Charlie stood there, silent from the shock of her words. Somehow he knew the words 'you're joking, right?' would come out very wrong, and he just reached his hand to rub against the back of his neck. The thought of ever having children in his life had never entered his mind, for with all his brothers and his sister he'd have plenty of nieces and nephews to spoil and return.
“Erm, how?” Charlie finally uttered, and rolled his eyes at himself when he saw her whiten further. “That came out so wrong,” he reached a hand out, and she jerked away. “Never mind, I think I know how, but-” He stopped, and just looked at her. No matter what he could say, it was going to hurt her.
Hermione turned away, her eyes focusing on a tree branch in the distance to keep from crying, running or slapping him. She had to keep reminding herself that he didn't remember, and that she should have said something on New Year's Day morning to prevent all of this now. “That party.... we were all so drunk, and we went upstairs,” she turned back to look at him, “And well... you know... shagged.” She took in deep breaths after each pause, and waited for him to say something. Then she noticed that her words held no shock to him- this time he just gave her a sheepish wince before nodding his head.
“Charlie Weasley- you knew?” Hermione asked, her voice almost squeaking in surprise. “Why... why did you leave without saying anything?”
“You pushed me out The Burrow's door that morning, and you left me in bed- alone.” Charlie reminded her, “I thought...” He took a deep breath and licked his lips before continuing, “I thought you didn't want me to remember.” His words were gentle, but they held a hint of the hurt he had felt that morning.
Hermione's lips pursed together tightly as she thought, her color returning normal. “We were both stupid then?” she asked him, her hands going back to her jacket pockets to hold it tight around her. Charlie nodded his head, and walked over to lean against a tree. He felt the bark dig into his back, his hand going through his hair.
The silence lengthened as the both stood there, unsure of what to say or to do. Finally Charlie pushed himself from the tree, and his hands dropped to his side. “What do you want me to do?” he asked her, and rocked on the balls of his feet while waiting for her response.
“Nothing, anything...” Everything, Hermione thought, looking down at her feet. No one at home knew about the baby yet, for she had wanted Charlie to know first. She thought Ginny suspected something, but she'd have nargles once she found out who the father was, then she'd be happy to have a niece or nephew to spoil.
Nothing.... Her words had Charlie feeling shocked again, and supposing he should even feel grateful she had told him about it. Anything... had him looking at Hermione again, his eyes searching her face for what she truly wanted from him. He was going to be a father, and his parents were not going to be happy at how this all came about. This was not something he had expected to hear from her, or anyone else for that matter. In the future maybe, but right now he just felt gobsmacked.
Hermione watched his face after looking back up. His silence made her wary and unsure, and she clutched at the material inside her pockets to keep her hands steady. “Charlie?” she uttered finally, her voice wavering slightly. Everything in her said to run, for she'd done what she felt she had to do, but she couldn't. Not yet at least, her baby, their baby deserved a chance at having his father in his life.
“Yeah,” Charlie ran his hand through his hair again, trying to think of what to say again. So far his word to her had been anything but stellar, but everything he knew about Hermione made him realize this was no dream- it was very real. “I'm not sure- I don't know-” He began to say, but shook his head slightly.
Charlie never saw the wand that came out of her pocket, barely heard the spell she casted but definitely felt the sharp rock bite into his back as he landed hard on the ground a few feet off from where they'd been standing.
“Ruddy hell,” Charlie whispered to himself, and looked into her face. He remembered his mum pregnant with Ginny, and knew he'd said the wrong thing. “Hermione-” he tried to say again, but her upheld hand stopped him.
“You don't have to do anything, Charlie. Nothing- I just came here to tell you.” Hermione retorted, a small part of her heart breaking into pieces. The suddenly loud sound of her Apparation spell had him jumping up, and he could only stare at the now empty spot she'd been standing in moments before.
“Fabulous,” Charlie muttered to himself, “You handled that well.” He looked up towards the workstation, and heaved a sigh. Both of his hands weaved through his hair, and he headed up towards it. It was time to go home, and face the music his family would make over this. Facing Molly Weasley was going to be sight worse than facing Hermione again. He just wasn't going to walk away.
Hermione arrived back at The Burrow moments later, her hand still wiping at the tears flowing from her eyes. “Overreacting chit,” she mumbled to herself, and looked around at the garden she stood in. Her plans had never including shooting a spell off at him, just telling him. But what had she truly expected? Words of undying love and acceptance? Her hand reached down to comfort the flutters she felt in the small swell of her belly. Too soon the bump beneath her shirt would be recognizable for what it was, and she still didn't know how to answer any of the questions that would come because of it.
