October 2002

"Can I meet your family?"

It was the question Harry had been dreading. Really, truly dreading. He'd talked to Will plenty about his friends, even about his job and a bit about Charlie. But the topic of family had been strictly off-limits. It was a bit hypocritical, really, seeing as he'd met Will's sister already – Will's twin sister, to be precise, Tara.

"Harry?" Will asked.

"Shit, sorry," Harry mumbled. He ran his fingers through his hair, and reached for his pint.

They were sat in the beer garden of the pub where Will worked; he'd just finished his shift and had brought Harry a bowl of chips to enjoy with his drink and his smoke. Will sat patiently, waiting, as Harry took a long pull of his beer and settled his elbows back on the picnic bench.

"Thing is, I don't really have any. Family."

"Oh. Shit, I'm sorry, love."

"It's okay." Harry though about the best way to put it, then decided to go with honesty. "My mum and dad were murdered when I was a baby," he said. "The same guy was responsible for the deaths of quite a few other people as well."

"Fucking hell," Will said.

"Yeah," Harry said on a short laugh. "I was raised by my aunt and uncle, who weren't really that great, and I went to boarding school when I turned eleven."

"Your aunt and uncle paid for boarding school?"

"No… my parents sort of left me a scholarship, I suppose. It was the school they both went to, and they fell in love there. It was important to them that I was educated there too. It's this place up in Scotland, way out of the way."

"And that's where you met Ron and Hermione."

"Yeah."

"Wow," Will said, playing with the edge of a beer mat, systematically shredding it. "I'm sorry," he repeated.

"Don't be," Harry said. "I've had plenty of time to come to terms with it. And Ron's family is my family now, you know? His mum – Molly – she sort of adopted me when I was a teenager."

"This is Charlie's mum too, though, right?"

"Yeah," Harry said, awkward once again.

Will waited a few moments, then looked up. "Could I meet her, do you think?"

"What, Molly?"

"Yeah. I mean, only if you're out to them…"

"I'm out," Harry said, nodding. "Um… I'll talk to her, okay? I don't know what she'll say. But I promise I'll talk to her."

Will smiled. "That's good enough for me."

Molly thought it was a wonderful idea, much to Harry's distress. He explained that Will was a muggle, that he wouldn't understand. Arthur thought the idea of meeting in a muggle pub for lunch was an even better idea. Aware that he'd been completely backed into a corner, Harry agreed to set it up.

xXx

They were mid-snog when there was a knock on the door. Harry prised his lips from Will's with extreme difficulty, groaned, and reached for his glasses.

"Ignore it," Will mumbled.

If he did, the knocker would likely try to Apparate or Floo and he didn't really want to explain to his friends or family why the Floo was closed and he had anti-Apparition wards in place. It was easier to just answer it.

"Ugh," Harry groaned and got up. "Wait here, I'll get rid of them."

Before he opened the door, he adjusted his erection.

Charlie stood in the hallway.

Harry stared, in silence, at the man who he'd not seen for months now. Months. Seconds ticked by while Harry studied the image that still sometimes danced behind his eyelids as he drifted off to sleep: broad chest, scruffy beard, piercing blue/grey eyes, firey hair.

"What do you want?" Harry rasped.

"I'm sorry," Charlie said. "Is this a bad time?"

Harry heard the soft footsteps behind him, then the solid weight of Will's hand on his lower back. Harry leaned back into it, just slightly.

"I'm going to shoot off," Will said.

"You don't have to do that," Harry responded. "It's fine."

"I'll call you tomorrow," Will said gently, and pressed a kiss to Harry's cheek. He nodded at Charlie as he passed him in the hallway.

"I suppose you should come in, then," Harry said tiredly, pulling the door open wider and sneaking a look around Charlie's back to watch Will disappear down the staircase. He hadn't looked back.