The Sugar Quill
Author: Anione Graton  Story: Hungry Eyes  Chapter: Chapter 2
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

 

After spending the night together in the common room, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had gone to bed laughing like they never had before. It was a fun night for the three of them and they all agreed they had needed it. Even though Hermione had felt guilty going to bed without having accomplished any real work, she felt strangely fulfilled.

Ron threw himself onto his four-poster and folded his arms underneath his head, locked his ankles together, and smiled dreamily. He couldn’t believe he had actually done it. With a few sweet words and a guilt trip, he had gotten the all-studying bookworm to break out of her shell and spend time with him for once. It had been something he’d been trying to accomplish for almost five years, and had tried even harder to do after realizing he wanted to spend more and more time with her.

His conscience had nagged him about apologizing to Hermione first.  After hashing it out with himself, he had decided that to ensure his continuing friendship with Hermione, he would have to say something first. It was too much of a risk to lose her because of a pride issue.

His pride had always stopped him before, but no longer. Ever since he had entered his sixth year, his stubborn streak was slowly wasting away when it came to those bright eyes and that beautiful smile. It had never occurred to him that anyone would ever have that much of an affect on him.

Until he saw her after summer. It all seemed to make sense after that.

The next day at breakfast, Hermione and Ron both felt completely renewed and refreshed. They had remembered to bring gloves and scarves for Herbology, and were excitedly talking to Harry about what they would be doing outside in the cold.

“I think we’re going to actually see a Fidelis today,” Ron commented, casting a hurried glance at Hermione, whose jaw had dropped.

“You read the chapter?”

“I told you I would,” he said with an air of nobility.

She stared at him for a few seconds and then turned back to her food. “I didn’t actually think you would.”

Ron shrugged, taking a large bite out of his biscuit. Through his half-full mouth, he said, “I figured that if we’re going to be looking at it today, I might as well know what it is.”

“When did you have time to do that? We didn’t do anything last night,” she said, a rose color rapidly rushing to her cheeks.

Ron smirked. “Divination, when else?”

Hermione groaned. “I cannot believe you’re still taking that subject.”

“It’s a good two hours of catch up,” Harry mentioned. “Pass the pumpkin juice,” he instructed to a fellow sixth year, Seamus Finnigan.

“So the Fidelis today, ay?” Seamus asked. “I heard that it was going to be a dreadful boring class.”

“Unless you’re into that sort of thing,” Hermione muttered, and only Ron could hear her. He too, turned pink as she did.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked, frowning at Seamus.

“You fell asleep, ay Potter?” he laughed. “The Fidelis is—”

He was cut off by a loud squawk. An owl had flown into the Great Hall, and Hermione instantly recognized it as the bird she had used the day before. Her parents were unusually good at replying.

“Bit early for mail,” Ron said.

“My parents,” she laughed, rolling her eyes. She opened the letter and read:

 

Hermione dear,

We’re sorry that you don’t want to come home for Christmas this year, but you have our permission to stay at school. We will send our gifts within a few days. Merry Christmas sweetheart!

With all the love in our hearts,

 

Mum and Dad.’

 

“What’s that?” Ron asked, peering nosily over her shoulder.

Hermione closed the letter quickly. “A letter from Mum and Dad.”

“I know that,” he said, giving her an odd look. “What does it say?”

“Do I have to tell you everything?”

 

Professor Sprout stepped up to the front of her ‘classroom’ and waited for the students to quiet down. She was looking most anxious to begin.

“All right, class,” she said, clearing her throat. “In front of your tables are glass boxes, containing what we commonly refer to as the Fidelis plant. Now, can anyone tell me about this plant?”

Hermione’s hand, as it had always done before, waved frantically in the air. “Miss Granger?”

“The Fidelis plant, commonly found in most northern regions of Europe, is quite rare. It only blossoms in the winter, but when the seed is planted, this flower lives forever. The petals are bright pink, to symbolize the meaning of the flower.”

“Very good, take ten points for Gryffindor,” Professor Sprout offered, turning out again to the students. “Now who can tell me the meaning of the flower?”

Again, Hermione’s hand was in the air. “Miss Granger?”

“Fidelis means true-hearted, which is what the seed was planted for. History tells us that in ancient times, the Grison and Yurthen wizarding families were mortal enemies, but two of their offspring found love with each other. To express his love for Amelia Yurthen, Gus Grison cast a charm on a flower seed, planted it, and as it grew, it symbolized the love he would always hold for her. Thus meaning that whenever a Fidelis seed is planted, the planter is expressing his or her undying love for another person.”

