Disclaimer: I am not Joss (BTVS), nor am I Rowling (HP).
AN: Response to chrysanne's challenge. In case no one's noticed, I have a real weakness for HP fics... ^_^
Spoilers: Set several years post DH (Although the 'Nineteen Years Later' bit won't be counted here. Nor will canon pairings.), and begins during the summer just after Season 5 of BTVS.
Banner by chrysanne!
Thomas Summers was having a nightmare. It wasn’t like any he’d had before, especially after Buffy had graduated. The giant snake he’d seen would likely be burned into his memory well into adulthood. He was just thankful it backed off when he asked it to… No, this nightmare was very different.
He was in front of a mirror. Except it wasn’t him in control of the body. He was… Stuck on the back of some guy’s head. He was saying something in a high, raspy voice. There was someone else there, too. A boy, about Tommy’s age, with glasses and wild hair. He had a scar on his head.
Then, Tommy wasn’t talking anymore. The boy was yelling something, and whoever was in control of Tommy’s body ran at the other boy. Then, all Tommy knew was pain…
He woke up, screaming at the top of his lungs. The room around him might as well have not existed. He still felt the pain in his very skin, and nothing could distract him from it.
Suddenly, he found himself brought back to reality with a SLAP! He blinked. “D-Dawn?”
The brunette sitting on his bed nodded. “Yeah. Are you okay now? That must have been intense.”
He wrapped his arms around his older sister, breaking into tears. “Oh, it was terrible. I was… I was stuck on some guy’s head, and I attacked some kid… And it hurt so much…”
She hugged him, stroking his head softly. “Shhh. It’s okay, Tommy. It’s all over now, okay?” He nodded into her shoulder. “Do you want some warm milk to help you sleep?” It was what their mom did to help, before… Well, before.
“Yeah. Thanks.” They got up, and headed downstairs.
Tommy woke the next morning, only a little worse for the wear. He hadn’t had another nightmare, which was definitely for the best. The first had been enough of an emotional drain.
When he got downstairs, Willow and Tara were already making breakfast. “Hey, sweetie.” The blonde witch greeted him. “How do you want your pancakes today? For once, we’ve actually got everything you could want.”
He settled into a stool next to the island. “Um… Three. Funny shapes with chocolate chips and blueberries. A slice of butter on each one, and strawberry syrup.”
Tara nodded, and started cooking.
Willow sat next to the boy, smiling at him. “So was that you scaring us out of our skins last night?” His answering blush caused her to grin. “It’s okay. Dawn told me what your dream was about. I was just wondering if you recognized any of the people in you saw.”
He shook his head. “No. Well, not exactly. I couldn’t really see whoever I was… Well, on. But the other boy… He seemed familiar. Like, I’d seen him years ago, and just remembered.”
Willow nodded. That was a good sign. For as long as she’d known the Summers family, Tommy had almost immediately shown a great affinity for magic. When he was six, and Angelus tried to… Tommy repelled him with a spontaneous burst of magical flame. And there had been many other occurrences since then. Hard to avoid on the Hellmouth. She had been a little afraid that he’d had a vision, but this sounded like a normal nightmare. “Well, don’t worry about it. It was just a dream.”
He nodded. “I know. It’s not even scary now. It was bad last night, but I’m fine now.” He looked at the clock. “Ah! Spongebob is on!” He ran into the living room.
Headmistress McGonagall let out a great sigh. How had Albus done it for so many years? So many Muggle-borns were just popping up out of nowhere, and she had to arrange for letters to be sent. Not to mention, many of them had to be brought in on a scholarship. They could afford it, of course, but it was hell to set up.
For perhaps the tenth time in the last hour, a ping sounded from the large globe in her office. Wearily, she went to see where it was coming from. Turning it, she expected to see a bright blue light somewhere in Europe. It wasn’t there. She turned the globe further, looking all over the Hemisphere. Nothing. Finally, she turned it to America. There it was, on the west coast.
“That’s strange.” She murmured. “Someone in America should have alerted the Salem Institute’s globe. I wonder…” She went to the fireplace, and grabbed some floo powder. She dropped in a pinch worth, and shouted, “Salem Institute!” The fire formed in front of her, giving her a view of her American counterpart’s office. “Mark. I say, Mark. Are you there?”
