The Sugar Quill
Author: gijane7702  Story: Harry Potter and the Hunt for the Horcruxes  Chapter: Chapter Two-On the Muggle Train
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Rating, Summary, and Disclaimer: See Chapter One

Rating, Summary, and Disclaimer: See Chapter One

 

Chapter Note: I have total faith in Percy! He shall redeem himself. I love all the Weasleys (who wouldn’t?) Tonks and Lupin!! (*squee*) For FernWithy: With Shifts, she’ll always be Dora. And after years of our patient waiting, we are rewarded, the good ‘ship R/H takes her maiden voyage. I do think they will need a literal nudge.

 

Chapter Two- On the Muggle Train

 

Molly Weasley was extremely worried. After only two days home from school, her youngest son Ron and one of his best friends, Hermione Granger, were headed out into the Muggle world to Surrey, which was a long way from the Burrow. Molly understood that they were going to be with their mutual friend, Harry Potter, in his time of need. Both Ron and Hermione were of legal age, but as a mother, she still worried. There was a war going on after all.

She pushed away her dark thoughts and smiled brightly as her husband, Arthur, walked into the kitchen. With all seven of their children (Percy had returned home the night of Dumbledore’s funeral and still hadn’t explained his return), Fleur Delacour, their oldest son’s fiancée, Hermione, and her parents all staying at the Burrow, the house was almost bursting at its magical seams. She and Arthur had very little time alone together, something that they had been used to since Ginny had gone off to school.

Molly giggled like a schoolgirl as Arthur looked around the empty kitchen and realized that they were alone. Smiling at her, he ambled over to the sink where she was standing. Leaning in, he kissed her passionately.

“That’s revolting!”

“No, it’s not! It’s romantic.”

“Well, now we know why there are seven of us.”

Molly and Arthur pulled apart to see three of their children standing in the doorway, all with different expressions on their faces. Ron looked disgusted. Ginny looked dreamy. Bill was grinning.

“That’s not why they had seven of us. Mum wanted a girl and she finally got one.”

“Please, Ginny. You’re the first Weasley girl born in three generations. Don’t delude yourself,” Bill scoffed at his youngest sibling.

“Bill!” Molly chastised. Arthur was trying not to laugh.

“I’m not deluding myself, Mum told me. Didn’t you, Mum...” Ginny stopped short at the sight of her parents leaning into each other shaking silently with laughter.

“Well…fine!” she huffed, sending Ron and Bill into peals of laughter. Plunking herself down at the kitchen table, she glared at her mother as she was served her eggs. “Thanks a lot, Mum. Deluding your only daughter for sixteen years. And all this time…it was just you and Dad.”

            “Ginny!” Molly exclaimed as her cheeks turned pink.

Ginny’s matter of fact attitude and their mother’s reaction set the boys off again. Arthur was trying hard not to chuckle.

“Good morning!” Arthur said brightly. Standing in the kitchen doorway were Hermione and her parents.

The Weasley children (joined by Percy, who had followed the Grangers into the kitchen) grinned at one another, causing Hermione to grin as well. The kids weren’t sure who was more fascinated by whom, the Weasleys or the Grangers. Their last meeting had been during the summer term of their children’s second year. After everyone had settled in the day before, the husbands had disappeared into the shed where the Granger’s car was, delighting Arthur, to catch up, while the wives sat in the kitchen having tea and discussing the differences between the Muggle and Magical worlds. Hermione had gone off to watch the Weasley children play a game of Quidditch.

“Are you two ready to go?” Molly asked Ron and Hermione. “The train’s at eight thirty.”

“Yes, Mum,” and “Yes, Mrs Weasley,” came the dutiful answers.

“Arthur’s going to walk with you to the station. Tonks and Remus will meet you at Paddington.”

“Yes, Mum, we know!” Ron rolled his eyes, causing Ginny to giggle, Bill and Percy to grin, and Hermione to shoot him a chastising look. Molly swiped him gently on the back of the head, as Arthur tried to hold back another smile.

