Chapter 2: First Impressions
Chapter 2 - First Impressions
Merlin! How could one man possess those colour eyes and that colour hair!
"Excuse me Miss? Can I help you with anything?"
Hermione broke out of her stupor and managed to take a deep breath before speaking. She deliberately looked away from those eyes as she addressed him firmly.
"Are you aware that today is the start of the school term and that the students will be arriving soon?" she tried to sound calm but official. "You cannot just disrupt the school without prior permission. You cannot just do as you want in here."
As she took another breath she glanced at the rest of the red haired man and immediately noticed that he was dressed in muggle clothes. The long sleeves of his blue shirt was rolled up to his elbows and only half of it was tucked into the front of his dark jeans. His slightly unruly appearance matched his hair. Now that he had straightened up, she noticed that he was very tall and lanky but he seemed comfortable in his large frame. What surprised her as she looked back at his freckled face was that he was young, maybe about her age so she was a bit puzzled by his current position. As she quickly studied him, she noticed a slight lopsided grin stuck on his face and immediately she felt her anger return.
"Do you find this funny? What are you really doing here? And where is Professor Sherrard? Wasn't he supposed to be here today?" she fumed at him. His grin lessened but stay in place as he finally replied.
"Oh so you know about the Professor? Are you a teacher here or a prefect or something?" he asked raising one of his soft eyebrows.
Her blood began to heat up at his obvious stab at her... with his infuriating grin.
"For your information I am a teacher here and you have not answered my question as to the professor's whereabouts or what you are supposedly doing here." she replied harshly. His grin suddenly disappeared.
"What I am doing here is making it safe for the students. There was a failure here over the weekend and I thought it prudent to cordon off the area before someone got hurt. If you are a teacher maybe you can help me find someone who can answer your questions..." He glanced down at something written on a piece of parchment and then returned his gaze before continuing.
"...A Miss Granger. She was supposed to be here this weekend to assist in this exercise but she has apparently disappeared as I cannot locate her anywhere. I have left numerous messages at her office but she has not contacted me. It seems that this Project is not important enough for her."
Hermione was thrown for a few seconds as she felt her face starting to flush. Damn him.
"That is not true! If you knew me at all you would know that I take my work very seriously. I was supposed to meet Professor Sherrard this morning. No one told me about anything happening over the weekend..." she was interrupted by a sudden laugh. His grin had also returned.
"Wait...You're Miss Granger? This is hilarious! You're the one carrying on about this while you're also the one mainly responsible for it in the first place? Ha! This is definitely hilarious." as he continued with a small chuckle. "To be honest I never pictured Professor McGonagall's assistant to look like you I'm sorry."
If her blood was heated before, now it was boiling over.
"I am not the one responsible for this...this...mess. As I already stated no one informed me personally that you would be here this weekend. I was told to meet Professor Sherrard today to formally begin this project. Instead I come here and find you...you...whoever you are!" she shrieked out with her face now a light shade of red.
The man seemed to realise her rising furious state and raised his hands hoping to calm her down.
"OK...OK..Bloody Hell. Take it easy before you blow a gasket or something. Can we just start over then. That would be best yes? My name is Ron..."
"If you are addressing me, I would prefer if you watch your language in the future." Hermione interrupted.
"What?...serious?...You sound like my mother." his mouth remained open for a while. "Ok...sure whatever you say. Now can we start again? As I was saying my name is..."
"I would also prefer if you would not compare me to any one of your parents or to anyone else please." she interrupted him again but this time it was just in an effort to rile him up.
What was her problem? Was she a little girl again?
The man flapped his hands in frustration before taking a deep breath to calm himself down a bit.
"This is ridiculous! How many times must I start over?" he asked no one in particular as he looked to the sky. He turned to her and settled himself.
"Look I'm sorry ok? It seems we got off on the wrong foot. I'm sorry for whatever I said to rile you up. You have to admit though it was a bit funny about the way you..." he stopped at her glare. "Sorry. I'm sorry again. What matters is that we have to work together to make this happen in an orderly manner right? I'm sure we can do that if we put our heads together and try Miss Granger." he said with another grin on his face except that this time it was one that was reassuring and genuinely friendly.
