Hordes of Hungarian Horntails

Hermione woke up gasping; sweat trickled down her spine and made her thin top cling uncomfortably to her skin. She flung the scratchy blanket to the floor and padded barefoot into the kitchen to get herself a glass of water.

She wished this was a one-time thing, something she could put to the back of her mind like so many nightmares of times gone by but she couldn't. This particular nightmare was persistent and never failed to wake her in the night. She gave a slight shudder as images of a black haired witch leering above her flitted across her mind.

Finding a glass in the unfamiliar cupboards she poured cool water from the filter on the bench and gulped it down in two swallows. The best thing she could do now was try and get back to sleep, even though from experience she knew it would be impossible but it was that or switching on a light and reading for several hours.

She looked at the couch that was her makeshift bed and realised she would be getting no more sleep tonight. Rinsing her glass and leaving it by the sink she grabbed the scratchy blanket on her way past the couch and took it with her outside to the front porch. This was their last night in Romania before returning to England.

It was the middle of summer and the nights were not much cooler than the days, the blanket only served to keep the bugs from devouring her flesh. She lit the low torch above her head and picked up her discarded book from earlier in the evening. Charlie Weasley had surprised her by showing off his impressive library, most of the titles were about the care and feeding of Dragons but the fact the he read at all had taken her off guard.

Opening the book on the mating habits of Hungarian Horntails she felt a smile form on her face at the thought of Charlie Weasley. She had never given Ron's older brother much thought before, other than the fact that he worked a dangerous job she knew very little about him. She hadn't known what to expect when Ginny and Ron had invited her and Harry to spend the better part of the summer with him and she still wasn't sure what to make of it all.

Charlie Weasley had become, and she had no idea how it had happened, the man of her better dreams. Over the past three weeks she had found herself thinking less about her nightmares and more about him, it was disconcerting to say the least.

Ron had noticed her infatuation with the older man and in his not so subtle way had told her to stay away from him. They had argued until they were blue in the face; until Ron had become so angry with her that he had packed his bags and left. It was a breaking up of sorts, they weren't exactly together but he still felt he had some possessive claim over her. Ron wanted what she was not prepared to give, he thought she just needed time but what she really needed was space.

Looking toward the distant enclosures she saw a bright flare of light, not an unusual occurrence when dealing with fire breathing dragons. They were almost beautiful from a distance but she wouldn't like to be in a cage with them, yes she had fought Voldemort, yes she had been attacked by Death Eaters but Dragons still scared the shit out of her.

"They have completely different personalities when they think they aren't being observed," a gruff voice said from the doorway. She nearly jumped out of her skin and turned to find a sleep tousled Charlie still looking in the direction of the enclosure. He wore only a pair of loose sweats, and she had a hard time keeping her eyes from following the trail of course ginger hair down his navel.

"D-do they?" she stuttered, forcing herself to look at his face. He finally turned to look down at her and grinned.

"Sorry if I startled you," he said. She was about to say that it was ok when the next words out of his mouth made her blush and look away embarrassed.

"Nightmares again?" he asked, stooping down to pick up the book she hadn't even noticed had slipped her grip and handing it back to her. His fingers brushed hers and she drew her hand back as if it had burned.

"How …" she began

"I'm a light sleeper; I heard you crying out. I'm sorry I didn't mean to intrude," he said, running his hands through his messy hair. She noticed a faint blush creep up his neck and realised he was embarrassed to have been caught out.

"It's ok. The nightmares are no secret, just a fun left over from the war," she tried to joke but he didn't laugh, she didn't blame him.

"Ron told me what happened to you, is that what you dream about?" he asked softly, squeezing next to her on the low bench. She could feel his body heat through the thin blanket and had a hard time concentrating on his words.

Nodding her head she replied "I was tortured not because I had done anything wrong but because I was born, that's not something you forget easily,"

His intense blue gaze was too much to handle as she said this and she looked back to the enclosure where another smoky burst of light emerged. He didn't say anything for a long minute, just stared at her. She began to feel uncomfortable under his close scrutiny and drew the blanket closer to her chest.

"How often?" he asked suddenly. His question bought her gaze back to his.

"What?" she asked.

"How often do you have the nightmares?" he asked seeming genuinely concerned. Nobody had ever tried to delve into her dreams, they just asked if it was the same one and gave her a pat on the shoulder. Charlie Weasley was the first person to ever show more than a fleeting interest in her inner turmoil and not just because he had been woken up and wanted to know how to get a good night sleep while she was living in his house.

