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Author name: Icarus
Author email: email@example.com
Summary: Arthur Weasley has a bewildering morning, with no clear idea why he finds himself here again.
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Copyright © 2004 by Icarus Ancalion. All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
Author notes: Thank you to Switchknife, the world's most persistent beta, and to Hainu, who asks the most interesting questions.
Slats of brilliant light flooded the room, catching dust motes helplessly.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," Percy said with gentle irony. And fondness.
How many times had Arthur said that -- how many mornings? Percy seemed a little amused, and it struck Arthur as odd to find himself scrubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands like a small child, tangled and tumbled in sheets that smelled, well. Like something much less innocent.
Arthur blinked, bewildered to find himself here, though he recalled very clearly every step that had led to this point. The talk after hours at the Ministry when most of the offices were dark. The strange comfort of sharing a moment with his estranged son. 'Stay a little,' he'd asked, pleading slightly, to show Percy his latest Muggle artefact, though he knew that Percy always forced that polite look of interest. A tentative pat on his son's shoulder, 'are we all right?' His pang of fear when Percy shied away. Oh no… he had ruined it, he could never… should never have… he thought it had come to the end, the final disaster he had always feared.
Though it was not - not proper; they both agreed on that.
Then there was Percy's pained apologetic look and offer of dinner, as recompense. A wash of relief.
Who could refuse? When saying no could cut them off for good?
Their carefree laughter late into the night at the restaurant.
'You're such - such a Muggle sometimes,' Percy had sputtered into his drink, his face pink.
Scooting his chair closer to explain the ingenuity Percy clearly could not grasp, that in the face of magic-deprivation Muggles had replaced nearly all the standard wizarding spells without any contact with magic. Percy's standard, staunch argument that Muggle-born wizards and squibs were likely responsible. Then why did most of it occur after contact was cut? Arthur had countered.
The sense-jangle of knee on knee. Percy's sudden tight shoulders and warning look, unheeded; there were more important matters at hand. Brilliant, Percy was brilliant, but so stubborn and - and, well, pedestrian! How could he not make this simple leap of logic? Sometimes it seemed that if he could convince Percy he could convince the whole world.
You should have been a Muggle scientifical, Percy had laughed, though he wasn't joking. His eyes were shining. Percy hadn't pulled away, and they really shouldn't… but Arthur knew that flush.
Not here. He vaguely remembered saying that. And yes, it would look rather odd, now wouldn't it? Though in that moment the rest of the world had seemed crazy, their agreement ridiculous. It had been so hard not to kiss in the restaurant.
They'd quibbled over the tip as they'd pulled on their jackets and known that 'it's late' meant something other than 'let's go home.'
It was a bit fuzzy actually, though he hadn't had much to drink. Neither of them had. He wasn't sure if it was better not having an excuse.
They were freer in the stairs of the hotel, touching. Which probably wasn't such a good idea in retrospect.
He'd told Percy, You're beautiful… shocked that it was true, and Percy had practically danced. Did they not praise him enough as a child, Arthur wondered? These worries had been brushed aside as the hotel room door bumped open.
They hesitated at the same moment, then laughed. It would be a shame to waste…he began, stammered excuses, but Percy simply pounced on the bed, bouncing like he wasn't ever allowed to do at home, falling onto his back as he pulled off his trousers. And Arthur was fervently, foolishly glad that he was there.
It was impossible to regret the rest, though really, he tried, blinking away the memories of Percy's thighs to either side of him, the soft wet sounds as he nuzzled and Percy sighed, gazing up at the ceiling. One thigh falling open. He wasn't so small now. The shift of shadows, kiss of sheets in the near dark as Percy turned around and made it mutual, such happy little sounds. Some of which were his own. They rose up and kissed in the middle of the bed, tasting each other as Percy climbed on top. He wanted to try it that way. All right. It was good for him to experiment.
What was once more in the greater scheme of things? Even if it somehow seemed a bit sordid, less right, in the morning, with the sun glowing in Percy's hair as he dressed. Now why did he put his socks on first?
Arthur wasn't the type who did this sort of thing. At least, he didn't think that he was, though he was at a loss as to why it kept… happening. But Percy would never stay with a monster. Arthur looked down at his hands, which looked the same as ever -- no lobster claws or frightful diseases. Well, he'd muddle through this one somehow. It was quite a pickle though, there was no denying it.
"Are we going to talk this time?" Percy asked, setting his polished shoes in front of himself. Without looking up. His son's -- no, he didn't want to think that now -- Percy's clothes were somehow more or less neatly draped on one chair. Hardly wrinkled at all. Arthur marveled at him; how the devil did he manage that? He wouldn't look as if he'd spent the night in a hotel; he never did. Arthur's were in a heap on the floor. Molly would kill him for the mess. But Percy had pointed out once that he always looked like 'a rumpled puppy', so it hardly mattered, now did it? A rumpled puppy... Arthur chuckled, forgetful of Percy's question.
Arthur blinked at Percy, realising now he was hurriedly getting dressed. Was something the matter? "You're not taking a shower."
Percy shook his head as he buttoned a cuff. "I've an eight o'clock. I forgot to ask for the wake-up chime."
"You forgot the chime?" Arthur relaxed, feeling rather smug now as he stretched. "Percy Weasley, the Future Minister of Magic --"
"Dad…" he whined.
"-- forgot?" Arthur was delighted.
Percy shot him a bemused look as he yanked up a sock. "You have the very same meeting."
"At eight o'clock? I don't recall that I --" he inhaled sharply, eyes wide, "-- it's Tuesday." He sat up and threw the covers off. "Good heavens, I totally forgot!"
He snatched up his shirt from the floor, threw on his vest -- really, Percy had nothing on him when it came to getting dressed quickly -- and sure enough, Percy was still tying his shoelaces by the time Arthur rushed out the door. His son followed hard on his heels, and they trundled down the worn burgundy of the hotel stairs like a small stampede. Arthur returned the hotel key, while Percy rented a 'Ministry-Direct!' Portkey.
In the hotel lobby, they grabbed the Portkey together. In that breathless moment before it took hold, gazing at the clear eyes of his son, Arthur realised they hadn't had time yet to address their… larger issues.
Ah, well. At the very least they had the immediate future well in hand. For one thing, they certainly had an airtight alibi.