The entire time Liz was at her mother’s house, Charlie was in a state of sheer panic. It had taken a lot for him to build up the courage to tell Liz that he was a wizard and he should have felt relieved or accomplished at having finally done so, but instead, he felt horrible. Although she said she’d be back soon, Charlie worried that Liz wouldn’t come back; he was afraid he’d lost his wife. He paced back and forth in their living room, hoping that the movement would ease the thousand knots that seemed to have formed in his stomach.
He had been pacing for what seemed like years when, at long last, Charlie heard their front door open. He inhaled sharply and a tidal wave of emotions ran through him: he felt joy and relief that his wife was home, but fear of what would come next. Would she try to have him committed to a mental hospital? Or worse, would she tell him it was over? Liz had been the only thing that had kept Charlie from going insane after he’d lost Fred, and he couldn’t bear the thought of losing her, too.
Charlie rushed from the living room towards the front door to meet Liz, but as soon as he saw her, he froze. She looked even more upset now than she had before she’d left to go to her Mum’s: her face was tear-streaked and red, and the top of her shirt was absolutely soaked from where she’d been crying. As her eyes met his, it was clear that she was very emotionally distraught, and Charlie hated seeing her this way, especially since he knew that he was the cause of it.
Charlie desperately wanted to apologize to his wife for all the pain he’d caused her, but he realized that she was still very upset with him. He wanted to go to her, to hold her and comfort her, but he was unsure if she wanted him to hug her right now or not. So, apprehensively, he took a few steps towards her. “Darling, I’m so, so sorry,” he began, but Liz cut him off.
“You’re really a wizard?” she asked, her voice sounding weak.
Charlie was taken aback by her question, and it took him a moment to respond. He wished he could say “No”, and make this whole thing go away. He thought about lying again, about telling Liz that this whole thing had been a joke, but he knew that he would eventually have to work up the nerve to tell her the truth again, and that would only hurt her more in the long run. So, after taking a deep breath to steady himself, Charlie nodded his head and said, “Yes, love, I am.”
After he spoke, he surveyed his wife’s face for a moment, trying to gauge her reaction. He noted that, strangely, she didn’t seem to think he was insane or telling a joke anymore; fresh tears started flowing from her sad green eyes, and she bit her lip in what looked like acceptance. He was curious as to what had caused this change in his wife, but before he could ask her about it, she spoke.
“Me too,” she said, barely louder than a whisper.
“You too what, love?” Charlie asked, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“I’m a wizard, too,” Liz answered, sniffling. Then, without warning, she rushed forward and flung her arms around Charlie’s neck, laying her head on his shoulder and sobbing.
Charlie stood there in shock for a moment, not sure what to do or say. He slowly brought his arms up and wrapped them around his wife, and although he was glad to have her in his arms and he knew that she needed comforting, no comforting words or thoughts came to him. His mind, instead, filled with a hundred questions, the most pressing of which was why his wife would claim to be a wizard, even though she clearly wasn’t.
Liz couldn’t be a wizard, Charlie was certain of that much... he would know if his wife were magical. There was also the fact that she’d thought he was joking earlier when he told her that he was a wizard, and the way she thought him insane when he’d shown her his wand. Furthermore, anyone who was actually familiar with the wizard world would know that males were referred to as ‘wizards’, while females were called ‘witches’. Liz’s referring to herself as a ‘wizard’ let Charlie know beyond a shadow of a doubt, although he had no doubts, that his wife was not magical.
Why, then, had she called herself a wizard? The question came racing back to Charlie’s mind, and several related questions came along with it. Did she still believe this to be some practical joke? Was she hoping to get Charlie to confess that he’d been teasing her before, by saying the same thing he’d said? Was this fake confession a sort of payback? The redhead knew his wife wasn’t the type to play games like that, and that was one of the things he loved about her, but he couldn’t stop the question from coming to him; few other things made sense. But if this was revenge, Charlie wondered, then why on Earth was Liz crying as she said it? Now was not the time to ask any of his questions, he knew, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Liz,” he began cautiously, “What’s this all about?”
