The Sugar Quill
Author: Adele  Story: Ants Marching  Chapter: 1 - The Week Ends, the Week Begins
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Lights Down
Foreword: I’ve finally decided to try a chaptered story. Initially, I was very hesitant, as I’m awful at really following through with anything, but I have pushed past that. I thought, “What the heck? You only live once,” so, this once, I’m doing it. Many thanks to Dave Matthews, who has provided me with so much inspiration that I don’t think I’d have picked up this silly dignified hobby if it weren’t for him and his incredible music. Appropriately, I have named this piece after one of my favorites of his. See title.

Also, X’s and O’s to Hells for tweaking what needed to be tweaked, and to my dear beta Helen, my undying love for being so patient with me and my dumb mistakes / wordiness. Bless you!

 

With that aside, I thank you, reader, for sparing these minutes to read:

 

 
Ants Marching 

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Dave Matthews Band,

Chapter One: The Week Ends, the Week Begin

 

“Well, I’m off then.”

 

“Oh, all right, dear. Hermione, come give us a hug –”

 

“Take extra special care of yourself this year, study hard and play hard –”

 

“Send us those owls as often as you can, you know we look forward to them, but make sure their talons aren’t too sharp, I have scars –”

 

“Don’t eat too many sweets, floss twice a day and don’t neglect your molars –”

 

“Remember what we’ve always told you, you have a smart brain and a kind heart –”

 

“Thanks, I – I’ll have as good a year as I can.” Hermione’s eyes dropped to her hands so her father wouldn’t see the lie in her eyes, a skill he had cultivated thanks to his rascal of a brother. She couldn’t bear to admit to her parents that this year would be like no other she’d had at Hogwarts – or away from Hogwarts, rather – and she’d be anything but safe and protected. Guilt was fastening Hermione’s stomach into a tight knot for being dishonest with two of the people whom she should most care about, as well as the two whom she had most taken for granted in the past six years.

 

Making sure to maintain their regal posture, Charles and Anita Granger each took turns engulfing their daughter in a brief hug, so as to not distress Hermione’s groomed hair and pressed clothing.

 

And as Hermione threw her arms around her mother once more, she wondered how many more times she would have done this – hugged her parents – had she been a simple Muggle and had never heard of wizardry and witchcraft. The air grew thick, not with nostalgia, but with uncertainty, and Hermione instantly knew that her parents were just as unsure of how to address their daughter as she was of them. Anita licked her thumb and wiped away an imaginary smudge of dust off her daughter’s cheek and Charles played with the tip of his mustache.

 

A harking meow at Hermione’s feet interrupted the tense moment and called Hermione’s attention back to the need for punctuality. Appearing ungracious to Mr. and Mrs. Weasleys’ hospitality was the last thing she wanted. “I can’t stay much longer. The Weasleys are expecting me, and I don’t want them to worry.” The topic of the Weasleys, who obviously understood Hermione better than her own parents did, might have been a touchy subject, but Charles and Anita’s faces hardly flickered. Hermione’s heart sank a little.

 

Mr. Granger had ambled to the window, where he rested his hands on the pane. “When did you say they would be here?”

 

“Oh, they won’t be coming. I can Apparate now,” said Hermione. Crookshanks leapt into Hermione’s arms, purring serenely. At the sight of her parents’ thoroughly clueless stares, Hermione smiled despite herself. “I described it to you in a letter, remember? I passed the test to acquire my license.”

 

Comprehension dawned on Mrs. Granger’s face almost immediately as she exclaimed, “Right! Right. Can’t you just vanish into thin air and end up somewhere else? Like that?” She snapped her fingers on the last word for emphasis.

 

“Well, that’s mighty useful, isn’t it?” chimed Mr. Granger, obviously impressed by such an expedient mode of transportation. “Wouldn’t mind learning that sort of thing myself. Too bad I haven’t an ounce of magic in my blood.”

