Chapter 1: Love-Struck
Year: December 1987 (your 4th & Bill’s 6th)
Summary: Imagine dancing with Bill at the Yule Ball
* . * . *
Charlie Weasley asks if I fancy him in Care of Magical Creatures. The question causes me to stumble over a tree root and he reaches out a hand to steady me. The prat is grinning when I look over at him.
“Why would you ask me that?”
“Because you’re honest enough to answer.”
He has me there; I only lie to authority figures when I need to get out of trouble, but I’m always straight-forward with my friends.
“Err, you’re a great guy, but no… I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I did.”
Charlie pats me on the back. “No worries, mate. I’m actually relieved that you don’t because now I can invite you to the Yule Ball.”
My brow furrows. “Okay, now you’ve lost me. Care to explain?”
“Well I had to make sure you only saw me as a friend. I wouldn’t want to lead you on if you were expecting a relationship, you know? Most of the school is taking this very seriously and it freaks me out because I’m not into all that love stuff. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s fine for other people – it’s just not my thing. Am I making any sense?”
“Yeah, I understand what you mean.”
“Good. So how about it? Will you be my 100% platonic date to the ball?”
I smile at him. “Of course I will.”
“Thanks, (Name), you’re saving my life! Four girls have already asked me and I had to turn them down. I felt bad about it, but going with one of them would be really awkward – especially if she tried to kiss me.”
He looks so scandalized at the prospect that I almost laugh.
“Sure, Charlie, I’m glad I can help. This is good for me too because the guy I fancy is already going with someone. I’ve been pretty depressed over it to be honest.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?”
I knock him with my shoulder. “You already did by asking me to the ball.”
He smiles. “So who is this bloke? Do you want me to tell him off for you?”
The image of Charlie scolding his older brother makes me chuckle. “I’m not telling you who he is.”
He drapes his arm around me. “Aww come on! I promise not to embarrass you.”
I shake my head. “You definitely would.”
His brown eyes widen. “It isn’t Barnaby, is it? Because he told me today that he’s going with a Hufflepuff.”
“Nope, not him.”
“Wrong again.” He’s just going to keep listing off people, and if he says Bill’s name, I know I’ll give it away by blushing. I can’t let that happen… I’ll have to tell a lie. “You don’t know him, Charlie.”
“Ah, so he’s an older student, huh?”
“Yes, and that’s all I’m going to say.” I shrug away from him. “Now stop distracting me; we need to feed our bowtruckles.”
“Fine, but I’m not giving up. I’ll figure it out eventually.”
“We’ll see about that, Dragon Boy.”
* . * . *
The Great Hall looks like a winter wonderland. Snowflakes spiral down from the velvety blue ceiling and the paneled walls sparkle with frost. Round tables lit with blue-flamed lanterns are set against the walls, leaving plenty of space in the middle for the dance floor. Ben is up on the elevated stage where the staff table usually is. Muggle music blares from an old-fashioned gramophone. I can see him going through stacks of records – some of which I loaned him – as he tries to pick the next song.
Tonks hurries over to me and Charlie. “Hey, you two! I love your dress, (Name). Very head-turning!”
“Thanks, I like yours too.” She is wearing a turquoise off-the-shoulder dress with a short, ruffled skirt and chunky black heels.
‘Ceremony’ by New Order starts playing and Tonks grabs my hand. “Come and dance with me!”
Charlie joins us for a Billy Idol song. All of us are laughing and acting like dorks, but it’s so much fun. ‘Material Girl’ comes on next and me and Penny sing along to it. Charlie partners me for a slower song that I don’t recognize. He keeps me in stitches with his jokes about the nearby couples.
We’re at the refreshment table when I hear Bill’s voice. “Oi, Charlie, who’s that with you?”
I turn around and his eyes widen when he sees me in my strapless dress. The bodice is fitted and the sweetheart neckline shows off my chest. His appraising stare makes me blush.
“You’re a knock-out, (Name)!” he says, grinning.
“Umm, thank you.”
Charlie slips an arm around me. “Hey, that’s my date you’re ogling, William.”
“Are you jealous, little brother?”
Bill smirks. “Then you won’t mind if I ask her to dance, will you?”
“Nope, but your date might.”
“Alyssa doesn’t care – she’s danced with a few other blokes.” Bill meets my gaze. “How about it, (Name)?”
“Sure, I’ll dance with you.” My stomach is fluttering and my cheeks are still warm.
“Great! I’ll come get you for the next slow song.” He actually winks at me before heading back to his friends.
“Uh, Charlie, what just happened?” I ask in disbelief.
He laughs. “You caught my brother’s attention, that’s what.”
We carry our cups of punch back to the table.
“What’s the matter?” Rowan asks me. “You look out of it.”
