A Bit of Carousing

By Jedi Tess of Gryffindor

Summary: A "War's End" interlude originally written to amuse my beta, XX. This is an AU from the series, actually, as those of you know who've read the WE epilogue and "What It Means to Let You Go." Girl!Blaise/Harry, D/G, etc.

A/N: I've reworked this entire piece as of April 09. Hope everyone enjoys the staggering improvement ^_^

Huggles,

J.T.

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Blaise came up the walk early one evening in June, hoping for supper, a healthy dose of jazz music, and a foot massage. What greeted her instead was more to be expected, she supposed, but her disappointment, particularly about the lack of foreseeable foot massages in the immediate future, was acute.

"What," she asked, "is going on in there?"

Her sixteen-year-old son glanced up from the Daily Prophet in his lap and listened with her to the voices coming from the entrance hall. He rolled his eyes and leaned back against the steps. "Whatever it is this time," Cedric said, "she'd better end it soon. Else I'm leaving without her."

"Where're you going?" Blaise asked, sinking onto the step beside him and rubbing her forehead.

"Some of us were going to go to Diagon Alley tonight," he told her, reopening his newspaper and scanning the international section.

"Oh, bloody hell," Blaise muttered. She thought about walking away. Or spending the evening with Draco. Or seeking citizenship in deepest Africa.

"Would you do something, Mum?" Cedric asked, sticking out his lip. "Only I tried about ten minutes ago."

Blaise snorted. "What's in it for me?" she asked, glancing over an article about the prime minister of Muggle England over his shoulder.

He didn't even look at her. "A quiet evening and the location of Dad's stash of wine Uncle Ron brought back from France last winter."

Blaise stared at him. "How do you know where that is, boy?"

"My secret," he said, grinning. "What about it, Mum? You know if Tristy doesn't come with we won't hear the end of it for months."

Blaise blew out a breath. "You'll be finding that stash first thing in the morning, Ced, or you're on the bins for the rest of your life."

Cedric had the decency to appear cowed. Good of him, humoring his mum in her old age. "Sure," he promised. "I'll even venture into Harod's for that dark chocolate you fancy."

"Too right you will," Blaise said, brightening a little as she kissed his forehead and got to her feet.

She pushed open the front door, pausing on the threshold. Tristan stood on the bottom step of the staircase. Facing her, with his back to the door, was Harry Potter. He had his feet braced and arms crossed, looking exactly as he had when he'd faced You-Know-Who during the final battle some years ago. Neither heard her come in, so she pressed back against the door, waiting for the opportune moment to insert herself into the fray.

"– not a child!" Tristan bellowed, her face red enough to rival a Weasley's. "Just because of that accident last time!"

"An accident?" her father demanded. Not yelling, but he rarely did. "You nearly splinched, Tristan!"

"I had to Apparate!" she retorted, stamping her foot. "We all did. Unless you'd rather I've been killed by Death Eaters. Is that it? You'd rather I die than break the law?"

Blaise bit back a laugh. She would have said exactly the same thing at that age.

"Of course not, darling," Harry said, falling right into the melodramic trap. "I just want you safe."

"But Ced will be there!" Tristan pleaded, blinking big, crocodile tears out of her enormous green eyes. Blaise pressed a hand over her mouth as she watched Harry waver under the power of Tristan's tears. He didn't waver long.

"Your brother was with you last time." He folded his arms again, eyed narrowed. "You had to rescue him, as I recall. And you were all raging drunk."

"What is this, the eighteenth century?" Tristan demanded. "Of course we were drunk!"

Harry nodded, satisfied, and continued to assert that drunkenness was another reason he wouldn't be letting her go clubbing tonight.

Blaise shook her head. Then she sighed. She didn't like to get in the middle of these rows, but her daughter would have no social life to speak of if Blaise didn't take up the banner on her behalf, so she sucked in a breath and prepared for battle.

Her preparations were cut short, however, as the door swung suddenly open behind her. She yelped and, thanks to her Auror training, managed to jump out of the way as a stream of teenagers poured into her house. Sudden silence descended on the entrance hall as Harry and Tristan turned identical green eyes on the five boys suddenly standing in the hall. The boys stared back, all but one clearly surprised to have stumbled in on an angry Harry Potter.

Angry Harry Potter found his voice.

"That's it," he said, his voice dangerous as he surveyed the crowd of boys. They all shuffled and murmured hellos. "You're definitely not going now."

"What?" Tristan shrieked. All of the boys jumped and covered their ears. "Daddy, I'm related to half of them!"

"Perhaps it's better if we leave her," Cedric muttered from the rear of the group.

"That was my thought," his best friend retorted out of the corner of his mouth.

"Yeah, but you're terribly biased, aren't you?" the redhead beside him pointed out.

"You're related to two of them!" Harry was saying, his own voice a deep, dark boom. Blaise preferred the low growl herself, but didn't mind the aura of power that seemed to surround Harry when he got stubborn about something.

