- Story Summary:
- When Oliver's nightmares wake Percy, the roommates become closer. Mildly slashy.
- Author's Note:
- This story is the result of my reading too many stories in which Percy and Oliver are depicted as being together, and wondering how that might have started. Many thanks to Peter Murray for beta-reading and Brit-picking.
Thursday, 14th April
"Six a.m., time to get up! Six a.m., time --"
"Finite!" muttered Percy, touching the top button of his pyjamas to silence the alarm and starting to sit up. "Huh, maybe he can keep it up forever," he thought; Oliver was still hanging on to his arm. The tiny voice of the alarm had roused him, too, but he did not let go as he opened his eyes and started in surprise.
"Six a.m.? Hardly good; I switched to evening Quidditch practices specifically so I wouldn't have to see six a.m. ever again." Oliver yawned. "What are you doing setting off alarms in my bed, anyway?"
"Sorry about the alarm. I'm here because you had a nightmare earlier. I came over to calm you down, keep you from waking the others."
"And you're still here because --?"
"Because all that Quidditch has given you a grip I can't break -- you attached yourself to my arm when I was trying to keep you from flinging yourself out of bed, and I fell asleep waiting for you to let go. Just as well, really -- I'd've had a long wait." He pulled his arm free of the now-relaxed grip.
"Sorry about that. And for waking you up with my nightmare, too; I suppose it's only fair that you got to wake me up in return."
"I'd say we're even." Percy sat up and stretched, shivering a little; the dorm was always cool, and his pyjamas were not heavy enough for sleeping without blankets.
"Hey, you're freezing! You should've got under the covers."
"If I'd known I was staying more than a few minutes, I would've. A shower'll warm me up fast enough, though." And he got out of bed and headed for the bathroom, leaving Oliver to try to go back to sleep.
Friday, 15th April
"Six a.m., time to get up! Six --"
"Finite!" Percy was wide awake by the time his hand reached the button. He had not been quick enough to prevent the little voice from waking Oliver, however.
"Six a.m., time to go to sleep! Can't you tell that thing to go off at seven instead?"
"I could, but I always get up at six. It gives me time to review my notes for the day's classes before breakfast." Percy propped himself up on one elbow and looked over at Oliver, near enough to be only slightly blurry even though Percy's glasses were lying on the table beside his own bed. Oliver's eyes were still firmly closed. "Should we do the 'Sorry I woke you' routine again, or just take it as read?"
"I take it I had another nightmare, then?"
"Worse than last night's. Louder, at least."
"I don't even remember them." Oliver finally opened his eyes. "At least I seem to have let go of you earlier this time."
"So you did." Percy wondered if he had fallen asleep more quickly because he'd got under the covers. "You were hanging on for dear life last I remember." He pushed up the his sleeve. "See what you've done?"
Oliver rolled on to his side and put out a tentative finger to touch the row of bruises. "Oh, Perce, I'm sorry! I had no idea!" His fingers looked very tan against the redhead's pale skin.
"It's OK," said Percy, looking up to see that Oliver was still gazing down at his bruised arm. A small shiver went through him as Oliver's strong fingers slid down from his wrist, over his hand, to lie on the blanket between them. He looked down and saw that their fingertips were not quite touching. "You can't help what you do in your sleep, after all."
"You might be better off just shaking me awake if this happens again," Oliver suggested. "Safer than climbing in with me and risking further damage."
"I can handle a few bruises. Besides, if this keeps up for more than another night or two, you ought to go see Madam Pomfrey about it."
"It's probably Quidditch stress; I can't think what else would do it."
"If it was me it'd be NEWTs."
"You can't be worried about NEWTs, Percy, you're top of the class -- even the Ravenclaws don't beat you."
"And you're captain of the best Quidditch team this place has seen in years. Or so my brothers tell me, anyway."
"And still we worry. Okay, enough of this, it's keeping you from your precious revision."
"And you from your sleep?" Percy sat up and slid out of the bed. "Brrr! How can this cold floor still be a shock every morning after nearly seven years?"
