What's Your Poison?
“Bill! Where are you?” The front door slammed shut, followed by the pounding of feet on the stairs. Bill looked up from his paper-strewn desk and frowned. The sunlight had faded and the large bay window showed the sky was turning the dark bluey-pink of twilight. When had it gotten so later? He had only meant to write a few pages, trying to resolve a problem with the current plot before jumping in the shower and getting ready for the evening. A quick glance at the clock told him it was seven-thirty. He had been working for four hours. And given the inch thick pile of parchment covered front and back with his cramped scrawl, he had worked the problem out.
“Bill?” the male voice floated through the thick door of the study, footsteps coming closer. They stopped in front of the door and the knob rattled. “Come on Bill, you damn poof, we’re going to be late!”
“I’ll be out in a minute!” Bill called, shaking his head as he shoved himself away from the desk and rose, stretching and wincing when his back cracked. In the two years he had been housemates with Harry Potter, he had come to discover two things. One, Harry Potter was nearly as neat a housemate as one could wish for. And two, he hated to be late. With a quick cleaning spell, the dirt and sweat he had accumulated from his workout earlier that afternoon disappeared and his clothes were clean. He frowned down at his clothes. Torn, old jeans, scuffed trainers and a purple t-shirt emblazed with the emblem of the muggle band U2. Perhaps not the proper attire for a birthday party, but given that his hair still brushed his shoulders and he still possessed his dragon claw earring, one could say that Bill Weasley didn’t really care how he looked. He had always been rather casual in his dress, even as a boy and since his previous occupation of a curse breaker didn’t require dressing up more than once or twice a year, he had fallen into the habit of just grabbing whatever clothes were close by and clean.
Ever since Fleur had left him for another Veela just before their wedding, Bill had been a bit of a recluse. He had been thinking about changing careers for a while and after the break-up, had decided it was the perfect time to make a change. At first, he hadn’t really known what he was going to do, until one day, as he was reading a muggle book, the idea struck him that if the story had been written a bit differently, it would be much better. On a whim, he had pulled out some parchment and set to work rewriting the story. After a few days of dogged writing, it dawned on him that instead of rewriting stories, perhaps he could write his own. He tossed the idea around for a few days before deciding it couldn’t hurt and writing the first few chapters. He had taken the papers to his youngest brother’s wife, Hermione, and asked her to read it. And after that, there was no looking back. Now, he had four published books in the muggle world and was working on his fifth. He had sold Shell Cottage and moved into London, taking a small, two story house on the outskirts of the city. It wasn’t long before he realized that he didn’t really like living all alone. Harry had been looking for a place to live around that time, as Ron and Hermione had just gotten married, so Bill invited the honorary Weasley to room with him. They had been living together ever since.
Living with Harry had been awkward at first. Harry had come out to the Weasleys on his twentieth birthday, just after he moved in with Bill and the older man wasn’t sure how to react to the news. After enduring a tension filled week, Harry had sat Bill down and told him that his sexual orientation did not effect his brotherly affection for Bill, but if Bill felt uncomfortable living with a homosexual, he would find somewhere else to live, no questions asked. “And besides, it’s not like I find you all that attractive,” Harry had said, a teasing light in his green eyes. Bill had growled and demanded to know what was wrong with him that Harry didn’t like him. After that, the two had become much more comfortable with each other. Bill still found Harry’s tendency to bring complete strangers home a tad awkward, but he had learned to ignore it.
“BILL! We are going to be late!” Harry shouted, pounding on the door. Bill smirked and shrugged into his beaten up, old leather jacket, grabbed the brightly wrapped present off the corner of his desk and unlocked the door to his study to confront his annoyed housemate.
“Keep your knickers on, Harry,” he drawled, striding down the hall to the stairs. “It doesn’t take that long to Apparate to the Burrow.” Laughing at the dark-haired man’s annoyed expression, Bill disapparated with a bang! His family would have to deal with his casual clothes. And besides, he thought as he appeared on the doorstep of the Burrow, followed a moment later by Harry, it would give his mother something else to nag him about.
Another Friday night, another family dinner. A loud, boisterous night filled with laughter, stories, Quidditch, and Molly Weasley’s cooking. There was no place he would rather be.
Harry had grown up in a household where he had been treated like a slave. When Hagrid, the groundskeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, had told him he was a wizard on his eleventh birthday, it had opened a whole new world, a better world, for a young boy who wanted nothing more than to have a family of his own. And now he did. In the eleven years since he had entered the wizarding world as a scared first year at Hogwarts, the Weasleys had all but legally adopted him. He was the unofficial seventh son, the child not born to them, but loved just as much. While Molly had been disappointed when Harry had come out of the closet, the family still accepted and loved him and Harry loved them all just as much.
