The Sugar Quill
Author: Mr Flying Fingers (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: School Day  Chapter: Prolog
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School Day

Acknowlegments: Thanks go to moonette, story645, and ivy who each provided valuable insight and excellent pre-beta comments for this story in all of its various manifestations; andy33 for Brit-picking the story; Deenas at CM provided proofing help, and, of course, a big thanks to my SQ beta, Gufa!

 

~

 

Ron Weasley closed the musty, worn, leather covers of Milbourne’s History of Moderne Magics: An Edition Produced in Pictures for Wee Bairns, shutting in the enchanted, moving pictures. He squeezed his aching eyes shut and rubbed his slightly throbbing temple. These frequent irritations meant eyeglasses would soon be in order now that middle age was advancing on him—years burbling by like a quicksilver stream. He would be thirty-two, no, thirty-three this year.

 

He looked at his two small children, nearly seven-years-old and sitting on the circular, woven rug patterned with stars and moons. They both sported auburn hair and lots of freckles against fair skin; they had similar features, but were not identical. The girl, Anne, looked a bit more like her father, especially her longish nose and blue eyes, peeking out from under a mop of bangs. The boy, Edward, had more of his mother’s influence, especially the cheeks and the thick head of curly hair. At the moment, both were staring up at Ron with wide eyes betraying their wonder as much as their fidgeting revealed their excitement.

 

The worn chair let out a floomp as he sat against the soft, leatherback and peered down at the two seven-year-olds in front of him. His twins.

 

The three had just finished a short history lesson in the Weasley Warren’s cosy library and Ron was ready for a mug of tea, a biscuit, and rest.  “Well, that should be enough for today, it’s time for—”

 

“You mean Uncle Harry REALLY was ‘The Boy Who Lived’?” Anne squealed. Sitting on the floor, her ponytail bounced as she clapped her hands in excitement. “Mum says that Uncle Harry is a real, living hero. Is that true?”

 

“Well, yeah, it’s true. Is your Mum ever wrong?” Ron was anxious to start a kettle of tea and let the kids play. “Uncle Harry really is the Harry Potter. Now—”

 

“Wow! I’ll bet Uncle Harry is a really powerful wizard!” gushed Eddie. “Were you there to see him beat the Hungarian Horntail in the Tri-Wizard tournament?”

 

“Is there anybody in history more powerful than Uncle Harry? I’ll bet not. He beat Voldemort! He saved us all!”

 

“Well, your mum and I helped him a little.”

 

Annie asked, “Daddy, what did you and Mum do?”

 

“Well,” said Ron, trying hard to keep his voice from sounding too bored, or too unkind. “Your Mum is the thinker, so she did all of the research, y’know, read books and stuff.”

 

“Like she does now!” said Eddie.

 

“Yeah, Eddie. Just like now. Uncle Harry had to find a lot of clues to solve a bunch of riddles, and since Mum is the cleverest witch we knew, she ended up finding a lot of the answers. She’s very good with charms and hexes, too. To tell the truth, she’s saved Uncle Harry and me a lots of times when we got hurt.” He reached up to his cheek and rubbed a bit of skin that was smooth and darker than the rest of his cheek, a reminder of a desperate night years ago where a green bolt grazed him. Bleeding and his head throbbing, Ron was barely aware of Hermione’s stumbling healing spells in a cold, driving rain. He seemed to remember her crying and Harry standing somewhere to the side, keeping watch. Ron was fond of the scar, a testament to his wife’s abilities as a witch, her love for him, and his role as Harry Potter’s friend. Ron felt a nice, warm feeling inside, a mixture of eight years of care, gratitude, and passion for his wife that drowned out the slight frustrations.

 

“Wow!” said Eddie.

 

“What about you?” said Annie with a quizzical look. “How did you help Uncle Harry?”

