Chapter 1

Writing Club

Days of the Month - World Bartender Day - Write about Aberforth Dumbledore

A Year In Entertainment - TV: House - (object) Cane

Count Your Buttons - (dialogue) "Think about it.", (Character) Fred Weasley, (Word) Neck

Book Club - Stuart Redman - (word) self defense, (word) leader, (dialogue) "Enjoy it while it lasts. I have a feeling there's going to be a shortage of cold beer this summer."

Showtime - Defying Gravity - (dialogue) "Think of what we could do together."

Lyric Alley - 23. I've never tasted fame

Liza's Loves - Old Pal - Write about old friends.

Other Challenges

Insane House Challenge - 943. (restriction) No Slytherins

Serpent Day - Pit Viper - (word) tidy

Genre: Friendship

Word Count: 735

The painting of Ariana has barely swung shut when when loud crack reverberates through the room; the telltale sound of Apparition. Aberforth readies his wand.

A girl coughs. "You think this would get easier," she rasps. She has vibrant crimson hair, which is is windswept and unruly, and she's standing beside another girl, who has black hair and is dusting off her robes.

The dark-haired boy, who looks mildly disoriented, asks, "Where are we?"

(Aberforth thinks it's miraculous how these kids haven't noticed him yet.)

"Aberforth's pub," one of the redheaded boys says, brushing dust from his hair. Another boy, identical to him, nods affirmatively.

Aberforth clears his throat. The group spins around simultaneously and breathe a unanimous sigh of relief.

"Which one of you is Fred Weasley?" Aberforth asks, approaching the group, his eyes searching for the leader.

The twin on the right steps forward. "I am."

Aberforth eyes him suspiciously. In times like this, he could not just admit anyone in without verifying their identity. "What happened to your brother? You know, the one with the glasses?"

"Oh, him," he says, disgust coloring his tone. "The traitorous git abandoned us a while ago for his precious job. Bloody wanker."

The other two redheads bob their heads. "Arsehole," the girl volunteers, with the expression of someone who has just swallowed a lemon.

"Good," Aberforth says. He points to the portrait. "There's your way in. Good day."

Fred looks miffed. "How terribly inhospitable of him, especially since he's an old pal of mine," he says to his twin. "He could offer us a beer or something. After all, we've risked our necks just to come here."

"I know, right? After all we've been through." The twin shakes his head disapprovingly. "Tut, tut."

Aberforth bites back a growl, his temper rising. "Fine," he snaps, trudging into the kitchen. His stock of beer is almost out, but he has two bottles left along with some unopened mead. All of the them except for the red-haired girl look overage. He grabs a few wine glasses and a tray of stale bread and heads out.

The group is conversing among themselves and they quiet as he enters. There is the sound of slurping and chewing as the party devours the food.

"Hey, Aberforth, what kind of beer is this?" asks the dark-haired boy, drinking a quarter of the bottle in one swig. "This is good stuff."

"Brewer's Brew," says Aberforth gruffly. "Enjoy it while it lasts. I have a feeling there's going to be a shortage of cold beer this summer."

"You think?" The other redheaded boy snatches the bottle of mead away from the girl, who looks disappointed (Aberforth assumes she'd been trying to sneak a taste).

The dark-haired boy stands up, his stance a little wobbly from the alcohol. "Where's the loo?" he queries hoarsely.

"Behind the kitchen, first door on the right."

The boy stumbles from the room. Aberforth asks irritably, "Are you done?"

Fred swallows the last drop of mead and wipes his mouth with his shirt. He glances around. "Seems so. We'd best be off."

The group nods collectively. Fred rises. "Come with us," he offers unexpectedly.

Aberforth nearly does a double take. "Sorry?"

"You should come fight with us," he elaborates. "An extra hand is always welcome."

"Do I look twenty to you, boy?" he retorts, gesturing to his cane. "I was never good at self-defense. I'm just a bartender and an old goat. I'd be of no use to you."

"Think about it," the other redheaded boy urges. "Think about what we could do together. Do you want a world where You-Know-Who wins?"

First the Potter boy, now the Weasley twins? Is he really that reluctant?

"C'mon, you have to admit, being famous would be awesome," Fred says. "Whaddaya say? Up to it?"

Aberforth is still hesitant. He doesn't want fame, he wants a life of peace and solitude, which he won't receive unless he accepts what he has to do, and that's fight.

He nods slowly, and a cheer erupts, and he's swarmed by red hair and the smell of alcohol.

"I knew you'd come around!" someone whoops, and Aberforth is pricked by irritation. However, he feels amazing. For the first time in years, perhaps decades, he's going to use his wand for something other than tidying up spilled beverages. And he is excited.

Maybe this isn't so horrible, after all.