy's back and steered him towards one
of the shelves. "Come on, let's have a look around."
Percy was extremely aware of where Harry's hand touched him and he felt
as if all eyes in the shop where on him. Then he noticed that a lot of
eyes actually were on him and he moved away from Harry. He didn't want
to cause another scandal.
Harry stopped in front of one of the
shelves with the section title 'gay culture'. Curiously, Percy looked
around, only to find several other sections with the word 'gay' in
them. Perhaps meant something different in the Muggle world than in the
Magical. He lightly touched Harry's arm.
Harry looked up from
the book he had been looking at, smiling when he saw confusion in
Percy's face. "You okay? I thought in a book shop you'd know your way
Percy whispered back. After all he didn't want to know
about his ignorance. "What does gay mean? It's here in the description
of almost every section." He threw a glance around. "There are even gay
Harry laughed, but strangely Percy didn't feel
laughed at for his ignorance, but rather anticipatory, as if he was
about to be included into a joke.
"Yeah, some people go a little
over the top and take everything, including themselves, way too
seriously." He came to Percy's first question. "Gay simply means
homosexual; especially for guys. The Wizarding world doesn't use that
"No. They say either eccentric or," he lowered his voice even more, "wandbangers."
This time Harry's laugh did attract the attention of several people around them.
flushed, but Harry only patted him on the shoulder and showed him the
book he had been looking at. "What do you think of that one?"
They had stayed almost an hour in the shop, fortunately ignored by Derek. In the end Harry had bought two different books.
they had been standing in line at the cash register, Percy had thrown
another last look around the shop. He would have to return here
sometime. Then his gaze had fallen on a stack of books that had almost
glittered in the light. Percy had looked at them and almost dropped
them in shook when he had seen what they were about.
"You don't need to get any of those." Harry smiled impishly. "I have several of them at home."
flushed. "I... I wasn't about to buy one. I was only... looking." Then
he remembered the last part of Harry's sentence. "You bought books
about... g... gay intercourse?" His voice had lowered to a whisper
Harry hit him playfully. "Don't pretend to be so
surprised! I do read occasionally, especially if the topic is so
interesting," he answered in a suggestive tone. "But I didn't buy
those. They were my eighteenth birthday present from Hermione." He
winked at Percy. "You can have a look at them later."
Percy shook his head. He would never have pegged Hermione Granger to buy books about... that topic.
"You look worried. Is something the matter?"
looked up at Harry. "No problems. Just a lot for one day." He took a
sip from his drink and thought for a moment. He had been wondering
about something. "You said that you still had contact with Hermione,
the Longbottom boy and Luna Lovegood, why did they keep in contact with
you? I didn't think you had that much to do with them at Hogwarts -
except Hermione, of course."
Harry sat his glass of... cake, no
coke down and settled in for what looked like a lengthy response.
"Well, Hermione was a given. For one she grew up in the Muggle world
and had a pretty liberal attitude anyway." He grinned. "At least as
long as it didn't have anything to do with rule breaking." He paused
for a moment and looked at Percy pensively. "She was the first who I
told that I was gay and she was really great about it, but she also
gave me the most important lecture on how the Wizarding world viewed
people like us. If it hadn't been for her, everybody in Magical Britain
would probably hate me, because I wouldn't have kept my mouth shut."
Percy could imagine that. Harry had always been very vocal about his beliefs, without being sensible about who he told.
was a totally different story. She was wizard raised and I didn't tell
her anything. One day she simply looked at me and asked if I ever had
considered trying to date a boy instead of a girl." He shrugged his
shoulders. "I never really talked to her about it, but I think because
she herself isn't what you would call normal, she also doesn't care if
the people around her aren't. Or she simply believes in so many things
other wizards and witches don't that she has become extremely good at
building her own opinions and not listening to what everybody else has
to say." He took another sip from his glass and breathed deeply.
could just look at him and feel a little envious. Harry had kept three
close friends through this whole disaster and he hadn't even managed to
have his family on his side.
