Chapter 1 : Spring Cleaning
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Hermione Granger Weasley hated this day. In fact, she hated this day so much, she had even managed to charm the day off of every wall calendar in the house. This fact was not made any easier this morning as Ron left for work, slamming the door behind him. Her darling husband had always had a bit of a temper, but today he was especially moody.
Well, it certainly wasn’t like it was Hermione’s fault. She’d just been a bit annoyed about the state of the bedroom when she woke up. After 15 years of marriage, how could he continue to treat the bedroom as his personal pig sty? This wasn’t just a room. This was their room. This was their retreat when Rose and Hugo had gone to bed, or when they needed adult peace and quiet time. Even better, it was for when they didn’t need peace and quiet. Hermione’s mind wandered and it brought a noticeable smirk to her face but she quickly composed herself after a quick shake of the head.
The point was this: Ron didn’t respect their space. So, to prove her point, she’d taken the contents of the room that he’d strewn about and gathered them in a basket. It would be simply too easy to just put them downstairs with the rest of the wash and Hermione didn’t particularly want to wash the clothes of someone who just tossed them about. She thought Ron was more than old enough to start taking responsibility for his things. She would, however, do him a favor. She would help him kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
She took the full basket of his personal belongings and delivered them to him while he was in the shower. To make sure that he received the delivery most personally, she dumped the basket over the shower curtain and onto him as he showered. Didn’t pigs like to bathe in their own mess? Best of all, most dignified wizards took a shower with water and not in mud. He would maybe manage to get some of those dirty clothes clean as he cleaned himself. Great idea or what?
Ron jumped out of the shower and Hermione braced herself. He had hastily wrapped a towel around his slender waist and was dripping water everywhere. This didn’t serve to make Hermione any happier. The words vomited from him suddenly and wildly. Controlling. Know-it-all. Militant. She winced as her memory of their argument got the better of her. He had dressed swiftly and was out the door faster than the sound of the slam that carried up the stairs to the bedroom. She had just sat on the edge of the bed and had taken it all in, shocked that his temper had burst with such emotion.
Don’t blame yourself, hun, she told herself. You’re just suffering from empty nest syndrome. After all, her children had been gone for 6 months. Yes, this was exactly the reason for her unreasonable behavior. There are no kids around, so all your anger and frustration is released on Ronald. The honest truth that maybe she had done something wrong this morning was far too ugly and impossible to bear. The worst part was, this day that she’d been dreading since…forever, actually seemed pleasant to her right now. This was a most interesting turn of events.
With this realization, Hermione put on her best garb to prepare for the task at hand. Old, torn jeans with bleach spots were her pants of choice and the paint splattered t-shirt she had used to paint Rose’s room. It had turned into more of a Muggle art project than she had originally desired and had resulted in artwork that didn’t only remain on the walls; hence the newly-dubbed ‘project t-shirt’. She finished her ensemble off with an old hankie that she tied securely in her hair to keep it out of her face.
Now standing before a mirror, she looked at herself, quite satisfied with her choice of outfit. She put her hands on her hips and looked towards her wand that was lying on the night stand. “You and me, wand, we have a mission. To kill as many dust bunnies as possible. To dust and organize ALL nooks and crannies in this house. To…” she hesitated here, “to clean and organize the attic! Today, my friend, is SPRING CLEANING!” Hermione was pretty sure she looked absolutely ridiculous right now, but she didn’t care. She was a woman on a mission. She wanted to destroy dust bunnies and this meant serious business!
With a flick of her wand, all the curtains and blinds that existed in the house were drawn. She wanted no evidence of the beautiful day outside. The desire to lie out in the sun while curled up with a good book and sipping at ice tea was simply not an option. Her first colony of dust bunnies were destroyed under her prized book shelves. The shock of her precious books being in danger of an invasion of grime had cut her to the quick and motivated her further.
The living room was sparkling within an hour. Her wand felt so warm from shooting numerous spells, she was sure it would spontaneously combust. She was inspired. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d put her wand to this much work. She’d been so busy working on her new book, a memoir of her experiences with Magical Law Enforcement, that her wand had been feeling rather neglected.
