In a forest in the far north of Scotland, a chill wind blew throughout the countryside, rippling across the vast hills of the highlands. Had anyone been there, they would have felt a quick shift, as though the world had gone off its axis for the briefest moment.
Twilight Sparkle appeared in a flash of green light, fell four feet, and landed on a huge fallen tree trunk. "Whouf! Oww…"
Spike materialized next to her, wobbled for a moment on the edge of the log, and fell off. Twilight managed to catch him by the ankle before he hit the floor of the forest they had apparently appeared in.
Owlowiscious and Peewee appeared next. Being birds, they landed a little more gracefully.
"What happened, Twi?" Spike asked, as she lifted him up to where she'd landed. "One minute I was trying to sort out a problem in the kitchens, and the next…"
"I don't know. I'd just tried to confront Cadence about how she was acting so differently, she did… something, and then we all appeared here." Twilight looked around the area, seeing a dense canopy of trees of several kinds and a covering of leaf litter. "Hmmm. Large forest, no sign of habitation that I can see." Her horn lit again, and a number of spells began firing one after another. "We're at high latitude… it's late summer… the time has changed by at least two hours from when I was facing the fake Cadence… and I can't sense Canterlot's magical beacon."
"That's… bad?" Spike asked, looking around nervously.
"Yes, it's bad." Twilight confirmed. "In fact, I think we're on a different world entirely."
"What makes you think that?"
Twilight ran through the various reasons she had for determining that datum. Well, I can't feel the magical beacon or any of the other Equestrian magical landmarks… no, Spike's never felt them. The Element of Magic feels more distant than it ever has before, which didn't even happen when Discord corrupted me… same problem. And if I tell her what the fake Cadence said he might not believe me.
"Well, for starters," her hoof pointed into the sky. "That."
Spike looked. Then looked the other direction, just to make sure he wasn't imagining the gentle morning sunlight.
No, he was right. There was the sun in the sky… and so, in the opposite direction but not more than half the sky away, was the moon. A half-moon up in the middle of the day.
"Uh…" Spike ventured, cringing. "Shouldn't you be… panicking?"
"Nope!" Twilight said, and started to walk along the log to somewhere they could get down, carefully not focusing on the argument she'd had with her friends shortly before being transported.
"Star Swirl had a number of theorems about dimensional travel – well, technically universal travel – and one of them was that time elapsed in one world didn't match to time in the other one. No matter how long we spend here, when we head back to Equestria we can choose how long that time equals there. And the same thing in reverse." She arrested her fall with a quick spell, and continued talking to occupy herself. "Because the fact that you were brought along confirms the Third Theorem, and Owlowiscious and Peewee confirm the Fourth Theorem and the contagion corollary, and that the rest of the girls weren't brought along is good evidence for the Second Theorem… I think we can trust the Fifth. It's based on all the same maths."
"So…" Spike jumped down from the log more carefully this time. "…the fact that the Princesses haven't rescued us yet?"
Twilight had considered this – thanks to the Fifth Theorem, if she could be traced then a rescue attempt would take no subjective time at all. "Just means we'll have to get back ourselves."
"And can you derive dimensional travel from first principles?" Spike pressed.
Thankfully, she was distracted from the incipient panic attack by a voice. It was a gruff, male voice, with an accent she couldn't place.
"'Ello, there. Well, not seen a unicorn foal that colour before. Or a dragon in the wild like that. Hey!"
The last word was accompanied by a low growl, and Twilight turned more quickly as she heard it.
"Calm down, Fang." The speaker said. It – presumably he – was a very large, bipedal organism, mammalian by the looks of it, addressing a very large dog.
"Don't worry, I'm not goin' to hurt yeh."
"I should hope not." Twilight said, moving to place herself between the dog and Spike just in case.
The enormous mammal blinked in shock. "Well, bugger me. Not seen a talking unicorn before."
"Glad to be the first…" Twilight said. "Where are we?"
"Forbidden forest. Oh, sorry. My name's Rubeus Hagrid. What's yours?"
Twilight had expected something unusual for the name – of course an alien wouldn't have to have the same format of name as a pony. "I'm Twilight Sparkle. This is my assistant, Spike."
"Hi." Spike waved, and Hagrid if anything became more astonished.
"The owl's my number two assistant, Owlowicious – Spike is number one – and the baby phoenix is Spike's pet Peewee. We ended up here after some kind of… accident," Twilight decided to elide the details of that, "And we're pretty much completely lost. Are there any other ponies around here?"
"Ponies? Yeah." Hagrid said, before frowning. "But I think yeh mean more like you? Who talk? Then no, none o' them."
Twilight's heart sank. "Is there anyone else we can talk to?"
