Posted: 8 December, 2009
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story that is recognisable from the Harry Potter books, movies, etc. Everything else however (eg. story plot, original characters, etc.) stems from my own imagination and belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended and I am not profiting financially from this story in any way.
Dinner at the Burrow
Sunday dinner nights at the Burrow were one of Harry's favourite things. The friendly atmosphere, the good food, catching up with everyone… yes, Harry very much enjoyed those nights. It felt, he thought secretly, like being part of a family. Which was not entirely unfounded, since most of the Weasleys thought of him in that light anyway. That was not to say however, that things had never been unpleasant.
When Harry and Ginny had finally broken up, admitting to one another that the spark had left them, he hadn't been sure he would be welcome. Of course, when he didn't turn up the first dinner night after, he had received a very stern owl from Mrs Weasley expressing alternate disapproval at his absence, and insistence that he be there and on time come next Sunday. And, just in case he hadn't gotten the message, Ron told him bluntly, to his face, that he was being a git, and of course he was still welcome.
And so he'd gone the next week, and the week after and so on. Things had been strained at first. He and Ginny avoided speaking in more than brief and formal tones. Eventually though they became less tense. Over time the silence between them became stilted conversations, which in turn became a more comfortable ease. They were good friends now.
And so things were once more almost perfect at the Weasley dinners. But almost was not entirely so. The problem – the one flaw in the almost perfect scene of family domesticity – was the third Weasley brother. Percy.
When Percy had returned to the family, admitting what a fool he'd been (or rather, in the words of the late Fred: "a Ministry-loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron"), Harry had assumed he'd dropped his grudge against him along with his ministry sycophancy. It seemed not to be so however.
Ever since the reconciliation, and at every Sunday dinner thereafter, Percy's attitude to him had been a blight on the otherwise wonderful evenings. The boy avoided his presence, and was especially never alone with him. He never spoke to Harry and avoided so much as glancing in his direction. And when he did by accident, he'd get a strange – no doubt disapproving – expression, and look away.
Tonight, Harry had decided, was the final straw. Somehow, both of them had reached for the butter dish. Their hands had touched and Percy jerked his back quickly as if scalded. The butter dish went flying off the table and smashed loudly on the gravelled ground. An awkward silence had followed, before Mrs Weasley whipped out her wand and repaired the dinnerware, and George told a joke to break the mood.
Harry had spent the rest of the meal lightly fuming. Enough was enough. He'd put up with Percy's attitude for months and months now, because he kept it mostly discrete. Now that he'd made a scene in front of Merlin and everyone however, it was time to take action. He planned to confront him. It was the Gryffindor thing to do.
In the end it wasn't terribly hard to corner the redhead. Percy was always first to head off to Apparate home, so when he did, Harry hurriedly excused himself and followed after. He crept along behind the redhead toward the ward-line, and just when he was about to raise his wand to Apparate, stepped forward.
"Percy," he said sternly.
The other man whipped around, and from the light of the stars and moon Harry could see that his eyes were wide.
"P-Potter," he stuttered, then looked away.
The use of his surname along with the gesture of avoidance, only served to reignite Harry's temper.
"Alright, that's it."
"I'm sick of this. The way you're always acting. Enough's enough!"
And Percy slumped.
"I'm sorry, I'm trying not to bother you," he said, much to Harry's confusion.
"I-I understand," the older man spoke carefully, straightening up formally, "that my actions against you were unforgiveable, Mr Potter."
"Actions?" he repeated dumbly, completely lost.
"My pro-Ministry and anti… well, anti-you stance during the war. And the way I tried to encourage my family to cast you aside. I was wrong, I know that. And I am very sorry. I understand it was unforgivable."
"Wait, wait, wait!" Harry held up a quelling hand. "Do you mean to tell me your attitude – the silent treatment and avoiding me and everything – is because you think I'm still mad at you?"
"I-" He paused, looking a shade perplexed. "Well of course. I know you must be."
Harry just stared at him for a long moment, disbelieving. All this was just one huge misunderstanding.
"Percy, I forgave you the moment you returned to your family and apologised. I thought that you were the one still with a problem with me."
"What?" Percy looked flabbergasted. "No! Absolutely not. I swear I no longer have any ill will against you." Then he paused, bit his lip, and asked hesitantly. "You truly have forgiven me?"
"Yes," he said, then suddenly, laughed.
"Harry, Percy. My name is Harry."
"Harry then," he said the name slowly as if afraid the younger man would be offended by his use of it. "Are you quite alright?"
