The Sugar Quill
Author: Absolutely Corking  Story: The Quill  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: I do not own and I did not create any of these characters, but I did create the Copy Quill. They all belong to J.K. Rowling, who is a genius! I hope you like the story, if you don't, give me a review and tell me what you think. I sure had fun writing it, I hope you have as much fun reading it!

BANG.

"OH MY GOD!"

"YES!"

"George, dear brother, we are geniuses!"

Fred and George Weasley slapped hands and turned to read what their little brother, Ron, had just scrawled across the page in their magic book that they had just slammed down on the table.

I can't believe how badly I just did in that test. I DEFINITELY failed. God hopes Fred and George don't find out about this one.

Oh, come on Ron, it's not THAT bad!

"Must've been Harry," whispered Fred, even though they were the only ones in the Gryffindor common room.

George nodded and they turned back to the book.

Yeah, maybe it wasn't.

Ron, I hate to burst your bubble…

"Hermione," murmured George.

But it was Bad. With a capital B.

Fred and George burst out laughing at exactly the same time, as identical twins usually do. "Oh, ouch, that one was painful!" yelled Fred.

"That one hurt him!" chortled George.

They went silent as more writing appeared on the seemingly blank page.

GET LOST, Hermione!

Why? I'm being a good friend and telling the truth.

Yeah, couldn't you muffle it a LEEETTLE bit?

Yeah, wrap it up in some pink furry, fluffy stuff?

KEEP OUT OF THIS, POTTER.

Yes Ron.

Well, if you don't want any constructive criticism, don't ask for it, Ron.

But I didn't, Hermione!

Yes, well, I'm going to leave you to it if you're going to be like that.

The twins were roaring so loudly with laughter, they didn't hear Angelina enter the room. She looked at them curiously, then crept up behind them.

"Like what?" giggled Fred.

"Yes, I agree," put in Angelina. Both Fred and George whipped around to see her standing behind them, grinning. "What are the two of you up to now?"

George made to cover the little book. "Absolutely nothing."

"Yes, really." Fred grabbed the book from George and promptly sat on it.

Angelina shook her head. "Get off it, Fred, or I'll make sure that you do."

Fred turned red and George laughed. "Do it! Do it!" he cried in glee. But she shook her head again and pushed Fred right into George. The twins toppled off the chair and onto the floor in a heap while Angelina plucked the book off the chair and read what had just been written. She burst into peals of laughter.

"What?" George shoved Fred off him and grabbed one side of the book. Angelina let go of it willingly, seeing as she was too weak to grip it properly anyway, because she was now laughing so hard tears were streaming down her face. George read it and laughed so hard he sneezed. Fred finally managed to pick himself off the floor and picked it up and read:

If brains had wheels and engines, she'd be a faster than a Ferrari.

Yeah, the rubber would start burning on the tyres.

She'd go, at least, more than five hundred kilometres an hour.

Faster than a space ship rocketing through the atmosphere into outer space.

Faster than the speed of light!

Than the sound of thunder!

Harry, that's actually pretty slow.

Fine. Faster than a snail!

Harry!

Okay, I'm serious now.

"What a comparison!"

"I would really hate to see her if she read that!"

"Are you mad? I'd love it!"

"Hang on, they're writing more," said George, peering at the page.

Okay Harry. We NEED a plan.

REALLY.

YES. We HAVE to get back at her somehow.

What, to prove just because you failed one test doesn't mean that she can say she's smarter than you are?

POTTER.

Yes, Weasley?

Do the world a favour and shut your mouth.

But it isn't open. We're writing.

GODDAMN YOU, Harry!

Well THAT isn't very nice!

Really, we need a trick. One of the best ones of all time.

And let me guess where you're going to get it.

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, here comes the youngest Weasley brother.

Corking.

"Hey!" Fred protested. "That's my word!"

George nudged him. "Our word, twin brother."

Angelina looked form one to the other and sighed. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Go out with me?" said Fred hopefully.

Angelina shot him a glare and Fred shrank back. George, meanwhile, was looking at the book again. "Hang on, they need a trick, right?"

"Hey George, you can read!"

"Shut up, Angelina."

"Yeah, but which one does he want?"

"Which one are we using now?"

Angelina looked at George in surprise. "You mean this thing is a trick?"

"No," said George sarcastically.

"Dear Angelina, you're just not smart enough to understand our wonderfully brilliant minds!" said Fred, tapping the side of his head and waiting for her reaction.

He got one.

"I CAN UNDERSTAND ANYTHING YOU CAN UNDERSTAND, PEABRAIN!"

"God, she's a scary little thing, isn't she?" George stood back in case Angelina's wrath touched him too.

"Try me." Angelina narrowed her eyes.

"Who says we will?"

"Me."

Fred shrugged. "Good enough. George, care to explain?"

"No no, dear brother, you have the honours."

Fred drew in a deep breath.

"Get on with it," said Angelina.

"Well, you see, George and I were sitting here one day -'

"Quite innocently, of course.'

"Oh yes, of course."

"Anyway, we were thinking, how should we have some fun around this place while learning some valuable stuff at the same time?"

"And we came up with this." George patted the book.

"Our little baby," said Fred, looking lovingly at the book.

"How sickeningly sweet."

"Ah, but you haven't seen what it can do!"

"What does it do?" Angelina looked interestedly at the book.

"Well, why don't you and I discuss this rather pressing matter over dinner?"

Angelina studied Fred for a minute, while George looked on, interested. She turned away and headed for the stairs. When she reached the bottom, she turned back around again and said, "Amazing. I was about to say the exact same thing. See you over dinner, then." She turned and flicked her hair over her shoulder, and walked up the stairs, flashing George a grin over her shoulder.

Fred stared after her, then at George, then at the ceiling, and proceeded to yell, "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

"She may regret this," muttered George.

