Summary: Harry has the BEST idea. Set after Deathly Hallows.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom
Disclaimer: These characters belong to J K Rowling.
Original story: The Next Morning by TardisIsTheOnlyWayToTravel
It was quite a nice Muggle pub, as these things went. Not that Ron had really been in all that many, no matter what Hermione might think. The wooden floors were clean, there was no orangutang hogging the peanuts, and the other patrons were reasonably quiet and well behaved. There were even pretty paintings on the walls. He looked a little closer at the one down his end of the bar.
Oh. It showed one man decapitating another with an axe, while a third man laughed.
The headless man was wearing a shirt in a lovely shade of pink, though. And the flowers at the back, behind the dead kittens, were just beautiful.
Ron poked at Harry, who was slumped over with his face squished against a cardboard coaster. Harry muttered something about marigolds. Ron exchanged a worried look with Neville, who wobbled on his stool. "He doesn't look so good," Ron hissed.
Neville lifted a finger in the air. "Well, I have one point I'd like to make," he began grandly, but then he caught sight of his finger. He waggled it tentatively, flinched, then lifted his other hand to push his finger back down. "Um. There are so many Harrys! How can you tell which one of them is sick?"
Harry lurched upright. The coaster was stuck to his cheek. "You know what I think about Mouldyvo- Volderol- Smortyvol- Folderol- THAT PERSON?" He looked at Ron, then looked at Neville, then looked at the floor for some reason. "Do you know?"
"Uh… no?" Ron ventured. "I don't think I do, Harry." He took another sip of his martini, deciding he quite liked it.
"What I think ahim bout- about him, I mean -- is that I need another bourbon!" Harry threw his head back, laughing uproariously, and promptly fell off his stool. "Ow," he said from the floor.
Ron sprang to his feet, missed, and ended up sprawled next to Harry on the floor. Harry promptly put his arm around Ron. "This is m'good friend Ron," he said, slurring, "we're not together, not like that, but he's a good friend. GOOD FRIEND!"
For some reason Ron found this hilarious. "We don't have sex," he told Neville. "We don't do that. Sex and us are two things that don't mix." Ron was hit by a sudden thought. Something so inspirationally funny he had trouble keeping the laughter in for long enough to lean closer to Neville. He said at last, "Or we have two things that don't mix." He waggled his eyebrows.
Neville spat out a huge mouthful of his scotch, and didn't stop laughing until they were all outside, sitting in the gutter, being rained on gently.
"Sorry," Ron said disconsolately to the big bouncer who stood over them. He was bundled up in about five layers of jackets and anoraks, which made him look even bigger. The bouncer looked up at the sky and wrinkled his nose at the rain.
"Yeah, whatever, just don't come back, idiots," he told them. He shook his head in disgust and walked back into the pub.
It was a cold, clear night. The stars were out. "Beautiful," Ron said, gazing up at the sky. "Bloody beautiful."
"Aw, thanks mate, you are, too," Neville said with a grin, which set them all off again.
"Come on," Harry said, getting to his feet on the second attempt. "We should go do something else. For we are men! Manly men! Manly men who don't go home at," he pulled out his watch, "half-past fourteen!"
"Huh," Ron said, "I could've sworn it was only quarter to thirteen last time I looked at my watch. I hope Hermione doesn't yell at me."
Neville clambered to his feet using Harry as a ladder. He clung to Harry's arm and pointed. "There's a tattoo parlour over there?"
He sounded uncertain, and Ron wasn't quite sure why. The tattoo parlour said TATTOO PARLOUR on the front of it, in very big writing. It was obviously a tattoo parlour. What was there to be unsure about? He was never more sure of anything in his life. "Brilliant," Ron breathed. "I'm going to get a Cannons tattoo. I've always wanted a Cannons tattoo." He turned to Harry. "On my FOREHEAD."
Neville started nodding. "Oh, yeah. That'd be brilliant."
"Brilliant," Harry echoed. "Tattoos are brilliant."
"The Cannons are brilliant," Ron said, starting to walk across the road. His trainers squelched on the wet road. He ignored the startled yell from the taxi driver who nearly hit him. "This is going to be BRILLIANT."
Harry caught up with him as he was about to step up onto the footpath on the other side. "Oi, Ron! Wait up!" He grabbed Ron by the shoulders and grinned breathlessly at him. Ron caught a whiff of whatever it was that Harry had been drinking. Good thing that he was sober himself. Otherwise he might do something stupid.
"I'm going to get a tattoo as well, Ron," Harry said.
Neville appeared from nowhere, making Ron yelp, though when he thought about it he realised Neville probably hadn't really appeared from nowhere. Maybe he'd just turned invisible. Yes, that was it. "Are you?" he asked excitedly. "I just have one question, Harry," he moved aside a little to allow a group of people past. "Who's Ron?"
"I'm Ron," Ron said impatiently. "I'm Ron. With the Cannons tattoo across my forehead! You'll never forget me once I get a Cannons tattoo across my forehead. "
"No, that's true," Neville said. He reached out and rubbed at Ron's forehead. Ron peered at him, frowning. "I might think your name is CANNONS, though."
"A Dark Mark!" Harry said suddenly, clutching them. They overbalanced and fell against the window of the tattoo parlour. "I'll get one! That'll show Mortyvol!" He beamed at them. Ron waited for whatever piece of brilliance he was going to come out with. "Because. . . I'll get it, in PURPLE."
"Brilliant," Neville and Ron whispered together.
* * *
Ron could barely remember a thing the next morning when Hermione was yelling at him. All he knew was that his head hurt, both inside and on his forehead, and he'd messed up. He cowered, his hand over the offending piece of idiocy on his forehead. THE CANNONS ROCK. What the hell was wrong with him?!
"Well, they do rock," he offered to Hermione one time when she was drawing breath.
She went bright red and reached for a plate. Long years of living with too many other members of the Weasley family had honed Ron's instincts. He ducked before his conscious brain had even registered what she was doing. The plate shattered above his head.
He realised, sighing, that he'd managed to particularly antagonise her right next to their good crockery cupboard. She kept reaching for more and more.
"You stupid!" SMASH! "Bleeding!" SMASH! "IDIOT!" SMASH!
She yelled at him some more. He kept reflexively covering his face because he was expecting her to throw more things, which then made her even angrier.
Rose and Hugo thought it was all hilarious.
Ron wondered what it might be like to live in a family where people supported you.
After Hermione hexed him in a complete and utter rage, he ducked out to visit Harry.
* * *
Harry had Lily on his lap. Ron relaxed, knowing that Lily's language skills weren't up to understanding the finer points of marital relationships. "She just kept throwing plates, Harry. I got so worried I'd have to eat off the floor that I figured I should come here, and Rose and Hugo just sat there laughing."
Harry nodded sympathetically. "Sounds awful mate."
Ginny walked through and made a cutting remark.
Ron sighed. Sisters. Nearly as bad as wives. Was it that bad, what they'd done, really?
He looked at Harry's arm, then lifted a hand to his own forehead. He felt his lips curve in a reluctant grin. "It was kind of stupid, huh," he said to Harry.
"Yeah, mate," Harry said, beginning to laugh.
After a while Hermione came through the fireplace. She was apologetic, sweet, relaxed.
She had also done her research -- typical Hermione -- and had found out how to get them both fixed up.
Ron decided that maybe wives were better than sisters, after all.