For HedwigBlack's Weekly Challenge

This week's prompt: Charlie as a main character. My additional prompt: scars.



Charlie Weasley's skin is so littered with scars that it seems impossible that he could remember where most of them came from, not to mention all of them – but he does. He has his Quidditch scars, but more of them are burn scars, of course. It's to be expected, in his line of work. But Charlie could explain which dragon each and every burn scar came from, and what he did wrong to earn it. The one on his left hand is from Theodora, for example, when Charlie misjudged her range of fire. The biggest one, splashed across the entire right side of his chest, is one of the oldest. He earned that one from an old grump named Nikolas, when he tried to get too friendly too fast – back when he was overeager, and couldn't read dragons so intuitively well.

Charlie's proud of his scars. They're a mark of where he's been – a story written on his skin. They're lessons, and he's never once made the same mistake twice, not when it leaves a scar.

And they're all unique. No two people have the same scars – not even Fred and George, which was always how Charlie could tell them apart. Tucked up under George's hair on the left side of his temple is a white line from the time he ran full force into the countertop when Mum and Dad weren't home and the babysitter didn't know how to heal it, so she took him to a Muggle doctor – because she was a Squib, Charlie remembers. A Squib with an ancient white line of a scar across the back of her hand.

Mum was livid when she saw George's stitches, though. Magic has a certain window after which it ceases to be effective, after all. It was after that that Mum started putting Bill in charge of the siblings when she left, not that it occurred often anyway.

Scars have always been the first thing Charlie notices about people – because scars can tell a lot about a person. Depending on how many there are, where they are, and what kind they are, Charlie can get a pretty decent reading on a person before the first word out of his or her mouth. And he likes that.

Yet, along with the degree of predictability, scars also carry a certain amount of unexpectedness – rarely can Charlie fathom the story behind them until he asks. He gets funny looks for asking, and of course some people don't even know, but curiosity always outweighs all of that. So Charlie carries the stories of his own scars, but he also carries the stories of a thousand scars that aren't his. And he's learned some things, collecting these stories.

He's learned that bigger scars don't always have better stories – but they usually do. He's learned that people tend to lie about stupid scars, but the lies are always too extravagant for the mark on their skin, as though they're overcompensating. He's learned that most people are ashamed of their scars, most people see them as flaws.

People aren't like dragons. Dragons wear injuries as badges of honor – something no other creature Charlie's ever found does. Most species see scars as a sign of weakness. And maybe it's because of the dragons that he sees scars the way he does, because not a lot of people see scars like Charlie. But, at the same time, he can't ever remember not being fascinated with them, so maybe it's just a part of him.

Whatever the reason, Charlie has always seen lives through the scars the people bear. It seems a bit shallow, at first glance. As though he's only seeing surface deep, but that's not it. He sees the surface, but he sees what it shows about the inside more.

Every scar has a story, Charlie knows. And every life is just a series of stories.