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An Afternoon at the Burrow

An Afternoon at the Burrow

Ophelia gulped slightly as she stood in the living room at the Burrow. Sure, she had been here many times before with Oliver and Duncan and knew the Weasleys, but she couldn’t help but feel nervous as she gripped her broom tightly. She had found it buried in the back of her closet, though had hoped she wouldn’t.

“Courage, Phillie,” Charlie said softly in her ear. “Remember. You’ve tamed dragons.”

“Aye, but that doesnae make yer family any less scary,” she replied. Charlie chuckled, though she could see a certain strain in his eyes.

“THERE YOU ARE!”

Both of them turned, seeing Molly Weasley walk into the living room, grinning. She rushed over and threw her arms around Ophelia, pulling her into a suffocating hug.

“It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you, Ophelia,” she declared, stepping back and taking her face in her hands. She then glanced at Charlie, then back at her, and Ophelia swore she saw a sheen of tears in her eyes.

Merlin, maybe Charlie hadn’t been over-exaggerating.

Molly then hugged her son and started pulling the two of them towards the kitchen.

“Most everyone else is here. Thought we’d have a nice little picnic outside while the weather is nice,” she said, leading them through the kitchen and out the back door. “Look who’s here, everyone.”

Ophelia froze, the two of them now standing before the entire Weasley clan and their significant others. The younger ones - Ron and Ginny - sat at one end with none other than Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Ophelia nodded towards Hermione, sure she had a tense smile on her face. The other woman gave her an encouraging smile in return. She continued down the table seeing Percy and Audrey, then Bill and his wife Fleur, who was holding an infant – Victoire, was it? Angelina was next to Bill, then George. And her brothers. Oliver and Duncan looked as though they were fighting off laughter and Ophelia couldn’t help but scowl at them. Arthur Weasley walked over and gave Charlie a hug while the others just watched them.

Merlin, this was slightly nerve-wracking.

“Go on, take a seat, you two,” Mrs. Weasley said, pushing them towards the table. Just like that, the spell was broken, and people rose to their feet, pulling the two to the table and sitting them down.

“Well, well, it’s not often Charlie brings someone home,” George said grandly. Both Ophelia and Charlie frowned at him. “What’s this about? Isn’t it easier having the kneazle out of the bag?” Bill chuckled and Charlie turned his glare to him.

“What are you laughing at? You were in on this,” Charlie said. Ophelia reached over and took his hand, hoping to avoid a fight between the brothers. She wasn’t sure if they were anything like her brothers but was ready to step in if needed.

“I, dear brother, did nothing of the sort,” he said. “I was willing to keep your secret. Others,” he glanced at Fleur, who was suddenly paying close attention to the squawking baby, “did not.”

Charlie’s eyes widened in shock as Fleur looked up at Bill in mock surprise.

“William,” she chided, though a grin slid across her face.

“Did you honestly think that you’d keep it from the rest of the family for long?” Percy asked sensibly. “Or that any of them would refrain from meddling.”

“Ye did not do so well with ours,” Oliver added. Ophelia shot him a look, though he just laughed at her.

“Stop giving your brother a hard time,” Molly scolded, bringing more food to the table. “We’re happy that you’ve found someone. And more than thrilled that it’s dear Ophelia seeing as our families have been close for a long time as it is.”

She could feel her cheeks heat up as everyone looked at her, causing her to fidget on the bench. She looked up at Charlie, who rolled his eyes and then gave her a small smile. He then slid his arm around her.

“Might as well own it,” he said in her ear. Ophelia laughed softly and shook her head. “Can’t take it back now.”

“That’s for certain,” Ophelia replied.

“What are you lot doing? Eat!” Molly encouraged as she sat down next to Mr. Weasley, though she kept sending smiles to Charlie and Ophelia.

The group dug in - really, no one cooked like Mrs. Weasley, Ophelia had to admit - as various conversations picked up around the table. After some time, Ophelia began to wonder just why she had been so nervous about coming here today.

