The Sugar Quill
Author: Cecilia Morgan  Story: Through the One-Eyed Witch  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.

Through the One-Eyed Witch:

Sugar Quills and Chocolate Heaven

Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the characters and their universe, not I.

*****

"RE-MUS!"

The sing-song shout had issued from the now blurred figure that was crashing in to Gryffindor Tower. It launched itself at a chair across from Remus, landing haphazardly, arms and legs going in all directions, giving the impression of a very loud, very large, overgrown rag doll. Remus shook his head.

"Yes, Sirius?" Sirius looked pointedly at Remus and whined.

"I’m BORED!" Remus could not keep from snickering in amusement at Sirius’ pained and melodramatic face, despite his friend’s warning look. "Well?" Sirius asked accusingly.

"Well, what?" Remus replied neutrally, eyebrow raised. Sirius made a noise of exasperation and flung his arms in the air.

"Do something! I’m begging you!" Remus’ snickers turned to loud laughter as Sirius dropped from his chair to the floor, dark eyes wide and innocent, hands raised imploringly as if in prayer.

"Alright, alright!" Remus gasped through his laughter, "I surrender!" Sirius’ look of piety cracked with the appearance of a devilish smirk. He picked himself up off the floor and deposited himself back in his chair. Remus set down his quill and closed the book he had been studying from, one on transfiguration, running his fingers along the leather binding and the title.

"So, where’s James?" Remus asked, sitting back comfortably in his chair. Sirius made a face.

"Out practicing Quidditch. Again."

"And Peter?" Sirius shrugged.

"Still in the infirmary battling the ‘flu, I suppose."

"And so you’re here to bother me." Sirius nodded enthusiastically. Remus sighed. "Well, then. Chess?" Sirius shook his head absently. His eyes were now tracking two fellow second-year girls descending from their dormitory. "Fine, you don’t appear to have the concentration for it just now, anyway. Sirius? Are you listening?"

"Yes." His eyes now seemed to follow something outside the window.

"Sirius." No answer. "Peter’s turned into a canary."

"That’s nice." Remus shook his head.

"Peter’s turned Dumbledore into a weasel." Sirius continued to stare mindlessly out the window.

"Mmmhmm."

"Sirius. I kissed Snape in front of the entire school."

"That’s ni-WHAT?!?" Sirius was on his feet, his eyes wide and shocked. Remus laughed at Sirius’ frightened and confused face, gesturing for him to sit.

"Nothing. Perhaps a walk?" Sirius slumped back into his chair.

"No."

"Well, what, then?" Sirius groaned, obviously irritated.

"You’re supposed to tell me!" Remus sighed, stood, leaned over the table, and clamped his hand firmly around Sirius’ wrist. Yanking hard, he hauled the dark-haired boy out of his seat and towards the door. "Where are we going?" Sirius cried, surprised and a bit alarmed.

"We are going for a walk," Remus declared, dragging his friend into the corridor. Sirius obediently trailed in Remus’ wake until, a few steps later, he was released. Remus began to wander aimlessly.

"Are we going anywhere in particular?" Sirius asked, curious. Remus shrugged.

"No, not really. Just exploring the castle." Sirius turned to Remus and fixed him with a look of sudden excitement.

"Of course! There are probably loads of rooms and passages we’ve never seen! Let’s go!" Remus grinned ruefully as his friend bounded off, energized, and no longer the least bit bored. It was preferable, Remus reflected, to have Sirius in an exuberant mood, even if it often led to trouble. Life wasn’t quite right without Sirius’ enthusiasm. Remus, now trailing in Sirius’ wake, grinned at his energetic friend’s retreating form on the way to inevitable adventure.

*****

An hour and a half later the two wizards were no closer to finding hidden rooms or secret passageways than they had been upon leaving Gryffindor Tower. Sirius’ wonderful energy was giving way to irritability. Remus was growing increasingly tired. Their quest was not going well.

"I’m sick of this!" Sirius groaned. "We haven’t found a bloody thing!" Sirius spun and spied a statue of a craggy, one-eyed, hunchback old witch. "You there!" he called, pointing at her. "Can you tell us where to find something interesting in this bloody old castle?" Remus shook his head. Sirius spun again, now pointing at Remus. "And you! Why are you always shaking your head at me? You don’t do that to James or Peter!"

"Well they don’t go around talking to statues!"

"You never know! Perhaps it will answer!" Sirius cried with indignation. "After all, the suits of armor sing and point the way to the boys’ toilet!" Remus burst out in laughter at the memory of the incident that begun with a walk through deserted corridors and ended in his friends lying in a tangled heap mixed with bits of shining armor.

"That was funny!" Sirius flashed a grin.

"It was. So, who’s to say the old hag won’t talk?" Remus smiled.

