Chapter 1 : Cinderella
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It was nighttime, and Hermione was curled up in an armchair reading a very old storybook. The book in question was actually The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the very same book that was left for her in Albus Dumbledore’s will, and was entirely written in runes. Ron also had a copy of this book, but fortunately for him, it was written in English, because there was no way that he could ever sit himself down and learn countless little symbols in the hope that one day they would come in useful. Such things were only found exciting by very odd people. Like his wife for instance.
The velvet sky was pressing on the windowpanes, but neither Ron nor Hermione noticed due to the invention of curtains, drawn and blocking out the slightly blustery night. Their curtains were heavy and gave the small room a very cosy feel, complimenting the golden light and haphazardly placed furniture. Flickering flames spat in the fireplace, sending a warm wave over the room and generally acting as a cottage fireplace should. In short, the atmosphere was most pleasant, almost like something you’d find in a story written by an author who’s very cold, and is imagining warm glowy scenes in the hope that it will help.
The comfortable quiet of the room was suddenly broken, when Ronald Weasley asked his wife a question that had been plaguing him for quite a long time.
“Hermione,” he said.
“Yes, Ron,” she said, looking up from her book – an unprecedented feat.
“You know that you didn’t know any of Beedle’s fairytales - before you read the book anyway – and I thought you were really weird and mental?”
“Mmm,” assented Hermione, looking over at him in an I-love-my-tactful-husband sort of way.
“Well I didn’t know any of your Muggle fairy stories, so you must’ve thought that I was really weird and mental.”
“That’s true,” Hermione nodded, and then couldn’t resist turning back to her story, “But in all honesty Ron, I’ve always thought you were “weird and mental”.”
“From the moment you met me?”
“From the moment I met you,” Hermione said, turning a page, “No other self-respecting citizen would walk around with dirt on his nose.”
Ron leant back on the sofa, smiling at the ceiling as he went on a brief foray down Memory Lane. Memory Lane was occasionally a nice place, but from time to time it was littered with very unpleasant things… like Aragog for instance. Ron shuddered.
“Tell me about the Muggles,” Ron said to Hermione, leaning forward on his knees, “Like your fairytales… the ones you knew.”
Hermione looked at him in surprise, then down at her book, seemingly deliberating if she should consent. Ron’s eager face won her over, and she suddenly marked her page with a bookmark (embroidered with “No matter how many books you read, you’ll never beat me at chess” on it; it had been from Ron) and hastily rearranged her legs so that they were tucked underneath her, and looked quite excited.
“You want to hear about fairy stories?” Hermione checked with him, and Ron nodded, “Ok, well let’s start with the story that I read first… when I was three years old.”
Ron smiled at the thought of a tiny Hermione, still bossy with lots of hair, but so small and cute that she could fit right inside his pocket.
“Well, I was looking through my parents’ bookcase, but I couldn’t reach many shelves, so I had to limit myself to looking at the bottom ones,” Hermione explained, relishing Ron’s rapt attention, “And I found this slim green book, which when I pulled it out had a toadstool on the cover. It immediately took my fancy so – ”
“You fancied this book because it had a mushroom on the front?” Ron asked, looking disbelieving and slightly nauseated.
“Don’t interrupt me,” Hermione said briskly, “And it wasn’t a mushroom. It was a toadstool.”
“They’re both moulds,” Ron said stubbornly.
“Actually they’re fungi, didn’t you learn anything in potions?” Hermione asked him, already exasperated.
“Of course I didn’t, Hermione!” Ron retorted, “And besides I got an E in my OWL, in case you’ve forgotten, I can’t be that – ”
“Do you want to hear this story or not?” Hermione shot at him threateningly, “Just because you don’t like mushrooms doesn’t mean the same goes for the rest of us.”
Ron fell silent.
“Thank you,” Hermione said with dignity, “Anyway, as I was saying, I liked the look of this book, so I pulled it out and then let it fall open onto whatever page that it wanted. It fell open on a page with a picture of – “”
“Hah! You once read books with pictures in them! Pictures that aren’t intellectual diagrams anyway,” Ron said gleefully, his enraptured face still fixed on Hermione’s now grumpy one.
“Ok Ron, I’ll say it again: “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR THIS STORY OR NOT!”” Hermione yelled at him.
Finally Ron had been silenced into listening.
“As I was saying,” Hermione said once more, taking a deep calming breath, “There was a picture of a beautiful girl, dressed in servant’s clothes – very ragged, not nice at all – slipping her foot into a glass shoe, held out to her by a man.”
Hermione waited for Ron’s interruption, but it did not come. He looked confused, but curious, and desperate to hear more.
