Chapter 1 : Our Mistake
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She remembered the party, and the many drinks she had as she walked through the others. The first New Year after the fall of Voldemort had brought the victors all back together, to sing the 'Auld Lang Syne' and ring in the first hours of a year free of conflict.
Hermione remembered dancing with all the Weasley brothers, Harry and Ron before the haze of the alcohol had taken over, and now here she lay; in a bed with silky sheets and the warmth of someone laying beside her. Finally she moved her hand, looked over at who was laying beside her and gave a small gasp before grabbing her clothes and running out of the hotel room door.
The red hair had made it a Weasley, but it hadn't been Ron- the length of the red hair and the spattering of burns in between the freckles that covered his body had made it Charlie. She wanted to die, just die- and the hangover she had almost made it feel like she had. While her faint memories of the last few hours seemed like she had floated into heaven, the morning made her feel like she had landed in hell.
Hermione sat in the sterile white examination room, her stomach rolling and her knuckles white as the clasped tight to the paper covered table she sat on. She looked at the Healer at St Mungo's in shock, her face turning white as she listened to the words he spoke. What she had thought had been a really bad case of Muggle flu was in reality....
“You're three months pregnant, Miss Granger,” Healer McAllister went on briskly, “I can do another test and even tell you the sex if you'd like,” he added, finally taking in the paleness of his patient. “Miss Granger?” he said in a concerned tone, setting down the folder in his hand to touch her shoulder.
She was pregnant, with child, having a baby, and Hermione felt the stomach rolls again, this time not because of what she now knew was 'morning sickness' but rather fear. She and Ron had broken up shortly after the Final Battle, and he was dating Luna now. Charlie had returned like usual to the Dragon Compound in Romania shortly after the New Year's Eve party, and here she sat with a small part of him inside her.
When Charlie had left, he'd given her his customary peck on the forehead. Hermione could tell he hadn't remembered, and the amount of alcohol they had drank at the party and then in the room must have made him blank it all out. The only reason she had remembered was seeing him lying there next to her. She'd given him a quizzical look, and he had frowned. “Hermione?” he had said softly, but she'd only shook her head and pushed him towards the door. He'd nodded and went off to say good bye to the rest of his family, turning once to look at her before Disapparating.
Now Hermione wished she'd said something to him, and from here she had no clue as to what to say to him. Or the other Weasleys and Harry. She audibly groaned, and her hand left the table to cover her mouth.
“Miss Granger!” The Healer said, finally breaking into her thoughts and Hermione looked up at him. He could see the fear, unhappiness and despair in her eyes, “There are other options-” Grant McAllister began to say. The 'other' options weren't ones he usually discussed with a patient unless it seemed like he should.
“No!” Hermione broke into his words, and looked up at him. “No,” she mumbled out, still at a loss for words of her own. She looked up the Healer, her hands rounding the small bump her belly was becoming. She should have known, all the signs had been there- even the tightness her Muggle jeans had become.
“The father?” Grant asked her, and watched her face go from white to a pale pink.
“He doesn't know,” Hermione looked away, Charlie doesn't even remember we slept together, she wanted to laugh at the irony of it all, but instead nodded towards the doctor. “But that's a first step,” she said half to herself. Either way she went, keeping it to herself and not telling him, or telling him and facing his reaction wasn't going to pretty. She'd always liked Charlie, the loner of the Weasley clan. He had always been kind to her, and had even offered to show her the dragons he took care of in Romania. Maybe now was the time to take up that offer.
“Well Miss Granger,” Healer McAllister said calmly, “Please return in a month for your next visit, and if you need anything, please return earlier.” He nodded his head to her, and handed her some potions to take also, one to ease the morning sickness and the other one of vitamins.
Charlie Weasley sat before a roaring fire in the compound's main building. It had three months since he'd been home, and for the first time in years he felt a wave of homesickness was over him. His last day at home had been filled with remorse, and he still remembered that night. It had been magical to him, and he hadn't drunk quite as much as Hermione thought. He had seen the look in her eyes as he had left, and felt guilty. He had loved her for over a year, but Ron's presence in her life had held him back. But Ron had begun to date Luna, and he had allowed himself to hope.
That last dance that had brought in the New Year had been magical. The confetti had rained down upon them, the music had surrounded them and they had waltzed off to be alone in a corner. He could still remember every sigh, every caressing touch, and every movement they had made that night after they had sneaked up into a room in the hotel.
But in the cold light of morning he'd woken up alone. His head had pounded, and he had felt the aloneness the cold sheets had given him, the shape of her body still imprinted on them. He'd run his hand over it, regret filling him. Her leaving before he'd awoken had hurt him deeply, like she'd been ashamed of what had happened between them.
