The Sugar Quill
Author: Darwin's Apprentice (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Letters to Mum  Chapter: Chapter One: The Good News
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The Good News

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I thank my beta reader, Stella, deft hand with the blue pencil and always cordial and complimentary.  She never complained about making the same comma correction over and over.  And over.  I also thank Hope for being my first reader.  This series is her idea.  And I thank Richard for being ruthless when he edits.  Spilling my literary blood seems to make him feel better.  I know it makes my writing better.


The Good News


Dear Mum,


I have good news and bad news.  First, the bad news.


Ron was made prefect.  Well, that’s not bad news, exactly.  The bad news is that Harry didn’t make prefect.  No, that’s not right.  I mean, Ron did … but it was Harry holding the … Wait.  Stop.  Let me start at the beginning. 


My Hogwarts letter came to Grimmauld Place today.  As soon as I read it, I ran to the boys’ room to see if either of them were made prefect.  I’m sure you remember from our talk this summer that I was confident that Harry would be Dumbledore’s choice for prefect.  I mean, he and Ron have the highest grades of the Gryffindor boys, but it’s Harry that won the Triwizard Tournament; it's Harry that's a Quidditch star; and well… he’s Harry Potter!  I don’t mean he should get prefect just because he’s famous, but he really is the hero type: brave, noble, selfless.  And Professor Dumbledore has never made a secret of his respect for Harry. 


Anyway, I just knew Harry would be made prefect.  But I told you how worried I was that Ron would feel left out and think that, once again, he’s second rate and not first.  (And he’s not.  Second rate, that is.)  Ron would make a great prefect.  He’s smart and brave and thoughtful and handsome noble.  He’s definitely first rate.  But Ron does have a fierce temper when provoked.  And it doesn’t take much to provoke him.  And … well… he’s NOT Harry Potter.  So, anyway I was sure that Harry would be prefect.


So here’s the bad news: Harry’s not!  It’s Ron!  Ron is prefect!  Well, that’s not the bad news.  That’s just wonderful news!  Mum, I am so happy that Ron finally gets a chance to shine!  This is the first time he’s beaten Harry at anything!  Mrs. Weasley is bursting she’s so proud of him.  And Ron loves the attention.  (Not in a bigheaded way.  I mean, he’s not conceited or anything.)  But the Weasleys are a BIG family.  They are all so talented that it requires something extra to take center stage for even a short time.  Ron’s definitely center stage right now.  The last time he got this much attention was when he beat Professor McGonagall’s chess set at the end of our first year. 


So anyway, Ron was made prefect.  That’s where we arrive at the bad news.  Otherwise known as: How Hermione Granger Managed to Mortify Herself and Insult Her Best Friend in the Same Breath.  (Breaths actually, since I managed to insult him more than once in the span of a minute.)


As soon as I got to their room, I saw Harry standing there holding the prefect badge, which I just assumed was his.  (That’s a natural assumption, isn’t it?)  So I screamed and said, “I knew it!”  But Harry immediately shoved the badge back at Ron and said, “It’s Ron, not me.” 


Do you see the problem?  There I was standing in the middle of their room having just told Ron, Harry and both of the twins (at the top of my lungs, mind) that even before the badge arrived I knew that Harry would be made prefect over Ron.  That was just my first faux pas.  But don’t worry, your daughter is not the smartest witch of her age for nothing!  I used my lightning quick intellect to smooth over that awkward moment.  


I said (with an incredulous expression on my face), “Ron?  … are you sure?” 


Tuh!  What a pointless thing to say.  The worst part is that I’m sure that made Ron think I view him as second class behind Harry.  And Mum, you know I don’t!  Why did I say something stupid like that in front of Ron?! 


While we were waiting for Harry to arrive this summer, Ron and I had a great time!  After cleaning all day, we would play Exploding Snap and chess.  I even convinced Mrs. Weasley to let me take Ron and Ginny grocery shopping at a Muggle store in our neighborhood.  Ron was so funny, wondering, “If eclectericity keeps things in the freezer cold, why do the light bulbs inside freezers get hot?”  Ginny took Muggle Studies, so she knows the basics of Muggle life, but Ron’s clueless.  He is so cute funny staring in amazement at things like automatic doors and bar code scanners.  He was convinced he was hearing a Fwooper when the checkout registers kept beeping over and over.  (Honestly!  As if Fwoopers were native to Great Britain and commonly found in Muggle groceries!) 


