The Sugar Quill
Author: Emily (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Third Task  Chapter: Chapter Two
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

PART 2

Hermione woke in very uncomfortable position. Why on earth am I sleeping on the common room floor, and not in my bed? she thought. And... oh my. She felt her face flush as she realized that the freckled arm around her shoulders was Ron's, and that he was asleep next to her.

"Ron! Hermione!" Mrs. Weasley was climbing through the portrait hole, with Bill on her heels. "Dumbledore said-"

She stopped abruptly as she noticed Ron's arm. Hermione blushed again, and extracted herself from it as Ron shook himself awake. Mrs. Weasley smiled, and continued. "Dumbledore said he sent you up here, but it took forever to get a chance to talk to him. I was worried sick!"

"Where's Harry?" Ron asked. He was still a bit muddled from his nap.

"Don't you remember, Ron?" asked Hermione. "He and Cedric...oh..." she abrutly stopped talking, and put her hand to her mouth.

"Oh...right." Ron finished lamely.

"We haven't seen him, but I figure he's got to be in the hospital wing." said Bill. "C'mon, let's go see him."

Over the past few hours, it become habit for Ron and Hermione to grab hands while one of them lead the other, and as they stood, they did it unconciously. Simultaniously, they looked down, blushed, and let go, then followed Mrs. Weasley and Bill though the halls, towards the hospital wing. Looking out the windows, Hermione could still see the stars glittering over the maze. She shivered unconsciously, wondering what possibly could have happened inside to lead to...well, she didn't want to think about that. All she wanted now was to find Harry and make sure that he was ok.

When they reached the hospital wing, they surrounded Madam Pomfrey and all burst out talking at once. "Where's Harry?" asked Hermione and Ron.

"What happened to him?" asked Mrs. Weasley.

"Where's Dumbledore?" asked Bill.

Madam Pomfrey looked blankly at them, partially because she hadn't understood a majority of what they had said, and partially because she hadn't a clue where Harry or Dumbledore were, or what happened to either of them.

"Isn't he here?" demanded Hermione at the same time that Mrs. Weasley said, "He's not here?"

"Is he ok?" asked Ron.

"Is he with Dumbledore?" asked Bill, who, it seemed to Hermione, felt that Dumbledore was the answer to all their problems.

He was probably right. They looked expectantly at Madam Pomfrey, who was still trying to mentally sort out the jumble of words that had just been shot at her. They heard the door swing open and spun around with expectant faces.

"Harry! Oh Harry!" exclaimed Mrs. Weasley, putting one hand to her mouth and stretching the other out towards Harry.

Dumbledore held up his hand. "Molly," he said, "please listen for a moment..."

Hermione stopped listening and looked at Harry. He had never looked so...small before. His face was white, and his green eyes seemed huge in his face. That's exactly how he looked, she thought, small, young, frightened, and very tired. "I do not want you questioing him until he is ready to answer, and certainly not this evening," finished Dumbledore.

Mrs. Weasley turned to Ron, Hermione and Bill. Hermione and Ron were watching Harry, who looked relieved, if not exactly glad, to see them. "Did you hear that?" she admonished in a whisper, as if they were being abnormally loud, when in fact they were saying nothing at all. "He needs quiet!"

For the first time, Hermione noticed that Harry's hand was resting on a big black dog. Sirius! She breathed relief, then nudged Ron with her elbow, cocking her head ever so slightly at "Snuffles."

"Oh!" whispered Ron. Madam Pompfrey's reaction to the dog was less positive.

"Headmaster," she said, staring at Sirius, "may I ask what-?"

Harry tightened his grip in the black fur. "The dog will be remaining with Harry for a while," said Dumbledore. "I assure you, he is extremly well-trained. Harry-I will wait while you get to bed." Dumbledore was saying somthing else, but Hermione was suddenly interested by another corner of the room. Mad-Eye Moddy was lying in a bed there, and he look very, very different then he had earlier. He was thinner, paler, and his hair was chopped off at twenty different lengths. 'What's going on?' she thought. Madam Pomfrey was leading Harry to a nearby bed, and Ron gave Hermione's hand a little tug to move her along, blushing when they touched. Only when Harry said, "Is he ok?" did Ron drop Hermione's hand and turn to look at Mad-Eye Moody in a confused sort of way. "

He'll be fine," Madam Pomfrey said to Harry. She handed him some pajamas, and beneath the screen surrounding his bed, they saw his torn robes fall to the floor, and his feet leave the ground as he climbed into bed. Sirius crawled up next to Harry on the bed; Ron and Hermione sat on one side and Bill and Mrs. Wealey sat on the other. Both of them were cautious towards Harry; Hermione knew she was scared, although she wasn't sure whether she scared of what HAD happened to Harry or what COULD HAVE happened to him. Next to her, Ron regarded Harry in the manner that one looks at something fragile that they have dropped and miraculously caught before it shattered on the ground. "I'm alright," Harry told them, "Just tired."

Mrs. Weasley smoothed the blankets down around "Snuffles" and Harry, and blinked back the tears in her eyes. Madam Pomfrey came around the screen, and poured a purple potion in a goblet, which she handed to Harry. "You'll need to drink all of this, Harry" she said. "It's a potion for dreamless sleep." Harry took a few sips of the potion, and immediatly, his eyelids drooped. His grip on the goblet relaxed, and Hermione plucked it from his hand in order to keep it from spilling. Harry closed his eyes and went stright to sleep.

"I'll take this back to Madam Pomfrey," whispered Hermione.

"Hold on, Hermione, I'll come too," said Ron in a low voice. They came around the screen and exchanged glances.

"What do you think happened?" whispered Ron.

"I don't know!" replied Hermione. "I can't even imagine...did you see Cedric?" she asked suddenly."His eyes were wide open...and he was all-" her voice caught in her throat.

"Hey, don't think about that," whispered Ron.

"How can I not?" she hissed. "He's DEAD, Ron. And Harry could have been too. I thought this stupid tournament was supposed to be safe!"

"Well, it's obviously not, but there's no use worrying about it. It's over. He's gone. That's it." Immediately, Ron knew he had said something wrong. Hermione looked at him in shock and disbelief. "That's it?" she repeated. "THAT'S IT? Do you think that's it for Cho, huh? Did you see her, Ron? They were in love! And now he's gone..." she fell silent for a second, then started back up again. "What about his parents, Ron? What about them? You KNOW how proud of him Mr. Diggory was and now... How would you feel? What about his friends? What if Harry were the one who was dead, instead, Ron? What then?" She grabbed the goblet from Ron's hand and stormed off to Madam Pomfrey's office, leaving him standing the middle of the hospital wing, bewildered and upset.

How would have felt if had been Harry...? Or (his mind made the natural jump from on best frind to the other) if it had been Hermione? This made him freeze. What if had been him? Would Hermione be like Cho, throwing herself to the ground, sobbing? He shook his head, and found Hermione back at his side.

"Let's not fight, ok?" he said. "Harry needs us right now." She gave him sad sort of smile. "Ok." she replied. "For Harry."

They returned to Harry's bedside, where Mrs. Weasley was tucking Harry's cover's about him again. Ron sat down and pulled Hermione's chair just a little closer to his as she ran a hand over "Snuffles'" back and while her back was turned to him. When she sat down, Ron gathered his courage and said in a tone so low even his mother couldn't hear, "For us too." She blushed, and under the bed grabbed his hand, and gave it a little squeeze. He threw her a suprised look, his ears glowing, then returned her squeeze.

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --