So, I just re-read all of the chapters I've posted so far in the story, and cringed a little bit. I promise to fix it up soon! And, as some of you may have noticed, Dumbledore's been a bit OOC and that's because I've been sort of unconsciously mixing his character with Giles. Whoops.
*A COUPLE WEEKS LATER-Still working on this chapter*
So, I took a break writing this because my writer's block came back with a vengeance, and when I was ready to get back to it, the site I usually use to access the first book (the only one I don't own) is down. Dang it! Oh well, I'll do what I can without the site for now, to finish this chapter at least. Maybe then I'll buy another copy of the first book, to replace the one my siblings and I loved to death.
*MORE WEEKS LATER-Still working on it*
I AM SO SORRY! I have had absolutely NO ideas on what to put here, and I'm just going to try and summarize my way through the book bits until I get to what you really want to see!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize. Those things belong to Joss and the Buffy crew and J. K. Rowling!
The door swung open at once. A tall, black-haired witch in emerald-green robes stood there. She had a very stern face and Harry's first thought was that this was not someone to cross. Buffy's first thought was about how far she could go with this woman before crossing her line.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said Hagrid.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."
She pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was so big you could have fit the whole of the Dursleys' house in it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches like the ones at Gringotts, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble staircase facing them led to the upper floors.
They followed Professor McGonagall across the flagged stone floor. Harry could hear the drone of hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right — the rest of the school must already be here — but Professor McGonagall showed the first years into a small, empty chamber off the hall. They crowded in, standing rather closer together than they would usually have done, peering about nervously. Buffy linked arms with Hermione again to calm the girl-her nervous bouncing was grating on Buffy's nerves.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted into your houses. The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.
"The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule breaking will lose house points." The Weasley twins crossed over Buffy's mind and she smiled. "At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honor. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours. The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."
Her eyes lingered for a moment on Neville's cloak, which was fastened under his left ear, and on Ron's smudged nose. Hermione turned to help Neville as Buffy ran her fingers over Harry's head to flatten his hair a bit. Xander pointed out the dirt on Ron's nose to him.
"I will return when we are ready for you," said McGonagall.
"How exactly do they sort us into houses?" he asked Ron with some fear in his voice. Hermione opened her mouth to tell them, but Buffy quickly shushed her. She knew already too, but she wanted to see what they would come up with.
"Some sort of test, I think. Fred said it hurts a lot, but I think he was joking." Ron was especially pale when he said this, as if he honestly believed what his brother had told him. Hermione furrowed her brow in confusion and Buffy giggled. Xander, who also knew what was going to happen, winked at the girls.
"I heard that if you don't pass the test, you get punished," Xander told the other two boys. They paled more.
"Punished?" squeaked Ron.
Harry tried hard not to listen. He'd never been more nervous, never, not even when he'd had to take a school report home to the Dursleys saying that he'd somehow turned his teacher's wig blue. He kept his eyes fixed on the door. Any second now, Professor McGonagall would come back and lead him to his doom. Then something happened that made him jump about a foot in the air — several people behind him screamed.
"What the —?" He gasped, and so did the people around him. About twenty ghosts had just streamed through the back wall; pearly-white and slightly transparent, they glided across the room talking to one another and hardly glancing at the first years. It briefly crossed Harry's mind that he didn't remember seeing them during his stay here a week ago. They seemed to be arguing.
What looked like a fat little monk was saying: "Forgive and forget, I say, we ought to give him a second chance —"
"My dear Friar, haven't we given Peeves all the chances he deserves? He gives us all a bad name and you know, he's not really even a ghost — I say, what are you all doing here?" ghost wearing a ruff and tights had suddenly noticed the first years. Nobody answered.
"New students!" said the Fat Friar, smiling around at them. "About to be Sorted, I suppose?"
A few people nodded mutely.
"Hope to see you in Hufflepuff!" said the Friar. "My old house, you know."
"Move along now," said a sharp voice. "The Sorting Ceremony's about to start." Professor McGonagall had returned. One by one, the ghosts floated away through the opposite wall. "Now, form a line," Professor McGonagall told the first years, "and follow me."