 

Hermione rocked a lazy Crookshanks, who was slung over her shoulder, back and forth, ignoring the tickle of his purring. “Yes, it’s quite simple, after some practice. But I really mustn’t stay much longer –”

 

Mrs. Granger flashed Hermione a proud yet dry smile. “You’re completely right, we’ve drawn this out rather long,” she agreed. “Have a good rest of the summer, and write to us whenever you can.” One last hug. Crookshanks squawked and wriggled out from between the two.

 

“We think about you all the time,” added Mr. Granger, waiting for Hermione to pull away from Mrs. Granger before shaking her hand. “Make us proud. Just don’t go get yourself turned into a toad or blown up, all right? Make good choices.”

 

Laughing meekly, Hermione squeezed his hand. If you only had an inkling of what I’ll be doing this year, she thought, evading her father’s evaluating gaze again. Crookshanks, looking violated, was waiting patiently by the trunk. Scooping her cat into her arms again and grasping the handle of the trunk, she gave her parents one last nod and turned around to face the kitchen sink.

 

A vivid image of the Burrow surfaced in her mind and, taking a deep breath, Hermione stepped forward and disappeared with a pop.

 

 

 

Crookshanks sprang from Hermione’s arms before she had even realised she had arrived on the Weasleys’ front doorstep. He bounded eagerly around the side of the house into, unquestionably, the backyard to hunt gnomes.

 

She knocked three times.

 

No response.

 

Then three more.

 

Nothing, except the muffled sound of thumping bass and clattering dishware.

 

She tried the doorknob, which of course only rattled but did not stir the door, so this time she pounded rather fervently with a heavy fist while she contemplated a Plan B –

 

The door flew open, leaving Hermione with her fist positioned awkwardly in mid-knock, facing a stern-looking Mr. Weasley.

 

“How many O.W.L.s did Ron receive last year?” he demanded with a critical gaze.

 

A light blush warmed Hermione cheeks as she answered simply, “Seven, like Harry. He failed… History of Magic and Divination.”

 

“Very good. Now your turn. Just to be safe,” said Mr. Weasley, his firm expression lifting.

 

“Let’s see… oh! What are my parents’ professions?” Since her parents were on her mind anyway.

 

“Destints, aren’t they? Who fix teeth?”

 

“Dentists, yes,” Hermione chuckled, passing through the doorway as Mr. Weasley showed her in. “Oh, it smells lovely in here.”

 

“Yes, Molly’s making lunch. So, welcome back. I’m very glad you made it safe and sound. You Apparated, didn’t you?”

 

Levitating her trunk behind her, Hermione followed Mr. Weasley into the kitchen, where Mrs. Weasley was engaged at the counter, stirring a steaming cauldron as vegetables hovered over the cutting board at the ready. Charlie and Fred were singing loudly (and horribly off-tune) to the Wireless while rummaging through cupboards for plates and silverware. George was deep in conversation at the fireplace with a head, which Hermione couldn’t see nor hear through all the noise. No one else had spared her a glance yet.

 

“Harry and Ron have only just got here. They’re unpacking upstairs. Here –” Hermione’s trunk went flying up the stairs at the command of Mr. Weasley’s wand, thumping into the railing several times along the way. “Ginny set up a bed for you in her room. Make yourself at home. And, if I estimate correctly, we’ll be eating in ten minutes.”

 

Hermione followed in her trunk’s wake, grinning despite herself as Fred strained to hit an especially ghastly note. But before Hermione had reached the head of the stairs, Ginny had crashed into her – quite intentionally – and threw her arms around her.

 

“It’s about time you showed up! The house is an absolute mess, now that the boys are here. If today is bad, I can’t imagine how hectic the day of the wedding will be.”

 

“So I’ve noticed. It took a few minutes before anyone noticed me,” said Hermione with a smirk. “Is Fleur here?”

