Hermione could imagine there were women out there who woke up beautifully, hair splayed gently over their pillow, all pink cheeked and lips parted. She could even imagine the way their adoring wizards would peek through sleepy lids and watch those women in admiration.

She had to imagine these scenes, because in her very limited experiences, every wizard who had woken up next to here did so with an amused smirk on his face while taking in the nest of wild curls that somehow grew in the night like a nocturnal beast.

This morning was no different. Because of course, it wasn't.

Hermione yawned, reaching her arms up high over her head and stretched the sleep from her bones. It wasn't a dainty little yawn, but a howl that ended in a shiver shimmying up her spine. When her head lulled to the side, and as she realised she was bare breasted and sharing a cot with Charlie Weasley, the resounding shriek was enough to scare a Niffler from a Gringotts Vault.

"Morning, Duckie." Charlie's grin nearly split his face in two as his finger lifted to drag an invisible line from the hollow at her throat and down the valley of her breasts.

Hermione swatted at him with an affronted brow, and scrambled to cover her chest with the threadbare blanket draped over their waists.

"Are you getting shy now? It's a little late for that," Charlie cooed with a scrunched nose. He rolled on top of her, caging her between his forearms and staring down at her with all that admiration she'd imagined most witches woke up to.

"I'm not shy," she scowled. "I'm just naked. And you're… well, you're Charlie."

"Lucky duck," he smirked and tugged the blanket from her grasp and for some unknown reason, she let him.

Her teeth sunk into her bottom lip as his gaze travelled down her body and one hand slid down her side, catching the back of her knee and hitching it on the sturdy bone at his hip. "We really shouldn't," she breathed, her chest heaving. His lips dipped down and latched onto the thin skin at the base of her jaw. "Dragons. Treasure. Things of that nature."

Charlie's hands skimmed her hip bone and traced a curling line to her centre, dipping into her wetness. "They can wait, yeah?" He smiled against her flesh.

Hermione whimpered as his fingers sank into her, curling inside her and her lower back arched off the cot to meet him.

This was wrong. It had to be wrong. She knew this, because nothing that felt this good could be anything but sinful.

"Last night," she panted, "It was just a one-off. We shouldn't be doing th— Ooooooh."

"Then tell me to stop, Duckie." His voice vibrated against her throat and she clenched her eyes shut as his erection pressed against her thigh.

A few seconds passed and when she said nothing, she felt him smirk before he left a kiss on her collarbone, withdrawing his fingers from her and settling between her thighs.

He sank into her painfully slowly, filling her inch by inch. Everything felt different in the light of morning, and now, trapped between his arms as he studied her face, her eyes flickered closed in a rush of sensation.

He pumped into her, hitching her knee up higher and sliding against a spot inside her that made her gasp. His fingers found her breasts, kneading and tugging at her nipples until she was moaning.

His touch was different now that his injury had vanished and his skilled hands roamed over her with a desperate need. Her hands slid across the ruby smattering of chest hair between his pecks and settled on his shoulders as he thrust into her; one hand sliding between them to rub her clit.

"Charlie," she whimpered, her fingers threading through his hair and tugging lightly.

At the sound of his name on her lips he collapsed on top of her, burying himself inside her deeper still. Hermione's whimpers turned to moans as the walls of her sex quickened and clenched down on him.

His mouth latched onto her shoulders, trailing to the tops of her breasts all while his hands gripped the flesh of her bum. As she found her release, he let out a strangled groan and followed her, as if he had simply been waiting for the cry of her orgasm to fill the tent so he could.

He slowed on top of her, his breath labored as their chests bumped together.

"Damn, Duckie," he panted and she bit back a smile as she stared at the ceiling of their tent.


Hermione stumbled from the tent, buttoning her chambray shirt and tucking it in her shorts with clumsy fingers. Blinking frantically, she studied the space they'd landed in and upon seeing it fresh light, she froze.

Absently, she heard Charlie emerge from the tent, but she couldn't be bothered to turn from the sight over the cliff. Rows upon rows of evergreen trees fringed the hills below her.

She couldn't imagine a more beautiful sight in all the world.

