The Letters

September 19

Dear Charlie,

Thank you for the roses and the locket. They're lovely. Ginny said that the locket was your grandmother's. That makes it all the more special.

Do tell Mick I said 'hi'. How are our dragons? Is Oscar getting along with Mick yet? Have you had any new burns? I miss you so much.

Something is going on with Ron. He was upset when he found out about us, but he seemed to get over it. Now he's just acting strange, and hardly speaking to any of us.

I think Harry has feelings for Ginny. He can't seem to take his off of her, and he blushes whenever she hugs him. I think that if she weren't dating Dean Thomas, he'd ask her out.

Love Always,

Hermione

- - -

Molly Weasley was fixing dinner when Pigwidgeon flew through the open window and began to fly in fast circles near the ceiling.

She sighed and grabbed a box of owl treats. The only way she could ever get mail untied from Pig was to bribe him with food.

He flew down to grab the food, and ate the whole treat in one bite.

Molly quickly untied the letter from Ron, before Pig could fly off with it again.

"Now what could Ron be writing about? It must be important because he never writes otherwise."

Dear Mum,

I just thought you should know that something odd is going on between Charlie and Hermione. The whole school is saying that Hermione has been sleeping with him for the past two years. They're also saying that she's trying to trick him into marriage. I don't want to believe that it's true because she's my best friend, but Charlie sent her some roses and Grandmum's locket for her birthday. It just seems odd that I heard these rumors, then she got those gifts. I mean, that locket is a family heirloom and should stay in the family, and I really can't see Charlie being tricked into marriage, can you?

I just thought you should know what's going on.

Love,

Ron

"Oh dear. That doesn't sound like Hermione at all. I think I'll write to Charlie to find out what's really going on," she muttered to herself.

- - -

September 21

Charlie was eating breakfast when the owls arrived. One was Pig and the other Hedwig. That's odd. Why didn't they just mail both letters with one owl? Oh, One's from Mum, that's why.

Charlie recognized Hermione's writing on the other envelope, so read it first. He was glad that she liked her present, and he planned to tell Mick what she said as soon as he saw him today. Ron's behavior did seem strange. Hmm.

He opened the letter from his mother next. Two slips of parchment fell out.

Dear Charlie,

How are you doing? I worry about you so much, working with those dangerous creatures. Will you be coming home for Christmas?

I just got the strangest letter from Ron. I enclosed it. I just don't know what to make of it. Please let me know what you think.

Love,

Mum

He frowned, and began to read the other piece of parchment. His frown grew.

He immediately sat down to write the three most important women in his life.

Dear Ginny,

Ron sent the enclosed letter to Mum, who sent it to me, wanting to know what's going on. Are those rumors really going around Hogwarts? I find that very unlikely. Hermione certainly wouldn't be spreading rumors about herself, and there's no way that she'd tell anyone, who's prone to gossip, about me. You're my eyes there, Gin, let me know what's going on. Also write Mum, she doesn't believe Ron's letter, but does want to know what's going on.

Thanks.

Love,

Charlie

- - -

Dear Mum,

I wouldn't believe that letter if I were you. I have Ginny checking to find out if those rumors really are going around, but I don't think they are. After all, who would honestly believe something that horrible about Hermione? She's just not like that.

Yes, I did give her Grandmum's locket. I do plan to marry her someday, but we're not going to rush into marriage. We're going to take our time.

I'm doing well, no new injuries. Yes, I will be coming home for the entire Christmas break.

Love,

Charlie

- - -

September 23

Hedwig entered the Great Hall during breakfast and flew directly to Hermione. While Hermione untied the letters, Ginny fed Hedwig and Harry pet her.

Hermione opened her letter hurriedly.

Dear Hermione,

I miss you terribly. How are your nightmares? No I haven't been burned recently, though Mick has. He just now showed up on my doorstep for breakfast (he can't cook) and says 'hi back'.

Our dragons are doing wonderfully, their as big as houses. Oscar still doesn't like Mick, though I think it's because Mick doesn't like him. We have some Ridgeback eggs in the incubator right now. Their mum was a wild dragon, and someone hunted her and left nothing but her bones behind. Ira's tracking the poacher right now, and we hope that whoever killed that mum gets arrested soon.

You probably know now that I wrote Ginny as well. Ask to read her letter, and the other enclosed parchment. Something strange is going on, so BE CAREFUL.

Harry is safe from me. I'd rather it if he'd date Ginny than any other guy.

I'm glad that you liked your birthday present. My grandmum would have really loved you. I can hardly wait until the Christmas holidays, so we can be together again.

Love,

Charlie

"Ginny, can I see your letter and the other parchment that came with it. Charlie told me to ask you."

