Written for the OTP Boot Camp
Pairing – Harry Charlie
Prompt – Eternity
"Charlie is going to be working at Hogwarts this year," Ron said conversationally to Harry and Hermione on the train towards school. He failed to miss the miserable look that crossed Harry's face nor the angry look on Hermione's.
"Is he taking over Care of Magical Creatures?" Hermione asked, keeping her voice even. The question was towards Ron but her eyes were on Harry as she watched him try to pull himself together before Ron noticed something was wrong.
"Yeah, after Fred nearly died, mum wanted everyone home for a while, or at least, ya know in the country."
"That's normal, of course she's going to be overprotective for a while."
"Yeah but the danger's gone now, hasn't it. I mean, Voldemort and the death eaters are gone now, dead or locked up," Ron rolled his eyes and helped himself to another cauldron cake off the table. Harry had put his 'I'm bored' mask back on and seemed to be back in control of himself.
"There's always danger Ron, it's that kind of attitude that will let another dark lord take Tom's place."
"Not with you around, eh mate?"
"I'm not invincible, I just got lucky."
"Right, course you did, so yeah, anyway, it'll be nice to have Charlie around for a bit, we never get to see him when he's in Romania."
"Should have stayed there," Harry muttered, too low for Ron to hear. Hermione picked up on it and shot a look of sympathy at him.
Harry took a book out of his bag and buried his head in it. He didn't want to talk to anyone, and certainly not about Charlie Fucking Weasley.
It was a week after the battle at Hogwarts and Harry was having a hard time coping. Fred wasn't dead like he had believed but everyone else was and it was tearing him apart inside. He had visited with Andromeda and they had agreed Harry would leave him with her, at least until he finished school. He had arranged with Professor McGonagall, that if he came back to school to complete his seventh year, that Fred and George could drop Teddy off with him every Saturday for the day.
Harry had no plans for the summer, had nothing to do with himself, and he was falling apart from the pressure of being the wizarding world's hero. There was talk of ceremony's and ministry balls in his honour, an order of merlin, first class, chocolate frog cards, honorary winzengamot seat, and a lot of other things that he didn't want.
Ginny had decided she wasn't in love with him at all, it was merely a crush. She just wanted to be friends, while she experimented with her youth. Harry had no idea what that meant and he didn't want to. He had been quite relieved when she hadn't wanted to get back together.
One day in the second week while Harry was at the burrow, an argument erupted at the breakfast table. Charlie wanted to go back to Romania and Molly didn't want him too. They had finally come to an agreement. Charlie would go back and serve a months' notice, before coming home and finding a job for at least a year. Harry had decided he needed some time away from England and with the help of Hermione, had begun looking at different destinations in Travel agent books. When Charlie heard about it, he had offered to take Harry with him, a month in Romania, where he could help with the dragons, and see the sights. Harry had accepted.
The trio sat together with Neville and Ginny at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall whilst the Sorting hat placed the new batch of students. There was an air of subdued excitement from most of the returning students, most of them either remembering the previous year, or the battle, whilst at the same time, excited to be back to normal without the threat of Voldemort hanging over them anymore.
Professor McGonagall stood as the sorting finished and silence fell on the great hall.
"I'll keep this short, as I know that you are all hungry. A time for change has come, and we must greet it, and embrace it. You are the new generation, the ones who will lead our world into the twenty first century. Gryffindor's make friends with the other houses. Ravenclaw, help others with homework. Hufflepuff, join in with others and Slytherin, remember you are an equal part of this school as the others. House rivalry should start and end with the Quidditch cup and the house cup. Enjoy your school year together, without the duels and arguments. Help each other, keep each other safe, and most of all learn all you can from each other, because when you leave school, houses don't matter, who won the house cup doesn't matter. What matters will be your strength of will, your ambition, your loyalty and your brains. Always remember that there is life outside Hogwarts. The usual warnings and notices apply, stay away from the forbidden forest, the list of banned items are on Filch's office door. Enjoy the feast."
Harry raised an eyebrow at Hermione before he started loading his plate. He wasn't particularly hungry, but he knew people would ask questions if he didn't eat.
"That was a pretty good speech to say it's her first as the headmistress," Hermione muttered with a small smile, as she too loaded her plate.
Harry nodded. He though McGonagall would make an excellent headmistress, as she was fair, unbiased and willing to give all students the attention they needed.
"Is Teddy coming this Saturday or are you leaving it until we've settled in?"