Charlie stood next to her, flicking his chin to toss the air out of his eyes while buttoning his trousers. She tore her eyes from the horizon when she noticed he'd conveniently left his shirt in the tent.

"Do you do that on purpose?" She rolled her eyes.

"What?"

Hermione offered him a withering glare. "You're somehow always without your shirt."

"Oh. That." He smirked, flexing his muscles in her direction. "It's freeing, Duckie. You should it. Maybe now?" His thick brow arched at her and she shoved him away from her, turning back to the sprawling landscape at their feet.

"It's no wonder you love Romania. It's breathtaking." Hermione spoke with reverence. "I could get used to views like this."

"So could I."

She peeked over to find him staring at her, his eyes dancing with playful mischief. "You're ridiculous. And half naked. We need to get started on the day; you've distracted me quite enough."

Charlie's brow pulled together and he clutched her into a familiar embrace, capturing her in a quick kiss before pulling back to stare at her. "Look at you. Ready to take on a Dragon before breakfast. Who could ever think you belonged anywhere other than Gryffindor?"


Her shoes slid in the wet mud as she traversed down the steep slope of the mountain, and one time too many she caught her hands on the vines covering the side of the mountain to keep her from rolling down like a wheel.

"Come on, Duckie." Charlie reached his open palm for hers and with an annoyed groan, she took it, sighing when her feet hit level ground. With a flick of her wand, she vanished the mud from her boots and shins.

Charlie studied her, his brows pulled low. "Remember, move quickly. Make decisions and stick to them. The time it takes you to second guess yourself could be the difference between life and death."

Hermione nodded as he spoke, trying to plan out her movements in any possible situation that she might find herself in. She hoped some of it would come back like a muscle memory. There had been times when her instincts had saved her life; here's hoping they would again. She filled her mind with spells that might prove useful, silently categorizing them according to what she was most likely to need.

"If we are in a place that we can cast simultaneously – which is near impossible – there is a spell that can lull a dragon into sleep. It requires a great deal of magic and I normally wouldn't attempt it with just the two of us, but on the off chance it presents itself, it'll be good to know. The wand movement is like this," he instructed, taking a dueling stance and flourishing his wand in a large circle before piercing it with the tip of his wand. "Reliquanium."

Hermione mimicked his stance, and perfectly recreated the wand movements. That, of course, that didn't stop Charlie from positioning his body behind her. His hand trailed up her side and down her forearm and he pressed his body into her.

"You're a fast learner," he mumbled into her curls before sweeping them off her neck, planting a kiss under her ear.

"Yes, well, I normally don't have an obnoxious wizard feeling me up when I'm learning new spells. I'd be much quicker if you stopped." She thrust her bum into him suddenly, knocking him off balance,earning a laugh from deep in his belly.

They hiked the remainder in near silence, while Hermione's nerves mounted with every passing minute. Her previous experiences with dragons really hadn't lent her much time to prepare or overthink the situation. This alternative was dreadful.

Before long, they rounded the cliffside where the mouth of the cave appeared and Hermione took a fortifying breath as they pulled their wands.

"There's a chance she's sleeping. Keep quiet and remember what I told you, yeah?" For the first time since she'd arrived, Charlie looked worried. His usually clear blue eyes were clouded and dark and his mouth was pulled into a tight line.

"We got this, right?" Hermione said, assuring herself more than anything.

"We got this, Duckie."

They moved silently into the cave, and Hermione's gaze flickered back and forth from the dark space in front of them to her feet, careful to avoid rocks or dips that might cause her to stumble. There was a thrumming of water echoing off the slated walls of the cave and she was sure that if she listened close enough, her heartbeat could be heard too.

Charlie led them, moving with a feral grace that reminded her of a cat. Hermione felt a stab of jealousy watching him as he slid from step to step with his wand at his side. She could plausibly assume that he didn't suffer the same crippling insecurities Hermione often did.

Each step carried them deeper into the belly of the cave and her eyes adjusted to the darkness quickly, though she still wished she had a lumos or a lantern to ease the strain.

"Duckie," Charlie whispered, and pointed towards the running water at their feet. She stepped next to him and followed his instruction; her breath leaving her in a sharp huff when her eyes settled on the shiny golden coins inches beneath the waters surface.

