Hi, Claire. This is Vicki of Slytherin House. I enjoyed your Christmas story. It has a refreshingly even tone, perhaps because Charlie is now 42 years old, and not thinking or acting like an adolescent. You write with a light, gently humorous style, and I loved the line "The room was silent with everyone hoping someone else would volunteer," because that's how it so often really is.
For a brief story, your tale includes a lot of historical detail, in individual sentences here and there, that really fleshes out the story well. The reader is left with a vivid impression of the staffing of the Dragon Reserve, and the quick characterizations of Charlie's fellow staffers really bring this group of people to life.
Charlie is well-characterized; we can see him as a cheerful, easy-going, competent guy, but still, even at age 42, intimidated by his indomitable Mum and struggling to write a frank letter, finally resorting to a white lie to explain a decision that he cannot explain even to himself.
I liked the fact that when Charlie went into the bar on Christmas Eve, he was happy and looking for fun ("a slightly ruckus evening"). I have read a lot of fics involving depressed people sitting in bars, often on holidays, feeling sorry for themselves, and that kind of story, frankly, gets boring, so I was very glad you didn't go there.
Charlie's initial interaction with Emma seemed cautious and tentative; even though they found that they had something in common, Quidditch, they seemed to be circling each other warily. That seemed realistic; after all, they were strangers to each other. The kiss in the barroom doorway might seem unrealistic, except that it could be the Firewhiskey talking, and the spirit of the season. (Maybe Fane had some mistletoe hanging over his door.)
The humorous undercurrent of your story breaks forth at the end, to give your story a neat wrap-up. Poor Charlie -- he was too old for her anyway, and as her boss he can't have a relationship with her, but he sees the humor in the situation, so all ends happily.
It is fun to read a story about Charlie; he gets stuck off in Romania, generally out of sight and out of mind, except for occasional brief appearances at The Burrow. You have shown him as a very likeable character. Nice job.
Made me feel happy.