"What was that, brother dear?"

"Absolutely corking," said George, then he laughed as his twin made a swipe for him. 

*****  

Ron Weasley sighed as he walked out of the History of Magic classroom. After writing notes all lesson, he hadn't really learned anything, but then, one never really learnt a wonderfully large amount in History of Magic. Especially when one's teacher was Professor Binns.

Ron's best friend, Harry Potter, caught up with him. "So what's this brilliant plan of yours?"

Ron shook his head. "Whatever Fred and George's newest trick is."

"You're leaving it up to those two? How do we even know if they have made up another trick anyway?"

"Believe me, Harry, I know when those two are up to something. And they have been up to something."

Harry shrugged. "Where'd Hermione go anyway?"

"Dunno. Maybe she got herself into first gear."

Harry laughed as they walked up to the Fat Lady. "Glue," said Ron and the portrait hole swung open. "God, she has the weirdest passwords!"

Harry nodded. They heard the Fat Lady's voice echo after them, "I heard that!"

"Oops," said Harry.

"Good," muttered Ron.

Harry looked at him. "You okay?"

"I'm fine," said Ron irritably.

"Yes, and I'm the Queen's mother," said a voice.

Harry and Ron turned to find themselves face to face with none other than George Weasley.

"Are you, George, old boy?" Fred called form across the common room, where he was sitting with Angelina, a little red book sitting, closed, between them. "I never knew."

"Yes. Corking, isn't it?"

"George."

"What?"

"Get out of the way." After failing his Transfiguration test, Ron desperately just wanted to go upstairs and shut himself away from the rest of the common room.

And to forget what Hermione said to you.

Ron shook his head. Where the hell had that come from?

"Ah, but I believe you have a nutshell to crack with us."

"What kind of a saying is that?" asked Harry.

"A new and improved and very good one," George answered.

"It sounds bad," Harry said, wrinkling his nose.

"Yuck, Harry!" Ginny Weasley poked her head around the top of the chair she was seated in. "You're sick minded."

Harry made a face and shrugged. Ginny shook her head of flaming red hair.

"WOULD YOU JUST LET ME THROUGH PLEASE!" Ron bellowed at the top of his lungs. "BLIMEY! The things you have to do around here to get some peace!" Ignoring Harry's worried look, Ron pushed past his brother and headed for the stairs.

"What, Ron, want to forget about your failed test?"

Ron stopped dead in his tracks.

He turned around slowly.

"How did you know about that?" He narrowed his eyes. "Did Hermione tell you?"

"No, actually, she didn't. You did."

Ron gaped at George. "What?"

George gave a smile Ron knew all too well.

It was his evil grin.

"What have you done this time?"

"Presenting the all new, improved, great, brilliant - "

"Corking -"

"George!"

"Sorry Fred."

"You interrupted his speech!" Angelina made a face of mock shock.

A grin was spreading slowly over Harry's face. He walked over to where Angelina and Fred were sitting and picked up the little red book. "This has something to do with it, doesn't it?"

George's grin grew wider. "One new Marauder coming up!"

"What's a Marauder?" said Angelina, sounding interested.

"Nothing," said Harry hurriedly. Ron wondered how Angelina had managed to get herself involved in this in the first place.

"Wait!" Fred stood up. "Hold it right there!"

All looked at him in surprise.

"What?" asked Ron.

Fred turned to Ginny. "Get lost, sister."

Ginny opened her mouth to protest, and George shrank back slightly. Ginny had a legendary temper - just because she had been quiet before definitely didn't mean she was quiet now.

But Fred was faster.

"This is our business, dear Virginia. I see no reason for you to be involved. Now, scat!"

George was looking at Fred in amazement. "God," he muttered under his breath.

Ginny stood up, radiating nearly as much as her hair. "I can tell when I'm not wanted."

"Good, then go." Fred started to shoo her out of the room as if she were a fly. "Out. Out."

Ginny made for the portrait hole and squeezed herself through it. Ron could tell that Fred was going to pay for that later.

"Now, where were we?" Fred turned to them all and dusted off his hands as if he had just put out the rubbish.

"Er - the book - " Harry clearly couldn't believe his eyes either.

"Ah, yes. This." Fred prodded a finger on the book in Harry's hands.

"How did you know about me fail - I mean, my test?" Ron really didn't want to admit to the others that he had failed.

George's evil grin was back in place. "Take a look on the first page."

Ron saw Harry turn to the page and a second later he was laughing so hard he had dropped the book. Ron ran forward and made to grab the dratted thing, but Angelina grabbed it from under his hands and held it up above her head.

"Angelina, you're forgetting something," Ron said, looking down on her.

"What's that?"

Ron plucked the book from her hands and patted her on the head as if she were a little puppy dog. "I'm a lot taller than you are."

George sniggered as Ron opened the book and saw, I can't believe how badly I just did in that test. I DEFINITELY failed. God hopes Fred and George don't find out about this one.

"WHAT?" he bellowed. Harry was now proceeding to laugh himself stupid on the floor and Angelina was leaning against the window (which Ron had half a mind to open), gasping for air. Fred and George were standing, shoulder to shoulder, in front of him.

"Like it?" Fred wore a grin identical to George's.

"HOW DID YOU DO THIS?"

"By magic, of course."

"George! TELL ME! NOW!"

"Wow! Alright, hold your horses, little brother."

"This here is our newest creation."

"We proudly present - "

"The Copy Quill!"

"The Copy Quill?" Ron was thoroughly confused. Harry, however, had regained enough air to sit up and say, "It copies everything that's written down in that book, right?"

Fred nodded. "You buy a quill. Each quill has a charm on it which means that whoever writes with it, their writing will appear in the book of the buyer."

"So, Ron, if you were to use the quill on a certain, um, girl who you hang around with quite a lot " - Ron cottoned on and started to grin - "then whatever she writes with this quill will appear in this little red book."