She knelt, plucking a coin from the water and examining it.

"Does this mean we're in the right place?" She peeked up at him and found that he was staring further into the cave, his mouth hanging open slightly.

"I definitely think it means we are in the right place."

The adrenaline coursing through her surged as her eyes focused on the mounds of glittering gold and sparkling gemstones thirty feet in front of them. Running water poured from the rock, pooling in the center with the treasure was piled.

"Oh my god," she breathed, dropping the coin in the water with a plunk.

"Have you ever seen anything like this in your life?" he asked in a low voice, entranced.

"Yes," she gulped, remembering the gemini curse of Bellatrix Lestrange's vault. "But it doesn't compare."

From the darkness, two glowing white spheres appeared and Hermione blinked as she studied them, taking a few steps forward. "Are those the orbs?" she mused.

"No." Something about the timber of his voice, sent a chill rushing across her skin and she whipped around to study his face. "That's her. If she flames, duck. If she steps out, cast the spell. She sees us." His adam apple bobbed in his throat with a final gulp and with her wand trembling in her hand, Hermione turned back towards the dragon laying in wait.

The moment stretched on for far too long; that or the lethal cocktail of fear and adrenaline in her system slowed time altogether.

It was just a spark, just a barely there light that bloomed and surged forward. Crimson fire swelled violently in the confined space and Hermione leapt for a nearby boulder, crouching behind it.

Charlie slammed into her, pressing her further into the rock with his back and casting a powerful bubble shield around them and the surrounding rock. Fire pelted against it and Hermione could feel the heat of it on her skin.

As quickly as the fire storm had appeared, it vanished. The hot rock and Hermione's panting the only evidence of its existence.

Charlie's rough hands gripped her arms and spun her until her back was pressed against the boulder. Hermione stiffened as she heard the grating of the dragons talons against rock."She's about to get pissed," he rushed. "The shrieks will make your ears bleed in this small of a space – literally. I'm going to muffle the noise, but you won't be able to hear me very well, okay?"

Hermione nodded frantically, her eyes blown wide as she searched the darkness, waiting for the white eyes to appear in the darkness again.

"Look for my signal to cast or run, Duckie." The concern painted plainly on Charlie's face sobered her and she felt her throat tighten uncomfortably as tears welled in her eyes. When he lifted his wand to her ear, she nearly stopped him. She couldn't lose two senses. Her sight was compromised by the cave and now she'd be deafened by his spell but before she could speak, the ambient noise was dulled.

Charlie cast on himself and then made some intricate hand signals that she couldn't understand and she scowled at him as he did so. This was exactly the sort of thing that would have been helpful to know before they found themselves in the dragon's lair.

He broke into swift movement and she followed close on his heels, hugging the wall towards the opening.

Once at the edge of the clearing, Hermione caught sight of the giant beast as it slid from its hiding spot beyond the rock. It was nothing like the dragons she'd seen during the Triwizard Tournament; nor the emaciated and nearly blind creature in the belly of Gringotts, although there were some stark similarities between the two.

This dragon was magnificent to behold: sparkling opal skin and iridescent pearly eyes that seemed as if they saw everything and nothing simultaneously. Her mind ran through the research she'd done prior to starting this doomed expedition.

Antipodean Opaleye: Native to New Zealand, has since migrated but prefers valleys and mountains when choosing a nest.

That's it. That's all she'd written about their new adversary and she mentally berated herself for not having looked more thoroughly into the different breeds. Perhaps if she had she would have more clues to its strengths and weaknesses.

Charlie whipped back to face her, his mouth in a firm line and he pointed just near the dragon's tail. A chest of glistening stones nestled in the curl of her tail and with a sharp gesture, he commanded her to stay put and then pointed strangely to his back. Before she could object, Charlie took off like a snitch. He sliced through the air and when the dragon turned on him, Hermione's breath caught in her throat.

She didn't have time to think as she shot out behind him, casting Bombarda near the opposite cave wall in an attempt to distract the dragon from Charlie's sharp movements.

Even through the muffled sound of the spell, the shriek that filled the cave brought Hermione to her knees in the shallow water filling the room. She clawed at her ears, her screams joining the dragons cry until it finally ended.

Everything to follow happened as in a haze: Charlie and the Dragon froze, both of their gazes locked on her and she raised her wand towards the Dragon, despite Charlie's frantic arm waving behind her. The nostrils of the winged beast flared, small puffs of smoke appearing with every breath.

Her heart slammed against her ribs and she remembered Charlie's instructions. Move quickly and with purpose. Don't hesitate. Watch the tail.

Her instincts took over and she ran on clumsy feet towards the back wall of the cave, water splashing up to soak her as she did. There were several tunnels that she could dart in if needed for cover and a large ledge that dropped off near the stones.

Get the orbs. Get in a safe spot. Get out.

Those were the only objectives now and before she could reach the chest, she noticed Charlie's wand pointed at her, an angry snarl on his face. She felt his magic strike her chest and it left her breathless as it lifted and shot her sharply to the left. In the air, she felt the whoosh of the dragon's tail narrowly miss her, landing sharply where she had been running just moments before.

She landed in a clatter of gold coins and rock, feeling the crunch of several bones as she rolled and toppled over the ledge on the back wall. Her wand fell from her grasp and she clutched the edge of the cliff with shaking fingers.

Hermione's nails clawed into the gravely rock as she tried to pull herself up and she spied her wand just inches from her. Her guttural scream fell on deaf ears as Charlie fought the dragon just feet from where she struggled to pull herself up.

The dragon's tail sliced yet again through the air, hitting a pile of coins and gems that went flying through the air. When they slammed into her face and hands, her grasp gave out and she stumbled down the steep ledge. Rocks cut into her cheek and arms, and there was a sickening crunch of bone in her ankle as she hit a plateau some fifteen feet down.

Her tumble finally ceased and she laid on her back, coughing through bruised ribs, wiping the blood and dirt from her eyes. With a relieved sigh, sound returned to her ears and she heard Charlie's voice shout down to her, even though he remained out of sight.

"I'm coming, Duckie! Hold tight!"

Groaning, she crawled to the side of the rocky space and rested her back against the water trickling down.

"Stupid, no good, rotten Weasley." With a cough, Hermione clutched at her bruised abdomen, her hands and face were caked with dirt and ash and if she listened hard enough, she thought her breathing might be a bit haggard. "By far my least favorite Weasley," she reasoned with a firm twitch of her neck, wincing at her strained muscles. She tried to rotate her ankle and gasped as pain surged through the joint.

Above her head, billowing ruby colored flames filled the air and she could feel the heat on her face.

"Charlie!" she shouted once the flames had dwindled. "Charlie Weasley!"

Her fingers dug into her side as the pain of her scream stabbed into her flesh, hot tears sliding down her cheeks as she was met with a crushing silence.

Her eyes darted about, searching for something. Anything…

As if on cue, her heart leapt of its own accord when he came into view, riding a burned broomstick. He was somehow grinning as he fought to maintain control of his singed as it sputtered down the side of the ledge. He pulled up hard as he approached her and the balance was compromised and he tumbled the remaining few feet, crashing into her with an oof.

"You idiot!" Hermione slapped at him before wiping happy tears from her face and letting out a broken laugh.

"I told you not to call me that, Duckie." He smiled, pushing up to sitting and examining her. He didn't wait for permission as he treated her wounds roughly, and she grit her teeth together to keep from screeching. It was nothing more than a field treatment, not enough to take the pain away but enough that at least her ankle wasn't shattered and her ribs felt only minorly offended.

Charlie reached into his back pocket and offered her wand, which she snatched greedily, hugging it to her chest like a lost lover.

"I have a solution," he said firmly, eyes intent on her face.

"Thank goodness," she breathed in relief.

"It involves fire."

"Absolutely not." Her face narrowed and she could hear the movements of their dragon above their heads.

Charlie chuckled, his perfect teeth flashing in the dim light of the cave. "Opaleyes are scared of fire. Quite ironic, isn't it? As we exit, I need to you light small Incendios behind us, enough to keep her caged in on herself."

