|Who I Remember He Was
February 3, 2004
| During the summer at the Dursleys Harry has an accident and loses his
memories. Aimlessly wandering around he is picked up by Charlie. But
why does Charlie not tell anyone that he found Harry and what does
he plan to do with Harry? Prequel to What Molly Doesn't Know...
The title comes from a quote (taken from this site) It is from Anne Sexton: "It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."
This answers a challenge in the Harry/Weasley FQF. Challenge: During the summer at the Dursleys Harry has an accident and loses his memories. Aimlessly wandering around he is picked up by a Weasley. But why does the Weasley not tell anyone that he found Harry and what does he plan to do with the boy who lived ? (by LordGlorf33 )
Thank you to my incredibly fast betas hainuwele and Marley! Any remaining mistakes are mine!
Charlie Weasley turned around when he thought he had seen somebody he knew. His gaze followed the boy he had just passed almost without recognising him.
From behind it was hard to see but he was quite sure that he had noticed the faint outline of a scar on the boy's forehead. He quickly turned back, catching up to the boy and stopping him. "Harry, where have you been? The whole Order is in an uproar and searching all of Britain for you. You know you aren't..." He stopped as he noticed the vacant expression on Harry's face. There was no sparkle of recognition in his eyes. Even though there was no doubt that it was Harry Potter standing before him.
From the scar on his forehead to the untidy hair, green eyes and black glasses, he looked almost exactly like the Harry he remembered from a year and a half ago. A bit taller, his face looking more mature, but there was no question that it was Harry Potter standing before him.
Harry Potter, who looked at him as if he had never seen him before and didn't look like he was going to answer his question. Charlie recognised a feeling of dread in his stomach. Something was not right with Harry. And he had to find out what before he did anything else.
Half an hour later, he had finally convinced Harry to at least come with him to talk in a cafÃ©. At first Harry had even refused to go with him anywhere at all, but in the end he had reluctantly agreed to talk to Charlie if they stayed in a public place.
Charlie had been confused when Harry treated him like a stranger, but he quickly found the reason for this behaviour: Harry had lost his memories.
After a bit of prodding, he had told Charlie that he could only remember waking up in a stranger area. At first he had tried to find somebody who could help him, but eventually just started walking.
That had been yesterday.
Now he was sitting opposite of Charlie, seemingly content to just stay quiet. He was looking around the place, his gaze lingering on the modern pictures on the wall. Charlie was watching him while they waited for their drinks, trying to figure out how he could help him. He figured that losing his memory probably was connected to Harry's godfather's death. He just didn't know how.
Didn't know if that was the reason the curious and adventurous Harry he remembered, looked like he hadn't had a decent nights sleep in days. His eyes were blank and obviously there was something more wrong with him, than just having lost his memory. Not that that wasn't enough for anybody to be disturbed about.
The coffees finally arrived, and Charlie took a careful sip, still trying to figure out what to say to the obviously disturbed boy. He cleared his throat, and finally found the words he needed. "Harry, I know that this must be really strange to you. Not remembering anything. Not knowing where to go. And then you suddenly run into somebody and he tells you that you're supposed to know him."
Harry gave a slight nod, but still seemed wary of Charlie and just continued to listen.
"And I know that there isn't any real reason for you to trust me, but please believe me. I only have your best interests in mind. I'm Charlie Weasley and my younger brother Ron is your best friend. Actually, my mother almost adopted you and you're as good as part of the family."
Harry seemed to liven up a bit at that. He looked interested, but also confused. Perhaps he had the feeling that he should be interested in a family but didn't know why?
Charlie continued with his monologue, but was getting more nervous by the second. He just wished that Harry would say something to him. Anything really. Just to show that he was absorbing what Charlie was telling him and that there was perhaps a chance that he would come with him willingly. If necessary, he would just stun him and take him to Madame Pomfrey to sort out. He would, however, really feel better if Harry came with him because he trusted him and not because he had been kidnapped. Who knew how long this memory loss would last? It certainly wouldn't do for Harry to be suspicious of everybody he met, just because he had a bad experience with Charlie.
