The Sugar Quill
Author: Hallie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Spiritus Aduro  Chapter: Chapter One: Part I
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Part I


'Dear Charlie,

Hi, how are you? I hope you're fine because we (Harry, Hermione and me) need your help. Hagrid's got a dragon, and we need to get rid of it. He's called Norbert, and he's a Norwegian Ridgeback. Anyway, Hagrid is very attached to Norbert but Draco Malfoy (I've told you about him - the Slytherin who hates us) has seen Norbert. At least, we think he has. So, Norbert's got to go. The sooner the better in my opinion. Hagrid's getting all maternal - you should hear him 'Oh, bless him, he knows his mummy!' The man is insane! Charlie, I'm counting on you. HELP!!!


Charlie Weasley chuckled as he read the letter his youngest brother had sent him, and then he handed it to his friend and roommate, Ariadne Rutherford.

"Read that," he told her, smiling. "It's from Ron."

"Should be interesting then," Ria commented. "Are you sure? He might have wanted it to be private."

"If he wants help, Ria my sweet, he'll have to accept that other people will learn about it."

"Now I'm intrigued," Ria smiled; brushing her long black hair out of eyes, which were so dark blue they were almost black. She sat opposite him at the small table and poured herself a cup of tea. Propping the letter up against the sugar bowl, she buttered her toast as she read it.

"Well," she began, when she had finished reading, "some mothers do have 'em. So, Charlie... do all your brothers have an affinity with dragons?"

"No, your holiness, just me," Charlie grinned at her, his hazel eyes sparkling mischievously.

"So, what do you want me to do?" Ria demanded.

"What do you mean, 'what do I want you to do'?" Charlie asked, innocently.

"Come off it Chas, you know as well as I do that the grin you are currently sporting bodes nothing but trouble. So, what are we going to do?"

"You're too suspicious, Ariadne Rutherford, that's your problem," Charlie glared at her.

"Oh, for goodness' sake!" Ria exclaimed. "Get on with it!"

"Touchy touchy!" Charlie smirked at her. At twenty-four he was a pleasant looking man, easily distinguishable by the fiery red of his hair. "Actually, Ri, I was wondering if you could help."

"You see, the second you called me Ri I knew you had something cooked up for me. Usually I get 'your holiness' and the like."

"Well," Charlie glossed over the point, "between the two of us, we need to work out exactly how we're going to get Ron's dragon over here."

"What do you mean 'we'? Is that we as in the Royal we?"

"No, that's we as in you and me," Charlie replied. Ariadne backed away.

"Oh no. Definitely not. There is no way I am aiding and abetting the transport of an illegal dragon. You're on your own, pal."

"Ria!!" Charlie gazed at her beseechingly. "O love of my life, please, pretty please with a chocolate frog on top, and all the rest of it, help!"

"Only if you drop the 'love of my life' bit. The neighbours already think there's something dodgy between us, let's not give them ammunition."

"Ri, you're an angel!" Charlie beamed at her. "So, what do you propose we do?"

"We could do any number of things, including refuse," Ria pointed out.

"And let Ron down? Ria, I was counting on you to come up with a good idea!"

"Charlie, that was a good idea!" Ria told him, scathingly. "It just wasn't the good idea you were looking for."

"Well, its not like I can just up sticks and leave, is it?" Charlie complained. "I'm busy for the next month, and Robert, Andrew and Dave are visiting, so spare time will be limited."

"Rob, Andy and Dave live in Britain, don't they?" Ria demanded.

"Yes. What's the relevance of that?" Charlie looked confused. Ria, on the other hand, had brightened considerably.

"In that case it's easy. We'll rope them into helping. Write to them and ask - they're sure to agree. Your friends are into taking risks."

"Ri, you're a genius!" Charlie grinned. "It's going to be great when the guys are staying here!"

"Charlie, I am not sleeping on the floor when your friends are here. It's my house too."

"When have I ever asked you to sleep on the floor?" Charlie demanded.

"Several times," Ria replied. "Normally when you find yourself a pretty girl. And being the sucker that I am, I actually agree."

