The Sugar Quill
Author: Mrs Weasley (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: My Friend Ron  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.

Summary: Harry uses his new-found talent for writing to describe his closest friend. Harry's POV.

A/N: This is not a sequel to my story, Sixth Year Showdowns, although I am planning one. It started off as a short vignette, then turned into a long one. It will make me happy if you feel tearful at the end - Hermione does, and so do I!

Disclaimer: These characters belong to JK Rowling.

I, Harry Potter, in my seventh year at Hogwarts, have made a discovery about myself. I love to write. What do I mean by that? Well, I've always enjoyed making up stories - I first did it to amuse myself when I was a very little boy, alone in my dark cupboard at the Dursleys' house. The nights did not seem so long when I could people the cupboard with heroes, villains, knights on horseback and a wealth of different characters. Since then, I've always whiled away dull moments thinking of characters in my head. Many a boring History of Magic class has passed more quickly because I was inventing a new story in my head as I stared out of the window.

You might think that my real life, since I came to Hogwarts, has been so full of excitement that there is no longer any need for me to invent adventures. Well, it's true that I have met weird creatures and seen amazing things, things stranger than any of the stories I imagined in my cupboard in Privet Drive. Yet, it hasn't stopped me from inventing adventures - it has only widened the scope of my imagination.

In my sixth year I began to write down some of my stories in my spare time, on spare pieces of parchment. I found myself enjoying choosing the right word to describe a character, looking forward to jotting down a new idea in my rare free moments between going to classes, or Quidditch practice, or doing homework, or spending time with Ron and Hermione.

At first, when I started to write down my stories, I kept them to myself. I was afraid to show them to anyone else in case they criticised them, said that they were no good. But it wasn't long before I had to admit what I was doing to my two best friends. They were getting curious about what I was doing when I disappeared into quiet corners with my pieces of parchment. I was a bit embarrassed when I confessed my secret to them, but I needn't have been. They have been incredibly supportive. I let them read what I thought were my best pieces, and they were so positive about my writing that I was encouraged to keep going. It gives me a buzz - just like catching the Snitch in front of a cheering crowd - to see Ron laughing helplessly over a funny story I wrote, or Hermione's eyes misting up as she reads a sad one.

"Write more!" Ron commanded, as he put down a half-finished adventure. "I want to find out what happens next."

So I wrote more. Not just stories, but descriptions of the people and places I see around me. I haven't shown any of my work to anyone else yet, though. I still have to collect enough courage to do that. But it's good to know that my friends seem to admire what I do. Hermione writes a lot herself - essays twice as long as anyone else's - but she admits that she's not so good at inventing anything. She likes to write about facts - find the answers to problems - list her theories about something real - but she doesn't write stories. And Ron - well, Ron doesn't really like writing anything at all, but he seems to be happy to read my work.

Ron and Hermione came to me with an idea today. I'd gone straight upstairs after supper to finish a Transfiguration essay before our late-night Astronomy class began. Ron and Hermione had gone out for a walk by the lake, and to visit Ron's owl in the owlery. Now they came bursting into the common room, obviously full of some news.

"Harry, guess what?" Ron said, flinging himself into a nearby armchair.

"We've just seen a new notice up on the board," said Hermione, perching on the arm of Ron's chair rather precariously. He put out an arm to steady her. "There's a writing competition for seventh-years."

"Some ancient wizard is offering a prize," put in Ron. "Ten Galleons!"

"You should go in for it," said Hermione, absently reading through my Transfiguration essay.

"You could easily win."

"What do we have to write about?" I asked, putting down my quill.

Ron pulled a face. "Oh, the title's "My Friend" - awful title, but that doesn't matter."

"Yes, it says that you have to write a short piece about your best friend and what you think about them," said Hermione. "Apparently this wizard wants to encourage friendship -"

"Loyalty to each other - equals - loyalty to the Dear Old School," added Ron, pulling a wry face. "Yuck!"

"Sounds a bit dangerous," I said with a smile. "Can you imagine the friendships that could be wrecked if everyone wrote what they really think about their best friend?"

Ron started to laugh. "I'd love to read what Crabbe would write about Malfoy. 'Uh - my best friend is called Draco and he's really really cool.'"

Ron's impression of Crabbe - vacant look, dropping jaw - was so good that Hermione and I both started laughing too. Hermione laughed so much that she lost her balance on the chair arm and Ron had to grab her before she fell off on to the floor.

"Seriously, though, you should enter the competition, Harry," said Hermione, wiping her eyes. "You could win it, I'm sure. You're a really good writer."

"And we trust you," said Ron with a grin. "You can write about either of us and we won't sue you."

"OK," I said. "I'll go and read the competition rules later, and maybe I *will* have a go."

So that's what I'm doing now. It's a Hogsmeade afternoon, a spring Saturday, and the common room is empty and peaceful. A good chance to make a start. I take up my quill, smooth the blank parchment with my hand, and write:

***

My Friend Ron

Ron has been my best friend since the day we met, two nervous first years on the Hogwarts Express. We both had a lot to live up to at Hogwarts, even before we arrived. I was forever labelled as The Famous Harry Potter, with everyone expecting me to do things worthy of the boy who stopped Voldemort, although I knew next to nothing about wizardry or the world I was going to live in. Ron was living in the shadow of the five brothers who had preceded him at Hogwarts - one Head Boy, one Quidditch Captain, one future Head Boy and two school jesters. A lot to live up to.

