This is a derivative work using characters and intellectual property belonging to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, JK Rowling, her publishers, and probably others.When/Spoilers:
Post BtVS Season 7 - not Comic Book Seasons 8-10 compliant/ HP - post-OotP and EWE (Epilogue? What Epilogue?)Pairings:
Potential violence/Adult situationsAN:
This takes place in my Red Raider Universe AU Crossover series - It begins between Red Raider - The Pilgrimage
and Red Raider - The Quest
(Which I haven't actually written more than an outline for yet.) and eventually contains spoilers for that series.AN:
[24-Aug-2009] Revision to Prologue posted. (I actually revised this several years ago but never updated the copy here.)
She sat quietly, idly playing with her fork and pretending to ignore the rest of her Ravenclaw housemates as they listened to Professor Dumbledore's End-of-Term Feast speach. Only they would try to actually understand him as he once more babbled on about nothing particularly important. Another year, her fourth in her parentally imposed purgatory, was almost over and Perci Granger was looking forward to a magic free summer at home.
In another day she would escape on the Hogwarts Express and meet her parents at Kings Cross Station. She was ready to go back to being a somewhat ordinary teenager. Ready to pretend she was a part of the muggle world. She wasn't afraid to admit she preferred it to the magic drenched world of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The world of television and technology was where she felt she truly belonged. It was a world where her favorite sport, rugby, more than filled her need for physical exertion. A world where no one talked about Quidditch, a sport she felt was for the borderline insane. A world where your ability to 'swish and flick' a slim piece of polished wood was not a measure of your worth.
And she was more than ready to spend the entire summer catching up with all of the muggle classes she needed so she could go to the muggle university she'd already selected. Not that she begrudged her parent's feeble attempts at family time during the summer but when she finished Hogwarts she had plans that didn't involve the niche her sister had carved out in the wizarding world and she needed to be ready for it. Her parent's only concession to her protests the year they had first bundled her up, against her wishes, and sent her to Hogwarts when the dreaded letter had arrived had been an agreement to let her pursue her own plans during summer breaks.
She knew now they'd had her best interests at heart but when she'd been a precocious eleven she'd been very angry at them and her sister. Four years later she still objected to being compared to Hermione and often went out of her way to show her housemates and teachers that she wasn't her sister. Getting out from under her shadow had been one of her earliest goals. Many long hours of detention had resulted and now, at the end of her fourth year, people tended to leave her to her own devices, which suited her just fine.
While she was just as obsessive about learning as her sister, magic just didn't interest her in the same way. She'd learned how to do it and how to control it because she was given no choice. Hermione had convinced her often clueless dentist parents that it was too dangerous for her and those around her if she didn't go to some magic school, preferably Hogwarts. So every September 1st for the last four years she'd joined the throngs of students boarding the train for Hogwarts and every June she'd joined them as they headed home.
Her attention wandered as Dumbledore's speech wound down to the declaration of this year's winner of the House Cup. She wasn't interested in who won. She'd managed to accomplish her goal for the year, regaining any House points she'd lost. Instead, Perci thought about the last few weeks of the term. It had been more stressful than the entire last two terms.
She wasn't sure what had happened to her but she'd felt strange since fainting in Charms in May. The event itself escaped her grasp whenever she tried to recall it. The class that day was just a grey blur that ended with her waking up in a bed in the Hospital Wing. She just hoped her parents hadn't heard about her visit there from Madam Pomfrey or her sister, who'd been at Hogwarts that day on some Ministry business.
Thankfully, everyone else had quickly forgotten about the embarrassing episode as soon as they'd heard that an entire town in America had fallen into a sinkhole on the same day. Even though the head of their house, Professor Flitwick, had insisted it was a natural event, speculation in her house had run rampant with dozens of theories concerning what kind of dark magic it had taken to destroy an entire town or which fugitive Death Eater had caused it to happen.
Between that and her lack of any close friends, she hoped no one had noticed the changes she'd gone through. Since the fainting episode, her strength had increased substantially. She knew it was only through sheer luck that she hadn't broken anything or hurt anyone before she gained some control. Her reflexes had also sped up by a scary amount. She'd even managed to surprise the Slytherins who, thanks to her sister's reputation, had been the bane of her existence almost since she'd been sorted. More than once when they had been about to hex her she'd managed to hex them first.
She hadn't had much time so close to finals to find an explanation for the changes. None of the books she'd had access to in the library had provided anything resembling an explanation. What had happened to her didn't match the effects of any charm, potion, or curse she could find. And after that incident in her third year she would be lucky if she were ever again given permission to access the restricted section.
Perci breathed a sigh of relief when Professor Dumbledore finally finished. Something else that had changed had been her appetite. If it hadn't been for the constant hunger that plagued her, Perci would have been happy that she'd begun losing weight. She'd long ago accepted that she would never be as skinny as her sister, no matter how much exercise she got, so she wasn't quite sure how to deal with the direction her body was taking. She wondered if anyone else had noticed, and often imagined that she could actually see the muscles in her arms and legs becoming leaner and stringier.
