AN I'd like to thank all of those whom have dropped a review and offered their advice. Also I'd like to thank James Axelrad for his ongoing help.
DISCLAIMER- I do not own Harry Potter or Ranma ½, they belong to their respective owners.
Draco Malfoy was not a happy young man as he made his way onto the Hogwarts Express, in the past month he had lost; his home, a large chunk of his family's fortune, and more importantly prestige. It did occur to the young man that the losses had happened due to his father's actions but he himself did not blame his father for he was just doing the right thing. Muggles were like a disease and needed to be dealt with before they completely corrupted wizarding kind.
Unfortunately for Draco, ever since the loss of Malfoy manor, he had been lectured on his attitude by his mother about how if he wasn't careful it would bring him to ruin just like it had his father and then the Malfoy name would loose all it's remaining prestige. He had scoffed at that, if his father was to be believed then the Dark Lord had already returned and it was just a matter of time before his father was set free, after all his father was one of the inner circle and the Dark lord must see the benefit of rewarding loyalty. Then once his father had been set free the Malfoy name would regain tenfold what they had lost because of their loyalty to the Dark Lord.
Perhaps the most contributing factor to Draco's mood though was the attitude that his mother had chosen to take. She had been furious at his father for getting caught and for costing them so much, when it could have been prevented with proper planning. Though the only facts that they had been able to garnish from Aurors and family connections were that his father had openly assaulted Potter only to have Potter's mysterious older brother step in and defeat him in a duel. That in its self was laughable because Draco figured it would be a cold day in hell before any Potter got the better of a Malfoy.
Despite his feelings on the matter though, it was apparent to Draco that this new Potter had defeated his father, as the Daily Prophet and the Aurors that had seized Malfoy Manor had basically said the same thing. Frowning as he picked out a compartment to wait for Crabby and Goyle before he made his way to the Prefects meeting, Draco decided that he would not be able to treat the new Potter like how he treated his nemesis as the implications of Ranma's strength and skill were supposedly vastly superior to his own. And while Draco didn't necessarily believe that he figured that being a true Slytheryn he would act behind the scenes, and then he would get his revenge. After all nobody offers charity to a Malfoy and gets away with it.
Neville Longbottom was in high spirits with his face filled with determination as he left his escort of Aurors to climb onboard the Hogwarts Express, after years of seeing his parents in a near vegetative state with no improvement, he finally had something to be happy for. His parents were recovering. Sure the process was slow and the road to recovery was still a long one but earlier in the morning as he was getting his trunk ready for the trip to Hogwarts there had been a breakthrough. His mother had hugged him and cried because for a few minutes she had recognized him as her son. But the good news did not stop there, no while his mother was hugging him his father had entered the room and placed his hand on Neville's shoulder, there were no words spoken but after the hug had broken up Neville caught something in his fathers eyes. At first he had been unsure as to what it was as Neville had never been much of a people person but his Gran had known and as he walked out of the room she had whispered to him, "He's proud of you."
That had caused Neville to stop and think for a moment, his Gran had always been a strict but fair woman and complements were never given lightly but what had he done to make his father proud? He had never really done anything special, he had a hard time in school, though he seemed to be getting better with the exception of his dismal grades in Potions. As Neville had gone upstairs to grab his trunk, he decided though that whatever happens this year he would make sure that his fathers praise was not empty, that when he returned at the end of term both his parents would have something to be proud about when they saw him.
But the first and foremost thought on his mind as he climbed onboard the train was to find Harry, as he owed the fellow Gryffindor brother a thank you and in his own eyes a life debt.
Ryouga Habiki sat, sullenly, all alone in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. His legs swung slightly, dangling from his perch as a constant reminder to his prepubescent state. He hated being a kid again and had begged the old man Dumbledore to allow himself to find a cure for his current predicament. The answer had been a firm, "No." as he was told that Aging Mushrooms are extremely rare and dangerous and that he was lucky to have his age restored the last time he had used them.
To further darken the not so lost boys mood was the fact that as it turned out, Ryouga felt that the old wizard had reneged on his promise to help him control his families curse. Sure the Headmaster had stated that that just wasn't the case, rather it was that Ryouga would have to wait until he had a better grasp of magic and at least be a few years older before he could be properly instructed on how to control his directional curse. Though part of the reason was that due to his reduced age he no longer had access to the skill, as it would not manifest itself until he was twelve to thirteen.
The only good news that Ryouga had was the fact that his Magical education had been paid for completely. That was the only small comfort in the whole mess, as he had managed to find out the down side of using ageing mushrooms. Last time he had used them, it had been only for a short while so the side effects did not have time to manifest themselves. However, that was no longer the case as he had been approximately 11 years old for a few months now.
Ryouga had known that when he was de-aged the first time he had lost a lot of his enhanced strength that had come with him being nearly full grown so it was expected that he would lose a lot of that on his second exposure. What had not been expected though was the fact that his ki had begun to diminish and match what it had been the first time he had been 11. Even worse though was the fact that because he had not been spending his time training as he had been too busy sulking over his disposition, that his body was becoming even weaker at an accelerated pace, meaning that he could no longer carry his umbrella. He had been horrified when he realized how much his strength had degraded, Sure he was still two to three times stronger than a normal kid but the last time he had been eleven he had been two to three times stronger than most adults.
Ryouga could not even partake in the joy of his curse no longer being a water magnet, as it seems that the Magic surrounding Hogwarts absorbs the chaotic magic that all cursed victims radiate, meaning so as long as he was on Hogwarts grounds he wouldn't have to worry about random transformations, or so he had been told. His curse was still there but now the only way he would transform is by regular chance, though the old man Dumbledore had taken pity on him and set a charm on his clothes to where as long as he was wearing his robes water would not touch him. But instead of taking small comfort in that Ryouga focused on the fact that all the teachers knew about him turning into a pig and once he was assigned to a house his housemates would be told as well. There was an upside to it though as Ryouga had been informed that he would be receiving animegnus lessons from professor McGonnall as the professor had came across an old scroll that would allow him to control his pig curse.
"Can I sit with you."?
Ryouga jerked out of his musings to noticed a sandy haired young girl around his apparent age, shuffling her feet shyly at the door to his compartment. He stared at the girl whom seemed to look at him without judgment or malice and started to feel better. Ever since his families curse had manifested itself Ryouga had felt as if everyone he met looked down on him for his inability to get to point a to point b without going through points e through z.
If he were to be honest with himself then perhaps that was the reason that he had latched so firmly on his rivalry with Ranma, sure to a certain extent it had been about martial arts and a slight on his own honor but mostly it was a means to mask what he did not want to feel. That being the pitying looks of every Tobi, Diasuke and Haruki.
Deep down though Ryouga could feel that the girl standing at the doorway was not looking at him the same way people did when he had been older and that granted him a sense of hope. Hope that this time things could be different as he was going to be at the right place at the right time to learn what would be necessary for him not have to go through the same things he had last time he had grown up. Perhaps this time things could be different and he wouldn't be forced to leave his friends behind due to his inability to get somewhere.
So it was with the thought that maybe this time he wouldn't be alone all the time and have a chance at having some real friends he answered, "Uhm… Sure."
