Chapter 41
A Break In The Basement

Author's Note: I decided "Step 3" won't happen until next chapter. This is a rather short filler chapter that is a bit of a humorous break between serious chapters with some storyline involved and a teeny Honks moment. And a Remus/Tonks moment that you shippers might like, but shouldn't cling to.

I made a HUGE mistake last chapter. I didn't realize until too late (1200 chapter views and 30 reviews too late) that Umbridge recognized Harry under his disguise. I changed it after I was made aware of it, and added an editor's note to last chapter. It is a simple miniscule change to fit the situation, but if you are one of several readers who didn't see the new change, I'm just letting you know it is different now.

Also, it appears that many of my readers have far better stomachs and have read a lot of violent stories. So it appears my stuff wasn't that bad. Good to know!

Warning: Language, Teenage Alcohol Use. Hermione Granger under the influence of ONE GLASS of firewhiskey is a funny thing.

Sunday, July 6th, 1994

Dobby was still busy dealing with Dolores Umbridge's headless corpse – and hopefully her head as well – so another house-elf of Team Alpha had brought Harry and Hermione back to the event room of Potter Manor. Remus was waiting for them. He looked normal again. Harry and Hermione removed their jewelry, and they returned to their normal appearance. The house-elf with them vanished.

"Remus?" Harry asked, concerned, "Are you okay? Where's Sirius? Tonks? Are they okay?"

"None of us are injured, Harry," Remus said, "That isn't why the mission was aborted. Come on, we're going to the basement."

"Uh... why?" Harry asked, as he and Hermione followed him toward the basement.

"One, because it is the best place to be so our other selves do not run into us," Remus said, "And two – as Sirius said – because the bar is down there."

Harry raised his eyebrows. What had happened that Sirius had decided he needed to get drunk? Was it something worse than him feeding MacNair to a Liger?

When they reached the basement, they found Tonks attempting to play solo darts, and Sirius sitting at the bar, nursing a glass of firewhiskey.

"This is Moony's fault, Nymphadora," Sirius said, his voice slurring just slightly. "All his fault!"

"Even slightly pissed, you know not to call me that, Sirius," Tonks said.

"I am pissed!" Sirius said, "More than slightly. At Moony!"

"What is my fault?" Remus asked.

Tonks caught sight of Harry and Hermione, dropped her dart, and ran over to the young couple and hugged them both against her.

"Thank goodness!" she said, "I was so worried!"

"We're fine, Tonks," Harry said.

Hermione harrumphed, backed away from Tonks' grasp, walked over to an empty bar-stool and sat down. Nymphadora glanced at her then back at Harry. He simply shook his head in a 'I don't want to talk about it" way.

"What is my fault?" Remus repeated.

"That stupid quote you said," Sirius said, "No... no duel... no, no battle, that's it – ah, crap. What was it?"

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy," Remus said.

"Yeah, that!" Sirius said, "You – you jinxed the whole thing. Hexed us all. We're cursed everyone... all cause of Moony! Cursed! What are you doing, Granger? Don't take that away from me!"

"I'm going to give it back," Hermione said, "I'm pouring myself a glass."

"Hermione," Remus began.

"Shut up, Remus," Hermione said, "You don't know what I've been through tonight. I'm technically eighteen, and I want a drink!"

Harry groaned. A drunk, hungover girlfriend might be worse than an angry girlfriend.

"Yeah, what she said goes for me too!" Sirius said. "Technically eighteen and all of that.,"

"You are nowhere near technically eighteen, cousin," Tonks said.

Harry walked over to Hermione and sat down on the stool next to her.

"Don't you dare try to take this from me, Harry Potter!" Hermione growled, protecting her drink she had yet to take a sip of.

"Only if you explain why," Harry said.

"Because a drink or three is better and more healthy than being angry at you," Hermione said. "I can be happy and still love you."

Harry snorted. "As much as I do agree that would benefit both of us, you are physically fourteen."

"Fine, a compromise," Hermione said, "One drink, and I get to be mad at you for an hour."

"How many hours if you have no drinks?" Harry asked.

"I am not agreeing to that," Hermione said, "One drink at my age will make me forget why I am angry at you in an hour. Along with everything else that happened tonight."