 

“Thankfully, non,” Ginny muttered, bumping her bedroom door open with her hip. “She and Bill are in France for the next week, until the wedding. Then, they’ll be arriving back here with the entire Delacour clan.” Ginny’s eyebrows rose at the last few words, her voice slightly mocking. “I’m happy for them, sure, but ever since … Bill’s accident,” Ginny faltered as the colour drained from her cheeks at the memory, “Fleur’s been so melodramatic and just plain sappy around him. Mum, too.”

 

“Has he recovered?”

 

“Completely. Though the cellar is full of raw meat, and Mum keeps having to run down to re-cast Cooling Charms to keep it fresh. It’s really disgusting.”

 

Casting a quick glance sideways at Ron’s closed bedroom door, Hermione heaved her waiting trunk into Ginny’s room. Furniture had been rearranged since last summer and a fair number of handmade pillows had been added to the vibrant collection on Ginny’s bed.

 

“I mean, planning for the wedding is exciting, but running through the details every day seems overkill, you know? Anyway, it’s been an uneventful summer so far, really. With just Charlie around, and sometimes Fred and George when they’re not working, I’ve kept myself busy with flying and these, mostly,” Ginny explained, picking up an unfinished pillow from her bedside table and fondly tracing with her fingers an embroidered depiction of half the Burrow. She held it up to display to Hermione. “I’ve forgotten Fred and George’s bedroom window though. I think I’ll just have Mum charm it on when I’m done.”

 

In the hallway, Ron’s door slammed and two pairs of feet trod loudly past Ginny’s bedroom. She sighed wistfully and plunged backward onto the pile of pillows.

 

“Have you talked to him yet?” said Hermione, nudging her trunk against the wall with the tip of her shoe.

 

Ginny’s eyes remained downcast. “Haven’t even seen him yet,” she muttered. “I don’t think I want to. I won’t know whether to jump him or smack him,” she added with a resentful laugh.

 

Allowing a brooding pause, Hermione sat at the foot of Ginny’s bed and folded her hands on her lap. Finally, she reached her hand over the pillows and rested it on Ginny’s forearm. “You know, he only wants what’s best for you.”

 

“Well maybe it’s not what’s best for me! Or for him, for that matter,” Ginny snapped. Her eyes migrated to the window, which, from their level, framed only flawless blue sky and a thin line of landscape.

 

“He doesn’t want you hurt, Ginny. A public relationship with him could put your life at stake. What if you were taken captive? As bait! He’s not alone in wanting to keep you safe.” Hermione clasped her hand over Ginny’s, straining to catch her eye. Unfortunately, any protest against Ginny, who was stubborn by nature, was virtually a lost cause.

 

“I’m not a toddler, Hermione!” said Ginny feverishly, sitting up to face her friend. “You all assume I’m still some silly first year too stupid to fend for myself and – and –” She hiccupped and blinked back rising tears. “Anyone could have been tricked by Tom Riddle, Hermione, if they had been in my place! I’m not that girl anymore – I never really was – that was just a mistake and I’m not a damsel in distress!” Panting heavily, Ginny fell into Hermione’s arms. Hermione ignored the fresh smudge of snot on her shirt and rubbed her friend’s back consolingly.

 

“We don’t think that way of you, Ginny,” said Hermione in a near whisper. “We just want what’s best for you. We’re scared for everyone, honestly, especially Harry.” Ginny’s hold on Hermione tightened at his name. “It would just be really hard on him if something were to happen to you. And on your family. And me.”

 

Ginny didn’t respond but she emitted several long, ragged sighs.

 

Pressing her lips together, Hermione tried to picture Ron’s fallen face when he’d overheard that his little sister had disappeared into the Chamber of Secrets. And Harry’s… and his resolution to retrieve her… Hermione had been there when Malfoy Sr. had duped Ginny into taking the book. Of course, anybody could have fallen fool to that deception. In hindsight, would Hermione have done so? Maybe not, but her view was now skewed by knowledge of the Dark magic Voldemort had employed to create his trap – that what Ginny had regarded as a confidant, a strange, obsessive, abusive one, was part of the glue that was holding Voldemort together. So perhaps, considering the density of the idea, Ginny had not been a fool at all, but fashioned into a hapless victim. And it took a lot of inner strength to come so far from where she fallen as a first year.

