The Sugar Quill
Author: Alanna Granger (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Weasley Christmas  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


The November morning was cold, and the chill was even piercing the impermeable walls of Hogwarts Castle as its students sat down for breakfast. Many were wearing their thick cloaks indoors; they shivered as Dumbledore stood up.

"I'm very sorry for the inconvenience," he began, "but we have failed to readjust the Heating Charms in a number of years. Professor Flitwick is hard at work to correct that oversight and everything should be fine again in a few moments. In the meantime, may I suggest some of this excellent and very warm breakfast?"

The students eagerly began munching on the steaming oatmeal, shivering, as the temperature in the castle quickly rose. As they were swallowing final mouthfuls of their meal, nearly one hundred owls flew into the castle, shaking frost off of their wings, delivering the morning post.

An especially tired-looking screech owl collapsed into Ron Weasley's bowl of porridge.

"Oh, Errol," the gangly fifth-year said in disgust as the sticky cereal splattered his robes.

"I just hope you can read the letter," Hermione said practically. "It looks drenched with oatmeal too."

Ron gingerly untied the note from the unconscious owl, then dumped his orange juice onto Errol in hopes of reviving him. "Go on. Fly off to the Owlery. You've caused enough trouble already." Errol blinked sleepily and climbed out of the bowl, but stood patiently, waiting for Ron to open the letter.

The fifteen-year-old read it, then exclaimed, "Brilliant!"

"What?" his best friend Harry Potter asked.

"Harry, how d'you feel about going somewhere else for Christmas?"

Somewhere else? Harry's eyes opened wide. The Christmases at Hogwarts had been the best of his life - then he realized what Ron was implying and a large grin split his face.

"Mum wrote to me last week and said that Bill and Charlie were going to be home for Christmas; Gringotts told Bill to take a couple weeks off since they didn't know when he'd have another chance, what with You-Know-er, I mean Voldemort - and everything." Harry nodded. "And there's not a lot to do in Romania during the winter, so Charlie's coming up as well. And she said you could come down too, if you wanted - hang on, here, you read it."

Harry took the letter from Ron and read aloud:

November 30

Dear Ron,

Yes, of course, bring Harry for Christmas! And by all means, bring Hermione as well, since I thought you said she'd be staying at Hogwarts. I haven't seen her in simply ages. I've talked to Dumbledore and he says it's all okay, since we've got the wards from last summer anyway.

Your father is running around like mad trying to fit some extra rooms onto the Burrow. All together we're going to have 12 people staying over and who knows how many Apparating in on Christmas. I think I've told you that Gringotts is making Bill take the weeks off while things are pretty calm - they don't know when they'll have to work later. They're working really hard trying to freeze the accounts of suspected Death Eaters and don't need a treasure-hunter for now! He's also bringing his girlfriend down with him. He met her in Egypt, and by all accounts she's an absolutely lovely girl. I'm excited to meet her.

Don't forget to book seats on the Hogwarts Express, and DON'T leave it until the last minute! I want all of you coming down! And tell your brothers NOT to bring any of that Wheezes nonsense with them.



Hermione smiled delightedly, then stopped in shock. "You mean I have to have Christmas presents for twelve people?" she asked in a disbelieving tone. "And I haven't even gotten anything for you two yet!"

"Oh, don't worry about it," Ron said offhandedly. "I don't think they'll give anything to you either. Or just get them all candy. Really nasty candy for Fred and George."

Harry had barely finished reading the letter when yet another owl swooped over to Ron, a handsome tawny he didn't recognize.

"What is this, Post Central?" Ron asked irritably, taking the envelope from the owl. "Oh, great, it's from Charlie!"

