The first time Percival Graves meets Theseus Scamander is in a Hogwarts storage closet.
It’s two weeks into the new school year and, embarrassingly enough, he’s managed to get lost in the mazelike halls of his new school. He'd transferred from Ilvermorny to Hogwarts for his Seventh Year - his aunt had fallen ill over the summer, so he’d temporarily moved to London to help her out while she recovered.
Ever since being introduced at the Sorting Ceremony and being sorted into Ravenclaw, the whole school’s been curious about the new transfer student – which, unfortunately for Percival, translates into a large helping of unwanted attention. He’s already received six invitations to study sessions in the library and three invitations to the next Hogsmeade weekend, and on top of that, a third-year that he vaguely knows from sitting next to her once at dinner in the Great Hall had come up to him in the Ravenclaw common room, shyly thrust a chocolate frog at him and promptly fled after he’d bemusedly accepted the gift.
It’s while hurrying down a couple of long corridors in an attempt to shake off Sally, his House Quidditch captain, who’s taken to following him around and insisting that he try out for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team – Percival has no interest in Quidditch whatsoever – that he realizes he’s lost. He casts a quick, hunted glance over his shoulder, hoping he can find his way back to his common room before Sally catches up with him.
Hearing footsteps from around the corner, Percival flinches and hastily wrenches the nearest door open, flinging himself through it and shutting it behind him.
He’s so busy listening for whether Sally’s still giving chase that it takes him a moment to realize that he’s in some kind of walk-in storage closet – albeit a fairly large one – and that he’s not alone.
A slight sound behind him makes him spin around. A boy around his age is sitting cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, a quill in one hand, staring up at Percival in surprise. He’s wearing the yellow and black robes of Hufflepuff House, a prefect badge pinned neatly on the left side, and there’s a small, low table in front of him, on which is spread a stack of books and parchment.
Percival glances around at the rest of the storage closet, shelves of quills and bottles of ink and piles of parchment stacked neatly on the shelves around him, then looks back down at the other boy with mild incredulity.
“What’re you doing in here?” the Hufflepuff asks Percival curiously.
“I’m lost,” Percival tells him. “What’s your excuse?”
“Right, you’re the new student!” The other boy grins brightly at him and gets gracefully to his feet, straightening his robes and running one hand through his already tousled reddish-brown hair. He holds his other hand out to Percival. “Welcome to Hogwarts. I’m Theseus Scamander.”
“Percival Graves,” says Percival, shaking the proffered hand.
“And to answer your question,” Theseus says, gesturing at the table at his feet, “I’m doing my Transfiguration homework.”
“In a…closet?” Percival asks doubtfully.
“Why not?” Theseus shrugs. “It’s quiet in here,” he adds serenely.
“It’s a little small, isn’t it?” Percival says. With all the shelves of school supplies around them, there’s barely enough space for Theseus and his makeshift desk; with Percival in there too, it’s a very tight fit.
“Trade-offs,” Theseus says cheerfully. “You try writing a two-foot-long essay on Re-Materialization while some second-year in your common room’s assaulting your eardrums with a muggle musical instrument he discovered over the summer.”
Percival blinks at him, and mentally translates ‘Muggle’ to ‘No-Maj’. “Musical instrument?” he asks cautiously.
“It’s called a ‘recorder’, apparently,” Theseus says with a sigh. “And I’m sure Gareth doesn’t actually mean to make it sound like the screams of a dying kneazle, but let’s just say that I’ve never seen the Hufflepuff common room quite this empty before.”
Percival laughs. “Well, you seem to have made quite a comfortable spot for yourself here,” he says, gesturing at the cushion and the low table.
“It’s not bad,” Theseus agrees. “And I even got to practice my Transfiguration skills.” He waves a hand at his cushion and desk.
“What’d you Transfigure them from?”
Theseus points at the shelves. “Not like anyone’s going to miss a few books or quills, of the hundreds in here.”
Percival laughs. “I suppose not,” he says. “Well, I’ll leave you to it, then.”
“Okay,” Theseus says cheerfully. “Nice meeting you!”
“Likewise,” Percival says. He hesitates, then clears his throat and tries not to look sheepish. “Oh, and…you couldn’t, by any chance, give me directions to Ravenclaw Tower, could you?”
Theseus laughs warmly. “We’re quite near it, actually. Out the door, left round the corner and straight down the hall.”
