The Sugar Quill
Author: Jane (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Friends  Chapter: Default
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Ron mumbled under his breath in short explosive bursts, waving his arms about frantically. His tattered robes flapped around his skinny wrists with each chopping motion. As muttered, he paced. This was an amazing feat considering how small and cluttered his room under the gables was. He stopped occasionally to sneer at a small poster on his wall before continuing his pacing and cursing.

The poster was of one of Ron Weasley's heroes: Viktor Krum. Ron's largest poster, of The Chudley Canon's of course, was stuck smack in the middle of the wall over Ron's bed. The Cannon's were the obvious focus of Ron's adulation, but Viktor Krum's picture was located on the back of the door where he could see it as he lay down. He used to lie there and daydream about meeting one of the greatest Quidditch players ever. Now, however, there were magical darts in the place where Viktor's face was supposed to appear. The distinctive orange uniforms of the Cannons could be seen racing around the poster scoring goals and grinning with delight, while Viktor Krum's poster was usually empty. Rarely did his craggy face and deep set dark eyes appear in the square but when it did, it was usually to glower back at Ron's narrowed gaze and curled-up lip.

It was unthinkable to Ron that Hermione would even consider spending the summer at "Vicky's" place.

'She hardly even knows the fellow,' he argued with himself, 'yet she goes to the ball with him, and puts all that rubbish in her hair to make it smooth and shiny... .'

Ron broke off his thoughts there, disgusted by the direction they were taking. He was getting as bad as Percy was when he was dating poor old Penelope Clearwater. Of course, that hadn't lasted long after Percy began his job at the Ministry. Perfect Percy couldn't tolerate any distractions from his work, and Penelope was one of the first things to go.

'Percy's a real idiot.' Ron figured. 'Penelope must have been the only girl in the world who would have considered that prig kissable.' He thought this last word with a shudder and a grimace.

'I wonder if Hermione thinks Krum is kissable?'

'Idiot!' Ron hissed, infuriated by this involuntary thought. He turned and ran from his room, down the stairs of the Burrow, past the clock with its hands pointing to "time to face up to facts," and out into the garden. He was going mad. What possible difference did it make to him whether Hermione liked Krum or not? Sitting there on the splintering wooden bench, picking at the peeling paint and staring at the gnomes lounging about in his Mum's beautiful garden, Ron admitted the truth to himself.

'I like Hermione.' He felt himself blush at the thought, but he was a brave sort, who knew when the game was over. Ron stood up and turned purposefully back to the house, past the clock with its hands pointing to "never too late," and climbed up the stairs to his room. He picked up his quill and some parchment and started a letter to Hermione. He was ready for a rematch.

Dear Hermione

('Maybe that sounded too mushy. Maybe I should forget the "dear?" Bugger it! Just write you fool,' he thought)

How is your summer going? Have you made any plans yet? We should get together with Harry some time. I bet he could use a break from those disgusting Dursley's. I thought we could go to Welkie's Wonderful Water World.

Yours Truly,

Ron

"Come here Pig. I have a job for you."

Pigwidgeon dove towards Ron, narrowly missing his ear.

"Calm down you nitwit. Take this to Hermione."

Pig streaked out the window, bouncing off the frame, and was soon out of sight.

Ron paced about again, regretting his decision to mail his letter, but when he looked up and saw Krum's beady eyes looking down on him, he bared his teeth at the poster and went over to rip it off the wall. He couldn't do it, though he wasn't sure why. Maybe he needed it around to remind him who the competition was.

Several days later, a tap at his window woke Ron up. His heart began to pound when he saw that it was an owl. Pig had returned empty-clawed the very morning after he left, leaving Ron's stomach feeling queasy. He threw off his covers and jerked up the window to see which it owl it was. It was the Granger's dignified Great Horned owl. Ron picked up the parchment and began reading the letter.

Dear Ron

(Ron blushed, then mentally kicked himself.) So far I have had a lovely summer. I managed to get through most of my reading list for next year, and I've spent some time researching some new spells. I think they will be quite useful, considering you-know-who is back. .

I would love to go to Welkie's Wonderful Water World. Viktor says they've added a ride with Killer Whales this year. It sounds marvelous. I think Harry would enjoy it as well, although I imagine anything would be better than his odious family.

Sincerely,

Hermione Granger.

Ron read the letter through several times. The first time he simply could not make any sense out of the words "Viktor says". When their significance hit him, he exploded off the bed.

"He's bloody-well written her a letter!" The possibility had never occurred to him before. A second, more horrible thought followed the first. Maybe Hermione had decided to go see old Krummy-faced Viktor?

'How could she?' He thought furiously.

Throwing himself down onto his wobbly wooden chair, Ron grabbed his quill and hastily wrote another letter.

Dear Hermione,

I suppose if Vicky thinks it is a good idea, than we ought to go. You two sound awfully chummy. Are you sure you won't be too busy with Vik to spend time with some old friends? Don't worry, Harry and I will understand.