“So… when can we expect wedding bells?” George asked lightly from across the table, his gaze fixed on Ophelia and Charlie. The two froze, a fork halfway to Ophelia’s mouth. Ah, there it was.

“George Weasley!” Molly scolded, though the look on her face read as though she was eager to hear the answer as well. Duncan tensed noticeably.

“I think that’s none of your business,” Charlie said, now frowning.

“Aye, ‘sides Phillie’s too young,” Duncan added. Ophelia frowned at him.

“I’m no a little girl, Duncan,” she said. Of course, she realized that was perhaps not the right thing to say as various faces up and down the table lit up, and Charlie groaned softly.

“So, soon, then?” Percy asked. Ophelia looked down at him in shock, not expecting the normally serious Weasley to take part in ribbing.

“No sooner than you,” Charlie shot down the table, smirking slightly as Percy’s face reddened a bit. He glanced down at Audrey, who was starting to smile.

“Well, actually… Audrey and I have a bit of news,” he said.

“Percy asked me to marry him and I said yes!” Audrey gushed, unable to contain her happiness.

Congratulations started going around the table and Ophelia was genuinely happy for the two, though more so because it took a bit of the spotlight off her and Charlie.

“Never thought I’d say this, but thank Merlin for Percy,” Charlie whispered to her.

“Aye,” Ophelia agreed, relaxing even more so.

Lunch continued on with everyone peppering the newly engaged couple with questions about the wedding, though Fleur excused herself to go put down little Victoire for a nap. Soon, it was finishing up and some of the others started getting up and stretching.

“No, absolutely not. You are waiting at least half an hour before I see any brooms in the air,” Molly ordered. It was followed by a chorus of “Yes, Mum.”

Ophelia started getting a bit nervous as Oliver - of course it would be Oliver - took charge and started divvying up teams. He settled his gaze on Ophelia, who fidgeted. She hated when he started getting analytical, as he was wont to do, even for a friendly match.

“You’ll be fine,” Charlie said to her, squeezing her shoulder. He then looked at Oliver. “I’m on Phillie’s team.” Duncan rolled his eyes.

“Of course, ye are,” he muttered. Ophelia huffed, though Oliver just nodded.

“Then I’ve got Charlie as seeker, I’m keeper. Phillie, you can be chaser with Ginny and Angie. George and Duncan, ye’re my beaters,” Oliver said matter-of-factly.

“Not fair. You’ve got all the professionals,” Bill complained.

“Fine. Ye take Ginny and I’ll take… ehm…” Oliver faltered a bit and Ophelia couldn’t help but snicker. How her brother thought he would get away with that line-up, she wasn’t sure.

“We get Ginny and Angelina. You get Fleur and Hermione,” Bill said. “It’s only fair since you’ve got yourself and Charlie.”

“Hey!” Ron shouted. “I resent that! I played keeper for Gryffindor too! And Harry was a bloody good seeker!”

“Yea, but he’s still no Charlie,” Bill said, though he glanced at Harry. “No offense, mate.”

“None taken. I’m not as good as I used to be,” he said lightheartedly.

Ophelia only half-listened as her brother pulled their team over and started going through a strategy, knowing she likely wouldn’t be able to follow it anyway, though Charlie pulled her aside after seeing her look down at her broom for the 20th time in worry.

“Are you seriously that scared about flying?” he asked playfully.

“No,” Ophelia said, scowling at him. “Ehm… maybe a bit… Been a long time…”

He chuckled and walked over, grabbing his own broom and then taking her hand and leading her towards the large open area where they were going to play.

“Oi! Mum said no brooms in the air yet!” Ron shouted.

“It’s been long enough. Just helping Phillie warm up a bit,” Charlie shouted back. “She hasn’t been on a broom in a long time.”

“Then you must be failing at something, Charlie!” George shouted. Charlie rolled his eyes as Ophelia shot George a dark look.