 

Children! Come and eat!” called Mrs. Weasley. A shaken Ginny stood and offered her hand to help Hermione up as well. “I wish she’d stop calling us children. I guess years of shouting it have made it a habit.” She pulled her hair up into a hasty knot with a hair-band left around her wrist. “And thanks for … that. I haven’t cried about him in years,” she admitted as Hermione opened the door for her.

 

“Race you there,” Ginny added, shrieking as Hermione unexpectedly darted past her. Ginny followed close behind.

 

 

 

The kitchen was now empty, as the girls sprinted past the now-spotless counter and to the back door, from which they could hear laughter. Sure enough, everyone had already taken their seats and were waiting for the two girls (with the exception of Ron, who had already begun ladling generous helpings of soup into his bowl and had earned a few cross remarks from his mother). Hermione and Ginny sat in adjacent chairs, sandwiched in between Mr. Weasley and Fred. Across from Ginny sat Ron, who offered Hermione a modest smile.

 

“I’m terribly sorry about the late meal. You must be famished, dear,” said Mrs. Weasley, and soon Hermione’s bowl was brimming with vegetable soup. Hermione politely expressed her thanks and glanced sideways at Ginny, who was swatting off Fred’s prodding finger. Across the table George was discussing with Harry the Ministry’s mass-purchase of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ latest top-secret invention: contact lenses which Confunded those who stared at one wearing them, initially inspired by both the lethal stare of the Gorgons and the Muggle alternative to eyeglasses. Ron had already dribbled broth down his front.

 

“Pass the rolls, please?” said Ginny. Harry looked up at her from his bowl and ogled her stupidly for a moment before she repeated her request. In her head, Hermione praised Ginny’s ability to remain cool and collected – most of the time. Ignoring Harry’s blanching face, Ginny accepted the basket and passed it on to Hermione while shooting her a mildly triumphant look, which read, His mind is bound to change.

 

“Dad, watch the butter,” chided Charlie.

 

Mr. Weasley, who had indeed coated his bread with a generous helping, waved off his son’s comment. “Never you mind, Charlie,” he responded and took a bite of cholesterol.

 

“Arthur, do be careful,” chimed in Mrs. Weasley, who was just taking a seat herself. “Not all heart complications are easily treated – even by the best potions there are out there.”

 

Shaking his head and laughing dismissively, Arthur argued that life was too brief not to pamper oneself. “And anyway, there are much more important issues at hand than Arthur Weasley’s nutrition intake. The Board of Governors met yesterday to discuss the future of Hogwarts.” Several pairs of eyes rose from their food to stare expectantly at Mr. Weasley.

 

“What’s the verdict?” Ginny asked.

 

Mr. Weasley shook his head. “Haven’t a clue yet. It’s not open to the public at all, not even other Ministry employees. Scrimgeour, I believe, is the only one with access to the transcript of the meeting. I believe they’re convening again on Monday.”

 

“How horrible, if Hogwarts closed,” Hermione murmured. “I hope they’re being mindful of all the students and staff –”

 

“You mean, the ones that are even willing to return,” interjected Ron, raising an upturned palm and shrugging his shoulders. “After the attack, I can’t imagine many parents are eager to even let their kids outside.”

 

“And now that Dumbledore’s gone –” Hermione stopped mid-sentence, for the sake of those at the table whose emotions were still raw (including herself). Harry’s eyes were fixed on his lap.

 

Mrs. Weasley came to the rescue. “As long as Hogwarts remains open, there will be Weasleys there,” she assured everyone, though she directed a questioning look toward her husband. Harry, Hermione, and Ron glanced at one another with wide eyes. When should we break the news – or shouldn’t we? The exchange went unnoticed by the rest of the Weasleys, with the exception of Ginny, who gently bumped Hermione’s foot with her own.

