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Cheers To Happiness

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Life was good. The sun was shining. He’s happy.

It had taken a while to get there. It’s not everyday you have to live in a tent on the run for months and then die voluntarily and come back to life.
So to be able to say he was happy wasn’t something he’d ever take for granted.

Some days, admittedly, weren’t so happy. He does still often mourn the losses and pain but that’s understandable. Despite that obvious fact Harry was happy. He was happy to be alive. He was happy he was safe. He was especially happy they were safe.

He reminds himself what it took to get here. They all did see a mind healer eventually (Hermione dragged him and Ron kicking and screaming). Ultimately he’d admit, Hermione did the right thing pushing them to do so. When is she ever wrong though?

So the day was new, the sun was shining, and he was happy. Life was possible again.

He woke up a little later than usual today. No nightmares this time. Thankful enough for that, he’s ok being the last of the three to make it to breakfast.

He smiles as he spots them at the far end sitting across from each other. Ron on one side and Hermione on the other. He makes his way towards them grinning and a little bit of a jaunt in his step.

Ron is talking animatedly with his mouthful and Hermione chides him instantly. He loves them both for it.

“Good morning Harry!” She’s the first to greet him as he takes his usual spot next to her.

He assumes Ron says the same but with a mouthful of food he can’t actually be sure.

“What’s the plan for Hogsmead today?” Ron finally says when he comes up for air.

“Whatever you guys want, we do have to meet the others at the Three Broomsticks afterwards though.” He responds.

“Great, I could use a drink or two!” He excitedly replies.

“Ronald Weasley! Don’t you dare think for a minute that Harry and I are going to drag you back here AGAIN completely gone!” Hermione states firmly even though he can see the small grin she’s trying to hide.

“Oh, come off it Hermione. You know you like it too. Maybe one day we’ll even get you pissed enough to have some actual fun. Maybe even with a bloke.” He smirks at her.

Harry finds his smile falter a little at the suggestion while Hermione just glares at Ron.

“I’ll have you know Ron, that SOME people value other things in life than getting pissed and snogging random people in a pub.” Her eyes piercing into him.

‘Here we go’ Harry thinks to himself trying not to laugh.

Ron’s smirk only grows as he takes another bite of his food.

“Well I’ll have YOU know Hermione, that if you tried it every now and then you might see the value in it.” He looks very pleased at himself.

Harry does laugh out loud at that. He’s happy they’re here.

“And just what are you laughing at?” She pokes him in his shoulder.

“Well you can’t say he doesn’t have point.” He says trying to put on a straight face.

“Is that so?” Her eyes flash with something he’s unsure of.

“Well if you think it’s a good idea maybe I’ll have to give it a try.” Her stare turns back to Ron.

“We’re still not helping you back to the castle.” She states simply and leaves the table.

Harry and Ron stare at each other. What was THAT supposed to mean?

About an hour later he and Ron wait for Hermione before they head out.

Harry sees her first.

He immediately notices that, while she still looks like her, she doesn’t quite look like her.

She’s just wearing a simple pair of jeans and a casual shirt but he doesn’t remember ever seeing her in those jeans and that shirt before. It suits her though he decides.

As she makes her way down the stairs he notices her face looks slightly different than usual as well. Was she wearing more makeup? She’s always pretty he’ll admit but he thinks she’s pretty without it.

“Well someone looks nice.” Ron says louder than necessary.

“Trying to catch a bloke I see!”

“Well you never know where the day will take us. I thought I should be ready for anything.” She has an almost evil smirk on her face.

“Good for you Hermione, it’s about time you loosen up! You ready Harry?”

He nods in response but the thought does enter his mind.

He doesn’t think he is ready.

Several hours later, after they hit all the usual shops, the trio makes their way to The Three Broomsticks.

They’re the last to arrive it seems so Ron makes quick work of getting their drink orders.

“Ok Harry, you’re having at least one firewhiskey with me Mate. That’s non-negotiable. Hermione, what about you? Tea, water, pumpkin juice?” The answer wasn’t what he was expecting.

“Make it three firewhiskeys.” She simply states.

Harry and Ron’s eyes widen in shock at the answer.

“Blood hell! Let’s do this then!” Ron doesn’t give a her a moment to change her mind and takes off like a bat out of hell.

“You’re really on mission tonight I see.” Harry smiles at her.

“On a mission to prove how I can have fun and meet people just like anyone else.” She smiles faintly as she says it. He can see the sadness behind it.

Ron returns with their drinks.

Harry holds up his glass and, louder than necessary, demands a toast to having fun and proving people wrong.

The rest of the trio laugh and meet the call. Their glasses clink. They start engaging with the rest of their friends. They have another round. They really are happy.

Now, however, they’re really drunk.

This was nothing new to Ron, he loves a good time. A well earned good time. But for Harry and Hermione? Well this was a less explored territory for the both of them.