Sincerely,

Ron

P.S. I hope you have a marvelous time at Viktor's place. Bring lots of woolies along, I hear it gets chilly there this time of year.

"Pig!" Ron bellowed, then waited for the usually flurry of little wings. Nothing happened. He stomped out of his room and yelled at the household in general.

"Where's me bleedin' owl?"

Immediately he felt a hard boot to his rear end, and the sharp taste of soap in his mouth.

"Mum!" Ron ran to the bathroom to get some water, when he heard his mother's stern voice call, "You watch your language, young man"

Ginny appeared in the doorway with Pig cupped in her outstretched hands just as Ron finished his last rinse and spit.

"Sorry, Ron. I was just going to send a letter to Hermione."

"You mean she isn't too busy with Viktor to write?" He asked sarcastically.

Pig seemed unaffected by Ron's blazing eyes and angry voice. He hopped off Ginny's hands and perched happily on Ron's head, hooting cheerfully.

"You're just jealous!" His sister replied angrily. "Why don't you just tell her how you feel, instead of being such a baby"

"You're one to talk. Why don't you take your own advice and write Harry a love letter, than?"

Without bothering to reply, she ran back to her room, and slammed the door.

Ron gave the letter to Pig and waited. He tried desperately to pass the time. He de-gnomed the garden, charmed the lawn, and even tidied up his room a little. He eventually had to give up trying to stay busy because he was starting to arouse the suspicions of his twin brothers, Fred and George. He knew what a disaster that would be. It seemed as if nothing could distract him from his worries about Hermione, not even the Chudley Cannons. The forgotten players in the poster flew forlornly around, not even attempting a goal. Finally, another letter from Hermione arrived. Eagerly, he grabbed the parchment and saw it was written in bright red ink. It looked like blood. Suddenly, Ron was afraid.

To Ronald Weasley

Was that your idea of a howler, Ron? I never said I was going to visit Viktor, but since some of my friends here seem to think so little of me, perhaps I should. At least he doesn't take me for granted. And don't worry about Harry. I've already written him and he understands perfectly. Which is more than I can say for you.

Hermione Granger

Ron reread the letter several times and grimaced as Hermione's letter hit him like a stray Bludger. What had he done? Too bad Fred and George were two absolute pains in the behind, or he could have asked them for some advice. Ron thought of Harry, but was uncomfortable with the idea of sharing this with his best friend. Ginny! She was a girl. Maybe she had some insight into this horrible mess.

He knocked on her door and waited for her to invite him in. When she did, he shut the door behind him, and got straight to the point.

"She hates me. What do I do?"

Although Ginny was kind-hearted, she was Weasley enough to tease him.

"About what?" She asked innocently.

"Please." He moaned.

"I already told you, Ron. Just tell her how you feel."

"But Ginny, I can't do that." Ron said in horror.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Its...It's just not done!"

"Why not?" She asked again, beginning to lose her patience.

"It's, um, against the code or something. A fellow doesn't just go about spouting off about feelings. Can't I just buy her something?"

"Out!" Ginny said sternly, pointing to the door.

Back in his room, Ron grabbed a quill, and some parchment and scrawled a letter in furious heavy strokes, more like a swordsman, than a lovelorn wizard.

My Dear Hermione

Don't go to see Viktor.

Love,

Ron

Ron wondered if she would notice how he ended the letter. Though just one word, it filled him with terror. His face was grim, but determined as he grabbed Pig and practically through him out the window.

"Bring it to Hermione. Quickly"

He needn't have bothered adding the "quickly." Pigwidgeon never did anything slowly. A high pitched hoot was all Ron heard as the tiny owl flew off. In horror, he watched as Pig began flying in the wrong direction. Before he could yell, Pig circled around and headed towards Hermione's house.

"Ruddy, idiot bird." hissed Ron in near hysterical frustration.

Sleep seemed impossible that night. At breakfast the next morning, Ron fell asleep face down in his porridge, thereby giving the twins a chance to bewitch his hair so it was bright blue. "To match his beautiful eyes," explained George with a grin. Thankfully, his mother thought that Ron was coming down with something, especially after his inexplicable loss of appetite. She sent him up to his room to rest. Fred and George kept muttering "poor ickle baby" as he got up from the table, but when Ron caught Ginny's eyes he saw they were sympathetic.

Ron went back to bed and managed to sleep for a few hours, until Pigwidgeon returned. When Pig dropped the letter it hit Ron right in the face, and he awoke with a gasp. Ron had been dreaming about asking Hermione to dance and thought the letter was her hand slapping his face.

Dear Ron

I've already written to Viktor to say I can't come. I'll be too busy, especially if we're still going to Welkie's.

Love,

Hermione

Ron read the last two words over several times and sighed in relief. His long freckled arms folded behind his head as he lay back on his pillow, winking at Viktor's scowling face in the poster.

"Sorry, old man. Looks like I won."

//
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