My Name A Conundrum
A Harry Potter Story
A/N: Warning: This story is, to say the least, weird.
"So... is it Jean or Jane?" Harry said, turning to Hermione with a questioning look on his face. He'd set his books down on his lap; he had spent nearly the last twenty minutes failing at an attempt to make progress on the potions notes he'd been handed to study. They'd returned to Hogwarts to take their NEWT level exams, despite having missed nearly the whole year.
"Hmm?" Hermione responded, idly twirling a quill between her fingers. She, too, it seemed was having difficulty with the task. They were in the Room of Requirement. Here, it was far quieter than in the Gryffindor common room, and far less crowded.
"Is it Jean or Jane?" Harry repeated the question.
Hermione grimaced as her eyes slid back into focus. "Oh, that."
"Yes, that." Harry affirmed.
Hermione sighed and turned to Harry. Ron, too, was awaiting an answer. "I don't really know."
Ron raised an eyebrow. "It's your name, isn't it?"
"Well, I think so." Hermione said, perhaps a little too quickly.
"Think so?" Ron questioned, his curious face had turned to resemble one far closer to bewilderment.
"Is it Jean?" Harry asked when she failed to respond immediately, tilting his head slightly to look into Hermione's downcast eyes.
"Well," Hermione began, "it only says that in one passage of text..." Hermione's voice trailed off.
"So... you've read the books?" The question came from Harry. It seemed the boys were full of them today. She was starting to get a little agitated, but held back her irritation as best she could.
"Of course, I've read the books!" she snapped. Okay, she wasn't able to hold back like she'd planned to. "They're about me aren't they!?"
There was a brief moment of silence before Ron spoke up. "No." He said thoughtfully, pointing to Harry. "They're about him."
"Whatever," she growled, turning to face her empty parchment. "Yes. I've read them. It says Jean."
"So," Harry said slowly, trying to work out the answer his question in his mind. "It's Jean, then?"
"But she says it's Jane," Ron countered, pointing across the room to a book with a dark red cover. Harry couldn't make out the golden lettering on the spine, even with his glasses.
"Never says that in the books, though," Hermione responded under her breath, tapping her quill against her empty parchment; several black dots appeared where the tip had landed.
Harry turned to Ron. "Who's she?"
"Rita Skeeter," Ron replied dryly.
"Oh," Harry said with the light of understanding, "her." He thought for a moment though. Sure, she'd released a series of seven books containing nearly the entirety of their childhoods before their grand defeat of the Dark Lord only a year before. How she'd managed to assemble all the material so quickly, they'd never know, but she'd been granted the exclusive if she could keep her quill in check. Best Harry could tell, she'd kept her end of the bargain. It certainly worked for them in the end; it had dramatically cut the number of interviews they'd have been forced to give. It was a break they were grateful for. "What's wrong with her?" Harry inquired, turning to Hermione."She behaved herself in her last book, didn't she?"
"She kinda had to," Ron said, "or she'd have us down her throats."
"It was part of the deal," Harry pointed out, his face devoid of emotion.
"It's not that," Hermione sighed. "It's just that she's just predicted my whole life since the war ended," Hermione took in a large breath of air."All those guesses she made about what I'd do after the war – they've all been right!"
"Well, that gives her a one-up on Trelawney, doesn't it?" Ron said sarcastically, stifling a laugh. Hermione glared at him, her lips were pressed firmly together.
Hermione closed her eyes and sat back against the cushion. "Yes," Hermione conceded, shrugging. "I suppose it does."
"So, is it Jean or Jane?" Harry asked again. They still weren't any closer to an answer. "We really want to know, you know?"
"So I've noticed," Hermione snapped, flustered. "but I don't know!"
"Well," Ron reasoned, "what did your parents name you?"
"They didn't," Hermione groaned. "She did."
"On about her again, are we?" Ron jeered, his smile widening.
A voice came from no where, it seemed. "On about whom?"
All three of them nearly jumped out of their skin at the sound of the woman's voice. The voice was that of the creature which now stood before them, none other than Rita Skeeter.
"It's you!" Ron breathed, feeling his accelerated pulse gradually return to normal.
"Yes, it's me!" Rita said in an annoyingly cheerful way. She'd been absolutely delirious with enjoyment at their acceptance of her book offer. It seemed the effect had yet to wear off. "Surprise! How are we today?"
"Speak of the devil," Harry muttered, staring at the ageing reporter.
Hermione ignored the cheerful woman's salutations and went straight for the answer she'd been pressed for. "So, is it Jean or Jane?"
"Oh, I don't know," Rita said, waving her hand through the air dismissively, "Ms. Puckle."
"It's Granger." Hermione growled.
"Oh! Yes... that's right." Rita said, her smile fading slightly as she toyed with several strands of graying hair, "Sorry, Ms. Granger."
"You practically made me!" Hermione hissed, staring at the woman angrily. "Which is it!?"
Ron and Harry stared at Hermione momentarily before turning to face the reporter. The corner of her mouth twitched as though she were in some sort of trance.
