The Sugar Quill
Author: Squin (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Complete  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.

 

Disclaimer:

Everything you recognise from Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling (aka The Goddess)

I own nothing :o)

Rating: PG (very mild coarse language)

Summary:

Hermioneís feeling upset. So is everyone Ė the Dark days are returning. Her reason seems so trivial though, and that makes it harder.   Ronís attitude just makes her feel worse.  Early Fifth Year.  R/Hr Angsty-fluff.


So.  This is what it feels like.  To be not wanted.  To be cast aside.

Those where the thoughts milling through my head as I sat there in the empty common room with the letter.

Everyone else was in the Great Hall, having lunch.  I knew I could be alone.  And that was how I felt.  Alone.

The letter had come that morning, at breakfast.  I had been too busy to open it straight away.

That is such a lie.

I hadnít opened it straight away because I didnít really care to read it.  I recognised the handwriting.  I had been getting letters addressed to me in that large, rather neat calligraphy all summer.  They were always the same, and they bored me, to tell the honest truth.

That was why I had just casually taken the letter out of my bag at lunchtime, just minutes before.

I had skimmed it, not really paying attention, thinking it would be like all the rest and planning to throw it into a fire when next I passed one.

The last word caught my eye.

"Goodbye."

The usual letters never ended like that.

I read it again, more carefully.

I almost didnít believe it said what it actually said.

 

Harry had been sitting next to me, Ron on his other side.  That had been how we nearly always sat since we had returned to school that year.  It was like an unspoken arrangement between Ron and myself, to always keep Harry between us where he would always be safe.  I think we both knew we were truly powerless to protect Harry from what would really come for him, but it was comforting none the less.  We felt like we were doing something.

I had also been wondering if our positioning happened to serve another purpose as well.  Wondering whether our physical separation was in fact making a clear, metaphorical statement.  Pointing something out.  Making it plainly obvious.  It hurt me to think about that.  I continually pushed those thoughts out of my mind whenever they came to me.

  There were more important things to think about, anyway.

Things that were more important that stupid letters.

That was what they were.  Stupid letters.

And that was what I held in my hand as I sat besides Harry in the Great Hall.  A stupid letter.

Harry didnít seem to be paying any attention when I got up out of my seat, having not touched my lunch.  He had been getting more and more introverted since the events before the summer.

I looked for Ginny at the table, and then remembered that she had gone to the greenhouses to discuss a project with Professor Sprout.

I caught Ronís eye as he looked at me.  He had been looking at me often since term had started.  I didnít understand why.  He had changed since June.  He had become more serious, more melancholy, more distant.  So had everyone.  I wished Ron would start cracking jokes again.  I really did.  I missed him.  I really, truly did.

I smiled weakly and told him, "I forgot to get a book out of the library.  Iíll see you in Charms."

He nodded, but somehow, I knew he didnít believe me.

 

Crumpling the stupid letter in my hand, I picked up my bag and walked out of the Great Hall, up the marble staircase and to the portrait of the Fat Lady who guarded the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

I cringed as I gave her the current password.  "Wronski Fient."  It had been Fred who had suggested it to the Prefects.  It hadnít bother me earlier, but I could have hit Fred, if I had seen him then.  I made a mental note to make sure it got changed that day.

I climbed thought the whole and moved over to a couch in a corner of the common room.  Putting my bag down with a sigh, I sat and smoothed the stupid letter out on my lap to read it again.

  I canít even remember what it said, now.  That was how insignificant it was.  But it still managed to make me upset.  I didnít appreciate feeling so unpleasant.  I had been feeling unpleasant feelings since the night Harry had appeared out of the maze clutching the Triwizard cup and Cedricís body.  I didnít need anymore.  I  couldnít take anymore.

I suppose that was why I started crying.  There canít have been any other reason.  I know there just canít have been.

I didnít care about Viktor.  I never had.

Not in the way he continually said he cared about me.

But I still wanted to cry when I re-read the letter he wrote to tell me that he no longer wished to care.  For he had met someone else who cared for him.

Well good for bloody him. I wasnít crying loudly.  I wasnít weeping, or sobbing.

I just had to ease the tension, I suppose.

I hadnít cried in months.

Not since that night in June.  I told myself that I had to be brave for Harry.

The letter just happened to be a catalyst for me to explode, a pin that pricked the balloon of closed in emotions swelling up inside me.

I hadnít been there long when I heard the portait swing open. I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and turned to see Harry and Ron coming towards me.  Both their expressions were filled with concern.  God, I didnít want them to see me like that.  I was being pathetic.

