Prompt: "Once won't hurt... Will it?"
Warnings: Incest, het, angst, drama, infidelity, past alcoholism, character death, future fic, Post DH
Word Count: 3,436
A/N: Old fic (last year kind of old). I was completely surprised that a fic that was suppose to be a smutty piece turned out with so much plot and such little smut. Possibly not my best piece, but I was pleased that I wrote more fic than smut (it's a rarity). Plus, Bill/Ginny needs more love here! =D
You've Stopped Breathing
It had once seemed that 'Once upon a time...' meant the world was good and wizards played Tag with dragons atop of broomsticks in the skies of your childhood. However, once 'The End'came and the book closed, you found yourself alone in a dark bedroom with nothing but a flickering candle casting shadows over your life. Ginny remembers a time when the Burrow was full of life; with laughter and fighting and hugs and smiles. Back then, Percy laughed and told their parents he loved them every morning before breakfast while Fred and George rummaged through the pantry for sweets they weren't suppose to eat yet. Bill and Charlie were always home during the summers and holidays, telling of their achievements at Hogwarts and their plans for their futures that were still an eternity away. Fred and George hid Percy's socks all the time and left treats out for the gnomes in the garden, thusly ensuring they would never leave because despite all their pranking, they were fond of the gnomes. Ginny also remembers huddling up close to Ron, who was her best friend in the world then, whenever the ghoul in the attic banged about.
It seemed like Ginny had gone to bed one night with a storybook tucked beneath her arm and woke up a widowed mother of three children who were all old enough to be away at Hogwarts for most of the year. Everything that had happened in-between felt like a slow, surreal struggle through devil's snare. The Burrow had been rebuilt after the fire but the house still smelt of ash and burnt wood in some places. Ginny had begun spending more and more time there after Harry died during his auror's duties. Her house was lovely, but lonely without the children there and all the memories she had shared with Harry plastered amongst the walls like wallpaper. Or perhaps she was trying to return to a time in her life when the Burrow was a place of laughter and joy; a real home. Now it stood as a grim reminder of what had been lost during the war.
George never came to the Burrow except for Christmas and that was with Angelina's insistence. As a matter of fact, Christmas was the only time the Weasley family as a whole convened at the Burrow and that was for no more than a day or two. Birthdays were celebrated at one of the Weasley siblings' homes, even Arthur and Molly's. It was as if time had stopped at the Burrow and they feared that revisiting it for too long might bring back all the hurt they were still trying to either hide deep within or just plain forget. But Ginny had realized that the Burrow was still where their hearts resided, it just needed to be warmed by the love that once filled it before Fred died and Percy betrayed the family and the skies were painted gray from a looming war.
Lily, James, and Albus would be home for the Christmas holiday in two weeks, so Ginny had forced herself to go home to tidy up the place for them. She didn't let on that she was never there but she had a feeling they were beginning to figure it out even though they still smiled as if nothing were wrong. She was surprised by Bill's presence on her doorstep when she arrived home. After the war, he had had two more children, Dominique and Louis, with Fleur and had, on the surface, put most of what happened behind him. Though with Voldemolt's demise, the Order disbanded and Bill found himself with significantly more time on his hands then he knew what to do with. As most who knew not a real purpose for themselves in this new world, aside from simply living mediocre lives that severely lacked the adventure of their pre-war lives, Bill took up drinking for a time. Two years before, he had managed to stop but his marriage was hanging by a thread and swung precariously back and forth as he struggled to stay sober. Ginny could see though that Bill wasn't the same as he once had been. The luster in his eyes had faded and he lived to work as he always had at Gringott's, more zombie than alive.
"Ginny," Bill smiled as he embraced his sister.
"So good to see you, Bill!" Ginny exclaimed in earnest. She missed spending time with her brothers. "Did you come for a visit?"
"Actually, I was hoping I could stay with you for a few days. Fleur thinks I'm back on the bottle and tossed me out for a few days while her sister looks for Veritaserum to send her from France."
"Isn't that overdoing it a bit?" Ginny asked as she unlocked the door and let her brother in.
"Aye, but I deserve it."
They hung up their coats before Ginny used her wand to light the house, wrinkling her nose at the layer of dust on several surfaces in her immediate sight. Ignoring it for the moment, Ginny entered her kitchen and sighed, content to be in her own home.
"Did you drink again?" The redhead asked as she wiped down the kitchen table before nodding her brother at an empty seat.
Bill sat down heavily on the chair, tired from not having slept the night before as he waited for his sister to come home - something he would not tell her, lest she beat him in the head with a frying pan for being a git. Smiling at the thought, he watched his sister move about the stove, pulling out cocoa from the cabinet and pouring hot water from the tap into a pot.
He was thankful Fleur kicked him out the night before his sister returned home else he may have had to go to one of his brothers' homes and because of his drinking, they didn't talk to him much these days so it would've been awkward. Ginny, however, had stuck by his side through the dark days and while he hadn't been welcomed into her home back then while his niece and nephews were home, he was welcomed most other times. It was what eventually helped him find his way back to sobriety - he hoped to repay her one day for that.
"I haven't touched liquor since the day I quit two years, four months, and fifteen days ago."
