The Sugar Quill
Author: Mosylu (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Knitting Lesson  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.


A little fic about Ginny, her mum, and an emerald-green sweater.

Hey all, Mo here. I'm not a regular HP fanfic reader, but I was rereading HP1 today and I got this idea. If it's similiar to someone else's, I honestly apologize. All characters belong to JK Rowling (we are not worthy, we are not worthy). Any inaccuracies in Ron's account of the battle with the troll can be chalked up to Ron being Ron or me being stupid.


Knit one, purl two, knit two, purl one . . .

"Do be careful, dear, you've dropped another stitch."

Ginny Weasley hurled down her needles and the clump of tangled yarn in disgust. "This is impossible, Mum! Please, I'll never learn to knit, so why can't I stop?"

Her Mum picked up Ginnny's knitting and handed it back to her, then returned to her own needles. "Because you will learn to knit, eventually, and it's a very useful skill."

Some of the stitches had fallen off the needle, and Ginny sulkily began the torturous process of coaxing them back on. "It might have been useful a hundred years ago, but not today," she pouted. "Why can't you just go to the store and buy us all sweaters for Christmas?"

"Because a gift means more when it's made with love."

"Well then why can't you charm the needles to knit while you do other things?"

Her mum gave her a stern look. "It doesn't do to depend too much on magic, Ginny. Sooner or later you'll start to think you're better then everyone else, and we all know what that leads to."

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Yes, Mum, I'm sure the entire reason You-Know-Who went bad was because nobody ever taught him to knit."

"I think you're picking up too many of your brothers' bad habits, Ginny. Mouthiness, for one."

Ginny blinked at her. "From halfway across England?"

Her dad stuck his head in the room. "Don't make fun of your mother, Ginny, that's my job." He brandished a fistful of letters. "Mail from Hogwarts. Hermes just brought them."

"Well?" Ginny's mum said. "Come in and read them, Arthur."

Ginny sighed heavily. She was hoping for a letter from Ron, but goblins got you garden gnomes that it was just another boring six pages from Percy about his stultifying adventures as a prefect, or another scribble from one of the twins about their latest pranks.

It wasn't that Ginny missed Ron so much--although she did, quite a lot. She'd never been alone in the household before, but this year, for the first time, it was just her and her parents. Ron got on her nerves a lot, but he'd always been someone to play with--or fight with. It usually amounted to about the same thing.

Yes, Ginny did miss Ron, but that wasn't the real reason she so looked forward to his few letters. It was because in his last letter, he'd spent the bulk of it on the subject that interested her most.

Harry Potter.

Ginny had been fascinated with him even before he'd become her older brother's best friend--ever since she'd first heard about his battle with You-Know-Who when she was very small. She'd been born on the same night that battle had taken place, and she couldn't help feeling as if Harry had personally ensured that she, Ginny, would never have to live even a minute in a world that had You-Know-Who in it.

It was of course an utterly ridiculous thought--for one, Harry didn't even know she existed, and for another, he'd been just a baby himself at the time, and Ron said he didn't remember a thing but a flash of green light. But it was a nice thought, all the same.

Then, when she'd seen him at King's Cross station on the first day of September, she'd somehow registered everything about him--the bright green eyes, the mussed black hair, the solemn expression, and the polite and rather hesitant way he'd asked about the platform. She'd been a bit curious, until Fred and George had broken the news that he was Harry Potter, the Harry Potter, and that they'd actually seen that lightning scar that was his badge of honor. Her mum hadn't let her get on the train to have another look, however, and she'd been forced to content herself with the flash of his face in the window as the train sped away towards Hogwarts.

Next year, she thought determinedly, I'll be on that train too, and then--

The and then continually changed. Sometimes she became, like Ron, one of Harry's closest friends. Sometimes, she became more. And sometimes (in her most depressed moments) he didn't even realize she existed, saying "Who?" every time one of her brothers mentioned her.

"Ginny," said her mum, and Ginny snapped out of her reverie. "Don't you want to hear the letters?"

"Who wrote, Dad?" Ginny asked.

Her dad shuffled through the letters. "One from Percy, of course--"

Of course--it just figured that the dullest letter writer was also the most faithful.

"One each from the twins--oh! and here's one from Ron! Goodness, Percy must have gotten after them to write."

Ginny's mouth fell open.

Ginny's mum said tartly, "Oh, I wasn't aware there'd been a solar eclipse."

