The Sugar Quill
Author: Pickle Princess  Story: Christmas Shopping  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.

Title: Christmas Shopping

A/N- Some totally out of season fluff. Thanks to my SQ beta Jo Wickaninnish for putting up with me and my pathetic inability to utilize commas. I love ya, darling.

 

This takes place at Grimmauld Place circa OotP.

 

***

 

Christmas Shopping

 

***

 

Ron shoved the rest of his sandwich into his mouth and stood up. Gulping down his milk, he pushed his chair in with his knee and then proceeded to wipe his white moustache off with the sleeve of his jumper.

 

“Ok Mum, let’s go!” he said, irritated that she was still taking dainty bites of her ham and cheese sandwich while reading some novel or other.

 

“Not yet dear,” she said absently. “My, can’t you wait ten minutes?”

 

“Mu-um! I NEED to get a gift for Hermione!” Ron was almost hopping up and down with impatience. “Christmas is TOMORROW, in case you haven’t noticed!”

 

Mrs. Weasley stopped reading and glanced up at Ron with a sharp glare. “Yes, Ron, in fact I did notice. I also noticed that Harry already HAS a gift for Hermione. Since you were obviously not deprived of the opportunity to shop while at Hogwarts, I see no reason why you can’t just wait a couple minutes longer.”

 

Ron groaned and sat back down in his chair, muttering under his breath.

 

“What’s that, dear?” asked Mrs. Weasley cheerfully. “You really must speak up.”

 

Ron sighed and put his forehead down on the table, resigned. “Nothing, Mum.”

 

Mrs. Weasley smiled knowingly and went back to her book.

 

Presently, George walked into the room. Rather, “Evil Twin #2”, as Ron was coming to know him. Grinning like a fool, George sauntered over to the table and poked at a few apples, apparently searching for the best looking. Selecting one, he went over to the counter, cut the apple carefully in half, and proceeded to examine it.

 

Ron, who had been watching him from the corner of his eye, lifted his head from the table with a half quizzical, half wary expression. “George?” he questioned carefully.

 

“Yes, my dear, sweet Ronniekins?” George answered in a singsong voice as he peeled back a little bit of the apple’s skin and tasted the inside.

 

“What the bloody HELL are you doing?”

 

“RON!” Mrs. Weasley admonished, never one to miss a beat.

 

“I’m testing the apple,” George answered, as if it were completely obvious. In fact, it was, but that was not the point.

 

Ron rolled his eyes. “I don’t even want to know,” he muttered.

 

“Actually,” commented George. “You probably do. Unless of course you would like to go back to Hogwarts with a mottled purple nose, in which case you are henceforth not related to me.”

 

“That’s IT!” exclaimed Mrs. Weasley, putting down her book with a bang. “You can’t even eat in this house any more with you and Fred around! Hand over those apples right NOW!”

 

His mother now fully occupied with George, Ron concluded with a sigh that it was going to be a long while before they did any shopping. Not wanting to listen to the war that was unfolding between George and his mother, Ron got up and wandered into the living room, where Sirius was humming Christmas tunes and putting final touches on some decorations.

 

“Hey Sirius,” he said, throwing himself down into a chair and staring moodily out the window at the falling snow outside.

 

Sirius greeted him boisterously, insisting that he help him decorate. “Come ON! T’is the season!”

 

“Not really in the mood.” Ron replied morosely.

 

Sirius set down the rather scary shears that he used for cutting ribbon and flopped down on a chair beside Ron. “So are you going to tell me what’s wrong, or must I force it out of you?”

 

Ron grinned a bit. “Nothing’s wrong, really, I’m just having a little trouble thinking of a gift for someone.”

 

Sirius nodded. “And...?” he prompted.

 

Ron continued staring out the window, but his ears flushed red. “Well...” He figured it would be easier to get it all out in a rush. “IreallylikethisgirlandIdunnowhattogetherforChristmas.” He said, looking everywhere but at the man’s face.

 

Sirius suppressed a smirk. “What was that, Ron? Didn’t quite catch what you said, there.”

 

Ron turned bright red all over. “Never mind, Sirius. I just need to get a present for Hermione, and I don’t know what to get her, that’s all.”

 

Sirius turned his head to hide the grin that spread across his face. “Well Ron, let’s see. I think I have just the thing for you.”

 

“Really?” Ron asked, brightening.

 

“Be right back.” Sirius replied, bounding out of the room.

 

A minute later, he returned with a huge, leather bound tome.

 

Ron grinned. Of course. He should have known. A book.

 

Sirius plunked the book in Ron’s lap. It weighed a ton.

 

Sirius had a pathetic, dog like grin upon his face. “C’mon Ron! Open it!”

