The pub doors creak as Charlie pushes them open and steps inside. It's dark inside, and it takes his eyes a few moments to adjust. The smell of tobacco, alcohol and sweat, though…there's no adjusting to that. The air is thick and almost white with smoke, making the light from the few lamps shine strangely through the room, but allowing him to see a few costumers sitting in some of the small round tables, and a few more further to the back, playing pool. The place is not as crowded as he would have expected. The door closes behind him with another creak, and Charlie forces himself to move forward. There are better pubs, sure, although most are already closed by this hour. And he wants to stay in the Muggle part of London, away from familiar eyes, which constrains his options even more.

He takes one of the many empty stools, sits down, and leans over the wooden bar to call for the barman, cursing when he feels the sleeves of his dragon hide jacket stick to the filthy surface.

"Whiskey," he says over the loud music, as he takes off the jacket before it's ruined. It's a little cold for a muscle shirt, but Fred and George gave the jacket to him many years ago, and he'll be damned if he lets anything happen to the thing. His boots are already sticking to the floor as well, but there's not much he can do about that. The place is rather filthy, and he should get out of there, but the only other place to go right now is The Burrow, and he's not ready for that yet.

He looks at the large mirror behind the bar. There aren't many people in the place, but the one that catches his eye is a tall, skimpily dressed woman staring at his back as if she's trying to make up her mind about him.

He barely manages to contain a groan as the woman catches his eye, smiles and starts moving towards him. "Make that a double," he tells the barman. A quick glance behind him is all the man seems to need to understand the situation, then he smiles and pours the drink.

"Hey, handsome," the woman slurs, her fingers tracing Charlie's back from one shoulder to the other, then down his arm, as she pulls a stool closer. "Buy me a drink?" She leans forward then, making quite an effort to show as much cleavage as possible.

"Bonnie, your brother came looking for you earlier. You don't want him to find you here, you know he doesn't like you coming to the pub."

"Oh, that bloody idiot!" the woman says indignantly. "Maybe some other time, then, gorgeous," she tells Charlie with a win, as she hurries to the door.

Charlie breathes a sigh of relief as he watches her leave. "Thanks," he tells the barman, before downing his drink in one long gulp, feeling it burn down his throat.

"No problem," the man replies with a smile as he fills Charlie's glass up again. "Don't think I've seen you here before."

"Just visiting the family for a few days."

A group of men call the barman over from the other side of the long bar, but he returns a few moments later. "Don't live in London, then?"

"Not any more."

"So, how long since you last visited?"

"Almost five years," he says. He doesn't even have to do the math to know just how long it's been. "Haven't even seen any of them in the last two."

"That's a long time," the barman says as he pours him another glass, and Charlie can only nod. "Why return now?"

"That's a good question."


December, 1988

Andromeda's words echoed in Charlie's head as he Apparated home. The fear of what she had said being true made his body move faster as he rushed back into The Burrow and up the stairs. He was glad no one saw him run inside, not that he would have stopped if hey had. His destination was clear, and that was all he could think of.

He didn't even bother to knock, or keep a semblance of calm as he reached the bedroom door; he just pushed it open, barely hearing it bang against the wall.

"What are you doing?" he asked, although he already knew. The open trunk, the scattered books, the clothes folded neatly on the bed. Andromeda had been right.

Bill turned around. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "You were supposed to be away all week."

"What the fuck are you doing, Bill?"

"Gringotts offered me a job. I'm starting tomorrow."

"In bloody Egypt? You said it was just for the apprenticeship, and then you'd come back home. You told me you'd stay here."

"I know," Bill said, turning away from him and busying himself with packing once more. "It's a great opportunity, I can't refuse."

"And when the fuck were you planning to tell me? I had to find out through Tonks' mother!"

"Don't do this, okay?" Bill said, still not looking at him. "Just…it's a good job, an excellent opportunity. I'll be working with some of the best curse breakers in the world. Can't you just be happy for me?"

"Happy for you? Are you serious? I'm not bloody stupid, Bill."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I know why you're leaving, and it has nothing to do with a bloody job halfway across the world."

Bill finally turned around. "You don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, really? You're going to tell me it isn't really about escaping this?"

"There's no this to escape, Charlie."

"Is that so?" He was tired of the denial, of them pretending nothing was going on. They both knew better. He took a step forward. "You're not going away because of me?"

"If you don't mind, I'm busy," Bill said, turning away from him again.

"You can't just run away from this, Bill," Charlie said, closing the door behind him and taking yet another step into the small room. He saw Bill tense for a moment as the door clicked shut, but he didn't say anything. Instead, he kept packing with a focus and care that would make even Percy proud. Charlie took another step forward, and then one more, until he was standing directly behind Bill, their bodies inches apart. "Leaving won't make this go away."

Charlie could feel his heart hammering in his chest at the thought of Bill leaving, anger and uncertainty and plain old fear threatened to cloud his mind, but he couldn't let Bill run away, not without a fight. Bill was as still as a rock, the robes he was holding clearly forgotten as Charlie leaned forward.

There were so many things that could go wrong, so much Charlie could lose if he did this. But he couldn't turn back now. He had to fight for what he wanted, or he would lose Bill. He finally laid his hand on Bill's shoulder and forced him to turn around.

"Don't do this," Bill breathed. "We can't…" But even as he protested his eyes darted to Charlie's lips for the briefest second, and that was all Charlie needed. Before he could speak again he silenced Bill with a kiss, because that was the only way he could think of to show his brother what he was thinking, what he was feeling. There weren't enough words to express it, so he let his actions speak for him.

It was a line they hadn't crossed before, something they had never even discussed. But it had been there for a long time, and they both knew it, they had known it for years. There had always been a certain closeness between them, stronger than anything they'd shared with anyone else. Then the not-so-innocent conversations had followed, the lingering looks, the long touches that left his skin burning. He had tried to stop thinking about Bill that way, but he couldn't help it, no matter what.

There had been others. Boys at Hogwarts, mostly. Younger, older, tall or short, it didn't matter to Charlie. They always looked like Bill in his mind. But he knew they weren't. Then that one night he had realised it wasn't just him feeling that way. He had been in one of his escapades, pinned up against the wall by some hot seventh year, when his eyes fell on the figure in the shadows. He had instantly known who it was. If he were honest with himself, it was no surprise. Bill was doing his rounds that night and it was bound to happen. And yet he hadn't expected him to stay there as the boy fell to his knees and opened Charlie's robes. He hadn't expected Bill to meet his eyes as the boy's lips wrapped around his erection, and he hadn't been able to look away as the boy drove him to orgasm, all the time imagining it was Bill there, kneeling in front of him, touching him, sucking him, making him come.

