Disclaimer - I don't own the Harry Potter universe or any of its inhabitants. I don't own the original "Jack And The Beanstalk" tale. I didn't even think up this challenge. It's all a bit sad really.
Ron And The Beanstalk Potion
Once upon a time, there was a boy called Ron who lived with his mother in a tumbledown house. Ron's mother suffered greatly – her husband had run away with a Muggle woman who sold electric plugs and all of Ron's older brothers had long-since left home. So poor Mrs Weasley was left with just her youngest son. Although Ron was loyal and affectionate, he was a giddy, thoughtless boy who simply wasn't bright enough to get a decent job and look after his mother. Their only hope was that he would become a world-class Quidditch player but he was never going to do that when he only had an ancient Shooting Star on which to practise. One day, Ron's mother finished staring despondently into their cupboards and made a decision.
"Ron, we have run out food and we are down to our last teaspoon of Floo powder. There is no choice but to take your sister down to Diagon Alley and try to swap her for a Firebolt. She's no bloody use to us sitting around the house mooning after Harry Potter anyway."
Ron looked at his sister Ginny. Even though she wasn't much use, he was still quite fond of her. "Are you sure?" he asked his mother.
"Of course I'm sure. Although maybe you'd better try for a Nimbus 2001 and a sack of potatoes instead."
"Oi!" said Ginny.
Ron didn't want to disobey his mother. Sighing loudly, he took Ginny's hand and carefully scooped up some Floo powder. "Diagon Alley!" he shouted.
- x -
Ron led Ginny down Diagon Alley. "I'm sorry," he told his sister, "but it's for the best."
"Easy for you to say," Ginny grumbled.
They were almost at the door to Quality Quidditch Supplies when a strange old man barged out into their path. He was dressed in a dirty overcoat and smoking a pipe which smelled of old socks. The man looked up at Ron. "S'up Ronny?" he said. "Want to buy a cauldron? Practic'ly new."
Ron wondered how the peculiar man knew his name. "I'm afraid I have no money to buy a cauldron," he said. "I'm off to Quality Quidditch Supplies to swap my sister Ginny for a Firebolt."
The old man looked at Ginny. "Better make it a Nimbus 2001 and a sack o' spuds," he muttered.
"Oi!" said Ginny.
"I can do you a better deal anyway," said the man. "For your fine sister, I will give you these five magic beans."
"Pull the other one!" said Ron. "They're just Bertie Botts painted gold."
"Ah, a canny young man and no mistake. All right then…." The smelly old man pulled a small bottle from his revolting coat. "I will give you this rare and exotic phaselus festuca potion. You can't say fairer than that."
Ron stared at the potion. It was a dark green viscous liquid through which silver streaks swirled ominously. "What does it do?" he asked.
"Ah, young man, it will give you your heart's desire!"
Ron wasn't sure quite what his heart's desire was, but he was fascinated by the potion. As I may have mentioned, he was a giddy, thoughtless boy and not very bright. "You're on, mate," he said. So he handed Ginny over to the strange man and took the bottle of phaselus festuca.
- x -
As soon as Ron got back to The Burrow, his mother could see that he wasn't carrying a broomstick.
"Ronald Weasley!" she yelled. "What have you done with your sister?" She began to hurl things at the hapless boy.
Ron ducked a copy of Gilderoy Lockhart's Guide To Fairytale Creatures. "Bloody hell, mum," he moaned.
"And don't swear!" A rolled up copy of Witch Weekly caught him a nasty clip round the ear. "Where. Is. Your. Sister?" Each word was punctuated by a swat from the magazine until the witch on the front page gave up posing and ran for cover. "You'd better have got some money for her or I will take up Ms Parkinson's offer to marry you."
"Better than that, mum," Ron said hurriedly. "I got this." He produced the small glass bottle from his robes. "It's a phaselus festuca potion and it will bring my heart's desire."
"Heart's desire my arse!" shrieked Mrs Weasley, grabbing the bottle. "First thing tomorrow morning I am going to send you to your brothers to use in their experiments. Now go to bed." So saying, she flung the potion out of the window where it shattered on the flagstones.
- x -
When Ron awake the next morning, he was very confused. Usually, the early sun streamed through his window, filling the room so that it lit up brightly with the Chudley Cannons colours. Today, however, the room was dingy and dull. "I wonder what's happened outside," Ron mused, pushing aside the violently orange curtains. An astounding sight met his eyes! Growing up from the yard was an enormous beanstalk. It grew past his window and reached way, way up into the sky where it vanished in the clouds. The stems twined around each other so the beanstalk looked very easy to climb, but Ron had a better idea. He took his Shooting Star from under his bed.
"I'm not going to be part of my brothers' experiments," he said. "I will fly to the top of the beanstalk and seek my fortune. Maybe I will also find my heart's desire."
