Disclaimer: I do not own Celestina Warbeck's songs or Harry Potter
A Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love
It took the dragon-keepers nearly two hours of stunning charms and sleeping draughts to coax each dragon into their respective cages.
"Everything sorted?" I asked as I watched Charlie refasten the chains on the last of the dragons.
"Almost," he nodded, "Still got to lock up a few things before I can turn in for the night."
"Alright, Dragon-tamer," I replied, "See you in a bit then?"
"You bet," Charlie nodded.
I smiled, giving him one last kiss before I walked back through the clearing towards our campsite in the woods as he leaned against a nearby tree trunk.
"I love it when she calls me that."
"You know what? I reckon we should do this more often," Charlie murmured as we lay together looking up at the starry night above.
"Well, that and more," Charlie shrugged, lacing his hand with mine and squeezing it gently. Not too far away, the Beauxbatons' carriages still glowed a celestial blue and Durmstrang's colossal ship still shone their lights from the Black Lake. It seemed that nobody was sleeping tonight.
I smiled, leaning back on Charlie's chest as he wrapped me in his warm embrace.
"We really should," I agreed.
"Which is why you should come to visit me more often," he added.
I raised an eyebrow, "What? Like you don't own a broom?" I teased.
"I'm serious," he said, his chest vibrating with barely contained laughter as he brushed a stray strand of hair out of my face, "Skive off work and come stay with me in Romania for a bit."
"I can't skive off work," I retorted, shoving his face away as he slung his arm over my shoulder.
"Well, for one, I'm the Head-Cursebreaker."
"Eh, get Bill to fill in for you," he replied, waving a dismissive hand as I nudged him. "But seriously, what is the point of being Madam Cursebreaker if you can't get yourself a few days off?"
"I have been taking a few days off, Genius. To spend time with you here, remember?" I said, flicking his forehead with my index finger.
"But you know you want to …" he waggled his eyebrows and I let out a sigh of exasperation.
"Charles Weasley, are you trying to seduce me?"
"That depends," he murmured, "… Is it working?"
I rolled my eyes, "Git."
"But a handsome git, right?"
After a much-needed nap, Charlie and I woke up after a few short hours to find that most of the campsite had already been packed up.
"Up you get love-birds," Barb chimed as we emerged from our tent.
"Yeah, if you don't finish packing in the next five minutes we'll be leaving you lot behind," taunted Marius.
"Fine by me," replied Charlie with a shrug, "Go ahead."
Barb rolled her eyes, murmuring something about 'young love' beneath her breath before she urged Marius to hurry up.
"Aw, what'd you do that for?" Marius protested when the older witch put out the fire with a flick of her wand. "They haven't even gotten packed yet!"
"You heard him," Barb responded, "Weasley can make his own way home, and so will you if you don't get up off that lazy arse of yours …"
True to their word, Barb and Marius left with the others.
Charlie brewed me a cup of hot tea to keep my hands warm before we finished packing our things. We walked side-by-side, our shadows stretching long in the bright streetlights.
"Speaking of tea, you never did go out on that date to Madam Puddifoot's Tea shop," Charlie mentioned conversationally as he slung his backpack over his shoulder.
"That's probably because my 'crush' was more interested in studying dragons than dating," I teased lightly.
Charlie paused, his eyes widening for a moment before he broke out into a smile.
"Does that mean the note you wrote in Snape's class all those years ago … was supposed to be for me?"
My heart sank and a feeling of depression mixed with embarrassment swept over me. I nodded, blushing slightly as I averted my gaze. "I thought it was kinda obvious …"
Silence hung over us for a moment as we strolled through Hogsmeade. In the distance, people were cheering as fireworks exploded in the sky and we could hear the chink of Butterbeer tankards echoing as we passed the Three-Broomsticks. It seemed that the after-party celebrations for the Triwizard Tournament had only just begun. In fact, with the Triwizard Tournament on hand, it was a surprise not to see even more people out on the streets.
"I don't only think about dragons you know," Charlie mumbled, the tips of his ears tinging red as he shoved his hands into his pockets.
I giggled, raising an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? Name one other thing that's been on your mind?"
"Well … you've been on my mind …"
I faltered, temporarily forgetting how to speak when I heard him say that before I quickly managed to recover myself.
"I mean something that was on your mind when we were at school, genius."
Charlie chuckled and stopped in his tracks.
He raised his hands, ran them through my hair before he rested them on my neck. The soft callouses of his fingertips grew warmer as he rubbed the skin exposed by my scarf. I could feel my ears flushing red and found myself speechless once again.
"You really care?"
I didn't dare look up to see his face but I nodded. He chuckled again, his voice resonating melodiously in the night air as he leaned down to rest his forehead on mine. The softness of his breath blew through my hair, feeling slightly ticklish against my skin but deliciously warm.
"I know that I was an oblivious idiot back in school," he murmured, "but, in the future, I promise that I'll give it my all to stay with you, take good care of you, and love you."
My breathing hitched at his words washed over me, filling my heart with an indescribable welling of complex emotions.
