Summary: Sex! Alcohol!
Sporks! The adventures of an intrepid team of Hogsmeade sharehouse
residents as they battle carnivorous wardrobes, inter-dimensional showers
and boldly drink what no one has drunk before!
Disclaimers: Characters are the property and creation of JK Rowling. Situation shamelessly stolen from He Died With A Felafel In His Hand and The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco by John Birmingham, which would be classic Australian literature if they weren't so badly written.
Notes: Twinkledru J and Bernice made
encouraging noises. Melina loaned me her copy of Tasmanian Babes Fiasco,
and got herself mentioned as a reward. Blame them.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any story that opens by paraphrasing Jane Austen will be found guilty of attempted irony. It may contain wit, social commentary, or brooding young men of good family and great wealth, or all of the above and a dashing rake to boot.
Yes. This one, too.
Wait. Hold the dashing rake.
Let's try that again.
Quite a lot of people agree (and just as many disagree, but more on Professor Snape later) that saving the world is an admirable profession for a young man, and something that all should aspire to. And a fair number agree that, having saved the world, a young man of good fortune may settle down and enjoy a few drinks.
This was all very well, thought Hermione, standing in the doorway to the lounge room and surveying the damage, but there was a difference between having a few celebratory pints down the pub, and going on a two year bender.
Behind her, Ginny approached. "What happened?" she asked.
Ginny took a cautious step into the lounge room. The carpet squelched under her feet. "He wasn't re-enacting the Final Battle again, was he?"
Hermione, who had experienced the Final Battle (starring various Butterbeers as sundry Gryffindors, teachers and random combatants, a bottle of Ogden's Old Firewhiskey as the Boy Who Lived – usually unencumbered by a certain embarrassing Life Debt – and some truly vile vodka as Lord Voldemort) quite a few times, shook her head. "No. I think this was just a Quidditch match."
Something stirred on the couch and said, "Mumghtskr."
"The Mumfrets Ale was the Seeker," Ginny translated. She aimed a swift kick at the lump on the couch, which moaned.
"D'n't t'ch me. H'ngover."
"I know you're hungover," said Ginny patiently, "but today's Mum and Dad's barbecue, remember?"
The lump moaned again.
"Look at it this way, Harry," said Hermione, "with the twins in action, no one will think it strange if you want to crawl off under a tree."
"You can hide out with Percy," suggested Ginny.
"Or you can spend the day on the couch, doing your famous impression of a dying Hippogriff."
"Sounds look a good option to me," said Ron, leaning against the doorway. "Kiss, Hermione?"
"You smell like vodka."
"Vodka doesn't have a smell. And someone had to drink Voldemort. He's been sitting in the cupboard for months. You'd think no one loved him."
"Lord Vodkamort," mumbled Harry. Ginny giggled, and Hermione gave her a Look which suggested that Operation: Get Boyfriends Functioning wasn't going to work if Ginny caved in to Harry's bloodshot good looks and whiskey-scented charm.
"I'm telling you," said Ron, sitting down carefully and pushing Harry's feet out of the way, "that drink was evil."
"Well, I told you to avoid the vodka with the little wizard's hat."
"I thought it was a sombrero."
"But those are completely different
shapes!" Hermione howled. "And anyway, sombreros are for tequila!
I know you know about tequila – unlike anyone else here, I remember Ginny's
eighteenth birthday party!" Both boys retreated to the safety of
cushions and blankets. Hermione pulled a cushion out of Ron's hands, threw
it at the wall and stormed off into the kitchen.
This was the situation: five permanent residents in a three-bedroom house (Ginny having old fashioned ideas about premarital cohabitation, not to mention a healthy fear of her mother's wrath; she shared a room with Lavender Brown and her prodigious cosmetics collection) on Kelly Street, Hogsmeade. The main cast were accompanied by random houseguests, squatters, transients, a carnivorous wardrobe and a shower that became an inter-dimensional portal every second Thursday.
(Neville Longbottom had discovered it: he'd stepped in for a shower and ended up naked in Shropshire four days later, giving an elderly lady the fright of her life.)
This was the comedy: Ron was out of his parents' immediate reach, giving him ample opportunity to thumb his nose at his mother (but only if he was sure she wasn't looking, even if he was in Hogsmeade while she was in Ottery St Catchpole) and re-enact his brothers' drinking exploits. All of his brothers. All of their exploits.
