?

Log in

 
 
26 January 2008 @ 07:29 pm
9,3,1 - PG - Charlie/Hermione  

Title: 9,3,1
Author: atruwriter
Genre: Family/Friendship/Romance
Rating: PG
Note:
References to "Just In Case" concerning Fred.
Images: Banner and chapter image made by Jeanie of The Dark Arts!
Summary: The nine Weasleys that love Hermione, the three that wanted more, and the one that vowed forever. Charlie/Hermione - OneShot
Disclaimer: I own nothing!

 





9, 3, 1
by
: atruwriter
1/1

Hermione was blessed to have met a family who would quickly become the most treasured people in her life. From the time when she was just eleven, she had been friends with at least one of the Weasley children and due to circumstances involving her best friends, she soon become associated with the family more and more. Throughout her Hogwarts years, she found herself spending more time with the Weasley clan than her own two Muggle parents and it was their different personalities but similar acceptance of her that had her loving them as if they were own family. Through trials and tribulation, she became closer to the nine who made up the Weasleys and created a bond with each that would get her through the many hard days ahead. For years it seemed the darkness that surrounded the Wizarding world would surely swallow it whole and the only people she could truly rely on were those she kept close. She had her best friends, her mentors and professors, and most importantly the family that treated her like their own.

Molly and Arthur Weasley had become surrogate parents to her in the most important way. From early on, Molly had taken a liking to her and had big ideas that perhaps one day she would find love with one of her children. She watched over her like a mother hen and always worried and fussed over her. She hugged her when Hermione needed the arms of her own mother but couldn't have them and used a familiar motherly tone when she didn't approve or was worried over something she'd done, and for that Hermione found she appreciated her all the more. Where Molly was doting, Arthur was the more quiet and understanding of the two. He was an interesting fellow with an odd fixation of Muggle trinkets that always amused her. He was a kind man who reminded her quite of her own father, with a few more oddities here or there. Overall, he considered his family far more important than any material possessions and treated them with respect and love, which Hermione found really quite heartwarming. It didn't take long for Hermione to look up to them as the parents she needed in the Wizarding world. To apply their wisdom and caution where her own parents could not.

As she grew, she found herself becoming more fond of the pair. With the war coming up so close, she worried that either of them might be taken. They were a strong, courageous, and very stubborn couple, who believed highly in equality and freedom and she was proud when they stood up in the war and fought valiantly for the cause. She breathed a deep sigh of relief when in the end, they walked away, though not unscathed, both physically and emotionally. She knew then that whatever came, she would undoubtedly be a part of their lives. She couldn't imagine not being close to the two Weasley heads.

Her close proximity to Arthur and Molly's youngest allowed her to meet the rest of the Weasley hoard and she found each of them to be more and more interesting. Bill Weasley was nine years her senior and had once been defined more by his good looks than anything else. The eldest of the Weasely children had a certain charm and rebellion to him that Hermione found quite fascinating. With a fang earring and a long tail of hair, much to his mother's chagrin, he epitomized the view of bad-boy cool, and while Hermione had never been attracted to the type, she did think he was an interesting man. When she looked past the physical looks and the rather arrogant personality, she found he was an intelligent and kind person.

He held his family in high regard and was proud of them, despite what many pureblood families said about them. He worked hard, making prefect and Headboy while in Hogwarts and graduated with twelve OWL's, which earned Hermione's respect quickly. While he teased and bugged his younger brothers incessantly, he held them in high esteem and was protective over them like only an older brother could. In turn, Hermione earned that same interest and she found he was the one she often went to when she had questions about the world or needed advice on a matter. It was true that Bill had at one time been more interested in how he looked and charming the pants of most witches, but his brotherly attributes overwhelmed his more basic needs and Hermione soon looked up to him like an older brother.

