He hadn't been home in years, ever since the end of the battle. That was nearly three years ago, and now he was back. It wasn't exactly happy circumstances his return, but then it hadn't been all that happy when he left.
Well, I can't put it off anymore, Bill thought as he walked up to the steps.
The house was quiet, it was strange, were Bills first thoughts as he entered the house. But then most of his siblings had moved in with their significant others, so it was only his mum and dad at home now. The quiet was disarming though, like it wasn't normal for the Burrow to be anything other than full to the brim, and bustling with noise.
"Hello?" he called as he walked towards the kitchen, hoping to find his mother.
"Bill?" came his mothers answering call; it sounded like she was in the backyard. So dumping his bag, he headed that way.
He could see the tears in her eyes, as she greeted him with a smile on her face.
"How are you darling?" she said, as she enveloped him in her arms.
"I'm okay, how are you doing?" he asked as he pulled back.
"I'm fine, it's just been a tough couple of days…" she answered as she pulled off her gardening gloves.
Bill nodded to say he understood, "How's he taking it?"
She sighed, sitting down on the bench, "He's being strong, but he's hurting deeply. They loved each other so much."
"That they did…I'm just going to take my bag upstairs, what time is the service tomorrow?"
"It's at eleven, then the wake will be held straight after here," she said looking forlorn.
"Alright," he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll see you in a bit.
Heading back inside, he heard, "It's been too long Bill."
Turning slightly, he gave her a small smile and continued inside.
Not long enough.
A short time later, after putting his things in the cupboard. He stood at the window, looking out into the yard, remembering all the times they had played Quidditch up on that hill; de-gnomed the garden, and just plain got into mischief. So many good memories, but there were a fair share of bad ones as well.
He was supposed to get married in this yard, he had proposed just out the back there, and out there it had all fallen apart. Just by that bloody tree.
He could still remember it as if it were yesterday. Her fingers running over his scars, just holding her in his arms. The memories of that evening had tortured his thoughts for years. And he was dreading seeing her, he knew without a doubt that she would be there tomorrow.
He was supposed to marry Fleur a month after that night, but a Death Eater attack had postponed it, and Bill was relieved. He called it off not long later; it wasn't fair to Fleur to marry her, not when all his thoughts were on someone else.
All the hopes for the two of them had faded the day after the final battle; he was just going looking for her to talk about how he was feeling. And he saw them. They were standing next to the tree, talking, and then he took her face in his hands and kissed her. Bill felt so stupid, he'd called off his wedding for her, and she was with his brother, the one she said she didn't feel that way about.
He'd packed his bags, and left then and there. It would just hurt too much to see them playing happy couples, with everyone so happy for them. He'd left a note on his bed, and he was gone.
He'd written letters over the years, but he hadn't been back since.
Tomorrow was going to be hard enough with the funeral, but he'd have to see them together. He was unsure how he'd be able to cope with that. Maybe all he had felt back then, was now gone, and when he saw her it would just be a distant memory.
God, he hoped so.
All he saw was flying red hair, which collided with his chest, arms winding themselves around his neck.
Chuckling, "Hey Gin," putting his arms around his youngest sibling.
Ginny pulled her head back, and then proceeded to punch his shoulder. Bill stepped back, rubbing his upper arm, "Geez Gin, that bloody hurt!"
"Yeah well, it's been too bloody long since you've been home!" Ginny answered, putting her hands on her hips.
"Sorry…" Bill muttered sarcastically, looking past Ginny he saw Harry.
"Hi Bill," he greeted.
"Hey Harry, how you doing?"
"Been better, you know." Bill nodded his head.
"So where's Ron and Hermione?" He asked hoping he wasn't being obvious.
"They'll be here in the morning, Hermione couldn't get any time off work. Only tomorrow." Ginny explained, "Enough about Ronnie, tell me all about you." Grabbing his hand and pulling him into the living room, "Any special witch in your life?"
Bill cast a pleading look over his shoulder at Harry, who just shook his head.
He was right, it was hell.
It was horrible enough that one of his closet friends had died, but she was here with Ron. Bill felt terrible for noticing how good she looked in that dress, but his appreciative mood had disappeared when Ron put his hand on her back and led her into the Chapel.
They were sitting up near the front, behind Remus and Harry. He couldn't help watching them, she must have felt his eyes on her, because she turned and met his stare. He held it for a moment before looking away.
Later, he had escaped outside. It was impossible to stay inside, and keep his emotions in check. Every time he saw Remus standing there alone, he wanted to cry, and every time he saw them he wanted to throw something.
It wasn't appropriate to feel like, at this time. He was furious with himself, someone he loved had died and all he could think about was how she was with his brother.
Those feelings from that night, they hadn't gone away. Not at all, they had just gotten a hell of a lot worse.
So he had escaped outside to this tree, where it had all started. Cursing himself for pushing Fleur away, the feelings would have passed. He should have just given it time; it was pretty bloody obvious she didn't feel anything for him. She wouldn't be with him if she did.
He pulled his head out of his hands, and saw her standing in front of him.
"Hermione, what are you doing out here?"
"I came to see if you were all right," she answered, sitting down next to him. "How are you feeling? I know you and Tonks used to be really close."
"I'll be fine, shouldn't you be inside with Ron?" He asked bitterly.
"Why would I be Ron?"
"Well…you're together aren't you?"
Hermione burst out laughing, "God, no! Whatever gave you that idea?"
"You came together for one, you sat together…"
"Well we do live in the same building, so it made sense to travel together. And we were sitting together, because he's my best friend. And we needed to support each other. Surely that doesn't mean we are involved?"
Bill let out a deep breath; she wasn't making it easy for him. "I saw you two kissing…"
"When? We've only kissed once, right here in fact…just before you left." Hermione looked into his eyes, her eyes were wide. "That isn't why you left?"
Bill couldn't look at her anymore, so he looked the other direction. Hermione wasn't having any of that.
"Bill…" turning his head with her hand. "There was only ever one Weasley that I wanted, and it wasn't Ron. I told him straight after he kissed me."
Bill didn't dare hope that she was meaning him, and he hoped that it wasn't showing on his face.
"It was you…" Bill didn't allow any more words out of her mouth; he pulled her to him, and gave her the kiss he had been dreaming of for the last three years. It was more than he had dreamed was possible, and when she returned it, he was in heaven.
Reluctantly pulling back, Bill whispered, "I've wanted to do that for three years."
"Me too, me too."
Bill smiled, and pulled her back, and indulged in his newest favourite thing. Kissing Hermione Granger.