Title: Happily Ever After
Categories: Romance, Angst
Summary: When Percy was little, his mother read the fairy tale of Snow White to him. Then his parents adopted a child that looked just like the fairy tale princess and Percy falls in love immediately. Slash. Harry/Percy.
Author's notes: This pairing of this story is not one I write or even read but it was very interesting to get into the head of a character I don't normally have in my stories. I'm very happy with the result and I hope you enjoy this as well.
Author's notes 2: I just got home from my vacation in Turkey, which is why this is a week late. I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Happily Ever After
- - -
- - -
Two years later
"I'm feeling a bit left behind," Harry admitted. "There you are, with good jobs, married and with a kid on the way – and I'm still trying to figure out what I want with my life."
He took a sip of tea from the cup Hermione had placed on the table for him. There were cookies as well; Harry had already eaten a few. Outside, the late summer sun shone warm and beautiful.
Hermione smiled sympathetically at him. "I'm sure you'll figure it out, Harry."
Harry ran a hand through his hair. "I just— I can't figure out what I did wrong. I mean, I saved the world. Couldn't the world have been a bit nice about it and given me a bit of a break with the rest of my life?"
Hermione chuckled. "One would think so, but obviously not."
"I mean," Harry continued, "first I figure out I'm gay. That's fine, but it kind of makes the traditional two point three kids and white picket fence impossible."
"You can still have the picket fence," Hermione said. "Besides, there's adoption."
Harry gave her a look. "You know that's not the point. Anyway, then I fall in love with Draco and figure that it won't ever be returned feelings – but surprise! He's in love with me too. Unfortunately, we're both too hot headed and the only thing we do is fight."
"You're better as friends," Hermione pointed out, picking up her own cup of tea.
"Yeah," Harry said sarcastically, "'cause then you don't have to see him as much."
Hermione shook her head. "No, but you're just— I don't know. I always pictured you with someone else."
"Who?" Harry asked, cocking his head to the side.
"I don't know, but I'll let you know as soon as I've figured it out," Hermione said, smiling slightly. Then a look of pain passed over her face and she mumbled, "Oh bloody— Harry, I'll be back in a moment, I just need to go to the bathroom."
Harry watched her stand up and waddle away. The baby was due in two weeks and Hermione looked ready to pop, but Harry's thoughts didn't linger long on her.
They lingered on someone else. An impossible someone, yet a someone none the less.
For the longest of times, Harry had told himself that what he felt for Percy was just regular brotherly love, nothing else. After all, he wasn't supposed to fall in love with his adoptive brother – it was wrong on so many levels.
But when he'd started dreaming of Percy, imagining things that he most certainly wouldn't do with a brother, he'd started to realise that it was something more. He'd written it off as lust, teenage hormones. He'd told himself that he dreamed of everyone – and it wasn't really a lie, though no one was as frequent in the dreams as Percy.
Then Percy had disappeared; he'd completely stopped speaking to Harry and the rest of the family. Harry's life had filled with Voldemort and his followers and the deaths they caused. The war had raged at the same time as he was supposed to learn everything he could in school – he'd barely had time to breathe. Somewhere in all of that, Draco Malfoy had kissed him for the first time and the two had become a couple; secret at first, then out in the open when Draco decided to side with the Light.
Years had passed since. Harry had forgotten about the dreams, about Percy; he hadn't been part of his life at all. At graduation, he saw Percy again and became curious – what had happened with his step brother over the years?
He'd been able to read Percy like no one else, he found. He'd taken Percy back to his family and he'd been able to label every emotion that passed over Percy's face.
"Harry?" Hermione was coming back to the living room and she sounded a bit concerned.
Harry shook his head to clear it. "I'm fine. Just thinking," he said automatically.
"What about?" Hermione asked, sitting down on the couch again. "It looked like rather good thoughts."
"I don't know," Harry admitted.
"A person? Someone special?"
Harry shrugged. "It's just— someone I knew. I had feelings for him once, I think, but then the war happened and we— we didn't talk. But then we met again after the war and I thought there might be something and that he might feel something for me."
He trailed off, memories playing before him again. He recalled the night when he and Draco had broken up and Harry had ended up outside of Percy's apartment. He'd hesitated for fifteen minutes before he actually knocked on the door. Yet despite it being two thirty in the morning, Percy hadn't seemed to mind his presence at all – and after that, their relationship had deepened.
