A Special Guest
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
A/N: A little something for Valentine's Day... I'm kidding. Inever planned for this to be done on any particular day. Suffice it to say, my Hermione's middle name is Jane. Thanks to all the folks on Seel'vor's Yahoo Group. Speaking of Seel'vor, a new chapter of Quantum Leap would be greatly appreciated.
Feb. 15, 2012 - edit - added some extra clues and minor corrections. A big thank you goes out to Katdemon18, RalphS, and MariusDarkWolf.
"Now class we have a very special guest today, Hermione Granger, one of the great heroes of the last Blood War. As she had some business here at the Grimmauld Museum, she has graciously offered to speak to your class. I know a number of you haven't done the assigned reading on the Blood War from your history texts but have instead just skimmed the trashy pulp fiction novels published by WWW. I feel I should warn you that what actually happened is quite different from what is portrayed in that sensationalized trash."
The class, made up of 6th and 7th year Hogwarts students, was spread out among the various artifacts and paraphernalia of the Order of the Phoenix from when Grimmauld Place was their Headquarters. Like students everywhere, some listened to the teachers, but many did not. Anumber of students were milling about in small groups gossiping and still others were crowded around their reflection-net mirrors. Newer models could record and playback video and the students were instantly hooked. Regardless, many of the students started to crowd around their guest speaker.
"Ms. Granger, where's your husband, Ron? Is he here as well?"One dark haired girl asked.
"I didn't marry Ron; next question." Hermione responded with a smile.
The buzz of excited whispers could be heard coming from the students. The teacher exchanged a small smile with Ms. Granger but none of the students noticed.
A tall boy with sandy colored hair raised his hand to ask another question. "How come Hugo isn't at Hogwarts with us? Are you home schooling him?"
Hermione was at a loss for a moment, but she quickly realized to whom they were referring. "Ah, you mean my fictional son from the novels. As I said before, I never married Ron and we never had children together. Going from there that should answer your questions as to where he is and what he's doing. Off the record, I would like to point out that I would never name a child of mine Hugo. No offense intended to anyone named Hugo, but I've had to live with Hermione as my name for my entire life, and so I'm sure anyone who has experienced similar circumstance will agree that I should know better. Now, next question, please."
The dark haired girl raised her hand again. She was hard to miss with how rapidly her hand was waving, and Hermione barely hid her amused snort. This time, she asked, "Why did you cut your hair? The books always describe you as having long, bushy hair."
Hermione took a moment to glance up to her hairline. It is much shorter than it used to be, she mused/. /She made a point to smile warmly before she responded. "My hair does not define me. Just because Ibecame associated with a particular hair style in my youth doesn't mean I must maintain that style to stay true to myself. In fact, I find this shorter style much easier to care for, quicker to style and maintain. To be honest, my hair length and style are really only the business of two people. Not to be rude, but I suppose what I'm trying to say is that only the opinions of two people matter in regards to my hair, my opinion and my husband's." She took a sip of water from a bottle she had removed from a tiny beaded bag at her side.
Young girls giggled at her answer and the boys just looked uncomfortable. Soon another young girl with brilliant red hair raised her hand with a question. "Was Ron Weasley any good in bed?" she asked to the horror of her teacher. Immediately after the question had been heard and understood, silence filled the room. Soon after, that silence was replaced with laughter. Only later did Hermione find out that specific young girl was utterly and hopelessly in love with the Ron Weasley from the novels. Even her reddish-orange colored hair was apparently the result of a continuous color change charm and her natural color was actually blond. But that is for later.
Hermione couldn't hold in her amused laugh as she looked at the girl whose red hair made her look a little like a young Molly Weasley. She glanced at the teacher who looked very apologetic before pasting on her most tolerant smile and replying, "I wouldn't know. As I understand it, the novels depict some sort of hormone fueled, poorly foreshadowed love story between Ron Weasley and myself. In reality I had no such relationship with him; though, not for his lack of trying. When you get right down to it; although we were ostensibly friends in Hogwarts, he was really Harry's friend more than mine. We got on well enough whenever he made a concerted effort, but that was fairly rare. Next question."