“Hermione!” Ginny called from the open door to the kitchen, and Hermione quickly turned away to compose herself before her friend got to her. “Mum wants to know-” Ginny said as she walked, but stopped when she got to Hermione's side. “What's wrong?” Her hand touched Hermione's arm, and her head tilted to the side in worry.
“Oh everything,” Hermione said with a sigh. She couldn't hide it much longer, and secrets from Ginny had never settled well with her. Her eyes looked into her friend's, and she felt her knees knock slightly together. Whether it was fear or hormones she had no clue, “I'm-”
“Hey you two!” Harry called from the doorway, leaning up against the frame with his arms folded slightly. “Dinner's ready and Mrs Weasley said to hurry up.” Even from the distance both girls could see his grin and the slight tapping of his finger on his arm.
“I'll tell you later,” Hermione told Ginny, almost glad for the interruption. She wasn't sure how to tell any of them, or even how much. Even if they were family to this baby, if Charlie was going to deny it, she would raise him on her own. Though the suspicious red hair may give the child away as a Weasley anyhow.
“You'd better,” Ginny replied, her arm looping through Hermione's before walking up to Harry at the door. He kissed her forehead lightly before slipping his own through hers.
“Sit down, sit down,” Molly told them all as they arrived into the kitchen. Hermione shrugged off her jacket and hung it on the back of the chair.
Hermione had almost forgotten just what it was like at a dinner at The Burrow, for she'd been avoiding the place for months- since New Year's Day. The clink of china as food was passed around and the chatter made her smile, realizing just how much she'd missed it all. The smells though had her stomach slightly rolling, and she passed most of the bowls without taking much of anything.
Molly settled into her chair across from Arthur's at the foot of the table, her eyes going over them all with a smile on her face. They stopped at Hermione, and she looked at the plate before the young woman. There was hardly anything on it, and then up to Hermione's face. The girl looks so peaky! she thought to herself, and then continued on around the table.
Hermione saw the looks Molly had given her plate, and picked up her fork to begin to eat. Normally anything that Mrs Weasley fixed was delicious, but today everything tasted like sawdust to her. Her stomach protested again, and she laid her fork beside her plate.
“Everything okay, Hermione?” Molly asked her, both her face and voice held concern for the young witch she considered close to a second daughter.
Hermione's eyes widened, her head nodding. “I'm fine,” she tried to reply, but stood up from the table with her hand covering her mouth. She couldn't fight it anymore, and she ran towards the bathroom.
“Charlie, it's a might inconvenient for you to leave right now,” his supervisor said, his finger tapping on the desk he sat behind. “You know Matilda won't let anyone else but you near her youngling for a few more weeks.” he reminded the wizard in front of him. He noted well though the look of desperation that Charlie wore all over his face.
Charlie looked at Winston, and paced a small circle before the desk before turning to look back at his boss. For the first time in years his focus was not on his work but for the young woman who had just fled from him after dropping a bomb of news on him. “Dragons have been caring for their young on their own for years now, Win. I am needed at home- and I have to go.” he told Winston, his eyes focused on the other's face. “If my leaving means my position, than so be it.”
“Surely there isn't anything that important you can't wait a few more-” Winston replied, shifting in his chair to lean forward to look at Charlie. During the War he'd given Charlie a lot of time away to handle things there, but now it was over. Young Weasley had always been a dedicated handler, putting the dragons in his care before most everything.
“Fire me then Win,” Charlie interrupted, turning to walk to the office's door. “I'm going to be a father- and I'm needed there,” he continued, walking out the door.
Charlie entered the Burrow knowing it was dinner time. He only hoped someone there had the answers he sought. He hadn't a clue where Hermione lived, but he knew Ginny or his mum would know. Possibly the twins or Ron, but he didn't know who was there. He entered the kitchen and looked at the table.
“Charlie!” Molly exclaimed, standing up to give her second oldest son a hug. “Your hair,” she made a tsking sound but dragged him towards his customary chair at the table. He settled into it with a sigh, knowing there was no use in fighting his mum. His head nodded at his father and Harry, and then he looked at his mum.
“Mum, Ginny,” Charlie looked at his sister. “I need to know-” he continued, but stopped when the person of his searched stepped into the room. He winced as her face whitened after seeing him, and he stood up to walk over to her.
“We need to talk, Hermione,” Charlie said to her, taking her hand in his. “No running away this time.”
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