Two Years Later
Charlie rolled over in bed without opening his eyes, reaching out for Ophelia to pull her closer, though it was rare for her to be out of his arms while sleeping. When he found her side of the bed empty, he popped an eye open, frowning slightly. He then sat up and stretched, realizing that the sun was starting to rise, meaning she would most definitely be up.
While he had always thought of himself as an early riser, he was surprised to find that Ophelia almost always got up before him.
And once they moved into the house in Hebrides, well, there was only one place she cared to be in the morning.
Getting out of bed, he slid into his slippers and robe, then stretched as he made his way out of their bedroom and into the large, open living room and kitchen. He stopped for a moment, seeing the sun starting to come up over the horizon and Ophelia standing still out on the large porch, a light robe on and a mug of coffee in her hands. Her light brown hair was down, the summer breeze blowing through it slightly.
He enjoyed the first few moments of every day, when he would walk out and see her standing on the porch, looking out over the Hebrides reserve that they had helped build together. Standing on the porch of the house that he had designed specifically for her. It was the picture he had held in his mind two years ago when they first came to look at the old reserve. This house, the windows, the porch. But most importantly, Ophelia.
With a small smile on his face, he made his way over to the coffee pot and poured his own, then stepped outside, joining her. Even with the breeze cooling the air, he could tell it was going to be a warm day.
“Morning,” he said, wrapping his arm around her waist and kissing the side of her head. She smiled wistfully up at him and then looked back out at the main camp spread out below them. While most of those who lived and worked there were likely still curled in bed, there were a couple signs of people starting to get up and start their days.
“Should go out to check on Colonel before I go into the office,” she said, her brow furrowing slightly.
Charlie looked over in the general direction of where Colonel’s permanent habitat was located near the top of a small mountain. While within walking distance, he was still a fair way off from the main camp and Charlie didn’t think there was a strong chance of any visitors wandering off near there.
“Should be fine,” he said, looking back down at her.
“Ye ken how he gets. Worried with so many more folks on the reserve than usual, he’ll get a bit testy,” she replied, her eyes moving over to Colonel’s cave.
“You hardly ever worry about Colonel. You sure this isn’t actually about the festival?” Ophelia looked up at him, still frowning slightly. “I’ve told you thousands of times. Everything is going to be fine. You’ve spent ages working on this and preparing the staff. There’s no reason to think that anything is going to go wrong.”
Ophelia rolled her eyes slightly as she looked back out at the reserve.
“Oh, aye. Ye can say that. But anything goes wrong and it’s my head,” she said, a bit tense. Charlie sighed and put his mug down on a nearby table, then turned her to face him, wrapping his hands around her waist and forcing her to look up at him.
“How many times have I told you that we’re in this together?” he asked.
“Every day,” she replied with a sigh. Charlie bent down, kissing her on the forehead.
“Since Day 1, I promised you that we were together in everything,” he said. “Besides that, you’ve done amazing work with the reserve. The anniversary festival is going to go off without a hitch. No one is going to get hurt. In fact, none of the guests will be anywhere near any of the fully grown dragons,” Charlie said. “Even with the babies and younger ones, they’ll be kept at a safe distance. Really, it’s a brilliant idea to celebrate the first year of the reserve and generate more interest.”
“But what about the donor tour? Merlin, we-”
“The donor tour will be fine. Or do you not trust my ability to handle a dragon should it get out of hand?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at her. “And you’ll be with me as well as the others.” Ophelia just stared up at him. “Merlin, I don’t think you were even this nervous when you were proposing this whole project.”
Ophelia chuckled softly then placed her hand on his chest, moving closer.
“I am being a bit ridiculous, arenae I?” she asked, finally seeming to relax.
“Slightly,” Charlie said. “But I understand.”
“Ye really think the festival will go over well?” she asked, a hopeful look in her eyes.
“I know it will. Because you’re brilliant and you came up with it,” Charlie replied. Ophelia rolled her eyes again, but still smiled and didn’t step away from him. Instead she went up on her toes and kissed him.
“I’m gonna shower and then head out to see Colonel… if ye care to join me,” she said as she turned and started back into the house.
“In the shower or with Colonel?” Charlie called out. Ophelia stopped and looked at him over her shoulder, a mischievous spark in her eyes.
“Both,” she said, winking and then turning and continuing into the house.