"You want me to light the cave on fire, while we are in it, as we fly out a broom that was set on fire twelve hours ago and can barely fly?" Hermione's eyes were wide in disbelief. Surely she had heard incorrectly and he would present a logical solution any moment.

Charlie's head tilted back and forth. "Essentially."

"What about the stones, we still have to—"

"Forget the stones, Duckie."

"We can't! That's the whole reason we're here. There's a way, I know there is—"

"No." Hermione's gaze flickered up to his. "It's not worth your life. We need a bigger team to get this dragon down and the cave is way smaller than I thought it would be for a dragon that size. We can't do this alone and if we want a chance at retrieving them at all, we need to be alive to do so. That's an order, Hermione. Leave the stones."

Hermione's jaw set tightly but she nodded in agreement. Charlie pushed to standing and held his hand out for her before tugging her roughly to her feet and sliding his broom between his legs.

With a silent prayer Hermione followed suit, pressing herself into him and wrapping her non-wand arm around his middle.

If she hated brooms before, she hated them exponentially more now as the one they found themselves on barely worked. It jostled them from side to side, it's speed compromised by the burned bristles behind them.

"Let's get the fuck outta here," Charlie called over his shoulder before really taking off.

They rounded the ledge and Hermione spied the dragon, curled in on itself near the far wall. Her scaly features were pulled tight and although no expression was given through her blank eyes, Hermione felt a chill spread through her.

"Incendio." Hermione cast near the beast's front claws and for all the dragon's previous grace, she jumped fearfully away from the flame. The curly haired witch felt a pain settle in her heart as she remembered the traumatised dragon from Gringotts.

"Again, Duckie! She's fine. Keep casting!" Charlie was shouting as he tried to reign in the broom that wanted to crash them into the sides of the cave.

With a shaking voice, Hermione cast it again and again: caging the dragon in small flames that fizzled quickly without anything to latch onto. She couldn't help a final glance at the stones and she bit into her lip, considering how quickly she could summon them to her while maintaining the flames.

"Don't even think about it," Charlie growled, as if he could hear her thoughts.

They were approaching the edge of the cave and her chances were running out. With renewed vigor, she shot out a succession of flames towards the dragon and pointed the tip of her wand towards the stones.

"Accio!" she cried, her screams echoing off the walls.

"Dammit, Duckie!" she heard Charlie grumble as the chest of stones flew through the air.

The flames around the dragon died out and she advanced a few heavy steps towards them, whipping her head from side to side before letting out an ear piercing screech.

Hermione grasped at the chest and the broom buckled under the weight, sputtering and faltering as they crashed into the wet grass just outside the cave.

They whipped towards the entrance as vibrant flames barreled towards them. "Protego!" They cast in unison, their arms raised high to hold the shield in place as the fire crashed against it. Their force eventually lessened, but it was only when they died that Hermione felt confident enough to drop her shield charm and make a mad dash for the scattered stones. She collected, summoned and shrank them with a speed she didn't know she possessed, storing them in her bag.

"She's rallying, Duckie," Charlie called out, an unmistakable edge to his voice and Hermione threw herself in her task until Charlie snatched her wrist. "Time to go!"

Hermione didn't argue with him as they ran, the ground trembling as the dragon emerged from its nest.

Their hands locked and in a swirl of magic, they Disapparated, appearing on the ledge above the cave where they had the spent the night. As their feet planted into the soft soil, they saw the Opaleye take off into flight, it's cries echoing off the mountains. Hermione stumbled back as the whoosh of air from the dragon's wings slammed into her, a wave of relief surging through her body.

Charlie turned on her, shaking his head at her and sucking on his tongue. "I told you to forget about the stones."

Hermione shrugged, chest heaving. "I knew I could do it. So I did."

He snorted, rolling his eyes and walking up to wrap his arms around her waist. "You're crazy."

"Maybe," she smiled, lifting onto her toes to place a kiss against the corner of his mouth. "Now–" Hermione held her bag up for inspection. "–The fun part."

"What? This wasn't fun?" He scoffed as if she'd offended him.