"Okay, Ariadne Rutherford, I promise that I will not force you to sleep on the floor. Happy?"

"Over the moon," Ria replied.

Charlie Weasley had known Ariadne Rutherford ever since she had started her career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Throughout school he had barely spoken to her. She was two years his junior, and there hadn't been any reason for their acquaintance to move beyond the occasional 'hello' in the corridors.

Then, three years ago, Ria had joined the group of British wizards and witches who worked at the largest dragon reserve in the world. No one was exactly sure what Ria had done in the year between her finishing at Hogwarts and joining the Romanian team, and she never volunteered information on the subject. She and Charlie had quickly become the best of friends, and when she had announced her intention to purchase a house, if she could find a friend to buy it with, he had jumped at the chance of having a little independence.

Of course, neither of them had considered that the neighbours would label them as a couple, and unmarried at that! Consequently they were frowned upon for cohabiting. At first, both had tried to explain that their relationship was purely platonic, but after a while, first Charlie and then Ria gave up.

"You know, if my dad ever finds out, you're going to be so dead it's unbelievable!" Ria told Charlie, smirking.

"I don't suppose my mother will be overly happy. Especially if she believes the rumours that are going around!"

"The rumours that are casting insinuations on my good name, you mean?" Ria demanded. "Yes, I don't suppose anyone would be too happy to hear those, least of all our parents. Honestly, can't you have a simple friendship with a guy these days?"

"I can," Charlie told her. "You, on the other hand, can't. It's all related to your innocent good looks, my dear."

"Shut up, Charlie!"

Charlie's friends replied to the owls he sent the promptly, and two days later, when Ria joined him at the breakfast table once more, he looked pensive.

"Okay, whose cat just died?" She demanded, as she filled her cup with coffee, before grimacing as she realised what she was doing. "Um, Charlie? How many times do I have to tell you – tea goes in the teapot, not coffee? I swear you do it on purpose because you know I hate coffee!"

"Oh, Ri, you figured me out!" Charlie put on an expression of mock sadness. "And there I was, thinking that I'm clever…"

"Oh, I'm laughing so hard," Ria replied sarcastically. "So, why are you in the doldrums?"

"I got an owl from Dave," Charlie replied, at once serious. "It seems he thinks he's lost his touch. He says, and I quote, 'there is no way that I'm going anywhere near one of those insane creatures without some kind of trained professional assisting me.' So, now what do we do?"

"Abandon the cause?" Ria suggested casually. "Tell Ron that you tried your best, but you just couldn't do it?"

"Ria, how many times do I have to tell you that I can't leave Ron in the lurch!"

"Ron can look after himself, Charlie, he's not a baby anymore. Anyway, Hagrid would be the one with a problem…" on realising it was Hagrid who would have a problem, Ria frowned. She had a soft spot for the kindly giant who had taken her under his wing, thanks to her love for all kinds of wacky creatures. "I'd help if I could, but I'm going home for a few days – what can I do?"

"That's it!" Charlie exclaimed. "Ria, you're a genius."

"Twice in three days," Ria told the teapot. "Either I've become super intelligent over night, which I doubt, as I'm talking to a teapot, or else he wants something," she looked towards Charlie and sighed. "What now?"

"Well, you're going home, aren't you?" he demanded. Ria nodded. "And you live in England, don't you?" Once again, Ria bobbed her head. "So, you could go with the guys to collect Norbert!"

"Excuse me?" Ria stopped buttering her toast, and glared at her friend. "Did you just say I could help you transport a dragon – no, an illegal dragon – over here from Hogwarts? Only I don't particularly fancy a spell in Azkaban for being in possession of Class A Non-Tradable goods!"

"Ri, that's the eggs. The dragon's just illegal. Please help! Please?" Charlie looked at her beseechingly. Ria sighed.

"I fall for it every time. I really need to increase my resistance to mindless gestures of sappiness. Okay, Charlie, you're on. But you're going to owe me – big time. Write to Ron, tell him we'll meet him at the top of the tallest tower on Saturday at midnight, for the cover of the night."

"How poetic," Charlie smirked.