"Now, Molly, he's not that bad."

"Very nearly, Arthur--here it is November, and this is only the second letter. You'd think the boy forgot how to hold a quill. Well, what does he have to say for himself?"

"Yes, Dad, read his first, read his first!" Ginny blushed as both her parents paused and looked at her. "I mean--he must have lots to talk about--since it's been so long since his last letter, you know--umm--" She decided to quit while she was ahead.

Her dad smiled to himself and looked around. "Great goblins, where on earth--" He heaved a sigh and took out his wand. "Inveni--"

"Your glasses are on top of your head, Dad," Ginny put in before he could finish the Location Charm.

"Oh." He put his wand away, fumbled for his glasses, and settled them onto the bridge of his nose. "Okay--all right." He slit the envelope and brought out three or four pages of paper, covered with Ron's uneven scrawl.

Ginny's mum said, "Percy must have been standing over him for that many pages--"

"Muuuuuuuuuuuum!" Ginny wailed.


She thought of beating her head against the wall, but decided against it as her dad started to read.

"'Dear Mum, Dad, and Ginny,

Happy Halloween, a bit late. You'll never guess all the excitement around here. You can be proud of your youngest son this time, Dad--Harry and I fought a full grown mountain troll on Halloween night and we won!'"

Ginny gasped.

"'I can see you rolling your eyes, Gin, but honestly, it's true. Nobody really knows how it got in, but in the middle of the Halloween feast, Professor Quirell ran into the Great Hall, screaming about it, and then he passed out right on the floor!'"

"I do hope he was all right," her mum said.

"'We all got herded up to our towers to finish the banquet, but then Harry remembered that awful girl, Hermione Granger. Well, she isn't so awful anymore, but that's part of the story. Anyway, she was up in the girl's loo, having a cry for some reason. Girls are so weird, honestly.'"

Ginny and her mum both said, "Hmph!"

"'Harry talked me into going and getting her, because she couldn't have heard about the troll. So we got up there and we heard it! The troll! He was banging around and, gosh, what a stench! He was ugly too--almost as ugly as you in the morning, Gin.'"


"I'm just reading what it says, Ginny," her father said mildly, but with a twinkle in his eye. He continued. "'We were really scared he'd see us, but then he went into a room, and Harry got the idea to lock him in. We'd just done it and were getting away when we heard someone screaming--and you'll never believe it. The room was the girl's loo, and the screaming was Hermione! We ran back and unlocked the door. I don't know what we thought we were going to do--that troll was fifteen feet high, at least, and he was ripping sinks right out of the walls.'"

Ginny's mother put her hand over her eyes.

"'We started throwing bits of sink and yelling, but it didn't seem to work. Then Harry jumped right on its back and stuck his wand up its nose! He says it was an accident, but I say it was genius. Then I performed the levitation charm we'd just learnt that day, and I knocked it out with its own club! Bet Hermione felt silly--she'd been making fun of me for not doing it right that day in Charms.' Wingardium Leviosa, I expect," Ginny's dad broke off to say. "Nice little charm--"



"All right, all right, don't get excited. 'Then the professors found us--I guess we'd been making a terrible lot of noise. They were about to punish us for not going to the towers like we were told, but then Hermione took the blame! Miss Hermione "Absolutely Must Follow The Rules Whatever The Cost" Granger lied to them and said she'd thought she could take the troll, being that she'd read so much about them. They took five points from Gryffindor for that, but then they gave me and Harry five points each for battling that troll. Can you believe it? I was stunned! Especially since--well--I didn't want to say it before, but I'd said something a little bit nasty to her earlier in the day, and Harry reckons that's why she was up there crying. I dunno. Anyway, she's been much nicer lately--almost tolerable, when she's not nagging us about schoolwork. We're all okay, Mum--nobody got hurt, except the troll.'"

Ginny's mum said, "Phew--my goodness! They could have been killed, all three of them! Such a risk--"

"Don't go sending a Howler just yet now, Molly," her dad broke in. "If they hadn't been there, that girl would have been killed. Our son's not perfect, but he does have a good heart."

"And so does Harry," her mum said gratefully. "I knew he was a nice boy, right from the start. Is there any more to that letter?"