Even though we spent everyday scrubbing and cleaning, I had a wonderful time!  And I think Ron enjoyed spending time with me.  At first, I thought he might miss Harry and resent not having any guy stuff to do.  But he chose to spend time with me!  Even when the twins were around.  When Mrs. Weasley gave us chores, Ron always paired with me.  He always asked me what we should do after dinner.  We usually included Ginny, but only after we decided what we were doing.  Even when I was studying, Ron would get his books and pretend to study, too.  (Usually he was a huge distraction, fiddling with the Wizard’s Wireless and talking about Quidditch or brooms.)  But even then, we didn’t argue.  Not much, anyway.  What I mean is that we spent a huge amount of time together.  It got to feel natural. 


Mum, do you remember this summer when I told you that I thought I might like someone?  And I asked you how I would know if it was something special?  Would there be thunder or bells or something?  Do you remember your answer?  “You’ll know.  You’ll just know.”  Well, the someone that I thought I might like was Ron.  I know I’ve liked him as a friend forever.  But I wasn’t sure that I liked him.  I mean liked him liked him.  You know.  But after spending so much time with him, I started thinking that maybe – just maybe - what I was feeling was real.  But I don’t want to ruin a great friendship by trying to make it something it’s not.  And what if he doesn’t feel the same way?  But, if he is the one, then I don’t want to miss that.  Either way, why did I have to insult him just as he stepped into the spotlight?


And it wasn’t my fault at all!  To try to recover from my less than stellar beginning, I started to congratulate him to put things right.  But I couldn’t get the words to come out.  I was blushing and stuttering and I managed to stammer out, “Well done, Ron.”  Then, just as I began to tell him, “That’s really great!”  George cut me off!  It was awful!  Just as I said, “That’s really…” George butts his thick head in and says, “unexpected!”  So, together it sounded like we both said, “That’s really unexpected!”  That was my second faux pas.  And since the first faux pas had pretty much established that I thought Harry would be prefect, the second made it sound like I thought no one else could imagine Ron as prefect, either.  I was trying to put things right, but, thanks to George, things were just getting worse!


I forced myself to calm down.  George’s comment was rubbish!  I couldn’t let Ron think I felt like that.  I certainly know loads of reasons why Dumbledore made him prefect. So, I turned to him to set things straight and said, “No …” And suddenly, I was right next to him, looking right into his eyes.   “… no, it’s not …”  I was staring right into his huge blue eyes and I couldn’t think of a thing to say.  “Ron’s done loads of …”  Not a thing!  My mind went numb.  “…he’s really …”  I might as well have been Obliviated, Mum!  All I saw was blue.  It’s like his eyes were huge icebergs and I was stranded on them.  And, oh!  I smelled his shampoo.  Why did that matter?  It’s the same stuff Fred and George use.  But on Ron it smells …different.  So, there I was.  Completely lost inside ice-blue eyes, and enveloped in some kind of voodoo soapy smell. Paralyzed.  All the while, a still small voice in the back of my head is telling me that I am supposed to be saying something.  But I couldn’t move.  Frozen.  Just as Ron started to look at me as if I were daft or ill, Mrs. Weasley bustled into the room and started asking about our letters.  Those blue eyes looked away, and I was free.  It took a few minutes for my brain to thaw out and regain my senses.  By the time I could think clearly again, it was too late to apologize.  Mrs. Weasley was going through an emotional tizzy over Ron being made prefect and the moment was gone.


So, the bad news isn’t that Ron made prefect.  The bad news is that I made a fool of myself in front of everyone and, worse, I hurt Ron’s feelings.


But, Mum, the good news!  Oh, the good news!  You were right!  The good news is that this summer, you were right.  I know!  I just know.


Thanks, Mum.


                                                                                    Love from,




P.S.  I made prefect.

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