Playing With Fire

Chapter 4

Disclaimer: Not mine.

January 7, 1989

Tilly coughed, blowing her nose and discarding of the tissue in the waist basket before returning to her studies for O.W.L.s.

Merlin she hated being sick. It really did take up time and besides all that she always had a constant headache, her eyes were sore, and her throat hurt. She was practically miserable.

"Only Tilly Riddle does homework when she's sick."

Tilly looked up, shocked and surprised to see Charlie Weasley standing in the doorway to her dorm.

The last four years between them, she could honestly say, had been the best years of her life. They had grown so close that people often confused them as so much more . . . but of course that was a mistake. Charlie was like her brother, her best friend. They worked well together, both of them prefects for their houses and Charlie the new Quidditch Captain, and loving it.

But more that all that, Charlie had really broken her out of her shell. She felt happier always and she talked more, even if she didn't speak up all the time. It felt like he was her life savior, her rock, her constant sense of sanity. . . .

And of course they couldn't forget Tonks but that girl started getting so many detentions they only saw her when she wasn't in trouble anymore.

"How in the world did you get up here?" Tilly asked, her nose plugged and red.

Charlie moved towards her, rolling his eyes and setting his book back down. "Tilly, you're a member of the smartest House in our school. Did you not think that the girls would have since now discovered a way to get boys into the dorms?"

"I wouldn't know. I've never wanted to bring a boy up here."

"Shame really. It's a lot cozier in your dorm then in mine but hey, we're boys."

"Don't you have class or something?"

Charlie put his hand over his heart "I'm beginning to think that you don't want me here!"

"Of course I do! I just wasn't expecting this, you know? Don't you have class right now?"

"I'm a prefect, Tilly. I can skive off lessons if I want."

"And end up in detention like Tonks."

"Eh, price worth paying if I get to make you feel better again. Look," he added, sitting on her bed and opening his bag. "I've brought soup, fresh from the House-Elves, bread to liven up the soup, orange juice with plenty of vitamin-C, and, my personal sick favorite . . . comic books!"

Tilly laughed. Charlie had discovered Muggle comic books the day they found themselves lost in Muggle London over the summer. He had immediately taken to them like Tilly supposed most Muggle boys did. It was full of action and scantily clad women . . . everything a fifteen year old boy lived for.

"Well thank you," she said as he handed her the bowl and cup that, magically, hadn't spilt a drop of liquid.

"So," Charlie asked, spreading the comic books out on her bed and grinning up at her, "which one shall we start with first?"

"You're going to get sick if you stay up here."

Charlie shrugged and kicked off his shoes, diving for the first book.

They ended up reading most of his comic books. Tilly's dorm mates came up every so often and giggled when they saw the two of them. Charlie was very animated. He changed his voice to go with the characters and made sound effects. Tilly, though she didn't particularly care for the darn things, she found it very entertaining.

"How are your studies?" Tilly asked, laying upside down on her bed, her hair falling over the edge.

Charlie, who was trying to find their fifth comic book to start, rolled his eyes again. "Really? Out of all the things we normally talk about you pick my 'studies'?"

"We'll be taking our O.W.L.s sooner than you think. You'll be angry if you can't get CMC for sixth year."

Charlie chuckled. "There's no way I won't get CMC for next year. I'm top in my class. You on the other hand, Miss Riddle . . . I'm a little worried about you."

"What do you have to be worried about?"

"You have the capabilities of doing anything you want to do and being tops at it. . . . So what are you going to do?"

Tilly stared up at the ceiling. This was a very good question. She remembered getting so angry with Charlie because he had decided what he wanted to do by his third year. . . . She realized now that it wasn't only because it was such a dangerous job but also because she was a little jealous. He was so sure and still was that he determined to become a dragonologist.

She on the other hand had no clue what she wanted to do.

She supposed she could follow in her grandmother's footsteps and become a Healer because she certainly didn't want to be an Auror like her father.

But she certainly didn't want to work in St. Mungo's.

She sort of wanted a job at the Ministry . . . she just didn't know where.

