The Sugar Quill
Author: Ara Kane (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sisters  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.

 

The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: I wish I could go into the legalese about JK Rowling and the various publishers, but I don’t remember them all so I will just say that the Harry Potter universe belongs to whoever is willing to duke it out for the privilege. Olivia Goldsmith’s book The First Wives Club inspired Seamus’ "three beautiful women laughing" comment, while Hermione’s necklace and brooch are graduation presents from me.

Technical Notes: Is it just me, or does this fic smack strongly of Arabella and B Bennett’s "Dare"? I read "Dare" for the nth time after starting this story and the resemblance hit me full in the face. **blush** I adore their story, but it did not consciously serve as the basis for this one. So let’s just say it was indirectly inspired by "Dare," OK? :D

 

***

 

"…It is an honor and a privilege to be standing here before you today," Hermione Granger mumbled to herself as she held her mother’s necklace up to herself. Tiny diamonds, strung along three simple gold chains, winked and glittered against her graduation robes like stars.

"Very nice, dear," the girls’ dormitory mirror told her; but whether it meant her valedictory speech or her necklace, Hermione wasn’t quite sure.

"I wish you would be more specific," Hermione muttered as she put down the necklace and held up a heavy gold-and-pearl brooch that had once belonged to her grandmother. "I stand here before you not only as the top student of the year…"

She put down the brooch and held up the necklace again. One hour to the graduation ceremony. Would she need an entire hour to decide between the necklace and the brooch? "…but I stand here with you as a fellow survivor of one of the darkest times of wizarding history…"

"Brava. Very dramatic," said a female voice. Hermione’s fellow Gryffindor seventh years, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, stood together at the door. Like her, they were dressed in formal black robes edged with scarlet piping, with high-necked white blouses and long black skirts worn underneath. However, unlike her, they were already fully accessorized.

The two girls joined her in front of the mirror. "My, don’t you all look lovely!" the mirror trilled.

Hermione rolled her eyes. You had to look like Lavender or Parvati to get a rise out of this mirror. The one in her Head Girl quarters was much kinder. Sadly, it was also much smaller, which was why she had gone to the seventh year dormitory to get ready.

Parvati inspected the jewelry on the dresser. "I vote for the brooch."

"You do?" Hermione asked, looking dubiously at it. The brooch was an old-fashioned piece with a heavy, ornate design. It was lovely, but a bit too large and over-the-top for her taste.

"Oh, yes." Parvati pinned the brooch to the center of Hermione’s high collar. "With clothes this simple, all you really need is one major piece to set it off."

"And the brooch is nothing if not major," Hermione finished for her.

"Exactly," Lavender said with a smile.

"Besides," the other girl said as she caused tawny brown tendrils to curl at Hermione’s ears, "the old-fashioned styles suit you best."

"Really?" Hermione asked. The curls at her ears softened the simple bun she wore at the nape of her neck.

"Really. There." Parvati gave Hermione’s hair one final pat. "Now you don’t look so much like Professor McGonagall."

"I do not look like Professor McGonagall!" Hermione said as her classmates burst into gales of laughter. The severe look she gave them only made them giggle harder.

"If y-you’re going t-to become Apprentice Transfiguration P-Professor here at Hogwarts," Lavender sputtered, "you might as w-well look the p-part, right?" After the death of Voldemort, Dumbledore had again been offered the post of Minister of Magic. This time, he was seriously considering accepting the job. While nothing was certain, Hogwarts was offering to train Hermione to take over as Transfiguration Professor if and when Professor McGonagall took over as Headmistress.

After a seeming eternity, Parvati gave one final giggle and wiped away a tear. "I’m sorry. We were just ribbing you."

"So are you going to teach here at Hogwarts?" Lavender asked once she had regained her composure.

"I don’t know. Several offices at the Ministry of Magic have also said they were interested in taking me on," Hermione admitted quietly, not wanting to boast. "Then I’m also thinking of undergoing Auror training, or working at the Daily Prophet, or going into advanced studies…"

"Naturally," Lavender noted with a smile.

"I’m rather confused about my future right now," Hermione confessed. "It’s so aggravating!"

"At least we have a future to be confused about," Parvati pointed out.

