Moving

"Mind my bookcase! Careful...the clock! Watch out, don't chip the paintwork! Please, Ron, you're scuffing my floors!"

"Do you know what I'm doing, Perce?" Ron said, eyes alarmingly wide, "I'm doing you a favour!"

Percy was flapping his arms like a flightless bird in denial of its limitations.

"I know, I'm sorry but you're just so clumsy and gangly and..."

"The only member of the family to offer to help you move?" Ron offered as he held his wand on the floating chest of drawers in front of him and clutched the sack full of assorted clothing over his shoulder with the other.

Percy clung to a silver candlestick with both hands and worried his lip between his teeth.

"I know, I'm grateful, this is just so stressful."

Ron glared at his brother.

"Yes, I imagine that candlestick is a huge burden you can't wait to get off your hands!"

Percy blinked and then looked down at the object in his hands. He shook his head and set the candlestick upon the mantelpiece before taking the sack of clothes off Ron's shoulder.

"I'm sorry Ronald, I'm just overwhelmed by this finally happening, and you've always been...I know the family don't judge me or want to disown me for wanting to live this way but they aren't here and you are and..." Percy looked as if he was about to cry, "You've always been nice to me even when I was being an arse!"

"Shit, Perce," Ron said, backing away from his brother, slightly frightened at this display of emotion, "I'm helping you move house, not giving you a body part."

"But you would," Percy said with a quivering lip.

"Percy, are you asking for a body part?" Ron said, warily.

Percy laughed and threw the bundle of clothing down. He pushed the floating chest of drawers down to the floor too, and stepped toward his little brother to embrace him in a tight hug.

"Oh blimey, you really are gay aren't you?" Ron said, body rigid and eyes darting around waiting for George to jump out, pointing and laughing.

Percy let Ron go and gave a shaky sigh.

"You always do that when I cuddle you."

"What d'you mean always? We don't cuddle Percy, we're not cuddlers."

"The last time I gave you a hug was when I'd just helped you out of the lake. You weren't impressed then either."

"People were watching!" Ron exclaimed.

"Exactly!" Percy said, somewhat hurt, "I had influential people watching me in my official capacity as a judge and I was flailing around in the murky water throwing a wobbler over my little brother. I was supposed to be impartial, remember?"

"So why did you do it?"

"Because they sank my baby brother down to the bottom of a lake and he didn't come back up when he was supposed to!"

"You really think they would have let schoolchildren drown for a game? You're as bad as Harry."

"And you're as bad as Fred and George, thinking that everything's a game and nothing can go wrong," Percy said, darkly, "and somebody has to worry about you."

Ron rolled his eyes. Percy continued.

"You were the only one I wrote to after my falling out with the family, didn't you ever think about that?"

"Well," Ron shrugged and looked at his feet, "I assumed you were just writing to me to get at Harry."

Percy swallowed and turned away from his brother.

"That was why I was writing to you Ronald, because back then you thought the only reason anybody spoke to you was because you were Harry Potter's friend. I wanted you to know that I was proud of you, that even though you were Harry Potter's friend I still wanted to know you and I was pleased to hear news of you from Mr Fudge at work."

"Even though I was Harry's friend?" Ron lifted his head and one eyebrow.

"Well I was an arse at the time and I thought your being friends with Harry was a bad thing, but that's what I was saying," Percy turned back to face Ron again, "being connected to Harry was bad for me back then and you were his best friend and yet...yet I still...bragged about you...because it was you."

"You never let up on me when we were kids," Ron snorted in disbelief, "what changed?"

"I never let up on you because I knew you were brilliant, I knew you were capable of so much, and mostly because you feel everything so much."

"You what?" Ron frowned.

"When you're happy it flows out of you. When you're upset there's no hiding it from anyone. You're so emotionally exposed that...well I worried and I tried to shield you."

Ron stared at Percy for a moment.

"You did?"

Percy nodded.

"And despite everything, even your own thick-headedness, I think you knew that."

Ron scrunched up his face and looked to one side for a second.

"I'm not sure if I'm being insulted or flattered."

Percy laughed and lightly swatted Ron about the back of the head.

"When I came to the house on Christmas Day with Scrimgeour, you were the only one who didn't throw food at me."

"I was angry with you," Ron said, seriously.

"I know, that look on your face wasn't subject to misinterpretation, but the thing is you didn't react like the others. You and me were always different. You used to talk to me and I used to listen to you."

Ron shifted uncomfortably and the two of them stood in silence before jumping at the sound of the Floo erupting into flames. A familiar figure tumbled out and brushed himself down before grinning at Ron.

"Roped you into doing the hard work did he? I should've known."

Ron smiled and nodded before swishing his wand at the chest of drawers and floating it on ahead of him, leaving Percy and Neville alone in their new home.

"Did you ask him?" Neville whispered.

"I think asking Ron to be my best man is going to be a few conversations away love, we've only just resolved the issue of brotherly hugs!"