Brotherly Advice

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“I still can’t believe you’re getting married.” Charlie shakes his head and looks at Bill curiously. “Sure you don’t want to make a run for it? I can create a diversion so you can escape.”

Bill snorts. “Thanks for the offer, again, but I’m sure. Besides, Mum probably knows you’re got another tattoo, so she’d immediately know you were up to something.”

“Do you think she does?” He rubs his shoulderblade and considers. “Could always show her the one on my arse. That’d distract them all.”

“Your bum isn’t that good, little brother. Mine’s better. Plus, I won’t look at it another fifty years to see a wrinkled version of a dragon tiredly snorting smoke like some people.”

“Nah, you’ll look at it in fifty years and wonder why you were so bloody boring that you never got it inked.” Charlie winks and looks up at the ceiling. “So, flashing ink is out. Could always steal a snog from Ron’s little friend. Bet that’d cause enough fuss that you could get away.”

“Try it and you’d probably find out why she’s considered the brightest witch of her age. Brilliant but scary, that one. Have to agree with Ron about that. Right bloody handful.” Bill makes a face and shakes his head. “Too much work.”

“I said steal a snog, not marry the chit.” He laughs. “Eh, Ron’d probably have a tanty anyway. He’s been trying to get into her knickers for ages, according to the twins.”

“Ron’s too young for you to be talking about him getting into anyone’s knickers, especially someone that Moody complimented on hex knowledge.” Bill glances at him and they have a moment of silence for Moody before Charlie grins.

“Guess that means Ron’s a masochist. Makes sense. Youngest brother out of six, tortured by the twins. “ He laughs when Bill grimaces. “He’s seventeen, big brother. Probably got his leg over with that tart he was seeing around Christmas, if Ginny’s to be believed.”

“Ginny shouldn’t be going around talking about that stuff,” Bill mutters. “She’s out fluttering her eyelashes at Potter right now, no doubt. Considered giving him a talk, but the boy’s got enough pressure on his shoulders. Figure we can wait and double-team him after this war finally ends if it looks like he’s after Ginny.”

“Double team him? And here you are, nearly a married man, talking about such wicked things,” he mocks, attempting to capture Aunt Muriel’s tone but failing. He laughs when Bill throws a pillow at him. “Oi! Respect, big brother. You’re the one with the filthy mind.”

“You’re the rude git who obviously spends more time with animals than people. Should try to be more charming, and you might even get a chance to chat up one of Fleur’s cousins.”

“Bunch of tarts without a single thought between the lot of them,” he points out. “Pretty to look at gets boring real fast. At least yours is more than fancy packaging with nothing underneath.”

“Little brother, the nothing underneath can be part of the fun.” Bill gives him a knowing look before he snickers like he’s thirteen.

“You’re not nearly as funny as you think are.” Charlie rolls his eyes but grins. “So, as best man, should I be giving you advice or some responsible shite like that?”

“As if I need advice from you when it comes to women.” Bill laughs again and sits on the bed. “You can tell me that I’m handsome, that she’s lucky to be marrying me, and flatter my ego. That’s what a best man does.”

“Wanker.” Charlie kicks the edge of the bed and laughs when Bill nearly falls off the edge of the mattress. “Advice it is. Marriage is important, especially with that old set of vows she’s insisting on. Forever is a right bloody long time, you know?”

“There’s ways around that, if anything should happen, but I don’t expect it to,” he says with a shrug. “Forever with her sounds pretty amazing.”

“Oh, please. I just ate. Don’t need you making me nauseous.” Charlie gags and makes faces until Bill starts to pout. Too easy. “Anyway, as I was saying before you interrupted, marriage is important. She’ll have your bollocks in a vise-grip for the rest of your lives. To make sure that she doesn’t rip them off and toss them in the rubbish—“

“Talk about making me nauseous. Really, Charles. Ripping them off?”

“Shut it. I’m being all advice-giving right now, so show some respect.” Charlie tries to remember what he was saying. Oh, right. “Since you don’t want them in the rubbish, you should remember that she’s the boss. Even when she’s not, you should make her think she is. It’s the same thing, really. Compliment her a lot, especially when she looks horrible cause birds like that stuff. Give her gifts randomly. Like, when she’s not expecting it. But never after a fight or she’ll think you’ve done something bad. Always remembers birthdays and shite like that.”

“With advice like that, I’m so shocked that you’re not fighting the women away,” Bill says dryly. “Where did you ever think up all that nonsense?”

Charlie glares at him. “It’s not nonsense. If you love her enough to marry her for bloody ever, then you should appreciate her, yeah? Keeps her happy, and, when she’s happy, you’re happy. Right bloody logical, if you ask me.”

“You’re not logical. In fact, you usually hate logical.” Bill rolls his eyes. “I’m hungry. Go get me a sandwich? Mum won’t let me leave the room in case I run into Fleur. Dad heard some silly Muggle superstition about that being bad luck, and Mum’s paranoid.”

“I can be logical sometimes,” he grumbles as he stands up. “Best man doesn’t equal slave, by the way. Lucky for you, I’m hungry, too, so I might bring you something back after I get me something to eat. Finish primping, big brother. Your hair’s a mess.”

When Bill practically runs to the mirror, Charlie snorts with laughter and leaves the room. He nearly runs into Ron’s friend as he steps out onto the landing. She’s carrying two books that must weigh a ton, and she nearly drops them as she steps aside to avoid him. “Sorry,” she mutters, glancing up at him and frowning slightly. “You should be more careful. There are a lot of people here now, and not everyone is aware of their surroundings.”

“Huh?” He blinks and realizes that she’s blaming him for nearly knocking her over. “I’m careful. I wasn’t the one walking with my head stuck in a book.”

“Hmph. If I hadn’t moved, you’d not have noticed me. You don’t even have an excuse, whereas I, as you so eloquently stated, was preoccupied.” She smirks slightly, obviously pleased with herself, and he finds himself blinking at her again. “You’ll want to avoid the kitchen. It’s full of chatty women. There’s a tin of biscuits in the sitting room, though.” She nods once as if she’s dismissing him then she’s down the stairs before he can even reply.

He stares after her for a minute before he starts to laugh. Shaking his head, he starts down the stairs to the sitting room and wonders if it’s betraying his baby brother to plot stealing his girl before she ever is.