The Sugar Quill
Author: Madaline Fabray  Story: A Midsummer Night's Ball  Chapter: Ch. 1 Act I
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"Oy

"Oy! Fred, George!"

 

The Weasley twins looked up from the common room table, where they were busy experimenting with several types of colorful powders to see which combination created the most impressive explosion. The twins had been cordially invited back to finish their schooling by the Headmaster, and pushed out the door by their mother, who gave the usual warnings of dire consequences if they put a toe out of line. It was obvious to Ron that the threats had as much effect as they usually did.

 

They grinned broadly as they saw their younger brother come in.

 

"Ah, King Ron! Your majesty!" Fred said. He stood up and made a sweeping bow.

 

"Your majesty!" George echoed, also standing up and bowing. "We are so honored you have decided to grace us humble minions with your royal presence…."

 

"Taking a break, oh king, from the preparations of the Midsummer Night's Ball?"

 

"Oh bugger off, both of you, and stop bowing," Ron said, and his ears turned bright red.

 

"Yes, your majesty!" George said.

 

"Of course, your majesty, and thank you, your majesty," Fred said. "May we humble, unworthy slaves inquire…."

 

"I said shut it, already!" Ron groused. "You wore it out two weeks ago!"

 

"Where is the lovely queen Hermione at present?" Fred continued innocently, and George snickered.

 

Ron set his jaw. "That’s what I’m here about. I need to ask a favor."

 

"If it’s honest work, we are not interested," Fred said, and he turned his attention back to the powders.

 

"Yeah, we’ve already helped with planting the grounds with the roses and snapdragons for the ball," George grumbled, and he held up a bandaged finger. "One of those yellow snapdragons bloody near took my finger off!"

 

"Don’t worry," Ron said. "This will use your natural talent – causing trouble. Do you have any love potion on stock from your Wizard Wheezes?"

 

"Hmmm," Fred said thoughtfully. "We had a bit of a run of it last week. A lot of students wanted it for this ball tonight."

 

"Except McGonagall found out about it and confiscated the sold bottles…." George said.

 

"And most of our remaining inventory," Fred continued.

 

"Most?" Ron asked hopefully.

 

The twins grinned.

 

"We managed to hide a few bottles," George said. "But what do you want it for? Hermione already fancies you. The two of you have been an item for most of the school year."

 

"Yeah," Ron said with a scowl. "But she doesn’t trust me not to look at another girl at the ball, and she says she would never dream of flirting with someone else. Said that after Herbology out loud after classes in front of everyone, made me look like a cad. So…." Ron clenched his fists. "I want to … to add a little of the love potion to her drink. Then when she sees another bloke, she’ll make herself look like a hypocrite."

 

"Wow," Fred said with some admiration. "That is dishonest. You do us proud, little bro!"

 

"So, let me get this straight," George said. "She humiliated you and you want to seek revenge in a memorable way. Is that the sum of it?"

 

"Yes. Any problem with that?"

 

"No," Fred said. "None at all."

 

"Sounds good to us," George added. "We’ll discuss fees later … we are artists, after all."

 

"Right," Ron said. "Listen, there are a lot of us meeting outside on the grounds for the picnic lunch. You can start your work there."

 

"Heh," George said. "We know all about the picnic, already. But that will give us a good opportunity."

 

"Yes, and the sooner we can begin, the better," Fred said. "We’ve been engaged in far too much honest work lately! We need a break from this stifling respectability." George chortled and rubbed his hands in anticipation.

 

 ****

 

About two hours later, Ron, Fred and George were underneath the shade of a large maple tree near the edge of the dark forest, along with Ginny, Hermione, Harry, Neville and Luna. There were clusters of students sitting outside on large blankets of various colors, each group with an enormous wicker basket lined with blue or red gingham. Headmaster Dumbledore had announced a holiday from classes as a way of boosting morale, a momentary escape from the grim realities of the outside world. Most of the Hogwarts students were excitedly talking about the Midsummer Night’s ball that evening between mouthfuls of chicken or roast beef sandwiches, grapes, cherry tomatoes and frosted biscuits. 

 

"Oh, isn’t the weather wonderful," Ginny said dreamily, and she took a sip of her bottle of pumpkin juice. "The ball will be lovely tonight! I heard some of the centaurs might even come and tell us stories."

 

"Highly doubtful," Ron said. "They are no longer out to actively kill us, but they still don’t like us. They don’t strike me as the type who put aside grudges very easily."

 

"I don’t think you are giving them enough credit," Hermione said coolly as she reached for another bottle of pumpkin juice.