He'd once said to her, while they sat in the quiet of the Burrow, in all of his serious and worldly manner, “You ever need somebody to talk to, Smarts, you can come to me, y'know.” He used the nickname affectionately and while Hermione had previously been inclined to tell him that she rather disliked such petnames, she appreciated his concern and so left it alone. The war was long over then but the aftereffects and emotional scarring hadn't quite healed and she'd been floundering in all of the aftermath. She didn't know her place any longer and she wasn't getting on so well with Ron. Harry seemed to be just as confused and though he had ideas for becoming an Auror, Hermione wasn't so sure what she wanted to be. While everybody else was bent on celebration, she was stuck in her mind, uncertain and questioning.

But with those few words, Bill had opened something in her. She wasn't alone. She had a whole family of Weasleys behind her, ready to support her in anything she did. So she turned to him and with a hesitant expression, she told Bill everything she was thinking and every fear and insecurity that plagued her. With the care of a brother who'd helped five brothers and a sister before her, he helped her through the muddle of her brain and made her see that she had a world of possibilities and she didn't have to make a decision that would map out her whole life. After all, she was just eighteen years old, she could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone she wanted. The weight that seemed to permanently reside on her shoulders vanished and Hermione looked up to Bill all the more, deciding then and there he would be the ear she went to from now on.

His scars did nothing to ward her off, but if anything made him more human to her. It was the disfigurement of his face that had Hermione seeing the family in an even more treasured light. Instead of being scared of Bill, or fearing the worst, they hoped for the best and came together to support him in his time of need. Hermione had never known a family more close knit and loving than the Weasleys and for that she was glad to be a part of them.

Percy Weasley had never been Hermione's favorite of the Weasely boys, but he held his place in her mind and while at one time he had stumbled, he righted himself eventually. She had once thought that he was the only black spot on the family, but learned that everybody makes mistakes, even those who work so hard to avoid them. Percy had always been a straight-laced, hard working fellow. Rather prim and proper, snotty at times, and over all scheduled in everything he'd done. She admired him when she was younger. How he seemed to know every rule and regulation and kept to his morals when it came to enforcing them. It wasn't until he turned his back on his family that she found herself frowning upon his behavior. He made up for it when the war came to a head and with the Weasley family and Harry, she, too, forgave him his indiscretion. Years later, she'd find that he admired her just as much as she had him when she was young. He thought she had the right idea and was proud to see that she had worked hard in her studies, despite the rigorous adventures she had outside of her school work.

He told her once, with a discomfort she rarely saw in the always put together Percy Weasley, “I wish I could reach your brilliance. I have my rules and I know them back to front. I could recite the rule book for every floor of the Ministry of Magic, but... You have an intelligence that I believe is not only bred from books but exploration. I, myself, never got out into the world enough to see what you have or experience what you have. I've closeted myself to learning out of reading rather than doing and for that I think you will always surpass me.”

Hermione had been humbled by his words and astonished that he could think she was any more intelligent than him. She'd seen him as the height she wanted to be in her Hogwarts years. He, like Bill, had made an obvious mark during his schooling years. Making twelve OWL's and earning both prefect and Headboy, something she'd always striven to be. She wanted to follow in his footsteps and hoped to be just like him when she was just an eleven year old girl. Things had changed though and despite the fact that she'd been quite adamant on rules, she found herself breaking them quite often. Only for the good of the school, she excused, but still. She knew that more than likely the boy she looked up to so much would not have done the same. They were different people entirely, but they shared an admiration for each that she still found quite bolstering.

Quite unlike Percy was his younger brother Fred, one of the infamous Weasley twins that had marked Hermione in a way she could never forget. Mischievous and fun by nature, Fred Weasley had been somewhat of a bane in Hermione's existence from the start. He, unlike her, enjoyed the art of pranking and making trouble. While Hermione had spent the majority of her Hogwarts years disagreeing with the always good-for-a-laugh twins, she later found that Fred had a side to him hidden behind his almost invincible personality. He'd always seemed to her to be a humorous and untameable boy who lived only for laughter and took very few matters seriously. It was shortly before Hermione had gone on the Horcrux hunt with Harry and Ron that she learned of that other side to Fred.