She looked at him and his smile and she suddenly felt all her anger and all her previous tension roll off of her in a wave. How had he done that? She even managed a small smile back at him which he immediately picked up.
"Is that a smile Miss Granger? It does wonders for you." he stated quickly and she noticed his ears has also started to turn pink. "Now can we really start over?
"As I was saying my name is Ron Weasley and I am Professor Sherrard's Engineering Assistant. Those two blokes you screamed at earlier are John and Richard. They will be working closely with me as part of the restoration team. Professor Sherrard has agreed to work on this project but unfortunately it is not the only one he is currently working on. I will be working with John and Richard during the week in preparation for the Professor who will attend every Thursday to meet with the team and to perform all the necessary charms and spells that are required. I plan to meet with you on a daily basis to appraise you of our schedule and to keep you informed of any changes. You are welcome to attend the Thursday morning meetings as part of the team and I hope your schedule allows that. I will need an office to work out of and I also need to ask you to make certain...arrangements for me which we can discuss later. Any questions so far Miss Granger?" he suddenly asked her.
"Aren't you a bit young to be one of Professor Sherrard's assistant?" she blurted out. His laugh came tumbling out again.
"Aren't you a bit young to be the Headmistress's assistant? and a teacher at this prestigious school?" he copied. "We can talk about our age and our jobs when we have more time ok? I'm sure you have other important matters to see about."
Hermione felt herself blushing again as she gathered her thoughts to respond.
"I'm sorry for asking you that and I am also sorry for before. You just took me by surprise that's all. I am sure that we can work this out and I will certainly arrange my schedule to meet the Professor on Thursday mornings with the team. I will show you to your office now and we can meet up again later this evening in my office say around six? I will normally be in at that time every day so maybe we can set that time as our daily meeting before supper...if that's all right with you of course and oh...my name is Hermione Granger by the way and it's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Weasley." she stuck out her hand in a friendly gesture.
He broke into his friendly smile and took her hand.
"It's nice to meet you Hermione Granger and I hope we complete a successful project together...wait...you're Hermione...Hermione Granger? from the war with Harry Potter? I'm a git for not recognizing the name before. Wow it's really then a pleasure and an honour to meet you. You keep surprising me I must say." he held her hand a bit longer before letting it drop.
She afforded herself a small laugh in return.
"I'm sure what you have heard of me is wholly exaggerated and partly false but as you said I do have other matters to attend to so let me show you your office before I leave you to do your work." she said hurriedly not wanting to get into one of these war hero conversations. "Now how do I get to my office from here?"
"Well we can go through the courtyard and enter the corridor a bit further down. It's a bit longer than you are accustomed but safer. Besides I don't think that I have a hardhat to fit over that hair of yours." he chuckled under his breath.
"Do you always say the first thing that comes to your head or do you make it a habit of insulting people for the fun of it." she huffed at him.
"Sorry I didn't mean to insult you honestly. It was a joke Miss Granger you know...a ha ha one. Hel...I mean Heck! I even like your hair so gimme a break." he replied roughly.
It seem to quickly dawn on him what he had just worded and his ears again flushed.
"Ok...maybe you are right...I do have a rather embarrassing penchant for saying the first thing on my mind sometimes. I apologize for my nasty habit and I apologize in advance for the next ten inappropriate things that come out of my mouth." he grinned sheepishly.
And just like that her mood swung around again. She could not believe his earlier flippant joke about her hair. Ok she knew it was a mess from this morning but to make a joke about it was just...just so...she had quite forgotten what she felt because with his next confession she instantly warmed to him. She surely was going mental this morning!
"Well then just shut it for a while and follow me." she said instead.
She led him through the corridor and up two flights of stairs before arriving at another corridor with a few rooms on one side.
"Right. The first room here is mine." she started. "Professor McGonagall's office is off onto the adjoining corridor so I am closest to her. I believe the last one down here is not in use by anyone so you can take that for now."
She led him past her office and one other before stopping at the door to the one chosen for him. Ron opened the door and stepped in. It was indeed unused but was big enough to hold a large desk, adequate shelving and even a small couch along one wall. There was a large window behind the desk which let in a lot of light. It did however look to be unused for quite a while as there was dust settled all over the bits of furniture.