Unlike her mother, Tristan had no appreciate for the many voices of Harry Potter and carried right on, going where few witches or wizards would dare to go. "Right, let's review," she retaliated. "Cedric," she pointed at him, "is my twin. Fin," her eyes moved on to the sandy blonde beside him, "is gay, so it's a moot point, isn't it? Ian," she nodded toward the redhead, "is my cousin."

"He isn't!" her father said obstinately.

"Yeah, I'm not," the redhead said mischievously, eyeing Tristan in a way that would have had him fleeing for his life if Harry had seen it.

"He is as far as I'm concerned," Tristan snapped, with a warning look in his direction. "So it doesn't matter. Corin … " She paused, frowning at Blaise's godson in a bemused way, "is ... Okay, he doesn't count, but Ced wouldn't let him near me, would you, Ced?"

"None of them are going to get near you," Cedric said. He had Ian in a headlock. "Dad, come on. I'll look after her –"

"I don't need looking after!" Tristan shouted, her face turning maroon, even as her father said, "You did a poor job of it last time."

Things would probably have deteriorated at this point, but Blaise decided that she wanted her house to herself.

"Harry, Tristan," she called over the commotion, stepping passed the boys. Tristan and Harry instantly stopped bickering, eyes immediately trained on her.

"Kitchen, please," she said. Without waiting for an acknowledgment, she headed there herself. Half a minute later they joined her.

"Let's settle this, shall we?" Blaise said, rubbing her temples as she went in search of a drink.

"Mum, please let me go!" Tristan began immediately, opening her eyes very wide.

"You're going to dislocate something," Blaise told her, her lip twitching as she located a bottle of Merlot and pulled the cork free. "Don't try my own tricks on me, Tristy."

Tristan scowled. Harry coughed into his hand.

"So," Blaise said slowly, pouring a generous glass. "Is that lot who you're going with tonight?"

"We were also going to take Violet and Skylar and Belle," Tristan said.

"I see," Blaise said, looking at Harry. His look and crossed arms said, Oh, great. She's sure to be safe with Patils and Thomases, but he kept his mouth shut. "And whose house will you all be staying at?" Blaise continued.

"Aunt Ginny's," Tristan said. "She's okay with it."

"And her dad?" Blaise asked, taking a sip of wine.

"Aunt Ginny says it's okay," she repeated, her lip twitching.

Harry made a faint choking noise, his hand over his mouth. Blaise raised her eyebrows with a look that said, Don't take the piss out of Draco or you'll regret it, and Harry cleared his throat.

"And where in Diagon Alley are you going?" Blaise continued, returning to her daughter.

"Come on, Mum, lay off," Tristan began, her lower lip stuck out just like Cedric's. Blaise held up a hand.

"You want to go, you tell me everything," she retorted. "Prove to me you can be trusted."

"We're going to the Opal Eye," Tristan admitted. "It's the sixteen and up that just opened near Weasley Wizard Wheezes."

"Nothing illegal, then," Blaise said.

"So, can I go?" Tristan pleaded, her large eyes now on her mother.

"Give us a minute," Blaise said, pointing Tristan out of the kitchen. Tristan looked back and forth between her parents before backing out of the room.

Blaise waited until her daughter's voice mingled with the boys' before turning to her husband. "Harry, you can't keep her locked up at home while her twin's out running wild."

"She's a girl - it's different," he insisted. "You know girls her age are targeted all the time."

"And have I not taught Tristan to protect herself and not go near strange men?" Blaise demanded. "You can't protect her all her life, love. She needs to learn to take care of herself."

"Can't she learn at Hogwarts?" he murmured, leaning back against the counter.

Blaise set her wine glass down and joined him, her arms round his waist. "Sure, to a point. But you don't want her resenting you for holding her back. Let her go now and someday she'll appreciate that you were just trying to take care of her because she'll have a daughter of her own fighting to do everything the boys get to do."

Harry suppressed a smile, kissing her hair. "Hate it when you're right."

"Sometimes I wish I weren't," she admitted. "Gonna let her go tonight?"

"What if something happens?" Harry persisted.

"Something's always going to happen," Blaise told him. She grinned. "Tristy and Ced are Potters. You could lock them in a cellar till they're thirty and they'd still find trouble."

"Suppose it's my fault then," he muttered.

Blaise rolled her eyes. "Are you going to let her go?"

"Reckon I have to now," Harry said. He threw her a small smile. "If not tonight, it'll happen some other time."

"Good boy," Blaise said, patting his shoulder. "Shall I tell her?"

"Do, please." He caught up her glass of wine and drained it.

When Blaise returned to the entrance hall to tell her daughter the good news, Tristan gave a whoop and threw herself into fray of boys. She had apparently just been talking to them before, but now she was hugging and kissing all but Hayden.

"See you keep to the curfew Aunt Ginny gives you," Blaise called over the noise.

"Yeah, yeah," Cedric said, grinning as he followed his oblivious sister and his friends out the door. "Thanks, Mum."

