"What the hell!" someone bellowed launching both Charlie and Hermione from their sound sleep. Both grasped franticly for their wands, but it was Hermione that was out of bed, standing, wand pointed into the intruder's face first. Ron's bright red face glared back at her as he stood before them clearly fuming.
"Ron, what are you doing here?" Hermione asked too confused and shocked to truly register what Ron had just seen.
"What are you doing in bed with my brother?" He yelled back.
"Oh, Ron, it's not what it looks like really." Hermione said, except it was quite similar to what it looked like and both Hermione and Charlie knew it.
"It's not… you… my brother… what it looks like…" Ron sputtered in furious disbelief.
"Okay Ron come on and sit down. Let's all just have a talk for a minute." Charlie said sounding older then his years. For him the adrenaline had died as soon as he had seen that it was Ron, and he had spent the last few seconds that Hermione had spent trying to find an explanation resigning himself that he was about to majorly piss off and maybe even hurt his baby brother. He just hoped Hermione was right about her conviction that she no longer felt he had any ownership of her and that he himself was the one she wanted to be with; otherwise they were both in a lot of trouble.
"Sit down? Talk? What do you mean talk? You were sleeping with my…"
"Your what exactly Ron?" Charlie challenged.
"You know damn well what she is to me." Ron said glaring at his older brother.
"Last I heard Ronald, she was your dear friend that you realized you didn't have feelings fore anymore." Said Charlie slightly defensively now.
Hermione was growing tired of not being included in a conversation that involved herself, and decided to butt in, "Why exactly are you here Ron?"
Still glaring at Charlie he raised what looked like a metal lighter and flicked it once. A ball of blue light popped out of it and danced before him for a moment before floating airily to sway in front of Hermione. "I was feeling a bit… well that doesn't matter, what matters is I decided to use the putouter to see where it took me, and it took me to you."
"Why were you using the putouter?" Hermione asked confused.
"Doesn't matter" He said finally breaking eye contact with his brother to examine his shoes.
"Maybe it does Ron, maybe it will help explain why it brought you here."
"The only thing I want explained is why you were in bed with my brother." Ron said stubbornly.
"You first." Charlie said coming to stand behind Hermione protectively jaw set and arms crossed over his broad chest. His little brother's greater height there was no question as to who held a more formidable physique.
Looking back at his shoes Ron muttered, "I got dropped from the Auror program, and I was feeling lost, so I used the putouter to help tell me where I belong."
"You got kicked out of the program?" Hermione asked shocked at the same moment Charlie said, "You belong with Hermione?" in an equal tone of disbelief.
"Yes, I got cut okay? I wasn't good enough, I couldn't pass the tests! And yes apparently I belong with Hermione." Ron said face red attempting to stare the pair down.
Hermione took a deep breath, but felt her heart freeze as she felt Charlie take a step away from her. "Look," She said reaching back to grab ahold of Charlie's forearm, "just because it brought you to the place you were meant to be before doesn't mean it's doing that now. It seems to have the same sort of personality as it's creator, and if you remember anything about Dumbledore, you remember that he never used the same trick twice. Everything always had a reason, and a second meaning with him. This doesn't necessarily mean anything. Can we please all just sit and talk about this for a bit?" She let out a painful breath of air that she didn't know she had been holding when Charlie's arm relaxed in her grip, and his hand came to the small of her back to lead her to the table in the middle of the room. Ron glared at them for a moment longer before following them and sitting across from them deliberately avoiding the seats next to them and moving one to an extreme angle so as to be looking at both of them face on.
When she sat the motion tugged at the edge of Hermione's shirt making the neckline sink an extra inch. Ron gasped and sounded as if he was chocking on his tongue for a moment before composing himself enough to say, "The hell Hermione?"
Hermione was confused for a moment before Charlie draped an arm over her shoulders and let his hand fall over the spot where her shoulder and neck met brushing the tender bruised skin of the hickey he had left on her earlier that day hiding it from Ron's horrified view.
"Ron, Hermione and I are together." Charlie said his tone serious and somber as if he was imparting the news of a friend's death, not a budding romance.
"And you thought that gave you the right the give her… that? You can't just claim her, and mark her like that!" Ron choked out.
"What marks I choose to give her, and which marks she chooses to allow me to give her are between the two of us Ronald." Charlie's voice was patient like a father trying to explain some hard to grasp aspect of life to his son. Hermione's cheeks were red at his words, and she avoided the gaze of both men.
"So that's it then Hermione, you're gone for less than a week and already you're off finding another Weasley to shag?"
Hermione was seeing red. Charlie's fingers were tight on her shoulder, and she could feel him shaking with his anger. "Another?" she scoffed "Don't even pretend we had sex Ronald, you know bloody well we didn't, and I can damn well shag anyone I want to, you have no hold over me. Not any more."
"Clearly." Ron said. Before Hermione could react he had stood once more, raised his wand, spun on the spot, and was gone.
The room was silent for a moment. Hermione couldn't decide whether she wanted to cry or scream tears stung her eyes and her head was spinning.
"Hermione, how is he going to get home?"
"I'm sure he'll be fine," she said more angrily than she had intended. Taking a deep breath and forcing herself to relax a little she said, "The putouter is a pretty powerful magical object, I'm sure it will help him get home."
When Charlie didn't respond she glanced over to see him reaching out his hand and hesitantly lifting the oversized silver lighter off the corner of the table. Hermione didn't say anything; she just stared at the object wide eyed.
"This is bad isn't it?" Charlie asked looking at her.
She nodded slowly her hands gripping the edge of the table in front of her blood draining from her face. "That means that Ron just tried to aperate half way across the world."