A/N: This was written for Dramione Remix. My remix couple was Jane Hayes and Henry Nobley from the movie Austenland. If you have not seen this movie (you should!), it's about an obsessed Jane Austen fan who goes on the trip of a lifetime to a Jane Austen-themed resort called Austenland.
In the writing of this fic, I manipulated various scenes/lines from Austenland and Jane Austen's works as well as from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice to use for my own silly purposes. It was all done out of love. :) Many thanks to my awesome beta dormiensa for all of her help. I hope you enjoy my little (although much longer than I anticipated) tribute to Jane Austen and Austenland. Happy reading!
"Just read it."
"No. It's Muggle. And girly."
"That may be, but it is the key to our salvation. I don't think you are aware of quite how dire our situation is. Do you want to sell off your vintage Chocolate Frog Card collection? Or your racing broom?"
"Do you want to leave behind your comfortable life as a wizard of leisure to get an entry level job in the Ministry?"
"Do you want to lose our home which has been in the Malfoy family for generations? To live in a... cottage?"
"Do you want to be even poorer than the Weasleys?"
"No!" exclaimed Draco, suddenly looking horrified.
"Then read the frigging book!" snapped his mother.
"Are you done yet?"
"No," said Hermione, not looking up from her book.
"You know, it's really rude to invite me to tea and then completely ignore me," Ginny scolded.
"I didn't invite you," Hermione pointed out. "You barged in completely unexpected."
"Well, I wouldn't have to barge in if you ever thought to invite me," Ginny huffed.
"I've been busy."
"Doing what? Reading?"
When Hermione didn't answer, Ginny pleaded, "Would you please just put the book down and talk to me?"
"But I'm at a good part," Hermione protested.
"Ooh! Are they having sex?" asked Ginny, suddenly interested.
"No," said Hermione, giving her an annoyed look. "He's proposing. It's the part where he tells her that he loves her against his will because he feels like her family is inferior to him."
"'Why would he tell her that? He sounds like a moron."
"He is not! He's just... proud."
"Well, you don't tell a girl you don't like her family. He's not going to get in her knickers saying shit like that."
"It is not that kind of book. It's... oh, never mind," said Hermione, putting down her book. "Why are you here?"
"I'm here because I've missed you. We've all missed you. It's time you came home."
Hermione looked uncomfortable. She took a sip of tea before she answered her friend. "I'm just not ready, Gin."
"It's been five years."
"Has it?" replied Hermione, looking genuinely shocked.
"The wizarding world has changed a lot since you've been gone."
"Have they freed all of the house-elves yet?"
"Well, no," Ginny admitted.
"Then it hasn't changed that much." Hermione sniffed.
"Well, how is you living like a Muggle helping that?" Ginny retorted.
"I don't know. It's just what I need to do right now," huffed Hermione.
Ginny looked at her shrewdly. "Is this about Ron?"
"He's a bore."
"He is not. He's sophisticated and refined. He's a gentleman."
"I'd rather be Wickham. I'd look dashing in a red uniform."
"Mr. Wickham is a good-for-nothing scoundrel."
"Exactly. He drinks. He gambles. He gets it on with the slutty younger sister. He's the only bloke in the entire story who has any fun. Why would I want to get stuck being dull-as-a-doorknob Darcy?"
"Because he is the hero."
"So? What good does that do him? He gets stuck with Elizabeth Bennet in the end."
"What's wrong with Lizzie?" asked Narcissa, sounding affronted.
"She talks too much. And she thinks she's so clever. She's annoying. She reminds me of Granger."
"Yeah. They're both annoying, know-it-all swots with their oh-so-clever comebacks and their fine eyes looking down on us and always judging–"
"You think Miss Granger has fine eyes?"
"No! I just meant that she... has eyes. Judgy eyes. Well, at least she did. I haven't seen her in five years. But the last time I saw her eyes, they were definitely judging me."
"Well, to be fair, she was being tortured in our parlor," said Narcissa diplomatically.
"You act like the whole thing was torture. So things didn't work out between you and Ron. Who cares? It's no reason to run away."
"I didn't run away," Hermione protested. "I just needed a change of scenery."
"And you changed your scenery to this?" Ginny said, looking around the room and making a face. "Who was your decorator? Madam Puddifoot?"
"This looks nothing like Madam Puddifoot's," said Hermione, sounding offended. "It's Regency-inspired. And I think it's lovely."
"So, what did Ron do to inspire this lovely change of scenery?" asked Ginny sarcastically.
"He didn't do anything really. He just wasn't 'the one'."
"And you couldn't find 'the one' in the wizarding world?"
Hermione sighed. "I can't find 'the one' anywhere. This isn't just about Ron. It's all men. They are just... such a disappointment."
"Of course they are. They're men," said Ginny matter-of-factly. "What did you expect?"
"I don't know. I just thought if I came to the Muggle world, it would be different. That they would be different. But they're all only interested in one thing."
"No. Sports. And I can tell you that Muggle football isn't any more interesting than Quidditch. Whatever happened to romance? I think I was born in the wrong century."
"Your problem is that you read too much. You have unrealistic expectations."
"There is no such thing as reading too much. And what's wrong with expecting something epic? Why should I have to settle?"
"Because men like the ones you read about in your books don't exist. Take this Mr. Darcy character all of the witches are going bat shit crazy over–"
"You know about Mr. Darcy?" Hermione said in surprise.
"Yeah, he's the love interest in this new Muggle book that's all the rage right now."
"Pride & Prejudice is not a new book."
"You know how long it takes to get to us," said Ginny dismissively. "Anyway, I haven't read it, but apparently, this Mr. Darcy is swoon-worthy."
