A/N: Written for the 2014 LJ Charlieficathon fest. I owe all of my facebook friends a world of thanks, one, ThornedHuntress for lighting the fire up me to make me write this, and two, everyone who helped me with writing Luna. Thank you!
After being in Romania for such a long period of time, it felt odd to be back in his childhood home. Even odder was the fact that the house was completely silent, save for the ticking of the family clock.
Charlie truly didn't mind staying at The Burrow. He would only be there for a week or so while his parents went on holiday. He and his siblings had all chipped in to surprise them with a trip to Rome. Molly fussed about its short notice but was happy all the same. She then went on to say that someone had to stay home to feed the chickens. Fred and George had to remain at their shop in Diagon Alley; Ron always seemed on be on Auror duty, and getting Percy away from his desk at the Ministry was like pulling a dog away from its bone. Ginny was off travelling the world, playing professional Quidditch, and Bill was in France with Fleur.
Charlie had already spent one day and one night at the Burrow. He found the quiet to be relaxing at first, but very quickly he became bored. Back at the compound in Romania, even when he wasn't tending to dragons, there was always something to do or someone to chat with. An impromptu game of Quidditch or football was the norm, considering the vast open fields surrounding the area; weekends were sometimes spent down the pub, even if it was just to play a few rounds of darts. So to go from a completely busy schedule that kept him outdoors to sitting inside a placid house was maddening.
It was close to noon when he decided to venture outdoors in the balmy mid-July air. Surely there was something that needed to be done. Yesterday upon arrival he'd noticed that one of the shutters at the back of the house was in need of fixing. The repairs would likely take a few minutes if done by magic, but Charlie preferred to use his hands for that sort of thing. After gathering everything he needed and placing it in a cracked but serviceable wooden bucket, he made his way to the back of the house. He'd just crossed the threshold and stepped into the back garden when he noticed a pair of bare, dainty feet rooted in the patchy grass.
Whoever these feet belonged to, they were brave to go around in the garden with no shoes. Still clutching onto his bucket, Charlie raised his eyes from the feet to see a pair of slender calves that peeked out from beneath the hem of a multicoloured, flowery dress.
"Hello," the girl greeted gaily, as if there was nothing strange about her standing barefoot in the Weasley's garden. "You're Ron's brother; Charlie, right?"
"Yeah. You're Lovegood's kid, right?"
"Yes. Mrs. Weasley said that you'd be here. You know my dad?"
Charlie nodded slowly. "We've seen one another around. What are you doing? And why aren't you wearing any shoes?"
The pale-blonde girl looked down at her feet, eyes widening slightly as if she had just been made aware that she was barefoot.
"Oh. I suppose I forgot to put some on. I'd only planned to come out for a few minutes; I wanted to pick some strawberries to have with lunch and then I remembered that you have some. Mrs. Weasley said that she doesn't mind sharing, I just need to bring my own basket."
Indeed, the girl was holding a small basket full of plump, red strawberries. She swung it back and forth as she stood in place, looking at everything else but the man in front of her.
"It's awfully quiet in there," she stated conversationally, peering over his shoulder and into the open back door."Usually it sounds like a fight is going on."
"You know I never thought about it like that, but I suppose you're right," Charlie replied with a laugh. "What might sound like a row is usually just everyone having supper, although Ron, Fred, and George have been known to get into a scuffle over the last chicken leg."
That bit of information seemed to go over her head. She had set her basket beside her foot and had stooped down the stroke the head of a grey kitten that wandered over. Early that morning Charlie thought he'd heard a soft mewing, but in his barely conscious state he hadn't been bothered enough to get up and investigate. Now it was clear where the noise had come from and he wondered where the animal had been hiding. However, his attention was soon diverted away from the cat and to the girl's slightly parted legs that allowed him a clear view of her white knickers. Apparently she had no qualms about squatting down in a dress; while her knickers covered everything, he could still see the smooth curve of each thigh, as well as the plump little folds concealed behind a thin layer of cotton at their apex.
Charlie had no girlfriend; most of his days were occupied with work and the occasional pastime, and relationships weren't something he worried about. Skirt-chasing for a one off even bored him. This was a constant source of confusion for many of his colleagues who couldn't understand why getting his cock wet was never a priority. Time and time again he'd seen the trouble that always seemed to coincide with casual sex. It didn't matter that some of the men were married, they still chased behind women as if they had no cares in the world. A few times he bore witness to a few of them getting caught, which ended in nasty hexes that did unspeakable things to their dangly bits. All of that combined was enough to make Charlie keep to himself. So far, he was content with caring for the dragons beneath his charge, and coming and going as he pleased. Now, all that changed as his libido was kicked into high gear, all from a small glimpse of the girl's soft looking thighs and snow white underwear.
"You can come to my house for lunch, if you like," she was now telling him. It took Charlie a few minutes to register the words coming from her mouth as she was still crouched low, continuously petting the cat. "It's just Daddy and me and he won't mind if I bring home a guest. Is this your cat?"
"What? No, sorry," he answered, flustered. "I've never seen her until now. I reckon she's a stray; you can keep her if you like since I'll only be here for the week. I doubt anyone's going to come asking after her."
"Hello. I'm Luna and you're going to live with me." Standing upright to Charlie's disappointment, she scooped the cat into one arm, peering down into its face while softly talking to it, grasping onto her basket with the other hand. "You still didn't tell me if you wanted to come over for lunch."
Charlie blinked; Luna was still looking down at the kitten when she uttered the last sentence and for a moment he wasn't sure who she was talking to. It was easy to be taken aback by the yo-yoing of their conversation. One minute Luna was behaving as if he wasn't standing there, the next, she was unblinkingly staring at him—into him, it seemed– with the palest blue eyes he'd ever seen. Merlin, but she was odd. Surely she had to be his little brother's age, or worse yet, his sister's age. Charlie figured that he was at least ten years older than Luna and even though she was probably nineteen or twenty, she looked fourteen with that flowery dress. Each time she moved, her tailbone length hair swished about. The dirty blonde waves were straggly and in sore need of a comb, and reminded him greatly of the horses he'd worked with a few times. Even though regular horses had no magical abilities, Charlie found them to be beautiful creatures and enjoyed their presence. Once horse in particular, aptly named Goldie, had a long mane that closely resembled Luna's, and Charlie never minded when it was his turn to groom Goldie.
"You're deep in thought," Luna stated, cocking her head to one side and eyeing him curiously. "I don't think you're considering my question, rather you're trying to figure out a way to tell me no, it's OK. I don't mind."
"Actually, I was just thinking about a horse I used to know. Your hair reminds me of his mane."
Soon as the words left his mouth, Charlie felt foolish. It was absurd that he should feel embarrassed considering that he was talking to someone who wasn't more than a child, but some little voice in the back of his mind said that women would not take kindly to being compared to a horse. Luna Lovegood apparently wasn't the average witch because her already wide eyes further widened, and her entire body shook as she collapsed into a fit of loud giggles.
"A horse! That it so funny. No one's ever said that I remind them of a horse!" she grinned, almost spilling her strawberries on the ground in the midst of swaying back and forth. Darting forward before Luna completely lost the contents of her basket, Charlie swept it from the precarious perch of her fingertips.
"Not really you, just your hair..." he trailed off, shaking his head. It didn't matter what he said: Luna was clearly amused and there was no stopping her. "And yes, I accept your invitation to lunch. Thank you for saving me the trouble cooking for myself. My culinary skills never really extended beyond making toast and eggs. And sausage, I can fry sausage without burning down the house."
"That's all right, I know how to cook," Luna assured, resituating the squirming kitten in her arms and starting for the fence. "My house is this way. It's not a far walk."
Charlie was halfway across the yard when he realised that he was not only holding onto Luna's basket, but the bucket containing his work tools as well. Setting it down on the inside of the crooked wooden fence, he followed behind his new, odd but harmless companion, trying to keep up with her mile a minute chattering. Luna hadn't been exaggerating when she said that her house wasn't a far walk. In no time they were standing in front of a rook-shaped house at the top of a hill.
Luna seemed relatively normal in comparison to her father, Xenophilius Lovegood, and that was saying something. Charlie knew that his father had more rapport with the eccentric man, stating that he was a bit mad in some ways yet had all his faculties in others. Either way, his dad had nothing bad to say where Mr. Lovegood was concerned, and that was good enough for Charlie.
"You're Arthur's...oldest?" the dishevelled man asked as Luna directed them to sit down at the small table in the kitchen. Charlie saw that Xenophilius had white hair that was tangled as his daughter's, and he wondered if they had something against combs and brushes. He continued squinting his eyes in Charlie's direction while waiting for an answer.
"Second oldest. Bill's the oldest; you might remember him. I believe you and Luna came to his wedding. I was his best man."
"Oh yes. Lovely day, that was," Xenophilius nodded emphatically. "Good people, your parents are. Very good people indeed."
It was interesting to carry on a conversation with Luna's father, mainly because he seemed quite capable of carrying on by himself. Apparently Luna was used to her father's one-sided interactions, because while in the midst of moving about in the tiny kitchen, she interjected a sentence or two whenever there was a lull. At one point she inveigled Charlie to tell her about the dragons he worked with, and became so excited that she nearly dropped a bowl. Charlie whipped out his wand just in time to keep their lunch from being splattered on the floor and eventually he ended up helping Luna in the kitchen. She patiently told him what needed to be done, giving a 'Well done!' when he voiced his surprise at not burning anything.
That afternoon turned out to be one of the most interesting ones of his life. Xenophilius happily stayed in his own world most of the time, but retreated out of his shell a few times to ask Charlie about his work. The Lovegoods were obviously animal enthusiasts, even if they shared a passion for some creatures that Charlie was sure didn't exist, though he chose not to draw attention to that moot point.
Lunch had been consumed and another two hours passed before Charlie realised how long he'd been at the Lovegoods. In spite of the unconventional circumstances, he found that he was enjoying himself and part of him was loathe to return to an empty house. Still, it was rude to overstay his welcome and he briefly made his excuses after helping Luna clear the table.
"Daddy, I'm going to walk back with Charlie," Luna announced, heading for the door.
"All right. You kids have fun," Xenophilius replied dismissively, more preoccupied with the kitten that Luna had brought home. Mr. Lovegood had poured a small dish of milk and set that and the kitten on top of the kitchen table, and was now completely enthralled with watching it lapping up the white liquid.
"Luna, I think you should put on shoes this time," Charlie cut in, looking down at her dirt smudged toes.
"OK, if you say so," she murmured, walking over to what he guessed was a closet.
While waiting for Luna to reappear with covered feet, Charlie mused over Mr. Lovegood's comment; he found that 'kids' remark funny, as if they were a couple of nine-year-olds being sent off to play. Luna finally came back out, this time wearing a pair of trainers that completely clashed with her dress. Clearly she didn't give a fig about that sort of thing, which he was grateful for. More than once he remembered Fleur complaining about one pair of shoes not matching an outfit, even as she held up two pairs of shoes that looked completely identical to him. Bill had been oblivious to it all, perhaps because Fleur was only his fiancée at the time.
Luna chattered on the walk back to the Burrow, just as she had done before. Along the way she yelped with glee and made a great show of asking Charlie to stop so she could pick random bunches of wildflowers. By the time they were back at his house both of them held fistfuls of flowers, as Luna had gotten a bit carried away. Now they were seated at the small wooden table in the garden; Luna was still talking his ear off while arranging her flowers into separate piles by colour, but Charlie didn't mind one bit.
"My mum taught me how to make flower circlets," she explained, delicately plucking the green leaves from each of the long stems. "Of course I can make one with my wand, but that's easy and most of the fun is actually doing them without magic."
"That's understandable," Charlie replied, nodding his head. "Sometimes I like doing things without magic, just because it's more enjoyable."
"I know!" she agreed excitedly, smiling to herself as she picked up another flower. "Daddy has a printing press that runs on magic but I'll tell you a secret: sometimes I don't use my wand. What time do you feed the chickens?"
Again, there went that sudden change of topic that was threatening to leave him with whiplash.
"Whenever the rooster wakes me up, which is usually five or so. Why?"
"Because I want to help. Hmm, I've run out of white flowers. Be right back, I think you have some in the front of your house."
Before Charlie could part his lips to say 'OK', Luna jumped up from the table and took off around the bend. The half-finished circlet was just beyond his fingertips, and Charlie carefully pulled it over to examine Luna's handiwork. He didn't know much about flower circlets but as far as they went, he supposed this one was nice. Somehow Luna managed to take a bunch of flowers that were actually nothing more than weeds and turn them into something attractive.
As he sat there, distractedly running his fingers over the woven stems of the circlet and thinking about the odd young woman, it occurred to him that she was taking a long time to return. Just as he stood up, ready to investigate, Luna came drifting back over to the table, holding a bunch of her coveted white flowers.
"Yes. I was just talking to your chickens," she answered serenely. "I suppose they came out to say hello."
As if to emphasise those words, there was a soft clucking a few feet away and Charlie saw that one of the chickens indeed had wandered away from its coop and was quietly surveying the two. His eyes then fell upon the earlier abandoned bucket and he remembered his plans to fix the broken shutter.
"I'll be right back, Luna. I need to fix something but you can stay here."
Luna was now sorting out her white flowers and didn't look up when Charlie stepped away from the table. As expected, it didn't take him long to remove the shutter from its hinges. Completely immersed in his task, he was halfway through when he noticed that Luna was sitting cross-legged on the short set of steps leading up to the back door. A completed circlet was atop her tangled blonde hair, and she was now weaving something else.
"Sorry if I'm boring you," Charlie apologised, pulling out his wand and waving it over the broken slats. The shutter was damaged worse than he thought and he didn't have the materials to repair everything from scratch. Magic would save him from a headache in this instance, and he decided to take the easy route.
"You aren't boring me," Luna told him, a little smile on her face. "If I'm annoying you by hanging around, I won't mind if you tell me to leave."
"You like animals and you can cook; you're all right with me," said Charlie, pausing to flash her a grin.
"Here, this is for you." Luna extended an arm, holding out the thing she was been working on. "That right there is Carum verticillatum," she said, pointing to a tiny cluster of white petals. "They're good luck."
Charlie wondered if whatever flower Luna just mentioned was a real thing. After spending an afternoon with her and Mr. Lovegood, he found that they had deeply rooted beliefs in things that he'd never known to exist. Of course, this flower was real as he could see it, and he noticed that it smelled faintly of spices that his Mum sometimes used during cooking.
"It's for your wrist," Luna continued, jumping up and slipping the tiny bracelet around his broad hand. "Don't worry, men wears flowers too, so you shouldn't feel embarrassed."
"I don't feel embarrassed and besides, this is a very nice gift. Thank you."
"You're welcome. I need to go back home and help Daddy with dinner. Can I come back tomorrow?"
"Sure thing. Give me two seconds to put this shutter back and I'll walk with you."
As promised, Charlie walked Luna back home. The moment they reached the bottom of the hill, she turned around and said that she was going to walk Charlie back home. He thought it odd, as well as a little funny, yet didn't decline the offer. It felt good to be outside and prolonging their walk meant that he wouldn't have to go indoors and amuse himself for the rest of the evening. With every step, the ends of Luna's long hair bobbed out behind her. Some of the flowers had come loose from her crown and every so often tiny white, pink, and purple petals rained down.
An hour of their going back and forth passed. Charlie reasoned that he ought to feel silly for his and Luna's peculiar little game, but that was the last thing on his mind. However, on their last walk to her house he reluctantly put an end to it.
