The Sugar Quill
Author: Basil M  Story: A Long-Term Friend  Chapter: Default
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It’s summer

 

 

A Long-Term Friend

 

Sequel of sorts to “Quibbler Quiz”. Ginny compiles a list of long-term friends for love interest consideration and comes to a certain conclusion.

 

Because Ginny appeared in my apartment like an apparition, saying “You must write my story”. Actually, it was more like she hit me on the head with the frying pan which I still have not washed from the other day, after dumping the contents of the wine-from-a-box that has been on our counter since that party spring quarter on my head, saying, “Write this, damn it!”

 

 

 

 It’s summer.

 

Birds are chirping. The sun is shining. And I can’t go outdoors. Because a Death Eater might be wandering around the area, see Ron and me on our brooms, and knock us out of the sky with death curses.

 

Or, as I explained to Mum, Ron and I could simply double-hex Mr. And Mrs. Death Eater scum with Bat Bogeys and Bone Removal, sending them to keep company at St. Mungo’s with Mr. And Mrs. Limp, Useless, and Ugly, the two we—er—ran into at the Ministry.

 

Mum had a fit.

 

She just doesn’t like the idea of her precious, innocent daughter being involved in Ron’s annual dangerous end-of-the-year-stunt. Which, of course, Ron can handle because he is a big strong boy, whereas I am still 5.

 

Please.

 

She seems to have forgotten how involved I was in said annual end-of-the-year-stunt my first year.

 

Huh. A lot of people seem to forget about that.

 

Wish I could forget.

 

Oh well. Whatever.

 

Then Mum said “Maybe we can all go back to Grimmauld Place before school starts and it will be safe and Harry can join us there.”

 

To which I replied, “Oh yes, Mum, brilliant plan. Let’s drag poor, tortured-enough-already Harry back to his dead godfather’s house, where he can be surrounded by things that remind him of the only time he’s ever spent with someone who was close to his parents. That way he can constantly think about the fact that someone he loved was made into an innocent victim because some evil and powerful not-quite-human-enough-to-be-a-wizard decided he wanted to take over the world. Oh yeah, and kill Harry. Great idea. When do we leave?”

 

Mum looked like she was going to cry.

 

Which would have been all right, because I was crying.

 

It’s not like—

 

Oh bugger.

 

But if I just stare out the window and think blankly for a while, it goes away. For a while.

 

On the bright side of things, Ron and I are back together.

 

When I say back together, I don’t mean it in the way I would were I to say “Michael and I are back together.” Which I would never say, because it would never happen. So never mind.

 

What I mean to say is, we are as one again. Brother and sister. The dynamic duo. The super siblings. The wildest Weasleys.

 

You thought it was Fred and George.

 

You were wrong.

 

Perhaps it is the result of us sharing a bonding experience: together during Ron’s annual whatsit. Not the one involving me nearly having the life sucked out of myself, while Harry stabs the damn book with the oversized molar that would have killed him and it would have been my fault if it weren’t for Fawkes, while Ron moved rocks and hung out with the absent minded professor. The one where we both ran around kicking Death Eater arse.

 

Right.

 

So Ron and I are banned to the house in solitude, as the twins have moved to a flat above their store and don’t visit nearly often enough to relieve the boredom of their less fortunate younger siblings. We take turns flying in his room, banging against the walls and ceiling and waking up the ghoul until Mum comes up to yell at us. I’ve got tons of bruises. It’s quite groovy. Perhaps I will show—no, never mind.

 

We do (did, actually, all done! Hermione is so proud) our homework. I helped Ron with Potions, which I am better at, despite his additional months of worldly knowledge, and he helped me with Astronomy, which he is better at, perhaps because of said months. And I helped him make a list of possible disasters for him to use as a handy reference tool for Divination homework.

 

And we talk.

 

About everything.

 

Well, almost everything.

 

Yes, even that. See, I know all the girl stuff, and he knows all the guy stuff. So, we exchange information and ta-da! Two geniuses. It’s brilliant.

 

We even discuss… nightmares. And things. You know, the scary kind. He said I could come to him, if I was ever lonely at school. Or, you know… scared.

 

It’ll be nice to have Ron, now that the twins are gone. Not that I didn’t have Ron before. But things are different now.

 

Not that I’d go in there, at night.

 

Because there’s boys in there. Boys my age, practically. Just the perfect age for me, actually, as girls mature faster than boys.

 

This is excluding Michael Corner. For all his “serious talk”, he is not mature enough to be a good sport. He is, in fact, a sore loser. Despite the fact he was not playing. 