He put on some jeans and his least-hated maroon sweater, for he was sure that it would be cold in the clouds, and then he set out. It was indeed cold. He flew and he flew and he flew, and it grew colder and colder and colder. Ron's broomstick began to shake and ice formed on the bristles as he climbed higher. Just before he got to the top, the broomstick gave an almighty buck. Not a minute too soon, Ron grabbed at the ladder-like stems in front of him. "Bugger," he said as the broomstick plummeted to the earth below. There was no going back now, so he scrambled up the last few feet of the beanstalk and emerged above the clouds.
The surface of the clouds was pure white and springy, but what was more amazing still was that a long path ran from the top of the beanstalk toward a building in the distance. Having no other direction in which to go, Ron followed the path. He walked and he walked and he walked. As he grew closer, he realised that it was no ordinary building but a vast, imposing castle and that the path led right up to a massive wooden door set into the dank stones. Ron was frightened. The door was easily five times the height of a man and set with large iron bolts.
"I am sure that my heart's desire cannot lie behind a door like that," Ron told himself. He was about to turn away when he remembered his Gryffindor courage. He had come so far, surely he should not be afraid of a simple door. So he knocked, and tried to make himself look presentable as the door swung open with a ear-splitting creak to reveal only blackness beyond.
Ron crept through the gap. The air was clammy and smelled like a mixture of Ms Parkinson's perfume and the stuff that Mrs Weasley used to clean the toilet. It was very dark indeed. Someone must have opened the door, but Ron could see no sign of another person. As he ventured slowly down the corridor, his eyes growing accustomed to the lack of light, he began to make out the shapes of torches on the walls and carvings of giant snakes writhing around stone pillars. Everything seemed so big! Eventually, Ron came to an cavernous chamber lined all around with towering bookshelves. On some of the shelves were books that were almost as big as Ron himself, and on others were huge glass jars with eerie-looking contents floating in coloured liquid.
"Who are you?" boomed a voice behind him.
Ron jumped and gave a small squeak of fear. He hardly dared to turn around, but he told himself to remember his Gryffindor courage. Between him and the doorway stood a great big tall woman. Yards of bushy brown hair tumbled about her shoulders as she bent down to look at the intruder. Despite the fact that she was enormous, Ron found himself thinking how pretty she was. Reaching down two careful hands, the woman picked Ron up like a baby and placed him on a table. "Who are you?" she asked again, and her voice was much softer.
"I'm Ron," said Ron.
"Hello, Ron. I'm Hermione. What are you doing in the Giant's Dungeon?"
"Giant?" Ron panicked. "There's a giant? Where?"
Hermione looked down at her boat-like shoes and tent-like robes. "Er, Ron. I'm a giant," she said. "But I'm not the giant."
Ron studied her. She may have been a giant, but she really was very, very pretty. She had huge, gentle brown eyes and the longest eyelashes he had ever seen on any woman. Not to mention larger breasts than even a bored young man can imagine on a rainy afternoon. Maybe if she was my size, Ron thought to himself, then she could be my heart's desire. He gazed adoringly at her. "I wish that I could take you home with me," he sighed, "but you are far too big to fit into my mother's house. Besides, we don't even have enough food for us."
"The Giant has many potions which could aid you," said Hermione. "I helped to brew most of them, so I don't feel it would be wrong to give you some samples." Leaving Ron on the table, she gathered several bottles from the shelves and set about decanting them into smaller containers. Even these reached upto Ron's waist.
"How can I possibly carry all of these?" he grumbled. As well as being a thoughtless boy, Ron was also proving to be an extremely ungrateful one.
"Oh that's easy," said Hermione. She took out a wand the size of a tree branch. "Reducio!" The bottles became small enough for Ron to place in his robes.
"Now remember," Hermione told him, "that now they are small, you will only need a few drops of each potion. The blue one will cause your crops to grow – they will prosper and produce the best vegetables in the land. The yellow one will cause your chickens to lay – they will prosper and produce the best eggs in the land. The red one will cause your vines to flourish – they will prosper and produce the best wine in the land. As for the purple one… actually, I shouldn't have given you that."
"Why, what does it do?" Ron asked.
"It's the Giant's special aphrodisiac potion," muttered Hermione.
"Does it work?"
"How would I know? I'm just his bloody assistant!" Hermione snapped. "Now, did you get all that stuff with the potions or not?"
"I think so… the blue one will help our chickens produce great wine… er no, that can't be it… the red one will make our vegetables into eggs… hang on a minute, I've nearly got it… the purple one will…" Have I mentioned yet that Ron wasn't very bright?
"Oh, there's nothing else for it, I'll have to come with you and explain things to your mother," Hermione said, exasperated. "Can you fly a broomstick?"
