Chapter 4: First Impressions
It's been some time since I started this story and I've decided that while this is still a sort of answer to the challenges that prompted me to write it, I don't really feel bound by them at all. So, in keeping with that idea, some things might not match the challenges. Small things, big things, etc. I haven't decided them all, yet. One big thing is in this chapter, though.
As usual, please let me know about any grammar or spelling mistakes. I'm terrible at proofreading.
Disclaimer: I don't own any part of BtVS or Harry Potter
Chapter 4: First Impressions
Buffy sat in the train car, already wearing her stupid school uniform, watching the milling crowd of wizards, witches and children moving around Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Giles had accompanied her to the station, had showed her how to get past the barrier illusion, and said his goodbyes. Now she was alone, watching through the window as hundreds of students wandered around with their families, smaller children yelling as they played and older students gathering in groups of already established friends.
The entire thing was pretty silly – if you could just portkey to anywhere you wanted, or even apparate without a portkey, what was the point of making the students ride in a train? And why hide the train station in a regular train station? Giles had given her a bunch of books to read about wizarding history and as far as she could tell the portkey and apparating spells must have far predated the steam train.
Slowly, the students started boarding the train, first in ones and twos and then in larger groups that were obviously friends. Since Buffy was only going into second year most of the students were older than her, and Slayer or not meeting large groups of people for the first time made her nervous.
The door slammed open and in the opening stood a boy with pale blond hair who was flanked by two gorilla-like minions. The boy smirked at her when he saw she was in the car alone.
“You’re in our car. Go find somewhere else to sit.”
Buffy was not impressed. She had been threatened by master vampires and demons – this guy and his two goons didn’t even register on her threat-o-meter. She wasn’t going to start at this new school being bullied.
“How about no.” Buffy went back to looking out the window.
“Do you know who I am?” The boy was angry now. It was almost funny.
“No, and I don’t care. Just take your little friends and scurry along to the next car, maybe you’ll have better luck there.” She didn’t even bother looking away from the window.
“I’m Draco Malfoy, and I’m telling you to leave this car right now!” She could hear his teeth grinding. Definitely funny, now.
“And I don’t care who you are and what you have to say. Take a hike, loser.”
She couldn’t see it, but Draco Malfoy had narrowed his eyes and his mouth had become an ugly frown. Who did this little bitch think she was? He’d show her where she stood.
“Crabbe, Goyle, escort this little girl into the passageway.”
That got Buffy’s attention. She stood up, backing towards the window as the two boys approached her. All three boys were smiling now, thinking her backing away was fear. She had to be careful – Giles had told her that she wasn’t supposed to show off her physical abilities, her second wand, or anything that would reveal her slayery abilities. Still, the space between the seats was small so she’d only have to deal with one at a time.
As the first boy, the shorter and fatter of the two, approached she ducked under his grabbing arms and kneed him in the groin, causing him to gasp and fall to his knees. This delayed the second boy, who was coming up behind the first. Reaching out quickly she grabbed the second one’s ears and used them as handles to slam his chin into the first minion’s head. It wasn’t hard enough to knock either of them out, but the surprise more than anything else made sure both boys weren’t standing afterwards. As they lay dazed on the floor Buffy took the time to kick the first one in the groin again for good measure, eliciting a gasp and a groan.
She smirked at the silver haired boy, who was so stunned he had forgotten to be angry.
“If there isn’t anything else you three can leave. Well, as soon as this guy” she kicked Goyle, who had been starting to stand up, in the groin, and he joined Crabbe on the ground, moaning. “can stand again.”
Malfoy looked at his fallen minions, and re-assessed the small blond girl. “Who are you?”
Giles had told her all about the wizarding world’s obsession with blood purity. Buffy wasn’t impressed, but she had to use the cover story Giles had blurted out at the Watcher headquarters building...wait a minute...now she remembered where she had heard that name before...
“I’m a transfer student from the US. Ask your father who Rupert Giles is, and you’ll get your answer.”
She bent down, looking Goyle in his pale and pained face. “I’m giving you and your friend twenty seconds to crawl out of this passageway or my foot starts becoming friendly again. Capiche?” Goyle nodded. She stood back up and addressed all of them. “Now get out. If I see a wand I’m going to take it from you and they’ll have to take you to a mediwitch to have all the pieces of it removed.”
The two boys slowly crawled out into the hallway, in obvious pain. Malfoy just stared at her, and Buffy couldn’t read his face. “I’ll be sure to ask my father about Rupert Giles.”
“Like I care. Get out.” Malfoy obviously wasn’t used to people talking to him like that, but he left and closed the door behind him.
Buffy sat down again, staring back out the window. During the confrontation most of the kids on the platform had made their way into the train, and the platform now held mostly parents and siblings not boarding. Buffy chuckled at some of the clothes the wizards and witches were wearing – their culture definitely needed some help.
A few minutes later the door to the car opened a little, and then a bit more. A girl with messy brown hair stuck her head into the room. “Do you mind if we sit here? I think all the rest of the cars are full.”
Buffy smiled at her and nodded.