He pulled out the letter. It was written in thick blank ink and had slight scorch marks around the edges of the parchment:

Ron -

Mum told me you were coming home for Christmas. Excellent. And you're bringing Harry and Hermione as well - even more excellent. Well… it'll be a full house around here! Bill's bringing some girl back from Egypt. Her name's Flora or something floaty like that and he thinks the sun and moon revolve around her. Frankly, I don't think she's that great. I met her when I popped over to Egypt to see some very interesting dragon drawings. Really pretty. The girl, not the drawings. She's working with some kind of Divination crap related to pyramids and that's how he met her. Her name sounds familiar - have you met her before? I don't know… Bill sounds pretty serious about this one. She's not as bad as some. You've met them, you should know. Maybe I'll follow suit and bring a dragon with me. Ha ha. I'd kill for the look on Mum's face though.

But I can't complain about Bill too much. He's convinced Percy to come home for Christmas. You know how he practically worships Bill. Mum's so happy, Bill could drag a flock of veela home and she wouldn't even blink.

What would your friends like for Christmas? I'm not getting you anything, ha ha.

Be sure to tell Fred and George to bring the latest Wheezes and we'll have some fun.


Harry laughed when Ron finished the letter.

"So Percy's coming home for Christmas, and Bill's bringing a girl," Ron said thoughtfully. "Mum's probably going through the roof - she must be thrilled." Percy Weasley had taken an apartment in London, claiming stiffly that "it was closer to the Ministry." It was no secret, however, that Percy's moving out had correlated with a huge row between Percy and Arthur, in which the son took the Ministry's side of denying Voldemort's rebirth. Since then, he had not been in touch with his family and avoided his father as much as possible.

"Does Bill do this often?" Harry asked curiously as the trio walked to Herbology.

"What, come home for Christmas? Yeah, basically every year. He sometimes sends stuff to Hogwarts for me, too - really cool stuff that he found in pyramids."

"No, bring girls."

"Yeah," Ron replied. "Bill falls for a girl every couple of years and sometimes brings her home. Not usually at Christmas, though. Some of them are pretty nice, but most of them are horrid. Unfortunately, he ends up in rows with the nice ones and we discourage the horrid ones as best we can."

Harry grinned. The Weasley twins were probably experts at "discouraging" unwanted guests. At that moment, they reached the greenhouses, and further conversation ended as they donned rubber gloves and began the day's class.

At lunch, Hermione was engrossed in a thick, commercial-looking book entitled One Hundred Wizarding Gifts, but quickly discarded it. "Some of these are ridiculous, honestly," she exclaimed, and read:

A Fwooper: perfect for someone you'd like shut away in St. Mungo's. The more the merrier.

"I think I'll get them all books," she exclaimed peevishly, attacking her custard with a vengeance. Ron looked at Harry and rolled his eyes.

The days before Christmas were long; the fifth-years seemed to have twice the usual amount of work, and Quidditch was cancelled because of extreme snow and sleet. The Hogsmeade visit was a bright spot, though; Harry was planning his gifts to the Weasleys already. Hermione was talking excitedly about magical suitcases--and how educational it would be to use Unbreakable Charms on presents -- to anyone who would listen.

The snow melted on the day of the Hogsmeade trip, destroying hopes for a White Christmas, but it was nice to walk the cobbled streets without needing galoshes. Students were hurrying about, looking secretive; Hermione spent hours in the bookshop called Parchment Publications. Harry had to purchase a wizarding suitcase as well; he didn't feel like lugging his entire trunk to the Weasleys'. Hermione was fascinated by the fact that it wouldn't ever fill up, no matter how much gear was put inside. And it's a good thing, too, Harry thought as he shoved two old Weasley sweaters; extra-large boxes of Chocolate Frogs; bags of Filibuster Fireworks; and enormous containers of Bertie Botts' Every-Flavor beans inside, along with presents.

"Planning on eating anything else this holiday?" asked Ron jokingly as he saw an inordinate amount of candy disappear into the valise.

"Well, I need rations for the train, you know," Harry replied. "Now bugger off, I'm trying to put your present in."

Hermione's head appeared outside their door. She was carrying a suitcase.