“Bill just asked me to dance,” I whisper.
“Ah, you lucky girl!” she shrieks. “I better go and find Ben… he brought his Muggle camera with him. You’ll want to remember this moment!” Rowan hurries off before I can even protest.
Charlie shoots me a strange look from across the table. “What was that all about?”
“Oh, uh, Rowan wants to make a song request.”
I can tell that Charlie doesn’t believe me, but Penny distracts him with a story. I don’t even know what she’s saying… I’m too nervous to pay attention. The next song isn’t a slow one and I excuse myself to use the restroom. Girls are lined up in front of the mirrors. I manage to squeeze myself in so I can reapply my lipstick and fix my hair.
“Very pretty, dear,” the mirror says and I smile at my reflection. You can do this, I tell myself, taking a deep breath.
Bill is waiting for me outside the Great Hall. He’s taken off his outer robes and he looks quite fit in his tailored trousers, white shirt, and waistcoat. My heart skips a beat when he smiles at me.
“Has the song started yet?”
“No, but it will soon. I put in a request.” He offers me his arm and I take it. “You look really beautiful tonight.”
“So do you,” I blurt.
Bill chuckles. “Thanks.”
As we walk back into the Great Hall, ‘Breathe’ by The Cure starts playing.
“I love this song! How did you know?”
“I ran into Rowan and I asked her if she knew any of your favorite songs.” Once we’re on the dance floor, Bill places his hands on my waist. A magnetic tingle passes through my body as I wind my arms around his neck.
“What are you thinking about?” he whispers in my ear.
“Hmm, that you’re a good dancer.”
“Is that all?”
I smile up at him. “How are you at Legilimency?”
“Then I guess you’ll never know.”
His eyes sparkle with amusement. “I do believe you’re flirting with me, Miss (Last name).”
“That’s my line, Bill Weasley.”
He chuckles. “You’re way too cute tonight, you know that?”
“Thank you, I try.”
I move closer to him until our bodies are touching. I had daydreamed of this scenario so many times, but my imagination could not replicate the heady scent of his spicy cologne – nor could it capture the sensation of being enveloped in his protective embrace. I close my eyes as we sway to the music. A feeling of euphoric contentment comes over me; this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. And then the song ends and I have to force myself to let go of him.
Before I can even process what is happening, Bill cups the side of my face and leans down to kiss me on the cheek. “Thanks for such a lovely dance, (Name).” He gives me a shy smile before leaving the dance floor.
Sensory overload has put me into a state of shock and all I can do is stand there until Rowan comes to get me.
“Oh my god, oh my god! I can’t wait to develop these photos!”
I’m smiling like a love-struck fool now. “Rowan, I don’t think I can walk on my own.”
She puts her arm around me, laughing. “I’ll help you back to the table.”
I have never felt happier than I do right now.
“You lied to me, (Name),” Charlie says, snapping me out of my daze. “I know that Bill is the bloke you fancy – and don’t try to deny it either because it’s written all over your face.”
I look at him, eyes wide. “Please don’t tell him, Charlie. Promise you won’t! I’ll die if he finds out!”
“Shh, calm down. I’m not going to tell him; I promise.”
I let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you. And I’m sorry for lying… I was afraid you would say something.”
“Nah, I know how to keep a secret when it’s important.”
“You’re a good person, Charlie.”
He flashes me a crooked grin. “I know.”
I swat him on the arm. “But you’ve gotta stop with these surprise attacks… my heart can’t take it.”
“Sorry, sorry,” he says, laughing. “But hey, if it makes you feel any better, I think Bill fancies you too.”
“No way! It was only a bit of flirting.”
“I know when my brother has a crush. He was just as starry-eyed as you.”
I feel my hopes rising. “You really think so?”
I’m floating on air again.
* . * . *
Charlie had tried not to get involved, but his brother wasn’t making a move on (Name), and he had heard from Penny – who had heard it from Liz – that a 5th year Slytherin was going to ask her out for Valentine’s day. It was now time for him to intervene.
“Hey, Bill, I’ve got to talk to you about something important,” he says after dinner. “Come with me for a bit.”
Bill grumbles, but he follows him through the front doors. “What is it, Charlie? It’s bloody cold out here.”
“I know you fancy (Name).”
His brother nearly chokes on his piece of Droobles gum.
“Why do you think that?”
“Okay, I’ll list the reasons. 1, you were so obvious about it at the Yule Ball. 2, you gave her your sweater. 3, you’re always asking me how she’s doing. 4, you stare at her during meal times. Need I go on?”
“Please don’t,” Bill groans. “You’re right… I like her a lot.”
“Then ask her out!”
“But what if she only sees me as a replacement older brother?”
“You know, for such a smart bloke, you can be really thick sometimes. (Name) doesn’t think of you that way.”