“Now what are you getting a smack on the head for Ron?” asked Charlie as he stumbled into the kitchen. He had transferred from Romania back to England to be closer to his family. “Late night. The dragons are getting restless. They know something’s going on. Thanks Mum.” He smiled at his mother as she placed a cup of tea in front of him.

“Mum’s lecturing again,” Ron informed Charlie, who rolled his eyes.

“And you should always listen to your mother, Ron,” Fred said as he entered the kitchen, followed closely by George.

“I know that, George!” Ron snapped, purposely calling Fred the wrong name. Fred made a face at him, while George laughed.

“Can Muggles see dragons?” Molly heard Mr Granger ask Charlie as she set food down in front of them.

“Yep. After this is all over, I’ll take you to see them.”

Mr Granger looked delighted. His wife and daughter exchanged amused glances. Hermione’s father was as fascinated with the wizarding world as Arthur was with the Muggle one.

“This kitchen is far too small for all of us. The only person missing is…“ Ginny’s statement trailed off as Fleur floated into the kitchen. Molly shot her a look, knowing what her daughter was about to say. Ginny blushed.

“Bonjour!” Fleur cried happily, gracefully taking a seat next to Bill. Pecking him on the lips, she then fussed with his bandages. Bill, while not completely recovered from Greyback’s attack, was doing much better.

Ginny tried her hardest not to roll her eyes. Fleur had redeemed herself last week. Leaning in close to Hermione so her mother would not overhear, she muttered, “How does she manage to look perfectly turned out at seven thirty in the morning? And how does she float along like that? And why is she so bloody happy all the time?”

At the last question, Hermione choked on her tea. Bill, who had overheard, chuckled.

Ginny tossed her brother an innocent look. Looking around to locate Molly (who was now at the sink), she leaned in close to him and whispered, “The ‘English lessons’ must be going very well.”

“Ginny!” It was Bill’s turn to choke on his tea and turn bright red blushing, matching his hair.

Fleur smiled at her. “Yes, they are.”

Ginny let out a shout of laughter. Molly sent her an odd look. Fleur, who had loosened up in the past few days, let out a laugh.

“Exactly what have you and Mr Potter been doing together up at Hogwarts?” Bill loudly demanded of Ginny.

“Bill!” Molly yelped in shock, dropping an egg.

“Enough.” Ginny said defiantly.

“Ginny!” Arthur chastised.

 Bill groaned. “I didn’t want to hear that.”

“Then you shouldn’t have asked. Sorry Dad.” Ginny shot Bill a defiant look, then smiled at her father. Fleur nodded her agreement. Molly sighed at her children’s behaviour as she Vanished the egg mess.

“Ron, aren’t you suppose to be keeping an eye on her at school?” Bill asked Ron, who was in conversation with Hermione’s parents.

“What?! I can’t watch her 24 hours a day! Besides, that’s Harry’s job now.” Bill made a face while Fleur giggled. Molly noted Hermione, an only child, watching the sibling interaction in fascination as she set food in front of her. “Besides, Harry wouldn’t do anything bad. Forget You-Know-Who, he knows I’d kill ‘im.” Ginny looked murderous.

“Ronald! That’s not funny!” Molly turned around, upset. She thought of Harry as one of her own, for all for all intents and purposes. Arthur was frowning.

“Sorry, Mum.” Ron muttered. They all knew he had to get out of there before Ginny exploded. “Look, we’d better get going, Dad, Hermione. It’s a good hike to the village. Owl when you get the new headquarters set up. I know Harry’s been dying to get away from Privet Drive as soon as possible.” Ron winced at his choice of words. So did the rest of the kitchen.

 

            Mrs Weasley’s “Be safe” echoed in the heads of Ron, Hermione, and Mr Weasley as they trekked off towards the village of Ottery St Catchpole.

            Arthur shook his head as he overheard Ron muttering to himself, “Finally 17 and I can’t even Apparate to the ruddy village.” Ron still hadn’t a chance to retake his Apparition test. “Half a bloody eyebrow!”