"But it will come back," Harry said.

"By then I can cope with it by myself," Hermione said. "Admit it, Harry. Allowing your girlfriend one drink is far better than her being angry with you."

"Fine," Harry said, knowing he was not going to win this, "But only because you've had a rough night."

Hermione snorted uncharacteristically and loudly. Then she gulped down the glass of firewhiskey and groaned. Remus then summoned her glass.

"Okay," Tonks said, "We've apparently all had a very rough night. Who wants to start first?"

"Dolores Umbitch... Umbridge... no, first name is better," Hermione said, "Ding dong, the bitch is is dead! Dead and beheaded!"

"And this is why physically fourteen year olds don't drink firewhiskey," Remus said, sighing, "Even the smartest people turn stupid. No offense."

"I'm not stupid, and I am being honest," Hermione said. "Umbridge is dead. I beheaded her."

"Harry, you're not under the influence of alcohol," Remus said, "Please explain."

"Tell the truth, Harry!" Hermione said.

"I... tortured Umbridge," Harry said. "Sort of. Only paid her back for what she did to me. Didn't use any Unforgivables."

"You were nowhere near ready to kill her when I came in," Hermione said. "I wanted it done. So I... I just meant to do a simple Diffindo."

"Ah," Remus said, "It was rather powerful, because of emotions running high and it... decapitated her?"

"Her head fell into her lap,"Hermione said, "And... and... crimson geyser."

Remus groaned. "Sirius, you did not tell them that term, did you?"

"I... might have," Sirius said.

"It was like someone had turned the Fountain of Magical Brethren red!" Hermione said.

"Hermione, you hardly saw it before I got you out of there," Harry said.

"I killed someone, Harry!" Hermione said, "Umbitch might deserve it, but I killed her! That... that wasn't a mannequin."

Hermione sighed, got up from the stool, walked over to the corner of the room and sat down.

"Go to her, Harry," Tonks whispered. "You can still hear what happened to us from there."

Harry sighed, stood up and walked over to Hermione. He sat down next to her, and she laid her head in his lap.

"Talk somebody," Harry said, "Give her something else to focus on."

"Remus must admit he cursed us," Sirius said, "We had all kinds of plans ready, and your dumb quote jinxed us!"

"We had no idea that was going to happen, Sirius," Remus said.

"What happened?" Harry asked.

"When Tonks and I arrived to the location," Remus said, "Two Death Eaters – Avery and Jugson were out waking around. What they were talking about before we caught into the conversation, I don't know."

"But its the conversation we heard that is important!" Sirius said.

"Fast-forward, Sirius arrives and Melina and her team gets the wards down," Remus said, "We Disillusion ourselves and get closer. And Avery and Jugson begin talking about a plan."

"They're angry at Amy for the Tracking Charms," Sirius said, "And Fudge just cause he is in the way. They want to leave Great Britain."

"They were plotting putting an Imperius Curse on someone in the Minister's Box at the Quidditch Final," Remus said, "So he could kill Amelia and Fudge."

"You killed them, right?" Harry asked, "No more plan. It's all good... right?"

"Our plan was to kill them," Sirius said, "Until they threw a Bludger at our plan."

"Apparently other Death Eaters know about the plan," Remus said, "And several Death Eaters are meeting at the location tomorrow night. Including, apparently, the Death Eaters we killed tonight."

"Shite," Hermione muttered.

"What she said," Harry said.

"We don't know who they're all inviting," Sirius said, "We can't kill every single Death Eater before tonight at ten-o-clock. That is suicidal! And when four Death Eaters don't show up, they'll be suspicious. And there goes our plan of surprise. We're screwed. Remus jinxed us."

"Maybe, maybe not," Remus said, "But I have an idea. Four of us will impersonate the Death Eaters and infiltrate the meeting."

"And the other?" Harry asked.

"Could hang about with the house-elves," Remus said, "Near the residence. As back-up."

Remus glanced at Hermione, and Harry realized that she was whom he was talking about.

"Ooh, and we can kill them all during the meeting!" Sirius said, "No, hush, Moony, listen to me! We get..,. a... a Muggle bomb. Or... something... and... boom... blow em all to shreds. My plan of a meeting gone wrong works!"

