A/N – This is a slightly different sort of story with the majority of the story set in medieval times, so it's really a story inside a story. Hopefully the first couple of chapters will explain how the immersion books work, but feel free to ask questions if there's something I haven't explained properly. This story is set where Voldemort hasn't been an issue and the only problems between Draco and Hermione and her friends stem from the fact he's in a rival house.
As one of my New Year's resolutions I've vowed not to publish anything new that I haven't finished writing so this story is complete and will be updated quickly.
A few days before the new school term was about to begin, Molly and Arthur Weasley visited Diagon Alley to get school supplies for the two members of the family that hadn't yet finished Hogwarts, Ron and Ginny. Alongside the two youngest Weasley children were Ron's best friends, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Hermione and Harry were spending the last week of the holidays with their friend and as such they had decided to wait and all get their school supplies together.
After getting all the school supplies Molly and Arthur had headed back to The Burrow, leaving the four teenagers to have another hour in Diagon Alley. Harry, Ron and Hermione were all about to start their seventh year and Ginny her sixth, so Molly trusted them to behave for an hour or so, she also trusted them to return home when she had told them to.
After Molly and Arthur had left them alone Harry and Ron were disappointed when the first shop the girls wanted to visit was Flourish and Blotts, the book shop. Hermione's eagerness to visit the bookstore wasn't surprising but Ginny's eagerness did take the boys by surprise. Harry and Ron soon realised why Ginny was so eager to visit the shop when the girls rushed over to a large display of the latest phenomenon in the wizarding world, immersion books.
Immersion books had been released at the beginning of the summer and they had proved a big hit. While the books had a traditional story that you could read they also came with a spell that allowed the reader to immerse themselves into the story, taking the part of the lead character. The spell also cast the entire set of characters in the book with people that the reader knew, it filtered information from the reader's brain and cast the appropriate person in the role. While the immersion spell didn't allow the person casting it to change anything about the story it allowed them to live it first hand and experience everything the lead character did.
While Hermione and Ginny were fussing over the books Harry and Ron went off wandering the store. Ten minutes later, totally bored and eager to leave, they returned to where the girls were still standing looking at the books. Hermione and Ginny looked totally absorbed with the books so Harry and Ron settled down at a nearby table, knowing it was pointless to speak to the girls while they were still so happy looking at the display.
"Oh look, Hermione." Ginny squealed, beckoning to Hermione as she walked over to a nearby shelf. "These are the adult set."
"By adult set do you mean the ones with the risqué bits?" Hermione asked, moving to beside Ginny.
When Ginny confirmed she was looking at immersion books that contained naughty bits, Harry and Ron started to listen to the conversation. Neither boy knew that there were versions of the books that were raunchier. Obviously they knew the books catered for a wide age range and different sexes, they even knew the books spread over multiple genres but this was the first mention they had heard of books with naughty bits.
"I would love to read some of these." Ginny said, showing Hermione a few titles.
"And who would be your leading man?" Hermione asked with a grin. "Harry, perhaps?" She teased.
Ginny giggled and nodded her head, she'd been going out with Harry for a few months and liked the idea of immersing herself in a story where he was the lead male. Neither of the girls had realised that Harry and Ron were sitting listening to them so Ginny spent a few minutes pointing out a few of the books she would like to read.
"I like the look of the historical ones." Hermione said, picking one of the books up and showing it to Ginny.
"Look at this one, a young maid in the royal household is seduced by the prince leading to scandal." Ginny read part of the synopsis from the back of the book. Each book was magically sealed so they couldn't be opened in the shop and the spells used without a purchase being made. "I didn't know you liked this sort of thing." She said to Hermione as she handed the book back to her friend.
"I've got a few books like this at home." Hermione said, placing the book back onto the shelf. "I like the medieval ones the best, princesses being saved by handsome princes, chivalrous knights, that sort of thing."
"Maybe you'll get lucky and a knight in shining armour will buy you one for your birthday." Ginny laughed as the girls began to wander away from the display. They still hadn't spotted Harry and Ron as they headed in the opposite direction.
"I should be so lucky." Hermione muttered as she and Ginny disappeared around the book shelves and out of Harry and Ron's sight.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Ron asked, turning to Harry.
"Well I'm wondering if I should buy your sister one of those books, so I'm kind of hoping you're not thinking the same thing." Harry retorted.
"I was thinking about Hermione." Ron said, standing up and heading for the shelf where the girls had just been standing. "Maybe if I buy her one of these books she'll finally notice me, maybe she'll be so grateful that when she does the spell I end up being her leading man."
Harry followed Ron to the bookshelf, shaking her head at his friend's optimism. For as long as Harry could remember Ron had been in love with Hermione but their female friend was totally oblivious to the fact, treating Ron exactly as she did Harry. Harry suspected that Hermione just didn't see Ron in a romantic light but his redheaded friend was stubborn and refused to believe that she didn't like him in that way.
"Bloody hell." Ron exclaimed, bringing Harry's attention back to him. "Have you seen the price of these buggers?"
