The Sugar Quill
Author: Mr Flying Fingers (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Good Night for a Fly  Chapter: Default
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Fly

~

 

It was scary to find out heartbreak could actually result in something so tangible, so physical, so real. Ron stood, feeling the rumble of an empty stomach, the dull burn in his legs, and the clammy cold in the air, wondering why he had endured out here for two hours. Maybe if these physical discomforts were significant enough, they could somehow overcome the grabbing ache in his chest.

 

He leaned his unattractive and ungainly body on the railing, set off to the side of the stairs leading up to the castle entrance. A cool breeze blew in over the hills and swept his face as he scanned the landscape painted by the glowing sunset colors. The sky was darkening into hues of blues and purples as the first stars began their nightly watch; he was surrounded by the pungent odors of wet earth. The rush of students to dinner in the Great Hall had finished a while ago, leaving him free to wallow alone, watching and waiting.

 

Hermione walked briskly along the stone path leading up to the steps. As she walked, she smoothed down her black school robes as she ran a hand through her tangle of windswept hair.

 

He never took his eyes off the waning sunset as he flicked the remains of a snapped twig and a shredded leaf over the side. He spoke as she approached the first steps, “Oy. Brilliant evening for a fly, isn’t it?” His voice was loud, but empty of the anger he felt earlier—something he didn’t think was possible.

 

With a slight tremble in her voice she said, “Er, yes. Yes it is.”

 

“Viktor,” he paused a step before he let a hint of rising resentment color his words, “Viktor, is a bloody brilliant flyer, isn’t he?”

 

“Oh. I…” It was satisfying that she had to hunt for words; she was full of words, too full sometimes, “Were you spying on me?” A look of suspicion replaced one of guilt; she put her hands on her hips with a huff.

 

He couldn’t push away images of those hands clutching Viktor, those arms around Viktor, as they rode. His imagination saw them high in the sky, making breathtaking turns. His imagination saw them swooping among the hills, taking in fairy tale views. His imagination saw them laughing together.

 

“Hard not to notice two people on a broom.” He made his way around the railing, working the aches in his legs, savoring the sharp pricks in his knees as he moved.

 

“Yes, well, Viktor wanted to show me what it’s like to fly. It’s been ages since I’ve been on a broom and I thought that today was a perfect day to try again.”

 

He said nothing as he slipped down the steps and stopped just as he was going to pass her, desperately avoiding looking at his temptation—her uniquely unruly hair; her un-glossed, almost dry, lips; her eyes, tired from reading—but he couldn’t check himself. He stole a momentary glance before he broke the thick silence, unable to keep his voice from cracking, “Think I’ll have a bit of a fly, myself.”

 

“Is Harry done with dinner?”

 

“Don’t know.”

 

“Didn’t you eat?”

 

“Not hungry.”

 

He took the rest of the steps quickly and strode as if he had a purpose towards the Quidditch pitch; leaving her and the things he stupidly, foolishly dared to daydream about and hope for, behind.

 

“Ron!”

 

He felt a little guilty turning his back, but he was entitled.

 

“Ron!”

 

He reached the Quidditch pitch just as the remaining bit of sun disappeared over the hills. Wand in hand, he intoned, “Accio Ron Weasley’s Cleansweep”. Within moments, his broom had flown from a window in a tower high above the castle to him.

 

Clumsily, he swung his leg over the broom, gripped the handle dearly, and climbed into the twilight sky with a whoosh. He forced his broom into a dangerously steep climb—ignoring the memories of his many brothers’ instructions and his Mum’s warnings. He leveled off high above the grounds and circled, trying to catch the last rays of the sun, searching for its warmth.

 

Here, high above it all, he was away.

Closing his eyes, breathing deep, he savored the bite of the evening air.

 

Unwelcome images of Hermione occupied his thoughts: The feel of the soft tangle of her hair as he punched Harry behind her back; the accidental warmth of her hand as she reached for a book; the sharp piercing of her eyes every time they rowed over stupid things. Reality flooded back as he remembered why he was flying.

