The Sugar Quill
Author: Shannon  Story: Different Angles  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.

Disclaimer: All characters and settings belong to J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers and everything. I just own the made up character Rachel, so don’t hassle me about it.

Author’s Note: I created Rachel Smith so she could tell this story as if she, Ron, Harry and Hermione had been friends since the beginning. Let’s say that when Ron got in the train compartment with Harry in the first book, Rachel happened to be there, too.

***

"Hey," I said lamely when Hermione walked into the common room, "What’s up?" I was gazing into the fire with my arms sagging limply over the scarlet armchair. I was supposed to be doing homework, and it was getting late. I had a Charms report due tomorrow, not to mention a nasty Divination chart and something for History of Magic (I had forgotten). Unfortunately, I was one of the laziest people in Hogwarts and this whole ‘homework’ thing really didn’t suit me.

Hermione eyed me sternly.

"Just working, but I’m sure you wouldn’t know anything about that."

I grinned.

"Of course I do. I did that once back in third year, remember?"

"No."

"Oh yeah. I must have mistaken that for something else. Is dinner over?"

"Rachel!" Her voice was forceful, "If you don’t get to work, you’re going to fail! Don’t you care about your grade?"

"Calm down, Hermione. I always pass. Don’t sweat it," I said with a breezy air, "I’ll be fine." But she kept looking at me hard, so I rolled my eyes and started digging through my book bag.

"Alright, alright," I exclaimed, tossing a quill and a piece of parchment onto my lap, "I’ll start. Wait-what’re we doing for History of Magic again?"

Hermione sighed and we began plowing through my essay with much groaning and pouting (coming from my side of the table we were working at).

Ron came marching down the steps from the boys’ dorms, followed closely by Harry. Ron stopped in his tracks and brought his hands up to his face in mock-shock.

"Rachel-doing work?! What has the world come to?"

"Are you feeling all right?" Harry asked in the same tone as they both strode over to us.

"Ha, ha, ha." I growled grumpily and slumped back into my chair. "Hermione, this is boring. Let’s go do something else," I whined like a first year, "Come on!" I got up and tugged on the sleeve to her robes.

She expelled an exasperated noise and threw down the Goblin rebellion notes that were in her hand.

"Rachel, if you want to pass…" she began warningly, so I fell back into the stuffed armchair once more, grabbed a quill and resignedly returned to scribbling down facts about Goblin plundering.

"But I’m hungry," I complained half-heartedly, "I practically didn’t have any dinner at all and I’ve been writing for what…five straight minutes?

Can’t we just go down to the kitchens…?" I trailed off, looking hopeful.

But Hermione flatly refused to let me stop, and for the next three hours she dictated notes to me and then insisted on checking it for mistakes. The Charms essay was shorter and easier, but the Divination chart was by far the worst. I had assumed that I would be making up the Tarot readings and predictions, but she made me actually do the card work. It was the most writing I’d done in a long time (and probably ever would do). During the time we were there, a lot of people had come through and gone to bed, though a few stragglers were still playing lazy games or cramming in some extra study time before seventh year N.E.W.T. s. Thank God we wouldn’t have to do that for two more years. I think I would just pass out if Hermione made me study for those. It makes me sick just to think about it-so I won’t.

Lavender and Seamus (the word on the halls is that they’re ‘going-out’, but nobody really knows for sure as both of them avoid the subject when asked) came to have a good laugh at me and then asked Colin Creevey (I hate that little punk!) to take a picture of me suffering under Hermione’s withering glare. Many people I didn’t even really know chuckled as they passed, or pointed with open mouths. It would have been pretty funny, if it wouldn’t have been me.

Finally I was done and could go up to bed. I left my homework where it was and trudged up the steps, occasionally bumping off one of the walls and then careening into another, too tired to set my trail straight. I flopped down onto the bed and almost immediately fell asleep.

Someone was babbling about breakfast and shaking me.

