Disclaimer: I do not own any characters that appear in this story.
Albus Dumbledore looked out over the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as he awaited the Goblet of Fire to decide upon the Hogwarts Champion in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
Both Champions of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons had been selected, and Victor Krum and Fleur Delacour had both been summoned to the stage. But now, Dumbledore awaited the Goblet’s choice of the third and final competitor.
Unbeknownst to the wizard, the Goblet of Fire did not work, as he believed, by selecting Champions based on volunteers who had put forward their names. It selected it’s Champions from any student of the schools presented to it, and summoned them, no matter where they may be, to it in order to compete.
And so, as the Goblet searched, it’s limited sentience allowed it to choose, what it considered, the best Champion for the school, one who exhibited all of the traits necessary to represent all of Hogwarts. Unfortunately, none such individuals had put their names forth, although one Cedric Diggory came close.
Eventually, the Goblet found the one it was searching for, one who exemplified the Bravery of Gryffindor, the Loyalty of Hufflepuff, the Wit of Ravenclaw, and the Cunning of Slytherin. An individual who, while never having set foot in the hallowed halls of the school, who was, in fact, ignorant to the Wizarding society at large, yet was descended from a branch of a noted pure-blooded family.
The family had sent one of their hidden shames, a squib, to the Sunnydale Hellmouth in the hopes of unlocking their magical power. It had taken several generations, but eventually a child was born capable of wanded magic, who was hidden by the Hellmouth’s energies, but was nonetheless added automatically to the Hogwarts attendance sheet, and had remained, despite no letter being sent, nor answered.
Albus Dumbledore caught the smoldering scrap of paper, knowing none of this, and read the name, only to realize that, to his memory, there was no student of that name currently enrolled at his school.
Still, bound by law and by magic to enlighten his audience, he spoke, hoping against hope that his mind was merely entering senility, and he had simply forgotten this individual.
Dead silence hung over the Great Hall, as they waited for the chosen champion to take his place, many students merely assuming that they had never met this particular individual, and many more were confused as none stood to claim their position.
Eventually, a flash of light was emitted by the Goblet, as it’s magic summoned it’s chosen Champion of Hogwarts to take his place.
The silence was even more pronounced, when the eyes of every single witch and wizard in the hall bugged out in shock, as they observed a 6ft tall, dark haired man appear before the Goblet of Fire. It was not the man himself that left them stunned, it was the fact that he was gyrating, in a style that some women of the crowd may have considered erotic if not for the situation, wearing nothing but a sequined G-string, with his eyes shut.
Xander’s road trip was not going according to plan. His plan had been to take Uncle Rory’s car and drive it to all fifty states. When he had learned that he would need a car that drives on water to get to Hawaii, and that Alaska was a lot farther away than he’d thought, his new plan became to drive to the other forty-eight states.
He made it as far as Oxnard when his engine fell out. Literally. That put a serious damper on his plans as he tried to find work and pay for the repair fees.
Unfortunately, the only place that would hire him was the Fabulous Ladies Night Club, who needed a dishwasher. Xander had done the work without complaint-- or at least not serious complaint-- he was accustomed to hard work and had done far worse before, and likely would again.
He adjusted, and was nearing enough money to finally get out of town when one of the dancer’s broke a leg. He’d told them to wish each other ‘Good Luck’ instead, but did they listen to him? Nooo, they had to be all ‘performery’ and ignore his perfectly valid-- though not explained-- fear of wish granting vengeance demons.
So, when Mikey couldn’t perform that night, guess who got drafted to take his place?
Xander had begged not to, and his boss had threatened to fire him. Xander had gotten into the G-string and waited for his turn.
Despite Xander's pleas with the bartender, he had not been able to get himself any alcohol, so when the music started Xander, in an unfortunately sober state, got up on stage and started moving to the music.
Xander was not a good dancer, he knew this, so he tried to ignore his natural instincts in this situation and did his best to mimic what he had seen other dancers had done in previous performances.
He had been getting into it, finally managing to block out the noises around him as he closed his eyes and focused on the movements.
It was because of this focus, that he was stunned when he suddenly heard a very British and very proper ‘cough’, often used by Giles to gain the attention of the Scoobies, and snapped him out of his routine.
He opened his eyes to find himself living one of his worst nightmares. He was standing, not in a dark and smoky strip club, but at the front of a giant hall, filled to the rafters with teenagers, wearing nothing but a g-string.
Another ‘cough’ caught his attention, and he turned around to see a table filled with even more people, this time adults ranging from thirties to a man who looked about as old as Angel was.
Said old-timer looked down from the table, surprise evident in his eyes, as he spoke, tightly restrained shock clear in his voice, “Mr Harris, I presume?”
