"The Beauty and the Beast"

by x0firefly0x

Summary: Once upon a time there was a girl called Ginny, but her father called her "Beauty". One day, her father became even more impoverished, and went out to find another job and seek his fortune. When he came back, he told his family the story of their undoing...and Ginny decided to be brave, and stay at the home of the "Beast" who had demanded her presence at his manor. In the classic storyline of "Beauty and the Beast" comes a Draco/Ginny like no other.

Disclaimer: I do not own "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling, nor do I own "Beauty and the Beast". Just so you know.

Chapter One: Part One--Introduction

Once upon a time, there lived a handsome family in a large manor in the middle of the woods. However, while all three were very good-looking, they were also selfish, mean, and spoiled. They were disliked by all, for they abused their great power and wealth.

One stormy night, while the family sat relaxing in their foyer, there came a knock upon the door. The young lord who lived there, with hair of platinum and eyes of steel, answered the door. He saw an old woman, shriveled and in clothes of tatters, who begged for shelter. She offered in return a single, red rose. The young man turned her away with a scoff. The old woman reminded him gently that appearances can be deceiving, but still, the young man turned her away.

At his words, with a wave of a magic wand, the old woman's outer appearance melted away, and she turned into a beautiful enchantress queen, with long, curling brown hair, a beautiful gown, and butterfly wings of pink gossamer. She held the red rose, now sparkling with some kind of innermost magic.

The young man begged her forgiveness, but the enchantress reminded him of his selfishness and turned him into a hideous beast with a touch of the red rose. She told him that unless he could learn to love someone and be loved by that person in return, by the time the last petal of the rose fell on his twenty-first birthday, he would remain a beast for eternity. She enchanted the castle, and disappeared, promising to return on his twenty-first birthday either way.

The Beast mourned and shut himself into the castle, vanquishing his parents, for...who could ever learn to love a Beast?

~*End Introduction*~

I don't remember a time when we Weasleys haven't been poor. I know that we used to be quite wealthy, back when Bill and Charlie were kids at Hogwarts, judging by the rich, once-beautiful durable fabrics of their hand-me-down robes, but as I'm the youngest, I never experianced it, along with Ron. I think, secretly, he knows too, but my father doesn't like to be reminded of our poverty. 'We're rich in love,' he says, 'Isn't that all that matters?' And I suppose we're lucky in that, at least.

I love my family: Bill, Charlie, and Percy...all have left home, so we don't see them very often. Bill is in London, now, but he still has an apartment of his own, which he shares with his fiancée, Fleur. I look up to Bill: he's good-looking, cool, and intelligent. Don't get me wrong, I love Charlie too, but we were never as close as Bill and I. He's off taking care of dragons in Romania, so we never see him. I can't Apparate yet, so we all have to go on a train, and seven tickets is much too expensive. Percy was a git last year, but we all forgave him heartily after he apologized. I think I was the one hurt most while he was gone; he used to stick up for me, make sure I was always feeling well. But after he left, I was just bullied worse than ever. So I learned that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Cliché, I know, but it worked. Fred and George, my prankster twin brothers, taught me the art of wonderful pranks, bravery, and, the most important rule: never get caught. I learned well, but soon, they too, left, and now own "Weasley's Wizard's Wheezes" in Diagon Alley, and soon they'll own one in Hogsmeade as well.

So, I was left with Ron, my lovable, slightly oafish, lanky one-year-older-but-still-less-mature brother. I love him, and at least with him I know I could go to him any time, since he's at Hogwarts too. But although he's always physically there, he's never quite there for me to talk to. He's always preoccupied with things; adventures with Harry, his best friend and my former crush...snogging with his girlfriend and my best friend, Hermione...Quidditch practice and games...detention...He's always so busy, I can never get a word in edgewise.

And me? Well, I'm Virginia Weasley, though if someone called me that, I'd probably knock their lights out. It's "Ginny", though I'm not really fond of it much either. I like my father's nickname for me better: "Beauty". I love the way he calls me it; he's generously blind and affectionate, and doesn't see that I've long outgrown my nickname. When I was younger, I looked like a cherub; curly, thick, strawberry-blonde hair, big brown eyes that always sparkled happily, normal-sized hands and feet, and petite frame. But once I hit 16, all that changed. Now, my once beautiful hair is like a bright orange yield sign, curly and out of control; I hit a growth spurt, and I was no longer the "little, pretty one", but the "giant, piteously skinny one". The only thing I still liked about myself was my eyes, though I didn't have my brother Ron's gorgeous sapphire eyes, the ones I had always prayed for. But my father still calls me Beauty, and I've been too shy and ashamed to correct him. My brothers are always doing something unique; Bill was Head Boy, and he's successful...Charlie was Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team...Percy was overly ambitious (Head Boy as well), and is the first of Dad's kids to work at the Ministry...Fred and George left a legacy at Hogwarts as the most notorious pranksters...and Ron is always fighting You-Know-Who with Harry and Hermione. You can't get any more overshadowed than that. The best anyone can say about me is that I'm clever and resourceful. Really, I'm so cowardly, I should be a Slytherin, not a Gryffindor. That was what the Sorting Hat in my first year had whispered in my ear that there was where I should be too, but I had adamantly told it no, that I wanted to be with my brothers and Harry, who I had a massive crush on. So, I stuck with my intelligence, and I read. All the time. I'm practically border-line Hermione, for Merlin's sake. I shunned company for my books, and I decided this year I'd like to follow my dreams, and become a Healer. I also like to pride myself on my kindness; I figure no one else would've gone with Neville to the Yule Ball, though he is sweet, if not bumbling and self-depreciating.

Now, one day, Ron came up to me and told me nervously, "Gin, I need your help." I was reluctant to remove myself from my books, but I put it to the side with a sigh.