"Oh..." breathed the sad and embarrassed 6th year.
Taking pity on the young girl's disappointed expression, Hermione tried to soften the blow, "Try not to dwell too much on the romantic missteps of a fictional character. I don't mean to ruin all of your dearly held beliefs and pre-conceptions, but the Hermione Jean Weasley in the book series is completely separate from me, Hermione Jane Granger. Unlike my fictional counterpart, I grew up, found a meaningful job and later on got married to a wonderful man that really completes me."
The young girl sniffled a little and dried her tears.
"Food for thought, although I'm not the Hermione in that book series with the poorly written ending, at least for the first two or three books my husband says we're pretty similar. So, take this Hermione's advice and focus on the good and ignore the manipulative old goat behind the curtain. However, if you're really curious about the answer to your question, then you might ask Lavender Brown. Oh, she may be going by her married name now. Okay, now how about a different question, please?"
This time, the sandy haired boy maneuvered to ask another question. "Ms. Granger, you've made clear that a lot of things we learned from the novels aren't true, so did Harry Potter end up marrying Ginny Weasley?"
Hermione had to laugh at that question as well. "I get asked that question a lot. No, Harry and Ginny never married. Next question?"
There was a great clamoring from the students as many of the female Hogwarts students pushed forward trying to get her attention. Hermione held up her hands to ask for silence and a chance to explain more fully.
She sighed before she spoke. "All right, I'll say one more thing regarding Harry's relationship with Ginny or the lack thereof. I'm sure all of you remember the scene from the novels where Harry was in Madame Puddifoots and I came to get him? Well, in reality, it wasn't Cho who was with him, it was Ginny. Ginny had been trying for weeks to get Harry to go on a date with her and he wasn't really willing. He went with her as a favor to her family. Naturally, when I showed up he jumped at the chance to leave early."She paused for a moment and nibbled on her lip in thought. She decided to add,"He still paid for their meal like a proper gentleman, don't forget. Now, next question."
The next question came from a little girl who looked like afemale version of Colin Creevey. "Whom did Mr. Potter marry? That is, if he did marry, I mean."
Hermione answered it very matter-of-factly. "He married awoman who loves him very much. Next question."
The students were intrigued. Hermione Granger hadn't actually married Ron Weasley, Harry Potter hadn't actually married Ginny Weasley, and now Ms. Granger was answering questions evasively. The select few in the class that wanted her to end up with Harry could barely suppress their excitement.
"Ms. Granger, you mentioned you were married," asked alittle boy with a dark complexion.
Looking at the students with a guarded expression, she answered slowly. "Yes... I am married. Was there a question you wanted to ask?"
"Who did YOU end up marrying?"
Figures they'd ask me that, she thought somewhat ruefully. "Someone I love very much. Next question."
"No, which is something you should be well aware of since you're his daughter, but I am not your mother. Speaking of your mother - how is Hannah?" Clarice had the good grace to look ashamed as she replied, "Fine, Aunty." Her friends crowded around her and Hermione could just make out the whispered word 'Godmother'.
"Snape?" asked a girl with dark, greasy hair reminiscent of the old Potion Professor.
"God NO!" Hermione nearly yelled.
"Sirius Black?" asked a boy with dreadlocks.
"No, he's long dead but it would have been no anyway."
"Remus Lupin?" asked the sandy haired boy.
"Again, no. Putting aside the fact that he died a hero's death, I had no interest in marrying any man that much older than me. For comparison, he and my father were the same age.
"No! Don't you think you've asked me enough about people that have tried to kill me?"
"I've already answered this and I dislike having to repeat myself."
"But--" started the girl with Weasley red hair.
"No! I wouldn't marry him if he were the last man on earth. Do I make myself clear?" The redhead nodded her head and then stepped back into the crowd.
"No, he was nice enough, but he was like an annoying younger brother to me."
"No, and don't even suggest such things in front of Dean Finnegan."
"I suppose there's no point in asking about Dean Thomas?"