"OK, Luna, you stay home this time. It's getting late and I don't want your dad getting upset."
"Daddy won't get upset."
"He might if he doesn't have any supper."
"Do you want to come in? We have more than enough food."
"No, but thank you. I don't want to take advantage. Besides, I'm sure I can scrounge up something to eat."
"All right. Thanks, Charlie. See you tomorrow!"
With that, Luna turned on her heel and raced up her front steps. The moment she disappeared into her odd-shaped house, Charlie sensed a pang that he didn't not recognise at first to be disappointment.
Now that is interesting, he thought to himself as he began the slow, lonely trek back to his empty house.
Charlie was used to waking up early, but that didn't mean he liked it. The rooster hadn't started crowing yet, but there was some other noise that pulled him out of a steady sleep. Sitting up while simultaneously reaching for his wand he scrubbed his face, trying to rouse himself awake. Making his way out of the bedroom that used to belong to Bill, Charlie listened again for the noise that woke him up. When it came again, he realised that it was at the back door and ambled his way over to see what was going on.
"Good morning!" his overly early wake-up call greeted dreamily through the cracked open door. "You said I could help you feed the chickens, remember?"
"Yes, Luna, I remember," Charlie answered in a sleep roughened tone, pulling the door fully open. "You didn't have to come this early, though. What time is it?"
"A little before five, I think," she answered, stepping past him and inside the house when he gestured for her to come in. Even though he was still bleary-eyed he immediately noticed that Luna wasn't barefoot; she donned an old pair of Wellies and another one of her flowery dresses. A knitted jumper was worn over the dress, presumably to keep out the early morning chill. "I woke you, didn't I?"
"Yes, but it's OK. I meant to get up early." Just then Charlie looked down and realised that the only thing on his person was his wand and boxers. "Sorry," he mumbled, catching Luna's protuberant eyes through the dim lighting in the kitchen, which were affixed to his bare chest. "I'll put some clothes on."
"OK," she replied, never once taking her eyes off his nearly nude form.
If Luna's gaze became any stronger, Charlie was sure that he risked the bit of cotton covering his groin becoming dissolved. He hadn't been all that aware upon literally tumbling out of bed, and he hoped like hell that he didn't have a morning erection. Luna would surely think him some sort of pervert and her father would come storming the Burrow, demanding to know why Charlie was flashing his stiff cock at his daughter.
Now he felt that first urge to relieve himself and began walking towards the bathroom. Along the way, he covertly slipped one hand to his front and was relieved to find that all was well. After cleaning his teeth and face, he slipped back into the bedroom and nearly jumped out of his skin when he turned around and found Luna standing right behind him.
"OK, Luna. It's a bit early to scare the life out of me," he told her, looking around. Muttering some sort of apology as he swept a few things off a chair, he gestured for her to sit down.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
Even as Luna folded herself into the chair she kept staring at him, and Charlie wondered what it was she found so fascinating.
"You're very...muscly. Strong; you look strong."
"I...hadn't noticed," Charlie replied quietly, looking down at his body. "Thank you...?"
"I've made you feel self-conscious. I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it."
"I wasn't offended, Luna, honestly. I've just never really given thought to how I look; muscly definitely never crossed my mind."
He finished the sentence with a bit of levity, using Luna's phrasing and that seemed to immediately set her at ease.
"After I help you feed the chickens would you like to have breakfast together? Daddy doesn't like breakfast if he's working."
Luna interjected that last bit swiftly, perhaps in anticipation of being turned down. Despite her early appearance, Charlie was quite glad to see Luna and didn't mind spending the morning with her.
"Of course we can," he replied. "So long as coffee is included in the equation."
Twenty minutes later, the two were heading out into the breaking dawn and towards the chicken coop. Luna volunteered to do everything and Charlie was disinclined to turn down the offer. He held the basket and trailed behind Luna as she collected the eggs, then directed her to the satchel containing chicken feed. With two people doing everything the task was quickly finished, and they went inside for breakfast.
Luna remained remarkably chipper the entire time. Only when Charlie had a mug of hot coffee in front of him did he become more chatty, but Luna seemed to forgive his previous taciturn behaviour. He did become livelier when she wanted to know more about Romania and his work as a dragon tamer, as that was a topic Charlie never got tired of talking about. Resting her face on both hands, Luna leaned forward on the table, her eyes growing wide when he spoke about his many close calls during his early days.
This was a refreshing change for Charlie; all of his siblings had already listened to his many tales about living over in Romania and were no longer interested. His mum, on the other hand, refused to take part in any conversation that had to do with one of her darling children dealing with 'ferocious creatures', her name for his beloved dragons.
Luna went on to press him with more questions, and that conversation went on for two hours. Somewhere along the way she began regaling him with more stories of other animals he'd never heard of. That didn't matter to him, as Luna spoke with such passion that Charlie found it hard to ignore her. Around noon they walked to her house for lunch. Xenophilius greeted him in a polite but airy manner the way he had the day before, yet nonetheless seemed pleased to see him. The circumstances surrounding lunch was odd yet pleasant, which Charlie now knew to expect. Shortly after, Luna became excited for reasons known only to her, yelled "I know!" before dashing up a small set of stairs. Moments later she returned with a drawing pad and various sized charcoal pencils, announcing that she wanted to draw one of his dragons.
Xenophilius was playing with the kitten again and didn't bat an eye at the comical sight of his daughter tugging on the hand of their sturdily-built guest. Luna pulling Charlie around was nearly akin to a fly leading an elephant; she was petite all over, her small frame almost swimming in every garment she owned, whereas Charlie was solid all over and looked as if he could easily pick up both Luna and her father with one hand. Still, he allowed himself to be pulled over to a faded but comfortable sofa, where Luna plopped down next to him and unleashed a barrage of questions concerning his favourite dragon. Curling up on the sofa with her knees tucked to her chest, she sketched as they chatted, sometimes falling silent and humming while twisting the pad around. She refused to let Charlie see the work in progress, promising that it was his to keep once she was done.
Part of him wished they were sitting outside, but each lull of the conversation was filled with Luna's pencil scratching across the paper, the ticking of a nearby clock, as well as Xenophilius making soft clucking noises at the kitten, and Charlie felt himself becoming further relaxed. All it all, everything was quite soothing and if he wasn't careful, he would soon drift off to sleep.
"OK, I'm finished," Luna announced, rising from the sofa and thrusting the pad in Charlie's direction. "I usually do better when drawing from a picture or memory so I won't mind if you don't like it."
"You're underestimating yourself, Luna," Charlie told her, eyebrows raised as he took in the lifelike drawing. "This is quite impressive; are you sure you've never seen a Hebridean Black before?"
"No. At least I don't think so, but you're very good at describing things," she replied. "If I had purple pencils I could have made the eyes better, but I ran out and forgot to buy another. I'm going to make dinner. Will you stay?"
"I don't want to impose..."
"You aren't imposing," Xenophilius piped up from the other side of the room. "Any friend of Luna's is a friend of mine."
"Well since it you put it like that, all right, I'll stay. Thanks."
Xenophilius smiled to himself. Luna skipped off to the kitchen and Charlie remained on the sofa, thoroughly nonplussed. After some time he felt guilty for idling about while Luna did everything, and joined her in the kitchen to lend a hand. This time he was entrusted to more tasks without her constant supervision, and surprised himself by not charring the potatoes.
Shortly after dinner was finished the sun began to set, and instead of the gentle orange glow that came with dusk, a greyish cast stood in place.
"Walk back with you?" asked Luna, grabbing her jumped from the chair where she left it.
"I think you should stay here," Charlie replied, peering out the window. "We can play back and forth another day; looks like a thunderstorm is on its way."
Luna peered out the same window, a sombre look replacing the wistful one on her face.
"OK. Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Sure thing. Thanks for dinner and the drawing."
"Goodnight, Mr. Lovegood."
Luna turned round and looked at her father when he didn't answer, then turned back to Charlie.
"He didn't hear you. He's thinking about something else but I'll tell him you said goodnight."
"Ok. Later, Luna."
The sky had darkened considerably on the short walk back to the Burrow. A brisk chill blew through his sweatshirt and Charlie wished he'd worn something heavier. He mentally willed the rain to hold off until he was safely in the house, and was relieved to find Mother Nature on his side.
Without Luna's banter filling the silence, Charlie listened to the radio and read some of the books he'd brought with him. After a few hours of that, he took a shower and turned in for the night. With nothing else to do, he lay in the dark and listened to the sound of faraway rolling thunder. Chuckling to himself, he remembered when he and Bill were still little. Bill had been terrified of thunder and lightning yet would never admit it. Almost always, he would find his way to Charlie's bed, feigning the need to protect his little brother.
Bill eventually got over his fear but during his second year at Hogwarts and Charlie's first, Charlie had been unable to resist calling across the boys' dormitory one night during a particularly nasty storm, asking his brother if he was scared and planned to invade his bed. A pillow fight between the brothers ensued, and it didn't take longer than a few minutes before the rest of their housemates joined in. The group made so much noise that the Gryffindor Head Boy, a tall, thin and perpetually serious student named Benedict who, now that Charlie thought about it, greatly resembled Percy. Benedict came to the door, clutching his dressing gown, fumbling with his glasses and hissing for everyone to be quiet and go back to sleep. That caused everyone to scramble around in a mad dash to collect fallen pillows, blankets, and robes. Of course it was only natural for Bill to get one last jab in, and he tossed his pillow completely across the room, only it landed right on top of the little stove in the centre of the dormitory. Someone hissed that the pillow was going to catch fire and Charlie ended up falling out of bed in an effort to keep the dormitory from being burnt down. He returned the slightly scorched pillow to his brother, which had been accepted with a loud swear, causing the rest of the boys to collapse into a bout of laughter and for Benedict to come back to the door, issues threats of summoning their Head of House.
A few more incidents like that occurred, although their mother had thankfully never found out. Avoiding Mrs. Weasley's wrath was something they learned to avoid at an early age, thus gaining the reputation for not being troublemakers. Their father, however, knew better, although he sometimes found their harmless antics funny.
There were a bunch of things that neither parent became privy to, and Charlie rehashed them all, making a mental note to remind Bill about some of their pranks before falling asleep.
Charlie had no idea of the time, but a loud clap of thunder jolted him out of his sleep.
"What the bloody hell?" he muttered into his pillow. The noise had been so loud it sounded as if the roof was going to cave in at any moment. Their ghoul still lived in the attic and no doubt he was banging around upon hearing the thunder, something he would do whenever a storm hit for as long as Charlie could remember. But soon another sound joined the thunder: an insistent rapping that sounded like it was coming from outside the house.
Wand in hand as he hurried out of his room and downstairs, Charlie wondered why he wasn't shocked upon finding a completely drenched Luna at his back door.
"It's tomorrow. You said I could see you tomorrow," she told him, her boots squeaking as he ushered her inside the house, where she began dripping water onto the kitchen floor. "I couldn't sleep. I don't like thunderstorms."
"Bill used to hate them too," replied Charlie, looking her up and down. "But why didn't you use an umbrella if you were going to come all the way over here? You're soaked to the bone."
Soaked was an understatement: Luna looked as if she had been standing beneath a torrential downpour. On her feet were the same Wellies from earlier, into which were stuffed a pair of jeans. She also had on the same jumper he'd seen her in before, and beneath it what looked like a nightgown.
"I don't mind getting wet," she answered, pushing a few strands of wet hair from her eyes.
"Even so you don't want to get sick. Come on, I'll get you a towel."
Luna waited in the sitting room while Charlie went to fetch a towel. Even though she kept insisting that she was fine, he saw her shivering and her words fell on deaf ears as he started a fire. After making them both tea and pushing a cup into Luna's hands, Charlie sat next to her on the sofa and waited to see if he would get an explanation for this stranger than usual behaviour.
"I don't like thunderstorms. The day mum died there was a thunderstorm. "
"Oh, Luna, I'm sorry. Do you want to talk about it?"
Luna put down her cup and gave a little shrug. "Not really."
"OK..." Charlie trailed off, feeling somewhat helpless. "Is there something I can do?"
"Can I stay here with you?"
Luna stared directly at him while asking that question, and Charlie had to gather his bearings before answering.
"If you like. Do you want to sleep in Ginny's room?"
Luna shook her head. "No. I want to sleep in your room."
"I only have one bed."
"I don't mind."
In spite of his bedroom being only one flight up, the walk felt like eternity with the knowledge that Luna would be sharing his bed. Her boots had been left upside down in the kitchen to dry, and Charlie told her to mind her step so as to not get splinters on the old wooden slats of the staircase.
"I hate to point out the obvious, but your clothes are still wet. And your hair."
"I know...hopefully I'll be able to comb it later," Luna mused, pulling a section of the tangled, stringy strands over one shoulder and surveying it with mild interest.
"I'll get my comb and you can sleep in one of my nightshirts," said Charlie, lighting his wand and using it to rifle through his suitcase. "I'm sure I packed some nightclothes, just give me a minute... Here we are." He pulled out a set of stripy pyjamas, a never worn Christmas gift from his mum. "The bottoms are definitely going to be too long and you can shrink them if you like, but the top should keep most of you warm."
"I don't need the bottoms; I hate having my legs covered. I get all tangled in the sheets and then I trip if I have to go to the loo in the middle of the night." Luna was now undressing, leaving her damp jeans and jumper draped over the back of a chair. She was still in her wet nightgown when Charlie handed over the dry pyjamas, and his mouth went dry when he saw the thin, white material clinging to her chest.
Luna had what his brothers crassly referred to as 'more nipple than tit'. Ron had even been part of that conversation, opening voicing his love for a larger bosom. Charlie lamented his youngest brother being corrupted, which was most likely due to the twins as well as his idiot classmates, but kept his thoughts to himself. He then vowed if and when he ever had the inclination to bring a woman home, that she would not be subjected to his younger siblings' idiotic banter. That ended up being a non-issue because the few dalliances he'd had never panned out to anything long-term or serious. The last casual encounter had taken place ages ago, and Charlie couldn't remember the last time he'd given thought to his libido.
Catching a glimpse of Luna's thighs that day in the garden had been the flame to start the fire. But the sight of those rosy little nipples poking through the front of an almost sheer nightgown was the fuel to start the blaze.
He wanted to yank that nightgown over Luna's head, shove her down atop his coverlet, and suck one of those perfectly round nipples into his mouth. Then perhaps he would allow his lips to rove along the soft flesh of her inner thigh, purely to see if her skin tasted as sweet as it looked.
Those thoughts left him tongue-tied, and Charlie almost forgot to turn around, purely to respect Luna's modesty when she reached for the hem of her nightgown. He noticed that she didn't ask him to avert his eyes and wondered if she minded him looking on. Still, he didn't want to scare her away, and politely kept his head turned until he heard the springs of his bed creak.
"This is big on me," Luna smiled, pointing her wrists downwards and allowing the too-long sleeve to flop over. "But I don't mind."
She was sitting cross-legged on his unmade bed; most of the nightshirt covered her legs in this position although a glimmer of delicate thigh remained in his view. Luna began fiddling with her hair again while staring off into space.
"I think you needed this?" he asked, walking over and holding out his comb.
"You do it for me."
Flicking her hair over her shoulder to hang down her back, Luna sat up straighter, evidently waiting for Charlie to sit behind her. When it came to Luna Lovegood, there was no telling what sort of thing would happen next, Charlie was beginning to realise. It made no sense to try and figure things out; it was just best to go with the flow.