 

Ron opened the worn cover and started glancing through the pages. His grin grew weaker and weaker as he read some words on each page.

 

“All thoughts, all passions, all delights...” He skipped ahead a couple pages, a confused look on his face. “The winds of heaven mix forever... with a sweet emotion...” his eyes were growing bigger and bigger, and there was a pained look in his eyes. “Wild nights... should be our luxury!” Ron finally jumped up, now sure of the books content, with an expression of horror on his face. “LOVE POEMS?” He bellowed, shaking some plaster from the worn ceiling. “YOU WANT ME TO GIVE HER A BOOK OF LOVE POEMS?

 

Sirius had a rather wicked look upon his face and he said nothing, choosing instead to watch Ron, who had begun to pace back and forth, wiping the perspiration from his forehead.

 

Ron was muttering to himself. “Well- well that just proves... completely missed the point...” Vaguely he wondered where the strange sense of déjà vu was coming from. He dismissed the thought, and instead turned to face Sirius, who seemed to be stifling laughter.

 

“S’not funny.” muttered Ron. “What would she do with a book of love poems anyway?”

 

Sirius looked crestfallen. “So you won’t be needing it?” He asked.

 

“No.”, Ron firmly replied. He handed Sirius the book and fled the room.

 

He slowed down as he rounded the corner, wondering where he could go next. Knowing his mum, he figured there was still a good half hour before they’d be leaving the house. He was racking his brain, trying desperately to come up with something to give Hermione when he walked more or less head on into Fred. A box tumbled from his hands, noisily scattering it’s colourful contents all over the floor.

 

“Bloody hell Ron!” he whispered loudly. “You wanna wake the wailing hag, or what? Quick, help me pick these up before mum finds them.”


Ron, who knew better than to fool around so close to the curtained painting of Sirius’s late mother, knelt and began dumping handfuls of the bright, individually wrapped candies into the shoebox Fred had been holding. “What the hell are these things, anyway?” he asked, realizing too late that he probably didn’t want to know.

 

“These, my good man, are Bowel Busters!” Fred answered cheerfully, shoving the last of them into their container and closing the top. “Better than whoopee cushions... these babies cause the real thing.”


Ron raised his eyebrow. “And you’re gonna sell them?”

 

“Well yes, as soon as we get the kinks worked out, of course.”

 

Ron definitely didn’t want to know what those kinks were.

 

“If you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with Sirius.” As he turned to walk down the hallway, Ron thought of something.

 

“Hey, Fred...”

 

He turned on his heel and looked back at Ron quizzically. “What, you wanna buy some?” A light suddenly gleamed in his eye. “So he hasn’t gone completely Prefect on us, then!”

 

“No, no, no, that’s not what I meant!” Suddenly he was annoyed. What a stupid idea anyway. What would he know about buying gifts for girls? Angelina... whispered a voice in the back of his head. Jeez, I’m desperate, he thought. Taking  a deep breath, he cringed and said “Um... I haven’t gotten Hermione a present yet, and...” God, he was an idiot.

 

“You want to buy some for Hermione?” Fred looked confused. “Sorry mate, but something tells me she wouldn’t be the most appreciative recipient.” 

 

Ron groaned. “I didn’t mean those! I just...oh...nevermind. Forget it.” 

 

Fred looked intrigued, but the sound of Sirius singing Christmas carols in the next room caused him to remember his original purpose. “Yeah, whatever Ronniekins...” he jerked his head in the direction of the living room. “Sale transactions call!” He then walked down the hallway, leaving Ron alone with his thoughts yet again.

 

Groaning, Ron hit his forehead against the wall. With all the people in his family, you’d think at least one of them would be normal. Not that he thought he was normal or anything. Agonizing over a gift for Hermione? One of his two best friends in the entire world? The one who watched him barf slugs in second year? Yeah, he definitely was not normal.

 

Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He jumped and spun around, pulling his wand as he did.  Ginny giggled.

 

Ron leaned against the wall to catch his breath. “Bloody... don’t you ever.. do that... again,” he said, heart pounding.

 

“Well, someone’s a bit jumpy today, huh?”

 

He glared at her. “I’m not jumpy! I was just thinking, that’s all.”

 

“Of course, I forgot how much concentration “thinking” requirs from someone with such a small brain.”

 

Ron rolled his eyes. “Not funny.”

 

“I wasn’t trying to be.”

 

“Whatever.” Ron started to walk away down the corridor, when a sudden thought made him turn back. “Hey Ginny...”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“That... hair... thing...” He pointed to the red and green tinsel ball tied to her ponytail.