“She lied, Charlie,” his wife responded through her tears.
Charlie was even more confused. He failed to see how somebody lying could explain why Liz had tried to tell him she was a wizard. “Who lied?” he asked.
“My Mum!” Liz answered, growing more and more upset by the second. “She has a stick just like yours, and she used it to make a tea cup move. And there were no wires or anything! It just moved! She called it a- a- Summoning Spell.”
Charlie tensed up as soon as the words left his wife’s mouth. How could she possibly know about that? he thought. And what was Amelia doing with some stick? He wanted to ask Liz his questions, but she kept going, preventing him from doing so.
“She said some old guy came to her home when she turned eleven, and she went to a school for wizards. And then she showed me some letter with my name on it: I was invited to that school, too! And my name… she changed my name! She didn’t want my father to be able to find me because she said he thought my blood was tainted or something… I don’t know!”
Charlie’s eyes bulged. His wife was rambling frantically and chaotically; none of what she was saying made any sense. But in what she said, there were a few words and phrases that stuck out in his mind. Eleven. Letter. Tainted Blood. Each of them struck a chord with Charlie; she couldn't possibly know about these things, unless her mother actually had told her. These just couldn't be coincidences… could they?
Becoming more and more bewildered by the second, Charlie gently pushed Liz away from him so that he could look into her eyes. When he was staring down at her, he sought clarification by asking the first question that came to his mind. “This school, the one you said you were invited to,” he began, “What was it called? Do you remember, love?”
“I… I don’t know!” Liz replied. “I think it had something to do with a pig… but that doesn’t make any sense!”
Charlie’s neck tingled as the tiny little hairs on it seemed to stand on end. Unable to prevent himself, he offered, “Hogwarts?” breathlessly.
Liz gasped. “I think that’s it,” she replied. “How did you know?”
“Because that’s the school I went to,” her husband replied in awe. He took a deep breath to steady himself, and then, thoroughly confused and needing to know that he wasn’t losing his mind, Charlie shook his head and said, “Wait. When you went to your Mum’s house this afternoon, she told you you’re a witch?”
Instead of answering, Liz just nodded. Her bottom lip quivered as Charlie continued to look down at her, and the look on her face told her husband that this was no joke, no form of payback. But still, he couldn’t imagine someone going their whole life without knowing they were magical… it was unfathomable! “That can’t be right!” he thought out loud. “You’d know if you were a witch! You’d have done something… you’d have… accidentally set something on fire when you were upset, or… something!”
Liz didn’t react to his words at first; she seemed to be contemplating what her husband had just said. But then, all of a sudden, she breathed in sharply and her jaw dropped slightly. She looked at Charlie with wide eyes, and her hand flew up to cover her open mouth as a look of realization appeared on her face. Picking up on this, Charlie furrowed his eyebrows once more. “Liz?” he said uncertainly. When she kept staring up at him without answering, Charlie continued. “Have you done something like that?” he asked, clearly puzzled.
“I- I don’t know,” she replied nervously as she lowered her hand from her mouth and stared into her husband’s eyes with a terrified look. “M- maybe. But- I mean- it was a coincidence… my mum said it was just a coincidence.”
“She said what was just a coincidence?” Charlie asked, somewhat afraid of the answer. When Liz shook her head, indicating that she didn’t want to answer his question, he pressed. “Liz, what happened?” he asked, placing a hand on his wife’s arm in an effort to comfort her and assure her that whatever she was about to tell him was okay.
Seeming slightly reassured, Liz began shakily. “There was this fabric doll I had when I was younger,” she said nostalgically. “She was my favorite toy; I took her everywhere with me. I called her ‘Ellie’, and she was literally my best friend. By the time I started Third Grade, she was so old and filthy, but I still refused to let her out of my sight.” Liz paused here and seemed to grow slightly less upset; a small smile spread across her face as she remembered her ‘Ellie’. After a moment, she remembered the point of her story and continued, her features growing more serious again.