Luna remained silent as Charlie slid into place behind her, unaware that he was trying to figure out where to start. Her hair was so long that she was sitting on some of it, and he had to ask her to sit up for a second to pull the remaining strands free. That little movement caused her bare legs to brush against his, and reminded him that her lower half—most her bum, which concerned him— was almost completely bare and inches away from his cock.
It took Charlie some time to get through each of the damp knots in Luna's hair, mostly because he was trying to be gentle. A few times the comb hit a snag although she barely flinched.
"Do you want it in a braid?" he asked. "It might be easier to manage once you wake up."
"OK. Who taught you how to braid hair?"
Charlie laughed as he began separating Luna's hair into three even sections. "It's a skill I sort of picked up back at school. The girls were always doing one another's hair in the common room. But once I began working with dragons keeping my hair back was necessary. There's nothing worse than the ends of your hair accidentally catching fire and there was no way I'd cut mine short."
Luna gave a soft hum.
"There, all finished."
She reached back to pat her hair, smoothing her fingers down to the ends, then turned to look at him.
"Thank you, Charlie."
"Are we going to sleep yet?"
"Do you want to?"
Using his wand, Charlie extinguished some of the candles that lit the room. Luna took that as her cue to move to the top of his bed, sliding beneath the coverlet and resting on her side. Setting his wand back down on his nightstand, Charlie lay down next to Luna, leaving a few inches of space between them. It was extremely intimate to be facing one another in the semi-darkness and he wondered if Luna felt as self-conscious as he did. She seemed completely comfortable, as if they had shared a bed many times before.
"Did I tell you about the Dry-Skinned Snootwoggles?" she asked in a loud whisper.
Charlie thought back to all the obscure creatures Luna had told him about thus far. "Yeah, I think so. You said they don't like many people, right?"
"That's right. But I think if you were to meet one it would like you."
"Is that so? Then I would feel honoured."
"I like your hair; I hope you keep wearing it back so the dragons don't breathe and accidentally burn it off." Sliding one hand over to pick up a few of his shoulder-length tresses, Luna held them up as if she was examining them. " It matches the rest of you."
"Does it? I hadn't noticed."
Luna knew she was being teased and flashed a toothy grin from her side of the bed.
"Yes, it matches you here." she replied, pushing Charlie's arm above his head and gesturing to his armpit, "and your chest."
One hot, little hand smoothed over his left pectoral, inadvertently grazing a nipple which, up until now, Charlie had no idea was an erogenous zone for him. If this as an inkling of how things were going to go for the rest of the night, then he was in trouble. Just as he was trying to figure out a way to keep Luna from feeling his stirring erection, the entire bedroom grew bright and faded just as quickly, followed by a loud clap of thunder.
That loud boom was enough to make Luna forget about Charlie's hair, and she fell silent while retreating to her side of the mattress.
Saved by the thunder, he silently thanked, even though he wished that it didn't upset Luna. "Lots of people are scared of thunderstorms, Luna. You don't need to feel ashamed."
"I'm not scared, I just don't like it."
While she might not have been afraid, the defensive posture her body took on was noticeable.
"Cynofigs aren't scared of thunder, but they don't like it either," Luna was now murmuring into the mattress. "I bet your dragons aren't scared of thunder."
"They don't give a damn about the thunder but they surely don't like the rain. Actually, there was one little dragon who's terrified of the thunder but he's the oddball of the group, poor little guy. Somewhat of an anomaly; he can't breathe fire like the others and hates loud noises."
That garnered Luna's attention and she turned back over to face Charlie. "So what happened to him?" she asked with great concern. "If he wasn't like the other dragons, what did they do with him?"
"We kept him, of course," said Charlie reassuringly. "You don't think we'd get rid of him, do you? Nah, I personally took care of him soon as he hatched. He was the runt of the group and his mum wanted nothing to do with him so we all took turns."
"What did you name him?"
"One of my Keepers named him; called him Pachua. He said it means 'feathered water snake' and if you saw Pachua, it makes perfect sense if you ignore the feathered part seeing as he has shiny black scales. But Pachua took to water just like a fish and made these funny little noises whenever we tried to pull him away."
Luna let out a tiny giggle, beaming while distractedly staring into the dark, most likely daydreaming about Pachua and his odd inclinations.
"But you said he doesn't like loud noises. Is that why he's scared of the thunder?"
"He hides from thunder and lightning. We think it's too much for his eyes and ears so whenever we knew a storm was coming, we'd draw the curtains and make sure to keep our cabins dark."
An even louder clap of thunder rang out, causing the house to shake slightly, and Luna practically glued herself to Charlie's side.
"So you kept everything dark to protect him from the lightning, but what about the thunder?"
"When he was a baby, I put him in bed with me and spoke softly to him. He seemed to like that, well, it calmed him down. Sometimes he'd let me stroke his head and he'd sort of curl up in my hand and go to sleep. Of course, when he got a little bigger that was harder to do and I'd visit him in his pen. He's almost as tall as me and getting bigger every day."
"Pachua sounds lovely," sighed Luna.
"He is; he's a brilliant creature. Everyone loves him. Pachua even got this other feller at the compound to sing to him. Now if you knew Ciarán, you'd know that he is not the singing type. Swearing, though, he's your man. You've never heard someone turn the air blue until you've heard him, especially after he's had a few if you know what I mean, but he's harmless. Anyway, Pachua whined and cried so much one night that he got Ciarán to sing to him. And what do you know, it worked. I couldn't bloody believe it but Ciarán threatened to break my face if I told any of the others."
"Why didn't you sing to him?"
"The only way I'll sing is if I've had a few pints. Otherwise I can't carry a tune in a bucket."
"You probably have a nice singing voice. Where is Pachua now?"
"He's still at the compound, still being coddled by the other dragon tamers. He's sort of like a guard dog for us, only dragon-sized."
"Well it's only natural that he'd want to protect you after you protected him. I feel safe with you too."
"I'm glad. I wouldn't let anything happen to you."
Luna didn't hesitate to rest her head on his chest. Her downy soft cheek felt smooth against him, and Charlie hoped his coarse chest hair didn't irritate her skin. The length of her braid was caught beneath his forearm, and he moved it out the way before bringing his fingers to the top of Luna's head. Charlie found it hard to ignore the niggling thought at the back of his mind, but having Luna nestled against him felt nice. The feel of her soft hair beneath his fingertips was nice. However, his well of words had run dry, mostly because had no idea what he was supposed to say. He was the older one yet it was Luna who seemed to have more confidence about the situation.
With every stroke of his fingers over Luna's hair, the more her weight settled into his. Her breathing was becoming slower and more even, and Charlie wondered if she had fallen asleep.
"I know you don't like pyjamas, but thanks for lending me yours," she murmured drowsily into his ribcage.
Charlie was struck with the urge to laugh but resisted. How did Luna know that he didn't like pyjamas? He'd never told her so, but it was like her to suss out things. Besides, she was right. Also, his pyjamas looked better on her, but he wouldn't tell her so, at least not yet.
"You're welcome," he replied, but she had already drifted off and never heard him.
Luna wasn't the only one who could figure out things without someone being direct. Charlie lie awake for a long time, thinking about the girl in his arms and running his thumb over her cheek as she slept.
Charlie was sure that Luna knew what people said about her and her father. Of course, most of the gossip had died down, mostly because everyone found out that Xenophilius wasn't mad as they'd made him out to be. During the course of the second wizarding war, everything he'd published in his paper had been true. Unfortunately, that war along with his daughter being kidnapped and held by the Death Eaters understandably left a permanent mark on his sanity.
It was plain to see that Luna was taking care of her father instead of the other way around. Possibly, she was Xenophilius's only caregiver. Charlie remembered Bill telling him about the Lovegood girl staying at Shell Cottage with him and Fleur. She had been rescued from Malfoy manor and even after being tortured for a length of time, somehow she maintained a calm demeanour after the fact. Charlie had bore witness to witches and wizards going through ordeals of a lesser intensity and falling to pieces. But while Luna might have looked the part of a frail witch, clearly she was not.
Now her only family consisted of a man who was still purported to be brilliant even if his wits were buried beneath multiple layers of insanity, but Charlie reasoned that it was better to have one half-mad parent living than no parents at all. He watched Luna interact with her father; not once did she raise her voice or lose her temper, even when Xenophilius's attention span seemed to rival that of a gnat.
Even though he hadn't personally spent a lot of time with Luna thus far, the depth of her character made Charlie want to get to know her fully.
Damn, he swore to himself, remembering that he would be returning to Romania in a weeks' time. Anyway, don't you think you're getting ahead of yourself? How about you find out if Luna is interested in you that way before you go barmy making plans?
Tell yourself what you want, but she came to you. Don't you think that says something? Or are you blind?
Before he could give himself a headache with an internal argument, Charlie told his inner voice to shut up before going to sleep.
It was still dark when the urge to use the toilet woke him up. Luna had one arm and one leg draped over him, and Charlie did his best to untangle himself while attempting to not wake her. Hissing as the cold morning air hit his warm skin, he hurriedly ran to the bathroom, relieved himself, and rushed back to his bedroom. He had just placed one knee on the mattress when Luna sat completely upright.
"Is it time to feed the chickens yet?" she asked dreamily.
Squinting as he moved closer, Charlie saw that Luna's eyes were still shut.
"Not yet," he whispered, placing a hand on her shoulder and gently guiding her to lie down. "Go back to sleep."
"I like you, Charlie," Luna continued in the same slumberous tone.
"I like you too, Luna," he replied, pulling the coverlet over them and wondering what outlandish take this conscious/subconscious conversation was going to take.
"I really like you..." she trailed off, blindly patting around until her hand touched his arm. Wriggling closer until they were nearly touching, Luna tilted her face up, lips puckered and going right for his. She was still half-asleep and if they were going to have their first kiss, Charlie preferred it to be when they were both awake. Instead he settled for pressing his lips to Luna's forehead, which seemed to do the trick. A slow smile stretched the corners of her mouth, and she nuzzled her face into his chest before going unconscious again.
When morning arrived, Charlie waited to see if Luna was going to mention their close encounter. Instead she went on cheerily as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. They spent the morning together, until Charlie announced that he had to run a few errands in Diagon Alley. He invited Luna to come with but she declined, stating that she promised to take her dad on a picnic. Charlie was mildly disappointed as he'd looked forward to Luna's company, but understood just the same.
"Can I come back later tonight?" she asked.
"Of course you can."
"Will you bring me something back from Diagon Alley?"
"If you like. Is there anything particular you have in mind?"
"Not really. I'll let you decide."
It didn't take long to pick up the things he needed in Diagon Alley; a few of his work shirts needed replacing, as well as a pair of boots as he'd worn the soles thin on his favourite pair. Charlie quickly popped into a shop that displayed lots of frilly little things and looked around for Luna's gift, but nothing came to mind, not unless she was in the market for a lace doily. Narrowly dodging the shop owner who clearly recognised the look of slight panic on his face and appeared ready as a vulture going in for its kill, Charlie swept out the shop and hastened down the street. He had no idea what made him go inside a haberdashery; perhaps it was luck, but he came across a few spools of satiny ribbon that all coordinated with Luna's dresses, and he figured she could use them to tie her hair back. After leaving the haberdashery he also remembered her sweet tooth and went into a shop, coming out with a bundle of flower-shaped lollies that had been arranged into a bouquet. It was the damnedest thing, consisting of fake butterflies and bees that had been charmed to visit each flower and Charlie figured it was the sort of item that only Luna would appreciate.
With nothing to do for the rest of the afternoon, Charlie decided to pay the twins a visit at their shop. What was meant to be a short visit turned into one that lasted a few hours, and the three ended up having dinner together. George became lively after a couple of lagers and nosed his way into Charlie's parcels.
"Well well, and who might these be for?" he asked upon seeing the bright wrapping surrounding Luna's charmed sweets.
"Looks like someone's got himself a girlfriend," said Fred knowingly as he grinned at his older brother. "Who is she, then? Anyone we know?"
"You two are idiots," Charlie grumbled, snatching the bag away. "Can't a bloke buy anything without it having to be for a woman?"
"Yeah, I suppose," George replied, scratching his chin. "Only I don't know any blokes who'd willingly step foot into the... Giggling Sweeterie to buy flower-shaped sweets for himself. Well, Freddie might, but he's an odd one, he is."
"Oi, shut up," Fred told his twin. "I can't believe you actually stepped foot into that shop. It's usually filled with a bunch of giggling eleven-year-old girls. Anyway, so who is she? Who did you buy giggling sweeties for?"
"I'm not telling you lot anything so you might as well change the subject."
With Charlie's refusal to divulge any details of his romantic life, the conversation turned towards Quidditch, mostly who they thought was going to win the World Cup.
By the time Charlie returned to the Burrow, night had fallen and the sky was full of brightly shining stars. He'd just put all of his purchases away when the silvery glow of a Patronus soared in through his bedroom window.
"Are you home yet?" the voice of Luna asked through the hare's corporeal form.
"Yeah, I'm back. But don't leave your house yet, I'll come by to pick to you," he replied via his own Patronus.
After a quick shower, a shave, and a few passes of his comb through his hair, Charlie stepped out the back door of the Burrow and headed towards the Lovegoods. He'd just raised a hand to knock on the door when it was flung open, revealing a widely smiling Luna.
"Hullo, Charlie," she greeted, stepping outside and pulling the door shut behind her. "I missed you today. Did you have a nice shopping trip?"
"I missed you too. It was OK; I saw my idiot twin brothers and we had dinner together."
Luna fell into step beside Charlie and slipped her hand into his. The gesture felt natural and Charlie surprised himself by weaving his fingers into hers.
"Are you sure your father doesn't mind you coming out with me this late?"
"No, he doesn't mind. Daddy knows I'm with you and he likes you. He says he's glad that I have a new friend."
Mollified by that reply, Charlie smiled to himself as they walked the rest of the way to the Burrow. Considering the late hour, Charlie reasoned that Luna had already eaten dinner, but asked her nonetheless if she wanted anything. Her only request was a glass of water which she said that she could get herself. While Luna rooted around in the kitchen for a glass, Charlie went to his room to retrieve her ribbon and lollipops.
Luna was on the sofa in the sitting room when he returned. He sat next to her, handing her the small parcel while hoping that she would have a favourable upon seeing her presents. To his relief, the smile on her face told him all. The charmed butterflies made her laugh, especially when one flew away from the daisy-shaped lollipop and landed on her outstretched finger. When she'd had enough of watching the charmed insects fly around, she gave a little tap of her wand and made them go stationary again.
"Thank you," she said, leaning over to press her lips to his cheek.
"You're welcome. Do you know you almost kissed me this morning?" he went on to ask, peering sideways at Luna. "You were half asleep so I'm sure you don't remember."
"Of course I remember," she answered, cocking her head to the side and smiling at him.
"Of course. I figured you stopped because I'd embarrassed you."
"No, Luna, you didn't embarrass me. I figured you were half asleep and unaware of what you were doing, and that if we were going to kiss you should be in your right state of mind."
"Well I'm awake right now."
"Does that mean you want to kiss me?"
"Only if you want to."
"Can I ask you something, Charlie?"
"Have you ever had sex?"
Luna remained so deadpanned that Charlie paused for a moment, waiting to see if she was joking.
"Yes, a few times," he admitted, wondering where this was going. "Why do you ask?"
