The Sugar Quill
Author: Mr Flying Fingers (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Ordinary  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.



Dedication: For ivy, coquillagement, and gabrielladusult who made, er…inspired, me to write more.





He wondered how one goes about defining ordinary. After a few moments thinking on the comfy, red sofa, it came to him and he started writing.

Ordinary was the plain-vanilla, single-scoop Fescue’s served up to the clamouring crowds during the sticky, muggy summers down on High Street:  good enough, but there was always something fancier people wanted—if it could be had for a reasonable price. Those who couldn’t afford much just settled for the first item on the menu that fit their budget.

It wasn’t so much that vanilla was so typical that bothered any sense of fairness in him, not at all. In fact, vanilla was really interesting for being a normal, good-enough flavour that everybody didn’t mind—it went with everything. The problem was just that it must be hard to be the vanilla ice cream, knowing that everybody in line would have rather gotten Cornelius Fudge Amaretto or Rutti-Tutti-Triple-Fruity Gooseberry. Those were the flavours everybody really wanted, if they hadn’t run out or cost too much.

Now that Muggle flavour, Neapolitan, was good. It managed to blend two really good flavours with the rather simple vanilla. On one side, it had a bitter, dark foundation of chocolate and on the opposite side, a really smart strawberry flavour. Strawberry was his favourite; he liked red things to begin with and sweet things as well. Of course, Neapolitan had a middle part of the block—a forgotten middle, the part everybody sliced around or left melting on limp paper plates on the park picnic bench under a scorching sun. Vanilla provided a neutral division betwixt the two, best, flavours.

And THAT, he thought, was the real problem with vanilla. It was steady, but not flashy or as noticeable as the two flavours on either side of it. Pity the vanilla.

He finished writing in his journal and snapped the cover shut and magically locked it. He sighed, leaned back in the sofa and stared into the common room fire.

Ron sort of hated being the vanilla.



Her friend had asked her what ordinary meant and it really bothered her that he didn’t know the definition for such a simple word. Honestly. Good thing she had held her tongue for a bit because he had mumbled something about vanilla ice cream and she realized he probably was looking for metaphors.

She supposed she could think up a couple of good ones, just for him. With a flourish, she wrote the word on a piece of parchment and stared at it for a while, thinking. Glancing down, she noticed her shoes were a bit scuffed.

She opened her diary and began to scratch out the thoughts tumbling in her mind.

Ordinary could be described as a pair of sensible shoes, brown in colour and never allowed to wear down too much. Good for walking and not uncomfortable in any sort of situation, decent shoes could be taken anywhere and should be.  One should know where a good cobbler was, or at least, know of a few good charms if your shoes needed to be resoled—good shoes were difficult to find and they should be valued and cared for.

The problem was that nobody wanted sensible shoes. Everybody wanted the ones that had odd attachments or bangles sewn to them, or really strange charms that made them more suited to a particular activity. Others wanted to have big, clunky boots—even though they never ventured beyond the greenhouses or the lake—as if hiking and outdoor adventures were a part of the curriculum. The boot-wearers probably just liked the rugged look. There were others who wore their comfortable, bunny-eared slippers around Hogwarts—the enchanted ears wagging and noses wriggling.

The practical side of her analysed these observations and came to a conclusion: people just wanted shoes that stood out, even though practical, sensible, useful shoes were far superior to the others. People wanted shoes that made them feel special.

Who in their right mind wanted nice, simple, useful, practical, brown loafers?

She never wanted to be ordinary, but she wore nothing but sensible and practical shoes and, most of the time, she did sensible and practical things.


Hermione detested feeling like brown loafers.


She put her quill down, and blew on the page to dry the ink. Satisfied but not content, she carefully closed her diary. She stretched out the writing kinks and looked around, feeling like she had lost something. “Ron?”

“Yeah?” He looked up from the fire with a look that was at once puzzled and lost. He had been sitting there for quite a while; she wondered what he was brooding about. Must be the Potions session today, she concluded.

“Make some room.” She motioned to the spot next to him.


“Can I sit next? Make some room.”

“Oh. Er, yeah. Sure.” He furrowed his brow. “Why?” He cleared off the book and notes that lay there on the cushion.