"Neville found out by accident."
Harry gave a short laugh. "He literally stumbled upon me when he was
walking through London." He gave a rueful smile. "I should know better
than to go about kissing guys near the entrance to St. Mungo's." He
looked at Percy. "At first I was terrified that he was going to tell
everybody." He shook his head. "I should have known better. He has been
called something or other all his life and he is too much of a sweet
person for that. He still isn't comfortable with it, and we don't have
close contact, but still write letters and meet from time to time. I'm
just not allowed to bring any boyfriends."
Boyfriend. Of course.
Percy had never seriously thought about having a boyfriend before. He
had known that he only had feelings for other men, but he had never in
his dreams thought that he would one day have the possibility to
actually do something about it. He had never dared to even think about
Now it was actually possible for him to find somebody he liked and could live with. He grinned. The possibility was elevating.
started flipping through the book Harry had purchased at the shop,
content to just sit silently for the moment. What he saw amazed him.
From eccentric hairdressers, to eccentric doctors, to eccentric... no,
gay lawyers, the list seemed endless.
He looked around the
pub, still astonished at the simple presence of so many people like
him. And at the same time so unlike him.
They all seemed so
careless, so confident, so sure about what they wanted. There in the
corner were two guys who were putting on a positively indecent display.
Even from the distance, he could make out their mouths, how they were
sliding together and from time to time even how hands groped furtively.
blushed and looked away. At another table there was a group of men, all
of them laughing at something or other and obviously having a good
time. He couldn't remember ever doing anything like that.
next table brought one man alone. He was alternating between staring at
his glass and looking around. His gaze landed on Percy and he stared.
Percy felt himself turning red at the scrutiny, and forced his eyes to
look somewhere else.
He gaze landed on the group of men again and felt a stinging pain in his chest. He would never fit in here.
without his own volition, he looked at the man again, seeing him still
watching him. His breath started to come less easily. He looked away.
front of him Harry was also looking around, but he seemed much more
relaxed. Percy was glad that Harry wasn't one of those people who
needed to talk all the time, but at the moment he would have welcomed a
bit of distraction. He looked at his glass and drank the last bit from
He looked up once again at the man who was watching him. He
felt his skin prickle uncomfortably under the stare and quickly looked
away again. From the corner of his eye, he thought the man might stand
up and move towards him, but he was quickly thrown out of his thoughts.
"Percy? Percy? Are you in there?"
looked at Harry. Now he could make out the man coming towards him. He
had to get out of here! "Can we go? I think I've seen enough for one
Harry blinked a few times, probably surprised at the
abrupt request. Then he nodded. "Of course. I have to get to work soon
anyway." He put out his cigarette in the ash tray and moved to stand.
"We can Apparate outside. There is a hard to see place behind the pub."
left the pub and inconspicuously moved to the back. With two small
pops, Percy landed in Harry's flat and Harry a street from the zoo.
next morning at breakfast Percy felt agitated once again. When Harry
had went to work his shift at the zoo, he had sat around the flat and
read through the book. It had disturbed him more than he thought it
would and he had felt he would have to talk to Harry about it.
he did over his second cup of coffee. "I just don't understand it! I
thought everything was better here." He pushed his hair back. "But then
why do I have to go to gay bars and gay book shops and gay doctors and
gay hairdressers?" He looked up at Harry, who looked perplexed.
course, you don't have to. I just wanted to show you that all this
exists. And that there are other people like us - more or less." He
grinned, probably remembering Derek. "I wanted to show that you can be
certain that you're welcome there." He paused for a moment and became
serious. "And not everything here is as bright as it sounds. The Muggle
world has its problems with gays as well. It's just not as pronounced.
And the opinions are constantly changing. It's constantly getting
better. And in the Wizarding world there is no change." He shrugged.