She knew it wasn't fair to all of the people speaking but she could barely contain herself and ignored them while she ate, stuffing herself with as much as she could without attracting attention. It would be another long, hungry night if she didn't eat as much as she felt she needed.
Tomorrow and the trip home couldn't come soon enough.
Looking around the Great Hall for hopefully the last time, Perci thought idly about her last few years at Hogwarts. While she hadn't been Head Girl like her sister or even a Prefect, Perci had fit the Ravenclaw stereotype enough that she'd done well in her last three years at Hogwarts. The intensive concentration and studying she'd needed to do well with her summer muggle courses had helped her ability to prepare for the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.S.
Although she'd been almost as proud of her scores as the shocked look she'd caused on Professor Flitwick's face when she'd told him her future plans didn't include anything to do with the wizarding world, it was too bad her almost perfect test scores hadn't also helped her get into Oxford. But with a lot of hard work every summer she'd made it on her own merits. She just needed to do well with her last muggle summer classes and she would be all set to enter University College for Michaelmas Term in the fall.
Some things hadn't changed. She still wasn't a fan of wizarding sports like Quidditch and she'd never become more than competent with a broom. And she'd learned to avoid the other popular forms of wizarding travel. The few times she'd travelled by Floo she'd been dizzy and nauseous for hours afterward. Although she'd managed to earn her apparating license it also wasn't a form of travel she enjoyed. For some reason not even Madame Pomfrey could explain, whenever she apparated she ended up with a splitting headache for a week.
In fact, it wasn't just apparating that bothered Perci. There were times when it felt like she was going to be driven crazy by the amount of magic being casually thrown about on a daily basis at Hogwarts. She was sure that if it wasn't for her trips into the depths of the Forbidden Forest and the magic free countryside surrounding Hogwarts she would have gone crazy a long time ago.
But when necessary she could hold her own in the rounds of secret duels that often erupted between houses, earning her a wary respect among her classmates. And when that failed to provide her with the outlet she needed she'd found another way to burn all of the nervous energy she'd started to have at the end of her fourth year. Occasionally sneaking out late at night and exploring the Forbidden Forest without being caught by either her professors or the dark creatures inhabiting the forest gave her a rush like no other.
She looked up at the ceiling and sighed. Just one more night and she would be free. Free of anything magical unless she wanted it in her life. She could safely put away her nine inch yew wand with its dragon heartstring core and not look at it again. She was proud of how well she'd adapted to Hogwarts but the siren call of muggle technology had a grip on her that she couldn't deny.
Two summers before her parents had finally consented to getting her a computer of her own. She'd spent the entire summer, when she wasn't in class or wandering the countryside around their home late at night, playing with it and learning everything she could about them. She'd become so enamored with the things she found she could do that she'd decided to pursue Computer Science, something completely antithetical to the practice of magic, at university.
Her sister, with her hard won expertise in multiple magical disciplines, couldn't understand why, with her test scores, she would want to learn something so anti-magical and Perci hadn't bothered trying to explain it. Hermione had yet to accept that she was so different and that she didn't see magic as something wonderful. They'd never been really close but things had gotten so bad between them over the last year that they were no longer even talking to each other.
Perci came back to the present just as Professor Dumbledore was finishing his usual End-of-Term speech. She smiled in relief as food suddenly appeared on her plate. While she'd stopped losing weight by the beginning of her fifth year, she still had a voracious appetite that she'd never been able to explain. Nowhere in the extensive Hogwarts library had she found any explanation for the changes that had begun that May. She'd eventually stopped trying and had learned to live with them.
Sitting scrunched into her seat on the Hogwarts Express, Perci threw an occasional glare in the direction of the teenage boys who had begun to plague her during her fifth year. She wasn't completely sure what had caused it but it had seemed to start around the same time as the other changes.
She wasn't blind to the effects of hormones and teenage boys on the other girls in her year but she wasn't sure why they'd singled her out after ignoring her for four years and had spent her last three years at Hogwarts trying to ignore them. There were just too many other things to do to afford being distracted from her goals by such things.
Grumbling under her breath about male stupidity, Perci pulled the most recent letters from her parents out of a pocket. Her sister had insisted to their parents that she needed a roommate in the fall and had gone to great lengths to find her one, some non-magical American studying ancient languages, against her wishes.
Reading between the lines of the short note from Hermione she had the distinct feeling that her sister had some reason other than sisterly feelings for pairing her up with this Dawn Summers person. Having the annoyingly perky Ginny Weasley, one of the few of her sister's friends she could even tolerate, vouch for her certainly didn't allay her suspicions that something was going on that she really didn't want to knowingly be a part of.
Sighing, she put the letters away again. Leaning back, and with one final glare at the other occupants of the carriage, Perci closed her eyes and pretended to sleep for the rest of the trip home from Hogwarts.