"I'll take you to Dumbledore." Hagrid said, after spending no more than a moment thinking about it. "Great man, Dumbledore."
"Man?" Twilight asked, thrown for a moment.
"Yeah. Man. Male human." The half-giant shrugged awkwardly.
"I think we'll have to start right at the beginning." Twilight said, thinking through all the books she'd read which had some kind of First Contact situation. "I know you have the word for unicorn the same as us, and the word dragon, but I've never heard of a human."
"Right." Hagrid frowned. "Well, the correspondence courses never said anything about this."
"Correspondence courses?" Somehow it was incongruous coming from such a giant, though it shouldn't have been. After all, the closest Equestrian she'd seen to this… man… was Iron Will, and he gave seminars. Twilight felt a bit of an idiot for making such a foolish assumption, and hoped her surprise wasn't obvious.
"Yeah." Hagrid turned and began to walk, beckoning her with a jerk of his head, and after a moment Twilight hoisted Spike onto her back and cantered up alongside him. The dog, Fang if Twilight remembered correctly, gave a canine snort of indifference. "I'm the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, see? But I want to be qualified teh teach, and so I've been taking a course in care of magical creatures. It's kind of what I do anyway, more or less, and it doesn't need a wand, so…" he shrugged, one hand straying to a wooden handle and caressing it for a moment. Seeing her looking, he quickly resumed. "Anyway, er, there's a lot in there about teaching humans about magical creatures, but I never expected to have to tell magical creatures about humans."
"I can understand." Twilight said. "I–"
At that moment, they left the boundaries of the Forbidden Forest and entered the Vale of Hogwarts. Ahead was a gentle dip to the shores of a large, black-looking lake that Twilight guessed was cold and deep. There was a grassy slope running all around the lake, except for one point near the opposite side where a rocky crag overhung it. And atop that crag was a large, towered castle – a little different from what Twilight remembered of the Equestrian standard and with walkways spreading out from it.
"That's kind of impressive." Spike said, looking the castle over. "A lot more blocky than Canterlot. What kind of place is it?"
"That's Hogwarts." Hagrid said, still striding ahead. "It's the best school of magic in the world."
"Oh, good!" Twilight said, relieved. "When you said unicorns I was fairly sure, but now I'm certain – you have magic in this world. You can help us get home."
"Well, I can't." Hagrid shook his head. "Wouldn't know where to start! I'm sure Dumbledore will know, though. Very intelligent man, he is."
The wide, tall corridors of Hogwarts Castle were silent and empty. Twilight's hooves made a steady staccato clop on the stonework next to Hagrid's heavy footfalls, seemingly the only sounds in the building.
Despite that, however, Twilight knew she was in the centre of a place of great magic. The suits of armour she passed were woven with intricate guardianship and animation spells layered into the metal, the portraits whispered amongst themselves and moved from frame to frame, and the castle itself seemed almost aware.
"Turn left here… okay, let's see… it's a Tuesday, in August, and the year ends in one… right, up this staircase!"
"Does it matter?" Twilight asked, keeping one eye on Spike in case he fell. She knew he could take care of himself, but she couldn't help being nervous for him.
"Well, they move." Hagrid said it nonchalantly, being so used to the idea. "You just have to be sure you get on the right one."
Twilight blinked. "O…kay, then. Suppose it makes more sense than marketing cloud mattresses to earth ponies…"
She'd tried one. It was very comfortable, but after the third time her cloud-walking spell had worn off in the middle of the night and she'd fallen through her bed, she'd given up and passed it on to Fluttershy.
"Here we are." Hagrid pointed along a corridor. "That gargoyle there is where Dumbledore's office is."
The enormous man walked up to the statue, cleared his throat, and said "Flying saucers."
Apparently this was a password, as the gargoyle leapt aside and revealed a staircase.
"Come on. Don't worry, Dumbledore's a very kind man. Looked out for me when – er-hem," Hagrid coughed. "Never mind."
Before Twilight could ask – not that she was particularly wanting to pry – he headed up the stairs. Twilight followed carefully, reducing her weight with a tricky but useful spell so she didn't fall.
The office was a little startling. There was so much magic in it – from books, from moving portraits, from little devices on the cupboards, and most certainly from the large… man? Who was behind the desk.
Before Twilight had even finished looking, Peewee took off from Spike's arm and flitted forward towards…
She blinked. That was another phoenix. Not quite like Philomeena, but a touch of familiarity that caused a stab of homesickness.
"Well, I see Fawkes has a new friend!" the man said, as Peewee alighted smartly on the perch next to the other phoenix. "Tell me – where did you find him, Hagrid?"
"Oh, he's the pet of this young lad, Spike. I found 'em in the woods, Professor Dumbledore." Hagrid indicated Spike, which meant indicating Twilight, and the unicorn suddenly felt self-conscious.
