Title: The Consequences of Buying Sugar Quills

Author: Katie

Author E-mail: insufferable_know_it_all@hotmail.com

Category: Drama/Romance

Keywords: Harry Hermione Ron Hogsmeade Sugar Quills

Rating: PG

Spoilers: SS/PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OotP

Summary: Harry finds solace in the most obvious place - one he never foresaw finding it in.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: I would like to apologize profusely if anyone is offended by this fic. If you have no idea why anyone would be offended…don't worry about it.

Witch Weekly

Volume 230, Issue No. 345

August 31, 2003

Welcome, readers, to yet another edition of Witch Weekly. This week, Katie was possessed while writing. She cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by this story. If you would like to flame, our editors are standing by with marshmallows.

The Consequences of Buying Sugar Quills

By Katie

Honeydukes was packed that weekend. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were standing by the shelves of candy. Hermione was eyeing the Sugar Quills while Ron picked out a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. Harry wasn't really in the mood for candy. Even chocolate couldn't make things any better for him, what with a rather foreboding prophecy and the death of his godfather on his shoulders. He wouldn't have been there if Hermione hadn't dragged him along, insisting that a day away from the school would do him good. He wasn't in the mood to fight her off.

"Yes, I think I'll go with the Sugar Quills," Hermione said, her voice breaking into Harry's thoughts. Harry watched as she rummaged around her pockets for her money and her face fell. "Oh…I forgot my purse."

Even through his own problems, Harry couldn't help feeling sorry for her. "I'll buy them for you," he said quickly, wanting to cheer her up as she had done for him…or at least tried to. After all, he wasn't spending his pocket money on candy for himself…he might as well use it for her.

"Oh, no, that's all right," she said quickly, but Harry had already picked up a package of the sweets and headed off to pay for them. Harry didn't notice the affronted look on Ron's face nor the way Hermione was beaming at him.

Harry returned a moment later and handed Hermione the sack of Sugar Quills. Hermione smiled and murmured a quick, "Thank you." Harry's heart fluttered strangely. He wondered briefly if it might be a sign of heart problems….

"Why don't we go have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks?" Ron suggested, and Harry thought he sounded a bit angry. He would have questioned him about it, had Ron not headed off out the door without waiting for a reply from either of them.

Harry and Hermione glanced at each other and followed after him in silent agreement - something had hacked him off while they were in Honeydukes, and they needed to figure out what it was.

Once they were in the Three Broomsticks, Harry headed off to buy the butterbeers and let Hermione go after Ron. It was, generally, a mistake to leave the two alone when either was in a particularly bad mood, but Harry was the one with the money, so they had no choice. When Harry returned to the table, his worst fears had been confirmed.

"Ron, you know that's not what's really making you angry, and nothing's every going to change until you admit what is! You've been doing this for two years now, and it's getting old! If you're not going to do a thing about your problems, I'm not going to waste my energy trying to make things better for you!" And she then stormed out of the Three Broomsticks, leaving a fuming and startled Ron and a frozen Harry, still holding three bottles of butterbeer.

Harry sat the bottles down on the table and looked to Ron. "What was that all about?"

"That's none of your business," Ron snapped, glaring at him. Harry was too much taken by surprise to make a retort. "Why don't you go chase after her?" Ron added. "You know you'd rather."

It was Harry's turn to glare. "You know, I would rather go after her than stay here with you when you're like this."

He grabbed two of the butterbeers and followed Hermione's path out of the Three Broomsticks. He found her sitting on the hill by the Shrieking Shack, sucking on a Sugar Quill. The light autumn breeze was toying with her hair as she stared off into the distance. Harry sat down beside her and handed her a bottle of butterbeer. She smiled briefly at him and looked back over Hogsmeade.

"It's always the same fight now," Hermione said after several minutes of sipping in silence. "Different things, but the same reasons. I know why he's doing it, but he'll never admit it."

While he would have been doing some screaming of his own this time last year, this particular fight was a nice distraction from the pain. He was even curious. "Care to enlighten me?"

"Isn't it obvious?" she said. "He's got a crush on me."

Well, that was obvious. Harry had never really considered it, though. For some reason, now that he did...he didn't like the thought. "And do you -?"

"Feel the same way? No. And I think he knows that, and that upsets him. It would upset me to. But I'm really sick of him taking it out on me when he doesn't even have the nerve to tell me!"

Harry watched nervously as she sucked violently on her Sugar Quill. "I'm sick of him, I really am."

Instinctively, Harry put his arm around her. He knew well what being at odds with Ron meant, and it wasn't enjoyable. He wanted to do something more about it - make it stop for her, perhaps punch some sense into Ron - but he knew that only Ron could make things better between the two. Hermione leaned into him, closing her eyes. For the second time that day, Harry's heart was fluttering in a way it never had before - though it was somewhat similar to the way he had reacted to Cho. Perhaps it was a different kind of heart problem than he had considered.

She looked up at him and smiled. He suddenly wanted to kiss her. It would be so easy just to lean down and press his lips to hers. Yes, that was definitely a sign of heart troubles. Or perhaps he was just losing a few marbles. "Thanks again for the Sugar Quills," she said quietly. Harry nodded mutely, trying to smile. He couldn't help it. He had to kiss her.

"Harry - what -" she started to say, pulling the Sugar Quill out of her mouth, as he slowly dipped his head, but she ended her sentence with a breathy, "oh" as their lips met

Oh, Merlin, it was nothing like kissing Cho. He could think of much better things to say about this kiss than 'wet.' 'Mind-blowing' was a good word for it, he decided, as her mouth opened beneath his and their kiss deepened. She tasted sweet from the Sugar Quill and butterbeer. Being insane might be rather fun, combined with those heart troubles.

