1. Boys Will Be Boys
Three Wise Monkeys - Chapter One
Boys Will Be Boys
Disclaimer: Neither the Buffy or the Potter worlds are mine. Such is life. Thus, I am beset with woe.
The platform was packed to overflowing, pupils of all ages clambering into the gleaming red steam train that was nestled in a billowing nest of purple and silver smoke, highlighted by the lights of lamp posts on the platform.
A lot of parents were saying good-bye and vanishing immediately, leaving their older children to get settled, while the parents of the first years were hanging around to make sure that their little ones got away all right.
"Quick! Nicky! Mark´s up ahead! I heard someone say that he brought his parrot with him!"
"Instead of an owl?"
"Coming through! Prefect coming through!"
"Don´t you wave that thing in my face! I don´t care if you´re a prefect! We´re not at school yet!"
People were bustling this way and that, some of the older students tracking down their friends, shouting greetings from one end of the platform to the other, while the guards tried to make sure everyone got on board all right.
"Oi! Mind where you´re pushing that thing!"
A small, scrawny boy with unruly brown hair was the one who yelled out, when an slightly shorter but equally scrawny boy with flaming red hair had collided with him, as he emerged through the barrier from King´s Cross.
"Bloody hell! That bloody hurt!" the first cursed, hopping up and down on one leg, clutching his bruised ankle.
"Didn´t see you there!" the red-haired boy apologised. "It´s my first time...sorry..."
"No bother, mate," The brown-haired boy grinned a little, lowering his ankle to the ground, studying the other boy. Both of them were clad in scruffy jeans and T-shirts, although the red-haired boy was wearing scruffy black robes. "My first time too. The name´s Rupert. Rupert Giles."
"Arthur Weasley," Pushing his trolley out of the way of the crossing between the muggle and wizard platforms, Arthur yelped as it almost skidded straight off the edge of the platform.
"Watch out!" Rupert grabbed for it, stabilising it.
Arthur´s face went beetroot. "I always get the trolley with the dodgy wheel," he grumbled, looking around as another figure stumbled through the barrier. "Dad, can you steer the trolley for me?"
"Now, Arthur," the tall, balding man sighed in a voice that spoke of patience wearing thin. "You were the one who wanted to push your trolley and anyway, you´re at the train now. You don´t need my help."
Arthur scowled. "I´ll push the trolley."
Beside him, Rupert Giles snickered, having discarded his own trolley a few minutes before, his trunk in the luggage van. "Nice to see someone has a dad as stubborn as mine," he muttered to Arthur, who grinned.
"You on your own?"
Rupert nodded. "My dad sent me through here on my own," he answered, pulling a face. "Hit the barrier three times with the trolley before I managed to get in. The guard on that side was getting a bit...peeved."
"I´ll bet he was! He gave me a funny look when I dad if he would go through the barrier first."
"It isn´t as easy as it looks," Rupert admitted ruefully. "I think I´ve got bruises across my tummy, where the bar on my trolley hit it."
Turning the trolley, his father walking behind them, Arthur glanced at Rupert, who seemed quite happy to tag along with him, looking around the busy platform. "D´you know where you´re sitting yet?"
"Dunno. I just dumped my stuff with the van," He nodded to the luggage wagon, which was surrounded by various pupils, each of whom was making sure their trunk got picked up and put in.
"Mind if I sit with you?" the red-haired boy asked hopefully. "I don´t know anyone whose starting this year..."
Rupert looked relieved at that. "I don´t know anyone at all," he said.
"Never even knew there was a school for magic," he admitted sheepishly. "Got this letter in the post that said I´d been accepted to a school of magic and that I had to reply by owl...I didn´t have a bloody clue what I was meant to be doing."
"You´re a muggle-born?" Arthur´s eyes had gotten round. "Blimey! I´ve never met a muggle-born before!"
"You make me sound like I´m a rare breed or something," Rupert laughed, as they negotiated their way to the luggage van and Arthur´s father helped the guard to haul the hefty, brass-bound leather trunk up into the packed van.
