Ready, Steady, Wizard!
For Disclaimer, Rating, etc. see Chapter 1
Author's Notes: OK, I know the Know-It-All Ritual is a bit lame, but called it creative license. Also, for some reason the italics, bold, alignment and everything except the words won't work when I upload stuff from my computer, so I'm sorry for the messy layout. Instead of using italics, I'm now going to put the phrase or word I would have put in italics in asterixes (asteri? Anybody know?) like this *Hi* Although I will try saving it like idolsgirl suggests to solve the problem, it may not work.
The following week, Dumbledore's office had stretched somehow to accomodate the people crowding it. They stared about curiously, but without any real amazment. It was hardly the strangest thing they'd ever seen. All the Scoobies were there, except Anya, who was still granting vengeance wishes back in Sunnydale, out of contact with the group. They were all perched on the squashy chairs Buffy didn't know the name of which this bearded wizard guy had drawn up from thin air with his 'wand'. Even with all the things she'd seen as the Slayer, it was still pretty nifty, as Willow would say. Noticing the redhead next to her was tense with nerves, Buffy slipped a comforting hand onto her arm and squeeze gently.
Willow appreciated the gesture. She was flat-out terrified she'd go all black-eyed and veiny becuse of all the magic flying around this place. It reassured her that the other believed she would be all right, and it helped that this Dumbledore had an aura of wisdom and calm about his. Willow had guessed this in her head even before she half-closed her eyes and turned on her second sight. She felt her heart tighten at the memory of Tara doing the same. She was always so much better at it than Willow.
She realized that Dumbledore was speaking, and mentally kicked herself for not paying attention. She tuned in attentively.
"- good flight. Now that the greetings are out of the way, I have an idea which may some of you may not agree with. Voldemort, whom Rupert has no doubt informed you of, will no doubt have some method of spying upon the school, and so if I announced you for who you are, you will be in great danger. I have considered that we should perhaps mix you with the pupils as American exchange students."
Silence prevaded in the room. Then Willow pointed out the flaw. "But we're too old to be students."
"Ah, yes. I have asked my Potions master to concoct an potion using the Elixir of Life-" Giles and Willow perked up in astonished interest- "and it shall temporarily turn you back until you can mingle with the sixth years. You are young enough you should be able blend in well enough, though I understand your experiences may have aged you before your time. Rupert, I have wondered if he might be more comfortable posing as your professor. The staff do, of course, know about you, and are all highly trusted."
"Why sixth year? Are we not grown-up enough to be in seventh?" Xander asked, pouting.
Dumbledore replied with a twinkle in his eye. "The students I trust the most are in sixth. I presume you read my message? Harry Potter and his friends are in that year."
They nodded understandingly. On the plane, Giles had sat at the window for privacy and set an ochre quill on a long scroll of parchment. It had quivered a second, and then started writing across the paper in an elegant cursive, updating them on Harry Potter and the recent encounters with Voldemort. The row of three- Buffy, Dawn and Giles- had read it, and then passed it back to Willow and Xander.
"OK. That's all good for you, but what about me?"
Dumbledore smiled kindly at her. "You will be in the year beneath your sister and her companions. I hope Ginny Weasley will welcome you. I will give you a small quantity of the potion in a moment, but just enough for today. I think it would be best to test it before we introduce you into the school."
Suddenly Willow gasped. "Oh no! What about the actual learning? We don't know any wand magic! We're wand magically deficient!" She almost cried. She'd been on tenterhooks all day and now this idea of not knowing anything when she'd always done so well in school hit her hard.
The Headmaster looked amused. "I though that would be the first question you asked. Instead, you go for a more minor one about your age that you knew could easily be solved with magic. However, I do have a solution. There is an extremely complex ritual that you can endure that will enlighten you with all the knowledge you need. It's name is, unfortunately, in an ancient form of Ko'tayeen and is virtually unpronouncable. It is commonly referred to as the Know-It-All Ritual. It shall take an awful lot out of you, and you will need several days at least to recover, but it will do the job." He grinned again.
"So, if it's so great and stufff, why don't you use it on the students?" Dawn questioned suspiciously.
