The Sugar Quill
Author: Honeychurch & Lallybroch (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Loo, Part 2  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

When we last left our heroes in Part 1

"Well," said Myrtle’s voice from behind her, "that was disgusting."

Ginny looked around to find Myrtle’s head once more protruding from the bowl of the toilet. Ginny herself wasn’t quite sure she didn’t agree. She WAS happy for them, really, and amused by their singular way of doing things, but at the same time rather depressed, and very annoyed with Myrtle.

"I’m going." Ginny threw open the door to the stall and headed for the exit. All of a sudden, a horrid possibility occurred to her, and she swiveled. "And don’t run around talking about this to anyone who will listen, Myrtle. I mean it. Keep your mouth shut." She found herself completely out of patience, and unable to be conciliatory with the ghost. "If I hear from anyone about this…" Her threat was abruptly cut off by the flash of a swiftly moving Myrtle flying past her head.

"Well, I like that!" she screeched. "Coming here into my bathroom and threatening me after what you’ve done. Heartless, that’s what you are. Heartless and manipulative." She sobbed.

"All right, Myrtle, what have I done? Let’s hear it. Did I inadvertently allude to something that made you remember that you aren’t alive? What?" Even as she spit out the words, Ginny felt she might have gone a bit far, but she had no control left. She just wanted out of this bathroom.

"You have no feelings at all," sniveled Myrtle. "Coming round all the time, pretending to be friends. Making fun of d-dead people! You’re awful, you are!" A positive torrent of sobs burst forth.

Instantly, and against her will, Ginny felt guilty. "Aw, Myrtle. Stop crying. I’m sorry, really I am. I am your friend. I’m…I’m just in a bad mood, that’s all."

"There you g-go…lying to m-me again. I d-don’t know why he l-likes you. You’re a horrible g-girl."

Ginny felt rather hurt. "Look, I don’t know what you’re talking- what? He who?"

"That got your attention, did it?" said Myrtle with glum satisfaction.

Ginny took a deep breath. This was going nowhere. It was definitely time to exit. "Myrtle. Listen. I’m sorry that you think…whatever it is that you think, but we’re both upset and I think it’s better if I just leave now before…"

Myrtle interrupted. "You don’t want to hear what he said, then? I should think you’d want to know what he said about you."

"He who?" Her voice was shrill to her own ears.

"Harry Potter."

Despite fiercely willing it not to do such an undignified thing, her stomach lurched. Harry had been talking about her? To Myrtle? It was the most unlikely thing she’d ever heard. She found that her heart was pounding in her ears.

"Well, what did he say, then?" She cursed herself for the wobble in her voice.

Myrtle bobbed slyly in the air before Ginny. "I don’t know if I should tell you. You’ve lied to me." She turned a slow somersault, savoring the moment. She was obviously torn between torturing Ginny and the gratification of gossip.

"Fine," said Ginny, trying to play it cool. "Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable." She desperately tried to formulate a strategy. "In fact, maybe I better leave, so you won’t feel pressured." This was a risky last-ditch effort, she knew, but this was the moment Myrtle would put up or shut up. Stiffening her resolve, Ginny headed for the exit.

"Welll…" interjected Myrtle quickly. "I suppose…"

"Yes?" Ginny stopped a few feet from the door.

"All right, I’ll tell you. But you don’t deserve it, you know. I’m just too sensitive. I-It’s what got me k-killed in the first place." Myrtle’s chin was trembling again, and tears were imminent.

"Yes, you’re very sensitive." Ginny hoped that her impatience wasn’t leaking through the soothing voice she had adopted. "Go on, Myrtle."

"Yesterday I was hiding from Peeves in the Prefect’s Bathroom on the second floor-"

"But that’s a boy’s bathroom," interrupted Ginny, shocked.

"Obviously that’s why it’s a good hiding place," said Myrtle with dignity.

The Prefect’s Bathroom: Yesterday

"Stop shaking your head at me. You’re acting like your mum."

Ron grinned at Harry. "Somehow I don’t think my mum would have let that fight go on as long as I did."

"Let the fight…honestly, Ron, it barely got started before you pulled me off him!" said Harry, glaring at him. He glanced around the brightly-lit bathroom. "What am I doing in here anyway? I’m not the one who’s a prefect."

Ron settled himself against the edge of the sink. "Excuse me. I thought it might be better than dripping blood through the hallways. What was that about, anyway?"

Harry shrugged.

Ron looked at him curiously, cocking his head to one side. He hadn’t seen Harry this angry in a long time. It was odd, wasn’t it? Malfoy had gone through his usual list of Weasley put-downs; no money, too many children, Muggle-lovers-the usual. Ron and Harry had heard it so many times that sometimes they would recite it along with Malfoy, which aggravated him greatly. But today, something had been…different. Harry had hurled himself at Malfoy, surprising him so much that Malfoy had barely reacted. That is, until Harry punched him in the nose. But why had Harry reacted so violently to this particular encounter? True, it was the first time that Malfoy had ever mentioned Ginny personally. He usually stuck to insulting Fred, George, and Ron but this time Malfoy had said something particularly nasty about Ginny. His eyes narrowed. But that couldn’t be it, could it? Why would Harry…? It didn’t make any sense. Ron shook his head, trying to ignore the small knot of suspicion growing in his stomach.

