Disclaimer: Harry Potter's not mine... of course! I'm just having fun with it. :)
Author's note: Hello! Here goes my first Harry Potter long-fic - I'm nervous, but pretty excited! There's so little known about Charlie, that I couldn't resist exploring his life. This prologue is very short, I know, but think of it as a taster. The actual chapters will be longer than this. Speaking of which, I've already written the first few, so expect an update very soon. Reviews would be very much appreciated as this is new territory for me – let me know what you think!
1. Prologue - Dragon Chasers
Charlie Weasley, who lived and breathed the outdoors, had hoped his days of sitting behind desks in dusty classrooms had ended the day he left Hogwarts. But somehow, in his pursuit of dragons, behind a desk in a dusty classroom was exactly where he found himself.
He had confidence in his chosen career, but it was hard not to think wistfully of the England Quidditch trials and his beloved broom, the wind whipping around him and that elusive golden glint up ahead when he was sat in a tiny Romanian classroom with twenty other bored youths in the middle of a stuffy continental summer. This was the first in a series of induction lectures that he hadn't considered before arriving at the reserve.
Really, though, Charlie thought, it was a bit naive to expect he'd be let loose on the dragons without so much as a few health and safety guidelines. Problem was, he was a dragon chaser and neither his health nor his safety were high on his list of priorities. Distractedly he eyed a foot long dragon fang hanging from one of the wood panelled walls.
Mr Harvey Ridgebit Junior, owner of the world's largest dragon sanctuary – how many times had he mentioned that? – was still talking. He was a balding, middle-aged man dressed in immaculate brown robes. Charlie couldn't help noticing that Ridgebit, unlike his colleagues sat behind him as he paced back and forth, didn't bear a single visible dragon burn. The two men on his right certainly did. Both were wearing vests instead of robes and their arms were shiny with pink burns. The older of the two was shaven headed with a grizzled grey beard; he had a large scorch mark on his scalp. It looked painfully raw.
Sat on the left was a dark haired woman who looked just as bored as he felt. She kept shifting in her seat as though she could barely sit still. Charlie glimpsed a long, bright white scar when her top rode up. It snaked along her side, then up, out of sight.
Ridgebit continued his mind-numbing speech. They were a promising group, he said, very privileged to be able to study –
" – in the world's largest dragon sanctuary," Sam Eddowes muttered into Charlie's ear, making him force back a grin. Sam winked and sat back in his chair, and Charlie was suddenly reminded of his younger twin brothers, Fred and George.
"Your studies will be overseen – at least initially – by our team of tutors." Ridgebit made a sweeping gesture at those sat behind him. The two men made weak attempts at a smile. As for the woman, though she grinned, Charlie was sure he'd seen her eyes flick towards the ceiling mockingly.
As Sam would later comment, the whole experience was rather disappointing – they'd travelled over a thousand miles for an image-obsessed dragon sanctuary owner and his three, seemingly jaded, employees. Two of whom, it would soon emerge, spoke very little English.
"Bring on the bloody dragons," was Sam's succinct conclusion.