“This story was Cinderella,” Hermione said, her eyes misting over as she beckoned memories from deep within her childhood, when she’d first truly realised that books were not just there to make her parents look clever, they could actually be friends.
“It all starts in a sumptuous manor house, where a poor man’s wife has died, and he had remarried again…”
Ron’s eyes clouded over, as he imagined the scenes that Hermione was reading out to him, playing them in his head, and even taking the liberty of inserting people he knew to fit their corresponding character roles.
~*An entry into Ron’s imagination; a previously uncharted place*~
A servant girl with crazily bushy hair was scrubbing away at a patch of dirt on a crazily large kitchen floor. Her knees were bruised from the length of time she’d been kneeling, and her knuckles were cracked from the amount of time they’d been repeatedly dunked into soapy water. She was very unhappy; her mother was dead and her father had married a revoltingly nasty woman called Dolores. Her two equally nauseating daughters, Gregorina and Vincella –
“I imagine the stepsisters as Crabbe and Goyle. And the stepmother as Umbridge,” Ron said evilly, “It makes it easier for me to hate them.”
“That’s lovely, Ron.”
“Why look?” grunted Gregorina Goyle, who for some reason had a different surname than her sister; some mix-up with their Dads apparently, so Dolores decided to play it safe and use both potential names, “It’s Cinderella!”
“And she’s cleaning up all the coffee I spilt earlier,” mocked Vincella Crabbe, “What a pity.”
Gregorina and Vincella were hulking figures, considering they were both girls. They looked like a pair of bodybuilders who’d been stuffed into purple frocks. One had suspiciously bristly hair, and the other had arms that could’ve been borrowed from a gorilla –
“I imagine Cinderella as you,” Ron said softly, “It makes it easier for me to love her.”
“Are you almost done?” came the sickly sweet voice of Dolores, “Why look here, Cinderella, this mess it not even the teeniest bit cleaned up. I want to be able to see my face in this floor once you’re done.”
“You’d crack it with a face like that you ugly old TOAD!” shouted –
“No, no, no Ron!” Hermione scolded, “That’s not what happens! Cinderella is downtrodden; she’d never stand up to them like that! Stop imagining her as me!”
“Ok, fine! I’ll imagine it properly,” Ron fell into a sulky silence.
“I’m sorry – I’ll – I’ll do it again,” stuttered Cinderella, pushing her bushy brown fringe out of her eyes, revealing a pair of wonderfully choclatey eyes beneath it. Her nose was lightly dusted with freckles, and she looked divine.
“You will do it again,” repeated Dolores softly, bending down and leering at Cinderella, kneeling on the floor. Her wide slack face oozed malice, “Me and your two sisters are going out. But you shan’t come. You’re not invited to the special Hogwarts ball – ”
“It’s not at Hogwarts is it Ron!” Hermione said, rolling her eyes, “It’s a Muggle story. No, it’s in a sumptuous dining chamber at the King’s palace.”
“Hogwarts is better.”
“Shut up, Ron.”
“ – where Prince Ronald is looking for a wife,” finished Dolores. She straightened up, but continued to smile sickeningly at poor Cinderella, still kneeling painfully on the floor, “I suspect he’ll choose one of my fine daughters, wouldn’t you agree?”
Crabbe and Goyle giggled foolishly, batting their false eyelashes. Crabbe’s fell off, and Goyle bent down to pick it up for him – her, even – and her dress split up the back. Dolores tutted at her masculine offspring and shooed them from the grand kitchen.
Cinderella flung her scrubbing bush into the soapy pail and stared mournfully at the ceiling. She’d love to go the ball, to wear a beautiful dress, and wear her hair up. Maybe a sparkling dress in periwinkle blue, her hair tied into an elegant knot that showed off her ballerina neck… to show this Prince Ronald that she was more than just a servant… that she could be his wife.
A tear dripped down her face, and landed in her soapy bucket of water. It had flecks of dirt floating in it. But then, suddenly, an eye gleamed out from the water, amongst the dirt – it surely couldn’t be - ?
“Don’t be a fool sweet child!” came a voice from behind her, “The eye is merely my reflection! Do not go looking for it in the water.”
“I – I wasn’t!” stammered Herm- Cinderella.
“Ron you keep getting the characters muddled up! Stop imagining them as people you know!”
“I can’t help it!” Ron complanied, “I already have this strange newcomer as Dumbledore.”
“Oh Ron!” Hermione clapped a hand to her face, “He can’t be the Fairy Godmother!”
Ron gave a chuckle.
“Bam! Already got him in fairy wings. Continue please.”
“Who – who are you?” Cinderella stood up, surveying this eccentric oddity who had flown into her kitchen through an open window.