Mark Kitoran appeared in her field of vision. “Ah, Minerva! I wasn’t expect your call. What can I do for you?”
“Well, something strange happened just a moment ago. A muggle-born lit up on the globe.”
Mark smiled at her. “Surely you have some
experience in that respect?” He asked teasingly.
She raised an eyebrow at him, but kept her tone civil. “Quite. No, the unusual part was that the light was in your country. The province of California, if I’m not mistaken. Do you have a similar light?”
“Just a moment.” He went to check. When he came back, his face wore a look of confusion. “No, I don’t. Curious. Well, I suppose that means you’ve got a lucky student. That’s how we usually handle these things.”
“You mean this has occurred before?” She asked, surprised.
“Oh, certainly. More than a few times, over the years. No one really knows why, but sometimes American students are recognized by foreign schools, and vice versa. When that happens, it’s the school’s responsibility to take the student in.” He grinned. “And, as a point of interest, every single one of those students turned out to be pretty Earth-shattering. I do believe the last one was Grindlewald.”
The Headmistress’ eyes became very saucer-like. “Grindlewald…”
“Attended the Salem Institute, yes. He was an excellent student, according to Professor Garten’s portrait.” At her confused look, he elaborated. “He was Headmaster at the time.”
“I see…” She nodded. “Yes, I’d describe that as Earth-shattering. I can only hope this one turns out better. Very well. I’ll handle it, thank you.”
“Any time, Minerva.” Mark nodded, and the fire went out.
Spike came into the Summers’ house through the basement. No one seemed to be about, except for Tommy. “Hey, Tom. Is the Niblet here?”
“Hey Spike.” Tommy’s attention was on the television. “She went… Uh, well I’m not sure where. I think Willow went with her. Tara’s at the supermarket.”
Spike frowned. Dawn had said she wanted him to teach her how to fight. Why had she left? He shrugged. He could wait. He had time, after all. “Right. What’s on? You’re not watching the bloody sponge again, are you?”
“No. He was on earlier. Looney Tunes is on now.”
“Oh? Which?” Spike enjoyed some of the older cartoons, especially from the Chuck Jones era.
“Pepe Le Pew.” Tom answered happily.
Spike grimaced. “Oh. Give me Roadrunner, any day.”
Tom laughed. “Roadrunner’s fine, but Pepe demands a little from his audience. Like, how will the cat get the stripe on her back this time?”
Spike thought for a moment. “Maybe she gets scared?”
Tom gave him a ‘look.’ “Pay attention, Spike. See those guys on the road? They’re painting the lines on the street. White lines.”
Spike nodded. “Oh, right. Okay.”
They continued watching for a while, but were interrupted by a knock at the door. Tom jumped up to get it, but Spike held him back. “Let me handle this, alright? If you get nabbed, I get dusted.” He went to the door. The sight before him was… Well, it was unexpected. An older woman, in emerald-green robes and a pointed hat. “Uh… What do you want?”
“Is there a Thomas Summers here?” She asked.
Spike immediately went on the defensive. “What if there is?” He demanded.
She put her hands up in a placating gesture. “I’m not here to harm him. I’m here because I wish to offer him a place at my school. My name is Minerva McGonagall. I am the Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. May I come in?”
Spike thought about it for a moment, then stepped aside. She nodded, and came in. “Are you his legal guardian? I must, of course, have permission for him to attend.”
“No. I’m not. His legal guardian is his sister.”
“And where is she?”
Spike came up short. “It’s… A long story. Look, someone who can explain it will be here soon enough. It’s not really my place. If you want, you can talk to Tom. He’s watchin’ TV.”
She nodded, and Spike looked over at Tom. Tom, it seemed, had abandoned the television. He was watching them, listening to their conversation. “So…” He started. “You want me to go to magic school?” Minerva nodded. He was silent for a moment, then grinned. “Cool!”
Dawn and Willow came in from a shopping trip to the Magic Box to find Tom in the dining room, talking to a strange woman. Spike was watching from a few feet away.