"This probably doesn't mean a lot to you, but I have to ask you to trust me, at least for the moment. I'm going to take you to a man named Dumbledore and..." This suddenly got a reaction out of the taciturn boy. A very unpleasant reaction.
His posture stiffened. Quick as a flash, he was out the door and halfway across the street before Charlie even understood what had happened. When his brain finally clicked, he jumped up as well, threw some money on the table (totally unconcerned about the fact that the Muggles probably couldn't do a lot with his Galleon) and raced after Harry.
Whatever had possessed him to flee like that?
Eventually, Charlie caught him. After a bit of a struggle and a promise not to tell anybody that he knew where Harry was, he even managed to sit the boy down again. Then he tried to get to the bottom of Harry's mysterious behaviour.
What he discovered horrified him.
Apparently the only things Harry hadn't forgotten, or more accurately, had already remembered were things that he would much rather just forget again. Memories of years of mental abuse by his relatives were foremost on his mind. He connected them with one name. A name that seemed to be responsible for everything that had happened to him: Dumbledore.
The memories he retained told him that Dumbledore had been the one to send him to his relatives fifteen years ago. Dumbledore hadn't checked up on him for ten years. Dumbledore told him to go there again and again. Dumbledore had told him that the most important thing for Harry was to stay alive, even if it meant enduring more emotional abuse. Dumbledore had listened to his admissions of his relative's behaviour after first year. Then flat out refused to let him go anywhere else, even though Harry had hoped that he could go somewhere else. Dumbledore had told Harry that there was a possibility that he had absorbed some of Voldemort's personality. Dumbledore had insisted that staying at the Dursleys would be the best way of ensuring that he didn't become evil. Dumbledore sent him to his relatives once again after somebody had died. Somebody important to him, Harry knew that much. Punishing him for killing that person.
Harry was more confused than anything else. He didn't know who Dumbledore or Voldemort were. He only had his feelings to rely on. Feelings that told him he didn't want to be like Voldemort. Feelings that told him he couldn't trust Dumbledore.
Charlie couldn't believe what Harry was telling him about the Headmaster and leader of the Order. Sure, he had heard about the way Harry had been treated by his relatives. His mother had raged about it more than once, but he couldn't believe that Dumbledore had been so cruel and calculating about the life of a child.
Looking at Harry's barely restrained face, he couldn't deny, however, that no matter what the Headmaster had really done or what Harry only thought he had done, he had deeply damaged the boy. It had never occurred to Charlie that Dumbledore could make such grievous mistakes. Mistakes which could ruin people's lives. Before him, obviously, was one of the people Dumbledore had affected in just that way.
He had never really thought about it, but there was just no excuse for leaving a little child with basic strangers and never checking up on him. Nor was there an excuse for sending that child back while knowing what was going on in that house. Just when the child had seen that there was something better out there, making the situation all the worse for knowing that things could be different.
He didn't know what the Headmaster hoped to accomplish with his schemes. Because that was something he had never doubted: Harry Potter was part of the Headmaster's plans for the defeat of Voldemort. He had just never stopped to think what this meant for the person Harry Potter, not the Boy-Who-Lived, destroyer of all things evil.
And now this realisation was staring him straight in the face, literally. Harry was anxiously looking at him, stiff as a flagpole. Ready to jump and run if Charlie did not believe him. Looking like an animal trapped between a predator and the fear of fire, unable to move, yet quivering with adrenaline pulsing through his veins, ready to flee.
Charlie carefully stretched out his hand, treating Harry like the frightened animal his instincts told him he was. He concentrated on projecting the same calmness and self-assurance that was crucial in his work with dragons.
He spoke in a soft, calming voice, very unlike the loud Weasley voice almost everybody in the family used. "Don't worry Harry. I believe you. And if you don't want to, I won't take you to Dumbledore, okay?" This time Harry only twitched when he heard that name. He slowly began to relax, his fingers unclenching, his shoulders slumping a bit, but still not leaving Charlie with his eyes.
"But still, you can't stay here either." Charlie reasoned with him, hoping to make Harry come to a decision by himself, trying to find again, the independent boy he had met before. "I work as a dragon handler in Romania, I'm only here because the whole Order is searching for you." Harry looked vaguely puzzled and slightly ill at these words, but Charlie went on, trying to come to the important part.
