Chapter One – In Which the Participants Arrive
Albus Dumbledore and the Tri-Wizard Tournament from Hell
By Susan Anthony (LdyGossamer@aol.com)
Summary: After Beauxbatons drops out of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, Albus Dumbledore needed another school without delay. Too bad he didn't research the school in more detail.
Disclaimer: This story is for the pleasure of the readers only. I don't make a thing. The World of Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling and the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is owned by Joss Whedon.
Note: Please be aware that I am totally Dumbledore bashing here. Also, the timeline of events here is completely off for both BtVS and the HP universe. Just consider this completely AU (crack).
Another note: There will be a very faint mention of slash later in this story though there are no pairings.
Chapter One - In Which the Participants Arrive
Albus Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump and all around big-time British muckitymuck, glared at the letter in his hands. He was trying to see if he could incinerate it by his gaze alone but alas, the parchment refused to catch fire.
Two weeks before, Madame Maxime had let him know that the ladies of Beauxbatons would not be attending the Tri-Wizard Tournament as planned due to an outbreak of a particularly virulent and magic-resistant strain of acne. It had infected every girl at her school over the age of twelve, including the usually untouchable veela. The girls were absolutely refusing to be seen outside their school halls and she was having a difficult time even getting them to attend classes.
Albus had had to restrain himself from the biggest hissy fit he'd tossed since word had gotten out back in the 60's (due to the Daily Prophet of course) about him and Gallert and their teenaged relationship. The Headmaster of Hogwarts had completely decimated his own office when his magnificent and glorious defeat of the worst Dark Lord in centuries was reduced to the result of a lover's tiff because Grindelwald had dumped him.
The Headmaster ground his teeth as he remembered, wondering to this day how the reporter for the Daily Prophet (who wisely remained anonymous) had found that out. And where had they gotten those pictures....
In any case, Albus refused to allow himself to lose his temper in such a way again so as soon as he'd gotten word from Beauxbatons, he'd sent out invitations to three other schools, one in Italy, one in India and one in Africa, hoping one of those prestigious institutions would allow their seventh year students to attend the tournament. The replies he had gotten within a day were, to say the least, rather rude and quite vocal (in two cases literally) about their opinion on allowing children to compete in such a dangerous event.
Three more invitations were then sent out to hopefully less discriminating schools and this time, Albus lowered himself to inviting a school from...America (ick).
The replies were much the same from the two schools he'd invited from China and Siberia but the Headmaster of the American school, the Southern California School of Magic, had replied with a positively gleeful letter, happily informing the Headmaster that his seniors (why couldn't the man refer to them as seventh years like any civilized scholar?) would be arriving on October 30th and if some didn't make it back to California, it was no skin off his nose. The letter was signed Principal D. Snyder and stamped with the approval of the local Mayor's office.
And now, since all the other acceptable schools had declined, Dumbledore would be forced to accept American students - *AMERICAN* students - at his beloved school. He was tempted to cancel the whole thing except that Harry needed his yearly research and combat training.
Well, hopefully, if things worked out like he'd planned, he'd have a nice wizard war on his hands by this very time next year; a war in which he could use Harry to show those mangy sheep that read the Daily Prophet that Dumbledore's defeat of the last Dark Lord was *NOT* a lover's tiff! When they saw Harry, the so-called Savior of the Wizarding world, die in a blaze of idiot Gryffindor blundering and Albus step forward to crush that upstart Voldemort, they'd know he was not a wizard to be trifled with in the press, but a magnificent and glorious Wizard of Power!
Albus cleared his throat and glanced a little sheepishly around at the portraits of the former Headmasters lining the office walls. They were all staring at him.
"Oh, sod off," he muttered and as he picked up the letter and prepared to send a response to Principal D. Snyder that his delightful students would be welcomed and housed in the best dorms Hogwarts could provide.
The Headmaster made a mental note to ask those blighty little house elves to prepare the extra dorm rooms just off the Slytherin area in the dungeon that hadn't been used in a few centuries. A little damp and mold would surely not make any difference to the Americans. They probably lived in thatched, one-room houses and would think Hogwarts was quite the luxurious palace.
And if the American champion ended up dead, well that made the coverage of the tournament all the more epic and dramatic. How sad that the American Champion just didn't have what it took to compete with his European counterparts.
Another cackle echoed through the office and the portraits closest to his desk tried to inch a bit farther away from the happily snickering, fruitcake Headmaster.
The students of Hogwarts, arranged along the walls of the castle, were quite impressed with the arrival of the Durmstrang ship. It rose majestically from the lake and within a few minutes, the students were disembarking from the ship behind their tall, dark-haired, evil-looking Headmaster.