 

It was Ginny’s turn to roll her eyes. “Ron, think. Does this look like something Hermione would wear? Ever?”

 

Ron didn’t wonder how she knew what he was asking, Sirius had probably told the whole house by now. (Ronald darling is looking for a gift for his giiirlfriend)

 

“Get her a necklace or something,” she advised. “She’d love a gift like that.”

 

Ron’s face suddenly relaxed. “Yeah... a necklace!” He wondered why he hadn’t thought of that himself. “Thanks Gin!” Without a backward glace at the knowing look on her face, he sprinted down the hallway towards the kitchen. Suddenly, he came to a grinding halt as a thought sprung into his mind. “No...” He moaned, grimacing. A necklace would never work. What did all the boys in Gryffindor give to their girlfriends? Jewelry. It was no good. He didn’t want her to think he liked her or anything. Why not? asked that idiot voice in his ear. She is rather pretty... A stupid look crossed his face as he imagined Hermione, her gorgeous curly hair surrounding her small, soft face... He shook himself. Ronald Bilius Weasley. He commanded himself. Never, ever, under any circumstances, think of her that way again. Ever. Satisfied that he had completely wiped that picture from his mind, he continued down the hallway with a sigh.

 

As he passed by the small study, he looked in  to see Remus Lupin sitting at the desk, feet propped up, reading what Ron supposed was a letter, written on slightly yellowed parchment. Knowing that his mum was probably about ready to leave and this was his last proper chance to get any good advice, he took a deep breath and knocked softly on the wooden frame of the open door. Remus looked up and, shoving the parchment into the top drawer of his desk in the manner of a man whom has just been caught doing something he most certainly should not, waved Ron into the room.

 

“Hullo Professor,” Ron mumbled, stepping into the doorway and suddenly grasping the fact that he was asking a teacher, albeit not a current one, but still, a teacher, what he should get for Hermione.

 

“Well, don’t just stand there... come in!” Remus reached over the desk and dragged some papers off of the worn red armchair and gestured toward it with his free hand.

 

Reluctantly, Ron shuffled in and sat down. Deciding he should get this over with as soon as possible, he said quickly, “Well, I know you’re really busy right now and all...” Remus glanced at the top drawer with a look of slight discomfort as Ron continued, “But I was wondering if you had any advice on... well... you know... what I should...” He realized he sounded like a total idiot. “What do you think I should get Hermione for Christmas?” He knew he was blushing.

 

Remus suppressed a smirk. “Well,” he said, trying not to laugh, “I suppose you’ve asked most of the rest of the household for their opinions?”

 

Ron nodded, feeling more than slightly pathetic.

 

“And you’ve finally come to me, after turning each one down in your head for various, and almost certainly untrue reasons?”

 

Ron thought it best just to nod again.

 

Remus felt the corners of his lips tugging up, but he fought to keep his face somber. “And I assume,” he said, “That your mother is just about ready to leave the house and take you shopping for said gift?”

 

The tips of Ron’s ears were now thoroughly pink.

 

“Well, I can’t say you’ve come to the right man,” Lupin said, swinging his feet to the floor and pulling a drawer open, “But since you have come to me, and since you’ve probably already had to deal with advice from some rather insane people, bless them, then I will try to be as helpful as I can be.” He began rummaging through the drawer, his greying hair the only part of him that Ron could see. He briefly considered bolting from the room, but there was a muffled “Aha!” from somewhere behind the desk and Ron knew it was too late.

 

“Aha.” Remus said again, sitting up in his chair and putting his feet back on the desk, where Ron suspected they had long ago taken permanent residence, judging by the shoe scuffs in the wood.

 

“Ron,” said Remus, reading from a small piece of paper in his hand, “A man once said, A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.’”

 

Ron looked at him blankly, feeling stupid. Obviously, this was supposed to mean something profound, and it just didn’t click.

 

Remus, seeing the look on Ron’s face, chuckled. “I’ll elaborate. Hermione has been your friend for a very long time, hasn’t she?”

 

Nearly five years, Ron thought, which makes this even more pathetic.

 

“And I’ll assume,” Remus continued, “That you hold each other...” he bit his lip to keep from laughing, “In very high esteem. Now Ron, if I may ask, have you had any arguments? Fights? Bellowing at each other from across the common room type of things?”

 

Ron wondered how he knew. “Well, yeah.” He answered.

 

“And you have, in all cases, forgiven each other?”


Ron nodded.

 

“Because you’re friends, right? And you would never let petty things like the these get in the way of that friendship, correct?”

 

Ron nodded again.

 

Remus sat back and smiled serenely. “Well then, I think we have arrived at the solution to your dilemma.”

 

“Um, have we?” Ron asked, feeling a bit lost.

