Disclaimer: I don't own the characters! That honor goes to Ms. Rowling.
The night was still and quiet as Harry crossed the lawn towards the Forbidden Forest. Eerily quiet. And bodies littered the grass. Some dead, some seriously wounded. A young girl was crying for her mother. Harry closed his eyes and forged onward.
"Where are you going Harry?" A voice broke through the silence and Harry stopped, automatically acknowledging the man.
"Charlie, you should be inside."
"So should you."
"There's something I have to do. You should be inside." Charlie snorted in response.
"What? Let yourself be killed? I've always been an outdoor person, I feel suffocated inside. And in there I'll be expected to mourn the deaths of people that I have no connection to. I've been in Romania for so long.
"Your family needs you, Charlie." Harry was surprised that his voice remained so steady. He could feel his heart breaking with every word. And with every moment he was afraid his resolve would crumble. He needed to do this.
"I barely know anyone in there. I'm surprised that Fred and George aren't out here with me. Death isn't their thing. Tears aren't their thing."
Harry was silent for a moment.
"Charlie, Fred's dead."
"W-what? Fred and George?" Always Fred and George. Or it always had been.
"No...no, Charlie. Just Fred."
"N-no. No. I just told you. Death isn't Fred's thing. Tears aren't George's thing. You know that." What was there to say?
"Death doesn't always care if it's your thing."
"Fred likes to laugh." Charlie had always been the most certain and straightforward of the Weasley brothers.
"He died laughing. Percy and Ron were there. You should be inside."
"It's not my place."
"You're their family as well. Almost more than I am." And the flood broke loose. Harry snapped.
"Except that I caused this. All of those people inside, they're dead because I'm still alive."
"You are going to turn yourself in. I had heard you have a hero complex." Damn Hermione. Damn that phrase. Hero complex. Damn hero complex.
"It's not a complex. It's something I have to do. Because I know things about this war that you don't, things that you could barely comprehend."
"Things that Ron and Hermione don't know?"
"Things that Ron and Hermione don't know! And things that they don't need to hear...things that I didn't know until ten minutes ago. But I understand, it's necessary and it's easier for me to disappear than to ask them to let go of one more person in their lives."
"Don't you to owe it to them to tell them the truth?"
"Stop!" Harry's voice broke as he spoke, eyes not meeting Charlie's.
"I just-I'm being selfish." It was the truth.
"Selfish isn't really a word that describes you, Harry."
"Well, it does this time. I'm going to die and the last thing I'll do is selfish." He hasn't done much that's selfish before. Maybe just this once, someone will forgive him for it.
"Then why are you being selfish?"
"I don't want them to resent me!" He'd never been so honest. Death does strange things to people. "They should hate me, after all that I've put them through. But so far, they haven't. But this thing, that I just learned. They'll resent me for everything. And I don't think I could handle that. Ron and Hermione have been with me from the start. I'm not ready to lose them right before I die."
"They would try to stop you."
"No one would try to stop me if they knew the truth. No one would want to, besides this is the only way."
"I want to stop you. We've already lost so many. And no one wants to lose you. I don't want to lose you."
"Charlie, listen to me. You don't know what I know."
"Then tell me! I won't resent you…and even if I do, I don't mean much to you. And I won't tell the others. I've already said that I don't know any of them."
"You mean plenty to me." The silence was tense. Charlie waited for Harry to continue. "There's a piece of his soul in me."
"He can't be killed unless I die. Because part of his soul is attached to mine." Charlie was silent. He didn't say anything, didn't move. Harry closed his eyes and swallowed dryly. His heart hurt, knowing the truth. That what he said would always be held against him. Because his life assured Voldemort's. He turned away to head further into the woods.
"You should be inside, Charlie." His voice was husky. Charlie didn't say anything.
Then there was a strong, callused hand on his shoulder, turning him around and his back was pressed against the rough bark of the nearest tree. Charlie Weasley's warm mouth covered his own. Harry gasped in surprise and at the touch, his every nerve was on fire. Charlie's tongue slid between the stunned lips to meet Harry's and they moved against each other, captured in a tantalizing dance that neither wanted to break. Harry was completely surrounded, pressed between the tree and Charlie's strong body. One of his hands grasped Charlie's upper arm, the other tangled in his fiery red hair as the older man moved from his mouth and pressed wet kisses down his neck. It felt so good and so right to be surrounded by everything Charlie Weasley. But it wasn't right. Because people were dead and it was Harry's fault. Charlie's brother was dead and it was Harry's fault.
"Charlie-" Harry gasped. Partly determined to stop him because everything was so wrong. But mostly encouraging him because nothing was in his control.
"Shhh," Charlie said moving back to Harry's mouth. He nipped lightly at Harry's bottom lip. Harry pulled Charlie's head closer, forcing the kiss to deepen. Charlie braced himself against the tree, one hand on the back of Harry's neck. Harry's tongue slipped between Charlie's chapped lips and explored the contours of his mouth. Taking in everything of the man that was Charlie Weasley.
Charlie pulled back, just enough so that his forehead rested directly on the lightning scar that had made Harry famous. He pressed chaste kisses to Harry's swollen lips.
"What was that?" Harry whispered into the night. Breath fluttering against Charlie's lips. He almost felt the words, rather than hearing them.
"Something to remember me by." Charlie answered, thumb brushing the back of Harry's neck. Harry laughed breathlessly.
"I think it's supposed to work the other way. I should be giving you something to remember me by."
"I would never forget you, Harry."
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