"My word," the indicated Dumbledore said. "Hello there. I am Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of this school."
"Pleased to meet you." Twilight managed to get out, cursing herself for the attack of shyness. Making a good first impression was so important – had she blown it? Would that mean that this leader would mock her, or, or…
No. Twilight thought to herself firmly. Calm down. To distract herself, she focused on the strange silver devices rather than on the human, and pretended she was talking to a pony. "I'm sorry to intrude, ah, professor? We ended up in the forest outside by accident."
"Indeed." Dumbledore said, in a tone which might have been interest – but Twilight didn't feel nearly confident enough of how human emotions sounded to be sure. "Do go on."
Realizing she hadn't screwed up yet, Twilight looked over at Dumbledore directly and tried to concentrate. "All right. Well…"
"I see." Dumbledore – who had turned out to be not nearly as large as Rubeus Hagrid when she got closer, though still taller than any pony short of perhaps Princess Celestia and possessed of a most impressive beard – nodded, as Twilight finished her slightly shortened account of how she had come to this world.
"Yes, I am familiar with what experiments our world has done on universe travel." Dumbledore then shook his head sadly. "However, those experiments amount to very little. I am sorry, but you may need to invent your own way home."
"Okay." Twilight slumped, realizing just how difficult this could be, then picked herself up. "May I make use of your library? And I'll need some note-paper…"
"Actually." Dumbledore raised a finger. "An idea presents itself. Are you aware of Hogwarts' purpose?"
"I think Hagrid said it was a magical… school?"
"Indeed. And while I am sure you are talented indeed with magic, Miss Twilight, there is always more to learn – indeed, your young assistant Spike could join you."
"What are you suggesting?" Twilight asked.
"Why, that you attend the school." Dumbledore smiled, his eyes twinkling. "Since an owl is a permitted familiar, and I can certainly approve Peewee–" Dumbledore turned his gaze to Fawkes' perch, where the younger phoenix was chattering animatedly with the elder, "–there would be no problem on that front."
Well, if he's focusing on that, then clearly the school doesn't care about species. "I… it's a nice offer, but…" Twilight tailed off, seeing Spike looking eager.
"I like the idea, Twilight." The young dragon said. "I mean, we're going to be here for a long time anyway, and it doesn't matter how long, does it? And if this kind of magic is one I could learn…"
"You're right," Twilight said. Celestia knows that learning an entirely different branch of magic without the foundational level stuff is tricky. "In fact, if it doesn't require a horn, it could be a very good idea to learn it. We could teach it to the others."
"Yeah!" Spike grinned, before suddenly looking worried. "What about food?"
"Oh, that is true." As Dumbledore quirked an eyebrow, Twilight elaborated. "Spike needs the occasional gemstone to supplement his diet. I think the minimum is about a carat a week."
"Awww…" Spike whined. "That's hardly enough to taste!"
"We don't know how common gemstones are without the kind of earth magic saturation Equestria has, Spike." Twilight said. "I'm sure they have other foods which you'll enjoy, the problem here is how much you need to survive."
"Alright, fine." Spike huffed. "But I won't enjoy it."
"I'm sure you'll get used to it." Twilight smiled to herself. You like everything else.
Dumbledore blinked. "You eat gemstones?"
"Well, technically large crystals." Twilight said. "He prefers things like fire rubies, but anything from quartz to diamond is alright really."
"Hm. I think that a fairly substantial amount of quartz would be relatively easy to provide." The elderly wizard decided to elaborate. "While I believe you mentioned earth magic saturation, we have crystals' rarity determined by their formation conditions. Garnet and quartz are quite common, but things like rubies and diamonds are very rare and valuable."
"Oh, you can get garnet?" Spike perked up. "That'd be nice."
"I shall endeavour to arrange it." Dumbledore promised. "Now, what do you think of my proposition?"
Spike and Twilight shared a glance, then nodded. Twilight reached a hoof across the table, and Dumbledore took it.
"Allow me to welcome you to the Wizarding World, then, Miss Sparkle. I shall have Minerva see about getting you somewhere to stay until the Sorting, and about taking you to Diagon Alley for your supplies and wands."
"Hm? Oh, I see. Diagonally. I never saw that before. Yes, it is rather amusing, isn't it?" Dumbledore beamed.
"Please don't use levitation charms in the library." Madam Pince said, disapprovingly.
Twilight glanced over from where she was cross-referencing The Magical Dictionary of Magical Terms and Apparition and You. "I'm sorry, but this is my main way of holding things. I could put the books on the floor and kick the pages over, but it wouldn't be very efficient."
The librarian blanched. "I… see. Well, I may be able to make an exception… so long as you only use magic for reading with."
