It was one of those natural things. There was never a plan, no matter what either had hoped for in the end.
Fleur had returned to London barely a fortnight after the events of the Triwizard Tournament, and a small part-time internship at Gringotts was procured through her own charm and very small fame. Bill had just arrived from Egypt, all ready slightly bitter about his transfer. Office politics and fang earrings did not mix well. Neither did mix blood witches, Fleur was quick to learn.
They were quick friends. Fleur thought he was handsome but odd in that mysterious sort of way. Coming to an English desk job instead of staying abroad where he was more likely to be promoted was a strange move. Bill thought she was a laugh riot as she simmered over his office mate’s shoes while correcting his grammar (correctly and viciously) in her fractured English.
It really was just English lessons at first. (His little brothers had smutty minds, bless them. Must have gotten it from their Da.) Fleur had a better grasp of English grammar then he did, but she still had problems with pronunciation and everyday conversation. It embarrassed her. At work, she would squint at coworkers’ mouths and ask them to repeat themselves three or four times. Homonyms were a lost cause.
“Beel, ‘ave you seen ze copy of ze O’Neil files? Someone ‘as made a bad addition.”
Bill waved vaguely in the right direction without looking up from his paperwork. “They’re over there.”
“Ah!” Fleur rummaged about the chaos of scrolls. “Is such odd saying. ‘Zere over zere’. Really, should just say ‘zere’ and be done. You English. Slang is bigger than word. Merci!” And she swayed back out of his office.
Bill wasn’t sure if he was supposed to watch the sway of her hips as she left or try and make sense of what she said.
Being a stand up guy, Bill offered his lunch breaks for tutoring. Not that it was that different from what they did now. Fleur only hesitated a moment before accepting. It was always easy to trust Bill’s grin. He meant well enough. Fleur was a beautiful girl; he wasn’t blind. He took after his Da, after all. But, she taught him French and limited German in return: a nice friendly exchange.
“English is very silly,” she told him over drinks and a slowly growing fort of English workbooks.
“Yeah, and this is a walk in the park.” German made Bill’s head ache. He had on his reading glasses that he saved for the almost microscopic goblin scrawl. “Ger-chesi-phin-stein? --you’re making things up again.”
Haunty, “I wus very drunk, and we promised nevah to speak of it again. Besides, iz German.” She snorted. “Zey ‘ave a male moon!”
“They can’t have a word that means ‘to love a female sheep exclusively and without reservation’.”
“Stop bickering and order another pint. I almost ‘ave the bartender convinced to attempt to compete with my beauty and leave ‘er name for you.”
Bill was sure his mother would hate Fleur if he ever introduced them. Fleur thought marriage was for "boring" people, and the best plan was to enjoy life and sex until "things" didn't work any more (and here, Fleur waved her fingers vaguely in a phallic motion because the three older witches a table over might have heart failure if they heard another euphemism).
She also knew good booze and how to get it cheap. Wine and cheese were her fatherland, but they were not in France, no? She would take him out on "their little adventures" and dare him to flirt with exotic women too old or too expensive for his tastes. It never hurt his ego, though, when a floo address or name got slipped in his back pocket. Fleur always had a hanger-on, some wealthy bloke plying her with countries, kingdoms, and family crown jewels. She flirted and stroked their egos, but their nights always ended with Bill walking her home. If he was drunk enough to splitch himself, he also got a quick nap on her fluffy, white sofa and a cup of (ridiculously expensive and imported) coffee in the morning before he stumbled home to change for work. It was comfortable and a good distraction from the sad dinner meetings at Grimmauld Place.
That particular night was not any different from normal for them, except that it was rather warm for mid-September. Bill was walking Fleur back to her flat; though, it was more the two of them leaning on each other in hopes one of them would be a worthwhile crutch. They laughed all the way up the stairs to her door about knocking drinks on exiled royalty, ignoring the slamming doors from her neighbors.
“How can you turn that down every night?” Bill asked.
“Hmm...?” Fleur was hunting for her keys.
“Turn down royalty. Thought all girls wanted was to be a princess?”
She was giggling. Keys can be hard things to fit in keyholes. Bill leaned against the doorframe and grinned. He had a bit of a soft spot for her laugh. It was light and always cheerful. Like...
“I nevah thought you the jealous one, Beel. Ah!” She managed to get the key in the lock.
"I didn’t--I mean--" He blinked slowly and focused. “’m not.”
Her door swung open, finally. “Oh.” She swung her head to look up, cheeks flush and her hair full of static to the point of creating a halo around her face. “Iz very easy, I think.”
“Yeah? ...why's that?”
He had to lean in closer to hear her because they were suddenly whispering and it was the utmost importance that he heard every word. Well, once he remembered the question he asked. Fleur let out a giggle instead.
Bill snorted and leaned against her; her head tucked neatly under his chin without fuss. “Well, you’ve gone and done it.”
“Ruined the moment.”
“Moment?” She had burrowed closer, tucked her small hands inside the inner pockets of his jacket.
“The moment we were having, love.” Hair. She had lots and lots of hair. Very…shiny.
"Thiz iz not one?" She asked in return, tipping her head back so now Bill was looking into her clear, very blue eyes.