 

Anyway.

 

There are boys who probably think I like them, because the walls at Hogwarts and even the Hogwarts’ Express have ears. Oh well.

 

Boys.

 

Har—*ahem*.  Ha. Ha. Haha.

 

Back to Ron and me, the thing we don’t discuss is love lives. Because Ron’s not capable of handling it. He can’t handle the details of my love life. He can’t handle the details of his own. Or at least, not enough to discuss it with me.

 

Right now he is writing his daily installment of a novel to Hermione. A process from which I am banned. Which is why I am sitting in my room, staring out the window.

 

Actually, no, I’m staring out the window because—Oh damn.

 

Stare stare stare.

 

Blank blank blank.

 

I am thinking nothing. My mind is empty.

 

What does he write in those letters, anyway, that takes him so long? It’s not like there’s tons of news.

 

Dear Hermione,

Today Ginny told me all about girls. Now I understand why you were so upset that one day.

 

Dear Hermione,

You probably already knew this, but all boys are complete idiots.

 

Dear Hermione,

I have been in love with you since the very first time I saw you on the Hogwarts Express. In fact, I wrote a letter to my sister the next day, trying to pretend I thought you were annoying, but she saw right through it and knew it was fate. She is, by the way, very excited to have you for a sister-in-law and already has her bridesmaid robes picked out.

 

I don’t know how Ron does it. I’ve only been at it for 3 minutes, and I’ve already run out of ideas.

 

I’ve finished a letter to Hermione. She must get bored of the same thing twice.

 

Although I don’t tell her she smells like roses.

 

Not that Ron does, either. But I heard him mutter something about it once when he fell asleep on the couch.

 

I’ve also written a letter to Neville. He’s so sweet. They should have Neville Appreciation Day. Perhaps I will mention it to Luna on Saturday.

 

I would have written to Luna, too, but she lives nearby so she comes round every Saturday, and we’d have nothing to discuss if I wrote her letters.

 

I could write to Harry.

 

Where did that come from?

 

I’ve never written a letter to Harry. Ever. Not even a thank-you note. I’d probably have to include a lock of my hair for him to know who it was from.

 

Well, that’s a stupid thought. Harry knows who I am. I think.

 

Of course he does!

 

But I won’t write to him. He’d probably get bored of the same thing twice.

 

And Harry does not smell like roses.

 

He smells like—never mind. I don’t know what he smells like. Not really.

 

It’s a very distinct scent, anyway. You can’t compare it to anything. Which is why you will never hear me muttering in my sleep about what Harry smells like.

 

Not the only reason, of course.

 

Ok, that’s all. I’ve filled my thinking-about-Harry quota for today. Thank you. Good bye.

 

There is an interesting pattern on my ceiling.

 

That’s when it happens. A thought pops into my brain, or rather, out from under a month’s worth of accumulated thoughts, like a little reminder I put on my desk, but got buried under Potions exams and Astronomy charts only for it to resurface completely randomly.

 

I make a mental note to compile a list of long-term friends for love interest consideration.

 

That bloody quiz. I’d forgotten all about it. Mostly.

 

But why not? I’ve got nothing better to do with myself until Ron finishes his Hermione-time an hour from now. And that, my friends, you might like to think is an exaggeration, but believe me, it is not. The boy really does write to her for two hours everyday. And some people say it’s not love.

 

Well, not all of us are so lucky! I think as I take out a fresh sheet of parchment from my homework-free desk. Hermione suggested, since I was done with my summer assignments, that I should start studying for the OWLS. Honestly, who does she think I am? Her? I know what I want to be after school, anyway, and it doesn’t require any OWLS. Harry Potter’s wife.

 

Oops, sorry, old answer. That just slipped out.

 

Ginny’s list of long-term friends for love interest consideration, I write as a title, then beneath it I write Top Secret. Just as a precaution.

 

Because if someone finds this paper, they’ll definitely stop reading once they see those words.

 

Top Secret

 

1.      Neville

I guess this is where the consideration comes in.

-Very sweet.

-Very nice.

-No spark whatsoever.

-perfect for Luna

 

1.      Neville

 

Next.

 

2.      Colin.

-bit annoying, really. Not so much I can’t put up with in a friend, but imagine living with him. Ugh. No thanks.

-Shorter than me. I didn’t think it was physically possible, but… there you go.

 

2.   Colin

 

3.      Jim

-dating fellow Gryffindor 4th year. No-no.

 

3.   Jim

 

And… that’s it.

 

Ok, so I guess when they say “long-term friends” what they really mean is acquaintances, people I know.

