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Fantastic Creatures and How To Slay Them

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Summary: Stake? Wand? They're going to be wielding something pointy and wooden, one way or another...

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Faith-CenteredFaithsVoiceFR1329,982092,50627 May 095 Jun 09No

Endings and Beginnings

A/N: Faith, Buffy, and all related characters and concepts belong to Joss. Harry, Hogwarts, and all their relatives belong to J.K. I'm just having fun, not making money.

A/N 2: So, ok, I sat down to write the Stargate one, and this thing smacked me between the eyes, and I may just get the first chapter done in one sitting- fear my muse!

*~*~*

Chapter 1: Endings and Beginnings

My mum dragged me down Knockturn Alley and into the pub, then dropped into her usual chair and shoved me towards the opposite chair. I landed off-center and nearly knocked the chair over, but Michael, the bartender, caught it with one hand and straightened me up while the other hand put Mum's first pint down. She grunted her thanks at him and started on her beer, and I tagged along after Michael when he went back to the bar. Anything to be away from Mum. I nearly cracked a smile when I thought about Hogwarts, and how in just a couple of days I would be away from her for a whole school year, but my face fell as I realized I still didn't have a wand, and Mum kept promising, but here she was drinking again, instead of getting money for it-

Michael caught my attention. “Here, now, Faith, you want to run an errand for me? I'll give you a Sickle.”

I perked up, actually raking the hair back from my face with one hand. “A Sickle? Sure, Mike, I'd love to!”

He made a weird, sad face at me as he turned away, and I scowled at his back. I smoothed my expression when he turned back. “Take this package up to Roger at The Ogre's Hand, and wait for a receipt. Got it?”

I nodded. “Roger at the Ogre's Hand, bring back a receipt.”

He smiled. “Good girl. Off you go.”

I clutched the package close as I left the Dead Goat Pub and wormed into the crowds. Couldn't risk losing it, not with a whole Sickle on the line. Not that I wasn't going to add to it while I was out... I pressed up against an older wizard with a bushy beard and dipped my fingers into the pocket of his robes, grabbing a couple of coins and moving away quickly, then repeated the whole thing on a teen aged witch with a sneer. I waited until I'd turned a couple of corners away from either of them, then checked on my earnings. Two Sickles and half a dozen Knuts! I counted it up in my head, and actually started to smile a little (though I shook my hair forward to hide it) when I realized I would have enough for a wand on my own, once I was done with this errand!

That thought gave me a burst of energy, and I squirmed through the crowd like a puppy, intent on getting to the other pub as quick as I could. I slipped in through the door behind a fat wizard and a skinny witch who were arguing about potions, and headed back towards the bar. “Are you Roger?”

The bartender turned and raised an eyebrow. “And what's a little thing like you doing in here, girl?”

I shrank in on myself a little, and held out the package. “Delivery, sir. From Michael at the Dead Goat. He said I'm to wait for a receipt, sir.”

His voice softened a little as he took the package. “Alright, you sit here and I'll go write that out for you.” I hopped up on a stool and rested my heels on the edge of the seat, wrapping my arms around my legs. I uncurled only when Roger got back, as he handed me a couple of things. “Here you go, kid, the receipt, and a little something for you.”

I gave him a little smile. “Thanks, sir.” He grinned and ruffled my hair, not noticing that I flinched, then I turned and ran off.

I checked my fist when I got outside- three Knuts and a Chocolate Frog! Wicked cool! I hardly ever got candy- Mum barely bothered to keep us in regular food, let alone treats- and I decided to save it for after I had my wand. I tucked it securely into one inner pocket, and slipped the coins into the pouch around my waist, the one I never took off, especially where Mum could get to it. I patted the pouch, and allowed myself another little smile at the thought of finally having my wand.

I went back into the Dead Goat, and proudly handed the receipt to Michael, though I didn't push my hair back, just smiled at him through it. He smiled back. “Good job. You're gonna do great at that school.” He went in his cash box and pulled out a Sickle. “Now, go and get some sunshine. A dark old pub like this is no place for a kid.”

