The Sugar Quill
Author: PiperX (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Bet  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.

Untitled Document



I originally wrote this (eep!) about three years ago intending to focus on Harry and Ginny but Ron and Hermione rudely butted in and completely took over. Many thanks to Kellie and Katinka for the wonderful beta jobs.



The Bet



Ron and Harry sat in the Gryffindor common room as students rushed past on their way to their afternoon classes. Harry stared across the table at Ron, piercing him with a questioning gaze. Ron, for his part, was doing a fine job at pretending to be engrossed in his Potions assignment.

Harry finally spoke. "You are going to ask her, aren't you?"

Ron glanced up. "I said I would," he said defensively.

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"I will," he said, trying to appear nonchalant.

Harry, however, wasn't going to let him off that easily. "I'm serious, Ron. You'd better ask her."

Ron tilted his head and glared at his best friend. "Do you think I'm stupid?"

Harry smirked. "You don't want me to answer that."

"Shut up, Harry," he spat. Snatching up his quill, he turned his full attention to tracing his name at the top of an empty sheet of parchment.

"I'm just trying to help you out," said Harry. "I don't want to see another row like last time."

"You think I do?" Ron asked loud enough to obtain the attention of a group of second-year girls standing by the fireplace. He lowered his voice to ensure that only Harry was within earshot. "I'm the one who got the brunt of that blow-up."

Harry stared at him but didn't say a word.

"I'll ask her!"


Ron was taken aback by the question and found he didn't have an answer. Ever since Professor McGonagall had announced the upcoming Harvest Ball in Transfiguration class earlier that day, he hadn't seriously contemplated when or where he would ask Hermione to go with him. He had just assumed it would come together on its own.

Noticing that Harry was still waiting for an answer, Ron blurted out, "I'll ask her... when she gets here."

"Oh?" Harry asked with a note of skepticism.

"Yes!" Ron said defiantly. "Anyway, you should be worried about your own date."

Harry gave him a look of mock concern. "I'm more worried about you. I don't want you messing it up, waiting until the last minute."

Ron was getting irritated now. He leaned up to put his face closer to Harry's. "I'll have my date before anyone else in the whole school."

"Oh?" Harry's face brightened. He was delighted to have finally struck a nerve. "You think so?"

"I know so!" Ron seethed.

"I don't know..." Harry chewed on the end of his sugar quill. "I bet I'll have a date before you ask Hermione."

"You're on!"

It took a moment for Harry to realize that Ron had taken the "bet" part seriously. "What do you mean?"

"I bet I'll have my date long before you even muster up the brass to ask a girl."

"You'll lose," Harry said simply.

"How much do you want to bet?" Ron was smirking now.

"Bet?" Harry said uneasily.

"Yes. Bet. How about a Sickle?" Ron said Sickle slowly and with emphasis, as if it were a lot of money.

Harry felt uneasy for a moment as he wondered how Ron would come up with a Sickle, but his concern faded as he watched the smug look on Ron's face. "You're on," he said.

"Good!" Ron reached out to shake Harry's hand. "Whoever has a confirmed date with a girl to the Harvest Ball first wins. The other has to pay up."


"Ha!" said Ron. "You'll lose, Potter. All I have to do is find Hermione and ask her. I happen to know exactly where she is."

"Do you?"

"Yes. She's probably still talking to Professor McGonagall."

"It's been over an hour since we left Transfiguration," said Harry. "How do you know she's still there?"

"This is Hermione we're talking about. In a classroom. Talking to a teacher. She could be there all afternoon."

Harry nodded.

"So..." Ron grinned as if it was obvious who had the upper hand. "Who're you going to ask?"

Harry knew who he was going to ask. The problem was that he had no idea where she was. Or if she would say yes. He wasn't even sure that she didn't already have a boyfriend. Suddenly, Harry felt very nervous.

"I know who I'm going to ask," he answered.

"Really," said Ron skeptically.

"Yeah." Harry narrowed his eyes and nodded slowly. "I know exactly who I'm going to ask." Ron's face fell and Harry was pleased to see some worry creep into his expression.

"Who?" Ron demanded.

Harry's expression remained impassive. "You'll find out soon enough."

The challenge issued, they sat rooted to their chairs and fixed each other with intense stares, daring the other to make the first move. Harry didn't know how much longer he could stand it. Suddenly, as if a shot had rung out to signal the start of a race, they sprang up simultaneously out of their chairs and headed for the common room door, each struggling to stay in the lead.

Just before they reached the door, a voice stopped them.

"Harry?" It was a fourth year named Melissa Dibbs. She watched him nervously.

Harry turned to her. His time was short and he was already apprehensive about his task. The last thing he needed was a distraction. "Yes?" he blurted out impatiently.

"Would you... would you go to the Harvest Ball with me?"

Harry felt as if he had a rock in the pit of his stomach. She was rather cute, and she had bright blue eyes and pretty blonde hair. He had never talked to her directly, but she seemed nice enough. It must have taken a considerable amount of courage to ask a boy who was two years older than her. She didn't deserve to be rejected. But Harry knew immediately that he would have to turn her down. He didn't want to think about going with anyone but his original choice. "Sorry," he shook his head. Not knowing anything else to say, he gave her an apologetic look and made his way past a gaping Ron, through the door and out into the corridor.

Ron was right behind him. "I can't believe you turned her down. You could have won the contest!"

Harry tried to block out the memory of the hurt look on Melissa's face. "I want to go with someone else. It's not just about the bet."

Ron gave him a look full of dread. "Please say it's not Cho Chang."

Harry bit back his irritation. "It's not Cho Chang."

Ron stared at Harry expectantly. "Well? Aren't you going to go and find her?" Harry stood rooted to the spot, clearly unsure of which way to go. "You haven't lost her already, have you?" Ron teased. "Lucky for me, I know exactly where my date is." With that, he jogged down the hallway towards Professor McGonagall's office.

Harry balled up his fists in frustration. He had no idea where to start looking for her. She hadn't been in the common room. It would be several hours until he could see her at dinner. She could be anywhere in the castle.

Suddenly struck with an idea, he jogged down the corridor until he caught up with Ron and walked alongside him.

"Where are you going?" Ron asked.

"Same place you're going," Harry answered.

"Fine," said Ron. "If you want to come watch me finesse the fair Hermione and win the contest, be my guest."

Harry didn't say a word. He continued to walk with Ron toward the Professor's office as Ron shot him curious glances.

True to Ron's prediction, they found Hermione in Professor McGonagall's office. She had obviously been there since class had ended. The door was ajar and she and the Professor were alone inside, deeply engrossed in a discussion. Ron and Harry stood outside the door debating whether or not to interrupt them.

"Well, there she is," said Ron. "And unless McGonagall has propositioned her, no one else has asked her yet."

Harry knew this was likely the case. And no matter how angry Hermione might have been with Ron in the past, he knew her well enough to know that she would most certainly accept Ron's invitation. Harry's chances weren't looking too good, but he wasn't about to let Ron see him panic. "Yeah," he said coolly. "She probably won't be too much longer, and then you can ask her."

Ron nodded smugly.

"Then again," Harry said thoughtfully. "This is Hermione we're talking about."

Ron's face fell slightly.

Harry continued. "Like you said, she could be in there all afternoon."

Ron looked worried now. Watching Hermione anxiously, he struggled with his thoughts for a moment. Making a decision, he pushed the door open.

From inside the classroom, Professor McGonagall peered over her glasses at him. "Can I help you Mr. Weasley?" Her tone of voice indicated that whatever the reason for the interruption, it had better be good.

Ron stammered and turned red. "I ... um, I just want to ask Hermione..."

Hermione glared at him. "Ron, can't this wait? I'm talking to Professor McGonagall. Don't be rude."

"Sorry," Ron mustered. He stepped back out into the hall, face flushing madly.

Harry held his hand over his mouth, desperately holding back his laughter. Gaining control, he whispered, "That was some finesse."

Ron stared into the room with determination. "That's okay," he said resolutely. "I can wait for her."

"Right," said Harry, who now seemed to be pulling his own nerve together. "While you wait, I'll be wooing."

He took a deep breath, gave Ron a meaningful look. Then, to Ron's surprise, he stormed through the door, straight into the classroom and walked right up to Hermione.

Ron gaped at him from the hallway, unable to believe his eyes. What was he asking Hermione?! He moved closer to the open door, but was unable to hear the words being exchanged in the room. The Professor had a very sour look on her face, which was aimed squarely at Harry. Hermione also seemed annoyed as she gave a curt response to Harry's question.

As swiftly as he had interrupted them, Harry uttered something, turned on his heels and headed back to the hallway. Shutting the door behind him, a grin slowly came across Harry's face and he shot Ron a sly look.

