Do You Believe in Magic
by Curious Forgotten Lore
AN: While I have lurked around for a long while, reading the amazing works of the other HP fanfic writers, this is my first attempt at posting a story of my own. I'm not quite sure if it's any good or not, but I'd love to hear feedback. Constructive criticism is welcomed.
Warning: Does contain a very mild P/O slash element. If you are uncomfortable with that, hit the back button. Don't flame me if it squicks you out. You've been warned.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. The HP stuff you recognize is all from the brilliant mind of JK Rowling. I'm only playing in her world for a while. The song used very briefly in the story is Do You Believe in Magic, whose words and music are by John Sebastian (EDIT: As of new policy toward song lyrics, I have since edited these lyrics out. They did not play a huge role in the story, besides the whole inspiration aspect, but I am paranoid that I would have my account deleted if I didn't remove the lyrics, and I would be very sad indeed to lose all my reviews.)
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry taught Oliver Wood many a wondrous thing. He could brew a potion that would heal near deadly injuries. He could change a scrap of parchment into a living dove with the flick of his wand. He could use star alignments, or numbers, or even tea dregs to predict his future. Oliver was a fully trained wizard now; one of the best in his class, in fact.
But seven years of Hogwarts could not teach him this; Oliver would never ever be able to look at Percy Weasley and know what he was thinking.
One would assume that living together for seven years at Hogwarts would give you a pretty good idea of what to make of someone. If it didn't, what would? Well, to be precise, ten months of the year, for seven years and the past year or so since Percy and Oliver had once more become flat mates under less than ideal circumstances and Oliver was still rather boggled.
Oliver shuddered slightly, remembering his mother's disapproving grimace when he told his parents he wanted to play Quidditch. 'Such an unstable career, Oliver!' she had cried. 'One serious injury and you'd be ruined! Then what would you do?' And, if he were being honest with himself, Oliver would admit that she was right; he didn't know what he'd do if an injury put a stop to his career. Quidditch was his life; Oliver didn't know how to do anything else, nor would he ever want to. To discourage his choice, his parents told him that if Quidditch was what he really wanted; he'd have to provide for himself on it. They wouldn't support him financially, and they wouldn't let him live at home any longer. They had hoped their threat would dissuade him; but it hadn't. A year of scraping by on his reserve player salary; however, and Oliver had to admit he was in trouble.
On a truly miserable evening, Oliver sat at the Leaky Cauldron sipping his drink as slowly as possible, watching the rain fall. He literally had two days to come up with his rent. His Gringott's vault was quite empty and the galleon and five Knuts in his pocket wasn't going to get him far. His idea to share his flat with a member of the team hadn't panned out, and he was just contemplating the idea of moving to a cheaper, and likely seedier, apartment. That was when a familiar tall bespectacled redhead stepped into the little tavern.
Oliver had been surprised to see Percy with a trunk and briefcase in tow. Percy had spoken quickly to Tom, the bartender, who then quickly disappeared with Percy's things. It was quite clear Percy was staying here for the night. This, Oliver wondered to himself, made no sense whatsoever as Percy could easily have used the Floo Network from there to return to the Burrow. Before he realized what he was doing, Oliver had called out to Percy. The former prefect was clearly surprised, but grabbed his butterbeer from the bar and crossed the tavern to join Oliver.
"Well, well." Oliver had said cheerfully. "Percy Weasley, what are you doing here?"
Percy had smiled wryly. "Oh, being disowned from my family, if I were to wager a guess."
Percy had gone on to explain the fight with his father and his subsequent relocation. Oliver, without thinking very clearly (perhaps he had had one too many butterbeers at this point) had eagerly invited Percy to move in with him. After all, he had a two bedroom apartment and it would hardly be the first time they had shared living quarters. The rent for this month would be taken care of and Oliver's problems would be solved. Percy had reluctantly agreed and moved in the next afternoon.