Luna shrugged. "Just curious. Would you ever consider having sex with me?"
Merlin help me, he thought. This little witch was going to be his undoing.
"Would you like the honest answer, or the polite answer?"
"Politely give me the honest answer."
"All right: yes, of course I would consider it. I have considered it. But just to give you an idea of what else I like, I did enjoy it when we slept together, literally, just the sleeping with no sex. I liked having you wrapped around me. I also liked it when we sat and talked, just to give you an idea. Does that answer your question?"
"Yes. I liked your arms around me, but I also wondered what it would be like if we did that. I hope that doesn't bother you."
"Bother me? Gods, no. You're an attractive young woman, Luna. What man wouldn't look at you that way? Fortunately for me I find you attractive inside and out. Especially here—" Charlie pointed to Luna's heart, "and here." He pointed to her head.
"That's lovely. I think I'd like that kiss now."
Setting her gifts to the side, Luna slid over to Charlie until their thighs were touching. There was a small moment of tense silence, as if they were two teenagers on their first date, both scared that their parents were going to come in at any moment. Just as Charlie began planning the best course of action, Luna shifted slightly, tilting her face up towards his. Somewhat relieved that he didn't have to make the first move, Charlie slanted his head and slowly pressed his lips to Luna's, giving her a single, chaste kiss. They remained like that for a few long seconds, touching without moving.
Charlie's first kiss had taken place when he was in his fourth year at Hogwarts. The girl, a housemate who was a year older than him, had literally accosted him after a Quidditch match which Gryffindor had won. Their kiss had been clumsy, resulting in them banging their noses and teeth together. The only thing Charlie gained was a cut lip from the girl's lower teeth, and he didn't understand why so many of his schoolmates were eager to slip out of their dormitories to find dark alcoves to snog in. Now, years later, he was beginning to understand the fuss.
Besides not getting a cut lip, there was something else he enjoyed about the way Luna touched her lips to his. Perhaps it was her naturally sweet scent that tickled his nose when she moved closer. Or it could have been that, in spite of her boldly stating her desires she still had the grace to blush after doing so.
While trying to figure out the best way to repeat their kiss, Charlie felt Luna's soft fingers grazing the top of his hand. She spent some time tracing over the uneven patches of skin, most of which had been toughened from burns and manual labour.
"Sorry they're so rough," he apologised of his hard, callused fingertips when she slipped her hand into his.
"I don't mind," Luna replied, leaning her head against his bicep and tickling his palm with her index finger. "I've burned myself too, see?" She pointed to an area on her wrist that indeed bore an odd-shaped, discoloured scar.
"Trust me, there are a lot more than the ones you see on my hands. My legs and back are probably a mess but I've lost count of my injuries."
"That doesn't sound very good."
"Yeah, maybe, but it comes with the territory. I'm used to getting maimed and burned."
There was another moment of silence as Luna pushed Charlie's sleeve higher up on his muscled forearm to examine more of his freckled skin. She poked and prodded at the firm sinews, wrapping her fingers around his wrist and squeezing gently.
"Are you going to kiss me again?"
Charlie told himself it was now or never. The way he tugged Luna into his lap was neither suave nor practiced, but she appeared to be delighted with being pulled close to him. Somewhere in the two shuffling around on the sofa until they were comfortable, Charlie slipped both arms around Luna's waist and drew her closer. Their second kiss was just as methodical as the first, yet eventually transformed into one that left them breathless.
Now the two were snogging like a pair of teenagers in heat. Luna easily acquiesced to being guided onto her back on the sofa, and Charlie hovered against her, keeping most of his weight on his forearms. A pair of slim arms was wound around his neck, while little fingers softly carded through his long hair. The sound of her sated hums whenever he suckled on her bottom lip was pleasing to his ears, but the little gasps that came from Luna's mouth whenever his kisses veered to the side of her neck was downright erotic. It didn't help that she was clutching onto his back and neck, panting heavily into his ear while clamouring for more of those open-mouthed caresses. Charlie did his best to keep his entire weight from crushing Luna further into the sofa; besides squeezing all the air from her lungs, she would undoubtedly feel his cock pressing against the placket of his jeans. Luna already displayed that she had no qualms with being the initiator, but if she were to touch him below the belt, he would end up trying to bury himself in her body right then and there, and making love to her on his parents' sofa was not how he envisioned their first time.
"OK, wait a minute," said Charlie, even though it killed him to stop.
"What's wrong?" asked Luna, frowning as she pushed herself up on both elbows.
"Nothing." Exhaling hard and trying to ignore his erection, Charlie ran a hand through his hair.
"Let's go upstairs, then. I think I'm ready for bed."
Whether there was double meaning to Luna's words, Charlie was not sure. Still, he allowed her to move from the sofa and walk ahead of him up to his bedroom.
Purely out of habit, Charlie stripped down to his boxers before slipping into bed. Luna was so observant that she would have noticed if he was to suddenly wear pyjama bottoms; regardless, they would have offered minimal protection between them. It still wasn't enough to make him wear the cumbersome things and he slipped into bed wearing just his underwear, trying to focus on anything else but the fact that Luna was a few paces away from him, half-naked as she changed into his pyjama top.
"Why did you stop when we were downstairs?" she asked, slipping into bed next to him.
The ceremony of using his wand to extinguish most of the floating candles around his room was prolonged, mostly due to Charlie floundering for an answer. When only a few remained lit, he slipped the wand beneath his pillow and turned to face Luna.
"I hadn't forgotten about our earlier conversation, the one about us sleeping together. Let's just say that we would have come damned close to shagging on my parents' sofa and the idea sort of put me off. Not the shagging, just the bit about the sofa."
Luna smiled as she slid over to rest her head on Charlie's chest. "I can understand that."
"Also, there's the matter of me going back to Romania in less than a week. I know it's only been a short time but I'm not looking forward to leaving you behind, much less after sleeping with you."
"Oh. Well, you'd come back at some point, won't you?"
"Of course I will. Besides coming home at Christmas I try to visit whenever I get a free moment."
"So what's the problem? If we're enjoying our time together now why worry about that other stuff? Oh. Do you have a girlfriend back in Romania?"
"What? Of course not, Luna. I haven't had a girlfriend since my school days, not unless you count Pachua and this Antipodean Opaleye that seems to fancy me. And I'd rather my girlfriends not breathe fire when they try to kiss me, thanks."
Luna giggled into his skin. "I don't think I can breathe fire, at least I haven't tried. Not that I'm trying to imply that I'm your girlfriend."
"You could be if you wanted."
Luna turned her head to look up at Charlie, who was now running his fingers over her cheek, waiting for a response.
"Yes, I would like that," she replied with no hesitation.
"Now I'm definitely going to have to find my back out here more often," Charlie groaned in a mock aggrieved tone, easily flipping Luna over onto her back and moving atop her. "Can't have anyone saying that I've abandoned my girlfriend. Perhaps you'd find time in your schedule to come visit me in Romania as well."
"I'd make time for you," assured Luna, lifting her head to brush her lips against his collarbone.
That little touch made him dip his head and seal his mouth over hers. Chests touching and hands clutched palm to palm, the two began kissing and writhing voraciously against one another. One of Luna's legs had made their way around Charlie's waist, and he pulled one hand free to allow it to travel up the outside of her thigh. It turned out that her skin was even softer than he imagined, and he wondered if the rest of her body felt the same.
There was no way she could ignore his arousal, not the way it was pressing against her inner thigh. Even with the proof of his arousal there and so blatantly obvious, Luna struggled to pull Charlie tighter against her, going far enough to wriggle her hips and cause his tented boxers to meet flush with her thinly covered core. Another one of those risky yet delicious manoeuvres and Charlie told himself that Luna was going to learn firsthand just how much he wanted her. He was doing his best to keep his urges in check, even if for a mere moment, but that was becoming harder by the minute.
In an effort to slow things down, Charlie sat up in bed, pulling Luna with him. That led her to sitting astride his thighs, and while she was still intimately pressed against him, he felt this position give him a bit more leverage.
Charlie worked one hand up the back of Luna's pyjamas, stroking his fingertips across her satiny skin. Inwardly he berated himself, figuring that he was most likely scratching her with the appalling state of his hands. Luna brooked no complaint, instead she let out a breathy sigh when he traced down the length of her spine.
As old-fashioned as it sounded in his mind, Charlie still maintained that he ought to woo Luna for a little while longer before they went further. On the other hand, their time together was short, and she had made it abundantly clear that she was as good as wooed.
Just one little peek, he promised himself, steadying the flat of his hand against Luna's back while his other hand crept to the front of her nightshirt, undoing the first three buttons. When the garment was loose enough to fall round her shoulders, stopping right at the top of her breasts, Charlie began covering her throat and chest with hot, wet kisses.
Each soft moan that escaped Luna's lips continuously spurred Charlie on. She trembled within his grasp, all the while wordlessly urging him to continue. The more inflamed her passion grew, the harder Charlie found it to resist. He allowed one hand to graze the front of Luna's pyjamas and upon feeling the tight bead of an erect nipple against his palm, gently cupped the entire small mound.
"Bloody hell, Luna, you've got me over a barrel here," Charlie groaned into her neck, lightly pinching her nipple between thumb and forefinger, earning another soft cry from the tempting young witch. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yes," answered Luna breathlessly. "I don't know how, well, I know how, I just never have. Is that all right?"
Bloody fucking hell.
"Are you telling me that you're a virgin?"
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
Dropping his hand from Luna's breast and resting it on her hip, Charlie closed his eyes and took several deep breaths.
"I don't suppose you're on a potion or anything."
"No...I hadn't thought that far ahead. I'm sorry."
Charlie took another deep breath before looking up. Luna met his slightly pained gaze with a curious look before reaching up to push his long hair back from his face.
"Trust me when I say you have nothing to be sorry for." Charlie was so hard that it nearly hurt; he was positive there was some sort of spell for preventing contraception, but hell if he knew it. It wasn't as if he'd had great use for such knowledge. Also he knew about something that Muggles used, condoms, he was sure they were called. Some younger and more open-minded wizards used them, although the whole matter was very hush-hush. As it were, Charlie definitely didn't have any of those on hand.
"What about tomorrow?" Luna was now asking, "I know how to make the potion; I can take it before coming back over tomorrow night."
"You make an offer that's hard to refuse," Charlie replied, brushing his lips against hers. "All right: tomorrow. I can wait less than twenty-four hours."
"You can, but what about him?" Reaching down between them, Luna placed her hand squarely on the bulge of his crotch, grasping it mid-shaft.
"I know what else we can do." Shifting Luna to lie on her back, Charlie reached over to withdraw his wand from beneath his pillow. "But after I do this first."
Charlie reasoned that there was no point in holding back any longer, seeing as how he and Luna were going to take the final plunge in a few hours. Impatience showing as he hastily unfastened the rest of the buttons on her nightshirt, he pushed the material away from her body, exposing what he'd been longing to see. He wasted no time in sucking Luna's left nipple between his lips while his fingers teased the right. She moaned and arched her spine, slipping a hand into the back of his head to keep him close. That made Charlie continue to lick, kiss, and nibble on every patch of her skin that was within his reach, and he left behind little red blotches that were noticeable even in the dim light.
"Do you mind?" he paused to ask Luna, trailing his hand across her stomach and stopping at the waistband of her knickers. When she shook her head, his hand moved lower until it came in contact with the thin, damp layer of cotton. The first few caresses of his palm were tentative, yet when Luna reached down to press his hand into her fully, showing him how she wanted to be touched, Charlie knew it wasn't long before he'd want to snatch off her knickers and forget about that damned potion. Swiftly it became clear that the only way he would get reprieve was to find release, and soon. Luna seemed to know this and moved one hand to the front of his boxers, eagerly trying to pull out his erect cock.
"One moment," Charlie grunted, remembering that he was still holding his wand. Yanking his boxers down his thighs with one hand, he pulled Luna's hand into his own and aimed his wand at it. It took a second before she realised what the lubricating spell was for, and she wrapped her slickened palm around his shaft. Charlie also used the same spell on his hand; that one touch of his hand to Luna's knickers told him that she was wet, but there were more than a few blisters and calluses on his fingers and hurting her was the last thing he wanted to do.
It took some manoeuvring, but they were soon arranged in a tangle of limbs that was awkward yet left them positioned to simultaneously touch one another. When Charlie nudged aside the seat of Luna's knickers to swipe one finger up the length of her damp slit, her legs trembled against him. But when he eased the longest of his thick fingers inside her snug channel, she unleashed a sharp gasp that made him pause for a moment.
"Am I hurting you?"
"No, it just feels strange, is all."
Strange wasn't what he'd been aiming for; he wanted to make Luna feel what he was feeling, as the grip of her small fist moving up and down his cock was sublime.
"Your knickers, they're in the way... I'll mend them for you after, promise."
His wand was used once more, this time to sever the seams at the side of Luna's underwear. Without the fabric constricting his movement, it was much easier to touch her. Apparently Luna thought so, too, because her legs fell open to either side and she thrust herself against Charlie's fingers until he began touching her the way she needed.
Slowly, carefully, Charlie moved his finger inside Luna, twisting and curling it about, listening to the changes in her breathing to decipher what she liked best. Then his thumb found the tight little nub nestled in between the top of her folds and a desperate plea of a moan, unlike all the others, rang out in his room. Her hand never stopped moving the entire time, and as Luna worked herself back and forth on his finger, Charlie's hips continuously thrust forward, literally fucking her fist.
His palm was now drenched, all for reasons that had nothing to do with his spell. Snug walls gripped and pulsated erratically around his finger; soon those uneven waves began increasing until it felt as if Luna's entire cunt was throbbing against his hand. Caught up in the throes of watching her head being thrown back in the most beautiful way as she succumbed to orgasm—an orgasm that he was responsible for—Charlie was surprised to feel his own release overtaking his senses, literally yanking the air from his chest as Luna's hand tightened around him.
It took Luna a long time to come down; she trembled all over, even after going limp on the mattress. Her hand still gripped Charlie's now softening shaft, and she didn't seem to notice that much of her stomach and breasts was covered in his seed.
Charlie wasn't much better; the moment his waves of climax subsided he collapsed next to Luna, his hand resting in a relaxed curve over her pubic mound.
"Are you falling asleep already?" he asked with a chuckle when he felt Luna going completely still.
"Yes," she murmured.
"I think I ought to clean you up beforehand."
A pass of his wand vanished all traces of his release from her skin. Another flick and her knickers were repaired. Luna's pyjama top had somehow completely come off her body, but Charlie was disinclined to point this out. The urge to sleep was now also weighing heavily upon him, and after making short work of pulling Luna against him and covering them both with the sheets, Charlie extinguished the remaining candles in his bedroom and felt his heavy eyelids crash shut.
Luna slept right through the crowing rooster the next morning. Even when Charlie slipped out of bed she remained curled up beneath the blankets, never once opening her eyes.
After finishing his morning chores, he silently praised himself for having the forethought to buy certain items on his trip to Diagon Alley. A freshly baked loaf of bread had been one of his purchases with Luna in mind, seeing as she had been spending so much time at the Burrow. Now he carried a tray up to his room which bore a few thick slices, a dish of butter, jam, and a pot of tea. Luna was still asleep although she had drifted over to his side, leaving her long hair in a tangle across the bedding.
