The Sugar Quill
Author: leilani  Story: Of Fallen Umbrellas  Chapter: Chapter Two - An Extended Eavesdropping
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer - The conversation that the boys have is taken from page 100, Chapter 6 - The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, OotP (American hardback addition). Wow that's a mouth-full! I need to thank Z Diddy for helping me fix up all of my formatting shenanigans! (The list of them keeps on going and going...) It looked like something my dog threw up before you came along. :)

Of Fallen Umbrella Stands Chapter 2 – An Extended Eavesdropping

Hermione hadn’t been expecting that. She was quite enjoying their tango. But Ginny now was standing outside the door, beckoning her onward. Hermione felt compelled to follow her, what else was she going to do? She followed Ginny out of the door and turned left down the hallway without a word (Mrs. Black had not woken up during Ginny’s short spree). 

Ginny sneaked a look over the balcony. All that remained in the foyer were the –still- untouched umbrellas, scattered even more randomly then before. They had been kicked to the far lengths of the room. Something told Ginny that the meeting with the younger residents of Number 12 hadn’t ended so well. 

Ginny had the Extendable Ears cupped in her left hand, but she wasn’t quite sure how she was going to use them. She was glad Hermione had followed her. If they did get caught Mrs. Weasley would surely soften the blow if Hermione were there. Ginny would have hopefully have heard what she had wanted to hear from Harry and Ron by that time anyway. 

By now Ginny has halfway up the stairs to the second landing, skipping two at a time. For Ginny’s size, Hermione noted how long legs must be a family trait. Hermione hopped up the stairs one by one. They both got to the top and stood facing toward the first door on their right. 

While engaging with a staring contest with the door, they jumped at two large cracking sounds, which had just occurred simultaneously inside the room. The sounds of ruffling bed sheets and muffled voices could be heard following. They were quickly shushed, leaving the hallway in silence again. 

“Now what?” Hermione said curtly, crossing her arms and lightly tapping her foot on the polished floorboards in a manner that was to suggest an increasing lack of patience. 

Ginny followed Hermione’s tapping foot while fondling the Extendable Ears in her hands in time. “Well…” tap tap tap “I guess we could just use the ears and get under the door…” tap tap tap “I’m sure Mum won’t find out…” tap tap tap “I mean, she hasn’t put a charm on this door has she?” tap tap tap. She took a dung bomb out of her pocket that was spare from her earlier test on the door of the meeting room that morning. Tap tap tap. She threw it at the door. Tap tap tap. It hit with a soft clunk and fell to the ground, filling the air with a heavy stench of rotting oranges and chickens. Hermione kept on tapping, unphased. Tap tap tap. 

“FOR GOD’S SAKE HERMIONE, STOP TAPPING!” Ginny said a little too loudly. Realising what a big mistake she had probably just made, she made a very quick decision. She sat down opposite the door and put one end of the Extendable Ear in her right ear. She whispered ‘go’, and the beige string jumped to life and crawled under the gap in the door. Much to Ginny’s surprise, Hermione sat down next to her, and pulled out her end just enough so that Hermione could hear what was going on inside. The once muffled voices suddenly became blatantly clear in their ears. 

“So, got there yet?” said George eagerly. Well, it sounded like George at least, could very well be Fred. Not even Ginny could tell the difference. 

“The weapon Sirius mentioned?” said Harry. Ginny was sure it was Harry. His gruff voice was something that she had always thought had set him apart. Ginny sat up straighter against the wall; Hermione, attached to her,  had no choice but to follow her. 

"Let slip, more like, we didn't hear about that on the old Extendables, did we?" said Fred. (Or possibly George) 

Hermione shifted uncomfortably. Ginny could sense that Hermione was having second thoughts on using the Extendable Ears. Ginny however, was keen as ever to here what else the boys had to say. 

"What d'you reckon it is?" said Harry. 

"Could be anything," said Fred. 

“You mean the Order doesn’t even know what they are protecting? That must be hard…” Ginny questioned Hermione. 

“Not quite... They do, we don’t. Your mum stopped them from getting to that.” 

Ginny cursed her mother underneath her breath. As much as Ginny loved her mother, she had a tendency to be way to controlling. 

“Shhh, they are saying something…” Hermione said, as they huddled closer. 

"But there can't be anything worse than the Avada Kedavra Curse, can there?" said Ron, "What's worse than death?"

Ginny reminisced about the likes of Tom Riddle and Death Eaters. Ron didn’t really get half the stuff Harry told him she guessed; however, what he lacked in understanding he evened up in compassion. 

"Maybe it's something that can kill loads of people at once," suggested George. 

"Maybe it's some particularly painful way of killing people," said Ron fearfully. 

Hermione laughed. It figured that Ron would be the first to point out that something could cause lots of pain. However, he did have a point… 

"He's got the Cruciatus Curse for causing pain," said Harry, "he doesn't need anything more efficient than that."

The pause that was occurring inside the bedroom was mirrored outside the door. None of the participants could comprehend what this weapon could be. Visual images of people being tortured and murdered flashed through Hermione’s head; Fred, George and Ron were silently whimpering about the ouch factor; but Ginny and Harry were not thinking about how much death would hurt, or how many people this thing could wipe out at once. They both knew that there were worse things than pain and death. 

"So who d'you think's got it now?" asked George. 

Ginny and Hermione both broke of mid-thought to re-join the conversation that they were not actually having. 

"I hope it's our side," said Ron, sounding slightly nervous. 

Ginny and Hermione shared a nod of agreement. 

"If it is, Dumbledore's probably keeping it," said Fred thoughtfully. 

"Where?" said Ron quickly, "Hogwarts?"

"Bet it is!" said George, "That's where he hid the Philosopher's Stone."

Neither of the girls had thought of this. Both were momentarily shocked. 

"The weapon’s going to be a lot bigger than the Stone, though!" said Ron. 

Ginny and Hermione shared an image of a giant cannon-looking device; which then morphed into a mix of various mythical creatures. 

"Not necessarily," said Fred. 

"Yeah, size is no guarantee of power," said George, "Look at Ginny."

Ginny jumped inwardly at the sound of her name. What had George (or was it Fred?) just said? Had he just said that she was…? 

"What d'you mean?" said Harry. 

“Did Fred just say that you were powerful?” Hermione said, trying to hide the disbelieving tone in her voice. 

Ginny took no notice, and instead responded by doing a brilliant imitation of a goldfish, mouth opening and closing, yet making no sound, and big, open eyes. 

"You've never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?" 

This goldfish was now turning pink and becoming a redfish. They thought she has powerful… Wow… They thought she was powerful? She would have to bring this up tomorrow… No point actually… they’ll deny it, no doubt… 

Hermione was grinning ear to ear. Finally the boys were seeing Ginny for who she was! 

“Our little girl is all grown up!” Hermione mocked, faking a tear. Ginny responded by feebly trying to tackle Hermione. The giggling pair was rudely interrupted from their tumbling by the sound of footsteps on the bottom of the stair. They could hear two loud cracks coming from inside the bedroom. Fred and George had the sense to get out early. The steps quickened up the stairs on the noise. 

Before Ginny quite knew what was going on, Hermione was pulling the back of her cardigan into a closet. She turned the handle inside the pitch-black space just as Mrs. Weasley rounded up the stairs. Ginny gave a quick tug of the string that she was holding, and the Extendable Ears slid out from beneath the door, and were back safely in her pocket. 

Mrs. Weasley’s footsteps stopped outside the boys’ room. She stood silently for a good minute or two before trekking up the next flight of stairs towards Fred and George’s room. 

Ginny felt for the doorknob, and was turning it when Hermione swiftly swiped her hand away from the knob. 

“She has to come back down if she is checking on Fred and George; we wouldn’t want to be caught in the crossfire…” Ginny had to use every inch of her concentration to hear what Hermione was saying. 

Although Hermione couldn’t see it, Ginny was still glowing red from Fred’s earlier comment. She was sure if she were connected to a power source, she would be able to light up the closet she was glowing so brightly. 

True to Hermione’s word, two or three minutes later, Mrs. Weasley’s footsteps came down one flight of stairs, and then another. Once Hermione felt that she was back inside her bedroom, she turned the handle, stumbling out into the light of the hallway. There was not a peep coming from inside the bedroom. 

The two of them crept down the stairs, along the hall and opened the door to their room. The got dressed into their pyjamas silently, and turned out the lights as they crawled into bed. Although there were other things on Ginny’s mind, she needed to ask something. 

“Hermione?” 

“Yeah?” 

“Do you think he really meant that?” 

“Who?” 

“George.”

“I thought it was Fred.” 

“Whatever. Did he really, well, am I…?” 

“Yes Ginny, you are.” Hermione sounded so sincere. This is what she loved about Hermione. 

“Really?” 

“Of course! And they are idiots for not realising it before.” They lay silent while Ginny’s heart bounded in her chest. 

“Hermione?” 

“Yeah?” 

“Thanks.” If Ginny was blushing enough for her to power a light globe before, she was now blushing enough to power the entire of Hogsmeade. It had turned out to be a good night after all.

//
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