Hey guys thanks for being so patient, I hate leaving you on a chapter cliffy for so long but writer's block gets everyone down. I finally got part of my muse back on this, so I hope this helps.
This chapter is a little break from the original plot, to explain more about Charlotte's past but also a little cousin confrontation between Charlotte and Bill. Call it an interlude I guess, but we will start off with a piece for our boys.
We're also having some flashbacks here, from Charlotte's childhood before she left.
I don't own Harry Potter.
Some days after the task:
"Hey Harry, have you see your mother around?" Harry was seated on a stone bench with Emerald when he heard his headmaster's voice. He'd come out to catch up on some homework and get some fresh air, having finally left his dorm after the task.
"I think she said she was going down to the Black Lake again, something about meeting with a friend." Anton seemed curious.
"I wonder who." Harry shrugged.
"She didn't say, and I didn't ask." Anton's thoughts were racing through his eyes, but it wasn't a disturbing look.
"It could be that cousin of hers, the eldest one William I think." Bill? "I think they've wanted to meet for a while now, they were close long ago." Wait how would he know about that?
"I do hate prying in one's private affairs, but I do worry for that girl; because like you Harry she's been through a lot, though I can't quite compare your pasts to be exactly the same." Anton sighed. "If you see her would you mind asking her to see me in the headmaster's office at noon?"
"Sure sir." Anton smiled and left Harry on his own. Harry began to think, why would Charlotte meet up with Bill at this moment? She hadn't really reconnected with any of the Weasleys recently, well minus the twins but that was still a slow start.
"Harry." he almost jumped up from another voice, and turned to see his boyfriend coming his way.
"Meow!" Emerald jumped down and ran for Viktor's open arms. Harry just laughed as his boyfriend scratched his kitty's ears.
"Viktor, where've you been?" he hadn't seen Viktor at breakfast, nor had he seen him in classes earlier. He also noticed the distant look on Viktor's face, something was bothering him.
"My father came down, I just got away." he was tense all over. "He came with a…marriage contract."
"What?" Harry's body went cold, his face paled. Emerald jumped down from the stone bench and went to lie down underneath it.
"I destroyed it, it wasn't official." Viktor's hand took his. "I thought he was starting to accept this, but it seems he only thinks it's a phase like that Burns fellow. He's angry at me, because something about my preference to you is upsetting him." Harry couldn't think of what to say, but something came out.
"Does your mother know?" Viktor shook his head.
"I wrote to her, she'll be furious with him. I wish he'd understand already and I don't know how much more of this I can take." Viktor's fist clenched, and his face was reddening slightly. The old man seemed to be coming around but then he did this? What was his deal?
"Then maybe you need help him understand, we both do." Harry's calm voice seemed to help a bit.
"I know, because I still have a whole lot of youth in me and I have more than enough time to settle down with someone I love. Harry…it's you I love but if he tries anything else…"
"I won't let him." Harry took Viktor's face in his hands, making his eyes connect with his own. "I'm not going to let him or anyone else tear us apart. If anything your mum can put an end to this, but…" Harry paused. "You need to find out why he's like this, and soon."
"It's not that simple."
"I know, but you have to try and I'll help." Harry held Viktor to him. "We've made it this far haven't we?" Viktor smiled, yes they had made it so far and this was only the beginning. There was still a lot to be done.
"Yeah, so perhaps I should just forget my father's stupid expectations and live my life how I wish. After all I have been doing that for years now." Harry laughed.
"Your dad will eventually have to understand, but whatever this is that's making him so angry he needs to overcome it himself. You need to sit down and talk with him once we get back home, get to the bottom of it all." Viktor pulled Harry into his arms and they held each other for a few moments. Harry felt the tension flow out of his boyfriend's body, and they both knew that despite all that was coming their way they could make it.
"So you came." Charlotte was out sitting by the Black Lake, waiting in the cold for Bill to arrive and she'd been waiting a while too. She could take the weather, but she didn't like being kept waiting too long.
"Sorry if I kept you waiting, I had to help Charlie out this morning and lost track of time." they had planned to meet soon, only now was a time they would have some time alone as cousins. "You seem well."
"You too, your career as a Curse Breaker is beneficial?" Bill nodded. "You make a good living for yourself."
"Not as much as you, look how far you've come." Charlotte looked away.
"One thing your mother taught me, the only good thing she taught me, was to have a good life you had to work hard for it. Countless nights of studying, working, stress, it all paid off eventually."
"Uncle Ignatius treated you well though right?" she nodded.
"He was a good paternal figure for me, though he didn't spoil me as your two baby siblings think. He was strict, but caring, and he gave me an allowance if I did my weekly chores and kept my schoolwork up." Bill's eyes widened slightly.
"You had chores, in that huge castle?" Charlotte smirked.
"Nothing that involved cleaning the whole castle, just mainly my room, occasional kitchen duties like cooking and dishes, keeping my library organized, pretty much basics. I was given privileges, and rewarded for my accomplishments but not with boons or items each time."
"You went to Beauxbatons right? Did you join any teams or clubs?"