He sat in the living room, playing with Charlie’s year old adopted daughter Christy, listening with half an ear as Hermione and Percy discussed the Ministry’s new policies regarding magical creatures. It was always amusing when Hermione and Percy started talking. Both worked for the Ministry, Percy was well on his way to becoming to the next Minister of Magic and Hermione was working her way up the ranks in the Ministry as well. Both were stubborn as bulls and had differing opinions on quite a few things, so it was difficult for one week to go by without some kind of argument.
Harry looked up when Ginny sat next to him, a glass of red wine in her hand. He smiled.
“Freedom at last?” he teased. She smirked.
“I flinched it from Charlie. Mum keeps telling him he shouldn’t drink with Christy around, so I’m helping him.” Her grin was positively wicked as she took a sip. “So what have you been up to lately, Harry? Draco won’t tell me much about what’s going on in the office.” She sent a mock glare at her boyfriend of twelve months, who was arguing with Ron about the Cannon’s chances this season. Harry laughed, bouncing Christy on his knees, making the little blonde gurgle with laughter.
“Not much, Gin, just a lot of paperwork and a few minor raids. It’s been rather boring,” he said pleasantly, avoiding her eyes. Ginny had an unfortunate knack for reading his mind, and those of most of her brothers, and Harry had found that the best solution to keeping information from his “sister” was to just avoid her eyes and change the topic as quickly as possible. “So, how are the Harpies doing so far? You guys going to smash the Cannon’s again?” Ginny took the bait, launching into a detailed description of how her Quidditch team was training. Ginny had signed on with the Holyhead Harpies straight out of Hogwarts and had been their surprise weapon that season, proving herself an outstanding Chaser and leading the Harpies to the British Championship. She had been named Rookie of the Year and now, in her fourth season, was the caption.
Harry himself had been approached by almost all the professional Quidditch teams in Britain, but he had declined all the offers. Most of the teams had wanted him merely to boast that they had Harry Potter, not for his skills as a Seeker. After going back to Hogwarts to finish his seventh year, Harry had joined the Aurors, as he had dreamed of since his fifth year. The past July marked his first anniversary as a full-fledged Auror. The first six months, he had been partnered with a crabby old Auror called Moore, but when the old wizard had retired, Harry had been reassigned, to work with Malfoy.
“Harry!” Ron called across the room, interrupting his conversation. “Tell Malfoy he’s mad! The Tornados won’t make it past the second round, if they even make it to the first!”
“Sorry Ron,” Harry said, smiling as he stood to return Christy to her father. “But I’m an Arrows fan, you know that. And I don’t think you should be talking, the Cannons aren’t even going to make it to the finals.” Laughter filled the room as Harry left, growing louder as Ron turned a brilliant shade of red and tried to dispute Harry’s claim.
“Charlie, your daughter is trying to eat me; you need to feed the little cannibal!” Harry announced as he entered the kitchen. Molly and Penelope, Percy’s wife of three years, laughed as Harry held the baby high and twirled her around. Charlie looked up from the strange red vegetable he was chopping and grinned.
“Are you trying to eat Uncle Harry, Christina,” he asked the child, making a face at her. The child laughed at her father and held out her arms. Charlie smiled. “There is some baby food in the fridge, Harry,” he said, holding up his red stained hands. “ Christy is allergic to this stuff, so I can’t take her just now.”
“Why are you making something your daughter is allergic to?” Harry grumbled as he took the baby food out of the fridge and found a spoon. Seating the baby in one of the high chairs Molly had acquired of the years and brought down from the attic when Ron and Hermione’s daughter Rose was born. Looking around, he grabbed a napkin and transfigured it into a bib, adding a shower of sparks for Christy. The little girl laughed and clapped her hands, giggling even more as Harry attempted to put the bib on her. “Saviour of the world they call me,” Harry muttered, prying the top off the food, “and I’m stuck with you.” He scrunched up his nose as he lifted a spoonful of the neon orange mush out of the can.
“Mum wanted me to make a Romania dish since Ginny likes that food,” Charlie explained as he added the veggie to a simmering stew. Harry snorted and hurriedly cleaned up the mush Christy had spat out. Charlie snickered. “You gotta make the face.”
“I am not making that face,” Harry growled, teeth grit at the laughter of Molly and Penelope. Harry glared at Penelope and shook the baby food spoon at her. “Don’t laugh; you had to do worse with Jack.” Penelope just giggled.
“If you didn’t want to do the face, you shouldn’t have chosen something with carrots,” Molly scolded him, taking the mash from him and placing a bowl of wet baby cereal on the tray. Christy attacked the food and was soon covered in cereal.
