Credit goes to Roald Dahl. Most details are from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH

~ kittykittyhunter ~


The last afternoon of summer rolled into view. James Potter was spending it alone.

Not that he minded, exactly. His parents had surveyed their only child unhappily; they did not wish to leave him. But the boy smiled, insisting they attend the wedding. After all, they wouldn't be gone the whole day – a few hours, at most. James promised solemnly that he wouldn't go wandering the streets, and, more importantly, that he wouldn't be lonely.

Loneliness, James mused, traipsing out onto the sun-drenched grass, wasn't really an issue. Tomorrow he would leave this place: he would go to King's Cross Station, board the scarlet train, and trundle towards his first year at a boarding school.

James Potter was a wizard.

He would miss his mother's delicious cooking (though everyone he knew promised the food at Hogwarts was stupendous); he would miss throwing Quaffles with his father (James was annoyed that first-years couldn't join their house Quidditch teams), and now, staring at the peach tree that sprawled at the bottom of the garden, the boy felt a tug behind his navel, as though he had touched a Portkey – he would miss his home.

He sat down. It hadn't come to mind before, but he supposed – somewhere beneath the excitement of living at Hogwarts, and finally seeing the Gryffindor common room, and experiencing all those things his family had laughed about – he was nervous. He wasn't worried about making friends, or the upcoming lessons, or those things, but... he lay back until his untidy black hair nestled against the green blades, watching the swirling clouds…

He was growing up.

He wasn't afraid of change – not exactly, yet, yet…

James sat up slowly. He counted backwards from ten and got to his feet.

He drew closer to the great peach tree.

The great peach tree had always lived in the Potters' garden, and as James dug his toes into the familiar footholds, swinging himself towards the supports that had, in his younger years, been his nest, he vowed that he would find a tree at Hogwarts to be his new hiding place, or thinking place, or whatever he needed. Soon, James balanced his lean frame against one of the higher branches, contemplating the ripe fruit above. He stretched, planning to seize the closest peach.

It swelled.

James' hand recoiled instantly. Wait… what just happened? He reached for the fruit again –

It quivered and definitely swelled some more. James stared, wondering why he had never known that the tree in his garden was enchanted. He slid down the bark, distancing himself from the roots by a few feet. He watched the fruit as it continued to grow.

Grow it did. James noted that the single peach had probably received an enthusiastic Engorgement Charm. He hoped his parents would like the oversized peach – but then, what was there to dislike? The fruit, with its fuzzy, sunset skin, looked delicious: even more scrumptious than when it could have dozed in James' palm. On and on it continued – it surpassed a grapefruit, then a watermelon, then, then –

It was becoming ridiculous.

"Stop growing!"

The branch was sinking, struggling with the overweight fruit. James wondered whether he had done anything to prompt this development; his polished wand was on his bedroom table, set beside his freshly-laundered robes and new schoolbooks.

The peach kept going. James watched with horror and astonishment as the base of the fruit touched the ground. The stem snapped.

He circled the fruit one way, then the other – its flesh was stroked with yellow and pink. The scent... it was making him hungry, very hungry...

Hungry enough to take a bite.

James had never tasted something so delightful. He continued to nibble around the first hole, peach juice running down his chin. He laughed – he should slice up the fruit and take it to school! His fellow Gryffindors would love the giant peach! Not that, of course, he was certain to be in Gryffindor...

"James! JAMES!"

He trembled. That voice… where was it coming from?

"Mr Peach?" James began uncertainly. No answer. He swallowed, hard. "I'm – I'm sorry for eating you!"

"Oh, don't be stupid!" said the voice furiously. "I'm inside the peach!"

James glowered. "I'm not being stupid," he grumbled, drawing himself up to his full height. Considering that he was eleven, and next to a giant peach, this wasn't very impressive. "You're obviously enchanted, so why shouldn't I think it was the peach talking? Who are you?"

"Never you mind – you'll see me soon enough. Get us out of here!"

That was definitely suspicious. James beamed. "How?"

"Get a shovel and keep digging!"

James rushed to the garden shed, unlocked the door and plucked the closest shovel. Excited, he returned to the giant peach and began scooping more flesh from the first hole. He was careful to dig horizontally; what was lurking inside? Occasionally, muffled praise rang from the peach's inside – "That's the ticket!" or "Excellent!" He continued digging, sweat sloshing his brow, but he knew: he was almost at the stone in the centre.

And then there was a dull thunk – a shock travelled up James' arms. The sun would be sinking soon and his parents were due back in an hour; throwing the shovel aside, James clambered into the peach. He wriggled through the tunnel, pleased with his strength. He ignored that his hair and clothes were becoming sticky, soaked by the juice.

"Hello?" he called when his head almost collided with the stone. It was cool and wrinkled beneath his palms. "Are you still there?"

The answer came roughly, "Of course boy! Open the stone!"

Open the stone? James squinted in the semi-darkness; little light was filtering in here. "How?" he queried, thinking this task would require his wand...

"You're a wizard! THINK!"

James frowned but retreated backwards. Once his feet were planted on the ground, he folded his arms. Even by magical standards, this was strange: he'd never heard of puffing, talking fruit before. Could this possibly be some Dark Magic? But as soon as he had the thought, James scoffed and dismissed it; there were things stuck inside the peach stone, and it was his job to rescue them.

He went to his room, dripping flecks of peach juice. James retrieved his wand, and soon, he was back at the stone again, swishing and waving his wand.

