Banner by chrysanne!
The month of July went by quickly, the only noteworthy event being Tom’s birthday (July 31st), and August passed with a similar alacrity. At midnight of the 29th, all the Scoobies gathered to say good bye.
“Alright, kid.” Xander gave Tom a big hug. “Get into as much trouble as humanly possible. I expect letters home, ya get me?” He winked at the boy.
Tom gave him a huge grin. “You got it, Xander. And if I need any help, I’ll be sure to write you.”
Anya was next. She didn’t hug him, but what she did was, for her, akin to declaring her everlasting love for him: She gave him $1000 spending money. “Now, remember. Don’t spend it all on candy. There are more important things.” She paused. “I can’t think of any right now, but I’m sure there are.”
Tom just laughed, and nodded.
Tara and Willow both hugged him, and gave him a pair of charm bracelets. They were, literally, charmed with protection spells. He put them on, one on each wrist.
Spike gave him the best present anyone could have asked of him: His Zippo lighter. “You’re a bit young for smokin’, but you never know when you might need a little fire.”
Dawn was last. She hugged him, and gave him the best present he’d received: A picture of Buffy, Dawn, and himself, taken about a month before the final battle with Glory. Behind it in the frame was a picture of their mother.
Tom fought back tears as he hugged his sister. “Thank you, Dawn.”
Finally, the clock chimed midnight. It would now be 8 AM in Britain. Taking a deep breath, Tom stepped back from the others, took his portkey in hand, and enunciated clearly: “Slayer.”
He felt a tug behind his navel, and found himself being pulled into what he could only best describe as a tornado. It seemed to stretch on forever, until finally, he was deposited onto a rug. He stood, looking around. He spotted Professor McGonagall behind a large desk.
She stood, and came around. “Welcome to Hogwarts, Mister Summers.”
Almost as soon as he’d arrived, McGonagall whisked him off through the floo to get his supplies. Their first stop was to Gringotts to exchange the money Anya had given him.
Since numbers had always been one of his strong suits, Tom asked the goblin who exchanged the money what the conversion rate was. He learned that, for every 50 American Dollars, he received 20 Galleons. Since 50 went into 1000 twenty times, he knew before the goblin had counted it out that he would get 400 Galleons. When he voiced it to the goblin, he received a sharp-toothed grin, and an extra ten Galleons (Since no human could possibly
be better at counting than a goblin).
They went on to Madame Malkin’s for his school robes, then to Eyelop’s Emporium for an owl. Tom took his time with this. Willow had told him once, you have to get a feel for an animal before you buy it. It took nearly an hour, but he was finally satisfied with a Great Horned Owl, which, once he learned it was female, he named Joyce.
Finally, they came to the most important stop on their trip: Ollivander’s. Tom took a tentative step inside. There didn’t seem to be anyone about. He cleared his throat. “Um… Hello? I need to buy a wand.”
An old man came out from behind a shelf. “Yes, of course. That’s why everyone comes…” He trailed off as he looked at Tom. “No… No, it can’t be…”
Tom began to feel uncomfortable. “Uh… Are you okay? Seriously. You look like you’re gonna have a heart attack.”
Ollivander gave himself a shake. “Forgive me, but I must ask. Are you of any relation to the Gaunt family?”
Tom shook his head. “No. My last name is Summers. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have met any of my family. They’re all… What was the word?” He asked McGonagall.
“Muggles.” She supplied.
Ollivander visibly relaxed. “Very well, then.” He pulled out a measuring tape. “Which is your dominant arm?” Tom held up his left arm, and Ollivander measured it. “Yes…” He went into the stacks, coming back soon after with a box. He set the box on the counter, and pulled a wand out of it. He handed it to Tom. “Ten inches. Oak. Rather springy. A dragon heartstring core.”
Tom looked at it and, when nothing happened, waved it. He punched a hole in the nearest wall.
“Apparently not.” He went back into the stacks, and came back with another wand. “Willow. Quite flexible. Twelve inches. Powdered griffin’s tooth core.”
Tom waved it, and destroyed the front of the counter. Ollivander sighed, and went back to searching.
While Tom waited for the old man’s return, he noticed something in the remains of the counter: A wand. It was at least a foot long, black, with an ornate snake’s head adorning the handle. He picked it up. As soon as he touched it, he could swear he felt it thrum
with power. He waved it. A bright light surrounded him, and he felt warmth fill his being.
“Whoa… Hey, I think I got it.”
McGonagall looked down at the wand. A sound between a gasp and a strangled gurgle escaped her. “M-M-Mister Ollivander!” She squeaked out.
Ollivander came back quickly. When he spotted the wand in Tom’s hand, his eyes widened in fear. “Where did you get that?” He asked softly.
