Percy was feeling highly nervous. As much as he had convinced himself earlier that it would be a good thing to tell, things looked much easier said than done from the other side of transfiguration class. Still, Oliver was waiting for him to speak, so he cleared his throat and forced himself to begin.


"Yes, Perce?"

".....I'm not really sure where to start."

"Ah. Well, just try. However you feel comfortable saying it." Oliver waited expectantly for his friend to continue.

"Oliver, remember how I told you I had a counseling session with Mr. Whiddock? Yesterday, when my parents were there?"

Oliver squinted at Percy. "Yeah, I remember that. Did something happen? Did they say something nasty to you?"

"Well..." Percy, with his emotions so high, found himself unable to speak coherently; instead it all poured out of him in confused fragments. "Not to me or about me, no. But... they did say something... something that upset me." Oliver scowled, but refrained from speaking just yet. "They said... Well, Mr. Whiddock asked them about, about my childhood, and what I'd been like growing up. He asked them about the environment when I was growing up. Then he asked..." Percy swallowed and blinked hard, as if to stop invisible tears. It was times like this at which he most regretted never having learned to cry. "He asked them, if either of them, he asked, if they'd ever been married before." The redhead's face was flushed, his voice tight and constricted, and his sentences no longer coherent. "Of course I expected the answer to be no. Why shouldn't I? But then they said, Father that is, told him that yes, one of them had been... previously married." At this point in the narration, Oliver tilted his head, upon which he wore a concerned look. "Then he, Mr.Whiddock, he asked which of them had been... married before, and Father looked at him and said, 'Me.'"

Oliver's arm rested around his friend's shoulders. Even though Percy would probably never admit it, his friend knew how much he admired his father. "Ah, Perce, that's no good." Then, realizing the full implications of the situation, asked, "So do you have other siblings or something? Is your Dad still having an affair? Is there any more to it than that?"

Percy sighed and shook his head. "No, no, they divorced a year and a half before Dad even met Mum, and there are no children from the relationship. When Dad married Mum and they had Bill, it was his first child. We're all Weasleys, the only Weasleys."

"Not to underestimate the situation, Perce, but is that it? I mean, is that the whole story?"

"Pretty much," he replied noncommittally. "I just sat there in the chair, in a state of shock. I was in denial. I guess I still am. But even that doesn't mitigate the hurt." He sighed. "Yes. That really... it really hurt me, Oliver." Feeling the comforting squeeze of his companion's arm around his shoulders, Percy decided to continue. "That's not really all. When the appointment was over, we left the Room of Requirement in silence. They decided to walk me to the Common Room before they left, and on the way, my father turned to me and said, 'Well, I guess you learned something new today.' And then Mum said, 'We all make mistakes.'" He paused to take a deep breath, since his breathing had been getting shorter and shorter as he got upset. "Well, what was I supposed to say? I told them that I didn't care, all that mattered to me was that they were happy now, that was the important thing. I... of course I shouldn't have cared. I should've been happy for them that they did eventually find love and happiness together. I should've been able to accept it and go on, I mean, even Mum did." Percy shook his head. "I feel so guilty. I'm just being selfish. I know I should be happy for both of them and thankful they could put it behind them. But... But I'M NOT ALL RIGHT!"

Oliver rubbed his back. "Of course you're upset. Finding out that your Mum wasn't your Dad's first wife isn't something that's easy to handle. I'd be upset about that, too."

Percy sighed hugely. "No, it's not really that. It's just... they didn't TRUST me! They didn't feel they could tell me. they were probably never going to say anything and let me continue my happy little delusion... I know it was probably to protect me, so that I wouldn't go around thinking and feeling like this. But that just shows that they thought I needed protection. They didn't trust me to be able to handle it, even after how hard I've always worked to prove to them that I'M RESPONSIBLE! I'M TRUSTWORTHY! I CAN HANDLE IT! But I guess the worst part about that was that I realized for myself that I wasn't able to handle it. It broke all my own confidence in myself." He shrugged violently, shaking the other boy's hand off. Oliver pulled away, the look on his face asking if he'd done something wrong. "I'm sorry, Ol. There's just so much about this that hurts. I worked so hard to be able to trust people, I mean really TRUST people, and then some little thing like this comes along and all my work is shattered. I feel used, Oliver, used. My dad..." He managed to force the words out. "My Dad has had sex with someone other than my Mum. I feel... broken."

"Is that it?" Oliver asked. "They don't live up to your moral standards? Is that what all this is about?" He realized he should've rephrased this. Percy looked almost angry. "I'm sorry, Perce, that's not really what I meant..."

