Beta-Reader's note: I know it's highly
for the beta-reader to comment like this but these are unusual
indeed. Miss Pince sent me this story just before she left for a
in Prague and Vienna and asked me to beta-read it and then send it
the Sugar Quill fanfiction tournament. So I've had my wicked way
this story and done a few changes which Miss Pince might not agree
But I hope you'll enjoy it nevertheless. ~ Hildigunnur.
"Something needs to be done about this, it can't go on anymore!"
"Then why don't you go up here and see what the ruddy thing throws
your head?" Ron was getting irritated. Why, oh, why did they keep
like this? It was like the entire family was against him! 'Ron, do
and 'Ron, do that!' day in and day out! He was sick of it! What did
matter to them if he didn't clean from underneath his bed or if he
to take dirty clothes to the laundry? So what if there were comics
over his bedroom? Nobody else went in there! A little mess never
anyone! The way they were treating him, one might think it was a
thing! And so WHAT if Harry saw his bedroom a bit untidy, his
hadn't looked any better when they picked him up in the Anglia a
of years ago. Okay, it had looked better but Ron was sure Harry
mind. He sighed and gingerly poked his head up through the hole into
attic. The effect was instant and Ron ducked as a very big and heavy
cauldron was hurtled towards him.
"It's definitely not in a mood for any negotiations!" Ron yelled
the narrow stepladder to his sister.
"Well, that's your problem!" Ginny sounded a bit amused. Ron
and picked up the Beater's club he had borrowed from the twins. He'd
hoping that one of them might be sent up here to tackle the ghoul
had for the last few nights kept the entire household from sleeping.
opened the latch quickly and swung himself up into the attic as fast
he could. He got hit by at least a dozen books before he managed to
the club successfully. As soon as he could catch his breath, he
to open negotiations with the ghoul. After a few minutes of Ron
to the ghoul suggestions of what might be the matter and offering it
and sweets, the ghoul started screaming back: "Clean. Clean, clean,
cleancleancleanclean..." Ron who got the gist of what the ghoul was
grinned to himself and left the attic just about when the ghoul had
a bag of marbles and had started throwing them around.
"What was its problem?" Ginny was still waiting for him
"It has got some things in common with me," Ron answered grimly
led the way downstairs into the kitchen.
"Mum, did you clean the attic recently?" Ron felt his eyebrow
a particularly big and nasty book had hit him. He would get an
"Yes, dear, I didn't throw anything out, but I tried to stack the
and clean a bit..."
"Well, it doesn't like it, so what do you suggest we do?"
"Who doesn't like it, dear?"
"The ghoul of course! That's why it's so mad. I mean I can relate,
summer you've kept going on and on about cleaning and..."
"Ron dear, I love you dearly, but if you keep trying my patience
the state of your bedroom, there's no knowing what I'll do. Now you
clean the chimney."
"What! Why should I clean the chimney?"
"It's dirty, Ron and then you can collect the soot into a box and
it in the attic, I'm sure it's good enough for the ghoul." Ron
He was fighting a losing battle.
Ron spent the better part of the day on the top of the roof trying
clean the chimney. Ginny had not escaped their mother's crazy
mania and was de-gnoming the garden below him. When Mrs Weasley was
satisfied with the chimney, Ron collected the soot into a box and
up the stairs to his bedroom. On the third landing he pulled down
stepladder, threw the latch open and chucked the box up into the
He wasn't quick enough for the ghoul however, because a small wooden
landed on his hand and he lost the grip on the latch which slammed
and hit his fingers rather hard.
"Ouch! Ruddy stupid ghoul!" Massaging his fingers, Ron climbed
the ladder, only to fall right over the chest that was lying on the
The chest opened and letters flew everywhere.
"Damn!" Ron exclaimed and started to collect the letters back into
chest when he noticed that there were more things there than just
On the bottom of the chest, there was a box, long and thin, the kind
usually contained quills. Stamped in gold on the lid were the words:
Feather Sugar Quill. Honeydukes Luxury Brand.
