(Come to Those Who Wait)
Disclaimer: All characters, events, places belong to JK Rowling, Warner Bros, Scholastics, Bloomsbury, and Raincoast. Song is by Evan and Jaron, "Crazy for this Girl".
Summary: Charlie is set in charge of fixing the Weasley's new car – but fixing a Muggle car is something Charlie isn't good at, so he enlists Hermione's help. CW/HG
Would you look at her as she looks at me
She's got me thinkin' about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl
I'm crazy for this girl
Three weeks later, it was the last day of July – the 31 – and soon Hermione, Ron and Harry would have to send out their applications to the Ministry if they wished to work for them.
Hermione lay with Ron and Harry in the Burrow's backyard, listening to crickets chirp and bees buzz around. It was one of those lazy summer days, with the sun high in the warm, humid air, where time seemed to move slowly and no one wanted to do anything.
In the background, beyond the sound of the crickets, birds and bees, Hermione could hear Charlie's favorite tunes coming from the garage where he was tinkering with the Ford. He and Arthur kept trying to add more gadgets to it, making Hermione wonder if everything they were doing was legal.
However, Hermione didn't dwell long on that. Instead, she turned her mind to her two best friends.
She was lying between the two, their arms all stretched out so they all rested their heads on each other's arms. Hermione's were falling asleep, tingling with nerve ends under Harry and Ron's heads.
She didn't mind.
Ron was snoring softly on her left, and Harry was staring up at the sky with one arm sprawled over his eyes to shade them.
"What are you doing, Harry?" Hermione asked, turning her head towards him.
"Looking at the clouds," he replied, sighing softly. "I'm looking at the one that looks like a giant dog."
"Which one is it?" asked Hermione gently, turning her head up at the sky. Sirius was still a sore spot for the three of them.
Harry let his hand point to the cloud, before letting it drop back to his face. "That one."
Hermione spotted it easily. She sighed, before letting her eyes wander to other clouds. "There's one that looks like Hogwarts."
Harry chuckled. "So it does." He paused, before saying, "And there's Malfoy – see that pointy section? It looks like his nose when he's looking down at us."
Hermione and Harry laughed outright, making Ron snort, wake, and asked in a mumbling voice, "Whas' it? Som'thing wrong?"
Harry and Hermione laughed harder, and rolled about the ground, making Ron feel left out. He began plucking some grass and then proceeded to tickle Hermione's nose with it. "See if you like that, hah!"
Hermione squealed with laughter and rolled over Harry to land on his other side. Harry made an "oomph" sound, but then continued laughing as Ron got up and began to chase Hermione around the yard.
She didn't look where she was going, glancing back over her shoulders to escape Ron. One minute Hermione was running freely, and the next she hit something very solid and warm, and covered with grease.
Charlie wrapped his arms around Hermione and hauled her into his arms, away from Ron's grass-attack. A streak of grease was across Hermione's forehead and cheek, as Charlie's hands and shirt were covered in it.
"Now, now, Ron," he chided good-naturally, "Didn't Mum tell you not to pick on Hermione?"
Ron flushed, but didn't drop the grass. Harry appeared behind him. "Interesting catch there, Charlie," he said instead.
Hermione squirmed. "Hey! Doesn't anyone remember I'm afraid of heights, and this is pretty high…"
"Mione," laughed Ron, "You're three feet above the ground. That's not high at all."
Hermione pouted. Charlie and Harry laughed, before Charlie said, "Well, you've got grease over you, so let's go get you cleaned up." He turned and began walking away, leaving Ron and Harry behind, watching curiously, but with growing grins on their faces as they realized just what was between Charlie and Hermione…
Charlie carried Hermione through the Burrow, until they reached the bathroom. There, he placed her on the counter space beside the sink, and began rummaging through cupboards to find face cloths. When he found them, he shut the bathroom door and turned the hot water tap on.
"I didn't mean to get grease on you," he apologized, "It was an unplanned accident."
Hermione laughed slightly. "It's okay. I figured you'd be covered in grease anyways, when I could hear you in the garage." She frowned. "What have you been doing to that poor car, anyways?"
Charlie gave her a secretive grin. "I'm not planning on telling you, just yet, Mione."
Hermione pouted, turning her head slightly away to appear miffed with him. She closed her eyes and stuck her nose in the air, pretending to be Malfoy.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when she felt something warm and wet touch her cheek. Charlie's other hand came up and cupped her face on the other side, holding her head still.
"Don't move, I'm trying to get the grease off," he murmured. Hermione felt her face flush as she noticed his close proximity.
Hermione's legs were spread apart so that Charlie could step between them to be close to her face. His head was bent slightly, and his breath breezed over her skin like silk. Hermione nearly swooned.
