This is for my beautiful Sam. I promised you CharlieDraco so here it is. FINALLY! I hope you like this lovey! ILY
And a huge thank you to Laura for beta-ing and for just being awesome.
"This is weird."
"Calm down, Dray. It's only Bill." Charlie gives Draco's hand a reassuring squeeze as he walks by to answer the door. It's the first time Bill has come to visit their flat since Draco moved in and while he is the most easygoing of Charlie's brothers, Charlie knows Draco will never be comfortable with the idea of having any of his family over.
He opens the door and greets his brother warmly and then claps a hand on his shoulder to lead him into the kitchen. As soon as they enter, Charlie sees Draco leaning back against the counter, absentmindedly scratching at the Dark Mark that still stains his pale skin. This never bodes well.
But to Bill, Draco appears at ease, sociable even. Or at least, as sociable as could be expected considering the circumstances. He looks Bill in the eye and grins and nods at all the right times, and doesn't say much when the topic of home comes up. He lets Charlie do all the talking then.
He listens intently throughout the exchange and Charlie sees his fingers twitch with every question, with every "How's Mum?" and "Is George okay?" and "What's Percy been up to?" And finally Charlie reaches over and gently holds Draco's arm to prevent him from scratching so much that he breaks the skin.
When Bill takes his leave, Charlie walks him to the door. And when it finally closes, he turns to Draco and grins before pressing his lips to the Mark on his forearm. "That wasn't so bad, was it?"
Draco shrugs noncommittally. "I suppose not." But there's a look in his eye that Charlie's never seen before. He can't give it a name, and he's not sure if he would want to.
"Are you all right?"
Draco nods, but Charlie doesn't buy it.
"Charlie, just…" Draco swallows hard before grasping Charlie by the front of his shirt and kissing him desperately. And normally this would come as a pleasant surprise; Draco's never been the most affectionate of people. But Charlie knows that something isn't right. Before he can say anything though, Draco makes a request. "Just shut up, okay?"
So Charlie wraps his arms around his waist and kisses him back and no, it's really not okay, but questioning it now doesn't seem like a good idea. No, he thinks as Draco begins to move them in direction of the bedroom. Now is not the time for that. Maybe tomorrow.
And later he swears he hears Draco whisper an I love you against his chest as their heartbeats begin to slow and synchronize as sleep washes over them.
But he can't be sure.
The next morning, Charlie wakes up and he doesn't even have to look beside him to know that Draco's gone. There is no scent of coffee, no warmth of a body against his back. And somehow he senses that Draco hasn't just gone out for a few minutes to get something for breakfast.
He lies in bed for a moment, taking deep breaths of morning air, before turning over. And despite how annoyed Charlie is, he has to chuckle at the fact that Draco actually made his half of the bed before packing all his things and leaving.
Honestly, Charlie isn't surprised. He knew something was wrong the day before. The signs were all there; he just didn't want to push Draco too far.
And there is a part of him that wants to be understanding, that wants to empathize. But when he gets up to find some clothes and sees that half the contents of the cupboard are missing, all he feels is a surge of anger.
He resigns himself to the fact that he will spend his weekend hunting down his boyfriend instead of relaxing with him and gets dressed. He doesn't even bother making coffee and mutters something under his breath as he grabs his coat on the way out the door.
Something about a Slytherin.
Draco isn't that difficult to track down, though Charlie would never dare tell him so. There are only so many bars in the area and it's not as if Draco really has anywhere else to go. And he's never been fond of crowds so very soon Charlie finds him in one of the smaller pubs by the train station.
It's early, so the place is empty save for the blond in the corner with a glass of firewhiskey that he hasn't touched. The barkeep grunts as Charlie walks past him to sit across from Draco who refuses to look up at him.
"You going to drink that?" Charlie asks gruffly, motioning toward the alcohol.
Draco shakes his head, so Charlie lifts the glass to his lips and swallows a mouthful, relishing the burning sensation as the liquid slides down his throat. He sets the glass aside with a loud clink of glass against wood. "Where were you planning on going, eh?" he asks in a would be conversational tone.
Draco smirks but still continues to study the grain of the table, determined not to meet Charlie's gaze. "Hadn't figured that out yet."
"We could have talked about it, you know," Charlie says, doing his best to keep his voice even. He hasn't always been the best at confrontation, though it helps that he grew up with so many siblings. But this isn't the same as a falling out with Bill or Percy. Draco isn't family.
"There's nothing really to say," Draco insists. "You're better off. I don't know why you put up with me in the first place."
"Where the hell is this coming from? Why would you just leave?" And Charlie can't keep the pain out of his voice now. "Bloody coward."
He expects Draco to explode at this accusation. Who wouldn't? Charlie can barely believe he actually said it out loud. He braces himself for the outburst that is sure to come.
But it doesn't. Draco just sits there for a moment before nodding his head in agreement. "I'm a Malfoy. And you're a Weasley…"
"We've been through this," Charlie says through gritted teeth, but Draco continues.
"But then yesterday your brother came over, and I saw how much you love your family, how much they mean to you. And I can't be a part of that life. I can't. I don't fit. And it's not fair to you. Just let me go, Char. It's not worth it."
"Go where? Home?"
"I can't go home." Draco's voice breaks a little as he admits this, and he shifts uncomfortably in his seat.
"Exactly," Charlie says. "And neither can I. It's like you said. I don't fit anymore. I haven't for years and it's okay. And of course I love my family. Everyone loves their family in their own way."
He can't stand that there's a table between them, can't stand the way Draco refuses to look him in the eye. He gets up and comes to the other side of the table and takes a seat.
"Dray, look at me. Please."
Draco rolls his eyes, which makes Charlie grin because that's the Draco he knows. That's the Draco he can reason with.
Grey eyes meet blue and Charlie continues with a little more confidence. "I made a home here for myself. And then I invited you into it. And you fit just fine. So don't leave."
Draco blinks, and shakes his head. "Stop doing that."
"Using your dragon taming techniques on me. Looking me in the eye and daring me to do something I don't want to do. I've told you before. I see right through it."
"Merlin!" Charlie runs a distracted hand through his hair. "When are you going to get it through your thick skull? I don't want to tame you, Dray. That's the last thing I want to do." Before Draco can protest Charlie cups his face in his calloused hands and presses his mouth to his. And at first Draco tries to resist, but he can't for long. He never can and soon his hands find their way around Charlie's waist, pulling him closer.
After a moment Charlie leans away. "I just want to love you," he says breathlessly. "Why do you have to make it so damn difficult sometimes?"
Draco shrugs his shoulders and all Charlie can do is laugh. Draco cracks a grin as well, but the sound of the train whistle in the distance calls them both back to the uncertainty that has yet to be cleared up. "Come home?" Charlie asks.
And for one terrifying moment, Draco looks as though he's going to stubbornly refuse and take off to wherever the train takes him. But then he slowly nods his head and sighs. "Okay."
Charlie throws some money on the counter on the way out the door and Draco grabs his things before following him and taking his hand as they walk home.
"…I love you, too."
The train leaves and neither look back.