"Sure Hermione," Ginny said, handing over the letters that she and Harry had just finished reading.

As Hermione took them she handed her letter over for Ginny to read.

When they were done and leaving the Great Hall, Ginny said, "I have an idea. Neither of you can murder Ron though, until I'm done."

"Okay," Hermione and Harry replied.

- - -

Charlie sent the letter to his mother with his owl, Archimedes. He knew his mum wasn't overly fond of Pig.

Molly had been watching the sky for two days, waiting for Charlie's response. At last Archimedes flew into the kitchen.

She carefully read the letter. Well, it seems I'll be getting another daughter. I think Hermione's sweater should be light blue this year. Charlie doesn't believe the rumors at all, thank Merlin. I don't either. I cannot believe that I actually believed that Skeeter woman two years ago. Hermione is anything but a tramp! Now all I have to do is wait for a letter from Ginny.

- - -

September 30

Dear Charlie,

I know what's going on! Parvati Patil heard the rumor from Lavender Brown AFTER Hermione received your gift. Lavender got it straight from Ron. HE's making up the rumors. I told Parvati that Ron was just jealous of you and that she shouldn't believe that utter tripe.

So far, most of the school has been treating the rumors like some sort of joke, as everyone knows that Hermione isn't that sort of girl. Hannah Abbott actually burst into laughter when she heard the rumor, and declared to the entire Great Hall that it was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard. Even the Slytherins are laughing at it. I already sent a letter to Mum so all should be clear on that front.

Love from the smartest Weasley, and your favorite sister,

Ginny

- - -

Molly untied the letter from Hedwig's leg. "You're such a nice bird. So calm and easy to send and receive mail from," she told the bird.

Hedwig ruffled her feathers in pride and accepted the piece of bacon that Molly offered her.

Dear Mum,

Charlie told me to send you a report on the rumors here at school.

As it turns out, Ron started those rumors himself. Probably out of jealousy of Charlie, and in an attempt to lower your opinion of Hermione. I have been telling all the major gossips in school that it was the stupidest thing I ever heard. They in turn have begun to imply that the original rumor was just a joke. No one really believed it anyway. Hermione's reputation is sterling.

Love,

Ginny

- - -

October 3

Charlie got the letters from Hermione and Ginny as he got off the night shift at the dragon hospital. Thankfully it had been a quiet night for injuries. Dragons are the worst patients.

He apparated home, and fixed himself a bowl of cereal before opening the first letter which was from Ginny.

Ron had better hope that I've calmed down by the time the Christmas holidays start.

He then ripped open the letter from Hermione.

Dear Charlie,

My nightmares are less frequent, but still do happen occasionally. I keep a bottle of Dreamless Sleep potion handy for the rare nights that I just can't seem to calm down. I miss you holding me though.

I feel so bad for the Ridgebacks. Let me know if the poacher is caught. I want a picture of Oscar if you can manage it.

Ginny and Harry have been sticking to my side like glue, and Ron hasn't tried anything. Incidentally though, Ron and Lavender Brown have begun to date. It's really disgusting to walk into the common room to find them drooling all over each other. I'm not joking either. It's just gross when they snog.

Harry hasn't been talking to Ron except to give him orders on the Quidditch pitch. He and Ron got into a huge fight. Harry said that Ron was no friend of his because he (Harry) doesn't like people who spread false rumors. He said it was fourth year all over again, and that he was fed up with Ron's immature behavior. He said that Ginny and I were his official best friends now. The other students took Harry's lead and have begun to shun Ron and Lavender by extension.

I got a letter from my parents the other day, and they asked me to tell you that they said 'hello'. I'm so glad that they like you. I can hardly wait until Christmas to see you again.

Love Always,

Hermione

- - -

An ancient owl flew into the Great Hall during lunch. People froze with their forks halfway to their mouths. The owl was heading to the Gryffindor table.

It was like watching a train wreck. Everyone knew it would be ugly, and wanted to see it.

Ron untied the red envelope from Errol's leg. He opened the envelope in shaky hands.

RONALD WEASLEY! HOW DARE YOU SPREAD RUMORS ABOUT HERMIONE! EVERYONE KNOWS THAT SHE'S NOT THAT TYPE OF GIRL! YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE MISTER! JUST WAIT UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS! CHARLIE IS COMING HOME AND HE ISN'T HAPPY WITH YOU! UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ARE YOU ALLOWED TO STAY AT HOGWARTS! YOUR FATHER AND I ARE DISGUSTED WITH YOU!

Molly Weasley's voice faded away. Ron just sat there, pale faced and shaking. His days were numbered.