"So what happened?" Hermione asked.
"He had a boyfriend," Harry said. "We still talked and all and I even thought he might reciprocate my feelings – but then he disappeared again. I still see him sometimes, but whenever I look for him he seems to vanish. I don't know what happened."
"He just disappeared?" Hermione asked. "When was this?"
Harry looked down. "Two years ago."
"Two years? And you still haven't moved on?" Hermione asked, sounding surprised.
Harry shook his head. "I know; it's insane. I just— I can't seem to stop thinking about him. Trust me, I've tried."
"Is he still with his boyfriend?" Hermione asked after a moment of silence.
Harry nodded. "I think so. They seem to be terribly in love – I've heard they're even planning a bonding ceremony."
"That sounds like a serious relationship," Hermione said.
"Yeah," Harry said, shaking his head in frustration. "But there was something wrong. Something off. I don't know what, it just— it just was."
Something about how Percy had always given him far more attention than he gave Ames when they were both in his company. They way Percy always listened to him, his eyes and whole body attentive. Harry could feel the world disappear and all there was, was them.
Then it had been that lunch. It was one of those times when everything had just clicked – or at least Harry had thought so. They'd talked for hours, far longer than they should have, until Harry had had to run to a meeting. He'd been reluctant to go but knew that he had to; they were expecting him. He'd imagined he'd seen the same reluctance in Percy's eyes.
Then Percy had hugged him. Harry had frozen in shock; Percy never gave such public shows of affection. Harry had willed himself to relax and enjoy the feeling of the other man's closeness. Perhaps Percy did feel the things Harry imagined after all.
Percy had pulled back and given him a small smile that made Harry melt. It felt like they'd gotten over something, like their relationship had suddenly changed. Harry hadn't been able to stop smiling for the rest of the day.
And then Percy had just ceased existing.
"Why didn't you tell him?" Hermione asked.
A sad laugh escaped Harry. "This is me you're talking to, Hermione."
Hermione shook her head fondly. "Would you have told him if he didn't have a boyfriend?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. I— I don't think he ever felt anything for me. I mean, couldn't he see it? I visited him far more often than I visited anyone else – and I came to him at two thirty in the morning after breaking up with my boyfriend!"
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "Nothing a friend wouldn't do," she said. "Maybe he was just as scared as you are and he's hiding because it's the only way he could stop thinking of you."
"That's stupid," Harry muttered. It was, of course, true – most things Hermione said were. It didn't mean Harry wanted to hear about it.
Hermione stood up and took the tray that had been on the table to the kitchen to clean the empty tea cups. Harry stood up and followed her, helping her dry off the cups and putting them away.
"I suppose I should go," Harry said. "Thanks for the tea."
"You're welcome," Hermione said. "You're always welcome, you know. Don't make yourself a stranger just because we don't live in London anymore."
Harry grinned at her. "Yeah. I'll try not to."
"Oh, Harry, I almost forgot," Hermione said. "Mrs. Weasley told me when she was here yesterday – Percy is getting bonded with Ames on Saturday and we're all invited."
Harry could have sworn that she winked at him just before he Apparated away and it was sheer luck that he didn't splinch himself.
- - -
Harry was pacing; back and forth, back and forth over the living room floor. His robes, which had once been neat and tidy, were now rumpled and his hair was messy even for him because he'd run his hand through it so many times.
It was one hour until the bonding ceremony was to start. Harry's heart beat quicker in his chest as soon as he thought about it.
He wasn't really invited, he'd found out. For some reason or other Percy didn't want him there. Still, Mrs. Weasley and Hermione had both insisted on Harry going, saying Percy had probably just forgotten. Harry didn't believe that theory; Percy didn't want him to be present – and Harry wanted to know why. Why had Percy been hiding from him ever since that lovely lunch? It had been two years.
The doorbell rang and Harry opened to let Hermione and Ron inside. In the last stages of pregnancy, Hermione had taken to going by train and other Muggle transportations as much as possible instead of using magical means. Magical transportation made her far too sick and wasn't healthy for the baby.
"You look stressed out," Ron noted, with a raised eyebrow. "Why? It's just Percy getting bonded – nothing special."
Harry chuckled nervously. "No, nothing special."