Harry picked up a book and almost dropped it when he spotted the price. The book was ridiculously expensive and even if he and Ron pooled their money they still wouldn't have enough to buy Hermione one.
"Sorry mate, it looks like we'll have to find something else for her birthday." Harry clapped Ron on the back sympathetically. He knew Hermione would have loved a book and as such Ron would have been her favourite person for months.
"Damn it." Ron sighed as they turned and walked away from the display. "I thought I'd really found a way to impress her."
"I'm sure you'll think of some way to get Hermione to notice you." Harry told Ron with a smile. He wasn't sure if Hermione would ever notice Ron but he wanted to support his friend.
"There you are, we've been looking for you." Ginny suddenly popped up in front of the boys. "Come on, we're going to get ice-cream."
Harry and Ron followed the girls from the bookshop and the four teenagers made their way to the ice-cream parlour further down the road. After deciding what they wanted Harry and Ron went to order the sundaes as Hermione and Ginny grabbed the last table in the sun. Joining the queue Harry and Ron stood behind two gossiping witches, one of whom was showing her friend her new immersion book.
"I want one of those." The witch sighed, looking longingly at her friends purchase. "But they're so expensive."
"I'll tell you a secret, I only paid half price for it." The witch whispered to her friend.
Harry and Ron shared excited looks and they leant a bit closer to the gossiping witches, eager to hear where the first witch had gotten her half price book from.
"Where did you get it?" Her friend asked.
"Knockturn Alley. There's a small bookshop at the end of the street and they have the entire collection."
"No." Harry shook his head at Ron as the two witches stepped up to the counter to be served. "We're not allowed in Knockturn Alley, besides nothing good ever comes from that place."
"It's only a book, Harry." Ron protested. "If they're selling them half price we can go halves on a one for Hermione and we won't have to worry about her birthday."
"I suppose so." Harry admitted reluctantly. Hermione's birthday was in a little over a month and as usual he had no idea what to get for his friend, half of an immersion book would be a good present.
"Come on Harry, let's go and get one." Ron said to his friend. "We can leave the ice-creams with the girls and we'll only be a few minutes."
"Go on then." Harry sighed in defeat. "Hermione will love us forever for this."
"I hope so." Ron grinned.
After getting their ice-creams the boys headed back to Hermione and Ginny. After depositing the sundaes on the table they said they had to go and get something before they quickly rushed out of the girl's sight. Once they were sure the girls couldn't see them Harry and Ron slipped into Knockturn Alley.
Unlike Diagon Alley, which was bathed in sunlight, Knockturn Alley was dingy and dark with several disreputable characters lurking amongst the shadows. Luckily for Harry and Ron the bookshop they wanted was one of the shops nearest to Diagon Alley. Slipping inside the dark shop Harry and Ron were both having second thoughts about their visit when an old witch approached them.
"Can I help you, dearies?" She asked in a scratchy voice. "Are you looking for anything special?"
"We're looking for the immersion books." Harry answered as nothing happened when Ron opened his mouth to speak. From the looks of the redhead he was nervous around the old witch.
"They're over here." The old witch beckoned for Harry and Ron to follow her as she moved deeper into the shadows of the shop. Slightly reluctantly the two boys shuffled after the old crone. "Are you looking for one in particular?"
"We want one of the adult ones, a medieval one." Harry told the witch.
"Ah, a good choice." The witch grinned toothily at the boys. "You can't beat a bit of good old fashioned romance. Do you have a certain one in mind?"
"Not really." Harry said. "We just know our friend likes medieval romance books."
"There's a large section in the historical romance but there is three really good ones set in medieval times." The witch rummaged through the shelves before she showed the boys three books. "There's one about a maid and a prince, one about a prince and princess forced to get married despite the fact they hate each other and the third one is a forbidden love affair between a queen and a knight."
"What do you think?" Harry asked Ron. Since it was Ron's idea to get the book Harry figured his friend should get to choose the title.
"The queen and knight." Ron replied, finally finding his voice. He was still hoping to be the hero in the story when Hermione used the immersion spell and the knight one sounded more appealing to him.
"Excellent choice young man." The witch said to Ron as she replaced the other books back to the shelf and shuffled over to the checkout.
After paying for their purchase the witch gift wrapped the book and handed it to Harry. After thanking the witch for her help the boys hurried out of the shop and bolted back to Diagon Alley.
"I'm pleased to be out of there." Ron shivered dramatically as he looked back at Knockturn Alley. "That place gives me the creeps."
"Me too." Harry agreed. "But it was worth it to get Hermione this book."
"Yeah, it was." Ron smiled, already looking forward to her reaction when she opened the book on her birthday.
"Come one, let's get back to the girls before our ice-cream melts." Harry said, turning and heading in to the direction of the ice-cream parlour. "We don't want them asking questions about where we've been."
Ron nodded and the two boys headed back to where Hermione and Ginny were waiting for them. Settling down with their ice-creams they admitted they had been buying Hermione's birthday present when the girls started to question them on their whereabouts. The admission stopped the questioning as neither Hermione nor Ginny would ever consider the boys would have done anything as foolish as entering into Knockturn Alley to buy Hermione's present.