This is an interlude between chapters twelve and thirteen of A Trio of Tricksters: Eclipse the Past, Usurp the Future. To learn more about the series click here.
Story Summary: The war ended, and then it didn’t. Voldemort is gone but somehow Harry, Hermione and Luna ended up as Undesirables 1, 2 & 3. Controlling the future is going to take some controlling of the past, and they say those who control the present control the past, so why not make the past the present? A time-travel fix-it where a trio of tricksters set up shop and revolutionize the wizarding world, for all that it takes a great deal of time to do so.
Disclaimer: I’m not sure JKR is capable of writing something this gay.
Author’s Note: This interlude was going to be a fluffy oneshot, but then I realized that it is actually (1) a little too dark to call fluff and (2) actually pretty relevant to the main plot because of those dark elements. CW for minor character deaths via disease & domestic terrorism. It’s a chapter that goes to some sad places but does have a happy ending, I promise. Thanks as always to cyborg_goddess and Transreal_Clouden.
Interlude: The World of Oliver Wood
Oliver Wood had a problem.
Many people assumed that the only thing Oliver cared about was Quidditch. This was not an unfair assumption, given that he had once told a twelve year old Harry Potter to “Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying,” which ended up being a bad look when said twelve year old did in fact almost die during the match.
But Oliver did care about other things. He cared about people — and not just the people on the Quidditch team, though they were his closest friends, the only family he had, with his parents both gone, his father just after third year, and his mother this past summer. Not that he advertised being an orphan. He knew from experience after his father died that many children didn’t know what to do with grief, and there weren’t properly enough staff around for all the students, the assistant teachers barely out of Hogwarts themselves. Besides, by the time his mother had passed he was seventeen, his own man. He had to think about his future.
A future that everyone, including him, hoped would have a whole lot of Quidditch in it. The bludger to the head that he’d suffered at the first practice of the year was a nasty bit of luck — he wasn’t pleased at himself for jeopardizing his potential Quidditch career like that, he needed to be the best captain possible if he was to be scouted and recruited by one of the star teams — but it wasn’t entirely an accident. He hadn’t been paying nearly enough attention, because for what was maybe the first time in his life, Oliver’s head wasn’t completely focused on the sport that had for so long consumed his life. He had seen a glimpse of gold, the snitch next to Fred’s ear, and for a second he could almost picture Percy in his horn rimmed glasses.
Percy Weasley, was the problem.
Percy had always been a bit of a problem for Oliver. At first it was because they were just so dissimilar — Oliver with a head only for quidditch, Percy with a head only for schoolwork. They butted heads a lot their first three years, and their bickering irritated their three roommates, who had become good friends with each other and formed a trio of sorts, to no end. But Oliver came back quieter at the beginning of fourth year, his muggle father having passed away due to cancer, something that embittered Oliver to no end given that a wizarding healer could have cured him easily, but it was illegal to heal muggles who suffered from non-magical afflictions using magic. Oliver started that year hating his mother, not yet fully able to understand the ways in which she was powerless to affect wizarding policy as a muggleborn, and unable to heal him herself, as she had only ever worked as a low-level clerk in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. So he threw himself even harder into quidditch, that year being the one he was named captain, and he expected Percy to be worse than ever, and yet the other boy surprised him, in that he was cordial, almost formal, and awkward. The two of them had come to an almost impasse. Ignoring each other more than anything else.
It was a late November night, Oliver had just gotten out of the shower after a late practice and wanted nothing more than to sleep, but found that he couldn’t. He found, in fact, that to his horror he was actually crying . He did his best to stifle the sound — everyone else had their hangings closed already, so if I could just get a silencing charm up — but then Percy’s opened. Oliver took a deep breath, and wiped his eyes hurriedly.
“Are — are you OK?” Percy asked hesitantly.
“I’m fine,” Oliver croaked.
“Is it about your dad?” Percy asked, still hesitant.
“What do you…?”