"Great, ain't it?" Fred wiped a fake tear away from his eye.

Harry had started to laugh himself completely dumb again, and Angelina was leaning on the table, her face red from laughing so much. "We figured out that seeing as you wanted to trick Hermione, this might just be the way to do it."

Ron was now fully grinning. "You mean that we can find out everything she writes?"

Fred and George nodded in unison.

Ron burst into gales of laughter. "This is one of the best ones you two have pulled off yet!"

"Take a bow!" yelled Harry from his position on the floor, applauding. Fred and George did so, then George said, "So, Ron, do you want it?"

"One quill lasts one week," added Fred.

"How much?"

"Because you're our first customer, we'll give you two quills for a trial run, to see how it works. If you're happy, you've got to pay us five sickles per quill and five sickles for the book. Agreed?" George stuck out his hand. Fred did the same.

Ron grabbed Harry by the arm and yanked him up into a standing position. They both stuck out their hands, and, in some awkward way, they managed to shake both twins' hands at the same time. "Agreed," they said in unison.

"Absolutely - "

"CORKING!" Fred yelled before George could complete his sentence.

Angelina suddenly cried out, "Hey!"

"What?" All four of the boys turned around at the same time to look at her.

"You guys just told me how that thing works!"

"So?" said Fred, then realisation dawned upon him. "No! NO! NOOOOOO!"

"Guess our dinner is off then," she said, trying not to smile unsuccessfully. "I'll be going now." She sprinted up the stairs.

"Angelina! WAIT! YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!" Fred yelled as he sprinted after her.

George, Ron, and Harry all looked at each other and said in unison, "Absolutely corking."

"AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGHHHH!" came Fred's voice from somewhere above them. 

*****  

"Ron, how are we going to get this quill to her anyway?"

"I dunno, sneak it up into the girl's dormitory?"

"If we resort to that, you're going up there."

"Harry!"

Ron and Harry were discussing the various ways in which to stick the ingenious Copy Quill into Hermione's reach so that she would start writing with it, but first they had to figure out how on earth to make sure she found it.

This is proving a problem, said Ron's little voice.

"This is proving a problem," announced Harry.

"You don't say."

At that moment, Hermione herself walked into the common room, carrying a small book, holding it close to her chest as though it were her favourite rag doll. "Shh! She's coming!" hissed Ron, and Harry grabbed the box containing the quills and book and promptly shoved it under the table, out of sight. Hermione spotted them and came over.

"Hi," she said.

"Hello, Hermione," said Harry. She looked at him strangely, seeing as he seemed to be shifting uncomfortably. Ron suddenly realised that he was sitting on the box, and that the box was very close to breaking.

"Uh - hey, Hermione, um, lets play some chess," Ron said hurriedly, in a not-so-good flash of brilliance. Hermione turned to look at him as though he was a bit strange and said, "What? Now? But - it's nearly eleven o' clock!"

Ron checked his watch and was amazed to find that he and Harry had been sitting here for nearly three hours after they had gone down to dinner.

Where was Hermione at dinner?

"Hey, Hermione, where were you at dinner?" asked Harry, still looking as though he was sitting on a porcupine.

Hermione went a bit pink in the cheeks. "Oh, I was, um, doing some extra work."

"You missed dinner just for that?" said Ron incredulously.

Hermione drew herself up to her full height (which wasn't very tall) and said, "I actually care about my work, Ronald Weasley. So don't you dare go all - all -"

Dumb? thought Ron.

"Dumb?" suggested Harry.

"Ooh! I'm going to bed." Hermione practically sprinted up the stairs and disappeared.

Ron and Harry shared a look. Suddenly, Ron noticed Hermione's bag sitting behind Harry's shock of black hair. "Hey!" he said, so suddenly that Harry jumped. There was a CRACK, and Harry's eyes widened considerably.

Please do NOT tell me the box just broke.

"The box just broke," said Harry, sounding guilty (A.N. Noticing a nasty habit developing here?).

"Har-RY!"

"What?"

Ron sighed and got up, going around behind Harry and picking up Hermione's bag and plopping it on the table.

We can sneak the quill into her bag!

"We can sneak the quill into her bag!" said Harry, struck by a sudden inspiration. (A.N. Because I think I am).

Ron rolled his eyes and grabbed the broken box from Harry. The quills had better not be broken.

"The quills had better not be broken," Harry put in (A.N. Yup, I definitely am).

"They're not," said Ron, relieved. He grabbed one and stuffed in, taking out her real one. Hermione will never know the difference, he thought smugly.

"Hermione will never know the difference," Harry commented smugly, voicing for about the seventh time in five minutes what Ron had just been thinking.

"Done." Ron looked at Harry and they grinned at each other.

"Mission - " Harry started.

"Accomplished," Ron finished for him. You know, I think we might be becoming even a bit more evil than the twins.

"You know, I think we might be becoming a bit more evil than the twins," said Harry.

"ARGH! STOP DOING THAT!" yelled Ron, frustrated at having his thoughts mimicked every five seconds by his best friend.

"Doing what?" Harry sounded confused.

"REPEATING WHAT I'VE JUST BEEN THINKING!"

"What? I'm not a mind reader! And besides, it's not my fault!"

"HOW SO?"

"I'm not the one who writes the story, she is!" said Harry, pointing upwards (towards me).

"Absolutely Corking, would you mind?" (I think I may be causing some problems).

"No, not particularly." (I think I'm enjoying this).

"Please?" (Ooh, Harry's wheedling. I love that word).

"Call me by my name…"

"Please, Absolutely Corking?"

"Okay, fine. I'll stop."

"Thank you." Ron sat down, relieved.

"Were you just arguing with the narrator?" George asked as he came over to have a look at what the shouting was about.