“Ronald, you know why we can’t Apparate.” Hermione’s no nonsense voice pacified Ron’s mutterings. “When you take your test and pass, you can Apparate to your little heart’s content, okay?”

            Arthur smiled to himself. Ron let only Hermione (and he and Molly) get away with calling him ‘Ronald’ without some kind of consequence. Someday those two will admit their feelings for one another,” he thought to himself.

            At the train station, they used the automatic ticket machine. Arthur was pleased that he got the Muggle money correct for the train tickets on the first try. 

Handing Ron the remaining wad of Muggle money, Arthur said, quite seriously, “Take that for lunch. I want both of you to be on your toes. Be careful! Tonks is going to contact us when she and Remus leave you in London. Send Hedwig when you get to Harry’s. I’ll see you once we have a new headquarters set up. Behave for Harry’s aunt and uncle.”

“Bye, Dad!”

“Goodbye, Mr Weasley.”

“Goodbye.” Arthur nodded at them both one last time.  He pivoted about face and set off for the trek home.

Ron watched his father walk away. He and Hermione glanced at one another as they waited for the train. What to do now? Ron was suddenly uncomfortable. He had finally realized his true feelings for Hermione and that she had feelings for him.

            “So,” Hermione began brightly, trying to fill the awkward silence. “I can’t wait to see Harry again!”

            Ron nodded his agreement. With closed his eyes, he chanted to himself, She’s Hermione, one of your best friends. Don’t ruin it,” repeatedly. He was startled when Hermione took him by the arm. The train was ready for boarding.

            Finding an empty carriage, Hermione charmed the doors so it looked as if it was out of order. Before tossing their rucksacks into the overhead storage, Ron removed his wizard’s chessboard. “Fancy a game?” he asked Hermione.

“Why? So I can lose spectacularly to you again?! Well, why not. One of my goals before we leave Hogwarts is to finally beat you in a game of wizard’s chess.”

“It’ll never happen.” Ron grinned at her.

Hermione made a face at him. “Fine. Show me how you do it.”

Ron stared at her for a second, wondering whether she meant... No, she couldn’t have. But Hermione was looking at him, almost quizzically. Blinking, he quickly set up the chessboard without looking at her.

“Ready?” he asked, finally glancing up. As he did, he saw that Hermione was blushing, presumably having realized the double meaning of her words. In response, his own cheeks suddenly felt hot. Ron cleared his voice and said, “Erm – right, well, let’s start with opening moves, shall we?”

“It’s going to be a long trip to Surrey!” he thought.

Hermione didn’t know how they made it to London without speaking directly to one another. Even after Ron had explained the strategies, she still managed to lose to him, twice. Putting away his chessboard, Ron decided to take a nap. Hermione cracked open a book on defence that Tonks had given her.

            He woke as the train began to slow, and then stopped. “We should be at Paddington soon,” Hermione informed him.

            Ron swung his legs out and sat up. “Why’d you let me sleep that long? We could have talked…or something.” The train began to move again.         “Sleep when you can, Ron. It’s going to be a very busy year.”

 Hermione stood up to take down their rucksacks when the train suddenly jerked violently, then came to a shuttering stop. She lost her footing and toppled over into Ron’s lap. “I’m so sorry!” she wailed, trying to extricate herself from his long legs.            

            “Quiet,” he hushed her, pulling her tighter, while removing his wand from his pocket. She silently removed hers as well.

            “Sorry about that, ladies and gentlemen!” came the conductor’s voice over the PA system. “We got the green light to proceed into Paddington, but then we got a red.”

Hermione let out the breath she was holding. “I thought it was some damned Death Eaters or something,” Ron told her as she realized that she was in his lap.

            Hermione looked up at Ron’s face and froze. Ron was staring at her, an almost puzzled look on his face.

            “I’m sorry,” was all he said before he captured her lips. Shifting her even closer, he pressed his lips firmer against hers. She knew he was seeking both permission and acceptance.

