Author's Note: I don't own Harry Potter, of course. I'm heading out of town this weekend, so I probably won't get to post as quickly as I usually do - just a warning!!! Enjoy :)
"Maybe you can take Percy to the Independence Ball with you Ron," Fred teased the youngest male Weasley. "He's practically a girl anyway."
The other males in the room besides Fred and Ron, which included Harry, Charlie, and George, erupted in laughter. Ron merely glared at his brother, not at all pleased with his suggestion. "I've already got a date, thank you very much," Ron said defensively, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Oh, ickle Ronniekins has a date!" George exclaimed, placing his hand over his chest in mock surprise.
"Is she inflatable?" Harry asked, not able to resist harassing his best friend just a little. Ron got riled up so easily, it was nearly impossible to resist.They had given Ron a Muggle inflatable doll as a birthday present last year, and he had yet to live it down.
"Thanks a lot, Harry," Ron snapped, his face turning red. "I would have thought you would be on my side at least."
"Don't pay attention to them, mate," Charlie said, waving his hand casually. "Who's the lucky girl?" he asked, obviously trying to keep from chuckling at his brothers' lively charade. Charlie was just in for the weekend, and they were making the most of their limited time together. The five of them planned on doing a bit of reminiscing, and drinking of course, and the Weasley twins had been quite the entertainers thus far. Harry, Ron and Remus were living together at Grimmauld Place, so it was the natural destination for their late-night antics.
Ron mumbled something in response, but none of them could make out the girl's name. After some more badgering from Fred, Ron finally gave up the name. "Luna Lovegood," he responded a little louder.
"Luna?" George echoed, surprise showing on his features. "And here I thought maybe you finally snagged the lovely Miss Granger," he taunted, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"Hermione and I are just friends," Ron muttered darkly, throwing a pillow in the direction of George's face. He easily ducked the launched object as he smirked at his fuming brother. Harry inwardly prayed they would change the subject as soon as possible. Ron was still sore about Hermione not returning his feelings, and he didn't want to deal with a miserable Ron all evening.
"What about you?" Charlie asked, turning to Harry. "Still taking the lovely Miss Abbott to the ball?"
Harry was about to respond in the affirmative when the sound of a door slamming interrupted their conversation. He sat stunned as the unexpected flurry of activity made its way towards him.
"Tonks! Wait!" Remus yelled, chasing after the pink-haired witch who was currently running through the living room.
"Go to hell!" Tonks yelled back as she grabbed her cloak. She went to open the door, but Remus managed to catch her by the wrist. "Let go of me, you lying bastard!" She practically screamed.
"Will you just give me a chance to explain?" Remus asked pleadingly.
Tonks yanked her arm away from him, her eyes flashing with anger. It seemed so bizarre to see the ever-cheery Auror so furious. Even during the War, she had rarely ever shown her temper. It had taken a duel with Bellatrix Lestrange, her cousin's killer, before she lost her cool. "No!" She said vehemently. "There is absolutely no way you can explain your way out of this one, so just forget it."
Remus reached for her again, but she quickly dodged his half-hearted effort, shutting the front door with incredible force. All the males winced at the sound, feeling sorry for the poor bloke who ran into her next. Whatever had happened between the two, it was obvious it had interrupted other activities. Remus's shirt was completely unbuttoned, and his hair was mussed in what Harry recognized as a sure sign of serious snogging. Based on the door-slamming alone, they wouldn't be repeating that activity any time soon.
"Bloody hell," Remus cursed softly, giving the door a swift kick.
"You alright, mate?" Charlie asked hesitantly. While Remus was normally a mild-mannered bloke, the fact remained that he was a werewolf, and angry werewolves were not creatures any sane witch or wizard wanted to upset.
Remus whipped around, suddenly realizing they were in the room. His eyes widened momentarily before he let out a huge sigh. "I'll be fine, Charlie. Thanks for asking," he answered miserably.
"Want a pint?" Fred piped up, holding up a butterbeer. "Nothing like a little alcohol to drown your problems in," he said, winking mischievously at Remus.
"No, thanks, Fred, I think I'll just…" his voice trailed off as he ran his fingers through his sandy blond hair, eyes downcast. When he finally lifted his head, his gaze met with Harry's. He was shocked to see the guilt in Remus's eyes, and he was more than a little worried about what he might do in his current state.
Just as he opened his mouth to make a suggestion, Remus spoke up again. "Oh, fuck it!" He declared loudly as he made his way over to the couch to claim the empty spot. Harry and the Weasleys exchanged quick glances at each other, not entirely sure how to respond to Remus's unexpected outburst. He rarely cursed, and Harry was reasonably sure he had never heard him use that particular word before. Sirius, yes…Remus, no.
"If no one has any major objections, pass me the firewhiskey because I plan on getting absolutely pissed," Remus said with a grin, reaching across the table for the bottle.
"You've come to the right place, mate," George announced, returning Remus's grin with one of his own. After swapping roguish smiles with his brothers, George happily poured the first of many rounds of firewhiskey for everyone.
Harry had stopped himself after two rounds of firewhiskey, having already promised Hannah that he wouldn't get drunk under any circumstances. They were supposed to go shopping for her dress the following morning, and he would rather give up drinking all together than face her wrath if he didn't keep his promise. He dearly loved his girlfriend, but there were times she was downright frightening.
Remus, having accomplished and surpassed his noble goal of becoming inebriated, was currently stretched out languidly on the couch. His eyes were still bright, but the impish smile on his face gave him away. He was gloriously drunk, and he seemed to be enjoying every minute of it…for now. Harry cringed, thinking of the massive hangover Remus would have in the morning. He briefly wondered if they had any hangover potion in the house.