Charlie took a deep breath and slowly let it out, feeling the heat beginning to course through him. Two years together, and still all it took was one look and he would burn for her. He was fairly sure that it would always be that way.
He bent down and picked up his mug, watching as she disappeared into their bedroom, pulling her robe off on the way. Once she was out of sight, he reached into his robe pocket, pulling out the small box that he had been carrying around for months. Charlie flicked it open, staring down at the modest diamond ring. Duncan had helped him pick it out, though he was still terrified that she’d hate it.
But Duncan assured him that Ophelia would like it. She wasn’t one for flashy jewelry anyway.
“Charlie!” Ophelia shouted. “Hurry up!”
Chuckling, Charlie slipped the ring box back into his pocket as he walked into the house.
Ophelia stood in front of the main office, watching as various people wandered around the main area of the reserve where the festival had been set up. There was a carnival atmosphere with various stalls running up and down the way selling everything from enchanted balloons to candied apples and popcorn and dragon toys. They had also set up some rides in the large, open areas around the main camp that were all dragon themed.
She never thought she would ever be grateful for George Weasley in her life with all the ribbing he gave her and Charlie, but for this, she was truly grateful. He had developed loads of special sweets and toys and games just for the festival.
Every two hours, they did small tours of the hatchery, allowing the guests to see the baby dragons - which were deemed far safer than showing any of the full-grown or injured dragons. Though later in the afternoon, Charlie and Ophelia would take a small group of donors on a private tour that included some of the habitats and the older dragons that were more used to being around humans.
Now that things were in full swing and the opening ceremony was out of the way, Ophelia felt far more relaxed. So far things were going well, and she realized that Charlie was right. There was no reason for her to worry.
She turned, her eyes lighting up as she saw Bletchley and Flint walking towards her.
“Ye made it!” she exclaimed, hugging first Bletchley and then Flint. Though it was a bit awkward the first time she ran into him after he found out about Charlie, it seemed there were no hard feelings. He had even been dating her housemate Maria for the last few months. “What do ye think?”
“Never ceases to amaze me, the things you do,” Bletchley said, looking around them. “I mean, I was impressed with the reserve, but this festival…” He whistled as he looked back down at her. Ophelia just shrugged as she looked around.
“Took a group effort,” she said, causing Bletchley to snort. Ophelia looked over at him, eyebrows raised.
“Still the same old Wood,” Flint said, chuckling. “Though… your brother here yet?” The chaser looked around the festival, a cautious look sneaking into his eyes.
“Och, ye two are ridiculous,” Ophelia scoffed. “Bloody 26 and still holdin’ onto that, are ye?”
“No, at least I’m not,” Flint retorted, frowning at her.
“Where’s that Dragon Man of yours?” Bletchley asked, smirking and seeming eager to divert the conversation from her twin.
“Right here,” Charlie said, stepping out of the main office and placing his arm around her waist. “Good to see you again.” He held out his hand to Bletchley, shaking his hand and then Flint’s. “You lot intendin’ to go on the tour later?”
“Hoping to,” Bletchley said. “Colonel doing well?”
“Well, enough,” Ophelia said. “Though he’s most definitely not on the tour.”
“Boss!” someone shouted. Ophelia sighed as she looked over, seeing a young woman rushing up to her.
“If you’ll excuse me, duty calls,” Ophelia said. Charlie bent down and kissed her cheek before she walked off. “What is it, Toni?” For a moment, worry seized her heart.
“Stop worrying. Just wanted to see if I could have about 15 minutes to show my family around,” the tamer said, smiling at her. Ophelia breathed a sigh of relief.
“Of course, just be sure that ye are in the hatchery-”
“Stop worrying, I got it, boss,” the young woman said with a chuckle before turning and jogging off towards a small group of people. Ophelia watched them a moment before turning to look around, wondering where her own family was.
Even at a distance, she found herself jumping slightly as she turned around and saw Daria walking towards her with a bright grin on her face, her brothers and parents following not far behind. Charlie joined her as they walked up, and she embraced her best friend.
“This is fantastic!” Daria gushed, looking around. “I mean, I knew it would be, but… Merlin…”
“I mean, I always knew you would be the one for Charlie, but you just continue to prove it.”
