Title: A Public Demonstration.
Archiving: just ask.
Date: February 2004.
Summary: It's not Percy's fault--he was forced, I tell you, forced to attend that Quidditch match. Percy/Oliver.
Notes: For Tess and Merin, two of the sweetest gals in Tinseltown.
(For some reason I just love the idea of Harry as the stereotypical brash, no-nonsense, overly profane newspaper editor bullying Percy around. Hee. Perhaps he will make an appearance again sometime.)
"No buts, Percy," grinned Harry. "The ministry thinks you'd be perfect."
"But I've never been to a Quidditch game in my life!"
"Relax," said Harry, sitting down on the front of his desk and crossing his legs in front of him. "It'll be a piece of cake. You can have my box at the stadium, after the Cannons have won--"
"--If, if they win," said Percy, feeling certain that he knew that much about Quidditch.
"Oh. Right," said Harry off-handedly, in a way that didn't at all make Percy wonder if Harry had been participating in highly illegal game-rigging, oh, no, because there were some things that Percy had learned during his time at the Ministry, and one of them was that you didn't ask questions where Harry Potter was concerned, even if he was a spoiled brat who thought it a right and proper thing to send Percy out among a bunch of hideously dirty, sweaty, well-pectoraled men, and saw nothing wrong with putting him into contact with--with professional athletes, all in the name of Ministry protocol, and--
Percy cleared his throat and straightened his tie.
"It won't be that bad," said Harry. "You'll have Colin with you after all as staff photographer, and--"
"Why can't you do it?" said Percy. "You're the quidditch star! It's only fitting!"
"I am going to be on my honeymoon," smirked Harry, with that smug, impertinent, soon-to-be-newlywed gleam in his eye. "Besides, it'll be a great moment for you. Vastly important and all that. You'll get out there among all the lights and cameras flashing, and you won't notice a thing."
"But why can't--"
"Look," said Harry, pushing his glasses up on his nose and hopping off of his desk in a way that signaled the conversation was rapidly coming to a close. "Just say 'Congratulations,' hand the trophy over to Oliver, and walk off the stage. That's all you have to--"
"Oliver," said Percy. "Oliver Wood? Does he play professionally?"
Harry gave him what Percy had a distinct feeling qualified as a fisheye.
"Fascinating," Percy said.
"So you'll do it," said Harry.
"Fascinating," said Percy again, muttering as Harry shoed him out of his office.
Well. At least Percy didn't have to worry about Harry Potter having rigged the game.
It was a darned good thing that Percy had studied his share of Muggle technology, because Creevey had been crying so hard he could barely hold the camera.
It was also a darned good thing that Percy had taken those Roaring Niagara tablets for increased volume, because otherwise he wouldn't have been able to croak out anything at all over the crowd when he handed the second-place trophy to the Cannons captain. He reckoned the place was at least two-thirds full of broken-hearted, rabble-rousing Cannons fans, and it was difficult to talk at all over the jeers and boos from the crowd as he awarded the National League First-Place tournament trophy to the Magpies.
There was nothing good, darned or otherwise, about the way Oliver Wood wrapped around him after the ceremony was over and sobbed into his neck. Percy was hard-pressed to politely unwrap himself and remove Oliver's sniveling nose from his double-breasted suit, but then being hard-pressed became much more of an issue than he anticipated, and he froze where he stood, petrified of moving at all, content to stay still for the next decade or so while he thought of appropriate revenge curses it would be just skirting the line of the law to enact upon Harry Potter for putting him in this situation.
"It was good of you to come, Weasley," sniffled Wood once he had ceased burbling into Percy's shoulder.
"Yes, yes," said Percy, daring a stiff pat on the back, careful to refrain from reminding Wood that they weren't exactly at a funeral, now, were they, and this was hardly the place for demonstrations. "But you are awfully sweaty."
"Oh," said Wood, looking startled, stepping back for a moment. "Right. Quite right. Forgive me, I was carried away."
"Not at all," said Percy in a strangled voice, attempting vainly to pull his robes tighter around his shoulders before Wood took another step back and noticed that Percy was still quite uncomfortably hard-pressed.
Wood gave him a head tilt and narrowed his eyes, and quite pointedly did not let his eyes drop below Percy's torso. Percy swallowed and quickly racked his brain for all known cases where a wizard had been acquitted of the use of advanced memory charms.
"Would you like to wait for me?" said Wood pleasantly.
Oh, by Brunehilde's eyeballs, thought Percy.
"In the locker room?" continued Wood.
Several quite foggy moments later, Percy found himself surrounded by steam and damp terrycloth and naked men with such bulging... biceps, and supposed that somewhere along the way he must have answered in the affirmative.
Darn Harry Potter, thought Percy with no little hostility as he was jolted out of his reverie by a firm hand shaking his shoulder. Even if you did get me into this that's no reason for you to go around disturbing a perfectly good flashback.
"Percy, what the fuck is this?" yelped Harry, shoving a paper in front of his nose.
Percy flinched at the curse word, blinked a few times at the headline, took his glasses off, polished them thoroughly, replaced them, and stared some more.
MINISTRY OFFICIAL CAUGHT WITH PANTS DOWN AT TOURNAMENT.
"I..." said Percy blankly.
"YOU SAID COLIN WAS INDISPOSED!"
"I..." said Percy.
"YOU SAID YOU HAD TO TAKE ALL THE PICTURES YOURSELF!"
"I--I did!" said Percy.
"SO YOU'RE SAYING THIS IS A FAKE?"
Percy regarded the moving photograph.
"Well, I can't say that I recall being in that position precisely," he volunteered.
Harry put his hands in his pockets and glared at him. Percy removed his glasses, stuck the tip of one stem in his mouth, and began chewing on it frantically.
"All you had to do was hand Oliver the trophy," said Harry.
"I--I couldn't help it," stammered Percy. "He wanted consoling."
"You certainly gave him a big consolation prize!" Harry fumed. Percy's jaw slid open so neatly he nearly dropped his glasses, and Harry flushed and stalked back inside his office.
Percy, feeling decidedly more smug than usual, continued to chew the stem of his glasses, and smoothly deposited the front page of the Daily Prophet inside his briefcase.