Happily Ever After

Kneazle

--//\\--

Disclaimer: I do not own characters, places, or names associated with Harry Potter. They belong to JK Rowling, Scholastics and Warner Bros. Based slightly after the Care Bear's Nutcracker Christmas Suite.

Plot Keyword(s): Slight AU, Fairy Tale

Central Character(s): Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

Summary: Hermione is caught in an alternate universe where Harry Potter is a Prince and Voldemort is the evil Vizier that has taken over Harry's world – it's up to Hermione to save the day and rescue him!

--//\\--

CHAPTER TWO

            Hermione was halfway down the stairs when she realized that petrifying Harry wasn't probably the best way to earn his trust. Oops.

            She sighed, stopping in the middle of the common room with her hands on her hips. Did she go back up and apologize? Or did she go up, take the charm off and then leave? She was, after all, in a new world that she had no past history of. And Voldemort was in the castle. That was another bad thing that she really didn't want to face at the moment.

            It wasn't like she was scared or anything, it was just that she had faced Lord Voldemort a mere two weeks ago (yet again) as part of the Dream Team. She wasn't up to having another major battle and spending a week of missing classes in the hospital wing.

            Twisting her lips to one side, Hermione let her arms drop to her sides. "Maybe I should just let Harry stew a bit up there. Yeah…"

            She then spotted her bag (which Lucius didn't see, wonder how?), and began to rummage through it. Textbooks, blah, blah, blah, ink, parchment, wand case, and a couple potions that she had made herself, blah, blah, blah. There was nothing that would actually help her during a coming battle with Voldemort. Or Lucius Malfoy, or Pettigrew, or… or… well, anyone. Fiddlesticks.

            The young witch finally fell to her butt on the plush carpet, her chin in her hand. She was lost, she decided, in another world with – let's face it – no friends. Oh sure, they looked like her friends, but they certainly didn't act like her friends, if Harry was anything to go by.

            Maybe I should apologize…  she thought, before standing, swinging her bag over her shoulders and racing up the stairs again. She opened the door with "Alohomora!" and glanced around for where she left Harry.

            He was still sitting on the couch; his eyes now narrowed when they spotted her, and his mouth still open mid-laugh and mid-choke.

            Grinning sheepishly, Hermione moved to stand in front of him. She squatted so she was at his height, and said, "Hi Harry. Look, I know I shouldn't have petrified you, but you really are an arrogant bastard. I'm going to undo the spell now – but I really need to help you find this bracelet so I can go home. That's all I want to do, y'know? I'll even help you get your kingdom back, but you need to trust me. I'm not a normal… eh, what did you always call me? Ah – wench, that's it. I'm not a normal wench. Now… I'm going to undo the spell…"

            She trailed off, standing, before bellowing out a, "Finite incantatum!"

            She then jumped and raced behind the couch, rolled up into a ball. She heard Harry's yell, and began shaking. If his 'welcome' back when she stepped into the room was any notion, he was the violent type. And she didn't really feel like sparring off against Harry at the moment.

            "Where the devil are you, woman? Come out and face me like a man!" he shouted into the room.

            "I'm a woman, not a man!" Hermione shrieked, indignantly, looking over the edge of the couch, raising her fist and brandishing it wildly at him.

            "Aha!" the Prince said, pointing at her before he jumped on the couches' pillows and heaved himself over its backboard. He landed in front of Hermione, making her trapped between the back of the couch and Harry.

            "Eep!" the word slipped out between her lips before she could stop it, and she slammed her hands over her mouth to stop anything else that would escape them.

            "Well, woman, what do you have to say for yourself, leaving me in that state?" Harry demanded, yanking Hermione to her feet. His hands grasped her shoulders tightly, shaking her slightly.

            "Hey! It's not my fault I have an attitude disorder!" Hermione snapped, gasping afterwards as she saw Harry's beautiful emerald eyes narrow.

