Misery Loves Company
"Come on, Harry, you've let yourself be miserable long enough," said Percy, his face nearly as stern as it had been back when he was Head Boy and Harry was misbehaving. Except this time it held a hint of tenderness that he'd never allowed himself to show before, one that Harry had grown to rely on as their friendship grew closer.
Harry sniffled, then gave in and let Percy hand him the potion. He'd languished here with his cold for a full day already, unwilling to brave Diagon Alley and the inevitable whispers and stares with a pounding headache and stuffy nose. Instead he'd stayed home and wallowed in the fever-dreams, of things he knew he wasn't supposed to want. Or wasn't supposed to want from Percy, at any rate. "I'b not wallowig," he lied, then he closed his eyes and drank until steam came out of his ears, flushing away the sickness with it.
His cheeks were still pink when he opened his eyes to find Percy's face hovering close to his own. "That looks better, though you're still a bit flushed," said Percy, brows furrowed in concern. He laid his cheek against Harry's, and Harry couldn't help the tiny sound that escaped him at the contact.
"I'm fine," protested Harry, scooting back and throwing off the covers, hoping his pyjama shirt was long enough to hide his erection. "I just need to clean up before I feel really human again."
Percy's eyes made a critical journey over Harry's rumpled, sweaty form, widening when they found the source of Harry's overheated cheeks. "Is that..." Percy's gaze sought Harry's, and Harry was shocked to see a hunger in it that rivalled his own secret, shameful desires. "Is that for me?"
Harry sighed and nodded, licking chapped lips with a sour, peppery tongue. "Is that all right?" he asked, shivering as Percy's eyes flickered to his mouth and back up again.
"Maybe," said Percy, standing up and holding out his hand, "I could help you clean up?"
Harry grinned and nodded; he hadn't want to let the moment pass, hadn't dared, but he knew enough of Percy to know that unwashed and morning-breathed wasn't how either of them wanted their first time together. "Just let me brush my teeth and then... maybe a shower?"
A smile broke over Percy's face, shy and eager at once, all traces of his earlier sternness gone. "I'll wash your back," he said teasingly.
Harry was quick in the bathroom, though he made the effort of a shaving spell along with everything else. He forced himself to take off the pyjamas and start the shower, trying to calm his beating heart before he opened the door. His eyes went wide when he saw Percy standing right there, naked as he was and holding fresh towels and flannels for both of them. "I wasn't sure if you had enough," he explained, though Harry had a suspicion that shyness had a hand in the way they were draped, covering much of Percy's front, though enough creamy, freckled skin was showing around the edges to whet Harry's appetite and fuel his already fevered imagination.
"I can always use more," Harry said philosophically, pulling Percy close to him, bumping noses shyly.
The kiss that inevitably followed was warm and tentative. Percy's lips were soft against Harry's chapped ones, but strong enough to send a tingle down to Harry's toes that made him eager for what would come next. Percy's mouth had a spicy note, as though he'd been chewing a cinnamon stick while he waited, the flavour complementing the bright mint of Harry's toothpaste as their tongues tangled for long minutes, just inside the doorway.
"Let's get you cleaned up," said Percy when they broke apart, nothing but the towels between them. "No need to waste water."
Harry couldn't help but laugh as he pulled Percy inside, waving a hand at the towel bar and stepping under the spray of water, leaving the shower curtain partially open so there would be no question of Percy's welcome. Not that, after that kiss, he thought there would be any.
Percy's arms were stronger than Harry might have expected from a paper-pusher as they wrapped around Harry, his taller body cradled against Harry's back, comforting and warm. Harry let his eyes close again and he leaned back just a little, letting himself be the one protected and comforted, for once. There would be more soon, Percy's soapy hands washing away Harry's doubt and fear, Harry's moans giving Percy the confidence to keep touching even after the soap was rinsed away.
But for now, just this was enough for Harry.
Title: Misery Loves Company