The Chase Begins
September 19, 1996
Hermione was seated in the Great Hall for breakfast on her birthday, which was a Thursday. Owls began to fly in and circle over the tables trying to find the person to deliver to.
Hermione hadn't yet received a letter from Charlie, and she was beginning to get worried. Because of this, she wasn't expecting any mail, and didn't bother looking up.
If she had she would have noticed all of the girls in the hall stop eating and staring at an owl. She only looked up when Lavender and Parvati gasped in shock.
A beautiful tawny owl was circling their table carrying a bouquet of red roses, a small box and a letter. To everyone's surprise. It gently landed in front of Hermione.
She opened the letter that came with the roses.
I'm sorry for not writing sooner. I've had to work a lot of extra hours training some newcomers.
Yeah, that…and he just couldn't figure out what to give you for your birthday. He's been driving us all mental. By the way, this is Mick speaking.
Sorry about that. Mick stole the parchment from me. Anyway, I hope your birthday is wonderful. Don't forget…The chase is on.
It's about time. As I said, he's been driving us all mental.
He stole the parchment AGAIN.
I've had a rough time picking out what to get you for your birthday. I really hope you like it.
I told him that he should just admit defeat and buy you an engagement ring, but the stubborn bloke keeps saying words like courtship and romance. Idiot. He also mentioned your Dad a few times. I think he's scared of him.
Sorry AGAIN. He keeps stealing the parchment from me!
And I'll keep on doing it too. You know, we all went out to a bar the other day. Loads of birds were throwing themselves at Char, and he didn't even notice except to say that he was 'taken'. That didn't stop one of them, so he stunned her and left before we could enervate her. One drink, that's all he had. He's no fun anymore. Eh well, I did warn him that that's what happens when a bloke falls in love. He no longer enjoys the usual pursuits of alcohol, women, and random acts of stupidity. Instead, a bloke'll start thinking about finances, rings, kids, and of course, the woman herself. It's a cryin' shame.
He stunned me! He stunned me and stole the parchment! If Ira hadn't come in just now and enervated me, I'd still be unconscious.
I was just informing her on the effects falling in love will have on a bloke. You show all the classic symptoms.
Mick is a dead man!
Anyway! I was actually writing to say 'Happy Birthday', and 'I miss you'. I hope to hear from you soon.
Hermione couldn't help smiling. She folded the letter up and put it back into its envelope before picking up the little box.
She peeled away the standard brown packaging paper to reveal a small box wrapped in bright red paper with Gryffindor lions stalking across it and roaring. As she slowly tore off the paper, all of the girls at three of the four house tables stood up and moved toward her to see what it was.
The box was dark blue and obviously held jewelry. She cracked open the lid, and gasped. Inside was a beautiful gold locket. The front had a blooming rose on it. She opened it to find a moving picture of her parents that Charlie had taken that summer.
She looked up and saw that she was surrounded. "Erm, Ginny," she called out, unable to see her best female friend.
"I'm here," Ginny called out, pushing her way through the crowd to get to Hermione.
"Would you please put this on me?"
Ginny gasped. "Of course…Charlie didn't tell you about this locket, did he?"
The girls in the crowd began to whisper, asking each other who Charlie was.
"No he didn't. Is there something I should know?"
"That's my grandmother Prewett's locket. Since Bill inherited all of the Weasley properties and heirlooms; Charlie inherited the Prewett's. After Uncles Gideon and Fabian died it was all held in trust for him. When he turned seventeen he gained access to it. He also owns my mother's childhood home on the other side of Ottery St. Catchpole," Ginny said as she clasped the necklace around Hermione's neck. "Now, show me that letter!"
Hermione handed it over.
A moment later, Ginny squealed loudly. "I can guarantee that you're gonna be my sister someday. Charlie's in love!" she practically screamed out, much to Hermione's embarrassment. All five tables, the Staff included, were staring at her.
"Do you love him?" Ginny asked.
Hermione's face turned bright red. "I can't believe you just asked me that in the Great Hall."
"So! Judging from your blush, and the fact that you didn't answer, I'll just assume that's a yes."
Her blush got worse. "It is," she whispered softly.
"Yes!" Ginny yelled loudly.
Harry and Ron had finally fought their way through the crowd of girls. "What's going on, Ginny?" Harry asked, gazing at her in a love-sick puppy sort of way.
"Hermione and Charlie are in love!" she said, bouncing up and down in excitement, and launching herself at Harry. She hugged him tightly and let go, continuing to bounce.
Harry grinned. "That's great Hermione, congratulations."
"WHAT!" Ron had finally found his voice. His face was red with anger. "You! And Charlie! Charlie, my second eldest brother, Charlie?" he practically screamed at her.
"Yes," Hermione said, refusing to allow herself to be embarrassed or angry. She didn't feel the need to defend her feelings.
Ron cast looks of betrayal at Harry and Ginny, glared at Hermione one more time, and stormed off.
I'll kill him! Stealing my girl! Ron thought to himself. He hurried up to his dorm, ignoring the fact that he was skiving off Defense with Snape. He grabbed some parchment, ink and a quill, and rushed down to the empty common room. He scribbled some lines down, rolled up the parchment, and sealed it. Then he left for the owlery.
Hermione, meanwhile, was sitting in DADA and was looking forward to writing to Charlie. She hadn't wanted to bring the roses to class with her for obvious reasons, so Harry called Dobby and asked the little elf to put them in a vase in her room for her.
As Professor Snape dismissed the class, Hermione couldn't help thinking, I wonder what exactly Charlie means by 'the chase is on'. It's not like he'll have to chase me for long, as I'm not planning on running from him. Hmm, I'll just have to wait and see.
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