Title: Getting To Know You (Part 1/3)
Rating hard R/Light NC-17
Featured Character or Pairing(s): Charlie/Hermione
Summary: Hermione wants to get to know Charlie a bit better, but doesn't realize he wants to get to know her just as well.
Warnings: Tooth-aching fluffiness? None, really.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it. If I did, I wouldn't have nearly as many bills.
Author's notes: I wrote this for the 2009 Weasley fest for florahart, but my laptop crashed shortly afterward, and I'm just now getting around to posting it. I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I enjoy writing. Please leave me a review, I will try my best to respond to all of them.

"Why don't you ask him to dance?"

You turn around at the sudden question to look straight into the emerald gaze of your best friend of seven years. The two of you have become so close that you can almost read each other's thoughts. Although, in your case it can't be hard because you are practically shouting them to the room.

"Tried. Said he had two left feet, but appreciated the offer. Told me I should ask Ron instead," you reply bluntly, trying to mask your embarrassment, before continuing, "then he laughed, as if I were joking!" Harry gives you a sympathetic look, and you wish for all the world that he wouldn't. You don't want him to feel sorry for you, and you tell him so. He chuckles in response and pulls you close to him, arm draped loosely around your shoulders, making one of the old biddies at the next table gasp and exclaim, "Well, I never! Married less than an hour and already searching for a mistress. Men!" You hear her harrumph and roll your eyes. For some reason people just don't understand your platonic closeness with Harry. Having both been raised without a sibling to comfort you in times of need, you naturally turned toward each other and a lifetime bond had been formed. Harry had been the first to figure out your crush on the second eldest Weasley brother and encouraged you to do something about it.

You sigh and shrug his arm off of you as you stand up; stretching your calves in the too-tight heels you had to borrow from your cousin. In the past year, buying party clothes has hardly been high on your priority list, and you had needed something nice to wear for Harry and Ginny's wedding. You had put in a lot of extra effort, borrowing a nice strapless summer dress in a shade of pink that set off your skin tone nicely, along with the too-small, golden, strappy four inch heels that were now pinching your feet mercilessly. You had gone through three bottles of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion in an attempt to tame your wild curls into something resembling a French twist. You had painstakingly done your makeup by hand instead of casting a quick lip-balm charm on yourself. You had put in the effort, by Merlin, and it had all been for naught.

You sigh again as Harry stands to give you one last hug before he leaves you to join his new bride, and depart for their honeymoon in Paris. You say your goodbyes to he and Ginny, one of the few girls you have gotten along with over the years. You have an understanding with her, a kinship that is only understood by women with mostly male friends, in your case, and a plethora of brothers in hers. You can talk with her about serious things, discuss your concerns and fears without being worried they will make it to the gossip mill or be splashed across the front page of the Prophet the next day. It took Ginny all of twenty-four hours to squirrel your secret out of her fiancé-now-husband, and twelve more to give you advice on how to go about winning Charlie's attention, and eventually, affections. You remember the speech perfectly.

"Charlie is a thick-headed bloke, Hermione," she had stated, stopping to frog Harry in the arm when he made to interrupt her with a token plea that not all men were thick-headed. "As I was saying, most men are thick-headed blokes, my brothers included. Well, except maybe Bill, he seems to be able to find his arse with both hands now that he's all grown up. Anyway, if you want to get Charlie's attention, you have to get in his face. Don't be subtle. Subtlety is lost on him. The man works with dragons, for Merlin's sake, so you know he's a very action-oriented, in-your-face kind of guy, and taking action is the best way to get through to him."

Right, action, you tell yourself as you watch the burly redhead discussing something with Oliver Wood across the room. Quidditch, you are sure, is the subject, and you're not quite sure you want to interrupt. You hear his chuckle from across the room and his deep tones shoot straight to your inner core. Gods, you needed to hear that laugh more. So, you inch closer, making a circuit of the room, trying to avoid conversation…

"Hermione, dear! How are you enjoying the feshtivitiesh?" Molly asks you, giving you a very tight hug before releasing you, hiccupping, then giggling girlishly. Arthur, who is standing a bit behind her, one hand on her shoulder, one on her hip, is apparently keeping her in an upright position. He gives you a warm smile and you assume that the matriarch of the Weasley family has been celebrating the union of her daughter, by the light scent of firewhiskey wafting from her. You try not to grin as you reply, "I'm having a lovely time, Molly. You've outdone yourself again."

"Yes, Yes, thank you, dear. I had lots of help. You, and Ginny, and Fleur, oh and Lavender also. Yes, wonderful girls to help me out, hopefully we'll be celebrating your or Ron's wedding next, right?" Molly gives you what she considers a conspiratorial wink, the rather obvious gesture making you laugh hysterically internally. Outwardly, you just give her a small smile and respond, "Possibly."

"Pos..Posh…Poshibly. Arthur, I believe I need to go have a lie down. You have a wonderful evening, dear." With her parting words, Molly gives you another bone-crushing hug and lets her loving husband steer her towards the house and their bed. You begin to think, after the stress of the day, that Charlie Weasley is a lost cause and you could use a bit of a lie-down yourself. The crowd is starting to dissipate anyway, and of the guests left, Fleur and Lavender seemed perfectly capable of entertaining them.

As you enter the kitchen from the flowery back garden of the Burrow to head to the room that you have claimed as yours in recent weeks, you fail to notice that Charlie is nowhere in sight.