"Wow!" Ron uttered. Most sugar quills were made to resemble the
brand that most wizards used, long and white, but Honeydukes also
quills by special order that resembled other brands: eagle feather,
feather, even phoenix feather, but those were really expensive, so
was one of them doing here? Ron put the box back into the chest and
it up to his room. He had to use force to open the door because
were so many things lying on the floor. He treaded the narrow path
comics, dirty underwear, socks, books, homework, empty sweet
and packets of owl treats to his bed and sat down. He couldn't
just eat the quill, could he? Those things did cost a lot and he
afford to pay for it if somebody got mad because he ate it. No, he
have to take a look at the letters in the chest and see if he could
out to whom it belonged. All the letters in the chest were addressed
the same person, someone named Cassie. Most of them were written in
same neat handwriting and addressed with red ink, but on one of them
address was an untidy scrawl, obviously written by somebody else. On
the letters, someone had written a date with green ink in the top
corner of the envelope. Ron opened the first of the letters and
Thank you so much for your letter. I was really surprised when
Ron started. Errol? How old was that owl really? He looked back on
date: June, 1974. He had to be pretty old!
Everything is fine. It was the Higgins couple, they lived
I can't believe that they're dead. They were always so nice and
I hope you're okay, thank you for worrying.
Sirius? As in Sirius Black? But how? Ron opened the next letter,
I was really bored today so I decided to send you a letter like I
you. Everything is fine over here, James is staying with us now, and
be staying with him next week. James is finishing his homework now
I finished mine in the first week of the summer holidays. How is
friend Anton? He lives real close to you, doesn't he? Have you seen
at all this summer? I was just going to warn you about him, my dad
his grandfather's suspicious.
Turning really curious, Ron opened the next letter, dated July
I really have finished all my homework! Why don't you believe
I really did. Ok, so it was just to stop Mum from nagging but I
did it anyway!
James is just fine. He keeps sending owls to Lily.
I don't mind at all whether you've seen Anton or not. Why would
A few more followed, all written the same summer about the same
The next interesting letter was the one with the different
Will you please come visit me the next Sunday at three o'clock?
and Mother can come by Floo powder and pick you up.
The next letter from Sirius was also very interesting:
WHAT?!? You went to visit him? Why? He's just trying to get on
good side of your dad! You're so intelligent, you should know that!
What did he say? Did you have fun? Was he nice to you?
The next few letters were all really similar.
Why are you so offended? What did I say? Please answer me.
The last one from '75 was also interesting.
I'm really sorry. I shouldn't try to tell you what you should
or shouldn't. I was only concerned because I'm your friend.
There was a really big blot of ink at the beginning of 'your', like
writer had been thinking about writing something else rather than
I hope you'll not stay mad at me for a very long time. I miss
I'll be in Diagon Alley next Saturday and I hope you can come,
all of us will be there.
PS. Just so that you don't have to owl me back and ask, yes,
told me to write more than half of this letter.
The next letter was from June 1976. It was obvious from the
that things had changed.
I miss you already and it's only been a few days since we
How on earth can you have this effect on me?
James is staying with us because his parents are away. All he
does is talk about Lily. I'm not interested in Lily, I want to talk
you. Nothing ever happens here. I feel like I'm in a cage and I
do anything but watch the outside world and dread the future. We
of new deaths every day, new murders. Yet, we must go on like
is happening, do our homework, tidy our bedrooms, live our lives.
I'm sorry if this letter makes you blue, I love you.
All my love,
All the letters that followed were about the same things. Death and
by Lord Voldemort. They got increasingly darker and Ron started to
how horrible life must have been, always hoping when you said
to someone that it wasn't for the last time. The letter that had
the sugar quill was the last of them all and by then everyone were
out of school and had started to figth the Dark Lord.