"Dean Finnegan, you mean and no, not really. I understand they've got a wonderful bar in Magical Dublin."
"What is with you students and asking about living impaired people?" She groused aloud with more volume than she had intended. "And before you start speculating, that's a 'no' as well. To be brutally honest, I had absolutely no attraction whatsoever to any of the men you've mentioned so far. And just because I know how teenage minds work, let me be clear. I have never felt any attraction to any witches either."
"The Harmonists finally elbowed their way to the front of the crowd, as everyone had moved to closer to try and get the attention of the fascinating guest speaker, it had been difficult to get there. "Did you marry Harry Potter?" The girl with dark, messy hair asked.
She sighed and hung her head for a moment. "It's amazing how often I get asked that question. Now let me ask you, why are you so interested in the person I married? Isn't it good enough that I married a wonderful man whom I love and who loves me too? I mean, when you get right down to it, you're treating both me and Harry like some sort of celebrities and that's very unfortunate because Harry's dislike of the limelight is one of the few things the novels got absolutely right." She paused to let that statement sink in.
"It's because you two go so well together." opined a stocky older boy.
"How so?" She questioned back, genuinely curious as to their thought processes.
"Well, you think things through while he's impulsive."
"My favorite tattoo artist would disagree with you, but go on."
"You both have messy hair."
Hermione ran a hand through her close cut, pixie style hair.
"Umm..." stammered the girl who evidently really liked their messy hair.
"No, no. Don't mind me, please continue." Hermione encouraged.
"You're really smart like his mom," offered a short boy with glasses.
"Smarter actually, but only just so." She held up her hand, thumb and forefinger positioned closely together. "Though I have to say that Idon't think that's a healthy reason for a man and woman to get married."
"So you did marry Harry Potter!" exclaimed a girl with long strawberry blond hair.
Utterly non-plussed, Hermione responded "I said nothing of the sort. I was merely commenting that I don't believe that oedipal relationships are healthy. Can you just imagine if Harry had married a woman who not only acted like his mother but looked like her as well?" Hermione involuntarily shivered.
The teacher, who had been watching the entire Question & Answer session with evident mirth, snorted a little at Ms. Granger's last remark. She found it equally amusing that probably unbeknownst to the students, every single one of them had nodded their heads in complete agreement with her.
"So you're saying you didn't marry Harry Potter?"asked the confused strawberry blond.
Hermione found herself sighing again. "What I'm saying is Harry is a very private person and I know he wouldn't like me talking about his private life."
There was much buzzing to be heard among the crowd of students as they discussed what she had told them. From an outsider's perspective, it seemed as if they formed a rather large sports huddle. Finally, they came to a consensus.
Looking remarkably grown up, one girl stood before all the others, coughed into her hand and then addressed the guest speaker. "We appreciate his desire for privacy, ma'am. He saved our world from Lord Voldemort and his Death Eater cronies, so we believe he deserves happiness and we'll respect his wishes in regards to that."
Smiling with appreciation, Hermione nodded her head. She was truly touched by their sincerity. "Thank you. And on behalf of Harry, let me thank you all. I'm sure he would be very pleased to hear you say that."
"You're very welcome, ma'am."
"Any further questions?" she asked as she scanned the crowd.
"Who did YOU end up marrying?" A number of students asked at the same time.
Yet another sigh escaped Hermione's lips. "Do we have to go through this again?" Her left hand was massaging her forehead.
The dark haired girl with messy hair who had apparently appointed herself spokeswoman for the group explained very methodically and in great detail that they weren't asking about Harry Potter anymore. This time, they were asking about Hermione Granger and the lucky bloke that captured her heart."Completely different topics, right?" She asked with the perfect, guileless innocence that only the very guilty could muster.
Hermione had the good graces to blush at that comment. The blush had yet to fade by the time she coughed to clear her throat and resumed her normal unflappable expression.
They were smiling at her.
"Once again, my husband, just like Harry, values his privacy and I won't speak anymore about him today."
