For Blue, on my quest to sway her on the pairing. It turned out to be more…angsty than I intended. I still hope you enjoy it, darling.
For Laura, too. Because you always know how to get Clara back under control and writing again. Besides, you're recent story (Asymmetry) kind of made me want to write PercyOliver and I know how much you love them.
Inspired by the quote: "People change and feeling do too. It doesn't mean that the love they once shared wasn't real. It simply means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart."
Percy watches silently at the rise and fall of Oliver's chest. He finds himself doing it all the time whenever they're together, which isn't often. Between his job and Oliver's being pro, there aren't enough hours in the day for them. And Percy doesn't like being alone.
If he's being honest, he's come to depend on the security that Oliver offers when he's there. Without it, he feels out of place; like he's going through the motions without actually realizing he's doing it. It doesn't feel right anymore.
There was a time where everything did feel right, where the intimidating future wasn't so scary. But things have changed. Percy doesn't feel secure with just Oliver's presence anymore. And he hasn't in quite some time.
He needs Oliver to be around more, but he knows that he could never ask Oliver to give up his career, because he's been working towards it since as long as Percy could remember. And it's selfish of Percy to ask that of Oliver, so he doesn't.
Instead, he lies awake and watches an exhausted Oliver sleep soundly in theirbed that isn't so much of theirs anymore; it's Percy's until Oliver can take some time away from Quidditch, which isn't often. Watching Oliver sleep makes Percy's heart ache because, as much as Oliver loves Percy, the Puddlemere will always come first in their relationship.
And some very selfish part of Percy's heart hates the way things are. He wants more. He wants to come first. He doesn't want to share Oliver with anything, even Quidditch. But most of all, he doesn't know if he can do this anymore.
Because he's alone more than he's with Oliver, and he absolutely hates it. The time apart is killing Percy because he isn't used not having Oliver around all the time – he blames their time at Hogwarts for that. And maybe, just maybe he wants Oliver there all the time because Oliver makes him a better person.
When Oliver isn't around, he does stupid things. Like fight with his family over a job. He's sure that Oliver would tell him that it was the stupidest thing he's done – if Percy had the guts to tell him about the fight. But he can't bring himself to tell Oliver because Oliver would talk him into apologizing, like the bigger person, and he's not so sure he can lay down his pride for that.
So he stays silent and pretends everything is alright, even if it's not. Because he doesn't want to ruin everything between them. And in the morning, just like every other time, Percy watches silently as Oliver goes through his morning routine, preparing to leave. Oliver never gets more than two days away when he gets time off from training. But that's not enough for Percy anymore.
Because the distance between them is too much now. They're too different with careers pulling them in opposite directions. And it doesn't seem like their lives can overlap anymore.
"You alright, Perce?" He hears Oliver ask him.
Closing his eyes and breathing in, Percy controls the urge just to lie. He wants to say everything is fine, but Oliver has always known when Percy lies, so he goes for the truthful answer. "We need to talk."
He opens his eyes to meet Oliver's worried look. They both know that those four words have never led to anything good. But Oliver runs a hand through his messy locks and takes a seat across from Percy anyways.
Once Oliver sits, Percy looks away, afraid to look at Oliver. "I can't do this anymore."
Since Percy isn't looking at him, he doesn't see the hurt flash through Oliver's brown eyes. But Oliver can't say he didn't know it wasn't coming. They haven't exactly been on the same page here of late and Oliver knows it.
When Percy grows tired of the silence that Oliver lets settle between them, he looks up, pleading with his eyes for Oliver to say something, to say anything. But Oliver doesn't. He continues to let the silence hang between them. Because if Oliver protests, if Oliver says anything at all, then it makes it real. And Oliver doesn't want this to be real. He doesn't want to lose Percy.
And by the look in Percy's eyes, Oliver knows that Percy want him to fight for him. Percy wants Oliver to prove that Oliver wants the relationship as much as Percy does.
But Oliver isn't going to fight. As much as he wants this relationship, he won't force Percy to stay, to be unhappy because Oliver loves him too much for that. Oliver will willingly give up Percy to make him happy because that's what love is about.
Oliver sees the tears that Percy will never cry. And as much as he wants to pull Percy to him, he doesn't. They sit in silence for a few minutes before an owl taps at the window. Oliver doesn't spare Percy a look as he gathers the last of the items he needs to make it through the next training session.
Before he leaves, Oliver takes his previous seat.
"I know you want me to fight for you, Perce, but I can't. Because I know you're unhappy. And if there's anything I want, it's for you to be happy. If it's not with me, then so be it," he whispers. He doesn't need to raise his voice, because the silence is so heavy that Percy can hear Oliver breath. "But don't get me wrong; I still love you. That's not going to change anytime soon."
Percy meets Oliver's eyes. His look is pained, like he doesn't understand because he doesn't. He thought Oliver would fight for him, for this, but he was wrong. "This isn't anything we can't fix."
Oliver shakes his head. "We can't fix this. We've grown too far apart for it to be fixable."
"I'm sorry," Percy chokes out, because he's never been particularly great with apologies.
"I know. I am too," Oliver agrees. He knows it's both of their faults for letting their relationship get this far gone. "But this is for the best. I don't want to make you unhappy for the rest of your life. You deserve to be happy."
Percy sighs. "I wanted to ask you to quit the Puddlemere. But you deserve to be happy. That's why I could never ask you to abandon your dream of Quidditch for this." The unsaid for me is very clear. "You worked too hard to get this far; I couldn't ask you to give it up."
"I would've, you know. All you had to do was ask," Oliver says immediately. Because he believes with all his heart that he would give up anything for Percy.
But Percy shakes his head. "I wouldn't let you. You wouldn't be you if you weren't playing Quidditch."
Silence falls between them again. Percy is late to work already and Oliver is contemplating not going to practice at all. But they can't find it in themselves to care at this moment because both of their hearts hurt.
"I'll search for a new flat and be out of here as soon as possible," Oliver finally says. "We don't need to prolong any more than we have to." And Percy understands that Oliver is trying to save them both from hurting more than they already are.
Nodding, Percy finally decides that he can't take the tension between them any longer. "I should get to work," he says. He stands and Oliver follows suit. Before Percy can do anything, Oliver wraps his arms around Percy's thin figure.
And Percy fights the overwhelming urge to tell Oliver that he doesn't mean this, that this shouldn't be the end. Oliver pulls away and kisses him on the cheek. "I hope you do find happiness, Perce. Merlin knows you deserve it."
Before Percy can say anything to Oliver, he Disapparates. Once Percy's alone in the room, he allows his body to fall back on the couch. "I still love you," he whispers to the silence. "And I always will."