"Not a problem." Twilight assured her. "I'd hate to be thrown out; a whole new library is such a pleasure…"
"Speak for yourself." Spike muttered, from about a hundred pages into Hogwarts: A History. "This is really dry reading. And this is supposed to be for a student audience about the age of the Crusaders?"
"A few years older, I think." Twilight replied. "But maybe it's just how they write books here."
"May I see?" the librarian asked. Spike acquiesced, and she lifted the book up to check the publication date. "Ah, I see. This is from one of the first few printings, which was written for academics. I'll go and get one of the latest copies."
"Don't worry." Spike jumped up. "I can go and get it, I'm used to libraries. I suppose I'll have to learn where edition numbers come in this world, though… are they always in the back?"
"I understand Muggle books have them in the front." Madam Pince said.
"Muggle?" Twilight asked. "I've run into that term a couple of times but it hasn't seemed essential to the mechanics of your form of teleportation. What does it refer to?"
"Why, people without magic." Madam Pince seemed surprised that someone would have to ask.
Twilight noticed, making a guess that the voice cue was the same for humans as it was for ponies or griffins, and waved her hoof around to remind the librarian that neither of them was human. She supposed it was a bit of cultural blindness, or something – like how she was trying to remember to say anyone instead of anypony. "It seems a bit of a silly term to me."
"Oh, well, I suppose so… but it's the one we've always used." Twilight thought the human librarian seemed faintly troubled by the realization, and decided not to press it.
"Wonder who thought it up." Twilight said, then shrugged her forelegs. "Ah well. Spike, when did Dumbledore say that this McGonagall was going to show up?"
"About two, I think he said."
"Right, thanks." Twilight cast another time-spell. "That should give us about another half an hour, then. Time for me to work out if the theoretical basis of this Apparition is the same as that of my teleportation."
Spike came back over with the more modern version of Hogwarts: A History, set it down, and skimmed the chapter list to find where he'd got to. Twilight gave him a look.
"If that is a more readable version, Spike, you should read it from the start. Remember, it's likely that a lot more things are in this version, things that happened since the publication of that older book." It was a point she'd not thought she'd have to bring up, though in retrospect Spike was still young.
"Yes, quite a lot has happened since 1793." Madam Pince smiled thinly.
Twilight looked up. "Actually… what's the current date?"
"Tuesday, the 27th of August, 1991."
The unicorn idly wondered what the epoch was for that date – one much more distant than the Equestrian one, just over a thousand years ago. "Thank you. See, Spike? That other book you were reading was nearly two centuries out of date."
"Yeah, yeah, I understand. Right, let's see… yeah, this is much better. Thanks."
"Not a problem." Madam Pince said. "It's a pleasure to see two new faces who actually appreciate a well-organized library."
The two world-displaced Equestrians devoured their respective books in silence for another half an hour, before a light gasp alerted them to someone else entering the library.
"Yes?" Twilight said, turning from her research. She was now fairly certain that what she performed was different to Apparition – but not in the fundamentals, simply in the minor technical details.
Which, of course, meant it was blocked on Hogwarts grounds by the wards. A nuisance, but it made sense.
"Ah… you are Miss Twilight Sparkle? And Master Spike?"
Twilight nodded. Spike bookmarked his place, and replied in the affirmative as well.
"Good. I am Professor Minerva McGonagall." This new female human – woman, Twilight reminded herself – was fairly tall, though not as tall as Dumbledore. She wore a pointy hat which at first glance reminded Twilight of the magician Trixie, but the stern, controlled expression on her face put paid to that comparison.
Twilight was actually reminded more now of one of her instructors – a stallion by the name of Recent Runes.
"If you'll come this way please, I have a Floo in my office. We'll use that to get to Diagon Alley."
"Thank you." Twilight marked her own place. "I'm sorry for pulling you away from your work.
"Not at all, I'm quite on top of it. The reason it is I in the first place is because I've done this for less students this year, since one of the students I was to introduce to the magical world moved to France." She looked a little put out about that particular decision.
"What's a Floo?" Spike asked, as he began making for the entrance to the library.
Twilight went to the trouble of stacking all their active books on a single table and leaving a note – one she'd prepared when they arrived – on top of the stack.
"A Floo, Master Spike, is a form of magical travel that uses fire."
"Wow!" Spike said, suddenly very alert. "I can kind of do that – well, to letters anyway. Or bigger things, but they have to be completely engulfed in the fire."
"You can?" McGonagall asked. "Most interesting. We shall see if it shares other characteristics with the Floo aside from the use of fire."