"It's okay," Charlie told her. "Like I said, you could do anything you wanted to. I'm sure you'll think of something you're spectacular at."

"Well then that means I need to finish studying," Tilly replied, reaching for her Hogwarts, A History book.

Charlie smirked, grabbing for it before she could and placing it out of her grasp. "You're not studying while I'm up here!"

"Come on, Charlie! If I'm going to get this oh so spectacular job you keep talking about, I need to study for History of Magic."

"But I was having fun reading to you."

Tilly rolled her eyes. Charlie liked to whine. He always thought he got his way when he whined. He'd tilt his head slightly and stick out his bottom lip and look up at her through his long eye lashes.

It usually worked.

"Well," Tilly replied lying back on her bed, "read that book to me."

Charlie made a face. "You want me to actually read Hogwarts, A History?"

Tilly laughed. "How in the world did you pass History if you didn't read the book?"

Her friend grinned as if it were the most obvious thing. "I had you as a friend, remember?"

Oh yeah.

"And because you're my friend, you should have no problem reading to me," Tilly argued.

"Touché."

"Sommes-nous parler en francais maintenant?"*

"For Merlin's sakes, Tils, you know I can't understand you when you speak French."

"That's the point, isn't it?"

"It's rude. Incredibly attractive, admittedly but rude. For all I know you could be calling me an ugly toad or something."

Tilly was glad that Charlie's back was to her because she couldn't help but blush. She shook it away though. Charlie was her best friend! She shouldn't be blushing just because he said that something she did was attractive. . . .

He was still a boy though.

A cute one at that.

"Never that," she assured him.

If she hadn't reached over to blow her nose she'd have seen the tops of Charlie's nose turn slightly pink.

"Am I going to read to you or not?" Charlie asked, leaning back on her bed and stretching one arm out. Using his free hand, he levitated the book into the air.

Tilly smiled, lying back so that her head lay on his outstretched arm. "Please begin."

"Right. Geez, Tills this thing is ratty. How many times have you read this?"

"This is the fourth time."

Tilly could tell Charlie rolled his eyes. "Right. 'Thousands of years ago' someone decided to sit down and write the most boring book ever known to mankind."

"Charlie!"

"Fine, fine. 'Thousands of years ago, four extremely powerful wizards and witches, decided to construct a school in order to educate the young minds of wizards and witches after. These four wizards were called: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helena Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw and the school was called: Hogwarts. . . .'"

Tilly yawned, stretching her arm and sitting up.

Had she fallen asleep? Surely Charlie would have woken her. Rubbing her eyes, she looked over to her friend.

Indeed Charlie was out, his wand having dropped to the floor and the book lying across his chest. She couldn't help but smile a little as he snorted softly and rolled over now that his arm was free.

She reached over, shaking him.

"Five more minutes, mum," he muttered. Tilly laughed, shaking him again. He groaned before he stretched too, sitting up. "Hey."

"Hi."

Charlie looked around as if he had forgotten where he was, which was very possible. He looked at the window, noticing the darkening sky. "How long have we been out?"

"A couple of hours I believe."

Charlie looked at his wrist watch. "Oh crap, I forgot Quidditch Practice! That Wood kid will never let me hear the end of it if I'm late."

He grabbed Tilly then, pulling her into his arms in a big hug before she could truly register what was happening. "Feel better, Newt. Schools always boring when you're not there."

He grinned before grabbing his wand and his backpack and sprinting out of the dorm. She heard him yell out as the stairs turned into a slide as his foot hit and she laughed. Turning over in the bed, she saw the flask he had brought up to her and smiled as she opened it to take a sip of the delicious orange juice.

She really did have the best friend in the world.

A/N: Sooo I messed up the dates, okay? Tilly, Charlie and Tonks left Hogwarts in 1991 in the summer before Harry, Ron, and Hermione attendend. Fred and George showed up in 1989 and would be second years when the older kids left. So now it makes sense :D This chapter is the spring of their fifth year. Sorry for any confusion! BTW, Tilly was speaking French (duh) and she said 'So are we speaking French now?' Thanks all!

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