A/N: Hello, lovely readers! This is my entry for the Twin Exchange September (2011) Challenge. It was a good little break from schoolwork, and it turned into something much longer than originally intended. If you enjoy it, don't forget to skedaddle over to the Twin Exchange Forum profile on the 20th of September (through the 10th of October) to vote! Of course, I never say no to a review, either. :)
Prompt: A Hotel
Pairing: Hermione Granger/Charlie Weasley
Quote: "You wouldn't dare."
Theme: Ginny Weasley's Birthday
Warnings & Disclaimers: This story contains descriptions of acts of a sexual nature; if you are underage or do not wish to read this genre of fiction, please turn away now. I mean no harm by my use of characters of the Harry Potter series, and I make no money. All credit goes to JK Rowling. I just like to play.
"Stupid; stupid; stupid," Hermione muttered; her forehead gently hit the wooden door, punctuating each of her quiet rebukes. Across the thin barrier, Crookshanks let out a long meow in answering. "Yes, I'll feed you soon, you great lump."
Her feet, wrinkled and sensitive from spending far too much time in the warm water of the hotel's complimentary hot tub, appreciated the plush carpet beneath their soles as she smoothly turned to lean her back against the cool, firmly locked door. How could she have forgotten her room key? It was sitting in plain sight - directly on top of her wallet, if she recalled correctly. There had been no reason for her wallet to accompany her to the poolside, though, and she had unfortunately forgotten her key as a result. Her wand, snugly tucked into the waistband of her swimming bottoms, would do her no good, as wizarding hotels were quite thorough in anti-intruder charms, allowing the rooms to be only accessible via key.
Walking to the poolroom in her fluffy towel sans shoes or proper clothing had seemed such a magnificent idea! The back staircase provided her with little reason for needing to take along other clothing. Traipsing down to the front desk to ask to be let into her room in said attire, however, seemed less thrilling. The undoubtedly hormonal teen working the front desk had attempted a fairly thorough once over while she was dressed in her work robe. The thought of speaking to the boy while wrapped in a towel resulted in another quiet groan, and she let her head lightly drop back to the door's surface as she began again her chastisements. "Stupid; stupid."
"Of all the personality traits I would assign to you, Hermione, stupidity is hardly among them."
It was far too reactionary to reach for her wand, even if it was snuggled rather awkwardly underneath her towel; she was still a quick draw, however. Staring down her wand's handle, she recognized the shock of red hair as a Weasley trademark and immediately dropped her weapon, her face contorting in bewilderment. "Charlie?"
The second oldest Weasley child cocked his head, awkwardly standing mid-step where he had frozen as she assaulted him unnecessarily. He put his foot down slowly, as if she try to curse it off of him. "Expecting someone to attack you in a hotel hallway?"
"Unfortunate habit from the war." Hermione looked down to her wand hanging limply from her fingers to avoid his curious gaze and adopted a bashful smile. "What are you doing here?"
"As if I would miss my little sister's astronomically important 19th birthday."
Hermione raised an amused eyebrow. "You mean to say your darling little sister wouldn't allow you to miss this exceptionally large milestone?"
Charlie chuckled. "Something like that. The brat threatened to give Mum my permanent Floo address if I didn't come, and, as much as I love my mother, she drives me absolutely barmy."
"I expect your mum is also the reason you're staying in a hotel?"
Charlie nodded in the affirmative. "Like I said, I love the woman, but I wasn't much excited for a weekend spent running from her hair sheers. She's convinced cutting my hair will make me suddenly feel the need to settle down, find a job closer to home, marry a woman with no ambitions outside the kitchen, and suddenly want more children than I have fingers and toes."
Hermione smiled sympathetically. She wasn't a Weasley by blood, but that didn't mean she was exempt from the matron's speeches concerning the importance of starting a family - and how perfectly each man she ever mentioned in conversation could be suited to her if she just tried going on a date every once in a while. "Your mother is a piece of work."
"Means well, but, Merlin's pants, are you right," he answered. He raised an eyebrow to her, as if it had only just occurred to him how odd it was to find her in a hotel. "What are you doing here? Don't you live in London?"
"I'll tell you about it if you help me out," she answered with a hopeful smile. She gestured at her attire. "Would you be opposed to running to the front desk? I've locked myself out of my room."
"Ah. That explains the declarations of 'stupid'."
She tried so hard to keep her smile in place. "Help me out?"
"And in return?"
The smile slipped and she lightly glared at the man; she just wanted to make it into her room for a nice shower. "I promise not to hex you for making me wait out here any longer; it's chilly!"
"Shame, that," he answered playfully. It seemed the agitated look she had so long ago perfected (to help keep Harry and Ron in line when they got worked up about some harebrained scheme) was powerless against him. He had the audacity to wink at her before venturing down the hallway, presumably, she hoped, to speak with the desk attendant about a spare key.
Alone again in the hall, she collapsed back against the cool doorway, pulling her towel more securely around her torso. A small smile curved over her cheeks to replace her frown as she contemplated her circumstances. Of all the individuals to run into at a hotel, Charlie Weasley was certainly near the top of her list. Although she wasn't as close to him as many of the other Weasleys, she had always enjoyed his conversation, and found him much more suitable for verbal sparring than Ron ever was. Her best friend was lovable, but never as sharp tongued as suited her temper. She had stolen a kiss from him once, according to Ginny, during one of the many celebratory parties after the end of the war - not that she remembered it. That was a shame, she reflected.
The sound of someone padding gently down the hall returned her to the present. She opened one eye lazily, raised an eyebrow and teased, "What took you so long?"
"No thank you for the help?" he joked in return. "What's happened to you manners, Hermione? Let's hear proper thanks, unless you want me to steal that towel of yours. I'll assume you're wearing a bathing suit, but I've no qualms if you aren't. Then you can march down to the front desk starkers to ask for another key."
Hermione opened both eyes to survey him warily. "You wouldn't dare."
Charlie chuckled as he took a slow, intentionally intimidating step her way; regardless of him not standing as tall as Ron or Percy, he still managed to tower over her, especially without her shoes. He tugged gently at the hem of her towel as his eyes flickered momentarily to her bare shoulders; she wondered what had ever possessed her to buy a strapless swim top. It was probably Ginny's doing. "Haven't you ever wondered where Fred and George learned their tricks? Yours truly, love. You'll want to consider playing nice."
"Right then," she swallowed, holding her hand out for her key. "Thank you very much."
Charlie turned it over to her with a chuckle, taking a small step away from her personal space. "Far better. Can I ask how you locked yourself out here in the nude?"
