|SIYE Time:2:59 on 17th August 2018|
In The House of the Quick and the Hungry
By Laura Laurent
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Category: Post-HBP, Buried Gems
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: Angst, Comedy, Drama, Fluff, General, Humor
Story is Complete
Summary: The finer aspects of Ginny Weasley's life, all entwined, in their own way, within the story of how she wound up with Harry Potter.
THIS STORY IS NOW COMPLETE!
Hitcount: Story Total: 43785; Chapter Total: 4289
Charlie Was a Prewett
For my grandfather, who is a Neumann,
And for Beth Voermans, who wasn’t intimidated.
As is so often the case with one's elders, the brothers whom I favored the least as a small child were the ones who did the most to make me what I am today. For example, if it weren’t for Charlie and his towering temper, the legendary tale of my first encounter with Professor Snape might never have been, which would be a shame, as it’s a favorite in Colin Creevey's repetoire.
“So, there we were,” he’ll say, “filing into our first potions class, with none other than the Slytherins, of course! And Professor Snape is writing at the board, and you know how he can make even that seem threatening... So anyway, there we are, all scared out of our wits, and he starts talking (I don’t remember what the lesson was about) but I’m sitting next to Ginny, and I notice she’s looking rather pale and nervous and jittery–like she expects him to hit her at some point. Well, you know how that oily old git can sense fear, so he turns to her and he asks her this really hard question, and then he gets up right in her face and does that stupid sneer thing and says, ‘Ms. Weasley... afraid of me?’
“And all these Slytherins start snickering at her, and here I am worrying that this poor girl is going to die of fright, but instead she just looks right back at him and says, well, tell them what you said Ginny,”
At this point I’ll look up from whatever I was doing and deliver the only point of the story that really bears repeating:
“I said, ‘No. Should I be?’”
“Well you can imagine his surprise–here's this tiny girl, and she answers with that. For a minute there I honestly think he was too taken aback to do much of anything, but then he recovered himself and deducted ten points from Gryffindor with a scowl. He hates her. But you know, since that day, I don’t think he’s ever tried to scare her again...”
He’s right. Snape hasn’t tried to scare me since that day, and after my first year, word got round to most of the school that I was a lot tougher than I had let on originally, and boys were afraid of me for me, and not for my brothers.
Michael had this old joke, he used to say, "Mates–I've done it! I've solved the crime of the century!"–this was commonly known in Ravenclaw as Percy Weasley’s Missing Bollocks–and then he'd lean over and kiss me on the cheek, and the implication was understood by everyone present that I was the theif. I smiled and blushed a little at the time, but the truth is that I’m brave not because of Percy, but because of Charlie.
There are seven children in our family, one for each day of the week, except that Fred and George were both born on Friday, so we have no Saturday. But in any case, I always thought it was especially fitting that Charlie, whose temper was the stuff of legend, was born on Thursday, the day named for the Norse god of thunder (don't look at me like that, Hermione was the one who made the connection). Even when he was a small child, Mum and Dad used to call him Stormy Charlie, because of the terrible tantrums of anger and sadness that he’d fall into every now and then. But that’s the side of Charlie that no one but his nearest and dearest ever see. To most of the world he’s Charming Charlie–Heartbreaker Extraordinaire. In short, Charlie is a Prewett.
He’s charismatic and funny, with a thousand little habits and mannerisms that drive girls crazy. And yet he’s also the only person that the twins are honestly afraid to cross, and for good reason. I remember after my first year, when they had teased me so mercilessly about my crush on Harry (among many other things), the horrible tongue lashings they had received from both Bill and Charlie when we all met up in Egypt. I don’t know what Bill said to them, but I couldn’t help but overhear Charlie’s rant, such was the volume of his voice.
It was our first night there, and Mum and Dad were out for dinner together. Bill was at his flat, of course, leaving Charlie in charge of all of us in the hotel. I lay in bed awake as Ron slept soundly in the bed next to mine, and from the other room I could hear voices being raised until Charlie was shouting at what must have been close to the top of his lungs.
“What’s the matter with you?”
I heard something being flung across the room, but it made a ‘clunk!’ rather than a ‘crash!’ so I assumed it was nothing fragile.
“You two are by far the biggest little arses that I’ve ever had the misfortune of KNOWING! Much less being related to! Let’s set aside the fact that you didn’t notice that your sister was being possessed by You-Know-Who... until she stopped eating, stopped sleeping! Don’t you dare tell me you didn’t notice, because Percy noticed! Percy, the big-headed prat who doesn’t care about anyone but himself- HE NOTICED!
