Author's Note:
Hello, hello! A new Grimmauld Fairy Tale for you right here! Those of you who haven't read the first yet can either go to my profile, or search for "Howl." That one is a Hermione/Remus pairing based on Little Red Riding Hood. These can be all stand alone, so don't worry if you haven't and/or don't want to!
Cookies to anyone who has heard of the original Grimm tale this new one is based on!
Reminder, this is rated M for a reason. Also, this one is broken up into two chapters because it was originally 28 pages long and FF didn't like the length for one chapter.
And if you want to know why it took my so long to post this, when I said a few weeks back in...March...please read the author's note (Chapter 2) in "Howl."

Those of you new to my Grimmauld Fairy Tale series should just know that I'm pairing our favorite bookworm with the dashing wizards of Harry Potter and flipping the traditional Grimm fairy tales (and other tales, not just Grimm) into modern tales of romance with Hermione and her beaus. Each are stand alone and with different wizards. I may later flip back and redo some wizards, but let's see how many we go through first.

Please read, enjoy and review!

Disclaimer: I own jack squat.

In typical Hermione Granger fashion, the muggle-born witch found herself frustrating an

entire Ministry department as well as the Minister of Magic and close friend, Kingsley

Shacklebolt. Her mule-like stubbornness was well known to her friends as family, so really, why

did they insist on such ridiculous notions, such as marriage and the like?

"'Mione, please. They're not going to wait much longer on you. If you don't comply soon, they're snap your wand and kick you to the Muggle curb," Harry Potter looked across the table imploringly at his best friend, hoping that even a single word he said was getting to her. "I know they said it's not compulsory for now, it won't always be. And if they change it, they won't let you have your pick."

"It's not a matter of if, Harry. It's when. And don't think I don't know they won't turn this around and try to pair me with someone Cormac." Hermione shuddered. "This 'Suggested Wizarding Revival Proposal' is complete tripe, and while usually am all for the rules and such, I abhor this one."

"There must be something, a loophole, maybe, that we haven't seen yet..." Even Harry's voice lacked the hope he tried to convey with his words.

Hermione played with her empty tea mug, a dark smile flit across her face. "You and I both know I've searched that proposal six different ways. It's sealed tight. I almost admire whoever they had write it," she added, "It was probably Percy."

"The git."

She could do nothing but nod grimly. A silence fell over the kitchen in the small London flat Hermione was letting, only the purrs of Othello, Hermione's half-kneezle kit sleeping under the table sounded. It resembled a freight train, compared to the quiet of the humans.

It was nearly six years since the two of them, plus their otherwise engaged (with his new wife, Pansy) friend Ron Weasley had met with other players for the side of the Light against Voldemort and his twisted followers and won. And while the wizarding world as a whole was slowly making progress in the correct direction, fear was still prevalent, especially with those who not only ran the research and logistics of the wizarding populace, the arithmacy experts, but also the handful of true Seers that were brought in from around the globe, hired by the shrewdest of Ministry officials.

They all came up with the same result, even two and a half years later: the British wizarding populace would become so minuscule, most would scatter and the magical traditions once grandeur, would be forgotten.

So they came up with the Suggested Wizarding Revival Proposal, posting it in the Daily Prophet, sending owl upon owl to residences with leaflets and pamphlets of information on what the Suggested Wizarding Revival Proposal meant to each individual witch and wizard worth their wand...and virile enough to continue the future generations of budding magic users to send to Hogwarts. And while it wasn't an actual law yet, the spike in unusual and sudden marriages was a bit discerning, to say the least.

The older, already parental generation didn't seem to mind this Proposal much, as it meant the younger, rowdier kids would hopefully settle down that much sooner, realizing how perilous it really was to be a single witch or wizard. At least, that was how Molly Weasley saw it. Every opportunity, since the Suggested Wizarding Revival Proposal was published for the public, she'd tried to set Hermione up with her sons.