Life just gets harder and harder, doesn't it? At least it
possibly become any worse. I'm really sorry you had to see all this,
must've been horrible. I'm glad you made it out of there alive. You
wise not to go against so many Death Eaters, although I believe it
have been hard. Don't blame yourself, none of this was your fault
you couldn't possibly have changed anything that night, except maybe
number of murders. I'm trying to get time off to get to see you but
are really hectic over here.
Just don't forget that I love you and you can talk to me
you need me. Owl me, firetalk with me, anytime, anywhere. Don't take
the burden on yourself.
I send you your favourite sweets with this letter to try to
you up. Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my heart. I love you.
There were no more letters, but at the bottom of the chest there
a photograph. It was of two redhaired girls laughing to the camera.
arms were around each other and they were happy and carefree. One of
looked rather much like Ginny. Ron turned the photo around. On the
Sirius had written: The Redhead League. Lily and Cassie, fifth
Molly was in the kitchen making dinner when Ron came downstairs.
"Yes, Ron? By the way, thank you for cleaning the chimney, you did
good job." Molly was in a good mood.
"Mum, I found this photograph in the attic. Can you tell me who
are?" His mother paled a bit when she looked at the picture and
quietly, "This is Lily, Harry's mother and this is Cassie, my late
They were friends at Hogwarts."
"What happened to her? How come I've never heard of her?"
"She was much younger than I. We didn't even go to Hogwarts
She was killed, just a few months before Lily was. We always
she had been betrayed. After Sirius' arrest, we just assumed it was
but now we know better. They were engaged, Sirius and Cassie. They
a lovely couple. Like black and white but best friends. We have a
of her in the living room. We never talked a lot about her after he
arrested because ... because all the good memories included
"What?" Ron was flabbergasted but nis mother led him into the
room where she showed him a picture of a very pretty girl with long
"I always thought this was you."
"Really? I'm flattered. I was never this pretty."
"What kind of a name is Cassie? What was her real name? Cassandra?"
"Cassiopeia. Sirius and Cassiopeia."
I'm sorry about my last letter. I didn't mean to boss you
I'm just concerned for your safety. I hope you'll talk to me soon.
sorry I was such a prat. I really didn't mean what I said when I
I hoped your trip to Bulgaria stinked.
We'll be at Diagon Alley next Sunday. Will we see you there?
is coming too. I hope you can come.
Your (hopefully still) friend
I'll forgive you this time. Don't do it again.
I'll be at Diagon Alley. I really need to get to Flourish and
because I need a reference book so I'll be able to finish my essay
Invisibility Potions (I hope for your sake you've started that one
it's horribly hard to do and I'm not going to write two of
Your (amazingly still) friend
PS. My trip to Bulgaria really did stink.
Hogwarts, September 2, 1995
I've gone down to the library to do some research for
If you want to live through your next potions lesson, you better
me there to work on your essay. I'll help you.
Ron approached the table in the corner where Hermione was sitting
half of the books in the library stacked around her.
"Hi, Hermione. Thanks for offering to help me"
"You're welcome, Ron." Ron sat down at the table and pulled out his
written essay. He didn't start working on it though, he was too busy
Hermione who was writing notes with the speed of light.
"There's something I really want to give you." Ron pulled out the
with the eagle feather sugar quill he had found that summer. It
looked brand new, like it had been bought yesterday. Those boxes
under some kind of preservation charms. "I...I thought you might
it." Hermione's eyes widened.
"But Ron, those are really expensive..."
"Just take it, please." Hermione took the box and opened it. Then
her eyes seemed to widen even more and a grin spread over her face.
the inside of the lid, in Ron's handwriting, it said: Sweets for
I know this is an unusual request and please don't let Mum know
this. Would you please take the box of Chocolate Frogs that I sent
this letter and set them free in the attic with the ghoul. I know it
chocolate, at least it keeps stealing mine.