Joss Whedon created Buffy. JK Rowling created Buffy. I'm playing with their toys. No money is being made here, it's all in good fun.
Dawn glanced nervously at the barrier. It wasn’t so much that she was worried she’d somehow bounce off of it or run into solid brick or something- she wasn’t bothered by simple glamours likes this nowadays. No, it was more what was beyond it. Magic school. Well, ok, the school itself wasn’t behind the barrier. But the train that would take her to magic school was.
Buffy had, after talking with Willow and Giles, decided that wizard school was the safest place to send Dawn to finish her high school education. They hadn’t spent all that long in LA after the Hellmouth collapsed. Giles had known he needed to go salvage what remained of Council Headquarters in London and then start rebuilding. Buffy had elected to go with him, because someone had to speak for the Slayers. The rest of them had followed.
Dawn wasn’t sure what she’d expected them to do with her once they relocated to England- she’d known she had to go to some school, obviously. But she’d thought if she had to be shipped off to boarding school, it would be Giles’ old school. They were co-ed these days, she’d heard.
But apparently Giles had talked to some Council contacts who had mentioned the wizarding world had just had its own equivalent of Sunnydale, so if she went to Hogwarts, Dawn would be surrounded by people her own age who would understand what she was going through. Plus, the security at the place was top-notch. The only possible thing prohibiting her enrolling would be if she wasn’t magical- to which Giles had responded that if Dawn didn’t turn out to be magical enough to go, he would eat several hats.
So. Wizarding school. Giles had written the Headmistress, who had visited Dawn, spoken with her about her experience with magic up until that point, and had her try several spells with a borrowed wand just to confirm magical ability. Professor McGonagall had then said she expected Hogwarts could accommodate her and decided based on Dawn’s age and experience to provisionally place her in the sixth year. She’d handed over a book and supply list, and explained to Buffy and Willow where Diagon Alley was.
Dawn had gone there to get her school things last week, in particular her wand- and hadn’t finding just the right one for her driven the proprietor of the newly reopened shop round the twist. He didn’t know she wasn’t an ordinary witch, and Dawn hadn’t had any excuse rehearsed to give him when he muttered about being sadly out of form. In the end, her wand had proved to be as unique as she was.
“Hm,” Ollivander had muttered, more to himself than to Dawn. “Why not try?”
With that, he’d drawn a wand from the furthest, dustiest shelves.
“I do not usually sell wands I did not myself make, Miss Summers,” he said, sounding apologetic. “But this one came into my possession some years ago, and in all those years I have never encountered a witch or wizard I felt might match it. If you would please give it a wave?”
Dawn had picked up the wand, but even before she waved it, she’d known this wand was hers. It felt right in her hand- it was like holding happiness or maybe confidence, warm and comforting. This was a wand that would teach demons to fear her for more than just her big sister. A shower of silver and gold sparks shot from the end of it when she waved it about, dancing around the room.
“Very unusual indeed,” Mr. Ollivander murmured. “Rowan and thestral tail hair, Miss Summers- though I should keep the core to yourself, were I you. You will find many are superstitious. Supple, elegant, one of Gregorovitch’s finest if I am any judge. Done in his prime, when he was putting it about that he had the Elder Wand. A wand like this makes me almost believe that ridiculous rumour.”
Dawn had paid for her wand, and then marched herself up Diagon Alley to the bookshop to buy several books on wands and wandlore so she could find out just what might bother other witches and wizards about her wand and what was so unusual about it. Based on what she had read so far, she wasn’t surprised the wand had chosen her.
She’d also stocked up on other books, above and beyond what was on the required list, and beyond the recommended list that Flourish and Blott’s kept behind the counter ‘for Ravenclaws’, the girl at the counter said with a grin. Dawn had no idea if she was a Ravenclaw, but she’d grabbed everything on the list for fifth and sixth year students without worry about what class it was for, and then started browsing on her own.
Besides wandlore, she’d grabbed several modern history texts, Who’s Who in Modern Magic
, a copy of Hogwarts: A History
which sounded like good train reading, several advanced texts on potion ingredients and brewing, and a book promising a thorough analysis of the state of the Dark Arts and comprehensive defense strategies every Auror should know.