"I'm just going to tell the Order that there was an emergency and I had to go back. You can come with me. Nobody will find you there and the other dragon handlers won't know that you aren't just a friend visiting me." He carefully searched Harry's face for any clues as to what Harry was thinking, but there was nothing; not even his eyes betrayed any of his thoughts. Charlie wasn't even sure if he was listening at all. "What do you think? Of course, you don't have to. We could also find a way for you to stay in Muggle London. I have some friends here that can always use some help around their shops and can offer you a bed and board for it."
Harry finally looked at him, a decision clearly having formed in his mind. But he was still a far cry from the enthusiastic boy he had been before. It was strange, having lost his memories he still seemed to remember or at least know intuitively that he was in mourning. "I'll come with you." He gave a small, very small, smile that looked like it almost hurt. "I think I trust you." Charlie's stomach dropped at this admission. He was glad that Harry was still Harry enough to trust him, but he also became aware that with this trust he had a responsibility. He was responsible not only for Harry's physical, but also his emotional well-being. Something nobody else ever seemed to have bothered about.
He was shocked out of his determination to look after Harry from now on, when Harry carefully touched his hand, his smile turning into confusion. Charlie smiled back and squeezed the hand, showing that he was okay, that what Harry did was okay, that he was glad to have Harry with him. But then Harry's next question brought a whole new set of problems with it. "Charlie, what is a Muggle?"
It hadn't occurred to him that Harry wouldn't remember that the Wizarding world existed. Then he had remembered that Harry had only been told after his eleventh birthday, making it something he had basically learned and not something he had grown up with. It was not so ingrained that it was as hard to forget as knowing how to talk or write.
So the explanations started. Of wizards and witches and Muggles, of Hogwarts and the Ministry, of dragons and dragon handlers, of wands and spells and all the things that would seem utterly ridiculous to somebody who had grown up without it, but which Harry absorbed like a sponge. The descriptions brought a light to his face again and made his eyes shine with enthusiasm. That sight made Charlie vow that he was going to teach Harry magic again, no matter if - or when - he got his memory back. He just wanted to see that look on Harry's face again.
They left the stone steps in front of an official Muggle building after this explanation and Charlie led Harry in a Muggle hotel not far away. He told him that he would return the next morning, and then they could take the Floo from the International Floo Station at Heathrow and be in his dragon resort the next day.
At first he had been worried that perhaps Harry wouldn't want him to leave, not wanting to give him a chance to tell anybody about him, but he agreed to stay there without any problems. Charlie Apparated to the Burrow to pick up his things and tried to think of what to tell his family.
He couldn't tell them the truth of course. Couldn't tell knowing what Harry had told him. Knowing the way Harry had looked while he spoke. Knowing that Harry trusted him. He knew his family only had Harry's best interests in mind, but he also knew they were likely to think that Dumbledore knew what was best for the boy. After all, he had done an apparently good job all these years, and if you couldn't trust Dumbledore, then who could you trust?
But Charlie had seen Harry, had heard his story, and he had spent years away from England. Years, during which he had heard other people's opinions on their unofficial leader, heard stories about how he defeated Grindelwald. Heard speculations about Dumbledore offering a lot of wizards and witches up as cannon-fodder for Voldemort during his first reign. He had always thought the descriptions to be a bit over the top, but they had still changed his perception. He also hadn't been influenced by British wizards' high (or low) opinions of Dumbledore for a good while. Therefore he felt that he was reasonably disillusioned and realistic when it came to his opinion of Dumbledore.
On the other hand, he had to stop the search for Harry, and make sure that the Order's resources were directed towards the fight against Voldemort and not towards finding a missing boy. All this without giving away that he knew where Harry was, or at least without giving away that Harry was going to spend time with him.
He hated lying to his parents, but there seemed no way around it. He could try to persuade Dumbledore of course, but it seemed almost impossible to bamboozle him and his mother wasn't much better. She had always had a sixth sense for finding out when one of her children was lying.
