The Sugar Quill
Author: Briteyes (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Goin' So High  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.

Author’s Note: I do not—repeat, DO NOT—have any rights to these characters, or to the song lyrics used. All characters herein belong to JK Rowling. The song "Oxygen" is 2000 Lakota Recordings Ltd, written by Mark Greaney, and performed by JJ72 (fronted by the angel-voiced Greaney. Honestly, if you’ve never heard of them, they’re worth the search. Go ahead! I’ll wait…).

Many, many thanks to my beta-reader Doctor Cornelius for his extremely helpful suggestions, and for all the rest of the Sugar Quill gang for being such a warm and welcoming community.

 

Goin’ So High
(or, We Don’t Need Oxygen)


    It was an usually hot and sultry summer that year in most parts of the British Isles. Harry would normally have been comfortable in his jeans and t-shirts well into August, but here it was barely July, and he was stifling.
    Despite the heat, though, this was turning out to be the best summer he could remember. Two weeks into the holidays, word had come from the Weasleys that Harry could stay with them, escaping the horrid Dursleys for almost an entire year. Then, almost as soon as he’d gotten settled in at the Burrow, letters had arrived from Hermione, inviting Harry, Ron, and Ginny to stay at her home for a few weeks. "It’s about time you learned something about how Muggles live," Ron’s letter had said.
    While Harry had his own theories as to Hermione’s ulterior motives, he had to admit she had a point. Earlier in the week, he and his friends had gone shopping in a nearby Muggle town, where Harry—having wisely changed a few galleons into sterling—had broken down and bought new clothes. As he’d always been of the impression that weather in the Midlands was rather mild, he hadn’t thought to bring many shorts. After all, the shorts he did have were more of Dudley’s cast-offs and large enough that they hung down well past Harry’s knees (which rather defeated the purpose of wearing shorts in the first place), so the thought of buying new summer clothes seemed rather a good idea.
    Harry lay stretched out on the grass, his eyes closed against the harsh summer sun. An amused half-smile crossed his face as he recalled their shopping trip, which had marked Ron and Ginny’s first foray into a purely Muggle world.
    "Harry, look! It’s a-a… felly-tission!" Ron had shouted, his nose pressed against the window of an electronics store.
    "It’s television, and keep your voice down," Hermione had hissed back at him.
Spending the summer with Hermione had so far proved to be an eye-opening experience for the red-headed siblings. Ginny had discovered Muggle make-up and fashion magazines, and could now deftly apply hints of colour to her face in a way Ron (and, to a certain extent, Harry) found highly unsettling. Ron, for his part, seemed to be spending more and more of his time with Hermione, sometimes even to the exclusion of his best friend and his sister.
    Surprisingly, Harry had actually been enjoying his return to Muggle life. He’d taught Ron to play games on a Playstation ("borrowed" from Dudley; it still worked despite having been thrown through a window), learned how to rollerblade and surf the internet, and had even managed to get his hands on several Muggle candy bars he’d begun to miss.
    All the same, in the afternoons and early evenings, he often found himself in Hermione’s large garden or in the nearby park, practising his flying and diving. He usually stuck to the shady left side of the garden, where a row of thick trees blocked the lone neighbour’s view, or else covered himself with the Invisibility Cloak. He knew Hermione would throw a fit if she knew, but as she and Ron spent the afternoons elsewhere, there seemed little danger of her finding out.
    Harry rolled over, and pulled himself to his feet. He yawned and stretched, allowing himself to bask a little longer in the rays of bright sunlight before reaching for his Firebolt and cloak… except, his cloak wasn’t there. That’s funny; I’m sure I brought it out, he thought. Maybe I left it on the table…? He glanced over at the garden furniture—no cloak. Must’ve left it inside, he said to himself. Too hot to wear it anyway.
    As he picked up his broom, he heard snatches of song wafting from the direction of the house. It stopped, then started again, much louder. Again, Harry smiled to himself. Part of Ginny’s unnerving transformation had been her discovery of Muggle music. She’d borrowed a portable stereo from Hermione, and listened to it almost constantly. Every time she heard a song she liked, she’d turn the radio up loud and sing along. There was something about the wanton way Ginny enjoyed the music—singing out-of-key, snapping her fingers, moving in a sinuous, snakelike way, luxuriating in the sound… Well, something about it disturbed Harry even more than the new brightness in her cheeks and cut of her clothes.
    Judging from the sudden leap in volume, the song must have been one Ginny was particularly interested in. Harry paused ever-so-briefly to listen to the music, before mounting his broom and kicking off into the air.

