Summary: For the last Christmas they may ever get the chance to spend all together, the Weasley boys (Fred, George, Percy, Charlie, and Bill) are coming home to spend time with the rest of the clan (including Harry and Hermione.) But, when Bill gets there ahead of schedule and Harry has a fight with his friends, two people will end up spending more time together than anticipated and something more than brotherly love will develop. SLASH. Bill/Harry
Disclaimer: I (as you might have guessed) do not own Harry Potter or anything even remotely affiliated with it.
CHAPTER TEN: DANCES AND DEATH EATERS
"It was good to see you too, Oliver. And have fun celebrating, you deserve it," Harry added, awkwardly accepting an exuberant hug from Oliver before the other boy stood up, turned to leave…and bumped right into Bill, who had apparently just returned with the drinks…
Having witnessed the hug between Harry and who he now recognized to be Oliver Wood (a boy who had been a reserve for the Gryffindor team when Bill had played for it in his last year at Hogwarts), Bill greeted the two with a somewhat stiff hello. Oliver recognized Bill as well. "Hey, how've you been, Bill? Long time, no see…I'd best be getting back to my friends, good to see you." And with that he was off, offering a small wave goodbye, mostly toward Harry, and heading through the crowd in the direction of his own table.
Bill couldn't help but feel a tad uncomfortable, and was left wondering at Wood and Harry's relationship. They were friendly enough to hug, and though he had never been the jealous type, he couldn't help feeling a bit anxious at the familiarity between the two boys. He knew from experience how quidditch could…bring people together, so to speak. All those boys changing and showering together…But he was sure he would have heard if there had ever been anything between Harry and Wood, and besides, Wood had probably been too old for Harry when they were in school together. Wood being too old for Harry, oh the irony.
Pushing the thought of their age differences aside for the time being, Bill sat down in the recently vacated seat next to Harry and handed Harry his drink as he took a sip of his ale. Harry smiled at Bill and thanked him before taking an inquiring sip of the gin fizz. It was certainly better than he'd thought it would be considering that the only liquor he had tried before had been straight fire-whiskey that the twins and later Seamus had snuck into the dorms.
"I ran into Charlie and the twins at the bar. They're all well on their way to being two sheets to the wind, though Merlin knows they can all outdrink a goblin any day. I believe they were on their fifth boilermaker when I left," Bill declared, shaking his head with fond amusement. At Harry's slightly confused look, Bill clarified, "They were drinking a shot of whiskey with their beers."
"That sounds terrible," Harry opined, making a face at the thought. "Why on Earth would you want to drink such a thing?" he asked rhetorically.
Bill shrugged, chuckling slightly. "I prefer to stick to ale myself, but to each his own."
Sipping his drink, Harry's thoughts returned to his earlier musings about why Bill would be interested in him of all people. Sure, he was the-boy-who-lived, but beyond that, he was really rather plain and dull to be quite frank and horribly inept in situations like these…A horrifying notion suddenly came to him. What if Bill was only keeping him company out of some sort of sense of duty that he felt toward him because of his position as an Order member? Harry's heart sank at the thought.
Although not knowing the reason for it, Bill picked up on Harry's slight distress. "You know, most people go out to clubs to have fun," he teased lightly. "Relax a little and don't worry so much; there will be plenty of time for that later, but for now just allow yourself to get a little tipsy so that you might actually be able to dance later and not die of fright," he joked.
Taking a deep breath, Harry forced himself to relax. Bill was right, there was no use in fretting over things when he was here to have fun. And besides, he had faced Voldemort (and he would use the God damned name if it so pleased him) on numerous occasions, and he certainly wouldn't let his Gryffindor bravery fail him now! He gave Bill a big smile to let him know he was taking his advice and took a large gulp of his drink.
Loud, raucous laughter announced Charlie, George, and Fred's arrival at the table, a pint in each of their hands. Settling into the other side of the bench, the three seemed to look at each other in what Harry deemed a suspicious manner, laughing at something that only they seemed to get, before George suddenly cleared his throat in what was apparently a cue to the others. Together they burst into song:
"His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard!
I wish he was mine, he's really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord!"
Harry was too shocked at first to do more than stare at them dumbfounded as they sang to him, though he soon started to turn red as realization dawned on him, and Bill looked as if he was debating whether to be confused or amused. The three singers burst into laughter again at the reactions they'd received, though Fred's amusement was cut short as Ginny came rushing up to the table and, with an uncharacteristic resort to physical violence, punched him rather hard on the arm. Harry by now was blushing madly and trying to hide his head in his hands, embarrassed that Bill, and apparently Charlie, had been made aware of the singing Valentine incident from second year that he would have gladly not brought up again for the rest of his life.