"I don't think we could use bombs," Remus said, "But I agree we need to kill them during the meeting. It all depends on how many are there."

"Nah, it doesn't!" Sirius said, "We kill 'em all."

"Unless we're vastly outnumbered," Remus said. "I suppose we could try to lessen the odds, pick 'em off one by one."

"No! All together!" Sirius said, "A bomb! Boom!"

Harry sighed. "I agree with Remus' idea. Infiltrate the meeting and somehow kill them all. If some aren't there for the meeting, we kill them on more raids. We should talk about it more when Sirius and Hermione aren't intoxicated, no matter how little or lot it is."

"I heard that, Potter!" Hermione said.

"What she said," Sirius said.

Harry sighed. "I think I'm going to tell Dobby to remove all of the alcohol."

"As your godfather, I forbid you!" Sirius exclaimed.

Harry rolled his eyes.

"Well, we have to remain down here until at least six-o-clock," Tonks said, "None of our other selves came down here before we went back in time."

"I need to talk to my other self," Hermione said, "Maybe she won't make the same mistakes I did."

"Yeah!" Sirius said, "We can warn them what is about to happen!"

"Impossible," Remus said, "It would have already happened. We would have been told."

"I hate it when you make sense, Lupin," Hermione said. "You do it too much."

Sirius snorted. "What she said... again."

"Seriously," Hermione said, "Shut up, Sirius. Making sense is a bad habit, Remus. Pick a new one! Like drinking!"

"Here, here!" Sirius said, then gulped down his drink.

Sirius laid his head on the bar and began to snore. Remus groaned and walked over to the Potions Lab, muttering something about Hangover Cures. Tonks resumed throwing darts. Harry simply relaxed against the wall, brushing a hand through Hermione's hair, while she gradually began to fall asleep. When Tonks got bored with solo darts, she walked over to Harry and Hermione and sat down. Hermione was sound asleep, her head in Harry's lap.

"We need to talk, Harry," Tonks said.

Harry turned to Tonks. He really, truly hoped she wasn't about to tell him she fancied him. He wasn't ready for that just yet, especially after the night they had been through.

"First is I've discovered Hermione is a very loopy witch after one glass of firewhiskey," Tonks said.

Harry sighed in relief. Maybe he was wrong...

"I don't think it is only the firewhiskey," Harry said, as he looked back at Hermione, "She had a very rough night."

"Sounds like you did too," Tonks said.

"Hermione and I," Harry said, "We both took a life tonight."

"I didn't mean that," Tonks said, "Yes, that is a big thing. But I meant something else. I heard what you said. We all did. Sirius is too pissed – both in the emotional and alcoholic sense – to talk about it. Remus – well, I thought he would be having this conversation with you instead of me. But it is my job. You said you tortured Umbridge, Harry. Please explain."

Harry groaned. He looked across the room at Remus, who appeared to be brewing a Potion, as well as keeping an ear open toward them. Apparently he was as involved as Tonks was in the conversation. Damned werewolf super senses. Harry then explained all of what he did to Umbridge. He also mentioned what happened between her and him in their old timeline.

"I crossed a line tonight," Harry said, looking down at Hermione, "If I had followed my training this week, and simply stunned her and slit her throat, Hermione wouldn't be responsible for such a violent murder. I failed her... and all of you."

"I must take partial blame, Harry," Remus said, from across the room, "I should have asked why you were so intent on targeting Umbridge. And Dolohov as well. Who else on our list of targets do you want to choose?"

"The Carrows, Augustus Rookwood, Yaxley and Lucius Malfoy," Harry said.

"Did they do something to you or your friends in the other timeline?" Remus asked.

Harry nodded. "All four have personally hurt – in both time-lines – people who are, or were, my friends."

"I imagine Rookwood and Yaxley might be at the meeting tonight," Remus said, "Lucius and the Carrows... maybe, maybe not. If we get into a wand fight with the Death Eaters tonight, it won't be executions. But Malfoy and the Carrows, if they're not present, they'll be executions. Convince me before the next round of executions, and I'll let you target them. Otherwise, you're going after someone who won't cause you to 'see red' as the saying goes."

