Leaving (on a Portkey)
A/N: Well, it’s been about four, five years now, and I just rediscovered TtH and this story. Please, forgive me, guys. This chapter's slightly shorter, but more will be forthcoming now, and some tweaks have been made to prior chapters. Small.
Lyrics are from 'Leaving on a Jetplane' (obviously) the original author/performer of which I am still unclear on.Leaving (on a Portkey)
all my bags are packed
i’m ready to go
i’m standin’ here outside your door
Liza tugged the button on her jeans closed, shaking her hips to the beat of her stereo, bopping along shamelessly to the pop tune blasting out of the speakers. There was something, she didn’t know what, in the ability to get over music snobbery and just enjoy the bubblegum. Belting out the words to the song, she haphazardly threw t-shirts and jeans into her sports bag, along with soccer cleats and sports shoes. No dresses for her, no sirree bob
Her guitar case sat ready and waiting at the foot of her unmade bed, and she tugged on the strap of her sports bra as she bent to scoop up her soccer ball.
“Liza!” Her mother’s exasperated call came from her doorway, and Liza stood up abruptly and turned around, smiling widely at her. Her mother was trying not to smile, she could tell, and losing the battle.
“Hey mom,” she said, tugging her top down over her head before shimmying towards her mother. “Sing with me, Summers,” she waggled her eyebrows, shaking her shoulders in time with her hips.
“Oh, no,” Dawn said, holding both hands out to ward her away, laughing despite herself. “No chance. Not happening. You’ve got to go, remember? Or you’re going to miss the portkey.”
“Excuses, excuses,” Liza muttered, but stopped dancing, reaching out for the volume knob. “And yes, I remember, I’m pretty much all packed.”
“Oh good, because your ride’s here.” Liza groaned, and Dawn laughed. “She’s gotten better, and you know it.”
“I don’t care what you say, I’m still wearing Dylan’s baseball helmet in the car.” Dawn snorted, roping her arm around her daughter’s neck.
“I love you, baby,” she said, and Liza felt herself tugged into a hug. They were almost the same height these days, ever since Liza had shot up over the last year. Tall and athletic, she knew she got from her mother. Big blue eyes, too. The rest, she’d never really know.
“Now, you’re going to be good, yes?” Dawn asked, tugging on a bead in one of Liza’s dreadlocks. “No kicking soccer balls at people’s heads, no matter how much they deserve it. And I’m not going to get any letters about you and Cam and Dylan charming all the teacups to bite, or magically sealing freshman cabin doors shut, or casting No Underwear There
spells on the swimming pool, or- ”
“No, mom,” Liza interrupted, laughing. “I promise. The soul of goodness. No duels or anything. Pinkie promise.” She held up her hand with her pinkie crooked, and Dawn shook it even as she shook her head, muttering under her breath about the idiocy of letting kids with wands run around with just councillors as supervision.
“Alright, let’s get this show on the road!” came the call from downstairs, and Dawn recognised the stress in her sister’s voice. Ten minutes in a room with Spike and Buffy was likely to forget that he was no longer able to be dusted.
“Sir, yes sir!” Liza shouted back down, saluting though only Dawn could see.
“Enough cheek out of you, miss. You want to walk in?” Liza pulled her face straight immediately, shaking her head in mock-fear. Dawn swallowed her laugh, aware that she was only encouraging her.
“Sure you’ve got everything? I see you’ve decided to pack bras this year, good idea.” Liza blushed, turning away to try and shove the soccer ball in her bag, hiding her face.
“Yeah, well, thought it was best,” she replied, looking at her mother sideways. There had been an unfortunate incident last year, involving her and one of the Hogwarts boys and general embarrassment all round.
“Good. Now I just have to get you into a pair of sandals, and the battle will be half-won.” It was Liza’s turn to snort, and Dawn smiled softly. Her daughter was a tomboy, through-and-through. Dawn had spent years terrified Liza was going to fall out of a tree or fall down on the soccer field or simply just fall
, considering she did everything at Mach 10. There had been plenty of skinned knees and elbows, but so far, no broken bones or concussions. For that, Dawn was eternally grateful.
“Sure, mom. Whatever you say,” was Liza’s only verbal response, as she zipped her bag closed. “Could you shrink this for me? I’m going to take my guitar as is, though.”
“Of course,” Dawn said, flicking her wand at the packed bag. “Camille’s all ready and waiting. Dylan’s going to meet you there, isn’t he?”