Harry, recovering from the traumas of school, was more than willing to follow Ron down the path of happy drunkenness. Which would have been fine, except that unlike Ron, he'd never mastered the art of brewing Sobriety Potions. Even Ginny could drink him under the table. And frankly, he was just lucky that the Daily Prophet had decided that those photos of the Boy Who Lived And Got Tanked On Girly Pink Cocktails weren't in keeping with the image they wanted to present. Not yet, anyway. Every now and then, Harry made suggestions about leading a raid on the Prophet and stealing the photos, but cooler heads had prevailed so far.
None of this was unforgivable (they'd had a fair bit of experience with Unforgivables in the last couple of years, and not even their notorious cocktail parties could match Lord Voldemort's way with Cruciatus, except perhaps for the hangover afterwards), except that neither Harry nor Ron was especially interested in cleaning up after their … gatherings.
For the first couple of months, Hermione had made excuses. Ron was experiencing real freedom for the first time. And Harry … well, he didn't have a mother, and probably didn't know any better. Well, Aunt Petunia had used him as cheap labour, but that just meant that she, Hermione, had no right to complain because he regarded Sweeping Charms as a Dark Art.
For the first couple of months, Hermione blamed Aunt Petunia.
Then she blamed Voldemort, for traumatising the poor boy to the point where he couldn't cope with real life.
Then she blamed Harry himself.
Then she gave up, and just threw things at him, and when he very intoxicated, amused herself by painting his nails in a variety of fashionable colours.
"We'll share a house," Harry had said. "It'll be fun. What can possibly go wrong?"
As far as famous last words went, Hermione thought, they weren't quite up there with, "Don't worry, boys, there's no way this idiot knows the Killing Cur---"
But they came close.
They'd discovered the carnivorous wardrobe the hard way. Lavender had been unpacking her clothes, when she was sucked in. Harry had saved the day, adding her to the considerable list of people who owed him their lives. If he ever needed to borrow money (an unlikely prospect, admittedly) there'd be no shortage of people who'd feel obligated to offer assistance.
After the crisis was over, they'd gathered in Hermione and Ron's room – the largest bedroom, and the house's seat of government – to weigh up their options.
"I say we wrestle it outside, burn it, and have a drink," said Ron.
"Take it outside? It'd eat us all before we got to the stairs!" said Lavender.
"We should call in trained Aurors," said Hermione, "or the Ministry – or Ron's dad."
"Not my dad."
They'd already made a pact to keep parental units and equivalent adults out of the house as far as possible. They were real adults, after all. With real lives. And real jobs, in the case of Everyone But Harry. (Ron was with the Ministry, while Hermione quietly took over the world via the Department of Mysteries. Lavender was working for the twins, marketing Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.)
"We should call the real estate agent," said Ron. "That's dangerous, that is, leaving man-eating—"
"And woman-eating," said Lavender.
"—Human-eating furniture in a house. We should get a discount on the rent."
The agent pointed out that Hermione had already negotiated a discount for the trick-steps, the shape-shifting washing machine ("I knew some things were too dangerous to be managed with magic," she said) and the endless hallway on the second floor ("What's the point of having a never-ending hallway if there are no extra rooms?" asked Hermione. They spent three days walking through the carpeted hall, but there were no doors).
"That wardrobe's a bonus," said the agent. "Lots of people would pay extra for a wardrobe like that in their house."
"Yeah, if they were insane," said Ron. "Just think what Malfoy would do if he had a carnivorous wardrobe of his own."
"I heard that Malfoy Manor had a whole carnivorous wing," said Lavender.
"Huh," said Ron, "it's all right for some. We only get a measly wardrobe."
"I wonder how they kept it fed?" Harry wondered. "Did they throw it a house elf every now and then, or did Lucius keep it as punishment for bad Death Eaters?"
"You could ask Professor Snape," suggested Hermione.
"Or I could poke my eyeballs out with a spork."
"Well that won't be helpful. How will we deal with the wardrobe then?" Hermione lowered her voice. "It's probably tasted human flesh."
"I know it's tasted my favourite violet cloak," sighed Lavender. "And I got a really nasty bruise when Harry pulled me out."
"We could chop it into firewood," Ron suggested.
"That won't release the curses on it, though," said Harry.
"It'll be evil firewood!"
"For evil fires!"
"And evil guys on Guy Fawkes Night!"
"Coming to life … lurching through the streets of Hogsmeade … eating Snape's brain with a spork…"
Hermione stared at them. "You and sporks, Harry. Is this something I should be concerned about?"
"I have a problem."
"We knew that," said Ron, "but it doesn't explain the sporks."