I wanted to snatch the coin from him, but I took it calmly, with a nod. “Thanks, sir.” I went over and tugged on Mum's sleeve. “Mum? I'm gonna go to Mister Ollivander's now, ok? I'll be back before dark.”

She looked around, her eyes already vague. “Time to get your wand already? You'll need this.” She shoved four Knuts across the table at me. “Before dark, you hear? I want to spend one last night with my baby girl before she goes off to school...”

I scowled at the Knuts, but scooped them up anyway. “Thanks, Mum. This is great.” I backed away and headed for the door before she could grab me and start bawling. She'd barely seemed to care about me for the past decade, but once that letter came, she'd gotten all clingy, and told me rambling stories about her time at Hogwarts, and how handsome my Dad had looked, in his green and silver Quiddich robes, and then she'd gotten into how much she missed him, which led back to how much she was going to miss me, and by then she'd be crying, and I was done with it. I scrambled up the steps into Diagon Alley, and pushed my hair back so I could get some sun on my face.

This area was more bustling, full of families getting last-minute school supplies, Ministry workers shopping on their lunch break, sweethearts walking hand in hand. There was laughter, and colour, and I thought again about how soon I was leaving for Hogwarts, and how bright and cheery it would all be compared to my life now, and- the scent of something cooking caught my nose, and made my stomach growl- how I could finally, for once in my life, eat all I wanted, at every meal. I realized I was actually smiling a little, and wiped it off my face before anyone could use it against me.

I paused outside Flourish and Blott's, and scowled at the pictures plastering the windows. Some bloke called Lockhart was smiling and waving from all of them, just like he was from the back of the one new book I'd gotten. Mum had found all the rest of my school books used, which I hated, since they were tattered, doodled in, in some cases singed or chewed on, but that one she'd had to buy new, and I hated that more, because she'd gotten angry at the expense and thrown it at me. And now he was here, signing the damn things, and I wanted to go in and kick him in the shins. I looked past the posters in the windows, and gasped a little at what- or who- I saw.

Standing there, gesturing angrily, was Him! Harry Potter! I pulled back, then peeked again. He was wicked cute, cuter than I'd expected, and even from here I could see the flash in his green eyes. Standing next to him were a pretty witch with big, bushy hair, and a skinny wizard with bright orange hair, who was soon joined by what could only be his family, since they all had the same ginger hair. Then I registered who He was talking to, and I yanked myself away from the window with a hiss. Malfoys! His dad hardly noticed me, but Draco seemed to go out of his way to make me miserable whenever we ran into each other. I said better to be killed in the service of the Dark Lord than locked up in Azkaban like his Aunt Bellatrix, but Draco said my dad was a coward who'd run away before the Aurors could catch him and my mum was a coward who hid in a bottle. The first time he'd said that, I'd taken a swing at him, and connected, but he'd knocked me down and pummeled me, and I didn't try to hit him anymore.

I stomped away, trying to focus on the happy thoughts of 'my own wand' and 'going to Hogwarts', and I managed to at least not be scowling when I walked into Ollivander's tiny, dark shop. There was nobody there, so I felt safe gaping up at the shelves and stacks and piles of small, thin boxes. There was movement from the back of the shop and I stifled a gasp as my eyes tracked on it. It was a little old man I figured was Ollivander, especially when he smiled and reached for my hand.

He shook my hand so hard he nearly lifted me off the floor, even though he was hardly any taller than me. “Hello, my dear, welcome. Faith Lehane, yes? Oh, this will be interesting. Let's see...” He pulled out a tape measure, which set about measuring me on its own. I watched it warily, but it just did its job, and I relaxed a little. He took my wrist to hold it out, and I flinched. He immediately stepped back, with a little smile. “So sorry, dear. If you would hold your arms out, good, yes, definitely some strength in you, you'll need flexibility, just stay here a moment if you would...” He bustled off, leaving me standing and staring.

