Charlie was the oldest daughter out of the De Villiers family, born a year after Raphael but almost a decade older than her younger sister, Adelina. Her parents, Jacque and Adele, had married almost three years before they welcomed their first children. They were officials in the magical government in France, with Adele being the head of a department. Due to this, they appeared to be raised in luxury and riches, living in an assortment of castles and mansions scattered around the countryside of France, on the border of Lyon. However, for Charlie, this was all one big cover up, a set up. It was a pretty picture from a distance that became hollow the closer one came. Charlie was isolated, her father convincing her mother that she was sick, severely sick, and as the mother was so busy travelling for work, she didn't have the time spent home to prove this wrong and trusted her husband's words. Who wouldn't?
Charlie was isolated within her room, never seeing her brother, only her father. He was messing around with potions and wanted a test subject. Why? He found it was the best way to get the most reliable results. She was never sure, looking back, what was injected into her. What it truly did to her. She remembered being unconscious for days at a time, sometimes the opposite, sometimes it was like she had the flu, covered in sweat, burning up yet always cold. She wasn't sure what her father wanted, though she never really aligned him with a father figure, or anything, except Jacque. She rarely left her room and when she did, she was confined to a wheelchair and viewed her brother and her newborn sibling with caution and believed them to be strangers. Sometimes, though, the potions did help her, helping her regain lost strength. During these periods, Jacque employed tutors to school her, though they were under strict instructions to never talk to her about anything other than her work. These periods sometimes last months at a time and were one of the happy times during her childhood, loving to learn about the outside world.
Jacque was doing this because he was curious. He was curious about how far the human body could be pushed. Jacque was doing this because he was curious. He was curious about how far the human body could be pushed. He was a scientist, if anything, and he was doing this in the name of science. If this could help the magical world, help them become stronger and more powerful, then the means, the sacrifice of his own daughter even, was worth the end. However, when Charlie did reach the point that Jacque wanted, it only lasted a few days, sometimes a week if he was lucky, and how Charlie turned out like was never worth it. She was always weak, sick, muddled in the head, sometimes losing her memory enough that she couldn’t remember her own name for days on end before whatever he gave her wore off.
This continued until she was eight years old when her mother resigned from her position.
She found it stressful and wanted to be closer to her family in order to help them become the best they can be, well, in her eyes anyway. It didn’t take long for her to figure out that something was awry when it came to her eldest daughter’s situation. By then, Adele had given birth to more children, Arthur and Adelina, though Adelina was only a newborn then. Being her mother, Jacque could find no reason to keep Adele from Charlie and, as he didn’t want to be caught just yet, so he pulled back from the experiments, letting the drugs wear off. For a few months, Charlie was still bedridden with her body going through withdrawals. Adele wanted to send her off to St. Mungo’s initially but Jacque convinced her that this had happened before and they had done little to help then.
Eventually, Charlie got better, her body rejecting anything that potions have done to her and pushed her back to a normal being, though she was physically weak, her mind was ticking and she felt better than before, though not as revitalised as she could have been under the influence of one of the working potions. Jacque played it off as a miracle and soon, Charlie was being pampered by her mother, drawn out of the room, though Charlie will later describe it as her prison, and into the outside world. As he education was lacking, compared to her older brother anyway, she was put under severe tutelage in order for her to catch up. Her brother, Raphael, was nearly three years older and rarely took notice of her. To him, Charlie was an anomaly, a secret figure that he never saw except for maybe a flicker in the window. For that, Raphael treated her so, never speaking to her, keeping his distance, and when forced to interact he was cold and distant. Raphael was use to being treated as the spoilt one, the one who had his father’s and mother’s love. He didn’t want to share it, especially not with three other people nor a cripple, something that he used to refer to Charlie. The next year, when Jacque didn’t touch her and let Charlie begin to return to normal life, the only bad aspects were Raphael and, looking back, her mother. Raphael tried to undermine her whenever he could, typical of a jealous sibling, whilst her mother placed more and more pressure to do better than she did in life. Though it wasn’t obvious as it was with Jacque, Adele kept her daughter back from life through keeping her close to her books and study. Adele was incredibly protective and strict over her daughter, worried she'll return to the sickly state that she was before, constantly checking everything the girl was doing, from who she was with to what she was eating.