Feeling as though his legs had turned to lead, Harry got into line behind Buffy and Hermione, with Ron and Xander behind him, and they walked out of the chamber, back across the hall, and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.
Harry smiled at the now-familiar sight. Two weeks ago, this place had quickly begun to be something like a home to him, and he was surprised by how much the week in Diagon Alley had made him miss it. The huge room with a high ceiling that reflected the outside weather still took his breath away to look at, and there were four long tables taking up most of the space in it, which had been empty before. He saw Buffy grinning happily at the head table, containing all of the teachers. She met Dumbledore's eyes for a moment before he inspected all of the other first years with his bright blue eyes.
Harry grinned at how awed Ron and Xander were by this place. He was about to speak when something seemed to catch their attention at the front of the room. McGonagall had placed down the dusty old hat from Dumbledore's office of a stool at the front. Everyone in the hall was staring at the hat, so he watched it too. Would they have to get a rabbit out of it, he wondered? Suddenly, a tear opened in the hat like a mouth, and it began to sing.
"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!"
The whole hall burst into applause as the hat finished its song. It bowed to each of the four tables and then became still again.
"So we've just got to try on the hat!" Ron whispered to Harry. "I'll kill Fred; he was going on about wrestling a troll."
Harry smiled weakly. Yes, trying on the hat was a lot better than having to do a spell, but he did wish they could have tried it on without everyone watching. The hat seemed to be asking rather a lot; Harry didn't feel brave or quick-witted or any of it at the moment. If only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy, that would have been the one for him. Xander made a small face at Ron and Harry before saying, "I hope we're not all put into different houses!"
Buffy's eyes widened; she hadn't thought at all about that! She just assumed… Well, actually, she didn't assume anything. She just didn't think of it. Ron and Harry nodded in agreement at the sentiment.
Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment.
"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said. "Abbott, Hannah!" A pink-faced girl with blonde pigtails stumbled out of line, put on the hat, which fell right down over her eyes, and sat down. A moment's pause —
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat.
The table on the right cheered and clapped as Hannah went to sit down at the Hufflepuff table. Harry saw the ghost of the Fat Friar waving merrily at her.
"HUFFLEPUFF!" shouted the hat again, and Susan scuttled off to sit next to Hannah.
The table second from the left clapped this time; several Ravenclaws stood up to shake hands with Terry as he joined them.
"Brocklehurst, Mandy" went to Ravenclaw too, but "Brown, Lavender" was the first to be put in Gryffindor, and the table on the far left exploded with cheers; Harry could see Ron's twin brothers catcalling.
"Bulstrode, Millicent" then became a Slytherin. Perhaps it was Harry's imagination, after all he'd heard about Slytherin, but he thought they looked like an unpleasant lot.
He was starting to feel definitely sick now. He remembered being picked for teams during gym at his old school. He and had always been last to be chosen, not because they were no good, but because no one wanted Dudley to think they liked them.
Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide. "Finnigan, Seamus," the sandy-haired boy next to Hermione in the line sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.
"Granger, Hermione!" Hermione almost ran to the stool and jammed the hat eagerly on her head.
"GRYFFINDOR!" shouted the hat. Ron groaned.
A horrible thought struck Harry, as horrible thoughts always do when you're very nervous. What if he wasn't chosen at all? What if he just sat there with the hat over his eyes for ages, until Professor McGonagall jerked it off his head and said there had obviously been a mistake and he'd better get back on the train? Buffy realized what he must have been thinking and sent him a few thoughts of comfort, Don't worry. Harry nodded at her, but he was still worried.
"Harris, Alexander!" Xander flashed them a nervous grin before jogging up to the stool and placing the hat on his head. Almost a minute later,
"Gryffindor!" The table on the far left cheered again.
When Neville Longbottom, the boy who kept losing his toad, was called, he fell over on his way to the stool. When it finally shouted, "GRYFFINDOR," Neville ran off still wearing it, and had to jog back amid gales of laughter to give it to "MacDougal, Morag."
Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, "SLYTHERIN!"
Malfoy went to join his friends Crabbe and Goyle, looking pleased with himself.
There weren't many people left now. "Moon"…, "Nott"… , "Parkinson"… , then a pair of twin girls, "Patil" and "Patil"… , then "Perks, Sally-Anne"… , and then, at last —
"Potter, Buffy!" The room erupted with whispers as she walked forward. She ignored them, sitting on the stool with confidence and placing the hat on her head. It slid down to her eyes.
"A slayer, eh," whispered the small voice in her ear. She furrowed her brows a little bit. She knew the hat was telepathic, but it was just odd to experience proof of that for herself. "I've judged quite a few potentials before. You're all the same-no offense intended. So brave, always willing to protect others, no matter the cost. You're no different, and I daresay you're even more fitting of this house than they were, GRYFFINDOR!" Buffy knew that the hat had shouted the house name aloud. She removed the hat from her head and walked proudly to the table cheering loudly to the far left, taking a seat by Hermione and Xander. Harry was called next.
The last thing Harry saw before the hat dropped over his eyes was the hall full of people craning to get a good look at him. Next second he was looking at the black inside of the hat. He waited.
"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear. "Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There's talent, my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting… So where shall I put you?"
Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, 'Not Slytherin, not Slytherin…'
"Not Slytherin, eh?" said the small voice. "Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you're sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!"
He sighed in relief and pulled the hat off, setting it back down on the stool before hurrying over to sit with his sister. Percy the prefect shook his and Buffy's hands vigorously as the Weasley twins cheered, "We got the Potters, we got the Potters!"
"Turpin, Lisa," became a Ravenclaw and then it was Ron's turn. He was pale green by now.
Harry crossed his fingers under the table and a second later the hat had shouted, "GRYFFINDOR!"
The table burst into cheers as he ran to the table, plopping down next to Harry and accepting his congratulatory words from everyone.
"Zabini, Blaise," was made a Slytherin, and Professor McGonagall rolled up her scroll and took the Sorting Hat away.
Harry's stomach rumbled as he looked down at his golden plate, wondering when they were going to eat. Albus Dumbledore had gotten to his feet. He was beaming at the students, his arms opened wide, as if nothing could have pleased him more than to see them all there.
"Welcome," he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you." Buffy and Harry laughed together, though the rest of the group seemed slightly worried.
"Bit off his rocker, isn't he," Ron said to the others.
In unison, Harry and Buffy replied, "Definitely, he's still brilliant though." The others were silent for a moment before Xander asked,
"Have you two met him before?"
What do you think, Buffy silently asked Harry, can I tell them?
Harry nodded. Buffy sighed before saying, "We spent a week here with Dumbledore and Hagrid two weeks ago, and last week we spent in Diagon Alley."
"Why?" asked Hermione, her brows furrowed in confusion.
"Well," began Buffy, "I kinda got us kicked out of our Aunt and Uncle's house. Dudley, our giant oaf of a cousin, was being stupid and I called him out on it, so our Uncle pulled the car over and made us get out. Then suddenly Dumbledore was there-"
"And he took us back here to stay for a bit before he took us to Diagon Alley," interrupted Harry. Buffy gave him a look, confused as to why he didn't let her say what had really happened next, before nodding to the rest of the group to affirm his part of the story.
The twins did a double-take when they saw the faces of their friends. They looked on Harry and Buffy with… Pity? "What awful people," cried out Hermione.
Buffy scowled, "We don't need pity, so don't feel it. There's no point to it!" Ignoring everyone else now out of anger, she began piling her plate with food that had appeared on the dishes while they were speaking. Harry shrugged at the other's confusion before following Buffy's example.
"That does look good," said the ghost in the ruff sadly, watching Harry cut up his steak.
"Can't you —?"
"I haven't eaten for nearly five hundred years," said the ghost. "I don't need to, of course, but one does miss it. I don't think I've introduced myself? Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service: resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower."
"I know who you are!" said Ron suddenly. "My brothers told me about you — you're Nearly Headless Nick!"
