Chapter Ten: Archway
"Oh, come on, let's just go for one last drink! At least we can say we've completed the set."
Ron shook his head, too tired to argue. "I really just want to go home, to be honest."
As they exited the tube station, Seamus's face lit up at the sight of the building opposite.
"Sweeney's!" he declared, gleefully. "Now that's what I call an Irish pub! And the lights are on, look; I bet they've got a lock-in!"
"They might, but it's a lock-in. They're not going to let us in now, are they? It's nearly one o'clock in the sodding morning!"
"Oh. Yeah, good point. Well, there must be a corner shop open somewhere. We could get a few cans and carry on back at your place. It's still on the Northern Line, after all."
Ron sighed. "No, Seamus. I've got work tomorrow."
"When did you get so boring?"
"Sod off!" exclaimed Ron, incredulously. "I've just spent the last seven hours drinking with you! Look, come back to ours and I'll make us some tea and toast."
Seamus made a face, as though this was the worst offer he'd ever heard in his life.
"Times like this I wish I lived on your side of the Irish Sea. I'm too drunk to Apparate, the Floo's closed, and I can't get the Knight Bus because it won't cross water."
Ron laughed out loud. "Cross water? It's a sea, Seamus!"
Seamus ignored him. "I'm hungry again. Let's get a kebab!"
"Have you never had a kebab?" asked Seamus, incredulously.
"Oh, my God, it's a taste sensation, I promise you!"
"Mm," said Ron, sounding not entirely convinced. "You said that about the Big Mac as well. What exactly is a kebab, anyway?"
Well, it's… it's… well… it's basically a hot meat sandwich. I can't believe you've never had a kebab! Jesus, Ron, you haven't lived!"
"Says the man who's never been abroad," scoffed Ron.
"Where do you think I am now, ya eejit?"
"England isn't abroad!"
"Of course it is! It's over the sea, isn't it?"
"So is the Isle of Wight!"
"It's another country! Christ, I've spent half my life abroad!"
"It's hardly the same thing, though."
"Hark at you, you go on one two-week holiday to Egypt when you're twelve and think you're well-travelled."
"At least they speak a foreign language!"
Seamus launched into a stream of incomprehensible Gaelic, at the end of which he gave Ron a sanctimonious little nod.
"English is a foreign language to me, my friend."
Ron gave an exaggerated sigh. "Go on, then."
"Translate all that… gobbledygook."
Seamus laughed. "Sure you want to know?"
"I asked, didn't I?"
"Your mother fucks goats," said Seamus promptly.
Ron sighed. "Lovely."
"What about this kebab, then? There's an all-night kebab shop in Kilburn we could go to."
"I'm not going to Kilburn for a kebab, Shay."
"Yeah, you're right. Stupid idea. I'm not sure I can remember where it is, anyway.
Ron gaped at him. "What, so we were just gonna wander up and down Kilburn High Road for an hour looking for a kebab shop?"
Seamus gave a cheerful shrug. "It's not on the Northern Line, anyway. Isn't there anywhere around here still open?"
"Probably, but why don't we just go back to mine instead? It's a three minute walk away. We'll have to be quiet, though, 'cos Hermione's probably asleep."
"Oh, yeah, we don't want to wake up the wife, do we?"
"I think the sound of your drunken snoring is more likely to do that."
"My drunken snoring?" exclaimed Seamus, rather too loudly. "Listen, I had to put up with your snoring for six bloody years -"
"Bleeding poofs," muttered a man walking past. They stared after him for a moment, stunned into silence, then burst out laughing.
"That's right!" Seamus yelled after him. "We're here and we're queer, so get used to it, baby! You're just jealous 'cos you can't pull the young meat anymore!"
"Shay!" protested Ron, choking on a laugh.
"Oh, yeah, there's nothing better than a nice bit of cock in the morning! You should try it sometime!"
"Shut up!" hissed Ron urgently, grabbing Seamus by the arm and attempting to pull him away. He was suddenly very much aware that they were standing on a very busy street and that a lot of people were looking at them rather strangely.
"Shay, for fuck's sake, you're going to get us killed!"
Seamus just laughed. "Hey, look, there's a snooker hall! I used to love snooker when I was a kid. Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor... I bet you've never played snooker, have you? Let's have a game now; I can teach you!"
"I'm too drunk to learn a new sport, Shay. Let's just go back to mine. I'll make some tea, and you can crash on our sofa."
Finally out of options, Seamus let out a long sigh. "Won't your missus mind?"
"No, why would she? Anyway, she knew you'd probably need to stay over." He gave a short laugh. "I mean, it's not like you were ever going to be sober enough to Apparate home, is it?"
"Look, let's not stand around here arguing all night. It's cold, I'm tired, and I really need a piss. Are you coming or not?"
Seamus suddenly dived to his left, stuck out his arm and had hailed a bus and jumped on it before Ron had time to react.
"Seamus!" he shouted.
Seamus just grinned and waved at him, and fell into the nearest seat.
"Seamus!" Ron yelled again. "Oh, for -"
The bus pulled away from the stop, Seamus gave a last cheery wave, and Ron started to laugh.
"You're going the wrong way..."
Thanks to everyone who stayed up late with me and my two favourite boys, I hope you had as much fun as we did. If you are still awake, I'd love to know what you thought of the story. And now my bed is calling me...
P.s: Although I had no plans whatsoever to write the scene, in my head I knew that Seamus was always going to end up at Lavender's. Ron knows it, Seamus knows it, everyone knows it. And then, as sometimes happens with these niggling little ideas you have, I realised I actually really wanted to know what happened next. And well, if I wanted to know... then you would too, right? So at some point there will be a sequel to this, which will also be my first ever non-R&H story. I hope some of you will come with me.