Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.
A/N: Now, I know what you're thinking, those of you who took the time to read 'The Phoenix Princess'. You're thinking, 'Now why in the world would the authoress be starting another story if she's got over twenty chapters to write and post?' Well, the answer is, BECAUSE I CAN!! On that note, I hope you enjoy this one, folks. Haaaaave fun!
And You, Hermione
Chapter One: New Years Heave
Merry afternoon sunlight danced its way between barren branches of trees and into a brightly decorated bedroom. The checkered shades of cream and lemon-yellow weren't much protection from the reflecting shades of daylight and freshly fallen snow, and the cold air rolled in from a frequently opened-and-closed front door a flight of steps below. Over-all, it seemed like it would be a beautiful day.
It felt as if the knight bus had crashed into her head right then. Repeatedly. And of course, even in the slim chance that the mystical purple bus could have slammed into the young woman at all, she was positive it had rolled painfully over her aching body at least ten times.
Thump Swish Thump.
Hermione Granger's stomach churned and clenched uneasily, and her dry mouth filled with the disgusting flavor of her own vomit. Feeling too weak and tired to move at all, she spat the contents of her belly out onto the perfectly matched and smoothed yellow sheets printed with jolly daisies. 'Well, now, not so jolly now, are we?' she thought crossly to herself.
Thump Swish Thump.
Hermione attempted to open her eyes, which she soon realized was a big mistake. Huge mistake, actually. The sun and exceptionally luminous colors had never seemed so bright...they were almost blinding, for Merlin's sake!
Thump Swish Thump!!
In a rapid motion, the suffering witch stuffed her head under the pillows, which, considering they had recently been saturated in whatever it was she'd eaten the night before, was not such a pleasant place to be.
THUMP SWISH THUMP!!
What was that noise? Was she ill? Had someone poisoned her pumpkin juice? Why on earth was she at her mother's house?!?
Closing her eyes tightly, she tried to shut out the noise. Hermione suspected it was coming from beneath the sheets, near to her chest. As if a light bulb had flickered on, she realized what it had to be. Her own heartbeat!
Unfortunately, the light bulb seemed to flicker back out as soon as it had gone on, and she was left in a loll of blackness where her memory should have been. Feeling around out side the safety of her sheets, she found the cool metal handle of her bedside drawer.
Pulling it open, she felt around blindly for a small vial she kept inside. Smiling despite of her current situation, she opened the bottle and swallowed the contents grateful for the effects it had. A warm sensation rolled over her, soothing aches, settling her stomach, and bringing down the pounding noise as well as a degree of the brightness.
Of course, it wasn't gone all together, but it helped while Hermione searched for a pair of sunglasses and some ear plugs. The events of last night were slowly creeping back into her head, and only making her wish she'd stayed in the vomit-bath that was once her bed.
The Night Before.....
The seasonal weather had set in, a blanket of snow and ices covering each and every street corner and alleyway. A large crowd was gathered at an upscale club, music pounding out rhythmically into the ears of those in the queue for entrance.
A pair of bulky bouncers stood at the doors, pulling back velvet ropes to let rowdy young adults inside. The people were dressed in sequins and beads, bright colors and feathers. Hats and noisemakers were stuck in various places, pockets, purses, and atop heads. It was defiantly New Years Eve in London. The club flashed a neon sign above the people which read The Broken Broomstick. A pair of brooms snapped in half circulated around the sign, whizzing and whirling around.
A young witch just about twenty-three years of age pulled up to the side of the street, yanking the handle of her car into park. She played with the mirrors, glancing at her teeth and hair before grabbing her coat and purse from the passenger seat. Hermione stepped out into the frigid air watching her breath form in white puffs before her as she sighed heavily.
'What on earth was I thinking? I can't go into a place like this! Fred and George will probably try to get me drunk. Or worse, get me to party like its 1999!' She was feeling less and less confidence as she strode toward the entrance, skipping ahead of a large number of sure-to-be disgruntled people.
"Excuse me...." She paused and glanced up at the threateningly large bouncers in front of her. She stood at a short height, facing one extreme versus the other. Both wore purple blazers over black turtlenecks, one bald and tanned, one pale with a buzz-cut of blonde hair. Each had a name-sticker that read either 'Hi! I'm: Boxer', or 'Hi! I'm: Terrier'. Weren't those dog breeds? Anyway... "...Sirs. I'm on the list."
One grunted, she couldn't tell which, and started to pull out a clip-board with a record of names about two-pages long. "Name?" The other asked in a strangely high-pitched voice.
As she muttered her name, she was almost immediately greeted with the same shocked expressions she'd gotten over the past few years. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact that she was almost always with the rest of her inseparable clique, or at least had been in the past.
Now, seven years after her schooling had ended- simultaneously along with Voldemort- something she'd always thought was a bit odd, the trio had had to learn to be independent (i.e. separating for a number of years only to see each other on holidays like...like...that one uncle you see once a year and only tolerate because he gives good gifts.)
Squirming and shifting from foot to foot, she nodded, and waited for some additional noise to that of the muggle cars rushing nearby through dirtied slush, popping out gravel from tires to fill the air.
