Summary: Fairy tales can happen only in books...or so you think, and so did Miss Hermione Granger until she retells her younger days and finds that her life closely followed her favourite childhood story: Beauty and the Beast. She then knows, that life can have a happy ending after all.
A Tale of a Beauty and a Beast
Chapter 1: The Beginning
Hermione Annabelle Granger's real story of love and tragedy begins with her final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She had said her goodbyes to her parents over an hour ago as she boarded the Hogwarts Express, and she now sat in a cabin with her three best friends, looking out the window. Now that I have shared my part, I will leave you with the young lass herself...
Ginny, Harry, and Ron, playing a game of exploding snaps, sat on the leather cushions that covered the hard wooden bench. I...well; I sat staring out the window, enjoying the scenery as the train zoomed about the plains of England. I sighed heavily as I thought about what I wanted to accomplish during my last year at school. Sure, I would miss the school dearly and all of its teachers...well, all except a certain Potions Master.
Although I had grown to love his subject over the summer, it did not mean I had to miss the teacher when I left. When I left—this year was equivalent to my senior year at a muggle high school and frankly, I'm terrified.
I have many options for a career and I still haven't decided what it is exactly that I would be doing for the rest of my life. However, I have this gut feeling that it would have something to do with potions
"Hey Hermy!" Ron said, "Wanna join?" I turned my head ever so slightly to glare at him.
"What have I told you about using that blasted name?" I knew my voice had a little too much harshness in it, but he kept persisting on using the insufferable nickname.
"Geez, touchy, sorry Hermione," he apologized and scooted away from me. I sighed.
"I suppose one game won't kill me."
I watched from my seat next to Ginny as the frightened first years entered the Great Hall for the first time. I smiled at those who waved at me.
I looked down to see my Head Girl badge shine brightly as the floating candles' light reflected off the polished medal.
It was a weird moment, because all of my years at Hogwarts, I would look at the Head Girl and have day dreams that one day it might be me wearing the badge and guiding people in the right direction, and now it is me. It hardly seems possible.
The Headmaster cleared his throat—startling me—and began to give his traditional "Beginning of a New year" speech. Everyone, but the first years, was squirming in their seats, waiting anxiously for him to be done so they could feast. With his final words, the Headmaster clapped his hands and the mountains of food appeared in front of the gleeful children.
I idly sat, watching the children and professors alike, stuff their faces with the delicious looking meal. I waited patiently for Ron to stop grabbing at things before I attempted to fill my plate, otherwise if I had grabbed something Ron wanted, he would have stole it from my plate. I found that out the hard way. I laughed at the memory. Of course, I was not very happy at the time, but now I can look back on it with humor.
The time flew by as our group ate and talked non-stop. The topics of conversation varied widely with each moment. One minute we would be talking about quidditch and then the next we would be talking about classes the following day. It certainly kept me busy. Naturally, I had all the school textbooks read already; therefore I couldn't really talk about what the classes would entail. First off, everyone hated when I did that and second off, nobody, save myself, really cared. All any of the seventh years cared about was that this was their last year of schooling. Moreover, most of them were celebrating the fact that they wouldn't have potions with the dreaded potion's master.
I sighed and excused myself from the table. I made my way out of the Great Hall and to the Library. In my first year, I was surprised to find a muggle section, filled with the classics. I took my time reading just about all of them, but I always found myself picking up my favourites every few weeks. I just could not get enough of them.
I plopped myself into my favourite chair in an isolated corner, hardly anyone ever went past, and I picked up Pride and Prejudice and began to read it, for about the hundredth time. I lost myself in Lizzy's world: one minute I'm reading about Lizzy's first encounter with Mr. Darcy, the next I was startled awake by a not too gentle shaking.
"What the—" I sat back up in my chair, lightening speed and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes so I could see. I took a quick glance out the window and saw that it was dark out. How long had I been asleep? I looked at the figure before me with sleepy eyes. He was hidden in the shadows and I could not see who it was. He never spoke either. He just motioned for me to get up and follow him.
We were swallowed up in the darkness after I turned the lamp out on the table next to the chair. The library must be closed, I thought.
The lighting in the corridors did not change much. There were, however, a few torches that lit up as we went by, but they were always too far ahead for me to make out the person in front of me and they went out as soon as I thought I would finally be able to recognize my guide.
We walked in silence. I was too intimidated to ask questions. We turned down unfamiliar corridors and up and down several flights of stairs until we finally arrived in front of something familiar: the gargoyle guarding Professor Dumbledore's office.
What in the world? I can't possibly be in so much trouble as to be taken to Dumbledore for punishment…can I?
We ascended the escalator type of stairs and knocked upon the door to his office.