But that had been his imagination, and now Bill really was here, standing inches from him. Pushing him away.

"We can't…" Bill whispered against his lips. He held the front of Charlie's robes firmly, as if he wasn't sure whether he wanted to push further or to pull him close again. "Can't do this."

"Why not?" Charlie asked. He leaned forward again, but Bill kept his distance.

"What will they think?" His voice was soft, barely a whisper.

"What do you care? It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, you want this."

Bill shook his head. "I don't."

Charlie lost his patience. He grabbed Bill's shoulders and pushed him against the closest wall. This time the kiss was full of hunger, of desire. He moved closer to Bill, their bodies fitting together so perfectly, and pressed against him as he kissed him, swallowing Bill's protests, stopping his half-hearted attempts to push him away. There was no turning back now, Charlie knew, and if this was his only chance, he would make the best of it.

This wasn't how Charlie had imagined it, but he'd take what he could get. He ground his hips against Bill's, feeling him firm and hard against him, and broke the kiss only to hear him moan. It was hard to think with him this close, hard to do anything other than kiss and touch and feel, so Charlie just let his instincts take over as he nibbled on Bill's neck and rocked against him.

One second Bill had started kissing him back, the next he was pushing him away, hard enough that Charlie stumbled a few feet back. Gasping for breath, he looked at Bill, and Bill looked back at him for a moment. Then he heard his mother call for Bill from downstairs, realised it had been her voice that had startled Bill, made him push him away, but before he could say or do something Bill was reaching for the door, pulling it open and all but running out of the room. He didn't say a word, He didn't even look back.


Charlie's down to his fifth shot of Muggle whiskey. Or is it sixth? It doesn't really matter. It's late, even for a Friday night, and most of the crowd has left the dingy pub, but Charlie's in no hurry to leave. Instead, he waits until the barman returns with a bottle of what he promised was his best whiskey.

A group of loud men catch his attention, and he looks up to see them through the mirror, surrounding the pool table and arguing about one thing or another. Charlie doesn't really care. His mind wonders to another pub instead, another pool table, many years ago. Bill had discovered a Muggle pub not too far from The Burrow, and they would sneak there as often as they could when they were home from Hogwarts.

They would spend hours there, drinking, laughing and playing. Those were the good times. They had taken Percy there once, but he hadn't enjoyed it much. The twins had, though. They had followed him and Bill one night, and refused to go back home. It had taken a bit of convincing, but finally Bill had agreed to let them stay, and they had spent the rest of the night teaching the twins how to play. Pool was not their thing, but they had still joined him and Bill almost every night since. At least until Bill moved to Egypt, and him to Romania not long after.

His thoughts are brought back to the present by the barman's return, and Charlie shakes the memories away as he focuses on the liquid being poured into his glass.

He downs its contents in one long gulp. "Better?" the barman asks.

"Much." It's still not as good as Firewhisky, but it's not bad, and the alcohol usually helps keep the memories at bay.


February, 1990

Pulling the neck of his robes as far up as he could, Charlie made his way to the small pub. He had been in Romania for over six months, and he still hadn't used the kitchen in his cabin for more than making tea.

Closing his eyes against the freezing wind, he pushed open the doors and hurried inside. There weren't many pubs near the reserve, and this one served the best food. Not that it was any good, really, but it was at least edible. There was a restaurant nearby, as well, but Charlie knew it wouldn't be wise going there. The owner hadn't taken well to finding Charlie with her husband late one late night in the back of the restaurant, and the last thing Charlie needed was a witch trying to hex his bits off. Again.

"Oi, Charlie boy," Sorin, the barman, yelled as soon as he saw him. "Someone looking for you."

Sorin nodded to his right, then busied himself with other costumers before Charlie could ask him anything. Wondering who might be there, he waded through the crowd, only stopping when he spotted the table by the corner littered with empty goblets. There was a lone occupant tilting a bottle back and trying to drink its last few drops. He looked tired, dishevelled and drunk. And was the last person Charlie ever expected to see there.

Taking a deep breath, Charlie moved closer to the table.

It took Bill a few seconds to notice him standing there, and then he tilted his head back, meeting his eyes. "Charles."

"What are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you," Bill replied. "Want a drink?" He looked at the empty bottle and frowned. "They need to make bigger bottles."

"Why are you here?"

"We haven't talked in over a year," Bill said, kicking one of the empty chairs out toward Charlie with his foot.

"I know how long it's been," Charlie said, trying not to think back to the last time they had spoken, that evening so many months ago when he'd gone and fucked their relationship by following his instincts.

"Sit down," Bill insisted. "The neck's starting to hurt with you looming over like that."

After a moment's hesitation, Charlie took off his coat and sat down.

"Where's that waitress gone?" Bill muttered, after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. "I need another drink."

"Don't think there's room on the table for any more." When Bill turned to him again, Charlie asked, "Why are you here?"

"What, I can't come make sure my little brother's all right?"

"You could've sent an owl. Hell, you could've replied to one of mine."

"You haven't written in a long time."

"You never replied, Bill. I figured I'd stopped wasting my time."

"Yeah, well, I wasn't…" Bill took a deep breath, as if trying to gather his thoughts. "I didn't want to talk about it."

At Bill's words, Charlie quickly glanced around. The pub was crowded, full of co-workers and neighbours, and after months living there he knew the town's favourite sport was gossip. Last thing he needed was for Bill to say more than he should.

"Come on," he said to Bill, pushing his chair back and getting up.

"Where are you going?"

"Somewhere less crowded."

He waited for Bill to get up, and reached over to steady him when he stumbled slightly. The ale they served at the pub was stronger than any he'd found in Britain, and Bill had drunk more of his fare share.

"Bloody hell, that thing's strong," Bill said as they made the way to the exit.

"Best thing to keep you warm in this weather," he replied, pulling his coat back on and pushing the doors open, braving back into the snow.

With a curse, Bill pulled his thin coat on and wrapped his arms around himself. "How can you live in a place like this?"

"You're just too used to Egypt," Charlie replied, refusing to show any sign that the cold affected him as he made his way to his cabin. It was a good thing he lived nearby.

It only took them a few minutes to get to his cabin, but the second Charlie had lifted the wards and unlocked the door Bill rushed inside, still cursing the weather as he made his way to the hearth and started a fire.