"Igor!" Dumbledore pronounced in a pleased tone as he held out his hand.
"Dumbledore," the man replied with a nod as he took the Headmaster's hand and shook it firmly. "It is good to see you again."
"And you," Albus replied as he subtly flexed his fingers in his sleeve. The man was an absolute barbarian. Igor had almost crushed his hand.
"Where is Madame Maxime?" Karakoff asked as he glanced around. "I am surprised we have arrived before her."
"There was a bit of a problem and Beauxbatons isn't coming," Albus stated as he glanced around, wondering how the Americans planned to arrive. They would probably just pop in with a portkey. Americans had no style.
"I have invited another school to take their place, the Southern California School of Magic. They should be arriving anytime."
The Durmstrang students had been quietly murmuring among themselves as their Headmaster made nice with Dumbledore but at the mention of the school that had been invited to compete instead of Bauxbatons, they became completely silent. Albus turned to find them and their teachers staring at him in something that might be...fear?
"You...invited THEM to compete in the Tournament?" Karakoff asked in a stunned and angry tone. Albus turned to him in surprise.
"Why yes, their principal was most eager for his students to compete," Albus replied in a light tone that hid his confusion at Karakoff's reaction. "They seemed an adequate replacement."
"Have you lost your mind, Dumbledore?" Karakoff snarled as he stepped closer. "The last time that school competed in the Tournament, every champion died in a revel of bloodshed and gore in the first task and they won anyway as their necromancer raised their champion from the dead in a dark ritual we don't even acknowledge at my school!" The man shuddered even as he glared.
Albus blinked before he gave the man a condescending smile. "I hardly believe the judges would have allowed the resurrection of a champion, Igor," he said in a reasonable tone. "If the boy won then he must not have died."
"No one could *prove* anything," the taller man snapped. "Dumbledore, there is a reason that they hadn't been invited to a Tournament for two centuries before it was cancelled!"
Dumbledore just popped a lemon drop and glanced around the grounds. "Well, I suppose they were due for an invitation then," he noted, maintaining his light tone. Surely this school couldn't be that dangerous. He'd never even heard of it before he flipped through the list of ICW approved schools. "Besides, they were in the handbook," he noted.
"That's because when the ICW struck their name from the list of approved schools, there was a rain of toads and a plague of locusts in the ICW Halls until they were reinstated," came the heated reply. "Three solid months of toads and locusts!"
Hogwart's Headmaster just scoffed. "Igor, you should stop listening to such gossip. I'm sure the school is not as bad as all that."
Durmstrang's Headmaster audibly ground his teeth and had to clench his fists at his sides to keep himself from strangling Britain's premier wizard.
"Dumbledore...." he began in a threatening voice that died away as the earth beneath their feet started to quiver and shake. The ship on the lake behind them began to rock as waves started to ripple out from shore.
Karakoff paled and then gestured his students roughly towards the castle walls. "Dumbledore, if anything happens to my students because of your idiocy in inviting this school to the Tournament, you will be very sorry."
The ground continued to rumble and shake for several minutes before it started to rise about fifty yards from the entrance to Hogwarts. Several students screamed as the grass and dirt shifted, slowly creating a tall, graceful arch of some odd dark, gleaming material. The space within the large arch showed the glistening lake and the bobbing Durmstrang ship behind it for several seconds before it faded to complete darkness.
The gathered students, both Hogwarts and Durmstrang, stared as the darkness within the arch slowly brightened to reveal smooth, stone-like walls and a stairway that went down into shadows.
After a few minutes more, they began to hear voices clearly echoing up from the depths, getting louder as each moment passed.
"We've been walking for almost an hour," they heard a faint voice ask. "Willow, are you sure you know how to drive this thing?"
"Of course I do, Buffy!" came the huffy reply, getting closer and louder. "I practiced this for a week and a half."
"I hate to point this out, Wills," a male voice stated, "but we never actually hit any of the targets last week. I mean, you took that left turn at the Cleveland Hellmouth and ended up in that valley in the Alps. What was it called again? Sangrelay?"
"It was Shangri-La, Xander, and we had a very nice visit there, didn't we? Those monk guys were very nice and they helped Oz out a lot. *And* I got us back to the West Coast, didn't I?"
"What about last Wednesday when we came up in the middle of that blood ritual at Stonehenge where they were trying to raise that demon lord?" The voice identified as Buffy offered. "It's just a good thing I had the sword of Alberoth with me or we'd have been in trouble."
"I was still learning then!"
"And what about this past weekend when we ended up in that horrid place with all those red-robed, uptight fashion victims?" another female voiced asked, her aristocratic tones indicating her distinct lack of trust in the one called Willow. "Those English twits were very unhappy about us breaking their Veil thingie."
There was a huff of annoyance.
"They should be thanking us!" Willow said with a sniff. "That thing was so useless. I mean who tosses criminals into a 'Veil of Death' anyway? Even the name is cliché."
"Well obviously that Fudgecicle guy cared because he was way bent out of shape when Xander broke it," Buffy noted.
"That wasn't my fault!" Xander's voice stated firmly. "One of those curtains on that thing tried to drag me in and there was just no way I was going to go into yet *another* weird portal."
"Oh, hey! Look there. Where do these stairs go?" Willow's voice suddenly asked, her tone perking up.
There was silence for a moment before Xander replied.
"They go up."
There was another silence; this time one that implied every person down there was glaring at Xander.
"Great, thanks for the info, Xander," Cordelia's sarcastic reply finally floated up the stairs. "That means you get to go up first."
"Well, get going," Buffy said and there was a great sigh. Then there was the echoing sound of feet on stone steps and every single person present seemed to be holding their breath and inching backwards until they were pressing against the solid, stone walls of the castle for protection. Albus actually found himself worrying a bit.
After several moments, a head of wavy, brunette hair appeared followed by bright, brown eyes and a rather engaging grin. It was a young man, dressed in those odd muggle blue jeans and a rather nice shirt, Albus thought. He'd never thought to match that color yellow with that color puce. It made for a nice effect.
The boy glanced around happily for a moment before he turned and yelled down the hallway behind.
"Hey, I think we're here. There's some big loomy-type castle and a lot of kids in those weird dresses that the Salem school wears." He turned back around and gave the gaping students and teachers with a wave.
"Hi there," he called as shoved his hands in his pockets and moved forward. He was followed shortly by several figures coming up the shadowed stairs. Albus stared in complete dismay as more and more students appeared behind the odd young man.
"Oh my god," a petite, blonde said as she stared up at Hogwarts with a horrified look on her face. "This isn't where Dracula lives, is it?" she wailed. "I thought this was supposed to be a *vacation*!"
"Chill, Buffster," the brunette said with a grin. "I'm pretty sure that's Hogwarts. I don't think Dracula, or any vamp for that matter, lives here. The magic coming off the castle feels much better than that place Vlad moved into near LA."
"Well, that's a relief," a perky little red-head said as she joined the brunette. "I'd hate to have to clean out a nest of vampires before we did this TriWizardy thing."
"I hope the rooms we have will be in better condition than the look of this castle implies," a pretty brunette with long, straight hair noted as she moved to stroll along beside Xander.
"I'm sure they've given us some really nice rooms, Cordy," Xander assured her with a worried glance towards the castle. "I mean after that incident at Beauxbatons when you were eleven, no one would dare give you less than excellent rooms."
"Yeah!" Willow chimed in. "That was practically an International Incident."
The one called Cordy did not look persuaded and was highly unimpressed with the castle. "My father *is* the American delegate to the ICW," she said as she absently took the arm Xander offered as they continued on, "And we do have standards to maintain. If this castle isn't up to the Chase standard, there will be issues."
"We did send the house elves on ahead," Willow reminded her as the redhead bounced slightly with excitement. "I'm sure they got it all fixed up for us. I mean, you can't tell a book by its cover, you know. Or a castle by its really...er somewhat scary-looking and...er...looming exterior."
Willow's voice trailed off dubiously as Cordy turned to look at her in disbelief.
Albus was actually starting to sweat as he forced himself to smile at the approaching (rather shabbily dressed, he thought) new arrivals. He was frantically trying to remember exactly what rooms he'd assigned these students and wondering how their house elves might have gotten into the castle without him knowing.
The American teens moved forward followed by what seemed to be around a hundred other students. The one called Xander came to a stop right in front of Albus, his friends gathering around and behind him.
"I'm Xander Harris from Hellmouth High in Sunnydale. I'm the class vice-president," he said, holding out his hand. "I think we're expected?"
Albus hesitantly took his hand and the boy shook it. "Very nice to meet you, young man." The Headmaster was going to continue but Xander started speaking again as he gestured to the brunette beside him.
"This is Cordelia Chase. She's the class president."
Albus blinked. Chase was a well-known (and rather feared) pureblood family that ran a good bit of the American Wizarding world.
"And this is Buffy Summers. She's the class Defender and resident Slayer."
At the word, slayer, a sizzle of voices shot through the assembled students and even the stoic Durmstrang group looked a little awed.