"Oi! Gin? What was that for?" Fred whined, trying to give her his most innocent look. Ginny was most displeased and, not being drunk herself as the others clearly were, was certainly not fooled. She had come back to the table as the last verse was being sung and, like Harry, was not happy about the reminder of this particular incidence from her first year.
"Shut it, you!" she shouted at Fred. Turning toward Charlie and George, she added, "And that goes for you lot as well!" She gave them all her most threatening glare, but the effects were lost as the three merely burst out laughing once more.
"Aww…is poor ickle Ginnykins embarrassed about her Valentine for Harry?" George cooed, giggling. "No need, sis, after all, Fred and I think it's a lovely little poem, don't we Fred?"
"Oh, yes, quite. A fine piece of poetry that is. And no need to be embarrassed, Harry, you are 'really divine'," Fred added with a fake, adoring sigh, keeping his laughter in check as he pretended to be serious. "Don't you agree, Bill?" Here he couldn't help but let a devious smirk grace his face as he gave a pointed look to his older brother before sharing a knowing look with his twin.
Bill, cottoning on to the fact that the twins seemed to be aware of his recent realization that he fancied Harry, attempted to act as nonchalantly as possible so as to give them little fuel. "Yes, I agree that that's a fine bit of poetry," Bill agreed, purposefully ignoring the statement about Harry being divine. "I'm sure you two were quite pleased with yourselves when you came up with it."
"Well, I never! Fred, do you hear what he's accusing us of? Really, as if we would ever meddle in Gin's life like that. And I'm sure Ginny is quite insulted that you think her incapable of writing such an inspired little ditty," George exclaimed with false indignation.
Ginny did indeed look insulted, but not at Bill's words. "Why you…! We had a deal, remember? You were to never, ever sing that song again or imply that I was the one who wrote it and for my part I would keep my mouth shut abo-" Ginny's tirade was abruptly cut off as Fred clapped a hand across her mouth. He snatched it back, though, almost as quickly as he had put it there.
"Blimey! She got me!" he exclaimed, playing up the offense as if he had been wounded.
"What, did she bite you?!" Charlie inquired, sparing a wary glance toward Ginny, who had crawled under the table and was now sitting safely beside Harry and looking completely remorseless and in fact quite pleased with herself.
"Worse! She licked me, the little wench!" Fred exclaimed dramatically. "I'll never be rid of the cooties," he declared with fake remorse and his best woe-is-me look.
Bill merely raised an eyebrow while all of this transpired, as Harry rolled his eyes. Ginny merely waited patiently for the theatrics to be done with. "As I was saying," she continued nonchalantly, "since Fred and George don't seem to be able to keep up their end of the bargain, it only seems fair that I should no longer keep up mine." She smiled at Fred and George in turn, drawing things out purposefully for her own amusement.
"Fine," George deadpanned, surprising Ginny enough to wipe the smirk off her face. "You can go ahead and tell everyone everything, but then that gives us free reign to sing your lovely Valentine whenever and wherever we want," he declared with glee, as his twin sent him a joyful look. Ginny did not like the look nor sound of this. Not at all.
"You're lucky I'm underage," she ground out, itching to send a bat-bogey hex their way. The twins merely smiled cheekily at her. "Swear a wizard's oath to me that you will never, and I mean never, sing that wretched thing again and that you will refrain from pranking anyone in any way for the rest of the holidays and I will in turn refrain from telling Ron the truth about the you-know-what," Ginny offered slyly.
"Maybe we don't care if Ron does know about the you-know-what," Fred replied loudly, feigning nonchalance. It was most inopportune that Ron happened to overhear.
"What about me and what exactly?" Ron questioned, confused but extremely suspicious considering that the twins were involved. Hermione had trailed Ron back to the table, and she too was giving the twins a suspicious look.
Harry sighed. He was not really in the mood for what looked like another argument of some sort. His drink had started to kick in and he was feeling a bit buzzed, the last thing he needed was for it to be killed by all of this. Bill seemed to sense Harry's dilemma and quickly came to his rescue.
"I believe it's time for that dance lesson," he informed Harry, standing up and waiting for Harry to join him, which he was more than glad to do. "And this had better be sorted out when we get back or I might have to set all of you straight," he added for good measure to the table at large.
