Chapter 1 : Mum & Ron: Part One of Two
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Mum & Ron
Ariel sat at her table, coloring patiently and singing to herself under her breath. She was the last student to be picked up from preschool today, which was unusual, her teacher noted. Usually Mrs. Krum was the first parent to arrive. Ariel’s teacher quite liked Hermione Krum, an intelligent, tidy woman who put her daughter before her job. But today she was nowhere to be seen. The preschool teacher was growing anxious. Ariel wasn’t.
“Are you sure nobody’s home?” The teacher asked Ariel. A little startled, the girl glanced up from her coloring.
“No…Papa might be at home.”
The teacher was growing exasperated. “But I asked you five times if you wanted to phone your house!”
“Yes,” Ariel nodded, “But my Papa doesn’t know how to work the phone.” The teacher sat back in her chair, stunned and trying to decide if this was the truth or if it was another one of the spectacular stories Ariel fashioned during playtime to amuse the other children. Ariel returned to her drawing, singing a song with lyrics that sounded like “I’ll boil you up some hot strong love/ To keep you warm tonight”. The teacher just shook her head.
Ariel Krum was one of the most unusual students she had ever taught in her thirteen years as an educator. A strikingly pretty child, with golden brown waves and bright blue eyes, she had many little friends within her class and a talent for making the other children giggle. Not to say that Ariel was the class clown…oh no, she was very clever, a trait she probably inherited from her mother. Ariel drew strange pictures of creatures with stingers and horns in odd places. These were always accompanied by lengthy tales involving people who could fly, potions that gave your extraordinary abilities, and a place called “Hogwarts”.
One day, Ariel had moved only two steps forward and one step to left every time she needed to walk, so that it took her twice as long to get her snack as the other children. When asked why, she said in rather exasperated tones that she was chess piece, a knight, like Ron.
This “Ron” was often alluded to by the child; Ariel spoke of him reverently. The teacher could never seem to get a straight answer out of Ariel as to who exactly he was. She supposed he was just an imaginary friend.
There was a knock at the preschool’s door. The teacher rushed forward to answer it. “Hello, Mrs. Kr—“
But it was not Ariel’s mother at the door. Instead, a tall, handsome red-headed man strode over the threshold, grasping her hand firmly in his own. “’Ello. You must be Mrs. Crenitch, Ariel’s teacher.”
Mrs. Crenitch nodded. A squeal was heard from the corner of the classroom. “Ron!” Ariel came racing toward him, and he scooped her up, laughing. Mrs. Crenitch was stuck by the similarities between his eyes and the girl’s. They were the exact same shape and shade of blue, and the corners crinkled when they laughed. Mrs. Crenitch smiled at the happy pair.
“Oh! Mr. Krum, I’ve heard so much about you from Ariel.”
The man looked a little befuddled. “Beg pardon, ma’am?” Ariel giggled.
“Ron,” she whispered, hanging from his neck like a skinny monkey, “My teacher thinks you are Papa!”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mrs. Crenitch blushed, “You have Ariel’s eyes…I assumed you were her father. Are you relations?”
Ariel smiled down at her teacher from her perch on the man’s shoulders. “He has my eyes…but he’s not my father!” She sang merrily.
The man looked, however, rather uncomfortable. “My name is Ronald Weasley. I’m a, um, well, friend of her mother’s.” He gently lifted Ariel down from his back. “Hermione—that is, Mrs. Krum, had a Doctor’s appointment today.”
With that, Mr. Weasley and Ariel departed, each throwing Mrs. Crenitch a friendly wave and smile before climbing into a blue car. Mrs. Crenitch gathered up her things and turned out the lights. Funny, she thought, They really are very alike.
Ron strapped Ariel into her car seat and handed her her favorite coloring book. It was a pretty long car ride back to Hogsmeade, the village inhabited by both Ron and the Krum family. It took Ron a few minutes to start the ignition and get the car in drive; he had only learned about a year ago. As he did this, Ariel opened up her book to the back cover and surreptitious made a mark in it with a red crayon. There were seven marks in the book; Ariel added another tally every time someone mistook Ron for her father.
They drove for a little while, chatting amicably about this and that. Ariel treated Ron to a lengthy story she had fabricated in which he played Qudditch versus a team of dragons. “And then, they burned up all the balls but the snitch…The End,” she finished, sounding more than a little winded.
“Good story!” Remarked Ron enthusiastically. “That reminds me; I have something for you.” When they came to a stop sign, Ron reached into his bag and pulled out a think packet of stapled papers. “I wrote a little story for you to practice you reading with.” Ariel clapped her small hands in delight. “Can you read the cover page to me?”
