dsHARRY POTTER AND THE GRIM HERITAGE.
Chapter One: Message from Beyond the Veil.
From the most innocent of beginnings – the tiniest pebble dislodged all unknowing – can come avalanches.
Avalanches that destroy, and remake, all that lies before them.
On an overcast afternoon, in a dusty library, inside a (for all intents and purposes) invisible house, a young man sat, a rather unique photo album open in his lap. Little did he know at that very moment, a metaphysical pebble was about to start its bouncy journey through his life...
Harry Potter ran his fingers over and over the smiling faces of his parents and Godfather, watching them laugh and wave up at him through a haze of tears. Impatiently, he yanked off his fogged glasses and used the hem of his over-sized tee shirt to wipe his face.
The Grimmauld Place library was peaceful, dust motes glittering in the sunlight flooding in through the recently cleaned windows. A magical fire in the huge black marble fireplace gave soft light without heat, and Harry glanced up at the mantelpiece to the photos arranged there. Behind him, numerous shelves stretched away into the shadowed recesses of the huge room, the accumulated magical knowledge of countless generations of Blacks collected there.
Sadly, nothing there was the answer to Harry's most pressing question.
Was Sirius, his Godfather, really dead?
He dreamed of it, saw it in all his waking hours - Bellatrix's stunner hitting a laughing Sirius in the chest, his expression frozen in shock as he fell backwards, the rippling veil...
No-one Harry spoke to knew much about the ancient arch in the Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore insisted that Sirius was dead; the arch a one-way door to "the next great adventure". When pressed for proof, he said it had been used as a means of execution in the past, and that no-one had ever returned through it.
Harry sat back and grimaced. He'd spent a mere two weeks at the Dursleys, an agreement having been made for them to treat him well that fortnight, therefore recharging the wards early, so they could go on a holiday to Ireland with Aunt Marge. She had been showing some of her horrid dogs there or something. Harry hadn't cared, as it had meant his escape from them, even if it had been to his godfather's house.
At first he'd been dead-set against it, fearing the effects on his already nightmare-riddled sleep, but on finding out only Remus, and a few days later Hermione and her parents, would be there, he'd acquiesced.
It had proved to be a wise move, as he and the grieving werewolf had become much closer since. In the subsequent two weeks they had talked for hours, exorcising the shadows of the past.
Remus had been deeply distressed and guilty over his blind acceptance of Dumbledore's orders to leave the Dursleys, and Harry, strictly alone all those years ago. As he'd explained it, his obedience had been colored by his certainty Harry would have feared him - a "Dark Creature."
Then together, utterly distraught over the loss of Sirius, they'd cried, clinging to each other, then had each other laughing through their tears with tales of Sirius at school, with James and Lily, with the infant Harry, about the rescue and how Sirius had supported Harry though the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Now they were well on the way to a fine relationship, mentor and pupil, uncle and nephew, friends.
Remus knew nothing about the arch beyond what Dumbledore had said, and had been unable to find out anything further. He and Hermione had even combined their formidable research skills...to no avail.
Harry's bushy-haired friend had healed well and quickly from her injuries sustained at the Ministry, much to Harry's guilty relief, and had wasted little time beating that fact into her moody and all too often self-flagellating friend's thick head. She had also convinced her parents to close up their dental practice, and had moved them, lock, stock and barrel, into a suite of rooms on the second floor of Grimmauld place.
Remus, Kingsly Shacklebolt and Mad-Eye Moody had recreated their comfortable home there, magically moving walls and re-arranging rooms so that Dan and Emma Granger would feel more at home.
Harry closed the precious album, a tiny smile quirking his lips. Having spent 24/7 with Hermione, her parents and Remus had been eye-opening. In a fortnight, he'd had a crash-course in what a real family was and what real parents were like.
On her arrival, Emma had taken one look at him, and had enfolded him in a gentle hug, nothing like the smothering, over-powering embrace of Molly Weasley. Close on her heels, Dan had wrapped his arms around both of them, Hermione wriggling her way into the huddle... and Harry had lost it.