"Like I said, it is very draining, and requires an almost impossible-to-get ingredient. Rupert has assured me though that you may have access to one. If she will not relinquish it, you will simply have to study very hard."
The group looked to Giles in confusion.
Xander's eyes widened as he heard the ingredient. The amulet of a vengeance demon! There was no hope that Anya would give it to them, especially after he jilted her at the altar. He objected hopefully, "But she's blocking all our calls! How're we going to contact her?"
Willow cleared her throat. "Uh, I have a talisman-thingy that, uh, D'Hoffryn gave me when I did that spell. The one that went wrong. We could ask him to speak to her for us. We could say we wanted vengeance for the families of those Voldemort's killed and need her to do it properly."
Dumbledore gave her a delighted smile. "With your permission, I'll summon it." He performed a complicated twist of his wand and the talisman appeared in his hand.
"Why not just accio it?" Giles queried.
"I have a hunch that somebody would notice an amulet soaring across the Atlantic."
Giles cleaned his glasses in slight embarrassment. "It really had been a while since I've not been surrounded by Muggles."
Dumbledore gazed at them benevolently. "I have arranged a vault for you at Gringott's Wizarding Bank. I'll give you a Portkey to Diagon Alley, and I trust Rupert shall show you where to get equipped with everything you need. The ritual is tommorow. As soon as you all feel up to it, you shall be presented to the school."
He gestured to silence the Portkey questions flooding him from every angle, and gave them each a thimbleful of the youth potion. He picked up a pen wrapped in a hankerchief from his desk. "Everybody touch it." They did so. "Hold on tight now!"
The cacaphony of exclamations erupting from the Scoobies when they arrived in Diagon Alley deafening. They chucked at their newly-young bodies, they scrunched their faces up at the feeling of using a Portkey, they wondered at the street of magic shops. Giles was flapping his hands in frustration, trying to quiet them when one particularly venement squeal from Dawn shut them up. "Oh my GOD! They actually fly on BROOMS?"
She ran up to the window, pushing her hands against the glass as she stared in glee. She'd agreed with Willow about the general badness of the witch stereotype, but she'd always secretly thought it would be cool to fly.
Giles frantically wiped the hem of his shirt against his spectacles. He wondered if he'd have to buy new ones by the time this was over. Didn't the thickness of the lense affect the prescription? He gathered them together and called over the din, "Follow me! I'll take you to get everything you need. Anything you find interesting, point it out, and I'll tell you anything I know."
"Geez, Giles, I thought you were just supposed to *pretend* teacher chaperone." Buffy said sarcastically. The gang snickered as the followed him about the wonderful, secret lane which was a whole world in itself.
Several hours later, it was an tired and overwhelmed group of teens and one adult that returned down the road. "...and so all we have to get now is your wands. It's just around this corner, tucked into a little cranny."
"What's a cranny?" whispered Willow. Buffy and Xander smiled exhaustedly, but Dawn didn't show any reaction. Her eyes were glued to the window of a shop they were passing. Across the top, it proclaimed itself to be 'Quality Quidditch Supplies' in scrolling letters. Giles sighed good-naturedly, and led them into the shop.
"I suppose you ought to have a broom if you want to blend in. Everyone else will." He admitted.
They gazed around wide-eyed as a wan youth approached with a big, cheesey smile that told you right off his salary was mainly on a commision basis. "Can I help you, sir, ladies? Do you know what you're looking for?"
"Yes, they are all, uh, looking to purchase brooms. You'd best ask them what they would like." Giles replied.