That only left his father. He mostly seemed a bit absorbed in his version of the Muggle world, but was actually his best chance. Charlie was also sure that even if he found out that Charlie wasn't telling the whole truth; he was the one most likely to let sleeping dogs lie and trust his son to make the right decisions. Even if he didn't know why Charlie was making them.
"Dad, can I talk to you?"
At his father's nod, he looked around the cramped study that used to be his room at the Burrow and threw up a silencing ward. He had to be sure the two of them really were the only ones privy to this information.
His father sat up a little straighter. Obviously seeing that it was a serious matter, he gave Charlie his undivided attention. "What happened Charlie? Have you found out something about Harry?"
Charlie had to smile, and sat down opposite his father on an upturned box. Even in times when his father had a lot on his mind, his first thoughts still went to the family (or adopted family in this case).
However, when he remembered what he had to do, his smile left his face. He looked at his father earnestly, trying to make him see the seriousness of the situation and especially the sincerity with which he was going to give absolutely inadequate information.
"Yes, Dad I found out something." He took a deep breath. "But you have to promise me one thing: you have to promise me that you won't repeat anything of what I tell you now, not even to Mum, okay?" His father looked at him with a furrowed brow. Charlie could read the worry in his face and continued quickly to show him that he wasn't bringing bad news.
"Please, Dad. It's not bad. You just have to trust me that I know what I am doing, okay?" His father nodded once, shakily and Charlie continued. "I found Harry." He gripped his father's arms, before he could storm out of the office to tell the good news. He was glad for the silencing charm, because his father's shout of surprise and happiness would have been heard throughout the whole house otherwise. He looked sternly into the relaxed and happy face and manoevered him back to his seat. "Dad, you promised! Listen to me first."
His father searched his eyes, probably trying to find a clue as to what was going on. "Of course, but why are you so secretive about finding Harry? Molly will be so happy to have him back, not to mention Ron and Ginny of course. They have been beside themselves with worry." Clearly Charlie's pained expression told him that all wasn't well in that assumption and his brow creased in worry again. "Charlie, you said you found him, but you do really mean him, not just his body, right? He is okay, isn't he?"
Charlie gave a short nod, he couldn't tell his father that Harry really wasn't okay, but he also didn't want him to believe that he was dead, or seriously injured. "As I said, I found Harry but he can't come back at the moment and I can't tell you where he is." There, he had said it. Now, he only needed to explain himself. And by the look of things he needed a damn good explanation.
His father was suddenly looking very much like his mother, red in the face, about ready to explode and start to curse Charlie left and right; and looking very much like a typical Weasley. He was muttering under his breath, but then calmed himself and tried to listen to his son.
"Dad, you know that I would never say anything like this if I didn't think it was serious. I accidentally ran into Harry and spoke to him. And..." he took another deep breath. "And he told me a very good reason why he isn't with his relatives anymore, and why he is not going back. And I fully support his decision."
"But why? I mean, we all knew that he didn't like his relatives, but don't you think his reaction is perhaps a bit extreme?"
Charlie shook his head. "No, I don't think it is. But I can't tell you why." He held up a hand to prevent the interruption he was sure would follow. "I'm only telling you this because you have to tell Dumbledore to stop the Order searching for Harry. The Order has more important things they have to concentrate on, and Harry will be in good hands."
His father looked at him in disbelief. "And you think I can just tell Dumbledore, or even worse your mother, that they should stop searching for Harry and worrying about him? I can't do that, Charlie. Why do you think that Harry would be safer wherever he is, than he will be, being with us?"
"Because I'm not just looking after his physical but also his emotional health. I know that it is important that Harry survives, but I think it is just as important that Harry stays... stable."
The stricken look on his father's face told him that he had never thought of that. "You think he would... he wouldn't, would he? I mean, after losing Sirius, it is obvious that he is depressed, but surely he wouldn't go that far?"
"I don't know, Dad. But I do know that he can't come here, or go back to the Dursleys, or Grimmauld Place, or even Hogwarts at the moment. Please, trust me on this and just tell the others that I know where he is, that he is fine and that they shouldn't worry." He abruptly stopped, ending the discussion there. He had already almost said too much and he didn't want to break the promise he had made to Harry, so soon after he had made it.