He'd exploded into a storm of weeping, years of loneliness, fear, grief, loss, rage and isolation pouring out in a wave. He'd tried to pull away, to control it, to hide his inner self as he always had, but the Grangers would have none of it. They had held him as he screamed, yelled, hit, fought, swore and wept, crying with him but refusing to let go.
At some point, Remus had joined them and had been pulled into the group hug, adding his tears and rage and grief – but the Grangers had stood firm, holding both the weeping werewolf and distraught teen as if they had known them for years – which, as Emma had later explained – they had in a way, through Hermione's long and detailed letters.
That had been the main event of their first day at the house. Now, two and a bit weeks later, it was as if they had always all lived together.
Emma loved to cook, Dan had a cleaning fetish. Emma was a book junkie, so was her husband. Emma was tiny, bushy-haired, beautiful – and as formidable as Minerva McGonagall. She took no prisoners and suffered no fools. Both she and Dan were blindingly intelligent, so Hermione was clearly her parents' child.
Dan Granger was tall, with dark brown eyes, and was quiet, thoughtful and very, very funny...in a quiet, thoughtful kind of way. He was also fearless where magic was concerned and it had been he who finally solved the 'Walburga Problem'.
To say the Granger parents found the abusive portrait in the hall offensive was an understatement. Dan had made it his mission in life to remove the foul-mouthed harridan, and had bent all his considerable intellect and resources to that end.
He, Harry and Kingsley had gone to visit an old school friend of Dan's who worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and had returned with a jar of 'The Juice'. This secret concoction was the result of years of expertise cleaning and restoring paintings, and Dan's friend had assured them it was foolproof.
A day later, suitably fitted with earplugs, Dan, paintbrush in hand, had confronted the screaming image of Mrs. Black. With an evil grin that had made the horrible old biddy gulp nervously before she launched into another tirade, he dipped his brush into 'The Juice' and stuck it right into her face.
The results had been spectacular. Smoke and steam had exploded outwards, the magic-infused paint bubbling and hissing. With a scarily maniacal grin, Dan had proceeded to paint the ever more feebly screaming portrait of Sirius' evil mother out of existence.
Kreacher, attracted by the screams, had rushed to his Mistress' aid, howling and gnashing his teeth in rage. Hermione, seeing her father in danger, had then done something Harry had never expected in a million years.
She'd screamed for Dobby.
Harry's little friend had immediately appeared, liberally dusted with flour, took one look at the scene - and snapped his fingers.
Kreacher's suddenly headless body had careened into Dan's legs, scaring the bejeebers out of him, but doing no other damage. Kreacher's head, neatly mounted on a shiny new plaque, had appeared beside those of his ancestors in that same moment, as the portrait gave a final despairing squawk, the frame coming loose from the wall and falling to the floor with a dull 'clunk'.
Dobby had then thrown himself at Harry, wrapping his skinny arms around his hero's knobby knees. In that moment, Harry found himself asking the almost hysterical elf to bond with him and come live and work in Grimmauld Place.
Dobby had agreed, instantly and vocally, asking only that Winky come too. Harry, glancing at a chalk white, shaking Hermione, had agreed.
In the end, another minor miracle had occurred. An hysterically weeping, guilt-ridden Hermione, uncomforted by her somewhat bemused parents, had ended up kneeling and being comforted and calmed by an oddly sober Winky...who then insisted "Miss. Mione" bond with her as she "clearly needed a good elf".
A wide-eyed Hermione had complied...the original incarnation of S.P.E.W dying a largely unlamented death in that moment.
Harry grinned at the memory, rising from his chair to place his album on a table in the center of the library.
Currently the Grangers, Elves, Remus and Kingsley were in Diagon Alley, shopping. Harry had declined the offer to go with them, and as the Fidelius was fine, Remus deemed him safe enough to remain behind alone. The Weasleys were due to arrive that evening but, in all honesty, Harry wasn't sure he was looking forward to it.
Tomorrow was his sixteenth birthday and he'd hoped to spend it with just his new 'family', but Dumbledore had sent Fawkes with a letter stating he was moving the Weasleys into Headquarters 'for their safety', and that they would be staying until school started on September first.
