The Sugar Quill
Author: Miss Pince  Story: Sweets for My Sweet  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.


Beta-Reader's note: I know it's highly unusual for the beta-reader to comment like this but these are unusual circumstances indeed. Miss Pince sent me this story just before she left for a holiday in Prague and Vienna and asked me to beta-read it and then send it in the Sugar Quill fanfiction tournament. So I've had my wicked way with this story and done a few changes which Miss Pince might not agree with. But I hope you'll enjoy it nevertheless. ~ Hildigunnur.



"Something needs to be done about this, it can't go on anymore!" Ginny sounded nagging.

"Then why don't you go up here and see what the ruddy thing throws at your head?" Ron was getting irritated. Why, oh, why did they keep nagging like this? It was like the entire family was against him! 'Ron, do this!' and 'Ron, do that!' day in and day out! He was sick of it! What did it matter to them if he didn't clean from underneath his bed or if he forgot to take dirty clothes to the laundry? So what if there were comics all over his bedroom? Nobody else went in there! A little mess never hurt anyone! The way they were treating him, one might think it was a dangerous thing! And so WHAT if Harry saw his bedroom a bit untidy, his bedroom hadn't looked any better when they picked him up in the Anglia a couple of years ago. Okay, it had looked better but Ron was sure Harry wouldn't mind. He sighed and gingerly poked his head up through the hole into the attic. The effect was instant and Ron ducked as a very big and heavy looking cauldron was hurtled towards him.

"It's definitely not in a mood for any negotiations!" Ron yelled down the narrow stepladder to his sister.

"Well, that's your problem!" Ginny sounded a bit amused. Ron sighed and picked up the Beater's club he had borrowed from the twins. He'd been hoping that one of them might be sent up here to tackle the ghoul who had for the last few nights kept the entire household from sleeping. He opened the latch quickly and swung himself up into the attic as fast as he could. He got hit by at least a dozen books before he managed to use the club successfully. As soon as he could catch his breath, he tried to open negotiations with the ghoul. After a few minutes of Ron screaming to the ghoul suggestions of what might be the matter and offering it food and sweets, the ghoul started screaming back: "Clean. Clean, clean, clean cleancleancleanclean..." Ron who got the gist of what the ghoul was saying, grinned to himself and left the attic just about when the ghoul had found a bag of marbles and had started throwing them around.

"What was its problem?" Ginny was still waiting for him downstairs.

"It has got some things in common with me," Ron answered grimly and led the way downstairs into the kitchen.

"Mum, did you clean the attic recently?" Ron felt his eyebrow where a particularly big and nasty book had hit him. He would get an enormous bruise.

"Yes, dear, I didn't throw anything out, but I tried to stack the boxes 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, all summer you've kept going on and on about cleaning and..."

"Ron dear, I love you dearly, but if you keep trying my patience with the state of your bedroom, there's no knowing what I'll do. Now you can 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 put it in the attic, I'm sure it's good enough for the ghoul." Ron sighed. He was fighting a losing battle.

Ron spent the better part of the day on the top of the roof trying to clean the chimney. Ginny had not escaped their mother's crazy cleaning mania and was de-gnoming the garden below him. When Mrs Weasley was finally satisfied with the chimney, Ron collected the soot into a box and walked up the stairs to his bedroom. On the third landing he pulled down the stepladder, threw the latch open and chucked the box up into the attic. He wasn't quick enough for the ghoul however, because a small wooden chest landed on his hand and he lost the grip on the latch which slammed down and hit his fingers rather hard.

"Ouch! Ruddy stupid ghoul!" Massaging his fingers, Ron climbed down the ladder, only to fall right over the chest that was lying on the floor. The chest opened and letters flew everywhere.

"Damn!" Ron exclaimed and started to collect the letters back into the chest when he noticed that there were more things there than just letters. On the bottom of the chest, there was a box, long and thin, the kind that usually contained quills. Stamped in gold on the lid were the words: Eagle Feather Sugar Quill. Honeydukes Luxury Brand.