"I know." The boy let out a sigh that blew out all the air in his lungs. "No, it's just that..." He was, well, a bit embarrassed at this. No one ever thought of him as someone who thought this way, but he had to let it out. He had to tell someone the thing about all of this that really had him hurting. "it's just that I always thought of my parents as the perfect couple. They loved each other more than I've ever seen anyone love each other. nothing in the world could hurt them. And nothing could hurt me, the product of their love... I guess, Ol, I'm just... I'm SCARED. I'm so confused and scared."

"You mean you kind of thought of it like their love protected you," asked Oliver, "like Harry Potter was protected by his Mum's care, even from the wrath of Voldemort?" He paused, not sure if the moment was right or what Percy would think, but then decided it felt natural and put both his arms around his roommate and hugged him. "You're safe, Perce," he whispered into his red hair, "You're here in Hogwarts with Dumbledore and all the professors, and even Harry himself. Nothing's going to hurt you. And if anyone even tries to..." He wasn't sure how to put this, "They're gonna have to get through me to get to you, and by God I won't let that happen. Nobody's going to harm my Percy."

Percy smiled sadly. "Oh, Ol. I don't think you understand. That's not really it..."

"Well then what is 'really it'? If it's anything I can help you with, I absolutely will."

Percy smiled at the other boy's steadfast friendship. He was glad he had someone like him. And yet... "I'm sorry, Oliver. But I'm afraid this is something even you can't help me with."

Oliver wouldn't take no for an answer. "You said you were scared and confused. What were you scared and confused about?"

He realized he would have to explain himself now. He would have to admit to this side of him, this part that no one knew, this facet of himself of which he was tacitly ashamed. But he could do it. He would not be like his parents. He was only telling Oliver, after all. What didn't Oliver know about him? The only thin he could think of was this. "I always thought they were the perfect couple. So happy together, so in love with one another. That if anyone could truly be in love forever, it was them. I always wished..." He laughed wistfully. "This is silly. But I always hoped that when I fell in love, and found someone who was just right for me, that we would love each other as much as my parents do. I wanted my marriage to be just like theirs, just as loving and full and everlasting. And now I find out about this. If the one relationship I thought was real, the only two people I thought could be forever, really had a past like this... It makes me wonder. Wonder if it's possible."

Oliver was shocked. He'd never known about this side of Percy. Sure, he'd discovered that the boy did have some insecurities, frankly that he was a real person. But he'd never known about this. He'd never imagined Percy, the closet romantic. This was new to him, and he wanted to explore it, if possible, without pushing Percy too much. "Wonder if what's possible?"

The freckled boy's face stretched into a tight, almost ironic smile. "If it's possible... to find true love. If there really is someone for me. If soulmates exist. If... if I'll ever be truly loved." He ran a hand across his eyes. It came away with a smear of moisture. He had cried. Percy Weasley was crying.

"Oh Perce." Oliver couldn't think of anything to say to this confession. His throat was constricted with emotion, as though he was the one crying. "That's... that's just ridiculous. Who wouldn't love your wit, your smile, the gleam in your eye when you realize you've just done something great and are proud of yourself without anyone else having to be proud of you... You're a really wonderful, beautiful person, and I mean that more sincerely than anything I've ever said."

Percy finally looked up, and was smiling through his tears. "Thank you Oliver. That means a lot to me." He broke off, sighing. "Even though you're just saying it."

"No, I'm not." Oliver's intense gazed fixed itself on Percy. "I'm serious," he continued, with the same tone he used during his pep talks before Quidditch games. "You'll surely find someone, someday. You will, I promise you. In fact..." The boy began to blush, but continued as though he was making himself finish. "I happen to know that there's already someone who loves you more than anything else, someone who'd give his life for you..."

Percy chuckled dryly, so quick to turn on his automatic disbelief that he missed the crucial word of Oliver's speech, the word 'he'. "Oh yeah, really? Who, then?"

"M-" Oliver stopped himself lest he give Percy déjà vu by using the same word his father had in that dreaded meeting. "I... I do, Perce." Then before the other boy could stop him he leaned in to capture Percy's lips in a chaste kiss. Then he broke away and looked straight into his partner's eyes. "Listen, I don't know if we'll last forever, and I don't know if we're written in the stars. In fact, I really don't know anything but what I do know is that I'm willing to be with you right now. And I want you to know, you can be sure I'll keep trying, no matter what the consequences. I know I can't make you completely secure, but I can promise you, I won't run away."

Percy smiled and let a few more tears leak from his eyes. Then he leaned in again.