Charlie had no idea why he was so taken with the view of Luna slumbering blissfully in his bed, but he found himself quietly setting down the tray, moving to the other side of the bed and stretching out alongside her. Luna looked just as serene in her repose as she did during her waking hours. The prurient part of his brain reminded him that she was almost completely nude beneath the sheets; his pyjama top was mostly likely pushed down to the foot of the bed. Yet just enough daylight poured and fell upon her face, highlighting the delicate curve of her cheek, hidden beneath a few wisps of hair, and a pair of soft lips that he had—and planned to again—spent hours kissing.
He didn't wish to wake her, but could not resist reaching out to smooth the hair out of Luna's face. She did wake up and upon seeing Charlie lying next to her, slowly smiled and reached out to touch him.
"Good morning. Is it time to feed the chickens?"
"I've done it already; didn't want to wake you. Did you have a good sleep?"
"Yes," Luna answered, yawning and stretching both arms above her head. She sat up and peeked over at the tray, causing the blankets to fall away from her shoulders. "Is that toast?"
"Yeah, I bought bread yesterday. I figured that you'd want something in the mornings if you were going to stay over."
"That was nice; thank you."
Naked from the waist up and completely unabashed, Luna shared breakfast with Charlie there in his bed. When they finished eating, the two filled the next few hours with talking and kissing, until Luna remembered that she needed to go home. She had been gone for twenty minutes when he heard someone at the backdoor.
"That was fast. Did you forget your shoes?" he asked, expecting to see the blonde on the other side. His words were cut short when he saw someone who was not blonde or female.
"All right, Charlie," the tall redhead greeted, stepping into the house. "Who were you expecting?"
"What are you doing here, Ron?" asked Charlie, purposely avoiding his brother's question. "I thought you would be at work this time of day."
Shrugging out of his cloak and hanging it up on the hook on the wall, Ron sauntered into the kitchen and stopped at the battered wooden table, thumping down a few large brown paper bags with grease spots.
"I worked late last night so Kingsley gave me today day off. And I figured I might as well stop by and see my big brother since you're barely here."
"Big brother," Charlie echoed wryly, looking up at Ron's towering figure. "You're damn near three times my height; what the hell have you been eating? And how did you know that I'd be here right now?"
"Dunno, I guessed. Fred and George told me they'd seen you so I took a chance. You still didn't tell me who you were expecting. Did you have company?"
"How the hell did I become saddled with such nosy little brothers?" grumbled Charlie, sitting down across from Ron. "Let me guess, you three got to gossiping and they sent you over here to investigate. And I'm sure the fish and chips are a bribe."
Ron gave a sheepish grin, the same one he used whenever he had gotten caught in a lie.
"Well, you're partly right. Fred and George did tell me that you had a new girlfriend but wouldn't say who and that I should try to sneak in and catch you, but I'm not mental. The fish and chips were my idea, though. And they aren't a bribe, so much as 'I'm starving and can't be arsed to go home and cook'. Here," Ron shoved one of the bags at Charlie. "Extra vinegar on the chips, just the way you like."
"And this isn't a bribe?" Charlie asked mockingly, even as he pulled the still hot bag closer and practically ripped it open. "Just tell me what the hell the twins are planning so I know how to kill them."
"I don't think they're planning anything," said Ron around a mouthful of chips and cod. "They just want to know who you bought lollipops for. Dunno why they give a damn, but there you are."
"So, uh...who did you buy them for?"
"What? Is she supposed to be some big secret? Or is it some bloke because hey, that's all right too."
"No , Ron, she's a she. And it's fairly new which is why I don't have much to tell."
"Is she someone we know?"
A half-chewed piece of food fell from Ron's open mouth as he paused to stare at his brother. "It's not Hermione, is it?"
"What? No, you idiot! And besides, what are you worried for? I thought you two were broken up."
"Well, yeah, we are. Even so, it would be too weird if she was dating one of my brothers."
"Well it's definitely not Hermione, so you can relax. And wipe your mouth for God's sake."
Ron resumed chewing, soon shovelling another large piece of battered cod into his mouth.
"If I tell you, you'd better not say anything." Ron's mouth was too full to speak and he made some muffled sound of outrage, but Charlie cast him a stern look. "I mean it. I'm only telling you because you came all the way here and I don't want you coming back, barging in on us in some shite effort to find out."
"I promise not to say anything," Ron assured after swallowing hard. "If I do you can beat my arse."
"I'm going to remember that. Anyway, it's Luna, Luna Lovegood. I'm pretty sure you know her."
Ron stopped chewing again as a look of pure shock registered on his face.
"What —Luna? Are you serious?"
"Yeah, I'm serious," Charlie snapped, frowning in annoyance. "What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing! Honest, it's just...well she's the last person I expected to hear you mention. I didn't even think you knew her that well."
"I didn't, not until this week that is. But we've been spending a lot of time together. I even had dinner at the Lovegoods' a few times."
"Blimey, what was that like?"
"It was...different, but not bad. Not bad at all, actually. I enjoyed myself. Xeno is a bit—"
"—barking mad?" Ron interrupted, sniggering into his fist. "Tell me about it."
"I was going to say odd, but I guess barking mad works as well," Charlie finished wryly. "Once you get past their unconventional ways and inconsistent flow of conversation topics, they're quite nice."
"All right..." Ron trailed off, dubiously looking down into his lunch.
"Oh—what is it now?"
"Well, I don't know how to say this," Ron continued, sounding somewhat embarrassed, "but I hope you aren't just messing around with Luna. I like her; she's a good egg. And I know you're going back to Romania next week so if this is just some fling for you to get off, I don't care if I have to get Harry, the twins, and Bill to help me kick your arse but I will."
Charlie looked down at each of his thickly-muscled arms, then at his brother.
"The five of you put together wouldn't stand a chance," he replied dismissively, "but you don't have to worry about that. In case you haven't noticed I'm not much involved in the dating scene—as if I have that sort of time—but I would never 'mess around' as you so delicately phrased with Luna. I like her too, which is why returning to Romania is going to be hard."
"Well... all right..."
"Ron, I'm telling you—do not say anything to anyone, especially Mum. The last thing I need is more owls, crying for me to give up my dragons and find a nice girl to settle down with and start a family. Luna and I are still getting to know one another and I don't need Mum luring the girl over here, trying to pick out dates for a wedding."
"Bloody hell, Charlie, I said I wouldn't say anything. Give it a rest."
"OK. I've made my point, so I'll drop it."
Ron stuck around for another hour until the effects of a late night began kicking in. On his third yawn Charlie suggested that he go home and get some rest.
"Yeah, I think I will," he replied, scratching his scruffy face while reaching for his cloak. "Say hi to Luna for me, yeah?"
"Will do, and thanks for lunch."
"No problem. And I'll make up something to tell Fred and George. I'd still set up wards but if they decide to plan a surprise visit, I'll owl you."
"Can't you just arrest them? Charge them with being pains in the arses and a general nuisance. You are an Auror, after all."
Ron gave a barking laugh as he stepped outside. "I just might consider that," he called over his shoulder, waving as he walked to the Apparition point.
Finding himself alone again, Charlie returned to his room and began tidying up, even though things were barely out of order. After his fourth time of moving the same pile of books from one table to another, he gave up the pretence of cleaning. It was silly to feel nervous, especially after taking into account his and Luna's intimate activities that had taken place the night before. Ten minutes later, a soft knocking interrupted his thoughts, and Charlie went downstairs to find Luna at the back door.
"I hope you don't mind my being early," she began, smiling as he pulled her inside and kissed her cheek. "Daddy has company and I figured I'd give them some privacy."
"Really? What sort of a company, a lady friend?"
"Yes. Her name is Zoyinne and sometimes she comes over and helps dad with the Quibbler but if you ask me, she fancies him. I hope daddy comes around soon because I like her. I know he gets lonely sometimes, even if I'm there, but she's nice. I know he fancies her too, because whenever Zoyinne comes over Daddy combs his hair and wears his best trousers."
Charlie thought Zoyinne's name alone sounded like a mouthful, although so was Xenophilius. And judging by what Luna was saying, the two seemed to hit it off well, odd names and all.
"So are we going to have sex today? I took my potion."
Luna's query sounded so nonchalant that she might as well have been asking if they could go for a walk.
"Yes, Luna, we are going to make love if you still want," Charlie patiently answered, biting back the urge to laugh. "I just figured we'd do other things before getting to that, such as dinner. I think I've helped you enough in the kitchen to make something passable."
"Daddy and I both think you're a good cook. I'm not that hungry yet but I would like some peaches."
Charlie began looking around for a basket. "Peaches I can do; not much work involved pulling them from the tree."
The moment he unearthed a basket that had been buried beneath a pile of tea towels, Luna dashed outside, eager to speed up their peach picking mission. The tree in the Weasleys' orchard bore plenty of ripe fruit; so much that Luna suggested making peach crumble.
"That's fine with me, Luna, but I think we should hurry back to the house," Charlie told her, frowning slightly as he looked up at the steadily darkening sky. "Looks like it's going to rain again but what's new."
"I hope it doesn't thunder this time," Luna serenely replied, plucking one last peach from a low branch before stepping down from the stool.
Luna's legs had been right in Charlie's line of vision, and the entire time he'd been fascinated by the muscles in her calves tensing and flexing whenever she stood on tiptoe. He figured there was something depraved about gaining such joy from getting excited over her perfectly shaped legs, as well as the little peep show he was treated to whenever the hem of her dress was lifted by a breeze, but Luna was his girlfriend now and he was allowed to look.
Dark rain clouds continued rolling towards the Burrow; Luna and Charlie were halfway back to the house when a trickle began coming down, followed by heavy buckets. This prompted them to run and Luna gave a loud giggle when Charlie accidentally let out a loud swear in front of her. The two were almost at the back door when Charlie cursed again, this time not from the rain but because of a loose chicken near his ankles, flapping and squawking in indignation at getting wet.
"Shite!" Charlie shouted, scrambling to catch the chicken. "Luna, you can go inside while I put this idiot back inside his coop."
But Luna didn't go inside; she set the basket down on the back step and followed behind Charlie, who now held the squirming chicken. The heavy raindrops didn't help the situation and the chicken continued loudly protesting at getting wet.
"Oh shut up! You should have stayed in your damn coop!" Charlie snapped, causing Luna to laugh again.
Rounding the corner to get to the coop displayed that not only was the door unlatched, but the rest of the chickens were scattered in the yard, milling about and squawking loudly. Between grunts of 'dim-witted creatures' and 'fucking birds' emitted from between Charlie's clenched teeth, he and Luna managed to get them all back into the coop, securing the latch with lock and magic. At some point during the melee, Luna tripped and fell facedown into the mud in an attempt to avoid hitting one of the chickens. Charlie tried to catch her, and ended up falling on his knees and elbows. A few rumbles of thunder were heard in the distance, but Luna was so overcome with a fit of giggles at the sight of her and Charlie covered in rain and mud that she didn't notice.
"That was funny!" she continued, picking up the basket of peaches and giggling as Charlie nudged her inside the house. "I've never chased a chicken before."
"I have, just not in the rain," Charlie replied, shaking his head as he looked down at his mud covered shirt. "Remind me to properly fix the latch on the coop tomorrow. As for now all I care about is taking a shower."
"Yes, I think that would be a good idea." Luna held out both arms in front of her before sticking out a leg. "I didn't realise we were this dirty."
"You can shower first," Charlie offered, yanking his feet out of his soiled boots and leaving them by the door. Luna followed his lead and did the same.
"Or we can just share the shower. That way we can both get clean and spend more time with one another."
There went more Luna-logic that he was not about to argue with. Soiled clothing was left in a charmed wash tub with scrub board in the kitchen, and a wet, cold and naked Charlie and Luna dashed upstairs. Sharing a shower turned out to be more functional than anything, as they were keen to rid their hair and skin from the dirt and mud. Then there was the issue of the shower's size; it was big enough for one person with just enough space to somewhat move around in. Two people, even if Luna was big as his leg, was a tight squeeze. Even though Charlie was focusing on trying to get clean whilst not taking another fall, it still didn't stop him from peering below Luna's neckline as she washed her hair.
"That's much better," Luna murmured, peering down at her arm once she and Charlie were in his room. After towelling off she sat cross-legged on his bed, completely naked and without a care in a world as she combed her hair. "How did you get that?"
"Get what?" asked Charlie. He'd been in the middle of roughly drying his hair with a towel and paused to see what Luna was talking about.
"That scar next to your bellybutton."
Charlie lowered his hand and ran a fingertip over the protruding area. "Sometimes I forget about this. Got it first day on the job and not from a dragon, mind you. I sort of walked into a big rusted nail. Cut through my belt and into my skin. It would have gone deeper had I not fallen back."
"That sounds horrible," Luna frowned as Charlie sat next to her. "Not that I'm much better; I've lost count of the amount of times I've broken my toes."
"How did you manage that?"
"Sleepwalking, mostly. I kept walking into the wall at home and then a few times into the stove in the dormitory at school. That's why I would always wear shoes to bed."
"Well if you begin sleepwalking here I won't let you break any more toes," Charlie assured her. Luna flashed him a smile before scooting behind him and kneeling up.
"I don't sleepwalk any more, at least I don't think I do. The last time it happened I woke up in the bathtub."
Luna had taken it upon herself to comb his hair, and Charlie found the sensation relaxing. The only other person who ever touched his hair had been his mum, and that was to roughly pick through the long tresses and hack—trim, she called it—into a shorter length that was more 'appropriate'. In order to keep the peace he'd allowed Mrs. Weasley to cut his hair but the moment he left the Burrow, his hair had been grown back to its original longer length.
Luna's touch was decidedly gentle, the complete opposite of his mum's. In between running the comb through his hair she also used her fingers to smooth the tresses into place, and Charlie hoped that he wouldn't accidentally fall asleep on her. Yet the feel of her naked skin pressed against his back, especially her breasts, would not let him fall asleep.
"OK, I'm done," he heard her say, and he experienced a pang of regret when her breasts left his back as she leaned over to place the comb on the nightstand. But then she slid back into place, aligning her legs alongside his and scooting forward until her feet were next to his knees. "You have more scars on your back." Two fingers traced the outline of a particular nasty injury he'd sustained, that one from a dragon.
"A Ukrainian Ironbelly; gorgeous he was, but its talons were a sight you'd never want to see," Charlie replied, thinking back to the day the animal came close to shredding the skin on his entire back. "I was lucky that day."
He felt Luna shudder slightly behind him. Sighing, she slid both arms around his torso and rested her cheek against his shoulder.
"I'm glad you weren't hurt terribly. That would have been awful."
"Thanks. I'm used to it by now, but I do have a far less accidents than I did in my early days." Charlie gave Luna's hand a little squeeze before encircling her ankles with both hands. "Let me guess, this is the toe you broke more than once." The big toe on her right foot was misaligned compared to the other, and didn't bend the way it should when he softly pressed on it.
"Yes. The final straw for that one was stove in the Ravenclaw dormitory. I didn't want to bother Madam Pomfrey in the middle of the night so I fixed it myself but it never went back to normal."
"I think it looks fine. So what if it doesn't bend all the way, it isn't as if you're using your feet to pick up things."
"I have done that before," Luna giggled. "No wonder everyone called me 'Loony Lovegood'."
"You aren't Loony, and I hope you ignored them."
"It didn't bother me all that much. I know I'm different and I'm OK with that. If anyone else doesn't like it then that's their problem."
Luna went quiet as she nuzzled her nose against his back. Soft lips and fluttering eyelashes tickled his skin, and nimble fingers circled round the indentation of his navel. It felt nice to have Luna against him like so, but Charlie wished that he could see the rest of her.
