Hermione rushed about her rented room along with Mrs. Weasley packing their things for the trip back to Ottery St. Catchpole. She wanted to leave this entire ordeal behind her. What began as a wonderful holiday, ended up being a disastrous nightmare. Rose continued to sleep, curled up in the middle of the large bed, not stirring in the least bit. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley both agreed that the whole thing had been much harder on all of them than it had been on Rose herself. Children were resilient that way. Hermione was startled by the boisterous bump of the door as Mr. Weasley entered the room rather quickly, his hair a disheveled mess with the look of extreme fatigue shining from his eyes.
“They’ve found Ron,” Mr. Weasley managed through a tired breath. “He was at the Ministry, it seems he nicked Harry’s cloak and slipped into the interrogation room with Cullen.”
“Good!” Hermione burst, both with relief and excitement, “because now I’m going to kill him.” She sat on the edge of the bed heavily and began to sob. She cried tears of joy, fright and anger. Always being the sensible one was finally beginning to catch up with her. It was her turn to be an emotional mess and Ron was just a short while from the wrath of Hermione.
Mrs. Weasley leaned into Mr. Weasley and whispered, “And whatever is left I’m getting. I’ll teach him to worry his mum that way, I’m not young anymore, you know. My old heart just can’t keep taking these types of things.”
Harry persuaded Ron to leave the Ministry with a promise from Mad-Eye to contact them the minute anything changes. After Ron apologized for his disappearing act, he and Harry headed for The Village Idiot for a drink to calm his nerves. The low light and get away location was the perfect place to forget the events of the past few days and he intended to do just that, forget.
“Now you know that Hermione is going to kill you, don’t you,” Harry asked Ron.
“Well, yeah, that’s why I need the drink, it’ll kill the pain,” Ron retorted.
“How about a fire whiskey,” Ron yelled to the innkeeper, Virgil, and he and Harry took stools at the far end of the bar.
“I’ll do you one better, Bantam,” Virgil said and slung a glass for each of them on the bar and began to fill them.
Now, Ron hated the nickname Virgil had given him he sure liked the treatment he received when he came in. Virgil said he had always admired Ron’s big attitude as a youngster where his brothers were concerned even thought they always got the better of him. He said Ron reminded him of a little Bantam rooster that kept going back for more.
Harry and Ron simultaneously turned up their glasses and took nice long gulps. They both held back the need to cough when the liquid went from a cool burst of refreshment to a spike of spice as it went down. However, it didn’t keep them from taking a second and eventually a third. The unique flavor made it irresistible and it soon became a pleasure as the taste grew on them.
Once Ron was calm, the two of them began to enjoy themselves and Virgil continued to fill their glasses. At one point Harry spat a mouthful of the concoction across the bar at a joke Ron made. Virgil soon reminded them they still had to face to music at home. Hermione knew where they were but Ron didn’t know that. They soon decided it would be in their best judgment to get home and opted to walk. They didn’t like the idea of splinching themselves or ending up in the wrong fireplace from poor enunciation.
The Golden Goose, which is what Virgil called his unique beverage, kept the two of them warm as they stepped into the cool breeze of the brisk night air. The village was relatively quite with the exception of the occasional shrieking cat or barking dog. The further they walked the more distant these sounds became but the sounds of the marsh frogs and crickets became louder accompanied by the occasional owl here and there. The moonlight soon replaced the light of the fire lit lamppost and the stars shone bright in the moor night sky.
The breeze would pick up and as it did a rainfall of leaves would fell upon the pair as they staggered down the dirt trail. Not far in the distance faint lights could be seen shining from the windows of quite a few houses. The first, of, which belonged to Ron and Hermione.
The gate surrounding the house and fairly large garden was made entirely of braided grape wines and small saplings that supported the vast amount of ivy that grew upon it. Harry reached forward to push the gate and felt the breath knocked him as Ron tackled him from behind, laughing. Harry scrambled to his feet as Ron pushed him aside.
“Beat you to the door,” Ron teased as if he were ten again.
Harry made a mad dash forward catching up with Ron just as he came to the door and turned the handle. The two of them fell in the front door, Harry landing on Ron with a thud.
“What in the name of Merlin,” Hermione gasped as she and Ginny sat in awe of the two of them lying there in a mangled heap.
Harry and Ron looked up at Hermione and Ginny and then to each other and began laughing for no apparent reason. Once they were able to control themselves they tried to get to their feet only to fall again, this time a little further into the room. Ginny stood, stepped over the two of them, and shut the door as she continued to examine their odd behavior.
“Hermione,” Ginny said perplexedly, “I do believe the two of them are pissed.”
Ron looked at his sister as he again tried to stand, this time a bit more successful, as he caught himself on the arm of the sofa. “You haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about,” Ron objected, “I’m as sober as you are my dear sister.”
As Ron finished his last statement Harry, too, steadied himself, only to take a few steps from Ron’s side, he looked up and then at Ron.
“What,” Ron questioned as innocently as possible.
“I’m steering clear of that bolt of lightening that’s about to strike you.”
Hermione tried to hold back a snicker, still wanting to be mad at Ron. “Ron, darling, that wouldn’t be the infamous smell of the Village Idiot lingering upon your breath?”
Ron fell over the end of the sofa, landing face down into a pile of cushions that lay upon it. He turned himself over only to grin quickly at her before fixating his gaze upon the ceiling. He grabbed onto the back of the sofa with one hand and tried to grab onto thin air with the other. He then threw a foot to the floor. “The room is spinning,” Ron said, closing his eyes, only making it worse.
Hermione stood over Ron with her arms folded in front of her, “Serves you right, maybe you’ll think twice before leaving your family in the dark during such a crisis, you inconsiderate pillock, won’t you ever learn?” She continued, only getting louder with each word, but Ron didn’t seem to notice, seeing that he was out cold.
Ginny stood next to Hermione, shaking her head at the two of them. “Pathetic, aren’t they?” She said through a giggle.
Hermione nodded, unable to hide the smile that played across her face.
“Looks like we’ll be staying over tonight,” Ginny said.
Harry lay haphazardly on the chaise lounge, hair displaying a mind of its own and glasses knocked askew across his face.
Hermione led Ginny up the stairs, intending to let them sleep as uncomfortable as possible. “I hope he has a headache that size of a Hungarian Horntail in the morning.” Hermione added as they came to the second floor landing.
Author's Note: I know it's short, but I promise the next will be longer...thanks for reading.
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