A/N This one shot is inspired by the song The Story of Tonight from Hamilton (as the title suggests). I know this isn't an update for Affectionate and some people will probably be annoyed about that but this is something that has been milling around my head for a while and hopefully getting it out will help kickstart me into writing again. So I hope that you enjoy it!

It was a tradition for Bill and Charlie to go down to the pub down in the village for a drink together whenever they were both home. It was a way for them to catch up and talk about their fears and their siblings away from prying ears.

They hadn't had the chance to do it for a while, at least not since both the twins and Ron were of age. They hadn't mentioned it, just in case the twins overheard and decided they wanted to come, but it seemed that the twins knew everything, as per usual, and they were accosted the second they tried to sneak away.

"Well then, what do we have here?" said Fred.

"I think our dear brothers are trying to be sneaky." George mocked.

"They should know by now to leave that up to us don't you thing George?"

Bill sighed, knowing there was no way they would get the chance to sneak off now, and with Harry arriving tomorrow and the wedding after that, they wouldn't have any more time.

"Fine you can come." Bill groaned as Charlie rolled his eyes.

He thought for a minute about not telling Ron, but when he looked over to him sat on the floor, playing chess with an obviously losing Hermione, staunchly trying to pretend he wasn't listening, he took pity.

"Hey Ron! You coming?"

Ron looked up in shock as his brothers beckoned him over.

"Er, yeah I guess." He was attempting to hide his excitement at being included, but his quick answer gave him away, he paused for a moment before turning back to Hermione who was smirking.

His cheeks were red as he asked her if she minded, to which she replied that she had some reading to catch up on so he'd be better off joining his brothers anyway. Bill watched in amusement as his little brother's eyes lingered as she rose, stretching like a cat.

"Oi! Stop staring at Granger and get a move on!" Shouted Fred.

The boy blushed but didn't deny it, he just smiled apologetically at the girl before joining his brothers, huffily pushing past Fred.

The twins continued to tease him as they walked to the village, only stopping when Charlie steered the conversation towards what new products they had lined up. Ron who had been trying to ignore them by utilising his lengthy limbs and keeping pace with Charlie and Bill while the twins shouted insults, was visibly relieved by the change in conversation and began to chat to Bill as Charlie lagged behind with the twins. Bill was happy for a chance to chat with his youngest brother away from his other siblings or Harry and Hermione. It wasn't often that Ron wasn't surrounded by bigger personalities, Bill mused. He was impressed to find out that his littlest brother was becoming a rather confident young man.

They finally arrived at the pub, they didn't go often enough to become regulars, and Bill was pretty sure the staff had changed every time they went, but the landlord seemed to recognise them and offered a welcoming nod, continuing his conversation with the group of balding men huddled around the bar. Bill went to find a table, leaving Charlie – the most muggle-competent member of the family – to order the drinks. The other brothers followed, Fred winking at the barmaid as he passed. The barmaid gave an amused smile, rolling her eyes before asking Charlie what he would like. Bill knew that though Ron wasn't quite of age in the muggle world still being seventeen, his height paired with the company of his older brothers would mean he would have no trouble. Also, as Bill was acutely aware, the smaller muggle pubs tended to be a bit more lax in the ID checking. He supposed it was probably due to the fact that he rarely actually saw anyone in there under the age of thirty-five.

He grabbed one of the dark wooden tables at the bottom end of the pub, close to the unlit fireplace, and away from the ten muggles occupying the place, who were still standing around the bar despite having drinks in their hands.

The boys settled down into the red velour benches, Ron sandwiched between the twins, leaving only space on the stools for Charlie and Bill. Bill groaned at them and the twins teased him for being old, while Ron quietly smirked. Thankfully Charlie distracted them by appearing, carrying a tray full of beers.

"I got you boys lager, seeing as there's no way you'll be used to the proper stuff" He handed the three on the bench a tall glass full of pale yellow liquid that had bubbles in. The drink that he handed to Bill and placed on the table for himself was much darker, and in a far shorter glass.

Fred and George raised their eyebrows before turning to each other and clinking their glasses together, taking an experimental sip. Bill couldn't tell from their faces whether they liked it or not, but they shrugged and took another sip.

"What's this called again?" asked George.

"Well it's a lager, but this specific one is called Carling." Charlie then went into the depths of different varieties of beer and how they are made, something that Bill had already had to listen to at least once before, but the twins were enraptured. Ron however took their distraction as an opportunity to take his first sip unscrutinised, he seemed to like it thankfully, and he smiled sheepishly as he noticed Bill watching him.

When the twins had finally heard enough about the effects of different brewing techniques, they turned their focus on their oldest brother.

"It's mad to think you're getting married." Said George.

"I know," added Fred, a teasing glint in his eyes, "If Casanova over here can find a bird good enough to settle down for, I guess there's hope for the rest of us after all!"

The boys laughed at Bill's expense as he rolled his eyes.

"Here's to Veelas!" Fred said a little too loudly, raising his glass in cheers, the others clinked their glasses. Bill took a swift look down to the other end of the pub to check no one had heard before joining in.

"I hear Bill's not the only one we should be celebrating!" Added Charlie, "You two have managed to leave school early and still become the richest of us all! Who'd have thought?" He grinned as the twins clinked glasses again.

"Well, you know us Charlie," said George.

"Always going for the element of surprise." Finished Fred.