Ron's changed a lot since I first met him - physically and in personality. At eleven he was a tall, lanky kid with red hair, freckles, a long nose and large hands and feet. At seventeen he still has the red hair, the freckles and the long nose, but his body has grown to suit his hands and feet. At six feet four, the tallest student in Gryffindor, he's filled out over the last year and is now nearly as broad-shouldered as his brother Charlie.

How has he changed in personality? Well, he's still the same Ron in lots of ways - outgoing, quick-witted, often cynical, amusing, and very loyal to his friends. In other ways, he's changed, especially since he and Hermione have admitted their feelings to each other. He's much calmer now, and not so quick to lose his temper about little things. Being with Hermione keeps him grounded. It's been good for her too - she doesn't spend quite so much time buried in her books. They still fight - often - but they aren't the kind of fights which end in long sulks and weeks of snide comments. They argue - but they don't let the arguments wreck their relationship. And they laugh a lot too. I like watching them together - I think they complement each other well. And they don't make me feel excluded from their friendship - we still spend a lot of time together, the three of us.

When he was younger, my friend Ron had what you might call an inferiority complex. With five talented elder brothers, it was hardly surprising. He was also very sensitive about his family's lack of money, and would pick a fight with anyone he thought was sneering at him on that score. And, though he would never admit this, I know he was sensitive about being forever thought of as The Famous Harry Potter's sidekick in the eyes of many Hogwarts students. They didn't realise that ours was a friendship of equals. That's still true today. We've both grown up - we're almost at the end of our schooldays - but my friendship with Ron is still very important to me.

Ron's inferiority complex is a thing of the past, I think. He has achievements of his own to boast of now, and it's been very good for him. I feel proud when I say that my best friend is the best chess player in the school. That he's the Keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team (unbeaten this season). That he's a School Prefect, just as some of his brothers were. I know those achievements mean a lot to him, but I think the most important one in Ron's eyes is that he's found out that Hermione - not only Head Girl but the cleverest student in our year (and, if you ask Ron, the most beautiful - but then he's biased) thinks he's the most special person she knows. That has to make him feel good about himself.

What else can I say? He makes awful jokes. He teases his sister Ginny but would leap to her defense if anyone else bothered her. He hates getting up in the morning. He teases Hermione by threatening to grow a red moustache and beard. He's still terrified of spiders, though he does his best to hide it. He forces himself to do things that scare him, even when he's almost sick with fear. And he's so loyal to me and to Hermione that he would risk death to save either one of us - just as we would risk ourselves for him.

For six and a half years we've shared a dormitory, shared our triumphs and disasters, and learned a lot about ourselves and the world we live in. Some day soon we'll be going out into the world to do different things, and we won't see each other every day any more, but he will still be my friend, and that's good to know.

My friend, Ron.

***

I put down my quill and stretch my cramped fingers. Outside the common room windows, the sky is darkening. People are trickling through the portrait hole, back from Hogsmeade and discussing their purchases. I look down at the page and read through what I have written.

"Harry!" Hermione crosses the room towards me, pink-cheeked from the fresh air, her arms full of packages. She is alone. "Have you been writing all this time? You should take a break."

"I've finished," I say.

"Oh good! Can I read it?"

I hesitate, then hand her the parchment. "Go ahead."

She takes the sheet eagerly, sits down and starts to read. As she reads, her face grows serious. As she finishes, she looks up at me and there are tears in her eyes.

"Harry - it's beautiful," she says softly, as she passes it back to me. "Are you going to enter it for the competition?"

I don't hesitate. "No."

"Why not?" she asks, though I can see she already knows.

"It's too personal. It would embarrass him. Can you imagine what the likes of Malfoy would say if they got hold of it?"

Hermione nods. "Are you going to show it to Ron?"

"Not now. Maybe one day?"

She nods again. "What are you going to do with it?"

I hold out the parchment again. "Give it to you - if you want it."

"If I want it!" She jumps up and comes to envelop me in a hug. "Thank you Harry. I'll

keep it forever."

"What's going on here then?" comes Ron's voice, light-hearted. "Put that man down, Hermione, you don't know where he's been."

Hermione laughs and lets go of me, her eyes still damp. She tucks the parchment into her pocket as she turns to Ron, suddenly brisk again. "No, but I know where we're all going - to supper, in about five minutes. I'm on Hall duty - I'd better get moving. You can dump all our shopping upstairs, Ron, but hurry up - the prefects can't be late!"

She walks away, and Ron groans, and bangs his head gently on an armchair. "She treats me like a slave!"

"And you love it," I say, grinning at him as I put my quill away, and help him pick up the parcels.

He shrugs, and grins back, does my friend Ron. As we climb the stairs to the dormitories, it occurs to me that I wouldn't mind writing for a living. Most of the people here at Hogwarts think that The Famous Harry Potter is destined for a life of adventure - seeking out dark wizards, solving mysteries, and advancing the study of magic. They may be in for a surprise. Yes, I would like to have adventures - but I would also like to write about them. Perhaps, some day, I will.

 

The End


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