The Sugar Quill
Author: Fluffy_Rose  Story: Borrowed Heaven  Chapter: Default
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Borrowed Heaven

Disclaimer: As always, the characters and the Common Room belong to the fabulous J.K.Rowling, who is gifted beyond words. However, all interpretations of said characters and Common Room belong to me J

 

The title is taken from the title of the new ‘Corrs’ album of the same name, however has no links with it – I just thought it fitted the theme of the fic.

 

Thanks to my Beta, Ozma, for her help and support. *sends Ozma a copious amount of chocolate frogs*

 

 

**********

 

 

Borrowed Heaven

 

All was quiet on this cold, dark, winter’s night. The freezing rain rattled against the window of the Gryffindor fourth year girls’ dormitory, unheard by all but one of its inhabitants.

 

Ginny Weasley was lying flat on her back with her eyes open, wide awake. A close observer would have seen her lips moving, and an even closer one would have been able to make out what she was saying.

 

“562, 563, 564, 565…”

 

Ginny Weasley was counting hippogriffs. And it wasn’t working.

 

“570, 571, 57- Bugger! I can’t do this anymore!”

 

With a frustrated half-groan, she sat up in bed. Glowering, she thought about punching the bedpost and yelling in frustration, but a glance around the room at her sleeping dorm-mates made her reconsider. Climbing out of bed, she decided to go down to the Common Room where she could continue not sleeping in peace. She made her way down the spiral staircase, slowing down as she reached the bottom steps, so as not to disturb anyone still up at this ungodly hour.

 

A glance at her watch (oval, depicting a Snitch revolving slowly, always just out of reach of the Seeker in the middle) showed her that it was 12:23. The Witching hour, she thought. How ironic. At this time of night, any witch with a bit of sense would be tucked up in bed, fast asleep.

 

Huh. Some people have all the luck.

 

Looking surreptitiously from side to side, she stepped from the bottom stair and onto the maroon rug. Ooh. It felt all nice and squishy beneath her bare toes. Enjoying the sensation, she made her way to the big armchair next to the fire, the one always claimed by Harry.

 

With a deep sigh she relaxed into it. And sat up again, feeling something poking into her back. Frowning, she pulled it out from under her, and laughed to herself when she saw what it was.

 

One of Hermione’s knobbly knitted hats. This particular one was a deep purple, with orange splotches, which on closer inspection looked like valiant attempts on Hermione’s part to design stars. Ginny made a mental note never to let Hermione decorate a house.

 

After checking for any more surprises, she settled back into the armchair again, and let her mind wander.

 

So absorbed in her thoughts she was, that she never noticed the other occupant in the room, silently regarding her, until he spoke.

 

“Ginny.”

 

She jumped, and then looked wildly around, searching for the source of the voice.

 

“Over here,” came a deep voice from near the bookcase.

 

“Ron!” she exclaimed, “You gave me a fright! How long have you been down here?”

 

“About half an hour. Not long.”

 

“Couldn’t sleep?” she asked sympathetically.

 

“Something like that.”

 

He rubbed his eyes, yawning, and moved to sit on the sofa opposite her. His long, lanky frame seemed to take up most of the seat, and Ginny inwardly marvelled at the changes only a few years could bring.

 

He must have noticed her expression, because he asked,

 

“What is it? Do I have dirt on my nose or something?”

 

She smiled. Ah, the memories.

 

“No. I was just thinking how much you’d grown.”

 

He hung his head a little, embarrassed.

 

“Yeah, I know. I just wish I’d stop.”

 

Allowing a small giggle to escape her she smiled at her brother.

 

“Just think, one day you could be as tall as Hagrid,” she teased. “Hermione won’t want you then.”

 

“Get lost,” retorted Ron, but he was grinning. He knew they both needed this. The easy teasing, back and forth between them, covering up the raw memories from Christmas.

 

There was a companionable silence between them for a while, stretching a few minutes.

 

“D’you remember when you were four, and Mum wouldn’t let you play Quidditch ’cos you were too young-”

 

“-So I climbed that tree and threatened to jump unless I could,” Ginny finished. She smiled.

 

“Yeah. I could only climb 3 feet, though. Wasn’t really much of a threat.”

 

The siblings grinned at each other.

 

“Mum still threw a fit.”

 

“Not as big as the one when you broke that mirror at Christmas. What were her exact words again? Oh, yes, I remember.” She put on a high, screechy voice,

 

“Ronald Bilius Weasley! Seven years bad luck you’ll be getting now! And that’s on top of what I’ll give you!”

