Hermione cast glares at them. She hated them more than Death Eaters, more than Voldemort himself.
But you probably have no idea what's going on. Let me explain.
Three hours earlier…
Hermione carefully began to style her hair.
She had been more shocked than anybody when Fleur asked her to be her maid-of-honor. Hermione, of course, readily agreed. She had grown close to Bill's fiancé since Christmastime. In fact, Fleur had begun to call both Hermione and Ginny her little sisters along with Gabrielle.
At last, her hair was twisted up into a sparkling gold and Swarovski crystal clip, which had been a bridesmaid's gift from Fleur. She put on her mother's diamond necklace and earrings; they looked like two long, slender icicles dangling from her ears and a longer one from her neck.
Ginny was rushing around getting ready and muttering about stubborn black-haired, green-eyed boys who broke up with girls to protect them. Hermione had tried repeatedly to convince the younger girl that Harry really loved her, after all, he hadn't been worried about Cho or Parvati. The younger girl was determined to prove to him that she was a woman, and nothing Hermione said or did could change that.
Hermione was also dressing to impress someone…Charlie. He had been her rock these past few months. He had bought her a seven compartment trunk with a room of nothing but bookshelves inside, that way she could keep her father's books with her all the time.
He also worked with her parents' attorney to handle medical costs for her mother, and renting out the house she had grown up in.
She sighed happily as she buckled her strappy gold heels. Charlie would be waiting for her at the end of the aisle. He was, of course, the best man.
Within twenty minutes she was waiting at the door, waiting for her cue. Then she heard the harpist play the note she was waiting for, and she stepped outside. She walked gracefully around the corner of the house and to the end of the aisle, and turned to face Bill and Charlie.
She could barely suppress a gasp when she saw her Charlie wearing dress robes. She had seen him in a suit before and more often in jeans and tee-shirts, but this was far different. His hair had been gelled and spiked, and his black tie and robe contrasted nicely against his tan skin. Hermione privately thought that he looked like one of the heroes from one of her mother's old paperback romances.
She made it to the end of the aisle, and took her place opposite Charlie.
He winked at her, making her struggle not to blush.
Fleur and her father appeared at the end of the aisle and all the guests stood up. Well over half the men were staring at her with glazed eyes and/or drooling.
Not Charlie though; he just smiled and slapped Bill on the back. Bill, of course, didn't even feel it.
Hermione's eyes met and were captured by Charlie's as the ceremony began. Neither of them broke eye contact for the remainder of the ceremony.
After Bill and Fleur shared their first kiss as a married couple, the guests stood up and the tent transformed from a wedding to a reception.
Charlie walked over to Hermione and tucked her small hand into the crook of his elbow to lead her to their table. He paid a great deal of attention to her up until halfway through the evening, which had been one hour ago.
He had only gone to get them some drinks when three of Fleur's cousins decided to get some as well…Fleur's three full-Veela cousins. The three girls began to chatter away at him in French, which he of course didn't understand. Hermione, however, did.
One of the girls began rubbing his arm, and another pressed herself against his side. The third looked as though she was trying to climb into his robes with him.
'That is it! I've had enough,' Hermione thought to herself. The one who was trying to 'get to know him' had just propositioned him, albeit in French.
Hermione stood up and began to walk quickly across the room, her gold silk dress fluttering around her ankles.
She pushed past the three Veelas and took one of Charlie's arms, then said in fluent French, "Do you want to know what it feels like to have fifty Canaries pecking your eyes out?"
The tallest of the girls glared at Hermione and said, "I can have any man I want, and I want this one!"
"He's taken," Hermione replied smoothly.
"Yes," the Veela said, "by me!"
"The only way you can have him is by using your powers. He'll never truly want you," Hermione said.
The other girl smirked. "Do I look like I care?" she said, stepping so close to Hermione that they were practically nose-to-nose.
"Back off!" Hermione said. If it were possible, her eyes would have shot the killing curse at the French girl.
Hermione clung tightly to Charlie's arm.
Bill noticed the argument from where he and his wife stood talking to Aunt Muriel.
"Uh-oh," Bill muttered, nudging his wife slightly. "It looks as though your cousin is trying to steal Charlie from Hermione.
Fleur's head whipped around. "Come," she said to Bill. "We must stop this."
The pair made their apologies to the elderly woman, and hurried over to the mini-crowd of Veelas, Hermione, and Charlie.
"Stop this!" Fleur said in French. "Isabella! Back away, he is not for you."
"I don't care," Isabella said.
"Really?" Fleur said, arching a brow. She then called over her uncle Jacques, who was Isabella's father.
The full-Veela paled as Fleur explained what she had heard so far. Hermione added in that Isabella had propositioned Charlie.
Jacques was furious. "You are disgracing the whole family. We are leaving now!" he ordered, grabbing his eldest daughter's arm and marched away, the other two girls followed in their wake looking nervous.
Charlie felt the enchantment lift. He'd never been so embarrassed before in his life. "I am so sorry Hermione," he said, blushing redder than his hair.
"Just don't let it happen again," she muttered in a somewhat disgruntled tone. She then gave him a small smile.
He sighed in relief. "Yes, ma'am," he said.
Kingsley's Patronus suddenly appeared in the middle of the dance floor, warning everyone that the Death Eaters were on their way.
Charlie paled. "Go Hermione!" he said, and pressed a quick kiss on her lips. "Go!" he said again, and pushed her a little in the direction of Harry and Ron.
"Be safe!" she called out to him, as they heard the popping sound of apparition.
"You too!" he yelled, as she was swept up in the crowd.
Hermione ran across the room to her two best friends. She grabbed onto their arms and glanced quickly at Charlie one last time. He had already begun to duel the Death Eaters.
"GO!" he called out one last time.
Hermione caught Charlie's eyes and the world slowed for one long moment. That's when she knew.
She apparated away barely in time to avoid the sickly green curse heading towards her.
As she handed Harry his Invisibility Cloak and Ron a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt, she thought to herself in shock, 'I'm in love with Charlie.' She could only hope that they made through this war so she could tell him.
- - -
Charlie paced in his living room.
Hermione was gone on whatever mission Dumbledore had left the trio to do.
He had to trust her. 'She is a strong witch,' he told himself. 'She'll be fine. Harry and Ron will protect her.' But he was still worried.
'I already miss you,' he told her in his head.
That night he fell asleep clutching a picture of her in his hand.
There are Story Challenges in both "100 Ways" and "Harry Potter and the Secrets He's Kept". Please feel free to submit some entries. Thanks.