The Cursebreaker and the Goblet of Fire

Chapter 7

Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter. All credits go to J.K Rowling who is and will always be my queen ...

Dragons and an Unexpected Visitor

"Shoes off please, Miss," Swetty chirped as I stepped out of the fireplace as Brina wrapped herself around my legs.

"Aw, I missed you guys too," I smiled, reaching down to give her a scratch behind the ear before I took off my shoes and levitated them over to the front door. "Is Mum back from America yet?"
"No, Miss," the house-elf shook her head.

I sighed. I might not have always gotten on smoothly with my Mum but it still would've been nice for her to let me know when she'd be coming back at least.

I took in a deep breath, momentarily tearing myself away from those thoughts as I gazed around the lavishly immaculate lounge room and shivered slightly.

The house had always felt so empty after Jacob passed.

"Would Miss like some stew for dinner tonight?" Swetty asked, bringing me back to reality as she stared up at me expectantly. Brina rubbed her cheek against my ankle, her whiskers tickling my skin as she cocked her head to the side.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah … that sounds fine," I replied, picking up my black cat as Swetty hurried off to prepare dinner.

"Looks like it'll just be the two of us tonight then, huh?"
Brina purred.

I was about to blow out the candles when I saw a large shadow swoop through the skies before it landed on the street in front of my house.

Bloody hell.

I pulled on my dressing gown as I scrambled down the stairs and out the door where a hippogriff was now grazing at the grass of my front lawn.

"Merlin's pants Sirius!" I hissed, wrapping my dressing gown over my shoulders as I stepped outside into the cold, "Some warning would be nice."

"But where's the fun in that?" he hummed as he slid down Buckbeak's side and landed gracefully on his feet. The Hippogriff crooned, shaking out his white feathers before nudging his giant head against my shoulder.

"There's not supposed to be any 'fun' in it," I retorted as I ran my fingers through Buckbeak's plumage, "Or need I remind you that you are currently a wanted man, flying on the back of a wanted hippogriff? Thank Merlin, my mum's still in America visiting relatives otherwise she would have seen you!" I shook my head, "You're mental. You know that?"

Buckbeak let out another squawk.

"See? Even the Hippogriff agrees with me!"

"Pah, you worry too much," replied the wizard as he patted my shoulder.

"Well sorry for not wanting you to have your soul sucked out by Dementors," I drawled sardonically before reluctantly returning the embrace, "But really, what in the name of Merlin's pants are you doing here?"

Sirius' expression dimmed ever so slightly.

"I think that Harry might be in danger."

I sidled up to the Weasley, Sirius' words still ringing in my ears from the night before as I watched him finish resecuring the cages onto their wagons, going up on my tiptoes to cover his eyes with both hands.

"Guess who?"

Charlie chuckled, turning around before he leashed me forward by my waist and pressed his lips against mine. I smiled, melting into him as I eagerly kissed him back.

"Oi, you two either quit snogging or get a room, alright? Merlin's sake, this isn't date-night …" Marius, one of Charlie's co-workers barked out, bringing us both to reality.

"Oh, leave them be, Marius," replied Barb, slapping the man's arm chidingly.

Charlie sighed, drawing back only to scowl in their general direction before turning to face me.

"I suppose we can't get rid of them just yet, can we?" he murmured, running a sheepish hand through his orange hair.

"They're your co-workers," I retorted, batting his shoulder gently, "Though, speaking of co-workers I guess we should thank Bill for rearranging the paperwork for us …"
Charlie shook his head, "I still can't believe that he forged your signature."

"I know," I nodded, "I would've cursed his arse if he hadn't done it so we could spend some more time together."

"I should probably send him a thank-you card after this then," Charlie agreed as we walked hand-in-hand up the way to the Forbidden Forest.

"Speaking of cards you haven't gotten any more letters from your Mum about this, have you?"

Charlie groaned, "Oh, I haven't dared tell Mum that the first task will be involving dragons; she's already having kittens about him," Charlie imitated the shrilled voice of his mother, "'How could they let him enter that Tournament, he's much too young! I thought they were all safe, I thought there was going to be an age limit!' She was crying floods the other morning after that Daily Prophet article about him too. 'He still cries about his parents! Oh, bless him, I never knew!'"

I chortled, "Since when did your mother believe a word that Rita Skeeter says?"

"It was in the Witches' Weekly too," Charlie explained, "and you know how much my mum adores reading the Witches' Weekly …"
I sighed, "So Harry's become the new gossip du jour?"
Charlie nodded, "Pretty much."
"Poor kid," I said as he slung a rug sack over his shoulder. "What's that you've got there?"

"A tent," he replied.

I raised an eyebrow.

"Well, the dragons will have to be under heavy sedation so we'll still need a Cursebreaker on-site in case anything does go wrong," reasoned Charlie, a mischievous glimmer in his doe-brown eyes as our gazes met.

"You planned this didn't you?"
Charlie grinned, "Well, I won't lie: the idea of us sharing a tent together has crossed my mind once or twice," he admitted.
I raised an eyebrow, leaning in closer so that our lips were almost touching. "Has it now?"

Even in the dim light, I could see the faintest hints of a blush forming beneath his freckles. He rubbed the back of his neck.

"Nothing inappropriate though!" he added quickly.

I couldn't help but laugh at his expression as he ducked his head.

"So, where are we setting this tent that you've been talking about?"

Much like Rowan's, the small tent turned out to be much bigger on the inside; opening out into a full-scale bedroom with a small kitchen and dining room table. Instead of the two bunk beds from before, there was a single bed, made with sheets and a teal coloured duvet set. Charlie looked at me, fidgeting with the collar of his shirt as I took it all in.

