"Try me," Dean Thomas said with a smirk that Draco Malfoy would applaud.
"You actually convinced Filch that you just had Butterbeer?" Harry Potter asked him insistently.
"Not only did I manage to convince him it was just Butterbeer, that stupid cat also bit her owner's ankle so I could make a quick escape," Dean said smugly.
Harry stood up and applauded slowly, shaking his head at his friend's marvelous escape. Seamus got to his knees and started praising him as if was some Incan God. Harry postured that his friend's actions were more likely due to the Firewhiskey that Dean had managed to sneak inside the dorms. Harry laughed at Seamus as he took another sip of the drink that always managed to burn his throat for the next couple hours or so.
"Of course that wasn't the only trouble I ran into on the way over here," Dean said as he took a gulp of his drink.
"Oh yeah, what else?" Seamus drunkenly replied.
"Ran into the Trio too. Good thing they were in a bit of rush because Granger would have bit my head off if she saw what I was carrying," Dean said.
Seamus nodded solemnly and raised his drink, "Three cheers for Dean Thomas."
"Where were they headed?" Harry asked curiously, tracing the mouth of his bottle with a pinky.
"Oh, who knows, off saving the world again of course," Dean shrugged.
"Maybe Longbottom was the one skiving drinks from Rosmerta. He is the Boy-Who-Lived," Seamus suggested.
"Like that'll be the day, Longbottom would rather die than do something dishonorable," Dean snorted.
"Lay off him Dean, unless you want to be the Boy-Who-Lived," Harry smirked at him. Dean responded by etching a temporary lightning bolt onto his forehead and pretending to stare solemnly at Seamus.
"The world is on my shoulders."
Seamus and Harry laughed in response, Seamus almost falling off the bed due to the incredible hilarity that he somehow perceived from Dean's imitation.
"But no, I wouldn't want to be the Boy-Who-Lived. I'd have to deal with Granger then," Dean reasoned.
"Oh, she's not too terrible," Harry defended her.
"Speak for yourself Potter, one time, she…she…she…" Seamus stuttered.
"She?" Harry asked.
"She wrote me a note!" Seamus exclaimed.
"What'd the note say Seamus. Please. Tell me," Dean egged him on.
"She told me if she caught me with my hand up another girl's jumper then she'd have me hauled off straight to Snape's!" Seamus finished with a salute to the dressers.
"It's just her job. Well, mine too really," Harry reasoned with his increasingly drunk friend.
"Ahhhhh….well, you're not as uppity uppity as she is. Good thing you're the other Prefect Harry. Don't know what we would do without ya," Seamus slung an arm around Harry's shoulder and burped directly into his face.
"I don't know what I'd do without you either Seamus."
"Really though Harry, there's no need to defend Granger all the time," Dean said again.
"Oh come off it Dean, you're just mad she actually reported you when you tried to bring the Whiskey in the last time and you, however brave it may be, actually had the balls to try to blackmail her," Harry scoffed as he had another gulp of his own drink.
"Right bitchy that was! Can't she give a housemate a pass just once!" Dean exasperated blew a dreadlock near his mouth.
"No favorites with her," Harry replied.
"Except for Saintly Longbottom," Seamus saluted the mirror now.
"Yeah! She never gets him in trouble!" Dean said. When Harry didn't respond, Dean just grinned smugly at him. Harry could only manage a shrug after a few moments.
"He is the Boy-Who-Lived. You have to have some privileges for that," Harry reasoned with another shrug.
"A toast to that!" Seamus was curiously staring at a pillow.
"Shut up Seamus, you're getting annoying and yeah I guess you have to have some perks to being the conqueror after all. I mean it's a good thing he didn't participate in that Goblet of Fire tournament last year though. He would have even gotten more fan than he does now," Dean said.
"We can sit here all we want guys, but the fact of the matter is that there isn't anything wrong with Longbottom. At least he isn't like that prick Malfoy," Dean and Seamus both nodded at Harry's statement.
"Ha! Well Malfoy can suck my-"
"SEAMUS FINNEGAN!" a shriek from outside their door.
"Shit, shit, shit…" Dean was grumbling as he hastily stashed away whatever contraband was in view.
"Harry, get that one,"
"I got it already."
"That one too."
"Dean shut up."