It quite astonished her when she found out that he'd fancied her. Two years, she would later find out, he'd been fascinated with her bookish and prim ways. He told her himself that he sometimes pranked for the simple reason of seeing her reaction. He'd taken her breath away that night when he told her all the ways she fascinated him. From her nine freckles to the jut of her hip when she was about to give them a talking to. And he left her speechless when he kissed every thought right out of her. She knew then and there that it was a kiss to never be matched and years later was one of the memories she most treasured.

She spent a good hour talking to him in the living room of the Burrow, with nothing but the flickering fire to light up their features. Features of his she'd never forget, especially after his untimely death during the final battle. He had told her once that he hoped he'd die laughing and she had told him that she hoped he never died at all. But as they'd agreed, they couldn't set the future and there was only one thing for certain, people were going to die in the war. He was scared of being one of them and she couldn't lie and tell him it wasn't true. The world was an unforgiving place and when she saw him laying in the arms of George, she knew that he'd predicted right and hated that their “just in case” kiss was proven necessary. He held a place in her heart that could never be replaced and while she only ever told a handful of people what had transpired, she held the memory of him close.

Separate from his twin, George was more opposite to her than Fred had been. Hermione had always found George to be a little more quiet than Fred and with the death of his twin, he fell even more silent. While she'd never really grown close to him and unlike Fred, had no real close moments between him, she found herself tied to him when his grief over Fred threatened to overtake him entirely. He was the first person she had admitted her memory of Fred to. She told him everything she could remember, from the way he lingered in the doorway, looking rather arrogant and mischievous, to the fear in his voice as he shared his worries over losing his family or himself in the war. She told him how he admitted to fancying her and the two kisses that left her breathless and mindless over thoughts of him.

George then admitted he'd known that Fred had liked her since her fifth year when she had proven herself to be rather cunning and spat in the face of Umbridge's ridiculous laws. He told her about how he had teased Fred about his fancy over a girl so unlike them and soon his stories became more vivid and about hilarious things that just he and Fred did, long before he liked a certain bushy haired book fiend. Hermione listened as George poured out story after story, some amusing, some not, and got all the pain off his chest.

When he was finished, he sighed, as if he'd said all that needed to be said and then he looked at her with something akin to amusement. “You're still a bossy swot, but I s'pose...” He paused, his expression becoming shadowed. “Y'know, Fred had it right when he said one of the greatest rewards of pulling a prank was seeing your expression.” He grinned, something he hadn't done in far too long. “Seeing that steam comin' out your ears and that disapproving frown on your mouth... Yeah, that's always worth a good laugh.”

Huffing, Hermione shook her head at his antics. But she was proud of herself that she could help him in some way.

“Thanks,” he'd tell her later, a half-smile on his mouth. “Wasn't sure I could really go on without him. Still not entirely sure I can. Something's missing and it's not just my ear.” He hugged her briefly, patting her shoulder. “He always saw something in you that I didn't, but I guess I've just experienced it first hand, yeah?” She had stared up at him quizzically then. “You're a good person, Granger. Despite the books and the rules and your odd dislike for our pranks, you care enough for a prankster like me to make sure I don't lose it.”

“Laughter will always be needed, George,” she'd replied. “And who better to supply in than a master like yourself?”

After that, she and George had a rather odd relationship. He continued being the prankster extraordinaire, and she the person who rebuked it. Sometimes she did it out of tradition, rather than her own desire to stop something so against her rule abiding ways. He needed to see her irritation or disapproval just as much as she needed to feel like she was keeping things in line. And so they continued on as opposites with a rather absurd connection that fit them well enough.

Ron never quite understood their relation to one another and would often tell her to lighten up when she reamed George out for another fantastic prank on one of his siblings. Hermione decided he simply wouldn't get the meaning behind it if she explained it to him and she never did tell him what had gone on between her and Fred that one late night. Whether it was because she felt it was something she wanted to keep close and private or because she worried he might be angry with Fred over it, she wasn't sure. She only knew that when Fred was brought up, she kept her opinions to herself most of the time and sometimes, late at night when she cried herself to sleep, he would ask her what it was that had her upset and she'd just tell him, “What could have been.” She assumed he thought she meant over how the war might have turned out and he'd hold her then and tell her that she didn't need to worry because the worst of it was over and there was no reason to think about 'what ifs'.

