There are two tropes that I find myself reading over and over again: Person p is sorted into House h; and girl!Harry. In most of these stories, the author seems unwilling to really commit to the genre. What the fandom has been missing is someone stupid enough to try. [bows deeply]
Also, I was sick of my fics accidentally failing the Bechdel test. And so...I'm trying a thing.
1. There are suddenly, like, no dudes in this story. Weird. The chick roles in HP never seemed so thin as when they're changed over to dude roles. (Filch is a girl. Nearly Headless Nick is a girl. Dobby, Hagrid, Fudge, PEEVES, ...I mean, dude. There are 2,434 characters in Harry Potter, and now, only four of them are boys.) (Oh, five-I forgot about the fat lady. OR SHOULD I SAY FAT GENTLEMAN)
2. I don't want to sound too 1950s American housewife, but...girls are different from boys. Changing the gender necessarily changes the tone, and the way people are treated, and the choices people make, and the way you, dear reader, see these people. It's...weird to me, even, and I'm writing it.
3. But most of all, I don't want this to sound like a project that I'm doing for my women's studies minor. NOTE: I don't have a women's studies minor. It's true that back in '96, I took some classes, but seriously, I'm just...trying a thing here, I swear.
4. This story is unfinished, and...possibly directionless. (WHAT? WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT?) Listen: nobody, NOBODY, has ever accomplished a rewriting of the entire series, no matter what they claim at the outset (I've found some compelling ones that petered out around book three-and one in particular that is probably DONE FOREVER at book four, but that one was called "The Never-Ending Road"-so, truth in advertising, I guess)-so, listen, friends, it probably won't be done by me, either. Having said that, hey, if you have any suggestions/comments/please, oh my god, please help me-feel free to comment.
Are we not willing? Are we not bending? Are we not frozen? Are we not trembling? Are we not children? Are we not trying? Are we not wondering?
-Jane Siberry, from the album "When I was a Boy"
Daisy Evans sat alone on her trunk between platforms nine and ten in Kings Cross station. She was trying her best not to despair-and indeed was so focused on her goal that she almost missed the family of redheads trooping right in front of her.
"Packed with Muggles of course," the father said.
Daisy scrambled to her feet and followed the family-the father, four girls and a boy-as discreetly as she could. She tried not to breathe or even blink as she watched them-she was almost undone by the squeaking wheel on her cart as she trailed behind them-but the family didn't notice her as they chattered along happily. She watched as the three older girls disappeared into the brick barrier between platforms nine and ten, but couldn't see how it was done. She couldn't bring herself to ask the man for help, and she didn't want to risk talking to the only remaining girl when her father was right there, because he might react badly to that.
But the man seemed to sense her presence, and turned to look at her. "Hello there," the man said, sounding friendly enough, but Daisy shrank back and looked down anyway. "Are you going to Hogwarts, too?"
Daisy nodded to the floor.
"But where are your parents, dear?" the man asked.
Daisy shrugged and felt her face turning red. "Erm, they couldn't be here and I told them I'd be fine," she said, and glanced up at him. She wasn't even sure where she could say her parents were. Did witches and wizards even have jobs? With schedules and deadlines? Or would it be better to say her parents were Muggles with schedules and deadlines?
Or was she overthinking everything-why couldn't she tell the truth? Her parents were dead, and were war heroes, and she had been raised by Muggles who didn't know or care where platform nine and three-quarters was.
But the truth was so new that it felt like a lie.
The red-headed father frowned at her, and Daisy shrugged again. "I'm sorry," Daisy said. "I didn't mean to bother you."
"Nonsense, dear-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be caught staring. I suppose you're a first year? This is Veronica's first year, too." He indicated the only remaining girl, whose red hair was tangled, and wore beaten-up trainers. Daisy liked her right away, and the red-headed girl grimaced and said, "I go by 'Ronnie,' actually." And then Ronnie's brother took the opportunity to kick her in the shins.
"Damn it, Jonathan!" Ronnie said.
"Sorry, Dad," Ronnie said, but when the man turned back towards Daisy, Ronnie punched her brother hard on the arm. Daisy barely held back her snort.
The man told Daisy how to get onto the platform, which was the easiest thing in the world, once you knew how to do it. A part of her wanted to stick to Ronnie, who had seemed so friendly, but Daisy was uncomfortable with the father's concerned frowns. She pushed her cart farther along and tried to load her trunk onto the train by herself, which didn't work well. She'd barely managed to drag the trunk off the cart-smashing her foot in the process, and causing the cart to topple over-when two of the red-headed girls from the platform came over to help her. The girls were obviously twins and had easy smiles.
"Hey there," one of them said. "Need some help?"
"Sure," Daisy said, trying not to sound too grateful, but grateful enough.
"Oi, Alex!" the girl said, apparently talking to her twin but talking far too loudly. "Help me lift this!"