Bill’s expression grows hopeful. “How do you know? Does she fancy me too?”
Charlie slaps his brother on the back. “I can’t answer that; you’ll just have to trust me. Oh and by the way, a Slytherin chap is planning on inviting her to the next Hogsmeade weekend. Don’t let him beat you to it.”
“If you’re having me on, I swear I’ll pound you.”
He laughs. “Like you could! I might be younger than you, but I’m still stronger.”
Bill grabs him in a head lock. “Take it back, Charles.”
“Alright, alright, I take it back!” Bill releases him and Charlie rubs the back of his neck. “Bloody hell, you’re pretty strong for a bookworm.”
“Yeah and you’d better not forget it again!” His expression turns serious. “Are you being straight with me about (Name)?”
“Yes, William. Just tell her how you feel.”
“Alright. I’ll ask her to study with me on Saturday.”
Charlie snorts. “Studying? Oh, that’s real romantic.”
“Look, I’ve got to lead up to it… I can’t just suddenly ask her to be my girlfriend – I have to set the right mood.”
“And you think you can do that in the library?” Charlie asks sarcastically.
“Well yeah, we’ll be sitting close together at a private table. It will definitely work.”
He rolls his eyes. "If you say so."
Bill pulls out his brother’s ponytail. “Mouthy brat! And get your hair cut already – I’m sick of you copying my style.”
“Hey, I am not copying you!”
“Sure you aren’t.” He grins. “Thanks, Charlie. I owe you one.”
“Damn right you do.”
Bill musses his wavy hair. “Come on, little brother, let’s go back inside.”
Chapter 2: Unexpected Confessions
Year: February 1988 (your 4th & Bill’s 6th)
Summary: Imagine finding out that Bill has feelings for you too
* . * . *
I’m in the library with Bill when I have the sudden urge to kiss him. We are sitting side by side at a private table – heads close together as we read from the same book. He smells absolutely wonderful… like spiced tea with bergamot and cinnamon.
“Sorry, my hair’s in the way.” I watch him tuck the ginger strand behind his ear. And then he looks at me with those gorgeous sea-green eyes and I desperately want to press my lips to his.
“What is it? Do I have crumbs on my face from lunch?”
“Oh, no – nothing like that,” I stammer, searching for something to say. “Would you like one of my hair elastics?”
Heart hammering, I turn away from him and unzip my bag. “Here you are.” My fingers brush his skin as I place it in the palm of his hand.
Bill pulls his shoulder-length hair into a ponytail. “Thanks, that’s much better,” he says, giving me that adorable smile of his.
Oh my god, I really will end up kissing him if I stay here!
“Umm, Bill, I’m not feeling very well… I should probably go to the hospital wing.”
A look of worry crosses his face. “What’s wrong? Are you coming down with something?”
I avert my eyes. “I think so. I’m a little dizzy.” That was true enough. I was finding it rather hard to breathe.
Bill places his hand on my forehead. “Hmm, you do feel a bit warm, it might be a fever. Come on, I’ll walk you there.”
“Oh you don’t have to do that, I can go myself.”
“Nonsense, you might faint in the hallway.” Bill starts packing up his things and I do the same. He puts his arm around me as we walk out of the library.
I feel guilty and pathetic now. Bill is a naturally caring person because of his younger siblings. He probably considers me a little sister, I think miserably.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes. I’m sorry for ruining our study session.”
“Don’t be, it’s not your fault.” Bill rubs my back. “I just want you to feel better.”
Tears well in my eyes. He seems to sense how upset I am because he pulls me into a warm hug.
“Bill, I–” No, don’t say it!
“Hmm, what is it?”
“Thank you for being such a good friend.”
“Is that all I am?” he asks quietly.
I look up at him. “What?”
“Couldn’t we be something more?”
His sincere expression takes me by surprise. “Bill, do you fancy me?”
He smiles. “Yeah, I do.”
My heart is positively soaring. “I have a confession to make too: I don’t have a fever… I just said that because I wanted to kiss you, and I needed an excuse to leave before I embarrassed myself.”
Bill chuckles. “Oh, is that so?”
I nod, cheeks warming again. He leans down and touches his lips to mine. I don’t care that we’re in the middle of a hallway – I kiss him back eagerly.
Whistles and laughter interrupt us. “Oi, Weasley, get a room will you?”
“Shut it or I’ll dock you points,” he warns, still holding onto me.
“That’s an abuse of power, that is,” says one of the boys.
“Yeah I’ll have to report your threat,” chimes another.
Bill slips his much larger hand in mine. “Let’s get out of here, (Name).” We walk away from them to a chorus of catcalls. Even Bill’s face is red as we turn the corner. “Stupid gits… I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s okay.” Part of me is quite pleased that we were caught together.