"I'm not in the nude," she snapped back, shooting him another gentle glare before turning to fiddle with her lock. When she finally unlocked the wretched door, she was only mildly surprised that Charlie immediately followed her past the threshold. She chose to withhold her comment and made for her half-packed trunk. "I was at the pool. I forgot my key in my room."
"And why are you staying in a hotel?" he questioned her, nudging a pair of panties she had dropped onto the floor earlier with an amused look. She snatched the garment away with another withering stare; he grinned at her innocently.
"Your brother's, actually," she responded with an eye roll.
"Twins?" he asked; she snorted and gave him a look – of course she meant the twins. "They got to me, too. I've spent the last two days working in their shop. Their helper is out on vacation. I might have done it if they asked nicely, but they threatened me with telling Mum I was here already. Twats. What did they do to you?"
"I cook dinner for the twins, usually once a week. They thought it was appropriate to test their newest product on my poor, unsuspecting meal. Apparently, it's supposed to induce an unbelievable need to be with the nearest person physically, on the grounds that the individual under the influence is attracted to the administrator and has also acquiesced to any physical escapades, rather verbally or consciously in their mind. The effects don't wear off until the dosed individual takes the antidotes." She cleared her throat. "Or finds release several times."
Charlie looked truly surprised. "They were testing that on you? Without your permission?"
Hermione shrugged. "George had the antidote. I don't think they were actually planning on anything. They know they would be as good as dead if they did. I think they just wanted to see if I would say something truly incriminating or humiliating."
Charlie considered that for a moment. His brothers, while absolute monsters when they wanted to be, were good men; he couldn't picture them taking advantage of a good friend. "You're right. I imagine having evidence you were even minutely attracted to either of them would make their egos explode."
"Of course," she answered with a small grin. It faded quickly, though, and she sighed. "They had tested it in food before, but never at very high temperatures. The idiots dropped the capsule into a pot of boiling water. It exploded - it's lucky we were out of the room at the moment it did so. It also set off an explosion of some other trick that Fred had in his coat pocket. My poor kitchen wound up covered in icky, with the pan embedded into the ceiling. Rather than repair everything, I called in an interior decorator. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while; the kitchen in my place was atrocious. She wanted to retile the floor, so I wouldn't have been able to use my kitchen. For such a large job, she also gave me a discount on putting new carpet into my living room. I went for it, but my house isn't exactly livable at the moment."
Charlie nodded, lazily throwing himself into a chair at the room's edge. "And you're staying here? Same floor as me? Must be fate, Hermione."
Hermione rolled her eyes and shut her trunk. Holding an outfit suitable for the cooler weather that was settling over Britain, she turned toward her bathroom. "You're so smooth, Charlie. Be still my beating heart."
Charlie barked out a laugh as she shut the door to the wash closet. "All for you, love."
"I doubt that," she called back, stripping her damp bathing suit and reaching for the hot water faucet.
The room was soon full of steam as she washed the pool's chlorine from her skin, replacing the chemical with the soothing body wash Fleur had gifted her from France. As the smell of cherries and cinnamon invaded her senses, her mind floated toward the insufferable twins that had landed her in a hotel room for almost a full week. She was caught somewhere between irritation at her living situation and satisfaction at her current company. She was contemplating her emotions when an idea edged into her mind. She stepped from the shower and leaned toward the door, wringing the water from her long hair with the towel.
"Still here," he answered. She thought she could hear the wireless playing quietly in the background.
"Do you have plans for the day?"
"No," he called. "Fred and George's helper got back last night, so I'm off the hook today. Have something in mind?"
"You could say that," she answered. "Accompany me to Diagon today?"
"And spend a marvelous day in your company? You shouldn't even have to ask, Hermione."
She made certain he saw her exaggerated eye roll at his flattery as she left the bathroom. "Gods, you're full of it."
Charlie grinned at her upside down from where he was laying on her bed, his head hanging off the edge. "You enjoy the compliments."
Hermione didn't answer him as she busied herself gathering her shoes and purse (she triple-checked for her room key!), but Charlie took her silence as answer enough. She was acutely aware of him watching her move about until she could no longer think of any reason to forestall venturing into the Alley. She turned to face him. "Are you ready now? Do you need to stop by your room? I have a stop I need to make before we can get to The Leaky."
"Ready," he answered, rolling off her bed and quieting the wireless with a flick of his wand. She wasn't at all ready to have him step into her personal space and wrap an arm around her waist; she jumped and gave him a bewildered look as he chuckled at her. "Where are we headed?"
"Ginny's," she answered slowly. "I'm rather certain you know where that is, and I can Apparate myself, you know."
"And risk losing sight of you for even a moment? I wouldn't think of it." He inhaled deeply as she gaped at him. "You smell delicious, love."
"Merlin, you're worse than Fred and George," she responded in exasperated amusement. After the somewhat messy breakup she and Ron had suffered, Fred and George had taken it upon themselves to cheer her up in the only way they knew how - making outrageous asses of themselves. Admittedly, it had made her smile, no matter how ridiculous the boys were. When they realized it also miffed Ron to see his brother's flirting (no matter how absurdly) with his ex-girlfriend, the two had doubled their efforts to sickeningly charm the pants off her.
Charlie, having seen the twins in action many times before, quickly understood her reference and leered at her like a hunter would its prey. "Once again, where do you think they learned it all?"
Hermione kept her eyebrows raised and attempted to cross her arms over her chest, a maneuver that proved difficult with the little space between them. She eventually gave up and settled her hands on her hips. "Alright then, Mister Suave, are we going or what?"
"Your wish is my command," he responded, and suddenly they were spinning away through nothing.
Ginny's was located just outside of London, in a grove of trees that suitably shielded the abode from curious eyes. Hermione wiggled out of Charlie's embrace and set her feet up the dusty narrow path, shivering slightly at the feeling of the magical wards recognizing and allowing her to pass. The small, two-story home, with bright white siding and a large red front door, materialized slowly in front of her. Birds were drifting around the small vegetable garden, singing a song. For such a fiery inhabitant, Hermione was always surprised by how calming Ginny's home was. Hermione imagined it was a nice respite from her busy, public life as a Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies.
Charlie followed her up the front steps and reached her side as she raised her hand to knock. It took almost two minutes for Ginny to answer the door, her red hair piled messily on top of her head and her shirt looking ruffled when she finally appeared. Hermione snorted at her best girl friend. "Hi, Gin. Harry here?"
"Yes," she answered. Hermione had expected as much. Ginny had just given a great squeal, though, realizing the identity of Hermione's companion. She launched herself out the front door at him. "Charlie! When did you get here?"
