Oh what a night
Sunday, May 14, 2006 - Evening
Percy was alone in his office. The last student who had come for evening instruction and assistance had left in time to get back to their rooms before the curfew bell. With a sigh he waved his wand to set the erasers to clear the blackboards in his office. The room was littered with piles of used parchment, numeric equations and line charts were drawn at every angle. One trash can was tipped over from where one frustrated Gryffindor had thrown his wadded paper in hard enough to tip it over. With a sigh he set about picking up the debris of the intense study session.
He was really looking forward to a cup of tea, a novel and a hot bath.
Oliver stumbled to Percy's office, face pale and eyes red after the session with Bill on the roof. He couldn't take it any more. He didn't want to know, didn't want to feel this, wanted to go back to the way it had been before he'd snuck into Bill's office. It was true that eavesdroppers never heard anything good. Stopping at the door, Oliver lifted his hand and knocked. With his luck, Percy wouldn't even be there.
Percy looked up over his desk from where he had been kneeling behind it. Oliver looked like a walking cadaver and Percy bet the man felt worse then he looked. The red rimmed eyes and sallow cheeks spoke of heart sickening grief. It was an expression he was far too familiar with since it used to adorn his features. "Oliver! Please come in. Can I offer you tea? Perhaps something more... medicinal?"
"Yes, actually." Oliver walked in and shut the door behind himself. "I was hoping you'd offer. I need you to Obliviate me." He moved to sit directly in front of Percy's desk. The chair was uncomfortable, meant as it was for a smaller body, but Oliver slouched into it anyway. He refused to look directly at Percy, eyes wandering around the room instead.
This is not a good sign, Percy silently thought as he poured Oliver what had to be a generous double scotch. "That bad? Care to talk about it? I can't necessarily fix it for you but talking might help."
Oliver heard echoes of Bill in that, and nearly growled but bit back the instinctive anger instead. "No one can fix it. Bill just doesn't understand why -" Oliver stopped short and scrubbed his hand over his face. He couldn't tell Percy any of it. He almost laughed. For the first time in his life, there was something he had to keep from Percy. "Goddammit."
Percy raised his eyebrow at that. Bill not understanding why? That was a new one. Bill was one of the most perceptive of the Weasleys. "All right, I sense this is rather private so I can't ask for the details. What can you tell me? Speak in as vague terms as you want."
"I can't tell you anything. Fuck." Oliver curved himself over the desk and started softly, rhythmically hitting his head against the wood. Thunk, thunk, thunk. "You think I was kidding, but if you won't Obliviate me, maybe I'll go ask Ron."
Percy frowned, "I doubt that Ron will Obliviate you without a damn good explanation for it, and frankly his standards will be higher then mine. Oliver, this is beginning to make me confused and just a bit frightened. It's obviously something so horrific your normal gryffindor nature is overrun by terror."
Oliver did laugh then, softly and bitterly. "You have no idea." He looked up at Percy. "Look, I just need a few days gone, will you do it? Please, Percy, I don't want to remember any more."
Percy held his hands open, "I can't administer a mental enema without a better reason. Only victims of utterly brutal and vicious crimes are ever given a memory erase, even then it's not really an erase, more of a block to not force them to remember until their minds are capable of handling the issue. Heartache does not count. If it did I'd not remember anything from year six until now."
"Fine." Oliver pushed himself up, feeling at least a thousand years old. He'd known it was a really long shot, but had had to try. "Whatever. Thanks for nothing, Perce." He felt bad in the back of his mind - this was hardly Percy's fault, any of it, but he was tired of the whole mess and just wanted it to go away.
"Oliver." Percy heard himself chastising. It wasn't anger, but steel. "You came here for something and it wasn't to raid my good scotch and beg me to wave my wand and make it all go away. Now you can either be a man and face the problem, soliciting discreet advice from friends or you can be a child and hide. So courage or cowardice. Your choice."
Oliver dropped back into the seat in shock. He shook his head, though. "You don't understand. At all. And I'd gladly hide, but I can't because," he sneered, "you won't wave your wand." Folding his arms much like the child Percy had mentioned, Oliver turned his head and stared at the wall, jaw clenching.
Percy was seeing his friend with new eyes. Oliver hadn't ever really been in love and been hurt. He'd always had the impossible goal of Charlie to protect him. Still, people had fallen in love and gotten hurt and gotten over it before. "Then you never deserve to be in love at all if at the first sign of a problem you ask for oblivion. All love comes with its risks, Oliver. You will be hurt again and you will hurt Bill just as deeply. Now, let's play vague possibilities. Is it something Bill did directly to you?"
