Disclaimer: All the characters are JKR's. I'm just playing with them.
Author's Note: Another random fic of weirdness. It was written for the Quill Contest at the Hideaway. Alternative fic- about an HP character and a painting. Enjoy!
The time that she spent at Grimmuald place annoyed Hermione somewhat. It was still several weeks before Harry would be joining she and Ron, so she was antsy and couldn't figure out what to do with herself. Granted, reading was always an option, but the books in the Black's library depressed her. All of them talked about blood purity and rubbish like that, so she really wasn't bothered. Once in a while the boys (the common term she used to refer to the Weasley brothers) had coaxed her into playing Quidditch in a large empty room they had found on the third floor. Of course, it was never large enough for her to avoid smacking into the wall, so now she generally sat on the sidelines being cheerful.
What big fun.
Hermione had even sunk low enough to try to hone her cooking skills with Mrs. Weasely. But the woman didn't let her in the kitchen anymore after they had all dined on some lovely burnt casserole. Just the right shade of black, Fred had told her.
Which is why she found herself wandering about the house, completely and utterly bored.
It wasn't that often she was bored. What with all the people passing in and out of the Black family home, rooms that needed cleaning, dishes that needed washing, and a creepy house-elf that needed to be avoided, she was fairly surprised that she had managed to even complete her summer homework. But she had, and even added an extra foot to her essay on Polyjuice Potions, which was going a bit overboard, seeing as she had already cooked and ingested the bloody potion three years ago. But she had needed something to do, and it was the only thing available.
As she climbed the dusty stairs to the fourth floor (this house was ridiculously huge), Hermione thought about all the things she might possibly be able to do. Cleaning came first to her mind; it was practically all she, Ron, and Ginny had been doing for the last week. But they had already covered the first two floors, and Mrs. Weasely was worried about letting them explore the other levels of the house, as the Order hadn't been able to check them out yet (of course, her son's had completely ignored this wish when they found their own private Quidditch-playing room).
Her homework had been completed ages ago, and all of her essay's had been slowly increasing in length over time. Ron was being downright obnoxious, she couldn't stand to be in his presence for more than a few moments for fear he would spew out a disgusting comment about... well, S.P.E.W, or her reading habits, or something else equally horrid. Though, the time they had spent cleaning together had been enjoyable, she reflected. Especially that time she had almost gotten her fingers bitten off by a rabid moth. Nasty creatures, moths. Of course, Ron had a right laughing fit after that.
Hermione wrinkled her nose and continued down the musty hallway. She needed something else besides Ron Weasley to occupy her thoughts for the time being. Ginny. Yes, what about Ginny? They had always enjoyed each other's company, certainly. But Ginny was constantly being whisked away by her mother to cook meals or scrub pans. She knew the girl loathed being treated like a matriarch in training, but there honestly wasn't much she could do about it.
Tonks, then. Tonks was always entertaining. A wonderful person to talk to. The constant falling grated on her nerves a bit, but she could deal with that. Though, Tonks had been in a haze for a while. Hermione privately thought she was mooning over a certain werewolf, but she couldn't be positive. Sirius was always laughing with Professor Lupin over something, and she was sure that he had been sneaking peeks at the metamorphmagus from the corner of his eye. It was sweet, but it would mean big trouble for Tonks, she knew. Best stay out of that field.
Which left her with absolutely nothing to do.
Besides, apparently, wander the hallways of Number 12, Grimmuald Place, sneezing her head off from the layers of dust.
"Kreacher could at least try to keep this place up," she murmured to herself, wiping grey streaks from her jumper. She continued down the corridor, stopping occasionally to peer at the lovely vases and paintings that graced the small area. Bigot's though they may be, that Black's certainly had a flair for style.
True, especially, for the lovely rug she was walking on. Hermione inspected it closely as she walked; intricate patters of roses wove the material. It was exquisite, and must have been bought for a heavy price. As she continued to study the rug she also continued to walk, a dangerous combination, for when she reached the edge of the rug she managed to effectively trip into the wall.
"Oomph!" What had she hit her head on? It had definitely hurt!
"Ouch! Girl! Yes, you, girl!"
Wonderful, now she was hearing things. Hermione tapped her head gingerly.
"Are you not listening to me?" the voice called again. "I demand your attention, girl!"
Perhaps it wasn't an illusion. She turned nervously toward the direction the voice had come from. The left? Or the right?
