The Sugar Quill
Author: Poppy P (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Just Like You  Chapter: Chapter 2 - Sneaky and Underhanded
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Mum and Dad decided to take advantage of Charlie’s last couple of days on holiday by taking a trip to the seaside to celebrate

Just Like You

By Poppy P

A/N:  Readers may notice that this chapter seems vaguely familiar.  The reason for this is because I recycled this chapter from an old story I had posted at the now defunct Gryffindor Tower entitled, “Go Away Ginny!”  As always, thanks to Zsenya for the beta-ing.  Response to reviews for chapter 1 and a link to my LJ can be found at the end of the chapter. 

Chapter 2 – Sneaky and Underhanded

Mum and Dad decided to take advantage of Charlie’s last couple of days on holiday by taking a trip to the seaside to celebrate their anniversary.  Percy was old enough to be left in charge, but they probably figured that we would be merciless on him.  Charlie, at least, could control us with his wand. 

Percy, Charlie, Ron, Fred and I were seated around the kitchen table watching Mum bustle about trying to prepare breakfast and pack her bags when Ginny bounded in.

            “Is he here yet?” she asked by way of morning greeting. 

            “Who, Dear?” asked Mum absentmindedly, shoving a frying pan into her trunk.

            “Harry Potter!” Fred, Ron and I chorused.

            “Ginny fancies him,” said Fred with a smirk.

            “I do not!” replied Ginny hotly.

“Haven’t you been listening to her all summer?  Where’s Harry Potter?  When’s he coming?  Did he write to you yet?” Ron said in a squeaky imitation of Ginny’s voice.

            Just then, Hermes ducked through the open window, landing lightly on the table.  “Leave her alone,” said Percy distractedly as he extracted a letter from Hermes’ beak, covering the sender’s name with his hand.  Fred and I exchanged a quick glance.  We’d both noticed that Percy had been receiving regular correspondence over the summer.  We were curious as to who would be writing to him.  After all, he’s not Mr Popular at Hogwarts.  When we questioned him about it, Percy said that he was doing extra credit summer work to get ahead on his studies.  He said that Hermes was bringing him research material from the library.  Sadly enough, Fred and I agreed that this was probably true and left it at that.  Still, I was curious as I watched him tuck the letter surreptitiously into his pocket. 

            “You’re not Mr Prefect here, Percy.  You can’t tell us what to do!” said Ron, savagely slapping a pat of butter on his bread.

            “Shut it, the lot of you!” said Charlie, brandishing his wand.

            “Show off,” muttered Fred and I in unison.

Mum turned to face us with a heavy sigh, “Children…”

             “Now you did it,” I murmured, scowling at Ron.

            “Children, please,” pleaded Mum with an imploring look.  “You know how much your father and I have been looking forward to this trip.  Can’t you please behave so that we can leave with a little peace of mind?”

She looked around the table until there was a general, guilty murmur of “Yes Mum,” from us boys.  Ginny, however, looked down at her plate and muttered a stubborn, “Didn’t do anything.” Charlie gave her a pointed look, making her sit up and respond, “Yes Mum.”

             “That’s better.  Now Ginny, are you sure you wouldn’t rather spend the weekend with Auntie Wenna?  She’d be happy to visit with her ‘little girl’ before she starts Hogwarts.”

Fred couldn’t resist, “Yeah, why doesn’t ickle Ginny want to go visiting?”

             “Can’t,” said Ron thickly through a mouthful of porridge, “She might miss Harry.”

             Several things happened at once.  I spat out a mouthful of orange juice, the majority of which landed on Percy, causing him to splutter in rage.  Ginny shrieked in exasperation and stood up, ready to heave her bowl of porridge towards Ron and Fred, but Charlie caught her hand as he muttered a Silencio Totalus charm at Ron.  The charm succeeded in removing Ron’s voice, leaving him mouthing silently.  Fred and I guffawed fleetingly before Charlie brandished his wand our way, causing us to go silent as well. 

            Mum surveyed the disordered table, and swelled up with what promised to be a scathing tirade.  Luckily, we were spared by Dad’s appearance in the kitchen with travel cases in hand.

             “Are we ready Molly Dear?” he asked, oblivious to the chaos. 

             Mum threw her hands up in exasperation and exited the kitchen to fetch her cloak.  Dad shook his head and turned back to Charlie, “Are you sure you can handle them?”