"Make yourself at home," Charlie muttered, taking off his heavy coat and hanging it by the entrance. "You said you wanted to talk," he said, sitting down on the couch by the fire.

"Aren't you going to offer me a drink?"

"There's some Firewhisky in the cupboard over there," Charlie said, trying not to let his impatience show. It was just like Bill, it probably took him weeks to gather the courage to visit him, and now he'd just start dancing around whatever it was he wanted to say. Gryffindor indeed.

"It's a nice place you got here," he said as he poured some Firewhisky into two glasses and handed one to Charlie. He sat on the other end of the couch. "I should've come here sooner, but I…" He looked away, busying himself with the glass in hand. "Do you have any food here? I'm starving."

"There might be some bread in the kitchen, but I wouldn't advise eating it, it's probably been there for weeks."

"I miss living in The Burrow sometimes. Mum's cooking, mostly." Bill looked at Charlie for a moment, then looked away as he added in a soft voice, "Miss having you around, too. Miss staying up late at night talking, and all the…" He took a deep breath. "I wanted to see you again, but…"

Charlie remained silent as he watched Bill stand up and walk closer to the fire. He downed the rest of his drink before speaking again.

"I can't stop thinking about it." His voice was but a whisper. "I don't know why, I just…I wish things could go back to the way they were," he said, turning to Charlie again.

Charlie had no idea what to say. He wanted to fix things with Bill, but he didn't want them to go back to how they were before, not really. As much as he hated himself for ruining their relationship, it had been just as bad before, wanting Bill and never doing anything about it, watching from afar, pretending everything between them was normal. He finished his drink and got up, avoiding Bill's gaze as he walked to the cupboard and reached for the Firewhisky, filling up his glass once more.

"I've been thinking for some time," Bill said. "Remember Marlene Rawshen?"

Charlie couldn't help but smile. "How could I forget."

"I had the worst crush on her ever. For months, I couldn't stop thinking about her. Then that night, right after the exams…"

A few seconds passed in silence, and Charlie finally turned to him. "What does she have to do with this?"

"I thought maybe, well, perhaps it could, I don't know," he stammered. "Maybe this was like what happened with her, too." Charlie lifted an eyebrow in question, and Bill turned to the fire once more. "After months, I finally managed to seduce her, and then…well, it stopped." He took a deep breath. "Maybe it will be the same with us," he whispered. "Maybe I just need to get it out of my system."

Bill's words took him completely by surprise, and Charlie had no idea what to say, but he didn't have long to ponder, for it took Bill all but a second to turn around and reach for him, pulling him closer and crushing their lips together in a hungry kiss.

A part of him wanted to stop Bill, wanted to know why he was doing this, but another part also wondered if perhaps he was right, if all they needed was to get it out of their systems and then they would be able to go back to how things had once been. Life had been so much simpler back then.

The one thing Charlie was sure of, though, was that he wanted this. He wanted Bill to touch him, to kiss him, he had been dreaming of it almost every night for years now, he had been thinking about this every time he was with another man. So he simply pushed every doubt and thought out of his mind and wrapped his arms around Bill, returning the kiss with just as much passion.

"Fuck, I've wanted to do this for so long," Bill groaned, his lips moving down Charlie's jaw, his neck. "I remember watching that boy with you at Hogwarts that night, don't even know who he was," Bill said. "I just wanted it to be me, making you moan like that, making you come so hard."

Charlie felt Bill tug his thick sweater up, and he lifted his arms to help, kissing Bill again as soon as it was out of the way.

"You saw me watching," Bill said as his hands made fast work of the buttons on his shirt. "You knew I was there, and you didn't stop." Charlie let Bill pull him closer, felt the heat of Bill's skin against his own. "Were you thinking of me while he sucked you?"

"Fuck, yes," Charlie replied. Bill's hands moved between them, his long fingers unbuckling his belt as he walked him backwards. Charlie felt the edge of the sofa against the back of his knees, and with a small push from Bill fell on it, groaning when he saw Bill fall to his knees in front of him.

Bill kept his eyes on Charlie's as he unbuttoned his trousers, not even looking away as he reached forward and wrapped his fingers around Charlie's cock. Charlie cursed and his hips bucked at the contact, Bill's grip just a bit too tight for comfort. But Bill seemed to enjoy Charlie's reaction, his fingers pressing tighter as he leaned his head forward and trailed his tongue over Charlie's cock.

Then, just like in one of Charlie's fantasies, only a hundred times better, Bill moved even closer, and took him deep into his mouth.


Charlie rolls the empty glass in his hand, his gaze blurred as his mind wanders. As he sits in the dingy pub, cowardly avoiding going to The Burrow and seeing Bill again, his thoughts go back to when it all really started. That night in Romania.

They had been such fools, thinking they could actually get over it by acting on their desires. Just a blowjob and it will all be forgotten. They should've known better.

Bill had left without a word that night, but Charlie had received an owl the next day. The tone of the letter had been friendly, with Bill telling him about his life in Egypt and asking how things were in Romania. For a few weeks, Charlie had actually believed Bill had gotten him out of his system, and a part of him was glad to have Bill talking to him again. But he wasn't over it. He'd thought it had been hard before, but now he simply couldn't stop thinking about Bill, about how his hands had felt on his body, how good his mouth had felt on his cock, he couldn't help remembering the sounds Bill had made as Charlie sucked him off, and had wanted nothing more than to hear them again.

Bill's resolve had lasted less than a month. The next time they met, they hadn't been able to keep their hands off each other for long.

"Want another?" the barman asks Charlie, bringing his mind back to the present.

Charlie glances at the empty glass in his hand and shakes his head. "Think I've had enough."

The barman smiles and returns the bottle to its shelf. "You know," he says, leaning on the bar, "I wonder how bad your family is, if you'd rather spend your time in a place like this."

"They're not bad," Charlie says, with a smile of his own.

"What kept you away for so long, then?"

"Me and my brother," Charlie replies, "we have a complicated relationship."


July, 1993

Charlie was careful when pushing the bathroom door open. Most of the family was still asleep, and he didn't want them waking up. He took the same care when closing and locking it behind him, and smiled to himself as he took off his clothes and pushed the shower stall door open.

He had to try hard not to laugh at Bill's startled yelp as he noticed the intrusion, or at his expression once he was past the surprise. Annoyed, worried and aroused, all at the same time.

"What are you doing?"

"Needed a shower," Charlie said as he stepped closer to Bill.

"You could've waited till I was done."

"What would be the fun in that?" he asked as he let his gaze travel down Bill's body, taking in the drops of water trailing down his chest and his hardening cock. His smile was wicked as he looked up into Bill's eyes again, tilting his head to the side and cocking an eyebrow, waiting for Bill to take action.

