8 months later…
"Over here. Quiet. Take small steps and be sure not to make too much noise. I don't want to have to save you again."
"Shh..." The stocky man took his pointer finger and pressed it down on the woman's upper lip, so she could not speak. He had trouble keeping her from shutting up lately. The once quiet girl was no longer with him. He had lost her months ago and picked up someone he could share all his deep thoughts with. Someone that he loved.
They moved rhythmically, taking steps at similar intervals and making noises at all of the same points. It was like synchronized swimming, the way they could capture those exact movements. And they made sure to stay close to one another, hidden beneath an Invisibility Cloak.
Minutes later, he stopped, after finding a corner that fit both of their bodies. He led her to the crevice, wrapping her body within his, so that when they sat down, she was able to lean into him. They felt each other's bodies and immediately calmed to relaxation.
"Lumos," he whispered, as his wand's tip brought on a light the illuminated the cave fully. "Take it," he said, offering her the wand, so that she could take a look around.
She pointed the wand upwards, and suddenly the scenery was brought to life. The last cave she had been in was over eight months ago, but that was just a brief visit. She had wanted to explore more of the beauty, but she never had had the chance. Now, as she sat atop a rocky surface wrapped in her lover's hands, she could take it all in.
And it was a sight to be seen. From where she was sitting, she could she a lot. It was the perfect spot and she knew he had arranged that. She wouldn't be surprised to hear that he spent several days searching for a spot as perfect as that was. He was just thoughtful like that, especially when it came to her. She didn't deserve him. He was too good to her.
The ceiling height varied by section, some crystal-like rocks leaning down low enough to reach a human head, and some spots coming to a height only a dragon could reach or possibly a wizard on a broom. There was a magnificent array of browns with tips and splatters of white, creating a sparkling presence. But the best treat of all came when the first dragon made his presence known.
He was a fairly small creature, at least small for dragons. He had massive bronze horns and brilliant black scales with bright yellow paralyzing eyes. He was a beautiful, young creature, and Emilia smiled as he flew around, practicing with the flame that his mother was known for. He was disappointed that he couldn't produce such a long flame, but he was still young. He still had time to learn.
"Is that Fred?" Emilia asked, turning to face Charlie. She was impressed at how big he had gotten. She hadn't seen him in about a month, and he had to have doubled.
"That's Fred," Charlie answered, taking advantage of Emilia as she turned around by kissing her cheek. Charlie noticed how good it felt to touch her skin again. He couldn't understand how a month had passed by since they had last seen each other.
"How's our boy doing?" Emilia asked, smiling as she received Charlie's kiss. She had missed him and she had missed Fred.
"He's great," Charlie said of the dragon that had been named after his brother. He had given Emilia the honour of naming Fred because he was the reason that Linnie attacked her patients. He thought she earned the title to name him, and she ended up giving Charlie the greatest honour of all, naming him after his brother. "He's starting to become more independent, leaving his mother more and exploring around more. I'm sure we'll see Linnie in here at some point though. She doesn't let him wander off too far. She's a great mum."
"Talking about babies," Emilia started, "I heard about Victoire. How are the happy parents doing?"
"They're great," Charlie said, taking his hands and wrapping them around Emilia. "They haven't gotten much sleep, but they're happy. Victoire is a beautiful baby. You've got to come meet her. Bill's begging me to bring you by."
Emilia laughed, leaning back into Charlie's grasp. "Yeah, I'm sorry I missed her that one time. You know sometimes emergencies come up, but we're having that dinner in what, a week?"
"Yeah, next weekend," Charlie said. "Bill's preparing everything. He's acting as the stay at home dad right now, and the dinner arrangements are lying on him. There are going to be a lot of people there."
"What?" Emilia asked, sitting up straight, suddenly out of Charlie's reach. "You didn't say there'd be a lot of people there."
"Yeah, my family's all going to be there. Mum, dad, Ron, Percy, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, George. George even has a new girlfriend, one I remember a bit from school, Angelina."
"You know I don't do well in crowds of people." Emilia was worried. "And it's your family. I don't want to…"
"Shh…" Charlie interrupted. "Look at me," he said, as Emilia turned to face him. Her worried eyes face him, and she grew anxious. "Put that brow down and stop worrying. My family loves you. You know you won over Bill and Hermione a long time ago and mum and dad loved you when they met you at Christmas."