"Not long ago," he answered smoothly. Hermione glared at him for the vagueness of his answer, but she couldn't call him out, as it wasn't technically a lie. He grinned at her over Ginny's head. "How's my favorite sister?"
"Prat," she answered, punching him in the chest. "I'm your only sister."
"And favorite still," he responded, ruffling her already messy hair.
Hermione ignored them and allowed herself into Ginny's house, making her way into the hall and stopping at the base of the stairs. She called a warning: "Harry! I'm coming to find you. Please be dressed when I do!"
"Up here, 'Mione," her best friend answered around a laugh.
She made her way up the stairs to find him lounging in Ginny's bed in his underpants as he flipped uninterestedly through a book Hermione imagined had been resting on Ginny's nightstand. Stopping in the doorway, she scoffed. "That is not dressed."
Harry dropped the book to give her a great grin. "Close enough. It's too early for slacks. What's up? Where's Gin?"
"It's nearly eleven!" she scolded, ignoring his questions.
Harry grinned at her until she finally sighed and waved him off with a small smile, coming further into the room to address him.
"Down with Charlie," she answered his question. Harry raised an eyebrow and fixed her with a questioning look. Ginny often joked that Harry and Hermione had spent far too much time together as children; she called them long lost twins, teasing Hermione with the nickname of The-Girl-Who-Lived, because she and Harry were almost as proficient at silent communication as the wretched twins. She shook her head. "I just ran into him; don't get any nasty ideas in your head."
Harry's grin returned. "I would never. You'll be at Ginny's party tonight, right?"
"Of course. Harry, do you think I can I borrow your Invisibility Cloak?"
His eyebrow shot up. "Sure you and Charlie aren't-"
She cut him off mid sentence with a well-aimed stinging hex. He laughed and picked himself up from Ginny's bed, disappearing into the large closet, returning several moments later with one of his most prized possessions flowing ethereally over his arm. He passed it over to her lovingly.
She couldn't stop herself: "You were just in the closet, Harry. You really couldn't have found a pair of trousers?"
"They're coming off anyway," he teased, preemptively capturing her wand arm in case she tried to hex him again. She was forced to settle for a glare, and he laughed at her expression for a moment before adopting a more serious expression as he let go of her wrist.
"Be careful with it," he warned unnecessarily – everyone knew Hermione was always careful with other's possessions. A mischievous look drifted through his eyes suddenly. "And return it unsullied, please."
Hermione smacked him on the arm. "You are awful."
"But lovably so," he defended, capturing her in an embrace before she could turn to leave. She returned the gesture before folding up the cloak gently and again making her way down the stairs.
Hermione found Charlie and Ginny still lounging in the doorway, chatting animatedly. She squeezed past Ginny to stand again on the front porch, but they both caught sight of what she carried in her arms; Ginny was too curious to properly finish her current conversation. "What are you up to?"
"We're going to visit the twins," she announced. Charlie, previously unaware of their final destination, chuckled and grinned at her. She grinned back.
Ginny looked between them, the devious look they shared giving her shivers. "Should I pray for them?"
"Might not be an awful idea," Hermione responded. "Merlin knows they deserve to have something pulled over on them for all the trouble they've caused us."
"I'll make sure to avoid the shop today," Ginny said cheerfully, her eyes flickering back to her staircase. Hermione huffed in amusement.
"You two are ridiculous. Please try to make it out of your bed before dinnertime. Your mum hates it when you're late to things, and it seems ridiculous to be late to your own party."
"We'll see what we can do," Ginny returned with a grin. She looked at her older brother, who was wearing a sour look at the thought of his younger sister having any semblance of a sex life. She laughed and patted him gently on the chest. "Just try not to think about it, Charlie. I'll see you tonight!"
They said their goodbyes, and Hermione and Charlie were soon making their way toward the Apparition Ward once more. Charlie took a moment to shake off the conversation's end before he came back to himself. "We're going to visit Fred and George?"
"Not so much as visit," Hermione answered elusively.
Charlie took a gentle grip on her upper arm as the wards shimmered around them. "To Diagon, then?"
"Lead the way," she acquiesced.
They landed in the small alley behind The Leaky Cauldron, where the empty garbage bins the only decor to greet them. Charlie used his wand to allow them entrance to the magical community, and he guided her through before him.
"So why are you staying in a hotel? I mean, as opposed to staying with someone else? Ginny's home is surely big enough."
Hermione shrugged and turned her attention to the dragon tamer as they walked. "Ginny has a spare room, but Harry's living with her now - and if you mention that to a soul, she'll hex both of us six ways from Sunday. I didn't want to crash with those two, as I can guarantee they are taking full advantage of finally having some privacy." Charlie pulled another sour face and she laughed. "My parents returned to Britain after the war to see me finish out my schooling, but they moved back to Australia shortly afterward. They enjoy the weather there. Your mum offered to put me up at The Burrow, but Bill and Fleur have come to stay for the weekend. Ron is still living there, and Lavender is staying the week, as well. It's a bit cramped. I made it one night at Grimmauld before Sirius and Remus scared me away. They kept trying to slip things into my coffee. I think they're making up for lost years, but gods their pranks are terrifying, and I don't want to be on the end of one. Sleeping there probably isn't a wise decision."
Charlie nodded in understand after each of her reasons. "A hotel seemed the best choice."
"Yes," Hermione answered, her eyes moving from him to the large shop looming ahead of them, flashing obnoxious colors as the advertisements morphed through their noticeboard. She reached for Charlie's arm, tugging him into a nearby alley. She took out the cloak and unfolded it. "You'll have to walk in front of me."
"Put it on then," Charlie answered, leaning against the wall and looking at her expectantly. She raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"I don't want them to know either of us are there," she answered, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You're coming with me."
A look of understanding passed over his features as he realized she expected him to be under the strange cloak as well. "Oh."
Hermione beckoned him away from the wall. "You'll have to walk bent in front of me. It's tricky fitting two people under this. I've done it so many times, though, with Harry and Ron; as long as you keep bent, I'll keep up. Just stop if I tap your arm."
"Right," Charlie answered, stepping toward her. She tossed the cloak over them, and the surrounding alley became a shade darker. He looked at Hermione, whose face was cast in gentle shadows. "Where are we going?"
"The stairs," she answered. "We'll have to wait for someone to open the door. Wait for two people to leave the shop. When the first gets through the door, push past and try not to bump into the second. When we're in, head for the stairs. Hopefully there aren't too many people there." She pushed gently against his arm. "Turn around. Make sure to stay low so it covers your feet; you Weasley's and your damn height."