"G-go right on in, Ms. Granger." The one, Boxer, she suspected, told her.
She passed through the doors and into the flashing party that was the club. Witches danced flirtatiously out on the floor, smoke rolling in great amounts as the beat of the music throbbed throughout the room. Young couples chatted over the noise at the bar, and groups of gossiping friends smacked the tabletops as the buzz from one-too-many firewhiskeys danced into their bloodstream, taking over.
"Hey, hot stuff." A voice from behind her shouted.
Hermione jumped, surprised at the sudden greeting. The voice was deep, and drawling, though it definitely held a large sparkle of mischief in it. A pair of arms circled her waist, and guided her toward a clear, spiral staircase, that glowed where it was lined with neon purple lights.
"Fred, George, nice to see you've gotten here without splinching, after that Christmas bash you threw at WWW headquarters." She said wryly.
"Ah, never fear, never fear, the Weasley twins live! You know you wouldn't be able to go on with out our repartee, luv."
"Perish the thought," Hermione said smiling at the freckle-faced boys. They had remained their prankster selves even through the troubling times of the war. They spoke the truth; of course, she loved the good-natured jokes and held up the banter they'd started for the evening, "That I be able to eat custard without wondering if it'll turn me into a canary."
Fred roughed up her already frazzled brown hair as the three of them reached the loft which was reserved for friends of the proprietors. Speaking of the vendors, the two were joyfully walking in her direction, dropping into a chair at the table.
A young girl with dark hair accompanied by an Irishman had sought them out, greeting Hermione with dazzling smiles and warmth. The youthful man dropped a mixture of some sort in a large goblet in front of her, the odd liquid steaming out heavily.
"I'm so glad you could make it!"
"Did you have any trouble getting in?!?" Seamus Finnegan and Mandy Brocklehurst stood before them, shouting over the loud playing of the featured band tonight, I-Of-Newt.
"Nothing but the usual," Hermione said, matching their volume. "This place is great; I can't believe you pulled it off!" The club had actually opened recently, just in time for the Christmas holidays.
It was the brainchild- and only child- of the recently engaged Seamus and Mandy. Before she could even open her mouth to question the whereabouts of her two best friends, Mandy shot out a perfectly manicured finger in the direction of the staircase. Not two- but three lanky people were making their way up to the loft to join the others there.
The tallest looked quite similar to Fred and George, the three being brothers. Ron spotted them and took off toward the table, dropping down with a large sigh. Just as the concerned brunette was about to ask about his troubles, the other two figures arrived.
Harry Potter smiled his stunning grin, and Hermione's stomach leaped. She hadn't exactly labeled the feeling, but it seemed whenever he got near, it over took her. Sweaty palms, fast-beating heart, and an excessive eagerness to be closer. When she had first described these feelings to Mandy, one of her closer female friends, she'd said she had 'utz' for Harry and refused to explain anymore than that it was 'utz' that helped Seamus and her to come together and create the Broken Broomstick. Well, that, and the fact that Mandy was a kick-ass chef and Seamus knew his way around the pubs.
"Hey Hermione, Mandy, Seamus, how were you're Christmas'?" Harry asked, sitting down.
"Great, thanks for asking. Seamus and I went down to Stonehenge before the club opened."
"Hey, everyone, Harry and Ron are here!" Fred began his sentence with a smile, and ended with a bit of a frown, an expression that looked unnatural on his face. He quickly recovered, and managed to pull his features into something that was supposed to be a friendly face, although it turned sour. "...and look, everyone...Harry's brought Cho."
With that one line, Hermione lost concentration on Mandy's elaborate description on how the name The Broken Broomstick came into being.
"...and so, all in all, it wasn't my fault, you see, Seamus practically dropped that bloody stove on his own lap!" Mandy cried out, flailing her arms wildly.
The older girl quickly made for the seat next to Harry's, and dropped into it. She smiled at the rest, whitened teeth shining in the smoky glow from the currently flashing strobe lights. Her stick-straight mass of black hair was tied up into a complicated knot, and she wore a slinky black dress to match Harry's tux.
Hermione suddenly felt a bit more than inadequate. Her frizzy brown hair was left down, the front strands pulled back. Her dress was of the same demure style she'd always used; gray knee length skirt with nylons and simple heals in black to match the shirt and jacket she wore.
"Cho, you look...well." Mandy said politely. She had been in the same house as Cho, though different years. She was courteous, but gone was the sarcastic and loudly animated girl Hermione knew.
"And you too, Mandy."
The nerve! The bloody trollop hadn't even said a frigging word or tossed a frigging glance to acknowledge her! The now fuming girl snatched up the glass of whatever-it-was and drained it fast. The conversation swirled around her, slipping in and out of each ear just as quickly as it had been said. She called for one after the other goblet full of the concoction, and gulped them down fast. It was sure going to be a long night.
A/N: So, what did you guys think? Continue? No? Smash my laptop into smithereens to stop myself from continuing to damage the good name of writers all over?!? Feedback- please!