For ReillyJade's Exclamation Point Challenge, in which I had to write a story featuring lost!Bill. So here's Bill, very lost about his future plans.
Bill sits down in the chair, leaning back with casual ease. "Morning, Professor."
He gets a tight smile in response. "Good morning, Mr. Weasley. I must say, your promptness is a refreshing change of pace compared to the rest of your year-mates."
Bill grins. "But of course, Professor! I'd have to be a fool to waste time as precious as yours, wouldn't I?"
She lets out a small huff of breath that he knows means she's amused but won't allow herself to show it. "Always the charmer, aren't you, Mr. Weasley?"
He shrugs, still grinning. "I do try."
Her lip twitches as she suppresses a smile, but then she sobers. "To business, then, Mr. Weasley. Do try to stay on point, won't you?" She pauses for a moment, and he nods, smiling. "Now then. As I'm sure you're aware, this meeting is to determine your future plans after Hogwarts, so that we can decide which subjects you'll continue on to NEWT level."
Bill shifts so that he's leaning forward in his chair, resting his arms easily on his knees.
"I'll be honest with you, Professor. I have no idea what I want to do after Hogwarts."
It's actually the one area where he's sort of jealous of his little brother. Charlie knows – has always known – exactly what he wants to do. Dragons are his life; as good as he is a Quidditch, as much as he loves it, his true passion has always been dragons.
Bill isn't like that. Bill has a bit of talent for a lot of things – he's a straight O student, has been since first year. He's balancing twelve classes and a position as Chaser on his house team as well as his Prefect duties without any issues. Granted, he does get more than 24 hours in a day, but still, it's no mean feat.
The problem with being good at a lot of things is that nothing stands out. He could do a lot of things. How does he begin to narrow that down?
Professor McGonagall puts her fingertips together, pursing her lips and looking at him contemplatively. "Mr. Weasley, I think you could do whatever you put your mind to."
Bill laughs. "And that's the problem, isn't it Professor?"
She gives a small, tight smile. "I suppose it is." She leans forward, scrutinizing him. "Tell me, Mr. Weasley. Which subjects do you like? Not which ones are you good at––" she gestures to the transcript in front of her "––I know very well the answer to that – which ones do you enjoy?"
He can feel his eyebrows furrow thoughtfully. After a moment, he decides. "Ancient Runes. And Arithmancy."
"Mmm." Professor McGonagall flips through several pamphlets she has on her desk, consulting them. "Runes is an odd one. There aren't a lot of careers that use Ancient Runes, and most of those that do are research jobs." She glances up at him, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "And if I may say, Mr. Weasley, academically inclined as you may be, I don't really thing a research laboratory is the place for you."
Bill grins. "You know me well, professor. I can handle a bit of paperwork, but no desk jobs for me!"
She smiles tightly for a brief moment and then looks back down, pulling out a few pamphlets as she flips through. She lays three of them out in front of him.
"The Department of Mysteries is research, but it's by no means a desk job. It's a bit of a long-shot – they have to express interest in you, rather than the other way around – but worth a look. Alternatively, I think you should look into Curse Breaker, or International Escort."
Bill raises a sceptical eyebrow at her. "Escort?"
She presses her lips together, pasting a look of disapproval on her features. "Yes, Mr. Weasley. Escort. They accompany Ministry members on foreign business. Schooled particularly in defensive magics, they frequently come across Runes in warding methods."
"So, like, a bodyguard? For traveling."
He can see her eyes dance even as her face remains serious. "I suppose, if you'd like to think of it that way."
"Let me see if I've got this straight, Professor. You want me to tag-along after some fancy-pants Ministry official all day?"
Her returning smile is wry. "Curse Breaker it is, then, Mr. Weasley." She passes him the pamphlet, and then, after a moment, the ones for the Department of Mysteries and International Escort as well.
"Maybe you should keep all of those. Precautionary, you understand."
Bill is grinning as he passes the one for International Escort straight back to her. "I may not know what I want to do with my life, Professor, but I can tell you this much: it doesn't involve cleaning up after someone else's messes. I'd like to be me, not somebody's shadow."
She nods in understanding. "My suggestion for you, then, Mr. Weasley, is that you take, at the very least, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Charms. Potions and Transfiguration could also both be useful. Beyond that, it is entirely up to you."
"Thanks, Professor." Bill stands. Somehow, despite the two pamphlets in his hands and the course list in his head, he doesn't feel any more certain about his future than he did when he stepped into her office.
"Mr. Weasley," she says, stopping him just before he turns to leave. "Know this. Whatever you choose to do, do it with your current level of dedication, and you will excel."
Bill ducks his head. "Thank you, Professor."
"You may go, Mr. Weasley."