Hermione was the one to pull away first. She looked as dazed as he felt, and Harry realized suddenly how surprising it was that she hadn't slapped him or turned him into a frog. Even more surprising and amazing…she had kissed back.

"I was right," she said softly, slowly bringing the Sugar Quill back up to her mouth.

"About what?" Harry asked, bewildered.

"You're not a bad kisser."

Harry grinned. Hermione snuggled into him, and at that moment, Harry was no longer worried. He missed Sirius, and he would always feel guilty about his death…but it was hard to be unhappy with Hermione in his arms, and it didn't make sense to force himself to be unhappy. Sirius wouldn't have wanted it that way; Hermione would have told him that.

But there was still the Prophecy. He would either kill Voldemort or be killed himself, and he had no idea how he would do that. Looking down at Hermione, he felt it necessary to tell her about it. Before, he had been afraid to tell her and Ron…what if they didn't want to be friends with someone destined to be either a murderer or a corpse? Now, however, he was no longer afraid with Hermione. He was confident that she would stand by him no matter what happened.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Hermione's voice. "Want a Sugar Quill?"

"Sure," he said, smiling weakly. Hermione handed him one, and he sucked on it meditatively for a moment before speaking.

"Hermione, there's something you should know about," said Harry, and Hermione looked curiously at him. "It's about the Prophecy. Dumbledore knows what it said."

Hermione nodded. "I knew he must have. It would have been smarter to take it than guard it if he hadn't. It probably would have been best to smash it anyway…keep Voldemort from ever getting it."

Harry went on, "He told me what it said."

Hermione's eyebrows shot up. "He did? When? Why didn't you tell us?"

"He told me when he sent me back from the Department of Mysteries. It…it isn't good news, Hermione. And I was worried about how you and Ron would react."

Hermione took his hand in an encouraging manner and forced a smile for him. He was grateful for it. "What did it say, Harry?" she asked.

"It…basically says that I must either kill Voldemort or be killed by him." Hermione's eyes widened and she squeezed his hand.

"Harry…that's…how do they know it's about you?"

"It said the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord would be born in the seventh month to --"

"But that could be a lot of people," Hermione said hastily, as though desperate to discredit the prediction.

"Yes…but it also said the Dark Lord would mark the one, and he did," Harry explained, pointing to his scar. "Trust me, I've thought long and hard about it…but there's no way out of it. It's me."

Hermione's bottom lip quivered, and in the next moment, her arms were around him. "It's going to be okay, Harry," she said, her words muffled in his shoulder. "You're not going to die."

Harry hugged her, feeling that she was more in need of comfort than he was. Still, there was one last fear he needed to voice.

"How can I just…kill him, Hermione? I mean…I know, he's evil, and the only way to stop him is to kill him, but…it's still murder, isn't it?"

Hermione shook her head, backing away just enough to look him in the eye. "It won't be as simple as that, Harry. It won't just be a killing curse. If it were that easy, it would have been done a long time ago - probably by one of his own servants. Evil can't be stopped with evil. It's going to take something different…something unexpected - something special that only you seem to have. There's something extraordinary about you…maybe it's always been luck that's gotten you through things, or maybe not. But I really believe that you're an extremely powerful wizard…more powerful than you'll ever know. And you'll defeat him, and it's not going to be by murder."

For the first time in his life, Harry pulled Hermione into a hug. He held her to him, truly realizing for the first time just how much he relied on her, and just how much she eased his soul.

"Thank you, Hermione…. I'd be lost without you."

They were still wrapped up in each other - both literally and figuratively - when a throat cleared loudly, catching their attention.

They sprang apart to find that an angry Ron was glaring at them from the bottom of the hill. He obviously hadn't calmed down any - or if he had, he had gotten himself angry again.

"Now I see how it is," he said, walking up the hill. "I was worried that you would still be mad at me, but obviously, you two have been having plenty of fun on your own!"

Hermione stood, getting into what Harry thought of as her battle posture. Harry stood quietly behind Hermione, butterbeer bottle clutched in his hand. He really didn't want to get embroiled in this one, but he had a feeling he didn't have much choice. He was right.

Ron turned to him. "I knew it. I knew you'd just love the chance to get alone with her and -"

"Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Hermione interrupted. "And stop acting like Harry was plotting against you. I'm sure he's got much more important things to think about."

Ron's eyes flashed. "Of course! Perfect Harry never does anything wrong! He's too busy being a hero!" Harry squirmed. If I hadn't felt uncomfortable before, he did now.

"At least he's got the nerve to let a girl know how he feels about her instead of moping about it and making her life a living hell!" Oh, and it only got worse.

Ron looked as if he was about to explode. "Are you happy now, then? You finally got what you wanted! Now you can openly worship the ground he walks on!"

This was really going too far, but Harry had never been very good at playing the role of peacekeeper between the two, and he had a feeling that getting involved could only make things worse.

"Yes, I am happy!" Hermione nearly shrieked. "And why shouldn't I be? Just because you love misery doesn't mean I have to!"

"I love misery, do I? You know, that makes sense! Because it explains why I've stuck around you for so long!"

Harry was fairly sure she was going to slap him, but luckily, Ron wasn't stupid enough to stay where he was - or perhaps he was just so angry that storming off down the hill was necessary. Hermione was shaking and breathing heavily through her nose, fists clenched. She had snapped her unfinished Sugar Quill in half.

Harry put a hand on her shoulder, wanting to calm her. She was still trembling, and now trying very hard not to cry.

"It's all right, Hermione," Harry said consolingly. He hated it when girls cried, especially Hermione. He wasn't sure if he would be able to handle it. "You know how Ron is. He'll come around."

Hermione nodded, smiling slightly. "Besides, we've still got each other for now."

Harry took her hand. "And we've still got Sugar Quills."