Neither Harry or Hermione had heard a peep out of Ron, or Ginny for that matter, since the day after school ended. Remus said they'd all gone to Romania to collect Charlie, who was moving back to England.
Bill had popped in briefly a day ago, stopping long enough for tea and cake and sharing the news that Fleur Delacour's parents had ordered her back to France, ending their budding relationship. He'd also dropped off Harry and Hermione's O.W.L results and had promised Harry he'd try and find out what he could about the Veil.
He and Hermione had spent an hour huddled together in the library, taking notes and discussing what research she and Remus had done so he wouldn't waste time doubling up, then he floo'd away, back to Gringott's.
Harry frowned a little, turning to look at the bookshelves. He'd always thought Hermione and Ron would make a couple, but lately he'd begun to wonder if that was such a bright idea. He'd watched Hermione and Bill talking and laughing together as they'd prepared their research outline. The eldest Weasley son was brilliant, ambitious, driven, hard-working, mature and conscientious.
So was Hermione.
Ron SO wasn't.
If he was honest, Harry had to admit his best mate was a mediocre student, had little focus or ambition outside of playing for the Cannons, was prone to being excessively jealous, tended to belittle Hermione when he wasn't getting her to do his homework, seemed to think the world owed him a living, was ignorant and intolerant of Muggles and had an insecurity complex the size of the Isle of Wight. Not to mention, as Hermione herself had so succinctly put it – he had the emotional depth of a teaspoon. All things considered, he was a lousy match for Harry's brilliant, somewhat isolated, best female friend.
Bill, on the other hand...
Harry grinned, mentally making a note to mention the situation to Remus. The old Marauder was a true romantic at heart, and in the throws of a new relationship himself, so Harry thought he'd be inspired to help.
During the course of their talks, Remus had cautiously shared that he was gay, and that he and Sirius had become a couple when they were sixteen. This had also been destroyed by Pettigrew's betrayal and Sirius' incarceration in Azkaban. Remus had remained alone until just before he'd begun teaching at Hogwarts, when he and Kingsley had started to carefully get to know each other.
With Sirius' return, Kingsley had nobly stepped aside, allowing the two old lovers to discover if anything remained of their past relationship. It had, but Order business, Dumbledore sending Remus away to court the other werewolves and Sirius being under what amounted to house arrest, not to mention all the lost time and trauma of prison, the two had had little real time together.
Then Sirius had fallen through the Veil.
Remus had, in his grief, turned to Kingsley who, sensibly, was taking things slowly. Harry just wanted his mentor and Uncle to be loved and happy. All the might-have-beens with Remus, Sirius and him sharing a home would drive him nuts if he allowed himself to dwell on them.
Deep in thought, Harry almost didn't notice a sudden twinkle of golden light on the wall to his left. However, it was rather Snitch-like, and the youngest Hogwarts Seeker in a century always saw the Snitch!
Turning to face the light, Harry realized it came from the Black Family tapestry, another thing no one had been able to take down.
Curious, he walked over and studied it, running his eyes down the unfamiliar names to the part where Sirius' name had been blasted off...only...it wasn't!
Where there had been a hole, now there was unblemished cloth, Sirius' name was once again intact and the date of his death had been added, with a golden line that led to...
"Huh?" Harry exclaimed, shocked. There was his name – Harry James Potter-Black.
Harry, not quite believing his eyes, reached out and ran the tips of his fingers over the shining new embroidery. It was real.
"Why Potter-Black?" he wondered aloud. And as he did, a book on a nearby shelf literally leaped out at him.
With reflexes born of much Quidditch practice, and excellent genes, Harry caught it right in front of his face. It opened in his hands to reveal a cavity cut into the pages. A folded piece of parchment was squashed into it, his name in Sirius' handwriting on the front.
With trembling fingers, Harry pulled the letter free, dropping the book unceremoniously onto the floor. He carefully unfolded it, only to find it blank, then gasped as a tiny pulse of magic pricked his finger, drawing a drop of blood. As his blood stained the edge of the parchment, writing appeared.