"A few, I was on the Quidditch team as a chaser, and I joined a couple of dancing clubs. I enjoyed my school years, and I felt happy for once." Charlotte closed her eyes. "But I missed you and Charlie, greatly."
"Then why didn't you ever write to us? Charlie was upset for months when you left, even the twins could tell something was wrong."
"Wrong?" she snapped her head back to him. "You expect me to sit here and hear that word from you? I couldn't take living with your mother anymore! Not after what she said to me, what she wanted to do with me!" Bill flinched back, but confusion overrode the shock on his face.
"W-What're you talking about? What did mum do to you?" Charlotte's snarl returned, she felt her anger building up but she couldn't take it out on Bill. Turning back to the black water she started remembering the last time she spent with Molly alone, and it made tears form in her eyes.
"Aunt Molly?" Charlotte, almost eleven years old walked into the kitchen where her aunt was cooking lunch for the family. "Aunt Molly?"
"What is it Charlotte?" she didn't turn around.
"Well…my birthday is coming up and…I was wondering if I could have a new broom?" she knew it was stretching; the Weasleys were never rich, but they made due with all the shifts Arthur took at work. Plus the farm and Molly's sewing helped a good bit too. Charlotte and Bill would be starting Hogwarts soon, they got their letters of acceptance the day before and the first term began next month.
"We are already getting new robes for you and Bill, and you know first years aren't allowed brooms." she didn't turn still.
"I-I know but I want one so I can save it for next year, please?"
"No." Charlotte looked ready to cry, but anger started coming out. This wasn't the first time Molly refused her something she wanted, and Charlotte didn't really ask for much in all the time she lived in the Burrow. Her cousins would get the desired items they wished for their birthdays, and often times clothes for Christmas which was fine but Charlotte didn't get what she wanted, not since she was three.
"But why? You promised Bill one when he…"
"Bill will not get one until his second year, get over it."
"But Aunt Molly…"
"I SAID NO!" Molly shouted and Charlotte flinched, but then an angry scowl crossed her face. "You won't be getting a broom this year, now let me finish the dishes or you'll have no supper tonight." she'd had enough, the little redheaded child was raging fury when she stomped her foot on the floor.
"NO!" Charlotte screamed. "Why are you so mean to me? You ignore me, you yell at me for nothing most of the time, I haven't done anything!" this had gone on for a while, but it only worsened when Charlotte reached the age of nine.
"YES YOU HAVE!" Molly broke a plate as she turned around to glare hatefully at Charlotte. "YOU SHOULDN'T EVEN BE HERE! IF IT WEREN'T FOR YOU YOUR PARENTS MIGHT STILL BE ALIVE!"
"THAT'S NOT TRUE!" Charlotte didn't understand why Molly was saying this, she'd never done so before Merlin knows she never talked about Charlotte's parents in years.
"YES IT IS! BECAUSE OF THE WAR THEY RUSHED INTO MARRIAGE AND HAD YOU! THEY SHOULD'VE WAITED!" Molly started seething. "If Serenity and Gideon had waited…they could've had a family and be alive today."
"W-What…?" Charlotte was extremely confused now, but angry still. Molly looked ready to cry herself, but she kept a stiff posture.
"My brother, and my best friend…both are dead because of you." Charlotte froze, her face streaked with tears and her body shaking as if she'd blow up.
"That's not true, it's not!" Molly's eyes glared again.
"You never should've been born." that made a nerve snap. Charlotte wanted to hurt the woman in front of her, wanted to scream, wanted to run, so much running through her mind she couldn't stop the words coming from her own lips.
"I…I…I hate you. You sour, fat old cow…I HATE YOU!" Charlotte's magic reacted and a glass fell from a shelf and broke onto Molly's head. It didn't hurt her fatally, but the top of her head had cuts that started to bleed.
"Go…to…your room. Now." Molly grabbed a rag to wrap around her head. Charlotte took off to the stairs, but turned back around to glare at Molly with those tearful eyes.
"You don't deserve to be a mum." and she went upstairs without another word. Charlotte didn't come down for dinner that night but Bill snuck her food, though he couldn't get a word out of her. She ate breakfast the next morning, but she wouldn't look at Molly or speak to anyone with her in the room.
"Mum…she wouldn't…" Bill couldn't believe it, he just couldn't. Why would his mother, the woman who cared and loved him and his brothers and sister to no end do or say such horrible things?
"She played nice with you and the others around, but when we were alone she'd either ignore me or only gave me small talk. Never once congratulated me on my accomplishments, didn't tuck me in at night like you, and never told me she liked or loved me. It all came clearly that day, even with my visions I couldn't see that coming." Charlotte's hands were clenched in her skirt.
"But…I don't understand why she'd..."
"You don't have to believe me Bill, but you can get the full story from her if she'll even tell you. You know I don't lie about these things."
"Yeah, but what made you leave? I mean that's a good reason there but…you vanished right before we started school."
"Hmm, well let's just say it had most to do with a meddlesome old headmaster…"
"Albus, I don't know what to do anymore. I can't take it, this is all too much for me!"
"Molly please calm down, there is a solution to all this but you'll have to tell her quickly. School starts in two weeks, it's best to get an answer now."