"Thank you." The girl sighed as she stepped into the compartment. "I'm so nervous… Three weeks ago I didn't even know magic was real…"
As Ryouga listened to the girl nervously continue on, he began realize that he had been looking at things the wrong way. That what had happened was not a personal disaster caused by his rival. That now he had an opportunity to better himself so that he would not be forced to be alone again. It was then that he realized that instead of focusing on how his bad luck had managed to ruin his life he should be focusing on what opportunities he was being given, mainly a new start. One in which he would not be considered second best to Saotome or whatever he called himself. One in which his two most humiliating curses were for all extensive purposes nullified until he would have complete control over them.
Leaning back in his seat and smiling a real non-delusional smile for the first time in a long time Ryouga could not resist feeling happy for himself.
Ranma stared at the long line consisting of redheads, her brother and his friends, that were lined up to enter platform 9 and 3 quarters. She had decided to follow them discretely from a distance with Tonks just incase something happened and she had to step in. The reason why she was currently in female form and not with the other group was that she had a cover to maintain and until Harry pulled the memories out of her mind she would maintain it.
Ranma frowned to herself, she really didn't understand why she needed to ride the train as she could just have her Phoenix take her to the school but Lu had disagreed with her. He had told her that since his honor guard along with the rest of the transfer students from the valley were delayed by a day that this was an excellent opportunity to reinforce her cover. At least Ranma had Tonks to keep her company. She supposed that perhaps she owed the Minister of Magic a thank you but then again Tonks was there to spy on her male form as well as Harry and then report directly back to Fudge and senior Undersecretary Umbridge.
Ranma had not been surprised to learn that there was a plot to oust Dumbledore from his job as well as one to sabotage Harry's schooling. Well not just Harry's, according to Tonks the plan was to reaffirm the belief that Voldemort had not returned by means of steadfast denial. Basically with Umbridge taking over, as the DADA instructor part of her goal was to insist that there was no need to learn the practical's as there was no real threat out there.
Ranma had taken all that in stride though, as it didn't really matter, if things got too far out of hand then He and Sirius would step in and assert their seats on the Hogwarts board of governors. Already his godfather was lining up a list of 'great' new ideas to pitch at the rest of the Board, like a school holiday on April first where it's prank or be pranked as well as once a month mandatory shaving's of Mrs. Norris.
Ranma had wondered at that, most women she knew would never want to be covered in hair, and with the exception of cologne, who had a bit of a stash growing, she didn't know any overly hairy women.
Feeling someone giving her arm a tug, Ranma looked up and noticed that Tonks attempting to drag her forward while at the same time push their trolley towards the magical entrance that would lead them to the Hogwarts express. Feeling slightly embarrassed that Tonks was pushing the cart Ranma went to try to take the cart away from her.
"Let me help…"
"I was wondering when you were going to stop daydreaming and give me a hand with this…"
With her cheeks flushed in embarrassment over having momentarily spacing out Ranma muttered an apology and began to push the cart towards the entrance to platform 9 and ¾.
Tonks wanting to double-check a few things asked, "Do you remember your name?"
"I'm not totally daft you know." Replied Ranma, letting a bit of her newly acquired British slang into play.
"I know that… Sooo…"
Rolling her eyes Ranma replied, "Mauve Rowan, I'm a fifth year student who was home schooled by a friend of my aunt Maggie's."
Nodding in satisfaction Tonks asked, "Why?"
"Because my mother had been killed 15 years ago in a Death Eater raid and my Aunt decided that I would learn as much as I could about the non magical world before starting at Hogwarts, so that if she felt that things were going to get like they had been back then I could leave the magical world and still have most of the knowledge I would need to survive in the muggle world." Ranma droned having memorized her cover story from having it drilled in her head by Lu.
"Good… what's my name…"?
Ranma's brow furrowed in thought for a moment as if she had not yet committed Tonks cover identity to memory, just before Tonks was about to answer for her she replied, "Adelaide Tonks… Addy for short…" Hearing a low growl coming from her companion Ranma amended, "Tonks for short… You know that's not really that much of a cover identity… I mean you are going by the same name you always do… "
Tonks shrugged, truthfully she had not really put that much effort into her cover identity and just had figured that she could pretend to be her own cousin on her fathers side who had been home schooled by her mother/aunt in magic.
Of course in her report to the ministry of magic she had told them that she was bribing one Mauve Rowan to pretend to be old friends in order to further reinforce her cover identity. That had the added benefit of the ministry giving her a small increase in pay as Tonks mentioned that she had to keep the money flowing as long as she was under cover. Of course Ranma didn't know that but she figured the money would wind up being spent on Ranma one way or another.
Having pushed their cart into position to enter platform 9 and ¾ Tonks asked, "Who taught you magic and how do you know me?"
Ranma paused for a second and replied, "Andromeda Tonks, Your Aunt (or mother depending on which identity she was using) we were schooled together."
"Good you remembered." Glancing over at one of the stations many clocks she added, "Well we better get a move on it before we get left behind."
Harry paused at the entrance to the compartment and knocked, before he pushed the door open to peer inside and ask, "Do you mind if I join you?"
The sole occupant of the compartment, a long blond-haired girl with silvery eyes wearing radish earrings and a butter beer cap necklace answered back, "No, I suppose not."
Happy to finally be able to sit down again after searching the train for an empty compartment and not finding one Harry happily made his way inside and took a seat across from the young witch.
Harry shuffled in his seat, bursting with excitement and good cheer; he had not felt this way since his first year when magic was new to him. Glancing across to his compartment mate he blinked as he noticed that she was reading a newspaper. That in its self was not odd, the fact that she was reading it upside down was. He was about to make a comment on it when the girl peered at him from over the top of the paper and asked, "You seem to be in a really good mood…"
Harry nodded, truthfully he was in higher spirits then what he could ever remember and it was all thanks to his brother or rather the fact that he now had a brother. All other concerns were quickly taking a back seat, especially after having watched his brother handle the elder Malfoy with no trouble at all. Just seeing his brother in action that one time had done wonders for his attitude. As for the first time since he had found out about Voldemort he felt completely safe and worry free with the belief that his brother could easily dispatch the evil wizard. Then there was the fact that his brother had a whole army of skilled magical warriors under his command was just icing on the metaphorical cake.
"Do you mind if we join you?"
Harry shifted his attention to the doorway and after a brief bout in controlling his gaping mouth was able to smile and reply, "Sure, come on in the more the merrier." Though his thoughts were going a completely different direction, "Blimey… Ranma was right… It's starting already and I'm not even at school yet… The girls are going to be all over me… Hopefully they don't act like those girls back in Japan that Ranma was telling me about… I wonder though… Is there a spell that summons massive amounts of jello?"
"Huh…" Replied Harry, having spaced out temporarily for the second time in mere minutes.
"My name, I was introducing myself."
"Oh." Harry blushed, realizing that he had not asked for the blond's name before. "Harry Potter."
Giggling Luna replied, "I know. I wasn't talking to you."
"Huh…" Harry replied getting lost somewhere in the conversation before deciding to turn his attention to the two newcomers. They were around his age but he was fairly certain that he had not met them before but that was not really saying much because he hadn't met Luna before he stepped into the compartment.