Ophelia looked past Daria, seeing the Weasleys walking up. To anyone else, she supposed it could be overwhelming - their two families together along with Daria - but Ophelia was now long used to it. Took awhile, but soon enough, she and Charlie had said their hellos and hugged everyone. And then check on all the pregnant women. In the last two years, George had managed to marry Angelina, while Harry and Ginny, then Ron and Hermione got engaged. While Ginny’s wedding was still a few months away, she had confided to Ophelia, Audrey, Fleur and Angelina that she was two months pregnant.
Then Fleur, Audrey and Angelina had somehow all gotten pregnant at the same time. Ophelia was already thinking Christmas with the Weasleys was sure to be mad this year. Certainly, always was with her family and that was with Oliver and Duncan still single.
Though as they all stood chatting, she couldn’t help but notice something out of the corner of her. Namely that Daria was pointedly ignoring Duncan, which was odd. Normally, her best friend never gave up the chance to take the mickey out of him or Oliver. But at the moment, she was caught up in an animated conversation with Audrey and Angelina, shooting looks at Duncan every so often, who was now standing next to Charlie.
Ophelia made a point to ask about that when they were alone.
“Well, then. Should I give ye a bit of a tour?” Ophelia asked. While various parts of their families had come to visit, some were coming for the first time.
“Lead the way!” Daria said boisterously, linking her arm through Ophelia’s. It was a bit strange that she was so eager - she had been here loads of times over the last year. But Ophelia just shrugged and turned, leading the rather large group with her as Charlie fell into step with Duncan, the two whispering furiously.
Yes, something most definitely was going on.
Later that day after the sun had gone down, Ophelia walked back over to Daria, holding out a special cocktail that George had concocted for the event, aptly named Dragon’s Fire. Her best friend took it as she sat down in the chair next to her, taking a sip of her own.
“Fucking hell!” Ophelia shouted, nearly spitting it out. She then glared over at George, who was chuckling.
“May have gotten a bit heavy handed with the firewhiskey,” he said, though his grin said that he was anything but sorry.
“George Weasley!” Mrs. Weasley shouted, though she was grinning and her rosy cheeks betrayed the fact that she had already had a couple sips of her own.
“Right good, I say!” Fergus Wood called out boisterously, causing Ophelia to roll her eyes as she turned her attention back to Daria. Most of the other guests had left so it was just their families and few select friends.
“So are ye going to tell me or do I have to weasel it out?” she asked, dropping her voice so that the others wouldn’t hear.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Daria said immediately, taking a large drink, but then wincing. “Merlin, he wasn’t kidding.”
“Talk, Daria,” Ophelia ordered. Daria sighed.
“DARIA PUCEY, I LOVE YOU!”
Ophelia whipped her head over to look at her brother, who was standing with George and Charlie next to the drink table they had set up, his eyes wide in shock as he slapped his hand over his mouth. He then turned to glare at George, who was now laughing hysterically.
“What the hell?” Ophelia asked, looking back at Daria. Her best friend was slightly stricken though she looked over at Duncan.
“I love you too,” she said before slapping her own hand over her mouth.
There were a few moments of shocked silence as they all looked from Duncan to Daria, though Charlie was now staring down into his own cup and then over at George worriedly.
“Well… it’s about damn time,” Oliver said, finally breaking the silence. Ophelia turned back to Daria.
“Ye cannae be serious,” she said, though she couldn’t help as the urge to laugh came over her. All the years that the two had pestered each other, in a way, it did make sense.
“Oh, thank MERLIN,” Ophelia heard her mother exclaim. She looked back at her parents, her mother looking slightly gobsmacked for a moment as her father began guffawing.
“Maw!” Duncan shouted.
“Well, it’s tha truth,” Davina said, residing herself to the fact that she had said what she said, now taking another drink. “Was beginning to think ye’d never settle…”
All at once, there was laughter and shouting as half the group descended upon George, angry that he had obviously slipped something into the drinks. The others seemed entertained, though likely because they had no deep dark secrets to accidentally share. Ophelia turned back to Daria, starting to grin.
“So…. ye and Duncan?” she asked. Daria groaned and rolled her eyes.
“I mean, I didn’t intend to keep it a secret. And well, part of me thought it was over. We had a right good row about telling everyone a couple days ago,” she admitted. “We’d been dating behind everyone’s backs for the last several months as it is…”
“Hence the avoidance and such today,” Ophelia said with a chuckle.