"You're not supposed to be in here," Ron said automatically, throwing sweaters into his suitcase. "I see you've packed."

"I'm just making sure that you've booked seats on the Express; it's leaving in an hour, you know, and you haven't eaten anything. And as for packing, I see you haven't!"

Ron quickly sat on his suitcase to close it and dropped a towel over Pigwidgeon's cage "Have too." Harry carefully packed away the rest of his presents and followed him to the Great Hall.

The Hogwarts Express trip was long, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione shared a compartment with the other Weasleys and hardly noticed. Fred and George were enthusiastically discussing ways to get rid of Bill's girlfriend. Hermione clicked her tongue and let out a humph.

"She might not be that bad, have you considered that?"

"She likes divination, Hermione," Fred said in the tone of one talking to an imbecile. "She'll probably be staring at Harry and muttering the whole time. Between that and Dad and Percy glaring at each other and pretending they're not, it's going to be a lovely holiday."

"I got her a present," Hermione said, and showed Harry Unbreakable Balls: Foolproof Methods of Divination by Kendra Prenuncius.

He nodded his approval.

After several boxes of candy and even more games of Exploding Snap, the Express came to a halt. Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys stumbled out of their compartment, unsure whom to look for. They didn't have to wait long; Bill Weasley was striding across the platform, grinning. He gave Harry a firm handshake, clapped his brothers on the back, and quickly hugged Ginny before escorting them to a Gringotts car he'd brought for the occasion.

The ride to the Weasleys' was pleasant, even though everyone tried to talk at the same time. Bill told funny stories about his work at Gringotts; Fred and George set off some Filibuster fireworks, scaring the driver. Harry, in a burst of seriousness, asked how the fight against Voldemort was going.

"Not so well, Harry," Bill replied, his face tense. "A whole family of Muggles was murdered in Devon." Hermione flinched. "And they've got old Anna Hudson locked in St. Mungo's -- under the Imperius curse for too long… The value of a Galleon's going down pretty fast. Gringotts is worried that we're going to have hard times."

At that moment they pulled up to the Burrow and Harry grinned with delight. The Weasleys had come into some money recently, a long and interesting story, which Ron told again and again. Arthur Weasley was about to quit working at the Ministry if they didn't offer him more pay. He had continued to work in secret for the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore's resistance group, without compensation. The Aurors had perpetrated a raid on Nicolas Flamel's old house, trying to confiscate any hidden bottles of the Elixir of Life before the Death Eaters seized them. In doing so, they had "accidentally" discovered a cabinet filled with golden objects, the results of early experiments with the Stone. Dumbledore had pressed these upon Arthur Weasley as payment for his work for the Light Side.

The Galleons these objects brought had put some real Weasley money in Gringotts for the first time in decades. They'd also added on to the Burrow yet again. The cottage now appeared so precarious that even a slight wind could pose a serious danger. Harry didn't have much time to stare at the remodeling, however, as Mrs. Weasley ran out and began hugging the children enthusiastically. "Harry! Hermione! Wonderful to see you." As Fred and George gave her an indignant scowl, she added, "And you too, of course."

Mr. Weasley and Charlie followed her out of the house. Behind them was Percy, his arms crossed, a disdainful sneer on his face. As Mr. Weasley shook Harry's hand, and Charlie clapped him on the back, Percy brushed past his father and greeted his family. Harry he acknowledged with a curt nod and "Harry. Nice to see you. You too, Hermione."

"Hullo, Percy," said Harry. "Work going well?"

Ron snickered. "Yeah, Perce, the cauldron bottoms getting any thicker?"

"That's not funny!" Percy retorted. "You know very well I was promoted to Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation after the unfortunate and very accidental demise of Mr. Crouch!"

"Yeah, yeah," muttered Fred, opening the door.

"You're in Ginny's room, Hermione, and I think we've expanded Ron's room for you, Harry. Haven't we, Arthur?" called Mrs. Weasley as they all dragged their suitcases inside.