Professor Minerva McGonagall was the first to break down and actually do something about the furiously blushing, naked boy before them.
She rushed out from behind the table, removing her hat and transfiguring it into a robe large enough to cover the poor boy’s modesty.
“Please cover yourself,” she asked hurriedly in her scottish brogue, handing him the newly made robe as she did.
The boy stared at the robe in his hands in shock, Xander had never seen anyone, not even Willow, cast such a spell with such ease.
“Quickly, please,” McGonagall asked again.
Xander snapped out of his surprise, deciding that the magically made robe had to be better than the g-string he was currently sporting. It took him a moment to figure out the unfamiliar garment, but he managed to get it covering the majority of his skin.
“What the hell is going on here?” Xander whispered desperately to the woman as she tried to lead him to a door to the side of the table.
“You have been selected it would seem,” she returned in kind, a stunned silence still covering the room, “Let’s just get you to the other Champions and we’ll try to figure out what has happened.”
“Selected?” Xander asked, fear coursing through him, “Selected for what?”
“The Tri-Wizard Tournament,” she answered, as though it were obvious, “You truly do not know?”
“No, I don’t know, and I think that I don’t want to know,” Xander replied, touchily, as they exited the halls, a hush of whispers springing up behind them, and began descending a poorly lit staircase, “Where am I, anyway?”
“Hogwarts,” McGonagall again replied as though he were a simpleton for asking such an obvious question, but seeing his still confused expression, she elaborated, “Scotland.”
“Scotland?” Xander squeaked as his eyes widened in shock, “Kilts, Loch Ness and haggis, that Scotland?”
“I wasn’t aware there was another.”
“Oh boy,” Xander sighed, wondering what the hell he’d gotten himself into now.
The pair came to the bottom of the staircase to find a well furnished, and well lit, room containing too teenagers who looked to be about Xander’s age. One, a guy, reminded Xander of a soldier simply in the way that he stood. His posture was perfect and his shaven head and uniform seemed to scream military. The other, a girl, was beautiful, capturing Xander’s gaze for longer than he’d admit until he snapped himself out of it, and wearing what looked like a uniform from one of the higher class of private schools. Truth be told they made him feel very underdressed.
“Bonjour,” the girl greeted, “You must be the Hogwarts Champion.”
“Are you not our fellow Champion?” The guy asked, a thick accent that Xander could recognize as eastern european, but nothing more specific than that.
“To the best of my knowledge, yes,” McGonagall answered for him, “Viktor, Fleur, this, I believe, is Alexander.”
“Xander,” the boy in question corrected automatically, he was starting to get irritated, “And would someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”
“You do not know?” Fleur asked, truly confused, “Did you not volunteer?”
“Volunteer for what?” Xander asked again, “I didn’t volunteer for anything, one second I’m in California and the next thing I know I’m in Scotland.”
“California?” Viktor queried, “I am not familiar.”
“America,” Xander clarified, “As in United States of...”
“Ah, thank you,” Viktor replied.
“Yes, well,” McGonagall interjected, “If you two would kindly explain the Tri-Wizard Tournament to him, I’ll fetch Professor Dumbledore. Perhaps he can shed some light on what has happened.”
With that, she turned and began back up the staircase, leaving the Tri-Wizard Champions alone.
It only took a minute for Xander to ask, and for Fleur and Viktor to explain the concept of the Tournament. A competition between magical schools-- and wasn’t Xander surprised to learn about them-- where each school was represented by a Champion chosen by the Goblet of Fire, taking the form of a series of three deadly challenges that the Champions must face using wit, courage and magic as their only weapons, where the winner will emerge with 1000 galleons and eternal glory.
Personally, Xander wasn’t too big on the galleons (mostly because he had no idea what they were), and the idea of eternal glory, though tempting, wasn’t really his cup of tea, so he came to a decision.
Xander had been wandering around the room as the other two explained the idea to him, and he came to a stop before a suit of armor when he began to speak, “Well, let’s just tell the guys in charge that they’ve got the wrong guy, and then I can go home and forget this ever happened.”
As he spoke, he carefully extracted a mace from the armor’s grip.
“But you have to compete,” Fleur replied, confusion in her voice, “The Goblet of Fire’s decision is final.”
“Yeah, well,” Xander grunted as he lifted the unfamiliar weapon into the air and tested its weight, “I’m not even a student here, so there’s clearly been some mistake.”
Both Fleur and Viktor were focused on Xander, who himself was distracted as he tried to determine whether or not he could even use the mace in his hands, so none of the three Champions noticed as a fourth entered their midsts.
