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A Gift for Dumblydore!

Title: Lessons
Author: TBA
Recipient: dumblydore
Rating: PG-13 (Cause Ron’s got a dirty mouth, and Kreacher’s not much better, though you can’t hear him.)
Word Count: ~1600
Characters/Pairings: Ron/Hermione, Kreacher
Summary: Hermione wants to learn a new skill, so she and Ron muddle through the learning process together.
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, but I do enjoy making them dance around for my amusement.
Warnings: Is "Not Angsty" a warning?
Author's Notes: Thanks, dumblydore for giving me a chance to write Kreacher. Hope you like it! Thanks to T for catching my whoopses.



Hermione was terribly earnest. It was in her eyes, the squinty bits round the corners and the focused gleam.

Ron was laughing. Well, snorting. "I'm sorry, what? You think we should learn to cook? What for? I mean, don't you think we've got quite enough going on with the Ministry Surveillance and the research and the planning? Besides, Kreacher feeds us more than well enough here. He might resent it if we suddenly barged into his kitchen and started cooking up a storm."

Hermione, grown used to Ron's cheek, merely tuts. "It's not for here." She sets her book down with a thud and stands. She prefers thinking out loud while pacing; the movement helps her focus.

"Look, I've been thinking—“

"Of course you have," Ron mutters under his breath. Cheerfully though.

“—And we just don't know what to expect while we're searching. We can't count on safely staying here until...whenever it is we finish all this." She gestures vaguely around herself, looking momentarily Luna-ish, not that she'd enjoy knowing that. "We might end up hiding in the Muggle world or—or out in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to look for help. I just think we ought to build up as many skills as we can, magical or otherwise. I rather don’t fancy eating raw worms or acorn paste, or wasting all our money on carton after carton of takeway, if it’s all the same to you. Not if we can avoid it."

Ron closes his own book. Any opportunity to be shut of research he would take. Leaning heavily into a spine cracking stretch, he says, “Okay, I see your point. We don’t know what we might be up against and it does make sense. But shouldn’t we bring Harry in on it too? I don’t like the idea of the two of us doing all the meals, if it should come to that.”

“Oh, well Harry can do a fry up,” she says. “He’s had plenty of practice, after all. He’ll be fine. It’s just…”

“Just?” he prompts, after a pause of such length that anyone not deeply acquainted with Hermione Granger might think she’d actually lost her train of thought.

I’mawretchedcookandIhopedthatmaybeyourmumhadtaughtyousomethingthatyoucouldteachmeandpleasedon’ttakethemickey,” she mumbles.

“What?”

“I-I’m really not a good cook. The only thing I’ve done that’s worked is boil water for tea and the last time I tried anything was when I was seven and I wanted to make Christmas biscuits and they were all charred outside and raw inside and my dad tried them and he ended up having to go to hospital after and I just was hoping…Did your mum ever teach you anything about cooking?” At this, she pauses, because she does need to breathe </i>sometimes</i>, and glares at him, daring him to say something.

Ron does have the sense to realize that she’s asking for his help, which is quite the pleasant change. He also knows that any advantage this situation might give him will be lost if he laughs, so he manages not to. Unfortunately, he can’t help.

“Hermione, I would love to help you, really I would.” He takes her hand, and she brightens somewhat. “But I can’t. My mum never taught me anything like that.”

“Oh. I just thought…maybe she might have brought you all in at some point…just the basics, you know. But nothing?”

“Sorry, Hermione. She never did. Really, can you imagine my mum trying to teach us lot anything about cooking? A bunch of rowdy boys, in her kitchen?” he asks with a smile.

She smiles too.

“Six of us! Most of us teenagers. I mean, you’ve seen my and Harry’s appetites. Triple that, and you’ll have a good idea of what she would have been getting into. She must have been worried that anything not broken or splattered all over the floor would have been eaten long before it ever made it to the table.”

Now she really is laughing, embarrassment forgotten.

Knowing he has her, he taps his chin and feigns deep thought. “Come to think of it, she did try teaching Ginny once, when she was little. But Ginny hated it. She was always having hysterics, or running off to hide with the chickens. After the fifth or sixth time she was dragged back, howling her head off and covered with chicken droppings, Mum just conceded defeat.”

“Well that plan’s shot then, isn’t it?” she says, and it’s too much for both of them. They are both overcome and fall back onto the sofa, laughing fit to split. After a few minutes, Hermione’s giggles taper off and she hiccoughs and wipes her eyes.

“I still think it’s a good idea, Ron. Will you fumble through with me? At least we’ll both be utter rubbish,” she says.

