The Sugar Quill
Author: Mysterious Muggle (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Push in the Right Direction  Chapter: Chapter 3: A Cunning Plan
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Chapter 3: A Cunning Plan

 

The welcoming feast was as enjoyable as always, and throughout its duration, the twins almost completely forgot about Ron and Hermione. They would almost unconsciously glance down the table at them every now and then, but the two seemed to be acting perfectly normally.

Afterwards, they dragged themselves up to the common room and flopped into a pair of armchairs by the fire.

“Ah,” said George, patting his stomach. “Is it just me, or is the food in this place getting better?”

“I won’t argue with you on that,” Fred replied.

“That’s one thing I’ll really miss.”

“Stop talking about that! It’s a whole year yet.”

“Yeah, sorry.” They lapsed into silence. They weren’t alone. The Gryffindor common room was uncharacteristically quiet tonight. People were still tense about current events. It didn’t matter that Hogwarts was probably one of the safest places on the face of the Earth, people were worried, scared. George absently wondered what it was like in the Slytherin common room right now. They were probably celebrating. His lip curled slightly at the thought. Well he wouldn’t-

The thought was cut short by the portrait hole slamming open to admit a very annoyed looking Hermione Granger. In her wake came Ron, who seemed to be in the process of apologising for something. Harry came reluctantly behind Ron.

“Look, I’m sorry, I just-“

“No Ron! Why bother apologising? What’s the point? I don’t know why you even brought it up!”

“Because I’m-“

“I don’t want to hear it, Ron! It’s none of your business! Goodnight.” She turned on her heel and walked up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories. Ron just stopped, mouth open, watching her go.

Fred and George looked to Harry for answers, but he just waved his hands and mouthed, “Don’t even ask.”

“But I want to ask,” Fred wined quietly to George.

“Oh, I give up!” Ron shouted up the stairs. “Fine! If you’re going to be this way, why bother even discussing it?” He turned and walked towards the stairs leading to his own dormitory.

“I think that’s the point she was trying to get across to you, Ron,” George called out. Ron shot them a venomous look and continued up the stairs. Fred opened his mouth to say something.

“No, don’t even ask Fred,” said Harry, who turned to follow Ron.

“I’m only trying to help!” Fred pointed out to anyone who would listen. “Seriously, those two fight like a married couple.”

“You always hurt the ones you love.”

“Right again, George.” The silence caused in the common room by the unexpected commotion had passed, and people had returned their attention to whatever it was they had been doing.

“Well, enough sitting around,” Fred said, getting to his feet. “Let’s go harass Ron again.”

“No wait,” said George suddenly. I’ve got a better idea.”

“A better idea than annoying Ron? Well I’ve got to hear this.” He sat down again and gave his brother a questioning look.

“Well, maybe, rather than just poking fun, we could do something constructive for a change.”

“I resent the implication that we never do anything constructive. But I will hear you out anyway. What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Well, rather than just sitting around saying that they should hook up, we could give them a push in the right direction.”

“Hmmm, I believe I can see where this is going, George. And I am intrigued. Very much intrigued. But let’s just make sure we’re speaking the same language here. You are proposing that we would set our little brother up with the girl of his dreams?”

“Play matchmaker, as it were. Yes, that is what I am proposing.”

Fred glanced up the stairs that Hermione had stormed up a few minutes earlier. “Well, never let it be said that I don’t enjoy a challenge.”

“Oh come on, she’s got a soft spot for him, you can tell.”

“Maybe, but I think first Ron needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. Whatever he said down there really got her riled up.”

“Yeah, so it’s our job to mould him into someone with a better grasp of social conversation. Come on, we can do this! A nice little project.”

Fred looked thoughtful for a second, and then stuck out his hand. “All right then, it’s a plan. Where do we start?”

“Well, Ron is the one who needs help. So we give it to him.”

 

 

 

The twins walked up to the table where Ron and Harry were eating breakfast. Hermione wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Perfect opportunity, they had agreed. As they neared their intended victim, Harry looked up. Ron looked to see what had gotten his attention, and froze. Fred and George smiled in what they hoped was a non-threatening fashion and took two empty seats opposite Ron and Harry.

“Can I help you?” Ron asked through clenched teeth.

“Actually, we were wondering if we could help you,” George said.

“And what do you want to help me with?”

“We wanted to help set you up with Hermione,” Fred told him.

Ron spluttered and almost choked on a mouthful of toast. He stood up, grabbed the twins by their collars and pulled them in close to him. “It’s bad enough without you two interfering!” he said in an angry whisper. “I’m going to be lucky if she’ll ever talk to me again the way I’m going now, and if either of you two say or do anything I’ll flay you alive!” He released them and sat back down in his chair. Then he stood back up again. “I’m going. I’ve got things to do.” He turned and walked off, leaving a half eaten breakfast behind him. Fred and George stood up in unison, smoothing the fronts of their robes, and made to follow him.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” Harry warned. “I’m sure you only want to help, but just leave him for now. He’s pretty annoyed with himself about last night. He doesn’t need you two hounding him. You probably just scared the living daylights out of him.”

“Well what the heck happened last night anyway?” Fred asked.

“Yeah, what stupid thing did he say this time?” seconded George as they sat back down again.

Harry looked from side to side and leaned in a bit closer. “He offered some, ah, select comments about Victor Krum.”

“Oh boy. Open mouth, insert foot.”

“Yeah. I thought all that nonsense was over, and Hermione did as well. She just exploded.”

“Well, she went off pretty spectacularly from what we saw.”

“You should have heard her before she got up into the common room.”

“Do you think we’ve got the right idea about this, Harry?” Geroge asked.