 

“Me? Oh, er.” Ron rubbed his head and felt himself growing warm. “Well, yeah. I helped. My job was to protect him from curses, hexes and jinxes.” He winked. “Y’know, like a bodyguard.” He knew he had been a big part of Harry’s success in finding the Horcruxes and defeating Voldemort, but it was just a little embarrassing that the biggest contribution had been an accidental trip over an oak tree root that sent Harry flying out of the way of a then-undetected green bolt, maybe an Avada Kedavra.

 

“Is that how you got your scar?” Annie pointed to the dark slash of flesh that her father was rubbing.

 

“Annie,” said Ron, “it’s not nice to point, pumpkin. But, yes.”

 

“Sorry, Daddy.”

 

“When I get to Hogwarts,” said Eddie, ploughing on, “I want to take Defence Against the Dark Arts from Uncle Harry!”

 

“Well, tuh, Edward.” Annie shook her head. “You can’t take it from Uncle Harry. He’s not the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.”

 

“He should be,” said Eddie.

 

“Well, he’s not. He works with Daddy, in the same office. Isn’t that right, Daddy?”

 

“Uncle Harry and I do share an office,” said Ron. “But, you two have another four years before you’re to go to Hogwarts, so who knows, anything could happen.”

 

Eddie promptly stuck his tongue out at his sister. “See?”

 

She pushed him. “Daddy!”

 

“Eddie, no sticking your tongue out at people—”

 

“But she pushed me,” Eddie whinged.

 

“—and no shoving, Annie!”

 

Both settled down a little and Ron decided to let Eddie’s continued frown slide—at least he wasn’t hitting her. His son was going to have to learn how to treat his sister nicely and it was bewildering how the kids were as frustrating as they were heart-warming.

 

“Tell us again about you and Uncle Harry playing Quidditch!” She peered at her father. “I want to hear about Uncle Harry at Quidditch. Tell us how he won the House Cup for Gryffindor!” Annie was the one who always wanted to go to Chudley matches, read Martin Miggs comic books, and laze around the sky on a broom with her father.

 

“Who cares?” Eddie was always the one who enjoyed reading longer books with his Mum, although he didn’t mind Quidditch, he just didn’t enjoy it as much as his sister did.

 

“I care!” she answered with a slap to her brother’s shoulder. “Quidditch is the bestest game ever!”

 

“Right you are, pumpkin[A1] . And yes, Uncle Harry and I won the House cup several times.” Ron smiled at his children sitting before him as he recalled the thrill and pride from the glory days of Gryffindor Quidditch. With a little of that pride filling him now, he said, “Uncle Harry was one of the best Seekers I ever knew. He could’ve played professionally if he wanted.”

 

“So does Uncle Harry have a famous wizard card?” Annie tilted her head.

 

“I’m sure he does.” Ron wondered when, or if, he and Hermione would be featured on a famous wizard card as well. They should be more than qualified, having been Harry’s partners in the Quest-to-Defeat-Voldemort.

 

“Then I want to find one,” she stated. “For my collection.”

 

“Well, you know,” said Ron, “don’t be disappointed if you don’t find him right off. It’s been over twenty years and I still haven’t found the one card I need to finish the whole set.”

 

“Which one?” she asked.

 

“Agrippa.”

 

Her face scrunched up in confusion. “How come?”

 

“Because Agrippa is very hard to find. It’s the rarest card in the whole set!”

 

“Well, I’m going to find an Uncle Harry Potter card,” Annie said with a defiant tilt of her chin.

 

“I know you’ll try, pumpkin,” said Ron with the desire to both gently encourage Annie and not get her hopes up. It would not do for her to be disappointed. “But what if you get an Agrippa instead?”

 

“Well.” She put her finger on her lips. “If I find one, I’ll give it to you, Daddy. And you can give me an Uncle Harry Potter card if you find one.”

 

“I know!” Eddie cried. “Let’s go visit Uncle Harry today!”

 

“Can we?” cried his twin. “Please?”

 

Ron stretched his lips into a grin. “Not right now, kids. I think we’ll have dinner first.”

 

“Awwwwww!” they chorused.

 

~


 [A1]I always thought that you needed to set apart the subject you are addressing by a comma.

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