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“What do you mean my ‘request’ has been ‘rejected’?” Emma stood boots firmly planted on the immaculately polished marble floor, with fist clenched and jaw set in front of Mrs. Koble’s desk.

The older woman looked hesitantly from Emma to Charlie, and Arthur Weasley, standing behind. The red-haired males didn’t offer her any assistance so turning back to Emma, Mrs. Koble cleared her throat and gave her third attempt at explaining the circumstances. “I’m sorry Emmanuellie, but it says here,” she tapped a long red-polished nail on Emma’s name “you are not allowed access to the floo network.”

Watching the immaculately kept nail – Merlin it looked just like Vicky’s – Emma ground her teeth together in frustration, “And why in Merlin’s name would it say that?”

“It could be for numerous reasons, ministry fines, a warrant for you arrest, a request for questioning…” the elderly woman began listing the reasons off on her fingers.

“How do you get on this list?” Emma’s jaw was clenched so tight it was difficult to hear her words slide out of her lips.

“The Minister of course, he actually sent this one down to me just this morning.” Mrs. Koble might have said more but she never got the chance.

Emma, deciding she had heard enough picked up the duffel bag lying by her feet; she slung the bag over her shoulder and turned her back to Mrs. Koble. “Arthur, thank you so much for letting me stay at your house.” She gave him a quick hug before turning to Charlie. “See ya’ at Base camp!”

Before anyone could reply Emma had taken a running start towards the large fireplace connected to the Floo network. Security chased after her, each fumbling to pullout their wands, but they were nowhere near fast enough, in a blink of an eye and large green flames Emma had disappeared; hopefully reappearing in the Base camp fireplace.

Emma coughed and spluttered as the green flames disappeared and the soot and ash settled around her feet. She gave one last sneeze before stumbling blindly out of the dirty cloud. Did she ever mention how much she disliked flooing…anywhere? Well, Emma sighed, she should have because at this moment more then anything – that’s including Vicky – Emma hated the floo network

Groaning Emma thumped onto an empty stool and pulled the bandana out of her hair to wipe her face. Opening her eyes Emma looked around the empty mess hall; she had half expected it to be crowded and full of people but by the picture through the windows she had shown up in the middle of the night.

There was a green flash out of the corner of her eye and Emma smiled wickedly when she heard Charlie coughing. “Rough trip?” Emma asked ruefully.

Charlie just continued to cough for a moment before responding, “Wouldn’t have been so bad…that is if someone hadn’t put the whole place on high alert. I had to make a dash for it too!” Charlie brushed the ash off of his shirt and glared at Emma. “Did you have to be so dramatic?”

Emma’s grin widened, “Oh, but Chubby Cheeks that would take all the fun out of the game!”

Charlie frowned, “what game would that be?”

She pursed her lips, pressing them together as she thought, before giving a slight shrug and heading towards the door. “ Haven’t given it a name yet. I was thinking Eugene though.”

“Eugene?” Charlie followed her, slinging his own bag over his shoulder.

“Just a thought.”

Charlie shook his head in confusion. “At least let me go first next time, yea?”

“Whatever you say sweetheart.” With a large shove Emma pushed open the doors and stepped into the crisp night air.

The freezing wind whipped around her body picking up the strands of Emma’s hair and dancing them wound her face. Glancing Emma watched as Charlie stepped outside as well, for a moment silhouetted by the light through the doorway. He looked awfully handsome, the glow lighting up his shaggy copper locks and outlining his fit body.

Pulling herself together Emma frowned, “so Mr. boss-man. What’s the plan? Start hiking tonight or wait until morning?’’

Charlie watched as the light from inside spilled out onto Emma, bathing her in the glow and casting everything else into blackness. She was – to Charlie at least – an angel appearing form the darkness. “We….er….it’s ah….”

Emma placed her hands on her hips and looked back at the stammering Charlie, “…Uh…capt’n?”

Charlie shook his head to clear it, ultimately forcing himself to tear his eyes away from Emma. “Wanna stop by Wally’s before we head up?”

Emma rolled her shoulders and looked towards the village, “Maybe just a quick one, and a bottle to go?”

Charlie grinned wickedly, “just one?”

Emma shouldered her bag, gave a wicked smirk over she shoulder as she stepped out of the light from the doorway. “I hope you’re not challenging me to another game Chubby Cheeks. You’ll lose.”