Shifting his attention away from the blond across from him Harry turned his attention to the two newcomers and immediately noticed that they were sitting awfully close to each other which was weird because there was plenty of room on the bench for them to sit comfortably apart instead of nearly right on top of each other, with the shorter one, a well endowed red head sitting practically on top of the taller slender black haired girl. Though Harry had to admit to himself that the red head did look a bit anxious. There was something else though Harry thought as he shook his head in an attempt to figure out what he was feeling. The two girls were stirring up a sense of familiarity within him, the redhead more so than the other, but he knew he had never met either before. In an attempt to not to make a total fool out of himself as he realized that he was staring he asked, "What did you say your names were again?"
The black haired girl responded, "You must really 'ave been out of it… You can call me Tonks and this little lass is Mauve Rowan."
Harry blinked and asked, "Any relation to…" "What's her first name? I can't remember…" "I don't suppose you have a relative that's an Auror?"
"Ahh." Harry replied thinking that perhaps that was the reason on why he was feeling something familiar about them, though that still did not explain what he was feeling towards the redhead.
Ranma was feeling a bit uncomfortable with her position on top of Tonks lap, feeling as if everyone was staring at her. She supposed it was natural to feel that way given her history, especially when she thought about her time in Nerima. The only reason, well three reasons, on why Ranma was letting Tonks treat her this way were; they were officially dating now, though they were dating as Tonks the Auror and Ranma Potter. Two, Ranma recognized a need to become comfortable with showing some level of affection in public though she thought Tonks was going a bit overboard. And the final reason was purely due to Tonks convincing her that it would be a great prank if they both pretended to be very open lesbians while they were retaining their cover identities.
Ranma supposed the only part that was really pretend about the situation was the fact that she was open about being a lesbian as she had come across the realization during her stay at Tonks flat that she was a lesbian. Sure she knew that she wasn't attracted to guys long before that but before Tonks had come around she viewed her cursed form as a separate entity from herself and had not counted it as part of herself. Now though, with Tonks she was beginning to realize that both were parts of herself. No matter what form Ranma was in Tonks treated them basically the same, though there was a slight difference when Ranma was female as Tonks then tended to be a bit more dominate. That was not saying much as the slightly older witch was always a bit pushy, just not in a bad way.
Noticing that a slightly awkward silence had settled across the small cabin Ranma tried to relax into Tonks side and asked, "So what were you all talking about before we came in?"
"Harry was about to tell me how glad he was to find out that he had a brother." Luna answered before Harry had a chance.
"Oh is that Right?" Ranma replied with a bemused smile as she realized that she had the opportunity to find out what Harry really thought of her without him guarding his answers. Not that she felt he was doing so but she knew that she had been holding back some of her feelings from him, nothing bad she just thought Harry could loosen up some and stop worrying about everything, after all now that she was around there was nothing to worry about because that's what big brothers were for.
"Ohhh, that's right you are Harry Potter… I see the scar… My aunt tells me that my cousin has been seeing an awful lot of your brother… " Tonks offered, her voice taking on a conspiring tone.
Harry shrugged and replied, "I guess, Ranma hasn't really said anything."
"Oh is that so!" Tonks replied as her eyes narrowed and took on a slightly dangerous gleam that went unnoticed by Harry.
Sensing that she was on dangerous ground Ranma hurriedly shot out, "Perhaps… He doesn't want Harry thinking that he is being…. Uhm…. Pushed aside?!! You know seeing as they just met this summer… Besides your aunt said that they had just started dating within the past few day's… You know… Because Ranma was out of town for a week."
Tonks sighed taking the hint, realizing that Harry probably would not know much considering that he did not know any more than what he had seen first hand as the majority of the time they had spent together was with Ranma chan and Harry did not know about his brothers duality. "I suppose that that is a reasonable excuse… And I was really hoping for some good gossip on this mysterious Brother of yours Harry."
Harry shrugged away the feeling that he was missing something and replied, "I suppose if I hear something I could let you know."
Deciding to change the subject before the conversation steered even closer to her personal life Ranma asked, "Is it true that your brother beat Lucius Malfoy in a duel at the ministry?"
There was a brief rustling of paper as Ranma decided to relax before Luna replied, "There's a photo on page six."
"Huh…" Ranma replied as she thought the only pictures that had been released to the Daily Prophet were of Harry and her, him at the time, standing together with Sun Lu."
Holding up the picture Luna replied, "My father managed to get this picture from the ministries security office."
Ranma stifled a groan to herself as she looked at the picture, sure enough it was one of him after he had fought Malfoy but the most embarrassing part was the fact that it showed the only item of clothing left after Harry had helpfully banished his burnt clothes, that being the gleaming sliver cod piece, that she now realized drew a lot of attention to her or rather his package as the photo was one of those wizarding photos that moved and every time the Ranma in the photo moved a gleam of light would reflect off of the cod piece.
"Ooohhh, that's a much better picture than what the Daily Prophet had… Don't suppose you have an extra paper with you… So I can get a copy for my cousin."
"Sorry, I could order you a back copy… It seems that there was a miscalculation with the printers."
"Oh." Tonks replied feeling slightly down as she wasn't going to pay extra for a back copy of a paper for a small photo, even if the photo was frame worthy.
Of course at that moment Luna re folded the paper to a different page causing Ranma to nearly swallow her tongue as the entire backside of the paper was showing that there was a poster sized cutout of the smaller picture that Luna had just showed them.
"You said something about being able to back order that issue?" Tonks interjected over Ranma's stumbling and continued with, "Luna here must be the daughter of Xenophiles Lovegood, the editor of the Quibbler… I thought I recognized your name… Say that happened a while ago, why is your father running that picture now?"
"Oh this is the annual welcome back to Hogwarts special addition and my father always runs a small profile on new teachers. This year's copy is the first one ever to sell out, before I boarded the train my dad told me that there was a week back order for this edition."
Now that he understood what was going on Harry snickered in his seat feeling smug as he had managed to pull off a prank that just keeps pranking on his older brother without even trying.
Cursing the kami for her luck Ranma was distracted by a commotion at the door to the compartment.
"The nerve of some people… And you Ron are a prefect now it would not hurt if you would have backed me up a little."
"Come on Hermione it's just a picture, sides It's just Ranma."
"No Ron it's pornographic smut and it's a picture of your best friends brother… You should be more supporting… I have half a mind to write a letter to the editor of this Quibbler and give him a piece of my mind… taking photo's like that and placing them in a news paper… At least that little boy with the fangs helped me destroy some of them."
"Yeah… Weird little bugger… I wonder what was up with that kid, his eye kept twitching."
"Ron, Moine… Come on in." Harry called out, glad to have his friends around because of how awkward he was starting to feel by himself in a compartment full of girls.
"Hey there Harry, didn't see you in there, can't stay too long though… Hermione is dragging me up and down the train so she can confiscate some pictures of your brother." Ron answered seemly annoyed with his forced labor. "Don't see what the big deal of it is… I got plenty of pictures that show more, stuffed in my trunk."
Harry noticing that all the other girls in the cabin were looking at Ron rather strangely, with the exception of Hermione who was practically frothing at the mouth at the red headed boy's admission, unconsciously he shifted in his seat putting a bit more distance between himself and his best friend. Though he was grateful that Ron had not mentioned having naked pictures of him, meaning that hopefully Ron would just crush on Ranma and not make their friendship awkward.