"Every new day is a gift," her friend agreed. "Especially after what we went through these past three years." Voldemort’s return had endangered the lives of everyone in the wizarding world. Hogwarts, as the center of the Light side, found itself in the thick of the Dark Wars that followed. Quite a few of the students — both those who had chosen to fight and the unfortunate innocents who chanced to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — had not survived.

"Just think about it, Hermione," Parvati said. "We’re alive. And so many possibilities are open to us. Look at all the possibilities that are open to you." She smiled and squeezed Hermione’s hand. "We’re so proud of you, Hermione!"

How little this Parvati resembled the carefree Divination freak she had once known, Hermione thought as she watched Lavender put an arm around the other girl. Leading Muggle-born students to safety while Unforgivable Curses flew thick and fast all around you did that to a person. The Dark Wars had forced them all to grow up a bit too soon.

"Just think, one day we’ll be able to tell everyone at the garden club that Hermione Granger, the greatest witch of all time, used to shush us every night while we were at school because she had to do her homework," Lavender said.

"Garden club?" Hermione asked, wrinkling her nose. Maybe she didn’t have to change her opinion about her classmates right now.

"Hermione!" The other girl swatted her arm. "I was only joking. Do you think that, after all that’s happened, I’d be happy with a garden club?" She smiled proudly. "Parvati and I are joining some of the others. We’re going to Slovenia for a year."

"The Dark Wars destroyed so many lives all over the world," Parvati said. "We want to help rebuild them."

"That’s wonderful!" Hermione said, and she meant it. "Now I’m proud of you."

"Can you imagine what everyone at the garden club will say when we tell them that the greatest witch of all time said she was proud of us?" Lavender joked, but her violet eyes were bright with happy tears. Hermione felt her own eyes begin to sting.

"Shut up, Lavender," Parvati ordered in a shaky voice as she blinked rapidly. "You’re going to make me ruin my mascara."

Hermione looked at her friend for a moment, then began to laugh. Soon, the other girls’ giggles joined hers.

They were still giggling when the door opened again. "There’s nothing like the sight of three beautiful women laughing," a male voice said. Seamus Finnigan, along with the rest of the Gryffindor seventh year boys, stood crowded in the doorway.

Parvati scowled at them while she restored her appearance with a few casual gestures. "Haven’t you heard of knocking, Seamus Finnigan? What if we were dressing when you barged in here?"

"That would have been interesting," Dean Thomas said with a naughty grin.

"Let’s not go there," Neville Longbottom said firmly in what they all called his "professor voice." He had also been offered an apprenticeship at Hogwarts in preparation for Professor Sprout’s retirement as Herbology teacher.

"Yes, sir, Professor Longbottom," Dean said with a click of his heels and a crisp salute.

Hermione traded grins with Harry Potter, one of her best friends. "You look very nice, Hermione," he told her, then thumped the boy standing beside him. "Doesn’t Hermione look nice, Ron?"

"Oh—er—of course she does," lanky, redheaded Ron Weasley said, staring fixedly at Hermione. He stood in the center of the group, taller than all the rest, even Dean. "Very nice."

"Thank you," Hermione murmured. She felt her cheeks turning pink. Even with one hand shoved in his pocket, he looked so dashing (and since when did she, Hermione Granger, ever use such a word?) and grown-up in his graduation robes, crisp white shirt, and scarlet-and-gold house tie. "You—you look very nice, too," she said softly.

"You’re just saying that," Harry joked, putting a coy hand to his hair, which — for once — was perfectly groomed. (They had gone to Hogsmeade last weekend and Harry bought an extra-large bottle of Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, plus one "just in case.") Everyone laughed — everyone, that is, except Ron, who had yet to blink. Caught in the intense blue of his gaze, Hermione felt the pink in her cheeks develop into a full-fledged blush.

"Well," Lavender said into the pause that followed, "I think I’ll go down to the Great Hall and look for my family."

"Good idea," Seamus agreed. "I want to see how me Dad likes Hogwarts so far."

"We’ll go with you," Dean and Parvati chorused.

"See you later." Harry gave Ron an encouraging grin and a clap on the shoulder before turning and following Neville.

Ron remained standing woodenly in the doorway. His hand was out of his pocket now. It was clenched around something. Hermione’s heart began to pound.

Before she left, Parvati gave her a secret sort of smile. "Something tells me," she whispered, rolling her eyes meaningfully in Ron’s direction, "that you’re about to get the ultimate accessory…"

THE END

 

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