The Sugar Quill
Author: Miss Snuffles (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Passing Notes  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.

 

A/N: Okay, when I first started Passing Notes, I said that I might continue it. So I have a bit. However, the format is slightly different, along with the tense of the storytelling. Sure, you can say that this is quite incorrect, and I should correct myselfóbut too bad! Iím changing the form of the story-telling a bit, and you can just deal with it. :-p

Thanks for being patient with me!! :-D

Also, thanks to Elanor Gamgee for being my beta!! J

PASSING NOTES: Part Two

The bell was ringing.

A sleepy mumbling floated through the classroom as fifth year Gryffindors slowly returned to the world of the conscious, and groggily slipped their books into their bags and stumbled towards the door. As always, a lecture by Professor Binns put everyone into a dumb stupor, and it was only by the magical ringing of the school bell that anyone could be revived.

Or, thatís how it usually was.

Two Gryffindor fifth years had been wide awake throughout the whole lecture (although they hadnít heard a word of it), but the ringing of the bell had failed to move them into action.

Hermione Granger sat at her desk, staring down at the wood in disbelief. Then, as her classmates surged past her to escape the tedium the classroom still held, she gave Ron Weasley a darting glance. She looked down at her desk again, and blinked rapidly. She could feel her cheeks burning, her heart thumping erratically, and Ronís own skittish eyes on her.

You donít have to be angry to be beautiful, Hermione.

In that awful, sloppy, barely-legible handwriting, Ron had practically told her she was beautiful. It made up for quite a lot of things, really.

"Whatís the matter with you two?" A puzzled voice interrupted the throbbing noise in Hermioneís ears.

She glanced up to see Harry Potter glancing between her and Ron quizzically, his bright green eyes slightly dulled from his nap. "Erm," she said quite intellectually.

"Erm," Ron agreed.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Honestly! Could one of you bother to tell me why you havenít been speaking to each other?"

Hermione shook her head quickly. Go away, Harry! Let me savor the moment! Ron just called me beautiful, which makes him a bit less of a git! Youíre spoiling the moment! Of course, she could not tell Harry this, and especially not in front of Ron. Or Professor Binns, for that matter.

Harry sighed irritably and headed for the door. "Whatever, then."

Then he was gone, and Hermione was painfully aware of the fact that Ron was still sitting beside her, and sitting quite still. Slowly, she edged her eyes over so she could glimpse him, and felt a thrill run down her spine at the very pink ears and red cheeks facing the blank blackboard.

Slowly, Ronís own eyes edged towards hers, and then he quickly snapped his gaze back forward. With ever cautious movements, he began packing his bag. Grinning, Hermione began to do the same, and they moved out of their desk as one, finally having to face each other in the aisle.

**

Ron had spent the past couple of minutes mentally slapping himself for letting his comment slip. It hadnít been intentional. It wasnít his fault that his hand was possessed. He was thinking of having it chopped off, actually. That way he wouldnít be putting himself in uncomfortable situations with it, and itíd also be a nice excuse to not do agonizingly long essays for Binns, Snape, or McGonagall. Hagrid could always feed the severed appendage to one of his "cute critters", and then everyone would be pleased.

All the while, Ron chanted to himself Donít look at her, donít look at her! It was a rather good plan, he had to admit, until he found himself face-to-face with her, and remembering that lunch wouldnít taste so good coming back up.

Ron stood there, not wanting to open his mouth to say anything for two reasons: heíd probably say something quite stupid, or remind Hermione what heíd had for lunch.

Her soft brown eyes darted up to his, wide with astonishment and shining with . . . Oh no . . .

Ron felt his stomach do an impressive routine of acrobatics, and his grip on his books slipped as his palms began to sweat. It was a relief when Hermione looked down, but then she had to lick her lips nervously, and Ron knew he wouldnít last very long.

"Hey!" Harry had returned, and Ron wasnít sure whether to hug his friend or kill him. "Youíre going to be late for Potions!"

"Right," Hermione gasped breathlessly. She nearly dropped her books as she spun around, and Ron reached out instinctively to catch Hogwarts, A History.

"Here," he managed to grunt out, handing the book back without any eye contact.

"T-thanks." Hermione quickly took the book, but Ron snatched his hand away when their fingertips brushed. Hermione turned a brighter shade of red and scurried to the door and past a bewildered Harry. Ron shuffled across the classroom, ignoring Harryís inquisitive look.

~*~*~

Potions class was a nightmare, as usual, but Hermione barely flinched as Neville Longbottom melted yet another cauldron and Professor Snape took a ridiculous number of points away from Gryffindor. In fact, she barely noticed, which was rather sad, since Neville was her partner.