They sit together in a booth laughing and watching Ron hit on yet another witch. At least this one seems to be humoring him for now. Good luck Ron.

They start chit chatting about schoolwork. You can guess who started that conversation.

“Sorry Harry, I forgot, tonight is supposed to be about having fuuun.” She says sarcastically and slightly slurring.

“I’m having fun!” He offers with a laugh. “Are YOU having fuuuun?” Mimicking her tone.

“I always have fun with you guys!” She takes another sip of her drink.

“I don’t like it when he says I’m not fun.” Her voice takes on a slightly bitter tone.

He can’t help but laugh at the thought.

“Hermione, Ron never said that YOU weren’t fun.” He places his hand over her’s smiling at her.

“Yes he DID!” She says louder than she probably intended. She takes another defiant gulp of her drink.

“No he didn’t.” He squeezes her hand.

“Ron said he wanted you to have fun. He wants you to enjoy yourself and be happy.” He watches her mind start working overtime.

“I do have fun. Sure maybe not the kind of fuuun Ron enjoys but it’s impossible not to have fun around you two. You know, murdering psychopaths aside and all.” She dismissively waves her hand at the thought.

Another defiant gulp.

“I need another drink, would you like one?” Her empty glass slams on the table.

“Uh yeah sure, I’ll go get them.”

Her hand grabs his and pushes him down as he starts to rise.

“No, no it’s ok, you and Ron have been getting them all night. It’s my turn.” She ignores his protest completely.

Finishing what little was left in his glass he looks around the pub. Ron has set his eyes on another prize and, from what Harry can tell, as he puffs out his chest and his arms start flailing around he’s clearly using his notoriety to his advantage. Harry laughs and smiles. Good luck Ron.

He thinks, once again, about how happy he is.

He turns his attention to Hermione who’s been standing at the bar waiting for their drinks.

He’s instantly NOT happy.

He watches him come up to her. And worse, he watches him touch her arm and whisper close to her ear. That dirty rat bastard. He knew he always hated him. He always had a bad feeling about him.

He knew Michael Corner was evil.

Ok, so he wasn’t “evil” in the traditional sense. Harry knew that. But still. That evil dirty rat bastard.

He keeps his focus strictly on them. After all, who knew what that evil man could do at anytime.

He sees her laugh, touch his shoulder, grab their drinks that are finally ready then make her way back to the booth.

“Sorry it took so long! Apparently Dean ordered everyone a round so it took some time. These are free though so I suppose it’s a wash.” She giggles handing him his drink.

“No problem, thanks.” He doesn’t look at her.

“Are you ok?” Her concern seems to almost sober her instantly.

“Yeah of course! I’m fine. Cheers!” He holds up his glass, lying.

“Cheers to having fun!” She dutifully replies.

After a sip of their drinks he can’t help himself.

“So what were you and that ra- uh Michael chatting about.” He hopes he sounds nonchalant.

She takes a drink.

“Oh nothing he was asking me about the last exam and then while we were waiting he-he uh asked if I wanted to dance later.” She looks down trying to hide her blush.

“Oh that’s nice, well I suppose tonight is all about having fun. Don’t let me stop you.” Lying again through his teeth.

He was going to kill him. Now all he needed to do was come up with a plan.

“I’ll just give you two a minute. I’m sure Ron can use a wingman anyway.”

Maybe he could make it look like an accident? Oh no! It seems Michael slipped on the stairs!
No that wouldn’t do. He’s going to kill the rat bastard with his bare hands.

A strong tug stops him and his planning in their steps. He drops back down into the booth.

“I told him no.” Her stare doesn’t break for a second.

“Well why did you do that? You’re proving Ron wrong tonight aren’t you? You deserve to have fun Hermione.” He’s surprised to find he’s being sincere.

“I don’t want to dance with Michael. Besides, I already did the first step.” She takes a another drink.

“The first step?” Now he’s just a ball of confusion.

“I’m having a lot of fun with you.” She smiles brightly at him. He notices that evil smirk from earlier slowly coming back to her face.

“I’m having a lot fun with you.” He responds in kind.

She picks up her glass and finishes it quickly placing it firmly back on the table.

“That’s good that means there’s only step two to go.” What IS that grin?

“What do you mean step-“

While he was unable to finish his question he certainly got the answer as she pulled him into a kiss. And it was indeed a kiss.

He doesn’t register in the moment the cat calling in the background and would later laugh as his friends describe the way Ron had to pick his jaw up off the ground.

After an uncertain amount of minutes she finally breaks the kiss and after he gets his head to stop spinning he notices she’s staring at him. She’s staring at him with THAT grin again.

She finally speaks.

“There, both steps done.” He didn’t know it was possible but her grin got even bigger.

He pulls her back to him and shows her two can play at that game.

He stops moving and whispers against her.

“Ron’s not going to consider it a win you know. We’ve already met.”

She laughs against his mouth.

“That’s fine. Let him win. As long as we’re happy.”

He kisses her again.

They were all happy.