Praying to whatever Kami were listening that Nabiki was still in Nerima and had not managed to track him down, Ranma cautiously asked, "And where did you get those from?"
Ron turned his jerked his head towards the voice, having been too busy arguing with Hermione and then talking to Harry to have taken notice of the two other occupants of the cabin, and immediately flushed as his eye's where drawn to the red heads chest. "Err… My brothers… bed and doors… gred and forge… Err.. I mean…" Taking in a deep breath to calm the raging fires of his libido that where set aflame with passion over the fellow redhead Ron finished, "Fred and George got them for me…" As
his eyes roamed all over Ranma's body, taking in her curves and idly noting her precarious position on top of a slender black haired girl.
"Oh…" Ranma stated, really wierded out over the fact that Fred and George were taking beefcake pictures of her in male form as she did not realize that Ron was talking about having pornographic material featuring women and not men.
Hermione frowned at Ron's behavior, unlike the others in the cabin she knew what Ron was talking about. However that was only a secondary concern as she was really starting to get annoyed at the way Ron was staring at the red head. Turning her head away from the frustrating git of a friend Hermione noticed another one of those dammed papers with the crotch shot of Ranma in it. Taking a few steps forward so she would be standing right in front of the girl she turned and said, "Excuse me, but I'm going to have to confiscate that."
"Why?" Luna asked.
Hermione stared at the younger girl and recognized her as a girl that she had seen talking to Ginny on a few occasions but failed to place a name with her face. Placing her hands on her hips Hermione stated, "Pornographic materials are not allowed within the halls of Hogwarts."
Luna gave Hermione a shocked look and replied, "It's hardly Pornographic, I should know."
"Oh why is that? Are you some sort of Judge on the matter?" Hermione fired back starting to get annoyed.
"As a matter of fact…"
But I did stay at a Witching Day Inn Express last night…"
Ignoring the need to ask how staying in a motel made Luna an expert on pornographic materials, Hermione waited for her to continue.
"But then my daddy is the editor of the Quibbler and I hardly think that he would willing give me porn…." Luna paused for a second to consider her words and then added, "Though I suppose that this could be his way of subtlety telling me that it's okay if I were to start dating and such."
Instead of responding to the girl Hermione just held out her hand making it clear that she wanted the paper.
Luna not wanting to part with her reading material sighed and asked, "Can you at least wait until after I'm done reading, there is this rather interesting article about how the ministry is secretly at war with the Goblins of Gringots and I would like to finish reading it."
Ranma shivered, feeling Tonks arm slide behind her to where it was obscured by her own body and the wall of the cabin. She nearly jumped when moments later the hand attached to said arm worked its way under her sweater and begin to lightly stroke her skin. Feeling torn between saying something , alerting others to her predicament and relaxing into the touch, Ranma decided on the latter as at least that way she could seemly ignore the way Ron was starring at her.
A short time later---
Ranma aka Mauve, Tonks, Luna, Harry sat alone in the compartment, Hermione and Ron having headed off to do their rounds, and in Hermoine's case confiscate as many editions of the Quibbler that she could find.
Though Ranma rather liked the girl and did not hold anything against her she could not help being relieved by the younger girls exit from the compartment as the entire time Hermione spent with them was rotated between glaring at the Quibbler in Luna's hand or at Ranma herself. Ranma wasn't entirely sure but was guessing that the glares had something to do with the way Ron kept looking at her. In some way's it was a reminder of her time spent in Nerima as Ron seemed to be a bit glassy eyed and vacant as he looked at her, reminiscent of a certain Blue Blunder.
Now that Harry's friends were gone though Ranma was free once more to lean back and enjoy the subtle ministrations that Tonks had been giving her. Not that she wasn't enjoying it before, but between Hermoine's glares and Ron's stares, Ranma had been getting a bit uncomfortable.
Hearing the compartment door slide open Ranma glanced over hoping that Hermione and Ron were still preoccupied with their quest to confiscate all of the copies of the Quibbler that they could find. At least Ranma hoped they were destroying them as she was getting mixed signals from Ron and really did not want the lad to be lusting after her or him.
So Ranma was greatly relieved when instead of two bickering teens a blond boy who looked entirely too self-absorbed stepped into the small compartment. Though for some reason Ranma felt that the boy looked awfully familiar but could not place his face.
Once Ron and Hermione had left Harry had reached into his over sized pockets and pulled out the disk man Ranma had bought him, so he could listen to music to help pass the time as the presence of three attractive women were making him feel a bit uncomfortable, but when the door opened and revealed a sneering Draco Malfoy, he could not help but be annoyed as Draco's appearance meant that he was not going to be able to enjoy his music. Sighing forlornly Harry flatly said, "Draco."
Stepping into the compartment Draco held his tongue, in an effort to not say the first thing that came to his mind, which was probably some sort of rude remark about Luna. His eye's darting around the cabin to take in its occupants Draco smoothly replied, "Now, now Potter, I'm just going about my rounds no need to have a fit."
Harry snorted and replied, "Sure… And I'm the bloody king of England."
Draco took in a deep breath, he knew that Potter was baiting him but also realized that he could not afford to slip back into old patterns if he were to get his revenge on his nemesis' brother. Unclenching his fist Draco replied, "Honestly Potter, No need to be so self absorbed, the whole world doesn't involve around you you know. As I said, I was just doing my Rounds, I am a Prefect after all."
Harry nodded slightly, if Draco was not going to pick a fight then he'd let him be as he had more pressing things to worry about, like how the bloody hell Ranma could call the Bengal's music, as that had been the first CD on the pile, thus Harry had grabbed it thinking that Ranma must have liked it, not knowing that Ranma had set aside the entire pile to give to Tonks as he did not like those CD's.
Turning his attention away from his nemesis Draco focused his gaze on the other three members of the compartment. He immediately recognized 'Loony Lovegood' but the other two he had never seen before.
Dismissing 'Loony' He focused on the other two and summoned his famed charms and said, "Ladies you must forgive my friend over there, it seems as if he's still a bit miffed over my last prank from last year." Then shifting his posture to stand strait he bowed and said, "Draco Malfoy at your service, fifth year prefect and the seeker on Slytheryn's Quidditch team."
Ranma rolled her eyes at the blond boy; now that she knew his last name she realized why he seemed familiar, as the boy was a spitting image of the elder Malfoy. She had been about to respond but Tonk's beat her to it with, "Charmed I'm sure."
Mistaking Tonk's flat reply for interest Draco continued, "I've not seen you about before and you look a bit mature to be first year students."
Tonks shrugged and replied, "We were both home schooled."
"Ah' Draco thought, thinking that both of the witches must come from pureblood families then as they were the only ones with the resources to properly home school their children, though that also meant that the two girls families might have been too poor to send them to Hogwarts their first year.
After pausing to make it look like she was deep in thought, Tonks continued with, "Actually, we were taught by your aunt."
Draco shivered at that thought for a second before he realized that they were talking about his mother's muggle loving sister and not the talented one who was wasting away in Azkaban. But just thinking of his Muggle loving Aunt made himself shiver once more. Realizing now who had taught the two girls Draco decided to make his exit before he said something that would ruin his plans for the Potter family as he needed to get Harry's guard down.