A year later, Oliver would have to agree that everything had worked out quite nicely. Percy paid half the rent; thereby curing Oliver's strained finances. All in all, it had worked out well. Percy never did any of the things that the nightmare flat mate of Oliver's imagination did; never hosted roaring drunken parties, never had an annoying girlfriend practically move in with them, never strayed unbidden into Oliver's room and mucked with his things. Nothing but glare disapprovingly at his less than organized room and amicably tease him for his complete lack of culinary skills. Percy hadn't even freaked out when Oliver had warned him that he was far more likely to have male dates than female. Percy's exact reaction had been, "Just kindly cast a silencing charm or give me warning to clear out if he's spending the night, will you?" Oliver had tartly informed him that he didn't see that situation cropping up any time soon as he was rather apprehensive about that sort of relationship. That deep a relationship. Percy had only shrugged and said, "Then we won't have any problems."
One other thing Hogwarts had not given Oliver was Percy's friendship. Sometime over this past year, he had finally earned it. Perhaps it was when Percy had given him the birthday gift of a new Wizarding Wireless so he could listen to Quidditch games all over the world, even matches in far- off Australia. Perhaps it was the smile when Percy unwrapped the birthday gift Oliver had given him. Perhaps it was Percy's obvious gratitude to be invited to spend Christmas with Oliver and his older brother, when Percy still felt unwelcome at home. Perhaps it was Percy's casual acceptance of Oliver's... preferences. Whenever it began, their friendship was a pleasant surprise for Oliver.
Friendship or no, Percy was still one hell of an enigma.
Percy, much to Oliver's consternation, simply refused to react to things like a normal person would; refused to be predictable. A slip-up in proper grammar would gain you the patented Percy Weasley how-can-you-stand-your- own-stupidity glare, while being completely lost on an Arithmancy essay made him your eager and ever patient teacher. Marcus Flint's spiteful sneering and relentless insults were repelled by a perfectly arched eyebrow; while his younger brother's mild ribbing stung with the bitter venom akin to that of a basilisk bite. Nothing about Percy Weasley made sense; part of his charm, Oliver supposed. But it made it bloody difficult to know what to say at times like this.
Oliver stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the sitting room watching Percy read the Daily Prophet with a frown. Not really an angry frown, mind, nor did Percy look sad... It would be pointless to try to attribute an emotion to the expression. Words couldn't describe the facial contortion accurately. Perhaps the closest to correct adjective would be pensive.
Oliver watched a bit longer, saw Percy brush back a wine-colored curl with those long pale fingers. Watched as the light reflected off those hideous glasses Oliver had long suspected Percy wore more out of habit than for actual optical assistance. Watched as his friend's brow wrinkled endearingly with that odd little frown.
"What are you thinking about, Percy?" Oliver finally asked, taking the seat across from Percy. Not that there were many seats to chose from; there were only three chairs in their sitting room.
Percy folded the paper and gave Oliver a faint smile. "Nothing that would interest you."
Oliver sat a bit more stiffly. In a wounded voice he asked. "I'm not too thick to understand you know."
"Oliver," Percy said reproachfully. "I have never given you any reason to believe that I doubt your intelligence, have I?"
"You said I have a very unhealthy fondness for Quidditch." Oliver reminded.
Percy shook his head, the small smile reappearing. "That was a concern about your sanity, not your intelligence."
"Just tell me what you were thinking about." Oliver said grudgingly, pointedly ignoring the warmth that spread through him when Percy smiled at him like that.
"Do you believe in magic, Oliver?"
Oliver blinked, staring at Percy in disbelief. "Is this a trick question?"
Percy laughed. "Perhaps"
Oliver bit back the urge to sigh in frustration. Damn Percy and his cryptic replies. "I suppose since we are wizards, Percy, the answer is yes."
Percy smiled again and handed Oliver the paper, which he had folded so that the page he had been looking at was on top. The heading read 'Social News' and had a long list of pictures of newborn babies, tributes to recently deceased relatives, and couples announcing their engagement. Oliver caught sight of the photo of a curly haired young woman standing arm in arm with a stocky man with dark hair. Under the photo was the caption "Penelope Clearwater and Michael Stratford, to be wed in October."