"Wakes you up, doesn't it?" said Oliver, sliding out beside him. "I might as well get up too; I didn't get back to sleep yesterday, and I doubt today would be any different."
Their dorm mates did not stir as they gathered their things and headed for the bathroom.
Saturday, 16th April
Percy woke before his alarm, as he often did on Saturdays. "Oliver's bed again," he remembered. He was lying on his back, as usual, and could feel a warm weight against his side. "Better lie still and let him sleep, he doesn't have to get up this early for the game."
He thought back to the nightmare that had brought him to Oliver's bed for the third night in a row. This one had been the worst yet; it had taken much longer to soothe Oliver back into normal sleep this time. He'd thought the gentle murmuring and the slow stroking of his hand over Oliver's back weren't going to be enough to settle him, but just as he'd been about to give up and try shaking him awake, Oliver had started to relax, and before long he was breathing slowly and steadily, and Percy had ceased his murmuring, slowly reducing the movement of his hand over the flannel pyjamas until he had stopped altogether. He had slipped under the covers next to Oliver and fallen asleep without even noticing that both his arms were still free.
He realized it now, though, and nearly leapt out of the bed in surprise. "I've got used to staying. This is only the third night and I've already formed the habit of staying with him. I wake up with him curled up against me and all I think is 'better not wake him'? What am I doing?"
Oliver shifted beside him, sliding one hand across Percy's chest. His eyes were still closed, his breathing steady -- he was still sound asleep. Percy let out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding.
"He doesn't even know he's doing that. What's he going to think if he wakes up like this? My arm's practically around him, too; he's lying on it. Why isn't it numb? He's not exactly a lightweight. How can it possibly be so -- so comfortable to have him almost lying on top of me?" At that point he made a tremendous effort to distract himself from the thought of how it would be to have Oliver actually lying on top of him. The first distraction that came to mind was Penelope Clearwater.
"What on earth am I thinking? I have a girlfriend! I cannot possibly be entertaining that sort of thought about another guy! I've hardly even thought about Penny that way!" He frowned. "Well, that wasn't much of a distraction, was it?"
"Right, I need a better distraction. Classes? Head Boy stuff -- have I got everything ready for the prefects' meeting tomorrow? Agenda's all written up: planning for the end-of-year parties, proposals for new prefects for next year, discussion of the latest rules and rule changes -- oh, and here's the Head Boy busy breaking a rule right now, in bed with another student, setting a fine example, yes, whatever would Fred and George say?"
Before he could decide what his brothers would think, however, the weight at his side shifted again, and he looked over at Oliver. Oliver's eyes were still closed, but the sudden tension in his body told Percy he was no longer asleep. The arm across Percy's chest shifted as Oliver's hand briefly explored the unfamiliar location, then became utterly still.
"An arm wasn't enough for me this time? This nightmare must've been awful."
"By far the worst, but --" Percy hesitated.
"But you didn't actually even grab my arm, this time. I really shouldn't be here -- you weren't even touching me when you settled back to sleep. I never even noticed, I just crawled under the covers as usual. I suppose I'm not very wide awake at four in the morning, or whatever ridiculous hour it was. I'm sorry."
"Don't be silly. For all you know I'd've fallen right back into the nightmare if you hadn't been here." Oliver thought of something. "No 'six am, time to get up!' this morning? Or isn't it six yet?"
"It's past six, I'm pretty sure, but my alarm doesn't go as early on weekends. It's not seven yet, but that's all I'm sure of."
"Percy Weasley, weekend layabout -- sleeps in until all of seven o'clock."
"And what time were you planning to get up, Mr. Wood?"
"That's a pretty formal way to address someone you're in bed with, don't you think? And today, since there's a game, I was planning to wake up at seven, and drag myself out of bed fifteen or twenty minutes later. The team's meeting in the common-room just before eight to go down to breakfast together."
"And on a normal Saturday?"