Two hours later Emma stumbled over an invisible rock latching onto a tree for support. She giggled and grinned sheepishly when Charlie looked back at her. The grin soon became a smirk when Charlie turned back around to help Emma stand and stumble along. “You cheated.” Emma whined when Charlie slung her arm over his shoulders.

“Naw, you just can’t hold your liquor.” Charlie tried to hold a strait face but a smirk threatened at the corner of his lips.

“I’m never drinking again.” Emma groaned, and let her head roll on her shoulders to rest against Charlie’s chest. “Nothing ever good comes of drinking. Ooo….bunny!” Emma’s finger shot up and pointed at a small rabbit on the side of the path.

Ignoring the rabbit Charlie gently pushed the stray locks out of Emma face dipping his head to make eye contact. “What’s so bad about drinking? I thought you liked fire-whisky”

“Oh I love firewhisky, and butter beer, and rum, and’s the afterwards that rubbish.” With a lurch Emma straitened and stepped in front of Charlie, “I lose all in…inha….”

“Inhibitions?” Charlie supplied.

“Yea,” She shook her head rapidly. “they’s go out the window! Like…like the pub! That bloke…” all humor was gone, “he didn’t owl.”

Charlie shifted his stance, the conversation turned awkward for him; not only did Emma’s melancholy mood pull at his gut and make him want to wrap her in his arms; but the real knife in the heart came from the fact that Charlie was the reason she was feeling so low. Before he realized what he was doing Charlie had reached out to gently wipe away the lone tear slowly trailing down her cheek. Detachedly he stared at the fat drop on the tip of his finger, it was entrancing.

He was torn out of his spell when Emma sniffed. “It’s not like I really liked the guy…” she flapped her hands in exasperation. “Well I did. He was fit and all; I’d be daft not to… but honestly, I thought he’d at least send some type of message. We had fun, yea?”

“Yea,” Charlie murmured under his breath. He knew she wasn’t addressing him, but he couldn’t help but respond.

Emma spun around, turning her back to Charlie as she headed up the trail, “Course, what would the bloke say in a letter anyway, ‘had a brilliant time snogging you, let’s do it again sometime. Ta!’” Emma gave a derisive snort.

Charlie reached up to touch her comfortingly on her shoulder; but drew back quickly when Emma spun back to face him, “Oi! You’re holding us up Chubby Cheeks! We’ve got that second bottle to drink; and drinking and walking don’t mix.”

Charlie laughed and pulled out the large bottle of firewhisky; uncorking the stopper and taking a large drink he smiled, “Wha? You mean this bottle?” He took another large drink before grinning at Emma.

“Oi! I paid for that!”

“An’ I’m drinkin’ it!”

Charlie had less then a moment to prepare for Emma’s tackle. She hurled herself onto him groping blindly for the bottle he conveniently held out of her reach. “Come on Charlie!” Emma reached out and grasped the bottom of the bottle doing her best to pull it towards her. “You bloody wanker!”

Emma didn’t seem to notice how close she had come to Charlie; but he did. As he held the bottle above his head, Charlie’s attention was fixed upon the female body pressed against his own. His eyes followed the line of her neck and the curve of her collar bone as it disappeared under the collar of her shirt. He watched as her chest rose and fell as she cursed him for not handing the bottle over, he watched as the logo on her shirt stretched with each inhale; and he could feel the pressure of her hand where it pressed against his own chest for support as she stretched her body – that amazingly fit body – across his own for the bottle.

Suddenly Charlie took a step back; it was so abrupt that Emma almost fell. It took her a second to regain her balance; but when she did she looked at Charlie quizzically. He refused to meet her gaze; instead he focused on a tree to his left. “Here.” He jerked the bottle up and held it out to Emma; sill refusing to look at her.

Emma ignored the bottle and tried to look Charlie in the eye, but he just turned his face away. “Charlie…?” Emma had to admit, his behavior was confusing and extremely unnerving. One minute the bloke is teasing and taunting – some would even say flirting – and the next moment he’s avoiding her like the plague. “Did I… did I say something…?”

Charlie just shook his head, “I th…” he cleared his throat, “I think we should make camp here. Were more than a third of the way already… the sun will be up soon.”

Emma looked to the east and watched as the sky was beginning to lighten to a bluish-gray color. “Alright…” Emma was still hesitant, and she watched carefully as Charlie stiffly pitched their tent.

When he squatted down to build a fire Emma quietly walked up behind him and gently placed her hand on his shoulder. She felt him stiffen at her touch, but she continued anyway, “You don’t need to build a fire, I’m not hungry.”

He still didn’t look at her when he replied “I’m gonna’ stay up a bit longer.”

