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 “So when are you going to marry Hannah then?”



Neville spluttered, causing him to swallow his drink all in one go. He coughed as the liquid burnt his throat and gasped for breath sharply. The fire-whiskey continued as a flame through his system, and Neville was sure his intestines were singeing away.

Idiot, Neville thought to himself. Why did he let Ron talk him into this?

The leaky Cauldron blurred into fuzz around the edges of his vision. All of the bottles, barrels, photos, and paintings that were scattered on the walls became a colourful fog, and the warm orbs of light on each table, as well as the bar next to him, grew in size, and filled his eyes with yellow. The low, cheerful chatter floating around the room became a muffled buzz in his ears, and half his brain cells seemed to go on a walk-about.

“Marry who?” He slurred, leaning closer to his companions. Hell sloped forward like a puppet with his strings cut and Harry only just managed to stop Neville from falling off the bar-stool.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe your girlfriend of five years?  The girl you love? Hannah Abbott? Is this ringing any bells?” Seamus asked sarcastically, trying to jog Neville’s memory. When this didn’t work he resorted to snapping his fingers in front of Neville’s face to get a reaction.

Neville squashed his eyes together and shook his head violently, trying to speed up the fading of the fire-whiskey’s effects. He was unsuccessful however, and was thrown off balance again, his drink sloshing into Harry’s lap. Harry huffed in annoyance.

“You know Ron, I don’t think the fire-whiskey was a good idea.” He said, helping Neville back onto his seat.

“It was only a bit of fun! How was I supposed to know he couldn’t handle it?” Ron said, defending himself. He then downed his own glass of fire-whiskey, as if to point out that he, himself, could hold his drink, even if Neville couldn’t.

“Yeah, well, if he’s still drunk in the morning, Hannah’s going to do her nut.”

“Hannah?” Neville sat up, suddenly confident as the burning sensation of the fire-whiskey began to settle. “I love Hannah.”

Harry rolled his eyes, here we go again, he thought. “We know, mate. We know.” He patted Neville on the shoulder. Ron sighed.

“At least he remembers her name now,” Dean said, then signalled to Tom, the barman, for another round of drinks.

Ron turned back to face Neville in a business-like fashion.

“So, back to my original question, when are you going to marry her?”

Neville blinked; the effects of the fire-whiskey now completely gone.

“What- Hannah? Why would she want to marry me?”

Harry, Dean, and Seamus looked at Neville in complete disbelief. Ron acted out banging his head on the bar in mock exasperation.

“You have been with her for five years, Neville. Why wouldn’t she want to marry you?”

Neville didn’t answer, because somewhere, deep down, he knew Ron was right. And, if he was slightly less drunk at that moment in time, he would have realised the significance of Hannah’s reaction to him being named Witch Weekly’s Most Eligible Bachelor earlier that evening. But he wasn’t slightly less drunk, and he realised nothing of the sort.

“Right.” said Harry, in a voice he normally saved for directing Auror missions at work. Neville squirmed a little, like a small boy being told what to do. “Mission Proposal, part one: buy a ring.”

Ron snorted. “Mission proposal?” He mocked, “Your drinks gone to your head, mate.”

Harry ignored Ron’s jibes and went back to Neville. He opened his mouth to say something but Neville got there first, feeling the childish need to defend himself with an excuse.

“I wouldn’t know where to start looking for a ring.” Neville admitted. He had always known that if he were to buy one, it would have to be perfect.

Neville vaguely heard Seamus saying that Hannah would love any ring as long as it was big and sparkly, but Neville shook his head. Hannah wasn’t the “sparkly” kind of girl. The only sparkly thing she had ever expressed a liking for was his eyes, and unless he could find a way of making one those into a ring, it was back to square one.

But, thought Neville, did the ring even matter? A voice in his head told him it didn’t, not to Hannah anyway. It told him that Hannah would say yes even if he proposed with nothing more than Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean. Unfortunately though, Neville wasn’t giving this particular voice the slightest bit of attention.

Neville had thought about proposing to Hannah before, years before, in fact. There had never been any doubt in his mind: Hannah was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Despite knowing this since she kissed him at the end of The Battle, however, every time he had tried to buy a ring or propose to her without one, he had chickened out because it wasn’t perfect enough. It never would be.

Seamus’s hand waved in front of his face suddenly, bringing Neville back to reality.

“Your drink is here.” Harry said, “Though I’m not sure drinking it would be a good idea,” he added under his breath.

Neville took the refilled glass and swilled its contents for a second, watching as the liquid became a little tornado. He took a sip, having not heard Harry’s comment, and felt the heat rush straight to his head, burning his brain.

“Arrggghh” he gasped, and clutched his temples, trying to pull out the pain. He dropped his glass and it smashed onto the wooden floor, its contents spreading out in a river of alcohol.

A few heads in the rest of the pub turned at the clatter. Some eyes widened as they realised they were sharing the pub that evening with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Neville Longbottom. Even more eyes widened when they realised who had dropped the glass. Any regulars to the pub were used to seeing the famous group of Aurors in the Leaky Cauldron, but what they were not used to was seeing Neville drunk (it was normally Ron). However, no one was too concerned because as drunkards go, they had all seen a lot worse.

Tom came over from wiping a table and picked up the larger parts of the broken glass. He stood up and shook his head sympathetically at the young man he had gotten to know so well. “I think you need go to bed, Neville, fire-whiskey’s not your drink, lad.”

Neville was about to nod and agree but then, suddenly completely sober, he dived and tackled Tom to the ground.

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