Oliver looked at Percy a little worried. Seeing your first and only serious girlfriend's wedding announcement to another man had to be a bit of a blow. "Are you ok?" he asked softly.
Percy nodded. "I'm glad she's happy." Seeing Oliver's expression, he added, "I never loved her, Oliver. Penny was a lovely person, but I didn't love her. She deserves someone who does."
"Ah." Oliver said, still feeling a little uneasy. And wondering why it meant so much to him that Percy hadn't loved Penelope. "So... why the question about magic?"
"There was a Muggle song... Penny liked it and pestered me until I learned it. She always wanted me to sing it to her." Percy said, looking a bit nostalgic.
Percy gave Oliver a shy smile before softly singing what Oliver could only assume was a verse. Something about magic and music and dancing…
Oliver stared at Percy stupidly. He didn't know Percy could sing! The way the twins spoke about it, you'd think he sounded like a dying Jobberknoll, or something. And while Oliver would admit, Percy wouldn't ever be asked to sing at the Quidditch World Cup, or on the wireless, he had a nice soft voice. The soothing sort of voice a parent would love to have to sing their children to sleep with. Mentally, Oliver added 'can sing' to Percy's already impressive list of loveable qualities. Percy interpreted Oliver's silence as lingering confusion and added, "The way I see it, Muggles, in music anyway, think of magic as love. That magic is nothing more than a synonym for romance."
"So...you're asking if I believe in love?" Oliver asked, slightly incredulously.
Percy looked mildly amused. "I suppose I am."
Oliver gaped at his friend, his beautiful, crazy friend and shrugged, feigning nonchalance. "Sure, I believe in love. Just haven't found it yet."
"That's what I thought at first." Percy said thoughtfully. "But then I started thinking, what if love really is like magic?"
Percy paused, seeming to think that explained everything. Oliver waited until he realized Percy wouldn't say anything until prodded. "How so, Perce?"
"Perhaps," Percy said thoughtfully. "Perhaps like some people aren't born with magic in their blood, some people just aren't born with love in them. Maybe some people will never really know what love is, like Muggles never truly understand what magic is."
"So you think what," Oliver asked, finally seeing the humor in the situation. "You're a Muggle when it comes to love?"
The corners of Percy's lips twitched in a slight smile. "Not exactly. You see, my parents love each other very much. So did my grandparents. Love is clearly in my blood; I'm just not sure it's in me. If anything, I'm a love squib."
Oliver burst into laughter. Percy was still smiling, so Oliver knew he wasn't offended by his outburst. Unfortunately, when Oliver thought he had his mirth under control once more, he caught sight of Percy and started giggling helplessly once more. He actually had trouble staying in his chair he was laughing so hard.
Sputtering and trying to calm himself, Oliver asked, "So then, under this analogy, who exactly are werewolves and giants and ghosts and such?"
Percy's brow knit again in his thoughtful face. Oliver wondered briefly if Percy would be annoyed by this trial of his theory, but quickly dismissed the worry. Percy was a thoroughly analytical person; he probably was thrilled to be tested like this. After careful consideration, Percy answered, "Perhaps they are what becomes of the brokenhearted."
Oliver gave Percy an appraising look. "You've really thought this through, haven't you?"
Percy shrugged and began to idly play with his glasses. Just like he always did when he was flustered. "Well, widows would be something like werewolves, don't you think? Instead of a bite changing their lives, it would be a death. And ghosts...ghosts are a perfect representation of unrequited love."
"Really?" Oliver asked, wondering why Percy's mind had made that particular link.
"Can you think of any other being that would make more sense?" Percy asked softly, replacing the glasses on his nose. "Ghosts live in our world, but they can only see, never touch." Percy nodded firmly and said quietly. "Yes, ghosts are exactly like unrequited love."
There was a sad note to Percy's voice that Oliver had never heard before. "You sound like you know a lot about it." Oliver said cautiously.
Percy looked away and said, "Not everyone finds pompous rule-abiding bookworms as attractive as Penny did."
"Oh, come on, Percy," Oliver said dismissively, "You're a lot more than that"
"Yes," Percy said bitterly. "I'm sure my brothers could think of some much more colorful adjectives for me."
