Title: Magic and Misperceptions: A Harry Potter version of a Modern Pride & Prejudice
Beta: DeeMichelle and Tears of Mercury
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter, and I'm no Jane Austen, either.
Volume 1 Chapter 1
"'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'"
"What is that, some Muggle novel you're reading, Hermione?" Lavender Brown asked her flat mate, the Muggle-born Hermione Granger.
Hermione was lying on the couch holding a copy of the Jane Austen novel. She had realized that lying inert on the couch was safer than standing in the way of Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil as they rushed about, preparing for the big party that night.
"It's a famous Muggle novel about how women especially tend to assume that rich single men must be on the prowl for a wife, and they themselves are probably the perfect wifey for them."
Lavender's eyes widened in comprehension. "Oh," she giggled. "Do you think that applies to Quidditch players, too?" She glanced at her best friend, Parvati, and they shared a look, then a giggle.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm sure it can apply to Quidditch players as well. Are they going to be at the party tonight, too?"
Lavender took Hermione's rhetorical question as an invitation to have some quality girl talk. She plopped down on the couch next to her new flat mate, assuming Hermione would move her legs to accommodate Lavender's arse (which she did, albeit grudgingly).
"Yes! Oliver Wood is supposed to attend! He's delicious! Have you seen him? There's a smashing photo spread of him in Witch Weekly. Parvati! Go get that copy on my nightstand so we can show Hermione. I'm sure she'll reconsider attending if she could meet Oliver Wood!" Lavender turned to look at Hermione to verify that the witch echoed her sentiments. She did not.
"Lavender, really! I don't need to go! I'm absolutely knackered from work this week! I'd rather just save my energy for when we go out to Seaumus' tomorrow."
Lavender rolled her eyes. "Hermione, stop being the self-proclaimed 'bushy haired bookworm'." Lavender held her fingers in quotes and tried to imitate Hermione's slight French accent. "I know there's a party girl deep down inside of you! All those years in France must have taught you an appreciation for the finer things in life, and partying with Quidditch players is one of them!"
Hermione laughed and leaned back on the couch. She reflected on her weeks so far in this household of boy-crazy Hogwarts women. Well, not all of them were boy crazy. Luna was quite sane (smiling as she recognized that "Luna" and "sane" were not often used in the same sentence). Hermione's dorm mates at Beauxbatons were not as boy crazy as these Hogwarts girls, probably because many of them were part Veela, and did not have to seek out boys; the boys came to them.
In such a world, Hermione knew her place. She was the self-proclaimed 'bushy haired bookworm' who was considered the greatest witch in a generation at Beauxbatons. She was the intellectual, not the beauty. Once she realized her role, she found like-minded students at Beauxbatons with whom she could discuss wizard philosophy, and she was content.
Hermione had enjoyed her years at Beauxbatons. Yet, part of her felt as if something was missing because she did not attend Hogwarts. When she had received her acceptance letter from Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, she was ecstatic. It was then that she had learned that she was a witch, and that Hogwarts was the magical school in Britain, probably the best in the world. However, at the same time, Hermione's French-born mother, Jeanne, had announced that the family was moving to France to be near her aging parents. (As an only child—like Hermione—Jeanne felt it her duty to care for her elderly parents). So, instead of studying magic at Hogwarts, Hermione had been accepted into the French wizarding school at Beauxbatons.
However, Dumbledore had been exceptionally persistent, and quite disappointed that Hermione chose Beauxbatons over Hogwarts. He had personally come to her home and had spoken with her parents. He had assured them that Hermione could use his personal Floo network to go to France if she had to rush back across the Channel for a family emergency. He had said that Hermione could do a Side-Along Apparition with a professor if there were no Floo network in their French Muggle world. All this information, all these terms ("Floo"? "Apparate"? "Disapparate?") had been gibberish to the Grangers, who were just learning about this magical world, while at the same time dealing with a move to the continent, a cancer diagnosis for the grandmother, growing dementia in the grandfather, and the fact that their only child would be attending a magical boarding school run by a wizard with a beard longer than their daughter was tall.
Realizing that his persuasive abilities were falling on deaf ears, Dumbledore finally acquiesced and contacted Beauxbatons' headmistress, Olympe Maxime, requesting they give Miss Granger admission.
Now, more than five years after the Second Voldemort War, Hermione found herself living in a new Britain. A new magical world that was more tolerant of the Muggle-born, 'blood traitors' and 'half-bloods.' She felt safe moving back to London. Her work since graduation at the French Ministère de la Magie consisted of ensuring the existing rights of magical creatures. She was shocked, but not nearly as surprised as she had wanted to be, when she learned that magical creatures in Britain had no rights. After writing a couple letters to the editor of the Daily Prophet (Hermione had a subscription), the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, requested that Hermione return to London and work with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to bring the sort of laws and tolerance found in France to Britain.