"So what if I was?" Ron seemed to have returned to his grumpy mood, seeing as when he got up to argue with me the book fell open, revealing the page about him failing his test. He did not wish to be reminded of that matter. Or of Hermione.

Harry opened his mouth, took one look at Ron's face, closed it and pointed upwards again. (Fine, blame me for everything). 

"You mean you can talk to her?" Fred had joined them. He looked up at me and yelled out, "Hey! I like your name!"

"Thank you!" (I think I like this kid).

"Would you like to buy some of our quills?" George looked up too.

"Yeah, I would, but I owe my parents ninety dollars worth of phone calls. But get back to me on that one, okay?" (I think I like this kid too).

"Absolutely corking, Absolutely Corking!" they yelled back up at me (Yup, I definitely love these people).

"Is there meant to be an absolutely in front, or is it just corking?" Harry asked the twins.

George shrugged and looked at Fred. Fred scratched his head and said thoughtfully, "I dunno…I can't remember…I think I made it only corking…"

(I apologise for making my characters speak to me. Please, continue reading. If you are scared, you may leave now. If you're not, do stay and have an absolutely corking (or corking, whichever you prefer) time). 

*****  

"And that was when the pixies decided to revolt against the capture and pain they were suffering…"

Oh my God.

Tell me about it.

Ron felt his eyes begin to droop close. He decided not to make any effort to stop them, seeing as Professor Binns always managed to make anything he was lecturing them on sound as interesting as buttering bread.

Suddenly Harry gave him a nudge in the ribs. Ron sat up hurriedly, expecting to see Binns standing over him, waiting for the answer to one of his amazingly boring questions, but instead, Harry nodded his head backwards, towards where Hermione was sitting. Ron swiveled around to see that Hermione was writing with the quill he had stuck in her bag last night. He felt a piece of paper hit his arm and looked down. Harry had written a note, saying, Where's the book?

Upstairs, Ron scrawled back. Harry read it and rolled his eyes. "What did you leave it up there for?" he mouthed. Ron shrugged. "Read it after class," he mouthed back, and Harry nodded, then turned back to Binns. Ron did the same, and after about thirty seconds began to feel his eyelids droop again. 

*****  

"Ha! My God! I can't believe she wrote this!" Harry exclaimed as he read what Hermione had been scrawling about in History of Magic. Ron was too overcome by his laughter to reply.

"Who does she think she is when she lectures us about not writing about stuff in class when she writes this!" Harry shook his head, tears rolling down his face from laughing so hard.

My name is Hermione Granger. I must sound like a total dolt here, telling myself who I am, but I suppose if I'm going to keep writing in this book I should get used to feeling like a dolt. All right, here we go.

I'm fifteen years old and I'm a witch. I go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I have a cat called Crookshanks and come from Muggle heritage, which means that all my family apart from me are non-magic people.

I'm in History of Magic class, which is easily our most boring class ever. Professor Binns is the only teacher here who is a ghost and he seems to live to bore. Well, I suppose he doesn't really live, does he, but you get what I mean.

I'm planning to use this little book as, I suppose you could say, like a record of my life. All the things that happen from now on I'm going to record in here, as well as how I feel about various things and basically everything else about me.

I need a companion.

Ron stopped laughing long enough to take a breath, then started to chortle again. He rubbed his stomach and grabbed the book from Harry, who was now leaning against his bed, gasping for air.

"She needs a companion?" Ron snorted. "Then what does she call us? What're we?"

Harry wiped his eyes and shook his head, making his hair flop all over the place. "Maybe she doesn't think we're smart enough!"

But Ron didn't think that could be right. I mean, sure, she doesn't think we're as clever as she is, and she's right about that, but she's not that kind of person. She wouldn't not be friends with us just because she thinks we're dumb dolts.

Then why does she say she needs a companion?

Ron looked out the window and heaved a sigh.

"What's wrong?" Harry looked at Ron quizzically.

"Nothing." Ron continued to stare out of the window.

There was a pause. "It doesn't look like nothing," Harry said.

Ron tore his eyes away from the sky outside and looked at Harry. "What?"

Harry shook his head. "I'm going down to dinner. Coming?"

Ron shook his head.

Harry shrugged and walked towards the door, giving Ron a worried look as he opened it. He walked out, closed the door behind him and a moment later Ron heard his footsteps heading down the stairs and fading away.

Ron picked up the little red book again and stared at that one last line for a few minutes.

I need a companion.

What did she mean? 

*****  

Over the next few days, Ron and Harry read Hermione's thoughts, some of which were pretty funny. They found out that she used to be afraid of teddy bears ("What good ammunition!"), that she hated deep water ("Bags pushing her off the jetty when we go to the beach!"), and that she hated getting really dirty or wet ("We have to have a snow or mud fight or even both!" "And bury her in it!").

But perhaps the biggest and funniest thing that they found out was the fact the Hermione was afraid of flying.

Ron was lying on his bed, about to go to sleep, when Harry suddenly started to shake him by the shoulder. "Ron! Ron!" he hissed.

Ron tried to wave him away with several badly-aimed flaps of his hand, but Harry, being fast and speedy and the youngest Seeker in a century, dodged them all and continued to shake him. Ron finally sat up and hissed back, "What?"

"Look at this!" Harry lit his wand and showed Ron the little red book. In it was fast appearing, as though being written by an invisible hand, Hermione's neat handwriting.

It's really late, and thankfully everyone has gone to bed, because if they hadn't I definitely wouldn't be writing this, because it is one of the most embarrassing things you can imagine. ("Yes!" whispered Ron.) You see, I have this fear of flying. (Harry and Ron each had to grab a pillow each and stuff in their mouths to stop from laughing.) I cannot stand being on a broomstick, that high up in the air. And it's something that I'm not good at, because you can't learn it out of a book, and that really scares me, I don't know why.

