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Chapter 3 : Our Announcement
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Charlie wanted to tighten his hand around Hermione's but instead let her slip it out from his own. He was here, she was here and right now it would have to be enough. He didn't regret his impulsive return to The Burrow one bit, “Later then,” he whispered back, and turned to look at his family. His father's head was tilted in a questioning look, and his mum looked liked she had the questions ready to pop from her mouth. Ginny though had a look that didn't question, but just nodded her head at him as if a few answers had come to her that moment.
“Come back to the table, you two,” Molly said, her original words stopped by a gentle look from her husband. “Dinner is getting cold, and I'm sure you both are hungry.” she added, and went back to her chair.
Charlie held out the chair Hermione had been sitting in and gently pushed it in for her after she sat down. His chair was next to hers and his father's and he looked around. He still felt awkward, and the looks his mother gave him made him want to sink into the seat and hide beneath the table. No one in this world could make him feel like he was five years old again and guilty of drawing on the walls like Molly Weasley could. Charlie loved her, but she still hadn't let go of her protective instincts with him and at times he wished she would.
“Charlie,” Arthur said, his hand setting down a glass of pumpkin juice. He looked at his son, and tapped his finger on the glass. “What brings you home?” he asked.
Charlie's head turned from looking at Ginny to his dad, her small nod of understanding actually making him feel better. His father's question on the other hand, had him wondering just how much to say. “I needed some time at home,” he replied, and his eyes looked at Hermione, his very thoughts betraying him unconsciously.
“Well it's nice having you home,” Arthur continued, giving Molly a nod of his head when her mouth opened to speak.
“I'm thinking of-” Charlie began to say but stopped when Hermione stood up again, her hand covering her mouth. “Hermione?” he said with concern, pushing his chair back to stand. Without a word, Hermione ran towards the kitchen's archway and out towards the upstairs.
“Charlie Weasley,” Molly said after watching both of them, ignoring the looks from Arthur. “Just what is going on here?” she asked, her voice rising with each word. “Hermione arrives looking peaky, and then-”
“Mum please!” Charlie said, his eyes going from his mother to where Hermione disappeared to, not sure which he should pay attention to more.
“There is something going on here!” Molly said, and Charlie was reminded of the Howlers that he had received a few time at Hogwarts, for her voice matched the last one to a tee. He winced as he stood up, and headed for the archway to follow Hermione. “Charlie, tell me what's going on!”
Charlie turned to look at his mother, “Mum, I will soon,” he promised her, his hand going to the back of his neck to rub at it. The pause had given him time to think of where Hermione could be, and he sighed. “I'll be back!”
“Wait!” Molly called out, starting to follow him. A slight cough stopped her in mid-step, and she turned to look at her husband.
“Molly, I think whatever is going on is best handled by the two of them,” Arthur said, his eyebrow arching in thought. What he suspected certainly didn't please him, but both he and Molly had been young once. He was just glad none of their children had ever bothered to count the months between their wedding and Bill's own birthday.
Molly sat back down, her eyes glued to the doorway. In her mind she gave them some time, and then she was going to find out just what was going.
Charlie walked through the hall and up the stairs to the middle floor of The Burrow. He walked down that hallway to the end, and looked at the door to the bathroom his mum had designated just for the woman folk of the family. He'd always hated that as a child, for it left him, his brothers and his father to share the other two. Mornings were chaotic, an invariably he'd miss his time in there at least once a week.
He stared at it, his eyes focusing on the paint spots the twins had created when they were younger and had tried to terrorize Ginny into letting them in. Should he call out? Should he knock? Should he walk in? All ran through his head, the 'should he just walk away' he threw out before it took a firm hold in his mind.
Charlie sighed, and took the final few steps to reach the door. His hand raised, and as he tapped on it he called out, “Hermione?” and the door slowly creaked open. Seems the Fates had decided all three actions were the best, and he cautiously peeked in.