"Stand back!" he warned. "I don't want to accidentally hurt anyone!"

"That's fine, that's fine! Just get us out!" And, for the first time, James heard a curious sound – a panicked clicking...

He held his wand aloft. "Alohomora." Nothing happened, and James slapped a hand against his forehead – of course the unlocking spell wouldn't work: there was nothing to unlock! He could try blasting a hole, but that could be dangerous…

The voices inside the peach stone grew more impatient, and James decided that it was the only option left. "Reducto!" A chunk fell from the stone – it was barely an inch deep. A blush crept across James' cheeks. Maybe he wasn't powerful enough for that yet...

"HURRY!"

James jolted – alright, alright, he was going! He trooped back inside, this time understanding what he needed – he found the vial of purple potion that boasted it could dissolve through anything; well, he would put it to the test.

So he flicked beads of the potion at the stone, wary of his hands. As soon as the potion made contact, there was a hiss – thin spirals of smoke rose from the stone. Finished, James drove the cork into the vial. He scrambled into the stone muttering, "Lumos."

When James entered the room, his jaw fell.

Incredible… Newt Scamander himself would have been giddy with happiness if he could see what James was seeing – for here, here was the strangest assembly of creatures, all from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them... their sizes were wrong, however, very wrong...

There was a long, long worm curled on the ground, drooling some kind of slime. James blinked at the Flobberworm for a moment before facing a snail – its shell was slowly migrating from a mossy green to a rather regal purple, and James realised that it was a Streeler... Then, clicking its pincers, James shivered as he spied what had to be an Acromantula, the giant spiders given the maximum danger rating by the Ministry of Magic – yet, this Acromantula had been downsized tremendously: it could not be more than two feet tall. Swaying from side to side on its rigid sting, like an erratic dandelion, was an Australian insect; it was an entrancing blue – a Billywig. Finally, James turned his attention to the fanged, crab-like creature scuttling across the floor (it was so much larger than usual), a Chizpurfle. James' hand closed around his wand protectively: the parasite was known for chewing on magic.

"Hello..." trailed James.

The Billywig stopped swaying abruptly. "At last, dear boy!" it cried. "At last, we can get out of this infernal fruit!"

"We've been trapped here for a long time," grumbled the Chizpurfle as it clattered forward. It gnashed its teeth. James tried not to jump – he had the strange feeling that the creature was sniffing him eagerly. "A very long time."

"Must we move?" droned the Flobberworm. "I quite like it here."

"You'd quite like it anywhere."

"Correction... I'd like anywhere I can s-s-sleep."

In the corner, the Streeler said thickly, "Thank you James. We've been waiting for you to save us."

"Me?" In the small room, James' wand-light was ample; he could see the five creatures that surrounded him as he stood with his back to hole. "But... how did you get here?"

He hoped that his tone was polite. He was talented – but Acromantula were beyond his expertise.

The arachnid clicked its pincers impatiently. "A witch by the name of Lozelia Uxenbourg," it answered. "She wanted a collection of interesting creatures... silly girl. She enchanted us to live in this peach stone, and we've been here ever since."

It didn't seem to make much sense, but James wasn't too curious – not in an enclosed space. "So you've been waiting for someone to help you?"

"It had to be you, James," droned the Flobberworm. It gave a gigantic sigh.

"Why?"

"We don't know."

Silence greeted these words. James felt a drumming on his heart – if they were telling the truth... There were five, English-speaking magical creatures here and they, for no sensible reason that he could find, had been forced to live inside a peach. Hadn't the fruit started growing without James doing anything? Wasn't it possible that this was… destiny?

He said, slowly, "I think you're a bit large for the hole… I'll have to make you smaller…"

The Acromantula shrieked, furious that it still wouldn't embrace its full bulk, but the Steeler, the only other creature in the room that usually expanded to gigantic proportions, mumbled, "Let it be."

So, concentrating with all his might, James Potter announced "Reducio," resizing the creatures one by one so that they could escape. He began with the Acromantula, since it was the most exasperated – "Not," James said to himself, "because it's the most dangerous," – listening carefully to the spider as it clicked its way outside. Then James reduced the Chizpurfle, which became preoccupied in the tunnel with munching the giant peach. The Streeler went next, secreting a slime that sizzled the peach stone – James took a step back – then the Flobberworm, which complained and complained, and, judging by the angry cries from the garden, fell asleep in the tunnel. Finally, James reduced the Billywig, which bounded from the stone.

Though the inside of the peach was marvellous, it was also eerie, and James wasted no time in joining the others outside. He looked at the strange collection of beings: the Acromantula, the Chizpurfle, the Streeler, the Flobberworm and the Billywig, and a distinct pride began creeping through his skin. James Potter had always known about magic, always known that he would grow up to be a fine wizard but this – this was, surely, the best sort of feeling.

The creatures did not stay long. They chorused, "Thank you!"

Then they crept, scuttled, rolled, slid and leapt away, James watching their progress, knowing that this was his story, and his alone.

Later, when his parents returned and saw the silhouette of the giant peach in the garden, they smiled at their darling boy, clean and oddly pensive; they commended his excellent spell. What they did not know, however, was that James had learnt an important lesson: the worth of freedom.


Here's what I envisioned next: James goes to Hogwarts and tries to replace the great peach tree with the Whomping Willow. He discovers Remus' lycanthropy and hates that his friend is constantly imprisoned.