Percival sighs. Theseus pats his arm consolingly. “You’ll find your way around eventually,” he says.
The next time Percival meets Theseus is in the library, where he runs into the other boy – quite literally – while juggling a pile of textbooks in one arm and trying to shove his wand into his pocket with his other hand, all while desperately attempting to escape a gaggle of his latest admirers.
Percival curses as his textbooks almost slip from his grasp, only to have Theseus reach out and rescue his books just before they hit the floor. Theseus’s gaze flits from the books, to Percival, to the small group of girls trailing behind Percival, and he grins, none-too-subtly stifling a laugh. Percival makes a face at him.
“Help me,” he mouths silently at Theseus.
The only response he receives is a slight quirk of Theseus’s lips, but after a moment, Theseus claps him on the shoulder with his free hand. “Good thing I finally found you,” he says. “C’mon, we’re going to be late.”
“What?” Percival says, but Theseus has already turned and walked off, a couple of Percival’s textbooks still under one arm. Percival grumbles under his breath, then turns to face the girls behind him.
“So sorry,” he says insincerely. “I have to run.” He hurries off after Theseus without waiting for a reply.
“Where are we going?” he demands when he catches up with Theseus. The other boy is a few inches taller than Percival, which, coupled with his quick strides, means that Percival, much to his annoyance, has to scurry to keep up with him.
“Duelling club,” says Theseus cheerily, handing Percival’s textbooks back to him.
“Well, it’s not an official Hogwarts club or anything,” Theseus amends, leading Percival up a staircase then down a narrow corridor. “It’s just a few of us students who, well, wanted to practice duelling.” He stops in front of a nondescript door and opens it, stepping into what appears to be an unused classroom. Five other students – three boys and two girls – are lounging in the room, perched on various chairs and desks, and they eye Percival curiously as he follows Theseus into the room.
“Hey, it’s the new guy!” says one of the boys. He hops off the desk he’s sitting on and holds out a hand to Percival. “Percival, right? I’m Samuel Greene.”
After the introductions have been made, one of the girls – a Ravenclaw a year below Percival – grins at Theseus. “So…found another unsuspecting victim, did you?”
She turns to Percival, who raises a wary eyebrow. “Theseus’s the best of all of us by far,” she says in explanation. “He recruited all of us into his duelling club just so he could have people to beat up.”
“That’s not true!” Theseus protests.
Percival makes a show of looking Theseus up and down. “I think I can take him,” he says, and smirks slightly as Theseus pouts at him.
“Ooh, this is going to be good,” Samuel says gleefully, rubbing his hands together.
Percival snorts. He efficiently sheds his outer robes, laying them carefully over the back of a chair, cracks his knuckles then readies himself, wand held out in front of him. “Do your worst, Scamander.”
The third time Percival runs into Theseus, he has to admit – if only to himself – that it’s deliberate, this time. He knows Theseus has Charms just about the time Percival has to head to Transfigurations – Theseus had mentioned it the last time they’d talked – so their classrooms will be next to each other.
Percival heads over to his next class just a few minutes earlier than usual, and sure enough, Theseus is leaning on the wall by the door to the Charms classroom, idly flipping through a book. He smiles brightly when he sees Percival, lifting one hand in a friendly wave.
After his first couple of encounters with Theseus, Percival’s had to admit to himself that he’s more than a little intrigued by the sixth-year Hufflepuff with the tousled hair and cheeky smile – especially after the other boy had proven to be an extremely tough duelling opponent.
Percival's had some duelling lessons back at Ilvermorny, but from what he’s seen so far, Hogwarts doesn’t provide its students with any formal training in duelling. He wonders how Theseus got so good at it.
“My Dad’s an Auror,” Theseus says when Percival asks. The previous Charms class has just ended, and fifth-year Gryffindors and Slytherins are spilling out of the classroom, chattering loudly to each other. Percival has to lean a little closer to Theseus to hear what the other boy is saying. “He’s been training me and my brother in duelling for years. My little brother – Newt – he hates it.” Theseus laughs fondly. “He just wants to spend all his time playing with Mum’s hippogriffs.”
“You’ve obviously taken to it, though,” Percival says dryly. “Even started a club and everything.”
“I’m going to apply to the Auror training program after Hogwarts,” Theseus tells him. He sneaks a sideways look at Percival and grins. “Wore you out with our duel last week, did I?” he asks archly.
“Not bloody likely,” Percival shoots back immediately. “I could go all day. If you’re up for it.”