"We don't get a perfect deal, but I still prefer it."
lapsed into a thoughtful silence, giving Percy the time to let those
words go through his head. Percy took another sip of his coffee and
absently thought about the other topic that had been bothering him
At first he had only felt weird sitting there
among those happy people, then he had realised that he couldn't relate
to them at all. He had never been this way. He had always been serious,
had had something to prove, had spent a lot of time on his own where it
wouldn't matter how he behaved.
If yesterday had been an
indicator of what this world was, he was never going to fit into it.
This just wasn't where he belonged, he couldn't simply turn into
somebody so... frivolous.
Even Harry, whom he remembered as a
sometimes serious child, seemed to have been infected with this virus.
True, he had only been here for a day, but Harry looked as if he
constantly was in a good mood, going out, trying new things.
he thought about some things written about in this book, it simply
turned his stomach. He didn't want an earring; it reminded him too much
of Bill. Or even one in his navel or anywhere else on his body.
However, the book made it sound as if some kind of body decoration was
He told himself that it was impossible to feel at
home in a totally different world right away, it was obvious that he
would have to overcome something of a culture shock first. However, did
it have to be such a big shock?
He shook his head at his own
rambling thoughts. He would have to find a goal and start pursuing
that. This had always been a technique that had helped him in the past.
He only needed an aim and then he would be an absolutely different
To start with that, he was going to have to find out
more about what he had seen yesterday and what he could do with his
"I was wondering if you could tell me more about this
schooling license you mentioned. I must admit I have never heard of it
Harry smiled at him. "I'm glad you aren't totally
discouraged after yesterday. You seemed a bit panicked at the end
there." He lit a cigarette. "Okay, the license is pretty easy to get.
You go to the Committee for Muggle Relations and request one. Only
qualification is that you're either Muggle-raised or had Muggle Studies
as an OWL. Then you get a certificate, telling you that you studied at
a specialised private school and were exempted from regular Muggle
education. With that certificate you go to the Further Education
college - doesn't matter if it's day or evening classes - and can start
He shrugged his shoulders. "How long it actually
takes to finish education depends on several things. How much did you
know beforehand? How good are you at learning." He grinned at Percy. "I
think you'll have little problems with that point. Then you have to
decide if you only want to do your GCSEs or your A-Levels."
Percy looked perplexed. "What's the difference between them?"
are similar to the OWLs, while the A-Levels are close to the NEWTs, of
course in totally different subjects than at Hogwarts." He thought for
a moment. "I still have some of my books. I can show them to you and
help you with any gaps you have, because at the college they only teach
the last two years of GSCE preparation. Still, I did it; I'm sure you
could as well."
Percy swallowed. A difficult task had never
deterred him, yes, but he had never been good at being instructed by
somebody else. He always enjoyed learning by himself better. With a
mental sigh, he pushed that problem to the back of his mind and instead
turned towards Harry again. "You didn't do A-Levels?"
shook his head. "No. I was thinking about it, but while I was still
deciding, I was lucky enough to find a temporary job at the zoo." He
shrugged his shoulders. "I have always been good with animals and when
they offered me to get a bit of a more long-term contract, I didn't say
no. If I want to I can still do my A-Levels at a later point in time.
At the moment I'm happy with what I do."
Percy let all of this
go through his head. It was going to take him a while to get his OW...
no GCSEs, because he would have to work at the same time. Harry
probably had had enough money left from his parents, but he had less
than ten galleons left. Still, at least he knew what way awaiting him.
Now, he only had to decide if he actually wanted to do this.
Percy," Harry halted for a moment. "Don't worry if you don't find a
flat or job right away. You're more than welcome to live here for a
while." He held his hands up, staving off Percy's protest. "I know, I
know, you don't want any charity, but I know that without my parents'
money, I never would have made it. And you could just consider it a
loan or something if that'd make you feel better."
reluctantly. That really had been a problem on his mind. He continued
with something else that had been on his mind since yesterday. "About
the pub last night..." He faltered. How could he explain this without
sounding like a total prude? "Is it expected of people like us to
behave like that?"