"Right. So make her say something." Sirius frowned, then let his trademark smirk creep over his face. He stepped up to the statue and casually draped an arm around its shoulders (with some difficulty, due to its height and its hump).

"So, my dear, what secrets do you hide?" In fits of hysterical giggles, Remus collapsed to ground as Sirius continued to chat up the stone witch in his most seductive tone. "I’m sure you must know lots about this castle...can’t you tell us something? We’re just two poor second-years...surely you could help us?" he whispered, pouting and pleading to the dispassionate witch. "Please?" Sirius’ pleading was, however, to no avail. The witch held her ground and Sirius’ pout became a frustrated sneer. Remus collected himself from the floor and straightened his robes. He stepped to Sirius’ side and examined the statue.

"Hullo there! Come on, be a nice witch and tell us about secret passages!" he demanded. Sirius snickered.

"Now who’s off his rocker?" Remus glared. Sirius stuck out his tongue and made a very strange face, something of a mixture of a merman, a hag who had swallowed sour milk, and a very cross gargoyle. Remus opened his eyes wide in shock.

"Oh, now that does it, Sirius!" he cried, and jumped the boy, knocking him to the stone floor and wrestling him over childish insults and general silliness.

"Oh, no you don’t!" Sirius cried as Remus clasped his hand around Sirius’ wand to disarm him. In a show of quickness, Sirius managed to wrench his wand from Remus’ hand before the werewolf could bring his full strength to bear. Scooting back across the floor, he pointed at Remus and began to cry out a minor curse. "Dissen-," he shouted, but Remus was too quick. He’d flung himself forward and knocked Sirius’ arm out of line, backwards, and into the statue. "-dium!" Sirius finished, startled into a different ending that did not fit the intended curse. What happened next neither boy could have predicted.

As soon as the misspoken curse had issued from Sirius’ mouth, the hump of the hunchback witch opened, revealing darkness and a hole the depths of which seemed infinite to the wide and wondrous eyes of the two boys. Recovering, Sirius sprung up to examine the statue, eyes sparkling with the glint of impending mischief. He turned his eyes on Remus and beckoned him forward.

"See!" he hissed, an air of secretiveness at once around him. "I told you! The statues here do have secrets!" Remus, his eyes trained on the gaping hole, nodded distractedly.

"So," he said, attempting nonchalance and failing miserably, "do you suppose it’s safe to go in?" Sirius gave him a look that plainly expressed the sentiment of ‘do you really need to ask me that question?’

"Who cares? I just want to see where it leads!" Before another word could be uttered, the adventurous Sirius had plunged into the hole and disappeared. Remus waited anxiously and finally heard a muffled noise that resembled, "All clear!" Sighing, he slid after Sirius on his way to heaven only knew where.

A trip down a stone slide later, Remus found himself in a tunnel. The smell was of damp earth and soil, to match the damp earth beneath his stomach. He hauled himself up and stood next to Sirius, whose wand was already out and lit. "Lumos," Remus muttered, and his wand, too, became a bright beacon in the otherwise pitch-black tunnel. Sirius, satisfied that his friend had made it down unhurt, started off. Remus followed, curious, if apprehensive, his wand ahead and on his guard.

The trip seemed to take forever. Bored after not long, Sirius began humming random tunes, scuffing his feet along the earthen path, and generally broadcasting his displeasure with the lack of action. Finally, when Remus was about to suggest they turn back, the path began to slope upwards. Sirius quickened his step. Remus had to walk quickly to keep up with Sirius’ faster pace and longer legs. The pair reached a flight of stairs and began to ascend. Up and up they went, with no end in sight. Nimble and fit though they were, the boys quickly began to tire. Remus was considering whether to suggest they rest when there was a loud crash above him. He slammed full into Sirius, who was yelling at top volume.

"BLOODY HELL! Who put a ceiling there? You’d think someone would be more considerate than that!" Remus choked back laughter as Sirius glared angrily at the offending ceiling, his eyes full with righteous indignation despite the fact he was directing it at an inanimate object. With a sigh, Sirius rubbed his aching head and pushed open the trap door.

What greeted them next was the overwhelming smell of sugar. Sirius’ eyes lit up with joy as he noticed row after row of boxes. "Oh, wow! We’re in the cellar of Honeydukes! We must be!" Remus’ eyes widened. The town of Hogsmede was strictly off limits for first- and second-year students, Honeydukes and all. Tales of the wonderful sweets there came second-hand from the older students who had visited. Tales of fudge and sweets beyond imagination. Remus smiled as he recalled his favorite, a sweet proffered him by a generous fourth year boy called Ian. A delicate creation, perfectly made – a sugar quill. Holding his illuminated wand before him, Sirius stepped past Remus and perused the labels, whispering the names of the many sweets like prayers, albeit strange and often silly prayers.