"Come here," he said, grasping her wrist and coaxing Luna to sit in front of him. "You are wise beyond your years, but I guess you know that," Charlie continued when she was in his lap and facing him.
"Most just think I'm dim," Luna replied matter-of-factly.
"That's because they're dim. Besides, you were sorted into Ravenclaw for a reason."
Luna looked mildly pleased at Charlie coming to her defence. Rehashing old memories of rude classmates did nothing to spoil her mood, because a little smile remained on her lips as she began running a hand over his chest.
The night before when they touched one another, the bedroom hadn't been brightly lit and their caresses were mostly absent of visual exploration. Right now, the sun had already gone down and Charlie had made sure to leave enough burning candles floating throughout when he and Luna finished their shower.
Maintaining a serene expression on her face, Luna took her time running her dainty fingertips over the sinews of his broad chest and shoulders. His stomach and thighs were caressed the same way, and each feather-light stroke sent a little jolt to his cock. Luna's innocent yet arousing exploration of his body soon caused blood to pool in his groin, leaving his thickly veined shaft bobbing between them.
"I never really got to see you yesterday," she commented, pressing the palm of her hand on Charlie's chest and urging him to lay back.
"Yeah, well, we were a little fraught," he replied, leaning back and keeping his weight on both elbows. Curious to see what Luna was going to do, he stared down at the top of her head, watching as her fingers delved into his pubic hair before curling around his penis.
Humming some sort of agreement, Luna slowly retracted his foreskin, revealing the deep red tip of his cock as well as the clear bead of fluid nestled in its opening. Gripping him in her hair, she tugged his prick in a maddeningly slow pace that threatened to drive him mad, but chances were if she was to go any faster he'd end up coming in her palm.
Apparently he wasn't the only one becoming turned on; Luna's breathing had grown heavy and more than once he noticed the way she kept biting down on her lower lip. The slope of her small breasts was just within an arm's reach, and Charlie longed to reach down and play with the pert, tiny nipples that seemed to call his name.
"Feel free to let me know when it's my turn," he offered lightly, deciding that the need to touch Luna was greater than the need to have her continue touching him.
"Now is good if you like," answered Luna, letting go of Charlie's cock and shifting to his side. "Where should I go?"
Kneeling up and ignoring the droplet of pre-ejaculate that was now sliding down his shaft, Charlie arranged all of his pillows into one large pile and directed Luna to lie down.
"Why did you want me to stop?" she asked, lifting her head to pull all of her long hair to one side.
"If you think that I wasn't enjoying it, that's not the case," said Charlie reassuringly, covering Luna's body with his. "I just wanted to touch you as well."
"All right," Luna sighed happily, arching her back when Charlie's lips found the tender spot at the side of her neck.
Remembering the state of his rough hands, Charlie took care to not dig his fingertips too hard into Luna's skin. Either he was over thinking things or she was so far gone that his calluses were easy to ignore, because the moment his hand lightly skimmed one rosy-tipped breast, Luna's hand came down upon his, urging him to touch harder.
Collecting a few of Luna's sweet kisses was Charlie's first priority. The moment his lips brushed against hers, Luna opened her mouth and tickled the tip of his tongue with hers. For a split second he wondered if she was just as eager as him; an answer soon came when his lips left hers, dropping a trail of kisses across her flushed chest until he reached her nipple. Keening softly, Luna leaned into the caress while one hand clutched onto his shoulder.
It didn't matter where he touched or kissed her; Luna continuously pulled Charlie closer to her, although he suspected it was a reaction borne of sheer want. She moaned into his mouth when his lips found hers once more, that moan merging into a sharp inhale when the flat of his hand slid down her trembling stomach and over the soft, short curls covering her sex. He still hadn't looked intimately at her the way she did to him and Charlie planned on parting Luna's thighs wide as they would go, eager to explore her with his eyes, fingers and tongue.
"All right?" he asked as her legs quivered against him. Charlie had just slipped one finger between her folds, ready to reach for his wand to cast a lubricating charm. To his surprise the charm was unnecessary; Luna felt warm and slick all over as if he'd been touching her there the entire time.
Luna nodded. "I'm ready."
Charlie wasn't done with his perusal but an achingly hard cock made him reconsider. Luna settled the entire matter by sliding down on the bed until their hips met. The angling was slightly off, leaving the underside of his shaft pressed against her cleft. Reaching down between them, Luna repositioned his cock, rubbing herself against it a few times before leaving him nestled at the opening to her entrance.
Forearms planted on either side of Luna's head, Charlie braced himself to move forward. Slowly, slowly he mentally chanted, not having the faintest idea of what he should or shouldn't do to keep Luna from feeling discomfort. Everything seemed to be fine until the thickest part of his shaft touched a slight resistance; pressing against it caused Luna to flinch and squeeze her fingers around his wrists.
"Hey," Charlie murmured, kissing the tip of her nose. "Talk to me, Luna. Tell me what you need."
As Luna became lost to the thrall of his mouth, Charlie resumed his careful penetration of her body, inching forward so slowly that it sometimes caused him to tremble. Even though Luna continually urged him on, a deep furrow formed in her forehead seconds before he buried himself fully inside her. A soft whimper of pain was lost to his mouth and Charlie experienced a stab of guilt. He remained still for several moments, kissing Luna and waiting for her to let him know if she wanted to stop or keep going.
"It doesn't hurt as much now," she informed minutes later, tentatively rolling her hips against his. "But it still feels funny."
"Good funny or bad funny?" asked Charlie, withdrawing almost completely from her body before entreating in one slow, shallow thrust.
That tiny movement made her silvery grey eyes widen and he immediately went still. Sliding both arms beneath Luna's back, Charlie held onto her shoulders and settled himself fully atop her until their chests were touching. Luna slid her arms around his neck, pulling him even closer. In spite of her obvious uneasiness she shifted her lower body in a way that pushed him deeper; Luna gave a soft gasp, most likely because she was still trying to get used to the new sensations. Charlie, on the other hand, bit the inside of his cheek in an effort to distract himself. Besides the soft, wet heat surrounding his cock, the tight grip her walls had on him was enough to make him lose control.
"Don't move," Charlie told her in a hoarse voice. Luna pressed her face into the side of his neck and nodded, allowing her body to lie limply as a rag doll. He began an easy rhythm of pump and grind, determined not to hurt Luna again while attempting to give her some pleasure. Soon his careful movements were no longer necessary because her hands soon moved from his neck down to his waist, and she pushed her hips back to meet each thrust.
"You won't break me, Charlie," she panted, unaware that her fingertips were digging into his skin.
By now Charlie thought it would be a miracle if there was a chance he could hold off. Yet when Luna arched her back, tangling her fingers into the back of his head and guiding his mouth towards her breast, he knew he was fighting a lost cause. Charlie had no idea why he was so turned on by that tiny, perfect nipple between his lips, but he licked and sucked on it while driving harder into Luna. She was no screamer but her heavy breathing and trembling body told him all he needed to know. Just when he didn't think that she had the ability to grip him tighter than she already was, Luna literally clamped down on his shaft. That snug, slick clasp was instantaneously his undoing, and Charlie thrust hard into her one last time, groaning and apologising in the same breath for the strong yet too soon release that left him weak-limbed.
"Why did you tell me you were sorry?" asked Luna, smoothing her fingers over his sweat-slickened upper back.
"Because I meant to last longer than that," Charlie answered, remaining on top of Luna until his vision finally returned. Bracing himself on both forearms he leaned down to kiss her before sliding down the length of her body. Apparently she knew where he was headed, because her thighs automatically parted for him.
Luna's right leg rested comfortably over Charlie's shoulder, and he dropped a few kisses to her soft inner thigh while taking in the sight before him. He hadn't known what to expect after taking into consideration that up until a few minutes ago she'd been a virgin, and was relieved to see that she looked fine save for a bit of redness. Keeping that in mind, he carefully used his fingertips to separate her folds, exposing the tiny nub hidden at the top.
Eager for a taste, Charlie used both hands to keep her labia parted and used the flat of his tongue to give Luna one long, slow lick from hole to clit. Some of his own milky release trickled out and he cringed from the bitter taste, but that was easily avoided by keeping his mouth focused in one specific area.
Luna convulsed slightly at that first swipe of his tongue over her clitoris. By the fourth agonisingly slow lick, it sounded as if she was holding her breath and that prompted Charlie to look up. A few times her eyes travelled down to focus on him, but for the most part she was completely immersed in the pleasure being foisted upon her. Charlie wanted to see and hear her come apart completely and did his best to elicit a favourable reaction. Luna hadn't been shy in voicing her desires yet he still took it upon himself to try different things. He slid one hand up Luna's body to play with her nipples while keeping his mouth pressed against her. That made Luna close her eyes, throw her head back and release one long sigh. Her hips began writhing of their own accord, keeping pace with the tongue steadily lapping at her.
Keeping his mouth on Luna's clit at her behest, Charlie began rimming the outside of her entrance with his fingertip. When she continued rocking against him, obviously wanting to be penetrated, he eased the lone digit up to the knuckle inside her clenched channel. A few more licks, a couple more nudges of his finger and Charlie found that Luna did possess the ability to scream, even if it was in a lilting, delicate sort of way. Her legs and belly quivered as she exploded into an orgasm so strong that he felt her literally throbbing against his lips and hand, effectively soaking him and his bed in the process.
The sound and feel of Luna being brought to orgasm by his hand was addictive and made Charlie keep going, purely to see if he could make her come again. By her second peak his chin was soaked and his tongue risked cramping, but he didn't care. In the midst of moaning and writhing about Luna had anchored her heels onto the bed, literally working herself back and forth on his hand, desperate for more. It briefly occurred to him that he should stick to using one finger, but Luna's hips immediately snapped forward the moment a second fingertip grazed her folds. It took a bit of force to work his middle finger alongside the pointer inside her snug, rippling walls but she was so far gone into her pleasure that she eagerly accepted another of his thick digits. Within seconds her tension-wrought body grew flushed all over; Luna came even harder that time, greedily clamping down on Charlie's fingers in a way that nearly rendered his hand immobile. Worn out and gasping for air in the aftermath of her release, her hand weakly clasped onto Charlie's, wordlessly urging him to let her rest. She was still trembling when he moved to lie beside her.
"Maybe that'll leave us on more even footing," Charlie murmured, wrapping an arm around Luna's waist, tucking her into his side and dropping a kiss to her shoulder. A response never came because after releasing a long sigh, Luna went completely limp against him.
Hours later when Charlie and Luna woke up, the once planned peach crumble had been forgotten about. Neither of them was in the mood to bake or peel anything, and they ended up eating the freshly picked peaches along with a bit of cheese and bread. Charlie felt badly about not supplying his girlfriend with a proper supper and offered his meagre cooking services, but Luna claimed that she was fine. She also had no reservations with saying that she wanted to make love again. As much as Charlie wanted another go at the two getting tangled in his sheets, something made him ask if she felt all right to do so. Luna told him yes, but then reached down between her legs and found that she was in fact a bit tender. The only healing spells Charlie knew were for dealing with cuts and bruises, and not for the soft, intimate area between a woman's legs. So instead of losing himself within Luna's body, he indulged himself with learning more about her outsides.
Luna now lay in his bed on her stomach, her cheek resting atop both folded arms. Charlie was resting on his side, head propped up by one hand while his other smoothed over her naked back. Before Luna turned over, Charlie had kissed nearly every inch of her body, earning a giggle, sigh, or a soft moan in return. His caresses lulled her into a placid state and if Luna were a kitten, he was sure that he would hear purring.
"Are you going to tell anyone about us?"
Charlie was in the middle of toying with the short, wispy curls at the nape of Luna's neck when her question made him pause for a second.
"Yeah, if you don't mind," he replied. "Actually, Ron sort of knows about us; he came by this afternoon. I forgot, he told me to tell you that he said 'hi'. I hope that isn't a problem, but if it helps I did tell him to keep it to himself. The last thing I wanted was Fred and George giving you a hard time."
"No, I don't mind," Luna sighed, reaching behind her to grab Charlie's hand. She pulled his arm around her and pressed her lips to his palm before tucking his hand against her chest. "If you see Ron again tell him I said 'hello'. You can tell Fred and George I said hello as well."
Charlie wondered if Luna had anything else to say on the topic of their relationship going public. His answer soon came in the form of a light snore, although her grasp on his hand never faltered.
Luna spent the rest of the night sleeping in Charlie's arms. At some point she turned to literally using his broad frame as her personal mattress, but he didn't mind one bit. The only thing that was hard to ignore was a certain part of his body that reacted to indirect stimulation when she grinded her soft buttocks into him. The feeling of his stiff cock pressing against the backs of her thighs woke her up. Knowing that Luna probably needed more time before they were intimate again, Charlie had been prepared to try to ignore his erection. To his surprise she nudged him onto his back and straddled his hips, starting at his neck and kissing her way down his chest. Charlie wondered just how far Luna was planning to go, unsure if she had the pluck to head further south past his navel. Yet the moment her soft lips and hot, wet mouth completely engulfed the tip of his shaft, he reminded himself that she was never one to back down from anything, no matter her inexperience.
It took Luna more than a few minutes to figure out what to simultaneously do with her hands and mouth. When she got the hang of manoeuvring him about, Charlie was very close to losing control. He fought to keep from thrusting up into Luna's mouth, not wanting to choke her, yet his climax hit so suddenly that the only thing he could focus on was the sublime sensation of her tongue and saliva-slickened fingers moving over him. It was his turn to lie trembling as his orgasm subsided, and Luna resumed caressing and kissing his chest (he noticed that she'd paused to use her wand to clean them both).
The next day Luna went home to change her clothes and check on her father. Charlie expected her to be gone for a few hours, yet Luna returned after thirty minutes and reported that her father had company and she wanted to give them privacy.
"Does that mean you caught them in the middle of..." asked Charlie, trailing off and allowing Luna to fill in the blanks.
"No," she calmly finished for him. "But Zoyinne was making coffee and dressed in one of daddy's shirts, so it's obvious that she spent the night."
Good on you, Xeno, Charlie cheered silently. He then abruptly decided that it was creepy to cheer on his girlfriend's eccentric father for scoring a shag, and put it out of his mind altogether.
Charlie and Luna spent part of the afternoon in the more secluded part of Diagon Alley. Upon encountering Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes both hurried past, knowing that Fred and George would use that moment to lightly torment their brother. Thankfully Charlie's massive frame kept them from getting too out of hand.
The night before, he'd promised Luna that he would take her out for a proper meal to make up for their dinner of cheese and peaches. Since they were familiar with the wizarding part of London, they decided to visit the Muggle side. After a long walk they had an early dinner (Charlie stated that he always kept Muggle money on his person) which included a few glasses of wine that left them feeling a little more than merely relaxed. Once they were back on the wizarding side of London, Luna offered to Apparate them back to the Burrow but Charlie declined, thinking about his first failed attempt at Apparition. Of course that had been years ago and he was experienced now, but travelling while under the influence didn't seem like a good idea. Instead they found a place with a Floo and while that method left them covered in soot, it was preferable to being splinched.
It took a few passes of their wands over one another to remove every trace of soot, but the two were soon back to a relatively clean state. Charlie remembered that he hadn't checked his hair and was in the middle of ruffling the long red strands about when Luna stood on tiptoe and peered at his scalp.
"You're OK," she announced, pressing against Charlie's shoulder to make him sit down.