 

He wondered if the cold air could scrub him clean. He dove in a shriek of wind, his own mouth twisted in a painful grimace, a guttural growl ripped from his throat by the torrent of air. He pulled out of the dive only meters over the lake; he sat there, hovering, shaking in excitement from the rush of speed.

 

The cold air did nothing to take his aches away and he slapped his thigh in frustration. Nothing could be done, nothing could change her. Her. This was all about her, wasn’t it? She had done this to him; Viktor was just as guilty. He punched the Cleansweep repeatedly, ignoring his stinging hand.

 

He damned all those who had the brass to be happy. He damned every person who dared to ruin other people’s lives. He damned each person who was brazen enough to be so much better than others were. Then he couldn’t help but feel pity for these people—they couldn’t understand what their foolishness did to people, people like himself.

 

His tantrum tapered off in fatigue and he just watched the water ripple. The soft whistle of the wind isolated him out here in the middle of the lake in the growing gloom.

 

Dark settled over the countryside as he slowly flew back to the castle. He landed on the pitch, gathered his broom to his shoulder, and slowly shuffled to the doors. His shoes scraped over the grey stones, echoing in the darkness as he approached the stairs.

 

“Brilliant night for a fly. Isn’t it?”

 

Her voice slapped him in the darkness and his legs grew heavy enough to stop. He was as unsteady on his feet as he was inside his thoughts.

 

“I said, brilliant night for a fly,” Hermione repeated softly, “Isn’t it?”

 

“Ah—I—I reckon. What do you care?”

 

“Just making an observation about the evening. I didn’t feel like dinner.”

 

He stood in the dark, silent, as he heard footsteps at the top of the stairs, and then footsteps coming down the stairs.

 

She stopped two steps above him, her head almost even with his, “Did you have a nice fly?”

 

“It was fine.”

 

“I think you ought to know, I enjoyed my broom ride.”

 

“I’m sure you did.” His mother would have been angry at his tone, but he didn’t care as he swiped and rubbed at what must have been dust in his eyes.

 

“It wasn’t quite what I expected.”

 

“Whatever.” Bitter waves overwhelmed him. “You can just go and ask Vicky—”

 

“Don’t. You don’t need to be angry. You have no reason.”

 

“What? Whatever, I’m going back.” He started to move around her.

 

Quietly, almost embarrassed, she asked, “Ron, would you…could I—could I have the ride I really wanted? Tonight?” She gently took his free hand with her fingers and, suddenly, warmth restored life to his body. Ron stared at the intertwined hands and could barely nod before he tugged her back to the pitch in the gathering gloom.

 

They rose into the stars. As she wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his back, he felt a familiar fire. It was difficult for him to figure out how she could intensify his desires with things so simple as a touch, a hug, or a word.

 

A sharp prick in his shoulder, “Ouch!”

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“Your badge. It’s bloody poking me in the back, can you take it off for now?”

 

Over his shoulder, he watched as she took one hand and gingerly worked the clasp and carefully, slowly pocketed the small Head Girl’s badge, “Better?”

 

“Much, thanks.”

 

She looked doubtful, vulnerable as she glanced at the ground, barely above the hulking, dark forms of the trees to their left and right.

 

“Higher, Ron.”

 

“W—What?”

 

“Go higher.”

 

The broom climbed steadily, quietly, gently. He brought the broom to level, high above the school’s towers; many of the castle’s windows shone with warm light. Beyond, across a chasm of darkness, lay Hogsmeade—a glowing island. Towards the town, a tiny worm of illuminated points snaked its way along the railroad.

 

 “W—why are you so—so mad that I went flying with…him?”

 

Ron could not speak, not daring to hope, fearful that the act of wishing might disturb the wish itself.

 

“Ron. P—Please tell me.”

 

Thankful she couldn’t search his face, he took a deep breath, “Erm…because…I…you… that is, Hermione, I can’t stand seeing you…with…guys.”

 

“What do you mean by that?” she almost squeaked.

 

“It—it, drives me mental to see...,” his throat tightened and he leaned over, turning the broom in a large, lazy S.

 

When the broom had completed the turns, she prodded, “Why?”