 

4.      Seth W. of Hufflepuff

-Quite groovy-looking, actually.

-

 

Er…

 

I don’t know him well enough to actually consider. I don’t really know a lot of blokes in my year, outside of Gryffindor. Perhaps they are a bit standoffish. Or maybe I am the one who is standoffish. Does it matter? Hmm... not really. Moving on.

 

4.      Seth W. of Hufflepuff

 

5.    Justin F.F.

-good looking.

-but a bit pompous

-still, though, he may grow out of it.

 

5.      Justin F.F. (?)

 

-wait, no, he’s going out with Hannah Abbot. I forgot.

 

5.   Justin F.F. (?)

 

6.  Ernie M.

-Cute, if you like that gooby kind of look. Which I don’t.

-Besides, taken.

 

6.   Ernie M.

 

7.      Terry B.

-ex’s friend. No-no.

 

7.   Terry B.

 

8.   Oliver W.

-looks good in Quidditch robes

-looks good in school robes

-probably looks good without(No, bad Ginny!)

-sadly, too old for me

 

8.   Oliver W.

 

9.  Snape

-hahahahahahahaha I’m soo funny.

 

9.  Snape

 

What about the boys preventing me from seeking solace in my only (at school) brother’s company in the lonely night? Yes, I suppose they count too.

 

10.    Dean

-very good looking

-quite nice, too

-dead (would be if Ron found out)

 

Oh well.

 

10.    Dean

 

11.  Seamus

-wait. Wasn’t he a jerk last year? Mr. I-don’t-believe-Harry-because-I-am-a-moron? Sorry, no.

 

11.    Seamus

 

Mmm…

 

Hmm…

 

Isn’t there another sixth year boy? Besides him.

 

Oh yeah, Neville. Already got him.

 

So I’m only missing…

 

No.

 

Ok, well. I have to write it down at least. He is a boy. One that have known for a long time. I could even consider him a friend. Provided he knows who I am. Which of course he does.

 

It’s not a big deal. I’ll just write his name down and draw a line through it really quickly.

 

12.    Harry.

 

There.

 

Nn—nnn—nyeh. Why can’t I do it? Why can’t I cross his name out?

 

N—N— Ok. Ok. I’ll consider him.

 

12.   Harry

-nice

-very noble

-sweet. Most of the time.

-good at Quidditch.

-looks sexy in Q. uniform I did not just write that.

-smart

-but not overly studious (studiousness being a good quality for best mates, but not love interests, unless you are Ron, which I am not)

-can be quite funny

-can also be a prat (but who isn’t from time to time)

-good looking, if you like that green-eyed messy hair look. Which I do. Kind of. A lot.

 

Er…

 

-not my type   I write very quickly.

 

Ok. Nnn—nhyah.

 

Oh bugger.

 

Blast.

 

Nn—what’s the point?

 

I toss the paper aside in frustration and fall back on my bed as that feeling, that feeling that’s been nagging at me since… well, for a long time, comes flooding over me in waves. It’s familiar, yet new at the same time. And more than a bit overwhelming. And it’s… it feels wonderful.

 

No, it’s not a bad feeling. The bad feelings come when I’m walking down the hall, and I see Harry coming, so I smile at him, or wave, and he doesn’t see me. Or when I’m sitting at dinner and Harry’s got this dreamy look on his face, and my heart leaps in my throat because I think that maybe… but he’s looking at the Ravenclaw table. Or when there’s a ball, and I’m so excited because I want Harry to ask me. But he doesn’t. And the whole thing is stupid, because I knew he wouldn’t. 

 

Which is why I stopped having this damn feeling in the first place.

 

But now it’s back. And it’s different somehow. And it’s wonderful.

 

Because it’s Harry. And he’s wonderful. And so Harry.

 

His hair, how it’s always so messy, even when he tries to make it flat.

 

His voice, that’s so soft yet strong and always makes me feel safe.

 

His hands, that, secretly, recently I’ve been wondering what it’s like to have—oh no, we won’t get into that.

 

His eyes, that seem to pierce straight through to my heart when he looks at me. So deep and intense.  Full of emotion, just like he is. Full of pain.

 

Oh, Harry.

 

Oh, Harry.

 

It’s an odd feeling, I’m thinking, as I close my eyes, letting it sweep over me. Nearly taking my breath away. It’s never been this intense. This Harry feeling.

 

I didn’t ask to feel this way. You’d have to be crazy to want to… But I do. I want to very, very much.

 

And if I could, any way, possibly… I’d do whatever it takes to take some of that pain away. 

