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Company is Coming

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Molly Weasley is, unsurprisingly, shrieking. “Ron, get down here!”

“Coming!” he shouts back, for about the fourth time.

Ginny busies herself brushing her hair, so her mother won’t busy her with more housework. The two eldest arriving for a visit soon lived here, after all; they know what a state the Burrow is usually in. Arthur is off tidying whatever his wife instructs, and Fred is bustling about enough to distract from George’s well-timed disappearance. He’ll show up in some spectacular fashion as the others appear.

“Ron!”

“I’m coming!”

The soft pop of apparition doesn’t announce Bill’s arrival so much as the retching the immediately proceeds it. Noises of disgust erupt around the household, and Molly offers, “Can I get you anything, dearie?”

He wipes the spittle and bile from his jaw with one hand, drawing his wand with the other. “Gillywater, thank you.”

“Why don’t you just use the floo?” Fred suggests, and Bill charms his mess away before shooting a glare to his brother.

“You’ve been to Egypt. It’s not exactly an option.”

Bill chokes down the beverage his mother offers, swishes around his mouth before kissing her cheek. Percival, who apparates down from his bedroom every morning, brushes between them with the remark, “That tends to happen the first few times.”

“It’s so good to have you back, Billy,” Molly says in the same breath as she shouts up the stairs, “Ronald, get down here and say hello to your brother!”

“Bill! How’ve you been!?” Arthur greets, waiting his turn while Ginny crushes the lanky eldest in a hug.

“Brilliant, Da. How’s the Ministry?”

“Agh,” he waves off the topic about when Mrs. Weasley asks him to retrieve the youngest of their sons, which he easily agrees to. Charlie manages to arrive through the floo with only seconds to spare before George is tumbling in behind him, to the cackling of Fred.

Bill comments, “Here’s another reason I don’t use the floo,” at the tangle of limbs and shrieking siblings, only freed from Ginny’s grasp when she captures Charlie, freshly out of the fireplace while George laughs on the floor.

“Every time! Every time, you two— you knew I was on the way!”

“Yeah, and we were ready!”

Charlie glowers for a moment, arms crossed, then shakes his head. “I missed you, you insufferable— c’mere.” He takes each of the twins under an arm, both of whom return the gesture by attempting to crush his ribcage in tandem. “Right, alright!” he chokes, shoving them off, “I work with dragons and you’re going to be the death of me.”

“Ron, it’s been too long!” Bill calls attention elsewhere, the youngest of Weasley brothers descending the steps on their father’s heels. He looks a little sullen as Bill ruffles his hair, hug off to the side with only one of his arms, but a smile escapes when Charlie lifts him off the ground excitedly. “How’s Hogwarts?”

“Wicked.”

“What all are you taking this year?”

He shrugs, tries to dodge the question in the chaos of multiple other consecutive conversations, but Bill changes approach instead. “What’s your favourite?”

“Dunno. Care of Magical Creatures, maybe.”

“Mine too,” Charlie cuts in, “Hagrid loved me!”

“Yeah, he still talks about you…”

“And not always nicely!” George interjects.

Charlie puts him in a headlock, but Fred gets him out. They nearly start a shoving match, if it weren’t for their mother yelling, “Boys, not in the house!”

Arthur, however, deigns to let them have their fun, consoling his wife with an arm around her shoulders, and ushering the entire visiting party outside. Ginny has about a thousand questions Bill’s going to do his damnedest to answer, but it’s the eldest in him keeping a headcount that notices Ron stayed inside. If Percy weren’t such a homebody, somebody surely would have tried to persuade him, although certainly not keeping his brother company. Nobody can stand Percy— hardly Penelope puts up with him.

He’s determined to check in on Ron, until Ginny summons up more force than she can possibly weigh to drag him to ground, and all of the sudden he’s on the bottom of a five-Weasley dogpile.