Twilight caught up with them a moment later. "How will people react to seeing us in Diagon Alley? I was less worried about Hogwarts – because it's a school environment, or will be, and I remember how quickly Spike became normal at Celestia's Academy – but if this is just the general public, they might react…badly." She remembered vividly the occasional Ponyville Stampede, which had gained the capital letters after Roseluck started one when Market Day changed.
"I can assure you, Miss Sparkle, that regardless of the reaction we will get your shopping done." McGonagall gave a thin smile, with little humour. "And whoever reacts too strongly will face the consequences."
Twilight didn't want to ask what the consequences would be. Recent Runes was never this intimidating.
"Master Spike, do pay attention." McGonagall said firmly. "This is Floo Powder, which is used to turn a normal fire into one connected to the Floo network. Observe."
She took a pinch of the powder and threw it into the flames, which roared up green.
"Wow!" Spike said, excited. "That's the same colour my fire goes when I use the postal magic!"
"You can use it at will?" the professor asked.
"Well, more like I can suppress it at will."
"It's the result of an enchantment." Twilight clarified. Deciding that the professor could follow her, she elaborated further. "It's will-triggered, but it defaults to 'on' because it's safer. I think it was applied soon after he began expressing fire..?"
"Probably." Spike said. "It makes sense. I don't remember that far back."
"I see." McGonagall said. In the meantime, the fire had slowly died back to normal. "Now, to travel by Floo one must state their destination clearly before stepping into the flames. The user arrives at the closest suitable fireplace, though they do not always arrive upright."
"Yikes." Spike muttered. "Reminds me of when Twilight first teleported."
"And as I told you before, Spike," Twilight said, with the tones of long weariness, "I didn't think far enough ahead to realize teleporting out of a chair was a bad idea." Would Spike ever let that go?
"I know. I'm just saying, it reminds me strongly."
"Well, I shall go first." McGonagall said. "Pay attention to what I say, and when I say it. Take a pinch of powder at least as large as mine – too much is better than too little." She cleared her throat. "Diagon Alley."
With a rush of green flame, she was gone.
Spike and Twilight exchanged glances, then Twilight nodded. "I'll go next. You can hold enough powder, right?"
"My hand has a palm, I'll be fine." Spike assured.
"Good. See you there." Twilight levitated a small amount of the Floo Powder. "Diagon Alley!"
Twilight skidded to a halt, hooves flailing on a stone floor, and managed to avoid falling over. "Ooh… that's not very fun. I feel like a scroll…" Teleporting was much more pleasant.
She looked up, and discovered that the room, while silent, was full of humans. The poleaxed way they were looking at her made her feel nervous – especially with how some of them had stopped in the middle of taking a drink.
The fire flared up again, and Spike rolled through. "Whoo, what a rush!"
"You actually enjoyed that?" she hissed.
"Yeah!" Spike bounced back upright. "Bet Pinkie would like it, too. Er… wow. Lots of humans."
"Tell me about it…" Twilight agreed. "Oh, there she is."
"Come along now, Miss Sparkle." McGonagall said, from near a door. "Diagon Alley is this way."
Dragon and unicorn picked their way through the silent bar, far too conscious of all the stares on them.
Twilight breathed out deeply once she was into the small yard through the door. "I hate being stared at like that."
"So I could see." McGonagall had her lips pursed in disapproval, but it wasn't directed at them. "I shall be having words with the next person to look at you like a slab of meat, Miss Sparkle. Rest assured."
With that, she pulled a wand from her sleeve and tapped on some bricks. They rumbled aside, to leave an archway leading into…
"You know." Spike muttered. "I'm almost relieved to see something familiar. That's a bit like if the Canterlot shopping district took its cues from Ponyville shop design."
"I agree." Twilight said, chuckling. It was perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but there were certainly some strange shop layouts. From the building focused entirely on owls, to a more general menagerie, shops with cauldrons outside, shops with , And there was one shop with nothing but a name – Ollivander – and number – 382 BC, whatever a BC was – above the door and a single… baton? No, the sign mentioned wands, so that must be a wand on a red cushion in the window. It didn't have the white-tips-on-black or star-on-a-stick look of what Equestria thought of as wands, though. Looking further, Twilight realized that 382 BC was clearly some kind of date – did the BC system predate the current numbering, supplant it, or was it the same one? She didn't know.
"Hmmm…" McGonagall said, thinking. "I forgot to ask – did Albus perhaps provide you with funds, Miss Sparkle?"
"Oh, I can't believe I forgot that!" Twilight shook her head, feeling like an idiot. You don't have access to your stipend or the money your parents gave you here, Twilight! "No, I don't have any on me."
"Not to worry, I shall cover you for now." McGonagall assured. "I shall see if perhaps there is some relevant fund available through the Ministry, though – simply stating you have no available guardians should suffice. Now, the first place we should probably go is to obtain a wand for each of you."
