|The Best and Worst Brother
||[12 Jul 2012|07:43pm]
The Best and Worst Brother
“We need to stop.”
They were four words that he had heard before, and every time he thought he should be bleeding, inside, from how much it hurt.
She had always had the power to rip his heart out. She could make him do anything she wanted. Kiss her scraped up knee, help her break into the broomshed, eat dirt and make a house for fairies. Anything was worth making her laugh and shriek with happiness. Charlie loved her because she didn’t realize the power she had over him. Ginny had always been transparent in her motives. She desperately wanted to make him happy, as much as he did her.
All of her brothers wanted her to be happy. Ron had managed to give her pony rides, despite how close they were in size, Percy had read Ginny her favorite stories, but Charlie was certain he was the only brother who noticed how her hair shone when it dried and how her eyes turned to honey in sunlight. He knew everything about her, things he shouldn’t, like how her entire body glowed like the setting sun during sex, or how her freckles really were everywhere. And how her brush with Voldemort had left a taint on her soul. His innocent little sister had died his first year at Hogwarts, and the Ginny he knew was more bitter, depraved, and precious to him.
“Sooner or later, someone is going to find…we could ruin our whole family” she whispers into the warm darkness that is his bedroom. He can tell by the lilt of her voice that she is sickened by their actions.
“Charlie,” Ginny repeats, and reaches out a slender finger to trace his shoulder blade, and presses her hand flat against the small of his back.
He shuts his eyes and imagines her hand is a branding iron, or perhaps that her fingertips are blades. She is in every part of him, embedded under his skin, ground into his bones. His heart pumps her blood.
Ginny spoons behind him, fitting perfectly and feeling right and he hates her for it.
“Char, wake up!” whispered a 4 year old Ginny, the dawn of the day he was leaving for his third year at Hogwarts.
“Char! I have a plan!” she protested, yanking on his hair.
“Ow! Ok, I’m awake. What?” Charlie cracked one open and regarded his younger sister, whose thin, tiny face was alight with her self-conviction.
“Put me in your trunk! I can go with you to Hogwarts!”she said excitedly.
“Won’t work. You’ll suffocate.” He turned over.
“Chaaaaaarlie.” He cringed against his little sister’s begging, and steeled himself to be poked again.
Instead she left with a huff, and finally at breakfast when his mother asked if anyone knew where Ginny was, he realized what she must have done. His bewildered mother chased after him as he sprinted into the front hallway and flung open his trunk. Inside was Ginny, tearstained and with broken bloody fingernails. He dragged her out and into his lap as he collapsed onto the ground, and he kissed each finger as she sobbed into his collar.
Determinedly ignoring Ginny’s warm breath on his shoulders, Charlie wonders if that was when it started. When had their bond turned into something so sickeningly perfect? He reached back and awkwardly wrapped his arm around Ginny.
“Then we’ll stop,” he affirms.
“Oh, Charlie,” she sighs.
He feels her warm breath on his back, and her long eyelashes flutter against his neck. She is crying. And once more loathing for both of them overwhelms him for how he feels like he’s drowning at even the thought of being without her.
They escape the crowded tent and perch outside on a log, watching the embers slowly expire. She whispers to him in her slightly husky voice about school, friends, the match they have just watched, how she wants to play chaser. The creaminess of her shoulders diverts his eyes from the fire, and Charlie quickly snaps his gaze forward again, shame making his cheeks prickle. And yet he has nothing to be ashamed about, not really. His sister is very pretty, which he is observing entirely objectively, of course.
“And Hagrid and the unicorn are married now, I imagine his cabin is pretty cramped…”
“What? Why are you talking about unicorns?”
“To see if you’re listening,” she giggles. She leans her head against his shoulder and his eyes flutter closed.
He can no longer bear to be in the same room as her, when just a few minutes ago he had been inside her and feeling he couldn’t get close enough. Charlie kisses his sleepy sister on the forehead and dresses hurriedly, and next minute is running, running through muggle London, trying to free himself of the pull he feels to crawl back into bed with Ginny.
Dancing with a nameless woman…taking another shot…pushing the drunk woman away from him because she isn’t Ginny and no one can ever be Ginny… and then he is sitting on the curb in a fairly quiet street and is blind to what is in front of him.
“Found you,” said Ginny. “I’ve been looking everywhere.”
He couldn’t look at her, at her face that was a rough feminine version of his own.
“Charlie. Look at me. Merlin.”
He squints at the delicate shell of her left ear.
“Close enough,” sighs Ginny.
He chances a glance at her face, and can tell from the set of it that she is relapsing, about to tell him she loves him, about to kiss him-
“I’ve gotten an offer for a job in Belarus,to be one of the top keepers at the preserve. And I’m taking it.”
She jerks like he’s hit her, and then she bends so that her hair was a flaming veil between them.
“Look, Gin. I’ve not been much of an older brother- well, that’s an understatement,”
“You’ve been the best in the world,” she interrupts, and he understands that to her, her statement is fundamental, undeniable truth.
“Older brothers protect their little sisters. They do what’s hard to do so she won’t have to, if they can. And I can, and I will, and…... this is the end, Gin.” He could walk away again, but he knows he owes her this last day.
“How soon are you leaving?” she asks, like the words are scratching her on their way out.
“Not for a few weeks,” he lies. “Mid-August.” She relaxes slightly, and he knows that she sees those few weeks as ample time to persuade him to stay. He also knows that she’ll be able to. She turns to face him, and her eyes are gold.
“I wonder sometimes if there are gods laughing somewhere, or if that muggle karma is right. What we are is a cruel trick, Charlie. It’s beyond lust or love. It’s the universe screwing with us.” Her voice is bleak, empty, and he sees a shadow in her face that he has only seen when he wakes her up from her nightmares. It scares him, this darkness within Ginny.
“I’ll miss you. So fucking much.”
She kisses his cheek and slowly walks away from him. Watching the sway of her hips, he realizes he lied twice. Charlie is leaving tomorrow, and there will never be an end to him and Ginny.