Theseus immediately perks up. “You’re on,” he says happily. “I’ll put it on next week’s club schedule.”
“You’re a maniac,” Percival says sadly. “I mean, I’m obviously better at duelling, but you get credit for sheer tenacity.”
“In your dreams. Next week,” Theseus says with immense glee, “your arse is mine.”
There’s a soft gasp from his other side, and Percival turns to see a scandalized-looking Hufflepuff staring at him and Theseus with her mouth hanging open. He abruptly realizes how Theseus’s words would sound to someone who’d just walked into the middle of their conversation.
His friend is apparently thinking the same thing. “We were talking about duelling,” Theseus says to the girl quickly, his cheeks flushing a bright pink.
Percival snickers softly. Theseus smacks him on the arm, face still red.
After that, Percival gives up any pretense of not actively seeking out Theseus Scamander’s company. The two of them become pretty much inseparable: they don’t have any classes together, of course, since they’re in different years, but outside of classes, they’re together almost all the time. Both of them are prefects – Percival had been a prefect at Ilvermorny, and Hogwarts had honored his appointment – so they sometimes patrol together, and after classes, they usually meet in the library to study.
Percival accompanies Theseus to Hogsmeade on the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year. He hadn’t been particularly interested in going, initially – the prospect of getting some peace and quiet while half the school was out had been an appealing one – but Theseus had insisted they go, and when Theseus wants something, Percival has discovered that he usually gives in.
And now, sitting in a booth in the dark, smoky interior of The Three Broomsticks, a pint of butterbeer in front of him and Theseus opposite him, mile-long legs stretched out under the table and foot knocking against Percival’s, he finds that he doesn’t regret it.
They’re leaning across the table, heads bent together and Theseus is laughing, telling Percival about how someone in his class had almost caused a crisis in Herbology by accidentally knocking over a potted Mandrake – fortunately, it had been a young plant and its screams when it’d fallen out of its pot had only resulted in three people in the class fainting – when Percival realizes that he’s been concentrating more on Theseus’s smile than the story he’s telling.
He’s still trying to process this, ten percent of his attention on Theseus’s story and the other ninety percent occupied with freaking out about somehow managing to fall for his best friend without noticing he was doing so, when the door to The Three Broomsticks swings open.
Out of the corner of his eye, Percival sees a small group of the students from Theseus’s duelling club enter the inn, chattering cheerily to each other. Much to his consternation, the first, brief thought that flits through his mind is that he hopes they don’t see him and Theseus, doesn’t want them to come over because he’s actually…really enjoying this afternoon alone with the other boy.
“Ugh.” Exasperated with himself, Percival scrubs his hands roughly over his face, almost knocking his butterbeer off the table with his elbow.
Theseus deftly rescues the butterbeer, then turns an odd look on him. “Percy,” he says. “Are you all right?”
“No.” Percival buries his face in his hands. “No, I’m not.”
“Hey.” Theseus sounds worried now, reaching across the table to tug at Percival’s arm, trying to uncover his face. “What’s wrong?”
Percival bats irritably at Theseus, still not quite able to look up at his friend. “Go away,” he grumbles. “I’m having a crisis.”
“Oh, for – ” Theseus sounds exasperated, and when Percival takes a peek at the other boy, Theseus is rolling his eyes, grinning at him good-naturedly. “What’re you fretting about this time? Did you forget to submit that Potions essay?”
“Potions essay?” Percival demands, eyes widening. “What – oh, that’s due next week, you ass.”
Theseus outright laughs at him. “Should’ve seen your face,” he says, giggling.
Percival scowls halfheartedly at him. Theseus really does have a very nice smile, he thinks with immense vexation.
“Oh, hey, look who’s here!” Theseus says, finally spotting their friends. He lifts his hand to wave them over. “Sam! Gina! Over here!”
Percival nods a greeting to the other students as they come over to join him and Theseus in their booth, then slouches gratefully back into his seat to have his crisis in peace while the cause of his crisis is otherwise distracted by their friends.
The following week, Theseus makes good on his promise – or perhaps it was a threat, Percival isn’t quite sure – to duel only Percival during their duelling club meeting. They’re on their third duel now, each of them having won one of the previous two rounds, and the rest of the club has long since given up on them and left to go to their classes.