Arthur looked slightly embarrassed, spots of pink appearing on his cheeks, the tips of his ears going red. "Um... I didn´t mean it like that," he said. "It´s just that my dad and mum... they´re both from wizarding families. We never really got a chance to meet muggle-borns."
"Don´t worry about it. You´re the first wizard that I´ve ever met," Rupert said amiably. "I´ll probably be rubbish and you can help me with all this magic crap."
Arthur´s father cast a dubious look at the brown-haired boy, as he returned to stand over them both. "Would you mind not using language like that in front of my son, young man?"
Green eyes - wide with innocence - looked up at Mr Weasley. "Sorry sir," he said so meekly and sincerely that even Arthur was convinced. "I-I-I´m not used to everything here yet. I-I-I didn´t realise it was rude."
Mr Weasley appeared appeased, the creases in his brow smoothing, his thinned lips widening into a smile. He clapped Rupert firmly on the shoulder. "I´m sure you´ll learn quickly, young man. My son will help you along, if you like."
"Oh, I would sir!" Rupert sounded positively breathless with excitement. "I would like that very much."
Arthur was staring in shock as his father grabbed his shoulder and steered them both down the platform, directing them to what looked like a vacant compartment in a carriage, opening the door.
"Now, in you get boys," Mr Weasley said, with a jovial smile at Rupert, who was blinking around, a look of infantile wonder on his face, as he eagerly clambered into the compartment. "Arthur, I want you to take good care of..."
"Rupert Giles, sir," Rupert said earnestly, his face serious.
"All right, I want you to take care of young Rupert, Arthur."
"And enjoy your term, son," his father continued. "I´m sure you´ll have a wonderful time. Your mother and I will see you at Christmas. Good bye."
The door was slammed firmly and Arthur turned to stare at Rupert, who was waving cutely in the direction of his father. "What the hell was that about?" he demanded, staring at the boy next to him.
As soon as Mr. Weasley was out of sight, Rupert´s face split in a very wicked grin that was anything but the cutesy expression he had turned on Mr Weasley.
"Well," he said, green eyes dancing with devilish mischief. "I couldn´t have him thinking that he was sending his son off to school with a little trouble-maker, could I? He would have lost the rest of his hair!"
"You...he liked you!"
Rupert dropped down onto one of the two broad seats that spread the width of the compartment, swinging his feet up onto the checked pattern of blue, red and green, a grin on his face.
"Yeah, he did, didn´t he?" Brushing his knuckles on his chest, he smirked. "Damn, I´m good."
"He...he really liked you...and you..."
"I pulled a lovely big old bag of cotton wool over dear, deluded daddy´s eyes?"
Arthur nodded. "Exactly...how?"
"Practise, Art, and lots of it," Interlocking his hands behind his head, Rupert Giles stretched out on the seat. "I can get any adult to believe anything I want, just by doing that act I just pulled on your old man. Well...almost. Anyone except my father."
"It really works that well?" Arthur asked.
"I..." Rupert´s face contorted and he looked like he was about to cry, sitting upright, his hands covering his face. "Oh God...I can´t keep it a secret anymore," he whispered in a shaking voice.
"What? What is it?" Arthur was horrified. What had he said? The poor muggle-born looked like he was about to break down in tears. Was it something about his father? A problem at home?
"I...oh...it´s...its so humiliating..." Rupert whispered, his voice breaking.
Squatting down beside the boy´s seat, Arthur touched his shoulder. "What is?"
"No, Rupert, I won´t! What is it? What´s wrong?"
"I-I-I-I can´t b-b-believe it..."
Arthur was really very concerned, his forehead wrinkled, brows raised. "What?"
Rupert´s hands fell away from his face and glinting green eyes winked at the startled Arthur. "That you fell for that, you twat!" he crowed, throwing his head back and laughing uproariously.
The other boy gaped at him. "You were acting?"
"You doubted it?" Snickering, Rupert wiped a tear of mirth from his cheek. "God, you are really going to be a challenge..."
Turning in his seat to face the squatting Arthur, Rupert Giles laid his hands on the red-haired boy´s shoulders.
"I have decided," he said in a serious voice. "That you are in dire need of my skill and wisdom. It´ll take hard work on both sides...mainly on yours, though, but I will bring you to the high standard which I have attained."