"Ahem," Hermione Granger was standing in the 5th year Boy's dorms with her hands on her hips, looking as if the hell of fury had come to collect its victims.
"G'day Hermione, how are you on this splendid evening?" Dean asked with a wide grin on his face.
Hermione didn't respond for a second. Curiously enough, Hermione started sniffing, her nose crunching up in various forms. Harry thought it was rather cute. It was not cute, however, when Hermione narrowed her eyes at the three of them as she finally stopped sniffing.
"Hermione, I can explain…"
"Wait a second, Harry" she said calmly to him. Dean glared at Harry and Harry could only shrug back.
"What have I told you about sneaking FIREWHISKEY into Hogwarts!" she yelled at the boy with dreads.
"I have….no idea…what you're talking about," Dean said slowly, trying to convince Hermione through positive reinforcement with not so subtle nods.
"I can smell it Thomas, so do not even think about denying it," Hermione narrowed her eyes even more if possible.
"There's nothing to deny, no Firewhiskey here," Dean continued.
"Open your mouth."
"That's what she said," snickered Seamus.
"SEAMUS SHUT UP!" Harry and Dean yelled in unison. Hermione turned her patronizing glare towards the Irish boy. Her bushy hair seemed to be sizzling on edge and Harry could make out her jaw clenching furiously as she debated what to do with the three obviously guilty boys.
Harry smacked himself in his head.
"Harry?" Hermione said with a worried look on her face.
"Thought I saw a fly, poor hand-eye coordination and all," Harry pointed at his glasses.
Seamus scoffed, "If you had poor hand-eye coordination then we wouldn't be competing for the cup again now would we?"
"Yeah, you're the best Gryffindor Seeker in centuries Harry," Dean said.
"It's a lot smaller than Snitch."
"That's what she said."
Dean, Hermione, and Harry only stared at Seamus. Seamus, oblivious to their tired looks, continued to snicker to himself.
"I honestly wish I hadn't taught him that joke," Dean grumbled.
"And I honestly wish that you would stop skiving off to Hogsmeade to get Firewhiskey Dean," Hermione huffed. Dean was about to open his mouth to retort, but Harry spoke before him.
"Hermione, it won't happen again, you can trust me," Harry explained as he stood up from the bed and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Hermione continued to glare at Dean and Seamus but softened her stare when she turned to Harry.
"At least there's one of you up here with some common sense," Hermione smiled at Harry. Harry started violently coughing.
"Harry, are you alright there?" Ronald Weasley asked as he entered the dorm room. Neville Longbottom, also known as the Boy-Who-Lived, came in right behind him.
"Completely fine!" Harry raised a hand to stop any advancements to help him, "Just something in my throat really."
Seamus could never finish his sentence as Dean grabbed a pillow and immediately started whacking him viciously with the feathery object.
"Shut – up – already," Dean said in between smashes.
"I give, I give, stop it!" Seamus screeched in an unusually high voice. Harry, Ron, and Neville could only laugh at the display in front of them and even Hermione managed a somewhat amused grin. Ron started sniffing the air much like Hermione did again. He caught on quicker than Hermione did and turned to Dean.
"Dean, you lucky Hippogriff," Ron strode forward but paused with his foot in the air as Harry and Dean furiously shook their heads without trying to attract the attention of Hermione Granger who was currently engaged in a conversation with the Boy-Who-Lived.
"She knows," Harry mouthed to Ron and nodded his head to the other Gryffindor Prefect, Hermione.
"Darn," Ron shook his head.
Harry turned to examine Hermione and Neville. They were whispering quietly to each other and Neville was occasionally rubbing the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. There was a slight constricting of his chest as he watched Hermione lightly touch Neville's elbow.
Damn heartburn. Shouldn't have drunk so much of the whiskey.
Harry rubbed his chest absent mindedly as he tore his eyes off of the pair and interested himself in the stitching of his bed sheets. He didn't really pay attention the surrounding conversations for a moment, losing himself in his own little world. Harry hadn't even noticed that someone was calling his name until the aforementioned person shook his shoulder.
Harry glanced up at the contact and subtly took a deep breath. Hermione was touching his shoulder.
Hermione Granger was touching Harry Potter's shoulder. Before he could envision where else Hermione could touch him though, she spoke.
"You up for doing some of the patrols tonight? One of the Ravenclaw Prefects owled in sick for the patrol although if you ask me, he's just trying to cheat and finish that Transfiguration essay early," Hermione frowned.