Her dad adjusted his glasses and looked back at the paper in his hands. "'Classes are all fine, especially now we have Hermione to check our homework for us. Harry's first Quidditch match is on Saturday. He's nervous, but Fred and George say he's going to do fine. You should see him on a broom, it's fantastic, like he's been riding one all his life. I bet he catches the Snitch right off, that'll show those nasty Slytherins. I've got to go to Herbology now. We've got a test on Monday, and Hermione's promised to help us study, but she won't let us cheat. Love, Ron.' Oh, wait, here's a P.S. 'I just talked to Harry and he says he's staying for the holidays, as his aunt and uncle probably won't want him back for Christmas. Hurrah! That means I won't have to spend Christmas with just the twins and Percy! Love again, Ron.'"

Ginny's mum shook her head. "You know, I know it's unkind, but I can't help thinking little of those Muggles who are raising him. Don't want him home for Christmas, indeed!" She purled furiously, her needles clicking like gunfire. "And he's such a nice boy, too . . ."

"You know, Molly, it could be argued that we're doing precisely the same thing--"

"That's quite different, Arthur. They're probably staying home, and even if they were going somewhere, they could afford to take him along. It's just--just--just pinch-heartedness, that's what it is . . ."

Ginny stared into the fire, picturing Harry all alone on Christmas morning, his bed bare of gifts, his face forlorn as he watched the festivities. "Mum," she said.

"And if they were here, I'd give them a piece of my mind, I would--"


"Nothing like Lily or James, not that I knew them so very well but I don't know how anyone human could've got in the same family--"


"What is it, Ginny?" her dad asked.

"I--I just thought of something," she said, shy now that all attention was on her.

"Well, what is it, dear?" her mum asked.

"I thought, since he doesn't have a mum or a dad, and his aunt and uncle are so mean--I mean, mightn't we--couldn't we--"


"MakeHarryaWeasleysweaterforChristmas," she said very fast.

"What?" said her father.

But her mother's eyes had gone very soft. "Oh, Ginny! What a lovely thought, dear! How very sweet of you! Quite right, of course--he's not likely to have very many gifts this Christmas, things being the way they are. What color, do you think? Blue? Oh, no, I'm making the twins' in blue. Purple?"

"Green, Mum--bright green!"

Arthur said helplessly, "What's green?"

His wife kept talking, the light of plotting in her eyes. "Of course, just the thing, it'll bring out his eyes."


"In a cable pattern, I think--"

"What's going on!"

Ginny and her mum looked at her dad as if he were daft. "We're going to make Harry a Weasley sweater for Christmas," her mum explained.

"Oh," said her dad, looking relieved. "Molly--will you have time for that?"

Her mum's face fell. "Oh, lord. I hadn't thought--here it is November and I'm just barely starting on Percy's."

Ginny's face fell further. "But--he won't have a Christmas--"

"I could pack him a tin of fudge, I suppose--"

"That's just candy, Mum."

"Yes, but dear, these months are so terribly busy around here, you know that."

Ginny did know that. Her mother, who had a heart open and generous enough to mother the whole world, Muggles and all, sometimes had to be forcibly restrained from concocting gifts for the mice that lived in their walls and the sprites in their garden. "Mum," she said hesitantly. "What if--what if I made it?"

"Oh, Ginny, that is sweet--but I don't think you're advanced enough to make a sweater."

"I could learn!"

"Yes, but they're very difficult things, sweaters. Although . . ." Her mother tilted her head to study the lump of maroon yarn on Ginny's lap. "Tell you what, darling. If you give me a little hand and knit me some scarves--just simple ones, and I can put on the fringe--for your aunts and uncles, I might be able to carve out enough time for Harry's sweater, how's that?"

Ginny thought of endless evenings, purling one and knitting two. Then she thought of Harry's face when he opened the package he hadn't been expecting--when he wore his brand-new sweater for the first time--when the news got to him (because she would certainly never tell, that would be too much like bragging) that it had been her idea, and that she'd sacrificed her time and patience so that he might have it-- "All right, Mum. I--guess I could do that."

"Thank you so much, sweetheart. It'll be such a help, you don't even realize-- Is that piece you're working on wide enough for a scarf?"

Ginny held it up. "Umm. Maybe I should start over."

Her mother winced at the tangled lump. "Yes, maybe you should."

As her dad went on to read Percy's letter, and then the twins', Ginny bent over her hated knitting with new fervor, thinking of Harry. Knit one, purl two, knit two, purl one . . .




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