When he is fourteen years old, Charles tells Albus that his parents want to vacation in Paris.
Albus blinks, tells him, “We have a house there, ‘cause of my Dad. You guys wanna borrow it?” like there is absolutely nothing strange about this, like most people just go around offering to let others stay in their vacation homes, and the thing is...
The thing is that purebloods aren’t very good at trusting people and there’s far too much of yourself in the home you live in, so Charles hasn’t really ever heard of anyone doing anything like that, and Charles is just a little bit curious about how this will turn out (doesn’t think it’ll be very good), so he says, “Yes,” and when Albus shows up the first day of break with his Dad and a key, he’s really, really fucking surprised.
His father tells him, “Potters have never operated like everyone else, Charles,” and they Floo to France the same night.
Paris is too hot in June, too wet in July and Charles walks around the entire house, touches the walls, and there are beautiful, beautiful echoes of Dark magic lingering in the very foundation of the house.
Sixteen and Amelia fucking Hangstar happens.
Charles and Fiona are left to pick up the pieces, of course they are, because that’s just how things work.
Albus goes on what Charles likes to think of as his crazy spree: fucks anything and everything that walks, drinks every brand of alcohol possible--brands that Charles hadn’t known existed, too.
They try to keep him away from the booze and he heads on over to the drugs and that’s when shit starts getting real fucked-up, because they have to choose between letting him destroy his organs or letting him destroy his brain and it’s not fair, it’s really not fair at all.
He misses lessons, bombs exams and most nights, Charles has to hide his wand from him because what if.
Rosaline tries to help, at first, stops by Slytherin dormitories as much as she can, except that she’s a Ravenclaw and when shit like this happens, it doesn’t matter who was at fault--loyalties rise up and sure, they may have had fucking Gryffindors on their side for quite possibly the first time ever--and that goes quite a long way, even Charles has to admit that, though begrudgingly--but it’s still just all so messed-up and figures that it’d be because of a Potter, you know?
(People around them get cheated on everyday, cheat everyday, but this is a Potter, Albus Potter, at that, and some things just are not on.)
So, anyway, Rosaline tries to help at first, but then Albus goes and-- and does what he does and Charles and Fiona take a few swigs from one of Albus’ bottles that night, after they’ve put Albus to sleep and wait for it all to go pear-shaped when morning comes.
And, see, Charles gets real fucking angry at Rosaline, because... because it’s not right, because you should never, ever put family after relationships, especially not relationships that barely exist.
If there’s only one thing that purebloods have got right, (which isn’t true, because they’ve done lots of good things, you know, regardless of what Lord FuckhisFace showed them up to be) it’s family. And even though Weasleys aren’t really--counted, Charles had thought that she’d get it, too, you know. Because it was her cunt of a best friend that bloody--
He never really forgives her after that, even after she and Albus have that bullshit talk that apparently is meant to fix everything even though it fixes absolutely nothing at all, and Charles makes some snide comment because that’s what is expected of him.
(He thinks, we were there for him when you weren’t, you don’t deserve it, and she must be able to feel his annoyed vibes because she leaves soon after.
Albus grins, silly-happy-carefree and Charles loves him and hates him, in that moment.)
Charles is nineteen and the boy-man who’s meant to be his best friend barges into his room, wakes him up, talks about something completely irrelevant to Charles’ morning routine and Charles smiles at him, ragged and genuine except in the way that it’s not and he thinks, you are an arsehole and I’m glad that Scorp has brains where you don’t, but he doesn’t say it, of course not. He truly does care about Albus very, very much.
It’s just really hard to see why right now.
Nineteen and Albus falls apart--again--except that this time, he and Fiona actually have help melding him back together so Charles smiles, hugs Albus long and tight and thinks, you stupid, selfish bastard, we’ve always loved you, can’t you see that, and Albus bites his lips, says, “Sorry,” like he actually means it and God, that’s all Charles was ever asking for, you know.