The Sugar Quill
Author: Keemers  Story: Misread Riddles  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer
Misread Riddles

 

Disclaimer: Yes I know I used a spell from one of the computer games. I just liked how it used to work and figured it'd make some sense here. Anyway, the usual disclaimer applies... I love JK Rowling and would never ever, ever do anything to her beautiful world. So this is just for fun and fictitious purposes. Thanks!


 

"Here you go." She dropped the book on top of Hermione's empty plate. "You'd think that you'd wait for me to walk down to the Great Hall if you wanted the book so terribly." Leave it to Hermione to ask for her copy of Quidditch Teams From the Continent just before Hallow'een feast. The orange stripe Ron had painted on it (clearly to remind her where her Quidditch loyalties should lie) glowed in the candle-lit hall.

Her tone was chiding, but her eyes betrayed the fact that Ginny wasn't bothered in the slightest. "Friends never--" Her voice faltered, a strip of white parchment in the book caught her eye. She seized it. The last thing she needed was Hermione to come across one of her old notes from Colin.

"What's that?"

"Nothing I--" She looked down to fold the parchment away, but stopped herself. This wasn't written in Colin's crude chicken scratch. This note was written by a quiller with calligraphic talent and poetic skill, two things that Colin knew nothing about.

"On this the Hallowest of Eves / When others gather for the Feast / In me waits a gift oh Flaming One / Something you've desired for so long / I am the resting place of He Who Keeps / Go quickly, now, before Hogwarts sleeps." Ginny colored when she realized she had read it out loud. Her eyes flicked down the table to see if Colin had overheard, but he was nowhere to be found.

"Oh, a riddle!" Hermione brought Ginny's attention back to the paper with a touch on the hand. Hermione leaned in far too eagerly.

The perfect imitation of Weasley fervor on her friend's face disturbed Ginny. The same kind that Fred and George displayed just before Ginny's socks lit on fire. "What did you do?"

"Me?" Hermione's face blanked in exaggerated innocence.

"You look just like Ron."

Anger sparked in Hermione's eyes. "Don't ever say that,Ginny Weasley, or I'll hex you."

"Where is Ron?"

"I don't know. Honestly I don't care." At that, Ginny raised her eyebrows and Hermione flicked her hand as if Ron meant nothing. "The important thing is to solve this riddle. Where's your sense of adventure? You call yourself a Gryffindor!"

"The Feast is about to start."

"Nobody will miss you if you go now, Flaming One."

 
 

At Hermione's insistence, Ginny rushed outside. The riddle wasn't all that difficult. He Who Keeps had to be Hagrid. And Hermione always thought herself so clever. Ginny laughed, but then choked it down and pulled out the parchment.

Something you've desired.

A month ago, there would have been a few things on her list of desires. Colin Creevey had been at the top, except he deliberately chose to remove himself. As for the other thing, a simple wish could not kill He Who Must Not Be Named.

She shivered, striding faster. The air had a chill that ran through her robes. She should have gotten a sweater but Hagrid's Hut wasn't far off. She only hoped the half-giant was in and not at the Feast.

"Hello?" She shut the door behind herself.

"Ginny!" He whirled, his glasses reflecting the light of the fireplace.  Eight years of near-death experiences had hardened him.  The stubble on his chin only darkened his features.  Her eyes flicked to the lightning bolt scar and then back to his eyes.

"Harry?" Ginny stopped in her tracks. "What are you doing here?" Something you've desired. A flush crept up from her neck and threatened to blot out her freckles. "Is Hagrid here? I-- think he has something for me."

"Something for you?" Harry's eyes narrowed. In the light of the cabin with the candles and the nice Hallow'een dinner on Hagrid's table, he cracked a smile. "I'm going to murder whoever did this." He lifted up a piece of parchment.

She showed hers. "Courtesy of Hermione." Beneath her breath she added, "She's a little behind the times."

"What?" He stepped closer.

"I said that I hope she found a place to stash Ron. If he found you in here alone with me he'd be very upset."

"No doubt." Harry ran a hand through his hair and sighed heavily.

"Let's give her Points for trying. She's terrible at setting people up." As Ginny knew from firsthand experience. The smile on Harry's face made her pause, "What?"

Harry sat down at the table. "We could at least eat what she's offered."

"And hope that Hagrid didn't do the cooking."

"Right." He smiled again, his green eyes twinkling. "You going to join me then?"

"I suppose." Ginny grinned, taking the napkin off the table and smoothing it over her thighs when she sat. "I could do that."