            "Attitude disorder?" he repeated quietly. Hermione could hear her heart pick up pace – in terror or something else, she wasn't sure…

            "You heard me," she continued, lifting her chin up, glaring down at him as best as she could. Someone shut me up now…

            "Indeed I did," all-but-snarled Harry as his hands flexed against Hermione. "I'll just have to teach you a lesson about my 'attitude disorder' as you so put it."

            Without warning, his lips descended upon hers, warm, hot and demanding. In all her memories, Hermione could never remember being kissed like that by anyone. ANYONE.

            She responded almost immediately, tilting her head to the side and kissing him back with abandon. After what had only seemed like a few seconds, Harry pulled back, breathing hard and staring at Hermione with unfocused eyes.

            "Good God, did I just kiss you?" he asked.

            Hermione rolled her eyes, snorted, and said, "ugh! Men!" She then proceeded to pick up her bag that she had dropped earlier, and began to move around the couch. Harry remained standing in the same position when he had pulled back from Hermione.

            She paused by his door, tapping her foot as she regarded him. "Hello? Are you coming or what? Do you want to find this bracelet that you conveniently forgot its location at? Or do you want to stay here, be tortured and let the Grand Vizier win?"

            This snapped him out of his revere, and he nodded, following Hermione silently. She opened his door, stepped out into the hallway and began walking down a couple steps when she realized that Harry wasn't behind her.

            Backtracking, she looked at the door, her hands on her hips. Harry stood in the doorway, looking at the hallway around him and looking decidedly lost.

            Hermione felt the frown on her face melt and her eyes become softer. She said in a quiet voice, "Have you been outside your room, Harry?"

            "No," he murmured. "Not since I was captured and placed up here nearly seventeen years ago."

            "Oh boy," said Hermione, biting her lip. "We've really got a problem here." She then stalked up the stairs, grabbed Harry by his arm and continued, "It's not that hard, Harry. Just a step at a time, and you'll be out of this prison."

            "Step at a time," echoed Harry, nodding, and letting Hermione lead him down the stairs into the common room. Hermione, hoping to distract Harry from his home, told him where everything was in her world. She pointed out at windows, saying that was where this and that was, and recalling stories of her past to him.

            In awe, Harry listened attentively, enjoying the way Hermione was speaking and the way she wove such a convincing tale. He still, however, didn't fully believe that she wasn't an assassin, but her kindness and goodness seemed to offset that thought from his mind every time she glanced back at him and offered him a smile.

            She, Harry realized very early on, was going to be a complication.

--//\\--

            Harry shook his head. "No, I can't… I can't do it."

            Hermione sighed, tilting her head as she stared at this counterpart best friend. "Harry, it's not that hard. It's only a couple of feet from the ground."

            "Couple of—!" the young man started and glared at Hermione. "Madam, address me as Prince Harry, and I will remind you no further! And as for a couple of feet, woman, that is nearly two stories!"

            "Stories smories," said Hermione with a wave of her hand. "You've been higher."

            "I have not!"

            Hermione sighed, rubbing her temples. In a quiet voice, slumping her shoulders with sincerity, Hermione whispered out, "I'm sorry. I keep confusing you with my Harry, from my world. He used to fly his broomstick amazingly."

            Harry, the Prince one that is, crossed his arms over his tunic and raised one eyebrow. He leaned against the stonewall next to a large open window. Hermione had decided that it was safer jumping than going through the open Great Hall doorway, and Harry had hesitantly agreed. Now, he wasn't so sure.

            Being twenty plus feet up didn't seem to bother Hermione, who was ready to jump down to the plush ground and then make a break for the dense forest, but Harry was very skeptical. A lot could go wrong, and he didn't really feel like breaking his royal neck. Now, he was verbalizing these thoughts, and Hermione seemed to be confusing him with her otherworldly Harry – the one she spoke so possessively and open about. It stirred something in Prince Harry's stomach, something he didn't want to think about.

            "Are you scared of heights?" Hermione asked, frowning.

            "No," answered Harry honestly, "I just don't like this… what if I break something? What if someone sees me? They won't hesitate to shoot and kill – it is what they are trained to do, after all."