"Hmm?" Hermione tore her gaze away from Ron, who was quite carefully cutting his dragon claws into thin, precisely measures slices. "Whatís that, Neville?"

Neville, while on the brink of panic, gave Hermione a puzzled double-take. "Hermioneóare you okay?"

"Yes, quite fine. Why?"

"WeóIójust failed the lesson! Youíll be getting a horrible mark because of me!"

"Oh? Thatís all right, Neville." Hermione glanced back towards Ron and Harry, and found Ron looking right back at her. His eyes widened and he snapped his head back down, accidentally cutting his claws into irregular pieces. Then Harry looked up, glanced between them, and then shook his head, obviously bewildered. Hermione could only smile.

"He called me beautiful, Neville, did you know that?" she said cheerfully.

Nevilleís mouth dropped open.

~*~*~

Hermione missed dinner, due to the long detention Snape gave her and Neville, but for some reason it hadnít been that bad. When she climbed back through the portrait hole into Gryffindor Tower, she found Harry gone for his Quidditch practice, but Ron sitting at one of the study tables, his books spread out before him while he idly built a castle with an Exploding Snap deck.

Hermione felt a flutter of nerves as Ron glanced up to see whoíd come through the portrait hole.

For a brief moment, he looked quite happy to see her, but then he turned from pink to white with freckles, and turned his chin back down to his deck.

Her own cheeks pink, Hermione hurried up to her dormitory and grabbed her books, and then returned to the common room. Ronís castle was starting to smoke, and Hermione waited until it exploded before setting her things down on the table.

"You shouldnít be playing that near your books," she said, surprised by her own boldness.

Ron only nodded, gave her the most fleeting of glances, and then took out a piece of parchment and dipped his quill into his ink bottle. Hermione sighed, realizing that Ron didnít want to talk to her. Perhaps today was a fluke, she thought mournfully as she opened her Transfiguration book to the assigned chapter.

She couldnít concentrate on the deeper science of Animagi, because the scratching of Ronís quill filled her ears, echoing in her head. You donít have to be angry to be beautiful, Hermione, it seemed to etch. Shut up! she ordered herself.

Then, when Hermione thought she was on the brink of insanity, a parchment was gruffly shoved across the table.

Hi. I didnít make you mad today, did I? Iím sorry, Hermione, if I said anything stupid. I do say a lot of stupid things, donít I? I mean, sometimes itís funny, but sometimes not. So, anyway, are you mad at me?

Hermione felt a smile tug at her lips, and she quickly dipped her quill into its own well, and then began to write back.

Of course Iím not mad! You didnít say anything stupid. Well you did, but not today. Did you mean what you said?

She stared at what she wrote for a moment, and then quickly pushed the parchment back towards Ron, feeling her stomach convulse nervously. Ron glanced up as her hand moved towards his, the parchment caught under her fingertips. Their eyes met for one brief, nerve-wracking second, and then Hermione dropped her gaze back to her book, pretending to have found an answer to whatever question sheíd been reviewing.

There was that scratching again as Ron scribed, and it seemed terribly loud to Hermione, whose entire being was tuned to the sound. It seemed an eternity before he hastily shoved the parchment across again.

Youíre not mad then. Good. I donít like fighting. Well, sometimes I do. What did I say? I said a lot of things.

Hermione did her best not to growl in frustration. Ron knew perfectly well what she meant, unless he was completely dense. He had to know! He was going to make her say it, not him!

You said you wanted us to be friends. You also said something else. Did you mean that?

There, she thought with satisfaction, pushing the parchment back and feeling a smug smile tug at her lips as Ron looked up. His brow furrowed as he quickly snatched the note and read it over, and Hermione felt rather pleased with herself as Ron screwed his nose up in a disgruntled sort of way. He scribbled furiously, then shoved the parchment back, wearing his own smug smile.

Hermione reached for the parchment, her fingers brushing over his. She jumped and wasnít sure whether or not she liked the way his eyebrows shot up under his fiery hair. Well, he looked cute, anyway, but was that to her advantage?

What else did I say? You must be more specific, Hermione. I must have said something to get your dander up like this. Gosh, what was it? It must have been something quite good. Do tell.

"You littleó" Hermione started to hiss, and then caught herself. Ron coughed, and she glanced up, narrowing her eyes and trying to glare. He merely widened his eyes innocently and tilted back in his chair. Huffing, she responded: Ronald Weasley! You know perfectly well what I mean! If you donít tell me what you meant by it, then I WILL NOT speak to you again!