 

“Now that wasn’t my fault!”

 

“Oh, yes, so it just happened to launch itself off the dresser and onto the floor, did it? Nothing to do with the fact it had just told you that you had spattergroit, then? Y’know, that’s two times you’ve been told that now. Reckon you should get it checked out?”

 

Ron threw a cushion at her.

 

“They’re freckles. And for your information, some people quite like them.”

 

“Oh, yeah? Who?” Ginny shot back. “And Moaning Myrtle doesn’t count.”

 

He pulled a face.

 

“Yeuch! I don’t want to think about Moaning Myrtle liking any part of me. No, actually, it was…” he paused. “Hermione.”

 

“Really?” asked Ginny, leaning forward. “What did she say?”

 

“Well,” said Ron hesitantly, “she didn’t actually say she liked them, just that she thought they were very…individual.”

 

Ginny frowned. “Individual?” she repeated. “What did she mean by that? I have freckles. And the twins.”

 

“Beats me,” responded Ron, shrugging. “Anyway, she said it at Christmas. The one just past.” He cleared his throat uncomfortably. “We all needed cheering up then.”

 

“Yeah,” agreed Ginny, staring into the empty fireplace.

 

Silence reigned again for a while, broken only by the sound of the sleet outside, beating on the windows, and the soft purring of Crookshanks, curled up under Hermione’s usual study table.

 

Wait a minute, thought Ginny. Where did Crookshanks come from? Hermione will be missing him.

 

As if in answer to her thoughts, there came the sound of gentle footsteps padding down the girls’ staircase, and Hermione appeared, looking very sleepy.

 

“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t realise anyone was down here. Is Crookshanks around?”

 

With a smile, Ginny pointed at the offending cat. Hermione sighed.

 

“Oh, well. There’ll be no moving him now. Mind if I join you?”

 

When the siblings responded to the negative, she headed towards the armchair beside Ginny’s. But Ron spoke up before she could sit, patting the space on the sofa next to him.

 

“Um…why don’t you sit here?”

 

Hermione flushed slightly and smiled, taking the proffered seat and relaxing into it, taking care not to let any part of her touch any part of Ron.

 

Ginny smirked. They were just too obvious. And it was so frustrating that they hadn’t actually figured it out for themselves yet. She sighed. She hoped to goodness they would get together by August, as she had no intention of losing money to Gred and Forge. Their money was on Christmas 6th year, and had raised the pool to a grand total of 10 Galleons, 5 Sickles and 14 Knuts. Calculating how many chocolate frogs one could buy with that amount, Ginny was soon lost in her thoughts again, until Hermione spoke.

 

“It’s strange, you know, how much things can change in one year. Even in a few months.”

 

Ron and Ginny said nothing. They didn’t need to. Hermione knew they felt the same way.

 

After a few moments she continued,

 

“It’s just…” she gave a little despairing laugh. “I just…don’t want it to, you know?”

 

“Yeah, I know,” responded Ginny. How often had she thought that over the last 7 months? Too many times to count, that was for sure. Right, she thought, it was time to change the mood.

 

“Hermione, have you ever heard about the time Ron dressed up as a girl?”

 

Hermione laughed, as Ron turned an interesting shade of crimson and sent a death-glare at his sister.

 

“Ron as a girl? Hmm, no, I haven’t heard that one,” said Hermione. “What happened?”

 

Ron coughed suddenly. “Ahem, we, er, don’t really have to hear about that. All a very long time ago. Not very important.”

 

“Oh, but I think it is,” grinned Ginny. “When we were little, you see, Ron got jealous of all the attention I was getting as the only girl. So…”

 

Hermione gasped, and put her hands over her mouth, her eyes twinkling with mirth in the moonlight.

 

No? He dressed up in your clothes?”

 

“Uh-huh,” affirmed Ginny, nodding. “ In my ballet costume. Dad brought it home one day from work. Apparently, a batty old hag had cursed it, so whoever wore it couldn’t stop dancing, and gave it to some little Muggle girl. Anyway, Dad Modified the girl’s memory, disenchanted it, and brought it home for me as a present. You couldn’t get me out of it for weeks. I used to twirl around ’till I got dizzy and fell over, and then I’d get up and twirl round the other way ’till I crashed into a tree or something.”

 

She paused, caught up in the memories. With a sudden shake of her head she brought herself back to the present.