"Do we need them?" Twilight asked. "I thought they were mainly props, but that's the wands I'm used to…" she tailed off. If magic here required an object, that had all sorts of implications.
"Our form of magic requires wands to use, Miss Sparkle. Now, come along. The best place is Ollivander's."
The bland façade of the shop turned out to conceal a nondescript interior, not much more than a front room with a counter and hundreds of boxes on the walls. None of them were labelled, and there were more visible through the door to the back room. Spike picked up one of the boxes, presumably to see if they were labelled.
Twilight half-reared up in shock, before overcoming the reflex and landing her forehooves back on the floor.
"Yes, yes… most interesting, it's not every day I have to fulfil an order for a client who isn't human."
The human – Ollivander, presumably – looked Twilight up and down, paying especial attention to her mane and tail, then as Twilight started to get offended switched to measuring Spike. "And both of you have some kind of magic already… yes, tricky. Try this one, ash and unicorn hair, nine inches. Quite powerful."
"Unicorn hair?" Twilight asked, slightly worried, as she took the wand in a telekinetic grip. "There's hair in here?"
"Yes, all Ollivander wands have cores made of one of three magical materials. Unicorn tail hair, phoenix feather, or dragon heartstring-"
There was a bang, as Spike dropped the box he was holding. Twilight's horn snapped up to overglow with a blasting spell on the tip. "Dragon what?"
"Miss Sparkle, calm down!" McGonagall said sternly.
"Not until this Ollivander explains himself!" Twilight moved slowly over to put herself between Spike and the male human.
"I believe what we have here is a misunderstanding, Miss Sparkle." Ollivander said calmly. "Your companion there is the only dragon I have ever heard of, let alone seen, with the gift of speech. And the same for yourself and unicorns."
Twilight glanced over to McGonagall. "Is this true?"
"Yes." The professor answered, looking concerned. "I should have realized it could be a problem – you're unlike anything we've ever seen before, both of you, but the feeling is clearly mutual. Dragons in this world are dumb beasts, which grow to maturity in the span of a few years or less, while unicorns are simply magical animals."
Twilight slowly stepped down the power of her spell, until finally it fizzled out. "I'll trust you on that… for now. But I'm going to research it properly."
"I would expect no less." McGonagall nodded, approvingly. "Now, I believe you were about to try out that wand."
Twilight made a conscious decision to put the moment of tension behind her. "Alright. How do I do that?"
"Just give it a wave, and… hm." Ollivander nodded. "I see, yes, a bit of a problem there. Tell you what, just give it a wave while wanting something to happen, keep it in that magical grip of yours."
Twilight swished the wand, and Ollivander snatched it from her grip before it was finished. "Some response there, but not much of one. Hmmm… perhaps this one? Yew and dragon heartstring, twelve inches, a little whippy?"
Still slightly disgusted, Twilight took the wand anyway and gave it a wave.
"No, much worse… oak and phoenix feather, ten inches? Much better for charms."
Ollivander started passing the wands that Twilight didn't get responses with to Spike, who didn't manage much more. Wand after wand piled up on the reject pile, and the only ones Twilight could get to respond at all were the ash and unicorn hair ones.
Spike, for his part, did the best with hawthorn and phoenix feather, but at most he got a fairly tepid reaction.
It all seemed a little inefficient.
After nearly an hour, Ollivander stopped. "I think I know what would be best for you, Twilight Sparkle. If you would be so kind as to donate a number of your own tail hairs, I can reconstruct the wand you got the best reaction with – ash and unicorn hair, eleven and three quarter inches – with your own hair in place of the original strands. I believe that may solve the problem."
"What about me?" Spike asked. "I was best with the hawthorn and phoenix feather, right? Could Peewee's feathers work there?"
"Ah, your phoenix familiar. Yes, that may be the best course of action. I have always felt that the wand chooses the wizard, but I daresay that none of them were ready for this particular variety of wizard."
Spike blinked. "I never told you about Peewee. We left him and Owlowiscious in Dumbledore's office."
Ollivander simply smiled enigmatically.
"I believe you have a Floo, Mr. Ollivander?" McGonagall asked. On receiving an affirmative, she headed for the back room of the shop. "I shall inform Albus of the matter, and bring your phoenix through, Master Spike."
"Actually, I'd better make sure he knows it's okay to come with you." Spike suggested, following her. "See you in a few minutes, Twi."
"Alright." Twilight waved, then turned to regard her tail with apprehension. "How much do you need?"
"Hmmm…" Ollivander looked the striped mane and tail over. "I believe three strands should suffice – as long as possible, though. I can trim them shorter as I work. One from each band of colour."
"Alright." With a shaving cantrip she'd learned for completeness, Twilight carefully sliced off three tail hairs near the base. Taking them in a telekinetic hold she raised them to a comfortable height, and Ollivander took them delicately.