Charlie laughed gently, doing as she asked. It felt odd to be standing so crunched, but he looked down, and sure enough his feet were covered. He took a tentative step forward, and Hermione mirrored him gracefully. They made it to the door of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes with Charlie occasionally tripping over his feet and Hermione gracefully hopping and skipping along behind him to compensate for his movements. It was several minutes before a pair of children came running for the door. Charlie tried hard not to bump into the kid as he darted through the door, but he accidentally stepped on the boy's cloak; he nearly tripped, but Hermione caught him around the shoulders, rising to her toes in an attempt to stay on her own feet. Her eyes were wide when he looked at her, but she only shook her head and nudged him onward.
Fred and George were each occupied with customers and parents, but the shop was busier than Hermione might have liked. They moved slowly across the floor, Hermione occasionally jumping to either side of her invisible partner to avoid a child running in to her. The blond helper, Verity, was lounging behind the till, watching as children darted around in front of her post. They squeezed past the blond and made it to the staircase. Hermione whispered to him, "Skip the sixth stair; they've got an alarm set on it."
Charlie did as told, and they reached the top of the stairs without incident. He sighed with relief and reached for the handle to the door guarding Fred and George's personal suite, but Hermione reached forward and swatted his hand away. "Let me."
Hermione reached around him, focusing on breathing through her nose as she leaned against him. Her wand came into contact with the golden handle and she whispered a string of words that would have sounded like gibberish to any observer. They heard the lock click and slunk through the door; only when it was fully closed behind them did Hermione rip off the cloak.
Charlie was looking at her as if he was very impressed. "What was that?"
Hermione smiled at him. "Fred and George developed their own little language when they were little; it's something most twins do, actually."
"That's why it sounded familiar," he mused. "How in the world do you know it?"
Hermione shrugged, gently setting Harry's cloak over the arm of the couch. "I don't. I stayed here for a few weeks, though, while I was looking for a place of my own. Everyone else was still living at The Burrow or Grimmauld. They taught it to me so I could let myself in. If you try Alohamora, you'll find yourself blasted down the stairs."
Charlie shook his head, watching the witch with amusement. "You are full of surprises. I didn't know you and the twins were so close."
"They needed someone with a background in Arithmancy for some of the spells they were developing. I've helped out here during down times in my work."
Charlie gave her a long look before spinning in a circle with his arm outstretched. "So, what are we doing?"
"Whatever you want," Hermione responded. Fingering her wand, she started to move toward one of the doors. "You've got absolutely free reign to mess up as much as you please."
"Christmas came early!" Charlie laughed, and Hermione responded similarly. He followed her through the door and found himself standing in a rather messy room.
Hermione frowned at the mess. The trash was gone with a wave of her wand, but she left the clothing and miscellaneous books scattered over the floor (a mess that was absolutely not hers to clean, no matter how much she might want to) before walking over to the bed. She began to wave her wand back and forth in a complicated pattern.
"What are you doing?"
"Last year, when Percy and Audrey were searching for a place, Percy thought about moving back to The Burrow until they found a permanent place," she began, occasionally pausing to flick her wand at some other unsuspecting object in the room. "Ginny was terrified by the thought, so she begged Fred and George to do something about it. They did a bunch of little things: always made sure the water was cold when he went for a shower; made the floor boards squeak; replaced his mirror with one of those that shouts improvements at you; and they also put a charm on his mattress so that it was never soft when he laid on it. They just wanted to frustrate him. This is a charm that I developed with the intention of sharing it with the twins because they gave me the idea for it, but I must have forgotten. It sets a sort of ward around the bed, and whenever someone lies on the mattress, it will make them itchy. It's just a little annoyance, but it'll do nicely, as they don't know the countercharm."
Charlie grinned. "Smart witch."
Hermione's cheeks tinged pink in a pretty manner. "Thank you."
Charlie nodded before venturing out of the room. Hermione finished her spell work and ventured on to Fred's room, performing the charm once more. Only when she finished hiding their treasured collection of PlayWizard magazines did she return to the main room. She heard Charlie in the kitchen, and chose to see what he was up to.
"Found their collection of sweets," he said by way of greeting. "Ground up the Babbling Bobbles and put them in the pepper shaker."
Hermione grinned. Babbling Bobbles, a small sweet designed to make one speak without restraint until the dose wore off, were one of her most hated treats - most probably because she had been their unknowing test subject. The twins had claimed it was perfectly fine because, unlike Vertaserum, the candies didn't compel one to tell the truth – only to talk their leg right off and run headlong into embarrassing situations. They had gotten more than their fair share of embarrassing stories from her that day. "Excellent."
"I've lined all the coffee mugs with whatever that sweet is that makes you incessantly giggle, too," Charlie said, turning to face her with a grin.
She smiled at him and turned to the dining room area, intent on finding the real Muggle sweets the boys usually kept there. She had introduced them to the hard candies several years ago; it was funny to her how in love with the sweet treats the twins had fallen. She was surprised to see the small bowl absent from the table. In its place was a large cauldron with shimmering green goo bubbling over a low burning fire. She ignored it, still in search of the candies, as Charlie followed her into the room.
"What are you looking for?"
"Candies," Hermione said, sticking her head into a nearby cabinet. "It's an old Muggle prank. If you put hard candies in the showerhead, it will make you disgustingly sticky. They're pretty hard to get out, too. You just have to deal with sticky showers until the candies are gone."
"Brilliant," he answered. "What do you suppose this is?"
Hermione shrugged, assumed he was inspecting the green goop, and continued moving things around in the cabinet in her search. "It's Fred and George. It could be anything from a wacky Contraceptive Potion to a ghastly concoction not entirely legal. I try not to ask."
Charlie hummed, and she heard him approach the table. She found the bowl of sweets sitting on a stack of books; a large grin decorated her face as she reached for a handful. She was turning to tell Charlie about her next plan, when a large amount of goo suddenly covered her cheek.
Hermione yelped as the cauldron first sputtered and then exploded, showering them and the room in nasty green goo. She opened her eyes to find Charlie standing with his hand outstretched over the now-mostly empty cauldron, a guilty look on his face. It took her several tries to speak.
"You touched it? Seven hells, Charlie, what were you thinking?" Charlie muttered something she didn't catch, but she was too busy trying to scoop the gooey substance from her jumper to notice. "Ugh, this is gross. We should probably get this off quickly. In case it does something scary."
Charlie nodded in agreement, eager to fix his mistake. He took out his wand and waved it at her, speaking the cleansing charm, but the green goo continued to stick unpleasantly to her head. He smiled bashfully and shrugged. "You can have the first shower then. Sorry, Hermione."