Harry looked confused. "Like what?"
like they were crawling all over each other." He breathed deeply and
suddenly all his worries about what he had seen around him and what he
had read about flowed out of him. "It's just, all of them were touching
and when they were... together they were holding hands and kissing
and... and in the book there was a whole chapter on," he lowered his
voice, even though there was nobody else to hear, "intercourse in
Harry laughed and this time Percy felt laughed
at. He scowled. After a moment, Harry stopped, and only interrupted by
a small snicker, said: "Sorry, but your face when you talk about sex
was too funny." He turned serious. "Percy, I already told you yesterday
that every gay person is different, in the same way every straight
person is different." He waved his hand through the air. "Some are very
expressive and constantly touch and others are more reserved. There is
no way to be correctly gay. You just are yourself."
"But all of
this only seems to be about... copulating with as many people as
possible!" Percy felt the panic from last night returning.
gripped his hand over the table. "Percy, look at me. It's not all about
sex. It's also about human touch and affection and caring, depending on
what the different people want. Some only want a quick fuck, while
others are searching for their life partner."
Percy sighed. "I just... I don't' like that. All this touching and kissing and... I'm not a very tactile person."
looked at him unbelievingly. "Somehow I find that very hard to
believe." He smiled. "I have met your mother. I'm sure when you were
young, you got loads of hugs and kisses."
Percy looked at him, floored.
"I mean, don't try to tell me she didn't hug you when you got home with a scraped knee."
never had a scraped knee." He was disturbed. "All the others already
constantly ruined their clothes and I knew we didn't have enough money,
so I always made sure to be careful."
Harry sighed. "Okay, then she gave you a hug when you had a nightmare, right?"
"Yes." He didn't know what Harry wanted to tell him.
gestured with his hands. "See, this isn't any different. It isn't all
about the sex and the melodrama around that. It's just about a bit of
He got up and motioned Percy to follow him. "Come
on. I'm going to show you something." He walked into the living room
and sat down on the sofa. He patted the seat next to him. "Here sit
down. Now, you know I would never do anything to you, you don't want,
Percy sat down uncomfortably and nodded.
Harry made himself comfortable. "Okay, so I'm just going to lay my arm around your waist, nothing more."
nodded tersely. He could feel Harry's arms snaking around his waist and
tensed. There was no way he was going to get used to this. He had
always been a bit of a loner and nervous when he was together with
other people. When those people wanted to touch him - not that a lot of
them wanted to - it was even worse.
"Percy, relax. You sit there
as if you have a broomstick up your arse." Harry bumped his shoulder
against Percy's. "Let your shoulders slump a bit."
to protest. He didn't want a bad posture, but instead conceded. He let
his shoulders drop, holding them down uncomfortably. How could
everybody sit like this every day?
"Not pull them down; relax
the muscles!" One hand touched his shoulder and started to move in
circles, kneading the tensed muscles. He gave an involuntary sigh and
let his shoulders drop. "That's it. Okay, now don't even think about my
arm, just enjoy the feeling of human touch, okay?"
Percy had always been good about following orders.
relaxed against the back of the couch. The warmth from Harry's arm
around his waist was slowly spreading throughout his whole body. He
leaned his head against the couch, closing his eyes and for once only
listening to what his body had to say. He tried to stop thinking about
the future, about what he was going to have to do, about everything,
but the feeling of somebody touching him for no reason. No reason other
than that he wanted to.