            Hermione was in shock. Ron was actually kissing her! Kiss him back, you idiot!” A voice screamed in her head.

            Hermione opened her mouth to him. Taking this as permission, he kissed her deeper.

            Hermione finally broke the kiss. “What was that?” she whispered.

            “A kiss,” he responded matter of factly. “Didn’t you like it?”

            “I did. It’s just…that…well…you’re Ron…my friend. Since first year.”

            “I know…you’re Hermione. But…I just…don’t… understand it either. We’ll have to sort this out later though. Right now Harry needs us.” Ron smiled as she felt a pain of disappointment.  “But don’t think I won’t be trying to catch you alone for a snog when Harry’s busy elsewhere.” She smiled.

            He quickly pecked her on the lips then set her onto her own feet. The train was making its final approach into Paddington. Uncharming the doors, Hermione went to exit, but Ron caught her arm.

Leaning in he whispered, “If school reopens, I hope I get Head Boy. That way, I’ll have my own room. We can do lots of things in my room.” With that, he grinned at her and moved out of the compartment. Hermione grinned at his back and followed him.

 

 

            “Where the bloody hell are they? I can’t see anything with this crowd,” Nymphadora Tonks swore, standing on tiptoe trying to see over the mass of people shuffling along the platforms. Slouching on a nearby wall, Remus Lupin chuckled at her annoyance.

            “Relax, Dora. The train’s unloading now.” He grinned at the strange look Tonks shot him. “What? It’s better than Nymphadora, which you hate. After all that’s happened between us in the last couple of days, I’ve decided I’m not calling you by your surname anymore.” He laughed at her sly grin and the flirtatious look she sent him.

Suddenly uncomfortable (Tonks meanwhile was the picture of innocence), Lupin straightened up and cleared his throat. “There! You can see Ron’s red head from all the way back here. Good God, has he grown again in just two days?”

            “Dora…” she muttered, trying the pet name out, causing him to chuckle again. “Only ‘cause it’s you. And only you.”

He planted a quick kiss on her curly blue head. “Thank you, my Dora.”

She returned his kiss, but on the lips. “What were my parents thinking when they named me?” she asked him rhetorically. “I’m giving our kids totally boring names!”

            “So, you’re planning kids already?”

She caught him in a hug, resting her head on his chest, and mumbled affirmatively, “We’re having three.”

He tilted her head up to look into her dark sparkling eyes. “Three, Dora?” he asked.

            “Three, Remus. A nice number, not too many, not too few.”

            Suddenly jumping up to catch Ron and Hermione’s attention, Tonks missed the pleased grin that broke out on Lupin’s face. He quickly caught her from behind as she nearly tripped over her own feet. He took hold of her hand, lacing his fingers through hers, holding her steady.

“Ron, Hermione! Over here!” She smiled as the two caught sight of her. They grinned back.

            “Well, Tonks. Your hair. It’s certainly…blue. And curly.” Ron snickered.

            Making a face, she said, “Blue was Remus’s idea.”

            “I like it. It’s you again, you’re back. Colourful hair is all Tonks.” Hermione said. “What colour is it naturally? Not that brown is it?”

            “No, that’s my depression brown.” Tonks smirked at the quite growl of complaint from Lupin. “It’s blonde, but you’ll never see it. I look just like that Malfoy boy and his mother when I’m not morphed. Except mine’s a honey colour, not that pale white blonde that my other…dearest family members have.”

            Ron and Hermione both made a face at the mention of the Malfoys. “I’d forgotten that you were related to them,” Ron told her.

            “Lucky you.” Tonks muttered. “I can’t.”

            “Dora! She is family,” Lupin chastised. He was smiling though.

            Tonks grinned back at him. He let out a bark of laughter, and suddenly Ron and Hermione could see the side of the good professor that they had never witnessed before, only heard about in stories.

            “Dora?” Ron asked.

            “You call me Dora and I’ll make sure you never have kids. And you know I can do it,” she threatened him, but in a very pleasant voice. Hermione and Lupin laughed.