There was a touch of a smile in Bill's eyes for the first time in a long time and Ginny had a hard time questioning the authenticity of his admission. Regardless of whether or not he was being truthful, Ginny was glad she didn't have to be home alone.
Bill had told Ginny once, when she was still woefully bright eyed and innocent, that life would get hard but she'd always be able to get through the tough times because she had an army of brothers behind her to fight off the monsters and the people that hurt her. When Harry died the year before, her brothers gathered at her side and consoled her but when the funeral was through and Harry's body had been laid to rest, they all went back to their lives. Except Bill, because Bill had messed up his life and his wife could barely look at him on the best of the days. Still, he told Ginny that he was there for her because that was his job as a big brother and he denied the fact that he needed a place to sleep for a while, opting to stay at the home of an old schoolmate just so his sister knew he was honest. In the darkest hours of the night, when her children had gone back to school and it was just her alone in an empty house, Ginny would call Bill over and he would come without question, no matter the hour. They would sit on the back porch and sip tea in silence until the sun rose or Ginny dozed off. There was a sense of peace long ago lost with Bill just there to understand and offer her reassurance when she needed it and a nudge when she was moping far too much.
Over a year later, Ginny found herself curled up on the love seat in the den of her home, while her brother did the dinner dishes in the kitchen. It'd been a week since she'd returned and the house was now completely cleaned and decorated, presents glimmering under the tree in the corner of den, waiting for their new owners to open them Christmas day. Fleur had brought over the Veritaserum the day before and found out that Bill had been honest about not drinking. She also learned he had barely slept for several days prior to her accusation because he'd been busy working overtime to get her an expensive piece of jewelry. Embarrassed, Fleur apologized and she and Bill sat out back discussing their problems for the umpteenth million time while Ginny made them all dinner. When the night was over, Bill had said he wanted to talk to Ginny and that he'd be home within the next several hours; Ginny assuring her sister-in-law that she would keep a short leash on him. Satisfied with that, Fleur went home and Bill stood at Ginny's the night, but he hadn't talked to her in other than polite conversation since. It left Ginny feeling strange and when she brought it up to her brother, he assured her he would talk to her when he was ready.
In the kitchen, the water went silent and Ginny listened to Bill's boots tap against the floor as he moved about the kitchen completing the last of his clean up before joining her in the den. He took a seat in the cushioned upright chair by the loveseat that Ginny hated but kept for when her parents visited as it was comfortable to them. For a long time he was silent and Ginny's patience gave way to an outburst demanding he tell her what was so bloody important that she had to wait a whole day to hear it.
"You've stopped breathing ever since Harry died," he finally said.
"That's ridiculous. If I wasn't breathing, I'd be dead," Ginny said in annoyance.
"No. You've stopped living, Gin. It's like, Harry's death was an oxygen mask that was ripped off your face and you've stopped breathing because of it."
"Oxygen mask? Is that the funny muggle thing they put over your mouth to help you breathe?"
"Yes, and you're avoiding the point."
Ginny fiddled with the hem of her shirt as her brother stared at her for a moment.
"Gin, you have children to think of. When they're done with Hogwarts..."
"They'll move out and go about their lives same as you lot did," Ginny quickly spat.
Bill looked honestly surprised by the outburst from his sister.
"You think we left you, don't you?" he ventured cautiously.
"You did leave me. You all left me," Ginny said both angry and close to tears. "I married Harry because I didn't want to have to stay in an empty home."
"Mum and dad were and are still there."
"But my brothers were not. The life that kindled the Burrow left with you all. They... You all promised that you would always be there for me and only you've kept your promise, though if you hadn't made the mistakes you have with your life, I suspect you'd have done as the others."
"Ginny, that's not true!"
"Tell me, Bill, what is this all about? I think we're both deviating from the original line of discussion." Ginny wiped her face and tried to swallow her tears.
"I'm still trying to keep my promise to you and be there for you. I'm just saying you need someone to help fill the void in your heart or you'll never breathe again."
"And how do you know I'm ready to move on? What indications have I given that that's what I want or need?"
"I don't mean..."
Ginny rose and exited the room, her footsteps heavy as she ran up the stairs to the second level of the house and slammed her bedroom door open and closed. Unable to move, Bill gripped the arm ends of the chair until he made up his mind. He knew his sister would not hear reason anymore in her current state and his presence would only hurt her more, so with a knot in his stomach, he apparated home to Shell Cottage.
Christmas arrived with promises of presents and debates over how to prepare the better egg nog. Children's laughter reverberated off the walls of the Burrow, seeping life back into it that it longed for every day. Cheeks were rosy on the adults, liquor burning the backs of their throats nicely as they helped prepared dinner or talked - either way catching up on what they had missed. Ginny loved to see the light return to her childhood home even if it was for the one day.
James and Albus had run off to play Quidditch with their cousins outside while Lily chatted adamantly with Rose and Lucy by the fireplace. Most of the adults were eagerly awaiting dinner and lounged about trying not to snack too much on the snacks Molly had set out because they knew that dinner would be well worth the wait. Bill showed up late to the festivities but his arms were loaded with gifts for the family as he had run long on wrapping the last of his presents to the family. Passing them out, he reached his sister last, hands empty and a nervous look in his eyes.
