For all of her good points Hermione Granger did have a few bad points. She acknowledged this fact herself, and it didn't bother her. It was inevitable. Didn't bother her one bit.
Hermione threw down her quill in frustration. Who was she kidding; it really did bother her, and rather a lot at that. She was trying, trying so hard to write her Charms essay, but it just wasn't coming. She wasn't used to having faults; Hermione Granger wasn't used to being distracted.
"You okay, Hermione?" she sighed and looked up into the smiling face of Charlie Weasley. She was seated on the Weasley kitchen table, two text books open in front of her and about 4 lines of writing written.
"Not really," Hermione muttered, blushing. She didn't like to appear anything but in control of the situation.
"Can I help?" Charlie tilted his head to one side and lay down his magazine. Hermione said nothing for a moment. It would have helped if he wasn't there. At all. In fact, not just in that room. Maybe not on the planet…
"Hermione?" he was now looking at her in some concern, his brown eyes flicked over her face, the smallest of frowns creasing his mouth.
"Sorry, just, a bit… unfocused," she bit her lip, barely restraining a blush, "and it's frustrating me."
Charlie smiled knowingly and leaned back into his chair, letting his clasped hands lie on the Weasley's scrubbed dinner table. Hermione tried not to watch the way his eyes sparkled, or how his mouth set into an affable grin, or how his hair curled gently round his ears or-
"You know," Charlie cut her thoughts abruptly. "I've been feeling like that myself lately."
She tilted her head examining his face, was he mocking her?
Charlie nodded and waved a hand around the kitchen, "Could be we're not used to a break, we work too hard?" he grinned softly at her.
"Maybe," Hermione frowned.
"But," Charlie went on, "I don't know… something's…" he looked at Hermione and grinned, "changed."
She stared for several seconds, willing herself not to blush, "Yes, yes I think you're right."
Charlie got up and left the kitchen with a smile.
Hermione didn't sleep that much that night. Once again she was distracted and once again she really hated herself for it. She never let boys, no, men get into her head like this. She didn't like it; there were more important things in life to be getting on with. Her upcoming NEWTs, she had to look out for Harry and Ron, getting her head girl badge. Abruptly a floorboard on the stairs creaked. Someone else was obviously having trouble sleeping, and the gentle padding of feet down the Weasley stairs confirmed Hermione's thoughts.
Sighing, Hermione scrambled from her bed and tiptoed across her room. She opened the door and peered down the stairs, but the person had already got to the bottom and turned into the kitchen. Hermione gently slipped through the door and padded down the stairs. She was tired, very tired, but her mind just couldn't focus on sleep.
"Hermione," a voice commented. She didn't even realise she'd arrived in the kitchen, but Charlie Weasley obviously did. She gaped for a second but quickly fixed her face into a smile and went through the kitchen door.
"Hi," she said softly, taking a seat at the kitchen table. Charlie was sat across from her, his hands round a glass of water, hair standing on end looking just as sleepy as she felt.
She looked down at her hands, "Unfocused," she replied softly. He grinned slightly and nodded.
The minutes past in silence, Hermione stared at her hands, Charlie sipped his water. Neither said anything.
"I'll be going back to bed," Charlie said suddenly. He stood and stretched, leaving his glass on the table. Hermione looked away from him, wearing an old too small t-shirt, and pyjama bottoms low on his hips. This really wasn't going to help her sleep.
"Good luck," she quipped. He nodded and headed for the door. Hermione looked back down at her hands. She was in a worse state than when she entered.
She heard the door shut a second later.
Hermione could be found to be attempting her charms essay with renewed vigour several days later. Sure enough everything seemed alright. She was lying down beside a sizeable Weasley pond, partly obscured by the large amount of tangled greenery in the Weasley's garden. Her mind was clear, her eyes free of dark shadows and her hand steady.
She almost swore. She recognised his voice a mile away. She'd been doing so well avoiding him as well. She'd only had three more weeks of holiday to keep it up.
"Hello Charlie," she tuned her head upwards to see only a long pair of jean covered legs and a large grin. She could feel herself becoming unfocused already.
"Haven't seen you in a couple of days," Charlie remarked, lowering himself onto the ground by her. Hermione sighed.
"Got your focus back then?" he indicated at the half foot of parchment laying in front of Hermione which was covered in her small handwriting. She couldn't help but smile at him.
"Yes, yes I did."
Neither spoke, but Hermione opened her charms book and flicked through the index, trying to find something to take her mind away from the man sitting next to her.
"I didn't." Charlie said suddenly only a few minutes later.
She paused, "You didn't what?" she looked at his face quizzically, but he was staring over at the pond.
"Get my focus back," he turned to Hermione and smiled a little.
"Oh. Have you figured out why you lost it in the first place?"
He smiled into his hands and his red hair flopped over his freckled face. Hermione thought he looked suddenly shy, but couldn't think why.
"Yes, yes I have I think…" he trailed off and stared at her, blinking slowly.
"Well," Hermione began awkwardly, "can you fix it?"
"I think so," and he leaned over and gently touched his lips to hers. It was only a gentle brush of lips; just the briefest of touches, Hermione associated it with being like a piece of silk rubbed over her lips. But silk didn't leave her face burning or her lips dry, or her stomach churning.
Charlie smiled wryly.
"It's worse than ever now."