"Yeah, he'll be here. I'm really missing him already and I saw him yesterday morning. It's stupid," Harry replied with a small smile. Hermione sighed. Teddy was the only thing that could bring that expression to Harry's face just lately. Since he had gotten back from Romania three days earlier than planned, he had withdrawn into himself, barely talking, wanting to be alone. It had taken her almost a week to get him to explain what was wrong and then it had taken him five hours to get her to promise not to say anything to anyone. She looked at the head table to see Charlie watching them with a strange look in his eyes. He saw her staring and quickly looked away, being drawn into a conversation with Hagrid who was seated next to him on the end of the table. He was now only going to be working part time as the gamekeeper, he would be spending much of his time in France with Olympe Maxime. Hermione rolled her eyes, and struck up a conversation about their lessons for the next term.
The next day dawned, bright and early, Harry was out of bed before anyone else and had the luxury of a private shower. He got dressed, feeling more comfortable than he had since he had returned from Romania and walked out of the bathroom. Ron was sat up in his bed looking blearily around the room for Harry.
"Where've you been?" he asked with a yawn when he saw him.
"Taking a shower. I woke up early and there was no point going back to sleep for the sake of about forty five minutes. Hurry up and get ready, I'll wait for you in the common room."
Ron came down twenty minutes later, still not fully awake and looking a little dishevelled. Harry smirked at his friend, and was about to open the portrait hole when Ron stopped him.
"She went for breakfast ten minutes ago, said she see us down there."
Ron blushed slightly and smiled sheepishly.
They made their way down to the Great hall and quickly took seats by Hermione and Ginny, just as the teachers started handing out schedules. Harry sighed when he noticed Charlie was giving out the Gryffindor's timetables and Hermione grimaced.
"Here you go guys, these are yours, how are you all," Charlie said, sounding happy and carefree. Harry rolled his eyes and didn't answer him, just looked at the piece of paper he had just been handed.
"I noticed all three of you have a free afternoon, I thought you could come see me. I'm staying on the sixth floor."
"Great, we'll be there," Ron answered for all three, not noticing Harry's flinch or Hermione's glare. He just smiled joyfully and carried on with his breakfast. Harry pushed his plate away and stood up. "We have Defence in ten minutes, let's go."
"But I haven't finished my breakfast yet," Ron whined.
"And who's fault is that?" Harry muttered as he set off away from the table and through the great hall.
Ron and Hermione followed him, albeit with a stack of toast in Ron's case. They got to the classroom with five minutes to spare and Harry stared moodily at the door. Ron huffed, and muttered something about not needing to leave breakfast early. Hermione rolled her eyes at him and shook her head. She knew that part of the reason Harry wanted to get here early was to check out the new teacher. Professor Johnson, an ex-Auror, retired early due to injury.
The door to the classroom opened and Professor Johnson beckoned them in. "You're early," he said pleasantly as they took seats at the front. Harry threw his bag under the desk and slumped in his seat.
"You don't really need this class, do you Mr Potter?"
"Of course I do."
"No, you really don't, none of you three do. Why are you here?"
"Because we all need to pass our Newts. That's what school is for, is it not Professor?"
"So you think I'm going to show you magic that you don't already know?"
"I have no idea what you're going to do professor, nor do I really care. My reasons for returning to school are my own. I'd like to keep it that way."
"Fair enough, Mr Potter," Johnson replied amiably. "Perhaps you would help with the demonstration when the rest of the class arrives, which should be about now."
"Of course sir."
Professor Johnson moved to the front of the class as the rest of the Newt students filed in.
"Welcome class. I hope you are all alert this morning and ready to listen, because Defence against the Dark arts is one of the most crucial things anybody can learn. The ability to defend yourself, in battle, a duel, even a way to calm situations down, is of the utmost importance. This year, you will be learning advanced spells, and more importantly, I will be teaching you how to refine your skills, teaching you how to up the power level in certain spells and dim it down in others. Now, Mr Potter has agreed to help me with a demonstration. We will be showing you what a basic duel would possibly look like."
Harry stood up and walked to the front, bowed to the Professor and stood in the stance he had seen Snape stand in in his second year. The professor nodded his head in approval. "We are aiming to disarm each other. Non harmful spells only. Stunner's may be used."
Harry nodded in acknowledgement and they began.
"Stupefy," Johnson shouted, and Harry stepped to the side, sending a mild blasting curse at the table behind Johnson to make him jump. It worked and Harry quickly cast Expelliarmus. Johnson's wand flew across the room to Harry, and he allowed a small smile as he threw the wand back.
"That is one of the best things one can do when duelling or mid battle. Use your surroundings, blow things up, make things move, it will distract your opponent. Thank you Mr Potter. Another thing I will be teaching you, is the patronus charm. It is the only known defence against Dementor's and can also carry messages safely. Can anybody here produce a patronus?"
Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Seamus, Ernie, Terry, and Parvati raised their hands.
