DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters. Draco, Ginny, et al belong to JK Rowling and the devils she made deals with. But the fairy tale bit is free use! Muah!
NOTES: I have no excuse for this.
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Once upon a time, there was a young girl --
The narrator was going to come up with a more original opening but, hell, I'm not getting paid for this so screw it. Anyway, as I was saying:
Once upon a time there was a young girl who lived on the outskirts of a small town with her six brothers. Their father worked hard, day and night to provide for the large family. When their first son was born, their mother bought him everything that his heart desired, and some things it didn't. He had the finest new clothes and the neatest new toys. Bill, that was his name, had the best of everything. He grew into a right intelligent young man and became head boy at his school.
Charlie, the second oldest, was not much like his older brother. He always wanted to play with wild animals and ended up tearing his clothes. So his mother bought him new clothes with a sigh. "Boys," she said heavily.
The next oldest was Percy. He liked to stay indoors to read books and fiddle with important looking gadgets. Gadgets, mind, do not come cheap. But he had to have them so their mother bought them for him, all the while looking at the bottom of her purse. Having a family was becoming expensive.
Next, the mother gave birth to two identical twin boys. "Twins?!?" she shrieked when the doctor told her, and promptly passed out. The problem with twins was you needed to have two of everything, which, of course, costs you double. And if they break things, which these twins often did, they can cost triple or quadruple.
The next boy, Ronald got all of his brothers' clothes and gadgets. The mother figured that they had a something of everything already and there was no point in buying more. She had become a right frugal woman in her older years and poor Ronald got the short end of the money stick.
Then one day, the mother became pregnant again. She didn't know how she would support another child. (A side note, after the birth of her seventh child, she got fed up and had her tubes tied like any sensible woman would.) To her surprise and delight, the doctor handed her a squirming, pink bundle – a girl.
"A girl," thought the Mother, happily. "Oh no, we don't have anything for a girl!"
So it went. Poor little Ginny (for that was her name) grew up in the company of her older brothers. She had all the trucks and sports gear a girl could ever want, assuming that a girl wanted it at all. But she never had dolls or pretty dresses to wear like the ladies she read about in Percy's books.
Ginny dreamed of one day going to balls. She couldn't ever articulate this dream to her brothers because boys tended to snicker whenever the word 'balls' was uttered. ("Boys," she sighed heavily.) Most of all she dreamed of one day meeting her own private prince charming to sweep her off her feet and carry her away on his white horse. Or even a black horse or a spotted one for that matter; she wasn't particular.
Then one day, the Queen announced that she would be having a ball for her son, the Prince. The Prince was a snotty, blond haired boy about Ginny's age. Unfortunately, he was an only child and had been given the best of everything. (His best was better than Bill's best because he was the Prince, and he could have clothes sewn with diamonds and grown people to be his play army men if he so chose. And he did so choose.) The Prince didn't particularly want to find a Princess. He'd seen films about nagging women who never shut up and hogged the covers and decided that just wasn't for him. He'd get a cat instead. See, the Prince didn't much like women or people in general for that matter.
"But Draco," sighed his mother, the Queen, "if you don't get married who will carry on the family name?"
Draco shrugged noncommittally. He really couldn't stand the idea of having children. They were even worse than women because they pooped on you. He was a Prince after all; he wouldn't stand for being pooped on.
But the Queen had her way and the ball was scheduled. No amount of Draco's pouting could stop her. Queens out rank Princes on these matters. Workers of every sort filled the great ballroom in the castle, hanging decorations and other odd jobs. The Queen was simply beside herself with joy; there was nothing she loved more than a big fancy party where she got to show off her home to everyone. She sent out an invitation to all the townspeople will eligible, marriage-aged daughters.
Unfortunately for Ginny, an invitation never came to her small house on the outskirts of town. When you have seven children, it is easy for one of them to be missed. The Queen seemed to think that only boys lived in the house. And she certainly didn't want boys to marry her son. He had been single for years now and she was starting to have doubts…
The night of the ball, Ginny looked out at the night sky. She couldn't sleep. She wished and wished and wished that she could go to the ball somehow, even if it was just for a moment. She tried to think of ways she could get in without an invitation but couldn't come up with any. Surely the castle would have tight security. ("And we better for the money we pay for it!" grumbled the King.)
Suddenly, an audible 'pop' broke the silence of the sleeping house. Ginny jumped from her perch by the window with a start. There was a man in her room! And not just any man; he was a greasy looking man with sallow skin and sunken eyes wearing an ominous looking black robe.
Ginny opened her mouth to scream. She'd wake her six brothers and then he'd be in trouble. But before she could make a sound the man rolled his eyes and said, "You're not going to scream are you? Why do they always scream? They never scream when Flitwick is their wizard godfather."
She stared at him blankly. "Did you say wizard godfather?" she asked.
