Kiss, a Prelude
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Inspired (pairing-wise) by one of the few Billuna stories on FFN, and done for a prompt. Read, review, and enjoy!
"Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots." —Nathaniel Hawthorne
Bill heaved a content sigh as he walked around the perimeter of the pyramid. He loved his job. Being a Curse-Breaker was exhilarating. The rush of the possible danger… He fully understood why his younger brother, Charlie, loved working with dragons. Danger was very seductive.
So were some women. Thinking on the women in his life, the eldest Weasley son frowned. The one woman who was supposed to be the woman sometime soon was Fleur Delacour. She was pretty dangerous and scarily confident. Bill guessed their shared love of adventure and danger was what had brought them together. Fleur was seductive in many ways, though he wondered quite often if part of the attraction was due to her Veela blood.
That was what bothered him. It was the one thing he found he couldn't move past, and it was the reason why, three years after the Battle of Hogwarts, they were still only engaged. That, and he could only remember one amazingly glaring thing about the victory.
Back then, Harry had dueled Voldemort. After a lot of unnecessary yapping, Voldemort had used a Killing Curse with a wand that didn't work for him. Bill could only remember all the times Ron had gotten into trouble with a bad wand, so he knew the consequences could be severe. For the Dark Lord, there had been the worst consequence of all: death. Harry had deflected the spell and Voldemort had fallen—and that was it.
Even to this day, Bill could still hear the deafening cheers for Harry. Bill himself remembered grabbing that crazy blonde beside him and kissing her full on the lips. And when he'd put the Weasley family friend, Luna Lovegood, back on the ground, his cheeks had burned as red as his sister Ginny's red hair. That never happened to Bill. Bill was the cool one, the sibling everyone looked at with awe. Well, Luna had certainly looked at him with awe and then she'd just returned to celebrating with everyone else. Bill was the only one who hadn't unfrozen from his kiss with the seventeen-year-old witch.
A year after that, Ginny and her best friend graduated from the refurbished Hogwarts. Bill hadn't avoided Luna. No, he'd congratulated his sister's best friend. For Luna, it was as though that kiss had never happened. Bill was the only one fretting over it. It didn't help that—right before the kiss had happened—Bill had been stewing in his decision to marry Fleur. Luna was…so loony!
No. Actually, he was the loony one here. He saw her every now-and-then because of family functions, but only he got flustered when she spoke with him. That was why he'd decided to take up field-work again. He needed to get away from Fleur's heckling—"When will you marry me, William?" He needed to tune out his mother's complaints—"Bill, you're the oldest. And Percy's already married before you. I'm sure Audrey will be pregnant soon. What about you and Fleur?" He needed to escape those protuberant blue–gray eyes that made him recall that bloody, confusing-as-hell memory—
"Oh, hello, Bill. I didn't know you were back in Egypt."
Bill froze and looked at the blonde witch sitting on the side of the pyramid. "Luna?!"
"Yes. Oh, you look wonderful, Bill. How have you been?"
The wizard managed to entice her down from the pyramid and join him for a spot of tea. He really wanted the whole story. He didn't understand why she of all people would be here with him.
"I'm here with my father on Quibbler business," she stated before biting into a biscuit.
Something in Bill dropped. "Ah," he said. So she wasn't here to visit. Why had that earlier something in him even bothered to soar?
Luna blinked several times, observing him. "Are you all right, Bill? You seem uncomfortable."
He gritted his teeth. Of course Luna would say something to make the meeting uncomfortable. "I'm fine, Luna. So, how long are you and Xenophilius going to stay?" the Curse-Breaker asked to change the subject.
"I dunno… It depends on what material Dad can gather for this special Middle Eastern edition of the paper. I wouldn't mind staying for a while," she finished with her dreamy smile.
"You'll burn," he laughed, gesturing to her pale skin. "I've been doing this for so long that I only tan now. Are you sure this hot climate's okay for you, Luna?"
She looked him straight in the eyes, an action that quickened his pulse. Slowly, she smiled, and he'd daresay it was more impishly than dreamily. "Oh, I find I quite like this hot climate." Luna finished her tea and grabbed her bag. She paused to give him a quick hug before leaving.
Bill caught her wrist. "Luna, would it help you and your dad if you two could be on site? You know, closer to the ancient magics. I—I could be your guide around here, too, if you like."
"Why, thank you, Bill. I'd like that very much."
He was glad that his subconscious had stopped her. Maybe, just maybe, he thought, he could figure out these emotions for Luna. Yes, that was the only reason he wanted her near, close by his side.
Bill enjoyed showing Luna and Xenophilius through some of the ancient tombs. It was fun to recall many of his tales; plenty of the stories were substantiated by scorch marks from bad spells that littered the tombs. Xenophilius wildly jotted notes down on damn near everything. Luna snapped photos of some of the adorned entryways and even got a picture or two in of Bill, much to his chagrin and her resulting amusement.
Really, though, Bill didn't know how to act around her. Luna was just the same curious and playful witch she'd always been, albeit a little tempting now, too. Maybe it was his sharpened senses that were a result of the wolfish side-effects from Greyback's scratches on his face, but Bill found himself paying so much attention to her. Her blue–gray eyes were silvery and unnerving, her hair billowed behind her like a silken cloak, and her peony pink lips teased him with every little smile she gave him.
He'd really like to know what it felt like to kiss those lips again—hopefully, when she'd want to kiss him, too. Not when he surprised her like that first time years ago. …yes. If he could have her kiss him of her own will, then he was sure that he'd be able to figure out his feelings, return home, and marry Fleur.
But that was based on the idea that his feelings for the Lovegood daughter were completely platonic.
"This pharaoh had no magic of his own," Bill explained to Luna. It had been almost a month, the Lovegood's stay in Egypt. Now Xenophilius was comfortable with letting his daughter venture inside the pyramids without him. Actually, as Bill led her around this level of the tombs, Xenophilius was in another pyramid with one of Bill's coworkers. So Bill had Luna all to himself. "However," he continued, "he had a mage as his advisor. The mage was half-Egyptian, half-Hittite. The ancient Hittites were known for their witches and wizards."
"Magic is such an old being," Luna commented, her eyes wandering around the cavernous halls. "It transcends so many things, like time. Love does that, too."
The eldest Weasley blinked. Had he heard her correctly? "Uh, sorry?"
"Oh, I was saying that love is like magic, too, in that it's old and can transcend anything," the witch elaborated. Bill looked over his shoulder and watched her thumb a set of hieroglyphs on the wall near the sarcophagus. "And love, like magic, is something that can't be forgotten."
Bill frowned, wishing they'd get off that topic. He had been happy to focus on his job right then. "I s'pose…"
"Bill, I actually knew you'd be here in Egypt. I didn't just come here on Quibbler business."
He looked away, frozen. There was only one reason why Luna would be here.
"I thought you should know that I visited Ginny before leaving England. Fleur was at the Burrow. She asked that I ask you to come home."
"…ah." That was…painful. It was unexpected, too. And he wished that she'd drop it right there. "Well, I'm busy working. Fleur knows that. You didn't have to come all the way here just to tell me that, Luna. But you're a very sweet woman. Thank you."
She did something un-Luna-like: She frowned. "Bill, tell me—why are you still engaged to Fleur?"
He shook his head. "Cold feet."
"You mean 'cold heart.'"
His anger flared to life at that comment. Bill turned around and stomped back to her. He towered over her. "You don't know anything."
"I know she's part Veela," she stated, unfazed.
Bill deflated. How could she have read him so exactly? He sighed, closed his eyes, and finally came undone. "You're right. She's one-quarter Veela. But that's still plenty Veela enough for that ancient magic to work. I remember Ron being pretty enthralled with her, and that was because of her powerful Veela charm. So, yes, I may have a cold heart. I don't know if I really love her. I think I might be under her spell when around her because here, so many miles away, I don't think of her almost at all. I—" He stopped. Bill wasn't going to admit he thought of Luna.
She cocked her head and stared up at him. "Fleur loves you."
"But I don't think I love her."
There was tenderness in her eyes. Luna reached up, but she decided against touching his cheek. "Well, as I said, love can't be forgotten."
Her last withdrawal—her not touching his cheek—was the final straw. "Well, I guess I prove you wrong," he said, backing up. "Because I've just about forgotten her."
"Bill, I didn't mean to—"
The wizard shook his head. "It's fine. Let's g—" He was interrupted by a jolt and a crack as his back touched the other side of the doorway. The level shook violently as he fell to the ground. As he faded into unconsciousness and distantly heard Luna screaming his name, it occurred to him that—like love—removing nasty ancient curses was something else he'd forgotten….
Bill woke up in his room at the nearby cave. His part of the tent was a little messy. The part of his tent he'd been loaning to Xenophilius was empty. He looked on his other side and found why. Luna was sitting at his cot-side, and Xenophilius was standing behind her. The father breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm glad you're awake. You've been out all day and almost all night," Xenophilius said. "I'll go let your coworkers know you're up. I'll see if I can round up something to eat, as well, since you missed dinner." The white-haired man ducked out of the tent, leaving Luna and Bill alone.
Luna, again, frowned. "Are you all right, Bill? You hit your head so hard…"
He winced as he slowly sat up. "I feel as if I have a hippogriff sitting on my head…"
"Well, other than that Nargle, there's nothing there."