"Jelly Slugs, Toothflossing Stringmints, Pepper Imps, chocolate bars, Chocolate Frogs, ew, blood-flavored lollipops, who would want those?" Sirius muttered. Remus stepped up and checked the labels for himself.

"Droobles Best Blowing Gum, oh, I think that’s what Sean brought back from his first trip here last year, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Fizzing Whizzbees, oh, and Sirius, look! Here they are! The sugar quills!" Remus cried, trying to keep his excited voice from carrying to the floors above. Sirius grinned.

"Heaven! We’ve fallen through a witch’s hump and into heaven!" Remus laughed. The tension of the afternoon’s dull search had evaporated as thoroughly as a puddle of water on a scorching summer afternoon. Now, surrounded by sugar treats, his hand on the box containing his very favorite sweet of all, Remus thought Sirius to be absolutely right. This was heaven.

"But, Sirius, how do we get the sweets? We can’t just steal them! But if we go upstairs and try to buy them, everyone will know we’re not old enough and we’ll be found out." Sirius frowned and considered Remus’ very valid point. A thought dawned on him.

"Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll very casually ask one of the third-years about their trip to Hogsmede, ask them about the shop, and ask how much the sweets cost. Then, we’ll come back with the right amount of money and leave it, with a note that explains what it’s for. Something like, ‘Apparated in at night but didn’t want to wake you, here’s the money for the sweets.’ They’ll be utterly confused, but won’t think of there being a secret passage under the shop. Sound alright?" Remus pursed his lips and considered. It was a little dangerous, but mostly sound. He nodded and looked longingly at the box of sugar quills before allowing Sirius to pull him back into the passage and down the hundreds of steps, down into the darkness and away from the sugar-spun wonderland of Honeydukes’ cellar.

*****

"JAMES!"

The boy with mussed black hair and gray eyes concealed behind glasses looked up from his task of cleaning his broom to find his friends bounding into their dormitory, sweaty, tired, but exuberant. Sirius flung himself at his bed and landed with a bounce, crashing through the curtains and squashing pillows on his way down. Remus and James exchanged a rueful smile and look that said, ‘Must he always fling himself at every piece of available furniture?’ Setting his now pristine broom in its place, the Gryffindor Seeker turned to his grinning friend.

"Yes, Sirius? What is it?" James leaned back against the post of the bed, crossing his arms, and listened as Sirius retold the day’s adventure with wild and excited gestures and an expression full of glee.

"We found a secret passage, James! On the third floor, through a statue of a witch! It goes on and on forever, but you’ll never believe where it leads!" Sirius cried, throwing his arms wide and nearly begging James to hazard a guess as to the end-point of the mysterious passage. James sighed and shrugged.

"No idea. Where?" Sirius grinned.

"Straight into the cellar of Honeydukes!" Sirius was rewarded with an amazingly funny face. James’ mouth dropped open, his eyes widened, and his glasses slid down on his nose. Remus let out a short burst of laughter at his friend’s expression and Sirius sat watching him with a mixture of satisfaction and glee.

"You don’t mean...in Hogsmede? The sweets shop? Really?" James exclaimed. Sirius nodded enthusiastically, the glint of mischief returning to his dark eyes. "Well, then, this calls for a little walk! Come on, I’ll get my cloak and we’ll go right away!" Remus opened his mouth to second the motion, but Sirius held up his hands.

"Under normal circumstances, I’d agree with you, James. But it’s nearly time for dinner and if we go now we might be seen. We should go tonight, together, under the cloak. We can tell Peter later, when he’s feeling better. We can even bring him some sweets to cheer him up!" James smiled.

"Yes, you’re right, that’s a fantastic idea. Alright then, tonight. Now, to dinner!" Remus sighed. He’d really wanted some sugar quills, but he resigned himself to waiting and followed his raucous friends out of Gryffindor Tower and down to dinner.

*****

"James, you prat, you stepped on my foot!" The irritated whisper issued from thin air. If someone had been walking down the corridor, they would have thought either they were dreaming or that Mr. Nobody and his friend James must be nearby.

Of course, the truth is far more amusing than either option. Squashed together like sardines in a can and wrapped head to foot in shimmering clothe, three twelve-year-old boys made their way down the deserted and darkened third floor corridor, out of bed at one in the morning completely against rules and invisible to outsiders. Underneath, however, they were perfectly visible to each other – visible enough for Remus to see his friend Sirius’ face screwed up in mock-pain. Remus smacked him across the arm.

"Bloody idiot! Keep quiet, Filch might be lurking about." Sirius pouted, but returned to watching his footing in silence. The three boys approached the silent statue. Sirius drew his wand and pointed it at the witch.

"Dissendium!" he ordered. Nothing happened.