So, he didn't wait for another response. He just got up, lifted the silencing charm and opened the door. "Dad, please. I promised Harry and you promised me. Just trust me please." With those last words, he took his bags and Apparated to Muggle London to fetch Harry and get him out of Britain as fast as possible.
The first part of the trip was easily accomplished. Charlie and Harry took a Muggle taxi to Heathrow Airport, entered a concealed area behind one of the men's lavatories and Flooed from there to Bucharest Otopeni Airport. From then on it became more complicated, as the two had to rely on Muggle means to get to the dragon reservation. Harry wasn't able to Apparate yet, the Floo connection had been closed down years ago due to an unfortunate accident involving a drunken German wizard and a breeding Romanian Longhorn, and Portkeys had to be Ministry approved. They were pretty hard to come by without previous reservation.
Therefore, Charlie bought tickets for both of them for the train from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca. After an excruciatingly long trip they took brooms from the local broom renting company and set off south-west into the mountains.
With Harry having no memories of life as a wizard the whole trip became something of an adventure. His 'first' Floo trip had left him nauseated and he only started to look less green when they boarded the train to the town closest to the dragon reservation. At that time, Charlie became worried about what kind of accidents could happen when they had to travel further by broom. Fortunately, they found out that Harry hadn't lost his inborn ability to ride a broom and they had a relatively pleasant and scenically beautiful two-hour trip to the dragon handler's station in the middle of the reservation.
What also left Harry speechless (even more than he already had been after the Floo trip) was the Romanian branch of Gringotts and the Wizarding shopping district, which could be entered from the Piata Romana in Bucharest. Charlie had made them stop there and had bought a few necessities for Harry: trousers and shirts that were non-flammable and a pair of heavy boots, along with a new wand and a few magic books to get him trained in the magic that had fascinated him so much. He hadn't wanted to risk going to the Dursley residence and the money wouldn't be totally wasted as many wizards carried secondary wands and the clothes would last a few years if Harry didn't grow too much.
They finally arrived at the station in the early hours of the morning. The light from the waning moon showered the whole place in an unearthly light. The station consisted of several small cabins, arranged in a half circle, with a large barn-like building at the open side of the circle. Even though Charlie had seen this sight hundreds of times, it still took his breath away. The mountains were a stark contrast against the slowly lightening sky and the smell of wilderness and freedom in the air made him want to take his broom and just fly. He didn't even care that it was the middle of the night. However, at the moment he had to look after Harry who looked like he was dead on his feet and was slowly swaying in the soft breeze. With a flick of his wand he activated the special Portkey the rental company used for retrieving their brooms and led Harry to the cabin furthest away from the entrance.
He had been living and working here for almost twelve years now and this cabin had been his from the very beginning. It wasn't much, but it was his home and he even had a comfortable sofa in the front room that Harry could use. Nobody, except perhaps Hagrid, had ever understood how he could do such an understated and poorly paid job that would most likely cost him his life one day, but when he looked around there was never any doubt in him that he had chosen the right career.
Even during his time at Hogwarts, he had already had an affinity for animals and had often helped Hagrid care for them during his free-time. He also just couldn't imagine working in a closed space all day, going to work in the morning and coming home at night, only to do the same thing over and over again.
No, this was where he belonged and where he felt safe. Other people would perhaps have felt twitchy at the thought that the camp was built in the middle of a dragon reservation, but Charlie just enjoyed the freedom and closeness to nature this gave him.
Walking towards one of the cabins, he looked at Harry who was taking in the scenery and looked a lot more... alive than he had yesterday. Even though he was barely awake there was an unmistakable glimmer of interest in his eyes. Charlie gave a small smile. Looked like the change of scenery was good for Harry as well. He gently steered Harry in the right direction by placing his right hand into the small of his back and led them to his home.
They had both forgone any elaborate plans on washing up and getting ready for bed. Both basically only shed most of their clothes and fell into bed or in Harry's case onto the sofa.
However, after what felt like only minutes, Charlie was thrown out of sleep. He had the feeling of falling out of bed, but when he tried to catch himself he was still lying in his bed, clutching the blanket with stiff fingers, breathing heavily. What had wakened him?
