Percy dreaded Sundays.
Every week, since the war ended, the whole Weasley clan came together at the Burrow for Sunday lunch. Mum, Dad, Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny and himself, almost always accompanied by Fleur, Angelina, Hermione and Harry, sat down for a roast dinner together; something of a sign of peace, after all the fighting.
But it wasn't that that Percy dreaded.
Percy dreaded the dates that his mother would arrange to accompany Charlie, George and himself, the three bachelors of the family.
"If you'd just settle down with a nice girl, Percy- like Ruth, for instance! Such a lovely girl- and very pretty, too- honesty, I don't know why you boys object so much-" she'd lecture, talking ten to the dozen about Ruth, or Julie, or Jane, or Millie, or Isobel, or Diana, or Catherine, or whoever she'd found for him that week.
It was always a different girl.
Percy had no idea where she found them, and he didn't think he wanted to know. He hadn't yet mustered the courage to tell her he'd known he was a flaming homosexual since watching Oliver Wood do shirtless press-ups in their dormitory in third year, but maybe it was for the best.
She was so intent on grandchildren, he didn't know how she'd react.
Charlie and George objected just as much to these dates, though likely not because they were gay.
"Honesty," Charlie would say, "I don't know how she convinces the poor girls,"
"Probably hexes them," George would mutter darkly.
"Remind me never to explain what an arranged marriage is, she'd have a field day,"
That particular Sunday, Percy was late.
"Shit, shit, Merlin's shitting beard, I'm so late- where's my other shoe?" He muttered to himself as he hopped round his flat, trying desperately not to get mud on the carpet.
He'd been delayed by the sudden arrival of urgent forms regarding an unlicensed magic carpet that had been charmed so that it was constantly on fire, and had caused nasty burns to several terrified birds, and singed the top of one lady's hat.
He took one last look at his desk, to ensure he really had sent of that blasted form, and not just imagined it, before cramming on his other shoe and dissapparating.
Lunch was almost ready when he arrived.
"Percy! I was beginning to think you weren't going to show up!" Charlie walked over to him quickly, and, in a low voice, added, "You'd better watch out, your date is mental. She keeps banging on about 'British values', and she won't look Angelina in the eye. Even Mum looks like she regrets inviting her,"
"Oh, Merlin," Percy sighed. "What about yours?"
"Quiet, but normal, thank God. George got out of it by inviting a friend, the lucky bastard. Convinced Mum it would be rude to invite both."
"Bugger. We should have done that,"
"Boys!" Molly's head poked out of the kitchen window, "Come in and help set the table- and meet your date, Percy,"
"Good luck," Charlie winked, and they both headed inside.
Percy like to think he'd changed since the war. He'd had something of an epiphany during the battle of Hogwarts, and had vowed to be less of a pompous git, as the twins put it. Though he still loved his work, and thought it of the utmost importance, he now put friends and family as a priority, and tried to join in with them as often as possible- though he'd drawn the line at Bill's suggestions of matching tattoos. He had, in short, put his past behind him.
But, looking at his date, he felt like the past had come back to haunt him; a previous self, dressed in the body of a woman. But racist.
"Victoria Smithely," she had informed him, shaking his hand briskly.
"Smithely, not Smithly, and you are late. My mother always taught me that tardiness was rude, but I suppose each family has their own... customs."
"How do you do," he said, with a very forced smile. "I apologise for my lateness, there was an unavoidable matter I had to attend to,"
"There's no such thing as unavoidable." She snapped.
How he wished that were true.
"I ought to help set the table. If you'll excuse me,"
He walked quickly to the kitchen, praying she couldn't stop his escape if he left fast enough, and opened the cutlery draw.
Percy nearly jumped out of his skin. Standing just a few feet away was Oliver Wood, clutching an armful of assorted crockery.
He felt his ears burn bright red.
"Oliver. What are you doing here?"
Percy still felt dizzy when he looked at Oliver. At his broad shoulders, his short, brown hair, his pink lips.
His mind flooded with memories of those lips, stealing kisses after dark, in the prefect's bathroom, or quidditch changing rooms, Oliver tasting slightly salty with sweat still left over from the match.
But they'd wanted different things, and they'd gone their separate ways.
"George invited me, something about stopping a date?" He glanced at Victoria, and raised an eyebrow. "Is that yours?"
"It wasn't my idea," Percy said quickly, "Mum tries to set us up every Sunday,"
"I thought she didn't seem like your, uh, type,"
"Get a move on, dears, the food'll get cold!" Molly chastised them, hurrying into the kitchen in search of the gravy boat.
Oliver grinned at him again, and he felt just a little more light headed than before.
He hoped his mum hadn't seen that.
