A/N: Legend says that a Slytherin Weasley (err, Prewett? She's technically Molly's cousin...) that goes by the name of Mafalda was supposed to be introduced in The Goblet of Fire. She would rival Hermione for the 'brightest witch' title and she'd also have this habit of breaking rules and showing off. Later on in the series she'd act as a spy for the trio and listen in on conversations of Death Eater children. She comes from a squib and a muggle parents who have always had issues with the Weasley's, and she herself was described as being a generally difficult, unpleasant child. Rowling wrote her out in the end because her character complicated the plot and because Rita Skeeter filled her role perfectly well in GOF, but she still kind of did include her in the form of one Mafalda Hopkirk whom Hermione disguises as in Deathly Hallows to get into the Ministry.
Anyway, overall I'm glad Rowling wrote her out but I'm still very much intrigued by her character (I mean, a Slytherin of squib/muggle parentage related to the Weasley's!) and more so by her reaction to Viktor and Hermione's relationship. This is my take on it, and for simplicity's sake we'll pretend that there's nothing going on between Ron and Hermione in this AU. They still quarrel, of course, because they wouldn't be Ron and Hermione if they didn't, but they don't secretly have feelings for each other.
Long AN is long. Apologies. I hope you enjoy this!
"For the last time, Ron," said Hermione, coming to a halt in the middle of the busy corridor, her tone a clear indication that her patience was growing thin by the second. "Viktor and I are just friends. There is absolutely nothing going on between us, so will you please stop asking?"
"I just want an autograph," he said, looking thoroughly disappointed. "You know Harry can't ask him, and he likes you so I thought–"
"He does not!" she quickly cut in, turning pink on the spot. "I told you, we're just friends!"
"Wait, so you and Krum are not dating?"
Hermione stifled a groan. The question didn't come from Ron. She didn't need to hear that voice again or to turn around to know who it actually came from. Ron's scowl said it all.
Mafalda Prewett, a distant cousin of Molly Weasley, stood before them in her Slytherin colors balancing thick books in her arms that were definitely too advanced for first years. She had the pale, heavily freckled skin and blue eyes of Molly's, but her hair was a rather dull, limp red. Her round glasses were too large for her head and would often slide down the bridge of her nose, and the thick lenses enlarging her eyes by threefold gave her a permanently inquisitive, cartoonish look.
Hermione had thought she was cute at first, and was more eager to get to know her upon learning that Mafalda was the top of her Muggle class and that she spent most of her time reading. All that changed when Hermione actually did meet her during the Quidditch World Cup, and to say that she was thoroughly disappointed would definitely be an understatement.
Mafalda was an awfully rude, unpleasant child that had a complete disregard for authority, on top of being a show-off and a horrible gossip. She spoke in a highly condescending manner regarding Mr. Weasley's job, and didn't care if he was in hearing range, while criticizing Molly's cooking and loudly pointing out all of Ginny's flaws whenever Harry entered the room. A lot of times she got Ron and Ginny or Percy and Charlie or Bill and the twins fighting out of boredom, and once she even managed to pin Ginny and Hermione against each other.
Mafalda was also largely responsible for starting and spreading the rumor that Hermione and Viktor were dating. Hermione had made a point of ignoring her ever since, more troubled by the unwarranted attention and abuse of too many obsessive fangirls than the actual rumor. If anything, she'd rather it wasn't a rumor.
"Well, you ought to know, seeing as you started this silly rumor," replied Hermione crossly.
"And I thought you of all people would appreciate it," said Mafalda, looking snubbed. "Really, Granger, I was doing you a favor by eliminating your competition. Do you even know how many gorgeous women are after him? I really thought you liked him, seeing as you were being all girly and giggly at the ball–"
"I was not giggly!" gasped Hermione, turning pink. "You weren't even there, how on Earth would you know?"
"I have my ways," she said with a smirk, making Hermione's fumes rise at the blatant disregard for rules and the consequences of breaking them. "Anyway, don't worry your pretty little head over it, Princess Granger. I'll talk to Griselda Hopkirk, seeing as you obviously don't like him."
"You– what? Griselda Hopkirk? What's any of this got to do with her?"
Griselda Hopkirk was a seventh year Slytherin. What made Mafalda so confident that Griselda would give a first year related to the Weasley's the time of the day?
"Like I said, Granger. Don't you worry about anything." There was something devious about the way Mafalda was smiling up at her. It made Hermione very, very nervous. "Just to confirm, though. You really don't like Viktor Krum, right?"
Hermione hugged her books tighter to her chest, feeling Ron's curious eyes on her and resisting the urge to bite her lip. "Of– of course not! You started the rumor, you of all people know it's not true."
"Just checking," she said with a shrug. "Wouldn't want you coming after me for something else later. Well then, I have to go to class! See you at lunch, Granger, cousin dearest!"
She then sauntered off without another word, leaving Hermione gaping after her. What exactly did she mean by 'something else'?
