Playing With Fire

Chapter 36

Disclaimer: I do not own the world of Harry Potter!

Of course Tilly knew how to swim but hitting what felt like sub-zero water from fifty feet up wearing a thin short dress didn't exactly prepare you for fun times at the lake.

The water tore at her upon landing and she felt Charlie's hand slip from hers. It was so cold that for a moment she couldn't move. It wasn't until she felt her lungs were burning that she realized that all the wind had been knocked out of her. Tilly's mouth opened in a gasp, only bubbles escaping and water filling her lungs. She kicked her legs and flung her arms but she found she wasn't moving anywhere, panicking.

Oh, Merlin, she did not want to die down here.

An arm wrapped around her waist and she urged her fingers to wrap on the material of Charlie's shirt as he pushed them upwards. Their heads burst through the surface and Tilly gagged up out the water that had entered her lungs.

"I've got you," Charlie said, swimming towards the shore. "Remind me never to take you to a beach."

She wanted to tell him to shut up but found she couldn't get the words out, still gasping for air as she was. She did her best to help propel them to land but was grateful Charlie was there to help do most of it.

Tilly stumbled up the bank of the river, coughing up the last of the water. Charlie came behind her, his hand on her back to steady her. Every part of her was freezing, her teeth chattering. "I don't like you," she murmured to her husband, glad to have her voice back.

"No," he agreed, taking off his jacket and draping it over her. It was just as wet as the rest of her but the heaviness of it almost made her feel warmer. "But you sure do love the bloody hell out of me."

Charlie pulled his wand from his pocket (Tilly wondered how on Earth he had managed to hold onto it on impact) and pointed it towards the water. "Accio purse."

Tilly's bag shot out of the water and zoomed into Charlie's arms. The outside of the purse was sodden and Tilly knew she'd have to replace it. She took it from him, unzipping it to pull out her own wand. "Foods ruined but I can dry all the rest."

"We'll do it when we're out of here; they'll be able to get those Apparition wards down soon."

TIlly nodded, wrapping her arms around Charlie's waist as he wrapped his around her shoulders. He turned on the spot and the lake disappeared.

Another Inn, another curious Muggle owner wondering about their appearance ("Fell into a lake on the walk over," Charlie told the Muggle with a charming grin) and soon Charlie and Tilly found themselves in another room. They took a shower together, just standing there with their arms wrapped around each other as hot water cascaded over them. Tilly kept her head pressed against Charlie's chest, listening to his heart beat. She could have died today, more than once. Merlin, what would she have done without Charlie. "I love you," she murmured.

"I love you too," Charlie replied, kissing the top of her head.

After a brief night's sleep, Charlie and Tilly sat on the floor wrapped up in the robes Charlie found in the hotel closet, drying the items Tilly had dumped out of her bag. Charlie glanced up at her. "That was a daring escape if I must say so myself."

TIlly rolled her eyes. "We could have died of hypothermia. Or we could have drowned."

"Yea . . . but we didn't."

"Where exactly are we?" Tilly asked, deciding to ignore her crazy husband.

"We were only on the train long enough to make it to Brussels," Charlie told her. "We're just outside of the city. It's over 1000 miles from here to Romania and then my contact is in Ojelu Rosu. We could take another train."

"That didn't turn out so well."

"So than we keep Apparating till we get there."

"That'll be long and tiring. Did we have a certain day to meet your people?"

"Not really. I'm just supposed to send them a Patronus when we reach Bocsa so that they know when to meet us."

"Okay so than we'll Apparate. We'll have to stay hidden, keep to dense forest and out of the cities and may take us a few weeks to reach your friends, if not a month. We can ask the inn keeper if he knows where we can get a tent. We'll stock up on supplies before we go. It'll be a crash course on camping out like Muggles but I think we can make it. "

Charlie reached across their drying clothes, taking her hand. She realized she was rambling and she blushed slightly. "Hey, we're going to be okay. I'm not going to let anything bad happen to you. You know that right?"

Tilly smiled at him. "I know."

"Tilly! Charlie!"

The couple looked down at the three way mirror, seeing Tonks staring up at them, red eyes, her hair a pale mousy brown. Tilly yanked up the mirror. "Tonks. Tonks are you okay?"

"No," the metamorphagus replied, shaking her head frantically. "I'm – I'm sorry. I don't mean to keep bugging you."

"No, no, you're not bugging us at all. What's happened? Is everyone alright?"

"No one's hurt if that's what you mean but – Remus. Remus left me."

"What?" Tilly cried out. Charlie crawled over their things so that he could also peer into the mirror. "What do you mean he left? When?"

"Last night," Tonks sobbed. "He just left a note telling me we'd be safer with my parents."

" 'We'? But not you and him?"

Tonks looked down a watery smile coming to her face. "How do you two feel about being godparents?"

One hand shot to Tilly's mouth and she looked over at Charlie, who's ears were turning red. "You're pregnant. You're pregnant and he left you alone."

Tonks nodded. "I think – I think he's scared because of, you know, what he is."

"That's no excuse!" Charlie yelled and Tilly reached to place a hand on her husband's chest.

"Do you need us to come home, Tonks? We could be there in a day or so."

"No, no, don't come here," Tonks told her frantically. "They've already been here, the Death Eaters. They were looking for Harry and for you. They're using the Cruciatus Curse to find out where he is."

"Oh, Merlin, Tonks." Tilly sat back on her heels. She wasn't quite sure what else to say. Her best friend was hurting and there was nothing she could do about it. "I miss you so much."

Tonks let out a sob. "I miss you too. I wish you could come home or that I could be with you . . . but I can't leave my mom now and you need to stay safe."

"Where would Remus have gone? Maybe Charlie can go get him, knock him about his ears a bit."

That made Tonks laugh a bit but she shook her head. "I have to – I have to believe that he'll come home on his own. I have to believe he'll come to his sense. I just – I just needed to hear from you and to see your faces."

"We're here for you, Tonks," Charlie told her. "You call us whenever we need to."

Tonks nodded. "I love you both."

"We love you too."

The screen went black and the Weasley couple sat in silence. Charlie shook his head. "I could never –"

"I know." Tilly answered, picking up a now dried shirt.

"I wouldn't ever –"

"I know. I – I don't think Remus really would either. He'll come to his senses he has to."

They exchanged looks, both realizing how close this had been to being the two of them before they went back to drying their things. Remus would come back. Oh, Tilly would give him a mouthful when he did, but he'd be back for Tonks.

He had too.

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