 

“Just because.”

 

“I will not sit here and guess. Please…” she pleaded.

 

He brought the Cleansweep to a hover and slowly twisted his upper body around. The movement caused the broom to tilt suddenly forward and back.

 

“OH MERLIN!” Hermione shrieked and clutched at Ron tightly.

 

“Oy! It’s fine. Just a weight shift.”

 

“I despise heights!” she gibbered as she stared into the darkness below.

 

“So why did you ask me to go higher?”

 

“I don’t know,” she worried her lower lip, “I guess, I…maybe I felt reckless tonight.”

 

“You’re the one who’s mental,” he murmured, “Don’t look down, then.”

 

“I—I’ll try not too,” she took a shuddering breath, “Uh, so.”

 

“So?”

 

“Why…Why does seeing Viktor with me drive you mad?”

 

He looked to Hogsmeade, “Because—because… best friend is not good enough anymore. It’s not nearly enough,” he paused before adding, carefully, “I want to be more than just your best friend.”

 

There was silence before she answered, “I—I think we can still be best friends.”

 

Water pricked in his eyes.

 

Ron could barely hear her as she said, “And I want to be more than your best friend, too.”

 

For a different reason, his eyes continued to fill; he wiped at his face with irritation as he blinked rapidly.

 

“So, how do you do that?” she asked.

 

“What?”

 

“Be ok with flying so high? You could fall to your death.”

 

“Nah. Broom is pretty safe. I reckon when I was small I started out flying low with my brothers. Then as I got comfortable, I just flew higher and got used to that. And then I flew higher and got used to that. Takes time to get used to it, I reckon,” he said in the quiet.

 

“Oh.”

 

He felt every promising warmth and curve underneath her robes as he turned towards her.

 

“Can I?” he asked in a whisper, motioning with his head towards her.

 

She nodded, once.

 

He crooked his left arm around so that his hand could nestle in her hair and pull her closer. He breathed in the flowery simplicity of her perfume; he watched her eyes darting up and down. He bent towards her and she closed her eyes. Their lips touched in delicate warmth. For one moment, high above in the sky, they were lost, dizzy, and falling.

 

She pulled away as he stared into her face. He leant forward and repeated the kiss, this time willing himself to venture further—higher—than he dared before.

 

“I’ve—I’ve, oh my. It’s been so long I’ve been waiting…wanting…” she murmured, staring at him with half closed, half full eyes.

 

“Wicked,” he agreed.

 

They laughed uncomfortably, together. Ron guided the broom down as she warmed his back with her closeness.

 

They landed with an awkward thump and they set about neatening themselves up. Hermione pulled her Head Girl badge from her robes and pinned it back on, “Is it straight?”

 

He leaned closely and squinted, “Yeah.” He leaned in and reached for her waist, but was interrupted by a light shove on his chest.

 

“Stop! None of that, somebody might see.”

 

“But—”

 

“Later,” she hissed. She turned and he took her hand and they walked towards the castle. “We’ve missed dinner.”

 

“It’s ok, maybe we can get something from Dobby out on patrol this evening.”

 

“We don’t have patrol.”

 

“Well, we’ll just have to put ourselves into the schedule then. What good is being Head Girl if you can’t do that sort of thing?”

 

“Well, maybe Hannah and Ernie wouldn’t mind switching, I’m sure they can use the extra time for N.E.W.T.S.; we can drop by their common room tonight and ask.” She paused, “But it’s probably better to owl them, then they can’t ask questions. Let’s head up to the Owlery first.”

 

On the threshold of the steps, they stopped and looked at each other; her hand went limp in his, but he wasn’t letting go. She tugged to free herself, “Ron, we can’t. Not yet; you have to let—”

 

“You two have a nice fly tonight?” said Harry in a voice as dry as the leaves. In the darkness, he could make out the smirk in his friend’s voice.

 

~

 

 

Acknowledgements: Once again, it was my beta who help inspire this little bit ‘o fluff. In particular, she recommended—indirectly—some writing exercises and this fell, unbidden, from my computer. All hail, ivy! Long live the betas!

//
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