“What are you talking about?” said Fred. “Of course we’ve got the right idea. Ron told you himself.”

“You’re right about Ron, I’m sure of that much,” Harry said. “As for Hermione, well, I don’t know about her.”

“Well we’ll find out about her, won’t we George?”

“Yes we will.”

“I really think you should wait until things have settled down a bit,” Harry said.

“So you think that us doing this is a good idea, then?” George asked.

“Maybe. But don’t get me involved in it.”

“No, you’ve got enough to worry about without having Ron trying to kill you as well.” Fred instantly realised he’d put his foot in his mouth just as badly as Ron the previous night. “Oh cripes, I’m sorry Harry, I didn’t mean that like it came out.”

“No it’s allright Fred. I’m used to it.”

“No, look, I’m really sorry-“

“I said don’t worry about it. At least you two can laugh about it. People have been treating me like I’m made of china.”

There was an uncomfortable pause, which George broke. “Well anyway, enough of that. We’re going to bloody well give this a shot, because I think it’ll work just fine, as soon as the facts of the matter are brought to their attention. You sure you don’t want to be part of it?”

“What, and have Ron want to kill me too?” Harry said with a laugh. “You’re absolutely right, Fred, I’m in enough danger as it is.” He grinned at them.

“Well, as long as you can laugh about Ron wanting to kill you, it’s allright.” The twins stood up.

“Hey, guys,” Harry called out to them as they walked off. “Good luck.”

“Ha. If things keep up like this we’ll certainly need it,” George replied.

 

 

Fred and George sat at the back of the potions class they shared with Hufflepuff, idly stirring the cauldron they shared. “So what’s the plan?” Fred asked.

“Easy, next time we run into him, we pull him away and give him a talking to. Tell him the facts of life.”

“What, those facts of life? I don’t want to talk to him about that.”

“No you idiot, I’m sure he’s already aware of the, ahem, physical aspects of it. We need to school him in the behavioural aspects. How to not make a fool of himself.”

“You know, I can’t believe he didn’t inherit our natural self confidence and charm. If I was faced with such as situation, it would be ‘bang! Hey there, babe, wanna go out with me? Why sure Fred, I’d love to, on account of you being so damn-‘”

Fred’s vivid imagery was interrupted by the unwelcome voice of Professor Snape. “If the two Weasley brothers have finished discussing whatever it is they find so much more important than this class, they might be able to pay attention for long enough to hear that they’ve lost themselves ten points. Each.”

“Thank you very much, Professor,” George said. “It’s a pleasure to be back in your class.”

“Another five points for your disrespect and sarcasm, Weasley. Don’t give me cause to make it any more.” Snape turned back to the board and continued writing.

“Ah, good to be back.”

“Yes indeed, now where were we?”

“I was telling you that the next time we see Ron, we drag him aside, and give him a stern talking to. I’m sure that he’ll understand that we’re trying to help him once he pulls his head out of his-“

“Fifteen points each, Weasleys.”

“You’re giving us fifteen points, Professor?” Fred asked hopefully. The class chuckled. Snape scowled.

“Obviously only some males in your family earned the gene for intelligence, Weasley. I am subtracting fifteen points for each of you, plus another five for continued disrespect.”

“Oh, so that’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years. Silly me.”

“Yes, and I though we were earning all those points for our house. What a stupid mistake to make.”

Snape scowled at them, but didn’t perform any further subtraction at their expense.

“What are you talking about that’s so interesting as to be worth fifty five points?” Lee asked, leaning over to them.

“Oh, nothing, nothing. Just a little project we’re working on.”

“Oh, boy. In that case, I don’t want to know what you’re talking about.”

“No, Jordan,” Snape interrupted, “Neither do I. What I do want is for one of the Weasleys to answer my question. What is the final missing ingredient from this potion?”

“That’s easy sir,” Fred said. “Root of Nimphrodel.”

“A surprisingly good guess, Weasley. As much as it pains me to say this, five points to Gryffindor.”

Fred sat back in his chair looking satisfied. “My work here today is done.”

“Fifty five down, five up. Got to be some kind of record.”

“I feel so satisfied.”

The twins managed to make it to the end of the class without loosing any more points. They walked out into the corridor, and headed for the Gryffindor common room to dump their books before lunch. As they rounded a corner, they collided with a familiar looking redheaded boy who wasn’t watching where he was going. Grins yet again graced the faces of the Weasley twins.

“You look a little pre-occupied Ron. Something on your mind?” George asked.

“Oh don’t even start.”

“We want to help you, Ron.” Fred told him. “And we don’t even mind that you already owe us a favour for getting you those new dress robes for an early birthday present. That’s how generous we are, you know. Veritable angels, the two of us.”

“Right, angels, yeah. Great,” said Ron as he made to leave. George sidestepped to block his path. “Get out of my way!”

“Oh come on, Ron, we really want to help you.”

“Maybe you haven’t realised that I don’t want your help!”

“Well, if you’re just going to be like that, fine.” Fred said. “No gratitude, this boy. We just give and give and give, but it’s never enough for you, is it?”

“What I’d like you to give me now is some peace!”

“He doesn’t know what’s good for him, Fred, you’re right about that.”

“Look, just let me go!”

“What’s the magic word?” Fred asked.

Ron pulled out his wand and waved it threateningly. “I’ll give you some magic words in just a minute if you don’t get away from me.”

“Well all you had to do was ask!” George said stepping out of the way. Ron just gave him a dirty look and hurried off.

“Well there goes plan A,” observed Fred.”

“Good thing we’ve still got plan B lined up.” George said.

//
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