             “Can’t be worse than dragons,” said Charlie cheerfully as he used his wand to direct our plates from the table to the kitchen sink.  “We’ll be fine, Dad.  Don’t worry.”

Dad turned suddenly to Ron, “Your mum  says that you’ve owled your friend Harry several times and he hasn’t responded.  Do you think he’s all right?  Ron?  Ron?”

             Ron mouthed silently at Dad until Charlie noticed. 

            “Oh!  Sorry mate.  Finite Incantatum,” he said, pointing his wand at Ron. 

             “Git!”  Ron shot a contemptuous look at Charlie before turning to Dad, “I dunno, but I’m getting worried.  Those Muggles he lives with don’t look very friendly.”

             “Yeah, we saw them at King’s Cross Dad,” Ginny burst in.  “They were mean to Harry.  They didn’t even hug him hello or anything.”

             “Ginny volunteered, of course,” stated Fred matter-of-factly as the rest of us roared with laughter.  Percy simply rolled his eyes. 

             “Boys!” hissed Dad as Ginny glowered around the table, “Don’t tease your sister.  Look, Mum and I are getting worried about your friend too, son.  If you haven’t heard from him by the time we get back, we’ll talk about it and see if we can’t go check up on him.”

Mum walked into the kitchen with her cloak over her arm and urged Dad to give out last minute instructions.  “Go ahead Arthur.”

             “Yes, while we’re gone,” began Dad.

             “Be nice to your sister!”  Mum broke in, spotting Ginny’s teary-eyed look.

             “Yes, and Ron, about Petey,” said dad, referring to Ron’s pet Puffskein, “Please…”

“For Heaven’s sake, put him out at night.  No more sleeping with him in your beds, because in the morning he just refuses to eat his Puffy Treats.”

             “And if you’re going to play Quidditch…”

             “No using real Bludgers!  Remember last summer, when we had to memory charm half of Ottery St. Catchpole?” interrupted Mum sternly.

             “Of course, Dear.  And about my shed…”

             “Stay out of it!” cut in Mum.  “And be sure to owl us if anything comes up.  Is that all Arthur?”

            “Yes, I believe it is.”  He took their suitcases in one hand and grabbed hold of Mum’s hand with the other.  “Okay boys and Ginny, we’ll see you in three days.”  With that both of them Disapparated with a small pop!

            I sighed loudly, relieved.  “Great!  I thought they’d never leave.  Where do we start?”

             “Quidditch of course!” said Fred brightly.  “Reckon Dad locked the Bludgers in his shed?”

             “Mum said no Bludgers,” said Percy looking up from the letter which he was now trying to read discretely under the table.  I made a mental note to mention it to Fred later.

             “All right then, let’s use Petey!” Fred made as if to get up from the table.

             Ron finished the last of his pumpkin juice with an audible gulp, “You will not!”

             “Can I play?” asked Ginny hopefully.

             “Excellent idea!”  I said brightly, “Ginny can be the Bludger.”

             Charlie gave me a withering look, “We’ll use apples for all of the balls and that’s that.”

             “Can I play?” asked Ginny again.

             “Not unless Percy plays or it won’t be even,” said Ron with an air of mock wisdom. 

             “I’m not playing, I’ve have things to do.”  Percy stood up and made his way from the table.

             I watched Percy run up the stairs, noting that he had tucked his letter into the pocket of his jeans again.  “Bet he’s going to polish his Prefect’s badge again, stupid git.”

             “See, you can’t play, because it’s not even,” Ron said stubbornly.  Fred and I exchanged amused looks.  Ron knew as well as we did that Percy would not have taken him up on his invitation anyway. 

             “Please Charlie, can’t I play?”  Ginny turned to him imploringly.  I braced myself.  As Charlie isn’t around her as much as we are, he is much more susceptible to her tricks.

             “Look, Ginny can take my place and I’ll referee,” said Charlie with resignation.  I suppose as the second oldest, he’s used to compromising. 

             “Ah no!” protested Ron.  “She’s such a brat, she always gets her way!”

             Ron was right, of course.  Ginny has always been able to use the girl thing to her advantage, especially with Bill and Charlie.  However we all knew that a game with Charlie would be much more exciting than having to watch out for Ginny so that we didn’t knock her off a broom.

“Come on,” I pleaded.  “Let Charlie play, okay?  You can ref if you want.”

