No Good at Good-bye
Ophelia sighed as she looked at her clothes in her wardrobe and her various other things strewn about the cabin. It wasn’t a mess by any means, but suddenly she felt as though she had far too many things. She had stayed with Charlie last night, not wanting to think about the fact that she was going back to England today. They had been up half the night, talking or sometimes just holding each other. All the while, managing to put off the fact that she was leaving.
But she could no longer avoid it. Her portkey was that afternoon and she’d have a difficult time making it as it was if she didn’t get to work packing up her things.
It wasn’t like her to leave such tasks to the last minute, but she blamed that on Charlie. He had been very good at distracting her the last few days. At first, he was waiting on her hand and foot until she finally shouted that Colonel hadn’t eaten her arm and she could use it. Then, when they weren’t working, they went out to all the various dragons that Ophelia had helped with so she could tell them her good-byes.
Rupert and Colonel had been particularly difficult, but Charlie assured her that soon Rupert would be back out on his own and doing just fine. And that once Hebrides was up and running - as he was convinced she’d get that going in record time (Ophelia wasn’t so sure herself) - he would help deliver Colonel back home.
But… Ophelia knew that part of her didn’t want to leave Romania. Not yet. Sometimes she’d daydream about quitting her job at the Ministry and getting a job as a tamer here. But then she’d shake that off, reminding herself about Hebrides.
However, Ophelia was certain she’d leave a part of her here when she left. And while she told herself it was the country and the dragons, she knew more than anything it was because of Charlie.
“Ah good, you do need help.”
Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
Ophelia turned, smiling as Charlie walked into the cabin, looking around at her things.
“Ye sure that ye’re here to help?” she asked playfully as he walked up and pulled her into his arms. “Rather, I’m certain ye’ve been helping me avoid it.”
“I’ve helped you all week after you got burned,” he said, frowning down at her. Ophelia chuckled slightly, then worried at how her brothers were going to react to that. Maybe she could hide her scar and never tell them.
“True… but lately ye’ve kept me at yers when we’re no working,” she said, raising an eyebrow at him. Charlie sighed.
“Yes, yes, we can’t let you miss your portkey this afternoon, can we?” he said, though she could hear the glum note in his voice despite his smile.
“Aye, ‘tis true,” she said softly.
He stepped back and cupped her face, staring down into her eyes for a moment before kissing her deeply. It took her breath away and for a few moments all Ophelia could think of was that she didn’t want this to end. Forget her portkey. She wanted to stay in Romania forever with Charlie. They could eventually take over the reserve when Elena and Andrei retired. It painted a happy picture in her mind, though the seriousness of it shocked her.
Ophelia had never really thought of staying with someone long-term, but there was no denying it now. She wanted to be with Charlie for as long as she could.
But then the logical side of her brain kicked in and reminded her that she had to go back. If she didn’t, who would deliver the reports on Hebrides? Help the powers that be get it up and running? That was the whole point of coming here, was it not? To learn how the Romanian sanctuary was run so that they could hopefully replicate that in Hebrides.
So, with great reluctance, she placed her hands on his chest and pushed him away, smiling sadly up at him.
“Keep that up and I’m sure to miss my portkey,” she said breathlessly. Charlie chuckled and then looked around the room.
“Should get started then. Don’t think it’ll take long with the two of us,” he said, stepping back from her. Sighing, Ophelia did as well, pulling out her wand.
With the two of them, it was going by rather quickly. But then Charlie would stop every so often to pull her into his arms and kiss her. Managed to distract her for a good 10 minutes by snogging her senseless until she had to push him away again. But finally, her suitcase was packed, and the cabin was as clean as it was when she arrived.
Ophelia shrank her suitcase down and stuck it in her knapsack with the rest of her things, taking a moment to go around and make sure that she hadn’t missed anything from her small home for the month.
“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” Charlie said. “Still don’t have to leave for another few hours.”
“True, but ye werenae helpin’ so much as ye were hinderin’,” Ophelia said, giving him a cheeky smile. Charlie stared at her a moment before suddenly throwing her over her shoulder, causing her to shriek and laugh.
“Perhaps this was the real reason I wanted to get the work out of the way first,” he said, his voice low. Ophelia felt a shiver run through her body in anticipation.