He came back a moment later with a bunch of boxes in his arms and set them on the counter. He opened one and held it out to me. “Try this. Willow, ten and a half inches, dragon heartstring. Very springy. Just give it a swish and a flick.” I picked it up and swished it, and a huge gust of air exploded out of it, sending me staggering. Ollivander nearly yanked the wand out of my hand. “Definitely not that. Don't worry, no harm done, try this instead.” He opened another box, and I pulled out the wand. “Oak, seven and three quarters, very sturdy.” I swish-and-flicked, and the ground under us rumbled. I yelped and nearly dropped the wand, and he frowned. “Definitely not. Perhaps...”

He climbed up a ladder leaning against the shelves, and came down with a single dusty box. “A very unusual combination, but I think it will suit you.” He opened the box and displayed the wand. I was immediately drawn to it, and licked my lips as I got close. He smiled. “Elder wood and phoenix feather. Darkness and light. Go ahead.” I picked it up gently, and got the feeling it was purring at me. I started to smile. I gave it the swish-and-flick, and a silvery glow lit up the end of it. I grinned, and he smiled back. “Perfect. This wand has been waiting a long time for you, my girl. Be wise in your use of it.” He looked around, then out the window. “Now, where is your mother to pay for this?”

My face fell. “She sent me on my own, sir. I have this.” I dug into my secret pouch, and pulled out all the Knuts and the sad few Sickles. “I hope it's enough.”

He cupped his hands, and I dropped the coins into them. He counted them, then handed me back seven Knuts with a smile. “I believe this is yours. Buy something just for yourself.”

I smiled back and slipped the Knuts back in the pouch. “Thank you.” I turned towards the door, clutching my wand, just as a blonde girl came in, looking wicked excited, followed by her mum, who mostly looked confused at everything. The girl stopped right in front of me. “Hi!”

I flashed a grin, just for a second. “Hey.”

She bounced a little. “Is that your wand? Did you just get it? I've never seen a wand before! Are you excited to be going to school? I didn't even know there was a school for witches-”

“Buffy.” Her mum sounded tired. “Can't you see you're overwhelming her? Her mum and dad are probably waiting for her, and you're in her way.”

She pouted, which I usually hated, but on her it was kinda cute. “I just wanted to make a friend, mum. You said it was important for me to have friends at school.” She turned the pout on me. “Do you want to be my friend?”

I smiled a little and stuck out my hand. “I'm Faith.”

She beamed at me. “I'm Buffy. We should sit together on the train.”

I nodded a little. “K”

Her mum tugged on her arm. “Come on, Buffy, we need to do this quickly. We still have to get your books. Let's hope that dreadful man has left and the queue has cleared out. ”

Buffy turned to her mum. “Wow, my own wand. Mum, after we get my books, can I get an owl? Or even a cat? Please?”

Her mum sighed. “Now, Buffy, your dad doesn't think you're ready for that sort of responsibility...”

She was bouncing a little. “But the school thinks I'm old enough! They said so in the letter!”

I slipped out of the shop before I could work up any jealousy of Buffy and her wicked cool mum, even if she was a mudblood and my mum would tell me to stay away. I decided I wasn't going to think about what my mum would say. I hadn't thought about it before, cause I didn't think I was going to make friends, but someone had been nice to me, and I decided I didn't care about her blood status. After all, look what pure blood had gotten my mum, or my dad.

I took my sweet time walking along, looking longingly at the brooms, going in to pet the cats and dangle my fingers for the owls, and just generally putting off going back to the Dead Goat. It started getting dark, though, and the families cleared out to go home to their suppers, and I had to head back to Knockturn Alley.

Mum burst into tears when I came in the door of the pub. “Oh, my darling girl, I was worried! It's getting late, and we have so little time left together!” She gathered me up in a hug, and I stiffened but didn't pull back. That woulda just made her angry, and better weepy and hugging me than angry and hitting. “Oh, baby, I'm going to take you home and give you one last home-cooked meal before you have to eat what those dreadful house elves make.” I hid my face in her shoulder so she couldn't see the face I pulled at the thought of her cooking, especially since she'd been drinking.