Charlie didn’t mind this when she was young, it was better than what she had before. It was like Charlie had had her whole world reopened, back to reality, and she adored it. She adored being outside, adore feeling the grass under her feet. Though she wasn’t free, she had a form of it, she could feel it in her grasp, no matter how light of a hold did she have it. Of course, for a while it was too good to last but when you were a child, you never see it.
Jacque, still yearning to find the result he wanted, but knowing any proper test subject was out of the question decided to do it on himself. If he felt it firsthand and maybe that will let him figure out what was wrong and help him perfect the potions. So he began to disappear down into his basement for weeks on end. As their marriage had began to crumble, Adele never really bothered to check on Jacque, especially since she knew he would become angry and volatile if he was disturbed. To Charlie, this was kind of a blessing and could feel herself begin to relax and less paranoid as she saw less and less of him. During this time, Charlie had her first instance of magic. She was in the Louvre with her mother and siblings. Raphael, having dragged Charlie off to somewhere secluded, pushed one of the vases off, preparing to blame Charlie for it, but found it glued to the display. Though, this wasn’t classified as magical accident but instead a doing of the gallery to ensure nothing was broken or smashed. However, the family began to think Charlie was a squib, not seeing any evident use of magic. For Raphael, this was something to torment the girl over, knowing how much it was effecting her, whilst for Adele, it was something to be disappointed over.
Charlie, of course, was heartbroken at the idea that she was a squib. She’d been dreaming of escaping her family, her father and her brother, and being surrounded by the world that she had spent so long craving. However, Jacque, having caught on to the families suspicion, began to think it was an effect of the potions, that they had somehow inhibited on her magical powers. It hadn’t done this for himself, of course, he still had magic but, since Charlie was a child, something might have done it. The problem was Adele, of course, since it was rare that anyone could be alone with Charlie without her mother knowing. Jacque solved this by visiting her at night, waking Charlie up at some ungodly hour. Of course, the potions had made Jacque slightly unhinged and he began to try and unlock her magic, persay. He stopped with the potions but put her into situations where she’d have to use it to save herself, for example, he once pushed her off a roof but stopped her when it became apparent that she wasn’t going to save herself. Charlie didn’t tell anyone, she was terrified he would do something if she did, lock her back into her room. She was ten by then and was slowly becoming aware of what was happening to her. She began to try and fight back, trying to stay up as much as she could, sleep in the bed of others such as her mother or siblings, even Raphael, but it never worked.
She found herself, though, becoming closer and closer to her younger siblings, especially her little sister, Adelina. Even though she was almost six years older than Arthur, and eight years older than Adelina, she often spent most of her free time around them whenever she wasn’t being attacked with information and schoolwork. Her mother wanted her daughter to follow her own footsteps and go into the government, maybe even one day becoming the minister, but it became evident that Adele’s shortcoming with her own career would be redone through Charlie. Charlie was okay with this. It meant her attention was off her younger siblings and she eventually began to accept her position with Jacque for the same reason. Of course by this time, she had begun to resent Raphael, since he appeared to be the perfect child and could do no wrong. He was in Beauxbatons and was excelling there, with Charlie hearing rumours he was one of the best wizards they’d ever seen. This, to Charlie, was what she wanted and was always dreaming about so naturally she was jealous, naturally she began to build some resentment to her brother. So whenever he was home for the holidays, she found herself finally fighting back, realising he was the only one she could really fight back against and the two often descended into bickering, much to the hatred of their mother.
But finally, a month before her eleventh birthday, she got her acceptance letter to Beauxbatons. Charlie was delighted. She could barely keep herself contained. Adele was relieved as it proved that she wasn’t a squib whilst Jacque was perterbed. It meant that his suspicions, that his potions actually had an affect on her magic, though the opposite that he intended, wasn’t true and her incident of accidental magic had just been unnoticed. At school, Charlie found the escape that she wanted. Though she wrote to her family (save for Jacque) often, she found herself relieved she was away from her parents but did miss both Arthur and Adeline. She gained friends and did her best to avoid Raphael, though he was in a different house so it wasn’t difficult, and began to easily outshine him and leave his shadow that she often suffered from due to his reputation as a wizard. Though initially shy and cautious, she soon found herself gaining friends and becoming more confident. Though, some would call this a mask as she knew no one would even think to pry into her life if she acted as if she didn’t have anything to hide.