"If someone finds out you're here, I'll have to kill you," Bill said as he reached forward and pulled Charlie to him. He kept Charlie's face an inch from his own, then teasingly trailed his tongue over Charlie's lower lip, smiling and pulling back just enough to keep out of reach when Charlie tried to kiss him.

He ran his hand up Charlie's arm, around his neck, and tightened his fingers around a fistful of hair, his hold firm enough to keep Charlie from moving his head closer again. He waited a few seconds before moving again, taking Charlie's lower lip between his teeth this time, nibbling on it hard enough to make Charlie gasp. Then he took his mouth, pushing his tongue past Charlie's parted lips and fighting for dominance, their bodies fitting together the way they always did, as if they had been made for just that.

They were both breathing hard by the time Bill broke the kiss, and he barely gave Charlie a moment to recover before he tightened his hold on Charlie's hair and tugged him down, just hard enough to make his meaning clear.

Charlie licked his lips and got down to his knees, his movements slow, deliberate, meant to tease. He leaned forward and ran his tongue over Bill's cock, making sure to keep his eyes on Bill's face as he slowly took him into his mouth.

He had been in Egypt for three days now, but with the entire family there, they barely had a moment on their own, and their little escapades had been rushed at best, always worrying someone would find them. But now he didn't have to worry about that, now he could take his time.

He wrapped one hand around the base of Bill's cock and kept the other on his hip, trying to control Bill's movements as he bobbed his head, taking him deeper every time, teasing him with tongue and teeth, humming and sucking and watching Bill's reaction to everything he did. They hadn't been together enough times yet for Charlie to know all he liked, but he wanted to find out.

Every one of Bill's soft groans and curses made his own cock ache for contact, but he kept his hands on Bill and focused on what he was doing. Bill's hands had moved to his hair, guiding his movements, controlling the speed, even as he murmured for him to go faster, to take him deeper. Bill was close, Charlie knew, and he sped his movements, using his hand to stroke him in time with his mouth, feeling Bill's body tense under his ministrations, but suddenly Bill groaned and pushed him back, breathing hard as he tried to recover some of his control.

"Not yet," Bill said between gasps. "I want to fuck you."

Charlie shivered at his words, allowing Bill to pull him back to his feet and kissing him again with more passion than before, then he felt Bill's hand around his cock, stroking him.

Bill's body pressed against him, walking him back until Charlie felt the cold tile wall pressed against him. When Bill broke the kiss again Charlie was panting, the hand on his cock still stroking, bringing him closer and closer to the edge. They stared at each other for a few seconds, and Charlie could see the desire and anticipation on Bill's eyes.

"Turn around," Bill said, taking a small step back, just enough to let Charlie move. Then he was against him once more, pressing him to the wall, nibbling on his neck as his hips rocked against Charlie's back.

Charlie felt Bill's hand moving between them, felt his fingers tracing down his spine as his thigh pressed between his legs, forcing them apart. Bill muttered a quick lubrication charm and pushed a finger inside Charlie.

Charlie groaned and pushed back, moving his body away from the wall, fearing any contact with his cock might be too much. Only a moment passed before Bill pushed a second finger inside him, moving it rhythmically in and out as he whispered filth into Charlie's ear. By the time a third finger joined the other two, Charlie was panting and more than ready for Bill.

"Want me to fuck you?" Bill's voice was low and husky, his breath warm against Charlie's ear. Charlie nodded, unable to form coherent words by now. "Say it," Bill whispered, curling his fingers until they were pressing just the perfect spot that made Charlie cry out, his voice barely muffled by Bill's hand on his mouth. "Quiet now, don't want to wake anyone."

Charlie groaned in protest as Bill pulled his fingers out. Then he felt Bill move, positioning himself so that Charlie could feel the tip of his cock against him. "Say it," Bill insisted. "Say, Please, fuck me, Bill."

"Fuck you," Charlie groaned, and heard Bill chuckle behind him. Then he was pressing forward, stretching so deliciously, and he had to bite his lip to stop himself from being too loud as Bill slowly buried himself inside him.

He couldn't make out most the words that Bill was muttering into his ear, but he was sure he heard hot and tight among some string of curses. Bill kept pushing until he was as deep inside him as he could go, and Charlie rested his head back on Bill's shoulder and closed his eyes, trying to get used to the sensation of having Bill inside him. After a few moments he moved his hips back, and Bill took it as his cue to start moving.

He started out slow, but after a few thrusts and a few groans for more and harder from Charlie, Bill stopped moving and pulled him a step away from the wall, pressing a hand between his shoulders to make him lean forward. No sooner had Charlie put his hands on the wall for balance that Bill started moving again, thrusting faster and harder than before, his fingers digging bruises into Charlie's hips as he took him how he wanted, Charlie meeting him thrust for thrust.


The barman is busy again, serving drinks to the few costumers still in the pub, and Charlie is left to his own musings. That's never a good thing.

As he waits for the man to return and distract him with his conversation, he wonders if things would have been easier had he and Bill been like any other two brothers. Would he still be close to his family? Would he visit every year? Be there for the birthdays? Play with his nieces and nephews? Would he have someone by his side, someone he loved, and who loved him in return?

There's no point in thinking of what could have been, and he knows it. If he's honest with himself, he wouldn't trade the time he spent with Bill for anything, but what they had didn't make his life any easier. There were good times, a lot of them, and through the years he has tried to focus on those and forget the bad ones. But things were never perfect between them. There was no paradise lost.


June, 1997

He had been sitting in a tiny chair in the infirmary for what felt like days, but was probably closer to twelve hours, if the clock on the wall was correct. People had come and gone, students, teachers, healers, Aurors, Order members, siblings and the fiancée, but now they were all finally gone. It had taken hours to convince his mother to go back home, but his promise to stay there and let her know immediately if something happened had finally done the trick.

Arrangements were being made for Dumbledore's funeral, and that was keeping the rest of the castle's inhabitants busy as well. It wasn't that he didn't care about what had happened to Dumbledore, but he couldn't think of that, not while his brother was lying on a hospital bed, after being attacked by a werewolf. In that moment, all he could care about was Bill.

He had been fast asleep when his mother's message had arrived. Hogwarts has been attacked. Come home. The message had been enough to worry him, the spots on the parchment from where his mother's tears had fallen made him fear the worst.

Bill will be all right, they had said. He will wake up soon. How could he believe those words when his brother's skin was so pale and his breathing so shallow that he couldn't even be sure he was still alive.