Charlie continued to ask the twins about their business, having not actually seen the shop in person yet. They were happy to talk about their latest inventions, though Bill did have to remind them to lower their voices a few times, it was nice to see his brothers so relaxed, something that was precious at the present moment.

Ron however didn't seem relaxed at all, He was staring down into his pint, tapping his fingers anxiously against the glass.

"Ron?" Bill asked, the table falling silent. "You okay?"

Ron's head snapped up, he looked around at his brothers, as though he had been snapped out of a daydream.

"Yeah, fine." He muttered.

Fred snorted, "He's just lovesick, aren't you Ronnie?" he put his arm teasingly around Ron, who shook it off in annoyance.

"Shut up Fred." He grumbled, possibly the worst thing he could have said, though he always had been a bit too much of an open book as far as his family was concerned.

"Yeah what's up with you and Hermione anyway? You are clearly besotted with each other. I don't understand why you don't just do something about it." Charlie took over, asking a little more gently than the twins ever would.

Ron looked as though he was going to protest at first, though looking to Bill, who raised an eyebrow, he must have realised that denying his affection for her must be futile at this point. Instead he stared into his pint once again, flushing slightly.

"You don't get it. It's not like she's just some girl, it's Hermione,she's my best friend, if we mess this up then that's it. She didn't talk to me for months last year and I don't ever want that to happen again." He took a breath. "Then there's Harry."

The brothers exchanged puzzled glances, the twins didn't seem to know what to do, both glancing at their little brother then back to each other, each signalling to the other to do something. Bill reached across to Ron's hand, nudging it with his own, Ron looked up with hopeless eyes.

"What are you on about? Do you think Harry and Hermione have something going on?" He queried, a little worried.

Ron snorted, "Nah, he's too gone over Ginny for something like that."

The statement caused Charlie to splutter over his beer, and the others to stare at him in shock, but before anyone could speak, he continued, "It's just that there's this thing we have to do with Harry. It's going to be hard and we don't need any distractions. As much as I would love to actually do something about all this… you know." He sighed deeply before continuing, "Every time it feels like we're getting somewhere, we keep remembering we have more important things we need to do first, you know? It's always been that way, there's always been Harry, and Harry's always been more important." He shrugged as though it were nothing. But none of the other boys around the table had every sacrificed their own happiness for someone else to such a great extent.

Bill felt a little proud, though greatly saddened by the prospect. He had known his littlest brother was the bravest of them all after he had heard what had happened in first year, and then consequently all the years since.

Ron looked up at his brothers surprised to see them looking amazed and slightly angry.

"It's not Harry's fault! It's just who he is, you know, he has to do this stuff, he doesn't get a choice!" He protested. "I just sometimes wish that we could forget about all that crap for a few minutes." His brothers continued to stare at him, he seemed to be debating his next words very carefully. "I nearly kissed her yesterday."

At this a little fire came back into the twin's eyes, though before they could rib him, Bill lightly kicked his foot with a small grin, "Go on!"

Ron smiled slightly, a little bitterly, "I woke up in the night and she was in the kitchen, she said she couldn't sleep so we sat on the sofa for a bit talking. I can't remember how we got onto it but she started talking about last year and how she feels awful about how horrible she was to me when I got with Lavender, and I told her it was nothing, and that I wished I'd just gone with her to Slughorn's party. But she wouldn't let it drop, she grabbed my hand and said that she felt horrible that she'd scarred me when she sent the birds at me, and I said that it just proved to me that she had some kind of feelings for me. She just stared at me and I felt like I had to do something, I've never said anything that blunt before about it you know, I leant in to kiss her, and I she was starting to lean towards me, but then she just sighed and said, 'Harry', and that was it." He shrugged it off and the brothers went quiet in silent realisation that they maybe hadn't experienced the same kind of problems that Ron and Hermione faced. Bill had a newfound respect for the pair.

The conversation eventually moved onto other subjects and eventually they wound down their evening, Ron had attempted to join in, feeling that he had maybe brought the tone down, but his heart wasn't quite in it.

They wandered into the Burrow, attempting to be quiet, though Fred and George were failing miserably in their drunken state. Bill gave Charlie a meaningful look, and he guided the pair upstairs. Bill and Ron walked in, noticing that Hermione had fallen asleep in the armchair.

Ron stared at her miserably, and Bill put a hand on his shoulder.

"Get her upstairs, she'll have a sore neck if she stays there."

Ron nodded and walked over, Bill watched as he gently and lovingly pushed her hair out of her eyes and whispered her name. She opened her eyes and blinked slowly, a gentle smile on her face. They were looking at each other so lovingly that Bill had to look away and climb the stairs before his eyes watered. It wasn't fair that he was about to marry the love of his life while his brother couldn't even show his how he felt. Bill vowed to himself that he would do all that he could to make sure the pair would make it out of this alive, so that one day he could see his littlest brother as happy as his own witch made him.

A/N I was reading something on Tumblr today that made me think about the bit in DH where Hermione jokes about not ruling out setting the birds on Ron again and how that was actually a bit off. I think with this as a head cannon, I can now see it in a different light. In my head Ron told Hermione that though yes it wasn't okay what she did, it proved to him that she might actually have feelings for him, and that when Hermione joked about it later on, she didn't mean she would actually do it, but she was telling him (as a kind of inside joke) that she still had feelings for him even though she was annoyed at him.

Anyway thanks so much for reading!