"Damn! I knew there was something I forgot. Hang on, Harry - you two just drop your stuff in with Charlie and Bill for now. It'll be done in a few minutes."

Mrs. Weasley ushered them into the spacious dining room. "Fleur should be here soon - I hope something hasn't happened to her! The food's getting cold, so we'll just have to start without her. There you are, Arthur - good, the room's done."

As Harry eagerly spooned potatoes on his plate, he smiled widely. Being back at the Burrow was like -

BANG. The door flew open and hit the wall as it opened in a gust of wind.

"Oh, good, you're here!" exclaimed Bill, striding across the floor and quickly kissing the newcomer on the cheek. "We were worried. Everyone, I'd like you to meet…"

The girl took off the scarf that had been wrapped around her head, revealing long and silky blonde hair, and an exquisite, tanned face. "'Ello, Bill," she said, returning the kiss. Harry gasped. He knew her! She was…

"…Fleur Delacour," Bill finished. "She's working on Divination in Egypt with me."

"Fleur!" Mrs. Weasley was the first to recover from the shock of seeing her. "You probably don't remember me, but I was at the Triwizard Tournament. It's nice to see you again."

"Nice to see you as well. Ah, it is little 'Arry Potter, ze champion!" Her English had improved tremendously, Harry thought, but she still had that annoying habit of referring to him as a "little boy." "And Ron, who helped rescue Gabrielle from ze lake!"

"Hi," said Ron, a silly grin on his face. Hermione punched him on the arm, and he sat up sharply. "Er - nice to see you."

"You must be Arthur, 'e who is working so 'ard for Dumbly-door against 'E-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Mr. Weasley nodded. "Ah, yes, Bill 'as told me all about it. I am working for 'im too, did you know?"

"I'd heard." Mr. Weasley cleared his throat. "Now, it's a cold night out there, Fleur, and I know you had to walk rather far."

"Yes. Bill told me zat Dumbly-door 'ad put up wards, but what…?"

"It's been made Unplottable," Percy explained pompously. "You can't Apparate or Disapparate near it. I assume you had to go to Ottery St. Catchpole?"

Fleur nodded. Mr. Weasley continued, "So how about you sit down and have some coffee with us?'

"Zat would be wonderful," Fleur said appreciatively. As the adults sat down for coffee, Harry, Ron, and Hermione trouped upstairs to their rooms.

After a short discussion about the surprise appearance of Fleur, Ron rolled over onto his stomach and said, "Anyone up for some Quidditch tomorrow?" Affirmatives were quickly voiced. " Charlie's giving me his old Cleansweep Six for Christmas!" Ron said excitedly. "I mean, it's not a Firebolt or anything, but it's way better than the Four I'm using right now."

"And you need to stop so many more Quaffles," Harry replied, grinning. "Come on, everybody says you're the best keeper since Oliver Wood --"

"Harry, I'm the only keeper since Oliver Wood."

"-and he was the best Keeper at Hogwarts in about two hundred years." Ron smiled.

"I don't want to leave this house," Hermione said with a sigh, staring out the window. "I love it here."

Ron's ears turned pink, but his only comment was, "Yeah, and when we get back, we have to think about that Ball thing."

Harry sighed. Arabella Figg, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, had decided that the school needed a festive morale-booster in the middle of the war with Voldemort, and had proposed a Valentine's Day ball. Unfortunately, Dumbledore had wholeheartedly agreed. Ron had spent the past two weeks either deploring the state of his dress robes or asking loudly who on Earth he was going to ask to the Ball. Harry, who knew exactly whom Ron was going to invite, shrugged and said "Dunno" every time the question was raised.

Hermione quickly changed the subject by taking out her chessboard. "Oh, good, a chance to beat you," Ron said sarcastically. This started a loud and happy argument which distracted everyone completely from the topic of dances in general and the Valentine's Day Ball in particular. They fell asleep quickly that night, exhausted from the long journey and happier than they had been in a long time.