The rest of the train ride went by fairly quickly for Ranma as she managed to fall asleep. Thus she missed it when Neville Longbottom entered to talk to Harry about herself.
Tonks looked down at the redhead leaning on her shoulder as she slept and wondered how she should go about waking her up. Looking around the cabin she thought about waking her up with a steamy kiss as that would probably blow Harry and Ron's minds as well as most likely set Hermione off on her. Cackling evilly in her own mind she almost missed Hermione ask her something. "I'm sorry what was that?"
Hermione frowned, and stated, "I said we are almost there and it might be a good idea to wake your friend up so that she can slip on her school robes."
"Ah… Sure no problem, my shoulder was falling asleep anyway." Tonks replied dismissively, having a bit of fun with the entire situation. Having not thought up any other ideas on how to wake Ranma up she settled for her original idea and gently changed positions to allow herself better access to the redhead.
Ranma had been having the strangest dream, first she had been battling Godzilla and wrecking Tokyo while having a blast doing it. Then Ranma felt himself turn into a girl. She briefly looked down to briefly confirm it but when she looked back up Godzilla was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly though she felt some begin to fondle her shapely rear and much to her surprise she found herself enjoying it and thus was in no hurry to turn around and confront the groper. But she knew that with Godzilla on the loose she had no time for pleasantries and needed to get back to randomly destroying buildings…
Err… Cautiously seeking out the real monster.
As soon as she began to turn around the fondling stopped, making Ranma even more cautious. But before she finished turning around the dream morphed, replacing the semi destroyed area of Tokyo with a grassy plain full of colorful flowers and large shady trees whose branches were swaying in the soft breeze making it seem like they were in tune to the pleasant romantic music that was emanating softly from an unknown source.
No sooner had she managed to turn around when suddenly she caught movements off to the side and immediately shifted her vision ignoring what was in front of her in favor of the pleasant sight to her side.
It should be noted that the pleasant sight Ranma was staring at involved puppies.
Puppies that were ruthlessly ripping apart small demons…
Small demons that looked suspiciously a lot like small Kittens…
Small kittens that were in fact small Kittens that were being ripped apart by cute little puppies.
Ranma idly wiped away a small droplet of mist that had appeared on her cheek from watching the heart warming display the cute little puppies were putting on and reluctantly turned her attention back to what was in front of her and paused.
Because there standing in front of her was Godzilla, with hands on hips and its foot tapping as if the giant monster was annoyed for some reason. Raising an eyebrow Ranma shot off with, "What? It's my dream and if I want to see Puppies being happy then that's what I want and no two bit monster is going to guilt me into thinking otherwise."
Much to Ranma's surprise though her taunt seemed to fall upon deaf ears as Godzilla just arched an eyebrow in return.
What happened next totally caught the currently female martial artist/witch/wizard off guard as the giant beast lunged forward.
Ranma expecting an attack went to shift her position ever so slightly in an effort to use the monsters own momentum against itself.
Instead of attacking though Ranma-chan found herself within the monsters clutches as it began to lightly stroke her with its hand/paws/claws. She opened her mouth to protest but was cut off by Godzilla's attempt to neck with her.
In the real world, one not filled with the heart-warming scenes that occupied Ranma's mind, Tonks was enjoying herself and the opportunity presented to her.
As Tonks deepened the kiss she could not help but grin to herself with satisfaction as she distinctly heard: an indignant gasp of shock, a "Blimey" followed by a loud thud, a dreamy voice state, "Aww… That's soo sweet…" and finally what she assumed was Harry's response, "Better her than me." Which made her wonder as that was not the response she had been expecting.
Nor had she been expecting Ranma to awake suddenly, jerking out of her grasp in the process.
Staring at the redhead in concern she asked lightly, "Something wrong?"
Confused from the sudden shift from fantasy to reality Ranma nodded and muttered to herself, "Oh its just Tonks… Thought you were a giant monster intent on having your way with me…"
Tonks looked at the smaller girl warily and decided she was better off not asking and instead offered, "We are almost to Hogsmead, and you might want to slip on your robes."
--- Hogsmead Station –
Ranma followed behind Tonks and a throng of students as they filed off of the train. Hearing a woman call out, "First years this way please." Ranma turned to Tonks and asked, "So where do we go now?"
Grabbing onto Ranma's hand Tonks replied, "We'll be taking the carriages with the students our age… Didn't you read the letter that Professor McGonagall sent you?"
Ranma shrugged and replied, "No…" "Hey Tonks?"
"Wizards don't torture horses for fun do they?"
"No Mauve they do not… Well most don't… Why?" Tonks stated flatly.
Shuffling slightly Ranma replied, "Well, how do you explain those then?" pointing at a creature with; large blank like eye's, a dragonish looking face, with a long black mane coming down the back of its neck, or rather the bony skeletal looking thing that Ranma was assuming was a neck. Then just as they approached the carriage the creatures large leathery wings spread out making it seem as if the creature was stretching.
Now seeing what Ranma was talking about but assuming that she was referring to what pulled the carriages, Tonks just replied, that's a Thestral… You can see it?"
Ranma nodded and replied, "Yeah… Why is there something wrong?"
No no." Tonks answered, "It's just that only those that have seen death are able to see them."
Ranma just shrugged, she had seen death but its not like that particular death had been a permanent thing.
Ranma sat with Tonks and two other students, having lost sight of Harry and his friends while leaving the train, onboard the carriage as it rolled along towards their final destination. The late afternoon mist combined with the slight rise that the carriage was making its way up blocked the view before them. But ever so slowly the Castle of Hogwarts was revealed in all its glory.
Having partaken in the breathtaking sight before Tonks leaned over into Ranma's ear and whispered, "It's quite the sight…"
Ranma shrugged, to her while impressive in size the Castle looked among the gloomier places she had ever seen.
Mistaking Ranma's disinterest for awe, Tonks gladly settled back into her seat so her girlfriend could immerse herself fully into the beauty of Hogwarts.(1)
Moments later the carriage slowed to a slop right in front of some stone steps that led to a rather impressive set of solid wood doors. Taking the other two students example Ranma and Tonks followed them out and were about to follow them up the stairs when they caught sight of Professor McGonagall.
"There you two are." She said in a no nonsense sort of way, "I was looking for you at the station. There has been a slight change of plans. Instead of being sorted before the first years you two will come in afterwards and then be sorted." Pausing for a moment and looking around to make sure that no one was eavesdropping She continued with, "I have been instructed to give this to you, Mauve, it's from Dumbledore." At that moment she held out her hand revealing a small necklace with what looked to be an hourglass surrounded by a circle.
Not sure what to say Ranma said, "Err thanks… Jewelry isn't really my thing though… It's very nice and probably expensive… But…"
Holding up her hand Minerva stated, "Miss Tonks can explain to you what it is and how to use it…" Shooting the Metamorphmagi a look she added, "Right?"
"Ah… Sure thing Professor."
"Good if that is all then… You two just follow me and I will show you where to wait until it's time for you to be sorted.