Grasping Harry's hand, Bill led him through the crowd a ways until he'd found a spot with enough room to dance. Leaning in, Bill tried to explain how to dance as Harry stood awkwardly, unsure of what exactly to do. "Just listen to the music, feel the beat, and move to it. That's about it. Most importantly just move; you kind of figure out what you're doing the more you do it. And have fun."
Looking around at everyone else, Harry attempted to imitate the swaying motions and hand movements that he saw others doing. He wasn't really sure if he was doing it right, but at least no one seemed to be staring at him. He watched as Bill started dancing, moving with the music with such fluidity and style that Harry felt somewhat embarrassed at his own lame attempts. Smiling, Bill sidled up to him and deftly encircled Harry with his arms from behind. "Just let yourself get lost in the music and forget about what others might think or how you compare to them," Bill advised, his breath tickling Harry's ear.
Harry felt his breath hitch at the older boy's closeness. He allowed himself to melt into Bill, Bill's movements serving to guide his own. At first his heart beat madly in his chest and his anxiety increased, but after a minute he got used to it and started to relax. His mind was certainly not on the crowd anymore and as he focused on simply matching Bill's movements and listening to the music, he found himself finally able to understand why others actually enjoyed dancing, when before he had always thought they were simply nutters.
Harry was startled out of his elation as someone grabbed his hand and he looked up to find Ginny smiling brightly at him. Harry flushed at her seeing him dancing so close to Bill, but Ginny seemed to be ecstatic to find them like this. Drawing Harry away from Bill, she suggested that Bill get another drink for himself and Harry. Although he rolled his eyes, Bill allowed her to get rid of him for the time being.
"So, do you like Bill then?" Ginny questioned deviously, leaning in so he could hear her.
"Oh, umm…of course I like Bill," Harry stated, purposefully ignoring Ginny's implication.
Ginny gave him a look and Harry knew he wasn't going to get off that easy. "That's not how I meant it," she stated simply.
"Well, then, I don't know…I mean, I guess so, but well, I don't really know what-" Harry cut himself off, knowing that he was rambling but not really sure what he was trying to say. He sighed loudly and shrugged his shoulders in a helpless motion, hoping that Ginny wouldn't press the matter. Did he like Bill? He supposed so, but then again he and Bill had never kissed or anything, so how could he be sure? He still wasn't even sure if he was gay or not…
"I'm pretty sure that he likes you. Just thought you should know," Ginny informed Harry matter-of-factly before thankfully changing the subject. "Dance with me," she urged, as if she hadn't just thrown him for a loop with her statement. He obliged her, trying not to think too hard about him and Bill.
Remembering Bill's advice and the feeling he'd had while dancing with him, Harry allowed himself to just feel the rhythm and move to it without trying to keep track of any special steps or placement of hands and the like. It was rather freeing and helped to clear his mind. The more he danced, the more he seemed to enjoy it. Here, in the midst of so many people, none of them staring at him or gawking, he actually felt relaxed. The fact that the alcohol seemed to have loosened his inhibitions just enough to not feel so self-conscious certainly didn't hurt either.
A sudden, whispered voice speaking into his ear jolted Harry from his trance. "Left pocket. Read the paper and follow it's instructions if you know what's good for you. Do it now. You're going to have to trust me on this," a voice that sounded familiar to Harry but that he couldn't quite place commanded in all seriousness as a note was simultaneously slipped into his left pocket. Harry stood frozen in shock for a second too long, for when he turned around he could not spot the person who had just approached him.
The sudden thought that it could be a trick, that the paper would turn out to be a portkey and that he would be whisked away to Voldemort like at the end of forth year came to him. His heart beat madly in his chest. His gut told him that this was not a trap, though, and that it was important that he listen to the stranger who had slipped the note to him. While his gut instincts had often gotten him into trouble in the past, they had also served him well, so despite his better judgment he pulled the folded piece of parchment from his jeans.
Glad that he had not been whisked away as soon as he touched it, Harry hastily unfolded the note and read it.
"Get out of here now! Don't try to be a hero. Make sure you get yourself out; the Death Eaters are coming for you and you alone. You are too important to be captured! Do not tell the others about this note now; tell them you were warned by a vision. You cannot apparate inside the building. If you have a portkey, use it without arousing suspicion. If not, you can apparate once you are outside the building; there is an exit out back past the bathrooms. Hurry!"
He read through it a second time before the reality of the situation sunk in and he leapt into action. He didn't bother to ponder who could have sent him the message and why, he simply couldn't afford to waste the time on such things if what the note said turned out to be true. Pushing his way past a couple of people, he pulled Ginny away from whatever random bloke she had been dancing with.
