LbN: Happy (very) belated birthday, Kara! Hope you like it... or at least don't hate me after this, lol. :)
Hermione laughed and leaned against Fred as Harry regaled them with tales of Tonks' drunken antics. She'd always thought the pairs they'd ended up in, while completely unexpected, were kind of perfect. Never, in all of her time at Hogwarts, had she pictured herself married to one of the most outgoing Gryffindors ever. But here she was. He'd gotten her out of her shell, and she'd gotten to know a mature side of Fred that she had previously thought didn't exist. She loved him.
Except at times like this.
"Hermione," he said once Harry had finished his story. "Why don't you tell them about the first time you got drunk?"
She gave him a playful shove. "I don't think they want to hear—"
"Yes, we do," everyone said.
"Want to hear what?" Ron asked, walking up with Seamus.
"Hermione's first drunken experience," Harry grinned.
"Really though, can it be any worse than Tonks's incident with Dumbledore's hat?" Luna asked, stealing a chip from Neville's plate.
"Shut it… I was drunk," Tonks mumbled, hair and face turning pink.
"That's the point, love," Harry said, kissing her.
"This I have to hear," Seamus said. "Go on, Hermione!"
"Fine," she said. "It was about two years ago. Hugo was six months old at the time. My parents had invited us to a Dental Association charity ball, so Molly offered to babysit. It was around Halloween, so of course the event was a costume ball…"
"Hermione, I feel like a prat!" Fred said.
"You look fine," she insisted.
"I don't understand why we have to go as a couple of Muggle fairytale characters…Why couldn't we go as two of those characters from the vampire movies your dad made me suffer through."
"Are you talking about Michael and Selene, or Blade and Abigail?"
"The last two," Fred said with a grin.
"Well, technically they weren't a couple. Plus, the theme is Disney. It's for a children's hospital."
"Alright, then," he said, putting on a dramatically brave face. "So long as it's for the children…."
Hermione laughed and took his arm.
A moment later, they were standing in the shadow of a large building—a bank from the looks of things. They walked the two blocks to the café Hermione's parents had mentioned, and found them waiting.
"We've missed you two!" Mrs. Granger said, pulling each of them into a hug.
"Frederick!" Mr. Granger said, shaking Fred's hand. "You're looking well. Everything good with the shop?"
"Going great, thanks," Fred said. "You'll have to stop by some time. I'll show you the newest products."
"We'd love to!"
The group walked down the street, chatting amiably. After about a block, they ran into loads more people in costume. Hermione assumed that they were all headed to the same place. "So Mum," she asked. "Who are you?"
"Cinderella, dear," Mrs. Granger answered.
"That's the one about the glass slipper, right?" Fred muttered to Mr. Granger.
"Right. I'm assuming Hermione's the one who ate the poisoned apple."
"Snow White, yeah? That's the one."
The hall was filled with people. So far, Hermione had been able to keep Fred from too much confusion by sticking close by. Any time one of her dad's mates engaged the redhead in conversation, she made sure they strayed away from any topics about which Fred would be clueless. Unfortunately, halfway through the night, it spun out of her control.
"Hermione, do you mind if I borrow Frederick for a bit?" Mr. Granger asked.
"Er…sure…" she said, but leaned in to whisper, "But try to rescue him if he's looking confused."
"Noted," her dad said.
"Come on, dear," Mrs. Granger said, taking her arm. "Let's go get a drink. I'm buying."
Hermione allowed herself to be dragged over to the bar. She looked up at the vast menu and automatically said, "I think I'll just have a water."
"Oh dear, it's a party! Live a bit! How about a… Long Island Iced Tea? Those are wonderful."
"Sure!" Hermione said, happy to have found something without alcohol.
The group was already laughing.
"You really thought it was nonalcoholic?" Seamus asked. "I officially need to take you drinking."
"No way," Fred said. "I know how you drink, Sea. I'd like my wife to stay alive, thanks very much."
"It said 'Iced Tea'!" Hermione said. "And I never drink. How was I supposed to know?"
"So what happened then?" Tonks asked.
"Well…not only did the alcohol content go unadvertised, it also went untasted. Luckily everyone picked that night to get a bit plastered. By the time I'd finished my first drink, most of the people there were buzzed. So my drinking went mostly unnoticed."
"Slow down there, darling," Mrs. Granger said with a smirk, as Hermione returned with her third drink.
"Why? These are just teas, right?"
"Er…yes. Teas with rum in them."
Hermione took another long sip of her drink. "Doesn't taste like it…."
"Which is why I told you to slow down."
"I'm fine," Hermione told her, sipping happily and watching the costumed party-goers.
The next thing she knew, she was done with more than just three drinks…. She wasn't sure if she'd actually had as much as she was looking at, or if she was seeing double. She looked around, trying to find Fred. Where was he? Where were her Mum and Dad? It wasn't fair for them to leave her like this. She stood, surprised at how steady she was, and began looking through the crowd. She saw lots of princes, but not hers specifically. A couple of tears slid down her cheek. She wiped them away as she heard someone calling her name.
"Hermione! There you are," Fred said, coming down the stairs to her right. "I've been looking for you. Er…have you had much to drink?"
"Iwannagohomenow," she slurred.
"Right-o. One second."
"Aww… our Hermione's a crier when she's tossed," Tonks said, laughing.
"I didn't know what was going on," Hermione said, smiling. "I was lost… it was a dark place emotionally," she added with a dramatic sigh. "Fred has to tell the rest, because I've only heard stories…."
"I told her parents we were leaving and managed to get her out of the ball without any…er…incidents…"
"Alright, just sit here," Fred said, helping Hermione onto their couch. "Don't worry…the grass isn't going to be hurt by a bit of vomit." As soon as he said it, he realized what he'd done and conjured a bucket. Just in time too…. "Take it easy. I'll get you some water."
A muffled "Thank you," was the only response as Hermione tipped over onto the pillows.
Fred kept an eye on her as he rummaged in the cabinets for a glass. As he was filling it, he looked over just in time to see Hermione start to roll….
"Mirror, mirror on the wall—who's the fairest one of—" Thump!
Fred sighed and walked over to her. As gently as possible, he picked her up and carried her to their room "Night, Hermione," he said.
"Needless to say, I know my limit now," Hermione said.
"So…shall I order a round of Long Island Ice Teas?" Fred asked.
"NO!" Hermione said, poking him in the ribs. She had a feeling she wouldn't live this story down for a very long time.