“You want to study in the stone circle?” he asks.
We use the Accio spell to summon our coats. They speed down the staircases half a minute later, and we bundle up before heading outside.
When Bill and I walk into the courtyard, Penny calls our names and jogs over to us. She grins at our joined hands. “Ooh, what’s this? Are you two a couple now?”
“Yeah, we are,” Bill replies.
“It’s about time! (Name) has had a crush on you since last year.”
He looks at me. “Really? When was this?”
“After you told me about Emily. Well, that’s when I noticed my feelings anyway, but I’ve probably liked you for ages.”
“What about you, Bill? When did you start fancying (Name)?” Penny inquires.
“During the Yule Ball.” His expression softens. “I should have asked you to be my date.”
I smile back at him. “It worked out alright though – I had a lot of fun going with Charlie. And don’t worry, he doesn’t have romantic feelings for me.”
“Yeah I know, I asked him how he felt right after the ball.”
“Wow, Bill, you didn’t waste any time, did you?” Penny teases. “I’m surprised it took you over a month to make a move.”
“Ah, well, I was worried that (Name) only saw me as an older brother. I had to be sure that I was doing the right thing.”
“I understand. So anyway, congratulations! I’m really happy for both of you!”
“Well I’ll see you two later. Have fun!”
We say goodbye to the enthusiastic Hufflepuff.
I look over at Bill. “I’ve never once thought of you as a brother by the way.”
“Good. It’s kind of funny that we were worried about the same thing… I mean, a two year age-gap isn’t a big deal.”
“You’re right, it isn’t. I’m going to miss you like crazy when you graduate though.”
He gives my hand a squeeze. “Don’t think about something so depressing right now.”
“Okay, I won’t.”
When we reach our destination, we sit down on the ground and lean our backs against one of the standing stones. It’s a chilly day in February, but the sun is shining on Bill’s bright hair. Another urge comes over me then; and this time, I give into it.
“Hold on, I need to do something.” I free his hair from the elastic and run my fingers through his silky strands. He closes his eyes at my touch. Even his lashes are that same brilliant copper-color. I trace the gold freckles that are scattered across his cheekbones. He is achingly beautiful.
“Are you really my boyfriend?” I ask in wonder.
“Yes.” He turns his head and presses a kiss to the palm of my hand.
“Bill,” I sigh. My heart is racing again. He gives me a sweet, knowing smile. This boy is definitely enjoying the effect he has over me…
“We should probably get some work done,” he says, pulling the curse-breaking book from his bag.
I rest my head against his shoulder as we read from it. Or rather I try to read, but I’m too distracted to absorb anything on the page.
“I’m really happy right now,” I admit.
He smiles. “Me too, love.”
The term of endearment makes me melt. I start touching his fingers absentmindedly. Bill has piano player hands: elegant, yet strong at the same time.
“(Name), let’s give up on studying for today.”
I’m feeling bold now. “Do you want to go somewhere and snog instead?”
Bill flashes me a playful grin. “Thought you’d never ask!”
He helps me up and we head down the hill in search of a secluded spot. Being Bill Weasley’s girlfriend is going to be a new kind of adventure.
Chapter 3: Summertime Magic
Year: August 1988 (right before your 5th year)
Summary: Imagine visiting Shell Cottage and meeting the Weasley family
* . * . *
I touch the Portkey at exactly one in the afternoon. Everything is spinning so fast that I have to close my eyes. And then it stops abruptly and I’m stumbling over the sand. I feel strong arms wrap around my waist to steady me.
“Gotcha.” Bill is smiling when I turn around to look at him.
“Hi,” I say, pulling him into a hug. He smells like salt water and sunshine.
“I missed you,” he murmurs into my hair.
“We just saw each other last week.” Bill passed his Apparition test on the first try, which meant that he’d been able to take me out on dates nearly every week this summer. Having a seventeen-year-old boyfriend definitely has its perks.
“Six days is a long time to go without seeing you,” he replies.
Bill is always saying sweet things like this, but they make me melt every single time.
I smile at him. “I missed you too, honey.”
He leans down to give me a kiss. We hear a loud whistle above us – and when we look up – Charlie is hovering on his broomstick. “Hi, (Name)!” he yells, waving.
I return the greeting and then he zooms off. Two smaller boys (who I can only assume are the notorious twins) race after him.
Bill steps back to survey me. “You look pretty, love.”
“Thank you,” I reply, smoothing down the skirt of my light blue sundress.
“Let me carry your bag.” He takes the duffle from me and slings it over a broad shoulder. Bill holds out his free hand. “I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
I slip my hand in his and we walk along the shore, getting our feet wet. “Oh, it’s so beautiful here,” I say, gazing out at the sparkling sea. “You’re lucky to have a holiday home on the beach.”