Their short relationship was a volatile one. They fought too much and didn't share enough and when it came to an end six months after the end of the war, she was fairly certain the entire Burrow let out a breath of relief. They remained friends and years later when he married Luna Lovegood, she fully supported it. While they weren't always the closest of friends, he remained one of the most important people in her life. He was mule headed and had the emotional range of a teaspoon, but he was Ron and that was enough for her. They often joked about that time they spent together and while to others he was referred to as her ex, she considered him that friend that she'd simply misunderstood the relation to. It made the matter of Fred all the more upsetting, however, and she wondered if perhaps that happily-ever-after she wanted had died in the war. So many had thought it was Ron, even Fred had commented to the fact, but it seemed it wasn't that way at all.

It was a girls night out that Ginny informed her that she'd never really thought her and Ron would work out. She'd been surprised at first. The youngest Weasley and Hermione's best girl friend had always seemed to support, whole heartedly, her relationship with Ron. But Ginny had admitted, without remorse, that she always thought Hermione needed somebody older. Somebody who understood her better, who cared about creature rights and had the same strong desire to save all the little causes. Ron simply didn't meet her standards in that regard and Hermione had to admit he really hadn't met her eye to eye on most of her more important issues. She was full-heartedly into saving House Elves and righting the injustices done to werewolves and the like, while Ron really didn't have that inner rights activist in him like she did. So while drinking butterbeers and commiserating over men woes, Ginny and her enjoyed the freedom of the future.

Without war and disaster all around, she and Ginny had even more time to bond and she found that the youngest Weasley child was a lot easier to speak to than most women. Hermione had always had trouble relating to the likes of Lavender Brown or Parvati Patil, but while Ginny had a love for make up and nice clothing, she was down to earth enough for Hermione to get along with. She, like the boys, enjoyed Quidditch and more male interests, so Hermione didn't feel so much like she was being forced to talk to someone who didn't know her or what she liked. The Weasley boys and Harry were the closest people to her and she'd spent years around Quidditch and pranks, so while she loved her books more than either of those, she related better to people like them. Ginny helped bring out Hermione's more girly side from time to time, but she didn't press her to change her hair or her clothes unless it was a serious occasion. Hermione was happy to find a girl that didn't pressure her to be more feminine and for that reason, she and Ginny became more best friends than just friends by situation.

It was years later, while finding her place in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that Hermione found her life in a more stable place. With the war long behind her and a comfortable and better Wizarding world surrounding her, Hermione felt as if this was the way it was all supposed to be. The Weasleys were still her surrogate family, though she'd made a great effort in getting closer to her own parents after bringing them back from Australia. She often babysat Bill and Fleur's daughter Victoire and always enjoyed the company of Remus and Tonks son Teddy, who Harry made sure to bring to all Weasley family events. He and Ginny were still going strong and Hermione was almost certain that they would marry soon. Ron and Luna had been married a few months and were already expecting their daughter Rose the coming summer. George was happily dating Verity and Hermione was almost certain that he was considering proposing to her soon, as he was fidgeting around her more than usual and whenever Mrs. Weasley brought up marriage, his laughter was strangled.

She was twenty-three when she found her future husband. She'd known him for years but situations and surroundings left them rather estranged from one another. He was, perhaps, the least known Weasley of them all. She'd had her moments and conversations with each of the rest and she supposed he was due for one some time. He'd happened upon her in the Burrow while she used the kitchen table as her desk to go over a stack of work papers she'd brought along. She'd only meant to stop in and visit but before she knew what was happening, she had her papers strewn all over and she was trying to figure out the best solution to a problem she was having with a rogue hippogriff that was living in the forest outside of a Muggle village. While gnawing at her lip and huffing to herself, she didn't notice the arrival of the second oldest Weasley.