Ron and Harry were both shaking with suppressed, silent laughter. Ron shoved Harry though his hangings and back onto his own bed. He heard Harry grab his pillow and stuff his face into it, because he could hear the muffled snuffling.

He couldn't believe this trick was going so well. How funny was it going to be when she found out? Ron raised his face to the ceiling and started to laugh like a maniac.

"Shh!" hissed Harry through his laughter as Seamus gave a loud snort.

Ron shook his head and clamped his mouth shut. He turned back to the book, intending to close it before he dropped it under his bed from laughing so hard, and, by the light of Harry's wand, which Ron still held, he saw more writing appearing.

It's so wonderful that I have this book to confide everything in. If I didn't, I don't know what I would do. I honestly think that I would go insane if I couldn't write down my fears and everything else in this book, because I certainly couldn't tell any of this to Ron or Harry. They would laugh so hard at me, they would never understand.

I don't think they ever do.

Ron stopped laughing. He snapped the book shut with a bang and muttered "Nox," under his breath. He then rolled himself over, nearly falling out of his bed in the process, and stuffed his face in his pillow.

"Ron?" he heard from the direction of Harry's bed. Ron immediately squeezed his eyes shut and pretended to be asleep. He heard the rustling of covers that meant Harry was settling down as well, and, within a few moments (after one last snort of laughter), Harry was breathing deeply. Ron rolled onto his back and closed his eyes, trying to sleep, but that now seemed impossible. The page with Hermione's writing seemed to continue to scroll itself across his mind. He rolled back onto his side, clamped his eyelids together and buried his face deeper into his pillow.

Only this time he wasn't doing it because he wanted to stop laughing.

He didn't even realise that he still had one arm draped over the little red book.

Only the next morning when he woke up did he pick it up and lay it down on the table next to his bed. 

*****  

"Ron," Hermione said, as she piled some bacon onto her plate, "Pass me the juice."

Ron handed it to her without a word. She poured some into her glass and then set down the jug. She stuffed some egg into her mouth and said, "You want some?"

"What, of the food?"

"No, Fred, not the food, some of the pumpkin juice." Ron shook his head.

Hermione peered at him. "Are you all right? You don't look well."

"What, you mean normal? I don't think he ever did." George stabbed his fork into some bacon. Ron scowled silently.

Hermione placed down her fork and looked at him. "Now I know you're not all right. Otherwise you surely would have got angry at Fred and George."

Ron just stared at the tablecloth. He couldn't tell her about what he had read, otherwise -

Ron stood up suddenly, spraying Fred and George with egg and bacon. They yelled out in protest, but Ron ignored them. "I - I've got to go." He started for the door.

"Ron - wait!" Hermione grabbed his arm. Ron jumped as little shocks ricocheted up and down it, all of them seeming to come from where her hand was. He turned to face her and saw her brown eyes filled with worry.

He couldn't do it.

"Just - just leave me alone." He pushed her arm off him and wandered outside onto the grass. 

*****  

Ron sat on his bed, staring at the ceiling of the four-poster. How could she write that?

He was, of course, thinking about what he had seen last night. What did she mean, they didn't understand? They were her friends.

Or, at least, you're meant to be.

WHAT?!

Well, if you're her friends, then why are you doing this to her?

Ron flopped back and felt his head hit his pillow. He rolled over and buried his face into it again, trying to shut out his guilty feelings by letting the blackness engulf him. Why am I feeling bad? This is one of the best tricks of all time!

It's also invading her personal space and privacy, as well as making a fool out of her.

And you care about her too much to do that.

WHOA. BACK UP A BIT. WHAT WAS THAT?

"Argh!" He sat back up and looked wildly around, as if someone could tap into his thoughts and was about to broadcast them around the whole common room. Where had that come from?

The door suddenly swung open and Harry walked in, giving Ron a suspicious look. He came and stood at the foot of Ron's bed and looked down on him.

"Hey, Harry, for once you're taller than I am!" said Ron, trying to crack a joke. Harry didn't even smile. Ron looked at him. His first thought was that something had happened with You-Know-Who, and he jumped up from his bed and grabbed Harry by the shoulders. "Godamnit Harry, what's wrong?"

Harry looked startled. "Calm down, Ron."

"Why are you so serious? What's happened?"

Harry shrugged himself out of Ron's grip and turned around to face him properly. "I should be asking you that question."

Surprised, Ron asked, "Why?"

"You haven't been talking all day, and you basically shoved me off every time I tried to talk to you. You looked as though someone had died. I was afraid something had happened to your family." Harry suddenly looked worried. "Nothing happened, did it?"

Ron shook his head. "No, no, they're fine."

"Then why are you so depressed?"

"I'm not."

"Yes, you are."

"Harry."

"Ron."

Ron matched the glare of Harry's brilliant green eyes with his own.

Then he turned away.

"Nothing," he said. "Nothing at all."

"Ron, I'm your friend. Tell me."

At the mention of the word friend, Ron remembered what Hermione had written and all his guilty, horrible thoughts came tumbling back.

"Go away," he whispered.

"Ron-"

"I said go away!" he yelled, not caring that Harry hadn't done anything wrong. "Just leave me alone!"

There was a long and awkward silence. Then Harry, sounding hurt, said, "I'm going to the library."

Ron stared at the floor as he heard Harry's footsteps on it and the door close. Then he heard the clunk of his shoes on the stairs until they faded so that he couldn't hear them anymore.

Ron looked over at his bedside table and found himself staring at the little red book, the sight of this returned his train of thought to what he had been thinking about when Harry had come in.

You like her, which is why you're keeping on with this whole quill thing.

I do not!

IT'S TRUE.

IT'S NOT.

IT IS.

PROVE IT.

Well, the only reason you're keeping on with this thing is because you want to find out if she has any feelings for you.

