Prompt: Cuddling somewhere
Author: Kit89 (Esther G)
Fandom: Harry Potter
OTP: Charlie/Harry
Setting: Fourth year, after first task.

Harry snuck out of the common room. He wanted time to think about how everyone was now behaving around him, and he needed to get his head straight. Because no matter how much he loved his friends, they still betrayed him. He just wasn't sure if he could start to trust them again; so he went down to the quidditch pitch with his firebolt. Flying just for the sake of it had always been more fun than playing a game, and it allowed his head to clear. He was just grateful that he could get away after all. The party after the first task had been massive.

However, when he got there, he saw someone on a broom already flying around, so he sighed and turned to go towards Hagrid's hut so that he could have some alone time. He didn't get far before the wizard flew in front of him and dropped off and came towards him. When he was closer, Harry realised that it was Charlie Weasley.

"Harry, what are you doing out here?" Charlie asked, his tall, muscled form overshadowed Harry's slight form by quite a bit

"Just came out for a fly to clear my head, but I saw you up there, so decided to go somewhere else. Why?" Harry replied.

Charlie shrugged. "Just wondering. You might want to change into plain black clothes next time though. The griffindor red stands out on your uniform way too much. It's easier to take points off of you if they can see what house you are, first."

Harry laughed. It had been a long time since he had done that, and he marvelled that with just a couple of sentences, the elder Weasley had made him relax enough to laugh. "So... Why are you out here?"

Grinning, Charlie hooked his thumbs into his belt. "I was trying to recreate the move you used on the dragon in the task. I have to say, it's way more difficult than it looks!" Bouncing on his toes, he looked Harry up and down, noticing the paleness of his face, rumpled clothes and the slightly-hunched shoulders. He hid a frown as he noticed all these details. "Are you ok Harry?" he asked. He noticed all the signs of stress, and he didn't like it one bit.

Looking up at Charlie's face, he saw honest concern. Not fake, not prying, but just genuine concern for how he was. It was a first. Hermione was always prying into everything he did just because she couldn't stand not knowing something. Ron... well, Ron had proved that he didn't value his friendship as seriously as Harry did. And for everyone else, it was just the-boy-who-lived syndrome. Which often turned into a hate-love see-saw of public opinion that he couldn't escape; no matter how much he wished he could.

Shaking his head a little, Harry replied "Not really" and left it at that.

Smiling a little crocked, Charlie walked to Harry's side, placed an arm around his shoulders and guided him to the lake-front

Once there, he tugged on Harry's arm so that they sat down together, but at the last moment, he twisted Harry so that he was sitting sideways in his lap, arms around his waist, chin resting on harry's shoulder and he just held Harry like that. Not moving when Harry tried to poke him into letting him go, not when he wriggled in his lap (though that created some interesting feelings in that general area, he was ignoring it) and just sat through all his attempts to get free and let Harry have a good ol' hug.

Eventually, Harry sat still and started to relax, breathing slowing down as he was surrounded in Charlies' warmth and realising that Charlie wasn't doing anything but giving him a hug. Unknown to him, tears had started to roll down his face at the feeling of the hug. He hadn't realised that he needed one so badly, and to have someone just sit with him; not speaking, not demanding something from him, not doing anything but offering comfort. And he took it in for all that it was worth. Leaning into Charlie, his body became boneless and he felt the arms around him tighten for a second, then relax again.

Charlie didn't say anything, just held him in silence.

...

Up in the Griffindor common room, Hermione looked out her bedroom window and saw two people, one who she knew to be Harry just by his hair, cuddling by the Black Lake.

'Breaking rules already, Harry?'

Sighing, she got out her omniocculars from the World Cup and focused them where Harry was with that other person, who she saw was Charlie Weasley, and then she saw something else. Harry was crying, and Charlie was there, a compassionate look on his face as he held her friend, and so she left them where they were. Cuddling long into the night.

FIN