As years passed, she began to see her life in the school different from her life at home and began to create a different persona to suit it. She became notorious for her parties and the way she purposely broke the rules. Being unable to break rules at home, she found herself more willing to break the rules at school, much to the hatred of her teachers and her mother whenever she got news of her daughter’s actions. However, though she was a troublemaker, she was one of the best students the school had seen so she often found the teacher’s turning a blind eye whenever Charlie pulled a stunt. She found it easy to forget her past, often found herself surpressing memories of what had happened in her childhood, and struggled every summer when she was forced to return home.
Jacque kept an eye on her, he didn’t do anything, but he wanted to see if there was anything overtly obvious that could be traced back to what he did to her a decade before and could only theorise that her magical abilities was because of it but with his wife’s obsession with her daughter’s education and her constant threat’s to Charlie if she was to ever fail was a more likely explanation. However, when Charlie was back for her fifth summer, Rahael having graduated, Charlie found out Adeline was sick, confined to her bed. Though her memory of her own childhood was hazy, Charlie knew what was happening instantly. Jacque decided to try again. Charlie wasn’t allowed to see her sister, similar to how Raphael was when Charlie was young, and one night, Jacque found her sneaking in. Charlie didn’t try it again. Charlie tried going to her mum but she wouldn’t hear any of it, calling Charlie paranoid. It was only Raphael, surprisingly, who listened. Charlie ended up confessing everything that she knew to her brother and, when Jacque was with Adeline one day, snuck Raphael to the basement, where they found severe amounts of evidence that backed up Charlie’s accusations.
However, they were caught with Jacque descending into the area to find them. Raphael, always suffering from a temper, lost it when his father began to try and explain himself. Telling Charlie to run and take Adeline away, Charlie wasn’t there for when it happened. She remembers running through the halls, towards her younger sisters rooms, when the fire happened. She’d later learned Raphael had knocked over some concoction of Jacque’s as he was beating him which spilt onto something flammable. Or something. The officials were always vague about the incident as there wasn’t much to find after it occurred. The fire travelled quickly through the wooden house, trapping Charlie’s path and soon found herself being dragged out by one of the tutors residing in the house. The fire, ferocious in nature, killed nearly everyone in the house, including Charlie’s father and siblings. Adele was out of town those few days and found out through owl.
Charlie couldn’t find the words afterwards, couldn’t find the words to tell her mother or the government what had happened. In the inspection they began to realise Jacque had been experimenting but they could find nothing on what he was researching or doing, as all his documents had been destroyed. They wrote the fire down as an accident and Adele relocated her and Charlie into an apartment within Paris in an attempt to move on. Charlie did her best to forget, as she usually did, and immersed herself into Paris for the rest of the summer, becoming involved in fashion and even modelling for a few muggle companies, some quite well known. Her mother, having descended into a depression and became a slight recluse, never stopped Charlie and the modelling helped pay the bills as Adele was struggling to work. Charlie was often seen drinking, both with muggles and wizards, forgetting everything about her life and self, sleeping with everyone she seemed worthy of her. If there was one thing Adele did was instill a certain pride into her daughter.
Extended family helped, her grandparents sending money over whenever they need it, but they never visited. Charlie and Adele could feel any form of closeness deteriorated and, when Charlie couldn’t sleep from nightmares, found herself feeling a deep loneliness and ache. It was a relief to go back to school, but Charlie found herself seeing Raphael wherever she went and began to turn away from the life she had there...until she found out about exchange. Similar to how Beauxbatons was an escape when Charlie was eleven, Hogwarts became an escape for when Charlie was sixteen. It was her ticket out and if everything went right? Then Charlie was determined to live her life in London.