The Sugar Quill
Author: DeeDee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Finding Lily  Chapter: Chapter Two
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Part Two

            Hermione pushed her eggs around her plate on Monday morning, still thinking of the previous day’s discoveries, but also thinking of Ron’s unusual behavior in sending her two letters in one day.  Mr. Granger folded his newspaper, set it down, and took a sip of his orange juice.  Mrs. Granger was scurrying around the kitchen, trying to fasten a hair clip and eat a muffin simultaneously.  Hermione watched, smiling, as Mr. Granger stood up and came up behind his wife.  He took the hair clip and began to arrange her hair for her while she stood still and ate the last bits of her muffin.  When he had done, he turned her around and kissed her.             

            "Mmmm, blueberry," he murmured.

            "You did a good job on her hair, Dad," Hermione said, grabbing a muffin for herself.

            Mrs. Granger grinned.  "Maybe I should make him do my hair every morning."

            Hermione watched her parents and smiled.  She thought it was rather unfair that her parents should be in the same category as Harry’s aunt and uncle—Muggles.  Shouldn’t there be something in between?  Shouldn’t there be Muggles and then . . . something else for people who aren’t exactly "magical," but . . .?  Something for people who raised their daughter in an environment of love, respect, and trust; who allowed her, at the very young age of eleven, to attend a mysterious boarding school to cultivate powers they could never understand; who awkwardly walked through Diagon Alley with her and handed over their money to be changed by Goblins? 

            She had always loved the way her parents looked at each other, and now, for some unaccountable reason, she wanted to ask her father about Ron.  It might have been the way his mouth tipped self-deprecatingly as Mrs. Granger praised his work on her hair.       Her parents separated and took their briefcases from the table.  Mrs. Granger gave Hermione a peck on the cheek and swept out the door, but Mr. Granger lagged behind to take one more gulp of his juice.          

            Hermione brushed away her muffin crumbs and cleared her throat.  "Erm.  Dad?"

            "Yes?" he asked, turning to face her.

            "I want to ask your opinion on something," she said, feeling her face go scarlet.  "If a boy, erm, sends a girl candy and . . . you know, er, writes her letters that are kind of unnecessary . . ."  Should she tell him that the candy was Chocolate Frogs?  Did it matter?  Did boys send certain kinds of candy to girls they liked?

            Mr. Granger cocked his head to one side and studied his daughter.  "Well, you’ve done a lot for him, haven’t you?  I mean . . . you’ve been a good friend."

            "I suppose," Hermione said.  "But would a boy just send candy to a girl for no reason . . . do you think?"

            "No reason?" her father repeated.  "If any boy has reason to send you candy, it’s him."

            "You think so?  I mean . . . so it probably doesn’t mean that he . . . erm . . . likes me or anything?"

            "Possibly, but more than likely he just wants to thank you."

            "Oh."  This wasn’t quite the answer Hermione had been hoping for.

             "Henry?" came Mrs. Granger’s voice.  She was peeking back inside the door.

            "Be there right away," he called back. 

            "All right."  She disappeared again.

            Mr. Granger looked at this daughter, who looked a little downcast at his answer.  Perhaps she wanted him to say that the candy did mean something.  He coughed.  "Right.  Hermione."

            "Sir?"

            Mr. Granger paused and stared at the wallpaper above his daughter’s head.  "This Harry fellow.  Do you, erm.  That is . . . are you really interested in him?"

            Hermione gave him a bemused look.  "Harry?"

            "The chap you found all the pictures for yesterday?"

            She smiled, then laughed.  "Oh, Dad!  I don’t like Harry."

            "Oh."  He looked confused and reached for his juice again.  "So, er, you don’t really like anyone then, I guess?"

            "Well, I don’t like anyone exactly . . . I mean, there’s a boy who sent me Chocolate Fr – candy recently.  You met him once."

            Mrs. Granger’s voice interrupted them.  "Henry, dear?  We’re really going to be late," she called from the door.

            "No one’s in that much of a hurry to get a root canal," he called back.  "I’ll be there in a few minutes, I promise."

            Mrs. Granger disappeared again.

            "You better go," Hermione told him.

            "This is more important," he replied.  "To whom are you referring?  That Krum chap who sent you all that candy this morning?"  He no longer stammered, and his voice had gained a little more confidence. 