“Well, it’s technically not ours… the cottage belongs to my Great Aunt Muriel, but she lets us use it every summer.”
“I wish I had a great aunt like her.”
“Believe me, you don’t – she’s a complete nutter who is always trying to kiss us on the lips. Fred and George run from her.”
I laugh. “No! I hope you’re exaggerating.”
“I’m not, I swear. When Charlie was younger, he actually performed accidental magic to avoid her. Shot Auntie Muriel clear across the room,” he adds with a chuckle.
“Poor Charlie! Don’t tell me that’s where he gets his kissing phobia from?”
“I’ve never asked, but it’s entirely possible.”
I see two children splashing each other and shrieking. As we get closer, the boy stops what he’s doing and calls out: “Oi, Bill, is this her then?”
“Yes. Come over here and say hello properly.” The eight-year-old hurries over. “(Name), this is my youngest brother, Ron.”
“Hello, Ron. It’s nice to meet you.”
When he smiles, I notice that he’s missing one of his baby teeth. “That’s Ginny back there – she’s a bit shy.”
I wave to the little girl, who returns it hesitantly.
“She’ll meet you later… it usually takes her a few hours to warm up to new people,” Bill explains.
“That’s fine, I understand.”
Ron says goodbye and returns to his sister. Bill and I continue on our way. The next Weasley I see is Percy, who I already know from school. He’s sitting underneath a huge umbrella, paging through a book.
“What are you reading, Percy?”
“Standard Book of Spells: Grade Two,” he replies, glancing up at me. “I want to get a start on my homework.”
“That’s very responsible of you.”
“More like boring,” two voices say behind me.
I look back to see the twins touching down on the sand. They have identical shaggy hair and mischievous smirks.
“Perce here doesn’t know how to have fun,” one of them declares.
“But we do,” adds the other. “Will you come flying with us later?”
I nod. “Sure.”
They beam at me. “We like you already!” I smile as they introduce themselves with a theatrical bow.
“They’re lying. That one is George and that one is Fred,” Bill says, pointing them out.
“How do you tell them apart?” I ask curiously.
“Easy: Fred is mouthy and George is more polite. Plus Fred’s got a scar on his knee.”
The mouthy one scowls at Bill. “That isn’t true – I can be just as polite as George.”
“Oh yeah? Prove it then.”
Charlie lands on the beach. “What’s this? Shouting already? Don’t mind him, (Name); Fred has no manners.”
“I have so,” he insists. And with that, the ten-year-old approaches me, takes my hand in his, and kisses the back of it like an old-fashioned gentleman. “It’s a pleasure to meet such a rare beauty.”
“Thank you, Fred. That’s very sweet of you.” I have to admit, I’m a little taken aback.
Charlie snorts. “Don’t be fooled by this rascal, (Name).”
Bill ruffles his mop of ginger hair. “That was real smooth.”
Fred gives me a charming smile. “Until our flight, fair maiden.”
George snickers as his twin returns to his side. “Nice one!” They mount their brooms and speed off over the water.
“Well, that was surprising…”
“They never stop fooling around,” Percy says, tone disapproving. “Be prepared for some pranks while you’re here.”
“Thanks, Percy – I’ll be on the lookout.”
The twelve-year-old nods and goes back to his book.
“You going up to the house now?” Charlie asks us.
“Yeah. I want to introduce (Name) to mum and dad.”
“I’ll come too. I need to make a sandwich to hold me over until dinner.”
“Charlie’s been eating like a dragon lately,” Bill teases.
“Hey, I’m in a growth spurt right now! See, (Name), I’ve gotten taller.”
It’s true: Charlie is only a few inches shorter than Bill now. But unlike his eldest brother, he has a stockier build from playing Quidditch.
The three of us climb the sand dunes up to the cottage, which has quaint dormer windows and a steep roof tiled with large shells. The door is open to let in the fresh sea air. The interior is just as lovely – with pastel colored shells embedded in the white plaster to form elaborate designs. We find Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in the bright kitchen.
“Mum, dad, (Name) is here,” Bill announces.
Mrs. Weasley immediately gathers me into a motherly embrace. “Oh my dear, it’s so wonderful to meet you! Bill has told us all about you of course – the famous curse-breaker of Hogwarts!” Her expression turns serious. “I’m terribly sorry about your brother, (Name). I hope you find him someday.”
“I’m certainly determined to.” I smile at them. “Thank you for inviting me to stay the night.”
“You’re most welcome, dear. We’re glad to have you!”
Now it’s Mr. Weasley’s turn to greet me. He gives my hand an enthusiastic shake. “Congratulations on becoming a Prefect,” he says, flashing the trademark Weasley grin that many of his children have inherited.