They chatted and finished off most of the ham. Animated, Harry talked with his hands. It had been ages since he'd done that. Ages? When did she notice what Harry Potter did? She brushed that thought off as the conversation danced along. She hadn't talked to Harry alone like this. It was nice.

"I don't believe it."

"Even Ron couldn't believe it! Hermione had her Queen and a Knight. He was stuck with only a Bishop. But he wouldn't back down. She chased him all over the board, looking as smug as Crookshanks."

"Did she win?"

"No." His laughter died and his eyes flashed in pain. "We got an owl."

"Oh." Ginny nodded. She dreaded those owls, the ones you couldn't send back. Lead dropped, they sat in silence, each sipping their goblets of pumpkin juice.

Her fork, heavy in her hand, fell to the plate with a clattering noise. Harry's head jerked up. "What was that?"

"I dropped my fork."

"No. I heard something else." His wand flicked into his hand and eyes darted to the darkened windows.

Ginny's stomach heaved, her eyes widened at the ferocious look on Harry's face. "I'm sure it's nothing."

He swore.  Harry swore now? "Get back Ginny."

"But, Harry, you know--"

"--I said to get back!" he interrupted in a stern, commanding voice.

"Now you look here! I don't take commands from anyone. And you're overreacting. There's nothing out there. Look!" She ran for the door and flung it open.

A towering man-like jack-o-lantern stood in the doorway, its eyes two massive, angry triangles and its mouth a cavernous hole. Long vines protruded from its side like arms. One held a wand.

"Ava--"

Ginny shrieked, her wand in hand, and she hollered, "Filipendo!" A bolt of light shot out from her wand and knocked the giant pumpkin back out the door and on its back. The Unforgivable curse lay unfinished on Harry's lips. "An Unforgivable Curse, Harry? You could have killed him!"

"Him?" Harry readied his arm for another spell, but Ginny blocked the doorway.

"It's Ron!"

"Ron?" Harry's eyes widened in disbelief.

"I'd recognize that wand anywhere."

"Yeah, bloody right it's me!" Out of the wiggling, gaping orange maw Ron's voice bellowed, "I'm going to kill you now, you git! Bloody yelling out killing curses at anything that moves! Nutter!" Ron, or rather the pumpkin, pushed past Ginny and hurled himself at Harry. Ginny lunged forward and clutched to a squirming vine. She pulled with all her might.

"I'm sorry, Ron I--"

"--BRILLIANT that's what! Blimey, I could have died! Let me go so I can pummel the living bogeys out of 'im."

Harry hung his head in shame, then collapsed into his seat.

"I don't blame him, Ron! You look like a Giant Pumpkin! You're lucky that I recognized your wand. How'd you get like this?"

The question made Ron pause and forget about attacking. "Fred sent me a batch of cookies for Hallow'een. I got hungry waiting for you two to show up. 'Course I thought it'd be Hermione and that stupid git Dean Thomas. I told her that he's been trying to get her alone to pose for him, but she doesn't listen to me anymore."

Skeptically she asked, "You ate something Fred gave you?"

"Well, I was bloody hungry. Gah."

"Hermione set us up." Ginny eyed the ashen Harry in worry.

"Oh I wondered about that.  All secretive she acted, talking about being toobusy to study for Potions.  That got me it did.  And here I thought she'd set this up to meet with Dean.  Then Harry shows up here and I nearly ripped his head off. You bloody know how much I still... I mean..." The pumpkin turned a nice shade of deep orange.  "But, my sister? And my best friend? Oh, I'm going to have a word to say with her in the least." One of the vines snaked out to touch Harry on the shoulder. "Sorry man, I should have known you'd never do something like that."

"I nearly killed you." His voice sounded hollow, distant.

The pumpkin's eyes peaked up and Ron said, "Honest mistake. I would have thought me a monster. Fred's gonna get a piece of my mind when I see him next." He looked from Harry to Ginny then back again, "It's all right Harry. Come on, let's go find Hermione and tell her off. The last time she played cupid she got Ginny with that stupid Creevey."

Harry's green eyes met Ginny's for what felt like eternity. It was she who looked away first.

"I'm so sorry, Ron."

"Ah, Harry. After a lifetime of people trying to kill you, I suppose it's habit. No harm, no foul."

Heavy of shoulders, and head low, Harry let the giant pumpkin lead him out.

Ginny sighed, looking over the nearly finished food. Someone had to clean up this mess Hermione made. She gathered up the dishes, but her hand paused beside Harry's plate. There was his little rumpled strip of parchment. She looked up to see if they had left.

It read, "In me waits a gift, oh Bravest One / Something you've desired for so long."

Ginny shook her head sadly and threw the note into the fire.

//
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