"Go away," I muttered, huddling deep under the crimson comforter, "I’m trying to sleep." The shaking persisted. I grabbed the nearest thing I could find and hurled it across the room without opening my eyes.

"Out!" I shrieked, covering my face with a pillow, "Get out!"

I heard a frustrated "Hrumpf!" and Hermione’s voice saying, "You’re going to be late! We’ve got Potions first thing and Snape’s going to give you detention again! Come on!"

I opened one eye and found Hermione standing over me, a little red in the face. I smiled weakly.

"Oh, it’s you again," I mumbled, "I’ll be up in two seconds, I promise, I just-"

"Rachel!"

"Fine, I’m up, I’m up…" I rummaged through my trunk for fresh robes, "What were you saying-what do we have today?"

"Double Potions-"

I groaned.

"-History of Magic, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Arithmancy-oh, sorry, Divination and Charms."

"Let’s go down to breakfast," I declared, "I’m starving." We made our way down the stairs to the common room and I picked up the result of hours of sweat and blood (in other words, my essays) and then clambered through the portrait hole.

My favorite classes at Hogwarts are breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The cooking is the best, though whenever someone commented on it, Hermione was often heard to be muttering about slave labor. I loaded my plate with everything in sight and shoveled it down my throat. While I was gorging myself, I barely noticed an owl drop a letter next to my plate. I reached out for it and to my surprise it was addressed to Hermione.

"Hey, Hermione." I tapped her on the shoulder.

"What is it?" she was talking to Ginny and looked thoroughly annoyed.

"A letter for ya."

"Oh," she opened it and turned pink, "Thanks."

"Who’s it from? Your parents? Ron’s family?" I made an innocent snatch at the letter, but she just tucked it into her robes. She leaned in closer and whispered something.

"Who?" I asked again.

"Viktor."

"Viktor? Viktor Krum? What’s he want?" I didn’t realize that Hermione was talking in whispers so that nobody else would hear. At the time, I just thought she was doing it because she was thinking or something, so I spoke normally. And because of me and my loud mouth, everyone around us could tune in to our conversation.

"Just about Bulgaria," She continued in whispers.

"Bulgaria? You’ve already been down there. Why’s he telling you about it? Lemme see the letter." I reached for it again and she jerked it away.

"What’s wrong? Oh, come off it. I’m not going to make fun of you. Just let me read it."

"I can’t." She was looking down at her plate.

"Why not?" I demanded, still talking loudly.

"He just wants me to come back to Bulgaria."

"Back to Bulgaria?" I said incredulously, "Why?"

"Well, he…he…" she leaned so close to me that our noses were almost touching, "He-he asked me how I felt…about…thinking…about …about…marriage." The last word was almost an inaudible squeak.

"Marriage!" I yelped. Marriage! That Krum didn’t know what he was getting into! Marriage! I almost had a heart attack. Marriage! She was only fifteen! I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. But it was there.

"Hermione he can’t…you can’t…marriage…" I looked up suddenly at her and saw that she wasn’t looking at her plate anymore. She was looking across the table. I followed her gaze.

Ron was staring at his plate with his eyes narrowed and his breathing heavy. He was gripping his goblet like he was trying to shatter it with his fist. His knuckles were white and his face red. But it was not a red like I had ever seen. It wasn’t the Ron-Weasley-Embarrassed-Red; it was an angry red, so forceful, that I was worried for a second.

"Ron?" I asked timidly, "Are you alright?"

He didn’t answer, but he withdrew his hand from the goblet in such a hurry that it spilled. He looked the other way, still ignoring both of us, his face getting a tinge of embarrassment etched upon it. I glanced at Hermione again. Her gaze was directed on him, and her eyebrows got furrowed all of the sudden.

She collected the letter, slung her bag over her shoulder, and walked slowly away, though when she got to the entrance to the Great Hall, she broke into a run. I stared open-mouthed after her.

