Picture In My Pocket

A Bill/Hermione Story

Her infatuation had started when she saw his picture in a magazine, waving up at her, one freckled redhead among many. She'd secretly filched the Daily Prophetfrom Harry, cutting out the picture of the Weasley family and then, feeling awkward having them allstaring at her when she only wanted to see him,she had simply cut the rest of the family out of the picture. The photograph-Weasleys hadn't liked that very much, the twins giving her rude hand signals before dodging out of the way of her scissors, Mrs. Weasley appearing to yell in fright before dragging a young Ginny out of harm's way. Finally, after carefully smoothing the edges of the newspaper clipping down by magic, she'd beamed down shyly at her work. To her secret delight, he'd grinned right back at her, hands thrust deep in his pockets as he stood tall in his now-solitary portrait.

And he'd continued grinning back at her every time she looked at the little photo over the years until, finally, she'd gotten to meet him in person. The summer before her fourth year, it happened. The Quidditch World Cup, which had originally held little interest for her, seemed to spark like a glowing beacon on her calendar once she found out that hewas coming. She'd not talked to him much; her tongue seemed to grow heavy when she considered anything she might like to say to him. Anytime he was in the tent, she would burry her face deeper in a book, but she would watch him over the top of the pages.

She'd seen him again during the Triwizard Tournament, when he'd visited Hogwarts with Mrs. Weasley. He seemed to grow wilder and wilder every time she saw him: his hair a bit longer, a few more scars on his hands from that fascinating curse-breaking job. She dated Viktor Krum. When he kissed her, she pictured a tan, freckled man with a red ponytail and a dragon tooth earring. Then things like silly crushes had been stamped out of her head entirely-

Voldemort had returned. Harry was attacked by dementors, Death Eaters were returning to their master in droves. Surely, Hermione had greater things to worry about than silly, unreturned crushes on older Weasleys.

That summer, however, before her fifth year, had marked her move to the Order of the Phoenix headquarters. And as she found out, a lot of very interesting people stopped by headquarters. If she stayed up just late enough, sneaking to the staircase just in time, she could catch a glimpse of a tall, muscular, red-headed figure stepping through the front door, and her heart would beat a little faster for a moment or two…

And then the world had gone to hell, and everything had been destroyed. The horcruxes, Voldemort, all those lives, and, as well, his beautiful face.

He'd never liked to admit that he was vain, because most of the time he wasn't. At least, he'd been pretty sure he wasn't. Now, every damn time he looked in the mirror, all he could see were those hideous scars on his face. It had been all shecould see, as well, after a while. He'd appreciated it immensely, her sticking around to massage his ego as long as she could, but he couldn't really blame her when she finally had to up-and-leave.

When you're asked to marry a handsome banker and suddenly he turns into a mutilated half-werewolf, it was understandable, he reasoned, to panic.

Very fucking understandable indeed,he thought bleakly before tossing back another shot of firewhiskey, feeling his blood boil like a tea-kettle. Drinking had become something of a Weasley pastime these days.

Drinking and fucking, he amended hazily, watching with blurred interest as a questionably attractive witch gave him a bit of the eye from across the bar. Yes, if there was one good thing about being partially a werewolf, one singledamn good thing, it was the fucking.

Bill thought it had something to do with the animalistic nature of werewolves, because just like real wolves they mainly thought about three things: eating, fighting, and mating. Food was easy to come by in a city like London, even if you took your steaks a bit rare. Fights were easier still as there were still a fair amount of cursed tombs with mummies and things in them that he was obligated to explore. But he was a bit hard-up for the mating portion of his desires these days.

The only fucking problem was getting a decent enough looking witch to give you more than just the once-over once she realized you looked like you'd gotten on the wrong end of one of those damned Muggle lawnmowers. Bill grimaced, throwing back another shot, as the witch caught a good look at the mangled side of his face and gasped before turning her attention to a more wholesome wizard further along the bar.

Fuck it, Bill hissed, feeling the wolfish blood in him boil with irritation and alcohol. Just fuck everything.

Then he spotted someone across the bar who made that statement sound like a very good idea, and, best of all, she was smiling shyly at him, unaware or unconcerned with the scars running the length of his face. Suddenly, Bill's blood felt warm, alcohol or no alcohol, and he permitted himself to grin impishly back at her.

If the wolfblood coursing through his body had anything to do with it, his dry streak was about to be over.