She hadn't seemed all that picky, first and most obviously trying to get her and Ron to hook up. Instead, he'd already had his eye on Pansy, who was actually pregnant when they married (don't tell Molly) due to a night involving too much Firewhiskey and lewd pub songs at the Three Broomsticks. Then it was George, who quickly realized what his mother was up to and came out of his joke shop workroom just long enough to tell her off, before holing back up, working hard to avoid the noticeable lack of his twin beside him. Percy had been next and, to most people's shock, both he and Hermione had dated briefly, about eight months, before he'd appeared at the Burrow one evening, pale and twitchy, muttering how she'd nearly ripped his head off and dumped him.

The next night, after drunkenly weeping over a consoling Harry, Hermione hiccuped, "Perce'd been the best fuck ever, H'rry. Shit, what did I do?" Harry stared blank at the wall a moment, contemplating the clearly (hopefully) rhetorical question, before prying the empty shot glass from her and and tucking her into bed, leaving the necessary potions on her nightstand before leaving.

After the Percy fiasco, which was rarely ever mentioned again, Hermione let Molly play her matchmaking games, determined to show the woman she wasn't really the marrying type. Next came Charlie, who was another rocky relationship for the witch. He'd wanted her to move to Romania, and in similar fashion, his parents found him at their home, in a right fit, raging about how Hermione was afraid of commitment more than himself and she'd nearly taken his head off with a misdirected hex in his direction that actually took out her poor attempt at taking up a hobby, a painting of Crookshanks. A line of Prewett cousins who didn't pass the snuff and a single night (and morning) with Draco Malfoy, of all people, left Hermione with a reputation that had men laughing at the idea of dating her.

One night, Harry came through Hermione's Floo, eager to show off the ring he'd just bought his fiancee, and found her sobbing into her couch cushions, empty bottles of butterbeer scattered across her coffee table. For all her bluster and smart, confident personality she put off, Hermione's insecurities came out threefold when she was drunk. Harry tried to keep her from drinking too much as best he could, he knew she hated when people saw her like this.

"Harry..." she croaked when he gathered her up in his arms.

"Oh, 'Mione."

She sniffed. "Would you marry me, Harry? If I properly asked you to put in for it, would you? Save me from this awful Ministry shite?" She looked up at him from his arms, eyes glazed over from crying and the drink and watched the emotions on his face.

Harry contemplated what she asked of him. Truthfully, he would, if she meant it. She'd done so much for him, sacrificed her childhood to keep him safe, in the name of friendship and the Light. It would be the least he could do. He knew her heart wasn't really in her question so he had nothing to worry about, really. "Hermione, you know I would. Luna might not be so fond of the plan, but we both know we owe you everything..." He trailed off, brushing the hair back from her face, tucking it behind her ear. "Should I go fetch the paperwork now, send it off with your owl, Pepper?"

Hermione jerked up in his arms, tumbling off the couch and to the ground with a thud. Immediately, she sat up, a fearful look in her face. "NO! No, no no! I just...I just wanted to know. Thank you..." Her voice ended with a squeak, worn from speaking so much after crying so hard.

"I mean, we do have a history, so it's quite easy to see we'd probably be compatible..." Harry continued, acting like her graceless fall and outburst hadn't happened.

"Harry, stop!" she started to giggle. "That was one time, we were kids! Ahh, stop!" She tried covering her ears and Harry complied with a chuckle.

"Come over to Grimmauld for the weekend, Hermione. I want you over so you're there to celebrate with Luna, Sirius, and me. I'm asking her Sunday..."

The liquor in Hermione's system seemed to dry up by half hearing the seriousness in his voice. Even in her drunkenness, she could sense the faint touch of fear his voice held. He was actually afraid Luna would reject him? Tell him no? As if. And she told him just that. He admitted that she was right, that while his fear was irrational, he was still going to feel it until he heard yes from his girlfriend's lips, and helped her stand. With a wave of his wand, he cleared away the half dozen or so empty bottles and turned to Hermione.

"Let's get you some sober in a bottle then pack, alright? I know it's ten thirty and all, late for an old lady like you, but the night's still young and you can come help me finish off Sirius' biscuits he left in plain sight before he comes back from visiting Teddy and Remus." He guided her carefully to the bathroom, letting her grab the vials of potion she needed, ignoring the tongue she stuck out at him and his jest.

Once the potions took effect, Hermione smacked herself on the forehead. "Harry, stop letting me buy alcohol, please. I end up a trainwreak every time, lately."