So he had pulled a chair closer to the bed, and had taken Bill's hand. And hadn't moved since.

Charlie's gaze fell on Bill's face, on the heavy bandages that covered the clawed skin. He closed his eyes and cursed himself for not being there in time, trying not to think of what his life would be like if something happened to Bill. He thought of the good times, and the bad. He thought of all the time they'd lost, the months he'd spent angry at Bill, hating every thought and memory of him, since that last night he had been to Romania to tell him about the Fleur, the fiancée. And everything Bill had said to him, every cruel remark, every hurtful reproach, it had all been so much worse because it had come from Bill.

He had been hurt by Bill's words, by his actions, and he had shut him off completely, trying to protect himself, trying to avoid any more suffering. But it all seemed so inconsequential now. What if something had happened to Bill? What if that werewolf had killed him? What if their last time together had been that fight?

Bill's hand twitched, and Charlie pushed all those thoughts away as he leaned closer to the bed. "Bill?"

There was no more movement for a few moments, but then Bill opened his eyes. He blinked a few times, cringing against the light in the room, and then reached up towards his face with his empty hand.

"Don't do that," Charlie said. "You'll just hurt yourself."

"What happened?"

"What do you remember?"

"I…we got a call, the Death Eaters had attacked Hogwarts. We went there and…What happened, is everyone all right?"

"You were attacked, do you remember that?"

Bill closed his eyes for a few moments, thinking. "There was a group of Death Eaters attacking some of the children," he said. "I was running towards them but something hit me from behind. I can't remember what happened next."

"It was a Death Eater that attacked you," Charlie said, pushing Bill's hand away when he made to reach for the bandages again. "It's just a few scratches."

Bill looked at him and frowned. "You wouldn't look half as pale if it were just scratches. What happened to me, Charlie?"

"It was Fenrir Greyback that attacked you." Bill's eyes widened in recognition, and Charlie was quick to reassure him as best he could. "He was in human form when he attacked you. The healers don't think you'll turn."

"But they don't know?"

"I don't think it's happened before," Charlie said, and did his best to smile. "Remus came by earlier, though, said he was sure you wouldn't turn. Probably did some sniffing here and there, you're lucky you weren't awake."

Bill smiled at his words, then cringed at the movement. "These don't feel like scratches. Feels like half my face has been ripped off."

"They had already covered the wounds when I got here, but I'm sure it's not bad. Birds won't stop thinking you're a pretty boy, even if you end up with scars."

"Oh, yes," Bill replied. "Just what I was worrying about."

"I know you too well."

They fell silent for a few minutes, and Charlie tried not to look at Bill, not to wonder exactly how badly he was hurt. He felt Bill's hand tighten around his own.

"Thanks for coming." Charlie merely shook his head. "I mean it," he insisted. "I would've understood if you hadn't."

"Don't be stupid, Bill."

"I'm sorry," he said, and tightened his hold on Charlie's hand, pulling it closer, trying to make him look at him. "I shouldn't have said those things," he whispered. "I just…I wanted you to be angry with me, thought it would be easier that way." He took a deep breath, and Charlie finally looked at him. "I'm sorry."

"Why would you do that?"

"I'm going to marry Fleur. I love her, but…it's not the same, Charlie. No matter how much I try, it's not like it is with you, and I don't want to hurt her, I don't want to hurt either of you, but I can't stay away from you. I thought perhaps if you were mad at me, if you hated me, it wouldn't matter what I felt. You wouldn't want me around, anyway."

"Then why are you telling me now?"

"Because you're here," Bill said, with a sad smile. "It means my brilliant plan failed, and I'm glad it did."

"For someone as smart as you, it was a stupid plan," Charlie said.

"I know. I'm glad you're here. I'm glad that conversation wasn't the last one we had."

"Well, I still owe you a good punch once your pretty face's healed."

"Sounds fair."

"I should call Mum," Charlie said, getting up. "She made me promise I'd let her know if you woke up."

"Wait." Bill's hand on his arm stopped him. He turned back to him. "Can't you…don't call her yet," Bill said, his voice pleading. "Stay here for a little longer."


Charlie knows that memories of Bill's attack shouldn't bring a smile to his face, but he can't help it. That incident had brought them closer than ever before. It had been hours before he had finally called Molly, hours he had spent talking to Bill like they had when they were young. It was as if they had recovered that part of their relation, but the other part had still been there. It wasn't as before, it was better. And Charlie had hoped it would last forever. But nothing in this life ever did.

"Does your family live in London, then?" the barman asks, as he washes some glasses.

"No, near Ottery St. Catchpole."

"And you?"

"Romania," Charlie replies. "Been living there since I was eighteen."

"Been there once myself," the barman says. "Lovely place, but a little too cold for my liking, to be honest."

"That's what my family says."

"Do they come visit?"

"They haven't for a while. Some of my siblings have, but my parents are mostly busy spoiling the grandchildren rotten," he says, with a smile.


August, 1997

Charlie leaned back against one of the golden pillars and watched the couples dance. Evening had set in, and golden lanterns floated around above the guests, lighting the dance floor and the tables. He tried to focus on what Hagrid was telling him, something about dragons apparently, but his attention was elsewhere, his eyes searching the small crowd for Bill.

He wasn't sure how he had managed to go through the wedding, to act the way a best man should, congratulating the newlyweds and making toasts to their health, to their love, to their future together. But Bill had asked him to be there, he had asked him to stand by his side that day, and he had said yes. It seemed to be his only answer where Bill was concerned. To tell the truth, he was still so glad that his brother was alive, that he had recovered from Greyback's attack, that everything else seemed trivial. Bill wanted to marry Fleur, and as much as it hurt him, Charlie would support him. Only that didn't mean he would stay away, or that their relationship had to change.

Finally, his eyes found Bill smiling as he moved away from the dancing couples, politely promising Great Aunt Muriel to dance with her later and undoing the first few buttons of his robes as he made his way back into the house, probably seeking some peace. Giving Hagrid a quick excuse, Charlie pushed away from the pillar and made his way after Bill and into the house.

"Tired of the wedding already?" Charlie asked, closing the door behind him.

"No, but I need some rest. I've been dancing for hours."

"I guess it's part of the groom's job."

"And the best man's, too. Where were you earlier?"

"Oh, you know just where I was," Charlie said, smiling. "You saw me yourself, after all, didn't you?" He took a step towards Bill. "Didn't you?" he insisted, when Bill didn't reply.