"Jean," she said. "Oh... no! It's Jane!" She took in a large breath of air and stared back at Hermione. "How am I supposed to know!?"
"Make up your mind." Ron laughed.
Rita Skeeter leant forward in her seat. Beside her, her Quick-Notes quill was scratching rapidly against a pad of parchment. "I'll just write one thing and say the other," was her response.
Ron turned to Harry. "And mean your mother," he mumbled under his breath, elbowing him in the ribs as he laughed at his own joke. Hermione glared at Ron.
Harry rubbed his now sore ribs. "So is Jane an old name," he asked, "like Puckle?"
"Sure." Rita replied. "It is your name, you know," she added with a glance in Hermione's direction.
"Sure?" Hermione huffed, she was getting irritated again. "That's the best you can give us?"
Rita puffed her chest up importantly. "The Prophet has sworn me to secrecy."
Another voice came from no where, this time a very male voice. "Fetchez les vaches!"
"What about vashes?" Harry, like everyone else in the room, was confused.
"Where the bloody hell did that come from?" Ron laughed, amused.
"Go away all you silly English kniggits!" The voice echoed throughout the room as though someone had let a small child get hold of a microphone. Not that a microphone would work in Hogwarts, of course.
Hermione was completely lost. "Kniggits?"
"Knights," Ron enlightened her. She nodded slowly.
"None of us is a knight!" Harry shouted. Sure, they'd defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort, but they'dn't been knighted for their bravery, deeds, or anything of the like, really. They'd played down their fame as much as they could and were content living that way. They wanted a normal life – not celebrity. They'd made that very clear from the start.
"I've been knighted." Rita said cheerfully, her Quick-Notes quill did a little dance on the pad.
"Sure you have," Hermione guffawed. As she blinked a giant blue sign appeared above the reporter with the words "LADY RITA SKEETER" in golden letters.
"See," she said proudly, "It just took a while to show up."
"Took a while to show up?" Harry breathed. "What is this?"
"My imagination." Rita responded simply, the corners of her lips once again turning upward into a demented smile.
"She has one of those?" Ron whispered, leaning toward Harry so that he would not be overheard.
"Oh, Merlin," Hermione winced. "Not that."
Rita cackled maniacally, her eyes widening with the madness that had long been held back by her many years of reporting. "Oh, yes! That!"
"So... is it Jean or Jane?" Hermione mumbled in a final attempt to discover her true name.
Dramatically, Rita stretched forth her hand and pointed to Ron. "Kiss him!"
Almost robotically, Hermione stood, covered the ground separating her target's lips from hers, and took his lips over ferociously, every fibre of lust she'd ever felt pouring through her.
"Is it Jean or Jane?" Harry asked cautiously.
Out of thin air, another girl, small-framed and red-haired, Ginny, stood in front of Rita in nothing more than her translucent, blue nightgown.
"You know what to do, my pretty." Rita laughed. Instantly, Ginny turned on her heel and marched toward Harry, throwing her right leg around him as she led him to the floor.
"Is it Jane or Jean?" Albus Dumbledore said, appearing alive and well out of thin air, "I have a will to write, you know."
"Aren't you dead?" Rita questioned, her eyebrows levitating upward as Albus fell backward and died, narrowly missing the happily 'entertained' couples on the floor.
"All better," she said simply, standing. She hit the sign above her head and fell back into her seat. Rubbing her head, she tried again, this time dodging it.
"Hey!" Snape said angrily after also appearing out of thin air, rather more alive than Harry'd last seen him. "That was my job! You made me..."
Snape exploded. Ms. Lady Rita Skeeter grinned widely. She loves it when she wins.
"I always get my way." she said. Stepping over the bodies, warm and otherwise, on the ground, she walked toward the exit; Hermione and Ginny moaned loudly.
"See?" she said to herself, pulling the door open as she left for good.
"Suppose they were to carry it on a line?" asked some random knight on a wall. It would appear that he was in a deep discussion with another man about swallows and coconuts.
The neighbouring knight, who appeared to be exploring the dark recesses of his soul with a crooked finger deep in one nasal cavity, said, "What, held under the dorsal guiding feather?"
"Well... why not?" the first knight responded as Some Random Guy charged into the room holding an important-looking certificate.
"Well, would you look at that." Some Random Guy said excitedly, pointing to the text near the centre of the page as he pushed the paper in a sated Hermione's face. "It seems there was a mistake on the records," he said cheerfully. "Your birth certificate says Hermione John Granger, after your father!"
"WHAT!?" Hermione screeched, detangling herself from her fiancé's body to more closely examine the paper. She grudgingly noticed that Rita had gone.
Rita Skeeter woke. Her face was smashed full against the cold stone floor of her new cell in Azkaban. It had been a rough night, she mused. Her first night of twenty years. She looked over at her enormous cell mate, clothed in what had used to be a pink blouse, and recalled the dream from which she had just awoke.
"Hermione Jean, Dolores Jane." The words repeated themselves in her mind, tearing at her sanity has she pulled on her hair and screamed.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed that... it was... interesting to say the least. Please review.