“Have ya considered talkin' to Hagrid?” Charlie interrupted her thoughts.

Whirling around in confusion, Hermione held a hand to her rapidly beating heart and lifted her chin a few inches to meet the laughing green eyes of her interrupter.

“You scared me,” she said lamely, before turning back to her work. “And I have, but he's away on business at the moment.”

Charlie nodded before pulling up a chair and surveying the maps she had of the sleepy Muggle village. “Well... if it were me and we were discussin' a dragon, this is what I'd do...”

Hermione soon found her problem solved and with her work done and her mind clear of worry, she found her evening empty. Molly and Arthur had gone off for an impromptu dinner for two in Hogsmeade and all of the other Weasleys were at their homes with their significant others. Hermione hadn't even realized how late it was until Charlie was offering to make her something to eat. Figuring she might as well stay a little longer, she joined him for a meal and spent awhile talking to him about why he was there and life in Romania. When Mr. and Mrs. Weasley arrived home, they said their goodnights, kissing both her and Charlie on the forehead and then went off to bed, telling them they shouldn't stay up too late, despite the fact that she was twenty-three and he thirty.

The hour grew much later and Hermione continued to talk through her more frequent yawning fits. He was really quite fascinating. She found in the past she'd thought him to be rather quiet and more of a hands-on type person. He never shied away from hard work and he always offered a hand to his brothers or sister when they needed help with anything. He was funny and charming and he had a dimple in the side of his cheek that had Hermione's smiling without prompting. Eventually, Charlie submitted to the call of sleep and bid her goodbye before heading off to bed while she decided to borrow Ginny's old bed instead of trying floo as she was much too tired.

He returned to Romania the following morning, but he began visiting the Burrow more frequently and always had a story to share with Hermione about the dragons and the reserve he lived at. Before long, Hermione found herself quite smitten with the rugged Charlie Weasley and she was almost certain he felt the same way. At George and Verity's wedding, they spent the majority of the evening dancing and talking, much to his mother's approval. His visits were becoming hard, though. His job being so far away, it wasn't easy for him to go back and forth constantly. Some days he was too tired to go out and so they instead sprawled out on the grass in the back of the Burrow or he took a nap on her couch. She enjoyed those days, where they could relax together in the quiet. He looked so handsome sleeping. His face relaxed and his hair ruffled from moving around.

After awhile, he began bringing up the fact that the reserve was in need of a spokesperson to keep it safe from those who didn't believe dragons should be kept on reserves or even alive. He didn't come right out and tell her that he wanted her closer, but Hermione heard the meaning loud and clear. It would be hard for them to get together and continue on the way they were. Their friendship was already rather stunted because of it. But Hermione wasn't sure if she was ready for such a big move though the idea was becoming more and more interesting as the months passed and her interest in him grew.

After nearly six months of serious flirting and conversation that lasted until dawn, he finally asked her on a real date. He took her out for a day in Diagon Alley, stopping for lunch and an ice cream before enjoying the many shops around them. They popped in to see George and new wife Verity, who was seven weeks pregnant with the soon-to-be Fred Weasley, their first son. Hermione felt a pang of remorse whenever she heard his name and Charlie picked up on it as Verity chattered on about how excited she was over being a new mother. As they were walking down the alley, hand in clammy hand, he asked her how well she'd known Fred. And as if a dam had broken, she spilled her every memory of him, taking her time to explain in great detail their most intimate moment together. She was appalled with herself when she finally stopped talking, feeling as if she'd scared him away with her past infatuation with his younger brother.

“I always thought he fancied you,” Charlie had replied simply. “I understand why,” he added, much softer then.

Hermione had been surprised that he'd been so accepting but she found the reason she was so open with her past with Fred was because she trusted Charlie in a way she hadn't trusted many before him. Not even Harry and Ron knew about that night with Fred. Nor Bill, who she often spoke to about most things. Only George had known and she was fairly sure he'd already known, given that he was Fred's twin and they shared everything. It felt good to finally talk about it, she found, and she felt a weight lifted off her shoulders as Charlie shared a few stories of his own about his lost brother.

