An Unexpected Discovery
"Alright, read chapter 12 of The Goblin Wars, for next week. Expect a quiz, so do your reading." Hermione smiled at the soft groan that rose up from the class. As the students began collecting their things to leave, Hermione noticed Cleary's hand was raised. "Yes, Mr. Cleary."
"When will we be talking about the last war?" Cleary's voice rang out, and to Hermione's discomfort the whole room went silent and even students that were headed for the door stopped and turned to see what she'd say.
"The war with Voldemort isn't part of the curriculum of this class," she replied.
Unfortunately, Cleary was undeterred. "What class covers that material?"
"Not this one, Mr. Cleary," Hermione said. "Class dismissed."
She looked up and caught Art's eye as he was collecting his things at the back of the room. She sighed as he looked away. As she gathered her own things, she wondered at the turn around in his personality in the last year. When he had first come to Hogwarts, it had comforted him that his mother was there. He sat in the front of her class and raised his hand all the time; he came to see her in her office several times a week. Last year, he'd moved to the middle of the class and raised his hand less often; he hardly visited at all. This year, at the ripe old age of 13, he seemed to be unwilling to acknowledge her at all. He sat in the back of the class, wouldn't raise his hand, and wouldn't even look at her. He avoided her in the halls and on the rare occasions that he came home for the weekend, he insisted on meeting her outside the front gate, rather than come to her office and take the Floo from there. Hermione sighed again as she heaved the heavy bag of parchment on to her shoulder. She tried not to take Art's surliness personally. After all, she'd read all the parenting books. This was a normal part of the maturation process. Still she wished it didn't have to be so hard on her.
When she opened her office door she was surprised to see Ron sitting behind her desk with his feet up on it reading The Daily Prophet.
"Ron? What are you doing here?"
He looked up at her and smiled. "I can't just stop by to see my wife?"
Hermione set down the bag of parchment. "Well, you can, but I'll be home in a couple of hours."
Ron dropped his feet. "Actually, I stopped by for a little slap and tickle. I thought it would be fun in your office. We can leave the door unlocked for added excitement."
Hermione's mouth dropped open.
Ron laughed. "Just kidding, but now you're thinking about it aren't you." He was delighted with the blush of pink that crossed her cheeks and laughed harder.
"Shut up, you." Hermione tried to appear cross, but Ron just continued snickering.
Finally he pulled himself together. "Really, I'm here for the boys. Harry wants help cleaning out Mrs. Figg's house. Apparently, she never threw anything away."
"I still can't believe she left everything to him," Hermione said as she moved a mountain of books off the chair in front of her desk and sat down. "It's not as if she'd even seen him in ages."
Ron shrugged. "No heirs, I reckon she felt a connection to him."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Lots of people that don't actually have one feel a connection to Harry, that doesn't mean they all put him in their wills."
"Well, maybe they do and this is just the first of many more to come."
Hermione thought that sounded horrific. "Well, let's hope it doesn't come to that."
"Anyway, I'm here to fetch Artie and Clive."
"Don't call him Artie, Ron. He's Art now, remember."
"I'll call him whatever I bloody well like, I'm his father," Ron grumbled.
"This is such a small thing. Don't antagonize him, please."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Fine. I sent him an owl and told him to meet me here."
As if on cue, there was a knock at the door. Hermione couldn't help but smile at the two boys coming into the room. Art with his curly red hair was now almost as tall as his father while Clive, Harry and Ginny's son, though several months older only came up to Art's shoulder.
"Ready boys?" Ron asked.
Both boys nodded and took handfuls of Floo powder from the jar on the mantel.
Ron stood in the fire first, followed by Clive. When it was Art's turn, he smiled at Hermione. "See you later, Mum."
Hermione's heart soared as she watched him disappear in the green flame. "I'm pathetic," she muttered to herself as she sat down to grade papers for a while.
Several hours later, Hermione was sitting in her own kitchen, sipping oolong tea and finishing up the last of the papers she needed to grade. She heard someone come in through the Floo.
"Master Artie," she heard Winky say. Now why is it okay for Winky to continue calling him Artie? she wondered.
Art came into the kitchen and she could see he was in a foul mood. So like his father at this age, Hermione thought.
"Where's your dad?" she asked.
Art flopped down in the chair opposite her and scowled. "He had to go back to the shop."
"Would you like some tea? You look like you've had a rough day."
"No, I don't want any bloody tea."
"Language, Arthur," Hermione said, frustrated with his bad humor. "What's gotten into you? Was the house so awful?"
"No, the house wasn't awful. You want to know what was awful?" He reached into his pocked and tossed a handful of what looked like tiny tiles across the table. "Finding these was awful."
Hermione looked at the little things on the table. "I don't –"
Art pulled out his wand and said, "Engorgio."
The little tiles swelled in size until they were full size magazines, all of which featured Hermione and Viktor Krum on the cover."
"You lied to me," Art said.
Hermione shook her head. "No, I –"
"You did," he shouted. "You said you and Dad were together since you were kids. You said you always loved him. But these tell a different story. They say you lived with Uncle Viktor. They say you left Dad because he didn't have any money and you wanted to be with someone famous. They said you dated Uncle Viktor in school when he was at Hogwarts for the Tri-wizard Tournament. They say as soon as he came back to England you dropped Dad even though he was a war hero. They say you only left Uncle Viktor when Dad made a fortune selling televisions. Some of the people who wrote in called you a filthy mud-blood slag."