“I am your Fairy God – mother,” said this bearded spectacle, going slightly pink, “the word Godfather conjures up images of the mafia and the like. But rest assured; I am all man.”
This Fairy Godmother had a magnificent silver beard that was tucked into the silver belt that was tied around his pink robes, a pair of silver glittery fairy wings tied over his shoulders. His wand had a magical star on the top, and he looked like he was ready for some serious magic.
Cinderella blinked once at him, and then stood with her arms aloft.
“Come on then Godmother, make me foxy!”
“Ron! She doesn’t speak like that!” Hermione seethed.
“But I’m imagining her as you!” Ron retorted, “And that is what you would say.”
“It most certainly is not!”
“Get on with the story.”
“I can make you foxy till midnight,” Dumble – the Fairy Godmother promised, “But then you will return to being quite bland once more.”
“Come on! I will get with Prince Ronald; I’ve heard much about him… how his hair is the colour of the setting sun, his hips as nimble as a disco dancer, his eyes as blue – ”
“Modest, aren’t we?” Hermione said delicately, permitting herself a small smile as she turned the page.
“You aren’t correcting me though are you?” Ron said cheekily, “You must agree with my interpretation of the character.”
“It’s not an interpretation at all!” Hermione actually laughed, “You’ve just substituted yourself into the story!”
“Come on! I want to find out what happens next.”
“He does sound rather dreamy,” the Fairy Godmother agreed fervently, “Rest assured he shall be yours, Once my wand has done its magic chores, I will grant you beauty, I will grant you grace, I will sort out your ugly face!”
Cinderella was stood in the kitchen wearing nothing but a skimpy set of lingerie, in scalding red lace. Her deep, silky brown locks caressed the silky skin of her back, and she whispered:
“Watch out Prince Ronald, here I come.”
“No, Ron, no!” Hermione actually slammed the book on her knee, “You’re not doing this properly! Stop befouling my fairy tales!”
“I can’t help it that Cinderella’s so beautiful!” Ron said defensively, “It’s only natural that I want to see her in her underwear.”
“You’re sick,” Hermione spat.
“Why, thank you.”
Cinderella’s mysterious red lingerie melted into silken blue reams of fabric, gently clinging to her skin, and rustling whenever she moved. Her hair was tied into a soft knot at the back of her head, her lips as pink as roses and her cheeks glowing with dusty rouge. Her brown eyes sparkled and creased as a smile broke over her face.
“You’re the most beautiful servant girl I’ve ever helped!” gushed the Godmother, “Now, here. Have a delightfully decorated pumpkin to ride to your destiny in!”
“Thank you Godmother! Thank you so much!” Cinderella collapsed into soppy tears, the salty water dragging mascara and eyeliner down her cheeks –
“Do you have to make me so soppy?” Hermione moaned, “And you’ve ruined my eye make up now! Making me cry like that!”
“I’m sorry,” Ron said, “I’ll change it.”
Cinderella wiped a magical tissue over her makeup stains, removing all traces of rogue makeup, and leaving her as infallibly beautiful as before. She was ready for her night out.
“Now, hop into your pumpkin, make it ride, on and on you will glide… until you reach your Prince so fair, be back my midnight or you’ll lose your hair!”
“I’ll what?!” Cinderella clutched her hair in terror.
“Just my idea of a little joke,” giggled the Fairy, “But do by back by midnight, or all your nice clothes will fall off and your giant pumpkin carriage will just become a regular pumpkin again.”
“But it is a regular pumpkin. Just bigger with some wheels stuck on.”
“Yes… yes you’re right.”
And he vanished into this air with a little pop.
With a sigh, Cinderella climbed aboard her carriage, and it trundled out of the kitchen, smashed through a wall and across the outside garden, in the direction of the palace.
“Why does it have to demolish the house?” Hermione asked with raised eyebrows.
“I’m a bloke! I need some carnage in my stories.”
“But it’s a Fairytale Ron!”
“There’s always room for carnage.”
Cinderella arrived at her destination, the beautiful ball. Woman were being escorted by their male counterparts, all wearing divine ball gowns and their necks and wrists encrusted with sparkling gold and diamonds. Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother hadn’t given her any diamonds in her outfit. How would Prince Ronald notice her now?
She climbed the marble stairs to the golden doors, and the room that awaited her was so sumptuously decorated that it looked like something out of a fairy story. There were glowing chandeliers, a golden dance floor, a raised golden podium where an orchestra were playing and the room was filled with more beautiful women, who suddenly deemed it prudent to strip down to their underwear.
Hermione threw the book at Ron’s head, her face red with rage.
“You are the single most infuriating person I’ve ever met!” Hermione screeched at him.