 

Talk turned to lighter topics, such as Ginny’s O.W.L. marks and Harry and Ron’s time spent in Surrey. They did not go into great detail, for, they assured the family, “the Dursleys acted rather dull and were quite terrified of them”. At one moment during the conversation, Harry looked pointedly at Hermione when telling of some “long discussions about nothing in particular” at a local café in Little Whinging. What he communicated she understood clearly; she gave a curt nod. They’d talk over their plans later.

 

Hermione offered to clear the table so that the boys could organise a game of backyard Quidditch and Mrs. Weasley, aided by a carping Ginny, could weed the garden. To Hermione’s surprise, Harry stuck around to help her.

 

“I’d forgotten you were arriving here today also. So, er… decent summer, so far?” Harry was horrible at small talk.

 

“Yeah, it’s been fine,” Hermione replied with a light smirk. “And I presume yours has been more enjoyable than past ones, with Ron as a guest.”

 

“Huge improvement,” Harry affirmed. “We basically terrorised my cousin Dudley – don’t worry, we didn’t use magic – well, not much – and talked. It was nice having someone to keep me company and distract me from… stuff.” He smiled, though grimly, and hoisted the large serving bowl completely drained of soup.

 

“So you discussed plans?” Hermione pressed on, eager for specifics on the vague (and coded) ideas Harry had mentioned in his letters.

 

“I thought we could talk through everything tomorrow.”

 

“This can’t be delayed, Harry. It isn’t a homework assignment; we can’t procrastinate –”

 

Harry held up a hand to interrupt her. “Trust me, Hermione, I understand that. But let me at least enjoy one normal day, all right? We don’t have very many of these left.”

 

Silenced by the striking truth of his rationalisation, Hermione nodded and abandoned the topic for the time being. The pair finished their job quietly and pensively.

 

Outside, the Quidditch game was in full swing; the boys had even coaxed Mr. Weasley up into the air, though he was constantly excusing his follies with “My, it’s been a while since I’ve flown!” Explaining that he was too tired to play, Harry settled under the shade of a large maple tree and gestured for Hermione to join him. “That’s not all we talked about, though.”

 

Hermione raised a questioning brow.

 

“Don’t you think you and Ron are overdue to talk things over?”

 

Immediately, Hermione’s stomach did a somersault and the temperature jumped several degrees. “Things? Whatsortofthings? Ican’tthinkofanythingto –”

 

“Take a deep breath, Hermione,” Harry laughed, patting her knee reassuringly. “You know what I’m getting at. It’s funny, Ron reacted the same way you did when I first brought up this subject –”

 

“What did Ron say?” Hermione demanded.

 

“You’ll have to ask him yourself.”

 

With a resentful huff, Hermione crossed her arms and scanned the sky, swarming with brooms, for Ron. He was hovering near a tall, dead tree whose trunk forked into only two bare branches, serving as a makeshift goal post. His expression was indiscernible from the ground, but Hermione rightly assumed he was absorbed in the game.

 

“I can’t bother myself with him now. There are more important matters at hand.”

 

“Ha! I don’t think you realise that, if things go according to plan, I am stuck with just the two of you for the next – well, God knows how long. I am not dealing with any more of the theatrics I put up with last year.” Seventy feet away, Ron roared some un-gentlemanlike words at Fred and George, who had charmed Ron’s shirt to fly off and envelop his head, allowing their team to score unfairly. Ginny was now up in the air as well and high-fiving her brothers (and teammates) for their tactic.

 

“Don’t worry, there won’t be another Lavender Brown around,” Hermione muttered, but Harry didn’t hear. His eyes were visibly glued on Ginny, now bickering with Ron over the fairness of Fred and George’s antics. Mr. Weasley wobbled over to the goal post tree and scolded them and shook a finger at Ginny, who then sped off, red-faced, to lap the yard and blow off steam.