"Dad let me borrow it for the month," he explained. "It's the same one from the Quidditch Cup only I …"

"Redecorated," I smiled, finishing his sentence for him as my eyes flittered over the large queen-sized mattress and homey interior.

Charlie rubbed the back of his neck, "I can always change it into two beds if you want to …"
"No," I replied quickly, jumping up to stop him from taking out his wand. "This is fine … it's perfect."

If Charlie hadn't already been blushing he was definitely doing so now.

"Is … that my jumper?" Charlie asked as he ducked his head inside the tent later that night.

"Maybe …" I replied, levitating the kettle from the kitchen stove to pour itself out into two mugs on the dining room table.

Charlie raised an amused eyebrow; "Well you know you can't keep it forever … right?"

"I don't know," I murmured as I hugged it around my shoulders, "I mean it is ridiculously comfortable. Not to mention warm."

Charlie rolled his eyes as he shuffled in closer, "Which is why I'd like it back sometime," he retorted, smiling despite himself.

"Jeez, Weasley … I'm not sure I could part with it just yet, …"

"Well, you're going to have to …" he said.
"Says who?" I asked.

"Says me," he answered.

"Oh yeah?" I smirked, "And how exactly are you planning on taking it back, Weasley?"

Charlie paused for a moment before he leaned forward, "Well … I have a few ideas," he responded rather huskily as he closed the space between us until our lips were almost touching.

"Such as?"

My heart skipped a beat as his fingers grazed momentarily over my waist.

"Why don't you come closer and find out?"

"You're pathetic," I batted his face away with the sleeve of his jumper as he waggled his eyebrows.

"Well, I do try …"

"Good morning, beautiful," Charlie grinned, reaching over to tuck a stray strand of hair behind my ear.

"Hmm, morning," I hummed, smiling as he pressed his lips against my forehead.

I snuggled back into the warmth of his chest, feeling it rise and fall with each breath.

A smile seemed to flitter in Charlie's eyes as they flitted over me, sparkling amber in the morning light that filtered through the tent.

"What?" I asked.

"Do you reckon we could just stay like this forever?" he asked.

I raised an eyebrow, "Don't you have work to do?"

"Eh, Marius can handle the Hungarian Horntail for once," he replied.

I giggled, shoving his shoulder gently. "And if he gets eaten?"

Charlie shrugged, "Wouldn't be the first time …"

"Charlie!"

"What? I was joking!" he grinned, chuckling as he wrapped his arm around my waist.

"… Maybe."

"Weren't you wearing a different shirt before?" I asked, glancing up from the book that I was reading as Charlie awkwardly shouldered his way into the tent that afternoon after work.

"Oh, yeah, well, dragon spew," replied Charlie with an unconvincing shrug.

I watched him wince as he tried to remove his shirt.

"Wait, what's that?" I frowned, catching a glimpse of the marred skin before he could completely cover it up.

"It's nothing," he murmured.

"Don't lie, I've seen it," I rebuked, catching him by his forearm and pulling up the rest of his shirt which revealed the full extent of his latest injury with a lurch of my stomach.

His flesh was completely disfigured from his rib up to his shoulder blade; bone-deep wounds running across his lower back, still raw against his tanned skin.

It was almost as if he'd been splinched – chunks of his flesh still missing.

I pursed my lips, "And how exactly were you planning on hiding this from me?"

"It's nothing serious, really," Charlie insisted, tensing slightly as I checked for any broken bones.

"Yeah right," I drawled sarcastically, poking his side and watching him grimace as if to prove my point, "Just another 'scratch' huh?"

Charlie shrugged, "Occupational hazard of the job," he replied.

"You really are unbelievable you know that?" I sighed, retrieving a green bottle from the depths of my bag with a flick of my wand before I kneeled behind him.

I unscrewed it without another word, conjuring a cloth to dab it over the worst of his injuries.

"Ouch, a little gentler please?"

Charlie sucked in a breath, muscles tensing as the skin began to smoke.

I didn't respond, silently watching as his skin slowly yet surely began to knit itself back together; eventually scabbing over into more scars to add to the already abundant collection of burns that he'd received over the past five years.

I then went to healing the abrasions over his ribcage, relieved to see that he had somehow miraculously managed to avoid any serious internal injuries.

"Oh c'mon, don't be mad," he pouted, trying to catch my eye as I used a Ferula charm to bandage the rest of his shoulder.

I huffed, standing up and going over to the small kitchen sink to rinse my hands before taking a Wiggenweld potion from the cabinet and handing it to him to drink.

He complied, downing the potion in a few gulps all while still trying to catch my gaze.

"Please?"

It was only when I heard the somewhat feeble pleading in his voice did I finally turn around to face him.

He sighed, "C'mon, come here."

Charlie readjusted himself on the bed, lifting his hands in the hope that I'd reciprocate.

I rolled my eyes, slowly approaching him but I couldn't help but complain.

"I still can't believe that you thought you could hide such a serious injury from me," I muttered as I sat beside him, "Aren't you ever scared of something worse happening?"

Charlie pursed his lips, frowning for a moment before he replied.

"I've never thought about it that much to be honest," he murmured.

"Really?"

"Yeah," he nodded.

I shook my head, "that still doesn't answer my question, though," I replied.

Charlie paused, staring at me with a gaze of such inscrutable complexity that I couldn't quite decipher before he pulled me into a tight embrace.

"Well, normally I wouldn't be scared," he answered, his voice brushing against my ear as he spoke, "But now that I'm not alone? Yeah … I guess I am."

So ... how was that? Enough fluff for you?
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