This fic is a birthday gift for my dearest Sam. Sam, I love you more than words can say. I love you for always being there, for always understanding, for always caring. I love you from a thousand miles away. I think you are a beautiful, incredible person and I don't know what I would do without you in my life. You are the Draco to my Charlie, the Harry to my Clara, my big sis, my wife, my almost twin, mi amor.
Happy Birthday, my darling.
1. CharlieDraco — the beginning.
First dates are always awkward, you think. It is inherent in the nature of a first date, as you both try to find your way around each other.
But then, most first dates don't have to deal with decades of family hatred and a history of war and so many grudges that have to be let go. None of these things do much to help the awkward factor.
You meet Charlie on a street corner near the bar where you first met. It's raining. He is there first, and by the time you arrive he is absolutely drenched, his grey t-shirt clinging, emphasizing the strength of his frame. He hasn't even bothered with a coat.
You offer him your umbrella, but he laughs and shakes his head.
"I like the rain," he says. "Reminds me of home."
"If you miss it so much, why did you leave?"
It's too personal. It's too personal a question for a first date and you glance at him, intending to tell him he doesn't have to answer that — but his blue eyes are staring at you like you're something amazing. Like he is… pleased that you asked.
"I chose to work with dragons because they are, to me, the most fascinating creatures alive. The dynamics between them are so… human, and yet there are undeniable differences and… and I could talk about it all day and not get bored. I chose Romania because… Because I wanted to be myself. And I felt like being home was… I didn't feel like I could change, because every time I did something I maybe wouldn't have done before, someone felt the need to comment. As though I wasn't allowed to experiment with who I was. I love my family, but I had to leave them behind to find myself."
For a moment, you are stunned. You hadn't expected such brutal honesty.
Charlie Weasley has nothing to hide. After so long keeping secrets, his openness is refreshing.
He smiles at you and the only word you can find to describe it properly is genuine. "What about you?" he asks. "Why are you here?"
And you find yourself unable to reply with anything but the same degree of honesty.
"I got sick of being stared at like a zoo animal. I wanted to exist without expectations, without everyone who's never met me already having passed judgement."
And from the look in his eyes you can tell he understands. That while their judgements of him may not have been equivalent to their judgements of you, he still knows what it is to be judged before anyone bothers to know him.
"Romania is a good place to start fresh," he says softly. You can't quite meet his eyes, but you feel your lips curl up into a small smile. A fresh start is exactly what you'd been hoping for.