AN: Hello one and all! Again, I'm so sorry for the delay. I really should have updated sooner and it's completely my own laziness and obsessiveness that kept me from doing so. I apologize for the delay, and I hope you can all forgive me. I've been working on this chapter a lot the last couple of days and I'm super excited to get it out to you. I'm also super excited because I got my AP U.S. History score today and I'm so freakin' happy. Like no kidding, I squealed. So I wanted to share my excitement via a chapter, so here you go! Hope you all enjoy!
Dedication: To all my teachers this year. Even the ones I hate(d). I really appreciate you putting up with my sass and not strangle me for my grade-obsession. Thanks dolls. (P.S. Straight A student. What what! Suck it Chemistry.)
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
"Hey Mom? Have you seen my boots anywhere?"
"I think Ollie was playing with them, dear!"
Amy groaned and fell backwards to lean against the wall. She shook her head and glared at the culprit cat that was sleeping in the middle of her bed. He opened a green eye to peer at her, and Amy swore she saw a smirk beneath his furry cat lips. She stuck her tongue out at him, not caring how childish she looked.
"Guess that means they're gone forever," the witch moaned. She sighed and ran a hand through her mussed hair before turning her attention back to the suitcase before her. Books, clothes, and papers were overflowing the sides of the bag, despite the fact that everything had once fit in there perfectly and with room to spare. She peered at the bag before looking around her room and the other things that she still needed to pack. It hadn't seemed like much at first, but she certainly did have a lot of stuff, and she really didn't feel like getting up to get her wand from her nightstand so that she could magically enlarge the bag. That would take way too much work and it was much too hot and much too humid for the witch to even think about moving.
So, she instead pushed the suitcase away and sprawled out on the floor of her childhood bedroom. Sighing quietly and ignoring the sounds of movement from just beyond her doorway, Amy stared up at the cracked and peeling paint of her ceiling. The relative quiet of the room was making her drowsy, and she could feel her eyes growing heavy with exhaustion. Of course, this wasn't very surprising.
Since she had arrived in Chicago two weeks earlier, Amy had found herself succumbing to sleeping in late and frequent afternoon naps. Georgie, Katherine, and Michelle had made jokes that it was that 'sexy muscle man' of hers that was exhausting her, but in actuality, Charlie had very little to do with Amy's lack of sleep. Her insomnia was unfortunately related to tragedy rather than passion.
In the days following Dumbledore's death, Amy and the other teachers found that they were swamped with preparations, finding transportation for the students, and dealing with the pesky media. The end-of-term exams had been postponed, but the students could not find it within themselves to rejoice. Their fearless leader was dead and at the hands of one of their own teachers. The school was in a state of mourning, yet the world around them still continued on, no matter how hard the community tried to stop it.
The morning of Dumbledore's funeral came much too quickly for all of them, and the amount of pain and tears of that day was unlike anything that Amy had ever seen, and she suspected, that most of the people there had ever seen. Dumbledore was a beloved man, an honorable man, and as such his funeral attracted witches and wizards from all over the world. The grounds of Hogwarts was swamped with hundreds of visitors, dressed in black and tearing up as they made their way to the edge of the forest.
The entire school made their way down to the forest after breakfast, the students following in the wake of their Heads of Houses. The students were unnervingly quiet, and Amy could feel her skin prickling and the hairs on her arms stand under her black robes. The silence was disturbing, but then again, this was a disturbing time.
As the students found their seats, still uncommonly quiet, Amy took a moment to observe those who were gathered before the grand marble stand. Many of the seats were occupied by those Amy did not recognize; old colleagues and self-important members of the Ministry, perhaps a true old friend here and there. Interspersed among the nameless faces and busybodies were certain faces that Amy recognized. A large member of the Order, though that was not surprising, Madam Maxime, who Amy had not seen in several years, and much to Amy's pleasure, Remus and Tonks who were sitting contently next to each other, their hands intertwined.
A small smile crossed her face as she continued her scan of the crowd of mourners, and it only took her a few moments before her sights fell on a group of red hair that gleamed out above the mass of black. Molly and Arthur were sitting quietly next to each other, the wizard comforting his wife as she cried softly into a handkerchief. Next to her were the Twins, who looked as somber as Amy had ever seen them, and next to them was Fleur and Bill. The eldest Weasley child look much better than he had the night of the invasion, but he was still unnaturally pale and his face was still a bloody mess for lack of a better word. But he was alive and in surprisingly good spirits. The last red head of hair belong to Charlie who was seated next to his father with slumped shoulders, his forearms rested on his thighs and his hands twisting between his knees. He was speaking lowly to his father but he caught Amy's eye and gave her a small smile complete with twinkling eyes.
