Harry Potter and the Girl Who Fell Sideways
Disclaimer: None of this is mine. All belongs to Joss Whedon and J. K. Rowling. I am making no money from this because that would be wrong.
She fell into a portal.
Buffy Summers hated portals.
Big portals and little portals, bright portals and dim portals, old portals and baby portals too weak for Slayer suckage: it didn't matter. Buffy didn't discriminate when it came to portal hating. To save the world and her sister, Buffy had jumped into a portal once. On purpose. And it had killed her. That sort of thing can leave a lasting impression of the icky kind.
Not that she had jumped through this portal on purpose. No, no, and once again with the no. In fact, when it had begun opening at her feet in one of Rome's more historic and fashionable cemeteries, she had immediately shook her head, said no-way-Jose, and jumped a mighty Slayer jump to avoid it. Her form had been great; she'd done a backwards sommersault. A "Buffy Summers-sault" is what she'd called it in her head. Olympic Judges would have awarded her top points for both height and distance. She would have landed a good twenty feet away from the portal if it had not inconsiderately moved while she was airborne, moved to a position directly below her landing spot.
Flapping her arms quite comically did nothing to change gravity's mind. With a WHOOSH worthy of Xena's chakram and a rather embarrassingly small eep! from the Slayer herself, she fell into the portal, passing from one reality to the next.
There was a flash of light.
Buffy fell out of a warm night into a crisp sunny day.
The ground was also a lot further away from her than it had been in Italy. About the height of a five story building further away. Buffy began to scream, and she could put a lot of screaming into her scream. The air was rushing past her like the blast of a freight train as she fell towards---
Wait a minute.
Buffy stopped screaming.
What the hell?
She wasn't falling towards the ground.
She was falling sideways.
This was puzzling. Buffy contorted in the air to look back at the portal.
It was as if this world was set at ninety degrees to Buffy's. She was falling straight away from the portal, but the portal was perpendicular to the ground, not horizontal to it. In fact, to the casual observer, it loked as though she wasn't falling at all; it looked as though she was flying.
"Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying Buffy!" The words, while bravely spoken, were just a tad bit hysterical. The portal meanwhile began to shrink into itself then snap out of existence altogether.
"Bye bye portal," said Buffy weakly. She gave it a little wave.
The thought of a mountain or even a really tall hill popped into her brain out of nowhere. Perhaps from a portal. Along with the mountain popping into her mind came the image of herself plopping into the side of the mountain. Buffy twisted in the air to face the direction in which she was falling or flying or whatever the hell she was doing.
"No mountain," whispered Buffy. "Just a freaking huge castle!"
Harry Potter's scar flared briefly with pain, causing him to slap his hand up against it. Considering he was balanced a hundred feet above the ground on the slender handle of a broom, this was perhaps not his best response. Harry's hand smacked Harry's head, and Harry's body rotated from sitting rightside up atop his Firebolt to clinging upside down beneath it. For a moment Harry and his broom hung there as if suspended in time as well as space, then the Firebolt seemed to decide: enough of this! and streaked straight towards the ground.
The crowd gasped.
There was a crowd there to gasp because Harry and his teammates were in the middle of a game of Quidditch. The score was 60 to 40 with Harry's team, the red and gold robed Gryffindors, leading their hated rivals, the green and black Slytherins. They were twenty minutes into the game, and the Golden Snitch had yet to show its Golden Snitchness.
The tall stands were full of Hogwarts students and Hogwarts professors, all enjoying a perfect October day and a perfect game of down and dirty Quidditch. The Gryffindors and the Slytherins always put on the best show.
The crowd had been yelling its collective head off, but now it rose with the aforementioned gasp and watched as Harry plummetted downwards. In the air, various players nearly slammed their brooms into various other players because they were watching Harry fall instead of watching where they were flying.
Twenty feet above the playing field, Harry jerked his broom to one side, did a tight barrel roll, and was suddenly back level and upright and skimming safely along the ground.
The crowd cheered!
"POTTER YOU PRAT!" yelled Draco Malfoy. He didn't really know what had just happened, but he felt that it was always a safe bet to call Potter a prat. He was just happy that Potter wasn't clutching the Golden Snitch. It would have been just like the scarhead to pull such a stunt to disquise a grab at the little winged ball.
Harry ignored Malfoy and zoomed up to where Ron was playing Keeper to the Gryffindor goal hoops.
"Bloody hell, Harry! What was that? I nearly wet my broom!"
"Don't know," groaned Harry. "My scar went-"
Ron looked around, panicked. "Is You-Know-Who-"
"No, I don't think so. It felt different somehow. Quicker. Cleaner. It's all gone now." He ended hesitantly, looking over Ron's shoulder, past the goal hoops, away from Hogwarts, out over the tops of the trees in the forbidden forrest.
"What is it?" said Ron.