"Yeah," he replied, "you deaf? A wizard godfather, you know, the one who does the spells, makes things happen."
Ginny had read tales of wizard godparents who whisked into the life of some down-trodden young girl and saved her from poverty, but she had never pictured them like this. For one thing, he wasn't wearing pastels or puffy clothes. His wand was just a stick; it didn't even have a star at the end of it let alone those satin ribbons she had imagined. Most importantly, she had never thought that her wizard godfather would be quite so, well, mean. Hers just glared at her. It made her uncomfortable. She much rather he hadn't come at all.
"Um, hello," she said and curtsied politely. "I'm Ginny." She had meant the gesture to be pacifying; she was afraid she had seemed rude before when she had almost screamed. But he didn't look impressed.
"Yeah, I know who you are. I'm your wizard godfather, remember?" Ginny blushed, feeling foolish. "I'm Severus Snape. Don't just call me 'wizard godfather,' that's rude. I don't call you 'girl', do I?"
"No…" said Ginny in a confused voice. As far as she knew, he hadn't addressed her as anything yet.
"Right, let's get this over with then, I have other places to be," he said and began to roll up his sleeves.
And without further ado, he began: "There will be do foolish wand-waving or silly bibbidy-boppity-booing incantations. However, I can make it so you bewitch his mind and ensnare his senses. I can brew fame, bottle glory and even put a stopper on death." He paused and then added, "That costs extra, of course."
Before Ginny knew it, she was outside, robed in a frilly new dress the color of emeralds. In front of her was a shining silver coach with footmen and everything. The whole package! She couldn't believe her eyes. She just stared up at the coach with wide eyes, waiting to wake up and discover that it was all an elaborate dream.
Then from behind her she heard a sigh. "See, you have to get in the coach in order to get to the ball. Now get moving. The sooner this is all over, the better." Snape shooed her up into the fluffy seat of the coach before she could enter a word of protest. "Goodbye, pleasure working with you… For the love of Merlin, please don't hug me…"
* * *
All the other guests had already arrived by the time Ginny's ponies cantered up to the front of the castle. As she rode, people began to line the streets to stare at her. They made her feel self-conscious. They whispered that she was a princess from another kingdom. Villagers in those days weren't very bright. Any old person could wear a pretty dress and they'd call her a princess. No one questioned her at the castle gates. By then, they were all fully convinced that she was a Princess and they didn't want to get their heads chopped off. (If they had been bright they would've known that a princess from a neighboring village didn't have jurisdiction over them. But like I said, they weren't very bright.)
When Ginny entered the ballroom, a hush came over the crowd. Everyone turned to stare at her. She was easily the prettiest girl at the ball; she out shown everyone else. This didn't on dawn on Ginny; however, she just felt overdressed and wished her wizard godfather had gotten her more sensible clothing. She especially wished for different shoes, glass slippers weren't at all practical.
Draco took one look at her and instantly fell completely and helplessly in love. (He was a very superficial guy, but don't worry once they get married Ginny will change all that.)
Who would've guessed that the Queen would be right about finding the perfect mate at these silly balls? ("Hehe. Balls," he thought.) Suddenly he wished that he hadn't spoken to her earlier. See, he knew she would've let him simply say that all the girls were ugly and stupid and leave it at that. She'd want a reason why he couldn't marry them. So he had fixed it. Only the girl who possessed the magic, golden ring would be able to marry him.
He swore loudly. Now here he was, with the perfect girl right in front of him and he had to send her on some foolish quest to find a stupid ring. Next time he'd remember his father's rule against quests. They never helped.
"So where's the ring?" Ginny demanded later, annoyed at all the extra work this was going to take.
"I gave it to the beast that terrorizes the villages by the Forbidden Forest," Draco admitted.
Well, Ginny considered just giving up on him and finding herself another prince. She barely knew him after all and wasn't sure he was worth all the trouble. She was sure that there were other Princes out there who were lower maintenance. But then he looked up at her with those soulful gray eyes and she caved. She had a weak spot for soulful gray eyes.
That was how she found herself walking alone on the road to the Forbidden Forest at night. The road to the Forbidden Forest wasn't exactly a place that a young girl should be walking without the company of her six, pissed off older brothers. Ginny wrung her hands and looked around nervously. She heard there were monsters that lived in the Forbidden Forest and they preyed on little girls.
She silently wished that her wizard godfather would show up and help her get out of this difficult situation. With that thought, there was a loud 'pop' and Severus Snape appeared in front of her. He had his hands on his hips, apparently rather irritated at being called. Wizard godfathers were on call at all hours of the night. You wouldn't like it if you were just about to lay down for a good night's rest and suddenly some girl roused you from your bed and made you come help her find a ring either.
"What do you want?" he demanded.