“Well, after I blew up your counter, it was in the rubble. I just picked it up, and… It felt really
good. Almost like… Almost like when I came home after my first day of kindergarten.”
Ollivander paled. In fact, Tom thought he was a few shades paler than Spike. “No… No, I can’t allow… But, then, I don’t have a choice, do I? The wand chooses the Wizard. None of the other wands will respond now.”
Tom was getting worried. “Did I do something wrong? If you don’t want me to have the wand, you can keep it. I don’t mind, or anything.”
Ollivander sighed. “No, my boy. You’ve done nothing wrong. And I don’t have a choice. Once a wand has chosen a Wizard, they stay together until one of them is destroyed. It is rare that a wand chooses twice, but it seems to have happened.” He sighed again. “Take it. Take it and be done with it.”
McGonagall let out an audible gulp. “Are you sure, Ollivander? Couldn’t we just snap it now?”
Ollivander shook his head. “No. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named made sure that it could not be broken. Otherwise, I would have destroyed it long ago. We have no other choice. Just get it out of my sight.”
Nodding briskly, McGonagall ushered Tom out of the shop quickly.
After stopping at the bookstore for a few books that weren’t on the course list (Simple pranks that’ll have your friends begging for mercy, Quidditch through the ages Volume II, and a spell book for conjuring simple food items), Tom and McGonagall returned to Hogwarts.
Ever since the visit to the wand maker, Tom had been looking at his wand in a suspicious light. What was the big deal? Who was this He-Who-Must blah blah blah character? Finally, he asked McGonagall. “Professor. Why are you and Mr. Ollivander so afraid of my wand?”
McGonagall sighed. “Tom… This is a very long story, so I must ask that you do not interrupt. Understand?” Tom nodded. “Very well. Many years ago, there was a Wizard named Tom Marvolo Riddle. He was a student, here at Hogwarts. Almost immediately after he left, he began gathering followers. They were a small group at first, but they slowly grew in size and power.
“They called themselves the Death Eaters. They were one of the vilest, most evil groups in our age. They killed, raped, and destroyed anyone they wished, simply because they could. In particular, they targeted Muggles, Muggle-borns, and those of mixed parentage. While the belief is almost extinct now, at the time, most thought that ‘pure-blood’ Wizards were superior in strength.
“At any rate, a small group of Witches and Wizards began to fight back. They called themselves the Order of the Phoenix. They were, perhaps, the bravest and most capable men and women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, although their children certainly give good competition for the title. In particular among the order, were four Aurors. What Muggles call police. Frank and Alice Longbottom, and James and Lily Potter. They were the best among us, both couples defying Riddle, who by now called himself Voldemort, no less than three times each.
“Eventually, about 35 years ago now, a prophecy came to light. It said that a child, born in the end of July, would be born to those who had defied him three times. This prophecy could, of course, refer to either couple. James and Lily had a son on July 31st, named Harry, while Frank and Alice had a son named Neville on July 30th.
“What only a few knew, although it’s common knowledge now, was that the second part of the prophecy said that the Dark Lord would mark the one who could destroy him as his equal. Not even Voldemort knew about that. So, when he made his choice of who to kill, he marked one as his equal. He chose Harry.
“He killed Harry’s parents with ease. But when he turned his wand onto Harry, the curse he used backfired, turning him into little more than a whisp of spirit. He did not realize that, when Harry’s mother sacrificed herself to save Harry, she gave him protection against any magic Voldemort might try to use, even what we call ‘unblockable’ magic.
“Harry, who at the time was a year old, went to live with relatives.” McGonagall spat the word out. “Eventually, he came to school here. He encountered Voldemort almost annually, before finally destroying the Dark Wizard completely in his Seventh year.
“And the reason, Tom, that we fear your wand, is because it belonged to Voldemort.”
Tom looked at his wand again. This wand was responsible for so much destruction. So much death. So much pain.
Tom shrugged. “Cool story.”
McGonagall stared at Tom as if he’d grown another head. “That’s it? That’s your entire reaction?”
He shrugged again. “I live on a Hellmouth. You remember my babysitter, Spike?” She nodded. “He’s a vampire. He was part of… Oh, what was it called… I should know this… The something of Europe.”
“Scourge?” She asked, once again turning pale.
“That’s it! The Scourge of Europe. I know Angel, too. He used to baby-sit me before he moved to LA. Nice guy, mostly.”
McGonagall looked at Tom with increasingly wide eyes. Just what had she gotten herself into, here?
Deep underground, a group of men and women met around a large table. None could be identified, for they wore masks in the shape of skulls.
“Is it true? Has the Dark Lord returned?”
“Yes, it is true. However, he is only a child. He has no memory of his life before. We must prepare him. He must be tested with fire.”
“How shall we do this? We cannot get to Hogwarts.”