 

"Do you have to contradict everything I say now?" Ron asked testily.

 

"No," Hermione said with a saccharine smile. "Only when you are wrong."

 

"Guys, please don’t start again," Harry said. He was lying on his back looking at the wispy clouds that drifted lazily across the azure sky. "I already had to listen to you bicker this morning, and yesterday, and the day before…."

 

"We were not bickering this morning," Hermione said with an icy glare thrown in Harry’s direction. "We were having a discussion."

 

"You were having a discussion in the common room that could be heard in the dorms, even with the doors closed," Harry retorted. "For nearly two hours."

 

"We were not arguing that long!" Ron said.

 

"One hour, forty-seven minutes," Harry said. "I timed it."

 

Both Ron and Hermione turned bright red, but before either could respond, Ginny started choking.

 

"Ginny!" Neville said, and he patted her on the back. "Are you all right?"

 

"Yes," Ginny wheezed. "Grape just went down the wrong way." She started coughing and reached for her pumpkin juice but in her haste, she knocked it over.

 

"Here," Hermione said, and she handed the younger witch her new bottle. "I just opened this, haven’t drunk out of it yet…."

 

"No!" Fred shouted frantically. He flushed as several eyes turned to him quizzically. "I mean  we could …ehhhh…."

 

Ginny took a long pull from the offered bottle while Hermione got another one, and Ron and Neville mopped up the spilled juice as best as they could. Fred and George exchanged horrified looks.

 

"You could what?" Hermione asked, puzzled. Ron looked up and gave his brothers a curious look.

 

"Errr, gotten her a bottle from the basket, so you didn’t have to give up yours," George explained lamely. Fred stared at Ron, made a quick heart in the air with his index finger and jerked his head towards Ginny, who set the now-empty bottle down on the blanket. Comprehension dawned on Ron, and his face went white. He bit his lip to keep from incriminating himself or his brothers.

 

Hermione, meanwhile, put her unopened bottle back in the basket. "You know, I’m not that thirsty after all," she announced. The twins again exchanged despairing looks.

 

"It looks as if everyone else is beginning to leave," said Luna as she looked up from her copy of the latest Quibbler.

 

Ginny gave a yawn. "That’s good. I’m sleepy all the sudden. I think I’ll…." Ginny never finished her sentence. She gave another yawn and lay down on the green and blue plaid blanket. Soon she was snoring softly as the others stood.

 

Hermione cast a mildly curious look at Ginny before turning to Fred and George. "Don’t you two have rubbish duty for setting off those Dungbombs in Filch’s office last week?"

 

Fred and George groaned. "Oh yes," Fred said. "Doesn’t seem sporting, though. It was only a couple Dungbombs, and they were not actually set off inside his office."

 

"No," Harry said. "You strapped them onto Mrs. Norris, and she ran inside the office, trailing that smoke behind her."

 

"One nice thing," Ron said with a snigger. "That bloody cat can’t sneak up on us anymore. You can smell her coming from a corridor away. Farther than that if she’s downwind."  Neville and Harry joined him in the laughter. Luna’s face disappeared behind her magazine as if she hadn’t heard a word.

 

"How did you manage to catch Mrs. Norris in the first place?" Harry asked in an admiring tone.

 

Hermione sighed. "You are mean! Strapping Dungbombs on a cat! She could have been blown up!"

 

"Nah," George said. "It’s Mrs. Norris we’re talking about. That cat is indestructible."

 

"Unfortunately," Fred muttered as he began to pick up the empty plates and bottles.

 

George started to help as the others started heading inside. Soon, only Fred, George, Ron and a slumbering Ginny remained.

 

"Blimey!" Ron whispered in horror, and he looked around to make certain no one else was listening. "This is a right mess! Now what?"

 

"I don’t know, Ron," Fred said nervously as he looked at his sister, who had begun to snore softly. "We did not plan for anything like this."

 

"What?" Ron’s eyes bugged. "You mean you don’t have an antidote?"

 

"Not on hand," George said. "We specialize in destruction and mayhem, not how to correct it!"

 

"But an antidote can be made," Fred said hastily. "Even if we don’t find one, well … the potion eventually wears off."

 

"Oh?" Ron said hopefully. "How long before that happens?"

 

"Err … about eight to ten hours," George said, and he shuffled his feet nervously. Fred looked away.

 

"WHAT?" Ron shouted.

 

"Shhh …." Fred said sharply, and he turned back to Ron. "Yes, it should wear off by tomorrow morning."

