Playing With Fire

Chapter 7

Disclaimer: Not mine.

August 17, 1994

"Ludo, where in the world are we going? We still have business to attend to and I'm sure I saw a purple fire over –"

"Now, now Tilly," Ludo said, grinning. "You worry too much. Enjoy the day! Us Beaters, you know, we live in the moment! That's all I want you to do right now! You've worked hard enough to earn it!"

Tilly sighed and, despite his order for her to relax, she looked around for the nearest officials to go put out the awful, obviously magical fire.

Ludo Bagman was the 'laziest boss in the world'. It was quite obvious even from him, that a lot of the organization was left up to her. Tilly didn't really mind; she was a very organized person, was good at what she did, and had met people from the Holyhead Harpies to the Wigtown Wanderers. It was only now, organizing the World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament that she was feeling horribly tired.

"Aha!" A man called out happily. "The man of the moment! Ludo!"

"Ahoy there!" Bagman called back. He reached back, grabbing Tilly's hand and twirling her forward. "Let's not forget the woman of the moment, T –"

"Tilly!" The Weasley family cried and Tilly found herself wrapped in the arms of five different people. She had almost forgotten that they would be here, that she'd be sharing the Top Box with them.

That Charlie would be in England for a whole year. . . .

Tilly couldn't help but laugh at the antics of Bill, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny. Of course Percy wouldn't act like a lunatic at the sight of their oldest friend; he was too refined for that. And Charlie – oh he was just waiting his turn.

Right on cue, Tilly's eyes met his as his siblings let go of her and he moved forward, gathering her into his arms and spinning her around. He looked different, more rugged then normal, but she supposed lollygagging with dragons would do that to him. Still, he was handsome, she thought, with his short red hair and bright blue eyes that laughed always.

He ruffled her curls gently and she knocked his hand away, laughing. Merlin had she missed him.

"I see you've already met," Bagman chuckled.

"Charlie and Tilly were the same year," Mr. Weasley explained as Tilly moved around to hug the older man.

"What a coincidence," Bagman said. "And what a day, eh? What a day! Could we have asked for more perfect weather? A cloudless night coming . . . and hardly a hiccough in the arrangements. . . . Not much for me to do! But I'd have to thank Tilly for that as well."

While Ludo was distracted, Tilly had hurried forward to direct a group of tired Ministry wizards (she felt kind of bad doing this to them) in the right direction. They rushed past to rid the area of the evidence of a magical fire that was shooting violet sparks high in the air. Tilly sighed heavily as she moved back to sit next to Charlie rolling her eyes. "Only because I handled most everything," she muttered to Charlie who chuckled.

"Ah – yes," Mr. Weasley said and they noticed Percy had approached Bagman with his hand outstretched. "This is my son Percy. He's just started at the Ministry – and this is Fred – no, George, sorry – that's Fred – Bill, Charlie, Ron – my daughter, Ginny – and Ron's friends, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. Everyone, this is Ludo Bagman, you know who he is, and Tilly Riddle, a family friend. It's thanks to them we've got such good tickets –"

Across the fire place, Harry Potter gave a start and looked at Tilly, his eyes widening ever so slightly. Funny enough, she was sure this happened to him every time someone heard his name but she never had it happen to her. She smiled at him and he quickly looked away, staring at the ground as if it had all the answers in the world.

What was that about?

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Bill clearly nudge Charlie in his side. Charlie whispered something but Bill swatted it away with the back of his hand, pointedly eyeing Tilly who smirked. You just had to love Bill, even if he were forever pushing the two of them together. He turned to Tilly, grinning. "Fancy a walk?"

"Anything to get out of here," Tilly murmured.

"Well there you go then!" He declared, pushing Charlie. Charlie rolled his eyes, standing and taking her hand, excusing themselves from the camp area.

It had been too long . . . four long years without really getting to spend time with each other. Sure when Charlie was in London he'd drop in for a spell but it wasn't the same. The enchanted mirrors Tilly had bought them were the best things that ever happened but still it was nice to be able to walk with him and see her face to face.

While she had been struggling with the 'laziest boss in the world', Charlie had been struggling with baby Hungarian Horntails and full grown Swedish Short-Snouts, raising some, training others. It was tiring work, she could tell, if the bags under his eyes had anything to do with it. She would be tired too if she were constantly burned and scrapped and roughhousing with baby dragons. Either way, he seemed to enjoy it. He declared one time, over the mirrors, that dragons were number one to him and he wouldn't give it up for anything.

"So Harry Potter huh?" Tilly asked as they walked through the campsites.

"Yeah he's been coming around a lot lately," Charlie explained. "He and Ron are best friends."

"Hmm." Tilly frowned slightly.

"What's up?" Charlie asked, looking down at her and matching her frown.

She shrugged. "He looked at me funny when Mr. Weasley said my name. You'd think we'd met before or something."

Charlie shrugged as well. "You're probably well talked about at school. I mean, not only were you Head Girl but you were Ravenclaw's best Beater. Your name's on at least three plaques in the Trophy room. He and Ron have probably polished it before."

Tilly laughed. "I hope they're not getting into that much trouble."

"Ron's a Weasley," Charlie argued. "We live for trouble."

"Obviously. Are you staying the whole time?"

"Yeah. Getting paid extra just to watch some untrained kids risk their lives against whichever dragon they're unfortunate enough to pick. Whose idea was that anyway?"

"Ludo's of course. He's all for dramatics if you haven't noticed. And here we were thinking he'd be cool. I suppose that was four years ago. Could we stop for a second? I'm really, really tired."

