Playing With Fire

Chapter 11

Disclaimer: I do no own Harry Potter

"So hows say you and I go to this fancy shindig together, eh, Miss Riddle?"

Tilly looked to Tonks before they burst into a fit of laughter, tears included. Tilly looked at Charlie, who was grinning triumphantly. Tonks snorted, shaking her head. "What?"

"Where did you learn to talk like that?" Tilly asked.

"Some old movie," Charlie replied, waving it off. "So what do you say?"

"I'm still trying to figure out what it is you said!" Tilly admitted.

Tonks laughed. "I'm going to go over here and look for you while you guys figure that out."

Still laughing, Tonks moved to the other side of the store.

This was a really good day, Tilly thought. Out in Diagon Alley with her two best friends. Charlie, staying in England like he was, would be at the Yule Ball and Tilly, of course, had to be there of course and so they were searching for outfits in Madam Malkins with Tonks as a guide. It was a nice outing.

"So what are you trying to ask me?" Tilly asked.

"If you wanted to go to the ball with me, of course," Charlie clarified.

"Why didn't you just say so in the first place?"

"I did!"

"It didn't sound like it."

Charlie put a hand over his heart, looking offended. "I'm starting to think you don't want to go with me."

"Of course I do! I just wasn't sure if that was what you were trying to say."

"Well it was. So what do you say?"

"I'll go with you. But I'm warning you now," she added. "I won't be too much of a great date. You may have to meet me there unless you want to be incredibly early and I'll be running around quite a lot."

"The price I get for dating the boss right?" Charlie asked with a grin. "That's fine. I'll meet you before the doors open. Just let me know what color you're wearing so I can wear the complete opposite."

"Tilly!" The two of them looked up at Tonks whose hair had turned shocking red, a color they were beginning to associate with excitement. "Tilly, come here! Not you, Charlie. You have to be surprised! Come here!"

Throwing a smile over her shoulder at Charlie, she followed Tonks to the back of the store where she held up the dress robes she had found. Tilly grinned widely.

"Perfect."

"No not there!"

"Sorry miss."

Tilly nodded, pressing a hand against her forehead. "No, I'm sorry. You're doing a fine job, Mitchell. And it's Tilly, please?"

Mitchell smiled, wheeling the table in the direction she indicated.

Where on earth was Ludo? She asked herself, though she already knew the answer to that. He had left her with a list of chores and had gone off to do whatever Ludo-like things he did. She was so tired. . . .

But the place looked great and she knew it took a lot of magic and work to make the Great Hall look like it did every day, let alone for special holidays and occasions. Maybe she was more cut out for this in charge thing than she thought.

"Miss Riddle." Tilly turned at the sound of her old Headmaster's voice, that same twinkle in his eyes. "You should be preparing yourself for the festivities as well shouldn't you?'

Tilly looked down at her old jeans and sweatshirt. "I'd almost forgotten. My dress is in Ginny Weasley's room I just – there was so much to do here and I wanted to make sure everything was proper."

"Everything looks wonderful," Dumbledore assured her, smiling softly. "You did a fine job, Miss Riddle."

And there it was.

Professor Dumbledore always knew exactly what to say. Here she was, feeling like she was so very much under appreciated and with a smile and some kind word, Dumbledore had made her evening. "Thank you, Professor."

"Now, Miss Riddle, I haven't been your Professor for a long time," Dumbledore replied. "It's Albus now."

He walked off with a chuckle. Tilly shook her head. It was one thing to refer to Professor McGonagall as Aunt Minnie but refer to Professor Dumbledore as Albus? That was going to take some time.

Sighing and looking around the room once more, Tilly decided it would be safe for her to go change.

Standing in the mirror, she was a little unsure even though she knew she needed to hurry up. Charlie was waiting for her downstairs and she needed to be there not only to meet him, but to open the doors in a half hour. The students would be coming to line up to greet the Champions and their dates.

Ginny smiled, already dressed for her date with Neville Longbottom. "You're gorgeous Tilly. Charlie's not going to know what to do."