Having been led through a series of hallways until they came upon a large group of children waiting behind a massive wooden door and then instructed to wait there until she came back to fetch them Ranma and Tonks stood silently and off to the side as the professor started to round up the children who were now occupied with gawking at the two older girls.
Within the group of children stood one Ryouga Habiki who for once was happily chatting away with kids who were seemly his age and thus was totally oblivious to the arrival of his long time rival. For a time, anyway.
"Hey Ryouga?" Called the sandy haired girl from the train, whose name happened to be Claire.
"Yeah…" answered Ryouga; still in awe of the impressive sights he had seen through his trek to the Castle even though he had been living there for several weeks.
"Look over there… They look a little big to be first years…" Claire drawled out with a giggle.
Ryouga shifted his attention and stopped dead in dread. There not even fifteen feet away from him was his eternal rival. In his perverted female form to boot and to make the sight even more infuriating she was holding hands with another girl. However instead of the usual anger and rage that Ryouga felt when he saw his Nemesis there was nothing… No anger… No rage… No depression… Nothing…
Well perhaps not totally nothing as the only thing Ryouga felt at that moment was fear.
Fear that Ranma would see him and mock him for his misfortune.
Fear that the other kids would then start in at him two.
Most of all he was afraid that his new friend Claire would get hearts in her eyes and yell out, "Oh look it's my fiancée, Ranma Saotome, I'm sorry Ryouga… But now that Ranma is here we no longer need to be friends, besides you're just a little pig who gets lost all the time."
He was about to scream in frustration when he felt someone poking him in his arm. Turning his head his eyes fell across the seemly worried face of Claire as she asked tentatively, "Ryouga? Are you okay??? For a second there it looked like you were looking at a ghost."
Realizing that he had let his own imagination get the best of him again Ryouga replied, "It's nothing… She just looks like someone I used to know."
"Don't look now… But it looks like the someone who looks like the someone you used to know is heading this way." Came the hushed reply from his friend.
Ranma and Tonks had just been standing there out of the way while the Professor was attempting to sort out the excited children when a familiar looking bandanna caught Ranma's eye. Focusing on it she smiled happily and dragged Tonks forward.
Normally Ranma might be a little cautious about approaching Ryouga especially while holding onto someone other than Akane's hand but in this case she really needed to talk to him, or at least get him to agree not to blow her cover by yelling something like, "Ranma… Prepare to die for…"
Stopping short of her intended target she put on her most charming smile in the hopes that he would listen before he attacked as they were friends after all. Clearing her voice she said, "Hey there Ryouga, who's your friend?"
Ryouga turned around carefully, expecting the insults to come at any moment and was subsequently caught off guard when his fierce rival smiled warmly down at him. Confused at the situation he did the only thing that he could think of and replied, "This is Claire. We met on the train."
Ranma nodded and smiled at the sandy haired girl before she asked, "Ryouga, can I speak to you for a moment… Alone…" Then as an after thought she added, "Please!"
Ryouga nodded slowly still not sure as to what was going on as he never remembered Ranma being that nice to him before.
As Ranma led Ryouga away from the other first years she sent a glance to Professor McGonagall hopefully letting her know that she really needed to talk to Ryouga. Glancing down at her Rival sometime friend she could not help but notice the changes that had appeared in him just in the short time that she had seen him last. Sure he was still a kid but Ranma was noticing something else. She briefly wondered at that but then realized that in the short time that she had left Phoenix Mountain she had grown a considerate amount as a person.
The Ryouga following her seemed to be missing that fury that lead to almost all of their fights. Instead she was seeing a young boy who had been minutes ago talking happily with a friend. She could also sense that Ryouga seemed nervous for some reason and Ranma hoped that he was not still upset over what she had told him in Diagon Alley. Though at the time she had meant every word of it but now she thought that she had been a bit too harsh on her rival/friend.
Feeling that they were now far enough away from the others to talk privately Ranma knelt down and looked at Ryouga in the eye, noticing the now younger boy flinched slightly Ranma attempted to put him at ease with, "Relax, I'm not going to start nothing. I just needed to talk to you for a second about why I'm here."
Ryouga bristled slightly, almost resenting the way Ranma was talking to him and fired back, but reigned himself in before he lost his temper recognizing that Ranma was not trying to be hostile with him.
Ranma sighed softly and said, "Look… Ryouga… About what happened in Diagon Alley."
"What of it?" Ryouga asked, flinching at the way he had been beaten by Ranma.
"I said some things… And… Look, I know you haven't had it easy and all but…" Sighing in aggravation over not being to articulate what she was attempting to say Ranma blurted out, "I was wrong to treat you like that. You're a martial artist. A damn good one and I should have taken that fight a little more seriously and not treated you like a child… It's just that you were there when I told everyone my intentions and broke off all my engagements and then you showed up blaming me for everything again and I guess I sort of got a little ticked off about it and…"
"No… It's all right… I was in the wrong. I kept blaming you for my problems when I knew it was my fault… I guess it was just easier that way, well easier than admitting the truth." Ryouga nearly whispered back.
Ranma sighed in relief, things were going better than she expected and decided to change the subject before it got too uncomfortable for either of them. "Besides apologizing there is something else I need to talk to you about, but first I need you to swear on your honor that you won't tell anybody… Ok???"
Ryouga looked at his now older rival, sizing her up, she did not seem to be messing with him at all and was actually coming across as being sincere. Finally after a few moments of intense scrutiny Ryouga nodded and replied, "I swear on my honor that I will not repeat to anybody what ever you are about to tell me."
Ranma nodded and replied, "Thanks… Listen, you know why I came here right?"
"To meet your brother."
"Right… Well turns out he's got his nutcase after him. This guy has tried several times to kill him and actually is the one who killed our parents."
Ryouga having already overheard a few conversations on the matter nodded simply.
Ranma paused briefly to make sure that Ryouga was still following her and after receiving a curt nod she continued with, "Well basically, what I'm doing is keeping an eye out for this guy but to do so I sort of need to be able to stick by close enough so I can protect him. So in addition to being the combat instructor and part of the deal I originally made with Dumbledore, I am going to pretend to be a new student while at the same time use my male form for teaching combat to any of those interested."
Ryouga looked thoughtful as he considered his options, he knew he could spill the beans and put Ranma on the spot. Did that really solve anything though? Sure part of him still wanted to destroy Ranma's happiness, it had been apart of his mantra for so long that even with things looking up, as they were, that doing that one thing would be icing on the cake. However the newer part of Ryouga was having difficulties thinking like that as part of him wanted to put the past behind him and move on.
In the end though it came down to a really simple question and that was; did he really want to start off on this new life doing something that the old Ryouga would have done? He was pretty sure that the new him that he was idealizing in his own mind was better than that. That his honor was impeccable and worthy of the new friends he had made in the past few hours. Sure they were kids, but when he looked in the mirror he failed to see the troubled young man he had been as he could only see a confused and lonely child.
Deciding that the right thing to do was to go along and help Ranma by not mentioning anything about whom he really was Ryouga said, "I won't say anything to anyone, but if you make me regret it I'll shout it from the highest tower."
Ranma had to check herself as she had almost went and given her long time rival a hug. Smiling brightly she said, "I knew I could count on you… Thanks a lot buddy. I really mean it."