“Aye, but I’m already dressed and ready,” she said softly, raising an eyebrow at him, though she couldn’t help as excitement ran through her. Despite her words, she was more than happy to fall into bed with Charlie one last time before she left.
Though she knew it would only make leaving all that much harder, it was a willing price to pay.
“We have more than enough time,” he said, already walking towards her bed.
“Well… if ye say so…”
As soon as they stepped into the Ministry of Magic at Bucharest, Ophelia felt the lump form in her throat. She tightly gripped Charlie’s hand, not wanting to look at him lest she start crying. Again.
She had cried a bit last night after he fell asleep. And then again this morning in the shower and still again as she said good-bye to the rest of the camp. She had managed not to when they were alone, but she knew she was going to before she left here.
They made their way to the international travel department and then through customs and immigration. Then, all too soon, Ophelia was handed a portkey - it was a small key - and she stepped over to the space where it would activate without accidentally taking someone else with her. She had a manner of minutes.
She looked up at Charlie, who stepped over and held her face as he kissed her gently.
“I’ll write. You’ll write. I’ll come visit. You’ll come visit,” he said softly with a smile. “This isn’t good-bye… Only… until next time.”
“I ken,” she whispered, already feeling the tears start to fill her eyes though she was smiling. He held onto her a few more moments, caressing her cheeks before pressing another kiss to her lips.
She was on the verge of saying it. Wanted to more than anything, but for some reason, Ophelia couldn’t get the words out. It was just three small words. So easy to say, usually. She had told her family and friends it all the time. Said it flippantly even. So why couldn’t she say it to Charlie right now?
“Just do it… I love you, Charlie… it’s not that hard,” she heard the Daria part of her mind say.
“I just… I cannae…”
She could feel the buzz of magic start up as Charlie let go and stepped back from her. Anxiety welled up inside her that moment. So strong, she nearly stumbled under the weight of it.
No, it was too soon. She didn’t want to leave. Not yet. She wanted more time.
Ophelia swallowed and opened her mouth, but again no words would come out as she maintained her gaze with Charlie. His face twisted into pain a bit as he looked away. Then he looked back at her, his eyes blazing something fierce as he took a step towards her, his hand out.
Before she could hear the rest of what he was going to say, there was a tug at her navel. And then suddenly Bucharest was gone.
Ophelia stumbled slightly as she kept her eyes closed a few moments as the lightheadedness from traveling by portkey passed. She then opened her eyes and looked around at the bustling Ministry of Magic in London. She was home.
But she still felt as though she had left a large part of herself back in Romania.
Ophelia stopped in her packing, looking through her open bedroom door down the corridor where she could see Daria already walking to her, a grin on her face. Ophelia was honestly surprised that Daria hadn’t been waiting to ambush her at the Ministry.
Though part of her hoped she could have had a bit more time to herself to process everything. Ophelia was still reeling from that final moment in Bucharest when she couldn’t bring herself to tell Charlie that she loved him.
“It’s so good to see your face. I’ve missed you!” Daria said as she threw her arms around her neck. Ophelia hugged her best friend back, suddenly grateful for the contact. While she was missing Charlie, part of her was happy to be home and somewhere familiar.
Though Merlin, it felt as though it had been a lifetime since she was here. And that she wasn’t the same person as before.
Daria stepped back, grinning at her.
“Okay, so tell me everything,” Daria said as she flopped down on Ophelia’s bed. “And where is the motley crew?” Ophelia chuckled as she rolled her eyes.
“Maw is bringing the wee’uns over tomorrow to give me a chance to unpack and catch my breath before I go back into work. And ye ken already everything,” she said, returning to her unpacking. “We spoke nearly every day I was gone.”
“I know some things. But how did your good-byes go?” Daria asked, her eyes twinkling. “And there are some things I know that you haven’t told me yet… So, start dishing. I want to hear all about Mr. Weasley.” She waggled her eyebrows, causing Ophelia to laugh, though her cheeks flushed pink.
“Wasnae that fun - the good-byes, I mean,” Ophelia said with a sigh, her brow furrowed slightly as she thought to the moment in the Ministry in Bucharest. It was killing her that she had disappeared before she said it - before she heard what he was going to say.