             “Come off it! You know she wouldn’t know a foul from her ar-"

             “Ron!” Charlie exclaimed in a warning tone.

             I guess Ginny decided she’d had enough.  “Forget it!  Who wants to play a stupid game anyway?”  She stomped towards the staircase.  “Stupid, stinky boys!  You wait until I have my wand, I’ll show you.”  She ran up the stairs, her face as red as her hair, stamping her feet on every step. 

            We looked at each other, slightly abashed.  As usual, Fred recovered first.  “Well, that’s settled then.  Two on two,” he said, and we followed him out into the sunshine.

            The game started out rowdy and got rowdier as we progressed.  An hour into the game, Ron was hanging off the back of Fred’s broomstick, trying to prevent him from scoring when Ginny appeared outside looking stubborn and sullen.  I felt bad about being mean to her.  She can’t help it that she’s just a girl.

            Just as she reached our makeshift pitch, our old owl Errol came spiraling in and landed across Ron’s broomstick handle in a dead faint.

            “Time,” called Ron, pulling a letter out of Errol’s beak.  “It’s from Hermione.  Maybe she’s been in contact with Harry.”

            “Yes, let Ron read his girlfriend’s letter!” I called out as I went down and landed next to Ginny. 

          “Sod off!” shouted Ron.  He hovered on his broom in mid-air reading his letter.  Fred and Charlie continued in a two-man game.

            I threw myself on the ground next to Ginny, who was sitting in the shade of a tree looking like a three year old in a pout.  “And what is little Ginniekins up to?” I asked.

             “Shut up!” hissed Ginny edging away from me.

             “Aw come on!  You’re not still put out about this morning, are you?  We were just teasing.”  I pulled my carefully practiced remorseful face, which Ginny can never resist.  I really did feel bad about teasing her.  It’s just so easy to do when we’re all together. 

            Ginny looked up at Ron pensively before turning to me, “Do you think that Hermione girl has gotten a hold of Harry?”

             “Can’t say,” I answered looking up at Ron.  “Hope she has though.”   I looked back down at Ginny, alarmed to see her lower lip trembling.  It’s very rare that Ginny cries genuinely, but when she does, I’m rendered powerless.  “Oy, no need to look like somebody’s died.”  Ginny shuddered, increasing my concern.  “Besides, Gin, you don’t even know him.  What’s up?”

Ginny glanced up at our brothers to see if they were within hearing distance.  Nobody was paying attention to us.  I waited, keen to hear her explanation.  She looked at me anxiously, her eyes bright and wide.  “Promise you won’t tell anyone?” 

            “Gin…” I began, truly concerned.

            “Promise!” she said, clutching at my arm like a drowning person.

            My eyes flicked involuntarily to Fred.  He was speeding away from Charlie, totally oblivious to us.  I hated the thought of keeping something else from him, but Ginny was looking as if she would burst if she didn’t tell someone her secret soon. 

            “I promise.”

            Ginny hesitated, looking up at Fred as well. 

            I looked her straight in the eye.  “Go on.  I won’t tease.”

            She exhaled loudly in relief.  “I can’t explain it, but I feel as if I’ve known him all my life.  I know it doesn’t make sense.  I feel as if he’s someone I knew a long time ago, but I haven’t seen in a while.  I reckon…I kind of…. fancy him,” she said with surprise. 

            I took a minute to digest this information.  It was very strange to think of my little sister fancying a boy.  She’s always been a tough little kid.  In fact, in many ways she’s a lot tougher than Ron. 

            She looked at me cautiously, as if she still half expected me to laugh.  I guess the fact that I hadn’t, encouraged her to go on.  “What’s he like?”

I blinked thoughtfully for a few seconds, trying to collect my thoughts.  “He’s different from what you’d expect.  He doesn’t think much of his fame.  He’s a hell of a Seeker.  He’s really modest too.  Not like Ron who still can’t get over the giant chess thing.  Ron mentioned something about him having had a rough life with his Muggle relations…”

            “I know!” burst in Ginny indignantly.  “When Mum told me that Ron wrote to her saying that Harry wouldn’t even be getting any Christmas presents…”

             “Speaking of Christmas presents” I interrupted, remembering Harry’s Weasley jumper.  “Did you see the jumper Mum sent him for Christmas?  Much better than her usual efforts.”

             “I saw it,” said Ginny turning several shades of red.  “In fact, I made it.”