"What did you say?" said Ron, almost beside himself.

But Harry had no interest in alleviating Ron's anxiety. "I've got to run."

"Where are you going?" Ron cried.

"To get my date."

Before Ron could say another word, Harry had jogged down the hall and around the corner, out of site.

Ron turned his attention back to the now closed door of Professor McGonagall's classroom. He pressed his ear to the door, but was only able to hear muffled voices from inside. He raised his fist in a motion to rap, but thought better of it. Sighing to himself, he leaned against the cold, stone wall and hitched his hands in his pockets to keep from fidgeting.

"Fine. I can wait," he said to himself.


Harry rushed through the corridors and down the stairs. His heart was thumping madly as he geared himself up for the task he was now about to face. He concentrated all his thoughts on maneuvering the web of passageways to find the quickest route to the main door.

Good old Hermione, he thought. Of course, Hermione knew exactly where she was. Underneath the large cottonwoods at the south end of the lake. Apparently, she went there a lot. Harry lamented that he didn't know this. There was so much he didn't know about her.

Too soon, it seemed, he found himself outside on the school grounds, looking out across the lake towards a tall batch of trees. It was a warm, autumn day and there seemed to be many students milling around. As he got closer, he narrowed his eyes in search of a telltale shock of red hair.

As he came around the edge of a particularly large tree, he heard a voice aimed in his direction. "Hi, Harry. Did you lose something?"


Sitting underneath the large cottonwood, she was surrounded by a group of fifth years. Mostly girls. When she spoke to him, all the other students had quieted. He suddenly felt a dozen pairs of eyes on him, watching him and waiting to hear what he had to say.

"Um... hi, Ginny. No. I didn't lose anything. Why did you think that?"

Ginny shrugged. "It seemed like you were looking for something."

A girl sitting next to Ginny piped, "Or someone".

Some giggling from the assembled onlookers followed this statement. Ginny rolled her eyes. There was now no question that news of the Harvest Ball had reached the fifth year Gryffindors.

Harry gritted his teeth. No. He was not going through this again. He searched his brain for a feasible excuse. "No, actually um... Hermione was looking for you."

"Oh?" Ginny said brightly. "For what?"

"Er, I'm not sure. She's in Professor McGonagall's office."

"She wants me to come right now?"

Harry took a deep breath. There was no getting out of the lie now. "Uh, yeah."

Looking slightly irritated, Ginny picked up her books, waved to her friends and started up the path to the front doors. Harry walked along beside her. "I need to go back that way, too," he explained.

They walked up the path, through the doors and into the corridor. Satisfied that Harry had no more information about Hermione's request, Ginny had launched into a recounting of her morning Charms class.

"... so then Professor Flitwick said 'It's Banishura, not Nabishura!'"

But Harry wasn't listening. He was finding it difficult to concentrate on anything but the task at hand. Did she like him at all? Everyone said that she used to fancy him, but what about now? Hermione had said that she had given up on him. Would she laugh in his face and leave him standing in the corridor?

Only one thing was certain. He had to ask her before they got to Hermione.

"Harry, are you listening to me?" Ginny said with a trace of irritation.

"Um, yeah," muttered Harry.

But the look on Ginny's face made it clear that she was not convinced.

"I'm sorry," said Harry. "I guess I've got something else on my mind."

"Oh?" Ginny's scowl immediately turned into a look of deep concern. "Anything I can do?"

"Oh, no! Well... m- maybe," Harry stuttered. There was no going back now. Better just to do it and get it over with. "I was just wondering... do you have a date for the Harvest Ball?"

Ginny pursed her lips. "No. It was only announced today, Harry."

Butterflies danced in his stomach at this encouraging news. "So do you want to go with me?" he asked in as casual a manner as he could muster.

Ginny stopped dead in her tracks and stared at Harry with complete incomprehension on her face. "Huh?"

Of all the reactions he had been expecting, this one had not even entered into the realm of possibilities. Did she think he was playing a joke on her?

His eyes focused on hers. "I'm asking if you want to be my date to the Harvest Ball."

Ginny blinked, but continued to stare at him as if she couldn't believe her ears.

"Ginny?" Harry waved a hand in front of her face. "Er... hello?"

"Did Ron put you up to this?" Ginny asked simply, expressionless.

"No," Harry said indignantly. "I'm asking you because I want to go with you. Nobody put me up to it. Ron doesn't even know I'm asking you."

Ginny's expression softened. "Okay," she said.