Harry cleared his throat and nodded as casually as possible, "Yeah, I guess I can do that."
"Good," Hermione smiled at him. Harry gulped.
"Did you hear?" Ron whispered conspiratorially.
"What?" Dean asked.
"Roger Davies got his letter today."
"Poor sod," Dean and Seamus shook their heads.
"One of the Ravenclaws said he was shipping out next week directly to the front lines," Ron shook his head as well.
"The letters are coming in faster, aren't they?" said a surprisingly sober Seamus.
"My Dad reckons they're only going to keep on coming," Ron said with more than a tinge of sadness in his voice.
"Bit of luck so far that none of us have gotten picked right?" Harry asked.
"Well, they haven't really been that desperate where they're picking Fifth years yet, but from what I can gather it's only a matter of time," Ron said.
"It's going to happen eventually, He's only getting stronger," Neville said in a hushed voice, absent mindedly rubbing his forehead.
Harry stared at Neville and marveled at the boy's ability to keep it together. The terror of the Wizarding World was exclusively after him and he still had the gall to attend classes. If it were another world, Harry was not sure if he could be able to do the same.
The letter that Roger Davies had received was a letter requesting his services to serve the Ministry in the War against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. After Harry's third year, You-Kno-Who has mysteriously risen to power again. Harry suspected that it had something to do with the involvement of Sirius Black, his parent's once-friend. He knew that Ron, Hermione, and Neville somehow knew more than they let on about the former prisoner of Azkaban, but he didn't press. The Trio had enough on their plates without another inquiry from yet another person.
The letter's that people had been receiving, however, did impact Harry's life. It seemed as if more of these effervescently blue letters had been swooping into Hogwarts, asking the teenagers for their service in the War. The teenagers didn't really have any say in the matter though because it was implicitly understood that not fighting against You-Know-Who only meant that you were for him and not against him. Indeed, the last person who had made a scene of not serving for the Ministry had mysteriously disappeared the next evening, his clothes and belongings completely removed from his bedside. Although there were whispers of a Dementor's Kiss or even You-Know-Who himself collecting him, Harry reckoned that the Ministry had not taken kindly to being rejected and insisted upon his services.
Although the letters had only come into mostly Seventh years and some Sixth years, it was only a matter of time before more Sixth years and even some Fifth years were going to be called upon to fight against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Ron's insider information, his Dad, was leaking that the battle against You-Know-Who hadn't really progressed since their surge from the latter end of Harry's Fourth year. The casualty count only grew with each passing week and their foreboding loom that had resided upon Hogwarts was felt from each student.
"You don't think they're going to start sending…girls to the front line, do you Ron?" Dean asked, glancing a look at Hermione who only glared back.
"Oh, no, of course not," Ron hurriedly said, sneaking looks at Hermione, "Reckon it won't ever get that drastic."
Hermione opened her mouth, no doubt about to lecture the boys about the injustices of sexual discrimination, but Neville laid a hand on her forearm and subtly shook his head. Although Hermione looked quite off put, she regressed nonetheless and didn't speak.
Damn heartburn. I really need to take a potion for this.
"Do you know anything more Neville?" Seamus ogled Neville's scar as he seemed to be quite inebriated again.
"Seamus!" Hermione yelled.
"No, its okay, Hermione," Neville said quietly.
"Um, no, I can't really say that I know anything more right now Seamus. I'm sure none of us have anything to worry about though."
Seamus nodded, obviously unperturbed by the apparent rudeness of his question. Hermione shook her head at him while Ron, Dean, and Harry fidgeted uncomfortably. There was a moment's silence as all of them mulled over their thoughts.
"Well, I'm going to get some more work done before my patrols start. I'll see you then Harry?" Hermione smiled pleasantly at him.
You can see me whenever you want.
"Oh yeah, I'll meet you in the Common Room before patrols start," Harry said without meeting her eyes.
"Okay, I'll see you two later," Hermione looked at Neville and Ron, "And I swear if I have to deal with you two again," Hermione looked at Seamus and Dean, "There's going to be hell to pay."
Dean sighed and spoke, "Sometimes I wish I could just stick something in her mouth to get her to shut up."
"That's what she said."
Everyone apart from Seamus then partook into beating him into a bloody pulp with their pillows.