            "Gee," started Hermione with a wry grin. "Thank you for thinking of me throughout that sentence. Such faith you have in me and my plans."

            Harry rolled his eyes. "Can we just continue with this plan, woman?"

            "Hermione. Yes, and it's the only way. Then we can meet up with Ron and Ginny and whomever else we meet, and we can go find this bloody bracelet of yours and save the bleedin' day!"

            "Such language!" tsked Harry. "You truly are a commoner – a common wench."

            "And you, sir," stressed Hermione, "Are truly a royal pain in the arse. Now…" she stepped behind Harry. "Act like a cat and land on your feet!" With that said, she pushed him through the window, watching as he tumbled towards the ground.

            "Wingardium Leviosa!" she shouted, her wand pointed at him, as he hovered a mere two feet above the ground.

            Harry opened his eyes when he didn't feel himself fall flat on the ground. Instead, he felt a very odd sensation; it was like he was floating, hovering in the air and feeling as light as a feather.

            "You okay down there?" Hermione called, leaning out of the open window. Her brown hair cascaded over one shoulder, and her eyes were searching his for any sign of pain. Instead of saying he was okay, Harry shouted back in annoyance.

            "YOU DO NOT JUST PUSH PEOPLE OUT OF WINDOWS, HERMIONE!" he bellowed, before he saw her do the same thing. Instead, she didn't use her magic to stop her fall, but landed on the ground gracefully, and on her feet.

            "Come on," she said, ignoring him, "They guards will have heard you by now. Let's make a run for it towards the Forbidden Forest."

            She had barely finished her sentence when shouts of surprise reached their ears and the clang of metal armor made Hermione shake – with adrenaline.

            She grabbed Harry's hand, and began to drag him with her towards the forest that was only a couple hundred feet away. She let go, realizing that he could move well on his own, and glanced back.

            Big mistake.

            There were noticeable Death Eaters after her – she could name every one and knew each of their strengths and weaknesses as Death Eaters in her world, after battling with them so many times. But what made her almost stop, turn around, and yell at them were some noticeable differences.

            One, there were no wands. They were carrying swords. Excuse me, but, what the fuck?

            Two, they weren't wearing Death Eater garb of white masks and long black robes that Snape usually favoured. They were wearing Crusade-ish chain metal underneath cotton (or were it silk? Hermione couldn't tell from her distance), black tunics with the Dark Mark in white on it. Um, hello, Operator? Connect these Death Eaters to the 21st Century ASAP, please.

            Three, they looked a lot, well… cleaner, was the only way of saying it. They were hardly the bloodthirsty rape-kill-plunder-sack Death Eaters of her world. They looked liked kittens and puppies compared to their Doberman and Alley Cat counterparts.

            Panting, Hermione and Harry plunged into the forest, not stopping as branches and trees whipped against their skin, breaking it, or when they tripped over roots. They only got back up and continued, until they couldn't hear the Death Eaters behind them, and couldn't hear any sounds of civilization.

            Panting, Harry placed his hands on his knees as he bent slightly over, and rasped out, "How did you know this was called the Forbidden Forest?"

            "That's what it's called back home," replied Hermione. "We're not allowed in here, as students, but Harry, Ron and I always come in here on adventures. It's pretty spooky but pretty exciting and an adventure in a nutshell, you know?"

            She sat down on a moss that was growing over some large rocks and kicked off her shoes. She then wiggled her toes and sighed. "Ahh… now that feels good."

            Harry stood watching her curiously. Never had a female ever taken off her shoes in front of him. It was against society's rules.

             Hermione watched him look at her toes. She wiggled them a bit more for fun, watching as his eyes widened. Grinning, she lifted one foot and waved her toes at him. "Never seen toes before, Harry?"

            His head snapped up to hers, an eyebrow raised. "Sorry… I've just… well. It's against the rules for women to show their feet."

            Hermione burst out laughing, laughing so hard that she fell off the rock. Finally standing unsteadily to her feet, she looked at him. "Really? And what else isn't acceptable?"