“I’ve made a cake to celebrate the new Head Boy and Prefects,” Mrs. Weasley adds. “But dinner won’t be for hours yet. Would you like some tea? I baked some scones this morning.”
“Thanks, that sounds great.” I sit down at the round table and we chat for the next ten minutes or so. Then Bill takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms.
“Ginny will be staying in here with you.” He points to the twin bed covered with a pink quilt and stuffed toys. “She’s well-behaved for the most part so she shouldn’t bother you too much.”
“I’m sure she won’t.” I sit on the bed near the window. “Where are you sleeping?”
“Down the hall with Percy. Charlie is camping out in the tent with Ron and the twins,” he replies, plopping down beside me. I meet his sea-green eyes and he gives me a little smile. “Can I give you a proper kiss now?”
I nod, leaning towards him. Bill is gentle at first, but when I run my hand up the back of his neck, things become more passionate. He slips an arm around my waist, pulling me closer until I’m almost sitting on his lap. Bill rests a hand on top of my thigh, stroking it through the fabric of my skirt. We snog until we’re breathless.
“Godric, I better get out of here before I lose all self-control,” he says, voice husky.
I give him a sly smile. “I wouldn’t mind if you lost control.”
“I can’t, love.” He lets go of me and stands up. “I’ll leave you to get changed. You might want to wear a T-shirt and shorts over your bathing suit; I have a feeling that Fred and George are going to pester you to go flying as soon as you get outside.”
“Okay. I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
* . * . *
Bill is giving Ginny a piggy-back ride through the shallow water. Seeing what a good brother he is makes me smile. He really is the biggest sweetheart.
Charlie flies up next to me. “You want to go swimming now?”
“Yes,” I reply. “I’m getting sweaty.”
“Me too. Come on, I’m sure the twins will follow us.”
We touch down on the sand. I walk over to the umbrella where my straw beach tote is. Percy has already left so I can shed my clothes without anyone watching. I’m wearing a one-piece bathing suit, but my lower half feels uncomfortably naked. I pull on a white gauze mini skirt that covers up my bum and thighs.
The twins are already running towards the water, but Charlie is standing with his back to me. His skin is so deeply freckled that he looks almost tan. “I never knew you were so muscular,” I say, walking beside him.
“I didn’t used to be, but I started working out earlier this year. I think my reflexes have improved since then. Gryffindor is going to win the Quidditch Cup this year – I can feel it.”
I grin. “Don’t tell Andre that or he’ll take it as a challenge.”
He laughs. “I’d like to see him stop me!”
The water is deliciously cool when I wade in. Bill makes his way towards me with Ginny still hitching a ride on his back.
“Gin, this is (Name). Say hello.”
“Hi,” the seven-year-old says, giving me a shy smile.
“Hi Ginny, it’s lovely to meet you.”
“Charlie, can you take the princess for a bit?”
“Sure. Come here Gin.”
Once she’s been transferred over to Charlie, Bill puts his arms around me. “Are you a good swimmer?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“You want to swim further out with me? To that dinghy there?”
“Okay,” I agree. I’ve always liked swimming in pools, but I don’t have a lot of experience with the sea. The waves are gentle today though and I don’t feel afraid since Bill is with me. When we reach the red and white dinghy, we hold onto each other and tread water. His heart is racing against my chest, causing me to become acutely aware of our semi-clothed state. I know that I’m blushing.
Bill leans his forehead against mine. “You’re adorable, (Name).”
I smile. “Am I?”
“Mmmhmm.” And then he’s kissing me again and I can feel my legs going weak, which is a very bad thing to happen while trying not to drown.
“If you keep kissing me like that, I won’t be able to swim,” I tell him.
He chuckles. “Sorry, love – I’ll behave now.”
When we make it back to the shallow area five minutes later, the younger kids are trying to catch a charmed beach ball that keeps bouncing off the water. Percy actually joins us – and when the twins start splashing him in the face – Bill uses his stern older brother voice to get them to stop. We play around for half an hour longer.
Once we’re on the beach, Bill casts a drying charm over our bodies. He stretches out on a blanket, closing his eyes against the sun. I can’t help but admire the lean muscles of his torso and the golden freckles that cover his arms and shoulders.
His mouth curves into a little smile. “Are you staring at me, (Name)?”
“Just a bit.”
Ginny saves me from further embarrassment by plopping down beside us. “Bill, can I braid your hair?”
He sits up. “Go ahead, princess.”
“Do you know how to braid hair, (Name)?” she asks, separating her brother’s copper strands into three sections.
“Yes, I do. Would you like me to braid yours when you’re done with Bill’s?”
Ginny nods. “Yes, please.”
The afternoon passes in this same easy-going way. I’m an only child with Jacob gone and it’s nice being able to spend some time with a large family. I feel almost like an honorary big sister now.