"High-standard of...what exactly?"
The smile on Rupert´s face was devious and proud in one. "You´ll see, Art, once we begin your training. You should be honoured. I haven´t taught anyone the tricks of my trade before."
The train jolted beneath them and Arthur - startled - fell on his rear on the floor, still staring at Rupert with the expression of one, who thought that they might have just put their lives in the hands of a homicidal maniac.
"Oh, don´t worry," Offering a hand to the fallen boy, Rupert grinned. "It won´t hurt a bit. After all, what´s life at a boarding school, if you don´t get away with things that everyone else gets done for?"
"You mean your trade...you´re..."
"Rupert Giles, Professional Trouble-Maker and Prank-Master at your service," He hauled Arthur to his feet and the red-haired boy dropped back on the seat opposite the brown-haired boy. "And I get away with it too."
"What kind of things have you done?"
Swinging his feet back up onto the seat and leaning against the swaying wall of the carriage, Giles folded his hands behind his head again, staring up at the ceiling.
"Oh, most of the classics," he replied. "Tripwires, tied-together shoe-laces, buckets on doors...everything you can do without magic..." A wicked twinkle sparkled in his eyes. "That brings a whole new level to the game."
Both boys looked up at the door on the opposite side of the carriage as it was jerked open, revealing the corridor of the train and a tall, gangly sandy-haired boy, who grinned at them and dropped into the space on the seat next to Arthur.
"And who might you be?" His eyes half-closed, Rupert looked like he was surveying the boy from beneath his lids.
"Rayne, Ethan Rayne."
"And did we say you could join us?" Rupert´s eyes opened lazily and he regarded the sandy-haired boy lazily. "After all, it would only have been polite, since we were sitting in here and you...well, weren´t."
"Listen to the toff talking," the new arrival snickered. "Look, mate, there weren´t any other seats free and since I don´t see your name written on this compartment, I think I´ll stay here, so if you don´t mind..."
He, too, swung his feet up onto the seats with a cocksure grin.
Even though he hadn´t known Rupert long, Arthur could recognise that he was irritated. His green eyes narrowed a tiny bit, the muscles in his cheeks tensing, as he turned his head to fully face the boy.
"Yeah, actually," he murmured. "I do mind."
"Tough tits," Ethan replied.
Arthur couldn´t help giggling. He had never heard language like the stuff that his two companions were using.
While Rupert had sounded totally normal moments before, as soon as this new bloke had shown face, he seemed to have taken on an upper-crust attitude, looking down his nose at Rayne.
The sandy-haired boy seemed aware of it and didn´t seem to care in the least. He looked like he was the kind of cheeky, sneaky East End boy who was used to getting away with anything and everything.
Rupert slowly sat up, lowering his feet off the seat. "Well, there are two of us and one of you."
Rayne´s eyes scanned over Arthur, who suddenly felt very small and insignificant, then glanced at Giles. "Right," he drawled, still smirking. "I´m pissing my pants with fear now."
Rupert stood up, eyes flashing. "You should be."
"What? You expect me to be afraid of a shrimp like you?" Ethan rose as well, hands balled in fists on his hips. He was a good few inches taller than the boy facing him, although Rupert was a little broader. "You wish, mate."
"I don´t recall being a `mate´ of yours."
"Looks, you two, why don´t you sit down and we can sort this out..." Arthur started to get up, but one of Rayne´s hands came out without the taller boy having to even look around and pushed him firmly back down in his seat. "Hoi!"
"Button it, red."
"Now just a minute!"
Both Giles and Rayne looked at him.
"Just a minute?" Rupert groaned. "For Chrissake, Arthur! At least add a `bloody´ in there or something!"
Arthur reddened. "I don´t swear."
"That´s not swearing, Art," Rupert sighed. "That´s an explicit expression of your mood, it lets people know that you´re angry and not just being polite and that´s what this prat is about to be."
"Doubt it, shrimp."
"Watch your mouth, you skinny nit."
Rayne smirked. "Gonna make me?"
"You don´t need to resort to violence!"
"Shut up, Art." "Shut up, red."