She nodded. "Yeah, I'll go with you."

"Alright then," Harry smiled at her.

They stared quietly at each other for a moment, and something seemed to click. Suddenly, things were different between them. They both knew it, and they knew that there was no going back. He would never again be just a friend to her, and she would never just be his best friend's little sister. There was no telling what would happen, but they both felt a thrill of excitement at entering this new territory.

They continued to walk along the corridor. Ginny surveyed him out of the corner of her eye.

"What?" Harry asked. "Having second thoughts?"

Ginny let out a small laugh. "Oh no. I was just thinking that Ron'll be ecstatic," she said thoughtfully. "As long as he's not too busy wallowing in misery over his own lack of a date."

"He's asking Hermione right now." As Harry said this, a hazy thought began to form in his brain. There was something he needed to do. Something that he was forgetting...

"Really? That's great!" She looked genuinely pleased. "Wow. It was just announced today and you and Ron have already got dates? Did you two make a bet or something?" she said with a wink.

Harry sputtered as his lips moved, but no words came out.

Ginny laughed. "I'm just kidding, Harry. You wouldn't do that. Ron would," she added dryly, "but not you."

Harry forced a grin and tried to appear as innocent as possible.

"What's Ron doing?"

They had finally come to the Transfiguration classroom. The door was closed and Ron was leaning against it, looking very tired and forlorn.

"He must still be waiting for Hermione," Harry explained. "She was inside with Professor McGonagall."

Ginny raised her eyebrows at her brother. "Did you really do it? You finally asked Hermione on a date?"

Ron glared back and said nothing. He turned his eyes to Harry, whose triumphant expression told him all he needed to know. His eyes widened in surprise and when he knew that Ginny wasn't watching him, he mouthed the word "Ginny?"

Harry nodded smugly. Unfortunately for Harry, he was so busy gloating, he failed to notice Ginny reaching for the doorknob. She swiftly opened the door and stepped inside.

"Oh no, Ginny!" he whispered loudly, and tried to grasp her sleeve. But it was too late. She was walking up to Hermione, who was still deeply engrossed in a conversation with Professor McGonagall.

Harry winced. He had had every intention of telling her the truth before they got here. Between the excitement of her saying "yes" and the pleasure of gloating to Ron, he had completely forgotten the lie he told.

Suddenly, Professor McGonagall's stern voice emanated from the room. It was clear her patience was being tested. Although her voice was aimed squarely at Ginny, it seemed to reverberate far into the corridors. "If I have to endure one more pointless interruption today, I'm going to start taking away House points!"

"Oops," was all Harry could say, as he stared into the room with a horrified expression.

Ron looked a little frightened as well. "What did you do?" he whispered.

"I - I..." Harry stammered. "I told her Hermione wanted to see her."

Ron stared at him. "Why'd you tell her that?"

Harry stared back, forgetting to close his mouth, and shrugged.

Ron glanced in to the classroom where Ginny's face was turning an unmistakable shade of magenta. Wide-eyed, he turned back to Harry. "She looks really mad. You'd better get out of here before she comes back out."

All the color had drained from Harry's face. "Yeah. All right. I'll see you at dinner," he said numbly. Before he could second-guess Ron's advice, Harry started swiftly down the corridor towards the great hall. His brain seemed to have stopped working. He was being guided solely by his self-preservation instincts.

Just as Harry turned out of sight around the corner, Ginny emerged from the classroom. Her face was flushed, and her eyes were blazing. "Where's Harry?" she asked through gritted teeth.

Ron put on his best clueless face. "He had to go to, um... he had to go."

"Did he now?" Ginny said in a soft but dangerous voice, glancing down the corridor with narrowed eyes. Her words was menacing, but a small smile played at the corners of her lips.

Oblivious to her brother's watchful gaze, she walked away, leaving him without a "goodbye".




Later that day...

The din in the Great Hall at dinner seemed to be louder than ever, as word of the impending ball spread like wildfire through the houses. Harry sat calmly eating his pork chops and applesauce, unfazed by the girlish giggling that seemed to surround him. This time, he wasn't haunted by the prospect of being approached by girls he didn't know. He had a date! The whole agonizing process of asking a girl to the ball was done. He could relax and amuse himself by watching the other students stammer invitations to each other, while he sat secure in the knowledge that he already had a date. Harry felt very light and was about to help himself to dessert when a mane of red hair appeared and sat directly in front of him.