More whispering through the crowd could be heard. Hermione could just overhear snatches of the conversation. Things like: "Did she just say that her husband was Harry?" and "No, she said her husband was like Harry. You need to pay more attention." Several students asked, "Did she say she liked Harry?" which received the same reply as the preceding question.
"Excuse me," came a man's voice.
The crowd of students parted to allow an adult to make his way through the crowd. He wasn't terribly tall, but he must have been an inch or two taller than the guest speaker. He wore the robes of someone in law enforcement.
"What's all this then?" The man asked Hermione.
Looking a little embarrassed she answered him. "Ah, I just had to pop by the old place to use the library. I saw this history class was getting the tour and I volunteered to answer some questions."
He looked over the crowd, eyeing a dark haired girl, a sandy haired boy, Neville's eldest, Pansy's eldest, and many other familiar faces. His own face likely wasn't familiar to most of them judging by how they stared at him. "You've been gone quite a while. Have they been giving you trouble?Holding you hostage perhaps? Do they need to be taken in for questioning?" He wondered aloud.
The children's eyes went wide. Had they done something wrong?
"No, I don't think so." Hermione assured him.
The students breathed a sigh of relief.
Hermione smiled as she continued, "No trouble, really. They've just been very curious about the differences between those Boy-Who-Lived-Novels and what really happened."
"Did they ask about that time you made Cormac fail his Quidditch trials?"
"No, it never came up."
"AHA!" screamed the redhead. "I knew it. I just knew you had feelings for Ron. Why ELSE would YOU break the rules?"
Hermione looked pityingly at the girl. "For the same reason I broke any rules at Hogwarts. I broke them for Harry's sake. He was having a difficult time deciding between a so-so, braggart keeper and a close friend with so-so skills. I made the decision easier for him, but I had a crush on Harry back then and consequently I wasn't able to express myself very well."
"Oh." squeaked the girl as her world crashed down upon her again.
"Harry Potter?" asked the man.
"I'm sure you remember him. He's rather difficult to forget." Said Hermione with a little bit of snark.
"Ah, him. Harry Potter was an idiot. Seven years he had you almost entirely to himself and did he make a move? Bah, the man was absolutely clueless."
"He wasn't so bad." Hermione defended.
"You're just saying that because he was your first crush."
Not denying it, she simply said "Yes, well there's no need for you to be so bitter about it." Hermione slinked over to the man and pulled him into an embrace. "The best man won in the end."
"He did, didn't he?" he kissed her cheek tenderly. "I'm just sorry you had to have your favorite tattoo changed when we got married."
"A minor inconvenience," said she. Then she dismissed his concern with a bright laugh.
"Yes, Miss Longbottom?"
"Who is he?" she asked while pointing at the man who still had his hands on Hermione's hips.
"Why, I should think that would be obvious. This is Mister Granger."
"Your father!" yelled the redheaded girl.
The girl with the messy, dark hair elbowed her. "No, you twit. He's obviously too young for that. He must be her husband."
"Is that true, Ms. Granger?" The sandy haired boy asked.
Hermione was just about to respond when Mr. Granger responded for her. "That's Missus Granger, kids. Yes, we are husband and wife. When we got married, I took her family name. I thought it only fair since she was the one who worked up the nerve and asked me to marry her. You could have knocked me over with a feather that day. I'd have looked pretty silly if it had happened at Auror Headquarters."
The kids all looked to Missus Granger. She nodded and moved one of his hands to rest comfortably on her stomach.
Concern in his voice, he asked "Feeling tired, Love?"
"Just a bit," replied Hermione.
Mister Granger smiled kindly to the children and then met eyes with their teacher. "It looks like we'll have to cut this short I'm afraid. We've got an appointment at Saint Mungo's in a just a little bit and it looks like you've tired out my darling wife - a real feat if you ask me."Hermione daintily stepped on his toes.
The teacher moved to stand in front of the students and held up her hands for silence. "Class, let's all thank Mrs. Granger for her amazing patience and endless indulgence in answering all of your questions."