            "No, not Viktor," Hermione replied, glancing quickly at the boxes of candy on the table.  "He’s nice and everything, but . . . there’s someone else."  Hermione blushed to say his name.  "Ron Weasley."

            "Red-headed boy?"

            "Yes."

            "You say he’s been sending you candy?"

            "Yes."

            "As a dentist, I must say that I’m concerned about what these boys keep sending you," he grinned.  "And ‘unnecessary letters’?  What do you mean by that?"

            "Two letters in one day—one that said basically nothing."

            "Ah.  And does this Ron fellow know about Viktor?"

            Hermione rolled her eyes.  "Oh, yes.  He acted very jealous at school."

            Mr. Granger smiled broadly.  "Do you want me to suggest that Ron’s interested in you?" he asked slyly.

            Hermione picked up another muffin and turned it around in her hands.  "I want you to tell me what you really think," she replied.

            "Before I tell you that, I want you to write him a letter in reply."

            "Saying what?" asked Hermione, mystified.

           

Dear Ron,

I got your letter—and your letter about your letter.  You’ll be pleased to know that I found several more things for Harry, including a locket with his mum’s picture inside.  This letter will be kind of short because I’m so excited!  I’ve just received two boxes of Chocolate Frogs from Viktor!  He still wants me to come visit, but I haven’t quite decided yet.  Anyway, hope you’re having a good summer.  Tell Ginny I said hi.

Bye,

Hermione

R, This is a piece of parchment for Pig to carry—so he won’t get "jealous," as you say.  H.

**

            Hermione sent the two owls off and and went to her room to do some homework.  Several hours later, she was no longer able to resist her curiosity, and she went up to the attic.  She sat down on the floor beside the box of Lily’s things, determined to go through each book and paper.           

           

            The first book she pulled out was Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster.  Hermione flipped through the book, smiling at the funny illustrations inside.  Between two of the pages, she found a thin slip of yellow paper.  The childish handwriting read simply, "Rose, Mum says I can spend the nite.  Lily."     One book had a sticker inside that said, "This book belongs to ___."  Written on the blank in red ink was "LILY."  Another book had the words "Lily Evans" written in one corner.  Lily had even drawn a picture of a cat inside one of the books.

            As she turned one of the pages of Fairy Tales for Children, Hermione started at the sound of a little girl’s voice.  "Hi.  My name is Lily.  This is my book.  I hope you like it."  Just as suddenly, the voice was gone.  Hermione took a deep breath and closed the book, then opened it again and turned to the same spot.  Just as she flipped over the page, the voice returned: "Hi.  My name is Lily.  This is my book.  I hope you like it."

            Hermione tore a small piece of the box and marked the special page of the book.  Somehow—Hermione had no idea how such a little girl had managed it—Lily had recorded her voice onto that page of Fairy Tales for Children.  Was Lily aware of the fact that she was special, even when she was so young?  Harry had so many surprises awaiting him!

**

            "That’s extraordinary!" Mrs. Granger exclaimed at supper that night.  "To think, all this time I never opened that book.  I might have died of fright!  But I suppose I was used to Lily’s strange little ways."

            "What do you mean?" Hermione asked, passing the potatoes to her father.

            "Whenever we would play some make-believe games, Lily always acted like they were real . . . as if she really were speaking to a fairy.  She was odd, but she always made me laugh.  Mrs. Evans was just as queer, but all the neighborhood children loved her—except her other daughter."

            Errol and Pig, who flew in together through the high window that Hermione persuaded her parents to keep open, interrupted their supper.  They carried a package between them, and Pig looked especially exhausted.  Hermione leapt up to free them from the heavy package, then set it on the table.  She put some of her food on a plate and offered it to the grateful owls.

            Hermione’s parents, especially Mr. Granger, were looking at the package with interest.  Hermione herself couldn’t wait to rip into it, and she did so immediately.  At the top were three boxes of Chocolate Frogs.  Hermione bit her lower lip as she pulled out each box, glancing sidelong at her dad.

            Beneath those was a box of Sugar Quills, followed by another package wrapped in brown paper.  This was what had made the package so heavy, and Hermione tore away the paper.  Inside were three books.  Hermione picked up the first book, entitled Broomstick Over Bulgaria: A Travel Guide, and forced herself to hold in the "Awww!" that threatened quite strongly to escape her lips.  She set it down and picked up the second book, which made her snort with laughter.  Ron certainly had a sense of humor; the book was The Great Fraud: An Unauthorized Biography of Gilderoy Lockhart

            Hermione looked down to pick up the third book, but instead sank into her chair.  Bound in fine leather, with gold lettering, it was Hogwarts: A History – The Collector’s Edition.