Breakfast at the Burrow was always a loud but joyous occasion, and the next morning was no exception. Charlie entertained them with stories about Norbert, who had grown very big over the past four years. Then Harry, Hermione, and Ron had to explain Norbert to everyone else present - Bill and Fleur had not heard the story. Harry poured himself another cup of hot cocoa and looked out the window. He was surprised to see the world blanketed in white. "Hey! Everyone! It snowed!"

"Well spotted," Ron said sarcastically. "I mean, we all knew you were half-blind, but…" Harry threw a roll at him, earning a warning glare from Mrs. Weasley, and quickly


"I guess we can't really play much Quidditch today, then - we can't play with real balls, and whatever we use will probably get lost."

"Yeah, you can still play in the snow," Charlie said. "But I've got a better idea."

Charlie's idea, once Mr. Weasley had Apparated to the Ministry and Percy had shut himself in his room, was to enchant a few sleds to fly and to have a snowball war. It was great fun, Harry thought, as he rapidly steered his sled to the right. Sleds were harder to fly than brooms, but it was a strange and exhilarating feeling. Fleur, much to everyone's surprise, turned out to be an amazing flier. When Charlie demanded where she learned where to fly like that, she replied that she used to play Quidditch at Beauxbatons.

Their fun was suddenly interrupted when Mr. Weasley Apparated home for lunch.

"Charlie Weasley," he said, "what do you think you're doing?"

"Er - I've enchanted these sleds," he explained.

"And aren't sleds Muggle objects? Isn't that, therefore, against the law?"

"Dad, you wrote the law-"

"Don't try that on me, Charles Albert Weasley!"

"Aw, c'mon, Dad - no one can see us, the snow's too thick. We're not facing the village, anyway."

"Be that as it may, I think it's time for lunch." Covered in snow and laughing loudly, the group walked inside.

* * *

"Presents!" Ginny yelled on Christmas morning. Harry pulled on a sweatshirt and bolted downstairs, where Weasleys were crammed into nearly every chair. It was like seeing a gigantic sea of red hair. Hermione moved over on the couch to make room for him. With four sitting on it, everyone was slightly starved for space - Harry was squashed into Ginny, and Hermione and Ron were sandwiched together, but no one really seemed to mind.

Harry unwrapped another Weasley sweater - this one striped in Gryffindor colors - and a bag of Zonko's tricks from Ron. Hermione really had given everyone books: Harry's was Seeking the Snitch: Six Thousand Seeker Strategies; Fred's The Beater's Bible; George's Starting Your Own Business in Twenty-Seven Not-So-Easy Steps; Charlie had received Men Who Love Dragons Too Much; and Percy A History of International Magical Relations. Harry though it looked the most boring book he'd ever seen, but Percy seemed pleased.

Ron, however, had not received a book. When he unwrapped Hermione's present, it revealed a Quaffle in a shiny wooden case. As he took it out, a puzzled look on his face, he noticed something that looked like a black scribble near the center. Charlie reached out and unceremoniously took it from him.

"If that's what I think it is -"

"It's one of the Quaffles from the Quidditch World Cup," Hermione explained, breathless. "And it's signed by the players."

"It is, then," Charlie breathed. "Where did you get this thing, Hermione? It's easily worth a thousand Galleons! Don't waste it on my little brother!"

"One of the Quaffles?" Ginny asked at the same time.

"They switch them all the time, so that the charms don't wear out," Fred explained as Charlie examined the Quaffle reverently. "If the playing's rough, and the game takes awhile, they use about fifty."

Meanwhile, Hermione was answering Charlie's question. "Well, Viktor sent it to me, and I didn't really want it - I mean, it was nice of him, but what would I do with it? - so I thought, well, Ron'd appreciate it more than I would, and I guess it could go in your room or something." She anxiously awaited the explosion that usually accompanied Viktor's name. It never came.