* . * . *
We sit around a bonfire after dinner, laughing and toasting marshmallows. Ginny gives me a hug when it’s time for her to go inside. Bill is her favorite brother, so it means a lot that she approves of me.
“There’s a meteor shower soon. We can go further down the beach and watch it on our own,” Bill says, threading our fingers together.
“I’d like that.”
He takes me to a spot near a large rock, summoning a blanket to spread on the sand. We sit down and he asks me if my legs are cold.
“A little.” Another blanket zooms towards us. Bill covers us up and slips his arm around me. I lean against him, watching the full moon’s reflection on the water. “I would love to live here someday.”
His lips brush my temple. “Maybe we will, sweetheart.”
Hearing the word ‘we’ fills me with courage. I meet his eyes. “Then I’m not the only one who can see a long-term future?”
“No, I feel exactly the same way.” He smiles. “I can’t imagine my life without you.”
My heart skips several beats. I know it’s the right time to say the words that I have felt for seven long months. “I love you, Bill Weasley.”
His lips are soft against mine. “I love you too, (Name).”
We kiss for a few minutes – and when we look up at the sky again – the meteor shower has begun. I smile and make a wish.
Chapter 4: Leaves & Pumpkins
Year: October 1988 (your 5th and Bill’s 7th)
Summary: Imagine spending an autumn day with Bill
* . * . *
I hurry out of the kitchens with the picnic basket that Pepper the house elf packed for me. Bill is waiting in the entrance-way. Because it’s a Saturday, he’s out of his school uniform and wearing a blue and green flannel shirt that brings out the color of his eyes.
“So… how was detention?” he asks, giving me a little smile.
“It was sort of fun actually. I baked some pumpkin pasties and apple tarts.”
Bill takes the picnic basket from me. “I hope there’s some of those in here.”
“There is, and lots of other delicious things as well.”
“Great because I’m starving. You want to head down to the lake and have our lunch there?”
“Yeah, I’d like that.”
The cool breeze against my face feels wonderful after being cooped up in a hot kitchen for hours. Bill offers me his free hand as we walk through the courtyards. There are a lot of students outside enjoying the unseasonably warm day. We say hello to some of our friends as we pass by. The Hogwarts grounds come into view a few minutes later. Scarlet, gold, and orange leaves glow under the October sunshine, painting the landscape in vibrant Gryffindor colors.
“I can’t believe this will be my last autumn here,” Bill says wistfully.
“Neither can I.” At this time next year, I’ll be looking at this scene without him. My heart aches at the thought.
Bill puts his arm around me as we head down the hill. “We’ll just have to make the most of our time left. I was thinking we could stay at school for winter break. What do you say?”
I smile at him. “I’ll write home and let my parents know.” We continue to chat about the Christmas holidays. Then I spot a familiar red sweater near the lake. “Is that Charlie over there?” I ask, shielding my eyes from the sun. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s probably feeding the giant squid some cereal.”
“Should we invite him to join us? Pepper packed more food than the two of us can eat.”
“Sure, I don’t mind.” He calls out to his brother, who makes his way over. “(Name) and I brought a picnic lunch. Are you hungry?”
Charlie flashes us a crooked grin. “I always am! Thanks for asking.”
“You’re welcome,” I reply, placing my messenger bag on the grass. “I love spending time with my two favorite Weasley boys.”
“But I’m still your number one, right?” Bill asks, pretending to pout.
I laugh and pull him in for a kiss. I can feel him smiling.
“Uggh, please don’t do that in front of me!”
Bill breaks away and says: “Oh grow up already – you’ll put up with it if you want free food.”
Charlie heaves a sigh. “Did you bring a blanket to sit on?”
“Yeah, it’s in my bag.” I crouch down to get the old quilt. Charlie helps me spread it out underneath a flame-colored tree.
Bill is unpacking the picnic basket as I dig around for my new Polaroid camera. “Charlie, sit next to Bill so I can take a photo.” He plops down on the blanket. “Okay, 1, 2, 3, smile!”
They do and I press the button. The square photo pops out an instant later. I join them on the blanket and the three of us watch the film develop.
“Woah, that’s neat!” Charlie says as the picture starts to appear.
“Our dad would love this,” Bill adds. “I’ll have to tell him about it.”
I show Charlie how to work the camera and he takes a few photos of me and Bill.
“I want this one,” Bill says, pointing to the picture of him kissing me on the cheek. “You look adorable.”
“As fascinating as this conversation is, I’d much prefer to eat.” Charlie pops an apple tart into his mouth. “Mmm, this is excellent.”
“Thank you, I made it without magic.”
“No way! I’m impressed, (Name) – it’s as good as our mum’s baking!”