Charlie was having a similar reaction. He knew that stepping between Hermione's spread legs would prove disastrous, but this – every breath he took made him inhale Hermione's vanilla scent, and the way he was leaning over her made him feel her breasts push lightly against his arm when she breathed.
He solely concentrated on removing the grease from her cheek, before moving on to her forehead. "Tilt your head back, will you?" He asked.
Hermione did as she was told; watching him while his attention was on the stain on her forehead. His red hair was darker than all of the other Weasley's, making it almost burgundy or wine in the light. He had some growth around his chin and cheeks, and his eyes were a brilliant shade of aqua. His nose was straight and Roman, his lips full and kissable, and his chin strong.
She waited for him to finish taking the grease from her forehead, and watched as Charlie's hand with the cloth move away from her head to fall into the sink beside her. She glanced back up at him, only to have her eyes connect with his.
The hand that previously held the washcloth came up to her other cheek, cupping her face tenderly.
"I shouldn't do this," he murmured. "You're my little brother's best friend."
"I know you shouldn't," replied Hermione breathlessly, "But I'll be mad if you don't."
At those words, Charlie's head dipped and his lips found Hermione's. They pressed against hers, commandingly, possessively. He parted his lips, running the tip of his tongue against Hermione's lower lip, seeking entrance. She parted her own, and their tongues stroked against each other, learning the contours behind teeth, along the roof of the mouth, and other hidden nooks and crannies.
Charlie moaned, dragging his lips away from Hermione's to trail across her cheek and down her neck. His hands had slipped from her cheeks to rest against her waist, where they squeezed gently and dragged her closer to him where he stood at the very edge of the countertop.
Hermione, in turn, wrapped her legs around his waist and placed her arms around his neck.
She leaned forward and bit his lobe gently, before blowing. Charlie shivered and leaned back towards Hermione for a fevered kiss that left the two breathless and panting.
They stared into each other eyes, desire and other unknown feelings seen, when there was a knock on the bathroom door.
"Hello? Is anyone in there?" came Percy's voice.
"Damn!" Charlie swore, banging his knee on the door handle of the cupboard underneath where Hermione was sitting. She quickly let her legs drop back to the counter side, and smoothed her hair down.
With one last longing glance at Hermione, Charlie allowed a finger to trail down her cheek. "Later," he murmured, before apparating out of the bathroom.
Hermione stood and opened the bathroom door. "Sorry, it was just me, Percy."
Percy, standing there with slightly crooked glasses, nodded and stood back. "It's all right, Hermione. Are you done now?"
Hermione nodded and swept past him, into the hallway. Once she was sure she was alone, she leaned against the wall and let out a shaky breath. She closed her eyes and let a satisfied smile appear on her lips.
Without warning, two pairs of hands clamped down on Hermione; one over her mouth, the other over her eyes, and two around her waist to haul her into a near by room.
When she was released, Hermione saw Harry and Ron put silencing charms on the room and a "Do Not Disturb" hex on the door.
"What was that about?" demanded Hermione, crossing her arms.
Harry grinned sheepishly. "We're sorry, but we wanted to know something."
"Yeah," chimed in Ron.
Hermione frowned. "About what?"
Harry and Ron shared a Marauder's grin before saying together, "You and Charlie!"
Hermione eyed them warily. "What about Charlie and I?"
Ron nodded appreciatively. "Ah, she even uses proper grammar in speech!" Harry nudged him and Ron cleared his throat. "Sorry, er… well, you know… you two were pretty close out there, and when we came in to see where the two of you went the bathroom door was closed."
"So?" Hermione asked, one eyebrow rose, as she regarded her two best friends. She felt like she was about to set off a blush machine – she could already feel the flush move up from her breasts to her neck, where it would soon be visible.
Harry grinned, wriggling his black eyebrows. "Well. You see, Mione, we heard some interesting noises coming from there…"
Hermione flushed scarlet. "Right. Ron's room. Now."
Two hours later, her two best friends were rolling around Ron's bed in a laughing fit. Hermione sat with her legs and arms crossed, sneering at the two.
"It isn't funny!" she wailed.
Ron, on his stomach, chuckled and placed his head in his hands. His calves rose and he crossed his toes. "Yes, it is. You fancy my brother, you fancy my brother!"
Hermione's face turned a dangerous shade of red as she reached for Ron's pillow, underneath Harry's head, and walloped him with it.
Harry was still laughing, even when the pillow disappeared from underneath him, and Ron emitted an "Oh, bloody hell, that hurt!"