She shot him an exaggerated look, but his bashful smile won her over and she thanked him for his offer with a small smile of her own. "I'll try to be quick about it."
Tossing the candies she no longer needed onto the table, Hermione hurried out of the room, trying not to drip mess through the rest of the house - she had wanted to prank the twins, not destroy their furniture. Darting the rest of the way on her toes, she shut the door to the restroom and quickly stripped off her clothing. The room was soon steamy; the hotter water seemed best at removing the gooey substance from her skin. She stuck her face in the warm spray and scrubbed away the green; turning to reach for a towel to dry her eyes, she realized the towel rack was empty. She groaned loudly.
"Yes?" he called from outside the door.
"Could you get me a towel? There aren't any."
Hermione got her answer half a minute later when the door opened with a tiny squeak and a towel was suddenly flung over the shower curtain. "Thank you."
"No problem," Charlie answered. She waited to finish her shower until he left, but the door didn't make another sound. She raised an eyebrow when she heard another source of running water.
"What are you doing?"
"Rinsing this off," he told her through a gurgle; she expected his face was dunked under the sink faucet. "It started to dry, and it's itchy."
Hermione wanted to admonish him for intruding on her privacy, but she couldn't find it in her. She had been on the receiving end of far too many Fred and George pranks to hold it against Charlie for wanting to be clean. She finished her shower quickly. Pulling the towel over the curtain, she wrapped herself in it snuggly and poked her head out. Charlie was still at the sink, his face and right arm now clean; he was working on scrubbing the potion off his left arm. She took a breath and stepped out of the shower, intending on leaving him to his own bath.
"I'll just wait out in the living room," Hermione told him, trying to slink behind him to the door.
"Most of it got onto my clothes. I'll let you finish up then come back," he answered with a shake of his head, turning to go.
Their simultaneous attempts to leave the room left them awkwardly squished between the wall and sink. Charlie looked surprised to find her to have been so closely behind him, but he recovered quickly, and an amused smirk wound its way onto his face.
Hermione cleared her throat and laughed uncertainly. "I had forgotten how small this room was."
"Not complaining," Charlie answered cheekily.
He took a small step forward and she took a small step back. That was all the room left before she bumped against the wall. He took another step and his arm was snaking around her waist for the second time that day. Hermione swallowed, attempting to find something smart and scathing to throw at him for his boldness, but the noise was stuck somewhere in her throat. She could only swallow it back and mutter, "What are you doing?"
"My clothes are covered in this mess. Your clothes are covered in this mess. We can't show up at Ginny's birthday party in them," Charlie told her, as if it was the most obvious answer in the world. The mischievous look he gave her, though, told her that clean party clothes were probably the farthest things from his mind. "I'm taking us back to the hotel."
"Oh," she answered, attempting to shift into the wall, but he was far too close for movement. "Right then."
Charlie took her answer as the sign to go, and his grip tightened on her waist just before he spun them away. They landed in the hall of their hotel, Hermione's back bumping against what she recognized as a door. She expected he had done that on purpose. "De ja vu."
"Truly," he answered, using his free hand to pull a key from his pocket and unlock the door. He picked her up and over the threshold, kicking the door shut behind him with his foot.
"I'll need clothes from my room. You can let me go now," Hermione told him as he watched her. He shook his head with a grin, and her temper flared back to life. She rolled her eyes. "Let me guess: you don't want to?"
To her surprise, Charlie shook his head. "You don't want me to."
Hermione scoffed. "You've lost it."
"Perhaps," he answered her, his free fingers running gently over her bare shoulder. She clamped her mouth shut and watched him through narrow eyes. "Going to stop me?"
Would she stop him? It had been a depressingly long while since she had been with a man. Ron had been a disaster, and those following him had been more intrigued by her status as a war hero than everything else she had to offer. She had chosen to put her love life on hold for a while, at least until the novelty of being best friends to Harry The-Boy-Who-Could-Do-No-Wrong Potter had waned a bit; she enjoyed focusing on her career, anyway. But if she was honest with herself, she had missed the feeling of someone else around and inside her - her fingers and all of the Wonder Witch products in the world couldn't reproduce that satisfying feeling.
She swallowed once and found her voice, forcing it to come out strong and unwaveringly. "No."
"I didn't think so," Charlie told her with all the confidence in the world. She wanted to hit him for his arrogance, but his lips were suddenly replacing his fingers on her shoulder and she couldn't do it. Her hands flew to his forearms as his teeth sunk gently into the soft skin, anchoring her to something solid. She was almost embarrassed to hear herself hiss at the pleasurable contact.
Lips moved from her shoulder to her clavicle, lathering across the small bone and up the side of her throat, attaching gently to her ear lobe. Hermione gasped at the feeling - none of her previous boyfriends having ever paid attention to her ears - and pulled him closer to her. She felt his chuckle rumble through his chest. His nose dragged across her cheek, inhaling as he moved.
"You really do smell delicious." Hermione opened her mouth to deny that; she had just showered at Fred and George's, and likely smelled like whatever soap they bought - something harsh that smelled like boy. Charlie made a noise to stop her. "You, Hermione – your natural scent. You smell fantastic."
Oh. Well, she supposed she couldn't argue with that. She didn't actually know what her natural scent was like. Instead, she settled for tugging on his arms. "Kiss me. Please."
Another chuckle, but Charlie obliged. Bumping noses with her playfully, he urged her to tilt her head and finally pressed his lips against hers. She didn't know anyone had such soft lips; she always kept lip balm in her bag, but even her lips never stayed so smooth during the windy months. She sighed happily, leaning up into his tentative press, bringing them together with more pressure. He responded eagerly, pushing back against her and moving their lips in a dance around one another. He captured her lower lip, sucking it into his mouth and running the tip of his tongue along its rim. She moaned in satisfaction, her tongue darting out to touch his lips, asking for entrance. He freed her lower lip and kissed her again, their tongues meeting eagerly to fight for dominance.
Realizing she was more than likely leaving half moon bruises where her fingers held his arms, she moved her hands to his neck, nimbly working the black piece that held back his hair. She tossed it to the side, careful to make certain it landed on something soft, and sunk her fingers into his hair. Tugging at the silky strands gently, Charlie growled into her mouth, his tongue surging forward to win their fight; he plundered her warm mouth, making broad sweeps across the roof and learning the contours. Her tongue pushed back against his, wanting to study his mouth in a similar manner, but he pushed her farther into the wall, holding her still by the shoulders, and continued his aggressive kisses.