Amy spared him a smile of her own before tearing her attention away from him and back to her students, who were now seated amongst the other funeral attendants. Knowing that the ceremony was about to begin, she slowly made her way to the front of the crowd, where a section of seats had been set aside for the teachers and faculty. She did her best to give a smile and comforting pat on the shoulder to the crying students that she passed, but she knew that each smile of hers was getting dimmer and less-real as she drew closer to the front of the mass and to the gleaming marble stand.
The staff was the last to be seated, and much to Amy's chagrin, they were also the fortunate ones to be seated amongst some of the more 'esteemed' members of the Ministry, including the Minister himself and the ever-so delightful Dolores Umbridge. Amy quickly seated herself next to Sprout, praying that the older witch's sweet disposition would stop her from throwing a fit and ripping the hideous black bow from Umbridge's head. It had been a year since Amy had seen the Toad-Witch and yet there was nothing more she wanted to do than give her a piece of her mind.
All these angry thoughts slipped away from Amy in a moment as she heard the eerie and despondent music wash over the audience from the lake and she felt the rumble of heavy steps behind her. As those around her turned their attention away from the marble table before them, Amy kept her attention to the front of the funeral, not wanting to turn and see, what she knew to be, the start of the funeral. She remained rigid and her fingernails cut through the thin fabric of her robes and into her skin as she stared ahead.
A massive shadow passed over her and in the corner of her eye, Amy saw the fabric of Hagrid's black coat as he made his way, slowly but surely, to the marble table. He stood there, making quiet elephant noises, before moving away from the table and to the back of the crowd where his brother, Grawp was waiting for him.
As Hagrid took his leave, a small wizard moved to the front of the assembly and stood before the table to begin the ceremony. Yet the only thing Amy could think was that she wished the speaker were much taller and much larger. She wished he was big enough to block the table from her view, because now that Hagrid was gone, replaced by this small wizard, she could plainly see the purple and gold shroud resting on the marble table. And with that sight, Amy felt her rigid resolve break and her shoulders slumped forward as tears streamed down her face.
Before this moment, Amy had been able to convince herself that none of this was real, that it wasn't true. Until this moment, there had been the slightest glimmer of hope that this was some terribly cruel joke or a miscommunication. But now that he was here before them… broken and hidden away, Amy knew that there was no point of return. Albus Dumbledore was dead, and the entire Wizarding World was now left, basically defenseless, on the brink of dark, bloody war.
Of all the things that Amy had thought could happen to her when she came to Hogwarts, she never thought that she would be faced with this exact moment. The very idea was unimaginable, an unthinkable surprise. Meeting Charlie and falling in love with him was surprise, yes, but he was a wonderful surprise that changed her life for the better. There was no arguing that. Joining the Order and working in the movement against Voldemort was also a surprise, but Amy had always been one to stand up for what she believed in, so in actuality it was more the fact that there was a group dedicated to the cause that surprised her more than anything.
But this? This moment where she was seated at the funeral of one of the greatest wizards to every live? Where she was crying and mourning the loss of a colleague, friend, leader, father? She had never imagined this, and she understood why this possibility had crossed her mind.
It was because it was simply too horrible, too heart-wrenching, too crushing to imagine.
And yet… here it was. Entirely too horrible, entirely too heart-wrenching, and entirely too crushing.
Entirely too real.
And then the moment was gone and in its place stood nothing. Amy was pulled from her thoughts as the small wizard seated himself and silence loomed over the mass of mourners. She knew what was coming next, but that didn't stop her from jumping as the marble table before her burst into bright white flames and the fallen body of Albus Dumbledore disappeared from her sight forever. When the flames died away, all that remained was a large, white marble tomb which now encased the great wizard's body. Before anyone could move, arrows landed at the feet of the mourners, and Amy could see the flanks of the centaurs who were leaving behind their tribute.