 

“Yeah, so one day, I think it was his birthday or something, I’d done something to take the attention away from him, and he ran inside and a few minutes later ran back out again, wearing the ballet costume. The twins gave him hell about it for years. Still do, actually.”

 

Hermione was shaking with silent laughter. “Oh!” she breathed. “The image!”

 

“Oh, shut it,” snapped Ron. “It’s not that funny. Not like that time when you turned yourself into a cat.” He grinned suddenly. “Now that was funny.”

 

Hermione stopped laughing abruptly. “Excuse me,” she said haughtily, “That was just a mistake. It wasn’t intentional, whereas I think prancing about in a pink tutu most certainly is.”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, Miss Perfect,” snarled Ron in mock supplication. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you have made other mistakes, you know.”

 

“And?” shot back Hermione. “At least I can admit when I’m wrong!”

 

“Really? Then let’s talk about SPEW, shall we?” said Ron, getting to his feet. “When are you going to admit that you’ve got it completely wrong? You’re way off the mark, Hermione. They want to work for no pay; it’s their way. They’ve done it like that for years!”

 

“Well maybe the problem is that people like you take them for granted!” cried Hermione shrilly, also standing up. “You can’t see that they are people, just like us-”

 

“They’re not people, they’re house-elves! They live as house-elves do, not as people-”

 

“-they have rights-”

 

“-but they don’t want to use them! If you’d just listen-”

 

“What, aren’t there enough hours in the day for the two of you to get all your arguing done? Now you’re having rows in the middle of the night too?”

 

Harry stepped out from the shadows, his arms crossed tightly in front of him, dark circles under his eyes.

 

“They can hear you all the way upstairs, you know. Some of us are trying to sleep. Sleep. Recognise it? That thing you usually do at one in the morning?”

 

There was a pause. Both Ron and Hermione looked down at their feet, looking thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

 

“Sorry, mate,” muttered Ron.

 

“Yeah, sorry Harry,” murmured Hermione. “We’re sorry we woke you.”

 

Harry gave a humourless laugh. “Woke me? No, I’ve been awake for ages.”

 

“I know the feeling,” said Ginny, smiling at him.

 

He just managed to return the smile as he sat down in the armchair next to her. “So, what’s the late-night party for, then? And why wasn’t I invited?”

 

All three rushed to explain, but he held up a hand to halt their words.

 

“Relax. Just a little joke. What’ve you been talking about?”

 

“Oh, you know, the usual. Amusing anecdotes from the Weasley family history and all that,” said Ginny, shifting a little in her chair to be more comfortable. “So far we’ve covered jumping out of trees, breaking mirrors, and, oh, Ron in a ballet costume.”

 

Harry raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think I’m even going to ask about that one. Any stories about the twins?”

 

Ron rolled his eyes. “Too many to count. There’s a good one about Bill and his first girlfriend, though. Y’know that old Muggle saying, ‘it’ll all end in tears’? Well…”

 

“It did,” finished Ginny. “Green ones.”

 

“Really? But surely that’s not biologically possible,” said Hermione, frowning. “According to Muggle scientists, tears are actually colourless because…”

 

She trailed off under their collective gaze. “Ah, right. Magic.” She smiled sheepishly. “Five years and I still have trouble shaking off old habits.”

 

Anyway,” cut in Ginny, with a quick smile at Hermione, “It was about 8 years ago-”

 

“What? No it wasn’t,” interrupted Ron. “It was 9 years ago, ’cos it was the Spring I broke my arm falling off that old log. Look, if you can’t tell it right, I’d better tell it…”

 

And he proceeded to do just that.

 

As Ginny sat back again in the armchair, watching her brother entertain his best friends with the story, letting them forget their worries for a little while, she smiled, once more, to herself.

 

Sitting together here, in this borrowed heaven, this escape from the trials of their lives, she felt…yes, she felt comfortable, and even safe in the companionable near-darkness.

 

She even felt a little…sleepy. She yawned. It looked like there would be no more need for hippogriffs tonight.

 

“-and then, right, he decided to serenade her outside her window, looking like a right nutter mind you, and she thought he was cursing her, so she cursed him-”

 

She felt her eyelids flutter gently shut, as her brother’s voice started to fade, and began to dream. Of endless summers, of big brothers, and, of course, of chocolate frogs. This heaven was borrowed, but hopefully it would soon be hers to keep.

 

When the others looked at her a few minutes later, she was even smiling in her sleep.

 

 

**********

 

Thanks for reading! Reviews are very welcome…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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