"Albus believe me I've thought long and hard about this, I think this is better for all of us. Charlotte won't blend in with those other students well, but she's been so difficult lately." Charlotte overheard the two adults talking from her spot at the top of the stairs. Most of her cousins were out with Arthur for the day, but the twins were sleeping in their room having been put down a few minutes beforehand.
"Molly you can't blame the child, you did…" the other voice she recognized as Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. Why had he come?
"I know what I said Albus but I can't take it anymore! It has to be done, please just tell me they've approved her."
'Approved?' were they talking about school?
"They have considered she might be fit for their program, but they'll need to have an interview first with you, Arthur, and her present."
'Interview?!' They were going to send her away! Charlotte didn't bother listening to more, she just quietly crept back into her room. She threw herself onto the bed and started to cry, it was bad enough Molly had wished she wasn't even born but to find out she wanted her gone? To another school, an asylum, a hospital or something? Did she think she was crazy because she had visions, or did she just hate her enough to send her away from Bill and the others.
"Mum and Dad, why did you have to die?" she took the only photo of her parents off her nightstand and hugged it. It was the one of their wedding day, they were happy and dancing and her mother was smiling beautifully. Dying in the war, leaving her alone with Molly and Arthur…for what? To be unloved by her own blood aunt? What did she do to deserve all this?
'She's gonna regret this…I'll make sure of it.' Charlotte didn't bother coming down for dinner, but someone left her a plate outside her door. She didn't care, because later that night when everyone went to sleep Charlotte took out a letter she wrote to her great uncle Ignatius Prewett. He'd contacted her some time back about a visit, and based on his letter he knew of her situation.
Charlotte used Errol to take the letter, and hopefully would hear back soon.
As it turned out Charlotte heard back the next evening from a new owl, and Ignatius 'arranged' for her to leave the Burrow. It wasn't easy, but right before the scheduled 'interview' was done Charlotte grabbed all her things she could carry and met with Ignatius in the garden.
"So you just left like that?" Bill understood now, the message was clear in his eyes.
"Yeah, and I never looked back. The original plan was to meet at the train station King's Cross, but I didn't want to wait so we made a second plan. I left, he erased any ways of tracing my magic, and we stayed in France."
"Why couldn't mum or the Ministry find you?" Charlotte smirked.
"The same reason they couldn't find Harry, Uncle Ignatius just added a few spells and there I was." Bill suddenly looked a little mad.
"Why would you just disappear and not say anything? I get why now yes, but you left and…did you even know Ignatius that well?"
"We communicated secretly for months, he sought me out but I didn't want your mother peeking at my mail so we only exchanged letters at night. It was carefully laid out, and he was a good guardian to me."
"You're leaving something out." the two redheads stared at each other. "What aren't you telling me? Did he know why Mum was like that before? Did he know the reason why?"
"I never asked." that was a simple enough answer. "It matters not, nothing will change what she did. There's too much anger between me and her, and while I can see she cares about Harry I don't think we'll ever be close."
"Well…you can try to be."
"No Bill, I can't." Charlotte sighed and laid back on the cool sand with her arms behind her head. "You on the other hand, I wouldn't mind being friends again. I am proud of the man you've become, a hard worker who cares for his family. You didn't learn that on your own."
"No, but I chose to be. Charlie and Percy are the same, even if Percy keeps his nose so far up in the air." Charlotte couldn't help but laugh slightly.
"He'll learn there's more to life than school and a career, but there will be trials to come. I wish I could say the same for Ronald and Ginevra." Bill frowned.
"You've seen something?"
"Let's just say if those two don't learn to clean up their act in the next few years, then their futures are unhappy ones." Charlotte didn't want to give away too much, the two morons had to learn their own ways and it wasn't as if they would believe her.
"Well…maybe something will come up. Listen why don't you come with me to town tonight? Have dinner with me at the Hog's Head and we can talk there. I'll ask Charlie to come." Charlotte stared at him. "You can bring Harry if you want."
"He's got plans with Viktor this evening, but yes I'll come." she had missed Charlie too. "The Hog's Head doesn't have anything with almonds does it?"
"No, I remember your allergies so you'll be safe."
"Good, wouldn't want another accident." Charlotte's allergy to almonds was a nasty one, she refused to go near them or any food associated with them. Her mother was allergic to nuts as well but she fell more towards walnuts.
"Hey…there's no sense in dwelling in the past, so come on." Bill stood and offered her his hand, which she took. "I'll do what I can to help you and Harry, because I'll be moving back to London soon to work at Gringotts."
"Really? Well we can talk more about this tonight, I need to meet with Anton soon." the two cousins walked together back to the castle, but little known to either of them a certain little bookworm was listening in on their conversation.
Well we now know the main reason of why Charlotte left, Molly wasn't a good guardian yet it appears Charlotte's holding something back. What could it be? Well we'll have to figure that out later won't we lol?
Next chapter we have more of Harry and Viktor preparing for the final task. We'll also have a little talk between Severus and Charlotte, get a little tension out of the way. Some more secrets might come to light, but then again when is Charlotte easy to read?