Emilia laughed, but she still didn't relax. "Oh god, Christmas," she muttered, recalling how she made a fool of herself. It was like everything was wrong with her then. She couldn't even explain simple Muggle things to Charlie's father correctly. And anytime Molly actually accepted her help in the kitchen, she ruined thing, spilled things, and botched up recipes. She eventually found herself crying in Charlie's room, where he came with his sweet charm and cheered her up. "That was a disaster."
"They knew you were nervous," Charlie mentioned. Emilia hadn't talked about it for awhile. She was too embarrassed and afraid at first of how Charlie would perceive her now. "And they thought you were cute. My mum said not to let you go. She likes you. She's taken to you much better than she did to Fleur."
"But your mum loves Fleur."
"Not at first. Not even really until Fleur said she was pregnant." Emilia relaxed a bit, falling into Charlie's arms again, but she still was not too sure about the confrontation. She was looking forward to meeting Victoire and seeing Bill again, but the whole family made her nervous. She could easily screw things up. "Don't worry. You'll be fine, and even you're not, that doesn't change my opinion on you. I love you, Emilia."
That wasn't the first time Charlie had said that to her, but each time he said it – three times now – it reassured her. It made her feel like this relationship was real. It was easy to forget since they lived three million miles away from each other, but when she heard him say something like that, she knew the distance didn't matter. When he said he loved her, she could hear his heart talking.
"I love you too," Emilia said confidently, knowing it was the truth. She had never felt this way about any boy before, even of the furry variety. It was love. She loved Charlie Weasley.
She turned her head around, getting a picture of Charlie's bright, handsome face, before she pressed her lips against his. She felt the softness of his wide lips, the curve of his tongue, and she realized she was the luckiest woman. She couldn't understand how a guy like Charlie could be attracted to her, but she never questioned it. She had his love and she loved him. She couldn't be happier.
The two pulled apart and as they did so, a flicker of a motion appeared in Charlie's right eye. He glanced his eyes in the direction and suddenly noticed that it was Linnie passing by.
"Look," Charlie said as he pointed to the valiant Hungarian Horntail.
Emilia's eyes lifted to face the creature and sheer beauty flashed before her eyes. It flashed a memory of when she and Charlie first shared a kiss together. That moment was wonderful, but she was glad to be out of that awkward part of the relationship. Now their moments together were pure bliss.
"Wow," Emilia muttered. "Beautiful."
"You're a changed woman, aren't you?" Charlie said. "A couple of months ago you would've been frightened and you would've hated her. Now she's beautiful?"
"I'm still not her biggest fan," Emilia said. "But she's grown on me. You've been a big influence."
"I s'pose I have."
The two continued to watch, as Linnie kept her eye on Fred, flying behind him, but not flying close enough for him to be completely aware of her presence. She was an overprotective mother, but it was sweet. It was nice just knowing that Linnie was free to do whatever she pleased.
"This is a perfect date," Emilia whispered to Charlie, as Fred flew a particularly strong breath of fire, trying to break down a rock barrier. Some of the rock crumbled, but there was relatively little damage. Emilia could interpret the frustration in Fred's eyes. He couldn't quite compete with his mother… not yet.
"You're an easy woman to please, my dear," Charlie said. "Isn't there something else you'd like to do?"
"I'm content," Emilia answered. "I've got you, and I've got dragon watching. Simple works best for me." Emilia then thought about what she said. "Okay, well relatively simple."
Charlie laughed. "I think I've found the perfect woman. Someone who finally understands me."
"The women you work with don't understand you?" Emilia asked. She had always been a bit worried because she knew he worked with a few women, but she never had asked.
"They're not like you," Charlie said. "I love seeing your reactions to the dragons, and your thoughts. They've grown up with this, and it's a simple fact of life. They don't appreciate them like you have, and I've especially noticed it since I've started managing them."
As soon as James and the others were arrested for their illegal operations, Charlie became the head of the dragon taming department, while Vasile became head of the entire organization. Work was much simpler with Vasile in charge and with Charlie in control of the dragon tamers.
"So I shouldn't be worried, I guess," Emilia reasoned. She wasn't really worried, but it was nice to know his opinion.
"Not at all," Charlie said.
The two sat back, resting with each other. Emilia was relaxed, realizing that this date reminded her of the one time she had been to the beach, but this was much better. She loved the beach, but there were people staring at her, analyzing her, and she didn't like that. Charlie was the only one looking at her now, and she didn't mind it when he looked at her.
"How's Hermione's project going?" Emilia asked.
"I'm not sure," Charlie said. "I haven't talked to her for awhile. Last I heard she was doing well." Hermione had been put in charge of finding an alternate having a dragon protect the Gringott's vault. She added dragon rights to her SPEW frontier and she began to work with Charlie and Vasile to make the Romanian reserve a better place for the dragons. "Ron's going to propose soon."
"Wow," Emilia said. "They're so young."
"They're in love," Charlie said. "I think they have been for awhile."
"Well, that's sweet. I'm glad they're happy."
"Yeah," Charlie said.
Charlie hesitated, allowing the conversation to die. He had been planning to ask Emilia a question, but he had been having trouble finding the right opportunity. Every time he planned to say something, the nerves got the best of him, and he remained quiet. He hadn't been shy around Emilia for awhile, but now he was.
Fred started working at the rocks again, breathing harder and faster to try to break down the entrance way to another section of the cave. The rock began to dislodge, but much more power was needed for it to eventually break down. Fred was proud however, and he took a momentous flight around the room, as soon as one piece of the rock fell off.
As he did so, Linnie flew towards the rock, making sure that Fred wouldn't see. She breathed a relatively pathetic flame of fire for her, but one strong enough just to almost break down the rock. She flew away before Fred noticed.
Fred eventually came back to the rock and he aimed a speck of fire in that direction. To his surprise, the rock came apart completely and the barrier he had been fighting against disappeared. He gleefully flew through, almost flying a flight of triumph.
Charlie and Emilia laughed, amused by the young dragon.
"I've been meaning to ask you," Charlie finally said, causing Emilia to focus on him again, while Fred explored the rest of the cave. "Do you want to move to Romania?"
"What?" Emilia asked, not expecting the question.
"I love you, Emilia," Charlie said. "And I can't keep doing this long distance thing. You know that I can't move to Newberry. There's not always a dragon problem there. You like it here anyway. We can work it out living here together. I want you in my life everyday, not just a couple of weekends a month."
"Charlie," Emilia said, backing away from him. "You know I want to, but I can't just leave Newberry. I'm the veterinarian, and I can't just leave my patients… my boss. And what could I do here? I'm not going to be the clueless Muggle here for her boyfriend."
"It's already settled," Charlie said. "I've already talked to Baker and Talia and though they hate to see you go, they understand and Baker's already hired someone to take your place."
"You have this planned already?" Emilia scooted away from Charlie. She didn't like that he had done it all without him. "You talked to my boss before you talked to me?"
"Yeah," Charlie said. "I wanted to get it all settled. I'm also going to help you open a vet clinic here in Romania. You'll be able to work here as well. You won't be a clueless Muggle."
"I wish you would've talked to me about this." Emilia realized that Charlie planned it better than she thought. She was still upset, but at least he had it planned.
"I'm sorry," Charlie said, his heart beating heavily, concerned about what he had planned. He didn't expect her to be upset with him. He thought she'd like what he had done. He hadn't expected her to be so hesitant about it. "But I was anxious. It hurts me every time I have to say goodbye to you, and I didn't want to have to wait for much longer."
"How long would it be until I'd move in?" Emilia asked.
That was encouraging to Charlie. Did that mean that Emilia was warming up to the idea? "Two weeks," Charlie said. "That would allow you to pack, help train the new vet, and to say goodbye."
"And I'd have my own clinic?" Emilia hesitantly asked.
"Yep," Charlie answered. "It's all worked out."
"Where would I live?"
"With me of course," Charlie said. "But if that's too much for you, I'm sure I can find a place near me that's available."
"No," Emilia said. "I'd love that. I want to move in with you. I think I'm ready."
"Really?" Charlie asked, a smile forming on his face.
"Yeah," Emilia answered. "I'm going to do it. I'm going to take a risk in my life."
"You won't regret it," Charlie said, his face full of joy. "I love you, Emilia."
"And I, you, Charlie Weasley."