Ryouga blushed and silently cursed Saotome and her dammed cute female body, as it was hard not to blush when she acted all grateful and sincere. Turning his head so that Ranma would not see him blush he muttered, "Well I'm not doing this for you… I'm doing it for me… I have a second chance here and I don't want to ruin it with bad karma."
This time Ranma did not fight her budding instincts and enveloped the now younger boy in a hug while whispering in his ear, "I hope things turn out better for you this time buddy… Just remember if you need anything… Let me know ok and I'll see what I can do… After all what are friends for?"
As he felt Ranma pull away from him Ryouga nodded and replied, "Yeah friends…" The thought of being friends, real friends, with the former Saotome reminded Ryouga about his new friend Claire. Turning his head he noticed that the rest of the first years were starting to move through the doors. Turning his attention back to Ranma he stated, "I got to get going… Maybe I'll stop by one of your combat lessons and show them how it's really done."
Chuckling Ranma replied, "Any time… Any time…"
As Ranma watched Ryouga walk away she could not help but let a small sad smile grace her lips. So many things had changed in the past few months and surprisingly almost all of the changes were for the better. But somehow Ryouga's offer to sit in on a few of her sessions felt a bit empty, like she had lost the best sparring partner she had ever had.
She knew why it felt empty though, thanks to the scrolls given to her from Saffron, Herb, and the Amazons she had began master her ki and part of that mastery came with the ability to sense the ki in others and according to her senses Ryouga's ki was diminishing quickly while the energy Ranma had begun to label magic was increasing. She figured that eventually the levels would even up with each other but unless Ryouga worked at it his ki would barely match up to Akane's. Though she figured with the magic in his system perhaps he would be at about the same level he had been, it just depended on what Ryouga wanted to do.
"Everything squared away with your friend?" Tonks asked softly.
Wrapping her arm around Ranma, Tonks asked, "Want to talk about it."
"Naw… I'll be fine… It's just we've been through a lot together and now I think that it's pretty much over."
"Over as friends? Or, over as Rivals?" Tonks asked, having already privy to Ranma's past history with the fanged boy.
Ranma shook her head, her smile brightening she replied, "Over as rivals."
Guiding Ranma over towards the doors so they could hear the sorting Tonks gave her sometimes girlfriends shoulder a loving squeeze and said, "Well, friends are always good to have."
Her eye's focusing on the back of the no longer lost boy's head Ranma simply replied, "Yeah."
Ranma watched as the procession of first year students entered the hall and noticed that the massive door was now slowly closing, cutting them off from the room until they were to be sorted. It was a sorting in name only as both her and Tonks were to be placed in Griffindor's House so that they could stay close to Harry.
Just as the doors were about to fully close Ranma looked over to the head table and froze. Sitting, in between Lu and small old man that Ranma had not yet met, was a carbon copy of her male body. Ranma went to lung forward but was quickly restrained by Tonks.
"What are you doing??? Didn't you see that imposter?" Ranma cried out breaking free from Tonks hold.
"Ranma" Tonks hissed, "Stop… You don't understand."
Ranma paused her fist just seconds away from breaking a hole through the door and quickly fired out, "Harry could be in danger, I'm not about to fail him."
"Ranma relax, that's not an imposter…"
Ranma snorted and replied, "What do you mean, 'He's not an imposter.' I'm Ranma… I'm right here… So since there is only one of me that means that that Ranma is a fake."
Groaning in exasperation Tonks stated, "That necklace the Professor gave you is called a time-turner… It allows you to go back in time a few hours at a time.
Ranma allowed her arm to fall to her side as she turned around and asked, "So the guy I say in there…"
"That was you from the future." Tonks finished.
Embarrassed over her out burst Ranma stared down at her feet, not daring to look Tonks in her eyes because of the fact that she could have easily hurt her girlfriend all because she hadn't had a full grasp of the situation.
Noticing Ranma's distress, Tonks stepped forward and quickly reassured her with, "Come on now… None of that… See I'm fine… Besides it was a perfectly reasonable reaction." Taking her right arm and reaching out Tonks used slowly lifted up Ranma's head so that she could look into her eyes. "See, I'm perfectly fine."
For the second time that day Ranma did not know what came over her as she found herself rising up on the balls of her feet while moving her left hand into positron so that she could lightly stroke the taller girls face. After her other arm slid into place behind Tonks neck, Ranma began to close the distance between the two of them and soon the only sensations she could feel were the warm softness of Tonks skin and the light brush of air whenever she exhaled.
Tonks leaned forward slightly wrapping her arms around Ranma's waist. Only to move them back to the redheads hips and gently tug forward when she noticed Ranma hesitate ever so slightly.
Their lip's met.
Time seemed to stand still for Ranma as she lost herself in the moment.
Tonks tightened the embrace, while deepening the kiss.
Neither was sure on how long it lasted as for the moment time had no meaning.
Of course, just because time had no meaning to them did not mean that time stopped. That was very apparent as they were interrupted by a stern, "Ahem, If you two are quite finished we are ready to get you sorted now."
After the last of the first years had been sorted, Minerva McGonagallhad reopened the door to the hall to fetch the two 'transfer students' so they could be introduced and then sorted. While she was fully aware of their real identities she had not been expecting to catch them so preoccupied, though at least they had the decency to be far enough away from the doors that the other students and staff could not see them. Well most of the staff anyway as Ranma, Sun Lu, and Professor Flitwick all had a direct line of sight to watch the two kissing teens.
Minerva understood that both were young and had slowly been building a friendship that had been turning into something more, but she also realized that now was not the time to explore such feelings. If it had been professor Snape who had caught them then he would have taken away house points and assigned a month's worth of detention. Of course there was also Delores Umbridge to consider as Minerva only knew that the old biddy was a ministry plant, there to make things difficult for some of her more favorite students so if she were to see this blatant display of affection, between two girls to boot, well she'd probably try to expel them.
Not really sure on how to get the two girls attention without causing a scene Minerva glanced back to the staff table and noticed that Ranma was turning a bit red while Fillusleaned over and said something.
Clearing her throat she started, "Ahem, if you…."
At the staff table
Ranma groaned to himself as he listened to Professor Filtwick say a few comments on what he and Tonks had been doing. Of course the small gnomish man had no clue that Ranma was actually that girl kissing the other girl. "Why is it that every time I meet a small old man they wind up being some sort of pervert? Well at least this one isn't so bad. It could always be worse… Don't really want to think about how, but I definitely know it could be"
Not wanting to be rude to the old bugger as he seemed to be a pretty nice old man, despite a few lewd comments, but then again he was probably just trying to relate to Ranma's youth more than anything else, Ranma began to half listen so that he could watch himself… herself…
Ranma had to admit that it was pretty weird to see yourself going about from a different perspective, though he had been through a few similar situations before, none of those had actually been him, they had been twisted mockeries of some aspect of him, but not him.
Back with Mauve and Tonks
After they had broken away from each other Tonks noticed that Ranma looked like a ripened tomato with the blush she was sporting. "Well, we did decide to be blatant about it just to shake things up a bit." Straitening out any wrinkles in her clothes Tonks apologized to the professor with, "Sorry bout that Professor, Mauve had something caught in her throat."