To cheer it up a bit, she headed towards the kitchen and started working on the hard-to-reach spots. Behind the refrigerator were many items that had gone missing and she found enough crumbs to potentially reincarnate a whole loaf of bread. The refrigerator was also scoured clean and Hugo’s summer-time science experiment, infested by mold, was finally disposed of.
After the kitchen was finished and her wand felt particularly light and springy in her hand, she headed up to the kids room. They had cleaned the rooms before they left for school quite thoroughly, but Hermione deemed a second look-through wouldn’t hurt anything.
Hugo’s room was looking surprisingly good, but then, Hugo had been so nervous before starting his first year at Hogwarts, that he’d obsessively straightened things in his room while waiting for his dad to pack the car. Otherwise, Hermione tended to stay out of Hugo’s room. While Hugo was very similar to Ron in is pig-sty ways (much to Hermione’s annoyance, especially after their fight today), he was also very much in personality like his Uncle George and his late uncle, Fred. Hermione was pleased that his experiments weren’t only limited to the magical world, but that he also had many interests in the Muggle world. Perhaps that’s also why he always wished to go play in Grandpa Weasley’s treasure-filled Muggle shed.
Luckily, Hugo’s room only held a few surprises. These surprises were not molding, so Hermione left them and headed to Rose’s room. Rose was Hermione’s daughter through and through. Everything was neatly organized and had its place. Hermione kept her hands to herself, because she didn’t want the 3rd degree from her 13-year-old, slightly hormonal, daughter. The thought of that made her nervous and instead of continuing her search for dust bunnies here, she gave up before she even started.
Rose’s room was right next to the door that led up to the attic. Hermioned sighed and straightened her hair scarf before illuminating her wand and heading up into the filthy depths of the expansive space. Hermione was capable of a lot and was more than happy to do a lot for her family, but there was just something about the attic that turned her into a lazy blob. The neglect had wreaked havoc.
Boxes were scattered about and in no organized form. A baby crib and stroller had been thrown in the corner and had lost the brilliance of their color due to the blanket of filth covering them. Ron’s old school robes had been draped over something in a different corner and as Hermione attempted to pick them up a spider or two escaped from their depths. An interesting thought crossed her mind at this moment, perhaps initiated by the thought that Ron would probably be screaming at the sight of the arachnids. Why was she so afraid of cleaning the attic when she’d faced so much worse?
Almost in disbelief of her laziness, she started vacuuming away the dirt with her wand without delay. Within an hour, things were finally looking spotless, but there was no organization. She used her wand to sort boxes and heavy items into piles, arranging it by size and content. Her stomach was grumbling by the time she heard the clock downstairs chime one o’clock. She wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her arm and looked at how much she’d achieved after just a few hours of time spent up here.
She was about to call her spring cleaning day good when a box tipped over with a crash. Something tinkled, signifying the breaking of glass. “Blast,” grumbled Hermione, walking over to pick up the box. She opened it and looked around. It was stuffed full of old, tattered books and she couldn’t see what had broken. She decided she probably had to take all the books out to discover what piece had been destroyed.
After the books were removed, she used her wand to repair the item and realized it was a glass figurine of a cat she had once bought because it looked like Crookshanks, her beloved cat from her time spent at Hogwarts. The figurine made her feel a bit melancholy, so she stuck it in her pocket and decided she would situate it on the window sill in the kitchen.
She moved to pack everything back in the box, thinking if it would be worth it to talk to Ron once more about getting a cat. It’d been so long. She ran her fingers over the last book she was packing away and felt something strange, yet familiar. She studied the object carefully and realized she had her hands on a very old velvet-bound book. Where had she held this before? She blew some dust off of it and opened up to the first page.
Her eyes widened with glee as she read the first few lines.
Today was my first night at Hogwarts. It’s been such a truly amazing experience. I even met two interesting people on the train! One was a red-head from a very old wizarding family AND I met the famous Harry Potter.
She skipped down a few lines, her eyes searching the neat script eagerly.
I was sorted into Gryffindor. Good thing I read ‘Hogwarts, a History’ thoroughly! Would have hated to be stuck in Slytherin. The dorms are really nice, I’m really lucky to have been accepted here. Will definitely take some getting used to. Hopefully I make some friends soon.