Amy supposed that it the funeral had been much longer than she remembered, but her thoughts were so hazy, and her mind so tired, that she couldn't remember what had been said throughout the entire ceremony. All she knew was that it was over and people were on their feet, moving away from the grand tomb. Amy found herself on her feet with the rest of the crowd and she followed the rest of the staff as they made their way away from the tomb. She listened inattentively to the rest of the staff make meager conversation with those around her. She didn't hear the fake words of sympathy from Umbridge or see the tears of the 'close' old friends of Dumbledore's, all of who were just so desperately curious to know more of what had happened the night he died.
What she did remember though, quite vividly actually, was how quickly she snapped out of her mood when she found herself being introduced by Minerva to one Aberforth Dumbledore. It took her a moment to gather her surroundings but when she did, she found herself standing before a tall wizard with a grey beard and bright blue eyes. For a moment, Amy thought she was standing once more before Albus Dumbledore, but she shook these thoughts away, forcing herself into reality.
"Mr. Dumbledore," Amy said quietly, "I'm Amy Wyman, the Charms professor here. It's a pleasure to meet you, even under such tragic circumstances. I truly am sorry for your loss."
There was a twitch in the man's jaw.
"I have lost nothing," Aberforth said suddenly. Amy was taken aback but said nothing. There was no sense of bitterness in the man's words, only finality. "Albus hasn't been my brother for a long time."
"Still," Amy said quietly, "I think almost everyone feels some sense of loss over your brother's death. He was a great teacher, if not a great man."
"He doesn't look that great from his shadow," Aberforth said tersely, and despite these cold rules, Amy couldn't help but smile.
"Well, I certainly understand that," she said softly. "It's never easy living in the shadow of your siblings. I can attest to that."
"Oh, can you?" he asked gruffly. "I suppose you would know all about that, Professor Wyman?"
"More than I would care to know, Mr. Dumbledore," Amy replied. "As the youngest of four, I do know a little something about living up to one's siblings."
"And I suppose your siblings are all next in line to be Minister of Magic or the next great Quidditch star? Must be quite difficult for a teacher to live up to those standards," Aberforth continued.
Amy laughed, surprised at herself for being able to find humor so easily. She felt relieved that Aberforth did not look affronted at her laugh.
"No, not exactly," she conceded. "My siblings are all Muggles." Aberforth's eyebrow twitched slightly. "And I'm afraid that being a witch makes me a tad too different for my family's taste, and my family isn't too fond of being different."
"What's wrong with being different?" Aberforth asked.
"Nothing," Amy replied instantly. "But it certainly does make it more difficult for my family to understand me and any of my accomplishments. Anything I do that may be worth the slightest bit of praise is blown off simply because it's different, and thus I can never meet the expectations of my parents or rise above the standards set by my dear siblings.
"They still love me, of course, there's no doubt about that," Amy continued softly, "but it certainly is hard trying to prove oneself when there's already a set idea as to where you are on the family scale of proudness and praise. I'm afraid that my inability to be completely normal in my family's eyes places me way below my siblings, and my decision to throw away whatever talents I may possess so that I can live the shabby life of an underpaid teacher does little to change my family's mind that I am worth being proud of."
Amy paused and leaned forward conspiratorially towards Aberforth. "But do you wish to know a secret, Mr. Dumbledore?" When the wizard raised a bushy eyebrow in response, Amy continued. "I really couldn't care less, because I'm happy living my life as a teacher of young witches and wizards. And if I'm happy with what I've done with my life and what I plan on doing with my life, what does it matter what my siblings and parents think?"
Amy didn't wait for him to reply to this. Instead, she leaned away from the wizard suddenly. "I'm sorry for wasting your time, Mr. Dumbledore," she said quietly. "Again, I'm sorry for your loss. Your brother was a great man, and I'm sure you are as well."
She turned away quickly and began to make her way through the crowd. As she moved away, she managed to hear one sentence fall from the older wizard's lips.
"I quite like that witch."
A real smile bloomed across Amy's face for the first time in days.
"What are you doing?"
Amy opened her eyes drowsily and stared up at the cracking ceiling above her. She could feel the scratchy fabric of the carpet beneath her fingertips and she sleepily turned her head to peer at her mother who was standing in the doorway to her childhood room.
"Just thinking," Amy said softly.
Ann raised a curious eyebrow. "Anything of importance?"
Amy shook her head. "No, not really."