            "Ehh… showing ankles and legs… and arms… and doing un-ladylike things," continued Harry, looking at her crazily. "Don't tell me these things are tolerable where you live?"

            "Oooh yeah," smirked Hermione, before rummaging through her bag. "I guess we just are allowed to be more… liberal than you can." She looked up, showing him her pearly whites. "Jump start into the twenty-first century love… you're a bit behind."

            Harry wrinkled his nose up. "Excuse me," he began, "It is two-thousand and three, woman. It is the twenty-first century."

            Hermione's hands stilled. She had thought that she had fallen into the past alternate world… not one that had the same time s hers. Looking at Harry, she said, "What year?"

            "Two-thousand and three."

            "Two-thousand and three."

            "Yes, two-thousand and three. Are you deaf?"

            "A-ppar-ent-ly. No, I'm not deaf you overgrown prick," snapped Hermione, standing and walking towards one of her shoes. She picked it up and slipped it on, hopping around on one foot and giving Harry a good view of her panties every once in a while from underneath her Gryffindor pleated skirt.

            He gulped and turned his back on her.

            "We're about twelve hours away from the nearest village. If we start now, we could make it there before sundown," he said.

            Oh yay, thought Hermione, sarcastically in her head. Just what I want, a bloody walk in the park. Oh well. It could be worse.

            It could. It would be like some freak Murphy's Law, like when someone says it can't get worse, but it really does and everyone goes, "Don't jinx it!"

            Or something like that, and that's what happened.

            It began to rain. And not just drizzle lightly, but also coming down in buckets, making the two teenagers completely soaked to the skin. Of course, that would mean that once dried off, Hermione's hair would frizz and without any aid to smooth her hair, she was going to scare the little kids away. Brilliant.

            Harry walked alongside Hermione, leading her towards the village. He just wasn't sure what to make of this girl. One minute she looked like she belonged in his world, and the next she went off proving him just how different she was. And even though he was saying "world" loosely, he still wasn't sure that she was just an exiled witch, and not a world-jumper.

            Still… Harry thought, as he watched her as she moved in front of him, pushing away branches and making sure they snapped back in his face. She's got a nice backside.

--//\\--

            It was almost sundown when the rain finally let up. A setting sun peaked out from behind dark gray clouds that rolled slowly over the lush green hillside that Harry and Hermione stood on, staring down at a small village.

            The village had thatched roofs, with stone walls. There were fences around some of the buildings, but only those that had cows and horses grazing in their pastures. Somewhere, music was being played – it was a tune that Hermione knew but couldn't place. It took her a while to realize that it was the tune that the harp played back in her first year at Hogwarts when she and her friends went to stop Snape – Quirrell – from getting the Philosopher's Stone.

            Ah, memories.

            Hermione took in a deep breath, smiling as she stretched open her arms and swung around in a small circle. She carefully noted Harry's eyes on her, but did not acknowledge him. Instead, she asked, "Are we going there, tonight?"

            "Yes," replied the Prince. "That's where Ron and his family lives."

            Hermione frowned. "Why so far from the castle if he's your squire?"

            Harry shrugged. "His family didn't totally serve mine, you know, wench. Ron only grew up at the castle because his parents knew my father's adviser, the first Grand Vizier."

            "And where is this old Grand Vizier, and who was he?" asked Hermione, curiosity getting the best of her.

            Harry glanced at her, before slowly starting down the gently sloping hill. "His name was Albus Dumbledore – he, however, disappeared shortly after the Grand Vizier showed up."

            "Voldemort," came the whisper.

            Harry turned to see that Hermione had not followed him, but stood rooted to the spot on the hill where he told her the old Vizier's name. He wondered if there was a Grand Vizier in her world that was like his Dumbledore.

            "Do you know him?" Harry asked, mentally hitting himself. Of course she didn't know Dumbledore, his Dumbledore.

            "Yes," she whispered, before moving to stand beside him. "He's my Headmaster. He runs Hogwarts."

            "He's a wizard too, then?" replied Harry.