"Forget about them, Percy." Oliver said roughly, wishing once again he had the courage to tell the twins to ease up on Percy. "Now look here, we've known each other for ages, you're my flat mate, you're my friend. We tell each other everything. Why haven't you told me about this before?"
Percy adjusted his glasses, calmly retorting, "It never quite came up in everyday conversation."
"Tell me, Percy. Is it some Ministry witch? That new clerk at Flourish and Blotts, perhaps? She's a fine looking woman." Oliver said with a forced grin. He couldn't let his friend know how he hated the thought of someone else getting that close to Percy. How blindly jealous he was of some witch taking his Percy from him.
"I don't want to talk about this any more." Percy said, putting the paper down and standing. He stalked over to the kitchen and Oliver was quick to follow.
"I'm sorry, Percy. I didn't mean to upset you." Oliver said contritely, watching as Percy's hands shook, just a bit, as he fumbled with the tea cups.
"You don't know what it's like." Percy said, avoiding Oliver's gaze by rooting through the cupboard for tea. "You don't know how it feels. You don't even have to try to charm people; it just comes so bloody naturally to you."
"You could charm people too, Perce. If only you wanted to." Oliver said quietly, conveniently forgetting to add that the redhead had quite effectively charmed him. He knew he had to watch his words carefully, lest his secret affection be revealed, hesitantly adding, "You can be bloody dashing when you want to be."
Percy laughed shortly, still occupying himself with the tea. Oliver vaguely wondered if he had already gone too far. Percy could be amazingly perceptive, and Oliver had never been good with keeping secrets. Oliver, feeling oddly brave, boldly proclaimed "Anybody'd be a fool to turn you down."
"And if I have a masochist liking for fools?" Percy asked, raising his eyebrow in that strangely adorable Percy way.
Oliver was suddenly stuck with inspiration. There was clearly a reason Percy didn't want to tell him, so it was likely someone Percy wouldn't think he'd approve of him fancying. Some one from Puddlemere United, possibly? They did have a couple very attractive chasers... Or, speaking of chasers, perhaps one of the Gryffindor chasers? Angelina was certainly pretty, and Alicia and Katie were no trolls either... "If you won't give me a name, will you at least give me something to go on?" Oliver pleaded.
Percy sighed. "I'd really rather not."
"Percy, I can't give you advice if I don't know who has caught your eye." Oliver cajoled, mentally admitting that what he meant was 'I can't sabotage your relationship with someone else if I don't know who she is.'
"I already told you I don't want to talk about this anymore," Percy snapped, looking more unhappy than angry.
Oliver hated to see Percy unhappy and immediately felt horribly guilty. Almost deciding to let the conversation drop, Oliver abruptly changed his mind and pursued the topic. He hated prying in where he clearly wasn't wanted. He hated the thought of losing Percy more. "Just give me a name, Perce. It's not such an unreasonable thing to ask."
"You want to know a name do you?" Percy asked angrily. "If that's really what you want, then fine, Oliver!"
Oliver held his breath, waiting for Percy to give him the name. Percy didn't say anything more and Oliver began to wonder if he had missed something. The room seemed unnaturally quiet as Oliver stared at Percy, who looked surprisingly near tears. Oliver began to frantically search his recollection of the details of this conversation, wondering why he couldn't figure out what was wrong.
Abandoning the pretense of making tea, Percy stepped closer to Oliver and quite suddenly pressed his lips to Oliver's. Oliver's eyes went very wide as he came to the sudden realization that Percy's 'unrequited' love was him. And Oliver, recovering from the shock, began to eagerly kiss back, reaching around to put his hands behind Percy's head, pulling him closer.
Some time later, the kiss ended, but Oliver still held Percy close to him. Slightly breathlessly, Oliver whispered, "Seems I'm not a ghost after all."
"And I'm fairly certain I'm not a squib." Percy replied solemnly.
Leaning forward to claim another kiss, Oliver couldn't help but think with no small amount of satisfaction, that he was quite right to believe in magic.