I moved away a little. “I'm sure Mike can make us something...”

She pulled a face. “Not the same at all. Come here, my sweet girl, let's go home together.” She draped her arms over me and tried to head for the door. Unfortunately, she mostly just tangled her feet up in mine and nearly had us both over. This I was used to, though, and I got her back upright and pointed at the door, with one of her arms around my shoulders. We staggered down the street together to the crappy little flat that never seemed to hold the heat, and she fumbled out her wand to unlock the door. I steered her inside and over to the kitchen table. She dropped into a seat. “Now, darling, I just need a shot of firewhisky, and I will make you a grand feast to send you off in style.”

I sighed. “Sure, mum. Here's the firewhisky. You know it's not tomorrow, right? It's the next day. We still have a little time.”

She nodded so hard she nearly tipped over. “But tomorrow night, well, I just might be a mess. Your old mum's going to miss you, you know.” She sniffled.

I scowled. “Aw, mum, don't cry. Please. You can owl me anytime, you know. And I'll send you an owl right back. I-” It stuck in my throat, and I had to try again. “I'll miss you too, mum, I promise.” She burst into tears and threw her arms around me again, and I just stood there and took it. After a minute, she reached for the firewhisky, and I pulled away and left her to her drinking.

I sat on my thin mattress and pulled my wand out. I turned it over in my hands a few times, and ran my fingers along it. It was smooth, and seemed a little warm, like it was a snake lying perfectly still. I pulled out the Chocolate Frog, let it give its couple of good hops, then nibbled as I thought about the school year. In the safety of being alone, I allowed myself to grin. I really had a wand! And someone wanted to be my friend, and sit with me on the train! I was going to be on the Hogwarts train! I actually got up and danced around the room a little.

Well, now that I had a wand... I went over to the pile of books in the corner, and pulled out the Charms one. I knew I'd seen- There. A locking spell. Just the thing to put on my trunk, to make sure no one got into it. I set my wand down and practiced the movements without it, mouthing the incantation but not saying it. I sure as Salazar wasn't going to get nabbed for underage magic use, not when I'd be in the clear at the school.

I went back out into the kitchen to see, as expected, that Mum was passed out on the table, still holding the bottle. I tugged it out of her hand and put it back in the cupboard, and put a blanket over her. I dug up a few ham slices and a stale half-loaf, and made myself a decent sandwich, then went off to sleep still playing with my wand and grinning.

The next morning Mum wanted me to take her to the pub again. I sighed. “Alright, Mum, but then I gotta come back here. I have to pack, you know.” She was weepy even before the first pint, and I escaped back to the flat.

I'd put off packing, because it was depressing. My robes were all worn, used, possibly even third-hand, and either too big or too small for me. My books were in no better shape... None of it was good enough, and I fell into one of my favorite daydreams, the one where Dad was still around, and Mum didn't drink, and we had a nice flat and I got new clothes sometimes. The thought kept me occupied while my hands filled the trunk with everything I owned. When I realized my whole life fit into that one trunk, I had a new daydream, one where I moved in to Hogwarts, stayed there for Christmases and summers, and never had to come back to this rat hole again.

When it started getting dark in my room, I realized it was getting dark out, and I headed for the pub to fetch Mum. When I got there, Mike had a meal waiting for both of us. He smiled at me. “Free of charge. Something special for my best customer and her best girl. You two enjoy your evening.”

I smiled gratefully at him and sat with Mum. We ate, and she told me yet again about the dramatic game in their sixth year, when my dad was knocked off his broom by a rogue Bludger and still managed to catch the Snitch as he fell. I made all the right noises, but I was glad when we were done and she stood to go home. She walked under her own power back to the flat, telling me about Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, neither of whom could be trusted, according to her. She wasn't angry, exactly, but she was starting to get loud.

