Playing With Fire

Chapter 19

Disclaimer: I do not own the world of Harry Potter.

A/N: Hey! S/o to new readers: outthere101, HopeLoveandFaith and QueenOfMyOwnWorld. You guys rock!

Charlie held on to Tilly's hand as he led her through the small village towards town. People waved, children ran past their feet. . . . It was peaceful.

"I had no idea it was so – nice here," Tilly admitted, snow crunching beneath her feet. There were a few Christmas decorations up, the holiday in full swing. Kids were building snowmen and throwing snowballs. Of course, it was cold but a well placed warming charm did just the trick.

Her boyfriend (it was still weird saying that) laughed. "Where did you think we lived?"

"I don't know!" Tilly admitted. "I was imagining you know – something rustic like . . . tents and campfires and such."

"Are you disappointed?"

"Kind of, actually."

Charlie squeezed her hand. "Trust me, a cottage is way better than a tent, especially in this weather. And some people do have lives outside of the dragons you know. They bring their family here, their kids grow up here. We come here," he gestured around to the Muggle town they had just entered, "to shop and visit. The Muggles don't even realize there're dragons just over the hill."

They walked towards a tavern, Charlie calling out, "Alo" to people they passed that obviously recognized them. "What?" he asked when he looked down to see Tilly staring up at him surprised.

"I just didn't know you could speak Romanian," she told him.

"Really I only just know how to say 'hello' and order a good stiff drink. Not everyone can be as proficient as you with your nine languages."

"It's kind of a job requirement setting up Quidditch games and such."

They stopped outside the tavern, Charlie turning towards her. "It's going to get pretty rowdy when we walk in here. Be prepared to be bombarded."

"Mon oui capitaine," Tilly said, giving him a mock salute. He rolled his eyes, pushing open the door open.

"Charlie!" The bar yelled out in the loudest roar Tilly had ever heard. Charlie was grinning though pulling her inside the room, calling back, "Hello, folks!"

Tilly saw few other women but they smiled kindly at her, the tavern loud and crazy. She figured that even though this was clearly a Muggle town, the wizards and witches working with the dragons needed a drink just as much as anyone. This seemed like a good place to go.

Charlie took her coat, hanging it up with the others and his. Tilly recognized one of his fellow Dragon Keepers, who grinned and winked at her. "I see you've brought along a friend Charlie."

"That's a first!" Someone in the back of the tavern called out, causing laughter.

"Stuff it!" Charlie said, leading Tilly to the bar. "You'll make her leave before she's even gotten a seat."

"Nice to see you again," the man from the Triwizard Tournament said with a smile. "Name's Jeffy."

"Nice to meet you." Tilly took his hand. "I'm –"

"No need, Darling, Chuck here's told us all about you," the barmaid said setting down two scotches. She winked, muttering, "It's on the house. Only the best for Chuck's girl."

Tilly found herself grinning as Charlie blushed. "Come on, Essie. You guys are making me feel like a teenager again."

"The way you go on about her you'd think you were," Jeffy told him, laughing. "'She's so adorable, you know?'"

"'We've been friends since Hogwarts'," someone else yelled.

"'Tilly said the funniest thing'."

"'Tilly and I used to play against each other in Quidditch'."

"'Tilly is –'"

"Alright, alright, Merlin!" Charlie interrupted, earning another raucous laugh.

Tilly laughed too. "Did you tell them everything about me?"

"Of course not!" Charlie argued, tossing back his drink before moving off quickly to get another one.

"Just about." A pretty brunette walked up, wrapping her arms around Jeffy's shoulders. She grinned, giving Jeffy a quick kiss on the cheek. "All good things of course. In fact, all the boys have been going on about a Quidditch game, knowing you were coming up here. I'm Margaret, by the way," she added with a dazzling smile. "It's nice to meet you."

"Same to you," Tilly responded happily.

"You aren't telling any embarrassing stories about me, are you?" Charlie asked, appearing back at Tilly's side.

"We've plenty of time for that later," Jeffy told him. "For now, we'll let you two have your fun. To Tilly and Chuck!" he shouted raising his glass into the air.

"Tilly and Chuck!" the bar called back and everyone threw back their drinks.

"Now," Jeffy said, slamming his glass back down on the counter. "How about that Quidditch game?"

A/N: Hey! I hope you liked it :/ I was having a bit of a writer's block. Thanks again for ready and I'll see you next time!

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