“My dad told me. About how muggles can’t be healed by magic. It’s not right, he’s working on a law to fix it. I decided, that’s why I’m going to join the Ministry, once I graduate Hogwarts. So I can fix things,” Percy said awkwardly, but with an earnestness to him that Oliver felt was both sweet and horrible. He wanted to thank Percy. He wanted the other boy to be his friend. But instead all he said was —
“You can’t fix my dad being dead.”
Percy’s face turned ashen, but Oliver didn’t give him a chance to say anything else, pulling his curtains shut and throwing up a silencing charm.
They barely spoke to each other over the next two terms, and when Percy came back as prefect the next year, Oliver wanted to roll his eyes in response to the entitled attitude, but was sidetracked by the way that his eyes involuntarily rolled up and down, checking out the way that Percy looked in fitted robes, no longer wearing the hand-me-downs of his older brothers.
It was with a slight horror that Oliver realized he had something resembling a crush on Percy, though he refused to fully admit that to anyone, even Angelina, who had become something of his second in command on the quidditch team. Still, even though he wanted to throw his full energy into the team — especially since with Potter as seeker and Katie working so well with Angelina and Alicia it was the best Gryffindor team yet — but it was his OWL year, and if he wanted to keep playing quidditch, he had to stay a student and get good enough grades to continue onto NEWT level.
It was late December, and Oliver was hastening to finish an essay before the end of term when he sensed someone come up behind him where he was seated at a table in the corner of the common room.
“That rune is only present in Elder Futhark. It was removed from the alphabet when it morphed into Younger Futhark because they didn’t have words that made that sound anymore,” Percy offered as he peered over Oliver’s shoulder.
“Thanks,” Oliver replied gruffly, using his wand to erase the ink and remove the offending rune from his paper. “Though I’d prefer it if you not read over my shoulder without prompting,” he continued in a clipped tone “it’s a bit rude.”
“Sorry,” Percy’s face flushed. “I was just trying to help.”
“I know,” Oliver sighed “and I do appreciate it. I can’t make heads or tales of runes half the time, I’ve got no idea why I decided to take this class,” Oliver ruffled his hands through his hair and stretched, sleepy and not catching how Percy’s eyes lingered on his arched back. “I just don’t like people snooping. I don’t always trust it, what with the mischief the twins get up to,” he yawned and stared dully at his essay again.
“Would you like me to look that over with you? Runes is one of my favorite subjects, and I’ve already finished my essay,” Percy offered.
Oliver hesitated, slightly off-put at this kindness, but it wasn’t that Percy was ever unkind, really, when he thought about it. The other boy was just awkward, and didn’t really have many friends at all. Neither did Oliver, outside the team, but the team was his life, in a way.
Percy ended up tutoring Oliver in runes all throughout the next term, and Oliver was pleased when he got his results back that summer, sending an owl to Percy right away thanking him, because he surely would never have gotten even an A on the exam without the other boy’s help, let alone the E he actually received. They continued to be friendly with one another in their sixth year, even without the tutoring (for even though he received an E, Oliver elected not to continue with Ancient Runes as a subject), though Percy was distant, absorbed in his prefect duties in light of the attacks going on, and also absorbed in his girlfriend, who Oliver had to constantly remind himself he had no right to be jealous of.
When quidditch got cancelled, Oliver was distraught, as were the rest of the team, and especially Harry, who was best friends with one of the girls who had been petrified. But he was surprised to find Percy sitting in their dormitory with silent tears and a shocked look on his face, and realized that Penelope Clearwater was the girl Oliver had been spending all his time being jealous of, and the pit at the base of his stomach widened. Part of Oliver hated himself for the fact that he and Percy became closer in the wake of the attack on Penelope, Percy becoming more dependent on their friendship, and the other part was happy at the closeness.