"You weren't exactly discreet."

"Perhaps you're right, perhaps I should've gone somewhere else, somewhere you wouldn't see me." He took another step forward, and Bill took one back. "But then again, maybe that's just what I wanted. Didn't you think of that?"

"Not here, Charlie," Bill said, taking yet another step back when Charlie moved closer.

"You see, the boy was rather upset," Charlie explained with a smile. "I'm not quite sure why that was, but I couldn't just leave him like that. You wouldn't want an unhappy guest at your wedding, now would you? I just thought perhaps he needed something to distract him from whatever was troubling him." Charlie continued stepping closer, with Bill moving away, until he had his back against the wall. "It's my job, as your best man, to make sure everything goes smoothly. And it worked quite well, if I do say so myself. He wasn't quite so upset when we were done. Quite the contrary, in fact." Charlie leaned closer, his lips ghosting over Bill's ear. "And you didn't seem to mind my behaviour at the time. In fact, you seemed to be enjoying the show quite a bit."

"Not here, Charlie," Bill breathed, closing his eyes, then moaned as Charlie's lips teased that spot behind his ear.

"Why not?" he asked, leaning forward until his body was flush against Bill's, his hand moving between them, cupping Bill's hard cock over his clothes, applying just enough pressure to make him sigh.

"Anyone could walk in."

"Then we'll have to hurry," he said, reaching inside Bill's robes and undoing his trousers.

"Fuck, Charlie."

He wrapped his hand around Bill's cock and started stroking him, silencing Bill's moans with his lips. He knew they didn't have much time, there was probably someone looking for the groom already for another dance, or perhaps to have some more pictures taken.

Bill's hands were on Charlie's robes now, fingers undoing some of the buttons and tearing others off in their haste to reach inside. Charlie's hips bucked when he felt fingers around his cock, Bill's hand moving in the same fast rhythm as his own.

He broke the kiss, gasping, and did his best to keep silent as he looked down, watching his hand moving over Bill's cock, and Bill's hand moving over his own, the tips of their cocks touching from time to time. He wanted to do so much more than this quick hand job in a hallway, but he knew they didn't have enough time.

"Why did you fuck him?" he heard Bill ask, and it took him a few moments to make sense of the words.


Bill tightened his fingers around Charlie's cock, making him hiss. "Did you fuck anyone else today?"

"No, not today." He managed to laugh, even as he moved his hips against Bill's hand, silently begging him to start moving it again.


"I knew you'd be watching," he replied. "Where do you think your sudden need to go into the drawing room came from."

"Bastard," Bill growled, then moaned when Charlie ran his thumb over the head of his cock.

"I thought you'd enjoy the show. Thought maybe it would give you an idea or two for the next time we meet."

"Fuck, I just got married, Charlie."

"And yet here you are," he said, then leaned forward to whisper into Bill's ear, "with my fingers around your cock, wanting nothing but to come all over my hand."

"There are a few other places where I'd want to come," he groaned, closing his eyes and resting his head back against the wall, his hand moving faster as Charlie's did, driving each other closer and closer to the edge. Then Bill was coming, and a second later so was Charlie. He kissed Bill again to keep them both silent, their tongues battling and their teeth clashing as the world around them seemed to vanish in a moment of perfect pleasure.

"This isn't over," Charlie murmured a few moments later, as they stood there panting. "I don't care that you're married, you can't push me away. You don't want to."

"Charlie, I..."

"Come on," he said, reaching for his wand and quickly cleaning them both and rearranging their robes. "Great Aunt Muriel's probably waiting for you."

"Perhaps I should stay here for a little longer, then."

"Can't miss your own wedding, brother," Charlie said with a smile. Then he leaned forward for a slow, lingering kiss. "Next time, I'm taking my time with you."


"You okay?" Charlie blinks as his eyes focus on the man standing in front of him. It takes a few second for his words to register.

"Fine," Charlie says with a smile.

"Looked like you were daydreaming."

"Just old memories coming back."

It had been a good night, Bill's wedding. Charlie had had a better time that he'd expected, until the Death Eaters had attacked, of course, and he had shown Bill that even if he married Fleur their relationship wouldn't change. In fact, they had continued to see each other after the wedding, not as often as Charlie would've liked, but often enough.

In the back of his mind, Charlie knows he should feel bad for Fleur, for all the times he and Bill were together since her relationship with Bill started, but he just can't. His and Bill…it had started long before Fleur charmed her way into Bill's life, and a part of Charlie feels she took Bill away from him, in a way. She was always the one he lived with, the one he slept with. She was the one he always went back to. And Charlie was the one left waiting for the next visit. He couldn't help resenting her then, and he still can't.

"Think it's time to me head home," Charlie finally says, reaching into his pocket for some Muggle money to pay the barman.

"Want me to call you a taxi?"

Charlie smiles and shakes his head. "Nah, I could use a walk."

"You sure? Been raining off and on all day."

"Yeah, I'll be fine," he says, getting off the stool and putting his jacket back on.

"Alright then," the man says. "Good luck with the family reunion."



April, 1998

That bloody bastard.

Charlie's fingers twitched around his wand. It was all he could do not to go back and hex Bill's bollocks off.

No, Charlie, I can't come over tonight, I have to work late.

Well, he certainly hadn't been working.

Charlie downed his shot of Firewhisky and ordered another. The music was loud in the pub, but Charlie didn't hear much. The sounds Bill had been making still resounded in his head. Bastard.

He'd told him he'd be at work, and Charlie had believed him. Why wouldn't he? Things were crazy enough all over the wizarding world that everyone seemed to be working well past their normal hours. Merlin knew his father rarely stopped by the house more than to sleep, lately. So he had just taken Bill for his word. Yet the bastard had been lying.

He had been looking for Remus, in fact. His mother had asked him to drop by his place and give him some of her homemade chocolate cake, which Remus seemed to love. He had been lucky Charlie hadn't stuffed it down his throat and chocked him with it.

The bartender poured him another shot, and he downed it as fast as he had the first one. He just couldn't believe what he'd seen. He'd knocked on Remus' door, and when no one had answered he'd made his way around the house. It wasn't strange to find Remus sitting in the back porch, and he wouldn't hear him knocking from there.

Remus hadn't been sitting outside, though, and Charlie had been about to head back home when he'd heard a loud grunt. Worried for Remus' and Tonks' safety, after all the attacks the Order had suffered, Charlie had reached for his wand and walked closer to the window, carefully peering inside.

