The Sugar Quill
Author: Azyne  Story: And After That  Chapter: Chapter 3: Of Wristwatches and Leaning
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Disclaimer: You know the drill

Disclaimer: You know the drill. Not mine, all JKRís, even though Iíd kill for it, blah, blah, blah.

A/N: Sorry this took an eternity to put up, but hopefully itís worth it! Thanks to my beta and all my proofreadersÖand of course, my reviewers!

And After That

Chapter 3: Of Wristwatches and Leaning

"UhmÖ." Hermione looked around. There always seemed to be something to do at The Burrow. It shouldnít be this hard just to talk to my friends, she thought. "Food!" she blurted suddenly.

Ron squinted at her and Ginny cocked her head.

"There are snacks on the table," Hermione said, leading the way to the kitchen.

After they had each pulled out a stool and had a few crackers, Hermione looked up to find Ron still watching her concernedly. He flushed faintly, but nonetheless asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yes, of course I am," she answered, frowning. "Why wouldnít I be?"

"BecauseÖwell, itís nothing," Ron muttered, going even redder and looking down at his crumbs.

Hermione turned to Ginny, bewildered. Ginny shook her head slightly and shrugged, mouthing the words, "Donít ask me."

Ron cleared his throat and pushed back from the table. "Itís, er, quite hot. You have a Coolinxer, donít you?"

"A what?"

"A Coolinxer. You know, the thing blows cold air at your face?" said Ron.

"Oh, an air conditioner!" realised Hermione. "Yes, weíve got one." She left the kitchen and went to the far end of their living room and switched it on. Ron and Ginny followed, and were surprised at how the air conditioner was almost the Muggle equivalent to their Coolinxer.

"Whereís the air coming from?" Ginny asked, peering out the window for some source of magic.

"Itís the air from outside," Hermione replied. She hopped onto the loveseat in front of the television and picked up the remote control.

"ButÖ" Ron frowned. "Itís hot outside."

Hermione turned to him and gave him a look. "Yes. It is. It changes the warm air into cool air, Ron," she said, motioning with her hands.

Ron glared back while Ginny took an armchair, sighing. She knew it wasnít going to be the greatest of weekends if it continued like this.

Ron flopped down onto the far end of the cushion opposite Hermione, as there were not many other seats (given that the Grangers were a small family, and didnít have many guests).

"Have you guys heard of a telly?" Hermione asked, trying to ignore Ronís glower. "I meanóa television?"

"Oh, yeah, Dadís mentioned it quite a few times," said Ginny excitedly. "Itís a thing where an image just pops up, right, and keeps changing and makes sort of a hologram? Except that itís in theÖ" She jabbed her finger towards the television box. "Except that itís in the thing?"

Hermione was surprised at the amount of research Ginny had been doingóthis and the gift. "Precisely." She pressed the power button on the remote and when the television clicked on, Ron let out something of a gasp. Hermione couldnít help but smile.

"Let me see that!" Ron insisted, reaching over for the remote control. He squeezed her finger a bit in the process of snatching it, and he quickly leaned back over to his end of the couch, as if suddenly remembering he was mad at her. Hermione rolled her eyes while Ginny could be seen smothering a grin.

"Oh, move over!" {A/N: Sorry, but I couldnít help but include that line! It just reminded me of the Alohomora moment in the PS movie, and Hermione sounded quite cute when she said it.} demanded Hermione, stretching her hand and tugging on Ronís arm, pulling him back to the centre of the couch. "Iím sorry forÖfor whatever I did." The look on her face disagreed. It was clear she wasnít much of a fan of apologising.

Ron narrowed his eyes, but did not move away from her again. "Itís fine," he said, still looking suspicious. All three turned to the television, which was now displaying a tall, tan blonde with a long nose, smiling forcedly at the camera. Her hair was wet and straggly around her back, and her horrid seashell earrings were weighing down her lobes, as the earrings were nearly down to her shoulders. The news reporter in the background was saying, "And the Hilton sisters have done it again! This new look, which they call Malibu Beach Barbie, is the latest style for all blonde celebs, including Nicole Kidman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christina Aguilera, and more. The bikini, hosted by Ralph Lauren, is pricedÖ"

The reporter went on, but Hermione interrupted. "Urgh, Paris Hilton! Goodness, I hate her so much!"

Ginny, with a scowl, replied, "Yes, she does seem quite snotty. Did you see that look on her face when that sort of spotty boy asked her for her autograph?"

"I know," Hermione agreed, and turned to Ron, who had been silent for a while.

"Iím not so sureÖ" said Ron slowly, still staring at the T.V. "I mean, sheís sort of próshe reminds me of someoneó"

Ron gave Hermione a shadow of a glance and quickly shut his mouth.

"Of who?" she asked, out of sheer curiosity. She turned to Ginny, who wore an expression that said, Donít look at me, Iím not saying anything. She turned back to Ron and looked at him for a moment longer, then at the television, which was still displaying Paris Hilton, who, now that she thought about it, looked a tad likeó

"Fleur?" Hermione asked with her eyebrows raised. He didnít say anything, and she continued, "Well, why donít you just say it?" Jeez, how obvious could she get? Even she could her the coldness in her voice. But of course, he couldnít.

"I was going to," he told her, "but you interrupted me."

Exasperated, Hermione glanced at Ginny by the window, who returned a sympathetic look. "Hermione," she said, "where can I freshen up?"

"Up the stairs and to your left," she replied, as Ginny left.

"Anyway," said Ron, pulling his legs up onto the couch and turning to Hermione. "What other freaky Muggle things do you have?"

"Well, thereís the computer, but thatís upstairs," she said, getting up. "You know, we should probably move your trunksó"

"Whatís this?" asked Ron, picking up her fatherís digital watch from the side table.

"A wristwatch. You know what that is!" Hermione exclaimed, sitting back down and facing him. "Harry and I each have one. But ours arenít digital."

"OhÖyes, but Iíve always wondered how these worked."

"Well, Harry and mine are like that grandfather clock that you lot have, except itís not magical. But to tell you the truth, Iím not completely sure how it works," admitted Hermione, leaning over to get a closer look at the watch. Tugging it out of Ronís fingers, she held it inches from her face and examined it. She turned it to the back where the metal plate kept all the mechanisms inside, and tapped her fingernail against it.

"This is where all the brains are," she said, showing it to him. "Memory, batteries, dialsó"

"Hermione, I get it," said Ron, leaning back onto the couch with his arms behind his head. "Itís smart."

She gave him another one of her looks, and returned to eyeing the watch. Come to think of it, sheíd never read up on exactly how clocks worked. Perhaps there was a book on it in her fatherís library. Well, she thought, it canít be that complicated. There are the batteries, which, as an energy source, supply power to the memory, and those little digital numbers... She continued to squint at it, fiddling with the buttons and knobs, when she realised for the second time today that Ron had been awfully quiet. She raised her eyes, and to her surprise, met his.


He let his gaze linger on her for a moment, then looked away and simply said, "Nothing."




A/N: Must we go over this again? *Is aggravated* Review, review, review! Simple as that! Is there a certain part of "review" that you donít understand? Here, Iíll spell it out for you:

rE-"vyü/ : a : to go over or examine critically or deliberately <reviewed the results of the study> b : to give a critical evaluation of <review a novel>

Either a or b will work for me. You see, Iím not asking for much. Just a Ö well, take a wild guess at what Iím asking for. :)

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