“No one forced you to come and live with me and then marry me and then read me fairy stories!” Ron argued, rubbing his forehead “You have no one else to blame for your misery other than yourself.”
Hermione glared at him threateningly for a few moments and then angrily retrieved the book and started to read again.
“Excuse me,” came a voice from behind her, “But may I dance with you?”
Prince Ronald was there, as gorgeously handsome as she had ever imagined, if not, more so. He held out his hand, and she took it. They danced together for many hours, never pausing and never letting their gaze fall from the other’s face. He was decadently tall, and she felt pleasantly dwarfed by him, yet somehow in complete control; something told her he’d be easy to manipulate to her bidding.
“You got that bit right,” Hermione muttered.
“Oh my gosh!” Cinderella suddenly said, “It’s ten to midnight! I’d best be off. I don’t want a mad dash so I leave something crucial behind like my bra.”
“Of course not,” Ronald agreed, “But I must see you again. When? When can I see you? Can I see you tomorrow morning? Tomorrow night?”
“Stop making him so persistent, Ron,” Hermione said, “Some people would call what he’s doing harassing.”
“Never!” Cinderella squealed, “You can’t see me for who I really am!”
And she belted off, stumbling and leaving her shoe on the dance floor; had it always been made of glass? She didn’t even noticed that Crabbe and Goyle had been crying for the past five hours, sobbing into little lace hankies.
“But don’t worry ladies!” came Prince Ronald’s voice, “You can dance with me all your want now that she’s gone! Maybe even have a cheeky kiss at the end too.”
Goyle suddenly leapt on him, snogging him mercilessly. Crabbe soon joined in.
The real Ron leapt up, brandishing a cushsion at Hermione.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!”
“If you think you’re the only one who can make adjustments to a story then you’ve got another thing coming!” Hermione laughed evilly, “Sit back down.”
Ron grumpily consented, his mind still scarred about what he’d just seen.
“Damn,” said Prince Ronald, “All I have is her shoe. I’ll have to make sure everyone tries it on until I find her. But what if it fits more than one person? What a pickle that would be.”
Suddenly, “It’s Raining Men” pumped out of the orchestra, and Ron’s gyrating hips lived up to their nimble name. He danced his worries away, and dented several walls, not to mention bruising Crabbe and Goyle severely. Many said his dancing skills were next to those of an angel, that they’d never seen such beauty and skill in a dancer before –
“Now Ron! Of all the things you’ve done so far, this is the most unrealistic alteration you ever could’ve come up with!”
“Hey! That’s not fair. I’m better than Harry!”
“Ron, you are better than nobody at dancing.”
Ron seemed to deflate slightly, but understood what his wife was trying to tell him. If she didn’t want to dance with him at parties anymore then that was her loss!
“I can’t be bothered to make everyone try it on,” Ronald said to himself once all his guests were gone, “Can’t I just use a summoning charm?”
“Accio Dancing Maiden of the night before!” Ronald bellowed, pointing his wand in the hair and wondering when the last time he’d actually wanted to see a woman-he-met-the-night- before had been.
Cinderella smashed her way through his bedroom window, screaming and picking glass out of her hair. Somehow she still looked beautiful, even with those deep cuts all over face –
“That’s it. I give up.”
“No matter what, I’ll always love you!” Prince Ronald promised Cinderella, who’s heart melted instantly, “Please marry me?”
“Oh yes! I love you too! Of course I’ll marry you!”
Prince Ronald swung his Cinderella (whose real, secret code name was Hermione) around in his arms and they got married, and lived happily, ever, after.
“That was a great story!” Ron beamed, “It really makes you smile doesn’t it?”
“You ruined the ending though,” Hermione scolded, shutting her book sullenly, “The whole point is that he’s meant to trawl around the whole village trying to find his maiden, and as he’s a Muggle he’s not meant to use magic either because he can’t!”
“It’s more convenient this way,” Ron said simply.
“Love isn’t about convenience Ron! Trust me, if it was, I never would’ve married you.”
“Oh shut up, I know you love me really. You can’t imagine being with anyone else.”
And with that he leapt up from his seat and pulled Hermione to her feet. He bent down and kissed her softly on the mouth, then the nose, then the forehead. She couldn’t stay cross with him when he did that.
“You’re right,” she consented, pulling him close to her and snuggling close, “You’ll always be my fairy tale ending. Nobody else would ever be able to manage to ruin a fairy tale as effectively as you, but somehow make sure it ends well.”
Ron grinned over her head, and wondered inwardly if he could start some sort of play out of what he had learnt this evening. It would be a marvellous play, and one that definitely had an ending that had the audience grinning as stupidly as a Flobberworm in a lettuce field.
“I love you,” Hermione mumbled into his chest.
“I love you too, Hermione.”