“Before Hogwarts sent a letter to Harry, before Bella moved to Washington, before the Great Prophecy was made; Lucy opened the wardrobe.” Anon.
Harry looked at the door of the cupboard under the stairs at No. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. In his right hand he held a battered, faded children’s book that Aunt Petunia had thrown in his direction one day. The spine was creased from countless years of page-turning and the cover was faded from so many small, sweaty little hands that the picture on the front was barely visible. However, you could just make out the image of a young girl standing by a lamppost in the middle of a forest. Aunt Petunia must not have looked at the book properly, Harry reasoned, or she would never have given it to him. The Dursleys’ didn’t like Harry watching or reading anything strange, Uncle Vernon said that they didn’t want to give Harry ideas. A loud blast of noise from the television startled the young boy and he dropped the book on the floor. He quickly picked it up and brushed it off. Then, looking at the book before looking at the door to his cupboard, Harry closed his eyes and reached out to the door. His hand grasped the handle of his cupboard and he flung the door open. One eye creaked open and he sighed before pushing his glasses back towards the bridge of his nose. He looked at the book again, his shoulders drooping. Suddenly a faint breeze caressed his face and he looked up, his face transforming into a smile. He entered the cupboard and the door shut behind him. A faint sound could be heard in the hallway, it sounded like a lion roaring.
Bella Swan groaned as she lay on her bed, clutching her foot. She had forgotten about that box of old books stuffed under her bed. Sighing, she reached down and pulled it out; she had better sort through it and see if she wanted to take any of the books with her to Forks. Downstairs, Bella could hear her Mom, Renee, singing along to the radio as she tried to cook yet again. Bella hoped that she’d be staying away from the spinach; her stomach still hadn’t recovered from last time. She lugged the box onto the bed and grimaced slightly at the thick layer of dust on top which she quickly brushed off. The cardboard was so worn that it practically ripped in her hands when she opened the top of the box. The multicolored jackets of children’s books beamed up at her. Bella smiled warmly as she looked at the books that she had loved so much before she had discovered the worlds of Austen and the Bronte sisters. Her hands skimmed gently over ‘The Famous Five’ series and the ‘Nancy Drew’ mysteries before coming to rest on the oldest and most battered book in the box. On the cover, a lion was playing with two young girls in front of an opened wardrobe. Bella remembered when she was a kid, how much she had wanted to open her cupboard door and find another world. A world away from her mom who couldn’t take care of herself, a world away from her invisibility in school, a world away from the Dad with sad eyes who she only saw in the summer. Her hands traced over the lion. A slight breeze ruffled her hair and she looked up frowning. The door to her walk in closet was swinging open in a breeze. A breeze which was impossible because both her door and her windows were shut. She slid off the bed carefully and moved towards the closet, almost tripping over her rug. She walked forwards and peered inside the closet. Light played across her features and a look of wonder crossed her face. She stepped inside the closet fully and the door closed shut gently behind her; but not before a flake of snow had twirled out of its depths.
Percy Jackson lay in his cabin looking at the ceiling frowning. The sound of typing filled the cabin. Annabeth had plugged in Daedalus’ laptop and was currently trying to figure out something he would never understand, even if it was explained to him with pictures. Grover had fallen asleep on another bed and his legs were twitching, Percy wondered then if satyrs could have goat dreams like dogs had dog dreams. The click-clacking of the keyboard stopped and Percy felt Annabeth’s eyes switch to him like laser beams. It was weird, Percy always knew when Annabeth was looking at him; it was like he had an Annabeth-dar or something. He turned to look at her and she looked back at him. They stayed in the staring contest for a few minutes before Grover muttered a desolate cry for food in his sleep and his hooves hit the side of the cabin. Both of the young demigods jumped. Annabeth shook her head and placed the laptop to one side.
“Percy, what is it? You’ve been frowning at the ceiling for twenty minutes now Seaweed Brain,” Annabeth said in her ‘I don’t care but I really do so answer me now’ tone.
“I was just – thinking,” Percy said.
“About what?” Annabeth’s voice was understandably wary. “If you’re thinking about challenging Thalia again the next time she visits to see who has to pay for hamburgers, I swear by the gods that I am not going to be the one to explain to Chiron why your cabin needs its roof replacing.” Percy grinned briefly at the memory – he hadn’t had to pay for the hamburgers after that visit. The son of the sea god turned over, his smile fading as he looked at Annabeth. She began to look visibly worried which meant she was practically screaming on the inside.
“Nah, I was just thinking about when I was a kid and my Mom would tell me this really cool story about a talking lion and four kids who fell through a closet. I just couldn’t remember what the place was called,” his frown returned and deepened, “or how it ended.” Annabeth’s light laughter filled the cabin and Percy felt a goofy smile take over his face at the sound. The daughter of Athena rolled her eyes but Percy could see a twinkle in them as she looked at him fondly.
“The land was called Narnia, Seaweed Brain, and it ended with the four children being crowned the Kings and Queens of Narnia.”
“Wait, you’ve heard it?” Percy asked, confused. Annabeth smiled at him.
“Yeah, Chiron tricked me into reading it when I was nine. He felt that I’d been reading far too many factual books and told me that if I read that book, I’d learn about strategy.” Annabeth snorted. “I loved the story too much to be mad at him.” Percy nodded.
“Yeah, whenever Smelly Gabe was around, I’d always want to open my closet doors and find another world. After I found out about the whole demigod thing, I kinda stopped wishing for it though.” Annabeth’s voice was quiet as she answered and the smile had faded to show a far off look in her eyes.
“I never really stopped. After all the people dying and the betrayal, I just wanted to get away. Go away to some magical land where people didn’t really die and the ones who betrayed you came back in the end.” She stiffened and her eyes flickered to Grover in alarm, once she saw that he was still asleep, she relaxed. Percy was about to reply when a cool breeze filtered through the room. It didn’t smell like the sea so it wasn’t Poseidon warning Percy about having Annabeth in his room; the first time that had happened, Percy had almost fell off his bed as an owl had hooted outside. The breeze seemed to be coming from Percy’s closet which made it even odder that it was a fresh breeze and not a sweaty, smelly breeze. Percy stood up from the bed and pulled out Riptide, quickly uncapping the pen. Annabeth unsheathed her new dagger and moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with Percy. They both advanced on the closet as one and as the door swung open, they both looked inside in shock. Percy was the first to react as he grinned and moved inside, Annabeth quickly followed, muttering something about ‘stupid sons of Poseidon’. The door slammed shut behind them and Grover woke up. He looked around the cabin and bleated,
“Guys! You left me behind for dinner again?”
Several dimensions away, past the world without shrimp, Dawn Summers stared wide-eyed at the pile of children’s books in front of her. The green light was just fading from the room as Buffy Summers and the mini-slayer brigade busted through the door. The senior Slayer took into account the look on her Dawn’s face that was part guilty and part fascinated, the blood dripping from her sister’s finger, the books, the candles and chalk circles that surrounded both her sister and the books and the fact that it was a Tuesday and came to one conclusion. Her voice was strained as she spoke and the mini-slayers instinctively backed away.
“Dawn, what did you do?”