She leaned forward, and he could see her eyes were red from crying. "I'm sorry for upsetting you. I didn't know you'd react like that. I shouldn't have said anything."
"No, you shouldn't have." He looked at the sheets on his bed. His head pounded when he tried to focus his attention on the pure white threads. "No… I shouldn't have acted like that," he corrected. Bill brought his eyes back up to her face. "I shouldn't have forgotten what I did."
Luna stared at him. "What is it you really haven't forgotten, Bill?"
"A lot," he answered.
There was a long silence. "You interrupted me earlier, you know."
"Hn? Oh, yeah, sorry about that."
"I don't mean when you were talking about proving me wrong." She hesitated. "Fleur did ask me to ask you to come home."
Bill grimaced. "Luna, please don't bring her up right—"
The witch grabbed his chin and held his gaze firmly on hers. Her cheeks were rosy. "Please," she said with her sweet smile, "shut up."
He had to; she didn't hesitate at all to touch his cheek this time. In fact, she stroked one side of his face with her soft fingers before just cupping his cheek and rubbing her thumb on the end of one of his scars. Luna most certainly had his attention.
"She did ask me, but that and the Quibbler—they weren't the only reasons why I wanted to come to Egypt."
"You…wanted to come?"
Her smile widened. "Didn't I ask you to shut up?" The blonde's eyes softened as her cheeks deepened with a healthy blush. "All these past few years, I could only remember one thing: a kiss. I can only remember one person: you. You're like a Wrackspurt, just…fuzzing my brain."
He nodded, not really sure what she meant or where she was going with this. All Bill could think was that she was finally going to tell him that she'd wished their kiss had never happened.
Instead, Luna's face got closer and closer until her breath was so hot on his face. Then it was hot on his lips and tongue. She moved closer to him and sat on the cot's edge. He reached up and gently touched her jaw. When she broke away, she shyly ducked her eyes to his chest and gripped a bunch of his shirt's fabric, which wrinkled in her hand. Her knuckles were white, and her hand visibly shook.
Bill cleared his throat. "Luna…?"
"I've been wanting to do that since you first kissed me, sorry." She sat back in her chair. "I…I don't want you to go home to Fleur. I won't even force you back to Europe. But…if you must come home at some point, would it be wrong to ask you to come home to me?"
He took in the sight of her: blue–gray eyes red from crying, hair a disheveled mess, skin paler than normal because of the exaggeration of her crimson cheeks, and lips swollen and deep magenta as if they'd been rouged. What he felt in his heart was no Veela magic; it was that other ancient magic that was as old as the universe. "I have to confess… I'd been doubting Fleur before the battle, long before. That accidental kiss threw me off even more."
Luna looked crestfallen. "O-Oh… Then I'm sorry for this. I think I've only worsened things for you." She stumbled up out of her chair. "I didn't mean to make you remember something you didn't want to—oh!"
She gasped as he pulled her down on top of him and kissed her much more deeply and much more passionately than she had ever dreamed. Bill was glad he had acted so rudely. He found that, with the taste of Luna on his tongue, everything made sense.
So much for returning to Devon to marry Fleur.
He rested his chin on the top of her head afterwards. "Luna, I thought I was the only one affected by that kiss back then. I've fretted over it ever since, even—no, especially every time we spoke when you came over to the Burrow."
"Yes, really. But…"
"What?" The look on her face that showed her heart dropping made his plummet through the floor—well, ground.
"I can't leave Egypt. I love being here too much."
"Oh." She shifted so she sat up a little bit. "That's all right. I understand."
"Luna, I…I won't go home there. I will come home to you. You…are my home," he mumbled quickly, reddening like a gawky teenager.
She blinked, her face burning the same shade of red. But she smiled. "Then lucky you. I was just thinking I'd like to move to Egypt, Mr. Bumbling Curse-Breaker. Funny what a kiss can do. … May I have another?"
XD Billuna popped into my head, so I searched for it on the site. Only "Bill's Wedding" by Hades'Queen appeared. Now, after being inspired by that story to write a Billuna, there are TWO on the site, and this is for you, Hades'Queen! And it was fun to write, though I didn't expect it to be a bit fluffy at the end… Actually, I originally intended for this to be bittersweet and for him to return to Fleur, but I'm glad the oneshot developed a mind of its own.
So review! And go check out the only other Billuna story on the site to the date of this story—May 2010—"Bill's Wedding" by Hades'Queen.
Thanks for reading, and please review!
Thanks so much for beta'ing as always, Morghen!
2016 note: Ahhh, I can't believe this, especially six years later, because I'm staunchly a Billeur shipper, but I kind of liked the middle part, with them just exploring the ruins… Makes me want to write more about Bill in general. :]