Remus had been naked and on his knees, thrusting into an equally naked Bill. Charlie's heart seemed to stop as his brain tried to make sense of what he was seeing. But there was no room for mistake. Remus was fucking Bill as if his life depended on it. And judging by the sounds Bill was making, he seemed to be enjoying it as much as Remus was.

Charlie didn't realise he'd dropped the plate with the cake until he heard it crash against the floor. Remus and Bill looked up in unison, their expressions going from passionate, to surprised, to horrified in just a second. He heard them both curse, and then Bill moved away from Remus and got up. Bill started walking towards him, but Charlie didn't want to hear whatever he had to say. It was all he could do to control his temper and not hex him right where he stood, so before Bill could reach the door he tightened his hold on his wand and twirled in place, Apparating away from them. Not that avoiding Bill would change what had happened, what he had seen. The bastard.

By his third shot, Charlie was thoroughly regretting his decision to Apparate away instead of cursing them both.

He took a deep breath and turned around, focusing on the people moving on the dance floor instead. He still wasn't sure why he had decided to Apparate to this place, but it had been a good decision. Here he could easily find something to distract him, something to force his thoughts away from Bill, even if it wasn't for long.

His eyes searched the crowd, trying to find something to his taste, someone to take the frustration out with. A young boy with dark hair caught his eye. He watched him move his body to the music for a few moments. He would do. Charlie turned around to drink the last shot he'd ordered, and just as he reached inside his pocket for some money he noticed someone move next to him.

"I know who you are."

Charlie turned his head to the side to find a tall, thin boy with white-blond hair and grey eyes staring at him.

"Do you, now?"

The boy lifted an eyebrow. "You're a Weasley."

"What makes you say so?" he asked, running his hand through his hair. Anyone that had ever known a Weasley could probably spot the rest of them just by the hair.

The boy merely shrugged. "We've met before."

Charlie took a closer look at the boy. After a few moments, he realised who he was. "Oh, yes, I remember you," he laughed. "You're Lucius Malfoy's son. You were at Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament."

"Draco," they boy said. "I seem to have made an impression."

Charlie laughed again at that. "You offered to suck me off if I let you touch a dragon."

"Yes, well, you had refused the money."

"Dragons are dangerous creatures. They could've easily killed you. Shouldn't you still be at Hogwarts?"

"The school rules regarding leaving the school grounds are somewhat more...permissive this year."

"I see."

Draco looked at Charlie for a few seconds. "The offer still stands," he said with a smirk. "I still like dragons."

"I'm afraid I don't have any with me right now."

"That's quite all right," he said. "That part can wait."

Draco licked his lips and gave Charlie a meaningful look, then turned around and started walking to the back of the pub, towards the restrooms. It took Charlie a second to make up his mind, and then he fished inside his pockets for some coins to pay for his drinks, left them on the bar and followed.

Draco was waiting for him in the hall. He smirked when he saw Charlie had followed and beckoned him into the restroom. There were other men there, but Charlie didn't care. He pulled Draco to him and crushed their lips together, guiding him into one of the small stalls and closing the door behind them. He could hear the voices outside, some of the men continuing as if they had seen nothing, others making lewd comments. He didn't care.

After a bit of manoeuvring, he pressed Draco into one of the stall walls, forcing his thigh between the boy's legs and pressing against his cock. Draco moaned into the kiss, then moved his hands to Charlie's chest and pushed him away. The smirk was back on his face as he lowered himself to his knees and undid Charlie's trousers. His grey eyes never wavered from Charlie's face as he pushed the trousers and pants down and leaned forward, taking Charlie's cock into his mouth.

Charlie leaned against the opposite wall, closing his eyes and letting his head fall back, focusing on the warm, wet mouth moving around his cock and pushing every other thought away.

Draco hummed around his cock, making Charlie moan loudly, and he moved his hands to the boy's head, guiding his movements, making him bob his head faster. He felt Draco's cheeks hollow as he sucked, the pressure making Charlie groan and jerk his hips. The boy's hands move to Charlie's hips in an attempt to control his movements as he took him deeper into his mouth.

Charlie cursed and tightened his hands on Draco's hair when he felt his throat contract as he swallowed around his cock, and he groaned in both relief and frustration when Draco pulled back a moment later and let his cock slip from his mouth just when he was ready to come.

He opened his eyes to find Draco had turned around, and now had his back to him and his trousers around his ankles. The boy leaned forward, rested his hands against the wall for leverage, and then looked at Charlie over his shoulder, an eyebrow elegantly raised.

With a rather ungraceful snort Charlie moved forward, reaching for his wand and muttering a lubricating charm, then using his fingers to prepare Draco for him, making sure to crook them just right, rubbing again and again over the boy's prostate. By the time Charlie finally pushed his cock inside him, he already had Draco panting and writhing against him, and he had to keep the boy's hands pinned to the wall to stop him from touching himself.

He kept his thrusts hard and fast, loving the sounds Draco made as he fucked him, loving the filthy words that aristocratic mouth could spill as he pushed back for more. It wasn't until he was close to the edge himself that he moved one of his hands around the boy's body, reaching for his much neglected cock. His hold was tight as he stroked Draco in time with his thrusts, until he finally heard the boy scream his release, covering Charlie's hand with his come as his muscles tightened rhythmically around Charlie's cock. He finally lost what little was left of his self-control, pounding Draco into the wall until he came with a scream of his own.

Gasping for breath, Charlie leaned back against the other wall, taking a few moments to recover before cleaning them both and rearranging their clothes with a quick flick of his wand.

"If you're ever in Romania," he said as Draco turned around to face him, "go to the reserve and ask for Charlie Weasley." He reached for the doorknob. "I'll make sure to introduce you to some of the dragons," he added with a promising wink, before opening the door and stepping out of the stall.

Ignoring the glances from some of the men in the restroom, he made his way towards the exit, thankful for the silence that reached his ears as he finally stepped out of the pub and Apparated back home.

Charlie saw the figure sitting by the door from a few yards away, and he didn't need any light to know it was Bill waiting for him. He considered turning away, going somewhere else for the night, but he couldn't avoid him forever. He took a deep breath and steeled himself for what was to come.

He didn't move as he watched Bill get up and walk towards him, his movements hesitant.

"Hey," he said, when he reached him. Charlie just looked at him. "Where've you been?"

"Working late," he replied. He stepped to the side to walk around Bill and towards the house, but Bill's hand shot to his arm, stopping him.


"What for?"

"I just…I need to talk to you. About what you saw."

"What about it?"