"Oh hush," Tilly muttered with a smile at the twelve-year-old. She did look good, she thought. The dress had been Tonk's idea but it was perfect for her, conservative yet, dare she say, sexy. It clung to her figure, slightly flowly at the bottom, dark blue, silk, with one strap over her left shoulder. It laced up the back, the silk ribbon trailing down almost to the floor. She had pulled half of her hair up into a bun, the rest brushing against her shoulders. Resting around her neck was the wizard hat charm Charlie had bought her for Christmas when they were fourteen. She turned to Ginny again, holding out her arms. "You're sure?"

"Positive!" Ginny said, standing. She pushed Tilly to the door, barely letting her pull on the strappy blue heels. "Now go before Charlie thinks you forgot about him."

Tilly grinned, bending down to place a kiss to the younger girl's cheek. "Au revoir, Cherie."

With that, Tilly hurried out the dorm. It was going to be a great night.

Charlie checked his wrist watch. He wasn't late . . . nor was he early . . . meaning that Tilly was the one who was behind, which was unusual. He could always count on Tilly as his clock which meant that she worrying which meant that she would not be here on time which meant –

"Charlie?" Charlie Weasley looked up . . . and his heart stopped.

Tilly Riddle was gorgeous.

Of course he always told her how beautiful she was and, of course, he always meant it. But – today . . . Merlin, she –

She was perfect, really. He knew that nobody was but Tilly Riddle was definitely close.

And she was wearing the charm he had bought her.

He was going to kiss her tonight. She always made sure he didn't, but not tonight, not with her looking like that, looking so damn sexy.

Tilly stopped in front of Charlie, trying not to focus on the fact that he was looking her up and down and instead focused on the fact that he looked good. He had tamed his hair, slicking it back and had even bought new dress robes. Ron would be upset, she thought, knowing he had only gotten hand-me-downs.

"Bonjour, monsieur," she said, finally meeting his eyes.

He smiled softly at her. "Bonjour, madam."

Well. . . .

She was definitely going to have to teach Charlie more French because that was incredibly hot.

"Shall I open the door?" Tilly asked, trying to distract herself from Charlie. Behind her, she could hear the first of the guest beginning to their decent down the stairs. Smiling at Charlie, she moved over, pushing to doors open to the Great Hall.

She took Charlie's arm, moving out the way so that they could greet the other students. They would close the doors at seven-ten so that the Champions could make their way in.

"Whoa, Tilly!" Charlie and Tilly looked up at Fred and George with their dates. George grinned. "Is that really you?"

"Our little Big sister is growing up, George," Fred said, sniffing loudly. "She is blossoming into a beautiful woman who –"

"—will still box your ears if you don't get out of here," Tilly muttered, scooting them on.

The twins laughed, their dates pushing them forward away from Charlie and Tilly. Charlie shook his head. "Sometimes I wonder how I'm related to those two."

They saw Ginny looking oh-so-adorable on the arm of Neville Longbottom. Tilly winked at the couple and noticed that Neville looked a little ashen, his eyes looking over Tilly. Tilly looked up at Charlie who was giving Neville a "big-brother" sort of look. Tilly elbowed Charlie. "Quit it. He's already nervous enough."

Charlie grinned, shrugging. Tilly looked back to Ginny, mouthing, "Where's Hermione?"

The other girl shrugged but Tilly could see the slight smirk on her face.

Ron walked past, a scowl on his face. The poor thing looked ridiculous, she couldn't help but think and Charlie wasn't helping, his face red as he tried to contain his laughter. If she had known he was trying to alter his outfit, she would have helped because it looked like he had attacked the thing with a weed whacker. She gave him a sympathetic smile but he just shook his head, pulling his appalled date forward.

"You ready?" Charlie asked.

Tilly nodded, moving into the Great Hall just as Aunt Minnie appeared, looking rather spectacular if she did say so herself. The two woman smiled at each other as they pushed the doors closed. Minerva was to meet the champions and line them up while Tilly managed the crowd inside.