By the time she’d finished, the somewhat astonished girl had informed her that provided it didn’t interfere with the book- some books had magical properties of their own- the store was happy to shrink purchases for easy transport. Happily, of all the books Dawn had stacked up on the counter, only the Monster Book of Monsters
fell into the non-shrink category. But even shrunken down, her books took up a good third of her trunk, which had also required a lightening spell so she could lift it on her own. Xander had saved her a lot of grief about how everything else was going to fit by pointing out she could save space by rolling socks, underwear, and other small items of clothing around the glass phials and jars she needed for Potions and packing the lot into her cauldron.
Anyway, if she didn’t stop dithering in front of this stupid barrier, she was going to miss the train and be that
student who turns up late on the first day. It was dumb to be nervous about a bunch of kids her own age- she’d had a Hellgoddess try to kill her and tangled with the First Evil, for goddess’ sake. So why was she turning into such a wuss now?
“I don’t think I’ve seen you before,” said a voice at her elbow.
Dawn turned to find a girl about her own height, but with mischievous brown eyes and flaming red hair.
“That’s because I haven’t been here before- transfer student,” Dawn explained. “They say they’ll put me in the sixth year classes, though I might have to do some catching up the first few weeks on account of not having been to wizard school before.”
“Where are you transferring from?” the redhead asked, her eyes widening slightly at Dawn’s casual mention of not having been to wizard school.
“Sunnydale High,” Dawn said. She’d heard part of the dustup in the wizarding world had been over snobbery about new blood versus old blood, and was prepared to encounter some frostiness about her non-magical background.
“The school on the Hellmouth?” the other girl squeaked, the surprise giving quick way to respect. “I reckon you’ll be fine at Hogwarts. I’m Ginny, by the way. Ginny Weasley.”
“Dawn Summers,” Dawn said, shifting her hands so she could hold her baggage secure on the cart and still shake.
“Come on, we’d better get through,” Ginny told her. “I don’t know where my idiot brother’s got to, but Mum will have his behind if he manages to miss the train the one year she’s ever trusted us to go in on our own.”
“Yeah, traffic’s a mess out there,” Dawn agreed. “Willow was going to walk me in, but she gave up after the third time she looped around and still couldn’t find a spot.”
She and Ginny passed easily through the barrier as they spoke, and Dawn was pleased to see that she would in no way stand out in the pre-departure chaos that reigned on platform 9¾. A few people called to Ginny, and most included Dawn in their friendly waves, accepting that if she was with Ginny, she must be ok.
With Ginny helping, the two girls pulled their luggage from the carts. Ginny was all set to wrestle it onto the train by hand, but Dawn grabbed her arm.
“This is officially school property, isn’t it?” she asked.
Ginny chewed her lip thoughtfully.
“You know, I’m not sure-“ she started, before suddenly catching on to where Dawn was going. “No one’s ever told anyone off for using magic on the train as long as it wasn’t hexes! Dawn, you’re a genius.”
Wands out, they levitated their trunks on board in front of them and snagged the first empty compartment they spotted.
“There should be a bunch of others joining us soon,” Ginny said brightly. “It’s going to be extra crowded this year, what with so many people from my brother’s year coming back. He should have finished last year, but he didn’t go, and there’s a lot of other people like him, I’ve heard. I’m not sure what exactly they’re doing about organizing us into years. Even a lot of people who did attend school last year are voluntarily re-taking classes. I’m signing up to retake my sixth year classes, because I didn’t actually learn very much last year, even in the classes the Death Eaters didn’t ruin.”
“Oh, good,” Dawn said. “I mean, not good that you didn’t learn much last year, but if you’re taking sixth year classes, we’ll have some classes together.”
“You’re a sixth year, too?” said a dreamy voice from the corridor.
“This is one of the people joining us,” Ginny announced. “Dawn Summers, Luna Lovegood.”
“It’s so nice to meet you,” Luna said. “Are you the American student?”
At Dawn’s nod, Luna’s eyes lit up.
“Have you ever seen a Sasquatch?”
Dawn shook her head.
“Nope, but I’ve seen Fyarl, Grimslaw, and Tortos.”
Ginny gave her a dubious look, but Luna beamed. As Luna settled herself, Dawn started to relax. The day was going better than she’d expected. Maybe Giles was right about this place after all.