"Hi there," she said with a bright wave.
"And this is Willow Rosenburg," Xander said as he grinned at the little redhead practically bouncing beside him. "She's class accountant. She keeps everyone in line."
Albus blinked again and really started to sweat. "Willow Rosenburg as in...the Red Witch?"
The girl pouted as Xander stiffened, his eyes darting sideways to glance at warily at the redhead.
"I was called that *one* time," Willow stated with a frown. "And I didn't think anyone survived to spread that around."
"There was Angelus," Xander said hesitantly. "He might have let it out after that whole soul issue."
"I guess," the girl said with another pout as a thin boy with oddly colored blue hair patted her on the shoulder.
"Anyway, we're here," Xander said as he turned back to Dumbledore. He grinned as he glanced around. "I hope we aren't late."
"Not at all, dear boy," Albus began. "But the invitation was sent to the Southern California School of Magic," he said, hoping he might be able to get rid of these obviously overpowered misfits by a technicality. After all, a Bi-Wizard Tournament would be just as exciting as a Tri-Wizard Tournament, if a little misleading as to the type of wizard who was competing.
"Oh, that's the official name of the school," the brunette stated happily as he glanced back at his snickering companions. "The ICW insisted on updating the school name when they reinstated us a couple of hundred years back after some misunderstanding where they struck us from their rolls. I guess they didn't like the name Infierno Academy of the Eclectic Arts so we had to get a new name. Therefore Southern California School of Magic. But the name we're affectionately known by in the States is the Sunnydale School of Hellmouth Magic also known as Hellmouth High."
"CHILDREN OF THE HELLMOUTH! RAH RAH RAH!" was suddenly shouted out by the assembled students with raised fists and red-flaring wand points before the young man continued with a proud smile.
"We have a lot of school spirit," he said. "You should see our pep rallies. Oh, but don't worry. Almost everyone survives."
Behind him, Albus heard Igor start cursing in his native language and the students began a worrying buzz.
"I see," he finally said, trying to get his eyes to twinkle despite the fact that he really wanted to blast something. He'd have to wait until he got back to his office. "But why are there so many of you?" he asked. "The invitation was only for the seventh years. And where is your Headmaster?"
Xander looked a little sheepish as he glanced around at his companions.
"Ah...there was this little incident last week where the Mayor of Sunnydale tried to ascend and become an old one," the boy explained with a shrug. "You know, one of those high ranking demons. There was an eclipse and everything. We had to blow up the school to get rid of him but the Mayor was able to eat our principle...er Headmaster, before we could blow him up."
"Dear Merlin," was gasped behind him and Albus knew he was going to hear about this from Minerva for the next forty years.
"Yeah, so our librarian, Giles - he went to this school by the way - Giles was promoted to principal...er Headmaster...as he was one of the few surviving teachers and he said that Hogwarts was plenty large enough for us so you could probably take some of our students. Just the sophomores, juniors and seniors though," Xander assured the now spluttering headmaster. "Giles will be joining us as soon as he can get the freshmen settled in the LA school. He said he sent a note letting you know about the change in plans."
"He most certainly did not..." Dumbledore began, losing his legendary cool. However, before he could really get going, a tall, dark-haired man in a long black robe stalked up to the headmaster's side.
"Excuse me, Headmaster," the man began but stopped as Buffy stepped forward, her eyes focused on him. Her hand disappeared behind her back for a moment before reappearing with a very sharp stake.
"Xander, you said there were no vamps here," she complained to the brunette, though her eyes never left the man looming beside Dumbledore.
"Chill, Buff," Xander said quickly. "He's completely human. I know he *looks* like a vamp but, yeah, totally human."
The girl looked reluctant to believe. "Are you sure?
"Surely sure," the young man replied. "Absolutely no vamp vibage."
Buffy looked a little disappointed but stepped back as the tall, pale man glared flatly at Xander, who just shrugged.
Finally, the man turned back to the grimacing Headmaster.
"Albus, you did receive a note from their new Headmaster. I remember seeing it on your desk. I'm sure you remember Giles," the man's eyebrows rose menacingly. "Rupert Giles? The man who told the Dark Lord to sod off when the Dark Lord wanted him to join his little crusade? I'm sure you remember what the Dark Lord *tried* to do to Giles and what Giles ended up doing to the Dark Lord?"
Albus was staring at the dark man and now looking quite pale. "Ripper Giles?" he almost squeaked and Xander laughed.
"Oh yeah, that's Giles," the young man said. "He said they used to call him that when he was young and mild. We don't believe he was ever young much less mild. He said he'd be here tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" the supposedly most powerful Wizard in England undeniably squeaked that time.