Hermione whimpered, pulling again on his hair in satisfaction. She had always been the dominant partner in her previous relations, finding she more commonly found satisfaction if she controlled what was happening, and none of her past conquests had ever tried to contest her for the spot. But Charlie wasn't taking any of her attempts to climb back to the top, and, though she wanted to put a fight for her position, she was secretly thrilled to have found someone who felt so comfortable being in control.
Charlie's hands moved from her shoulders to pull the top of her towel down; she had barely registered the cool air when his fingers were rubbing against her nipples, pulling them gently and bringing them to full prominence. She moaned again, her chest arching forward into his calloused touch. She hissed a yes against his lips, her tongue taking his momentary distraction to dart into his own mouth - he tasted like hazelnut and coffee.
One hand still playing with her tits, the other pulled the towel down further, skimming his hands over the smooth skin of her stomach. His lips left hers and returned to the sensitive skin of her ear. He lathed the small area lovingly before establishing a downward path. She desperately hoped he would take her other breast into his mouth; she needed him to do so. It looked as if that was his destination when he suddenly stopped. He pulled back, his hands stilling, and she looked at him in confusion. Was he having second thoughts?
"My clothes," was his answer. He gestured at his clothing, and then at her uncovered chest, and Hermione finally understood. The green potion that had clung to his clothing was now clinging to her skin, and it was beginning to dry; it really was itchy, Hermione realized.
A wicked look captured her eyes. "I'll need another shower."
Charlie looked into her eyes, his mirroring hers with the same dancing flames. "Gods above, yes."
"Lead the way," she answered with a smirk.
He responded by tearing away the rest of her towel and picking her up around the waist, carrying her as she laughed into the small bathroom. He turned on the water before gently setting her feet onto the slippery surface. She stood in the spray of the water and watched him as he divested himself of his clothing. His left shoulder was badly scarred from what she guessed was a large burn he sustained from work. He had a swirling tattoo on his right pectoral that she recognized as an embellished version of the Celtic triskele – life; death; rebirth. As he pulled his trousers away, she saw a long gash near his hip that she couldn't be certain if it was a wound sustained from a dragon or a curse. Her perusal of his markings halted as his pants followed his trousers, her eyes immediately drawn between his legs.
Merlin, he was fecking gorgeous! His large cock was nestled in a neat bunch of fiery curls that trailed to slightly softer hair that ended just below his belly button. The tip of him was already dripping, glistening. Hermione almost pounced across the small space between them when he took himself in his hand and stroked his length several times for her to see. She looked up to find him watching her carefully, the ghost of an amused smile on his lips.
"Come here." She didn't even recognize her own husky voice.
Charlie didn't waste a moment. Two large steps and he was with her under the water, kissing her again as if the hot water might make her melt away from him at any moment. He speared his fingers through her damp curls and tugged her mouth whichever way he felt worked best. She followed obediently, kissing him with as much force as her fingers ran trails along his lower back.
He broke their kiss with a groan, and she was surprised to be spun away. He quickly pulled her toward him again, her back landing with a wet smack against his chest. He reached for a bottle on the shower rack and poured a liberal amount of sudsy soap into his hand. Rubbing his hands together, he then brought them to her shoulders, pushing into the muscles there with as much force as the slippery soap would allow. Hermione groaned and leaned her head back. She placed a kiss on his neck as he lathered her back.
"That feels amazing."
Charlie hummed, and his massage moved down to her arms, elbows, forearms, each of her fingers. She was putty in his hands by the time his hands settled lightly on her breasts. Using his palms, he rubbed each smooth mound completely clean before replacing his palms with his fingers. He played at her nipples as his lips descended on her neck again, nipping in a satisfying way that she was certain would leave tiny bruises. He pushed her breasts upward with his hands, testing their weight and learning their feel, and she sighed happily.
With a nudge of his nose he tilted her head back farther, and his lips landed on hers again. It was gentler this time; explorative; tentative; new. He let her tongue slip past his lips so she could learn the feel of him too. One arm fell lower and wrapped around her waist. Charlie pulled her closer to him and she felt his hardness press against her curved backside. He kept her held to him tantalizingly as his free hand washed her belly, taking care to rub away all of the sticky goo; the soft caress of her skin were soft and sensual, but his steel length pressed into the cleft of her backside reminded her how erotic their escapade really was.
When he had finished, he let her go and reached again for the bottle of soap. Part of her desperately wanted to turn around and speed toward the destination she wanted them to reach, but she stayed obediently facing the spray of the water; never had a man given her attention so lovingly without reaching for his own satisfaction at the same time. She wanted to know what else this surprising man behind her had up his sleeve.
Hands sudsy once more, Charlie kissed her one last time before moving his hands to her hips. He rubbed circles against the bones, using her to balance as he lowered himself to his knees. He kissed the curve below her bottom and his hands began moving again - they rubbed circles around her cheeks; moved upward to massage the sway of her spine; ran gently through the curls that covered her, careful not to touch the areas of her body that she really wanted him to. Skimming from her hips to her thighs, he skipped paying attention to her sex; Hermione moaned in frustration and could practically feel his smirk against her leg. His lips trailed kisses over her thighs, the backs of her knees, and down to her calves; his soapy fingers followed his kisses, rubbing every muscle in her legs until she wasn't sure would be able to remain standing.
Just as the sexual tension of the situation was waning and she was considering sitting down on the shower ledge to take a nice nap, Charlie nudged her senses back to life with a barely-there touch to the v of her legs. Her eyes shot open as his fingers dipped beneath the curls to find the tight bundle of nerves that hid there, stroking the sensitive spot slowly - so damn slowly. Hermione gasped and moaned above him, her body flaring back to life. "Yes. Harder."
Charlie didn't listen. He continued his slow tease of her clit. His other hand was playing at her entrance, rubbing her slick fluids along her lips and teasing the opening to her body. She moaned loudly and he rewarded her with a single digit sliding through her folds, entering her body slowly and shallowly. She clenched around him as he flicked her clit gently.
"Yes, Charlie," she hissed into the water running over her face, her fingers digging into her own hips as he was too far below her to reach. She rocked against his finger. "More. Please, Charlie."
With a chuckle she barely heard over the shower's noise, he did listen to her request this time. Just as agonizingly slowly as the first, he slid another digit into her tight pussy. She was a little surprised to hear him moan along with her as he surged into her a bit harder. His fingers crooked forward, rubbing the walls inside her body, and she cried out.