"Harry, what time is it?" I said in a toneless voice, still watching where Hermione had been.

"Time for us to go." He got up and pulled on Ron’s arm. "Come on, Ron," he added in an undertone. Ron stood up, and wordlessly, stalked off.

Harry and I accompanied each other to Double Potions, every now and then voicing thoughts about what had happened.

"Why was I talking so loud?" I said aloud to myself, "Only a git like me would do that! Auggghhh. Why? Why? Why?" I stopped at a nearby wall to repeatedly bang my head against it. "It’s my fault. And Ron!" I said, glad to be able to blame somebody else, "Ron! What the hell is his problem? What’s wrong with him? I don’t get it. If he likes Hermione, why doesn’t he just say it?!"

"I don’t know," Harry replied, leading me away from the wall, "I just don’t know."

Potions was one of the most awful lessons I’ve ever had. Ron barely talked to me and when he did, it was very formal. He talked to Harry in short conversations that were very off the subject. I looked around for Hermione, but I couldn’t find her. There must be something really wrong, because Hermione Granger would never, ever miss a lesson, even if it was Potions. When Snape took role, he paused after Hermione’s name and looked around the room for a raised hand or a volunteered ‘Here’.

"Sir," I raised my hand, "She’s in the Hospital Wing. She ate something bad at breakfast." Snape gave me a glower and made a swift mark next to her name and continued.

Half an hour later I was passing notes to Harry about Hermione. I was so worried. To tell the truth, I was starting to wonder if she had killed herself. I wrote this down and handed it to Harry, but he just raised his eyebrows and shook his head skeptically. Harry scribbled something down and tossed it to the right side of my cauldron. I bent down to pick it up and when I straightened, who should be standing over me but the Demon of Potions, Snape himself.

"Passing Notes, Ms. Smith?" he said icily, "Tut, tut. And what, by chance, would one be writing about?" He sashayed to the front of the class.

"Would you be kind enough to read it?" He folded his arms. I rolled my eyes and made a slight snarling noise from the back of my throat.

"What was that?" Snape asked, cupping his hand to his ear.

"I said, ‘Yes, Sir’." Harry crinkled his nose and stuck out his tongue.

I unfolded the piece of parchment quickly tried to think up something good.

"Milk," I began hesitantly, "bread…donuts…turkey…Stove Top-"

The Gryffindors were laughing, but Snape’s face had turned an ugly shade of magenta. He strode toward me to grab at the paper, but I released it right over my bubbling potion and it sizzled away in about a second and emitted a large cloud of green smoke.

"Heh, heh. Whoops." I whimpered, trying not to laugh. Snape looked like he was about to hit me.

"Fifty points from Griffindor!" Snape spat, "And detention, Ms. Smith!" He glided to the front.

"Damn it." I said under my breath.

"What?" Snape whirled around.

"Nothing."

The morning never passed so slowly. I handed in my essay in History of Magic and then I dozed in and out of stupor for the next forty-five minutes. I won’t even go into Defense Against the Dark Arts, seeing that we did nothing worth mentioning except worry about Hermione some more. In between D.A.D.A. and Divination (which I had started calling ‘Fake Class’), Harry suggested that we skip Divination to go look for her. I was all for it, but I thought if we were missing, somebody might suspect something. If someone had seen us leave D.A.D.A. together, and then disappear together, it would

get questionable.

"So you go and I’ll just tell Trelawney that you had a…vision or something." I advised Harry as we stood at the base of the winding staircase leading up to North Tower. He nodded and I had to sit through an entire Faker Class with The Fake herself rambling on about the Gladiator Card along with Fluffy Bunny Rabbit Card is a sure sign that people named Harry will kick the bucket any day now. I caught Ron’s eye and rolled my own. All he offered me was a tight-lipped smile.

I was relieved to find Harry at the bottom of the steps.

"Did she fall for it?" he asked.

