The two men continued to look at each other silently, surrounded by the food that they were still consuming, the second and third empty bottles of Firewhiskey, the fourth that they had just opened, the various empty packs of cigarettes that they had gone through, coffee cups, wands, empty Chinese containers and the music that was still playing in the background.
Percy knew it was imperative that he keep his secret from his old friends, but especially this one. No one could possibly be more offended by his latest epiphany than Oliver. Perhaps he should just start writing letters to people that they never saw, again. That would be easier. He could live in secrecy and still feel as if he had told someone.
Oliver was musing in his own corner of the carpet in front of the fire, stretched out against the coffee table as he ate. He was thinking on what would make Percy so desperate to keep his secret, ‘I wonder why he won’t just tell me that he isn’t interested in women anymore? I was the only one who didn’t abandon or ignore him while he was being such a prat to his family, and I stuck by him at Hogwarts, when he went on his rampage… Could he still be afraid that I would disown him? Or is it something deeper than that, is he afraid of losing face at work, losing his job with the Ministry entirely? ’ but now matter what Oliver considered, he couldn’t find the reason that his friend would be so afraid to tell him the most important decision he had ever made.
Finally, Oliver gave up trying to understand it, and proceeded to go with the direct nudging approach, saying, “You know, back then… when we were still at school, I used to have a bit of a thing for you. I used to wonder what would happen, and if you knew what was going through my head when no one else was around us. It seems so silly now, when we’re in the most horrid conflict the Wizarding World has seen, but back then, I lived in a sort of terror that you would figure it out and tear me down.”
Percy snapped his head up and looked quite startled as Oliver finished his speech. He lit another cigarette and took a large gulp of his Firewhiskey, hoping that it looked a bit more subtle than it felt to him. He couldn’t say anything at all for some moments, and he felt a lump in his throat that must have been roughly the size of the entire city of London. When he finally felt he could speak without betraying what was racing through his mind he said, “As if I were ever the type who could tear you, or anyone at all, down. And anyway, Wood, don’t poke fun at me, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. You, having a thing for me. In school. Sure. Bloody liar. At least lie well if you’re going to lie to me!”
Oliver smirked to himself a little, “I was having a go at forcing you to tell me the secret that you’re guarding so closely to yourself, Perc. What’s this ‘Wood’ bit again? Honestly, it’s like we don’t even know each other, if one were to look at how you talk. Besides… who said I was telling a lie, Perc? Everything I said, I meant. I would not joke about that. Why would you ever think that I would?” he inquired.
Percy just stared at him. He couldn’t say anything, and he was getting angry. Finally, he spat out, “This isn’t funny anymore, Oliver. You are the only person laughing here. Fine, you figured out my secret. Yes, I like blokes for more than mates. I’m gay, alright? There. I admit it. Are you happy now? I didn’t want to tell you and you forced me to and I don’t know what I will do now if it gets out, damn you to the bloody depths of Hell. And now, if you do not mind ever so much, I’ll be taking some of the food and leaving. Thank you for the drinks and the company, such as it were. I’ll deal with my flatmate, he will just have to suffer,” Percy was gathering half of the remaining food into a bag, pocketing his latest pack of cigarettes, and gulping down his drink and walking towards the door as he spat his final words over his shoulder, “and I swear on everything that I hold dear, if you let this get back to the Minister, I will make sure that every dirty little secret you have somehow finds it’s way to the press. I’m sure the Prophet would love to get ahold of the news that a famous Quidditch player likes boys. They would have a field day. You would never get them away from your door!” he exclaimed, halfway to the door.
Oliver may have been faster on his broom, but he was still very quick on his feet, and he rushed up behind Percy, relocated the bag from his hand onto the breakfast table, spun him around just as he reached for the handle on the door, and pressed him up against it in one swift motion. Percy blinked rapidly and shook his head a bit, then stared at his friend. Oliver smirked at him, “Are you quite ready to listen to reason, now, Perc?” he asked.
Percy nodded mutely, but made no other move. He didn’t even indicate any inclination to run or avoid this little chat.
Oliver smiled in a way that somehow seemed dangerous and led his friend back to the lounging room. Percy sat with his back against the coffee table and waited for the worst that he knew was coming, the inevitable announcement that it had all been a joke, as he had thought. And he waited for the condemnation and the threats and the disownment he knew was coming.
Oliver said, “Now, will you sit here and listen to what I have to say, and try to see reason for just a few moments? I assure you, it won’t take long if you listen. Are you willing to lend me that much of your time?”
Percy nodded again, without a word.
Oliver took a deep breath and prepared to begin what he was sure was going to be a long, slow, painful explanation. Although he was doubtful that it would be more painful and hurtful than the discussion which would follow it.