"Look, Mister, do you want help or not?"

"Fine, fine, I'll write to Ron!" Charlie knew only too well that it wasn't a good idea to annoy Ria. For one thing, she was incredibly strong, and for another, she was very often his only means of reaching a deadline. He supposed he used her shamelessly, but she was just as bad.

"So, as I've just solved this year's biggest dilemma, do you think you could be so kind as to make some tea to go in the teapot? Feed the coffee to the plants – they seem to like it!"



Ria was standing in the arrival lounge of Heathrow airport when a tall blonde woman approached her, smiling broadly.

"Ri! Good to see you!" Ria's eldest sister, Lucy Kettleworth, grabbed her sister in a warm hug. "You look well – Romania suits you!"

"Where are your sproglets?" Ria demanded.

"At home, where do you think?" Lucy asked.

"You've left your innocents at home alone?"

"Come off it Ri, I'd be mad to let that lot stay at home unguarded. No, Geoff's with them." Geoff Kettleworth was Lucy's husband, and Ria's brother in law.

"So, will I not see them?"

"Of course you'll see them!" Lucy replied. "But Mums wants to see you first."

"Good old Mums. How have you been? It's been too long."

"Two years, Ariadne. Vickie wasn't even born the last time you made it home," Lucy's face contorted into a frown, then softened. "Ri, I know that it was hard for you, but remember that Mums and Daddy are always there for you. Us too – me and Becca, I mean. Even Gemma never wanted to see you hurt."

"Well she shouldn't have done it then, should she?" Ria spat at her sister, and Lucy was shocked to see the pain in her eyes.

"Ri, put it behind you. Mums worries about you, alone in Romania. There are a lot of evil people out there."

"Luce, I'm not alone. There's always Charlie, and the gang."

"That, Ri my sweet, is why Mums worries. She's scared he'll break your heart."

"Charlie and I are just friends," Ria was thankful that none of her family knew that she lived with Charlie – her parents would quite literally hit the walls in anger at the idea of their daughter living alone with a single man. She smiled, suddenly. She adored Rosamunde and Alexander Rutherford, but biologically they were not her parents. She had been adopted. In her mind though, the Rutherfords were her family. She had known no other parents, and she didn't want to know any other parents. She had never wanted for love, or affection. She had always wondered why the Rutherfords, with three daughters already, had adopted her, and not some other baby.

The Rutherfords lived in a large Tudor style house on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. In the Middle Ages they had been very prestigious, and the family home was in Penshurst, a beautiful country house with all the trimmings of house-elves and the like. However, Alexander Rutherford was a second son, and when his brother, Adam, came of age, their father bequeathed the family home to him. When Alexander had married Rosamunde Sutton, Adam had still been unmarried, and Giles Rutherford suggested that the newlyweds lived at Penarddun Place. Gratefully, Alexander and Rosamunde had accepted, and they had brought up their daughters, Lucy, Rebecca, Gemma and Ariadne, in the peaceful confines of the house. Rosamunde had abandoned the Rutherford policy of having a nanny for her children, and had instead favoured the hands on approach that she herself had been used to. All four girls adored Penarddun, although now Ri a was the only of the Rutherford girls to remain single. It was impossible to Apparate or Disapparate to Penarddun Place – it had been built at the same time as the English civil war raged, and the Rutherfords, supporters of the King, had gone to great lengths to ensure their own safety. Over the centuries, the Charms had weakened as the dust settled on the graves of those who had cast them, and now all that remained was the Anti-Apparation Charm.

Ria and Lucy Apparated to just outside the wrought iron gates, and walked leisurely towards the whitewashed walls of their childhood home. As she regarded the old house, Ria couldn't help but feel that she was coming home. This place held too many happy memories for her to ever forget it. Walking down the long path, she fancied that she could hear the echoes of her childhood in the background. If she closed her eyes, she could see a much younger Lucy running around the garden, trying desperately to escape from Gemma, while Becca laughed in the background.

Eventually they reached the huge oak door, and a petite woman whose blonde hair was beginning to show signs of greying greeted them happily.