"You're bloody right it did, and it'll hurt more if you don't shut the hell up!" Hermione all but snarled. "So what, if I fancy Charlie, okay?"
"You fancy Charlie?" another voice asked from the doorway. Hermione moaned and fell onto Ron, who started laughing all over again.
"'Lo, Ginny," Harry gasped out, his face red. He wheezed some more before hiccupping. "Yes, you heard that right. Mione – hic – here, fancies Charlie."
Ginny rose one eyebrow before shutting the door behind her and entering the room. She wandered over to where the trio sprawled on the bed, glancing down at them.
In truth, she felt as if she were invading their personal space; Harry, Ron and Hermione were always together throughout school, the war, everything. They had the same spot where they ate breakfast at Hogwarts; they had 'their' seats in the Gryffindor Common Room, too. Seeing them like they were now – three young wizards and witch getting ready to enter the real world… well, Ginny felt as if she were infesting herself to a Very Special Moment.
"So, is it true, Hermione?" Ginny asked. Another thing she resented about their closeness, she mused, was the fact that only Hermione's closest friends could ever call her 'Mione'. This, of course, didn't extend to the Twins, as they chose to call Hermione 'Herm', or Draco Malfoy, who enjoyed calling her 'beaver' (which, of course went both ways, as Draco was 'ferret', and Ron 'weasel').
Hermione wailed some more, covering her eyes with her arm as she lay across Ron's back on her own. "Yes, it's bloody true. Do you want me to write it in permanent marker on my forehead announcing this fact to the world?"
Harry paused in his laughing. "It would be enjoyable," he mused aloud.
"Shut up, you tosser!" Hermione moaned, tossing the pillow to him, instead of Ron. Harry caught it and smoothed the fabric down.
"So what are you going to do, Mione?" he asked instead. Ron, trying to glance at Hermione over his shoulder, nodded.
Ginny's eyebrows rose. "Well, first of all, you can't hang out all day with Ron or Harry, as much as they're you're best friends, you should be around Charlie as well."
Ron's mouth dropped open. "Excuse me? When did you become an expert in this field of female and male relations?"
"Since I began dating," Ginny replied smartly.
Ron's eyes bulged. "Pardon?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. She twisted on Ron's back, lying next to him on her stomach, mimicking his pose. Harry eagerly did the same thing, grinning all the while.
"Now, Ron," Hermione began in her McGonagall voice, "You know that when a young lady reaches a certain age, her interest in the opposite sex will appear…"
Ron's face paled, before he turned and crushed Hermione to him in a bear hug. "Quiet. Not another word, you hear me?"
Hermione squealed in laughter and Harry cheered.
He then launched himself at Hermione and Ron, once again, leaving Ginny out. She smiled sadly, knowing that no matter what she did, she'd never become part of that tight-knit group they had created. They were always so playful and friendly, even during the war.
With that in mind, Ginny bowed her head and quietly left the room, turning to look back at them when she was at the door.
They were a mess of arms and legs, pointing in every direction on Ron's bed as Harry and Ron ganged up on Hermione, tickling and rough-housing like she were one of the boys. In a way, Ginny thought, they were what the other needed when the occasion rose.
"Kinda sad, looking at 'em, isn't it?" Charlie's voice from behind Ginny made her start in shock.
"Charlie!" She whispered. "I didn't hear you come up the stairs."
"I didn't come up them," he chuckled. Then, he lifted his head from his baby sister to watch the three on the bed, laughing and squealing and giggling. "Were they always like that?"
"For as long as anyone remembered," Ginny replied quietly. "I… I always felt so… alone. No matter how hard they tried to include me…"
Charlie offered a sympathetic smile. "I know, Gin. Sometimes… it's hard." He looked at the three again. "What they have… is more than any brother or sister could even imagine feeling. Harry, Ron and Hermione are so close that… well, they're inseparable."
"In every meaning," Ginny finished. "I wouldn't be surprised if one died, they'd all go."
Charlie nodded. "If it would come to the choice, yes, I think you're right."
The two in the doorway were quiet, their presence unknown to the seventeen year olds.
"She fancies you, you know."
Charlie grinned. "I know."
"Do you fancy her?"
Charlie paused, before answering carefully. "I… I think I do."
Ginny nodded and then turned to her older brother. With a maturity that Charlie didn't think she possessed, she said calmly, "If you hurt her, you hurt them. You hurt them, you deal with me."
Charlie replied with a solemn twinkle in his eyes as he gave his sister a one-armed hug, and then turned to enter Ron's room.
He knocked, before announcing loudly, "Oy, oy, oy, what's going on in here?"