"My dearest Harry,
This is bloody hard to write Pup, as I am trying to project into the future and look ahead, something this old dog has problems with. New tricks and all that!
We Blacks have always had a sixth sense about our deaths, and while I've been trapped in this mausoleum, I've had that sense. I believe my time to join James and Lily is near – my only regrets are leaving you and Remus, when both of you clearly need me!
Harry, while Dumbledore might think I've been sitting here, my thumbs up my arse, being a good obedient dog, I've actually been rather busy.
GO TO GRINGOTT'S! You need to get there as soon as possible as there's a lot you need to do, before the official reading of my Will. You MUST ALSO be at my Will reading. I have several surprises for you – and various others – but to have them legally ratified, you MUST be there!
You are my Heir, I love you like the son I never had. From the moment James handed you to me, you barely ten minutes old, you have had my heart. I love you, Harry, and I have made arrangements to insure your wellbeing, safety, security and, I hope, happiness.
This next part isn't easy – I hope you spent long enough with me to trust me on this – DUMBLEDORE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. He is a manipulative, cold souled bastard. He was the caster of your parent's Fidelius. You know what that means.
He isn't a Dork Lord like that toe rag Riddle, but he is self-serving, arrogant and willing to use any and all means to further his agenda of the 'greater sodding good'.
Show this letter to Remus. This might shock you, but hey! I'm dead! So too bad, Pup – I was gay. Remus was and is the love of my life, my one and only. Trust him.
Also Shack – he's a good man. If you can, get my lone wolf to accept what Kingsley offers.
My cousin Nymphadora (Merlin, I love writing her name out in full) Tonks, her parents Andromeda and Ted, Augusta Longbottom, Ebenezer Crocker and Filius Flitwick are also people you can rely on.
If you can open Minnie McGonagall's eyes, her too. Mad-Eye is also capable of independent thought, especially since that total cock-up last year, when AD didn't seem to realize he had a false Mad-Eye prancing around his precious school for a whole bloody year.
You also need to talk to Aberforth Dumbledore, Oberon Ollivander and Florian Fortesque. All of them have information for you.
I do know Bill, Charlie, the twins, Hermione, Neville and that very strange lass Luna, are true friends. Arthur is possibly too loyal to AD, Molly I don't like, Ron and Ginny I don't have a bloody clue about, so be cautious.
Pup, don't, under any circumstances, trust that pillock Fudge! Amelia Bones is honest, but the Head Auror, Rufus Scrimgoeur, is a first class, ambitious prick. His deputy, Gawain Roberts, is a good bloke and would help you when (not if) you catch that bastard Pettigrew.
Pup – see Hackblade at Gringott's. He's a greedy little bastard, but if you keep that in mind, he's a bloody brilliant account manager. You also need to see the original of your parent's Will; the original, Harry, not a copy. And get all the ledgers for your vaults. Yes Pup, plural!
You also need to be prepared for something of a physical ordeal. I won't say more here, Hackblade knows what to do. Request the Goblin Healer Aksaki to help you. She's the best, and actually knows about human/wizard healing.
Well, that's all I have to say, except BE CAREFUL Harry. Voldie isn't your only enemy. Remus can be your guide, along with Flitwick, Ollivander, Abe D, and Florry Fortesque. Augusta is a tough old bird and knows every Pureblood rule and regulation, so she can teach you how to deal with all those inbred idiots. Mad Eye and Croaker would be ideal teachers/trainers – if you can get Alastair to side with you.
I know the Prophesy, Pup, your folks told me. I was planning to tell you in the holidays. No one else knows...except AD...and probably Snivellus Snape. Do I need to tell you not to trust him? Thought not!
Harry, you are the light of my life. I am so, so proud of you. I have faith in you. I believe in you. Please, believe in yourself! I only wish we had had years to get to know each other, but that wasn't meant to be. Don't grieve too long for me – if I died trying to help you, I died well and happy.
Be happy, my son.
I will always love you.
Your Godfather, Padfoot."