Both of the other boys spoke as one, glaring at each other.
"Well, nancy, gonna stand by that mouth of yours..."
Rupert made no verbal reply.
Instead, he punched Ethan on the nose.
Uproar ensued, as they both immediately lunged at each other crashing to the floor in the middle of the compartment, fists and feet flying, as each of them tried to bash the other harder.
"You blue-blood snot-nose snob!"
"At least I know my parents, you wanking poof!"
"I´m not a sodding bastard, you arsewipe!"
Arthur yanked his legs up onto the seat as they tussled, barely able to tell where one ended and the other began. "C´mon, you two..."
"And your mother, red!"
"Eh?" Arthur was bemused.
"Probably a streetwalker at King´s Cross!"
The red-haired boy wasn´t quite following the train of thought. Yes, his mother walked on a street...
"He´s calling your mum a bloody whore, Art!" Rupert yelled.
Rayne yelled in a combination of anger and glee as a second pair of fists started bashing him. "About bloody time, Red!"
"Don´t you call my mother things like that!"
"Whatcha gonna do, Red?"
"Kick his bony arse, Art!" Rupert bellowed enthusiastically.
"You manky git!"
"And your father!"
"That was imaginative," Arthur snorted.
Rupert butted in. "Your father is the bloody Prince of Wales!"
"Right, mate! That´s it! You are dead meat!"
"What on earth are you DOING?"
All three froze where they were, in a heap on the floor at the shrill voice from the door and they raised their eyes to see a girl, who was about the same age as them, standing over them.
Her small button nose was wrinkled in distaste, her brown eyes narrowed down at them, a cloud of candy-floss-like red hair floating around her peaches-and-cream-coloured face, which was liberally dashed with freckles.
She was wearing an impeccable uniform, a pleated black skirt which stopped just below her knees, thick white socks reaching her knees. She was wearing a white shirt, a Hogwarts tie and a black cardigan, all beneath her black robes.
All in all, she looked like the kind of girl who would make sure that every teachers knew if you were up to something: a busybody, ideal prefect-material, probably with the brains to match.
The three boys exchanged looks.
Arthur was pinned on his belly, but his right arm was hooked around Ethan´s neck, the taller boy sprawled over the red head´s back, Rupert sitting on top of Ethan´s legs, his fist paused mid-swing towards Rayne´s face.
Ethan was the one who gave the blatantly evident answer. "Obviously, luv, we´re fighting," he said in a derisive tone. "Now be a good girl and bugger off so we can get on with it."
Apparently, that wasn´t the best thing to say.
The girl´s eyes narrowed even further, her pink lips pursing. "Don´t you give me your cheek," she warned dangerously, pointing a small finger down at them. "You´re disrupting the whole carriage."
"Easy solution, miss," Rupert put in in his smoothest tones. "I would suggest moving to another carriage."
Her arms folded over her chest, she scowled at them. "I was in the carriage first and I am not about to move because a bunch of...boys," she said the word as if they were the lowest form of scum in the world. "Couldn´t keep their hands off each other."
"Look," Arthur tilted his head back to look at her. unfortunately, he was so far forward, that he ended up with the perfect angle up her skirt and blushed scarlet. "If-if-if we want to-to fight, w-w-we can!"
The girl´s glare made them all flinch.
"I´m warning you," she said, her voice reminding each of them of their mothers for some unknown reason. "If you don´t stop this...stupid game, I´m going to have to stop it for you!"
Again, the three boys exchanged looks.
"Right, luv," Ethan smirked.
"If you don´t mind," Rupert added. "We have a fight to finish."
"Yeah..." Arthur mumbled, trying not to stare at her white knickers and giggle.
Not bothering to wait for her approval, it was almost as if someone had hit the play button on a frozen video and Rupert´s punch finally landed on Ethan´s face, while Ethan slapped Arthur around the head.
They were vaguely aware of the girl yelling above them.
Unfortunately for them, they didn´t, however, notice her flinging off her heavy outer robes, her expression dangerous, as she rolled the long sleeves of her cardigan and shirt up over her elbows.
Had they known, they might have been able to avoid her wrath.
As the case was, they didn´t notice until it was too late.