Ron gave him an odd look while Hermione shot him a look that Harry couldn't read. Ever since her random announcement about Percy's bonding, Harry had had the feeling that Hermione wasn't exactly clueless about Harry's feelings. Still, she hadn't said anything and he wasn't about to ask until she made a move.
"So how are we supposed to get there?" Harry asked, choosing to focus on the practical instead of starting another internal monologue about Percy.
"By foot," Hermione answered. "It's not far from here."
It really wasn't. It took just over five minutes to walk to the small park that Percy and Ames had chosen for their ceremony. It was a lovely little clearing; there were trees all around, quite a few people and a table set with a variety of food. It didn't take long for Harry to find Percy and Ames either – they were both dressed in long, white robes. Ames looked good, Harry noted absently but his attention was solely on Percy. Percy's red hair and freckles stood out against the soft materials of his robes; it came together perfectly making him look just— beautiful.
"Come on," Hermione said, pulling Harry with her towards the happy couple. Ron had gone over to the food table already; it seemed more important to him than his brother.
Ames noted Hermione and Harry coming closer. "Hey guys!"
"Hi Ames," Hermione said and hugged him lightly, her belly in the way.
Ames turned to Harry. "And Harry! I haven't seen you in a long time."
If Harry hadn't been watching him, he wouldn't have noticed the way Percy froze. Yet Harry hadn't been able to take his eyes off Percy, even when he was saying hi to Ames and as such, he did see it. He watched as Percy turned around slowly, his eyes immediately catching Harry's.
"Hi Percy," Harry said. "Long time no see."
- - -
It was supposed to be the happiest day of his life. The sun was shining, the food was great and he was about to be bonded with the man he loved.
Or told himself he loved, anyway.
Percy didn't know when it had gotten to the point that he almost believed the lies he'd been telling himself for years. He wasn't sure why he'd asked Ames to bond with him but he had always thought that a bonding ceremony was the ultimate way to show one's love – so why not ask Ames, considering he was supposedly terribly in love with him?
Now they were here, in the park where Percy had spent many of his afternoons just sitting about reading. He'd taken Ames there once and Ames had thought it so pretty that once they decided to get bonded, this was the only place they'd had in mind.
The park was filled with friends and family. Percy's parents had arrived a bit earlier – his mother had kissed him on the cheeks and hugged him and he was reminded, yet again, how glad he was to have them in his life. It was all thanks to Har—
No, that was forbidden territory. He'd avoided thinking of Harry for two years – he would be able to keep him out on the day of the ceremony as well.
Ames took his hand and squeezed it.
"You're looking a bit out of it," Ames whispered in Percy's ear. "Are you nervous?"
He wasn't at all nervous. "Yes. I just don't want anything to go wrong."
Ames smiled at him and kissed him softly. "It'll be just fine. Perfect, in fact. Because it's you and me."
Percy attempted to smile back. It felt false; it wasn't him. But he couldn't stop this now – he wouldn't humiliate Ames so completely by leaving him today. In fact, Percy was never going to leave him. Percy would live with Ames and love Ames the same way he had for the past three years – and they would be fine. They would live happily ever after together, because that was how it was supposed to be.
Ames turned around to say hi to some guests. Percy didn't listen until—
"—Harry! I haven't seen you in a long time."
Percy froze. His whole body went rigid, his mind becoming completely blank all at once. He couldn't be here. Percy hadn't sent him an invitation; he wasn't supposed to be here!
Slowly, he turned around. The blood pounded in his ears, his heart beat quick and loud enough for him to suspect others could hear it as well.
He found Harry's eyes immediately. Green, beautiful, intense. Harry's hair was still black as the blackest of woods and his lips were red as blood. There was nothing that wasn't perfect about him and in his company, everyone else seemed grey.
"Hi Percy," Harry said. "Long time no see."
His voice was soft but Percy still heard every word he said. Only the two of them existed, no one else.
"I—" Percy's voice didn't hold. His brain was completely blank; he had no idea what to say.
"You look good," Harry said, filling in where Percy's words should have been.
"Thank you," Percy managed. His voice sounded weak and pathetic to his own ears and he wondered how it was possible for another person to make him this way. "You too."
Harry smiled slightly, looking at the ground. Then he raised his head and his intense eyes looked straight at Percy. "So why wasn't I invited to this special day of yours?"