"Tilly!" Ludo swooped in suddenly, kissing both of her cheeks. "You truly are a vision. And this room! We truly did a magnificent job, didn't we?"

We?

Almost on the verge of knocking that smile off of Ludo's face, Tilly caught Charlie's eye. He winked at her, grinning and she smiled back before looking up at Ludo. "We sure did sir."

Laughing joyfully, Ludo moved on to Madam Maxine, the perfect picture of charm. Tilly shook her head. He was annoying and pigheaded but he was her boss.

Ten minutes later, Tilly moved back to the door and Charlie. It was time.

The doors opened and the Champions and their dates walked in. Harry looked handsome, the twin of Ron's date on his arm. He met Tilly's eyes for a second and she gave him an encouraging smile. He didn't want to have to dance but so was his task tonight. Cedric Diggory came next, exuding confidence and poise, a pretty girl on his arm as well. Fleur Delacour was beautiful, as always. She smiled at Tilly, which Tilly returned. They're grandmothers had been aquantinces at Beauxbatons. Lastly came Victor Krum and . . . Hermione? Tilly had always thought Hermione was pretty but she definitely glowing tonight and she was here with the Viktor Krum!

Hermione gave Tilly a calm smile to match Tilly's shocked look but as soon as she walked past, she turned, her face open and excited, mouth wide in a silent squeal. Tilly laughed quietly.

Charlie held up his arm again and she took it, moving forward with him so that they could close the pathway. The crowd moved with them, forming a circle around the Champions as they began to dance.

After a few moments, Dumbledore grabbed Minerva's hand pulling her onto the dance floor. Charlie nudged Tilly and she smiled, allowing him to lead her to the dance floor to join the rest.

She didn't know how to feel about the way Charlie was looking at her but she knew that it was making her feel as if she were the only person in the entire world right now. . . . It was nerve-wracking . . . and wonderful. He picked her up, twirling her with the music.

All in all, she couldn't have wished for a better night.

Tilly and Charlie walked through the courtyard, the moon high in the sky. The Ball would not be over for another hour but Tilly didn't feel the need to be in there right now. The band was loud and the kids rowdier . . . oh, Merlin, she was starting to show her age, she thought with a laugh.

"What's so funny?" Charlie asked, smiling at her.

Tilly lifted her dress slightly, standing up on the bench. "Just thinking that we've gotten old."

"We're only twenty-two," Charlie declared.

"Almost twenty-three," Tilly reminded him. She winked at him. "You're mom still planning that wedding."

Charlie chuckled. "I haven't checked in a while but it's quite possible. Are you interested?"

Tilly sat down on the bench, grinning at him as he sat down beside her. "I was just wondering since we are getting so old and –"

She stopped talking.

Not quite because she wanted to but because Charlie had just leaned over, taken her face in his hands, kissing her quite soundly. It had been nearly six years since she had let him kiss her and Merlin she couldn't figure out why on earth she waited so long. It felt just as beautiful and meaningful as that first time.

Well. . . .

She was going to have to do this more often, wasn't she?

"What was that for?" she asked when he pulled back.

Charlie shrugged, his face still close, a grin on his lips. "You would have ruined it if I had waited. Besides, you are my girlfriend. I should be able to kiss you whenever I want."

"Girlfriend?" Tilly smiled. "Since when?"

"Since seventh year I thought?"

"Really? It would have been nice of someone to let me know."

Charlie put a hand to his heart, looking offended. "I'm starting to think you don't want to be my girlfriend."

"Of course I do. I just hadn't known we've been together five years. It's good to know."

Charlie leaned forward. "Better late than never I –"

This time, Tilly cut him off.

A/N: Whew. . . . lol hope you liked it. Sorry for all the chapter breaks and Tilly's POV will be prominent for the story but I wanted to give an insight to Charlie. Eventually, we'll get into the meat of this thing. I'm debating ending the fourth year here. I just wanted to give Tilly and Charlie more time to develop their relationship lol. I'll see you guys later!

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