"Ria, my darling, let me look at you!" The pretty woman then hugged her daughter so tightly that Ria became slightly light headed. She wondered how her mother could possibly look at her at this proximity. Before she could voice this opinion, however, her mother held her at arm's length.

"You've lost weight, my dear. Are you eating properly?"

"Mum, I was overweight!"

"Ariadne, voluptuous does not mean overweight!"

"Well I'm scarcely anorexic! Come on mum – it's not like I'm a stick insect or anything – I'm just healthy!"

"Come home, Ria," her mother told her. "You don't have to hide away in Romania. In time the pain will go."

"Mums, I'm happy where I am!" Ria exclaimed. "You all think I'm some kind of ostrich, with my head buried firmly in the sand! I'm not at all! I know exactly what I'm doing, and where I plan on going with my life. I like working in Romania! I like the dragons, and the other creatures, and I like the people! Be happy for me – what happened happened – I've accepted that. I'm moving on, and you should do the same."

"Ri, your mother worries about you," Alexander Rutherford told his daughter. "If you like your work then continue with it – although we wouldn't mind a few more letters, and perhaps more than one visit every two years…"

"I'm sorry," Ria told them. "I didn't mean to sound ungrateful, and I admit, I should probably visit home more often. But I'm happy where I am – I can forget there," she sighed, "I can forget," she repeated softly.

Spending a week with her parents and sisters was refreshing, and it was nice to see her nephews and nieces. Olivia, her goddaughter, squealed with delight on seeing her.

"Auntie Ria, you're home!" she exclaimed, launching herself at her favourite aunt. "Why did you stay away for so long?"

"Well, Livvy, I met a wicked witch, and she kept me in a tower, and it's taken me this long to escape," Ria teased.

"Really?" Olivia's eyes were wide with surprise.

"No, not really, silly!" Ria smiled at her affectionately. "I was looking after the dragons, wasn't I, and time flies when you're having fun!"

"Do you have pictures?" Olivia demanded.

"Lots and lots of pictures," Ria told her. "Albums full of pictures, with lots of dragons. In a few years time, perhaps Mummy will let you come and stay with me."

"Why not now?" Olivia looked delighted at the prospect of staying with her aunt in a foreign country with only dragons for company. "Why do I always have to wait?" She pouted, flicking her pigtails over her shoulder, her dark eyes glistening angrily, and very much like Ariadne at the same age, a source of great mystery as Ria was in no way biologically related.

"Livvy, sweetie, I might as well tell you this now, because its always going to be an issue. You will always be too old for some things and too young for others, and you might as well accept that. You're only six, and your mother wouldn't be particularly impressed if I whisked you away. I'll ask your mum and Aunt Becca if I can take you and Claire on holiday for a couple of weeks in the summer. But we won't stay in Romania. It would be a busman's holiday. Perhaps we'll go to Egypt and see the pyramids and Sphinxes…."

"Oh, do ask Aunt Ria! Claire and I have never been on holiday on our own before… And I'll be seven by then, and she'll be six and a half!"

"I'll ask, Livvy, but I'm not promising anything. Promise you won't have a tantrum if your mother says no," Ria knew her niece well enough to realise that without a promise, her sisters would never hear the end of it. With one, Olivia would keep quiet. For a six-year-old, she had very good morals, whereby if she gave a promise, she stuck to it.

Reluctantly, Olivia gave her word, and Ria breathed a sigh of relief. By the end of the week, she had convinced her mother that she was in fact perfectly capable of living away from home, and she didn't need fattening up, and she had persuaded her sisters to allow their eldest children to visit her when summer rolled around. Meaning that there wasn't really all that long for Olivia and Claire to wait.

Leaving was harder than Ria had anticipated. In spite of herself, she had enjoyed catching up with the people who had made her into the woman she now was. But she had a job to do, and she owed it to Charlie to actually make it as far as Hogwarts on time. She had arranged to meet Robert, Andrew and David at King's Cross station. From there, they would catch the train to Hogsmeade, and then they would rescue Norbert, leaving everybody happy. If they managed to pull it off.