"Yes, ma'am."

Hermione packed an overnight bag, left enough food and water out for Othello and Pepper, and followed Harry through the Floo to Grimmauld. Immediately, she went to the kitchen counters and snagged the package of treats she knew were the canine Marauder's. Harry set the kettle to boil and pulled out the trappings for tea as Hermione settled herself in one of the more comfortable chairs at the table.

"You know, Hermione, I'm surprised you haven't turned this around on the Ministry yet and used them to get what you want over the Proposal." Harry brought the full service around as he spoke, letting Hermione pour and serve the cups.

Hermione added a spoonful of sugar and a squeeze of lemon before answering him. "How do you mean? Blackmail? I certainly don't think I have anything on the Ministry to do that." Her brow furrowed as she tried to puzzle out Harry's thought process.

"Oh, nothing like that, I think. More along the lines of, follow their rules if they do something for you. Tit for tat, almost. But positive. You are good at that."

"Extortion. That may be a form of extortion, Harry."

He smiled innocently. "Like I said, you've always been good at that."

Hermione threw a chocolate biscuit at him, smiling despite herself.

"Hey now, don't go wasting perfectly good snacks!"

Sirius leaned over Harry, snatching up the broken biscuit as he passed through the kitchen, popping it in his mouth.

Both Harry and Hermione greeted the elder man, watching as he sat with them and poured himself a cuppa.

"Now, what's this I hear about illegal activity and what's a bloke got to do to be in on it?" He grabbed for his package of snacks, but Hermione held on to them keeping them just out of reach.

"I thought dogs couldn't eat chocolate," she teased, relenting when he pouted a bit.

Sirius greedily shoved several into his mouth at once, causing Harry to choke on his laughter and a wide smile from Hermione. "I'm not a dog right now, love. I'm a man. A man, I might add, with a new lease on life, yada yada, et cetera, et cetera." He waved his hands in the air, swooping in for another biscuit.

"I'm beginning to regret bringing you back from that veil if you're going to eat Harry out of snack and home."

Two years before, just before Christmas, Hermione had quit the Ministry's Unspeakable division and become the Ministry of Magic's liaison with the British government and now worked closely with the Prime Minister. But before that, she'd undertaken one of the biggest individual projects attempted by an Unspeakable under the age of eighty. She'd cleared the mysterious Veil in the Death Room of the Department of Mysteries of all trapped souls willing to come back to the living. There had only been a handful, six or seven at the most, but Sirius had been one of them, much to Hermione's relief.

When she saw him come from the veil, pale, but alive and breathing with a steady pulse, she'd immediately set his affairs in order to make his first few days easy, and then passed out for four days before waking, going through typical morning ablutions, and turning in her notice to the department, requesting a transfer.

During her research on how to deal with the veil without being lured in herself, she'd discovered it acted similarly to the Muggle purgatory. It was almost like a waiting room for those who were undecided between life and death. It held a powerful stasis charm in the dimension that existed between the rocks and air surrounding, so powerful, it seemed almost as if it radiated death. Her reading and suspicions had been confirmed when she was able to talk to Sirius about his experience in the veil. He was conscious for the entire duration of his stay, but while it had actually been seven years or so since he'd been fighting Bellatrix, to him it was maybe a few hours at the most.

Not only was his mindset and memories of eight years ago intact, his body was as well.

According to Ministry records, he was still a thirty-six year old wizard in prime condition. He was also a wizard cleared of all charges and nearly ten times richer thanks to the restitution the Ministry paid him for the wrongful imprisonment and mistreatment he suffered for the majority of his life. After dealing with the waterfall of paperwork at both the Ministry and Gringotts, Sirius came straight back to Grimmauld and, after an emotional reunion with Harry, he gutted the whole of his ancestral home, putting his overly full vault to work.

Grimmauld Place was now a bright, tastefully decorated home, that which Harry and his girlfriend Luna Lovegood shared with Sirius. It was the perfect place for company, to spend hours alone, and to raise a family in. Which was the point, Sirius pointed out to Harry when Hermione remarked on it when the work had been finished. He was officially signing the house over to Harry and, soon as Harry married, he would move out and find a flat or home of his own.

Soon, now that Harry planned on proposing to Luna in a matter of days.

"Go on, then. Show us the ring!" Sirius smiled wide at his godson. Hermione glanced towards the kitchen door, worried Luna would walk in any moment, ruining Harry's surprise. But watching the direction of her eyes, Harry assuaged her worry.

"She's at work until five in the morning, tonight, 'Mione. Don't worry."

He pulled out a velvet box, clicked the lid open, and revealed a platinum band with a modest diamond nestled in the center, surrounded by small moonstones. A very Luna kind of ring. Simple, but dazzling.

Hermione patted Harry's hand gently. "You'll both be so happy. I'm happy for you."

"Hermione, what are your plans?" Sirius frowned at the witch. "We all know soon they'll turn this joke into forced pairings and you shouldn't have to put up with that."

"I'll figure something out soon, don't worry."

"Does this have to do with the...less than legal methods you and Harry were talking about?" His eyes switched between the two.

Hermione let out a breath. "Not sure. It's got to be good, though. I'd be letting them all down if I didn't go out with a bang."

"That's our girl!" Harry and Sirius chorused at the same time.

"WHAT?!" Kingsley Shacklebolt looked up to the witch standing over him as he sat as his desk. Hermione looked calm and poised, but he knew her eyes were dancing in personal victory. "You can't put out a personal ad in the Prophet on the Ministry's expense, Hermione! Honestly, what are you thinking?"

Hermione pretended to pick lint from her work robes. "You want me to marry before you have to make an example out of me and I feel as if this will get us all in a direction that will satisfy us, if not comfortably contentedly. This was all yours and that retched department's idea."

As she expected, she'd been called from Downing Street to the underground Ministry to explain her actions. Putting out a personal ad, of sorts, calling for anyone eligible to try and marry her. They just had to give her a riddle that she couldn't answer within a reasonable amount of time. If they were more clever than her, she would agree to marry them. She'd given orders for the Ministry to foot the bill, which was one of several reasons why Kingsley was so angry.

"'...for an undetermined amount of time until such requirements are met by Miss Granger to satisfy the Department of Regulatory Wizarding Populace and Figures' Proposal.'" Kingsley looked up from the memo he was reading from, owled over from the popular publication. "You have got to be kidding me."

"Not at all. We all know how picky I am and I would normally turn away regular advances. So why not have those eligible come to me? Surely I'll get my personal requirement of intelligence met, if nothing else. My marriage would be a farce, but at least we could have decent conversations at dinner," she twisted her lips in a bitter smile.

"If this is all, good day, Kingsley. The Prime Minister has to look over the papers you owled over yesterday and he won't be able to make heads or tails of it without me."

The letters poured in.

She ignored them all, watching as Sirius helped her take to checking batches for any laced with potions or hexes before burning them. She had explicitly said that she wanted to meet with applicants in person. She had even set office hours of sorts, for Merlin's sake. Clearly she was weeding out the stock quicker than she'd anticipated.

She'd asked Sirius to stay with her as she met with these sometimes random, other times familiar men. It helped to have someone she was comfortable with stand as a buffer.

The very first person to walk through the door had been none other than Percy Weasley.

"There is a word that is pronounced incorrectly even by the most scholarly. What is the word?" He stood his ground firmly, triumphant smirk barely tamed.

Hermione contemplated for a moment. "Thank you for your riddle. I will take no more than three days to have an answer for you. Both Sirius and I have it and we can call it up in a pensieve if needed. I will owl you with the answer, should I come up with it," her voice clearly dismissive.

Percy's face turned red, building in color until it radiated a lovely shade of burgundy. Hermione stared at him, face impassive, until he turned around and stormed out. The door slamming rang out in the house.

Then, silence, before...

"Do you know the answer?" Sirius asked.


More silence.

A barking laugh as Hermione wrote her letter to Percy to give him the answer. She'd send it in the morning to avoid hurting his feelings. As she sealed it, the next man came in. Cormac McLaggen. It was going to be a long day.

Author's Note:
As I said, please review! Reviews make me grin like a fool and let me know people are reading! Let me know in your review who you think I should pair Hermione up with after I post the second half of The Riddle. Chapter 2 coming soon!