He sighed and could feel a smile playing across his lips. This was nice. He was going to have to do this more often.
went on like this for the next days. During the day Harry would show
him around, careful to include non-gay localities and at night he went
off to work, leaving Percy to explore Harry's Muggle equipment in his
His first evening he had spent watching TV, getting to
know the functions of the different controls and the video recorder. He
really was glad that he had always had a good memory. Simply all these
technical expressions could have driven somebody else insane.
night he was going to have a look at the kitchen appliances. The
refrigerator wasn't really that different from the ice cupboards
wizards used. The other things were much more complicated. However, he
still remembered Harry's reasoning about him having to learn how to
work with all this equipment.
"I could simply cast a grilling
charm and have my toast done." He really couldn't understand the
benefit of all these gadgets. He had never understood his father's
fascination with them either. The wizarding way was so much easier.
when you're alone at home. But what do you do when you have a Muggle
guest? What do you say when somebody tells you to switch on the coffee
maker and you don't even know what one is?" Harry looked at him
seriously. "If you're really going to do this, then you have to know
these things. People would think only strange the first few times, but
after a while they would get really suspicious. And after all, you want
to blend in as best as possible, right?"
After that explanation,
he had plunged himself into his studies. He was going to know
everything there was to know about Muggle technology and Muggle life.
on, Percy! Work with me here!" Percy heard the words, but really, he
wasn't at work, why should he work with Harry? His legs felt like
somebody had hit him with a hex, but that didn't make sense at all. He
shook his head. They had been in a Muggle club, there hadn't been any
wizards there. Perhaps Muggles could hex people as well?
warm body next to him felt nice. He leaned against Harry's shoulder,
but the other man just wouldn't keep still. Slowly, he lifted his head
of Harry's shoulder and tried to see where they were. He only saw a few
blobs around him, Harry being the biggest.
Right, Harry had
taken his glasses. He scanned Harry's breast pockets for his glasses,
but came up empty handed. Just when he had decided to look in the back
pockets of Harry's jeans, he was jostled around.
better been leading, he had never been good at dancing. But where was
the music? He tried to give a few brave dance steps, brushing against
the body - Harry! - next to him. Hmm, he smelled good. He snuffled at
Harry's neck and tried to kiss it, surprised when he was pulled back.
Please, just walk into the flat, okay? I'll keep hold of you so don't
worry if you think you fall." He bumped into something, and then he
couldn't keep his body from moving and bumped into Harry.
felt nice. More than nice. He could suddenly feel this urge to feel
more of him. Much more. He looked around. First he needed another one
of those drinks. But everything was still moving. Strange. There, there
was something he knew! The kitchen! He could get something to drink in
He moved in that direction, but something stopped him. "Wanna go!"
grip around his waist tightened. "No, Percy. We're not going anywhere
but the bedroom. And there you're going to sleep off that stuff."
nodded. That sounded good. The bed was nice. Warm and soft, but
sometimes it got really lonely. "You gonna sleep there with me?" He
leaned against the body again. He felt great! He grinned. Better than
he could ever remember.
He stumbled through the room. Why
wouldn't the bloody room stand still? Oops. He giggled. He had used a
bad word. He giggled some more.
Then he landed on something soft
with a dull thump. Oh right, his bed. "C'mere." He held his hands out.
But the blob that he knew was his Harry, just turned around. "Good
night, Percy. Sleep well."
Percy pouted. Harry hadn't wanted to
go to bed with him. Then he remembered something he wanted to say.
"Harry, you're my best friend in the whole wide world, you know that,
The blob stopped. "Yes, I know. Goodnight, Percy."
Harry..." Ah, there. That lump over there had to be the couch with
Harry on it. Percy stumbled towards the dark shape.
stood in front of it. What was it again that he had wanted to do? Oh,
yes. He looked down at the sleeping form of his best friend, grinning
when thought about what he wanted to do.
Now, he only needed
to... yes. Clumsily, he crawled onto the couch and lay down. Oh, the
heat coming from Harry made him all tingly, and there, yes there was
that beautiful piece of neck he hadn't been allowed to kiss earlier.
hadn't Harry allowed him to do that? He shook his head. Didn't matter.