Then he heard it: a low whimpering sound that came from the front of the cabin. At first he was confused. What could be making these sounds? He suddenly remembered Harry sleeping in his front room. Harry, who was obviously having a bad dream.
Charlie got up and left his bedroom. When he entered the other room, he saw Harry lying on his makeshift bed, stiff as a board again and emitting whimpering noises from time to time. Charlie went over to him carefully, not wanting to frighten him too much, but at the same time wanting to wake him from his nightmare.
He shook Harry's shoulder lightly and with a small scream Harry shot up, panting heavily and looking around wildly until his eyes had adapted to the meagre light in the room. His eyes fell on Charlie and without a word, he lunged himself into Charlie's arms, crushing himself against him.
At first Charlie, didn't know what to do. He was surprised that a boy Harry's age would want a hug, but when he remembered the obvious distress Harry had been in, he did the same thing his mother would have done. He hugged him back, not caring that they were both almost naked.
After a few minutes, Harry's breathing slowly evened out and he let go of Charlie, now obviously embarrassed by his outburst, but still being worryingly quiet. Charlie looked him in the eyes and asked: "Can you tell me about your dream? Or was it a memory?" Harry had told him before that most of the things he had remembered had come to him in the little sleep he had had. Charlie had wanted to believe that they were merely parts of Harry's imagination, but he couldn't discount what Harry obviously felt and thought to be real.
Charlie didn't know a lot about amnesia, so there probably was a possibility that somebody who had lost his memories could still get glimpses of his life through his dreams.
Harry just nodded, not really answering either question and started speaking haltingly. "It was about Dumbledore again. I was in some kind of room which smelled and looked like a hospital."
Charlie nodded encouragingly. "Probably the hospital wing at Hogwarts. From what I heard, you almost spend more time there than in your dorm."
Harry gave a faint smile and dragged his hand through his hair before continuing: "He was talking to me, telling me a lot of things about my family. He... he also said that my mum hadn't really been Muggle-born but that she came from a line of squibs and that she was related to Voldemort."
Charlie drew in a sharp breath. He didn't know what to think. Was it possible? In his explanations about the Wizarding world he had had to include Voldemort. He hadn't wanted to disquiet Harry too much, but Voldemort's and Harry's life were just too interwoven to leave him out. Harry had been horrified to hear about the role Voldemort had played in his parent's death and in all the bad things that had happened to him over the years. For him to find out that he was supposed to be related to Voldemort must have come as a shock.
Charlie tried to let go of his own shock and instead concentrated on Harry. Harry, who looked at him with big, glimmering eyes full of uncertainty and questions. Charlie tried to give him a smile, but he thought that it probably looked more like a grimace. He tried to sort his thoughts but felt like he failed spectacularly. Therefore, he stuck to simple questions, trying to calm himself and Harry down. "Do you remember anything else? Perhaps why Dumbledore told you that?"
Harry looked blank for a moment, before slowly shaking his head. "No, but I think that he told me when I was younger, perhaps eleven or twelve. But why... I don't remember."
Charlie just shook his head and patted Harry's shoulder. "Don't worry. He won't find you here. And we'll find out what happened to you." Harry just shuddered and then lay back down, snuggling under the blanket. He looked up at Charlie sleepily.
"Thank you. I feel very stupid you know, not even knowing you and still giving you such a bunch of trouble."
Charlie just smiled, this time genuinely, and ruffled his hair, like he used to do with Ron. "Don't worry about it. Like I said you're almost family and family is one of the most important things for a Weasley."
Harry smiled back and fell back asleep, with Charlie still sitting next to him.
The next morning they both didn't really speak of Harry's midnight confessions. Harry had returned to his more subdued state, and Charlie was wondering if he had had any more nightmares. At the same time he didn't want to push Harry into anything. He and his brothers had always responded with stubbornness when somebody tried to pry too much, and he wanted Harry to feel that he could speak with him.
Charlie still had several days off that he had initially planned to spend in Britain and so he suggested to Harry to start relearning magic. Maybe, Harry's memory would be jogged by learning things he already knew; things which reminded him of his previous life.