Had he been about to tell her that he loved her?
“What happened?” Daria asked, sitting up. “That look doesn’t look like a deliriously happy one…”
“Nothing, just… I didnae tell him that I loved him,” Ophelia said, swallowing. Daria’s eyes widened as her mouth dropped open.
Truth be told, Ophelia was a bit surprised she had just said it out loud herself.
“Holy Merlin, Ophelia! You’re in love with him?!” Daria exclaimed before she jumped off the bed, squealing as she wrapped her arms around her again, causing Ophelia to grimace in pain as she hit her burn. It didn’t hurt that much, but sometimes it still stung.
“Och, get off me,” Ophelia said, trying to push her back. Daria just kept laughing and held her tighter.
“No! This is amazing!” Daria said, still hugging her. “It’s the first time you’ve been in love with someone!”
“Seriously, Daria,” Ophelia said, finally pushing her back, though she couldn’t help but smile. She felt good finally saying it out loud. At least now she knew that she could say it.
She was in love with Charlie Weasley.
But he was still in Romania.
Her smile fell slightly.
“Oh, Ophelia, what’s this?” Daria asked. “You know you’re going to see him again. It’s not like you broke up or anything.”
“I ken, just… long distance. It’s no going to be easy,” she admitted, suddenly feeling like crying again. Daria hugged her tightly again.
“It’ll be fine,” Daria said softly as she rubbed her back. “I mean, really… from what you’ve told me so far, I’m of the mind that if anyone is going to work out, it’s going to be you and Charlie.” She then stepped back and started leading Ophelia out of her room.
“What are ye doing? I was unpacking,” Ophelia said with a chuckle. Daria waved her wand Ophelia’s knapsack was rising into the air behind them.
“We’re going to sit down with some tea and you’re going to show me all the photos I know that you’ve taken and tell me about how wonderful Charlie Weasley is,” Daria declared. She looked back over her shoulder at Ophelia and winked. Ophelia chuckled and rolled her eyes.
Ophelia rolled her eyes when she heard her front door open again. She had finally gotten Daria to leave, happy to have some quiet and finish her unpacking. But she should have known that her brothers wouldn’t waste any time before they came over.
Probably to let her have a piece of their minds about this whole Charlie business. Well, they had another thing coming if they thought she was going to just roll over and take it.
She stepped out from her bedroom and into the living room, frowning at Duncan and Oliver. At least Oliver had the wherewithal to look mildly ashamed.
“So… ye can show yer face ta me,” she said, crossing her arms, her eyes going from Oliver to Duncan.
“Och, we’re sorry, Phillie,” Oliver said. Duncan didn’t say a word, causing Oliver to smack him on the arm as he glared at him. He then turned back to Ophelia, his expression repentant. “Truly. For embarrassing ye and all. It was just… bit of a shock… It’s no that often ye have a boyfriend. Werenae expectin’ to hear that ye’d be dating Charlie...”
“Suppose I can accept that,” she said, knowing that Oliver would be a miserable git until she forgave him. And it was sincere. She then turned her gaze to Duncan, her eyebrows raising. He was now frowning as he looked at the ground, unable to meet her eyes.
“Ye ken I’m an adult,” she said, now scowling. “I’m old enough to decide who to date.” Duncan sighed, finally looking up at her.
“Aye, but does it have to be my best mate?” he whined. Oliver punched him in the arm again. Duncan grimaced.
“Duncan James Wood!” Ophelia shouted. “Can’t ye just be happy for me!?” Duncan glared at Oliver as he rubbed his arm and then looked over at Ophelia, his expression softening. “I’m happy wi’ Charlie! And he’s happy wi’ me!”
“No. No buts. We’re together and ye’re gonna have to accept it,” she said firmly. He finally sighed, rolling his eyes.
“Fine… suppose I’ll be okay wi’ it… in time,” he replied. Oliver went to punch him again but this time Duncan jumped out of the way, whirling around to glare at him. “Ye were no too happy either!”
“Aye, but it’s Phillie! We cannae go around beatin’ up every bloke that looks at her or wants to date her!” Oliver shouted back. “And at least we ken Charlie!”
The two brothers squared off, starting to get into the other’s face.