 

"So how long does it take to make this antidote?" Ron asked.

 

"We don’t know," George admitted.

 

"Never actually made one before," Fred said, and he shrugged his shoulders.

 

Ron wiped a hand across his face. "Maybe we should give her a sleeping draught," he said.

 

"Hmmm …." George said, considering. "But how would we get some? And how would we give it to her?"

 

"Couldn’t you just nick something from Pomfrey…?" Ron started to say.

 

"Well, well, well," the Weasleys heard a familiar voice drawl.

 

Ron turned to his right to see Draco Malfoy and his ever present thugs. They were standing a few feet away and staring insolently at them, Draco with his patented aristocratic sneer and Crabbe and Goyle with trollish grins.

 

"Bugger off, Malfoy," Ron said. His hands clenched into fists.

 

"Trash duty, boys?" Draco continued. "It suits you, all of you." His cold gray eyes scanned the four of them. "It looks like one of you is asleep on the job." Crabbe and Goyle made a grunting sound that sounded like laughter.

 

Ron’s eyes glittered and he rolled up his sleeves. "Yeah, we are on trash duty. Looks like there’s some I need to clean up." He strode up to Malfoy, fists raised.

 

"Ron!" Fred ordered, and he held his younger brother back. George stepped in to help. "Ignore the git."

 

The corners of Malfoy’s mouth turned up in a cold smile. "Weasley is our king, Weasley is our king," he started to sing tauntingly, then he frowned. "How you got elected king and that little Mudblood girlfriend of yours queen is beyond me. This school has sunk to unbelievable depths. Next thing you know, Dumbledore will be taking in Muggles themselves!"

 

Ron’s face was as crimson as his hair. "What? You think the title should have gone to you and that pug-faced little puke who clings to your arm like a growth?"

 

The ridges of Malfoy’s cheekbones turned bright pink. He and his cronies started to close the distance between them and the Weasleys. But Goyle, in his eagerness, got in front of Malfoy, and the pale, blond wizard tripped over Goyle’s oversized black boot. Malfoy went sprawling on top of Ginny.

 

"Watch it!" George shouted as Malfoy barely was able to catch himself with his hands and kept himself from flattening the youngest Weasley. But the sudden movement made Ginny’s eyes flutter open, and she found herself staring into Malfoy’s eyes, which were only inches from her brown ones.

 

"H … hello," Ginny whispered, her eyes wide.

 

"Oh no," George whispered.

 

"I can’t watch," Fred groaned.

 

Malfoy picked himself up and glared at Goyle as he brushed off his sable school robes.

"Clumsy oaf!" Malfoy snarled. Goyle mumbled something in apology. "And now for you …." He turned back to the Weasleys, who were paying no attention to him. Instead, they were staring in horrid fascination at Ginny, and she was gazing at the blond Slytherin with a rapt expression.

 

"Wha … why are you staring at me like that, Weasley?" Malfoy said, and his nose wrinkled in distaste. His gaze broke to his two companions nervously, but Crabbe and Goyle, who had the collective intelligence of a turnip, could only stand impassively and watch.

 

"You’re cute, you know that?" Ginny said in a dreamy voice, and she gave a high, girlish giggle. Her brothers gagged loudly behind her.

 

Malfoy, for once in his life, had no nasty barb to throw back. He stared in complete shock at Ginny, his mouth so wide that the flying Ford Anglia could have sailed in and out.

 

Ginny stood up, walked over to Malfoy and draped her arms around him.

 

"I’ve never noticed how handsome you are, Malfoy," Ginny said with another giggle as she ran her fingers through Malfoy’s short, blond hair.

 

"Ge… Get OFF!" Malfoy said, and he pushed Ginny away roughly.

 

"Watch how you treat her, scum!" George said, and he drew his wand threateningly.

 

"Don’t hurt him!" Ginny shouted.

 

"I won’t let filth like that touch me!" Draco snarled, and he smoothed out his robes with an impatient brush of his thin white hands.

 

"Don’t worry, Ginny," Fred said. "We won’t hurt him."

 

"Nah, we’re just going to kill him," Ron muttered.

 

"No!!!" Ginny shouted as she ran between her brothers and Malfoy, using her body as a shield for the Slytherin. Malfoy shoved her to the ground.

 

"I told you, you stinking Muggle-lover…." Malfoy snarled.

 

"Transmorgius!" "Metamorphio!" "Escrehawus!" The three Weasley brothers chanted at the same time, infuriated.