“Hey.” Dawn nudged him. “Who’s that?”
“Someone from a magic school.” He replied softly. “She wants Tom to attend it. She said she needs the permission of his legal guardian. I told her you lot could handle it.”
Willow nodded. “Right. Okay. We can handle that.” She went into the room, sitting down. “Hi. I’m Willow. Can I help you?”
Minerva turned to face her. “I hope so. As I explained to your friend, I am here to offer Tom here a place at my school. We teach magic. I know from Tom that you are an Earth witch?” Willow nodded, so she continued. “Our magic is different. It comes from within. Every so often, a magical child is born to Muggle, that is to say non-magical, parents. When that happens, we offer them a place in school.”
Willow frowned. “You’re obviously not from around here. Isn’t there a school in America he could go to?”
Minerva nodded. “Yes. The Salem Institute in New York. However, the system that identifies young Wizards and Witches operates by tapping into a vast field of magic. It determines where the best environment for each student to learn would be. That system alerted me, instead of the Headmaster in Salem. That means that Tom would do much better in Hogwarts.” She paused, letting that sink in.
Willow’s frown lessened somewhat, but she was still a bit uneasy. “How much will this cost?”
“For you, nothing. I am offering him a scholarship because of these unique circumstances. It’s something of a tradition among the schools.”
Willow nodded slowly. “Okay… Why should we trust you with Tom? He’s only ten. For all we know, you’re some kind of psycho.”
Minerva sighed. “I see. Very well. Are you familiar with an unbreakable oath?”
Willow nodded. “Sure. You swear on your magic. If you break the promise, you die.”
“Correct.” Minerva held up her wand. “I hereby swear, on my life and magic, that should Thomas Summers be allowed to come to Hogwarts, I shall do everything in my power to protect him from harm.” A blue light filled the room. After a moment, it dimmed. “There. Is that enough to satisfy you?”
Willow looked at Dawn, then back at Minerva. “Could we have a minute?” Minerva nodded, and left the room.
Dawn sat down. “So? Is she on the level?”
Willow nodded. “Yeah. That’s not what worries me. Should we send Tom away right now? I mean, with everything else that’s happened…”
Dawn turned to Tom. “Tom. I want you to think about this before you answer. Really think about it. Do you want to go with her?”
Tom began to think. He’d asked Minerva a lot of questions, so he knew what leaving meant. He’d be gone for most of the year, only coming home for holidays and summer. He’d miss his family.
On the other hand, he’d have the opportunity to learn magic! Like Willow, but with real teachers. That sounded pretty good to him.
Finally, he looked up at his sister. “Yeah. I wanna go.”
Dawn nodded. “Alright. Ms. McGonagall!” The Professor came back. “He can go.”
Minerva nodded. “Very well. All I need is his guardian’s permission.”
Dawn winced. “Oh. About that…”
Minerva sat very still. The story she’d just been told was, to say the least, disturbing. She cleared her throat. “So… You all are looking after him?” They nodded. “And your father… He’s in Spain with a younger woman?” Again, they nodded. She took a deep breath. “Very well. Miss Rosenberg, your permission will do just fine. In the Wizarding world, we consider the person looking after the child to be the guardian, provided they are in a safe environment.”
Tom jumped up from his seat. “You mean I can go?!”
Willow nodded, smiling. “Yeah. You can go.”
Tom let out a great WHOOP! He was going to magic school!
Minerva allowed herself a small smile, and pulled out a small metal medallion. “This is for Tom. It’s called a Portkey. It will activate when he speaks a password of his own choosing. It will take him directly from here, to the school. I expect him to arrive by August 30th, in order to be fitted for robes and to purchase a wand. Everything else will be procured for him. He will also be allowed to purchase a familiar. Either a cat, owl, or toad. Personally, I recommend the owl. They deliver our mail.”
She passed the medallion over to Tom, who picked it up, looking at it. It had a coat of arms engraved on it, with four animals. A snake, a badger, a raven, and a griffin. “How to I choose a password?” He asked.
“Hold it between your hands, and speak it. Once it’s been chosen, it’s set.”
He nodded, and held it between his hands. After a moment, he selected a password.