"Yeah, he is," agreed Hermione with a sigh.
"And so now all of these witches are expecting to find a Mr. Darcy in real life. But they're never going to find him. You know why? Because he's made up."
"Just because he's made up doesn't mean he isn't out there somewhere."
"Are you even listening to yourself? Mr. Darcy isn't real. He's a fantasy. The only place he exists is in the minds of deluded women. And at Austen Manor, I suppose."
"Oh, that's right. You haven't heard. Because you've been missing for five years," said Ginny pointedly. "Apparently, there is this new place called Austen Manor that completely immerses you into the world of Pride & Prejudice. It's super expensive and preys on all of the Jane Austen wackadoodles that have suddenly cropped up all over the wizarding world. Lavender and Parvati went last month. I think they both blew their entire life savings on it. They're both crazy-obsessed with the whole thing. They said it's just like being in an Austen novel. There are hot guys in tight breeches and a ball and everything."
Hermione looked skeptical. "If Lavender and Parvati liked it, it's probably a male dance review or something else highly inappropriate."
"I wish. No, it's the real deal. Supposedly, you have to wear a corset and use proper manners, and I heard they even make you take an exam to test your knowledge of the Regency period before you can fully participate."
"There's an exam?" said Hermione, her eyes beginning to sparkle.
"Pretty stupid, huh? And all of the activities sound really dull. There's drawing and painting, embroidery, music, reading and basket weaving. I mean, basket weaving, can you believe it? It's making me yawn just saying it out loud. I can't believe people actually waste their money on this crap. Oh, and you'll never guess who's running it. It's none other than–"
"Where is Austen Manor?" asked Hermione, cutting her off.
"Wiltshire or Loserville. I forget which."
"How do you get there?"
"By being a loser."
Hermione scowled at her.
"You're not seriously interested in this place, are you?"
"Ginny, I have a confession to make. I've been hiding something. The reason I came to the Muggle world is because I have a secret love–"
"I knew it!" Ginny squealed. "You're secretly married to a Muggle, aren't you? Is he here?" she asked, quickly looking around the room for some sign of wedded bliss. She even lifted up a couple of the throw pillows as though she thought he could be hiding under there.
"What? No! I mean, I'm kind of in love with someone, and he is a Muggle, but it's not what you think. If I tell you, do you promise to keep an open mind about it?"
"Okay," said Ginny hesitantly.
"I'll be right back," said Hermione, disappearing into her bedroom. She came back out carrying a life size cardboard cutout. Plopping it in front of Ginny, she said, "What do you think?"
Ginny looked at the cardboard man skeptically. "To be honest, he looks a little bored. As in cardboard. You know, Fred and George make blow-up ones that are anatomically correct and come with 'special features'. I can get you one for your birthday if you want."
"This is Mr. Darcy. Well, the 1995 BBC version of him, which is, of course, the best. Isn't he handsome? He's the reason I came to the Muggle world."
"He's cardboard," said Ginny again. "Look, I know Ron isn't any real prize. He can be a real doofus sometimes, but at least he's real. This is crazy, Hermione."
"I'm not in love with a piece of cardboard, Gin. I'm in love with what it represents. Pride & Prejudice has always been my favorite book. After the war, it became a much needed escape. And in the past few years it has become more than that. It's become a way of life. When I found out there were other people out there who love it as much as I do, I had to come here. There are whole societies here devoted to Jane Austen. I'm the treasurer for our local chapter."
Ginny pulled one of the embroidered pillows out from behind her and gave it a closer look. It said, 'I heart Darcy' on it. "Oh, my Merlin. You're one of them. One of those creepy Jane Austen wackadoodles."
"We prefer to be called Janeites or Janeophiles."
"Well, I guess you can come home now. We have those societies in the wizarding world now, too. It's like some kind of weird cult that seems to be spreading."
"It's not a cult. It's a hobby."
"It's creepy," said Ginny, suddenly noticing the tiny Mr. Darcys lined up on a shelf near her. She studied them warily. "It's like they're staring at me."
"They're called bobbleheads. They're very collectible."
"This is worse than I thought. We need to leave now. Burn the whole place to the ground. Make a fresh start," said Ginny, grabbing her hand.
Hermione shook her off. "You're overreacting. I knew you wouldn't understand."
"You're right. I don't understand. It's just a book."
"It is not just a book. It is THE book."
Ginny gave her a pitying look. "You're wasting your life away living in a fantasy world. And now you want to waste all of your money going to Austen Manor. You can't live your life with your nose always stuck in a book."
"It's not always stuck in a book," Hermione insisted. "I write Jane Austen fan fiction, too."
"You are not helping your case," said Ginny, rolling her eyes.
"I don't see what the big deal is. You're just as obsessed with Quidditch as I am with Jane Austen."
"The difference is that you're neglecting your family and friends and everything that you used to care about. What about the house-elves? Have you forgotten about them?"
"No, of course not. I've just been..."
"Busy?" said Ginny pointedly.
"Okay. I see your point," admitted Hermione. "It's gotten a little out of control."
Ginny held up one of the bobbleheads.
"Okay a lot out of control."
Ginny looked thoughtful for a moment. "You know what? I think you should go to Austen Manor."
"You do?" said Hermione in surprise.
"Yes, I'll arrange everything. I think it's just what you need to get this 'hobby' out of your system once and for all so you can finally move on with your life. I have a pretty good feeling that the reality is not going to live up to the fantasy. In fact, I think that after only a week of the Austen experience, you're going to wish Mr. Darcy never existed. I would bet my best Quidditch broom on it."
"I don't think you know me very well."
Ginny laughed. "I don't think you know me very well."