"Hermione Ė " Ron started, as he rushed to sit beside me.  He brought his hand up, I think he was going to put in on my shoulder, but then he stopped it in mid air, paused, and put it down by his side.

My heart sank like the Titanic.

"What happened?" asked Harry.  His voice had such an edge on it that I could tell he thought something terrible had happened.  To my family, or to me.

"Oh no, no," I tired to reassure them, "Honestly, it really is nothing serious."

"Hermione, youíre crying."

"Thank you, Ron, for pointing out the obvious."   I knew straight away I should have just bit my tongue.

Ron rolled his eyes and sighed exasperatedly.  "Bloody hell, we were trying to help."

"Shut up Ron.  Donít you dare push me now, Iím not in the mood."

"Why is that, Hermione?"  Harry spoke very gently as he sat down beside me.

I couldnít believe it.  With all his problems weighing down on him, I was just adding another by being an idiot.  I shook my head and tried to force myself not to cry, but the tears just came.  I buried my face in my hands and the letter fluttered to the ground.

I felt Ron lean over to pick it up, and felt too weak to take it from him.  I really didnít care if he knew.

Until he started laughing Laughing.

At me.  At how stupid I was acting.  I knew I was being stupid.  I didnít want people laughing at me.  It wasnít the best time for Ron to start joking around again.

"Oh come on, youíre crying over this?"

My whole body started to shudder as I sobbed.  I leant over and put my forehead on my knees, so I was curled up into a little ball.

"What?" asked Harry, over my back to Ron.

"Vicky dumped her!"  It was like all his Christmases had come at once.  I suppose they had.  He hated Vicky.

"Shut up, Ron!" I cried.  I just couldnít take it.  I pushed myself off the couch, heading for my dorm room.   I should have gone there straight away.

But Ron grabbed my wrist and swung me around to face him.   He was grinning like a maniac.  "Hermione, this is brilliant.  Look, donít cry, youíre being stupid."

"I know I am," I practically screamed.   "Just leave me alone, Ron, I donít need you making fun of me!"  I wrenched my hand out of his grip and stormed to the door. "Hermione," Harry called out to me, again, very gently.

I turned back around to face him.  He looked relieved.  I felt so guilty.  Ron was still grinning.  The insensitive prat.

"Do you want us to go find Ginny for you?"

I felt a tiny smile spread across my face.  I couldnít believe Harry was being so thoughtful.  "No," I shook my head, "Sheís with Professor Sprout."

"Oh," said Harry.  I think he tried to think of something comforting to say next.

Ron turned back around on the sofa and put his hands behind his head and chuckled.  I almost reached for my wand, but Harry kicked Ronís feet off the coffee table, and said, "Stop it, Ron," in a very calm voice.

Then he turned back to me.  "Are you going to be all right?"

I smiled again and nodded.  "I just need to be alone," I said, and turned around and climbed out of the portrait hole.

  Once outside, I sighed and tried to calm myself down.  But it was just impossible.  I was acting like an idiot when there were such more pressing matters at hand.

And Ron didnít care about me.  He didnít care.  He just didnít care.

I leaned against the wall and just stood there, crying.

"Oh whatís the matter, dear?" asked the Fat Lady, looking anxious.

"Nothing, itís nothing," I managed to whisper, as I ran down the corridor to a girlsí bathroom.

I splashed water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror.  My eyes were red and I just looked horrid.

I felt horrid too.  All these people worrying about me, and I was making them worried over something so insignificant.

Well, all these people except bloody Ron.  I think that was just adding to everything.  I could understand why he was doing it, though.  Because I was being an idiot.  I had no right to being causing a scene.  No right.

I needed to be alone.

  I walked calmly out of the bathroom and back down to the Entrance Hall.  Once outside, I walk across the grounds to Hagridís cabin.

I knew he wouldnít be at home.  He was still away.  I had missed him a lot, too.  He was like an uncle to me.  To all three of us.  He was always there for us.  In Third Year, when Harry and Ron had refused to speak to me, and I had taken on so many classes that I couldnít handle it, Hagrid had been there.  He had always been there to listen, promising that everything would sort itself out.  I didnít believe it was possible, at the time.

But he was right, everything did sort itself out.

I went down there hoping that maybe, just maybe, being near something of Hagridís could make me feel better, even if he himself couldnít make me a huge cup of tea or offer me his rock cakes.

I sat down on the back steps and just started sobbing again.  I felt like such a fool.

