...important: social change.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never going to be mine. Not for profit, or individual resale.
The Royal Concept
Quick note to all readers, chapters 2 through 11 have yet to be beta'd. I will be revising them on and off when I have the time. One other note, no pairing is implied by the inclusion of the characters in the characters box. No ships are final, everything is subject to change with further chapters. With all that said, you may now continue with your regularly scheduled programming.
Now beta'd by Bluefirefly5. =^_^=
Hermione Granger walked into the wand shop with her parents, John and Jean Granger, from the crowded street outside. Instantly, she felt a powerful swell in magic upon her entrance, and she wondered if that happened for all new witches and wizards, as a sort of welcoming to the world of magic. Her parents looked curious, but not awed, so she didn't think they felt it. She stepped closer to the boxes; there was no one around in the shop, and the presence got stronger and more insistent. A tape measure twitched on the floor, but then lay still when a silver haired man with eyes shaped like moons peered out from the stacks and stacks of boxes. "Curious, very curious. I wonder..."
"Sir? Do you feel that? It's quite distracting." Hermione gestured at the boxes, each one filled with a wand, that were the main feature of the small shop. "Is this normal? I mean, does it normally feel this intense?"
Ollivander, she guessed that was the proprietor's name, simply came forward with a box so old that it was made of a fine stone. "There's no question. The presence you are feeling is from this one, is it not?"
Ollivander only held the box out to her to take. The lock that had kept it closed made an audible click, and the lid rose of its own volition to reveal a fine looking wand that was the combination of four woods grown together. She did not remain in the dark for long, as Ollivander answered her unspoken question. "Acacia, Ash, Rowan, and Vine. Separately very powerful, but together they are incomparable to any other wand. They are from the Royal Gardens of our Ancient House, that ruled in time immemorial. No one but the true descendant of that line can even open the box, let alone pick up the wand, as you have done."
With the wand in her hand, she felt it amplify something inside of her that she did not realize that she had even possessed. She could feel her magic, as if it was the blood in her veins, coursing through her and filling her with vitality. She looked back at her parents, but they were as dumbstruck as she was; they knew nothing of this hidden destiny.
"Did you say something about royalty and being a true descendant, Mr. Ollivander? But I'm only Hermione Granger. I'm a muggleborn."
"We always assumed they had died out. No one had ever checked to see if they had simply faded into muggle life as squibs. Fascinating, truly fascinating. Dumbledore will need to be informed, of course."
She couldn't believe what she was hearing, it had to just be this old man believing in fairy tales. Of course, as she was thinking that, another family walked into the shop. The three blondes looked absolutely aristocratic, nothing about them made them seem the kind prone to such wildly impossible beliefs and yet...
"What is this, Ollivander? A joke wand made to look like the Royal Wand? Who are you trying to fool by putting it into the hands of a girl like her?" The boy spoke up, before he was pulled back by his expensively tailored collar by the man. The woman stood back, and watched with a calculating expression.
"Draco, be quiet, will you?" The man spoke, as he approached Hermione with all the grace someone of his breeding could possess. "I apologize for my son, Your Majesty. There have been too many false claims about your lineage for him to realize yours is true."
"Sir, I don't mean to be rude, but I'm not sure I believe it myself. Your son would seem wise not to trust a claim such as this one." Hermione was trying especially hard to not laugh at the absurdity that had taken hold of her life so far. Finding out you are magical is one thing. Finding out you are a magical princess is quite another. She did not think she was cut from the same kind of cloth as someone of Usagi Tsukino's order. For one, she wasn't air-headed enough to think that becoming a magical princess was the best thing ever, and would have absolutely no consequences.
"Yes, Your Majesty, but Draco ignored even the most basic of manners while doing so, and will thus be spoken to later, I assure you." The man gestured to his son and wife, "Allow me to introduce my son, Draco Lucius Malfoy, and my wife Narcissa Malfoy née Black of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Lords and Ladyships of your Kingdom, since before Hogwarts and Merlin." As one the entire shop besides herself, and her quite astonished parents, bowed before her. "I am Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, at your service."
"In turn, allow me to introduce my parents. John and Jean Granger of the Most Ancient and Noble Profession of Dentists." Only her parents laughed; the other parties in the shop seemed as confused as she had been previously. "I am their daughter and only heir, Hermione Jean Granger."