"Right, well then you'd best finish packing," Ann ordered. She surveyed the messy remnants of her daughter's room and grimaced. "That wizard of yours will be waiting for you. I suspect he's missed you as much as your mopey self has missed him."
Amy smirked. "Not possible," she argued, thinking fondly of Charlie who would be waiting for her when she got back to England. In the time after Dumbledore's funeral, Amy and Charlie had spent several days together, simply enjoying each other's company and their lack of responsibilities. Their time together had been cut short thought by Amy's trip to Chicago to visit her family. Alan and Ann had been anxious to see from their youngest child, especially after the happenings of the previous Christmas holiday. They wanted to see for themselves that she was truly alright and well. It had taken several days for them to accept that she was perfectly find and not likely to break at the drop of a hat. Despite this, Amy's family had continued to tip-toe around her on her stay, speaking to her in hushed voices and constantly urging her to go to bed early. Like seven thirty in the evening early.
Finally, Amy couldn't take their nonsense anymore and had set them straight, telling them that she was more than perfectly capable of taking care of herself and that if they continued to treat her as though she were inept that she would leave and not look back. Her threat was, of course, half-hearted, because it was so very nice to see her family after so long, but they didn't have to know that. But now that she had spent some much needed time with her parents and siblings and dear friends, it was time for her to head back home. She had missed London and the Wizarding World entirely too much and she had missed Charlie even more than that. He had been reluctant to let her go in the first place, and it was only after promising that he would be rewarded greatly for his patience and sacrifice that she was able to go home without him in tow. The thought of him alone was enough to get Amy sitting up and finishing her packing.
It had been nice to get away from the chaos and turmoil of the Wizarding World, but Amy knew it was time to go home. Home to her flat, and to her friends, and home to Charlie. The thought of returning home to her charming wizard was so incredibly pleasing to the witch that she found herself crawling through the wretched heat for her wand so that she could speed the packing process. And sure enough within minutes, Amy's childhood room was back to its tidy mess of books and photos, and Amy was standing in the front room of her old house with her bag in hand and a crying mother on her shoulder. Ann tended to be a tad melodramatic and nostalgic whenever Amy was coming or going. This time, of course, was no different. Alan was happy to look on from a safe distance.
"Come on, Mom," Amy breathed, awkwardly patting her mother on the shoulder. "You said yourself that I should hurry up, right? Now you don't want me to go?"
"I never want you to go!" Ann protested loudly, causing an obnoxious ringing to start in Amy's ear. "You're my baby! You're supposed to stay here forever."
"Really? You want me living under your roof for the rest of my life?" Amy asked, eyeing her father pleadingly. "I thought you would have had enough of me after the first eighteen years, you really want to add on an additional twenty or so?"
"Please no!" Alan protested immediately, his bright blue eyes going wide. Ann released Amy and the two Wyman women turned to look at the man with raised eyebrows. Alan in return gave a fleeting smile and a shrug. "Sorry, Amy dear, but I don't think I could handle another week of having you in the house blowing things up, let alone another twenty years!"
"No offense taken, Dad," Amy laughed. "I can barely live with myself and my pyrotechnic capabilities most days." She smiled broadly at her father and moved to give him a hug, squeezing him tightly.
"And you promise to write more?" Ann asked from the side, watching her husband and youngest daughter embrace. Amy let out a laugh and pulled away to face her mother, one arm still wrapped around her father's middle.
"Oh yeah, Mom," she said with a teasing smile. "Every day if you like."
Ann gave her a wry look. "Don't you have somewhere to be?" she asked snippily.
"Oh, now you want me to leave?" Amy asked, pulling away from her father to pick up her bag. "Make up your mind, woman!"
"Don't sass me, Amy Elizabeth," Ann warned. "I brought you into this world and I can certainly take you out of it."
"I assure you, Mom," Amy teased, "you're terrifying. Simply the most frightening mother to ever walk the earth."
"I'm warning you-"
"Yes, Mom," Amy broke in, still smiling brightly. "I'll send a letter in a few days, and I'll try to come and visit more often."
"Just be safe, darling," Alan pleaded, wrapping an arm around his wife's shoulders. "For our sanity."
"You know me, Dad," Amy said.
"Exactly," Alan broke in before she could say anything else. "Be safe."
Amy smirked. "I'll try my best," she promised. With a final smile and wave good-bye, Amy turned on her heel and vanished with a crack.
