The Sugar Quill
Author: CoKerry (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Famous Last Words  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.

Ron, gazing out the window of the Hogwarts Express and munching hungrily on a pumpkin pasty, was in shock.

Well, maybe shock wasn't the right way to describe it.

The feeling he was experiencing definitely wasn't the same kind of shock he'd experienced at three when that git Fred had turned his stuffed bear into a spider. (And what, speaking of spiders, were those gits thinking when they asked him if he wanted to see Lee Jordan's tarantula? Not very likely, that one.)

No, this was more like the amazed, ecstatically happy shock he had felt when Charlie had taken him for his first real soaring flight above the Burrow on his old Cleansweep Three.

Yeah, that was it exactly.

And who wouldn't feel this way when they were sharing their train compartment, not to mention at least 10 Sickles worth of candy, with Harry Potter, the very same "Boy Who Lived"?

Harry didn't even seem to care that Ron was wearing second-hand clothes, had a very fat, old rat snoozing on his lap, and obviously didn't have enough money to buy any candy of his own. Harry, in fact, seemed intrigued by all the things that Ron thought were not only ordinary, but also almost shameful about himself. All in all, Harry definitely wasn't turning out to be the person a lifetime of hearing his name spoken in a tone of awe had conditioned Ron to think that he would be.

"What are these?" asked Harry, interrupting Ron's contemplative thoughts.

Ron turned from the window to see Harry holding a Chocolate Frog in his hand.

"They're not really frogs, are they?"

"No," Ron replied. "But see what the card is, I'm missing Agrippa."

"What?" exclaimed Harry.

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't know - Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them, you know, to collect - famous witches and wizards. I've got about five hundred, but I haven't got Agrippa or Ptolemy." Ron knew he shouldn't have been surprised at the question; of course Harry would have never seen Chocolate Frogs before! In a way, Harry was kind-of like him…a little different.

Ron, happy with this thought, didn't mind answering Harry's numerous questions as they ate their way through the Chocolate Frogs and moved on to the Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

Before long, they heard a knock on their compartment door and a short brown-haired boy came in, asking "Sorry, but have you seen a toad at all?"

Ron was about to make a joke about the Chocolate Frogs, but looked closer at the boy's face, which was tearful and anxious, and thought better of it. Instead, he shook his head no.

The boy wailed, "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"

Harry said, "He'll turn up."

"Yes, well, if you see him…" the boy, sounding miserable, turned and left.

Ron shook his head. He told Harry, "Don't know why he's so bothered. If I'd brought a toad I'd lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can't talk."

He looked down at his rat, which had barely moved for the last hour except to curl more tightly into a ball in his sleep. Ron suddenly felt annoyed at Scabbers for being just a plain old rat.

Disgusted, he burst out, "He might have died and you wouldn't know the difference! I tried to turn him yellow yesterday to make him more interesting, but the spell didn't work. I'll show you, look…"

No sooner were the words out of his mouth then Ron mentally kicked himself. What had made him say that? Now Harry would see his chipped and battered old wand. 'Oh well,' thought Ron. 'Better for him to see it and decide that he doesn't like me now rather than later. At least then I won't have gotten my hopes up of being friends with Harry Potter.'

He pulled the wand out from his trunk amidst his robes and books, explaining, "unicorn hair's nearly poking out." He chanced a quick glance at Harry, but he was looking interested in Scabbers and the upcoming spell and seemed not to notice the condition of his wand.

Ron breathed a silent sigh of relief, a sigh that quickly threatened to turn into a gasp of surprise as the compartment door opened again and he saw who was standing there. It was the boy who had lost his toad, and a girl whose face brought back a rather uncomfortable memory…

A trip to a wizarding fair with his family. Bill telling Ron he would treat him to his first fortune in honor of his eleventh birthday. The witch, sitting inside a smoky tent, gazing into her crystal ball. Showing him the face that had appeared inside it. A young girl's face with dark brown eyes, a large smile. A swirl of mists inside the orb, and the same girl's face, only older, sweeter. The low hypnotizing voice of the diviner "this one…your true love…by your side, always…" Backing out of the tent, disconcerted by the sight, smell, words. Shaking his head at the crazy old witch. Lying to Fred and George about what the crystal ball had shown and what the witch had said.

And now, out of the blue, that very same girl had just walked into his compartment. Ron felt like he had suddenly developed tunnel vision - she was all he could see, hear, and concentrate on.

Then the girl opened her mouth…and said the most ordinary thing possible. "Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one."

Desperate to gain control over his whirling thoughts, Ron announced, "We've already told him we haven't seen it." Maybe if he was mean, she would leave and his world could go back to making sense.

Instead, her gaze fell on his wand.

"Oh, are you doing magic?" She exclaimed. "Lets see it, then."

'Bloody ----' thought Ron. Do magic? How was he supposed to do the spell correctly with her staring at him like that? He hadn't even been able to do it right yesterday with only George watching…something about his pronunciations being just a little off. Now, however…he couldn't believe she was real and standing right in front of him. And here he had been thinking that that crazy old bat at the fair had been a fraud.

The girl sat down next to him.

"Er - " Ron's mind spun. He didn't even want to think about what a prat he must look, and now, he couldn't remember the spell. Well, this was turning out to be just perfect.

Desperate, he muttered the first thing that came into his head. At least it rhymed.

"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,

Turn this stupid fat rat yellow."

He himself felt pretty stupid performing the wand movements after reciting words that obviously weren't a real spell, but he did it anyway, just for the effect. Harry certainly wouldn't know it wasn't a real spell, and perhaps she wouldn't either. Maybe they would just think it didn't work on rats or something…

"Are you sure that's a real spell?" said the girl. "Well, its not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard- I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough - I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?"

Ron felt his mind spin out of control again - of course she would have to know it wasn't a real spell! And she sounded so smart…almost annoyingly smart, actually…

Suddenly, he realized that Harry would start to wonder why he looked so stunned, so he shook himself out of his thoughts and muttered "I'm Ron Weasley."

Dimly, as if from far away, he heard Harry say, "Harry Potter."

The girl seemed to get very excited at this.

"Are you really?" She exclaimed to Harry. "I know all about you, of course - I got a few extra books for background reading, and you're in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the 20th Century."

Harry said, in a surprised voice, "Am I?"

"Goodness, didn't you know, I'd have found out everything I could if it was me," she told him.

Then, talking to both of them, she said, "Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around, and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad…Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad. You two had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."

And before Ron knew it, she was gone in a swirl of black cloak. As they left, he finally remembered the spell: Facio Croceus.

He threw his wand back in his trunk in exasperation and practically snarled, "Whatever house I'm in, I hope she's not in it."

No way would he let some old bat fortuneteller make him fall in - ew - love with such a know-it-all! Although she was obviously wicked smart and rather pret- Ron stopped himself and resolutely put such a revolting thought out of his mind, deciding right then and there that he would never, ever fall in love with Hermione Granger…


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