“Yup,” Liza said, tucking the bag into her back pocket as she hefted her guitar case. Dawn hit the power switch on Liza’s stereo, casting her eyes ruefully around the messy room. She’d hoped Liza would at least make the bed before she left.
She shut the door behind them, putting the room out of sight, remembering how Liza’s father had always been so prone to having something terribly important to do when cleaning was to be done. Like father, like daughter.
It was a surprisingly easy task to bundle Liza and Cam into Buffy’s car, to stand on the porch as they disappeared down the drive. Oz stood with her, waving goodbye to his own daughter, the both of them still standing there long after the last car horn sounds had died.
“Well,” she said, on a long breath.
“Yeah,” he said, in agreement, turning to face her. “Guess we’re going to have to make our own fun.”
She raised her eyebrows, rubbing at her jaw lightly. “Think again. We have research for the DMA.”
“As always. Back to the grindstone.” He turned inside, and though she heard the screen door shut behind him, Dawn stood out on the porch for just a minute longer, flicking her hair off her face in the sticky Louisiana heat. It was quiet. It was quiet during the school term, and now she felt the lack of laughter and music all the more acutely. This time, though, she was going to give herself some purpose. Right. Grindstone. Pressing research.
They were terribly busy and important, after all. ~*~
There wasn’t much to the portkey, really. It was a book with half the cover torn off, the title nothing special. The Properties and Many Uses of Common Garden Basil
. She didn’t imagine there was terribly much you could use basil for, of all things, but some people would write about anything if you let them. Given spare time and enough boredom to make it seem attractive, she might even read it.
Then again, she’d probably just use it as target practice.
The heavy thudding sound they made as they landed reverberated in her ears, and she swallowed against the hollow, sick feeling it left her with. Prying her fingers from the corner of the book, she leant into Camille, wiping at the corners of her mouth.
“You right, Liza?”
“Five by five,” she replied, taking deep breaths. “At least, in a second.”
“Awesome,” Camille replied, unconcerned, casting her eyes around the camp’s portkey interchange. “I can’t see Dylan anywhere.”
“Ugh, screw him,” Liza said, waving her hand in a dismissive motion. “He’ll find us in the girl’s cabins.”
“He’s not allowed in the girl’s cabins, you idiot,” Cam reminded her with rolled eyes. “We ain’t in Kansas no more, Toto.”
“I think you mean Salem,” Liza said, straightening up and tightening the knot in the length of material she’d bound and covered her dreadlocks with. It was amazing how irritating they were during portkey travel.
“Well, yeah,” Camille agreed, giving her a ‘duh’ look. “Pop culture reference? You’ve got to come with me on these things."
Liza nodded absently in agreement, licking her lips and hooking her thumbs through the belt loops of her jeans.
“So, whadda ya think? Any good-looking candidates?”
“You told your mom we were going to behave. That means not scoping for innocent little freshmen within the first ten minutes.”
“I see you looking, too.”
“Well, yeah. But my dad didn’t make me promise squat, so it’s fair game, as far as I’m concerned.” Liza snorted, hooking her hand into the crook of Cam’s elbow.
“C’mon, blondie. Let’s go find Ash and get our cabin assignment.”
“Oh, Ash,” Camille cooed, pretending to preen and check her makeup. “Do I look okay?” she asked, her voice saccharine sweet. “It isn’t even a real name, Liza. You know this.”
“I will hex you.”
She received only a murmured noise that, to her ears, sounded dubious and bored at once. With a smile, Liza tugged on Cam’s elbow, and they dove head-first into the crush – to the sound of a rather unimpressed, distinctly British exclamation.
“Watch where you’re going, would you?”
Liza turned her head towards the person, a dark girl with long braids that clinked against themselves as she turned her head.
“Oh, Rory, hi,” she amended, the disgruntled look on her face morphing into a somewhat reluctant smile. “I didn’t realise you were here yet! I thought for sure Fred would have come to find me.” Liza raised both her eyebrows in surprise.
“I’m sorry?” she asked, wondering exactly who this girl was, and who she thought she
was. “I’m Liza Summers – Have we met?”
“I, uh,” the girl seemed to be fumbling for something to say, and the smug smirk on Camille’s face was unmistakably the formulation of an inappropriate and snarky comment. That, or she was about to hit on her.
Clearing her throat to cover the sound of Camille’s grunt, Liza pulled her heel off her friend’s foot.
