TITLE: The Question
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I'm not making any profit out of this, blahblahblah.
PAIRING: I'm not telling just yet.
RATING: G, maybe PG
NOTE: Not only is this my first Harry Potter fic, it is also my first ENGLISH Harry Potter fic. Because I'm Dutch, I'm not quite sure what all the proper terms and names are in English. For example, in the Netherlands "Muggle" has been translated into "Dreuzel". So, if I have any of the names or terms wrong, don't blame me, blame the official translator of the Harry Potter books.
Professor Hermione Granger, Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, looked over the assembled students in her classroom. They were first years and this was their very first Transfiguration class. Professor Granger usually disliked the first lesson of the new year. The students always asked the Question. And Professor Granger quite disliked having to answer the Question.
Trying to give off an air of authority, Professor Granger sat down behind her desk and faced the class. She was quite pleased to see that everyone was silent. That hopefully meant that the Question was not going to get asked.
"Good morning class," Professor Granger said cheerfully.
There were a few incoherent mumbles coming from the classroom.
"Good enough," said Professor Granger. "Now then, I'll go over this list of names I have here to see if everyone's here and, more specifically, to see who's who."
The classroom remained silent. Although Professor Granger was much in favour of silent classes, she did hope that someone would say SOMETHING at some point. As long as it wasn't to ask the Question, of course.
Professor Granger ticked off the names on her list one by one, trying to remember the faces that came with the names. She briefly stopped when she saw a rather familiar one.
"Here," said a small voice somewhere in the room.
Professor Granger looked at the girl. She had the pale blonde hair and the facial features of the Malfoy family. But that was all.
"Your father isn't Draco Malfoy by any chance, is he?" asked Professor Granger.
Melinda blushed slightly and nodded.
"Says here you got sorted into Hufflepuff."
"That's right, Professor," said Melinda.
A small smile flashed over Professor Granger's face which indicated that she was trying very hard not to laugh. The daughter of Draco Malfoy, a Hufflepuff. Professor Granger had nothing against Hufflepuffs, obviously.
Draco's daughter a Hufflepuff…
Professor Granger naturally didn't believe in any kind of occult nonsense but right now she could almost be tempted to believe in karma.
"Very well then," said Professor Granger, almost merrily. "Moving on…"
She quickly completed the list and found to her satisfaction that everyone was here. She stood up and, walking towards the front of her desk, held her speech about what Transfiguration entails, what she would expect from her students and so on. She remembered Professor McGonagall always turned herself into a cat somewhere before or after this speech to get her students more enthusiastic for the course.
For a brief moment, Professor Granger remembered why she was now standing in front of the class instead of McGonagall.
Professor Granger shook off the feeling and finished her speech. Then she took a deep breath and said those few words she never liked saying in front of a large group of new students.
"So… any questions?"
One hand was hesitantly moving upwards, as if the person doing it didn't like sticking up his hand at all.
Professor Granger sighed.
"Yes… err… Patrick?"
Patrick Johnson blushed embarrassed as he asked his question. "Is it true you were friends with Harry Potter?"
"Yes," answered Professor Granger. "Anything else?"
"What, really?" Patrick blurted out.
Professor Granger dramatically rolled her eyes, earning a small chuckle from the class. "Yes. Really."
Another hand was raised into the air.
"Could you tell us something about him?" the girl asked.
Professor Granger walked back to her chair and sat down. "Oh… very well then."
And so Professor Granger launched into the story about her friend Harry Potter. About how they had met on the Hogwarts Express. About how they didn't really like each other until the incident with the troll. About the Basilisk and the Triwizard Tournament. Everything up until the very end where Harry Potter at long last slew Lord Voldemort.
When the story ended, Professor Granger once again looked at the class. Everyone looked fascinated by the story and very unlikely to move anytime soon.
"OK then," Professor Granger said loudly. "There's still some time left so _please_ take out your books, ink, quill and parchment so we can begin."
Professor Granger watched in satisfaction as the class started moving. In fact, she almost felt like smiling. Something which was almost unheard of when she was in front of the class. But, she felt like smiling simply because the Question hadn't been asked.
Then a Slytherin boy put his hand into the air.
The boy looked at his friends, who snickered in a very impolite way. "Is it true Professor…" the Slytherin paused, probably for the dramatic effect of it, "that you are married to Professor Weasley? I mean, of course, Professor Ginny Weasley."
The classroom froze. A few jars of ink fell onto the floor. Everyone looked at Professor Granger expectantly.
Professor Granger froze as well.
The Question had been asked.
If it wasn't for the fact that she had promised Professor Weasley to always tell the truth about this particular matter, she would have lied. As it was, however, Professor Granger was forced to be honest and answer the affirmative.
Every student in the classroom broke out in either snickering, whispering or a combination of both.
Professor Granger sighed. It would take at least three lessons for the students to be able to get over it. Three very valuable lessons in which they wouldn't be able to learn anything.
"Damn that question," muttered Professor Granger as the hushed conversations around her carried on.
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