So they spent the rest of the morning and all of the afternoon, pouring over books and restarting Harry's learning. Both enjoyed themselves immensely. Charlie had always enjoyed helping other students or his younger siblings understand new things. To teach somebody magic from the very beginning only represented a special challenge to him.
Harry was an eager student and soaked up all the knowledge Charlie poured into him. It was only natural, of course, for an almost sixth year student to be able to learn first year material much faster than he had done when he was eleven. So they advanced quite easily.
After lunch, Charlie had also talked to his superior, informing him that he was back early but would still be taking his holidays and that he had a friend with some medical problems visiting for a while. As long as visitors stuck to the camp and did not venture into the main part of the reservation without anybody to guide them, it had never been a problem and was not now either. Having guests didn't cause any payment difficulties as well, since although all the dragon handlers lived in the communal area, they all looked after themselves and bought what they needed in collective orders once a week.
One of the disadvantages of living in a dragon reservation was that they couldn't use postal owls and any messages they sent or got had to be delivered to the main office in Cluj Napoca. They were collected once a week and brought along with the food and other earlier placed orders. It was a somewhat awkward way to handle things, but it was necessary as otherwise one could never be sure if the owls reached their destination or not.
That was the way they spent the next three days: learning during the day and getting to know each other in the evening hours. Charlie was generally an early-riser and so their conversations were mostly cut short when it neared ten or eleven o'clock but they still managed to talk of a variety of things. It was mainly Charlie talking in the hope something would spark Harry's memories but even when it didn't, he still enjoyed telling Harry about his family and what he knew of Harry's other friends. Harry soaked up all the information.
Whereas he had looked somewhat gaunt and lifeless when Charlie had found him, Harry now had a healthier look to him. He was starting to come out of his cocoon much more often and even lost some of the blank look he had previously worn all the time.
Charlie still tried to only tell him about the positive aspects of the Wizarding World though, (except Voldemort, that was something that couldn't be kept from Harry) and not to force Harry to relive any of his bad memories of the Dursleys. He hoped taking it slow was the right thing to do, but if Harry's look was anything to go by, a bit of easing up on him was doing him a world of wonders.
They had arrived on a Thursday and Charlie was scheduled to start working on Monday again. So Monday morning, he left the cabin early to meet with his co-workers, not waking the still sleeping Harry.
They had both decided that Harry would continue to learn magic while Charlie worked and in the evenings they could go over any questions he had. Fortunately, the Romanian ministry of magic was less strict with their restriction on underage magic. Any children living in rural areas were allowed to practice magic, as they often needed to help their parents or even defend against wild animals and the like.
The improvement of their relationship had been going slowly but Harry was starting to trust him more and more. Therefore it was a surprise for Charlie when he found that Harry had returned to his former unresponsive state when he returned from work in the late afternoon. At first he hadn't seen anything unusual. Harry had seemed sullen, but Charlie dismissed it as being a typical teenager. However when Harry refused to even look at him, he became concerned.
They had their dinner in silence, but when they were doing the dishes, Charlie finally decided that not talking was obviously not working for Harry. So he did some prodding. "Harry, what is wrong with you today?" He hoped a relatively straightforward question such as that would also get a relatively straightforward answer. However, Harry only shrugged his shoulders and continued to deliberately dry plates, focusing all of his attention on that simple task.
"Is it because I was gone all day? You know that I had to work again today. As much as I'd like to stay here and continue teaching you, my holidays are over and I have to work for a living." He tried to sound reasonable, but didn't think that he fully succeeded. It was damn frustrating not to know what was wrong with Harry and have Harry refuse to tell him what it was.
He tried again. "Harry, come on, you know you can trust me and you told me before what was bothering you. Why not today?"
With those words life came back into the boy's posture and he looked at Charlie for the first time that evening. The look in his eyes was something Charlie hadn't seen in him before and he was hard-pressed to identify the meaning. However, it was the words he uttered, and the way he said them, that made Charlie take a surprised step back. Harry's voice was laced with venom. "Oh, I can trust you, you say? Can you also tell me why I should? Hm? Why should I trust somebody who is no different than DUMBLEDORE?"
Charlie looked at him in shock. What gave Harry the idea, he would do things like Dumbledore did?
