“Hermione!” he shouted, bursting through the door with absolutely no regard to the fact that she was in the middle of teaching a class.
“Can I help you, Professor? ” she replied, turning slowly to face him.
“Yeah, you can tell me what the bloody hell this article is,” he said, his ears turning red as he slapped a rather hefty stack of papers down on her desk.
Hermione didn’t need to look at it to know what it was. Her article on violence escalation and de-escalation factors had been published today, so it didn’t seem likely that Ron would be upset about anything else.
She sighed. “You know the data agrees with me that –”
“I don’t give a rat’s arse what the data says!” Ron yelled. “I know every case and no genocidal ruler de-escalates because –”
“The data doesn’t lie!” She placed her hands on her hips, looking at him defiantly.
“Oh, and I do?”
“I never said that!”
“Ahem –” He cleared his throat, flipping through some of the pages of the article. “– While Professor Weasley has argued that a threat to the individual would only result in a violent leader doubling down and lead to increased bloodshed, new simulations, informed by historical data, suggest that under certain circumstances, a threat of bodily harm to the self or nuclear family may be sufficient to prompt a de-escalation.”
Hermione held in her wince with great restraint. When he read it that way, it did somewhat sound like she was calling him out specifically. But what did that matter? She was right and she had disproved his theory, that didn’t give him the right to come bursting in and disrupt her class.
“Professor Weasley,” she said firmly, staring at him with all her resolve, “we can continue this discussion later, but right now I am in the middle of teaching a class, and these students have better things to learn about than our differing theories about conflict de-escalation.”
Ron looked around, seeming to notice, for the first time, the lecture hall full of students. His face, already pink from anger, turned bright red, clashing horribly with his hair. He seemed to deflate a bit, taking a step backwards as he looked back at her.
“Fine,” he said, turning on his heel and shutting the door behind him a bit too forcefully.
Hermione sighed, turning back to her class. “Where was I?”
When Hermione got back to her office, she could see that Ron’s door was closed, and it looked like the lights were off. She bit her lip. Was he so upset with her that he’d left? Everyone knew Ron had a bit of a temper, and he could be impulsive when he was emotional, but that would be a new level. Sighing, Hermione ducked into her office. She wanted to write down her post-lecture notes, but then she would go home. It was already 5:30 and she wasn’t really in the mood to stay late tonight.
- . - . -
When she arrived home, Hermione pushed open the front door and dropped her heavy bag unceremoniously on the floor, not caring that it wasn’t in the right place or anything. She was too tired to care. It had been a long day.
“Darling? Are you home?”
“In here,” she heard him call from the living room.
Slowly, rolling her shoulders and stretching her joints as she walked, Hermione made her way to the living room. Her husband was sitting on the couch, staring at the television without sparing her a glance. He didn’t exactly seem angry, but it wasn’t a warm welcome either.
“Are you really upset about the article?” she asked, biting her lip as she sat down on the couch beside him.
“I’ve known you were smarter than me since the day we met, ‘Mione, but that doesn’t mean I like you shouting that fact to the whole bloody world,” Ron answered with a sigh, still looking determinedly straight ahead.
“I didn’t mean it like that…”
Ron turned to look at her. “A heads up would have been nice, that’s all.”
The corners of his lips twisted up into a soft smile. Satisfied that he wasn’t really mad at her, Hermione snuggled into him, resting her head on his shoulder and closing her eyes. She was exhausted after the first full week of classes – as much as she loved teaching (and she did! Although unlike Ron, she preferred the research.), the start of the semester was always a bit rough, but this time around was especially bad.
“I do love our tradition of making our students believe we’re mortal enemies,” Ron said suddenly, grinning from ear to ear. “I think we should keep that up forever. Never let on.”
“Oh, I don’t know, I was thinking of inviting my senior seminar students over to dinner one night,” Hermione answered.
Ron frowned as though he did not like that idea at all, but his grin quickly returned. “Fine, but not until the end of the semester! And only the seniors! And don’t tell them I’m your husband!”
Hermione smiled, as she always did when he phrased it that way (which he always did). I’m your husband . Not ‘you’re my wife,’ or ‘we’re married.’ But like he belonged to her, like she was his superior. Even though their marriage was as equal a partnership as any can be, Hermione still loved these little reminders that Ron loved her and thought she was absolutely amazing. Entire galaxies out of his league, as Ron would say. It was nonsense, but it made her feel special.
“I bet you they won’t figure it out before they come over,” he continued, utterly oblivious to her wandering thoughts.
“What are we betting?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow in curiosity.
“Hmm… winner chooses our vacation spot this summer?” Ron offered.
“It’ll be a bit late to decide that, don’t you think?” she countered, even though she was already imagining them walking around Roman ruins.
“Alright, fine, fine,” he conceded with a shrug. “Loser treats to dinner at Fellini’s?”
“Deal,” Hermione agreed, her mouth already watering at the thought of their favourite restaurant. This was going to be great. She couldn’t wait to win the bet.
Her fingers twitched over her belly. She hadn’t told Ron yet, and she was pretty sure he hadn’t the faintest idea. But Hermione was very confident that before the semester was over, Ron would be bursting into her classroom yelling at her for very different reasons than articles she had published. He always was the overprotective sort.