Hermione looked up from her spot on the floor, a finger rubbing at the corner of her mouth. The heaving that had been caused by the smells and her nerves had finally calmed, and she let her head rest against the flower patterned wallpaper. She sighed at seeing Charlie's face peeking in, and her eyes closed. Somehow sitting on a bathroom floor after a good case of morning sickness in the evening didn't make her feel like she was bringing out the best light in her. “Hi Charlie,” she muttered finally, and looked back at him.
“May I please come in?” Charlie asked, unsureness laced into his voice with concern. Her head nodded, and he stepped over the threshold. The odd thought of some male repellent spell going off hit him when his foot touched the other side, but he still continued. Nothing.... no bells, no canaries or bats... Ginny and mum lied all those years ago, he thought, and then continued over to Hermione's side, sliding down the wall until he sat next to her on the floor.
Hermione turned her head to look at him, “Why did you come back, Charlie?” she asked him, her words echoing his father's. Her fingers dug restlessly into the pile of the carpet she sat on.
“For one,” Charlie replied, his tone low to keep it traveling through the house. He shifted closer to her, and covered her hand with his. “We really do need to talk,” Her hand stopped moving as his wrapped around it, and she looked down at them. “I'm not good with words, love. I'm too used to being alone with dragons- and they don't talk back, just blast with fire when they aren't happy.” He pulled her closer, and shifted her until she was on his lap. “So.... bear with me,” His hand reached up and brushed a curl back from her face.
“Charlie,” Hermione replied, her head bowing again. His very presence here, his very touch rekindled the feelings she had for him and the nervousness the whole matter between them created. His hand on her chin had her looking up once more, brown eyes meeting his blue ones. “I don't know what to do,” she admitted finally, her head laying on his shoulder.
“Well Hermione,” His hand touched her stomach, the soft swell there making it all the more real to him than words ever could. His hand splayed across it, his thumb making unconsciously soothing movements, “I think we're going to have a baby.”
“Understatement of the year,” Hermione's small slap on his arm hardly stung, and her drew her closer; his lips brushing her forehead. For the first time that day she realized he wasn't going to just walk away, and she felt the comfort and support his arms offered.
“Now that we have that decided-” Charlie began to say, but at the sound of the door further creaking open he stopped and looked up at the opening. He wanted to groan in frustration, but instead his arms only pulled Hermione closer.
“Now I know there is something wrong!” Molly Weasley said as she stared at the two of them, Ginny standing behind her with a small frown of apology on her face. Harry slid in beside her, and arched a brow silently over his glasses.
“Now Molly-” Arthur began to say when he arrived, and all six of them were crowded into the small bathroom. “This could have waited,” he continued with a sigh, and his head shook slightly before he touched her arm.
“Arthur, just look at them!” Molly's voice had risen again, and Charlie's eyes winced at the sound bouncing off the walls. Hermione made to stand up, but his arm tightened around her.
“Now or never,” Charlie whispered to her, looking into her eyes. “Me or you?” he continued, knowing his mum wouldn't wait any longer. “Together, don't forget- I am here,” he said a little bit louder, his gaze going back to his parents. He could tell by the look in his dad's eyes he'd already figured it all out, and how his mother hadn't he couldn't understand.
Harry looked at his closest friend in puzzlement, his green eyes blinking as he looked at them both. When Ron and Hermione had broken up all those months ago, and Hermione had just shrugged off the hurt when he'd started going out with Luna, he'd let it go. Now, this. He wasn't sure what to make of it, but Ginny's calmness over it all had kept him quiet.
“You,” Charlie heard Hermione's whisper, and he nodded. He supposed he should take the brunt of his mother's ire, and he looked up at her. He felt Hermione's hand cover the one that touched the baby bump, and he grinned.
“Mum, Dad,” Charlie began, and then looked at Ginny. The look in his baby sister's eyes had him cringing, for she had seen the hands together also. Fabulous, his mind droned, and he took a deep breath. Letting it slowly, “Well.....” He began, but stopped. This was in no way a conventional announcement, and his face turned a shade paler.
“Just say it Charlie,” Ginny said, her hand on Harry's arm. Her encouragement hardly helped, and his jaw snapped shut tightly.
“Charlie and I are having a baby,” Hermione said, her eyes rolling slightly.
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