 

When the smoke cleared, the Weasleys stared incredulously at their handiwork. Ron then doubled over with laughter.

 

"Well," Fred said mildly as his younger brother continued to guffaw. "I think we can safely say those are three spells that should never be used in combination."

 

"Our knowledge of what spells not to combine grows with every passing day," George mused. Ginny ran over to Malfoy and threw her arms around him again. This time, Malfoy didn’t resist. Indeed, he didn’t even seem to react.

 

"Well, I don’t care what he looks like," she said stubbornly. "I still think he’s cute!"

 

"Hee haaaaw!" Malfoy brayed back. He still had the hands, body and legs of a human, but he had acquired a donkey’s brown, fuzzy head, and for good measure, a tufted tail could be seen swishing beneath his robes.

 

Malfoy looked around with languid brown eyes, and his suddenly elongated ears twitched in the breeze. Two gray swine, which had once been Crabbe and Goyle, rooted around in the grass with their broad muzzles.

 

"Come on," George said, his urgent tone not entirely covering up his snickering. "We have to hide them, or we will be in a right fix!"

 

"But where?" Ron said, and he looked around.

 

"How ‘bout over there?" Fred said, and he pointed to some brush a little ways in the dark forest.

 

"Ginny," George said, and he grabbed the blanket from off the ground. "Grab Malfoy by the hand, atta girl! Now lead him this way."

 

Ginny willingly complied. She and Malfoy followed the Weasley brothers a little ways into the woods. The pigs followed them, snorting and snuffling.

 

"Now," George said once they got to the dense brush. He spread the blanket on the ground. "I want you and Malfoy to stay right here, Ginny, until one of us comes to get you. Think you’ll be all right?"

 

"I’ll be fine!" Ginny said happily. She was all too satisfied with the arrangements. 

 

"Hee haw!" Draco said as he continued to look around him. Ginny helped Malfoy sit down and wrapped her arms around him with a look of pure bliss on her face. The pigs toddled over to the blanket and plopped down heavily.

 

"We’ll be back as soon as we can," Fred said as he turned to leave.

 

"Take your time," Ginny sang out gaily, and she gave Malfoy a big kiss on his fuzzy brown cheek. Malfoy’s ears twitched, but he didn’t otherwise react.

 

Ron turned green. "It’s not Malfoy, it’s not Malfoy …." He kept muttering all the way back to the castle. "She just kissed a donkey, not Malfoy, just a donkey … not Malfoy…."

 

 

****

 

"Well, this is a fine mess we’re in," George mumbled as he filled large plastic bags with the rubbish from the day’s lunch.

 

Fred nodded. "We need to undo that potion, and fast," he whispered.

 

"Hope Ron finds it quick," George said. Ron, being more familiar than the twins with the library due to his long acquaintance with Hermione, was elected to go to the library to find the proper antidote.

 

He picked up a full bottle of pumpkin juice, the one Hermione had nearly opened earlier.

 

"Watch that one," Fred warned. "We better keep it separate and destroy it later, when we can get to a fireplace without being seen."

 

George shrugged and set the bottle on a stone ledge a safe distance from the other picnic items.

 

"Ugh," George said. "I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sight of Ginny’s arms wrapped around … him!"

 

"That’ll give me nightmares," Fred agreed, and he shook one of the blankets to get rid of the food crumbs.

 

"Say," a third voice called suddenly. "Have either of you two weasels seen Draco?"

 

The twins reluctantly turned to see Pansy Parkinson glaring at them, her nose pointed high in the air so it looked more pug-like than ever.

 

"No," Fred said shortly.

 

"Haven’t seen him for a while," George replied. "Did you check in the sewers? He may be in there with all of the other rats."

 

Pansy sniffed and started to walk by them.

 

"Honestly," Fred said critically as he inspected one of the baskets. "This one will have to be washed. Whoever had this one left their bread crusts and biscuit crumbs all over! Disgusting!"

 

George wrinkled his nose in distaste and started to turn towards Parkinson.

 

"This wouldn’t have been your basket by any … HEY!"

 

Parkinson was drinking from the pumpkin juice bottle George had set aside.

 

"Is there a problem?" Parkinson asked, and she wrinkled her nose at the twins.

 

"That … errr, that was mine!" George said. "For later!" The corners of Fred’s mouth began to twitch.

 

"Oh, so sorry," Parkinson said without sounding the least bit contrite. "Guess you’ll have to get another one later!" She took one last pull from the bottle, smacked her lips appreciatively and handed the now-empty bottle to Fred. "Take this and dispose of it," she commanded arrogantly. Fred was too shocked to do more than mutely comply.