“You aren’t angry with me?” Daria asked, her voice hopeful. Ophelia snorted.
“Why should I be angry? It makes sense now that I think about it… ye and Duncan,” she admitted. “We could be sisters for real.”
Daria stared at her a few moments, tears glistening in her eyes before she threw her arms around Ophelia.
“Och, don’t strangle me,” Ophelia called out with a laugh. Daria let go of her. “Think ye should go make things right with my bampot of a brother. Hope ye know what ye’re gettin’ into.” Daria grinned deliriously as she looked over at Duncan.
“Oh, I do,” she said, rising from her chair. Ophelia watched as she walked over and threw her arms around Duncan’s neck, kissing him soundly. Ophelia chuckled as whistles and shouts went up around the group.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! If you would avert your eyes to the sky - though I know it’s difficult with that display,” George shouted. He then shouted as Angelina punched him in the arm. Rolling his eyes, he returned to the task at hand. “On behalf of Weasleys Wizards Wheezes, I’d like to present to you… the most amazing firework display you’ll ever see!”
Ophelia snorted, though settled back in her chair and looked up at the night sky as the various lanterns around them went out.
In a second, the sky was full of color. Ophelia’s eyes widened as she saw dragons of all shapes and sizes flying through the sky, amazed that George had managed to adapt the fireworks so that they wouldn’t make too much noise and rile up the dragons on the reserve.
As the show continued, she couldn’t help but think it was the most magical thing she had ever seen.
Sensing a presence next to her, she looked over, seeing Charlie easing down into the chair that Daria had abandoned. He smiled over at her, and she reached over, taking his hand and then turning her eyes back to the sky.
The display continued on for another 15 or so minutes, with the crowd gathered cheering and clapping.
“Phillie,” Charlie said, his mouth next to her ear.
“Oh, it’s amazing,” Ophelia breathed, her eyes still fixed on the sky.
“I need to ask you something,” he said urgently. Ophelia looked over at him, a worried look on her face. He looked as though he were fighting with himself over something.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Phillie, I… will you… Damnit, George…”
“OH MY GOD!”
Ophelia’s eyes turned back up to the sky, seeing a large Hebridean Black roaring through the sky and getting dangerously close to the crowd, causing a few shouts of surprise. It then arched back up, his mouth opening as fire cascaded out. The flames stretched out across the sky, forming words.
Ophelia’s heart stopped for a moment as they became clearer.
Will you marry me, Phillie?
Ophelia turned to look back at Charlie, her eyes wide and mouth gaping as tears sprung up. Charlie looked mildly relieved as he smiled down at her.
“Thank, Merlin. Once I realized George spiked the drinks, I was worried I wouldn’t hold out long enough,” he breathed. “So… will you, Phillie?”
Ophelia opened and closed her mouth a few times before shaking her head slightly. She then grinned at Charlie.
“Aye,” she breathed just before her lips crashed against his. Cheers rose up around them. While she thought she could kiss him all night, she did remember that they were surrounding by their friends and family. So, she sat back in her chair, tears spilling down her cheeks.
“Phillie, you’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met,” Charlie said. While she knew it was partly George’s potion, Charlie had said it enough before that she giggled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box, opening it up and presenting it to her.
Ophelia thought it was the most beautiful ring she had ever seen.
Charlie then pulled it out and slid it onto her finger.
“I love you, Phillie. Always will,” Charlie said, staring deep into her eyes.
“I love you, too, Charlie. Always will,” Ophelia repeated. As she leaned over to kiss him again, more fireworks shot up into the air, exploding into a giant fire. This time, she didn’t care that their families were watching.
Not far off, George sighed happily as he wrapped his arm around Angelina.
“That was nice of you to help him, though did you really need the potion?” she asked, looking up at him, an eyebrow quirked.
“Yes, those two definitely needed it,” George said, pointing his thumb over at Daria and Duncan, who were now gazing up at each other lovingly. “But Charlie… he didn’t need much help.”
“What makes you say that?” Angelina asked, thinking Charlie was rather shy when it came to the Weasleys and probably needed more help than anyone. George sighed happily.
“Knew from the moment I saw them together,” he said. “And you know what they say about a Weasley and a Wood.” Angelina snorted.
“What is that exactly?” she asked incredulously, expecting some sort of raunchy joke. George looked down at her, still grinning.
“They take like fire to kindle.”