AN: Some difficulties with this one, because when I started writing I thought Charlie never showed for the Battle of Hogwarts, but then I started researching and found out he did, so I had some issues fitting in canon at the end, but then I left it a little more ambiguous and I like it.

"Charlie," Bill's voice is hesitant as it echoes out of the pearly white silhouette in front of Charlie, "I know this isn't really your war... But it... It all ends tonight. At Hogwarts. Now." There's a pause. "Do with that what you will." The figure disintegrates.

Charlie is conflicted. He always seems to be, lately. Because Bill is right: this isn't his fight, isn't his war. He's had nothing to do with it. He's a world away, in Romania, with the dragons that he loves. But at the same time, it is his fight, because his family is fighting, and that means, in some way, he's in this whether he wants to be or not.

That's the one thing he's certain of, actually: that he doesn't want to be. But he is, regardless, and he wonders if it would make so much of a difference if he goes in deeper. If Bill is right, if it all ends tonight, then what does he have to lose?



His life. Literally.

His life. Figuratively. His peaceful life here in Romania with the dragons and the safety, which sounds preposterous but is true, because dragons are, and always have been, so much less scary than death eaters and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, which Charlie always snickers at, because in a weird sort of way, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a name, and Charlie has the odd sort of brain that finds that funny.

But now he's getting off topic. Which was...? Oh, right. What he has to lose.

And the thought is terrifying.

But what has he got to lose by staying?


His family. Their lives, their respect.

His peace of mind, because if one of them gets hurt, or, Merlin forbid, dies and Charlie's not there, he'll always wonder if he could've prevented it.

His pride. Because if he doesn't fight for this, he's a coward.

But Charlie has to take into account the fact that even if this battle is the end, it might not be a happy ending. You-Know-Who might win.

And if he does, Charlie has a lot more to lose by fighting than he does by staying.

His freedom.

The freedom of his family, his friends.

His only possible chance at rescuing them.

And it sounds selfless, when he puts it like that, but Charlie knows that the truth is, it would be selfish of him to stay. To stay tucked up in his nice warm reserve in Romania while his family are fighting for their lives.

Charlie doesn't want to want to stay, but he wants to nonetheless. And now he's gone and confused himself.

He wants to stay. And he hates himself for it.

But he likes being separate from the war, apart from it. He likes what naïvety he still maintains, thank you very much.

And he's scared.

Terrified, really.

Maybe the Sorting Hat was wrong.

Maybe Charlie isn't a Gryffindor after all.

Or maybe he is.

Charlie's not sure anymore.

Sure, with the dragons, he's absolutely fearless. He's known throughout the reserve for doing the insane, crazy, stupid stuff no one else would even consider doing.

But this is different.

This is so much bigger than him, his life, his dragons.

This is scary and terrifying and insane and crazy and real, and Charlie doesn't know what to do about it.

Charlie wavers, but, really, there's only one decision right now that he can live with.

He turns on his heel and disappears with a 'Pop'.