"Hardly. But returning a child's magic? That is my kind of fun." Hermione's eyes sparkled as she peeked in the bag, small glittering pebbles staring back at her.


EPILOGUE


Hermione grinned from where she stood at the side of the village center. She was leaning against a little wobbly house with her arms crossed in front of her, staring at the Romanian Minister of Magic as he held out a glittering stone. The girl who reached out to touch it couldn't have been more than ten. She had wide curious brown eyes and a shaking hand and when her fingertips brushed the stone surface, she bristled as her magic surged into her for the first time. The child's toothy grin as it spread across her face while she stared at her hand, now laced with magic.

It made everything, everything, worth it.

"You're incredible, you know?" Charlie's voice in her ear made her jump and she swatted at the burly wizard behind her.

"I can't believe we pulled it off." Hermione shook her head, curls bouncing around her face and she returned her gaze to the commotion in the center of the village. "Will the dragon be alright?"

"We have a team ready to get back up there in a few weeks and extricate her. She'll be placed in the sanctuary until we can release her near somewhere more heavy with magic. She'll be alright, Duckie."

Hermione groaned and tore her eyes from the line of people ready to retrieve their magic. "You've seen me naked. You can't call me 'Duckie' anymore."

"I think because I've seen you naked, I should be able to call you 'Duckie'." His smug grin as his eyes slid down her very clothed body made her teeth grind.

"You're insufferable, you know that?"

"Yes, I do know that. Besides, I tried to tell you before, Duckie doesn't mean what you think it does." His hands twisted behind her lower back and he tugged her until they were bumping chests.

Hermione was still unamused as she arched a brow up at him. "What does it mean then, if I may ask?"

Charlie's face dipped down next to her ear, his breath brushing the curls against her neck and causing her to giggle. "Duckie means someone innocent. Someone I want very much to corrupt with my wicked, wicked ways." His hand slid down to squeeze her bum as he spoke and the curly haired witch in his arms felt a fevered blush spread across her chest and neck.

She laughed, pushing him away from her and pursing her lips as she turned back to the stones. "You're an idiot."

"Well, you're still my Duckie." His arms wrapped around her once more, his chin settling on her shoulder as they watched on together. "So, back to the belly of the Ministry for you then, Unspeakable Granger?"

Hermione's lips pulled into a crooked smile and she rested back into him. "No, actually. I put in my resignation. After chasing a dragon down, it'd be horribly bland to return to my desk."

He tensed behind her. "You can't resign from being an Unspeakable."

"Sure you can. I have to forfeit some of my memories about the department and I had to sign some non-disclosure agreements… but, it's done."

"Well, if anyone can– Hermione Granger can." He laughed into her curls. "What'll you do next?"

"This." She nodded to the children practicing their magic on a pile of rocks. "I approached the Romanian Ministry about creating a position to assist the new magical generation get acclimated and learn basics. I'll be helping set up a formal education system—"

"You're staying?" Charlie gaped, turning her in his arms once more and shaking her slightly.

Hermione's laughter trilled through the air and she pressed a kiss against his lips. "Apparently."

"Ohhh, Duckie," he purred, a smug smirk spreading across his features. "You better break the news to Ronnie."

"What news?"

"That you're my witch. He'll hex me. This sorta thing is better coming from the gentler sex—"

"Gentler? And who said anything about me being your witch?"

"Aren't you?"

Hermione stamped her foot into the dirt and Charlie barked out a laugh. "You can't claim me like that. As punishment, you will tell Ronnie."

"Not bloody likely."

Hermione rolled her eyes at him, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. "Together, then. If I decide not to hex you myself first."

He wrapped her in a hug, laying a kiss on her shoulder that he chased with the wetness of his tongue. "Together."


A/N: Welp, there it is! Just something short and hopefully sweet (and a little spicy)! Neverending, thanks to MHCalamas my alpha/beta darling for Duckie. You are one of a kind. Thank you!

Prompts from Frecklesandbroomsticks and Mamapotterhead: 1. Lost in the Romanian Forest and Charlie has to save her. 2. "I have a solution." "Thank goodness." "It involves fire…" "Absolutely not."

Thank you for reading and I'd love to know your thoughts!