Mafalda's plan unfurled around lunchtime. Griselda Hopkirk, whose skirt appeared to have shrunk a few inches while the top button of her shirt went mysteriously missing, was confident when she walked towards the Durmstrang students on the Slytherin table and took the empty seat next to Viktor. He acknowledged her with a polite nod at first, but then she said something that made him turn away from Hermione. He gave her a reply and whatever it was it made her throw her head back and laugh, exposing the smooth tanned skin of a rather lovely neck. It didn't help that she also had a pearly smile that seemed contagious enough to make him smile back. At some point in their conversation she felt comfortable enough to occasionally lay a hand on his wrist resting on the table. She nodded along when he started talking again, and Hermione noticed even from the distance her fingers gently squeezing his wrist as her free hand played with a lock of her dark, smooth hair.
Griselda Hopkirk was truly beautiful, Hermione realized with a twinge. The majority of the male population of Hogwarts' were perhaps right with their obsession with her plump lips, smooth tanned skin, slanted hazel eyes, full breasts, and long shapely legs. They were all things worthy of a celebrity athlete's attention. They were all things Hermione didn't have.
"You alright, Hermione?" asked Harry, sitting in front of her with Ron, both oblivious to her inner turmoil at the sight of the couple two tables ahead.
She shook her head. She didn't realized that she was gaping at the scene. "I just remembered something. I have to go."
She quickly got up and left the Great Hall, ignoring her friends' befuddled expressions and the smug smile of Mafalda Prewett from the Slytherin table. Her throat was closing up and her eyes were watering. She absolutely refused to cry in public, especially over a boy, even if she really did like him. She needed to go to the library. She needed a distraction.
They're really all the same, she thought bitterly as she pushed open the heavy oak doors of the library. They'll compliment you and dance with you and almost kiss you until the next best thing comes along. Really my fault for thinking a celebrity would be any different.
It took a while, but she eventually managed to channel her hurt and anger into her work. By the time the lunch hour ended and more students starts filing in she had gone through her Ancient Runes and Arithmancy homework. She was just about to start with Transfiguration when a light thud alerted her to Viktor's presence. He had books from the restricted section and was just making himself comfortable on the chair facing hers.
"That seat's taken," she said coldly, her eyes glued to an open book she wasn't actually reading. "Both seats are taken, actually," she added when he moved his books to the empty space next to his seat.
He nodded. He grabbed his books, got up, walked around the table and sat on the chair next to hers.
"That one's taken, too!" she said, glaring at him as he propped open one of the books.
He raised a brow, then pointed at the empty chairs facing them. "For Potter and for boy with red hair, yes?"
"She is having class now."
"Oh, so now you know her schedule?"
"No, she is telling me when I asked her where you go."
"Still!" she huffed, purposely shoving her books into his space and nearly knocking his own books off the edge of the desk. "I need this space for my books."
"Share," he commanded, shoving her books back into her space, a hint of an amused smile on his face.
She was only further infuriated. "There's plenty of empty desks around, Viktor!"
"I don't want them."
"They're literally all the same."
"No, this is better. I like this one better."
"And pray tell what makes this particular desk any different?" she asked shrilly.
"Better lighting?" He shrugged. "Also is better because you are sitting here."
She blushed, then cursed herself. He was getting nice and friendly with Griselda Hopkirk just an hour ago!
"Fine then," she said, angrily slamming her open books shut and shoving them into her bag. "You can have the bloody desk."
He frowned, his amused smile all but gone. He placed a gentle hand on her wrist to still her movement. "Are you upset with me?"
"Of course not," she said, wrenching her wrist free to hoist her bag over her shoulder. "Why should I be upset with you? It's not like you promised me anything, or that anything happened to allude to some kind of a promise. I've got better things to worry about, anyway, more important things like school."
He stared at her as she rolled up her parchment and screwed the lid of her ink bottle shut. "I don't understand. Maybe I am forgetting your birthday?"
She narrowed her eyes. "Viktor, do you even know when birthday is?"
"Of course I do," he said defensively. "September 19th, 1979. You are now fifteen."
"You can do math. Wonderful."
She knew she was being exceptionally rude and that he at least had the right to know why, but she was too upset to care. She forced herself out of her own comfort zone, knowing very well that he's older and famous and could most likely get any woman he wants, and he responded by making her believe that he felt the same. He was the first boy she actually liked and he hurt her.
She would normally rise above what she considered to be childish behavior, but she was humiliated and she wanted to be petty for once and make him suffer a little.
He followed her into the deserted Muggle studies section. "Please, tell me what I did wrong."
His expression was so concerned and anxious that she almost relented. She had to remind herself once again that he's in the wrong, that he broke her heart and that he doesn't deserve her kindness no matter how sincere he appeared to be.
"Nothing, Viktor," she replied impatiently, pretending to browse the shelves and then slapping his hand away when he went to grab a book out of her reach. "I said I'm fine!"
He looked at her, wide-eyed and wounded. This time she actually did look away in shame.
"What is wrong?" he asked, tilting his head to look at her face. "I will not know if you don't tell me, Herm-own-ninny."