"Sure thing! It looks heavy," replied the second twin. Like the first twin, she spoke far too loudly. Daisy looked at them in confusion as they leaned over the trunk and acted like they were going to pick it up, but they moved very slowly. Before they could heft the trunk, a tall boy ran over to them.
"Here, let me get that," the boy said.
"Oh, hey Roger. I didn't even see you-where did you come from?" said the second twin-Alex, Daisy thought. But now the twin was talking in a perfectly normal tone.
"Oh, I was just talking to Pete," Roger said vaguely as he picked up the trunk by himself and carried it toward the train. The first twin winked at Daisy and followed the boy.
"Where are you sitting?" Roger asked Daisy.
"Oh, erm, anywhere, I guess," Daisy said.
"This compartment looks empty, is that okay?"
"Sure," Daisy said, completely bewildered. The boy set down the trunk and smiled at the twins, who smiled back and giggled and complimented him on his strength. Then Roger left, and the twins turned to Daisy.
"Sorry about that," the first twin said. "There's a time and a place for girl power, but sometimes the more direct path is to let a boy do it."
"Besides, it makes them feel so useful," the second twin agreed. "Which is an indirect path to something else." The girl grinned, more with her eyes than her mouth. "By the way, I'm Alex."
"And I'm Sam."
Daisy smiled at them. "I'm Daisy," she said.
The twins' mouths dropped, and they glanced at each other. "Daisy..."
"Evans?" Daisy hadn't meant for it to sound like a question, but she wasn't sure what the twins were after.
"Daisy Evans. Right," Sam said, and blinked a few times. "We're Weasley-Sam and Alex Weasley."
"Twins, obviously," put in Alex. "Third years."
The twins chorused together, "Slytherin House."
"It's nice to meet you, Daisy," Alex said.
And with that, the twins left Daisy alone in her compartment, feeling overwhelmed.
Luckily, she wasn't alone for long, as Ronnie soon poked her head in. "Do you mind if I sit in here with you? Everywhere else is full," the girl said. Daisy readily agreed, and moved over to make room.
The girl sat down next to Daisy and barely took a breath before she said, "AreyoureallyDaisyEvans?"
"Erm," Daisy said, not sure of what the other girl had asked, but pretty sure she'd heard her own name. "I'm Daisy Evans, yeah."
"Oh," the other girl said. "I'm Ronnie Weasley. I thought Sam and Alex might be lying, sorry. Were you really raised by Muggles?"
"Yeah. Are all your sisters really witches?"
"Well, yeah, my whole family is witches and wizards, but that's boring. What are the Muggles like?"
Daisy shrugged. "I just live with my aunt and uncle and cousin, and they're-" she choked on the word "normal," as she suspected the word didn't apply to them, but she had no proof. She didn't know how to complete the sentence. "...Muggles," she finally said. "What's it like living with witches and wizards? What are your parents like?"
Ronnie shrugged. "They're just parents, I guess."
"How many sisters and brothers do you have?"
"Five sisters, one brother. You saw him on the platform-his name's Jonathan and he's alright, I guess. My sisters are Billy, Charlie, Percy, and Sam and Alex. Billy lives in Africa and works for Gringotts, Charlie lives in Romania and works with dragons, so I hardly ever see them anymore. Percy's a prefect for Ravenclaw House this year, and she's so strict with rules and stuff I can't believe I'm related to her. Sam and Alex are pretty fun, but you don't want to be on the wrong side of one of their pranks."
"Erm, why do all your sisters...why do they all have..."
"Boys' names?" Ronnie laughed. "Mum teases Dad about it all the time-about how he wanted a boy so much that he kept naming us all after boys, but it drives Dad nuts. They're all just nicknames-Billy is Belinda, and then there's Charlotte, and Priscilla, and Samantha and Alexis, and I'm Veronica. They all just got shortened, see?"
"I'm surprised they didn't name your brother 'Cary' or something."
"Yeah, but 'Jonathan' is short for 'Ginevra'."
Daisy couldn't tell if Ronnie was kidding or not, but she laughed anyway. "And 'Daisy' is short for 'Harold'," she put in, and Ronnie laughed with her.
But something Ronnie had said-which echoed something the twins had said-made her ask another question. "You said something about houses-what's that about?"
"Oh, like Ravenclaw?"
"It's just where you're Sorted-into one of the Houses." And Ronnie explained about the four Houses, and how they'd sleep in the dorms.
"Which House do you want to be in?" Daisy asked.
Ronnie shrugged. "That's another thing with five older sisters-it doesn't even matter, because someone's already been in every house. Billy was Gryffindor, Charlie was Hufflepuff, Percy's in Ravenclaw like I said, and Sam and Alex are Slytherins. Since Billy and Charlie are gone, I guess I'd rather be in Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, because Dad always says that it's a lot easier to get along with someone if you don't have to share a bathroom with them." Ronnie shrugged again and sighed. "I hope that's true, anyway."