 

Well, maybe… Maybe I could be his friend.

 

My heart gives a little leap at that thought. That’s all I ever really wanted. Well, no, not all, not really. During my hopeless crush, I used to fantasize that he’d walk up to me, confess his undying love, and kiss me passionately, and… yeah. It gets really fun. But that’s another story. I also had these fantasies, even better, where by some miracle he and I are alone together, and I’m not blushing, and we are actually talking. And we open up to each other, because he understands me, and I understand him. Or maybe we just talk about Quidditch. But the important part is, he gets this look on his face, one that he doesn’t have nearly often enough. He’s laughing, and smiling. Especially in his eyes. You can’t see in them that he is carrying the weight of the world. For a moment, he’s just Harry.

 

Harry, looking at me. Smiling. Laughing.

 

Oh Merlin.

 

It’s happened.

 

When Lockhart offered to give us autographs. And all those times Luna would go on about some conspiracy, getting Hermione all riled up, and no one but us seems to realize how incredibly funny it is.

 

And—well, I don’t think that episode at Christmas really counts as opening up to one another. He bloody forgot about the worst thing that’s ever happened to me—that he saved me from!

 

But he did seem really sorry about it.

 

And even then, I managed to cheer him up. I love to see that look on his face. And to know that I put it there. To know that I can make him happy.

 

To be Harry’s friend, something that seemed so out of reach even a year ago, is now actually… not so out of reach.

 

With a sudden burst of energy I leap out of bed and run up the stairs to Ron’s room. Without bothering to knock (he can hear me coming, right?) I burst in, landing on his bed, then jumping into a sitting position when I come into rather sharp contact with a copy of “Flying with the Cannons”.

 

“Sorry to interrupt.”

 

“You’re not,” answers Ron cheerfully as he folds his novel into a manuscript—more manageable for Pigwidgeon. He grins at me. I grin back. I love my brother. He is so fabulous. So absolutely wonderful. So completely great.

 

Hermione would have to be nuts to not love him to bits. And, of course, she’s not nuts. She’s Hermione. So there you have it.

 

“Does Harry know who I am?” I ask, rather abruptly. Ron looks at me as though I’d gone mad, which, perhaps, I had. I blame the isolation. And the fact that our only visitors are Luna and the twins.

 

“Er, what I mean to say is, do you think he’d like it if I wrote to him?” Now Ron’s giving me an entirely different look, and I’m not sure I like it. He looks much too… knowing.

 

“I’m sure he would,” answers Ron casually.

 

“You don’t think he’d get sick of the same stuff twice?” Ron looks at me blankly. So much for Mr. Clever. “You know, because you write to him too? You do write to him, don’t you?” I demand accusingly.

 

“Of course!” answers Ron. “But I’m sure you have different things to tell Harry.”

 

Dear Harry,

Today Mum showed me how to brew a potion for cramps.

 

Or not.

 

“You could,” Ron continues, “tell Harry he smells like roses.”

 

I stare at my brother. Perhaps I’ve been teasing him about that a little too much. But—no, that doesn’t make sense. Maybe… maybe Ron is capable of handling more than I gave him credit for.

 

“Harry doesn’t smell like roses,” I say matter-of-factually.

 

“Of course not,” says Ron. I raise my eyebrows. “Not that I’ve been smelling Harry,” he added quickly.

 

“Well, neither have I,” I say coolly.

 

Then we are both laughing so hard we nearly tip over and have to cling to each other for support. This is why I love my brother—as I said before, he is fabulous. Even more so than I thought. He is… indescribably wonderful.

 

“What are you going to write to Harry about?” asked Ron, once we are able to speak again.

 

“You,” I answer. Not telling him any more. Even when he tried to tickle-torture me into talking.

 

Because I know Harry, and I know he’ll get a laugh out of the fact that Ron is hiding in his room writing to Hermione all summer, just like another prefect couple we know.

 

That is, once he gets into the idea that his two best friends snogging does not mean they are going to exclude him from anything else. And even then (during the snogging related absence—ew… yucky yuck) he’ll be fine because he’s got other friends (like me!). And he may as well get used to it, because he’ll be giving a speech at their wedding.

 

And maybe…

 

Well, there are a lot of maybes in this world.  We’ll just take them one at a time.

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to Pooca for all the help, and to Aibhinn for being, as always, a fabulous Beta and a good influence! J

The idea of Ginny sneaking into the twin’s room post-nightmare belongs to Unusually Unusual’s “A Conversation with Fred and George” (or similar title), where ever she/he/it maybe be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huh

 

 

 

//
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