“So your little sister, who’s away from home for the first time in her life and has no friends, grows quieter and quieter all year long while you sit around and ham it up, until she’s so sickly and pale that she doesn’t even blush when you humiliate her. AND WHAT DO YOU TWO DO? Do you take a time out from being the center of attention for just ONE second to see if she’s okay? NO! You do the only thing your messed up, pea-sized brains know how to do–you take the piss out of her some more!”
If I hadn’t been so concerned that the twins were indeed, dead, I would have been touched by his words. It was the nicest thing he’d ever done for me, even if it was a bit hypocritical–because next to the twins, Charlie was the biggest tease I knew. Nevertheless, his words in the hotel that night changed my feelings about him forever.
Before that night, I had never had any reason to believe that Charlie really cared about me any more than the next sibling, and for a girl who was the apple of everyone’s eye for as long as she could remember, this always stung a bit. Once, when I was six or seven, a woman who was apparently very recently his ex-girlfriend came downstairs from his room in a huff as I ate my breakfast at the kitchen table.
“He’s insufferable!” she fumed, desperately buttoning her blouse and fixing her skirt as I stared back in a total deadpan, trying to fit a very large spoon into my mouth as my pink slippered feet dangled idly below.
“I swear! ‘No respect for me,’ honestly! He’s the most arrogant pompous-arse I’ve ever met that would- argh! The man probably makes BABIES ‘earn his respect’!”
I rested my temple on my wrist and stirred my Toady-O’s, looking listlessly into my bowl as she continued to revile my brother.
“Sweetie, I pity you! Having to live with that ego!”
“What are you doing?” Charlie had entered the kitchen forcefully, looking from her to me and putting the pieces together as his jaw twisted and clenched menacingly. “Get out!” he said tersely, but she wasn’t finished just yet.
“What’s the matter Charlie? Don’t want your family to know what a-“
“I said get OUT!” he shouted, “If you’ve got a problem with me, come back and tell me about it when you grow up, but don’t try to badmouth me to my seven-year-old sister! Because that’s not payback, that’s just asinine!”
She seethed for a moment, driving her heel into her shoe before she grabbed her wand and Disapparated. Charlie turned and looked at me.
“Someday you’re going to look back on this and think I’m a total wanker, so perhaps it would be best if you just forget it now.”
And then he went back to his room and left me to my Toady-O’s, not fazed in the slightest.
You could not have paid me to say it to Charlie at the time, but I had a pretty good idea of what the problem was, minus the sexual implications, and I agreed with the jilted lady. Charlie was charismatic and smooth, but he had such ridiculously high expectations of everyone, and he was so painfully blunt in expressing his disappointment that at times one wondered if anyone but himself met with his approval.
Girls flock to him like bees to honey, how could you not? He’s deep, dark and confident, with charmand one of those when-I'm-not-taming-dragons-or-buying-my -mother-flowers-I'm-a-badarse attitudes. In fact, his partners have a theory that that’s why he’s so good at what he does:
"That bloody temper of his can scare a male dragon shitless, and the shes just think he's dreamy–all he has to do is wink and they bat their eyes and fall into a swoon."
Women are incredibly turned on by things like that. Back when he lived at home, after Hogwarts and before he got the job in Romania, he used to have what he described to me as "two-person slumber parties" about once a week. His mates made setting up Charlie into a bit of a sport, by advertising him to interested women.
“Oh yeah! Charlie seems rough and rugged, but he cleans up really nice- impeccable taste, he’s got.”
“And did you know? He can cook! Almost as well as his Mum, see he specializes in French cuisine, but he’s got a knack for Italian stuff as well.”
“You see those roses there? Charlie grew those; he knows everything about gardening, if he ever gives you flowers–know that he has indeed grown, picked, and arranged them just for you. Don't tell him we said so though, it’s all a bit of a secret, see–mostly he just works out and plays Quidditch.”
"And he can sing, too! He's a bit shy about that one though, sort of keeps that side of him hidden to the world–I don't think he'd ever sing to a woman unless he really loved her. He's a good one to go dancing with, though.”
The funniest thing was that they weren’t really embellishing much at all. He can't cook as well as Mum, and he sings or whistles pretty much any time he's in a good mood, but other than that, they spoke the truth.
No, Charlie’s never had any trouble attracting women, but to this day, with all the pretty girls that have thrown themselves at his feet, I don’t think he’s ever been in love. For all three of my oldest brothers, there have been those who have questioned their sexuality, though for very different reasons. With Bill, it was simply that he was too good to be true. They’d see him, hear that he was a curse breaker, and say, ‘Oh no, he’s gay, isn’t he?’. Percy has so many feminine mannerisms, and he’s such a mummy’s boy that I think we've all wondered at some point if he really swings the way he says he does.