"I remember, out of the corner of one eye, seeing a flash out there, beyond the forrest, just when my scar-"
"Mr. Potter! If you are quite finished!" said Madam Hooch, flying up. She was refereeing the game. She held the Quaffle under one arm. It had rolled away unnoticed during Harry's plummet. Really! Quite unheard of to lose the Quaffle right in the middle of a game. Whatever was the wizarding world coming to?
"There!" said Harry suddenly, pointing past the goals. "There's something there!"
"Whatever are are you going on about, Mr. Potter?"
"There!" yelled Harry again.
"I see...well...something," said Ron. He squinted into the distance. "A bit of gold. Is it the Snitch?"
"No, no," said Harry. "It's hair. It's a girl! A blond girl! She flying right at us!"
"Nonsense, Mr. Potter. The wards around Hogwarts-"
"She's coming! And-"
His voice faltered.
"She doesn't have a broom."
"Eww!" said Buffy, snarking aloud, simply for the dubious comfort the sound of her own voice gave her. "I bet I have the worst air hair ever."
And it was true; her Buffy blond locks were whipping about like mad as she fell sideways towards the huge castle rapidly getting huger as she got nearer to it. Her loose top was flapping against her like a sail trying to break free from its lashings. Below her, the tops of a forrest of trees zoomed past like a gigantic bolt of green cloth unwinding. Streaking across the sky, above the trees, with the wind beating against her was really kind of a rush, she thought. Except for the impending doom thingy.
"Stupid castle. Stupid portal. Stupid castle builders. No forethought. Not a bit. Why'd they put the freaking castle there? Didn't they know I'd be falling through here someday?"
Buffy suddenly shot past the last of the trees and was flashing over the open grounds. She saw a great stadium standing tall between her and the castle. Three poles with round hoops at their tops stood at either end of the playing field. She was heading right at the hoops. The stadium was filled with people.
"Oh great! Everyone's turned out to see me go splatt! against the freaking castle. Which couldn't have been built just a little to the right!"
Then she saw them. Over a dozen figures, not on the playing field, but hovering above it. Just hovering on-
"No way no way no way," said Buffy, though deep down she was sure there was a way. A deeply stupid, make Buffy crazy way. After all, here she was falling sideways towards a football field with stupid shaped end goals and players riding-
"Brooms," breathed Buffy. "They're riding freaking brooms."
She wished with a sudden intense longing that Giles was there so that he could explain about the brooms. A sudden image filled her brain of the tweed clad man furiously trying to hold on to and polish his glasses as he fell sideways alongside her. All the while in lecture mode. She giggled a giggle that was, admittedly, about twenty percent hysteria. Forgivable under the circumstances. Still, the remaining eighty percent was simply pure Buffy giggle.
"Brooms!" she said again, and the disgust in her voice was nearly on a level with that she'd used when snarking about the castle.
A tiny yellow ball suddenly flitted in front of her face. It had tiny fluttering wings that darted the ball back and forth before her in a most annoying way. Enough was enough! Buffy roared with frustration, and her hand grabbed at the ball. It jerked away mockingly. This just wasn't Buffy's day.
"We've got to catch her," shouted Harry.
"We do?" said Ron.
The golden haired girl was rapidly approaching. She had cleared the forbidden forrest now. Harry thought she was a tiny thing. He could see her mouth moving, but couldn't hear her. He wondered why he couldn't hear screaming. He was pretty sure he'd be screaming in her situation. And she certainly didn't look happy to be flying at them.
Harry dipped his broom slightly and moved out to meet the girl. It was then that he saw the Snitch pop up before her.
Three quarters the way down the field, and forty feet higher, Draco Malfoy was keeping a keen eye on Potter. After all, he was the Slytherin Seeker, and Potter had a nasty habit of getting to the Snitch first; so it was always a part of Draco's game plan to keep one eye on Potter, the other on lookout for the Snitch. He saw Potter shoot out towards the forrest, started to yell "POTTER!" suspiciously, and then saw the Snitch. He screamed in frustration and anger and Slytherin hatred of all things Gryffindor. He bent low on his broom, blasting after Potter like a cannon ball bursting out of a...well...cannon. It was only then that he noticed the girl.
"What the bloody hell!"
Buffy saw the boy coming to meet her. He looked to be Dawn's age, and he sat his broom well, she thought. He wore glasses. His hair was a black mess. It looked like it couldn't make up its mind which way to point so it was pointing every which way. She'd had nightmares about her hair looking just like that and was afraid it probably did right about now. Damn air hair.
Oh no no no. Buffy began to wave the boy off, her arms flapping wildly. Buffy had always been good at trajectories, and now she was one. It was clear that she was about to fly smack dab into him.
There was time for one "WATCH OUT!" from her and one "I'VE GOT YOU!" from him and then SMACK! they were trying to occupy the same point in space at the same time.
