AN: Written for dearest KaraSays for her birthday. I hope you enjoy it, hun. May you get all the Weasley's you deserve on your special day!
Boyfriend For A Day
Hermione watched with detached interest as Ron dressed for the day. She wondered if he would say anything at all, then quickly admonished herself for doubting her boyfriend. Surely he was just waiting for the right moment. He sat beside her as he pulled on his socks and smiled down briefly before rising to grab his shoes. Again, the fear of his lack of acknowledgment ran through her.
"When will you be home?" she asked, hoping it might prod him to speak up now.
"Not sure. We're reviewing a bunch of new applicants and Kingsley wants to meet with me, Harry and Neville to go over policy. Could be a late night."
"Would you like me to meet you for dinner?" she asked hopefully.
"Nah. You stay home and relax. You look like you could use the rest."
Hermione gawked at Ron, wondering how he could possibly be so thick that he was actually insulting her on her birthday. She had known it was a risk to not mention it herself but she really thought that after three years together, he might actually remember the date.
Without saying anything further he gave her a quick kiss and Disapparated. Hermione let out a huff of frustration and sat up quickly. If Ron couldn't be bothered to even remember, then she was determined to have a good birthday on her own.
She started with a trip to the Burrow, knowing that the rest of the Weasley's were always good for a pick me up. Charlie was visiting for the week and she found him lounging in the sitting room when she stepped out of the fireplace.
"Hey, birthday girl!" he greeted cheerily. Hermione couldn't keep from rolling her eyes as she gave him a quick hug.
"How is it that you live in another country entirely but you still manage to remember?"
Charlie grinned. "Our dear Ron being his usual ignorant self?"
"Yes," she sighed. "I suppose I should be used to it by now, but I keep expecting him to shape up one day. He's not a bad guy, just... Well, a bad boyfriend I suppose."
"And yet you stick by him," Charlie mused.
"What can I say? I'm a stubborn optimist."
"Can't fault you for that. But cheer up; you're in a house full of gorgeous, available men who will gladly take care of you on your special day."
Hermione smiled. "That's really sweet."
"That or I'm bored. You take your pick. Either way I'll treat you to breakfast."
"Really?" Her smile widened and she suddenly found herself admiring Charlie's toned physique and bronzed skin. Even his various scars and the tattoos she normally wouldn't approve of seemed appealing to her. She suddenly realized that it was probably the first time since she'd gotten together with Ron that she let herself admire another man. She refused to feel guilty about it though. If Ron couldn't be arsed to even remember her birthday, then he couldn't expect more from her.
Charlie offered his arm to her and she took it, a thrill of excitement running through her. She knew he was just trying to be nice to her, and that he saw her as his brother's girlfriend, but it was still a nice feeling.
"Oh Hermione, you're here... Again."
Hermione turned to the sound of the droll voice emanating from the kitchen entryway. Percy stood, somehow managing to look haughty despite being an awkward tangle of gangly limbs set to a too thin body. She rolled her eyes.
"Hello to you too, Percy."
Charlie nodded curtly in his brother's direction. He was one if the few siblings willing to acknowledge Percy's presence in the house. "I'm taking Hermione out for her birthday. Care to join us?"
Hermione restrained herself from giving Charlie a quick kick to the shins.
"Honestly," Percy all but whined, "people put way too much importance on a silly date. Birthday celebrations are just so unnecessary. Is it so important to point out that you've survived another year? Is making it to the day before so less special? It's all just another excuse to drink and eat cake really."
Charlie snorted. "I suppose spending your last five birthdays alone will do that to you. Have to convince yourself it doesn't matter?"
Percy sniffed and turned back into the kitchen. "Do enjoy your meal."
"Stuck up wanker," Hermione muttered under her breath. Beside her Charlie chuckled.
"You got that right. Don't worry about him though. Let's go."
Before she even had a chance to respond, he had Side-Along Apparated her to what looked like a busy marketplace.
"I never have time to sit down to a full meal," he explained, taking her hand and leading her through the different vendor's stalls. "I usually just grab an apple or something on my way out, and pick up stuff occasionally while we're out. I do a lot more traveling than people realize so I've gotten used to grabbing food in places like this."
He paused as a stand and picked up an oddly shaped fruit. "Here, try this."
Hermione nibbled apprehensively while Charlie paid. He'd handed the woman several knuts, which at least told her this was a wizarding town. "Have you been here a lot?" she asked curiously.
"No, a friend of mine told me about it when he heard I'd be back in England. He used to do a lot of work in the UK studying welsh greens."