“Merlin, I didn’t realize he’d be that bad,” she muttered.

“Suppose you’ll get used to it. Though surprised you aren’t by now,” Charlie said lightly.

“Hufflepuff, remember? I was spared the most of it, though Ollie certainly complained,” Ophelia said.

They came to a stop and Ophelia took a deep breath before getting on her broom, gripping the handle.

“You remember how to take off, yea?” Charlie asked.

“Of course, I do,” Ophelia scoffed before kicking off the ground, nearly shrieking as she rose into the air much faster than she had been expecting. She came to a shuttery halt and attempted to catch her breath while waiting on Charlie to join her.

“Good start,” Charlie said, grinning as he came up to her side.

“Aye, sure,” Ophelia said, still gripping the broomstick tightly and wondering just how she was expected to fly and catch a quaffle at the same time.

“Just need to get used to it a bit more,” Charlie said, sensing her hesitation. Ophelia nodded and then jumped slightly when he gently put his hand on hers. She looked up, meeting his eyes. “Come on. Follow me.”

He then let go of her and took off, flying far faster than Ophelia cared to go. She was tempted to yell after him but knew that wouldn’t stop him. So instead she huffed and leaned forward, urging her broom forward. She started slow at first, but found herself beginning to relax. It had been awhile since she was up on a broom and she had forgotten how much she enjoyed the wind running through her hair. The scenery.

But Charlie was pulling farther in front of her. She’d need to go faster to catch him. A grin spread across her face as she urged the broomstick faster, finding that she did remember a thing or two about flying. Oliver would be chuffed later on.

Suddenly, Charlie came to a stop on a hill top and Ophelia followed, easily hopping off her broom at a run before coming to a stop next to him, her face lit up and her hair pulling out of her ponytail a bit.

“Merlin, I forgot how much fun that is,” she said. Charlie chuckled and pulled her to him, wrapping an arm around her waist.

“Think you can hold your own as chaser now?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at her. Ophelia nodded eagerly. “Good.”

She then looked around at the countryside, drinking it in. She found that the others were right. While she had thought it mad to take the day off from working on the proposal, she did need it. She was thinking much clearer and a lot of the stress she had been feeling was fading away.

“This is no so bad,” she said, looking up at him. “Being here with yer family.” Charlie chuckled and looked back towards the house.

“Suppose not,” he said. “Though we seriously lucked out with Perce announcing his engagement. Otherwise they would have spent all of lunch asking us about Romania and how we got together.”

“Even ye have to admit it’s a good story though. Stuck in a cave with a crotchety old Hebridean Black named Colonel,” Ophelia quipped. Charlie laughed and looked back down at her.

He didn’t say anything for a moment, but she could sense something in his eyes. That there was something he wanted to say. Ophelia held her breath, hoping that he’d finally tell her whatever it was he had been planning to say at supper the other night.

“OI! STOP SNOGGING AND GET BACK! MUM SAYS WE HAVE TO CLEAN UP BEFORE WE PLAY!” came George’s amplified voice across the field.

Charlie sighed heavily and looked back towards the house, the people outside of it no bigger than ants at this distance. But they could clearly see a shock of ginger hair standing off from the others.

“Well, then. Let’s get back,” Charlie said.

“Last one there has to help yer mum with dishes,” Ophelia joked. Without giving Charlie any warning, she took off at a jog and then hopped on her broom, zooming off.