"What’s going on with you, Harry?" Ron’s voice was impatient.

"Nothing except Malfoy is still breathing."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Look Harry, you know I think Malfoy is a quivering git but I couldn’t very well just stand there and let you break his nose. Oi, I didn’t even pull you off until he started getting in some good hits!" He sounded a little hurt.

 

Moaning Myrtle’s: Today

"Wait. I thought he split his lip in Quidditch practice. That’s what he told Hermione." Ginny could no longer contain herself.

"So now you’re calling me a liar, are you?" Myrtle’s face was thunderous.

"No!" Said Ginny quickly.

"Because I saw the whole thing," said Myrtle with dark satisfaction. "Before I hid in the tap. He had the blond one on the floor, and he was hitting him all over."

The Prefect’s Bathroom- Yesterday

"Your mouth’s still bleeding," Ron noticed. Harry stood up, and walked over to an enormous mirror that stretched from floor to ceiling. He scowled at his reflection. Gingerly, he dabbed at the thin trickle of blood that flowed from the cut Malfoy’s knuckle had given him. "Stupid git", he muttered more at himself than Malfoy. Ron walked over and stood next to him. He leaned over and examined the cut.

"You’ll live. Look, it’s already stopping bleeding. I don’t think Malfoy got off so easily. It looked to me like his nose was gushing pretty heavily." Ron’s tone was a mixture of pride and something else. Suspicion? Harry took a deep breath and glanced over at Ron who was now leaning against the wall, arms folded in front of his chest. "So, what was that all about, Harry? Not that I blame you for wanting to beat the crap out of Malfoy, but…" Ron trailed off. He was looking at Harry differently now. Almost…surveying him, sizing him up.

‘Oh, this is brilliant’, Harry thought, and avoided Ron’s eyes. How was he going to explain why he’d gotten so upset? He barely knew himself. They’d met Malfoy in the hall and he’d started in with all his stupid insults. He was pretty used to that- not a bother on him. And then he’d said that…that… thing about Ginny and something inside Harry just snapped. He couldn’t, wouldn’t just stand there and listen to Malfoy talk about Ginny like that. He clenched his fists again, almost without thinking. All he could think about was punching his stupid face and then all of a sudden he was punching Malfoy, over and over and Ron was yelling and pulling him off.

Harry stared at his reflection in the mirror. His hair was sticking up in clumps where Malfoy had pulled it. Harry tried to smooth it down with his hands, mostly just to buy a few more seconds before he had to answer Ron’s question. He took another breath and tried to calm down. He had been realizing for some time that his feelings toward Ginny Weasley weren’t so much ‘I care about you because you’re my best mate’s little sister’ as they were ‘Every time I see you I forget how to breathe and I’m petrified because you’re my best mate’s little sister.’ He remembered how his stomach had felt when he had had that stupid crush on Cho Chang. That had been little butterflies and a slight queasiness. When he was around Ginny it felt like Hagrid was bouncing up and down on his chest. And where had all this gotten him? He had practically broken Malfoy’s nose, Ron was looking at him very suspiciously and his mouth was turning black and blue. ‘Love,’ thought Harry, ‘is crappy.’

Moaning Myrtle’s: Today

"I’m sorry, Myrtle. I still don’t understand. What’s this got to do with anything? Malfoy’s always acting like a prat. I mean, usually it’s Ron who has to be pulled off him, but I don’t see…"

"Well, you wouldn’t, would you? I haven’t told you what Malfoy said."

"All right, then, what did Malfoy say?"

Myrtle looked very smug. "I can’t tell you. He used some really filthy words."

Ginny sighed impatiently. "Just give me the gist, then."

"I’d still have to use really filthy words."

"Can you whisper it or something? Please?"

All Myrtle needed was some additional coaxing. Certain now that she had a rapt audience, she floated closer to Ginny’s ear and whispered into it.

"That-" And Ginny said a really filthy word.

 

The Prefect’s Bathroom- Yesterday

Ron had changed tactics.

"Like I said, I’m the last person to blame you for starting the fight. He was saying some pretty horrible things. And about Ginny, well, that’s going a bit far. I can ignore the stuff about me but he’s got no right to talk about Ginny that way. Glad you did something about it," Ron said lightly, not removing his eyes from Harry. " I mean, you really went at him. You’d almost think she was your little sister… I suppose she must seem like your little sister." Ron’s tone implied that she better seem like his little sister.

Harry said nothing. If at all possible, he would avoid actually lying to Ron, but he felt no need to volunteer information. Still, it didn’t look like he was going to get out of this easily. He bent over the sink and began to splash water on his face.