The smooth shop assistant explained the various brooms, which ones were safe, which ones were fast, which ones were reliable, which ones were hard-wearing. Willow wrinkle her nose up at the idea of a fast onel; she chose a safe, steady-paced Cleansweep. Xander picked up a twiggy, strong one called Troy, which had a row of enchanted darts that flew out the sides whenever someone which bad intent picked it up. Dawn bounced with joy as she selected a gleaming, showy one entitled 'The Sunray'. Buffy, however, wandered around. None of them seemed to appeal to her, however much the assistant stressed the magnificence of this one, the popularity of that one, the exclusiveness of the one over here. She came to rest in front of a broom, apparently ornamental, sitting on a slightly faded red velvet cushion on a shelf. The main part of it was made from a naturally silver-gold wood, and the tail twigs were bound on with a strong golden thread. The tail twigs were what really stood out however. They still had the leaves attacted, small, thin ones which had a surface shiny enough to flash in the bright light from the window. It had a small card propped against it, reading,
*This broom, simply called Heaven, was created by the four founders of Hogwarts and was part of a plan to launch their own line of brooms, the sale of which would go towards funds for the ever-expanding school. It is the fastest broom ever recorded, but after giving it to a student for testing, it was discovered it only flew for the four wizards who invented it. To this day, it is said when the right own appears, it will fly for them, and only them. Try it if you wish!*
Buffy reverently reached out, lifting it from its resting place. She let her fingers glide along the staff, had the urge to brush the leafy end across her cheek to see if it was as soft as it looked. Giles at her side told her, "Say up."
She did so, and it instantly sprang into the air for her. The shop screeched to a halt. A greying man wearing an apron which bulged with a beer belly hurried over, wiping his hands on his robes. He gaped in astonishment at the sight for a moment before breaking into a tirade of information and compliments.
"Miss! This is quite amazing! You must take it, it is free for the one it choses to have it! It's a miracle! Never happened before! We thought it was just a legend. Apparently not, ho!"
Buffy smiled politely, but with confusion. "So, I can have it for free? Does that mean the same thing here it does in America? 'Cos it looked to me like it was really special, on a cushion and everything."
The man beamed in confirmation, and rang up the others' brooms before packaging them all carefully and handing them to them with more gushing words. Buffy dashed from the shop as soon as she could. The owner and the customers cooing over her made her very uncomfortable.
The minute they were all in the fresh air, Xander grumbled cheerfully. "So, Buff, how come you get the special treatment again?"
Dawn whapped him on the arm. "She's a Champion, in case you forgot. She deserves special treatment for all the suffering she goes through, fightin' demons and ghouls and stuff every night."
Buffy rolled her eyes. She felt a little distanced from the others. The broom wouldn be the end of the 'special treatment', she hoped. But she was realistic enough not to guess that that would be the case. She was imbued with a mythological power. They were in a land of wizards. Wacked-out stuff was bound to happen. And she was right.
It happened in the wand shop, the next and last place to visit. All were first tested to see if they even had the power to wield a proper wand. The owner of the shop, a creepy guy called Ollivander, told them in an eerie, disapproving voice that if they showed no signs of wizarding magic, he had taken the liberty of making some other wands enchanted with 'gobs of power' as Dawn put it, so that they could attend Hogwarts and perform spells with the rest. Xander ended up with one of these, as did Dawn. Buffy, knowing her sister's disappointment, consoled her by saying, "Maybe Will could teach you Wicca!" She looked to the witch, who nodded happily. She'd recieved a fifteen inch yew wand with the tailhair of a unicorn as the core, as well as her other magic. She was chewing hopefully over in her head the idea that maybe she could use the wand to temper her magic, stop her going evil.
Buffy was last, as usual. She prove magic-positive, and spent over an hour waving about dozens of wands, practically destroying the dusty shop in the process. Now it was Dawn's turn to comfort her sister. "Maybe it's the Slayer gig, maybe it stops you doing-"
Dawn stopped, her hand over her mouth, her eyes horrified at what she'd disclosed in front of the uber-spooky salesman. He didn't seem too shocked however, just fluttered about in an epiphany about Buffy's wand deficiency. He came back bearing what looked like a deceptively normal wand, apart from it tapered to a sharpened point. He held it out to her in two hands. "Eleven inches. Ash wood, soaking in holy water for a year and a day, with a tip harded enough that it can be used as a dagger.. Core of unicorn hair, dragon's heartstring, *and* phoenix feather. You are very powerful. Use that power wisely."
Buffy took the wand, enjoying the comforting stake-like feel of it. She flicked it in the air, and grinned when black and gold stars burst out the end.
Two minutes later, they were making their way through the crowds to the Leaky Cauldron, where Dumbledore had told them the bartender would have a Portkey ready for them. That night, they went to bed in the guest wing early, in preparation for the next day's arduous ritual.