The Sugar Quill
Author: Azyne  Story: And After That  Chapter: Chapter 2: Everything Going On
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Disclaimer: All right, it’s not mine

Disclaimer: All right, it’s not mine.  Well, don’t get cocky; it’s not yours either.  (And if it is, I’m really honoured that you’re reading this…O.O)

 

A/N: As always, thanks tons to my beta-reader Elanor!

 

And After That

 

Chapter 2: Everything Going On

 

 “Hermione, dear!”

 

Hermione thundered down the staircase.  Almost frantically, she asked, “What?  Are they here?”

 

“No,” answered her mother with an amused look.  “You’re a little excited, aren’t you?  And the hair?  I like it!”

 

“Thanks, Mum, it’s mousse.  And it’s just that….” Hermione was at a loss for words, as she had been very few times before in her life.  “You know, they’ve never been here before, and all that.” 

 

“Right,” Mrs. Granger said, still smiling.  “Anyway, I called you down here to ask if you’d be all right if your father and I left you to greet your friends by yourself.”

 

“We’ve got that meeting, then we both have patients to attend to, ’Mymers,  mumbled her father with his tie between his teeth, rushing around.  Hermione often wondered where he got all the time to come up with these horrid nicknames.

 

“So I’m afraid you’ll have to welcome them by yourself,” her mother added, stepping up to Mr. Granger to help knot his tie.

 

“Oh….” was all Hermione said, watching her parents.  “All right, then.”

 

Her mum finished tying with flourish, patted her husband’s chest, and turned to ask, “Are you sure you’ll be okay?”

 

“Yeah, of course.  I’m almost sixteen, you know,” Hermione reminded her mother.  “I’ll be able to handle my friends coming over.”

 

“I know you will, honey.”  Mrs. Granger picked up her briefcase and keys.  “Remember to be polite to the Weasleys and offer them some snacks.  I’ve left some out on the counter.”

 

“Yes, Mum,” said Hermione with an eye roll.

 

“Mark, let’s go!” called her mother before heading out.

 

Mr. Granger dashed down the hall, snatching up his own briefcase along the way.  “Be polite, be nice—”

 

“I know, Dad, Mum already went through it.”  Hermione held out the keys her father would soon be looking for.

 

“All right, then, you’ll be fine, Tiny ’Mione,” said her dad.  Just before leaving, he stopped and looked his daughter in the eye.  “Not so tiny anymore, eh?” he said wistfully.  “Be careful, won’t you?”

 

“Of course, Dad,” she said, forcing the corners of her mouth upward.  “You’re leaving for work, not the Army!”

 

“I know, Snuckums.  We’ll see you at five.”  With a kiss on her cheek, her father left.

 

Hermione closed and locked both the storm door and the wooden one, as it had become a habit since…since everything had been going on.  Sighing, she collapsed on the couch.

 

She was sick of her parents worrying so much, but what made her more sick was the fact that she was to blame.  It wasn’t entirely her fault, but she still felt guilty.

 

And I have good reason to, she thought angrily.  Mum and Dad never worried half as much before.  It’s all because I turned out to be a witch, and he happens to hate Muggle-borns.  He.  Voldemort.

 

“Vo-Voldemort.”  She could never say it without stuttering.  Vold  Deep breath.  Voldemort.”

 

There.  Done.  No big deal.

 

Except it was.  His name was nothing, but he, himself, was absolutely terrifying.  He was going to kill them all, one by one, or perhaps family by family.  Please let him get me alone, Hermione prayed.  Don’t harm my parents, please!  Tears burned behind her eyes.  She would have to get used to that feeling, for nowadays, there was no telling what could happen, but it was predetermined that crying was usually a part of it.

 

Hermione sniffled and sat up, leaning her head back to prevent her tears from spilling.  Then--no, not now!  Please, oh please, don’t let that be them!

 

Well, now, would life play it so fair as to let it not be them?  Of course not. 

 

“Hermione?”  choked out a voice.  Stomp, stomp, and then appeared the youngest Weasley child from the fireplace. 

 

“Hi, Ginny!”  Hermione plastered on a smile and rushed up to envelop her friend in a hug, using this as an opportunity to blink wildly while no one looked.

 

“Gotcha a present,” said Ginny with sparkling eyes. 

 

“Why?”

 

“In some Asian cultures, it’s polite to, when you go to someone’s house for the first time,” she answered.

 

Hermione stared.  Ginny shrugged.  “I’ve been doing some Muggle reading.”