Amy peered into the darkness of her apartment, unsure exactly as to what was happening. Charlie did know that she was coming home today, right? They had Floo'd each other the previous night, and it seemed that all they could talk about was her return home, and yet… Charlie was nowhere to be seen. Her apartment seemed empty, and Amy couldn't help but put her guard up, carefully slipping her wand from her pocket. She grasped it tightly in her hand and made her way further into her apartment, leaving her bag in the front hall.
As she made her way through her apartment, Amy became aware of an overwhelming aroma that seemed to be wafting towards her from the direction of her normal unused kitchen, and as she came closer to the kitchen, Amy noticed a bright glow illuminating through the doorway. With caution and curiosity in her step, the witch walked slowly to the kitchen door and stopped at the sight before her.
Amy broke off, her eyes going wide with disbelief and wonder. Standing before her, looking incredibly dashing in a Muggle suit and tie, was Charlie. He was smiling lowly at her, his blue eyes shining in the light of several candles which were spread across her kitchen table. A table which Amy realized was set quite elegantly with candles and wine glasses and an absolutely amazing spread of food.
"Charlie," Amy gasped. "What is all of this?"
Charlie smiled from his place behind the table and shrugged. "It's our anniversary," he told the witch. Amy stopped her gawking to look at the wizard now completely bewildered. She was obviously having difficulty wrapping her mind around Charlie's words. She was still completely overwhelmed by the spread of food and that amazing smell.
"No, it isn't," Amy finally spluttered out. "It's not even close to our anniversary."
"True," Charlie agreed, the smile on his face never fading, "but seeing as we didn't get to spend our first anniversary together due to…unforeseen circumstances, I figured why not celebrate it now."
"But why today?" Amy asked. "What's so special about today?"
"Really love?" Charlie asked in exasperation. "Does a bloke really have to explain himself for making a bloody fantastic meal and getting all dressed up for his girl? I thought women liked their men to be romantic."
"Oh, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this," Amy protested with a laugh. "I mean I'm not going to complain about coming home to a great looking meal and an equally great looking man. I'm just trying to piece together what is going on and whether or not I'm dreaming."
"Ah," Charlie said, getting a sudden gleam in his eye. "I might be able to help with that."
And before she knew it, Charlie had crossed the room, reaching out to pull her close to him and up onto her toes so that their lips could meet. Amy's eyes fluttered shut as Charlie's lips moved deftly over hers, drawing her further into him and his warmth. He was completely intoxicating, and after not seeing him for so long, Amy couldn't care less. Instead, she pressed herself closer to him and kissed him back. The feel of his mouth on hers had the witch forgetting all about her worries and the fact that there was a warm meal growing cold next to them. All she could think about was his hot, hungry lips pressed tightly against hers and the bolts of electricity and fire that were coursing through her veins.
So to have him pull away from her after several more tantalizing moments was like having someone throw a bucket of ice water on her. She drew in several deep breaths but she still found herself gasping for sweet air as she stared up at Charlie with lidded eyes. He didn't appear to be as affected as her, but instead he was smiling crookedly at her.
"Still think you're dreaming, love?" he asked quietly. One of his hands gently brushed her cheek, savoring its soft contours, while his other hand remained wrapped tightly around her waist, almost possessively. Amy couldn't find it within herself to care however, because she loved the idea of being his and his alone.
"I certainly hope so," Amy murmured. "I would hate to wake up from a dream like this." She leaned on to her tip-toes so she could press a soft kiss of her own to his equally soft lips. She kept herself pressed closed to him for a moment, before pulling away slowly until only their breaths were mixed.
It was now Charlie's turn to look dazed, but he quickly shook himself from this and chuckled lowly.
"If you keep that up, darling," he told her quietly, "I'm fear we're going to spoil our dinner."
"Who cares?" Amy asked, her eyes mesmerized by the slow movements of his lips.
"I'm afraid I do," he responded with a sigh. He cast a pointed look at the laden table. "I did slave away over this meal all day after all. I would hate for it to go to waste."
"Well then," Amy said dazedly, still remembering the feel if his lips on hers, "we had best sit down. Wouldn't want this amazing meal to go to waste, would we?" Amy moved as though to sit down at the table, but Charlie stopped her, placing a hand on her waist to do so.
