Chapter 1 : My Charlie
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He was a man of stone, Charlie Weasley, his skin impermeable; as if he had stripped it from the dragons themselves. Yet my flesh was delicate, and the wounds I received wore me down like the sea upon sand.
Like the true man I knew him to be, Charlie resumed work, he would tend to the creatures while I was forced to confinement. While I watched the harmless dragons fly from the old, dirtied window of the cottage, roaming around the Romanian sky, Charlie was able to tend to them, care for them, to play with them.
Sometimes they would land, crashing down in to what we considered to be the front garden, throwing dust fifty feet in to the air. The earth would shower down upon the cottage, the flowers and the gravel, settling down in a layer of washed-out dirt.
As a young girl, this wasn’t what I had imagined for a life – when I thought of dragons, I thought of make believe, of fairy tales and of St. George. But at the age of eleven, it struck me that the muggle way of life wasn’t for me, and that I was to be a part of something magical. I came to Romania on a whim years later, hoping to find the dragons that I had become so fascinated with. While I stumbled head first in to keeping with a naïve smile, Charlie became the suit of armour of which I would soon become grateful for.
To this day, I still wonder, confused, how Charlie could be so immune, so tough. Every burn, every cut and bruise, he brushed off as if it were nothing more than a scratch, while I became a walking disaster.
I was attracted to danger, I always had been. The black pits of darkness consumed the little thought I gave to being sensible; I was a fool. Charlie had once verbalised that keeping a close eye on me had become part of his job description. And I know that to this very moment, he regrets that day that he didn’t.
We had fought our first fight. It seemed bigger then, more important than it does now, for now it seems silly, pointless and pathetic. A simple bicker. We were to work with a young female Norwegian Ridgeback. Charlie was usually the one to open the cage and I first to enter it; over the years we had accumulated a system. Yet this time he wasn’t there.
I can’t remember the actual moment that I was hit, the precise second when her tail collided with my ribs, but I remember the pain. Our boss had once explained that the pain is what reminds you, you are not invincible. I can recall feeling, oh so human. I held back the tears, the scream and the curses, as so not to startle the poor girl, and I remember seeing nothing but fading, shining scales as my eyes snapped shut.
Charlie still hasn’t forgiven himself, almost a year later; he still looks at me with regret. But regret and pain turned in to love, and harsh words turned in to kisses. I curled up in his lap and he ran a gentle hand through my thick hair. Holding a book in his free hand, he read it slowly, the tattered pages seemingly perfectly in place for the old, stone room.
I had never understood why he had wanted to keep such a close eye on me, to keep me out of every trouble that came my way, while our other colleagues rode the dragons and ran through the hills without a second glance towards the sky. But over time it became clear; what I had mistaken in his hard eyes for frustration was actually affection – the hard skin he wore was simply nothing more than armour.
Releasing the handfuls of his jumper I had balled within my fists I reached up and knocked his reading glasses from his face. “Kiss me,” I said quietly, dog-earing the page of his book for him and placing it on the table beside our chair.
He pulled my hand away from the table top, holding my worn fingers within his. “Why should I?”
“Because I asked politely,” I replied quietly.
“And what if I didn’t give you a polite answer.” he questioned slowly.
I kissed his cheek, pulling my hand from his and brushing his rough, stubbled cheek with my fingers. “I would never touch you again.”
“I will believe that when I see it.”
I took advantage of his smile, brushing my lips over his and seemed to melt in to his touch. For a while our kiss was simply that, a touch, a reminder of the bittersweet naivety we both use to hold so close to our hearts.
Outside the rain hailed down, calling ownership on all it could touch. The darkness of the early morning swallowed the walls of the slate house. Leaves soared past the dirtied windows, rattling the ageing glass in its wooden frame; branches from overgrown ivy tapped against the window like a skeleton’s fingers. It was nothing new of late, for the weather to hit with a fighting force.
My thumb brushed against his bottom lip as I pulled face away, resting his chin lightly on my forefinger. “I love you.”
“I know,” he said with a defeated sigh. “But no matter how hard I try to shake you off, you won’t let go; apparently you’re here to stay.”
I kissed his lips in a quick motion, before swatting him over the head with the back of my hand. “Be nice to me.”
A low chuckle escaped from his lips as he murmured against mine, “I’m always nice.”
We were still squished in to the worn couch, the aching squeaks of the springs whining as we moved. I moved my hand so my fingers knotted once again in the thick cotton of his jumper and picked at the chairs arm, the stuffing threatening to escape from below. In the distance the creak of the small iron gate could be heard swinging back and forth under the control of the wind.
Before I had time to tell him he was a stereotypical man the majority of the time, and that ‘nice’ didn’t cover it, he kissed me surprisingly lightly. A light kiss, an innocent kiss – one which didn’t last. I pinned myself to him, my hands tracing up across his chest and to his hair. His fingers snuck under my shirt, his hot palm pressed against my cold back. It was playful, carefree; it was love.