            She swallowed hard and lifted the cover.  There was a piece of parchment inside, which read:

                       

Dear Hermione,

I’m glad you found all those things for Harry.  He sent me an owl this morning.  Dumbledore’s given him permission to leave Privet Drive, so right now we’re working on a way to get him here.  You could come too.  It would be more fun with all three of us there.  But you might have to cancel your trip to Bulgaria.  Mum apparently liked your idea of cleaning out the attic when I told her about what you’d found, so she decided that ours needed cleaning as well, and gave me the job of actually doing it.  I found these three books up there and thought you might like them.  As for the candy, Fred and George bought too much the other day, and Mum made them get rid of it.  I thought it would be easier to just send it to you.

Ron

            Hermione’s parents had been completely silent since the owls flew in, but Mr. Granger finally spoke.  "I’m ready to tell you what I think, Hermione.  The boy’s mad about you."

            "Boy?  What boy?" asked Mrs. Granger, looking from one to the other.  "Hermione?"

            "It’s Ron," said Hermione, blushing.  "Ron sent me all these things.  Found the books in his attic, and the candy—"

            She was interrupted by the arrival of yet another owl.  She’d never seen it before, and as soon as she removed the message it carried, it left.  Her mind—and eyes—still swimming from Ron’s package, she managed to open the note and read it aloud.

Miss Granger,

Ron would skin me alive if he knew I was telling you this, but I want you to know.  Just never let on that you do.  I accompanied Ron to Diagon Alley today to buy these things for you.  He’s made up some fool story about finding everything in our attic, but he actually sold his chessmen to get the money.  Don’t know if you’ve ever seen the chessmen, but they were pretty valuable.  I’m telling you this because I want you to realize that my little brother has a very high opinion of you—it’s not my place to say any more than that.  Being the excellent big brother that I am, I secretly went back to the shop and bought back Ron’s chessmen.  I am leaving them with Ginny, and you may return them to Ron in whatever way you see fit.

Take care,

Bill Weasley

            Hermione felt the tears stinging her eyes, but didn’t realize they were streaming down her face until her mother left the table and returned with a box of tissues.  "I feel so horrible," she cried.

            Her parents looked shocked.  "Why?" asked Mr. Granger.

            "I’m so horrible!  Writing that letter to Ron to make him jealous, and then he goes . . ."  She paused to blow her nose.  "He goes and sells his chessmen to buy me all these things!"

            Mrs. Granger embraced her daughter and said soothingly, "Sweetheart, you must understand that Ron enjoyed buying these things for you.  It made him happy.  No one made him do it.  Can’t you picture him visiting all those shops, thinking about the look on your face when you get his gifts?"

            Hermione sniffed.  "I feel so guilty."

            "Write him a thank-you note," said Mr. Granger, "and start thinking of creative ways to return his chessmen.  That’ll cheer you up in no time."

            "Yes!" Mrs. Granger agreed.  She thought for a moment and said, "Maybe . . . maybe your friends would like to come here at the end of summer?  They’ve never been here, and I know it’s not a magic house, but—"

            "Oh, Mum, are you serious?" Hermione exclaimed.  She threw her arms around her mother’s neck. 

            Mr. Granger didn’t seem to need time to warm to the idea.  "Certainly," he answered.  "And we’ll go pick up Harry.  His aunt and uncle can’t object to two ordinary dentists, can they?"

            Mrs. Granger laughed.  "I wonder if Petunia will recognize me?"

Dear Ron,

Thank you so very much for the candy and books.  If I ever go to Bulgaria, that travel guide will come in handy.  As for the biography, I’m sure that Lockhart would be pleased to know that yet another book has been written about him!  I have no words for the Collector’s Edition, so I won’t try to find any.  I hope for your sake that your attic wasn’t as dusty as mine!  Today I discovered that one of Harry’s mum’s books plays a short message from her when you turn one of the pages!   Anyway, I have an idea for you, and I hope you like it.  My mum and dad said that my friends could spend the end of summer here, and they would even go to pick up Harry.  It would be great if you and Ginny could come, so please let me know soon.

Hermione

                                                                   

//
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