"Wow!" Ron uttered. Most sugar quills were made to resemble the usual brand that most wizards used, long and white, but Honeydukes also made quills by special order that resembled other brands: eagle feather, peacock feather, even phoenix feather, but those were really expensive, so what was one of them doing here? Ron put the box back into the chest and carried it up to his room. He had to use force to open the door because there were so many things lying on the floor. He treaded the narrow path between comics, dirty underwear, socks, books, homework, empty sweet wrappers and packets of owl treats to his bed and sat down. He couldn't really just eat the quill, could he? Those things did cost a lot and he couldn't afford to pay for it if somebody got mad because he ate it. No, he would have to take a look at the letters in the chest and see if he could figure out to whom it belonged. All the letters in the chest were addressed to the same person, someone named Cassie. Most of them were written in the same neat handwriting and addressed with red ink, but on one of them the address was an untidy scrawl, obviously written by somebody else. On all the letters, someone had written a date with green ink in the top right corner of the envelope. Ron opened the first of the letters and started reading:

Dear Cassie

Thank you so much for your letter. I was really surprised when Errol arrived.

Ron started. Errol? How old was that owl really? He looked back on the date: June, 1974. He had to be pretty old!

Everything is fine. It was the Higgins couple, they lived nearby. I can't believe that they're dead. They were always so nice and friendly.

I hope you're okay, thank you for worrying.

Your friend

Sirius

Sirius? As in Sirius Black? But how? Ron opened the next letter, dated June 1975.

Dear Cassie.

I was really bored today so I decided to send you a letter like I promised you. Everything is fine over here, James is staying with us now, and I'll be staying with him next week. James is finishing his homework now but I finished mine in the first week of the summer holidays. How is your friend Anton? He lives real close to you, doesn't he? Have you seen him at all this summer? I was just going to warn you about him, my dad says his grandfather's suspicious.

Your friend

Sirius

Turning really curious, Ron opened the next letter, dated July 1975.

Dear Cassie

I really have finished all my homework! Why don't you believe me? I really did. Ok, so it was just to stop Mum from nagging but I really 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 you think so?

Your friend

Sirius

A few more followed, all written the same summer about the same things. The next interesting letter was the one with the different handwriting.

Dear Cassie

Will you please come visit me the next Sunday at three o'clock? Me and Mother can come by Floo powder and pick you up.

Yours

Anton

The next letter from Sirius was also very interesting:

Dear Cassie

WHAT?!? You went to visit him? Why? He's just trying to get on the 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?

Your friend

Sirius

The next few letters were all really similar.

Dear Cassie

Why are you so offended? What did I say? Please answer me.

Your friend

Sirius

The last one from '75 was also interesting.

Dear Cassie

I'm really sorry. I shouldn't try to tell you what you should do 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 the writer had been thinking about writing something else rather than 'your friend'.

I hope you'll not stay mad at me for a very long time. I miss your letters.

I'll be in Diagon Alley next Saturday and I hope you can come, then all of us will be there.

Your friend

Sirius

PS. Just so that you don't have to owl me back and ask, yes, James told me to write more than half of this letter.

The next letter was from June 1976. It was obvious from the beginning that things had changed.

Dearest Cassie

I miss you already and it's only been a few days since we parted. How on earth can you have this effect on me?

James is staying with us because his parents are away. All he ever does is talk about Lily. I'm not interested in Lily, I want to talk about you. Nothing ever happens here. I feel like I'm in a cage and I can't do anything but watch the outside world and dread the future. We hear of new deaths every day, new murders. Yet, we must go on like nothing is happening, do our homework, tidy our bedrooms, live our lives. It's maddening.

I'm sorry if this letter makes you blue, I love you.

All my love,

Sirius

All the letters that followed were about the same things. Death and destruction by Lord Voldemort. They got increasingly darker and Ron started to wonder how horrible life must have been, always hoping when you said goodbye to someone that it wasn't for the last time. The letter that had accompanied the sugar quill was the last of them all and by then everyone were obviously out of school and had started to figth the Dark Lord.

