A/N: So this chapter gets a bit dark and also confusing. I hope I wrote it out thoroughly enough so everyone could understand. I know J.K. hasn't completely revealed that killing a person and consuming the body is how Horcruxes are made, but I always thought it made sense. I added into this story. I know a lot of this story invloves magic we don't hear about in the original HP series, like time loops, and other stuff, but this is an AU, so I took some liberties.
Disclaimer- I don't own Harry Potter, or Beauty and the Beast.
"I think you could say she did it," Ron gestured to Hermione.
"What happened to my friends?" Hermione asked, tears falling on her cheeks.
"A long, long time ago, in the time of kings, queens, and knights, a King lived in this castle named Adam. Adam had a cruel father, and he turned out equally as cruel. But don't let what his servants said fool you, he was very purposefully cruel, it was not all his father's doing. He tortured his servants, gave them very little pay, he terrorized the small village in his land. He was awful. His father died, and he became sole ruler, and if possible, things got even worse. Adam was a very talented Wizard, and used his powers only for dark, and evil things. However, he fell in love with a girl, her name was Belle. He kidnapped her, bringing her to the castle, and basically tried to force her to love him. When his normal charms didn't work, he began dosing her with love potion. In town, there was a man who had loved her as well, but he was also hardened and cruel. He organized a mob to save Belle, and to finally kill their tyrannical ruler. Meanwhile, her father travelled a long way to come see me. I was known to be a very strong enchantress, though I was young. He implored me to save his daughter, who he loved above anyone in the world. I agreed to come, not only to save his Belle, but to deal with the intense misuse of magic happening in the kingdom. I admit my solution wasn't very mature. He made me so angry, that I used dark magic against him. I cursed him to be a Beast until someone could learn to love him. I thought I was clever, but being from a very old magic family, he had items at his disposal that I had not expected. He used a time turner to turn back the hours, so he could attack me before I cursed him. Though he was powerful, he was stupid. In the fight, a spell hit the time turner that locked us in a time loop."
"A time loop," Hermione asked, and Ron was surprised this was the first time she had interrupted.
"Time loops were created from mixing certain spells with the Time Turners. Of course, there is also the scenario in which you see your future self, and kill them, therefore ending your own existence, but that isn't what happened here.
"What happens in a time loop?" asked Ron.
"Well, this particular one was tricky," said the enchantress. "It was what I call a 'Black Hole Time Loop', which basically means it exists in a bubble, that no one can effect, but people from the outside can be sucked into it. We were forced to live the same story over and over, but since I apparated Belle out of the castle the moment I found her, then came back, she was no longer a part of the story. The time loop needed that character to function. So, each member of this poor castle, and the village as well, were forced to live in a three-second loop. Imagine doing the same task over and over for years. Mothers in the middle of birth, had to feel that pain for decades. The band playing in town belted the same note till their throats bled. The violinist's arm shook with weariness. The cook's face grew red and boiled from the hot stove she was forced to open a million times. That is, until a girl was unfortunate enough to wander through these lands. They'd feel a strange pull toward the magic, and get stuck in the loop. Then the story would begin again. The girl would believe her name was Belle, and everyone would be forced to go through the motions of a story they hadn't even wanted to be in the first time around. I had told the Beast that the rose was his time limit, a petal dropped for every century. It was meant to scare him, to show him just how long he would have to suffer, but he didn't mind it, it seems. At the end of each run of the loop, he'd try to force the girl to admit their love, and because they were part of the story, they would say they did, but because it was part of the story, and they only loved him because of the love potion he fed them, it didn't count. At first he killed them out of spite, giving into his beastly ways, killing them with a swipe of his claws, but eventually he began experimenting. He used a form of dark magic, Horcruxes-"
"Horcruxes!" Hermione exclaimed.
"We've had a lot of experience with those," Ron commented darkly.
"Well, the way you create one is to kill someone, and then….and then, eat them," The Sorceress said, looking ill. Hermione felt as though she might throw up.
"That is bloody disgusting!" Ron said.
"In the small amount of time before the loop reset, with the girl as its eternal Belle, he would use the imperius curse to force the girl to kill a mob member, and eat them, and use himself as the Horcrux vesel. He'd then use the killing curse on them."
"B-but that's the point of a Horcrux, you can't die," Hermione said in a small voice.
"I know, in one of these rooms is a pile of half alive girls, wishing for the release of death, because they are living without half their soul."
"Couldn't you do something," Hermione squeaked.
"Alas, I was stuck in his stupid loop as well. Though, I had more autonomy. I could do as I pleased, but I couldn't leave this realm, and I stayed young forever. It was a horrible life, to watch this tragedy over and over again, but as your red-haired friend knows, you can't intervene with the story."
"Damn right, I nearly got blasted to bits when I tried to save you from those wolves," Ron said grumpily.
"But you did use magic, you used Levicorpus on the Beast, to get him on the horse," Hermione remembered.
"Ah, yes, but you see, in the original, the Beast makes it back to the castle alive, with the help of Belle. So, your friend's actions matched the story, and it was deemed permissible under the magic."
"So, I don't understand, how was Ron able to come here at all, and why did the Beast want those souls?"
"Well, he thought that if he had more souls, he'd become more powerful. Remember, he was relying on an archaic knowledge of magic, he didn't have any basis for this theory, but he had to do something."
"If he hadn't killed the girls, what would have happened?" asked Ron.
"They would have lived this story over and over until someone broke the curse. However, since he all but killed them, they couldn't be used as Belle, and the three second loop would reinstate, until the next girl was sucked into the story."
"So, his servants could do nothing as well, they were forced to follow?" asked Hermione.
"Yes, but I pitied them, and instated a loophole in my original curse. They caught on to my loophole before he did. I had made it so that if he learned to truly love himself as a Beast, which would mean learning what love is, and becoming less prideful, he'd be able to turn back. His servants begged him to consider working on this, but he always refused."
"Oh, those poor people," Hermione muttered.
"How did they get turned into furniture?" asked Ron curiously.
"Unfortunately, they already were when I arrived, he'd cursed them all himself, because he didn't like when they wanted to stop feeding the first Belle the love potion. He said he'd turn them back when they learned they were like mere objects to him, meant to be seen and not heard."
"Now, how did Ron ever find me if the magic in this place is so deep," Hermione asked.
"He came into our forest shouting your name. He was screaming and crying, flicking some odd light on and off, and his light thing, he called it a deluminator, led him to me. Now, I probably looked like a ghost to him, but I used all my strength to contact him. No one ever came looking for the girls that went missing. I told him if he'd trade places with me he'd find you. The story needed a strong wizard, but it didn't care about the gender. So after I warned him he wouldn't be able to get out unless he convinced you of who you were, and you killed The Beast, he could never come out. He was certain he'd be able to save you, so he sacrificed himself. He was in, I was out."
"Ron," Hermione said, entwinging her hand with his. Ron was smiling like a school boy who'd gotten a sugary treat.
"However, since he'd taken the place of me in the story, he still couldn't really affect it. He couldn't help save you, because The Beast had to do that, he couldn't make you want to escape, because the real Belle hadn't. Usually, in the story, Belle tries to save her father, but a mob comes to the castle, and almost kills The Beast, and then the girl admits she loves him. However, cracks in the story were already happening because of Ron, and that little bit of difference made it possible for The Beast to skip the mob bit of the story. He was sure you'd be the one to break his spell, you are a very strong witch afterall. Ron came looking for me, using his magic to make me see him. I hadn't been able to leave the forest, realizing if I got too far from the magic of the loop, I'd age in seconds and turn to dust. So, when Ron called, I answered. I told him that most of the girls who came into this story were muggles, but Hermione was a Witch, which meant she probably had a wand with her. If she touched the wand, a solid object that meant a lot to her in her real life, it was a possibility she'd remember."
"Your magic always did mean a lot to you," Ron said with a grin, and Hermione squeezed his hand.
"You were strong, and he was already breaking into part of your mind, bringing you back to reality. All magic has a counter, except Avada Kedavra, of course, and your love was the counter to this curse. You told her how to remember, and when she took action against the Beast, it broke the time loop for good. His servants were all able to come and bind him, like they'd always wanted to do. The last petal fell, sending with it, the revitalizing spell because it had sensed a true declaration of love. The spell reached him too unfortunately."
She pointed over to the corner. Bound up and gagged was a cruel looking man, his face contorted in a sneer, which was all the moving he could do. His servants had bound him well. His eyes were icey blue, with shoulder length blonde hair, and a sharp nose. All his wounds were gone, and it was easy to see the furious Beast in his human face.
"What will you do with him?" Hermione asked.
"Ah, as soon as you leave, we'll all be dust," The Witch said, but a smile lingered on her face, as though she'd welcome death.
"Is that what happened to them," Hermione gestured to the golden dust.
"Yes, but don't pity them, they are finally free. Free from the pain of repetition, free from the guilt of having to sit idly by as people die, free from the cruel things he did to them. They're happy."
"It isn't fair that I got my happy ending, and they didn't," Hermione said somberly.
"My dear, there were many petals on that rose when I gave it to Adam. He has had centuries to give them a happy ending, it wasn't going to happen. This was the best they could have gotten under the circumstances," She said sadly.
"Are there more places like this?" Ron asked.
"I doubt it, this is a special case," The Enchantress replied. "Now get along, I'm so very tired."
"Come on Hermione, let's go home," Ron said. He took her hand and they apparated to the burrow.
Left behind, the Enchantress turned to Adam. His eyes were red with anger, and frustrated tears. Snot poured from his nose as he pitied himself.
"You deserved it," The Enchantress said with a small smile, and bent her head back, letting the sun hit her. As it did, she turned to golden dust, blowing in the wind. The town became as dilapidated as a centuries old town should. The castle fell apart, and everywhere were piles of golden dust instead of skeletons.
However, Hermione and Ron, lived happily ever after.