A/N: Hello, everyone! I came up with this idea just the other day and it absolutely flooded me with inspiration, so allow me to explain a little.

I was re-reading one of my favorite stories-Mothers, by the incredibly talented Winterlude-when I came up with this idea. Check it out if you haven't already. This story draws a lot of inspiration from it. I've mentioned in the past that I'm very interested in characters' childhoods-it's like an undiscovered gold mine of opportunities. Each chapter of this story will focus on a different character from the Harry Potter series, sharing a playful moment with a parent (or parental figure). It's all about the innocence of childhood and the way adults sometimes wish they could recapture a bit of it for themselves. Please read the Author's note at the end of this chapter for more details.

For Winterlude, who inspired this story.

Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling and I only borrow her incredible creations. I don't own them.

The Practical Princess' Bedtime Story

"Tell me a story, Daddy!"

Warren Granger smiled over the top of his newspaper at his precocious 6-year-old. "Hermione, sweetheart, shouldn't you be asleep already?"

Hermione pouted. "But Daddy, I can't sleep without a story! You always do it best. Please?"

Warren knew it was a lost cause at 'please'. He gathered up his newspaper, folded it and left it on the seat of his armchair, following the little girl into her bedroom. He paused in front of her bookshelf, which was positively crammed with dozens of books—picture books, story books, beginning chapter books. Though only six, Hermione was an avid reader and Warren could see that she was very bright. He scanned the books' glossy spines for a title that jumped out at him.

"What kind of story would you like to hear, Hermione?"

The little girl paused, her chin resting on one hand, looking thoughtful in a gesture characteristic of someone much older. "A fairy tale," she said decisively.

Warren obediently pulled a large, hardcover book of beloved fairy tales from the shelf. He shuffled through the pages as Hermione settled herself on the pillows and began, "Once upon a time, there was a prince and a princess, who were very much in love…"

"How did they meet each other?" interrupted Hermione.

"Um, I don't know, dear…at the palace, I suppose. Perhaps at a royal ball?"

Hermione wrinkled her nose. "That sounds boring. I think they should meet at the library."

Warren stared at his daughter for a minute. Only his Hermione would insist that the prince and princess fall in love at a library. Warren smiled inwardly. He and his wife always wanted to raise an independent, strong, intelligent daughter and already—at the age of six, no less—she was showing that she would not be content to let herself be put easily into anyone's box.

"Very well. The prince and princess met in the library of the royal university, where they were studying…"

"…magic!" It seemed Hermione was not through tailoring the bedtime story to her liking.

"Magic. The prince wished to marry the princess, but before he could, he was torn away from the kingdom to battle an evil sorcerer, who wished to take over the kingdom. The princess, meanwhile, had to wait for her true love to return—"

He stopped as he saw his daughter shaking her head indignantly. "Yes, dear?"

Hermione's stubborn face was very reminiscent of her mother's. "That's just dumb. The princess should go with him."

"Okay, you tell me what happened."

Hermione smiled, her brown eyes sparkling, and launched right into her version of the story.

"The princess went with the prince, because he needed her help. It was a good thing she did, because the evil sorcerer captured the prince and the princess needed to save him. She used everything she learned about magic to fight the evil sorcerer and beat him. Then the princess freed the prince and took him back to her castle."

Warren grinned. "I think I can take it from here. The prince and the princess got married and lived happily ever after—"

"—and she ruled the kingdom for a hundred years! And she was the best queen ever."

"But whatever happened to the prince, sweetheart?"

"The princess helped him get better at magic so that he could beat evil sorcerers all by himself. The end."

"The end, indeed. Good night, Hermione."

"Good night, Daddy. I love you."

As Warren closed the door softly behind him, he felt a warm feeling growing inside. A take-charge princess, a prince who needed her around, an evil sorcerer and a school of magic…what an imagination.

"Story time's over, then?" his wife asked, seeing her husband enter the room. As he nodded in the affirmative, she added, "Did she take over the story again?"

"That's some daughter we raised," he replied, jerking his head at the closed bedroom door. "They'll have their hands full with her someday."

"Who will, dear?" asked Mrs. Granger, looking perplexed.

"Everyone. She's no ordinary girl."

His wife smiled warmly. "Well, of course. We didn't raise her to be a helpless, know-nothing kind of girl. She'll be formidable someday."

Warren thought a bit. "She's already pretty formidable. She's my practical princess, and her magic is…knowledge. She can do anything with that mind of hers."

As he picked up his newspaper at last, his wife heard him add, "Perhaps she should become a writer…a school of magic, honestly…"


A/N: Any thoughts? Please review and let me know! You know, the more feedback I get, the more inspired I am to write...just a thought.

On a related note: So far, I've got ideas for about eleven or twelve different characters, depending on how well they cooperate as I write them. However, I would love to hear your suggestions. Have a character whose childhood moments you can just picture? Drop me a line and let me know! I'm not going to say just yet which characters I've written so far, which I've got in the planning stages and so on, because one of my readers may come up with an even better suggestion!

Hoping to hear from all of you,

Delilah