Xander just nodded. "He said he would definitely be here for the lighting of the goblet thingy. He said he wanted to be certain that nothing went wrong with the ceremony as he'd heard of the shenanigans - his word not mine - that have been going on at Hogwarts since the Potter kid started going here and he didn't want any of that crap happening with *his* students." The dark-haired boy grimaced. "Giles gets so upset when things don't go as planned." Most of the students behind him shuddered unhappily. "We try to make sure that doesn't happen."
Dumbledore just stared for a long moment at Xander Harris and the students standing behind him until Professor Snape elbowed him in the side.
"Yes!" Albus said with a side glare at the smirking Snape. "Ah yes, I remember Rupert very well."
Of COURSE Albus remembered the Slytherin bastard. Ripper Giles was one of the most powerful students to graduate Hogwarts in the last century. Albus had been certain the man would join the Dark Lord but Giles had flatly refused and worse, he'd laughed at the offer and had a few choice words to say about it, in public, no less. Voldemort had been enraged and had gone after Giles with obviously murderous intentions. To this day, what happened at that meeting was a mystery but Voldemort had limped and whined for weeks afterwards. Snape had said the Dark Lord had actually referred to Giles as You-Know-Who, which was how the nickname had gotten started as a reference to Voldemort.
"I'm glad ::choke:: to hear he'll be joining us on the morrow. In the meantime, why don't we have the house elves show you to your accommodations so you can freshen up and..." the headmaster eyed their clothing, "dress for dinner."
"Sounds like a plan," Harris said with a nod. "I know the ladies would like to do...whatever it is that ladies do when they all go to the bathroom at the same time." He snapped his fingers and called "Biff?"
A house elf appeared and everyone in the area that was not from Sunnydale stared. The elf was unlike any they had seen before. He was rather tall, for an elf, and quite muscular. He was blond and golden-skinned and his long pointed left ear was pierced with three different hoop earings.
"Mister Harris! Biff is being glad to see you!"
Xander just grinned and nodded. "Good to see you too, Biff. Are the rooms ready?" he asked with a nervous glance to the side where Cordelia Chase was still looking skeptically at the castle.
"Oh yes, Mr. Harris, sir!" Biff replied enthusiastically. "The rooms is finally being ready. We had to do a lot of work but they are in most excellent shape now!" The elf beamed up at Cordelia and bowed. "We's is thinking even Ms Chase will approve!"
The brunette gave the elf a tight smile. "We'll see, Biff."
"Most excellent!" the elf beamed and then disappeared. Dumbledore just blinked.
"What was that?" he asked. Xander gave him a baffled look.
"That was a house elf," he replied. "Don't you have them here?"
"Of course, Mr. Harris," Professor Snape hurried to reply, seeing that Dumbledore was rapidly losing his cool. "They just don't...look...like that one did."
"Oh, Biff is a valley elf," the redheaded Willow replied as she bounced beside her friend. "You can only find them in Southern California. They're the only kind of elf we employ."
The dark-haired professor blinked at the group before him and tried to stifle a smirk as he heard Albus' teeth grinding loudly.
"Very well," the Headmaster finally gritted out as he turned to his potions professor. "Why don't you escort these students to their rooms, Professor Snape?"
"I don't know where they are being housed, Headmaster," Snape replied after a moment of silence.
"Oh, they're right down the hall from your Slytherins, in the original Slytherin dorms," Albus replied brightly before he glanced over the newly arrived students. "I'm sure they'll fit right in down in the dungeons."
If it was possible, Snape paled as he realized where his idiot Headmaster had placed these students.
"Albus, those dorms are hardly fit to be called stables much less dorms for visiting students!" he growled into Dumbledore's ear but the old man just waved him off.
"I'm certain their...elves have made the accommodations quite acceptable for these lovely young students to occupy," he said in a low tone, his eyes beginning to twinkle again. "Unfortunately, there are no other rooms available with Hogwarts so crowded so if they don't like it, they can return to America."
The potions professor glared at the old imbecile for a long moment before he turned to the newly arrived students.
"Please follow me and I'll take you to your new accommodations," he said and Harris just grinned stupidly at him.
"Sure thing, Mr. Snape, lead the way."
Severus' eyes swept over the newly arrived representatives of the Southern California School of Magic before he turned and stalked towards the castle. Xander just offered his arm again to the stunning brunette beside him who took it, as she continued to look at Hogwarts somewhat dubiously.
They then followed the potions professor, the Hogwarts and Durmstrang students melting out of their way while the casually chatting students of Hellmouth High trailed behind them.