About to protest at her rough treatment, Ginny turned around, but the words died on her lips at the distressed look on Harry's face. "What's wrong?"
"We need to get out of here. Now!" Harry stressed, leaving no room for argument. "Grab Percy and meet me back at the table. I'm going to go get Bill. Tell everyone that we have to go," Harry urged her, hoping that she would simply obey without protest or question. He did not want to waste time trying to talk her into this.
Although she was itching with the need to know what was going on, Ginny knew Harry well enough to know when to simply follow orders. "Alright," she readily agreed before turning and pushing her way through the crowd in the direction she had last seen Percy.
Harry sighed with relief before making his own way toward the bright red head of hair at the bar. He didn't care how many toes he stepped on or shoves he delivered in his haste to get to Bill. Reaching him, he grabbed his arm, shaking it to get his attention.
Bill was surprised to see Harry standing next to him at the bar, looking harried and anxious. It was obvious that something was wrong. Harry cut in before Bill had the chance to speak, "We have to go. We're meeting the others at the table. Come on." Harry grabbed Bill's hand, all shyness and nervousness gone, and started to lead the other man off. He noticed Bill's confused glance in the direction of the drinks he had just received. "Leave the drinks. We have more important things to worry about."
By the time Bill and Harry had managed to push their way back through the crowd, the rest of the Weasley gang was gathered around the table, all with concerned but questioning looks. Harry didn't have time to appease their curiosity at the moment, however; they had to get out of here quickly. He had to make sure they were all safe. An image of Oliver Wood popped into his head and he almost left to search for the boy and warn him, before thinking back to the note…the Death Eaters are coming for you and you alone. He hoped that meant that Oliver would be alright. Besides, he had more than enough people to worry about at the moment.
"Does anyone have a portkey?" Harry questioned gravely.
Percy was the first to voice the concerns that were surely present in all of their minds. "Portkeys are only approved for a specific use unless in a dire situation. What is going on?"
"Look, I don't have time for that right now! I had a vision that Death Eaters are on their way as we speak; we need to get out of here. Now, does anyone have a portkey or not?" Harry demanded. He really didn't need anyone to be questioning any of this right now, though he was sure he must seem like a madman. No one else in the club appeared to have a care in the world. He knew he would feel silly later if it turned out that the Death Eaters weren't after him, and surely questions as to his sanity would arise, but at the moment he couldn't care less.
Taking in the gravity of the situation, Bill pulled out his wand and used it to remove the tooth earring that he habitually wore. "Here. It's a portkey; it will take us to the Burrow," he offered, holding it out in the palm of his hand for the others to see.
Harry was relieved to hear that. "Good, but we can't just use it in front of everyone like this," Harry announced, glancing around at all of the people. Someone was bound to notice if they portkeyed from here, especially with so many of them.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of that," Charlie assured, casting a variation of the notice-me-not charm that he used on a regular bases in his line of work.
Activating the portkey with a flick of his wand, Bill held his palm out, so the others could touch the earring. "Hold onto the person next to you with one hand," he instructed, knowing that the portkey was small and that it would be hard for everyone to be able to touch it; this way they could make sure that no one would get left behind.
Harry felt Bill grab onto his left shoulder as he in turn grabbed onto Ginny's shoulder with his right hand. He sent a small smile Bill's way, relieved that they would be safely back at the Burrow in a few moments. As he took in Bill's reassuring smile, something in his periphery caught his attention. Figures in black cloaks and white masks. It seemed the Death Eaters had come after all. The pit of Harry's stomach dropped with a sickening feeling, whether from his sighting or the portkey activating he wasn't sure, as with a pull at his navel he was on his way back to the Burrow.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Author's Notes: Thank you so much for all of the wonderful reviews! I am so happy that there is continued interest in this story! For those of you who read this story when I originally posted it so very, very long ago, I thank you for returning and apologize for the extremely long wait. I'm not really sure where I'm going with the story in this chapter, but I think it will start getting more dramatic from here on.
For those of you who may be wondering about the backstory and such for this fic, I'm not exactly sure what canon I plan on including at this point, but as I started this fic so long ago, I pretty much was relying on books 1-4 and then making things up from there. Basically, things have been pretty quite up to this point and therefore relatively safe as Voldemort has been busy gathering followers and building up his strength and staging his coop and so forth. More details about what has transpired from 4th year up to this point will be presented as they become relevant.
Also, I am in the process of editing chapters 4-8, having finished with 1-3. So far I have only made minor changes; if I change anything integral to the story I will be sure to announce it. Please let me know if you see any glaring errors or discrepancies.