"Ariadne! How are you?" David Loughton greeted her. "On time! Charlie would be impressed!"

"Charlie, Dave my dear, was the one who made us late," Ria replied, smiling as she took the hand he offered. "How are you? I don't believe you got yourself hitched. Who's the lucky lady? More to the point, why isn't she joining us on our mission of mercy?"

"The lucky lady? I'm sure Florence will disagree with you on that count. And why isn't she here? She's not here, because she's seven months pregnant with our firstborn. She said I was welcome to visit Charlie, as long as I didn't expect her to go along looking like a beached whale."

"And that, Dave, my dear," Ria told him, sweetly, "is one of the reasons why I am never going to tie the knot."

"Hark at her," Robert Daniels smirked at the dark haired girl next to him. "Rumour, has it, Ri, my sweet, that you were engaged once. So what went wrong?" As soon as the words had left his mouth, he regretted them. The jovial girl of earlier was no more; the Ria that stood next to him meant business.

"Rob, I've told you before, and I'll tell you again – my love life is no one's business but my own. And we have a job to do, so if you could prise Andrew away from the brunette he's attempting to chat up, I'd appreciate it." Rob and Dave frowned at her sudden change of mood, then shrugged, and went off to rescue their friend.

On the way to Hogsmeade, Ria caught up on all of the gossip. By the time they reached their destination, she knew exactly how Dave had met the love of his life and exactly what it was that Andrew did in his work at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

"Andy, why did you give up a perfectly respectable post in Romania, doing what you loved, and getting well paid for it, to work in a department that seems to be as dead as a door post. And if you're with the Ministry, should you be helping us?"

"Ri, just because it sounds boring, it doesn't mean it is boring! And it pays a damn sight better than the Romania job."

"Please tell me you aren't just doing it for the money!"

"I'd never do anything purely for money, and you know it. Believe it or not, it's fascinating."

"Would you tell me exactly what you find fascinating about playing with paperwork all day?" Dave asked, curiously.

"Oh, come off it Dave, you can't talk," Robert said, scathingly. "You run a pet shop, for goodness' sake!"

"Don't slight the pet shop!" Dave laughed. "That shop is my life. Florrie's very attached to all our little lodgers. And they pay our bills, so I'm not complaining. It's certainly more sociable than Romania."

"That, much as I hate to admit it," Ria told him, "is true. The hours at the dragon reserve aren't exactly friendly. But I love those dragons!"

"And they love you, Ri, so don't you fret. And, if I'm not mistaken, this is our stop."

"Genius!" Ria laughed. "Give the man a gold star. Come on then smarty, let's make our way to the pub and get some butterbeer."

"Only butterbeer?" Robert looked disappointed. "Can't we have something stronger?"

"No. We're working."

"You're a hard taskmaster Ariadne Rutherford, you know that, don't you?"

"Yes, Rob, I do. I also know that as soon as we make it back to Romania, you three and Charlie will head out for a night on the town, leaving me all on my lonesome, unless I can persuade Sam to come over for the evening, and I doubt she will. Still, you never know…"

"Indeed you don't. Well, being as we're in the only completely wizarding town in England again, why don't we do some shopping? Dave, didn't you say that Florence had cravings for those cockroach clusters they do at Honeydukes?"

"I did indeed," Dave agreed with Andrew. Ria looked at them, disgust registering on her face.

"She craves cockroach clusters? That's disgusting!"

"That, Ria, is pregnancy," Dave informed her.

"Of course, you'd know, having been pregnant so many times yourself!" Ria retorted, sarcastically.

"You know Ri, when you and Charlie eventually make it as far as admitting you entertain romantic notions about each other, and then take a plunge and get married, and actually make it as far as expecting, no one will laugh harder than I do!"

"Charlie and I are friends! F-R-I-E-N-D-S!" she spelt it out. "What is it with you people and marrying us off?"

"Come on Ariadne, admit it! The two of you make a great couple!"

"The two of us make a non-existent couple…Oh, and guys!" The three men turned to look at her. "The Weasleys don't know about Charlie and I living together, and we'd like to keep it that way, so watch what you say, okay?" They gaped at her, before nodding agreeably.