Hermione nodded and took another bite of the fruit. She wiped her chin as a bit of juice dribbled down, enjoying the sweet melon-like taste on her tongue.
They wandered around the market, stopping occasionally to buy a piece of cheese or some homemade bread. By the time they were full, nearly two hours had passed. Charlie left her waiting by an old couple selling both flowers and apothecary items, returning minutes later with his hand held out to her.
"It's not a birthday without presents, is it?" he asked with a grin. He quickly turned his hand over and opened it to reveal a corded bracelet decorated with wooden charms.
"Oh Charlie, you didn't have to."
"Why not?" He shrugged and tied the bracelet around her wrist. "After all, I'm supposed to be showing you what a proper boyfriend would do, right?"
Hermione blushed and nodded.
"Unfortunately," he sighed, "I promised Mum I'd help her with those damned gnomes today. Percy's no help whatsoever and she feels bad asking anyone else."
Hermione gave him a weak smile. "That's okay. I'm sure I can fend for myself."
"Nonsense! I just have to pass you on to the next brother, or brothers I suppose. I'm sure the twins will be more than happy to entertain you."
"That's really not necessary." She tried to fight back a blush. It wasn't so long ago that she'd harbored a major crush on the identical Weasley's. She could still recall an embarrassing conversation with Lavender Brown where the two girls had agreed that Fred and George were God's (or Merlin's) gift to women. Hermione hadn't thought of them in that way in a very long time, but given her earlier reaction to Charlie, and her lingering resentment towards Ron, she wasn't sure what she might do if she saw them.
"Don't worry about it," he grinned, taking her arm. "Those two look for any excuse to skive off work. They're lucky that girl they hired is more responsible than they are." He laughed and Hermione felt the familiar yank before they appeared in Diagon Alley. Her heart was pounding as they approached the purple and yellow building.
George was the first to greet them and Hermione nearly squeaked when he came into view. She really had to remember that Ron was still her boyfriend, because her responses to his brothers were getting out of hand.
Fred joined them immediately, both he and George looking as fit as ever. She was too distracted to even follow the conversation and before she knew it, Charlie was gone.
The twins led her to the counter and George hoisted her up to sit on display, his hands lingering at her waist while they considered making a flashing sign to alert everyone to what day it was.
"Who knows, maybe Ron would actually notice," Fred joked.
"Only if she was lucky," George added in monotone, his lips curved in a smile. "He is thick enough to miss it."
"That's quite alright," Hermione huffed, taking notice of the twins' apparent lack of understanding of the concept of personal space. George was still between her knees, and Fred was leaning on the counter, his side pressed against her thigh. "You two really don't have to do anything. I'd planned to spend the day on my own anyway."
"No way!" they both shouted, and she could barely let out a squeak of protest before they'd grabbed her, settling her on their shoulders between them. She grabbed at both their necks, her fingers fisting in their hair, to steady herself while they shouted to Verity that they were heading out.
"Would you two put me down?!" Hermione squirmed but ceased her movements when she slid off George's shoulder and had to wrap herself around Fred to keep from falling. They merely laughed and readjusted her between them before marching on.
"This is ridiculous," she told them firmly. She wanted to cross her arms to emphasize her point, but she was too afraid to let go of them again.
"You mean you don't like this little parade in your honor?" Fred teased. "We aren't meeting her expectations George."
George pulled out his wand and conjured several bells, trumpets and a large drum which let out a cacophony of sound. Hermione cringed when she realized the objects were following them down the street. Several shoppers glanced at them and shook their heads. She had a feeling that the twins garnered that reaction a lot.
They finally set her down, and George thankfully dismissed their charmed marching band.
"You get anything you want," Fred whispered in her ear. George's arms came around her middle to turn her.
Hermione tried valiantly to hide her excitement as she stared into the front display of Flourish and Blotts, but a small squeal still escaped her. She attempted to cover it with a cough and turned back around.
"That's very kind of you, but I couldn't possib-"
George's finger pressed firmly over her lips and she froze.
"One if the benefits of being successful entrepreneurs. We can spoil whoever we see fit, any time we want to. So have at it. As long as you limit yourself to as much as the three of us can carry, you won't break the bank."
"Are you sure?" she asked hesitantly, more eager than she cared to admit to take them up on their offer.
"Positive." Fred wrapped an arm around her shoulder, while George flanked her opposite side as they escorted her in.
The twins followed her as she shopped, throwing her stern glances anytime she paused to check a book's price. She offered to let them look around themselves, or even to leave the store entirely, but they insisted on accompanying her. George mentioned something about it being their duty and they spent the rest of the time listing off the typical duties of a boyfriend, and guessing at how Ron messed them all up. Ever though she saw the bookstore as a reverent place, Hermione couldn't help laughing out loud at some of the things they came up with. The laughter also helped her ignore how right they were.
