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“Mr. Weasley?” a meek, almost weak voice said from behind him. He turned around, running his hand through his ginger hair to hide the fact that he was ready to pounce in case it was a murder behind him. Something surprised him at the look of his new colleague who he was picking up at the train station in Romania. She did not look like a dragon keeper; he would have thought her to be a Muggle school teacher or a librarian. Nothing about her appeared brave or rugged. She didn't even have a muscle on her body at first glance.

“Charlie,” he said, sticking his hand out to shake hers.

“Emma,” she replied. She gave a sweet smile as Charlie pushed up the sleeves on his shirt, revealing muscles that looked as though they belonged on the body of someone much taller and handsomer than he was. When Charlie bent down to help her with her bags, she shied away, shocking him.

“I was just trying to help,” he muttered, confused. He'd never come across a girl or a woman who didn't want help with her bags. Perhaps Emma was simply independent, like his sister, Ginny. She was never one for her brothers' help.

“I'm sorry, I'm just not used to people trying to help me,” she told him, offering him the smallest bag of hers to carry. He raised his eyebrow suspiciously as he eyed her. Her appearance suggested that she didn't really carry heavy things often. Her skin was pale and she was slim; brown hair draped softly around her oval shaped face and green eyes sparkled from beneath the curtain of hair.

“I apologize as well; I was raised to be a gentleman.”

“And I appreciate it!” Emma corrected herself quickly. She looked down, biting her lip as though she was ashamed or embarrassed.

“Let me take you to your hotel,” Charlie said, not wanting anymore awkward conversation with his new co-worker. There would be plenty of time for that the following day when they were actually working. Perhaps, if he was lucky, they'd be so busy that he and Emma wouldn't even have the time to talk.


“Charlie!” someone shouted as he made his way into the thick forest where the dragons were kept. The scent of pine trees overwhelmed him in a comforting way before he entered the clearing where they trained dragons and treated them for illnesses. He kicked up dirt as he came to a quick stop in front of a raven haired colleague called Robbie.

“What the hell's she doing?” Charlie spat at his friend. Robbie shrugged his shoulders, obviously confused. Emma was hand feeding a huge, scaled dragon that had to be a hundred times the petite woman's size. Charlie shook his head, but Emma look at ease so he chose not to help her. Instead, he stood at the side lines with Robbie and watched her. It was one of the most bizarre things he had seen in his career. He'd never seen anyone treat a dragon the way she did. Something told him that she viewed the 'monsters' as babies who just needed affection.

“This is just odd,” Robbie whispered as Emma gently kissed the monstrously large creature on its nose. Charlie could feel his blue eyes go wide when the red dragon didn't even try to bite her. “Should we get Tim in here to see what his new dragon keeper is up to?”

“No,” Charlie hissed. “I'm waiting for Norbert, I mean Norberta, to do something funny.”


“I'm waiting for her to try and attack Emma so that maybe she'll learn not to act as though the dragons are...well, children.”

“But then she'd get hurt.”

“Get it through your thick head, Rob. I want her to learn the hard way. Tim told me to keep watch on her and this is my idea of training.”

Rob sighed heavily, muttered something that Charlie couldn't hear and turned away. Soon after, he headed to his responsibility of the day: cleaning up dragon dung. This was not his favorite part of his job, but it was something that someone had to do. All of the workers at the dragon reserve had made up a schedule of which day who cleaned up the dung. Mondays were Charlie's days. He was the only one with enough love for his job to do the disgusting job on the first day of the week.

“Charlie?” A tap on his shoulder accompanied this. He turned around and groaned. Emma. Something about her was different. She seemed more...confident today. Maybe she wasn't someone who liked travel. Yes, that was the answer to yesterday's shyness.

“Yes?” Charlie asked.

“I was wondering if I could help you. I already fed Norbert, and I think you should call her Norberta. I think she finds it offensive that you still have her name tag as a boys' name.” Emma smiled after she finished her monologue of opinions.

“Take a shovel.”


“What made you become a dragon keeper?” Charlie asked as he and Emma continued their not so glamorous task.

“Oh, well, my father was one and I've always loved animals. Dragons are just such beautiful creatures. I see them as beautiful rather than monstrous. I just love the feel of their scales on my fingers and seeing them fly for the first time. It's just so...pardon my repetition, beautiful,” Emma said. Her sparkling green eyes seemed to be in a different world now. The smile upon her pink lips reached her eyes as she told him why she loved her job. It seemed to make her feel confident from what he gathered from her explanation.

“So, I've told you about my reasoning. How about yours?”

“At Hogwarts, I was always out with the gamekeeper. Always. I guess that I gravitated toward nature. Mum always told me that she knew I'd be an outdoors man from the moment she took me outside with my older brother when we were little. That sort of stayed with me, and here I am.”

Emma smiled softly as she tossed a pile of dung into the bin behind her. Something about her was different than the other women Charlie had met and known. Something about her attracted him like a magnet. Something about her made him smile. Something about her made him glad that he had let her help him with his undesirable task. Something about her made him glad that he was the one who had volunteered to pick her up at the train station. Something about her was just...Emma. That was truly the only word.

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