I was glad when we got to the door. “Mum. Mum! You have to unlock the door.”

She blinked. “Eh? Oh, right, yeah...” She fumbled out her wand and let us in. In an instant her mood shifted, and she was crying again. “Oh, my little girl! My only child! This place will be so empty without you...” She hugged me, and I didn't say anything about how she spent more time down the pub than here, just put my arms awkwardly around her and stood there.

Maybe there was something... Ah. “Mum? Could we have a cuppa together and you can tell me the Beedle stories one last time before I go to school? Please?”

She gave me a watery smile. “Will you sit on my lap a little, too? Maybe just for one story?”

I shrugged a little. “Sure. That'd be nice.” I brewed the tea, and she got out cups and sugar, and found a few biscuits that were going stale, and we sat, and she told the stories, and I sat in her lap for the last one, and it was actually kinda nice.

It was even better the next morning, when she got up early and wasn't cranky from being hungover. I usually hated doing Side-Along Apparition with her, because it made me so queasy, but this morning it was halfway bearable, and we stopped in a bakery outside King's Cross Station and got muffins. I thought how nice it would be if she'd been like this the whole time, and I teared up a little.

Mum heard me sniffle, and gave me another hug. “Oh, I know, I'll miss you too, baby girl. But let's not start the waterworks again.”

I grinned. “Yeah. Can't be ruining my rep before I've even got one.” I blinked and the tears were gone.

She smiled. “That's my girl. Let's go then.” She led me inside, and towards Platforms 9 and 10. All sorts of people, some in robes and some in muggle clothes, gathered between those two platforms, then strolled or leaned or raced and disappeared into the pillar. I looked at Mum, and she nodded. “Easy as pie. Do you want to close your eyes?”

I gave her a disgusted look. “I'm not a baby, Mum. I can do this.” I took my end of the trunk and headed for the pillar. She took her end and followed, and though I would never admit it to anyone, I did close my eyes at the last second, not quite sure the pillar wouldn't be there. When I kept moving forward, I snapped my eyes open and took a good look around. The train was huge, much bigger than I imagined, and puffing out steam like a dragon. The space between me and it was filled with families, mums hugging, dads giving last-minute advice, kids trying to get away or clinging on or looking around for their friends. I was a little overwhelmed with the noise and emotion, and I shook my hair down over my face and hunched in on myself a little.

Mum took control, tugging the trunk, and thus me, through the crowd. I hurried after her, strangely comforted by her presence when I was about to lose it. We were nearly at the train when we heard a shriek. “Faith!” I turned to see Buffy pushing through the crowd towards me.

I couldn't let her meet Mum, it would be bad, Mum would say something about how I shouldn't be friends with mudbloods... I turned towards her wicked quick. “Look, Mum, that girl, she might be a friend, but if you don't go now, I'm gonna start crying, and I don't want to cry in front of her, so please, just hug me and go, and I'll send you an owl tomorrow, ok?”

She sniffled, but managed a smile, and hugged me close. “That's my brave girl. I love you, sweetheart.”

I swallowed a tear or two. “Yeah. Love you too, Mum. Bye.”

She pulled away slowly. “Goodbye.” She went to say more, but Buffy pushed through the crowd, and Mum walked away, with one last teary look over her shoulder.

Buffy bounced up and hugged me, completely ignoring my flinch. She was bubbling with excitement. “Isn't this just the coolest thing? Are you excited? I'm so excited!”

I smiled a little. “It's pretty cool.”

She frowned. “Was that your mum? Why did she leave so fast? Do you need help with your trunk? Will you help me with mine? Do you want to sit at the front of the train or the back?” My smile was getting wider as she babbled.

Her mum pushed through the crowd, pushing a trolley with Buffy's trunk and a cage with a tiny owl. Buffy smiled, and her mum smiled back. “There you are. Alright, let's get these things up there. Hello, Faith.”

I nodded. “Hi.”