Emma began to sit next to him, “Then I’ll stay up with you.”

“No!” It had sounded harsh, and Charlie knew he had hurt Emma’s feelings by the look she gave him. He could see the tears collecting at the corners of her eyes.

“Alright.” Emma stood up and brushed off the seat of her pants, “if you want to be a prat, by all mean…”

“I’m not being a prat.” Charlie defended himself.

“Yes you are!” Emma’s voice rose in pitch as she fought back tears. “For some reason you’ve decided that I should be treated like dirt! I don’t know what I did to annoy you…”

“You didn’t do anything.” Charlie sighed.

“Oh, so this is something you did! Or is being a complete arse some type of entertainment for you?”

Charlie didn’t say anything.

“Well I don’t find it all that amusing. Go a head though, play with you bloody fire, and spend all your bloody time by your-bloody-self, I don’t care anymore.” Emma turned her back to Charlie and began to enter the tent, she glanced back at Charlie and muttered to herself before letting the flap drop, “… just perfect for Vicky.”

Charlie barely heard Emma, but her mutterings were carried by the breeze to him and when he did he sprang up and stormed into the tent.

Emma was standing by the four-poster that was to be her bed digging through her pack. She barely glanced up when Charlie entered. He hadn’t planned on what he was going to say when he caught up with her, secretly he was hopping she would say something first; but she didn’t.

The two stayed in complete silence, Charlie standing by the tent flaps and Emma riffling through her pack. When she had finally found what she needed Emma started to the washroom.

“Emma…” Charlie called out to her. He hadn’t intended to, but he had this sudden fear that if Emma left his sight now, she wouldn’t return.

Emma stopped and looked at him, one hand on the door knob. When Charlie didn’t continue, Emma opened the door.

“I’m sorry.” Charlie slowly stepped towards Emma, “I didn’t… I never…I’m sorry.”

Emma turned towards him slowly, refusing to show any sign of emotion.

“You didn’t do… I’ve been a right arse…”

“Yea, you have. You gonna’ tell me why?”

Charlie froze. What was he to say, ‘I’ve been a git because I think I’m falling for you.’ yea, that would come across swimmingly, or better yet ‘I was that rutty bloke who danced with you at the pub, but then refused to owl you. I’ve been nothing but a complete arse to you; and yet I want you to fall at my feet and confess you feel the same about me.’ Charlie sighed, and finally looked up into Emma’s eyes, he couldn’t lie to her; yet he didn’t have the courage to tell the truth.

“Stress, yea?”

Emma didn’t look like she believed him at first; but after a moment she blinked and nodded. “Vicky, and the wedding; right.”

Charlie looked up suddenly, “Wha? Why would Bill’s wedding have me stressed? Sure I’m the best man, but honestly….”

“What about… Vicky… she….” Emma, forgetting about the washroom completely took a few steps towards Charlie. “She said you two were getting… I mean you two are engaged, yea?”

Charlie frowned. “You actually believed that… that… tumor? She’s so dense she can’t tell the difference between a break up and a marriage proposal.”

Emma tried, she really did try not to laugh; but in the end, the snicker turned into a snort; the snort into a chuckle. Before she could stop herself Emma was bent over laughing.

Charlie gave her a quizzical look, “’Tumor’ that’s what Tonks and I call her!” Emma stood up and wiped her eyes, breathing hard.

Charlie began to smile as well.

“I’m… I’m sorry…I…I shouldn’t say that…it’s…”

Emma was cut short by Charlie pushing her roughly against the doorframe. Fear shot through her, he was pinning her tightly against the wooden frame, and she had no room to move. Millions of thoughts began to course through her mind, of ways to get him off of her. Silently she cursed herself for leaving her wand on her bed.

Charlie’s face was unreadable; Emma had never seen such an intense look coming from the copper-haired man in front of her. “I… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have laughed…. Charlie…. I…”

Any word Emma planned on saying, any excuse, apology she wished to give was lost and forgotten when Charlie’s lips crashed onto hers.

(A/N: oh you, my darling readers, are so sweet not to leave me flaming reviews; cursing me for not updating soon enough. You also won't flame me for leaving you with such an ending....right? ....Right....please say no. oh well if you do.....AT LEAST YOU'RE REVIEWING!! how am i to know if i have a good story? hmm? yea, a stumper ain't it? so leave a review, tell me how you think the story is brilliant (or not) and i'll give you the juicy details as to what happens!!! i finish writing them...almost there!!! so until then... Tootles!!)

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