"Let’s not tell her about this, ok?" He could feel Ron’s eyes burrowing into the back of his neck.

"Yeah, ok." Harry straightened up and grabbed a towel from a bracket underneath a reproduction of the Mona Lisa. She winked at him. And Honeychurch and Lallybroch wink back!—Do you think we should put a little author’s note right here that says that? I don’t think we should put in a note here…I always feel like it takes the reader out of the story. I think we should put it in the notes at the end, though, definitely!

"It’s a good thing she doesn’t seem to have a crush on you anymore. If she heard about this, she might get all silly about it. You know girls." Ron’s voice expressed a world of condescension.

Harry attempted to laugh, but apparently, he wasn’t very convincing. He turned to find Ron standing in front of him with his arms crossed over his chest.

 

Moaning Myrtle’s: Today

Ginny had hoisted herself up on to one of the sinks. She was listening avidly to Myrtle, who was describing the fight in minute detail.

"…and then he just jumped on him, like that, and he hit him in the face—oooh, lots of times." Myrtle was looking happier than Ginny had ever seen her. "And there was blood and everything. But then your brother pulled him off the blonde one." She seemed less happy about this.

"Then what?"

"Then they went into the bathroom, and I went in there too. You know, to get away from Peeves."

"Myrtle! You went in there to spy on them!"

"I did not! As if I have nothing better to do than hide places and watch people. I do THINGS, I do." She nodded emphatically.

Privately Ginny felt that Myrtle had absolutely nothing better to do, and further, did very little else, but she held her tongue. There was no point in angering her when this was getting so very interesting.

Myrtle’s whole face went glum again. "And that’s when I found out you lied to me."

"Myrtle, honestly, I swear I never lied to you. What are you going on about?"

"You never told me you liked him." There was no question to whom Myrtle was referring. Ginny felt herself go pink.

"That- That was ages ago," she lied. "They were talking about that?" Well, that was just the most humiliating thing ever. She could die, right here, and keep Moaning Myrtle company in the neighboring stall.

"Ron wanted to know if he liked you back. He didn’t seem to fancy the idea very much." Myrtle’s dull alto was tinged with satisfaction.

The Prefect’s Bathroom- Yesterday

"But it’s not like you like her, right? Because you like her, but you don’t like her, right?"

Harry started, turning so quickly that he fell backwards over the chair resting next to the mirror. He scrambled hastily to his feet, smoothing his rumpled robes. Ron’s eyes were wide. "Harry, that’s not a yes, is it?" he said in a shocked voice.

"What, the falling?" asked Harry in what he hoped was an innocent and casual tone. "No, the chair…it moved…I’m a bit fuzzy after the fight and all… ahem. Yes."

He began slowly inching toward the door. "Course I like her. She’s your little sister. Why wouldn’t I like her? She’s very likable." Harry waved his hands dismissively. "But I don’t like her like her. Because you wouldn’t like that, would you? Would you?" He ventured a glance at Ron. "No, no, of course you wouldn’t like that. So that’s why I don’t like her. Like that. Not that the only reason I don’t like her that way is because you wouldn’t like it if I…" He had finally reached the door. Grasping at the handle he yanked it open and stuck his head out into the empty hallway.

"What’s that Hermione? Yes, I’ll be right there. Right, thanks for the help Ron and I’ve…got to go." Harry dashed out the door and disappeared down the corridor.

Ron remained standing in the center of the room, stunned.

Moaning Myrtle’s: Today

"He said that?"

"He’s a horrible liar." Myrtle was matter of fact about this. "You’d think he’d be better at it." She floated down to rest on the sink next to Ginny. The light was glinting off her glasses, and Ginny couldn’t get a clear view of her expression, but it seemed a bit sympathetic. "What are you going to do now?" she asked, curiously. "Are you going find him and kiss him passionately?" Ginny blushed furiously and shook her head. "Ooohh…Are you going to slap his face and call him a scoundrel?" Myrtle spun several excited circles in the air and settled back down on the sink. "If that’s what you do, will you do it in here so I can watch?" she asked, breathlessly.

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Oh, honestly Myrtle. I’m not going to do either of those things. You sound like a Barbara Cartland novel. I’m…I’ve got to talk to Hermione. I’m sorry, but I have to go. Will you be alright?" Myrtle nodded morosely. Ginny jumped off the sink and started toward the door. She stopped and turned back to the ghost floating dejectedly above the sink.

"Myrtle? Why did you tell me this?"

"You asked me." Myrtle said, wounded.

"No, actually I didn’t. You brought it up in the first place." Ginny looked straight at her, or rather, through her. "You didn’t have to tell, you know. I think it was quite nice of you. In fact, I think you rather enjoyed it." And she turned and ran out the door.

"Fights are more entertaining," Myrtle mumbled, and headed back to the toilet.

Continued in Part 3...



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Last updated Monday, October 29, 2001

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