"I bet that's what you tell all the dragons at the reserve," I quipped back gently and I heard him snort.
"You really love taking the mickey out of me, don't you Cursebreaker?"
"Only because your reactions are so adorable," I replied.
He chuckled, pressing his lips against my forehead.
"Since we're already here, why don't we pop into Madam Puddifoot's Teashop for that date?" he suggested whilst slipping his hand back into mine.
"At this time of night?"
Charlie shrugged, "Well, if memory serves me right our reconnaissance did deem it to be the most suitable place for a first-date in Hogsmeade," he continued.
I cocked my head to the side as I mused over his proposition. "Do you reckon it's the most suitable place for second-dates too?"
"I don't see why not?"
I smirked, linking my arm with his. "Alright, but only if it's open. I don't fancy getting arrested for breaking into a teashop."
Much to our surprise not only did it seem to be open but Madam Puddifoot herself also greeted us. She was a plump woman with a frilly rose apron, a shiny black bun and a kind round face.
"Oh, hello m' dearies, I haven't seen you two in ages," beamed the witch, her brown eyes twinkling as soon as she spotted us outside, "I wasn't expecting customers tonight but come in, come in!"
Madam Puddifoot smiled, bouncing on the balls of her heels as she ushered us inside.
It was still the same cramped, steamy little place that I remembered, where everything seemed to have been décor on the tacky side of everything frilly and pink.
"Choose a table and make yourselves at home," she said, "Just be mindful of the teacups."
I glanced back at the precarious pyramid of delicate china and could help but reminisce. Tonks, of course, had sent the entire tower crashing down the last time we'd visited together. Charlie seemed to be remembering the same thing because he picked a table for us as far away as possible from the stacked teacups.
"Would you like any finger-foods while you're waiting?"
"Er … I'll have whatever she chooses," replied Charlie.
"Oh, what a lovely gentleman you are," she hummed, "You picked well with this one. I always knew you two would make the perfect couple from the moment you first stepped into my parlour those many years ago."
If Charlie and I hadn't been blushing before, we were almost certainly blushing now.
"Um, we should be fine with biscuits first …" I stammered.
"Biscuits sound great," Charlie agreed immediately.
"Alright, enjoy your biscuits while I pop around the back to fetch you my special brew."
The witch tottered away, humming the tune to 'A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love' by Celestina Warbeck as she went, leaving us to munch awkwardly on the various condiments that appeared on a shiny golden platter in front of us.
"You've got a little something on your face," I said.
Charlie blushed, hastily trying to wipe his mouth only to smear the icing sugar on his cheek.
I couldn't help but let out a giggle, "Here, let me."
I reached over the table, the tips of my fingers drifting over the corner of his lips as I wiped away the last of the white powdered sugar for him.
"You've got some too," he murmured, his eyes sparkling mischievously as he shuffled in closer.
"Huh?" Before I had the chance to touch my face with confusion, Charlie leaned over, dipped his index finger into a dollop of whipped cream and dotted it on my cheek.
"Hmm? Me what?" Charlie replied innocently with a broad smile as he pulled away looking very satisfied.
"Oh, so that's how you wanna play it?" I smirked, scooping a dollop of my own and tracing a heart on his cheek. I leaned back, observing my 'masterpiece' with a light hum.
"There we go," I smiled, "Now we're even."
Somehow even with cream on his face Charlie still looked as handsome as ever.
The dragon-tamer raised an eyebrow, pulling his chair in closer so that we were side-by-side and suddenly tackled me to the floor.
"Charlie! What are doing?"
"Nothing," he replied calmly, pinning me down with one hand while he dipped the other in whipped cream.
His breath touched my skin, warm and deliciously intoxicating.
The fingertip stained with cream touched my nose. Lightly callused, his finger was soft against my skin, the upward curve that tugged at his lips suggesting just how much he was enjoying this.
I was about to respond when Madam Puddifoot's voice suddenly drifted into the room.
"I wasn't sure whether you wanted honey or sugar so I brought both …"
She trailed off, her eyes and mouth both wide open at the sight of us sprawled on the floor of her teashop. Charlie blushed, his entire face going scarlet to the roots of his orange hair as we quickly untangled ourselves.
"Sorry," he murmured, ducking his head as he helped me up. "We got a bit carried away …"
Madam Puddifoot let out a tinkling laugh, "Not to worry m' dears," she replied reassuringly, "I've seen my share of young couples in this shop, don't you worry."
She smiled as she placed a teapot of brewed tea on our table before she levitated two separate jars of sugar and honey while we scrambled into our seats.
The witch raised her wand and the candles dimmed around us.
"Now, I'll be in the back if you need anything," she said cheerfully, "Enjoy your tea."
We nodded, faces flushed as she totted off again before I turned back to poke his chest.
"That was your fault, Weasley."
"You loved it though," Charlie grinned, not at all sorry and I couldn't help but giggle despite myself.
It was true. I did love it.
To make up for the fact that we can't date Charlie in Hogwarts Mystery I decided to add one here.
Hope you've enjoyed it so far!
xoxo - S.G.