TAKE THAT BACK!

No.

WHY?

I don't feel like it.

SHUT UP!

Well, it's true, isn't it? ISN'T IT? Eh? EH?

"Damn you all!" Ron clapped his hands to his forehead and groaned. He was arguing with himself.

And losing.

To take his mind off the disturbing little voice inside his head and the disturbing feelings that were spinning around inside of him, Ron picked up the little red book and opened it to the page where he had read what she had written last night. He noticed some more writing appearing over the page. He flipped to it and started to read.

What he saw nearly made him faint.

I hate myself.

And I hate my life.

I know I should be thankful for who I am, but how can I be? This morning he was so quiet at breakfast, I knew something had to be wrong, because he didn't say a word when Fred and George teased him, and when I asked him if something was wrong he just got up and started to run off outside, and I grabbed his arm and he shoved me off as though I were a bug who didn't mean anything to anyone. It was horrible - the look he gave me - as if I was rubbish not worth bothering with - I felt so bad!

I must be such a horrible looking person if he did that to me - the look in his eyes - I don't think I'll ever forget it. It was horrid.

I know what he thinks of me. Harry too. They both think I'm a total know-it-all, and that I'm just made of books. It's almost as if there isn't really a me, I'm just a stupid little piece of paper with Hermione written on it. They don't understand anything about it - they're boys. That's why I can't really trust them.

I hate being the only girl in this friendship. They keep everything from me all the time - I know they do, I've seen them at it - the other night, I just know they were up to something, and in class too. The first day I wrote in this book, I saw them looking at me, nudging each other and whispering - it was awful! I felt so unwanted then, like they really didn't want me around. I know they usually don't.

Hang on, they always don't.

Ron swallowed. Oh God. 

*****  

I can't believe this. I can't, I can't, she didn't write that, if she did then it's not my fault…oh please let it not be true!

Ron sprinted down the hallway leading to the library, where he prayed he would find Harry and that Harry would forgive him.

He burst through the doors, earning himself a reproving glare from Madam Pince, and crept down the different alleys of books all crammed into the shelves until he found Harry, bent down over his work, poring over a piece of parchment.

Ron took a deep breath and walked up behind him. He tapped Harry on the shoulder.

He jumped at least three feet and spun around in his chair, fury written all over his face. It seemed to grow even more so when he saw it was Ron who had disturbed him.

"What do you want?"

"Look Harry, I'm sorry, but I've got to show you something, you have to read this."

"Oh, so now you want to talk to me? Well, I'm busy." Harry turned back to his parchment.

"Harry!" Ron flipped open the book to the page where Hermione had last written and shoved it under his nose. Harry stared at it and then his mouth opened in shock.

"She - she - she wrote all this?" Ron nodded. Harry shook his head in disbelief and Ron sat down in the other chair, with an especially large bookshelf behind him. Harry finished reading it and then whispered, "I can't believe it."

"You'd better. It's all right there in writing."

Harry raised his eyes to meet Ron's and said, "We have to stop."

Ron opened his mouth to agree, but suddenly something came out from the midst of his brain: What if she writes something more about you? What if she likes you?

"Ron?" Ron looked over and saw Harry staring right at him. He swallowed nervously and said, "I guess so."

"Get rid of these things. I can't believe Hermione ever felt like this."

"I wonder why, though? We don't usually leave her out, do we?" Ron jumped in his seat and whipped around. He thought he'd just heard a snort. How strange. He turned back to Harry.

"What?" he said.

"Just thought I heard something."

"All right then, we agree that we stop?"

"Do we tell her?"

Harry looked thoughtful "Do you think we should?"

Ron shook his head vigorously. "Absolutely not. She'd never trust us again."

"From the looks of it, she doesn't trust us anyway."

"All right then, she'll trust us even less. We say nothing about it whatsoever. Agreed?"

"Agreed." They reached over the table and shook hands with each other.

There was a sudden scuffling noise from behind him. He turned around again, but nobody was there. Ron shrugged and turned back to look at Harry. He looked away.

Ron grinned. "Harry, I'm sorry I yelled at you before."

Harry's head snapped up. He looked at Ron and grinned too. "That's okay. But are you sure nothing's wrong?"

No.

"Yes," said Ron, firmly. 

*****  

"What the hell is that old bag going on about?" Ron ran his hand through his hair and consulted the weird, wonky shapes on his chart that Professor Trelawney had given him. Fred, who was leaning on the back of his chair, looked down too. "Got no idea whatsoever," he announced, and wandered back over to where George and Lee were doing their own homework.

Just then the portrait hole opened and Harry and Hermione entered, Hermione clutching her bag as though she was afraid someone would try to eat the thing. Ron stared at her and she glared back. He looked over at Harry and he rolled his eyes. Hermione sat down across from Ron, with her bag still in her lap, and avoided his eyes.

Ron knew he had to get the quill that he had put in her bag out as soon as possible, because the first one had run out, as it was a week today, and she would start to write with the other one. He decided to just ask her if he could borrow a quill out of her bag and then he would just never give it back. If she asked for it, he would give her one of his non-magical ones.

"Hermione," he started, and her head shot up faster than Fred had run from his mother when she had found out that he had put a dungbomb under her pillow. Ron continued somewhat cautiously, and said, "Er - I was just wondering if I could have your bag for a second?"

Hermione looked scared. "Why?"

"Um - I just wanted to borrow a quill." Ron looked at her face, which had suddenly turned a bright pink. Instead of answering, she just said, "I have to go," and ran up the stairs.

Ron turned to Harry. "What -?"

He shook his head. "Don't ask." 

*****  

Ron yawned.

"Thanks for that charming input there, Ron," said Seamus Finnigan as he read his book titled The Irish Quidditch League.