"Oh, just bloody brilliant Sirius. Dragging us out here in the middle of the night for a trick that doesn’t work!" James hissed. Sirius glared, shoved him, and flung off the cloak. Remus, startled, shot out his hand to drag his friend back under, but was too late. Sirius stood by the witch examining it in all earnestness.

"I don’t understand! It worked early. Dissendium! Still nothing? Am I saying it right, Remus?" he asked, looking towards the empty patch of air that contained his hidden friend. Remus sighed.

"Yes, you’re saying it right. Perhaps it only works by day. Come on, get back under the cloak, Sirius." Sirius turned a reproachful eye on the disembodied voice.

"One more go. Dissendium!" The witch still refused to yield to the boy’s command. Frustrated and annoyed, he smacked it over the head with the wand. "Stupid witch. Dissendium!" he cried for the final time, just as he gave it another good crack on the head.

The hump popped open.

James jumped back in surprise so quickly that he knocked over Remus, causing both to fall into a tangled, helpless heap on the stone floor, limbs sticking out at odd angles from beneath the cloak. Despite the fact that ownerless limbs were not a normal sight, the one boy that remained upright took no notice. Sirius merely gave them a look of exasperation.

"Come on!" he muttered. "I want to get to the sweets!" James and Remus exchanged a look of bemusement and happily obliged, throwing off the tangled heap of fabric and rushing to join Sirius in a trip down the stone slide.

An eternity later (or so it seemed) the three boys arrived in the cellar of Honeydukes. Remus sighed in delight. The phantom image of a box a sugar quills that had been his sustenance was about to give out. Six eyes lit up as their owners dove every which way to get their hands on the preferred sweets. Sirius went straight for the fudge. Remus, in the opposite direction, made for the sugar quills. James, left standing in the center, looked right and left, utterly confused. Upon collecting himself he found the box labeled ‘Chocolate Frogs’ and helped himself to a few.

"I hope I get Ptolemy or Circe this time," James muttered under his breath. He’d been holding out for those two for what seemed like forever. Sirius came up next to him, arms loaded down with fudge.

"Maybe you’ll get Sirius Black, master wizard, conjurer, and revealer of secret passages!" James snickered.

"Maybe I’ll get Sirius Black, disrupter of classes, ruddy idiot, and maker of mischief and trouble extraodinaire!" Sirius grinned, threw his arms wide, dropped all his sweets, and bowed expansively as Remus turned to clap.

"All hail Black, Magical Mischief-Maker Extraordinaire!" Remus cried. Sirius waved and blew kisses to the phantom audience, sending his companions into fits of giggles which lasted long enough for Sirius to prance around the cellar, bowing and waving and blowing yet more kisses.

"Well, got everything?" James asked upon his recovery. Sirius hauled up his lot and surveyed it.

"Fudge, fudge, more fudge, and a little fudge to go with it. Yes, all set!" he cried happily. James took out the parchment with their pre-written note of ‘explanation’ on it and a quill and added to it the quantity and price of the fudge that had been procured, then placed Sirius’ handful of sickles and knuts into the pouch.

"Remus?" Remus nodded.

"Yes, a dozen sugar quills. Here’s the money." Remus’ coins joined Sirius’, James added his own, which included the money for some Jelly Slugs and Every Flavor Beans for their invalid friend. The trio set the note down in the middle of the floor along with the money pouch. Nodding, the boys set off, loaded down with sweets, on their way back to Gryffindor Tower.

"You know, we ought to make some sort of map, so we know where this secret passage is – and we can have the one under the Whomping Willow on it, too," Sirius suggested thoughtfully. James stopped.

"Sirius, that’s a marvelous idea! And do you know what would be even better? If you could enchant it to show where everyone person in Hogwarts was at any given moment." Remus stood gaping.

"James, that’s impossible! You can’t be serious!" James grinned.

"Of course I’m not serious – he’s Sirius!" he cried, pointing to his friend who was turning a nice shade of purple at the overused and extremely irritating joke. "But, really, Remus, I mean it! It would be fantastic! We must work on it," he said, starting off again and ignoring Sirius’ irate looks. Remus grinned, watching his friend march off, deep in thought, in his philosophical, ‘how-can-we-get-into-even-more-trouble?’ mode. If they pulled this off, there would never be a need to worry that someone was nearby when there was mischief afoot, Remus thought. He could sneak into Honeydukes’ anytime he wanted for his beloved sugar quills! That thought made him smile and happily pop one of the delicate sugar creations into his mouth as he walked.

"I should just curse him, you know, the stupid git," Sirius muttered. Remus looked up, suddenly remembering a question from earlier, and removed the sugar quill from his mouth.

"Oh, Sirius, that reminds me. I wanted to ask – what was that curse you tried to use on me earlier?" Sirius stopped dead and turned back to his friend. By the dim light of his wand Remus could make out Sirius’ most devilish smirk.

"Wouldn’t you like to know..."

 

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