“It was school picture day, and I was allowed to bring one item to school with me, to hold while I took the picture,” Liz continued. “Obviously, I wanted to take Ellie, but my Mum was horrified at the idea, because the doll was so dirty. But we reached a compromise; Mum agreed to let me take Ellie to school for my picture if I’d let her wash Ellie. So my Mum threw Ellie in the wash… but the doll was just too delicate. By the time the washing cycle had finished, there was a huge tear in Ellie’s arm. All the stuffing had fallen out; there was barely any arm left. When my Mum showed it to me and tried to explain and apologize, I just cried and cried and cried. I hugged Ellie to me and refused to let her go, even when my Mum offered to try and stitch her back together for me.”
At this, Liz paused once more before continuing her story. “It took some convincing,” she said, “but my Mum finally talked me into letting her see Ellie, to see if she could fix her. But when I lowered my arms to hand Ellie over to my Mum, her arm was back.” Here, Liz cast a look of confusion at her husband. “I don’t know how it happened,” she said, “but the stuffing was back, the tear was gone; Ellie was like brand new. Of course I started laughing and dancing, telling my Mum that Ellie was ‘all better’, but my Mum… I remember that she seemed really upset. But, eventually she just chalked it up to coincidence… she said our eyes must have been tricking us when we thought that Ellie was torn. I didn’t really think about it anymore until now; I was just happy to have my doll back.”
Liz looked up at her husband nervously when she finished speaking; it appeared as though she was trying to gauge his reaction to her story. Charlie, however, was much too flustered at that point to show any sort of reaction; his mind was completely blown. He blinked a few times and shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts and wrap his mind around what his wife had just said. It certainly sounded like his wife had unwittingly used a bit of magic… but that just didn’t make any sense! How could he, a wizard, have lived with Liz for nine months and not realized she was a witch? And, if Liz was a witch, why did she have no problem using technology? Why didn’t she make things explode, the way he did? Furthermore, why would Amelia choose to keep something like this from her daughter for all of her life? If Liz was a witch, that was a part of her identity. Charlie could tell from their interactions that Amelia loved her daughter very much… so why would she deliberately keep such a huge secret from her?
This last question particularly troubled Charlie, and he was just about to ask his wife to explain it to him when their front door burst open with a loud bang. Startled by the noise, Liz jumped involuntarily and gasped loudly, but her reaction was nothing compared to Charlie’s. The sudden movement and loud noise, along with the fear they caused, had taken Charlie back to a completely different place and time… they had taken him back to Hogwarts Castle on May 2, 1998. Charlie’s instincts took over; he didn’t bother to check and see why the door had burst open so suddenly, all he knew was that he had to protect Liz. He desperately wished he had his wand, which he’d unfortunately left abandoned on the coffee table in the living room after showing it to Liz earlier, but now was not the time for such thoughts… a wandless defense would have to do.
In a split-second decision, Charlie quickly grabbed his wife by the waist and leaned to the left, shoving her into the living room and out of harm’s way and yelling “Run, Liz!” as he did so. Then he fought to regain his balance and straightened himself up, trying to mentally prepare himself for a fight. When he regained his upright position, however, he found himself staring at the business end of a wand. Startled, Charlie lifted his hands in surrender and glanced down the wand’s length, searching for its wielder. When he saw her, his eyes bulged. It was Liz’s mother, Amelia. And she looked furious.
Author's Note: Hi everyone! First off, I want to apologize for the completely ridiculous amount of time it has taken me to get this chapter finished! I got a bit stuck on some of the aspects of it, but thankfully the amazing Teh Tarik was there to help me through it - thank you, Teh! I'm really hoping to have the next chapter ready to go, soon... I certainly don't want to keep you guys waiting any more! Thank you all SO much for your patience, and for reading and reviewing!