I'm not JKR, therefore Harry Potter isn't mine. If he was, do you think I'd be here? :-)

Safe but not Happy

Ron takes cover at Shell Cottage. Bill's POV, with a mild newly-wed moment at the very end.

Bill Weasley opened the door to find his youngest brother. Dirty, bleeding, wet and a complete mess – but alive. "Fleur! Floo Mum and tell her Ron's here!"

"No!" Ron yelled in alarm. "You can't do that," he added in an apologetic tone.

"What's going on?" Bill pulled Ron into the small hallway, just as Fleur came rushing down the stairs.

"But it is Ronald!" she cried, hugging him tightly. "Thank 'eavens you are alive! I must tell your muzzer immediately!"

"No," Ron repeated, "please don't."

"But why ever not?" Fleur demanded.

"What's going on?" Bill asked again. "Where have you been? Where are the others?"

"Sit, sit," Fleur pushed them both into the kitchen, "a nice pot of coffee is what we need ... and then, perhaps" she looked Ron up and down, "a shower and clean clothing."

Ron nodded, listlessly accepting the cup Fleur pressed into his hands, muttering "Thanks Fleur" and staring at the table.

"So?" Bill prompted, "What's going on? Where are the others?"

"I don't know," said Ron. "We had – well, it was me, really. I walked out on them ... and now I can't find where they've gone."

"You did what?" Bill asked sharply, earning a slight look of rebuke from Fleur. "What happened? Why?"

Ron toyed with his cup, apparently finding the delicate floral print fascinating. "I don't know why. I was just ... really mad about, uh, things and I had to get away." He stared resolutely out the window. "I've never, ever been that mad before. So I yelled and Harry yelled and then I left."

"I have to ask, Ron, where have you been for so long? The rumours that are flying around – Dad told me – about how you three broke into the Ministry and released several muggle-borns."

"Yeah, we did that." Ron shrugged. "We were at Grimmauld Place for a bit, but we had to leave."

"What were you doing there in the first place?"

"I can't tell you, sorry Bill."

"But ..." Bill felt frustration bubble up inside him, "you can't just come here, looking like this, and then refuse to tell me anything!"

"Bill ..." Fleur murmured, her hand on his arm.

"Look, I'm sorry, OK. I can't tell you, or I would," Ron finally met his older brothers eyes, pleading with him to understand; "it's not that I don't want you to know what's going on. It's just too dangerous, for them. No one can know."

"Fine," Bill sighed in aggravation. "Can you at least tell me what's stopping you from finding them now?"

"Wards and stuff," Ron muttered, "I always wondered if they worked, now I know."

Fleur watched them both, and seemed to sense that Bill was about to start with more questions. "Ronald, you need to wash," she told him imperiously, "I will take you upstairs to show you the bathroom and then you may borrow clothing from Bill and come down for dinner."


"Do not be so 'ard on 'im," Fleur spoke softly when she returned to their small kitchen. "'E regrets it. You know that."

"So he should," Bill muttered, "I can't believe he abandoned them like that."

"Is it because 'e abandoned them, that you are so angry," she gave a little moue, "or because 'e refuses to tell you what they 'ave been doing?"

"Hmph." Bill pursed his lips, unimpressed. "Possibly both. Even so," he frowned heavily, "I don't see the necessity of all of this ... this secrecy! Mum's worried sick about him, about all three of them!"

"Of course she is," Fleur ran light fingers along his arm, "and what do you think will happen when she finds out 'e is 'ere?"

"She'll come straight down," he looked at her, confused, "and that's a problem because?"

"Because, my love, there will be questions to which 'e cannot give an answer – and she will, naturally, cling to 'im and not let 'im go again."

"The problem?" Bill persisted, unwilling to concede his point just yet.

"'E is so ashamed ... yes, I know, as 'e should be – 'e must find a way to rejoin them. How, I do not know, but something will come up. I am sure of this. 'E cannot do these things tied to your muzzers apron."

"How did you get so smart?" Bill grinned, suddenly smiling and good natured again.

"I 'ave always been so!" She drew herself up, affecting a haughty look. "You will do well to remember it." She smiled then. "'E can stay in the top room, can 'e not?"

"I suppose," Bill nodded, "it'll be nice to spend some time with him – I never really got to know him that well at home."

"'E is a good man, Bill, just as you are. Perhaps a little hot-headed and impulsive, but still a good man."

"Hot-headed and impulsive, huh?" Bill grinned at her fondly, grabbing her and pulling her onto his lap. "I recall you saying that about someone else, just last night."

"So I did," she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a lingering kiss.

"If he stays here," Bill pouted slightly, dragging one finger along her collar bone, "we're going to have to start being discreet."

"Hmmm." She knotted her fingers through his long, glorious hair. "This is the reason for silencing charms."

"I'm going to miss taking you on the kitchen table," he murmured, nipping at her neck, "and the living room floor ... the stairs to the attic ..."

"Oh, Bill," she just about purred, pressing against him and breathing deeply when his hand cupped one of her breasts. "After dinner, tonight, I am going to take you up into our bedroom and make love with you until you forget your own name."

"Oh ... well. That's OK then."