As the day wore on, Hermione grew nervous wondering what would happen after their date ended. He'd have to go back to Romania and he was really only able to visit a few times a month due to his work schedule. Their relationship, if they had one, would surely suffer and she wasn't sure she would be able to put herself into it if it was only destined to fall apart. She wanted to tell Charlie this but worried that he'd agree and they'd end the night early. She was having such a good time with him that she was almost willing to forget for a moment that it was sure to fail.

“That position at the reserve's still open, y'know,” he told her as they sat in the wide grassy field outside of the Burrow. He and the rest of the Weasleys often played Quidditch in the area they were sitting now, and they'd laid here in the past when he'd returned from a particularly long day. He'd fallen asleep in the grass a few times and she'd watched as the breeze ruffled his dark red hair and the sun threw shadows over the plains of his strong face. With the moon sitting high in the sky, providing the majority of the light that beat down on them, stars twinkling all around, she found it was really quite beautiful and romantic.

“Romania is a long ways away, Charlie,” she replied, shaking her head as she tugged a few strands of grass from the ground roughly. “I wouldn't see Harry or Ron or your parents very often,” she told him, frowning. She wasn't even sure if that was the problem. While she and Harry and Ron were still very close, they had their own lives and families to think about. She didn't see them nearly as much as she used to and there was always flooing if she really missed them. It was the idea of taking such a huge step that worried her. What if she did go there and let everything she already had simply slip away, but then they didn't work out? What if she gave up her job and left her friends and moved into a tent out in Romania only to find that the rather perfect Charlie Weasley wasn't the Prince Charming she hoped he was? She didn't think he'd purposely break her heart, but she wasn't so sure he could stop from doing it.

He was everything she'd always looked for in a man. He cared about animal and creature rights. He was firmly against the many laws and restrictions placed on werewolves and House Elves. He often stood up for the little causes and he considered his job to be one of the most important things in his life. He valued his work and the dragons he tamed and corralled. He loved his family and went out of his way to make sure they were well taken care of. He was smart, despite the fact that he didn't get twelve OWL's or graduate as Headboy. He enjoyed sitting down with a good book and he was one of the most laid back and tolerant people she knew. But he knew when to be serious and he was a great listener.

“I know. Which is why, if you don't wanna come to Romania, I've decided to see if they have a place for me here,” he said, further astonishing her.

“Wh- What?” she sputtered, shaking her head and looking up at him with wide eyes. “But you love Romania and- and what about the dragons?” she asked, her brows lifting with shock.

“They'll still be there. I can stop in and visit if I want,” he assured, shrugging. She could see that despite his move at nonchalance, he wasn't exactly excited about leaving behind his dream job and the creatures he worked with. Dragons and keeping them was something he'd dreamed of doing since he was just a small boy. Hermione couldn't and wouldn't be the reason his dream was dashed.

“No!” she exclaimed, shaking her head furiously. “No, that's ridiculous Charlie, I won't let you do it!”

He smiled at her, his eyes glittering with laughter. “All due respect, love, my mind is set.”

“Well,” she said, sounding huffy, “all due respect, Charlie, I'm not going to be the reason you give up the greatest thing you have!”

“I'm not,” he told her softly, shaking his head. He took her hand in his, holding onto it tightly. “Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to hold onto somethin' more important.”

“Charlie...”

He turned to her, his mouth quirking on one side. “I've never met anyone like you, 'Mione. You're a spitfire and you stick to your wand when it comes down to it. Ya fight for everyone's right no matter what problems arise and ya do it all with a firm understandin' of yourself and the world around you.” He shook his head, his thumb stroking her palm. “We've been dancin' 'round each other for months now and I can't say I've ever been more besotted with anyone in my life. I spend more time tryin' to figure out a way to come and see you than I do sleepin' or eatin' or workin',” he admitted with a sheepish grin. “I don't wanna wait another few weeks to see you again and I don't wanna pressure you into leavin' your life for a place you've never even been before. So, I can put off Romania for awhile. I'm sure they'll keep a spot open for me if I want to return. You're more important than chasin' fire and scales.” She could read the sincerity in his smile.