“It’s the only thing Charlie brought!” Harry protested, glaring at the retired dragon handler. The older man merely smiled and continued stirring his dish.
“All I had, need to go the store,” he said mildly. Harry rolled his eyes and wiped a glob of cereal off his face. He sighed and leaned back in his chair, keeping an eye on Christy as he surveyed the kitchen. As usual, Molly had cooked enough food to feed an army. They were celebrating Ginny’s twenty-first birthday, so Molly had made all of the witch’s favorite foods. Harry had contributed two lasagnas, claiming they were from him and Bill, though everyone knew Bill didn’t cook.
“So Harry, what happened to that nice young man you brought by a few weeks ago?” Molly said casually. Harry smiled. Even though Molly had been shocked the most by his announcement at dinner one day that he was gay, she had quickly adjusted and had been trying to find a suitable partner for him, just as she had for all her children. Harry could only smile and listen to her suggestions and not to subtle hints. He knew it was one of Molly’s ways of showing her love and affection and, unlike the rest of the clan, he didn’t dislike it one bit.
“Clay? He had to move to America, something about a job opportunity.” Harry shrugged. Clay had been a good fuck buddy, but not long term boyfriend material. Not that he was going to tell Molly that.
“Oh, but he was so nice!” Molly sighed. Charlie started coughing, great spasms wracking his body as he tried to hide his laughter. He had caught Harry and Clay going at it in Ron’s old room and Harry had threatened to hex him several times over if he ever told. Molly and Penelope starting fussing over Charlie in concern, though Penelope’s eyes sparkled with mischief. Harry rolled his eyes and started cleaning Christy up as much as he could while she continued playing with her food. Harry had a thing about kids eating. Once they started throwing and playing with it, it was kind of obvious they were done and it was okay to remove it.
“Harry, leave her there and go call the others, will you?” Molly asked, taking the cereal dish from him. “The food is ready now.”
Harry jumped up and hurried through the house, calling the Weasley clan to supper. He found Fred and Angelina talking with Charlie’s girlfriend Jesie outside as Jesie finished off a cigarette. Fred had that gleam in his eye that Harry had learned meant he was cooking up a joke. Harry shook his head as he headed off to the Quidditch paddock, where Bill was teaching Teddy Lupin how to ride a broom. The five year old caught sight of his godfather watching them from the edge of the paddock and steered his training broom towards him, giggling madly as the miniature Nimbus rushed through the air about two feet from the ground.
“Harry! Look at me!” the boy cried as he flew in circles around his godfather. Harry grinned and clapped for him.
“That’s great Teddy! Just wait, you’ll be playing Quidditch in no time!” Teddy grinned and zipped away to the opposite end of the paddock, whooping as he flew away. Bill landed his broom near Harry and smirked.
“He’s a natural,” the redhead told his housemate. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he played for his house when he goes to Hogwarts.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, eyes tracking the small, blue haired boy. After a moment, he called to the boy, “Come on, Teddy! Its time to eat!”
“FOOD!!!” the boy yelled and flashed past them, heading straight towards the house. Harry took off after him, afraid he was going to crash. But he had nothing to worry about. Teddy pulled up just outside the front door, making Jesie, Angelina and Fred jump in surprise, hopped off his broom and ran inside, leaving the broom hovering just outside the door. Harry jogged up to the door and picked up the broom, shaking his head.
“If I didn’t know better,” Fred said, “I would say that some kind of demon just ran into our house. A demon that never gets full. Have you guys seen that boy eat?” Harry and Bill laughed.
“It’s the werewolf blood in him,” Bill said as they headed inside. “It makes his metabolism really high.”
“Of course, the fact that he’s a metamorphagus doesn’t help his appetite either,” Harry commented. “All that changing eats up a lot of the fats and other stuff in his body, so he has to eat a lot.”
“But still!” Fred exclaimed as they entered the dining room, which had been magically enlarged to seat everyone, “He could give Ron a run for his money!”
"HEY!" Ron exclaimed from the other end of the table, where he was putting Rose into a high chair. "What about me?"
"Nothing, Ronnie-kins," Fred waved him away before plopping down next to his wife and smiling sweetly at his mother. "Mum, can I have the honors?" Molly nodded and Fred stood up and took out his wand. "ATTENTION!" He yelled. The table quieted as all eyes turned towards Fred. He merely grinned and surveyed the table.