"Hook, line and sinker. What about Hermione?" I inquired.

Harry shrugged. "She was in Arithmancy!"

"She was? But she wasn’t in any other classes! Is avoiding us?"

"Not us…" Harry said, looking over to the corner where Ron was talking to Dean Thomas.

I sighed. "Harry, this is getting really old. Why do they keep fighting? You’re his best friend, can’t you do something? Go tell him how retarded he’s being."

"Yeah, well, you’re Hermione’s best friend, can’t you tell her how sensitive she’s being?" Harry snapped.

"Who’s side are you on?" I shot back hotly, "Ron is being stubborn and you know it! Stop defending him like he’s some kind of victim!"

"I know Ron isn’t the victim…but, if he really likes Hermione, he might as well be."

"What are you going on about? Stop talking rubbish! If he really likes Hermione, then why doesn’t he just tell her?"

"Rachel," Harry looked at the ceiling, "he thinks she has something going with Krum and he’s jealous! Duh! It’s like waving a steak in front of a hungry dog! He wants something he can’t have! Just like Chinese torture."

I was staring at Harry in amazement.

"How long did it take you to figure that out?" I asked, strictly bewildered.

"I don’t know. I’ve thought about it awhile, I guess."

I snorted with laughter. "No-it’s not funny, really. I just…Chinese torture!" I started chuckling again, but quickly recovered myself.

"Do you think she’ll say yes?" Harry asked, his face stone hard. I was very startled. I’d never considered that possibility.

"No," I said finally, "she doesn’t like him that much. I don’t think she really likes him. God, I just cannot believe it. He asked her if she was thinking about marriage."

"I know."

"We’d better go to Charms. I have enough detentions to last me until graduation, and I don’t need another one for being late," I said as the bell rang.

Hermione was in Charms, which surprised both Harry and I. Ron seemed not to notice. He sat down next to Harry and Seamus and I went to sit next to Parvati and Hermione.

"How’s it going?" I asked her quietly.

"Fine."

"Listen, Hermione, I-I’m sorry for this morning and the letter and all…no hard feelings, right?"

"No, Rachel. It’s okay. You didn’t know what you were doing."

"That’s true. You weren’t in Potions or History of Magic or anything."

"I know."

"Why not?"

She slapped down her Charms essay and took a deep breath.

"Ron?" I said softly, "He can be such a idiot sometimes, but really, he means good."

"How is it good? He judges people like that all the time! What’s his problem?"

"I was just asking myself that," I said, shaking my head, "But I’m sure if you just gave him a chance to explain-"

"I’ve given him more chances than he deserves! There’s nothing wrong with Viktor. He’s really nice and Ron doesn’t even care!"

But just then class started so our discussion was cut short (which was good because I was running out of defensive arguments). We could have easily talked during class, but neither of us really wanted to go further than we had already got.

At the end of class I made the big mistake of trying to resume the topic.

"So…what were you doing this morning?"

"Writing a letter." She answered sharply.

"To Viktor?" I pushed, "What did you say to him?"

"It’s none of your business." We had been walking together down the hall, but when she said this, I just stopped. No matter how lazy and nosy I got, Hermione had never said ‘none of your business’ to me. Oh, sure, Ginny said it to me all the time. But when she did it was a sort of ‘Rachel-Don’t!’ voice that made me laugh. But the tone in Hermione’s voice was a cold, stiff, and clearly said ‘Go Away’.

I sighed deeply and jogged to catch up with Harry and Ron who were heading to dinner.

"Hi." Harry was looking very put off.

"Hey guys," I said with a fake cheeriness, "Do you wanna go down to the grounds to practice Quidditch after dinner?"

"Sure." Harry shrugged and attempted a smile.

"Ron? We can take turns on Harry’s broom and I bet I could get Hermione to put some flying charms on a few balls." I expected him to refuse, but to my surprise he said, "Yeah-yeah, alright."