"Okay," Harry conceded simply.

He blushed when Tonks kissed his cheek and rubbed a hand through his hair. Then she stood and crossed the room. Harry relaxed his head against the wall as he watched Hermione sleep.

Meanwhile, Tonks walked over to Remus, who had resumed brewing a Potion. Tonks had to admit. If she wasn't in love with someone else, Remus would have been a good catch for her. He was handsome, smart, and mature. He was also a good friend. Remus had killed both of their targets that evening. She didn't know if he was protecting her from the emotional onslaught of taking a life, or what. Either way, she had appreciated it, even though it was likely she'd be responsible for taking a life before their assassination missions were over.

Yes, Remus would have been an excellent romantic interest. Unfortunately for him, he was just a bit too late for her. She had her eye on someone else.

"What are you working on?" she asked.

"Hangover Cure," Remus said, "For Sirius. Hermione doesn't need it. She's sleeping it off. I suppose we shouldn't be too hard on her. It does sound like she had a very rough night."

"Yes," Tonks said, "She never struck me as the type to drink."

"I don't think she is," Remus said, "But she saw an opportunity to take her mind off of what she did to Umbridge, and whatever beef she has with Harry at the moment, and she took it. She wasn't the first to do it that way, and she won't be the last. Nor was she the youngest... physically."

"Are you telling me," Tonks said, "that you –?"

"Oh, no, definitely not me," Remus said, "Sirius and James – both somehow got firewhiskey at thirteen. First Hogsmeade trip. Of course, they could hold it better than her. Though emotions might have assisted the alcohol tonight."

Remus waved his wand in Harry's direction. "Tonks, I need to talk to you about something I noticed recently. Under privacy of a Muffliato."

Tonks stared at Remus. She very much hoped he wasn't about to flirt with her. That would be awkward.

"I just want you to be careful with Harry," Remus said. "I can clearly see that you – ah – hold some feelings for him."

Tonks blushed, and was sure her hair and cheeks actually turned bright red. Damn Metamorphmagus talents.

"Does Harry know?" Remus asked.

"I... don't know," Tonks said, "If he does, he hasn't talked to me about it."

"I imagine Hermione knows about it though," Remus said.

"She caught on fairly early," Tonks said.

"And how does she feel about it?" Remus asked.

"She's... very open to it," Tonks said. "She has to be, since she'll be one of four wives."

"At least four," Remus said, smiling wryly, "I don't know what to feel about this, Tonks. I know he is seventeen, almost eighteen mentally, so he's closer in age to you.. But his physical age -"

"I already know it would cause problems," Tonks said. "Hermione told me to take it naturally. It might be easier for him and I –if he fancies me – when I appear his age during my undercover duties."

"Someone who is mentally older," Remus said, "But looks fourteen. Like him. I can see how that might suit Harry more. If he fancies you. Um... if you want my opinion, Tonks. I think he does fancy you. Even though he has a girlfriend and is basically engaged to four girls."

Tonks was sure she blushed again. "I kind of thought so too."

"Does Sirius know?" Remus asked; Tonks shook her head. "Let him know if you become anything more than friends with Harry. He's going to notice before too long."

Tonks nodded. "Remus? You would make a good husband to someone. If I did not love someone else, that might have been me. You are fanciable, Remus. Accept that."

Remus merely shrugged and returned to his Potion. Tonks sighed and watched him work. A thought crossed her mind while she stood there with Remus. She wondered if Remus had found love in Harry and Hermione's future.

If he had, she was quite sure she knew exactly who he had found it with.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that.

That is the ONLY Remus/Tonks moment that will happen in this story. It was a... "It could have been you and me, but I've found somebody else" moment. Remus will find someone eventually. Yes, I am a shipper of them, but I'm breaking away from it for this story.

So this chapter was just a filler between two serious chapters. I had planned the whole firewhiskey and planning thing already. But the rest was not planned until I wrote it. The Bomb idea is just a "No, not going to happen, but thanks for bringing it up" moment, inspired by a reviewer or two.

Next chapter: Everything I promised last chapter!

Hope you liked this short filler chapter!