 

Hermione opened the bag to reveal a glittering purple box.  Opening it, she found a whole set of what looked like wizarding makeup.  The mirror had to be enchanted, for it reflected a beautiful brunette with tame, tender waves and large eyes flooded with a warm brown.  The blush applicator would also occasionally stand up and dust itself off. 

 

She looked up and thanked Ginny for being so considerate.

 

“Don’t look at me like that.  I know you don’t wear makeup,” Ginny said to her.  “But we’ll have some fun this summer.  We’ll be girls this summer.”

 

Hermione grinned.  “Okay…but where’s—”

 

“…SEVENTY-NINE, TAYLOR AVENUE!  And don’t worry, Mum!  I’ll take care of her!”  After a hacking cough, a tall redhead of sixteen years emerged from the hearth as well.  Tagging along were several trunks.  “Hey, Hermione!”

 

“Speak of the devil, and he appears,” said Ginny while rolling her eyes.

 

Hermione laughed.  “Hi, Ron.”  She couldn’t decide whether she should hug him or not, and he seemed to be debating the same thing, so they ended up grasping each other’s shoulders while Hermione cursed her blushing genes.

 

“How did you guys get here anyway?” she asked after they had released each other.  “Well, I know it involved Floo powder, but a Muggle house?

 

“Yeah, ever since…” Ginny trailed off.

 

“—Since last year at school,” continued Ron swiftly, “the Floo Network’s been all screwed up because of Umbridge.  And Dad managed keep yours up and running till after we got here.” this area until after we got here.”

 

“Oh, okay,” said Hermione.  “But…how did you even convince them to let you  come here?  With everything going on?  And a Muggle house?”

 

The siblings glanced at each other, both of them looking uncomfortable.  Ron opened his mouth to speak, but this time it was Ginny who took over.

 

“We know…it’s not that safe here…but we figured you hadn’t told your parents what’s really going on.  With everything.  In the wizarding world.”

 

“Did you?” Ron asked.

 

Hermione looked at the two of them, and quietly admitted, “No.”

 

Ginny smiled empathetically.  “We told Mum and Dad that, and of course, they didn’t like it at first.  They wanted you to come to Twelve, Grimmauld again.  But now, that’s not exactly the safest place either, after the Kreacher incident.  They’re trying to find a new Headquarters now.”

 

“So after a lot of begging—”

 

“—And sweet-talking,” Ginny grinned.

 

“—They realised that this would actually be a pretty secure place after all,” Ron finished.

 

Hermione nodded.  “I guess that makes sense.”

 

“So, er…is Harry coming?” asked Ginny.

 

“Of course,” replied Hermione, smothering a smile and picking up an enormous trunk, heaving it to the staircase.  “I found his number and--”

 

“What number?”  Ginny frowned. 

 

“Oh!  His fellytone number?” Ron said excitedly, also dragging the luggage across the room.

 

“No, his telephone number,” Hermione corrected stoutly, staring up at Ron, which was not exactly an easy feat for a petite witch like her.

 

Ron tinted slightly and backed up a step.  “Right, right, that,” he said, then turned to continue carrying their suitcases back and forth while Hermione went on to explain, “So, I found his telephone number in the phone book and called him, without shouting into the receiver, of course,” she said pointedly.  Ron could be heard muttering, “Well, how was I supposed to know?”

 

 

“Anyway,” Hermione turned back to Ginny, “at first, he didn’t want to come.”  Both girls’ expressions softened.  “What with…”

 

“—Everything going on.”  Ginny nodded.

 

“Right.  But after pleading with him for a while, he agreed to come on the twenty-second—the day after tomorrow.”

 

“Oh, good,” said Ginny, a bit too casually.

 

“Yeah,” said Ron.  “That’s great.”

 

The trio looked at each other for a moment.

 

“So, er…what now?”

---

 

 

[A/N: This chapter was pretty fun.  I told you they would get longer!  Oh, the nicknames are just great, aren’t they? ^.^ 

 

Well, I had written out the whole chapter when I thought, “Wait a minute.  Why in the world would Arthur and Molly Weasley let their kids come to a Muggle house, with all the Voldemort chaos?  So I had to think up an explanation for that.  Sorry it took so long.

 

Anyway.  What will you do?  Review!  What did I tell you?  Review!  Who?  Review!  And are you about to?  Review!  Say what?  Review!  Does ‘what’ rhyme with ‘review’?  Who cares, REVIEW!!!]

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