“We have children there. We will use them as informants, and as our hands, if we must.”
As one, the group nodded.
“By the end of his seventh year, our master will have returned to us.”
Tom was up early the next day. For some reason, Professor McGonagall insisted that he take the Hogwarts Express with the other students. Something about ‘tradition,’ or whatever. Tom wasn’t really impressed.
He went anyway, dressed in his normal clothes, and with a new trunk to hold his belongings. Joyce came with him as well, sitting in her cage and snoozing. He followed the instructions McGonagall had given him to get through the barrier. He let out a long breath of relief when he didn’t crash into the wall.
Carrying his trunk and owl onto the train, he found an empty compartment, and settled in. It wasn’t out of any desire to be alone, but he didn’t even have the luxury of knowing some of the local kids. Local for him was a bit out of their zip code.
Thankfully, he wasn’t alone for long. A girl, about his age, opened the compartment door. She had green eyes, and… Just what color was her hair? It was striped, with black and platinum blonde. “Hello! Do you mind sharing? You’re all by yourself, and that can’t be much fun.”
He nodded. “Sure, come on in.”
She beamed at him, and got her luggage onto the rack above her seat. She smiled again as she sat down. “You’re American, huh? Cool. My name’s Luna Potter. Technically, my first name is Lily, but I like Luna better.”
Tom nodded. “I like that. My name’s Tom Summers.” He extended his hand, and she shook it vigorously. This girl seemed to have boundless energy.
“So, what house do you think you’ll be in?” She asked. “My dad says house affinities tend to run in families, so I’m probably going to Gryffindor. That's what he was in.”
Tom shrugged. He knew about the houses, of course, but didn’t have a lot to go on. “Don’t know. I’m the first one in my family to go to Hogwarts.”
“Oh! A Muggle-Born?” She seemed excited at the prospect. “My aunt Hermione’s a Muggle-born! She’s the smartest person I know! And aside from my dad, the most powerful person.”
Tom nodded, impressed. “Sounds like Willow. If she had a super power, her brain would be it.”
“Oh, really? I guess there’s one in every group, then.” Luna shrugged. “That’s good! It means there’s someone smart to keep everyone else from screwing up.”
Their conversation was interrupted by a knock at the door. It opened to admit a chestnut haired boy. “Oh. Hey, Luna. Can I sit in here?”
She smiled brightly. “Sure, Jason! Come on in!” She turned to Tom. “Tom, this is my cousin, Jason Granger. Jason, this is Tom Summers.”
The boys nodded to each other.
Once Jason was settled in, the three of them fell into easy conversation, although Tom noted that Jason didn’t say very much. He was a lot like Oz. He said exactly as much as he needed to, and no more.
“So, Jason, I’m guessing your mom is the ‘Hermione’ I’ve heard about?” Tom received a nod. “Cool. Is it nice having a magical background when you’re going to school?” A shrug. “Guess it’s one of those ‘how you look at it things,’ huh?” A nod. “Alright, this one you’ve got
to answer verbally. Who’s your dad?”
“Dean Thomas.” Was the easy reply.
“And why isn’t your last name Thomas?”
Jason looked at Luna, who nodded. “Aunt Hermione is a really famous witch on the charms circuit. When she and Uncle Dean got together, he just took her last name to avoid confusion.”
Tom nodded. “Cool. How’d they get together? During school?”
Luna giggled. “That’s the best part! She practically ignored him all during school, but once they graduated, it turned out they supported the same football team! That’s soccer to you. They went to a few games together, and things just went from there.”
Tom laughed. “Oh, that’s gorgeous. Almost as convoluted as…” He trailed off. He had almost compared it to some of Buffy’s relationships.
“As what?” Luna asked.
“Nothing… Forget it.” He cleared his throat. “So, your last name is Potter. Harry Potter’s your dad, right?”
She nodded. “Yep! And my mom’s name is Luna too! Luna Lovegood, originally. That’s why I like it. I got half of her hair, and I already use half my dad’s name, so it seemed like a good idea!”
Tom nodded. That explains it. The magic probably balances it out like that.
“Absolutely. Sounds reasonable to me.” He frowned as something occurred to him. “Wait. You said your Aunt Hermione’s last name is Granger. But neither of your parents last names are Granger.”
“Oh!” Luna blushed. “Well, she’s not really
my aunt. She’s just known my dad for so long, that’s what I call her. And Jason and I decided that makes us cousins!”
Tom nodded. Choosing your family was something he understood.
Eventually, there was an announcement that they were approaching Hogwarts. Luna skipped out to a bathroom to change, while Tom and Jason used the compartment.
When the train came to a stop, there was another announcement for all First Years to leave their luggage and animals on the train. Tom frowned, but left Joyce with a few treats in her cage.