For several long, agonizing minutes, Harry held the precious letter to his chest and cried.
This made it final. His Godfather, his Padfoot, was indeed dead. The tiny flame of hope he'd carried in his heart gutted and went out.
Sirius was dead and nothing was going to bring him back.
Hermione Granger, her cheeks pink, her hair windswept, stumbled out of the large library fireplace into the waiting arms of her father. He kissed her on the head then moved her to the side, just in time to catch his wife as she shot headlong out of the emerald flames.
"I will never get used to that!" Emma stated emphatically, as Dan and her daughter laughed. She quickly got out of the way as a grinning Remus Lupin stepped out of the flames, closely followed by an equally amused looking Senior Auror. "Why do you two never fall on your faces flooing?" The Granger matriarch demanded, glaring at the two men.
Kingsley wrapped his arms around Remus, holding the shorter man against his broad chest and smiled. "Talent," he said succinctly.
"Practice," the werewolf added.
Emma mock-glared some more at the pair. "Fat lot of help you two are," she grumbled. "Mind you, I'm not sure which one I dislike more, the floo or portkeys. Either way, I need someone ready to catch me, or I do a faceplant."
Hermione was glancing around the library, a faint frown on her face. "Where's Harry?" She wondered aloud.
Remus, grinning up at Shack as Dan made some joke, switched his attention to the young witch, all humor leaving his face. "What's wrong, Hermione?" He asked, having long ago recognized her uncanny ability to sense his nephew's mind-state and level of well being.
"I... I'm not sure. We need to find Harry...now!" She said, already moving towards the library door.
At that moment, Dobby popped into the room wringing his hands, his huge ears drooping, his tennis ball-like eyes full of anxiety. "Sirs and Misses', Harry Potter Sir needs yous," he squeaked, his voice higher pitched than usual.
Hermione, who was nearest the distressed elf, knelt in front of him. "What's wrong with Harry, Dobby?" She asked quietly, patting him on one thin shoulder.
Dobby looked up at her, tears forming in his eyes. "Harry Potter Sir's Miss Mione comforts Dobby? You is a kind witch, a most noble..."
"Thanks Dobby, truly, but what about Harry?" Hermione said quickly, before the elf could really get going.
"Harry Potter Sir has received a letter. Harry Potter Sir is crying and is in the kitchen," Dobby said, then grabbed his ears and began to twist them.
Hermione caught his hands in hers. "No self-punishment Dobby. You know Harry hates you hurting yourself. What do you need to tell us?"
The small elf looked up at her, his face lit with gratitude... and fearful worry. "Harry Potter Sir has found the firewhiskey," he whispered, "and... and... has been drinking it!" He squeaked.
"Oh shit!" Dan muttered, garnering a glare from his wife.
"That's not good," Kingsley added, and Remus jerked away from him.
"You think?" He snarled. "MOVE, YOU TWO!" He added, and Dobby squeaked then popped away, as Hermione scrambled to get out of the werewolf's path to the library door.
Remus wrenched open the door, so anxious he never noticed he'd crushed the doorknob into a mental lump. He practically ran off down the hall, leaving the others to follow as best they could.
"I think we'd better hurry," Dan said, and ushered the others out ahead of himself. In a group, they followed the agitated werewolf.
Harry stared morosely into his half full glass of firewhiskey, then reluctantly gulped down another mouthful. He grimaced as fire shot out his nose. Clearly there was some skill to getting shit-faced he had yet to master. The stuff tasted foul and he felt awful...worse, he could still clearly remember why he'd tried drinking himself into a stupor in the first place.
He felt like such a complete and utter idiot, a puppet, pranced about and played along by the man he had bloody near worshiped - the great Albus "trust me, my boy" Dumbledore.
How could he? How could the hero of the Light have left an innocent man in hell for 12 years?
Images of his emaciated godfather filled his minds' eye – his dead haunted eyes, how he twitched and flinched at every noise, every person, the screams from his room nearly every night – from nightmares Harry knew were worse than his own.