"Come in," came the reply. Obviously Dumbledore had been informed by the portraits, but as I walked in, that theory was shot through the roof because Dumbledore was fully dressed, as if he was waiting specifically for my arrival.
"Please, take a seat." He motioned for us to sit in the empty, over-stuffed chairs in front of his desk.
"Professor?" Both people looked at me now. I looked toward the person who brought me here and could clearly see that it was Snape. What was going on? He certainly did not look happy.
"Please Miss Granger, take a seat," Dumbledore repeated. "Severus if you'll close the door please." He did as he was told and came back without a word.
"Uh…no Professor, I'd rather not if that's okay," I said and walked up to the raised dais that held his desk.
"Okay Miss Granger. I have some bad news and some good news," he began. I looked at Snape and wondered why he was still here; if this had anything to do with him.
"Voldemort has complete control of the Ministry now. It is not safe for muggleborns, especially you because of your connection with Harry. You must go…"
"No. Absolutely not!" I cut him off, "I will not hide and leave Harry. Ron and I already made up our minds: we are to stick with Harry until the very end. I don't care if it's dangerous for me. I'll deal with it as it comes my way," I said defiantly. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as I finished.
"I figured that you would say this, my dear, which is why both Ron and Harry have agreed to hide as well. All three of you will be under the protection of an Order member. I promise you Miss Granger, when the time for the battle to commence, you will be informed and will have the ability to participate if you still choose so when the time comes."
"Of course!" I said automatically.
"Now for the good news my dear: Severus here will be your protector."
I fell back into the chair behind me in shock. "What?" I yelled. I don't know what agitated me more: Dumbledore's stupid knowing-twinkling eyes or the idea of Snape protecting me. He is a Death Eater after all! I know that he obviously trusts him, but he hasn't proved anything to me to convince me that he is innocent. Am I just supposed to take a leap of faith and hope that Dumbledore has his faith in the right man?Besides that, how is a spy supposed to hide and protect me without fellow Death Eaters—or Voldemort himself—finding me? My mind was racing with all these questions as I became aware of two sets of eyes staring at my flabbergasted face. I immediately went red and stood back up.
"Why him?" I asked pointing over my shoulder, "Why not Professor McGonagall or…or Lupin?" I had a gut feeling that Dumbledore wasn't going to change his mind on this matter.
I looked up with tears in my eyes. I didn't want to live with someone who had made me feel like a bug all these years. I did not want to hear these insults on a daily basis. Most of the time, I could handle them because I would only see him once or twice a week, but I do not know what it would do to me to hear them almost twenty-four seven.
Dumbledore looked on me with compassion in those great blue eyes. It almost felt like he could read my thoughts, and for some odd reason, this comforted me. If he could honestly read my thoughts, then I knew that he knew what he was doing.
Tears still fell down my cheeks, I couldn't help it, but I was calm.
"Because, my dear," he began to answer my question, "He is the most capable and most unlikely person to protect you. If Voldemort finds out that you three have gone into hiding, Severus will be the last person he suspects of helping." I nodded my head reluctantly, in acceptance.
"Well, will I be able to know where Harry and Ron are? Will I be able to write them?" I was afraid that I would never be able to see them again, well, at least until the last battle and at that it would be a slim chance if we were separated to begin with.
"Miss Granger," Snape's harsh voice began, "You must not know of either of your friends' whereabouts for this reason: if you are captured—in a very highly unlikely situation with me—" I snorted at his pride in himself and he glared at me in turn, "your captors will not be able to read your mind to find out where Potter and Weasley are located. You are also unable to write them because of the simple interference of owls." As he finished, he came up onto the dais as well and stood next to me. I turned to look back at Dumbledore pleadingly, but was met with an unexpected smile.
"Hermione dear, you must learn to forgive and trust. You must let go of past transgressions and trust Severus, or this could all end badly. I trust Severus with my life.
"Now, you have two hours to pack your belongings and say your goodbyes. Go my dear! Meet Professor Snape in the dungeons at one a.m. Keep safe and tell no one who, or where, you are going. If anyone asks, you are going home for the year and don't know when you'll be back. Your parents are too scared for you to come back." At the mention of my parents I started. Where would they go? Would they be safe?
"Ah yes, your parents are being relocated as we speak. It took a while, but Molly was eventually able to talk your parents into leaving. Obviously they know that you too will be going into hiding, that helped ease them some, but they wanted you to be with them. Everything is already arranged. Now go, you are wasting your time here!" He smiled again and shooed me out of his office. Snape stayed behind.
A/N: I hope you enjoy this new fic. I personally love it! I love Beauty and the Beast; it's my favourite and I really wanted to incorrperate it into a fanfiction story. This is the result. :) Please Review!