“THAT’S NOT FAIR, PHILLIE!”

~~~

Once they had landed - and Ophelia had won - Charlie headed inside the house to help his mother, while the rest began gathering up dishes. Oliver was, as expected, pleased to see that she hadn’t forgotten everything he taught her, though Duncan attempted to take some of the credit, starting the Woods brothers into another shouting match.

Ophelia chuckled as she made her way towards the house, a pile of plates in her arms. Someone else could put out that fire, she had done it far more than she cared to admit.

“But it’s about time you move back home, don’t you think, Charlie?”

She immediately froze, hearing Mrs. Weasley’s voice. Glancing around to make sure no one else was around, she then stepped closer to the door and peered in. She knew that it was eavesdropping and the best thing to do was to walk away or announce her presence, but she couldn’t help herself.

Charlie’s back was to her, but she could tell from the tense way he held his shoulders that he was not happy.

“I told you, Mum. My work is in Romania,” he said, his voice strained. “We’ve had this conversation loads of times.”

“But you’ve got a perfectly lovely girl here. Don’t you want to be closer to Ophelia?” Mrs. Weasley asked. Ophelia couldn’t help but hold her breath.

“Of course, I do,” he said, sounding exasperated. “But… there’s no telling if Hebrides will work out.”

“You hush now, Charles Weasley. You know as well as I do that it’s going to work out. And they’re going to offer you a job,” Mrs. Weasley said sternly. “Besides, you’re not getting any younger. It’s time to settle down and if you don’t settle with Ophelia, it’s only a matter of time before some other bloke does.”

“Mum…”

“I see the way you look at her, Charlie. And she’s a wonderful young woman. We’d be thrilled if you made her part of the family,” Mrs. Weasley continued, causing Ophelia to blush though she was hiding outside.

Merlin, he hadn’t been lying.

“They already have offered me a position,” he said reluctantly. Ophelia’s eyes widened. When had that happened? “Mr. Larkins’ - Phillie’s boss - said if this goes through on Monday, which he thinks it will, they want me as head tamer. Already got a contract worked out and everything.”

“Oh, Charlie! That’s wonderful!” Mrs. Weasley gushed.

“I haven’t signed anything yet,” Charlie said, cutting her off. There was silence.

“Isn’t… isn’t that what you want?” Mrs. Weasley asked softly. “To be closer?”

“I don’t know,” he said with a heavy sigh.

Ophelia felt her heart begin to race. Sure, she had entertained thoughts of Charlie moving to Hebrides when it opened. That they could be closer. Maybe even work together on the reserve. But why was he hesitating? Was it her?

“Mum… I just… I don’t know. Can we leave it for now?” he asked. “I really don’t want to talk about this right now.”

“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said softly. Ophelia ventured another look inside, seeing the short woman wrap her arms around her larger son.

She took a deep breath and walked away from the door, not wanting to be discovered.

“Everything alright, Phillie?” Oliver asked. She glanced over, seeing her twin watching her with a concerned look on his face. Bugger, of course he would know something was wrong with her. She mustered a smile and nodded, begging her with his eyes not to push her on it.

“Fine,” she said. Though she looked down, realizing that she didn’t have an explanation for why she was still holding the dishes.

“Alright, you lot! Who’s ready to get your arses kicked?” Charlie boomed. Ophelia jumped and turned, seeing him walk out of the house with a bright grin on his face. She was amazed that he could change his mood so quickly, the fear of indecision no longer clinging to him.

“I, ah, I’m gonna take these in,” she said quickly, starting towards the back door, blinking rapidly.

“Ye are not about to cry, Ophelia Wood,” she ordered herself.

But Merlin, how she wanted to.

~~~

“Phillie, what’s wrong?” Charlie asked as soon as they stepped out of her floo that night. She whirled around, her eyes wide.

She thought she had been good at hiding everything for the rest of the day. And it had been easy during the match. But she had tensed up slightly when they were making their goodbyes. And she had insisted on leaving right after the match, though the others were sticking around a bit longer for drinks.

She had said it was because of the project, but even she hadn’t missed the look of concern in Charlie’s eyes that he shared with her brothers. Though she supposed now was as good as any to get this out.

“If they offered ye a spot at Hebrides… would ye take it?” she asked, wanting to sound stronger and hating how her voice trembled slightly.

Charlie stared at her a few moments, seeming a mixture of confused and surprised.

“If ye could… would ye stay?” she asked.