After Penelope was healed, Percy spent much of his time with her, and Oliver didn’t begrudge either of them for it, especially since Percy surprisingly didn’t drop Oliver like a hot potato, but instead simply spent less time with Oliver, instead of no time. They were never best friends, but they now occupied the space of being each other’s go-to when needing to solve a problem that needed a somewhat objective and yet friendly and trustworthy perspective.
Then came summer before seventh year, and all that came of that. Percy was named Head Boy, of course, as if there had been any doubt of that. He and his family were travelling to Egypt, partially because they had won that Grand Prize Draw from the Daily Prophet, but mostly because the youngest child, Ginny, had suffered greatly from the events surrounding the Chamber of Secrets, not that Oliver knew the full details.
Oliver, meanwhile, was going through struggles of his own. His mother’s health had been getting worse and worse, the depression she was going through at the loss of her husband, and the bitterness she held toward the institutions that contributed to what she saw as a kind of murder, were taking their toll. Oliver’s feelings of anger toward his mother had long ago turned to sympathy, and his anger was now directed toward the Ministry.
Oliver’s 17th birthday was one of her better days, and one of the best times they had together in a long while. After a big breakfast they made together, the two took a long walk together in the moors near where his parents grew up, and his mother showed him the spot where his father had proposed. He went to bed that night feeling hopeful that she was making a turn around.
Unfortunately, the next morning he woke to a note from his mother, explaining that by the time he awoke she would either be dead or imprisoned, as she intended to go to the ministry and destroy the offices of the wizengamot in revenge for her husband’s death. A horrified Oliver barely got dressed — simply throwing on robes over his pajamas and using a spell to lace his boots — before flooing to the Ministry, where he found chaos. He was able to eventually discern that she had been successful in blowing up a portion of the offices, but was herself the only casualty.
There was a day or so in which it was in limbo whether or not her assets would be seized, but apparently her last act before entering the Ministry was to transfer her small amount of liquid funds to Oliver’s personal account, and the deed to their house was already in his name as of the day before, something she insisted was a birthday present because she was planning to downsize and move into an apartment in London, to be closer to her work. Oliver was briefly interrogated as to whether or not he was made aware of her actions, but as he was clearly distraught and confused, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement let him go after only a short interview.
Oliver, however, didn’t have anywhere to go. His grandparents were long gone, all of them muggles who didn’t age as well as wizards, and with his parents gone, he was now an orphan. He could barely stand to be in the house he grew up in, and the money his mother left him wouldn’t last him long besides, and so he picked up a job at Quality Quidditch Supplies to just try and make ends meet. He latched onto the only thing that still made sense in his world — quidditch — and at nights he practiced maneuvers over the moors where his parents had found their love for each other, hoping that they were with each other again now, and happier than they had been in life.
When he got back to school and got yet another bludger to the head, it was devastating, because who was Oliver without Quidditch? The dementors around the school only made it worse, because it constantly reminded him of his parents, and all that he had lost. The only bright spot in his life, really, was Percy Weasley. The red head was putting on a fairly pompous front now that he was Head Boy, even more than when he had been made prefect. But Oliver could see that same yearning in Percy that he had, that need to prove himself. Percy was, in a way, just like Oliver, clinging to academics and scholastic achievement as a way to survive, instead of quidditch. Percy was better than Oliver, because he wanted to go work at the Ministry, to make change.
But Oliver was too bitter for that, too angry to work for an institution that had stood by and watched one of his parents die, and the hatred of which had consumed another such that she gave up her life, for what amounted to nothing. The story of the Ministry getting partially blown up in her protest didn’t even make the news like she had hoped, because the public was so busy dealing with the fall out of the escape of Sirius Black that there wasn’t even any need for them to formally go about hushing it up.
Oliver did his best to channel all his rage into passion about quidditch. And most of the time, at Hogwarts, he could forget about the outside world. Forget that he was an orphan. He could laugh with the team, joke with Angelina, work himself hard while flying. But the only thing that he couldn’t seem to ignore was the tugging at his heart that was how in love he was with Percy Ignatius Weasley. So much so that when Percy came to him for relationship advice about having an open relationship with Penelope, he couldn’t help but confess said love, though his timing could have been better considering they were shortly interrupted by their roommates. Percy hadn’t spoken to him since, other than an accidental fumble in the bathroom when they kissed, but that was the same day that dementors attacked Hogwarts and Angelina started dating both Fred and George (separately) so it was a bit of an unusual day.