Ginny stood back and watched when the three on the bed all looked up from their game, exclaiming, "Charlie!" in the same tone at the same time. They burst into laughter, one that Charlie joined in as he grabbed Ron around the scruff of his neck and began to mess his hair up.
Harry and Hermione shared a wicked look before piling onto Charlie and attacking his own short hair.
With a soft smile on her face, Ginny turned and left.
"So. Who fancies a drive into the town?" Charlie asked a little while later. The foursome was lying around Ron's bedroom. Ron was engrossed with a Quidditch magazine, his ankles crossed as he fluffed the pillows behind him up. Harry was sitting on the floor across from Hermione, playing Exploding Snap, while Hermione was leaning against Charlie's chest.
Charlie reached around and flicked one of Hermione's shimmering cards from her pile, making it land on Harry's, exploding. Harry coughed, letting out a cloud of black smoke.
"I'll go," she volunteered.
"Oooh," Harry and Ron immediately cajoled. "Up for some necking in the backseat of a car, Mione?"
Hermione blushed and Charlie chuckled. When her blush was forced down, Hermione replied in a very calm voice, "maybe."
Ron's jaw dropped. Harry's eyebrows rose. They shared a glance, and Ron moved off the bed to face his older brother. Clearing his throat, he began, "Charlie… I know that you are my brother, and that you're interested in my best friend…"
"Save it, Ron," Charlie said dismissively. "I've been giving the 'older/protective brother' speech now for a while, so don't think about using it on me, got that?"
Ron turned crimson.
"That's not a pretty look." Hermione pointed that out, flicking another smoldering card into the growing pile. Harry winced, but the card didn't explode; he grinned wobbly.
"So are we going?" Charlie asked.
Hermione nodded. "Yes, we are." They stood and waved goodbye to Ron and Harry, (who shouted something like, "Be back by midnight, kiddies!") and headed towards the garage.
"Do you know how to drive?" Hermione questioned.
Charlie ducked his head, rubbing the back of his neck. "Ahh…"
"I'll take that as a no. Would you like to learn?" she offered, kindly, looking up at him with those chocolate eyes for hers.
Charlie beamed, pulling the girl close to him. "I'd like that very much."
Hermione smiled back, and once they arrived at the garage, Hermione began explaining certain aspects of the car that she learned a couple years ago.
Then, she sat in the driver's seat, put the keys in the ignition, and drove the two of them to an abandoned piece of road.
She got out and Charlie followed.
"Right, so we're going to start easy. Knowing what all the blinky things are for, etc., and then getting the feel of handling the car when you're driving it," Hermione explained, putting the keys into Charlie's tanned and scarred hand. "Ready?"
Charlie gulped audibly. "Yes."
Twenty minutes later, Charlie was cruising at ten kilometers an hour, his knuckles white as the gripped the steering wheel at three and ten o'clock.
"Am I doing this right?" he asked, glancing over at Hermione, who was smiling serenely into the (slowly) passing scenery.
"Yes, I am – Charlie! Eyes on the bloody road!" Hermione shrieked, and Charlie panicked as his eyes swiveled back to the road in time to avoid hitting the cow head-on.
The car rolled forward into a ditch on the side of the country lane, Hermione babbling about him easing off the gas and then her hands were over his, pulling the car straight again and rubbing his tight for him to ease off the gas.
It was almost ten yards from where the cow stood in the middle of the road, still chewing grass.
Charlie pulled his trembling hands from the steering wheel, grasping Hermione's tightly in his, laughing weakly when she joined it.
Soon, tears were spilling down their cheeks and their stomachs' ached with laughter. Hermione leaned from the passenger seat to Charlie, kissing his cheek.
"I…" she gasped, "have never had… that much fun… in such a… long time!"
Charlie let out a mighty bark of laughter. "I'm glad that my inexperience can make you smile." He stroked a finger down Hermione's stained cheek. "You need to smile and laugh more, Hermione." He murmured to her, smiling softly when she sighed.
"Thank you, Charlie," she whispered back.
"No," he said, kissing the corner of her mouth. "Don't thank me for being you."
Hermione leaned forward and rested her forehead on Charlie's. "No, Charlie, thank you, for being there when I needed someone."
Aww, how sweet. No clue when the next part is coming out, I'm still planning chapter three, but I can tell everyone that there will be five chapters in total, because that's how many verses there are in the song, minus the chorus. ALSO: PLEASE DO NOT badger me about when the next chapter is coming out. In case you haven't noticed, I am a really person, not a robot updating stories on a whim. I have a life and family and friends outside of the virtual, Internet world that also take up my time. Please understand this. I don't care if I get flamed, I consider it childish and petty. I like reviews. I like nice reviews. So there. Read, review and enjoy, Kneazle [Jan.4.04]