"Ah ah," he said with a bright smile. "You really think I'm going to let you eat our anniversary dinner looking like that?"
Amy looked down at her shorts and tank top before back at Charlie with a raised eyebrow.
"Really?" Amy asked. "You're really going to make me change? Weren't you just saying that you were afraid this lovely meal would go to waste?"
"We'll risk it," Charlie protested. "If I have to be dressed up so do you. We're celebrating our anniversary properly, which means that you are to go into your room and put on some dress and some make-up and then you're going to come out here so that I can charm the pants off you with just how romantic and gallant I am."
"Wait, so am I putting on a dress or pants?" Amy asked with a teasing smile. Charlie gave her a pointed look and pointed at her bedroom door.
Amy held up her hands in surrender and made her way towards her room. She hesitated in the doorway and looked back over her shoulder at Charlie.
"You know," she started slowly. "If we were doing this properly, we probably should be doing this on the actual day we got together."
Charlie waited until he heard the door to the bedroom shut completely before he moved to finish up the dinner. He couldn't find it in himself to wipe the smile from his face as he thought about the woman in the next room. He still couldn't wrap his head around the fact that he was fortunate enough to call her his. He really had missed her for the past few weeks. It just hadn't been the same coming home to an empty apartment. He was so used to finding her sitting on his couch, her hair mussed up and a book in hand. Sometimes she was still awake to greet him with a wide yawn and heavy eyes, while other times he would find her sprawled across the couch, her book hanging limply from her hand and snoring softly.
It would be nice to have that return to normalcy. The past few months had made him realize just how dependent he was on this witch, just how possessive he was of her and how there wasn't a moment that went by that she didn't occupy his thoughts. There was always something for him to connect back to her, no matter how hard he tried. She was all he could think about, and he certainly wasn't complaining. All it meant was that needed to do something to ensure that she would always be there and that he would always have the opportunity to tell him how much he loved her.
And he had a plan. A plan which he had already set into action and which ended with the tiny box in his pocket.
Charlie paused in his motions as the thought of the little box crossed his mind and he slipped his hand into the pocket of his dress pants to reassure himself that it was in fact still there. He closed his eyes for a moment and thought about what it was he would say and what he when he was going to say it and he could almost imagine the feeling of exhalation and utter joy that would run through him. He wondered how he would tell his parents, how his Mum would react-
"Knut for your thoughts?"
Amy's voice spread like warmth into the small room, and Charlie pulled his hand from his pocket in a flash, trying his best to act normal.
"Seems a bit cheap, doesn't it?" he asked, trying to keep his nerves from revealing themselves. "I did after all make you dinner, not to mention I got all dress up for you –"
Charlie broke off as he had finally gathered enough courage to turn and face the witch, and he found himself at a loss for words. Amy smiled at him from across the room, her teeth chewing on her bottom lip. She looked down hesitantly before back up at him tentatively and Charlie felt his heart skip a beat.
The warm glow of the candles washed over her, giving her a rosy hue which was only brightened by the rich red color of her dress. It was short, barely grazing the tops of her knees, and there was a shiny ribbon cinched around her waist, stopping a pattern of lace from traveling up the top of the dress. There were no sleeves on the dress, but there was sheer fabric draped over her chest, giving Charlie a peek at the soft skin of her shoulders and collar. Her hair was loose and curled, hanging wildly around her shoulders.
"I hope this isn't too simple," Amy said quietly. "Wouldn't want to spoil our special dinner because my dress wasn't up to par."
"It's perfect," Charlie choked out. "Really." He didn't say much more as he couldn't find it within himself to tear his eyes away from her.
"Is something wrong?" she asked, her smiling growing into a smirk. "You seem oddly quiet."
"N-No," he stammered. He gripped the kitchen counter to balance himself. "N-Nothing wrong. Nothing at all."
Amy smiled again and looked down at her dress again. "I figured it would be rather appropriate," she told him. "Show some Gryffindor pride for my Gryffindor boyfriend. Rather fitting, don't you think?"
"I think," Charlie said, taking a deep breath, "that we should sit down before I'm unable to keep my hands off you. "
"Is that such a bad thing?"
"Merlin Amy," Charlie laughed. "You're going to be the death of me."
"I would hope not," Amy protested as Charlie made his way across the room to pull out her chair for her. She sat down and pulled a napkin onto her lap. "How would I ever survive without you?"