Well, this meant he wasn’t totally based on ignoring Hermione-or maybe he just really wanted to play. Either way I wasn’t getting very far.

To my great, unpleasant surprise, I found out that Snape intended my detention for right before dinner, which was a very unusual time for a punishment. He probably knew that I loved dinner almost as much as I loved sleep and would do anything to deprive me of it. So that’s why I was dragged down to the abysmal dungeon to clean out pickling jars. What exactly Snape wanted to pickle in them I didn’t want to know, seeing that much of the wall space was filled with organs and animals and who knows what else floating in greenish fluid. Back in my first year, we used to dare each other to go and sniff the one that sat on Snape’s desk. In the end, Neville threw up all over the floor and we were all made to clean it up. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen and just remembering the incident was enough to turn my stomach.

So I sat there, using a washcloth to scrub out the inside of foul smelling bottles, with Snape towering over me.

"Can I go now?" I pouted when I had finished all of the jars.

Snape regarded me carefully and then leaned toward the desk.

"If I find you disrupting my class again, Ms. Smith, I will personally look to it that you are suspended. Now get out of my sight!" he hissed. I was only too happy to do what he ordered and bounced up the stairs into the Great Hall. I plopped myself down next to Harry.

"Where’s Hermione?" I asked, looking around.

He was quiet for a moment. "She left."

"Why? Is she done with dinner or something?" I figured she was in the Library again or studying. But Harry shook his head. I was puzzled and scanned the table for a sign. Ron.

"What did he do to her?" my fists were clenching.

"I didn’t think-right in front of everybody-he was shouting-he said-" Harry looked very shaken.

"Where is she?" I was getting up and heaving my stuff over my shoulder.

"I think she’s over there, that’s the way she left…"

I ran up to the common room and burst through to the girls’ dormitories.

She wasn’t there. I threw my bag onto my bed and dashed back out again. I had no idea where to start, but I went looking in the direction Harry had pointed to. There was nothing really down this corridor except one empty classroom (which I searched) so I went up another staircase and walked swiftly down the halls, peeking into the rooms and calling Hermione’s name softly.

After what seemed like forever, I came to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Even though I could have guessed that she wouldn’t be in there, I decided to ask Myrtle if she’d seen Hermione. I had only been in here a few times in our second year, and I was in no hurry to do it again. The place smelled like stale water and the floor was always drenched. The paint on the walls was damp and stained, the toilets out of order (most of the time, anyway), but the worst thing of all was Myrtle herself, a wailing ghost who redefined miserable. She had spent half of her life here when she was alive, and now she spent all of her afterlife here, crying and bawling.

"Myrtle!" I called, through the sound of choked sobs, "Where are you?" I picked my way carefully over the waterlogged floor, knocking on the stall doors.

"Right, here…" Funny. She didn’t sound as sad as usual. I opened the stall while saying, "Myrtle, have you seen Herm-"

But I stopped. Hermione was sitting on the toilet, her face in her hands, shaking with tears. She was leaning against the stall wall, but when I came in, she lifted up her head and wiped her face with the sleeve of her robes.

"Hermione," I whispered, sprinting to her and putting my arm around her neck, "Oh, Hermione! What happened? Oh, God, what did he do to you?"

Hermione looked at me with such hurt in her eyes that I recoiled.

"He found the letter," her voice broke, "He tore it up…and he said that…that…" She let out great sob while I patted her on the back and she sniffed and continued, "He said that…I didn’t care about anyone but Viktor!" At this, Myrtle, who had been silently circling overhead, gave a delighted chuckle. Secretly, I was thinking that was a pretty dumb reason to cry, but who was I to say that?

"Ron didn’t mean it," I cooed soothingly, ignoring Myrtle.

"He did! He said my friends meant nothing to me. How could he think that?" She looked up at me again with those watery remorseful eyes and I shook my head.