But no one ever speculates that Charlie’s not as straight as a ruler–Fred and George admire the fact that "no bird can make Charlie do anything he doesn’t want to"–and so do most woman... until they get close enough to realize that they’re no exception to that rule. That’s when they storm out in a huff and claim that he’s gay (or just generally a self-righteous bastard). I hate it when girls say that boys don’t think about anything but sex, or that they’re stupid and easily manipulated. It’s not true, and from what I’ve seen, the girls who say that are often the same ones that come charging out of Charlie’s room with injured egos just because they couldn’t seduce him.
Sadly enough, I was the same way, minus the sex: I thought Charlie was the coolest guy in the world, until he’d criticize me, or tell me to stop being such a bloody drama queen, or when he wasn’t moved by my very best puppy dog face. Then he was just mean, with a stuck up nose and a superiority complex.
But there’s one key difference between me and all those obnoxious women. I stuck around, and I gained his respect. Unlike most turnarounds in my relationships with people, this one didn’t take place over many years, it happened in an instant.
It was two summers before I went away to Hogwarts, and at the time, Charlie was still living with us. Fred and George had dared me one afternoon to take Charlie’s broom out of the shed and take a ride on it. I would have succeeded spectacularly, and stunned them both with my surprising flying abilities, but just when I got high enough to really fly, a big wind came out of nowhere and, given the fact that I weighed about sixty pounds, blew me straight into a tree, causing significant damage to the tail of the Comet Two-Fifty. I practically fell out of the tree in a panic, and spent the rest of the day trying to run away from home before Charlie returned from work.
“He’s gonna kill you,” leered Fred, snickering at me as I tried to pack a knapsack.
“Ginny dear, are you alright? You’ve gone all white and you’re shaking,” said Mum over tea.
Finally, the inevitable six o’clock rolled around, and I heard Charlie Apparating into the backyard. Any minute now, and he’d go out for his usual fly around the paddock after work to unwind and realize that his broom was gone...
“FRED! GEORGE!” I was hiding behind my bed, praying that someone would grant me powers of invisibility when I heard Charlie shout, but I had no such luck. Fred and George burst into my room and picked me up by my arms and dragged me downstairs and out to the broomshed.
“Come on Ginny, we’re not going to take a beating for this one!”
I whimpered and struggled against them, but it was no use. My face had gone whiter than a sheet, and my heart was beating so furiously I thought it was going to leap out of my chest and run away and hide. Charlie was waiting for them under the tree in which the broom had crashed, looking nearly as angry as I was scared.
“Well,” he spat. “What happened?”
By this time I was clawing desperately at their arms, and trying to stay behind them, but George forced me in front of them. I felt naked and very cold, standing there, the center of attention and the focus of Charlie’s furious glare. I pawed at my face and wiped away the tears quickly, before he could see that I was crying.
“So Ginny, what happened?”
I was petrified. My eyes felt dry and prickly, and I struggled to keep them open from flinching so much. He bent down so that his face was even with mine, and his stony expression made the breath catch in my throat.
“Ginny, are you scared of me?”
I wanted so badly to cry and say ‘YES!’ and have him scoop me up in his arms like Bill would do and tell me over and over again that he loved me and he never meant to scare me. But in that moment, as his hard blue eyes stared into mine, I knew that he wasn’t Bill, and I made a choice. I looked up, and stared right back at him as I bravely said,
“No. Should I be?”
And there was a long, triumphant silence. Charlie showed no emotion, except for a small raise of his eyebrows, but my heart swelled with pride as I spied Fred and George gaping like fish in my peripheral vision. After what seemed like an eternity, he knelt down in front of me, as if in surrender, and sighed, a little gruffly, “Course not–I would never hurt you.”
He pulled me into his arms and gave me one of the only real hugs I’d ever seen him give, and from that day forward I had Charlie’s respect, and he had mine.
Charlie and I give hope to one another. I'm his reminder that there are good girls out there, that are worth respecting and loving–he just has to find them. And he's my reminder that I’m worth loving and respecting, and that anyone can see that–I just have to hang in there.
There are two halves to the Prewett Paradox, the first states that they’re hilarious, and charming, with a deep, dark, unfathomable alter ego. The second half says that they always end up falling in love with good people. I believe that someday, both will be true for Charlie.
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