This story was originally written for the HP Humpdrabbles Humpfest in 2013.
The prompt was from wwmrsweasleydo: "Secrets, infidelities, betrayals, substitutes, overwhelming passions, past secret liaisons, questionable paternity, Dark magic, taboos, magical objects, rivalries, redemption, rehabilitation, grieving, moving on, reuniting."
Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre,
Et mon sein, où chacun s'est meurtri tour à tour,
Est fait pour inspirer au poète un amour
Eternel et muet ainsi que la matière.
I am beautiful, o mortels! as a dream of stone,
And my breast, where each is bruised in turn,
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
Eternal and mute as matter.
~ Charles Baudelaire, "La Beauté", Les Fleurs du mal
He knows why he does it.
What he doesn't know is how it will end.
He thinks about it as he's lying in bed after Stan's gone. He often does his best thinking after sex. He made the mistake of telling Charlie about it, and now his brother takes the piss whenever Bill's name appears in the Prophet for breaking a particularly nasty curse: "Got a leg over last night, eh, Billy boy?"
He lies there, not bothering to Scourgify the dank sheets, and works out that there are only two possible endings: One, that this will stop quietly and cleanly when Fleur's mother either recovers or dies and Fleur comes home, or two, they will keep on, finding other ways to meet, and Fleur will inevitably find out. Then it will get very messy, Bill thinks.
It's a little like breaking a curse, thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Two options—take one, you go on eating your kippers and putting on your trousers in the morning; take the other, and your life implodes. And Bill's damned if he knows which way it's going to go.
But he does know why, although it's no comfort.
Fleur says she doesn't mind about his face, and he believes her most of the time. But he minds. Oh, how he minds!
He used to be the handsome Weasley. Birds and blokes liked him on sight, and no one had been surprised that he'd been the one to nab the half-Veela.
But whenever they're together in public now, he can feel people's eyes sliding reluctantly over to him after they've had their breath taken away by Fleur's beauty. Then their breath hitches again, but they recover and speak, always to him—he isn't intimidating—but not really looking at him, and sometimes he wonders if he's got latent Legilimency skills, because he can almost hear them wondering why she stays with him.
Beauty and the Beast, they think.
But stay she does, and sometimes he can't help wondering if it's loyalty, or worse, pity, that keeps her there. Maybe she needs to prove to the world and herself that she's not the vain, shallow thing she's afraid she is deep down. Or maybe it's Dominique and Victoire, their two beautiful daughters. Although Victoire is shaping up to be the more lovely, with her button-nose and straw-blonde hair. Dominique has his ginger and his father's nose, more's the pity. She's going to grow up looking like Ginny instead of Fleur, poor thing.
Stan commented on it when he first came to watch them.
"Not much like 'er mother, is she?"
"Like enough," Bill said. "There's shepherd's pie under a Stasis Charm for your lunch. Don't bother with baths, I'll do it when I get home."
After the first week, Bill invited him to stay for dinner. He'd been lonely for some adult conversation after spending the day plodding through dusty caves with only a surly Goblin for company.
So they ate their dinner, then bathed the girls together and put them to bed. Stan offered to read to them, and when he came back downstairs, Bill offered him a dram of the Firewhisky he'd taken to sipping in the evenings.
They sat and drank, and Stan asked abruptly, "You a werewolf, then?"
Bill almost choked on his whisky. Nobody ever asked him outright like that, although he knew plenty wondered.
"Why? Afraid I'll eat you?" he asked.
"Nah. 'S not the full moon yet; I checked afore I come," said Stan matter-of-factly. "But me mum wasn' keen on me taking this job. She finks you got turned and your family's 'idin' it. Says Veelas like to mate wif werewolves so's they kin 'ave werewolf babies. Protect themselves from unwanted attention, you know?"
"It doesn't work like that."
"Yeah, that's what I figured. Anyway, your girls ain't too wolfish."
"No, they're not. And I'm not a werewolf."
Bill didn't know why, but he wasn't angered by Shunpike's questions. Maybe it was his directness; people were dead curious about Bill and Fleur, but none of them had the bollocks to ask about it outright.
"Better not," said Stan. "Kin only afford one souse in the family."