"I shouldn't have lied to you, I just-"

"Damn right you shouldn't have," Charlie interrupted, jerking his arm away. "Remus? What the fuck were you thinking?"

"It's because of the moon," Bill said. "After the attack, you know things have been different. Being with Remus helps."

"He's Tonks' husband. She's my best mate, what the fuck am I supposed to say when I see her again? What about Teddy?"

"This isn't about her, or about Teddy. Hell, it's not even about Remus, is it?" Bill asked. "This is about you and me."

Charlie shook his head. "No it isn't. Not any more."

"What do you mean?" Bill asked, taking a step closer.

"I can't keep doing this, man. I can't keep living like this." As the words left his mouth he realised it was the truth. He hadn't thought about it before, he had been happy with whatever he could get. He knew the way Bill felt about him, and that had been enough until now, but not any more.


"It's been what, almost eight years? Nothing has changed, Bill, and nothing will. You'll keep living your life with Fleur and whoever else you want, and I've no right to say anything, I know that. Hell, I fuck other people too, but that's all it is. At the end of the day, I keep waiting until you think you have the time for me. I can't keep waiting, Bill, I'm tired of it. I need for things to change."

"I didn't…I never meant to hurt you. I didn't think-"

"It doesn't matter," Charlie said. "I just can't keep doing this. I have to go back to Romania in two days, anyway." He took a deep breath and tried to smile. "You're welcome to visit whenever you want, just…not like before."

Bill took a step forward, then moved his hand to Charlie's neck and pulled him closer. His lips were soft, the kiss slow, tender, and Charlie closed his eyes, his mouth responding even when his brain knew it shouldn't.

"Don't do this," Bill whispered against his lips. "Please."

"I'm sorry," he whispered back. It took all of his willpower, but he finally managed to step away. He didn't look at Bill again, he wasn't sure he would be able to leave if he did. Instead, he turned around and headed into The Burrow, neither saying another word.


His mind is once again focused on more painful memories as he walks down the streets. Not for the first time, he wonders if he made the right decision, ending things with Bill. Would his life have been different if he hadn't?

Most of the time he thinks he did the right thing, but then come those nights when his memories betray him, and he feels ending things when he did actually didn't spare him any of the pain.

He had tried to make a life for himself, had tried to focus on more than his work, to find someone to be with for longer than a night. A few years after the end of the war Draco Malfoy had travelled to Romania. He had gone to the reserve and asked for Charlie Weasley. And Charlie had kept his end of the deal and let him touch some of the dragons.

Draco had stayed there for almost a year, the longest relationship Charlie had ever had. The only one, really, because he didn't think what he and Bill had had qualified as a relationship. He had cared deeply for Draco, but perhaps not as much as he should have. He couldn't help thinking of Bill, couldn't help longing for his touch, for his company. It hadn't been fair to Draco, it hadn't been fair to either of them. So Draco had finally gone back to England, to find a good witch to marry and make his father happy, and Charlie hadn't stopped him. He was used to losing people by then.

So he had gone back to focusing on his work, spending all his time with his friends and the dragons, always finding a new man to spend his time with when he felt the desire to, doing his best not to live in memories of the past.

Then he had received Bill's letter.

A flash of lightning, quickly followed by a loud thunder catches Charlie's attention, and he looks up just in time to feel the first drop of rain land on his face. Cursing under his breath, he zips up his jacket and hurries his step. He turns into the first dark alley he can find and looks around to make sure there's no one close by. Then he reaches for his wand, holds it tightly and Apparates to The Burrow.

There's a figure sitting by the door, he can see it from a few yards away, and he doesn't need any light to know it's Bill waiting for him. He considers turning away, going somewhere else for the night, but he can't avoid this forever. Bill is the reason he returned, after all. He watches as Bill raises his head, looks at him for a few seconds, and then stands up. He takes a deep breath as he watches Bill walk closer, steeling himself for whatever is to come.

"Charlie," Bill says with a small smile when he reaches him. "It's good to see you again."

"You, too." They watch one another in silence for a few moments, unsure of what to do. "What were you doing, sitting there under the rain?" Charlie finally asks.

"I've been waiting for you. Thanks for coming."

"You said it was important."

"Yes, I…Fuck, I don't even know how to say this," Bill starts, a small, hesitant smile twitching the corner of his lips. "I've been wanting to talk to you for a long time, but I didn't know what to say, didn't know what you'd think about…" He takes a deep breath and smiles nervously. "It's good to see you."

They fall silent again, and Charlie watches Bill shift his weight from one foot to the other, nervously. Even after all these years, it's still hard not to reach for him, so he buries his hands as deep into his pockets as they will go.

"I know you said it was over," Bill finally says. "I know you don't want to go back to how things were. Damn it, the last thing I want is to hurt you more than I have, but…" Bill looks away, and Charlie waits for him to continue, both of them oblivious to the falling rain. "I shouldn't have asked you to come."

"Why did you?"

"Cause I can't take this any more," he says. "I can't keep living like this. I know it's not fair to you, and I've tried to control it, but I can't."

Charlie has no idea what to say, so he says nothing. Instead he watches Bill pace in front of him, his frustration obvious as he tries to find the right words.

After a moment Bill stops and turns to him. Instead of speaking, he leans forward and kisses him. It's a quick kiss, almost a peck, more a statement than anything else, but it's enough to startle them both. Just like it had happened to Charlie that day all those years ago, when he had found kissing Bill the only way to express what he had been thinking, now the same thing seems to be happening to Bill.

Bill pulls back a second later, his eyes worried as he looks at Charlie.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have-"

Before he can finish his sentence Charlie's upon him, kissing him with all the passion he can muster, putting all the frustration, all the longing and the pain into the kiss, and feeling the same in return. His hands cradle Bill's head as the kiss deepens, and it feels as if no time has passed, as if they were the same two young men they had been so many years ago, hiding in every dark corner they could find to sate some of the fire burning between them.

"Charlie," Bill murmurs against his lips, breaking the kiss but keeping him close, their faces inches apart. "I…Fuck, I can't do this any more. I can't stay with her when she's not the one I…" He closes his eyes for a moment and takes another deep breath. "If you don't want us to go back to how it used to be, then I will respect that. I just need you in my life. I'll do anything you want me to, I just can't live like this any more, Charlie. All these years I-"

Then his words are cut short again by Charlie's lips on his. Because he doesn't care what else he planned to say, because he would risk everything and anything for another moment with Bill, because when it comes down to it, however much he suffered was well worth their time together. And if there's one thing he's learned in his life is that when he has a chance to be happy he can't let it pass. Nothing else matters.