            Hermione nodded and together they walked towards the village. Harry wondered what she was thinking about, and wondered if he'd ask if she'd tell him. Probably not, he mentally chided himself. He was a spoiled Prince of two deceased royals. People either treated him with awed respect and stared at him too often, or disliked him completely, like Captain Lucius' son.

            He sighed, too softly for Hermione to hear, before continuing with his mental monologue. He wished that he could be a normal teenager. Not a Prince with royal duties that he needed to worry about, because that wasn't fun. He envied Ron and his family, and the closeness that he never had. He didn't have family, and spent most of his younger years running and hiding from tutors when the Vizier hadn't made his move yet to take control of the Leonis castle.

            The Vizier. Harry felt the anger swoop low in his stomach before nearly consuming his lungs, making it hard to breath. He wanted to kill the man, but knew he couldn't. He still wasn't powerful enough to take on the Vizier. What had Hermione called him? Ah, yes, he remembered now. She called him Voldemort.

            A shiver ran up his spine as the name whispered across his conscious, making the tiniest bit of fear push back his anger. There was something in that name that demanded you take notice of him and make you fear him. Harry didn't like it one bit.

            "What are you thinking of? You're not normally this quiet," came Hermione's voice from his right. He turned and looked at her. Really looked at her, for the first time.

            She was his age, he knew, and of average height (but always complaining that her Harry and Ron towered over her). She had shoulder-length wavy brown hair that was thick and often a bit frizzy around the crown area. She had large brown eyes that stood out against the black lashes that framed them, and two finely arched eyebrows. She had a slim body, with curves that would make any teenager's blood boil, and of course had those pouty lips that demanded attention – and to be kissed.

            Harry turned his head away, blushing slightly. He hadn't meant to think that – it had just popped in there. Besides, she was a commoner, someone he wasn't supposed to even think about, much less romantically.

            Oh, but how he wished.

            Just once did he wish to be "normal", and just once did he wish that he could throw all his worries, responsibilities, fears away and be free, like she obviously was.

            But that wasn't the case, he realized a bit later, as they began to walk through the empting town. Her eyes had wariness about them, and often when she thought he wasn't looking, looked sad and much older than they should be.

            He wondered what she had seen in her lifetime. And wondered if he could ever share it.

            Tripping over a loose rock, Harry stumbled but managed to catch himself. He cursed in a low voice, before looking up to see where they were. In front of them was a large house that had many additions added to it. Parts looked ready to fall over, and it appeared that the stones surrounding the small estate were all that was holding it together.

            Harry glanced at Hermione. "This is the Weasley's residence, woman. They'll take us in and listen to your story without prejudice against you. We will be safe here"—

            "For a bit, I get it, I get it," said Hermione off-handedly. "Let's just go in there. I want to ask Molly if she has a hot bath or something ready for me… and maybe engage Percy in a discussion about this world. I just hope George and Fred don't offer me anything to eat. I don't fancy being turned into another one of their victims for their new prank."

            Harry stared at her in open-mouth wonder. "How – How did you know …? All their… name?"

            Hermione shrugged. "Other world, remember?"

            Harry nodded dumbly, before leading her to the worn and chipped wood knocker on the door. Harry dropped it twice, before they waited in silence.

            The door opened, revealing four blue eyes. Hermione rolled her own pair, knowing exactly who answered the door.

            "Mum!" one shouted. "It's the Prince! He's here for some odd reason!"

            "Just let me in," sighed Harry. "It's been a bad day."

            Hermione frowned, narrowing her gaze at him. The twins opened the door wider, blocking the entrance.

            "Not until you tell us which is which," they chorused. Hermione snorted. Harry could never tell George and Fred apart, and even Ron and the other Weasleys have had problems sometimes. Hermione was gifted at it.

            "You know I can't tell you two apart," sighed Harry.

            Fred (Hermione was sure of it, he had slightly more freckles than George and his eyes were a deeper blue, like midnight) laughed. "Well, you'd better try, sire."