Percy swallowed. How was he supposed to explain why he hadn't wanted Harry there – especially when Ames was standing right next to them?
Then Hermione suddenly pulled Ames away and Harry and Percy were left alone together.
"I—" Percy said, feeling like an idiot. What was he supposed to say?
Harry's face was demanding an answer. His lips were set, his eyes intent and he'd crossed his arms over his chest.
"That's the girl I'm going to marry."
Suddenly he realised that everything was completely wrong. He wasn't supposed to be here with Ames, he wasn't supposed to bond with Ames. He was supposed to share this day with Harry – only Harry and no one else. They were the ones who were supposed to bond and live happily ever after.
And in the end it came down to that: Harry had to know.
Because if Percy didn't take this chance, this, his last chance to actually tell Harry what he felt, then he didn't deserve to live happily ever after at all. Then settling for a mediocre love with Ames was what he deserved. If he didn't dare to be honest for just once in his life then he could never win the big price.
Let it fly or fail; he had to do this.
"I didn't invite you because I love you."
- - -
The world stood still. It was possible that time was still ticking forward second by second and that other people still lived their lives, but for two young men standing in a beautiful green park, time had just stopped.
Green eyes met pale blue; those were the only colours of their world.
Harry's stammered words broke the spell.
Harry's heart beat so hard he thought it would break his chest. Percy couldn't possibly just have said what Harry thought he'd said. It was impossible— wasn't it?
"I love you," Percy repeated. His words were soft but his voice clear with more intensity than Harry had ever heard behind any sentence Percy had uttered. "I couldn't invite you here because I could never go through with the ceremony with you watching."
It was exactly what he'd wanted to hear, wasn't it? Harry was in love with Percy and apparently, obviously, Percy was also in love with Harry. It was what Harry had wanted to hear for years – but now that he heard it he only felt the panic rising within. This was Percy's bonding ceremony; a bonding ceremony for him and another man. He couldn't possibly ruin that!
In the end, Harry looked away from Percy, grabbed his wand and Apparated away.
- - -
There was a knock on the door. Clad in a simple dressing gown, Harry opened the door.
"Good lord you look awful," Hermione said, walking inside without waiting for his invitation.
"Hi to you too," Harry mumbled sarcastically.
He closed the door behind her and followed her to the couch. Hermione didn't sit down however; she stayed standing, her hands on her hips and her face stern.
"What on Earth happened today? First you and Percy stare at each other like you've both seen a ghost, then you Apparate away and then Percy blows off the ceremony!" Hermione said, sounding exasperated.
"He did what?" Harry asked, his head snapping up to look at her.
"He blew off the ceremony!" Hermione said, throwing her hands in the air. "He broke up with Ames just minutes before they were supposed to start the bonding."
"He broke up with Ames?" Harry repeated dumbly. That wasn't what Percy was supposed to do – Harry had left so that Percy could go through with the ceremony as he was supposed to. Yet something within him leaped with happiness at the thought of Percy without Ames.
Hermione came closer to Harry and looked up at him. "So I was right."
"What?" Harry asked, taking a step back and looking like a deer caught in headlights. When Hermione got that look in her eyes, it was never good.
"Percy is the someone you've been in love with," she said matter-of-factly. "The one you were talking about earlier this week."
"That's— it's— no!" Harry protested.
"Oh give it up," Hermione said. "My suspicions were strong and now, after Percy's display today, it's obvious."
"How— how is Ames?" Harry asked. He felt he should at least ask, whether he cared or not. He'd been Percy's boyfriend for years after all and he'd just been dumped.
"I don't know," Hermione said with a shrug. "Heartbroken, I suppose. I don't really care. I'm far more interested in you and Percy."
"There's no me and Percy!" Harry said.
Hermione looked as though she wanted to strangle him. "He's in love with you, that's what he told you today, wasn't it?" At Harry's blank look she continued. "And you're in love with him. What is the bleeding problem?"
Hermione was annoyed, obviously; she never swore otherwise.
"I didn't want him to break up with Ames – they were supposed to bond and I didn't want to hurt anyone," Harry said quietly, looking at his feet.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "It's too late for that. Besides, you and Percy are in love with each other – I'm guessing this story will have a happy ending for at least some of its players."
Harry looked up at her. "But what am I supposed to say to him?"
"That you love him back? Because I doubt you said that to him," Hermione noted dryly.
