A/N: so, yes, this is the sort-of-not-really sequel to "Viktor Krum" that I never thought I would write. There is no need to read "Viktor Krum" before this, though I invite you to if you so desire. Do be warned, this side contains an implied, offscreen slash relationship. Once more, thanks to all those who read, and all those who review – I hope you enjoy!
Bill was pretty sure that Krum had gotten off easy.
Sure, he'd had to face Harry Potter, the Saviour of the Wizarding World, Defeater of the Dark, most powerful wizard in the current wizarding world, and all that rot.
Bill, however, had to face Hermione Granger – and as Bill was quite well acquainted with both witch and wizard, it was his opinion that facing Hermione Granger was much, much worse.
For some reason, his mind kept sending him flashbacks of the time that Gred and Forge had decided to pull a prank and steal all of the witch's personal library; her revenge, which no one could mention without the twins going into a glassy-eyed, whimpering state, had made Bellatrix seem the paragon of mercy.
Taking a deep, nervous breath, Bill steeled his resolve then knocked quickly on the old wooden door. A clear, stern 'Come in, Bill" had him grasping the knob in his sweaty palm and quietly easing the door open.
Hermione Granger, hair tied back in a bushy, no-nonsense knot, stood behind the massive teacher's desk, foot tapping impatiently. (Bill was pretty sure she'd chosen to have the meeting in Hogwarts precisely for this reason. He'd never felt more like an errant schoolboy.)
"Oh, come in, Bill. Any more of this and you'll have me thinking you don't want to be here."
Her brown eyes narrowed slightly, and Bill automatically hastened to stand, nearly at attention, before the younger witch.
She eyed him for a moment, from his dragon-hide boots (polished to a high shine) all the way up to his flame-red hair, caught back neatly in a ponytail.
Turning abruptly, the witch picked up the stack of paper sitting on her desk and handed it to Bill along with a quill and pot of ink.
"Here," she said, "you can fill this out at the table over there and hand it in when you are done."
"Umm... pardon?" Bill asked. He was pretty sure that he had come here to ask Hermione's permission to date Harry, not an exam... however, this was Hogwarts, and weirder things had happened.
Smiling sweetly, Hermione thrust the stack of paper at him once more.
"Why, Bill I thought you would've figured it out a bit faster... this is the application form, and the suitability test. You didn't think I'd let just anyone date my brother, did you?"
Bill, stunned, looked from the paper to Hermione's face, and realized that she was dead serious. A bloody application form? Still, remembering the light in Harry's smile when he's spoken of his all-but-adopted sister, and the way he had beamed when Bill had called Hermione Harry's family... Bill sighed, buckled down, and took the stack from Hermione's hand. Merlin, this wasn't a test – it was a bloody encyclopaedia!
"Oh, and Bill?" Hermione called, as he went to sit down, "just remember – you are free to leave at any time."
For some reason, the small smile on her face was , by far, the scariest sight Bill had ever seen. Quill in hand, he resigned himself to several hours of messy, headache-inducing paperwork.
Three hours later, between question 56 (In dealing with the media, which newspapers and magazines would you deem safe for Harry to give an exclusive interview to, and why?) and question 57 (including both liquid and non-liquid assets, describe your fiscal plan for the next ten years and how you plan to support yourself independent of Harry's income) Bill felt his hand seize up in a cramp. Swearing softly to himself, and cursing the bloody ridiculousness of this rigmarole, he considered just abandoning the bloody exam. Why, in the name of all that was sacred, would Hermione ever need to know whether he could adequately cast all twelve household charms designed to wash wine glasses?
There was, however, only four questions left – and Bill Weasley was not a quitter. He'd volunteered to do this, after all, and it had made Harry so very happy...
Still cursing under his breath, pausing now and then to shake out his cramping hands, the curse breaker dove back into the papers with renewed vigour. Now, what was the fifth ingredient to go into the headache draught.....
Some time later...
