Authors Notes and Acknowledgements: I have no claims or rights to these
characters; Im just borrowing them, and I promise to return them the way I found
As always, many thanks go to my beta-reader, Doctor Cornelius, and to the SQ
LiveJournal contingent for extra reading and moral support.
Extra special thanks (and many e-cappuccinos) to Podger Snowden, for her friendship,
for many trips around the Yorkshire countryside, and for introducing me to barley sugar
and sherbet lemons (many of which were consumed while writing).
This story is dedicated to the many wonderful people who make up my obvious
inspirationthe one and only Sugar Quill. Here's to the new server, A + Z!!
Nibs and Plumes
Colin Creevey burst
into the Gryffindor common room, his arms laden with parcels. Across the room, he spotted
his younger brother Dennis sitting near the fire with several other first-years. He caught
Denniss eye, and gestured as best he could towards an empty table.
From the other table, Colin
heard his brother push in his chair, and a moment later, he appeared at Colins side.
back!" he cried, helping Colin with the packages. "How was Hogsmeade? Is it just
like everyone said? Is the Shrieking Shack really haunted? Were you able to try
Butterbeer? Whats it like in Zonkos? Did you buy anything at Honeydukes?"
Colin answered with a frenzied nod of his head. "Really? Oh, excellent!
What?" Dennis gasped, nearly bursting with excitement, as his brother gleefully
opened a flat, white box and held it out to him.
"They are! Sugar
quills! Just like Harry told us about! Go on, take one!"
Carefully, Dennis pulled a
delicate, spun-sugar feather from the box and turned it over in his fingers. The central
spine was a light golden colour, which faded to a soft cream at the edges of the plume.
beautiful," he breathed.
murmured Colin absently, taking a quill for himself.
"Harry said he
reckoned they were one of Rons favourite sweets."
right," Colin answered, still examining his own sugar quill.
Dennis?" Colin finally looked up, irritated.
There was a pause, then
Dennis asked in a small voice, "How do you eat them?"
Colin looked at his brother
as though hed grown fur. "Eh?"
"How do you eat them?
Do you just
I dunno, crunch on them, or
?" Dennis voice
trailed off as he looked at the quill uncertainly.
Colin gave an exasperated
sort of sigh. "Dont be silly. You suck on them. Harry said it was like
sucking on your quill in class."
"I dont suck on
my quill in class," Dennis persisted. "I dont suck on it outside of class,
either! In fact, I dont know a single person who does."
dont have a class with Ron Weasley!"
Colin was now starting
to get annoyed. "How hard can it be? Its just like barley sugar, or that rock
we buy at Great Yarmouth. You stick an end in your mouth, and you suck on it!" he
"But which end?"
his brother whined. "The nib or the plume? It doesnt matter with barley sugar,
cos it doesnt have feathers!"
Colin stared at his brother,
his mouth moving soundlessly, rather like a goldfish.
Finally, he answered,
"You know what, Dennis? I have absolutely no idea."
The brothers sat in
silence as the minutes wore on, their heads bowed as they examined the sweets more
"The pointy bit,
perhaps?" offered Dennis, breaking the silence.
Colin shook his head.
"Nah, thats the end you write with. Whod want to end up with a mouthful
"But, its a sugar
quill. You dont actually write with them
"No, but just
think if Snape saw you sucking on a quill with no ink at the end."
looked crestfallen. "Yeah, I suppose youre right. Id be scrubbing out
cauldrons for a month."
"But, you certainly
cant suck on the feather end, can you?"
"Of course not! Think
of what a mess itd be, all that wet, sticky sugar. I reckon its like wet candy
floss. Imagine getting that all over a Transfiguration essay." Colin looked
pensive for a moment. "Well, if you think about it, sucking on a sugar quill is
supposed to be a substitute for sucking on a real, feather quill. So, lets
look at it rationally. If you suck on your quill"
"Which I already told
you, I dont."
"But if you did,
Dennis!" Colins voice took on a long-suffering tone. "If, say, you
were going to put this feather" he pulled a normal quill out of a nearby
bag and shoved it in his brothers face"in your mouth, how would
you go about doing it?!"
Dennis pulled away in
disgust. "Eurgh, I wouldnt! Theyre not very sanitary, are
pillock!" Colin nearly exploded. "Hypothetically, which end, which bloody
end, would a person stick in their mouth first?!"
Dennis took the feather from his brother. For several long moments, he thoughtfully turned
the quill this way and that, holding the quill to his lips at various angles.
At length, Dennis
tossed the quill pen to one side. "This is boring. Did you get anything else in
With a lingering sigh,
Colin reached into his bag again, and brought out a handful of badges. "Here,"
he snapped, throwing them across the table to his brother.
this?" he asked, taking one. "Support Cedric Diggory?! You must be
joking! You actually bought these?"
"Dont be silly,
Dennis, they were free. Besides, were going to improve them." Colin grinned
conspiratorily as he leaned across the table to press one of the badges, which flashed the
words Potter Stinks. Dennis dropped the badge he was holding and recoiled in
horrible! We cant be seen with these, what would Harry think?"
"What if we
changed it to say Support Harry Potter? Or even, Diggory Stinks? What would
Harry think then?"
Denniss eyes widened,
and slowly a grin appeared on his face. "Wow
That would really cheer him up,
"He really needs it,
with Ron not speaking to him and all."
Dennis nodded his approval.
"So, you know how to do that? How to change the badges?"
For several minutes,
the two brothers stared down at the offending badges on the table.
announced Colin. "Theres nothing else for it." Rolling up his sleeves, he
reached into his robes for his wand.
he intoned, flicking his wand repeatedly over the badge.
Dennis, rather obviously. Colin silenced him with a look and continued. "Scriptavi."
Dennis shook his head. Still nothing had happened.
Colin tried, waving his wand still harder. "Scripti?"
Leaping to his feet, Dennis
snatched up his own wand and joined in. "Scripti Switchi!" they cried
Finally, Dennis waved his
wand so furiously that the tip of it tapped one of the badges, and a cloud of acrid black
smoke burst out and engulfed them. Coughing violently, the boys fanned the air with their
say? Did it change anything?" choked Dennis.
Colin twisted his head
to the side. "Potter REALLY Stinks," he read. He threw the badge aside
and all but collapsed on the table. "I give up."
Dennis threw himself
back into his chair, where he grabbed one of the discarded sugar quills and viciously bit
off the plumed end. As he chewed, however, the expression on his face changed gradually
from frustration to surprise, and then finally to utter delight.
Its... you've... this is really good!"
Colin lifted his head.
Upon seeing his brother savouring the quill, he reached across the table for his own
sweet. Carefully, he licked the very tip of the feather, then sucked it greedily.
taste like barley sugar, doesnt it?" he observed. Dennis nodded
enthusiastically, the last bit of the nib protruding from his lips.
"Feels the same,
too. Its all
hard. Youd think it would be fluffy, like candy floss, but
it isnt at all."
Dennis swallowed hard.
"Reckon I should try it point-first?" he asked. The badges forgotten, he
held up a second sugar quill, a grin spreading across his face.