Charlie smiled and pressed a soft kiss to the smooth skin just below her ear. "Let's hope you never have to find out."
Charlie's cooking abilities would never fail to astound Amy. Of all the meals they had every shared and of all the disastrous attempts she had made at cooking, he never failed to make something so wonderful that it even rivaled his mother's dishes. This was certainly something she could get used to and she made sure to point this out to Charlie as they finished their dinner and made their way onto the dessert.
"Well, thanks for that," Charlie laughed. "It's good to know I'm useful for something."
"Someone has to feed me," Amy said, "or I'll forget and starve over a pile of essays."
"And what a shame that would be."
"You're really going to sass me on our anniversary?"
"I'm sorry, did I miss the memo which said I can't sass you on special days?"
"Apparently so. It was on a blue flyer."
"Blue? Who puts an important message on blue paper? Red is so much classier."
Amy raised an eyebrow. "Is that your Gryffindor pride coming out or are you trying to flatter me?"
"Gryffindor pride, definitely."
"Shame," Amy said. She took a sip of her wine. "I thought you had finally found the romantic bone in your body."
"I'm sorry," Charlie protested. "I can't hear you over this very romantic and spontaneous meal I made you."
"Yes this very romantic and spontaneous dinner you made," Amy repeated slowly. She looked as though she was thinking over these words. "You know, I still can't wrap my head around the idea that you did all of this to celebrate something that happened months ago."
"Why else would I have done it?" Charlie asked. He fidgeted slightly and Amy's eyes narrowed.
"I'm afraid I'm still trying to figure that out," Amy answered. "You're up to something Charles Weasley. I can feel it."
"I'm pretty sure that's just the wine, love."
"No, no," Amy protested. "You are most definitely up to something, and when I find out exactly what it is…" She trailed off and gave the wizard a pointed look which he shrugged at in reply.
"Whatever you say, dear," he smiled. "More wine?"
Amy nodded and kept an eye on him as he made he stood up to get the bottle of wine. There was something off about all this. She wasn't complaining at all. The meal really was amazing and the company even better, but there was still something off about everything that was going on. Charlie had something up his sleeve; he had been fidgeting all night and he seemed so anxious. He did a great job at hiding all of this, of course, but Amy was still able to detect the neck-rubbing and shifty eyes. But she would let it all go if only because she was just so happy to be home with him.
"How are your parents?" Charlie asked from his spot across the kitchen. He grabbed the bottle of wine and made his way back to the table to refill their glasses.
Amy shrugged and took the glass in her hand, cradling it against her chest. "Oh, you know them," she answered
Charlie sat down and raised an eyebrow. "Completely insane then?"
"Ah, you know them so well."
Charlie laughed and Amy couldn't help but smile too. She took a sip of her wine and set in back on the table so that she could lean forward onto her elbows, still smiling.
"Well, you had to have gotten it from someone."
"Like your family's any less crazy."
Charlie held up a finger as though to protest but stopped himself, thought about it for a moment, and then shrugged and nodded in agreement.
"I suppose you're right about that," he agreed, taking a long sip from his glass. "They certainly can be a handful." He grimaced as though he was remembering something quite painful.
"I guess Bill and Fleur's wedding plans are well underway, then?" Amy asked. "I'm sure your Mom is having lots of fun with that."
"At least she doesn't have me cleaning the house like the others," Charlie said. "If ever there's been a time where I am thankful that I moved out long ago, it's now."
"Oh c'mon," Amy laughed. "It can't be that bad!"
Charlie gave her a wry look.
"Love, my Mum is a force to be reckoned with on good days," he reminded her. "Now, she's a force to be reckoned with who is planning a wedding in the middle of a war. It's very bad."
"Yikes," Amy said faintly. "Hadn't thought about it that way. They certainly did pick an interesting time to get married, didn't they?"
"Well, I doubt that they thought things would be like this when they decided to get married," Charlie pointed out. "It's a bit difficult to see into the future. You never know what's waiting for you around the corner. We don't know what tomorrow's going to look like."
"I suppose you're right," Amy agreed. "We don't know what tomorrow's going to look like." She sighed and leaned back in her chair, letting her hands fall into place next to her plate. Charlie looked from her face to her hands before reaching forward to grasp one in his own hand. Amy looked down at their intertwined hand and smiled brightly.