"Our bargain, boy!" she called after him as the door slammed and the entrance hall was cast in sudden silence. She smiled when he waved at her through the plate window and mouthed, Dark chocolate.

She returned to the kitchen to find Harry on his second glass of wine.

"Don't say anything, I don't want to think about it." Harry scowled, looking as he had years ago when Snape breathed down his neck in Potions.

"Oh, come on, you big baby," Blaise chided, coming forward and sliding her arms around his middle. "Last time was a fluke. They'll be just fine."

Harry muttered something about people who were just too bloody sensible for their own good, but he leaned into her, putting his forehead on her shoulder.

"You've got to let her grow up, Harry," she said. She smiled. "Your mates who have daughters - ask them how they manage when they try and lock their girls away in ivory towers. Better to give them swords and let them fight their own dragons than teach them to expect someone else to do it for them every time. "

"Yeah, yeah." He sat up long enough for another pull of wine before offering the glass back.

"Potter cuties," she said, waving it away.

"Don't have cuties," he grumbled.

"Of course you do, silly boy," she said, stroking the shaggy hair off his forehead. When he cracked a reluctant smile, she leaned a bit further and kissed his forehead and cheek.

"I'm going to bed," she said. "Join me when you're done drinking. And keep in mind," she added as she sauntered away toward the stairs, "that our house is empty tonight."

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"Bloody hell," Draco mumbled, rubbing his eyes and blinking at the clock. "What time is it?"

"Three," Ginny groaned, rolling onto her back. "They're early tonight." She raised her eyebrows at him across a pile of pillows.

"Oh, fine," he grouched, pushing himself up and cracking his neck. "I'll take the head count this time. But you owe me."

"I don't, either," Ginny returned sleepily. "Hurry back."

Scowling at her in the dark, Draco rolled out of bed and padded to the door of their bedroom. Pushing it open, he stepped out onto the landing and squinted over the banister. They were there, all right - stumbling against each other and whispering, "Shh! Shh!"

"Drunk; the lot of them," he muttered, rolling his eyes and watching their heads bob away toward the staircase that led up to the bedrooms.

"Hayden had best be sure they find the right rooms," he grumbled to himself. He didn't fancy being the one to tell Potter his daughter was coming home pregnant. Draco winced, wishing his brain would shut up. He squinted, trying to pick out familiar faces. He saw Hayden almost at once. He was leaning on one of the other boys – Fin, Draco decided. The blonde boy appeared to be trying to kiss Hayden, who, though giggly, kept pushing him away. On Hayden's other side, Tristy skipped along, singing a song whose lyrics were probably the work of one of her Weasley uncles. When Fin made another dive for Hayden's mouth, Hayden promptly turned and located Tristy's. Tristy pushed him off, slapped his face, and dragged her loudly protesting brother away, giggling like a schoolgirl at the graphic gestures he was aiming at Hayden. Hayden made a piteous noise and hid behind Fin, who tried to cop another feel.

The rest of the renegades followed, tripping over each other and laughing. Dorian had his arms around Belle Patil and Skylar Abbot, both of whom were whispering in his ears. Draco snorted again – after all the trouble Ron Weasley always seemed to have with girls, his son's abilities seemed supernatural.

Thank Merlin, they eventually found the stairs. Draco watched them vanish around the landing. As far as he could tell, they were obeying Ginny's order that the girls use the largest guest room and the boys use Hayden's. Draco had, unfortunately, once been sixteen himself. He had an idea that mingling would go on and that he'd be safest knowing as little about it as possible.

"Well?" Ginny murmured when he slipped back into their room. He closed the door tightly behind him.

"All there, all drunk off their sorry, under-aged arses," Draco grunted, sliding back under the covers and snuggling up against Ginny's back.

"Why do we allow this?" she wondered, curling a leg around his and pulling his arm around her waist.

"We allow this?" Draco said innocently.

Ginny flicked his ear.

"Ow!" Draco glared at her neck. "Fine, it's so I have blackmail on Granger and can force her to tell me what line of products she's been using to make her hair silky, silky soft?"

Ginny rolled over and stared at him. Draco bit his lip.

"Well, I want some," he muttered.

"You're ridiculous," Ginny said, turning over and burying her face in his chest to cover her laughter. They lay in silence for a long moment.

"I wish they'd quiet down," Draco said as the sounds of giggling and shushing filtered through the door. "They're going to wake the kids up."

Ginny cocked her head, listening to the distant sounds of doors opening and closing.

"Are they in the kitchen?" she murmured.

"Reckon so," Draco said, yawning and feeling her hair tickle his lips.

"I told Hayden to go right to bed," Ginny muttered. "He will wake the kids if he doesn't stop racketing about."

Draco chuckled.

"What?" Ginny demanded.

"You sound like Potter," Draco told her, kissing her nose.

"You laugh at him," she said, poking him in the chest. "But wait until your daughter is Tristy's age."

Draco sobered at once.

"Merlin's beard," he muttered. "Now I'm sure to have nightmares."

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THE END