The Sugar Quill
Author: Deborah Peters  Story: Illusion Charms  Chapter: Default
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Illusion Charms

Illusion Charms

Deborah Peters

 

 

            “Weasley.”

            Percy’s eyes left the scroll in front of him and traveled upward to meet the gaze of the muscular boy standing across the table.  “Yes?” Percy asked, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses.

            “A word?” the other boy asked him.  Percy hesitated a moment, but when Oliver cleared his throat, anxiously, Percy stacked his scrolls, books, and quill together, tucked them under his arm, and followed his roommate out of the library.

            When they had walked a sufficient distance down the hallway, Percy asked, “What’s troubling you, Oliver?”

            “Wait, Weasley,” Oliver said, quickening his pace.

            “Where are we going?” asked Percy, hurrying to catch up.

            “The lake.”

            The boys walked across the grounds in silence.  When they reached the shore of the lake, Oliver gestured rather violently for Percy to sit down under a tree.  Percy did so while dropping his books to the ground, and, looking up at his friend with a nervous smile, asked, “What is this about, Oliver?”

            Oliver, still standing, leaned back against the tree trunk.  “You know.”

            Percy gave a sort of half-laugh.  “I’m afraid I’m not exactly sure.”

            Oliver was gazing off into the distance, looking at someplace beyond the Quidditch pitch.  “Last night, Weasley.  After the match.”

            “What, when you tried to drown yourself in the shower?”

            “You’re not funny, Weasley.”

            “I am perfectly aware of that, Oliver.”

            “I mean when I got back to our dormitory.”

            “Look,” said Percy, “It’s perfectly understandable that you were upset, and I’ll say again that it’s not your fault the team lost.  Your seeker was in hospital.  You did the best you could.  I told you that last night.”

            “Yes, you certainly were comforting,” Oliver almost sneered.

            “Now what do you mean by that, exactly?”

            “I mean that you certainly jumped at the chance to—“

“Oh, is that what this is about?” Percy snapped.  “Oh, lovely.”

            “Bloody hell, Weasley, I want to know what you think gave you the right to assume that I—“ Oliver seemed to be at a loss for words, “—that we—“

            “Well, Oliver, I don’t know what I was thinking, except that you, my friend, were visibly upset, and that I should do something to help.”

            Oliver was almost shouting down at Percy.  “So, what, you decided to—“

            “You didn’t object at the time, if you will recall,” Percy cut him off, furious.  “In fact, I’d say you were the one who wanted to take my damn trousers off and I was the one who said that you were far too upset to know what you were—“

            “That doesn’t change the fact that you kissed me, Weasley, and keep your voice down!  Do you want the whole school to know that Gryffindor’s Prefect and Gryffindor’s Quidditch captain had a little snogging session last night?” Oliver hissed.

            Percy stared at him for a moment before slowly rising to his feet.  “That’s what you wanted to talk about.”

            “What?”

            “You don’t give a damn about how I feel about this.  You couldn’t care less,” Percy whispered fiercely.  “You just don’t want anybody to know that Oliver Wood, ladies’ man, is actually a bloody queer boy-fancying fairy.”

            In what seemed like the next second, Percy was sprawled on the ground, his hand pressed to his face and his glasses askew, and Oliver was looking dumbfoundedly from his own hand down at Percy.

            “Oh, Percy,” Oliver said when he found his voice, “I didn’t—I mean—oh, bloody hell, I—“

            “Forget it, Wood,” Percy said, struggling to a sitting position.

            “No, I shouldn’t have—oh, damn, Percy!”

            An angry purple bruise was already spreading across Percy’s pale cheekbone.  Oliver crouched down next to the slender boy and lifted his fingers to lightly touch Percy’s injured face.  Percy shuddered involuntarily and pulled away.  Oliver let his hand drop into his own lap.  “I really am sorry, Percy.”

            Percy swallowed.  “Forget it, Wood,” he said again.  “And don’t worry, your secret is safe.  I won’t tell anyone.  We’ll be seventh-years next year, and I want to be Head Boy, don’t I?”

            “Then you don’t—you don’t mind?”

            “Of course not.  You didn’t think I actually—“

            Oliver laughed weakly.  “Of course not.  It was just—“

            “—a mistake—“

            “—one of those things—“

            “—a fluke—“

            “—a weird accident,” Oliver finished.  “It’s not like either of us—“

            “Of course not.”

            “Well, I’m glad that’s settled,” Oliver said lamely.  “Now I need to take you to the infirmary.”

            “What happened to me?” Percy asked.

            “I hit you.”

            “You realize you’d probably get detention if we told them that?”

            “I’d deserve it,” Oliver said darkly, standing and pulling Percy to his feet.  Letting his hand linger on Percy’s shoulder for one more moment, Oliver looked into the gray eyes behind the horn-rimmed frames and said, “I’m truly sorry, Percy.”

            “So am I, Oliver,” Percy answered.  He then pulled away abruptly, saying, “Come on, Wood, let’s go get my face fixed.  I knew I shouldn’t have let you talk me into helping you study for Charms.”

            “Whatever, Weasley.  It’s not my fault you don’t know how to get out of the way fast enough.”  After a moment, he added, “Percy?  What exactly were we studying?”

            Percy was silent for a moment, before quietly saying, “Illusion charms, Oliver.”

//
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