With most of his frustration obviously gone into his verbal explosion, Harry huffed once, threw the dishtowel into the sink and stormed to the opposite side of the room to fling himself face-down onto the sofa.
Charlie still stood at the sink, cup in his had, dripping water all over the floor and trying to understand what had Harry in a snit. It couldn't be that he had gone working today, because they had talked about that beforehand and Harry hadn't seemed to have any problems at all with their new plans. Harry had also been fine when they went to sleep last night. Therefore Harry was either just in a bad mood - which didn't explain his accusations - or something must have happened in the meantime that made Harry believe that Charlie had somehow treated him in the way Dumbledore had. The only way, Harry could have got that idea was if he had had another dream/memory that was connected to Charlie.
With this realisation, Charlie put the cup onto the drain and went over to the other side of the room. He carefully sat down on the edge of the sofa and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. He was encouraged when Harry didn't shy away and asked again: "Tell me what happened in your memory, okay?"
At first Harry didn't give any indication that he had heard Charlie, but then he slowly and haltingly explained what he had seen. "It was at the Burrow, I think..." His voice was muffled because he was talking into the blanket but Charlie could still understand him clear enough. "And then a woman... your Mum I think, came out and started shouting at me for being there. She told me that it was f... foolish of me to leave my relatives and then you and, I think, your father came out of the house and said the same thing. And you all... you all told me that I had to go back, because that was what Dumbledore wanted and that it... was better for me."
Charlie had unconsciously clenched his hand around Harry's shoulder, but he made an effort to loosen it and only prodded Harry slightly to make him turn around and look at him. Charlie knew that he had a frown on his face, because there was one big problem with this memory of Harry's: Charlie didn't remember it; and for someone who had allegedly been in Harry's memory that was very strange indeed. "Harry, do you remember when this supposedly happened?"
Harry's face scrunched up in concentration, but then his shoulders slumped. "No, I don't." Suddenly he sat up straight. "What do you mean supposedly? Don't you believe me? Do you want to tell me that this didn't happen at all? That I just dreamt or imagined it?" He was clearly furious again.
Charlie tried to calm him down. "No, I don't think you're lying. It's just that I don't remember any of that happening. That's why I wanted to know if you knew when you think it happened."
Harry thought again for a minute and then he said: "Well, I can't remember when. But I know that I must have been younger, because both you and your dad were taller than me." He looked Charlie up and down. "And I think we're almost the same height now. I was probably as tall as your mum, though."
Charlie thought back to the first time he actually remembered meeting Harry two years ago and that just didn't fit. Harry had been taller by then, not as tall as Ron or his father or even himself, but definitely almost half a head taller than his mother. Something just wasn't right. And he told Harry so.
He explained how he remembered meeting Harry for the first time before the Quidditch World Cup. He even swore on all the dragons in the reservation that assuming nobody had Obliviated him, the scene Harry had described had never happened that way.
Harry eventually agreed that it was probably just a bad dream connecting everything that had happened in the last few days with the bad memories he had about Dumbledore. However, he still was more reserved during their talk that night and Charlie also couldn't get this evening out of his head. Something strange was going on.
That night Charlie lay in his bed, tossing and turning, unable to forget what Harry had told him. Told him that he remembered things about him that didn't happen, but things he clearly saw and relived in his dreams. However, if the memories about him weren't true, then what was to say those about Dumbledore were? Charlie took a great deal of comfort in those thoughts. While he knew that Dumbledore could think and act like a general in war - and that included hard decisions regarding the lives of people - he didn't really want to believe that Dumbledore would act that way towards a child.
Still, stories his parents and brothers and sister had told corroborated Harry's memories... or perhaps just dreams? He knew that the Dursleys had been terrible to him, knew that it had been Dumbledore who had placed him there and had asked him to go back again every summer. Something just didn't add up. He had half a mind to owl Dumbledore to ask him about those incidents, but in all honesty he couldn't say that he didn't think Dumbledore would sugar-coat the truth if he thought it was necessary, or even outright lie.
So without any real solution to the situation, other than to just continue the way they had and with troubled thoughts of domineering Headmasters that forced little children into acting as pawns, he finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.
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