"Might I have a word with you in private?" Bill whispered in her ear as everyone went about thanking him for their presents.
Ginny seriously thought about declining but she nodded slowly and followed him upstairs, both excusing themselves from the party as they went. Entering Ginny's room, which had at some point become the second highest room in the house, Bill was sure to lock the door behind them to prevent any tipsy family members stumbling in on them accidentally. Going from suspicious to confused, the youngest Weasley sibling leaned against her old dresser and waited for whatever Bill had to say.
"Are you still angry?" Bill asked.
"Not unless you get to the point of all this."
Hesitant, Bill licked his lips and leaned into Ginny, his lips finding hers. Ginny's initial reaction was complete shock and she remained where she stood for a dizzying moment of bliss and horror. When reality crashed into her, she shoved her brother away and gawked at him, a million insults coming to mind as he gripped her shoulders to gain her attention.
"I said the other day that you needed someone to help fill the void in your heart so you could live again. So you could breathe again," Bill said in a low voice. "Let it be me? Let me breathe life back into you, Gin."
"You've gone mad," Ginny said, her heart pounding as she punched her brother in the arm without the strength she should've put into it.
Bill wasn't going to give up unless he was sure that his sister was disgusted by him, but to his surprise Ginny's lips were against his again. Tears spilled from her eyes as Ginny slipped her arms around her brother's neck and kissed him like he really could breathe some lost breath into her. It felt like an insane thing to do, yet it didn't. Ginny had grown so close to her brother in the past year that if it weren't because they were brother and sister, this would've happened long ago. For the first time in years, Ginny felt that assurance and protection she known when she was younger; when it was her brothers defending her from the world. She realized as her tongue slipped into Bill's mouth that her brothers pulling away wasn't from their own want, it was to help her grow and find her own way in the world. All she had needed was the reminder that they were there in case she fell, and here was Bill displaying that exact thing. She had fallen when Harry died but Bill was there to pick her back up and put her right again; breathe life back into her. Clothes fell away one piece at a time, fast and desperate. When Ginny finally realized this, realized she was letting herself get swept too far into the moment, she hesitated.
"Too much?" Bill asked.
"I don't think so. No," Ginny paused and thought about it for a long moment. "Once, just this once, won't hurt... Will it?"
"Nay. So long as you want it."
Smiling softly, Ginny found herself intoxicated - not with the moment but the Burrow all around them, pulsating with life and joy like it had when they were younger.
"I want it."
That was all Bill had to hear before he picked his sister up and carried her over to the bed; his lips against hers as he laid them down. Someone lit fireworks outside and they realized that it wouldn't be long before someone came looking for them to come and eat dinner. Pulling Ginny's slacks and panties off, Bill kissed her throat as he let his fingers play against her mound, sliding them between lips eager to be touched again by another. He rubbed at her clit until she squirmed and lifted her hips to him without thought of what was about to happen. Twirling a finger within her opening, Bill tried not to smirk when Ginny gasped in surprise and her body reacted instantly to the new sensation, wetting Bill's finger as he twirled. When he could feel her wetter, Ginny helped him quickly undo his pants and he coated himself with her juices before entering her. The moment he did, the noises from the fireworks outside began to increase allowing them to be a little more carefree with their moans and grunts.
Bill fucked Ginny hard, desperate to make her come quickly before anyone came across them but the voices outside gave him enough assurance that they would be safe for a time more. His mouth found her partially exposed breasts and licked and bit the flesh there until Ginny cried out in pain even as she panted harder beneath him. Feeling himself not too far off from his orgasm, Bill rolled Ginny over so she was on all fours and took her from behind, knowing it would help her come to an orgasm quicker. The bed groaned beneath their panting and moaning; the bright colors of fireworks danced past the window, painting the room and them in shades of blues, greens, oranges, and reds. Ginny begged for Bill to fuck her harder and as he complied, the last and biggest firework was set off outside. As the sound screamed through the air to the sound of cheers, Ginny cried out loudly as she came with one of Bill's hands on her hip and the other on her breast. She took a deep breath afterward and for the first time in a long time, she breathed.
Ginny was alive again.
It would be truly juvenile to believe that something like sex would make things right. Things were not all that different as they were before. Bill still struggled in a marriage he was no longer sure he wanted in on and Ginny still spent nights at the Burrow, though she went home more often, no longer afraid of her lonely home. She actually welcomed the silence of her home, finding a special kind of beauty in it. Bill and Ginny decided not to speak of what had happened at the Burrow between them, but Bill put in more of an effort in visiting his parents' home. Whenever Arthur and Molly stepped out, Ginny and Bill found a new corner of the Burrow to breathe life into until it almost felt as it had before the war.
Their siblings were indescribably drawn back home on more than the one occasion of the year and warmth filled the Burrow again making Ginny feel strangely victorious. And while she still grieved, she knew that with her brothers behind her, she would make her way back to a place where she'd be happy more often than not.
Storybooks often forgot to mention that time was the key factor to healing some wounds.