Playing With Fire

Chapter 34

Charlie Apparated the two of them to an old motel, outside the city of London but Tilly barely noticed. She barely noticed when he grasped tight to her hand and pulled her up to the clerk. She barely noticed when he used Muggle money. She barely noticed when he pulled her to their room.

She noticed him call her name and the desperate look on his face when she walked into the bathroom and closed the door. She didn't lock it. She knew Charlie wouldn't come in if he thought she needed time.

Tilly leaned against the sink counter, staring at her reflection. She looked awful. Her eyes were red, her face tear stained, her makeup a mess, her dress in tatters. She could only imagine what the clerk must have thought of the two of them.

She stared at herself, at the face that looked so much like her grandmothers and willed herself to cry because she knew what would come next. She felt it, stirring underneath the sadness and the denial, waiting to be released.

This was all Marguerite's fault.

She tore off her jewelry and shoes, throwing them into the sink.

How dare she? How dare she bring this - this horror into her life!? How could she have kept this a secret for so long? If they had known, if Tillys father had known, they would have been more careful. Benjamin would have stayed out of the papers and he would have kept them hidden.

Marguerite.

She did this. She dragged their family into this horrible situation. She did this. She forced this life upon them.

Tilly gasped, her hands flying up to her mouth.

Just like she was forcing Charlie.

Oh no.

How could she? How could she do this to him? He had his own life, his own family, his own job and here she was, ripping him away from everything. She couldn't do that to him...

She rushed to the sink, throwing her things on the floor and turning on the water, splashing it over her face. She needed the rush of the cold water to clear her head, help her with what she was going to do next. She could not look distraught or else this wouldn't work.

She took a deep breath, her heart pounding in her chest as she pulled open the door.

Charlie was sitting on the bed his face in his hands when she stepped into the small room. It wasn't the nicest hotel but when you were on the run you made due with what you had. A small Telly sat in the corner across from the king sized bed that took up the majority of the room, just barely leaving space to squeeze in a dresser and a night table.

He looked up at her and the concern on his face did nothing to make this task easier. Tilly kept a blank face as she moved to lean against the dresser. Charlie watched her, confused as to why she wasn't sitting with him and Merlin she wanted nothing more than to just feel his arms around her. "You okay?" He asked.

Tilly was far from okay. She was scared, desperate, and tired but she couldn't ask Charlie to stay, not when her life had just became a game of cat and mouse with the most powerful dark wizard of all time. "I've been thinking," she replied, not daring to look away because that would show weakness.

"About?" Charlie asked, frowning at her, his brow creased in contemplation.

You have to do this. You have to keep him safe. "I want you to leave."

The words resonated through the small room. Charlie stared at her for a while. "That's not funny Tilly."

"I'm not joking. I want you to leave."

"Do you think I would just leave you?" Charlie got to his feet, angry now. "After everything we've been through, everything we have together, do you think I would just leave because things are horrible?"

No he wouldn't leave, he never had but she would make him if she had too. This was her Charlie, her best friend... She knew what buttons to push to make him angry enough to make him leave.

"It's not just that I want you to leave," she told him, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't want you here."

Charlie's ears were turning red, the first sign of his agitation. "Tilly," he started, a warning.

"In fact I never really wanted you here," Tilly continued, trying to project hostility and arrogance in her tone. She frowned at him. "Not just here. I can't keep up this charade any longer."

"Don't do this, Riddle."

"I mean, I was only trying to be nice. You did save me from those bullies but then you followed me around like a sad little puppy. I just couldn't seem to get rid of you."

Charlie's face was red now, he glared at her. "Stop."

But she plowed on, ignoring the look in his eyes. "You've said it before. You said I could have any guy I wanted. So why on earth would I settle for you, Charlie, some who clearly isn't anywhere near my status or my prowess when I could have been with someone so much smarter. Why on earth would I settle for someone who comes from such a piss poor background? Do you really want to know why?"

"Damnit Tilly, you stop talking right now or I will-"

"I pitied you."

It was one of Charlie's biggest fears. He hated to be pitied, to be looked down on because of his background. It was a common flaw in all of the Weasley men. They hated handouts, hated pity, but mostly they hated when someone talked down on their family.

Charlie was visibly vibrating with fury. Tilly took the opportunity to keep going. "I pitied you, because you so desperately needed me around. I pitied you because you were always struggling and failing to get out from under your brother's shadow. I pity you because, even after all these years you are pathetic."