"You - didn't - want - it?" he asked hoarsely, incredulously. "And - you gave it to - to me?"

Hermione nodded, smiling.

"Well - thanks." He grinned at her awkwardly.

Hermione, blushing furiously, opened his gift to her. "Oh, Ron," she said, sounding choked. "Oh, Ron." It was a huge, thick book: Previous Condition of Servitude: House-Elves from the Beginning until Today. "Thank you." She looked like she was going to throw her arms around him, but stopped just in time. "Where did you find this? Flourish and Blotts didn't have it, the Hogwarts Library didn't have it…"

Ron's ears were beet red as he became very interested in his gift from Harry, a Chocolate Frog collector's album. "Well, y'know, maybe there's something in there to convince you that spew stuff is nuts."

For once, Hermione didn't correct him. Instead, she watched him tear the wrapping off of Fred and George's gift.

"Wow!" Inside were new sage-green dress robes. "Thanks! Where did you get these? And how'd you afford it? And why did you bother?"

"Whoah, little brother!" said George with a grin. "Madam Malkin's, we made a killing on the Wheezes - sorry, Mum - and because you were a disgrace to the name of Weasley in those old ones. And we turned down a lovely pair of shocking pink with flashing cuffs for these, too. You'd better be grateful."

Ron laughed. Harry, meanwhile, had opened Bill's gift: a large box of Egyptian candy. On top of it was a picture, and the words Ask me about this later. Harry glanced at it, puzzled: it was the Gryffindor Quidditch Team from 1971, the seven players in the air.

He shrugged and opened Sirius's present, a wizarding watch. The hands were labeled with the names of his classes, but a note read: "Harry - you can change the dial. See instruction manual. Merry Christmas! Padfoot."

"Who gave that to you?" asked Percy curiously. "I'm not the watch man - that's Bill - but I know that's a nice one."

"You'll be wanting Fleur to work with that, Harry," said Bill with a grin. "She's the other mechanical genius around here - besides Dad, of course."

The outburst that followed successfully covered Percy's question, which was, Harry thought, exactly what Bill had wanted.

"You do mechanics?" Charlie asked in disbelief. "Divination and cogs! How did Bill get so lucky?"

Fleur smiled. She'd lightened up a lot in the past year, Harry thought. It was a genuine smile, not an ornament for her face. "Ask 'im sometime. Zat's a long story, about a pyramid and a curse, and getting trapped togezzer…"

"Er, or perhaps now is not the time," Mr. Weasley said quickly. "How about some delicious Christmas dinner instead?"

They liked the idea very much.

About an hour later, the adults sipped coffee as everyone devoured an excellent pie. Harry was deliciously full, and he was afraid that the table would break under the weight to all the food. It had been a delightful meal: although Percy had not spoken to his father with the exception of "pass the potatoes" and "cream please," Fleur had entertained them with stories about ancient Egyptian beliefs, and Fred and George had told a highly amusing story about their interview with Greg Zonko in Hogsmeade. As Bill poured himself more black coffee, Harry suddenly asked, "Bill? About that picture…"

"Oh. Yes. Could I see it for a moment?" Harry pulled the picture from his pocket. One of the Chasers had just scored a goal. "Gryffindor House Team, 1978. My first year. Well, the truth of the matter is, Harry - I knew your parents."

The world quickly spun. Harry blinked at Bill. "You - you knew my mum and dad?"

"'Course I knew them. Everybody knew them. They were Head Boy and Head Girl; your dad was captain of the Quidditch team. Even after they were gone, James was a legend."

"For troublemaking. Troublemaking and Quidditch," added Charlie. "They could even give Gred and Forge over there a few lessons."

"What were they like? I mean, did you really know them?" Harry blurted.