"Oh, to the right, you impertinent child!"
What a nice way to address someone, Hermione thought sullenly as she turned to the right.
"You know, you could be a bit nicer," she chastised, still not quite sure to whom to was speaking. Her uncertainty soon cleared, however, as she saw that is was a woman in one of the paintings talking to her. Now she understood. She must have bumped her head into the woman's picture frame.
"Yes, well, you could be a bit more coordinated, but you don't hear me complaining, now do you?" the woman said snidely.
"You're complaining now," Hermione pointed out. The woman rolled her eyes.
"Details, details. Child, you are wasting my time!" Hermione was, frankly, about to offer a very rude retort, but stopped short as she surveyed the woman's picture. The background looked something like an old-time town, with crude buildings and a dirt road. The woman she had been talking with sat on a very lovely jet-black horse who was nervously pawing the ground. The woman, Hermione was surprised and a bit embarrassed to discover, was completely nude. It was only her extraordinarily long hair that kept her well-covered. The woman realized Hermione was observing her, and flicked her golden hair behind her head and batted her eyelashes.
"Would you mind," Hermione asked, "telling me who exactly you are?" The woman smiled happily at being able to explain her identity.
"I, my dear, am Lady Godiva," she said proudly, with another flick of her hair.
Ah. That did explain a lot. Hermione remembered reading about the famous heroine when she was in grade school, about how she had opposed her husband's taxes by riding naked down the street. She had always secretly admired the gutsy woman, and now she was talking to her.
"And, er, why exactly are you in the Black's house?" she asked. Was it possible they were distantly related?
Godiva looked around then motioned for Hermione to come closer. Feeling slightly ridiculous, Hermione lent toward her.
"Well," she began in a whisper, "they like to say they're descended from me. Makes them look good, you see, being related to someone of my... status." She said the last word a bit smugly. "But, actually, it was my brother who produced my nephew Sebastian, who married one of the Black sisters. Marie, Mallory, something like that. Awful girl, really, she smoked tobacco, did you know? Anyway, no, we aren't related by blood"
Hermione snorted. So like the Black's pretending to be descended from such a great woman. Apparently Godiva thought so too, for she rolled her eyes again.
"Rubbish, the whole lot of them," she said, before pointing to her left. "I'm in the mood for an apple, are you?" While Hermione quickly covered her eyes, Godiva hopped off her horse and disappeared into the next painting, a landscape of an apple orchid where an apple picker looked absolutely delighted to serve Godiva. He picked three apples from the very top of the nearest tree and bowed as her gave them to her. Again Hermione snorted as the now full-armed Godiva reappeared in her painting.
"He always does that," she said conversationally, biting off a hunk of apple. "I don't mind too much, as I love apples. But, dear, don't start thinking I'm common, or anything dreadful like that." She looked horrified at the thought.
"Oh, I won't," Hermione assured her, briefly wondering why she was still talking to a painting.
"Because, if there is one thing I've learned during my times, it's not to let men take advantage of you," Godiva continued, still enjoying her apple. "That Tom, I'm sure you've heard of him, he peeped through his blinds at me while I took my ride. Served him right when he went blind."
Hermione laughed, and at that moment she heard what sounded like footsteps pounding up the stairs to her left.
"Hermione!" Ron's voice called out. "Oy, Mione, mum wants us to re-scrub the sitting room!" She groaned into her hand as Ron's tall form rounded the banister and started towards her.
"There you are," he said as he reached her. "I was looking for you for ages downstairs. Come on, mum's getting angry, apparently we're having visitors later and she wants everything spotless-"
"Oh, hello there!" Godiva's voice broke through his rant, and Ron looked around for a moment before his eyes finally settled on her painting. His mouth opened as he took in her naked form.
"Are you that boy who's been yelling for my friend?" she asked interestedly, and Hermione laughed very softly; she'd only known the woman for ten minutes!
"Friend?" Ron asked slowly, his gaze traveling from Hermione to Godiva.
"Yes," she said lightly, "I've been telling her she needs to loosen up-"
"Thank you, Godiva!" Hermione interjected quickly, grabbing Ron's arm and pulling him toward the stairs. She saw Godiva mouth the words "He's nice-looking!" at her before winking and returning to her apple. Hermione slapped a hand over her eyes and continued down the hall.
"Hermione," Ron began, "do I want to know-"
"No," she said decisively, watching the snickering Godiva. "No, you do not."