Harry growled, his green eyes glowing with magic and rage, tiny sparks dancing among the strands of his hair and between his fingers.
The shelves behind him began to shake, the crockery jumping about, the pots and pans rattling in accompaniment to his anger.
Harry reached for his glass again, wincing at the flames after he drained it.
That old fuck had left Sirius to rot. He'd known all about Pettigrew being the secret kee... hang on!
Harry tried to think, his befuddled mind sliding off on a tangent. If Dumbledore had known about Peter...had he known he was an Animagus? Had he known who Scabbers was all those years? He sure as hell hadn't seemed surprised by the jumbled, bizarre tale Harry, Ron and Hermione had told him at the end of third year!
Harry snarled, not even noticing as all the glasses in the cupboard shattered.
Dumbledore always knew what was happening around the school, all the day to day stuff. How then had he consistently missed the big stuff? ALL the big stuff?
How had he not known three boys became Animagi to keep his secret werewolf student company? Was Remus simply dumped in the shack each month, with no monitoring? What if he'd escaped into Hogsmeade?
Harry knew that each full moon the changed Marauders had been out and about the countryside. How had Dumbledore not known about this, given that if James, Sirius and Peter had not mastered the Animagus transformation, it would have been a completely feral werewolf rampaging around on his own?
Harry pondered this. There must have been some sort of magical supervision. They would have to have been seen. Harry ground his teeth, half a dozen cast iron pots twisting up into metal blobs as he did so.
Thinking back over the years, he had to wonder why the Philosopher's Stone had ever been brought to a school full of children, especially if it was a magnet for a disembodied Dark Lord. Why was it's hiding place so specifically pointed out at the Welcoming Feast? Shit! Tell close to five hundred children not to go somewhere – where are they all going to bloody go?
Why had the puzzles been so simple that three eleven year olds could defeat them? In fact, as Voldemort had been disembodied, why were there puzzles at all? How would they have stopped the evil spirit? Unless Dumbledore already knew that Voldemort had had a physical host? Had he known all along about Professor Quirrell?
Why hadn't Nicholas Flammel, his wife and the Stone gone under a Fidelius in some remote corner of the world and been their own secret keepers? After all, they had clearly managed quite well on their own for over 600 years. Why had they had to sacrifice their lives through the destruction of the Stone because Dumbledore had wanted it kept at Hogwarts, and then deemed it necessary to destroy it after Quirrellmort had been defeated?
Harry stared balefully at his empty glass, his thoughts now churning worse than his stomach.
Why had Hagrid never been properly questioned 50 years ago? Why hadn't he been cleared then? Why hadn't something so powerfully evil as that diary triggered some sort of ward in the castle? How had Dumbledore and Snape, both self-proclaimed masters of the Mind Arts, never picked up that Ginny had been possessed? Why had Fawkes, the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor really come to him in the Chamber of Secrets? Why had it fallen to a twelve year old child to kill, with a bloody sword, a sixty foot long, millennia-old, violently toxic magical snake? Why hadn't he, or Ginny, received any kind of post-trauma counseling?
Harry mentally moved ahead into his third year.
Why had a thirteen year old girl, no matter how brilliant, been allowed to risk buggering up Time Itself for no better reason than taking a few extra classes? Not that he begrudged Hermione satisfying her lust for learning, but to trust an artifact that was normally hidden in the bowels of the Department of Mysteries to a young teen just didn't make sense!
Why was Snape kept in the school? He'd been as much to blame for James and Lily dying as Pettigrew and Voldemort were. Harry had nearly exploded with rage when Dumbledore had revealed that it was Snape passing on the half-heard prophecy that had set Voldemort on the path that ended up with Harry (and Neville, come to think of it) orphaned. How could the Headmaster ever have allowed he and Snape to be in the same place at the same time, given the hatred and bitter history the two shared?
Why had Dumbledore never realized that in fourth year his life-long friend Alastair Moody was being impersonated? Again, wasn't he a master Legimens? And given that Snape and Moody loathed each other, why hadn't Snape checked out 'Moody' out of sheer spite and reported the fake to the Headmaster?