 

"Hmmmm …." Parkinson said sleepily, and she suddenly collapsed to the ground.

 

Fred and George stared at each other.

 

"Well, now what do we do?" George asked.

 

Fred sighed. "I don’t know. Take her to that spot where we’ve hidden Ginny and Draco?"

 

"Hmmm … could be tricky. They never stay asleep long," George said, and his brow furrowed.

 

"Ick, good point," Fred said with a shudder. "I most certainly do not want that lot going after me."

 

George grimaced. "Eww, a horrid thought, indeed. Wait!" he snapped his fingers. "Do you think a blindfold might work?"

 

"Excellent suggestion," Fred said. "I think it might."

 

George went to go look for a clean napkin, and soon retrieved a white linen napkin with white ribbon on the edge.

 

"Steady now," Fred said in a hushed voice as he gingerly lifted the slumbering Slytherin’s head off the ground.

 

"Mmmm …." Parkinson muttered, and her eyelids started to flutter.

 

"Crikey!" George hissed, and he quickly slipped the napkin over Parkinson’s face.

 

"Wha … what is going on here?" Parkinson exclaimed as Fred held her down and George secured the napkin. "What are you weasels …? Get off me!" She began to struggle.

 

"Trust me, Parkinson, this is for your own good," Fred said grimly as he helped the girl to her feet.

 

"Get off!" Parkinson shouted, and she shook herself free of Fred’s grip. Her hands started reaching for the tied blindfold.

 

" Rigenbras!" George shouted as he drew his wand and pointed it at Parkinson. Parkinson’s arms immediately froze to her sides.

 

"HEY!" she squealed in indignation.

 

"Come on," Fred said in an urgent tone. "We better get her over there to the bushes before her squawking draws unwanted attention!"

 

"I will see you two get suspended for this!" Parkinson continued shrilly.

 

"Fred, do you remember the silencing spell?"

 

"Not right now, and we’ve got to …."

 

"What is going on here???"

 

Fred and George turned sheepish as they looked at Hermione, who was staring back at them with one eyebrow arched.

 

"Errr …." Fred stammered out.

 

"Let go of me you cretins!" Parkinson hollered. "When Draco finds out what you have done to me…."

 

"Silencio!" Hermione said calmly as she pointed her wand at the Slytherin. Parkinson’s jaws kept moving, but no sound came out. "Much better. Now, do you have any idea what Ron is doing right now?"

 

"Right now?" Fred asked innocently. "No, not really. I … I thought he was getting ready for the big night." He winked at Hermione, who rolled her eyes.

 

"I thought so too, but when I went to go to the Common Room to remind him that there is a rehearsal for the royal party at four o'clock,  I couldn’t find him."

 

"Well, we don’t know where he is," George said, and he grabbed Parkinson’s arm. "Sorry we can’t be of help, but we have urgent business…."

 

"Not so fast," Hermione said coolly, and she held out her arm to stop them. "He’s in the library."

 

Fred and George looked at each other.

 

"Well, that’s all right then, isn’t it?" George said. "But then, if you knew where he was, why are you asking…?"

 

"I was asking what he was doing," Hermione said. "I was wondering why your brother is feverishly working away at a stack of books in the library on a day like today, when it is a holiday. And why," her eyes narrowed. "He would be studying things about potions. Love potions, to be precise. And why he would try to shield those books from my sight when I approached him."

 

Fred licked his lips, and George’s face started to twitch.

 

"I would also like to know why no one has seen Ginny since our lunch," Hermione continued. "And I just can’t help but remember your reactions when I gave Ginny my bottle of pumpkin juice. And how you kept hovering over my shoulder for most of lunch." Hermione smiled sweetly at the twins, but her eyes flashed angrily. "Ginny’s disappearance wouldn’t have anything to do with what Ron is busy studying upstairs now, would it?"

 

Fred and George looked at each other from the corners of their eyes.

 

"Uh, we … errr, we …." Fred stammered. George’s facial twitching intensified.

 

"Although," Hermione said, her brow furrowing, "This doesn’t explain … her." The Gryffindor witch glanced at Parkinson, whose mouth was still moving soundlessly. "Hmmmm." Hermione pointed her wand at Parkinson again and lifted the Silencing spell.

 

"You will pay for that, you miserable little Mudblood!" Parkinson shrieked.

 

Fred winced and recoiled. "Ow! Did you really have to do that, Hermione?"