"Yes, wonderful quality… this should work well, Twilight Sparkle."
"Hi again!" Spike said, coming back out of the back room. "Peewee's fine with it. Here you go." The young dragon passed a pair of small red feathers to the wandmaker, who accepted them with his free hand.
"Marvellous… it's rare indeed that one has a phoenix as a familiar, and rarer still that the wizard has the opportunity to use a wand made with their familiar's feathers. Yes, I shall see what I can do. Best get on with the rest of your shopping, and return in an hour."
"How did he know we hadn't done the rest of the shopping?" Spike asked, spooked. "He keeps knowing things we don't tell him!"
"You don't have any bags." Ollivander said, smiling faintly. Twilight chuckled at how prosaic the answer was.
"Well, that was about average for a trip into Ollivander's shop." McGonagall commented. "Not in terms of what happened, but certainly time. If you ask me, it's a good thing he only has a few dozen new students a year, or else there'd be queues going out the door."
"What's next on the list?" Twilight asked, wishing she actually had a paper version of the list.
"Well, since it's the activity likely to take nearly as much time, fitting robes. I'm sorry, Miss Sparkle, Master Spike, but the rules are clear – robes must be worn at all times when in class."
"Could be a problem." Twilight agreed, as they entered a shop fronted by the name of 'Madam Malkins' robes for all occasions'. "I think it'd take even Rarity a while to work out how to design clothes for an entirely new body plan… I wish she was here."
The unicorn stopped, and sniffed, which drew the attention of all the others in the shop – which appeared to be free of customers, at that moment.
"I wish all my friends were here, actually." Twilight said, sniffing again. "I know it'd be cruel to ask them to be here, because they've all got someone who they'd miss just like I do, but…"
Spike patted her neck awkwardly, stretching slightly to reach. "Hey, at least you've got me, right?"
She smiled wanly at him, thankful more than she could say that he'd been pulled along with her – no matter how selfish it made her feel at the same time. "Thanks. And yeah, sorry. That's probably been building up since we arrived."
"Do not be ashamed, for shame is recognition of a fault, and no fault exists." Spike said, trying to sound wise.
"Oh, what?" He put his hands on his hips. "If Celestia said that, you'd eat it up!"
Containing her amusement with an effort, Twilight shot back "if Celestia expressed that sentiment, she'd do it more eloquently."
"Well… your face!"
Twilight finally broke down laughing, and after a moment Spike joined her.
"Whoo… I needed that." Twilight composed herself, and looked up. "Sorry about that, Professor."
"Not a problem." McGonagall assured her. "It seems that it gave time for Madam Malkin to retrieve some useful books from the back."
"It did, yes, dear." The witch in charge leafed through a dusty old tome. "Now, there were several times in centuries past that we've been asked to provide formal outfits for centaurs, and much of the hindquarters can be adapted. I'm afraid it'll take a while, though. The young… reptile?"
"I'm a dragon – but not the same kind as you have here, I'm told." Spike answered.
"Ah… I see. The young dragon will be easier, though he's going to be perhaps the shortest I've ever fitted for Hogwarts robes."
"Here we go…" Spike deadpanned. "Again with the short jokes."
And so it went.
By the end of their trip, Twilight was more or less inured to being stared at, though since Peewee was still with them he seemed to reassure the humans somewhat – being a familiar sight, she assumed. Owlowiscious had slipped through the Floo as well at some point and taken up a silent orbit overhead, and again this seemed to be a touch of the familiar to them.
McGonagall explained that owls were the primary method of postal communication in the magical portion of this world, though on being told that Owlowiscious was a qualified secretary she seemed a little surprised.
Spike had picked up a pair of dragonhide gloves with a completely disgusted expression, and only taken them at McGonagall's insistence. She had pointed out that, while he was indeed a dragon, there were some substances which could eat through even dragon-hide – and so he needed the gloves, or something like that would be able to start straight on his skin.
"Alright." The young dragon had finally said, dumping them in the latest of a number of shopping bags. "But I'm not using them except if something like that is around."
Twilight, of course, didn't need any – nor would they fit her.
As for the bookshop… it had taken a firm assurance that most of the books within Flourish and Blott's were also provided by the school library to allow Spike and McGonagall to coax Twilight from the building.
Finally, they came back around to Ollivanders' and picked up their reconstructed wands. Twilight only had to take it in her telekinetic grip to realize why these wizards used wands, as her magic flashed from base to tip in a fraction of a second.
"It's… a very efficient conduit of magic."
"Try this, Miss Sparkle." McGonagall said, waving her own wand. "Simply say, 'Lumos.'" The wand lit with a bright yellow light.