It wasn’t at all how he had imagined their first kiss, and it was a thought he couldn’t feel guilty about right now even with all his good intentions. He had thought about it, the idea of kissing Fleur, after months of being friends. It was supposed to be a warm, light peck outside her favorite café after he convinced her to take a break from language studies. It would be a bright sunny day, and he would pull back, she would blink, and they would talk about what this would mean to their relationship. That was the normal, proper thing to do as adults, you see. If they agreed, they would go on a proper date in London, hold hands, and when she next let him kiss her, it would be with a closed mouth, a hand on her jaw, and both her arms around his neck.
Not what it was with his hand up her lace fragment blouse and his mouth open and slanted over hers. Or her hand tangled in his hair and her other snug in the back pocket of his leathers, bumping their hips together.
"Fleur, we should--" Bill was pulling away, trying to free his hand, but two of his fingers were stuck, wrapped up in the clasp of her bra.
"Do not--!" She pulled his head back down and their teeth smacked together.
Bill hardly noticed. "No, I have to..." he whispered against her jaw line as he licked there and kissed below her ear, down her neck.
"Beel." Fleur whispered with her hands in his hair. It wasn't a moan, but her serious voice that she used when proving him wrong about some account error.
He gave in with a token, half uttered, "are you sure?" Fleur laughed against his mouth, and wrapped her legs so snugly around his hips that he had to carry her inside, somehow closing the door behind them. He only tripped over a few dozen of the throws and pillows she kept haphazardly all over her flat, and kicked open the first door he came to, intent on getting her blouse off the rest of the way.
Fleur almost laughed herself hoarse when Bill dropped her into the sink. "You theenk to ravish me on the toilet next?!"
He snatched her up in a fireman hold and found the right door on the second try. "Shut it, you old hag."
"Ah, my Casanova! You know the way to a woman's heart!" She was still laughing as he dropped her onto her bed, but that quickly changed when he kneeled over her. "...oh, Beel..." He felt very smug.
It was very early the next morning when Bill woke. It was a difficult thing because Fleur's expensive tastes included excellent bedding and pillows, much beyond even his own well off means. He thought to himself that he would not mind in the least waking up in this bed more often. That thought was what reminded him that Fleur's light weight was gone from across his chest. Her side of the bed was still warm when he reached out in search. He finally gave up and opened his eyes.
The morning was very grey, common place for London. Fleur was sitting in the open window next to the bed, smoking. The faint light made her silvery hair almost blue. He watched her for a moment, worried that he had made a mistake and ruined a good friendship, but he finally noticed that she was wearing his discarded shirt from the previous night.
"I thought you were quitting," he finally said, fairly sure of his welcome.
Fleur turned her head as she expelled a smoke ring and offered Bill a tired smile. "I waz theenking. Needed something for my 'andz."
"What about?" he asked as casually as he could. Fleur raised a delicate, well kept eyebrow and made a vague hand gesture in his general direction. "Ah, that then." Bill sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Well, can't be helped." He plucked Fleur out of the window, put her cigarette out in a handy mug, and burrowed back under the comforter with her. Fleur swatted at his hip but let Bill curl around her, pull the covers over their heads, and press kiss after kiss along her neck and shoulder.
"We have work," Fleur whispered as Bill slid a lazy hand over her stomach.
"Today is a day to rest," Bill whispered back. "I had enough to drink last night to forget how many brothers I had. And you had twice that."
"Fred," Fleur corrected, and he could hear her smile. "You kept forgetting Fred."
Bill muttered a disagreeable noise, rolled onto his back, and rubbed at his eyes with the heels of his palms. His hangover was coming. "Don't remind me. I feel terrible enough as it is. I'm going to have to get him something to make up for it and think of a way to slip it to him without letting on why. Little git won't let me forget anytime soon if he figures it out."
"Poor Beel." He felt rather than saw Fleur roll over and settle across his chest, and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "…I can not take off work. I am going to mysteriously come down with a light form of spat-ter-groit juste before Noël, you see. I will be forced to miss at least…oh, at least until the Fête des Rois." Bill snorted. Fleur smiled again. "Gabrielle 'az been very lonely. She begged me to come 'ome for as long as I could."
"Little sisters do that, don't they?"
"Zey are little tyrantz. But I can not say no! I alwayz give 'er candy instead."
Fleur made a face at him, scrunching up her tiny nose and sat up to glare down at him. "And you are one to talk?" Bill laughed and ran a hand through her long, long silvery hair. She let out a giggle herself, and Bill couldn't help but smile more. "May be..." she said, as if thinking out loud, "...may be I could afford today off. If I went in thiz Saturday."
"I'll even buy you dinner tonight. In gratitude for your great sacrifice," he added the last part when her eyes went a little wide. Maybe this was pushing it, but he didn't care. He wanted this. He liked this.
Fleur traced her fingers over his lips, then. He could tell she was thinking, her eyes were far away. "...you may take me to dinner, Beel," she said, finally, and smiled down at him. He grinned right back. They both knew that this was going to be different from their usual "adventures" on the town. "But only if you let me sleep, you oaf. I am tired and sore and I must save my energy in order to molest you again later."
"Oh, I'll be very good," Bill promised, very earnest. "Mustn't come between a lady and her manhandling." They were both laughing when he leaned up to kiss her again.