The Sugar Quill
Author: Jelsemium  Story: Taste Test  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.

Taste Test

Taste Test
By Jill Weber/ Jelsemium
Characters copyrighted by J.K. Rowling and used without permission or intent to make a profit.

This is an outtake from “Squib Summer” which I co-wrote with Ozma. It makes sense without that story, but it’ll be better if you read that one first

 

Dedicated to my partner, Ozma and my beta reader, Seldes Katne.

 


Harry seemed to be having trouble swallowing. His face went through a series of contortions as he apparently tried to give in to the urge to spit the bright yellow bean out on the floor.


Ginny, who was sitting on the foot of Harry’s hospital bed, watched with a combination of amusement and horror. What had he eaten? She looked at the bowl of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans with dire suspicion.

“What is it?” Ron asked curiously. “Concentrated lemon?”

Ron was straddling the only chair in the room. If he’d been a gentleman, he’d have let Ginny have the chair. On the other hand, if he had given her the chair, then Ginny wouldn’t be perched on the foot of Harry’s bed.

Harry shook his head and apparently steeled himself to swallow.

“Raw egg yolks? Canary feathers?” Ron asked as he handed Harry the glass from the table next to the bed.

Harry shook his head and accepted the glass. He swallowed the bean and took a swallow of water. “No,” he said.

Ginny’s legs were falling asleep. She braced herself so she could shift her weight around. It wasn’t until Harry moved that she realized that she was leaning on his knees. She jumped and moved away a little.

“Sulphur? Urine?” Ron continued.

“No.”

“Well, what was it then?” Ron asked impatiently.

Harry answered in grim tones, “Butter.”

Butter?” Ron yelped indignantly. “All that fuss over butter?”

Harry laughed and Ron snatched one of the pillows from the bed and whacked him with it. Harry snatched the other and defended himself.

“Hey, watch it!” Ron complained. He snatched up the bowl of Every Flavor Beans before Harry could knock it over.

“You started it!” Harry retorted, grinning.

“And I’ll finish it,” Ron said.

“Play nice or we’ll have to leave,” Ginny warned.

Much to Ginny’s surprise, they actually quieted down and put the pillows back on the bed.

“Every Flavor Bean?” Harry asked Ginny.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Ron said. He peered down at the bowl of beans in his hand.

Harry snatched the bowl away from him. “Hey! I wasn’t offering one to you!”

Ron gave him a wounded look. “You mean you aren’t going to offer a bean to your best mate? After all we’ve been through together? And after all the toil and terror I faced to get you these beans?”

Toil and terror?” Harry asked skeptically.

“It’s true,” Ron insisted. “Tell him, Ginny.”

Harry looked at Ginny curiously.

She nodded vigorously, which sent her hair into her face. “It’s true. He toiled in the hen house for spending money and he risked terror by going into the twins’ room to steal them back when they mysteriously disappeared from the kitchen table.”

Harry grinned at her and Ginny was glad that her hair was still in her face.

Harry turned his attention back to Ron. “Ah, so I can expect one of these to turn me into an amphibian or blow me up like a puffer fish? Guess I can let you have one at that.”

Ron laughed. “Gee thanks, pick me out a chocolate one, will ya?”

Harry snorted, but obediently poked around in the bowl. “Hm, this looks like it might be the right shade of brown.” He handed the bean to Ron.

Instead of taking the bean with his hand, Ron leaned forward and inhaled it directly from out of Harry’s hand.

“EURGH!” Harry said, lurching back and shaking his hand. “I need those fingers, you prat!”

Ginny laughed. “Got your fan club eating out of your hand, eh, Potter?”

Harry rolled his eyes at her.

“What did you get?” Ginny asked Ron.

“I hope it was disgusting,” Harry said.

“Sorry to disappoint,” Ron said. “It was Worcestershire sauce.” He pulled the bowl out of Harry’s hands.

“Hey!”

“So, Ginny, what do you want?” Ron asked.

“Erm,” Ginny said.

“Never mind, here,” Ron held out a blue green bean to her. “I know that green’s your favorite colour, try this one.”

Ginny sneaked a look at the green-eyed boy next to her, but he was studying the bean with interest and apparently hadn’t connected her colour preference to his eye colour.

“Looks rather moldy,” Harry observed.

“Lovely,” Ginny started to say, but Ron cut off the rest of her sentence by pushing the bean into her mouth.

Mrph,” Ginny said. She chewed the bean and absently accepted the bowl from Ron. Wait, what was she supposed to do with the beans? Feed one to Harry? Her eyes went wide at the mental image of Harry’s lips closing around her fingers.

“Well, what is it?” Ron demanded. “Mold?”

Huh? Oh, the bean. “Erm, I’m not sure,” Ginny hedged. She’d swallowed without even noticing what she had. She rolled her tongue around her mouth in an effort to pick up some lingering taste. “Moldy cheese…” she said.

“Blue cheese?” Ron quizzed. “What kind? Roquefort? Stilton? Gorgonzola?”

I’m not sure,” Ginny admitted. She stared down at the bowl of beans in her hands and felt a blush starting.

“What colour do you want to try this time, Harry?” Ron asked. “Oh, damn, too late.”

Ginny looked up and saw that Harry had fallen asleep. She sighed and gave up on the fantasy of having Harry Potter eat out of her hand.

“Guess it’s time to go,” Ron said in a subdued voice. He stood up and looked around. “Got everything?”

“Just a second,” Ginny said. She set down the bowl, picked her shoes off the floor and put them back on. Then she slid off the bed and moved to the door.

Ron frowned at her. “Don’t leave the beans sitting on the bed,” he said.

“Oh,” Ginny turned just in time to see Harry turn over onto his side and spill beans all over the floor. “Damn!” she said.

“Don’t swear,” Ron smirked. He walked over and took Harry’s glasses off and put them on the bedside table. “I’ll tell Mum we’re almost ready to leave,” he added. He closed the door after him with uncharacteristic gentleness.

’You could have given me a hand,’ Ginny grumbled to herself as she scrambled around, picking up beans and returning them to the bowl. She scooped a handful of beans out from under the bed, sat back on her heels and froze.

Harry’s face was inches from hers. His unruly hair partly hid the scar on his forehead. His inky eyelashes made a stark contrast to his pale skin, and his lips… were cool and rubbery and tasted of butter.

Ginny pulled back, shocked at her audacity. Did that count as a first kiss? What…

Her thoughts were interrupted when Ron stuck his head back in the room. “Are you finished?” he hissed.

“Erm, yeah,” Ginny said. She got to her feet and looked around. “I think I got them all.” She set the bowl on the table and forced herself to walk away calmly. Fortunately, if Ron noticed her blushing, he’d probably attribute it to her spilling the beans… so to speak. She suppressed a sigh with difficulty. She’d probably never get the nerve to kiss Harry again. Too bad it didn’t count as a real kiss.

“Well, at least he’s having a good dream for a change,” Ron whispered.

“Eh?” Ginny said.

Ron pointed and Ginny looked. There was a small but definite smile on Harry’s face.

Ginny grinned. Maybe it counted as a real kiss after all.

 

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