             “You did not!”

             “I did so!  Mum taught me and I made it all by myself.  I picked the color and everything.  Only please, promise you won’t tease George!  Please?”

             I stared at my sister with a new respect.  Grinning at her, I said, “Okay, as long as you make mine next year.” 

She grinned back.

            A shadow fell across us suddenly as Ron landed in front of us.

            “What are you two going on about?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Hermione says she’s not heard from Harry either.  Not even a thank you for the birthday card.  Guess I’ll tell Dad when he comes home.  She says she’s finished her Potions essay though, which is excellent ‘cause now I can copy it.”

             “Good thing you found a smart girlfriend Ron,” Ginny smirked.

            She makes me so proud sometimes.

            Ron spluttered in protest as I sprang up and tugged on his ear.  “Aw, look at his little ears turning red.  True love that is.”

             Ron slapped my hand away and made a very rude gesture.

            Charlie and Fred landed their brooms next to Ron.  “Has your girlfriend heard from Harry?”  Fred asked.

            “She’s not my girlfriend, you idiot!”

            Fred ran his hands through his hair, causing it to fluff out and put a simpering expression on his face.  “Oh Ron!  You were sooo brave during the giant chess game!”  he said, batting his eyes at Ron. 

            Ron gave him the same rude gesture he had given me earlier.  On my left, Ginny made a small, choking squeak.

            “So what are we going to do about Harry?” I asked the question I knew my sister was aching to ask.

            “I reckon we’ll have to tell Mum and Dad when they get back,” said Ron sadly.

            “What if they don’t do anything?” asked Ginny, in a voice filled with anguish.

            I slung an arm around her shaking shoulders.  “Then we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.”  She gave me a small, tentative smile.

“Yeah, don’t worry Gin, your boyfriend will be all right,” smirked Fred.

“Shut up!” I snapped, without thinking.

Fred looked at me, a startled, hurt expression in his eyes.  He quickly covered it up by saying, “I’m hungry.  Who’s making lunch?”

            We all turned towards Ginny.  “Don’t look at me!” she shouted, standing up and crossing her arms defiantly.  “I’m not cooking for you animals.”

            “We wouldn’t want you to,” said Charlie with a grin.  “We all remember that time you tried to make hot chocolate.”

            “We agreed not to talk about that anymore!” shouted Ginny, deftly leaping to her feet and springing at Charlie.  Charlie caught her up and slung her over his shoulder, kicking and screaming, but laughing as well.

            Ron followed them and I started to also, but Fred held me back.

            “What’s up with Ginny?” he asked.

            “Nothing,” I replied quickly. 

            He smiled, confident once more.  “Because you would tell me if it was something important, right?”

            I considered this for a second.  ‘Something important’ for Fred meant anything he could use to torture Ginny with.  Normally, I’m all for a good teasing, especially if it’s Percy or our two younger siblings.  However I kept picturing Ginny’s earnest little face when she talked about Harry. 

I forced myself to look Fred in the eye.  “Yeah, sure.” I said, my insides squirming guiltily.  It felt strange withholding information from Fred for the second time in the last couple of days.  It felt sneaky and underhanded.  I didn’t like it all.

Come on over and talk about George/discuss this chapter on my LJ.  I’d love to hear from readers (hope I did the link thingy right):

Poppy's Place

Ara':                            Yes, a lot of George/Fred stories seem to view them as one entity and I really wanted to concentrate just on George. 

Frankie Beelblebrox: George Lovers Unite!

Ivy & Gracie:             Thank you kindly!  Now get crackin’ on more “Where the Light Is”.

L:                                Your comment about Fred was interesting.  I too, prefer George (duh, that’s why I’m writing a George story) but Fred irritates me too.  Although admittedly, he has his cute moments too (like asking Angelina to the Yule Ball).  I think the hardest thing about writing this story is trying not to be too hard on Fred.  We’ll see…

Hildigunnur:               When are we going to see some new twin stuff from you?

Julu:                            You made my day with your review.  Thank you so much!

Shina Laris:                The simultaneous talking thing is one of my favorite things about the twins.  I wonder if this happens to real life twins a lot?

Author by Night:        Hope you enjoyed this one too!

Deborah Peters:         I love writing the Weasley family.  Being an only child, I have a fascination w/ large families.

Infeler:                        I’ll be relying on you for twin authenticity J  Thanks for reviewing!

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