“Now, we all know why we are here. No just for Mum’s delicious cooking, (thought that is an excellent reason), but to celebrate Ginevra’s twenty-first birthday!” He waved his wand and fireworks went off, exploding in an array of blues, greens, red and gold. The whole table clapped and cheered as the fireworks started to spell Ginny’s name before exploding in a final show of butterflies and dragons. Fred grinned proudly before raising his glass of wine. “To Ginny, the littlest Weasley, who is now a grown-up!”
“Ginny!” the table cheered. Ginny blushed and laughed.
“And to all those who have kids, Mum and Dad have agreed to keep them tonight!” Fred continued. “We’re all going out tonight, to celebrate!”
The club was loud, crowded and bright. The people were dressed in a variety of clothes, a lot of them lighting up under the glow in the dark lights. Ginny and Draco quickly disappeared on to the dance floor, followed by Fred and Angelina. Hermione, Ron, Percy and Penelope all stayed at the table, laughing and telling stories, Hermione and Percy having declared a truce for the evening and steering away from subjects that concerned the Ministry. Harry had retreated to the bar, where he was eyeing a few men and Bill…well, Bill joined Harry at the bar, but it wasn’t because he was looking for a shag.
“What’s the most potent thing here?” he yelled at Harry, hoping to be heard over the blaring music. Harry laughed.
“Its all far more alcoholic than you’re used too, Bill,” he yelled back. “You will be out in no time if you drink the way you usually do.”
“Try me!” the older man challenged. Harry eyed him for a moment before a wicked light started burning in his eyes.
“Alright. Come on, lets get home, you won’t want to be out once you get pissed.”
Harry let the others know they were leaving, claiming a sour stomach and he and Bill disapparated from behind the club. Once they were home, Harry told Bill to wait in the den. A few minutes later, he entered the room with his arms full of various muggle alcohols. He grinned at Bill.
“You sure you want to do this? I won’t tell anyone if you want to back out.” Bill shook his head firmly.
“No. Give me the damn drink.”
With a shrug, Harry poured a few fingers of Grey Goose into a glass and handed it to Bill. The man took it, sniffed it then threw back the whole thing and quickly started gagging.
“What the hell?” he demanded after a moment. “Its like drinking poison!”
“There is a reason the muggles ask ‘what’s your poison’ at a bar,” Harry drawled, stretching out on the couch. Bill glared at him before grabbing the bottle from him.
“Just you watch…”
Two hours, three bottles, and a package of crackers later, the two men were well and truly pissed. Harry had lost his shoes somewhere and his shirt was half open, while Bill was down to bare feet and no shirt. Even in his drunken state, Harry couldn’t help noticing how well-toned Bill’s stomach muscles were. His fingers itched to stroke them and a moment later, he found himself doing just that, half-laying on Bill, fingers stroking his friend’s slightly furry chest, fuzzy thoughts of arousal floating through his drunken mind.
“Tha’ fe’ls…odd,” Bill mumbled, eyes half-closed, partially from drink. “Bu…ke’p do’in it…”
“Bill…” Harry started before looking down at the other man. The redhead opened one blue eye all the way and stared back. Then, even so slowly, he closed the distance between their lips and kissed his housemate.
It wasn’t the tentative, inquiring kiss of uncertainty. Neither was it the hard, demanding kiss of lust. It was soft, it was sweet, it was the searing, soul blazing kiss of recognition, of desire awakened and of a relationship turning from long-time friends to something…more. When Harry pulled away, Bill’s eyes were closed, but he was breathing just as hard as Harry.
“I…” Harry started, sure he was hallucinating. He had wanted to do that for a long time, had been tempted everyday since he had moved in to kiss Bill, but the man practically screamed heterosexual, so he had never dared to get close, to show even a speck of what he felt. Harry had long suspected he was falling in love with the older, redheaded curse breaker turned author. And now…
“Do that again,” the man underneath him rumbled. Bill’s eyes snapped open and he stared at Harry, a silent message passing between them. “Do it again.”
Harry didn’t need to be told another time. He pressed his lips to Bill’s again, this time his lips were hard, demanding, his tongue forcing its way into the other’s mouth to battle with Bill’s. Before long, they fell off the couch and the bottle of vodka rolled away, forgotten.
The next morning, Molly Weasley appeared in the little townhouse, making a casual inspection to make sure all her children were still alive. What she found was her oldest son asleep on the floor, arms curled around her adopted son, sleeping the sleep of one who had found something long lost and was never letting go.
Bill: Born: 11/29/1970: 31
Charlie: 12/12/1972: 29
Percy: 8/22/1976: 25
Fred and George: 4/1/1978: 24
Hermione: 9/19/1979: 22
Ron: 3/1/1980: 22
Draco: 6/5/1980: 22
Harry: 7/31/1980: 22
Ginny: 8/11/1981: 21