"Me mum," said Stan, miming someone taking a big swig from a bottle. "I gotta stay straight enough to take care of 'er."
"Oh. Why don't you . . . sorry, but why don't you put her in Mungo's? They have a ward for that, don't they?"
Stan looked at him like he was barmy. "Well, it's oney acause of me she's like that, innit?"
"What do you mean?"
"Acause of what 'appened to me. During the war."
"Don't be. Wasn' your fault, was it?"
Stirred on by Stan's directness, Bill asked, "How did it happen?"
"I was going home after work one night. One minute, I'm walking down the street, 'appy as you please, and the next, I'm in this 'orrible bright room, an' some bloke is wavin' 'is wand in me face and askin' me when I joined up wif the Def Eaters." Stan snorted. "As if they'd 'ave any truck wif the likes of me. I can barely manage an Aguamementi when I'm firsty, can I?"
"I didn't know that."
"Now you do."
After a moment, Stan added, "I ain't ashamed of it."
"No reason you should be."
"No more than you should be ashamed of the way your face is. That wasn' your fault neither. Anyhow, it's still better 'n mine."
"I guess it all depends on 'ow you look at it. You got scars, I got spots."
Stan looked at him and smiled—a real smile, not a pretend-you're-not-bothered smile—and Bill felt his cock harden unexpectedly.
Stan's eyes moved downward over him, and he said, "Anyhow, you still got a good body. Nice shoulders."
Bill tried to keep his tone light and joking, "You like shoulders, huh?"
But Stan's tone was serious. "Yeah. When they're . . . you know . . . firm."
"You be the judge."
Stan crossed to him and put a hand on Bill's left shoulder.
"Feels good," Stan said.
Bill's mouth was dry and he could hear the blood rushing in his ears.
"Yeah," he said. "It does."
He leaned forward and kissed Stan, wondering if he'd push him away.
But Stan just opened his mouth and let Bill push his tongue in.
When Bill opened his eyes, Stan was looking at him with a hunger that nearly made him shoot in his pants.
Merlin, but it had been so long since anyone had looked at him—really looked at him—with desire that didn't also feel like pity.
Stan moved to him and grabbed his belt buckle.
"Wait," Bill panted. "Not here . . . the girls . . . upstairs . . ."
The moment the bedroom door was closed, Stan was tugging at Bill's jeans.
Bill's cock sprung out and met Stan's lips.
Stan sucked him in, running his tongue over the head and down his shaft. He sucked and licked as if Bill was manna in the desert. Down and down and down he went, his tongue tickling, his lips kissing and sucking, humming with pleasure . . .
When it was over, Stan sat back on his heels, looking at Bill's face, a happy smile on his own, and Bill knew they would do it again.
The next day, after the girls were asleep, Stan focused on Bill's chest and nipples, then his arse . . . he fucking worshiped every bit of Bill with his fingers and tongue—even licked his scars—and Bill came and came and came . . .
But best of all, Stan looked at him. And that was as good as any sex Bill had ever had.
It's been ten times now. They never talk about it, but Stan clearly expects nothing. He comes to Bill's bed without comment and leaves the same way.
But he kisses Bill's ravaged face before he steps out of the bedroom, something Fleur hasn't done—something his mother hasn't even done—in ages.
So now Bill sits on his marriage bed, sheets and belly sticky with his jizz and Stan's sweat, and he wonders if he can live without it.
He looks over at the picture of him and Fleur at their abortive wedding reception. She's waving at the camera and doesn't look at him, even after he kisses her ear.
He remembers Stan's eyes looking up at him as he sucks Bill's cock.
Fleur never looks at his face, during sex or any other time.
So, what's it to be?
Can Bill go back to being invisible?
He pulls the dirty sheet up over his chest and extinguishes the candles with a wave of his hand.
He guesses he'll find out.
This work of fiction is based on characters and settings created by J. K. Rowling. All recognisable characters, settings, and plot elements are copyright © J. K. Rowling.
The author believes this work falls within the scope of the Fair Use Doctrine as a transformative work. For more information, see the Organization for Transformative Works.
All original characters, settings, and plot elements are copyright © 2013 Squibstress.
This work of fiction is available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
The works quoted in the story are in the public domain, with the following exceptions:
"La Beauté" translation © 2013 Squibstress