“You love chasing fire and scales,” she reminded, her voice quiet.

“Well, I love you too.” He stared at her a moment, his eyes glittering with the adoration she'd felt building between them.

Hermione melted right then and there and came to a conclusion that had long surpassed her. “I do love you, Charlie.”

He leaned in then, the tips of his fingers ghosting over the curve of her cheek. His mouth slanted across hers, their noses brushing. He captured her mouth with an intense feeling of possession and passion and Hermione found herself denying breath just to keep hold of him a little longer. So close, she could smell an aroma that was so distinctly Charlie; smoke and new parchment. He tasted faintly of walnut ice cream and she found the fireworks that had only ever gone off twice before exploding behind her eyes. Her mouth tingled, as did most of her body, and she felt her heart beat a rapid melody against her chest. Her cheeks heated up and her mouth was moving of its own will, matching his and meeting him kiss for kiss. There was a heat that rose from the tips of her toes to roots of her hair at the caress of his rough fingers on her neck and the hungry swipe of his tongue against hers. She wasn't sure how long they sat in such an intimate embrace, but she enjoyed every second of it.

She'd later tell him, in whispers that seemed pointless in the emptiness of the field, that she'd come to Romania instead of him moving back. Within the next few weeks, she'd pack up her flat and move into a cozy tent that was enlarged from the inside, just like the one the Weasleys had borrowed for the World Cup nearly ten years ago. Her new job was better than the one she had and her relationship with Charlie prospered in their new found proximity. While Mrs. Weasley had been upset about her moving so far away, she was undeniably excited that she'd found happiness with her second eldest son and was already hinting about marriage at their first return from Romania. The spotlight was soon taken off of them with Ginny's announcement that she and Harry were getting married and Hermione was glad for it.

A few years later, the tent she and Charlie now shared would have a separate room added onto it. They'd married in a quiet ceremony behind the Burrow, with Victoire as flower girl and Teddy as ring bearer. Bill stood beside Charlie as best man and Hermione had Ginny as her maid of honor. Charlie, Ginny had said early on, was exactly the type she saw Hermione staying with long term. Molly had cried during the ceremony and she and Hermione's mother had spent hours talking about grandchildren and how hard it was going to be seeing them with her and Charlie living in Romania, always sending an imploring look over to the newly married couple. Hermione had made no promises that she and Charlie would return. She loved her life in Romania. She fell asleep each night with Charlie's arm around her waist, fingers usually tracing another of his many burns, as she listened to his steady breathing and the distant roar of the dragons living up the hill.

While Hermione sat in her usual chair, a book propped on her knees, she felt her husband slip in behind her, pulling her into his lap, his arms wrapping around her waist. He kissed the side of her neck before resting his chin on her shoulder, reading the tome in front of her silently. She felt the soft strands of his fringe brush against her cheek and a smile lifted her mouth. His calloused hands lightly stoked the growing bump of her midsection and she leaned back into his broad chest, relaxing into his embrace. He nuzzled the side of her face, the days growth of coarse whiskers tickling her soft skin. Charlie was an easy man to love. He valued her above everything and never let her question where she stood in his life. There was a time where she hadn't been sure where her life would lead, if she'd even have a life after the war, but she was more than happy with where she'd ended up.

Some part of her had always known that her place was with the Weasleys. She'd looked up to Arthur and Molly as parents, embraced Bill as an older brother, considered Percy a man worthy of her admiration, fancied Fred beyond reason, bumped heads with George over right and wrong, gave love a try with Ron, shared friendship with Ginny, and found forever with Charlie. If there was anything to be said about the Weasley clan, it was that they were wholly and truly the most important people in Hermione's life. They were strong, intelligent, loving people and Hermione felt that they were quite completely the family she'd been fated to be a part of. She'd found her place and it was in Charlie's arms.