"I don’t know," I hugged her, "I’ll be back in a second, okay?" She nodded and leaned back, trying to force down more regret.

I leaped out of the bathroom and jogged all the way up to the portrait hole.

"Fish Taco."

The portrait of the Fat Lady swung aside, revealing the gigantic, circular passage to the common room.

I climbed inside and flew up the steps to the Girls’ Dorms. Inside, I got a blanket and then began to run back.

I would get some tea from the kitchens to bring to her. But when I reached the common room, I found Harry and Ron sitting in the cozy red armchairs by the fire.

My features hardened at the sight of Ron. I could feel anger rise up in my throat like bile. I walked stiffly around them, but before I could get to the Portrait Hole, I heard Ron’s voice from behind me.

"Where is she?" his tone was expressionless.

"Where do you think?" I snapped.

"I just- never mind."

But I was way to mad to stop the conversation there.

"You just what? Want to hurt her some more? You make me sick! Why are you doing this?!"

Ron’s ears were taking on a brilliant hue of brick.

"Hurt her? Why do you even want to know, Rachel?! She doesn’t bother with us! It’s always about Krum!"

"No, it’s not! What the hell is your problem?"

"My problem? She doesn’t care about anybody else!"

"Shut up!" I could see Harry behind Ron, looking like he wanted to say something but not sure what.

"Ever since she met him it’s been nothing else with her!"

"Stop it!" My jaw was tensing.

"Oh, Bulgaria was terrific!" Ron had put on a high falsetto.

"Ron," I was breathing hard and fast, "I swear…one more word…"

"Vicky taught me so much-Vicky is so interesting-Vicky was just tell-"

SLAP!

I looked at Ron’s cheek, which was getting redder than his ears and then down at my palm, which was stinging slightly. Ron’s eyes were wide in surprise and Harry’s mouth was dangling open. I stood there for a moment, clearly thinking that he was going to throw a punch at me or retaliate. But he didn’t. A fragment of the Sorting song came floating back to me:

"…Their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart…"

Well, if Ron had shown any chivalry at all in the five years I had known him, he was showing it now by not hitting me. I would have. But I wasn’t, and he didn’t, so I walked to the Portrait Hole and clambered through, only once looking back to curl my lip in disgust and say,

"You want to know where she is? She’s in the bathroom crying-because of you."

I quickly made my way to the kitchens. I turned the green doorknob and smiled at the house elves.

"Miss! Miss Rachel!" Dobby squealed happily from inside the crowd of elves.

"Dobby! How’re you doin’?" I sat down cross-legged on the spotless ground and rested my face in my hands.

"Dobb, could I have some tea for Hermione, please? Something that will calm her down." Instantly, two House Elves with togas skipped up to me with a tea tray between them. A third Elf was baring a small platter with small cakes.

"Oh, thanks, guys. You’re the best. See ya later." The house elves bowed and smiled and Dobby cried, "Goodbye, Miss!" I pushed open the door with my foot and walked steadily back to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.

"Hermione?"

"I’m still here." She sounded more together, although her voice was wavering.

I put the blanket around her shoulders and handed her some tea and a cake.

"Thanks."

"No problem." I hesitated. "I saw Ron in the common room." She didn’t say anything so I pressed, "You’re right. He really is being a jerk."

"Why is he doing this to me?" Hermione’s face was filled with a sort of hopelessness.

"That’s just what I asked him."

"And?"

"And he was an asshole about it. So…" I cut off at the sound of an echoing footstep.

"Anybody in here?" It was Ron.

"Oh, yes, they’re in here!" drawled Myrtle gleefully, "Sulking and crying and talking about you!"

"Thanks a lot, Myrtle." I said sarcastically, standing up and opening the stall door.

"What do you want?" I stared hard at Ron. The large hands and feet, the bright, fiery hair, the freckles smattered on his long nose and cheeks, the green-brown eyes. The features I had grown to know and care for.