"Here." Bill said, weary, mussed, and bloody well frustrated. "I'm done."
Hermione Granger, witch and closet sadist, looked up from her book at the curse breaker. Half of Bill's hair had fallen loose from impatient and frustrated hands raking through it; ink dotted his robe and stained the calluses on his fingers. Altogether, he looked like a man who had been through a war, or at least pulled backwards through a hedge.
With a funny little smile, Hermione took the stack of paper and flipped through it quickly, taking note of the neat, cramped handwriting that filled the pages. Faster than Bill's tired mind could process, the witch placed the stack on the desk, and with a incanted "Incendio!" – she set them on fire.
Bill watched four-and-a-half hours of work go up in flames, and felt the rage build up in him.
"What the fuck?" he snarled. "Was it all just a game to you? What, was it fun to taunt the lovelorn wolf-maimed man, pretend like he had a chance? Did it make you laugh that I was bloody well pathetic enough to fall in love with Harry-bloody-Potter?"
Undisturbed by the man raging in front of her, Hermione watched the flames billow merrily for a moment before looking up at the snarling cursebreaker.
"And that," she said slowly, "is why you've passed."
It took a second for her words to sink in, and then the rage turned to absolute, complete bewilderment.
'What? Then why.... why...."
"Here," Hermione said, amused, "take a seat." She passed him a glass of water, then sat herself across from the cursebreaker.
"Firstly," she said, "you're the only one to ever complete the thing. It's tedious for a reason, you see – to finish it, you need to be bloody stubborn but also incredibly patient... and anyone who can't deal with an overly obnoxious test has no business trying to deal with Harry."
She paused, gesturing for the man to drink up. The water was cool and wet on his parched throat, a welcome relief in the midst of the confusion that surrounded him.
"Secondly," the witch continued, "it showed that you were willing to do the things that were important to Harry, even when you really didn't want to. Harry needs somebody who can do that – too many people just take and take and aren't willing to truly do what Harry wants or needs, and his saviour-complex lets them."
Sipping from his glass, considering her words, Bill had to concede that maybe, just maybe, Hermione wasn't as insane as he had thought. Sadistic and cruel, sure – but he had to admit she had a point.
"Just answer me one question Bill – do you really, truly love Harry? Not the saviour, or the boy who lived, or even Ron's best friend; do you really love Harry?"
Bill looked up, then, and saw concerned brown eyes filled with worry and love – and then, in a sudden revelation, he understood. He had jokingly called Hermione and Harry siblings before, and had only recently realized that Harry truly treasured Hermione as a sister. He hadn't, however, realized that the connection meant just as much to the brown-haired witch.
For that, for being Harry's chosen family, she deserved his complete honesty.
"Yes," he said simply, meeting her eyes. "Yes, I do. With all that I am."
Brown eyes searched blue for a long, slow minute, looking for any hint of deceit – and then her mouth quirked up into a tiny, happy grin.
"Good," Hermione said decisively. "You have my blessing, then. And yes, you did need it."
"What?" Bill said, rather surprised. "That's it? You're just going to believe me?"
The he noticed how the grin had changed into a pleased, deadly smirk, on Hermione's face.
"No," she said softly, "of course not. I will, however, trust the Veritaserum I put in your water."
As he frantically tried to regain both his breath and his composure, Hermione headed for the door.
"Oh, and Bill?" she called, hand on the doorknob "Just remember – if you do anything, absolutely anything to hurt Harry, then you will answer to me. Remember today, and we'll get along just fine."
With a last, final smirk, the witch opened the door and swept out of the classroom.
Bill stood, staring at the open door where Hermione had disappeared for a moment (looking, he suspected, rather like a stunned deer caught in bright lights) before he collapsed, laughing hysterically.
Well, at least life would never be boring – and he'd managed to survive Hermione Granger with all body parts intact, and there was the prospect of a happy, willing boyfriend waiting somewhere outside.
Yes, Bill Weasley was one lucky man.