If anyone happened to wake from their slumber and stumble down the creaky stairs, it was doubtable that they would say a word, and instead they would simply carry on towards the kitchen. Almost a year ago, I wouldn’t have been happy about being indoors, let alone kissing in such ways in a situation where we could be caught. But Charlie didn’t care; he never did.
As his lips kissed down my jaw line, a breathless gasp teased my tongue. His kiss was smooth, experienced; so much could be read from the simplest of touches.
A roar echoed through the near mountains, the flap of large wings, the cries of a dragon in-keeping with the beating of our hearts. Yet mine didn’t cooperate. I inhaled a sharp breath as my eyes shot to the roof – despite the little good it would do in a dangerous situation, it made me feel safer. Charlie’s eye’s seemed to drink my expression as our breath mingled.
As quickly as it came, fear erupted through my system, shocks of electric panic shooting through my veins. For I had become scared, scared of the very things I was sure I loved the most. I fought the urge to pound my fist hard against the arm of the chair, and sat still instead. Charlie set a light kiss upon my temple and rubbed his hand soothingly across my back.
“It’s all right, love.” He said comfortingly, licking his swollen lips lightly. “It’s all right. It was far away – just echoes.”
I bit back tears; I’m a grown woman; tears are for children.
I haven’t seen a dragon up close since that fateful day. There are always walls between us. When I left the house, I wasn’t alone, if I left the cottage at all. After the injuries had healed, months later, and my breathing had been set right once again, I couldn’t bring myself to get back to the job. I am sure that the bosses only allowed me to stay because of the work I put in, in research and communications.
But Charlie saw it early on, my fear. Fear, such an irrational word.
Only days after first waking, he and I sat alone in my room. As a Peruvian Vipertooth flew past the window, Nora her name was; she was old, and harmless, well trained. Yet I couldn’t help myself as I knocked my lamp off of the bedside table in panic and pulled the bed sheets up to my chest. I had realised myself, by this time that facing them wasn’t something I was sure I could do again. Charlie only watched in astonishment as my hand smacked against my mouth and I held back a whimper.
He climbed in next to me that day, and wrapped his arms around me in the mass of sheets. Until this point, the only relationship we had shared was platonic. I hadn’t realised that he cared for me, in the slightest way. However that day, he realised that I wasn’t fearless, and that the stupid, careless girl of whom he ‘kept an eye on’ was in fact, simply terrified.
He claims that, that was the day he fell in love.
“Charlie,” I said breathlessly. He held on to me tight and I looked at him with the adoration that only he could bring out of me. “I’m sorry.” He kissed me hard on the mouth. It was an end kiss.
Shaking his head and pushed me off of his lap and took my hands, pulling me up from the couch chair. “For the last time, you have nothing to be sorry for. Come on, I can see that you’re tired.”
Yet we both knew that the night would bring no sleep. It was clod, the winter months in the mountains of Romania. We kept warm.
Pulling his jumper over his head, he climbed in next to me, his chain falling on to the bed sheets as I hung around his neck. Since first meeting him, I was yet to see him take it off. He said it was his brothers, and he had mentioned that he had passed. I hadn’t pressed it. I am younger than Charlie, by many years; his past wasn’t as clear as mine. His was riddled with war.
I pulled the duvet up to my chest and held on to the sheet. As I lay with my back to the mattress, staring up to the stone ceiling, I felt Charlie’s eye’s cast over my skin. And this is how we would stay; I would watch the sky through stone, and he would watch me. My knight.
He had found me that day, coming back to apologise, he would insist. The dragon had been spooked by a passing bird – one that flew through the bars of the keeps. ‘It could have happened to anyone’, I had been told. Anyone. But it happened to me.
And so I turned to him; dark eyes, red hair and tanned skin. My Charlie. He listened to my drabble, my whining and my cries. He would look at me with approval and devotion no matter what sprang from my tongue. I pulled myself from memory and settled for the present.
I could never leave; I could never leave Charlie, and asking him to abandon the dragons would be like requesting he give up air. For him, I will live in purgatory; unlike the dragons I tell myself I adore, I am breakable. And it was my own fault; if only I had waited moments longer; if only I had been taught patience.
Yet, by fearing, I had tamed a dragon, the most beautiful dragon of them all. With skin as hard as hide, and a tongue as fluent as water. A boy of pure poetry. My Charlie.
AN; Thank you for reading; while I am sorting out minor hitches with ‘Ranny’, I thought that I would post this one-shot! I’ve been contemplating writing something with Charlie in for a long while, and finally decided to do it. This is the first thing that I’ve ever completed that isn’t set in the Next Generation era. I hope that you enjoyed it.
Don’t forget to leave a review, pretty please!