A/N: As always, not mine – this is also rather AU. For those interested, yes, I shall be updating my chaptered stories in the near future – in the meantime, I thank you for your continued patience and support, and give you this ficlet to (hopefully) enjoy! This is, by the way, completely unrelated to anything else I`ve written, although I`m sure it could fit into several other `verses. =)
It was a day much like any other day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At this time in the morning, the majority of students and staff could be found in the Great Hall, either desperately trying to awaken themselves (the Professors) or feverishly finishing homework (the students) before classes began.
All was quiet, calm, and peaceful, when a sudden flurry of movement occurred at the Gryffindor table. Students craned their necks curiously – for it wasn't just any students making the ruckus, but rather Hogwarts' infamous Golden Trio, now in their sixth year.
Ron Weasley, current sidekick to the Boy-Who-Lived, and inheritor of the notorious Weasley temper, was currently standing red-faced and furious, spitting words (and the occasional food morsel) at his two companions.
"No – that's disgusting! What the hell are you thinking, Harry? No, no, this is really what you want, isn't it, you... you disgusting Slytherin!"
The Boy-Who-Lived, meanwhile, was getting progressively whiter, lips pressed tightly together against whatever hurt invective wanted to push its way out. "Ron – just bloody well calm down, will you? It's not like I'm bloody well going off to – "
"No, Harry, that is exactly what this is like. You know what, I obviously had no idea who you really are, did I? You're just an arrogant, selfish brat, the bloody spoiled Boy-Who-Lived...."
And that, the Hall saw, was definitely the breaking point of Harry Potter. He stood abruptly from the bench, jarring the table in his haste, and swept up his book bag before leaving the Hall.
The Hall fell silent. For a long moment, students and staff stared at Ron Weasley, standing with fists clenched and chest heaving with righteous anger, glaring at where his best friend had just been.
Minerva McGonagall was just about to stand and deal with the redhead when a hand landed on her arm, holding her in her seat. If it had been anyone but Severus Snape, they would have felt her wrath – but the Potions Master, an intrigued glint in his eyes, simply directed his colleague with a nod of his head to look at the Gryffindor table. At the sight of Hermione Granger, the third of the Trio, rising from her seat, Minerva shared a smug glance with Severus and settled in comfortably to watch the show.
The witch, bushy-haired and with a hard, angry look in her eyes, advanced on her now-cringing boy friend.
"Ron. Bilious. Weasley. How, in Merlin's name, could you say something like that? And to Harry, of all people?"
Ron sputtered incoherently. " But...But your heard him, Mione! He's bloody insane! And besides, you're my girlfriend, anyways! Why the hell are you even defending that traitor?"
Most of the gathered crowd, watching and enthralled, winced in unison. After six years of the Trio at Hogwarts, it was common knowledge that an angry Hermione Granger was a dangerous, dangerous thing indeed.
Hermione, if it was at all possible, only looked more furious.
"Being your girlfriend, Ron Bilious Weasley, does not mean that I have to share in your idiocy. And if you expect me to keep being your girlfriend, I suggest you locate your brains from wherever you lost them, apologize to Harry, and realize that temper tantrums are suitable when you're six, not when you're sixteen!"
There was a rising chorus of agreement, and some applause, from the watching audience; although Ron was a strategic genius, and had matured a great deal in the last years, he still hadn't overcome his tendency to think before speaking – and more than one member of the school had been on the receiving end of Ron's explosive temper. Minerva McGonagall, in particular, beamed proudly at her favourite student (not that she had favourites, of course – but if she did, it would be Hermione) while the Headmaster sucked on a lemon drop and allowed his eyes to twinkle noticeably.
The noise seemed to awaken Ron to their location; at the realization that the entire school had just watched him get dressed down by his girlfriend, that ugly little voice of hurt pride and stinging jealousy prodded his already fiery temper, and he turned viciously back to Hermione, careless, hurtful words spilling hastily from his lips.
"Like I'd take any advice from you, little Miss Know-It-All – it's not like you were good for anything besides homework help anyways. And, really, who would want either you or Potter – both of you upstart little traitorous mudbloods."
Shocked silence engulfed the Hall. So far, the spat had been amusing – well, Harry had obviously been hurt but everyone had thought that Hermione would knock some desperately-needed sense into Ron's head and the Trio would, as it always did, re-form after that (and the fireworks, in between, were always rather entertaining.)This, however, was now desperately far from amusing.
Professor McGonagall grimly began to rise from her seat, and this time neither Albus nor Severus tried to stop her. She was just stepping off the raised dias of the teacher's table when Hermione abruptly held up her hand, obviously warding off whatever apologies Ron was about to spew. Hermione was pale, eyes slightly glassy with unshed tears, but her back was stiff and her face determined. Reaching into her robe pocket, she withdrew a small, delicate box that shone iridescent gold and purple. Taking out her wand as well, she tapped the top of the box, murmuring a gentle Probo as she did so.
All at once, a beam of light sprang from the box – it resolved itself gradually into the form of Ronald Weasley, face red and fists clenched. As they all watched, fascinated, the miniature Ron recording spat and swore at the other two-thirds of the Golden Trio, ending in his viperous hiss of "Mudbloods."
As the last image faded, shocked stares moved to the slight figure of Ginny Weasley, who was walking up the aisle between House tables with Hedwig, Harry's owl, perched on her shoulder. Few had noticed her leaving, but her entrance was marked with a wave of whispers as she moved towards Hermione. Ginny's hissed Jerk, clearly directed at her older brother as she passed, only fed the tittering of the watching crowd.
When Ginny reached the brown-haired witch, some form of silent communication obviously passed between the two as Hermione nodded, eyes angry and saddened, while Ginny grinned viciously as she transferred Hedwig to the older girl before sitting back down at the Gryffindor table.
Ron, by this point, was looking both slightly ashamed and mulishly angry – he knew that he was in the wrong, but still couldn't quite accept what either of his best friends had tried to tell him. That look quite quickly faded into puzzlement as with quick, sure actions, the witch had fastened the small box to Hedwig's leg. Then, raising her arm, but looking Ron dead in the eyes, Hermione spoke, loudly enough to be heard in every corner of the Hall: " To Mrs. Weasley, Hedwig, at the Burrow, as quickly as you can."
There was a moment of confusion; then, Ron's face blanched, dead white, as he realized what Hermione had done. Mrs. Weasley loved all her children, but the family joked (and truthfully, partially believed) that Harry and Hermione, non-blood relatives as they were, were her absolute favourite. Molly Weasley saw both as excellent influences on her brood, and with no magical adults to guide either, had taken it upon herself to be both protector and mother-figure for both.
And no insult to either of her adopted children was ever taken lightly – nor was unacceptable behaviour by one of her own.
Hermione watched the process of Ron's gradual enlightenment, then, still looking hurt but now also rather satisfied, she picked up her bag and, head held high, strode calmly out of the Great Hall.
Just before the doors closed behind her, and moments before the students broke into wild speculation, she heard the voice of Professor Snape cut cleanly across the Hall.
"Twenty-five points to Gryffindor, for enacting a revenge that any Slytherin would have been proud of."