Something in her snapped at hearing him mispronounce her name. She glared up at him, uncaring about exposing her tearful eyes or trembling lips or slightly quivering voice. "You know I'm beginning to wonder if you can actually pronounce Griselda's name right."
"Griselda?" he frowned, now confused. "What about her?"
"Oh, so you can pronounce Griselda's name perfectly well but not mine?!"
"You are upset because I can't say your name?" he asked, a semblance of relief washing over his face. "Is simple solution, Herm-own-ninny, you teach me!"
"For goodness' sake, it's HER-MY-OH-KNEE!"
"Ok, ok!" he said, hastily holding up his hands in defeat. "Hermione! See? I said it correctly, much better than before. Is a very beautiful name."
"Is that what you told that cow at the Great Hall?"
He blinked. "There was a cow in the Great Hall?"
She made a frustrated sound. "Griselda, Viktor, your cow-boob girlfriend with legs up to her waist!"
"Griselda is not my girlfriend," he said slowly, an eyebrow raised. "We are related."
She blanched, all her anger and hurt drained in one go. "what–? R-related?" she squeaked.
"Yes, we are related. Her mother is my mother's cousin."
"But– but you never told me!"
He shrugged. "I did not know. She is just telling me."
"But– but I– her clothes, I mean– I–" she stuttered helplessly, searching through her jittery thoughts for a plausible explanation of her behavior and coming up short.
He crossed his arms and leaned his shoulder against the shelves, grinning. "You jealous?"
"N-no!" she said, blushing furiously. Then it occurred to her. "Oh, this is all Mafalda's doing!"
She was so overcome with shame and guilt and rage that she couldn't tell which emotion was more dominant. How could she, Hermione Granger, fall victim to a mere eleven-year-old's scheme?! She was solving complex riddles and brewing Polyjuice Potion in the girls' bathroom when she was her age, and just last year she was time-travelling to free a Hippogriff and save an escaped convict from the Dementor's Kiss. How is it that she lost her cool when a boy came into the equation?
"Little girl with big glasses?" he asked.
"Yes, that horrid little creature! She set me up!"
"What she do?"
"Well, first she started the rumor that you and I are–" she stopped herself, feeling her face heating up. "R-right, and then she did this! I– I don't know how to explain it, but she knew I'd react the way I did if she were to somehow dig up your family tree and look for the best looking, most affectionate cousin to cause all this misunderstanding and to rile me up. Oh, I just know she did it on purpose! She wanted to embarrass me in front of you all along. She doesn't care about my other male friends, she only did it with you because she knows I fancy you and I fell for it and now everything's spoiled!"
He caught her wrist mid-pace and spun her around to face him. She gasped. She couldn't believe it. He was blushing. "You like me?"
"N-no I don't!" she said quickly, then stopped. It was the exact same answer that got her into this mess. She refused to fall for it again.
Suddenly feeling brave and daring, and before she could come to her senses, she grabbed fistfuls of his coarse burgundy robes and pulled him down for a kiss. He stiffened and for a moment she thought she made the wrong decision, but then she felt his lashes brush against her cheekbones as his eyes slid shut. He wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her off the ground, making her heart soar the same way it did when they first danced at the Yule Ball.
They were both flushed and panting when they pulled apart and for the first time Hermione felt relieved that no student is interested enough to come near the Muggle studies section.
"What?" she asked.
"Well they are ridiculously large…" she grumbled.
He tucked a loose curl behind her ear, smiling affectionately. "You are cute when jealous."
"It's not exactly my fault you're surrounded by all these women," she huffed.
"Many women are nice, yes, but I like you better," he said, kissing her cheek. "And I also like Mafalda."
"Mafalda?" she asked incredulously.
He nodded. "She is making you kiss me, so I like her."
Hermione hated to admit it, but he was right. She would've never done it under normal circumstances. What's worse, she not only owes Mafalda but she is also grateful to her.
She sighed, defeated. "Right, I did… just that." She smiled at him. "Now what?"
"This," he said, drawing her closer and pressing his lips to hers.
She had a blissful smile on her still-pink face when she returned to the Great Hall for dinner. Her hair was an absolutely chaotic mess, her tie loosened, and her lips a little red and swollen. She dropped down on her seat next to Ginny with a dreamy sigh.
Ron and Harry slowly exchanged looks. Ginny smiled into her drink.
"What the bloody hell happened to you?" asked Ron. He then turned around in his chair as Viktor entered the Hall, looking surly as ever but as equally disheveled as Hermione. "What the bloody hell happened to him?"
"Who knows, Ron," she said absently, skipping all the main dishes and going straight for desert. "Truly, who knows…"
For once she wasn't bothered by Mafalda's triumphant, haughty smile directed at her from the other end of the Hall.
A/N: Just to clarify, Griselda was not hitting on her cousin. She was being affectionate in a familial kind of way. Hermione obviously didn't know and she tends to over analyse things, especially when she's feeling insecure, so she saw it as Griselda being flirtatious and Viktor responding. Also I believe that Viktor and Hermione have at least had one make out session in the library because... well, because they'd eventually run out of books to read and homework to complete...