TITLE: Blurring the Boundaries 2/2
WORD COUNT: 1,621
DISCLAIMER: The characters aren’t mine, they are the property of JK Rowling, Warner Bros., Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Raincoast etc etc…Dahlia though, she is mine!
SUMMARY: It’s a year since Percy died and Hermione is finally recovered enough to realise that someone who has been there helping her is more than just the friend she needed.
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Anger coursing through her, Hermione finally managed to corner Charlie in the shed where his father had amassed an amazing collection of Muggle memorabilia. He was sitting down picking apart an old Nokia mobile phone with a little screwdriver, pretending to actually look interested in what he was looking at. “Charlie, why did you just run away like that?” She closed the door quietly behind her and stood on the other side of the workbench, trying to figure out why he wouldn’t meet her eyes.
Charlie simply shrugged and carried on poking at the sim card in the phone, appearing to be totally focused on what he was looking at, all the while completely aware of Hermione’s presence in the shed.
“I thought you were more grown up than that. What happened? You ran off like the hounds from hell were giving chase. Are you okay?” Sweeping a few screws and bolts out of the way, she perched on the edge of the workbench and just watched Charlie mucking around with the phone.
“I’m fine,” he bit out, a little irritated that she wouldn’t get the hint he was trying to give her and just go away. He needed some time to come to terms with what he had just realised. He was falling in love with his best friend, with Percy’s almost-wife, Dahlia’s mother.
After a few more minutes of being ignored, Hermione hopped off the workbench, wrapped her pale gold cardigan around herself tightly and pushed open the shed door, the wind had picked up a little bit and leaves that had earlier been neatly piled up in the corner of the garden were now spinning madly in the mini vortexes. Shivering a little, Hermione stepped out of the shelter of the shed. “When you’ve decided to stop being a grouch you know where to find me.” The door slammed shut as Hermione stormed back up to the house. She refused to let Charlie’s strange mood ruin the only peace she had. His temper was soon forgotten as Hermione picked up one of the wooden spoons resting beside the large Aga in the kitchen and she started to stir the bubbling saucepan full of rich onion gravy.
She was startled out of her thoughts when Ginny loudly walked into the house, her large belly preceding her, there were bets on that she was pregnant with the first Weasley triplets, well Malfoy really, but genetics dictated that they would have the Weasley red hair. “Hermione, mum’s not going to be happy with you. You’d better go and put some make up on, she’s invited someone here to meet you.” Ginny, ever the one to take charge; grabbed the wooden spoon from Hermione’s hands and pushed her friend in the direction of the stairs. “I am sure that there is some makeup left in the bathroom from the last time I stayed here.”
Groaning, and fighting the urge to roll her eyes, Hermione glanced into the living room to check on Dahlia and then made her way slowly up the stairs to the second floor bathroom, a hideously pink room that Arthur Weasley had painted to celebrate the birth of their only daughter.
Sure enough, on the shelf in front of the lopsided mirror, there were a few items, a lipstick, some blusher and a tube of mascara. Taking a deep breath, she applied a little of each, grimacing at her all-too-honest reflection when she realised that she looked like a painted china doll with her pale skin and dark red-brown lips. She dabbed off most of the colour and then applied a thin layer of Vaseline to her slightly tinted lips, “Much better,” the mirror told her in an approving tone, one that had Hermione tempted to stick her fingers up!
Charlie was already sitting at the table in the kitchen, shelling peas before dropping them in a pan of slightly salted water. Hermione stopped in the doorway and watched the picture that Charlie made. At some point while she had been in the bathroom, Dahlia had crawled from the living room into the kitchen and was sitting at his feet, one pudgy arm wrapped around his leg, the other holding tightly onto the floppy bunny that had once been her father’s. Her knees were covered in a light coating of black and grey dust and her cheeks were red – she was teething again. A trail of drool was smeared over Charlie’s pressed trousers, but he didn’t seem to care, he carried on shelling the peas and babbling nonsense to the little girl sitting at his feet.
