It was the wee hours of the morning, and George was just getting home to his ratty old apartment above Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. It was beyond lonely with Fred gone. Fred…George took a sip of Firewhiskey from the nearly empty bottle clutched firmly in his hand. Even the burning liquid had started to lose its affect on him and his ability to drown out the pain. It took too much effort to turn on some lights, so he stumbled blindly through the mess that was his home. This, of course, ensued much swearing on his part, but he was too lazy to actually fix the situation. Instead, he managed to get to his room, where he tripped over a stack of books and fell into bed. There, he downed the last of his Firewhiskey and passed out for the night sprawled across his unmade bed.
The next thing George was aware of was distant voices. The next thing that registered, unfortunately, was a pounding headache. Great, just great, this was the last thing he wanted to deal with at the moment.
"George!" That sounded like Ron's voice. George figured if he ignored it the voice would eventually go away.
Instead, someone nudged his shoulder and said, "Come on, George, time to get up." That voice sounded like Harry. What in the world were they doing in his flat?
"Sod off," George grumbled miserably, hoping they'd take a hint and get lost.
"Get up!" Ron exclaimed as he shoved him off the bed, which only made his headache worse. Strike what he said earlier, this was the last thing he wanted to deal with at the moment.
"What the hell is your problem!?" he exclaimed as he scrambled to his feet, blindly swinging his wand around.
"Whoa, George, calm down," Harry reasoned.
"I'll calm down after you tell me what the hell you're doing in my flat at this hour!"
"'This hour'!?" Ron repeated hotly. "It's nearly two in the afternoon!"
"Last night was Ginny's birthday party, ringing any bells?" Harry snapped. He usually made sure to stay out of the Weasley's problems, but when Ginny was involved, so was he.
"Whatever," George muttered bitterly as he brushed past the two of them and locked himself in the bathroom. Maybe if he stayed in there long enough they'd get a clue and get lost.
In the bathroom, George stumbled around under the sink until his fingers closed around the smooth, cool neck of a bottle of Firewhiskey. His stash in here was starting to run low, but it looked like it was just enough to ward off the pounding headache that was forming behind his eyes.
"George let us in!" Ron exclaimed as he pounded on the door. George put a silencing charm on the door and slumped down on the floor with his precious bottle in hand. Eventually they'd get a clue and leave him alone. Until then, he had his only friend and source of comfort.
Ron stayed pounding on the bathroom door for nearly twenty minutes. Harry suggested blowing the door off, but that seemed a bit on the extreme side.
"Ron, Ron, it's not worth it, he's not going to come out," Harry said. Sighing, Ron stopped banging angrily.
"I just don't what's gotten into him lately," he said before they both Disapparated back to the Burrow where Ginny and Hermione were waiting for them.
The second the guys Apparated in the living room of the Burrow, Mrs. Weasley rushed out of the kitchen with an expectant look. Her face fell when she realized that George wasn't with her.
"Sorry, Mum," Ron said almost shamefully as he and Harry headed outside to where Ginny and Hermione were waiting for their return with Teddy.
Outside, Teddy looked up expectantly at the sound of Harry and Ron approaching. He held up his pudgy hands, waiting for his beloved godfather to pick him up. Instead, the two plopped down on the grass, and Harry pulled him onto his lap.
"How's George?" Hermione asked.
"He was passed out drunk when we found him," Ron sighed as he stretched out across the grass with his head in her lap. She stroked his hair lovingly.
"So he didn't even realize that he missed last night?" Ginny asked. Her voice was laced with obvious pain.
"I'm sorry," Harry whispered as he leaned over and kissed her cheek softly. He truly felt bad for her. It had to be terrible to know that her brother was too busy getting drunk to come to her own birthday party.