            Hermione snorted. "Fred, it's cold out here. Open the damn door, and tell George to step back because I am in no mood to listen to the two of you play pranks and think that making us stand out here and wait will amuse you."

            Fred, who was holding the door open, stared open-mouth at Hermione before swinging the door back and letting them in. Harry looked at Hermione with an amused and awed expression, before giving a smug smile to Fred.

            George, who was standing on the inside of the small hallway, ignored Harry and moved straight to Hermione. "Milady, it is an honor to meet you. Pray tell, what is your name?" He snatched her hand and kissed the knuckles lightly, like someone from a historical romance novel. Or something.

            "Hermione Granger," Hermione replied, removing her hand from his grasp. "And don't even try getting me to eat any of your candy, George."

            George raised an eyebrow. "Do I know you?"

            Hermione gave a saucy grin. "Oh yeah. But just not in this world."

            Before Hermione could give too much information away, Harry grabbed her hand and pulled her towards him, slamming his other free hand over her mouth.

            "Forgive her. Some times she's delusional."

            "I thought all those Princesses were that you courted Harry," replied an entertained Fred, leading them to the kitchen in the Weasley household.  

            "MTTHRFUUKR!" snarled Hermione behind Harry's hand, glaring at him. George and Fred laughed.

            "Spirited too. Never met a Princess like her."

            "Er… she's not exactly a Princess, twins," answered Harry, looking decidedly uneasy. "Are Arthur and Molly around?"

            "In the kitchen of course. Dad found some new toys to tinkle with," said George. Harry nodded and together they all walked into the kitchen, which looked just like the one in the Burrow. Molly and Ginny were baking something (without magic, of course), Arthur was showing Ron and Percy something he was looking at, and Bill and Charlie were discussing a sport of some sort.

            Harry removed his hand from Hermione's mouth, and called out a greeting. "Hullo Weasley's!"
            Everyone looked up and smiled when they saw him.

            "Hullo Harry!" came the chorused reply. The sight made Hermione sick.

            "Oh please," she all but groaned. "That was too lovey-dovey for me. Excuse me while I throw up. I'm about to get cavities."

            She sunk down on a free chair (after checking for now Weasley's [Wizard] Wheezes) and watched with disgust and fascination as Harry and Ron greeted each other. There was no distinction between class, and the way that Ron spoke to Harry… it made her shudder.

            It was like having her two best friends fighting all over again. Ron wasn't as free and loud as he normally was in her world here. He was refined and holding back on his feelings. Hermione didn't like it. It made her think about the Triwizard Tournament and how Ron was jealous of Harry's popularity. She wondered if he was jealous of his high-ranking title and his low one. Arthur wasn't even a Lord or Duke or Thane or whatever. He was just normal farmer… or herder.

            "And who is this friend, Harry?"

            Hermione looked up, only to catch the end of the discussion. Standing, she held out her hand and shook Arthur's surprised one. "Hermione Granger. Nice to see you, Mr. Weasley. What's that you've got there?"

            "Oh, you don't want to hear that," said Ron, moving to stand next to her. He was decidedly warmer with her, noticing she didn't have a title to her name. "It's just something of Dad's."

            "No, really. I'm interest," replied Hermione, beaming as she sat down in Ron's used chair, only to give a start when she saw the object. "Where did you get this?"

            "Well," began Arthur, his ears turning red. "You see… there are some strange things in our universe, and well…"

            Molly sighed. "Arthur! Did you go to Leonis Castle again, and bring home their junk?"

            "It's not junk, Molly," said Arthur defensively. "This was in the junk room, yes, but these unusual items are not junk."

            "One person's trash is another person's treasure," said Hermione quietly from where she sat. Arthur started and looked at her with meaning.

            "Yes, yes, of course," he finally said, grinning a bit. He pushed the object towards Hermione. "Now, I don't know what it is, or how it works, but it is the most amazing thing…"

            "It's not unusual. Not for me at least," sighed Hermione. "And it's mine."

            "Yours?" asked Harry, standing behind her. "But I thought you had everything when we left?"