She slapped the note down in front of him, and Ronís chair set itself down properly with a thud. Ronís smugness faded a bit as he glanced down at the parchment, which Hermioneís hand covered. Their gazes met, and Hermione felt her neck flush as she quickly snatched her hand back. Ron read the note over, his ears turning pink as he began to scribe his response.

Heíd better respond this time, Hermione thought, clutching her hands together in her lap. She couldnít help but watch as Ron slowly and methodically wrote his reply. Whyís he taking so long?

Quite carefully, Ron dotted his last period, and then set down his quill. Then he reread the note, nodded to himself, and edged the parchment across the table.

Her heart thumping, Hermione picked up the note and focused her eyes on the scrawled words.

I meant what I said. You donít have to be angry to be beautiful. That meansósince youíre making me spell it out for you (ha ha)óthat youíre alreadyó

Hermione paused for a moment, took a deep breath, and then let her eyes read over the very cautiously written word.

--beautiful. Youíre really smart (I donít want to write Ďreallyí ten times), a great friend, the cleverest witch I know, and pretty even without all that make-up the other girls wear. Thatís beautiful, Hermione. Youíre beautiful.

Now donít make me say it again!!

It was even worseóor better, she couldnít quite measure anything on a scale of good or bad right nowóthan sitting thunderstruck in Professor Binnsí class. Hermioneís ears werenít ringingóthey were roaring. She felt deliciously warm and fuzzy, yet altogether tragic and pathetic. The words, already memorized in those few terrorized moments, blurred as her eyes began to tear.

She blinked hard, but when she began to tremble slightly, she knew she had no chance at all.

"Hermione?" Ron croaked, his voice unusually high with alarm. "Eróare you all right?"

Hermione nodded fervently, wiping quickly at her traitorous eyes. "I-Iím fine. Oh, Ron!"

"Please donít ask me if I meant that," said Ron, his words low and fast.

"I wonít! Oh!"

"Hermione, youíre making a scene!" he hissed, a frantic note in his voice.

"Iím sorry, Iím sorry! ReallyóIím sorry!" Hermione wiped her eyes dry, blinked several times, and then glanced around the room, which was filled with studying Gryffindors (some shooting her annoyed looks), and then back at Ron. She felt her stomach turn into goo again. He looked rather frightened himself, and certainly uncomfortable and pink. "You think Iím beautiful?" she managed to squeak out.

"Erm . . . yeah." Ronís eyes twitched as if to look away, but then stubbornly remained fastened on her. The pink tones turned scarlet, blending marvelously with his head.

Hermione wasnít quite sure what compelled her to do it (Ron might have been a large part of it), but she leaned the short distance across the table and kissed his cheek. "Thank you," she whispered in his ear, and then sat back down in her seat.

Ron looked as if heíd been Petrified; his eyes were round, his mouth gaping, moving wordlessly like a fish.

Just then, a great ruckus bounded into the common room. Quidditch practice had ended, and the seven Gryffindor players poured into the once quiet tower, disrupting everything. Harry, looking quite exhausted but exhilarated, sat down beside Ron, his Firebolt resting against his shoulders. He raked a hand through his extremely untidy hair and frowned, looking again between Hermione and Ron, who was still gaping like a fish.

"What happened? Are you two all right?" asked Harry.

Ron sort of made a noise with his mouth, but nothing intelligible. Harry arched an eyebrow and turned to Hermione, obviously expecting an explanation of some sort.

Everythingís fine, Harry," Hermione smiled. She decided it was best to make an exit now and avoid being harassed for questions by Harry and let Ron get on with his homework. "Iím going to bed, then. Quite sleepy, you know, after that detention from Snape. See you in the morning!"

With a cheery wave, she shouldered her bag and headed up to her dormitory.

But she wasnít tired at all.

THE END

(Almost)

"What was that all about?" Harry asked aloud, watching Hermione float up the stairs, a silly grin on her face.

Ron only shook his head, one side of his face curving upwards into a manic grin. "Night, Harry." And then he too was floating up the stairs, not tired at all.

Harry sat at the table for a moment, staring at Ronís abandoned books. His roaming eyes landed on the parchment sitting out on the table. Realizing that it must be Ronís essay, Harry picked it up, hoping to find some inspiration for his own assignment. Besides, he and Ron copied off each other all the time.

However, Harryís eyes did not alight on inspirational knowledgeóbut it was certainly curious information.

 

THE END

(for real this time!)

A/N: (yes, again!) Thanks for putting up with me!! I hadnít even really thought about continuing this for ages, but then tonight when Iíd gotten home from a busy, mind-numbing day at work, I decided to just write it. That way, I had accomplished something for the week, but didnít have to deal with getting myself engrossed in one of my bigger stories and be up until the crack of dawn, and then have to tackle my Spanish final

 

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