"Shut up." Ron got up and stared out of the window to where Harry was practicing Quidditch with his brothers. He sighed.

"Hey," said Seamus suddenly. "Ron, that book is moving!"

Ron tore his eyes away from the twins trying to dive-bomb each other and turned to look at where Seamus was pointing. He was right - the little red book was shaking, as if it were cold. Ron let out a gasp and ran over to it, picked it up and opened it, trying to find the next clean page. Her found it and started to read the writing that was unfurling itself across the clean page.

I hope Ron realises just how much of a dolt he is. He thinks he and Harry are so good. Honestly! If someone could be any worse, it would be a miracle.

Ron's eyes widened in shock. Put it down! Put it down!

Leave it up! Leave it up!

If he honestly thinks that I should always help him with his homework every night and then just sod off when he wants me to, then he has another thing coming! Not to mention that he could try and work just a little harder, it's very disappointing when he fails all of his tests, especially when I try and help him as much as I possibly can, being his friend. Still, I suppose he's not the best friend I've ever had, especially after all the horrid things he's put me through and after he and Harry usually plan these huge amounts of rule breaking and trouble making behind my back.

I thought he was up to something the other day, but I'm quite sure I must be wrong. He couldn't think of anything worse than putting a dead spider in my bag amongst my school books, but then again, he's afraid of spiders, so he would have been too scared to even try and go near the thing. Really! I thought that Ron was at least a little bit stronger than that. The teddy bear story - I don't believe a word of it, I think he was just telling that to Harry and I because the thought it sounded cute. Well, it sounded pathetic. Honestly! He's never going to get any admirers that way - they'll all just think he's a bit of a wimp and leave him to it.

Ouch! Ron wasn't sure he could believe this.

But more of Hermione's neat, curly writing was scrawling itself across the piece of paper.

He really is a prat. The whole thing with Viktor - really! He was just terribly jealous, you could tell by just one look at his face. If you ask me, he was just angry that he had to go with Padma Patil instead, because I was already going with someone. Really, the way he was acting it was as though he had only just noticed for the first time ever in our whole friendship that I actually was a girl. It was as though I didn't count - that I wasn't pretty enough. And then Ron's Quidditch hero asks me to the Yule Ball! Me! Hermione, the only-just-spotted girl. And even then Ron insisted that it was just because Viktor - not "Vicky" - wanted to get to Harry. Through me. Because I was Harry's friend. As though I didn't count for anything, the only thing I was good for was being used - like Viktor didn't like me just for me, for whom I was. If you ask me, that's the most insulting thing you can say to someone, especially someone who is supposed to be your friend.

But then, Ron always has been an insulting prat. He's too busy arguing with me all the time to actually get to know me. Maybe he should try it sometime.

Then maybe we could actually become the good friends we're supposed to be.

Ron was thunderstruck.

The poo.

The complete poo.

The complete and utter poo.

The complete and utter little - you get the point.

"How could she say that?" Ron whispered furiously to himself.

"Who said what?" Seamus had put down his book and was looking at Ron curiously.

Ron's had snapped up. He hadn't meant for that to come out loud. But Hermione was going to get an earful and a half once he caught up with her.

"Shut up, shamrock," snapped Ron, throwing the book down onto his bed, forgetting that Seamus could at any time just pick it up and start to read it. He stormed out of the dormitory in search of a bushy haired, brown eyed someone who was a poo.

Hermione was in for it.

She was going down. 

*****  

Nearly foaming at the mouth, Ron stomped down the stairs and marched himself into the common room, looking around and searching into every corner. At last he spotted Hermione, who was sitting in her own little corner, stuffing something into her bag and looking very pleased with herself. He practically broke through the floor as he stalked his way through the crowd of first years sitting between them. He got to the edge of her table and stopped, staring down at her. She smiled serenely back at him. "Whatever's the matter? You look a little angry."

"You think?" Ron managed through gritted teeth.

"Well, what on earth is wrong?"

"Don't play stupid, Hermione, you know exactly what's wrong."

"No I don't. Why don't you tell me and then we'll be on equal ground?"

Ron took a deep breath.

She was trying to trick him into saying it.

She was trying to trick him into telling her about the whole plan.

About the quill.

He was never going to do it.

Hermione suddenly stood up, her playful air evaporating into the air around her faster that the speed of light. "Look, Ron, why don't you just admit to me that you and Harry are cooking something up?"

Ron looked up at her, anger boiling inside of him. "We are not planning anything and you know it."

"How can I when you have spent the past week whispering to each other and pointing at me?"

"LOOK, HERMIONE, NONE OF WHAT YOU WROTE IS TRUE!" Ron yelled out, not caring that basically the whole common room had stopped what they were doing and were now listening in eagerly.

"None of what I wrote?" Hermione spoke in a deathly quiet whisper.

Oops.

Good one Ron.

Ron clamped his mouth shut, but he knew it was too late. The damage had been done.

"What I wrote? What I wrote?"

Ron closed his eyes and waited patiently for the explosion.

"So it's true then, is it?" Ron quickly looked up. He saw her eyes were filled with tears and his heart gave a funny little jolt.

"Wha -?" Ron was speaking for what had just happened inside of him as much as anything else.

"THAT YOU WERE READING WHAT I WAS WRITING? THAT YOU HAD PLANNED SOMETHING BEHIND MY BACK?" Ron jumped back. He looked down at the ground and stammered, "Well - er - um - maybe -"

Hermione seemed to expand. She advanced on Ron, her face bright pink, her eyes shining with angry tears. "I knew it. It always happens. In that case, what I wrote, which you never should have got your horrid hands on in the first place - " ("Ouch!" commented Angelina Johnson) "- is perfectly true and you know it!"

It suddenly felt as though someone was pouring hot lava through his veins. Ron stood himself up to his full height and yelled, "YOU'RE MEANT TO BE OUR FRIEND!"

"HOW CAN I BE WHEN I CAN'T EVEN TRUST YOU?" Hermione swung around and stared right into his eyes. The effect on Ron was amazing - even though he felt as though he could punch her face out if needed, he still felt his insides melt. "YOU AND HARRY ALWAYS DO THIS TO ME! YOU ALWAYS LEAVE ME OUT!"

"YOU WROTE ALL YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS DOWN IN A BOOK INSTEAD OF TELLING US! YOU NEVER TELL US ANYTHING ANYMORE!"

"MAYBE BECAUSE I CAN'T TALK TO YOU! I CAN'T TRUST YOU!"

"WHY?"

Hermione suddenly seemed stumped. She opened her mouth, closed it again, and then shook her head.

Ron moved forward an inch, still cautious. "Why, Hermione?"

She looked back up at him. "Because all we ever do is argue. We hardly ever just talk and be what friends are." She swallowed. "We hardly even know each other."

Now it was Ron's turn to look like a guppy. He finally found his voice and whispered, "But we are friends."

"NO WE'RE NOT!" Hermione seemed to have found her voice without a problem, as well as her anger. "IF WE WERE REALLY FRIENDS, THEN YOU WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS WHOLE THING WITH THE QUILL!"

Ron suddenly registered what she had just said. "How did you know - "

"About the quill? Ginny, being a proper friend, came and told me that you had kicked her out of the common room, that the twins were cooking something up. Then I heard you and Harry talking about it in the library."

Ron turned to look at his sister, sitting in an armchair by the fire. "Why did you do that?"

Ginny stared into the fire. "She had a right to know that something was going on."

Ron turned back to Hermione. "That was you behind me in the library! I knew I heard something!"

"I figured it out."

"So you knew that when you wrote all that stuff that you just wrote, I would see it?"

Hermione nodded. "I had to get through to you somehow."

"You eavesdropped on us?" Ron, again, only just realised what he had just said. He mentally kicked himself. Again, it was too late.

Hermione walked right up to him so that they were face to face. Ron could feel her breath on him. It felt like it was on fire, from Ron's nerve endings.

"I eavesdropped? Oh yes, how could I? How could I ever dare to do that to my friends?"

Ron took a deep breath. He was struggling for air. Breathe, man, breathe!

Hermione suddenly gave him an almighty shove and sent him flying into an armchair just as Harry and the Weasleys came through the portrait hole. They all took one look at the scene before them and their eyes widened to the size of Ping-Pong balls.

"What -?" Harry started towards Ron and Hermione, but Hermione turned on him.

"Keep out of this, Harry, you've done enough damage already."

Harry recoiled, and even the twins, who were standing a lot further away, stepped back a couple of inches.

"Why did you do this?" Hermione no longer sounded as angry as she just had. She now sounded more like she was pleading with him, desperate to know the answer.

When all else fails, blame someone else.

No! You did get yourself into this in the first place.

How so?

You're the one who wanted to keep this whole thing up! You didn't treat her anything like a friend!

So what do I do now?

Take a deep breath.

And?

Tell her the truth.

Ron took a deep breath. "Because I wanted to find out what you were thinking and how you felt."

"Why?"

"Because you never tell us stuff anymore. You tell everything to that blue book and carry it around as if it's your best friend."

Hermione's eyes glittered. "Maybe I needed a replacement."

"Good call!" yelled Lee Jordan. He was silenced with a look.

"Hermione -"

"But why did you want to know everything I was thinking and feeling?"

Do I have to do this?

Yes.

Okay, fine.

"Because - "

"Because you're a prat, that's why. Because you just wanted to make a fool out of me and make me feel left out. You don't even have to tell me, I already know - "

Ron leapt up from the chair, frightening Hermione so that she took a step back. He towered over her, eyes flashing with anger.

"SHUT UP!" he yelled. "YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING! I WAS WORRIED ABOUT YOU! I CARE ABOUT YOU A LOT MORE THAN YOU THINK! GODDAMNIT, HERMIONE, I love you. "

Hermione gaped at him. Ron realised for the third time what he had just said. He choked back a yell of frustration and ran for the boy's staircase before anyone could find him. 

*****  

Ron lay face down on his bed. He couldn't believe what had just happened or what he had just said. Not to mention Hermione hates me now.

Well, you deserved it.

I know.

You should have just told her that anyway.

Yeah, but I wouldn't have found out what she'd thought of me if I hadn't got those quills off Fred and George. And then we wouldn't have to have had that fight anyway.

Yeah, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I dunno. Maybe it's both.

Ron rolled over and sighed. Suddenly he noticed that the little red book was quivering next to his bed. "Stupid, dumb thing!" he hissed at it, and picked it up, ready to rip it apart.

But something told him to read it,

I honestly don't know why on earth I'm doing this.

Ron took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and flipped open the book.

When he looked down, he was sure he was going to faint.

Ron just told me he loved me.

I can't believe how stupid I have been.

Maybe he did mean to leave me out and everything at the beginning, but now I think he might have meant what he said.

I was wrong. I can trust him. He has been my friend for ages. We've been through a lot together, along with Harry.

Ron, I know you're reading this. If you're not, you'd better.

I'm sorry.

I was horrible to you. You're right, I should have told you all these things instead of keeping them locked up in this book (or, at least, I thought they were!), and please forgive me for it.

I hope you meant what you just said. Because if you did, you'd have no idea how long I have been waiting for you to say that. Viktor doesn't mean a jot as much as you mean to me.

Because I love you too.

Ron swallowed.

Then he gave a whoop of joy.

"OH MY GOD! YES!" 

A/N: I tried as hard as I possibly could to make the characters sound like themselves, I had a bit of trouble in A Christmas Fight, I hope they sounded more like themselves in this one. Thanks for reading! 

//
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