Charlie sighed and turned away, running his fingers through his hair. Ophelia didn’t say anything, just waited for him to speak. Hoping that he said yes and that the hesitation from earlier was only momentary.

He was the one who had insisted that this could work. That they would work. That he wanted to be with her. But even as she thought this over and over, the same old worries from before began creeping back in and for a moment Ophelia hated herself for it.

“They have offered me a job,” he said, not turning to face her. She held her breath. She knew this much. But then part of her was angry that he hadn’t said anything until now.

“When?” she asked.

“Wednesday,” he said, still not turning to look at her, instead walking over and leaning against the mantle, the tension running through his back.

Merlin, was this so bad that he couldn’t even look at her? Her heart then sank. This was what he wanted to tell her at dinner before George interrupted them. That he had been offered a job.

And that he didn’t know if he wanted to take it.

“Are ye… are ye thinking about it at least?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper. Charlie spun around, his eyes full of worry.

“Merlin, of course I am, Phillie,” he said, walking up to her. He reached for her and then stopped, instead running his fingers through his hair again as he started pacing. “I… I just… I don’t know. For so long, it was only Romania. And I have a good life there and that’s all I know now… but then…” he stopped pacing and looked over at her. “And then you came along and turned everything upside down.”

“Oh, well… sorry to have mucked things up for ye,” she said, feeling the tears pricking her eyes. Charlie groaned.

“That’s not what I mean, Ophelia, and you know it,” he said. “I mean… this has all been so… so fast. And yes, I know that I want to be with you, but… it’s not a small decision to just… uproot your entire life. I have to think about it.”

Ophelia swallowed, fighting off her tears. She then took a deep breath.

“Charlie… how do ye truly feel about me?” she asked softly. She needed to hear him say it clearly and directly. She would understand if he wasn’t sure if he was in love with her - they had only been together a few weeks as it was. Even she fought with saying it, though deep down, she knew there was no denying it.

But he didn’t say anything, just stared at her, his face unreadable. And the longer he stood silently, the more her heart broke. Finally, she turned away, closing her eyes as she brought her hands up to wipe her cheeks.

“Phillie, I-”

“It’s fine,” she said, cutting him off.

Perhaps Lazlo and Adara had been right all along. Not that Charlie played around for fun, but he never committed. While Ophelia would admit she was afraid - likely as afraid as he was - it stung that he wouldn’t even try.

“No, it’s not,” he replied. “I’ve hurt you and I said I wouldn’t.”

“I think… I think I’d like to be alone right now,” she said, not wanting to look at him. Because if she looked at him, she would lose it and start sobbing. And the last thing she wanted was to start sobbing in front of Charlie.

“If we could just… talk…”

“Ye dinnae seem so keen on talkin’ right now, Charlie,” she said, glancing at him over her shoulder. For a moment, she almost turned to him, seeing the pain in his eyes.

“Phillie, I’m just… I’m not sure what I’m feeling right now,” he admitted. She swallowed and nodded, finally turning back to him.

They stood there staring at each other a few moments, neither moving nor speaking. Ophelia prayed that he would say something. That he would take her in his arms and assure her that while it’s confusing, he knew that it would be alright.

That he loved her.

At the same time, she should do the same. But for some reason, the words wouldn’t form. Ophelia took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment.

“Maybe… maybe we just need some time apart to… to figure out what it is we feel and, and think,” she said. She didn’t want him to leave, but it was obvious that the two of them were getting nowhere trying to talk about this right now.

And she wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold out before she broke down.

Charlie didn’t move a first, but then he took a step towards her and Ophelia’s heart began to lift. But then he stopped and shook his head. He then turned around and walked to her fireplace, grabbing a handful of floo powder.

And then he was gone.

Ophelia stared at the fireplace for only a few seconds before her knees buckled and she collapsed in a heap on the floor, tears streaming down her cheeks as sobs built up in her chest.

He had left and this time, Ophelia wasn’t sure if he would come back.

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