Dearest Cassie

Life just gets harder and harder, doesn't it? At least it cannot possibly become any worse. I'm really sorry you had to see all this, it must've been horrible. I'm glad you made it out of there alive. You were wise not to go against so many Death Eaters, although I believe it must have been hard. Don't blame yourself, none of this was your fault and you couldn't possibly have changed anything that night, except maybe the number of murders. I'm trying to get time off to get to see you but things are really hectic over here.

Just don't forget that I love you and you can talk to me anytime you need me. Owl me, firetalk with me, anytime, anywhere. Don't take all the burden on yourself.

I send you your favourite sweets with this letter to try to cheer you up. Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my heart. I love you.

Yours forever

Sirius

There were no more letters, but at the bottom of the chest there was a photograph. It was of two redhaired girls laughing to the camera. Their arms were around each other and they were happy and carefree. One of them looked rather much like Ginny. Ron turned the photo around. On the back, Sirius had written: The Redhead League. Lily and Cassie, fifth year.

Molly was in the kitchen making dinner when Ron came downstairs.

"Mum?"

"Yes, Ron? By the way, thank you for cleaning the chimney, you did a good job." Molly was in a good mood.

"Mum, I found this photograph in the attic. Can you tell me who them are?" His mother paled a bit when she looked at the picture and answered quietly, "This is Lily, Harry's mother and this is Cassie, my late sister. 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 together. She was killed, just a few months before Lily was. We always suspected she had been betrayed. After Sirius' arrest, we just assumed it was him but now we know better. They were engaged, Sirius and Cassie. They were a lovely couple. Like black and white but best friends. We have a picture of her in the living room. We never talked a lot about her after he was arrested because ... because all the good memories included him."

"What?" Ron was flabbergasted but nis mother led him into the living room where she showed him a picture of a very pretty girl with long red hair."

"I always thought this was you."

"Really? I'm flattered. I was never this pretty."

"Mum?"

"Yes dear?"

"What kind of a name is Cassie? What was her real name? Cassandra?" Molly snickered.

"Cassiopeia. Sirius and Cassiopeia."

~*~

Dear Hermione

I'm sorry about my last letter. I didn't mean to boss you around. I'm just concerned for your safety. I hope you'll talk to me soon. I'm sorry I was such a prat. I really didn't mean what I said when I said I hoped your trip to Bulgaria stinked.

We'll be at Diagon Alley next Sunday. Will we see you there? Harry is coming too. I hope you can come.

Your (hopefully still) friend

Ron

Dear Ron

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 Blotts because I need a reference book so I'll be able to finish my essay on Invisibility Potions (I hope for your sake you've started that one because it's horribly hard to do and I'm not going to write two of them).

Your (amazingly still) friend

Hermione

PS. My trip to Bulgaria really did stink.

Hogwarts, September 2, 1995

Dear Ron

I've gone down to the library to do some research for Arithmancy. If you want to live through your next potions lesson, you better join me there to work on your essay. I'll help you.

Hermione



Ron approached the table in the corner where Hermione was sitting with 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 half written essay. He didn't start working on it though, he was too busy watching Hermione who was writing notes with the speed of light.

"Umm...Hermione?"

"Yeah?"

"There's something I really want to give you." Ron pulled out the box with the eagle feather sugar quill he had found that summer. It still looked brand new, like it had been bought yesterday. Those boxes were under some kind of preservation charms. "I...I thought you might like it." Hermione's eyes widened.

"But Ron, those are really expensive..."

"Just take it, please." Hermione took the box and opened it. Then suddenly, her eyes seemed to widen even more and a grin spread over her face. On the inside of the lid, in Ron's handwriting, it said: Sweets for my sweet.



Dear Dad

I know this is an unusual request and please don't let Mum know about this. Would you please take the box of Chocolate Frogs that I sent with this letter and set them free in the attic with the ghoul. I know it likes chocolate, at least it keeps stealing mine.

Yours

Ron



Fin

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