He was extremely amenable to Luna settling in his lap and peppering his face with kisses. It was even better when she kept her lips against his while one hand roved over the front of his shirt, trying to undo the buttons.
"Luna," Charlie began between kisses as she tried to slip a hand beneath his vest, "how long does that potion you made last?"
"A week," she answered, moving her lips to his throat. "Why?"
"Why? Because I've been fighting the urge to stick my head beneath your dress all day," he replied in a near growl, making Luna laugh. "I'm happy that amuses you. Are you still sore?"
"Not anymore, and I'm glad because I want you too."
Those words were all Charlie needed to hear. Urging Luna to sit back on the sofa, he slipped both hands beneath her dress, waiting for to lift her hips so he could remove her knickers. Any qualms he'd formerly had about shagging on his parents' sofa were forgotten the moment Luna pulled the hem of her dress up to her stomach, revealing her nakedness.
Thinking about the sofa again and making a mental note to make thorough use of multiple cleansing charms afterwards, Charlie knelt before Luna and placed her legs over his shoulders. She gasped the moment his tongue glided over her clitoris, and soon she was twisting and writhing beneath his hands and mouth. He knew it was rubbish timing, but quietly he thanked his mother for not having any photographs or paintings nearby. Besides the images dying from shock, they would have undoubtedly reported to Mrs. Weasley the acts between him and his girlfriend in the room the entire family used.
Luna, however, seemed unfazed by the communal furniture that her limbs were splayed across while Charlie steadily licked her to an orgasm that left her weak and trembling. The little flutters of her contracting walls were still going strong when Charlie yanked off his shirt and vest, hastily push his jeans and boxers down his thighs and covered Luna's body with his. She continued gasping for air while ensnaring him with arms and legs to pull him closer, and Charlie was able to feel her heart thumping like a drum against his chest. He all but impaled her on that first thrust, causing Luna's eyes to roll back and her breath to hitch.
Between Luna clinging to him, raising her hips to meet each thrust, and each surge forward on his part that left him buried to the hilt in tight, warm witch, Charlie soon forgot about their surroundings. Their first time together had been somewhat gauche; even though Luna hadn't appeared to be nervous, he had been highly aroused yet on edge with doing his best to not overwhelm her. Now, something told him that if he were to go easy, Luna would thump him in his lower back with her heels.
Her damnably long curls dangled to the floor and some of it was trapped beneath his forearm. Not once she did wince or complain that he was pulling her hair. Instead she clutched greedily onto Charlie, twisting wantonly and crying out as he drove deep into her. Eventually Luna's impending orgasm rendered her incapable of controlling her body's reactions, and the grip of her legs almost completely immobilised his lower half.
"Why are you slowing down?" she panted, frowning up at him.
"Because you're stronger than you realise," Charlie laughed, sliding his hand along one leg that was tightly wound around his waist.
"Oh, sorry." Luna repositioned her legs alongside his, leaving her feet pressed to the backs of his thighs. "Is that better?"
Charlie thought about it for a second before slipping both arms beneath Luna's knees and splaying her wide beneath him.
"You tell me," he countered, resuming his previous motion.
Luna inhaled sharply and squeezed her eyes shut at the sensations the new angle brought forth. Each rocking motion sent a wave of pleasure over her body; whenever Charlie withdrew she instinctually felt compelled to push back. She was only kept on the edge of wanting for a few seconds but when he filled her again the tight, achy feeling never quite subsided. The arch in Luna's spine grew more pronounced with every stroke, causing them both to slide further down on the sofa. Eventually the two ended up somewhat dangling on the edge while maintaining a tenuous grip on one another.
Up until now Charlie had only been able to bring Luna off with his hands and mouth. Now, if he was to go by her ragged breathing and quivering limbs, she wasn't far off from coming with him still buried inside her. Inarticulate cries of passion interspersed with his name became lost to the small sitting room; each sweet sound urged Charlie on and he drove harder into his witch, intent on making her feel every inch of him. He looked down to see Luna opening her mouth as if about to yell, yet the noise became trapped in her throat. The scream never sounded but her body grew rigid as a board before dissolving into intense shudders that nearly threw him off. Watching Luna's strong reaction brought Charlie right to the edge, but his heightened awareness of her clamping down on him almost to the brink of pain before rhythmically squeezing every bit of his shaft, sent him over.
It took him a long time to come back to earth, and when Charlie opened his eyes he found himself slumped against Luna, his lips pressed against her damp neck. There was an intense pounding in his ears, and he realised that it was the sound of both their hearts hammering away. Luna let out a sigh above his head, but he felt too lethargic to look up.
"I hope we do that again," she murmured, running her fingers through his hair. A slow chuckle rumbled in his chest and Charlie attempted to prop himself up on his forearms.
"Somehow I thought you were going to tear into me for getting too carried away," he admitted, brushing his lips against Luna's throat.
"No, it was perfect. But I think we should move before we fall."
"Yeah, I think you're right." Summoning the strength to move, Charlie carefully rose from the sofa before helping Luna up as well. Remembering the cleansing charms for the furniture, he hastily waved his wand about before the two went up to his bedroom.
The rest of that night was spent in bed. Despite remaining naked the entire time, things seemed easy and comfortable as if they were fully clothed. In between conversing about anything that came to mind, there were stretches of silence where Luna contented herself with resting her head on Charlie's chest while the tip of her middle finger traced circles into his hip. Not long after innocent touches turned into a more intimate exploration and Luna found herself lying flat on her back while two of Charlie busied himself with her nipples. His hand caressed the soft skin of her stomach, continuously moving further until he met with a light thatch of curls. Her legs fell open like the pages of a book, allowing him to do whatever he wanted.
The more Charlie learned her body, the easier it was for him to figure out what Luna liked. Kissing and nipping at her stomach made her go positively mad; that reaction was greatened when done to her inner thighs, but coupled with two of his thick fingers pressing inside her while his thumb tickled her clitoris earned him more than a few shrieks. Luna still hadn't recovered from her two orgasms when she was urged to turn over, after which she was pulled up onto all fours.
Charlie forced himself to last longer that go around, and found that it was worth it when Luna dug her fingers into the bedding while pushing back onto him. That bout of lovemaking was heated as it was tender; regardless of each firm thrust, one hand gently stroked the length of Luna's curved back, sometimes moving to the front to cup her breast. He held out for as long as possible, but when she soon exploded in a release that left his balls bathed in her essence, all the while muffling her moans into the duvet, Charlie swore silently while trying to remain buried in the silken glove of her body.
Luna grappled for coherency for what seemed like forever. Her legs shook from coming so hard, and the only thing she registered was the strong forearm hooked beneath her hips, maintaining a tight grip that kept her from falling flat onto her face. Charlie's long red hair brushed against her sweat slickened skin as he pressed soothing kisses to her shoulder, and they gradually slid back down to the mattress. Luna's laboured breathing eventually tapered off and she dozed off with Charlie's arm still beneath her. He remained like so for some time until his wrist went numb and had to shift Luna's weight. She only stirred to search for his hand, slipping her fingers through his before resuming her sleep.
Charlie was thoroughly knackered but a niggling thought at the back of his mind kept him from joining Luna in her slumber. Only four days remained before he would return to Romania. The last thing he'd envisioned upon agreeing to mind the Burrow for the week was forming an attachment to anyone. Now that Luna was inevitably a part of his life there was no way in Hades that he would change it. He didn't want to put the carriage before the horse but hoped like hell that Luna wanted to continue with their relationship, despite the unavoidable distance that would soon divide them.
Right then another thought occurred to him; when Bill and Fleur first met they lived far apart, yet the two found a way to see one another. In a roundabout way their mum tried to point out that a long-distance relationship wouldn't be all roses for Bill, but he had been adamant about staying with his girlfriend, no matter what. Then he proposed and that gave Mrs. Weasley something else to complain about, although her gripes mostly stemmed from Fleur's prissy attitude. As far as Charlie was concerned, Luna already had one foot in the door as his mother had extended an invitation for the young witch to visit their orchard whenever she pleased.
Sod it, Charlie thought as he closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of Luna's hair. Things would work itself out, and he refused to spend another moment worrying about the what-ifs.
Time had an unpleasant way of going by too fast when a person was enjoying himself. The next few days seemed to fly by, much to their chagrin. However, Luna pointed out that instead of focusing on the fact that Charlie would soon be leaving, they should enjoy the time that was left.
From sun up to sun down, the two could be found together. One evening they had dinner at Luna's house and Charlie met Zoyinne, Xeno's new love interest. He half-expected to meet someone who was just as eccentric as the wizard but found Zoyinne to be relatively normal and extremely pleasant. It was said that opposites attract, and Charlie figured that Zoyinne's grounded attitude lent a sense of balance to Xeno's flightiness.
On Charlie's last day in Devon, Luna suggested a picnic lunch in the orchard. The sunny day was a pleasant change, and after eating the two stretched out on a quilt Luna brought from home. They were both barefoot, their shoes having been abandoned and left in a heap next to the hamper. Tiny white flowers were scattered around the quilt, as Luna had busied herself with making miniature circlets. Now she was on her back, hair fanned out beneath her head, and Charlie was sticking the leftover flowers into the tangled strands. Between her flower-adorned hair and patchwork dress, he thought she looked like a wood nymph and told Luna so, causing her to laugh. She then stuck a handful of flowers into his hair; Charlie knew if any of his brothers were to see him now they'd never let him live it down, but he didn't care because it was worth seeing the smile on her pretty face.
"Have I told you that you're quite a good kisser?" Luna asked conversationally as she draped herself over his chest.
"No, but you're more than welcome to prove it," Charlie replied with a devilish smirk.
Kissing soon turned into touching, and Luna's knickers were removed as Charlie hastened to unfasten his jeans. Even though Luna had yet to ride him, she climbed on top and took him into her body as if she'd done it a thousand times before. At first her movements were slow and tentative, as though she was trying to figure out if she liked this new position. But when the rolling of her hips became less controlled and more frantic, he knew that Luna more than liked it. Little by little she slipped further into a state of disconcerted bliss. Without halting the rocking of her body, Luna dropped a hand to where she and Charlie were joined, and he had a clear shot of her fingers rubbing little circles onto her clit.
Charlie found the sight of Luna atop him to be incredibly erotic. Beams of sunlight shone on her face, highlighting her furrowed brow and teeth biting into her bottom lip. He tried to remain still, preferring to let his girlfriend set the pace, but a few times he was unable to control his hips. Pushing up while Luna slid down caused a raw sounding moan to spill from her lips and she grabbed onto her own thigh as if trying to contain herself. The hand between her legs never stopped moving even as it trembled, and soon those fine tremors were running throughout her entire body. Sharp little cries came from the witch each time she pressed herself against him, and it was evident that she was nearing completion. Curling his fingers around Luna's hips for leverage, Charlie began a solid ingress that made Luna collapse onto his chest, and seconds later she reached a climax that left her trembling in his arms and crying out into his neck.
Waiting for her to calm down, Charlie ran his fingers over Luna's back until she went still. He took that opportunity to roll them both over, leaving him on top. Soft moans left Luna's mouth when Charlie resumed a languid thrusting motion, but soon she was tightening around him again, clutching onto his back as another orgasm washed over her. He was determined to last as long as possible, but his final shreds of self control were efficiently obliterated during Luna's last climax.
Long after they were done, the two remained connected to one another. It sounded as though Luna had dozed off, and Charlie shifted onto his back, bringing her with him. The afternoon sun still shone brightly into the orchard and its warm rays danced across their skin. Try as me might to forget the fact that he would soon be leaving, Charlie contented himself with memorising the feel of his witch lying in his arms.
"Charlie, surely you aren't going back to Romania with your hair in that state?"
Those had been the first words to come from Mrs. Weasley's mouth when she and Arthur stepped out of the Floo and into their sitting room.
"Nice holiday?" Charlie directed towards his father, swiftly changing the subject. Admittedly his parents looked well-rested and he had an idea that seeing the sights had been a small part of their relaxation, but all Mr. Weasley responded with was a brief, "Very nice, thank you," before shuffling upstairs with his and Molly's valises.
"Have you eaten breakfast?" asked Molly, ushering Charlie into the kitchen.
"Mum, it's after one; of course I had breakfast."
"Coffee doesn't count, young man," she fussed, using her wand to point at a chair, then flicking it at the breadbox. "Don't think I don't know my own son. Besides, you can't travel on an empty stomach."
Charlie fought the urge to roll his eyes at being chastised as if he was a child, but all the same it was nice to still be coddled. However he had eaten breakfast with Luna, who left early that morning.
"How did everything go? I imagine you went stir crazy being in this house on your own."
"It wasn't too bad," Charlie replied. "I had lunch with Fred and George one day and then Ron visited me the next."
"Those sons of mine," Mrs. Weasley sighed, still holding onto a knife as she brushed past Charlie and paused at the bottom of the steps. "Arthur? ARTHUR!"
Shortly after his name being repeatedly shouted, Mr. Weasley reappeared and took a seat next to his son. Just as Charlie began asking about his parents' trip a large plate of sandwiches was set down on the table.
"I can't stay long, Mum. Remember the International Floos don't run the same as the local ones."
"Then don't waste time talking and eat!"
Never one to turn down a meal prepared by his mother, even if it was a mere sandwich, Charlie ate until he was full to bursting. The moment he stood up to leave Molly spluttered that he didn't need to rush, and Arthur pointed out that Charlie was going to be late if he stayed longer. Their son had to wait another five minutes while Molly filled a brown bag with more sandwiches, which she thrust into his hands before giving him a tight squeeze. A handshake came from his father and soon Charlie was through the Weasley family Floo.
His first week of being in Romania again took some adjusting to. Charlie loved his work; even more he loves his dragons as if they were his own children, yet not being able to have breakfast with Luna or hear her roundabout yet rational banter made him realise just how much he enjoyed her presence. The other keepers warmly greeted Charlie upon his return, but seconds later they turned their attention back to their tasks. Pachua, on the other hand, had been overjoyed to see his favourite human and darted back and forth in his pen, flicking out his long, forked tongue between the bars and batting his head against it until Charlie stuck in a hand and stroked his head.
Life was the same as it had been before leaving; rise early, make sure the dragons beneath his care were fed and their pens tended. Evaluate any new dragons the reserve received and get them assimilated to their new home. Friday nights were spent at the pub with his co-workers, and Saturday and Sunday consisted of a long lie-in, followed by lunch and then reading in his favourite sunny spot in a field behind the employee cabins. Often he would take Pachua with him, and the creature enjoyed basking in the sun as much as his handler. Pachua was also the only one who seemed to notice that Charlie seemed rather lacklustre in comparison to his usual cheery disposition.
"I miss someone, if you must know," Charlie answered to Pachua's seemingly inquisitive look one afternoon. "And she lives far away."
Pachua gave him a long, green-eyed stare and licked out his tongue.
"She lives back home—my first home—and that's not exactly a skip across town."
The dragon apparently was not interested in that bit of detail, because he flopped down next to Charlie and began digging his snout in the grass. Several letters had been exchanged over the course of Charlie's absence, and the last one contained a photograph of Luna and the kitten she had found at the Weasleys' home. Pachua was in the middle of rooting in the dirt when Charlie pulled the photograph out from between the pages of his book, and he lifted his head to examine the moving image.
