Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter; it's the property of JK Rowling.
Author's Note: The title of this fic is from the song "Someone Like You" by Adele (brilliant song, check it out), which also inspired the story.
Someone Like You
At fifteen you gather the courage to finally kiss her. With your eyes squeezed shut and your face screwed up, making it look similar to hers when she's morphing, you take a deep breath and press your lips against hers, only a little too hard. When you pull back her eyes are round with surprise. You start to feel stupid and stammer out an excuse about how you didn't mean to do that, but she laughs that intoxicating, wonderful laugh of hers and drowns you out.
"What took you so long, Charlie?" she asks, her eyes (a vivid green today) dancing. She looks at you with the same challenging grin she wore when you were thirteen and she dared you to moon Professor Sinistra, and you know she wants you to kiss her again. So you do, softer this time so your heads don't bump again. She bumps it enough on her own.
After a few dates she finally opens her mouth when you probe, and you're so excited that you shove your tongue down her throat with haste, gnashing your teeth against hers. She pulls away and frowns deliciously.
"I don't think that's how that is supposed to work, Charlie," she says.
"We'll figure it out, together," you answer. "I promise."
"Well, if you promise ..." and she leans towards you again, that smile lighting up her face and causing your heart to leap once more.
A year later you lose your virginity together on top of the astronomy tower, which is so cliché. But she deserves all the clichés in the world, the freshly picked roses every day and the proposal on one knee with the father's approval and the fancy white dress you can't see her in beforehand and the white picket fence and the breakfast in bed and the growing old together.
It's fumbling and it's awkward and it hurts her, but it's breathtakingly beautiful and heart-stopping intense and so incredible that when you hear "Charlie" slip out of her full lips in a gasp, her name follows a heartbeat later. Afterwards her petite frame curls around your larger, stocky body and you play with her damp blue curls.
"I'm not sure that's how it's supposed to work," you say, embarrassed that it was over so quickly.
"We'll figure it out together," she says, and in the moonlight you see her grinning wickedly and you are turned on again.
"As long as you promise."
You break up after graduation. It's not the kind of break-up where you say hurtful things and throw accusations at the top of your voice; it's the kind you always knew was coming, the kind where you know she deserves better than a long-distance boyfriend and a distraction during her training. But either way, you both end up crying over a broken heart.
You leave for Romania tomorrow. You're in her new flat in London, and she's gotten rid of her roommates for the night. She's sniffling and wiping the tears from her eyes, and you are one heartbeat away from throwing away all your dreams for her, because in actuality, she is your dream. But you've had this conversation and you love one another enough to push each other away.
"I do love you, you know," you say, wishing it was enough to heal the pain. "I did believe we would be together forever, somehow."
"I know, Charlie, and I love you, too," she whispers, taking a ragged breath. "Sometimes love lasts forever, but sometimes it just hurts."
You take her in your arms then, holding her for one last time. How you end up in bed again is a blur, but you don't want it to ever stop. You long since figured it out, together, and you employ all the tricks in the book to prolong your passion. But in the end all it takes is a shout of "Charlie!" to finish you off and it's over. As you cuddle together, you assure each other that no matter what, you'll always be best friends.
"I don't know how that's supposed to work, Charlie," she says. "I can't think of you as just a friend."
"We'll figure it out together, then. Owl by owl. I promise."
"Since you promise ..."
For the next four years you owl constantly. You tell her about Romania, the dragons, your new coworkers, Ron's new friend Harry Potter, and even your attempts at relationships. She tells you about her training, the latest Quidditch results, Mad-Eye Moody, falling down the stairs, and every single date.
You see each other at least once a year. Usually you go home, but once she comes to you. Every time you feel like you are fifteen again, the heady rush of her mere presence filling your soul. Her hair is always different, her eyes too, and she has some new scar, but her face is the same heart-shaped wonder that fills your own heart with joy.
"Are you seeing someone?"
"No. Are you?"
Each time, that's all it takes for you to jump at each other, clothes torn and tossed with abandon, pale skin meshing with freckled, fingernails leaving scratches and lips leaving bruises. The bed, the shower, the sofa, the kitchen table, the coffee table, the countertop, the desk - it doesn't seem to matter, she always calls "Charlie!" at the end. You live in a pleasant haze for a few days while your mother complains that she doesn't see you enough, and then it's back to your separate lives.
The first time it happens, you question it curiously.