“Wonderful! Thank you for the history lesson as well, Miss Granger!” Professor Sprout cheered happily. “The Fidelis seed planting is a wonderful expression of love when it comes to this certain plant. It is considered to be the one thing that will signify your true love to that one person.” Ron and Hermione’s cheeks went pink again. “There is another way to signify this love, but can someone tell me why it is never expressed in this way?”

Hermione’s hand shot up again, but in a complete once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, someone else’s hand preceded her own.

Professor Sprout’s eyes widened, as did everyone else’s in the class. “Mr. Weasley?”

He swallowed a gulp and answered, his voice cracking, “The Fidelis is so rare, that even though its immense beauty shows itself all winter long, it is illegal to pick it to give to the person you—” he coughed “—love.”

Harry’s mouth was open, as well as Hermione’s, but the look in her eyes said something different.

“Well done, Mr. Weasley! Twenty points for Gryffindor for your courage,” she said, and Ron turned as red as his hair. “Now!” she clapped her hands, “I have been given permission by the Ministry of Magic to pick one or two of these to show you exactly how you would pick them. But you MUST remember, this charm is only legal for those of you who choose to go into Herbology and deal with Fidelis on a regular basis.” She picked up her wand and walked outside of the room, and when she reemerged, the entire class gasped. The flower she had in the pot of glass was spectacular, its pink petals were glistening and it looked silky to the touch. The students were entranced.

“Mr. Longbottom!”

Neville started at the sound of his name.

“Can you tell me why the Fidelis is not held in a traditional orange pot?”

Neville looked around at the faces peering at him curiously. Professor Sprout had set down the flower and was staring at him as well. “B-B-Because it is uh… well… it’s rare and… um… delicate to the touch while still attached to its stalk, actually.”

“Splendid!” she cried, a smile appearing on her face. “The reason I am showing you this flower before Christmas is because not only will I cover it on the exams,” she paused to let the groans die away, “but because they are still seedlings at the moment and are ready to blossom at any time. They will only be in full bloom until mid February, and as long as you all know what they look like, you’ll know to stay away.

“Now please, open your boxes.” The class did as they were told, and almost seconds after they had opened the boxes, the stalks inside them shot to their full length, just over two feet high.  There was a pause as the petals burst open, and sounds of awe came from the students as the Fidelis’ bloomed in front of their eyes.

“Wonderful isn’t it?” Professor Sprout smiled at the delighted tone their faces took. “Yes, I quite enjoy watching them myself. I want one of you to demonstrate how to pick one. Mr. Weasley?”

Another hush went over the class. “Y-Yeah?”

“Do you know the charm for picking a Fidelis?”

“Y-Yeah,” he repeated.

“Would you mind demonstrating?”

Gulping once again, he picked up his own wand, pointing it at the flower. “Puniceus florere,” he chanted, and a short, pink jet of sparks hit the flower. In an instant, the flower fell into his hands. The class applauded.

“Well done!” she cried. “Alright, I want you to remember that charm, because it will be on the test. Now…”

But the professor’s voice had completely drained out of Ron’s ears. Everything had. The clattering of the books opening and the voices that went along with the students. It was all like an ocean. All Ron could do was look up and see Hermione’s face peering at his.

It seemed as though she was singled out. It had been his moment, he had shone, and she was seeing him in a new, respecting light. He liked it.

The dismissal to their next class came too soon and as he left the class, Ron approached Professor Sprout, nervously twirling the flower in his hands.

“Um… Professor, what would… you like me to do…?” he asked, indicating the Fidelis.

“Oh!” she cried cheerfully, turning around. “I wanted to give you something actually.” Ron stood in front of her, puzzled, but waiting patiently for her. Hermione and Harry were waiting outside the classroom for him.

“Ah!” she cried. “Here we are!” She handed him a small, golden heart that fit easily into the palm of his large hand.

“What’s this?”

“Why else did you think I asked you to perform the charm, Mr. Weasley?” she asked, and Ron was at a loss for words. “I may be just an old witch who deals with herbs and plants, but I know my intuition is never wrong. You give this and that flower to that one special person who deserves it from you for Christmas.”

“What are you talking about?” he asked quietly.

“You know,” she said, and turned away from him as if it was his cue to leave.

Walking out of the classroom, dumbfounded, Ron approached Harry and Hermione in deep thought. “What is it?” Hermione asked him.

“N-Nothing,” he said, shoving the heart into his pocket quickly.

“What was that?” Harry asked nosily.

“She let you keep the flower!” Hermione cried as if suddenly realizing he was still hanging onto it. “I can’t believe it! She only lets one student a year keep it… that must mean…”

And with no further communication, Ron and Hermione turned pink for what seemed to Harry like the hundredth time that day. He looked around, frustrated.

“Is it just me or is everyone turning abnormal colors lately?” he fumed.

//
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