Why had Harry been forced to compete in the Tournament? He hadn't written his name, it hadn't been either his mundane or magical signature. Surely during the long history of the Tri-Wizard, other competitors had been entered by enemies or those who thought it was a good joke. Why hadn't there been a loophole to cover that? Not to mention he had been way under age. Why was that not grounds for his removal? And after he had been forced to compete, why hadn't Dumbledore tried to help him with Skeeter's lies, those foul badges and especially after Cedric's death?
Now thoroughly miserable, Harry poured another glass of firewhiskey. He didn't even want to consider the mistakes, misunderstandings and abuse he'd suffered during the recently completed fifth year. He knew little of Muggle disaster relief, or victims of crime support, but he did know that most people in traumatic situations got help - food, clothes, counseling. Why had he never been given the chance to talk to someone? Surely there were Mind Healers?
A tear ran down Harry's cheek and he angrily brushed it away. Why did he have to be the bloody Chosen One? Why hadn't he been told all this shit earlier?
Harry was so caught up in drunken misery, he didn't notice the two house elves pop in, cop an eyeful and pop out again.
When the kitchen door slammed open a few minutes later, Harry looked up blearily from his glass. A combination of tears, alcoholic befuddlement, crusty eyelashes and smeared spectacles gave him the blurry outline of a man...who was pointing a wand at him!
Drunk he might be, but Harry Potter wasn't the Chosen One for nothing!
In a remarkably smooth move, given his inebriated state, Harry fell sideways off his chair, which was subsequently rendered the most sober piece of furniture in Britain (and possibly Europe) courtesy of Remus' Sobriatus spell. It also turned a delicate shade of pink for several minutes.
Harry managed to draw his wand from his back pocket without losing a buttock, scuttled under the table and bellowed "Expelliarmus" at his attacker.
To avoid having his ankles mangled, Remus performed a truly balletic leap and spin in midair (as Shack later took great pleasure in telling him) all the while yelling for Harry to bloody well hold still, and let him sober him up.
Harry didn't really hear this as he had rolled, painfully, into a chair (that was possibly drunk as it had fallen on him). He shoved it aside, even as it too was turned teetotal and bright pink.
"Reducto!" Harry roared, poking the tip of his wand coyly over the edge of the table.
Remus really had to draw on both his skills of interpretative dance and werewolf reflexes to avoid this one, barely managing to do so as the red beam demolished the ice-box behind him.
He cast a filthy look over his shoulder at Shack who was out in the hall rolling around on the ground in hysterics. The Grangers give him identically raised eyebrows, Dan's accompanied by a smirk, Emma's by a truly spectacular eye-roll.
"Oh for goodness' sake!" Hermione snapped, as the table joined the abstemious collection of furniture, and Harry almost disemboweled Remus with a Diffindo that sliced the end section of the cupboards right off the wall.
"Harry James Potter!" She bellowed, causing Remus to stare at her gobsmacked, and her drunk friend to half-swallow the Reducto he was uttering, which was just as well for the werewolf.
Instead of blowing a hole right through him, the off color spell struck Remus in the chest, turned him neon orange, and flung him violently backwards, to land atop his now hiccuping lover who'd finally managed to drag himself up into a sitting position on the floor in the hall.
They crashed over together in a tangle of multicolored limbs and robes, Shack dissolving once again into hysterics, as Remus swore violently enough to strip the paint off the walls.
Harry, meanwhile, stood up, swaying delicately as he confronted his fuming bushy-haired friend.
"Hermy... Hersaminny... Hernia...," he tried, but gave it up as a lost cause, deciding instead to go with what he thought was a charming, roguish smile, but which actually more closely resembled a lop-sided leer, followed by a loud, odoriferous, belch.
Hermione flinched back from the spurt of rank-smelling flame, then with a certain degree of grim satisfaction, cast the spell Remus had been trying to hit Harry with.
It impacted dead center with it's now unresisting, albeit flinching, target.
Author's Note and Disclaimer: The following story is based on the world and characters created by the great J. K. Rowling. She owns everything, I only own the plot.