Buffy sidled up to her mother. “Can we help Faith with her trunk too? Her mum just left...”

I cut that off. “I think I can get my own trunk. You just lead the way, find a compartment you like.” She beamed at me and led her mum onto the train. I hefted my trunk (not like it was really that heavy) and followed them.

Buffy found an empty compartment she liked, and we put up our trunks, and soon the two of them were hugging and crying and promising to write, and I sat down and looked out the window to give them their moment. The whistle blew, and her mum pulled herself away, with one last kiss, and left. Buffy picked up the owl cage and sat across from me, with the cage in her lap. “Isn't she the cutest little thing? I just had to get her, and all I had to do was pout at my dad. I've named her Joy, because my mum's name is Joyce, and I'm so happy to be going to be a witch. I-”

The door to our compartment burst open, and a girl our age with long red hair darted in and slammed the door behind her. “Sanctuary! I claim sanctuary! Please, hide me from my brothers!” She slid down below the window and huddled, and a second later identical boys with bright red hair peered in the window. Buffy waved, and they waved back, then shook their heads at each other and moved on.

Buffy giggled. “What was that?”

I realized I recognized the boys. “Hey! I saw you in the bookstore the other day! Your brother's friends with Him!”

Buffy was confused. “Him? Who's him?”

The girl sighed. “Yes, my brother Ron is best friends with the great Harry Potter. Who, before you ask, isn't on the train. Either of them. I don't know what happened, but Fred and George are looking to shift the blame, which is why they were looking for me. I'm Ginny, by the way.”

Buffy smiled. “I bet it's fun to have three brothers. I'm Buffy and this is Faith and I didn't even know magic was real until I got that letter, and who's Harry Potter? Why is he so great? Are we going to get to meet him? What's this about being in Houses?”

I tried to interrupt. “Buffy.”

She kept going. “Does it really matter that much? Are we going to get to ride brooms?”

I tried again. “Buffy.”

No use. “What kind of a wand did you get? What difference does it make? When you were trying them, did anything explode?”

Finally I yelled. “B!” She gulped and blinked at me. I hunched up and shrugged, but managed a little smile. “Your whole name didn't seem to get through the babble. You gotta give us a chance to answer. Harry Potter... Well, he's the only one ever to have survived an attack by the Dark Lord.” I looked over at Ginny, who was frowning, and hurried to cover up. “I mean, You-Know-Who. Everybody calls Harry the Boy Who Lived. He's got this scar and everything.”

Ginny smiled dreamily. “If you ask him really nice, he'll probably show you the scar. He's really nice.”

B smiled back. “That's... nice. Is he anything else?”

Ginny giggled. “He's very cute. And smart. And brave. Well, he's a Griffindor, they're all brave. All my brothers have gone into Griffindor, I hope that's where I go.”

B leaned in, setting Joy aside. “How do they decide who goes where? What's the difference between the different Houses? Wait- you said 'all'. How many brothers do you have?”

Ginny held her hand up. “That's enough for now. Do you even stop to breathe?” They grinned at each other, and then at me, and I couldn't help smiling back. Two friends? This might not be so bad! Ginny took a deep breath. “Well, first off, I have six brothers, all older than me, which is not so much fun at all. And it's not up to the professors or the Headmaster which House you go into. There's this thing, the Sorting Hat, and Fred and George say it reads your mind, and says which House you belong in. And then you do everything with your House, classes and meals and everything. And the professors can give you House Points or take them away, if you do something really good or really bad. Or, well, there's Snape. All my brothers say he'll take away points if he thinks you looked at him wrong. Nobody likes him very much.”

B opened her mouth to ask more questions, but the door slid open, and a pale girl with pale hair drifted in, trailing her trunk. Even her voice seemed pale. “I've looked and looked, and there's nowhere else. Can I ride with you?”

B and Ginny nodded and I shrugged, and the girl came in. B helped her get her trunk on the rack, then stuck out her hand. “Hi. I'm Buffy, this is Ginny and Faith, and this is Joy. Isn't she cute?”

