A/N: Many thanks to Krissy for looking this over. This was originally written for the Charlie ficathon comment fest on LJ. Enjoy!
Warnings: AU, Angst, Wartime
Disclaimer: JKR owns the world & characters of Harry Potter, not me. I'm not making any money from the posting of this story.
Hermione sipped at her hot chocolate, the wind whipping outside of the small house she was stuck inside. She closed her eyes, pushing away the dark thoughts that threatened to cloud her mind.
"Can't sleep either?"
She relaxed slightly at the sound of his voice. "No," she whispered. "The storm is too loud."
Charlie came and took a seat next to her on the couch. "Yeah, I can hear the branches cracking from the wind."
"Mmm," she murmured. Her heart thudded at Charlie's closeness. During their time together alone in the safe house, she had grown more and more attracted to Charlie. The wizard seemed to always know what to say at the right moment. He could comfort her with a simple glance.
"I'm sorry," Hermione mumbled, breaking the silence. "I know you'd much rather be out there fighting."
"Hermione, how many times do I need to tell you?" Charlie asked, his voice low and weary. "Dumbledore assigned me as your guardian. I don't mind being the one to protect you." He reached over and put his arm around her. "Sure, being cooped up in this house sucks, but I'd rather it be with you than anyone else."
Hermione's heart raced. She turned, looking at him from the corner of her eye. "Do you mean that?"
"I do," Charlie said firmly, his eyes looking at her lips for a moment before returning her gaze. "Do you…" he trailed off.
"Yes?" she asked quietly.
"Would you mind if I kissed you, Hermione?" he asked, cheeks turning red in embarrassment. "If you do, we can forget I ever asked. I know I'm not much, but I can't—"
Hermione cut him off by pressing her lips against his. His lips were slightly chapped, but they felt as if they fit against her own perfectly. She pulled away after a few seconds, smiling happily. "You can kiss me any time you want, Charlie Weasley."
"Any time?" he asked, his voice taking on a huskier tone.
"Any time," Hermione repeated, captivated by Charlie's intense gaze. "Except for right now," she said, laughing when a look of disappointment crossed his features. "I want to finish my hot chocolate," she explained, holding up her mug.
"Ah, yes, well, that's fine," Charlie said, standing and stretching upwards. "Think I'll make myself a mug as well. Then we can snuggle in front of the fire and listen to the storm."
"Sounds good to me," Hermione agreed, knowing there wasn't much else the two of them could do. She watched Charlie as he set about making his hot chocolate, her heart racing in happiness. It seemed that Charlie finally returned her feelings.
"Here we are," Charlie said, resuming his place on the couch next to her. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and smiled as she snuggled closer. "Perfect."
"Do you think the war will be over soon?" she asked quietly.
"Yes, and then I'll take you on a proper date, I promise."
Hermione beamed at his words. "Deal."