Charlie: *opens his eyes, and instantly shuts them again, trying to shut out the light. Turns over and moans softly, burying his face in the pillow*

 

Bill: *stirs in his sleep, arms tightening automatically around Charlie*

 

Charlie: *realises that the arm around his waist is Bill's, and turns around completely, resting his head on his brother's chest, eyes still shut tightly*

 

Charlie: *exhales deeply, and opens his eyes cautiously, finding Bill's face only inches away from his*

 

Charlie: *smiles automatically, then swallows, his arms going around Bill's shoulders, pulling him close*

 

Bill: *drifts toward consciousness, opening his eyes*

 

Bill: *smiles, murmuring in a sleep-soaked voice* Morning, love.

 

Charlie: ... Morning... *voice catches slightly, and he presses his eyes closed for a moment, a frown crossing his face* Hmm. Yes. Morning, Bill. *smiles slightly*

 

Bill: How do you feel?

 

Charlie: I feel... *swallows, and rests his head on Bill's shoulder* Bloody hell. I feel terrible. *screws his eyes shut again*

 

Bill: *turns his head to kiss him gently as he reaches blindly for the potion*

 

Bill: You'll feel better in a minute.

 

Charlie: *groans* I doubt it.

 

Bill: *hands him the phial* Here. Sit up, Char.

 

Charlie: *pushes himself up on the pillows, wincing slightly as his bandages catch, and takes it from him*

 

Charlie: Thanks. *drinks, and makes a face at the taste* Damn that's nasty.

 

Bill: *sits up beside him, stroking his hair soothingly*

 

Bill: *kisses his cheek, taking the empty phial back from him and tossing it onto the bedside table*

 

Charlie: *sighs, falling back down onto the pillows*

 

Charlie: *looks sideways at Bill, biting his lip as he remembers the night before*

 

Bill: *trails his hand lightly down his arm*

 

Charlie: *quietly* I'm sorry I was such a twat.

 

Bill: *slightly sad* It's all right. But why didn't you tell me you were upset?

 

Charlie: It was... *shakes his head* *finally sighs* I don't really want to talk about it. But I'm sorry I wasn't happier for you. Ruined your big news.

 

Charlie: *with effort, smiles at him* Hey. I really am sorry about it.

 

Bill: *shakes his head* It's all right. I just... I don't want you to ever feel like you can't talk to me about how you're feeling. Especially if I'm the one hurting you. I should've done things differently. Sirius... he's the man I'm going to marry, Charlie. And I know that that will change things between us. He told me that he doesn't mind if you and I are ... together, like this, for now, but I know it hurts him, Char.

 

Charlie: *nods slowly* Yes, I imagine it does.

 

Bill: And I don't want to do that. I don't want to hurt *anyone*, but someone is going to have to be in this situation.

 

Charlie: *looks up at him, biting his lip* You're a good person, Bill. And I know that you don't like seeing people get hurt, if you can help it. But, this... *pauses* This is always going to be... strange. With me, and Sirius.

 

Bill: *nods, sighing* I know. I love you, Charlie. I love being with you, and holding you in my arms and having you inside me. But I can't... we just can't. I always be pulled in two different directions at the same time until I can't stand it anymore. I wish you two could get along.

 

Charlie: *takes a deep breath* I know, and I - *hesitates, reaching one hand up to brush the hair off Bill's face*

 

Charlie: *quietly* I don't have to be here.

 

Bill: *hand tightens on him painfully* *a number of emotions cross his face, until he is able to calm down a little* *voice is forced calm* You're just going to leave then? Run away, because things are difficult? *bites his lip, looking away* I knew that this might happen when I invited you to come here. Not that Siri would propose, but that it might make things between me and him very complicated. But I asked you anyway, because I love you, and I need you. And I want you here, in my life. You left me once before, Charlie, please don't do it again.

 

Charlie: *sighs* Bill, I'm not running away. I'm not leaving you. I just... you're so happy, and I don't want things to get complicated. I don't want me doing something - anything - that will make this stop being what you want. I don't want to make a mistake, and I don't want to - *takes hold of Bill's hands, squeezing them tight* - make you unhappy. And if you need me here, then I'm HERE.

 

Bill: *eyes soften* That's exactly what I need, Charlie. You, here. Siri is my mate, the one person who loves me the way I need to be loved. But you're everything else to me - my brother, my best friend, my confidante - and I will always, ALWAYS need you here. All the years you were in Romania I missed you so much I couldn't *breathe* sometimes. But now you're here, and I'm not letting you go. Not even for my mate. Siri just can't take your place.

 

Charlie: *twines his fingers in Bill's hair, tugging gently* *quietly* I've missed you, too. Did you know that? At all? I - I know I haven't been around much, the last few years. But I'm here now, and I'm going to be with you, as long as you need me.

 

Bill: Good.

 

Bill: Because there will never be a time that I don't need you.

 

Bill: *strokes his arm*

 

Charlie: *leans forward to press his lips against the side of Bill's face, drawing back quickly*

 

Bill: Mmmm. Shower with me?

 

Charlie: *pauses, then nods* That sounds good.