“Sorry,” the girl apologised, swinging her eyes from Liza to Camille and back again, looking at Liza like she was an animal at a zoo. Liza dropped one eyebrow, regretting stomping on Cam’s foot. “You just, uh, look a lot like someone I know. It’s alright, I see it now – different hair, and piercings and all. My fault, so sorry.”
Shrugging, Liza swung her long arms along her sides.
“S’alright. No harm, no foul – I get it all the time. That sort of face, y’know? See you around...” she trailed off, leaving the question open, and the girl was hasty to reply.
“Angelina,” she supplied, and Cam gave her the sort of smile that made Liza lean towards hitting on her
for the remark she’d stopped.
“Well, alright then. Ciao, Angelina. Hope you find your friend.” With a sideways look, Liza turned and tugged a reluctant Cam away. “Down, girl,” she muttered under her breath, ignoring the pouting reply.
“Uh, yeah, see you!” Angelina called after them, exhaling heavily and watching them as they joined the crowd of campers seeking cabin assignments. That had been almost... until she’d gotten up close, heard the distinctive and somewhat incomprehensible Southern accent and seen the dreadlocks – well, she’d been almost convinced that it was Rory, doing something different with her hair for once. Shaking her head, Angelina turned – or tried to at least, finding herself suddenly caged against a chest and pair of shoulders she was quite familiar with. Grinning, she turned, taking quick stock of the mole above the person’s left eye.
“Fred.” She waggled her eyebrows at him, her grin widening. “How are you this fine morning?”
“Absolutely spiffing, Angelina darling,” he replied, in the affectation she realized as his older brother, Percy. She smothered her giggle, knowing encouragement would only feed the beast.
“Never guess who I just saw,” she told him, with a low, conspiratorial voice.
“Who?” Angelina turned her head towards the voice, smiling as George – and, naturally, Rory – wandered up behind Fred. It was George who had spoken, but it was Rory that Angelina looked to.
“You, Rory. Well, someone who could almost pass as your twin,” she said, turning back around to see if she could spot her in the crowd. “Well, she was here a minute ago, but she’s disappeared now. Pity.”
Rory refrained from mentioning that Angelina didn’t seem quite that disappointed, forcing a small smile. “Really? That is interesting, but then I guess I just have one of those face. People mistake me all the time.” Turning her head to search the crowd for anyone that might look like her, she missed altogether the look on Angelina’s face.
“She have a name, Ange?” Fred asked, grinning. He wanted to see this girl, if only for the fun of seeing how Rory reacted. He could imagine it now – scoffing and blustering about the differences.
“Uh, I don’t know,” Angelina said, shrugging her shoulders. “American, though. Somewhere south, and she had these long dreadlocks and a piercing in her chin.”
On cue, Fred heard Rory scoff lightly. “Doesn’t sound a thing like me.”
“Well, she had her hair covered, and I didn’t see the chin piercing – or, clearly, hear the accent – until I actually spoke to her.” There was a distinct tone of stating the obvious in Angelina’s voice, and George clapped a hand on Rory’s shoulder.
“All for the better, I’d say. You’d look a bit odd with dreadlocks, I think, little mite like you.” He said it with a grin on his face that meant he knew exactly the reaction this would garner, and sure enough, Rory was huffing again.
“Really, George, I don’t think anyone would qualify me as a mite anymore.” She was tall, tall and lanky and bony and she knew it. And the fact that George kept pointing it out to her made her want to just wallop him around the ears, sometimes. An urge that, despite the encouragement from Auntie Tonks – a moniker that always made the woman cringe – Rory managed to check every time.
“Sure thing, squirt,” he said, slipping an arm around her shoulder and pulling her into him, where her head hit his chest. “Now, I don’t know about you chaps, but I’m famished.”
“Starving,” Fred piped up in agreement, and Rory suddenly foresaw herself being dragged to the food hall for the great majority of the summer.
“Right then,” George said with a decisive nod. “Come Sisco, let’s went.” He tugged at her shoulders, and Rory hooked a hand around his arm to keep herself upright.
“Shakespeare turns over in his grave, every time, you know that.”
“Shakespeare?” George said, looking down. “Oh, ‘course, Shakespeare. Bloody marvellous wizard, that one. Worked wonders with the ladies.”
And Rory, not feeling the energy to correct him, simply murmured her agreement and allowed herself to be tugged in what, she assumed, was the direction of the food. She could feel, rather than see, Angelina’s smirk of complete understanding, and for once she didn’t mind it that much.