"Sure." Charlie lead Tilly over to the edge of the campsite where they stopped, sitting down. Tilly leaned forward pulling her hair out of the ponytail, running her hands through her it, sighing.

"He's been working you really hard, hasn't he?" Charlie said, placing his hand on her back.

"Who would have thought planning the World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament in the same year would be this difficult?" Tilly said, only slightly sarcastic. "I just really want to sleep right now."

"You can't sleep yet," Charlie replied, dragging her legs over his, pulling her closer something she most certainly hadn't expected. "I'll be in England for nearly a whole year which means we'll have plenty of time to, er – catch up."

Tilly looked up at him, a slight blush on her face as she smiled. Four years was a long time to go without being around someone and four years ago, Charlie pretty much told Tilly that he wanted her – or at least she was sure that's what he had said. What guy would tell a girl his mother was making plans for the two of them to be married if he didn't want her? And over these last four years she hadn't dated anyone and neither had he and not just because they had been to busy.

"Catch up indeed," Tilly replied, looking away.

Charlie reached forward, taking a lock of her hair in his fingers and she turned to look at him again, the blush even deeper on her face. Merlin, he was so handsome. She saw him glance down at her lips as if he were thinking about it and her heart began to race and –

Tilly glanced to the side, smiling. "There it goes."

"There what –" Charlie groaned. "Well now that you've ruined the moment."

Charlie waved down a vendor, buying rosettes for the two of them. He pinned it to her shirt and she laughed. "How do you know I support the Irish?"

"Because who else would you support?" Charlie asked.

"Well, Bulgaria does have some pretty good players –"

"Quiet."

The two very close friends talked, watching wizards and witches walk pass and laughing at the ridiculous ideas some of them had chosen to pass off as Muggle wear. It was really quite amusing.

"There you two are!" Tilly and Charlie looked up to see Mr. Weasley followed by the rest of the Weasleys, Hermione, and Harry, who actually was watching Tilly in a weird sort of way. Mr. Weasley ginned. "Time to get to our seats!"

Indeed, it had gotten quite dark. They hadn't even heard the gong ring, signally the start of the game. Tilly got to her feet quickly. "Ludo is probably trying to find me every where. I'll meet you guys there."

Smiling at Charlie, she quickly Apparated.

The game was fantastic and now Tilly was beyond tired. She was hoarse, having shared the announcing job with Ludo. Sometimes it felt she were more of a Co-Head or as if he were training her for the position rather than just being his assistant.

She slumped into her tent, thankful that it was so near the Pitch and plopped into her bed, staring at the ceiling. All in all, it had been a very good day. She got to spend time with her old friend. If Tonks had been there, it would have been just like old times. Maybe she'd just get a quick nap and then go find Charlie and Bill, who she knew would still be awake, celebrating.

It felt as if Tilly's eyes had just closed when the screams started. Grabbing a sweater, wand out, she ran outside, stunning a Death Eater – for that was what she was sure the mask wizards were – who was coming towards her. She stood frozen on the spot, surveying the fires and the terror around her before stunning another wizard. Pulling herself together, she ran, knowing she needed to locate the Weasleys.

She didn't have to go too far. The Weasleys, Charlie, Bill, Percy, and Mr. Weasley weren't too far from their tent, trying to stop the wizards who had decided to bother the poor Muggle family that had been in the area, the man of the house having been someone Tilly had spoken to personally but couldn't remember his name for the life of her. All she knew was that she had to get those poor kids out of the air.

She ran up to Charlie, stunning a man who he hadn't seen behind him and he spun around, relief in his eyes at the sight of her. "You alright?" he yelled over the noise.

"Fine!" Tilly called back as best she could. Charlie grabbed her hand, pulling her forward into the mess. It was crazy! Where had these people come from? Clearly, this had been the perfect time to attack but still it seemed uncalled for. You-know-who was dead and gone . . . why attack now?

Charlie jumped back, narrowly avoiding a nasty spell though it did rip his shirt. Tilly screamed as something hit her leg, pulling her to ground. "I'm fine," she told him, holding her wand to her calf, which was bleeding. She healed herself as best as possible, though the nasty cut was still there. Charlie pushed her to the ground, shooting a Stunner over her head at a nearby Death Eater.

Screams started up again, louder and wilder this time.

"Merlin," Tilly muttered, looking up at the sky and Charlie followed her gaze.

The Dark Mark.

February 13, 1981

"Tilly! Tilly where are you?"

Light streamed into the closet as Minerva McGonagall opened the door. Relief flooded her eyes as she let out the breath she had been holding.

Bending down, she scooped up the small eight year old in her arms, quickly carrying her out of her house. There were other men and woman there, all of them surrounding her daddy, his lifeless eyes on her as they went out the front door.

The last thing Tilly saw before McGonagall Apparated was this ugly green light in the shape of a skull with a snake in its mouth hovering over her once beloved home.

The sounds of wizards Disapparating could be clearly heard as Death Eaters ran from what might possibly be their Lord. Tilly felt frozen, her eyes locked with the eyes of the skull as if it were mocking her.

I killed your father.

Charlie wrapped his arms around her, lifting her to her feet and pulling away from the area, in the direction of the Weasley tent. He could understand why she was so terrified.

They reached the tent, Bill and Percy following in after them. Tilly snapped to attention at the sight of their injuries. "I can't heal nearly as well as grand-mere but I'll try," she told them, sitting them down at the table and moving to Bill first, who was bleeding the most.

She and Charlie exchanged glances but didn't say anything. The same question was being asked by all four of them.

With this ominous attack, what would this year bring?

A/N: I hope you guys liked this chapter ;D I started doing everything from Charlie's POV but changed my mind at the last second so here is the fixed product. Thanks for everything!

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