"This is the lady I told you about," Charlie explained, holding up the photograph, "this is Luna—Pachua, don't lick it, you silly thing!" The tip of the dragon's wide tongue had come close and Charlie rushed to shove it back into his book. Pachua didn't look remotely abashed at having been scolded but he did rest his large head on the grass next Charlie's leg, patiently waiting for the wizard to pet him. "I told her about you. Maybe I'll send Luna a picture of us so long as you don't try to eat the camera."
Two weeks later, Luna received another letter from Charlie, along with a picture of him and Pachua standing side by side. In addition to the letter, she received a dragon's tooth into which a hole had been pierced and leather cording woven through. In his letter, Charlie explained about Pachua's current strange habit of biting on inedible things. The dragon's last chew toy had been an old tree with an incredibly thick trunk. Usually a dragon's jaw would have been enough to snap a tree clear in half, but that specific one had been standing long before the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary and stood the test of Pachua's teeth. Pachua seemed unfazed by the missing tooth yet hadn't been pleased when Charlie attempted to look into his mouth. In order to not have their wands also bitten in half, the animal had to be put to sleep in order to let the handlers regrow the tooth. Days later, Charlie had been going for an evening walk when he came across the tooth. Tossing it had been his first instinct, and then something told him that Luna might like to keep it. The tooth's pointed end had to be filed down first, and then he was able to pierce and thread it.
Luna immediately wrote back after receiving the tooth pendant, photograph, and letter. A book had also been included in the parcel, a text about dragons written by a wizard who recently retired from the reserve. Just as he suspected she had been ecstatic to receive the unconventional medley of presents, as spelled out by the hasty tone of her writing. The main bit that stuck out for him was Luna saying that she would be able to visit him in Romania in a month, on the condition that he hadn't grown tired of her. Charlie's reply to her query had been so swift that he snapped his quill in the process. In his rush to send off his letter he irritated one of the reserve's owls, which had been in the middle of a nap. The bird nipped at Charlie's finger before snatching the envelope out his hand and flying off.
The weeks leading up to Luna's visit made Charlie discover that he was prone to displaying a streak of impatience. Purely to keep from going completely mad he worked a few extra hours each day, only turning in when it became evident that he was in dire need of sleep.
"All right, Charlie?" Ciarán greeted at the end of one particularly gruelling Friday.
"How goes, Ciarán?"
The older man exhaled noisily as he took a seat on the grass next to Charlie. He then yanked off his battered dragon hide gloves before reaching into his pocket, withdrawing a pouch of tobacco and rolling papers. After a rolling and lighting a perfectly shaped cigarette, Ciarán took a deep pull and sighed. Charlie wasn't offered any as it was widely known that he never smoked.
"What's up with you, lad? You've been working your fingers to the bone every day for the past fortnight. Folks mostly do that when they don't want to go home, usually to avoid their wives." Charlie narrowed his eyes at the smug pepper-haired man, who was now cackling in between puffs of his cigarette. "So what's your excuse? The fact that you're not going home to a nagging wife? Or maybe you've got your wand in a knot because she's back home and you're here?"
"And how do you know so damned much?" Charlie grumbled, which was enough of an answer for Ciarán.
"I didn't miraculously arrive at old age, Charlie-boy," he replied, roughly clapping the younger man on the back and standing up. "Hopefully you'll see her soon. Now I'm off, got a pint with my name written on it."
Keeping their conversation in mind, Charlie made an effort to turn in at a slightly more reasonable hour at the end of the workday. Judging from Luna's letters, her excitement about the visit seemed to match his. When the day of her visit finally rolled around, more than once Charlie had to remind himself to calm down, but then the idea that he was behaving like a besotted youth amused him. He had given Luna precise directions on travelling long distance via Floo. Worst case scenario, she would find herself halfway across from Romania and that idea had him worried.
Ciarán had been on his way out when he walked through the common area and noticed Charlie perched on the edge of the sofa. Immediately he put two and two together when he saw the anxious look on the young man's face, as well as the way he kept staring straight ahead.
"For God's sake, man, she'll be here!" he quipped, shaking his head.
"I know that," Charlie replied gruffly, refusing to move his eyes from the hearth which still remained cold and dark. "But it's taking her longer than it should. I hope she didn't get lost."
Still shaking his head, Ciarán continued out the door. Five minutes later he returned and tossed Charlie an ice cold bottle of lager. "Doctor's orders: drink until you stop looking daft."
Despite shouting at the older man to piss off, Charlie was grateful for the liquid relief and quickly prised off the bottle cap. He had just finished the last drop when the hearth flashed green followed by Luna tumbling out, a look of surprise on her face.
"Hullo, Charlie," she greeted, dropping her bag and hurrying over to him. "Sorry I'm late, I got a bit turned around."
Luna was cut off when both of Charlie's thick arms encircled her waist and lifted her off her feet. She was kissed to the point of breathlessness, and the sound of someone clearing their throat brought them both back to the present.
"I take it you're the reason Charlie here was stuck with a long face for week." Stepping forward, Ciarán handed Charlie two more bottles of lager before introducing himself to Luna. "Figure you two could use those seeing as you're not likely interested in coming down 'ta pub tonight."
Charlie accepted the lager with gruff 'thank you', narrowing his blue eyes at Ciarán who had a suggestive gleam in his.
"Nah, I doubt it. Unless you want to, Luna?" Charlie hastily amended, turning to look at his smiling girlfriend.
"Maybe tomorrow, if that's alright," she replied, covering her mouth and yawning. "I'm a bit tired from waking up so early. But it was lovely to meet you, Ciarán."
"Likewise, my dear," Ciarán replied before winking at Charlie and disappearing again.
"So..." Charlie trailed off, slipping his hand into Luna's and squeezing it. "Would you like a tour?"
"Would you mind if we did that tomorrow?"
"Not at all. Did you have supper? Are you hungry?"
"Yes, I ate before I left, but I'm not hungry for food..."
That was the only incentive Charlie needed to hurriedly snatch up Luna's bags and escort her to his cabin. Thankfully the rest of his mates were either already in their cabins or out for the evening, because the grounds were completely empty and he didn't have to stop to make introductions.
The moment they were inside his cabin, a flurry of kissing, hugging, and groping one another ensued. Their shoes, shirts and jeans were removed in between kisses, and Charlie was still dressed in his socks and boxers as he scooped Luna up into his arms and carried her to his bed.
"Are we safe?" he asked, knowing that Luna would catch his meaning.
"Yes," she moaned, slipping her arms around Charlie's neck and fisting her hands into his hair.
"Do you have any idea how much I missed you?"
"As much as I missed you?"
"I'll take that," Charlie replied teasingly, sealing his mouth over Luna's.
Every one of his touches made Luna gasp or moan. Swiftly she was divested of her bra and knickers, and Charlie nearly ripped off his socks and boxers. He then slowly reacquainted himself with Luna's body: the sweet taste of her mouth, the softness of her breasts and thighs, the curve of her hip. When his fingers finally strayed to the warm place between her legs a soft, elated cry met his ears, and he continued stroking until her back was arched and tears ran down her face from the intensity of multiple orgasms. The next loud noise that came from her lips when they joined made Charlie hope that the nearby cabins were empty, and a few dozen hard thrusts on his part was all it took to send them both over the precipice.
"I missed that, too," Charlie panted into the side of Luna's neck, swiping away the dots of perspiration lining her forehead and temple.
Luna smiled lazily and slid her palm over his cheek. Besides being kissed and held in Charlie's strong arms, she also missed making love with him. The anticipation of waiting all those months to see him, followed by an explosive reunion suddenly weighed down upon her, and Luna felt an intense lassitude weighing down her every limb. The last thing she remembered was Charlie's lips brushing against her temple while his hands massaged her back, and seconds later she fell into a relaxed sleep.
Over the course of the next few days, Luna was shown around the reserve and introduced to everyone. She was especially excited to meet Pachua, and Saturday after lunch he was taken along when the two went for a walk. The dragon was a few heads taller than Charlie and nearly twice as wide; he completely dwarfed Luna, yet behaved as if he were no bigger than a small dog. When Pachua wasn't flying around or snacking on the bucket of chicken livers that Charlie had brought along, he insinuated his large, scaly body in between Charlie and Luna's legs (the two had been laying next to one another in a half-reclining position) and nudged them with his head until he was given proper attention.
The nights, however, were designated for the dimly lit, cosy interior of Charlie's cabin. Each arduous round of lovemaking left the couple breathless, weak limbed, and too knackered to untangle the sweat-stained sheets from around their legs. Usually they fell asleep afterwards but in trying to spend as much time with one another, the two stayed awake and talked until their eyes refused to remain open. Now they were draped horizontally across the bed; Luna had coaxed Charlie to lay on his stomach and her slim fingers were tracing over each sinew of his back and shoulders.
"When do you think you'll visit home again?"
"Christmas definitely, but if I can sneak away before then I promise you'll be the first to know. Actually, you might be the only one to know."
Luna made some small noise of approval yet it was enough for Charlie to know that she was pleased. Her hand then drifted away from his shoulder and up to his hair. Ever since finding out that Luna liked his hair long Charlie didn't bother with haircuts. The red strands currently reached the middle of his back, and Luna was drawn to it like a bee to honey, maintaining her grasp on it long after they had both fallen asleep.
Their parting of ways on Luna's last day of her visit was bittersweet. More than a few hugs and kisses were exchanged moments before she stepped into the Floo. The night before the two worked out a plan that entailed Charlie visiting Luna on her end in three weeks' time, and that was a consoling factor for both parties.
"She's a nice girl," stated Ciarán later that day when he ran into Charlie. "I like her. She's good for you."
"I like her too."
"Pfft, you more than like her, lad. That much is plain as day."
Without elaborating further Ciarán continued on his way, leaving behind a frowning Charlie.
The next three weeks seemed as if they were the longest weeks of his life, but when Charlie finally arrived in London, he understood what Ciarán had been on about. Charlie was in love with Luna—there was no two ways about it. Not wanting to scare the young woman off, he debated with telling her how he felt versus keeping his mouth shut, but when Luna practically dove into his arms at first sight, kissing him and murmuring that she loved him, the words flowed easily from his mouth like water and he knew he'd made the right decision when a new light shone in her pale blue eyes.
Between then and December, Charlie and Luna travelled back and forth a few more times to see one another. When Christmas arrive Charlie stayed in Devon for two weeks, much to Mrs. Weasley's delight.
The Burrow was filled to the rafters with everyone come home; even though Charlie was grateful to be among his family, the constant noise and endless chatter made him silently praise his forethought to rent a room in a quaint little inn that was on the less travelled road and located just outside of wizarding London. Its proprietor was a stout woman named Mrs. Sally and she became accustomed to seeing Charlie and 'the sweet little blonde one' as she referred to Luna. The couple stayed there when Charlie visited London and wished to avoid his family. From the outside the inn looked like a hole in the wall, but once you stepped inside it had a homey feel.
"Charlie, I don't know why you couldn't stay here last night," Mrs. Weasley was now saying as she set down a tray of meat pies.
"Because Bill and Fleur are in his old room and I didn't feel like sleeping on the sofa," Charlie replied, knowing where the conversation was headed.
"You could have shared with Percy, or used the twins' old bedroom! Merlin knows they only show face round here when it's time to eat."
Percy had been deliberating over which meat pie to choose when he heard his name. His blue eyes widened at the thought of sharing his bedroom yet he knew better than to argue. Fred and George, however, jumped right in and began teasing their older brother.
"Yeah, Charlie, where were you?" asked Fred.
"And why didn't you want to use our old room?" George chimed in.
"Because you two idiots probably have the room laced with fart bags or some rubbish," Charlie snapped. "And don't worry, Perce, your snoring is enough to wake the dead so anyone who values their rest would never share with you."
"Well—" Percy began, looking completed affronted and spluttering around his mouthful of meat pie. "I don't snore!"
"Like hell you don't snore, Perce!" Ron shouted, causing his mother to smack him in the back of the head. "I could hear you from my room; wanted to stick my socks in your mouth but Ginny wouldn't let me."
Bill, Fleur, and Ginny were doubled over with laughter. Mr. Weasley looked as if he was trying to hide his amusement, and Percy went on as if he was unable to hear his family's heckling.
"Leave your brother alone!" Mrs. Weasley fussed, smoothing over her son's hair and causing his face to redden.
While his siblings continued teasing Percy, who soon had enough and began pointing out the bad habits of his brothers, Charlie heard a knock and rose from the sofa to investigate.
"Hullo, Charlie. Your mum invited us over for dinner but I told her I could come for afters. Zoyinne and daddy send their thanks but decided to stay in. I'm sure they're having sex by now."
Caught between a snort and a laugh yet muffling the sound, Charlie ushered Luna into the house and helped to remove her coat.
"One thing, before we go in there."
Charlie pulled Luna into his arms and began kissing all over her face. His lips had just found hers and they were soon perched against the Weasleys' battered, food-laden kitchen table. The two were so deep into their kisses that they didn't hear the polite-turned-obvious clearing of a throat until the voice of Mrs. Weasley rang out.
"If you two are going to do that, would you mind not doing it over my tarts? I spent an entire day baking and—"
"Sorry, Mum," Charlie apologised, slipping his hand into Luna's and moving them away from the table.
"Hullo, Mrs. Weasley."
"Hello, dear. Where's your father, did he get our invitation?"
"Yes, and he says thank you but he and Zoyinne said they were going to stay in tonight. Daddy said to give you this." Luna handed Mrs. Weasley a small parcel wrapped in bright-red paper. Charlie noticed that his mother looked dubious; her worry was warranted especially if the parcel contained something edible that had been made by Xeno. Yet she tactfully set it aside and patted Luna's cheek before going back to the sitting room.
"So," Charlie began, drawing Luna into him and slipping his arms around her waist, "you should know that my brothers have been drinking since before dinner started and the twins are in rare form. But if they get too out of hand I know how to handle them."
"It's going to be OK, Charlie," Luna replied calmly, standing on tiptoe to give him one last kiss before taking him by the hand and leading him into the sitting room.
The fact that the two were holding hands hadn't gone unnoticed by everyone, although Ron and Mrs. Weasley were the least affected.
"Giggling Sweeterie!" George exploded. "You're the one Charlie bought those sweets for!"
"Pack it in, idiot," Charlie quipped.
"Well well, I didn't see this one coming. Evening, Luna."
"Hi, Fred. How are you."
"Fine, just fine." A knowing smile was making its way across Fred's face and Charlie shot his brother a warning glare.
Everyone else went on to accept the fact the Luna and Charlie were dating without a hitch. The rest of the evening turned out to be quite pleasant, and just as everyone was turning in for the night, Mrs. Weasley stopped the couple.
"I knew there was a reason that my son looked more content than usual, although he'd have me believe that it's due to all that fresh air. 'Fresh air' indeed."
Charlie prayed that his mother would let them leave without uttering something that would embarrass either him or Luna.
"All right, you two. I'd better see your faces tomorrow at dinner, understand?"
"That would be lovely, Mrs. Weasley. Thank you."
They were then ushered into the Floo. As they walked hand in hand up the road that led to Mrs. Sally's inn, both quietly reflected on the past few hours.
"That didn't go as I expected," Charlie stated thoughtfully. "I was so sure that I would have to threaten my little brothers."
"They mean well," Luna replied, smiling up at him. "I had a nice time tonight."
"Did you now? Shall I make it even nicer?"
The suggestiveness in Charlie's tone was enough to make Luna tighten her grip on his hand and literally tug him down the road, through the weather-worn door of the inn and up to their room.