"On a normal Saturday, I don't set an alarm. I like just waking up naturally, and going back to sleep if it seems too early to get up." They were quiet for a moment. "Should I move, by the way? I'm quite comfortable here, but --"
"Stay, if you're comfortable. I was a little, um, surprised, but I'm not uncomfortable."
Oliver finally opened his eyes and looked over at Percy. "Really?"
"Really what? Surprised, or comfortable?"
"Comfortable. The surprise is mutual. I --"
"Seven am, time to get up! Sev--"
"Finite!" Percy's right hand reached his top button before he finished saying the word, and the little voice was silenced. It was replaced by the tinkling of bells, which seemed to be coming from all around them.
"I'm awake!" Oliver said quickly, and the bells stopped abruptly.
"Nice alarm," remarked Percy.
"Yours is good too -- and it comes with you when you move around in the night, which mine doesn't, since it's a charm on the bed hangings. How come you've got two actions to shut yours off?"
"Paranoid, I suppose -- afraid reaching for the button or saying the word will become automatic enough that I'll do it without waking up."
"Ah. And since you're the first one up, you can't rely on the rest of us to wake you -- that's my backup system. Not you, since you're generally long gone by seven, but Geoff or Havelock will make sure I'm up before they head down to breakfast on weekdays."
"But they sleep like the dead on weekends. So --"
"-- no worry about them suddenly sticking their heads in here in the next fifteen minutes, right."
"So, surprised, but comfortable, huh?"
"Surprisingly comfortable," offered Oliver with a small grin. "I've always thought it would be weird to share a bed with someone -- I've never had to, not having any brothers or anything."
"I'd have to say this is not the same as waking up with one of my brothers," said Percy. "Not that I've had to share with any of them recently. I used to get stuck with Ron when we had company; woke up black and blue, he was such a restless sleeper. Better than Charlie, though -- he snored."
"It must be nice to have siblings," Oliver said wistfully.
"Sometimes. It's a pain, too, though -- trying to be as good as Bill and Charlie and set an example for the younger ones can be challenging."
"Don't see you trying to follow in Charlie's footsteps -- I don't think I've ever seen you play Quidditch at all."
"I'm the worst player on the Weasley family Quidditch team. No need to display my lack of skill around here. I decided long ago that Head Boy Bill was the big brother to imitate."
"Seeing as how all the Weasleys I've seen play have been pretty darn good, I'm willing to bet you're not as bad as you say you are."
"Too late to get me to try out for the house team now, Oliver," laughed Percy. "And I really am that bad, anyway. I can handle the flying well enough, but not the balls. I think it's the glasses. I've been wearing them since I was four."
Oliver sat up and took his watch off the shelf above the bed.
"What time is it?"
"Just turned five past." He put the watch on. Percy stretched and rolled on to his side, resting his head on one arm.
Oliver looked down at him for a moment, then lay down facing him. "You look different without your glasses," he remarked. "Can you see much without them?"
"At this distance I can see you quite clearly. Much further away, though, and you'd just be a darkhaired blur."
"I'm surprised you even got out of bed without them on, then."
"I was in a hurry -- you were making quite a racket. And it was dark, anyway; the glasses wouldn't have made much difference."
"It's a good thing you're in the next bed. I doubt Geoff or Havelock would've bothered to get up."
"If you'd got any louder I'd've woken up even if I was all the way across the room, I think. Are you that worried about the game?"
"Are you kidding? It's my last game here, my last chance to win the Cup. And it's not like it's going to be a walk in the park -- Slytherin are very strong, and they're ahead to start with, so we --" He broke off as Percy put a hand on his shoulder.
"Okay, you are that worried. I'm sorry I brought it up."
"It's okay. I had, what, fifteen minutes without butterflies? That's better than most game days." Oliver closed his eyes.
Percy ran his hand down Oliver's arm and grasped his hand briefly. Letting go, he said, "Charlie showed me a cure for butterflies in the stomach once; I could try it on you, if you like."
"Are you sure it'll work?"
"It worked on me." Oliver's eyes were still closed, but Percy fought the grin that was trying to break out on his face anyway.