Even the view of the lake and the forest with itís leaves turning for Autumn, as a spectacular sight as it was, could not cheer me up.

  "Hermione?"

I jumped when I heard Ronís voice.

"Did you follow me?"  I was livid.  "Just leave me alone Ron, I donít want you here!" I screeched.  

"Well Iím here, and Iím not going."

I glared at him.  I couldnít believe he was insensitive enough to be doing this.  "What, you want to make more fun of me, is that it?" I demanded acidly.

"I donít want to make fun of you."  The tone of his voice was different to what it had been in the common room.  It was almost soothing.  The only time I had heard that tone before was the night in June.  The night everything changed for the worse.

I stared up at him as tears spilled out down my cheeks.

Ron dug his hand into a pocket and pulled out a white handkerchief, and held it out to me.  The letters "RW" were embroidered on one corner in maroon thread.  It almost made me laugh.  Almost.

I regarded it dubiously.

"Go on, itís clean," he said with a grin.

I hated him for being able to smile, when I was feeling so miserable.

But I loved him for it too.  He was back.

I took it and blew my nose, and turned away from him as he sat down beside me on the step.

"I promise Iím not going to make fun of you."

"I find that hard to believe when you look ready to throw a party," I retorted.

He laughed.  He laughed.  I felt like hitting him and hugging him at the same time.

But he hates it when I hug him, it would have foolish for me to do so.

"Youíre right, I do want to throw a party, so I can celebrate the fact that I was right about Vicky and you were wrong."

  I hit him.  Hard.  But he didnít make a sound of protest.

"Go away, Ron."

He ignored what I said.  "But Hermione, Iím sorry he did this to you, I really am."

"You are not.  Youíre as pleased as punch."  The tears wouldnít stop.

Ron sighed loudly beside me.

"HermioneÖ" he started to say something, but stopped again.  There was a heavy pause.  "Forget it."

I thought he was going to get up and walk away, and I tried to think of something to say to stop him.  I didnít want him to go.

But he just sat there.

I turned to him.  I tried to stop myself blubbering at seeing him looking at me.

"Donít cry, Hermione.  Donít cry."

I let out a little gasp when Ron brought his hands up to my face and wiped my tears away with his thumbs.  His hands were so soft.  Not like Viktorís.  His had been rough and callused.  I felt myself start to tremble and I just cried more.

"Iím so stupid, Iím s-so stupid," I sobbed.

"Youíre not stupid Hermione, youíre not."  His voice was barely a whisper.

I choked as I tried to find my own.  But I couldnít and he continued.

"Youíre great," he said as he took his hands away from my face.  I was suddenly so cold.

I stared up at him for a long time, my lower lip shuddering like my shoulders.

"Youíre just saying that," I spluttered, finally.

"I would never lie to you, Hermione," he whispered.  "Youíre my best friend, please know that I would never lie."

That was when I lost it.  I leaned in and wrapped my arms around him, and just cried into his shoulder, holding him tight.

I felt him tense up, and then, ever so awkwardly, he put one hand on my back, and then the other.  And he pulled me in.

  I kept crying into him for I donít know how long.   We both missed Charms that afternoon.

"Thank you for being my friend, Ron," I whispered into his shoulder.  I was too weak to talk properly.

"Itís my pleasure, Hermione."

I just started crying more.  I couldnít understand what was wrong with me.  I just kept crying.

Ron didnít say anything, he just gently rocked me from side to side, rubbing his big, warm hands on my back.

I had never felt so safe.  I felt that whatever was coming for us, everything would be all right because Ron was there, to hold me.

His heart was beating in my ear, at exactly the same time as mine.  It was like we had one heart between the two of us.

It felt so right.

"Will you always be my friend, Ron?" I mumbled.

"Forever, Hermione.  Forever."

  And I knew that if he ever werenít my friend, I wouldnít make it.

Because it is with him that I am complete.

~*~

 

Finis

Authorís Notes:

1. The reference to hanging out with Hagrid in Third Year is to Arabellaís HQoW Book 3.

2. Viktorís hands being rough is from HQoW Book 4.

3. This was originally just going to be a stand-alone, but I just realised that it works rather well as a prequel to my little masterpiece (tee hee hee) "Complicated."  Cool.  The idea for this was kinda inspired by something thatís mentioned in that anyway.  Read it to find out what.  (heh heh)

4. Wow, this is must shortest, most succint A/N ever... I am SO proud!!!  And yet... why do I miss my novel-length rants so??

5. Ok, going now.

6. Oh, yeah, please review :o)

 

 

 

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