"Well, I am surprised, when did you learn this?"
"Harry taught us in our fifth year Professor," Hermione answered.
"When did you learn Mr Potter?" Johnson asked with raised eyebrows.
"In my third year sir. The dementor's that were stationed around the castle took an unhealthy appeal to me. I needed to be able to repel them."
"Would you mind showing us?"
Harry waved his wand almost lazily and Prongs appeared. Johnson smiled and awarded Gryffindor 20 points.
The lesson passed easily and Transfiguration passed just as well. Lunch came and Harry's dark mood settled on him again. Ron was chatting about going to see Charlie and Harry couldn't think of a reasonable reason to ditch. After lunch he followed behind Ron slowly, dreading the coming couple of hours and praying he would be able to get through it without coming apart.
Charlie answered the door cheerfully and the trio walked in, one happy, one angry and one barely keeping himself together.
They sat and chatted about school for a while, or rather Ron and Charlie chatted, Hermione didn't speak at all and Harry just gave one word answers when directly asked a question. Hearing Charlie talk so happily was bringing all kinds of unwanted memories back to the forefront of Harry's mind.
Harry lounged on the couch in the living room of Charlie's house reading a book. Charlie was on his way back from work and Kreacher was making them a nice meal tonight. The front door opened and Charlie's voice sounded.
"Honey I'm home."
"Idiot," Harry replied good naturedly.
Charlie came into the living room and kissed Harry on the head. They had first kissed three weeks after being there and now, with only three days to go until they left, they were getting in all the kissing and touching they could. Kreacher came into the living room.
"Master Harry, dinner is ready," he said with a low bow. Harry smiled.
They sat down at the small table in the kitchen where Kreacher had served French onion soup for starter.
"I swear, Kreacher's cooking is better than my mums, but don't tell her I said that. I can't wait until we come back here after the year is up. Me, you, Kreacher and the dragons. It'll be amazing."
"Yeah, it'll be nice to holiday here."
"What do you mean, holiday? We'll be moving back here as soon as the year I promised mum is over."
"And you didn't think to ask me. You just decided to tell me and expect everything to be okay?"
"I expected you to want to be with me! And you love it here, you said so yourself."
"For a holiday Charlie. I don't want to move here full time. What about Teddy?"
"We could always visit every few months."
"No, you misunderstand me. I'll be taking custody of him as soon as I finish school."
"Even better, he can come with us."
"How selfish can you be? Andromeda will still want to see him. Why can you not understand that I don't want to leave the UK full time?"
"I can't understand why you want to stay. I thought I was enough for you?"
"That works two ways Charlie. Am I not enough to keep you in England?"
"I'm moving back here when the year is over."
"Then we have nothing left to talk about. Kreacher."
Kreacher popped in.
"Harry surely we can talk about this."
"Kreacher take me home. Goodbye Charlie."
"Harry, you okay? You look a little pale mate."
"I'm fine, thanks Ron. Just feel a little sick. I think I'll go up to the dorm and try and sleep."
"Do you want me to walk you?" Hermione asked.
"I'm good, thanks though. See you later."
"Maybe you should get Kreacher to make you some French Onion Soup. His is the best after all," Charlie said.
Harry tried counting to ten to push his anger down but it didn't work. He sent a hex at Charlie before walking wordlessly out of the door.
Hermione followed after him as Ron tried to help Charlie.
"Harry, are you okay?"
"No, I can't believe he just threw that in my face! I hate him."
"Ron's going to know there's something going on now."
"I don't care. Tell him what you want, I'm going to see McGonagall, see if I can get a pass off school grounds for the night."
"Where will you go?"
"I don't know. Grimmauld maybe? There's really nowhere I can go without good reason, and I can't really tell everyone it's because my ex-boyfriend is a jackass. I'm going up to the dorm. I'll see you tomorrow Hermione."
The next few weeks passed in the same vein. Hermione had told Ron the truth about why Harry had hexed Charlie and it had taken her quite a while to settle him down. He had wanted to talk to Harry about it and go hex Charlie himself. Charlie had been trying to get Harry alone to talk to him and didn't manage it until three weeks after the incident in his room.
"Harry, will you please listen to me? Please?"
"Will you leave me alone after if I do?"
"If you hear me out and then still want me to then yes."
"Fine. What do you want?"
"Harry, I signed a four year contract with Minerva for the teaching position."
"Yes, that means I'm here to stay. I'm not leaving. I was hoping you would agree to a holiday back to Romania for a month in the summer."
"I missed you."
"I missed you too. Those three days after you left were the worst I've ever felt. It was like I couldn't function without you. I love you Harry. I always will. For you, eternity isn't long enough. "
"I love you too, soppy idiot."