Ariel’s face contorted as she sounded it out, word by word. Ron smiled at her in the rear-view mirror. She looked just like he must have the first time he tried non-verbal spells. Ron’s smile faded. That was a close call today, with her teacher, he thought to himself. Lucky Ariel didn’t notice anything.
“Ariel’s Fairy Story,” she read slowly, “By Ron Weasley.”
“Very good! You’re going to as smart as you, Mum.”
“But better than her at Qudditch, I hope,” Ariel murmured sleepily. Ron laughed, but Ariel didn’t hear him. She was already asleep.
When they arrived at the Krum residence fifteen minutes later, Ron un-strapped Ariel from her car seat and carried her up the brick walk to the large, rather soulless-looking mansion she, Hermione, and Viktor called home. Viktor answered the door, looking angry. He wanted to shout at Ron, but as Ariel was asleep in Ron’s arms, he contented himself with a nasty glare at Ron’s back as Ron carried the small girl up the stairs to her room.
Hermione was across the hall in the bedroom she shared with Viktor when she heard noises coming from her daughter’s room. She tiptoed to the door and smiled at the scene before her. Ron was singing, rather poorly, to Ariel, who was curled up on the bed like a kitten. There was a sudden creak of floor boards behind her, and Viktor appeared behind Hermione.
Unlike his wife, he did not find the scene before him charming. Hermione and Ron whipped around simultaneously. “Might I haff a vhord, Hermione?” Viktor asked through a clenched jaw. Hermione looked to Ron as Ariel mumbled in her sleep. He nodded, indicating that he would sit with Ariel while her parents had their “vhord”.
Ariel awoke to angry voices echoing up the stairwell. She was alone in her darkening bedroom. Quietly, she crept down the first few steps and hunched behind the banisters so that she might look at and listen to the argument in the living room.
Ron, Hermione, and Viktor were standing in a sort of triangle formation, bellowing at each other.
“She’s my daughter, and I hardly ever get to spend time with her!” Viktor shouted, red-faced, at Hermione.
Hermione shrieked back, “And you’re insinuating that that’s my fault?”
When Viktor took a step towards her, Ron jumped between them. “Don’t you touch her!”
“Stay out of this,” Hermione pushed Ron out of the way.
Ariel crawled back up the stairs and threw herself underneath her parents’ bed. Tears flowed silently from her blue eyes down her cheeks. Pressing her ears to the hard wood floor, she heard a door slam downstairs. Someone had left the house; presumably Ron.
Moments later, Ariel heard footsteps. They sounded like they were coming up the stairs. Two pairs of feet, one sock-footed, the other wearing tattered trainers, entered the room. The mattress creaked about her as the two people sat down upon the edge of the bed. It was Ariel’s mother who spoke first. “I don’t know what to do.”
But it was not her father who replied, “Me neither. It’s harder than I expected it to be.” That voice belonged to Ron.
There was a pause in the conversation. It was dusty under the bed, and Ariel stifled a sneeze, intent on listening to what was transpiring above her. “Hermione…”
“I’m still in love with you.”
I’m still in love with you. The words rolled over Ariel like tidal waves, making her heart beat faster. She felt dizzy, short of breath. What was going on? What did Ron mean “I’m still in love with you”? Still? This was wrong…this was not how it was supposed to be. Mum and Papa loved each other, or so she thought. And Ron....Well, Ariel realized, he never really did find a place in our family.
The voices continued to rumble above her. Ariel wasn’t sure if her mother was laughing or sobbing, or both. The girl took a few deep breathes and tried to find something else to focus on. There was a cardboard box under the bed next to her. Ariel wiggled the cover off it silently. It was filled with official looking papers. Perfect, she thought, Something for me to practice my reading with. Ariel removed the top sheet of paper from the box. It was a certificate made of heavy cardstock. One by one, she sounded out the words and phrases out in her head.
Certificate of Bith…St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries…Ariel realized that it was her own birth certificate, and read on with great interest. Ariel Ginerva Krum. Ariel traced her middle name fondly with her small pointer finger. It was her mother’s best friend’s name. The rest of the information was boring stuff: date of birth, birth weight, etc. Ariel let her eyes drift down to the bottom of the page.
Mother’s name: Hermione Jane Granger-Krum
Father’s name: Ronald Weasley
Well, thought Ariel, that explains a lot. Then, she passed out.
A/N: What did you think? Good? Bad? Troll? Please review! And look out for Par Two (this is only Part One) coming very soon.