"Okay, then, go ahead."
"The theory, as I understand it, is that you don't notice the butterflies inside your stomach if you're distracted by tickling outside your stomach," said Percy, attacking with both hands as he said the word 'tickling'.
Oliver yelped in surprise, but quickly fought back, grabbing a pillow to defend himself with while attempting to tickle Percy with his other hand. Percy's pillow was soon brought into play as well, and the bedclothes were flung off as the battle ranged over the surface of the bed, both of them desperately attempting to keep things quiet enough not to wake their dorm mates.
Percy had more practice at this sort of horseplay, but Oliver was stronger, and before long had possession of both pillows, which he seemed to feel made him the winner. He held them up, one in each hand -- and was promptly toppled over as Percy attacked his unguarded ribs again. The pillows were tossed aside in the renewed skirmish, which ended with Percy on his back and Oliver kneeling over him, pressing his wrists firmly into the mattress on either side of his head.
They stayed in that position for some time, staring at each other, as their breathing slowly returned to normal. Looking up at Oliver's flushed face and bright eyes, Percy decided his butterfly cure had worked. He was starting to feel some butterflies of his own about the way Oliver was gazing down at him, when the other boy turned his head to look at his watch.
"Twenty-five past! That was quite the distraction." He was grinning as he let go of Percy and got out of bed in a rush, grabbing his things and dashing off to the bathroom. Relieved and faintly regretful, Percy followed more slowly.
"I'm heading down to breakfast now," said Percy. Oliver was still making sure all his Quidditch gear was in his bag. "If you guys are going to make an entrance, I'd better make sure there are some people there to notice it."
"We weren't going for an entrance, just team solidarity," protested Oliver.
"Would you rather I tell people not to make a fuss?"
"I suppose a little fuss wouldn't hurt."
"Good. See you down there." Percy glanced at the closed hangings on the other two beds, then stepped over to where Oliver was standing and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Just --" he brushed a kiss across Oliver's lips. "Good luck."
"Thanks," said Oliver, putting a hand up to cover Percy's where it still rested on his shoulder for a moment. They were both smiling as Percy left for the Great Hall.
Sunday, 17th April
"Seven a.m., time to get up! Seven a.m. --"
"Finite!" As usual, Percy was wide awake by the time his hand reached the button to stop the alarm. He was not surprised to find himself in his own bed this morning. It had been after midnight when he'd gone to bed in the otherwise empty dorm, and the victory party had still been going strong when he'd left it. It wouldn't have surprised him if Oliver hadn't even made it to bed, but when he got up he saw that Oliver's curtains were closed now, so he must have returned to the dorm at some point. "He'll probably sleep half the day," thought Percy, heading off to shower. "Good thing he doesn't have to go to the prefects' meeting."
The meeting ran long; it was time for lunch by the time it ended, and Percy was sure it would have gone longer if people hadn't started to get hungry. He gathered up his parchments and decided to take them back to the dorm before going down to eat.
When he reached the dorm he found all three of his roommates there. Geoff Richards was on his way out of the door as Percy came in. Havelock Fletcher had clearly just returned from the shower. Oliver was nearly finished dressing.
"Morning, Percy," said Havelock.
"Afternoon, Havelock, Oliver," said Percy, sorting through his pile of parchments.
"Oh, well, if you're going to be picky about it, good afternoon, then." Havelock pulled on his clothes. "Coming to lunch? I'm starved."
"Don't wait for me, I want to sort these out first."
"Oliver? You coming?"
"You go ahead, I'm not quite ready. Wouldn't want you to starve on my account."
"See you down there, then." Havelock went out. Percy tidied his parchments and began putting them into his trunk as the door closed behind him.
"I missed you this morning," said Oliver quietly.
Percy finished putting the parchments away and closed the trunk. "You didn't have a nightmare."
"Too tired after the game, I suppose." Oliver hesitated. Then, as Percy stood up, he added, "I expect I'll start having nightmares about the NEWTs tonight."
Percy looked at him and smiled. "Come on, we're already late for lunch."