HP ficlet: Second Chance [Bill/Neville, general]
Title: Second Chance Author: celandineb Fandom: HP Pairing: Bill/Neville Rating: general Length: 480 words Summary: When Bill loses his job with Gringotts, he ends up with a whole new career. Note: For sassy_cissa, who wanted Bill/Neville, "kiss."
The goblins had been polite – for them – but firm. Over the past several years, the effects of the werewolf bite on Bill had grown worse, and they simply didn't trust him any more.
On top of being unexpectedly unemployed, he was going through a divorce: Fleur had decided that she could not (after all) cope with a werewolf husband. Bill growled to himself, realised what he was doing, and forced himself to stop. He ran his finger down the help wanted column in the Prophet. If he didn't find some kind of job soon, he'd have to go live with his parents again, and he wasn't sure he could handle that, not at over thirty.
Wanted: wizard or witch to assist in growing magical plant business. Variable hours and duties as needed. Greenhouse and outdoor work. Contact Neville Longbottom, Box 847, Diagon Alley.
Bill's eyebrows went up and he marked the advert with a red circle as one to follow up on. Neville was a friend of Ron's, he knew, and had fought at the Battle of Hogwarts; he hadn't realized Neville had started his own business. Working in a greenhouse was certainly something Bill felt he could handle.
When Bill came for an interview, Neville seemed to think so too. He looked Bill up and down, and nodded.
"Mostly I need another pair of hands to keep up with everything. It'll be hard work, but nothing too taxing, in terms of either magical or physical ability. I imagine you'll want the day after the full moon off each month? That shouldn't be a big problem, the hours can be fairly flexible." Neville's voice was calm and competent. He reached out a grubby, green-stained hand. "One thing, I can't pay you nearly what you must have been making as a Gringotts curse-breaker, but I think twelve Galleons a week is a fair wage for what you'll be doing."
Bill shook Neville's hand fervently. "Very fair. I really appreciate this, Mister Longbottom."
"Neville." The younger man flushed slightly. "Professor Lupin was a good man, even though he was a werewolf. He should have been treated better, and you should, too."
"Well, thank you," said Bill. Neville was still holding his hand, and Bill swallowed. He'd hardly been touched by anyone except his family in months... not since Fleur had left him. He could feel the beat of Neville's pulse under his fingertips, and for a moment imagined what it might be like to kiss Neville's lips, soft in his weather-toughened face.
Evidently Neville was experiencing something of the same reaction. Bill could see his chest rise and fall as his breathing quickened. They each let go at the same moment, a little embarrassed.
"Can you start tomorrow?" Neville asked quickly, covering the awkwardness.
"Yes, of course," said Bill with a smile. Perhaps something good would come of his troubles, after all.