Massive amounts of applause filled the old house. Both Grangers smiled and waved to the children as they made their way to the front entryway. When they passed by the teacher, Mister Granger thanked her for allowing Hermione the chance to speak to the kids.
Lavender had to smile at that. She wouldn't have dreamed of depriving the children the chance to speak to a legendary war hero and current Minister for Magic and she told him so.
He laughed at that and continued to the door.
One of the children called out after them. "Wait! She never told us your name!"
Mister Granger, who had already opened the door for his wife, heard and called back, "It's classified!" to the consternation of all the students. The door closed loudly behind them.
Secluded in the entryway, Hermione rolled her eyes and shook her head at her husband. "Don't you think that was a little too melodramatic?"She asked in honest curiosity.
Shrugging in a way that usually irked his wife, but this time only made her giggle. He spoke softly, "Not my fault if they can't really see what, or in this case who, is standing right in front of them. Besides, it's not a bad thing that most people on the street don't recognize me. It helps me to better keep you safe."
"And to think, it's all mostly due to wildly inaccurate book illustrations." She managed to say with a straight face.
"Sometimes, things just work out," he said with a sly smile.
And people wonder why he was almost sorted in Slytherin... but then again, so was I. She thought as a similar smile appeared on her face. "So, aren't we supposed to be going somewhere?"
Harry answered with a brief nod. Raising his hand to his mouth along with the concealed audio pickup he spoke quietly, "Teams Alpha, Delta, Tango, the Witch is on the move. Verify route safety and sound off go/no go.
"Tango, g- wait, standby Hex One. We've got a possible disturbance. Moving to investigate."
Hermione was amused. "Problem, Hex One?"
Mister Granger (a.k.a. Hex One) did not find Minister Granger's unplanned outing to Grimmauld Place all that amusing, despite how he'd seemed in front of the students, he was responsible for her safety and damn it if she didn't make it difficult from time to time.
Fortunately he'd had the foresight to assign Alicia and Daphne to shadow her using invisibility cloaks and disillusionment spells. Tracey was on plainclothes detail. Three of the seven most dangerous young witches in the UK protecting THE most dangerous witch in the UK; he kinda liked those odds.
"Hex One, disturbance was GW on another fire whiskey bender. GW has been portkeyed to local lockup to dry out. Tango reports go."
He looked at Hermione, wrapped an arm protectively over her stomach, gave her aquick kiss and then whispered into his hand that now held a wand. "This is Hex One. Go, I repeat, go."
"Team Alpha, go."
"Team Delta, go."
"Team Tango, g- wait, standby Harry. We've got apossible disturbance. Moving to investigate."
Three of the seven most dangerous young witches in the UK protecting THE most dangerous witch in the UK; he kinda liked those odds, though he still felt odd referring to individual people as Team anything. But there wasn't much he could do since they insisted. He made a mental note to mention to Tracey that she'd slipped up on the code names again.
"Viktor Krum?" asked a student that had never asked aquestion before.
"No, well, I mean, I do have a thing for Quidditch players but-" and then she was cut off.
The redheaded girl was jumping up and down as soon as she heard 'Quidditch'. She screamed, "YESSS!! I knew it. I JUST knew it! You're in love with Ron Weasley and you want to make mad, monkey love to him! And there'll be loads and loads of redheaded, semi-smart babies!"
"Petrificus Totalus" incanted Hermione, having drawn her wand for the first time since beginning her Q&A session.
The redhead was stuck in a victory pose. Her friends were helpfully keeping her from falling to the floor.
"Ahem, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted... Viktor Krum was nice enough, but he was much older than me, and then there were the communication difficulties - I mean, listening to him butcher my name every time he opened his mouth was exceedingly irksome. Also, and this is the most important strike against him, while he was a perfectly acceptable seeker, and Ionly have a thing for Quidditch SEEKERS, mind you, he was no Harry Potter."
The students gave her their rapt attention.
Hermione shook her head. "Let this be a lesson to all of you, once you've had the best, it is very hard to settle for second best. My advice, DON'T! Isn't that right, Dear?"
Mister Granger just shrugged.
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