"Of course!" Ron said, and told Hermione all about his dream of becoming a professional Quidditch player, and how he'd wanted to swap his sister for a Firebolt, and how instead, he had got the phaselus festuca potion. "I'm glad I got the potion, though, because I've met you, and I believe you are my heart's desire. But my broomstick wouldn't climb this high. It fell and I fear it is lost forever," he finished.
Hermione's eyes had started to glaze over as he rambled about Quidditch. She shook herself thoroughly. "Accio broomstick!" she cried out and a broomstick the size of the tallest tree in Ron's mother's garden came flying from a corner.
"I can't manage anything that size!" Ron gasped.
Still holding the broomstick, Hermione pointed the wand at herself. "Reducio," she said again. Within moments, she had shrunk until she was a few inches shorter than Ron who noticed that her breasts were not nearly so impressive now that she was human-sized. I don't think I've yet mentioned that, as well as being thoughtless, ungrateful and not very bright, Ron was a bit shallow. "We must go quickly. The Giant will be back soon and I need to get back to sort things out or he will punish me."
"Will he beat you?" Ron's mother often beat him to knock some sense into him, but it didn't seem to have any effect.
"No but… he shuts me out of his library. I can't fly very well so you must steer the broomstick but be careful – because it's a Giant's broomstick it will still have all of that power, just in a smaller size."
Ron climbed onto the broomstick and Hermione sat behind him. She held onto him tightly as they rose from the table, and Ron was very pleased. Maybe he could persuade her not to come back to the Giant's Dungeon at all. At the very moment they turned towards the vast, shadowy corridor, all of the torches blazed into life.
"Oh no! It's the Giant!" Hermione hissed into Ron's ear. "Quick, hide behind that cauldron."
And they did, just in time. A huge figure strode into the chamber, big black eyes flashing, sweeping black robes causing gusts of wind which made the broomstick shake. His dark, silky voice boomed out:
"Fee fie foe for
I smell the blood of a Gryffindor
Foolish wand waving and reckless notions
I'll put the little bastard in one of my Potions!"
The Giant stalked around the room, glaring at the displaced bottles. He had long black hair and the most colossal nose Ron had ever seen in his life. "Where is my assistant?" murmured the Giant. "I will have to give her a strict detention."
Ron heard Hermione give a little moan of what he assumed was fear. As soon as the Giant's back had turned, Ron urged the broomstick towards the door. Hermione had been right – it was extremely powerful, far more so than even a Firebolt. They sped down the corridor towards the large wooden door at the end. As they squeezed through the gap, they heard the Giant's voice from the far chamber.
"Someone has been stealing from me!"
Ron bent low over the broomstick and it flashed down the cloud path towards the beanstalk. The surface of the clouds began to quiver as the Giant came pounding down the path after them.
"Fifty points from Gryffindor, and did I mention putting the little bastard in one of my Potions?"
The top of the beanstalk was in sight. Ron gave a sigh of relief, but from behind them came a roar of, "Engorgio!" The broomstick gave a violent lurch and the hands around Ron's waist started to grow and grow and grow. He looked around to see that the rest of Hermione was growing and growing and growing as well until she fell from the broomstick onto the springy clouds.
"Hermione! My heart's desire!" Ron cried, but the Giant was gaining on them. I don't know if I want my heart's desire enough to end up in a Giant's cauldron, Ron thought.
Reaching the gap where the beanstalk came through the clouds, he swept the broomstick down towards his home. First he saw a patchwork of fields, then a small toy house that turned into the familiar sprawl of the Burrow. Mrs Weasley was in the yard, poking the beanstalk suspiciously with her wand. She looked up to see her youngest son hurtling towards her on the fastest broomstick in the world. Before she could berate him for flying so recklessly, he ran into the house to fetch an axe, then started hacking at the vast green plant in the yard.
"What in Merlin's name are you doing?" said Mrs Weasley.
"Beanstalk… dungeon… potions… heart's desire… GIANT!" puffed Ron between strokes. The beanstalk started to shake and far, far above, they could see a monstrous black form start to climb.
"You foolish boy!" cried Mrs Weasley. "Have I taught you nothing. Diffindo!"
A neat line sliced through the beanstalk and, rather fortunately for Ron and his mother, it began to topple away from the Burrow. Ron looked up to see a hand reach through the clouds, grab the Giant by the back of his robes and haul him back through the gap. Then the beanstalk fell and fell and fell with creaks and groans and crashes. As it hit the ground, it crushed Ms Parkinson's house in the distance. Ron wasn't very sorry about that and besides, he had a lot of explaining to do to his mother.
