A/N: I know, the title is awful. The story is better (I think). This is a cross between HP and Beauty and the Beast. I'm mainly referencing the Disney movie, but I've removed certain elements of the film, like the talking household objects.
Did you ever notice that in that movie, Belle has brown hair and brown eyes, and the Prince that the Beast becomes at the end has red hair and blue eyes? (As a brunette married to a red-haired man, you can imagine how much I enjoyed that.) Does that remind you of any particular HP characters? Yeah, me too. However, I found myself a little stuck when it came to finding a place in the story for our hero Harry! So he's going to take on the role of Hermione's brother, instead of her father, whom she rescues from the Beast. It's also a somewhat abbreviated version of the story (in part because I don't write musicals -- although there's a little of that in here too). I hate messing with canon that way, but what can you do? I hope the story is to your liking!
Disclaimer: Anything you recognize from Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Anything you recognize from "Beauty and the Beast" belongs to Disney. Anything you don't recognize means you haven't been paying attention, because I daresay there's precious little in here that's going to be terribly original -- though I did take a few liberties with the storyline, changing chronology and borrowing a few elements from the original fairy tale, just to make it move a little faster. You know, fewer cliffhangers and all.
This is the story of a girl, a rose, and a Prince. He was the youngest Prince of the rather large royal family, and often felt overshadowed by his valiant older brothers. When he was a very young man, the Prince was sent away from his family to live in a faraway castle, where he was quite lonely. He grew sullen and sulky, and drew even more into himself and away from others.
One stormy winter's night, an elderly beggar woman stopped at the castle and begged for shelter. She had no money, but offered instead a magical rose in exchange for a night's lodging. The Prince, being not in one of his better moods, sent her away. She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, but he still dismissed her. At his words, the woman's rags fell away from her, and she resumed her true form -- that of a beautiful enchantress. The Prince fell to his knees, begging forgiveness, but it was too late. She transformed him into a hideous, hairy beast, and placed the entire castle under a powerful spell.
One ray of hope she left to him. The enchanted rose she had offered would remain in his possession, blooming continually, until his twenty-first year. The only way to break the spell he was under would be to learn to love another, and earn her love in return, before the last petal fell. If this did not occur, he would remain a beast forever. As the years passed, and he grew into his late teens, his despair increased...who would ever look past his ugliness and learn to love him?
Not far from the castle was the provincial village of Hogsmeade. This village bears mentioning because, in a cottage on its outskirts, there dwelt a young man and his sister. The man was called Harry; the other villagers thought he was nice, but a bit strange, and tended to keep their distance from him just a bit. They said he had encountered a great evil as a young child, and though he had vanquished it, the meeting had left him less than sane. His sister, too, was considered an object of curiosity. Her name was Hermione, but because she spent so much time reading and studying, people often referred to her behind her back as Brainy.
Also in this village was a handsome, arrogant man named Draco. He was pleasant enough to look at, with his silvery blond hair and deep gray eyes; he was also wealthy, and used his family's money to curry the favor of those around him who might prove useful. Though most of the girls in the village pined for him, and argued over which of them he might marry, the one he had set his sights on was Hermione. Perhaps it was because he didn't interest her at all; perhaps it was because she was, apart from highly intelligent, rather pretty; or perhaps it was for reasons that no one has ever considered. Whatever the cause, Draco had determined that he would marry Hermione, whether she liked it or not.
Now, it came to pass, one particularly glorious autumn, that Harry left home on a trip expected to last several days. Harry and Hermione's father had been in exports, and several years earlier, one of his ships had been lost; recently it had been found, and Harry was journeying to reclaim what was left of its cargo. So he saddled their only horse, embraced his sister, and set off.
Draco seized the opportunity of her brother's absence to attempt to convince Hermione to marry him. He embroidered for her images of their married life -- a spacious manor in the countryside, where she could massage his feet and their many sons could play with his hunting dogs. For some strange reason, Hermione didn't seem to find this picture too appealing. She thought Draco attractive, felt a little flattered by his interest in her, but refused him. He left, dejected but determined.
Harry, meanwhile, never reached his destination. At some point he apparently took a wrong turn, or perhaps he had read the map wrong, or maybe he simply had no idea where he was going. Whatever the case, he found himself at the gates of a mysterious castle deep in the woods. Curious, he dismounted the horse and let himself into what looked to be a rather cozy foyer. A roaring fire soon warmed him, and from out of nowhere, a table appeared at his elbow, laden with hot tea and biscuits. As he made himself a bit more comfortable, he became suddenly aware of a presence in the room.
"Who are you?" growled a low voice. "Why are you here?"
"I -- I was lost and I -- I just needed to rest, I'm s-sorry..." Harry turned his head and gasped. The creature staring malevolently at him from a corner seemed part lion, part bear, and all terrifying.
"You're not welcome here!" it snarled.
"I'm sorry, I -- I just -- achoo!" Harry sneezed. "I needed to rest, please, forgive the intrusion."
"I'll give you a place to rest," the beast hissed. Harry shrank back into the chair as the creature approached and reached for him. Outside the castle, Harry's horse heard him screaming in terror, and took flight.
It was late when the rickety wagon reached the tavern in Hogsmeade.
"I don't normally leave the asylum in the middle of the night," wheezed the man it had brought. He was skeletally thin, with greasy hair and a chilling smile. "They said you'd make it worth my while."
Draco, flanked by his cronies Crabbe and Goyle, tossed a small money bag on the table. The man from the asylum examined its contents and nodded. "I'm listening."
"Here's the thing. It's my intention to marry Hermione, but she needs...encouragement." Since her rejection of his marriage proposal, Draco's desire for Hermione had escalated to the level of obsession. He had sent for the manager of the insane asylum, an old friend of his father's, with a fully formed plan in his mind. "And everyone knows that brother of hers is a lunatic."
"Harry is perfectly harmless," the older man objected.
"The point is, she'd do anything to keep him out of your establishment," Draco continued. "Anything."
"So...you want me to threaten to lock up her brother, unless she agrees to marry you?" The asylum manager shook his head slowly. "That is just despicable...I love it."
Coming up: Hermione meets the Beast, Harry's health begins to fail, and someone has dirt on their nose.