Harry's light mood quickly dissipated when he saw the look on Ginny's face. She pierced him with a glare that reminded Harry distinctly of Mrs. Weasley.

"Hi," he said brightly, hoping his cheeriness would dissolve her icy expression.

"Hello," she said, in an even tone.

"Here you go," he said, handing her the tray of buttered red potatoes.

"Thanks," she said. Not taking her eyes of him, she began to fill her plate with the various items around her. Feeling her eyes penetrate him, Harry smiled innocently. "You know, Harry -" Ginny began.

"Would you like some of this trifle? It's really good."

"No," Ginny said slowly. "Thank you for offering."

Before she could say another word, Harry began to tell a prepared anecdote about something Ron had done in class that morning but Ginny interrupted him.

"Harry, do you remember when you came and told me that Hermione wanted to talk to me?"

"Er, what do you mean?"

"This afternoon, when you found me outside and specifically told me that Hermione wanted to see me. Well, it turns out that she didn't need to see me."

"Really?" Harry did his best to sound perplexed.

"Yes. Really," said Ginny, closely watching his expression. "And McGonagall yelled at me for interrupting them."

"She did?"

"Yes, Harry. She did. I'm lucky she didn't take any points from me."

"Oh. Yeah, well..." Harry stumbled as he searched for a good excuse. Ginny glared hard at him. "I'm sorry, Ginny. I must have misunderstood her." He looked at her apologetically.

"Ah." Her face softened at his apology, but she was far from satisfied. "You misunderstood her, did you?"

"Er, yes. I must have misunderstood her." Harry felt his face getting warm.

Still watching him closely, her shoulders relaxed as she leaned back into her seat. "I see..." she said simply.

Harry grimaced as he felt his face getting redder. No amount of will power would stop it. He sighed. "I'm sorry. Okay?"

"That's okay. I'm sure it was just a misunderstanding." She finally looked away from him and turned her attention to her plate of food. Grateful for the reprieve, Harry rubbed his eyes and ran his fingers through his hair, feeling the flush leave his cheeks.

As he leaned back in his seat, he saw Hermione walk through the Great Hall doors. Her face was lit up like a Christmas tree, and her eyes sparkled with delight. She walked very quickly, swinging her arms stiffly as if it took every ounce of will power to refrain from jumping for joy.

Harry's face lit up at the sight of her. "Hey, there's Hermione!"

Ginny turned around to see her bounding towards them. "Wow. She looks happy! Surely, it couldn't be because of Ron!" Her eyes met Harry's and they grinned at each other. In that moment, Harry could see that she wasn't still mad at him for lying to her. She knew he had made it up because he was nervous, but she wasn't mad and she wasn't going to make him admit to his nervousness. His thoughts were interrupted as Hermione sat down next to Ginny. She stared ahead at Harry, not saying a word, a wide smile across her face. But suddenly, she screwed up her face and bobbed up and down in her seat in excitement.

Ginny laughed. "Hermione! What is it?"

Hermione turned her smiling face to Ginny, snaking her arm through Ginny's as if she needed someone to anchor her to the earth. "Oh Ginny! Harry! You..." she fought to contain her excitement. "You'll never guess what happened!"

Harry felt sure that he knew exactly what had happened.

"Tell us!" Ginny said excitedly.

"Yeah, tell us!" Harry chimed in, fully expecting to hear some wonderful blackmail material for Ron.

Hermione took a deep breath and spoke each word slowly with dramatic emphasis. "Professor McGonagall is going to teach me to become an Animagus."

The chins of Harry and Ginny simultaneously dropped in shock. They stared at Hermione, who looked happier than they'd ever seen her.

"No way!" said Harry. "That's incredible!"

"Oh Hermione!" Ginny squeaked. She grabbed Hermione's arms and squeezed as she bobbed up and down as if Hermione's excitement was contagious.

"So that's what you were meeting with her about today!"

"Yes!" said Hermione. "She pulled me aside after class and told me! She said I was a perfect candidate for it. If I wanted to put in the extra time and commitment, she'd be willing to teach me."

"Oh Hermione! That's so exciting!" Ginny exclaimed. "Your parents are going to be so proud!"

"I hope so! They've already given permission for it. Professor McGonagall wrote to them last week."

"And they said it was all right?"

"Yes! At least that's what Professor McGonagall said. I haven't talked to them about it yet. I'm sure they're going to have lots of questions for me. Oh, you should see the reading list Professor McGonagall gave me! It's going to take the entire first semester just to get through all the books! She said she would give me preparatory assignments now and we would begin the transformation spells next year."

