The Sugar Quill
Author: Stubefied (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Some Holiday  Chapter: Prologue: Summer's End
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Please don’t forget that J


Author’s Notes: Please don’t forget that J.K. Rowling the Magnificent invented everything good in what you are about to read. Also don’t forget that I have a lovely beta reader named NightZephyr, who is making this possible. Finally, while I’m at it, don’t forget to add the fabric softener.


Summer’s End


Harry swung the door open to a scream and a gasp that left him with chills and brought his summer holidays to a sickening halt.


Holiday had really only just begun for Harry that afternoon with his arrival at the Burrow. Privet Drive did not count as holiday, even when the Dursleys provided the endless amusement of tiptoeing around him as though on glass eggshells and anxiously inquiring if he’d written recently to those, err, charming friends of his. Real holiday was shoveling down Mrs. Weasley’s beef stew while Ron’s black knight kicked Harry’s white queen in the knees and all the pawns egged him on.


Ron and Harry had the very serious responsibility of guarding the Burrow’s front door, but weren’t too jumpy to enjoy each other’s company. They didn’t discuss the wizarding world situation, and Ron hadn’t tried to make Harry talk about Sirius, either. They were just two boys playing wizard’s chess and burping occasionally because no one could hear them and look disgusted or tell them off.


Death Eaters had to eat dinner as well so this was usually a safe, quiet time of evening. After dessert was when Voldemort’s sadistic lackeys liked to attack best. That was Mr. Weasley’s shift for now. Soon the house would be bewitched into a fortress almost as secure as Grimmauld Place, and with no pesky house-elves to complicate things.


But it wasn’t that safe yet, and when the doorbell rang, Ron and Harry leapt. Not pausing to peek through the side window (too easy to get hexed that way, and lose the advantage of surprise), Harry sprang into the doorway, wand outstretched. Ron slipped behind him out of sight. His heart thumping, a curse on his lips, Harry had the door open in seconds. He stopped his spell in time, but that didn’t stop the scream, Hermione’s scream, that stopped the holiday.


She brought her hands to her mouth and jumped backwards, whispering, for some reason, “Not you, too.”


Harry didn’t understand what was happening, besides the fact that he was terrifying one of his best friends. It wasn’t just the surprise of someone with a wand appearing so quickly that had frightened her. She knew it was him. She knew it was him and she was still looking at him in horror. It was a sickening look.


But Ron, behind him, seemed to understand the situation better than Harry did. He had the advantage of seeing past Hermione to the two trembling tourists who were her parents. He also wasn’t being fixed with her awful stare.


“No, Hermione!” Ron shouted, which made her jump again. “We’re not going to hurt you! You just surprised us. It’s.  . . Hermione. . .” he had stopped yelling now. “What’re you doing here?”


The Grangers were supposed to be traveling Europe on a tour of hamlets, villages, cloisters, out of the way places no one ever thought to visit-- places no one would think to look for them. The itinerary had been drawn up by Dumbledore himself and only he knew at any moment where exactly they were. No postcards allowed, and, of course, no owls. Not even homing pigeons. But here was Hermione, standing in the doorway of the Burrow, breaking all the rules of security. Harry’s brain started working. Something had gone terribly wrong.


He rephrased Ron’s question. “What happened?”


Hermione, by this time, had drawn herself up as well as calmed a bit down, but she could only meet Harry’s eyes fleetingly before she announced, “We’ve had a visit from the Malfoys.”


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