The Sugar Quill
Author: Angel of the North  Story: Breaking the Rules  Chapter: Default
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Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Ravenclaw in need of a date does not go anywhere near a Weasley. This is a syllogism reinforced when one is a Patil twin, and the Weasleys in question are Fred and George. In fact we, the women of Ravenclaw House, have derived several rules governing interactions, and this afternoon I have successfully managed to break every single one of them, to my undying shame and mortal embarrassment.

Rule 1. If there is a Weasley in the library, and they ask for help, they are generally not doing work.

If the Weasley is Percy, then he is usually doing extra credit, if it is Ron, he is preparing for his next death-defying adventure, and if it Fred or George, they are trying to blow something up, inflate it, or transfigure it - preferably using a non-standard and innocuous method.

One might think that I would have learnt not to accept anything at face value by now. So when George Weasley asked if I would help him with a spell, I was naturally surprised, given that he is a seventh year, and I am in my fifth. He explained that some of the ingredients were unfamiliar, and perhaps I might be able to explain.

Most of the items on his list were spices from India or Tibet, and I had a fairly good idea of their possible uses. It certainly wasn't likely that they were taking an interest in their culinary applications. We talked for at least half an hour, during which there were no pranks, no being ignored, bored or over-awed, and the definite presence of a civilised conversation. Suffice it to say, I was left somewhat speechless.

Rule 2. If a Weasley offers to help you, it is wise to look a gift horse in the mouth, the ears, and the behind, just to check the health of the animal, and the likely recipient of the inevitable. 

Once my mind had suitably processed the shock to my system, I carried on with my work, pausing only when it was time to head to the Great Hall for lunch. I was somewhat surprised when, not having been in any particular haste or hurry the contents of my bag were sprayed all over the floor of the Entrance Hall.

I suspected that it may have been one of the Hufflepuffs, but it turned out to be the ice prince himself, Draco Malfoy, deigning to interfere in my affairs. He stood to one side, commenting as my hands struggled to grasp the books about how I obviously wasn't worth my place in Ravenclaw, as my brains must have been addled if I was voluntarily consorting with Weasleys, and even consenting to accompany Weasley minimus to an occasion such as the Yule Ball. Before he could drawl any longer, I found myself surrounded by heads in varying shades of red, and half a dozen helpful hands, with one of them being directed towards breaking the spells placed on my books, and another being forced to restrain Ron from hexing Draco.

Rule 3. If a Weasley offers you anything, refuse. They're either the unwitting pawns, or they're actively testing a joke.

They insisted on my being accompanied into the Hall, and invited me to join them in their 'repast'. I was not unfamiliar was the Gryffindors, and as Parvati was already there, the seven of us had a very enjoyable meal, with the brothers actively trying to make amends for the mischief of Mr Malfoy.

That wasn't the only error of manners that they attempted to rectify. George seemed to consider Ron a fair target for embarrassment, as he had been unconscionably rude to me at the Yule Ball, according to him, and therefore this poor etiquette should be dealt with accordingly. He had been taught to treat a woman with better manners than that, and he deserved everything he got.

I found myself being waited on hand and foot - nothing was too much trouble, and the good humour flowed freely around the table. George was a most attentive companion, and I discovered he had a brain to put most of my own house to shame, even if he did prefer to use it for slightly less high-minded pursuits.

Rule 4. If one is desperate, a Weasley is always worth having around for companionship, if only for entertainment value. With the potential for entertainment comes also the potential for embarrassment, and one is therefore encouraged to choose your Weasley wisely.

It being a Saturday we would be free all afternoon, and given the clement weather, Fred proposed that we should sit by the lake. Hermione wanted to go to the library (as did I) but Ron and Harry slipped their arms through hers, and Parvati grabbed me before I could make my own escape. To keep Hermione's thirst for knowledge slaked, Fred started to explain some of the magic behind their work - spell-building, potions development and such like, whilst George provided an illustrated commentary taking a tour of their less successful inventions, and more spectacular results.

I found myself drawn into a discussion of the interaction between physical and metaphysical magic with George, Ron and Hermione, while Fred was showing Parvati how to animate her hair-clips

I didn't realise that I was talking only to George until twenty minutes after Ron and Hermione had been sighted on the other side of the lake near the folly.

Rule 5. Weasleys are more intelligent than they look, less innocent than they appear, and never have any money.

For someone that only managed five OWLs he knows more about the practical applications of magic than I would ever have thought possible. His mind is quick, his speech is witty, and I find his conversation quite compelling. He talks grandiloquently of his plans for the joke-shop with his twin, and the dreams he has for the future. I am impressed by their acumen - they have substantial backing, and a goblin-approved business plan.

Conversation drifts to other things - being twins notably, and start speculating about what it would be like to try a poly-juice potion of your twin, if only to find out exactly what the physical differences between you are.

He asks politely about my background - although we are both from old families we hardly move in the same circles - and I tell him about growing up as an Anglo-Asian witch, combining the two magical heritages. He asks me how they differ, and I get into a long exposition of the way certain magics are part of daily life. I tell him about some of the love potions and their effects, and he has the grace to blush a little, before his natural curiosity wins out.

Rule 6. If you need to ask, then you probably don't want to know

I finally give in, and ask what he wanted the ingredients for earlier. He explains, with a blush, that Fred wanted to surprise his girlfriend, and had found a couple of books with some ideas in, but the translation charms hadn't rendered the contents any less comprehensible. Apparently the recipe was intended to transform a room into a pleasant multi-sensory experience.

He brings up poverty for the first time - how it's great to be in a big family, but when the only time you get privacy is at school, it's a bit worrying. I can only nod. There's only me and Parvati, but my aunt has a lot of kids, and much as I love my cousins, it's too much.

It's clear that he adores his little sister, for all that she can be a pain in the neck. He describes some of her more worrying escapades, albeit glossing over the events of her first year. The sun's setting over the forest as we head inside, ignoring the comments of the others. We head into the library, and find my favourite corner. He perches on the desk, and we read in companionable silence - his book is 'Joking through the ages' while mine is a guide to advanced transfiguration, but it doesn't matter.

Every time I look up, I catch his eyes, but he doesn't say anything, just smiles, and carries on. Towards supper time, he stops working, and I can feel him watching me.

"Look. I know it's weird. You dated my brother once, and it wasn't the best, and you're probably scarred for life, and completely put off my family, but would you, possibly, could you ever, find it in your heart to go with me to the Leaver's Ball with me."

Rule 7. Never, ever, agree to go on a date with a Weasley. This goes double for any formal occasion. Ron doesn't know how to behave, the twins don't know how not to misbehave, and Percy doesn't know how to stop behaving.

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