Charlie Weasley was always a bit different from the rest of his family.
He had stormy grey eyes, his mop of bright red hair was long or short, depending on the weather and his mood, and he was off by himself more than he was with people. He was the quietest and the most antisocial of them all.
Oddly enough, he never really cared much for any of his siblings. Bill was always his older brother, and they were friends, of course, but he was always living in his shadow, and it was hard to become close to someone like that. Percy was untouchable, to him – they simply never saw eye-to-eye, and spent all their childhood fighting, and their teenagedom avoiding each other or making strained conversation. He was the only one who wasn't shocked beyond belief when he betrayed the lot of them. As for Fred and George, they were too wrapped up in their own world to pay attention to any of the rest, except as subjects for pranks. Ron and Ginny were too young for any of them to ever interact, and anyways they both hero-worshipped Bill. He loved all of his siblings to bits, but he didn't really like any of them much.
He'd heard his parents talking about him late one night, when he was supposed to be asleep but had instead sneaked downstairs to go for a quick fly by moonlight. They were worried about him. They thought he should see some sort of therapist, because he didn't seem to show any sort of affection for anyone. But the next day Ron fell out of a tree and broke his leg, and they forgot about it.
Charlie thought this assumption was distinctly unfair. He loved, he just didn't always like was all, and he did that sometimes, too. His broomstick, for one. He loved that. It was second hand – he'd bought it from Diagon Alley when he was twelve years old with his own money, twenty three Galleons, fourteen Sickles, and two Knuts – but it was the most reliable thing in his life. It would always be there for him, respond to his slightest touch, let him turn and fly and dance and be free. He loved flying, not just Quidditch, but flying. When he was flying, there were no hundreds of brothers to please or live up to or satisfy, there was just him, Charlie Weasley, all dominating king of the skies, and it was beautiful. Earth had problems and scuff and hate, but the skies were free. They had nothing but happiness.
But he had loved – and liked – a person, too. Charlie had loved Nymphadora Tonks since the day he'd laid her eyes on her, but he didn't know it at that point. Instead, he'd struck up a friendship with her. He didn't like anyone in Gryffindor, and he didn't care that they didn't like him, that they muttered behind his back, because when he was with Tonks – God, it was almost as good as flying. He loved talking to her, he loved the way she could make him laugh when he was in tears, he loved the way she moved, he loved the way she lived her life with a wave of her hand, shooing away troubles. She never cared for any of his brothers, ever, she only ever had eyes for him.
In fourth year, he asked her out. She said no and his world came crashing down.
For one year, Charlie loved only the skies and his broomstick.
In September of fifth year, she came back, and Charlie was waiting for her – a prince, locked in his tower, and she'd slung up her rope and rescued him.
They were together for five beautiful years, the best five years of his life. It was like permanently being in the skies, never touching ground.
When they were twenty, just after they graduated, ready to start their lives together (right?), she asked him to meet her at The Three Broomsticks.
Her hair was gray when he arrived, and he knew it was over.
She spoke to him for twenty three minutes, but she didn't have to say a word. He knew it was over from the beginning. She said he couldn't possibly stay with her Hogwarts boyfriend forever. She said she hoped that they would always be best friends. She said she'd never forget him.
He nodded and said it was for the best. She went home smiling.
He stayed in The Three Broomsticks for three hours.
When he went out, drunk to the core, it was raining. He threw the ring in his pocket, the diamond ring he was going to put on her left ring finger, on the ground as hard as he could. It rolled into the sewers.
That very night, he packed his bag, kissed his mother goodbye, and moved a million thousand miles away to Romania, where he flew on the backs of dragons every single day of his life, going higher than a broomstick had ever gone.
It was heaven.
But it wasn't.
He saw her dead body in the Great Hall, hands interlocked with another, and cried for the first time in years.
He never loved again.
Charlie Weasley was the only Weasley with a sad ending.
The timeline's off, I know.