"Every night," she answered honestly. He seemed to process her words, his gaze probing as if making up some decision. He surprised her again by holding out his hand in invitation. When she just stared at it stupidly he moved forward and clasped it in his own, chuckling all the while. Dragging her to her feet, the blanket long forgotten he led her across the dirt ground toward the flames.

All that she could think about on the short journey was how his large hand fit around hers, dwarfing it. The calloused palms sent tingles down her spine and she hoped her hands weren't too sweaty or that he wouldn't notice.

He slowed their pace near the closest fence, high barbed wire protected observers from not only the fire breathing Dragons but also falling into the massive pits they resided in. The pits were like large open caves, the perfect habitat for the massive scaled creatures.

"I used to have nightmares," Charlie said, his gaze attached to dragon bellow him. Hermione watched quietly as he composed his words, another burst of flames from below lit up his features to a golden hue and she found she couldn't have looked away if a horde of Hungarian Horntails had come crashing past them.

"It was my first week here and I was barely out of Hogwarts. I was young and arrogant – thought I could take on the world," he began with a grin and Hermione wasn't surprised by his admission, his reputation at Hogwarts as the Quidditch star was still going strong.

"I was left in charge of a young Swedish Short Snout – easy enough to handle if you know what you are doing," he grinned.

"But you didn't," Hermione pointed out, he couldn't have known after just one week.

"No I didn't," he agreed, with a sigh, letting go of her hand and turning his back to her. That's when she saw it, the angry looking scars that stretch from shoulder to below his waist band. She stifled a gasp with her hands and Charlie turned back to look at her finally.

"I slipped on a rock, the sudden movement startled her and she charged. I only just managed to turn my face away," he indicated toward the shimmering blue Dragon who had finally noticed them. He pulled one of her hands from her face and held it tight to his chest, as if just talking about it was enough to relive it all again.

"I was rushed to the infirmary, Mum and Dad arrived that night and convinced me to return to the Burrow. It was when I was fully recovered a few days later that the nightmares started – horrible dreams of bright flames and blue scales, I would wake up screaming every night," he confessed.

"What did you do?" Hermione whispered, wanting to reach out and caress his face, to hug him close to her and make the bad memories go away.

"I came back, I faced my fears," he replied.

"That's not so easy for me," she answered, "I can't just march up to Azkaban and demand to see Bellatrix. She would probably laugh in my face like she did when she ..." Hermione couldn't finish her sentence. Charlie was back to watching her with those intense blue eyes again.

"No you can't. I am not saying everyone deals with trauma the same way because they don't but I just wanted you to understand that I know what it's like to be afraid to close your eyes at night knowing you can't suppress the memories in your sleep," His gaze bore into hers, letting her know he really did understand.

"Two years is a long time Hermione," he whispered, drawing him into his chest. She rested her cheek against his beating heart and sniffed, trying hard not to cry. They stood like that for a long while, his arms resting heavily against the curve of her waist, her hands linked against his back not ever wanting to let go.

"Charlie?" she asked, lifting her head to examine his face again, he was beautiful this close up.

"Hmm?" he mumbled, looking down at her with an unreadable expression.

"Thank you," she whispered, leaning up on her toes to kiss his cheek softly but he turned his head at the same time and captured her lips with his. It was all rather unhurried, probably the most natural thing in the world for Hermione to be standing next to a Dragon pit kissing Charlie Weasley.

His hands slowly moved down her lower back to follow the swell of her hips before grasping her backside and drawing her closer to him. She moved her hands to his shoulders and kissed him back with more force; he seemed to respond eagerly to the challenge and his tongue found its way into her mouth, caressing her and drawing a low throaty moan in response.

It was her moan that seemed to break the crumbling walls around them and Charlie dipped down to sweep her feet out from under her, still making love to her mouth as he made his way back to the house. Hermione shut her eyes tight, afraid that this was all a dream and when she opened her eyes he would disappear but he was too real and warm beneath her to be some kind of figment of her overactive imagination.

He pushed through the swinging fly wire door and strode to his bedroom, bypassing the lumpy couch and barely glancing at the spare bedrooms' closed door where Harry and Ginny were hopefully still asleep.