"I just wanted to-to talk to Hermione." He took a step forward.

I glanced at Hermione and she said clearly, "Fine." I walked out so Ron could go in. I avoided his eyes as he passed me and walked out of the bathroom.

Well, I couldn’t very well just wait out here and miss everything, so I crept back in and stood outside the stall with my arms crossed.

"Hermione-I-I just-"

"Why are you acting like this?" It wasn’t exactly like a question-it was more like a plea.

Ron sighed, and I could tell that he was running his fingers through his hair, one of his more distinguishable habits.

"Why?" She said loudly, and it reverberated through the bathroom.

"Because I was…" Ron trailed off.

"Because what?" Her vocal was getting higher.

"Because I was…jealous." The last word was barely a mumble.

"What?" Hermione had stopped sniffing.

"Jealous. I was jealous. You were paying him so much attention and it just…" Ron sighed again. I could almost feel the heat coming from his face.

"Oh, Ron." Hermione’s voice was fragile and soft, almost as if she were saving her breath.

"Hermione," Ron took a deep breath, "I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…said anything," I heard him exhale and then say, "God, I am so, so sorry. If you like Krum that much I’ll just…" he let out a very heavy sigh and started to open the stall door.

"But Ron," Hermione said suddenly, "I don’t like Viktor that much."

Ron stopped, and I could have sworn I saw a grin flash across his face from the crack between the door and the wall.

"But he asked you-"

"And I said no. I can’t love Viktor. He’s nice and all, but I could never love him." I could hear her get to her feet.

"But why?" Ron’s voice was quiet and hopeful.

"Because," Hermione let out a soft breath, "my heart…belongs…to …somebody…else." Each word grew quieter and quieter, so I had to put my ear right up to the door to hear.

"Hermione-"

Ron was suddenly cut off, but I couldn’t understand what was stopping him from talking. I opened the door a touch and peeked inside.

I could see Ron’s back to me and Hermione’s forearm across his shoulder blade. What was she doing, hugging him? I pulled the flimsy door open some more and craned my neck to see what was going on. My mouth dropped.

Hermione’s mouth was pushed against his in an unmistakable kiss. Ron’s eyes were wide in shock and his arms frozen to his sides, but then the slowly relaxed. He twined them around her waist and his eyelids drooped down.

After a moment they slid backwards from one another. Hermione’s eyes were still closed, and her mouth was slightly parted. Ron was grinning. Her eyes danced open and were fixed on him.

"Well…" Ron began sheepishly, "I guess that-"

"Rachel!" Hermione was staring at me in obvious surprise.

I leaned against the stall wall and smiled slyly.

"Oh, hi Hermione." I glanced at Ron, who was glowing a very lovely strawberry color, "I suppose Ron isn’t such a huge jerk after all. Actually, I’d say he’s a damn good guy. Funny, talented Quidditch player…" I walked in and strode around to Hermione, "…cool friend, and from what I’ve heard,"

I smiled more broadly, "a great kisser." Both of them were bright red, and I laughed. They looked at each other, grinned shyly, and started to laugh along with me.

"I don’t know about you guys," I said, rubbing my hands, "but I’m starving; playing match-maker isn’t easy, you know. Maybe we can just catch dinner."

As we walked out, Hermione whispered to me, "What did you do?"

"What do you mean?" I was a little taken aback.

"You know…to make him apologize and all."

"Oh- I slapped him."

"Really?" She sounded concerned and impressed at the same time.

"Yep." I smiled proudly.

We walked into the Great Hall, where only a few older kids remained.

"Hey, Rachel?"

"What?" we sat down and she grinned.

"Thanks."

 

Author’s Note: As I said, I created Rachel for my own pleasure and to tell a story from a different angle. But another big reason why I came up with her was to put myself in the book. Rachel is an echo of me- my friends are always accusing me of being lazy and a chowhound, not to mention being able to be cruel and kind at the same time.

 

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