Now there was nothing keeping him from it. He pressed his lips down on
the spot and started to thoroughly lick it. He giggled. He felt
naughty. He had never been naughty.
A moan from below him, made
him stop, but then he went on when nothing happened. Nothing was going
to keep him from his Harry this time.
Still suckling that
beautiful spot, he pushed away the sheet Harry was covered in. He
whimpered. Harry slept naked. Stupid light didn't let him see
everything, but still. There were two, he giggled at the word, nipples
and one belly button and further down... he pushed at the sheet some
more and frowned when a hand came into his field of vision. Where did
that come from? It didn't belong to him.
"Percy! What the hell are you doing?"
Confused, he looked up into Harry's lovely, green eyes and grinned. He looked even better without glasses.
wanna kiss you." He bent down to go on with his task. But Harry stopped
him again. He frowned. Why wasn't he allowed to kiss Harry? "You... you
don't like me?"
Harry sighed beneath him and Percy could feel
the movement against his fingers; it felt good. "Percy, let's talk
about this tomorrow. When this stupid drug isn't in your system
anymore." Harry lifted Percy's hand away. He really didn't like him.
"Now, go back to bed."
He tried to push Percy off of him, but he
didn't want to. It was nice here. Warm and comfy and there was a naked
Harry nearby. "No! Wanna sleep here with you." He snuggled down again.
sighed again and then Percy felt all tingly when he put his arm around
Percy's shoulder and pulled him closer. "Okay, but you keep your hands
to yourself." Percy nodded happily and drifted off to sleep.
next morning Percy woke when the sun shone onto his face. Had he
forgotten to pull the curtains closed last night? Reluctantly, he
opened his eyes and found himself staring at the sleeping form of
Harry, an obviously unclad Harry.
His face heated up. How had
he got here? Percy quickly scrambled from the couch, trying to put as
much distance as possible between an indecently exposed Harry and
himself. Really, why did he have to sleep in nothing but a sheet? A
sheet that hardly covered the bare necessities.
How had he
landed here anyway? He remembered the two of them going out to this
club. Percy had held true to his resolution and wanted to learn
everything there was to learn about Muggle life, and this had been on
his list since Harry had mentioned it the first day. However, after
that everything got extremely fuzzy. He hadn't drunk that much, had he?
And why had he been on the couch with a naked Harry.
he checked his clothes. But no, he was still wearing what he had been
wearing last night. He frowned in confusion. He hadn't even changed,
which was really strange.
Just then Harry moved and Percy
jerked his head up. He watched, embarrassed, but still unable to look
away as Harry stretched and the sheet slipped even lower. Just a few
more inches and he would be able to... no.
himself whiplash, he looked back up at Harry's face. Harry's eyes were
open and they were looking at him with a strange expression on his face.
Percy tried to hide his discomfiture by clearing his throat. "Good morning, Harry. I trust you slept well?"
grinned at him. Had he seen through his tactic? "Yes, very well. Thank
you, Percy. What about you." The grin was almost devilish now.
"Er... I think, I slept well." He had to be beet-red by now. How embarrassing.
I'm sure you did. I've been told I make a comfortable pillow." Harry
grinned and then sat up and pulled the sheet up around him. He patted
the couch next to him. "Don't stand there as if you're about to be led
to your execution. Sit down."
Percy perched himself on the edge
of the couch-bed and looked at Harry hesitantly. What did he want to
talk about, did he want to send him away? What had he done?
Harry looked at him searchingly. "Percy, do you remember what happened last night?"
Percy shook his head. Harry sounded angry. Perhaps he really had to go.
With a start he realised that he didn't want to. He hadn't had so much
fun in his whole life, as he had had in the last week. He was seriously
considering moving into the Muggle world. And know Harry would send him
away. He was going to have to move back into the Burrow and be
subjected to the distrustful looks of his family and he was going to
have to go begging for a job somewhere and...