"You know," Charlie started slowly. "I've been thinking a lot lately and-"
"That's not good," Amy interrupted, her eyes wide growing wide. Charlie glared at her teasingly and she fell quiet, though the smile on her face didn't fade away.
"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted," Charlie restarted, "I've been thinking a lot lately about the future and what's to come. You agreed that we have no idea what the future will be like, but I do know what were like together and I love it like you wouldn't believe. We belong together and there's nothing I wouldn't do to guarantee your happiness, because I love you too much to see you in pain, and there's not a moment that goes by that I don't think about you and how you're the best thing that's ever happened to me. I would do anything and everything to ensure you're safety and your happiness."
"This isn't another conversation where you try to get me to go live with my parents again, is it?" Amy broke in suddenly, half-teasing and half-serious. "Because if it is, I will tell you again that-"
"No!" Charlie cut in with a laugh. "Quite the opposite really." Amy narrowed her eyes and cocked her head, not noticing Charlie's hand move to his pocket.
"What I'm trying to say, Amy," Charlie breathed, "is that I can't imagine living my life without you by my side. I love you and only you. It's always been you, I just didn't know, but I know now that there can only be you. You're irrational and reckless and sarcastic and infuriating, but you're also absolutely gorgeous and intelligent and kind and selfless, and I love you beyond belief."
"I don't understand," Amy whispered. "What are you saying?" Her voice was breathless and her eyes were bright. Charlie couldn't help but laugh.
"What I'm saying, my dearest love," Charlie continued, his voice soft in the candlelight, "is that I am madly in love with you, completely bewitched, and the only thing that could possibly make me happier would be for you to-"
A resounding crack snapped through the quiet apartment, and Amy and Charlie both jumped, the mood of the room melting away, slipping between the cracks in the floor. Their attention was pulled away from each other and to the next room where they could clearly hear someone moving around. They were standing in a flash, their wands drawn and pointing at the shadowy doorway. They spared each other cautious looks before slowly making their way closer to the door, their wands aloft and their breaths coming and going quietly, as they drew closer and closer to the apparent intruder until they could almost see-
"Why is it so dark in here?" a breathless voice complained. There was a snap and Amy's apartment was flooded with light. Amy blinked as spots danced before her eyes and she could here Charlie groan behind her as he was hit by the bright light. "There. That's much better."
Wait a moment. Amy knew that voice; how could she not know that voice? She stepped out of the kitchen and into the next room, staring in disbelief at the person before her.
The pink haired witch whipped around at the sound of Amy's voice, a large smile breaking out across her face.
"Amy!" the witch greeted happily. "You're here!"
"Of course, I'm here," Amy said slowly. "This is my apartment. I think the question is though what are you doing here?"
"I just had to tell someone," Tonks gushed. "I just had to."
"Tell someone what?"
"Remus and I are getting married!"
Amy's eyes went wide and she opened her mouth to say something but found herself to be speechless. Tonks didn't seem to notice, however, and she let out a girlish squeal and moved forward to embrace Amy excitedly. Amy stood frozen for a moment before regaining her senses and she wrapped her arms around Tonks tightly, allowing a small smile to cross her face.
"Oh Tonks," Amy said brightly, "that's amazing!"
Tonks pulled back and looked at Amy expectantly. "You'll be there, right?"
"Of course!" Amy laughed. "I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
"Good, because it's this Friday," Tonks told her.
Tonks nodded eagerly. "We wanted to have it as soon as possible. You never know what tomorrow's going to look like after all."
Amy let out half a laugh and looked back at Charlie, who was standing in the doorway to the kitchen silently.
"You really don't," Amy agreed quietly. "Oh Tonks, I'm so happy for you, and I promise I'll be there. We'll both be there."
Amy looked back at Charlie, desperate to see what he was thinking but his face was void of all expression. He caught Amy's eye before quickly looking away from her and back at his old classmate.
"Congratulations, Tonks," he said, forcing a smile onto his face. "You guys will be really happy together, I'm sure." He offered her another smile before moving out of the room and back into the kitchen. Between Tonks' words of excitement, Amy could hear the clank of dishes as Charlie began to clear up their dinner, and the witch couldn't help but feel a pang of disappointment despite the happiness that her dear friend seemed to exude.
AN: Muwhahahaha. Love you guys.
Peace out, girl scouts.