It was twenty minutes to midnight when they finally set off for Hogwarts.

"Was it really necessary to change what you were wearing about sixty times?" David demanded of Ria. "We're going to steal a dragon, not create a fashion show!"

"Exactly. So I had to make sure that I was in dragon friendly mode. And Norbert is a Norwegian Ridgeback, and they don't seem to like me as much as other dragons."

"That's the understatement of the century!" Robert laughed. "Of course, you would be allergic to their poison, just to make matters ten times worse!"

"Thank you so much for that reminder Robert!" Ria replied, sarcastically. "Now, if we could get moving, or Ron and friends will think we're not coming." The men acknowledged the truth of her words, and without further ado, mounted their brooms. Ria regarded them with cool contempt. "You three should be in a circus, you know that?" With one quick movement, Ria was in the sky, and flying like a professional.

"Ri, can I ask you something?" Dave asked.

"You just did, but I'll allow another."

"Why on earth are you working in Romania chasing dragons and earning a pittance when you fly like that? You could play Quidditch professionally."

"Dave, have you ever met my mother?" Ria asked him.

"Erm, no."

"Exactly. Mums is what you might call overprotective, and terribly old fashioned. She doesn't think Quidditch is ladylike."


"You heard. Actually, I think she just doesn't like it. My dad's pretty good on a broom, but my mum has vertigo, bless her. And don't just sit there gaping – we're late enough as it is!"

"She still hasn't said why she had to change so many times!" David complained, as they flew towards Hogwarts. When they were close enough to see the tallest tower, they could faintly make out the profiles of two figures. On landing, Ria took a good look at the waiting students. One was male and one female, but neither of them looked anything like the Ron of Charlie's pictures. Sighing, she decided she might as well take the plunge.

"Hi, I'm Ariadne Rutherford, I believe you have a dragon waiting for me?"

"You must be Charlie's friend!" the girl greeted her, her brown hair bushy, her eyes bright. "I'm Hermione Granger and this is Harry Potter."

Ria started at the mention of Harry Potter. Of course, she should have anticipated his presence, after all, Charlie had mentioned that his little brother had become best friends with the boy who, as a baby, had rid the wizarding world of a terror too great to contemplate.

"Are we talking about Harry Potter, as in the Harry Potter?" Ria had asked.

"How many other Harry Potters do you know, your holiness?" Charlie had replied.

"Potter's not exactly an uncommon name, and neither is Harry, smarty!"

"Yes, dear, we're talking Harry Potter, as in the Harry Potter!"

Ria smiled, recalling the conversation. She offered her hand to Harry.

"It's a pleasure to meet you at last," she told him, smiling infectiously. Ria had never been one for scenes, and she could imagine the boy's embarrassment if she made a big thing about who he was. Dave, Andy and Rob were a different kettle of fish, but at her warning look, they echoed her tame greeting. Ria then turned her attention to Hermione.

"Pleased to meet you Hermione – Ron's told Charlie so much about you – both of you. Hermione - another name with a Greek origin!" Ria smiled. "Thank goodness I'm not the only one!"

"I think Ariadne's a pretty name," Hermione told her. "Ron said to say he's sorry he's not here, but Norbert bit him, and it's got all infected. He should have gone to Madam Pomfey earlier if you ask me."

"Don't worry about it; Dave, Rob, Andy and I can manage with your help."

"Hagrid put Norbert in a crate for you, so that he can travel easily," Hermione explained.

"Well, we'll put the crate in here," Ria waved a bizarre looking creation that she had rigged to make it easier to transport Norbert at everyone, and it was a case of all hands on deck.

Eventually their work was complete, and all four of them shook hands with Harry and Hermione. Ria issued one last warning.

"Whatever you do, don't get caught. McGonagall angry during the day is bad. McGonagall angry in the middle of the night is suicidal. Take care you two, and send our regards to Ron!"


On arrival in Romania they were greeted by an anxious looking Charlie. On seeing them, he brightened considerably.

"It all went to plan then?" he demanded.