Hermione's interest in magical creatures actually led her to her new best friend and flat mate, Luna Lovegood. While in her second year, Hermione was assigned a pen pal from Hogwarts. The recipient, Miss Luna Lovegood, was very different from the rational Miss Granger. Luna had filled their first exchange with stories about mythical creatures like the Crumpled-Horned Snorkack and the Blibbering Humdinger. Hermione had replied back in the language of a know-it-all that such creatures do not exist and how does Luna enjoy Hogwarts? Luna had replied that she did like Hogwarts, although she missed her father and had difficulty making friends since the other students would tease her and hide her belongings. Hermione had written back that she had difficulty adjusting at first as well, that she was teased not only for always raising her hand in class, but answering in a French accent which was not perfect and betrayed her Englishness. Hermione had also written of her aloneness in the Muggle world as well, and she had hoped the wizarding world would be different. She had written how her first months at school were miserable: how she missed her family, she felt like an outsider between her Muggle-ness and Englishness, and how she wished she was at Hogwarts.
Then, she had told Luna of a day when she was particularly despairing: she had sat under an elm tree close to the lake and cried and cried and cried. She had cried so much that she did not hear the approach of Marguerite Saint Denis, the most popular girl in the first year at Beauxbatons. Marguerite came from an old French wizarding family and had cousins in all years at Beauxbatons. She was beautiful, rich, smart and athletic. Hermione had learned that day that Marguerite also had a great capacity for empathy. The popular French girl took this socially awkward Muggle-born witch under her wing, introduced her cousins, her friends, and found some equally intellectual students where Hermione would find her place. The French witch had not only found Hermione compatriots, but had also given Hermione instruction on how to be more socially acceptable, while still being true to herself.
The French version of 'lighten up' and 'think of the other person's perspective' was often heard coming from Marguerite's lips as advice to the bushy-haired bookworm.
Marguerite had also helped Hermione accept and exploit her strengths: her intellect, her drive, her curiosity, and to not feed her insecurities regarding her looks. For, with a school full of French girls and part-veelas like the sisters Delacour, it would have been quite easy for a girl with buck teeth and frizzy hair to feel ugly. And, Hermione had. But Marguerite would complement Hermione's pert nose and sprinkle of freckles across her cheekbones, and find hairstyles that suited the thickness of Hermione's mane.
In Hermione's letters to Luna, she had wished Luna could find a Marguerite to help her through her years at Hogwarts. Hermione had then volunteered to be a Marguerite to her. A friendship between such unusual witches had been born; a friendship that may not have blossomed if they had attended the same school.
When the too-good-to-be-true offer to bring rights to magical creatures of Britain was presented to the young Miss Granger, she had jumped at the opportunity. And when her English friend Luna Lovegood had learned that her pen pal was actually moving back to London, she had offered Hermione a spot in her rented home, soon to be vacated by the newly engaged Miss Padma Patil.
Two Gryffindors and two Ravenclaws had occupied the house in London: Lavender Brown, Parvati Patil, Luna Lovegood and Padma Patil. (Hermione often wondered how the two silliest girls in the house could possibly be Sorted into a Hogwarts house known for bravery). Upon Padma's marriage to Neville Longbottom, her room had been offered to Hermione, who gratefully accepted. However, being the pragmatist that she was, Hermione had not wanted the occupancy finalized until she had met Luna and the rest of the housemates to ensure this would be a beneficial experience for them all.
Hermione had her own flat in Muggle Paris. She had been used to independence and Muggle conveniences like the internet. Moving to London meant living with three near-strangers in a house not too far from Diagon Alley, deep in wizarding London. That in mind, Hermione liked the concept of having ready-made friends. She had lost touch with the few friends she had in her Muggle childhood (they were really more like acquaintances than friends anyway), and had wanted to have a ready-made social life. (She and her long time Beauxbatons beau, Laurent DesBois, had decided that the move to London was a good time to finally end their pleasant albeit not fulfilling relationship, and she had wanted the distraction of a household of witches). She had also been trying to avoid the continued romantic attentions of a certain Bulgarian Quidditch champion who seemed to like bushy-haired intellectual girls who were younger than he is.
Speaking of Quidditch…
"Viktor Krum won't be at this party, will he?" Hermione asked suddenly, returning her focus to her giggling housemate.
Lavender's eyes went quite round, and she glanced at Parvati, who commenced the giggling for both of them.