“That’s high praise coming from you,” Bill says, reaching for a tart. He takes a bite and an expression of bliss suffuses his face. “Okay, I’m sold… you’re amazing, love; the amount of cinnamon is perfect.”
“Try the pumpkin pasties too.” The brothers start waxing poetic about the flaky crust. I laugh and say, “You two are sure easy to please.”
Besides the sweets, there’s also toasted cheese sandwiches, mini sausages on toothpicks, and spiced cider. We chat about classes and the upcoming Quidditch season while we eat lunch.
Charlie gets up a half an hour later. “Well, I think I’ll go into the forest for a bit.”
“If you see Torvus, tell him we say hello.”
He nods. “I will. Catch ya later.”
Bill shrinks the picnic basket and puts it inside my messenger bag. “Where to now?”
“How about Hagrid’s? He said we could stop by for some pumpkins.”
“Okay,” Bill agrees, taking the bag from me. We walk along the edge of the forest and admire the beautiful foliage. I stop every now and then to gather some leaves. “What are you going to do with those?”
“Press them in a book that way I can feel nostalgic about today.”
Bill’s face softens. “Will you let me have some too?”
I smile. “Of course, sweetheart.”
Fang bounds over to us as we make our way towards the hut. I crouch down to pet the excitable boar-hound. “(Name)! Bill! Glad yeh could make it,” Hagrid calls out from his garden. “Come an’ choose as many pumpkins as yeh want!”
We only pick two though, and they are also shrunk down and placed inside my bag. “Thank you, Hagrid. We’ll be sure to carve them soon.”
“Ah, yeh’re mos’ welcome, (Name)! Enjoy the rest of yer day!”
We give Fang a pat on the head and wave goodbye to Hagrid.
“Want to come back to my common room?” Bill asks. “We can carve the pumpkins there.”
“Won’t the Head Girl mind?”
“No, she’s usually in the library. And she’s invited her friends over plenty of times without asking me, so I’m not too fussed about it.”
Bill normally gets along with everyone, but he’s having a hard time with the taciturn Head Girl. I’m actually quite relieved that she doesn’t seem to like him much.
“Sure, I’d like to see where you’re living now.”
* . * . *
The Head Boy and Girl’s suite is quite spacious – with high ceilings and tall windows that fill the common room with sunshine. I wander around, running my fingers along the brown velvet couch and plaid upholstered chairs. There’s a large fireplace too, but it isn’t cold enough to light yet.
“It’s so nice! Rowan’s aiming to be Head Girl, and if she gets it, I’ll be hanging out here quite a lot.”
I sit down on the window seat and take in the spectacular view. Bill joins me and pushes one of the panes open to let in some fresh air.
“What if you’re chosen for Head Girl instead of her?”
I shake my head. “My grades will never be as good as hers. Dumbledore wouldn’t choose a trouble-maker like me.”
Bill shrugs. “You never know… a lot can happen in two years. You might end up being the best candidate.”
His comment unsettles me in more ways than one because he’s right: a lot can happen in two years. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t worried about being away from Bill for that long. I try to push the gloomy thought away.
“So, can we use that table for pumpkin carving?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Sure. I’ll set things up. There’s a record player on top of the bookcase if you want to put on some music.”
There’s a small stack of Muggle records and I choose a Duran Duran album. ‘Rio’ starts playing and I go over to the table where Bill has restored the pumpkins to their original size. He hands me one of the knives that Pepper the house elf gave us when we dropped off the picnic basket. We stand side by side and get to work.
I’ve always liked the gooey sensation of scooping out the insides… it takes me right back to carving pumpkins with Jacob. The childhood memory makes me smile and I tell Bill about it. He shares some of his stories with me too – including one where the twins started a war by throwing fistfuls of pumpkin innards at everyone.
He laughs. “Mum was furious, but it was so much fun!”
Bill vanishes the mess with a wave of his wand and I scourgify our hands. There are no Muggle markers, so we have to carve out the faces free-form, but they turn out well. When ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ comes on, we grin at each other and start singing along. Bill grabs my hand, leads me over to a patch of empty floor space, and spins me around. We collapse on the couch when the song ends, laughing.
Bill pulls me closer and says, “I love spending time with you. We have to do this every weekend, okay? I hardly see you during the week because of exam prep.”
I snuggle into him, resting my head on his chest. His heart pulses against my cheek and I breathe in his comforting scent. “Maybe you can sneak me in here at night sometimes… when I’m finished with my Prefect rounds.”
Bill plays with my hair. “Don’t tempt me, love. We’d never get any work done if we were together.”
I look up at him, smiling. “Yeah, you’re probably right about that.”
He cups the side of my face. “But after being so disciplined this week, I think we deserve a reward, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I murmur as his lips touch mine. We are soon entirely preoccupied with one another.