The others finally convinced Remus to join them in rummaging through the kitchen cabinets for more firewhiskey, while Harry sprawled out lazily on the couch. His solitude was short-lived however; the front door opened a few moments later, and he was surprised to find one of his best friends, Hermione Granger, staring back at him. She usually avoided these little 'get-togethers' with the Weasleys since it nearly always included ridiculous amounts of alcohol and frequent, sometimes tasteless comments about the joys of the female anatomy.
"Hermione, what a nice surprise," Harry greeted her, offering to take her cloak. He was surprised again when she actually allowed him to do so, figuring she wouldn't want to stay long enough to get comfortable.
"I'm sure," she answered dryly, giving him a small smile. She tilted her head slightly to the right, raising an eyebrow at the peals of laughter coming from the kitchen. "Since it appears you're the only one who isn't drunk yet, would you mind telling me what happened with Tonks and Remus tonight?"
Harry let out a sigh, not sure how to respond. "We tried talking to Remus earlier, but he didn't say exactly what happened. They had some sort of fight, and she stormed out of here about two hours ago," he replied with a grim smile. "I've never heard Remus curse so much in my life."
"So he's drunk, too?" Hermione asked, a touch of disbelief in her voice. "He's usually the responsible one in the group."
"It seems I've taken over that role tonight," Harry said, puffing his chest out in mock pride.
"Just because you're the sober one doesn't necessarily make you the responsible one, Harry," Hermione reminded him, causing him to laugh. He never seemed able to outwit her, no matter how many times he tried.
Remus and the Weasleys burst through the kitchen door into the living room, excitedly celebrating the cache of ale they had found. They ignored Hermione and Harry as they made their way to the couch. Just as they sat down, Hermione spoke up. "Hello, boys," she said in a low voice, causing nearly all of them to jump in surprise.
"Hermione!" Ron exclaimed, a guilty look on his face. "Shouldn't, um, you be at home?"
"It's nice to see you, too, Ron," Hermione replied sarcastically. "I would actually love to be at home, but my roommates suddenly decided to kick me out of the flat for the night."
"Ginny kicked you out?" Harry asked, incredulous. Hermione and Ginny got along beautifully, and he couldn't remember the last time they had fought. If she didn't get into a fight with Ginny, then that meant…
"Ginny and Tonks kicked me out," Hermione corrected. "When I asked them why I wasn't allowed in my own flat, they politely told me to ask Remus, so here I am." When she finished speaking, she directed her gaze to Remus, who smiled disarmingly at her.
"You can stay the night here," Remus offered, leaning back on the couch. "After all, it's my bloody fault you're here."
Hermione shot a quick look at Harry before whispering, "I see what you mean about his cursing." Walking closer to Remus, she inquired, "Can you at least tell me why it's your fault? What happened between you and Tonks?"
"Hermione, love, I'm not nearly drunk enough to have this conversation," Remus answered, giving her a childish grin. Since when did Remus call Hermione 'love'? Harry wondered.
"Au contraire," she countered as she arched an eyebrow disapprovingly, "I think you're plenty drunk enough from what I can see."
"There's always room for more alcohol, love," he replied, eliciting a few cheers of agreement from Charlie. "Why don't you have a drink with us?"
Harry could tell she really wanted to reply back with a biting retort, but she held her tongue instead. After a few moments, she spoke. "How about we make a deal? You tell me what happened to upset Tonks, and I'll have a drink with you."
Since he was painfully sober, Harry was well aware of the absurdity of the 'deal.' All his mates, however, weren't exactly capable of higher-level thinking at the moment. Remus seemed to ponder her words for a moment before happily agreeing to her terms. He straightened up as he began recounting the story. The Weasleys leaned forward eagerly, everyone wanting to know the story behind Tonks's earlier explosion. "Well, let me first say it was an accident," Remus began, his words slurring ever so slightly.
"She shouldn't get mad if it was an accident," argued Ron, his firewhiskey sloshing ungracefully over his glass.
"I agree," Charlie chimed in. "Everyone makes mistakes now and then, and accidents aren't your fault, so-"
"I hate to interrupt, but could we get back to the story?" Hermione asked, looking a little put out at their drunken behavior.
"Of course, love," Remus answered smoothly. "Where was I? Oh yes, it was an accident. Tonks and I were in my bedroom snogging," he paused as Ron started snickering, "when I upset her."
"How did you upset her?" Harry questioned, his own impatience starting to show. Being around drunks the entire night was starting to wear on his nerves. He now understood why none of the girls wanted to be around them when they got together. Being drunk was an absolute blast, but being with drunks…not so fun.
"Well, I sort of…" Remus trailed off as he waved his hand around lazily. "When we were kissing, I might possibly have uttered another witch's name."
Harry felt his eyes go wide, and he was fairly sure Hermione's did the same. The drunks, however, seemed to find his confession rather humorous, and his words sat off a myriad of cackles. "Merlin, Remus, that's bleeding hilarious! You weren't even smashed when you said it!" Charlie proclaimed, doubled-over in laughter.
Hermione, however, failed to find the hilarity in the situation and she glared sternly at Remus. "Whose name did you say?"
"I don't think you want to know, love," Remus responded with a raspy voice, taking another drink of his firewhiskey. "It's over and done with now, and there's no going back."
"You don't know that for sure," she argued softly. "Tonks will be angry for a while, but I'm sure she'll forgive you eventually." She paused for a moment, seeming to debate her next words. "You weren't cheating on her with this other witch, were you?"
"Nope," Remus replied simply, giving her another sluggish grin. "I may have fantasized about this girl, but I didn't cheat on Tonks. But you should know that as well as me," he added cryptically.
"How so?" She demanded, clearly confused with ramblings.
"Because the name I called her was Hermione."