The look in her eyes at the Burrow had filled him with even more remorse. He had wanted to bend down and kiss her lips, pull her close, but instead he'd done the normal peck on the forehead. His heart had pounded in his chest when her look changed, but she had pushed him away.
“Oy! Charlie Weasley!” a voice of one of other handlers called out to him, breaking into his thoughts. He wanted to curse, but turned to look at him. “You've got a looker coming to visit you, mate.” The handler laughed and nodded his head towards the entry. “Go boy-o, you might knock that frown off your face.”
“Who is it?” Charlie asked his co-worker, and looked towards the door but didn't see anyone.
“Didn't give her name, but she's hot!” He winked at Charlie before bounding up a set of stairs. Charlie rolled his eyes, and stood up to head out the door. He was surprised that the other handler hadn't led this 'looker' into the rest hall behind him to see his own reaction to her. But he still couldn't figure out who it was that was here. Ginny was known by them all, for Harry had brought her up a few occasions to visit the past few months.
Charlie stepped out the door, and in the distance by a fence he could see a figure with long brown hair that blew in the breeze around her. His steps stopped as he hit the grass, and he took the sight in with a hunger he'd thought he'd forgotten in the loneliness of the past few months. Why was she here? He couldn't fathom beyond the fact she was here, and it was obviously to see him.
Hermione couldn't believe she had actually come here. She could have Flooed him, she could owled him, or some other such thing. Instead, she'd come to Romania, in hopes he'd remember and take the news without passing out. Or hating her. The wind whipped her hair over her face again, and she reached up with one hand to pull it away and hold it back.
“Hermione,” Charlie called out, his words traveling in the wind to her. He started walking towards her again, and almost stopped when she turned to look at him. The time away from her had only made her more beautiful in his eyes. There was a sadness and apprehension on her face, and it matched his own. She smiled though, and he felt some of his fears melt away.
“Hi Charlie,” Hermione replied, feeling a desire to run. She'd always faced things, but she wasn't sure if she could this. Her small crush on this Weasley brother had blossomed through the years, and New Year's Eve had shown her just how 'uncrushy' it was. Even if her feelings were one sided, she now knew she loved him. Now she knew why her love for Ron had been more of the sisterish type, and she hadn't cried when he'd started seeing Luna.
Charlie took in the rather shy smile she gave him, and reached up to rub at the back of his neck. “Let's walk,” he said, and tucked his arm through hers before she could react. “How are Harry, Ginny and Ron?” he asked, escorting her farther from the building towards an outcropping of trees. He felt her stiffen slightly, and his steps stopped with hers.
“They're all fine,” Hermione said, wanting to sigh in frustration. She didn't know how to even start to tell him her- no, their news- and he was off asking about the others already. Like it was a normal, everyday occurrence for her to show up in Romania to visit him. Nothing about this held any normalcy, except for the feelings his touch stirred up inside her. Her heart had given a leap when she'd seen him, and the butterflies in her stomach were making her all lightheaded. No wait, that was the baby and the altitude that they were at in the Carpathian mountains doing that, and she leaned against him.
Charlie felt her head press against his shoulder, her face hidden by the hair the breeze whipped around them. The curls blew up into his face in a soft caress, and the memories of that night flooded through him in a hungry rush of feelings. “Hermione?” he whispered, his hand reaching down to tilt her face so that he could see her face. “Are you alright?” he asked her, noticing the paleness of her skin and the dark circles that lay beneath her eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, nothing time won't...” Hermione mumbled out after taking a deep breath, and tried to pull away but his touch and eyes held her. The sincere caring she could see in eyes gave her a hope, and the touch of his hand sent a shiver down her spine. Her desire for him was still there, stronger than she could she keep from showing in her eyes. Her eyes looked down in an attempt to hide it, but she was sure he had seen it, mixed with the confusion she also felt.
At that moment, Charlie realized his mistake in just walking away that day so many months ago, letting her think he hadn't remembered. Who had he been trying to save face more for, him or her? “Nothing time won't what?” He asked her, his eyes puzzled. Then he began to worry. “Hermione, just what is wrong?”
There are always moments that define your life, and Hermione took a deep breath as she realized that this was one of them for her. The cool breeze cooled her heated cheeks, and her eyes blinked quickly while she tried to think of an easy way to break the news. Was there ever an easy way to tell a bloke who didn't even remember he'd slept with you that you carried his child inside you?
Hermione took a deep breath, and let it out quickly. For once her know-it-all attitude escaped her. For in truth she didn't know it all. Looking away at the trees, time seemed to stop for her, and a bed covered in silk filled her eyes. The man next sprawled out on it, his hair tousled from their love-making and freckles covering his body. Then she looked back, and licked her lips quickly. Just do it! her mind prodded her.
“I'm.. we're... I'm...” Hermione sputtered out, words escaping her briefly, “I'm pregnant.”