|Celandine's Chronicle (celandineb) wrote in cels_fic_haven,|
@ 2009-01-15 21:02:00
|Entry tags:||hp ficlets bill/neville|
HP ficlet: Renewal [Bill/Neville, general]
Length: 919 words
Warnings: possibly EWE
Summary: Bill loses everything... but then finds something new.
Note: For alisanne at the request of sassy_cissa, who suggested Bill/Neville, peppermint kisses, and wanted romance with no more than an R rating.
After his marriage to Fleur fell apart, Bill took to drinking more than he should have. At first it was just on weekends, but eventually he was having four or five or six drinks every evening and showing up to work hung over on a regular basis.
It couldn't last. After his third warning, the goblins at Gringotts fired him. Bill drank that night until he passed out, and the following afternoon sat in his grimy little kitchen with a throbbing headache and the Daily Prophet, looking at the help wanted ads.
Nothing that would require his old expertise in curse-breaking, he decided. The Gringotts goblins would never give him a reference. No, he had better look for something entry-level, even menial. It wasn't as if he had to support anyone but himself now anyway. Scanning the columns, Bill's eye lighted upon something that looked possible.
Wanted: wizard or witch with N.E.W.T. in Herbology. Must be willing to work with dangerous plants. Apply N. Longbottom, box 179.
Bill pondered. He had managed an E in N.E.W.T.-level Herbology, years back, so he would qualify, and there was certainly nothing else that looked more likely. He found a quill and a piece of clean parchment and began to write.
His interview took place four days later.
"Why did you leave your old job?" asked Neville bluntly.
He was shorter than Bill and quite ordinary-looking, with a round face under medium brown hair, his fingernails black with dirt. Physically not immediately impressive, but Bill had realized that this was the man who had killed Voldemort's snake Nagini, and was therefore far more determined and dangerous than he might at first appear.
If Neville inquired, the goblins would tell the truth, so Bill had better do so.
"I drank too much. Not on the job, mind you, but it was affecting my work," he admitted.
Neville nodded, his eyes flicking over Bill, evaluating him. "You can't be drunk nor even hung over and work with some of my plants safely," he said.
The silence stretched for several moments before Bill said, "I understand. I'm going to sober up."
He meant it in all sincerity, and evidently Neville perceived that, for he said, "Good. You're hired. Starting tomorrow, eight o'clock."
The next few weeks were challenging. True to his word, Bill cut back drastically on his drinking; he didn't quit altogether, but allowed himself no more than one drink each evening, including the weekends. He found that the hard physical labor in the greenhouses suited him, too. It wasn't as exhilarating as curse-breaking amongst the pyramids, but had its own satisfactions, not least of which was talking with his boss. For someone who was only Ron's age, Neville had an amazingly encyclopedic knowledge of plants, both magical and Muggle: how to grow them, how to preserve them, what they could be used for. He shared snippets of information with Bill as they worked, explaining why he used dragon dung fertilizer on mandrakes but not on Bubotubers, for instance.
Every afternoon they stopped for tea at three o'clock or so, and often Neville brewed something herbal, usually from his own plants. Bill's favorite was the peppermint tea, strong and hot and almost sharp in flavor.
During those intervals they talked about matters not necessarily connected to their work, and one day Neville asked about Fleur and why Bill's marriage had broken up, adding, "You needn't talk about it if you'd rather not."
"I don't mind." Bill looked down, gathering his thoughts. "You know I'm not a true werewolf."
He had gone over that with Neville when he was hired, explaining that although he didn't transform at the full moon, he was affected by it, and would need to take off the day of the full moon and the day following, to recover.
"Yes, I remember."
"Right. Well, one of the things it affected was my sexuality. I became more, how shall I say it, aggressive... but perhaps more to the point I discovered that I was becoming more inclined toward men, rather than women. Men seemed more able to withstand that need for dominance without being hurt."
"I understand." Neville's gaze was speculative. "Did you act on those impulses, or was it just that Fleur didn't like that you had them?"
"Fleur didn't like it. Which I could understand. Not only was I practically raping her, I was wishing that I was with someone else." Bill was surprised at how easily he confessed these feelings to Neville, his employer, and moreover rather younger than himself.
When he looked at Neville, though, he saw only acceptance and then a flicker of what Bill recognized as interest.
"I think that I could handle whatever you wanted to do," said Neville steadily. "If you were interested at all."
Bill hesitated. "It's not such a good idea to sleep with one's boss," he said.
"If it would make you uncomfortable, then it's your call." Neville shrugged and took a sip of his tea.
"No." Suddenly Bill knew that he couldn't let this opportunity slip away. He reached for Neville's hand and pulled him closer, leaning to kiss him, at first tentatively, even with greater abandon. Neville's mouth tasted of peppermint, and he surrendered completely to Bill's kisses.
When Bill pulled back, panting, Neville smiled at him and said, "Time to get back to work... but we can pick this up again at the end of the day, yes?"
"Yes," said Bill hoarsely, with fervor. "Absolutely." He could hardly wait.