"Is this how a break-up is supposed to work?"
"I don't know, Charlie. We'll figure it out, together of course. We always do." She looks at you with blue eyes that match yours, eyes that speak to you of happiness, and you know that sex won't change anything between you.
"With you, it's always a promise."
Later, as you begin to say your goodbyes, a thought forms in your jumbled head and jumps out your mouth without even a glimmer of preparation.
"If we're not married by the time we're twenty-five, let's marry each other."
She looks up at you with mirth in her elfin face. "Okay, Charlie," she says simply, always trusting you.
You leave her flat with a new bounce in your step, because you know that all you need is time. A few years to get the dragons out of you and you can finally be with her. She can keep being an Auror. As long as she's yours, she can do whatever she wants.
You-Know-Who returns, and you immediately join the Order of the Phoenix with your parents and your big brother. She soon sends you a letter saying she's been inducted, too. It doesn't surprise you. She's always hated the Dark Arts, and she's always been in the thick of things. You know from experience that she's a fighter and a good one (your right butt cheek will never be the same), but you worry about her frantically until you get her next owl, and the next, and the next. For she is your life, even if she is in another country. Someday, she'll realize that you are her life, too.
You beg to come home, claiming you want to help more, but really you want to reassure yourself that you'll always see her purple head bobbing in the crowd, hear her infectious laughter echoing around a room, shield her perfect body protectively. But Dumbledore says no, that they need more foreign wizards and you are wonderfully placed, that you are doing valuable work.
So you wait and watch as her owls come further and further apart. At first, she tells you that she is busy, that the Order is like another full-time job. Of course you believe her because your parents say the same. But soon a name starts to appear in her letters, and finally it becomes apparent that even if you go home, her answer to "Are you seeing someone?" will be "yes."
She's depressed. It's obvious. She finally tells you why. He rejected her, and your first thought is why would she choose someone so incredibly dumb, because anyone with an ounce of sense or logic would hold her so tightly that they eventually become one. And then you realize that you're the dumb one, that you let her go years ago, and now you've finally lost her.
She doesn't write you after Bill gets hurt. You spend days speculating why, until your mother finally slips in that she married that man. You're twenty-four. There was only one more year to go.
At the wedding you see her, and it takes every bit of self-restraint in your body and a shot of Ogden's to keep you from sweeping her in your arms and Apparating away. She's a vision of beauty, one that not even the Veela bride can compete with. You've never seen her so radiant, and it must be because of her husband. You want to tell her she can do better, for he's old and tired and mysteriously unhappy. You question his sanity again, because who could be anything but blissful with her? But she's happy, so you say polite things, excuse yourself, and get quietly and completely drunk.
Weeks later, you show up on her doorstep. You don't know why; you feel compelled. She answers the door, and she's broken, a mousy-haired mess. She invites you in vaguely, and you sit on her sofa in silence. It's the same one from her London flat, and you wonder if she remembers. For you, it was only yesterday that you made love on it, and just last week that you sucked up enough courage to kiss her.
"Why are you here?" she finally asks.
"I still love you," you blurt out like a fool. She ponders that until you must speak to break the awkward silence. "It's not like you to be so quiet."
"I'm pregnant, and he left me, Charlie."
This is when she breaks, and you hold her for hours. Because you love her, you tell her what she wants to hear - that he's just scared, that he'll be back any day now, that they'll raise a beautiful family together. As much as it burns, you only want the best for her, and she believes it's him, so you mean what you say.
"Do you promise, Charlie?"
"I always promise you."
You never see her again. You hear that he does return, and you hear about her son. As you rush down the passageway into Hogwarts, your only thought is that for the first time, you're grateful she has a child with him because she would never leave her infant, and so she won't be in danger.
When you turn away from Fred, your heart is bursting with grief and anger. Your little brother, one half of a set. And it's then that you see her. Her hair, of course, is pink. She's lying next to him, so at least they'll be together. Her body is unmarked, and for the first time, you could use the word "serene" to describe her.
Your heart turns to stone and you sit wherever it is that you are, the mind-numbing scene in front of you too much to bear. Her twenty-fifth birthday is in three days. Yours has already passed. You could have been together forever, but she's gone and you're stuck here. You make yourself crawl to her, and you grasp her cold hand.
"I don't know how this is supposed to work, and I guess I have to figure it out on my own, but I'll never find someone like you. I promise."