 

“You’ve got something on your shirt.” Harry indicated a dark spot near Hermione’s shoulder – produced earlier by Ginny’s running nose. Cringing, Hermione murmured a quick scouring charm and rid her shirt of the stain and a few stray hairs. “Thanks, I completely forgot about that.”

 

“Anytime.”

 

Conversation quieted after that. Today seemed to be the wrong occasion to discuss many of the issues deemed urgent at this point – it could be put on hold, while the sky was still perfect and the lunch still warm in their bellies, until tomorrow. Hermione directed her gaze to a couple of quarrelling birds over the tree tops of the small patch of woods, but with her peripheral vision noted Harry’s intent gaze on one player in particular.

 

Hermione wondered whether she should apply the same directness he had used with her – it would serve him right if she did – but she decided, on balance, it would not be very tactful. He was obviously still smitten with Ginny. Ginny had been right – they had both drawn the short straw in this case.

 

 

As she had said to Hermione, Ginny was anything but stupid. Therefore, she knew perfectly well that Harry was gaping at her and had been ever since she had kicked off from the grass. Be cool… don’t get excited… Ginny felt the burning urge to do loop-the-loops across the yard, but she exercised admirable self-control and pretended she hadn’t an inkling she was being gawked at.

 

“Dad, STOP braking!” Ron shouted in frustration, as Mr. Weasley putted along unsurely on his broom. “As long as you hold on, you’re not going to fall off.”

 

“I’ve – I’ve just forgotten how afraid – my, we’re far up from the ground…”

 

“We’re down by one-sixty,” Ron snapped, circling his dad, who was eyeing the ground uneasily. “I say we shuffle players! The teams are uneven. I’m the only one on this team who even knows how to play!”

 

Ten feet away, Charlie crossed his arms in defence. “Hey, now!”

 

George rolled his broom with laughter. “Yeah right, little brother. We wouldn’t give up this arse-kicking team for the world. Besides, we’ve already made up a team name.”

 

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

 

The twins responded simultaneously: “Why, the Small Brother Smiters.”

 

Predictably, Ron hurled some choice words at Fred and George that made Hermione frown down below and Mr Weasley say, “Now, really, Ron, there’s no call for that kind of language –”

 

“Yeah well, I’m sick of being treated like – like – I’m grown up now, okay?” And so, gripping his broomstick tightly, Ron muttered a few more poor-sported comments under his breath and dived earthward, deliberately bumping Ginny’s shoulder en route. Despite Charlie’s protests, Ron’s feet met the ground and he stormed off into the house.

 

“Does this mean the game’s cancelled?” queried Mr. Weasley, still eyeballing the grass. “I have a slight headache.”

 

“Thanks to Ron’s unbelievable temper, I believe so, Dad,” snarled Ginny, glaring at her brother’s withdrawing form. “Well, I’m in need of a shower, so, see you all later.” Whipping her long hair out of her face, Ginny descended and landed not far from the maple tree under which Harry and Hermione were sitting. She spared only a brief glance at Harry and even dared to smile vaguely at him before dropping her broom and stalking off to the back door.

 

 

In truth, Ginny had just showered that morning. She only wanted an excuse to finally acknowledge Harry and perhaps lure him into chasing after her… She was allowed to fantasize, after all.

 

Her mother was at the kitchen table, perusing the Daily Prophet with a mug of sweet-smelling tea. She had already turned several pages while Ginny stood idly in the doorway, examining the mystery that was Molly Weasley, Super-Mum, before she detected her daughter’s presence.

 

“Oh! Ginny. Is the game over so soon?”

 

Ginny snorted disdainfully. “Basically. Leave it to Ron to ruin it for everyone.”

 

“Ah, so that’s who stormed up the stairs. I didn’t catch who it was, all I could discern was a blur of red hair.”

