Harry Potter belongs to the talented and wonderful J K Rowling. The Princess Bride belongs to William Goldman. All theirs, not mine.
About the time Harry left to make his fortune, Prince Draco, from the Kingdom of Slytherin, discovered he needed to marry. While this would be typically a good thing, Draco could not care less about marriage.
Prince Draco loved nothing more than hunting. He had even created a 'zoo of death' with five levels. On each level was a different category of animal, each with a higher ministry rating then the next. It was while he was in the 'zoo' one day that he got the news that his father, the king, was very ill and was expected to die. This left Draco with the unpleasant responsibility of marrying and producing a male heir.
The Countess Lestrange had suggested Princess Fleur from Beauxbatons. This would also be a chance to bind the two countries together. Remembering her as a very attractive witch, Draco sent for her. The two were getting along famously until the second day of her visit. They had gone for a walk and as they were strolling through the garden, a strong breeze caught the princess' hat and blew it off her head. Fleur quickly caught it and placed it back on her head, but the damage had been done.
"You're bald?!?!?" Draco screamed. "Madam, leave this castle at once!"
Poor Fleur was so embarrassed that she did as she was told and fled immediately. Everyone feared that the two countries would soon be at war.
"I don't care," sneered Draco, when Countess Lestrange confronted him about it. "I always wanted to conquer Beauxbatons since I was a little boy anyway." (Typical Slytherin ambition even then.)
While Draco plotted revenge, the Countess plotted to find him a wife.
* * *
Soon three years had passed, and the Slytherin common room was filled as never before to hear the announcement of Prince Draco's choice of bride-to-be. With great fanfare the Prince walked down the stairs and addressed his subjects:
"My people¼a month from now, our kingdom will have its one thousandth anniversary. On that day at sundown, I shall marry a lady who was once a commoner like yourselves¼but perhaps you will not find her common now. Would you like to meet her?"
The common room erupted in thunderous cheers. Then a deathly silence ascended over them as a figure emerged from the back of the room.
"May I introduce Princess Ginevra of Gryffindor?" said Draco.
It was a credit to Ginny's three years of 'princess training' that she did not hex him right then. For Draco knew she hated the name Ginevra and preferred to go by Ginny. (He thought it great fun to tease her, and always called her by her given name.) As she started to walk among the people, they did a very strange thing. With no instruction at all, they suddenly got to their knees. Within seconds everybody was kneeling and Ginny couldn't help but feel tremendously moved. She stood motionless among her future subjects, blinking back tears.
But all the while, emptiness consumed her. Although the law of the land gave Draco the right to choose his bride, she did not love him, and he knew it.
* * *
The only solace Ginny found was in her daily broom rides. As she rode this particular evening she wondered about two things: was it wrong to marry someone you didn't even like, much less love; and if it was too late to do anything about it.
She concluded that, no, it wasn't wrong. Draco had threatened to dispose of her if she had said no, (he did not want to be embarrassed again) and, yes, it was too late. It wasn't that she thought everyone should marry without love, but with her situation she felt it was her only option. With a sigh she continued her ride.
As she rode a little further she noticed three men blocking the path; a tall, giant of a man with long, wild tangled black hair and beard; a pale, greasy haired, hooked nosed man; and the younger of the three a plump faced boy about Ginny's own age.
"A word, My Lady?" asked the hooked nosed man. "We are but poor, lost travelling seers. Is there a village nearby?"
"There is nothing nearby; not for miles."
"Then we won't have to use a Silencing Charm because there will be no one to hear you scream."
He then nodded to the giant, Hagrid, who reached over, and touched a nerve on Ginny's neck. A start of a scream was all she managed before her world went dark.
Hagrid carried Ginny on board a sailboat that was moored on the Hogwarts Lake. Meanwhile, Neville busied himself with getting the boat ready.
On shore Snape ripped some tiny pieces of fabric from an army jacket and tucked them along the handle of Ginny's broom.
"What is that you're ripping?" asked Neville.
"It's fabric from the uniform of an officer of Beauxbatons," Snape answered without bothering to turn around.
"Who's Beauxbatons?" asked Hagrid.
"The country across the sea near the cliffs. The sworn enemy of Slytherin," Snape replied pointing straight out across the lake towards the non-visible county. He then released the broom and with a shove it darted back to Slytherin. The trio then started back towards the boat.
"Once the broom reaches the castle, the fabric will make the Prince suspects the Beauxbatons have abducted his love. When he finds her body dead on the Beauxbatons frontier, his suspicions will be completely confirmed."
"You never said anything about killing anyone," said Hagrid.
Snape hopped into the boat and turned towards Hagrid. "I've hired you to help me start a war. That's a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious tradition."
"I just don't think it's right, killing an innocent girl," he replied.
Snape turned back around glaring at Hagrid and said, "Am I going mad or did the word, 'think,' escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you graphornic land mass."
"I agree with Hagrid," Neville said.
Snape extremely upset sputtered, "Oh. The wise one has spoken. What happens to her is not truly your concern. I will kill her. And remember this¼never forget this¼" He advanced on them and turning to Neville said, "When I found you, you were so slobbering drunk you couldn't buy firewhisky!" He then turned towards Hagrid and added, "And you; friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were, unemployed in Greenland?" Snape then glared dangerously at them and left them to their task.
Neville walked over to Hagrid and started helping him with the rigging. Hagrid was such a tendered hearted man and Neville knew Snape had hurt his feelings. As was their usual routine, Neville tried to cheer him up.
"That Snape, he can fuss," Neville said softly.
Hagrid looked at Neville then said, "... fuss ... fuss ... I think he likes to scream at us."
"Probably he means no harm."
"He's really very short on charm."
"Oh, you've a great gift for rhyme," Neville stated.
"Yes, some of the time."
"Enough of that," Snape shouted whirling on them again.
They sailed off towards Beauxbatons quietly for a few moments when Neville asked, "Hagrid, are there rocks ahead?"
"If there are, we'll all be dead."
"No more rhymes now, I mean it," yelled Snape.
"Anybody want a peanut?"
Snape screamed in frustration mumbling about what an incompetent crew he had.
Little did they know that a wizard dressed in black, with messy hair and green eyes, was following their every move.