Warmth spread through Hermione as she allowed herself to hope that Charlie would want Dahlia enough to take her as part of the package. She wondered what he would do if she suddenly kissed him with all the passion she had started to feel. Would he push her away and leave? Would he laugh at her and tell her that she was like a sister to him and nothing could come of her feelings? These feelings had kicked her like a mule and now she just couldn’t ignore them, no matter how hard she tried to do so.
Pasting a smile on her face, Hermione walked into the kitchen and wrapped her arms around Molly, hugging the older woman tightly for a moment before moving away. “Do you need any help with anything?” Ginny was sitting at the table, opposite Charlie, one of the younger Weasleys – Alexandra, Fred’s oldest – sitting in her lap, an ear pressed to her stomach, an expression of awe on her face as one of the babies kicked against Ginny’s stomach and her belly rippled with the movement. Molly was standing at the sink, her hands up to the elbow in frothy hot water as she washed her best china by hand.
Hearing her voice, Charlie turned his head, frowning when he noticed the makeup she was now wearing, and the fact that she had tidied up her hair. He attempted a smile when he realised that she actually looked uncomfortable and a little bit sick.
“We’re managing fine, Hermione dear. Go and make yourself comfortable in the living room.” Molly didn’t bother to turn and look at Hermione, sure that the younger girl would do as she had been asked.
Feeling his eyes on her, Hermione looked at him and attempted to smile, her anger had faded to virtually nothing when she had noticed the way that Dahlia was clinging to him. “Are you ready to talk?” She needed to know where she stood. Everything between them had changed in a matter of minutes, all it had taken was for her to realise that she felt more for her best friend than just friendship. Fear coiled inside her at the thought that he didn’t feel anything for her in return.
Taking a deep breath and summing up all the courage that she thought had been lost when Percy had died, Hermione walked over to stand beside Charlie at the table, leaned down and brushed her lips over Charlie’s. When he didn’t respond she took a step back, her face flushed with embarrassment, “Oh God!” she covered her mouth with her hands, her eyes open wide. “I’m sorry.” Mortified, she bent down and scooped Dahlia into her arms. “Um…I’m…sorry, I’ve got to go.”
Taking a few deep, steadying breaths in an attempt to calm herself, Hermione clasped her hand and Dahlia’s around the frog-shaped key ring she kept hooked on the side of her bag and concentrated on her small refuge.
Shaking her head to dispel the dizziness that always accompanied using a Portkey, Hermione walked slowly through the peeling green-painted wooden gate leading into her garden before putting Dahlia down, and then walked up the path to the front door. Before she had a chance to unlock the door, she was grabbed from behind.
Her mouth open on a gasp, Charlie closed his lips over hers, his hands curling around her waist as he tugged her body closer.
When they finally came up for breath, Hermione took a step back to look at him, “I thought…”
Charlie reached out and brushed a tendril of hair away from her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. “I know. I did too.”
Everything had happened so quickly. One minute he had been shelling peas in the kitchen, the next Ginny had been kicking him under the table, her brown eyes angry that he was seemingly letting such an opportunity pass him by. He had handed the peas over to his now-smug sister and, with a wave of his wand, apparated to Hermione’s front garden, just in time to see her arrive just outside the front gate.
“So…” Hermione began, feeling a little awkward, unsure of what exactly it was she wanted.
“So…” Charlie responded, staring at her, taking in everything about her, wondering why it had taken him so long to notice her as more than just his best friend.
“Dada…” Dahlia had crawled up the front path when she realised that the two adults who usually paid constant attention to her were ignoring her completely. She gripped Charlie’s trousers tightly in her hands and used this grasp to slowly, unsteadily stand up. “DADA…” she almost yelled as one hand grabbed onto a part of his anatomy that she really didn’t need to grip so tightly.
Gasping at the sudden sharp pain in his groin, Charlie doubled over, his hands cupping himself as Hermione picked Dahlia up and jokingly berated her, “Now Dahlia, a nice girl never touches anyone there!”
“Never?” Charlie looked up; one eyebrow raised a little, a sly smirk on his face. “Are you sure about that?”
And thus endeth another fic…third one in a week 🙂