By the time she was ready to leave, the boys arms were piled high with books, and Hermione's stomach was growling. They walked her back to the shop were George flooed to her flat with her books. When he returned, he relieved Verity at the counter and Fred pointed Hermione back outside.
"Bill should be over at Gringotts today," he told her cheerily. He caught her hand in his and swung their arms between them.
"Thank you again, for the books and everything. It was really sweet of both of you."
Fred made a face. "Sweet? And here we were going for dashingly charming. Suppose well have to work on that for next year."
Hermione snorted. "Please don't tell me Ron will forget next year too."
Fred sighed dramatically as they entered Gringotts. "You'll never learn, will you?"
As it happened, Bill was in the front lobby, having a heated discussion with several goblins when they entered. He immediately waved and came to join them.
As soon as Bill had agreed to lunch, Fred gave Hermione a quick kiss to her cheek, wished her happy birthday, and Disapparated with a loud crack. Bill shook his head. "You know, I've heard that a loud Apparition indicates a lack of skill, but I really think they just like the noise."
Hermione laughed and took Bill's arm, surprised by her own actions. She supposed it had more to do with the way Charlie and the twins had treated her, than the fact that he was wearing a sleeveless shirt. At least that's what she told herself.
"So, where to?" Bill asked, obviously nonplussed by her forwardness.
"No where fancy," she insisted. "The Leaky Cauldron is fine."
"You sure? We could go somewhere nicer. Or even to Hogsmeade? Nothing like a trip to the past on your birthday."
"That actually sounds really nice," Hermione admitted, already reminiscing about meals at the Three Broomsticks and weekends spent wandering around town. She released Bill's arm and turned on the spot, feeling a thrill run through her when she arrived and began to look around.
"Sure brings back memories," Bill sighed." Charlie and I used to live for Hogsmeade weekends. Of course that meant we always spent Sunday night rushing through homework."
Hermione sniffed but refrained from telling him that she always had her homework done on Friday night.
They made their way to the Three Broomsticks and found an open table with no problem. Rosmerta came to greet them, recognizing them both. Hermione ordered a warm butterbeer, the weather in Hogsmeade a bit cooler than it was in London, and the same sandwich she used to order regularly. Bill ordered quickly and she reasoned that he'd made his choice in much the same way.
"So how's the family?" she asked conversationally, regretting it instantly. Just minutes before she'd been admiring his physique and now she was asking about his wife. His pregnant wife, she reminded herself. Pregnant and perhaps moody and unsatisfying? She shook off the thought, appalled at the direction her mind was drifting in.
"Fine, fine. Victoire is excited of course - can't wait to meet her new sibling. And how about you? Any plans of starting a family of your own?"
Hermione nearly choked on her drink. "No!" She swallowed hard and recomposed herself, ignoring Bill's laughter at her reaction. "I just plan to wait a little while longer until my career plans have solidified." She considered reminding him of why he was out with her in the first place, but thought she'd insulted Ron enough as it was.
"Of course, of course. Are you done eating?"
Hermione glanced down at her half finished sandwich, took in Bill's empty plate, and nodded. With an eager smile he reached forward to grab the remains if her meal and quickly wolfed it down.
"As delicious as ever," he sighed, patting his remarkably firm belly. Hermione felt herself blush and quickly drew her eyes away, lest they be tempted to venture down further. "How about a walk before heading back? I'd love to see what old Zonko is up to now that he has competition, and I wouldn't mind stopping in Honeydukes. That place seemed so big when I was a kid."
"Sure." Hermione nodded and waited while Bill paid their tab at his insistence. He reassured her that he'd recently made an impressive vault discovery and that his employers had been surprisingly generous with the bonus they gave him.
Their time in Hogsmeade passed pleasantly as they strolled down the streets and visited the places they remembered from childhood. It really was like a trip to the past and Hermione was certainly she'd want to return next year. Whether she came here with Ron, or took the offer of his brothers' to take care of her again, remained to be seen.
After stopping into Honeydukes, each only buying one thing to snack on after their meal, Hermione and Bill parted. She reassured him that she would come to the Burrow for dinner and was secretly glad when he turned down her invitation to bring Fleur along.
Back at the flat she shared with Ron, Hermione found herself humming as she got undressed and stepped into the shower. Her birthday had turned out far better than she'd expected, her faith in the Weasley men had been restored and she had dinner with all of them to look forward to. The day was definitely looking up.
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