- x -
Up in the realm of the Giant, Hermione lay back on the cloud surface and panted. It had been extremely difficult to pull the Giant up by only his robes, but she had managed. Watching him pacing up and down cursing, she realised that she didn't want to see him get hurt at all. He may be surly, but he was also extremely intelligent and, she mused, quite sexy really. She thought about the young man to whom she had given the potions and the broomstick. He had been attractive in a gawky way, but he seemed awfully young as well as thoughtless, ungrateful and not very bright.
"Well, are you going to lie there all day?" snapped the Giant. He did not offer her any thanks for saving his life, nor did he help her up. Hermione got to her feet and sighed. Her back hurt, Ron had taken the broomstick and it was quite a long way back to the castle, even for giants.
They had gone maybe a third of the way back to the castle when the Giant stopped and said, "Just because you saved me from falling, don't think that I won't give you detention."
"No Professor," sighed Hermione. They continued to walk.
When they had gone another third of their journey, the Giant stopped again and said, "You were going to leave with the boy."
"Yes Professor," sighed Hermione. They continued to walk.
As they reached the door into the castle, the Giant stopped for the third time. "Hermione," he said. "Why were you going to leave me?"
Hermione looked at him. She wanted to cry. "Because he said I was his heart's desire," she said. "Because he needed my help," she sniffed. "Because he liked me," she sobbed. "And because in all the time that I've been your assistant you've never even noticed me!" she wailed.
The Giant seemed quite at a loss for words. He gave Hermione his handkerchief, which was black, and put his arms around her. "Hermione," he said gently. "I have noticed you. I like you. I need your help." He dried her tears and then kissed her very, very softly. "You are my heart's desire."
They spent the rest of the day putting away the bottles and sorting the books. Every few minutes, the Giant would stop working to take Hermione in his arms and kiss her. The kisses grew more and more passionate, so it took them a long time to tidy the Dungeon. As the evening grew on, Hermione screwed up the courage to ask the Giant a question.
"You know how the blue potion will cause crops to grow, and that they will prosper and produce the best vegetables in the land; and how the yellow one will cause chickens to lay, and they will prosper and produce the best eggs in the land; and how the red potion will cause vines to flourish and they will prosper and produce the best wine in the land…" She took a deep breath. It had been a very long sentence. "What exactly does the purple potion do?"
"The purple potion causes your passion to rise and it prospers and produces the most mind-blowing sex in the land," the Giant said.
"Does it work?" Hermione asked.
"Do you want to try it?" So saying the Giant kissed her again, but this time he did not stop to put away more bottles or move more books. Instead he lifted her and carried her to his bedchamber….
"Oh Professor," sighed Hermione, much later on.
"I think, under the circumstances, you should call me Severus," said the Giant.
- x -
Even though Ron was a giddy, thoughtless boy and not very bright, he managed to deliver the blue and the yellow and the red potions to his mother. After a few mistakes, their crops grew, and their chickens laid, and their vines flourished. Shortly, the Burrow became the source of the best vegetables, eggs and wine in the land. Ron took the Giant's broomstick to the Quidditch tryouts and was immediately accepted onto the team. In no time at all, he was celebrated as a world-class Quidditch player.
But the best thing in the world was when Ron went back to Diagon Alley and found the smelly man in the lumpy overcoat. Ginny was sitting dejectedly at his feet, trying to scour a family crest off a piece of silverware.
"S'up Ronny?" said the man.
"Old man, you sold me the phaselus festuca. You said that it would bring me my heart's desire."
"No refunds, sorry," said the man hurriedly.
"It was an amazing potion," Ron said. "It produced an enormous beanstalk. I found a Giant's Dungeon, and a beautiful woman, and potions that have caused our crops to grow and our chickens to lay and our vines to flourish. I escaped on the fastest broomstick in the world. But I did not find my heart's desire."
"You're a picky bugger, aren't you?" grumbled the man. "What d'you want?"
"I want my sister back," said Ron. As I believe I mentioned at the very start of this story, he was a giddy, thoughtless boy and not very bright, but he was affectionate and loyal.
"Well you can't have 'er. The deal was made, fair and square."
Ron produced a bottle from his robes. The liquid inside was a dark, shimmering purple. "In exchange," he said. "I will give you this rare and exotic potion. It is the Giant's special aphrodisiac potion."
The old man's eyes lit up. "Done," he said, grabbing the bottle. Ginny jumped up and ran into her brother's arms. "The girl's yours. And I'll even throw in a sack o' spuds."
"Oi!" said Ginny.
Author's Note: In case you didn't guess, phaselus festuca is a direct Latin translation "bean stalk". It's almost certainly grammatically incorrect, but hey, it is a fairytale! And I think this one is white raven's fault as well. The challenge was to merge Harry Potter with fairy tales, and she said she'd like to see a "humorous erotic Jack & The Beanstalk". Well, one and a half out of two ain't bad!
Also, I don't hate Ron. I really don't. But he IS perfect for this story.