"'Bout as well as anyone - your mum helped me with Charms once, and your dad was a phenomenal Quidditch player. They were all really funny and really nice. Your dad's friend used to give commentary at the Quidditch matches sometimes. Had us rolling, he did."

"Which friend?" asked Harry. "Professor Lupin?"

Bill sighed. "No, Harry. Sirius Black." Percy winced at the mere mention of Sirius's name. "Oh, grow a backbone, Perce. He was so funny - it's terrible, what happened to him later," he added, giving a surreptitious wink at Harry.

Harry agreed wholeheartedly. "Yeah. It's terrible."

With that, the conversation turned to other matters - treasure hunting, trolls, the turkey. Fleur moaned that she could not possibly fit into her robes. Harry looked down at the picture again. The team was on the ground now, as they might have originally posed. A handsome boy with messy black hair was waving the Quidditch cup proudly. Harry smiled. "Hullo, Dad," he whispered.

* * *

December 27

Dear Snuffles,

I'm at the Weasleys' for Christmas - I'm sure you've heard. Bill and Mr. Weasley say to tell you "hello" and "merry Christmas." Thanks so much for the watch - Fleur Delacour (yeah, she's the one from the Triwizard Tournament. She's Bill's girlfriend now. Weird!) fiddled with it so that it's kind of like a Family Clock and kind of like the Marauder's Map. It's got your name on it, and Ron's and Hermione's, and whoever might be a danger - I mean like Professor Snape or Malfoy or Filch. We didn't want to put Voldemort on it, for obvious reasons, and I think my scar's good enough for that already. And the places for the hands tell what they're doing, except it's useful stuff instead of "traveling," "work," or "school" - "looking to blame something on you" and "coming this way" and "in class" and "detention" and stuff. It's cool.

But you should've seen what Hermione gave Ron! It's one of the Quaffles from the Quidditch World Cup, and it's signed by all the players! Viktor Krum gave it to her, but she says she didn't want it. Ron's pretty pleased - he's been smiling like an idiot for two days now.

I hope you've had a good Christmas. Mine's been great.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


P.S. Tell Professor Lupin "hi" and "merry Christmas."

P.P.S. Will I see you anytime soon?


* * *

"Harry?" asked Ron that night. "Who're you going to take to the Ball?"


"'Cause I was thinking, well, maybe I'll ask Hermione."

"Ah," replied Harry. He was afraid that he might laugh if he said anything else. "Well, good night."

"Good night."

They left the next morning, after long good-byes, bone-crushing hugs from Mrs. Weasley, and a long debate from Ron about whether to bring the Quaffle with him or not. (He finally decided to bring it, "just in case someone curses our house or something.")

The Express was nearing Hogwarts when Ron gesticulated madly at Harry.

"What?" he mouthed. Ron motioned towards the door, towards himself, and towards Hermione. Harry shrugged.

"Erm - Harry?" Ron asked, clearing his throat loudly. "Could you go get me some more Every Flavor Beans?"

Harry knew perfectly well that there were some in the suitcase, but took Ron's money and left the compartment. He located the witch with the candy cart and wandered up and down the corridors, poking his head in on various people to say "hi," until Ron stepped out from their compartment and waved frantically at him.

"She said yes!" Ron whispered excitedly, smiling broadly. His ears were bright red.


"I asked Hermione to the Ball, and she said yes!" Ron beamed. He'd been smiling ever since Christmas, and now his face looked like it was going to crack from grinning. "Er - Harry?"


"Harry, do you reckon she might - she might like me?"

Harry struggled very hard to stop the impending laugh, and managed to change it into a cough instead. With a shrug, he said "Anything's possible," and watched Ron's smile grow even wider.

The train slowed, then stopped, at Hogsmeade station. As students began to disembark, Harry leaned against the wall, feeling a grin to match Ron's growing across his face. It had been a merry Christmas, he thought - a very merry Christmas. And as he climbed off the train, holding his suitcase in one hand, the Boy Who Lived looked forward to a Happy New Year.



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