"What is it, Ron?" I asked, pursing my lips and looking longingly at my books.

"I'm thinking about proposng to Hermione," he said, his blue eyes worried, but a glimpse of love flashed through them that could not be mistaken. I smiled, for they were deeply in love; this I knew, even though my head was always hidden behind a book.

"Wonderful!" I exclaimed, giving him a hug. He hugged me back, and looked at me expectantly. I sighed. I knew what he wanted.

"I suppose you want me to tell Dad?" I asked. It was a tradition in the family that I could "get around" Dad the best; I was the baby, and so on. Dad would do anything for any of us, but my brothers were a bit in awe of him.

"That would be brilliant of you, Gin," Ron said eagerly, running a hand through his messy red hair, which had darkened a bit over the years.

"I'll talk to Dad," I said, "--but give me a week or so, please, Ron. Dad's got business troubles, more than usual, which you probably noticed, and I want to pick the right time."

Ron nodded, cheerful again, called me an angel, and slipped out of the room.

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My opportunity to discuss Ron's ideas for marriage with Dad never came. Dad lost his job only a few days after Ron's and my conversation. Dad had been caught again, bewitching things, and since he didn't know the new Minister of Magic (who was a bit less stupid than Fudge, but still quite mentally deficient) he didn't have anyone to get him out of the spot of trouble. I don't remember the next few weeks, but I'm happy I don't, because I do remember Dad suddenly aged to look twice the age he usually looked, which was 30. My Mum and I took turns trying to get him to eat, but it was hard to do--he was depressed. Now, our house was bad enough as it was, but my Dad made plans to move to another, cheaper house deeper in the country than we already were. Our ruin was complete, because we had nothing in reserve. The house and land was to be auctioned off, and everything inside that was not needed was to be sold too. I thought of this as a kind of adventure, though Ron was upset and angry. We were poor already, and since I didn't have any friends who lived nearby, I felt no regrets in moving further into the country. The only thing I truly felt sad about was losing my room--it had been my nursery when I was a baby, playroom as a toddler, and sanctuary from the world.

The day of the auction, our house was full of swarming witches and wizards, various people Dad had met and friends of ours from over the years. In a matter of only a few hours, most of our novelties were gone: the magical clock, which would probably be engraved with different names than ours; paintings of family members from the past and landscapes; books, pots, and pans...all gone. We fetched a hefty price for them too, considering that our business was friends of the family, who slipped extra money into the till while we weren't looking. Finally, the auction was over, and Dad, Mum, Ron and I sat there, looking sadly at the light, rectangular marks on the wall were our paintings had been, and generally feeling depressed. Percy and Bill had come before to comfort us before work. They made decent money, for bachelors, and had tried to give as much as they could, which wasn't much.

Hermione and Harry were there too. Harry had offered to give us money, but Dad wouldn't let him. He was an orphan, and he would need the money over the course of his life, my Dad said. Harry was upset, but understood. In the end, it was Hermione and her family that helped us the most. Although they were Muggles, they were very rich. Both were extremely successful dentists, who worked together in London. Hermione came to us, offering aid. Dad shook his head without her saying anything, but Hermione pleaded for him to please listen for a bit.

"Mr. Weasley, before this, Ron and I were planning to be married. He had proposed to me, but we were picking the right time to tell you both. But after all this happened, it was obvious we'd have to wait. But, if you'd like, my family and I have a summer house in the country. It's just the kind you said you wanted. It's a bit small, but Ron and I still want to get married, and we both think it'd be the perfect place to live. We'd like you to live with us."

"Thank you, Hermione," my father replied, taking out a handkerchief to wipe his balding head; it was a hot, musty sort of day, "But we don't want to be a burden on anybody."

"Nonsense!" Hermione said, her brown eyes wide, "We would have asked you to live with us even if this hadn't happened. It's a nice, sturdy house, and I'm going to work at a hospital nearby as a apprentice Healer. I could get Ginny a job as well, if she'd like, and Ron is going to work the farm on our new summer house, so we can sell the things we grow. I know you used to like working with wood, Mr. Weasley, and there's a workshop out back. The town there is sorely in need of a woodworker, to make things like chairs and tables, and you could use magic to do it. Please consider my offer, sir."

Dad smiled, and said, "Well, all right, that sounds great. And call me Arthur, Hermione. You'll soon be my daughter, after all."

At these words, Mum swept upon the happy couple and gave them a huge hug, exclaiming, "Oh, my youngest son will be the first to give me grandchildren!" At this, both Ron and Hermione blushed.

"Now," Hermione said, looking mischievously at everyone, "Come down to the kitchen with me, and see what your friends have left you." And, refusing to tell any more, ushered us to the kitchen. The air smelled of tabacco and strange perfumes. Downstairs, on tables and chairs and in the pantry, were laid haphazard lots of things, most of it food. Hams, cakes, pies, a whole chicken, sealed jars of fruit and vegetable preserves. There were even whole bolts of cloth, some chintz, gingham, muslin, cotton, and even some of precious silk. There were even a few jackets, robes, etc. There was even a small, midnight black kitten, enclosed in a carrier. It meowed piteously at us, and I hurried to open the carrier and clasp it in my arms. I love cats, for they remind me a bit of myself: we are both intelligent loners. I named it Onyx nearly immediately.

"You shouldn't have let them do this," Dad said, gazing in amazement at the piles of goods.

"Actually, I didn't know," Hermione said, grinning, "And even if I had, I wouldn't have stopped them."

To be continued...

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Author's Note: I hope you like it so far. It's in a style entirely different than I'm used to, and I've never done a fairy tale adaptation. So, tell me...should I keep going?

REVIEW, PLEASE!

-Amanda/Firefly

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