            “Sorry, Tonks,” Ron muttered. “Look, Dad gave me a wad of Muggle money and our next train’s not for three hours, so let’s get some lunch. I’m starving.”

            Heading out of Paddington, they made for a small pub just down the road. Ron looked around, fascinated. No doubt he rarely got to see the Muggle world, so he trailed behind, drinking it all in.

Letting go of Tonks’ hand, Lupin allowed the girls to pull ahead, so they could gossip. Drawing alongside Ron, he asked, “So, how’s the summer going so far?”

“I kissed Hermione on the train.” He turned red as his hair. “Why did I tell you that?”

“Really,” Lupin said nonchalantly. “And what does Hermione have to say about it?”

“She kissed me back. But I told her that we’ll have to sort us out later. Harry needs us now. She looked disappointed, but understood. “

“Well, that’s a good sign.”

“Yeah, you would know. You let poor Tonks moon…er, sorry about that…around for a year before you came to your senses.”

“None of you are ever going to let me forget, are you?” he sighed.

“Nope.” Ron grinned at him. Lupin shook his head, but he couldn’t help but smile back.

“Very nice, Ron. Give him hell. I might not hex you after all.” Tonks had overheard Ron’s last statement. Hermione laughed. Lupin sent her a wounded look, so she pecked him on the nose. “We’re here.” She gestured towards a door.

After lunch, the foursome headed back towards Paddington. Loading onto the Underground, they made an uneventful trip to King’s Cross. Ron and Hermione’s train was in an hour.

 

 

Standing on Platform 9 (Ron pointed this out, amused) waiting for the train, Tonks said to them, “Should I go all motherly or Auror-ly on you and tell you to be careful and be on your guard? It’s not a long trip to Harry’s. You’ll find something to do to pass the time. I’ll contact Molly when we get back to the flat.”

Ron and Hermione both swore later that there was a more than usual twinkle to Tonks’ dark eyes while she said it and that Lupin was trying very hard to suppress a grin.

Waving goodbye, Ron and Hermione boarded the train to Surrey. Finding another empty carriage, Hermione performed the same charm on the doors as the first, ensuring they would be left alone.

Turning her around, Ron caught her lips again. Grinning, she kissed him back. Ron managed to sit down and they snogged for quite a bit before Hermione came up for air.

“We’ll be there soon and we have to talk.”

“What do you think Harry’s going to say to us?”

“More than likely…job well done.” Hermione smiled at Ron’s grin. “Do you want to tell him straight off?”

“Dunno. We’re going to have to act normal around him…not sure. You’re the smart one, what do you think?”

Hermione’s cheeks turned pink at Ron’s backhanded compliment. “I think we should, but we’ll have to set some ground rules before we get to him. While he was going out with Ginny, Harry was very good about not snogging her in front of you or anything like that. We’ll have to return the favour. He’s all for us, but if he saw the two of us kiss, he’d be uncomfortable. Third wheel and all that.”

“True.”

“We can’t let us interfere with anything that Harry needs.”

“Of course.”

“It can’t interrupt study time. We have NEWT’s this year.”

“That’s if they reopen the school. If they do, I’ll never see you!” Ron sighed.

“I’ll schedule some Ron time in around studying, okay?”

“Okay, I can handle that. I really want Head Boy now!” Hermione laughed at the passionate look on his face.

Pulling into Little Whinging a bit later, Hermione managed to get directions to Privet Drive from the station guard. Hoisting their rucksacks up, they set off, holding hands.

As they came up on number eight, Privet Drive, they heard a shout of joy. Grinning at each other, they watched as Harry Potter threw open number four’s door. They then heard the bellow of outrage emitted from the house a split second later.

            “Harry’s uncle,” Ron muttered to Hermione, who giggled.

“Ron! Hermione! You’re here! You’re actually here!” Harry skidded to a stop in front of them outside number six, grinning broadly. He drank in the sight of them. He then noticed they were holding hands.

“No way!” he shouted, pointing at them.

TBC

 

//
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