            "Apparently some other things must have come through whatever gate I did," Hermione frowned. "The space-time continuum isn't that solid or completely reasonable."

            "Space-time continuum?" asked Charlie, looking at Hermione.

            "Well. I guess I should start off with my story, eh?" she grinned, before launching into her tale. She explained everything, waved her wand a bit, did some spells, and then finally pointed at the object again.

            "That's my Crookshanks," she said evenly.

            "What's a Crookshanks?" asked Ron, confused.

            "That's a Crookshanks," answered Fred and George, clearly enjoying the confusion that everyone was showing.

            "Crookshanks is my pet cat," explained Hermione, sighing. Everyone had a look on his or her face that clearly said, Oooh.

            Then: "That is not a cat."

            Hermione groaned and let her head fall onto the wooden table. She banged it lightly and then placed her head in her hands. She was in an unknown world, with an unknown way to get back, and she was stuck with a Ron that undoubtedly had the same IQ level as her Ron. Bugger.

            Finally, Arthur said in a kindly voice, "No worries, Hermione. We'll help you get home, and even make sure that you have a roof over your head and protection while you're here."

            "Oh, it's not protection that I need," sighed Hermione. "It's… well… forget it. I'll worry about it on my own time. You're doing so much for me already. Thank you."

            She gave Arthur a wobbly smile, before sighing and turning to Harry. "So, Potter. Where is this bracelet that we need to get?"

            "I told you, I don't remember," answered the young man.

            "And I told you, we'll retrace its steps to find it. So, where do we start?" Hermione finished off sternly.

            Harry sighed, running a hand over and down his face, feeling the stubble that was growing already.

            Ron blurted, "I'm going to help you two."

            "Great!" "Absolutely not!" "Are you sure?" all rang through the kitchen. Hermione, Harry and Molly had all spoken at the same time, and they watched Ron turn red with embarrassment.

            "Mum, I'm going to help them. I'm Harry's squire, and Hermione's friend in another world. It's only reasonable," he argued.

            "Dear God," Percy mumbled, "Did I just hear the word, reasonable, slip out of my baby brother's lips?"

            Ron grinned, his ears and neck now fully red, before he nodded. "I want to do this. I feel like I need to do this."

            "Well," sighed Arthur. "You'd best be on your way at first light tomorrow to the Wizard's Keep."

            "The what?" asked Hermione, frowning.

            "Wizard's Keep. It's where all the old Grand Vizier's are buried. It's like a temple of a sort, and if you need guidance, you'll find it there," explained Bill; the firelight of Molly's old-fashioned stove glittering off Bill's earring.

            "Great," moaned Hermione. "More walking. Just what I've always wanted. And what happens when we get there?"

            "We get guidance," said Harry, a smirk on his lips.

            "I know that," snarled Hermione back, glaring at him.

            "Well, just wanted to make sure, woman," said the Prince. Hermione swore that if he didn't stop calling her 'woman', he was going to end up on his backside in a matter of milliseconds.

            "The name," grounded out Hermione, "Is HERMIONE."

            Harry nodded understandingly. "I understand, woman."

            Hermione didn't stop herself as she strode forward, slapped Harry upwards against the back of his head and let him fall face-first on the ground, with his backside in the air. She clapped her hands off, taking invisible dirt away from her, before looking down at the Prince.

            "Prince or not, you're a human. Now stop acting like some God and get your head out of your arse. Tomorrow morning, you will call me Hermione, or you won't be able to see out of one of your eyes," threatened the young woman. "Got it?"

            Rubbing the back of his head in pain, Harry could only nod slowly. Hermione then stalked off to another part of the Weasley's, leaving Ron grinning after her.

            "She's right. She doesn't need any protection." He glanced down at his friend, a thought rising in his mind. In speculation, he voiced, "I can see now why you fancy this girl, Harry."

            Ron's reply was a moan of pain. Grinning, Ron set off to find this otherworldly Hermione. He had his answer.

**//\\**

AN: Not too much action or romance in this chapter, but more characterization. Leave a review with you name and comments – and suggestions. I love hearing them!