Now it was almost a week later, he and Percy still hadn’t talked, Sirius Black had been declared innocent, dementors were on the verge of being declared an endangered species, and there was something weird about Harry Potter, but Oliver couldn’t focus on that, because all he could think about was the way that Percy’s lips had felt on his.
“Oliver?” Percy’s voice was quiet, which made sense. Oliver was alone in his position of lounging on the couch in front of the fire. It was three o’clock in the morning and the common room was otherwise empty, the embers in the fireplace barely smouldering, so calling it a fire was actually a bit of a stretch. “What are you doing up?”
“I could ask you the same question,” Oliver replied, looking over the edge of the couch at Percy’s position on the stairs.
“I noticed your hangings were open, and you weren’t in the bathroom. I was… concerned,” Percy walked closer, and made to sit in one of the nearby armchairs.
“Ah, yes. Head Boy has to catch rulebreakers out of bed,” Oliver joked.
“Actually, Percy Weasley has to check on his friend, who was missing,” Percy replied crossly.
“Are we friends? You kissed me, and haven’t talked to me in a week,” Oliver retorted.
“You said you loved me, and haven’t talked to me in a week,” Percy fired back.
They glared at each other hotly, before one of them (does it really matter which?) started to smile, and then they were both laughing.
Slowly they got their laughter under control, though they still smiled at each other, and on impulse Oliver swung his legs so that he was sitting properly on the couch, and grabbed Percy’s arm, pulling the started boy off the chair so that he stumbled onto the couch and sat next to him. Percy was startled at his sudden change in location, before making a bold move of his own, and brought a hand to Oliver’s face, pulling him into a kiss. Oliver returned the kiss with hesitant surprise before pulling away.
“As nice as all this kissing is, I would prefer a verbal response before we do any more of it,” Oliver said firmly, though he still bit his lip, giving away his touch of nervousness.
“Right, of course. Sorry, I should have asked,” Percy stuttered, his face going red.
“It was nice,” Oliver said in a rush, before taking a deep breath. “But yes, you should’ve. I really like you Percy. But I don’t want you to just kiss me and then run away every time.”
“Right, yes, right.” Percy ran a hand through his hair. “I really like you too. And I’m sorry, for just — I mean, for running away. And not talking to you about it. I was — confused. Because I like you, and I like Penny, though we’re not — I mean, we’re taking a break, which I think might be permanent, and — even if she wanted, I mean, if you want, I just, I really like you, and I don’t want to mess things up, and I think I already have, but I don’t — I mean, we have to think about our futures, but Penny said we should enjoy our last year and —” Percy seemed to run out of steam, and promptly shut his mouth. At this point his hair and his face were the exact same shade.
“Let’s just… take things slowly then? See what we’re both comfortable with day by day?” Oliver suggested.
Percy nodded, and Oliver hesitantly leaned forward, kissing him again. Maybe Percy Weasley wasn’t such a problem after all.
AToT AToT AToT
Meanwhile, Angelina Johnson, ultimate wingman and accidental spy in search of a lost journal, sitting just past the imperturbable charm she had cast on the stairwells to stop anyone else from seeing or hearing what was going on in the common room, did a silent fist pump and then looked away for the sake of privacy.
Fic Recommendation: I’m gonna be real bold here, hope it’s not too gauche, and recommend my own fic. Seriously, if you liked this chapter and haven’t read my fic Angelina’s Unusual Day, you’re missing out. It’s much more light-hearted, and shades in a bit of what’s missing from this chapter regarding Angelina and Oliver’s relationship, as well as a scene mentioned between Oliver and Percy in this interlude.