He pulled out and pushed into her again slowly; he gained momentum every time he entered her, and soon she was grasping shower rack in an attempt not to fall over. "Yes," she moaned when his fingers rubbed a circle around her clit. He sped up then, his fingers driving harder into her cunt as the other played with her sensitive nerves. She rocked back, her muscles clenching around him, her thighs quivering uncontrollably.
Hermione screamed his name as she came, the hot fluid rushing from her legs in the most powerful release she had ever reached. He didn't stop his assault against her senses until her shaking lessened to occasional quivers and her ragged breaths became shallow pants.
Charlie pulled himself back up her body, kissing her shoulders and neck as he reached his full height. Hermione turned her head and captured his lips, whispering against them, "Thank you."
He nodded, returning to the spot he had found behind her ear that he enjoyed paying special attention to. She groaned happily as she felt the skin certainly bruising, running gentle fingers over his arms; she was happy to have him back within her touch again. His fingers traced over her belly before coming to rest on her hips; they tightened, digging into the supple flesh there.
"Lean forward," he commanded her. His voice was deep and gravelly, and when she looked into his eyes, they were darker than she remembered. He looked as if he might want to eat her or try to crawl inside her if given the chance; she shivered from the strong, open emotions flickering over his features.
With a trusting nod, she did as he asked, leaning forward and setting her forearms against the cool tile underneath the showerhead. Hermione looked behind her to catch his eye. Charlie held her gaze as he stepped further into her, the blunt head of his cock nudging at her folds. She pushed gently against him in silent communication that she wanted him just as much as he wanted her. Using his hand to guide his length, he slid into her wet core and they groaned together as he continued to push forward until he was buried to the hilt. He paused to take a shuddering breath. "Fuck, you're tight, Hermione."
She rocked against him teasingly and grinned. "Whenever you're ready, love."
Charlie growled playfully, pulling almost all the way out of her before sliding back in, taking care not to move too quickly at first. Hermione appreciated the consideration, but she was still alive from her earlier release. She didn't want a slow build up; she wanted to explode.
He obliged, beginning to piston in and out of her tight channel with a faster rhythm. As he grew in speed, the force of his thrusts increased, until she had to pick her cheek up from the tiled wall for fear of smacking her head against it. She dropped her head instead to her arms and arched her spine, pushing against him as he drove deeper into her.
Soon, he was driving hard enough to nearly lift her off her feet. She would have lurched forward with each thrust had he not held her so tightly. He had driven her off her feet and onto her toes as she balanced precariously, trusting him to keep her off the shower floor. She clenched her lower muscles around him as he surged back into her and he groaned loudly. "Do that again."
Hermione did as told. His rhythm broke and he erratically pushed; his thrusts nearly exited her body, only to drive so far in that she felt she might split in two. Charlie moved one hand around her waist and found her most sensitive flesh again. He danced over the gathering of nerves and she moaned, jerking back into him as he surged forward. Her teeth were clenched together as she reached for that elusive release, rocking backward into his thrusts and forward into his fingers.
"Let it go," he told her quietly through the stream of water. Charlie leaned forward over her spine, his lips and teeth grazing the skin of her neck. "Come for me, Hermione."
And oh, gods, did she. One final touch to her clit and she flew apart, her entire body flexing as her orgasm tore past her in an intense whirlwind. Charlie's yell of fulfillment as he followed her over sounded far away, like hearing the sea through a shell. Every part of her body was on fire and her lips were whispering incoherent words without her permission. When she finally came back into her self, Charlie had stopped moving inside her; he dragged her up straight once more and lay against her back as she lay against the tiled wall, breathing harshly into her shoulder. "Bloody fucking hell."
"Bloody fucking hell," Hermione echoed him quietly, nuzzling her face into his wet hair. "That was incredible."
"You were incredible," he mumbled against her hot skin. It was long minutes before he unstuck their bodies and stopped using her as his personal pillow. He moved them back into the direct flow of the water to wash away the sweat and come that decorated each of their bodies. He reached again for the bottle of soap, but Hermione reached out to stop him. He raised an eyebrow when she shook her head.
Charlie shrugged with a small smile, handing her the bottle. She took it, but set it down once more where it belonged. Instead, she mirrored his earlier movements, using his hips as a stable anchor to help her as she lowered herself to her knees. She spent a long time rubbing the feeling back into his thighs with her small fingers. Hermione watched him closely, and when she felt he had recovered enough, she moved her fingers to caress the soft skin of his sack; her nose came forward to rub through the curls of his upper legs. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his cock twitch to life again.
Above her, Charlie growled. "Careful, Hermione."
Hermione pulled back just far enough to smirk at him; she kept his eyes as her tongue darted out to taste the tip of his length. Charlie groaned watching her, his hands on either side of the shower to keep from grabbing a rough hold of her hair. Hermione rubbed against his leg again with a contented sigh and gave him a smile. "When have I ever led a careful life?
Hours later, Hermione and Charlie were once again standing outside of the garish shop in Diagon Alley, both looking rather apprehensively at the flashing lights on the rooftop and windows. Charlie cocked his head to the side. "What are the chances they haven't been up to the flat yet?"
"Zero," Hermione answered on an exhaled breath. "They closed an hour ago. They'll be upstairs."
"Excellent," Charlie said sarcastically. "How mad do you think they are?"
"Depends on whether they know a charm that can clean up that green yuck. And how expensive it was to brew." Hermione took a deep breath and smoothed her hands over the soft material of her new dress; she hadn't exactly had access to her other clothing as her key had been left at the twin's flat. And she was not going to admit to the front desk she had locked herself from her room twice in one day. "Well, let's get on with it. We'll be late for Ginny's if we stand here any longer."
Hermione used a similar incantation as before to unlock the door to the store; she locked it once more when Charlie had slipped past her into the darkened floor. The walk across the store and up the steps went far too quickly in Hermione's opinion, as if time had sped up as to bring this confrontation all the more quickly. Charlie nudged her lower back as he stood behind her; she took another deep breath before raising her hand to knock on the door.
Fred and George answered the door together, one standing slightly behind the other, so quickly that Hermione wondered if they hadn't been standing there waiting for her. She smiled shyly. "Hi."
"Favorite little chit," Fred greeted.
"Favorite older brother," George greeted.
Hermione and Charlie shared another apprehensive look over her shoulder. "Could we come in? I think I, um, left some things here."
"We know," they chimed in unison.
Hermione flinched, but stepped past them as they parted to let her through. Charlie followed quickly behind. They shut the door with a snap, and Hermione distracted herself by moving toward Harry's Invisibility Cloak still slung over the arm of the couch; she collected her wand and bag from the kitchen counter; finally, she moved to the bathroom to banish her still gooey clothing away to her hotel room. She purposefully avoided the dining room. When she returned to the living room, Fred and George were lounging on their couch, looking disdainfully at the other redheaded man. She took the other chair in the room and they turned the full force of their stares on her. She tried not to flinch again.