“I just feel like it.” She took her shoes off and settled next to him, pulling her legs up and tucking them under herself so she was half-leaning towards him. As she straightened her robes around her, she could feel his reassuring warmth and shallow, rapid breathing. She smiled, imagining him hyperventilating, passing out, and falling on the floor, or worse, falling all over her lap. Then again...

Amongst the strong smells of his soap and shampoo, she noticed the faint whiff of the Fireproof Balm that had gone awry that afternoon. She wrinkled her nose at him, but held a smile in her eyes. “I’m not going to bite.”

“I know that.” He rolled his eyes and she noted the colour of his face—he must be quite warm. “Why here? I mean, over there it’s just as toasty and it doesn’t smell as bad as over here and you’ve got more room and...and...” He stopped and looked at her—really looked at her—and his voice lowered. “You don’t need more room. D’you?”

She was mesmerized by the rhythm of the crackling flames. “Ever have one of those days where you feel really...small?”

“Yeah.” Ron sounded thoughtful as he idly patted her knee—it was a surprisingly soothing sensation and she was deeply thankful for it. He mumbled to the fire, “Stupid Malfoy. You’d think the git would get tired of whinging the whole time in class.”

She quickly placed her hand over his, “Never mind the little ferret.” Ron looked sideways at her, but stayed silent. Looking out of the corner of her eye, she saw him close his eyes and felt his body uncoil.

She yawned, laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. “Don’t fall asleep. Wake me in an hour,” she murmured as she sighed and drifted off, feeling a little better about being practical and sensible.



Fatigued, he struggled through the portrait hole and noted the quiet of the common room. Thanks to lessons with Snape, he was late in getting back to the Gryffindor tower.

As he shuffled towards the staircase, he spied his two best friends, asleep on the sofa. Hermione had snuggled close to Ron, her head on his shoulder, her hair in her eyes, and her hand intertwined with his. He couldn’t see where her other arm went, but it looked suspiciously like she was hugging Ron with it. Ron, for his part, lay with his legs stretched out, his free arm hanging off the edge of the sofa as the dying embers of the fire cast a warm glow over their faces. Both were quietly snoring and both looked peaceful—as if there weren’t a dark care in the world.

He resented that.

How could they sleep when out there, somewhere, evil stalked him? Stomping upstairs, brooding the entire way, he retrieved his book bag and a pair of extra thick socks for his frozen feet. As he slipped back downstairs, a guilty knife cut his conscience—it wasn’t any fault of his friends they were able to rest tonight.

He slumped to the sofa opposite them and just watched them nap—Hermione quietly murmured in her sleep and Ron’s hand flexed slightly as he snored. After a while, he grew bored watching and turned to casting a Warming charm on his still cold feet. He started looking over their homework, hoping to get some help for the Herbology essay that had to be finished by tomorrow.

There on the table between the two sofas lay a single sheet of parchment with one word written upon it. Curious, he read the word. Slouching back into the sofa, he pushed up his round glasses and stared into the fire, lost in thought.

What was ordinary for him was fending off mortal attacks yearly—wryly observing that they were so regular, holiday plans could be made around them. Not that he’d be going anywhere. After all, summers were to be spent with an ordinary aunt and uncle—an aunt and uncle known for locking small children in cupboards under stairways. What was ordinary was being able to talk to snakes.

There was definitely nothing ordinary about Harry Potter.

For a while, he wondered what it would be like to be nobody, to not have to listen to the whispers in the passageways as he walked by. To not have the adrenalin rushes every time he heard a sharp crack or a loud voice. To not have to lie awake at night wondering if tomorrow would be the day when prophecy would be fulfilled.

He rubbed his scar as he wondered if it were ever possible if he could be as normal as everybody else. Harry wanted it to be possible, but resigned himself to knowing it would never happen. He was The Boy Who Lived.

As he watched his friends in the growing darkness, he saw two quite ordinary people who had chosen to stand by him in every circumstance. Two normal people who had decided it was utterly normal to fight dark wizards, to alter time, or to offer their lives for his, simply for his sake.

He wasn’t sure why Hermione had written down the word ordinary, but it was a word that was so out of place when describing his two friends. Who needed ordinary? He had the two best people in the world as his friends. Ron and Hermione were extra-ordinary. That comforted him in the same way a pair of extra thick socks—with a Warming Charm—comfort in the cold night.




Acknowledgement: ivy. Beta. Appreciation. Cool.

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