(The Riverbed, Four Years Later, November 29th)
Bill yawned and scratched the back of his head. Viktor had managed to get him at least tolerably clothed--but that just meant jeans and a sweatshirt--and miraculously out of bed before noon. "I don't see why I can't sleep in on my own birthday," Bill complained, scratching groggily behind his ear as he began to trudge down the stairs. "I've been saying for years I'm more of a brunch guy than a breakfast guy anyway." He pulled Viktor against him, chest to chest, and kissed him deeply.
It was at that moment the living room lit up and a little girl's voice asked "Mama, how come papa is trying to swallow Uncle Viktor's tongue?"
The rest of the room burst out laughing, and managed a clumsy and slightly belated 'Surprise!'
"Because your papa loves your Uncle Viktor very much," Fleur said to the little girl. 'Uncle' Viktor, because Fleur had insisted on making him her godfather in spite of the fact that she already had about a million uncles.
"Ooooohhhhh," Victoire said. "Like you and Papa Neville."
Bill let go of Viktor and made his way down the stairs. He quirked a brow at Fleur's bulging belly as Victoire clung about his thigh. "Hello, Papa! Are you surprised? I was very quiet, wasn't I? Mama said you would be very happy."
He ruffled the girl's hair and smiled, scooping her up. She was clinging to a teddy bear he'd given her as a Christmas gift three years ago--still her favorite, according to her mother. "Very happy," he said, placing a little kiss to her cheek and turning back to Fleur. "Neville, huh?" He eyed her belly pointedly.
"But of course," Fleur answered. "You of all people know I like my men brave," she said proudly. "And 'e is kind, and very smart. 'e is a good second papa to Victoire, and 'e will be a wonderful papa to his own babies too."
Bill laughed. "Already planning on another and this one isn't even out yet, huh?"
"Families with many children are happier. This is what I theenk after having the pleasure of meeting yours." She took Victoire back. "Let your papa greet his other guests. 'e will play with you later, okay petit?"
"Okay! It's a promise, papa!" She stuck her pinky out at him and he shook it with his much larger one.
"A promise," Bill agreed. He moved around the house greeting his guests in turn--Ron and Hermione, his mum and dad. George. Percy. Harry had brought Snape, who to this day looked like he'd rather be anywhere else, but was enduring the experience with as much grace as he could muster. In the kitchen, he found Charlie had halfway spelled out 'birthd--' on his cake before getting distracted by his date. Now he was busily snogging Seamus Finnigan.
Bill cleared his throat.
Seamus jumped back. "Oh er, I...this thing. Uh, Happy Birthday and all. So, yeah, uh, I think I heard Ron calling just now." And off he goes, all flushed and embarrassed.
Bill laughed. "Were we ever like that?" Bill asked, pulling Viktor up against him as Charlie fussed with his hair to make it look a bit more presentable, lest their mother insist on cutting it again.
"You veren't," Viktor answered. "I do not think you ever even tried to fake it."
"He's always been that way. Not one bit of shy in Bill," Charlie laughed.
"So," Bill said, changing the subject. "This 'real cutie' you mentioned was Seamus? Think you'll survive the experience?"
Charlie shrugged. "Well, you know, at this point I'm rather used to being set on fire, by accident or otherwise," he laughed. "But never mind that. It's been, what, four years? Inquiring minds need to know: is the honeymoon over?"
Bill laughed and pulled Viktor abruptly into a deep kiss that, in spite of his embarrassment, Viktor couldn't help but melt into, curling his fingers into Bill's long hair. When they parted, Bill smirked at Charlie's amused expression and the way Viktor still needed a moment after they kissed to let his brain return to the present. When it did, the Bulgarian blushed straight to his ears--even after four years together. Bill was sure he would never get tired of that. "Not even close," he answered, keeping Viktor pinned to his side and laying a light kiss to one of his flushed cheeks. "Every night I go to sleep thinking that I can't possibly love Vik any more than I already do, and every morning I wake up and realize I was wrong."
"Bill!" Viktor protested, the blush intensifying, but still unconsciously embracing the red-head. Bill was always saying such wonderful, but incredibly embarrassing, things!
Bill and Charlie laughed. It was the kind of laugh that traced over the years of sorrow that led them here and all the foolish moments worth looking back on. It was the kind of laugh you let out not because something is funny, but because if you don't let it out, you might just die of happiness.