Oliver ground his teeth together in frustration. "No," he said shortly. He hoped to God he never hurt like this again. "It's not just a problem. You don't understand. I could handle a problem."
Percy nodded, "So it's not so much a problem as a fact?"
"I guess." Oliver shrugged a shoulder uncomfortably.
"Right, now this fact." Percy sat back, pinning Oliver with his eyes. He fixed the man with the same glare he gave students, giving them the impression he knew all about their transgressions. "I'm going to ask a few simple questions about it. I am not going to ask what it is and I am not guessing what it is. This fact, I presume is unalterable and involves Bill. This fact, does it or did it hurt others. I'm not talking about the hurt of finding out, I'm talking about who it directly affects. If so, was the correct thing done about it, even if it was belated? Was this fact and the events around it before you and Bill were involved or after?"
"Before. I - " Oliver shook his head, bewildered by the barrage of question and the firm tone Percy was using. "I don't know the rest. And I know it makes me selfish, but I don't care." Oliver propped his elbows on the desk and put his head in his hands. "How much do I have to forgive, Percy? When is it too much to ask?"
"And what is there to forgive? Was it done directly to you? Given the nature of what you describe about it being before you, I doubt it was. So what you need to forgive is possibly how you learned about this fact." Percy leaned forward, his eyes fixed on Oliver, "The question is, can you continue to love a man who was involved in this fact. To discover that, you need to examine the fact itself. Who did it hurt? Was the damage irreparable? What was done about it? Why was it done in the first place? These, and more, are questions I think you need to ask yourself and Bill before you can make a decision. If you find that this fact is so heinous that you can never really love or trust someone involved in it, then leave. If you feel in time you can come to live with it, then do so. But running from the problem is not the answer Oliver. You'll always wonder... what if. Trust me, I know quite a lot about running from unpleasant problems. A single memory can never truly be erased. Just erasing knowledge of the fact won't help, you'll likely find out again."
"I wouldn't," Oliver muttered. "It was an accident this time. And I'm not running away. God." Oliver pushed himself up and started to pace. "I can't possibly talk to Bill about it, I have to figure it out myself." Tugging his hair in both hands, Oliver kept pacing. "I told him that already."
"Right, well, if you can't talk to Bill is there someone else who knows about this fact you can get more information out of?" Percy asked, "Sometimes a third party perspective can add a layer of disinterested logic on it."
"Believe me, there's no one disinterested. And no one who knows I know." Oliver sighed. "I don't know."
Percy sat back and watched as Oliver clearly struggled with this. This had to be one hell of a fact to make solid Oliver go this bananas. Part of Percy was naturally curious what it was but he also realized this came under the heading of None of My Damn Business. Percy smiled at Oliver, passing him another drink. This was enough for now. There was no need to push the man further. He hoped Oliver understood. "Do you want to spend the night on my couch? Just to get away from things a little? I promise, I won't speak a word about this until you come to me to talk again."
Oliver took the drink gratefully. "Yeah, I think so." He drank and then smiled faintly at Percy. "Question, though." He blushed. "What day is it?"
"Sadly, tragically, unfortunately, it's Sunday night. Monday is in the Morning." Percy replied with a smile as he stood up and placed a hand on Oliver's shoulder. "I'm going to go get the couch ready and draw a hot bath for you. I have spare pajamas and I think you'll fit in my robes. Feel free to 'Couch surf', as the muggle children put it, for as long as you like. Floo over when ready. The only other person I have given floo access to my flat is Kingsley Shackbolt but he's got access to everyone's."
"No," Oliver said quickly, thinking of his bath earlier with a shudder, "no bath. Thank you, though." He took another sip of the drink and then held the glass up. "I'll just finish this and be right there."
Percy nodded and ruffled Oliver's hair. "Right. I set the alarm in time for breakfast. I'll have the house elves send you something so you can go direct to your class." With that, Percy tossed a bit of floo powder into the hearth and stepped through. He hoped what Oliver needed was a bit of shelter and a bit of peace. If Oliver waited too long before facing his issue then he'd gently nudge Oliver out the door.
Oliver watched him go and slumped back into the chair broodingly. He stared down into his glass and then took a large swallow, choking a bit as it burned all the way down. He wished it were as simple as Percy assumed it was, and knew he had to pull himself together and work it out in his own mind. Bill deserved an answer soon - Oliver knew Bill was just as miserable as he was, even if he didn't completely get the problem.
Not tonight, though. Oliver deliberately pushed everything to the back of his mind, finished his drink, and Flooed to Percy's rooms.