They chatted away pleasantly on the train as the countryside slipped past them, until they were interrupted by a tall dark-skinned boy with an out-of-control afro and an overbearing air. He was already wearing his school robes, and was with a round-faced, timid-looking girl who seemed to regret being with her companion.
"Excuse us," the boy said, "but have you seen a toad? This girl has lost hers."
The round-faced girl shrugged and looked down unhappily. Daisy felt sorry for her. "I haven't seen a toad, but if I do, I'll be sure to let you know. Where are you sitting?"
The round-faced girl opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by the boy. "She's sitting two compartments down the train and her name is Nancy Longbottom. I'm Herman Granger. What's your name, by the way?"
Daisy and Ronnie shared a look, and Ronnie spoke first. "I'm Ronnie Weasley and this is...Daisy."
The boy did a double take, and his afro wobbled back and forth comically. "Daisy Evans?" he gasped. "It is you, I can see your scar and everything! I read all about you in The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Modern Magical History! You're the first famous witch I've met-I'm just a first year, you know, and my parents are both dentists and were surprised when I got the letter that I was a wizard, but I've read everything I could get my hands on. What's it like being Daisy Evans?" He said all of this very fast and looked at Daisy expectantly.
Daisy looked first at Nancy Longbottom, who stared back wide-eyed, then at Ronnie, who shrugged. "Kind of...weird, right now," Daisy said, and Ronnie snickered.
"I bet it is," Herman said, without irony. He sniffed and looked imperiously at them. "You girls had better go ahead and change into your robes-I expect we'll be at Hogwarts soon. And if you see a toad, do let Nancy or me know."
"Will do," Ronnie said, but Herman and Nancy had already left the compartment.
"Is everyone going to be like that?" Daisy asked. "Am I really that famous? Is that why you and your sisters were acting weird?"
"Erm, you're pretty famous, yeah."
"Well, you lived. You're the Girl Who Lived. Didn't you know?"
Daisy sagged in her seat. "I didn't even know I was a witch until a month ago."
"But-but what about accidental magic? You must have known something. What did your aunt and uncle tell you?"
Daisy got more and more uncomfortable, and was almost relieved when a different girl opened up the compartment door. The new girl had a pointy face and white-blond hair that cascaded straight down to the middle of her back. The blond girl was flanked by two other girls who might have been older, but it was hard to tell. They weren't much taller, but they wore makeup and they both already had breasts. However, they deferred to the blond girl, who certainly looked like another first year.
"So, is it really you?" the blond girl asked Daisy.
Daisy waited for clarification, and then realized that she maybe really was that famous. But still, how was she supposed to answer that question? "I'm Daisy," she finally said. Then, thinking she should be try to be polite, she asked, "Who are you?" Unfortunately, this question did not sound as polite as Daisy had meant it, but the other girl didn't seem to notice.
"I'm Felina Malfoy. This is Alicia Crabbe and Gina Goyle." The girl nodded, as if the names should mean something to Daisy.
"Well, erm, nice to meet you, Felina," she said.
Felina finally looked away from Daisy and saw Ronnie for the first time. "You must be a Weasley," Felina said, as if the name were a swear, and Ronnie fired up.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she said indignantly.
"Only that you have the look of a Weasley about you-like your family can't afford a hair brush."
The two other girls-Crabbe and Goyle-snorted appreciatively as Ronnie spluttered.
"Don't you have anything to say?" Felina taunted. "Honestly, Daisy, you shouldn't be seen sitting with trash like her. You can come sit with us, if you like."
Daisy looked at Ronnie, who didn't meet her eyes, and then looked back at Felina Malfoy. Felina smiled back at her coolly. In that moment, Felina Malfoy looked exactly like Daisy's cousin, Eva, who was so used to getting her own way, and made everyone's lives unpleasant if she didn't. It almost made tears prickle the back of Daisy's eyes-she'd thought she was escaping people like that.
She wanted to say something cruel and cutting, something like, "I would never want to be seen with someone as ugly as you"-but Felina was so obviously beautiful that everyone in the compartment would know it was a lie.
So instead, Daisy stuttered slightly and said, "I-I'd just as soon stay here, thanks."
Felina Malfoy shrugged as if the rejection was nothing to her. She casually said, "Suit yourself, then," and left the compartment.
Daisy immediately burst into tears. She tried to hide them from Ronnie, but Ronnie just hugged her. "She was awful," Daisy said. "I'm sorry."
"That's okay," Ronnie said. "Thanks for staying here."
"Are you kidding?" Daisy said, sniffing. "She was the worst-she reminded me of my cousin."
Ronnie didn't seem to have anything to say to that; instead she just said, "Do you want to see my rat?"