The girl and two others entered. The first was blond, willowy, and probably not all there. The second was an energetic redhead who seemed to be restraining herself for politeness.
The brown haired girl took the lead. “Hello, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before, so you must be new. My name is Hermoine Granger, this Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. They’re both first years too.”
“Buffy Summers, and while I’m new I’m supposed to go into second year, not first. I’m a transfer student.”
Ginny was excited, which seemed to be Ginny’s natural state. “An American! I don’t think we have any Americans at our school, so you’re the first! Did you got Salem Academy last year?”
Buffy had to supply her Giles-given fake past. “No, I had some health issues that kept me out of school last year. So this year I have to catch up and do the second year work also.”
“Have you seen Hogwarts yet? You’ll love it, it’s great!” This from Hermoine.
“I was there for a bit in the summer to meet with Professor McGonagall, so I got a tour.”
“Oh there’s so many things that aren’t on the tour. My brothers told me all about the school. There are the ghosts, and all the portraits, and secret rooms and passages, the forbidden forest...” Ginny was practically bouncing in her seat.
“I heard there was a colony of Zumtals in the Headmaster’s office, but nobody knows what they look like so I can’t say for certain.” These were the first words Buffy had heard Luna Lovegood say and for some reason they struck Buffy as one of the funniest things she’d ever heard. She couldn’t help the huge grin that blossomed on her face.
“We’ll ask about the Zumtals. Maybe we can get a picture, and get our names in a book as the first people to discover what they look like!” Buffy saw the exasperated look on Hermoine’s face, but she couldn’t help herself.
Luna, on the other hand, was excited. “That would be quite important. My father would be very proud of me, I think.”
“We’ll put it on the to-do list, then!”
The train began to leave the station and Hermione and Ginny looked at each other, frowning. The conversation split up – Buffy and Luna talked to each other while Ginny and Hermione had an energetic yet quiet discussion about something that seemed to upset both of them – probably the source of Ginny’s preoccupation. Buffy understood that two people who were supposed to be here, Harry and Ron, weren’t and both Ginny and Hermione were worried.
Eventually the conversations joined back up, mostly talking about things Buffy either didn’t know about or didn’t have anything to contribute to. The girls were nice enough to include Buffy but for the most part she stayed quiet, absorbing everything they said.
Soon enough an adult witch opened the door to their car. “Food trolley! Do you girls want anything?”
Ginny was the first to reply. “Umm...I’m not hungry, thanks.” But it rang false in Buffy’s ear.
Hermione smiled sadly also claimed to not be hungry.
Luna, on the other hand, didn’t. “Three dozen Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, please!”
Buffy had plenty of money, so she ordered enough for everyone. “I’ll take six Pumpkin Pasties and a dozen licorice wands, please!”
Luna seemed to delight in every flavour of bean regardless of how disgusting it sounded, or tasted.
Buffy traded a licorice wand for a few beans and had enjoyed buttered popcorn and cherry, but had given the rest to Ginny after eating a liver flavoured bean followed by chilli powder. Luna admitted that her favorite was grass, which made Buffy giggle.
“I bought enough Pumpkin Pasties for everyone. All of you can have one!”
Hermione accepted hers with a thank you, and Luna offered her more beans in exchange, which Buffy turned down. Ginny seemed torn between pride and hunger, but in the end she took her pasty with thanks and ate it with gusto.
“I should have bought some chocolate frogs.” Hermione said after finishing her pasty. “They’re really good.”
Buffy shuddered. “I’m not eating any moving frogs, not even chocolate ones. The idea gives me the wiggins.”
Soon the girls had to change into their uniforms, although Buffy didn’t have to since she was already wearing hers. Not long after that the train slowed and then stopped, letting out the students. They boarded small boats and crossed a lake towards the castle.
“Firs years! Firs years here!” The accented voice called Luna and Ginny away from Hermione and Buffy.
Buffy followed Hermione but was diverted by Professor McGonagall near the doors.
“Ms. Summers, if you would please come with me. You’ll be joining the first years for the sorting ceremony. After the feast I’d like to talk to you about your schedule.”
Buffy nodded and followed the seemingly stern witch.
She watched as the other students were called and sorted by the ugly looking hat. Luna Lovegood, the only person called before her that she actually knew, was sorted into Ravenclaw. It seemed like no time at all had passed when she heard her own name being called.
Her heart pounding, she walked to the stool and the hat, feeling like she was on display. She sat and dropped the overlarge and ratty looking hat onto her head.
“Hrmmm…interesting.” The voice of the hat said quietly into her ears. “Never seen anything quite like you before.”
Ok, thought Buffy, just do what you have to do. I don’t need to be complicated.
“Oh but you are complicated. A selfless disposition, certainly, but you also have a drive to win at all costs unlike any I’ve seen before. And bitterness, at being forced to help others at great cost to yourself. Hrmm...and what is this? Oh my, the source of your powers is quite dark. Yes, very dark.”
I’m not dark. I’m not.
“No, yet it’s there inside of you. But you could be something magnificent, if you could balance the light and the dark within you. Yes, I think that quite clinches it. It better be...”