Finally one of her parents had come out of their shocked state. "Hermione, is this an elaborate joke, or are we meant to believe my ancestors were like you without me having known about it? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Opening a box doesn't seem to match the claim of being of Royal blood."
The rest of the shop seemed dumbfounded that anything else would be needed, except Draco who reached for her wand and was struck in the chest with a purple bolt of energy. Hermione hadn't even noticed him moving for it, so she couldn't have fired on him. He was forced into a deferential position on the floor. "Oh."
She lifted the wand to get a better look at it, and it was shooting angry looking sparks. On instinct she caressed it, and the spell and the sparks both stopped. Draco rose unsteadily from the floor, lacking much of the grace he had originally shown. "My apologies, Your Majesty." Draco looked ashamed, "I shouldn't have tried to touch what is rightfully yours."
It was still so unreal. She simply nodded her acceptance. "I think my parents and I should like to finish our shopping. It was nice meeting you all." Her parents stayed back to settle the bill, as she left the shop in a reflective mood.
She walked past a man of Giant proportions and a scrawny boy with dark hair, green eyes, and glasses without batting an eye.
The next time she saw the Malfoy boy was on the train to Hogwarts. She was looking for a boy named Neville's toad, and he got up from his compartment full of toadies (much to the toadies confusion) and helped her track it down with an old, possibly dark, spell that he had read from his family library. He was a deft hand at wand work, and seemed to have read quite a few many more spell books than her, which seemed natural considering he had the fortune to be born in a family that had been wizards for generations. For a moment she panicked, thinking she could never catch up with those kids. But then she met Ron Weasley, and realized that old blood doesn't make you more likely to be able to take advantage of your status.
Draco didn't seem to like him much. She couldn't say she liked Weasley either, with how he had looked at her earlier, when she was asking after Neville's toad. To be honest, he seemed to be a bit of a prat. Draco seemed to be especially more vehement with his dislike, and she guessed there must be some family history of bad blood between the two families. "Is the Malfoy family line much older than the Weasleys?"
Draco smirked, she was coming to know that as his signature look, "Of course, there are not many older, or more powerful family lines than mine. The Black family, of course, is one of them, as well as the now defunct Prince line, which served in the past as one of your lines Royal Advisers."
"Draco, this is ridiculous. How am I supposed to believe that I have some ancient heraldry that has gone unnoticed for many generations?" She stopped outside of the train, and finding Neville still looking for the toad now resting in her hands, she signaled him over. "Neville, I found him."
Neville looked to be about ready to cry, he seemed so happy to have Trevor back again. "Thank you, Hermione."
She shook her head at the boy, and said, "Don't mention it. Oh, and Neville?"
"Yes?" He seemed confused that she would want to continue talking with him. She wondered about what he had gone through to be so shy and insecure.
"The Longbottoms are purebloods, right?"
He nodded, still seeming quite unsure where this conversation was going. Trevor was wriggling in his grasp.
"They would know about a Royal House, if one existed, wouldn't they?"
"Sort of, the Longbottoms don't qualify as Most Ancient, not like the Malfoys, on account of us coming after the Royal House had vanished. Only a few families still have records and folklore from that era." He shrugged, "Sorry I couldn't answer your question better, Hermione."
"It's fine, Neville. It was a good start."
He seemed reluctant to say anything more, but asked, "Why did you want to know about the old Royalty, Hermione?"
Draco smirked, "Oh, didn't you realize Neville? The Most Revered Princess helped you find your toad today, with her Most Dashing Royal Adviser, of course."
Neville had an expression that could best be described as the 'are you shitting me?' face. Not that Hermione would say that out loud, it still felt taboo even inside her own mind. "Thank you, Draco. I don't think I could have said it quite as unbelievably as that."
Neville head was darting between them like an excited state electron. "Is it true? I mean, what proof do you have besides his word."
She pulled out the Royal Wand. "I wouldn't try to touch it," She warned. "It has somewhat a mind of its own."
Neville looked awed. "Grand-mum used to tell me stories about this wand. No one has seen it in a thousand years. 'Wand of Ash, Rowan, Acacia, and Vine. In a state Most Entwined. For the Royals long ago. The wand that they could only know.'"
Draco nodded, "Even the famed Elder Wand isn't as legendary, although it remains to be seen how the Royal Wand would fare against it. I'd pay good money to see that duel."
She was a bit mystified herself, listening to the way they put it. Maybe, with the assistance of a wand like that, she would be able to catch up to Draco in less time, or even pass him. Of course, she had no way of knowing that, even without the Royal Wand, she would be a formidable force in no time. She shook her head slightly, 'No, to rely on an object is to become dependent on it. Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.'
"That's something I hadn't known yet. Thank you, Neville."
Neville smiled, seeming much more sure of himself than he had five minutes previously. She was glad to see him come out of his shell, even if only a little bit.
Draco laughed, "I didn't think you would want poetry, Your Majesty. Should I have known that, I would have made even the loosest of women blush."
She shook her head. "Draco, we are eleven years old. Try to remember that, will you?"
He merely grinned, and tapped his head. "What once is known, cannot be unknown."
She stepped into a boat with Draco and Neville. His cronies had to go on another boat to themselves, as they were a bit too large to fit in the boat with anyone else. She could feel them staring a hole in her back. Probably making some kind of vacant, yet still a bit menacing face.
When it was her turn with the hat, she made sure to keep her wand out of sight from the rest of the school. She didn't want that kind of attention at all. She made her way up to the dais, as Draco had advised her, head held high so that when people looked back to remember her, before they knew she was a Princess, that they would think she was a natural. She thought it all a bit silly, naturally, but it made sense to carry yourself with respect if you wanted to be treated with respect.
She looked up into the eyes of the Headmaster, and was surprised to notice a contemplative air about him while he was looking at her. She looked to the rest of the staff, and only one other was looking at her with a similar expression, a dark-haired man with even darker eyes. Where the Headmaster's blue eyes seemed warm, this man's black eyes seemed cold. 'Permafrost' she thought, while looking directly into his eyes. She wrenched her gaze away, and sat down in the stool. Soon, her vision of the Great Hall became obscured.
A few minutes of silence followed.
She began to fidget, when she heard a voice that was not her own inside her head, "Royalty belongs in the house for those of great ambition. But what is your ambition, young Princess?"
"To do well in school. To not disappoint anyone. To not be lesser to anyone else."
"As I thought. But there is also more than brains and cunning in here. No, there is also a fair amount of courage to face the things that scare even the brightest of minds. Death, for one. You have a great fear of it, almost as much as you fear failing. And yet I sense you would put yourself in danger of dying for something that you really believe in."
She nodded, now that the hat had said it, she knew it was true about herself.
"Ultimately though, it's where you will do the most good that matters to you. And I think you already know that's not the house where the brave are plentiful. Or the smart. Or even the loyal."
"I've read that Slytherin is the house with the most percentage of evil wizards and witches."
"Why is that?"
"Why are you asking me? I thought you were the all-knowing hat."
"I only know what you already know. And a little bit of the founder's magic to help you figure that out."
"So, if I go into Ravenclaw or Gryffindor I won't be able to help?"
"You happen to think that. Then again, you could be wrong."
"You are most vexing for a hat. What use are you really?"
"To sort you where you belong. Of course."
"Okay, then sort me instead of playing these word games with me."
"As you wish, Princess-"
From outside the hat could be seen raising its eyebrows, or whatever passes for eyebrows on a hat.
"Wait, I can't just go into any one house. If I do that, I'll lose something. But if I choose none... Maybe... Okay. You know what to do."
Meanwhile, in each and every mind in the Great Hall came the question, 'Can the hat do that?'
A sudden roar swelled up, as people started screaming questions, one over the other. Dumbledore rose and shouted so loud, it reverberated in the farthest person's chest, "SILENCE!"
Immediately, everyone shut their mouths with an audible click. "Now that I have your attention. The sorting will continue as normal. Miss Granger, will you please take a seat up here," The Headmaster summoned a chair, and placed it at the end of the table, next to the dark-haired Professor. "That's right, next to Professor Snape."
She kept up her earlier performance, trying very hard not to blush and stammer apologies to everyone for making a scene. It's not her fault they can't handle a little change and unusual events. It's about time for someone besides her to be flabbergasted.
By all accounts, the Hat had never once refused to sort someone, let alone made a new category just for one person. If she stopped to think about it, maybe it wasn't a new category. Maybe it was the category that the teachers and Headmaster fell under. That was not exactly what she wanted, was it? She wanted to be able to have no house ties, so that she wouldn't be losing some faction to gain another. What was it she had specifically said about her ambition... Oh no. She had asked for it. The Hat had known all along she would never be sorted into Slytherin. It was just messing with her. Or she was messing with herself, she still wasn't sure what measure of sentience the hat was capable of.
Professor Snape looked at her once in a half-interested way. Somewhat like how someone would look at a bug that had lost most of its carapace and legs, but was still dragging itself through the dirt on will alone. She knew it was probably her imagination, but something had sparked in the eyes, that hadn't been there before. And just as quickly as it came, it seemed to run away under that cold darkness as she thought of seeing it.
As the rest of the students were being sorted, she thought back to when she had gotten home with her parents after the events of Diagon Alley. She had still been in shock, somewhere caught half between belief and denial. She had turned to her mum for any information that she had on their heritage. Genealogy, however, was not at all one of her interests or any of the members of their close family. So she couldn't just trace it back to when they said her ancestors had been Wizards. Her parents both said it wasn't possible. She wanted to believe them but... They weren't Wizards themselves. Their expertise was in fixing teeth, not Wizard heraldry. Maybe it was possible that they had been Squibs so long that even the idea of Magic became impossible to them. Maybe she could do something with this new power. The uncertainty was enough to drive her crazy. If she could just count on something being absolutely true, she could work out what to believe. The wand was a fairly good proof. It did only let her touch it. If the wand was from those days, and is a royal relic, then she would most likely be a descendant of the Wizard Royalty.
At that thought, she had begun laughing, and no matter what her parents had said to try to stop her, she just kept laughing harder and harder, until she could only gasp. Tears ran down her face, and her parents had been so exasperated with her that they had left for bed before she had stopped.
Thinking back on it reminded her that she still needed to figure out the genealogy of it all, if only for further proof that she hadn't stepped into a mad world by becoming a witch.
Draco gave her a smug smile at his incredibly short sorting. As if being a foregone conclusion was something of which to be proud. 'Yes,' She thought, 'But I'm next to your Head of House.'
Professor Snape tensed beside her. She wondered briefly what that meant. Mr. Potter was also a bit of a celebrity, it seemed, as everyone paid an inordinate amount of attention to his sorting, and gave a raucous applause at the Hat's announcement of Gryffindor.
She didn't know what was so special about Harry Potter. Apparently, he had deflected the Killing Curse as a baby. But anyone who believes a baby could do that by themselves, when no one else has been able to figure it out as adults, is daft. Sure it has a sort of dramatic irony, but he was just a baby. There is just no way he had some innate ability to deflect dark curses. There had to be something else to the story; something his mother or father did perhaps?
The rest of the sorting passed by, as name after name became one of the four houses, no more being sorted unusually into Hogwarts.
She found it really weird to eat at the Head Table but persevered, and as soon as dinner was finished, the Headmaster asked her to come up with him to his office. The rest of the staff left to their offices, except for Professor Snape who shadowed them all through the hallways, and through the stone gargoyle, which was the entrance to the Headmaster's office.
Professor Snape leaned casually against the mantle of the huge fireplace. It seemed all fireplaces in the Wizarding World were big enough for a fully grown man to stand in comfortably. The Headmaster gestured her into a much more comfortable chair than the one he had summoned for her in the Great Hall. She sat as soon as he did, and they began a kind of staring contest that lasted until she heard Professor Snape make a sound of displeasure.
"Miss Granger," The Headmaster began solemnly, "I've been informed through a reliable source that you are the long-lost heir of Wizarding Britain's Royal Family. Naturally, there aren't too many Wizard Royals left in the world. Should you be found to be the heir apparent, there will be many more demands on your time than a normal Hogwarts student. I will personally see to it that your schedule remains flexible to accommodate this fact. You will not share dorms with the rest of the student body. You will be in a dorm to yourself, that can only be accessed through this office. You will not be able to bring anyone else into this office, unless you have the password. The gargoyle will take you to your dorm, if you touch your wand to its head. Only you will be able to enter it, besides the staff, of course. Would you like to key the wards to your wand now?"
"Sir, do you actually believe that no one knew the whereabouts of this Royal Family until I showed up? Doesn't that seem unlikely to you?" Hermione asked, trying to make sense of events as they had occurred so far. She heard a strange gasping sound behind her, that she supposed was Professor Snape's laugh. It was short, and seemed unsure if it was painful or happy.
"The wards, Miss Granger?" The Headmaster didn't seem like he thought her Anastasia tale was at all unlikely.
"Yes, sir," Hermione said slowly and deliberately, "That would be smashing."
They exited the office, and went back down the spiral staircase; of course, it was actually helical, but not many people knew or cared. The gargoyle seemed to give them a look at how short a time between going up there, and going down, it had taken them. Hermione placed her wand on the statue as instructed; the appearance of it causing the two behind her to make a surprised sound. The tip of the wand glowed automatically, and the Headmaster and Professor Snape were next to have their wands recognized. As soon as that was done, she just had to tap its head, and the gargoyle leapt out of the way to show a spiral staircase going in the opposite direction.
She stepped forward and it carried her, and her escorts, to the top of the staircase where a door made of Rowan and Ash was waiting for her to open. She looked back and noticed that even the forbidding looking Professor Snape gave her a short nod of reassurance. The door handle was made of platinum and gold decorations that looked like the leaves on a grapevine.
She turned it and opened to a small but well decorated room with several bay windows, though she could have sworn they were near the middle of the castle. There was one very sturdy desk of Ash. The flooring was wood, unlike most of the castle, and it was Acacia, shining to a lustrous sheen. There were several rugs that looked very old but in perfect condition. They were in the various colors of all the Hogwarts houses. The sconces much resembled the door knob, platinum and gold. There were dark brown leather couches, or rather one love seat and a matching couch. The stone walls were covered in beautiful white stucco, with vine leaf patterns in a pleasing pastel green. All in all, it was a cozy room that was very elegant, yet understated.
"This room was designed for the Princess that was born near the start of Hogwarts. She never got to see it, of course, as she was born a squib, and soon after the entire family disappeared. Maybe they hid her because of the shame, maybe they were trying to find some magic to restore her magic powers. No one quite knows what happened after that." The Headmaster intoned. "At the time she was destined to be married to a young boy, maybe three or four years old, of the Prince line. They were a favored branch of the Noble families. She would, of course, have had the chance to make another choice, but they would have been paired more often together at functions, and a bond would have more readily developed."
The Headmaster stopped talking suddenly, and was giving Professor Snape a speculative look. Professor Snape, in turn, was giving him a quelling glare. She found the entire exchange quite funny and laughed appreciatively, until she realized what that speculative look meant. "You can't mean- He's- But I- Headmaster, this is absurd."
"My thoughts exactly, Miss Granger." Professor Snape very nearly growled.
"Don't be so serious, you two. I was only going to suggest that Professor Snape be your faculty adviser, since you were very nearly sorted Slytherin. The additional benefit of him being the closest living member of your family's most trusted advisers was only a passing thought. It's not like I expect you two to become formally engaged." The Headmaster tutted, as he pulled a schedule from his robes.
"You will be going to classes with Slytherins the first week, Hufflepuff the second, Gryffindor the third, Ravenclaw the fourth, and so on in that order. You will take your exams separately with the teacher who administers the test." The Headmaster smiled, "Goodnight, Miss Granger."
Professor Snape stayed back to talk rule enforcement. "Naturally, we cannot take or give points to a house for anything you do. However, you will be subject to detentions and other rules just the same. If I find out you were involved in anything outside the school rules, I will make sure you are punished accordingly," Professor Snape smiled in a truly mean looking way, "Do I make myself perfectly clear?"
"Crystal, sir." Hermione smiled, "Like Veritaserum."
Professor Snape made an acknowledging nod at her perspicacity. "See you, on time, for Potions, Miss Granger. If I have cause to notice your presence sooner, I will not be happy."
He swept out like a great bat, leaving her to stumble into her bedroom. She was positively exhausted from all that had been said and done so far. She peeled herself free of her student robes, and climbed into bed.