The Sugar Quill
Author: Morgan Tuatha  Story: The Pen  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.

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This short story is dedicated to all the Sugar Quillers out there who have ever wondered about the little things.

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"What is that in your hand Miss Granger!" Snape snarled as he strode swiftly across the library.

"It's a pen sir," she answered with a note of shock in her voice.

"Put it away! Muggle items of that sort are not allowed. Ten points from Gryffindor."

Hermione's face burned. What was the big deal? So she forgot a quill. Her parents had given her this beautiful pen for Christmas and she wanted to use it. It was a beautiful fountain pen, iridescent blue with a gold nib. Still, if it was against the rules. She reluctantly put the pen back into her bag.

Hermione spent the remainder of her time looking up the rules for Hogwarts. She found no mention of pens not being allowed. Infuriating. She went back to the common room.

"Hermione, I need your help." The round-faced boy looked desperate.

"What is it Neville?"

"I dissolved the Potions assignment, I don't remember anything about what is was."

"Here." She reached into her book bag and pulled out a spare piece of parchment and her pen. She began to scribble the assignment down for Neville.

"What is that?" He asked with a look of awe.

"It's a pen, Neville. Don't tell me you've never seen a pen?"

He shook his head. "May I hold it?"

She handed it to him. He held it as if it was made of glass.

"It's just a pen, Neville. Here write something with it." She held out a piece of parchment and he began to slowly write his name. When he had finished he began to giggle with glee.

"That is so neat! I wish I had one."

"Wait right there Neville." Hermione dropped her bag and raced up the stairs to her dormitory. She remembered that she had an old, chewed biro pen in the bottom of her truck, just for emergencies. She returned to the common room and gave the pen to Neville. "Here you go."

His face lit up. Hermione thought she had just given him a note that said Snape had transferred.

"Thanks Hermione. You're the best." Neville took off looking like Christmas came twice. It wasn't until the next day that she found out why pens were banned.

During their morning Charms class, Neville took out his pen. He looked so proud as other students from wizarding families started to stare. Without warning, Flitwick was on top of him. Both of his hands wrapped tightly around the pen trying to pry it out of Neville's hands. He was like a madman. His voice was shrill, but everyone could make out, "Give it to me! It's mine! No, it's mine! Mine! Mine!"

Neville and Flitwick fell to the floor with a loud crash. Neville was now screaming. He was too terrified to realize that all he had to do was release the pen. Dean Thomas ran out of the classroom.

Hermione knew there was only one thing she could do. She reached into her bag and pulled out her pen. She stood out in front of the struggling pair and held her pen up. The light twinkled on the iridescent blue shaft and Flitwick looked up. Hermione saw an insane hunger in his eyes as he slowly released Neville and moved towards her. When he was a few feet away she dropped the pen and ran. She arrived at Neville's side when Professor McGonagall entered the classroom.

"All right, everyone please return to your common room. I will take care of this." She turned to Hermione and Neville. "The Headmaster would like a word with you two."

Her face was very stern. Hermione helped Neville to his feet and lead him through the door. Outside they found Professor Snape.

"I warned you Miss Granger. Now you have crossed the line. Expulsion would be my recommendation to the Headmaster."

They followed him somberly to the stone Gargoyle and up the moving spiral staircase to Dumbledore's office. When they entered Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk looking very grim.

"Please have a seat," and gestured Snape out the door.

Hermione was sure she was going to be expelled. Tears started to flow down her cheeks. She turned and looked at Neville. His face was pure white; it matched his knuckles as he still grasped his pen.

"Miss Granger, since you are Muggle-born you are not fully aware of intricacies of the wizarding world. We may seem very similar to Muggles, but sometimes conditions are heightened."

Hermione gave Dumbledore a puzzled look.

"In your Muggle school, did you ever notice somebody who always stole your pen? Maybe they would borrow it and never return it?"

Hermione nodded. Daphne Parkin always walked off with her pens. When confronted she would deny that she had done it or claim the pen was hers.

"This condition afflicts wizards as well, though at a more extreme level. The desire for the pen overshadows every other thought in the mind. It can be a very serious condition for some people as you have seen. We call it Scittura-Strumentomania."

"I had no idea, Professor, I only thought it was some anti-Muggle rule that someone made up." Hermione did not want to implicate Snape in front of Dumbledore in case he was outside the door listening. "Will Professor Flitwick be all right?"

"He'll be fine as soon as the ink runs out. But I suggest that if you have any other pens you keep them locked in your trunk."

"Yes sir." She turned to Neville. He still had the pen in a death grip.

"Mr. Longbottom, I highly recommend that you give me the pen for your own safety." Dumbledore held out his hand and gave Neville a stern look.

"Neville?" Hermione looked at him. His eyes had turned wild and he started breathing very fast.

"No! You can't have it. It's mine!" Neville shrieked.

Dumbledore slowly shook his head. "I'm afraid that he too is afflicted with the condition."

"Neville, give him the pen." Hermione watched Neville tighten his grip. He was turning into a madman for a biro. "This is ridiculous!" She reached over and swiftly pulled the pen upward out of his sweaty grasp and handed it to Professor Dumbledore. She then turned Neville's face toward her. "It's over. The pen is not yours anymore. Get over it." Neville slowly began to calm down.

"Thank you Miss Granger. There is no punishment for this incident. I do have one question before you go."

"Yes Professor?" Hermione was relieved that they were not going to get into trouble.

"How much ink was left in the pen Professor Flitwick now has?"

"I'd hardly used it sir. Nearly full would be my guess."

Dumbledore let out a deep sigh. "I guess we'll have to cancel his classes for the next few days. Thank you Miss Granger."

Hermione and Neville left his office. As she shut the door behind her she swore she heard Dumbledore's voice say "Mine!"

Fin

 

 

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