 

Hermione ignored him. "Pansy," she said smoothly. "Why have Fred and George blindfolded you?"

 

"How should I know?" Parkinson said. "Maybe one of the weasels was upset I took his bottle of pumpkin juice!"

 

"Bottle of pumpkin juice?" Hermione said, and she turned a steely-eyed gaze at the twins, who paled visibly.

 

"Yeah," Parkinson said with a sniff. "Funny, after I drank it, I got really sleepy. Must have been the sun. Next thing I know, these two idiots have blindfolded me and threatened to take me to some bush somewhere." Her lower lip stuck out in indignation.

 

"Sleepy?" Hermione’s glare hardened. "That’s a common symptom of…."

 

"It was an accident!" George blurted out. "We didn’t mean for her to take it, honest! Only …."

 

"George!" Fred shouted, then he sighed and wiped a hand across his face. "Well, now you’ve done it!"

 

"So," Hermione said triumphantly. "It’s just as I thought …."

 

"Hey guys!" Ron suddenly called from down the walkway. "I think I found it!" He ran full tilt down a set of stairs and down the walkway towards his twin brothers, a brown leather-bound book under his arm. "I think I found the antidote for Gin…." He suddenly saw Hermione. "Hermione? What are you…?" He looked back over to his brothers, who were both chewing on their lower lip, then back to Hermione.

 

Hermione folded her arms across her chest and glared at Ron.

 

"She knows, doesn’t she?" Ron said as he glanced uneasily at Fred and George.

 

"I think so, mate," Fred said with a shaky laugh. George’s face continued to twitch.

 

Ron then noticed Parkinson standing between his brothers. "What is she doing here?" he asked with disdain.

 

An evil gleam came to Hermione’s eyes. She ran over to Parkinson and yanked the napkin from the Slytherin’s eyes. Parkinson blinked rapidly as her eyes readjusted to the afternoon sunlight, then she stared at Ron. The Slytherin girl’s jaw dropped.

 

"Uh oh," George whispered, and he and Fred covered their mouths to stifle nervous laughter.

 

"What is it guys?" Ron asked uneasily, as he stared at Parkinson. "Guys? What is going … oh no! You don’t mean?"

 

"It was an accident, Ron," Fred said, and he tittered. "She grabbed the backup bottle meant for …." He clamped his jaw shut, but it was too late.

 

The triumphant look on Hermione’s face intensified, and she smiled wickedly.

 

"Why hello, handsome," Parkinson said, her voice suddenly low and throaty. "Where have you been all my life?" She strode up to Ron, threw his arms around his shoulders, grabbed the back of his head and kissed him hard.

 

"Whoa," George exclaimed, his eyes wide as he watched the long, passionate kiss. Ron began to struggle violently. He dropped his book, and Hermione snatched it up and started running back to the castle.

 

"WAIT!" Fred shouted. "That could contain…."

 

"Not likely," Hermione said, her smile momentarily turning into a scowl. She turned around and held up the book so the twins could clearly read the title: Love Tonics of the Amazon. "Your brother is a moron."

 

"Well, could you help us, now that you know?" George asked eagerly.

 

"Please, Hermione?" Ron gasped out. He managed to get out of the kiss, but was gripping Parkinson by the wrists trying to keep her hands from ruffling his hair. Parkinson giggled.

 

"No," Hermione said with a superior smile as she started up the stairs leading to the castle.

 

"HERMIONE!" Ron shrieked out before Parkinson covered his lips with hers. "Rmmmph!"

 

"It’s payback time, Ron," Hermione sang out.

 

"Yaaagh!" Ron shouted as he finally broke free of Parkinson’s grip and started running. Parkinson ran after him. Hermione looked after them with amusement.

 

"You know," she said, calling down to the twins, who had begun snickering. "She’ll never catch him, he has too great a head start." Hermione aimed her wand into the air, and a deep purple beam emitted from it. Several rocks sprang up in front of Ron, and he had to dodge around them. Parkinson rapidly started to gain ground as the two disappeared out of sight.

 

Hermione pocketed her wand, dusted off her hands and went inside the castle.

 

Fred and George looked at each other and doubled over with laughter.

 

"How long do you think it will be before she relents?" George wheezed out.

 

"Parkinson?" Fred responded. "Tomorrow. Hermione? Who knows."

 

"Ron is in trouble."

 

"You can say that again."

 

"Ron is…."

 

"Never mind. Let's get the rest of this cleaned up before we lose House points and miss our chance of going tonight."

 

End of Act I

//
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