"Hermione?" Harry finally got a word in edgewise. "Where's Ron?"

"Er, I don't know," said Hermione puzzled. "I thought he was down here with you."

"Didn't you see him?" said Harry. "He was waiting for you."

"Oh, was he?" cried Hermione. "I was just so excited and - "

"But how could you have missed him? He was right outside the door."

"I left through a back door that goes through Professor McGonagall's office."

Harry grimaced. "You left through a back door?"

"Yes. Professor McGonagall wanted to show me where her private library is." Hermione wrung her hands together. "You don't think he's still there, do you?"

"Yes," Harry said immediately. "He was waiting for you. You should go find him."

"Oh, yes I should, shouldn't I? I'll go find him." She rose from her seat. "I can't wait to tell him!" She looked at Harry anxiously. "Do you think he'll be happy for me?"

"Er... yeah."


Hermione walked briskly down the corridor to the Transfiguration classroom.

There she found him, leaning against the door, sound asleep. Honestly, thought Hermione, How could anyone fall asleep in a hallway?

"Ron?" She nudged him on the shoulder.

Ron made a snorting noise as his eyes cracked open. "'Mione?" he mumbled sleepily, getting to his feet.

"What in the world are you doing here on the floor? Honestly Ron, you're a prefect. You need to be setting a better example." Without waiting for him to respond, she clapped her hands together. "But never mind that, I have the most amazing news! You'll never guess what happened, Ron. Professor McGonagall is going to teach me to be an Animagus! Isn't that amazing? I'm actually going to be a registered Animagus. It's a lot of work, I know, but it's an opportunity of a lifetime and I'd be a fool to turn her down. My parents have already given permission for it. I'm not sure they really understand what it means to be an Animagus, but in time, I think they'll find it as fascinating as I do. I've got loads of books to read on all the theories behind the transformations. It's amazing, all the detailed spellwork that goes into the initial..."

"Hermione!" Ron shouted at her. "Shut up!"

Hermione's face fell as if he had slapped her.

Ron looked completely exasperated. "Look, I'm amazingly excited for you and all, but I've been sitting in this hallway for hours waiting for you! I've got a crick in my neck, my arm fell asleep, and my back is killing me, but I've been waiting, just so I could ask you to the Ball before anyone else!"

Hermione's eyes became wide with shock. For perhaps the first time in her life, she was struck dumb.

Ron took a deep breath and watched her expectantly. "So..." he said in a much calmer voice, pleased that he had finally gotten her attention. "Would you please go the ball with me?"

She felt a smile spread across her face, but found herself unable to speak. All she could do was nod.

Ron let out a breath he had been holding in and smiled back. He seemed to be short on words as well.

They stared into each other's eyes, their faces only inches apart. The distance between them seemed to be shrinking of its own accord. Neither of them knew who had moved first. The next thing they knew, their lips met. Hermione felt Ron's hands slip into hers. Time seemed to stand still and in that moment, nothing else existed.

When they finally separated, Hermione opened her eyes to see Ron's face full of excitement. "An elephant!" he practically shouted.

Hermione stared at him, momentarily baffled as to what he was talking about. "An elephant?" she stammered when she had finally got her mouth to work.

"Yeah!" he said excitedly. "Your animagus form takes after your personality. And elephants are supposed to be really smart, right? I bet you'll turn into an elephant!"

"Oh," she said, feeling silly. How could she have forgot already?

Ron continued. "That'd be cool! Then you could step on Malfoy."

"Ron!" She gave him a reproving look. "I wouldn't step on anyone!"

Ron let out a laugh. "I know you wouldn't," he said affectionately. "But let me have my dream, okay?"

She let herself smile and felt his eyes watching her every move. An involuntary flush came over her cheeks as they stood there, looking into each other eyes. The moment was interrupted by a growl coming from Ron's stomach.

Ron shrugged. "I guess I'm hungry."

"We should go down to dinner. Harry's already there."

Ron's face fell slightly. "Right," he said simply.

As she turned to go, he reached out a hand to stop her. His slight touch on her shoulder was enough to send shivers down her spine. "Hermione?" he said softly.

She leaned towards him, eyes shining brightly. "Yes?" she said in almost a whisper. It had been one of the best days of her life. What other magical thing could happen today?

He bit his lip. "Can I borrow a Sickle?"

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