The Sugar Quill
Author: GryffinMiraur (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Owls Between Friends  Chapter: Chapter 2: George, Fred, Lee
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Alicia spread the photos of the Yule Ball out on her bedspread

Disclaimer: As usual, these characters are the property of JK Rowling and Warner Bros. I am merely borrowing them for the moment.

 

A/N: As always, thanks to Zsenya for beta-reading and offering Helpful Suggestions.

 

 

 

 

Alicia spread the photos of the Yule Ball out on her bedspread. Fred and Angelina waved exuberantly up at her before Fred pulled Angelina into a wild tango ending with a gravity defying dip. In the next photo, Kit was sitting on a table holding court with several attractive Beauxbatons boys. Alicia grinned; all Kit really needed to look like a vampish flapper from the 1920s was a long, silver cigarette holder. In the third photograph, she, Angelina, and Kit appeared to have overdosed slightly on Butterbeer. They had adopted a line position and had lifted their robes just enough to show their ankles. It had been Kit’s idea. She’d found some old photographs from balls that had taken place during the Victorian era. One of the photos had had three girls posing in just the same way. Across the photo, a disapproving hand had written Scandalous! 30 points from Ravenclaw. The three Chasers had burst into hysterical laughter and decided that they had to imitate it. In the fourth photograph she turned over, she and George were smiling up from the photograph, but on closer examination, George was casually dropping something into her drink while pretending to drape an arm around her shoulders. Her photographic self sipped from the glass and was promptly gifted with purple hair.  The photographic George doubled over with laughter and the sequence began again. Alicia shook her head and sighed. Typical, how typical.

Although annoyed at George’s behavior, Alicia found it somehow reassuring that, despite what had happened in the past year, George was the type who would always be able to find humor in a situation.  She really had enjoyed herself at the Yule Ball.  She had never told this to George, but then, she wasn’t quite sure if she was free to do so.  Had he asked her as a friend, or as something more?  She pulled out a quill and a piece of parchment from her desk drawer and began to write.

 

 

Wednesday

Dear George,                                                                                                                

I feel strange writing you a letter like this. It doesn’t seem flippant or funny enough but somehow I think you’ll understand this better than anyone else and I know you do have your serious side. I want you to use it now and please, please don’t show this to Fred.

            I’m scared. Terrified, really. I may not have been aware of You-Know-Who’s reign of terror while it was going on, but I do read. You know I get top marks in HoM boring as it is. And I read about what it was like, for purebloods and Muggle-borns alike. I’m scared that that’s coming back. I was at the Quidditch World Cup with Angelina and Kit and I saw what the Death Eaters did to that poor campsite owner and his family. All I could think was that that could be me. That could be my family. And the Dark Mark. I’ve never seen anything so disturbing in all my life. The thought that I could come home and see that hovering above my house and know that Mum and Dad and Will are all dead or worse than dead haunts me.

          The Yule Ball seems so far away and mundane. But Kit says mundane things keep us from focusing on the morbid. So I wanted to tell you that I really had a good time with you. Even if you did turn my hair purple at the end. Damn Color-Changing Cocktails. Oh well, I always wanted to know what I would look like with a wild hair color. 

          It’s funny that that all seems so trivial now though I was so annoyed with you at the time. I wish that were all I was worried about now. You and Fred really do need to open your joke shop as soon as possible. Sometimes the only sense you can make out of life is a sense of humor and I think that’s especially appropriate now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Alicia

 

 

            Breakfast at the Weasley table was always an event. All the Weasleys had learned from experience not to sit on Errol and to sit far enough back from the table so as not to get splashed by cereal when Errol fell into it or when Ron’s tiny owl, Pigwidgeon, engaged in his favorite habit of nose-diving into the cereal. On this particular morning, Pig’s aim had been off and, instead of diving into Ron’s cereal as he’d planned, he’d fallen into one of the bowls that Fred and George had tampered with and was now covered in a series of ultra-orange polka dots. The twins decided that now would be a good time to make themselves scarce. They were followed, however, by a persistent brown owl which dropped a letter on George’s head and made its way out the open window of their bedroom.

            “Who’s it from?” Fred asked.

            George looked at the envelope, “Alicia.”

            “Ah, the lovely Lady Green-Eyes, and what does she have to say?”  Fred asked, making a quick grab for the envelope. Fred was responsible for the nickname. He’d come up with it during a Quidditch practice when Harry and Alicia had collided with each other because both of them had responded to George’s yell of “Hey, Green-eyes, look out!” Fred had decided to give both Harry and Alicia titles to prevent that sort of confusion from ever happening again. Among their circle of friends, Lady Green-Eyes had stuck and it was how Fred usually addressed Alicia.