After a moment, wherein Xander tried a couple of easy stances, Xander did notice the bespectacled, dark haired kid at the foot of the stairs, and greeted him easily.
“Hey, kid, have the guys upstairs sorted this whole mess out yet?”
The kid remained silent, his eyes widened in shock that Xander didn’t think was concerning the mace in his hands, and believed must have been about his performance earlier.
The accented voice carried down into the chamber, as the elderly wizard himself rushed in, and all hell broke loose.
Xander watched, somewhat amused, as the Gandalf lookalike got his ass reamed out by a giantess and an angry Bulgarian for something that, from the looks of it, he had no clue about. From what Xander could gather, the kid wasn’t a messenger, but was a fourth Champion, which apparently made no sense to anyone.
“Potter is simple to explain,” said a man so pale that Xander considered lopping off his head to see if he dusted, “He has always been a trouble maker, and something like this is only to be expected, what I wish to know is how the other one was summoned.”
“That’s the magic of the Goblet,” a tired looking, middle aged man explained, “Just because this ‘Mr Harris’ was not in the school, he was still connected strongly enough to be chosen as a Champion.”
“Hold on,” Xander interjected, now leaning on his mace, “I have never heard of ‘Hogwarts’ or ‘magic schools’ before, so I’d like to know exactly how the hell a stupid cup dragged me here.”
“That, I’m afraid, I cannot answer,” the man replied, “My best guess would be that you are descended from one of Hogwarts’ alumni, and were, as such, automatically enrolled at birth.”
“I’m afraid that that is impossible, Mr Crouch,” pale-and-greasy said, “If he were enrolled, then he would have been invited to join us on his 11th birthday.”
“Actually, Severus, it is possible that his magic was hidden from Hogwarts,” the Gandalf lookalike answered, “Though the sheer power necessary to mask a magical core would be terrifying in the wrong hands.”
“Ah, home sweet Hellmouth,” Xander sighed wistfully, as all eyes turned to him, “Not seeing the big deal here. I go home. Potter’s the Hogwarts Champion. Everybody’s happy!”
“I’m not,” Potter interjected, as several others exclaimed ‘He’s too young!’
Xander shrugged, “Then have a recount. Either way, I want to go home.”
“I’m afraid that that is not possible, Mr Harris,” Gandalf shook his head mournfully, “The Goblet of Fire is a magically binding contract, and you, Mr Krum, Ms Delacour, and Mr Potter are bound by your magic to participate in the tournament.”
“Then take my magic,” Xander shrugged again, not seeing the problem, “I don’t have any anyway.”
“Now that is simply not true,” Gandalf disagreed, “You are in possession of a magical core, and you are capable of performing magic, all you need is a wand.”
“A wand?” Xander asked with a smirk, “You actually use wands? God, Willow would string you up with your own intestines for-- what did she call it? Oh yeah-- ‘perpetrating harsh and damaging stereotypes about the current generation of Wicca’.”
“And what would this ‘Willow’ know of our kind?” Severus asked, distain dripping from ever word.
“Wizards and Witches? Not as much as she thinks, apparently,” Xander replied, “Magic? More than you’d think, definitely.”
“Either way, Mr Harris,” Gandalf interjected, as Severus glowered in a manner that may have been considered menacing if Xander hadn’t already been on the receiving end of the well deserved ire of Cordelia Chase, “The contract binds you by more than just your magic. Refusing to compete could very well result in your death.”
That got Xander’s attention.
“Death?” Xander exclaimed, “Whoa, hold up, I don’t wanna die!”
“Then it seems you must compete,” Severus commented snidely.
“In tests?” Xander asked, “I don’t do so well on tests. I can’t even do magic!!”
“I’m sorry Mr Harris,” Mr Crouch said, “But the rules of the Tournament are final. Both you and Mr Potter will be required to compete.”
“Where’s a Slayer when you need one?” Xander muttered angrily under his breath.
There was much arguing, much yelling, and much of Xander threatening people with his new mace, but eventually he was forced to concede. He would compete in their tournament, risking life and limb for a stupid prize-- although once he found out that ‘galleons’ was a form of currency, he became somewhat more inclined to fight for it-- or instead be stripped of whatever magic he possessed and killed from the strain.
He was taken, along with the three other ‘Champions’ back up to the Great Hall, and was thankful to learn that the other students had already left. Gandalf, whose name was actually ‘Dumbledore’, then disappeared with a number of the other adults, as two others, Mr Crouch and Mr Bagman, gave the date of the first challenge. It was in about a month.
That gave Xander less than a month to research any past Tri-Wizard Tournaments and then try and figure out what the first damn task was going to be, before he even got started trying to work out how to do it without getting killed.