short sleeves and warm skin
losing coins calling next of kin
dropping words about the city we’re in
ponds compressed by heavy air
us without care
just sprawling there

    Harry flew up to the treeline and swooped back and forth a few times to get himself warmed up. It delighted him. No matter how many times he took to his broomstick, the novelty of it never wore off: the giddy, dizzying feelings as he defied gravity, as though his earthly problems were being stripped away, even for just one second, in which time itself was suspended.
    When he reached the crest of a dive, a line of the music would come floating up to him…

god’s in our world

    …and Harry felt it, as he hung weightless in the air. He savoured the feeling of wind in his face, and the thrilling, sinking sensation in his stomach when he plummeted towards the ground, as though it were some divine ecstasy.
    But about the third time this happened, and as the rapture wore away, Harry became suspicious. Hurtling towards the ground again, he wondered why the music was so loud, and why he could hear the lyrics so clearly. Surely, Ginny was inside, where she’d been every afternoon—
    Or was she? Harry thought, pulling his broom around seconds before he plowed into the rhododendron. Come to think of it, he hadn’t actually seen Ginny much, aside from mornings and nights…
    Just then, out of the corner of his eye, a movement caught his attention. With all the instincts of a trained Seeker, he hurtled towards what appeared to be a small, pale, disembodied hand. When he was within feet of it, a sudden shriek of surprise caught him off-guard, the hand vanished, and he barely missed flying into the side of the house.

airports and undergrounds
waiting to find the unfound
rising to pure insanity
here when you want me
true love has no simplicity

    "What do you think you’re playing at? You could have taken my head off!" screamed Ginny, once she found her voice again. She was red-faced and sitting bolt-upright, the Invisibility Cloak thrown back and falling loosely around her. She snatched up the small stereo from where it had fallen in the grass, and slammed it back on the table. She turned back to Harry, her arms crossed and face set in such a way that Harry couldn’t help but be reminded of her mother.
    Slowly, Harry shut his jaw, which had dropped open in shock. "Perhaps I’m mistaken, but aren’t you the one spying in the garden?" he snarled, before picking himself and his Firebolt off the ground. Harry felt the glare of her eyes while he checked to make sure everything (especially the Firebolt) was in one piece. Aside from shaken nerves and possibly wounded pride, though, there seemed to be no lasting damage. Breathing hard through his nose, he turned his attention back to the youngest Weasley.

god’s in our world

    It was several moments before Ginny’s voice broke through the music.
    "I’m not spying, you know," she said petulantly.
    "Then why have you been hiding under my cloak?" Harry retorted, wincing at how harsh his voice sounded.
    Ginny’s expression softened somewhat, and she dropped her gaze to her feet. "I didn’t think you wanted anyone to see you… but I love to watch you fly." She began to blush. "You seem to enjoy it so much. Your face just lights up whenever you get near a broomstick."
    Harry laughed nervously, and looked down at his Firebolt. "Yeah, I do. There’s nothing like it… not even a Muggle rollercoaster. Not that I’ve ever been on one." He forced himself to look at Ginny, who was smiling shyly back at him. "D’you, er… Would you like to have a go? Um, on my broom, that is."
    Ginny’s face broke into a huge grin. "Of course I would! It’s been ages since I’ve been on a proper broom, and even then, Charlie wouldn’t let me go very fast."
    "Well, I don’t know how fast it’ll go with both of us on it…"
    "Both of us?" Her eyebrows lifted. "What’re you saying, that you don’t trust me alone with your broom?"
    "You just said you’re not used to a racing broom!" Harry snapped, immediately regretting it.  "And, er, I wanted to show you a dive or two."
    Ginny gave him a wry, sideways glance, and took the broom from Harry. She positioned herself onto the front, and Harry jumped on behind her, wrapping the Invisibility Cloak around them. He felt her tremble as he put his arms around her, his hands covering hers where they gripped the broomstick.
    Then, in one fluid, practised motion, he kicked off from the ground and pulled the nose of the broom up. Ginny’s small shriek of surprise was lost in the wind as they rocketed over the treetops.

you and i we’re going so high
the air is getting thin
but our land does not breathe in
and we don’t need oxygen
it’s dreams that bind and locks us in
the rest are impaled by sense

//
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