As the three of them piled off the train, they heard a booming voice call out over the crowd. “Firs’ Years! Firs’ Years, come this way!”
Luna and Jason both smiled as they recognized the moving wall coming toward them, but Tom felt like running as fast as his legs could carry him. However, he stayed. No way would he abandon his new friends.
His new friends didn’t share his concerns. They wrapped their arms around the huge man. “Hagrid!” Luna cried. “I’m so happy to see you! You haven’t been around since last Christmas when you brought Fang over for a visit!”
Jason was satisfied with a smile and a nod.”
Hagrid nodded in return. “Well, I’m sorry fer not comin’ around, Luna, but I’ve been a bit busy. Got ter prepare lessons, and all tha’. I hope ter see you both when you hit Third Year!”
“We’ll be there!” Luna promised. “Oh! This is our new friend, Tom Summers! Tom, this is Hagrid!”
Hagrid smiled down at Tom, and held out his hand.
Tom hesitated. “You’re not half Gorram demon, are you?”
Hagrid looked surprised. “How do you know what a Gorram demon is?”
“Grew up on a Hellmouth.”
Hagrid nodded. “Righ,’ then. Well, no I’m not. I’m half giant.”
Tom nodded, and shook Hagrid’s hand. “Alright then! No Slayers coming after you!”
Luna snorted. “Oh, please! Slayers don’t exist! Come on, we’ve got to get in the boats!” She grabbed Tom and Jason’s hands, and ran for the water.
The boat ride was a lot of fun, and in Tom’s opinion was over too soon.
Once they got to the castle, all the First Years were assembled just outside the Great Hall. A woman, who Tom guessed was of Indian descent, walked up to the front of the group, and smiled at them.
“Hello, and welcome to Hogwarts. My name is Parvati Patil. I’m the deputy Headmistress here, as well as the Transfiguration Professor and Head of Gryffindor House. In a few moments, you’ll go through these doors to begin your life here. Before you can sit for the feast, you must be sorted into one of the four houses. Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. While you’re here, your house will be your family. You’ll take classes together, spend your free time in your common room, and, hopefully, help each other when you need it.”
With that, she turned around, and opened the doors. She led the group up the center of the biggest room Tom had ever laid eyes on. You could have fit his entire house in here, yards included. The ceiling… Whoa. Now
He just stared at it, trying to identify constellations. He’d gotten both dippers and Ursa Major before the group came to a stop.
Professor Patil was standing next to a stool, with an old hat on it. She took out a scroll. “When I call your name, you will come up, and the sorting hat will place you in a house.” She looked at the scroll. “Abbot, Cora!”
A blonde girl stepped forward nervously. Professor Patil put the hat on her head as she sat on the stool. The hat twitched. If Tom didn’t know better… He’d swear it looked thoughtful.
Soon, he knew better.
The hat opened up a mouth, a mouth,
and shouted “RAVENCLAW!”
Cora smiled, and went to join the applauding students.
The list continued until they reached “Granger, Jason!”
Jason walked up to the hat calmly, and sat down. It only took a moment for the hat to cry out “GRYFFINDOR!”
Again, the list moved along. Tom took particular notice of one student. Malfoy, Scorpius. He made something in the back of Tom’s mind twitch, and Tom was having trouble deciding if it was good or bad.
Scorpius sat on the stool, and was quickly declared a “SLYTHERIN!”
Eventually, they came to Potter, Luna. She skipped up to the stool, and happily put the hat on. The hat almost seemed to chuckle before shouting “GRYFFINDOR!”
Tom was behind five other students. When they finally called his name, he went up, and put the hat on.
For a long moment, nothing happened. He was half tempted to poke the hat to see if it was asleep. Then, suddenly, the hat wrenched
itself to the left. Then, twice as hard, it threw itself to the right. It went left again. Then, as hard as it could, it flew to the right, throwing Tom off the stool. Years on the Hellmouth had taught him to roll as he fell, so he wasn’t injured.
Professor Patil picked the hat up. “What’s all this about?” She demanded.
The hat glared at Tom, before growling out. “I’m not sorting that!
” It spat. “Do with it what you will. I’ll not be responsible.”
Outside of the few vampires he’d met, Tom had never seen this kind of rage. He couldn’t understand why it had reacted that way.
Professor Patil sighed. “Very well. Mister Summers, where do you wish to go?”
He gulped. “Uh… Gryffindor?”
She nodded. “Let the record show, Thomas Summers was sorted into Gryffindor.”
Tom moved to the table, never taking his eyes off the hat. He was surprised when Luna pulled him down next to her. “What was that all about?” She whispered.
Tom shivered. “I wish I knew…” As soon as the words left his mouth, he regretted them. He turned to look across the table, and met the face of a demon.