“Are you okay, Xander?” Fleur asked, noticing his shaking fists, and consequently shaking mace.
Xander looked up at the french girl, grimacing slightly, “I’m fine.”
“Perhaps you’d like to put the mace down?” Mr Bagman, a man who was far too cheerful in this situation for Xander’s tastes, offered.
Xander pulled away, tightening his grip on his weapon, “Oh hell no, dude. You guys dragged me away from my clothes, my money and my weapons, and I am keeping this until you get me some knives, an axe, or some stakes.”
“Yeah, stakes,” Xander reiterated, “You know, for vampire killing?”
“Killing vampires?” Crouch raised an eyebrow, as his red-headed assistant exclaimed, “That’s illegal!”
“Not in America,” Crouch corrected him.
“Killing vampires is illegal here?” Xander was shocked, “Man, no wonder Angel did as bad as he did.”
“Angel...? As in Angelus?” The assistant cried, “You know the Scourge of Europe?”
“More than I’d like to,” Xander shrugged, ignorant to the looks he was getting, “Although he hasn’t been all that ‘scourgey’ lately. I think he’s in L.A., actually, doing that whole ‘Dark Avenger’ thing.”
The assistant seemed to wish to pursue this line of questioning when Dumbledore and his crowd returned to the Great Hall, carrying a black hat.
“What’s the deal with the hat?” Xander asked.
“This is the Sorting Hat,” Dumbledore explained, “You will need lodgings if you are to remain here, the Hat shall place you in the appropriate house.”
“Houses?” Xander raised an eyebrow, “And how’s a hat going to do all that?”
“It has its ways,” Dumbledore smiled, in that really annoying fashion of someone who’s withholding info and knows you're in for a shock when you find out what it is.
Xander was given the hat, and did the only reasonable thing, he put it on.
-Well now, this is a surprise, I thought I’d get to sleep a bit longer before any of this started again-
Xander jumped at the voice in his head, and then flinched at the sound of gunfire and yipping laughter that echoed throughout his mind.
-OW!! Cut that out!!-
‘Get out of my head!’ Xander thought, as he ripped the hat from his skull, throwing it the floor and stomping on it a few times for good measure, much to the shock of his audience.
“What on earth are you doing?” McGonagall exclaimed.
“I don’t like things in my mind,” Xander said, punctuating each word with another stomp on the beaten up hat, “My head is way too crowded already for a stupid hat to join the party.”
“Mr. Harris,” Dumbledore sighed, “The Sorting Hat is of no threat to you, and...”
“Don’t care,” Xander interrupted, “It’s not getting back on my head.”
“Unless you are sorted, you cannot join the dormitories.”
“What dormitories? I thought you said something about a house?”
Dumbledore sighed, this was going to be a long night.
Eventually, Dumbledore managed to explain the function of the Houses and the separate dormitories, but Xander still refused to let the hat on his head. Dumbledore eventually gave up when Professor Sprout offered him a bed in the Hufflepuff dormitories, stating that ‘taking the rest’ was a duty of her House.
So, Xander followed the Hufflepuff head of House as the remainders of the groups split up, though nobody had been particularly pleased when Xander refused to give up the mace. He maintained, with a pointed look towards Severus, that he was not walking around unarmed especially not with a vampire stalking the grounds.
Professor Sprout was kind enough to show Xander to a corridor on the ground floor, at the end of which was a stack of barrels. She tapped the lid of one barrel, two from the bottom and middle of the second row, in a peculiar five beat rhythm.
Xander was shocked when the barrels separated, creating an opening into a well furnished room that seemed to overuse the color yellow.
Professor Sprout pointed to a flight of stairs of to the right of the room, explaining kindly, “Up there is the boys dorms. How old did you say you were?”
“Hmm, then you’ll room with the 7th years,” she decided, “They’re on the top floor. If you need any help, just ask Cedric Diggory, he’s the House Prefect, I’m sure he’ll be glad to give you any assistance you’ll need.”
“Thanks,” Xander said, before turning over to the stairs.
It had been a long day, and an even longer night, so Xander was thrilled when he found his room, and learned that his new roommates were already fast asleep.
He found the empty bed Professor Sprout had mentioned, and hid his mace under the frame, before getting in himself.
As he drifted off to sleep, he gave brief thoughts on his predicament, he was stuck in Scotland-- at a Goddamned SCHOOL, no less-- for at least half a year. He couldn’t call Willow or Giles because they didn’t have phones, and was going to be forced into competition with a trio of witches and wizards, all of whom-- even the kid-- had more magical training than he’d ever seen.
In short? He was screwed.
Tell me what you think.