The girl smiled a little. “I'm Luna. Have you encountered any Nargles lately?”

B leaned in. “I don't know. What's a Nargle? Are they dangerous? Are there a lot of dangerous creatures out there? Do owls really deliver all your letters? How far can an owl fly? What if I want to send something that's bigger than Joy can carry?” The other two smiled and tried to answer B's flood of questions. Well, Ginny did pretty well answering, but Luna kept going off on tangents. I added a comment here and there, but I wasn't used to the bubbly energy B and Gin were full of, and I was realizing that my answers were going to be darker than B was ready for anyway. Hell, I didn't want Gin and Lu to know how Dark my upbringing had been, either, so mostly I sat in the corner, listening and watching them gesture at each other, and smiling at the thought that I might even have THREE friends.

The scenery caught my eye. This was the first time I'd ever been out of London, and the countryside was beautiful. I pressed my nose to the glass and stared. After a minute, Lu came and sat across from me, and looked out the window with me.

Her voice was soft. “You're a weird one too, eh?” I flicked a glance at her through my hair, and she flicked a smile at me. “They call me Loony Lovegood. They think I'm crazy because I believe in things they don't. But even witches and wizards don't know everything. I think it was fate that I found this compartment.”

I gave her a wry smile. “We can be weird together. And hide behind B and let her talk a hole in people's heads so they don't bother us.”

She giggled and nodded. “She doesn't even need a wand to Stupefy someone.” I grinned, and there was a knock on the glass of our door. We all looked over, and Gin reached out and opened the door.

The witch on the other side smiled. “Anything off the trolley, dears?”

B's eyes got huge. “Oooohhh.... Witchy candy! I want one of everything!”

I groaned. “And soon all the air will disappear from the room as B uses it all to talk.” I smirked at her.

She pulled a face at me. “If you're going to be like that, I won't get you anything.”

She was going to get me something? Really? “Aw, c'mon, B, you know I'm just teasin'. 's just, you're so wired already....”

She grinned. “I know. You shoulda seen your face, though.” I mock-scowled at her and she giggled. “Ginny? Luna? You guys want something?” I got an Acid Pop and a Chocolate Frog- two in one week, possibly a record for me- and Gin got some jelly slugs. Sure enough, B got one of everything, and Lu said she'd eat whatever B didn't want. The trolley witch moved on, and we settled in to stuff ourselves with sugar. Watching B's face as she opened her Chocolate Frog made me giggle a little, and the other two laugh out loud, but when she tasted some of the worse Every Flavor Beans, we all broke up laughing. B tried to scowl, but she was laughing too pretty soon.

Between the candy and the laughter, I was feeling good enough to join in more in the conversation as the afternoon slipped away, and when we changed into our robes, I wasn't even embarrassed about mine. Gin's were just as threadbare, and Lu's looked new, but as if they had been fitted for someone taller and curvier, and possibly with a tail. B didn't seem to notice any of this, just babbled about how unfashionable robes were, and how was she supposed to show her style?

I smirked. “You could wear crazy earrings like Lu. Or dye your hair to match your House colours.”

She giggled. “Or just dye my hair a different colour every week.”

Lu held up a wise finger. “Did you know, there are people who can do that naturally. They're called metamorphmagi, and there's one with the Aurors right now.” B and Gin looked very impressed, and even I had to admit that was pretty cool.

Some of the older students came and knocked on the doors and told us we'd arrived, so the four of us gathered our things and trooped off. B was juggling her trunk and Joy's cage, and she stumbled, and knocked me down the stairs, where I went sprawling... right at the feet of a giant. I gulped.

*~*~*

A/N coda: Yep. One bloody sitting. 1 am to 9.30 am. And they've barely gotten to Hogsmeade Station. Fear my brain! No prizes for guessing which House Faith ends up in... but how will it affect this burgeoning friendship? Stay tuned and see! Now, I post, and shower, and try to sleep. Fear my mania!
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