The sound of their collision could be heard for miles, or at least kilometers.
It hurt too.
"Arggg," sputtered Harry as the air in his lungs departed for healthier climes. He was sure all his ribs were broken. Perhaps twice. And he hadn't stopped her. He wrapped his arms frantically around the thin girl and held on to her tightly. The force of her impact had knocked him and his broom backwards, tumbling girl and boy and broom head over heels in a whirling dirvish tangle of arms and legs and broom handle. Harry had slowed her only a little, but he was dimly aware in an upside down rightside up upside down sort of way that they were now losing altitude.
"I've got you, Harry!" yelled Ron.
Buffy saw the redheaded kid flying at them. She tried to warn him off, but her mouth and lungs were not cooperating with her tongue to the extent that sounds coming from her were in any way comprehensible. She did manage one small "urff", but it was a pitiful effort at best. The smashup with the first broom kid had hurt like the dickens. She wondered if one of his parents might have been a brick wall. She heard the kid moan a weak "Ron" then.....
SMASH CRASH BAM BOOM! and there were three people and two brooms spinning wildly past the end goals of the Quidditch field. CRASH! and a shrill MR. POTTER! was cut off mid squawk as Madam Hooch joined the maze of arms and legs and brooms racing towards Hogwarts.
Draco Malfoy, intent on chasing the Snitch, suddenly found himself in the path of an invisible tornado that had already snatched up a strange girl, a Potter, a Weasley, a Madam Hooch, and the Golden Snitch. Not to mention three brooms and other accoutrements.
He jerked his broom to one side.
Now there were five.
Whacking into Harry had slowed Buffy down. So had whacking into Ron. Not to mention the Madam Hooch whacking. The addition of Draco Malfoy to their little family of flailing limbs also helped bleed off speed. Each addition of mass killed off momentum, and the juggernaut wasn't done yet.
Ginny Weasley, playing Chaser for Gryffindor, swooped bravely in close to the whirling mass and stuck out a hand to grab Harry's left foot as it whizzed past. She squeaked as her arm was nearly jerked out of its socket, but she didn't let go.The juggernaut snatched her up, spinning her clear around its perimeter twice before sucking her in.
Crabbe and Goyle, Slytherin Beaters, stared in slow horror at the oncoming bodies, rooted in their shoes; well, on their brooms at any rate. They would have gotten out of the way, because they really had no desire to help, but that would have required quick thinking on their parts and neither had the parts for quick thinking. Then the onslaught was upon them, and they were one with the force.
The juggernaut in the next few seconds added one Gryffindor Beater, two Slytherin Chasers, and then two more Gryffindors. The Slytherin Keeper saw the choas approaching and deserted his post though the threat had not yet reached mid-field. Each pickup slowed the whole mass down and brought it closer to the ground. Lower and lower it went. Slower and slower, it drifted in for a landing.
Then earth and juggernaut met with a tumbling of kicking legs and waving arms and shooting brooms and flaring robes. For a breathless moment the mass retained integrity, but as it rolled down the field it began to lose cohesion, heaving Beaters here, Chasers there, and brooms everywhere. When it finally ground to a stop with a grass stained squeech, it was mostly just Buffy and Harry and Ron and Draco Malfoy.
Buffy hit the ground with a shoulder roll and tumbled for yard after grassy yard until she rolled gracefully to her feet as the last of the momentum died away. She automatically crouched in a fighting stance then straightened up, embarrassed. She was not sure what to do with her hands. Standing there, she stared back along her wake, grimacing at the bodies scattered behind her. She was the only one standing. She felt a little shakey, mostly in her stomach, but she was the Slayer, and her landing had been a lot less painful than she'd feared when she first popped out of the portal. Buffy looked again at her victims who were now stirring. Also moaning and groaning. "My bad," said Buffy contritely. Still, no one looked to be badly hurt.
She looked down at her feet. The blacked haired boy's glasses were all crooked on his face. "Are you all right?" he said weakly, though she was standing, and he looked like he'd just gone through the dryer without the fabric softener.
"Sorry about all this," said Buffy.
"Think nothing of it," said Harry. He waved away her words with a limp hand. Buffy thought he looked very cute.
Just then the Snitch popped up again. Buffy's hand shot out. This time she caught it.
Buffy heard a terrible moan and looked down to see a boy with hair so blond it was almost white. He reminded her of Spike. He was looking at her with pleading eyes. Totally tangled with the other two boys, he gave another pitious moan and reached a shakey hand towards her and the little yellow ball. Buffy gave it to him.
A whistle blasted the air.
Madam Hooch, who had levered herself up on one elbow, squeaked, "Slytherin wins!" and fell back flat on the field.
"Bloody hell, girl! Why'd you do that?" yelled Ron with as much strength as he could muster.
"He looked needy," said Buffy.
"Does anyone have a comb?"