"Care to explain?" Fred asked.
Hermione slouched into the chair and stared at the ceiling. "You two destroyed my kitchen, and you blackmailed your own brother into doing your work! We were here to deliver a perfectly deserved punishment, but whatever it was you were brewing was distracting. Charlie touched it or something and it just exploded!"
George hummed and turned to his brother. "Didn't Mommy teach you not to touch unknown things, Charlie, dearest?"
Charlie didn't have a comeback; he flicked two fingers up at his frustrating younger brother in response.
"Did you get it cleaned up?" Hermione asked timidly.
Fred nodded. "Easily."
"And it wasn't too expensive?" Hermione continued.
"No," George answered her. "Nothing we didn't already have. Simple recipe."
"What we want to know-" Fred began, leaning onto his elbows.
George followed suit. "-is what you had time to do to our innocent possessions before you destroyed the dining room?"
"Nothing!" Hermione and Charlie answered together. They shared an amused look before Hermione pushed on; knowing now that they weren't truly mad, her original irritation at the two returned. "And if we did, you two deserve any mishap you stumble into. You could use a taste of your own medicine, and I know you've done worse. Remember the Hogwarts Swamp?"
The twins shared a reminiscent smirk. "Hogwarts never saw better."
"Well done, brother of mine," George congratulated Fred.
"I couldn't have done with without you, brother dear," Fred answered.
Hermione fought the urge to roll her eyes. "What was that potion anyway? It was sticky."
"You're supposed to drink it."
"Not bathe in it."
Hermione glared at them, and Charlie muttered something that sounded like, "Twats."
"Lust potion," they answered together.
Hermione stiffened, her nails digging into the chair. She resisted the strong temptation to glance across the space to Charlie; gods, everything they had done that afternoon couldn't really have been the fault of a potion - could it have been? "Oh."
"New development," Fred continued. "Doesn't affect your will or inhibitions or state of mind or any of that other shite."
"It'll let you and whoever shag like bunnies for hours," George supplied. "But you still get to choose whoever it is you want to stick it to."
Hermione finally lowered her eyes from the ceiling, feeling an intense relief that she and Charlie had not been acting from misguided feelings; this did explain their exhaustive afternoon, though. "Could you be more crude?"
Fred fixed her with that look he always wore when he knew a particularly juicy secret. "So, Hermione, love. Why is it we found your clothes lying on our floor, but you were no where to be found?"
Hermione stared back at him impassively. "I tried to shower here; we didn't know what it was, and I wanted to get it off in case it was some irritant. I must have forgotten them when we went back. I wasn't going to put them back on."
"You Apparated to a hotel in a towel?" George asked.
Fred grinned. "How very un-Hermione-like."
"So why is it that you left your wand and Harry's Cloak here?"
"One would think you wouldn't leave behind two such valuable items."
"Were you in a hurry?"
Hermione slouched again into her chair and mumbled, "I wanted to get clean clothes."
"Can you Apparate without a wand?"
"No. Can you Apparate without a wand?"
"Can't say that I can."
"So how would Hermione have gotten home?"
They fixed her with a look, but Hermione was suddenly very interested in her laces.
"You don't need a wand for Side-Along," George postulated.
"Brilliant, brother!" Fred exclaimed.
"Although, like most females, I imagine you kept your key in your bag?"
"The bag on our counter?"
"Or perhaps her pant's pocket."
"Of course, those things were both left here. For hours."
Hermione finally looked up, looking between the two troublemakers with a wary expression. They shared a grin before returning to their humiliation of her. Fred leaned forward. "So?"
"So what?" she snapped.
George leaned forward, too. "Your our favorite tester, Hermione."
"You're so very thorough in your review of our products," Fred complimented.
George nodded. "And your use beforehand is all-encompassing."
They leaned back when she let a growl escape from her, but their grins couldn't be contained. She turned her nose up at them, so they gave her up for the moment, choosing instead to swivel toward the older man sitting across the coffee table. Fred raised an eyebrow impatiently.
"I didn't immediately explode when it touched me, so that's a plus," Charlie answered elusively. Hermione smiled at him from her sunken down position in her chair, and he returned the expression.
George circled his hands in an eager motion, hoping for more information, but Charlie was tight lipped, and only had eyes for the prettily blushing girl nearby. The twins quickly realized they wouldn't get an ounce of help from their brother. Bothering Hermione was their favorite pastime, and they returned to it quickly.
"That's still good to hear!" Fred exclaimed.
"It is!" George responded. "But you know we can't put something on the market with only one tester."
"True. What if it's safe for one person, but not for another?"
They swiveled in unison to grin at their Hermione.
Hermione raised an eyebrow in challenge.
Fred sighed dramatically in defeat. "Fine. We'll just have to test it ourselves. Free Saturday night, Hermione?"
Charlie swiveled his head to glare at Fred, who grinned right back. Hermione sniffed from her seat. "No. Although I wouldn't say no to another brew of whatever that was."
"So it does work well?" George asked eagerly.
Hermione looked between their eager faces and finally, with an exasperated sigh, nodded. "But please don't feed that to people. Applied topically it was a scary thing. I don't even want to imagine how long it might last if you tried to ingest it."
Fred was almost bouncing out of his seat. "Worked that well?"
"The trip up here was long; your shop counter almost became a stop along the way," Charlie joked with a heated look in Hermione's direction. Both twins pulled a face as Hermione laughed behind her hands. Of course, that wasn't the truth, but it was always fun to see Fred and George uncomfortable - it wasn't something that happened often.
"Tone it down."
"Well," Hermione began, pushing herself out of the chair and waltzing across the room. She casually searched for her wand within her bag and pulled it out, holding it lovingly. She turned to point it between Fred and George, smirking with a look that each backed away from. "I think it's time to get to Ginny's. And if you even think about telling a soul tonight, especially your mother, I won't hold back the next time I conveniently find myself in your home."
Fred eyed her warily. "We'll change the wards."
"We'll make them very Hermione-proof," George warned.
Hermione looked over her shoulder to Charlie; he stood and walked to join her. "How many different surfaces do you think we can dirty here before they find a strong enough ward to keep me out?"
"I don't know, but I would be up for the challenge," Charlie answered through a laugh; he reached for her things, stepping into her hips as he passed her possessions off to her. He fixed his brothers with an amused look as he pulled her closer to Apparate away. "You're definitely fighting a losing battle, boys."