The Sugar Quill
Author: Hallie and Andy (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titllandus  Chapter: Prologue
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A/N: Our summer project

A/N:  Our summer project.  This is what you get when you lock Andy and Hallie in a house together for three weeks.  Complete obsession.  The characters in this come straight from Spiritus aduro by Hallie, but reading that is not strictly necessary.  We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Louise for her sterling support along the way, and Arabella for her fantabulous editing skills.  J

A/N II (from Andy):  Hallie absolutely ROX. She is the most witty, intelligent and creative person you could ever hope to work for. My part is entirely dedicated to her and her wonderful Spiritus Aduro series. 

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus

~Prologue~

Charlie entered the tent, a weary expression on his face. Ria looked up.

‘You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards,’ she noted, arching her eyebrows. ‘Saracen giving you trouble?’

Charlie fell back into a chair and exhaled loudly. ‘That dragon is a nightmare, honestly. I don’t know how Harry managed to get past her.’

About a month ago, Charlie and Ria had been sitting at home on a perfectly normal summer afternoon, chatting about Merri and Jon’s wedding, when an owl had swooped in with a letter bearing the Hogwarts crest. It had run thus:

Dear Mr Weasley,

It is with great pleasure that I write to inform that this year, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has successfully bid to have the Triwizard Tournament reinstated and played on the Hogwarts grounds.

If you are unfamiliar with this competition, I shall endeavour to explain briefly. The Tournament takes place between the three main schools of magic – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. A Champion is selected from each school to participate.

The Tournament itself will consist of three separate tasks, designed to test the Champions’ magical abilities…

And so it continued, a long and colourful history of the Triwizard Tournament. Eventually, just as Ria suggested putting a pot of tea on, Charlie got to the point.

The tasks have been drawn up and it has come to light that the First Task will involve the use of dragons.

‘Dragons!’ Ria had said, shocked. ‘At Hogwarts?’

‘That’s what it says,’ Charlie had said, drawn between exhilaration and concern. The letter had gone on to explain what this would entail and how the dragons might possibly be transported to Hogwarts. Charlie had read it with interest, and had come to a postscript scrawled in loopy handwriting at the end.

Charlie,

I do apologise for the extremely long and boring letter. One sometimes tires of the menial but unavoidable tasks a Headmaster must carry out. Essentially, we will need four dragons of different species – that much is imperative. I am sure you are capable of undertaking this task, and would be most grateful if you could send back a reply indicating the dragons you will bring and the assistance you will need. You are of course welcome to bring along any co-workers you deem suited to the task.

Take care, my dear boy. I hope to see you on Hogwarts grounds again soon,

Albus Dumbledore

‘Well, Ri, it looks like we’re going to Hogwarts,’ Charlie had said, folding up the letter. His face had cracked into a wide grin.

‘I don’t like that look, Charlie Weasley,’ Ria had said, smirking. ‘I don’t like that look one bit.’

Charlie and Ria were now camped in a tent on the Hogwarts grounds. It was the evening after the First Task, and everyone was talking about one thing.

At the choosing of the Hogwarts Champion – for some inexplicable reason – two Champions had been chosen. And the second had been none other than Harry Potter – who apart from anything else was technically underage.

But he had been permitted to participate and in the First Task had amazed the watching crowds by completing his task in the quickest time. Ria and Charlie were huddled up in blankets, discussing what had transpired.

‘But did you see how well he flew?’ Charlie was saying. ‘Bill always said that Harry’s Dad was wicked with a broomstick…’

Ria smiled. ‘He reminded me of you a bit.’

‘Nah, he had a lot more concentration. I was mostly concerned with showing off to the pretty girls.’

Ria swiped at him. ‘Charlie Weasley, that is perfect codswallop and you know it. I used to watch your Quidditch games, you know, and I could tell you were far more concerned with catching the Snitch than observing just who might be enamoured by your talents.’

Charlie smiled, but his eyes darkened slightly. ‘Those were tough times,’ he said slowly. ‘Quidditch was a good way of taking my mind off… everything that was happening.’

‘Yes, it was difficult,’ Ria agreed. ‘But I remember some of it as if it were yesterday…’

*

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