Charlie let her legs loose and let her slide down his body until her feet hit the floor, sucking her lower lip into his mouth like a ripe cherry before teasing the corners of her mouth.

"Tell me to stop," he whispered in her ear as her reached around them to undo the draw string of her pyjama pants. She shook her head no and stepped out of the restricting fabric. He grinned at her and backed her up until her knees hit the corner of the bed and she sank down onto the soft covers.

He was still grinning when he reached for the tie of his own pants, knowing she was watching his movements and slowly dropping the cover revealing his arousal to her. Hermione gnawed on her lower lip, she had only ever been with Viktor a handful of times but Viktor was certainly no Charlie.

She scooted further back on the bed and let him crawl after her; she grabbed the hem of her shirt on the way and quickly discarded it. His grin turned into a teasing leer as he suddenly pounced and pinned her beneath him. She felt a giggle bubble in the back of her throat when he teasingly attacked her throat with kisses and licks – Hermione had never giggled in her life, it was an odd sensation.

His hands trailed down her body, teasing and arousing her further and his mouth began to follow the same path; when he touched her shoulders he kissed them, when he teased the bend in her elbow she received several licks in return. When his calloused fingertips flicked and pinched her taught nipples his mouth returned the caress causing her to moan and her fingers to clench around his hair.

"I've been dreaming about you like this, in my bed, under me ever since you walked through my front door," he whispered as he made his way down her quivering stomach, "I didn't want to be attracted to my little brothers ex-girlfriend but I couldn't help it, you're beautiful Hermione," he said reaching the tiny triangle of fabric that protected her core.

Hermione sighed and gripped his head tighter, urging him on. He hooked his fingers under the elastic and tugged it down her legs, his mouth caressing her hip bone the entire time. She began to squirm as long dormant sensations came to life and cried out in delight when his fingers came into contact with her intimate folds.

He continued to whisper sweet nothings in her ear as he bought her to the edge several times only to let her drop back panting on the bed, her own hands took to exploring his muscular plains, drawing moans from the Dragon keeper when she did something that was to his liking.

By the time he finally pushed her back and spread her thighs they were both breathing heavily in need, having drawn out the foreplay maybe just a little too long. Her nails scraped along his scarred back as he entered in one strong thrust; her eyes closing in bliss as a whole new set of fires were aroused deep within her.

Charlie stared down at the beautiful with beneath him, amazed that she returned his feeling, amazed that she was here with him at all as he began to thrust slowly and deeply within her. He felt her legs wrap around his lower back, her ankles crossing together to keep them in place as he increased the pace.

She began chanting his name with each thrust, sweat rolling off both their bodies in the warm night. The bed springs groaning and his soft whispers the only other sounds in the room as he got his fill of her, afraid that this would be his one and only time with her. She began grinding her hips into his, signalling she wanted to go faster and he quickly complied, crying out as her inner muscles gave a faint pulse around him.

He knew she was close to release and kissed a path down to her straining nipples, taking one sweet bud in his mouth and rolling his tongue around it; the pulse became stronger until her whole body tensed beneath him and a sharp gasp broke the gentle hush of the night. She seemed to tumble into the abyss, bucking and writhing against him as her body orgasmed; the sight before him was enough for him to find his own release, shouting out as he came just as violently.

He collapsed against her, quickly rolling to the side to clasp her shuddering body to his, stroking her hair as she came down from her high. As their breathing returned to normal Charlie realised she had fallen into a deep dreamless sleep, he couldn't help but smile.

It was several hours later and they were in the shower washing the nights grime from each others bodies, general basking in new found lust when Charlie broached the subject he had been too chicken to talk about the night before.

"Hermione?" he asked, slowly rubbing the soapy wash cloth down her back, watching the suds being washed along her curves.

"Yes?" she purred, obviously enjoying the treatment.

"A few of the guys and I have been talking and I have been meaning to ask you … I mean you can say no it was just an idea …" he began.

"What?" she asked turning around to face him, her hands resting lightly against his chest.

"We have been looking for someone to take over our research department, and well we think you would be perfect for the job," he said in one quick breath.

"You mean stay here and work with you?" she asked slowly, a slow grin forming.

"Well yeah, if you want," he frowned not wanting to pressure her into anything.

"I'd love to," she breathed, grabbing the back of his neck and pulling him down to kiss her.

They could tell Harry and Ginny later.

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