Minerva knew that she was being baited but could not resist herself and replied matter of factly with, "Yes, it appeared to be your tongue… Now if you two are quite finished you can get sorted so that the rest of the students can get something to eat."
Ranma followed the professor and Tonks out into the Hall and stopped just short of a stool with a old worn looking hat sitting on top of it. Following the Professors lead she turned with Tonks and waited as Dumbledorf stood from his seat and addressed the students.
"This year for the first time in twenty years I am pleased to announce that we have two transfer students among our midst today. Like the first year students though they need to be sorted. So if you can hold on…."
Ranma tuned the rest of what the headmaster was saying out as she turned to look over the hall. From her position in the front she could see Harry and his friends at what she assumed was the Griffindorfs table. That girl Luna from the train was apparently sitting with the Ravenclaw's as she had been half asleep on the train for awhile while Tonks chatted away with her. Then she noticed the Blond boy sitting at a table, Ranma assumed that to be the Slytheryn table. Using her eye's she sought out the one person she was curious about and found him sitting next to the sandy haired girl that she had seen him with before. Apparently Ryouga had managed to make it into Hufflepuff House.
And for that she was glad. To her a house was just a house, but she had also been made aware by quite a few sources that the houses of Hogwarts were more of a stereotype of what they once were.
It had been explained that the original reason that they had come up with the sorting ceremony was so that they could place likeminded people into groups to help nurture their growth. Now though, houses meant something different, Good, evil, smart, happy go lucky. But seeing Ryouga at the Hufflepuff table made her smile as out of all the houses that one was perverted from its true self the least. In that house Ryouga would have friends and people that would look out for him and for that Ranma was grateful.
Hearing a loud applause Ranma snapped out of her thoughts and tuned back into what was going on around her and realized that Dumbledorf had finished speaking.
Hearing Professor McGonagall Call out Tonks' name, Ranma waited patiently already knowing what house. However, despite already knowing what house that Tonks was supposed to be placed in Ranma started to get a bit worried as the seconds seemed to tick by.
At a minute mark quiet murmurs could be heard coming from every table.
At the two-minute mark Ranma noted that some of the professors were starting to glance about at their counterparts.
At about three minutes Ranma dared a glance up to her future self and shot him an inquisitive look only to have it brushed off with a shrug of his shoulders. Annoyed with herself and determined to make herself pay at a later time Ranma relaxed and attempted to remain calm through the use of meditation.
At the five minute mark those professors in the know about Tonks and her true identities where glancing about attempting to discretely catch the headmasters eye, who seemed to be sitting there looking rather relaxed.
At five minutes and thirty two seconds the murmurs stopped as the hat called out, "Griffindor!"
Over at said table cheers erupted letting everyone in the hall know that they were satisfied.
Tonks for her part just calmly set down the hat and started to make her way over to the Griffindorf table.
"Mauve Rowan, If you would please kindly step up so you can be sorted."
Ranma acknowledged the professor with a nod and made her way over to the stool, picking up what she thought was the rattiest hat she had ever seen and placing it on her head before she sat down for a long wait.
No sooner had she sat down though then the hat called out, "Griffindor!"
Ranma blinked, somewhat confused as to why she had been so quick to place when Tonks had taken well over five minutes. Barely acknowledging the cheers from a triumphant sounding Griffindorf table Ranma made her way over to where Tonks was sitting.
Tonks noticing that Ranma was on her way scooted over a bit so Ranma could sit down next to her in between herself and Hermione, with a boy who introduced himself as Neville Longbottom who was sitting across from her with Harry and then Ron to his left.
Ranma plopped down in the seat that Tonks had left open for her and did her best to offer a nervous hello as she was attempting to act like she had never met any of them before that day. For the most part though she hadn't, but Hermione was fairly sharp and Ranma did not want to get busted this early in the game. Or at least until after Harry had a sufficient chance to figure it out.
Looking around the table she wondered though. Where was all the food, she was starving and desperately needed something to eat.
Hermione noticing the new girl looking around in confusion said, "The headmaster has to give his welcome to Hogwarts speech before the food is brought in."
Ranma could only roll her eye's and groan in dismay.
Roughly an hour later.
Dumbledore's speech had been relatively painless and short with only a brief introduction to Ranma and Sun Lu as two new members of the staff. He had also covered that they were to receive even more students the next day but those who were coming would be in a temporary fifth house that would be a part of Hogwarts for several years but for this first year they would not be able to participate in the house cup. Instead there would be a secondary contest in-between the houses based solely off of grades and performance, the details of which could be found in their common rooms.
Dumbledore had then turned his attention to two other professors and had introduced the first one as a Professor Grubbly-Plank who was taking over Care of Magical creatures but when he motioned to the second professor, someone whom Ranma was positive he had met before the woman had interrupted the headmaster and went on a several minute spiel about something or another. Ranma had not really been paying attention as Harry had inadvertently informed her how she knew this woman. Turns out she had been one of the three judges at Harry's trial.
Eventually dinner was served and Ranma had been prepared to dig in with a gusto, however Tonks put a stop to that right away and whispered in her ear, "You get to eat again, I'll show you how to use the Time-Tuner after dinner.
Ranma had some difficulties getting away from the new group after dinner as Hermione had wanted to make sure everything of Tonks and Mauve's things had made it up to their beds in the dorm room. Fortunately Tonks had pointed out that they both were needed to report to their head of house for some last minute scheduling issues.
So Hermione escorted them to Professor McGonagall's office where they pretended to wait for several minutes until Hermione got frustrated enough to go track down the professor, leaving Tonks and Ranma/Mauve standing outside of the head of house's office. Thus giving Ranma the opportunity to utilize the Time-Tuner.
End of chapter 11
--- I was going to rehash bits of the chapter from male Ranma's point of view but then I looked at the size of this chapter and decided against it for now.
If enough people tell me that I should do it though then I will add in it the front of the next chapter. I was going to include Umbridge's speech from cannon but I doubt Ranma would have listened to it having already met the woman so I though that perhaps I could work it without Umbridge's speech thus giving Mauve a chance to get into trouble later on.
Mauve Rowan--- Did a bit of name searching to get that one, it's irish or welsh I forget, brownie points if you know what it means.
I am not saying Hogwarts is an unpleasant place but to me it just looks gloomy, sure it might be magically exciting and full of surprises but that doesn't change the fact that I think it looks a bit gloomy.
23… I figured with this chapter I should show a bit of character growth because I wanted to place Ryouga in Hufflepuff, then I figured if Ryouga has grown then perhaps I should show some of Tonks and Lu's influence as well so Ranma gets a bit of growth.
Also-- a few chapters back I had Ranma working to get over the nekoken and I figured what better way to show that he's making progress then to show it in a dream, and of course I did not want to go for the standard cliché dream where Ranma talks to a cat so I'm going in another direction with it… Just to be different because I do not recall Ranma in any other fic having happy dreams that involved puppies ripping kittens to shreds. You might call me a monster for that but I actually love cat's I even had one his name was Wong fie hung and he was a great cat, till the bastard ran off.
4, Also unfortunately I was forced to download yet another text editor, due to the one I used in word not working, so that means that the non standard English words might be misspelled so if you see any mistakes that I or my proofreader missed than please let me know so I can fix them. Oh and thanks to pcheintz72 for recommending the text editor