In the end, they left the wardrobe
where it was. Harry revealed a hitherto unsuspected gift with woodworking,
and made Lavender a new one. They hung a sign – Warning! Carnivorous!
– on the offending furniture, and occasionally sacrificed a few socks to
it. It was, if not a household god, then something of a pet. Or a mascot.
Ginny moved in three weeks after she finished school. She was accompanied by a pile of battered trophies from Miss Melina's Dance Academy for Witches, and an ancient toy Hippogriff, whose stuffing was falling out.
She and Harry spent two months exchanging long, desperately awkward looks, oblivious to the bets being made around them. They disappeared early from Ron's birthday party, and were later found snogging madly in Hogsmeade Green.
They continued to exchange long, desperately awkward looks after that, being too shy to actually talk much, but were just as likely to spend their time snogging. Ron and Hermione, who preferred a more argumentative approach to the mating dance, were mystified.
"But, you know, we're their best friends," Hermione told Seamus and Lavender, having been reluctantly dragged out on a double date. "It's not our place to judge them."
Ron contemplated his beer. "Blimey, they're weird," he said.
"Oh yeah," said Hermione. "Absolutely barmy."
"A Seeker short of a Quidditch team."
"A Flobberworm short of a Forgetfulness Potion."
"A Butterbeer short of a picnic."
"A violin short of an orchestra."
"A minion short of an Army of Darkness."
"Daft? What kind of word is daft?"
"It's a perfectly good word, thank you very much!"
"It's a prissy little Muggle-school-stories-word."
"Just because I spent a couple of days reading my old novels…"
"Yeah, with silly boarding schools that don't even have proper Houses—"
Seamus and Lavender sat back to watch the show.
"—And no decent subjects like – like—" Hermione smirked as she watched Ron grope for a subject he'd actually enjoyed. "Divination, and no House Cup, or Quidditch—"
"Of course they don't have Quidditch! It's meant to be a Muggle school!"
"You only act like you hate it because you hate me enjoying anything that you don't fully understand!"
"You only pretend to like it so much because you know it annoys me!"
"Well of course I do!" Hermione took advantage of his surprise to kiss him. Eventually, they came up for air.
"You want to go home and shag?" Ron asked.
They beat a hasty retreat, and Seamus turned to Lavender.
"And they say Harry and Ginny are mad."
"They're all daft, the lot of them. You should see Harry's spork fetish in action. He's been mailing them to someone, Heaven knows why."
"What kind of word is daft, anyway?"
"Beats me. Everyone's looking at us."
"Bloody Hermione," said Lavender with affection, "has to be the centre of attention. And it's a Hogsmeade weekend, too."
"And don't turn around, but Professor McGonagall is pretending not to laugh."
"She is? Can they hear us?"
Professor McGonagall quickly became serious.
"I guess they can. Is that Professor Snape?" Lavender gave him her perkiest wave.
"Don't," groaned Seamus. "I don't think he's forgiven me for that time I made my Expanding Potion evaporate in fifth year revision, and made it look like Malfoy—"
"Actually, I think he blamed Harry for that. Although he certainly knows better now."
"You want to get out of here and shag?"
"Your place or mine?"
"Better make it mine."
It was traditional for Gryffindors to spend a couple of years in a drunken haze after they'd finished at school. It was a sort of inter-generational House competition: if Sirius Black consumed half his weight in Butterbeer in 1978, then Charlie Weasley would have to drink two thirds of his weight in 1985. It was cultural.
Slytherins, on the other hand, sought their destruction through more subtle means, and the rumours that Severus Snape went out drinking one night in 1978 and woke up with the Dark Mark, a bottle-blond named Sharon and the nasty suspicion that he'd done something rather stupid the night before were complete fabrications.
Following the end of the Second Voldemort War, Draco Malfoy, Arrogant-Evil-Prat-Turned-Arrogant-Probably-Benign-Prat, was left with an empty, burnt-out shell of a manor, and an equally empty bank vault. Without job skills, and being unable to persuade Snape to help him rob a bank, he took up residence in Snape's Hogsmeade home, which he proceeded to remodel in the image of Malfoy Manor.
Snape occasionally stopped in to cautiously check on the state of his home.
"Mr Malfoy," he said, eyeing the modifications to his lounge room, "was it entirely necessary to charm the chairs to bow at the entrance of the owner?"
"Father always liked it that way."
"Perhaps you should think on the lessons to be learned from his fate."
"Next time, remember to duck?"
"A stampede of irate House Elves is no laughing matter."
"Well, I'm sure he knows that now. Not that there are many House Elves in the deepest pits of Hell."