A touch on his arm
brought him out of his panic. "Percy, look at me." Hesitantly, he
glanced up. Harry had moved closer to him and looked at him worriedly.
"Percy, what do you remember?"
"Are you going to send me away?"
As soon as he realised what he had said, how needy he had sounded, he
tried to get up, but the hand still on his arm kept him firmly in his
seat. He looked at Harry slowly.
"Percy, I'm not going to send you away." He looked incredulously. "Why would I want to do that?"
didn't know how he could explain his fears. He settled for just waving
his hand between him and Harry and the bed and hoping that Harry would
understand. Fortunately, he did.
"I certainly don't blame you
for anything you did last night." He settled back again and tried to
pull Percy with him. With a still careful expression, Percy settled
next to him. However, he didn't dare to look at Harry. This whole thing
would be either if he didn't have to see the disappointment in Harry's
face. "I'm just glad that I was with you and nothing bad happened."
looked at him sceptically. Percy had done Merlin-knew-what and Harry
wasn't angry with him. Even more, he had been worried. Why? Percy had
always taken care of himself. He had never wanted anybody to worry
He quickly looked away again when Harry stretched
to get his cigarettes from the table and he could see part of Harry's
backside. Perhaps Harry should get dressed before they talked. However,
as soon as he had leaned back and had lit his cigarette, Harry started
to talk. "You remember that we went to that club, right?" He looked
over at Percy and Percy quickly nodded. "Okay, do you also remember
that guy who tried to chat you up?"
There had been a man who had
tried to... oh, Merlin. Percy shook his head. There really had been a
man who had been interested in him? He felt strange. His stomach was
seemingly jumping up and down. Was he going to be sick? Perhaps the
substance from last night still had an after-effect?
continued. "Well, I don't know for sure, but I think he mixed something
into your drink when you weren't watching." He pushed his hand through
his hair. "I'm really sorry, Percy. I should have warned you about
people like that."
Percy was confused. What was he sorry about? "What was it that he put into my drink?"
sighed. He looked more downcast than he had all the time Percy had been
here. "It must have been some kind of drug to get you into bed. You
started to behave really strangely after a few sips, so I brought you
home. And you were really clinging, so I suppose he wouldn't have had a
hard time doing anything he wanted to you."
Percy swallowed. He
had almost been... No, better not to think about it. Harry had been
with him and everything had turned out fine. Except that he had made a
total fool of himself. He hid his head in his hands.
on his shoulders were unexpected and he jumped when he noticed them. He
looked up slowly, taking in Harry's serious face. "You remember what I
told you that first day?" Percy tried to remember, but Harry had told
him a lot. "The thing about some people thinking you're not gay enough
if you behave a certain way?"
Oh, yes. Those eyes would probably stay in his memory forever. He nodded.
I told you all this is bullshit. Because all people are different.
There is no right way to be gay. And just like there is no right way,
there is no wrong way. And just like there are good guys who are gay,
there are also bad guys who are gay. Your character isn't what is
influenced by your choice in sexual partners." He took a deep breath.
"It's only important that you like who you are and what other people
think is their problem. Because if you don't like yourself then you
have a really difficult life cut out for you." Harry leaned back and
again he looked at Percy with those intense green eyes. "So, I hope
that you won't that one negative experience keep you from trying to
change your life." He leaned back next to Percy. "Of course, only you
can decide if you want to live your life here, or in the Wizarding
world. I'm sure if you went back to the Wizarding world you could
change many things, but I don't know if that would be the best for you.
Only you can know that." He made to stand up, but turned to Percy once
more. "However, I really hope you'll stay. I enjoy having you here."