"I'm fine; it's just a bit ridiculous. You were all distant because you thought I hadn't forgiven you. I saw your distance, assumed you still disapproved of me, and kept my distance too. You saw my distance and then took it for confirmation that I'd not forgiven you… Do you see the ridiculous cycle we had going?"
Percy's lips twitched, just a little, as if involuntarily, and he looked at his feet, hair falling into his eyes.
"It is somewhat preposterous."
Harry's laughter eventually faded, and silence followed. He looked at the still seemingly nervous redhead, and decided to ask a question.
"Why'd you decide you didn't like me in the first place? I mean, at Hogwarts you were always a bit stuffy and treated me like a little kid – which was fair enough, given I was your baby brother's friend – but you never had a problem with me."
Percy looked shamefaced.
"Partly I suppose, the Ministry. I wanted so badly to do well and be somebody that I just latched onto the popular stance," he said guiltily. "Though I should have known better than to do so."
"You said partly. What other reason was there?"
The man's reaction surprised Harry. He blushed. Even in the dim light of the night he could see the red creep over those freckled cheeks.
"I-I-" The man stuttered, avoiding his eyes. "Nothing. It's nothing."
This of course, was very intriguing, and Harry was nothing if not curious.
"Come on Percy, tell me. I think after everything I deserve to know."
Perhaps that was unfair, playing on the man's guilt when he claimed all had been forgiven, but Harry had actually been rather hurt when Percy turned on him. And besides, he really wanted to know.
His tactics seemed to work as Percy took a deep breath and straightened. He looked, Harry reflected, like a man headed to the gallows. He wondered if what he had to say was really so terrible.
"I- I'm afraid that during the summer when I started working at the Ministry – that would have been just before your fourth year – I found myself… drawn to you. I suppose part of the reason for my actions against you was me trying to run from that… draw."
Harry blinked in surprise, then gaped for a moment. Percy saw his reaction and it caused the young man to blush even further. The colour spread right to the tips of his ears, and he ducked his head.
"'Drawn', as in…?"
"Attracted," he whispered.
Harry stood there, staring at the miserable form before him, and reflected that he'd never seen him so vulnerable and… delicate? Yes, that was the word. He'd never noticed before how 'delicate' Percy seemed, all fine limbed and slender. His features were almost feminine, with those cheekbones and those dark lashes. His skin was almost luminously pale in the moonlight, with only faint freckles and a red blush. His gold, wire framed glasses were perched almost daintily on his nose. His soft looking hair fell into his eyes, and had just a hint of a curl, especially around his ears. He really was a very pretty young man.
"And are you still? Drawn, that is?" he asked calculatingly, possibilities presenting themselves as he admitted to himself that Percy had a draw all his own.
"Yes," was the quiet reply.
Harry paused, considering. He needed to be sure. His relationship with the Weasley family was too important to him to risk if his return attraction wasn't more than momentary.
And so, he took three steps forward, bringing him to just a foot away from the redhead. The man looked up at him in surprise and confusion – and he wondered just when he'd gotten taller that the other wizard – and Harry stared at him evaluatingly and came to a decision.
Yes, he was genuinely attracted to Percy. And he knew the man was 'drawn' in return. And so, ignoring the confused expression before him, he raised his hands, cradled Percy's face between them, and pressed his lips to his.
The older wizard made a startled sound and automatically made to step back, but Harry released one hand to wrap behind his waist, pulling him close. There was another moment of hesitation from the redhead – but only a moment. Very quickly those dark lashes fluttered shut and lips pressed back against his own, the kiss accepted and returned.
After a while they both drew back, and Harry felt rather smug to see the dazed look in Percy's eye.
"I-" he said breathlessly, eyelashes fluttered, "You-"
Harry chuckled, the sound a little husky.
"Percy Weasley, speechless. I never thought I'd see the day."
"You kissed me!" he finally managed.
"Yes," he said, feeling rather pleased with the way the evening was turning out. "And you kissed back."
"Because," he said, "it occurred to me that you're really very pretty."
Percy's blush, which had been fading, returned with a vengeance.
"Oh," he said, looking rather lost still. "Then you…"
"Then I… would love to take you to dinner Friday night, if that's alright with you."
"Yes Percy," he responded teasingly. "Dinner."
He was rather enjoying this inarticulateness and at the back of his mind, was thinking about ways to induce it again in the future.
"Okay," the other man finally managed to reply.
"Good," he said, and kissed him again, quickly but firmly. "I'll pick you up at seven."
And then Harry took a step back beyond the ward line and Apparated away, leaving Percy flustered, but with a pleased smile creeping over his lips.
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