"I would prefer you to call me Sir Nicholas de Mimsy —" the ghost began stiffly, but Hermione interrupted,
"Nearly Headless? How can you be nearly headless?" Sir Nicholas looked extremely miffed, as if their little chat wasn't going at all the way he wanted.
"Like this," he said irritably. He seized his left ear and pulled. His whole head swung off his neck and fell onto his shoulder as if it was on a hinge. Someone had obviously tried to behead him, but not done it properly. Looking pleased at the stunned looks on their faces, Nearly Headless Nick flipped his head back onto his neck, coughed, and said, "So — new Gryffindors! I hope you're going to help us win the house championship this year? Gryffindors have never gone so long without winning. Slytherins have got the cup six years in a row! The Bloody Baron's becoming almost unbearable — he's the Slytherin ghost."
Harry looked over at the Slytherin table and saw a horrible ghost sitting there, with blank staring eyes, a gaunt face, and robes stained with silver blood. Buffy shivered a little bit before suddenly realizing, "Nick, how come we didn't see any of the ghosts when we were here earlier?"
"Professor Dumbledore told us all to stay out of your way, he didn't want you to get distracted from your training." Buffy and Harry hoped no one picked up on that slip of the tongue by Nearly Headless Nick, but all of their Companions seemed to have noticed at once. It was rather obvious, but no one said anything, so they kept eating in silence.
When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates, leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate éclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding…
As Harry reached for a treacle tart and Buffy nibbled on a chocolate éclair, the conversation turned to families.
"My dad's a Wizard, but he's a muggle-born, and my mom's pure muggle. They make sure I know plenty about each world," said Xander
"What about you, Neville?" said Ron.
"Well, my gran brought me and my sister up and she's a witch," said Neville, "but the family thought me and Lacy were all-Muggle for ages, though Lacy really is a squib. My Great Uncle Algie kept trying to catch me off my guard and force some magic out of me — he pushed me off the end of Blackpool pier once, I nearly drowned —but nothing happened until I was eight. Great Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles when my Great Auntie Enid offered him a meringue and he accidentally let go. But I bounced — all the way down the garden and into the road. They were all really pleased, Gran was crying, she was so happy. And you should have seen their faces when I got in here — they thought I might not be magic enough to come, you see. Great Uncle Algie was so pleased he bought me my toad."
"Well my parents are both dentists-it's a type of muggle doctor-so I didn't know anything about this world until I got my letter. But I've made sure to learn all I can about this, I've read lots of books," said Hermione.
Harry, who was starting to feel warm and sleepy, looked up at the High Table again. Hagrid was drinking deeply from his goblet. Professor McGonagall was talking to Professor Dumbledore. Professor Quirrell, in his absurd turban, was talking to a teacher with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin. Buffy caught him staring and looked up also, her response to whatever Xander had just said dying in her throat. As the twins watched him, the greasy-haired man looked up and met their gaze.
As soon as he did this, the twins both gasped. Harry immediately grasped his forehead, and buffy placed her palm over the spot on her collarbone. Pale-faced and rubbing their scars gingerly, they turn to each other with confusion and shock evident in their eyes.
Simultaneously, Ron and Xander spoke,
"What's up, Buff?"
"What is it, Harry?"
Harry blushed lightly as he and Buffy looked between the two who had spoken and told them, "It's nothing." No one in the vicinity seemed to believe them, but they didn't say anything with Buffy's agreeing nod.
When the food had finally disappeared and Dumbledore had finishes his speech about rules and a forbidden third-floor corridor, everyone in the hall began to rise sleepily from their seats and exit the hall. Percy Weasley, the Gryffindor Prefect, eagerly began herding the first-years about.
"I'll see you all later, then," Said Buffy as she backed slowly out of the tight group of Gryffindor students as they reached the third floor. Harry nodded in her direction, and before anyone could question anything, she was gone.
Next chapter will have major original content! I so excited! Oh, btw, I don't own HP or B:tVS, JKR and other people who are richer than me do!