“Oh, no. The last time ye two got into a fight here, Herbert wouldnae come out from under tha bed for a week and ye nearly broke my table!” Ophelia shouted as she ran and got in between them. “Ye can take it outside or calm down!” She glared back and forth between them a few moments before they both backed away.
“Sorry, Phillie,” Oliver murmured.
“Yea, sorry, Phillie,” Duncan replied.
It seemed the fight finally left them both.
“Now, if that’s over, ye two hungry?” Ophelia asked.
“No if ye’re cooking,” Duncan said with a snort. Ophelia narrowed her eyes at him and then chuckled.
“I was hopin’ Ollie here would cook,” she said, looking to her twin.
“Aye, I could,” he said. “Was hopin’ to hear all ye’re stories. I mean, the ones about dragons, ye ken? Not… the others.” A flush came over his cheeks.
Ophelia flushed slightly as well as she rolled her eyes, though watched Duncan out of the corner of her eye. He glared slightly and then huffed.
“I’m no so sure I ever want to hear those stories,” he said.
“I’m no too keen on tellin’ ‘em to ye numpties. But I will tell ye about the dragons,” she replied. “Ollie, ye get the food. I’ll get the photos.” She started towards her room.
“And I’ll get the firewhiskey,” Duncan proclaimed. Ophelia snorted and shook her head.
“Ye spoken to Maw and Da?” Oliver shouted from the kitchen as she walked back to her room to fetch the photos she had taken.
“Ehm, no. No yet. Though reckon Maw will either stop by or floo later,” she shouted back, snatching the box from her bed and turned to walk back.
“Surprised Maw wasnae here when you got back,” Duncan said, already seated at the table with three glasses and a bottle of firewhiskey. “Ye bring presents?” Ophelia rolled her eyes as she put the box down.
“No so sure you deserve ‘em,” she said as she sat next to him.
“Especially when she hears-”
“Shut it, Ollie!” Duncan shouted, cutting him off. Ophelia frowned, slightly confused. Her eyes then widened as she hopped to her feet.
“DID YE TELL THEM ABOUT CHARLIE?!” she screeched, causing him to wince and cover his ears.
“Sound like a fuckin’ banshee, Phillie,” he said. Ophelia looked up into the kitchen to Oliver.
“Let it slip during our last lunch,” he said, grinning. He always did enjoy it when Ophelia was angry with Duncan rather than him.
She turned her scowl to Duncan and swatted him on the back of the head.
“Och, that hurt!” he shouted.
“Ye deserve more than that, ye dobber!” she shouted.
“I didnae tell them ye were datin’!” Duncan shot back as Oliver laughed from the kitchen.
“Ah, then what did ye tell them?” Ophelia asked.
“Just that… well… may want to expect Charlie Weasley comin’ round for Christmas this year,” Duncan said. Ophelia huffed and sat back down, glaring at him. “And… well… hope they want ginger grandkids…”
“DUNCAN!” Ophelia shrieked.
“Yer face is like a skelped erse,” Oliver said, laughing from the kitchen. Ophelia turned her glare to him and immediately he spun around, returning to whatever cooking he had been doing.
“Tell me ye didnae say that,” she said, no longer shouting, but still simmering.
“Och, ye honestly think I’d said that? I’m still pissed about the fact ye two got together behind my back,” he said. Ophelia rolled her eyes, only mildly relieved that he had only been taking the piss out of her.
“What did ye say?” she asked.
“I didnae say what it was, but they both ken I wasnae too happy about somethin’ ye were getting up to in Romania,” Duncan said. “Likely guess it’s somethin’ to do with a bloke.”
“So, they dinnae ken that it’s Charlie?” she asked, her eyebrows rising. Duncan shrugged, suddenly appearing much more relaxed.
“Ye ken Maw. She and Mrs. Weasley are thick as thieves. Wouldnae be surprised if the two of ‘em put it together by now,” he replied, pouring out the drinks. “Now… a dram for wee Phillie who’s returned with all her limbs.”
Ophelia glared at him a moment and then found herself smiling as she took one of the glasses.
He may be a bampot, but Duncan was her brother and she loved him.
“Good to have ye back, Phillie,” he said genuinely. She sighed and took a drink.
“Good to be back…”