Then he went towards the bathroom. Percy was so perplexed and... touched he didn't even blush staring after a naked Harry.
hadn't even thought about giving up just because of the incident last
night. He had feared that Harry wouldn't want him here anymore; and he
still hadn't told him what had happened later on! However, as Harry
wasn't opposed to his presence, he certainly wouldn't give up this
Since he had been young, he had always fought for
everything he wanted. He had always succeeded despite the odds. He had
been a prefect even though the twins constantly ridiculed him about it.
He had been Head Boy despite the crisis he had had about his... tastes
that year. He had worked his way up the Ministry even though he had
been hindered by preconceptions about the Weasleys. He had survived
despite the hatred he had been subjected to.
He was going to do
this as well. Despite his reservations at first, he had found he liked
it. He liked Harry's company. He liked to learn something about a
totally new culture. He had never felt so much part of something ever
before. Here he wasn't just Percy Weasley, third son of Molly and
Arthur Weasley and all-around failure, but somebody totally new. After
he had experienced this he knew he couldn't go back to the distrustful
looks and hurtful words or the even more hurtful silences.
swallowed. That was it, wasn't it? That was his decision. He was going
to stay. Tomorrow he was going to start his new life. First he had to
go to the Burrow and get the rest of his possessions and then he had to
get the last of his money from Gringotts. Finally, the Ministry to get
his schooling license. Then he was going to continue learning. He was
going to be the best magical Muggle anybody had ever seen.
"...and the inverse function of ex is ln(x)?"
Percy. C'mon. You know your math. Just relax and everything will be
fine." Harry moved behind Percy, who was sitting stiffly in a kitchen
chair. He started to massage the muscles in Percy's shoulders.
he just couldn't relax. Today was the first day of his GCSEs and he
wanted to do well. Since Hogwarts he had almost forgotten how stressful
a day full of exams could be, but now he was reminded of it.
Mathematical functions were flying through his head, sometimes
colliding with literary terms and dates, so that whenever he remembered
one and couldn't directly place it, he would shoot out of his chair and
run to the appropriate book to check.
He looked at his watch.
Only ten more minutes until they would leave. He tried to relax, but
the slackening of his muscles just wouldn't come.
Percy got up
for the sixth time in three minutes and went over to the couch. Harry
followed him and sat down beside him. With a small sigh, Percy snaked
his arm around Harry's waist and had to smile when Harry did the same.
This had always helped him to relax in the last two and a half years.
closed his eyes and leaned his head against the couch. Even though he
was nervous, he felt happy. He knew he had come a long way in the last
In the evening he had been busy studying for his GCSEs
and during the day he worked in the book shop Harry had taken him to
the first day. He was so glad that he had dared that final step towards
a totally new life.
His new life that included not having to be
afraid of one's own family or having to hide his true nature. His new
life that had yielded a different side of his nature, he had never
acknowledged before. A side that was full of laughter and happiness and
that sometimes even overrode his usual serious side. However, most of
all, he appreciated the new life that included a handsome, clever and
The afore-mentioned boyfriend leaned over him and started to place light kisses over his face. Percy smiled even broader.
thought I would give you something else to think about for the last
five minutes." Then he proceeded to place his mouth against Percy's and
sneaked his tongue into Percy's mouth.
Percy savoured the
well-known feeling of Harry against him. He moved his arm from around
Harry's waist to his neck and tangled his fingers in Harry's hair. In
return, he could feel how Harry moved one hand from Percy's shoulder to
lean it against his chest.
Eventually, Percy reversed roles and
his tongue snaked into Harry's mouth, playing with its companion it
found there. He groaned. Somehow, he always got lost in Harry's kisses.
chime brought him out of his bliss. He wrenched his mouth from Harry's
and turned around to look at the clock on the wall. Damn! He shot up
and was on his way to the door, before Harry had even pulled himself up
from the floor. "Come on, Harry! We're already five minutes late!"
muttered something, but then he followed Percy out the door. Outside,
Percy took his hand and together they set off to the examination
centre. Percy smiled. The old Percy Weasley would never have been
almost too late for an exam because he was too caught up snogging.