As they both approached the old wooden desk, Ron suddenly gave a yelp and jumped back into her almost knocking her down. Hermione had to grab his arms to steady herself and immediately felt a sudden awareness of his body close to her. She had no idea what is was but she could not fathom the sudden feeling that rushed to her head. She put it down to her sudden surprise and let her hands fall away.
"Oh sorry about that." she heard him mumble. "Was that a spider? It looked like a spider. I hate spiders. I should have expected it." he looked a bit wide eyed as he said it.
Hermione let out another laugh. Her emotions seemed to be on a roller coaster since meeting this man.
"Are you serious! Are you telling me that a grown man whose job it is to inspect ancient buildings is afraid of spiders? How do you ever survive?" she grinned at him.
"Hey whose the one insulting who now eh? Besides I normally give the cleaning job to Robert or John before I inspect if you know what I mean." he said seriously. "This will do nicely though."
"Well this room definitely needs some cleaning spells but you should be able to do it quickly. I hope you are not thinking of dragging poor John or Richard up here to blast away any tiny spiders are you?" she joked again.
Ron shrugged his shoulders as if thinking about her suggestion when she remembered something she had meant to ask earlier.
"Mr. Weasley, is your father head of a department in the Ministry? I used to work at the Ministry and I heard his name mentioned a few times recently but I can't remember where. His name is Arthur Weasley not so?" she asked.
Ron hesitated a bit before answering her.
"Yes. He now heads the Department of Magical Transportation. He has worked in a number of other sections over the years but he likes where he is now even though he does miss his first ever job in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office." he said looking around as if to make sure there were no more spiders.
"He has a thing for muggle stuff... So do I actually." he explained calmly.
"So you have a big family. I also heard that. I don't mean to pry it's just that I know they didn't go to school here." she asked softly not sure if she was overstepping her bounds too quickly. She felt relieved when he chuckled out.
"And I heard that you had a real nose for details. It seems I heard right." he grinned as she pretended to be insulted.
"Yeah I have five older brothers and a little sister" he suddenly went silent. "Actually there are only four now...one of my brothers died in the war..." he trailed off and looked to the door.
"Oh gosh! I'm so sorry Mr. Weasley. Really I am. I truly did not know.." Hermione felt like she had soured the mood completely with her nosey questions and mentally kicked herself for her mistake.
"Well I'll leave you to it then and we can talk later. If there is anything that you need Mr. Weasley, please feel free to ask me." she looked away and turned for the door before she felt his hand gently on her arm.
"It's ok. Don't worry about it. You didn't know. It was a war and as you know better than most there were casualties. There is one thing you could do for me though." he smiled softly as he let his hand drop from her. "Could you please stop calling me Mr. Weasley. I keep looking for my dad when you say it. Just call me Ron ok?" he asked.
She smiled back at him.
"Well I'm not too sure about that. After all we are both colleagues working together and we have a responsibility to all the other staff and the students. Plus I do not know you that well...as yet. " she observed him rolling his eyes and shaking his head.
"I will however think about it and let you know. I'll see you later Mr. Weasley." she said with a small laugh as she left the room.
She still had a smile on her face a bit later on her way to the entrance hall. She had never met someone like him before. Someone who could make her so furious one minute and then calm her the next. She felt an ease with this handsome Mr. Weasley even though she had only been in his company for a short while. Yet there was something...strangely different about him. He and his family had never been to Hogwarts yet his father was a prominent figure at the Ministry. How did he end up with someone like Professor Sherrard? He spoke and carried himself with the age of a man a lot older than he looked. Yes there was something about him that made her apprehensive.
She tried to remember the feeling that she experienced when his body made contact with her as she held him but it was now a vague memory. Why did she want to remember that anyway? He was definitely not her type for sure. He was unruly and unkempt...but in a nice cute way. He swore and spoke without thinking, but he was also funny...in a nice cute way. He made her furious and insulted her, but he always apologized...in a nice cute way.
No. he was definitely not her type for sure.