Twilight nodded, and pronounced the word carefully. "Lumos."
It was… strange. The power seemed to flow not from her horn, but from somewhere in her chest – and the wand lit in much the same way that McGonagall's had.
"Very good work, Miss Sparkle." The professor said. "Extinguishing it again is 'Nox.'"
She frowned, digesting the information, then turned the wand-light off and stowed it in a holster the wand-maker had been kind enough to provide her.
Spike was turning the light on his wand on and off repeatedly, ecstatic to finally have some means of performing magic – something he could share with Twilight.
"Come on, Spike." Twilight finally said. "We'd better get back to Hogwarts, it's getting fairly late. Celestia will be–no, of course not." She shook her head. "Sorry, lost track of where we were."
"What's that?" McGonagall asked. "I've not heard you mention a 'Celestia' before, Miss Sparkle."
"Celestia's the one who moves the sun around – where we come from, anyway." Twilight explained. "I've seen her do it, but I can barely comprehend the magic involved."
"Moves around?" McGonagall said, somewhat perplexed. "Miss Sparkle, no-one moves the sun. The Earth rotates, and the sun stays in the same place."
"Well, here." Twilight agreed readily. "But where we're from, that doesn't happen. This whole world is like the Everfree forest, by the looks of it – things happen in nature on their own. While in Equestria, we have to do it ourselves. Pegasi control the weather, earth ponies ensure things grow, all three types share the task of changing seasons, and Celestia and Luna turn day to night or night to day."
"It all sounds very far-fetched." The professor said. Twilight recognized the tone – she was doing some kind of mental calculation on just how possible it would be with the magic she knew. Just a back-of-the-scroll piece of work, probably. "Magic on that scale?"
"I've experienced a twenty-hour night before, when things were disrupted." Spike volunteered. "That was summer solstice, too – or supposed to be."
"Well… goodness." McGonagall concluded, after a moment. "Now, we really should head back to Hogwarts. Do you have everything, or is there a shop from which we did not pick up what you require?"
"Ah…" Twilight went through her mental checklist. Clothes, books, potions materials, wand, no need for a familiar so I can ignore that one… "Yes, that's everything."
"Good. If we might prevail upon your Floo once more, Mr. Ollivander?" McGonagall asked.
"By all means."
"What a day." Twilight muttered, as she collapsed onto the bed she'd been assigned. The cooks – apparently some wizened little creatures called house-elves – had been interested to find they had an "oonicorney" and a "draggy" to cook for, and had risen to the occasion. She actually felt every bit as full as she'd been expecting to after the wedding, and Spike's garnet-laced gammon roast had apparently been a good meal for him.
Dumbledore had explained that most of the students slept in dormitories assigned by "house", and that the house was determined at a special ceremony in a little under a week. Given both that the two Equestrians were not suited to normal Hogwarts beds and that they were not yet sorted, they'd been assigned a room in the lower levels of the 'astronomy tower' which Twilight had sorted out with several transformation spells to suit her.
The headmaster had assured her that a similar room would be added to whichever house she and Spike were sorted to, if they were together, or two smaller rooms if they happened to be in separate houses.
"I agree…" Spike contributed. "I can finally do some magic!"
"Be careful, though." Twilight said, sleepily. "Remember how often I overdid it."
"Point taken. Night, Twi."
"Night." Twilight replied, then finally fell asleep.
AN: Another plot bunny, expanded out of a short on another site (a brief mention of Twilight in the Potterverse). This time, I was wondering what kind of reactions Twilight would have to the various events of the main-line Potterverse.
So, important things about my "assumptions":
Twilight is around the age of twenty in terms of maturity and so on. She's at her full growth, she's confident, and she's... still a bookworm.
Hermione is not going to Hogwarts (it'd be too much of a duplication of character roles) and so I had the Grangers move to France shortly before Hermione would have got her letter. She's going to Beauxbatons.
Spike is eight to ten chronologically, but more mature than that mentally because of a combination of different growth rates for dragons and, well, being around Twilight. So mentally and in terms of how mature his body is, he's early teens..
As Twilight mentions, the time they spend in the Potterverse will not translate to time elapsed in Equestria. They can decide how much time has gone past when they go back.
The reason Spike came along is because he's got the closest type of bond with Twilight - he's been around her for years without any real interruptions. If this had happened when Twilight was still in Canterlot, it would have also taken her family. Conversely, if it had happened after another year or two in Ponyville, it would have effectively exhausted Chrysalis and taken along all of the Mane Six, Spike, and probably Applebloom and Big Mac as well.
The reason Peewee and Owlowiscious came along is that they're familiars of others who were pulled along.
Also, this was given a close editing pass by The11thWonder on FIMFiction. So thanks him.