"Um, I need help," said Ginny timidly. For some reason he made her afraid. Shouldn't wizard godfather's comfort you in your time of need? "I need to get the ring back from the beast if I want to marry Prince Draco."
Snape pulled his mouth into an extremely tight line. "You want the Office of Missing Magical Objects or maybe the Office of Hopeless Causes. I only deal in balls and dresses which means, you're on your own." He got more glee in saying that than perhaps he should've. "If you want a mouse turned into a footman, give me a call!" he said as he disappeared with a pop.
Ginny felt like crying. How in the world was she going to get this ring without her wizard godfather? Damn her weakness for soulful gray eyes! But she wasn't the type of girl who gave up; she had been able to steal precious toys from her brothers. She imagined stealing a ring from a beast wouldn't be much different. She sighed, and kept on walking.
Along the way she heard a deafening noise coming from up ahead on the path. It sounded like something was dying. And there was a loud thumping that accompanied the noise. The thump shook the earth under her feet as she walked. It was like a small earthquake. Curious, Ginny ran ahead to see what was making such a terrible racket.
The sight that met her eyes was the oddest that she had ever laid eyes on. It was a huge dragon that appeared to be caught in a bear trap. He was wailing painfully and struggling to free itself from the steel, all the while beating its large tail on the ground each time it moved.
Ginny stood a ways back from the dragon so it wouldn't be able to reach her with his fiery breath. "Um, excuse me, Mr. Dragon?" she said.
The dragon turned and looked at her with its pitiful, pain-filled eyes. "Actually, it's Miss Dragon," it clarified.
"Oh, my apologies," said Ginny then she continued, "It seems that you are caught in a bear trap. If you'd stop thrashing about, it wouldn't hurt as much. Look, you've got blood all over the ground there."
The dragon looked at the ground, and sure enough her blood had spilled out all over. Grudgingly, she stopped struggling against the trap, and sat peacefully on her back legs, eyeing Ginny suspiciously. "But I'm still trapped," she observed.
"Well if you promise not to eat me, I'll free you from the trap," said Ginny.
"Okay," agreed the dragon. "I'm not hungry anyway." She had a full breakfast of babies and virgins earlier that day.
Ginny inched closer to the dragon. It was difficult work to free it, but eventually Ginny figured it out. The dragon stretched its mighty wings; they were sore after not using them for so long. She hovered just above the ground, looking down at the strange girl who had saved her life.
"I won't forget this," said the dragon, before flying off into the night sky.
"Great," grumbled Ginny as she looked down at her nice, new dress. It was covered in dragon blood and some other goo she couldn't identify. "If only the Prince could see me covered in goo, I'm sure he'd still want to marry me."
After a bit more walking, Ginny arrived at the place where the beast dwelled. It seemed empty; there was no beast to be seen. "Uh, hello? Mr. Beast?" Ginny called. The answer came from inside the forest. There was a crunching of leaves and breaking of tree limbs, like some large animal was barreling toward the clearing.
What appeared was the ugliest creature Ginny had ever laid eyes on. It looked like a six foot long scorpion with dull, gray armor to protect it from any predator. The thing shot jets of fire out of its sting in Ginny's direction. She had to move quickly to get out of its way.
The creature was, of course, a blast-ended skrewt that had become wild after living in the Forbidden Forest for so long, and for whatever reason seemed to like hoarding rings. Ginny didn't have the foggiest idea of how to kill this creature. She had never encountered one before. She tried to think of something, but every idea she came up with needed some sort of weapon and she had none. She was now realizing that it was very stupid of her to have come to fight the beast without a weapon, especially since she wasn't wearing comfortable shoes.
Ginny dove and dodged the advances of the beast like she would those of her six brothers. They were good for one thing and that was making her light on her feet. The closest the skrewt ever came to hitting her was a shot that caught the poofy skirt of her dress, which was a good foot away from where her body began.
The blood smeared cloth from the dress fell too the ground, ruining the dress forever. Ginny shrieked "my dress!" loudly. It wasn't everyday that a wizard godfather appeared out of no where and gave you a dress. You had to treat them with care.
Wondering what the commotion was about, the skrewt approached the swatch of fabric and pressed its nose (or where its nose would be if it had a head) into the cloth. Suddenly, the skrewt seized up and began to convulse on the ground. It emitted painful shrieks from its would-be mouth and then convulsed one last time before it expired.
That was how Ginny discovered the 13th use of dragon's blood: it kills blast-ended skrewts.
She triumphantly returned to the castle with the golden ring in her hand. The next day, Ginny and Draco were married in a lavish ceremony that only the Queen could put on. Not only did Ginny become a Princess that day but she became a world famous speaker whose lectures on dragon's blood were in high demand. A modern girl like Ginny wouldn't have been happy with just a husband; she needed a successful career as well.
And they all lived happily ever after. Well, except for Snape he's just too sour tempered for 'happily ever after'…