"Oooh! I forgot! Viktor fancies you! He likes the smart girls. He was after that Ravenclaw during the Triwizard Tournament," Lavender giggled.
"Oi! Lavender! I heard a rumor that Ron and Harry were back in town!" Parvati nearly screamed at her best friend.
Lavender nearly dropped her magazine in the excitement. "No! Ron! They've been gone for ages! Some sort of top secret Auror mission in Australia!"
"Well, rumor is they're back! Top secret news, but they might be there tonight, or tomorrow at Seamus'," Parvati said hurriedly. The two girls looked at each other, clasped hands and squealed, all the while jumping up and down. Hermione pinched her brow. These really were the silliest of girls.
"Lavender! Wear your pink skirt, the one with the white polka dots. And that green jumper is lovely."
"No, Ron looks dreadful next to the pink. Terrible with his hair. How about the peach colored one?"
"No, aqua. Definitely aqua."
"Cerulean," Hermione added with a smug look on her face. She did not anticipate their response.
Lavender and Parvati paused, looked at Hermione, looked at each other and nodded with huge grins. They immediately pulled the protesting bookworm to her feet.
"You would look marvelous in cerulean, Hermione!" Parvati declared as she led the unwilling victim to her massive closet.
"No, really, I'm fine as I am," Hermione protested.
"You thought we wouldn't know what that word means, didn't you?" teased Lavender, "but we take our colors quite seriously. You're definitely an autumn and would look majestic in cerulean!"
Before Hermione could protest, they pulled off her Vive Beauxbatons sweatshirt and pulled a tight fitted cerulean gown over her head. Lavender pulled up Hermione's curly locks into a simple but elegant chignon with a couple of bedazzled hairclips, and Parvati found some dressy but comfortable black pumps for Hermione to wear.
"Ta da! Luna, come see! We've got Hermione dressed up quicker than she'd do it herself!"
Luna glided into Parvati's room and surveyed the results. She gave a low whistle. "Hermione, you look lovely! The cerulean compliments your skin tone so well."
Hermione just shook her head in disbelief. "How can all of you understand the word cerulean? Was color vocabulary on the O.W.L.s here?"
Luna's laugh was like bells. "Silly Hermione," she said.
"My butt looks huge in this," Hermione responded, looking sideways in the floor length mirror.
"You look lovely, dear," the mirror said. Hermione grimaced.
"I really hate talking mirrors sometimes. I think this one is in league with you lot," Hermione responded. "Look at my panty lines!"
"Then strip off your knickers!" Parvati called, and made a motion to do it herself, but Hermione's wand was at the ready.
"Come any closer and I'll hex you!" she threatened, only slightly in jest. "Viktor Krum hasn't touched my knickers and neither will you!"
"Thong! Put a thong on then!" Lavender suggested.
"Isn't there a charm to erase those lines?"
"Of course there is!" Parvati did a couple of quick flicks of her wand and Hermione's arse was smooth in the gown. "Perfect!"
"No, now look at the time, Parvati! We have to get ready, too. Especially if Ronniekins is there!"
The two Gryffindors went back to their frantic wardrobe hopping. Gowns in a rainbow of colors descended on their beds as they 'yeah' or 'nayed' various outfits. Hermione and Luna stood to the side, watching.
"Luna, dear, if I'm going to this gig then you must, too," Hermione finally interrupted their silence. "I need someone sane."
"For you, dear Hermione. It'd be lovely to see our classmates, and you can meet more of them as well. I must tell you that everyone is quite impressed with you so far. I've only heard wonderful things about how much people enjoy your company. We all wish you had attended Hogwarts so we would have known of you earlier."
Hermione smiled and thought of being Muggle-born during the Second Voldemort War and shook her head, not verbally expressing her thoughts. She had heard that Luna had been kidnapped and locked in the Malfoy dungeon with Dean Thomas during the war, and it was something Luna did not mention, so neither did she. "It would have been nice to know you as a classmate, dear Luna," Hermione did say out loud. "Come, let's get a lovely frock for you, and we need to do our makeup or it really will look like we only spent five minutes getting ready."
The two friends smiled and proceeded to raid Luna's closet.
Next chapter: enter the dark, brooding Harry Potter before 'an assembly such as this' (Jane Austen) aka the Puddlemere United gala.
A/N: I got this plot bunny last winter while watching the excellent recent BBC version of Emma. I couldn't figure out how to turn Emma into magical HP London, so I turned to another favorite Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice. It's my first multi-chapter HP fic and only my second multi-chapter fic ever, so please review! I have the first draft completed (it's about 18 chapters) and hope to post weekly, depending on my beta's schedule.