The couple stood there, Charlie red in the face and Tilly trying desperately not to cry. She knew he knew none of what she was saying was true. She knew he knew how much she loved and needed him... She also knew that, because he knew all that, it wasnt what she had said but the fact that she had said it, the fact that she had stooped so low and had taken his deepest thoughts and feelings and threw them back in his face. That's why he was furious.

"You want me to leave?" Charlie said, his voice shaking with the effort not to yell. "You don't want me here? Say it."

Tilly looked him in the eye. "I want you to leave. I don't want you here."

Tight lipped, his hands gripped so tight into fist his knuckles were turning white, Charlie nodded. "Fine."

With that he turned on the spot, Dissapparating.

Tilly felt as if all the air had been sucked from the room. Her head was spinning, there was a ringing in her ears, and her vision was blurred as she stumbled to the spot where her husband once stood.

This was what she wanted right? Charlie would be safe now. Angry as hell but safe. There was no chance of her losing him like she had lost -

Tilly clutched her arms around her stomach, falling to her knees as vicious sobs wracked her body. She couldn't handle all of this. What the hell had she just done? She was going to be sick.

Charlie. Charlie come back please.

The pop startled her but she was too drained to even scramble for her wand on the night stand. Whoever it was they could just take her, she couldn't care less.

She looked up, blinking through tears, taking in his wild red hair and those blue eyes of his filled with so many different emotions as he hesitated by the door A sound escaped Tilly, something between a sob, a cry, and a laugh as she stood shakily to her feet.

They moved towards each other at the same time. Tilly leapt into Charlie's arms, her arms encircling his neck as she buried her face in his collarbone, her legs wrapping around his waist. He held her against him, one arm tightly around her back, his other hand buried in her curls. And then Tilly's hands found his face and their mouths crashed together in a wave of passion and desperation. She whispered against his lips each time they took a breath, mumbling apologies, over and over, even as they fell back on the bed.

"Tilly?" Charlie mumbled against her mouth, sending a hum of pleasure through her body.

"Yes?" She responded breathily.

"Shut up, would you?" She didn't get to respond before he pressed his lips back against hers.

Later they lay tangled up in blankets, Charlie's head resting on Tillys back as he pressed lazy kisses on her shoulder blade. Tillys head rested on her arms and she smiled, her eyes closed. "Charlie? I have a confession to make."

"Hopefully nothing too dramatic," he muttered, his lips drawing across her skin.

"No not this time." Tilly propped her chin on her hands. "Remember that time on the way to school for our second year, you walked into my compartment out of breath."

Charlie hummed in acknowledgement. "I had been looking for you over twenty minutes and then you left me in there alone for near an hour."

"I went to the bathroom, because I was crying."

Charlie was silent for a moment before he sat up, staring down at her in confusion. "You told me you were going to look for Tonks. Why were you crying?"

"I was just so surprised and happy. I thought that maybe after first year you'd want nothing to do with me."

Tilly felt Charlie's hand on her side before he gently pushed her onto her back, leaning over her. "For someone so bloody brilliant, you can be so stupid."

"So you've told me."

"Why would you think something like that?"

"Because you were Charlie Weasley, fun, outgoing, popular. Why on earth did you pick me? I'm just ... "Tilly" and - and I have so much baggage."

Charlie sighed, slipping his arm under her and pulling her to his chest. "First off, I didn't pick you. I found you, wide eyed and scared and you barely even knew me but you lied for me. And then I fell in love with you, fourth year, I'd say because you are "Tilly'', my beautiful, clever, wonderful best mate who should know by now that I will shoulder any"baggage" that she has, no matter how heavy."

He kissed her head and Tilly smiled, blinking back tears as she curled up closer to him. "Charlie?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you think its possible that - that she got away? That maybe shes somewhere safe? Could You-Know-Who have blown up her home in a fit of rage because she escaped?"

Charlie was quiet for a moment and Tilly knew what his answer would be. "I think that Marguerite was a brilliant woman. She was strong and passionate and wonderful. And bloody hell did she love you. She loved you to the moon and back. She loved you enough to face her biggest fear in order to make sure you were safe. She was incredible woman."

The tears were flowing freely now, the pain in her chest almost unbearable ... but then Charlie tightened his arm around her and she was able to let out a strangled laugh. "Yes. Yes she was."


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