“Of course. We’ll get started first thing, the next time Harry’s on Ministry Surveillance.”

“Thank you, Ron.” She kisses him on the cheek, and it is his turn to blush.

~*~

Sure enough, the second Harry is out the door on his next turn of duty, Hermione is found in the kitchen, surrounded by pots and pans and loaves of bread and pats of butter. In her hands she holds several neatly printed recipe cards she has copied out of her mother’s cookbooks.

She seems very nervous, but her eyes are full of the excitement that only learning something new can bring to them. It’s a look Ron knows very well, and loves even more.

“I thought we should start by trying things the Muggle way,” she says, as he picks up a heavy saucepan. “Knowing the magic won’t do us any good if we don’t know how not to burn things to begin with. We need to learn the basics.”

“That sounds fine,” Ron says. “I don’t think explaining to Harry why Sirius’ house is nothing but one giant cinder would be a great way to start the next stage of our ‘quest’ or ‘mission’, or whatever the hell this is.”

So they begin. It goes smoothly enough. Most of the more complex recipes on Hermione’s cards prove to be beyond them, but they make it through broths and light soups and even attempt to bake some bread, though it comes out much tougher than either of them would have liked.

“But we can still eat it,” Ron says, “so it’ll serve.”

There are a few easily healed cuts and scalds from time to time, but nothing too serious. And several of the things they fry or simmer or toast end up containing long, curly brown hairs that Hermione’s bushy bun is unable to contain.

There is good-natured bickering, and plenty of laughter.

And Ron does yell “Buggering arse!” quite a few times. Even Hermione lets out a “Merlin’s pants!” or a “Son of a hag” more than once. Predictably, it is these exclamations that attract the attention of the one they didn’t want to have finding them out.

A loud yell of “Shite!” (on Hermione’s part, shockingly) draws Kreacher into the kitchen, where he stands in equal parts shock, rage, and amusement. Thankfully, he touches his freshly polished golden locket and does not explode.

“What have you done to Master Harry’s kitchen?” he manages not to screech. “All these pots—and there is egg on the ceiling!”

Ron, whose over-enthusiastic flip resulted in said egg’s unusual placement, has the grace to look sheepish.

“We’re sorry, Kreacher,” Hermione says. “We just—we were trying to learn to cook, and…”

“Things got a little out of hand,” Ron finishes. “Um, sorry…mate?”

Kreacher’s mouth opens and closes with all the words he dare not utter. His long fingers close convulsively around the locket, drawing strength from it.

“Kreacher, we’re terribly sorry. We’ll clean it all. And we’ll be more careful next time, I promise,” Hermione says.

All Kreacher can say is, “Next time?”

“Well, yes, Kreacher. You see, we need to learn to cook with magic too and—“

“Why do Master Harry’s friends need to cook? Are Kreacher’s meals not good enough for them? Do they think he tries to poison them? Kreacher would never.”

“Oh no! No, Kreacher, it’s not that. We just need to learn because—“

“Because,” Ron cuts in, “I want to take Hermione on a trip when all this is over, rough it a bit. But we can’t do that if we can’t cook.”

Hermione looks at him, but he grabs her hand and squeezes it, and she is quiet.

“Actually, Kreacher,” he continues, “maybe you could help us. We need to learn how to do all this with magic, and you could show us better than we could figure out ourselves.”

Kreacher glances around the kitchen, and nods.

“Kreacher could. Yes. And then I can watch, prevent this.” He glares at the ceiling as if it has done him personal harm. “Soon. But first, Kreacher must make dinner. Dinner that can be eaten.”

Ron and Hermione exchange a smirk as Kreacher heads to the pantry, muttering and stroking his locket.

Before they begin to clean, Hermione stops Ron with a hand on his arm.

“Why did you stop me before?” she asks.

Ron shrugs. “We probably shouldn’t tell him everything. Just in case.”

“I suppose.” She nods, pauses. “Did you mean what you said? About the trip and all?”

Ron’s ears flush. “Yeah,” he says. “I think that would be nice, just the two of us. ‘Course, I mean to leave out the roughing it part. Nah, we’ll go somewhere nice, with hot food and, er – soft beds.”

“I’d like that,” Hermione says.

They both blush and set to cleaning.

But before they can plan their next lesson, Harry arrives home and says tomorrow. Cooking lessons become unimportant in the wake of that announcment.

~*~fin~*~

Comments

Awww wow, that's so adorable. Ron and Hermione on a trip together - too cute! Thank you!!!

November 2007

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