“I can’t believe it,” muttered Hermione, astounded at her find. She had stopped keeping this diary when she started studying for her NEWTs. Hunger forgotten, she took the diary with her downstairs and curled up in her reading chair.
She’d since acquired spectacles, her eyes weakened somewhat after years of substantial reading. The nostalgia of reading the diary drew her in, like any good book did. She was at least happy that the majority of the spring cleaning had been achieved before this excellent find. All she had to do was finish cleaning the mess up in the bedroom. The aftermath of their fight awaited her. She tried to ignore this thought as she skimmed the pages further, chuckling here and there or reading more in depth when something caught her eye. Something in particular especially caught her eye, making her heart skip a beat as well.
I’ve been feeling quite funny today. Maybe it was something in my pumpkin juice, but I’ve been sitting here for about 2 hours trying to put my finger on it. Then it hit me…I’m in love. I’m in love with Ronald Weasley. Oh my goodness…I’m blushing as I write this.
I don’t know if it was a moment…no I don’ t think it was a moment and I don’t think it was love at first sight. I think this feeling, this fluttering of butterflies in my tummy, has been coming along gradually.
I suppose I really felt it when Ron was such a prat and never invited me to the Yule Ball, when I KNOW he wanted to. Sure, I was flattered that Victor invited me and I really enjoyed being with him, but Ron was never quite out of my mind the whole night. He especially wasn’t out of my mind when he had me in tears. Idiot.
The rest is just silly things. The way he gets so stressed out when an essay is due. He spreads his items out on the table with absolutely no rhyme or rhythm and just starts writing. It’s as if chaos comes to life. I love the way he talks with his mouth full. I love the way he turns into a whining little boy when he knows he’s in trouble—probably due to years of ‘training’ courtesy of Mrs. Weasley. I think what I love most about Ron Weasley, is how he denies that he’s in love with me. I suppose I’ll just need to learn to be patient with him. I don’t think I’m a particularly patient person, so it might not be easy. If there’s anything I’ve learned about Ron though, it’s that he needs time. He’ll come around.
Time for bed, then! Goodnight. Somehow, I feel a little relieved.
Hermione scanned the entry at least two or three more times before closing the diary. Talk about a blast from the past. She felt immediately like a complete idiot. Of course Ron needs time. Why did she think that after 15 years of language that Ron would just magically understand everything that was going on in her head? When did Hermione forget that patience was essential with her husband? When did Hermione forget to use her excellent diplomatic skills to talk things out instead of reacting to emotions? Whatever the case, Hermione knew one thing and one thing only. Ron wasn’t perfect, but that’s what she loved so much about him. He was her living contradiction, but her truest friend. He also kept things interesting. Life would simply be boring without him. Like everything else in her life, she’d worked hard and been rewarded. Marriage was no exception.
Hermione took the diary with her upstairs and laid it on the bed in their bedroom as she started to clean up the mess she had helped make in the adjoining master bath. As she was scrubbing the bathroom clean the old-fashioned Muggle way to punish herself for being so childish, Ron came in.
“What are you doing?” he questioned, looking at her with raised brows.
She chuckled as she continued scrubbing and replied, “What does it look like I’m doing, silly?”
“I’m only silly? Not a jerk? Not an arse?” His voice sounded hopeful.
“No, you’re not.” She threw her cleaning supplies to the side and moved to give him a hug and a kiss.
Ron couldn’t believe his luck. It’d only been half a year since the kids had gone to school and she'd used that every time they'd had a row as a reason for her crabbiness. Ron was extremely relieved.
“Are you really okay, Herm?” Ron kissed her head, in that comforting way that always made Hermione’s heart flutter with warmth.
“I’m great. I just wanted to say, I’ve realized how important it is to fight.”
“Why’s that?” asked Ron, cautiously.
“If we didn’t fight, then we couldn’t make up. Thank god the kids are gone!” With that, she pushed a very surprised Ron onto the bed with a devious smile on her face.
The simple diary was pushed onto the floor as the bed took in its two new occupants. Normally this book lying on the floor would have been considered cluttered to Hermione Granger Weasley’s critical eye, but perhaps a little more chaos was just what they needed in their lives.