            “Is your name George?” asked George holding the envelope out of his twin’s reach, “I haven’t read it yet, anyway.”

            “Oh, all right,” Fred turned to the table in the corner that served as their lab and began work on their latest invention, something they’d entitled Astounding Adhesives. It was actually rather different because it could be used both as a prank substance and a useful one. 

            Seeing that George had opened the letter, Fred turned back, “Well, what does she say?”

            George, who was reading his letter, grinned, “She says not to tell you.”

            There ensued a brief but furious struggle over the letter which ended with the Astounding Adhesive getting everywhere including all over Fred who accidentally backed up against the wall and, when he tried to reach the letter again, discovered that the Adhesive was a great success.

            George settled down with quill and parchment to reply and Fred tried to un-stick himself from the wall. When he’d finally, with a great deal of pain, succeeded, George had nearly finished his letter. Fred had a sudden idea; he, just like everyone else in their circle, was tired of seeing George and Alicia circle around each other.

            “Hey, I’m meeting Angelina in Diagon Alley next Wednesday-.”

            “I know this, you’ve told me this at least ten times-.”

            “I’m not finished, you should ask Alicia if she wants to go with you.”

            George shrugged in an exaggeratedly casual manner and added a postscript.

           

Friday

Dear Alicia,                                                               

        How about green hair next time? Thanks for the encouragement. We certainly don’t get any from Mum. I’m glad you had a good time at the Ball. Does that mean I can count on you if there’s another one this year?

          If it’s any comfort, we’re a bit unsettled ourselves. I remember when we were very little, we had to be very quiet all the time and of course for Fred and me that was a very difficult task. Maybe even more so than facing a Blast- Ended Skrewt. At least then you can yell things at it.

          There’s more hope this time, I think. You know, because of Harry and his faithful sidekicks. After all, You Know Who has tried to come back for the past three years and hasn’t really succeeded.  In any case, none of us will let anything happen to anyone else. We stick together especially if you use our new invention, Astounding Adhesives. Fred is currently trying to un-stick himself from the wall which, one, proves that it works quite well and two, prevents him looking over my shoulder at what I am writing.

         You say a sense of humor is a good thing. Good girl. I’m enclosing a few Canary Creams. You can be our walking Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes endorsement.

                                                                                George

p.s. Fred says he’s meeting up with Angelina in Diagon Alley next Wednesday, would you fancy meeting up as well?

 

 

Sunday

Dear George                                                                                         

       Squawk! All right, now that I’ve finished molting, I’d love to meet up with you in Diagon Alley. And thanks for the reassurance.

                                                                Alicia

 

            Alicia folded up her reply, attached it to Athena’s leg, and glanced at the canary beside her. The feathers dropped off and soon Will was back to normal.

            “Alicia,” he began ingratiatingly, “will I ever get to meet the twins?”

            “I hope so,” Alicia said, smiling a little dreamily and trying to decide whether this jaunt to Diagon Alley was a date or not. Will noticed this, and began to tease.

            “You like him, don’t you?”

            She responded in typical denial fashion, “I do not! He’s just a really good friend.”

            Will clearly didn’t believe her and made a face at her at the same time as he began to chant, “Alicia and George, sitting in a tree-.”

            Alicia rose from her chair with a terrible expression.

            “Out. Now,” she said slowly and dangerously. Will took one look at her face, grabbed Quidditch Through The Ages, and left the room before she hexed him. She never would have hexed him of course, that would be considered Muggle-baiting, but she liked that she could hex him.

            Angelina’s grey owl, Hecate, whooshed in through the window and dropped a letter on her desk.

            “Hi, Hecate,” Alicia stroked the owl’s feathers, “No visiting with Athena today, I’m afraid. She’s off delivering a letter to George.”

 

Friday

Dear Alicia                                                                       

         Fred has asked me to meet him in Diagon Alley next Wednesday and he just Flooed me to say that George has asked you. Told you so. Anyway, do you want to go together? If your parents say yes, you can Floo over to my house on Tuesday and spend the night and we can go to Diagon Alley together in the morning.

                                                                               Love,

                                                                                    Angelina

                                     

Tuesday

Angie,                                      

       Wild hippogriffs couldn’t keep me away.