Harry realised that he hadn't even mentioned his own feelings before fleeing the scene. He felt his cheeks heating a bit; Percy had spilled his heart to Harry and Harry hadn't so much as mentioned where he stood in the whole thing.
"No, obviously not," Hermione said, reading his face. "Go talk to him. The two of you need to talk."
Harry was still hesitant about it – he'd never been all that good at being honest about his feelings. Still, there wasn't much risk for him now; he already knew Percy's feelings.
Finally he nodded to Hermione. "Where is he?"
- - -
The clearing in the park was calm now. There was a light breeze going through the leaves in the trees and the sun was about to set. The large crowd that had been there earlier had left long ago and the chairs, table and food had long since been cleared away.
Percy sat still in the middle of the clearing. His head, his heart, his entire body felt empty. Like all feelings he could possibly feel had been felt during the course of the day and now he was left an empty shell.
It would take a while to forget Ames' crushed face as Percy told him he couldn't bond with him. Yet at the same time, Percy had a strange feeling that Ames wasn't completely surprised by the news after all.
Percy looked down at the book in his lap.
'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'
He'd thumbed through it so many times in his life that the only thing holding the book together was a keeping spell. The pictures had paled but Percy, who knew them by heart, could still see their beauty. The faded words had been read so many times over that Percy would be able to recite them in his sleep.
He flipped forward to the page where the king's son came to the forest.
"'Let me have it as a gift, for I cannot live without seeing Snow-White. I will honour and prize her as my dearest possession'," Percy read quietly out loud to the still park around him. "'As he spoke in this way the good dwarfs took pity upon him and gave him the coffin'."
"You always did love that story."
Percy froze for the second time that day. Harry's soft voice came from above and out of the corner of his eye, he could see Harry's shape. Percy didn't look up.
"The first time I met you, I told my family that you were my princess and that I was going to marry you," Percy said. "You looked just like Snow White."
He heard Harry give a low chuckle. "I looked like a girl?"
"You looked beautiful, even then," Percy said. Then he looked up, straight at Harry. "And it hasn't changed."
He saw Harry swallow. Obviously Harry wasn't as un-affected by this as he was pretending to be. Percy wondered why he was back – what was he going to say? It didn't matter; Percy finally knew himself and where he stood – and he had finally been honest with himself about his feelings. Whatever happened, that was something good come out of this mess.
Still, his heart couldn't help but beat a bit quicker as Harry slumped down and sat next to Percy.
"'And before long she opened her eyes, lifted up the lid of the coffin, sat up, and was once more alive'," Harry read softly. "'Oh, heavens, where am I?'"
Percy looked into Harry's eyes. "'You are with me. I love you more than everything in the world.'"
He was reciting the words of the story but the words he was saying were true and honest. He hoped Harry understood and wasn't frightened by it.
Harry didn't look frightened. He ducked his head for a moment before gazing back at Percy again.
"And I love you," he said. "I have for years."
At that, Percy finally broke into a huge smile. Without another word, he pulled Harry towards him and kissed him, letting every feeling that he had for Harry pour into the kiss. Harry felt warm and wonderful, his lips even softer than Percy had imagined them. Everything was better than he could ever have dreamed.
There was nothing that wasn't perfect about that moment. The sun was setting, casting a red glow over the world and the park. Birds chirped and flew over the clear sky and in the park's clearing two men forgot everything about the rest of the world.
And then they lived happily ever after.
- - -
Credit:www . surlalunefairytales . com / sevendwarfs / (the Snow White story I used for this fanfic, if you remove the spaces)
Author's notes: I know I'm the author of this story and as such I shouldn't say anything about loving the tale or not, but I must say that I'm very, very proud of this one. Harry/Percy isn't a pairing I had ever thought much about until I got this idea (I still believe this was inspired by a challenge/plot bunny of some kind, so if someone recognizes it...), but it turned out just the way I wanted it.
Though I must admit that I find the notion of anyone living 'happily ever after' with anyone else rather ridiculous - and kind of boring. With no fighting or bad parts, how would you know the good ones? But that's a whole different discussion
I hope you enjoyed. Please leave a comment if you enjoyed it, or if you didn't. I appreciate both and I always look to make my writing better. Perhaps especially if you've read the whole story but haven't commented; I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for reading.