A Modern Woman

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Story Notes:
The wizard is obviously intoxicated. There’s the stench of alcohol on his breath as he leans closer to Hermione and makes another vulgar comment about her breasts and shagging. She’s tried ignoring him because of his inebriated state, but he’s disrupting her enjoyment of George’s birthday party with his unwanted attention. When he actually has the audacity to touch her leg, she’s had enough.

Before she can get her wand out and tell the bloke off, he’s being forced away from her. She watches as Charlie Weasley carries him out of the pub by the scruff of his neck. Her irritation grows as she watches Charlie get rid of the bloke before coming back inside with a smug expression on his face. When he reaches her side, she is past irritated and almost angry.

“What was that?” she demands, keeping her voice low enough to not draw attention but sharp enough that he’ll realize she’s annoyed.

He looks surprised and blinks at her. “He was groping you, Hermione. It certainly didn’t seem as if you were interested, so I got rid of him.”

“I wasn’t interested, but I don’t need anyone taking care of me,” she points out. “I can take care of myself. I was about to tell him off before you interrupted.”

“Just because you can take care of yourself doesn’t mean you should have to all the time.” Charlie shakes his head. “I couldn’t keep standing by and watching you subjected to that. I don’t care if it made you swotty. I’d do it again.”

“You’re so bloody infuriating,” she hisses at him, even more annoyed because it’s difficult to be angry with him when he looks sincerely upset on her behalf. “I don’t like overbearing men who think I’m a helpless woman who needs looking after.”

“I don’t think you’re helpless.” Charlie frowns. “I don’t understand why you’re so angry with me. I wasn’t the one groping you and being obnoxious.”

“No, but you stepped in and didn’t let me handle that bloke myself. I’m not a damsel in distress, Charlie, and I don’t need any bloody heroes trying to save me.”

Confident that she had made her point, she slides off the barstool and makes her way to the front door. She needs a bit of fresh air after arguing with Charlie. It’s stifling in the pub, as that’s the only reason her pulse is racing after he crowded her against the bar and spoke so quietly in her ear. They seem to bicker all the time lately when their paths cross, usually about the most foolish of things. Since he moved back to Britain to work at a new preserve, he’s around all the time, and she resents the fact that she’s become infatuated with him. That tends to cause her to behave rather immaturely and allow silly things to rile her up.

Once she’s outside, she takes a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly. The fresh air helps clear her head, and she starts to feel embarrassed by her reaction. While she is aggravated that he doesn’t see her as a modern woman who doesn’t need saving, she knows part of the aggravation stems from the fact that he tends to cast her in the role of little sister who needs protecting. She hasn’t had sisterly thoughts about him in years, since she caught him skinnydipping one night and admired the way the moonlight played across his muscular form and gave her glimpses of ink that made her curious to see more.

“We weren’t finished with our conversation, Hermione.”

She turns to see Charlie standing behind her, looking frustrated and flushed. “Really? That’s odd because I didn’t have anything else to say about it.”

“You’re the one who’s bloody infuriating!” Charlie stalks towards her and pins her against the wall of the pub. “I don’t want to be your hero. I mean, I’d like to be, but you don’t want one, and I respect that. I didn’t mean to offend you or make you believe I thought you couldn’t handle that bloke yourself. I just saw red when he touched you, and I didn’t think.”

“You want to be?” She’s hardly listening after he says that because she wonders what he means. Her gaze drops to his mouth when she realizes how close they’re standing.

“I’ve thought I was rather obvious about that,” he admits, giving her a wry smile. “My brothers have certainly enjoyed taking the piss since I moved back here.”

“You haven’t been obvious at all,” she informs him. “I was under the impression that you thought I was a surrogate kid sister. Besides, you’re constantly arguing with me.”

Charlie chuckles as he leans in closer. “Brotherly feelings don’t really describe how I feel about you, Hermione.” He ghosts his lips across her neck. “As for antagonizing you, well, Bill teases me about pulling the pigtails, so to speak. I could only seem to get your attention when you were angry with me, so I just…” He shrugs a broad shoulder. “Kept making you angry?”

“That’s rather immature,” she points out, licking her lips as he leans into her. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I thought I had been,” he says, looking at her intently. “Showing you, if not saying it. I haven’t felt this way about a woman in bloody ages, and that was back at school. She chose my brother, even if they weren’t meant for a happily ever after. You know, Tonks didn’t need anyone looking after her, either. Seems I’m attracted to strong women, even if I’m bollocks at sitting back and not interfering with them taking care of themselves.”

Tonks? She isn’t aware that Bill had been involved with Tonks at one point, but she knows that there’s a lot of history that she’s never known because it happened when she was young and her thoughts were on survival instead of relationship gossip. Still, Charlie fancying Tonks in his youth isn’t necessarily that surprising if he does, indeed, like strong females. “I didn’t choose your brother. I mean, Ron and I almost, but it didn’t work out. I’m not very good at understanding things shown and not said, you know?”

“I’m starting to realize that. Maybe my actions have just been too bloody subtle.” Charlie isn’t very much taller than her, but it’s enough that he has to duck his head when he suddenly kisses her. It’s not a chaste kiss at all. It starts a fire in her belly that spreads through her blood as his tongue licks into her mouth. She returns the kiss, finally giving in to the impulse to touch his shoulders as she flicks her tongue against his.

The wall is scraping her bare shoulders as he pushes her more firmly against it. Hermione grips the back of his head and gasps when he moves his leg between hers, her other hand squeezing his shoulder as she feels his hard thigh press against her rather intimately. When he finally pulls back, she feels warm and aroused. “That wasn’t subtle,” she manages to stammer, licking her swollen lips as he shifts his leg just enough to make her breath catch.

“I know you’re strong enough to look after yourself, Hermione, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share the burden with someone else without becoming weak,” he murmurs, rough fingertips stroking her jaw before his thumb traces her bottom lip.

“You’re right,” she agrees, her tone almost breathless as his other hand strokes up and down her ribs, getting more daring with every stroke until his fingers are brushing against her breast. “There’s no reason a modern girl like me can’t fall in love with an old-fashioned man like you.”

He groans and kisses her again, cupping her arse as he pulls her closer. She’s rubbing against his thigh, the friction just enough to excite her without giving her exactly what she needs. The sound of laughter and music suddenly gets loud, and she remembers where they are right now. Charlie quickly steps back, and she reaches up to fix her clothes. Whoever left the pub walks the other way, but it’s enough to make them stop before things go too far. He runs his fingers through his hair and smiles crookedly. “Love you say?”

“Perhaps,” she says, shrugging a shoulder. “You never know what might happen, after all.”

“No, you don’t.” Charlie nods and takes her hand, rubbing her palm with his thumb. “Why don’t we go back inside to have a drink? I’d suggest going to my place after, but I reckon we’d just end up shagging, and I think I’d like to take you out on a date before we do that.”

She arches a brow and slowly smiles. “A drink sounds nice,” she decides. “Then we can go back to my place. I know we’ll end up shagging, and then you can make breakfast in the morning. How about that?”

Charlie chuckles. “Bacon and eggs alright?”