Snape suppressed his first thought, which was that Lucius and Voldemort were probably running the place by now, which meant that all the finest amenities a power-crazed wizard could want were available to any damned soul brave enough to ask for them, and said, "What other changes have you made?"
"Well, your kitchen cupboards have been redesigned – you could fit a whole corpse in there, now. Two, if they're small."
"I'll be sure to tell my first years. Perhaps that will persuade them to learn the proper method of dissecting a dragonfly."
"And the oven has been redesigned for optimum head slamming. For the Elves, of course."
"I don't have Elves."
"Yes, you really should do something about that. Oh, and I wouldn't go into the second spare bedroom. I haven't fed it today, and it's probably hungry."
Draco threw himself into a green velvet chair, which purred. "I'm so bored."
"Perhaps you could get a job."
"You can't simply spend your days—" Snape's brain caught up with his ears. "You tried?"
"Three places said they weren't hiring. Four said they weren't hiring me. One man attacked me with a wand."
"Well, you did declare your loyalty to Hogwarts and the Ministry rather late in the day."
"I didn't know that Voldemort had already been defeated."
"You spent the previous half-hour hexing parties on both sides of the conflict, while making your way towards the Forbidden Forest."
"How did you know that? You were busy saving Potter's life!"
"I still haven't done anything about that yet," Snape murmured.
"It's your birthday next week," Draco said, hoping the distraction would continue.
"So it is. But that's irrelevant, Malfoy. Filius Flitwick told me all about your antics."
"Would you trust a man who can become intoxicated on cherry syrup?" Snape's expression didn't change. "Alright, I may have been moving in a Forest-related direction. But that hardly means that I was planning to flee to the south of France to spend my life and remaining fortune drinking cocktails in the company of nubile Veelas."
"Of course not."
"And it doesn't change the fact that prospective employers hear my name and unleash the Hellhounds. I don't think anyone believed you when you said I was no danger to law-abiding wizards."
"If your prospective employers have Hellhounds, I may have to retract my earlier statements."
"And someone's been sending me sporks."
"That's…" Snape paused. "Sporks, you say."
"Look." A drawer few open, and a pile of sporks flew out. "Muggle things. Half-spoon, half-fork."
"I can't think what they mean. They've all been laced with Untraceable Charms, and I'm hardly going to complain to the Office of Magical Mail that someone's stalking me with plastic cutlery."
Snape stared at the small pile of sporks. "Excuse me," he said quietly.
Hogsmeade was not a town known for its wild nightlife. Even on a Saturday, the only people in the streets were an elderly couple walking their Kneazle, and a pair of Hogwarts students who turned and retreated towards the school as Snape approached.
As if he couldn't recognise it by the faded red-and-gold banner hanging forgotten from a tree and the loud music coming from within, the shabby house on Kelly St had a small sign by the front door. It was probably meant to indicate that the residence in question was the headquarters of S.P.E.W. What it actually said was, Pervy Elf Fanciers Anonymous.
Snape rang the doorbell. The music stopped, and footsteps made their unsteady way towards the door.
"Hell – oh, Hell." The Boy Who Was Currently A Wee Bit Tipsy groaned and leaned against the doorframe. "What do you want?"
Snape opened his mouth, and then closed it again. The burgeoning lectures spinning through his mind (Do you have so much time on your hands that you can harass mostly-innocent Slytherins with cutlery? and Guess what, Potter? I saved your life two years ago, and that creates a bond between us, and since I have no intention of being in danger from anything other than Malfoy's interior decorating, you're going to have to work that debt off some other way) had vanished.
"Potter," he said slowly, a nasty
smile spreading across his face "are you suffering from some kind of magical
fungal disease, or are your fingernails meant to be metallic purple?"
The opening is from Pride and Prejudice. But I shouldn't have to tell you that.
Kelly St is a tip of the hat to Frente's "Accidentally Kelly St", my favourite song when I was 12.
He Died With a Felafel In His Hand featured a carnivorous bed, which had tasted human flesh. Although that was probably exaggeration.
Regarding sporks: like Harry, I have a problem.
Miss Melina's Dance Academy for Witches is no doubt a highly reputable school. And rumours that its chief instructor is a rabid Snape/Hermione shipper, and a damn fine beta reader, are probably accurate.
Hermione has been re-reading her Malory Towers novels. So have I.
Pervy Elf Fanciers Anonymous.
I know. I should be ashamed of myself. Stolen straight from Cassandra Claire's
Very Secret Diaries.