                                                                Lis

 

There was a soft flump and Alicia turned to see Errol slumped on her bed. She was popular today. This letter was addressed in Fred’s handwriting. She performed a quick spell check on the envelope and found, to her great surprise, that there were no hexes or charms or anything on the envelope. She opened it warily, but nothing besides a piece of parchment jumped out at her.

 

Friday

Dearest ever Lady Green-Eyes,                  

         Whatever was in that letter that George wouldn’t let me look at? Can an equally attractive Weasley persuade you to write me one like that? Angie wouldn’t like it of course, but I’m notoriously curious about things that are none of my business.

                                                                                                   Fred

 

She giggled.  There was only one response to that.

 

Sunday

Dear Fred,

          Bugger off.

                       Alicia

 

Tuesday

Alicia,

       Angie will tell me everything anyway.

                                                             Fred

 

Thursday

Alicia,           

       I’ve hexed him by owl so don’t worry.

                                                                                 Angelina

p.s. See you Tuesday.

 

            Alicia smiled and wondered how, exactly, Angelina had hexed him. Oh well, she supposed she would hear on Tuesday.  The noise from the television downstairs about the latest football match reminded her that she ought to write to Lee. His Quidditch commentary had apparently attracted WWN officials who thought he would be capable of commentating on professional matches. However, there was a lot of competition for spaces and Lee was in the midst of that competition right now. If he made it, then he wouldn’t have to worry about NEWTs or anything.  He could probably use some good luck wishes.

 

Thursday

Dear Lee,                                                                                             

        How are tryouts going? I really hope you’re successful. I’d love to be able to turn on the WWN and hear you commentating. I missed your Quidditch commentary this year although your running commentary on the Tasks was quite amusing.  That was really sweet of you to take that Hufflepuff fourth year to the Yule Ball. Every time I saw her in the corridors afterward, she had a huge smile on her face. It did wonders for her looks.

        Do your parents approve? Are you as nervous as I am about seventh year and You Know Who and everything?

                                                            Love from,

                                                                       Alicia

 

Lee Jordan was finding it hard not to be intimidated. The witch on his left was looking disapprovingly at his dreadlocks and the wizard on his right was looking disapprovingly at Betsy who was snoozing on his shoulder.

The sour faces of the WWN administrators and his competitors were causing a definite drop in his confidence. Apparently, his bouncy commentary with its frivolous asides was not what they wanted.

Fresh blood. Ha. Only if it acted just as the old blood had done. Lee was beginning to feel tempted to pull a face at the world in general.

A witch holding a clipboard appeared in the doorway, “Jarvis, Jillian” she stated in a flat voice. The witch who had been staring at Lee’s hair stood up, threw him another disapproving look and disappeared through the doorway. Lee looked after her thinking that she didn’t look like a Jillian at all, the name seemed too friendly.  At that moment, a brown owl swooped in through the window. Lee scooped Betsy up and put her protectively in his shirt pocket.

The owl wasn’t interested in Betsy though. It dropped a letter on his head and settled down on the table to wait for a reply. Lee looked down at the envelope. Alicia’s familiar handwriting was scrawled across it. He opened the envelope.

“Look, Betsy. Alicia sent us a letter.”

Betsy poked herself out of his pocket to take a look. She was a lot more intelligent than people gave her credit for.

Alicia’s writing always made him smile. She was so serious about everything. It always amused him that they’d met because, on the Weasley twins’ urging, he’d dropped a dead spider down the back of her robes during their first Potions class.

He read through her letter, grinned, turned it over, and wrote his response on the back. They’d always written letters to each other like that. Neither of them was quite sure why. Alicia called it recycling. Lee called it silly.

 

 

Dear Chaser Spinnet,                                

          Tryouts are as to be expected. I’m doing my best, but I have the feeling I’m not boring enough in my commentating. All the other commentators are old balding wizards and McGonagall look-alikes. I can’t wait to get back to school and my regular commentating schedule.

          My parents would rather I do something more respectable. They think I ought to be a Healer like Great-Aunt Betsy. I wouldn’t be a Healer, but even if I would be, I wouldn’t want to be one like Great-Aunt Betsy. There’s a reason my tarantula’s name is Betsy; the family resemblance is astonishing and Betsy the tarantula is the better-looking of the two.

          The Hufflepuff’s name is Eloise. For someone who’s afraid of heights, she knows a lot about Quidditch and she didn’t make fun of my dancing either which I appreciated. Nor did she ditch me for one of those Beauxbatons prats.

      And I’m trying not to think about You-Know-Who or the NEWTs. 

                                                                                   Commentator Jordan

 

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