"Yes, Cap'n, no thanks to you!" Ria retorted. "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to bed before I don't have one. I'll leave Norbert for you to sort out."

Charlie stared after her, suddenly concerned.

"What's wrong with Ria?" he asked.

"I don't know," Dave replied. "She's been really weird since she met us. Ever since Rob asked about her failed engagement, in fact."

"Engagement?" Charlie looked at him blankly.

"You mean you didn't know? Where have you been, man? It made the front page of the Daily Prophet! That they'd split up, I mean, not why."

"Who had split up?"

"None other than our very own Ariadne, and the man she was affianced to, Aidan Pontin."

"Ria was never engaged!" Charlie was having a difficult time comprehending the idea that Ria had ever had a significant other that significant.

"Oh, come off it Charlie, it's not that surprising. She's a pretty enough girl, and her parents have got more than a little cash. Besides which, Ria is a lovely person."

"Dave, you don't get it – we're talking about Ria here – Ariadne Rutherford – possibly the only member of the team not to have had an other half at some point!"

"And why do you think that is, Charlie?"

"Look, discussing Ria's love life isn't what we're here for, and it's not really fair. If she's not said anything about it, then who are we to press the matter? And nattering about Ariadne isn't helping poor old Norbert out of that crate and into the wild!" The men knew Charlie Weasley well enough to know that the discussion was closed, and they set about helping him to free a very irate Norwegian Ridgeback.


When Ria got up for work the next morning, she was unsurprised to find three inebriated men adorning the floor of the living room. What did surprise her was Charlie's sober state.

"Morning Charlie," she greeted him, cheerfully. "Why aren't you drunk?"

"I like that," Charlie grimaced. "If I'm drunk, you complain because I'm not sober. If I'm sober, you complain because I'm not drunk! I can't win!"

"I wasn't complaining," Ria hastened to reassure him. "Just surprised. Do you want some breakfast?"

"It depends – what are you making?"

"Toast. And tea. And that's pretty much it – we need to go shopping. Someone seems to have eaten us out of house and home in the past week," she looked at Charlie pointedly. "And as I wasn't here, it rather narrows down the choices. Do you want breakfast or not?"

"I might as well," Charlie told her. "It makes a change for you to be the one doing the cooking. Do try not to burn the toast."

"I like that!" Ria exclaimed, in mock outrage. "I've never burnt a slice of toast in my life!"

"Liar!" Charlie grinned at her. She seemed to be back to normal now, not so tense, and all together much nicer to be with. Whether it was a good night's sleep, or being back in Romania, he didn't know, and he didn't really care. As long as she was happy, that was the main thing.


And that, my dears, is it. For now. Comments – whether good, bad or downright annoying are always welcome.


Thanks to: Hey, I'm not an ingrate, the guys who helped to make this a halfway decent fic deserve commendation!

Andy/Sirius: Thanks hon, much appreciated I'm sure. Those of you who haven't go and read Back To The Future. It's very good. Not that he needs more reviews, but I have an opportunity to plug, so I'm going to do so. Take a bow for being responsible for Ria actually talking to Harry in his capacity as the famous Harry Potter.

Arabella: Your comments are always much appreciate. You're always so involved in the story, its very encouraging. Thanks just for being available to read through my scribbles for me.

Alyssi/Mara: You make my day, you know that? Thank you for all the encouragement (although you never did say whether Ria and Charlie should get together or not).

Jen: Thank you for taking the time to read this, and then to give me feedback. I know we're all busy, busy people, and I really do appreciate people who take that little bit of extra time to tell me what they think.


And to finish, a quote (purely because I'm an intellectual, and I collect quotes):

'There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as if everything is. I believe in the latter.' ALBERT EINSTEIN.

This is dedicated to my lovely friend Amanda. All credit for the… wackier parts of this goes to her – its amazing what you can come up with when you're suffering from exam-itis. Incidentally, we planned this in January, and it is now June. That's school for you. Still, by the time this is posted, school will be out for summer! *Cheers* Considering 'Manda's never actually read HP, this has turned out quite well, methinks.


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