This is for Starkiller as a belated birthday gift. Hope you like it!
What You Want To Do
"The thing to do," Gideon proclaimed expansively, lying flat on his back in the orchard with his nephews seated around him. "Is to decide what you want to do, and just do it."
Ten-year-old Bill frowned. "But what if other people want you to do something else, Uncle Gid?" he asked, a worried look on his face.
"Then you do it anyway!" Charlie said. "That's right, isn't it?" He looked at his uncle questioningly.
"Absolutely!" Gideon said. "You got it Charlie-boy. It's your life – you do what you want with it."
Charlie grinned, and the three-year-old twins nodded solemnly. Bill still looked worried though, and Percy positively scared. Gideon decided to change the subject. At least three of his nephews had got the message – and he had hopes that the other two would remember it and maybe take it to heart later. But Charlie and the twins would do what they wanted – whatever anyone said – he was sure of it.
"Mum'll kill you if she finds out about this," Fred pointed out, regarding the baby firelizard in his brother's hands with something approaching awe. The three boys – plus the lizard – were huddled in the broom shed, trying to ignore the cold of a freezing December day, mitigated only slightly by the blue fire Charlie had conjured in the corner.
"Which is why she isn't going to find out,"Charlie said. "You're not going to tell her, are you?"
"Of course not!" Both twins looked highly indignant at the suggestion, and George reached out a hand tentatively to pet the lizard's head.
"Careful!" Charlie warned him, but the animal made a purring sound, and her skin deepened in colour from deep yellow to red-gold, as George stroked the crest running round her neck.
Charlie grinned. "She likes you!" he told George. "You two won't give me away, will you? If I manage to look after her properly for the whole of the Christmas holidays, Dr. Vieuxhomme might actually consider my application for the dragon reserve in Romania."
"Which you're not telling Mum about, we assume?" Fred enquired, raising his eyebrows and reaching out to touch the firelizard, now curled in the crook of Charlie's arm. He withdrew his hand rapidly as the lizard spat orange sparks at him, her skin lightening to a sickly green. (George gave him a look that could only be described as smug, and Fred glared at him.)
Charlie stroked the little creature's head gently, making crooning noises under his breath until her skin darkened to yellow again, and she snuggled further into his chest.
"What do you think?" he asked. "She made enough fuss about Bill going to Egypt. She'd go mad at the idea of dragons. She can find out when I actually get the job – if I get it."
"You'll get it," Fred told him confidently. "And Mum will just have to lump it. Hopefully, by the time she finds out what we're planning, she'll be immune to her sons picking unsuitable jobs, and make no fuss at all."
Charlie laughed. "Good luck with that!" he said. "I wouldn't count on it. What are you two planning anyway?"
The twins exchanged a look, Fred raising his eyebrows at George, who nodded almost imperceptibly. Fred turned back to his older brother, an excited spark in his eyes. "A joke shop," he said, and Charlie gave a low whistle.
"Oh, Mum'll love that!" he exclaimed, and the twins both laughed.
"Do what you want to do, remember?" George asked, and Charlie nodded, smiling.
"Oh for Godric's sake, go away!" Fred yelled in frustration at whoever was knocking on the closed door of the newly named Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. "We're closed, can't you read?"
"Yeah!" came a voice in reply. "But you're still going to let me in, little brother!"
"Charlie!" Both twins' heads shot up at the familiar voice, and George hastened to unlock the door and let him in. "What the hell are you doing here?"
Charlie grinned at their identically astonished expressions. "How very unwelcoming," he observed drily. "I wanted to see what this place was like for myself. I was the first person you told about it, remember? I've heard Mum's opinions – which it won't shock you to know, were uncomplimentary – and Bill's – which were surprisingly impressed – but I wanted to check it out for myself."
The twins stood back, and regarded Charlie with something approaching trepidation as he surveyed the interior of the shop. For some reason, Charlie's good opinion mattered.
They needn't have worried. A slow smile spread over his face, and he clapped Fred, then George, hard on the shoulder. "Good job!" he told them. "Do what you want to do, eh?"
The twins smiled with something approaching relief. "Abso-bloody-lutely!"