 

“Yeah, that hint alone doesn’t help much around here, does it?” Sitting down by her mother, Ginny scanned the headlines of the paper with little deliberation, so that hardly any of the words she saw were absorbed. Apparently, the Veela-like charm she had exercised with Harry had been exhausted, as, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the back door was still shut.

 

“Is it difficult?”

 

Ginny raised her eyes to her mother’s at the sudden inquiry. “What?”

 

“Seeing him. Is it hard on you?” Mrs. Weasley continued, her eyes boring into her daughter’s as if searching for a deeper emotion than the stern one her daughter had plastered on her face.

 

For a split second, Ginny’s face fell, but she quickly regained her composure. “Mum, I don’t know what –”

 

“Ginny, don’t be silly. I can see right through that front of yours. Now tell me the truth.”

 

Once again, Super-Mum implements her amazing power of omniscience. “Don’t be ridiculous, you know exactly what I’m feeling,” Ginny remarked tartly.

 

Mrs. Weasley pursed her lips at her daughter’s unpleasant tone. “Ginevra Weasley, don’t speak to me in that tone. I’m not the enemy here. Dear, I know you have other friends to talk to now, but why don’t you confide in me anymore, the way you used to?”

 

The last accusation was regrettably valid, but Ginny had reasoned in her head that, since her mum always seemed to know everything without Ginny ever having to tell her, what was the point of wasting her breath? It was a dangerous topic, and Ginny didn’t want to brew this pending spat any further, so she caved in to her mother’s assertion. “I don’t understand why he’s made this decision, especially when I can tell – well, I think I can – that he wants to be with me. That’s all.”

 

As if she were praying, Mrs. Weasley folded her hands under her chin and hummed thoughtfully. “I see what you’re saying. And you’re right, it isn’t fair that you two are forced to separate – but there are terrible people out there, like You-Know-Who, of course, who want to not only destroy Harry, but also the one thing that Harry has which he does not have – love. To Harry, you define love. Or, at least, one of the closest encounters he has had with such a feeling. All this growing evil,” Mrs. Weasley paused, turned to the front page of the Daily Prophet and indicated an article titled, ‘Muggle family of seven found dead – Death Eater activity suspected’, “wants to rid Harry of this advantage. And to lose you?” Mrs. Weasley took swift hold of Ginny’s sweaty hands. “I can’t bear to think of it.”

 

Blushing at her mum’s embarrassing motherly tendencies, Ginny was thankful when the back door swung open. Her hopes high, she spun in her seat – but it was her father, pale and still clutching his broom.

 

“I’ve finally dismounted,” he declared, taking a few unsteady steps to the kitchen table where Ginny offered him her seat. He accepted and put the broom down onto the tabletop. Mrs. Weasley consequently snatched it from the table and propped it against the counter, wrinkling her nose as if the bristles were swarming with fleas.

 

“Have fun, Dad?” Ginny asked, her eyes sparkling with amusement. She leaned both hands on his shoulders and peering over the top of his balding head so his face appeared upside-down.

 

“I can’t say I was that ready to stay aloft for so long,” he explained dizzily. “It’s been some time since I’ve been in the air. My fear of heights hasn’t relented, I’m afraid,” he added to his wife. “How Muggles manage to survive rides by the hour in those airy-planes, I can’t imagine… ”

 

Mrs. Weasley slid her cup and saucer into Mr. Weasley’s hands. “You finish this. I have some more gardening to tend to. Ginny, care to help me …?”

 

Racking her brain for a quick excuse, Ginny blurted the same one she had concocted earlier. “I came in meaning to take a shower. I’m awfully sticky.” The lie worked. Her mother raised her brows but gave her assent. Ginny sprinted up the stairs.

 

While I’m here, I might as well. I don’t have anything better to do. True to her word, Ginny retreated to the warmth of the shower, exchanging her memory of the heartbreaking present for that of better days, long and lazy springtime ones, spent by the lake.

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --