Becoming a Swan
Summary: Fairy tales are something every child enjoys, whether they are of the Magical or none-Magical kind. One child in Gryffindor tower had heard only one, but his bushy haired friend is determent to change that. One-Shot. Set in third year.
Disclaimer: oh well… I guess if I would have owned Harry Potter and its characters I would have messed up somewhere along the line XD J.K. rules! (still waiting for the Anime)
Warnings: No need for them this time because we all know that Harry was severely neglected by the Dursleys.
…Gryffindor Common Room…
Stress lines were forming, she was sure. And at her age! Why, her cousin would laugh herself silly if she noticed them next time they would visit the family. But she wanted to get everything out of the Wizarding Education Hogwarts provided, even if that meant sitting through endless hours of Muggle studies. She enjoyed the chance to learn about her own world through the eyes of the Wizarding World, but at times she wondered if it was a bit much. The study material was severely outdated, especially in the leaps the Muggle world had made concerning technology. It still seemed a foreign concept to those of the Wizarding World.
Hermione sighed and glanced up around the common room. She frowned, rubbing her weary fingers which had cramped up from holding onto her quill. This was another thing that sometimes annoyed her to no end. What was wrong with a decent ballpoint pen? Quills needed to be dipped into ink constantly, broke frequently and always at the wrong time, and then there was the scratching! That horrible sound that could drive her up the wall - especially these days. Not that she complained, she never complained. No, because she was happy to live and learn in the Wizarding world. It gave her a whole new ability, a new world to explore and best of all; her very own friends!
Friends who seemed to attract a lot of unwanted attention. A smile slowly made its way across her face when she spotted her two boys in the corner playing chess. At the pitch between Harry's brows spoke volumes. He was losing again, but not without a fight. It made her heart beat a little faster, not of love but of pride. The pride a sister would feel for her younger brother.
"He is as smart as a clever prince but he doesn't have the heart to trap the princess," Hermione muttered softly her mind on some of her favourite fairy tales.
"What's that dear brother?"
Hermione startled out of her thoughts and turned to see Fred and George bending over her table. "Why, it seems our dear little Hermione is dreaming brother mine," George said with a mischievous smile mirrored by his twin.
Rolling her brown eyes Hermione pushed her hair back out of her face, raising her chin in a seemingly snobbish manner. "I was not dreaming," she said. "I was merely taking a break to gather my thoughts."
The devilish grin broadened. "And our young Harry helped you with that?" Fred asked while his twin moved around to lean against one of the chairs. Neville looked up from where he had been observing a game of exploding snap played between Dean, Seamus, Parvati and Lavender. Only the upper years remained in the common room at this time which meant it was a little crowded, but it worked like it had done for years and would continue to work for long after they had gone.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking Gred?"
"I think you are thinking what I'm thinking Forge!"
"Does our Hermione have a crush?" they asked simultaneously.
Hermione huffed and relaxed back into her seat. It appeared she wouldn't be able to get anymore work done this night. "Don't be ridiculous," she quipped, though she could feel her cheeks burn when her mind conjured up the image of a certain professor. It was more fascination she felt for the older man and he certainly didn't cause a mass of butterflies to appear in her stomach like when Lockhart had been around, but the fascination certainly caused her heart to beat a little faster. "Harry is like a brother to me. He just reminded me of a story from when I was little."
The twins blinked simultaneously and they looked at one another. "Do they have the famous Harry Potter stories in the Muggle world too?" they asked in surprise before turning towards Harry who was still concentrating hard on the chess game. "Say Harry old boy, we didn't know you were famous in the Muggle world as well!"
"Maybe we should create a brand for him," Fred said quite seriously, gaining the attention from nearly everyone around the common room. Hermione noticed Harry's horrified face immediately and opened her mouth to reassure him, but was quickly overruled by the twins.
"A lightning bolt for everything he's handled."
"Get him to sign out photographs."
"That didn't work last year though."
"True, brother, true."
"We could develop special sweets."
"Labelled treacle tarts."
"Little plush dolls for the girls."
"We should open up shop, brother dear."
"I think so, brother mine."
"Oh will you two be quiet!" Hermione half shouted through the common room. They had everyone's attention now. Harry was pale, his eyes impossibly wide and the muscles around his mouth seemed to have developed a slight tremor. "I wasn't thinking about something as ridiculous as Harry Potter stories! Sorry Harry," she added quickly.
Harry just shook his head and shrugged his shoulders slightly. Neville stood quickly and handed the shaking Boy-Who-Lived a chocolate frog. The sandy haired Gryffindor gave his classmate an apologetic smile when Harry looked up. "You look like a Dementor passed you."
"I-it might be true," Harry replied in a shaky voice and for a moment Hermione contemplated joining her friend's side but settled for kicking both Fred and George. They yelped with pain and clutched at their shins before sending the raven head apologetic looks.
"Sorry Harry -"
"We forgot -"
"You're not like -"
"Lockhart," they finished together, but Harry just waved away their apologies after a bite from the chocolate frog. "Then again, he still has his memories."
A light-hearted chuckle went through the common room and Hermione relaxed once more when she saw the shaky smile directed at her. "What were you on about then?" George asked, clearly still curious.
"Fairy tales," Hermione stated simply earning two sets of raised eyebrows. "You know; children's stories. The Princess's Frog, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella."
"What's that last one, a decease?" Ron called from across the room, having beat Harry yet again who was no longer paying attention.
"They're stories Ronald," Hermione scolded but she frowned when she noticed the lost look mirrored on Harry's face. "You know them too, don't you Harry?"
Dean and two other Muggleborn seniors who Hermione didn't know by name quickly started listing their favourite fairy tales from when they were young and she was quite sure some of the Purebloods replied with stories of their own. Hermione was more interested in Harry's reaction though and shuffled through the common room to sit on the couch's armrest directly in front of him. "Didn't you have a favourite story when you were younger?"
"Mine was the Fountain of Fair Fortune," Ron interjected, clearly feeling a little left out but still glowing at the aftermath of his game.
But Hermione would not be distracted this time and stared at Harry expecting an answer. He shifted a little and his usually vibrant green eyes had darkened. "I don't really know any," he said softly but it seemed to echo through the common room as if the raven head had shouted.
Hermione blinked, not really expecting Harry to confess to not knowing any fairy tales, and disbelief coursed through her. "Didn't anyone ever read to you, your Aunt or your teachers?"
She saw the eye roll and the hunch as another conformation. Sure it wasn't really needed, Ron and she had already known that Harry's home life wasn't great and possibly bordering on abuse, but she remembered reading hour. It had been one of her favourite times at school when she could just sit and listen to the teacher telling wondrous tales painting pictures in her head about princes and princesses, angry dragons and giants, and the occasional mad detective. Surely Harry had to have had those hours as well?
"Aunt Petunia was never one for telling stories about magical lands or whatever," Harry replied in a slightly cold and impassive voice. "And I wasn't one for paying attention to what teachers had to say."
There was something more there, something which her best friend had buried deep inside, and it pained her to realise that Harry would probably never tell them what it was. She could push for it, she had done so last year when they met at Diagon Alley, but Harry had pulled down the blinds and turned away from her almost immediately. It hurt that he didn't trust her or Ron enough to speak freely of his childhood.
"Never pictured you as the restless one in class Harry," Ron said jovially, either not grasping the meaning behind the partial confession or cleverly covering for his best friend who had caught the attention of everyone in the common room.
Harry grinned and shrugged, rubbing the back of his head in a nervous gesture. "It's a gift."
"But surely you know at least one story Harry," Dean called from behind Hermione clearly not falling for the act of not knowing any fairy tales. "I was never very interested in them either but even I had a favourite."
"What was it?" Seamus asked, leaving Harry no time to answer.
"Mine was Peter Pan," Dean confessed. "We often acted like one of the Lost Boys, challenging Hook and his pirates."
"What's it about?" Harry suddenly asked with an almost hungry expression.
Dean blinked, clearly only now realising that Harry hadn't been faking the lack of knowledge but soon found himself surrounded by Purebloods and Half-Bloods all asking similar questions. The West Ham fan chuckled and gave in, brushing at the scorch marks left behind by their game of Exploding Snap. "Well it's about this boy who can fly."
"That's not really special," Parvati quipped.
Lavender nodded. "We can fly as well."
"Yes but he could fly without a broomstick," Dean continued before anyone else could add another comment. "He was left behind when he was a baby and a fairy decided to take him back to Neverland, but because he was a human baby the fairy had to sprinkle fairy dust all over him. Because of that he was able to fly back and forth between Neverland and Earth."
"What about -"
"Those Lost Boys then?" the twins asked, clearly curious. Hermione saw a look of concern pass across Percy's features who had remained silent in his corner, checking his pocket watch every now and then. At last he stood and exited the common room for his patrols.
"I was getting to that," Dean replied and he continued to explain the story. It wasn't as good as reading from the story book and the other's kept interrupting Dean about things they picked up on. For a moment she was distracted, fidgeting throughout the story because the other Gryffindor was messing up the details and more, for a lack of a better word, 'Disney'-fying the true story. Not that she had anything against Disney of course, but she liked facts and the truth.
"Because girls are far too clever to fall out of prams," she muttered and sucking in a breath as if startling out of her thoughts brown eyes locked onto green. Harry frowned like he was trying to figure out the mystery behind it all, his eyes asking what she knew about the mystery. Ron was avidly asking questions about the Peter Pan story, no longer paying attention to either of his friends since they seemed distracted. From the corner of her eye Hermione could see Parvati and Neville glancing towards them every now and then; even one of the older Gryffindor's seemed to be keeping an eye on them.
Hermione focused back on her friend, a small smile making its way to her face. "What was your favourite, Harry?" she said softly.
Harry frowned as if in thought and a shadow cast across his face as he tilted it away from the fire light. It wasn't a look Hermione found very comforting and she wondered – not for the first time – just what caused Harry to grow so dark when he remembered the past. "There was one," he muttered after what seemed like an endless silence. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief when her friend spoke and waited patiently for him to continue.
"What was it?" Neville asked leaning across the armrest when his curiosity finally got the better of him.
A humourless smile and dark green eyes focused on the sandy haired Gryffindor. Neville looked a bit unnerved by it and even if Hermione had seen it twice before, she too supressed a shudder at the dark look. "The ugly duckling," Harry muttered his tone almost wistful. "It's the one story my dear cousin told me."
"The ugly duckling?" Hermione mused; her brown eyes alight with unspoken questions.
Harry nodded and his face relaxed, a blush forming on his cheeks for reasons Hermione didn't know. Neville moved forward gaining the attention from the others who had finished interrogating Dean about Peter Pan and had been discussing their favourite stories. At least Harry didn't notice the scrutiny he was under this time, too far in thought to really pay attention to the others.
"What's it about then?" Neville asked and he turned to Hermione when it appeared that Harry would not speak again. Hermione hummed in thought. "I guess I can try to remember the original story. It was written by a famous muggle writer called Hans Christian Andersen. Born in Denmark in the year 1805, Andersen wrote a great many fairy-tale, plays, poetry and travelogues. His stories are still much loved around the world, translated in about 125 languages, the Ugly Duckling is but one of 168 tales."
Parvati blanched. "That many?"
Hermione nodded. "It doesn't matter about being born in a duckyard, as long as you are hatched from a swan's egg."
It resounded around the common room in such a dense tone that it made Hermione laugh. "It doesn't matter where you are born," Harry muttered. Hermione nodded, trying to encourage her friend in showing the world his sharp mind, that keen intellect he only showed during great stress. Or, recently, in Defence Against the Dark Arts because professor Lupin seemed to have taken notice. Harry withdrew again with a blush, glancing expectedly at her every now and again as if to ask her to tell the tale.
With a sigh and a knowing smile Hermione got up and started to make her way towards the girl's dorm. "Where are you going?" Ron asked.
"Yeah, what about the story?" Seamus called and others murmured about it too. Fred, George and Lee even started a little chant but Hermione just gave them a nonplussed look. "Do you want to listen to the story or not?" she asked, probably sounding a little bratty and she could hear her cousin whining in the background of her mind but promptly ignored it in favour for finding the Fairy Tale book the kept in her personal library.
Hermione caressed the cover of the old book with a wistful smile and cradled it in her arms as she made her way back to the common room. When she got back the brown eyed Gryffindor froze. It was like kindergarten all over again, everyone seated in a not so small circle around a single chair. They had given her an honorary spot by the fire, the younger years closer to the chair and seated on the ground around it. Harry was seated on the side, close to the fire and away from the centre with an excited expression. Ron was sitting next to him, chatting a mile a minute about things Hermione couldn't hear from her spot but Fred and George were hovering behind their little brother with an expression of glee. They were whispering to Lee and Hermione wondered if she should be worried. Neville was displaying a side of him the Gryffindor's didn't see all that often. He was chatting quietly with Lavender and Parvati, laughing with them as if he had never been all that shy around them before. Dean was talking to Seamus, unaware that he had a larger audience than his best friend.
"Ah there she is, there she is!" cried Angelina and the three Gryffindor chasers were quick to drag the bushy haired teen to the chair chosen for her. "We reserved you a seat Hermione!"
"We wanna hear this story!"
"Do you have any other stories?"
"Maybe we should ask the teachers to read some of the stories as part of our education."
"Yeah right. Can you just imagine McGonagall reading us Fairy Tales?"
Everyone laughed at the mental image and settled down when Hermione coughed politely to gain attention, taking a moment to find the story and getting comfortable in the chair. For a moment she looked down at her friends, eyes softening at the looks on their faces. She really liked these two boys and hoped that they would be her friends for many years to come. "The Ugly Duckling," she started with a small smile on her face. "By Hans Christian Andersen."
They were already so beautiful in her eyes and would only become more "swan" like as they grew. She was sure of it.
A/N: to be honest I don't remember why I started this. A mix with fascination and wonder if Wizards would ever read Muggle Fairy Tales and the questions rose if Harry ever read any. I dunno, it sounded sweet. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this.