 

“Ron,” Remus said, laughing a bit, “The solution is, of course, to stop worrying. Get something that you think she would like, but then stop stressing about it. I promise you, unless it is something truly disgusting, she won’t hate you for getting her a gift.  In fact, she will love that you thought of her.” Remus knew he had hit upon the right word. Love.

 

A slow grin spread upon Ron’s face. “Yeah, you know what? You’re right. She won’t hate me for thinking of her... I mean, it’s not like I’m accusing her of fraternizing with the enemy... or murdering my rat... yeah, this is good!”

 

Remus had a quizzical look on his face, but he didn’t press the matter. “I’m so glad I was able to help you, Ron.”

 

Suddenly, there were footsteps sounding down the corridor and a familiar voice calling, “Ron dear! We’d best be leaving now, if you want to go all the way to London!”

 

Ron jumped up, thanked Remus, and then flew out of the room.

 

A few minutes later, he was walking down a crowded street in Diagon Alley.  His mum was off doing some of her own last minute Christmas shopping, so he thankfully wouldn’t be getting any motherly input. Not that he disliked his mum or anything, it’s just that every time he mentioned Hermione, she’d get a knowing look on her face and start talking about when she and his father had first met. It was honestly getting annoying.

 

He walked slowly, peering into all the windows of every store, looking for something that reminded him of Hermione. He wanted, he had finally decided, something original. Something that nobody else would have thought to give her. Now that he wasn’t as worried about whether or not she would still like him after he gave it to her, he found it much easier to think about the present. He passed the Quidditch Supply Shop and had to forcefully tear his eyes away from the broomstick in the window. He had walked past Madame Malkin’s and was just getting tired when he saw it. The perfect gift.

 

The shop didn’t have a name, as far as he could see. It was tiny, almost like it had been smushed between the two store on either side of it, and it was probably dark and musty inside. It wasn’t the actual shop that concerned him, however. It was what sat in the window display that caught his eye.

 

 A bell tinkled as he entered. The inside of the shop, as he’d guessed, was stuffy and shadowed. A bit like Ollivander’s, he thought. Only smellier. Indeed, the small space of rich with scent, and not all of it was necessarily good. As he passed the labeled rows of candles, incense, and perfumes, he spied quite a few rotten smells amongst the lavender, musk, and violet. Skunk, for instance. He wondered what kind of woman wore skunk voluntarily. Then he wondered what kind of woman wore lilac voluntarily. Weren’t those smells made for outside? He decided it was best not to think about that anymore, and hurried over to the window.

 

It was small, he knew, and he couldn’t even begin to guess what the scent was supposed to be, but he loved it anyway. The perfect, golden stopper in the top caught the sun and glinted the colour of Hermione’s hair, then the light spiraled dizzyingly down through the glass container, splaying a rainbow across the floor behind it. It was filled with a liquid, light pink substance (Ron assumed this was the actual perfume) that, although it wasn’t a particularly attractive colour, seemed to somehow give it’s the container warmth, and a strange beauty. Kind of like Hermione, Ron thought to himself absently. He bought it.

 

As Ron walked out into the late afternoon sun, he whistled a tune. He was, he realized, happy. Truly happy for the first time in, well, a very long time. It was Christmas Eve, and he had friends who loved him, no matter what. Even Harry, prat that he was being, had a place for Ron in his heart. And when he met back up with his mum, he let her wear her knowing smile and talk about his father. Perhaps, just perhaps, she knew what she was talking about after all.

 

***

 

A/N- (word that Cap’n Kathy hates)! Writing this certainly made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Man I love those Weasleys... As usual, the nature of the relationship between Sirius and Remus is entirely up to the discretion of the reader, although I daresay Sirius didn’t have that Big Book O’ Poems hidden up there for nothin’. Oh yes, and Remus’ letter is also something I will let you fill in on your own. I’m planning on writing a little ficlet to cover it, but at the moment I’m kind of occupied with Ginny and Draco’s Major Big Butt Novel of the Century. (No I don’t actually SHIP them, I just WRITE them... oh, nevermind...)  :-* Smooches!

 

 

 

Disclaimer- All the characters mentioned here belong to JK Rowling, goddess that she is. The perfume also comes straight from Book 5. Excerpts of poems that Ron reads come from, respectively, “Love” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley, and “Wild Nights!” by Emily Dickinson. Quote that Remus read (yes, he does have a collection of quotes in his bottom drawer; I think this is adorable) was originally uttered by Elbert Hubbard. Oh yeah, and Bowel Busters are the creation of my three brothers, bless them. They’re getting sick of whoopee cushions, I daresay.

//
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