Percival’s concentration slips for one costly second and his Protego charm is just a hair too slow to block Theseus’s next spell, which catches him on the side of his body – not enough to cause any actual permanent damage, but oh, it still hurts. He hisses in pain, falling to his knees.
“Percy?” Theseus instantly goes pale, lowering his wand and rushing over to Percival’s side gratifyingly quickly.
Focusing through the pain, Percival manages to cast a Body-Bind curse – it’s a laughably amateur move but it somehow does the trick anyway, catching Theseus off-guard. Even Petrified, Theseus’s momentum carries him forward and he tumbles straight at Percival, sending them both sprawling.
Percival finds himself flat on his back with an armful of Theseus’s rigid body, soft hair tickling his nose. Hurriedly, he rolls them both over so that Theseus is on his back, blinking up at Percival, then, sitting up so that he’s straddling Theseus's lap, he quickly casts the counter-spell.
Theseus stares up at him, cheeks gone a little pink.
“Nicely done,” he says.
“Not really,” Percival says, still a little breathless – yes, he’s tired, dueling Theseus is exhausting, his inability to breathe has nothing whatsoever to do with the sight of the slender, flushed boy lying beneath him, staring up at him with wide eyes and parted lips.
Percival clears his throat. “It was sloppy of me. Also, don’t let yourself get caught by a Body-Bind spell again, that’s just embarrassing.”
“Right,” Theseus says, sounding kind of strangled. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Theseus makes no move to get up. Percival, for his part, gets a tad distracted by the way Theseus’s freckles stand out when he’s all flushed and pink, and he can’t help but stare a little.
Theseus clears his throat nervously. “Percy,” he says. “You’re heavy.”
“Oh!” Percival scrambles off Theseus with alacrity and gets to his feet, awkwardly holding out a hand to help the other boy up. “Right. Sorry.”
After Percival hauls Theseus to his feet, both boys are looking everywhere but at each other.
“I should, er,” says Percival. He waves a hand vaguely at the door.
“Right, right,” Theseus says quickly. He laughs nervously, running a hand through his already-tousled hair and making it stick up even more. “Me too. I’ll, uh, see you later?”
Percival nods and hurries back to the Ravenclaw common room. The memory of Theseus’s warm, lithe body all pressed up against his doesn’t leave him for the rest of the day.
That evening, Theseus and Percival’s prefect duties bring them to the Astronomy Tower to patrol. Percival looks around him curiously as they reach the top of tower; he’s only had a couple of Astronomy lessons up here, so he’s never had much time to explore the area.
It turns out that there’s nothing for them to do there, anyway: the tower is deserted, him and Theseus the only people there.
When he looks over at Theseus, his friend is watching him, mouth turned up in a small, fond smile. The descent back down to the base of the tower is made mostly in a comfortable silence.
“You have no idea how many couples I’ve caught here,” Theseus says as they reach the bottom of the stairs. He grins. “It’s a notorious makeout spot, you know.” He blinks at Percival, looking kind of hopeful, and Percival’s heart jumps into his throat.
Theseus chews on his lower lip, looking nervous now, and Percival’s eyes drop irresistibly to Theseus’s mouth. “Theseus,” he says hesitantly. "I – ”
The sound of footsteps brings them up short. Theseus makes a frustrated sound. “I know we have a legitimate reason for being out here this late,” he grouses. “But I’m really not in the mood to talk to a professor right now.”
He grabs Percival’s hand and pulls Percival with him as he makes a run for it. Smiling wryly, Percival lets himself be tugged along.
They end up back in the storage closet where Percival first met Theseus, because apparently Theseus is weirdly fond of this closet. Percival shuts the door behind him and looks around at the shelves of quills and parchments. Oddly enough, he feels rather at home in here.
“So,” Theseus begins hopefully. “You were, um, saying something?”
“Nothing important,” Percival says blandly.
Theseus’s face falls. “Oh,” he says.
Percival scoots a little closer to Theseus. He raises a hand to cup the other boy’s jaw, and Theseus’s eyes go very wide.
“May I?” Percival says.
“I’ll hex you if you don’t,” Theseus growls, and lunges at him, pressing their mouths together.
Percival grunts as his back slams into the closet door; the doorknob is digging painfully into his back and there’s a quill under his shoe, but Theseus is in his arms, hands fisted in his robes and mouth wet and hot against his, and as Theseus’s hands start wandering beneath his robes, Percival moans against his best friend’s mouth and decides that it’s shaping up to be a great year.