But Molly was too busy searching the cupboards to notice.
"Well, tuck in everyone!"
"Ah hem!" Victoria cleared her throat loudly, causing everyone to look at her, pausing mid way to various bowls of vegetables and meat.
"Perhaps we should say grace first?"
Molly smiled, but her eyes betrayed her true feelings.
"Of course, Victoria," she said curtly, "Would you like to do the honours?"
Percy sat between Victoria and Oliver, an arrangement which he had mixed feelings about. There were moments when Victoria spoke, like just then, that made him want to be anywhere else, but then he'd turn to share a grin with Oliver, and suddenly the seating arrangement didn't seem so bad after all.
It was as Victoria was telling him, in excruciating detail, about her third family skiing trip to Andorra, that Percy felt something touch his foot under the table.
He assumed Oliver must have lightly kicked him by accident, until he felt it again, more deliberate this time.
He moved his foot to meet Oliver's, and they continued this flirtatious back and forth, Percy's heart leaping with every touch, as Victoria told more bland stories of expensive trips, throwing in the occasional dig at the Weasleys.
Percy barely even cared. He admonished himself inwardly, for feeling like some kind of giggly school boy, instead of the serious professional he was, but couldn't deny that he has missed the feeling.
If Percy truly had changed, maybe he wouldn't have to be so alone anymore.
"Are you even listening to me?"
He snapped back to reality.
"Of course, Victoria,"
"Well then, what do you think?"
Oh shit. He hadn't heard a single word she'd said. He'd just have to make something up.
"I, uh, agree with you,"
Victoria beamed, and Percy felt amazed that he'd somehow said the right thing.
"It's nice to finally have someone else understand that that sort just shouldn't be tolerated in this country,"
Oh, Merlin's saggy bollocks, what had he agreed to?
Percy noticed everyone else was looking at him.
Oliver had taken his foot back.
"Do you really think that, Perce?", Bill asked, a look on his face of disgust, with a tinge of hurt.
"Um," Fuck, he'd really put his foot in it. And he didn't even know how. "What I meant was- was that, um," Shit, shit, shit. "I agree that they are- that they are in this country, but not that they shouldn't be. In this country."
Victoria looked irritated, and a little bewildered.
"Well, what about other countries?"
"Uh, they're fine there, too."
The rest of his family looked much less hostile, but not entirely convinced.
"Who exactly are 'they', Percy?" Asked Fred, feigning innocence. The bastard. He knew Percy hadn't been listening.
"Uh," He swallowed. "Well-"
He was cut off by a jab to the arm, and something falling onto his lap. He looked down, and saw that Oliver had written:
"She's talking about you, idiot,"
On a napkin.
It clicked in Percy's brain.
Oliver put his head in his hands.
"I was talking," Victoria said, bristling, "About red heads. They're not native to Britain, you know,"
Percy felt himself turn scarlet.
"Mother always said gingers couldn't listen. Too selfish."
"Right," Molly stood up. "Out. Now, Victoria. You came in here, insulted my family, ruined our lunch and made poor Percy suffer mercilessly with your boring stories and bigotry! Get out of my house!"
Victoria stood, sniffed haughtily, and stomped out, without saying a word.
There was silence for a moment.
"Well, thank fuck that's over,"
"Language, George!" Scolded Molly, "But you're quite right dear. Ghastly woman."
It was after lunch, and Percy was sitting by himself in his childhood bedroom. The others were playing exploding snap downstairs, but he'd excused himself.
He needed to be somewhere where he couldn't put his foot in his mouth for a little while.
"You know, you could almost say that you came out,"
Oliver was standing in the doorway, smirking.
"Very funny," Percy replied, as Wood came to sit next to him on the bed, "I'm such an idiot," he groaned.
"Don't be stupid," Oliver said, "The only idiot was Victoria. Where did Molly find her?"
"God knows. She seems to have an endless supply of single young women at her disposal,"
Percy could smell him at this distance, peppermint shampoo, washing powder, and something uniquely Oliver clouding his nose, and making him giddy.
"You know," Wood said, drawing closer, and making Percy's heart leap, "There's more to life than women,"
"Oh?" They were mere inches apart. "Like what?"
"Like this," he said, and kissed him.
Percy's brain felt like it was on fire. God, he'd missed this. It was just him and Oliver, and no one else in the world.
His lips felt just the same as they used to, and suddenly the present melted away, and he was back in his dormitory in sixth year, kissing Oliver for the first time all over again, giddy and nervous and in love.
They sprang apart, blushing, to see Fred and George in the doorway, smirking.
"We always knew you had a stick up your arse, Perce,"
"We just didn't realise that stick was made out of Wood,"